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121. Trump : The Art of the Deal
$9.74 $8.47 list($12.99)
122. Rees Howells: Intercessor
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123. If I Die in a Combat Zone : Box
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124. Hell to Pay: The Unfolding Story
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125. In the Rose Garden of the Martyrs
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126. The Eloquent President : A Portrait
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127. Letter and Papers from Prison
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128. Mother Teresa : In My Own Words
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129. Benjamin Franklin : An American
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130. Washington's Crossing (Pivotal
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131. The Mayor Of Macdougal Street:
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132. Inside Hitler's Bunker : The Last
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133. Confessions of an Heiress: A Tongue-in-Chic
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134. It Seemed Important at the Time
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135. The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt
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136. Warrior Soul : The Memoir of a
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137. The Kennedy Curse: Why Tragedy
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138. Leading with the Heart: Coach
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139. The Last Lion: Winston Spencer
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140. The Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt

121. Trump : The Art of the Deal
by DONALD J. TRUMP, TONY SCHWARTZ
list price: $19.95
our price: $13.96
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Asin: 0394555287
Catlog: Book (1987-11-12)
Publisher: Random House
Sales Rank: 7793
Average Customer Review: 3.83 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (36)

5-0 out of 5 stars A real American success story
"Art of the Deal" is a truly inspiring read. If you are interested in learning how others achieve their success, this is one of the best books to study. Although written in the late 80's, this is one book that will withstand the test of time.

Written in an autobiographical style, each chapter covers a major "deal" in the life of The Donald. The beginning chapters show how he was introduced to the world of real estate by his father, and how Donald Trump went from collecting rent in dangerous neighborhoods to building New York's finest luxury accomodations. Each of the deals is unique and has its own set of interesting contractual problems that Trump works out. Some of his most interesting works are the construction of the Trump Tower, buying casinos, and saving the troubled Wollman ice skating rink.

If you like big business, I definitely recommend "Art of the Deal." This book puts you in the front seat with Trump and allows you to view up close how he turns the pressures of negotiations, contracts, and local politics into an exciting game. You will also find this book interesting if you are familiar with downtown New York, as it has many references to famous areas and buildings.

4-0 out of 5 stars Million Dollars Deal Making
If you can get past the unabashed self promotions, this is probably the best book by Donald Trump.

It sheds the most insights into his deal making skills and mindset.

If you are a real estate investor and have read a lot of real estate investments books, you will recognize that many techniques that are taught in real estate investment books and guru's seminars are present in his deal making. The difference is that the other books you read are dealing with a house or an apartment and his deals are hundreds of millions of dollar deals.

His deal making rules are simple, yet insightful. Try this rule: Protect your Down sides and the Upsides will take care of themselves. How many people actually follow that? Most beginner Real Estate Investors go out, load up a ton of debt, and buy houses without thinking about any down sides. In this book, you'll see that Trump is actually quite a cautious and very patient guy...and he is somehow geniusly able to get his capital back in some cases that makes it into those infamous "no money down" deals that gurus are always so proud of pointing out. Like i had mentioned earlier...the only difference is that this is a no money down MILLION dollars deal! I think a lot of us DREAM of doing one like that, Trump shows you how he actually DID it.

This book may be a little out of date...but it does show the reader a glimpse of what it means and takes to dream big.

4-0 out of 5 stars Entertaining story of one of the luckiest guys around
First off, let me just say that The Art of the Deal is an immensely entertaining read, especially for anyone from New York. Trump is obviously an engaging character. So, as an embodiment of Trump's persona, this book is really good.
Donald Trump is certainly a skilled businessman. He offers a lot of advice that is hard to refute given that is seems to have worked quite well for him. Again, he is a real character and a surprisingly likable one at that - although the book seems heavily ghostwritten.
Trump summarizes his success as the result of hard work and a uniquely hard-driving personal style. While that may be true, his rise to success is really a story of some of the most phenomenal luck of anyone I have ever heard of. There are hundreds of real estate developers every bit as ruthless and intelligent as Trump and he fails to credit dumb luck for much of his success; he is, to use the cliche, a person who was spawned on the real estate equivalent of third base and tries to tell you that he's hit a home run every time he scores.
Although his name is still splattered everywhere, he is hardly the prophet that he portrays himself to be. As a construction manager, Trump is probably the greatest who has ever lived. The essential problem of Trump's business "empire" is that his extraordinary management skills, his social savvy, and his astute understanding of the tastes of the nouveaux riche belie a mediocre comprehension of the longer term principles of finance. Eager to build, build, build, it seems that Trump slept through a lot of business school as he seems to think the basic principle that states that a project is only as good as the terms on which it is financed does not apply to him. It is in this delusion of his own uniqueness that some of the more profoundly megalomaniacal elements of his character are visible amid the background of common swagger and bravado. It is funny that Donald Trump is considered by most people in New York as a brilliant businessman but a real jerk. In the end, he seems on a personal level to be similar to what he is on a business level: a man of considerable assets but also staggering debt.
I understand that he's got another book out called "How To Get Rich." May I humbly suggest that Donald Trump is NOT a good person on whom to model a business.

4-0 out of 5 stars A good look inside the life of Trump
Other reviews have summed up the book nicely. So, short and to the point, I thought the book was a nice glimpse into the life of a successful businessman. Who doesn't want to be successful? Seeing his everyday life and how he handles people, obstacles, and situations allows the reader to form their own ideas on how to acheive success. I'm not talking just about financial or business success.
Some of the stories, I thought, were a little long winded, but I'd rather have long winded good stories rather than short stories making me long for more detail. Trump's got a neat story that many will find interesting.

5-0 out of 5 stars Awaken the winner inside you
This book is classic Trump. It brings to life the determination, drive and desire of one of the world's wealthiest men. It is inspiring. This book will help awaken "The Winner", "The mogul" inside you. Great book even if you have read Donald's other books. Highly recommended. ... Read more


122. Rees Howells: Intercessor
by Norman Grubb
list price: $12.99
our price: $9.74
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Asin: 0875081886
Catlog: Book (1997-06-01)
Publisher: Christian Literature Crusade
Sales Rank: 28517
Average Customer Review: 4.76 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (25)

5-0 out of 5 stars A life changing experience!
This book on the life of Rees Howells is a must read for anyone desiring greater intimacy with God through prayer. I have read the book twice, the second time after searching for it for almost two years. The simplicity and profoundness of this man,s prayer life demonstrates that God simply desires for us to love and reverence Him out of purity of heart. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who wants to be spiritually revived.

5-0 out of 5 stars Rees Howells-Intercessor
This book changed my relationship with the Lord more than any single book (outside of the Bible). It is a must read for anyone, not just those gifted in intercession. The author systematically reveals how God works with Rees Howells to purify his heart and become a true doulos/servant (sold-out bond slave). I will read this book again and again until the return. Oh yeah, bring the kleenex!

5-0 out of 5 stars A Truly Life Changing Book
If you only read four books in addition to the Bible as a Christian, this should be one of them. I have met more people that this book has had a life-changing impact upon than any other. (A close #2 is With Christ In The School Of Prayer by Andrew Murray).

Rees Howells is an example of a person who laid down his life for others, labored in prayer and, in doing so, touched the heart of God. His life was a picture of what 1 John 3:16-24 describes.

5-0 out of 5 stars TRULY ANOINTED AND INSPIRING
My Pastor lent me a copy of this book and it truly ministered to me in a powerful way. When I started reading it I could not put it down. About that time I had to travel and it was my companion on the plane. The events in the life of Rees Howell was an inspiration to me as it caused me to trust in the power of almighty God accessed in intercession.
The copy was not my own, that is why I am getting one now.
Blessed reading.

5-0 out of 5 stars Captivating
This book was a joy to read! It gave me new insight into how to live the Christian life. While I don't believe we are all called to be intercessors as he was, I believe we can all gain from the steps of relinquishment he took. It became very clear to me that he lived a hard life, but probably more exciting and more fullfilling than any other person who followed Jesus with the exception of the Apostles. This book will definitely help in understanding the real Christian walk and the joy that can be received when we obey His calling. It is very easy reading and is hard to put down. Miracles abound in his life. Spiritual warfare is put into context of recent history. Wonderful! ... Read more


123. If I Die in a Combat Zone : Box Me Up and Ship Me Home
by TIM O'BRIEN
list price: $13.95
our price: $11.16
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Asin: 0767904435
Catlog: Book (1999-09-01)
Publisher: Broadway
Sales Rank: 24341
Average Customer Review: 4.71 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (17)

5-0 out of 5 stars exceptional!
This is an excellent piece of literature. O'Brien is at his finest as he transcribes his experiences during the vietnam war. If you read "The Things They Carried" (which he wrote after this) you'll definately love this book. It's also interesting to observe some of the similarities to the characters in this memoir to those in The Things They Carried. It's exceptional, honestly. You wont be disappointed.

5-0 out of 5 stars Courage
A thinking man in Vietnam was a dangerous thing. Being a soldier in Vietnam was a dangerous thing. Tim O'Brien was both and somehow he managed to live to survive it and tell his story. He ends up in Vietnam after unsuccessfully dealing with his conflict between doing the right thing and being a courageous man. He tells of his decision not to follow his well planned escape route and stay with his country and its proposal to send him to Viet Nam. O'Brien describes Vietnam as a place with nameless soldiers and Buddys, faceless enemies and endless minefields.

This is an excellent text for learning about the experience of the Vietnam war, the choices that young man were faced with at that time and basic dilemmas in making moral decisions. It is a well written book which makes for a quick, satisfying read.

5-0 out of 5 stars War a Go Go
Whether academics would consider this a literary masterpiece or not, Tim's honesty and integrity make this a must-read account of his total Vietnam experience. I say total, because I found his description of his almost-AWOL phase to be one of the most fascinating parts of the book.

Morally and practically, his situation was infinitely more complex than that of a draft dodger, for whom there were known routes into Canada above all, and more clear cut decison processes involved. About 90,000 of the 100,000 draft dodgers fled to Canada, many of whom settled here long-term.

Yet as you read Tim's account of his guided tour of hell, you realize that, like all Vietnam Vets, and I have the honor of knowing many of both genders, his healing journey is one that he will not be undertaking alone. Sadly, there was nothing unique about his Vietnam experience, as he would be the first to tell you.

At one point, back in the late seventies, there was a statistic indicating that about 800,000 Vietnam Vets - about half the combat vets, were suffering from PTSD. Yet it became obvious that this figure, which did not even include the Army nurses and Docs who sewed everybody back together, was somewhat low. On reading If I Die, you can see how the Vietnam experience could stay with a person for the rest of his/her life, especially in view of the hostility that the Vets faced upon their return to 'The World'.

Vietnam was a tremendously divisive issue and the factors that Tim O'Brien had to balance during his almost-AWOL period, make you realize that the actual draft dodgers will also have their own healing to do. The only draft dodgers I have a problem with are the ones who fled to Canada, yet who claim to have done so because of their 'principles'.

No. The draft evaders with true integrity and principles either took the courageous step of joining the military as a Medic and refused to carry weapons, or like David Harris, Joan Baez's husband, went to jail for their principles - David was jailed for 3 years for Draft Evasion. The dodgers who ran to Canada did so because they were scared, pure and simple, and there is nothing wrong with being scared. Just don't lie about it - or you will never heal.

As for 'principles', if 100,000 people had forced the Government to jail them over the Vietnam issue, as David did, it might have made a difference. It might literally have ended the war years earlier, and saved young men like Tim from having to undergo such a psychologically damaging experience. Running away was a selfish act, but one which I do not judge - that is between them and God. Just don't try to sell me 'principles', boys. Ever.

Tim O'Brien is a great writer, and in If I Die, he really puts you in harm's way, among the trip-wire grenades, the panji stake pits, the minefields and the VC snipers. Yet hard as the Vietnam War was on the young draftees, the unforgivable thing is the fact that for many of these teenage soldiers, the hardest part was coming home. To quote from Paul Hardcastle's '19' (the average age of the combat soldier in Vietnam) "They fought the longest war in American history... None of them received a hero's welcome..."

Welcome home, Tim.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Early O'Brien...
O'Brien is simply my favorite author. I was curious to read this, his first book, a memoir of his real days in country. It is without the lyrical beauty and power of some of his other fictionalized accounts of war, but as he says in How to Tell a True War Story--what exactly is real in war? This is as close one can come...a fascinating account--perhaps most interesting is the down time--the mundane aspects of war. His honesty is disarming (no pun intended), but the polished O'Brien we know and love is still developing. It is an important book and worth the time spent.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good
As a Marine grunt(1968) In Vietnam, the book basically gives a good view into daily 'NAM' LIFE. Other reviewers gave a low rating thru their WELL-> READ knowledge of the war. There is a old Vietnam unwritten code "if you were not there, then you have no idea what happened or should not judge the ones who were. Vietnam vets don't talk about our experiences over there because there is no way a civilian could comprehend what we endured". The war was a horrible, minute by minute effort to stay alive but also a duty to protect your fellow marines , your fellow marines were your brothers. Read the book. Semper Fi ... Read more


124. Hell to Pay: The Unfolding Story of Hillary Rodham Clinton
by Barbara Olson
list price: $27.95
our price: $27.95
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Asin: 0895262746
Catlog: Book (1999-11-01)
Publisher: Regnery Publishing
Sales Rank: 81976
Average Customer Review: 4.29 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Hell to Pay is yet another book on Hillary Rodham Clinton, this time from a conservative lawyer who served as the Republican chief counsel for the congressional committee investigating the Clintons' involvement in "Travelgate" and "Filegate." Barbara Olson traces the now familiar biographies of the president and first lady, contending that Mrs. Clinton is someone with dangerously liberal, even radical, political beliefs who "now seeks to foment revolutionary changes from the uniform of a pink suit." (Olson plays the theme heavily: each chapter of Hell to Pay begins with quotes from Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals, which influenced the young Hillary Rodham.)

