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21. John Adams: Party of One
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22. The Best Year of Their Lives:
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23. Undaunted Courage: Meriwether
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24. Elvis Day by Day
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25. Thomas Jefferson : Author of America
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26. E=mc2: A Biography of the World's
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27. Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Champion
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28. The Warren Buffett Way, Second
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29. When Trumpets Call : Theodore
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30. The Real Jimmy Carter: How Our
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31. American Sphinx : The Character
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32. Mornings on Horseback: The Story
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33. Chronicles, Vol. 1
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34. Memories, Dreams, Reflections
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35. The Beatles Anthology
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36. The Private Passion of Jackie
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37. Shakedown: Exposing the Real Jesse
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38. The Teammates
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39. What Do You Care What Other People
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40. When Character Was King: A Story

21. John Adams: Party of One
by James Grant
list price: $30.00
our price: $19.80
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Asin: 0374113149
Catlog: Book (2005-03-16)
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Sales Rank: 1615825
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Book Description

An acute examination of a paradoxical U.S. president.

John Adams was an undiplomatic diplomat and an impolitic politician--a fierce revolutionary yet a detached and reluctant leader of the nation he helped to found. Few American public figures have ever been more devoted to doing the right thing, or more contemptuous of doing the merely popular thing.Yet his Yankee-bred fixation with ethical propriety and fiscal conservatism never stood in the way of his doing what was necessary. Adams hated debt, but as minister to the Netherlands during the Revolution, he was America's premier junk-bond salesman. And though raised a traditional Massachusetts Congregationalist, Adams was instrumental in bringing about the consecration of the first American Episcopal bishops. He was a warm and magnanimous friend and, on occasion, a man who fully vindicated the famous judgment of a rival he detested. Adams, said Benjamin Franklin, "means well for his country, is always an honest man, often a wise one, but, sometimes, and in some things, is absolutely out of his senses."

James Grant examines this complex and often contradictory founding father in the most well-rounded and multi-faceted portrait of Adams to date. Going from his beginnings on a hardscrabble Massachusetts farm to the Continental Congress to the Court of St. James and the White House, Grant traces the words and deeds of one of our most learned but politically star-crossed leaders.

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22. The Best Year of Their Lives: Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon in 1948: Learning the Secrets of Power
by Lance Morrow
list price: $26.00
our price: $17.16
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Asin: 0465047238
Catlog: Book (2005-03-01)
Publisher: Basic Books
Sales Rank: 4077
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

The Best Year of Their Lives is not a typical presidential biography in that it forgoes the comprehensive approach to history. Instead, Lance Morrow shows why 1948 was a watershed year not just for John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and Richard Nixon personally, but for the nation as well. That is the year that Johnson, in his bid for the Senate, used huge sums of corporate money to bombard the media with lies about his opponent, finally stealing the election by 87 votes by having a ballot box stuffed (thus earning the nickname "Landslide Lyndon"). Had he lost, he would have arguably been out of politics forever and the course of history would have been changed. At the same time, Nixon, as a freshman congressman, launched his political career by using his seat on the House Un-American Activities Committee to relentlessly pursue Alger Hiss, making himself a prominent national figure in the process. (Four years later he became Eisenhower's running mate.) Meanwhile, Kennedy was working hard to suppress the fact that he had Addison's disease. He continued to lie about his health for the rest of his life just as he later hid his reckless personal behavior. Through anecdotes and analysis (including personal contact; all three were presences in Morrow's childhood), Morrow shows how secrets and lies were to shape the behavior of all of them. This "convergence of personal ambition with secrecy, amorality, and a ruthless manipulation of the truth" would have tremendous implications for the country. The events of 1948 also foreshadow the tragedies and scandals that would end all three of their administrations.

Externally, the three presidents were radically different. Internally, argues Morrow, they were identical in many ways in that they "shared a tendency toward elaborately deliberated amorality; all three behaved as if rules were for others, not for them." Along with a rapidly changing American society, the start of the Cold War, and looming atomic destruction, 1948 ushered in modern politics and these men were the embodiment of it. Absorbing and unconventional, The Best Year of Their Lives adds to the considerable bodies of work already available on all three presidents. --Shawn Carkonen ... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Magisterial yet accessible - a new way of looking at history
Forget what "overblown silliness" says below. Lance Morrow's 1948 is one of the freshest, most insightful pieces of popular history to come around in ages. In looking at both the lives of JFK, LBJ, and Nixon in 1948 and the historical significance of that year for the United States as she really came into her own in the post-war world, Morrow gives an incredible insight both into the lives of the respective politicians, and the country itself.

What is most interesting, though, is that underlying all the post-war rah-rah optimism, Morrow captures a current of worry, of anxiety, and of moral unease: the US won World War II, Morrow suggests, but also lost a certain innocence in the process. New technologies (atom bombs, television) and a new breed of politician all came on the scene in this critical year, and Morrow's book captures it brilliantly.

This book is a must-read for anyone who is interested in modern American history, and how we became what we are today.

1-0 out of 5 stars Overblown silliness
This is truly one of the worst books ever written, a huge disappointment to anyone reading about U.S. domestic politics in the 20th century.The topic had great promise, but readers would be much better served picking up Christopher Matthews` book on Kennedy and Nixon or Robert Caro`s multi-volume biography of LBJ.Morrow`s prose is overwrought with far too much armchair psychologizing.He also has a dreadfully annoying, almost juvenile habit of using motion pictures to illustrate the points he wishes to make.It is a very unsuccessful literary device.Who at the publishers let this project see the light of day?

5-0 out of 5 stars Three Men Face Decisions in 1948 That Lead to Their Fate
This fascinating book chronicles a pivotal year in the lives of three ambitious politicians each of whom became President. In 1948, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Richard M. Nixon were all on the rise as young congressmen who according to author Lance Morrow, went to great pains - physically, psychologically and morally - to ensure their place on the American political scene.Like David Halberstam who wrote the classic "The Best and the Brightest", journalist Lance Morrow is able to shape a cohesive chapter of American history through seemingly unrelated events and brings a present-day relevance to what he writes.

LBJ won the U.S. senate seat for Texas by a highly suspicious 87 late-counted votes over the more popular Coke Stevenson. In one of the bellwether events of Communist witch-hunting, Nixon used the headline-grabbing Alger Hiss case as a springboard for national prominence, and it indeed led to him to become Eisenhower's running-mate in 1952. And JFK, despite the image of youthful vigor, was dealing with the death of his glamorous sister "Kick" (Kathleen) and hiding the debilitating effects of Addison's disease. Morrow does a superb job intertwining these three men by focusing on the secrets each kept to move to the next level of political ascendancy.Why this takes on a greater relevance is what the year 1948 represents in American history - the redefining period between the end of WWII and the crystallization of the Cold War. Many held secrets far larger in scope than these three. After all, the Cold War was all about Communist infiltration within the U.S. government, concealed knowledge courtesy of informers under the guise of friends, clandestine acts of espionage and who would end up detonating the A-bomb.That's why the secrets held by LBJ, JFK and Nixon seem so indicative of the prevalent behavior - LBJ did anything, no matter how unscrupulous, to take attention off the controversial votes that sent him off to the Senate; Nixon destroyed civil liberties and took witch-hunting to a new level with his obsessive pursuit of Hiss and Whittaker Chambers; and JFK went to great lengths to hide his medical condition knowing he would never otherwise have a chance to become President. Each drama turned on secrets.

What Morrow does best is show how the rather amoral behavior of each shaped each of their destinies and how each was challenged later on when Vietnam brought down LBJ and Watergate did the same for Nixon. Vietnam almost proved to be JFK's undoing, though we'll never know as his life was cut short in Dallas. Each was not so much into breaking rules as much as they saw them as irrelevant to them. Their shared priority was in creating their legacies no matter the cost. 1948 saw many more prominent turning points - Gandhi's assassination, the birth of Israel, the Kinsey Report was published - but this comprehensive history book really shows how the next generation of leaders were formed and ultimately damaged by the decisions they made at that critical juncture.Strongly recommended. ... Read more


23. Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis Thomas Jefferson and the Opening of the American West
by Stephen Ambrose
list price: $17.00
our price: $11.56
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Asin: 0684826976
Catlog: Book (1997-06-02)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Sales Rank: 1183
Average Customer Review: 4.46 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In this sweeping adventure story, Stephen E. Ambrose, the bestselling author od D-Day, presents the definitive account of one of the most momentous journeys in American history. Ambrose follows the Lewis and Clark Expedition from Thomas Jefferson's hope of finding a waterway to the Pacific, through the heart-stopping moments of the actual trip, to Lewis's lonely demise on the Natchez Trace. Along the way, Ambrose shows us the American West as Lewis saw it -- wild, awsome, and pristinely beautiful. Undaunted Courage is a stunningly told action tale that will delight readers for generations. ... Read more

Reviews (281)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Journey into History!
Ambrose's books are all excellent. Well written and expertly documented. This one is no exception. He traces the steps of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark on their famous journey across the wild America continent in the early 1800's. Much of his narrative is based on Lewis & Clark's own journals, but the story is told in Ambrose's indomitable style that will keep you turning the pages to the finish. You will get some special insight into the relationship between President Thomas Jefferson and Lewis and how that effected the outcome of history. The book is highly entertaining and interesting to read. Ambrose is by far on the best historical writers alive today and his work should be required reading in every classroom. As for his supposed pro-America bias, some readers claim to detect, I don't understand how that detracts from his work. That he admires the men and women, who fought for and founded our country and shows them in a fair & proper perspective, makes his accounts more creditable, not less. Read the book! It's Great.

5-0 out of 5 stars Undaunted Reading
Ambrose does a splendid job of making the Lewis and Clark voyage come alive again for the 21st Century reader. This work provides a helpful glimpse into Jefferson and Lewis that is not often heard. Becoming familiar with this story makes one appreciate the bravery and adventurous spirit of those that went before us in America's history. The start is a little slow due to voluminous details, but once the voyage reaches St. Louis, the book keeps the reader on the edge of his seat. Ambrose's passion for Lewis and Jefferson makes the reader feel like he or she is a companion with Lewis and Clark on their expedition across the country and an advisor for Jefferson in the White House. Instead of analyzing history, Ambrose succeeds fairly well in helping us relive it. There are points where Ambrose is a bit overconfident in his explanations, but this doesn't tarnish his marvelously informative and entertaining work. Too bad Ambrose couldn't change the tragic outcome of Lewis' life at the end.

4-0 out of 5 stars Deep / Insightful
Ambrose wrote a very complete book here. Obviously extensive, well researched, and with a good flow - this book is worth reading. My pick with this book would be it moves along a little on the slow side, but so did Lewis & Clark on this voyage.

High Points:

Descriptions & Interpretations from the original journals - superb.

Multiple points of view, Lewis, Clark, the members of the corps of discovery, native americans, etc. Ambrose brings these to life.

Intricate step by step accounts of the trip.

Improvement Points:

At times it just moves along too slowly - Ambrose could have made it a bit more concise.

Confusing ending, did Lewis commit suicide? Was he muredered, Ambroses' guesses leave something to be desired.

All in all this is a good book which should be read by any aspiring student of history.

Joseph Dworak

3-0 out of 5 stars Underestimates the reader's imagination and memory
I was disappointed in this book, which I listened to on tape. It was terribly wordy, and took every opportunity to drum in the obvious or reiterate the dangers, deprivations, triumphs, etc. It seems to be a characteristic of popular histories to assume that the reader has no imagination and lots of time, and that fattened-up-by-repetion-or-too-much-detail is better. I did think that the information delivered was interesting and balanced. Still, the L & C expedition, as well as the lives of its participants and leaders, are interesting and inspiring enough not to need alot of commentary.

3-0 out of 5 stars Parents Beware!
Parents, If you're looking for a good history book for your children to read, please beware.

While Ambrose credibly presents the exploits of the Corps of Discovery, he also fails to resist the modern urge to talk about their sex lives. Descriptions of the men's sexual practices with the Mandan indian women and their varied venereal diseases are offered for our enlightenment. The author also regales us with the curious sexual rituals of the Mandans, themselves. In addition, for no particularly beneficial reason, Ambrose relates to us how cold the winter was by offering us the natural consequences to one who would chooose to relieve himself out-of-doors.

Parental caution is advised. ... Read more


24. Elvis Day by Day
by Peter Guralnick, Ernst Jorgensen
list price: $49.95
our price: $19.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00008NRHG
Catlog: Book (1999-10)
Publisher: Ballantine Books (Trd)
Sales Rank: 307451
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description


From Elvis' foremost biographer, Peter Guralnick, author of the bestselling two-volume biography, Last Train to Memphis and Careless Love, and Ernst Jorgensen, the premier archivist and reissue producer of Elvis' recorded work, comes a unique chronicle of Elvis Presley's life and music. Granted unprecedented access to hundreds of thousands of photos, documents, letters, artifacts, and memorabilia by Elvis Presley Enterprises, Guralnick and Jorgensen present the King as you've never seen him before. Elvis Day by Day is a complete account of public, private, rare, forgotten, and renowned moments, captured with such detail and immediacy they read like diary entries in a life--from first steps to the first time the young "hillbilly cat" stepped on stage; from the creation of a revolutionary new sound to the last days of a universally known, tragically misunderstood music legend.

Lavishly illustrated with more than three hundred color and black-and-white photographs, this one-of-a-kind volume features such hitherto unknown details of Elvis' childhood in Tupelo as a father's touching postcards from prison and the family's backbreaking struggle to make ends meet. It includes Elvis' first work application at eighteen in which he describes his leisure-time activities as "sing[ing], playing ball, working on car, going to movies." At last, the complete story of how Elvis met his legendary manager, Colonel Tom Parker, is revealed in detail, and long-debated mysteries like Elvis's famous lost tryout for the Arthur Godfrey show are finally put to rest. In addition, the reader will find an invaluable and reliable reference guide to every recording session, record release, song hit, movie, and live performance (including a number of shows not previously documented)--clearing up in the process many misconceptions and misunderstandings about Elvis' life.

All the facts are here--from Elvis's unlikely visit with President Nixon in 1970 to his spontaneous articulation of patriotism and pride in a 1957 telegram to a marine private (coincidentally named Nixon). Within these facts are a story: funny, sad, sometimes uplifting, occasionally disturbing--but always fascinating for the disarmingly unbuttoned, behind-the-scenes view of a celebrated life.

