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81. Franklin and Winston: An Intimate
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82. A Sense of Duty : My Father, My
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83. Walking the Bible: A Journey by
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84. Shakedown: Exposing the Real Jesse
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85. Tigers in the Mud: The Combat
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86. Learning to Fall : The Blessings
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87. Soul Surfer : A True Story of
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88. When Character Was King: A Story
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89. Confessions (Oxford World's Classics)
90. Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S.
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91. Jacqueline Kennedy : The White
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92. Cpl. Forrest Guth: 'E' Company,
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93. A Treasury of Royal Scandals:
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94. Faith of My Fathers
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95. The Life of the Buddha : According
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96. A Table In The Presence : The
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97. Simple Path
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98. A Rumor of War
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99. Speaker: Lessons from Forty Years
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100. Benjamin Harrison : [The 23rd

81. Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship
list price: $29.95
our price: $19.77
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Asin: 0375505008
Catlog: Book (2003-10-14)
Publisher: Random House
Sales Rank: 322
Average Customer Review: 4.43 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The most complete portrait ever drawn of the complex emotional connection between two of history’s towering leaders

Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill were the greatest leaders of “the Greatest Generation.” In Franklin and Winston, Jon Meacham explores the fascinating relationship between the two men who piloted the free world to victory in World War II. It was a crucial friendship, and a unique one—a president and a prime minister spending enormous amounts of time together (113 days during the war) and exchanging nearly two thousand messages. Amid cocktails, cigarettes, and cigars, they met, often secretly, in places as far-flung as Washington, Hyde Park, Casablanca, and Teheran, talking to each other of war, politics, the burden of command, their health, their wives, and their children.

Born in the nineteenth century and molders of the twentieth and twenty-first, Roosevelt and Churchill had much in common. Sons of the elite, students of history, politicians of the first rank, they savored power. In their own time both men were underestimated, dismissed as arrogant, and faced skeptics and haters in their own nations—yet both magnificently rose to the central challenges of the twentieth century. Theirs was a kind of love story, with an emotional Churchill courting an elusive Roosevelt. The British prime minister, who rallied his nation in its darkest hour, standing alone against Adolf Hitler, was always somewhat insecure about his place in FDR’s affections—which was the way Roosevelt wanted it. A man of secrets, FDR liked to keep people off balance, including his wife, Eleanor, his White House aides—and Winston Churchill.

Confronting tyranny and terror, Roosevelt and Churchill built a victorious alliance amid cataclysmic events and occasionally conflicting interests. Franklin and Winston is also the story of their marriages and their families, two clans caught up in the most sweeping global conflict in history.

Meacham’s new sources—including unpublished letters of FDR’s great secret love, Lucy Mercer Rutherfurd, the papers of Pamela Churchill Harriman, and interviews with the few surviving people who were in FDR and Churchill’s joint company—shed fresh light on the characters of both men as he engagingly chronicles the hours in which they decided the course of the struggle.

Hitler brought them together; later in the war, they drifted apart, but even in the autumn of their alliance, the pull of affection was always there. Charting the personal drama behind the discussions of strategy and statecraft, Meacham has written the definitive account of the most remarkable friendship of the modern age.
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Reviews (23)

4-0 out of 5 stars Two lions roaring at the same time....
Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill are two of the most influential men of the 20th Century, and Jon Meacham's Franklin and Winston is a commendable effort. How the friendship between these two men evolved is a fascinating read. Theirs was a friendship forged from the war, and Churchill cultivated the relationship knowing that help from the US was the only way to defeat Nazi Germany. All relationships have their ups and downs, and Churchill and Roosevelt were no exception. Franklin's treatment toward Winston was downright shabby when they started dealing with Joseph Stalin. Still, in their many fact-to-face meetings, they were able to do much together including tracking the progress of the war, coordinating allied activities and especially, cutting through red tape when it came to equipment and supplies.

There have been other books written about these two giants, but Meacham had the advantage of some newly discovered letters in the FDR library, as well as personal interviews with Mary Soames (Churchill's daughter), Pamela Harriman (Churchill's ex-daughter-in-law), and Robert Hopkins (son of FDR aide and cabinet member, Harry Hopkins).

Churchill was a man who wore his emotions for all to see. It was obvious that he loved and revered FDR and was crushed by his sudden death. On the other hand, FDR could be a very cold and unemotional man. He was also a man who used people, and then wrote them off when they were no longer of use to him. We are left to wonder how their friendship would have survived after the end of the war if FDR had lived--especially after Churchill's defeat as Prime Minister only months after the war ended. The changing world scene may have also served to shift the balance of their friendship. Before WWII, the United States and England were two dominant world powers. After the war, China and the Soviet Union replaced the British Empire as a major force. I wonder if FDR would have treated Churchill in a diminished capacity as the fortunes of the British Empire waned.

I especially enjoyed the many stories and anecdotes about these two men. Churchill, especially, can best be described as a character! He was a heavy handed drinker and a demanding guest. He loved to stay up late and seemed to do his best work after midnight. Winston didn't like American whiskey or Roosevelt's nightly cocktails. Both men had strong, intelligent wives, although Eleanor and Clementine didn't particularly like each other. While Clementine couldn't keep up with Eleanor, Franklin had a difficult time matching Winston's energy and stamina.

All in all, Meacham has provided us with a very good sketch about two great men.

5-0 out of 5 stars A friendship forged in war
This is an extremely informative and well-written book about the wartime friendship between Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston S. Churchill. The author makes the point that, were it not for this close bond between the two great leaders of the Western democracies, the entire history of World War II, and the subsequent peace, might have been quite different. The book shows the initial, desperate courting of the American president by the Prime Minister of an embattled nation, with the result that a very close, personal relationship sprang up between them. The author does not gloss over the imperfections of the men, particularly the way Roosevelt, later in the war, took to belittling Churchill in front of Stalin to impress the Russians. The Yalta Conference, while it does not occupy a lot of print pages, does show Roosevelt trying to cajole the Russians into his point of view, with the intention of getting them to confront the Japanese to save additional American casualties, which Churchill didn't appear to realize (possibly because he was not informed of this strategy by FDR), being more concerned with the preservation of the British Empire and its overseas possessions. There is the belief by the author that, had Roosevelt lived, he would have taken as strong a stand against Communism as Churchill, and his argument is fairly persuasive. All in all, this is a book well worth reading, as it casts an interesting light on a friendship that saved the world from tyranny.

5-0 out of 5 stars The friendship that made our world possible
This is the story of a human and a political friendship. A seemingly unlikely friendship between a Tory Prime Minister and a Progressive President. A friendship between an extroverted, warm human being and an introverted, many layered and often secretive man. A friendship between two men who lived in a time not so very different from our own, when certainties were few, enemies seemed to spring up like mushrooms, and the whole world in danger.

Their friendship did much to save that world. It was a friendship that made D-Day possible; and it was in part thanks to that friendship that Winston and Franklin made a joint decision to avenge, not save the victims of the Holocaust. Their decisions saved and cost millions of lives. They were two friends, doing their best in a world plunged into darkness. And they brought it out again-together.

Winston Churchill led Britain when that island stood alone against Hitler for one year; Franklin Roosevelt patiently prodded an isolationist nation into accepting the responsibility that comes with power. And in the end, they made a "world that is for many a better one than existed before" (283).

Thanks to their efforts, when "an American President and a British prime minister [today] walk through the woods of Camp David, or confer on a transatlantic telephone, they are working in the style and in the shadow of Roosevelt and Churchill. [They are reaffirming] the Anglo-American alliance [that] has been the bedrock of global order for decades" (366).

A bedrock Winston and Franklin created in those fraught years of a world war.

5-0 out of 5 stars Well-done reference that paints a very close friendship
Although the two men who would most impact the eventual course of the Second World War greatly disliked each other at first (they met decades before either one was a national leader), Jon Meacham is able to interestingly draw a reader into the warming of their friendships and then the critical heat of battle they enjoyed together.

Using a wide variety of sources, Meacham's book charts the course of their upbringing on opposite sides of the Atlantic, and the adventurous travels they embarked upon that led to their early encounters. Both were similar in their interests in government and politics, and were very ambitious. Yet, the two men grew toward each other with the passage of time, and by the Second World War, were able to respect the other's personality and intelligence greatly. Whether it was in their late-night drinking sessions as they dreamed up ideas and hatched plots, or aboard their ships off Newfoundland, or to their secret conferences in Casablanca or Teheran or elsewhere, it was the closeness of these two men that formed the glue that bound the Anglo-American alliance against the Axis.

This book warmly portrays both men through the author's access to letters, diaries, and people who knew them, and admirably makes both men stand out as if alive. When confronted with the most challenging decisions and situations a leader could ever face, these were two of the greatest the world has ever known, and Meacham has done a brilliant job desribing not only the situations and potential repercussions, but also the two men, their countries and their friendship we still hold dear to this day.

5-0 out of 5 stars Economics and Social Progress during FDR?
Don't know much about algebra or geometry of FDR's New Deal; too young then, and insufficient history training. But the social legacy left from the times of WWII and the impact upon thousands of Jewish people who migrated here is unmistakeably hard to justify. Whether by FDR or his cronies, it seems unlikely that the blackballing that occurred during this period is anywhere near the excellence that America expects of her people, and its current views concerning humanity, humane rights, and discrimination. Since discrimination is such a fundamental harm to people, it seems logical that every generation needs to look backward, and clear the cob webs of what may have been unfair discrimination at the time to release the energy and motivation of new opportunities to reconcile unfortunate aspects of history and relegate them to the flaw they were at the time. There is no reason to suspect that in any period of American History, there has ever been a time when discrimination and discriminatory effects were not harmful, and were legitimately defensible, whatever the circumstances. We simply haven't taken up the task to bring the reality into focus as it should be, and as it should have been. How can any society move on without recognizing its own flaws, and choosing to bury them under its rugs of history, and idolization of popular and favorable personalities? Americans have an obligation not to fall into that well from which no one may emerge because of the slippery walls of algae surrounding them. ... Read more

82. A Sense of Duty : My Father, My American Journey
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
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Asin: 0891418733
Catlog: Book (2005-04-12)
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Sales Rank: 112860
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83. Walking the Bible: A Journey by Land Through the Five Books of Moses
by Bruce S. Feiler, Bruce Feiler
list price: $14.95
our price: $10.17
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Asin: 0380807319
Catlog: Book (2002-03-01)
Publisher: Perennial
Sales Rank: 3768
Average Customer Review: 3.98 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Both a heart-racing adventure and an uplifting quest, Walking the Bible describes one man's epic odyssey -- by foot, jeep, rowboat, and camel -- through the greatest stories ever told. From crossing the Red Sea to climbing Mt. Sinai to touching the burning bush, Bruce Feiler's inspiring journey will forever change your view to some of history's most storied events.

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Reviews (57)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Refreshing New Pilgrimage Through the Bible's Stories
Walking the Bible is an absorbing & informative travel memoir of Feiler's journeys through the first five books of the Old Testament. Feiler presents a refreshingly different perpective on this subject because he admittedly comes to the project as a young, semi-inactive-in-the-faith Jewish man. What he learns through the trip by reading, interacting, and observing doesn't seem to give him concrete "proof" of the historical veracity of the events, but nonetheless leads him down a path to understanding faith and to realization of the enormous meaning found within the Holy Land. His appreciation for that land and the conflict and beauty found within it are apparent throughout the book, and I found that appreciation to be contagious.

The best thing about this book is that it enlightens and entertains on spiritual, historical, and travel adventure levels. Scholarly views on the interpretation of Biblical events as well as the geography and culture of the Holy Land are researched and well-presented. Avner Goren was a fantastic guide/mentor who has a greater knowledge of pre-historic and Biblical archaeology than most anyone else around -- his input is priceless. I highly recommend this book to anyone with a thirst for more knowledge about Old Testament times in the Holy Land, and particularly to those in their 20s or 30s who may come to the book with backgrounds similar to that of Feiler. I learned quite a bit, particularly in regards to the motivations of Israeli immigrants and Judaistic views on God's interaction with his people during Exodus. And yet that book does not proselytize in any way -- it simply presents the experiences on the journey.

As to those reviewers who critize Feiler's undertaking of the Biblical journey as unoriginal: "Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it." - C.S. Lewis, MERE CHRISTIANITY

I believe that most people will walk away from reading this book glad that they read it, laden with new information and, perhaps, new questions.

4-0 out of 5 stars Part travelogue, part history book, part pilgrimage
This book really should have been called "Walking the Torah," since it covers the Five Books of Moses and is written from a primarily Jewish perspective. I suppose the marketing people felt that "Bible" would have a wider sales appeal or something. Be that as it may, the most interesting thing about this book was the profound change in attitude that the journey brought to the writer himself. No, he didn't "get religion" and run off become an Orthodox Jew. However, he did gain a new appreciation for the Bible stories themselves, as well as the various people and places that the Bible describes.

