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161. Cooked: An Inner City Nursing
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162. Monster: The Autobiography of
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163. Without a Net : Middle Class and
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164. The Sacred Willow: Four Generations
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165. Cad: Confessions of a Toxic Bachelor
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166. Doc Holliday: A Family Portrait
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167. Kingdom of Fear : Loathsome Secrets
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168. If a Place Can Make You Cry :
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169. The Know-It-All : One Man's Humble
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175. China Hands: Nine Decades of Adventure,
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176. Engelbert: What's In A Name?:
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177. Let Me Create A Paradise, God
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180. Flying Carpet: The Soul of an

161. Cooked: An Inner City Nursing Memoir
by Carol Karels
list price: $13.99
our price: $11.89
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Asin: 0970947763
Catlog: Book (2002-12-05)
Publisher: Full Court Press
Sales Rank: 426818
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In May 1971, Look magazine featured a story entitled "Chicago’s Cook County Hospital: A Terrible Place." The article provided an inside look at the largest public hospital in the country, one located on Chicago’s dangerous gang-controlled and drug-infested west side. Months later, Carol Karels and seventy other nursing students began their nurse’s training there, despite newspaper articles that warned that the hospital might close any day. ‘The County,’ as it was called by the multitudes who sought health care treatment there, has weathered massive layoffs, doctors and nurses strikes, budget slashing, and public relations nightmares. Chicago’s counterpart to the Statue of Liberty, ‘the County’ welcomed the sick, desperate, and destitute multitudes who were turned away elsewhere. Burn victims, abused children, Skid Row drunks with TB, gunshot victims, nursing home rejects, drug overdoses, and those with complex medical conditions all found refuge on County’s massive wards. Metal beds, separated only by green curtains, lined the walls of these wards. Patients shared a common bathroom (at one end of the ward) and TV (at the other end of the ward). The nurse’s station was often a full block away from the last bed. Call lights were unheard of—patients shouted if they needed help.

Within weeks after starting nursing school, Ms. Karels began work on one of the busiest emergency wards in the hospital. Each night she assisted the overworked nurses and doctors by washing the vermin-infested bodies of the homeless, applying leather restraints to those who were confused and violent, shaking those with drug overdoses to keep them alert, translating street English for foreign doctors, and racing around the hospital to find medications and emergency equipment. Most who trained at Cook County Hospital, the hospital on which television’s hit "ER" is loosely based on, describe it as a city unto itself. While the patients were housed on wards, the staff lived and ate right across the street in sexually segregated dormitories--male doctors in one, female nurses in the other. Social life consisted of Friday teas in the nurse’s residence, local frat parties and Saturday night dances in the doctor’s dormitory.

County was also a hotbed of political activity with staff members representing every imaginable political ideology. In the years before Medicare, Medicaid, legalized abortions, and managed healthcare, County’s idealistic nurses and doctors were among the first in the nation to go on strike for better working conditions, and the first to go to jail for their convictions. The struggle for change, complicated by a massive internal bureaucracy, internal corruption, and city politics, is also documented.

"Cooked" chronicles the day-to-day challenges faced by committed caregivers and shows how stress and exhaustion often leads to indifference, callousness, tragic mistakes, and burnout. The memoir also shows how humor on the wards helps both caretakers and patients maintain their sanity. One example was a pre-dawn roller-skating romp in County’s musty tunnels.

The memoir also explores the culture of the Mexican immigrant on Chicago’s near south side. Feeling shut out of the Chicago’s public health care system because of language barriers, the Hispanic community resorted to forming their own community health clinic run by a street gang called ‘the Brown Berets.’ Ms. Karels shares memories of her Wednesday evenings at the clinic, which survived until organized violence took precedence over community healthcare.

COOKED is filled with stories about the compassion, caregiving, dedication, and chaos that took place on County’s huge wards and in the surrounding neighborhoods. In COOKED the medical novice will get an inside look inside the country’s largest public hospital while those with a medical background will nod their heads in recognition and encourage their children to read about a bygone era of institutional, yet excellent, medical care. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great read of a grand place
I received this book as a gift after retiring from a long career of nursing at Cook County Hospital. I enjoyed the way the author accurately described this hospital's atmosphere and the types of patients that we helped. Her unique stories were similiar to my own. I highly recommend it to all people who want to remember this grand institution. ... Read more


162. Monster: The Autobiography of an L.A. Gang Member
by Sanyika Shakur
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
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Asin: 0802141447
Catlog: Book (2004-07-01)
Publisher: Grove Press
Sales Rank: 65002
Average Customer Review: 4.68 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

After pumping eight blasts from a sawed-off shotgun at a group of rival gang members, eleven-year-old Kody Scott was initiated into the L.A. gang the Crips. He quickly matured into one of the most formidable Crip combat soldiers, earning the name Monster for committing acts of brutality and violence that repulsed even his fellow gang members. When the inevitable jail term confined him to a maximum-security cell, Scott channeled his aggression and drive into educating himself. A complete political and personal transformation followed: from Monster to Sanyika Shakur, black nationalist, member of the New Afrikan Independence movement, and crusader against the causes of gangsterism. In a document that has been compared to The Autobiography of Malcolm X and Eldridge Cleaver’s Soul on Ice, Shakur makes palpable the despair and decay of America’s inner cities and gives eloquent voice to one aspect of the black ghetto experience today. ... Read more

Reviews (127)

5-0 out of 5 stars Monster:Autobiography of an LA gang member review
I have read this book a number of times and it still does not fail to capture me. I have never read a book that involves its reader from start to finish as this does. Sanyika Shakur takes us on the path of his life from the age of 11 in the most graphic detail. Being from England, nothing could prepare me for the way of life Kody Scott had to live, a life of violent crime and also of belonging. It was good to see Kody realise his faults and turn into a muslim but unfortunate to hear that he returned to jail on a parole violation.

5-0 out of 5 stars Amazingly real and gritty to the end
I have read Monster:Autobiography of an LA gang member six times now, the cover is battered and tatty from carrying it around on numerous journeys with me - yet I would still read it again. When I first read this book I couldn't put it down, it was so real. From the first page I was a crip through and hrough true blue. I felt a part of every scene that was written about. It is good to read the truth in black and white from the inside out rather than the outside in. I feel that Leon Bing tried to capture some of this reality in Do or Die but when you mask out people's names or edit the stories it doesn't captivate the reader as much. When you read this book Kody Scott becomes a part of your life, as though you are his sidekick. You begin to understand gangbanging in its every capacity. One of the saddest moments in the book for me is when Monster has undergone his change and finally visits his roaddog 'Crazy D' in jail. Athough Crazy D is serving life with no parole he is still down for the crips but that bond has been broken with Monster. I would recommend this book to any gang member or wannabe just for keeping it real without the bragaddocio

4-0 out of 5 stars Monster
Monster is a very interesting book that takes place in a harsh enviroment. Monster, a well known cript L.A. gang member survives very exciting and dangerous real-life gang-banging, drive-bys and much more. I enjoyed this book although it is not for everyone. There is a lot of cursing, violence (not too bad), and adult content.

2-0 out of 5 stars Mr. Innocent or Society Made Me Pull the Trigger
This autobiography does not lend itself well to being rated, since it basically consists of two different parts. The first one is a fascinating and insightful description of a childhood and a youth spent in one of the country's most gang-ridden and dangerous neighborhoods, South Central L.A. This part deserves four stars. The second one is an endless tirade of how society has done the author wrong. This part deserves none. As a result, I could not give the book more than two stars.
Kody Scott tells with verve how he grew up to become one of L.A.'s most notorious teenage gangsters. A shocking and frightening account of boys gone mad, killing other kids for the mere fact of wearing the wrong color, or living on the wrong street corner. What sets Kody's story apart is the fact that he is a first-person narrator (albeit, it seems, with the help of a professional writer), whereas other authors have based their books about gang-life on observations and interviews. As a result, readers will learn more from Kody about gang members' motivations and feelings than they ever could from an author who has not been affiliated with gang-life him- or herself.
However, the second part of the book, Kody's description of his life in prison and his conversion to a black nationalist, is downright pathetic. He constantly blames others for the choices he made in life: His parents he calls "promiscuous" and "irresponsible", society ("the system") he accuses of "oppressing every person of color". The horrible acts of violence he has committed he plays down as "wrongdoings ... things that were morally wrong based on the human code of ethics". He tries to make his readers believe that there is an automatism: Every kid from a poor neighborhood will invariably end up as a gang member. However, why then, I would like to know, are kids mentioned throughout the book who choose not (!) to join a gang. And finally, he constantly complains about life in prison ("nothing ... could explain this level of action to me"), as if he had just run a red light or stolen a candy bar. He demands respect, but he doesn't give any (cops and prison guards he calls "pigs" and "Nazi-types").
The saddest thing of it all is this: Kody obviously revels in the attention and applause he has received from journalists and book critics. However, he overlooks that this praise is only lavished on him because he "only" ran amok in South Central. Had he gone to the suburbs and shot kids there, the same people would have called for his head. Considering the fact that Kody is a self-proclaimed Afrikan, I find his disregard for the lives and the well-being of his fellow African-Americans quite astonishing.

5-0 out of 5 stars A good read for people of all ages.
This is an well written book about life and death, love and hate, and self discovery. ... Read more


163. Without a Net : Middle Class and Homeless (with Kids) in America: My Story
by MichelleKennedy
list price: $23.95
our price: $16.29
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Asin: 0670033669
Catlog: Book (2005-02-17)
Publisher: Viking Adult
Sales Rank: 14650
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

At twenty-four, Michelle Kennedy was an ex-college student, an ex-U.S. Senate intern, an ex- wife, and an ex-member of the middle class. Faced with an untenable home situation, Michelleand her three small children retreated to the only refuge they had left—the backseat of a Subarustation wagon. Without a Net is one woman’s true story of scraping the bottom of theAmerican Dream—sleeping in parking lots, showering at campgrounds, and cooking ramennoodles over a public grill for dinner, all while taking care of three kids and working a full-time job.With humor and honesty, Michelle Kennedy describes how a few bad choices can push even asmart, educated woman and loving mother below the poverty line. And how, using her wits, a littleluck, and a lot of courage and determination, she survived disaster to create a new home for herfamily. ... Read more

Reviews (10)

1-0 out of 5 stars not worth your time
if you don't buy this book, you're not missing out on much.this book was very disappointing.it's not a true depiction of a homeless life ,for the author is homeless only for 3 months in her life[thank god] .even though it's great that she found a stable life soon , 3 months is not enough to describe how a homeless person feels and what he or she goes through.the author does describe each daily routine in detail but never really explains why she can't disclose her homelessness to her parents .she keeps saying that they [her parents]are already very disappointed with her and that she doesnt want to worry them any further , but never really shares with us why that is so.why is homelessness her only option?she fails to explain that or give any insight on that matter altogether.she's not rich to begin with ,then why does she keep having babies?the only reason she gives for her growing brood is that she's allergic to condoms....surely, there are other ways to prevent conception.furthermore,the author seems to be a selfish person in the sense that just because she doesn't have a stable life ,she snatches someone else's boyfriend[even though he reminds her , 'this is not right' ]to make a life of her own.she sheepishly justifies this action by informing the readers that his girlfriend and he[the author's love interest] had been having some problems anyway.on the whole this book is very unsatisfactory .it explains what it wants to itand leaves out the rest.you get the feeling , that the author isn't being honest about her experiences as a homeless person .she only tells you what will get her pity and convenientlycuts short the less noble deeds.this story ,of a mother;homeless for 3 months , with her 3 young kidscould have been written much better i'm afraid.