There are some interesting new tidbits scattered throughout the book, like the fact that after law school Hillary Rodham tried to become a Marine Corps officer but was turned down; or that she told her high school paper her ambition after high school was "to marry a senator and settle down in Georgetown." Olson, attempting to dissect the mystery of the Clinton partnership, writes, "Most self-respecting women would have left" after Clinton's repeated infidelities. "Hillary chose to stay. She behaves as both a desperate lover, and like a frantic campaign manager protecting a flawed candidate.... Hillary, it seems, long ago accepted Bill Clinton as someone who could advance her goals, as a necessary complement to her intellectual cold-blooded pursuit of power." As the Clinton presidency draws to a close, that pursuit has taken her beyond the White House toward a bid for her own U.S. Senate seat. Olson predicts the Senate won't be enough, just the next step toward becoming the first woman president: "Hillary Clinton seeks nothing less than an office that will give her a platform from which to exercise real power and real world leadership." While Olson admits that "Bill Clinton has always excited the greatest passion not among his supporters, but among his detractors," the same could certainly be said of his wife--whose supporters will probably consider Hell to Pay a rehash of a too-familiar story, but whose detractors will no doubt savor every page. --Linda Killian ... Read more

Reviews (162)

5-0 out of 5 stars AS A "FIRST-lADY" SHE LACKED THE CHARISMA AND STYLE!
Not being an American, it may be a little easier to look at Hillary Clinton in a completely objective manner. Based on my knowledge and experience in psychology and considering what has been publicized in the media throughout the "Clinton affair", I must agree with what Barbara Olson has written in this book. One could watch the television and see Hillary and Bill standing side by side, all smiles for the benefit of the media and easily see they were superficial. At times, the lack of emotion and stilted conversation reminded me of two Barbie dolls - Ken and Barbie at their finest.

While Ms. Clinton may have stayed with her husband out of love and loyalty, the real reason appears it was to feather her own nest for a political career - at any cost! I give the woman credit for pursuing her own dreams, goals and desires, but most women would have placed their own self-respect at the top of the list. A woman might choose to forgive one spousal indiscretion out of love and family, but how one could love someone who was continually unfaithful is another matter. Were there perhaps more skeletons in Ms. Clinton's own personal closet that have not become public? Ms. Clinton does not appear to be a woman lacking self-confidence or emotional security; therefore, one is left to question whether her true reasons for staying were for self-serving purposes, that is, to further her own political ambitions.

Barbara Olson obviously spent an enormous amount of time and energy in researching the facts in this book and has given readers a bird's-eye view of what makes Ms. Clinton tick and what does not. Whether the reader agrees with Olson's portrayal of Ms. Clinton is a matter of personal opinion. This is a compelling and straight-forward book that cuts no corners and definitely deserving of a five-star rating.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Very Dangerous Woman
This was one of the most educational books I have read in my life. Olson writes a compelling story about Hillary Clinton, starting with her middle-class upbringing in suburban Illinois. Growing up with a house full of men, Hillary felt she had to excel at everything in order to win her father's approval, which she never seemed to get. This was the only time I felt any empathy for this woman.
We've all heard the blatherings about the Clintons' scandals via the media. But the media never came close to telling us the truth, especially concerning their dealings with the Chinese government, who now has possession of our nuclear secrets. Barbara Olson not only illustrates their involvement but gives an unsettling picture of how Hillary Rodham Clinton's mind works. She is a megalomaniac who wants nothing more than absolute power over the American people, especially our children. Olson also gives us the scoop about Whitewater, the Lewinsky fiasco, and scores of other calamaties and injustices that went on inside the White House during their double-term. Basically, the Clintons perfected the Nixonian technique for covering their tracks, destroying a countless number of lies both figuratively and literally.
I would have liked to have read what really happened to Vincent Foster, Ron Brown, and several other officials who met untimely deaths. Olson barely skimmed this issue, but told how Vince Foster was Hillary's lawyer and possible lover. I can understand why Olson couldn't touch that issue, given her position in the Justice Department. But she portrays the Clintons for who they really are, slick criminals who will use anyone and any means to secure their agenda.
I recommend this book to every American citizen, whether they were (or are still) pro-Clinton or not. Hell to Pay is loaded with facts that we cannot ignore.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Real Hillary.
And it's not pretty, but we already knew that. Barbara Olson wrote a top flight biography with "Hell to Pay." I, for one, definitely miss her presence in the field of non-fiction and am sorry she is no longer with us. Many people may not realize that R. Emmett Tyrrell's book, "Madame Hillary," was heavily influenced by this work. Olson exposes the hidden, radical nature of Hillary's worldview. Her thought is far closer to Saul Alinsky than John Jay or Thomas Paine. In the wake of the 2000 election recount, when she came out against the electoral college, who could doubt that she cares little about the institutions or traditions that embody this country. She hides her radicalism behind a bourgeois veneer but Olson allows her true traits to become visible through "Hell to Pay."

3-0 out of 5 stars A lot of good details that you don't hear
I have to say that I enjoyed this review of Ms. Clinton or should I say Ms. Rodham. I don't know how much of this is true but it told a lot of facts that I was unaware.

I did not know that she got her leftist views from a socialist pastor. At least that was the way he came across to me. I thought it was pretty strange that she didn't wear any make up or shave her legs until Bills run for second term as Governor.

The book pretty much takes for granted that everyone knew Bill was a philanderer and does not make much of an issue of it. This is what I like about this book it goes in and tells you all the details of the spending to keep the Clintons in nice homes and have a nanny paid for by the tax payer dollars. I guess politicians are expected to do that.

The interesting parts were about the cops getting Bill girls in Washington, travelgate which they could have avoided completely if they just said they wanted their own people in; filegate was the weirdest after the diatribe Hillary gave about Nixon's enemies list.

An interesting part I thought was her relationship to Vince Foster. How the author got all the information is beyond me.

It showed how Hillary was an absolute perfectionist and could never be criticized. She was very clever in getting her husband off the hook all the time and especially in the impeachment by making them focus on the adultery and then threatening to expose all the congress for their indiscretions.

The more I read the more I felt this woman's hands in my pockets.

If most of this is true, I can not see how she got elected to the Senate, I guess all candidates steal from the cookie jar. I never understood why this woman thought she had a right to rule over everybody else. She was just a tyrant.

I would recommend this book to people want to know more details about all the scandals. If you are a Clinton lover you'll probably say it is all lies.

5-0 out of 5 stars WHY THE RIGHT GOES AFTER THE CLINTONS
The right does not go after the Clintons because Bill lied about Monica Lewinsky. They go after them because they think they may have ordered the murder of Vince Foster. They go after them because kids were murdered on railroad tracks in Mena, Arkansas because they may have witnessed their drug-running operation there in the 1980s. They go after them because there is a list of between 50 and 100 people mysteriously killed, all of whom knew the Clintons and had knowledge of their activities. These people were generally young and in good health. Did they all die by accident? To quote Shakespeare, "There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than can be dreamt of in your philosophy." In other words, it is possible they all were killed by means other than the Clintons' ordering their deaths, but it is so far from possible as to be very close to being, for all practical purposes, that with which is impossible. Bodyguards, witneses, drug buddies, state troopers, kids, etc. Dead. If the Clintons are responsible for some or all of their deaths, they got away with all of it. THAT is why the right goes after the Clintons. If I go missing, look in Ft. Marcy Park.

(...) ... Read more


125. In the Rose Garden of the Martyrs : A Memoir of Iran
by Christopher de Bellaigue
list price: $26.95
our price: $17.79
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0066209803
Catlog: Book (2005-01-01)
Publisher: HarperCollins
Sales Rank: 80500
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Beside the highway that leads south from Tehran, the necropolis of Ayatollah Rudollah Khomeini rises from the sweating tarmac like a miraculous filling station supplying fuel for the soul. However, the paint is peeling even before the complex has been completed, and the prayer halls are all but deserted.

Iran's Islamic Revolution is out of gas, but what has happened to the hostage takers, suicidal holy warriors, and ideologues who brought it about? These men and women kicked out the Shah, spent eight years fighting Saddam's Iraq, and terrified the West with its militancy and courage. Now they are a worn-out generation.

In this superbly crafted and thoughtful book, Christopher de Bellaigue gives us the voices and memories of these wistful revolutionaries. Mullahs and academics, artists, traders, and mystics: the author knows them as an insider -- a journalist who speaks fluent Persian and is married to an Iranian -- and also as an outsider -- a Westerner isolated in one of the world's most enigmatic and impenetrable societies.

The result is a subtly intense revelation of the hearts and minds of the Iranian people -- and what it is to live among them.

... Read more

Reviews (6)

4-0 out of 5 stars Well-written but Complicated Structure
This is a beautifully written book by an author who knows the language and has lived in the country he writes about -- both qualities I look for in a writer who pens books about the Middle East. It shows us aspects of Iranian culture and history the mass media overlook, and humanizes the place and its people. But the way it is written -- in a series of interlocking vigniettes -- is very complicated. In the end you wish the author had just told a story with a more traditional narrative structure. Worth buying for the insights, but don't expect an easy read...

4-0 out of 5 stars Well written and insightful, but not the complete picture
Mr. de Bellaigue's prose is superb and he had many interesting experiences in Iran; It is obvious he wore out a lot of shoe leather writing this book.We are treated to a host of eclectic characters, from the daughter of murdered secular dissidents, to disillusioned former revolutionaries cum reformists, as well as the plight of everday Iranians who are getting by in a poorly managed, authoritarian theocracy.

The problem I had with the book was Mr. de. Bellaigue's focus on seeing Iran through the lense of Shiite Islam. At one point he makes the absurd statement that "It is every Iranians' dream to go to Karballah (Iraq)". Anyone who spends more than a day in Tehran will see how hollow statements like these ring.

Overall the book was very good, but if you're going to only read one book on contemporary Iran it should be Afshin Molavi's Persian Pilgrimages, which is in a class by itself.

3-0 out of 5 stars strong prose, good insight, didn't care for style/structure
In the Rose Garden of the Martyrs has many strengths and was the sort of book I wanted to like more than I did.The prose is sharp and vivid, with some inventively insightful images/phrases.The insights into Iran range from the large (politics, society as a whole, the future of the revolution) to the small and personal (rhetorical offerings of favors/courtesies not meant to be accepted, family tensions).But thanks to the episodic, impressionistic nature of the work, I never felt a strong sense of cohesiveness or narrative.
"Memoir" is probably somewhat of a misnomer, as there is very little about Bellagiue's experiences in the book and "memoir" as well tends to imply a relatively straightforwardnarrative whereas Garden is actually more a collection of encounters/interviews/interactions with various members of Iranian society layered between descriptions/explanations of ancient (centuries ago) and more recent (especially 1970 on) Iranian history.
On the one hand, it's a nice mix of abstract history and personal impact of thathistory, especially with regards to the Iraq-Iran war, which takes up much of the book's focus.On the other hand, the mosaic approach didn't quite add up for me, though it does perhaps make a nice companion piece to other, more mundane memoirs such as Persepolis and Reading Lolita in Tehran, two works I enjoyed more though they lacked the detailed history.
The range of characters offers up a nice cross-section of Iranian society, the almost incomprehensible human tragedy of the war is vividly conveyed, and Bellaigue makes Iran come alive in human terms more than any magazine article or policy book can.Some of the characters I found more compelling than others, and one of the reasons I didn't find the book completely enjoyable is that I had less interest in Hossein Kharrazi, a military leader and martyr who takes up a significant portion of the book.
While the nature of the anecdotal approach didn't do much for me, there's no denying the author's talent with language or his skills of social observation/analysis. I'm guessing the book would have gone down better over a few days, a chapter or two at a time, rather than one or two long reading stretches, more like how I would have read a collection of short stories.That would be my recommendation at least.
Recommended, with a few reservations due to the structure and the somewhat inaccurate description of it as "memoir", Not as enjoyable from my viewpoint as Reading Lolita or Persepolis, but a good companion book, one that could be read a bit at time while reading the others more straight through.

4-0 out of 5 stars Delivers the goods
I loved this book. It is a unique blend of history, reportage, travelogue and memoir. It is flawed, because the author's voice doesn't feel fully formed, but this hardly matters alongside the absolute gems it contains. Rivetting description of Khomeni's oratorical style, anedotes which take you right inside the head of those who were ready to martyr themselves in the war with Iraq. I was in Iran in 1987 and this is the first book I have read that answers all the questions I have carried with me since then. Furthermore, anyone who can write a line like "matchsticks marinated in Chanel" to describe the privileged young women of North Tehran has a special place in my heart. I can't wait to read his novel, for the book has "novelist waiting to burst forth" written all over it.

5-0 out of 5 stars A great read...
I ordered this book after reading Pico Iver's glowing review in the NYT.It more than lives up to the praise.de Bellaigue is a terrific writer with a painter's eye, an atist's sensibility and an investigator's tenacity.He manages to convey a sense and a feel for the place that is truly palpable, even for someone like me who's never been to Iran.The book is a memoir, a travelogue, a love story and so much more. I consider this book must reading since Iran will most likely be the next country we'll be in war with.Might as well know who the "enemy" is. ... Read more


126. The Eloquent President : A Portrait of Lincoln Through His Words
by Ronald C. White Jr.
list price: $26.95
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Asin: 1400061199
Catlog: Book (2005-01-11)
Publisher: Random House
Sales Rank: 13203
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Great Communicator
Historians across the political spectrum agree that the United States has had only two great presidents, Washington and Lincoln. They also agree that of all our presidents Lincoln was the most eloquent.

By analyzing some of the speeches that Lincoln composed while president, White puts them into historical context, illuminating their whole truth where previous scholars might have been satisfied with a partial one. He describes each speech as a pearl connected by a common thread. Stringing together these pearls, he demonstrates not only Lincoln's habits and thoughts but the evolution of his thoughts, for one speech usually built on a previous one and pointed toward another. Lincoln lived and wrote within the continuum of past, present, and future.