By his own admission, Bruce Feiler was a secular/Reform Jew who started out simply wanting to connect to the physical places mentioned in the Torah, i.e., to literally walk where his ancestors had walked. At first, Feiler thought of the Bible as a sort of Baedekers travel guide. He spent most of his preparation time reading history, geography, and archaeology. Once he got on the road, however, he soon discovered that the Bible is also "in the people" (his words). Whether they are true believers of many faiths or secularists who see the Bible as literature, the people who actually live in these biblical locations have a deep, almost mystical connection to the land itself -- a bond which goes beyond merely occupying a particular piece of real estate. Feiler grew to have this inner experience, too. As he himself explains, somewhere along the line he stopped thinking of The Book as a travel guide, and started seeing it as The Bible.

Feiler's prose style is both creative and highly readable. While some have criticized his incessant junk food metaphors (chocolate mountains, cinnamon hills -- he was getting hungry maybe?), I found them rather amusing. On the one hand, here he is, talking about places mentioned in a Holy Book that is sacred to millions of people. On the other hand, he doesn't pontificate, nor does he idealize. He duly notes the the rampant commercialism at holy sites and, with a wry sense of humor, he comments on many strange justapositions of traditional and modern life. (The fire extinguisher kept near the "true burning bush" in St. Catherine's monastery on Mt. Sinai had me laughing out loud. Was the burning bush was expected to catch on fire?)

As with most personal travelogues, there are things in this one that Feiler doesn't get right, even with his famous tour guide, Israeli archaeologist Avner Goren. (Who, by the way, was paid by Feiler to do this project, but so what? Hiring a guide is a time-honored travel practice, and more than one scholar has financed his research with moonlighting.) What I got out of the book was a deeper understanding of how the lay of the land in the Middle East influenced the Bible. This, in turn, opened up many Torah passages in new ways for me.

3-0 out of 5 stars Walking the Bible
Bruce Feiler, a nominal Jew, describes his journey to the Holy Land... His stories are fascinating as he and his guide retrace their steps while they explore the world of Old Testament characters and Biblical stories. It tells of Bruce's personal pilgrimage and spiritual awakening.

5-0 out of 5 stars FANTASTIC!!
I just finished reading this book. INCREDIBLE! The author takes two years to walk through the Pentateuch (literally), meets all kind of people in the Middle East, does tremendous research into everything from geography to Bible history to Middle Eastern hospitality traditions, and serves the whole thing up as a delightful story and journey. His guide is a man named Avner who seems to know everyone who has any passion or interest in the Middle East. As he encounters God in the desert you encounter God with him.This was an intellectual and a faith building feast. I can't express how thankful I am for this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Thoughtful Journey to the Holy Land and Beyond
Walking the Bible by Bruce Feiler is an account of the author's journey to many of the famous places of the Bible, from Jerusalem, the Red Sea, Mt. Sinai ,Turkey and beyond. The concept of the book is certainly not original and anyone looking for a true history of the area won't find it here. What the reader will find is thoughtful, insightful , well-written look at a ancient region of undeniable importance to a large portion of the global population. Feiler did not intend his journey to be purely spiritual in nature but it's quite interesting to observe his spiritual renewal and growth during the course of this book. Feiler's observations and commentaries are well-balanced, accurate and fair. Whether you are a Jew, Christian or Muslim or member of another faith, this book has much to offer. ... Read more

84. Shakedown: Exposing the Real Jesse Jackson
by Kenneth R. Timmerman
list price: $29.95
our price: $29.95
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Asin: 0895261650
Catlog: Book (2002-02-01)
Publisher: Regnery Publishing
Sales Rank: 47780
Average Customer Review: 4.42 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Jesse Jackson is a modern day highway robber who uses cries of racism to steal from individuals, corporations, and government, to give to himself, says veteran investigative reporter Kenneth R. Timmerman.

Until now, however, no one has been brave enough to say it and diligent enough to prove it. But Ken Timmerman has cracked Jackson's machine, found Jackson cronies willing to break ranks, and uncovered a sordid tale of greed, ambition, and corruption from a self-proclaimed minister who has no qualms about poisoning American race relations for personal gain.

Shakedown reveals:

* Jackson's massive defrauding of the federal government - and how both Republican and Democratic administrations have chosen to ignore it.

* Jackson's financial ties to Third World dictators - including Mohammar Qaddafi of Libya.

* Jackson's shocking private life - and his even more shocking public lies, including about his relationship with Dr. Martin Luther King

Other details must remain embargoed until publication, but one thing is for certain, Shakedown finally bursts the carefully constructed myths around Jesse Jackson and subject him to the critical scrutiny he's long deserved.

Kenneth R. Timmerman, a reporter with more than two decades of experience, has written for many magazines and newspapers including Time, Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, Reader's Digest, and The American Spectator, and has appeared on Nightline, Sixty Minutes, and many other television programs. He lives in Kensington, Maryland, with his wife and five children. ... Read more

Reviews (121)

4-0 out of 5 stars The dude do get over
The author has previously written for such unusally reliable sources as Time, Newsweek, and the Wall Street Journal, among others. There are 1,078 references in this book in 426 pages of text covering an introduction, a prologue, and 18 chapters. The references are from such sources as memoranda and reports from U.S. government agencies, the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, and the New Republic, to name only a few. The author, therefore, cannot be dismissed as some sort of right wing crackpot. What Timmerman does is document Jackson's unashamed schemes to line his own pockets and those of his friends and family in the name of racial diversity, economic opportunity, and other buzzwords popular with income redistribution leftists. But Jesse is the quintessential capitalist. He doesn't do anything he can't get paid for, to include NOT speaking up in favor of minority groups who have sought his assistance in the past but didn't have the money to pay his fee! SHAKEDOWN is an appropriate title for this work, as Jackson has managed to get governments and businesses to pony up for his schemes in order to keep from being branded as racist by Jackson. This book could have been subtitled "Show Me the Money!" He has definitely helped himself, and made himself rich in the process. Whether he has helped others is truly open to question, as the author has convincingly documented.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent book, brilliantly researched and well written
It was very tough to put this book down. Timmerman has done an excellent job in researching this book, and backs up his research with copious notes.

If even one tenth of the book is accurate, Jesse Jackson is a very dangerous, dishonest, and evil character. I suspect that the overwhelming majority of the book is accurate, however, and that fact makes my blood boil at the thought of Jackson and his shakedown scheme.

This book should be required reading for every young liberal- Black, White, Brown-it doesn't matter. Jackson's evil tactics transcend race, religion, and creed. His hucksterism is a danger to this nation, a danger to the advancing civil rights of minorities, and a danger to honest people trying to make a living in America.

I highly recommend this book, I think that anyone who reads it with an open mind will thoroughly enjoy it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Do Not Blame the Author - Blame Jackson
This book states the obvious. Most people half awake can see his scam a mile away. This is not a race issue; it is a scam that uses the race issue. It might not be PC to attack a black man, but when he uses the weakness in his fellow man black and white to enrich himself one needs to blow the whistle.

Let us give Jackson a small benefit of doubt. Years ago when he worked for King he was an idealistic young man. But that has long passed. We now have a man milking the system and taking what he can - it is as simple as that. And blame the people and corporations that support his habit.

5-0 out of 5 stars An interesting look at how one obtains power.
At first, I just wanted to read the "lowdown" on how much of a crook Jesse Jackson was, but as I read more, I see how Jesse rises from being a mere street hustler to being a major pollitical force that is known throughout worldwide. As a person that wants to understand how and why a person obtains power of that magnitude, SHAKEDOWN gives great insight into how one man, Jesse Jackson, stategically picks not only the battles he wants to fight, but also his allies. A great companion book to this is THE 48 LAWS OF POWER by Robert Greene. Many of the laws of power in that book can be seen being used by Jesse in SHAKEDOWN. What really got me was one of the guys mentioned in this book was a pastor in my church who was "rubbing elbows" with Jackson and almost got put in jail by following him. Read this book, it's a real eye opener.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wake Up America!!!!!!
I have always been a supporter of Jesse Jackson and looked upon him as a true leader..............until I read this book. This book has opened my eyes to just what kind of person Jesse Jackson really is: con-artist, extortionist, race-baiter, etc. The people in Chicago who refer to him as "Justme" Jackson, have really hit the nail on the head. What has the self-appointed leader of the African-American race ever done for poor and truly disinfranchised African-Americans? Not a damn thing!!! The only African-Americans who have ever benefited from his shakedowns and extortion of american corporations are his rich and well-to-do cronies! Why the IRS has never stepped in and audited this scheister and crook is a travesty! Jesse Jackson is only a leader for the well-to-do African-American, the ones who can pay to play. This man is no more interested in closing the racial divide that exists in America today, than the KKK is! He is one of the reasons that the racial divide has gotten wider, not smaller. Anyone who calls this book racist is either blind, deaf, and dumb, or is a racist themselves. This book is well documented and the facts well supported. Through it all, you have to give "Reverend" Justme Jackson credit. He has taken advantage of a society where it is worse to label someone a racist than it is to call someone a rapist or child molester. He has used the word racist as his trump card and thrown it about freely, when he himself is as racist as anybody. I wonder when the next time he is going to call as his friend some 3rd world dictator who has ravaged his homeland and committed innumerable atrocities on his people? And when he is long gone from this world, don't worry America, his sons will pick up the torch and continue this man's great, benevolent works in society. Oh yeah, after reading this book, I have changed my affiliation from Democrat to Republican, as has my African-American wife. ... Read more

85. Tigers in the Mud: The Combat Career of German Panzer Commander Otto Carius (Stackpole Military History Series)
by Otto Carius, Robert J. Edwards
list price: $19.95
our price: $13.57
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0811729117
Catlog: Book (2003-09-01)
Publisher: Stackpole Books
Sales Rank: 7227
Average Customer Review: 4.11 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Real war stories told by real soldiers for readers who want to know what it was like to be in the thick of battle. These are riveting combat narratives about the weapons and warriors of some of history's bloodiest conflicts. Each book is a gritty, action-oriented account of life and death in the heat of battle. Original titles as well as long out-of-print gems will explore conflicts ranging from the blood-soaked fields of the Civil War to the current war on terror and everything in between. The books are published as high-quality and affordable trade paperbacks, making them terrific editions for all who are interested in military history.

WWII began with a metallic roar as the German Blitzkrieg raced across Europe, spearheaded by the most dreaded weapon of the 20th century: the Panzer. No German tank better represents that thundering power than the infamous Tiger, and Otto Carius was one of the most successful commanders to ever take a Tiger into battle, destroying well over 150 enemy tanks during his incredible career.

Illustrations: 51 b/w photos; 3 maps; 50 illustrations ... Read more

Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars Treading in Death's Sphere.
The famous Tiger Ace, Otto Carius, has provided a valuable memoir of his experiences in WWII. This book is an asset whether you are a professional soldier, WWII historian, or Tiger tank afficinado.
Valuable lessons are gained by learning the problems associated with fielding new technology in the time of war. While the Tiger tank proved to be an awesome weapon while operational; its' Achilles heel was the tremendous amount of logistic and maintenance support required to keep it running.
I was reminded of Stephen Crane's "The Red Badge of Courage" when reading about Carius' first engagement as an officer, but by the end of the book one thing that is not in dispute is the personal courage of Carius and many of the tankers he led, especially Albert Kerscher. They would slug out the battle from extreme close ranges often so close that traversing the main gun was not possible!
The drama of tank warfare on the Eastern Front is simply told in this book and valuable lessons can be learned by those in the profession of arms. Much like Patton, Carius relays his frustration that the German and Anglo-American forces did not join together and turn on the forces of the Soviet Union. The desperation of German forces to retard the advance of the Red Army allowed many Germans to escape and avoid Communist 0ppression is noteworthy.
Yet these brave German soldiers were an embarrassment to the Post-War Germany and unlike the US where our veterans are dubbed the "greatest generation," German veterans are shunned and instead monuments go up to the draft dodgers and deserters.
In light of the recent prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib prison, his comments concerning the treatment of Prisoners of War by the Americans are interesting.
I am fortunate to have met Otto Carius, who is still alive and active as a pharmicist at his Tiger Apothecary. A generous man, he personally delivers medicines to those homebound.
One of the most telling comments he made to me concerned his leadership as the Company Commander of 2d Company, 502d Heavy Tank Battalion; while in command he did not have one soldier killed in the company - many were wounded, but all lived. That fact, tied with his successes on the Armor battlefield in high intensity conflict truly makes him one-of-a-kind.

4-0 out of 5 stars A primer for tank commanders
Carius' book is an outstanding look at the reality of armored warfare. Far from the romantic view of modern knights, Carius explains what is actually involved in commanding a platoon of tanks. The constant need to allocate resources to vehicle recovery, the reality of grand-tactical movement, just how much time a platoon commander is out of the track and on foot. It's all in this book. Carius does act as an apologist for the German army, but if one ignores the occasional rhetoric (as one should from both sides of the issue) there is a lot to be learned from this book.

3-0 out of 5 stars Lost on the Eastern Front
Tigers in the Mud is the story of Otto Carius's experience in tanks on the eastern front. Of interest is how Otto started out at the beginning of Operation Barbarrosa as a tank's radio operator (Czech 38's), graduated to the officer corp and lead a Tiger platoon. While there were many interesting story's in this book, unfortunately, Otto focused more on his time in Tigers than his earlier career (he did though mention how he initially liked the Czech 38, but after being knocked out and wounded, he thought it was pretty weak).