4-0 out of 5 stars Frankly honeststory that gives you a perspective
The author is a gifted writer and brings you into her world and her plight and bares her feeling, experiences, plight and soul in the book.She is young, self-centered and at the same time, caring and nurturing of her children.

She is luckier than most and had a good, yet very naive head on her shoulders. Many of the young mother of today, much younger than she is, share the same plight.Would be a good book to give a teen girl that wants to grow up too soon to show her the downside; but with caveat that this women was very lucky...she didn't have her kids taken away by welfare, she was able to find a job and earn money (even as college graduate, I was out of work for four months and had to take the first job I could find, earning me much less than was she complained about, and I am a single mother also), and she was only on her own for a few month...most single moms with kids in tow are not so lucky, nor do we have any family to fall back on even in the most dire straights.

The author seems very gifted pulling you into her world and I would love to see her write a series on the subject, including the much less successful tales of young women and children that are not as fortunate in fleeing their plight.

As the author, albiet briefly, was homeless, she could relate to others in this situation and would be able to draw out their experiences.

More people than want to admit or think about it, are only a few paychecks away from this situation...it is worth a read.

1-0 out of 5 stars Do NOT Buy This Book, Don't Give The Author A Dime!
If I could give this book 0 stars, I would! I bought this book, read it in a night and have never been so upset in my life. This is basically the story of a selfish, thoughtless woman who stumbles through life pulling her three children with her. Why would you get married just to get a better financial aid package ? Why couldn't she take leave of absence, work, & save up money for school ? Marriage is not supposed to be used as a convenience to more easily fund your education. You do what I did - work in the summer, work during the school year and take education loans. Then, why would you continue to get pregnant knowing that your husband doesn't seem to really be involved with you or the children ? And finally, why on the earth would you move with your three children to a log cabin in the woods of Maine with just a wood fire for heat & no running water ? Had I been one of her neighbors, I would have called Child Protective Services to have the children taken away from her - children should have adequate food, clothing, shelter and supervision which she was unable to give them. Additionally, why didn't she pursue her husband for child support so that she could have enough money to pay for the kids ??

DO NOT BUY THIS BOOK! If you want to read about the truly homeless and/or working class, buy Nickel & Dimed, The Working Poor, Getting By On The Minimum, and many other good books.

4-0 out of 5 stars Very good
This memoir written by a lady who ended up living in her car with her three children has left me with quite a few impressions.

The story itself is kind of amazing.I ended up feeling extremely sorry for the kids and very mad at Michelle for getting herself into this situation.I kept thinking that she managed to bring woman back to the dark ages quite easily.During the first part of the book, I kept thinking "how hard is it not to keep having babies".

Michelle really seemed like a total doormat and I felt for the kids.

However, I must give her huge credit for never giving up and always remembering her mostimportant responsibility was to her kids.

As for the writing itself.It was entertaining and raw and extremely honest, which is what one hopes to get when reading a memoir.

I am glad that Michelle wroter her story and I hope that all is good for her and the kids now.

5-0 out of 5 stars compelling and well written
This is a well written and fascinating story.The author does not claim an absence of responsibility for the position she's in- and she makes some odd decisions along the way. However-that'swhat I loved about it-as an ode to parenthood; she is devoted to her children & manages to get all of them through this ordeal without being a perfect human being. That is truly inspiring. ... Read more


164. The Sacred Willow: Four Generations in the Life of a Vietnamese Family
by Duong Van Mai Elliott
list price: $22.50
our price: $15.75
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Asin: 0195137876
Catlog: Book (2000-04-01)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Sales Rank: 72863
Average Customer Review: 4.33 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Duong Van Mai Elliott's The Sacred Willow, an extraordinary narrative woven from the lives of four generations of her own family, illuminates fascinating--and until now unexplored--strands of Vietnamese history. Beginning with her great-grandfather and continuing to the present, Mai Elliott traces her family's journey through a long era of tumultuous change. She tells of childhood hours in her grandmother's silk shop--and of hiding while French troops torched her village. She reveals the agonizing choices that split Vietnamese families: her eldest sister left their staunchly anti-communist home to join the Viet Minh and then spent months sleeping with her infant son in jungle camps, fearing air raids by day and tigers by night. And she follows several family members through the last, desperate hours of the fall of Saigon--including one nephew who tried to escape by grabbing the skid of a departing American helicopter.

Based on family papers, interviews, and much other research, this is not simply an unforgettable family saga--it's a record of how the Vietnamese have experienced their times. Often haunting, often heartbreaking, and always mesmerizing, this book will forever change how we view the history of Vietnam and our own role in it. ... Read more

Reviews (12)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great way to learn about Vietnam
I would strongly recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn about Vietnam. Well-written, the book is a history of how one family lived in Vietnam over several generations. The reader will learn the conflicts (politcal, cultural, and military) that each generation faced and how they responded to them to survive.

What is also interesting in this fine book, is that Mai Elliot showed how important it was to the Vietnamese that the Japanese (for a time) ruled the French in Vietnam during World War II. It showed that the French could be defeated and raised the morale of those Vietnamese who wanted to drive the French out of Vietnam. Not many other books highlight this particular role of the Japanese on Vietnamese history in the second half of the 20th Century.

Overall, this book will give beginning and advanced students of Vietnam both a relatively unbiased and informative view of Vietnam over the years. Furthermore, parts of the book are an adventure and demonstrate the hardships that many in Vietnam had to endure for so many years regardless of social status and education. Mai Elliot has made a solid contribution to the literature on Vietnam. One of the best Vietnam books out there.

2-0 out of 5 stars a missed opportunity to tell a good story
Admittedly, this book is about a family, so it's bound to be subjective. However, it's extremely apologetic towards the author's family members and their actions and circumstances, may they be good or bad. I didn't find this book a good read, because in my very private opinion, this is not a honest attempt to tell the story of a family. The author lives in the United States and neither her nor her Vietnamese relatives still in Vietnam have anything to fear either from American government or Vietnamese government at this point in time (2002). Reading this book, I couldn't help feeling that many facts were omitted or presented in a particular way so as to force the reader into a predetermined path of making a judgment. In most cases, I disagree with the author's appraisal of life in Southern Vietnam, as it's obviously biased.

5-0 out of 5 stars Recommended by a Vietnamese friend; did not disappoint
I did not realize the importance of reading a book written from a Vietnamese viewpoint until I began reading other books on Vietnam written from Western viewpoints. Certain events, such as the lasting meaning of the Tet Offensive of 1968 and Vietnam's engagement of the Khmer Rouge are shown in a completely different light in "Sacred Willow".
In addition, Elliot's coverage of an unwieldly time span is impressively complete, even though the ealiest events comprise only a few chapters of this 500-page tome.
Elliot keeps her references to her experiences in America to the bare minimum necessary to flesh out the story, which I found appropriate in a book about Vietnam (not about the Vietnamese-American immigrant experience). There are several memoirs out there dealing with Vietnam, but none are as clearly focused on Vietnam, or have near as broad a depth as this book. I am utterly satisfied and excited to have this one in my personal library.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Personal Account of the Impact of history
Duong Van Mai Elliott has given the world as intimate an account of the entire breath of Viet Namese history as you'll ever encounter. It is remarkable how close to the ground her family has always been throughout her country's efforts to break the bonds of colonialism, regardless of the oppressor. She casts history accurately, relates its impact on her forebears and brings the whole discussion front and center in the conflicts that arise among siblings as they come to terms with some who embrace Ho Chi Minh, others who embrace US personnel.
Mai's own story is full of that heart-rending division as she comes to term with her husband's family, who while very supportive of their daughter-in-law, really are not aware of the enormous drama taking place in the souls of this family. It is not like the Viet Namese to be outwardly emotional, and so their resolve to be brave in the face of often crushing personal sacrifice leaves you stunned.
One of the things I got from this book was that the US never stood a chance. The Us never understood what the central issue was for the Viet Namese people, inspite of having liberated themselves from similar colonialism in their own history. Replacing one colonialist for another, be they kinder or crueler, was not the point: they were still colonialists, and too often the US opted for choices based on ideologies instead of on the human factor, a point the Viet Minh knew was more powerful than bullets.
The war decimated Viet Namese as well as Americans, a point too often overlooked in the rush to build monuments to people who had no business there to begin with. The killing fields that would follow in the wake of the US departure would exact a toll on the humanity of a remarkable people. Time would show that the ideologues of Uncle Ho were little better than oppressors from afar. Mai saw it up close and personal.
The familial rifts remained. Still there is so much healing needed. This book will not resolve anything for the reader. Imstead, it shows that history happens to real families. Holocausts impact real people. The numbers and the monuments don't tell the story at all.

5-0 out of 5 stars THE SACRED WILLOW
I am a Vietnam vet that thoroughly enjoyed this historic background as portrayed by Mai Elliiot in this remarkable book. I have always been amazed our government prepared us so lightly for a conflict that needed the knowledge Mai exhibits for this far-away land we tromped into so blatantly. Only a vet could begin to comprehend the extent of Mai's wonderful treatment of her native people's travails and create the respect one has to garner for their toughness and leathery resiliency.
I flew helicopters in the Mekong Delta in 1966-67 at Vinh Long, with the Outlaws of the 175th Aviation Company--a very lucky assignment. I grew familiar with the terrain this VN author describes and the torment of her citizenry in this conflict. Every vet and family member of a Vietnam vet should have this book in their library; hurry up and buy it before it is past!! My book of the same title as my unit covers our flying experiences as youthful US Army Aviators. ... Read more


165. Cad: Confessions of a Toxic Bachelor
by Rick Marin
list price: $23.95
our price: $23.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0786868821
Catlog: Book (2003-02-14)
Publisher: Hyperion
Sales Rank: 323414
Average Customer Review: 3.63 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

In the mildly entertaining memoir Cad: Confessions of a Toxic Bachelor, former New York Times reporter and pop-culture critic Rick Marin chronicles the years of marathon dating and shallow living that followed in the wake of his failed "starter marriage." Marin moves through a series of urbane exploits and short-lived affairs, perfecting his trademark move of whipping off his horn-rims midconversation in a "myopic gaze," holding court with his wingman Tad over the hot buffet at Billy's Topless, and regurgitating wisdom gleaned from The Godfather. Like the similarly self-indulgent How to Lose Friends & Alienate People, Cad has its memorablemoments--Marin comparing his wedding video to the Zapruder film and hitting on actress Moira Kelly when she was still an ingénue living with her mom on Long Island--but the book's swinging, ring-a-ding-ding Rat Pack attitude feels noticeably forced and uninspired, leaving a flat aftertaste to the whole affair. --Brad Thomas Parsons ... Read more

Reviews (41)

3-0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, but not 'literature'
Coming out of an early marriage to a somewhat lost young woman, Rick Marin decides to embrace a "love 'em and leave 'em" single life. Readers who enjoy "Bridget Jones" type books or Cosmopolitan magazine will enjoy this male perspective on the NYC dating scene.

