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41. Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S.
$31.50 $28.90 list($50.00)
42. Jacqueline Kennedy : The White
$11.99 $7.62
43. Complete Book of U.S. Presidents
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44. How to Be Like Walt : Capturing
$27.95 $10.50
45. Dereliction of Duty: The Eyewitness
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46. Why Sinatra Matters
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47. A Matter Of Character: Inside
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48. Gandhi An Autobiography:The Story
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49. The Motorcycle Diaries : A Latin
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50. The Uniter : The Genius of Abraham
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51. RN: The Memoirs of Richard Nixon
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52. The Elvis Treasures
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53. Walt Disney's Nine Old Men and
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54. The Intimate World of Abraham
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55. Careless Love : The Unmaking of
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56. Buddha
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57. Trump : The Art of the Deal
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58. The Eloquent President : A Portrait
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59. Benjamin Franklin : An American
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60. Ben Hogan : An American Life

41. Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant
by Ulyssess S. Grant, Ulysses S. Grant
list price: $12.98
our price: $12.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0914427679
Catlog: Book (1999-03-15)
Publisher: William S. Konecky Associates
Sales Rank: 21289
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Grant was sick and broke when he began work on his Memoirs. Driven by financial worries and a desire to provide for his wife, he wrote diligently during a year of deteriorating health. He vowed he would finish the work before he died. One week after its completion, he lay dead at the age of 63.

Publication of the Memoirs came at a time when the public was being treated to a spate of wartime reminiscences, many of them defensive in nature, seeking to refight battles or attack old enemies. Grant's penetrating and stately work reveals a nobility of spirit and an innate grasp of the important fact, which he rarely displayed in private life. He writes in his preface that he took up the task "with a sincere desire to avoid doing injustice to anyone, whether on the National or the Confederate side." ... Read more

Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars Grant as commander.
Ulysses S. Grant like many other Civil War figures wrote a long and detailed memoir detailing his experiences in the war. Unlike many of the others however, he did it not to toot his own horn but for the noble purpose of leaving an income for his family. One of the most famous pictures of Grant is the one of him sitting on his porch, covered in blankets, writing. He died just a week after he finished this book. I wonder if the Grant family is still receiving royalties from this book after all of these years.

In reading this book one has to take into account that by his own admission, Grant was not a scholar. Nor was he a writer, but for a sick old soldier he does a wonderful job. The writing is a little dry at times but that is mainly because he goes into so much detail about his campaigns. His West Point eye shows not only in his strategy but also in his writing as he goes into great detail about the topography of the areas he is describing. In fact, this is the most dull part of the book as he goes into so much detail that he will occasionally lose the reader entirely. Grant is not one to cast blame for his problems but as part of his topographical discussions he almost always writes that this ground was much more favorable for offense than defense. He of course being on the offensive. It is also easy to avoid casting blame for failures when the writer has few failures, so while Grant is not guilty of this he has no reason to be.

Grant does not describe his battles in detail for some reason. His overall campaigns are covered in detail but the battles themselves get little attention. The battles of others under his command are told in a far more interesting and complete manner than are the battles he was personally involved in. His descriptions of Sherman's Atlanta campaign and the march to the sea are riveting and his descriptions of the final days of the war and Lee's surrender are enthralling. He also goes to great lengths to defend some of his comrades against charges that had been made against them while never taking on charges leveled at him. His drinking is never mentioned. He even takes time to defend Joe Johnston's Georgia campaign against Sherman. His insights are incredible but this memoir could have offered the reader a little more of a glimpse into the author than it does. Although, toward the end of the book one does start to see Grant's personality come out.

There are numerous maps included in this book but they will be of little use to most readers. I assume they are military maps, but they are so detailed that one can hardly make out the important points. There is also an attempt to downplay what Robert E. Lee had accomplished before Grant arrived on the scene. This could have come from humility on Grant's part, or it could have been jealousy, but whatever the cause it is unseemly. Still, Grant knew how to defeat Lee and did so, which is more than any other Union general managed to do.

Overall, this is a very insightful and well-written book. Any serious student of the Civil War will want to have a copy of their own, not only to read but as a very important reference book. He points out the mistakes and shortcomings of leaders on both sides as well as offers praise when he feels it is due. It is amazing how kind he is to General Halleck considering how much trouble that man caused Grant early in the war. He does seem to take delight however in detailing Sherman's dislike of Halleck. Not much of the real Grant comes across in this book but what does come through is that while he was a determined advisory; he was also a very kind hearted man. A great man in fact, who was very much misunderstood, then and now.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the great books in the English language
General Grant wrote this book while dying of throat cancer. He had been swindled by a dishonest Wall Street Broker and his trophies and possessions were stripped from him to satisfy the demands of his debtors. Bankrupt, suffering from a terminal illness and never passing a moment without acute pain, he produced this magnificent monument to his greatness. Those who denigrate Grant as a drunkard, butcher, bumbling President need to read this book in order to correct these errant assumptions. It is impossible to read this book and not realize that Grant was an inordinately intelligent man and one hell of a writer.

Grant's Memoirs are a deserved classic in American literature and considered the greatest military Memoirs ever penned, exceeding Caesar's Commentaries. Grant wrote as he lived: with clear, concise statements, unembellished with trivialities or frivolities. The only "criticism" the reader might have is that Grant bent over backwards not to wound the feelings of people in the book. He takes swipes at Joe Hooker and Jeff Davis, but what he left unsaid would have been far more interesting. A compelling and logical reason why Grant was so spare in his comments was because he was involved in a race with death. He didn't know how long he could live and therefore, "cut to the chase."

Grant's assessments of Lincoln, Sherman, Sheridan and other military leaders are brilliant and engrossing. His style, like the man himself, was inimitable and couldn't be copied. In everyday life, Grant was a very funny man, who liked to listen to jokes and tell them himself. His sense of the absurd was acute. It's no accident that he loved Mark Twain and the two hitched together very well. Twain and Grant shared a similar sense of humor, and Grant's witicisms in the Memoirs are frequent, unexpected and welcome. There are portions where you will literally laugh out loud.

Though Grant's Memoirs were written 113 years ago, they remain fresh, vibrant and an intensely good read. I have read them in! their entirity 30 times in my life and I never weary of the style and language that Grant employed. He was a military genius to be sure, but he was also a writer of supreme gifts, and these gifts shine through on every page of this testament to his greatness. All Americans should read this book and realize what we owe to Grant: he preserved the union with his decisive brilliance. A truly oustanding book.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the better Civil War memoirs
One of the nice things Grant does in his book, is break down ranks using a horizantal flow chart on various pages. This helps clear confusion for the novice. (page 446-7 is one example)
Other reviews have spoken admirmingly of this book, I would like to draw attention to an incident Grant tells of, where a Union soldier is stealing ALL of a Southern ladies chickens.The Southern woman vainly pleaded with the Union soldiers to please spare her a few at least.
The Union soldiers looked at the woman and said,

>"This rebellion has to be suppressed if it takes the last chicken in the Confederacy."< ( Page 555 Grants memoirs)
( how will this woman and her children eat after this?)Another following incident---

>"The South prior to the rebellion kept bloodhounds to pursue runaway slaves who took refuge in the neighboring swamps, and also to hunt convicts. Orders were issued to KILL all of these animals as they were met with.
On one occasion a soldier picked up a POODLE, the favorite pet of it's mistress, and was carrying it off to EXECUTION, when the lady made a strong appeal to him to spare it.
The soldier replied," Madam our orders are to KILL every bloodhound,"
"But this is not a Bloodhound," said the lady.
"Well, Madam, we can not tell what it will grow into, if we leave it behind," said the soldier as he went off with it."<

---------------The Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant------Page 555----
( exact wording again, the capitals are mine for emphasis)

Combining Grants testimony, and Memoirs of General W.T. Sherman, ( see my review of his book, and the direct quote), there is no doubt the Southern women, children and families suffered greatly during the Civil War. There was NO MILITARY VALUE, for the majority of this.

People that deny this, should read books, by the two top Northern Generals.

As far as Civil War biographies go, this is one of the better ones.

5-0 out of 5 stars A man of whom all Americans can be proud
The book is remarkable for its clarity of speech and the simplicity of its presentation, but most of all for the quality of focus of a man whose final chapter is as moving as any I have read, and written just a week before he died. I recommend that the trilogy of Grant; CAPTAIN SAM GRANT, GRANT MOVES SOUTH, and GRANT TAKES COMMAND, be read first. Then read his MEMOIRS, and follow it up with ON THE BORDER WITH CROOK. The characters in the MEMOIRS appear prominently in all the others; men known by Grant from West Point, the Mexican American War, and who served, subsequently, as officers during the Indian Wars following the Civil War. Connections such as these fascinate me. Grant's knowledge of his adversaries most of who he knew from experience was perhaps his greatest weapon. Yet, war being war, he never let let friendship interfere with his duty, which is why he became known as UNCONDITIONAL SURRENDER (U.S.) GRANT. it seemed to me the more he got into his work, the better he expressed himself, and his CONCLUSION rose to the level of greatness as a writer. He seemed the perfect compliment to Abe Lincoln whose policies he hoped to carry forward.