In the later portion of his career (43-45), Otto becomes much more descriptive about his operations and his opinion of events. Otto was very descriptive about different generals, his opinion of Russians, and also his feelings about the Americans (after being wounded, he was assigned to lead Hunting Tigers). What I found very interesting and bordering on insulting was his comments about how poor American tank operations were (he only fought against the Americans during Patton's operations against Model's forces) and his feelings about Americans as his captors (he was very derogatory about us once he realized the Americans weren't going to send the Germans against the Russians). One of the best parts of the book though was Otto's experience with the "press" (Otto was very derogatory about the "press" because they "recorded" things after the battle and didn't accurately portray the battle that occurred. The one time he had a photographer ride with him, the man was scared to death!).

Otto is not humble (as Guy Sager was), is very proud of what he'd done (he kind of forgot that Tigers were on the top of the feeding list and forgot what it was like to have a tank that wasn't as capable as the Tiger in taking punishment), especially his awards, but is very good at describing what he and his teammates did on the western front. Otto does preface the book by saying that the book was written for the 502 and that is what the focus of the book is, his experience in the 502. With everything in perspective, the book is good, but not in the same calibre as The Forgotten Soldier.

3-0 out of 5 stars The blindside of Whermacht writers
Carius does a good job of conveying the tactical realities of tank warfare from the German side. He is very typical of those surviving Panzer writers, whose writing often resembles that of Civil War generals, particularly Confederate ones: "If only...", when the essential problem was that the initiation of the war in Europe by Germany, coupled by the declaration of war against the United States, meant that Germany was inevitably doomed. Tactical brilliance would eventually be overwhelmed by the massive production capability of the Allies. And even the tactical brilliance arguments wear thin when one realizes that much of the German success lay in the incredible inferiority of the equipment of the Western Allies (see "Death Traps" by Belton Cooper and the tragic example of the Sherman tank). Though Germany faced France with inferior equipment and invaded Russia with nothing on tracks that matched the T34, excellent tactical handling, especially the recognition of the antitank capability of the FLAK 88mm antiaircraft gun, and air supremacy, gave the Germans a temporary edge and time to accelerate the development of new armor, most notably the Panther and the Tiger. However much either tank was "over engineered" and needlessly difficult to maintain, the reality was nothing on the Western Front could stand up to them until the arrival of the M26 Pershing. Even so, they could not have won, something Carius finds difficult to truly comprehend. He disparages enemy soldiers, especially Americans, while failing to recognize that these amateurs at war, armed with often inferior equipment, nonetheless kept coming at him and Germany until by sheer weight of blood, steel, and ferocity, they destroyed the nation that twice in the 20th Century plunged Europe into war and visited a level of depravity upon the helpless not matched until Cambodia and Bosnia.

3-0 out of 5 stars Interesting, but . . .
A very interesting book from a vantage point not often seen. Carius seems to have been an example of that unfortunately rare breed: the outstanding officer who is totally committed to his men. Alas, he's not so outstanding as a writer, although the translation may bear some of the blame. The book is choppy and full of single-sentence paragraphs that read like minichapters, having little to do with the text before or after. Also, his complete avoidance of any acceptance of the reality of the Holocaust, which he refers to only as "atrocity stories" wears a little thin. It seems he hasn't bothered to learn much about the war since it ended.

He spends a fair amount of time ridiculing the abilities of the American soldier, then complains that he wasn't treated well in captivity. One wonders if he would have been happier in Siberia under the Soviets whose ability he so admired.

The most fascinating chapter, I think, is about his meeting with Himmler to receive the Oak Leaves to his Knight's Cross. A very rare look at Himmler, relaxed and behind the scenes. ... Read more

86. Learning to Fall : The Blessings of an Imperfect Life
list price: $12.95
our price: $10.36
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Asin: 055338158X
Catlog: Book (2003-04-29)
Publisher: Bantam
Sales Rank: 26042
Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Now I find myself in late August, with the nights cool and the crickets thick in the fields. Already the first blighted leaves glow scarlet on the red maples. It’s a season of fullness and sweet longings made sweeter now by the fact that I can’t be sure I’ll see this time of the year again....
— from Learning to Fall

Philip Simmons was just thirty-five years old in 1993 when he learned that he had ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, and was told he had less than five years to live. As a young husband and father, and at the start of a promising literary career, he suddenly had to learn the art of dying. Nine years later, he has succeeded, against the odds, in learning the art of living.

Now, in this surprisingly joyous and spirit-renewing book, he chronicles his search for peace and his deepening relationship with the mystery of everyday life.

Set amid the rugged New Hampshire mountains he once climbed, and filled with the bustle of family life against the quiet progression of illness, Learning to Fall illuminates the journey we all must take — “the work of learning to live richly in the face of loss.”

From our first faltering steps, Simmons says, we may fall into disappointment or grief, fall into or out of love, fall from youth or health. And though we have little choice as to the timing or means of our descent, we may, as he affirms, “fall with grace, to grace.”

With humor, hard-earned wisdom and a keen eye for life’s lessons — whether drawn from great poetry or visits to the town dump — Simmons shares his discovery that even at times of great sorrow we may find profound freedom. And by sharing the wonder of his daily life, he offers us the gift of connecting more deeply and joyously with our own.

From the Hardcover edition.
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Reviews (15)

5-0 out of 5 stars Learning to Fall -- Spiritual Handbook for Mortals
This book is what every post-modern spiritual seeker is after -- a humane, down-to-earth exploration of the essence of soul, as seen from inside a full, thoughtful, suffering and joyful life. There are lots of references to spiritual "authorities," from Buddha to Emerson, but these just serve to ground the stories and insights. The author himself speaks with such gentle and frank authority that really nothing from outside is needed.

What is special about this book is Simmons' own experience of illness -- he has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease -- and how he has found his way through despair to redemption. Without resorting to any religious "teaching," Simmons still manages to achieve what he calls the chief function of religion: to explore "the harrowing business of rescuing joy from heartbreak."

5-0 out of 5 stars Learning the blessings
After receiving suggestions to read this book, I waited almost a year to do so. Knowing the author's illness, I felt some trepidation about diving into something ripe with sadness. But anyone considering this book should know that the book really is a blessing. Because it's not sad. In fact, at moments, it's hilariously funny. The stories and ruminations about life (and sometimes death), told by a man who has as much cheer as he does courage (abundant!) lifted my spirits as much as made me see the humor and beauty in the everyday world. Terrific book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Uplifting
Although this book was about the devastating disease ALS, I found it uplifting because the author had such a positive outlook and an acceptance of the situation due to his belief in God. It is hard to have hope in a hopeless situation and ALS is a hopeless situation.

I became a part of Mr. Simmons' life while reading this book because he lets us into his everyday life and not only his thoughts but also those of his wife and young family. He truly touched my heart. He teaches us all how to fall.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Painful, Exceptable Fall
There are no coincidences in life! I found this book by accident at a time when I was wondering why I was living and if I should continue. I read this book and realized that suffering is what life is about and once we come to accept and internalize it, it's not so bad. Philip truly made me humble before him and I thank him for sharing his deepest thoughts with the world at a most difficult time. He took his pain and turned it around to help others - there is nothing better! He writes with humor and with sensitivity about a subject none of us wants to face but a subject we will all confront eventually. I am a Hospice Volunteer and realize how fleeting life can be. Philip showed me that my work is what makes sense of the suffering. This is an inspirational, uplifting piece of literature without being too "GOD" oriented. If you're questioning life, this book is for you.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Timeless Legacy & Oasis
During a very dark time in my life, I happened to pick up this book, sarcastically thinking that it was going to be a positive thinking fluff ball of well-intentioned writing, but I thought I could use it anyway. Thank heavens my temporary cynicism did not deter me from one of the greatest gifts ever to be in print! This book is a spiritual power tool for anyone coping with loss, a candle lit by a stranger in our stormiest nights. This book looks death in the face with the quiet rage of a human being and the grace of a sage- and offers a bridge over the roughest waters of our lives. God bless you, Mr. Simmons for your hard-earned wisdom and generosity of spirit. May your journey lead to all of the riches you've given us in this book and this life. Just knowing someone has been there has meant meant everything. You have given us a legacy that will last a long, long time. I pity those indifferent souls who find no other better thing to do with their idle lives and self-righteous overblown intellects than to criticize this literary jewel. For the "urban fella" below, you have a long way to go, buddy... and a very hard fall. Only then will you know the value of this book and this man's experience. Marlene' M. Druhan- Author (Naked Soul, Llewellyn 1998) ... Read more

87. Soul Surfer : A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on the Board
by Bethany Hamilton, Rick Bundschuh
list price: $18.00
our price: $12.24
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Asin: 0743499220
Catlog: Book (2004-10-05)
Publisher: MTV
Sales Rank: 3671
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Book Description

The amazing story of the thirteen-year-old surfer girl who lost her arm in a shark attack but never lost her faith -- and of her triumphant return to competitive surfing.

They say Bethany Hamilton has saltwater in her veins. How else could one explain the tremendous passion that drives her to surf?How else could one explain that nothing -- not even the loss of her arm in a horrific shark attack -- could come between her and the waves?

That Halloween morning in Kauai, Hawaii -- a glorious part of the world, where it's hard to deny the divine -- Bethany responded to the shark's stealth attack with the calm of a girl with God on her side. Pushing pain and panic aside, she immediately began to paddle with one arm, focusing on a single thought: "Get to the beach...." Rushed to the hospital, where her father, Tom Hamilton, was about to undergo knee surgery, Bethany found herself taking his spot in the O.R. It's the kind of coincidence that isn't mere coincidence to the Hamilton family, a clan whose motto could easily be "the family that surfs and prays together stays together." To them it was a sign someone had a greater plan than the one they'd been working on themselves -- which had been to scrape together whatever resources they could to help Bethany rise to the top of her sport. When the first thing Bethany wanted to know after surgery was "When can I surf again?" it became clear that her unfaltering spirit and determination were part of a greater story -- a tale of courage and faith that this modest and soft-spoken girl would come to share with the world.

Soul Surfer is a moving account of Bethany's life as a young surfer, her recovery in the wake of the shark attack, the adjustments she's made to her unique surfing style, her unprecedented bid for a top showing in the World Surfing Championships, and, most fundamentally, her belief in God. It is a story of girl power and spiritual grit that shows that the body is no more essential to surfing -- perhaps even less so -- than the soul. ... Read more

88. When Character Was King: A Story of Ronald Reagan
by Peggy Noonan
list price: $15.00
our price: $10.20
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Asin: 0142001686
Catlog: Book (2002-10-01)
Publisher: Penguin Books
Sales Rank: 7512
Average Customer Review: 4.11 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Read by the author
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From the bestselling author of What I Saw at the Revolution comes an elegiac tribute to one of America's most beloved leaders.

It is twenty years—a full generation—since Ronald Reagan first walked into the White House and ignited a revolution.From the beginning, he enjoyed the American people's affection but now, as he approaches the end of his life, he has received what he deserved even more: their deep respect.

What was the wellspring of his greatness?Peggy Noonan, bestselling author of the classic Reagan-era memoir What I Saw at the Revolution, former speechwriter, and now a columnist and contributing editor for The Wall Street Journal, argues that the secret of Reagan's success was no secret at all.It was his character—his courage, his kindness, his persistence, his honesty, and his almost heroic patience in the face of setbacks—that was the most important element of his success.

The one thing a man must bring into the White House with him if he is to succeed, Noonan contends, is a character that people come to recognize as high, sturdy, and reliable.

Noonan, renowned for her special insight into Ronald Reagan's history and personality, brings her own reflections to Reagan to bear in When Character Was King and discloses never-before-told stories from the former president's family, friends, and White House colleagues to reveal the true nature of a man even his opponents now view as a maker of big history.

Marked by incisive wit and elegant prose, When Character Was King will enlighten and move listeners.
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Reviews (141)

5-0 out of 5 stars A-plus-plus
For devout Reaganites, Peggy Noonan's new book covers familiar ground. We're well acquainted with this quintessentially American success story, and with the deeply patriotic and moralistic ideals which underpinned RR's policies, particularly in the foreign policy sphere.

Yet, what makes this book so special is Ms. Noonan's extraordinary gifts for storytelling. A measure of her formidable talents is her ability to take well-chronicled events -- the hardscrabble Illinois childhood, the SAG and GE years, the 1976 near miss, the PATCO strike, the assassination ordeal, Iran-Contra, the Iceland Summit, etc, etc -- and infuse them with fresh energy and perspective.

As Ms. Noonan recounted RR's clear-eyed, strong-willed, visionary posture vis-a-vis the Soviets, I could not help but reflect on how those qualities have been sorely absent from U.S. foreign policy over the past decade -- and how urgently important they are right now. Indeed, the book's penultimate chapter is devoted to the lessons George W. Bush absorbed from nearly a decade of watching RR.

"When Character is King" advances Peggy Noonan's reputation as one of the finest political writers of her generation. A worthy successor to the memoir of her years in the Reagan White House: "What I Saw at the Revolution."

4-0 out of 5 stars At first disappointing, but it satisfies in the end
Peggy Noonan - who really does write "like an angel" as someone once said - would no doubt argue that to understand Ronald Reagan's character one must know in considerable detail about his origins. The first half or more of her book is a biographical chronicle of Reagan's rise from childhood to presidency. It is only sparsely salted with illuminating stories as it carefully recounts the progression of a life that was, until later, not extraordinary. It leaves us wanting more.