As Bridges and Rickenbacker write in their book, The Art of Persuasion, schemes and tropes are the tools of the language, having originated with Aristotle; their use lends weight and authority to the spoken and written word. Lincoln made heavy use of alliteration, antithesis, assonance, asyndeton, ellipsis, erotema, isocolon, parallelism -- practically a dictionary of rhetoric -- which White too rarely refers to by name. He argues persuasively that Lincoln met Aristotle's qualifications for successful art of persuasion: 1) moral character; 2) the ability to excite listeners based on an understanding of their thoughts and feelings; and 3) the ability to prove a truth through various forms of argument. An experienced lawyer, Lincoln often argued by syllogism. He wrote on practical occasions to achieve practical effects. Frequently he shunned polysyllabic Latin derivatives for plain Saxon in order to appeal to a broad audience.

Some biographers have been reluctant to credit Lincoln with a traditional religious sense, calling him a deist, fatalist, or skeptic, but his rhetoric suggests otherwise. Not only did he attend services, he read carefully the King James Bible, employing biblical cadences and references throughout his work. One might say his writing, like his life, was informed by a strong awareness of the workings of providence.

Lincoln's skill was even more remarkable when we consider that he was self-taught. In a Congressional directory, when asked to comment on his education, he wrote: "defective." He studied Scott's Lessons in Elocution, he absorbed Kirkham's English Grammar; both were more rigorous than what today's students encounter. I have found other sources which listed Lincoln's literary influences as the Bible, Shakespeare, John Bunyan, Daniel Defoe, and Blackstone's Commentaries -- difficult to read on one's own, all of them. Throughout his life Lincoln worked diligently on writing and revising, sometimes reading to the nearest listener, sometimes aloud to himself, always concerned with orality and effect on the audience. He wrote slowly and spoke slowly.

Robert Frost one said that he intended to "lodge a few poems where they couldn't be gotten rid of easily." Lincoln's speeches have become lodged into the American vernacular: First Inaugural ("better angels of our nature"); Second Inaugural ("with malice toward none"); Gettysburg Address ("new birth of freedom"); Cooper Institute Address ("What is conservatism?"); the House Divided speech, the Emancipation Proclamation. How many American presidents have made such an impact through their words? Who was the last president even to write his own speeches?

The terrible irony is that critics of the time denied Lincoln's eloquence, much like the impoverished souls of today who, unable to let go of the Confederacy, insist with John Wilkes Booth that Lincoln was a tyrant. Such is the fate of the good and the great. Profound are their efforts, however, for those like Ronald White who are paying attention.

5-0 out of 5 stars The living word
This is a highly interesting history of the emergence of Lincoln's great rhetorical career during the civil war, starting with his railroad tour on the way to Washington after his election. Tracing the particulars and varied drafts of these gestating classics, the author puts each of the classic speeches in its context, especially the Gettesburg Address. The resulting fine-grain context for Lincoln's great masterpieces of eloquence is highly enjoyable and highlights the tenous edge they gave to his threatened passage as president through the trials of the Civil War.

5-0 out of 5 stars The self-taught communicator
For anyone who enjoys the process of writing and speaking, this book is a great treat.Lincoln carefully selected words for their mental and emotional impact.And he seems to have gotten better every year.Very inspiring!

5-0 out of 5 stars An Eloquent Book
Mr.White lucidly conveys the striking skills possessed by Abraham Lincoln in the writing, for oral delivery, of the most important political speeches of our country's history.

It is a book that should be read by every serious student of President Lincoln and all those interested in the art of formal political speech.

5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly explains substance and style of Lincoln's prose
Abraham Lincoln was eloquent; everybody knows that.But what kind of eloquence did he have?How did he use it to advance his ideas and political agenda?How did he use it to enlighten the American people and to summon up the best that this nation can be?Any reader who has any interest in those questions must read this book.It is a profound yet lucid and fast-moving examination of Lincoln's uses of oratory as president-elect and as president.It stands with yet somehow manages to eclipse studies of specific speeches such as Garry Wills's LINCOLN AT GETTYSBURG or the author's previous study of the Second Inaugural Address, LINCOLN'S GREATEST SPEECH.I teach Lincoln in my Law and Literature course and I plan to have this book at my elbow as I teach Lincoln this semester. ... Read more


127. Letter and Papers from Prison
by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
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Asin: 0684838273
Catlog: Book (1997-07-01)
Publisher: Touchstone
Sales Rank: 12022
Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars
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Letters and Papers from Prison is a collection of notes and correspondence covering the period from Dietrich Bonhoeffer's arrest in 1943 to his execution by the Gestapo in 1945. The book is probably most famous, and most important, for its idea of "religionless Christianity"--an idea Bonhoeffer did not live long enough fully to develop, but whose timeliness only increases as the lines between secular and ecclesial life blur. Bonhoeffer's first mention of "religionless Christianity" came in a letter in 1944:

What is bothering me incessantly is the question what Christianity really is, or indeed who Christ really is, for us today. The time when people could be told everything by means of words, whether theological or pious, is over, and so is the time of inwardness and conscience--and that means the time of religion in general. We are moving towards a completely religionless time; people as they are now simply cannot be religious any more. Even those who honestly describe themselves as "religious" do not in the least act up to it, and so they presumably mean something quite different by "religious."
The pleasures of Letters and Papers from Prison, however are not all so profound. Occasionally, Bonhoeffer's letters burst into song--sometimes with actual musical notations, other times with unforgettable phrases. Looking forward to seeing his best friend, Bonhoeffer writes, "To meet again is a God." --Michael Joseph Gross ... Read more

Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars Poignant, connected, universal
Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Letters and Papers from Prison show the reader the thoughts of a man who wrote with immense insight under circumstances fraught with the deepest despair. Prior to the war, Bonhoeffer had established himself as a visionary, if somewhat moderate, young Christian theologian. His imprisonment by the Nazis in the wake of the failure of the conspiracy to assasinate Hitler gave rise to this series of letters, ranging from the trivial to the most profound, reflecting the thoughts and ideas of a man whose ideas continued to evolve, even as hope dwindled. It is tempting to see Bonhoeffer as a sort of modern Christian saint "set-piece" of a man, or a Spielberg movie waiting to be made. Such an interpretation of the man would trivialize the flesh and blood reality of his life, as these letters demonstrate. Collections of letters typically suffer from one of two defects--either they are inanely trivial and gossippy, or they spend far too much time on being "literary" for posterity, and not enough time giving real insight into the writer. Bonhoeffer's letters avoid both of these traps. Although the letters collection is not overly burdened by the confessional, letters to his parents and fiance help us understand in very human terms the horror of imprisonment by the Nazis, notwithstanding their careful phrasing to avoid the censor's pen. The letters do contain some of the intentionally "literary"--Bonhoeffer writes poetry which is reasonably spare and connective and sometimes writes for the hypothetical future reader. But the real tour de force is Bonhoeffer's analysis of the evolution of his theological thought in light of the changes wrought by modernity and made apparent to him through his experiences. In several reasonably succinct but incredibly sweeping letters, he outlines a new vision of Christianity, a form of post-Christian Christianity if you will, which has generated a half century of debate and provided inspiration to Christian and non-Christian alike. In this age in which "liberal" religion has been sadly equated by some with "flaccid" religion, we see through these letters a deeply disciplined thinker outlining the way for Christianity to remain relevant in a world all too ready to try to "outgrow" the faith. Although his thinking is complex, and in some instances he assumes a base of knowledge of late 19th C and early 20th C. Christian theology the 21st C. casual reader may not have, the letters are quite accessible and profoundly human. This is not a man building a neat construct out of his dissertation. This is a condemned man hinting at the blueprint for the transformation of a faith. Although it is tempting to suggest that this is a "Christian masterpiece" of 20th C. faith, the suggestion is a disservice. This is a masterpiece of literature which transcends genre or faith. In the interminable list of intellectual heroes of the 20th C., we rarely see Pastor Bonhoeffer among the honorees. But this book is a powerful argument that this man, who saw the need for religious people to use religion less as a crutch and more as a transformation, should be included prominently in our intellectual heroes list.

5-0 out of 5 stars The cost of discipleship
From April 1943 to April 1945, Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a prisoner of the Gestapo. Suspected of participating in a plot against Hitler, he was eventually executed in the closing days of World War II. This book is a collection of letters he wrote from prison to his family, his fiancee Maria, and his dearest friend Eberhard.

Bonhoeffer was in his late 30s when he was arrested. He was a Lutheran theologian, who had publicly questioned the rise of fascism and anti-Semitism in Germany and was systematically silenced by Hitler's government, unable finally to publish any of his writings or to preach in any pulpit. Along with other members of his family, Bonhoeffer secretly participated in an effort led by officers of Army Intelligence to undermine the war effort. Attempting to build a case against him, the Gestapo kept him a prisoner, awaiting trial. Incriminating evidence did not emerge until after the July 1944 attempt on Hitler's life. And at this point the letters stop, as Bonhoeffer was transported to another prison and eventually to a series of concentration camps.

The letters in this volume describe in detail the routines of prison life. And they offer a glimpse of life lived by ordinary civilians during months of aerial bombardments, as the fabric of daily life slowly crumbles. They also reveal the thoughts and emotions of a man whose faith in God and trust in survival are put to the severest test. While he is remembered by those who knew him in his last months as a fiercely brave, courageous, and selfless man, we see in the letters his inner turmoil, his fear, loneliness, and sense of isolation in a world his theology never imagined.

Included in the collection are polite and cheerful love letters to the young Maria von Wedemeyer, to whom he has proposed marriage. And more deeply moving still are his heart-felt letters to Eberhard Bethge, a fellow clergyman and dearly loved friend. It was Bethge, many years later, who collected these letters and published them; he has also written an extensive biography of Bonhoeffer. (The letters to Maria von Wedemeyer have been published separately as "Love Letters from Cell 92"). A collection of Bethge's essays on Dietrich Bonhoeffer was publisehd in 1995 under the title "Friendship and Resistance." They portray Bonhoeffer's friendship with Bethge and describe how the prison letters between them survived.

Bonhoeffer's life should have been that of a theologian much respected in his own time who, in a large body of work, advanced an understanding of God for a modern, secular world. His years cut short, we can only guess what his final contribution would have been. But the letters are an inspiring testament to a life lived without compromise or despair, in the face of overwhelmingly destructive forces.

5-0 out of 5 stars Food for the soul
An excellent selfportrait of Bonhoeffer, a Lutheran minister, while in a nazi German prison during the war.
It reveals the immense power of the spirit that helps us go through the most cruel experiences life can have awaiting for us. My first book by Bonhoeffer and I am glad I started with this one. What a great man!

4-0 out of 5 stars Prisoner at peace.
In late 1942, theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, "... the power of some needs the folly of others. It is not that [intellectual capacities] become stunted or destroyed, but rather that the upsurge of power makes such an overwhelming impression that men are deprived of their independent judgment, and -- more or less unconsciously -- give up trying to assess the new state of affairs for themselves. The fact that the fool is often stubborn must not mislead us into thinking that he is independent. One feels in fact, when talking to him, that one is dealing, not with the man himself, but with slogans, catchwords, and the like, which have taken hold of him. ... folly can be overcome, not by instruction, but only by an act of liberation... a person's inward liberation to live a responsible life before God is the only real cure for folly."
Folly and Bonhoeffer were on a collision course.
During his long imprisonment by the Nazi regime, Bonhoeffer corresponded with members of his family. Many of these letters were collected, and later published, by Eberhard Bethge, Bonhoeffer's niece's husband. The letters between Bonhoeffer and Bethge, his intellectual and spiritual confidant, are the most insightful in terms of revealing the intellectual Bonhoeffer. Although his life hangs in the balance, Bonhoeffer only occasionally speaks of his own welfare, and then apologetically and only in passing. With Bethge, and to a lesser extent with his father and others, he prefers directing his thoughts to a great breadth of interests -- art, history, music, philosophy, physics, psychology, sociology, theology. With all correspondents, Bonhoeffer expresses constant concern for their welfare, as well as for the welfare of his fellow prisoners and even his Nazi guards. We continually have statements like this one:
"I wish you much joy and don't want you to be disturbed by any thoughts about me. I have every reason to be so infinitely grateful about everything. ... the prisoners and guards here keep saying how they are 'amazed' (?!) at my tranquillity and cheerfulness. I myself am always amazed about remarks of this kind. But isn't it rather nice?"
To 'flesh-out' the context for Bonhoeffer's letters, Bethge has included much of the letter writing of his correspondents, and you may choose not to read all of this material. The reader should quickly notice that the language of the letters is, in some passages, less than frank, as in Bonhoeffer's seemingly exaggerated statements of patriotism. One must remember his position, and that of his family. Bonhoeffer speaks of a desire to be able to speak freely one day, to converse face to face. To serve as a pastor, to counsel others, to be a husband to his fiancee, to support and care for his family, to study and write.
The Nazis, sadly, had a different agenda.

5-0 out of 5 stars What a friend Dietrich Bonhoeffer had...
Closing this book and setting it down on my desk, I feel that it should be one of the most depressing books I've ever read, and to many it may be. Happily, it's one of the most encouraging. Wow, how great this book is!

Bonhoeffer's letters begin shortly after the time of his arrest in Berlin in the Spring of 1943. The letters in this collection are mainly those written to his parents and his associate (and husband to his niece) in the German Confessing Church where he was pastor, Eberhard Bethge. At first these letters are fairly basic and simple reassurances of his well-being and encouragements to his friends and family. There is not simply a hope that he will be released from the Tegel Interrogation Prison where he was being held, but an almost naive expectation that his release will be soon. Gradually, with time, Bonhoeffer clearly begins to see the truth of his imprisonment and the reality that he'll probably only be freed upon the defeat of Germany and liberation by the Allied Forces. But it is with this realization that Bonhoeffer's letters become stronger, more passionate, more philosophical, and simply more powerful.

