Global Shopping Center
UK | Germany
Home - Books - Biographies & Memoirs - Leaders & Notable People Help

41-60 of 200     Back   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   Next 20

click price to see details     click image to enlarge     click link to go to the store

$17.13 $6.99 list($25.95)
41. Flyboys: A True Story of Courage
$11.18 $8.35 list($27.95)
42. Back in Action : An American Soldier's
$16.17 $11.50 list($26.95)
43. His Excellency : George Washington
$17.97 $6.90 list($29.95)
44. The Family : The Real Story of
$26.40 list($40.00)
45. Medal of Honor: Portraits of Valor
$55.00 $18.99
46. Verdura : The Life and Work of
$21.00 $17.95 list($35.00)
47. My Life
$14.00 $13.21 list($20.00)
48. Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life
$10.88 $10.25 list($16.00)
49. The Seven Storey Mountain
$16.47 list($24.95)
50. Front Row : Anna Wintour: The
$18.45 $6.99 list($27.95)
51. Madam Secretary: A Memoir
$19.80 list($30.00)
52. John Adams: Party of One
$17.16 $4.14 list($26.00)
53. The Best Year of Their Lives:
$13.57 $13.16 list($19.95)
54. Pope Benedict XVI: A Biography
$49.98 list($30.00)
55. Titan : The Life of John D. Rockefeller,
$19.95
56. Surviving Deployment: A Guide
$13.57 list($19.95)
57. Thomas Jefferson : Author of America
$6.00 $3.95
58. Autobiography of a Yogi
$26.37 $11.99 list($39.95)
59. Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Champion
$6.29 $3.69 list($6.99)
60. The Hiding Place

41. Flyboys: A True Story of Courage
by James Bradley
list price: $25.95
our price: $17.13
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0316105848
Catlog: Book (2003-09)
Publisher: Little, Brown
Sales Rank: 752
Average Customer Review: 3.19 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Book Description

Flyboys is the true story of young American airmen who were shot down over Chichi Jima. Eight of these young men were captured by Japanese troops and taken prisoner. Another was rescued by an American submarine and went on to become president. The reality of what happened to the eight prisoners has remained a secret for almost 60 years. After the war, the American and Japanese governments conspired to cover up the shocking truth. Not even the families of the airmen were informed what had happened to their sons. It has remained a mystery—until now. Critics called James Bradley's last book "the best book on battle ever written." Flyboys is even better: more ambitious, more powerful, and more moving. On the island of Chichi Jima those young men would face the ultimate test. Their story—a tale of courage and daring, of war and of death, of men and of hope—will make you proud, and it will break your heart. ... Read more

Reviews (141)

5-0 out of 5 stars Thought Provoking Book About War.
If you are looking for a feel good American heroes book this is not it. "Flyboys" is a very worthwhile and thought provoking book. There are times when it causes the reader to feel uncomfortable as it describes large scale and individual atrocities including cannibalism and mass murder performed by the Japanese that are very distressing to read about. Many of the previous patriotic reviewers I believe found it difficult to face the descriptions of the small and large scale violent and destructive American behavior even though it was dwarfed by the Japanese behavior.

The author remained remarkably non judgmental in his descriptions. He tries to put in context the violent behavior, although not to excuse it, by supplying relevant cutural and historic background.

The book invites us to examine the contrast between war time and peacetime humanity. Which is really us? Is war time meanness just kept below the surface during times of peace? It reminds us that when hundreds of thousands of lives are lost, that these are the lives of valuable individuals whether American or others. It emphasizes the remarkable heroism and perhaps the naivete of our servicemen particularly our "Flyboys." They were heroes especially because they completely understood the risks they were taking and proceeded out of choice because they were needed. George Bush Sr., as one of them , is featured as a sensitive and lucky(to be alive)hero.

The Japanese soldiers were brutalized by their officers and were required to follow orders without question. One gets concerned about group think and herd mentality. How independent are human beliefs and actions? Do we actually choose them or are we mostly a product of the society in which we were raised? We must intuitively know that it is wrong to bayonet a restrained man with a sharpened bamboo pole with the purpose of of causing pain, prior to beheading him while still alive, The officers who ordered this behavior earn our contempt. They force soldiers to carry out their orders as if they were slaves.

The Japanese "Spirit Warrier" believed that all orders originated with their Emperor who they believed descended from the Sun Goddess. In a way they were following their faith. Is it right to unquestioningly follow a religious leader or a religious belief ie Jihad,or perhaps to believe that followers of our culture are more worthwhile than the followers of other cultures. We must have known as Americans in the 19th century that slavery was wrong and that women should have the right to vote but it took us a long time to correct these injustices. Were we not deserving of contempt for thoughtlessly following the group think?

This is a history of WWII in the Pacific told mainly through a small group of people involved with the battle for the island of Chichi Jima by an author who is a truth seeking patriotic American whose father was incidentally a flag raiser at Iwo Jima. It raises our awareness of the horrors of war. It ends with some optimism and descriptions of forgiveness or at least understanding by memebers of both sides. There is even some real humanity displayed as Private Iwatake, who developed a personal relationshop with a subsequently beheaded cannibalized "Flyboy" named Warren Earl Vaughn, when phoned by the author, doing his research, answers the phone with, "Hello, this is Warren." He had changed his name to honor his dead prisoner.

4-0 out of 5 stars Has its faults, but important nevertheless...
I read about 20 of the earlier reviews of "Flyboys" as I struggled through the book this past week. Some of the negative comments are deserved, such as referring to the late Gen. Curtis LeMay as "Curtis" in half or more of the references to him. This is bizarre and distracting. Whether a result of careless editing or author-torial stubborness, it does not work. Also, I agree that the term "Flyboys" as a collective description of pilots, gunners and radiomen is over-used. I also agree that the book perhaps tries to cover too much history and abandons its cover story for too many pages at a time. Some condensing and reorganization would have enhanced its power. That said, many of the other negative comments seem to be unfair. Yes, Mr. Bradley dwells on America's mistreatment of Indians and Filipinos at length, including prisoners of war. Yes, he gives disgusting details of how our napalm drops on Japanese cities destroyed civilians indiscriminately. But he is not making up those facts. And to emphasize how easily combat and its stresses can make soldiers willing to do horrible deeds is not exactly the same thing as excusing the acts. I have read my share of WW II books, as I near 60 years of age, and "Flyboys" is the first one which sensibly explains how the Japanese fighter rationalized not only his willingness to die in already-lost battles, but his contempt for those from other cultures who chose to be prisoners of war instead. To explain the Japanese viewpoint, again, is not to excuse the acts. Nor is it unpatriotic.

"Flyboys" describes disgusting acts of brutality and cannibalism, and is ultimately a very sad tale. It is not a work that should be tackled by readers who are emotionally fragile. As most people reading this review will already know, Mr. Bradley's dad was one of the Iwo Jima flag-raisers, wounded physically by Japanese soldiers in that fight, and wounded in some ways psychologically by the whole of his wartime service. The fact that his son went off to study in Japan, and developed much respect for the residents there, must have been painful and puzzling for the father. But I don't think any intelligent reader of Bradley's earlier book, "Flags of Our Fathers" or of "Flyboys" can question the younger Bradley's respect for our troops or our country. One of our strengths as a representative democracy is that we can love our nation for having humane ideals even if we are imperfect in living up to them every minute. And we can learn from injustices committed in our names by our government or military agents, and change our ways.

I stuck with "Flyboys" right to the end, flaws and all, and I'm glad I did. It gets more powerful as it goes on, and it does finish the story of the eight Chichi Jima American POW's as much as it could be completed, so long after their 1945 deaths. We live in a time when we may be facing 30 years or more of sporadic war with terrorists and the countries which fund and hide them. To read a book which makes war and its (initially) unintended horrors seem like a step to be accepted only with the greatest caution is not a bad thing right now. While Mr. Bradley is not the smoothest historian/writer on the block, he shows promise. In some ways this book is better than "Flags of Our Fathers" despite its problems of style, language and organization. For sure, it is more important than the previous book, because the Iwo Jima battle story had already been well-covered in earlier works. Former President George Bush came close to being a prisoner on Chichi Jima, and plays a small part in this book. If he cooperated, and if he thinks Jim Bradley has done a service to the country with his research into the horrors of war in the Pacific from both sides, I won't argue with him. He was there, I was not. I'm glad I read "Flyboys" but unlike "Flags of Our Fathers" which I've read three times since it was first published, I won't be reading it twice. Its medicine is too strong for a second dose.

3-0 out of 5 stars Strays way off course
I am very offended in the tone that book takes in regard to comparing Japan's Chinese campaign with our final offensives in Germany and Japan. With all of the well written reviews I do not have much to add except to say that Japan was dead in the water and would have fought to the last man, woman and child. I also think that the nuclear bombs definately did create a new level of war and by doing so expedited the surrender. I am tired of people trying to apologize for America, the fact remains if they did not engage us then they would not have faced our wrath. The Chinese on the other hand recieved the barbaric wrath of Japan without so much as provoking them. I suppose we are supposed to draw a parallel in our manifest destiny or turn of the century Phillipine campaigns that were both in a very different era. By taking away all of Japans budget to make war America gave them a head start on creating a modern economy unparalleled in the world.

This book gets three stars for having some nice solid sections when it stays on task and does not get to preachy. If it wasn't for that I would have flunked it. The author has talent though and the read is pretty good being that is so severly flawed.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not sure what to make of this book
First off, I find it surprising that this story was not told sooner, as it involved a future U.S. president (I suppose much of the information was not available until recently). I give Bradley credit for telling the story of the airmen who gave their lives in service to our country, but I'm not sure what to make of Bradley's commentary on U.S. policy before and during World War II. It's true that atrocities happen in war, and the actions of our military should not be whitewashed. It seems wrong to me, however, to try to draw moral equivalency between the aggressors, and those who fight that aggression at great cost to themselves so that others may enjoy freedom. I also reject Bradley's suggestions that all atrocities committed by the Japanese were a direct result of earlier U.S. actions, however wrong those actions may have been (Bradley's description of the Japanese corruption of the Samauri code seems to contradict his own assertions regarding this point). I rate "Flyboys" 3 stars for telling a story that should have been told earlier, but I have reservations about the revisionist history in the book.

2-0 out of 5 stars Very disappointing, misleading title
A few months ago, I overheard an argument by two people over this book, so I figured I would read it myself to see what it was really like. I must say I was very disappointed. The first few chapters are not even about World War II. The title is misleading, for it is not really about "Flyboys", and the author uses it as a platform to condemn the use of airpower. Unfortunately, civilians were killed in bombing raids, but it should be remembered that it was the Germans and the Japanese who started this war. The author also sees very little, if any, difference, between the Americans and Japanese, yet he overlooks who rebuilt Japan. If Japan had defeated the US, would they have rebuilt our cities? I highly doubt. There are better books about World War II in the Pacific, and certainly better books that portray the courage of the American Fighting Man. ... Read more


42. Back in Action : An American Soldier's Story of Courage, Faith and Fortitude
by David Rozelle
list price: $27.95
our price: $11.18
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0895260417
Catlog: Book (2005-02-14)
Publisher: Regnery Publishing, Inc.
Sales Rank: 43954
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Book Description

The inspiring true story of the first amputee to return to active duty in Iraq! ... Read more

Reviews (15)

2-0 out of 5 stars Should have been 4.5 stars
I was eager to read Capt. Rozelle's book and compare with others by combat veterans from previous conflicts as far back as the American Revolution.Though the Captain has been exemplary in his actions as a soldier, and in his determination to overcome his disability, I was dissapointed and offended by the use of profane and vulgar language in the text.I realize the useage is common in the military, (I am a veteran myself), but it is never appropriate in an historical text to be read now and for generations to come.

I am also dissapointed in Regnery for not providing better editing.

5-0 out of 5 stars Must Read
David Rozelle's book was very good and gave a good picture of the war in Iraq and what a wounded soldier goes through.I would have enjoyed the book more had he left out all the "F" words, though.It would have been just as good without them.

5-0 out of 5 stars An inspirational story from a die hard troop and a friend
No bias here - I had the chance to serve with Dave when he was then-2LT Rozelle, and wouldn't expect anything less.A superb leader who has always set the bar high.And a true warrior poet; our armed forces need commanders like CPT Rozelle in the field now more than ever.

Sorry I hit your stump with that chair at the hospital, bud - we're better friends for it.Do I get to play me in the movie?

4-0 out of 5 stars I have had a terrible time rating this book.............
and I'm not sure I've done justice, or injustice, by it with 4 stars.

On one hand I see the book as written for the general public's reading level.It reads like a romance novel much of the time, especially the first half.I think this book may be better-liked by women.I don't mean that as a "put-down" in any way.I mean there is far more about his relationship with his wife than about Iraq.

In spite of its title, "Back in Action", it is NOT an action story, and certainly not a thriller.However, it is a look into the life of an army couple who give more for their country than their critics have ever even considered.

Does it inspire?That depends on who you are. If you are like the left wing radicalR. J. Pooley Jr. "eyes open", whose ignorant criticism of the book reflects not only his political bias, but his callousness toward disabled heros, the answer is a resounding "NO". There will be many cowards and weakling critics among the left, likeR. J. Pooley Jr. "eyes open", who will use their review as a platform to spew their political garbage.

If you truly love your country; if you have had prolonged absences from your spouse and children, due to either military or civilian service for your country, you will be far more understanding.The book is about soul-searching, not war. It is about relationships, not political intrigue; and it is about love, courage, devotion to duty, and a strength a critic likeR. J. Pooley Jr. "eyes open" cannot understand. It is far beyond these type of people to understand someone stronger and more courageos than they are.

Unless you are tainted by hate, anger, political bias, and just plain ignorance, you will be touched by the description of the phyically handicapped and how so many of them overcome terrible disabilities and become as successful, or more successful, and certainly more praiseworthy, than those who stayed home and criticized.