However the book delivers more in its later chapters as Noonan recounts less-known stories from her own and others' experience with Reagan as candidate and president. She knits them together with insight and astute observations to illuminate a fine man. The book in the end adequately depicts Reagan's strong convictions in his principles and sense of ethics, his respect for people of all stripes and his extra gentleness for the powerless and ordinary, his often self-deprecating humour, his love of nature and physical work, his seemingly-boundless optimism and other cornerstones of his character and his success.

Ultimately, the book fails in only one respect: it does not show much of the steely edge which most people experienced in politics would believe that Reagan must have had to make it to the Oval Office. Not showing this part of the man's character makes Ms. Noonan's picture less complete. However it is certainly not the one-sided deification that a few one-star reviews by obvious flaming liberals have claimed, and is well worth the time in reading.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Stirring Tribute to a Great Leader
I agree 100% with the other reviewers who have praised this book. Peggy Noonan's book serves as a concise but relatively thorough biography of Reagan, an informative explanation of the influences that guided his decisions before and during his political career, and a spirited and insightful defense of some of Reagan's controversial actions (controversial, at least, to those who Reagan called "our liberal friends" who "know so many things that are not so"). Plenty of funny, enlightening, and touching anecdotes help to make this a great tribute to one of our Nation's greatest leaders.

4-0 out of 5 stars An insiders view of a great president
This book was written by a former speech writer for Ronald Reagan. It features more than just a look inside the Reagan White House. It tells of his childhood in northern Illinois all the way through to his battle with Alzheimer's. There are amusing tales of Reagan's meetings with foreign heads of state. There is great detail of Iran Contra and Reagan's meetings with Gorachev. I expected the book to take a vary favorable position of Reagan (which it did for the most part) but Noonan was not exactly complimentary at times.

The best part of this book told the story of Reagan taking on the Communist infiltration of Hollywood in the 40's. I was unaware of this and found it quite interesting. It laid the foundation for his life in public office. Another interesting theme of the book shows how Reagan made the conversion from the Democratic to Republican party. I bet not many people knew he was a Democrat until midlife.

5-0 out of 5 stars "DON'T LET THE TURKEYS GET YOU DOWN."
When Ronald Reagan left office, he told George H.W. Bush, "Don't let the turkeys get you down." This is sage advice of the highest order, and applies to all people, famous or not. This is the Ronald Reagan that Peggy Noonan writes about.

Reagan was excoriated during his time, but he never became petty. The way he handled criticism is a model for the way all good people should handle criticism. The Reagan model is to stay positive and upbeat, no matter what the drumbeat of stupidity is. To follow his example is to stay above the fray, to maintain the Christian principle "forgive me my tresspasses, as I forgive those who trespass against me." The lessons that average people can learn from Reagan is that if you are a good and decent person, even if the small people, the various and sundry pizzants of the Dumbellionite Class, the ignoramuses, the people of low moral character, the dregs and the ne'r'do'wells attempt to mock you, to bring you down to their level, to react with jealousy at succeses they are unable to achieve, simply continue on a path of honesty and good works. Forgive them and let not your heart be troubled.

God bless Ronald Reagan.

... ... Read more

89. Confessions (Oxford World's Classics)
by Saint Augustine, Henry Chadwick
list price: $7.95
our price: $7.16
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0192833723
Catlog: Book (1998-04-01)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Sales Rank: 3116
Average Customer Review: 4.39 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In his own day the dominant personality of the Western Church, Augustine of Hippo today stands as perhaps the greatest thinker of Christian antiquity, and his Confessions is one of the great works of Western literature. In this intensely personal narrative, Augustine relates his rare ascent from a humble Algerian farm to the edge of the corridors of power at the imperial court in Milan, his struggle against the domination of his sexual nature, his renunciation of secular ambition and marriage, and the recovery of the faith his mother Monica had taught him during his childhood. Now, Henry Chadwick, an eminent scholar of early Christianity, has given us the first new English translation in thirty years of this classic spiritual journey.Chadwick renders the details of Augustine's conversion in clear, modern English.We witness the future saint's fascination with astrology and with the Manichees, and then follow him through scepticism and disillusion with pagan myths until he finally reaches Christian faith.There are brilliant philosophical musings about Platonism and the nature of God, and touching portraits of Augustine's beloved mother, of St. Ambrose of Milan, and of other early Christians like Victorinus, who gave up a distinguished career as a rhetorician to adopt the orthodox faith.Augustine's concerns are often strikingly contemporary, yet his work contains many references and allusions that are easily understood only with background information about the ancient social and intellectual setting.To make The Confessions accessible to contemporary readers, Chadwick provides the most complete and informative notes of any recent translation, and includes an introduction to establish the context. The religious and philosophical value of The Confessions is unquestionable--now modern readers will have easier access to St. Augustine's deeply personal meditations.Chadwick's lucid translation and helpful introduction clear the way for a new experience of this classic. ... Read more

Reviews (79)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Commendable Storyline Ending In Triumph
As a big fan of Augustine's writing I give this book five stars. The way that he has interwoven his thoughts, feelings, and personal experiences with the humble eloquence of repentance will have you as the reader very exuberant. In reading this work you will learn more of Augustine's life, the spiritual turmoil he faced, and how he came to knowledge of the truth in a most triumphant manner. Although, that's not all that you will find interesting in the Confessions. In fact once Augustine converts to Catholicism and discovers the mystery of the faith, he then proceeds to fill in the blanks philisophically were he had once been left in error. Finally Augustine ponders on the book of Genesis and discourses a respectable point of view on the creation of heaven and earth. Oh Yeah! I forgot to explain how Augustine corresponds the subject matter of this book with a profound emphasis on the Holy Scriptures. So I recommend this masterpiece to anyo ne who has a love for great Latin literature, or to all that wish to read the prestige of Christian writings.

5-0 out of 5 stars Tolle Lege!
I recently reread "The Confessions of St. Augustine" after many years and am glad that I did. This book, which is often called the first autobiography, is really not an autobiography in the sense that we use the term. It is Augustine's Confession to God, from which we glean many details about Augustine's life.

In this we learn of Augustine's family, his early life, his search for truth and, throughout the book, his teachings on theology. Here we see him move to the gradually larger world, from Tagaste, to Carthage, to Rome, to Milan, where he finally finds Truth. He is then ready to return to his native Africa, his preparation completed for the work which would make him one of the greatest, Christian theologians of all time.

In much of the early book, Augustine tells us of his rejections of God's call. Seeking truth and honors, he searched through many sources and sought out many teachers. He sought wisdom from pagan and Manichean philosophers. His disappointment with the highly touted Manichean bishop, Faustus, whose speech was pleasing but whose answers failed to soothe Augustine's soul, caused him to turn to Catholicism.

Learning from the respected bishop, Ambrose, Augustine came to recognize the truth of Christianity, but his slavery to a non-Christian life style long prevented him from following the call of God. This persisted until one day he heard the child's song "Tolle Lege, Tolle, Lege" (the title of my high school newspaper), "Take it and read." Taking this as a divine command to read the first passage of scripture to meet his eyes, he opened the book to the passage, "Not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying: but put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh in concupiscence." Needing to read no further, his conversion occurred and he was ready for the great work which lay before him.

Throughout much of the book, we are treated to Augustine's teachings on a variety of religious topics. We obtain his guidance on the nature of God, God's relationship with and expectations of man, as well as norms for the interpretation of scripture. This is the book for anyone with an interest in Christian theology or St. Augustine personally. Tolle Lege!

4-0 out of 5 stars A sui generis autobiography.
Saint Augustine of Hippo was born in 354 A.D. in the city of Thagaste, in the Roman North African province of Numidia, near nowadays Algiers. He died in 430, witnessing both the Fall of the glorious Roman Empire to the invasion of the Vandals in North √Āfrica, and the immediate following of his ideas by maverick African Catholicism, ideas for which he fought all his life in the most passionate way. He was a giant in its own right, being the prodigal son of the feverishly Catholic Saint Monica and of Patricius, a nondescript and abusing father who was to be thrown out by Augustine to the corners in his many works, the same fate destined to his prematurely dead son Adeodatus (Latin for "Given to God"), his elder brother and his concubine, the woman he lived with for many years, according with the local tradition of the times, and whom he sloughed of in the most unabashed way. It is only in the Confessions that he seems to scourge himself on this issue, wryly acknowledging the evil done.

He was one of the most prolific writers of all times, and the mature man who wrote Confessions in his mid-life is a sharp counterpoint to the points-of-views adopted by him in his early life, when he avidly followed Manichaeism against the will of his devoted mother. He had traveled intensively trough the foremost cities of the Roman Empire and had many patronizing influent men, and ended up, one thinks, against his will, as priest and later bishop of the city of Hippo, near Thagaste, where he had the responsibility of counterbalance the powerfull influence the Donatist (after Donatus) sect exerted upon his flock, who argued that human perfection was possible and attainable in this very life and the chaff elements of the Church having to be erased in the most cruel and quick ways by bands of brigands that descended from the mountains to attack whomever opposed their doctrine. But, that was not the last time he had to combat ideas different from his, and we see Augustine again holding the sword with fierceness against resurgent Paganism and in his final days, against Pelagianism and Julian Eclanus. It is strange that such a combative man died a natural dead, escaping the atrocities inflicted by the Vandals of Genseric upon his many friends and followers.

In Augustine's view, to earn the eternal salvation, one had to confess all his past sins in the most unabashed and vocal way, and that is precisely the purpose of Confessions, to lay down all his many past sins, in order to be among the few who would be chosen by God Almight to enter upon the Eternal Kingdom. The book, originally written in Latin by a man who had little familiarity with the infuential Greek language, introduces a new style into the Literature of the time and is judged as one of the most influential autobiographies ever written . Along with his magnificent City of God, it erected the scaffolds of early Catholicism, and must be listed among one of the 100 most literary works of all times.

3-0 out of 5 stars Mixed Feelings
Overall I would say it is a good read. I think I learned a lot and I don't regret reading it--it is a classic.

I found Augustine's account of his childhood, his exposure to the Manichees, and his search for truth to be really interesting.

However, toward the end of my reading I found things to get a bit tedious. I found his discussions on the human memory and his overwhelmingly long discourse on Genesis 1:1 to be tedious and somewhat awkward. I also find his allegorical interpretation of the creation to be somewhat far fetched.

5-0 out of 5 stars For All Who Seek
Let me begin by saying that this book should be read by anyone seeking to live a better life, whether you are Christian or not, St. Augustine's representation of himself and his personal struggles are so human that they are easily accesible to people's of all faiths. That being said, don't expect to come to this book and not be challenged. This book is also the best introduction to St. Augustine and his theology so if you wish to read any of his other works, start with this one.

In my opinion, this book is really two books in one, and should be treated as such. The first book is composed of the first nine chapters and forms the autobiographical portion of the Confessioons, and the tenth through thirteenth chapters make up a concise overview of St. Augustine's basic theological views.

The first part is by far the easier to read, and depend on you are searching for by reading this book, this may be all you really need to read. St. Augustine sets out candidly for his readers the story of his life; the faith of his mother that initially so disgusted him and eventually aided in his conversion, his lusts and youthful errors, and his final dramatic conversion in the garden. Some claim that many of St. Augustine's gruelling criticisms of himself are exagerations ment as examples to his parishioners (he was the Bishop of Hippo) but irregardless the cincerity and spiritual earnestness of St. Augustine's writing shines through every page. It is amazing to think that someone who lived over 1500 years ago is so much the same as men today.

The second part is the most intellectual of the two and this is the one that contains most of the theology of the work, and while I will say that this section may not be for everyone (but after reading his autobiography I hope you will feel compelled to read this) this section should NOT be read without first reading the more spiritual autobiography. St. Augustine here provides an outline for such celebrated principles as the everlasting now, and such difficult questions as was God compelled to create the world. While he does not mention much of one of his other very famous an important theological principles here (i.e. predestination) this is still the best introduction his entire cannon of theology that is available.

I'd like to say a few words on the Vintage Spiritual Classic s edition. This is a handsome well-priced paperback volume that offers a good easily readable modern english translation. I shopped around when looking for an edition of this book, and while there are some editions that offer more notes, this is the only edition that offers refferences to the scriptual passages St. Augustine is referring to. It also contains an invaluable concise introduction and timeline to St. Augustine's life and the environment in which he lived.

If you liked this, and you have good reading stamina, chack out his other major work "City of God". ... Read more

90. Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant
by Ulyssess S. Grant, Ulysses S. Grant
list price: $12.98
our price: $12.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0914427679
Catlog: Book (1999-03-15)
Publisher: William S. Konecky Associates
Sales Rank: 21289
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Grant was sick and broke when he began work on his Memoirs. Driven by financial worries and a desire to provide for his wife, he wrote diligently during a year of deteriorating health. He vowed he would finish the work before he died. One week after its completion, he lay dead at the age of 63.