Anyone could forgive Bonhoeffer for having become depressed, bitter, and hopeless during his horrendous, Kafkaesque, imprisonment. But amazingly, his spirit is lifted in the opposite direction as his detention carries on. People can debate what the cause of this irrational hope and joy was due to (although Bonhoeffer never appears delusional; rather, very grounded), but Bonhoeffer himself makes it clear throughout that his hope and strength is due entirely, in his belief, to Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit.

Eventually, after many letters and papers filled with short stories, poems, pastoral sermons, and theological debates, Bonhoeffer's letters become shorter, less frequent, and more direct, due to the closing of the war and his implication (among hundreds) in the assassination attempt on Hitler on July 20, 1944. But even in these final letters, he is positive and encouraging to his family. Finally, Bonhoeffer's letters stop, and we know from other sources that he died one of the most miserable deaths imaginable, via executionary hanging in the Flossenburg concentration camp, as the Nazis, sensing their downfall, began to eradicate every witness to their crimes. But from his letters we can know what Bonhoeffer would have told us upon learning this: "Death is the supreme festival on the road to freedom." Someone who can write that and truly mean it (i.e. not in some hypothetical sense), is either a complete fool, or knows something that many others do not. I believe with Bonhoeffer, the latter applies. ... Read more


128. Mother Teresa : In My Own Words
by MOTHER TERESA
list price: $5.99
our price: $5.39
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Asin: 0517201690
Catlog: Book (1997-10-07)
Publisher: Gramercy
Sales Rank: 17357
Average Customer Review: 4.36 out of 5 stars
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Though Mother Teresa's words may be spare, her good deeds are abundant. The messages in this lovely collection--directed at coworkers, sisters, and others eager to hear the words of someone who lived the challenge she presented to others--are sure to provide inspiration for anyone who reads them. The quotes, stories, and prayers are a testament to the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize winner's generosity and strength of spirit: "Good works are links that form a chain of love"; "I never will understand all the good that a simple smile can accomplish"; "Before judging the poor, we have to examine with sincerity our own conscience." Mother Teresa's words and deeds fortified and inspired the poor, the dying, and the suffering. These powerful messages, combined with black-and-white photos of this highly regarded woman doing the work she loved, make for a truly unforgettable book. ... Read more

Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars words of great wisdom
This book is made up entirely of Mother Teresa's anecdotes and sayings. The author tells us little about this saintly woman except that Mother Teresa was very clear in her goals: to love and serve the poor and to see Jesus in everyone. She always left the ways and means to do this in God's hands. These are a few of the passages that inspired me.

"Holiness does not consist in doing extraordinary things. It consists in accepting, with a smile, what Jesus sends us. It consists in accepting and following the will of God."

"Holiness is not the luxury of a few. It is everyone's duty: yours and mine."

"In order to be saints, you have to seriously want to be one. Saint Thomas Aquinas assures us that holiness "is nothing else but a resolution made, the heroic act of a soul that surrenders to God." And he adds: "Spontaneously we love God, we run towards him, we get close to him, we possess him." Our willingness is important because it changes us into the image of God and likens us to him! The decision to be holy is a very dear one. Renunciation, temptations, struggles, persecutions, and all kinds of sacrifices are what surround the soul that has opted for holiness."

"Prayer makes your heart bigger, until it is capable of containing the gift of God himself."

"Prayer does not demand that we interrupt our work, but that we continue working as if it were prayer."

"To love with a pure heart, to love everybody, especially to love the poor, is a twenty-four-hour prayer."

"My secret is a very simple one: I pray. To pray to Christ is to love him."

"Prayer is not asking. Prayer is putting oneself in the hands of God, at his disposition, and listening to his voice in the depths of our hearts."

"Every day at communion time, I communicate two of my feelings to Jesus. One is gratefulness, because he has helped me to persevere until today. The other is a request: teach me to pray."

"Never forget, my children, that the poor are our masters. That is why we should love them and serve them, with utter respect, and do what they bid us."

"I ask you one thing: do not tire of giving, but do not give your leftovers. Give until it hurts, until you feel the pain."

"Let us ask God, when it comes time to ask him for something, to help us to be generous."

"The poor are great! The poor are wonderful! The poor are very generous! They give us much more than we give them."

"Today it is very fashionable to talk about the poor. Unfortunately, it is not fashionable to talk with them."

"Do we share with the poor, just like Jesus shared with us?"

"Whoever the poorest of the poor are, they are Christ for us - Christ under the guise of human suffering."

"Our food, our dress: it all must be just like the poor. The poor are Christ himself."

"The less we have, the more we give. Seems absurd, but it's the logic of love."

"True love causes pain. Jesus, in order to give us the proof of his love, died on the cross. A mother, in order to give birth to her baby, has to suffer. If you really love one another, you will not be able to avoid making sacrifices."

"Someone once told me that not even for a million dollars would they touch a leper. I responded: "Neither would I. If it were a case of money, I would not even do it for two million. On the other hand, I do it gladly for love of God."

"I will never tire of repeating this: what the poor need the most is not pity but love. They need to feel respect for their human dignity, which is neither less nor different from the dignity of any other human being."

My elderly parents-in-law often talk about the time when they met Mother Teresa. This book is probably the closest we will get to sitting at her feet and listening to her words of wisdom.

Words of great wisdom

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, Inspiring Compilation
This collection of Mother Teresa's own words was compiled by a journalist who knew her personally. The quotes are practical and spiritual, like the saint herself. They're arranged within several categories, including Holiness, Generosity, and Life And Death. One of my favorite Mother Teresa quotes from the book: "Some remind me of what a magazine once said about me; it described me as a "living saint." If someone sees God in me, I am happy. I see God in everyone, and especially in those who suffer." Be sure to read the Introduction for a brief account of her remarkable life. Each chapter begins with a photo of Mother Teresa in her work. Whatever your religion or faith, race or color, you will draw both inspiration and hope from this holy woman's heartfelt words.

-- Graciela Sholander, http://dreamitdoit.net

5-0 out of 5 stars An expression of love for her fellow humans
This collection of quotes was put together by Jose Luis Gonzalez-Balado a year before Mother Teresa's death. It is an indispensable collection of wisdom for those who work with the poor or who are concerned for them.

Her words are categorised into fifteen chapters some dealing specifically with her work among the poor and others being more general. Mother Teresa, was of course, a Roman Catholic nun and as a result much of her material centers on Christ and finding him among the poor. However, even if you are not Roman Catholic you will find the message endearing. It is one of love and concern for our fellow human beings.

5-0 out of 5 stars Reach for a Star
Want to know what is missing? Want to know where to find it? The model of Mother Teresa is not one to make us feel inadequate but it challenges us to reach for who we were really created to be. Each one in their own way...in their own place... can find a way to make their part of the world ... a sweeter place to be. Enjoy....be inspired...

4-0 out of 5 stars Inspirational
This is not the book to read if you are seeking great literature. All that you will find here is simple, honest spirituality.

Read this little book only if you can endure being shamed. Read it only if you are strong enough to face the truth that none of us is whom God intended us to be. None of us is whom we were meant to be: whom we can be.

Read this little book if you wish to be inspired by the saint's musings to become more than you already are. ... Read more


129. Benjamin Franklin : An American Life
by Walter Isaacson
list price: $16.95
our price: $11.53
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Asin: 074325807X
Catlog: Book (2004-04)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Sales Rank: 1902
Average Customer Review: 4.39 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Benjamin Franklin is the founding father who winks at us -- an ambitious urban entrepreneur who rose up the social ladder, from leather-aproned shopkeeper to dining with kings.

In bestselling author Walter Isaacson's vivid and witty full-scale biography, we discover why Franklin turns to us from history's stage with eyes that twinkle from behind his new-fangled spectacles. In Benjamin Franklin, Isaacson shows how Franklin defines both his own time and ours.

The most interesting thing that Franklin invented, and continually reinvented, was himself. America's first great publicist, he was consciously trying to create a new American archetype. In the process, he carefully crafted his own persona, portrayed it in public, and polished it for posterity. His guiding principle was a "dislike of everything that tended to debase the spirit of the common people." Few of his fellow founders felt this comfort with democracy so fully, and none so intuitively.

In this colorful and intimate narrative, Isaacson provides the full sweep of Franklin's amazing life, from his days as a runaway printer to his triumphs as a statesman, scientist, and Founding Father. He chronicles Franklin's tumultuous relationship with his illegitimate son and grandson, his practical marriage, and his flirtations with the ladies of Paris. He also shows how Franklin helped to create the American character and why he has a particular resonance in the twenty-first century. ... Read more

Reviews (98)

5-0 out of 5 stars A great effort.
Walter Isaacson's "Benjamin Franklin: An American Life" is an excellent biography of the eldest of the American founding fathers. Isaacson's writing style is incisive, so the book is never dull. Many Americans tend to view the founding fathers as god-like patriots; but Isaacson is able to show Franklin's flaws through the many refrences to Franklin's correspondences. Isaacson also extensively covers Franklin's pragmatism and frugality through many examples from his letters and other records.

I can't compare this book to any of the other popular Franklin books because I haven't read them, but I would reccomend this book for a less analytical, though not superficial, read. I say this because it was written by a journalist - journalists tend to be incisive and easier for most to read than scholers. If you would enjoy a more psychological view into Franklin's character, HG Wells' version would probably be more appropriate.

5-0 out of 5 stars An American Renaissance Man
Publisher, philosopher, scientist, inventor, and statesman - Walter Isaacson's "Benjamin Franklin: An American Life" is a fascinating portrait of our Founding Father's most senior citizen. But it is also an outstanding history of American life in the 18th century, first as a colony, then in the struggle for independence. The role of France in the American Revolution - and Franklin's role in securing that key alliance - unfolds with a clarity I'd not previously encountered. And Franklin's often-combative relationship with John Adams is a riveting character study, especially when balanced by McCullough's biography of Adams. In vivid detail and painstaking research, Isaacson's Franklin is brilliant, but still an enigma. Despite unquestionably high morality, we see a ruthless businessman. While possessing an obvious love for socializing - especially with members of the opposite sex - his immediate family is effectively abandoned, as Franklin lives virtually parallel lives between Europe and America. We see Franklin typically charitable and charming, yet alternately cold and calculating. Yet despite his foibles and flaws, Franklin emerges deservedly as "the most accomplished American of his age." And given the breadth of these accomplishments, an argument could be made "for any age". In summary, Isaacson achieves the rare combination of an important and scholarly biography that at the same time is a lively and entertaining story of America and one of our greatest Americans.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great Portrayal of the Most Versatile American
Let me first start off by saying that I have read few biographies. But Isaacson made a biography that is both readable and balanced between Franklin's personal and professional life. Franklin was the true founding father that believed in the common man. Franklin was not perfect but he believed in fair treatment for all. America would have advanced much slower if it was not for Ben. Probably his greatest contribution to our society was the feeling of helping one another. He helped form the first fire station, post office, police force (much less his inventions) - his work had community written all over it. All of his work was done with the premise of helping mankind. Maybe other founders fought the wars and wrote the documents. But we survived all these years because we formed a community; the idea that as Americans we have to all work together. That is Franklin's legacy to our nation. I will read biographies on the other founders (Hamilton, Jefferson, Adams and Washington) to gain a more complete perspective on how this country started. This book lays an excellent foundation and is a must read for those interested in the origins of America through the eyes of one of its greatest citizens.

5-0 out of 5 stars An outstanding biography of a remarkable man
Walter Isaacson, former chairman of CNN and managing editor of Time Magazine, has written an immensely readable and informative biography of Benjamin Franklin that never gets too stuffy or bogged down in meaningless minutae. Instead, we are treated to a fascinating glimpse at a man who was early America's greatest publisher, scientist, politician, inventor and diplomat.

We all have our pre-conceived notions of Franklin, including him out flying his kite to try and link electricity with lightning, or him dozing off during the lengthy and tedious deliberations at the Constitutional Convention. Isaacson peels back the layers of the story a bit, reminding us how often our vision of Franklin derives from Franklin's own pen, such as the vision of the young teen arriving in Philadelphia with loaves of bread, looking ridiculous as he passed by the window of his future wife (a scene written by Franklin at age 65 when he penned his autobiography).

The book does a very good job not only of recounting the many accomplishments of Franklin, but also of exploring his middle class ideals and values. For example, Isaacson's book reminds us that while Franklin was never terribly pious or religious throughout his life, he favored organized religion because churches encouraged citizens to behave well, and to do good things. There was always a sense of pragmatism and public service in everything Franklin did and believed in. As a publisher, if he thought a public policy or official was wrong and needed to be criticized publicly, he would invent characters (to avoid libel suits) to write humorous and sometimes scathing attacks that were basically anonymous.

The book also dwells repeatedly on the Franklin's love and admiration of the middle class as the real core of American society. While Thomas Jefferson founded the University of Virginia as a college for southern gentlemen, Franklin founded the University of Pennsylvania to serve a much larger, and more low-brow, populace. As a statesman, it is remarkable that Franklin (despite many years abroad as an effective French ambassador) was a participant and signer of virtually every key treaty/document in colonial history, including the Albany Plan of the Union, the Declaration of Independence, the Treaty of Alliance with France, the Peace Treaty with England, and the Constitution. His spirit of compromise and his sage demeanor no doubt helped bridge the gap which sharply divided members of the Constitutional Convention. He occasionally flip-flopped on an issue, including his views on the Stamp Act and his belief in the possibility of conciliation with Britain, but without his sense of compromise the Constitution would never have made it in its present, remarkable form.

Isaacson also explores the personal side of Franklin, including his strained relationship (and ultimate lack of a relationship) with his loyalist son, who became governor of New Jersey, as well as his relatively harmless flirting with the ladies of French society while he was abroad. The contrasts in his character, and that of John Adams (who was sent out to France to work with him on the French alliance), was remarkable. Both great men to be sure, but they could not be more unalike, and their pairing was an unfortunate one.