From private moments to public milestones, this is the first complete and accurate chronology of Elvis' life, in a form that offers instant accessibility to Elvis expert and casual reader alike. Elvis Day by Day is an extraordinary piece of American musical history, bringing the life and times of Elvis Presley into dazzling focus for the record--and for the ages.
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Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars How information for book was obtained
A previous reviewer questioned how the writers could know what Elvis was doing from day-to-day. Just a clarification...the authors had full access to the Elvis archives that house artifacts from the entertainer's life, including 60,000 photographs, 4,000 pieces of wardrobe, stacks of furniture, and more than a MILLION pieces of paper.

The archives are located in 5 warehouses not open to the public and the authors were granted rare access to the archives.

The public usually only sees the "hot" items such as the flashy outfits and gold records. But the housed artifacts include items such as grocery receipts from Tupelo, Army leave papers for some R&R in Paris, casual notes, canceled checks, furniture invoices from when Elvis decorated Graceland and other odds and ends.

Obviously, no one person is going to know exactly what Elvis did everyday of his life but with as many items that have been archived, the authors give a more fuller picture of Elvis' life than you might expect.

5-0 out of 5 stars Discover all 16,217 days of Elvis Presley's life.
Ernst Jorgensen and Peter Guralnick have really out done themselves. Thanks should go to the Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc. for being cooperative and allowing this precious book to be made. You can almost literally follow all the living days of Elvis. This book covers his family history, and from the day of his birth a day by day listing (like a diary) of what Elvis did in his personal life leading to his destined professional life. Whom he made friends with, movies he would stay up to see all night, when a certain song was recorded and released, what TV shows he appeared on and where he performed before making it big, his movie deals, it's all here. Every account of his life. Now you can follow the 16,217 days of his life. 42 years and 220 days of his wonderful life and the entertainment he gave to us. There are 487 photos inside this book with 337 of Elvis Presley. The two most interesting "unknown" facts in this diary that I enjoyed reading and certainly raised an eyebrow were the two dates of April 17, 1963 and November 22, 1963. On April 17, 1963, for a party at Graceland, what did Elvis order for food and beverage? On November 22, 1963, who was Elvis with and what were they doing on that tragic, historic day? Read this book to find out and buy it for your very own home personal library.

1-0 out of 5 stars My Favorite B-S book of all time
Aahhhhh finally my favorite!
A wonderful personal daily diary on Elvis!

I have just a few questions:
Just how would these two "Elvis wonders" know what went on EVERYDAY of Elvis life?
Were they there with Elvis every moment?
Were they a fly on the wall in a past life?
Did a psychic tell them EXACTLY what happened to Elvis and when?
Maybe they were Elvis reincarnated?

If these men knew Elvis' daily happenings, they would have to be at least 10 years old in 1935, to remember anything ... and that would make both men around 76 in age, right?

ONLY ELVIS CAN WRITE HIS DIARY --- NOT THE MASTERS OF THE ELVIS UNIVERSE!

5-0 out of 5 stars Elvis is....Elvis
Elvis Day By Day is not perfect. The depth of the book doesn't match say, The Beatles Anthology and it could have. It doesn't have the striking pictures that other books in the genre do. But let's not get to critical. Ernst Jorgensen has almost singlehandedly revitalized the music of Elvis into mainstream America and Guralnick, while not always perfect has presented an accurate image of Elvis. Many little things add interest to this book. These include the many photos of documents that Elvis signed. Also, some unreleased and rare photos.I could have suggested more quality photos and experiences from the 68-72 era. The day by day in these years could have been better chronicled, in my opinion. I thought the picture of Elvis on stage live with Tom Jones was quite neat and worth the price of the book. Overall this book is excellent. I thoroughly enjoyed it and any fan will be delighted to have it on their coffee table. Kevin Hogan, ...

5-0 out of 5 stars The 'Definitive' Elvis history book.
I initially bought this as a gift, but ended up keeping it myself. This is not your typical rock star coffee book with the same rehashed Elvis tidbits regurgitated over and over again.

From the very 1st pages you will learn more about Elvis's family that has ever been told. The records are more than just accurate, their are TONS of factual pictures and documents that have been scoured up from all of the Presley family and elsewhere. It is outsatnding! For the devout Elvis fan, I guarantee you will learn new tidbits, especially his early life in highschool, how many times they moved, and ALL the odd jobs he had.

The day-to-day history is simple to read, and full of very amazing trivia. Short enough to keep you interested, yet very detailed. The only con I have with this book is that it lists many of his early booking dates, with no more than the location and those get a bit tedious after a while.

The pictures throughout the book are amazing. Never have I seen a collection of Elvis pictures, and I'm sure many of them have never been in print before. The occasional full page 'splash' pictures capture The King in all his splendor from different periods of his life, whereas this book can almost be considered an art/photography book. (I really liked his judo poses throughout the years in his different costumes backstage-amusing)

In addition to the life of Elvis, we see the corresponding day by day accounts of Col. Tom Parker, Priscilla, Vernon, Gladys, and tons of other characters that somehow would come to touch Elvis's life. Truly a treasure, you will not be disapointed with this book at this price! Now I gotta buy another one as the first gift I intended it to be. ... Read more


25. Thomas Jefferson : Author of America (Eminent Lives)
by Christopher Hitchens
list price: $19.95
our price: $13.57
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Asin: 0060598964
Catlog: Book (2005-06-01)
Publisher: Eminent Lives
Sales Rank: 346686
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26. E=mc2: A Biography of the World's Most Famous Equation
by David Bodanis
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
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Asin: 0425181642
Catlog: Book (2001-10-09)
Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group
Sales Rank: 20317
Average Customer Review: 4.19 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Already climbing the bestseller lists-and garnering rave reviews-this "little masterpiece"* sheds brilliant light on the equation that changed the world.

"This is not a physics book. It is a history of where the equation [E=mc2] came from and how it has changed the world. After a short chapter on the equation's birth, Bodanis presents its five symbolic ancestors in sequence, each with its own chapter and each with rich human stories of achievement and failure, encouragement and duplicity, love and rivalry, politics and revenge. Readers meet not only famous scientists at their best and worst but also such famous and infamous characters as Voltaire and Marat...Bodanis includes detailed, lively andfascinating back matter...His acknowledgements end, 'I loved writing this book.' It shows." (The Cleveland Plain Dealer)

"E=mc2, focusing on the 1905 theory of special relativity, is just what itssubtitle says it is: a biography of the world's most famous equation, and it succeeds beautifully. For the first time, I really feel that I understand the meaning and implications of that equation, as Bodanis takes us through each symbol separately, including the = sign...there is a great 'aha!' awaiting the lay reader." (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

"'The equation that changed everything' is familiar to even the most physics-challenged, but it remains a fuzzy abstraction to most. Science writer Bodanis makes it a lot more clear." (Discover)

"Excellent...With wit and style, he explains every factor in the world's most famous and least understood equation....Every page is rich with surprising anecdotes about everything from Einstein's youth to the behind-the-scenes workings of the Roosevelt administration. Here's a prediction: E=mc2 is one of those odd, original, and handsomely written books that will prove more popular than even its publisher suspects." (Nashville Scene)

"You'll learn more in these 300 pages about folks like Faraday, Lavoisier, Davy and Rutherford than you will in many a science course...a clearly written, astonishingly understandable book that celebrates human achievement and provides some idea of the underlying scientific orderliness and logic that guides the stars and rules the universe."(Parade )

"Bodanis truly has a gift for bringing his subject matter to life." (Library Journal [starred review] )

"Entertaining...With anecdotes and illustrations, Bodanis effectively opens up E=mc2 to the widest audience." (Booklist )

"Accessible...he seeks, and deserves, many readers who know no physics. They'll learn a handful-more important, they'll enjoy it, and pick up a load of biographical and cultural curios along the way." (Publishers Weekly)

... Read more

Reviews (75)

3-0 out of 5 stars Science is great, history is not
I would give him five stars for his comprehensible explanation of the physics and the time he spent thinking of metaphors for the equation that make its effects understandable. However, his portraits of figures like Oppenheimer and Heisenberg are way off--extreme readings of uncited evidence that is frankly in conflict with both the historical record and the way that contemporary historians interpret it. Heisenberg was NOT a convinced Nazi--he was a German nationalist. There's a difference. Oppenheimer's personality problems were not at the basis of his later exclusion from further government nuclear research--his communist sympathies were the reason. Bodanis makes Teller sound like a crazy and not like the venerable scientist he was. What's sad about all of these misportraits is that they cast doubt on things I want to believe, about Lise Meitner and Celia Payne, for example. Read with care, and compare to a real book about the Manhattan Project (like Richard Rhodes' "Making of the Atomic Bomb") before you swallow this picture whole. For a much more balanced picture of some of the personalities involved that includes a readable account of the science, check out Freeman Dyson's "Disturbing the Universe."

4-0 out of 5 stars A bumpy ride through Relativity
This is a mildly eccentric book on Relativity. David Bodanis claims at the start that he won't be talking about physics and Einstein --- he's just going to tell you about The Famous Equation. But once he's done with the first chapter, which goes through the basic principles of the equation step-by-step, he gets into physics and Einstein. He loses his focus quickly, but he's always entertaining.

Bodanis loves colorful anecdotes about physicists, the art of discovery, contributions by neglected scientists (primarily women), and the prospect of the Nazis building an atomic bomb. It's this last topic that weakens the book. Frankly, the Nazis never came close to building an atomic bomb. Yes, they would have had a Fat Man or a Little Boy if they built reactors and had heavy water and understood the physics and had a team of scientists working on it and they tested it. But they didn't have any of it. "Might have" doesn't cut it.

The second half of this book is made up of biographies of scientists and extensive footnotes. Bodanis makes good use of the notes, giving you plenty of sources and a lot of additional information. His personal interests are on full display here, as he mentions whatever concept or story that the footnoted information triggers in his mind. It's fun to read, although it does tend to wander.

I recommend this book to anyone who's read a little bit about Relativity. It's a useful refresher, an eccentric view of the topic that will keep your interest. If you've never read about Relativity, try Gribbin and White's biography of Einstein first --- or, better yet, Richard Wolfson's book on Relativity (which is still the best).

5-0 out of 5 stars Reading this book requires E.
The simple equation having only 5 symbols is deep in meaning. It took the genious of Einstein to put the equation together way back in 1905 - - - What E found was: Energy equals mass when you accelerate mass to the speed of light squared. That's 670,000,000 mph times itself.
C stands for 'celeritis' in latin and it means, 'swiftness.' C squared is 448,900,000,000,000,000 mph!
No speedometer exists on Earth that can travel that fast! WOW!
Einstein knew that energy could naturally transform itself into mass under specific and unique condtions.
The equation was published in 1905 and essentially remained dormant and untested until the war.
Then it became a horrifying reality that Einstein himself wished he never uncovered all those years ago.
Other scientists converged their great minds together in a think tank called the Manhatten Projet, and the world changed for the worse --- upon their nuclear discoveries.
Did Fat Boy really need to do what he did?
NEVER! THe controversy broils to this day.
It is so strange to contemplate that in the pool of the most intelligent men on Earth, not a one of them was smart enough to forsee the evil that they created.
Like the saying goes, "You can lead a man to wisdom, but you can't make him think."
None of them thought about what this nuclear power could do when left in terrorist grips.
This book tells the story behind the famous little equation.
Einstein did play a part in developing nuclear arsonel, even though he later denied he encouraged it.
Please see his letter to President FDR on pages 117 - 18.
The reader is left to draw thier own conclusions on that.
Regardless of the controversy, I read this book and must give it my highest recommendations to all who ever wondered what this equation means. It's deep but not complex.
It's complex but not inaccessable by average minds.
What's really chilling is reading what is not said in between the lines of this book.
Could we have avoided the discovery of the Atomic bomb?
Imagine our world without it.....and to think, the Germans weren't all that close to uncovering the secret behind the destruction.
This is a good book about E = mc 2.
Read it and learn that all discoveries have a dark side.

4-0 out of 5 stars meandering history of relativity
In this slim and easy-to-read volume, David Bodanis gives us a meandering history of relativity. First, he looks at each of the individual pieces of the equation (even the equals sign gets its own chapter). Then, he builds up a discussion of other relevant work that led to Einstein's famous equation. He next discusses its applications. The book closes with an immense amount of back matter, including the footnotes and suggested further reading on the topic.

This book is not for physics students who are already intimately familiar with the requisite mathematics and physics. It is intended for a general audience that probably can't remember calculus (or was never introduced to it in the first place). Bodanis engages in a bit of handwaving to make the more difficult parts easier to accept; in general, he acknowledges this. I can't fault him for this decision, although the mathematician in me occasionally found it a bit frustrating.

Make sure that you read the footnotes! It's not necessary to flip back and forth between the main text and the footnotes, but at least read them when you've reached the end of the chapter. Scan past the ones that are simply listing the source material, and read the ones that are longer. There's a lot of great information to be found in those footnotes that doesn't quite fit into the main text. Some of it tells you a bit about what was going through the author's mind when he wrote his book, other material elaborates on what is in the book.

Also, read through the list of suggested readings. It's like getting book recommendations from a well-read friend. The suggestions are thorough, insightful, and often entertaining.

5-0 out of 5 stars Transforming human mass into energy for good
It is easy to think of technology in the context of hard science and with the intellect. Bodanis gives lay readers an appropriate level of insight about how math and science evolved through several hundred years to propel our species toward the elegant equation that changed the world. This historical journey enlivens many forgotten but critical thinkers who made it possible for a restive patent clerk to make the essential creative leap into the intellectual unknown. But this book accomplishes something else, even greater. The author's brilliant chapter describing in micro-second details the detonation of the atomic bomb over Hiroshima creates a powerful, sobering perspective of this fearsome technology and dispassionately reminds all of us of the threats looming. The author uses his beloved science to bring into searing perspective the human face of thermonuclear war. The power to manipulate the atom has the capacity for good in medicine and other human advancements, but it is also a power capable of planetary destruction. It is wise for lay readers to understand E=MC2 beyond science. Our survival is at stake. ... Read more


27. Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Champion of Freedom
by Conrad Black
list price: $39.95
our price: $26.37
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1586481843
Catlog: Book (2003-11-01)
Publisher: PublicAffairs
Sales Rank: 5623
Average Customer Review: 4.26 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A brilliant and provocative biography of Franklin Roosevelt--written by a leading newspaper publisher and staunch conservative.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt stands astride American history like a colossus, having pulled the nation out of the Great Depression and led it to victory in the Second World War. Elected to four terms as president, he transformed an inward-looking country into the greatest superpower the world had ever known. Only Abraham Lincoln did more to save America from destruction. But FDR is such a large figure that historians tend to take him as part of the landscape, focusing on smaller aspects of his achievements or carping about where he ought to have done things differently. Few have tried to assess the totality of FDR's life and career.