And,if you have the slightest bit of patriotism in your soul you will be touched by the soldier's devotion, not only to his country, but to his fellow soldier, and the United States Army.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best Book I've Read This Year
It's great to hear the personal story of one of our nation's bravest!I read this book in an evening-something I rarely do, but it was like having a conversation with Capt. Rozelle.I simply couldn't put it down.What a great role model he is. ... Read more


43. His Excellency : George Washington
by Joseph J. Ellis
list price: $26.95
our price: $16.17
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1400040310
Catlog: Book (2004-10-26)
Publisher: Knopf
Sales Rank: 10
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Amazon.com

As commander of the Continental army, George Washington united the American colonies, defeated the British army, and became the world's most famous man. But how much doAmericans really know about their first president? Today, as Pulitzer Prize-winner Joseph J. Ellis says in this crackling biography, Americans see their first president on dollar bills, quarters, and Mount Rushmore, but only as "an icon--distant, cold, intimidating." In truth, Washington was a deeply emotional man, but one who prized and practiced self-control (an attribute reinforced during his years on the battlefield).

Washington first gained recognition as a 21-year-old emissary for the governor of Virginia, braving savage conditions to confront encroaching French forces. As the de facto leader of the American Revolution, he not only won the country's independence, but helped shape its political personality and "topple the monarchical and aristocratic dynasties of the Old World." When the Congress unanimously elected him president, Washington accepted reluctantly, driven by his belief that the union's very viability depended on a powerful central government. In fact, keeping the country together in the face of regional allegiances and the rise of political parties may be his greatest presidential achievement.

Based on Washington's personal letters and papers, His Excellency is smart and accessible--not to mention relatively brief, in comparison to other encyclopedic presidential tomes. Ellis's short, succinct sentences speak volumes, allowing readers to glimpse the man behind the myth. --Andy Boynton

Amazon.com Exclusive Content
Curious about George?
Amazon.com reveals a few facts about the legendary first president of the United States.

Washington bust by Jean Antoine Houdon.
Courtesy of the Mt. Vernon Ladies' Assoc.

1. The famous tale about Washington chopping down the cherry tree ("Father, I cannot tell a lie") is a complete fabrication.

2. George Washington never threw a silver dollar across the Potomac River--in fact, to do so from the shore of his Mount Vernon home would have been physically impossible.

3. George Washington did not wear wooden teeth. His poorly fitting false teeth were in fact made of cow's teeth, human teeth, and elephant ivory set in a lead base.

4. Early in his life, Washington was himself a slave owner. His opinions changed after he commanded a multiracial army in the Revolutionary War.He eventually came to recognize slavery as "a massive American anomaly."

5. In 1759, having resigned as Virginia's military commander to become a planter, Washington married Martha Dandridge Custis. Washington’s marriage to the colony's wealthiest widow dramatically changed his life, catapulting him into Virginia aristocracy.

6. Scholars have discredited suggestions that Washington's marriage to Martha lacked passion, as well as the provocative implications of the well-worn phrase "George Washington slept here."

7. Washington held his first public office when he was 17 years old, as surveyor of Culpeper County, Virginia.

8. At age 20, despite no prior military experience, Washington was appointed an adjutant in the Virginia militia, in which he oversaw several militia companies, and was assigned the rank of major.

9. As a Virginia aristocrat, Washington ordered all his coats, shirts, pants, and shoes from London. However, most likely due to the misleading instructions he gave his tailor, the suits almost never fit. Perhaps this is why he appears in an old military uniform in his 1772 portrait.

10. In 1751, during a trip to Barbados with his half-brother Lawrence, Washington was stricken with smallpox and permanently scarred. Fortunately, this early exposure made him immune to the disease that would wipe out colonial troops during the Revolutionary War.

Timeline
Important dates in George Washington's life.
Engraving of Mount Vernon, 1804. Courtesy of the Mt. Vernon Ladies' Assoc.

1732: George Washington is born at his father's estate in Westmoreland County, Virginia.

1743: George’s father, Augustine Washington, dies.

1752: At age 20, despite the fact that he has never served in the military, Washington is appointed adjutant in the Virginia militia, with the rank of major.

1753: As an emissary to Virginia Lieutenant Governor Robert Dinwiddie, he travels to the Ohio River Valley to confront French forces--the first of a series of encounters that would lead to the French and Indian War.

1755: Washington is appointed commander-in-chief of Virginia's militia.

1759: He marries wealthy widow Martha Dandridge Custis.

1774: Washington is elected to the First Continental Congress.

1775: He is unanimously elected by the Continental Congress as its army's commander-in-chief. Start of the American Revolution.

1776: On Christmas Day, Washington leads his army across the Delaware River and launches a successful attack against Hessian troops in Trenton, New Jersey.

1781: With the French, he defeats British troops in Yorktown, Virginia, precipitating the end of the war.

1783: The Revolutionary War officially ends.

1788: The Constitution is ratified.

1789: Washington is elected president.

1797: He fulfillshis last term as president.

1799: Washington dies on December 14, sparking a period of national mourning.

... Read more

44. The Family : The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty
by Kitty Kelley
list price: $29.95
our price: $17.97
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385503245
Catlog: Book (2004-09-14)
Publisher: Doubleday
Sales Rank: 705
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Amazon.com

Kitty Kelley, author of exhaustive and highly unflattering biographies of Frank Sinatra, Jackie Onassis, and the British royal family,among others, has never received much cooperation from her subjects. Likewise, none was given for The First Family: The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty, and it's not hard to understand why. In the book, the family that has produced two presidents as well as an assortment of other politicians, businesspeople, and a number of lesser-known black sheep is portrayed as a powerful empire that leverages wealth and influence to grow ever stronger while stringently covering up numerous instances of drug abuse, infidelity, poor judgment, and scandal. While charges about George W. Bush, including that he snorted cocaine at Camp David while his father was president, garnered the most attention upon the book's release, Kelley's history goes back several generations, detailing the rise to power of Senator Prescott Bush and his son, the first President Bush. Those seeking a salacious peek at the inner sanctum of a wealthy and powerful family will not be disappointed by The First Family--Kelley always delivers on that count--and will likely devour allegations of Barbara Bush's sour temperament, George H.W. Bush's long-standing affair with aide Jennifer Fitzgerald, and George W. Bush's obnoxious drunken frat boy days that stretched, according to Kelley, well into adulthood. Those seeking a rock-solid and airtight indictment of the Bushes, however, will be disappointed, since Kelley leans on anonymous sources and rumors for some of the juicier bits. Interestingly, although it tells the stories of a family built on politics, The First Family mostly avoids the subject, clearing the decks of all political substance in order to put the style on wider display. --John Moe ... Read more


45. Medal of Honor: Portraits of Valor Beyond the Call of Duty
by Peter Collier, Nick Del Calzo
list price: $40.00
our price: $26.40
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1579652409
Catlog: Book (2003-10-01)
Publisher: Artisan Publishers
Sales Rank: 2416
Average Customer Review: 4.89 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Reviews (9)

4-0 out of 5 stars Medal of Honor: Portraits of Valor Beyond the call of Duty
Great pictures! Poor editing, many mistakes, flopped pictures, wrong information, wrong death dates. These mistakes take away from the written information, but not the pictures. Done in black & white with keen eye of a photojournalist, and probably the last portraits of three who have died this year, Joe Foss, Ray Davis and Mitch Paige. Each full page portrait is done with a different approach, one reading this book will be captivated by each picture of these men, these heroes. This is a collection of the last living Medal of Honor recipients, starting in 2000. Even with the bad editing this book is worth having, it's history.

5-0 out of 5 stars Deeply Moving
A dear friend highly recommended Medal of Honor: Portraits of Valor Beyond the Call of Duty so recently I was standing in the bookstore waiting for the clerk to find it on the computer. After the third try she told me it was not showing up on her screens when another shopper walked up to me and placed it in my hands. He said " I overheard you asking for this and I had just looked it over"

With this auspicious beginning, my journey into the world of Medal of Honor winners began. As I looked through this beautiful book, I found myself taken by the photography and absorbed by the accompanying text which details the events of each honoree. Although I looked at each page and the photographs, I found that I had to pace myself on reading the text and short biographies. That is a lot there on many levels so I used the photos as a guide to decide which ones to read during this first encounter.

This book evoked tears for me. I have served in the military although not in combat. Also I have served in the US Peace Corp so I have always been aware of the paradox of the human condition.

While reading, I found discovered some very ambivalent feelings. Respect and admiration for the portraits of courage was obvious. Yet, simultaneously, a soul felt sadness when I realized that the "enemy" described on several pages, could very well have been the beloved grandfather of a dear friend I stayed with in Germany recently.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who wishes to explore the challenges of the human spirit.

DG Mogle

5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding book & photography
This book is loaded with moving acounts of courage, suffering and achivement. In addition to the individual stories, there is a history of the CMH and a military glossary. The book has a forward by George H.W. Bush, and Senator McClain of Arizona.

You will not be disapointed with this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Untterly breathtaking book
This is an untterly breathtaking book, a tribute to
men whose lives have been transformed by their own
courage, as our lives will be transformed by what we
learn of them. The tales of their heroism are great,
more, almost, than we can comprehend; but the images
of their faces are breathtaking, haunting, brilliant,
and will inform our souls with an indelible sense of
the majesty of theirs. In this unforgettable book, we
learn the true meaning of the terms "manhood" and
"warrier" in the most sacred sense.

Nick Del Calzo is more than a photographer; he is a
visionary of the human essence. His photographs not
only spell out the message This man is a Hero, but
also tap in to all that lives inside the man who
carries the title Congressional Medal of Honor Winner.
Indeed, Nick has captured the emotional and spiritual
essence of each of these men with such exquisite
respect, vision, and honoring, that we, too, can truly
see--and deeply honor--them.

This is more than a coffee table book of stunning
photographs. It is a book of images from--and to--the
depths of the human heart.

Daphne Rose Kingma
Author of The Men We Never Knew; The Future of Love

5-0 out of 5 stars A keeper
I am one of those folks who reads about 50 books a year. Once in a while I read a book that so impresses me that I recommend it to all my friends. Last year the book was Seabiscuit. This year it is Medal of Honor. In fact, Medal of Honor is a better book than Seabiscuit. I am buying it as a Christmas present for friends and giving it to them now, so they can, in turn, buy copies for their friends before Christmas. ... Read more


46. Verdura : The Life and Work of a Master Jeweler
by Patricia Corbett
list price: $55.00
our price: $55.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0810935295
Catlog: Book (2002-12-01)
Publisher: Harry N Abrams
Sales Rank: 38445
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Book Description

A master of metamorphosis, Sicilian duke-turned-jewelry-designer Fulco di Verdura (1898-1978) studded seashells with precious gems, transformed sailor's knots into pearl-encrusted necklaces, and wrapped blazing ruby hearts with braided gold rope. Since the mid-20th century, his ultrasophisticated neo-Baroque pieces have been the status symbols of a near-secret society of European blue bloods, Hollywood royalty, and Park Avenue patricians. Verdura's by-appointment-only patrons included Wallis Simpson, Marlene Dietrich, and Diana Vreeland, who considered his Maltese Cross cuffs an essential part of her daily uniform.

In this lavish book, featuring fresh color photographs as well as vintage images, Patricia Corbett presents a deft evaluation of Verdura's work and a glimpse inside his impossibly glamorous world. ... Read more


47. My Life
by Bill Clinton
list price: $35.00
our price: $21.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375414576
Catlog: Book (2004-06)
Publisher: Knopf
Sales Rank: 35
Average Customer Review: 3.19 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Amazon.com

An exhaustive, soul-searching memoir, Bill Clinton's My Life is a refreshingly candid look at the former president as a son, brother, teacher, father, husband, and public figure. Clinton painstakingly outlines the history behind his greatest successes and failures, including his dedication to educational and economic reform, his war against a "vast right-wing operation" determined to destroy him, and the "morally indefensible" acts for which he was nearly impeached. My Life is autobiography as therapy--a personal history written by a man trying to face and banish his private demons.

Clinton approaches the story of his youth with gusto, sharing tales of giant watermelons, nine-pound tumors, a charging ram, famous mobsters and jazz musicians, and a BB gun standoff. He offers an equally energetic portrait of American history, pop culture, and the evolving political landscape, covering the historical events that shaped his early years (namely the deaths of Martin Luther King Jr. and JFK) and the events that shaped his presidency (Waco, Bosnia, Somalia). What makes My Life remarkable as a political memoir is how thoroughly it is infused with Clinton's unassuming, charmingly pithy voice:

I learned a lot from the stories my uncle, aunts, and grandparents told me: that no one is perfect but most people are good; that people can't be judged only by their worst or weakest moments; that harsh judgments can make hypocrites of us all; that a lot of life is just showing up and hanging on; that laughter is often the best, and sometimes the only, response to pain.

However, that same voice might tire readers as Clinton applies his penchant for minute details to a distractible laundry list of events, from his youth through the years of his presidency. Not wanting to forget a single detail that might help account for his actions, Clinton overdoes it--do we really need to know the name of his childhood barber? But when Clinton sticks to the meat of his story--recollections about Mother, his abusive stepfather, Hillary, the campaign trail, and Kenneth Starr--the veracity of emotion and Kitchen Confidential-type revelations about "what it is like to be President" make My Life impossible to put down.

To Clinton, "politics is a contact sport," and while he claims that My Life is not intended to make excuses or assign blame, it does portray him as a fighter whose strategy is to "take the first hit, then counterpunch as hard as I could." While My Life is primarily a stroll through Clinton's memories, it is also a scathing rebuke--a retaliation against his detractors, including Kenneth Starr, whose "mindless search for scandal" protected the guilty while "persecuting the innocent" and distracted his Administration from pressing international matters (including strikes on al Qaeda). Counterpunch indeed.

