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101. Against All Odds: My Story
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102. To End All Wars
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103. The Prison Angel : Mother Antonia's
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104. Gift and Mystery : On the fifteth
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105. Sex with Kings : 500 Years of
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106. Gandhi An Autobiography:The Story
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107. Marine Sniper: 93 Confirmed Kills
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108. Adams Vs. Jefferson: The Tumultuous
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109. Desert Queen : The Extraordinary
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110. Shadow of the Almighty : The Life
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111. In My Brother's Shadow
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112. King of the Jews
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113. Swimming With Scapulars: True
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114. The Intimate World of Abraham
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115. Careless Love : The Unmaking of
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116. Buddha
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117. Fidel: Hollywood's Favorite Tyrant
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118. Eat Mor Chikin: Inspire More People
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119. Miss You: The World War II Letters
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120. Love Without End: Jesus Speaks...

101. Against All Odds: My Story
by Chuck Norris, Ken Abraham
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Asin: 0805431616
Catlog: Book (2004-09-30)
Publisher: Broadman & Holman Publishers
Sales Rank: 1168
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Book Description

Millions of people around the world know Chuck Norris as the star of more than 20 motion pictures, including "Delta Force," "Missing in Action," and "Return of the Dragon."Millions more know him as a martial arts expert, the only man in the Western Hemisphere to hold an 8th degree Black Belt Grand Master in Tae Kwon Do. And then there are others who know him from his eight seasons on CBS’s longest running series, "Walker, Texas Ranger."

What many don't know is that Chuck Norris is a sincere Christian—a man whose faith plays a role in everything he does.Against All Odds is an inspirational story of how Norris overcame abject poverty from childhood, the effects of his father’s alcoholism and desertion of the family, and his own shyness and lack of strength and ability early in his life. Norris writes candidly about how he was able to overcome such obstacles in his life—giving full credit to God. ... Read more

102. To End All Wars
by Ernest Gordon
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Asin: 0007118481
Catlog: Book (2002-05-01)
Publisher: Zondervan Publishing Company
Sales Rank: 8788
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The best-selling classic of the power of love and forgiveness in a Japanese prisoner of war camp. ... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Dramatic, Powerful, and Shocking Book!
I could not put this book down! If you have any interest in the treatment of Allied soldiers during their stay in Japanese internment camps, just read this book. From the introduction to the final page, this book will shock you, horrify you, but amazingly, it will inspire you and leave you with a good feeling about what Ernest Gordon did and became before he died in 2002. Bless his memory and may this book live on forever!

5-0 out of 5 stars Inspiring Account of Perservence over Adversity
This account of how a young Scot, captured by the Japanese in April, 1942, managed to survive the brutal treatment accorded POWs under Japan's control has endured long after Ernest Gordon's imprisonment ended, and will continue to endure and influence readers for more years to come. This book, originally published over 40 years ago, was one of the sources for the highly popular movie of that era, "Bridge Over the River Kwai," and the more recent "To End All Wars."

Some parts of this book are very difficult to read as Gordon, a Captain in a Scottish regiment, spares no detail as he relates the physical trauma, the diseases, the wretched conditions imposed by their captors and the senseless, sometimes unbelievable treatment by the guards of their captives . How to survive this vertiable hell hole? As he notes, without some sort of discipline and some moral compass for guidance, many men gave up hope and died. But Gordon found within the prison camp two people who selflessly gave of themselves when Gordon was literally at death's door to help restore him to physical health, of people who washed his sores, encouraged, prodded, and inspired. Through the faith of these two, one a Methodist, the other a Roman Catholic, Gordon reinvestigated the New Testament and from that learned and acted out the commandment to "love others", even including the brutal Japanese guards, as he would love himself. Using these simple teachings of love, encouragement, and selfless help to your neighbor, Gordon and others in the various camps were able to overcome the horrific conditions under which they existed. The melding of the spiritual and the discipline of order, neatness, and cooperation saw the POWs triumph over the evil of the system under which they existed.

The first part of the book describing Gordon's efforts to escape--he and others bought a sailing vessel that managed to get them half way to Ceylon--is an exciting read in itself. The second half, the journey into hell and return, is thought provoking and inspiring. It is also difficult for those who served in the Pacific theater, as I did, as to how and if I would have survived if I had had to bail out over Japan and was imprisoned. A sobering thought that one does not want to revisit for long.

Gordon came home to Scotland, entered the ministry, and served for many years as Dean of the Chapel, Princeton University. May he Rest in Peace. ... Read more

103. The Prison Angel : Mother Antonia's Journey from Beverly Hills to a Life of Service in a Mexican Jail
by MaryJordan, KevinSullivan
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Asin: 1594200564
Catlog: Book (2005-05-05)
Publisher: Penguin Press HC, The
Sales Rank: 4165
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The winners of the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for international reporting tell the astonishing story of Mary Clarke. At the age of fifty, Clarke left her comfortable life in suburban Los Angeles to follow a spiritual calling to care for the prisoners in one of Mexico's most notorious jails. She actually moved into a cell to live among drug king pins and petty thieves. She has led many of them through profound spiritual transformations in which they turned away from their lives of crime, and has deeply touched the lives of all who have witnessed the depth of her compassion. Donning a nun's habit, she became Mother Antonia, renowned as "the prison angel," and has now organized a new community of sisters-the Servants of the Eleventh Hour--widows and divorced women seeking new meaning in their lives. "We had never heard a story like hers," Jordan and Sullivan write, "a story of such powerful goodness."

Born in Beverly Hills, Clarke was raised around the glamour of Hollywood and looked like a star herself, a beautiful blonde reminiscent of Grace Kelly. The choreographer Busby Berkeley spotted her at a restaurant and offered her a job, but Mary's dream was to be a happy wife and mother. She raised seven children, but her two unfulfilling marriages ended in divorce. Then in the late 1960s, in midlife, she began devoting herself to charity work, realizing she had an extraordinary talent for drumming up donations for the sick and poor.

On one charity mission across the Mexican border to the drug-trafficking capitol of Tijuana, she visited La Mesa prison and experienced an intense feeling that she had found her true life's work. As she recalls, "I felt like I had come home." Receiving the blessings of the Catholic Church for her mission, on March 19, 1977, at the age of fifty, she moved into a cell in La Mesa, sleeping on a bunk with female prisoners above and below her. Nearly twenty-eight years later she is still living in that cell, and the remarkable power of her spiritual counseling to the prisoners has become legendary.

The story of both one woman's profound journey of discovery and growth and of the deep spiritual awakenings she has called forth in so many lost souls, The Prison Angel is an astonishing testament to the powers of personal transformation.

From a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporting team, the extraordinary and inspiring story of Mother Antonia, the remarkable woman who at middle age found her life's calling by bringing the transformative power of her spiritual guidance to the most hardened criminals
... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Prison Angel
Mary Jordan and Kevin Sullivan have written a rare and intimate book, one that traces the densely complex life of an american housewife from the glades of beverly hills to the cold and violent cells of a mexican prison; rare because journalists seldom plumb inner lives, and intimate because they lived with mother antonia in the prison where she works. this volume is rare as well because as much as it chronicles a life of consumate goodness, it does so within the harsh and often deadly atmosphere of mexican criminal life, the drug wars, vendettas, vengeance and betrayals. i read this book in one sitting; it cannot be put down.

5-0 out of 5 stars Can't put this book down!
Mother Antonia is the essence of love, and yet she makes you laugh, makes you feel cherished, and makes you feel like a better person. She is so spunky and exudes life, and despite her small and short frame, she has stories that are so intense that it scares you, yet amazes you at how someone can love the unlovable so sincerely. This book captures her spirit and her overflowing love so well, and it also shows the other side of her, which is so courageous that she even stands up to some of Mexico's most notorious druglords. I wish that everyone could meet her, and that is why I am so excited that this book exists, so that everyone can have a chance to get to know what she is like. I read this book in a day because I could not put it down. There are so many on-the-edge-of-your-seat stories that it captures you. It made me think, laugh, cry, made me want to make more of my life, made me want to give, and helped me to love more. Mother Antonia is a gift and a blessing to everyone that meets her or reads her story. ... Read more

104. Gift and Mystery : On the fifteth anniversary of my priestly ordination
by John Paul, John Paul
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Asin: 0385493711
Catlog: Book (1999-04-20)
Publisher: Image
Sales Rank: 86182
Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (6)

4-0 out of 5 stars Should your son be a priest?
As you might expect from such a great person, the Pope's book provides few insights into the Pope himself. He does show how our own lives can influence others, especially in a cumulative way, as the he tells of all of those who influenced his entering the priesthood. He cites the religiosity of his father; the holiness of Jan Tyranowski; the writings of St. John of the Cross, St. Teresa of Avila, and St. Louis Marie de Montfort; the devotions in his parish, to Our Lady of Perpetual Help, and of the brown scapular. The reader can't help but wonder if there is a link between the lack of devotions today and the lack of vocations today.

A priest's life is challenging. He must be attentive and sympathetic; critical and watchful with regard to historical developments; a giver of Christ; a spiritual father -- especially in the Confessional; holy; constantly training, studying and updating; promoting the family; defending mankind; in dialog with the youth; in dialog with the culture; intellectual and scholarly; and living the Gospel.

But a priest's life is most rewarding. The priest is "a steward of the mysteries of God." An essential part of his mission is fulfilled in the Confessional. The priest is an essential being in the only suitable offering that man can make to God, the offering of God-made-man, an offering made at every Mass. The priest is so united to Christ at Mass that he is "in the person of Christ." What a beautiful reflection on the Mass is offered by the Pope!

The challenge of the priesthood seems overwhelming. It would be without God. It is "a mystery of divine election."

Every parent of a potential priest should read this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Loving Gift to Priests and Seminarians
'Gift and Mystery' is indeed an affectionate gift from Pope John Paul II to all those who pursue a priestly vocation. It is the story of his own priestly call which is a Divine gift as well as a great mystery. On the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of his priestly ordination, the Pope reflects on his own growth in his vocation to priesthood and his ministry as 'a shepherd of God's mysteries'. We follow him through his college studies, his job in the stone quarry, his love for the theater and his theological studies to his ordination to priesthood. His deep faith and reliance on God, his gratefulness and kindness towards others, his devotion and dedication to the priestly commitment are all laid out before us with clarity and love. As he himself says, what is related here belongs to his "deepest being" and "innermost experience". Every priest and seminarian should read this and draw energy and inspiration from this 'Holy Father' and spiritual giant of our day.

5-0 out of 5 stars Honesty Testimony from an Honest Man
Pope John Paul II is an intellectual giant, capable of holding his own with any great thinker. However, JP2 has been blessed with an ability to relate his innermost longings and ideas to even children. Gift and Mystery is a recollection that can hold the interest of any scholar while making a schoolboy smile. The pope methodically retells his soul's desire to be united to God and to follow His will as a young boy, employing a most vulnerable state of being to the reader. We follow the pope through his college and seminary days with delight until that wonderful day this man was ordained a priest of the Lord. With clarity and love, JP2 gives us a taste of the power of the Holy Spirit transforming him into the glorious leader he is today. At the same time, it gives us a hope and a vision of what God can also do in our own lives. A true masterpiece!

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book from a very holy man
This vocation story of Pope John Paul II is a truly inspiring tale of how he came to his decision of answering his vocation to the Priesthood. He shares how the different factors of his life and different people in his life helped prepare him for the Priesthood, and benefit his spiritual life. This is a great book for those, such as myself, who aspire the Priesthood.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Life
Pope John Paul II examines the course of his life from a war-torn Poland, to the halls of The Vatican. At the end of the book, the reader is sure to realize that most of the time, the greatest gifts in our lives start off as mysteries. We start off in the fog, and as we live, we begin to see the path unfold in front of us. ... Read more

105. Sex with Kings : 500 Years of Adultery, Power, Rivalry, and Revenge
by Eleanor Herman
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Asin: 0060585439
Catlog: Book (2004-07-01)
Publisher: William Morrow
Sales Rank: 5074
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Throughout the centuries, royal mistresses have been worshiped, feared, envied, and reviled. They set the fashions, encouraged the arts, and, in some cases, ruled nations. Eleanor Herman's Sex with Kings takes us into the throne rooms and bedrooms of Europe's most powerful monarchs. Alive with flamboyant characters, outrageous humor, and stirring poignancy, this glittering tale of passion and politics chronicles five hundred years of scintillating women and the kings who loved them.