The book ends with a wonderful chapter titled "Conclusions" in which Franklin's place in history, and the changing attitudes towards his character over the years, are explored. The Trascendentalists like Emerson and Thoreau had little use for Ben, as he was too practical and mundane for their "rarefied tastes", but as the country became more industrial and Horatio Alger novels became the rage, Franklin's work ethic and maxims were embraced all over again. Ultimately Isaacson points out that as a writer he was "more Mark Twain and less William Shakespeare", and as a scientist he was more like Edison than Newton. Always witty and charming, if not profound, he probably did more than anyone in history to try and advance the common good, through civic associations, libraries, volunteer fire departments, post offices, etc. I put the book down terribly impressed with Franklin the man, and Isaacson the biographer.

1-0 out of 5 stars Walter Isaacson: Mr. Shallow, An American Life
As a direct descendant of Simon Meredith (1663-1745), father of Hugh Meredith, Benjamin Franklin's erstwhile business partner in Philadelphia, I looked forward with great interest to Isaacson's much touted book, and immediately consulted it between flights, looking up Cousin Hugh. With respect to Hugh, Isaacson, like so many predecessors, again proved shallow, inept, under informed and a grand source of misinformation: as we Merediths know all too well, Franklin simply stiffed Simon and dumped Hugh after the venerable Ben had gained a virtual monopoly to print money. Isaacson remains oblivious of the fact that the Simon Merediths of Radnorshire, members of a medieval college of physicians and clerics, were and remain one of the most distinguished Welsh-American families this country has ever known. I realize Isaacson is reputedly a great publicist and business person, but as an historian and researcher he remains woefully ignorant. Welcome to another silly, sorry Franklin read. ... Read more


130. Washington's Crossing (Pivotal Moments in American History)
by David Hackett Fischer
list price: $35.00
our price: $23.10
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Asin: 0195170342
Catlog: Book (2004-01-01)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Average Customer Review: 4.61 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Six months after the Declaration of Independence, the American Revolution was all but lost. A powerful British force had routed the Americans at New York, occupied three colonies, and advanced within sight of Philadelphia. George Washington lost ninety percent of his army and was driven across the Delaware River. Panic and despair spread through the states. Yet, as David Hackett Fischer recounts in this riveting history, Washington--and many other Americans--refused to let the Revolution die. Even as the British and Germans spread their troops across New Jersey, the people of the colony began to rise against them. George Washington saw his opportunity and seized it. On Christmas night, as a howling nor'easter struck the Delaware Valley, he led his men across the river and attacked the exhausted Hessian garrison at Trenton, killing or capturing nearly a thousand men.A second battle of Trenton followed within days. The Americans held off a counterattack by Lord Cornwallis's best troops, then were almost trapped by the British force. Under cover of night,Washington's men stole behind the enemy and struck them again, defeating a brigade at Princeton. The British were badly shaken. In twelve weeks of winter fighting, their army suffered severe damage, their hold on New Jersey was broken, and their strategy was ruined. Fischer's richly textured narrative reveals the crucial role of contingency in these events.We see how the campaign unfolded in a sequence of difficult choices by many actors, from generals to civilians, on both sides. While British and German forces remained rigid and hierarchical, Americans evolved an open and flexible system that was fundamental to their success. At the same time, they developed an American ethic ofwarfare that John Adams called "the policy of humanity," and showed that moral victories could have powerful material effects. The startling success of Washington and his compatriots not only saved the faltering American Revolution, but helped to give it new meaning, in a pivotal moment for American history. ... Read more

Reviews (23)

5-0 out of 5 stars Proves once again the greatness of Washington
This is a wonderful book. On the one hand, it's the story--told from the strategic level--of a critical year in America's history (late 1776 to mid-1777). On the other hand, it's a gripping story of the battles, the participants, and what it all looked like from the viewpoint of the common soldier. And if I had a third hand, it is yet another testimonial to the greatness of George Washington, both as a man and military leader.

The story begins with a retelling of the horrible period in 1776, when Washington's army was outfought and outgeneraled in New York and chased to Pennsylvania. Having been proven fallable, Washington rethought his strategy and within a few weeks demonstrated great leadership in crossing the Delaware and defeating the enemy in Trenton, then a week later holding the British off in Trenton, then beating them in Princeton. Fischer's retelling of the guerilla-style war that ensued in New Jersey after the battle of Princeton was completely new to me.

Fischer is a master of seamlessly moving the narrative from the broad strategic level (the maps are excellent) to the tactical level, and then to the level of the individual soldier. His synthesis of diaries and other first-hand accounts from participants from both sides of the conflict gives the reader the feeling of really being there.

I've read a fair amount on the Revolutionary War but found that I had a greater feel for the travails and thoughts of the individual soldiers from this book than in anything I've read before.

I particularly liked the last chapter, where Fischer summarizes the big and small lessons we can learn from the events of that critical year. I could not agree more with one of his concluding points--that recent years have seen historians focus on finding dark underbellies in American history (often where one did not exist): "Too many writers have told us we are captives of our darker selves and helpless victims of history. It isn't so, and never was." Amen to that.

Fischer doesn't varnish the truth nor does he try to convince the reader that the Americans were always lily white. But there is no question who the good guys were in his retelling, and he backs up his conclusions with facts.

This is the story of one of the great moments in our nation's history, when the future truly was in the balance. The decisions of George Washington really mattered then and so did his leadership. The response of the other leaders and soldiers really mattered, and they responded admirably. It's a time we can all be proud of.

Highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars Well researched and interesting
A monumental tome, "Washington's Crossing" provides an extensive and thorough examination of the people and events leading up to and surrounding the crossing of the Delaware River as well as the results of the successful New Jersey campaign of which this was one small part. For those who are serious historians and wish to check primary sources or other information the author provides documentation in the form of 45 pages of appendices, 33 pages of histography, a 27 page bibliography, and 56 pages of notes. For those less inclined to study at that level the easy-to-read style of David Fischer makes the book a great read. He closely examines the makeup of the various military units including the Hessian regiments, British regulars, Scottish Highland regiments, Connecticut Light Horse regiment, Hamilton's Artillery, regiments of riflemen, etc. He also examines the background and history of Washington, the Howe brothers, Cornwallis, and many other major players in the war. After reading "Washington's Crossing" you come away with a deeper understanding and appreciation for what the American and British forces went through and what each was trying to accomplish at various stages of the war. This was a critical time for the American militia and David Fischer drives the point home well as he takes you through one unsuccessful campaign after another until the tide finally turned for the American troops. Each side is carefully examined in terms of fatigue, moral, military planning. What happened, why it happened and the effect it had on the war at that point. A fascinating trip into history it is an excellent read and highly recommended.

3-0 out of 5 stars Very Good Narrative of a Pivotal Encounter
I found that this book is a very good, though somewhat incomplete, narrative of the 1776 New Jersey campaign. The most helpful thing I did before reading this book was to read Thomas Fleming's "1776 Year of Illusions".

Fischer's book struck me as being almost two books in one. The first recounts the events from the end of the siege of Boston through the 1776 battles for New York. The prose, while servicable, is not compelling and the narrative goes by in very large blocks. This first part deeply disappointed me.

For this part, Fleming's book was invaluable. He put the events of 1776 in a larger political context so that what was happening made more sense. In Fischer's book, Germain and North are merely mentioned. Fleming fully realizes these two crucial figures. Fleming also puts Washington's campaign in perspective with other military activities, admittedly outside of Fischer's purview.

However, once the action moves to New Jersey, Fischer settles in and appears to be more interested in what is going on. The prose improves greatly and the details are put forward. I like the idea (as noted in another review) that Fischer usually lets the reader know what the controversies are and how he sorted them out. The details are fascinating and Fischer has a number of contributions to the story.

However, Fischer, to me, never really gives life to Washington. While I do not think he is a cardboard figure in this book, he is rather distant. Nor does Fischer, as another reviewer noted, effectively chronicle Washington's evolution as a leader. There are other areas where the incompleteness interferes with understanding what is happening such as with Charles Lee.

This is where the Fleming book was so helpful. I found Fleming's prose to be very compelling. In his book Washington becomes almost human. His evolution as a leader is clearly shown. The effect of what Fleming calls "Bunker Hillism" is clearly traced. Fischer has the same concept but it is, to me, unfocused. I also believe that Fleming makes the ties between the political and military arenas clearer. Of course, Fleming by covering all of the events of 1776 does not have the detailed focus that Fischer has. Further Fleming's book, from 1976, does not have the sources from after that date that Fischer has. These sources certainly seem to have made an impact on our understanding of the events.

In summary I find that Fischer's book is indespensible for its details and its conclusions about the 1776 - early 1777 New Jersey campaigns. Fischer also has really wonderful material on the legacy of the events and how they have been treated over the years. But for a fuller view of where these events fit in the overall conflict, and for some points that Fischer seems to be incomplete about, I would recommend this book in tandem with other sources.

5-0 out of 5 stars Moving and Inspriring...
Superb account of the Continental Army, Washington and the Winter of 1776!

4-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful story telling
This is a wonderful book, presently information not found in other books. For example, after the battle of Trenton when George Washington surprised the Hessians and killed or captured a thousand of them, there was a second battle of Trenton in which Washington was severely outnumbered by the British, but he managed to slip away. Did you know that? And did you always believe the Hessians were drunk when Washington attacked? If you did, you can find out here why this just wasn't so.

This is not a quick read dealing with just the crossing of the Delaware. The author takes nearly two hundred pages just building up to the crossing. But in those pages the author lays out just why it was that Washington was willing to take such a risk as he did in crossing the Delaware, and what lead up to him making such a desperate attempt at securing a victory of some kind, any kind. It is interesting to see how so many things that could have gone wrong did, but somehow everything worked out well in the end (well, unless you were one of the German mercenaries!). Also, the author considers the individual soldiers involved, not just the generals.
The entire book is informative, enjoyable, and just plain good reading.
If a person wanted to read just one book concerning the crossing of the Delaware (and what came before and what came after), this would be the one I would recommend.
The author of this book certainly knows how to tell a story. ... Read more


131. The Mayor Of Macdougal Street: A Memoir
by Dave Van Ronk, Elijah Wald
list price: $26.00
our price: $17.16
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Asin: 0306814072
Catlog: Book (2005-04-12)
Publisher: Da Capo Press
Sales Rank: 3965
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The posthumous memoir of Dave Van Ronk, leader of the Greenwich Village folk revival of the '60s

Dave Van Ronk (1936-2002) was one of the founding figures of the 1960s folk revival, but he was far more than that. A pioneer of modern acoustic blues, a fine songwriter and arranger, a powerful singer, and one of the most influential guitarists of the 1960s, he was also a marvelous storyteller, a peerless musical historian, and one of the most quotable figures on the Greenwich Village scene. Holding court in legendary venues like Gerde's Folk City and the Gaslight Caf8E, Van Ronk's influence was so great that a stretch of Sheridan Square-the heart of the Village-was renamed on June 30, 2004, and is now Dave Van Ronk Street. The Mayor of MacDougal Street is a unique first-hand account by a major player in the social and musical history of the '50s and '60s. It features encounters with young stars-to-be like Bob Dylan (who survived much of his first year in New York sleeping on Van Ronk's couch), Tom Paxton, Phil Ochs, Joan Baez, and Joni Mitchell, as well as older luminaries like Reverend Gary Davis, Woody Guthrie, Mississippi John Hurt, and Odetta. Colorful, hilarious, engaging, and a vivid evocation of a fascinating time and place, The Mayor of MacDougal Street will appeal not only to folk and blues fans but to anyone interested in the music, politics, and spirit of a revolutionary period in American culture. ... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars At The Pinnacle Of Importance
Everyone can pinpoint a few songs that changed their entire perspective on the first hearing.Such was the case with Dave Van Ronk's contribution to the great 1964 Elektra compendium of folk and blues, The Blues Project.Mr. Van Ronk performed "Bad Dream Blues," and my life was altered forever.This song is the yardstick of excellence by which I measure so much other American music from Dylan to Chapin to Springsteen.

Had he been with a powerhouse label like Columbia, Mr. Van Ronk would have become a household name.

This book focuses on the source of the genius.The particular blend of time, location, and current events combined to produce a fertile opportunity for singer-songwriters.And to my ears, Mr. Van Ronk was at the pinnacle of importance.

Mr. Van Ronk may've been The Mayor on the world's most vital street of the folk scene during its heights, but among artists he's royalty.

4-0 out of 5 stars Van Ronk's Golden Memories
Some of you who have made Bob Dylan's CHRONICLES VOLUME ONE a bestseller might pick up on this book; Van Ronk covers some of the same territory as Dylan, only he got there first and he's more capacious, Whitman to Dylan's Hart Crane.Props to Elijah Wald who hand-crafted this material from a bunch of Van Ronk's monologues.It reads like a book and you'll hardly know it wasn't.The detective writer and creator of Matt Scudder, Lawrence Block, adds a preface that does the job efficiently and well.

What a life he had!(The singer died in 2002.)In the chapters devoted to his youth, Van Ronk paints us picture after picture, of the memorable individuals he met in the age of the first folk revival.In San Francisco he encounters the nutty Jesse Fuller, who had once been the folk-singing protege of Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford.In New York he shares a stage with Odetta, whose powerful voice could fill all of Manhattan when she let it loose.The truth is that being a folk singer in the late 1950s wasn't very much fun, and Van Ronk believed in getting paid for his singing and playing, so he was denied a space by the coffeehouse owners who could put on all the entertainment they wanted for free, and so he started organizing the musicians properly.All of this is fascinating to read about.Those of you who enjoyed Christopher Guest's folk revival send up A MIGHTY WIND will howl with recognition as Van Ronk lays into the "crewcuts in drip-dry seersucker suits" of the period such as the Kingston Trio."There was an obvious subtext," he writes, "to what these Babbitt balladeers were doing, and it was, `Of course, we're really superior to all this hayseed crap-but isn't it cute?'This attitude threw me into an absolute ecstasy of rage.These were no true disciples or even honest money-changers.They were a bunch of slick hustlers selling Mickey Mouse dolls in the temple.Join their ranks?I would sooner have been boiled in skunk piss."Yowzer!