Publication of the Memoirs came at a time when the public was being treated to a spate of wartime reminiscences, many of them defensive in nature, seeking to refight battles or attack old enemies. Grant's penetrating and stately work reveals a nobility of spirit and an innate grasp of the important fact, which he rarely displayed in private life. He writes in his preface that he took up the task "with a sincere desire to avoid doing injustice to anyone, whether on the National or the Confederate side." ... Read more

Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars Grant as commander.
Ulysses S. Grant like many other Civil War figures wrote a long and detailed memoir detailing his experiences in the war. Unlike many of the others however, he did it not to toot his own horn but for the noble purpose of leaving an income for his family. One of the most famous pictures of Grant is the one of him sitting on his porch, covered in blankets, writing. He died just a week after he finished this book. I wonder if the Grant family is still receiving royalties from this book after all of these years.

In reading this book one has to take into account that by his own admission, Grant was not a scholar. Nor was he a writer, but for a sick old soldier he does a wonderful job. The writing is a little dry at times but that is mainly because he goes into so much detail about his campaigns. His West Point eye shows not only in his strategy but also in his writing as he goes into great detail about the topography of the areas he is describing. In fact, this is the most dull part of the book as he goes into so much detail that he will occasionally lose the reader entirely. Grant is not one to cast blame for his problems but as part of his topographical discussions he almost always writes that this ground was much more favorable for offense than defense. He of course being on the offensive. It is also easy to avoid casting blame for failures when the writer has few failures, so while Grant is not guilty of this he has no reason to be.

Grant does not describe his battles in detail for some reason. His overall campaigns are covered in detail but the battles themselves get little attention. The battles of others under his command are told in a far more interesting and complete manner than are the battles he was personally involved in. His descriptions of Sherman's Atlanta campaign and the march to the sea are riveting and his descriptions of the final days of the war and Lee's surrender are enthralling. He also goes to great lengths to defend some of his comrades against charges that had been made against them while never taking on charges leveled at him. His drinking is never mentioned. He even takes time to defend Joe Johnston's Georgia campaign against Sherman. His insights are incredible but this memoir could have offered the reader a little more of a glimpse into the author than it does. Although, toward the end of the book one does start to see Grant's personality come out.

There are numerous maps included in this book but they will be of little use to most readers. I assume they are military maps, but they are so detailed that one can hardly make out the important points. There is also an attempt to downplay what Robert E. Lee had accomplished before Grant arrived on the scene. This could have come from humility on Grant's part, or it could have been jealousy, but whatever the cause it is unseemly. Still, Grant knew how to defeat Lee and did so, which is more than any other Union general managed to do.

Overall, this is a very insightful and well-written book. Any serious student of the Civil War will want to have a copy of their own, not only to read but as a very important reference book. He points out the mistakes and shortcomings of leaders on both sides as well as offers praise when he feels it is due. It is amazing how kind he is to General Halleck considering how much trouble that man caused Grant early in the war. He does seem to take delight however in detailing Sherman's dislike of Halleck. Not much of the real Grant comes across in this book but what does come through is that while he was a determined advisory; he was also a very kind hearted man. A great man in fact, who was very much misunderstood, then and now.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the great books in the English language
General Grant wrote this book while dying of throat cancer. He had been swindled by a dishonest Wall Street Broker and his trophies and possessions were stripped from him to satisfy the demands of his debtors. Bankrupt, suffering from a terminal illness and never passing a moment without acute pain, he produced this magnificent monument to his greatness. Those who denigrate Grant as a drunkard, butcher, bumbling President need to read this book in order to correct these errant assumptions. It is impossible to read this book and not realize that Grant was an inordinately intelligent man and one hell of a writer.

Grant's Memoirs are a deserved classic in American literature and considered the greatest military Memoirs ever penned, exceeding Caesar's Commentaries. Grant wrote as he lived: with clear, concise statements, unembellished with trivialities or frivolities. The only "criticism" the reader might have is that Grant bent over backwards not to wound the feelings of people in the book. He takes swipes at Joe Hooker and Jeff Davis, but what he left unsaid would have been far more interesting. A compelling and logical reason why Grant was so spare in his comments was because he was involved in a race with death. He didn't know how long he could live and therefore, "cut to the chase."

Grant's assessments of Lincoln, Sherman, Sheridan and other military leaders are brilliant and engrossing. His style, like the man himself, was inimitable and couldn't be copied. In everyday life, Grant was a very funny man, who liked to listen to jokes and tell them himself. His sense of the absurd was acute. It's no accident that he loved Mark Twain and the two hitched together very well. Twain and Grant shared a similar sense of humor, and Grant's witicisms in the Memoirs are frequent, unexpected and welcome. There are portions where you will literally laugh out loud.

Though Grant's Memoirs were written 113 years ago, they remain fresh, vibrant and an intensely good read. I have read them in! their entirity 30 times in my life and I never weary of the style and language that Grant employed. He was a military genius to be sure, but he was also a writer of supreme gifts, and these gifts shine through on every page of this testament to his greatness. All Americans should read this book and realize what we owe to Grant: he preserved the union with his decisive brilliance. A truly oustanding book.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the better Civil War memoirs
One of the nice things Grant does in his book, is break down ranks using a horizantal flow chart on various pages. This helps clear confusion for the novice. (page 446-7 is one example)
Other reviews have spoken admirmingly of this book, I would like to draw attention to an incident Grant tells of, where a Union soldier is stealing ALL of a Southern ladies chickens.The Southern woman vainly pleaded with the Union soldiers to please spare her a few at least.
The Union soldiers looked at the woman and said,

>"This rebellion has to be suppressed if it takes the last chicken in the Confederacy."< ( Page 555 Grants memoirs)
( how will this woman and her children eat after this?)Another following incident---

>"The South prior to the rebellion kept bloodhounds to pursue runaway slaves who took refuge in the neighboring swamps, and also to hunt convicts. Orders were issued to KILL all of these animals as they were met with.
On one occasion a soldier picked up a POODLE, the favorite pet of it's mistress, and was carrying it off to EXECUTION, when the lady made a strong appeal to him to spare it.
The soldier replied," Madam our orders are to KILL every bloodhound,"
"But this is not a Bloodhound," said the lady.
"Well, Madam, we can not tell what it will grow into, if we leave it behind," said the soldier as he went off with it."<

---------------The Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant------Page 555----
( exact wording again, the capitals are mine for emphasis)

Combining Grants testimony, and Memoirs of General W.T. Sherman, ( see my review of his book, and the direct quote), there is no doubt the Southern women, children and families suffered greatly during the Civil War. There was NO MILITARY VALUE, for the majority of this.

People that deny this, should read books, by the two top Northern Generals.

As far as Civil War biographies go, this is one of the better ones.

5-0 out of 5 stars A man of whom all Americans can be proud
The book is remarkable for its clarity of speech and the simplicity of its presentation, but most of all for the quality of focus of a man whose final chapter is as moving as any I have read, and written just a week before he died. I recommend that the trilogy of Grant; CAPTAIN SAM GRANT, GRANT MOVES SOUTH, and GRANT TAKES COMMAND, be read first. Then read his MEMOIRS, and follow it up with ON THE BORDER WITH CROOK. The characters in the MEMOIRS appear prominently in all the others; men known by Grant from West Point, the Mexican American War, and who served, subsequently, as officers during the Indian Wars following the Civil War. Connections such as these fascinate me. Grant's knowledge of his adversaries most of who he knew from experience was perhaps his greatest weapon. Yet, war being war, he never let let friendship interfere with his duty, which is why he became known as UNCONDITIONAL SURRENDER (U.S.) GRANT. it seemed to me the more he got into his work, the better he expressed himself, and his CONCLUSION rose to the level of greatness as a writer. He seemed the perfect compliment to Abe Lincoln whose policies he hoped to carry forward.

5-0 out of 5 stars Simple, elegant , humorous, while at death's door
More than the descriptions of the great battles, which were of such great scale that they were beyond my ability to grasp, I was most impressed with the courage and intelligence of the man, who wrote these memoirs while dying of a painful cancer. His assessments of the generals on both sides, many of whom he knew intimately from the Mexican war, are priceless. I think the one I like best was of General Warren -- "His difficulty was constitutional and beyond his control. He was an officer of superior ability, quick perceptions, and the personal courage to accomplish anything that could be done with a small command."

General Grant also never lost the ability to make fun of himself (a lost art among today's leaders?), recalling being mocked by a stablehand who had seen him prancing in his uniform shortly after being commissioned. Perhaps that is why in his prime Grant so often wore a simple private's shirt with his proper insignia of rank.

The anecdotes from his conversations with President Lincoln are unforgettable. So are stories from the war with Mexico, when long-range Mexican cannonballs came into his lines at such shallow angles that his men could open ranks to avoid the bounding projectiles. The language of the day - "reducing" the enemy "works" with great "execution" -- adds to the enjoyment and reminds the reader of today's "collateral damage" military jargon.

Grant, great lover of a good cigar, comments on his observations from the war with Mexico that people smoked tobacco more when it was an expensive item they they did later when the price was much cheaper.

Where are such men today? Probably still out there waiting for the next great challenge to bring them forward. General Grant comments that "Those who wait to be selected, rather than those who seek, can be expected to provide the most efficient service." ... Read more

91. Jacqueline Kennedy : The White House Years: Selections from the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum
by Metropolitan Museum of Art, Hamish Bowles, Arthur M. Schlesinger, Rachael Lambert Mellon
list price: $50.00
our price: $31.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0821227459
Catlog: Book (2001-05-13)
Publisher: Bulfinch
Sales Rank: 6803
Average Customer Review: 3.07 out of 5 stars
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Did the clothes make Jackie, or did Jackie make the clothes? Decide for yourself: Jacqueline Kennedy: The White House Years is a stunning catalog of some of Jacqueline Kennedy's most important dresses as worn during her years as first lady of the United States. As visually sleek and elegant as Mrs. Kennedy herself, the book offers a beautiful analysis of the stunning, simple outfits that typified the Jackie style and brought a breath of sleek modernity to the White House after the somewhat frumpy fussiness of previous first lady Bess Truman. Released to coincide with the 40th anniversary of Kennedy's "emergence" as a style icon, the book presents an eclectic selection of suits, evening dresses, daywear, and accessories from the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum collection. Divided into cities where each item was first worn, the gowns, suits, and dresses are first presented alone in a full-page color photo. Each is then accompanied by various photos of Jackie wearing the item and detailed design notes, history, and anecdotes behind the outfit.

These photos give a wonderful context to the clothes, and it's clear that Jackie's carriage and persona injected life into these garments--which sometimes appear markedly different from what one might deduce as each item's "personality" when simply viewing it alone. For example, a pale cream embroidered silk Givenchy evening gown looks dull and somewhat dowdy when seen alone, but the accompanying photograph of Jackie wearing it while cuddling a newborn John Kennedy Jr. transforms the dress into something feminine and timeless. Or a very simple, innocently pretty pink shantung evening gown by Guy Douvier becomes arrestingly sexy when she wears it with nothing but white gloves and a Palm Beach tan. Contextualizing and interpreting Kennedy's style is an important part of this book. Featured are essays on Jackie and her effect on the world of style by Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., Kennedy friend Rachel Lambert Mellon, and the book's author and Vogue editor at large, Hamish Bowles. Jacqueline Kennedy: The White House Years accompanies an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. --Marisa Lencioni, ... Read more

Reviews (14)

5-0 out of 5 stars Jacqueline Chic
This is a "must have" book for anyone who loves the beauty, style and grace of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, fashion and history. The beautiful fashion photography with insightful essays showcases the former First Lady as one of the 20th century's fashion icons. Her clothing, simple and modern, yet classically elegant, created by major designers of the time such as Oleg Cassini and Givenchy, reflects her visionary fashion savvy. This book will make you ask do clothes make a person, or does the inner soul and outer beauty of a person, such as the former First Lady, make the clothes?

5-0 out of 5 stars MOST EXCELLENT
Excellent EVERYTHING!!!
A must for jackie AND caroline fans...i figure she did a lot for this and chose some GREAT photos...esp. the last one, in my humble opinion.
I LOVE IT!!! and was shocked when i actually saw it after the few not-so appreciative reviews.
THANKS to everyone who was behind putting this out. As my grandmother would say about such a great book, "It lifts you up." (she said that about the Sotheby's Auction catalog of JBKO's Estate.

3-0 out of 5 stars Quality, Youth, Beauty, Style and Culture in the White House
Caution: If you like looking at lots of photographs of early 1960s designer dresses, you will probably like this book. Otherwise, this is probably not the right book for you.

During the presidential election of 1960, Ms. Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy made an immense impression on American society. At 31, she was a dramatic contrast with the vice president's wife, Ms. Patricia Nixon, and recent first ladies (Ms. Mame Eisenhower, Ms. Bess Truman, and Ms. Eleanor Roosevelt). She was much younger than these women, was pregnant with her son, John, and seemed like someone who came from another world. Ms. Kennedy was highly cultured, interested in the fine arts, attractive in a way that showed up well in photographs and on television, and wore gorgeous clothes of the sort usually only seen in the best fashion magazines.

Once in the White House, her differences from other first ladies became more apparent. A major effort to redecorate the White House with authentic pieces ensued, Lafayette Square's appearance was conserved, entertaining began to feature people from the world of fine arts, the Rose Garden was redesigned, and the clothes she wore became even more magnificent. A great deal of the sense of Camelot certainly came from Ms. Kennedy.

