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101. Here I Stand: A Life of Martin
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102. The Real Lincoln : A New Look
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103. The Wit & Wisdom of Winston
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104. The White House Years
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105. Who Was Amelia Earhart? (Who Was...?)
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106. Savage Beauty : The Life of Edna
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107. Ted Williams: The Biography of
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108. Elvis and Me
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109. The Autobiography of Martin Luther
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110. Eisenhower at War 1943-1945
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111. The First Elizabeth
112. Aryan Christ:, The : The Secret
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113. Theodore Rex
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114. I Love You, Ronnie: The Letters
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115. John F. Kennedy : A Biography
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116. Profiles in Courage
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117. Tuva of Bust: Richard Feynman's
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118. Thomas Jefferson
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119. The Survivor : Bill Clinton in
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120. The Essential John Nash

101. Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther
by Roland H. Bainton
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0452011469
Catlog: Book (1995-01-01)
Publisher: Plume Books
Sales Rank: 8475
Average Customer Review: 4.48 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (21)

5-0 out of 5 stars Food for thought
This is a philosophical biography of Martin Luther. Although it provides some details about Luther's personal life, early upbringing and later family life, the focus of the book is on Luther's struggle to reform the Catholic church. The book is dense with summaries of Luther's writings, and it appears in a relatively small font, so it is not a quick or light read. It assumes a familiarity with Christian ideals and scripture; nevertheless, you don't need to be a Bible scholar to appreciate its discussion.

This book is filled with passages that made me stop, think and reflect, and then dog-ear the page for return visits. Bainton quotes Luther: "Faith is a living, restless thing. It cannot be inoperative. We are not saved by works; but if there be no works, there must be something amiss with faith." Later, "Music is to be praised as second only to the Word of God because by her all the emotions swayed...The Holy Spirit himself pays tribute to music when he records that the evil spirit of Saul was exorcised as David played upon his harp....This precious gift has been bestowed on men alone to remind them that they are created to praise and magnify the Lord." Through reading this book, I became much more aware of the tremendous influence that Luther had on shaping numerous aspects of modern Western society. Anyone with any interest in any form of Christianity should become acquainted with the ideas of Martin Luther, and reading this book would be a good start.

5-0 out of 5 stars A life in review
"Here I Stand" is a fine biography of the 16th Century Reformer Martin Luther. It encapsulates the full range of his emotions and struggles as he led the Reformation, and it also summarizes his key teachings. Bainton has a nice way of showing the progression of Martin Luther's thought, as in the earlier chapters the reader witnesses the struggle Luther underwent to free himself of the medieval Roman Catholic church's accretions to the Word of God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We see Luther's profound awakening to the Gospel, as he began to see in Christ the merciful and righteous God who grants salvation freely through faith. Then eventually we see the mature Luther, who has been freed of the false teachings and traditions of the medieval church. Bainton shows us Luther's boldness and courage as a reformer, and also his deep humility and his failings. This book shows us a picture of a man who was used by God to restore the church to the Word of God alone, to faith alone in Christ alone by grace alone.

The places where Bainton is weakest in this book is in his descriptions of how Luther understood the sacraments (baptism and communion) and how he understood the two realms of church and government. He doesn't quite explain these correctly in the Lutheran sense. But otherwise he has a helpful balance of the factors that influenced Luther and the reformation: social, political, historical, and most importantly theological factors. And the story is supplemented with personal stories showing his love for his wife and family, and his desire for a peaceful reform of the church. Above all Luther acted on the sure confidence in the Word of God as revealed in the Scriptures.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of many Martin Luther biographies
I am reviewing the 1950, Mentor Books Fifteenth Printing.
This book is well laid out. Much of the material is in lecture form. There are twenty-two content headings, 12 page Bibliography, References, Source of Illustrations, and comprehensive Index. The illustrations are just that monochrome sketches.

Roland H. Bainton received an A.B. degree from Whitman College, and B.D. and Ph.D. degrees form Yale University and form Oberlin College, Dr. Theological Seminary and from Oberlin College. He is a Specialist in Reformation history.

There are many biography and reference books on Martin Luther, each with its own strength s and weaknesses. This one by Roland H. Bainton is pretty comprehensive and goes into more depth than most. Do not get out your highlighter or you will highlight every page.