Curiously, the main function of a royal mistress was not to provide the king with sex but with companionship. Forced to marry repulsive foreign princesses, kings sought solace with women of their own choice. And what women they were! From Madame de Pompadour, the famous mistress of Louis XV, who kept her position for nineteen years despite her frigidity, to modern-day Camilla Parker-Bowles, who usurped none other than the glamorous Diana, Princess of Wales.

The successful royal mistress made herself irreplaceable. She was ready to converse gaily with him when she was tired, make love until all hours when she was ill, and cater to his every whim. Wearing a mask of beaming delight over any and all discomforts, she was never to be exhausted, complaining, or grief-stricken.

True, financial rewards for services rendered were of royal proportions -- some royal mistresses earned up to $200 million in titles, pensions, jewels, and palaces. Some kings allowed their mistresses to exercise unlimited political power. But for all its grandeur, a royal court was a scorpion's nest of insatiable greed, unquenchable lust, and vicious ambition. Hundreds of beautiful women vied to unseat the royal mistress. Many would suffer the slings and arrows of negative public opinion, some met with tragic ends and were pensioned off to make room for younger women. But the royal mistress often had the last laugh, as she lived well and richly off the fruits of her "sins."

From the dawn of time, power has been a mighty aphrodisiac. With diaries, personal letters, and diplomatic dispatches, Eleanor Herman's trailblazing research reveals the dynamics of sex and power, rivalry and revenge, at the most brilliant courts of Europe. Wickedly witty and endlessly entertaining, Sex with Kings is a chapter of women's history that has remained unwritten -- until now.

... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars O my god
This book is amazing it has things that i never realized i mean it so funny,true,and very helpin in school it teaches you more about those time you guys should read it!!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Page turning historical fun!
Who knew history could be so amusing! Eleanor Herman has intrically crafted a page turning saga of royal mistresses throughout time. This is a very funny, easy to read book with lavish illustrations and well documented research. Never dull, Ms. Herman entertains the reader with laugh out loud stories about hidden lovers, sumptiously decorated suites, set aside wives, ugly woman who captivated kings and great beauties who fought rivals to win the premier post at court. An eye-opening account of the power and intrigue in the daily life of some of history's most famous (and lesser known) women. A summer must read! ... Read more

106. Gandhi An Autobiography:The Story of My Experiments With Truth
by Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Mahadev Desai, Sissela Bok
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Asin: 0807059099
Catlog: Book (1993-11-01)
Publisher: Beacon Press
Sales Rank: 4983
Average Customer Review: 4.44 out of 5 stars
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Gandhi's nonviolent struggles in South Africa and India had already brought him to such a level of notoriety, adulation, and controversy that when asked to write an autobiography midway through his career, he took it as an opportunity to explain himself. Although accepting of his status as a great innovator in the struggle against racism, violence, and, just then, colonialism, Gandhi feared that enthusiasm for his ideas tended to exceed a deeper understanding. He says that he was after truth rooted in devotion to God and attributed the turning points, successes, and challenges in his life to the will of God. His attempts to get closer to this divine power led him to seek purity through simple living, dietary practices (he called himself a fruitarian), celibacy, and ahimsa, a life without violence. It is in this sense that he calls his book The Story of My Experiments with Truth, offering it also as a reference for those who would follow in his footsteps. A reader expecting a complete accounting of his actions, however, will be sorely disappointed.

Although Gandhi presents his episodes chronologically, he happily leaves wide gaps, such as the entire satyagraha struggle in South Africa, for which he refers the reader to another of his books. And writing for his contemporaries, he takes it for granted that the reader is familiar with the major events of his life and of the political milieu of early 20th-century India. For the objective story, try Yogesh Chadha's Gandhi: A Life. For the inner world of a man held as a criminal by the British, a hero by Muslims, and a holy man by Hindus, look no further than these experiments. --Brian Bruya ... Read more

Reviews (50)

4-0 out of 5 stars A Gandhi Introduction.
I approached this book with some trepidation as my Indian friends are divided in their attitude to Gandhi (some regard him almost as a saint, others are far more ambiguous). There's no doubting Gandhi's place as a major figure in twentieth century history, but would learning more about him create a good or disappointing image?

I would start with a word of caution. This book only covers Gandhi's life from 1869 to 1921. Therefore I treated this book as an introduction to the man, a preparation for further reading. I suppose an equally legitimate method would be to adopt an opposite approach and start with a biography then finish with this book.

I reflected that any comments I made here might only serve to reveal my ignorance of Indian culture and history - I'm sure I missed (or misinterpreted) many nuances. Full appreciation of this book may only be possible if you are either Indian or have a better knowledge than mine.

Nonetheless, I found it an easy book to read - the short chapters helped me keep up a good pace. Indeed Gandhi's style is to pick episodes from his life and reflect on them. Although the book is written chronologically, it very much has a "dipping in and out" feel rather than a linear narrative.

I was left with the impression that this man was no saint (and would have been horrified at the very thought). There were aspects of his character I found puzzling or frustrating: I've never been impressed by anyone who advocates physical self-denial after having produced a litter of offspring; much of the book is devoted to dietetics - a subject Gandhi was so obsessed with it affected his health very badly; and his treatment of his children was, well to be charitable, distinctly odd.

I felt that there was a large amount of self-righteousness in the man, and an obsessive delight in self-denial. Yet withal, should we expect any human to be without fault, and how should Gandhi's faults be judged when compared with his role in securing Indian independence - without Satyagraha would it have been even more bloody than it was? That might be a better mounument to him than this book.

3-0 out of 5 stars Gandhi: A Man of Peace, a Man of Peas
Once upon a time there was a man who took nothing for granted - no philosophy, no theology, no lifestyle - for how could he know which were proper, which were true, which led to the Divine, to knowledge of God? How could he know unless he tested them himself? So that's what he did. No, I'm not talking about Alan Greenspan. Mohandas Gandhi was that man and GANDHI, AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY: MY EXPERIMENTS WITH TRUTH is his story. The Autobiography is a description of how he developed and applied his personal philosophy to his life, or rather, how his spirituality evolved as he experimented with differing lifestyles and theologies in his search for Absolute Truth. But be careful. This book may not be what you expect. Want to know about the life of Gandhi from a historical perspective? You're better off looking elsewhere. Gandhi didn't intend for his autobiography to be such a book. A good alternative is Ved Mehta's MAHATMA GANDHI AND HIS APOSTLES (Viking, 1977), which stresses the historic context and social relevance of Gandhi's life. If you want insight into the origins of Satyagraha (non-violent resistance) directly from its creator, you will find one of Gandhi's other books, SATYAGRAHA IN SOUTH AFRICA (Greenleaf, 1979), to be a much better source. Although Satyagraha may be the most influential experiment of his life, it was by no means the only one.

You see, Gandhi tells us his life was a series of experiments, nothing more. He actively sought lifestyles and philosophies different from his own, tried the ones with merit, and adopted or rejected them based on his experience. In his own words, "I simply want to tell the story of my numerous experiments with truth, and as my life consists of nothing but those experiments, it is true that the story will take the shape of an autobiography," (xxvi). By following this path, he believed he might find self-realization and ultimately come face-to-face with God.

Despite this ethereal theme, the story is quite mundane. Gandhi's experiments took place in the real world, not just in cerebral debate and introspection. His story falls within a historical context, leading him on a path toward a lifestyle few are willing to emulate, a life of self-denial and simplicity. From strict vegetarianism (fruit and nuts only) to celibacy (he swore off having sex with his wife (or anyone else, for that matter)), to the rejection of the most meager creature comforts, Gandhi's commitment to principle seems extreme and obsessive to us. This commitment to principle became both the key asset and primary flaw in his character. More than once, principle led him to deny medical treatment to seriously ill family members so he could experiment on them with harebrain "water," "earth," and dietary cures in which he believed. And yet, this same commitment to principle was the crucial component to his achievements toward peace and equality. Gandhi was a serious man whom you probably wouldn't invite to your bachelor party.

On the practical side, Gandhi is true to his word, giving us an undecorated account of his spiritual journey - the good with the bad. The book is stylistically straightforward, written chronologically in chapters brief enough to absorb during the average sit.

On the other hand, it is often tedious and screams for annotation. The litany of south Asian names can be difficult for westerners to keep track of or pronounce. Gandhi discusses historical figures and events in passing without introduction or background, so keep a reference book handy. At the same time, he dwells on information you will find irrelevant. And then, of course, there's the problem all autobiographies have - you don't get to see how the story ends. Gandhi published the autobiography in 1927 and went on to live another twenty-one years before being assassinated - active, important years you might want to know about.

Does Gandhi make a good case for his method of experimentation and for the conclusions he reached through these experiments? That, dear reader, is for you to decide. But it is interesting that the more he experimented, the further he settled upon the uncompromising life of a Hindu ascetic. His exposure to the world brought him back to his roots, to the religion of his homeland, and implicit in this choice is the rejection of the values and theologies he found elsewhere. This is a troubling thought. Did he find no elements of Truth outside Hindu asceticism? Is he suggesting that each of us lead lives of celibacy and self-imposed poverty? Gandhi responds that there are many manifestations of the Divine. The path he chose made sense to him, but it is up to each individual to find his or her own way, to conduct his or her own experiments with Truth, just as he had done.

Some treat the Autobiography with a reverence due scripture. Scripture it is not, nor is it great literature. Nevertheless, you may very well find inspiration and insight for your own life, and you will certainly learn much about Gandhi, how he saw himself, his place, and his purpose.

5-0 out of 5 stars Everyone should read this book
In his own words, Gandhi takes us through some of the experiences in his life, with each chapter forming at least one important learning lesson to him. All experiences, whether good or bad, had a positive learning lesson on him and contributed to his goal of seeking the truth.

One of his main beliefs was using non-violence as a means of protesting against acts of oppression and using international law to seek justice. This meant he never raised his fists or lowered himself to barbarism however much he was provoked, violated or attacked. In fact this seems to be the opposite attitude demonstrated by all terrorists and most countries (West, Middle East and East) where the belief is that violence and war works. As Gandhi says "an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind".

As we have now entered the third of the world wars, where the weapons are horrific and the consequences unimaginable, Gandhi's words have never been more important. All politicians and world leaders should read this book. In fact everyone should read this book.

4-0 out of 5 stars The honesty in this book is absolutely relentless.
As notable as they are, Gandhi's political successes are not what attracts me to this man.He had a sincere desire to know his own faults and arrogances (and to therefore, rid himself of them).This is the key to curing human relations.In my own life, this is what I look for in people.They don't even have to like me, so long as they are genuine in their attempt to see me as I truly am, and themselves for what they truly are.
Gandhi's infamous 'non-violence' beliefs and abstaining lifestyle sprout from this attitude.I think it is imperative that we realize that noble actions are the 'sprouts', whilst the courage to face one's own arrogances is the 'core' of successful humanity.I mean, what happens when the 'actions' are credited as core? eg.Many people express noble slogans like "NO RACISM", yet feel hateful whilst doing so, perhaps even desiring harm come to the racists.Isn't yielding a peaceful slogan whilst feeling hateful, putting across mixed messages? Gandhi expressed genuine compassion for his 'enemies'.He wanted them to learn, not hurt.Even if 'non-violence' is a noble slogan, it isn't guarenteed to have positive effects.A slogan-yielder must show genuine desire to learn of his own arrogances (and not just desire to point out the target's arrogances), otherwise -the target will feel that you expect more of him than you do of yourself (hence, he will inevitably rebel).Brainwashing (nasty word!) is ALWAYS negative, regardless of how well-intended the founding cause was.Hence, Gandhi's successful influence on people was actually founded in his attitude toward himself.He was well trusted by people because his 'lack of hateful feelings' corresponded with the 'words they heard him speaking'.
What is the true nature of non-violence? Gandhi obviously meant this spiritually, even though he applied it to physical actions.He is 100% correct that violence has no role in the spiritual realm.But physically? His physical application is undoubtedly a rebellion against the human habit passing off ill-intended action as acts of neccessity.(eg. Nazi's later would explain away their racial exterminations as "survival of the fittest").
My definition of survival (and 'competition'); "survival= gain for the self, at the least cost to all else".Humans currently neglect the "at the least cost to all else" part of the equation.And Gandhi rebelled against this neglect.But, in his abstainance he may have overshot, with the naturally occuring "gain for the self" part lagging behind.As selfish as that phrase may sound, it is only selfish if "in absence of the other part" of the equation.However, abstainance can be a great learning experience so long as it is free flowing and freely chosen, and isn't obsessive or guilt-driven.Gandhi did inherently abstain with nature/God/love in mind.But, it did eat away at him also.So, it wouldn't be accurate to say that he'd perfected a balance, despite getting many things right.

