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1. My Life So Far
$17.13 $14.00 list($25.95)
2. One Soldier's Story : A Memoir
$16.32 list($24.00)
3. The Glass Castle : A Memoir
$17.13 $12.75 list($25.95)
4. A Lotus Grows in the Mud
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5. Leadership
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6. Running with Scissors: A Memoir
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7. A Child Called "It": One Child's
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8. Oh the Glory of It All
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9. Bono: In Conversation with Michka
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10. The Dance of the Dissident Daughter
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11. Three Weeks with My Brother
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12. Take Big Bites: Adventures Around
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13. My Life as a Quant : Reflections
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14. Big Russ and Me: Father and Son--Lessons
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15. Lucky Child : A Daughter of Cambodia
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16. Bringing Down the House: The Inside
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17. Dry : A Memoir
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18. Foreign Babes in Beijing: Behind
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19. Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood
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20. Dreams from My Father : A Story

1. My Life So Far
by Jane Fonda
list price: $26.95
our price: $17.79
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375507108
Catlog: Book (2005-04-05)
Publisher: Random House
Sales Rank: 294
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Amazon.com

One of the most recognizable women of our time, America knows Jane Fonda as actress, activist, feminist, wife, and workout guru. In her extraordinary memoir, Fonda divides her life into three acts: her childhood, early films, and first marriage make up act one; her growing career in film, marriage to Ted Turner, and involvement in the Vietnam War belong to act two; and the third act belongs to the future, in which she hopes to "begin living consciously," and inspire others who can learn from her experiences. Fonda reveals intimate details and universal truths that she hopes "can provide a lens through which others can see their lives and how they can live them a little differently."

Exclusive Letter from Jane Fonda

Stay in Shape: The Jane Fonda Collection
New Workouts

The Complete Personal Trainer Series

The Complete Workout and Stress Reduction Program

Fun House Fitness: Fitness for the Whole Family

Jane Fonda: The Essential DVDs

Barbarella

On Golden Pond

Nine to Five

Coming Home

Klute

See more Fonda DVDs ... Read more


2. One Soldier's Story : A Memoir
by Bob Dole
list price: $25.95
our price: $17.13
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060763418
Catlog: Book (2005-04-12)
Publisher: HarperCollins
Sales Rank: 420
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Download Description

"

Before he became one of America's most respected statesmen, Bob Dole was an average citizen serving heroically for his country. The bravery he showed after suffering near-fatal injuries in the final days of World War II is the stuff of legend. Now, for the first time in his own words, Dole tells the moving story of his harrowing experience on and off the battlefield, and how it changed his life.

Speaking here not as a politician but as a wounded G.I., Dole recounts his own odyssey of courage and sacrifice, and also honors the fighting spirit of the countless heroes with whom he served. Heartfelt and inspiring, One Soldier's Story is the World War II chronicle that America has been waiting for.

" ... Read more

Reviews (18)

2-0 out of 5 stars Not Enough Here
Given the favorable press coverage this book has gotten, I was expecting something really dramatic, personal and revealing in a human sort of way. But I found there's really not much here. What there is you can get by reading the book reviews, and save yourself some money.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Soldier's Story & A memoir of a career in government.
Dole's autobiography is very revealing and more educational than any government school.

Bob Dole was born in Russell, Kansas, in 1923.He was elected as U.S. representative from Kansas in 1960 and served four terms. In 1968 he was elected to the U.S. Senate. Dole was Gerald Ford's running mate in Ford's unsuccessful presidential campaign (1976) and campaigned unsuccessfully for the Republican presidential nomination in 1980 and 1988. He has served as Senate majority leader (1985-87, 1995 to 1996) and minority leader (1987-95).In other words Dole was a career politician.

It is clear from the book that being a career politician is probably related to the fact that two weeks before the end of WWII, Dole was severely wounded and remained disabled for life.

He is not a gifted writer--his prose is often stilted, and he resorts too easily to cliches.That also sums up his political career.He gives no hints of understanding free market economics nor the need for cutting government.Dole shows why the Republican Party is a lost cause for liberty.

People sometimes mistakenly say that Dole is "conservative" but that is misleading. Dole served in the Senate for 27 years and government did nothing but grow.Dole exemplifies what is known as the "greatest spending generation."

Dole was the Republican candidate for president in 1996 against Bill Clinton.Given the choice between two big socialists, the voters went with the more charismatic Clinton. Even before Clinton, no republican president had ever cut the size and scope of government. Dole never got his chance to show that he could preside over massive socialism as president. Even so, his fellow republican-socialists are now twice as socialistic as Clinton was (in social spending alone).

The only way that Dole can be called biased is that he drones on about socialists (Democrats and Republicans) and ignores anyone who wants to cut government (Libertarians).

Bob Dole is stuck in silly left-right political analysis, as taught in government schools. He is still unaware of the Nolan chart or Diamond chart. He uses the word "liberal" unprofessionally to mean "left." His habit forgets the etymology of "liberal" for "liberty" (against government and for laissez-faire capitalism). That bad habit explains why republicans and democrats are the same: socialists.Bob Dole is an example of why government schools are unconstitutional and must end.

Dole doesn't do well addressing the massive growth in government in the USA. It seems like Dole doesn't think that government in the USA is big enough yet.

Dole is not libertarian and he uses the misnomer "public schools" to mean "government schools."No one would trust the government to tell the truth if it published books like Dole's. Why would the government tell the truth in government schools?

Dole doesn't have a problem with "patriotism" and the pledge of allegiance. Big problem: Dole don't arise each morning to gather with neighbors and robotically chant, as he only "loves" the pledge when government's schools lead children in robotic chanting every morning for twelve years of their lives upon the ring of a bell, like Pavlov's lapdogs of the state. Did I mention that Dole is an example of why government schools are unconstitutional and have destroyed a "free press" and why government schools must end?

Dole book suggests that he doesn't know that the pledge was written by a socialist (Francis Bellamy) in the USA and that the original salute was a straight-arm salute (as shown in web image searches for "original socialist salute"). Dole should know because he was born in 1923 and lived through the pledge's use of the Nazi-style salute (it changed in 1942). Dole doesn't know of the news-breaking discovery by the historian Rex Curry that the straight-arm salute of the National Socialist German Workers' Party (Nazis) came from the USA's pledge of allegiance and military salute, and not from ancient Rome.Dole seems unaware that Bellamy put flags in every school to promote a government takeover of education for widespread nationalization and socialism.

Dole is an example of why some educated socialists (socialists who know the origin of the pledge) laugh at so-called "conservatives," because socialists presume that conservatives like Dole have been duped into supporting socialism and is ignorant of the pledge's socialist past.

Francis Bellamy and his cousin and cohort Edward Bellamy were national socialists who idolized the military and wanted to nationalize the entire US economy, including all schools. It was a philosophy that led to the socialist Wholecaust (of which the Holocaust was a part) where millions were murdered (62 million by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, 35 million by the Peoples' Republic of China, 21 million by the National Socialist German Workers' Party) in the worst slaughter in history. That is why the Bellamys are known as America's Nazis.All Holocaust Museums could expand four-fold with Wholecaust Museums.

Bellamy believed that government schools with pledges and flags were needed to brainwash children to embrace nationalism, militarism, and socialism.

Bellamy wanted the government to takeover everything and impose the military's "efficiency," as he said. It is the origin of the modern military-socialist complex.

Bellamy wanted a flag over every school because he wanted to nationalize and militarize everything, including all schools, and eliminate all of the better alternatives. During Bellamy's time the government was taking over education.

Bellamy wanted government schools to ape the military.Government schools were intended to create an "industrial army" (another Bellamy phrase, and the word "army" was not metaphorical) and to help nationalize everything else.

Because of the Bellamy way of thinking, government-schools spread and they mandated segregation by law and taught racism as official policy and did so even after the National Socialists were defeated, and well beyond.

Thereafter, the government's segregation legacy caused more police-state racism of forced busing that destroyed communities and neighborhoods and deepened hostilities.

Because of the Bellamy way of thinking, government-schools spread and they mandated the Nazi-style salute by law, flags in every classroom, and daily robotic chanting of the pledge of allegiance in military formation like Pavlov's lapdogs of the state.

The bizarre practices served as an example for three decades before they were adopted by the National Socialist German Workers' Party.

When Jesse Owens competed in the 1936 Olympics in Germany, his neighbors attended segregated government schools where they saluted the flag with the Nazi salute.

As under Nazism, children in the USA (including Jehovah's Witnesses and blacks and the Jewish and others) attended government schools where segregation was imposed by law, where racism was taught as official policy, and where they were required by law to perform the Nazi salute and robotically chant a pledge to a flag. If they refused, then they were persecuted and expelled from government schools and had to use the many better alternatives. There were also acts of physical violence.

The hypnotic "Sieg Heil" salute to a flag symbol mesmerized Americans long before it brainwashed Germans.

Jehovah's Witnesses were among the first people to publicly fight the government and its pledge ritual in the USA, during the same time that they fought it in Nazi Germany.They eventually achieved total victory over Nazi socialism.They achieved only partial victory over similar socialism in the USA.The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that they could not be forced to perform the pledge.Laws still make teachers lead children in robotic chants of the socialist's pledge daily, on cue from the government. Jehovah's Witnesses and other children in government schools must watch the ritual performed by others.

The pledge gesture was altered and explicit school segregation by government ended. The Government's schools still exist, the federal flag brands government schools, and government's teachers must chant the pledge daily. Students are kept ignorant of the pledge's original salute and history.That is why the pledge still exists.

The USA also continued its Nazi numbering (social security from 1935) and its robotic pledge, with no stopping.

Today, the USA numbers babies, and government schools demand the numbers for enrollment, and the numbers track homes, workplaces, incomes, finances, and more, for life.School laws still tout the daily pledge, a bizarre ritual shunned by every other country.

Dole has discussed plans for "reform" of social security that would invest social security taxes in private businesses. At the height of Nazi power, the USA's government deliberately stepped onto the same path with national numbering imposed in 1935 with the social security system.The federal government was growing massively and attempting to nationalize the economy in many ways.The US Supreme Court struck down much of the new legislation as unconstitutional until the craven FDR pressured the Court into the "switch in time that socialized nine."

New social security reform ideas are so-called "privatization" plans that would nationalize all businesses, in addition to schools. It would impress the Bellamys.Dole does not have the ethics to discuss the other side of the issue (the proper side): ending government involvement in education, and ending the social security scam, its taxes and its Nazi numbering.If the antidisestablishmentarianism does not end, then the USA's police state will grow.

Dole has another bad habit: overuse of the hackneyed word "Nazi" so much that it might cause one to wonder if he knows what the abbreviation abbreviates. Many people forget that "Nazi" means "National Socialist German Workers' Party," and one reason people forget is because the word "Nazi" is overused by politicians like Dole who rarely or never say the actual name of the horrid party.A good mnemonic device is that the sick socialist swastika represented two overlapping "S" letters for "socialism" under the National Socialist German Workers' Party.

Overall, Dole's book was very revealing and educational and worth the time to review.Let's hope for a more enlightened sequel in the future.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Story of a Different Time
This book is noteworthy as it is a public figure who has written a book without bragging about himself or supporting his current positions or causes.Dole is a retired politician who in his year's of reflection decides to write about the most significant event of his life, his service in WWII, the subsequent life-threatening injury, growing up in middle-century America and the support he received to overcome this devastating injury.

This is a simple book that could have been written by thousands of WWII vets.Unfortunately, they are not famous and Bob is so in many respects Dole is writing it for them.He writes this book with no ego and no political agenda.In fact, he writes of his relationships across party lines and as he discusses his involvement with the WWII War Memorial there are great discussions on his excellent relationship with Bill Clinton.

Where this book is most fascinating is describing his struggles going to college and the mindset of Americans as Pearl Harbor is bombed.Then you see the thought process of these young men as they decide whether to enlist and what should they attempt to do in the armed services.Pre-battle training is covered extensively but mainly from the standpoint of relationships with family through the letters included.Unfortunately, Dole's time in battle was limited as he is wounded almost immediately.So whole the build-up of this battle is compelling, it ends quickly.Then the amazing tale of how he was rescued at great risk and somehow managed to survive is told in great detail.Most Americans know he was injured but how many know of the months he was laid up paralyzed?Or the life threatening infections he fought off with experimental drugs?