For much of the book, the writer works freelance, including writing articles for fashion and beauty magazines such as Allure and Mademoiselle. Although his work may address things naive women can do when 'he' doesn't call, the writer is more cavalier in his own life--he doesn't call because he never had any intention of calling you and doesn't care. Many of the female characters in the book are self involved, insecure, or just flighty, offering some amusement in the cavalier treatment they receive from the cad. The vulnerability of some of these women sheds some unflattering light on the writer at times.

Consistent with other stories of this genre, the writer grows into an adult during the course of the book. Treatment of a family tragedy is conveyed well and with empathy, without being overly sentimental. However, the final pieces where the writer finds true love aren't consistent with the rest of the novel and feel like they don't quite fit.

Overall, a novel with some literary pretensions that manages to entertain most of the time.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Jolly Ride.
First off, the title for the book is potentially misleading. Mr. Marin is not a cad as he is neither unprincipled nor ungentlemanly throughout the majority of his interactions. At one point a woman he works with wants to set him up on a blind date and he says "I have a girlfriend. I can't take her number." This is not the response of a cad. In the eyes of this reviewer, it appears that Mr. Marin is well within the range of average behavior for a man or woman in America throughout the 284 pages in which he describes himself. He is not a saint or a demon. At one point he even recites the motto of all anti-cads by saying that "sex is not enough."
Marin's is a story with great universality. His work will resonate with many unmarried straight people and there is much truth in it. His observation that "I'd spent so much time 'pouring my heart and soul into being insincere,' I'd forgotten how to act with a girl I actually liked" is an unhappy predicament that affects countless single adults. Re-igniting lost idealism and optimism is a highly daunting task and a foremost reason as to why finding love later in life is such a struggle. Those of us in our thirties all have emotional baggage and it invariably means that sometimes one has been brutalized in the past and can now be brutalizing in the future. This is true regardless of one's sex as we inflict pain but also have it inflicted upon us. Mr. Marin is far from an exception to this rule.
Much of Marin's status seeking in the memoir can be attributed to the old Orson Welles quote about men making civilization to impress their girlfriends but the narrator amends the saying it by changing it "to get girlfriends." He spends tremendous mental capital in the pursuit of making his career as a journalist a success but often finds that he needs monthly subsidies from his parents just to get by. Work is as chancy a venture as love is for Mr. Marin. It seems that his internal makeup and character are nearly insurmountable obstacles to Marin getting what he wants and needs out of life as he lacks the quality of 'decisiveness', which is one of the worlds greatest virtues, and his indecisiveness in all things sabotages his numerous opportunities.
What drives the action in Cad... is the author's attempt to recover and stabilize his life after the debacle of his divorce. This traumatizing event is key to any understanding of our aging anti-hero. In his three year marriage, Marin was flayed and flambéed by his ex-wife severely. By any configuration, his was an awful marriage. His narration humorously documented: "...even our goldfish were committing suicide. I found them on the floor halfway between the door and the window. Making a break for it, maybe. I didn't blame them." Marin had met a girl who cuckolded him and he ignored every portend of their relationship's doom ("after we were married, she was still introducing me as her 'friend'").
This book is a jolly good ride and, therefore, easy to recommend. Unlike other tell-alls, Marin never takes himself too seriously and shows that he can laugh at himself. One of my favorites lines is illustrative: "She called me an 'opportunist,' because I went to publicity events for the free booze. I'm a journalist!' I protested." Cad is a major surprise as the misandry embossed onto the back cover gave this reviewer a bad case of the heebie-jeebies, but, in the end, it is a far more valid description of the single life today than what one finds in practically every other memoir or publication.

3-0 out of 5 stars Lighthearted and fun
There's nothing profound or meaningful about this book, but it sure is a good read. All guys will surely nod their heads in sympathy as they read each episode in this guy's landmine-filled love life. And I think most women would find it insightful, in a lighthearted sort of way. Rick Marin really does get right to the heart of what it means to be a single guy - not that we are all that complicated, mind you, so I'm not saying his achievement is worthy of any kind of prize, be it literary or sociological. But this book could have easily been written badly by a lesser author or lesser human being. Marin, I think, demonstrates quality in both categories.

1-0 out of 5 stars Male answer to Sex and the City?
This might be Rick Marin's male answer to "Sex and the City." I think what Marin is trying to do with this book is show that men can be the flighty, fickle, and fake ones in the world. It's not an impressive read.

The book explores his exploits among New York's women from the point of view of a (supposedly) attractive Latin-Canadian. Marin's "Reference Train" is dated and out-of-touch. He discounts women because they have "bad shoes," or faces like the Easter Island statues, and when he likes a woman, it's because she has "good shoes" and doesn't take crap from him. Sex is a card he plays when he wants to.

Overall, unimpressive, not worth the money. If you must read it, try the library's copy.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Great One Night Stand
RICK MARIN's "CAD" is pointless and meandering...and that's why it is entertaining. You probably won't reread it when you're done but you'll have fun reading it the first time. The only thing really holding it back is that a) the hip attitude seems forced as if Marin does not believe himself to be as cool as he wishes us to believe, and b) he doesn't seem to have an underlying modesty to take his actions with a grain of salt. We're laughing at him, not with him. In Rikki Lee Travolta's "MY FRACTURED LIFE" he covered all the same areas of womanizing and being a "cad" but never took himself too seriously. His is a book I continue to reread, like a regular fling. "CAD" though was like a one night, good for the moment. ... Read more


166. Doc Holliday: A Family Portrait
by Karen Holliday Tanner, Robert K. Dearment
list price: $19.95
our price: $13.97
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0806133201
Catlog: Book (2001-03-01)
Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press
Sales Rank: 19499
Average Customer Review: 3.88 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In Doc Holliday: A Family Portrait, Karen Holliday Tanner, a distant cousin, reveals the real man behind the legend. Shedding light on Holliday's early years in a prominent Georgia family during the Civil War and Reconstruction, she examines the elements that shaped his destiny: his birth defect, the death of his mother and estrangement from his father, and the diagnosis of tuberculosis, which led to his journey west.

Using previously undisclosed family documents and reminiscences as well as other primary sources, Tanner documents the true story of Holliday's friendship with the Earp brothers and his run-ins with the law, including the climactic shootout at the O.K. Corral and its aftermath. ... Read more

Reviews (26)

3-0 out of 5 stars Doc Holliday - A Family Portrait
I was hoping to get some interesting insight into Doc Holliday by one of his ancestors and this book does provide information on his early life that you don't usually find. However, there was a little too much information about his family - parents, uncles, aunts - that I personally did not care about. There is also a section of Doc Holliday's genealogy that I felt could have been left out, although actually there was a tidbit of information there that was useful to me. I didn't feel that there was much detail brought in to certain events, but then, there are other books that provide practically second by second coverage of the Tombstone gunfight. His death was not written in detail and his famous last words were left out of the book. That said, I would still recommend this book to someone wanting to know more about the life of Doc Holliday away from Tombstone. It is also an easy, to the point read.

5-0 out of 5 stars If your only gonna read ONE!!!
Then this is THE Doc Holliday Book. Mrs. Tanner has done an excellent job of painting a true and realistic historically correct "diary" of his life and times. Some of the family input lends much provenance. My hat off to Mrs. Tanner/Holliday Respectfully, David W.

5-0 out of 5 stars Review of "Doc Holliday: A Family Portrait"
I was very impressed with Ms. Tanner's work on Doc. Most people
think of Doc as being an assasin but this simply was not the case. Doc obtained his manners in Georgia, as well as his card
playing ability, and unfortunately TB. Doc was a brilliant man
who proved himself in the world of Dentistry. Ms. Tanner uses
a lot of information only she was privy to convey the transition
of this unusual man from being a Georgia Doctor to becoming a
"sporting man." Yes, Doc did kill some people. The times were
much harsher back then. If you gambled, you better have a six
gun on standby and be ready to use it if a crooked player crawfished a bet and tried to throw down on you. In my view,
Ms. Tanner also conveyed one of the most outstanding characteristics about Doc...his loyalty. He proved this time and time again with the Earps. I loved Ms. Tanner's book, and if Doc
were still alive, he would be welcome around my campfire anytime.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not what it could've been
I would have preferred that if the author was wanting to refute some of legendary happenings attached to J.H. "Doc" Holliday that she would have done so to each instance. Instead she ignored many circumstances completely. What was in reality only a 233 page effort with 100+ pages of geneology, bibliography and contents could have been with more research and work easily a 450+ page novel.
What is written is well written and is an easy read. "A Family Portrait" is for the most part exactly that. I bought the book for a greater understanding of the character and that I received. I put the book down believing that although many of the acts attributed to Doc Holliday through legend and Hollywood may be false this version of his life does the complete opposite by not going far enough.
I do have what I believe a greater understanding of the man but by far not the complete picture. I'll just have to keep reading.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Real Doc Holliday
Even today people want to cling to the notion that J.H. "Doc" Holliday was a famous, notorious gunfighter despite the myths not being proven or sources listed. Although Tanner spends most of her book telling readers the history of the well-to-do Holliday family of Georgia, she pieces together the life of Doc Holliday as best as possible with the documentation available, including presenting new information, if not evidence, of what may have actually taken place (such as the killing of Old Man Clanton and Johnny Ringo).

Back in the 1800s stories were often-times embellished, especially in "the wild west" to placate people or to seek revenge. Additionally, this mis-information spread like wild fire throughout the country (much as it still does today); people love gossip and thrive on rumor (even "Wild Bill" Hickok was not the notorious gunfighter people made him out to be). Virtually every town in the West in the 1800s had at least one newspaper that told of the events occuring on a weekly, if not daily basis. Additionally, even back then, legal documents were filed, such as marriages, property ownership, court procedings, etc., all of which provide and, more importantly, can substantiate claims of events having taken place. Tanner clearly scoured these documents to prove, if not disprove, what Doc did or did not do during his time in the West as his family was left in the dark as to what he was up to, aside from infrequent written correspondence to his cousins.

Unless we can go back in time we never know what REALLY happened, whether it be that Doc killed 15 people before arriving in Tombstone or . After reading the comments of several other reviewers who were disappointed with Tanner's book, they clearly did not read that the title is "...A Family Portrait." Tanner's book is just that: a family portrait of a man who became a western icon and legend; a man who grew up in a southern, aristocratic family that felt shame upon hearing of their beloved John Henry's western exploits (as would have been the case in ANY wealthy family) and thereby never spoke of his name. In that respect, the one disappointment in Tanner's work is the fact that a few famous tales were left out. Shedding light on Doc's true relationship with his cousin Mattie (what made her become a nun?) and those famous last words of his (if Kate was really with Doc when he died, did he really say, "This is funny"? which Kate claims is not what he said).

All in all, a great read for Doc afficionados. ... Read more


167. Kingdom of Fear : Loathsome Secrets of a Star-Crossed Child in the Final Days of the American Century
by Hunter S. Thompson
list price: $15.00
our price: $10.20
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0684873249
Catlog: Book (2003-11-01)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Sales Rank: 23519
Average Customer Review: 3.83 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Brilliant, provocative, outrageous, and brazen, Hunter S. Thompson's infamous rule breaking -- in his journalism, in his life, and of the law -- changed the shape of American letters and the face of American icons. Kingdom of Fear traces the course of Thompson's life as a rebel -- from a smart-mouthed Kentucky kid flouting all authority to a convention-defying journalist who came to personify a wild fusion of fact, fiction, and mind-altering substances.