I was disappointed in the book. For someone who had such a wide and important influence on America, the book barely seemed to scratch the surface. It is almost as though a decision had been made to create a book about her dresses on state occasions, and to mention and show all of the other influences she had as little as possible.

This book minimally and partially captures the impact she had on our national consciousness. The best essay is found in the foreword by Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. who provides a good overview of the influence of Ms. Kennedy (as described above) and her husband, the president, more broadly on the arts (including efforts that helped lead to the National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities, the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and providing a temple from Egypt to the Metropolitan Museum in New York). Most of the book is visually devoted to her clothing during state occasions, with notes about those who created the clothes. A typical section has color photographs of the clothing on mannequins, Ms. Kennedy wearing the clothes at an event, and a black-and-white image of how she appeared in the context of the whole event.

The clothing captures what was called at the time, the Jackie look. Most of the dresses are by Oleg Cassini, Givenchy, Chez Ninon, and Gustave Tassell. There are also lots of examples of her hats (often pillboxes by Halston). The outfits are usually as simple and conservative as possible in solid colors, made special by perhaps one elegant bow or sash. Unfortunately, these sections have little material about Ms. Kennedy's views on these apparel, designs for the clothing, or thoughts about how to coordinate them with shoes and accessories.

What was most impressive to me was the success with which she selected outfits that fit in with the nations she was visiting. In France, the elegance of Givenchy enveloped her. In India, bright pastel shades made her look like part of the jungle flora. I'm sure the host nations were delighted to see their specialness magnified in her efforts to be an attractively dressed guest.

But these clothes are unremarkable without Ms. Kennedy. Like a well-known fashion model, she enhanced the clothes enormously with her youth, vitality, personality, and trim figure. So, for me, the book's real value was in seeing the many photographs of Ms. Kennedy. I especially liked the candid photographs, either talking with guests or playing with her children.

How can we recapture a sense of uniquely American style and good taste in ways that will bring approval?

What are the ways that the president and first spouse should set a good example for the rest of us?

5-0 out of 5 stars An elegant blast from the past!
When I took this tome out of its mailer & began to turn its pages, I suddenly remembered my own set of formal white cotton gloves - long since discarded - so reverential was the aura emanating from this glossy artbook.

Jacqueline Kennedy kept it simple - most of her clothes were in solid colors with only huge buttons, cockades or discreet stylized bows, scarves, shawls or frogs for detail. In the Travel Chapter we see the simplicity of her wardrobe & her passion for colors.

Combining original & new photographs, this volume presents images we have rarely seen, as well as photos that have become a part of our national consciouness. The final one of the President & First Lady together in the open touring auto needs no words - we all know what happened next.

Certainly a treasure of memories - where we were, what we wore, what we wished we could wear. I never realized how Mrs. Kennedy acquired her wardrobe assuming, incorrectly, that she always wore top-of-the-line haute couture - when in actuality she wore "knock-offs", sometimes chosen by her mother-in-law.

For anyone who cannot make the pilgrimage to the 40th Anniversary Exhibition at the John F. Kennedy Library & Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York & who craves visions of those much-mimicked fashions of yesteryear.

4-0 out of 5 stars An unexpected pleasure
After reading some of the reviews for this book stating it was dull and offered nothing of particular interest except alot of talk about A line dresses and cuts on the bias, I was apprehensive about wasting so much money on it.However having bought nearly every book published on Mrs Onassis I went ahead and ordered it anyway.Upon opening it I was pleasantly surprised. It was well set out,interesting and with many fine photos I had not seen, to illustrate the somewhat dry text.But the most facinating aspect of this book is to actually see what these dresses looked like in colour....after seeing numerous black and white photos of the Kennedy reception at the Elysee Palace and to hear the pink straw dress worn by Mrs kennedy described, it was mesmerizing to actually see wonder she was described as radiant....and the most amazing thing is that Mrs kennedy dresses were sometimes even more interesting when viewed from the back...the intricate drapery and patterns.The photo of her in a backless sundress on the Italian Riveria is a revelation as it was worn in 1962 and was so ahead of its time...this book shows that Jacqueline kennedy had true style and is worthy of the mantle of fashion icon even though she would probably want to be remembered for her more substancial contributions.A very worthwhile addition to any devotee's library ... Read more

92. Cpl. Forrest Guth: 'E' Company, 506th PIR, 101st Airborne Division (WWII American Paratroopers Portrait Series, No. 1)
by Michel De Trez
list price: $34.95
our price: $34.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 296001765X
Catlog: Book (2002-06-01)
Publisher: D-Day Publishing
Sales Rank: 167945
Average Customer Review: 4.75 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

"Goody" Guth is an original member of the famous "Easy" Company of the 506th PIR, the "Band of Brothers".

In Normandy, Guth chose to disregard the order against taking cameras into Normandy and snapped photographs throughout the Normandy campaign leaving him with many outstanding images.

With the help of these photographs and Guth's recollections it has been possible to retrace the route he took from the place he was miss-dropped near Utah Beach, until he reached "Easy" on the outskirts of Carentan.

Guth's story is retold through many photographs, pieces of his original uniform and equipment and his personal recollections. ... Read more

Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Forrest Guth Book Review
Mr. DeTrez does a fabulous job in telling Corporal Guth's story of his time in the Airborne. Tons of pictures, many with long, information-filled captions. The pictures are from Mr. Guth's private collection, and give a great perspective on his time in the 101st Airborne. It's almost like you're sitting in his house, looking at his personal photo albums.

I met Mr. Guth on one occasion, and correspond with him occasionally. He's a very nice man, polite, modest, and takes very little credit for the incredible job he performed in the military.
If you like the Band of Brothers Mini-series, you need to buy this book; it's a must!

4-0 out of 5 stars Good Picture Book of WWII Paratrooper
Cpl. Forrest Guth, of Wilmington, Delaware, was one of the real "Band of Brothers" featured in Stephen Ambrose's book and the HBO movie series of the same name.

This book is written in English and French and chronicles the training, D-Day experiences and European service of Cpl. Guth (including the Battle of the Bulge) as he and other members of his 101st Airborne company liberated Europe from German control.

This is a coffee table type book with great pictures and long captions that tell the story of one man's duty in that great war. The pictures are terrific and are a good impression of the look, equipment and wear of a combat parachutist. A good companion book for fans of "Band of Brothers."

I have had the honor of meeting Cpl. Guth. He is a matter-of-fact man who did is duty honorably and is humble regarding the attention Mr. Ambrose's book has placed upon him. This book is a nice brief picture of a regular young man called to do big and dangerous things during wartime.

5-0 out of 5 stars A must have for all WWII enthusiasts.
Amazing collection of photo's from a 101st member on D-Day. If you are a fan of the Band of Brothers series on HBO or enjoyed Ambrose's book you'll love these photos.
You will see up close photos of uniforms and equipment of the 101st Airborne Division as well as some German gear. This makes a perfect reference for WWII Re-enactors.
Also included are some great stories behind the photos. As a huge WWII buff and re-enactor I highly recommend this book for your collection.

5-0 out of 5 stars Cpl. Forrest Guth
If you liked "Band of Brothers," you'll enjoy this book. It follows one member of Easy company from when he joined the Airborne until the end of the war. The book is filled with photos taken by Cpl. Guth during training, the Normandy Invasion and the Battle of the Bulge. There are also photos of the uniforms and equipment he carried. It's really a fascinating account of what this one man experienced during the war. Be sure to check out De Trez's other Airborne books. You won't be disappointed. ... Read more

93. A Treasury of Royal Scandals: The Shocking True Stories of History's Wickedest, Weirdest, Most Wanton Kings, Queens, Tsars, Popes, and Emperors
by Michael Farquhar
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0140280243
Catlog: Book (2001-05-01)
Publisher: Penguin Putnam
Sales Rank: 4081
Average Customer Review: 4.27 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (52)

5-0 out of 5 stars Lots of fun for royal watchers
Michael Farquhar's "A Treasury of Royal Scandals" will delight inveterate royal watchers! As he sniffs in the introduction, he covers not the current crop of royals, as none of them have provided anything worthy of the title of "scandalous," but he goes in-depth to provide us with (as the book is subtitled) "shocking true stories of history's wickedest, weirdest, most wanton kings, queens, tsars, popes, and emperors."

Farquhar provides a handy family tree for major royal families at the beginning--it's most helpful when the scandals reach a dizzying pitch and you need to sort out which royal is plotting to overthrow/marry for money/murder which other royal. He debunks an awful lot of incorrect gossip (like the oft-told tale of Catherine the Great's predilection for beastiality) and comes up with wonderful gems of dirt that will be deliciously unfamiliar to most readers. This is not a scholarly work by any means--it's kind of like a historical PEOPLE magazine, focusing on the faux pas, the foibles, and the fevered doings of all sorts of royals throughout history. Great good fun!

5-0 out of 5 stars Funny!
This book is well written and absolutely hilarious! Anyone who wants to learn more about royalty and the quirky things they have done in the past should read this. It is funny and interesting, and never slows its pace, but at the same time it also helps you learn more about the rulers of Europe in the past 2000 years. Although it is named "A Treasury of Royal Scandals", it never becomes overly graphic or tasteless. It is well-organized too; split into chapters according to subject (death, marriage, weird parents, etc.) I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys the livlier side of history!

5-0 out of 5 stars Must Read
Even if one is not a history buff (which is hard for me to imagine), this book is one of the more enjoyable reads ever. Well written as a collection of very witty and informative essays, it goes indepthly into the royal scandals of the day. I couldn't put it down.

4-0 out of 5 stars FEW DULL MOMENTS..
I was either laughing or reading with my mouth gaped. The information was abundant covering dozens of kings, queens, tsars, popes and emperors. The well written book leaves me eagerly awaiting for the arrival of The Treasury of Great American Scandals to my door step. Not overly intense, but enough to keep you wanting more.

5-0 out of 5 stars We didn't learn this in school!
I would loved to have known a few of these stories in high school! I loved this book, read it in about 3 hours, and am looking forwward to the next book. I was upset when I got to the end. I thought it was extremely interesting that there were so many evil popes in our history. It's amazing to me that Catholicism is still alive today! I love the author's writing style, it kept me chuckling and snickering throughout the book. He gives great detail to the appearance of some of the royalty, so much that I kept picturing obese old men with open festering sores all night. Thanks Michael! :) ... Read more

94. Faith of My Fathers
list price: $25.00
our price: $17.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375501916
Catlog: Book (1999-08-31)
Publisher: Random House
Sales Rank: 6171
Average Customer Review: 4.53 out of 5 stars
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Books by politicians are not often worth reading, but John McCain's Faith of My Fathers is an astonishing exception to the rule. The Republican senator from Arizona has a remarkable story to tell--better than just about any of his peers--and he tells it well, with crisp prose and an unexpected sense for narrative pacing. The first half of the book concerns his naval forbears: his grandfather commanded an aircraft carrier in the Second World War, while his father presided over all naval forces in the Pacific during the Vietnam War. They were the first father-son admirals in American history. Young John McCain knew he had enormous shoes to fill and rebelled against many of the expectations set for him. At the Naval Academy, he was nearly expelled, graduating fifth from the bottom of his class. He never became an admiral, but achieved fame another way: as a naval aviator in 1967, he was shot down over North Vietnam and spent several years in POW camps, where he was beaten, tortured, and nearly allowed to die. McCain describes the awful details of his imprisonment and tells how he stayed mentally strong during seemingly endless months of solitary confinement and how he communicated in code with fellow captives. Faith of My Fathers concludes with McCain's release and contains no information about his subsequent political career. It is, nonetheless, a complete and compelling memoir of individual heroism--one that will interest both political and military history buffs. --John J. Miller ... Read more

Reviews (161)

5-0 out of 5 stars A fair and moving account
I am a Vietnam combat veteran, and I was pleasantly surprised by this book because almost everything in it was new to me. I knew very little about the careers of Senator McCain's grandfather and father, and even less about his harsh years as a POW in North Vietnam. My miserable year in combat pales in comparison to the horrible treatment these men received. I particularly enjoyed McCain's openness and honesty about his own shortcomings, his self-deprecating style, his dry sense of humor, his generous praise for others, and most of all his humility. I was also struck by the total lack of hostility expressed towards his captors. This is a very readable book and I found the author's personal insights into the Vietnam War both moving and powerful. Reading this made me proud to be an American, and it reminded me that we do have something special and unique to offer in the world, and how fortunate we are to have leaders like John McCain in our midst.

5-0 out of 5 stars Exceptional!
John McCain's "Faith of My Fathers" deals primarily with his POW years in Vietnam. The first half of the book provides information on his grandfather and father's Navy careers. This might be mundane to some readers but as I read along, I understand how his family's legacy made John McCain who he is. McCain also detailed his life in the Navy academy and outlining the academic and practical training he received. It is quite interesting to learn more about McCain's childhood, living from one state to another, never really retaining close friends and his rebellious years at the Academy.