He's funny also about the truth that, although he was a tried and true Bohemian anarchist, he sure wasn't getting laid very much.In the pre-Pill age, he says, nobody was."And the fact that we were a pretty scuzzy bunch might have had something to do with it." ... Read more


132. Inside Hitler's Bunker : The Last Days of the Third Reich
by Joachim Fest
list price: $21.00
our price: $14.28
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Asin: 0374135770
Catlog: Book (2004-04-01)
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Sales Rank: 24924
Average Customer Review: 4.09 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

There is nothing in recent history that comes close to the cataclysmic events of the spring of 1945.Never before has the defeat of a nation been accompanied by such monumental loss of life, such utter destruction.Author Joachim Fest shows that the devastation was the result ofHitler's determination to take the entire country down with him; he would make sure that his enemies would find only a wasteland, where once there was a thriving civilization.

Fest describes in riveting detail the final weeks of the war, from the desperate battles that raged night and day in the ruins of Berlin, fought by boys and old men, to the growing paranoia that marked Hitler's mental state--his utter disregard for the well being of both soldiers and civilians-- to his suicide and the efforts of his loyal aides to destroy his body before the advancing Russian armies reached Berlin. Inside Hitler's Bunker combines meticulous research with spellbinding storytelling andsheds light on events that, for those who survived them, were nothing less than the end of the world.
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Reviews (11)

4-0 out of 5 stars The last days of a fallen empire....
Fest, who is the author of one of the most authoritative biographies on Hitler, focuses on the final few days of the Third Reich in his new book. This is a really riveting book, and once you get past the first 15 or so pages, you won't want to put it down. Fest does a great job at describing the general disorganization and confusion of those final days, and showing just have bad Berlin had been destroyed by the Russian and American assault upon it. I think Fest does raise some good questions about Hitler and his importance in history. Also, the speculation that Hitler's aims and goals for the Third Reich were not for the betterment of civilization, but for the eventual destruction and enslavement of it, is an apt assessment. Also, Dembo's translation is much better than the translators for some of Fest's other works, and I think this also had a lot to do with why the book was so good. The reson why I gave it only 4 stars as opposed to 5 is that it does seem a little sketchy at times in its treatment of the Bunker, but then again, much is speculation anyway. Another reason for the 4 stars is that Fest really gives no dramatically new information here, but he makes other excellent observations and such that you just can't stop reading. A good companion to this tome would be UNTIL THE FINAL HOUR by Traudl Junge, Hitler's last secretary in the Bunker, so that one can get a historical, as well as personal, perspective on the events surrounding the fall of the Third Reich.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Dark Ending to a Dark Time
Joachim Fest is a distinguished German journalist and the author of an acclaimed biography of Hitler. In "Inside Hitler's Bunker," he focuses on the last days of the Third Reich, beginning his narrative on April 16, 1945 as the Soviets open their final offensive against Berlin. The book explores the surreal and miserable world of the "Fuhrer Bunker" under the Reich Chancellery, the fanatical resistance and eventual collapse of the German armies defending Berlin, Hitler's delusional attempts to command armies that had been wiped out, and the astonishing willingness of soldiers and civilians to obey his orders until the very end.

This is a highly readable and very powerful book, and the translator (Margot Bettauer Dembo) deserves high marks for the result. I read the book avidly, and as soon as I was done my wife picked it up and did the same.

"Inside Hitler's Bunker" may be somewhat disappointing for those who have read a great deal about the Battle of Berlin or Hitler's last days (the book does not appear to break a great deal of new ground), but it will prove to be a gripping narrative for those who are new to the horrors of Berlin in 1945. Part of the continuing fascination of this dark time is the challenge of trying to understand the incomprehensible: how could a madman like Hitler stay in control of Germany in the last weeks of April 1945, and why did so many Germans follow him as he dragged them into the final catastrophe?

The answer to those questions may lie in the 12 years of indoctrination that preceded those fateful days in 1945. For a brief and readable perspective on this period (which has been thoroughly explored in numerous more massive tomes), you may want to try "Inside Hitler's Germany: Life Under the Third Reich" by Matthew Hughes and Chris Mann.

4-0 out of 5 stars No Footnotes? Say What?
Personally, I'm not a big fan of having a tremendous amount of footnotes in a book. Then again, any book of history that doesn't contain any is immediately suspect. Generally speaking, "historians" who don't use footnotes are either: 1) Elderly; 2) Egotists; 3) Lazy; or 4) Glorified journalists.

Here's Joachim Fest's reason for not using footnotes in his book "Inside Hitler's Bunker":

"This volume contains no footnotes. Every citation or incident mentioned can be traced to a source, however. I decided not to use footnote references because of the hopeless confusion in the statements and testimony of the witnesses, much of which can no longer be cleared up. Too often a reference would have to be compared with one or more differing statements or descriptions."

In other words, this book is historical fiction. It's still worth reading, but then again, lazy, unaccountable scholarship should not be tolerated, especially for a subject as important as this one. Was Fest hoping that, because he wrote an acclaimed biography of Hitler, that he was therefore an "expert" and could get away with this sort of thing?

Sure, I'm not blind to the fact that there are so many contradictory accounts concerning Hitler, that the logistics of unravelling the truth about his reign are formidable. Then again, that is what HISTORIANS do. Surely at least a FLAVOR of the problems in writing this sort of book might have been attempted to be conveyed in a few judicious notes.

4-0 out of 5 stars Very Interesting But...
Fest has written a very good account of Hitler's and the Reich's last days. However, there is a glaring error or at the very least, an ambiguity that I have not heard others mention in their reviews.

Page 111 states that Hitler had his last meal at 2 P.M. on April 30, 1945, the historically accepted day of his suicide. However page 115 mentions that "...some witnesses say they heard one shot at about 3:30 in the morning." That would make it May 1, 1945. Page 123 then goes on to say that Hitler died on the afternoon of April 30, 1945.

Additionally, page 116 says that Hitler died on a '"...flowered sofa." while the sofa may have had flowers in the pattern, the primary motif was a Russian Cossaack on horseback with sword drawn.

Joachim includes interesting details that some accounts fail to mention. He accurately records that Hiter was shot with a 7.65-mm Walther pistol (not a revolver). He also mentions that Eva Hitler was found with a pistol that was unfired. He excludes the fact that the smaller gun was in fact also Hitler's, the one he carried since the 20's in a holster built into his pants.

This book is an excellent addition to others about Hitler's last days in the bunker, but not the best work on the subject .

4-0 out of 5 stars A FITTING END
As World War II was coming to an end and the Russian armies were marching towards Berlin, Hitler and some of his most die-hard supporters hid themselves in a secret bunker deep underground. This excellent book lays out the events that were happening inside the bunker and also in the streets outside as the dream of a maniac was coming to an end.

As you read you see a Hitler who still has dreams of the Americans and Russians turning against each other and Hitler coming in as the cavalry to aid the US. The bunker was a fertile playground for pipedreams of still being able to win the war even as the cement was falling from the ceilings as bombs struck overhead. It made me think of the Iraqi press officer in the recent war as Americans were invading the country saying that all the Americans had been kicked out and defeated.

The portrait of Hitler that emerges is the mentality of a gang leader. He wasn't a visionary. He wanted to kill, loot, and pillage. The world was nothing more than a theater of death to him. He refused to almost the end to surrender, instead bringing needless destruction and death to his people. It seemed that he resented the German people in a way simply because they were gullible enough to do everything he said. My god, where was a voice of reason in the Germany of that era? To me, it seems as though it was a terrorist state.

Another disturbing aspect of it was the devotion of his followers and the idealism of the Nazi way of life. For example, Magda Goebbels, on realizing the end of the war, became so depressed that she killed all her children and then committed suicide along with her husband. These people really thought they were mideval knights, holding up some code of chivalry and social codes while they were killing millions of Jews, Russians, and Americans. It almost felt good to read about the end of this horrible state and the absurdity as the people around Hitler struggled amongst themselves to be his successor like there was a future for the Nazi party. ... Read more


133. Confessions of an Heiress: A Tongue-in-Chic Peek Behind the Pose
by Paris Hilton, Merle Ginsberg
list price: $22.00
our price: $14.96
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743266641
Catlog: Book (2004-09)
Publisher: Fireside
Sales Rank: 577
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Book Description


Paris Hilton has a lifestyle most girls dream about. Her name is on everyone's lips -- but can she help it if she was born rich and privileged? Now, with a sly sense of humor and a big wink at her media image, Paris lets you in for a sneak peek at the life of a real, live heiress/model/actress/singer/it-girl and tells you how anyone can live a fairy-tale life like hers.

"If you follow your own plans and dreams and you don't let anyone talk you out of them, then you'll start to get the hang of being an heiress....All you need after that is a good handbag, a great pose, and very high heels, and you're on your way. (Long blond hair doesn't hurt, either.)"

In her fabulous and very tongue-in-cheek -- and chic -- guide, you'll discover Paris's twenty-three rules for How to Be an Heiress (Never have only one cell phone when you can have many), Paris's list of Twelve Things an Heiress Would Never Do (Go out the night after the Oscars), and Three Things Most People Think Heiresses Shouldn't Do, But I Think They Should (Go out with broke guys). Paris also shares private information such as her memories of growing up with her sister, Nicky, and family photos; her favorite designers and her unique beauty secrets; what a night out with Paris is like; her personal gallery of fashion don'ts; and behind-the-scenes stories from both installments of her hit television series, The Simple Life. Of course no book by Paris would be complete without her pet teacup Chihuahua, Tinkerbell, and in these pages, the best-dressed dog in the world shares pages from her own secret diary.

Featuring more than three hundred fabulous color photos of Paris, Confessions of an Heiress is a look at life from the unique perspective of a young woman who has the whole world at her stiletto-clad feet. ... Read more


134. It Seemed Important at the Time : A Romance Memoir
by Gloria Vanderbilt
list price: $22.00
our price: $14.96
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Asin: 0743264800
Catlog: Book (2004-10-05)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Sales Rank: 1526
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Book Description

An elegant, witty, frank, touching, and deeply personal account of the loves both great and fleeting in the life of one of America's most celebrated and fabled women.

Born to great wealth yet kept a virtual prisoner by the custody battle that raged between her proper aunt and her self-absorbed, beautiful mother, Gloria Vanderbilt grew up in a special world. Stunningly beautiful herself, yet insecure and with a touch of wildness, she set out at a very early age to find romance. And find it she did. There were love affairs with Howard Hughes, Bill Paley, and Frank Sinatra, to name a few, and one-night stands, which she writes about with delicacy and humor, including one with the young Marlon Brando. There were marriages to men as diverse as Pat De Cicco, who abused her; the legendary conductor Leopold Stokowski, who kept his innermost secrets from her; film director Sidney Lumet; and finally writer Wyatt Cooper, the love of her life.

Now, in an irresistible memoir that is at once ruthlessly forthright, supremely stylish, full of fascinating details, and deeply touching, Gloria Vanderbilt writes at last about the subject on which she has hitherto been silent: the men in her life, why she loved them, and what each affair or marriage meant to her. This is the candid and captivating account of a life that has kept gossip writers speculating for years, as well as Gloria's own intimate description of growing up, living, marrying, and loving in the glare of the limelight and becoming, despite a family as famous and wealthy as America has ever produced, not only her own person but an artist, a designer, a businesswoman, and a writer of rare distinction. ... Read more


135. The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt (Modern Library (Paperback))
by Edmund Morris
list price: $17.95
our price: $12.56
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Asin: 0375756787
Catlog: Book (2001-11)
Publisher: Modern Library
Sales Rank: 3644
Average Customer Review: 4.74 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Described by the Chicago Tribune as "a classic," The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt stands as one of the greatest biographies of our time.The publication of The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt on September 14th, 2001 marks the 100th anniversary of Theodore Roosevelt becoming president. ... Read more

Reviews (113)

5-0 out of 5 stars Unmatched detail, Hyper-scrupulous research, VERY readable
Morris somehow manages to bring TR to life to the point that he practically stands up and walks out of the book into your living room. Even more impressive, Morris does this while dutifully retaining objectivity, giving equal and judicious space to the man's (relatively few) shortcomings and quirks. The result is that the reader lives through nearly every fascinating detail of how a real human being named Theodore Roosevelt surmounted his very human hurdles ultimately to develop into the true larger-than-legend icon he was and is. As much as I have enjoyed other TR biographies (e.g. by McCullough, by Miller) these do not quite reach the level achieved by Morris. The only disappointment is that the book focuses only on his life to the point of ascending to the Vice-Presidency, but after all the title is The RISE of Theodore Roosevelt . . . On rare occasions, the most detailed and honest truth is the most interesting story to read; this is one of them, don't miss it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Not much to add, a well deserved 5 stars (and Pulitzer too!)
This biography is one of the most thorough and enjoyable I have read. If there has been controversy over Morris' Reagan bio, at least it brought attention to this book. Morris drew a portrait of Roosevelt and his era and it came to life for me. I particularly enjoyed the description of the political scene of the time, especially the New York State assembly and further on to Boss Platt, Senator Hanna, and the other backroom operatives. Morris does not hide the negative side of TR, the snobbery, the hypocrisy, and the naked jingoism. As a Canadian, Roosevelt took Manifest Destiny to extremes and one sympathized with those who considered him a loose cannon. At the same time, this book shows his drive, energy, and his willingness to put himself face-first into anything, be it the Spanish American War, the unpopular anti-saloon enforcement in NYC, or any of his western adventures. I highly recommend this biography to anyone interested in history, Americana, or the times of the later 19th century.