Does all this mean I'm claiming he was incorrect? No.I'm merely claiming that his philosophy was incomplete.He made great spiritual progress, obviously.His advancement of humankind's understanding of physical combat's true role, is endlessly helpful.But to make sure his wisdoms don't go to waste, we mustn't sell ourselves short by assuming that we can't possibly add to his wisdom with our own (as if we daren't know something that he didn't).We need to allow ourselves to build on Gandhi's platform.That's the whole reason he set the platform.Not so we'd stagnate on it.
On a side note; I can relate to some reviewers using the word 'boring' to describe his writing (though I dare not use it myself, thru fear of UNhelpful votes.ha, ha).It's just that; Compassionate people are so determined not to feed arrogance into their world that -in abstaining their negative attributes, some of their positive ones can accidentally get caught up in the abstainance also.Hence the phenomenon "nice guys finish last".Nice people do risk 'being boring', in their efforts to not just -blurt out absolutely every (potentially destructive) urge that goes through their bodies and minds.So, I urge (controlledly 'urge', i assure:)) readers to be patient with him.You'll find no cheap comments here designed to 'pheign' being interesting.He much prefered to actually 'be' interesting.Much harder an art.

4-0 out of 5 stars What the Truth Reveals
In the book's introduction, Gandhi ascribes these words of the Hindu poet to himself:

Where is there a wretch
So wicked and loathsome as I?
I have forsaken my Maker,
So faithless have I been.

The cause of this wretchedness, Gandhi wrote, was "the evil passions within that keep me so far from Him, and yet I cannot get away from them." These thoughts echo those of the Apostle Paul who, while desiring to do good, found that evil worked within him. He bemoaned, "Oh wretched man that I am, who will deliver me from the body of this death?" Both men realized they could not perform what the truth required, and because they loved truth, it made them feel wretched.

Who then is righteous, if not Gandhi and Paul? The prophet Ezekial spoke of God's promise to "put my Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes." But such righteousness is seldom seen. Gandhi wrote disapprovingly of one Christian acquaintance "who knowingly committed transgressions, and showed me that he was undisturbed by the thought of them." Paul saw among his own converts in Corinth such immorality "that does not even exist among the heathens."

The promise does not fail, but faith wavers. The promise must be put to the test, as an experiment with truth. Then those who love the Truth may be revealed. ... Read more

107. Marine Sniper: 93 Confirmed Kills
by Charles Henderson
list price: $7.99
our price: $7.19
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Asin: 0425103552
Catlog: Book (1991-09-01)
Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group
Sales Rank: 7954
Average Customer Review: 4.35 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Marine Sniper is not only one of the most astonishing true stories to emerge from the Vietnam War, it has become a classic of military nonfiction, inspiring a sequel, Silent Warrior: The Marine Sniper's Vietnam Story Continues.

There have been many Marines. There have been many marksmen. But there has only been one Sergeant Carlos Hathcock. A legend in the Marine ranks, Hathcock stalked the Viet Cong behind enemy lines-on their own ground. And each time he emerged from the jungle having done his duty. His record is one of the finest in military history, with 93 confirmed kills.

This is the story of a simple man who endured incredible dangers and hardships for his country and his Corps. These are the missions that have made Carlos Hathcock a legend in the brotherhood of Marines.

"Highly readable." (Publishers Weekly)
... Read more

Reviews (161)

5-0 out of 5 stars A compelling account of a true American hero's exploits!
While I myself didn't follow in my dad's footsteps as a Marine (he was Marine Air Group 61 in WWII--HURRAH!) but went in the Air Force instead (Security Forces--HOOAH!), the Corps still holds a special place in my heart, and reading this gripping story of Carlos Hathcock's exploits reminded me of why I will always love the Corps, even if I didn't wind up joining. Reading the book has made Gunny Hatchcock one of my all-time heroes, and it made me wish to hell the USAF had a sniper program! I lent this book to one of my SF buddies in exchange for Charles Sasser's "One Shot, One Kill" (another great read). America lost a true hero a couple of years back when Carlos passed away, and may God rest his soul. Kudos to Charles Henderson for at least keeping this outstanding troop's memory alive! Semper Fi!

5-0 out of 5 stars Perhaps the best book I've ever read
Practically everyone who knows me has heard me rave on and on about this book. I read it for the first time about 4 years ago, after picking it up while browsing through the bookstore. I read the excerpt at the front recounting the Vietnamese general's final moments and I was hooked. I recently finished it again, and it was even better this time. Everything that happens to Hathcock seems like something out of a movie; something no mortal man could survive. I learned to respect the discipline and will-power of a well-trained Marine, and was left in awe of the effectiveness of the sniper. Charles Henderson does his part, too. He not only tells Hathcock's incredible story, but makes it an immersive, addictive one to read. Through his clear and descriptive writing, the reader is transported back in time to the dark "Charlie"-filled jungles of Vietnam, where he lies beside the sniper known as "Long Tra'ng" and experiences not only the satisfaction of a well-placed shot, but also the emotional struggles that a man must deal with when he takes the life of another one. Undoubtedly a timeless classic

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Book
Marine Sniper by Charles Henderson is one of the most gripping books I have ever read. It is the story of Carlos Hatchcock, the forefather of the Marine Sniper program. This book tells of his epic adventures in the jungles of Vietnam. His deadly accuracy and stealth abilities earned him 93 confirmed kills. It tells of his struggles and bravery in the field of battle. It relates account after account of how Carlos stalked the enemy for days on end and used his excellent marksmanship skills to deliver deadly shot after deadly shot. Charles Henderson's purpose in writing this book is to tell the forgotten story of Carlos Hathcock. Once you start this book, you won't be able to put it down; it puts you on the front line with the brave snipers who gave their all. Marine Sniper gives true testament to the struggles and triumphs of the snipers of Vietnam.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book
This book is excellent and better than most fiction along these lines (truth is stranger/better than fiction). The writing does an excellent job of getting to know the sniper. There is a fair amount of jumping around in time, but it never leaves the reader lost. It seems to lose some consistency when Hathcock comes home the first time, almost as if there was a change in authors (perhaps it was done at a later time). Still, definitely a book worth reading.

5-0 out of 5 stars A favorite among service members
Written by two fellow Marines, one of whom served as Hathcock's commanding officer, this tale chronicles the life of the most notorious sniper in Vietnam. Marine Sniper touches on the issues that faced wounded vets upon returning home, the grim conditions snipers dealt with in the field, and the role that Hathcock played in establishing the Corps' scout sniper program.
Another apsect that this book deals with is the stigma that haunts snipers throughout the service in the military and beyond. Having personally served with them, I know they are routinely looked down upon as cold-blooded killers and mercenaries. Ironically, it is often artillery and air units that house the most disdain for snipers, while their bombs and shells indiscriminately kill more than the sniper's selective rounds ever could. Henderson approaches this from the frustated pov of the sniper and how they dealt with monikers like "murder, inc." and similar slurs.
Also, check out the sequel, Silent Warrior, which tells the same story from different points of view. A must read for Marines and all service members alike. ... Read more

108. Adams Vs. Jefferson: The Tumultuous Election of 1800 (Pivotal Moments in American History)
by John Ferling
list price: $26.00
our price: $15.60
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Asin: 0195167716
Catlog: Book (2004-08-28)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Sales Rank: 1608
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Book Description

It was a contest of titans: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, two heroes of the Revolutionary era, once intimate friends, now icy antagonists locked in a fierce battle for the future of the United States. The election of 1800 was a thunderous clash of a campaign that climaxed in a deadlock in the Electoral College and led to a crisis in which the young republic teetered on the edge of collapse.Adams vs. Jefferson is a gripping account of a true turning point in American history, a dramatic struggle between two parties with profoundly different visions of how the nation should be governed. Adams led the Federalists, conservatives who favored a strong central government, and Jefferson led the Republicans, egalitarians who felt the Federalists had betrayed the Revolution of 1776 and were backsliding toward monarchy.The campaign itself was a barroom brawl every bit as ruthless as any modern contest, with mud-slinging--Federalists called Jefferson "a howling atheist"--scare tactics, and backstabbing. The low point came when Alexander Hamilton printed a devastating attack on Adams, the head of his own party, in "fifty-four pages of unremitting vilification." The election ended in a stalemate in the Electoral College that dragged on for days and nights and through dozens of ballots. Tensions ran so high that the Republicans threatened civil war if the Federalists denied Jefferson the presidency. Finally a secret deal that changed a single vote gave Jefferson the White House. A devastated Adams left Washington before dawn on Inauguration Day, too embittered even to shake his rival's hand. Jefferson's election, John Ferling concludes, consummated the American Revolution, assuring the democratization of the United States and its true separation from Britain.With magisterial command, Ferling brings to life both the outsize personalities and the hotly contested political questions at stake. He shows not just why this moment was a milestone in U.S. history, but how strongly the issues--and the passions--of 1800 resonate with our own time. ... Read more

109. Desert Queen : The Extraordinary Life of Gertrude Bell: Adventurer, Adviser to Kings, Ally ofLawrence of Arabia
list price: $15.95
our price: $10.85
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385495757
Catlog: Book (1999-07-20)
Publisher: Anchor
Sales Rank: 2227
Average Customer Review: 3.29 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Turning her back on her privileged life in Victorian England, Gertrude Bell (1868-1926), fired by her innate curiosity, journeyed the world and became fascinated with all things Arab. Traveling the length and breadth of the Arab region, armed with a love for its language and its people, she not only produced several enormously popular books based on her experiences but became instrumental to the British foreign office. When World War I erupted, and the British needed the loyalty of the Arab leaders, it was Gertrude Bell's work and connections that helped provided the brain for T. E. Lawrence's military brawn. After the war she participated in both the Paris and Cairo conferences, played a major role in creating the modern Middle East, and was generally considered the most powerful woman in the British Empire.

In this incident-packed biography, Janet Wallach reveals a woman whose achievements and independent spirit were especially remarkable for her times, and who brought the same passion and intensity to her explorations as she did to her rich romantic life. Too long eclipsed by Lawrence's fame, Gertrude Bell emerges in this first major biography as a woman whose accomplishments rank as crucial to world history (especially in light of the continuing geopolitical importance of the Middle East) and whose life was a grand adventure. ... Read more

Reviews (28)

2-0 out of 5 stars A tedious rendering of an interesting life
Gertrude Bell was a fascinating woman, doing things that women just didn't do in the early part of this century: meeting Arabian royalty (and bandits and terrorists as well), going places uncharted by European men or women, and becoming something of a heroine to many Arabs of high and low rank. But this book, though it starts off well, becomes rough going fairly quickly. It feels as if Wallach quotes extensively from Bell's letters simply because she had access to them, not because they were always interesting or enlightening (though some were). There is lots of repetition (we must hear about once every two or three pages that she drank "bitter coffee"; the phrase "Young Turks" is defined three times, each time slightly differently, inside of about one hundred pages) and inexact detailing (three fairly detailed maps of the Middle East still leave out a number of sites important to the events of the book). By the end, when Bell was doing her most important political work in the construction of modern-day Iraq, I was skimming over the thick accrual of tedious detail that doesn't really bring Bell to life in the way she deserves.