Conrad Black rises to the challenge. In this magisterial biography, Black makes the case that FDR was the most important person of the twentieth century, transforming his nation and the world through his unparalleled skill as a domestic politician, war leader, strategist, and global visionary--all of which he accomplished despite a physical infirmity that could easily have ended his public life at age thirty-nine. Black also takes on the great critics of FDR, especially those who accuse him of betraying the West at Yalta. Black opens a new chapter in our understanding of this great man, whose example is even more inspiring as a new generation embarks on its own rendezvous with destiny. ... Read more

Reviews (23)

5-0 out of 5 stars FDR: Champion of Freedom: Polio Victim gets USA going!
Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his New Dealers put America back to work; gave millions hope in desperate dustbowl days and won our greatest War against Hitler and Japan. As our greatest 20th century President he is well served by this superb biography by publisher Conrad Black. Black a Canadian and conservative has portrayed in this length 10000 page tome a brilliant portrayal of the private FDR; his complex relationship with his mother Sarah and his socially liberal wife Eleanor as well as all the politcal maneuvering needed by the great man to transform isolationist America into the mighty fortress of freedom enabling the forces of freedom to defeat Fascism and the Japanese.
Black's book is readable, countains a well of anecdotes yet also includes all the details of the great 12 years (1933-45_ our longest service chief exectuvie served our land.
This book will be essential to FDR studies for years to come. My advice is to read the book slowly absorbing all the incredible

events of the crucial days of the Great Depression and World War II.
As an admitted liberal and lifelong Democrat I am proud to belong to a party whose chief was FDR! "Happy Days are here again" when the reader and Black meet in this essential biography.

5-0 out of 5 stars Praised Book on the Champion of Freedom - FDR
In "The Time 100 - the Most Important People of the Century," Franklin Delano Roosevelt is ranked the runner-up most important person of the century - second only to Albert Einstein. Roosevelt is a giant of world history.

On the back cover of this fine book by Conrad Black are these comments about this book by CONSERVATIVE intellectuals I generally admire:

George F. Will: "Conrad Black skillfully assembles powerful arguments to support strong and sometimes surprising judgements. This spirited defense of Roosevelt as a savior of America's enterprise system, and geopolitical realist, is a delight to read."

John Lukacs: "Conrad Black's FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT is extraordinary. It is something different from the dim and flickering lamp of academic retrospect. A new - and generous - light is poured on its subject: an illumination directed by a conviction of Roosevelt's place in the history of an entire century."

William F. Buckley Jr.: "An enormous accomplishment, a learned volume on FDR by a vital critical mind, which will absorb critics and the reading public."

Henry Kissinger: "No Biography of Roosevelt is more thoughtful and readable. None is as comprehensive."

I really enjoyed Conrad Black's writing style, which adds life to the words with his own colorful descriptors. This is the best single-volume biography of FDR. He presents an accurate and living picture of Roosevelt in his presidency and not a dry summary of the events. For example, I chuckled when Black says that FDR correctly judged Hitler to be the real concern while Mussolini was, in comparison, a buffoon.

My own criticism of the book is that it skips over the human suffering of the period. The Great Depression was devestating. I suggest the book "The Grapes of Wrath" or any of the many documentaries on the Great Depression.

Read this book and you will get to know and appreciate President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. You may not agree with some things, but you will at least understand FDR in the context of the times.

The world was in depression. America was in the Great Depression and heading to what would have been, without Roosevelt's intervention, a complete collapse of America's economic system. Capitalism and democracy fell out of favor around the world. Hitler and other dictators came to power around the world, and radicals gained followers in America. This climaxed in the clash of World War II.

The world we live today in is not a world of Hitler's Third Reich and fascism. It is not a world of Stalinism. It is not a world of colonial empires. It is not a world of radical laissez-faire capitalism. It is a world of Roosevelt's pragmatic ideas for a more stable economy and international security.

Roosevelt was a great president for everyone, and his ideas today seem very pragmatic and sensible. It is refreshing that several notable conservatives have had the guts to praise this book for what it is - a very good book about a great president.

5-0 out of 5 stars Well Written. Makes a Strong Case for Roosevelt's Greatness
I give this book the highest recommendation for anyone with an interest in Roosevelt, American History, or World History. I have been reading about history and decided to read about Roosevelt, since he was a great president. I compared reviews and decided on this big book and am glad that I did. Black is talanted with his writing and very amusing at times, which was refreshing considering that this is a very long and thorough book. Roosevelt emerged to me as both a charming person and a shrewd president for good causes, like bringing America out of isolation to save the world from Hitler. His skills and legacies make modern politicians look like preschoolers.

Black writes that Roosevelt is not as admirable of a person as his admirers think because he was egoistic, could be difficult, and was very shrewd and dominating with his power. Roosevelt was a Machiavellian figure in some ways. Yet Black says that Roosevelt was far more admirable for what he did for America and the world than even his admirers may realize. Here Black unfolds the details (and there are many details) that show Roosevelt's greatness.

This review below that I found on the Internet stuck with me as best reflecting my own thoughts, and it carries more expertise than my humble review can offer:

"FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT Champion of Freedom. By Conrad Black. Reviewed by Alan Brinkley, New York Times. Friday, November 28, 2003.

"It will come as something of a surprise to those familiar with Conrad Black as the powerful and energetic head of a large newspaper publishing empire that he has also managed to write an ambitious biography of Franklin Roosevelt, nearly 1,300 pages long.

"It may also come as a surprise to those who know of the generally conservative politics of Lord Black (who resigned last week as chief executive of his company, Hollinger International, but not as its chairman, during a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation) that he reveres Roosevelt as the greatest American of the 20th century, perhaps of any century, and the most important international leader of modern times.

"However unexpected, this enormous book is also one of the best one-volume biographies of Roosevelt yet. It is not particularly original, has no important new revelations or interpretations and is based mostly on secondary sources (and rather old ones at that). But it tells the remarkable story of Roosevelt's life with an engaging eloquence and with largely personal and mostly interesting opinions about the people and events he is describing. Black's enormous admiration for Roosevelt is based on many things. He reveres what he calls Roosevelt's great courage and enormous skill in moving the United States away from neutrality and first toward active support of Britain and China in the early years of World War II and then toward full intervention. He admires Roosevelt's skill in managing the war effort and his deftness in handling the diplomacy that accompanied it.

"He sees Roosevelt, even more than Churchill, as the architect of a postwar world that for half a century worked significantly better than the prewar world of catastrophic conflicts and economic disasters. Roosevelt, he argues, helped legitimize democracy in the eyes of the world and created alliances and relationships that maintained a general peace through the rest of the 20th century. Churchill, once the war was essentially won, became a futile defender of the dying British empire.

"Roosevelt, in the last months before his death, was promoting a very different vision of world order based on international organizations and national self-determination (even if with great power supervision). Of the major political leaders of the age of World War II, Black writes, "Roosevelt was the only one with a strategic vision that was substantially vindicated in the 50 years following the Second World War."

"Black is also a stalwart defender of the New Deal. His defense is not simply the selective approval that many conservatives give to the way it saved capitalism and ensured the primacy of free markets. Black admires it all: Social Security, the Wagner Act, farm subsidies, securities regulation, wage and price legislation, even Roosevelt's almost incendiary oratory in 1936 welcoming hatred of the forces of power and greed.

"He expresses gingerly criticism of Roosevelt's reluctance to move aggressively to combat segregation, of his support of Japanese-American internment and his relatively modest response to the Holocaust, and of his occasional poor judgment in the people he trusted. (He is particularly contemptuous of Henry A. Wallace, but no more so than of conservative figures like Breckinridge Long, the genteel anti-Semite who obstructed the granting of American visas to European Jews in the late 1930s.)

"Despite these and other reservations, Black never departs from his overall judgment of Roosevelt, perhaps best illustrated in his use of a quotation from Churchill as a chapter title: "He Is the Greatest Man I Have Ever Known."

"While Black may not be the best chronicler of any single aspect of Roosevelt's life, and while he may offer little that scholars don't already know, he has created a powerful and often moving picture of the life as a whole. Truly great men inspire many exceptional biographies, and this is not the first or last for Roosevelt. But it is a worthy and important addition to the vast literature on the most important modern American leader."

5-0 out of 5 stars Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Champion of Freedom
Newspaper tycoon Black praises former President Roosevelt for having the clearest strategic vision of the major world leaders during World War II and for using "political legerdemain" in using war to end the Great Depression and save democratic capitalism. FDR emerges in these pages, primarily devoted to his four terms in the White House, as the consummate skilled politician and among the U.S.'s greatest presidents. He also gives Roosevelt credit for having laid the groundwork for the Cold War and enabling his successors to "liberate Eastern Europe."

5-0 out of 5 stars A balanced and favorable account
I don't know of a better one-volume biography of FDR. Geoffrey Ward's two volumes, Before the Trumpet, and A First-Class Temperament are better written and more carefully researched, but they only take his life to 1928. This book relies on secondary sources mostly, and its footnoting is unhelpful--the footnotes just tell what secondary source the author got the information from. I have not read the multi-volume works of Frank Friedel and Kenneth Davis, but they are referred to a lot in the footnotes to this book and no doubt are more carefully researched. Yet I thought reading this worthwhile, and its overall assessment of FDR's accomplishments rings very true. George Will and Bill Buckley, Jr., and Henry Kissinger supplied blurbs for the jacket, which more hidebound Republicans, clinging to GOP attitudes during Roosevelt's Administrations would not, I presume, do. Black's assessment of FDR's performance at Teheran and Yalta ably refutes some of the old Republican canards re same, and make for good reading. All in all, I thought the time spent reading this nice big book was well spent. There are a few errors, and I mention two: on page 233 Black refers to Senator Harry Flood Byrd as a Virginia favorite son candidate at the 1932 Democratic National Conventio--but at the time Byrd was not yet a Senator; and on page 792 Black says Admiral Darlan's funeral in Algiers on Dec 26, 1942, was attended by the "Cardinal-Primate" of Africa, but there was no Cardinal in Africa in 1942, much less a Cardinal-Primate. The book does have a good 25-page bibliography. ... Read more


28. The Warren Buffett Way, Second Edition
by Robert G.Hagstrom
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0471648116
Catlog: Book (2004-10-08)
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Sales Rank: 10133
Average Customer Review: 3.96 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

PRAISE FOR THE WARREN BUFFETT WAY
FIRST EDITION

"Nobody has described what Buffett practices better than Hagstrom."
–Time

"Simply the most important new stock book . . . If you think you know all about Warren Buffett, you have a lot to learn from this book."
–Forbes

"It’s first rate. Buffett gets a lot of attention for what he preaches, but nobody has described what he practices better than Hagstrom.Here is the lowdown on every major stock he ever bought and why he bought it.Fascinating."
–Fortune

"Almost anybody curious about the relationship between the behavior of economics, the performance of firms, and the ups and downs of the stock market will find something of interest here."
–The Economist

"The Warren Buffett Way is accessible to average readers because Mr. Hagstrom reduces the billionaire’s techniques to some easily understandable tenets . . . the book demonstrates the rewards that can come down the road."
–The Dallas Morning News ... Read more

Reviews (45)

5-0 out of 5 stars Belongs on the list of all time investment classics.
Other reviewers have written that this book is undervalued and they are right. Right from the start Hagstrom gives us advice on the nature of the market. He then gives management tenants, how to value a business and all kinds of investment tenants. These tenents are so fundamental that its very difficult to see how investing can be done without them in one form or the other. This makes the book timeless. Numerous examples are given from real world cases of how these tenants are used. There is also an excellent appendix that gives examples of how a business is valued. This is very helpful. Some reviewers have criticized Hagstrom, saying that if the book is true, why isnt he rich? But this is not how information is to be judged. There are many books that contain solid gold advice, but there are few who master them. Buffett is among them. If one wants additional information on Buffets methods, I suggest reading "How to pick stocks like Warren Buffett" by Tim Vick. But The Warren Buffett Way is a classic and at the top of the heap.

5-0 out of 5 stars one of the most popular investment reads
This book is for anyone whether you are trying to understand investing for the first time or an experienced investor refreshing yourself with the principles of fundamental analysis. Hagstrom answers all the questions of what makes Buffett one of the most successful investors of our time. He talks about Buffett's childhood as a boy ambitious to turn a profit in selling Coca Cola as well as his philosophy behind which he makes his decisions on buying a particular stock. The refreshing part about investing like Buffett is whether you buy millions of dollars worth of stock or just a few shares of stock, you can still use the same principles that Buffett uses in making a decision. The methods are straight-forward and bring common sense approach to picking stocks. In it you buy stocks as if you were buying groceries and not as if you were buying perfume. It is not even necessary to know any complicated formulae about how to determine the value of a stock although some elementary math is required. If you only had to pick one book to read about investing and burn all the other books I would recommend this book. It is more informative that many other textbooks out there read by college students filled with unnecessary math and financial theory.

5-0 out of 5 stars Worth the read
Forget B-school, read this book. Seriously, a great introduction to value investing and the Buffett mentality of risk.

Hagstrom's analysis is very easy to read and understand... a book everyone should read.

5-0 out of 5 stars What if Mr. Market goes really crazy?
If you are reading this book just to be better informed, I think you will get your money's worth. I feel I got a five-star education. But if you are going to read it to make a decision to buy or not to buy Berkshire Hathaway, you should keep these two points in mind: First, almost everyone considers Warren Buffet to be the world's greatest investor. This special attribute of Mr. Buffet might be reflected in the price of Berkshire Hathaway stock. If Warren Buffet were no longer around, what would that do to Berkshire Hathaway? Hasn't Mr. Buffet's greatness built in a premium in Berkshire Hathaway stock?

Second, this book proves that Mr. Buffet beat Mr. Market most of the time under normal circumstances. In abnormal circumstances, Mr. Market could beat Mr. Buffet. Abnormal circumstances would exist if Mr. Market went into a long, deep depression (like he did in the 1930's and dropped in value by 90%). And could a second terrorist attack similar to 9/11 cause Mr. Market to panic and create abnormal circumstances in the economy?