This book is not for everyone.If you are looking for a war book, this isn't it.Political intrigue and partisan politics?Pass on this read.But to reflect family life in a simpler America and the struggles of the heroic WWII soldiers, this is an excellent book and well worth the read.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Soldier's Story, Not the Politicians
Note the title, this is a soldier's story. Bob Dole spent most of his life as a politician, but that's another story, another book. This is the story of Bob Dole's military career and the aftermath of being wounded in combat.

This story is one of courage and the continual battle to regain what was lost on a mountain in Italy. Bob Dole is a member of what has been called the Greatest Generation. And regardless of what you might think of his politics, he is a great member of that generation.

Also surprising is his humor that comes out in his writing. His is not the dour even sullen personality that came across in the election. His is more the Bob Dole being asked for ID in the American Express commercial.

We are now engaged in a foreign war where young men are coming back horribly wounded. Here is a story of inspiration and hope for them.

5-0 out of 5 stars NotDole the politician
This is a book well worth reading.
Let me say at the outset that I have issues with Dole the politician but this is about Dole the man.
It is a very human book that tells the story of an average American, a good citizen, a soldier and a man having to deal with a crippling injury.
It is an unflinching look at how an average life can becomeremarkable life and a story of human endurance and courage.
Inspiring. ... Read more


3. The Glass Castle : A Memoir
by Jeannette Walls
list price: $24.00
our price: $16.32
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743247531
Catlog: Book (2005-03-08)
Publisher: Scribner
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4. A Lotus Grows in the Mud
by GoldieHawn
list price: $25.95
our price: $17.13
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Asin: 0399152857
Catlog: Book (2005-05-02)
Publisher: Putnam Adult
Sales Rank: 173
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

An inspiring and unconventional memoir from one of the world's most beloved actresses.

Goldie Hawn's life is an ongoing tableau of stories, and she has a born knack for telling them. In this candid and insightful book, Goldie invites us to join her in a look back at the people, places, and events that have touched her. It is the spiritual journey of a heart in search of enlightenment.

With her trademark effervescent humor, Goldie tells us about the lessons she's learned and the wisdom she feels she's been given in the hope of giving something back. Not a Hollywood "tell-all," A Lotus Grows in the Mud is a very personal look at moments private and powerful: her delight in her father's spirited spontaneity; the confidence instilled in her by her mother; the unexpected gifts of comfort from strangers many miles from home; and the joy of being a daughter, a sister, a lover, and a parent. This memoir is Goldie's chance to talk about everything from anger and fear to love, compassion, integrity, and friendship, to the importance of family and the challenges of show business.

Goldie writes about her younger self-the little girl who felt like an ugly duckling-and growing up in suburbia dreaming of becoming a ballerina. She takes us on a tour of her go-go dancing years in New York in the sixties, her phenomenal success on TV's Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, and then on to the world of Hollywood stardom and such memorable films as the Oscar-winning Cactus Flower, Swing Shift, and Private Benjamin.

A Lotus Grows in the Mud speaks of her relationship with her family-her partner, Kurt Russell; her children, Kate Hudson, Oliver Hudson, Wyatt Russell, and her stepson, Boston Russell-her growing faith, her curiosity for that which she doesn't yet know, and her unquenchable thirst for knowledge and understanding. Most of all, it is a trip back through a life well lived by a woman well loved.
... Read more

Reviews (22)

4-0 out of 5 stars What a wonderful person...
I was walking thru one of my favorite superstores when I came across this book - the always beautiful woman made me notice the cover but the title made me pick up this book containing steps of her journey thru life.

At first I was a little intimidated or should we say annoyed with the size of this book.Memoirs are normally not this large in size and I immediately wondered what piles of conceit can someone so young in life have to say. I expected this from maybe Oprah but not Goldie.And that was not an attack on neither person but more of an explanation of what I have seen from the work and travels of both women. I later became glad the book contained such volume, for there was no way to tell her tale in short for the tale would have been missing all the reasons life is beautiful.

I have not had the fortune of seeing all of her movies, but I will say I have had the fortune of reading this book.And her spirit is lovely.She does not force her beliefs on the reader but more of explains how she came across these beliefs.

How very unfortunate if you don't find this book enjoyable.I or the rest of the reviewers who are watching the Lotus grow from our own version of mud - will not hold it against you.

For those of you who are open, perhaps spiritual and easily touched, don't let the size of this book intimidate you. It's a good read by a good person.

5-0 out of 5 stars Pleasant to ponder
The cover is nice.Some pages are blue or purple with very attractive motifs and graphics inside.Nice pictures too of Goldie at work, rest and play including snapshots of her children and partner Kurt Russell.

The content is only losely biographic.This is more Goldie Hawn's philosophy of life through the window of her journeys and successes in the movie industry.Co-authored with another it reads very well.

Little subchapters called "Postcards" capturing experiences.There are also poems and thoughts: "Is our smile coded for in our DNA or is it nurtured?" (paraphrased).In this sense the book has some fine quotations.

As a woman who represents openness and seems to be something of a spiritual student this book is great for exploring themes on happiness, relationships, death and being human.Designed to bring out the best in anybody.

This book and its sentiments represent a fantastic contribution to genuinely making the world a better place - not by throwing money at problems but by being well inside.

I liked reading it - ideal as a gift or to dip into though not to be read from cover to cover necessarily.Really well edited - not much gossip, thankfully.

2-0 out of 5 stars Couldn't get interested
I don't remember Goldie Hawn from Laugh In.I have seen her in only two movies, The Banger Sisters and Butterflies Are Free, and not in the theater but on tv.The book is pretty on the outside and the colored pages are nice.I couldn't get interested in it so I didn't buy it.

1-0 out of 5 stars silly and oh so predictable
A waste of time for me.I borrowed a copy from my friend.Completely light weight.I guess I expected more depth.Now, who is the stupid one?Depth from Goldie Hawn?Well, I had hopes.She canNOT be as dippy as the girl from Laugh In, but I am afraid she is.At least she maintains that image in this new age-y, let-me-enlighten-you piece of froth."All I ever wanted was to be happy," she recalls from her days as a very small child.Right.I'm sure.

It's easy to pontificate about Buddhism and how material things are really meaningless when you're sitting on $200 million.Give up your money, Goldie, your penthouse in NY, your $10million house in Montana, your home in Canada for your son's convenience, your cars, your "assistants", your jewelery, etc., and move into an ashram and then I'll have a little more respect for her views on "life" as a Buddhist.

As for her childhood memories, they seem very "exact words" and although I have a memory and can recall conversations word for word, as well, I find her recollections a little hard to take, re the one on wanting to be happy:I was a very happy kid too and my childhood was wonderful, but I didn't KNOW it until I was able to understand the concept of happiness, to understand how others lived, and that certainly didn't happen to me when I was five.

I hope it was printed on recycled paper.It's a shame any tree had to die for this.

I think she probably babbled on and a ghost writer did the hard part.And if I was him or her, I'd never let ANYONE know I did THIS book.

5-0 out of 5 stars an amazing book.....

This book was hard to put down. Goldie has a wonderful warm, sincere, and open approach to life which is refreshing. She has welcomed us into her life and shared her intimate thoughts and feelings. I enjoyed every page. I am giving this as a gift to my daughter, and recommending it to my friends.

Ruth Nighswonger (Boca Raton, Fl) ... Read more


5. Leadership
by Rudolph W. Giuliani, Ken Kurson
list price: $25.95
our price: $16.35
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0786868414
Catlog: Book (2002-06-15)
Publisher: Miramax Books
Sales Rank: 785
Average Customer Review: 4.16 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (112)

4-0 out of 5 stars Everyone can be a Leader, but there's only one Giuliani
"Leadership" is an excellent resource for anyone who seeks
to manage, lead, or instill organization into their own lives.
Written in a style reflective of Giuliani's friendly yet steely
personality, it provides an excellent overview of his political
philosophy, decision making skills, and of course his historic
leadership following the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
Until reading the book, I had forgotten how dire the conditions were in New York City prior to Rudy's election in 1993 - over 9,000 felonies per week! He details how he put plans into action
and demanded accountability from everyone in the system, which often required enormous political strength. Being a Republican mayor in a city that is nearly 80% Democrat is enormously difficult. But Rudy explains how he relied on his priciples, moral beliefs and formed relationships with political enemies by
trusting those who were trust worthy and always being open to discussion. These principles and beliefs were evident during the leadership exercised during 9-11.
I highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in a political or management career, or anyone who wants to learn more about this great American.

5-0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended!
In Leadership, former NYC Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani (with writer Ken Kurson) gives you the inside look at how he applied basic leadership principles to being Mayor, Associate Attorney General and U.S. Attorney. Giuliani reveals how he and his key team applied these principles in the face of the Sept. 11 World Trade Tower collapse, and focuses on exercising leadership all the time. The principles may sound familiar - prioritize, prepare, take responsibility, hold everyone accountable, recruit great people, reflect and then decide, under-promise and over-deliver, develop and employ strong beliefs, be loyal and purposeful - yet the thrill comes from learning how Giuliani straightforwardly applied these principles to accomplish Herculean tasks. We from getAbstract recommend this breezy, engaging book to business leaders, governmental managers and politics junkies.

2-0 out of 5 stars Don't confuse leadership with management
First off, don't get me wrong this is an interesting book. From the man who helped a city recover from a dreadful event; he is an inspiration.

Also, Giuliani is a fantastic *manager*, who was able to get the city of New York running better than it had for years.

My main criticism is the title, and the derivations of some of the anecdotes. From my reading, Giuliani doesn't clearly understand the difference between *leadership* and *management*.

Sure, he has a great technique for aiding communication, for setting KPIs and ensuring they are met. But these are management tasks, not leadership.

My greatest disappointment with this book was hoping to find some of his ideas and insights into that much harder topic of leadership but all I got were some great ideas on how to manage a city (a city that has a population greater than my entire country...).

So, buyer beware! This is an interesting book and gives you some insight into the man (even if you need to read between the political lines) but don't expect a book on Leadership!

5-0 out of 5 stars A Must Read!
Can a textbook be delightfully written? This one is. Authors Richard L. Hughes, Robert C. Ginnett, and Gordon J. Curphy explore every aspect of leadership and smoothly weave research conclusions into the narrative. Examples abound, from Colin Powell to Walt Disney. The authors are all psychologists who specialize in leadership issues. They have written conversationally and intelligently, using plenty of sidebar material (even famous cartoons) to bring their reporting to life. We recommend this classic (now in its third edition) to everyone interested in leadership.

5-0 out of 5 stars I Laughed. I Cried. I Marvelled.
I listened to all of the ten audio cassette tapes. The presentation was both instructive and entertaining. The narration was great. I resonated with the message such that I laughed, cried, and marvelled through the many precepts and stories given. I got moist around the eyes while vicariously experiencing the beauty of courage, conviction, and of successfully overcoming great obstacles in the path to great accomplishment. The accomplishments of Mayor Giuliani's administration in NYC were many. Within the stories were principles related to the importance of hiring excellent people, management by morning meetings, management by metrics, being at the scene of problems. For lawyers, the book includes more than a few great insights.

Primary among the many great stories is the Mayor's references to September 11, 2001. This occupies all of chapter 1 but the stories continue throughout. One of the early delights in the book is the story of overcoming the "squeegee men" panhandlers in New York City. Chapter headings related to "Be Prepared", "Loyalty" and "Stand Up To Bullies" deliver what they promise. I marvelled that the loyalty stories related primarily to loyalty down to the people who work for you. The story about Rudy's fight with prostate cancer was remarkable for the example that it gave of great diligence in gathering information and making a careful decision. The book, as read, is clear and concise. Every word seems to count. In my experience, Rudy began to earn his reputation long before he was Mayor when we worked to obtain convictions and strong sentences against organized crime bosses.