Call it the evolution of an outlaw. Here are the formative experiences that comprise Thompson's legendary trajectory alongside the weird and the ugly. Whether detailing his exploits as a foreign correspondent in Rio, his job as night manager of the notorious O'Farrell Theatre in San Francisco, his epic run for sheriff of Aspen on the Freak Power ticket, or the sensational legal maneuvering that led to his full acquittal in the famous 99 Days trial, Thompson is at the peak of his narrative powers in Kingdom of Fear. And this boisterous, blistering ride illuminates as never before the professional and ideological risk taking of a literary genius and transgressive icon. ... Read more

Reviews (40)

4-0 out of 5 stars Memoirs of a true outlaw
Unlike many reviewers of this book, this was my first experience reading one of Hunter S. Thompson's books. Having seen the bizarre and hilarious film, Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas, however, I had some idea of what to expect (I look forward to reading that book). So the fact that some of this material may have been in previous books did not bother me. On the other hand, not being familiar with the well known episodes of Thompson's life made the erratic and disjointed style of the book -he jumps from one time period to another without warning-- harder to follow than if I'd had some background. You simply cannot read an author like Thompson expecting a conventional style, and I appreciated his unique, if often drug-induced perspective. With Thompson, all of the usual barriers are meaningless, such as those that separate fact from fantasy, the humorous from the serious and even past from present. There is simply a barrage of words, emotions, perceptions and anecdotes, revealed in a seemingly random order.

Yet Kingdom Of Fear is not entirely without theme or structure. There is an underlying message, as the title suggests, that the nation is moving into a dark period that seriously jeopardizes our privacy and civil liberties. Thompson relates this post-Sept. 11, 2001 environment to episodes in his own life when authorities violated his rights. Unlike a book by the average political commentator or activist, however, Thompson makes his case with emotional verbal outbursts and poetic observations more than logical arguments. This is refreshing; Thompson's style is an anachronistic challenge to the overly regulated, homogenized and conforming culture that has been building, not only since 9/11, but over the last few decades.

5-0 out of 5 stars A view like no other!
HST is bitingly funny in his recounting of episodes fighting against the System. In "The Witness" a has been well known porn star tries her damndest to set Hunter up for a BIG fall on drug charges and sexual assault. Thompson embarasses and shames the District Attorney and LEO's of Pitkin County (here in Colorado where he lives in Aspen).Thompson is, as always, his own person. Describing his days in SF working as Night Manager for the Mitchell Brothers famous O'Farrell Theater - THE center of pornography in it's heyday. Long running legal battles with Diane Feinstein and the leading edge of Freedom of Expression involving Sex in America. Oh enough BS! Thompson loved hanging out with strippers and other free spirits!

This is Thompson's first book since the September 11 attacks. He (accurately, in my opinion) feels that life in America will never be the same. Our generation and todays children, will be in a state of war for our lifetimes. He speculates that, for the first time in recent American history, the next generation will be less well off than the current generation. And America will relearn the sacrifices of previous generations. Not necessarily a bad thing.

Kingdom of Fear is a series of funny, irreverent memoirs describing events in Hunter S Thompson's life. He admits that some embellishing took place. A bit of what he writes about takes place in Aspen with quite a bit of Colorado "references" and landmarks, and personalities. Which (as a long time resident) I found enjoyable. The Ducati blast through "ranch" traffic and close calls with the "sausage maker" are hilarious.
The book has quite a few photographs including the back cover of Hunter buck naked except his famous hat firing a shotgun.
To sum up: As HST's good friend Warren Zevon wrote: "lawyers, guns and money"

A fun read from a guy who has led an interesting life!

4-0 out of 5 stars Troubled thoughts and ruminations along the Proud Highway.
Hunter Thompson takes stock in his tumultuous life and assesses the current situation in America in a very aptly titled book. At its best, Kingdom of Fear evokes the glory days of Thompson. At its worst, it wallows in some rather pitiful encounters which may have been better left unsaid, such as his flirtation with an 8-year-old Xania.

Thompson launches into the current administration, as it inflicts its reign of terror on the civil liberties in this country. He recalls his bouts with the law, in particular a sordid case involving a former porn queen who takes him to court for allegedly abusing her at his home in Aspen. While he managed to survive these battles, he doesn't hold out much hope for the future because of the notorious Patriot Act.

But, his thoughts range far and wide, taking in his early years in Louisville and the proud highway to his remote home in Aspen, which he currently finds under seige from unscrupulous developers and former porn queens bent on ruining his mostly peaceful life. There is plenty of dark humor and pithy insights into the loathsome nature of the American dream. It is a very uneven book, but then that is what I have come to expect from Thompson, who hasn't been able to repeat his past great efforts such as Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72.

4-0 out of 5 stars I can't think of a title
What I really like about "Kingdom of fear" is that Thompson talks about events that happened or are happening during my lifetime, he doesn't do that with his other books, I was born in 87 so Thompson had started writing way before I was born and his other books are great (at least the ones I've read, I have not read them all yet) but I can't directly relate which prevents me from fully grasping Thompson's other works but this one I could. Hilarious reading, if you have that Thompson type of humor, Dr. Thompson is alive and well and this is proof

3-0 out of 5 stars hit and miss, but worth it
On one hand, it's true that this is not Hunter's crown jewel. On the other hand, this one is not to be dismissed. While there are parts of this that are certainly slower than others, it is clear that HST is still a lover of the language so that his prose never fails to entertain, even when the subject matter becomes occasionally less intriguing.

What makes this book indespensible (to me) is some of Thompson's anecdotes about his childhood. One revelation in particular, relating to a situation where the FBI tried to haul him away while he was in his early teens, explains things about his adulthood that make it seem only natural for Thompson to become the outlaw he is.

I've passed on Thompson's books over the last 10-12 years. Maybe he didn't seem to have the devil in him anymore. Having said that, though, there are a lot of quotable moments in this particular book. He's got some devil back and when he is on he is ON, and when he is funny he is DAMN FUNNY. This one is hit and miss, but let's face it, even welterweight Thompson is hard to top. ... Read more


168. If a Place Can Make You Cry : Dispatches from an Anxious State
by DANIEL GORDIS
list price: $24.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1400046130
Catlog: Book (2002-10-15)
Publisher: Crown
Sales Rank: 250994
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In the summer of 1998, Daniel Gordis and his family moved to Israel from Los Angeles. They planned to be there for a year, during which time Daniel would be a Fellow at the Mandel Institute in Jerusalem. This was a euphoric time in Israel. The economy was booming, and peace seemed virtually guaranteed. A few months into their stay, Gordis and his wife decided to remain in Israel permanently, confident that their children would be among the first generation of Israelis to grow up in peace.

Immediately after arriving in Israel, Daniel had started sending out e-mails about his and his family’s life to friends and family abroad. These missives—passionate, thoughtful, beautifully written, and informative—began reaching a much broader readership than he’d ever envisioned, eventually being excerpted in The New York Times Magazine to much acclaim. An edited and finely crafted collection of his original e-mails, If a Place Can Make You Cry is a first-person, immediate account of Israel’s post-Oslo meltdown that
cuts through the rhetoric and stridency of most dispatches from that country or from the international media.

Above all, Gordis tells the story of a family that must cope with the sudden realization that they took their children from a serene and secure neighborhood in Los Angeles to an Israel not at peace but mired in war. This is the chronicle of a loss of innocence—the innocence of Daniel and his wife, and of their children. Ultimately, through Gordis’s eyes, Israel, with all its beauty, madness, violence, and history, comes to life in a way we’ve never quite seen before.

Daniel Gordis captures as no one has the years leading up to what every Israeli dreaded: on April 1, 2002, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon declared that Israel was at war. After an almost endless cycle of suicide bombings and harsh retaliation, any remaining chance for peace had seemingly died.

If a Place Can Make You Cry is the story of a time in which peace gave way to war, when childhood innocence evaporated in the heat of hatred, when it became difficult even to hope. Like countless other Israeli parents, Gordis and his wife struggled to make their children’s lives manageable and meaningful, despite it all. This is a book about what their children gained, what they lost, and how, in the midst of everything, a whole family learned time and again what really matters.
... Read more

Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars For Those Who Have All the Answers
This is a MUST READ for anyone who thinks they have a solution to the problems in the Middle East. Rabbi Gordis doesn't present ideology -- rather, he gives us a dose of reality; of what he and his family face every day, along with constantly questioning the decision they made to remain in Israel. I've read a lot of negative comments regarding "putting his children in harm's way," but he is teaching his children what's to be valued, cherished and fought for -- not land, per se, as some have intimated but, rather, the ideal of one place on this earth that Jews can live -- one day, God willing, in peace. Israel serves its purpose not only as the one place Jews in peril can immigrate to, but as a place of inspiration and dedication. While Israeli and American parents both want the same thing for their children -- they should only be happy, have a successful career, a loving spouse, healthy children and NOT have to face going to war. Israeli parents, however, know there is something more -- that achieving these personal goals should not come at the expense or peril of the country's goals.

In the past, I have had opinions as to what Israel should or shoould not do to make peace, but this book highlights better than anything else what the daunting reality is vis-a-vis a solution. While we may all "pray for the peace in Jerusalem," the reality is that more than prayer is needed, and there may not be A single solution or long-term peace -- at least not without other Arab countries stepping in.

This is an extremely well-written, highly enlightening book, and the next time I hear anyone stating a firm opinion as to what Israel should do, I'm going to recommend they read this before the spout off again!

3-0 out of 5 stars Profoundly Sad
I started "If A Place Can Make You Cry" expecting what the dust jacket promises -- the story of a family's move from California to Israel, from safety to war, why they did it and how it affected them (particularly the children). What I got instead was something very different, worth reading for the many questions it raises, but profoundly sad and dispiriting -- one man's journey from a religion and culture based on moral values to one based on land and security. As Gordis puts it toward the end of the book, "when you finally understand what is important to you, you have to be willing to fight for it." (266) The land of Israel itself becomes that important to Gordis, important enough that he is willing to stand aside and tolerate the suffering of innocent Palestinians (of which he admits there are many) in order to secure his family's safety. (See pages 186-87 for an explicit admission that he is sacrificing his values for security.) Maybe I would do no better in his place, but it still sad to watch.

Gordis will make you think about other interesting questions -- what does it mean to have a home? Can one live a meaningful Jewish life outside Israel? How does one justify where one lives (or doesn't live)? Gordis is of two minds on many of these questions -- for example, he states several times that he's not suggesting all Jews are morally obligated to move to Israel, but at the same time, he does in fact suggest that meaningful Jewish life is possible only if it is at risk (see, e.g., page 259). Gordis seems to be utterly befuddled by the idea of secular Israelis or secular Jews (for example, at pages 66-67, where he asks "what is the point?" of having this country if it's not religious) -- apparently ignoring the fact that there would be no State of Israel without the secular Zionists. (For an interesting look at combining secular values with the religious and cultural heritage of Judaism, read "From Jerusalem to the Edge of Heaven," by Ari Elon.)