This is the story of a religious leader who is well known for leading the Protestant Reformation. "I cannot...I will not...Recant! Here I Stand."

5-0 out of 5 stars Readable, memorable, informative
I read this biography several years ago, and still remember it vividly. I am not generally a fan of biography, and read it to get a picture of this man who has made such a radical difference in world history. I was not disappointed. It held my attention throughout. Interesting, well documented, the story moved at a pace worthy of a good novel, while still providing abundant information and detail. The education about the man and the period gained from reading this book has stayed with me like few books I have ever read, and I cannot recommend it too highly.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Best Biography on Luther, Period.
This biography is the most accurate and unprejudiced ever written on Luther (and I have read dozens of them). Bainton provides very lucid and vivid historical settings, events, people, and such surrounding the life of Luther. What is more, Bainton is quite fair-minded with regard to Luther's personal traits; I get tired of reading other biographers who try to psychoanalyze Luther and draw conclusions about his thinking based on pure speculations. Bainton renders a fair assessment of perhaps why, based on historical settings and events which were occurring during Luther's day, as to why he perhaps did and said some of the things he did.

Bainton really draws his reader into the life of Luther by carefully unfolding historical events which led up to the reformation and events that helped to shape Luther's thinking during and following the Reformation. The book is also nicely lavished with engravings and illustrations which helps the reader get a better understanding of what Bainton is trying to communicate. Moreover, the book contains a very exhaustive bibliography to help the reader branch out into further research and reading.

This book is written in a chronological format from Luther's birth to his death, and every major event which occurred between. This text is certainly a must for anyone who wants a better understanding of Martin Luther. Moreover, it is also a crucial text for anyone wanting a better understanding of the Reformation. I cannot begin to describe the depth and breadth of this work. I highly recommend this text!!!! ... Read more

102. The Real Lincoln : A New Look at Abraham Lincoln, His Agenda, and an Unnecessary War
list price: $14.95
our price: $10.17
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Asin: 0761526463
Catlog: Book (2003-12-02)
Publisher: Three Rivers Press
Sales Rank: 3385
Average Customer Review: 3.31 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A New Look at Abraham Lincoln, His Agenda, and an Unnecessary War
Most Americans consider Abraham Lincoln to be the greatest president in history. His legend as the Great Emancipator has grown to mythic proportions as hundreds of books, a national holiday, and a monument in Washington, D.C., extol his heroism and martyrdom. But what if most everything you knew about Lincoln were false? What if, instead of an American hero who sought to free the slaves, Lincoln were in fact a calculating politician who waged the bloodiest war in american history in order to build an empire that rivaled Great Britain's? In The Real Lincoln, author Thomas J. DiLorenzo uncovers a side of Lincoln not told in many history books and overshadowed by the immense Lincoln legend.
Through extensive research and meticulous documentation, DiLorenzo portrays the sixteenth president as a man who devoted his political career to revolutionizing the American form of government from one that was very limited in scope and highly decentralized—as the Founding Fathers intended—to a highly centralized, activist state. Standing in his way, however, was the South, with its independent states, its resistance to the national government, and its reliance on unfettered free trade. To accomplish his goals, Lincoln subverted the Constitution, trampled states' rights, and launched a devastating Civil War, whose wounds haunt us still. According to this provacative book, 600,000 American soldiers did not die for the honorable cause of ending slavery but for the dubious agenda of sacrificing the independence of the states to the supremacy of the federal government, which has been tightening its vise grip on our republic to this very day.
You will discover a side of Lincoln that you were probably never taugh in school—a side tha calls into question the very myths that surround him and helps explain the true origins of a bloody, and perhaps, unnecessary war.
"A devastating critique of America's most famous president."
... Read more

Reviews (230)

5-0 out of 5 stars A different look at our 'greatest' president
The latest polls place Abe Lincoln at the top of the list of "Greatest Presidents". Indeed, few of our nation's past leaders are as reveared (and practically worshipped) as much as Honest Abe is today.