The second half of the book deals with his imprisonment in Vietnam. This part of the book is most amazing and eye-opening. The beatings and tortures that McCain and other POWs received were appalling. It takes a lot for these prisoners to endure both physically and mentally. McCain describes the various methods that the prisoners used to occupy their time, to keep the mind as clear as possible and to provide support for their fellow prisoners. Communication proved to be an essential part of their survival. In addition, McCain was generous in his compliments to his fellow prisoners and provided many true stories of heroism and bravery of the POWs.

After finishing this book, I cannot but feel tremendous respect for John McCain and other POWs who survived the terrible ordeals and also to the military. In this memoir, McCain proved that it is important for the POWs to believe in both the military and the government to take care of their families when they were unable to. This memoir/biography is definitely worth reading and readers can gain valuable insights into life in general and things that we take for granted, such as freedom. "Faith of My Fathers" is a reminder for us to appreciate the little things in life and most importantly, to have faith.

4-0 out of 5 stars Interesting, if a bit abbreviated
Faith of My Fathers is John McCain's memoir of his service in the Vietnam war, with an extended prologue in which he introduces you to his father and grandfather, their deeds, and what these acts mean to him. It's interesting, but the memoir half of the book isn't that long and so it's somewhat less satisfying than it could be.

McCain's grandfather and father were both admirals (the first father and son to both reach four star rank in the Navy's history). McCain the elder commanded aircraft carriers during WW2, under Admiral Halsey. Halsey is quoted as saying that McCain was "not much more than my right arm." McCain served during the last year of the war in command of Halsey's carriers or a large portion of them, and did so ably.

The second McCain was a submarine commander during the same conflict, and was Commander in Chief of the Pacific during the Viet Nam War. He held this latter position when his son, the author of the book, was shot down over North Viet Nam and captured by the Vietnamese. Both father and grandfather appear to have been loyal, skilfull sailors who fought hard and lived harder, something that McCain apparently has done also.

The faith of the title is less religious than it sounds, though the author makes it clear that he's Christian. Instead, the faith turns out to be an abiding attachment to the core values that officers in the armed services once held: being honorable, faithful to the flag and the uniform, loyal to their country, and of course conventionally rowdy (drinking and gambling too much, chiefly) but never anything that would raise anyone's eyebrows, really. There is a strong religious element to it, but it's not overwhelming.

I enjoyed this book. McCain is an interesting and at times infuriating Republican, but he's also very up front abou what he considers his core beliefs and how he tries to hold on to them. The best parts of the book are the passages where he tells of the Vietnamese attempts to torture him and other prisoners into confessing to war crimes. He makes it clear that the war criminals weren't the captives. I would recommend this book, especially for those who wish to learn more about John McCain.

5-0 out of 5 stars very moving story
I often wonder how the being a POW would shake your resolve and faith for the country, and wonder if I could do it. After reading this book I am no closer to the dicision that I could survive it, but it makes you proud to know that there are americans like John Mccain out there. This book doesn't just cover the time in prision though, but rather his life up until he was released as well as the lives of his father and grandfather. A must read for anyone interested in history.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Great Patriot
I couldn't put this book down. A great, smooth read about the three John McCains. An awesome family history that teaches about fathers and sons and wars. The relationships between these men were stronger than I imagined. I recommend this book to everyone to see how a true patriot serves their country. ... Read more

95. The Life of the Buddha : According to the Pali Canon
by Nyanaponika Thera, Gnanamoli
list price: $21.00
our price: $21.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1928706126
Catlog: Book (2001-08)
Publisher: Independent Publishers Group
Sales Rank: 28042
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Composed entirely of texts from the Pali canon, this unique biography presents the oldest authentic record of the Buddha's life and revolutionary philosophy. The ancient texts are rendered here in a language marked by lucidity and dignity. A framework of narrators and voices connect the canonical texts. Vivid recollections of his personal attendant Ananda and other disciples bring the reader into the Buddha's presence, where his example offers profound inspiration and guidance on the path to freedom. ... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Buddhism Changes Too.
This is my humble opinion on the importance and place of this book.

The Changes of Buddhism:

1. Theravada Buddhism = techniques of making art
2. Mahayana Buddhims = the skillful and creative artist
3. Western (existential) Buddhism = modern artist

Theravad: "The Life of the Buddha"
is filled with the actual teachings and words of the Buddha.

Mahayana: "A Guide To The Bodhisattva's Way of Life" by Santideva
is filled with relevant insights in everyday life that were first inspired
by the original words of the Buddha

Western: "Buddhism Without Belief" by Stephen Batchelor
asks do we really know? What is relevant?
Instead of accepting or rejecting,
we can admit that we don't really know,
but still be open minded and have the resolve
to continue to question and explore.

5-0 out of 5 stars Straight from the horse's mouth
This is an excellent book using only material from the earliest accounts provided from the time of the Buddha.

You can make your own mind up about this enigmatic human being rather than relying on hearsay. It includes biographical material by observers, autobiographical accounts from the Buddha and also includes a section on the teaching. All sections are prefaced with opening remarks like the acts of a play in more or less chronological sequence of the Buddha's life.

Nanamoli was one of the best Pali translators and tries to produce as authentic and as lucid an account based on the Pali sources used.

One of the most ancient Buddhist texts, the Digha Nikaya, summarizes the Buddha's teaching this way:

"To do no evil deeds, to give effect to good, to purify the heart."

The essense of this teaching can be conveyed no more powerfully than by a carefully told account of the Buddha's life, and no account of his life can be told more carefully than the one by Bikkhu Nanamoli.

Nanamoli, a scholar-monk, deliberately chooses not to glorify the tale by weaving it into yet another overly rich, silk-and-gold tapestry of the sort which the oriental world has loved to make of it. Instead he patiently pieces together dozens of bits from the oldest fabrics he can find, and creates from them a simple quilt, stunning in the geometrical honesty of its design and beautiful in the precision with which it is crafted.

The ancient fabrics from which Nanamoli snips out the elements of this biography are selected exclusively from works encompassed by the Pali Tipitika. By imposing this limit on his sources Nanamoli does not compromise the completeness of the work nor diminish the elegance of the story; in a remarkable way, he actually enhances both. Nanamoli brings to life a flesh-and-blood Buddha, and convinces the reader than anxient India and its people are more like the world today than different from it. The evolution of the Buddha's doctrine is allowed to remain an epic, but on a human scale. Nanamoli preserves the grandeur of the great Teacher's achievements without aggrandizing him as a person. By the book's end the reader will surely concede that fanciful myth and axaggerated exploits about the Buddha are not needed to enhance our admiration of him. As this stimple story gains momentum, we are allowed to experience first-hand how one of the world's most compelling leaders created himself through the sheer power of his intellect and the wonder of his spiritual perfection.

For the serious student, Nanamoli's book selects, organizes and reproduces all the basic facts of the Buddha's life and most of his essential ideas. (One entire chapter uses selections from the Tipitika just to summarize the major components of his teaching or dhamma). Through its other footnotes and indices, the book also equips the reader to turn to and review the original Tipitika sources any times he wishes. In effect Nanamoli creates a historical road-map, starting with specific events, ideas and people, and leading straight back to the original texts themselves. The index is very complete, and the lengthy list of sources neatly summarizes each fragment taken from a given scripture, then locates it by title and page. A real map helps to find most of the places the Buddha frequented, and documents the scope of all the world he knew and wandered.

If one proposes to confine himself only to a single book about Buddhism, this would not be a bad choice. However if one is committed to read all he can about the Buddha, Nanamoli's biography should be within reach at all times. More than just another ancient legend retold, this unpretentious book gives great coherence and meaning to the intricate web of Buddhist teaching and doctrine. In my view it sheds far more light on this web than do a great many of the other highly elaborate books written with the ambitious aim of explaining or expounding upon that doctrine.

Nanamoli's work is devoted to the Buddha's life. However the reader may find that the book has the power to deal with other lives as well. It will certainly inform and stimulate. But I predict that it might actually reach into the very lives of all those who read and study it, and could dramatically change those lives forever. ... Read more

96. A Table In The Presence : The Dramatic Account of How a U.S. Marine Battalion Experienced God's Presence Amidst the Chaos of the War in Iraq
by Carey H. Cash
list price: $19.99
our price: $13.59
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0849918235
Catlog: Book (2004-04-07)
Publisher: W Publishing Group
Sales Rank: 1905
Average Customer Review: 4.94 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

On April 10th, 2003, the 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, faced with the task of seizing the presidential palace in downtown Baghdad, ran headlong into what Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North called, “the worst day of fighting for U.S. Marines.” Hiding in buildings and mosques, wearing civilian clothes, and spread out for over a mile, Saddam Hussein’s militants rained down bullets and rocket propelled grenades on the 1st Battalion. But when the smoke of the eight-hour battle cleared, only one Marine had lost his life. Some said the 1st Battalion was incredibly lucky. But in the hearts and minds of the Marines who were there, there was no question. God had brought them miraculously through that battle.

As the 1st Battalion’s chaplain, Lieutenant Carey Cash had the unique privilege of seeing firsthand, from the beginning of the war to the end, how God miraculously delivered, and even transformed, the lives of the men of the 1st Battalion. Their regiment, the most highly decorated regiment in the history of the Marines, was the first ground force to cross the border into Iraq, the first to see one of their own killed in battle, and they were the unit to fight what most believe to have been the decisive battle of the war—April 10th in downtown Baghdad. Through it all, Carey Cash says, the presence of God was undeniable. Cash even had the privilege of baptizing fifty-seven new Christians—Marines and Sailors—during the war in Iraq.

The men of the 1st Battalion came to discover what King David had discovered long ago--that God’s presence could be richly experienced even in the presence of enemies. Here is the amazing story of their experience.

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Reviews (16)

5-0 out of 5 stars A beautiful account of how God's love is ever present.
I could not put this inspirational and comforting book down. As a wife of a Marine in First Battalion, Fifth Marines, I can honestly say that I'm impressed by the accurate accounts of both the people involved and events that occured during OIFI. Lt. Carey Cash's book comforted me with heartwarming stories and descriptions of the undeniable,loving presence of God in their lives during trying times. This book has it all- letters from home; prayers and scripture; love stories; tales of God's presence; accounts of 1/5's experiences during the war; friendships strengthened;and hope when faced with adversity. This story shows how in the midst of eye-witnessing the suffering of the Iraqi people, grieving over fallen fellow Marines, and fearing what the days may bring, God's love and grace gave them all strength and courage to face each day.

5-0 out of 5 stars Testimony of God's grace
I read this book in one night, thoroughly captivated by the descriptions of yes, war, but mostly the stories of our Marines' hearts and how they were changed during the course of Operation Iraqi Freedom. You travel the road with them, through fear and courage and amazement when they see God's hand protecting them in battle. This puts a new perspective on the war and definitely encourages the reader in trusting God and knowing how to pray for our military. Cash seems to be respected by all in 1/5...including me now that I've read his book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Humbling in God's presence
Chaplain Cash does an excellent job of describing the awe of being in God's presence even in the harshest environment imaginable. He also shows what a good Navy Chaplain can do to help a unit come to grips with its own spiritual needs. May our Lord Jesus be glorified by the witness this book provides.

4-0 out of 5 stars A moving and thought-provoking work.
As an ordained Evangelical minister and pastor for 23 years, with a strong concern that we Americans may stray off track if we lose our humility, I read this book with a critical eye for its doctrinal and scriptural correctness. I found it basically fine, but perhaps guilty of what Carol Hamrin of the Institute for Global Engagement (a superb Christian think-tank) called "the hubris that God is on OUR side". I agree with that view, which was expressed by another padre (Chap. Boyd) below: that we must not fall into the sin of believing that Almighty God our Savior is an instrument of American foreign policy. This is actually a little dangerous and possibly blasphemous. We serve an unimaginably mysterious and righteous God, who is neither American nor Iraqi, neither Republican nor Democrat, neither Christian nor Islamic, neither militaristic nor pacifistic. He is spirit; pure, omnipotent and omniscient. I rejoice that our wonderful God guided and protected our servicemen and women in Iraq, but I also lament the fact that some readers are believing this is evidence that God must be supportive of the war and our intervention and actions. It is not. God's protective mantle was indeed spread over many Americans (praise Him) but also over many Iraqis (yes, Islamic Iraqis are God's created children too). I certainly don't mean to criticise Chaplain Cash's powerful book, but only to encourage readers to remember that the context is a world in which we must be on God's side, not one in which we try to get Him on our side.