5-0 out of 5 stars Simple, elegant , humorous, while at death's door
More than the descriptions of the great battles, which were of such great scale that they were beyond my ability to grasp, I was most impressed with the courage and intelligence of the man, who wrote these memoirs while dying of a painful cancer. His assessments of the generals on both sides, many of whom he knew intimately from the Mexican war, are priceless. I think the one I like best was of General Warren -- "His difficulty was constitutional and beyond his control. He was an officer of superior ability, quick perceptions, and the personal courage to accomplish anything that could be done with a small command."

General Grant also never lost the ability to make fun of himself (a lost art among today's leaders?), recalling being mocked by a stablehand who had seen him prancing in his uniform shortly after being commissioned. Perhaps that is why in his prime Grant so often wore a simple private's shirt with his proper insignia of rank.

The anecdotes from his conversations with President Lincoln are unforgettable. So are stories from the war with Mexico, when long-range Mexican cannonballs came into his lines at such shallow angles that his men could open ranks to avoid the bounding projectiles. The language of the day - "reducing" the enemy "works" with great "execution" -- adds to the enjoyment and reminds the reader of today's "collateral damage" military jargon.

Grant, great lover of a good cigar, comments on his observations from the war with Mexico that people smoked tobacco more when it was an expensive item they they did later when the price was much cheaper.

Where are such men today? Probably still out there waiting for the next great challenge to bring them forward. General Grant comments that "Those who wait to be selected, rather than those who seek, can be expected to provide the most efficient service." ... Read more

42. Jacqueline Kennedy : The White House Years: Selections from the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum
by Metropolitan Museum of Art, Hamish Bowles, Arthur M. Schlesinger, Rachael Lambert Mellon
list price: $50.00
our price: $31.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0821227459
Catlog: Book (2001-05-13)
Publisher: Bulfinch
Sales Rank: 6803
Average Customer Review: 3.07 out of 5 stars
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Did the clothes make Jackie, or did Jackie make the clothes? Decide for yourself: Jacqueline Kennedy: The White House Years is a stunning catalog of some of Jacqueline Kennedy's most important dresses as worn during her years as first lady of the United States. As visually sleek and elegant as Mrs. Kennedy herself, the book offers a beautiful analysis of the stunning, simple outfits that typified the Jackie style and brought a breath of sleek modernity to the White House after the somewhat frumpy fussiness of previous first lady Bess Truman. Released to coincide with the 40th anniversary of Kennedy's "emergence" as a style icon, the book presents an eclectic selection of suits, evening dresses, daywear, and accessories from the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum collection. Divided into cities where each item was first worn, the gowns, suits, and dresses are first presented alone in a full-page color photo. Each is then accompanied by various photos of Jackie wearing the item and detailed design notes, history, and anecdotes behind the outfit.

These photos give a wonderful context to the clothes, and it's clear that Jackie's carriage and persona injected life into these garments--which sometimes appear markedly different from what one might deduce as each item's "personality" when simply viewing it alone. For example, a pale cream embroidered silk Givenchy evening gown looks dull and somewhat dowdy when seen alone, but the accompanying photograph of Jackie wearing it while cuddling a newborn John Kennedy Jr. transforms the dress into something feminine and timeless. Or a very simple, innocently pretty pink shantung evening gown by Guy Douvier becomes arrestingly sexy when she wears it with nothing but white gloves and a Palm Beach tan. Contextualizing and interpreting Kennedy's style is an important part of this book. Featured are essays on Jackie and her effect on the world of style by Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., Kennedy friend Rachel Lambert Mellon, and the book's author and Vogue editor at large, Hamish Bowles. Jacqueline Kennedy: The White House Years accompanies an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. --Marisa Lencioni, ... Read more

Reviews (14)

5-0 out of 5 stars Jacqueline Chic
This is a "must have" book for anyone who loves the beauty, style and grace of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, fashion and history. The beautiful fashion photography with insightful essays showcases the former First Lady as one of the 20th century's fashion icons. Her clothing, simple and modern, yet classically elegant, created by major designers of the time such as Oleg Cassini and Givenchy, reflects her visionary fashion savvy. This book will make you ask do clothes make a person, or does the inner soul and outer beauty of a person, such as the former First Lady, make the clothes?

5-0 out of 5 stars MOST EXCELLENT
Excellent EVERYTHING!!!
A must for jackie AND caroline fans...i figure she did a lot for this and chose some GREAT photos...esp. the last one, in my humble opinion.
I LOVE IT!!! and was shocked when i actually saw it after the few not-so appreciative reviews.
THANKS to everyone who was behind putting this out. As my grandmother would say about such a great book, "It lifts you up." (she said that about the Sotheby's Auction catalog of JBKO's Estate.

3-0 out of 5 stars Quality, Youth, Beauty, Style and Culture in the White House
Caution: If you like looking at lots of photographs of early 1960s designer dresses, you will probably like this book. Otherwise, this is probably not the right book for you.

During the presidential election of 1960, Ms. Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy made an immense impression on American society. At 31, she was a dramatic contrast with the vice president's wife, Ms. Patricia Nixon, and recent first ladies (Ms. Mame Eisenhower, Ms. Bess Truman, and Ms. Eleanor Roosevelt). She was much younger than these women, was pregnant with her son, John, and seemed like someone who came from another world. Ms. Kennedy was highly cultured, interested in the fine arts, attractive in a way that showed up well in photographs and on television, and wore gorgeous clothes of the sort usually only seen in the best fashion magazines.

Once in the White House, her differences from other first ladies became more apparent. A major effort to redecorate the White House with authentic pieces ensued, Lafayette Square's appearance was conserved, entertaining began to feature people from the world of fine arts, the Rose Garden was redesigned, and the clothes she wore became even more magnificent. A great deal of the sense of Camelot certainly came from Ms. Kennedy.

I was disappointed in the book. For someone who had such a wide and important influence on America, the book barely seemed to scratch the surface. It is almost as though a decision had been made to create a book about her dresses on state occasions, and to mention and show all of the other influences she had as little as possible.

This book minimally and partially captures the impact she had on our national consciousness. The best essay is found in the foreword by Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. who provides a good overview of the influence of Ms. Kennedy (as described above) and her husband, the president, more broadly on the arts (including efforts that helped lead to the National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities, the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and providing a temple from Egypt to the Metropolitan Museum in New York). Most of the book is visually devoted to her clothing during state occasions, with notes about those who created the clothes. A typical section has color photographs of the clothing on mannequins, Ms. Kennedy wearing the clothes at an event, and a black-and-white image of how she appeared in the context of the whole event.

The clothing captures what was called at the time, the Jackie look. Most of the dresses are by Oleg Cassini, Givenchy, Chez Ninon, and Gustave Tassell. There are also lots of examples of her hats (often pillboxes by Halston). The outfits are usually as simple and conservative as possible in solid colors, made special by perhaps one elegant bow or sash. Unfortunately, these sections have little material about Ms. Kennedy's views on these apparel, designs for the clothing, or thoughts about how to coordinate them with shoes and accessories.

What was most impressive to me was the success with which she selected outfits that fit in with the nations she was visiting. In France, the elegance of Givenchy enveloped her. In India, bright pastel shades made her look like part of the jungle flora. I'm sure the host nations were delighted to see their specialness magnified in her efforts to be an attractively dressed guest.

But these clothes are unremarkable without Ms. Kennedy. Like a well-known fashion model, she enhanced the clothes enormously with her youth, vitality, personality, and trim figure. So, for me, the book's real value was in seeing the many photographs of Ms. Kennedy. I especially liked the candid photographs, either talking with guests or playing with her children.

How can we recapture a sense of uniquely American style and good taste in ways that will bring approval?

What are the ways that the president and first spouse should set a good example for the rest of us?

5-0 out of 5 stars An elegant blast from the past!
When I took this tome out of its mailer & began to turn its pages, I suddenly remembered my own set of formal white cotton gloves - long since discarded - so reverential was the aura emanating from this glossy artbook.

Jacqueline Kennedy kept it simple - most of her clothes were in solid colors with only huge buttons, cockades or discreet stylized bows, scarves, shawls or frogs for detail. In the Travel Chapter we see the simplicity of her wardrobe & her passion for colors.

Combining original & new photographs, this volume presents images we have rarely seen, as well as photos that have become a part of our national consciouness. The final one of the President & First Lady together in the open touring auto needs no words - we all know what happened next.

Certainly a treasure of memories - where we were, what we wore, what we wished we could wear. I never realized how Mrs. Kennedy acquired her wardrobe assuming, incorrectly, that she always wore top-of-the-line haute couture - when in actuality she wore "knock-offs", sometimes chosen by her mother-in-law.

For anyone who cannot make the pilgrimage to the 40th Anniversary Exhibition at the John F. Kennedy Library & Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York & who craves visions of those much-mimicked fashions of yesteryear.