No matter how good the company, Mr. Market can and will hurt the value of its stock. If there is another terrorist attack like 9/11, Mr. Market will panic and Coca Cola, Washington Post, GEICO, etc., would all suffer terribly.

5-0 out of 5 stars Once Again, Take It With A Grain of Salt
I am not Warren Edward Buffett. Unlike Mr. Buffett, who has the delightful headache of trying to figure out where to put his steadily growing billions, I am a non-investor, sitting on the sidelines, wondering what all the fuss is about. Like most readers of this book, I have been told incessantly to invest for retirement, and not knowing exactly how I should do so, I figured it might be a good idea to glean a few secrets from a proven successful investor. Hence, I read The Warren Buffett Way from cover to cover, hoping to learn a few things.

And what did I learn? I learned that I am not Warren Edward Buffett. Unlike Mr. Buffett, whose circle of associates includes all of the Beautiful People of Corporate America, I am surrounded by ordinary people, more than a few of whom are looking for a way to get rich quick. Whereas Mr. Buffett is patient and thoughtful with his investments, most of the people I encounter are thoughtless and reckless with their gambles. These two things, which I increasingly began to ponder as I read this book, distinguish me from the Oracle of Omaha, and quite possibly from most readers of this book.

The book consists of nine chapters, and is mostly historical in nature. It details many of Buffett's past exploits in the stock market, mostly the good moves but also some bad ones, and offers some of the principles guiding Mr. Buffett's stock investing strategy, grouped into three classes called Management, Financial and Market Tenets. The first four chapters of the book delve into the early history of Berkshire Hathaway, the key influences on Mr. Buffett which helped to shape his investment philosophy, Mr. Buffett's perspective on the financial markets, and the principles by which he goes about purchasing a business. The last five chapters of the book give example after example of some of Mr. Buffett's past stock moves, and tries to show his Tenets in action.

The style of the book is mostly active until the fifth chapter, whereupon it becomes plodding. The book is extremely repetitive at points, and as other reviewers have pointed out, key concepts are not fully explained up front, suggesting that the possible target audience for this book are those having a strong background in the general principles of economics and business.

In all honesty, I have previously encountered most of the content of this book in coursework or self-study. I previously read Mr. Hagstrom's The Warren Buffett Portfolio, and found the two books to be similar in some respects. That said, I still found this book to be very interesting and useful, primarily because it exposed me to an investment approach which utilizes these concepts in ways I had not previously considered. I also found it highly interesting on an anecdotal level, given that Mr. Buffett's investment career spans The Go-Go Years, The Nifty Fifty Stocks and the 80s and 90s Tech Stock Boom, and yet he never once participated in these tech-stock manias but handily outperformed tech stock investors nonetheless.

Like I said, I am not Warren Edward Buffett and I can not expect or even hope to do what he does, but that does not mean that I can not think like him. Even Mr. Buffett cautions the small investor in this regard, as there are things that he can do that none of little guys can do. Yet, he also has said that there are things the little guy can do that he can not do. That said, the book deserves to be read by any one lacking the ability to reason through the process of investing. However, readers at all levels should not stop with this book. Others have pointed out that one could get even more information straight from the horse's mouth- the Berkshire Hathaway website.

On the other hand, as this information details past moves for which the conditions surrounding them are most unlikely to come around again, I believe that the more astute reader looking to learn more should consult The Money Game by Adam Smith for a brief historical look at financial foolishness (albeit the late sixties but the resemblance to Right Now is striking), The Theory of Investment Value by John Burr Williams for Buffett's original basis for valuation, and The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham for a more detailed explanation of the concepts of margin of safety, intrinsic value, and the benefits associated with ignoring the market noise. These three books will help one learn how to reason through the investment problem, as this is the most important step, aside from finding smart people (as Mr. Smith admonishes forcefully in The Money Game and Buffett has consistently done) and thinking more but acting less (as Buffett has said- do a few things right and screw everything else). ... Read more


29. When Trumpets Call : Theodore Roosevelt After the White House
by Patricia O'Toole
list price: $30.00
our price: $19.80
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0684864770
Catlog: Book (2005-03-08)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Sales Rank: 4694
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Chronicles of the post-presidential years of America's chief executives aren't generally scintillating reads. With a few exceptions--Jimmy Carter and Herbert Hoover come to mind--the period after presidents vacate the White House tends to be abbreviated, idle, and a little sad. Patricia O'Toole's absorbing account of Theodore Roosevelt's final decade carries some of this pathos, but she also vividly captures the spark and sometimes reckless vigor of the most vibrant of presidents. Possessed of an irrepressible self-confidence and insatiable appetite for power, Roosevelt made an unconvincing show of stepping out of the spotlight when he declined to seek reelection in 1909, bequeathing the presidency to loyal foot soldier William Howard Taft. Over the course of Taft's one rather lackluster term, Roosevelt embarked on an extended African safari (where the trailblazing conservationist slaughtered hundreds of animals), but upon his return he became embroiled in a battle with Taft for the heart of the Republican Party. When he lost that struggle, he turned to the budding Progressive Party. Under their banner, Roosevelt bested Taft in the 1912 election, but Woodrow Wilson, of course, beat them both. Roosevelt's bursting-at-the-seams life has been thoroughly chronicled, but O'Toole wisely focuses on a period when the never-retiring giant of American politics was wounded (both figuratively and literally--he was shot while campaigning and insisted on giving a speech before going to a hospital), but wouldn't, or couldn't, give up the fight. --Steven Stolder ... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars An essential book for those who really want to know the man
The formerly powerful face a difficult readjustment when they leave their offices. Their individual characters dictate exactly how complicated this transition will be, and we learn a lot about such people by studying how they cope. In WHEN TRUMPETS CALL, Patricia O'Toole examines the last years of the life of Theodore Roosevelt.

Writer, explorer, naturalist, devoted family man, human dynamo, and twenty-sixth president of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt was only fifty years old when he completed his two terms of office and had ten years of his life left to fill. He went out on a high note, sure that his personally chosen successor, William Howard Taft, would continue the progressive agenda Roosevelt's two Republican administrations had put in place.

Hoping to avoid the appearance of dictating policy to the new president, Roosevelt distanced himself as far from Washington as he possibly could. He spent his first year out of office on safari in Africa with his son, Kermit. One of the real pleasures of WHEN TRUMPETS CALL is that, because so much of it is drawn from the correspondence of Roosevelt's family and friends, we get vivid portraits of all his intimates, including his sons, who had real challenges in keeping up with their father.

Returning to the United States, it was apparent that Taft would not uphold Roosevelt's progressive work. Remembered as one of our most mediocre presidents, the Taft administration served the interests of big business whenever it could, foiling Roosevelt's legacy. Roosevelt claimed to act out of a sense of duty. He felt responsible that he had chosen an unworthy successor and saw no other way to rectify the situation than to regain the presidency himself. Although his sense of duty was one of the best and strongest elements of Roosevelt's character, he also found the redemption of his lost power to be irresistible.

He formed the Bull Moose Party and split the Republican vote, allowing Democrat Woodrow Wilson to win the presidency. In Roosevelt's criticism of Taft and Wilson, we see the small side of a big man. In print and public speeches, he carped about every decision they made, from Taft's lazy corporate coddling to Wilson's procrastination about entering World War I. Roosevelt's petulance lost him his audience, and by the time the United States had entered World War I, Wilson saw no reason to include Roosevelt in the war effort.

For a man who took such well-deserved pride in his usefulness, sidelining was a painful insult. Unfortunately, World War I had other blows in store for him. First, he watched his sons go off to war and participate as he could not. Then, his youngest son, Quentin, was shot out of the sky and killed. The Roosevelt philosophy of strenuous service turned back on itself, and Roosevelt never seemed to recover from his loss.

Patricia O'Toole has written a sensitive, sophisticated study of a great man at a vulnerable time. Although there are many books on Theodore Roosevelt, WHEN TRUMPETS CALL is an essential volume for those who really want to know the man.

--- Reviewed by Colleen Quinn

5-0 out of 5 stars Bully!
Woodrow Wilson once said, " A man who makes no mistakes usually makes nothing at all." Wilson in no way intended this statement to be used in praise of his fierce rival Theodore Roosevelt but I can think of no better description of the life of this Bull Moose of American politics. Roosevelt was a man of action and sometimes a loose cannon and Patricia O 'Toole has written a wonderful book which shows very clearly why this quotation so aptly fits TR.

O 'Toole's book covers the last ten years of Roosevelt's life, a time of retirement for a man who was not yet ready to retire. She follows Roosevelt on his African safari, his triumphant tour of Europe, the split with President Taft, the 1912 campaign, the Brazilian expedition, World War I and his preparations to run for President again in 1920. It is a fascinating and enjoyable journey that one undertakes in reading this book and I am glad that this author has given me the chance to follow Roosevelt's journey in print for I doubt that I could have kept up with him in real life.

The main thesis of this book is that Roosevelt had an overwhelming need for power and enjoyed conflict to the point that both of these weaknesses often clouded his judgment. The author makes her point very clearly and backs up her argument with hard evidence, giving the reader very little reason to doubt her argument. She is a little harsh on TR occasionally, especially when it comes to Roosevelt's split with Taft, but for the most part she is very fair and even handed. In the case of Roosevelt's support for the efforts of the government to suppress free speech during World War I and his backing of silly initiatives to ban all things German she is probably too soft on the old lion.

Theodore Roosevelt is one of the icons of American history and it would be difficult for any author to make any part of this man's story dull. It is quite another thing however for an author to get inside the soul of Mr. Roosevelt and I believe that O 'Toole has done just that. From TR's habit of dismissing those who disagreed with him as unmanly or cowardly to the deep grief and guilt he felt when his son Quentin was killed in the war, this book will lead the reader to the depths of Roosevelt's soul. Although it only covers Roosevelt's post White House years this is the best biography of the old Rough Rider that I have yet to come across. Far superior in it's readability and energy to the Edmund Morris books.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Political Lion in Winter
Patricia O'Toole has written a lively account of the decade left to Theodore Roosevelt once he left the White House. He was a man adrift, without a goal or purpose for the first time in his life.

Once you have achieved your career goal (for him, the Presidency at age 42), what do you do for an encore? According to Ms. O'Toole, TR tried to repeat himself with a failed, but close, run for the White House in 1912 and was comtemplating another bid in 1920 when he died in his sleep from an embolism in 1919.

The research is good, though I disagree with some of her conclusions, especially her view of TR needing power and doing anything to achieve it. Her difficulty lies in writing the concluding chapter of TR's life without having written of his first fifty years.

In some 1600 pages, Edmund Morris has written an epic biography of TR's life in a trilogy : the pre-White House period ("The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt" which won the Pulitzer Prize) and the White House years ("Theodore Rex"). The concluding volume covering the post-White House years has yet to be published. For now, Ms. O'Toole's book will have to do.As an aside, Sylvia Morris (married to Edmund Morris) has written her own biography of Roosevelt's wife, "Edith Kermit Roosevelt." ... Read more


30. The Real Jimmy Carter: How Our Worst Ex-President Undermines American Foreign Policy, Coddles Dictators and Created the Party of Clinton and Kerry
by Steven F. Hayward
list price: $27.95
our price: $27.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0895260905
Catlog: Book (2004-05-01)
Publisher: Regnery Publishing
Sales Rank: 139959
Average Customer Review: 3.38 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (34)

1-0 out of 5 stars hayward and dan quale: 2 sides of the same phony coin
when former vp dan 'potatoe' quale heard that former president jimmy carter was being sent by the president bill clinton to negotiate peace talks, all mr quale could say was ' hes just trying to win a nobel peace prize'. hayward is of the same ulra right mentality. his previous book which practically cannonized ronald reagan, completely ignored the reagan regime's 'suprise' release of the hostages on the eve of reagans inaguration and the whole of reagans activites in the iran contra hearings. hell, hayward even negelected to mention that reagan once coddled with joseph mccarthy and turned many 'suspect commuinists in to the house unamerican committe and destroyed many lives.
of course hayward likens carter to the 'despicable' clinton and kerry and worships at the feet of dubya; the most radical extreme militant right wing president in history.
instead hayward goes after that 'softie' carter.
for a man supposeldy having liberal ulterior motives carter 's forming of 'habitat for the humanities' seems perplexing. of course hayward doesnt go there.
instead he echoes the sentiments of possibly the dumbest vp in history; dan quale (who began his illustrious career in the senate with this: he was running against birch bayh and ran a plethora of tv ads portraying bayh as lazy and uncaring about his constituants. his evidence in these ads? well bayh had missed more days in the senate in the previous year than any other senator. of course quales ads forgot to mention that bayhs wife was at home dying of cancer during that previous year. so what did dan family values quale criticze bayh for? for having family values.
the unpardonable hypocricy of the conservative party is blatantly obvious in types like hayward, quale and the bushs and they scream vehemently ugly accusations whenever a liberal like carter or clinton or kerry makes an attempt towards change.
but progress is inevitable and when the smoke clears and history has its say clinton and carter will go down as two leaders who strived for humanitarian progress

1-0 out of 5 stars Shameful Book from a man without Honor
I have a real problem with these types of authors and character assassins. These are people that live in the shadows, finding fault with others. If you want to be critical of a public figure that is fine. However, to go at it with such a hate-filled diatribe, what is your problem. Jimmy Carter was not the greatest President ever, but he was 1000X more honorable than Ronald Reagan. No, he did not trade arms with Islamic extremists to get hostages back or supply cocaine traficking rebels in Central America, like Reagan. What he tried to do was serve with honor and make the US a more honorable place. And the career politicians tore him up for it. How dare you, Hayward! I suppose Mr. Carter could have just charged a trillion dollars worth of spending to remedy the economy, but he knew that would come back to haunt us later. Mr. Carter wanted real solutions, not quick fixes like Reagan. And by the way, Hayward, what about those Marines that died in Lebanon? What reaction was there of Reagan? He cut and ran, like the coward he was.

4-0 out of 5 stars Short, But Entertaining and Accurate
This book could be better as a "book". This is an interesting book and the idea is good, but the contents do not exactly match the advertising and book jacket - plus it is very short. The text on the cover of the book implies that the book is about the former President Carter and his mostly unwelcome meddling in foreign affairs since 1980.

But that it not exactly what the book is about. As acknowledged by the author on page 233 this book is really just a short biography of Carter just 193 pages long to bring younger readers up to speed on Carter to the year 1980, and this covers all of Carter's life to that point in time including his runs in Georgia. The same or similar biographies are available elsewhere in a number of lengthy books. What is new here is an added further 38 pages in the final three chapters about Carter post 1980 and his mistakes in foreign affairs - to bring the book to 231 pages plus notes and comments.