At its core, My Life is a charming and intriguing if flawed book by an equally intriguing and flawed man who had his worst failures and humiliations made public. Ultimately, the man who left office in the shadow of scandal offers an honest and open account of his life, allowing readers to witness his struggle to "drain the most out of every moment" while maintaining the character with which he was raised. It is a remarkably intimate, persuasive look at the boy he was, the President he became, and man he is today. --Daphne Durham ... Read more

Reviews (463)

2-0 out of 5 stars Arrived with a Thud, turned into a Dud.
If you remember the 1988 convention speech where Clinton was nearly booed off the stage for taking too long or the state-of-the-union where he droned for over 90 minutes, you may recall the feeling you'll get somewhere around page 250 of this tome ... "when will it end?"

This particular work of mostly self-aggrandizing fiction suffers from being so self-absorbed and so badly edited it totally detracts from the nuggets of humanity and historical interest in the text. It's the "Heaven's Gate" of Presidential memoirs. That Liberals are dutifully reading this and watching the exposed liar Michael Moore (...) this summer says much about their fanatic religious devotion to their faith. Faith requires suffering!

The memoir still whitewashes much wrt Clinton's 'scandalabra', even while admitting to the bare minimum to keep it credible to the faithful. So we get Monica semi- mea culpa, but what about Genifer Flowers (she claimed a 13 year affair), or his pardon of Marc Rich? Or for that matter *important stuff* like how the Chinese managed to funnel illegal funds to his campaign in 96? Maybe its too much to expect an exhumation of his skeleton closet, but he manages to say so much yet reveal so little in so many pages. And he's entitled to his own opinions about other folks, but his view on Starr and the constitutional issues and process involved in the impeachment show he is trying to re-write history and doesnt understand Starr's appropriate role and actions. He doesnt get it - it was about lying under oath.

Dont read this. Read the Marinass bio and read Rich Lowry's "Legacy" and somewhere in the middle of their accounts is what really happened.

Lastly, read U.S. Grant's memoirs, the best Presidential memiors, writeen before Presidential memoirs were excercises in self-justification. They have all the economy and sparseness in style, bright narrative, and objective viewpoint that Clinton's memoirs lack. And he recount events far more important, like how the Civil War was won by the Union side, than details of Clinton's campaign events.

4-0 out of 5 stars An Easy, Pleasant Read
I approached the book as though it was written -- not by a former Democratic President -- but a man with amazing life experiences. The insight the author provided on the workings of the executive branch of our government, along with international events were just icing on the cake for me.

The writing is very easy to read; the story flows smoothly. All in all, I enjoy the voice that is projected from the author's composition.

I found it interesting that on page 811, when Clinton was introspective about his affair with Monica, his revelation is that he is vulnerable to making selfish and self-destructive personal mistakes when he is exhausted, angry, or feeling isolated. This mirrors the 12-step recovery motto of HALT (hungry, angry, lonely, tired), which recognize our vulnerabilities to succumb to our addictions.

I must say that Clinton's description of sleeping on a couch for two months following his admission to Hillary regarding Ms. Lewinsky was hard to believe. Perhaps he was placing himself in the doghouse, making use of the couch adjacent to their bedroom, but still -- there were so many other bedrooms in the White House. Aside from that, I'm glad Clinton disclosed that he and Hillary participated in weekly couples counseling for a year.

My favorite parts of the book cover Clinton's reflections on family, friends, and associates who passed away. This is where he shared personal thoughts on the affect these people had on him, and how he mourned their deaths.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Fascinating Look At The Most Controversial President
A Fascinating Look At The Most Controversial President

This book will intrigue anyone who cares about America. You get an insider's view from the divisive man himslef. You'll also learn the struggles all presidents must face, and the role the media played in helping and hurting Clinton.

5-0 out of 5 stars Heartfelt Willie!!
In 2001, William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton exited the White House after becoming the first two-term Democratic president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Instead of praise for surmounting numerous and incredible life obstacles, his rags-to-riches personal life story actually had the right wing seriously enraged enough to attempt a sham impeachment and conviction on anything (and EVERYTHING) they thought up. The reception discrepancy between his personal history and presidential administration is painstakingly explored in the personal autobiography---with no detail spared. I am not fortunate enough to live near a city where Clinton undertook book promotion tours, but this title's price vs. length and quality is well worth those televised all-night camp outs.

Eschewing a ghost-writer, Clinton personally poured his heart and mind about personal and potentially difficult subjects which former presidents (of all ideologies) shielded themselves from. Choosing the less-utilized "open disclosure" route is a refreshing contribution to American public policymaking. It is also one which more public officials should follow.

Rather than seeing diversity as an election strategy, Clinton genuinely appreciates social justice movements which attempt to make the world radically different from his Arkansas boyhood. In the television era's early days, then-Governor Orval Fabus tried to maintain segregation 'standing in front of the schoolhouse door' to Little Rock's Central High School (pp. 38-39) Undoubtedly this incident's horror (and fears that all southerners were presumed to agree with Faubus) helped solidify determination to pursue a radically contrasting racial public policy legacy (pp. 559-560). In turn, Clinton's early decision explains why I and many other people love him today.

Repeatedly, Clinton draws upon his witness to the 1957 Little Rock action as one motivator for public service (the other of course is meeting President Kennedy at a D.C. Boys Town Summit). Because I am also growing up in a conservative southern town, I am comforted things do change; a young Republican who openly cheered during the announcement of President Kennedy's assassination later became a Democrat, social worker, and one of Clinton's biggest political supporters (p. 65). The bigger person recognizes when it is time to mend the oft-mentioned political fences. During his Arkansas Governorship Clinton demonstrated the nation only maximum potential when all demographics are empowered to participate in the American dream.

I also enjoyed reading personal family anecdotes---including those which are probably still painful to share with audiences. In fifth grade, he learned that people who rented out motels for long periods of time did abortions (p. 29) because the procedure was illegal in the state. He also describes the incidents where stepfather Roger beat the family---until young Bill grew big enough to fight back (pp. 45-51). The vivid descriptions provide both literary action and a solemn reminder the world is better because abortion is legalized, and domestic violence is no longer a 'family affair'. As a child of divorce, I am also reassured that an American President went through several of the same experiences me and many of my friends experienced. When he talks about families, Clinton is personally aware there are many different types of families and the rightwing has never spoken for everybody (pp. 633-636)

As the first president to be in the delivery room during his child's birth (p. 273), Clinton brought unprecedented sensitivity to the Oval Office. Because the lives of American voters are more egalitarian, this empathy is a definite asset in the post-cold war era From his own personal experiences, Clinton easily understands that good and strong families come in all compositions (pp. 426-427). I was also intrigued to learn that Clinton did not personally/politically have a problem with Hillary's last name (p. 296). Finally, "women's issues" like the Equal Rights Amendment (p. 257) stand on their own merit as something which is genuinely important to HIM.

Certainly people have to take self-initiative for their private life, but Clinton's centrist Democratic theory (dating from Robert F. Kennedy's 1968 presidential campaign) says that government is still obligated to ensure the people trying to help themselves and their communities can actually do so (p. 122). This approach explains why he signed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 ---overhauling the depression-era welfare system, while also rejecting the complete dismantlement passionately championed by Republican opponents. Aware that welfare payments had varied by state and women were not getting rich anywhere, Clinton also knew the current system had intentionally built-in incentives for women to stay at home instead of work. Welfare was initially developed so low-income women would not 'deviate from 'traditional' homemaker roles and could also stay at home with their children like many other women of the time. Clinton purposefully attempted to allocate enough money and resources for childcare so low-income women would not find themselves in a horrid catch-22 situation of wanting to work but not being able to find affordable, safe, and reliable daycare for their children (pp. 720-721).

Before entering elected office, Clinton taught college classes at the University of Arkansas and the professorial enthusiasm (pp. 204-205) required for that task is especially obvious today as the lessons he taught to and learned from the students are recalled. I can easily imagine myself as a student in the class while he is racing up and down the auditorium steps exhorting us to become even more involved in the larger world (p. 203). Because they cannot realistically be confined to a classroom, such individuals were predestined to have a tremendous impact on the larger world.

By showing a less serious side of the Clintons which is not always discernable from the media, the enclosed photos reinforce this aforementioned environment. Conceding that his personal actions damaged the family (p. 800, p. 811), he avoids a holier-than-thou attitude which ruined many other political careers. Clinton succeeds at the American Dream because he already knows and easily accepts his imperfection. He is so personable that even when I disagreed with Clinton's policies, myself and others always knew that he would not attack dissenters on trumped up charges. Instead, Clinton's enduring personal patience (he appears far more patient than he has given himself credit for) and boundless optimism for the nation consistently shine throughout this book. By nature, genuine sentiment cannot be slick.

This book is a mandatory purchase for the Clinton fan---or anybody preferring a time when the United States president was respected for unflagging civility in the face of adversarial circumstances that had grounding lesser politicians from all levels of government. Unfortunately, like Hillary's autobiography (2002), the author's relative chronological youth in relation to his numerous public accomplishments means that another edition or volume will eventually be required for adequately chronicling all of the national/international contributions. Even at 957 pages, fitting all important information into one volume is impossible. I look forward to purchasing future editions of this biography.

5-0 out of 5 stars You either love him or hate him
Very intimate account of his life, with an undertone for the personal pain he his bearing. Great read for someone starting life and who wants to know how to chart the course of his or her life regardless of their family/childhood limitations. ... Read more


48. Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life
by Jon Lee Anderson
list price: $20.00
our price: $14.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0802135587
Catlog: Book (1998-04-01)
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic
Sales Rank: 1532
Average Customer Review: 4.57 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Reviews (90)

4-0 out of 5 stars A landmark biography
Even as I'm not a fan of Che Guevara's politics, the work that Jon Lee Anderson has put together about his life and career is truly commendable. He sorts out an incomprehensible amount of detailed information in a very linear, comprehensive, yet simple fashion.

The information he gained, some recorded for the first time ever, by gaining access to friends, relatives, and associates, as well as letters and diaries of Che Guevara, makes this work the definitive reference on the subject.

Like many on the political left, the author is obviously enamoured with Guevara and tends to portray his actions as noble, admirable and heroic. This is quite an interpretive presentation of Guevara, one with which many would disagree. Anderson does give glimpses of Guevara's personality that show the side of him that could be maniacal, dilatory, and restless, but even these are downplayed as the innocuous by products of a passionate man.

Because of this subjective portrayal in an otherwise very objective book, I cannot give it 5 stars. Still it's a remarkable, fascinating read and an amazingly authoritative and accomplished work.

5-0 out of 5 stars Simply the best
Having read the hardcover version of this book in the summer it was released it is good to see that the paperback version is available. Coming in at nearly 800 pages it is no easy weekend read but worth the time invested. Mr. Anderson has done extensive research, clarified inaccuracies in previous works by other authors on the life of Che and treats the subject of his life objectively. Mr.Anderson spent much of the time in Cuba rsearching this masterpiece, probably the dfinitive biography, with the help of Aleida March, his wife and her aide Maria del Carmen Ariet who together are probably the foremost experts on the life of Che Guevara. The story is complete from the birth of Che, his upbring and close relationship to his mother, the formative years, including his education and doctor training, his spirit for adventure as exemplified early on with his famous motorcycle excusion through South America, his fateful meeting with Fidel Castro and of course his participation in the overthrow of the Batista regime in Cuba and the aftermath which eventually would prove to be his demise. Many excellent reviews have been wriiten about this book and I only want to endorse the overwhelming positive majority and say that this book is a cut above the plethora of books about Che. If you have an interest in the life of one of the true revolutionary spirits of the 20th century this is a landmark book that answers many questions. An excellent book for the historian or someone just curious about the man known as Che. Mr. Anderson seperates fact from ficion and helps the reader understand the man from the myth. The human being is revealed and politics aside one comes away with compassion for the man who gave so much of himself, even his life,for the beliefs he held to be true. No greater love can a man display than to give of his life. Read this book, get to know Ernesto Guevara, the man known as Che.

1-0 out of 5 stars Troublemaker
First off, the recipes in this book are no bueno -- the Colonel makes chicken better than this, and that ain't saying much. Second, Che is still riding Fidel's coattails. Che was the Ethel to Castro's Lucy Ball.... Maybe smarter, but lacking in kooky charm... that we can feel superior yet protective toward. Che is boring, and his words seem antiquated today. 800 pages is way too much, for someone so unfunny... and an elite background at that... save the drama for your mama ,Che!

5-0 out of 5 stars A Revolutionary Life
Ernesto "Che" Guevara was a revolutionary. He was born in Argentina but never called the country home after his college years, studying medicine. Through his travels during his college years, he became aware of the povery and inequality in South America. This inspired him to fight for the equality he felt Marxism would bring. Che is known for his effect on the communist revolution in Cuba. He also fought in falied revolutions in Congo and Bolivia. It is safe to say that he is a man who impacted the world even if you do not agree with his political views. He is the man who invented guerrilla warfare.

John Lee Anderson's book is the definitive book on Che Guevara. At times, it is almost too detailed with its nearly 800 page length. In reality, a book being too detailed is a compliment. The pictures he chose to include in the text are outstanding. Many of the pictures have been in CIA possession for years, and unseen to the public.

While not directly a goal of the book, I enjoyed the insight this book gives into the relationship between Che and Fidel Castro. Anderson lets the reader draw conclusions rather than telling the reader what to think. While Castro believed in communism, Guevara was held policies more closely to the writing of Karl Marx. Che was willing to criticize policy if he felt it was not "Marxist enough". Unlike Castro, Che was willing to criticize the Soviet Union leaders for not living in the true equality that communism is intended to be.

Despite Cuba's rivalry with the United States, I found it odd that more was not mentioned about the Cuba Missle Crisis. Guevara detested the United States, so it seems he would have had more to say in the matter. If he did have more to say, little is mentioned in the book.

Because of its length, readers need some spare time to take in this whole book. The thoroughness of the product makes reading this book a rewarding experience.