It is not surprising that Gordis fails to offer any solutions to what are obviously very complicated problems. Where it seems to me that the book really fails is in the limited range of viewpoints it presents. Perhaps because the book originated in personal emails to family and friends, it consists almost entirely of Gordis' personal observations and angst, his own questioning of himself, his values and his actions. His wife and children are present only as foils, for Gordis to react to something they've said, done or experienced. I did not come away with any sense of who they are or what any of them really think. Secular, Orthodox and Palestinian viewpoints are barely mentioned (of these, the best represented are the Palestinians, interestingly enough, although mostly to illustrate Israeli failures). At the end, it's hard to say whether you've learned much about the state of Israel today or if you've just learned something about one man's viewpoint. And although that viewpoint develops somewhat over time, the constant hammering away at the same issues becomes tiring by the end by the book (again, if you read one email/chapter every few weeks, it probably wouldn't be nearly so bad).

Despite these significant qualifications, the book is generally well written, a quick read, and I am giving it extra credit for presenting a point of view we seldom get to see and for making me think about the questions he raises.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Moving, Personal Memoir
This is a moving, compelling and readable book that draws you in from the first page. Gordis is a gifted and sensitive observer whose account of his family's life in Israel is so personal and honest that the reader feels an emotional bond. On every page, you feel his passion, his struggles and his deep knowledge of Israel's history and meaning. More than a book about politics, it is a family story -- about parents and children and how they cope with life in a place that is full of pain and hope, a place where the author finds inspiring, transcendent surprises around every corner.

5-0 out of 5 stars Gradual dimming of idealism
Old joke, often seen on bumper stickers: "Definition of a conservative? A liberal who's been mugged. " Daniel Gordis would probably still not describe himself as a conservative, but the liberal views he and his family took to Israel when they moved there four years ago have taken a severe beating.

When Rabbi Gordis was offered a year-long fellowship in Jerusalem, the Oslo peace process was offering a vision of peace and prosperity for a country that had seen neither for some time. Inspired by what they saw, the Gordis family cancelled their plans to return to Los Angeles and moved permanently to Israel; a move known to Jews as "making aliyah," or in English, "rising up." Daniel Gordis began to write occasional email essays to family & friends updating them on this new life, and the emails were forwarded to a wide circle. Eventually they were extracted in the New York Times, and now they've been collected (with some new writings as connective tissue) in this remarkable book.

What shines through this book is the gradual dimming of the idealism with which the Gordis family saw their new country. As the peace process collapsed, replaced by a constant undercurrent of shootings, bombings and rocket attacks, Israeli attitudes and opinions moved firmly towards an uncompromising crackdown on Arab terrorism. Former liberals and peace activists found themselves grasping for a framework that could support their principles; but this time partners were hard to find.

The most disturbing part of the book is hearing the effect that it has had on the Gordis children. They went to a country that offered them safety and security, a place where they could walk safely in the streets late at night, but ended up living in a war zone. A comment by his son, quoted on the back cover, illustrates the heartbreaking transition the family has made:

"You know what I think?," he suddenly added. "I think that when grown-ups really love Israel, they're even ready for their children to get killed for it. That's what I think."

Despite the hardship of life in Israel now, the overall tone of the book is positive. The Gordis parents continue the struggle to make life for their children meaningful and nurturing, secure in the belief that the choices they've made for their lives are the correct ones, despite the challenges. ... Read more


169. The Know-It-All : One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World
by A. J. Jacobs
list price: $25.00
our price: $15.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743250605
Catlog: Book (2004-10-01)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Sales Rank: 131
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Book Description

33,000 pages
44 million words
10 billion years of history
1 obsessed man

Part memoir and part education (or lack thereof), The Know-It-All chronicles NPR contributor A.J. Jacobs's hilarious, enlightening, and seemingly impossible quest to read the Encyclopaedia Britannica from A to Z.

To fill the ever-widening gaps in his Ivy League education, A.J. Jacobs sets for himself the daunting task of reading all thirty-two volumes of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. His wife, Julie, tells him it's a waste of time, his friends believe he is losing his mind, and his father, a brilliant attorney who had once attempted the same feat and quit somewhere around Borneo, is encouraging but, shall we say, unconvinced.

With self-deprecating wit and a disarming frankness, The Know-It-All recounts the unexpected and comically disruptive effects Operation Encyclopedia has on every part of Jacobs's life -- from his newly minted marriage to his complicated relationship with his father and the rest of his charmingly eccentric New York family to his day job as an editor at Esquire. Jacobs's project tests the outer limits of his stamina and forces him to explore the real meaning of intelligence as he endeavors to join Mensa, win a spot on Jeopardy!, and absorb 33,000 pages of learning. On his journey he stumbles upon some of the strangest, funniest, and most profound facts about every topic under the sun, all while battling fatigue, ridicule, and the paralyzing fear that attends his first real-life responsibility -- the impending birth of his first child.

The Know-It-All is an ingenious, mightily entertaining memoir of one man's intellect, neuroses, and obsessions and a soul-searching, ultimately touching struggle between the all-consuming quest for factual knowledge and the undeniable gift of hard-won wisdom. ... Read more


170. Panzer Operations: The Eastern Front Memoir of General Raus, 1941-1945
by Erhard Raus, Steven H. Newton
list price: $35.00
our price: $23.80
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0306812479
Catlog: Book (2003-12-01)
Publisher: Da Capo Press
Sales Rank: 61453
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A significant postwar memoir written by one of Germany's best field commanders and a brilliant panzer tank general.

German general Erhard Raus was one of the most talented commanders to fight on the Eastern Front in Russia, where he was eventually appointed to army group command in early 1945. By the time the war ended, Raus had established a reputation as one of the German army's foremost tacticians of armored warfare, which made him a prized capture by U.S. Army intelligence. In American captivity, Raus wrote a detailed memoir of his service in Russia. His battlefield experience and keen tactical eye makes his memoir especially valuable.

The Raus memoir-now translated, compiled, and edited by prominent World War II historian Steven H. Newton-covers the Russian campaign from the first day of the war to his being relieved of his command at Hitler's order in the spring of 1945. It includes a detailed examination of Raus's 6th Panzer Division's drive to Leningrad, his experiences in the Soviet winter counteroffensive around Moscow, the unsuccessful attempt to relieve Stalingrad and the final desperate battles inside Germany at the end of the war. ... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars should be mandatory reading at all military institutions
Steven H. Newton has compiled one masterful book and rescued one of the most vital documents of wwii. Austrian born Erhard Rauss along with Erwin Rommell are the two top tacticians of all time. His daring approach for dealing with the massive soviet assaults on the eastern front by withdrawing his main battle line and supporting elements to alternate positions prior to the devastating artillery bombardments preceeding the main thrust has got to be one of the most innovative concepts in wwii warfare. Requiring pinpoint timing and nerves of steel this operation was both extremely difficult to assimilate and execute and sadly was not generally adopted by other commanders. Another highlight was 6 Panzer's actions during the attempt to relieve the German 6 Army trapped at Stalingrad. Rauss' bold, creative use of his lone division (23 Panzer was too weakened to be of any offensive use) has got to be considered the single most outstanding feat of wwii, (second only to the extrication of Army Group Caucasus from the jaws of encirclement and annihilation by Manstein, in my opinion the single most difficult operation of wwii) that a single German Panzer division wreaked such destruction and havoc against overwhelming russian numbers that it almost succeded singlehandedly in extricating 6 Army, confirms once more that it was numbers and NOT quality that brought about allied victory in wwii. This action caused the russians to open a new front that necessitated the withdrawal of 6 Panzer. His defensive exploits at Belgorod and Kharkov caused the russians (all the way up to Stalin) to rethink their whole offensive approach and must be labeled amongst the most skillfully executed operations of the war. He adds fresh and expert analysis of kursk and the final defensive battles in the east.

This book is a Master Class in tactics at all command levels and a treat to any future commander of military forces. The tactical and strategic concepts are as fresh and useful today as they were back then. Rauss is a master of economy of movement in battle and it shows in his writing too, which flows precisely, entertainingly and is easy to assimilate. I urge you the reader to get a copy now of this soon to be scarce classic work.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful New Title on German Operations
The name Erhard Raus will not register to many students of WWII, but the general saw as much action on the Eastern Front as any officer I know of.

Raus entered Operation Barbarossa in command of a brigade in the 6th Panzer Division, and ended the war as the head of an Army Group. He learned the art of tank tactics under fire. After he was captured he penned an extensive memoir (while the war was still fresh in his mind). Although pieces were used by American intelligence, they were often heavily edited and incomplete. Here, for the first time in print, is Raus's complete memoir. In a word, it is extraordinary.

The memoir was located, pieced together, and translated and edited from the original German by Steven Newton (Professor of History, Delaware State University). Raus was as good a writer as he was a tank commander. Simply put, this is extraordinarily well written, although it assumes at least a working knowledge of the war in the East and the structure of the German military.

Raus discusses the offensive battle in Army Group North during the drive for Leningrad, the offensive against Moscow, his role in Manstein's abortive effort to relieve Stalingrad (oddly, Manstein is not found in the index though is mentioned often), and the final defensive battles back into Germany, where Raus was relieved of command by Hitler in March 1945. Hasso von Manteuffel (who also is absent from the index) assumed his command, ending Raus's 40 years of military service. Raus's writing is often personal, always perceptive, and offers a hands-on knowledge that was obviously fresh in his mind when he wrote.

Newton provides an enlightening Introduction to this memoir and a date-oriented resume of Raus's career, which appears as an appendix. Thirteen maps are included (they are good but not great).

Panzer Operations should be read and owned by every WWII tank and East Front student everywhere. Run, don't walk, to your local book store (or order on line) and pick up a copy. With his work getting this manuscript into book form, Dr. Newton has proven once again why he is widely considered one America's foremost military historians. ... Read more


171. In Search of Captain Zero: A Surfer's Road Trip Beyond the End of the Road
by A. C. Weisbecker, Allan C. Weisbecker
list price: $14.95
our price: $10.17
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1585421774
Catlog: Book (2002-09-01)
Publisher: Jeremy P. Tarcher
Sales Rank: 11284
Average Customer Review: 4.73 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In 1996, Allan Weisbecker sold his home and his possessions, loaded his dog and surfboards into his truck, and set off in search of his long-time surfing companion, Patrick, who had vanished into the depths of Central America. In this rollicking memoir of his quest from Mexico to Costa Rica to unravel the circumstances of Patrick's disappearance, Weisbecker intimately describes the people he befriended, the bandits he evaded, the waves he caught and lost en route to finding his friend.

In Search of Captain Zero is, according to Outside magazine, "A subtly affecting tale of friendship and duty. [It] deserves a spot on the microbus dashboard as a hell of a cautionary tale about finding paradise and smoking it away."
... Read more

Reviews (33)

5-0 out of 5 stars Kerouac goes for a surf
First off, you don't have to be a surfer to enjoy this book. It's a well written account of a man looking for answers to life, a friend, some adventure, and some good secluded surf spots. The story will bring you out to the line up where you will experience first hand how beautiful and moving something as simple as being propelled by a wave on a surfboard is. It is more than just a surf book however, it is a document of a life lived on the road and on the sea, for better and sometimes for worse. A definite must read for anyone that loves travel, adventure and a good sea story or two.