4-0 out of 5 stars An unexpected pleasure
After reading some of the reviews for this book stating it was dull and offered nothing of particular interest except alot of talk about A line dresses and cuts on the bias, I was apprehensive about wasting so much money on it.However having bought nearly every book published on Mrs Onassis I went ahead and ordered it anyway.Upon opening it I was pleasantly surprised. It was well set out,interesting and with many fine photos I had not seen, to illustrate the somewhat dry text.But the most facinating aspect of this book is to actually see what these dresses looked like in colour....after seeing numerous black and white photos of the Kennedy reception at the Elysee Palace and to hear the pink straw dress worn by Mrs kennedy described, it was mesmerizing to actually see wonder she was described as radiant....and the most amazing thing is that Mrs kennedy dresses were sometimes even more interesting when viewed from the back...the intricate drapery and patterns.The photo of her in a backless sundress on the Italian Riveria is a revelation as it was worn in 1962 and was so ahead of its time...this book shows that Jacqueline kennedy had true style and is worthy of the mantle of fashion icon even though she would probably want to be remembered for her more substancial contributions.A very worthwhile addition to any devotee's library ... Read more

43. Complete Book of U.S. Presidents : From George Washington to George W. Bush
list price: $11.99
our price: $11.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0517183536
Catlog: Book (1997-04-06)
Publisher: Gramercy
Sales Rank: 5686
Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars
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This is the consummate guide to the political and personal lives of every U. S. president through Bill Clinton. Arranged chronologically, The Complete Book of U.S. Presidents elaborates not only on the major accomplishments and events of their terms, but also on less well-known details such as personalities, careers before the presidency, Supreme Court appointments, hobbies, ethnic backgrounds, and even extramarital affairs. Well-organized and packed with details, the book also includes a bibliography on each executive, including books written by and about them, along with useful and entertaining appendixes on the political composition of every Congress, presidential curiosities (such as the uncanny similarities between the lives and deaths of Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy), and a ranking of presidents. Whether you want to know the opponent of James Monroe in the election of 1816 or read some of Harry S. Truman's more memorable quotes, this is a most complete and thorough reference to each commander in chief. ... Read more

Reviews (23)

For people around the world interested in history and the workings of the U.S. Presidential sistem, this is the ultimate reference guide about U.S. Presidents. It provides a wealth of information about Presidents that are not well known, as well as little known facts about more famous Presidents. It is organized in 43 chapters, one for each President (with the exeption of Grover Cleveland which is treated in two chapters) and every President is covered according to headings such as: Physical description, personality, siblings, childhood, education, religion, marriage (in some cases extramarital or postmarital affairs),carrier before the Presidency, campaign and issues, inaugural address, Administration Cabinet, Supreme Court appointments, books written, etc.

5-0 out of 5 stars Good Reference on U.S. Presidential Administrations
This is a solid reference book. If you are looking for thumbnail sketches of U.S. Presidents and their administrations, this book will satisfy. The personal history of the president is here, family information, political career highlights, administration personnel, major issues faced, election results, quotes and opinions for and against. It is the kind of book I remember as a youngster that gives you enough information to fire one's thirst for historic knowledge -- great for browsing. Only complaint, the paper on which the work is printed is of a very inferior quality that is not the best one could ask for for reading -- also not particularly durable. These are production criticisms, the work is very good for its purpose.

4-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding book, disappointing revision
I am writing based on the 2001 hardcover edition.

This is an fascinating, very readable book. The research is excellent. The biographical facts about each president are fleshed out with narratives about their early lives, marriages, children, religious beliefs, careers, retirements, and more.

The political matters likewise get excellent treatment, with narratives about each president's nomination, campaign, election, and achivements. Each Cabinet member and most Supreme Court nominees get at least a short paragraph. There are also quotes by and about each president, including both praise and criticism. Far more than a dry series of lists and facts, the human touch makes this book very worthwhile for anyone fascinated by American history in general and the presidents in particular.

The book, originally published in 1983, is revised at least every four years. This edition covers events up to early 2001, so it includes the 2000 election, the Clinton pardons, and Bush Jr's initial appointments, but not September 11. The Clinton chapter from the previous edition has been completely rewritten and discusses that turbulent presidency at length.

Unfortunately, DeGregorio did not revise the pre-Clinton chapters, leaving them embarrassingly dated. The Bush Sr. chapter mentions nothing about his son becoming President, not even referring us to the Bush Jr. chapter especially added for this edition. Jackie Kennedy and Richard Nixon both died in 1994. Neither relevant chapter mentions these most basic facts, even though the book was revised in both 1997 and 2001.

This book is so detailed - where else can you find descriptions of John Tyler's (14!) children, James Garfield's extramarital affair, Andrew Johnson's religious views, and Calvin Coolidge's academic record - that I am amazed at this neglect.

The 1993 edition (which I recently replaced) gets five stars. The 2001 edition retains and adds to the excellent work from the previous editions - but the major omissions limit it to four stars.

5-0 out of 5 stars Not Just a Reference on U.S. Presidents, but on U.S. History
I was a history major in college and did some student teaching at the high school level. Whether I was working on an essay or preparing a lecture, this book was one of my favorite references. Not only does it offer well organized information on the Presidents (birth, childhood, family, education, etc.), it offers tons of information on the people, legislation, and events of their administrations. It describes cabinet members, laws that were passed, foreign relations, domestic issues, you name it. It saved me a lot of time in my research. The sections on the physical descriptions, personality traits and, in some cases, pre and extramarital affairs on each of the presidents was very interesting and offered info you normally do not find in other books. I highly recommend it.

5-0 out of 5 stars A great guide to the former presidents
If you are anything like myself you may enjoy reading about the love lives of former presidents or maybe what was George Washington like when he was younger. Or perhaps what profession did James Madison pursue before becoming president. If you do enjoy reading or learning about things such as these about the former presidents then you will love this book.

This book has facts from the president's religion to their accomplishments in office then to their marriage lives and former lovers. It has criticisms and praises on their terms in office as well as whom they appointed to their staff. It has the ranked every president with the exception of Bill Clinton since he was still in office at the time the book was written and George W. Bush since he had yet to be elected.

In simpler terms this book basically has every detail you may want to know about the former Presidents. This should be a definite pick up if you enjoy reading about the history and personal lives of the former presidents. ... Read more

44. How to Be Like Walt : Capturing the Disney Magic Every Day of Your Life (How to Be Like)
by Pat Williams, Jim Denney
list price: $13.95
our price: $10.46
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0757302319
Catlog: Book (2004-08-01)
Publisher: HCI
Sales Rank: 11276
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Book Description

An inspiring biography of one of the mostinfluential and beloved figures of the 21st century, based on more than a thousand interviews.

"I've read every book that has ever been written about Walt Disney, going back to some that were published in the 1930s. [How to Be Like Walt] is by far the most enjoyable to read of them all!"
Tim O'Day, Disney Scholar
"How to Be Like Walt is a fitting tribute to Walt's memory and an important contribution to the Disney legacy . . . Now more than ever, we need people with the qualities Walt had: optimism, imagination, creativity, leadership, integrity, courage, boldness, perseverance, commitment to excellence, reverence for the past, hope for tomorrow, and faith in God."
Art Linkletter

How to Be Like is a "character biography” series: biographies that also draw out important lessons from the life of their subjects. In this new book-by far the most exhaustive in the series-Pat Williams tackles one of the most influential people in recent history.

While many recent biographies of Walt Disney have reveled in the negative, this book takes an honest but positive look at the man behind the myth. For the first time, the book pulls together all the various strands of Disney's life into one straightforward, easy-to-read tale of imagination, perseverance, and optimism. Far from a preachy or oppressive tome, this book scrapes away the minutiae to capture the true magic of a brilliant maverick.

... Read more

45. Dereliction of Duty: The Eyewitness Account of How Bill Clinton Endangered America's Long-Term National Security
by Robert Patterson
list price: $27.95
our price: $27.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0895261405
Catlog: Book (2003-03-01)
Publisher: Regnery Publishing
Sales Rank: 15482
Average Customer Review: 3.27 out of 5 stars
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Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Robert "Buzz" Patterson was a military aide to President Clinton from May 1996 to May 1998 and one of five individuals entrusted with carrying the "nuclear football"—the bag containing the codes for launching nuclear weapons. This responsibility meant that he spent a considerable amount of time next to the president, giving him a unique perspective on the Clinton administration. Though he arrived at the job "filled with professional devotion and commitment to serve," he left believing that Clinton had "sown a whirlwind of destruction upon the integrity of our government, endangered our national security, and done enormous harm to the American military in which I served."

Dereliction of Duty is not a personal attack on President Clinton or a commentary on his various scandals; rather, it is a "frank indictment of his obvious—to an eyewitness—failure to lead our country with responsibility and honor." Lt. Col. Patterson offers a damning list of anecdotes and charges against the President, including how Clinton lost the nuclear codes and shrugged it off; how he stalled and lost the opportunity to launch a direct strike on Osama bin Laden at a confirmed location; how the President and the First Lady, and much of their staff, consistently treated members of the military with disrespect and disdain; and how Clinton groped a female Air Force enlisted member while aboard Air Force One, among other incidents large and small. A considerable portion of this slim book is devoted to the myriad ways in which President Clinton undermined the military, and hence the security, of the nation. He seriously questions Clinton's decisions to send troops to Somalia, Rwanda, Haiti, and Bosnia to accomplish non-military tasks without clear objectives. Having participated in each of these engagements, Lt. Col. Patterson personally "experienced the frustration of needlessly wasted lives, effort, and national prestige"as well as the alarmingly low morale that Clinton inspired.