5-0 out of 5 stars "most complete human being of our age" -- Sartre
Anderson's biography of Che Guevara was passionately researched. Within the pages of this large book are the most detailed accounts of Che Guevara's life. The book begins with a history of Che's upbringing and forces you to realize how much this man was truly like any other man. Anderson finds importance in the travels Che makes as a young man across South America. Journeys which eventually became 'The Motorcycle Diaries'. Detail is given to the periods of life that influenced his radicalization.

This was a man who felt deeply for the exploitation of his people. He dreamed of a tomorrow where man did not trample on one another through competition and greed. Che Guevara sacrificed his life for what he believed in. There is no death more honorable. In reading Jon Lee Anderson's biography of this enormous figure, you will fell sympathy for his cause, respect for his determination, and awe for his accomplishments on the battlefield and in his study. ... Read more


49. The Seven Storey Mountain
by Thomas Merton
list price: $16.00
our price: $10.88
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0156010860
Catlog: Book (1999-10-01)
Publisher: Harcourt
Sales Rank: 3668
Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Book Description

A modern-day Confessions of Saint Augustine, The Seven Storey Mountain is one of the most influential religious works of the twentieth century. This edition contains an introduction by Merton's editor, Robert Giroux, and a note to the reader by biographer William H. Shannon. It tells of the growing restlessness of a brilliant and passionate young man whose search for peace and faith leads him, at the age of twenty-six, to take vows in one of the most demanding Catholic orders-the Trappist monks. At the Abbey of Gethsemani, "the four walls of my new freedom," Thomas Merton struggles to withdraw from the world, but only after he has fully immersed himself in it.The Seven Storey Mountain has been a favorite of readers ranging from Graham Greene to Claire Booth Luce, Eldridge Cleaver, and Frank McCourt. And, in the half-century since its original publication, this timeless spiritual tome has been published in over twenty languages and has touched millions of lives. ... Read more

Reviews (61)

5-0 out of 5 stars Modern Contemplative Speaks
This mystic speaks with the sincerity of a saint and the pen of a poet. Every page - and there are many of them - is delight to read, and feels, somehow, like they are the memories of the reader, not just Merton's.

It's important to remember, however, that Merton disowned this book later in his live. He said it was not "disciplined enough" or something like that. I would only object to his rigid stances of Catholicism in relation to other Christians. I too believe in "one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church". However, it is this believe that compells me to approach the multitude of Protestant churches with compassion and not condemnation, which unfortunately Merton sometimes does. Perhaps this is why he felt he had to disown it.

Either way, it is a beautiful book, a spirtual book, and a wonderful conversion story of the rare type of person who actually and legitatmely managed to find peace in this life.

4-0 out of 5 stars I love you, Merty!
It has been a couple of years since I read this autobiography. From the perspective of an always aspiring writer and poet, I applaud this piece of literature for capturing the interest of even the most adamant unbeliever or un-anchored agnostic simply for the raw and accessible story which it conveys. From the stand-point of a spiritual seeker, a self-censoring #4 on the Enneagram (read "Merton: An Enneagram Profile", by Suzanne Zuercher), and a religious tolerant (which Merton certainly became in his later life), I connected with it instantly on a very intimate level.

I can honestly credit Merton for inspiring me to investigate Christianity much more deeply without the usual repugnance and negative bias I had approached it with before, and has since become one of my favorite writers, artists, thinkers, and Christians... period!

Merton was a very "human" being. His struggles with pride, ego, Biblical understanding, lust, vanity, etc. may help the spiritually inclined reader to accept his or her own flaws in a more forgiving light. He reminds us that nobody is perfect.

I highly recommend this book to both the fan of compelling autobiography, and to the aspiring contemplative.

5-0 out of 5 stars food for the soul
Most reviewers have touched on my own reflections. The book is not meant to be a scientific journal (re: one reviewer wrote Merton should have studied Newton's laws of motion). The story is one man's own spiritual journey---take it or leave it---but don't dismiss it because it doesn't cover the disciplines you find most fulfilling and awarding. Science is grand---but it does little to account for the life and light in the soul; that is why Merton turns to the poets and contemplatives in his yearning for truth or for some kind of answer to the longing in the deepest parts of him. Anyone satisfied with believing only what they can touch,see, feel may not enjoy this book. It is the transcendents Merton is concerned with when he realizes time and again materialism and atheism leave him empty and spiritually bankrupt.

Take Merton's book for what it is. A man's spiritual journey. If you want a man's scientific journey or a man's journey from religious dogma to secular dogma---read something else.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great autobiography of this important Monastic figure
Just about anyone interested in purchasing this book is more than likely somewhat familiar with some of Merton's other works. He was perhaps the 20th century's greatest Christian contemplative mind we had the privilege of reading. This is due to the fact that so many people have expressed over the years that Thomas Merton is the reason they were drawn to the Christian faith. Even people of other religions respect this man's skilled and wise approach to otherwise dogmatic dialogues. One of the reason's this autobiography is so wonderful, is that most of us can relate to it's contents. This is not a person who just achieved some sort of "holy lifestyle" without going through some tribulations in his earlier years.

What draws one to Thomas Merton is his simplistic writing. In this book we find out what causes produced the effect of wanting to join the Abbey of Gethsemani down in Kentucky for him. From his years growing up in France, then on to England. Back to new York. And then, he found his home. That home was the Abbey of Gethsemani. Merton is able to bring people closer to Jesus, because he makes the story alive. Relevant to this very life in a modern era, not just a society that we are all too disconnected from by now (the society during the times of Jesus). This book is so applicable to 2004, not withstanding the fact that there are a great many of his years not documented in this work stemming from it's publication to his Death in Thailand.

Recalling a sad time soon after his acceptance of Christianity, Merton quotes God's caution to the Israelites, "For the Land which thou goest to possess is not like the land of Egypt," and remarks that he had "made the terrible mistake of entering the Christian life as if it were merely the natural life invested with a kind of supernatural mode by grace." He slowly and nervously was to learn God was dreadfully more than some mere underwriter of value. In this book Merton shows a hungriness, a drive to understand the meaning of life. The secret to living a completely holy life, immersed in servitude to our Creator. This hungriness we can all relate to, it is the drive to understand truth.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very open, shareful. Makes you want Merton for a friend.
Merton knew how to plow through his past life so that the grace of God, the spirit of Christ would become so apparent in all that happened to him and through him in this autobiography.

No sentimentalism. No archaic language. His descriptions of the Eucharist and the other sacraments are clean and fresh and deep and vivid, touching the reader with a strange, immediate conviction. His words pulsate with faith. He makes you say, "well, maybe I don't know..."

I think Merton brings the worldly closer to the church and the churchy closer to the world. People don't know where to place him. You cannot stick a label on him.

This book is great for just anyone. Those who are cradle Catholics will benefit greatly from this man who came into the church, this man who was so biased against anything Catholic, and yet who came in no contact with any "crisis" that suddenly made him say, "LORD! LORD!". No. That is, no crisis of the "world". It was spiritual. The account of "something" that happened to him while laying in his bed is simple and vivid.

He makes you realize that what is spiritual has to do with what is human. ... Read more


50. Front Row : Anna Wintour: The Cool Life and Hot Times of Vogue's Editor in Chief
by Jerry Oppenheimer
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312323107
Catlog: Book (2005-02-01)
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Sales Rank: 152972
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Book Description

From the New York Times bestselling author of Just Desserts: Martha Stewart: The Unauthorized Biography comes a scrupulously researched investigative biography that tells the inside story of Anna Wintour's incredible rise to power

From her exclusive perch front row center, glamorous Vogue magazine editor in chief Anna Wintour is the most powerful and influential style-maker in the world. Behind her trademark sunglasses and under the fringe of her Louise Brooks bob she determines whether miniskirts are in or out, whether or not it's politically correct to wear fur. She influences designers, wholesalers, and retailers globally from Seventh Avenue to the elegant fashionista enclaves of L'Avenue Montaigne and Via della Spiga. In the U.S. alone a more than $200 billion fashion industry can rise or fall on Anna Wintour's call. And every month millions of women-and men-read Vogue, and are influenced by the pages of the chic and trendy style wish-book that she has controlled with an iron hand in a not-always-so-velvet glove since fighting her way to the most prestigious job in fashion journalism.

Anna Wintour's fashion influence extends to celebrities and politicians: because of it, Hillary Clinton underwent a drastic makeover and became the first First Lady to strike a pose on the cover of Vogue in the midst of Monicagate; Oprah Winfrey was forced to go on a strict diet before Wintour would put her on Vogue's cover. And beauties like Rene Zellweger and Nicole Kidman follow Anna Wintour's fashionista rules to the letter.

Now in her mid-fifties, as she nears her remarkable second decade at the helm of Vogue, comes this revealing biography that will shock and surprise both Anna's fans and detractors alike.Based on scores of interviews, Front Row unveils the Anna Wintour even those closest to her don't know.Oppenheimer chronicles this insecure and creative powerhouse's climb to the top of the bitchy, competitive fashion magazine world, showing up close, as never before exposed, how she artfully crafted and reinvented herself along the way.

She's been called many things-"Nuclear Wintour," by the British press, "cold suspicious and autocratic, a vision in skinniness," by Grace Mirabella, the editor she dethroned at Vogue, and the "Devil" by those who believe she's the inspiration for a recent bestselling novel written by a former assistant.

Included among the startling revelations in Front Row are:
*Anna's "silver spoon" childhood spent craving time with her father.
*Anna's rebellious teen years in London, obsessed with fashion, night-clubbing and dating roguish men.
*Anna's many tempestuous romances.
*Anna's curious marriage to a brilliant child psychiatrist, her role as a mother, and the shocking scandal that led to divorce when she had an affair with a married man.
... Read more

51. Madam Secretary: A Memoir
by Madeleine Albright
list price: $27.95
our price: $18.45
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0786868430
Catlog: Book (2003-09-16)
Publisher: Miramax Books
Sales Rank: 2168
Average Customer Review: 3.68 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Book Description

"It was a quarter to ten. I was sipping coffee, but by then my body was manufacturing its own caffeine. I still couldn't allow myself to believe. Finally, at 9:47, the call came. 'I want you to be my Secretary of State.' These are his first words. I finally believed it."

For eight years, during Bill Clinton's two presidential terms, Madeleine Albright was an active participant in the most dramatic events of recent times—from the pursuit of peacein the Middle East to NATO's humanitarian intervention in Kosovo. Now, in an outspoken memoir, the highest-ranking woman in American history shares her remarkable story and provides an insider's view of world affairs during a period of unprecedented turbulence.

The story begins with Albright's childhood as a Czechoslovak refugee, whose family first fled Hitler, then the Communists. Arriving in the United States at the age of eleven, she grew up to be a passionate advocate of civil and women's rights and followed a zigzag path to a career that ultimately placed her in the upper stratosphere of diplomacy and policy-making in her adopted country. She became the first woman to serve as America's secretary of state and one of the most admired individuals of our era.

Refreshingly candid, Madam Secretary brings to life the world leaders Albright dealt with face-to-face in her years of service and the battles she fought to prove her worth in a male-dominated arena. There are intriguing portraits of such leading figures as Vaclav Havel, Yasser Arafat, Ariel Sharon, Benjamin Netanyahu, King Hussein, Vladimir Putin, Slobodan Milosevic, and North Korea's mysterious Kim Jong-Il, as well as Bill and Hillary Clinton, Colin Powell, and Jesse Helms.

Besides her encounters with the famous and powerful, we get to know Albright the private woman: her life raising three daughters, the painful breakup of her marriage to the scion of one of America's leading newspapers families, and the discovery late in life of her Jewish ancestry and that her grandparents had died in Nazi concentration camps.

Madam Secretary combines warm humor with profound insights and personal testament with fascinating additions to the historical record. It is a tapestry both intimate and panoramic, a rich memoir destined to become a twenty-first century classic. ... Read more

Reviews (41)

3-0 out of 5 stars A Far-Ranging Autobiography --- Readers Will Learn Much
In winding up her far-ranging autobiography, Madeleine Albright tells us with amusement that once, after leaving office as U.S. Secretary of State, she was mistaken in public for Margaret Thatcher.

It's worth a chuckle to the reader --- but there are indeed interesting similarities between the two women, even though their political leanings are light-years apart. They both reached the highest rank ever attained by a woman in their respective democratic governments, were fiercely partisan political figures, and held very strong opinions and were never afraid to battle for them (Albright's favorite expression for this is that she never hesitated to "push back" at those who opposed her).

Albright is best known for serving as U.S. ambassador to the UN in the first Clinton term, and as Secretary of State in the second. Readers of this book will learn in detail about the early years and long political apprenticeship that led up to those two high-profile jobs. They will also learn, in perhaps more detail than they care to absorb, about the many foreign policy crises in which she was a major player under Clinton.

The other thing about Albright that most people will recall is that only after she became Secretary of State did she learn that her family ancestry was Jewish --- that three of her grandparents had died in Nazi concentration camps. This personal revelation is duly covered but not dwelled upon in extraordinary detail.

Her life, though unsettled due to wartime exigencies, was not a rags-to-riches tale. She was born Marie Jana Korbel in Prague into a comfortably situated family. Her father was a respected Czech diplomat and college professor. Fleeing the Nazis, the family spent time in England during World War II. They arrived in the United States when she was 11, and her father took a teaching job in Denver. She entered Wellesley College in 1955 and became an American citizen two years later. She married into a wealthy and well-connected American family in 1959. Her first political idol and mentor was Edmund Muskie, in whose doomed presidential campaign she took part. After the breakup of her marriage, her career in government and politics took off during the Carter presidency, her only personal setback being a painful divorce in 1983.

This is all dispatched in the first 100 pages or so of her lengthy book. The rest of it details her UN and State Department years with a thoroughness that seems at times compulsive. All the heroes and villains of those years pass in review --- Carter, Havel, Milosevic, Helms, Clinton, Putin, Arafat, Barak. The complexities of Rwanda, Serbia, Kosovo, the Middle East, Somalia and other trouble spots are laid out in prose that can get ponderous --- but her incisive personal portraits of these people lighten the mood.