5-0 out of 5 stars A sweeping biography of a woman ahead of her time
A sweeping, fascinating tale of a woman ahead of her time. This will written, well researched biography was hard to put down. Gertrude Bell herself, a contemporary of Lawrence of Arabia, was a complex, brilliant woman whose life was peppered with many tragedies as well as adventures. Diminutive in size, she scaled mountains, camped in the desert and broke bread with tribal chiefs. She felt more at ease in the Middle East than her own homeland of England, where Victorian women were ruled by social confines. Perhaps it was because of her sex that Arabians allowed her more carte blanche. In a countryland which shuts its women off like trophies, Bell was often treated more like a preistess. She had the audacity to be ultimately feminine and intelligent at the same time, which gave her a special status on foreign soil. Professionally, Bell triumphed, and was accepted as an authority on the Middle East. Her love life, however, as well as relationships with her own family, fell short. If you want to entreat yourself to an adventure of a female "Indiana Jones", I recommend this book. Even if you don't care for Gertrude Bell's character, you will not forget her.

2-0 out of 5 stars A somewhat lame retelling of an extraordinary life
As the crisis in the Middle East continues, I find myself trying to explore how we got here. That search lead me to "Desert Queen" and the story of Gertrude Bell. I had heard of Bell of course. She pops us in a few places in TE Lawrence's "The Seven Pillars of Wisdom" and she was Churchill's great protagonist at the Cairo Conference. But she lived an extraordinary life, of which her service to the British Empire in the First World War and beyond was only a part. Yes, she was the only female political officer of the war. But before that she journeyed throughout Mesopotamia, the Levant and Arabia, often with only a small group of guides.

The book is well researched and describes her travels. Yet, you feel as if there is something missing. The author spends a lot of time and print discussing Bell's failed love life, and what she was wearing to the conferences and meetings at times seems more important than the meetings themselves. Yes, Bell was a product of her age. She was a militant ANTI-Suffragette, longed desperately for a husband and family, and was, at heart, a spoilt girl of the upper class, who even during the War in Iraq and the anti-British uprisings afterward (sound familiar), was seemingly more concerned about having the latest fashions delivered to her. Given the parallels between the current crisis in Iraq and the British imperial experience, this book could have been even more relevant but the author's focus on Bell's "feminine side" detracted from the essential story.

Still, the book rights a great wrong, and hopefully will rekindle interest in Gertrude Bell's career.

5-0 out of 5 stars A woman beyond her time
This was one of the most fascinating women of her time. Bold, beautiful, and smart. She went where most men wouldn't dare. This book is not only a tribute to Gertrude Bell, but a great insight into the history of Iraq,and the middle east, the people and, why they may not ever be a democracy.

3-0 out of 5 stars Hard to believe it is true
I agree with other reviewers that the book has some serious stylistic weaknesses. A bit of editing would help the first few chapters. However, as an introduction to the conplicated and confusing history of the area, I found it to be painlessly clarifying. The maps in the front were especially helpful.

I can hardly believe that Gertrude Bell is real. It was a thrill to read about a true adventurer that dared the absurd.That she had such tenacity, dedication to the scholarly, fearlessness, and pluck makes this an especially good book for young women to read. ... Read more

110. Shadow of the Almighty : The Life and Testament of Jim Elliot (Lives of Faith)
by Elizabeth Elliot
list price: $9.95
our price: $8.96
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 006062213X
Catlog: Book (1989-07-19)
Publisher: HarperSanFrancisco
Sales Rank: 8598
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The bestselling account of the martyrdom of Jim Elliot and four other missionaries at the hands of the Auca Indians in Ecuador. New introduction by the author. ... Read more

Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Testimony of a Changed Life
The story of Jim Eliot and his commrades is a must read for ministers and missionaries alike. It's a life changing perspective that describes the heart of this fine man. His commitment and service to God is chronicled in this fine work by his wife Elisabeth. Those who are intending to pursue a career in missions and or ministry must read this book. Just like basic training prepares our soldiers for battle, this book is a documentary of basic training for missionaries who wish to serve in the Army of God.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Model for Modern Missionaries
Few books have impacted me as much as this "life and testament of Jim Elliot" written by his wife, Elisabeth. This is the story of an earthly (though not worldly) man with a heavenly mind. Jim Elliot was a man of passion and a man of prayer. This book chronicles his journey from childhood in Oregon to college days at Wheaton to the mission field of Ecuador where he eventually gave his life at age 28. Full of journal excerpts and personal letters, one gets to know this great man's heart. His struggles, his ambitions, his loves, his dreams - and his all-consuming passion for Christ and His kingdom - gripped my heart as a teenager. This man became my hero. If you want to know the man behind the motto "he is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose" this is the place to start. I highly recommend this book - especially to Christian teenagers who want to give 100% to Jesus Christ.

5-0 out of 5 stars Challenging, Inspiring and Motivating!
This is a must read for all Christians who have any desire to know Christ and to offer their lives to him. If not, this book will definitely challenge you to do so. Shadow of the Almighty mainly consists of letters and journal entries Jim wrote while at college and while preparing and serving on the mission field. It represents a great example, not of a perfect man, but of a man who wanted to live his life fully for Christ, no matter what the cost. The main message is that to know Christ is to obey him, and that Christ is worth laying down anything and everything. Thus, Jim's famous words: "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." Jim is an inspiration and example to me as I prepare to serve as a missionary in some of the most unreached places on earth.

5-0 out of 5 stars A great book about a man dedicated to doing the will of God
Shadow of the Almighty tells the remarkable testimony of a Godly man. This book makes you want to read the Bible from cover to cover. Jim was a man who consulted God's will in all he did. The story ends with his death in the jungles of Equador by the Auca indians. This book is truely one of the great Christian classics of the twentieth century. You won't want to put it down.

5-0 out of 5 stars As Real as it Gets.
Some books entertain, this book inspires change. The writing is intelligent, and thoughtful. The topic is incredible. This is the modern Christian life as real as it gets. ... Read more

111. In My Brother's Shadow
by Uwe Timm
list price: $18.00
our price: $12.24
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Asin: 0374103747
Catlog: Book (2005-04-20)
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Sales Rank: 26226
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Book Description

A renowned German novelist's memoir of his brother, who joined the SS and was killed at the Russian front.

Uwe Timm was only two years old when in 1942 his older brother, Karl Heinz, announced to his family he had volunteered for service with an elite squadron of the German army, the SS Totenkopf Division, also known as Death's Heads.Little more than a year later Karl Heinz was injured in battle at the Russian front, his legs amputated, and a few weeks after that he died in a military hospital. To their father, Karl Heinz's death only served to immortalize him as the courageous one, the obedient one, the one who upheld the family honor. His childhood was marked by the mythology of his brother's lost life; his absence-the hole he left in the family-just as palpable as if he were still alive.His mother's sadness and his father's rage over the loss of Karl Heinz ultimately defined Uwe's relationship with his parents.But while they eulogized the boy, Uwe wondered: who really had his brother been?

The life and death of his older brother has haunted Uwe Timm for more than sixty years.His parents' silence was one of the most painful aspects of his family history. Not even after the war ended, and details of unspeakable horrors emerged, did his parents ever acknowledge Germany's guilt and Karl Heinz's role in it. They simply said: We didn't know. After the deaths of his parents and older sister Timm set out in search of answers. Using military reports, letters, family photos and cryptic entries from a diary his brother kept during the war, he began to piece together the picture, discovering his brother's story is not just that of one man, but the tragedy of an entire generation. In the Shadow of My Brother is a meditation on German history and guilt, one that is both nuanced and measured.
... Read more

112. King of the Jews
by Nick Tosches
list price: $25.95
our price: $17.13
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0066211182
Catlog: Book (2005-05-01)
Publisher: Ecco
Sales Rank: 56183
Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

So begins Nick Tosches's sprawling biography of Arnold Rothstein, which, in fact, is so much more: not only an elegy to old New York but an idiosyncratic history of the world as told in Nick Tosches's inimitable style.

Known by many names -- A. R., Mr. Big, The Fixer, The Big Bankroll, The Man Uptown, and The Brain -- Rothstein seemed more myth than man. He was gambling, and he was money. The inspiration for Meyer Wolfsheim in The Great Gatsby and Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls, he was rumored to be the mastermind of the Black Sox scandal, the fixing of the 1919 World Series. He was Mr. Broadway and had his own booth at Lindy's Restaurant in Manhattan, where he held court.

Now, in King of the Jews, Nick Tosches, "one of the greatest living American writers" (Dallas Observer), examines Rothstein's extraordinary legacy by placing him at the center of nothing less than the history of the entire Western world.

... Read more

Reviews (2)

I am a fan fanatic when it comes to the work of Nick Tosches , and having read "In the Hand of Dante ', and then "Where Dead Voices Gather" , I am convinced Tosches is a genius. I am still in the process of buying up all that he has written. Having lit the candles and incense at the Tosches altar , Imust admit that after reading "King of the Jews" in two days I was disappointed. This time he was not able to spin the magic as he did in "Trinities" and "Cut Numbers" , which I consider his masterpieces to date. I will still buy everything he writes and hope to meet him for dinner at some future date before we get much older.

1-0 out of 5 stars Tedium, Thy Name is Tosches
Tosches is a bore, a literary con man and his tough-guy narcissist act hits bottom with this stinkeroo. While his books aren't, strictly speaking, good, they usually are have at least one memorable moment. Here, though, Tosches' unrelenting and petulant self-pity makes for a very ugly book. ... Read more

113. Swimming With Scapulars: True Confessions Of A Young Catholic
by Matthew Lickona
list price: $19.95
our price: $13.57
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 082942072X
Catlog: Book (2005-04-01)
Publisher: Loyola Press
Sales Rank: 9035
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Dave Eggers meets G. K. Chesterton in this funny, wise, and acutely perceptive memoir by a precocious young Catholic. For a wine connoisseur and fan of Nine Inch Nails, 30-year-old Matthew Lickona lives an unusual inner life. He is a Catholic of a decidedly traditional bent. ... Read more

Reviews (6)

4-0 out of 5 stars Surprised by swimming
This wonderful book brought me closer to my faith.Matthew Lickona writes a very personal and very contemporary set of reflections on his own struggles to live out in his moral life the commitments his faith demands of him.

Nothing I have read since Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man so captures the interior life of a practicing Catholic as this.

Lickona is not afraid to grow and change before our eyes during this book.It is as rigorous and self-examining as a good confession.

Sure it lacks a tight narrative structure and you'll tear through it a couple of days.Think of it as an epistle.

People who are close to a Catholic who they don't really understand would also benefit from reading this book.It might all make a little more sense after reading this.

Thanks, Matthew.

5-0 out of 5 stars A unique, startling, powerful book -- with a real male voice
I am enthralled by this book. The author's a thirty-something dad and remarkable storyteller. He's a smart journalist, but he doesn't wear his erudition on his sleeve. Instead it's caught up in the stories -- of his adolescence, his dealing with a homosexual come-on, his marriage, his bumpy transition to fatherhood, his work, his efforts to control his temper, his discovery of a friend's stash of porn. There's nothing of the pietistic harangue here, nothing syrupy or over-spiritualized, no theological tsk-tsking of an over-clericalized androgynous layperson. Instead, we encounter a real feet-on-the ground, normal-male, living-in-the-word, lay spirituality. This book is so unusal that it's startling. My only caveat, and this is small: If you're the kind of person who's put off by slightly off-color language, you might take occasional offense.