This is certainly not the first anti-Clinton book, but it is different in that Patterson does not seem to have a political ax to grind. In fact, at times, he appears apologetic about having to write about his ex-commander in chief. Yet, in the end, this retired soldier felt his last act of service should be to share his experience with his country. --Shawn Carkonen ... Read more

Reviews (440)

5-0 out of 5 stars Book is Excellent! Liberals Up to Old Games!
Have any of you noticed that the reviews that receive one star generally do not address the specifics of the book, and the reviews that are 3+ do? It occurs to me that the liberals are still playing the "politics of personal destruction" that they learned during the Clinton years. In my estimation, 90% of the 1 star reviews attack Colonel Patterson personally with every vile comment they can think of. "How dare you," "Where is your honor?" "A disgrace to his service." Very few, if any, address the specific challenges and merits of this book. My God folks, this is an Air Force officer at the top of his game entrusted with the nation's highest security clearances. I choose to believe him. Those of you who care so little that even a second sentence is a challenge, read Sidney Blumenthal. I'm sure you'll buy his pap hook, line and sinker. For those who have not read the book and CARE to know the truth -- this book is extremely well written, well documented, and undeniably damaging to the Clintons, past, present, and future. It's high time we stamp out this blight on our country, our military, and with Hillary, possibly our future. President Clinton, as documented in these pages, was a horrible commander-in-chief, a committed liar, impeached and disbarred. Patterson retired with his integrity intact and the character to write this bestseller. God bless him and God bless our military. We need more like him, and less like "Major Bob," whose troops, I'm sure, are ready to frag.

5-0 out of 5 stars Sickness in the White House
I bought Patterson's book this evening and read it in a single sitting. I admit that I had very little respect for President Clinton while he occupied the White House, but had no idea of the depths of his unprofessional conduct until reading Patterson's account of his days as a milaid (military aide) to the President. After reading the book, it is clear to me that Clinton's behavior wasn't merely scandalous in some instances, it was truly a dereliction of duty in a few of them.

Patterson's account is both insightful and, at times, heart-breaking. He divides his time between relating the events he personally witnessed, and his analysis of the role Clinton's decadent attitudes and shallow personality played in Clinton policymaking--on both the domestic and foreign stages.

I've read a great many of the reviews posted here, and it is easy to see that they are divided between several five-star ratings (including my own) and a bevy of one-star ratings. Most of the one-star reviews consist of nothing more than accusatory posts concerning "conservative revenge", "hate-mongering", or "right-wing rating". But in NONE of those reviews do any of the reviewers respond to any of incidents Patterson presents. I was particularly amused by the reviews that castigate Patterson for his betrayal of trust--but make no mention of Clinton's far greater betrayals and disgraceful conduct. You even have one reviewer who claims to have witnessed the same events as Patterson and calls him a liar. Well, forgive me, but I'll take Patterson's word over that person's.

Just goes to show you that some people will never break out of the mold, never think for themselves, and be forever blinded by the hatred that they so eagerly accuse conservatives of wielding. That's why I have come to believe in recent years that liberalism is nothing more than a mental illness based upon unfettered emotionalism, hatred, and intellectual destitution.

Anyway, sorry to go off on a political tangent. Please, read the book for yourself.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Contrast to Bill and Hill's books
After reading some of the reviews attacking this book I could not wait to read it and post a review. Lets face it, the clinton's wasted 8 years in office, ruined the military and its moral and had more scandels then all previous administrations.
I think its rather odd that neither Bill or Hillary could remember anything during the Whitewater hearings, but can remember everything when it came time to get paid and write a book.
The Lt. Col brought more items to light then previously known and deserves to say what he needed to say. He earned it, and those that have served know the hardships of biting your tounge when on-duty. The clintons were and are the worst thing to happen to politics since the nixon fiasco.
Pick up the book and give it a chance.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Book to Compare to Clinton's Tripe
With Hillary's lumbering work last year and Bill's "Ain't I Great" book recently released, this is the book that keeps it all in perspective. Patterson served at Bill and Hill's right side and saw it all. He wrotes unemotionally about the chaos, lack of vision, and sheer unadulterated waste that was the Clinton administration. While Clintonites wag their collective fingers and bemoan conservatives who won't "move on," the Clintons seem to be the only people who refuse to do so.

Patterson's not digging up old wounds, he's artfully detailing the many ways Clinton failed in his responsibilites as commander in chief. Patterson doesn't delve into Monica, or Paula, or Kathleen, although God knows I wish he had, he writes matter of factly, like the military officer he is. He obviously takes the high road and carefully twists the knife in liberals' sides without them even knowing it.

I just read this book, didn't realize it had been a New York Times best seller for six months and wonder, "where is the media outrage?" We get plenty of political spin-meisters but when a man of obvious courage, integrity, and the one-time holder of one of the most prestigious positions in the military can't get any play, one must wonder. We truly are a nation of sheep, herded down whatever road ABC, CBS, NBC and the New York Times would have us go.

This is an excellent read, a page turner, and well documented from a man who had the access. Pick it up and ignore the liberal bleeting.

2-0 out of 5 stars Who's Wagging the Dog?
Obviously the author thought there was still additional money to be wrung out of beating the now-dead Clinton horse. This book is incredibly thin and weak on real facts, lacks any context or understanding. Read something like Benjamin and Simon's "Age of Sacred Terror" for the in-depth story of the fight against terror during the Clinton years.

As an example of Patterson's non-existent and totally biased reportage, he briefly mentions the cruise missle attack on the Sudanese chemical plant at al-Shifa. He decries this as Clinton's weak response to the al-Qaeda bombings of US embassies. But he fails to mention how the Republican Congress and their Whitewater-crazed lackies in the media pounded on Clinton even for this response, repeatedly (and unjustly) calling it nothing more than "wagging the dog." No mention by Patterson of how a Republican Congress obsessed with Clinton's dick blocked all efforts to fight al-Qaeda before 9/11. How the right-wing Wall Street Journal editoral page was attacking the Clinton Admin.'s "obsession" with bin Ladin.

When National Security adviser Sandy Berger stated the U.S. intelligence had "very specific intelligence" on the plant, which was financed in part by bin Ladin, anti-Clinton intelligence officers told the media that they were "taken aback" by Berger's claims and that information that "came from garbled intercepts and a series of walk-ins [i.e., defectors]" was "while not without merit, different from any number of walki-ins that come in all the time." If only these intelligence officers and the media and Congress had been so skeptical about Bush's WMDs and "yellowcake"! ... Read more

46. Why Sinatra Matters
by Pete Hamill
list price: $24.00
our price: $24.00
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Asin: 0316347965
Catlog: Book (1998-10-01)
Publisher: Little Brown and Company
Sales Rank: 117492
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

As products of the same urban landscape, Pete Hamill and Frank Sinatra have both been credited with giving the American city a voice. In this widely acclaimed and bestselling appreciation--now available in paperback for the first time--Hamill draws on his intimate experience of the man and the music to evoke the essence of Sinatra, illuminating the singer's art and his legend from the point of view of a confidant and a fan. ... Read more

Reviews (23)

4-0 out of 5 stars A wonderful read--like an old song
Pete Hamill, beyond a doubt, is an excellent writer. He does a wonderful job here. The book is part bio, part history of immigrants in America, and part memoir. It works on all levels. Hamill treats Frank with the respect he deserves. The book is not a gossipy memoir--Kitty Kelly fans should look elsewhere. Instead, he makes the important arguement that Sinatra gave voice to first, a generation, and then an entire country. His artisty is what matters. The myth of the man is fun and gets most the attention, but that is besides the point for Hamill. And he is right. We all talk about the "Sinatra in a hat" (as Hamill dubs him) and the Rat Pack--but the music endures. It is, argues Hamill, what matters in the Wee Small Hours of the Morning. It is what will stand the test of time and give voice to a thousand broken dreams, hearts, and help us--like Frank after the Fall--get back up and start all over again. Thanks, Pete Hamill for getting it right.

5-0 out of 5 stars There will never be another...
I only saw my hero, Frank Sinatra, perform once. It was at the end of his career - and his life. It was a strange evening; he was obviously at the end - he couldn't remember the words to his songs or read the teleprompter. Few people left however - the evening soon became about us - his fans - letting him know that we still loved him. "I LOVE YOU FRANK!" a huge, middle-aged, rough-looking man yelled out during a pause. Sinatra, taken aback by the violence of the outburst, chuckled and replied, "I love you too, pal." As Pete Hamill once pointed out, "Seeing Sinatra in ruins is like seeing the Coliseum in ruins - it's still magnificent."

Why Sinatra Matters is a must-read for any Sinatra-phile. In the Overture, Hamill cites Sinatra's death as the impetus for writing this book. He saw all these young reporters from MTV and VH1 doing stories on Sinatra (obviously prepared in advance) telling the world Sinatra was important, without really understanding why. It certainly wasn't just because he did it "his way."

This is a very short book. As Hamill points out it is not a "definitive biography" - although once he was in talks with Sinatra to write just that. It is, as the title plainly states, an explanation of why Sinatra matters - artistically and culturally - and why he always will. In terms of Culture, Hamill reminds the reader of a time when America felt it was morally obligated to persecute Italians - Sinatra helped change all that. Musically, the reasons are more complex. To put it succinctly, no one ever sounded like Sinatra before.