Albright makes no pretense to real objectivity. She is a committed Democrat who admired both Carter and Clinton, and she defends them against all the charges that have been flung at them by their opponents. She defends such controversial actions as Clinton's successful ousting of Boutros Boutros-Ghali as Secretary General of the UN, and his policy of opening up trade with China and warily seeking a somewhat civil relationship with North Korea. Her two biggest regrets are the failure of the UN to stop genocide in Rwanda and Clinton's failure to forge a solid peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (in that regard, while gently critical of Israel on occasion, she holds Arafat mainly responsible for the breakdown). The two biggest villains in her cast of characters, not surprisingly, are Arafat and Milosevic.

There is naturally a strong feminist slant to her narrative. There is also a vein of sharp observation, character analysis, and even humor. The writing, when not bogged down in the minutiae of crisis management, can be bright, though we are left to wonder how much of the credit is hers and how much belongs to her collaborator, Bill Woodward.

Mercifully, Monica Lewinsky remains a bit player in Albright's narrative. Two other things, perhaps more important, are also missing: detailed assessments of the effect of the 9/11 tragedy on America's global course and the George W. Bush administration. Those would have made an already long book longer, but one wishes she had covered them anyway.

--- Reviewed by Robert Finn

5-0 out of 5 stars Exemplary
Madam Secretary is a wonderful capsule of a remarkable life and highly recommended for anyone who is as much of a current affairs geek as I am. While most will be drawn to read this book because of the insights Ms. Albright provides into the Clinton Administration's roles in the Middle East conflict, Kosovo, and North Korea - all of which are discussed in fascinating detail - some of the most compelling (and poignant) sections of the book have to do with her pain associated with the sudden dissolution of her marriage, the discovery of her Jewish ancestry, and her life in Czechoslovakia as a young girl.

Ms. Albright's narrative voice is warm and inviting and utterly without pretension. This is my vote for the best non-fiction book of 2003.

4-0 out of 5 stars An inside view...
Madeleine Albright led a remarkable life - fleeing as a child across war-torn Europe, first from the invading Germans and then from the invading Soviets, the little girl from Prague came to America before a teenager, and ended up becoming the first female Secretary of State in American history (although, interestingly, not even the first non-American-born Secretary of State in the last half century!). She reinvented herself as an American, someone who fell deeply in love with her adopted country, even to the extent that her name Madeleine, isn't the one with which she was christened (although it is the French version of her name, and thus we are reading the memoirs of Madeleine, not Marie Jana Korbel).

She weaves together her personal life and insights together with the professional experiences she has had throughout her various careers, culminating with the office of Secretary of State for several years in Bill Clinton's administration. Her father, part of the Czech government-in-exile, immigrated to America and became a professor (interestingly, one of his student was Condalezza Rice, one of the principle voices in foreign affairs in the current Bush administration). Albright thus had training from the very beginning in terms of both academic and practical aspects of governments and diplomacy.

Albright's academic credentials are impressive, and her experiences in school shaped her later career. For undergraduate work, she studied at Wellesley College in Political Science, and then went to the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. She finished her formal education at Columbia, receiving a Certificate from the Russian Institute, and her Masters and Doctorate from the Department of Public Law and Government. This is also where she got involved with political and media affairs in earnest.

She was a White House staffer, including staffing the National Security Council, during Carter's presidency; during the 12-year Republican administrations in Washington, her career focused on the Center for National Policy, a non-profit liberal think-tank/research organization formed in 1981 looking at issues in domestic and foreign policy. This gave her continued presence in the field so that when the time came, Clinton tapped her to be the ambassador to the United Nations, and then later Secretary of State.

She met and married Joseph Albright, part of a wealthy media family, and recounts in some detail and emotion the difficulties with the breakup of that relationship. She also confesses an affair with a Georgetown professor, and other difficult times in her life. However, these take a back seat most of the time to her professional career.

Albright makes the claim to have not discovered her Jewish ancestry until late in life; there is reason to discount this belief, given that she is the kind of person likely to know the details of her background, and given that she visited family back in Czechoslovakia back in the 1960s. Reasons for not wanting to be identified as being of Jewish descent during her career are unclear, but in an otherwise very straightforward autobiographical account, this one point seems less than convincing.

Albright does reflect with candor on many world leaders, including her boss Bill Clinton, and his wife Hillary; few of the key names of the 90s are missed here. Ultimately, one comes across with the impression of a erudite diplomat, a skillful politicians, and a sincere worker for the best interests of the nation.

5-0 out of 5 stars Smooth, captivating and thoughtful
A fascinating story of a remarkable person who has served her country well.

3-0 out of 5 stars Filling in What the Media Neglects
If your interesting in knowing the truth about one of the 1990s most important foreign policy personalities, this book won't necessarily help. While it is an easy read with lots of details about what was happening behind closed doors, Ms. Albright also spun it to her own advantages. But that is to be expected. Considering her harsh handing at the hands of the right wing, it is good to get her point of view. ... Read more


52. John Adams: Party of One
by James Grant
list price: $30.00
our price: $19.80
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0374113149
Catlog: Book (2005-03-16)
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Sales Rank: 1615825
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Book Description

An acute examination of a paradoxical U.S. president.

John Adams was an undiplomatic diplomat and an impolitic politician--a fierce revolutionary yet a detached and reluctant leader of the nation he helped to found. Few American public figures have ever been more devoted to doing the right thing, or more contemptuous of doing the merely popular thing.Yet his Yankee-bred fixation with ethical propriety and fiscal conservatism never stood in the way of his doing what was necessary. Adams hated debt, but as minister to the Netherlands during the Revolution, he was America's premier junk-bond salesman. And though raised a traditional Massachusetts Congregationalist, Adams was instrumental in bringing about the consecration of the first American Episcopal bishops. He was a warm and magnanimous friend and, on occasion, a man who fully vindicated the famous judgment of a rival he detested. Adams, said Benjamin Franklin, "means well for his country, is always an honest man, often a wise one, but, sometimes, and in some things, is absolutely out of his senses."

James Grant examines this complex and often contradictory founding father in the most well-rounded and multi-faceted portrait of Adams to date. Going from his beginnings on a hardscrabble Massachusetts farm to the Continental Congress to the Court of St. James and the White House, Grant traces the words and deeds of one of our most learned but politically star-crossed leaders.

... Read more

53. The Best Year of Their Lives: Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon in 1948: Learning the Secrets of Power
by Lance Morrow
list price: $26.00
our price: $17.16
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0465047238
Catlog: Book (2005-03-01)
Publisher: Basic Books
Sales Rank: 4077
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Amazon.com

The Best Year of Their Lives is not a typical presidential biography in that it forgoes the comprehensive approach to history. Instead, Lance Morrow shows why 1948 was a watershed year not just for John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and Richard Nixon personally, but for the nation as well. That is the year that Johnson, in his bid for the Senate, used huge sums of corporate money to bombard the media with lies about his opponent, finally stealing the election by 87 votes by having a ballot box stuffed (thus earning the nickname "Landslide Lyndon"). Had he lost, he would have arguably been out of politics forever and the course of history would have been changed. At the same time, Nixon, as a freshman congressman, launched his political career by using his seat on the House Un-American Activities Committee to relentlessly pursue Alger Hiss, making himself a prominent national figure in the process. (Four years later he became Eisenhower's running mate.) Meanwhile, Kennedy was working hard to suppress the fact that he had Addison's disease. He continued to lie about his health for the rest of his life just as he later hid his reckless personal behavior. Through anecdotes and analysis (including personal contact; all three were presences in Morrow's childhood), Morrow shows how secrets and lies were to shape the behavior of all of them. This "convergence of personal ambition with secrecy, amorality, and a ruthless manipulation of the truth" would have tremendous implications for the country. The events of 1948 also foreshadow the tragedies and scandals that would end all three of their administrations.

Externally, the three presidents were radically different. Internally, argues Morrow, they were identical in many ways in that they "shared a tendency toward elaborately deliberated amorality; all three behaved as if rules were for others, not for them." Along with a rapidly changing American society, the start of the Cold War, and looming atomic destruction, 1948 ushered in modern politics and these men were the embodiment of it. Absorbing and unconventional, The Best Year of Their Lives adds to the considerable bodies of work already available on all three presidents. --Shawn Carkonen ... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Magisterial yet accessible - a new way of looking at history
Forget what "overblown silliness" says below. Lance Morrow's 1948 is one of the freshest, most insightful pieces of popular history to come around in ages. In looking at both the lives of JFK, LBJ, and Nixon in 1948 and the historical significance of that year for the United States as she really came into her own in the post-war world, Morrow gives an incredible insight both into the lives of the respective politicians, and the country itself.

What is most interesting, though, is that underlying all the post-war rah-rah optimism, Morrow captures a current of worry, of anxiety, and of moral unease: the US won World War II, Morrow suggests, but also lost a certain innocence in the process. New technologies (atom bombs, television) and a new breed of politician all came on the scene in this critical year, and Morrow's book captures it brilliantly.

This book is a must-read for anyone who is interested in modern American history, and how we became what we are today.

1-0 out of 5 stars Overblown silliness
This is truly one of the worst books ever written, a huge disappointment to anyone reading about U.S. domestic politics in the 20th century.The topic had great promise, but readers would be much better served picking up Christopher Matthews` book on Kennedy and Nixon or Robert Caro`s multi-volume biography of LBJ.Morrow`s prose is overwrought with far too much armchair psychologizing.He also has a dreadfully annoying, almost juvenile habit of using motion pictures to illustrate the points he wishes to make.It is a very unsuccessful literary device.Who at the publishers let this project see the light of day?

5-0 out of 5 stars Three Men Face Decisions in 1948 That Lead to Their Fate
This fascinating book chronicles a pivotal year in the lives of three ambitious politicians each of whom became President. In 1948, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Richard M. Nixon were all on the rise as young congressmen who according to author Lance Morrow, went to great pains - physically, psychologically and morally - to ensure their place on the American political scene.Like David Halberstam who wrote the classic "The Best and the Brightest", journalist Lance Morrow is able to shape a cohesive chapter of American history through seemingly unrelated events and brings a present-day relevance to what he writes.

LBJ won the U.S. senate seat for Texas by a highly suspicious 87 late-counted votes over the more popular Coke Stevenson. In one of the bellwether events of Communist witch-hunting, Nixon used the headline-grabbing Alger Hiss case as a springboard for national prominence, and it indeed led to him to become Eisenhower's running-mate in 1952. And JFK, despite the image of youthful vigor, was dealing with the death of his glamorous sister "Kick" (Kathleen) and hiding the debilitating effects of Addison's disease. Morrow does a superb job intertwining these three men by focusing on the secrets each kept to move to the next level of political ascendancy.Why this takes on a greater relevance is what the year 1948 represents in American history - the redefining period between the end of WWII and the crystallization of the Cold War. Many held secrets far larger in scope than these three. After all, the Cold War was all about Communist infiltration within the U.S. government, concealed knowledge courtesy of informers under the guise of friends, clandestine acts of espionage and who would end up detonating the A-bomb.That's why the secrets held by LBJ, JFK and Nixon seem so indicative of the prevalent behavior - LBJ did anything, no matter how unscrupulous, to take attention off the controversial votes that sent him off to the Senate; Nixon destroyed civil liberties and took witch-hunting to a new level with his obsessive pursuit of Hiss and Whittaker Chambers; and JFK went to great lengths to hide his medical condition knowing he would never otherwise have a chance to become President. Each drama turned on secrets.

What Morrow does best is show how the rather amoral behavior of each shaped each of their destinies and how each was challenged later on when Vietnam brought down LBJ and Watergate did the same for Nixon. Vietnam almost proved to be JFK's undoing, though we'll never know as his life was cut short in Dallas. Each was not so much into breaking rules as much as they saw them as irrelevant to them. Their shared priority was in creating their legacies no matter the cost. 1948 saw many more prominent turning points - Gandhi's assassination, the birth of Israel, the Kinsey Report was published - but this comprehensive history book really shows how the next generation of leaders were formed and ultimately damaged by the decisions they made at that critical juncture.Strongly recommended. ... Read more


54. Pope Benedict XVI: A Biography of Joseph Ratzinger
by John L., Jr Allen, John L. Allen Jr.
list price: $19.95
our price: $13.57
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0826417868
Catlog: Book (2005-05-16)
Publisher: Continuum International Publishing Group
Sales Rank: 19991
Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Book Description

This book is the only existing biography of Pope Benedict XVI, born Joseph Aloysius Ratzinger on April 16, 1927, in southern Bavaria. Comprehensive in scope and intimate in content, it provides a vivid blow-by-blow of the controversies that have wracked the Catholic Church during the past twenty years: Liberation theology, birth control, women's ordination, inclusive language, "radical feminism," homosexuality, religious pluralism, human rights in the church, and the roles of bishops and theologians.

One man has stood at the dead center of all these controversial issues: Joseph Ratzinger. A teenage American POW as the Third Reich crumbled and a progressive wunderkind at the Second Vatican Council, Ratzinger, for twenty years, has been head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (until 1908 known as the Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition, or Holy Office). The book goes a long way toward explaining the central enigma surrounding Ratzinger: How did this erstwhile liberal end up as the chief architect of the third great wave of repression in Catholic theology in the twentieth century?

Based on extensive interviews with Ratzinger's students and colleagues, as well as research in archives in both Bavaria and the United States, Allen's account shows that Ratzinger's deep suspicion of "the world," his preoccupation with human sinfulness, and his demand for rock-solid loyalty to the church run deep. They reach into his childhood "in the shadow of the Nazis" and reflect his formative theological influences: Augustine, Bonaventure, and Martin Luther rather than the world-affirming Thomas Aquinas. In his words, Ratzinger affirms that "What the church needs today as always are not adulators to extol the status quo, but men whose humility and obedience are not less than their passion for the truth; . . .men who love the church more than the ease and the unruffled course of their personal destiny."-Joseph Ratzinger (1962) ... Read more

Reviews (12)

2-0 out of 5 stars Still may be worth a skim
Having read and been impressed by the excellence of John L. Allen's two recent books about the Catholic Church, "Conclave" (2002) and "All the Pope's Men" (2004), I had no hesitation in hurrying out and securing a copy of "Cardinal Ratzinger" as soon as I heard of the subject's elevation to the papacy. Ouch! Fascinated as I was by the apparent wealth of information and documentation in these pages, I needed an asbestos bookmark to survive the heat of Allen's judgment of the man.