So the book is short, does not match the advertising and hype for the book, but still the book is interesting and a good read.

The concept for the book is great and long overdue. The author obviously has a strong negative bias - but he is not writing fiction - the facts speak for themselves and they are not pretty. Many things such as Carter's help at Habitat for Humanity have been exemplary, along with acting as an election monitor and fighting disease in the third world. These are clearly acknowledged in the book and are well known. If Carter had stopped there he might have been the greatest former president.

But he has not had the self control to stop with good works. He has undertaken at best what can be described as a misguided and ill conceived foreign policy interefence of both democratic and republican administrations, from Reagan to Clinton, to Bush, and I stress all administrations post 1980. He has made a series of solo trips largely against the wishes of the US government, befriended tyrants, accepted cash from the likes of BCCI, encouraged the PLO, and attempted to broker peace deals on his own but portraying himself as a US government agent. The Carter story is bleak and hidden behind much false PR and Carter's ego and his inability to let go of his short time in power (1976-1979), especially in foreign affairs.

I found particularly funny the inside joke (in the book) that in the Clinton administration that the leader of North Korea died of laughter after signing an agreement with Carter over nuclear weapons. That pretty well sums up the situation.

One is left shaking one's head in amazement and one really must ask the question: what is he doing? He has fooled Mandela and others and won his Nobel prize. But sadly after 24 years out of power he believes his own PR and propaganda. If he would just stick to charities, the third world, and the homeless he would be great.

Good read but just 3 or 4 stars as a book, maybe 3.5 stars.

Jack in Toronto

1-0 out of 5 stars Lesser Person Trying To Bring Down A Great Person
You know things are bad, when Stephen Haywood, an American Enterprise Institute (AEI) man, has to take a hatchet to the Noble Peace Prize winner, James Earl Carter. I never experience America so divide... I wonder where it all will lead?

But the AEI, with the likes of James Woolsey, Richard Perle, Henry Kissinger and other et al neocons who believe that the new world order must includes preemptive attacks/wars around the globe, make yours and my foreign policy, rather than the US Senate and then complain when Mr. Carter tries to affect global change by strengthening democratic institutions/health care, in a nonviolent fashion.

I read the book, but I just don't buy it!

1-0 out of 5 stars He's preaching to the choir - but what about the rest of us?
The United States has had several 'bad' presidents, ranging from the corrupt (Nixon, Grant) to the inept (Andrew Johnson) to the inefficient (Harding, Harrison). So when I picked up this book and saw the hyperbole of the subtitle, I immediately decided that the author had better make a good case for why he considered Jimmy Carter not simply a 'bad' president, but the 'worst'

Unfortunately this book happens to be short on insight and long on venom. It's decent if you're preaching to the choir, but those looking for a fair and legitimate argument would be best off going elsewhere. Although Hayward does acknowlege some of Carter's achievements for charity, such as Habitat for Humanity, he derides any good that came out of Camp David, the peace talks, etc and consistently chooses to assign only the worst, most calculating speculations towards Carter's motives. Hayward also ignores that some of his charges towards Carter may be levelled against each and every president that has ever sat in the Oval office. For example, he lashes Carter for negotiating with and 'coddling' dictators. However, this can also said about Reagan (South Africa and Apartheid, Gorbachev), Nixon (the China talks), Roosevelt (ignoring the rise of Hitler), Bush Jr (Negotiations with North Korea). Negotiations and compromise - what Hayward calls 'coddling' is part of being a skilled politician

Hayward also fails to discuss both the pros and cons of Carter's policies, refusing to analyze whether the peace talks in Korea suceeded in delaying the rise of nuclear weapon development and the climate of optimism and hope that was briefly created from the talks in th Middle East. He also complains that Carter has 'undermined US foreign policy' but fails to make a good case for why. US foreign policy is constantly evolving and Carter worked FOR it as ambassador during the Clinton Years. Finally, he fails to analyze Carter the man and understand him with all the faults, virtues and contradictions that any person has. Hayward judges Carter as a man with a mean streak by the company Carter keeps and citing particular incidents in which Carter acted petty and/or self-centered. But where is the balance? How did Carter then develop a reputation for kind-heartedness and integrity? Saying that he 'got a pass from the liberal media' is not a good argument, it's prejudiced and just plain lazy. All presidents have contradictions and complications - Reagan 'the family man' whose relationship with his own family was tenuous at best, Freedom advocate and slaveholder Jefferson -where's the complete picture of Carter the man?

Anyone who has ever done a research paper knows that in order to make a good case, you must present the facts, analyze them and then present your conclusion. This book starts out with the conclusion, then concentrates on presenting facts that support its conclusions and any study that approaches its subject in this manner must be taken with a pound of salt. I could make a very good case for why Jesus Christ was one of the most inept leaders to ever live, were I to ignore all he achieved and instead concentrate on the high mortality rate of his disciples, the 'calculating nature' of his actions and how he 'undermined' the Old Testament by encouraging us to forgive rather than judge. Would it be convincing? Perhaps, but it would not be fair, conclusive or comprehensive. The same goes for this book - the author should have just printed up a pamphlet instead - his agenda would have seemed more honest ... Read more


31. American Sphinx : The Character of Thomas Jefferson
by JOSEPH J. ELLIS
list price: $29.95
our price: $19.77
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Asin: 0679444904
Catlog: Book (1997-02-04)
Publisher: Knopf
Sales Rank: 7135
Average Customer Review: 3.92 out of 5 stars
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Well timed to coincide with Ken Burns's documentary (on which the author served as a consultant), this new biography doesn't aim to displace the many massive tomes about America's third president that already weigh down bookshelves. Instead, as suggested by the subtitle--"The Character of Thomas Jefferson"--Ellis searches for the "living, breathing person" underneath the icon and tries to elucidate his actual beliefs. Jefferson's most ardent admirers may find this perspective too critical, but Ellis's portrait of a complex, sometimes devious man who both sought and abhorred power has the ring of truth. ... Read more

Reviews (88)

4-0 out of 5 stars Must Read for TJ and US Revolution History Fans
Joseph Ellis projects an interesting analysis of the illusive Thomas Jefferson in "American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson." Brilliant but contradictory, most historians glorified the author of the Declaration of Independence for nearly 200 years. Recently, with the emergence of John Adams as an equally accepted visionary Founder, the strange and conflicting sides of Jefferson have been given equal attention to those that reflect the genius from Monticello, Virginia.

More than any other American historical figure, Jefferson was incredibly aware of his future role in history, and thereby his legacy. Much of the documented historical record, both that written by him and that written to him, reflect the facts that he chose what future generations would see. Ellis breaks down five periods of Jefferson's life: (1) the period around the writing of the Declaration, (2) the years in Paris as American envoy, (3) the years in semi-seclusion during the second Washington administration, (4) his first Presidential term, (5) and his years in retirement the decade prior to his death. The main premises of Ellis' work are that Jefferson was elusive in description, contradictory in philosophy, and often devious in action.

After reading Founding Brothers by Joseph Ellis (see my review dated 7/23/01) I had enormous expectations for his previously penned biography of Thomas Jefferson. It is a good scholarly account, but falls short of the enormously readable "Founding Brothers" work that won the Pulitzer Prize. Ellis teases you by revealing the many two-faced aspects of Jefferson's character, but shies away from drawing the conclusions that Jefferson's personality was bizarre. The third President was generally a person who could make himself believe anything he wanted, that his position and beliefs were always righteous, as long as it helped him get or preserve what he wanted.

Ellis does reveal the many aspects that prove Jefferson such a contradiction. Those include his inability to speak in public compared to the tremendous talent as a writer and analyst. The fact that he betrayed one of his most loyal and devoted friends for decades (John Adams), to secure the goals of the Virginians in the roots of the Founding, also speak loudly to his complex nature. What most people do not realize was that though he was extremely reticent that our country not become encumbered to a national financial consolidation, he was among the most atrocious of debtors and virtually ruined his family through decades of irresponsible personal spending. Finally, everyone now knows his amazingly illogical position regarding slavery, and the facts proven by modern DNA mapping techniques that demonstrate that he fathered children by his slave Sally Hemings.

I rate this book most accurately at 4.00 out of 5.00 stars. It is a must read for devotees of the Revolutionary period, and for those interested in Jefferson or John Adams. Ellis could have rated higher by really getting in depth in the many complex facets of Jefferson's personality, ability the author demonstrates better in other works. The book is worth reading and valuable for reference work.

5-0 out of 5 stars Compelling Study of a Founding Father
Of all the historical characters I have ever read about, Thomas Jefferson by far is the most complex. His entire life seems to be a contradiction. The writer of the Declaration of Independence, yet he owned slaves all his life, refusing to free them even in his will. Opposed to any kind of centralized federal government, yet under his presidential administration, the US doubled in size with the Federal government purchase of the Louisiana territory. Author Ellis does a superb job of noting these contradictions and many other weaknesses displayed by Jefferson throughout his career. A Francophile, Jefferson was totally unable to predict the violence of the French Revolution, even though he was living in Paris during the time. During the American Revolution, Jefferson wrote the Declaration and then disappeared to Monticello, then leaving men like Adams and Washington to put his ideas into action. This particularly charactertizes the actions of Jefferson- his thoughts were so idealistic as to be incompatible with reality. This is opposed to Adams, a thoroughly pragmatic man. Time and again, author Ellis contrast Jefferson to Adams and in the majority of the instances, Jefferson loses. Yet, the American public is still drawn to Jefferson while Adams does not seem to generate that kind of esteem. Why? Jefferson was an idealist, who talked about the moral goodness of man and thought the human race able to function with very little in the ways of laws, government oversite, etc. These ideas were portayed by Jefferson in his writings which fed the higher nature in all of us. Men like Adams were much more pragmatic- ideas are fine, but what can we make that will actually work in the real world?

This book does a wonderful job of trying to define the character of Jefferson and the title American Sphinx is more accurate. I don't believe we can truly know Jefferson and perhaps that's what makes him one of the most interesting of the Founding Fathers.

5-0 out of 5 stars a better understanding
I imagine that in order to spend months and years researching and writing about an historical figure you must admire that person immensely, otherwise it would be terribly difficult to retain any interest. In most biographies, this usually translates into a deification of the subject. Not so in Joseph J. Ellis' AMERICAN SPHINX: THE CHARACTER OF THOMAS JEFFERSON.

I'll confess that Jefferson has not always been one of my favorite founding fathers. I have always thought of him as duplicitous, racist, anachronistic in his thinking, vain, and cowardly in a way. As a New Yorker, I've always been irked by his bad-mouthing of the city, and by his insistence that the capitol of the new nation be moved from here to Washington, D.C. [Good riddance, by the way. We did just fine without being the capitol city, thank you very much ;-) ] And as I am a devout admirer of Alexander Hamilton... need I say more?

After reading Ellis' other great book, FOUNDING BROTHERS, I began to get a more rounded look at Jefferson, one that shed a little more light on the human forces that may have been working on him. Then I read McCullough's brilliant biography of Jefferson's close friend (at times), John Adams. This led me to read this biography, and I am glad I did. I finally was given a better understanding of the sage of Monticello. Ellis does an admirable job of conveying an honest and balanced view of the chief author of the Declaration of Independence, without resorting to hero-worship, as do most biographers. At times, the writing was very moving, especially as Jefferson's loved ones began dying around him. I'm still not crazy about the guy, but I have a better appreciation of him.

Ellis' writing is brisk, loaded with telling anecdotes, and never attempts to impress the reader with the research he has done. Other biographers would do well to follow Joseph Ellis' example. And lovers of American History would do well to read this book.

3-0 out of 5 stars Dry, but overall interesting
This book took me about four months to read. I kept picking other books up and forgetting about this one. So it is not addictively readable, to say the least. In fact, it was difficult for me to read more than 15 pages at a time. I would find my attention wandering or my mind falling asleep.

Dryness and drab writing aside, the book in the end was interesting. It is not a conventional biography. Unlike historians such as David McCulloch, Joseph Ellis digs deep into the story and into the character of Thomas Jefferson. It does not follow Jefferson from birth to death, chronicling life events. Instead, Ellis picks seminal points of Jefferson's life: his move to Paris, the Constitutional Convention, his stint as President, and his retirement to Monticello, and then examines Jefferson's attitudes, actions, and writings from these time periods to create a picture of the man. It answers the question "Who was Thomas Jefferson?" more thoroughly than any biography I have ever read.

Ellis's Jefferson is not hugely likeable, but is very human. Ellis certainly succeeds in knocking Jefferson fro his hallowed pedastal, but only in making him human and fully fleshed, which in the end only can do Jefferson justice.

After finishing this book (finally), I feel I have a pretty clear picture of Jefferson and his legacy, which makes me feel this read was very worthwhile.

4-0 out of 5 stars Thomas Jefferson Survives
If you've read about the Founding Fathers, you can't help but notice that Thomas Jefferson has an eerie elusive quality that the others just don't seem to possess. You can figure out Ben Franklin, George Washington, James Madison, etc.. Jefferson, however, seems to be someone who you can't quite pin down or so easily lay claim to by today's standards. As was once said of William James, "He's just like a blob of mercury, you cannot put a mental finger upon him." It probably has something to do with, as Ellis states in the book, the fact that he was far more inclined to rhetoric and theory than he was to the tedious gears of hand-on politics.

I was expecting this book to cross the line in relation to dragging Jefferson into the present and beating him up a bit, but it kept within reasonable boundaries without either unrealistic hero worship or a foolish attempt at character assasination. Very readable and informative. ... Read more


32. Mornings on Horseback: The Story of an Extraordinary Family, a Vanished Way of Life and the Unique Child Who Became Theodore Roosevelt
by David McCullough
list price: $16.00
our price: $10.88
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Asin: 0671447548
Catlog: Book (1982-05-12)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Sales Rank: 5999
Average Customer Review: 4.41 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Mornings on Horseback is the brilliant biography of the young Theodore Roosevelt. Hailed as "a masterpiece" (John A. Gable, Newsday), it is the winner of the Los Angeles Times 1981 Book Prize for Biography and the National Book Award for Biography. Written by David McCullough, the author of Truman, this is the story of a remarkable little boy, seriously handicapped by recurrent and almost fatal asthma attacks, and his struggle to manhood: an amazing metamorphosis seen in the context of the very uncommon household in which he was raised.