4-0 out of 5 stars Faith, Hope and Wild Turkey
Books comprised of personal reflections and anecdotes are not my usual reading fare, but I picked up Swimming with Scapulars on the recommendation of a friend and finished it cover to cover between dinner and bedtime.I found that I recognized in this book many of the same questions and doubts, trials and joys that I experience daily.I also found that I enjoyed looking at them through the eyes of the writer, Matthew Lickona.

Matthew Lickona is a man, still young enough to be called young, who is trying to sort out what it means to be a faithful Catholic in a world full of frustrations, temptations and consolations.He is a husband, a father, a son and a brother.Lickona is also a writer, and he's a good one.His writing is straightforward and honest, with a strong bent toward introspection and careful self-examination.Oftentimes much introspection leads to taking oneself far too seriously, but Lickona manages to avoid this pitfall.That he takes his beliefs and the practice of his faith seriously is clear, but Lickona recognizes and communicates his own flaws and foibles with a self-deprecating humor that is sincere without being oppressive. More impressively, Lickona manages to make all of the self-examination and introspection interesting; I found myself truly enjoying learning about the inner workings of an unusual mind.

This book is not a collection of the ponderous musings of a joyless zealot, but the engaging, sometimes disturbing and often amusing thoughts of someone who loves both Jesus and bourbon; the Sacraments and rock and roll.Lickona is someone for whom pop culture is a hobby and the Catholic faith a way of life.He is a good man who would like very much to be a better one.

I heartily recommend this book.

4-0 out of 5 stars If you've found this book, you might as well buy it
Now usually I am the last person to read any book that isn't at least halfway-decent, literary fiction.Walker Percy?Graham Greene?Yes. "Christian Inspiration?"I don't think so.But I stumbled across the author's McSweeney's-esque website, and later, the book's hip brown and blue binding wore me down.I read it in one sitting last Saturday.Lickona really lays it all out in the open.This is the story of his constant struggle to live according to his Catholic faith, including those teachings that to the modern eye are the faith's ostensibly most difficult dictates.And for the most part he pulls it off, and--squishy as it sounds--his story is inspiring.Lickona's an average thirty-something, and this is an intellectual look at his faith and all that it entails; at no point does the author preach to the reader.In fact, Lickona's own moments of doubt underscore his understanding of the toil faith requires.

As to the few negative comments in the review below, I'll have to respectfully disagree.I found nothing in the book disrespectful of anyone, and Lickona comes across not as a shrinking recluse ready to build a compound in the hills, but rather as a fully engaged member of society who leads an integrated life, rather than the seemingly more common secular/spiritual dual life.Nor does he simply "write any one off."

Overall, the book was well worth the time spent reading it; let's hope it's only the first of many more.

1-0 out of 5 stars Don't Waste Your Money
Swimming with Scapulars is an appropriate title for this volume that describes the outer vestiges of a religious practice being adopted, without a concomitant inner change.Reading this book, you get the feeling that Matthew Lickona REALLY wants to be seen as set apart and separate based on his religious practice--set apart from not only non-Christians, but also other Catholics who do not uphold every rule that he readily embraces.In this, the adoption of the scapular seems to be analogous to hipsters wearing bowling shirts from the 50's--look at how retro-Catholic I am, Mr. Lickona seems to write on every page.

However, the point of Christianity is to change the inner person, making a follower of Jesus more loving, more forgiving, more peaceful, more joyful.Very few fruits of the Spirit seem evident here.Instead, we see a portrait of a person who looks through the world with a fearful and judgemental gaze--who wants often to shrink from the complications of the larger world, his parish community and even relationships with his extended family and to retreat into a place where there are simpler verities and everyone embraces the same level of orthodoxy he has found.

Orthodoxy (right belief) is supposed to be coupled with and/or lead to orthopraxy (right practice).What struck me most about this book is how little love is evident here.Faced with a lesbian couple at Mass with their child, he is reviled by them being affectionate like Matthew is affectionate with his wife and he sneeringly wonders what they must tell their son when he asks where his father is.Whatever one thinks about homosexuality as a sin, so too is homophobia a serious sin.Those outside Mr. Lickona's small traditionalist camp--gays and lesbians, his mother in law, persons in the developing world who are faced with children who will die because of poor healthcare, even people who would hold hands during Mass--are written off.I can't imagine Jesus acting this way.

On outward signs, Matthew must look like a good Catholic with his defense of doctrine, the rosaries said, the growing family.However, I don't see that any of this is more than an external protection against the anger and the uncertainty he must feel inside.A joyless book.Save your money here. ... Read more

114. The Intimate World of Abraham Lincoln
by C.A. Tripp
list price: $27.00
our price: $17.82
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743266390
Catlog: Book (2005-01-11)
Publisher: Free Press
Sales Rank: 116835
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115. Careless Love : The Unmaking of Elvis Presley
by Peter Guralnick
list price: $17.95
our price: $12.21
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0316332976
Catlog: Book (2000-02-10)
Publisher: Back Bay Books
Sales Rank: 11045
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

"Here at last is the full, true, and mesmerizing story of Elvis Presley's last two decades, in the long-awaited second volume of Peter Guralnick's masterful two-part biography.Last Train to Memphis, the first part of Guralnick's two-volume life of Elvis Presley, was acclaimed by the New York Times as "a triumph of biographical art." This concluding volume recounts the second half of Elvis' life in rich and previously unimagined detail, and confirms Guralnick's status as one of the great biographers of our time. Beginning with Presley's army service in Germany in 1958 and ending with his death in Memphis in 1977, Careless Love chronicles the unraveling of the dream that once shone so brightly, homing in on the complex playing-out of Elvis' relationship with his Machiavellian manager, Colonel Tom Parker. It's a breathtaking, revelatory drama that for the first time places the events of a too-often mistold tale in a fresh, believable, and understandable context.Elvis' changes during these years form a tragic mystery that Careless Love unlocks for the first time. This is the quint essential American story, encompassing elements of race, class, wealth, sex, music, religion, and personal transformation. Written with grace, sensitivity, and passion, Careless Love is a unique contribution to our understanding of American popular culture and the nature of success, giving us true insight at last into one of the most misunderstood public figures of our times. " ... Read more

Reviews (68)

4-0 out of 5 stars Poignant and Sad, Never a Work of Caricature
We all think we know the post-Army Elvis. He's the gradually fattening lounge act on steroids (and other assorted chemicals) who cranked out awful movies with mechanical regularity. His talent rebounded in the late 60s with his NBC comeback special and some of his live performances to remind us what he meant when his first performances made a young Bob Dylan feel like he was breaking out of jail. Reading Guralnick's successor to "Last Train From Memphis," one is reminded of the old line that airplane pilots experience 98 percent sheer boredom and 2 percent sheer terror. This resembles Elvis's life, enclosed in a dual prison of Graceland's walls and the companionship of the "Memphis Mafia"--his cronies and pals whose lives consisted of serving the King's often bizarre whims, and awaiting his generous handouts. The predicament echoes China's last emperors in their Forbidden City, ruling a landscape they can no longer see and in which they no longer mattered.

This book oozes sadness, and I sensed that Guralnick, whose prose crackles with energy even describing Elvis at his most pathetic, felt personally disappointed with the great waste of talent Elvis's life became. In the preface and on the book's last page, Guralnick makes reference to the mythic Elvis we encountered in "Last Train." In between, a chronicle of pathos unfolds. Guralnick could have used the decline and fall to interrogate the American mythology Elvis once fulfilled, to show how ultimately false it proved. Instead, we get a touchingly human portrait of a man living in the chaos that celebrity creates. I wouldn't wish celebrity on my worst enemy. One is struck by Elvis's loneliness, by the sense of loss occasioned by his mother's death, and from which he clearly never recovered.

The mythic Elvis is still here, particularly in the burst of achievement from the '68 Comeback Special, through the American Recordings with Chips Moman, and the early stands in Vegas. But even when recounting the saddest days of his apotheosis in the mid-70s, Guralnick's tale suddenly shows Elvis explode out of his stupor with charisma and passion, leading his band through the occasional great session or show. Elvis's bizarre obsession with law enforcement and completely surreal desire to meet Richard Nixon and volunteer to serve the country as a Narcotics Agent has something of greatness about it. All that vitality had to go somewhere, and if it's not fed with healthy outlets, it manifests itself strangely.

When I visited Graceland as a tourist a few years ago, the walls still seethed with the boredom the place must have witnessed. Guralnick captures the pathos without descending to the pathetic, while still maintaining a perspetive on his subject that dilutes none of the passion.

5-0 out of 5 stars A poingant, depressing, and insightful look at Elvis...
First and foremost, this is a depressing book. There is a warning in the author's note that the book is about a tragedy, and this is an understatement. Elvis Presely's "fall" was a hard and bitter one. This book outlines events starting in 1960 up to Presely's death in 1977. Things start out looking pretty good for Elvis as he leaves the army and begins his career almost anew, but as the 1970s emerge, things start to cloud over, and the book follows the downward spiraling vortex that Presley and his somewhat bizarre and almost constantly fluctuating entourage followed up to the end. Along the way, Guralnick allows readers to draw their own conclusions about Presley. Mostly the book outlines details of certain events - sometimes so detailed one wonders if Guralnick was there himself - interspersed with commentary from people who lived through these same events. It is not an uplifting read. One gets the impression that Presley's fame isolated him from pretty much the human race, made him untouchable (reprisals were feared by anyone is his immediate "gang", and it didn't help matters that most of them were on his payroll) and ultimately put him beyond the help of his own family and the people who he thought were his friends. Presely's fame turns horrendously destructive in the 1970s, and some of the stories and anecdotes may make the sensitive reader wince. Some of the stories are just downright strange: Presley's religious enlightenment from seeing an image in the clouds of the face of Stalin turn into the face of Jesus; Presley's determination to secure himself a position of Narcotics officer from President Nixon; the pranks Preseley and his retinue play on each other, on audiences, and on themselves; the fact that, as record sales declined, Presely's revenue actually increased. Other anecdotes have a more disturbing undertow: Presley's manipulation and abject objectification of the women in his life, and the fact that many of them kept coming back even after being brusquely brushed off; Presley's fascination with guns, and his sometime not so comforting habit of pointing them at people when angry; Presely's wild, erratic, and irresponsible spending; Presley's inability to take advice from his wife, girlfriends, business manager, and even his own father on dire personal matters (e.g., his finances, his marriage, his health). It is a tragedy to read about someone who both cared about people but also put himself above others in a way that put him beyond their help or aid.

The figure of "the Colonel" lurks behind the entire story. He has Presley's business needs in mind, and, due to his business acumen, makes Presley (and himself) multi-millionaires beyond imagination. It's amazing to read how the Colonel is able to make more and more money from Movie studios, even as movies starring Presley are on a sharp decline in revenue and popularity. The whole story is mind boggling. In the end, the Colonel thought he was taking care of Elvis in the best way he knew how, but insatiable greed and insular attention to the bottom line and almost nothing else probably hurt Presley more than it helped him in the long run. Guralnick does not say this anywhere in the book. Again, the reader must draw moral conclusions based on the evidence. Guralnick does not moralize apart from calling the story a tragedy, and this makes this biography doubly interesting, as different readers will likely draw different conclusions based on their own interpretations of the delineated events. Who is to blame in the end? Is it fair to blame one or a few people? Is it fair to blame Presley? These questions are not answered (as they shouldn't be) but much food for thought is presented. As usual in life, the answer is far more complicated than mere finger pointing can accommodate. Guralnick handles this subject with eloquence and a distance that pull the reader in and allow for reflection upon what happened. This is not the usual shoddy rock biography that typically clutters the "Music" section of bookstores. This is a story to sink one's cognitive teeth into and reflect upon. Warning: this book will make you think; it will make you moralize; it will make you angry and frustrated at what happened, and it will make you ask "Why?" Regardless if you are an Elvis Presley fan or not (I'm really not; I was very young when Presley passed on) this is a book worth reading. It is a thick book, but a quick read (keep your dictionary handy nonetheless). Once you're in fifty pages or so, you'll probably find yourself stuck on it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Well Written and Researched Tale of the King
There is one way to describe this book - wow, what a story.