The precepts and examples are admirable. It's Rudy's own account, but it is clear that Mr. Giuliani has given great diligence to his work while showing great insight, great commitment to principle, great courage. ... Read more


6. Running with Scissors: A Memoir
by Augusten Burroughs
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 031242227X
Catlog: Book (2003-06-01)
Publisher: Picador
Sales Rank: 317
Average Customer Review: 3.93 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

There is a passage early in Augusten Burroughs's harrowing and highly entertaining memoir, Running with Scissors, that speaks volumes about the author. While going to the garbage dump with his father, young Augusten spots a chipped, glass-top coffee table that he longs to bring home. "I knew I could hide the chip by fanning a display of magazines on the surface, like in a doctor's office," he writes, "And it certainly wouldn't be dirty after I polished it with Windex for three hours." There were certainly numerous chips in the childhood Burroughs describes: an alcoholic father, an unstable mother who gives him up for adoption to her therapist, and an adolescence spent as part of the therapist's eccentric extended family, gobbling prescription meds and fooling around with both an old electroshock machine and a pedophile who lives in a shed out back. But just as he dreamed of doing with that old table, Burroughs employs a vigorous program of decoration and fervent polishing to a life that many would have simply thrown in a landfill. Despite her abandonment, he never gives up on his increasingly unbalanced mother. And rather than despair about his lot, he glamorizes it: planning a "beauty empire" and performing an a capella version of "You Light Up My Life" at a local mental ward. Burroughs's perspective achieves a crucial balance for a memoir: emotional but not self-involved, observant but not clinical, funny but not deliberately comic. And it's ultimately a feel-good story: as he steers through a challenging childhood, there's always a sense that Burroughs's survivor mentality will guide him through and that the coffee table will be salvaged after all. --John Moe ... Read more

Reviews (279)

5-0 out of 5 stars This book kicks a**..!
...in the words of the ubiquitous Cartman (South Park). Augusten Burroughs' memoir about growing up in apparently the most dysfunctional place in the Universe, is brilliant, if somewhat surreal.

Burroughs relates his childhood with his mother, who may or may not be insane, and the cast of bizarre characters that inhabit his world. Like a strange episode of "The Twilight Zone", "Running With Scissors" is at once engaging and horrifying. I had to keep reminding myself throughout that it wasn't fiction, that Burroughs had actually experienced the drama as he told it. With a wry sense of humor that's prevalent all the way through, Burroughs manages to depict the horror of his life without slipping into maudlin self-pity. An excellent read...and I hope there's a sequel!

4-0 out of 5 stars Enlightening, disturbing, funny, and a lot of other things
Augusten Burroughs' memoir can make you laugh, cry, and retch in various combinations. Strange and disturbing don't adequately describe Burroughs' childhood. Being raised until pre-adolescence with an alcoholic father, a bipolar mother, and a brother with Asperger's certainly did much to shape Burroughs' life, but his teenage years spent in the house of Dr. Finch, surely one of the strangest characters ever to be described in a book, constituted the bizaare formative period that gave birth to this memoir. In the Finch house, Burroughs experienced things far removed from the realm of normal childhood including pedophilia courtesy of Dr. Finch's mentally disturbed adopted son and a disgusting ritual involving retrieving Dr. Finch's stool from the toilet to be examined for divine messages. It's hard to believe that characters that would more likely arise from some imaginative writer's mind exist in real life. Thankfully, Burroughs reminds us that at least a few can emerge enlightened and successful from such twisted childhoods.

My only criticism is that I felt the book's narrative flow was interrupted at the end when the author began jumping from story to story without going into enough depth with each one. Maybe he just ran out of interesting things to say. However, that's really my only criticism. The memoir is great. You'll most probably look back on your childhood with a more forgiving eye after reading about Burroughs'.

5-0 out of 5 stars The memoirs do have it this year
The memoirs do have it this year, and "Running With Scissors" is no exception. It details a troubled life, addictions and the turning point (the determinationa nd courage) to turn your life around when it would be so much easier to fall in to the pitts. <br /> This authors other books: "Dry" and now "Magical Thinking" are excellent books to read as well. he is a superb writer. Along those lines of good memoirs/Biographies to sink your teeth in to and learn about the real world and what goes on with in it (wether rich or poor) are books such as "Nightmares Echo", "If I Knew Then" and Sickened". All highly rated books <br />

5-0 out of 5 stars Humourous and yet....
Yes this author tells his story with humor. But, underneath the laughter lies the pain of living through a difficult childhood. Mr. Burroughs did well in telling us his story in 'DRY',and as with 'DRY', you still know the life he led that took him through the addictions he suffered. It made me understand all the more another book I read called 'NIGHTMARES ECHO'. In that book the author details that though you see the addict,prostitute and homeless person-don't just assume they want to live life that way. There may be underlying reasons. Mr. Burroughs points that out as well in showing us his side of the story and the pain along with his humor. One of the best books I have read.

1-0 out of 5 stars Awful!
Worst book I've read in a long time, or does it count if you only get halfway through before using it as kindling? I can't believe people actually compare this guy to David Sedaris. I can't believe it was on several top ten lists in 2002. I can't belive I wasted $15 on this. Not only did it not make me laugh once, but I didn't care for any of the characters whatsoever. And I wouldn't consider myself to be homophobic (Sedaris is gay and he's one of my favorite writers) but I really didn't need to hear about Burroughs' "anal excursions" as a teenager which is about the point where I stopped reading the book altogether. ... Read more


7. A Child Called "It": One Child's Courage to Survive
by Dave Pelzer
list price: $9.95
our price: $8.96
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1558743669
Catlog: Book (1995-09-01)
Publisher: HCI
Sales Rank: 1051
Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

David J. Pelzer's mother, Catherine Roerva, was, he writes in this ghastly, fascinating memoir, a devoted den mother to the Cub Scouts in her care, and somewhat nurturant to her children--but not to David, whom she referred to as "an It." This book is a brief, horrifying account of the bizarre tortures she inflicted on him, told from the point of view of the author as a young boy being starved, stabbed, smashed face-first into mirrors, forced to eat the contents of his sibling's diapers and a spoonful of ammonia, and burned over a gas stove by a maniacal, alcoholic mom. Sometimes she claimed he had violated some rule--no walking on the grass at school!--but mostly it was pure sadism. Inexplicably, his father didn't protect him; only an alert schoolteacher saved David. One wants to learn more about his ordeal and its aftermath, and now he's written a sequel, The Lost Boy, detailing his life in the foster-care system.

Though it's a grim story, A Child Called "It" is very much in the tradition of Chicken Soup for the Couple's Soul and the many books in that upbeat series, whose author Pelzer thanks for helping get his book going. It's all about weathering adversity to find love, and Pelzer is an expert witness. ... Read more

Reviews (1362)

5-0 out of 5 stars Touched a place deep within my heart and soul, changed me.
My ten year old daughter introduced me to this book. I felt I needed to share this with her. I think it has changed us both forever. Neither of us slept well the night we finished it. I will never again look at any child the same way. It is hard to imagine where young Dave ever found the strength to go on and on and on. My hope after reading this compelling story is that I might be able to recognize the pain of abuse and neglect in the eyes of a child, that I might be able to reach out and make a difference. When Dave recalls the few times someone hugged him, it almost broke my heart. He wanted nothing more that to hang on to that warmth forever. Now I know that a hug, a smile, a gentle touch, or a helping hand, really can make all the difference in the world. I will never forget this story and plan to read "The Lost Boy" immediately. Dave, thanks for the gut wrenching courage it must have taken to write this book. You have opened my eyes and my daughters eyes.....wide!

5-0 out of 5 stars A Child Called it
This book was probally the best book that I have ever read. In his book David Pelzer describes how horrible he was treated by his mother and how he was treated by his peers and teachers at school. His life was fine in his early years, but as he grew older he became trapped in what he described as a livng hee. He began to plot out ways to survive from not being killed by his mother. He also had to deal with an alocoholic father who although, once was a caring and loving father turned his back to whatever his wife did to David. As David grew older his punishments got more extreme. One example is that he was forced to lay completely under water in cold bath water from the period after school until late at night. He was also locked in his bathroom with a full bucket of ammonia. The main idea of this book is that no matter how hard your life is that you should never give up and always look towards the future.I felt that David's choice of a title was exellent. The title describes in one word, IT, how he was treated, like a thing, that wasn't human. David showed to be a very strong and determined individual. His mother was obviously very disturbed and frustrated. The weird thing was that she only treated David horrible, the other childre were treated just as most good parents treat their kids. Davids father made me ver angr, and it was hard for me to understand him. He was a strong man physically, bu not mentally. Even though he didn't want his wife to do thee things to David he was not strong enough to do anything about it. This book definately made me think about how great my life is and how great my parents are. I feel that his is a must read book and makes you think a lot.

5-0 out of 5 stars What a gift
This author is a gift to us, Thank goodness he made it through the darkest hours to tell us his story. I hope this book will help others to have courage as well as show what it is like to live the life he did. Very inspirational Another inspirational book-Nightmares Echo by Katlyn Stewart

5-0 out of 5 stars A Child Called It.
I really was shocked while reading this book because it brought back the memories of my childhood. The shock was that I thought no one else could treat their own child so bad. My older brother was treated nearly as bad as It. I witnessed this until he moved from home at the age of 17. I would read for a while and turn to my wife or my oldest daughter and tell them some of the similuar experiences that I witnessed. The public needs such revelations as A Child Called It to fuel public out cry for such neglect and abuse. The courage to report is needed. I explain to my two children that there is no excuse for abuse of a child like what was exampled in the book. My oldest daughter even went as far as conducting a book report after reading A Child Called It. Wanting to express publicly her distress over the situation of child abuse/neglect.

1-0 out of 5 stars A Poorly Written, Lurid Hoax!
Several of my co-workers were simply mesmerized by the Pelzer trilogy, so joined in on the reading fest. Even as I read the book, a LOT of things weren't ringing quite true: like being repeatedly exposed to a lethal combo of ammonia and bleach (he would've been dead the very first time) and that his teachers had known for years, were powerless to do anything and risked their careers....while this MIGHT have been true in the 50's and even EARLY 60's, it wasn't true in the late 60's early 70's.

I'm only 4 years younger than Pelzer and can VIVIDLY recall a teacher in first grade (1971, in my case) being extremely concerned about a slap mark on my face (courtesy of an older brother's rough housing)---and this was still when spanking children was regarded as a perfectly acceptable form of discipline. Additionally, child abuse had been the subject of NUMEROUS TV dramas (I recently saw an old episode of "Dragnet", among others) and was, in fact, the "hot" issue of the time. It was 1973, in fact, that the "Mondale bill" was signed into national law (and had drawn extensive attention for quite a few years prior)---so the idea that no criminal charges would have been levied against Mrs. Pelzer is even MORE absurd.

Please do NOT mistake me----I am FULLY aware that abused children daily go undetected and that in the 1970's we were barely beginning to comprehend the depths
of this horrible issue. I can certainly believe that "Catherine" Pelzer was an alcoholic, probably bi-polar and very possibly DID smack the poor kid around (which I firmly believe NO child should EVER experience)--but much of the other aspects were clearly fabricated.

((...) ... Read more


8. Oh the Glory of It All
by SeanWilsey
list price: $25.95
our price: $17.13
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1594200513
Catlog: Book (2005-05-19)
Publisher: Penguin Press HC, The
Sales Rank: 76
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Cover art my vary.

"In the beginning we were happy. And we were always excessive. So in the beginning we were happy to excess." With these opening lines Sean Wilsey takes us on an exhilarating tour of life in the strangest, wealthiest, and most grandiose of families.

Sean's blond-bombshell mother (one of the thinly veiled characters in Armistead Maupin's bestselling Tales of the City) is a 1980s society-page staple, regularly entertaining Black Panthers and movie stars in her marble and glass penthouse, "eight hundred feet in the air above San Francisco; an apartment at the top of a building at the top of a hill: full of light, full of voices, full of windows full of water and bridges and hills." His enigmatic father uses a jet helicopter to drop Sean off at the video arcade and lectures his son on proper hygiene in public restrooms, "You should wash your hands first, before you use the urinal. Not after. Your penis isn't dirty. But your hands are."

When Sean, "the kind of child who sings songs to sick flowers," turns nine years old, his father divorces his mother and marries her best friend. Sean's life blows apart. His mother first invites him to commit suicide with her, then has a "vision" of salvation that requires packing her Louis Vuitton luggage and traveling the globe, a retinue of multiracial children in tow. Her goal: peace on earth (and a Nobel Prize). Sean meets Indira Gandhi, Helmut Kohl, Menachem Begin, and the pope, hoping each one might come back to San Francisco and persuade his father to rejoin the family. Instead, Sean is pushed out of San Francisco and sent spiraling through five high schools, till he finally lands at an unorthodox reform school cum "therapeutic community," in Italy.