5-0 out of 5 stars God's Presence Today in Iraq
Chaplain Cash brings home the horrors and fears of war, offset by the presence of Nature's God in the midst of it all. As a Bible teacher, I found poignant lessons for living in today's world as the Bible teaches. The Chaplain describes ordinary humans, their fears, concerns and their faith that can inspire people in all circumstances of life. If you ever doubted God's presence in our world, reading this book will definitely convince you otherwise. Kudos to Chaplain Cash and the brave men of 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment. ... Read more

97. Simple Path
list price: $21.00
our price: $14.28
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0345397452
Catlog: Book (1995-10-31)
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Sales Rank: 19746
Average Customer Review: 4.45 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Known around the globe for her indefatigable work on behalf of the poor, the sick, and the dying, Mother Teresa has devoted her life to giving hope to the hopeless in more than one hundred and twenty countries. She inspires us all to find a way to translate our spiritual beliefs into action in the world. How has one woman accomplished so much? And what are the guiding principles that have enabled this humble nun to so profoundly effect the lives of millions?
Now, in her own words, Mother Teresa shares the thoughts and experiences that have led her to do her extraordinary charitable work. A candid look at her everyday life--at the very simplicity and self-sacrifice that give her the strength to move mountains--A Simple Path gives voice to the remarkable spirit who has dedicated her life to the poorest among us.
Just as important as her beliefs are how they are put into action in the world, and A Simple Path also tells the story of the founding of the Missionaries of Charity, their purpose and practice, and the results of their tireless work. Through faith, surrender, and prayer, the missionaries live to serve others; they have improved the lives of countless souls and given dignity to the dying. Their mission has also produced a ripple effect, spreading human compassion to communities where there is need.
Through these examples, as well as the uplifting words and guiding prayers of Mother Teresa and those who work with her, everyone can learn how to walk the simple path that Mother Teresa has laid out for us, to help create a truly kinder world for the future.
A Simple Path is a unique spiritual guide for Catholics and non-Catholics alike: full of wisdom and hope from the one person who has given us the greatest model of love in action in our time.
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Reviews (20)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Simple Path but an Extraordinary Book
A Simple Path by Mother Theresa is an inspirational book. Mother Theresa wrote it as an informative narrative of segments of her life. It tells of her many good works and the works of others. Collectively, they share their many tales of heartwarming acts of love for the poor and less fortunate, the diseased and the broken-hearted, and the wounded and lost souls of the world. The sisters heal the wounds of those who have strayed away from the path of God and they urge everyone to help bring people back into the light, back to God.
The focus of the book is to promote serving others. It was once said that the best way to lead is by serving. This is the simple message and the simple path Mother Theresa explains throughout her many encounters with people of every age, race, and religion. She urges the reader to take this path as Jesus took up his cross. "One must not love and expect love in return, because that is not real love," as Mother Theresa once said. Love can be received by serving another and by watching that individual's happiness grow because of one kind act.
Mother Theresa does not want the reader to save the world, but to help in one small way. She says, "If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one." It does not require money, but it does require time to love. A Simple Path describes the life every human should take up, the life of service. This book is inspirational and serves as a spiritual seed, helping spirituality to grow and flourish. It helps one's faith to grow and teaches how to act on faith as opposed to just claiming faith. This book helps to prioritize what is truly important in life, and that is God. In a world that is full of hatred, violence, and misery, it points to God. Mother Theresa shows the way to hope. She leads by serving. She serves by loving. A Simple Path shows the way.

5-0 out of 5 stars Why do we make it so stinking hard?
Mother Teresa used to threaten me, the way all good people do. I thought she had nothing to say to me (that I wanted to hear anyway) because she would challenge a part of me that didn't want guilt. How could I relate to a non-stop self-denial works machine? Surely, a part of her had to be dead or dying or in denial. I wanted to find out more. In her book, "No Greater Love", I learned that Mother Teresa was a person who saw Jesus in "the distressing disguise" of not only the poor, but the abused and the cruel and the mean and the unloved. For Mother Teresa, response to that person is response to Jesus. ("When I was hungry, you gave me something to eat...") In "A Simple Path", two paths seem to be explored: the simple life path Mother Teresa herself followed, and the simple path the volunteers of the Missionaries of Charity (the order she founded) follow. The exploration of both pathways was, for me, an eye-opener. Here are people who simply minister to needs, and who do not force feed Jesus to the one in need. The paradox is that many who are ministered to end up turning to God...perhaps because they saw a little bit of God in the person who helped. And Mother Teresa's take on finding God? Pray. "If you find it hard to pray," she says, "you can say 'Come Holy Spirit, guide me, protect me, clear out my mind so that I can pray.'" I didn't realize a works machine could teach me so much. A Simple Path, maybe; a simple woman, never. This review may be wordy, but I'd never have enough space to quote the things she said that stopped me dead. Read this book and discover the depth of a woman who is called a saint, and how she happened by the name. I've learned Mother Teresa can teach me something, and I can still eat chocolate and spend money with no serious guilt. Means she said a few things that went beyond coughing up change for the poor. (I only wonder if she could see Jesus in the distressing disguise of a manic four year old.)

5-0 out of 5 stars Inspiring
I bought this book about 6 years ago. It's one of those books that you pick up and cannot put down. I was totally enthralled with it from the first few pages and every chapter became more and more inspiring. I was not a Christian when I read this book, so it's not just for believers. Rather it is a book for those who long for something more in their lfe, to walk in a deeper yet more 'simple' way. All of the chapters such as the ones on prayer, love, faith etc touched me deeply and even though it's been several years since I read it, I would read it again most definately. I lent it to someone and have never been given it back. I may just have to buy it again! --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

4-0 out of 5 stars A good reminder
This book is a good reminder of how to love. Many of us discuss, debate and guess at what real love looks like. This book reminds us that love can range from serving to just holding someone who is living their last days. This book often wisely suggests that we could preach less and serve more. Inspiring.

1-0 out of 5 stars Fake
Mother Teresa was a self-aggrandizing fake. How can you all be taken in by her???? ... Read more

98. A Rumor of War
by Philip Caputo
list price: $15.00
our price: $10.20
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 080504695X
Catlog: Book (1996-11-15)
Publisher: Owl Books
Sales Rank: 8095
Average Customer Review: 4.82 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

When it first appeared, A Rumor of War brought home to American readers, with terrifying vividness and honesty, the devastating effects of the Vietnam War on the soldiers who fought there. And while it is a memoir of one young man’s experiences and therefore deeply personal, it is also a book that speaks powerfully to today’s students about the larger themes of human conscience, good and evil, and the desperate extremes men are forced to confront in any war.

A platoon commander in the first combat unit sent to fight in Vietnam, Lieutenant Caputo landed at Danang on March 8, 1965, convinced that American forces would win a quick and decisive victory over the Communists. Sixteenmonths later and without ceremony, Caputo left Vietnam a shell-shocked veteran whose youthful idealism and faith in the rightness of the war had been utterly shattered. A Rumor of War tells the story of that trajectory and allows us to see and feel the reality of the conflict as the author himself experienced it, from the weeks of tedium hacking through scorching jungles, to the sudden violence of ambushes and firefights, to the unbreakable bonds of friendship forged between soldiers, and finally to a sense of the war as having no purpose other than the fight for survival. The author gives us a precise, tactile view of both the emotional and physical reality of war.

When Caputo is reassigned to headquarters as “Officer in Charge of the Dead,” he chronicles the psychological cost of witnessing and recording the human toll of the war. And after his voluntary transfer to the frontlines, Caputo shows us that the major weapons of guerrilla fighting are booby traps and land mines, and that success is measured not in feet but in body counts. Nor does the author shrink from admitting the intoxicating intensity of combat, an experience so compelling that many soldiers felt nostalgic for it years after they’d left
Vietnam. Most troubling, Caputo gives us an unflinching view not only of remarkable bravery and heroism but also of the atrocities committed in Vietnam by ordinary men so numbed by fear and desperate to survive that their moral distinctions had collapsed.

More than a statement against war, Caputo’s memoir offers readers today a profoundly visceral sense of what war is and, as the author says, of “the things men do in war and the things war does to men.”

This edition includes a twentieth-anniversary postscript by the author.
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Reviews (65)

5-0 out of 5 stars Should be a mandatory reading in every high school
Caputo describes "the splendid little war" as his road from an enthusiastic idealist poisoned by the romanticized view of war as a chivalrous and noble enterprise to the dehumanized and desensitized wreck that he becomes during his tour in Vietnam. The book is an amazing testimony about the true nature of war with all its atrocities and horrors. Caputo brilliantly captures the endless despair of being strained in the jungle with no clear reason for being there, the hopeless madness of chasing the guerillas and the agony of loosing friends. But the most important aspect of this book is that it shows how a normal mentally healthy person can be turned into a thoughtless killing machine in the course of a few months, fast on the trigger, without any remorse for his victims. Caputo uses very strong and vivid images such as "pigs eating napalm-charred human corpses" to force the reader into his story and feel what Caputo has felt. Very realistic book that cannot leave you indifferent, definitely up there with Remarque's "All quiet on the Western front." If you want to know what fighting the Vietnam War was really like, I can't imagine how any book can possibly be better than Rumor of War.

5-0 out of 5 stars Put It On Your Bookshelf!
"A Rumor of War" is a darkly disturbing book. It is set in what was the early, "optimistic" Vietnam in the spring of '65 when we thought we were fighting for "freedom" and before the reality of the place hit home. Vietnam hits Lieutenant Caputo very quickly, as it must have for all Marine Corps platoon leaders. It's all right there-booby traps, mines, trip wires, leeches, foot blisters, jungle rot, constant shelling, dysentery, pigs eating corpses and cold C Rations. As a Vietnam vet, I was surprised the author never mentions RATS!, but we both know they were there too. (THEY were everywhere). Lt. Caputo's transfer to a staff job is worse than the field, so he transfers back to the bush as a platoon leader.It's more of the same-patrolling and repatrolling the same trails, the same hills, the same villes. All watched over by unsupportive and bureaucratic commanders. "RW" offers yet another look at the Vietnam War, one more pessimistic than most because so many of us felt! that the years of '65 and '66 were more positive than this. I might suggest reading Joseph Owen's "Colder Than Hell" to compare the Marine experience in Korea with Lt. Caputo's. Reading the late Bernard Fall's "Street Without Joy" will make us aware, again, that perhaps there was never a time to be optimistic about Vietnam. I must admit that I constantly found myself curious as to how I would have handled many situations in "RW". How would I have measured up? What would I have done? How would the men have judged me? While the story of "RW" tends to stray at times, I found no fault since the author is relating a painful part of his past. One small point: "RW" would benefit from better maps-these are so often lacking in military books. The bottom line:"A Rumor of War" belongs on the bookshelf of any serious military book reader or anyone searching for yet another angle to the frustrating Vietnam War that affected so many of us.

5-0 out of 5 stars I was's true
I landed in "Chu Lai" with the Marines on May 7, 1965. Do you want to know what it was like? Read this book. Caputo has written the most accurate account I have ever seen -- both of the action and the emotions.

5-0 out of 5 stars Awesome book
If you are intending to serve in the military, this book should be required reading. It's not pretty, in fact a bit depressing, but seriously good. Even good people do bad things during war - unlike what the movies show. Most of the other reviews have covered what I wanted to say... Seriously, this book is a must-read. In this day and age where combat operations are the norm, you can learn from people who have BTDT, and hopefully learn from their mistakes.

4-0 out of 5 stars From Camelot to Quang Nam
Mr Caputo (as in TOE) takes the reader on his journey from college to war to military inquiry and part of the power of the work is how well the language illuminates that experience. It begins with clear, concise prose, as the young man is clear in his goals and what his country "stands for" , and rises to poetry of a kind as the narrator descends into a confused hell, where his goal becomes simple survival and he is uncertain about his country and its values. The narrator's journey in his early twenties, is from a sobriety to a delirium and back again but on that return, the open, trusting individual, is transformed into a cold, hardened, and cynical Nam Vet. There is some especially good analysis of "courage" (p.294) and the nature of a patrol by a platoon (p.252). The passage on 240 has a music and power which I could imagine being quoted as a classic piece of war prose/poetry in which the phrase "All secure. Situation remains the same" is echoed five times throughout the piece in a kind of fugue. Great writing which summarises the misery and the exhaustion men suffered on patrol, especially the power of the landscape and climate to overpower. ... Read more

99. Speaker: Lessons from Forty Years in Coaching and Politics
by Dennis Hastert
list price: $27.95
our price: $27.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 089526126X
Catlog: Book (2004-08)
Publisher: Regnery Publishing
Sales Rank: 46047
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100. Benjamin Harrison : [The 23rd President 1889-1893] (The American Presidents)
by Charles W. Calhoun
list price: $20.00
our price: $13.60
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0805069526
Catlog: Book (2005-06-06)
Publisher: Times Books
Sales Rank: 119725
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Book Description

The scion of a political dynasty ushers in the era of big government

Politics was in Benjamin Harrison's blood. His great-grandfather signed the Declaration and his grandfather, William Henry Harrison, was the ninth president of the United States. Harrison, a leading Indiana lawyer, became a Republican Party champion, even taking a leave from the Civil War to campaign for Lincoln. After a scandal-free term in the Senate-no small feat in the Gilded Age-the Republicans chose Harrison as their presidential candidate in 1888. Despite losing the popular vote, he trounced the incumbent, Grover Cleveland, in the electoral college.

In contrast to standard histories, which dismiss Harrison's presidency as corrupt and inactive, Charles W. Calhoun sweeps away the stereotypes of the age to reveal the accomplishments of our twenty-third president. With Congress under Republican control, he exemplified the activist president, working feverishly to put the Party's planks into law and approving the first billion-dollar peacetime budget. But the Democrats won Congress in 1890, stalling his legislative agenda, and with the First Lady ill, his race for reelection proceeded quietly. (She died just before the election.) In the end, Harrison could not beat Cleveland in their unprecedented rematch.

With dazzling attention to this president's life and the social tapestry of his times, Calhoun compellingly reconsiders Harrison's legacy.
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