The writing is just flat out good. Once you start reading be prepared to finish, except for those pesky breaks to sleep and work.

A very well written account of Elvis's life and actions in and out of the recording studio with lots of details, lots of hanky panky, road trips, recording sessions, flights, drugs, buying Cadillacs, the whole mess. Basically Elvis spent every cent he made. The colonel took each dollar and sent 50 cents to the IRS to keep Elvis out of trouble but Elvis and his "mafia" lived like kings where money was no object. If he was in the mood he would just pick up the phone and buy cars, trucks, land, food, whatever was his fancy. When he died Priscilla actually started to manage the finances and Graceland and then after he was dead, the money really increased.

With his love of music and his drive to create, he had hit after hit, a lull and then more hits, movies, hits, lulls, Las Vegas, and on and on. There were no limits until he came in collision with obesity and drugs. It all became very depressing and then it ended. Elvis came close to pulling back and recovering a few times but was unable or unwilling or not intelligent enough to see what was happening to himself. In that sense he was alone and in charge.

An enthralling and well written blockbuster that stays in your hands until the last page.

Jack in Toronto

5-0 out of 5 stars Stirring...
I picked up the book Careless Love. At the time the title puzzled me. Who was guilty of Careless Love? Elvis? Umm. Go figure. But upon completion of the book, I now realize no other title would have suited. Elvis was guilty of careless love as was the people whom he surrounded himself with daily and most importantly the fans.
Now, I find no joy in his music and it is painful for me to look at smiling happy picture's of him when he was at the height of his career. Why? Because I know how it all ends. The man, who would burst on the scene and shred American culture, all the while rebuilding it, fascinates me. He was a pioneer, a rebel. Everyone knows the story. Poor boy makes good. But the trajectory his life took is painful to follow. How could a man whose vision changed the music world not have had enough foresight to see his own destructive and erratic behavior?
Paul Guralnick writes the only account of Elvis that I trust implicitly. Why? Because his regard for Elvis as an artist is woven between even the most heart wrenching accounts of his life. Mr. Guralnick does not try to persuade you to like or dislike Elvis. He merely gives Elvis life and places him in front of you saying, "Here he make the decision on how you feel about him."
The book is a disturbing but respectful look at a man who was gifted beyond reason. Mr. Guralnick clearly demonstrates that the fame Elvis endured was even beyond him.

5-0 out of 5 stars You want to know who Elvis really was? Read this book!
A wonderful achievement. Thoroughly researched, beautifully written. You'll learn everything about the King you always wanted to know - plus some facts of which you had rather remained ignorant. Careless Love is on par with the first volume of Guralnik's Elvis-biography, "Last Train to Memphis" (see also my review of that outstanding work). ... Read more

116. Buddha
by KarenArmstrong
list price: $13.00
our price: $10.40
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Asin: 0143034367
Catlog: Book (2004-09-28)
Publisher: Penguin (Non-Classics)
Sales Rank: 26597
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Books on Buddhism may overflow the shelves, but the life story of the Buddha himself has remained obscure despite over 2,500 years of influence on millions of people around the world. In an attempt to rectify this, and to make the Buddha and Buddhism accessible to Westerners, the beloved scholar and author of such sweeping religious studies as A History of God has written a readable, sophisticated, and somewhat unconventional biography of one of the most influential people of all time. Buddha himself fought against the cult of personality, and the Buddhist scriptures were faithful, giving few details of his life and personality. Karen Armstrong mines these early scriptures, as well as later biographies, then fleshes the story out with an explanation of the cultural landscape of the 6th century B.C., creating a deft blend of biography, history, philosophy, and mythology.

At the age of 29, Siddhartha Gautama walked away from the insulated pleasure palace that had been his home and joined a growing force of wandering monks searching for spiritual enlightenment during an age of upheaval. Armstrong traces Gautama's journey through yoga and asceticism and grounds it in the varied religious teachings of the time. In many parts of the world during this so-called axial age, new religions were developing as a response to growing urbanization and market forces. Yet each shared a common impulse--they placed faith increasingly on the individual who was to seek inner depth rather than magical control. Taoism and Confucianism, Hinduism, monotheism in the Middle East and Iran, and Greek rationalism were all emerging as Gautama made his determined way towards enlightenment under the boddhi tree and during the next 45 years that he spent teaching along the banks of the Ganges. Armstrong, in her intelligent and clarifying style, is quick to point out the Buddha's relevance to our own time of transition, struggle, and spiritual void in both his approach--which was based on skepticism and empiricism--and his teachings.

Despite the lack of typical historical documentation, Armstrong has written a rich and revealing description of both a unique time in history and an unusual man. Buddha is a terrific primer for those interested in the origins and fundamentals of Buddhism. --Lesley Reed ... Read more

Reviews (53)

3-0 out of 5 stars Illusion and Reality of the Buddha
Karen Armstrong's "Buddha" is not only a bestseller, but has been praised as "invaluable." Armstrong is well known as a popular writer on religious history and this book is one of many she has written for a lay audience. All of her books are well written and enjoyable to read but not always historically reliable. This is, unfortunately, the case with her book on the Buddha. I am afraid that people going away after a reading of this admittedly enjoyable book will have no real understanding of either the Buddha or his religion.
The question is-- what were the social and economic conditions prevailing in Buddha's time that allowed his religion to survive and prosper? The answer to this question is to be found in the works of the great Bengali Marxist philosopher Debiprasad Chattopadhyaya ("Indian Philosophy: A Popular Introduction"; "Lokayata: A Study in Ancient Indian Materialism"). The short answer is that in Buddha's time the old democratic tribal associations were being replaced by newly emergent military states. The tribes had been governed by councils who appointed their leaders by democratic methods. Buddha came from such a tribe, the Sakyas. He witnessed the destruction of these tribal organizations by the new states and the consequent enslavement and murder of tribal peoples. The source of the suffering world.
In his Order he recreated the primitive democracy and interpersonal solidarity of the tribal ethos and thus presented, on a spiritual level, the illusion of freedom and meaning to life that had actually been lost in the real world. This is the real story behind the rise and development of Buddhism, but you won't find it in Armstrong's book.

5-0 out of 5 stars very interesting book
I think the somewhat mixed reviews of this book are off mark. It is true that I was also expecting biographical insight into the historical person, Siddharta Gautama, but as Armstrong carefully qualifies there is scant historical data on which an educated biography could be based. I don't think educated speculation would serve much purpose. By providing some of the historical context (e.g., axial age and the concerns of new city dwellers in northern India) surrounding the time when Siddharta was active, the reader gets a meaningful feel for the times (even this is, to some extent, conjectural) that may have influenced Siddharta Gautama's motivations and thinking. I am also most impressed by the acuity and knowledge she has about Buddhism and her confidence to paraphrase others' works (as she freely admits) to fit the flow and development of the book. I have found no theoretical flaws in her reasoning, and she is ultra-careful and respectful by not conveying simplistic accounts of Buddihsm's deep ideas which so many books are prone to do. I would say the book is as blunder-free and void of nonsense as well-known books by the Dalai Lama and Thich Nhat Hanh are. This is no simple feat.

The only two issues I would remark are: (a) she uses "western" a few times to contrast the difficulty that "westerners" might have understanding Buddhism vis-a-vis asians, which is an outdated cliche that too many "Zen writers" still make; Buddhism is as difficult to understand for asians as africans, south americans, or europeans (except possibly Tibetans which is a special case); I think it's time to dispense with the "western" adjective (Dalai Lama included); (b) a little more serious, it would help clarify to the lay/novice reader if Armstrong maintained a clear separation of "suffering" and "pain" which she mixes up now and then. From the context, one understands that she is not in the dark about their essential differences, but that may not be evident to the beginning student. Otherwise, buy this book if you're interested in Buddhism, beginner or advanced practioner/theoretician alike. There are few books as good as this.

2-0 out of 5 stars look elsewhere
This book is written from the perspective of a skeptic who primarily writes about Western religions, so if you are looking for an introduction to the subject, there are better books available.It makes me wonder why Penguin books didn't get an author who specializes in Eastern religion to write this book.

For a biography, I would recommend "The Living Buddha - An Interpretive Biography" by Daisaku Ikeda (1976) instead of Karen Armstrong's book.

For an introduction to Buddhism,Wapola Rahula's (1959) "What The Buddha Taught".

5-0 out of 5 stars A beautifut Dispassionate account
One of the reviews for this book states that it is "Destined to become the classic source for anyone delving . . . into the life and teachings of the religious icon." - Christian Science Monitor.

I believe that they are right.It is the most interesting interpretation of his life and teaching that I have read.She draws from both the Pali texts and fragments of the early "lost" Indian material which can be found in translations of the scriptures into Chinese and Tibetan scriptures, which give some of the earliest collection of Sanskrit texts.She spends a good amount of time on the "did Buddha believe in God" issue.Her conclusion is that the use of "phenomena" to dazzle and amaze simple people and from that secure a belief of God was what Buddha objected to.She also talks about the axial age.I had not heard about that before and aparently the veracity of it is debated by some historians.

She brings her excellent command of history and research to the subject.In the January issue of Shambhalla Sun magazine she contributed an article that was also excellent.

I recently read that Buddha was considered by some to be one of the incarnations of Vishnu, the preserver and protector of creation and the embodiment of mercy and goodness.His incarnation as Buddha was to remove suffering from the world.Much of her interpretation would lend credence to this.

This book is well worth the time spent to read it.I have read it several times.It is an excellent source for those just beginning to learn about Buddhism and also for seasoned Buddhists.

3-0 out of 5 stars "Everything in moderation...
...including moderation," are among my favorite words of the Buddha, and for me, neatly sum up an ideology that some people refer to as complicated or esoteric. I have considered myself a Buddhist for several years now...didn't plan it that way...just started meditating to help me alleviate anxiety, eight years ago last month, and after about a year-and-a-half of insights that just arose naturally from my mindfulness practice, I finally read a book about Buddhism and had the realization that my perception had shifted to the point that my personal ideals are closer to Buddhism than any other "major world religion."

I prefer not to think of Buddhism as a "religion." I think of it as being more of a spiritual ideology, that's just as much about psychology as it is spirituality--and, by the way, too many western psychotherapists and clergymen don't seem to get the fact that psyche and spirit are inextricably linked--one of the realizations that most practitioners of meditation/mindfulness eventually have for themselves is that all things are connected, and that borders and boundaries are merely man-made illusions: if we would all realize that, there would be a lot less conflict and environmental problems in the world.

Buddhism is mostly about creating a proper "MENTAL CULTURE" that helps us to overcome our egocentric hatred, prejudices, jealousy, obsessions, and petty resentments, that all fall under the category of "ignorance;" and to recognize that "god"--or whatever one wants to call the creative force that continues to create in a continuous cycle of arising and subsiding--exists equally in all beings. This is why the Buddha wanted to be remembered not for his life, but for his message. As human beings, it is a projection of our egocentric tendencies that we tend to focus too much on the actual events of peoples lives than the real value of their legacies. It's not forgetting the events of history that condemns us to repeat them, but failing to learn the lessons of history...that's why many of us make the same mistakes over and over again; and, like Phil in the movie, Groundhog Day, we don't get to move on to a new day until we get it right.

Now on to this book. I agree with other reviewers that the book is more informative for non-Buddhists, because it does provide some good information about the Buddha's teachings, although I agree with others that I'm not sure that a biographical account of a life, the details of which are purposely sketchy so as not to emphasize his life over his message, was the best way to communicate this message. The thing I find most problematic about this book is that it does treat his teachings as an ancient, esoteric practice, rather than one that is just as pertinent today as it was 2,500 years fact, maybe it's even more pertinent today, in a human world that is currently embroiled in degenerative political and ideolical conflicts that have arisen from the ego, that uniquely human reality filter that prevents us from seeing things as they really are, and gives us the false impression that we are separate from our neighbors.