5-0 out of 5 stars Loved This Book
I've been waiting for this book for some time, since i read Cosmic Banditos, the last one written by this author. I got my hands on an advance copy, and I read it in two days. It's a book that really speaks to my generation, the one that sat up and took notice when The Endless Summer hits the movie screens so many years ago, the one that took On the Road as its bible, the one that took so long to grow up. Unlike most of us, the author stuck to the road and to the waves, and this book is a great adventure through the years, as well as through the landscape of central america, as the author sets out in search of his old friend and surfing buddy, Chris. It is a real gift to those of us who loved Cosmic banditos so many years ago, and worth the wait. It's a cinematic kind of book, while at the same time a book of musing on life--not in a pretentious way, but in a real, intimate style that was witty and melancholy at the same time. Brilliant, funny, and a kind of sociological profile of the kind of baby boomer who never sucumbed to the lure of a regular salary and a daily cappucino at starbucks.

5-0 out of 5 stars More than the sum of its parts
First let me say that I have never surfed, and other than watching Point Break, am ignorant of surfing culture. Likewise, I have never journeyed south of the border, and I certainly never was an international drug smuggler (though I have been known to inhale). That said, Mr. Weisbecker's writing put me right there, and made me feel that I was participating in these adventures. He vividly and viscerally described surfing to the point that I felt the rush, and almost tasted salt water. His recreation of a sense of place when describing Mexico and Central America reminded me of Mark Twain's best travel writing. And his recolections of his outrageous adventures in his youthful bandito smuggling days made me cry from laughing.(Even if these tales are exagerated, as well they may be, only someone who knows what he is talking about could exagerate so effectively.)
Beyond all the surfing, adventuring on the edge, and bandito hilarity, this book has a strong undercurrent of melancholy, a deep sadness that adds depth and realism to this rollicking adventure. Someone has complained that this book is just about a self indulgent mid-life crisis. The author himself has admitted as much in his book. Yet the emotions and circumstances that bring a man to what we have chosen to call "mid-life crisis" are real, and nearly universal. Weibecker's genius is in the brutal honesty in which he communicates his own ambiguous emotional turmoil. Past a certain age, we all must find a way to live with the choices that we have made, and the bridges that we have burned, and that, at its core, is the heart of this book.
In Search of Captain Zero is engrossing, envigerating, hilarious, and sad. It is a swift read, and I was sorry when it was over. All in all, it is more than the sum of its parts, and I highly recommend it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great story
This an awesome story!, Alan tells a great story of travel thru Baja, Mexico and further south, If you surf you must read this book and if you have ever traveled through Mexico or down Baja you will appriciate this book as well.
Great Job Alan!!

3-0 out of 5 stars Great Disposable Writing but Nothing Profound Here
Zero is one of those titles you pick up when you want mindless rambling to distract you from the complexities of life -Weisbecker's biggest worries in life are finding the perfect wave & reuniting with long lost surfer brother, Christopher. We should all have a life this "complicated." I found the surfer lingo exquisitely trite however the storyline was amusing. This book is perfect if you're suffering from a male midlife crises and want to relive the endless summer days of your youth when chicks still found your saggy surfer body attractive. ... Read more


172. Storm of Steel (Penguin Classics)
by Ernst Junger, Michael Hofmann
list price: $15.00
our price: $10.20
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0142437905
Catlog: Book (2004-05-01)
Publisher: Penguin Books
Sales Rank: 19472
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A memoir of astonishing power, savagery, and ashen lyricism, Storm ofSteel illuminates not only the horrors but also the fascination of totalwar, seen through the eyes of an ordinary German soldier. Young, tough,patriotic, but also disturbingly self-aware, Jünger exulted in the Great War,which he saw not just as a great national conflict but—more importantly—as aunique personal struggle. Leading raiding parties, defending trenches againstmurderous British incursions, simply enduring as shells tore his comrades apart,Jünger kept testing himself, braced for the death that will mark his failure.

Published shortly after the war’s end, Storm of Steel was a worldwidebestseller and can now be rediscovered through Michael Hofmann’s brilliant newtranslation. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars The best memoir of WWI
Ernst Junger was there for the duration. He was wounded sixteen times, he lost his brother. He experienced the trench war in all its hellish glory. That's the difference between Storm of Steel and other WWI memoires like Farewll to All That, Memoires of an Infantry Officer, No News from the Western Front, etc: Junger is not anti-war; he loved it! Do not expect some dreaming idealist though. Junger was a harsh realist. Nothing is to horrifying for him to tell (and believe me - there are a lot of horrifying detail!). He took part in the major combats on the western front, so we get a rare first hand glimpse of the war, The style is vivd, yet sober. He comes across as a Prussian gentleman, not cruel, but he does what he has to do to survive.
Junger later became one of the finest authors of the twentieth century. He is sadly unknown in the Anglo-Saxon world, in much due to his refusal to distance himself from Hitler (he did not embrace nazism though either). He lived an interesting life; he stopped doing LSD when he turned seventy, and he wrote a major treaty on the role of bugs in heraldry. More of his work deserves to be recognized. ... Read more


173. The Love Spell: An Erotic Memoir Of Spiritual Awakening
by Phyllis Curott
list price: $25.00
our price: $16.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1592400973
Catlog: Book (2004-12-29)
Publisher: Gotham
Sales Rank: 43368
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Book Description

In the highly anticipated sequel to her acclaimed memoir, Book of Shadows, PhyllisCurott explores the power of magic to manifest love in a captivating mix of love story, spirituality,Wiccan spell book, and erotica.

This is the story of a love spell that worked. Ivy League lawyer and Wiccan priestess PhyllisCurott has a supercharged career in law and filmmaking, but one thing is missing: love.Shecasts a sexy spell, and her dream lover soon arrives. But he’s not who he appears to be andthere are unforeseen consequences. In this hip, compelling tale of spiritual and sexualawakening, she must seek the aid of an otherworldly suitor, a daemon, to discover howmodern relationships and their problems are paths to the greatest magic of all—true love. Thiswise and erotic memoir is rich with spells, potions, and rituals for love. The author sharesaccessible techniques of sexual magic for the accomplishment of personal goals and growth,revealing how sexual ecstasy can lead to the discovery of our innate divinity and an empoweredlife. ... Read more


174. Run, Baby, Run
by Nicky Cruz
list price: $11.99
our price: $10.79
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0882706306
Catlog: Book (1988-12-01)
Publisher: Bridge-Logos Publishers
Sales Rank: 100583
Average Customer Review: 4.95 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (22)

5-0 out of 5 stars excellent reading material
I have read this book years ago,when I myself was a teenager.After reading it,I was also lucky enough to see Nicky Cruz himself in person.I couldn't believe that a person his size could also have been one of the toughest sob's in the ghetto.I found his story very exciting and very moving.I am very anxious to find his book and read it again.I would also like to have my children read this book.It is a story that every family should have in their house and one that every family with teens should read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Run Baby Run is inspiring
I read this book several times while still in school. I was lucky enough to see Nicky Cruz speak on a couple of occasions, and found his story fascinating. I found it exciting where it needed to be and uplifting as well. It is an amazing story and sheds light in a dark area. His story is from decades ago, but now more than ever, it is useful. Today's gang-obsessed youth could really use a book like this in their lives. Even without the religious themes within the book, the messages of hope and positive change are important.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book!
I read this book when I was a teenager (I'm almost fify now). Since I haven't reread it, I can't remember many of the details of the book. However, I do remember this book greatly impacted me in three ways. One, it showed why young people join a gang. Two, it showed how brutal gang life is. Three, it showed how Jesus can transform anyone, even a hardened gang member, if he or she will only ask Him to come into their heart. I believe everyone will benefit from reading Nicky's story.

5-0 out of 5 stars Inspiring and heartbreaking... very emotional
I have read the novel Run Baby Run 3 or more times and it has really moved me and I recommend this book to all my friends and my boyfriend. It is amazing how God can change someones life so dramatically. I would love to go to one of Nicky Cruz's ministries sometime in the future and actually meet the man who has made a dramastic change in my life.

5-0 out of 5 stars Not your usual "Ugly Duckling" story!!!
This is the kind of book we need to give to our teenagers today. They can relate in the realest way possible. The pressures of peers, drugs, sex, the macho attitude, and lonliness. It tells of a boy and many others who just want someone to love them. It tells of how God uses other people to help these teenagers see that they are truly NOT alone. God loves them, no matter what crimes they've committed, or what kind of darkness is in their heads and hearts. Nicky Cruz shares his life with us in the most open way. He helps you see how his life was transformed from one of gang life to a wonderful life with a wife, children, and a mission to help other who were just like him. I highly recommend it. Even if you don't believe in God or His awesome power, you will still be able to relate to Nicky. I guarantee you'll be rooting for him and will feel joy in his life-changing moments. He is truly a man touched by God. ... Read more


175. China Hands: Nine Decades of Adventure, Espionage, and Diplomacy in Asia
by James R. Lilley, Jeffrey Lilley
list price: $30.00
our price: $18.90
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1586481363
Catlog: Book (2004-05-01)
Publisher: PublicAffairs
Sales Rank: 11026
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

One of America's most respected diplomats on a life spent serving in the Far East.

James Lilley's life and family have been entwined with China's fate since his father moved to the country to work for Standard Oil in 1916. Lilley spent much of his childhood in China and after a Yale professor took him aside and suggested a career in intelligence, it became clear that he would spend his adult life returning to China again and again.

Lilley served for twenty-five years in the CIA in Laos, Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Taiwan before moving to the State Department in the early 1980s to begin a distinguished career as the U.S.'s top-ranking diplomat in Taiwan, ambassador to South Korea, and finally, ambassador to China. From helping Laotian insurgent forces assist the American efforts in Vietnam to his posting in Beijing during the Tiananmen Square crackdown, he was in a remarkable number of crucial places during challenging times as he spent his life tending to America's interests in Asia. In China Hands, he includes three generations of stories from an American family in the Far East, all of them absorbing, some of them exciting, and one, the loss of Lilley's much loved and admired brother, Frank, unremittingly tragic.

China Hands is a fascinating memoir of America in Asia, Asia itself, and one especially capable American's personal history. ... Read more

Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great story by a great man during great times
James and Jeffrey Lilley are extraordinary people who lived in extraordinary places. This fascinating book will allow the dreamer of the Far East to meet and to come to terms with a world that is truly magnificient.
Through this book they allow us to travel with them to South East Asia and relive history through Vietman, Laos, South Korea and China. Only a true China hand has the ability, through his writing, to allow and introduce the readers to such a wonderful historical journey.
This book brings together history, customs, Asian civilization, politics and human emotions all important factors to understanding this crucial part of the world.
It is a great and easy read and will push the reader into wanting more information, and ultimatly to travel to Asia.
Thank you Mr. Lilley for a great book and for sharing with us your extraordinary life.

4-0 out of 5 stars A personalized history of the Far East


Lilley was born in Tsingtao, China, on the Shandong peninsula. He uses the old English spelling, rather than the new one, which the Chinese, who speak their own tongue and use characters instead of our alphabet, have instructed us to use today: Qingdao. I spent the entire year of 1948 in Tsingtao. That spelling is closer to the natives' pronunciation: Ching-taw. How they arrive at that from Qingdao is a mystery to me. Perhaps, in time, we will tell them what characters in their calligraphy they should use to "spell" our cities.