The book is great because it also sheds light on Sinatra the man, who is often lost in the obscurity of his own public image. He was not just some gruff tough guy - a kind of idiot savant who could churn out a great recording in one take. He was a fiercely intelligent, well-read, well-cultured, self-educated man who worked hard at his craft. The most enjoyable parts of the book are the conversations Hamill recounts between himself and Sinatra. Most shocking of all - to me at least - was to imagine Sinatra using the F-word!

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book, horrible book-on-tape
Do not buy the book on tape! Get it in hardcover or paperback.

This is a fine little book, but it's the first book on tape I have had to turn off because the narrator's voice was too grating (and I've listened to tons of books on tape). Had it been read by the author himself, certainly allowances could be made. Instead, the publisher went out to find a professional reader and chose someone who speaks in an harsh, barking monotone, one part Howard Cosell, one part Rain Man, one part the guy who does the Moviephone listings. When the voice first came on, reading the copyright information and other technical details, I assumed that, well, that's just the preliminaries, surely someone else will narrate the rest of the tape. Nope. Amazing.
I have switched to the print version, which is excellent.

5-0 out of 5 stars "It's a quarter to three and there' s no one in the place...
I've read several books on Sinatra;But this one is really different.Hamill is an excellent writer and shows us why Sinatra matters;this was not done in other books.He has also shown what made Sinatra so popular,what influenced the changes in his audiences and without coming right out and saying so;why there won't nor can't ever be another one like him.He also reveals the art form that Sinatra perfected in his voice.
As great as Sinatra's music was;it was Sinatra as a man,and all that he represented, as well as the use of the microphone like a painter uses a brush;that made him so great.
Read this book;it will give you a deeper appreciation of Sinatra.

3-0 out of 5 stars Why Sinatra Matters is a fine book.
Pete Hamill is a fine reporter who knew Frank Sinatra as a friend. Sinatra was an enigmatic, charismatic and complex singer of the American soul. Perhaps no singer in 20th century America popular song could get inside a lyric and make it his own like the great "ole blue eyes."
Hamill's opening chapter in which we sit beside Sinatra and his cronies in a Brooklyn bar in 1970 is like something out of Hemingway in its description of a man, era and city.
Hamill points out that it was Sinatra in music, Laguardia in politics and Joe Dimaggio in sports who raised the immigrant Italian ethnic group to greatness in insular, xenophobic America of the 1940s.
Sinatrta could be obnoxious and cruel but he could also be
generous and kind,
This book reminds me of the Penguin Lives series as it is a good starting place for anyone who wants to learn more about Sinatra, his women, his era and most importantly his music. The music will live forever in the American soul.
Sinatra did it his way and Hamill does a fine job of writing in this interesting little book. A good read to take on vacation or a long flight. I recommend it. ... Read more

47. A Matter Of Character: Inside The White House Of George W. Bush
by Ronald Kessler
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
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Asin: 1595230009
Catlog: Book (2004-08-05)
Publisher: Sentinel
Sales Rank: 2262
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George W. Bush is a direct and decisive man who is much nicer to his Secret Service agents than Bill Clinton was, according to author Ronald Kessler, and smarter than his critics believe him to be. A Matter of Character, Kessler's examination of the 43rd U.S. President, treads lightly on policy issues as the author instead focuses on Bush's positive personality traits and relates how those traits are positive indicators of his ability as a policymaker and leader of the world's lone superpower. Kessler spoke to several Bush cabinet members, long time friends of Bush, and other associates who speak, perhaps not surprisingly, in glowing terms of what a great guy he is. As for the criticisms of Bush, such as handling of pre-9/11 intelligence, the war in Iraq, and the economy, Kessler dismisses them as the product of jealous former employees, and a pervasive, biased liberal media (particularly Washington Post reporter Dana Milbank). By attacking the accusers instead of thoroughly dissecting the accusations, Kessler misses out on an opportunity to defend the president in a more substantive way. The portrait that ultimately emerges of Bush is not a particularly complicated one. He appears to be a man without flaw, and the book presents a similarly simple view of the greater political landscape: Bush and his allies as honest, shrewd, and virtuous, all others as jerks, fools, and ditherers. A Matter of Character lacks the complexity of Plan of Attack, the book Bob Woodward wrote after gaining similarly close access to Bush and his cabinet. It's more like a forceful piece of campaign material, passionate in its advocacy of the candidate and complete with a heroic black-and-white photograph on the cover, which will give Bush supporters plenty to cheer about. --John Moe ... Read more

48. Gandhi An Autobiography:The Story of My Experiments With Truth
by Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Mahadev Desai, Sissela Bok
list price: $15.00
our price: $10.20
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Asin: 0807059099
Catlog: Book (1993-11-01)
Publisher: Beacon Press
Sales Rank: 4983
Average Customer Review: 4.44 out of 5 stars
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Gandhi's nonviolent struggles in South Africa and India had already brought him to such a level of notoriety, adulation, and controversy that when asked to write an autobiography midway through his career, he took it as an opportunity to explain himself. Although accepting of his status as a great innovator in the struggle against racism, violence, and, just then, colonialism, Gandhi feared that enthusiasm for his ideas tended to exceed a deeper understanding. He says that he was after truth rooted in devotion to God and attributed the turning points, successes, and challenges in his life to the will of God. His attempts to get closer to this divine power led him to seek purity through simple living, dietary practices (he called himself a fruitarian), celibacy, and ahimsa, a life without violence. It is in this sense that he calls his book The Story of My Experiments with Truth, offering it also as a reference for those who would follow in his footsteps. A reader expecting a complete accounting of his actions, however, will be sorely disappointed.

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

Reviews (50)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

49. The Motorcycle Diaries : A Latin American Journey
by Ernesto Che Guevara, Cintio Vitier, Aleida Guevara
list price: $14.95
our price: $10.17
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1876175702
Catlog: Book (2003-08-15)
Publisher: Ocean Press
Sales Rank: 551
Average Customer Review: 4.43 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

These travel diaries capture the essence and exuberance of the young legend, Che Guevara. In January 1952, Che set out from Buenos Aires to explore South America on an ancient Norton motorcycle. He encounters an extraordinary range of people -- from native Indians to copper miners, lepers and tourists -- experiencing hardships and adventures that informed much of his later life.

This expanded, new edition from Ocean Press, published with exclusive access to the Che Guevara Archives held in Havana, includes a preface by Che's daughter, Aleida Guevara. It also features previously unpublished photos (taken by Che on his travels), as well as new, unpublished parts of the diaries, poems and letters.

In January 2004, the film by the same name, The Motorcycle Diaries, will have its world premiere at the Sundance International Film Festival, in Park City, Utah. Directed by Walter Salles (Central Station, Behind the Sun), produced by Robert Redford and with a screenplay by José Rivera, the film stars the up-and-coming Mexican actor Gael García Bernal (Amores Perros, Y Tu Mamá También, The Crimes of Father Amaro). ... Read more

Reviews (30)

4-0 out of 5 stars Rethinking Che's 'Motorcycle Diaries '
Like the book's very title, two out of three comments on the cover of the book are absurd and entirely misleading. "Easy Rider meets Das Kapital" and "It's true; Marxists just wanna have fun" could not have been written by people who read this book and took it seriously. First, there is not one moment in the book where Che might offer us a hint that he had already studied Marx. If anything, there appears a crude and commonsensical 'discovery' of the plight of the poor from the part of an immature white bourgeois. Secondly, to imply that the book is just about having fun misses this very crucial point that there is a 'discovery' being made, however superficial it may seem. I think the implications of this discovery were to be more deeply felt only in the next few years following Che's first South America trip.

It is rather unfortunate that the book has been subjected to this form of misleading marketing. But this aspect aside, Che's writing itself should be valued for its insight into the future revolutionary's mind. In between an often confused prose, unsuccessful jokes and a linear and seemingly uneventful (because it is nothing but eventful) storyline, we find a clear inclination toward military tactics, as the lengthy and impressive analysis of possible defence strategies at Machu Picchu reveals. As we know from biographical work, this was indeed Che's strong point, as opposed to Marxist theory.

I cannot help saying I was in a certain sense disappointed with The Motorcycle Diaries. Although I had been told that it would dispel any romantic ideas I had about Che, I was not quite prepared for the shock. The feeling that his political analyses were crude to the point of being racist and that his typical Argentine parochialism seeped through the pages only made his choice of style, a distanced, unreflective approach all the more difficult to wade through. But, with a few weeks' hindsight, I must admit that this revolution in the way I see El Che has actually been quite beneficial to the very romanticism of the picture I have of him in my mind. There is more character, more depth, to the blend. Out of the three comments on the cover, then, I can only stick with the third: "Politically-correct revolutionary hero ? Perhaps a few years later, but in this account Che Guevara comes over as one of the lads."