This book takes a different look at his presidency and offers some challenging new ideas for "Lincoln Lovers". Indeed, anyone who has read some decent civil war history outside of a high school or college textbooks will know that the civil war was about much more than the just the one issue of slavery and abolition. Like many wars throughout history, they are usually about money and power.

You will find within its pages a clear and concise arguement against the more popular view of Abe Lincoln. Thomas J. Dilorenzo describes a very clear picture of what the Lincoln presidency was REALLY about...

raising import tariffs in the south to get more money...

ignoring the constitution whenever it didn't suit his agenda...

using "dictator-like" tactics to increase his power...

and ultimately increasing the power of the federal gvt. itself.

I always enjoy a book that has the guts to argue against the popular myths that we are usually taught in school in place of any real history. Get this book and see Honest Abe from a different point of view.

5-0 out of 5 stars My high school/college history coach wouldn't approve!
A refreshing, honest look!! Dilorenzo does an excellent job. The author uses facts and quotes to expose the true socialist/centralist agenda of Lincoln (and many other politicians). With his honest expose, the author systematically debunks the race-game used by so many superficial authors. For those who do not have a recorded family history, this masterpiece will help to put the war into historical perspective and let the reader discover the truth. The author does not elaborate fully on the vandalism, pillage and plunder of the fascist invasion, but does give great insight into the same with respect to the Constitution and design of the founding fathers. It gives a great economic backdrop for understanding the constriction of free markets, ever-growing socialism, fallacious economic reasoning, fiat currency problems, taxation without representation and other travesties that consistently exacerbate the nationalistic left wing socialism in our demopublican political system. Best of all, the author uses FACTS, instead of propaganda. He cites SOURCES, as opposed to using innuendo and conjecture. He covers this excellent read with so many actual QUOTES, that readers have the ammo to think for themselves, rather than be duped by a government history teacher with a government approved textbook. A wonderful expose of the white supremacy and racism that was prevalent in the north and a vindication of southerners, like my ancestry, whose only crime was their continued defense of the constitution, liberty, freedom and their families, homes, communities and sovereign states. We should never forget what really happened.

5-0 out of 5 stars James Salisbury
Let me start by saying what an incredible book. This book tells the truth about a man and his myth an anti-constitutionalist and murder of innocent Americans. The book is backed up by facts and not revisionist history as most books about Lincoln and American history are today. It goes to the heart of Lincoln and his ultimate goal of creating a centralized government with absolute control over all Sovereign States in order to push his parties economical and social agenda which they were unsuccessful at achieving politically, so he used a bloody war to crush his opposition to the South even Northern states were threaten at the point of a bayonet to submit to the will of his government or pay with their lives. The book also does a great job of dispelling the myth of Lincolns "Emancipation Proclamation" he was never during his entire life an abolitionist in fact he would distant himself from them. Go ahead and read the reviews below especially the negative ones (e.g. Aaron Smith) then read the book then go back to the negative reviews and you will see first hand how brainwashed so many people are in this country even after the straight forward facts of this book tell it like it was and remains today they still don't want to believe it. The Lincoln myth has been, concocted by the leftist to advance their socialist agendas by creating this false hero of liberty and freedom, which you will see Lincoln was not. So do yourself and your future generations a favor and pick up this book before it disappears, and share it with everyone you know because the school system in America is not going to teach the truth to your children only you can.


1-0 out of 5 stars rebel dumpty sat on the wall, rebel dumty had a big fall
in times of peace, a democracy should run like a democracy. in times of internal revolt, rebellion, or secession within a democracy, individual liberties must take a back seat to reestablishing internal order. dilorenzo's book, by an almost mystical inverse relation to its purpose, has shown me that abe lincoln was justified in the steps he took to save this wonderful country. he also did the south a tremendous favor by fighting it back into the union. even while the civil war raged, a few state governments within the condfederacy were itching to secede from THAT governmental conglomerate. if they had won their independence, it would not have been long before the former american south had split itself into 6 or 7 individual countries, with no hope of defending itself...from one another. if not for abe lincoln and the republican government in washington, the "lost cause" myth would relate not to what-ifs about winning the civil war, but rather to those grand days of peace and liberty (though 4 million slaves weren't liberated yet) back in the old union. mr. dilorenzo's book is a stubborn read, very miopic in its presentation of negative information regarding lincoln. dilorenzo has not given us a balanced look at the man who, by reuniting the united states of america through fighting the civil war, saved this land from a legacy of "war on every other thursday" that europe has experienced FOREVER! but dilorenzo's book is not worthless. again, the crafty reader will be able to spot the red-herrings and not be fooled by the chauvinistic arrangement of arguments.