With its multiplicity of settings and kaleidoscopic mix of preoccupations-sex, Russia, jet helicopters, seismic upheaval, boarding schools, Middle Earth, skinheads, home improvement, suicide, skateboarding, Sovietology, public transportation, massage, Christian fundamentalism, dogs, Texas, global thermonuclear war, truth, evil, masturbation, hope, Bethlehem, CT, eventual salvation (abridged list)-Oh the Glory of It All is memoir as bildungsroman as explosion. ... Read more

Reviews (4)

1-0 out of 5 stars Probably not worth it.
I read a review of this book and ran out to buy it. It started off somewhat funny but, about halfway through, I found myself struggling with it. The characters here are just too far-fetched. No mother is as crazy as the author's. No stepmother is as wicked as his either. They are not believable. Th ebook drags as he goes from one reform school to another and I found myself caring less and less for the author. I read in the NYTimes that he is some rich kid with a fancy apartment in Soho and a trust fund. As I thouught about it, this is a story about a rich kid who has parents who divorced and a stepmother he doesn't like. Big deal. In the hundreds of pages, there is no sense that he takes ownership for his mistakes, grows, etc. It just keeps going... He needs a good shrink and a better editor.

5-0 out of 5 stars Addictive, honest & thrilling to read
I started reading the excerpt in The New Yorker and am instantly buying this book.I cannot stop reading it-- The portrait of the author and his parents is un-putdownable...
This is a big story; the themes aremythological -- the detailsdiverting and devastating.Wilsey is on a wild ride with his mother that takes him to the Vatican, the Kremlin and beyond...to a place in world class literature.

5-0 out of 5 stars YES, THE RICH ARE DIFFERENT THAN YOU AND ME !

Are the rich really different than you and me?You're darn right they are according to Sean Wilsey in the juiciest totally tell-all in many a moon.According to the author, his stepmother, Dade Wilsey, currently a doyenne of San Francisco society, needed no coat hangers to outdo Joan Crawford as the mother-in-law from you know where. Further, while his stepmother provides plenty of fuel for flame, his mother, Pat,is almost certifiable.

In the beginning it was good, we hear, "We were happy.And we were always excessive.So in the beginning we were happy to excess."For them, excess might be defined as his Dad supplying a jet helicopter to drop Wilsey of at the video arcade or his mother tossing lavish bashes in their luxurious home.

Then, when he was 9 his father divorced his mother to marry her friend, Dade, who was 15 years Pat's junior. Pat didn't take this at all well, once suggesting to Wilsey that they commit suicide together. .When that didn't happen she formed an international group of children to bring about world peace and hopped around the globe with Wilsey in tow to do meetings with Sadat and the Pope.After all, as a former Neiman-Marcus model and society columnist, she does have a flare.

As for stepmother, Dade, who brought two sons into the fold, Wilsey remembers a Christmas when she happily undid little boxes under the tree which held $200,000 brooches.She showed her appreciating by giving her husband a kiss and pinning them to her bathrobe.One could go on and on about her luxe lifestyle, but Wilsey puts it best: "If you want a sense of her values, rent the movies "Gaslight" and "Sweet Smell of Success."The scheming lead in "Gaslight" who sweet-talks a wealthy heiress into marrying him and then drives her mad with drink and double-talk, is her."

How is Dade taking all of this?We read that she's threatening to sue.Regardingthe overdoses of jewelry, well, she's quoted as sayingeveryone gave her jewelry - her husband, her exhusband, and her father.

As for Pat?You can't keep a gal from Oklahoma down.When last heard from she was planning a party to celebrate the publication of her son's book.

"Lives of the Rich and Famous" couldn't hold a candle to these folks, and Scott Brick reads their story with grace, gusto, and wry humor.Bet he had a blast doing it.

- Gail Cooke

5-0 out of 5 stars Fun, good humored tale of a world that doesn't seem real
I know some folks in SF might take offense to the supposed skewering they recieve in this book, but I had a hell of a time reading it.The world described doesn't seem real, and the humor and harsh light falls fairly equally among the "characters" including Wilsey himself.It's one of those stories that is so strange it would never work as "fiction." Totally over the top. ... Read more


9. Bono: In Conversation with Michka Assayas
by Michka Assayas
list price: $23.95
our price: $16.29
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1573223093
Catlog: Book (2005-04-21)
Publisher: Riverhead Hardcover
Sales Rank: 160
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

For the first time ever, Bono--the biggest rock star in the world--tells his life story.

Bono's career is unlike any other in rock history. As the lead singer of U2, Bono has sold 130 million albums, won fourteen Grammys, and played numerous sold-out world tours, but he has also lobbied and worked with world leaders from Bill Clinton and George W. Bush to Nelson Mandela on debt relief, AIDS, and other critical global issues. He has collaborated with the same musicians for nearly three decades and has been married to his childhood sweetheart since 1982. His life, at all turns, resists the rock star clichés.

In a series of intimate conversations with his friend Michka Assayas, a music journalist who has been with the band since the very beginning, Bono reflects on his transformation from the extrovert singer of a small Irish post-punk band into one of the most famous individuals in the world; and from an international celebrity to an influential spokesperson for the Third World. He speaks candidly about his faith, family, commitment, influences, service, and passion. Bono: A Self-Portrait in Conversationis the closest we will come, for now, to a memoir from the iconic frontman of U2.
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Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Conversations Between Friends
If you wanted to ask Bono a question, what would it be?

Would it be about the music?

Would it be about his personal life? Perhaps the deaths of his parents?

Would you ask about the formation of the most successful band in history?

Perhaps you'd want to know more about his work in support of AIDS and hunger releif.

All of these questions, and many, many more are asked and answered in this book. In fact, almost the whole book is a series of questions that ramble from subject to subject with no pattern. These questions and answers are like a normal conversation flows between friends.

Because they are friends, a true respect exists between the two men and it comes out in the book. This means that there is great insight shown into how Bono thinks. And it comes out that he thinks very well indeed.

This is a fascinating book, not just because of the fascination with the singer, but because of the insight he brings to us about places like Africa and the Soviet Union.

4-0 out of 5 stars Trip inside Bono's head
U2 is the greatest band of my lifetime.How could I resist 323 pages of Bono pontificating?Obviously, I couldn't.Is Bono a little self-indulgent?You bet.Does he avoid dishing the dirt?Absolutely.But he does provide quite a bit of insight into what makes him tick.He is a remarkable human being.

This is by no means a "tell all" book.The book briefly mentions Adam's problems with addiction, which were so bad at one point that he actually just didn't show up for a show in Sydney, a show that was being filmed for TV!But there aren't any details.There's some lip service paid to the group's (minus Adam) involvement with Shalom Christianity (a group devoted to understanding the Scriptures), but again, no real details.The details we get in this book are the little ones that make up day-to-day family life, past and present..., and ALOT about Africa.6500 Africans die each day of a preventable, treatable disease.It's hard to argue when Bono suggests that deep down we don't really believe in their equality. Bono's trip to Africa after the Live Aid concert seems to be a real turning-point in his life, and there are many pages devoted to his time there and his efforts to bring Africa's problems to the world's attention.

But it's not all heavy seriousness.There's alot of poking fun at Bono's admittedly giant ego.Naturally, there are more than a few great quotes:"I can do the high-life; I can do the low-life; it's the in-between that gives me trouble."I'm paraphrasing.I've started using the line myself, and have kind of made it my own, as I did with, "The God I believe in isn't short of cash, mister...."Back to the heavy stuff, there's some interesting commentary on the Sandinistas and the events that inspired "Bullet the Blue Sky".Bono saw things first-hand.

Naturally, there's some talk about other musicians.Bono clearly loves Prince.Oddly, it appears that Bono thinks The Rolling Stones (the only band I can think of with the longevity and enduring creativity of U2) as almost fluffy pop musicians.He doesn't come out and say it, but it's between the lines.

In short, the book is a must-read for the U2 fan, and a great read for people curious about the life of a very unique individual who might very well one day win the Nobel Peace Prize.It's missing the stories of sex and drugs, but it's clear, despite what Bono might have said on God Part II, that rock and roll can really change the world.

5-0 out of 5 stars A humbling perspective of a man in power....
I must admit that when I saw this book, I was hesitant at first to read it.I thought it was going to be another "entertainment book" about U2 and their career.Little did I realize that this book is very in-depth about "the man behind the shades".Bono shares his joys, his struggles, and his adventure in this book.It covers anything from his family, his inadequacy as a celebrity, the workings of U2, his activism, faith, and other topics.This book is definitely a must read for anyone who loves U2's music and wants to gain a better understanding of Bono.

5-0 out of 5 stars A fascinating look into Bono's character
A long-time fan of U2's music and impressed by Bono's activisim, I was anxious to read this new book. And I loved it! I couldn't put it down!

Written in a coversational style, I at first thought it may be difficult to follow. Instead, I pleasantly realized that it made me feel as if I was listening to Bono talk to a group of which I was part. Because we are actually reading his words, I thinkwe really get a look into Bono's mind - or even his soul.

Every topic I could want to hear Bono talk about is covered - his music, the band, his family, his belief in God, and his activism. It had it all.

I highly recommend this book to anyone wanting to learn more about what makes Bono tick. It confirmed to me that he has a very big heart, a great intellect, and incredible talent.

Enjoy! ... Read more


10. The Dance of the Dissident Daughter
by Sue Monk Kidd
list price: $12.95
our price: $9.71
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 006064589X
Catlog: Book (1996)
Publisher: HarperSanFrancisco
Sales Rank: 1642
Average Customer Review: 4.52 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The acclaimed spiritual memoir from the author of The Secret Life of Bees

I was amazed to find that I had no idea how to unfold my spiritual life in a feminine way. I was surprised and, in fact, a little terrified when I found myself in the middle of a feminist spiritual reawakening.

Sue Monk was a "conventionally religious, churchgoing woman, a traditional wife and mother" with a thriving career as a Christian writer until she began to question her role as a woman in her culture, her family, and her church. From a jarring encounter with sexism in a suburban drugstore to monastery retreats and rituals in the caves of Crete, Kidd takes readers through the fear, anger, healing, and transformation of her awakening. Retaining a meaningful connection "with the deep song of Christianity," she opens the door for traditional Christian women to discover a spirituality that speaks directly to them and provides inspiring wisdom for all who struggle to embrace their full humanity.

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Reviews (42)

4-0 out of 5 stars One woman's journey into feminist spirituality
Sue Monk Kidd spent approximately her first forty years in the Baptist church, where women are exhorted to submit to their husbands and where she heard the phrase "second in creation, first to sin" countless times. She was disgruntled with the church's stance on women, but never felt moved to rock the boat much, until one day she walked into her daughter's work and found two customers sexually harassing the girl. Something snapped inside her, and she began to question her religion's assumptions about gender and to seek a more feminist spirituality. Her journey took her to ancient mythology, the Gnostic gospels, and to dark places in her own life as her quest caused trouble in her marriage and her religious life. She tells us how she got through her troubles, and her story seems very human and touching. She would feel uneasy, drop the whole subject for months, but her longing always resurfaced. And in the end, she seems to have found peace, and some interesting insights. This book will be interesting to Christian women trying to figure out how to reconcile religion with self-respect. It was also interesting to me, as a pagan of several years and an agnostic before that--it helped me see value in Christianity that I had not seen before.

My only gripe about it is that sometimes Kidd generalizes too much. The book is at its best when she tells her own story, but sometimes she slips into saying things like "A woman feels X when Y happens". Everybody's journey is slightly different.

5-0 out of 5 stars It changed my life
Like Sue Monk Kidd, I was (am) the wife of a Protestant Minister. Unlike her, I was absolutely miserable for twelve years. I was unhappy and unsuited for the role, and found the expectations of the small Methodist congregations impossible to my independent nature. When my husband left the pastorate to take a special appointment primarily because of my nervous breakdown, I felt as if I had failed my religious family and friends. I floundered, confused and depressed for some time until I happened on DANCE OF THE DISSIDENT DAUGHTER. The accounting of Ms.Kidd's search for her place in a patriarchal religious south and her discovery of the power available within when embracing her own feminine nature and the sisterhood of other women gave me hope. I knew that I would encounter considerable impediments if I traveled that road so when I met her at a book signing in Atlanta, I had one question: "Is it worth it?" She looked me in the eyes and said one word---"YES!" And it has been.

This book is of immeasureable value for any woman searching for a path to a personal spiritual awakening not filled with the platitudes and martyrdom usually found in Christian Women's books. I would especially recommend it to wives and daughters of Pastors and Ministers who are finding their husband's and/or father's profession personally difficult. Be warned, it is forward thinking and revolutionary, but you may find spiritual depths that give you and your families a new and powerful source of strength.