5-0 out of 5 stars che's diary blazed a trail across my own adventuresome heart
although this book was edited by che some time after returning from south america, he acknowledges this at the beginning of the book by saying, "the person who wrote these notes died the day he stepped back on argentine soil. the person who is reorganizing and polishing them, me, is no longer me, at least i'm not the me i was." and in the next paragraph, commenting on how people might interpret his words he states, "i present a nocturnal picture, you have to take it or leave it, it's not important. unless you know the landscape my diary photographed you've no option but to accept my version." it doesn't get much more simple than that. take me or leave me, i don't care.

i read the pages of "the motorcyle diaries," and was completely blown away! i wanted to be right there on la poderosa with che and his amigo, alberto - drinking at all the dives; conversing with the people; playing soccer with whatever team, in whatever town/country they happened to be; scamming places to eat and sleep, and making their way across the continent on the back de la poderosa until, bless her little hot-rod heart, she literally came apart. then, it was hitching, stowing away on boats, and, finally, floating downriver atop a not-so-navigable homemade raft, the whole while surrounded by the mystery and beauty of wild and mountainous south america. it was an awesome adventure to share! che's writing style is so conversational, and his wit will run up on you like a hairpin turn. i laughed out loud so many times. might i suggest you get a map of south america before turning the cover of this fantastic, freaking adventure. believe me, you'll get so wrapped up in it that you'll want to pinpoint each madcap pitstop. en fin, this is a tale of a grand adventure, of determination, willpower, curiousity, and guts. a great first read of the che. he was a believer in the underdog. sin duda.

5-0 out of 5 stars In his own words
Felix Rodriguez, an anti-Castro Cuban who was sent to assasinate Che, said he was a fascinating man he wanted to know better and felt sad at having to hunt him. He protested at Che's execution.

With that insight, I eagerly read The Motorcycle Diaries. They are very well written, amazingly entertaining, witty and occasionally insightful and the translation is not only excellent, but well-referenced where terms are transliterated.

Personally, I wound up detesting the little troll. He and his friend masqueraded as experts on leprosy, which they milked for guest space and food. They stole liquor, whined about hospitality until they got even better fare and generally were locusts on the local economy. Che complains mightily about bureaucracy and control that keeps him from his wants (The lack of border stops some places, which made it harder to cadge rides from passing trucks), yet makes a point of mentioning his illegally carried revolver and knife that he smuggled through other border checkpoints (and heck, who wouldn't, when traveling like that?). In other words, "If I want it, it's good government. If I don't, it's bad." The true moral dishonesty of the Latin communist comes through.

And yet...he was honest enough to preface the book with a note that it represented only a momentary view of his life at that time and place. He didn't edit out any of the bad. The contrast and complexity is fascinating, and I'll have to find more to read about a no doubt highly intelligent man.

Love him or hate him, the book is honest in its documentation and pulls no punches. It's a great period piece, a great low-budget travelog, and a journal of a young, brilliantly stupid college punk like lots of us were. I can't recommend it highly enough. If you want to understand the Latin communists or Che, you must read this.

5-0 out of 5 stars Easy Rider goes Marxist
It is a beautiful thing to see the political awakening of a young man. And it becomes even more notorious when we know that this man will be a true revolutionary years later.

'The Motorcycle Diaries' is the account of a journey made by Ernesto 'Che' Guevara and his friend Alberto Granado throughout South America in early 1950's. Beginning as a pair of youngsters' journey, this trip become more a self-discovering journey having as background the impoverished and exploited, but above all, not well known America.

As most young people, Che and Granado had late-adolescent angst and trying to find a relief they went in a journey in the heart of South America, trying to find what was beyond their middle-class homes. What they find out was much more than what they were expecting to: poor people, with almost no conditions of living, consumed by diseases and being exploited and ignored by the government and the system.

It is a joy to see Che transforming from almost a brat into a real man of value, fulfilled with social and political conscience, caring for the poor and sick people. At first, he and his friends are only two guys who want to be on the road and learn about the world. But little did they know how was this world they were about to learn about.

Nearly the end, Che is another completely different person. He, now, has social and political thoughts --almost Marxist ideas -- about the world we live in and how South America has been systematically exploited throughout the years.

Sometimes painfully funny, sometimes extremely sad 'The Motorcycle Diaries' is a pleasant read, written with heart and soul, by someone who was destined to be big, a person who was destined to change and touch the lives of thousands --as Che did indeed.

5-0 out of 5 stars If you want to know the man before the revolution
In October I went to Cuba and began to learn a tremendous amount about Ernesto "Che" Guevara. Just before reading this book I read two other by him, Reminiscences of a Cuban Revolution and The Che Guevara Reader. If you want to know the man before the revolution, this is the book to read. It is a very interesting book. It is details his trip from his home in Argentina around much of South America. It reads at times like a travel guide which is what I suppose people would write in their travel diaries - what they see and what they thought. My favorite parts were when Guevara told what he thought of life and his experiences while on the road. He writes of the low opinion many people have of the indigenous populations, the exploitation of the land and the populace and the suffering he and his traveling companion endured. The are also very light moments of frivolity and fun. You truly get a sense of who he is and what he values. I was left wanting more, not for want of lack of description but because I wanted to know of who he was. He was a remarkable figure and an great writer. He paints quite a picture with his words. ... Read more

50. The Uniter : The Genius of Abraham Lincoln
by Doris Kearns Goodwin
list price: $30.00
our price: $19.80
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Asin: 0684824906
Catlog: Book (2005-10-01)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Sales Rank: 11390
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51. RN: The Memoirs of Richard Nixon
by Richard Nixon
list price: $35.00
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Asin: 0671707418
Catlog: Book (1990-05-15)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Sales Rank: 204198
Average Customer Review: 4.15 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (20)

4-0 out of 5 stars In his own words
For anyone fascinated by the only president in history to resign from office, Richard Nixon in his own words provides the first-hand account of the reasons for the events that triggered a national civil and presidential history crisis. "I saw Watergate as politics pure and simple," Nixon writes, adding he'd "play it tough" because his "enemies" would. But Nixon's downfall is put a part of this extensively written memoir, focusing also on the ex-president's incredible achievements as a peacemaker and his rise to national recognition as a fervent anti-Communist and his about-face in reaching out to the world's two most powerful communist countries (China and the former Soviet Union) once in office. Much of Nixon's own memories have been written in other publications, but this one adds (to a very limited degree) some reasons for the abstracts that were Richard Nixon. He tells us the night of his first presidential race loss to John F. Kennedy was the longest of his life, hinting that the election embittered him the rest of his public life. Yet, 12 years later, in 1972, when he was overwhelmingly endorsed by the American public in one of history's most lopsided presidential races, Nixon admittedly was unable to savor the mandate of the nation's choice, instead caught in some inexplicable dark mood caused by, Nixon profers, the looming storm of Watergate, his party's failure to wrest the House and Senate from the Democrats, or whatever else was at the core of the very man himself. Nixon, in his own words, is a mandatory addition to any Nixon library, and its historical value is apparent even if the reader disagrees with the man's explanation for some of the petty characteristics that brought down what may well have been one of the most productive presidential administrations in history.

5-0 out of 5 stars Definitely Worth Reading
Nixon's book is excellent reading and a must for all those who appreciate history. He's a good writer, and easy to pick up for the average reader. Scholars will also enjoy it. There's a good chunk of the American Century covered in this tome: he becomes a Congressman in the late 1940s, and you get to learn about HUAC and the Alger Hiss case which made him famous. Then he is quickly a Senator until he's tapped by Ike to be Vice-President. Next his failed presidential bid and governor bid of the '60s. Then the comeback that no one thought was possible. Nixon is really insightful in this book. He spends the most time on his presidency and it's really interesting. It ends after his presidency in the '70s, so you have over 25 years of political history plus his personal life before that. It's a very long book (1000+ pages) but well worth it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Still impressed with the book
I first read this memoir 20 years ago. I was in my early twenties but even then it caught my interest and held it throughout the whole book. I have recently looked through it again. It's a lengthy tome, but well-written, with good characterization, and details that enlivens events for the reader. It was the first of its genre to turn me onto other presidential memoirs but none I read afterwards ever matched the depth of his.
The book not only describes his personal and family life but key players and world events at the time, a good study in political history now. There was plenty going on during his presidential years, a war abroad and civil unrest at home. He did not end the war as soon as he should have - the memoirs could not dodge this, as well they should not. That fact alone, and the loss of life entailed by it, mattered more to me than Watergate ever did.
But I liked and respected Nixon, even during the Watergate years. And in his memoirs, he was candid about his actions of those days and accepting of the consequences.
Whatever else history may say about him, Richard Nixon had been a major political figure for many years of his life, served his country and cared deeply about it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Nixon's Take On History
My girlfriend asked me what the heck I was doing reading Nixon's memoirs. I said, "because it's always good to know what the bad guy's are up to." I'm certainly no Nixon fan. I wasn't before I read this book and I'm not now that I've read it. But, like any presidential memoir (LBJ's The Vantage Point is another example), they have to be read not as an impartial historical text but as a political document in which the ex-president attempts to establish his own legacy before his critics have the chance. Nixon's is no different. It's well-written, fairly candid, and, for anyone interested in the amazingly tumultuous times he lived in, very interesting to read his take on his life. Just always remember, though, that this is how HE wanted us to see his life.