5-0 out of 5 stars Abraham Lincoln Exposed
Thomas DiLorenzo has produced a brilliant expose' on Abraham Lincoln and the despotism he has saddled us with. DiLorenzo refutes all of the foolish arguements of the Lincoln "myth" school. "Father Abraham" is seen as he should be: a corrupt, tyrannical despot coercing the South back into the Union.

DiLorenzo correctly shows how the United States was a voluntary union, pointing out that the states existed prior to the Union, contrary to modern view that the Union came first. DiLorenzo also points out the moral bankruptcy of modern Marxist historians and their agenda. Eric Foner, Garry Wills,et al, are shwon to be the statists that they are.

DiLorenzo correctly shows how the North, particularly the New England area, profited off the protectionist tariifs that fell on the South. He quotes extensively from Whigs and Republicans showing their devotion to Henry Clay's "American System", a Hamiltonian Scheme to create a huge centralized government. Lincoln's 30 year political career was devoted to Big Government, protectionism, corporate welfare ( particularly for railroads) and bureaucracy.

As President Lincoln's tyranny hits the reader like a ton of bricks.He violated the Constitution in the following ways: executive suspension of the writ of habeus corpus, invasion without congressional approval, arrest of political opponents without trial, imposition of an income tax,and occupation of several states, Maryland in particular. He had the entire legislature of Maryland arrested and placed the state under martial law.

Lincoln also suppoted the brutality of his "Grand Army of the Republic". The tyranny of Sherman and Grant was endorsed by Lincoln. Bombardment of civilians, burning of towns, raping of white and black women by Union soliders, and installation of puppet governments in the vanquished states.

DiLorenzo also correctly exposes the Republican Party and Lincoln as descendants of the Federalist Party. They were proponents of strong centralized government, and did not trust the people. Jeffersonianism was repudiated and limited government was overthrown.

If anyone wants the true Lincoln, you cannot go wrong with DiLorenzo's book. ... Read more

103. The Wit & Wisdom of Winston Churchill
by James C. Humes, Richard M. Nixon
list price: $12.95
our price: $9.71
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Asin: 0060925779
Catlog: Book (1995-01-25)
Publisher: Perennial
Sales Rank: 4010
Average Customer Review: 4.42 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

An enormously entertaining compendium of witticisms, anecdotes, and trivia about Winston Churchill by a former White House speechwriter. ... Read more

Reviews (19)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Delightful Book About A Great Man........
Winston Churchill is one of the greatest men of our or any other time. His intelligence, wit, humor and clarity of thought is well captured in this great little book. It's broken down into several sections and it's a quick read. It's a book that I keep going back to!

5-0 out of 5 stars Reader from Boston, MA
This book is an excellent compendium of the wit of Winston Churchill. Often acerbic, frequently self-deprecating, but always humorous and witty while exactly on point, Churchill's humor and wit collected in this book would be of great value even to professional comedy writers. The book also tells much about the man, Churchill, himself, and his inner strength, sense of proportion, his mastery of the English language and his uncanny ability to use the English language masterfully and to its maximum affect -- the qualities that made Churchill such an effective and potent world leader during the bleakest days of World War II.

5-0 out of 5 stars Power of Words in the Majestic Battle of Ideas
In this book, James C. Humes gives his audience an excellent opportunity to conjure up a mental picture of Winston Churchill and his legacy. As a renaissance man, Churchill was more than a skilled politician and a gifted soldier. Perhaps more importantly, Churchill was a man of inspired words, whose work was ultimately crown by the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1953. Churchill often was far from politically correct and did not hesitate to say, write and do what he thought was right. Churchill's bluntness did not make him dear to everybody.