Lilley was the son of a Standard Oil Company of New York (SOCONY) salesman, selling "oil for the lamps of China". He attended College at Yale, where he was recruited into the CIA, and later into the State Department. He has been posted to Laos, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Taiwan, mostly as an agent of the CIA. He has been ambassador to China, as well. When he was a young man, he did not speak Chinese. He was raised, as were most foreign people in China, in a sequestered situation--usually a walled compound with broken glass on top of the wall for security. I've been in similar compounds. The Mandarin dialect spoken in Tsingtao by foreigners, including servicemen, was pidgin English. Riding in rickshaws is about as close as most of us got to Chinese customs.

When I think of China, I think of scenes in the movie, The Sand Pebbles, a depiction of a Yangtse gunboat. Tsingtao, though, was more Westernized. They still sell a German beer made there, brewed by Chinese, now, but originally German: Tsingtao Beer. It is one of their leading exports.

Spending time in China--even a considerable amount of time--did not make us knowledgeable about their customs, as he points out. I saw much of the Chinese people in the year I spent there with the U.S. Marine Corps (I was in naval aviation). While I was fascinated with the people and their customs, I never felt that I knew them. I knew the Japanese better, though I spent the same amount of time there. They are more like we Westerners in many of their customs. The Chinese have more of a sing song cadence to their speech patterns. Japanese is easier to learn.

Lilley spends much of the first few chapters of his book describing his brother, Frank, who was manic-depressive (bi-polar), apparently. He committed suicide, a not uncommon result of that affliction, which frequently strikes the most intelligent, most promising among us. Two of my younger brothers met the same fate. I can sympathize.

My greatest problem with this book was no fault of the author. He simply was not in Tsingtao while I was there, and did not therefore discuss our chaotic conditions when the "Bahloo" (Communists) took over and kicked us out of the country. They told us our lease was up.

Since he was not there, he did not see the communist soldiers come onto the Marine Corps Air Facility from Tsang-Ko (a walled town bordering the air base), as I did, and shoot the Chinese employees we had just paid off with sugar and flour.

We were armed, but could not shoot back. It was not our war. It was the beginning of my hatred for communism.

There is much talk of how China "needed" the "Agrarian Reformers" (communists) in this book. His father was apparently of that opinion. I think Lilley was not. I hope not. Much of the actual events of that time, the ascendancy of Mao Tse-Tung and the rise of his power, as the result of the activities of our State Departments activities (through the person of John Service and others) led to our loss of presence in China. We were sold out, as in Yugoslavia, Cuba and a half-dozen other places where we backed other communists against people like General Draja Mikhailovitch of Yugoslavia whose Chetniks saved hundreds of our flyers who were shot down, and was executed by Josep Tito's Partisans, against the protests of people like Sen. Joseph McCarthy who has since been so reviled. And today the brainbwashed majority buy it!

Joseph (Joe) Pierre, USN (Ret)

2-0 out of 5 stars interesting mainly to certain readers
Lilley is an impressive man whose life took him to interesting places and important events. However, this book is probably most suitable for those with a serious, even scholarly, interest in modern Asian history or similar fields. Parts of the book on growing up in pre-WW II China, on service with the CIA in Laos during the war in Viet Nam (but no derring-do for you spy fans), on political events in Korea and China in the 1980's--all these will be of interest. One minor surprise for me was that Lilley, after spending his childhood in China, could only speak a little 'street Chinese' he learned from his 'ama' and had to actually learn the language in the US.

Unfortunately for me, between these parts are prolonged intervals of almost diary-like, detailed accounts of diplomatic dealings, meetings, memos, conversations, personal and family life, etc that markedly dulled the book for me. Also, as Lilley says, it is indeed a personal memoir, so there is a lot about his family and, most especially, his older brother who clearly had a huge and, unfortunately, saddening influence on him. So much so that much of the first section of the book centers around the remarkable but flawed brother rather than the author, who then returns to this topic several times later on, quoting repeatedly from the brother's letters and diaries.

If you are interested in foreign affairs, you'll like reading of the famous events the author witnessed, even played a role in, but I found that much of the book dragged through excessive detail that will bore all but serious diplomacy buffs. I respect the author's grief over his beloved brother but found it much too personal for my own enjoyment.

5-0 out of 5 stars Inside the Storm
Ambassador Jim Lilley is one of a very small set of children who grew up in pre-Mao China. Unlike most of them who were missionary kids, Lilley was the son of a prominent businessman. Those tumultuous early years formed the moral core of his character which served him in excellent stead throughout his adult career. Throughout a life that spanned revolution, war and terror, Jim Lilley has remained faithful to his ideals, his country and his family. This book reflects the extraordinary breath and depth of his experience, always filtered through his confidence of knowing what was the proper thing to do in situations that were often confusing and challenging.
Jim Lilley always drew the tough assignments. He served during the fractious days of war in Indochina while a CIA employee, under the intense limelight of the Seoul Olympics, through a painful democratization process in South Korea, and during the brutality of the Tienamin Square crackdown by Chinese forces. Regardless of the challenges he has always represented himself and his country faithfully and well. He was a cerebral and consummate diplomat and a tough, loyal soldier. His deeds shine from the pages despite the self-effacing tone with which he writes.
This book is a great read. Whether you are a student of Asia or simply trying to get your arms around a difficult but most critical area of the world, you need to have Lilley's book. It is written with style and grace, and includes drama, tragedy and humor. This is a book you will want to keep on your shelf and recommend to friends. Buy it today; you'll be glad you did. ... Read more


176. Engelbert: What's In A Name?: The Autobiography
by Engelbert Humperdinck, Katie Wright
list price: $27.95
our price: $19.01
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1852272317
Catlog: Book (2005-01-30)
Publisher: Virgin Publishing
Sales Rank: 38004
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177. Let Me Create A Paradise, God Said to Himself: A Journey of Conscience from Johannesburgto Jerusalem
by Hirsh Goodman
list price: $26.00
our price: $17.16
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1586482432
Catlog: Book (2005-03-30)
Publisher: Perseus Books Group
Sales Rank: 112257
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Book Description

From Johannesburg to Jerusalem: A moving memoir and a controversial examination of a nation's conscience.

Hirsh Goodman's childhood in South Africa was white-and Jewish-in ways he did not initially appreciate. While the local culture brutally suppressed the black population, Hirsh and his friends marched off to Zionist Socialist meetings, full of rhetoric about equality, justice, and democracy-all within the context of Israel. By his mid-teens, Goodman could no longer ignore South Africa's anti-Semitism and racism. He soon left for Israel, never expecting that the promised land of his dreams would also prove to be riven by ethnic and religious conflict. It was after marching victoriously through the Sinai as a paratrooper in the Six-Day War that Goodman heard David Ben-Gurion on the radio warning that Israel must rid itself of its Arab territories lest it "become an Apartheid state," a warning that had a very specific meaning to the young soldier. Then, as a journalist, Goodman witnessed first-hand all of Israel's subsequent troubles, from frontlines, to occupied zones, to the summits that attempted to find even a temporary peace.Let Me Create a Paradise is a wise, warm, and wry memoir. It is one man's life story and the story of two divided nations in two different eras; the tragedies in their histories, and the hope that still exists for both of them. ... Read more


178. A Lawyer's Life
by Johnnie Cochran, David Fisher
list price: $25.95
our price: $17.13
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312278268
Catlog: Book (2002-10-11)
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Sales Rank: 465273
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Johnnie Cochran had been famed as a folksy oratory in Los Angeles courtrooms since the 1960s, but the 1995 O.J. Simpson trial catapulted him to international fame--a status he gladly acknowledges in this bare-knuckles memoir of his years in court.

Cochran doesn't spend much time revisiting the Simpson case (except to proclaim O.J. innocent). Cochran devotes most of his account to less-celebrated cases that address repeated themes--police negligence and outright perjury; the difficulties minorities face in securing impartial justice; the inherent unfairness of racial profiling. Cochran describes his methods, and explains the reason for his rhyming summations ("If the glove doesn't fit, you must acquit"): "Juries enjoyed them, understood them, and, more importantly, remembered them."

Readers may not be won over by Cochran, but his book will be widely enjoyed and remembered. --Gregory McNamee ... Read more

Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars Defense of the Defense
A lady I worked for was making a snide comment about Johnnie Cochran and Michael Jackson, about how they think they're slick. I lit into her immediately about Michael, his childhood, and what he's done for the community, but I didn't have much to say about Cochran. I didn't know him. I knew about the O.J. trial because I didn't fall off the planet, but I didn't follow it. I do remember this goofy football player I knew standing outside screaming and dancing when he found out Simpson was acquitted of the charges. I shrugged it off. But when that lady called Cochran "Crocodile Cochran" in the same sentence as insulting Jackson, I decided to do my research. I already had an interest in criminal justice and after reading this book, I understand why everyone tries to make me understand that I need to become a lawyer. I loved the fact that he loved to debate, be right, and gave intelligent speeches with a touch of humor. I respect him for standing up for very intense cases (O.J., Puffy, Diallo, Amarou, reparations, etc.) and I will always commend anyone who fights against racial profiling. Needless to say, I got in touch with this critic and pointed out all of the contributions to society that Cochran has made, and told her to get over the O.J. trial. I even offered to buy the book for her. She wasn't convinced but atleast she now was forced to learn some things she originally never knew!

5-0 out of 5 stars http://www.AtlantaAtLaw.com
If you need to develop your practice visit www.AtlantaAtLaw.com

5-0 out of 5 stars A MUST for White Republicans.
...And I know you well, because I am a Black Republican - far to the Right - libertarian even. This book is not the typical liberal drivel from a neck bone-eatin' preacher. This is a good treatise on recent Black history, and an expose' on the justice system - in my view, the last vestige of true racism.

While I had to hold my nose in reading the very last chapter of the book (where he goes liberal), I could not refute the notion that that I was reading the words of a "wise old man." Such an opportunity should not be ignored, regardless of your race or political persuasion. If you can read this extremely pleasurable book, and still not at least understand the pov of the other side, then you truly don't have a heart.

It is enjoyable reading, unoffensive to all, and a good lesson on life in America from one of its premier insiders. Further, it advances the cause of racial harmony.

BUY THIS BOOK. You won't regret it.

5-0 out of 5 stars A FOOT SOLDIER FOR JUSTICE
I FOUND THIS BOOK VERY HARD TO PUT DOWN. MR. COCHRAN LET US SEE THROUGH THIS BOOK THAT HE IS NOT JUST A BIG MONEY LAWYER FOR THE STARS, BUT A TRUE CHAMPION FOR JUSTICE FOR THE POOR AND OPPRESSED. THROUGH HIS MANY CIVIL SUITS AGAINST CORRUPT COPS AND BIG CORPORATIONS HE HAS CREATED A BETTER LIFE FOR ALL OF US.

5-0 out of 5 stars Life Changing - Mind Boggling!
I read this book in a short period of time, due the fact that it was so interesting, and more importantly, I was so saddened by the REAL justice system in the United States. I was amazed and disgraced that racial injustices such as those described in this book have remained steady as if it were still the 1950s and 60s. I hope and pray that some day we as a people indeed "WILL OVERCOME."

I applaud Mr. Cochran for standing up for what is right for African Americans in the face of his many critics. I say "keep on keeping on, Johnnie." From the infamous Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have A Dream Speech," "And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back..." This quote may help those who are victims of racial discrimination and is a quote I refer to when times are tough.