5-0 out of 5 stars Other than Nixon, no man knows his history...
Despite all the garbage that is proliferated about Nixon today, anyone who reads RN's work will see the true Richard Nixon. Although you may detest his politics, you will understand his perspective and why he was motivated to living in the "fishbowl," was an ardent anti-communist, why he bombed Cambodia, and why he disliked the media. Although the reader may disagree with RN, he or she will understand his idealist goals of ending and inaugurating a new era of peace. Unfortunately, watergate happened and the U.S. would not recover until the Reagan administration. A must read for any person interested in Nixon and the work is far more resourceful than any of RN's biographers. ... Read more

52. The Elvis Treasures
list price: $50.00
our price: $42.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375506268
Catlog: Book (2002-07)
Publisher: Villard
Sales Rank: 56652
Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A collection of removable reproductions of rare Elvis® memorabilia, direct from Graceland®! With the help of archivists from Elvis Presley Enterprises, this unique compilation shares the King’s life story through reproductions of handwritten letters, press releases, movie scripts, and never-before-seen photographs. Also features evocative text from renowned author Robert Gordon, and Elvis Speaks, an exclusive 60-minute audio CD of candid conversations with Elvis himself. Includes such treasures as:

- A copy of Elvis’s first RCA recording contract
- Replicas of concert tickets
- A reproduction of Elvis’s personal wallet and its contents
- Facsimiles of telegrams Vernon Presley received at the time of Elvis’s death
- And much more!

The avid collector’s dream come true! ... Read more

Reviews (6)

4-0 out of 5 stars The King's treasures
Mr Gordon does a decent job of telling Elvis' life story, although it's a story that is well known by now. The real treasures here are the rare documents and memorabilia from the Graceland archives. There are a lot of things that will be of interest to the Elvis fan. Oh, and there is also an audio CD featuring interviews with Elvis. The interviews are worth listening to once, but I don't think many people would want to listen to them multiple times.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Elvis Treasures
Someone had purchased this book for me. I was so impressed with its contents/documents/photos and information that I ordered the same book for a person I know who is an Elvis impersonator. He was over-joyed to receive it and claimed he had never come across such a great book! It is a book to treasure.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Choice for Elvis fans
When I purchased this book, I really couldn't put it down. It has some amazing stories and literature in it. It also contains letters that he wrote, letters that were sent to him, tickets, etc. This is a perfect gift for the Elvis fans!

4-0 out of 5 stars Admitted Elvis Junkie
This book I received as a gift. A most welcome one at that. The text is highlights of his life. For us knowledgeable about Elvis there is nothing new here. The neat thing here is all of the removable memorabilia. So let me talk about that. Some interesting notes he wrote on the back of a press release for his upcoming 1970 season in Vegas; black tights, fix bracelets, record player for dressing room, scarves blue, etc. guitar reef (anybody know what that is?) for dressing room and new flowers for piano, gator aid for stage, a list of songs for his show; The Fair Is Moving On, The Grass Won't Pay No Mind, Without Love, This Is The Story, Only The Strong Survive. He goes back and forth from printing to cursive writing. He did not have very neat handwriting. And how about seeing the script for the karate documentary Elvis wanted to make in the late 70's - that's here too. It looks to be written in/by different hands.

Then there is the 10-track interview CD. The interviews range in date from 1955 to 1972. Included here is probably the longest Elvis interview I ever heard. The date for the interview is Sept. 1962 with Lloyd Shearer for Parade Magazine. He talks about sports; football is his favorite sport, karate, and boxing. Books he's read, mostly educational, some philosophy and a little poetry. His friends, his father, the death of his mother, his cars, possible future marriage, his loneliness, his own mortality, how he feels about himself, his temper. His image and how it has changed and his desire to improve all aspects of his career. It's not all serious. He and Shearer joke and people can be heard laughing in the backround. Another noteworthy interview is the 1956 Paul Wilder Tv Guide interview. Wilder reads to Elvis selections from Herb Rowe's drag-'em-through-the-mud-review of Elvis' music, his performances, his fans and his religion. You can also hear Gladys and Vernon interviewed in 1956. Glady's favorite songs are: Baby, Let's Play House and Don't Be Cruel. Vernon likes too many to name but he comes up with Hound Dog.

5-0 out of 5 stars Incredible Memorabilia!
THE ELVIS TREASURES is great fun! Every page hold something new in the way of removable, facsimile reproductions of all kinds of great memorabilia. (Graceland provided the memorabilia for this book, and there really are some exceptional pieces.) The author has also done a good job of hitting the key points of Elvis's life and bringing the story of Elvis alive. This, combined with a vibrant and exiciting design, makes for a great gift for anyone who is an Elvis fan. ... Read more

53. Walt Disney's Nine Old Men and the Art of Animation
by John Canemaker
list price: $60.00
our price: $39.60
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0786864966
Catlog: Book (2001-10-31)
Publisher: Disney Editions
Sales Rank: 63517
Average Customer Review: 4.33 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (3)

4-0 out of 5 stars I want John Canemaker's privileges
Once again John Canemaker has made me envious of his access to such beautiful artwork. The behind-the-scene stories of the personalities who created the characters we grew up with is wonderful. A gorgeous book with illustrations that make it worth the money all by themselves.

5-0 out of 5 stars Nine Lives
So much has been written and said about several of these nine legendary Disney animators that I very much doubted a lot of new ground was going to be broken, especially in a Hyperion release, but Canemaker rises to the task here, and then some. I was most interested in artists like Les Clark and Johnny Lounsbery, who have received less attention than some of the others. Canemaker not only brings them vividly to life with meticulous research, but he also manages to bring new information and fresh insight to all nine of his fascinating subjects. No matter how well you thought you knew the Nine Old Men and their work, there's plenty here for you. This book reveals the lives and personalities of these men, analyzes their contributions extraordinarily well, and also their working and personal relationships with each other, and presents great new visual material from their lives in and away from the studio. The Kimball stuff is a special treat.

Who could have imagined that Marc Davis' early life was as interesting as his work? Or that Kimball and Kahl were even crazier than you thought (and even more brilliant)? Ot that the master, Frank Thomas, actually struggled with his draftsmanship? Canemaker captures the promise of each of these men's pre-Disney careers and the spark in the work that caught Walt's attention is always evident. He also captures the human quirks that played a tremendous role in the golden age of the studio and often found its way onto the screen as well.

Much of this information and all of Canemaker's excellent insight would not have come to light without his diligent effort and research, and the result is a well-written, revealing, tasteful, and very visual masterpiece.

PS We lost the great, one-and-only Ward Kimball recently...only Ollie Johnston and Frank Thomas are still with us now. God bless you both.

4-0 out of 5 stars Discovering the Genius Of Exactly What Made Disney "Disney"
John Canemaker has given readers the Disney animation book that's been missing for decades. Only it's the Readers Digest version. Canemaker is forced to compact nine amazing biographies into one book. Each of his nine subjects - the core group of gifted animators who defined the look and feel of Disney animation from the 1930's through the 1970's - is deserving of far more time and space than a single volume can deliver. Nevertheless, he's done an amazing job, and he introduces us to these men with the same careful critical objectivity he did in "Before the Animation Begins", Canemaker's marvelous 1996 book focusing on the great Disney visual development and story artists.
The author gives us the best un-fairy-dusted glimpse of the real day-to-day workings of Disney's shop since animator Jack Kinney's 1988 "Walt Disney And Assorted Other Characters" (admittedly limited in objectivity, but still enormously entertaining in its candor.) It's impossible not to feel the same admiration and passion as the author. Even in his harsher analysis of temperaments and turmoil the author is writing about the best of times among a group of very real artistic heroes who were such extraordinary people that you'd have treasured any time you could have spent in their company. Sadly, Canemaker only gets to brush on topics such as how the old generation influenced the new. Many of the current generation of Disney artists are interviewed for this book and they have a great deal of insight to contribute (both Andreas Dejas and John Lasseter in particular)and one wishes that the author had been afforded the luxury of a more critical analysis of the older generation's influence on this generation -- both by their presence and their absence; e.g. - in the best chapter in the book, Milt Kahl is characterized as having had the greatest influence on the look of Disney characters. Questions about what affect Kahl's abrupt departure in 1976 had on the next generation - whether by way of his absence or his reluctance to be a true mentor - deserve more space than alotted. Similarly, the reader wants to know more about how veteran Eric Larson was treated by Disney executives who handed over "The Small One" to the ambitious Don Bluth, who later broke ranks and left the studio to start his own production company leaving the studio talent pool seriously decimated.
Canemaker is both the obvious choice and greatest risk for authoring this important animated version of "The Lives of the Artists" (Cainmaker states it was his hope to emulate Vasari's work) as he is admittedly very close to two of his subjects - animators and authors Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston. Similarly, Ward Kimball and the late Marc Davis were friends of the author's, but he pulls fewer punches in his sharp but loving focus on the latter two. Even so, it would be hard to imagine any other author would have such an unprecedented level of trust from his subjects and their parent company, and thus such privileged access. And though his focus seems less sharp in the chapters on Thomas and Johnston, any biographer suffers from similar lapses when focusing on a living subject, particularly one whom they and the vast majority of the public hold in great affectionate esteem.
The book makes it clear that the memories of the living affect a much harsher view of the dead from among this old boy's network of disparate personalities who helped to define something as far reaching in popular culture as Disney's animated characters. Withered rivalries and carefully aged egos still pepper the perspective here and it only adds to the books ability to evoke something real, and not just the Halceon days of animation. The fact that the dead can't defend themselves even through living relatives and numerous ex-wives is a minor and admittedly unavoidable flaw, and in his preface Canemaker attempts to acknowledge it with a quote from a letter from Thomas to the author re undertaking the project. Even with obvious affection personal favorites, the author has done a terrific job of sharing insights into the passions of each of these nine men whose personalities were made immortal once filtered through such old friends as Captain Hook and Cruella DeVil.
It's to Canemaker's credit that we long for even more on each of these animators -- particularly Kahl and Larson -- and more examples of what made them great animators. Which brings us to the book's only glaring flaw: the illustrations. There simply aren't enough examples of scenes and sequences attributed to each artist -- particularly raw pencil drawings -- and the quality of photo reproductions from finished film frames and other archival material seems oddly yellow or green in tint and not up to the usual Disney publishing standards. e.g. a series of frames showing the Duke from "Cinderella" rolling his monocle between his fingers is so dark that you can barely see the referenced movement it serves to illustrate. This is greatly disappointing. Granted that many such sequences are found in Thomas & Johnston's "The Illusion of Life", but the book is out of print, and the vast resources of the Disney Animation Research Library as well as Mr. Canemaker's personal collection must be able to yield fresher and more fitting illustrations than what's found here. Again, Kahl's chapter gives us more to feast on than others, but it still isn't enough. After all, this is a visual medium we're discussing and a picture here only serves to give us reason to read another thousand written words. But, be that as it may, the book is both a MUST READ and a MUST HAVE for anyone interested in film history, animation, acting and/or Disneyana, and one hopes that Mr. Canemaker's upcoming book on Disney artist Mary Blair heralds a series of more extensive and more intimate (and hopefully much better illustrated) biographies on Kahl, Davis, Reitherman et. al. A long awaited and fine accomplishment, and easily the best book from Disney's publishing arm in 2001. ... Read more