I also wanted to echo the sentiments of another reviewer that pointed out that human "desire" is not what creates problems for us (the Buddha's second noble truth, as stated in the book is that human "suffering" is caused by "desire," which is not the best translation of the Buddha's words). "Desire" is a creative vehicle of nature: what gets us in trouble is when desire becomes excessive and turns into uncontrollable cravings, obsessions, and compulsions.

Whatever spiritual path you choose, please make sure you choose it mindfully, that it really works for you--that is, that it really answers your questions about existence satisfactorily, rather than just raising more questions--and that you don't just do it because this is the "religion" that your family has always practiced. Explore multiple ideologies, and make a conscious decision about what path you choose. Beliefs can be used to wound or heal, and humanity can't really afford to have too much more "worshipping on auto pilot." ... Read more

117. Fidel: Hollywood's Favorite Tyrant
by Humberto Fontova
list price: $27.95
our price: $18.45
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0895260433
Catlog: Book (2005-03)
Publisher: Regnery Publishing, Inc.
Sales Rank: 5007
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Fidel exposes the hypocrisy of Castro's liberal fan club, delivering the brutal truth about the tyrant the Fidelistas call the first and greatest hero to appear in the world. ... Read more

Reviews (20)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Mystery of Cuba
Now at about 75 years old, Fidel Castro is in ailing health. Cuba's economy, as with most of the communist centrally planned economies, is at subsistence level. Average annual per capita income is about $1,500 per person. But still it survives. Two new books go a long ways towards explaining why.

Don Bohning's "The Castro Obsession", talks about the secret (and not so secret) operations conducted against Castro from 1959 to 1965. The appearance of a giant country like the United States arrayed against a small insignificant country like Cuba, and then failing created a groundswell of respect and support for Castro among people and countries that root for the underdog.

Humberto Fontova's "Fidel: Hollywood's Favorite Tyrant", is really two books in one. The main theme talks about the comments from selected Hollywood types, media and political left wing liberals, praising Castro (shades of Hanoi Jane Fonda). The secondary theme is that Castro has instituted a bloody repressive regime that attempts to control all life in Cuba. While this is not a surprise, the details are shocking in that we have so much more information because of the communication with large numbers of Cubans now living in the US but retaining close links with the island.

These two books provide interesting background for the actions that will be playing out over the next few years.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Real Fidel, the Real Che, the Real Cuba
This book destroys the myths about communist Cuba:

- Life under Castro is better than it was under Bautista.
- 1950s Cuba was poorer and more repressive than Cuba today, and thus, it is necessary to have a dictator like Fidel.
- Fidel is a "revolutionary communist leader" who cares about his own poor.
- Fidel is an idealist who wants to help the Third World, and should be praised for "standing up to the U.S.".
- Che Guevara is an idealist, humanistic hero of guerilla wars, and should be looked up to.
- The Cuban Revolution helped the poor in Cuba
- Fidel made Cuba less racist.
- Left-wing Europeans and Americans are right to support Fidel in his "struggle" against the U.S.
- The embargo by the U.S. is wrong

The truth:
- 1950s Cuba was a fairer, more thriving society than modern Cuba, with more freedoms (sure, Bautista was repressive, but not as much as Fidel).
- Fidel and Co. killed 15,000 people who opposed them (mostly by firing .45 caliber handguns into their heads at close range).
- Fidel looked up to Adolf Hitler and modelled some of his writing on what Hitler had written ("History will absolve me").
- There have been 500,000 people (mostly poor, mostly black) in Cuba's Gulags
- Fidel's thugs regularly use torture on prisoners
- Che was an Argentine who personally sent 1,890 men to death - without trial, by firing squad. Che's office had a window where he could look out on the firing squads shooting men in the head with .45 handguns. One after another after another. Che once said, "we don't need evidence", and "we have to become cold-blooded killers".
- Fidel hated Che and sent him abroad on "missions" to get rid of him.
- Cuba's prisons contain 80 % black prisoners. The communist party is 0.08 % black. Thus, Cuba is a racist country (a U.S. "black panther" who hijacked a plane to Cuba in the 1970s and was ended up in Cuban prison, was brutally maltreated and lost the use of one eye as a result once said, "I would rather be a prisoner in the U.S. than "free" in Cuba).

- Fidel was involved in murder across borders (i.e., terrorism).
- Fidel pleaded with the USSR during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 to fire nukes at the U.S.
- Despite receiving billions in aid from the USSR over 4 decades, today, the average Cuban gets less rations per day than the slaves in Cuba in 1840 !!
- Hollywood and the Left turn a blind eye to Cuba's human rights abuses, praising the dictator, Fidel. (whereas Chile's Pinochet - who the Left love to revile, had 5,000 people killed, Fidel and Co. had 15,000 people murdered, all without a fair trial, many with no trial at all).

I wish all the leftwingers in the U.S. and everywhere would read this book before talking about how Fidel is such a great "Third World leader", or putting on that Che Guavara t-shirt.

1-0 out of 5 stars Roi
As I have stated in previous reviews, when an author writes and reserches an individual, they should be as impartial as possible and present both sides, this book however, is anything but impartial.The audience is clearly the cuban exile community

5-0 out of 5 stars Please read Fidel
Unlike other books on Cuba, this accountfocuses on Fidel Castro and Che Guevara.I read the acknowledgements section to make sure that the events described in the book were credibly researched.There is little question they were, which leaves little doubt that Castro, along with Guevara, were two of history's greatest mass murderers.

Two chapters are impossible to read with a dry face, the account of the tugboat murder, and the tragic events leading to the return to Cuba of Elian Gonzalez.

The book is certainly an indictment of the media and hollywood that rings as true as Solyzhentisyn's Gulag Archipelago. i for one will never again see a Stone,Spielburg, Redford, Moore movie (along with many others) again.

This book is a must read, especially for those who still believe in moral relativism, the Che Guevara myth and camelot.

5-0 out of 5 stars Deconstructing Castro
Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Book Review for

Author:Humberto E. Fontova

Reviewer: Gordon Hutchinson...

If either of outdoor writer Humberto Fontova's first two books are given to those faint of heart who identify with the Earth Movement, PETA, or The Fund for Animals, they should be delivered in plain brown wrappers with labels warning the reader they are "...notsuitable for `ear-play.'"Reading Fontova aloud in some liberated circles can result in group apoplexy and mass aortic carnage.

Fontova's books "The Helldiver's Rodeo," and "The Hellpig Hunt" are orgiastic feastings of political incorrectness-paeans to the brotherhood of maleness and the religious fervor of the hunt.

If in the defense of hunting, the enemy is at the gate, Fontova is the leather-clad, crossbow-wielding shooter from the parapets lighting the vat of oil and gleefully pouring its contents over the side on the screaming hordes of anti-hunters.He laughs maniacally as their missiles/insults bounce harmlessly from his absolute certainty in the just and correct path of his cause.

Fontova's writings are so frenetic, so hyper-active, and more than frequently so doggone funny, it's surprising to learn he has a masters degree in Latin American studies from Tulane University, and is a frequent contributor to conservative websites on the world wide web.

He takes such great pleasure in puncturing inflated egos and embracing the politically incorrect when it comes to the blood sports, even his myriad of fans from his prolific writings in outdoor magazines are sometimes taken aback, and can only shake their heads, saying "That's Humberto."

For these reasons, and more, his latest book, "Fidel-Hollywood's Favorite Tyrant," is a downright surprise.

While his writings are neither measured or controlled, his expose' of the dictator that has ruled the nation of his birth since he was six years old is a surprisingly entertaining and incredibly educational read. And it still retains more than a hint of the Fontova flavor-in other words, barely controlled hysteria.One gets the feeling throughout the heavily researched and annotated book that Fontova is barely restraining himself from reaching out of the pages, grabbing the reader by the throat, shaking him, and shouting in his face, "Can you believe this?Can you believe the American public has allowed this complete atrocity to occur in their hemisphere?That the liberal elite has played up to this murderous Communist assassin that resides only 90 miles from our shoreline, and has pointed weapons of mass destruction at us, begging his Russian protectors to rain nuclear fury on our country?"

If Fontova's writings on Cuba and the man some call "The Monster of the Caribbean" seem overwrought at times, it is not without reason.He begins the book with a little known incident in the first chapter titled "The Terrorist Next Door."

Agents of Fidel Castro had targeted Manhattan's busiest subway stations -including Grand Central Station-for rush hour explosions.Remember the subway bombings in Madrid in 2004 by Al Qaeda?Some 2000 individuals were killed or wounded in that horrific attack.The Al Qaeda terrorists used approximately 100 kilos of TNT to set off ten blasts-approximately ten kilos per blast.

Castro's agents would have put that incident to shame if they had been able to pull off their 1962 terrorist incident.In fact, they could have easily killed more people than died in the World Trade Center in September, 2001.Blasts were timed for the Friday after Thanksgiving, planning the fiery maiming and death of thousands of New Yorkers with the placing of twelve detonators and 500 kilos of TNT at such busy Christmas shopping centers as Macy's, Gimbel's, Bloomingdale's, and in the subways.

Thank God for J. Edgar Hoover's FBI.This was November, 1962-just weeks after the Cuban missile crisis, and the country was still severely rattled.But the FBI had gained knowledge of the plot, and managed to capture all the ringleaders and confiscate the explosives and detonators before they could carry out their murderous plan.After breaking up the group of conspirators, it was found their list of targets was even bigger than anyone had guessed-it included Manhattan's main bus terminal, oil refineries on the New Jersey shore, and the Statue of Liberty.

Had these would-be murderers not been infiltrated by the FBI, and carried out their plots, as Fontova so succinctly pens it:"...September 11, 2001 would be remembered as the second-deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil."

While he doesn't go into his own background very much in the book, Fontova's personal history identifies deeply with the Cuban expatriate community in both Miami and New Orleans-thus the tenor of the book sounding as if it was written by someone personally wronged by Castro and his minions.

He was.

After Castro overthrew Fulgencio Batista, Fontova's father, an architect, and his uncle, a Cuban Naval Officer, and a member of the Cuban Foreign Service, were each arrested at different times, and thrown into La Cabana fortress in Havana where every day dozens of men were stood before la paredon (the wall) and executed by firing squad.Thousands of men were executed over the years by Castro's butchers, and thousands more women and children were driven from the island with little more than the clothes on their backs while their men awaited death by bullets in the chest.

Fontova's mother and his aunt ended up in New Orleans (the aunt came over first) with few possessions, no money, and no understanding of English, to be embraced by the blue-collar neighborhood where they were placed, sheltered and fed by working-class folks frequently mislabeled as typical deep-South racist types.

As Fontova puts it, their neighbors--Irish, Italian, Cajun people of the working classes fed them, clothed them, gave them rides to school and stores, helped the adults find work and translators, and generally adopted these Hispanic victims of cultural genocide.

Small wonder, as Fontova frequently points out, that Cuban-Americans are loudly pro-American, Republican-leaning, and vehemently anti-Castro.They were taken in by this country and allowed to prosper through their own hard work while their brethren in Cuba suffer today under a regime so repressive that refugees from Haiti will not emigrate or attempt escape into Cuba.

Fontova's uncle was released first, and his father at a later date.They had been spared the firing squads due to their connections with some higher-ups in Castro's hierarchy, so they were banned from the country--penniless, but alive.

This review could go on and on-but better to get the book and read it for yourself-to be amazed that such atrocities and murderous behavior could occur so close to our shores, and be ignored bysuccessive generations of glitterati and liberals in the media and entertainment industry.

Fontova documents erratic behavior and violent retribution by Castro, his brother Raul, and the liberal's favorite guerrilla poster-child, Che Guevera until one reads in amazement, turning the pages to discover what evil these Communist assassins will unleash next on the beaten masses of the Cuban populace, and what terrorist plots they will next export against the United States and other countries.

Fontova's descriptions of the bravery of the freedom fighters executed by Castro and Guevera's orders at La Cabana will bring tears to your eyes and heart-rending admiration of the men who faced the firing squads unbowed, pulling their shirts open, pointing at their chests, and shouting "Here traitors!Communist cowards!Shoot me here-right in the chest!Like a man!"