Humes first brings to light many of the great thoughts of Churchill in "Observations and Opinions." Humes classifies key words alphabetically without giving context so that readers can easily find a quote of their liking about a specific subject. Some readers might get frustrated about it if they are not familiar with the key milestones in the life and career of Churchill. These readers can read books such as "Churchill a Life", "Churchill a Study in Greatness", "Clementine Churchill The Biography of a Marriage" or "Winston and Clementine The Personal Letters of the Churchills" to fill in the gaps in their knowledge of Churchill for that purpose.

Humes forges ahead in a similar way in "Orations and Perorations", "Coiners of Phrases", "Saints and Sinners" and "Escapades and Encounters." In these sections, Humes is usually very good at giving his audience the context so that readers better understand where Churchill was coming from. Hours of fun and laughter are virtually guaranteed, especially in "Escapades and Encounters."

Churchill's witticism, wisdom and oratory probably reached their climax in the faithful summer of 1940 when Britain stood alone against the Nazi monster. Churchill galvanized by his words and actions the civilized world to soldier on when the horizon seemed hopelessly bleak. As President Franklin Roosevelt said to his aide Harry Hopkins after listening to one of Churchill's radio broadcasts during that period: "As long as that old bastard is in charge, Britain will never surrender." The words of Churchill will continue to resonate for a long time in the heart and soul of humanity. Churchill's words will further shine like diamonds in the night when humanity loses hope from time to time.

5-0 out of 5 stars Your finest hours will be spent reading this book!!!
Be forewarned. The words of Sir Winston Churchill are not for everyone. If you are too timid, sensitive, politically correct, Victorian in outlook, or do not drink, you are not the ideal audience for this book. However, if you love stirring speeches, great epigrams, and explosive wit, then Winston is your man. Divided into several sections, the first deals with epigrams concerning subjects in general, for example; History--"A nation that forgets its past has no future." The next section deals with excepts from his most famous speeches: Their Finest Hour, Blood, Sweat, and Tears, etc. Then, Coiner of Phrases, a section dealing with famous words or sayings first attributed to him, such as Destroyer, for "light search and destroy vessel." Next, Saints and Sinners, a section reserved for his opinions of the great (and nearly great) of the world; his opinion of former Prime Minister David Lloyd George: "He could talk a bird out of a tree." Finally, the last (and best) section, Escapades and Encounters (aka Winston's Wit). Yes, here we have the famous Lady Nancy Astor story (I won't spoil it for you here), another famous (and politically incorrect) encounter with Labourite Bessie Braddock, and the hilarous story The World Is Not My Oyster, in which the eighty-six year old Churchill blames his indisposition on the oysters served at the Savoy Grill, not the numerous glasses of wine he consumed there. So, grab a glass of your favorite port or sherry (or a snifter of brandy, if you must), sink into a comfortable chair with a favorite snack and this book, and INDULGE YOURSELF. Trust me, it will be one (or more) of your finest hours.

5-0 out of 5 stars Words, wit, Winston, Wow !
I am a big fan of these types of collections, and have been distressed in recent years as series publishers have pumped them out. James C. Humes, however, avoids the path of ready material and produces a book of Churchilliana as comprehensive and broad as the man himself.

There are all the favorites here: the Lady Nancy Astor tea story, the acerbic prepositional rejoinder to the supercilious editing of an assistant, the choice between sherry and adultery, and so on. More importantly, one begins to acquire a notion of the extent to which Churchill, as Shakespeare before him did, has shapped our language, our thoughts, and our clich├ęs: "trade no aid", Iron Curtain, and "blood, sweat, and tears."

Every page is a gem, and this is the perfect book for bed or bathroom, if you are a lover of words, wit, and Winston.

p.s. The very nice, concise introduction by Richard M. Nixon is a quirky little joy as well. ... Read more