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

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

Reviews (68)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jack in Toronto

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

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

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

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

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

Reviews (53)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

57. Trump : The Art of the Deal
list price: $19.95
our price: $13.96
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0394555287
Catlog: Book (1987-11-12)
Publisher: Random House
Sales Rank: 7793
Average Customer Review: 3.83 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (36)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

58. The Eloquent President : A Portrait of Lincoln Through His Words
by Ronald C. White Jr.
list price: $26.95
our price: $17.79
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Asin: 1400061199
Catlog: Book (2005-01-11)
Publisher: Random House
Sales Rank: 13203
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (5)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reviews (98)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

60. Ben Hogan : An American Life
list price: $27.50
our price: $18.15
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385503121
Catlog: Book (2004-05-11)
Publisher: Doubleday
Sales Rank: 4612
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars An Extraordinary Biography of a Complex Champion
Kudos to James Dodson, who enthralls readers with his account of the life of golfing legend Ben Hogan. From the suicide of Hogan's father, his newspaper hawking at crowded train stations to help his family make ends meet, and his dogged pursuit of caddying opportunities and, ultimately, his single-minded quest for success in the world of professional golf, Dodson portrays a great champion that was full of contradictions. Hogan craved solitude, yet occasionally basked in the adulation of his many fans. He could be short and rude with reporters, yet gracious and generous with so many others outside of the glare of cameras or the pens of reporters. Hogan suffered some epic tournament collapses as he struggled to master his game, yet he became one of the greatest fourth-round players in PGA history. Along the way, he fashioned one of the greatest comebacks in sports history, emerging from a potentially fatal and debilitating automobile accident to enjoy his greatest victories in tournament golf.

Dodson uses his unprecedented access to primary source materials and correspondance from Hogan's life to masterfully tell the complicated tale of this amazing champion. This book is a "must read" for any fan of golf, or anyone who cherishes stories of human triumph in the face of incredible adversity.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Real Hogan
I am so grateful for this book. A previous, unauthorized biography based much on the author's conjecture, painted a less than flattering picture of arguably golf's greatest hero, the only man to win five U.S. Opens, and nearly several more. This authorized biography, resplendent with stories and comments from family, friends, fellow golfers, employees, etc., reveals the real man the public seldom saw and the reasons why. It rivals the best of Horatio Alger's rags to riches stories and it is true.

The rich description of life on the Tour before the days of television was particullarly interesting, telling the story of how the Tour was really built by the likes of Hogan, Snead, Nelson, Demaret, and the other champions of their era. Their efforts and perseverance created the wave that latter day stars rode to unbelievable popularity via the benefit of TV.

Congratulations and thanks to Dodson for a wonderful work.

5-0 out of 5 stars Worth 10 stars
Finally a book that lets you see the golfer and the man more clearly than ever before. This is simply a great read about a complex and driven individual. Having been a Hogan "nut" for many years, this book is a close as we will ever get to him. It is also extremely well-written and I hated for the story to end. Not just for golf fanatics, this is a biography about an American who lived the dream.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Specatular Biography
I have read other Biographies on Ben Hogan but none are even in the same league. A subject with this much substance needed a more detailed view and this book delivers in a big way. I would rank this in-depth look into what some believe to be the best golfer ever to be one of the best stories ever told. With apologies to Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods, I now believe that Ben Hogan is the best golfer of all the book, see what he went through, and decide for yourself.
Hogan was (and remains) one of the most enigmatic sports figures ever but the reader should come away with a different opinion of the man after reading the book. The level of detail is fabulous but the book is easily readable. I enjoyed this book more than I have enjoyed reading anything in years. I would never usually consider reading a book twice but this will probably change with this one. I would recommend this book to anyone, regardless of whether or not you are a golf fan but I know that any fan of golf will devour the book. This is a great American story...the epitome of what one can accomplish with an exhaustive work ethic and incredible perserverance...Hogan literally built an incredible career, became a permanent American icon, and ruled his sport like nobody had ever done...from scratch, out of the dirt. There are some great lessons in this book about the price to be paid to make it big. Read this book!

5-0 out of 5 stars An Extraordinary Biography That Anyone Can Savor
During the 1977 U.S. Open at Southern Hills in Oklahoma, sportswriter Dave Anderson asked golfer Tommy Bolt to compare the careers of Jack Nicklaus and Ben Hogan, two golfers who dominated previous decades of professional golf. Bolt's response was immediate. "Well," he drawled, "I've seen Nicklaus watch Hogan practice. I've never seen Hogan watch Nicklaus practice. Thus is the mystique of golfing legend Ben Hogan. He was the golfer's golfer, the man who other golfers sought to emulate. To capture the essence of a great man's life is a difficult task. BEN HOGAN: An American Life by James Dodson accomplishes that task in superb fashion. The biography is a homage to a man who overcame incredible obstacles to become the greatest golfer of his generation. It captures the essence and spirit of the sphinx-like man known to many as the Garbo of golf. Like all great biographies it builds on the life of its subject by allowing the reader to live in the Hogan era; to experience his accomplishments and share the disappointments of his life.

Those with even the slightest knowledge of golf history are familiar with the defining event in the life of Ben Hogan. In 1949, after having achieved stardom on the professional golf circuit, Hogan was nearly killed in a head-on collision with a Greyhound bus on a foggy two-lane Texas highway. Doctors feared for Hogan's life and doubted that he would ever walk again if he survived. Hogan not only recovered, but in 1950 he won the U.S. Open at Merion, a grueling physical feat that required Hogan to walk and play 36 holes of golf on the final Saturday of the tournament. Hogan's triumphant comeback was a story that Hollywood producers would reject as one that audiences would never believe.

Hogan's physical recovery in 1950 was not the first time that he overcame travail to achieve success in the golfing world. Dobson recounts several events that affected the bantam Texas golfer as he sought to achieve his goal of professional achievement and acceptance. As a young boy Hogan suffered a dark and terrifying event when his father committed suicide before his eyes. In today's Oprah confession society, Hogan would probably share such an event with a national audience. But in the post-depression era Hogan stoically kept the details of the incident to himself. Even his wife Valerie was unaware of the true facts concerning the death of Hogan's father until they had been married for many years.

Hogan was also required to overcome professional doubt as he attempted to succeed on the fledgling professional golf tour. It was not until his third attempt that he began to win with any regularity. Even though he won many tournaments, the goal of a victory in a major championship still eluded him. Three times he came to the final hole of a major event needing only to make a birdie putt for victory. Each time, he three-putted the final green to snatch defeat from potential victory. Through it all, the grim but dogged Hogan silently plodded onward, determined to become the greatest golfer in America. That he finally reached his goal was a tribute to his unremitting work ethic and self-reliance.

Any great biography is more than a story of one person's life. It must also be the story of those who touched the subject's life and the times in which the subject lived. BEN HOGAN: An American Life has all of these elements, and more. It is the story of Hogan and his wife Valerie, a woman as determined as her husband and perhaps equally as shy. She would travel with her husband to each tournament but could not bear to watch him on the course. She was with him in his car on the day of the accident, and his movement to shield her from the collision probably saved his life. She was his life partner who shared in his success.

James Dodson has also captured the essence of the early era of professional golf. The legends of golf in the 1930s and '40s all appear. Sam Snead and Byron Nelson who, in the public's eye, were everything Hogan was not, are an integral part of the story. Hogan's major championship victories, from the Masters to the British Open at Carnoustie, are recounted in detail. The reader is with Hogan for every critical shot and, like bantam Ben, probably reaches for a cigarette at a tense moment.

There is so much more of the life of Ben Hogan to experience in this extraordinary biography. Hogan was a unique and enigmatic man. Dodson has captured the true Hogan in this epic work. BEN HOGAN: An American Life is a book that golfers and non-golfers can savor. It is a must addition to any golfer's library and an inspirational saga of an American icon.

--- Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman ... Read more

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