The bravery of these men and their hatred of Castro and Communism is an incredible story.It is a story of how an evil man and an equally evil social system took what some called an island paradise-a country with one of the highest levels of education per capita in the world, with an immigration rate so prolific from western Europe it had to be limited severely in the late Fifties, and one of the highest levels of personal income in the Latin Americas, into a country thousands risk their lives yearly to flee, and where people have been known to inject themselves with the AIDS virus to go to an isolated hospice to die, away from the crushing misery and drudge-filled life of existence in a now sub-standard Communist country.

Castro, Fontova points out, has imprisoned more people per capita in his reign than either Hitler, or Stalin.The longest-imprisoned political prisoners in the world come from Castro's Cuba, and his human-rights violations rank with the very worst in history.

Fontova has told an amazing story.Even more amazing because it is true, and has been so conveniently ignored by the liberal elite in the media and the entertainment industry.

Throughout the book, as he details Castro's atrocities and terrorist plots against this country, his exportation of torture, Communism, and revolution to third-world countries (Castro sent KGB-trained interrogators to North Vietnam during that conflict to assist in the torture and questioning of American captives) Fontova juxtaposes the ignorant bleatings of media and Hollywood apologists for Socialism like Danny Glover, Steven Spielberg, Dan Rather, and Chevy Chase who have praised, and continue even today to praise Castro, and his government.

"Fidel-Hollywood's Favorite Tyrant" is beyond timely.With Communism dead almost everywhere in the world except right here on our doorstep, and with governors and scions of business traveling to Cuba to be wined and dined by a 78-year-old torturer and murderer, one can only wonder what will happen in this formerly beautiful Caribbean nation once its despotic tin god of a dictator passes into what will surely be a special form of everlasting punishment.

Perhaps that will be the subject of Fontova's next book.It is likely the only way he'll be able to top this one.

---THE END---

... Read more

118. Eat Mor Chikin: Inspire More People
by S. Truett Cathy
list price: $20.00
our price: $14.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1929619081
Catlog: Book (2002-06)
Publisher: Looking Glass Books
Sales Rank: 94830
Average Customer Review: 3.29 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (7)

4-0 out of 5 stars A Man To Admire
Ever wondered about Chik-fil-A? What is the secret of its success? Why is it closed on Sunday? Why is it not publicly held? (No, you can't buy stock in it). Where did they get those cows who can't spell? And who is the man behind the concept? In this deceptively short book, S. Truett Cathy talks about his life story and the story of this business.

It is a fascinating American story, a story of struggling up from hard times, building a business with impressive perseverance and personal commitment, and most important, a story of principles. For this is a company that eschews contemporary business fads and slogans, treats its people like valued assets, prizes and practices loyalty, and believes that Christianity should be lived, not just preached.

Interspersed with author Cathy's memoirs are brief vignettes from several Chik-fil-A operators (what they call franchisees), and from others who have blossomed under Cathy's encouraging ministrations. He does a lot more than sell chicken sandwiches. He has made a life work of encouraging others. He also sponsors a network of foster homes, and is (appropriately) proud of the many, hundreds, of children who call him their grandfather.

Although it is a short book, it is intense, and it is challenging, because it makes you ask yourself questions. It is not the light reading it appears to be. It forces you to look at your own values, loyalty, and commitment. It is well worth reading. If you would like the chance to meet a really great man of our times, even if it's only in his book, then I strongly recommend Eat Mor Chikin! Reviewed by Louis N. Gruber

4-0 out of 5 stars Redefining success...
S. Truett Cathy's story is an inspiring one in many ways. Born into a family that was poor and facing difficult times, he nonetheless had the willpower and grace to make it through to become a fine example of the American success story, with a thriving business across the country. Cathy has made an effort in his business enterprises to continue to inspire people, holding fast to his basic principles.

This is not a business book - many readers may be disappointed, but it is not a 'how-to' book with strategies for successful chain-restaurant management, building or marketing. Instead, this is an inspirational book and autobiographical reflection on the part of Cathy; his business holds true to Cathy's understanding of what Christian principles should be, and this is rather rare in society, but this is a book about those principles, rather than the business.

Cathy had many set-backs and many unexpected opportunities arise in his life. One thing Cathy seems consistent about is that he always looked for the will of God in these events. Faith is the foundation of Cathy's business plan. The book contains many short stories and personal anecdotes from Cathy's life, some of which may seem unbelievably fortuitous. Cathy spends a great deal of time laying out the charitable works he and his company engage in, too, partly for a bit of marketing I'm sure, but also as a subtle model and reminder to other corporate executives and businesses that they have a responsibility to the greater community.

One might be tempted to wonder, does God really get involved in corporate success this way? Is the answer for a business to close on Sundays? (We shall leave aside the question about whether the Sabbath is really supposed to be Saturday, rather than Sunday.) Was God the inspiration behind the successful marketing campaign, whose slogan makes up the title - Eat Mor Chikin? This would be to miss the point of Cathy's stories, which, if there is a single point, would be to give thanks to God for his own success (something rarely done in business today, even by otherwise religious people) and to show through personal example some of the things one can do from this position of success.

A few questions that might have been addressed might include how a struggling business (vs. a successful one) can afford to incorporate these ideas, and how general principles can be integrated seamlessly into the mix without it becoming a problem. Overall this is an interesting book, a bit on the lighter side, and one to be read for enjoyment rather than business education.

5-0 out of 5 stars Cathy shares successful recipe for both business and life
I purchased this book expecting (and perhaps hoping) for a narrative of the Chick-Fil-A corporate marketing and operations strategy. I was surprised to find an auto-biography instead.

This book was not at all what I anticipated, but I am so very glad that I stumbled across it. "Eat More Chikin" does indeed contain Mr. Cathy's secret to success, but if you're convinced that effective business strategy has to be complex, you just might miss it. This writing reveals the very philosophy that has made S. Truett Cathy a winner in business and every other facet of life. And yes, I was in fact inspired!

1-0 out of 5 stars very disappointing
I love reading books about those who have been successful in business, particularly autobiographical ones. This is one of the worst I've read.

I went into this book expecting a bit of a sermon, knowing that S. Truett Cathy has applied his religious beliefs to his restaurant business. I was surprised that the preaching was kept to a minimum. Still Cathy uses his faith to explain away his failures. Instead of discussing any specifics of how he overcame difficulties he summarizes it all with "we prayed on it" far too often in this book.

Cathy views his past through rose colored glasses, so don't expect to learn anything much about how he built his business. He paints a picture of him sitting like a sage on a throne offering life advice to everyone from the teenagers who have worked for him to his long time friend and Chick-Fil-A president Jimmy Collins. This is a shame since Cathy's Chick-Fil-A stands alone as the only restaurant chain it's size that is still a private company

The few times in the book that Cathy discusses the hard times, he says that God is testing him and by the next paragraph it's all good again. This reminds me of the Far Side cartoon with 2 scientists discussing a complex formula with "then a miracle occurs" in the middle. This kind of approach is fine for the pulpit but not for a business book.

I hope company president Jimmy Collins writes a book about his experiences building Chick-Fil-A. Reading between the lines in this book, Collins deserves a much much larger share of the credit for bringing the company where it is today.

5-0 out of 5 stars Thank you Mr. Cathy !
This book is filled with nuggets on faith,life and business. He writes it in such a down home way that you feel connected to him and his family. I enjoyed the fact that he shared his faults along with his successes. There was no shame in making mistakes or being scared in business but he took every opportunity and that's saying a lot. I have a new found respect for Mr. Cathy and Chik Fil A. He truly tries to instill Christain values into business and he has shown us all that it works!!! ... Read more

119. Miss You: The World War II Letters of Barbara Wooddall Taylor and Charles E. Taylor
by Judy Barrett Litoff, David C. Smith, Barbara Woodall Taylor, C Taylor, Charles E. Taylor
list price: $29.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0820311456
Catlog: Book (1990-04-01)
Publisher: Univ of Georgia Pr
Sales Rank: 722850
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120. Love Without End: Jesus Speaks...
by Glenda Green
list price: $18.95
our price: $16.11
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0966662318
Catlog: Book (1998-12-01)
Publisher: Spiritis Publishing
Sales Rank: 46592
Average Customer Review: 4.87 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

For almost two thousand years devoted believers, mystics, innocents, and even non-believers have reported to have near-to-life, fully perceptual, visitations with Jesus Christ.In 1992 He appeared to Glenda Green and spoke with her daily for almost four months.The expressed purpose of their visit was to paint His portrait, but nothing in the history of her career as an artist or university professor had prepared her for the life transformation that was about to take place.During this time, they spoke…as friends do, of many wonderful things—both miraculous and practical.Nothing would ever be the same.Her penetrating report of this experience is sincere, unbiased, and free of religious contrivance. In many ways her perceptions provide a bridge to the new millennium.

Never before has language or a state of consciousness been present to examine the nature of such a miraculous occurrence as well as to develop the profound implications of it.Here is a brilliant glimpse of eternity, rich with practical applications to life. These messages are sparkling and direct with great contemporary relevance, Imparting in every way the impact of Divinity in communion with a thoughtful and well educated woman of our generation.Amazing answers are given to more than 300 penetrating questions. ... Read more

Reviews (23)

This book has the power of spiritual truth, and there is no doubt in my mind that what Glenda Green says Jesus told her is true. What's more, he actually appeared before her on many occasions, so she could paint his portrait, a beautiful reproduction of which appears in her book. At, I was only able to find one other non-fiction book, in addition to Love Without End, that contains Jesus' responses to questions: Messages from Jesus, by Saint Ta. Out of around 56,000 books pertaining to Jesus, these are the only ones in which he answers questions.

Jesus words to Glenda Green and Saint Ta are intended for the world. They shed light on many puzzles that the New Testament alone does not solve. For example, does love in its purest form have an opposite? The answer is "no". From the most sublime perspective, love has no opposites. It is all-embracing, beyond duality, and encompasses everything. This is the answer that Jesus gives us in these two books.

Both books are outstanding. Love Without End covers philosophical and scientific topics, and many other matters not discussed in Messages from Jesus, while the latter work, written by a spiritual healer, includes conversations about war and terrorism, living in oneness and love, reincarnation and karma, healing, and many practical issues not discussed in Glenda's book. It is reassuring that Jesus is giving us truth and practical guidance, at this time, on many matters of great importance to humanity. Open-minded Christians, as well as readers of spiritual, metaphysical, and inspirational literature, will gain wisdom and be motivated to live in love with God and all creation by reading these books.

5-0 out of 5 stars I Love This Book
In reading Jesus' words I was inspired and my heart filled with the knowledge that "I am Love". Life's lessons all became clear, and the purpose that God intended for us apparent. Do yourself a favor, read this book. You won't regret it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Love Without End: Jesus Speaks...
This extraordinary book changed my answered so many questions about the distortions of the Aramaic translations of the words of Jesus. It confirmed for me, without doubt, what I always felt in my heart about the messages of Christ...and confirms that He IS with us now.

5-0 out of 5 stars Intriguing, captivating, and has depth
If you would suspend logic for a moment and imagine that Jesus was a guest at your house for a period of time, what would you do? After your initial shock you would probably get to a point where you would start asking a lot of questions. That is what happens in this book between the author and Jesus. What suprised me about this book was the range and depth of topics covered. The author really hits just about every angle possible as far as asking questions and Jesus provides answers that are articulate, detailed, and quite honestly, comforting to know. Yes, call me crazy, I think she communicated with Jesus. Each turn of the page will gently melt away your doubt.

5-0 out of 5 stars Love Without End - Jesus Speaks . . . and reasonates
If you've ever picked up a book in which the words reasonated within your body, this is definately one of them. If you really want to understand 'the love that you are' in the most innocent, yet intense way, give it a read. I leave it by my bedside and just open to any page to quiet my thoughts and awaken my soul. And, I really found the universal and scientific descriptions of the origins of the universe and ourselves very appealing. A must for moving up on a spiritual path. Namaste' Kim ... Read more

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