104. The White House Years
by Henry A. Kissinger
list price: $35.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0316496618
Catlog: Book (1979-10-01)
Publisher: Little Brown & Co (T)
Sales Rank: 72728
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars The most influencial book I have ever read
Any student of foreign policy simply must read this book. In fact, anyone with a remote interst in international affairs would benefit from its contents. Kissinger presents an honest and intimate assessment of world events from 1968 to early 1973. His comments on personal relationships and candid opinions of world leaders like De Gaul, Mao, Nixon, Brandt, Brezhnev, Gandhi (Indira), Rabin and others are insightful. Kissinger covers world event touching on Vietnam, India/Pakistan relations, Middle Eastern conflicts, Russian and Chinese relationships and domestic affairs among others. The reader is afforded touching personal insight into many events that shaped the cold war world and continue to impact foreign policy today. It is a privlege to read someone with so vast an intellect that is as critical of himself as he is of other policy makers. The book is as often serious as it is funny. Kissinger honestly portrays his personal point of view on all the issues facing him. It is not every day we get to read about the nuances of policy making with such honesty and clarity. Kissinger also provides behind the scene insight into the Nixon presidency and all its ravaging conflicts and triumphs. If world issues and politics interest you then this book will as well.

5-0 out of 5 stars "The Longest Journey Begins With The First Step"
The title of this review stems from an ancient Chinese proverb. Henry A. Kissinger's book, White House Years is the first of a three-volume trilogy that covers his remarkable career. This initial book begins with his appointment as National Security Advisor to Richard M. Nixon January 1969, and ends with the initialing of the Paris Peace Accords in 1973. Kissinger lets the reader know early on, they were under no illusions their journey would be easy or joyous.

He paints a vivid picture of Lyndon Johnson at Nixon's inauguration. If a political heavyweight like L.B.J. could be humbled by (sic) "Veetnam" no one could expect an easy time. Nixon, who had made a career of exhorting political opponents to, "Get tough with the Communists," now had his turn. He would either succeed where his predecessors had failed, or share L.B.J.s fate.

A series of opportunities to "get tough" with the Communists soon followed. The Soviets continued to harass Berlin; the Strateg!ic Arms Limitation (SALT) Talks provided critics from the right and left; West German leader Willie Brandt's Ostpolitik threatened the cohesion of the Atlantic Alliance and the Soviets' establishment of a submarine base at Cienfuegos, Cuba created a situation reminiscent of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Also, the election of Salvador Allende in Chile threatened to introduce a second, Communist state into the Western Hemisphere. Elsewhere, a crisis was brewing between India and Pakistan, and the powder keg in the Middle East threatened to explode at any time.

All these things occurred while the bulk of our military forces were mired in a seemingly endless stalemate in Vietnam that was tearing our nation apart and steadily draining both our coffers and our national resolve. Any of them had the potential to bring the two nuclear equipped superpowers into direct confrontation at any time. Kissinger calmly states: "Statesmen do not have the right to ask to serve only in simple t!imes." The early '70's were anything but, "simple times."

White House Years is a first-person account from a key player in each of these crises. Kissinger takes us step-for-step through the decision-making process they undertook before each action. These deliberations led to the most spectacular diplomatic initiative of our time: Nixon's historic trip to The Peoples Republic of China! The diplomatic opportunities made possible by this trip still shape our world today. Among other things it made Hanoi serious about negotiating an end to the War in Vietnam.

Dr. Kissinger narrates the maddening, secret negotiations with North Vietnam's Le Duc Tho in Paris. The differences between what the Communists were feeding the Western media and what they were saying behind closed doors makes the reader both loathe and admire them for their political skill. Their efforts finally led to the signing of the Paris Peace Accords. Kissinger sincerely believed South Vietnam would surv!ive. Unfortunately, he was wrong.

White House Years reads like a Greek tragedy. The reader gets excited and then remembers how it all ends. The very secretiveness that produced spectacular successes also sowed the seeds that would lead to Nixon's self-destruction.

I highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in the War in Vietnam and/or international relations. The conduct of international diplomacy today is still unquestionably influenced by the events narrated here. I am much better informed for having read it. You will be as well!