5-0 out of 5 stars dscyoung
Outstanding! McCullough and others have done wonderful things with Presidential biographies; however, Morris has brought Roosevelt alive like no other. The struggles young Roosevelt endured are a inspiration. His genius is detailed in true color. I couldn't wait to pick up Theodore Rex. Looking for a hero in todays rough and tumble? Look no further than TR.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wow! An outstanding story about an amazing person
Teddy Roosevelt is surely one of the most captivating figures in history, and this book is an incredibly lively and vivid chronicle of his rise to the American presidency. Edmund Morris writes in delightful prose with colorful imagery and funny stories, and provides an astounding level of detail. You will not want to put down this book; it is as mesmerizing as Tolkien's Ring. It is hard to imagine a better-written story. Mr. Roosevelt is abundant in charisma, intelligence, and drive. If you can only read one book on the man, choose this one.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Rising Start!
"The Rise Of Theodore Roosevelt" tells the outstanding story of the pre-presidential years of this remarkable individual. In an attention-holding style, Morris relates the anecdotes known to all TR fans. In addition to the well known facts, Morris reveals lesser known facts which help us to understand TR and his career.

Beginning with he President's New Year's Day Reception of 1907, the book quickly jumps back to a very youthful TR. In the following pages we read of the close relationship between TR and his father. We read of the father who, by example and word, taught TR his greatest virtues of honesty, social responsibility and concern for others. It was this father who drove him through the streets of New York to get him over his asthma attacks as well as the one who told him that he "had the mind, but not the body" and that he must build his body. When TR was contemplating a scientific career, it was this father who told him that he could pursue such a career, "if I intended to do the very best that was in me; but that I must not dream of taking it up as a dilettante", but that he would have to learn to live within his means. Theodore Roosevelt, Sr.'s payment of a substitute during the Civil War left his son with a sense of guilt which could only be assuaged by his own military service. We learn of the shattering effect that this father's death had on the Harvard student. As president, TR would remark that he never took any serious step without contemplating what his father would have done.

Much attention is given to the "Roosevelt Museum of Natural History" assembled by the young taxidermist. This was the first of three career paths considered by TR, scientific, which he abandoned, literary, which supported him for much of his life, and political, which became his life work.

We learn of TR's loves, both of Edith and Alice. We learn of how TR pursued love with the same vigor and intensity that he pursued everything else which he desired. The death of his mother and Alice on Valentine's Day, 1884, which drove him into ranching in Dakota, would be almost as shattering as the death of his father.

There are details of TR's young life of which I had been unaware, prominent among them are his extensive travels in Europe and the Middle East.

In the course of this book we see the step by step maturation of TR from the snobbish Harvard freshman to the inclusive leader which he later became. College, romance, politics, ranching and war all played their parts in the development of the character of TR.

During his political career, TR's outlooks on issues developed, but his core values never wavered. From his first caucus meeting, uncompromising honesty was a trademark of TR's character and his demand from others.

TR always walked a tight rope between independence and party loyalty, earning both the support an enmity of reformers and the organization alike.

After having established himself as an unrelenting foe of corruption during his service on the U. S. Civil Service Commission and the New York Board of Police Commissioners, his appointment as Assistant Secretary of the Navy enabled TR to act on the world stage. Taking advantage of Secretary Long's frequent and extended absences, TR prepared the Navy for its spectacular successes in the Spanish-American War., a war which TR had worked so hard to bring about.

The war gave TR the opportunity to pay his inherited debt by service in the Rough Riders. Organizing a volunteer cavalry of westerners, Indians and Ivy League athletes, TR had to work to get his men equipped and to the front. Their heroic charge up San Juan Hill is the stuff of which legends are mad and TR made his legend as a Rough Rider.

Exploiting his martial glory, TR road into the Governor's mansion where he continued to walk the fine line between independence and party loyalty. His successes he won and the enemies he made lead him to the vice-presidency.

I have mentioned just a few of the highlights of TR's young life, but this book covers many more. Morris employs a talent to tell the details without becoming bogged down. Read "The Rise Of Theodore Roosevelt" to learn of TR's early life and character and then bring on "Theodore Rex". ... Read more


136. Warrior Soul : The Memoir of a Navy SEAL
by CHUCK PFARRER
list price: $25.95
our price: $17.13
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1400060362
Catlog: Book (2003-12-30)
Publisher: Random House
Sales Rank: 6685
Average Customer Review: 4.91 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

“Since the first navy frogmen crawled onto the beaches of Normandy, no SEAL has ever surrendered,” writes Chuck Pfarrer. “No SEAL has ever been captured, and not one teammate or body has ever been left in the field. Thislegacy of valor is unmatched in modern warfare.”


Warrior Soul
is a book about the warrior spirit, and it takes the reader all over the world. Former Navy SEAL Chuck Pfarrer recounts some of his most dangerous assignments: On a clandestine reconnaissance mission on the Mosquito Coast, his recon team plays a deadly game of cat and mouse with a Nicaraguan patrol boat. Cut off on the streets of Beirut, the author’s SEAL detachment must battle snipers on the Green Line. In the mid-Atlantic, Pfarrer’s unit attempts to retrieve—or destroy—the booster section of a Trident ballistic missile before it can be recovered by a Russian spy trawler. On a runway in Sicily, his assault element surrounds an Egyptian airliner carrying the Achille Lauro hijackers.

These are only a few of the riveting stories of combat patrol, reconnaissance missions, counter-terrorist operations, tragedies, and victories in Warrior Soul that illustrate the SEAL maxim “The person who will not be defeated cannot be defeated.”
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Reviews (23)

5-0 out of 5 stars Real Life Hero
One of the best books I've read about US Navy Seals. In the same category of Marcinko's Rogue Warrior and Robert A. Gormly's Combat Swimmer but Warrior Soul is more human and sentimental. The book not only describes the military exploits of an ex-serviceman but also a real life struggles of a super human being against psychological and physical odds. The real highlight of the book is its last chapter. What a formidable advice from Pfarrer: 'Hold on to the people you are close to,and love them fiercely.Get up every morning and live like there is no tomorrow. Because one day you'll find it's true.' I wish a good luck to Mr. Pfarrer in his combat against his illness.

5-0 out of 5 stars ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS YOU'LL READ ALL YEAR
I have never been a Navy SEAL but, after reading Mr. Pfarrer's excellent "Warrior Soul," I can safely say that I now understand a bit more what makes the most elite warriors in the U.S. military tick physically and emotionally. Above all else, as Mr. Pfarrer poignantly shows us, they are human beings who laugh and love and bleed just like the rest of us. Sometimes, those commonalities tend to get lost in the media's typical glorification of special forces operators. That said, "Warrior Soul" paints the most vivid picture imaginable of what it takes to become one of these special men and the lasting effect such a heroic undertaking has on their lives. This is a finely structured book penned by a truly terrific writer. I'd give it 10 stars if I could.

5-0 out of 5 stars Real and personal
So many books out there about the military carry the hollywood theme with them from the theatres. Its high adrenaline macho talk about some guy who thinks he is the best soldier there has ever been. However, Pfarrer's book goes completely the opposite direction. He seems to talk about combat the way it really was for him without any self-serving purpose. Beautifully written with many sections that just make you squirm with their realism. This book is about a man faced with the terrible realities of war especially his involvement with Beirut. It is not glitsy or glamourous. As a young man trying to figure out if I would like to be a part of our countries armed services, I appreciate such a realistic portrayal of what its really like.

5-0 out of 5 stars Warrior Soul
To start off, I thought this book was your normal memoir of someone who thought they were the greatest. This is unlike most of the other military memoirs.

Mr. Pfarrer does not talk about how good he was, or how great a leader he was. Unlike most memoirs, Mr. Pfarrer talks about how good his team was, not how great he was. He says stuff the way it was, he admits to not being the best husband, he admits to screwing up. This story is amazing, the stories he tells of America's secret wars that the news glanced over. It puts a lot of stuff in perscpective.

This is probably the best book I've read in the past year, and the absolute best book out there about the military, and special operations.

5-0 out of 5 stars Candid and well written
"Warrior Soul: The Memoirs of a Navy SEAL", by Chuck Pfarrer is quite a change from what I normally read. I subscribe to AVANTGO's RANDOMHOUSE channel and one of the excerpts they provided was from the first chapter of this book. After reading the excerpt, I was instantly hooked. I HAD to find out what happened next. I bought the book the next day. It's a real eye opener when you realize the things Pfarrer describes are true and part of our history. The author has a knack for conveying a wide range of emotion to the reader, making him/her feel like they were in the trenches, jungle, sub, boat or alley with him. Looking for a SAFE adrenaline boost? Read this book. The book also mentions a number of world events that someone from my generation may have heard of, but was too young to put into global historical context. The author generated a genuine interest in me, that lead to my researching a few of these events. I can understand why, when looking for this book at the book store, I found it under military history. ... Read more


137. The Kennedy Curse: Why Tragedy Has Haunted America's First Family for 150 Years
by Edward Klein
list price: $24.95
our price: $9.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 031231292X
Catlog: Book (2003-07-15)
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Sales Rank: 97885
Average Customer Review: 2.63 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Death was merciful to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, for it spared her a parent's worst nightmare: the loss of a child. But if Jackie had lived to see her son, JFK Jr., perish in a plane crash on his way to his cousin's wedding, she would have been doubly horrified by the familiar pattern in the tragedy. Once again, on a day that should have been full of joy and celebration, America's first family was struck by the Kennedy Curse.

In this probing expose, renowned Kennedy biographer Edward Klein-a bestselling author and journalist personally acquainted with many members of the Kennedy family-unravels one of the great mysteries of our time and explains why the Kennedys have been subjected to such a mind-boggling chain of calamities.

Drawing upon scores of interviews with people who have never spoken out before, troves of private documents, archives in Ireland and America, and private conversations with Jackie, Klein explores the underlying pattern that governs the Kennedy Curse.

The reader is treated to penetrating portraits of the Irish immigrant Patrick Kennedy; Rose Kennedy's father, "Honey Fitz"; the dynasty's founding father Joe Kennedy and his ill-fated daughter Kathleen, President Kennedy, accused rapist William Kennedy Smith, and the star-crossed lovers, JFK Jr. and Carolyn Bessette. Each of the seven profiles demonstrates the basic premise of this book: The Kennedy Curse is the result of the destructive collision between the Kennedy's fantasy of omnipotence-an unremitting desire to get away with things that others cannot-and the cold, hard realities of life.
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Reviews (41)

2-0 out of 5 stars Curse, my (expletive deleted)
Yet another book for the Kennedy cult, this one examining the so-called "curse" of the toothy family. Klein's book is not without interest for all those who are obsessed with America's unoffical royal family, but his premise is wrong. With the possible exception of the assassinations of JFK and RFK, the many tragedies that have befallen the Kennedy clan can be blamed on recklessness (skiing while videotaping your misadventures, piloting a plane when you aren't really experienced enough to be trusted all alone behind the controls, etc), and, though I hate to judge, poor parenting. The powerful men in the family were too busy acquiring power to instill sound values into their kids, and we have witnessed the wreckage.

Money, power, and fame can be a deadly combination for those who don't know that life is about something more tangible than that. If there is a curse, one might look to the family's patriarch, Joseph Kennedy, who built his fortune on bootlegging. The Bible says something about the sins of the father being inherited by his sons. Perhaps the devil is simply collecting on a debt that old Joe didn't repay.

4-0 out of 5 stars Leaves you wanting more...
I enjoyed the book, particularly the first chapters which are on the patriarchs of the [Fitzgerald/Kennedy] family. However, take it as you will, the book leaves you wanting more. Well, at least for me it did. That's probably a good thing to say about this book, how Klien was able to spark my interest to learn more about the Kennedys. And by the way, the book is NOT all about JFK Jr. as mentioned earlier. If that's what you're seeking, try instead The Day John Died by C. Anderson. The Kennedy Curse instead simply touches upon some (not all) of the notorious Kennedy's &/or their notorious behavior & events.

3-0 out of 5 stars Interesting but not complete
I read this book after reading the Micheal Bergin book and while I thought it was interesting I also thought it was incomplete.

If Klein was giving examples of the "Kennedy Curse" then why did he leave out the eldest Kennedy son, Joe Jr., or Bobby Kennedy and his sons: David, Micheal, and Joe. It seems that if he really wanted to drive his point home then he would have written about this men as well. With the exception of Bobby's son Joe, they all died while they were young. Bobby died while trying to complete "the family mission" and two of his sons died while doing stupid things.

I also thought it was odd that while he would write about William Kennedy Smith and the rape trial, he did not devote a chapter to Ted Kennedy and Chappaquidick.

All in all, like I said before, it was a good book, just a little incomplete.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Kennedy Curse: Why Tragedy Has Haunted America's First F
Death was merciful to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, for it spared her a parent's worst nightmare: the loss of a child. But if Jackie had lived to see her son, JFK Jr., perish in a plane crash on his way to his cousin's wedding, she would have been doubly horrified by the familiar pattern in the tragedy. Once again, on a day that should have been full of joy and celebration, America's first family was struck by the Kennedy Curse.

3-0 out of 5 stars THERE IS NO CURSE
This book is interesting from a hypothetical viewpoint. The Kennedys are a very large family - Bobby and Ethel alone had eleven kids! The larger the family base the more propensity for problems and they did suffer their share of unsolicited tragedy. But many of the Kennedy misfortunes were self induced thru bad choices and high profile politics which carries definite risk. Joe Jr. was killed in WWII but so were many other pilots. JFK and Bobby were assassinated by whackos due to the celebrity status they cultivated and lack of protection. Ted's life was torn asunder by drink and poor decisions vis a vis Chappaquidick. Michael met an untimely demise when he skiied at high speed into a tree while unwisely playing Kennedy football on the slopes. Michael Skakel (Ethel's nephew) is serving a life sentence for murdering 15 yr old Martha Moxley. John Jr. died because he was not certified to fly without gauges. There are many families who've suffered from cancer, have children who are physically or mentally challenged, and who have lost loved ones in war. These are not curses, but common trials of life which are often unavoidable. Behavior and choices, however, are controllable and therein lies the flaw with the "curse" theory. ... Read more


138. Leading with the Heart: Coach K's Successful Strategies for Basketball, Business, and Life
by Donald T. Phillips, Mike Krzyzewski
list price: $24.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0446526266
Catlog: Book (2000-01-15)
Publisher: Warner Books
Sales Rank: 110791
Average Customer Review: 4.16 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

In some respects, a top-level college coach is a lot like a manager in any business. He has to turn a group of talented individuals into a smoothly running team, and he has to produce results that please the fans of his team--the shareholders of the athletic program. Thus, in Leading with the Heart, Krzyzewski reviews the lessons he's learned as basketball coach at Duke University, and tries to universalize them so they translate to any leadership position. For example, he writes, "Adjustments are not unusual, they are usual. So a leader's ability to think on his feet ... to do things without instruction ... is of paramount importance." Makes sense, as does this admonition: "When teaching, always remember this simple phrase: 'You hear, you forget. You see, you remember. You do, you understand.'"