The father is the first Theodore Roosevelt, a figure of unbounded energy, enormously attractive and selfless, a god in the eyes of his small, frail namesake. The mother, Mittie Bulloch Roosevelt, is a Southerner and a celebrated beauty, but also considerably more, which the book makes clear as never before. There are sisters Anna and Corinne, brother Elliott (who becomes the father of Eleanor Roosevelt), and the lovely, tragic Alice Lee, TR's first love. All are brought to life to make "a beautifully told story, filled with fresh detail", wrote The New York Times Book Review.

A book to be read on many levels, it is at once an enthralling story, a brilliant social history and a work of important scholarship which does away with several old myths and breaks entirely new ground. It is a book about life intensely lived, about family love and loyalty, about grief and courage, about "blessed" mornings on horseback beneath the wide blue skies of the Badlands. ... Read more

Reviews (32)

5-0 out of 5 stars Mornings on Horseback debunks Roosevelt myths
David McCullough is a master at revealing history as it truly took place, and people as they truly were. His account of Teddy Roosevelt's remarkably innocent childhood debunks the myths that have long clouded Roosevelt biographies. While TR would grow to be a fearless Rough Rider and a President who took on corporate monopolies, he began his life as a pathetically weak, asthmatic boy clammering for his parents' attention. It was through the love, rather demanding at times, of Roosevelt's wonderfully demonstrative father that Teddy grew into his tough adult self. Mornings on Horseback challenges the notion that yesterday was more idyllic than today. Though Roosevelt had a close family, they did not remain unscathed by the Civil War, nor by illnesses that have since fled the earth. Throughout it all, it was their sense of family, as well as their great self-motivation to improve the lot of the world, that pushed them beyond misfortune. McCullough is a patient historian. He does not abide by myths, or falsehoods. His prying beneath the historical record is done with sound tools of investigation. Throughout it all, his voice is so entrancing, and his capture of detail so intricate, that we come to feel that we truly understand his subjects. When they are tossed about by fate, we regard their misfortunes with empathy. McCullough knows how to make history as readable as fiction.

4-0 out of 5 stars Another great book from McCullough
Historian David McCullough is a national treasure. The author of an excellent history of the building of a Panama Canal ("The Path Between the Seas") and a biography of former President Harry Truman ("Truman", my all-time favorite book), McCullough also wrote an excellent biography of President Theodore Roosevelt's early years.

Following close on the heels of Edmund Morris "The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt", "Mornings on Horseback" looks at Roosevelt's formative years, when the man who would one day become one of America's greatest Presidents came of age. Though not quite the equal of Morris book, McCullough's is a somewhat more critical look at the extraordinary life the President led as a young man.

This is a book for those who want to know what made this President tick.

5-0 out of 5 stars A portrait of a family
This book is the first concentrated work I've ever read on the life of Theodore Roosevelt. But it would not be accurate to call this work a biography of TR, rather it is the story of his entire family and the way in which his upbringing shaped the man he was to become.

The book chronicles "Teedie's" life from birth up until his second marriage to once childhood friend, Edith Carow. The author goes into great detail about the family's struggles with Theodore's asthma, their trips abroad which included a year long exploration across Europe and a boat trip down the Nile, the beginnings of Theodore's life-long interest in natural science ( which even extended to taxidermy), his years at Harvard and his first significant jump into the political arena at the Republican National Convention in 1884. Like anyone else, Theodore's life was not untouched by tragedy but still it comes as a devastating blow when both his first wife, Alice Lee, and his mother pass away on the exact same day. Theodore then retreats to the Badlands where he is enthralled with the idea of being a cowboy and spends a total of three years pursuing this interest while regaining his focus on life.

Yet for all the biographical information included in the book its most enduring theme is the importance of Theodore's family life, especially the tremendous influence of his father, Theodore Roosevelt senior ( Greatheart), an influence that would remain with him his entire life. Mr. McCullough also brings to life a marvelous portrait of Theodore's mother, Mittie, a strong and resilient Southern born beauty who was greatly adored by Theodore and his three siblings.

If you have even the slightest interest in reading about one of our greatest Presidents, this book would definitely be worth your time. It is not a dry sort of biography but instead a warm and intimate look at a family of extraordinary wealth and privilege leading a life with very ordinary values and morals.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Character Study, Not A Biography
"Mornings on Horseback" is more of a character study than a biography. Stretching from TR's birth until his marriage to Edith Carow, McCullough's purpose is to cover the factors which molded TR into the man that he became. The book ends when, McCullough believes, TR's character was formed.

What I found most interesting about this book is not only what is featured, but what is not. McCullough obviously believe that family played a major role I shaping TR's character. The first, and probably greatest influence on TR was his father, Theodore Roosevelt, Sr., Greatheart to his family. It was his father who was his role model and whose charitable works planted the seeds of TR's social conscience. It was Greatheart who opened TR's mind to foreign cultures during the trips across Europe and on the Nile. It was his father's observation that TR had the mind but not the body which started TR on a body building program to give him a body to match his mind.

Miscast as a business man, Greatheart used his inheritance in philantrophic work, supporting the Children's Aid Society, the Orthopedic Hospital, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the American Museum of Natural History, living his belief that social status came with accompanying duties. Out of deference to his Georgia born wife, Mittie, Greatheart hired a substitute to take his place in the Union Army, while he initiated programs to help the soldier and his dependents, meeting Abraham Lincoln in the process. This action is often cited as having created a debt which TR sought to pay during the Spanish American War.

Greatheart's death at age 46 was one of the greatest tragedies of TR's life. During his first day in the White House, TR felt as if his father's hand was on his shoulder.

Other significant familial influences on the youthful TR were his uncles, James and Irvine Bulloch. Exiled to England after their service in the Confederate States Navy, James, particularly, played a major role in developing TR's interest in naval affairs.

McCullough obviously believes that TR's youthful asthma was a major factor in molding his character. The reader receives a medical education on asthma, including the theory that its attacks are often anxiety driven. McCullough then explains how he believes that TR's asthma attacks reflect what was happening in his life at the times of the attacks.

Alice Lee, TR's first wife, completely captured TR's love before her passing drove him into cattle country exile.

The critical high points in TR's early political career are well reported. The incidents of his entry into politics, an unseemly profession for most of his class, the challenges and disappointments of his legislative career all lead up to the 1884 Republican National convention, after which TR, frustrated in his efforts to deny nomination to James G. Blaine, chose to stick with party rather than to bolt to the Reformers.

Some of the topics which fill so many pages in standard biographies are deamed to be less important to the theme of this book. TR's early interest in animals and natural history barely attracts McCullough's attention, probably because after its abandonment, it had little lasting effect on his character. While attention is devoted to his time in the Bad Lands and his hunting trips, they do not receive the attention that they do in standard biographies.

"Mornings On Horseback" is written in a style which will always hold the readers' interest. Unlike some books dealing with a subject's youth, this one focuses on TR's experiences which had lifelong impacts.

I do not recommend "Mornings On Horseback" as an introduction to TR. I do recommend it as a character study for those who are already familiar with the facts of TR's life and who desire to develop a deeper understanding of his character. For this it is excellent.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Delightful Perceptions of a Master
The distinctive quality of David McCullough's works is that he refuses to insult his reader with a less than honest view of his subject while making allowances for the fact that in writing history, he was not present to be able to interpret what the circumstances were, or what they might have been. He is an intellectual's author in expressing, as well as he can, the intricacies of well defined patterns of communication that existed at the time that likely made an impact on his subject to define his perspective and his action. This is a solid effort to give both character and accuracy to the personality as he might have been, and probably was, without attributing his own knowledge of today's events onto his subject, a tendency of increasing frequency. The reason for this is his dedicated and meticulous research into his subject, a model of historical recording, without unduly influencing the reader. The value of reflecting the accuracy of historical events is that it offers the reader his own perspective to interpret historical events rather than a canned version by the author. Of course, McCullough may draw upon unique events to help identify information previously glossed over in his attempts to portray that accuracy. This is an acceptable license in biographical accounts though not always followed with such careful editing. The exciting part of McCullough's writing is that he has the humility to identify his subjects as extraordinary, and is a willing participant in helping the reader to see that as well, a real credit to his choice of subject. His fascination is transmitted to the reader in a thoughtful measure of the man, or the event, he has researched, the mark of a very distinguished writer who adores his work, and is successful for that reason. ... Read more


33. Chronicles, Vol. 1
by Bob Dylan
list price: $24.00
our price: $14.40
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Asin: 0743228154
Catlog: Book (2004-10-05)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Sales Rank: 3
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One would not anticipate a conventional memoir from Bob Dylan--indeed, one would not have foreseen an autobiography at all from the pen of the notoriously private legend. What Chronicles: Volume 1 delivers is an odd but ultimately illuminating memoir that is as impulsive, eccentric, and inspired as Dylan's greatest music.

Eschewing chronology and skipping over most of the "highlights" that his many biographers have assigned him, Dylan drifts and rambles through his tale, amplifying a series of major and minor epiphanies. If you're interested in a behind-the-scenes look at his encounters with the Beatles, look elsewhere. Dylan describes the sensation of hearing the group's "Do You Want to Know a Secret" on the radio, but devotes far more ink to a Louisiana shopkeeper named Sun Pie, who tells him, "I think all the good in the world might already been done" and sells him a World's Greatest Grandpa bumper sticker. Dylan certainly sticks to his own agenda--a newspaper article about journeymen heavyweights Jerry Quarry and Jimmy Ellis and soul singer Joe Tex's appearance on The Tonight Show inspire heartfelt musings, and yet the 1963 assassination of John Kennedy prompts nary a word from the era's greatest protest singer.

For all the small revelations (it turns out he's been a big fan of Barry Goldwater, Mickey Rourke, and Ice-T), there are eye-opening disclosures, including his confession that a large portion of his recorded output was designed to alienate his audience and free him from the burden of being a "the voice of a generation."

Off the beaten path as it is, Chronicles is nevertheless an astonishing achievement. As revelatory in its own way as Blonde on Blonde or Highway 61 Revisited, it provides ephemeral insights into the mind one of the most significant artistic voices of the 20th century while creating a completely new set of mysteries. --Steven Stolder ... Read more


34. Memories, Dreams, Reflections
by C.G. JUNG
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679723951
Catlog: Book (1989-04-23)
Publisher: Vintage
Sales Rank: 5226
Average Customer Review: 4.71 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

An autobiography put together from conversations, writings and lectures with Jung's cooperation, at the end of his life. ... Read more

Reviews (35)

5-0 out of 5 stars Story about the inner life...
This is not a typical biography. Rather than the usual record one might expect about an individuals life, that is, chronological time, events of significance, famous personages met and their influence, etc, Jung records momentous aspects about his inner life, his life long and extraordinary relationship with the unconscious. As he states from the beginning, this book is a reflection concerning his self-realisation of the unconscious and its manifestations. In old age, he realised that so-called outward memories, the temporal existence of the senses, had faded, and what remained were memories of his inner life, which manifested in dreams and visions. He found that he could only write his life in terms of a personal myth, because he believed 'autobiography', as a form of truthful expression, was at best, unreliable. Memory, in other words, cannot be trusted. Thus, Memories, Dreams and Reflections, is a personal 'story' about a man's journey of spiritual enlightenment and self-realisation, the process of the unconscious finding expression in the outer world.

Jung's inner life was certainly extraordinary. From an early age, the sheer power of the unconscious made itself known to him in terrible visions. Jung must have been an unusually grounded child in order to withstand the psychic forces that pushed their way into his consciousness at such a young age. He survived these onslaughts, I believe, because he didn't resist them, but chose to grapple with the images, follow his instincts and, along with the violence of these images, came also a knowingness and feeling of safeness, that he was, even at a young age, following what he was meant to do. It is no wonder he became a psychiatrist, a "doctor of the soul" as he calls it; because by helping others through their personal journeys of realisation, he came to better understand his own.

At the end of Jung's life he maintained that he was not a mystic, a wise man or a sage. He admits that he drank from the stream of knowledge and life, but was not the stream itself. But what is a mystic in the traditional sense of this term? A mystic is one who, through meditation, prayer or other means, achieves direct intuitive experience of the divine. A mystic experiences these 'other realities' and brings their experiences back, in some cases, to share with the rest of us. To the mystic these experiences are real. Taking this definition at face value, Memories, Dreams and Reflections is a record of one man's intuitive experience with the divine. Jung made it his life's mission to express these experiences in such a way as to make them real, and to then formulate them into a psychological method, in the hope of helping others lost and searching for meaning in their lives. Jung was most assuredly a mystic. His writings tell us that there is something greater than ourselves within us, and our task is to grapple and understand this power, that he has chosen to call the unconscious; and by better understanding this greater part of ourselves, we can become more human.

This is a wonderful story about the inner life of a man, a mystic and original thinker.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wisdom from the inner life in Jung's own words
These writings come straight from Jung's own inner experience and it is his last book before his death in 1961. I have read and re-read this work because at different times in my life I needed to re-evaluate where I was and where I was going. Other books by Jung are more intellectual and scientific, whereas, this autobiography has the wisdom of a person in the later part of life and it was written not so much to teach but to leave with us his legacy. Having myself had a near death experience, I was especially re-affirmed by Jung's own near death experience and his dealings with this phenomenon. His acceptance of his own humanity and his returning from this state to share with us his knowledge and vision is a gift to all of us. It is not easy to return to our humanity and deal with the sufferings we encounter but growth is the only evidence of life. We have to come down from the mountain top and work in the valley. This brings to mind two books written by Hannah Hurnard called Mountains of Spices and Hinds Feet in High Places. Allegories about living our lives with others and not in solitude. Solitude is a wonderful place but if we stay too long we become self-centered, afraid to reach out to others. Another author who gives a good perspective on life is Henri Nouwen and his books Out of Solitude and Reaching Out.

4-0 out of 5 stars A glimpse into the humanity of the healer
This book does give a good overview of Jung's ideas, and how the developed in his life and interior thought. What I most love about this book, however is the feeling I came away with for Jung himself. It made me feel that he was a deeply compassionate, openminded and rational man, if imperfect as all men. Its greatness is that it puts a human face behind all of the science and ideas of his legacy, and gives the reader an insight of his own inner experience which one can relate to.

4-0 out of 5 stars Controversial, insightful, self-contradicting...
Admittedly, this is the most important book for those interested not only in the Jungian approach in psychology, but also in the life itself of Carl Gustav Jung. Indeed, this is an autobiography, imbedded in which is most of Jung's theories and quite an adequate outline of his cosmotheory as well.