I am therefore most indebted to other reviewers on this page who report news I apparently missed, that Allen has backed away from this book and its lack of "sober analysis." It's good to see that the insightful, balanced, Allen of his later works is the true man, and my respect for him rises still further for his honesty in admitting that things got a little out of control the first time around.

Still, I would argue that this book is still worth a read because not all of Ratzinger's critics have made the same journey. "Cardinal Ratzinger" not only transmits Allen's own strong feelings at the time, but the judgments of many others throughout the length of Joseph Ratzinger's long career. Allen may have changed his mind, but he's just one (albeit prominent) man; the criticisms leveled here -- to say nothing of the invectives hurled by others -- aren't going away. Allen's new bio will no doubt be a far better book. But if you want to experience at least some of the strong feelings Benedict XVI and his pre-elevation legacy have generated, this may still be a worthwhile place to start.

Just bring your awareness of how the author's opinions have matured, and a good pair of oven mitts.

3-0 out of 5 stars Don't read this book; wait for Allen's revised biography
This book is quite unfair, as Allen himself has acknowledged. As his journalism has matured, Allen has intended to write a significantly reworked biography. He now has the chance, and it is in the works from Doubleday. Please wait for it! John Allen is now definitely the best Eenglish language journalist covering the Catholic Church, but this has been the case for only the last three or four years in my opinion. I would strongly recommend his recent work (e.g. All the Pope's Men), but this particular book is not worth a read. All that follows is a section from Allen's column of April 26, 2005:

"Six years ago, I wrote a biography of the man who is now pope titled Cardinal Ratzinger: The Vatican's Enforcer of the Faith. In the intervening period, I have learned a few things about the universal Catholic church and how things look from different perspectives. If I were to write the book again today, I'm sure it would be more balanced, better informed, and less prone to veer off into judgment ahead of sober analysis.

This, I want to stress, is not a Johnny-come-lately conclusion motivated by the fact that the subject of the book has now become the pope. In a lecture delivered at the Catholic University of America as part of the Common Ground series, on June 25, 2004, I said the following about the book:

"My 'conversion' to dialogue originated in a sort of 'bottoming out.' It came with the publication of my biography of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, issued by Continuum in 2000 and titled The Vatican's Enforcer of the Faith. The first major review appeared in Commonweal, authored by another of my distinguished predecessors in this lecture series, Fr. Joseph Komonchak. It was not, let me be candid, a positive review. Fr. Komonchak pointed out a number of shortcomings and a few errors, but the line that truly stung came when he accused me of "Manichean journalism." He meant that I was locked in a dualistic mentality in which Ratzinger was consistently wrong and his critics consistently right. I was initially crushed, then furious. I re-read the book with Fr. Komonchak's criticism in mind, however, and reached the sobering conclusion that he was correct. The book - which I modestly believe is not without its merits - is nevertheless too often written in a "good guys and bad guys" style that vilifies the cardinal. It took Fr. Komonchak pointing this out, publicly and bluntly, for me to ask myself, 'Is this the kind of journalist I want to be'? My answer was no, and I hope that in the years since I have come to appreciate more of those shades of gray that Fr. Komonchak rightly insists are always part of the story.
After Ratzinger's election as Benedict XVI was announced, I had hoped to have the opportunity to write a new preface for the book contextualizing some of the views it expresses. Unfortunately, the publisher in the United States, for reasons that I suppose are fairly obvious, had already begun reprinting the book without consulting me. Hence it is probably already appearing in bookstores, without any new material from me.

I can't do anything about that, although the British publishers were kind enough to ask me to write a new preface, which I have already done, so at least the damage will be limited in the U.K.

What is under my control, however, is a new book for Doubleday (a Random House imprint), which I hope will be a more balanced and mature account of both Ratzinger's views and the politics that made him pope. It has been in the works for some time and I hope it will be worthy of the enormity of the story, and the trust of those who elect to read it."

1-0 out of 5 stars Allen Himself Now Sees Flaws
To his credit, John Allen has acknowledged the flaws in his biography of Cardinal Ratzinger.In a 2004 lecture at Catholic University, and again in his "Word from Rome" column on 4/26/05 (shortly after Ratzinger's election as Pope Benedict XVI), Mr. Allen noted that he was greatly affected by a negative review of the book by Fr. Joseph Komonchak in Commonweal magazine.Fr. Komonchak's review made Mr. Allen realize that he "was locked in a dualistic mentality in which Ratzinger was consistently wrong and his critics consistently right....The book - which I modestly believe is not without its merits - is nevertheless too often written in a 'good guys and bad guys' style that vilifies the cardinal."

Mr. Allen is currently working on a new book on Cardinal Ratzinger/Pope Benedict, which he says he hopes "will be a more balanced and mature account of both Ratzinger's views and the politics that made him pope."As I've become a great fan of Mr. Allen's journalistic work in recent years, I'm confident that his new book will live up to those hopes, and far exceed this one in quality and balance.

1-0 out of 5 stars Simply a smear book
I was not familiar with the author when I grabbed this book, or I might have been tipped off.He writes for the National Catholic Reporter, commonly known as the National Catholic "Distorer" because of its extremely liberal slant.Mr. Allen is clearly no fan of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (at the time it was written), and is no doubt dismayed that he is now Pope Benedict XVI.I will admit to not finishing this book.It was so distasteful and disrespectful that I could not read past the first 120 pages, although I really tried to finish it.I don't like to write negative book reviews, but if an author is so willing to write a negative book like this, he deserves a bad review.If Pope Benedict XVI were a dissident who was trying to distort the teachings of the Church, I could understand someone's writing a book to point out his errors.But there are no theological errors Allen can point to here...he can only pontificate his liberal views as though he had authority or even credibility.Not recommended.

2-0 out of 5 stars The white smoke proved Allen wrong.
The white smoke proved Allen wrong.

Among many of the suppositions the author made in this book one was that Cardinal Ratzinger because of this theology would never become a Pope. He was wrong.
The author as a liberal Catholic is quite tainted in his beliefs and cannot be trusted as an impartial biographer. However I would not go so far as to call the book an attack as Allen may be of the Catholic left but certainly not of the Catholic far left. No matter if one is Catholic or not one can ffollow the logic that if you change some of the major underpinnings of a thing, be it a religion or any other institution, that thing ceases to be what it was. Whether to are a Catholic, an anti-Catholic or somewhere in the middle it is hard to deny, if you have a modicum of knowledge about the faith one knows that at least in its dogma, it its major tenants, it has been consistent in its two thousand years of existence. The subtitle of this book "The Vatican's Enforcer of the Faith" is telling therefore because what seems as some to be an enforcer may merely be someone with enough backbone to insure the continuity of the faith.
Useful is the background and history of the man which is done somewhat meticulously. I have no way of knowing this but I do believe there are certain aspects of Ratzinger's history that deserve further examination.
Although I recommend this book with reservations I do not see it as something that will give non-Catholics better insight into the Catholic Church.
This book is somewhat unfair and biased but I believe one can gain insight into the new Pope through this book if one reads between the lines. Rather than trust the author's selection of Ratzinger's writings and his analysis of them I suggest the fair minded personal to read Ratzinger's writings in their complete form and draw their own conclusions. I recommend this book if it is only read in addition to Cardinal Ratzinger's own books. ... Read more


55. Titan : The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr.
by RON CHERNOW
list price: $30.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679438084
Catlog: Book (1998-05-05)
Publisher: Random House
Sales Rank: 110214
Average Customer Review: 4.51 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Amazon.com

Ron Chernow, whose previous books have taken on the Morgan and Warburg financial empires, now turns his attention to the patriarch of the Rockefeller dynasty. John D. was history's first recorded billionaire and one of the most controversial public figures in America at the turn of the 20th century. Standard Oil--which he always referred to as the result of financial "cooperation," never as a "cartel" or a "monopoly"--controlled at its peak nearly 90 percent of the United States oil industry. Rockefeller drew sharp criticism, as well as the attention of federal probes, for business practices like underpricing his competitors out of the market and bribing politicians to secure his dominant market share.

While Chernow amply catalogs Rockefeller's misdeeds, he also presents the tycoon's human side. Making use of voluminous business correspondence, as well as rare transcripts of interviews conducted when Rockefeller was in his late 70s and early 80s, Chernow is able to present his subject's perspective on his own past, re-creating a figure who has come down to us as cold and unfeeling as a shrewd, dryly humorous man who had no inner misgivings about reconciling his devout religious convictions with his fiscal acquisitiveness. The story of John D. Rockefeller Sr. is, in many ways, the story of America between the Civil War and the First World War, and Chernow has told that story in magnificently fascinating depth and style. ... Read more

Reviews (117)

5-0 out of 5 stars The parallels to Gates and MSFT are an interesting subtext
I am in awe of Ron Chernow for writing a long and thorough biography that I absolutely could not put down. Rarely have I finished such a long book in such a short period of time. Chernow manages to show how complex Rockefeller's personality and motives, were, and he helps us to avoid the all-too-easy cliches about the rich and powerful. Yet while revealing the complexity, he is never boring, didactic, or long-winded.

I found it interesting to compare Rockefeller and Standard Oil to Bill Gates and Microsoft. Both men are powerful, rich, misunderstood, certain that their actions are ethical and good for their country and the economy, and dedicated to helping those who are less fortunate. Both men vow(ed) to give away most of their fortune. Both have been attacked by their own government, and villified in the press. Both dominate media coverage of business. And, like Rockefeller, Gates is a brilliant strategist who defies easy cliches and shallow descriptions. You can see goodness in either man, and you can also see evil. The beauty of Chernow's biography is that he allows us to see both sides of Rockefeller, without ever landing on either side himself.

Regardless of my thoughts on the parallels, I highly recommend this bio. Four friends are receiving it as their Christmas gift from me.

3-0 out of 5 stars The Two Sides of Titan
Like its hero, Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller has two sides. At times the almost novelesque book is insufferable. The text is dense and dizzying, making anyone who is not an economist feel incompetent and mind-boggled. At certain points, I needed to reread a sentence maybe two or three times because I either did not understand economic principle being displayed or because of my sheer lack of interest. When I was almost ready to quit with the constant analysis of the oil industry and Rockefeller's economic strategy, Chernow brought out the more personal side of the book, delving into Rockefeller's private life using uncommon and interesting anecdotes. It is quite obvious that Rockefeller's religious beliefs and family history greatly contributed to his transformation into the titan that will forever be remembered in American history. Chernow both proved my preconceived notions of the frugal and hard businessman that Rockefeller seemed to be and then surprised me, revealing the kinder, more spiritual Rockefeller who is oddly likable. I both loved and hated him. Like Chernow states, "what makes him so problematic- and why he continues to inspire such ambivalent reactions- is that his good side was every bit as good as his bad side was bad. Seldom has history produced such a contradictory figure. We are almost forced to posit, in helpless confusion, at least two Rockefellers: the good, religious man and the renegade businessman, driven by baser motives." So like its protagonist, Titan has two sides, its solid factual analysis of Rockefeller's business that perhaps only an economist could enjoy, and its warm-hearted account of Rockefeller's unexpected traits, which is far more appealing.

3-0 out of 5 stars Strong intoduction, bland filler
This book starts out strong, describing in rich detail the rise of one of America's wealthiest men. Very interesting. However, I had to engage in a type of self-coercion to pick the book up after about 100 pages. I hate to call it "filler," but I have to call a spade a spade.

4-0 out of 5 stars Story of an American Icon
In the biography of John D. Rockefeller Sr., Ron Chernow exposes the man behind the myth. Chernow shows both Rockefeller's ruthless nature and his religous beliefs. Even though the book at points was long wordy and long I still found it to be enjoyable. This book does give you a really broad insite to his business pratices and the history of the Standard Oil Company.

5-0 out of 5 stars Five solid stars, THE book on J.D. Rockefeller Sr.
The other reviews have basically said it for me: this is the definitive book on the founder of Standard Oil. While most biographies of Rockefeller Sr. have been either suspiciously laudatory or equally dubiously contemptuous, Chernow takes the middle ground. Ultimately, Chernow seems to fall more on the side of liking Rockefeller, and employs the somewhat cliche perspective that could fairly be called "modern contextualist"- from which Rockefeller is not much more than a product of his times. However, the slight overuse of this particular biographical "voice," if you will, is but one element of what is really a monumental biography of a fascinating person. Chernow is a very readable biographer who evidently has a deep understanding of American business. (Chernow also wrote "The House of Morgan" - an account of the development of the various offshoots of J.P. Morgan's banking empire which, although very good, lacks Titan's intense focus and analysis.) I heartily recommend Titan. ... Read more


56. Surviving Deployment: A Guide for Military Families
by Karen Pavlicin, Karen M. Pavlicin
list price: $19.95
our price: $19.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0965748367
Catlog: Book (2003-04)
Publisher: Elva Resa Pub
Sales Rank: 76286
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Book Description

As part of today's active duty or reserve forces, your loved one may be called to war, peacekeeping missions, anti-terrorism campaigns, field exercises, disaster relief, and many other duties far from home--and you.

Surviving Deployment is your personal guide to turning an otherwise lonely and challenging situation into a positive experience.

Learn what to expect, how to prepare, and how to personally grow as individuals and families. Your survival gear will range from a sturdy toilet plunger to the fine art of letter writing. You'll manage financial changes, help children express their feelings, and discover a renewed appreciation for everyday life.