5-0 out of 5 stars What can be said?
What can be said about a writer as good as Kidd? I have been following Sue Monk Kidd since those days when she was a contributing writer to Norman Vincent Peale's Guideposts magazine. As another woman who has come to embrace the Divine Feminine, I admire her courage in relating her spiritual journey, especially in giving up those associations through which she had acquired fame and recognition. Would also recommend a book titled "The Bark of the Dogwood--A Tour of Southern Homes and Gardens" as it is equally well written and full of ideas.

1-0 out of 5 stars The Dance of the Dissident Daughter
I was excited to read this book because I think of myself as a feminist and I have a strong interest in feminine divinity. Although Ms. Monk has some pertinent information about patriarchy in the Christian church, the balance of the book was a narcistic view of her years spent in therapy, retreats, libraries, and dream analysis, trying to find her feminist self. My view of the feminine divine doesn't include such self-indulgence. My advise to Ms Monk: "Get over it, get a life."
What a lot of drivel.

5-0 out of 5 stars An absolute MUST READ!
The way I was led to this book was uncanny...but as I began reading it I thought, "OH MY GOSH - this is MY STORY!" I have been in the "unlearning, awakening" state that Monk Kidd talks about...and it is a LONELY road. The most difficult thing about evangelical christianity is that nobody (especially a woman) can ask any "hard questions" or they are labeled "not a christian" or "backslidden." I was raised in NO religious setting but joined the evangelical movement in my late 20s and was solidly rooted there... until I began an academic journey at age 40. College studies (sociology, women's studies, anthropology) made me thirst for MORE but "the church" didn't like that. I so needed a friend like "Betty" (Sue's friend in the book). I couldn't put the book down but it was a library book and I couldn't write in it either! SO I ordered a bunch of them... so I can re-read and write in mine... and share it with many ladies who I know will appreciate it. ... Read more


11. Three Weeks with My Brother
by Micah Sparks, Nicholas Sparks
list price: $22.00
our price: $15.40
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0446532444
Catlog: Book (2004-04-13)
Publisher: Warner Books
Sales Rank: 504
Average Customer Review: 4.44 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

As moving as his bestselling works of fiction,Nicholas Sparks's unique memoir, written with his brother, chronicles the life affirming journey of two brothers bound by memories, both humorous and tragic. ... Read more

Reviews (48)

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Summer Reading
I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the Spark's family and about the journey around the world and through childhood of these two brothers. I was deeply touched to be given such insight into the author's life and it made you realize that no matter how good someone's life looks on the outside, you never know really what is going on/has happened behind the smile/tears. This book is different from his others since it was inspired by his own life not someone else's (also enjoyed learning where he came up with the ideas for other characters in previous books)...truly an enjoyable book to read. I loved how he mixed past and present stories with his trip with his brother. Kept it very interesting.

3-0 out of 5 stars Skip the Travelogue, Read the Memoir
If anyone advised Nicholas Sparks to abandon couching his memoir within a travelogue, he should have paid attention. Sparks's thoughts about the wondrous places he visits -- Machu Picchu, Easter Island, Agra, among others -- are silly and shallow. Plus he and his nominal co-author brother proudly portray themselves as buffoons and philistines. You want to slap them both on the back of the head and tell them to at least be quiet if they can't behave.

On the other hand, the bulk of the book, which details the series of tragedies that have overwhelmed the brothers' adult lives -- deaths of parents and a sibling, as well as the rearing of an autistic child -- is sad but compelling, and ultimately encouraging, because it is written from the heart.

I also think another book -- perhaps it will take the form of a novel -- needs to be written about the Sparks' mother. Nicholas professes unblemished love and respect and devotion to the woman, who died tragically at 47, just weeks after his marriage. However, she was a complicated character whose parenting of her three children was often questionable at best. Perhaps additional time is needed for him to examine her -- and his own feelings about her -- more honestly.

5-0 out of 5 stars Full Of Heart
Thats exactly what this book has-Full Of Heart. The brothers go through so much together, life is a challenge, sometimes so unfair but the one thing-the clearest thing spoken is that they have the ultimate gift-Love. Full of heart! Also recommended: Other Memoirs-A Child Called It, Father Joe,Running With Scissors,Nightmares Echo

5-0 out of 5 stars "Three Weeks" is a great read
Like many others who have reviewed this book, I have read all of Nicholas Sparks' previous books. I completely enjoyed reading this book as well. I think some reviewers missed the point of the book, unfortunately. It is not a "travel" book and it is not a "spiritual" book. It is a memoir, an autobiography, of the author and his brother's life experiences. I was drawn into the story on many levels - the familial relationships, the growing up years in Fair Oaks, the heartbreaking traumas endured. I think it is wonderful that Cathy and Christine were in favor of this trip for the brothers. They truly are saints (it's nice to know that both Nick and Micah truly understand that!). It makes me sad to think that Micah and Nick are so far apart (physically), but the book is a beautiful reminder that love knows no bounds. And aren't they lucky to have each other. I don't think they come off as pretentious at all...they're all they've got, it doesn't get more real than that. I think it must be amazing for Nick to look back and realize where he was and where he is now (and that he thanks God for all the blessings). I think writing this book must have been very cathartic for him, at least I would hope it was. And that he can still rely on his faith to carry him through the difficult times...we all have them, even if we aren't best selling authors or successful businessmen. It's interesting that as I read the book, I kept reminding myself that this wasn't one of his novels...this stuff really happened. And though some of the antics that he and his brother did on the three week trip were borderline-out-of-control, it was funny. I could see me and my brother and sisters doing stuff like that! Micah seems to be a good reminder to relax, enjoy life and have fun. I hope that they both benefitted from traveling together and spending quality time together like that...and that there was some healing in the pains suffered after living through so many tragedies...especially for Nick. Micah seems to deal with life and it's ups and downs well enough...I mean, if not going to church and questioning his faith are the worst things that he has endured, then good for him. I think writing the book for Nicholas probably has helped him move forward, which sounds like he is doing. God bless him, his brother and their families. Now I think I need to make a run downtown to get some Zelda's and beer myself! :)

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written!
This is a different kind of book but wonderful! Any Sparks fan will love this! You will laugh and cry. Have some tissues nearby and enjoy! Fan for life! ... Read more


12. Take Big Bites: Adventures Around the World and Across the Table
by LindaEllerbee
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0399152687
Catlog: Book (2005-05-05)
Publisher: Putnam
Sales Rank: 127
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The celebrated journalist, producer, and bestselling author takes us on a remarkable culinary journey through "a life lived interestingly, if not especially intelligently."

Linda Ellerbee's first two books were instant classics: And So It Goes, a hilarious, unblinking look at television journalism that spent months as a bestseller; and Move On, a wry, intimate look at a woman in her time that became a milestone in autobiographical writing. Now she takes us both farther afield and closer to home in a memoir of travel, food, and personal (mis)adventure that brims with warmth, wit, uncommon honesty, inspired storytelling . . . and a few recipes as well.

In Vietnam, preconceptions collide with the soup. . . . In France, lust flares with the pbti and dies with the dessert. . . .In Bolivia, a very young missionary finds her food flavored with hypocrisy . . . while at the bottom of the Grand Canyon an older woman discovers gorp is good, fear is your friend, and Thai chicken tastes best when you're soaked by rain and the Colorado River.

From Italy to Afghanistan, from Mexico to Massachusetts, Ellerbee leads us on a journey of revelation, humor, and heart."What can you say about Linda Ellerbee?" Ted Koppel once wrote. "The woman is raucous and irreverent and writes like a dream." Take Big Bites proves it again.
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Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars A spectacular tour de force
It is rare to stumble on a book that you know is going to be a classic. Linda's latest reminds me of A J Liebling's already-classic saga of Paris dining, Between Meals. Liebling, too, was a journalist-gourmet. But Linda's book is possibly greater than Liebling's (and his is one of my favourites). Ellerbee has been everywhere and tasted everything. A Texan who was "going large" long before it was fashionable, and who has probably the most interesting address book in the world, her amazing empathy for people and her eye, ear and tastebuds all become the grist for some exquisite writing. Her respect for others, self-mockery, love of adventure and occasional sharp tantrum makes Take Big Bites a genuine literary achievement. Dare I propose that Ellerbee should be taken more seriously as an important American writer(I write this as a Brit). If Ellerbee had not become a TV star, she would have made plenty of reputation for herself with words alone. The charm of her TV scripts was always her clarity and precision - something not common in that industry. This book shows Ellerbee once again in perfect command of her stories. It is a memoir, a cook book, a statement of love for the world and its people, toldin a unique voice. Buy this book and you will feel happier. This is not really a five-star book by the somewhat devalued standard of these evaluations, it is a perfect 10. Did I mention that I love this book?

3-0 out of 5 stars Small Bites Are OK, Too
I remember Linda Ellerbee on Overnight, a late-night TV newscast that was considered ground-breaking at the time, before CNN. The news was serious, but she and her co-anchor, Lloyd Dobyns, seemed to be taking it all with a grain of salt, enjoying their gig while all the grown-up anchors were asleep. It was fun to watch reporters who weren't taking themselves too seriously.

For the most part, Ellerbee maintains that attitude in Take Big Bites, but it's a bit difficult when you've been through a few marriages, breast cancer, and reporting from war zones. Take Big Bites isn't exactly a memoir, it's a collection of essays and memories of places she's been, people she's met, food she's eaten. You can take it in order, or skip around, as Ellerbee has done.

I suggest small bites, contrary to Ellerbee's advice. A little bit of Ellerbee goes a long way. Her first encounter with pho,Vietnamese noodle soup is amusing, and so is her reaction to Singapore. But there is a bit too much homespun philosophy for my taste, as well as James Taylor lyrics. I like JT as much as anyone who came of age in the Seventies, but quoting him this much seems like an odd 'blast-from-the-past'.

5-0 out of 5 stars A delicious must read!
Ellerbee's escapades as she dines her way around the world is hysterically funny. It is a laugh-out-loud read about the life of one of Amercia's great journalists and greater writer.Her personal observations and honesty touch your heart and give a compelling insight into what makes this woman an icon. ... Read more


13. My Life as a Quant : Reflections on Physics and Finance
by EmanuelDerman
list price: $29.95
our price: $19.77
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0471394203
Catlog: Book (2004-09-17)
Publisher: Wiley
Sales Rank: 1360
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Book Description

"Derman’s memoir of his transition from mathematical physicist to expert finance whiz at Goldman Sachs and Salomon Brothers reads like a novel, but tells a lot about brains applied to making money grow."
–Paul A. Samuelson, MIT, Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences, 1970

"Not only a delightful memoir, but one full of information, both about people and their enterprise. I never thought that I would be interested in quantitative financial analysis, but reading this book has been a fascinating education."
–Jeremy Bernstein, author of Oppenheimer: Portrait of an Enigma

"This wonderful autobiography takes place in that special time when scientists discovered Wall Street and Wall Street discovered them.It is elegantly written by a gifted observer who was a pioneering member of the new profession of financial engineering, with an evident affection both for finance as a science and for the scientists who practice it.Derman’s portrait of how the academics brought their new financial science to the world of business and forever changed it and, especially, his descriptions of the late and extraordinary genius Fischer Black who became his mentor, reveal a surprising humanity where it might be least expected.Who should read this book?Anyone with a serious interest in finance and everyone who simply wants to enjoy a good read."
–Stephen Ross, Franco Modigliani Professor of Finance and Economics, Sloan School, MIT

" … a deep and elegant exploration by a thinker who moved from the hardest of all sciences (physics) to the softest of the soft (finance). Derman is a different class of thinker; unlike most financial economists, he bears no physics envy and focuses on exploring the real intuitions behind the mechanisms themselves. In addition to stories and portraits, the book documents, in vivid detail, the methods of knowledge transfer. I know of no other book that bridges the two cultures. Finally, I am happy to discover that Derman has a third career: he is a writer."
–Nassim Taleb, author of Fooled by Randomness

"The quintessential quarky quant, Emanuel Derman has it all.Physicist, mathematician, philosopher, and poet blend together to produce a narrative that all financial engineers will find worth reading."
–Mark Rubinstein, Paul Stephens Professor of Applied Investment Analysis, University of California, Berkeley ... Read more


14. Big Russ and Me: Father and Son--Lessons of Life
by Tim Russert
list price: $22.95
our price: $13.77
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1401352081
Catlog: Book (2004-05-10)
Publisher: Miramax Books
Sales Rank: 378
Average Customer Review: 3.79 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Veteran newsman and Meet the Press moderator Tim Russert is known for his direct and unpretentious style and in this charming memoir he explains why. Russert's father is profiled as a plainspoken World War II veteran who worked two blue-collar jobs while raising four kids in South Buffalo but the elder Russert's lessons on how to live an honest, disciplined, and ethical life are shown to be universal. Big Russ and Me, a sort of Greatest Generation meets Tuesdays with Morrie, could easily have become a sentimental pile of mush with a son wistfully recalling the wisdom of his beloved dad. But both Russerts are far too down-to-earth to let that happen and the emotional content of the book is made more direct, accessible, and palatable because of it. The relationship between father and son, contrary to what one would think of as essential to a riveting memoir, seems completely healthy and positive as Tim, the academically gifted kid and later the esteemed TV star and political operative relies on his old man, a career sanitation worker and newspaper truck driver, for advice. Big Russ and Me also traces Russert's life from working-mjkjclass kid to one of broadcast journalism's top interviewers by introducing various influential figures who guided him along the way, including Jesuit teachers, nuns, his dad's drinking buddies, and, most notably, the late New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, whom Russert helped get elected in 1976. Plenty of entertaining anecdotes are served up along the way from schoolyard pranks to an attempt to book Pope John Paul II on the Today Show. Though not likely to revolutionize modern thought, Big Russ and Me will provide fathers and sons a chance to reflect on lessons learned between generations. --Charlie Williams ... Read more

Reviews (53)

5-0 out of 5 stars Cats in the cradle...Harry Chapin's song comes to life!!!
The background story behind this book is learning from your elders. In this particular one, we are talking about Tim Russert and how he explains the way that his father's knowledge (something that most children never appreciate until after the fact) and experience shaped his life. We learn of Big Russ, as he refers to his father, and how he was raise in poverty, was a WWII vet with an admirable record and his ability to raise his four children and support his household while holding down two jobs for a good part of his life. That, in itself, shows the character of Big Russ.