5-0 out of 5 stars A Monumental Work
Dr. Kissinger's book is a must read for those wishing to gain insight into the politics of the diplomatic process. He takes great pains to be fair in his assessment of a number of personalities from President Nixon, to Indira Gandi. Self-observations are modest to the point of self-deprecation. The chapters in which he chronicles the Nixon Administration's involvement in the Vietnam War is worth the price of the book. Mr. Kissinger's observation of this tumultuous time in our history is candid, sometimes sad, but scholarly without being pedantic. I highly recommend this book. ... Read more

105. Who Was Amelia Earhart? (Who Was...?)
by Kate Boehm Jerome, David Cain
list price: $4.99
our price: $4.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0448428563
Catlog: Book (2002-11-01)
Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap
Sales Rank: 28836
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Amelia Earhart was a woman of many "firsts." In 1932, she became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. In 1935, she also became the first woman to fly across the Pacific. From her early years to her mysterious 1937 disappearance while attempting a flight around the world, readers will find Amelia Earhart's life a fascinating story. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent
My 7 year old son could not put this book down! He read the entire book in one afternoon, and then was able to complete his biography project for school without any additional research. The book brought Amelia Earhart to life; it was comprehensive and interesting, with so many insights that I had never known before. There were also numerous sketches and maps which would keep a youngster engaged throughout the book. This book gets a resounding "WOW!" from us. ... Read more

106. Savage Beauty : The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay
list price: $14.95
our price: $10.17
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Asin: 0375760814
Catlog: Book (2002-09-10)
Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks
Sales Rank: 17263
Average Customer Review: 4.07 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Thomas Hardy once said that America had two great attractions: the skyscraper and the poetry of Edna St. Vincent Millay. The most famous poet of the Jazz Age, Millay captivated the nation: She smoked in public, took many lovers (men and women, single and married), flouted convention sensationally, and became the embodiment of the New Woman.

Thirty years after her landmark biography of Zelda Fitzgerald, Nancy Milford returns with an iconic portrait of this passionate, fearless woman who obsessed America even as she tormented herself. Chosen by USA Today as one of the top ten books of the year, Savage Beauty is a triumph in the art of biography. Millay was an American original—one of those rare characters, like Sylvia Plath and Ernest Hemingway, whose lives were even more dramatic than their art.
... Read more

Reviews (42)

5-0 out of 5 stars A book as intoxicating as its subject
A phenomenon when she burst onto the literary scene in the Twenties, Edna Millay, I believe, would herself be pleased with this phenomenal biography. I discovered Millay's poetry when I was in high school in Kansas in the Fifties, the Beatnik era, but in Kansas, I certainly knew no Beatniks. Millay became my muse, the poetic string connecting me to another world beyond the endless fields of corn and wheat. I visited her home in Greenwich Village, read all of her poetry, and can still quote long passages from memory.
Savage Beauty, a large book, does ample justice to the large personality of Millay, chronicling her life and lifestyle, both of which were 'unconventional,' in every sense of the word. Such was the impact of this genius, this 'force of nature,' that she willfully created her persona, in the process lifting herself and her dependent family out of poverty and onto the front pages.
The intensity of her poetic works is mirrored in the intensity with which she lived her life. Her short signature poem 'I burn my candle at both ends; it will not last the night. But ah my foes and oh my friends, it gives a lovely light' became a slogan for an era - and even more, a definition of her own life, at the end of which she did, indeed, flame out in an excess of living.

3-0 out of 5 stars Renascence woman
"Renascence" has always been one of my favorite poems. Did you know Millay wrote it when she was only twenty? Milford includes other interesting little tidbits, as well as a detailed analysis of the woman who burned her candle at both ends. Yes, she died young, a drug addict and an alcoholic. Milford also includes her affairs with men and women, her problems with money, and her health problems, but I found the family relationships most interesting (Lots of pictures).
Millay's mother kicked her feckless husband out of the house, as did her grandmother (who was killed by a runaway horse)hers; all three of the Millay sisters were poets (Norma, the least ambitious of the three, writes a sonnet to rival Edna's best towards the end of the book). The youngest sister, Kathleen, was a sad case. Although she published a couple of novels and several books of poetry, she was jealous of Edna, hounded her for money, and did her level best to embarrass her in print. Millay's mother was the true inspiration for Edna. She read the girls poetry, wrote some of her own (publishing toward the end of her life). She validates B.F. Skinner's theory on parental inspiration and Edna gave her credit.
We also see the writer as performance artist. Edna wins a contest and is invited to read for literary societies in her home town, during which time she wins the support of a woman who sponsors her application to Vassar. According to Milford, Millay was an electrifying reader and became famous largely because of her book tours. She even did radio during a time when poetry was given its due.
Millay also wrote plays and even a book for an opera, all of which did well. She was a true Renascence woman.