Solid information. Practical checklists. Personal stories from hundreds of families. ... Read more

Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Get it for your kids' sake! Great resource, dynamic speaker!
I recently attended a deployment/reunion workshop given by the author. She is a dynamic speaker, down-to-earth person, and has lots of experience to share. She has a great sense of humor and outlook on life. Everyone at the workshop received a book. I read it right away.

I have four young kids. My husband has been deployed for a year and I sometimes lose my patience! I learned some great tips for "winning cooperation" and seeing things from my kids' perspective. (And yes, I realized a few things that are my fault that I've been blaming on my kids!)

I highly recommend this book!

And if you can, get the author to speak at your post/base. The workshop was a nice complement to the book. She made it very relevant to our battalion's situation. I was feeling down when I went in and I came out feeling inspired and ready to handle the last stretch of deployment. It was nice to see the author's sense of humor and examples continued in the book. I think my kids are very happy I attended and read this book! Get it for yourself and your kids will benefit too!

5-0 out of 5 stars A Must for Military Families
This book is wonderful. I highly recommended it to ALL military families. It has lots of ideas and things to consider. It has short stories of other families' experiences. And it covers all branchs of the military. I'm recommending this book to ALL my online support groups, my FRG and I'm recommending it to you!

5-0 out of 5 stars Great for After Deployments Too
Having been through a long deployment, I can honestly say that the time after the deployment - when we got back together again - has been just as hard as during the deployment! For different reasons, of course. I found this book to be very helpful for our reunion and getting back to "normal" life. It covers everything from courting and sex to changes in parenting roles, children's reactions, and being sensitive to how to talk about combat situations.

I like that it gives perspectives and tips for service members coming home as well as for family members. It helped us understand and think about it from each other's point of view. Some of the information is great for any couple who wants to strengthen their relationship or if one of you travels a lot.

I wish I had read this book before the deployment (I didn't make the time) but I'm really glad I started reading it just before our homecoming. Good advice and some great stories. Don't just buy it, make time to read it!

5-0 out of 5 stars Not just for Military
I am a Military "Brat" as well as a Military spouse. After reading this book I realized that even though I have been a spouse for 17 years there are still things to be learned, things to be updated(wills) and reviewed(insurance policies,budgets). This book has checklists that are for anyone to follow not just Military. If you have spouses that travel this book if for you, if you have children this book is for you, if you have moved recently or are planning to this book if for you. New to the military? "Surviving Deployment" is exactly what you need!

5-0 out of 5 stars Covers Everything About Deployments!
This book is so well put together. It covers every aspect of deployments - I can't think of anything I wanted to know that isn't covered here. Every military family should have this book!! ... Read more


57. Thomas Jefferson : Author of America (Eminent Lives)
by Christopher Hitchens
list price: $19.95
our price: $13.57
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060598964
Catlog: Book (2005-06-01)
Publisher: Eminent Lives
Sales Rank: 346686
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

58. Autobiography of a Yogi
by Paramahansa Yogananda
list price: $6.00
our price: $6.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0876120796
Catlog: Book (1979-06-01)
Publisher: Self-Realization Fellowship Publishers
Sales Rank: 7941
Average Customer Review: 4.43 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Reviews (167)

5-0 out of 5 stars THE GRANDEST ADVENTURE IS HERE IN US ALL, SEIZE IT!
A spiritual classic would be to grossly understate its potential effects; this book of truth and divine wisdom in this age makes it a true-godsend from one united with the Lord. Reading it a few months ago, I couldn't help but realize how all the people in our world could enlarge their realm of happiness with the tinge of divine sweetness by grasping this book's eternal essence and practicing its doctrines to lead one to soul freedom. Meditation on the Lord is our eternal birthright and duty, without it, that "something" else will never appear. Please, I urge anyone to read this book and practice the science of Kriya Yoga. Give it a try, for a day, a week, or month; however longer you persevere the effects of harmony will increase. I speak from my practical experience, to those that scoff at the possibility of the human soul and vitalism, I ask then, what do we then live for? A hundred hours of sensual satisfaction can not dare compare to the gentle aura of soul bliss one can experience during attempts at God-communion. When we once realize the eternal soul as Paramahansaji states, that something else has been realized.

Set aside your beliefs and pre-suggested notions of life for one moment, spend a few dollars for eternal knowledge that will unlock the door to the realm of infinite bliss, and you will see the practicality of the book will in itself lead you to seeking more. In that pursuit, you will find yourself!

5-0 out of 5 stars A GLOBAL REVELATION FOR THE 3RD MILLENIUM
As a long time student of comparative religion the discovering of this spiritual classic "Autobiography of a Yogi" set my thinking and life experience in a very new and unexpected direction. Until I became familiar with the great avatar "Paramahansa Yogananda" my superficial philosophical adventure seemed fulfilling enough. Now I am seeing the deeper aspects of the spiritual life and many new understandings and revelations are being opened to my consciousness.

I also read the original edition of this book, which I find somewhat incomplete, as Yognanda himself began seriously revising this book with each new edition. So the reader will get the most complete and most accurate teachings of this great Yogi from the latest editions published by Self-Realization Fellowship publishers, via Amazon books.

I highly recommend this edition to all truth-seekers and students of comparative religion as a major key to unlocking our past conditioning and broadening many narrow views that we become attached to in our earlier development. Here is a balanced and insightful approach to world religion and spirituality that gives true ecumenical recognition to all the worlds major saints and prophets. This spiritual classic will contribute much to bringing harmony, peace and mutual respect to this world of so many varied belief systems.

The author, with his unique blend of wit, wisdom, insight and intuition has shown us the primary elements and truths that are the foundation of all religions. He does this without criticism, judgement, or error. His is the same eternal message that was given the world by other great saviors such as Krishna, Buddha and Jesus.

I have no doubt that millions of lives have already been changed by this sacred literary revelation................

This is surely the work of a God-Realized bieng, a wonderful experience awaits the sincere reader. Don't make the mistake of only reading it once!!!

LIST OF SUBJECTS: Author's early life... Meeting your Master... The Master-Disciple relationship... The Science of KRIYA YOGA... Meditation and prayer... Lives of many modern Eastern and Western Saints.. Law of Miracles...how they work... Principle of Raja Yoga... How great masters teach their disciples... the inner meaning of Christ and Krishna... The Astral world... Reincarnation and Karma... How to find your true Path... Travels in India... The Spiritual heritage of India...

the Importance of Yogananda's founding of the Self-Realization Fellowship as his only authorized channel for His writings and Kriya Yoga............ Footnotes on yoga and religious history.. Mans purpose and goal in life.......... AND MUCH MORE-------------

ALSO RECOMMENDED: Man's Eternal Quest... Divine Romance... Journey to Self-Realization... The Science of Religion... God Talks With Arjuna(Bhagavad Gita)... Where There is Light...

1-0 out of 5 stars A WORK OF FICTION
The panegyrics stinks.

Individualistic biases and notions of the famed author-guru built and sustained VERY BIASED and very romantic notions that later cramped and hampered a realistic outlook on the nation India, Indians, and *having sex* - which is not specially advocated in the book - and far, far less among monks and nuns that publish it. Said a lay members wife once about Yogananda, "He has destroyed my marriage."

The work carries with it some negative effects.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Revelation for Sincere Seekers in the worlds Religions
A Monastic Yogi was invited to represent Hinduism by the American Unitarian Association in Boston in 1920.

In so doing this great mystic managed to enlighten Christians and other religionists by showing the unifying principles of the great religions.
This served to bring many Christians from the erroneous dark Roman age concepts of divisiveness of exclusivity, of dogmatism and hell-fearing guilt, to the refreshing wisdom of harmonizing pluralism and the higher levels of spiritual understanding.

But the really special feature of Paramahansa Yogananda's message was that like Krishna, Buddha, & Jesus, He is a living example of that life.
A life that show to have all the light and glory of divine inspiration and presence.

He fully represented that wisdom and the life and the truth, and taught it with an unparalleled clarity.
"Wide is the gate that leads to destruction and the majority will go that way, narrow is the way that leads to life and few there will be that find it.?" JC .

Paramahansa Yogananda brought us that life giving way. Not the politically correct way of the churches - but the way the Jesus [one of the world's many Christs/Avataras] taught us.

After the passing of such a great prophet/Avatara, there will always be varying opinions as to what He actually did or represented and taught. This is especially true in the Christian tradition which not has about 2400+ cults and sects. Human nature requires that this naturally happens.

It is unfortunate that even though it takes years of study and practice to understand such a life, many fast reading intellectuals will assume they understand it from a quick glance. This is how the untrained ego misleads us. Do you want a quick assessment or an accurate report?

His wonderful teachings included various ways of transforming our identity with the limited ego into the limitless soul consciousness. Which results in the enhancement of all ones life abilities and attitudes for those who practice the methods of Yoga with regularity and understanding.

This fact in general is why Yoga is in the early stages literally sweeping the world.
Bringing with it very healthy and wonderful transformations of the Character, health, & personality of many millions. I have also personally experienced these blessings in my own life.

While reading Yogananda's writing, one is struck by the fact that He always made it clear that devotees/disciples were not serving Him, but that they were clearly Gods Disciples.

The cooperation & submission is the key to transformation, love cannot be known without surrender of ones sense of separateness and egocentric pride.

The attitude of this book shows that by the normal teacher student cooperation one can gain the greatest amount of personal growth and self-realization/Salvation. Especially if the teacher is there to show one the way. It that teacher has reached God-Consciousness, His passing will not end his personal guidance. Many testify to the ongoing help of Yogananda.

More recently, some of the stories in this book have been published by others in Yogananda's tradition as well as many others not in His tradition, and even though they are different stories, they are still very consistent with what we know about the great master.

The book has been edited and changed by the author and his trained/appointed editors in chiefs to enhance the presentations of His final teachings. The latest editions are consitent with the masters teachings.

No one ever claimed here to demonstrate infallability, a status that this world does not have the elements to support. This is one of the common errors Yogananda did not get caught up in.

The Fellowship the yogi started, has avoided becoming a cult by the open and compassionate attitudes begun by Yogananda that avoid forcing rules on followers.

Yogananda brought out the best of Krishna's and Christ's teachings to create a more compassionate and harmonious world, to show us how to reach that true state of Christ consciousness where the truths of enlightened pluralism/ecumenicism will flourish for the benefit of humanity. This is the harbinger of the world's future peace.

Be sure to read Yogananda's most recently published book, "The Second Coming of Christ; Raising the Christ Consciousness Within You." Then you will gain a clearer picture of what spiritual freedom is!

1-0 out of 5 stars GURUS AND MASTERS HAILED
A hindu monk was sent to the West back in 1920 to spread kriya yoga teachings. In so doing he infiltrated Christianity by using Hindu concepts to explain away the claims of Christianity, and let people think he stood for perfect harmony between Hinduism as taught by Krishna, and Christianity as taught by Jesus. That has probably served to take many Christians in. Some parts of these teachings entered his autobiography too.

His teachings also include demands to "kill the ego" - which is a necessary, integral part of your personality - and the demand may be used against duped followers - it serves guru dominion far and wide. Moreover, the insensible claim could work harm to the personality development.

The attitude of the book shows "devoted servility" - submission - as a means for spiritual freedom - and major effects of giving away one's natural human rights in such a vein may turn unwholesome or disastrous. The author tells many stories to drive home guru submission messages.

More recently SOME of the stories of this book have been published by others in Yogananda's tradition, and suffice to say they are different, and by far less fanciful in those other versions - and that many interesting stories of the guru's autobiography bear some resemblance of tales from Arabian Nights too. However, Yogananda, who was sent to address scientists and great minds, according to the book, has by and large omitted given proper documention of some of his most remote claims. They involve converting the body into light and resurrections. Lots of evidence for many of the claims is lacking.

The book has been edited many times after the guru's death, and some changes don't seem to have been done by the author. Odd, very queer misconceptions have entered at least one peculiar footnote about maya.

The fellowship the yogi started, has been called a cult with more than one disappointing sides to it - A few years ago one third of its monastic members quit.

Here I have focused on showing important sides of the book in wider contexts. Much and deep submission is found and may be generated on top of the book as well. It is done in part by swollen, irksome claims - for example of many baffling "Hindu Christs". There are such mentions in the book too. It may be good to beware of Hindu infiltration that gives wrong premises to base one's life on. ... Read more


59. Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Champion of Freedom
by Conrad Black
list price: $39.95
our price: $26.37
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1586481843
Catlog: Book (2003-11-01)
Publisher: PublicAffairs
Sales Rank: 5623
Average Customer Review: 4.26 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Book Description

A brilliant and provocative biography of Franklin Roosevelt--written by a leading newspaper publisher and staunch conservative.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt stands astride American history like a colossus, having pulled the nation out of the Great Depression and led it to victory in the Second World War. Elected to four terms as president, he transformed an inward-looking country into the greatest superpower the world had ever known. Only Abraham Lincoln did more to save America from destruction. But FDR is such a large figure that historians tend to take him as part of the landscape, focusing on smaller aspects of his achievements or carping about where he ought to have done things differently. Few have tried to assess the totality of FDR's life and career.

Conrad Black rises to the challenge. In this magisterial biography, Black makes the case that FDR was the most important person of the twentieth century, transforming his nation and the world through his unparalleled skill as a domestic politician, war leader, strategist, and global visionary--all of which he accomplished despite a physical infirmity that could easily have ended his public life at age thirty-nine. Black also takes on the great critics of FDR, especially those who accuse him of betraying the West at Yalta. Black opens a new chapter in our understanding of this great man, whose example is even more inspiring as a new generation embarks on its own rendezvous with destiny. ... Read more

Reviews (23)

5-0 out of 5 stars FDR: Champion of Freedom: Polio Victim gets USA going!
Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his New Dealers put America back to work; gave millions hope in desperate dustbowl days and won our greatest War against Hitler and Japan. As our greatest 20th century President he is well served by this superb biography by publisher Conrad Black. Black a Canadian and conservative has portrayed in this length 10000 page tome a brilliant portrayal of the private FDR; his complex relationship with his mother Sarah and his socially liberal wife Eleanor as well as all the politcal maneuvering needed by the great man to transform isolationist America into the mighty fortress of freedom enabling the forces of freedom to defeat Fascism and the Japanese.
Black's book is readable, countains a well of anecdotes yet also includes all the details of the great 12 years (1933-45_ our longest service chief exectuvie served our land.
This book will be essential to FDR studies for years to come. My advice is to read the book slowly absorbing all the incredible

events of the crucial days of the Great Depression and World War II.
As an admitted liberal and lifelong Democrat I am proud to belong to a party whose chief was FDR! "Happy Days are here again" when the reader and Black meet in this essential biography.