Now, this being the book that "allows" us a glimpse into the soul of this psychologist, i was for one somewhat puzzled by the overall insight i got. While for the most part i appreciated Jung's bold approach in matters considered heavy taboos in his time (not to mention our time as well for certain particular issues), on the other side i found that Jung is self-contradicting at times, or murky, for lack of a more descriptive term.

Jung dares to look on the "other side" and consider it openly an integral part of "this" side. What others deem as "paranormal" or "supernatural" is to Jung just the other side of the same coin. He discusses the reality under the accepted reality but he is not straightforward about it. If i wanted to take it far enough I'd even say he's not honest about it. He does mince hiw words much too often and stops short of telling you what he really thinks. But this hardly undermines his openmindedness. Same goes for his treatment of religion.

In the beginning of the book he goes to great lengths in his denouncing of the western religion, and yet, all throughout the book he leaves countless hints that he's religious himself, without ever explaining in what sense. This was in my view perplexing.

The part of the book where he details his views on psychotherapy and explains how he approached his patients is definately the highlight of this book, and it should be of paramount importance for those interested in that subject area.

The last third of the book is mostly about Jung's travels. That part, might be disturbing for some, as one can sense that Jung felt some kind of well hidden superiority over the people he encountered. This superiority is often enough brought forward as his surprise over the insights these people offered him, but it still remains a mystery (at least to me) what he actually "took" from these people pertaining to their beliefs and approach in life. If anything, that is.

All criticism aside, this is still essential reading. Jung was a person torn between the desire to explore the off-limits and his fear of being ostracised by the scientific community. In the gray area within that struggle is where one discovers Jung's most thought-provoking theories because that is where he presents himself bare.

5-0 out of 5 stars Pure Genius
When I first started reading this book, I was highly naïve as to what my possible reactions could be. I never realized that this book would spark an internal flame within me, causing me to yearn for more knowledge and a broader insight into many subjects. It even lead me to come to many realizations about myself and my actions that I could never explain, but turned out to be so true and conclusive.
The extremely difficult vocabulary content did not discourage me one bit, it just made my curiosity grow. Jung amazed me with the beauty of his language choice and writing style and further astonished me with this extensive knowledge on so many various subjects and interesting way of interpreting them. Jung constantly referred to literary works and ideas of other authors and always stressed his references. This was perfect because this was the first book that I've ever willingly read from cover to cover in the psychology field, and it gave me an idea of other books like this one that I could read on topics that I liked and could hand-pick.
The book was most interesting knowing that it was written in autobiography-style and at the end of Jung's life, thus giving myself (the reader) his life-experienced and life-proven philosophies. It was a very difficult read but it was well worth it. I could honestly say that sometimes I just couldn't put it down; and no other book has been able to do that for me. ... Read more


35. The Beatles Anthology
by Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, John Lennon
list price: $60.00
our price: $37.80
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0811826848
Catlog: Book (2000-10-05)
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Sales Rank: 10012
Average Customer Review: 4.77 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Created with their full cooperation, The Beatles Anthology is, in effect, The Beatles' autobiography. Like their music, which has been a part of so many of our lives, this landmark release is warm, frank, funny, poignant and bold. At last, here is The Beatles' own story. Each page is brimming with personal stories and rare, vintage images. Includes over 340,000 words and over 1300 images, including unseen photographs and personal memorabilia. ... Read more

Reviews (203)

5-0 out of 5 stars Fabulous!
I was going to give this book 4 stars, until half-way through I was struck by the pure genius of it all. Why? It's like a cover song - when someone else plays a Beatles song, does it ever really sound as good as the original? Rarely. "Anthology" is a huge tome of a book comprised entirely of interviews and snippets from the Fab Four themselves, with a very few extras from their manager, studio producer, etc. It seems like a coffee table book, but it certainly isn't - over 350 large pages of fine print.

The reason why this book ALMOST got 4 stars is because of the inherent nature of a book made entirely of quotes - natural conversation doesn't translate well onto the printed page, especially when so many people are quoted from different periods in their lives. The book never says "In 1964, the Beatles recorded Rubber Soul" or anything like that. Instead, the quotes gradually roll around to telling you, until you realize "Oh, we're in the studio again". Often this book is disjointed and hard to follow, especially if you don't anything about the Beatles.

However, few people know nothing about the Beatles! After the first 30 pages, you get used to the style of presentation, and later on you realize the beauty of it all - these boys are down-right inspiring. Worked in with all the tours and stories and pranks and bad rumors and other nonsense are wonderful descriptions of their music and how it was written, what its inspiration was, and the trials that were faced to create it. The Beatles didn't idolize themselves, not like their fans do, so the words just flow out effortlessly and pure, just like their music did. This was their lives, no big deal, this is what they did. The creativity is catchy.

If you are a die-hard Beatles historian, I'm positive that nothing new is said in this book. There is no "myth-making" in these pages - their fights and disagreements are very bluntly presented - but you can see a "No Big Deal" kind of attitude formed. It's is only natural, the survivors are turning 60, after all. Like the video series and the CDs, this version of Anthology is a warm revisit of a wonderful little rock'n'roll band. Check it out.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Definitive Chronicle At Last
Hundreds of books have been written about The Beatles, but it is
crushingly obvious when reading this Anthology volume that by far the
best one would naturally come from the bandmembers themselves. [The
price] seems like an incredible bargain considering the size and
quality of this work, which covers the years 1940 (the birth of Ringo
and John) to the breakup in 1970. At 368 coffee-table sized pages
it's already huge, but the small print makes it almost double that
size.

The book would be worth it just for the photos alone, which
are beautifully reprinted--many from the early years are actually in
color--chronicling dozens of previously unpublished, intimate moments
taken straight from the group's personal archives. But what really
makes this one essential is the text itself, which is taken from
interviews conducted with Paul, George and Ringo in the 90s and an
exhaustive compilation of Lennon quotes from all points in his life (I
recognized many, but there were also some I've never seen before).
Even after the dozens upon dozens of biographies which have recounted
the group's earth-shattering tale ad nauseum, you feel like you're
reading it for the first time. All four bandmembers speak with a
thousand times more wit, frankness and detail than all of their
previous biographers combined; in fact, they manage to offer up
juicier tales, and more interesting spins on already known events,
than anything you've read before even in the most gossipy bios--and
you get it this time knowing that it's honest (you know it's honest
when you hear conflicting memories about certain events!).

"Anthology" is especially revealing when it comes to the
childhoods and Hamburg era: you get to hear about the first time
George got laid (right in front of the other three bandmembers!), or
when Ringo was a member of the Dingle gang, or what they did at
teenage parties. The detail is so thorough and vividly recalled for
the early years (and butressed by the photos) that you feel like
you're living it as it actually happened. No stone is left unturned
about the famous years, either: George and Ringo philosophize about
their first LSD trips and the meaning of "Tomorrow Never
Knows", the Maharishi controversy is finally put to rest (hint:
he never made a pass at anybody), and new insight is shed on the
evolution of the friendships between John and the other three. More
is made about the breakup than was on the "Anthology"
videos, including Yoko's presence and the business hassles, as well as
the making of "Abbey Road". Finally, all of this is told
with such an elegant sense of Beatle humor that even the heaviest
moments are a joy to read. Also included are excerpts from Stu
Sutcliffe and Brian Epstein's personal diaries. With this volume now
finally released, the only other essential Beatle books to get are
Lewishon's "Beatles Chronicle" and Miles' "The Beatles:
A Diary", both of which give exact reference dates and
descriptions for every live show, radio, recording and filming session
(as well as more great photos).

5-0 out of 5 stars Magical mystery tour through the Beatles' career
This book purports to tell the Beatles's story in their own words (though augmented by memories from people close to them like Brian Epstein, producer George Martin, roadies Neil Aspinall and Mal Evans, and publicist Derek Taylor), and does the job quite well.

I would estimate that at least 80% of the information contained in this book is already old hat for die-hard Beatlemaniacs who have memorized Mark Lewisohn's "Complete Beatles Chronicle" and read every Beatle book out there. But it's not so much the substance of the information as the way in which it is told--it's great to be able read about these events from the Beatles' point of view, even as seen through the prism of the thirty to forty years that have passed. And I am grateful that George was able to participate in the whole Anthology project before his untimely death in 2001.

The modern-day comments from Paul, George, and Ringo were apparently taken from the interviews from the Beatles Anthology circa 94-95 (if you watch the entire video/DVD and compare it to the text in the book it's pretty obvious). Hard-core fans will be able to recognize where many of the other quotes came from, although they aren't sourced, unfortunately--after each such quote there's merely a superscript such as "64" or "70" showing the year it was said, with no reference to the publication or interview it was taken from. That said, the editors had an incredible job piecing this thing together; they could almost be listed as co-writers!

There's a great deal of eye-candy (photographs, memos, handwritten notes, drawings, etc.), which are fascinating to look at. Sometimes, though, the arrangement of text, typeface, and photographs on the page seems rather random and thrown together, and even can make it difficult to read (for example, page 177, which tells about George and John's first LSD trip is printed on a background of garish red with magenta and orange text that all but obliterates the actual text). But it's never dull.

Despite the fact that it may be a bit of a chore to read, since it's large and heavy (even in paperback), it is a joy to read and I heartily recommend it to all Beatle fans.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Ultimate Beatles!
This book transcends its overt purpose of being an anthology of the Beatles.

Anyone who loves the music the Beatles gave us will find much rewarding material here. Those who want to know about how success can be accomplished in popular music will be riveted. Those who like to look back on popular culture in times past will have a happy trip. If you just love exciting photography, there is much to attract you to this volume. I found myself singing the Beatles' songs to myself as I read the text and looked at the illustrations. That was the best part!

To me, the most thought-provoking part of this book was its rags-to-genius quality. The Beatles were unlikely candidates to become leading musical innovators. Most of them were so poor that their families lacked indoor bathrooms when they were growing up. None of them could read music. The combined number of music lessons they had was less than ten in total. They could not afford musical instruments. Their families could not afford to subsidize their careers. Yet they were observant about the new, in contact with what moved their hearts, listened intently for better music, and worked with a never-ending frenzy to fulfill their passion for the music. It's vastly more heartwarming and fascinating than any rags-to-riches story ever can be.

I had never understood John Lennon's complaints about the "packaged, predictable" Beatles until I read in this book about the type of band they were while evolving their style. Particularly in the Hamburg gigs, they were more like a jazz combo that played rock and roll. The music was free form, and they stretched some songs into being as long as an hour and a half.

In fact, their commercial success was a tremendous tragedy for their artistic success because they were probably at the edge of developing a whole new musical genre that would have become the dominant one today. I'm sorry it never happened. I feel even more sorry for them, in realizing that they knew what they lost and must feel it very deeply.

I was also moved by the story of their tempestuous friendship. These guys went through tremendous stresses, strains, and deprivations together. They fought, they disagreed, they slugged each other, and they appreciated each other. Yet, there was a strong enough pull towards each other that allowed the group to continue through its amazing journey, despite the difficulties. To have had such friendships, even if they are eventually lost, must be an amazing experience. Few will know this closeness in their lives.

I came away from this book with a new appreciation for the Beatles. Before this book, the Beatles were all about (for me) how they sounded and looked, and how I reacted to that. Now, I see them as being role models for important aspects of human experience that we should all appreciate.

Before closing, I do have two words of caution. This book is very open about the major and minor vices of life. As such, this book could make the wrong impression on adolescents. They don't need too many new ideas about how to rebel, and this book could be read that way. That's not what the Beatles were doing, but a 13 year old could see it that way.

Second, as revealing as the book is, more is ultimately still hidden below the surface than is revealed. These young men knew a lot of pain, and that pain was an important source of their brilliance. Don't be offended that they did not share more. It was probably very painful to share as much as they did.

I would like to give the editors major credit for developing a successful dialogue style in the book that included quotes from John Lennon. It must have been the dickens to read through all of his many quotes, and to weave them into material comparable to what can be developed in a simple interview where the others could be aware of what each other said.

"Take a sad song, and make it better."

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent production.
I thought the book was excellently produced, but would have liked more input from non-Beatles and from sacked drummers (nudge nudge wink wink). For instance, Lennon and McCartney recount the time they finished up "I Wanna Be Your Man" for the Rolling Stones; I'd like to have had a word from Mick Jagger and Keith Richards about that experience as well.

To the reviewer who complained that they were still slamming Pete Best's drumming ability and mental acuity, or lack thereof, forty years on--that's not strictly true. Pretty much all the statements in the book on that subject are at least 35 years old. But I'd still like to have seen some more input from Pete, as well as a page or two regarding his post
Beatles musical career. He did actually have one, and did fairly well for a couple of years. But, as this book presents him, he was basically a non-entity, just the last in a long line of drummers who occupied the Beatles' drum stool before Ringo came along.