As is the dream of every parent, Russert's life is anything but representative of the suffering his father witnessed. A wealthy lawyer, Capital Hill insider and married to a celebrity journalist, Russert is the success story his father could brag about to any and everyone.

The book provides a nostalgic walk through time as the author reflects on his own life as well as that of his country. By the time you finish the book, you can understand why Big Russ earns the biggest title that any father can ever dream of. That of being seen as a hero in his own son's eyes. No amount of money or honors can ever top such a title as that.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Gift to Big Russ
Bookstores have been gearing up for Father's Day for some time now, lining their front displays with titles dad is sure to enjoy: sports, grilling, amusing how-tos. Pretty standard stuff. But once in a while a book comes along that supersedes the silly.

BIG RUSS & ME, by Tim Russert, is one of these rare finds.

Russert, the popular host of NBC's "Meet the Press," wrote this tribute to his father, Tim Senior, a member of what has become known as "the greatest generation." A hard-working, spiritual and devoted family man who served his country during World War II, the elder Russert represents the millions of fathers (and mothers) who sacrificed to make their children's lives better.

The Russert family grew up in a blue-collar section of Buffalo, NY, where Tim Senior instilled in the author and his three sisters the qualities of discipline, respect, honesty and faith that, for whatever reason, are sometimes lacking from parents today.

In the minds of younger readers, Russert might as well have written his book a hundred years ago. Imagine having to walk to school, including "sir" or "ma'am" when addressing adults, or having to do chores. It wasn't punishment --- it was expected and not open to discussion or bargaining.

Writers of a certain age often recall a time and place in which television shows were broadcast in black and white, no one locked their doors, kids always had friends to play with and people watched out for one another. Compare that with today's omnipresent security alarms, motion detectors and play-dates.

Russert writes fondly of his Jesuit education. Its extension of discipline helped him focus on excelling in college and law school. He worked hard to put himself through school, not just because his parents could ill-afford tuition and other expenses. As Big Russ said, you appreciate it more when you earn it yourself. The era in which he grew up was difficult: the assassinations of John and Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. had profound effects on his circle, as did the social unrest of the sixties. Through it all, however, he remained close to his father while many of his contemporaries rebelled against their parents' values.

Russert is not a name-dropper. He was fortunate enough to know several people who were very influential to his maturation, and he mentions these relationships (his chapters on Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Pope John Paul II are especially warm) more in thankfulness than to inflate his own ego. His self-effacement ("I have a face for radio") seems genuine, not put-on, which makes BIG RUSS & ME even more enjoyable.

The saying goes (approximately): "When I was a teenager I thought my father didn't know anything. It's amazing how much smarter he became once I got older." This is definitely not Russert's credo. Indeed, he has always sought his dad's advice and opinions; even now, in his high-powered capacity as host of one of television's venerated staples, he is not satisfied until Big Russ gives his feedback. (Not to psychoanalyze, but one doesn't get the impression that Russert, Jr. is in dire need of Senior's approval.)

Being "men," it's not unusual that expressive feelings exchanged between fathers and sons are underplayed. This is one reason why BIG RUSS & ME is so welcome. And the love and respect between the generations continues through the author's son, Luke.

Relationships, especially for today's parents, seem much more difficult, thanks in no small part to the myriad distractions and competitions for their kids' attention that simply didn't exist fifty years ago. All vie for the child's attention and some can be very seductive, especially when the folks want him to do something that isn't cool, like get good grades or clean up his room.

Russert's apotheosis is a wonderful gift to Big Russ, an expression of love and gratitude that makes all the hard work seem worthwhile. It's even better that the old timer is still around to enjoy the accolades the book will no doubt engender.

So, what did you say you were doing for your dad this year?

--- Reviewed by Ron Kaplan

1-0 out of 5 stars Ack! Ack!
Ack! Ack! Ack! Ack! Ack! Ack! Ack! Ack!

4-0 out of 5 stars Endearing & heart-felt memoir.
Refreshing and light read written by a man with a genuine and, in many ways, a new-found love and appreciation for the most important man in his life.

In a society that seems less determined to be self reliant and accountable and more determined than ever compete over who can be the biggest victim, Big Russ is living testimony that absolutely nothing beats a strong family bond and a solid work ethic.

5-0 out of 5 stars Engaging, nostalgic, well-written
This is a great book. I can't believe how many Amazon "reviewers" are getting their facts wrong, or dragging politics, or other issues into this simple, straightforward ode to one's father.

One reviewer says Tim does a disservice to mothers everywhere by writing a book about his father. If you didn't check out the title of the book clearly before purchasing it, maybe you should go do that now: "Big Russ and Me: Father and Son--Lessons of Life." He mentions his mother reverently a few times in the text, but the book is mainly about his dad. Enough Said. I'm sure his mother knows how much he loves her. Maybe he'll write a book about her someday. But I don't see how he's disrespecting all mothers. That's ludicrous.

Secondly, a few reviewers have remarked about Big Russ blowing his paycheck on booze every week. Obviously these readers didn't read carefully. Tim was writing about another man in town who would take his paycheck to the bar every payday and drink it away. Tim contrasts this man with his father, who would enjoy a few cold ones every now and then, but knew that providing for his family was much more important. Big Russ was not a drunk. Maybe you reviewers should go back and re-read that chapter.

Another reviewer complains that Tim Russert's book is "full of errors," and backs up this claim by saying he got one word wrong when remembering a prayer from his youth. This reviewer says a half-decent editor would've caught this. I'd like to enlighten this reader by letting him know that not all prayers are taught or recited exactly the same way. It depends on the school or church, I suppose. To call it an error is wrong. It's a variation. I'm sure some people think the way you recite it is wrong. Whether it's "THROUGH thy bounty," or "FROM thy bounty," it hardly makes much difference, does it? Means the same thing.

I could go on, but for some readers there's no hope. It's a great book about a father's influence on his son's life. Read it. Pass it on. ... Read more


15. Lucky Child : A Daughter of Cambodia Reunites with the Sister She Left Behind
by Loung Ung
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060733942
Catlog: Book (2005-04-01)
Publisher: HarperCollins
Sales Rank: 5578
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

When Loung Ung came to America in 1980 as a ten-year-old Cambodian refugee, she had already survived years of hunger, violence, and loss at the hands of the Khmer Rouge, a story she told in her critically acclaimed bestseller, First They Killed My Father. Now, in Lucky Child, Ung writes of assimilation and, in alternating chapters, gives voice to a genocide survivor she left behind in rural Cambodia, her older sister Chou.

Loung was the lucky child, the sibling Eldest Brother chose to take with him to America. The youngest and the scrappiest, she was the one he believed had the best chance of making it. Just two years apart, Chou and Loung had bonded deeply over the deaths of their parents and sisters. As they stood holding hands in their dusty village while the extended family gathered to say good-bye, they never imagined that fifteen years would pass before they would be reunited again.

With candor and enormous flair, Ung describes what it is like to survive in a new culture while surmounting dogged memories of genocide and the deep scars of war. Not only must she learn about Disney characters and Christmas trees to fit in with her classmates, she must also come to understand life in a nation of peace: that the Fourth of July fireworks are not bombs and that she doesn't have to hide food in her bed every night to make sure she has enough to eat. Her spunk, intelligence, and charisma win out, but Cambodia and Chou are always in her thoughts.

An accomplished activist and writer, Ung has now returned to Cambodia many times, and in this re-creation of Chou's life, she writes the story that so easily could have been hers. Both redemptive and searing, Lucky Child highlights the harsh realities of chance and circumstance and celebrates the indomitability of the human spirit.

... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Engaging and gripping tale of immigrant experience
Ms. Ung has once again given us a powerful rendering of what it means to survive.Her first book, First They Killed My Father" was extraordinary for its ability to translate the experience of the Cambodian genocide for a public disconnected to the realities of that war.

Her second book is no less a tour de force, giving us an eye into the life of a young girl from a radically different culture (and history of deprevation) trying to come to terms with this American life.She does it remarkably well, with candor and grace.

4-0 out of 5 stars One Flaw keeps me from buying this
This story appears riveting.I want to read the book.I WILL read the book when it is available at my library.I can't give it a bad rating because I haven't actually read it.The book is written in the present tense and I dislike books written that way.I was ready to buy this book tonight, but when something happened years ago, it is just one of those things I can't handle, "What do you want?" he asks."Nothing."I say.That sort of thing. ... Read more


16. Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six M.I.T. Students Who Took Vegas for Millions
by Ben Mezrich
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743249992
Catlog: Book (2003-09-09)
Publisher: Free Press
Sales Rank: 174
Average Customer Review: 4.15 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

#1 National Bestseller!
The amazing inside story about a gambling ring of M.I.T. students who beat the system in Vegas -- and lived to tell how.

Robin Hood meets the Rat Pack when the best and the brightest of M.I.T.'s math students and engineers take up blackjack under the guidance of an eccentric mastermind.Their small blackjack club develops from an experiment in counting cards on M.I.T.'s campus into a ring of card savants with a system for playing large and winning big.In less than two years they take some of the world's most sophisticated casinos for more than three million dollars.But their success also brings with it the formidable ire of casino owners and launches them into the seedy underworld of corporate Vegas with its private investigators and other violent heavies.

Filled with tense action, high stakes, and incredibly close calls, Bringing Down the House is a nail-biting read that chronicles a real-life Ocean's Eleven.It's one story that Vegas does not want you to read. ... Read more

Reviews (226)

5-0 out of 5 stars Beating the odds and living a constant adrenaline high!
This is a fast and explosive read. It's a true story that's so high-powered that the tension never ceases and I was thrust into a roller coaster ride that kept my eyes glued to the pages.

The story is told through the eyes of the author, who met one of the students at a party and was so intrigued by his outrageous tale that he was compelled to put it into a book. This is a story of a group of math whizzes, most of Asian descent, who used the art of card counting, worked as teams, and legally won as much as 4 million dollars during the few years they spent their weekends in the Vegas casinos, living the high life.

They strapped thousands of dollars to their bodies with Velcro to get the cash onto planes, used false names, and were always on the lookout for Las Vegas personnel who would sometimes personally escort them out of the casinos. They also learned about the seediness of the gambling world, greed, the way the Vegas corporations work. Of course they all went through changes. And eventually, it had to come to an end. Some of it is kind of scary too. But mostly, it's about beating the odds and living with a constant adrenaline high.

Well, reading this book is an adrenaline high of it's own. It put me right into the action and kept me there for the whole 257 pages. I loved it. And highly recommend it.

5-0 out of 5 stars If you've ever played blackjack, this is a must read!
This is a truly amazing story of six MIT students who beat Vegas at its own game.