5-0 out of 5 stars Praised Book on the Champion of Freedom - FDR
In "The Time 100 - the Most Important People of the Century," Franklin Delano Roosevelt is ranked the runner-up most important person of the century - second only to Albert Einstein. Roosevelt is a giant of world history.

On the back cover of this fine book by Conrad Black are these comments about this book by CONSERVATIVE intellectuals I generally admire:

George F. Will: "Conrad Black skillfully assembles powerful arguments to support strong and sometimes surprising judgements. This spirited defense of Roosevelt as a savior of America's enterprise system, and geopolitical realist, is a delight to read."

John Lukacs: "Conrad Black's FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT is extraordinary. It is something different from the dim and flickering lamp of academic retrospect. A new - and generous - light is poured on its subject: an illumination directed by a conviction of Roosevelt's place in the history of an entire century."

William F. Buckley Jr.: "An enormous accomplishment, a learned volume on FDR by a vital critical mind, which will absorb critics and the reading public."

Henry Kissinger: "No Biography of Roosevelt is more thoughtful and readable. None is as comprehensive."

I really enjoyed Conrad Black's writing style, which adds life to the words with his own colorful descriptors. This is the best single-volume biography of FDR. He presents an accurate and living picture of Roosevelt in his presidency and not a dry summary of the events. For example, I chuckled when Black says that FDR correctly judged Hitler to be the real concern while Mussolini was, in comparison, a buffoon.

My own criticism of the book is that it skips over the human suffering of the period. The Great Depression was devestating. I suggest the book "The Grapes of Wrath" or any of the many documentaries on the Great Depression.

Read this book and you will get to know and appreciate President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. You may not agree with some things, but you will at least understand FDR in the context of the times.

The world was in depression. America was in the Great Depression and heading to what would have been, without Roosevelt's intervention, a complete collapse of America's economic system. Capitalism and democracy fell out of favor around the world. Hitler and other dictators came to power around the world, and radicals gained followers in America. This climaxed in the clash of World War II.

The world we live today in is not a world of Hitler's Third Reich and fascism. It is not a world of Stalinism. It is not a world of colonial empires. It is not a world of radical laissez-faire capitalism. It is a world of Roosevelt's pragmatic ideas for a more stable economy and international security.

Roosevelt was a great president for everyone, and his ideas today seem very pragmatic and sensible. It is refreshing that several notable conservatives have had the guts to praise this book for what it is - a very good book about a great president.

5-0 out of 5 stars Well Written. Makes a Strong Case for Roosevelt's Greatness
I give this book the highest recommendation for anyone with an interest in Roosevelt, American History, or World History. I have been reading about history and decided to read about Roosevelt, since he was a great president. I compared reviews and decided on this big book and am glad that I did. Black is talanted with his writing and very amusing at times, which was refreshing considering that this is a very long and thorough book. Roosevelt emerged to me as both a charming person and a shrewd president for good causes, like bringing America out of isolation to save the world from Hitler. His skills and legacies make modern politicians look like preschoolers.

Black writes that Roosevelt is not as admirable of a person as his admirers think because he was egoistic, could be difficult, and was very shrewd and dominating with his power. Roosevelt was a Machiavellian figure in some ways. Yet Black says that Roosevelt was far more admirable for what he did for America and the world than even his admirers may realize. Here Black unfolds the details (and there are many details) that show Roosevelt's greatness.

This review below that I found on the Internet stuck with me as best reflecting my own thoughts, and it carries more expertise than my humble review can offer:

"FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT Champion of Freedom. By Conrad Black. Reviewed by Alan Brinkley, New York Times. Friday, November 28, 2003.

"It will come as something of a surprise to those familiar with Conrad Black as the powerful and energetic head of a large newspaper publishing empire that he has also managed to write an ambitious biography of Franklin Roosevelt, nearly 1,300 pages long.

"It may also come as a surprise to those who know of the generally conservative politics of Lord Black (who resigned last week as chief executive of his company, Hollinger International, but not as its chairman, during a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation) that he reveres Roosevelt as the greatest American of the 20th century, perhaps of any century, and the most important international leader of modern times.

"However unexpected, this enormous book is also one of the best one-volume biographies of Roosevelt yet. It is not particularly original, has no important new revelations or interpretations and is based mostly on secondary sources (and rather old ones at that). But it tells the remarkable story of Roosevelt's life with an engaging eloquence and with largely personal and mostly interesting opinions about the people and events he is describing. Black's enormous admiration for Roosevelt is based on many things. He reveres what he calls Roosevelt's great courage and enormous skill in moving the United States away from neutrality and first toward active support of Britain and China in the early years of World War II and then toward full intervention. He admires Roosevelt's skill in managing the war effort and his deftness in handling the diplomacy that accompanied it.

"He sees Roosevelt, even more than Churchill, as the architect of a postwar world that for half a century worked significantly better than the prewar world of catastrophic conflicts and economic disasters. Roosevelt, he argues, helped legitimize democracy in the eyes of the world and created alliances and relationships that maintained a general peace through the rest of the 20th century. Churchill, once the war was essentially won, became a futile defender of the dying British empire.

"Roosevelt, in the last months before his death, was promoting a very different vision of world order based on international organizations and national self-determination (even if with great power supervision). Of the major political leaders of the age of World War II, Black writes, "Roosevelt was the only one with a strategic vision that was substantially vindicated in the 50 years following the Second World War."

"Black is also a stalwart defender of the New Deal. His defense is not simply the selective approval that many conservatives give to the way it saved capitalism and ensured the primacy of free markets. Black admires it all: Social Security, the Wagner Act, farm subsidies, securities regulation, wage and price legislation, even Roosevelt's almost incendiary oratory in 1936 welcoming hatred of the forces of power and greed.

"He expresses gingerly criticism of Roosevelt's reluctance to move aggressively to combat segregation, of his support of Japanese-American internment and his relatively modest response to the Holocaust, and of his occasional poor judgment in the people he trusted. (He is particularly contemptuous of Henry A. Wallace, but no more so than of conservative figures like Breckinridge Long, the genteel anti-Semite who obstructed the granting of American visas to European Jews in the late 1930s.)

"Despite these and other reservations, Black never departs from his overall judgment of Roosevelt, perhaps best illustrated in his use of a quotation from Churchill as a chapter title: "He Is the Greatest Man I Have Ever Known."

"While Black may not be the best chronicler of any single aspect of Roosevelt's life, and while he may offer little that scholars don't already know, he has created a powerful and often moving picture of the life as a whole. Truly great men inspire many exceptional biographies, and this is not the first or last for Roosevelt. But it is a worthy and important addition to the vast literature on the most important modern American leader."

5-0 out of 5 stars Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Champion of Freedom
Newspaper tycoon Black praises former President Roosevelt for having the clearest strategic vision of the major world leaders during World War II and for using "political legerdemain" in using war to end the Great Depression and save democratic capitalism. FDR emerges in these pages, primarily devoted to his four terms in the White House, as the consummate skilled politician and among the U.S.'s greatest presidents. He also gives Roosevelt credit for having laid the groundwork for the Cold War and enabling his successors to "liberate Eastern Europe."

5-0 out of 5 stars A balanced and favorable account
I don't know of a better one-volume biography of FDR. Geoffrey Ward's two volumes, Before the Trumpet, and A First-Class Temperament are better written and more carefully researched, but they only take his life to 1928. This book relies on secondary sources mostly, and its footnoting is unhelpful--the footnotes just tell what secondary source the author got the information from. I have not read the multi-volume works of Frank Friedel and Kenneth Davis, but they are referred to a lot in the footnotes to this book and no doubt are more carefully researched. Yet I thought reading this worthwhile, and its overall assessment of FDR's accomplishments rings very true. George Will and Bill Buckley, Jr., and Henry Kissinger supplied blurbs for the jacket, which more hidebound Republicans, clinging to GOP attitudes during Roosevelt's Administrations would not, I presume, do. Black's assessment of FDR's performance at Teheran and Yalta ably refutes some of the old Republican canards re same, and make for good reading. All in all, I thought the time spent reading this nice big book was well spent. There are a few errors, and I mention two: on page 233 Black refers to Senator Harry Flood Byrd as a Virginia favorite son candidate at the 1932 Democratic National Conventio--but at the time Byrd was not yet a Senator; and on page 792 Black says Admiral Darlan's funeral in Algiers on Dec 26, 1942, was attended by the "Cardinal-Primate" of Africa, but there was no Cardinal in Africa in 1942, much less a Cardinal-Primate. The book does have a good 25-page bibliography. ... Read more


60. The Hiding Place
by CORRIE TEN BOOM, JOHN SCHERRILL
list price: $6.99
our price: $6.29
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553256696
Catlog: Book (1984-11-01)
Publisher: Bantam
Sales Rank: 3678
Average Customer Review: 4.58 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Book Description

The Hiding Place proves that the light of God's love can penetrate even the darkest recesses of despair, places like the Nazi extermination camp at Ravensbruck. After protecting Dutch Jews in a secret room in their home, Corrie ten Boom, her sister and father were discovered, arrested, and imprisoned. Only Corrie survived, but her faith in God remained strong-so strong that, after the war, she could forgive a former camp guard in a face-to-face meeting. More than just a spellbinding adventure, The Hiding Place is a life-changing story. ... Read more

Reviews (130)

5-0 out of 5 stars A story of forgiveness
Corrie Ten Boom said it best in the beginning of the book when she points out that every person, place, and thing you encounter in your life is God preparing you for the plans He has for you. I believe God meant for millions be to touched by Corrie's life story. The over all message in this book is forgiveness, and how it is possible, under impossible circumstances. Not only does the Lord desire us to forgive, but He made it possible to do so by providing the love to do it. Corrie and her family lived sacrificial lives, but more importantly they were obedient to God, whom they knew loved them very much. Time and time again, Corrie's life was saved by her obedience and tenacious way of looking to the Lord for guidance and help. These people KNEW and lived God's love and it infected others around them. This story was just as much about Betsie, Corrie's sister, as it was Corrie. Betsie was a resilient woman who loved the Lord so much that she even thanked Him for fleas! Corrie's entire family had a respectful fear of the Lord that is lacking in today's world. This story helps us to realize how very comfortable we are in this material world of ours. Previous to reading this book, I read "Survival in Auschwitz" by Primo Levi, who was an Italian Jewish survivor of Auschwitz (hence the name). It was nice to read both books in order to get a view from both the Christian and Jewish perspective. This great evil during WWII was not just against one race, it was the enemy of the human race. While some humans were inprisoned and/or killed, others were alive yet dead inside as they gave into hate and bitterness. Corrie and her family saw this great evil and clinged to the hope that if these people were capable of so much hate, then they were equally capable of so much love. They compassionately prayed for the ones they suffered along with, as well as for the ones causing the suffering. "The Hiding Place" is a wonderful book in which we can learn to forgive those that have hurt us, and love others the way God loves us. Get it! Read it! Tell a friend!

5-0 out of 5 stars A woman of faith
I admire people who really take a stand for what they believe in, no matter what the cost, and Corrie Ten Boom is one of those amazing people. The story of her family, pre-concentration camp, is inspiring, because they really are willing to give up everything so that God's children are not harmed. This is truly one of the best books I've ever read...I copied a lot of phrases out of the book and into my personal journal so they could touch me later like they touched me then. There's a lot of love in this woman, mixed with comapssion, honesty, and happiness that made me reconsider my own standards in the midst of the peacetime life I live, and makes me ask the question: Would I truly risk my life for another's? Everyone should read this.

5-0 out of 5 stars A beautiful,moving,emotive book.
I have read a number of autobiographys,and expect to read more still.
I think i shall be hard-pressed to find another one as beautiful as Corrie's.

5-0 out of 5 stars THE best book you'll read this summer
First written in 1971, The Hiding Place has, through both critical acclaim and word of mouth of the masses, achieved both certifiable classic status and a revered place in the hearts of its readers. And, I might add, for good reason. Although written in 1st person novel form from the perspective of the selflessly valiant Cornelia ten Boom, it is, of course, the true story of one family's almost unfathomable degree of limitless giving and unwavering altruism that saved many of lives during the nihilistic hate-filled Nazi regime in Holland, where the Gestapo as well as Dutch collaborators were pervasively ubiquitous and inexorably replete with hate and ineluctably devoid of both reason and love.

While reading, I felt a veritable melange of emotions running the gamut from sadness, anger, despair, and hope. Thanks to the wonderful writing, you feel like you're reading a novel -- although one that is all too harrowing and real. As Betsie quotes the Bible and says, "Give thanks in all circumstances," she subsequently says "Thanks for the fleas" -- a moment that demonstrated that God DOES work in mysterious ways. Without giving away anything that happens, I strongly exhort you to read The Hiding Place -- a book that stays with you long after you have turned the last page.

"No pit is so deep that He is not deeper still."
- Betsie ten Boom

5-0 out of 5 stars A veritable laugh riot
I was walking my dog and reading The Hiding Place and I thought why I am being sad. I should be glad and happy because the story is happy if you think about it you know. So I started laughing at the awesome stuff that Corrie does and says when she's helping the Jews. In summation, it's better to laugh than to cry. At least, that is, to Joseph O'Brien. ... Read more


41-60 of 200     Back   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   Next 20
Prices listed on this site are subject to change without notice.
Questions on ordering or shipping? click here for help.

Top