There have been some conflicting reports on the musical skills of the various members of the band, ca. 1962. McCartney's own brother said of the group at that time, none of them was a rocket scientist, musically speaking, and it could have been any one of them fate could have chosen to go. Granted that statement was a bit disingenuous in retrospect, but wrt Pete Best it seems as if there was always an official policy in the Beatles' organization to purge his memory. For instance, when the BBC tapes were put on CD, the first two shows, with Pete Best, were omitted due to problems with the 'sound quality'. I've heard some of those performances, and the sound was fine. The drumming wasn't fantastic, but seemed more than adequate in the context. ... Read more


36. The Private Passion of Jackie Kennedy Onassis : Portrait of a Rider
by Vicky Moon
list price: $44.95
our price: $29.67
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060524111
Catlog: Book (2005-05-01)
Publisher: Regan Books
Sales Rank: 56501
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37. Shakedown: Exposing the Real Jesse Jackson
by Kenneth R. Timmerman
list price: $29.95
our price: $29.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0895261650
Catlog: Book (2002-02-01)
Publisher: Regnery Publishing
Sales Rank: 47780
Average Customer Review: 4.42 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

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

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

Shakedown reveals:

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

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

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

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

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

Reviews (121)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


38. The Teammates
by David Halberstam
list price: $22.95
our price: $16.06
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 140130057X
Catlog: Book (2003-05-14)
Publisher: Hyperion
Sales Rank: 1670
Average Customer Review: 4.54 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

As baseball legend Ted Williams lay dying in Florida, his old Boston Red Sox teammates Johnny Pesky and Dom DiMaggio piled into a car and drove 1,300 miles to see their friend. Another member of the close-knit group, Bobby Doerr, remained in Oregon to tend to his wife who had suffered a stroke. Besides providing a poignant travelogue of the elderly Pesky and DiMaggio's trip, David Halberstam's The Teammates goes back in time to profile the men as young ballplayers. Although it is enlightening to learn about Doerr, Pesky, and DiMaggio, the leader of the group and star of the book is Williams. Halberstam portrays the notoriously moody and difficult Williams as a complex man: driven by a rough childhood and a fiercely competitive nature to become perhaps the greatest pure hitter of all time while also being a magnetic personality and loving friend. While there is nothing exceptionally unusual about old men who have stayed friends (plenty of people stay friends, after all), baseball gives this particular relationship a unique makeup. Unlike most friendships, that of Williams, Doerr, Pesky, and DiMaggio was viewed all summer long by hooting, hollering Red Sox fans. As such, their bond is forged both of individual accomplishment, win-loss records, numerous road trips, and, since they played for the Red Sox, annual doses of disappointment. Halberstam, author of Summer of '49 and October 1964 is the ideal writer to tell two equally intriguing stories, both rich in America's pastime. Although he occasionally drops himself into the narrative, one expects that of Halberstam and gladly accepts it in exchange for the highly readable exposition infused with poetic majesty that has become his trademark. --John Moe ... Read more

Reviews (52)

5-0 out of 5 stars "The Red Sox killed my father. Now they¿re coming after me."
The 1946 World Series match-up between Boston and the St. Louis Cardinals went to seven games before Boston finally lost the championship, and Halberstam makes this seventh game come alive in all its frustrating excitement. The book is unique, however, not because of its rehash of old ball games, but because it brings back an era, more than a half-century ago, when close and supportive friendships developed between players who spent their whole careers on the same team. Telling the story of the sixty-year friendship of baseball greats Ted Williams, Bobby Doerr, Dom DiMaggio, and Johnny Pesky of the Boston Red Sox, Halberstam shows the kind of friendship which was possible in an era in which players were people, not commodities.

Warm and nostalgic, the book opens in October, 2001, as Dom DiMaggio, accompanied by Boston writer Dick Flavin and Johnny Pesky, makes a melancholy car trip from Boston to Florida to pay a last visit to Ted Williams, who is dying. As the men drive from Boston to Florida, they reminisce about their playing days more than fifty years in the past, recalling anecdotes about their friendship and talking about their lives, post-baseball.

Halberstam uses these memories as the framework of this book, describing the men from their teenage years. All were from the West Coast, all were about the same age, all arrived in Boston to begin their careers within the same two-year period, and all shared similar values. Ted Williams, "the undisputed champion of contentiousness," was the most dominant of the group. Bobby Doerr was Williams's closest friend and roommate, "a kind of ambassador from Ted to the rest of the world," Doerr himself being "very simply among the nicest and most balanced men." Bespectacled Dom DiMaggio, the brother of Vince and Joe, was the consummate worker, a smart player who had been "forced to study everything carefully when he was young in order to maximize his chances and athletic abilities." Johnny Pesky, combative and small, was also "kind, caring, almost innocent."

Stories and anecdotes, sometimes told by the players themselves, make the men individually come alive and show the depth and value of their friendship. The four characters remain engaging even when, in the case of Williams, they may be frustratingly disagreeable. There's a bittersweet reality when Halberstam brings the lives of Williams, Doerr, DiMaggio, and Pesky, all now in their eighties, up to the present--these icons are, of course, as human as the rest of us, subject to the same physical deterioration and illnesses. In Halberstam's sensitive rendering of their abiding relationship, however, we see them as men who have always recognized and preserved the most important of human values, and in that respect they continue to serve as heroes and exemplars to baseball fans throughout the country. Mary Whipple

5-0 out of 5 stars Friendship
Teammates is a story of true friendship. The book centers around three greats from the Boston Red Sox, Ted Williams, Dom Dimaggio, John Pesky, and Bobby Doerr. Their final meeting is used as a backdrop for several stories from their playing days.

The story starts in the final months of the life of Ted Williams. Dimaggio and Pesky are inspired to reunite with their friend before his inevitable death. Bobby Doerr is unable to make the trip because of the health of his wife.

The book is formatted in the same way things were probably discussed in the car that day. The stories build up as each one of the four joins the team with the final addition being Pesky. The book continues as it goes through the teams years as a American League powerhouse. Unfortunately, World War II and the Korean War would be the main factor in preventing these baseball icons for playing in more than one World Series. The Red Sox lost that one World Series to the Cardinals. The play that allegedly turned that series is discussed in detail. The misfortune for which Pesky was blamed is a travesty. Even his teammates try to take the blame from Pesky. Being the stand-up guy that he is, Pesky continues to unjustly accept the blame. The book ends with each playing leaving the team until Williams returns from the Korean War to find all of his friends are gone. This drains much of the fun of the game for Williams. As a consequence he also leaves baseball.

Halberstam really does not write a book as buy as he retells stories from a car ride. This book is certain to become a favorite of those who enjoy baseball or the friendships developed in team sports. It should also be required reading for Red Sox fans.

5-0 out of 5 stars Moving Tribute to Friendship
This is a moving book about friendship. As baseball legend Ted Williams' lay slowly dying at age 83 in the fall of 2001, his former teammates Johnny Pesky, Dom DiMaggio, and Bobby Doerr considered making the long drive to Florida for a final visit. The narrative focuses on that trip, and the enduring friendship between these four that continued for five decades after their playing days ended. Readers come to know these men, their backgrounds, flaws, strengths, families, health conditions, and post-baseball careers. Fans will enjoy their playing memoirs from the powerful Red Sox squads of the 1940's - teams that often fell just short at season's end. Adding spice to the narrative are Boston sportswriter Dick Flavin (who made the trip) and occasionally the author David Halberstam. This is another outstanding baseball book by Halberstam (SUMMER OF '49, OCTOBER 1964); let's hope he'll write more. THE TEAMMATES is a concise and moving tribute to friendship, baseball...and life.

4-0 out of 5 stars Life-long Lessons!
When we are young, most of us idolize certain sports heroes . . . usually because of their feats on the field rather than for their characters. Author David Halberstam had the great pleasure of getting to know some of his idols when he wrote the Summer of '49 about the Yankee-Red Sox pennant race in that year. He kept up with his new friends from the Red Sox including Ted Williams, Dom DiMaggio, Bobby Doerr and Johnny Pesky after the book came out. When he learned that in 2002 about the last trip that Dom, and Johnny had taken to see Ted, Mr. Halberstam knew that he had a story. This book relates that tale.

The book recounts the backgrounds of all four players, details their friendships from the days when they were in the minor leagues through the end of their lives and provides lots of perspective on the Red Sox during the 1940s and 1950s when these remarkable players were on the team. The end of the book also has the lifetime stats for each player.

One of the intriguing parts of the book is how hard Ted Williams was on himself and his friends. It is a remarkable tale of friendship to see how others would tolerate his abuse by rolling with the punches. Behind the friendships, you get many glimpses of great character . . . character that actually makes their athletic accomplishments seem paler by comparison.

I strongly urge all Red Sox fans and parents who want their children to develop better characters to read this book, and share the story with their friends and family. I know of no better book about athletes that looks at the qualities of true greatness.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book about baseball and friendship
Back in the 1940's and 1950's Ted Williams, Dom DiMaggio, Johnny Pesky and Bobby Doerr were stars for the Boston Red Sox. Over the next 50 years or so, they remained the closest of friends. This book gives us a good look at that friendship, on and off the field, and at these four men.

It's unusual for a group of friends to stay so close for so long, but reading about the friendship makes you wish you were part of the group.

The book is full of humorous stories about their playing days and the years that followed. It also shows how close this team came to being a dynasty, but ended up only playing in one World Series (which they lost).

Halberstam does a great job, as always, showing us what baseball was like in the good old days and how the friendship between these players grew and remained strong over the years. It's one of the best baseball books I've ever read. ... Read more


39. What Do You Care What Other People Think?: Further Adventures of a Curious Character
by Richard P. Feynman
list price: $13.95
our price: $10.46
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0393320928
Catlog: Book (2001-01)
Publisher: W.W. Norton & Company
Sales Rank: 6735
Average Customer Review: 4.46 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The best-selling sequel to "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!"--funny, poignant, instructive. One of the greatest physicists of the twentieth century, Richard Feynman possessed an unquenchable thirst for adventure and an unparalleled ability to tell the stories of his life. "What Do You Care What Other People Think?" is Feynman's last literary legacy, which he prepared as he struggled with cancer. Among its many tales--some funny, others intensely moving--we meet Feynman's first wife, Arlene, who taught him of love's irreducible mystery as she lay dying in a hospital bed while he worked nearby on the atomic bomb at Los Alamos. We are also given a fascinating narrative of the investigation of the space shuttle Challenger's explosion in 1986, and we relive the moment when Feynman revealed the disaster's cause by an elegant experiment: dropping a ring of rubber into a glass of cold water and pulling it out, misshapen. A New York Times bestseller. ... Read more

Reviews (35)

5-0 out of 5 stars ¿Continuation of a curious character¿
This book is a continuation and addendum of sorts to Mr. Feynman's first biography, "Surely you are joking, Mr. Feynman". The two major stories of the book involve Mr. Feynman's enormously influential first wife, Arlene and the second story involves Mr. Feynman's work in the Challenger disaster investigation. Sprinkled around these two major bookends are other humorous adventures and observations about a trip to Japan, being labeled a sexist pig by feminists, and hotel hunting in Europe to name just a few.

The Challenger investigation takes up a sizable chunk of the book and is sometimes filled with drier material. But the compelling event and frustrating insight into government bureaucracy holds some interest to make up for the technical specifications.

The first part of the book where his wife Arlene is discussed is so touching and powerful that the reader will be hard pressed not to get teary-eyed.

As noted in the review about the first biography, Mr. Feynman was an extremely curious person who explored things out of simple curiosity. His life's quest was nothing simpler than a desire to understand Nature. All the while, he tried to have the best time he could. Hopefully this reader can take away at least a little bit of that.

5-0 out of 5 stars Scientific background is not a prerequisite
A lot of books written by scientific people claim to be "down-to-earth" and for the "layman" but end up creeping into the obscure. Not so here. Feynman starts with his feet planted firmly on the ground and never strays.

The first few stories range from the serious to the light-hearted. From the pain of losing his wife to being invited to speak at a funeral for a man whom he can't remember. These accounts give you a good look at the ability of Feynman to convey a story and make it interesting. The majority of the book however is given to the time he spent on the committee that investigated the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. Using no nonsense, straight-forward writing he takes you through the process of how he and the others, despite a lot of bureaucratic red tape, managed to find out what went wrong on that fateful day. What could very well be a dry and uninspiring subject becomes quite informative and engaging through his telling.

This is my first book by Feynman, but having absorbed the whole thing in one sitting it surely won't be my last.

4-0 out of 5 stars Not Joking this time
The follow-up to the successful, "Surely you're joking Mr. Feynman" this book offers four pretty distinct parts.

First section describes how his father taught him to think about the world and his father's ambition to make young Richard a scientist. The end of the book is Feyman's case for the importance of science. In between we get the sad, but sweet story of his first wife and the utterly compelling story of his time on the committee investigating the challenger explosion. It was my favorite part of the book.

The description of how government committees decide facts and make recommendations was eye opening. It was the best description of how these things work that I've ever read. Feynman was constantly up against a committee chairman that wanted to keep everyone in a room asking questions of experts. Feynman didn't like that setup. He wanted to travel out to NASA and talk to engineers, so he did.

Going to Huston and Canaveral, Feynman learned something about the nature of NASA that probably goes for any big organization. He found that NASA was a unified force when their goal was putting a man of the moon. Information was shared freely and appreciated at every level. Once that goal was met NASA became compartmentalized.

Leaders at the top spent their time reassuring Congress that NASA would achieve their goals with low costs and high safety. Engineers at the bottom realized that this wasn't entirely possible. The middle managers didn't want to hear the challenges because they would be forced to report it to the top bosses who didn't want to hear it. It was much easier for top bosses to paint a rosy picture to Congress if they were unaware of the actual challenges of making it work. The end result was that top bosses said that the likelihood of a mission death was 1-100,000 while engineers on the ground felt that the likelihood was more like 1-300.

Feynman concludes that maybe the shuttle program was a bad idea. It could never live up to the ambitious projections of the leaders and the American public was being lied to. NASA should be honest with the American people, Feynman thought, then Congress and voters can decide if they are getting enough for their money. It was a surprisingly thing to hear from an advocate of science and discovery. But Feynam reckoned that the amount of science and discovery has been little compared to the cost. He complained years after the first shuttle launch he still hadn't read any significant experiments in scientific journals.

In all, I liked this book a little better than "Surely You're Joking." It was a little more thought provoking than those fun tales.

4-0 out of 5 stars Interesting follow up
This book is the follow on to the book "Surely you must be joking, Mr. Feynman". In the first book there was a time line that progressed from youth to Professor at Caltech. This book is much different in that 45% of the book describes his pre- 1986 life and 55% describes his involvement in the Challenger shuttle accident investigation. This investigation was a mere 2 years of his life (and the final 2 years as well). The same brilliant character shines through in both parts of this book. There are many interesting vignettes of this iconoclast that are not in the first book. The most interesting part is the description of his relationship with his first wife Arlene who succumbed to TB while he was still a young man. He really had a great heart for those close to him. He didn't suffer fools willingly and often was abrupt to the point of rudeness. More interesting observations are available at feynmanonline^com. Detailed there is a more balanced view of the man and his foibles.

2-0 out of 5 stars Hero worship can blind you to reality
Yes, Feynman was brilliant. Yes, Feynman revolutionized the teaching of physics. Yes, he seems to have been a delightful, charming, handsome, womanizing, fun guy to hang out with. But the Feynman cottage industry ran dry a long time ago. I expect his grocery lists to be published any day now to feed the insatiable hunger for anything that he touched. The essays and articles in this book are bland and nearly worthless. One is introduced as "uproarious." Uproarious is defined as "provoking hilarity." If you think anecdotes about Feynman running up a stairway to bring his heart rate up are hilarious, you are easily amused. This book was a complete waste of time and money. ... Read more


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God bless Ronald Reagan.

STEVEN TRAVERS
AUTHOR OF "BARRY BONDS: BASEBALL'S SUPERMAN"
... ... Read more


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