As anybody who has ever been to Vegas knows, the ONLY game in Vegas where the player has a slight advantage (using minor card counting techniques) over the house is blackjack. The MIT students in this book took it a few steps further to increase their advantage even more. The research, practice, and other methods they used are quite remarkable. It certainly helped that they were all mathematical whizzes.

This book is a lot more than just blackjack, though. It gives an inside glimpse into the life of a high roller (AKA whale in gambling jargon) and even has some suspense and intrigue.

This is an absolute must read for anybody who has ever gambled in their life, especially if you've ever played a hand of blackjack. The book is a very fast read and you will find yourself turning the pages very quickly as you are enveloped in a fantasy world that only a handful of people ever get to realize.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

5-0 out of 5 stars Easy to Read
This is a fun and interesting book. Nothing too heavy. Just a light, easy to read book - which is sometimes the very best thing. In the same easy to read level of entertainment as "Moneyball" (Michael Lewis), "Stranger Than Fiction" (Chuck Palahniuk), or "My Fractured Life" (Rikki Lee Travolta).

5-0 out of 5 stars CAN'T WAIT TO SEE THE MOVIE!
Ben Mezrich knows how to tell a story. He takes us along with Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT) Black Jack team on casino assaults from Las Vegas to the Bahamas. We experience the life of high stakes gamblers... the fabulous hotel complementary rooms and the casinos' violent response to big talented winners. He briefly discusses the theory of card counting among team players early on, but saves the details for the last chapter. Ben also admits that the casinos have adapted by implementing continuous card shuffling machines. As a computer programmer with designs on lotteries, I felt a connection to fellow Boston area college students with a plan and the determination to follow through. I hope they make a movie out of this.

4-0 out of 5 stars decently fun....
If you like gambling, like myself, I think this book is worthwhile. It's not exactly a dissertation on winning at blackjack by any means, or a how-to book on winning lots of cash in gambling. It's pretty much a tale of a team of card-counters that hit up Vegas for millions. Whether it's true or not, I'm not sure. But it is a fun read. The story is interesting, and keeps you captivated enough so you won't put it down. But a light pleasure read. The main negative I have with this book is that it really isn't that well-written. While it is an easy read, the author shifts in and out of 1st and 3rd person narrative a lot, not only chapter by chapter, but also within pages. Not that it makes it confusing, but after awhile it becomes annoying. But all in all I thought the book was fun to read. So I'd give it 3 and a half stars, rounded up to 4. ... Read more


17. Dry : A Memoir
by Augusten Burroughs
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312423799
Catlog: Book (2004-04-01)
Publisher: Picador
Sales Rank: 1952
Average Customer Review: 4.49 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

From the bestselling author of Running with Scissors comes Dry—the hilarious, moving, and no less bizarre account of what happened next.

You may not know it, but you've met Augusten Burroughs. You've seen him on the street, in bars, on the subway, at restaurants: a twenty-something guy, nice suit, works in advertising. Regular. Ordinary. But when the ordinary person had to drinks, Augusten was circling the drain by having twelve; when the ordinary person went home at midnight, Augusten never went home at all. Loud, distracting ties, automated wake-up calls, and cologne on the tongue could only hide so much for so long. At the request (well, it wasn't really a request) of his employers, Augusten landed in rehab, where his dreams of group therapy with Robert Downey, Jr., are immediately dashed by the grim reality of fluorescent lighting and paper hospital slippers. But when Augusten is forced to examine himself, something actually starts to click, and that's when he finds himself in the worst trouble of all. Because when his thirty days are up, he has to return to his same drunken Manhattan life—and live it sober. What follows is a memoir that's as moving as it is funny, as heartbreaking as it is real. Dry is the story of love, loss, and Starbucks as a higher power.
... Read more

Reviews (92)

4-0 out of 5 stars A Sobering Look At Sobriety
Augusten Burroughs showed how funny dysfunction could be in the excellent biography "Running With Scissors". Anyone who read (and enjoyed) "Running" can't be suprised that the next step for Burroughs would be rehab, which is the core of his new book "Dry".
The cast surrounding Burroughs in this novel comes with its own set of baggage, which gives him new avenues to explore, new failures to ridicule and new situations to extract both humor and pathos. Again, Burroughs makes laughing at his own missteps central to the book's theme, allthough a running second story involving a best friend who is dying of AIDS really turns the reader against Burroughs (until the necessary near-book's end epiphany, which always seems to be a common theme in alcohol-recovery stories).
Burroughs makes a funny, and tragic drunk. His confusion over dates and times, his lying and deceiving friends and co-workers lead to some laugh-out-loud tales. And the long overdue intervention will make a great movie scene someday. But this book hits its stride with Burroughs exiting rehab, and trying to cope in the real world without a drink. Here his yearning for understanding of his own condition, set against a number of incidents (his friend's eventual death, scripting a beer advertising campaign) lead to humor, sadness and understanding, and show us the heart and soul that we suspect is there, but are rarely given a chance to see until the end of the story.
Anyone who has experience with sobriety, or with twelve-step programs will especially enjoy Burrough's experiences in rehab and meetings, but there may be a few too many in-jokes for those not familiar with a sober lifestyle.

5-0 out of 5 stars Depth, reality, humanity
For someone who doesn't fancy himself a memoir reader, I'm glad to find books in the genre such as this which shine. Anyone who read Running with Scissors, Burrough's first memoir, and enjoyed it well past the hilarious "and then there was the antique ECT machine under the stairs" line into the ups and downs of that life...well, you'll also want to read this book. It's not a 'follow up' any more than Time Regained is a follow up to Swann's Way; Dry stands related but on it's own merits. Nor is the book a 'rehab' book because it transcends that kind of labelling as well. The author doesn't have to resort to edgey posturing. Burroughs privileges us with an honest look at his life and so tells us a bit more about what it means to be human. And check out his website...: from his bio you just know there's more to come, which is pretty amazing for someone who isn't 40 yet.

5-0 out of 5 stars Honest Memoir
<br /> He admits hes a drunk, admits he fails to come home...admits that he is basically forced to under go rehab. But deep within the book you understand the reasons why he got to that point. He is honest about the difficulties in returning back to where he once was, only he has to do it sober. This is a moving memoir, funny and at times heartbreaking. More importantly it is real and courageous. Courageous like other books I have read, Nightmares Echo and A Child Called It,including but not limited to his other book, Running With Scissors, Dry is the story of love, loss,and finding your way back when everyone else gave up.<br />

5-0 out of 5 stars Can Get In To The Heart Of It
This was an easy book to get in to the heart of. Excellent style of writing. The author takes you through the painstaking journey of the different forms of abuse and how it drives the adult in to addictions that are so difficult to control. There are many books out on the market that deal with abuse, and yet only a few such as 'Dry','Running With Scissors' and Nightmares Echo' allow the reader to understand without to much of the physical look in to that side of their lives.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Real Story You Can Relate Too
One of the most authentic books I've read on addiction. Never falls into that 'preachy' mode that turned me off to so many before. Tells it how it is: warts and all, but with an entertaining flair. Best addiction book I've read since Rikki Lee Travolta's "My Fractured Life." It's something I can actually relate too. ... Read more


18. Foreign Babes in Beijing: Behind the Scenes of a New China
by Rachel DeWoskin
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0393059022
Catlog: Book (2005-05-09)
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Sales Rank: 636
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A smart, funny, insightful peek into modern China through the eyes of a "foreign babe."

Hoping to improve her Chinese and broaden her cultural horizons, Rachel DeWoskin went to work for an American PR firm in China. Before she knew it, she was not just exploring but making Chinese culture—as the sexy, aggressive, fearless Jexi, star of a wildly successful soap opera. A sort of Chinese counterpart to Sex in the City revolving around Chinese-Western culture clashes, the show was called Foreign Babes in Beijing.

Living the clashes in real life while playing out a parallel version onscreen, Rachel forms a group of friends with whom she witnesses the vast changes sweeping through China as the country pursues the new maxim that "to get rich is glorious." In only a few years, billboards, stylish bars and discos, international restaurants, fashion shows, divorce, foreign visitors, and cross-cultural love affairs transform the face of China's capital. Foreign Babes in Beijing is as astute and informative as it is witty, moving, and entertaining. ... Read more

Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Out of the mouths of babes ... come the truest words . . .
This is one of the most entertaining and informative books I have read in a very long time.I have been to Beijing once and I now live in thevery multicultural city of Toronto.The author deftly weaves the scripted story of the soap opera in which she acts with her real story on the streets and clubs and offices of Beijing.In a style of writing that is clear but deeply nuanced and humorous, she relates the lives of young men and women in a rapidly changing China, dealing with their own kind of culture shock, even as she deals with hers.

The chapter "Model workers" talks of the emerging, very non-Maoist profession of runway models.Brief, capsule biographies of the author's friends in China who are both typical and extraordinary, painters, actors, and fellow office workers, provided me insights that I will long carry with me.The story is told in part with quotations from her actual conversations, quotations from the show script, lyrics from popular songs, and brief quips about historical women recorded in the ancient "Lives of Eminent Women." Together these constribute to a fine tapestry that reveals many truths about our complex multicultural lives without judgement and with considerable affection.

5-0 out of 5 stars Crisp, Clever, Fast-paced, and Funny
This book is both smart and fun. On the one hand it is about an American babe who stars in a Chinese TV soap with funny stories to tell; and on the other, a glimpse into China's vast cultural landscape that is shifting as we speak.The seduction by the foreign babe is a metaphor for the impact of the West on the middle kingdom. DeWoskin has a smooth as silk grasp of language that is kind to the reader. Well done.

5-0 out of 5 stars Social Commentary - Served Hot and Spicy
Rachel DeWoskin arrived in Beijing during the mid-90s, among the first wave of Westerners to see the city since the protests and reprisals at Tiananmen Square a few years earlier. During her stay, China relented from rigid socialism, opened up to foreign capital, and incorporated western business practices. On one level, "Foreign Babes" is the story of this process. DeWoskin's descriptions of these cultural convulsions are pithy and delightful. From the introduction of Coke and McDonald's (and the resulting obesity epidemic), to the latest trends in Chinese rock music and performance art, she was a witness and an insider - the perfect guide.

DeWoskin was not just an anonymous tourist, though, she was a pop-sensation. Starring as an American temptress in China's version of Beverly Hills 90210, her weekly seductions were seen by half a billion people each week. Hundreds of fans mobbed her on the streets of Beijing and followed her through stores, buying whatever random products she put in her bag.

But the heart of "Foreign Babes" is not the fascinating backdrop of Beijing in bloom, or the glamorous and sexy soap opera, but the relationships between the characters. Sparring across a huge divide of language, politics, and culture, they must shed stereotypes and find a personal space in which to understand each other - not as American or Chinese, but as individuals and friends. DeWoskin possesses an astute social sensibility, a pitch-perfect ear for conversation, and the gift of spot-lighting the most awkward - and revealing - moment in any interaction.

Just going to China after college was adventurous. Signing on for the TV-show was audacious. Most impressive, however, was DeWoskin's ability to bridge the gaps and surround herself with friends in a foreign country. Impressive, but not surprising, since the author's warmth and grace are apparent on every page.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Telling Look at Late 1990's Beijing
Having lived for much of the period from 2001 - 2004 in Suzhou, (about 50 miles west of Shanghai), I can categorically say that Rachel DeWoskin's new book, FOREIGN BABES IN CHINA, gets nearly everything right when it comes to Chinese culture and interpersonal relations. Her book is a fascinating account of a city, a country, and a culture in transition. The people around her, and she herself, suffer the contradictions of tradition versus modernity, socialism versus entrepreneurial capitalism, blind patriotism versus Westernization, and government control versus individual freedom, yet everyone zooms ahead to find their own way even as the book's timeline approaches the millennium.

Ms. DeWoskin arrives in Beijing on something of a lark, a college grad with an English degree, a little Mandarin, and a desire for something adventurous. She has taken a position with the Beijing office of an international public relations firm (we later learn that "P.R." sounds uncomfortably like the Chinese word for an unflattering body part) but quickly finds the work empty of content. She unexpectedly gets offered a spot as one of the two foreign female leads in a new Chinese soap opera entitled "Yang Niu Zai Beijing," or "Foreign Babes in Beijing." She is duped into signing a contract for far less than she's worth to the producers (there are still relatively few attractive young Western women in Beijing in 1995), and a series of acting misadventures and cast romances ensue. DeWoskin can barely separate her real-life feelings for her hunky co-star Wang Ling from their respective romantic roles in the soap opera. In the end, "Foreign Babes" is a huge success throughout China, and Ms. Dewoskin is recognized everywhere she goes as Jiexi, the "loose" Western woman who steals a married Chinese man (Wang Ling's character, Tianming) from his wife and takes him to America.