This book has only solidified my desire to enter into the field of Law. I can only hope that I make half the progress towards achieving equality and leveling the scales of justice for my people as Mr. Cochran has. ... Read more


179. When I Was Cool: My Life At The Jack Kerouac School
by Sam Kashner
list price: $13.95
our price: $11.16
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 006000567X
Catlog: Book (2005-02-01)
Publisher: Perennial
Sales Rank: 30579
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

As a restless kid on Long Island, Sam Kashner lapped up the beauty and madness of the Beats, living vicariously through the novels, poems, and stories of Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and William Burroughs. Their words were revolutionary, and they turned their very lives into art. Kashner didn't want to just study the Beats, he wanted to be one of them. So when he heard that Ginsberg had founded an unconventional writing program in Boulder, Colorado, he convinced his parents that college could wait, and became the first certificate student of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics.

In one motion, Kashner stepped out of a sheltered suburban life and plunged into the chaotic world of his idols. What he discovered was both everything and not at all what he expected. The Beats were facing their twilight years and feeling it in their joints and in their minds. Some of them, like Ginsberg and Burroughs, had achieved international fame, while others, like Gregory Corso, had not, and were coming to the realization that they might never receive the recognition they deserved. In his new role as student, secretary, and psychiatrist, Sam Kashner was caught up in the hilarity of the hijinks and the cross fire of old arguments, finding himself in hot tubs with Ginsberg and on field trips to the marijuana ranch cultivated by Burroughs and his ill-fated son, Billy.

Out of this rich material Kashner brings us a funny, touching, and irreverent portrait of the Beats never before seen: one that explodes the myths surrounding these American icons, but one that is also deeply felt and full of admiration. After reading this book, you'll never look at the Beats in quite the same way again.

When I Was Cool is also a very personal journey of a young man coming of age on the Beat slope of Mount Parnassus ("the Lower East Side" of the Rockies), a kind of Holden Caulfield for the postmodern era.

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Reviews (11)

4-0 out of 5 stars I almost wanted NOT to like it
When I first heard of "When I Was Cool", I thought, Great, yet another person cashing in on the Beats.But I finally picked it up for some of the same reasons Kashner went to Naropa -- I'm still interested in the Beats, if (like Kashner) no longer quite entranced.

"When I Was Cool" is funny, full of heart and candor and (somehow) not at all pretentious (no one who admits Corso scared him enough in a backwoods cabin to make him cry and run fleeing back down to Boulder could be too concerned with trying to make himself look good -- not even ironically).

Other reviewers have complained among other things about "obscure literary references."There are none.The closest we come is when Kashner himself admits to dropping one to impress Burroughs and Ginsberg -- and the point of his story seemed to have been precisely how sort of pathetic it was that he'd do such a thing.Another reviewer, complaining of inaccuracies, wrote "*Jim Carroll's "People Who Died" isn't about his friends who died of heroin overdoses, it's about friends who died in a variety of ways", which is pretty much exactly what Kashner had written in the first place:". . . 'People Who Died,' a necrology of all the friends Carroll had lost, SOME to heroin" (my emphasis) [pg. 138].And to the reviewer who suspiciously wondered how Kashner could've possibly remembered whole conversations from so long ago:he was an aspiring writer living among his gods, which is to say you know he wrote EVERYTHING down.

One thing that Kashner did get wrong, however, was referring to Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche as "the leader of the Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism" (pg. 53).Trungpa wasn't the head of Kagyu, and it's kind of a big deal to say so.

4-0 out of 5 stars Sweet and Funny and not Howl
Many of us enjoy the poetry and literary works of the Beats. Probably more admire the Beats for their willingness to take on the cultural establishment and conformist society of the Fifties. But, what were Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, William Burroughs, and Peter Orlovsky like as people? This, Sam Kashner tells us in this gentle and humorous rendering of these Beats, which is set in 1976, when they were famous middle-aged (or older) men and on the faculty of The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics (don't ask) in Boulder, Colorado.

So, what exactly were these men like? For a quick answer, read the chapter in which Ginsberg, Burroughs, Corso, and Orlovsky take Billy Borroughs, the son, to the doctor. Anyone who has run a pointless errand with eccentric relatives will recognize the dynamic. They don't, by the way, get treatment for Billy but they respond to his wishes and leave him, feverish and alone, at a bar. Who says the Beats were self-absorbed?

I also give Kashner high marks for style, particularly for his skilled use of images from popular culture. These, especially his movie references, clarify and amuse, which is certainly Kashner's goal for this sweet and funny book.

2-0 out of 5 stars Interesting but not necessarily accurate
I have no way of knowing how much Sam Kashner remembers about what happened to him thirty yars ago. What I can say is that almost every statement he makes about music in this book is wrong:

*Jim Carroll's "People Who Died" isn't about his friends who died of heroin overdoses, it's about friends who died in a variety of ways.
*Graham Parker's record is called "Squeezing Out Sparks," not "Sparks Fly Upward." But Kashner couldn't have heard it when he says he did because it wasn't released until 1979.
*If we're to believe the chronology in the book, Kashner's girlfriend has a poster of Johnny Rotten in her house in 1976 and the Go-Gos came to Boulder in early 1977. The fact is, very few Americans would have known who Johnny Rotten was at the time, since the Sex Pistols didn't put out their first single in the U.K. until November of that year. And the Go-Gos, of course, hadn't even been formed yet.
*The band that Kashner remembers as Loud Fast Rules was surely the New York punk-pop band, the Stimulators, whose first single was a song called "Loud Fast Rules" and who were friendly with Ginsberg, but they didn't exist in 1977 either.
*Ginsberg played live and recorded with the Clash in the early 80s, but the band didn't tour America until 1979. And Ginsberg never appeared in a Clash video called "Combat Rock" (or any other Clash video) because that was the name of an album not a song. He did appear on a song on that album, however.
*Ginsberg did record a new wave-inspired single called "Birdbrain," but again it wasn't released until 1981.

Yes, these are minor quibbles, but it only takes a few basic factual errors, which surely could have been checked by either the writer or his editor, to throw the accuracy of the whole book into doubt and to make the reader wonder how much of what Kashner says happened actually did.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Great Memoir About an Alternative Academy
When I Was Cool by Sam Kashner is one of the best books ever written about the so-called Beat poets, or as they were more commonly called, the beatniks.This is in large part due to the fact that he was in an ideal place to witness several of the leading writers in this movement do their thing for a prolonged period of time.

Kashner was the first ever, and for a time the one and only, student at the Jack Kerouac School for aspiring writers at Boulder, Colorado.This was an attempt at an alternative school that went unaccredited throughout its existence.

The Jack Kerouac School was both founded and lead by Allen Ginsberg.Among its alumni were such luminaries as William Burroughs, Gregory Corso, Ann Waldman as well as Ginsberg himself.

Kashner kept copious notes and a diary in which he recorded the various goings on at the school.That being the case, When I Was Cool offers readers a portrait of a time andplace and people that has since gone by the wayside.It is well worth the reading time of anyone with an interest in the 1970's scene.

5-0 out of 5 stars Well Spoken
Sam Kashner is a writer of flawless virtue but noticible simplicity. He did an audacious deed by creating a book that helps merely a bit to understanding the complex beauty of the idols of our nation; the beats. Sam Kashner gave life to the literal meaning of America's swelled and drunken past that wove itself into a fine threaded combination of poetry and writing. He did a wonderful job and showed merciless compassion for the people that mattered most to him. The book is a true wonder and was made to be read to unravel some truth to the loved era of the beatnik generation. ... Read more


180. Flying Carpet: The Soul of an Airplane
by Gregory N. Brown, Greg Brown, Stephen Coonts
list price: $29.99
our price: $29.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0813808081
Catlog: Book (2003-02-19)
Publisher: Iowa State Press
Sales Rank: 178411
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars NON-FLYERS VIEW
I loved this book because of its descriptive view of what it might be like for someone who has never been a pilot; however, my husband, Gary has been a pilot and understands this feeling. The book describes how warm and exciting it must be to be up in the skies doing what you love. Congratulations on captivating a non-pilot person and a pilot person since there is no such thing as an ex-pilot. Good Luck.

5-0 out of 5 stars A well-written, must-read book
If you're a pilot or have ever dreamed of becoming one, you'll love this book! Greg Brown takes readers into the cockpit of his small plane and shares all the struggles, triumphs and the crazy adventures of a pilot from his novice days through today, with several decades of experience behind him. I found the book immensely readable. The language is simple and straightforward and the stories are broken down into short chapters, each a separate adventure, which is ideal if your reading time is limited. I also liked the variety of stories -- some were harrowing, some were downright hilarious and all of them made me wish I had been along for the ride. Finally, I found this book to be as much about relationships -- father-son, husband-wife, family and friends -- as it is about flying, which really balanced out the book for me. An enormously satisfying read!

5-0 out of 5 stars Another Fantastic Greg Brown Aviation Book
A large portion of my life is spent with my nose in a book. I know a good one when I see it, and this is a good one. The moment I opened Flying Carpet: The Soul of an Airplane, I was hooked. Greg Brown's unique talent lies in showing us how airplanes are used in the enterprise of aviation adventure while allowing us to learn some important lessons about flying. As
you read, you¹ll find yourself buckled in with Greg and heading off to the shores of Lake Winnipeg to watch a solar eclipse or wrestling with ice on your wings or trying to outwit troublesome mountain waves. The adventures are plenty and education always present as you explore many wonderful places across the United States. Flying Carpet is a book for everyone. Pilots will be entertained and wiser for having read it. Those who don¹t fly will learn what it¹s like to share the wings of a skilled aviator.
Flying Carpet: The Soul of an Airplane captures the joy, enlightenment and adventure of flying an airplane. Each chapter is a ticket to share some of the extraordinary flying adventures that are the lifeblood of master flight instructor Greg Brown.
Beginning with his early development as a pilot, Greg reveals the important lessons that helped mold his ability to make sound aviation decisions. Sandwiched between these valuable lessons are stories about people. Some are pilots. Others simply enjoy and respect those who operate flying machines. As the novice becomes the journeyman and eventually the master, Greg reveals how relationships with people and airplanes ultimately
lead to greater wisdom.
No book about flying would be complete if it didn¹t reveal how the use of an airplane expands time and shrinks space, making the distant parts of our extraordinary country more accessible. Flying Carpet does this and much more. It¹s also the tale of a man who evolves to think with the mind of a pilot, question with the curiosity of a philosopher, and see with the eyes of a poet.
Buckle in with Greg Brown and head off to chase a solar eclipse or wrestle with ice on your wings or try to outwit troublesome mountain waves. Each chapter of Flying Carpet is a new ticket to extraordinary adventures that transform a pilot from novice to journeyman and eventually, skilled aviator.

5-0 out of 5 stars If you ever wanted to fly, here's a reason why...
As a flight instructor, I know this book will be fun reading for every pilot and for those who dream about being pilots. Brown shares the thrills and chills of flying and, at the same time, makes us feel safe going along for the ride. Each chapter stands on its own: a combination of aerial adventure, self-discovery and pure joy. After you read this book, you'll want to invite Greg Brown over for a cup of coffee so he can regale you, in his easy-going, friendly manner, with more stories about the magic of flight. ... Read more


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