The book has four sections--"Preseason," "Regular Season," "Postseason," and "All-Season"--and each of those has four chapters. Each chapter begins with three quotes ("Too many rules get in the way of leadership" leads off chapter 1), and ends with bulleted tips summing up the chapter's message. Between the quotes and the bullet points are anecdotes about Duke basketball games and (occasionally) Krzyzewski's life outside basketball. What you come away with is an understanding of why Krzyzewski is a great basketball coach, why former Duke assistants such as Tommy Amaker and Quin Snyder are probably going to become great basketball coaches, and how anyone who's currently a coach can become a better coach. It would be great if other types of managers in other types of businesses could incorporate these lessons in compassionate, focused, highly flexible leadership, but it seems unlikely. Most managers in business rise through the ranks not because of their ability to lead or inspire but because of their knowledge and competence (if not their connections). On the other hand, it would be nice if each of us, just once, could work for someone like Coach K, someone who could push the right buttons and lead us to our own version of the Final Four. Not likely, but a pretty sweet fantasy. --Lou Schuler ... Read more

Reviews (44)

5-0 out of 5 stars Steps to a Dream
My stepdaughter decided she wanted to go to Duke at the age of six, when she fell in love with Bobby Hurley's vibrant playing style. As a result, we've watched the growth of Duke's men and women's basketball programs over the years. Recently, we took my stepdaughter, now sixteen, to see the campus and what do you know; there in Cameron Indoor Stadium was Coach K with about 250 young men for basketball camp. We bought the book on the way out and I read the entire book in one day.

This book appeals on several levels. For a teenager, it can be a road map to help reach a dream. Coach K describes what he looks for in prospective players and his combination of talent, respect for authority and coachability clearly distinguish any promising athelete. However, they are equally hallmarks of the best entry level professsionals in business.

Coach K's use of the phases in a season work very well as a framework to build his ideas on. The analogies to business situations, which he makes from time to time, are inescapable for anyone who leans to team based leadership styles.

In our work, this book will become the basis for a team building exercise to help launch a new team and a new business.

I strongly recommend reading the book and sharing it with your team and your kids. It will be a great discussion source for both groups you need to communicate with.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent book in all regards
I graduated from Duke in 68 and am an avowed fan of Coach K.However, I've hit a rut in my reading recently, can't find anything that seems stimulatiing or interesting.I was afraid this book would just be another of those "smaltzy" rah rah type of books that coaches(and usually someone else write), but I was happily surprised. It is really worth everyones attention, whether to motivate a business person or anyone on how to live ones life. The usual blah blahing about excellence is pretty much left out, thank goodness, and the book is full of very helpful aphorisms about what priorities to put first and how to lead a wholesome and successful life,even if you don't have a jump shot.Coach K comes across as really honest and sincere.I can't stand phonies and really was pleasantly surprised by the book. Lots of real life anecdotes about games, players, situations and how to take defeat.Truly inspirational from a superb leader. For sports fans, look what he did with the team of mostly freshman this year, way beyond anyones expectations.He uses his heart a lot, but also his head.You can also read and skip around in the book, its not like a novel.Again, his repeated emphasis on how to deal with defeat and failure shows true wisdom, far beyond that of most college coaches. I remember the tonge in cheek defintion of a college basketball coach by a player once."you have to be a little bit crazy to base your career on someone else's jump shot." Coach K is crazy like a fox.

3-0 out of 5 stars More about basketball and coaching than leadership
As one who is interested in leadership development, I was disapointed in this book. For those of you who are coaches of athletic teams this book will be usefull. For those who are looking at leadership for business, government etc, there are likely better books out there that cover the subject minus the glory of the Duke basketball team.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very Motivational!
Let me first preface this by saying I'm a huge Duke fan...
now, let me tell you that if you are in any position of leadership, this is a must-read! Coach K's outlook on leadership is very positive and easy to work into any type of job. I even found things to use while teaching 2nd graders!
If you are anti-Duke, you may be put off to references to past players, but the leadership ideas are so valuable! If you have ever read Pat Riley's book on leadership and enjoyed it, you will definitely enjoy this one!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Simply phenomenal
One of the few "good guys" in college basketball, Coach K always seems to have two things in common that are usually mutually exclusive in college sports - a superlative record of winning & more importantly, a superlative family atmosphere. Too many times in both college and in business we hear of two types of coaches and managers - the overly soft players coach or the motivate by fear authoritarian type. Seldom have we seen a coach succeed at such a high level who, through a tireless work ethic, has engendered such indelible values as trust, personal responsibility, honesty, teamwork, the ability to laugh at one's mistakes, selflessness, & a genuine love for those on your team as if they were your family.

This is, as opposed to a memoir, a leadership book - one that everyone who has followed Duke would enjoy and learn from. Coach K reveals his secrets to motivating players, his core values, how to deal with adversity, how to maintain a level of excellence, & what it takes to get to the top - in sports, business, and in life. Coach K chronicles humorous and educational anecdotal stories with his players such as Chris Collins, Christian Laettner, Bobby Hurley, Grant Hill, Elton Brand, Jeff Capel, Danny Ferry, Trajan Langdon, Wojo, Johnny Dawkins, & Shane Battier to name a few that helped mold them into not only great players on the court, but more importantly, great leaders off of the court. The audio version is especially poignant and well read. ... Read more


139. The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill: Visions of Glory, 1874-1932
by William Manchester
list price: $50.00
our price: $33.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0316545031
Catlog: Book (1983-05-30)
Publisher: Little, Brown
Sales Rank: 10491
Average Customer Review: 4.98 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Part One Of Two Parts

It is hard to imagine anything new about Churchill. But in this life of the young lion, William Manchester brings us fresh encounters and anecdotes. Alive with examples of Churchill's early powers, THE LAST LION entertains and instructs.

"Manchester is not only master of detail, but also of `the big picture.'...I daresay most Americans reading THE LAST LION will relish it immensely." (National Review) ... Read more

Reviews (48)

5-0 out of 5 stars Volume 1 of the life of Winston Spencer Churchill
"The Last Lion: Visions of Glory, 1874-1932," is the first of William Manchester's projected three-volume biography of Winston Spencer Churchill. I found it a superbly crafted, supremely well researched account of the first 58 years of the life of the 20th century's greatest statesman. With wit and candor, Manchester chronicles Churchill from his earliest days as the neglected and troublesome first child of Lord Randolph Churchill and his American-born wife, Jennie, to his entry into the political "wilderness" over home rule in India in 1932. Manchester's portrait of his subject is balanced and objective; we see Churchill at his finest: a courageous (almost to the point of foolhardiness) army officer, and later a gifted Member of Parliament who became one of the youngest Cabinet ministers in British history. We also see him at his worst: a Cabinet minister with appalling political judgment at times, quick to meddle in other ministers' affairs while neglecting his own, and with an uncanny ability to alienate not only his political foes, but almost all his political allies as well.

In addition to a wonderfully written chronology of Churchill's life, Manchester provides an overview of the times in which Churchill lived. I was fascinated by the author's account of Victorian England -- its culture, its mores, and its view of itself in the world. The sections which describe Churchill's times make highly entertaining and absorbing reading by themselves.

"The Last Lion: Visions of Glory, 1874-1932," clearly shows why William Manchester is one of the pre-eminent biographers at work today. The book is written with obviously meticulous scholarship, insightful analysis, and crisp, sparkling prose; I have yet to find a better account of Churchill's life. Now, if only Mr. Manchester would give us that third volume . . .

5-0 out of 5 stars Churchill Saves the World
Having read Manchester's incomparable biography of Winston Churchill, one is struck by the supernatural, almost superhuman aspect of his subject. Churchill is, in my humble opinion, one of the greatest politicians of the twentieth century -- or as Manchester says, The greatest nineteenth century politician who remained to challenge his sinister twentieth century counterparts.

This first novel of his early years show the struggle, his toil, his stolen successes, his vision ignored or supplanted by lesser men. Reviewing the life and decisions of Churchill reveal a striking fact -- he was almost never wrong. A casual reader might attribute this to "common sense", but those who drink history more deeply are less likely to accept such a simple view. To one living at the time, Hitler had many facets of his leadership that would attract many modern readers -- he was the first leader of a major nation to embrace enviornmentalist policies, the first to embrace technological development as a means to improving national utility, and most importantly the only leader to move his nation out of the great depression. It is a measure of Churchill's greatness that he saw through all of these things, and was the only - literally the only - major political figure in the world to strongly and resolutely attack the emergence of the German National Socialist Movement before, during, and after its rise to power. Prior to reading Manchester's bio, I had assumed that Churchill was in some way right for the wrong reasons, as so often occurs in history, and his subsequent election as Prime Minister was the result of his record, regardless of his reasons. I was wrong.

Manchester shows us that Churchill got it almost exactly right: conservative enough to defend his principles, yet liberal enough to innovate and excel at innovation throughout his carreer. Unshakably rooted in his beliefs, and sincerely willing to sacrifice his self interest to them (a trait which, I confess, I have seen no more than once or twice in historical oand modern individuals), he simultaneously was able to marry this rocklike character with an amazing ability to innovate: technologically, strategically, and politically. Manchester does him service by this excellent bio, to which my only question is, when is the last installment due

5-0 out of 5 stars The Man of the Century
Manchester's work is extraordinary and a journey into the making of a great leader of the world that was the 20th century.

Churchill was a man of vision and he was molded in his early years. Manchester makes a case for his growth coming in the Boar War period.

There is a beginning of greatness. Manchester introduces us to the world that formed this great man.

4-0 out of 5 stars Understand the most Remarkable Man of the 20th Century
This is an excellent book on the first half of the life of a truly exceptional man. Mr Manchester's book deals with Winston's early life and his rise to power and fame. I particularly liked the vignettes about life at the turn of the century; the social situation, the class struggle, the morals of the upper and the working classes.

Just reading it makes you feel somehow inadequate against the intellectual brilliance, courage and sheer energy of the subject.

It would have merited a full five star rating but for two faults. It should have been shorter. It as if every single little titbit of information had to be written out in full, rather than filtered through the critical intellect that Mr Manchester undoubtedly possesses. Instead, he quotes too many letters, reports and speeches in full when his job as a biographer was to summarise them.

The second fault was Mr Manchester's tendency to lionise his subject. Brilliant he may have been, but a bit more acknowledgement of Winston's faults would have made him more human and reachable.

But this is nitpicking. Overall the book is a good read on a subject well worth reading about.

5-0 out of 5 stars Read both books - Best history/biography ever!
Many lists say the best historical biography is "Disraeli" by Blake. This is better. Way better.

The only author that has ever kept me glued to a book as much as Manchester's is Michael Crichton. It's odd to compare a biography to Jurassic Park, but Manchester makes history come alive. He spends a lot of time and care setting the "culture" in a way that is not pedantic or boring (unlike some Civil War histories I've read!). And then he builds on Churchill's stories in a way that makes you feel like you're in Churchill's shoes, with the same issues and challenges.

Unfortunately, there is no Volume 3 about the war years. Manchester's illness prevented this. What a sad loss to history.

Read Vol 1 and 2. You won't regret it. ... Read more


140. The Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt (Quality Paperbacks Series)
by Eleanor Roosevelt
list price: $18.95
our price: $12.89
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 030680476X
Catlog: Book (2000-02)
Publisher: Da Capo Press
Sales Rank: 19093
Average Customer Review: 3 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

To tie in with the paperback publication of volume II of Blanche Wiesen Cook's acclaimed biography of Eleanor Roosevelt

"Mrs. Roosevelt's autobiography is above all the portrait of a person. The history it gives is history as she has seen it-not in the round but directly, with her clear and candid eye. Since, however, she has seen so much and from so central a point of vision, her reflections on our world and on our human prospects have more than an autobiographical interest. She is a very wise woman, and it would be correspondingly unwise not to take notice of her hopes-and fears."
-Barbara Ward ... Read more

Reviews (3)

1-0 out of 5 stars An amazing, fascinating woman writes a dull, lifeless book
Eleanor Roosevelt's autobiography provides very little information about her life. She vaguely refers to many seemingly important events (such as the death of her father, her husband's presidency) with little emotion and no detail whatsoever. If you know a lot about her and the politics of the time already, it may offer an interesting perspective. If you want to know details of ER's incredibly interesting life, read her biography by Blanch Weisen Cook.

3-0 out of 5 stars From Ugly Duckling to Powerful Woman
This autobiography is in four parts. The first one is about her childhood, the second and third part mostly about FDR, something she admits in the beginnning of the chaper. It gives a nice insight in who they both lived together although we know now there was a lot more going on (FDR's affair) which is not in her autobiography.

A nice turn of events comes after the death of FDR. Instead of retiring silently ad Hyde Park she takes on an active role in public life, being present at the founding of the UN and being a member of the committe on human rights which would lead to the Declaration of Human Rights. She also writes extensively about her travels around the world where she interviewed world leaders. Her visits to Israel and the Soviet Union are fascinating to read about.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Life Story Well Told: The Autobiography of Elenor Roosevet
The Autobiography of Elenor Roosevelt, by Elenor Roosevelt, tells the story of a grat woman, one who greatly impacted the lives of many Americans. In her own words, the modest Elenor Roosevelt begins her life story describing her childhood in great detail and continues through her later years. This book not only tells the life story of this remarkable woman, but teaches a history lesson of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. ... Read more


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