The author eventually quits her P.R. job and takes on a series of small acting and spokesperson roles, and even takes a brief turn as a runway model. Along the way, she meets and briefly profiles four young Beijingers (two female and two male, despite oddly labeling their chapters, "Biographies of Model Babes") and describes their lives, beliefs, and aspirations. Each is fiercely independent and nontraditional, seeking to find their own identity and purpose in a newly-opened society. These four people are sometimes misinformed and often obstinate, even foolishly obstreperous, but there's no doubt they are brave, going where relatively few in their country have gone before.

DeWoskin develops close relationships with each of her four Beijingers, including a live-in relationship with the actor/screenwriter Zhao Jun. The last one-third of the book details her post-Jiexi life, which seems to devolve into clubbing and bar-hopping punctuated by occasional vague hints at working. Two tragedies -- the sudden death of a close Chinese friend juxtaposed against the mistaken U.S./NATO bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade -- bring DeWoskin's relationships and her Chinese life to an abrupt end just as the 20th Century is drawing to a close. It is time to go home, to find her place in her native country.

Ms. DeWoskin tells her story in casual prose with easy pacing. Her writing is sometimes poignant and other times humorous. The reader feels her confusion about Chinese life and language; she doesn't even learn until later that her Chinese name, Du Ruiqiu (Du for DeWoskin, Ruiqiu to sound like Rachel), actually means "Bumper Harvest." She finds huge cultural gaps and differences with everyone around her. She makes repeated cultural faux pas, but muddles through nonetheless, just like any American in her place. Interlaced with her story are bits and pieces of Chinese history and language. Ms. DeWoskin also offers a number of surprisingly on-target, passing observations about Chinese life and culture: the importance of face, women covering their mouths when laughing, lack of winter heating, foreigners' prices, women holding hands but not hugging, and a host of others. Combined, these little bits add to a greater whole, creating a "Beijing atmosphere" that effectively complements her personal story.

It is hard not to see FOREIGN BABES IN CHINA as a coming of age story, both for the naïve, young college graduate author and for the country in which she is perpetually an outsider. She uses China and the Chinese for her own adventure story as surely as they use her for her "exotic" foreignness. This book is also a story about cross-cultural personal relationships, about roles assumed and played out, about what is thought and said, and not said, between any two people, complicated a hundredfold by cultural differences and ways of thinking. In the end, Ms. DeWoskin's confused, conflicted, and ultimately lost relationship with Zhao Jun may well serve as a metaphor for the instability, and perhaps the utter hopelessness, of the larger Sino-American relationship.

3-0 out of 5 stars interesting, and impressionistic
A good read, funny at times. In a way, this book is not exactly about the "new new China," but "recent new China," for the described events happened more than 5 years ago, a generational period on the Chinese time scale. DeWoskin is charming, self-deprecating, and going out with interesting people including Cui Jian. Do not look for any substantial, observant description of the capital and its people in this chattery book. She is after all a babe, living a half-real, half-dreamy life in Beijing. Never an insider, she is but a sweet, lovely guest who is invited to watch China and be watched at the same time. ... Read more


19. Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood
by KorenZailckas
list price: $21.95
our price: $14.93
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0670033766
Catlog: Book (2005-02-07)
Publisher: Viking Adult
Sales Rank: 1260
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

From earliest experimentation to habitual excess to full-blown abuse, twenty-four-year-old KorenZailckas leads us through her experience of a terrifying trend among young girls, exploring howbinge drinking becomes routine, how it becomes "the usual." With the stylistic freshness of a poetand the dramatic gifts of a novelist, Zailckas describes her first sip at fourteen, alcohol poisoningat sixteen, a blacked-out sexual experience at nineteen, total disorientation after waking up in anunfamiliar New York City apartment at twenty-two, when she realized she had to stop, and all thedepression, rage, troubled friendships, and sputtering romantic connections in between.Zailckas’s unflinching candor and exquisite analytical eye gets to the meaning beneath theseeming banality of girls’ getting drunk. She persuades us that her story is the story of thousandsof girls like her who are not alcoholics—yet—but who use booze as a short cut to courage, astand-in for good judgment, and a bludgeon for shyness, each of them failing to see how theiremotional distress, unarticulated hostility, and depression are entangled with their sociallycondoned binging.

Like the contemporary masterpieces The Liars’ Club, Autobiography of a Face, andJarhead, Smashed is destined to become a classic. A crucial book for any woman whohas succumbed to oblivion through booze, or for anyone ready to face the more subtlerepercussions of their own chronic over-drinking or of someone they love, Smashed is aneye-opening, wise, and utterly gripping achievement. ... Read more

Reviews (67)

1-0 out of 5 stars A LOT OF RAMBLING
I HAVE NEVER READ A BOOK WHERE THERE IS SO MUCH SIDE TRACKING.THE AUTHOR DOES SO MUCH RAMBLING THAT I FORGOT WHERE SHE WAS GOING WITH THE STORY.

5-0 out of 5 stars A courageous memoir and an outstanding book
This book was amazing, engrossing, and highly thought-provoking.It seems so many people, including many "reviewers" on this site, are so quick to label somebody as an "alcoholic" or whatnot.Is the author an alcoholic?Truth is, it really doesn't matter.Zailckas examines her life and her drinking from an intellectual and partly feminist point of view.Her clarity and, more importantly, her objectivity when discussing her own situation and her deep, dark secrets lead me to believe that she is as free from the grips of alcohol as a bird is from prison bars (and I, for one, loved her use of metaphors and similes).Just baring these deeply, deeply personal stories in the hopes of relating to others who have been in or are in her situation is something I find highly admirable.And it worked.As a female college student, I can relate to so much of what she talks about.I can see it in myself and in so, so many of my friends.It is an issue that, in my experience, most girls inevitably face at some time or another.And depending on certain factors, including heredity, self-image and self-esteem, personality, availability, peer pressure and so on, many girls will unfortunately spin out of control and not even realize it until weeks, months, or years of their lives have been washed over with the rank stench of alcohol.I believe she is on to something when she implies that it is indeed a women's issue, an American issue, and a cultural issue.It is all of these things and more.Unless you are in college RIGHT NOW, you have no idea what it is like.Drinking is present and highly encouraged at 95% of the social functions that most college kids attend.It is so easy to abuse it, and nearly no one sees it as dysfunctional.I had begun to ponder this incessantly over the past year and reading this book comforts me that I am not alone, or insane.

This book was intensely personal and yet, at the same time, widely cultural.Zailckas takes a deep look at her alcohol abuse and the effects that it had on her emotional and social development.Society seems to care so much about labels.Is she an alcoholic?I don't know.I am not an addiction counseler, and I doubt any of you who were so quick to label her are, either.The IMPORTANT thing is that she finally realized the detrimental effects of her drinking and had the brains and the willpower to quit.Whatever it took to get her to see that, and however long it took, is irrelevant.We all march to the beat of our own drum.And the fact that she was able to create a beautiful, if sad, piece of writing from it was amazing.The fact that it has reached out to people, in particular, girls like me who desperately needed someone to relate to, nothing short of a miracle.

5-0 out of 5 stars Engrossing and Disturbing
I read through the book in less than two days.The style is comfortable and flows logically through this troubled young woman's adolescence into adulthood.The descriptions of her relationship with alcohol are profound and, often, hard to understand.What would create such a need, in an attractive, articulate young girl who doesn't seem to have experienced physical, emotional, or sexual abuse as a child, to medicate so much pain?One wonders if something might have been left out, but given the frank descriptions of her drinking and sexual encounters when drunk, it doesn't seem likely that she would sugar coat the rest of her life.

I was left with a lot of questions. Here are a few: Although the author spends a signficant amount of time describing her college experience, there is hardly a mention of going to class or studying.How in the world did she graduate?It would have been interesting if she would have discussed the impact her drinking had on her learning and the quality of her work.Another thing that amazed me was her account of her parents.Here is a girl who had her stomach pumped at 16 from alcohol poisoning, who continues to have severe life, health, and safety-threatening issues with drinking through college, and yet her Mother insists on buying her a drink for her 21st birthday celebration, and her Father gives her hard liquour for a Christmas gift that year.I believe it was the same brand that she almost died from at 16.What in the world were these people thinking?Lastly, although she mentions she is Catholic, the only mention of God is when she refers to the "freedom" that comes to you when you stop believing in God.I think there is a lot more there to explore, and maybe in the context of her need to drink.

Overall, a stunning work, and well worth the time.

5-0 out of 5 stars Thought pricking
Not often are we provided with stories that touch a rising problem in society. Binge drinking is a problem society can no longer ignore. It is endemic in countries like the UK, Ireland, and USA, and Cameroon, parts of the world like continental Europe, North America, South East Asia, and Latin America.

Smashed is an amazing story of this problem of alcoholism that is prevalent amongst young women. It is quite a scary book that will make many readers cringe when they read about the problems alcohol caused for Zailckas. This book may be a little bit too much for parents because it certainly is frightening and shocking for them to learn that heavy drinking is common amongst the young at such a young age. But as some one who went through that phase, I can relate to the story. It is a problem that should be confronted.

I like the way Zailckas did the narration. Her voice is strong in the writing and her style is unique. Poetic and fast flowing, one gets the story without drowning in compassion for her. After all, it is a past she shrugged off. That is why I think many people will find it interesting reading about this experience of alcoholism or binge drinking from the perspective of a young woman. It has lots of lessons to be learnt. Anybody can become an alcohol addict at an early stage in life. But with courage, determination and support, anybody can bit the addiction, whether as an alcoholic or a binge boozer.THE USURPER AND OTHER STORIES,THIS IS ME AND WHERE I AM, THE UNION MOUJIK are other gripping stories.

5-0 out of 5 stars Served Up on a Plate
"Smashed" is a authentic slice of life. There are definite similarities to "My Fractured Life", "Dry" and "Nightmares Echo" but with a unique slant. This is an up and down roller coaster life and the writer has the delivery to match ... Read more


20. Dreams from My Father : A Story of Race and Inheritance
by Barack Obama
list price: $13.95
our price: $9.76
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1400082773
Catlog: Book (2004-08-10)
Publisher: Three Rivers Press
Sales Rank: 154
Average Customer Review: 4.33 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Obama, the son of a white American mother and a black African father, writes an elegant and compelling biography that powerfully articulates America's racial battleground and tells of his search for his place in black America. 8 pages of photos. ... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Insightful Book from Political Leader
As a first-time writer, Obama does a wonderful job in relating the stories that affected his life. Obama details his personal reflections on his family, his childhood, race in America, and what it means to be biracial in a multi-ethnic society. Obama is painfully honest in discussing his life, which is not only rare for a politician but requires a tremendous amount of self-understanding and respect for the reading public. This book is a must read for those who are interested in Obama as a politician and for those who have an interest reading first-hand accounts of growing up in America as an "other".

4-0 out of 5 stars Enjoy Reading
Obama makes little mention of his white half -- although by his own account he was lovingly brought up by his white mother and her parents, and this might have provided further answers to the questions he raises about himself and where he belongs. Obama, whom I admire as a political leader in Chicago, is young; the book is hard to read. Obama seems to say that people of mixed backgrounds must choose only one of those backgrounds in which to make a spiritual home.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Surprise Find
I highly recommend this book to almost everyone. It should really get more attention!

The writing is thoughtful and interesting, and the subject matter unique. The book follows Barack Obama as he grows up and defines himself and his view of the world, as he finds the community that he wants to count himself a member of. In the end that "community" is really the community of humanity, but this book takes you on Barack's journey.

The author examines his heritage of white, midwesterners on his mother's side and later in the book explores the world of his father, a Kenya of the Luo tribe who came to the U.S. to study. Three parts of the book I found especially well done. First, the evocation of what it was like to be in Barack's head as a young black man with few black role models in his life and the difficult philosophical (internal) conversation of the African-American community defining itself in white America. Second, his work as a community organizer in Chicago really dealt well with the complex problems of declining inner cities. Third, the idealization of his absent father by both himself and his mother and the gradual discovery of the real character of his father and grandfather.

Overall, this book was about his struggle to be true to himself and to figure out what that meant. ... Read more


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