5-0 out of 5 stars A fantastic read!
This is one of the best books I have read in several years. It is magical, provocative,and educational - a true treasure. I've never been interested in reading biographies, but after reading this, I've realized what I've been missing.

I also disagree with one reviewer that Edna St. Vincent Millay is "obscure" to most living Americans. I think many easily recognize her name - and even if they don't, this book is a fabulous way to learn about an otherwise unfamiliar individual.

5-0 out of 5 stars Promiscuity and tenderness
The first poem of Millay's I read was "The Spring and the Fall", shown to me by a jr. high school friend. Edna St. Vincent Millay has always somehow been with me since then, especially since I began teaching her poems in my English classes more than a decade ago.

What really motivated me to buy this book were student questions about Millay's life that I couldn't answer based on the meager materials I had at hand; for example, 'Why did Millay's mother ask Millay's father to leave the family?' and 'How could Millay write such tender poetry when she was so promiscuous?'

I'm glad to say that this book provided answers to these and many other questions I'd never have thought to ask. Milford's work helps the reader begin to know the very complex personality behind the poetic genius and tenderness - as well as the nymphomania and utter self-centeredness. Millay had electrifying charm, and it probably is very difficult not to use this to personal advantage when one has it.

Milford also delves into some of the origins underlying Millay's life choices by describing her family life and relationships in considerable detail. Since a very young age, Millay had to be the strong one who held things together in her family, and she was perhaps never able to find someone strong enough to look after *her* in the same way - she held the upper hand in almost every relationship she had, and this paved the way for abuse of her formidable personal power.

Millay was so indulged by the world and herself that she must have felt either invincible or simply fatalistic as she slid ever more deeply into what could only be called debauchery, and later serious chemical dependence.

The side biographies interwoven into the book are fascinating as well - how Millay's husband Eugen consciously chose to indulge and put up with Millay as a path to his own self-realization, which he built on the excitement of being near the vortex of Millay's poetic and emotional tempests. There are George Slocombe and George Dillon, two men who succeeded in truly captivating Millay for extended periods of time. And then there's the ongoing comic relief provided by descriptions of the author's interactions with Millay's one surviving (at the time of the writing) sister Norma, who in spite of a disinclination to write otherwise once penned a quite brilliant sonnet in a desperate - and successful - attempt to get Edna's attention when Edna was largely ignoring her. Norma later expressed anger at 'what it took' just to get Edna to answer her letters. And then there's the different levels of competition among the four Millay women, Edna, her mother Cora, who also aspired to being a poet, Norma, who reluctantly provided the author with access to Edna's papers, and the youngest sister Kathleen, who wrote very good poetry that came at the wrong moment from the wrong family.

This book is exhilarating. It's just the kind the more mundane among us read to find out about lives we will never and would never ourselves live.

5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing
I had no idea Ms. Millay had led such a fascinating and tumultuous life. This is wonderfully written and not at all dry like you'd expect. ... Read more

107. Ted Williams: The Biography of an American Hero
by Leigh Montville
list price: $26.95
our price: $16.17
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385507488
Catlog: Book (2004-04-13)
Publisher: Doubleday
Sales Rank: 1147
Average Customer Review: 4.21 out of 5 stars
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Leigh Montville's Ted Williams: The Biography of an American Hero is the definitive biography that baseball fans have been waiting for. Montville, who was a sports columnist for the Boston Globe and then a senior writer for Sports Illustrated is an admitted Red Sox and Williams fanatic, and his passion for his hero rings clearly from every page, along with his clear baseball expertise. But Montville does not hide Williams's flaws. The young Williams was temperamental and justified bad behavior with batting prowess that could excuse just about anything. Quick to anger, "the Kid" had a gift for foul language, too.

Montville's study offers insides accounts of Williams's obsessive development as a hitter and his constant struggle to perfect his swing (mistakenly called "natural" by sports writers with little understanding of his extensive preparation). The chapter on 1941, perhaps the greatest year in his career, draws on research and interviews never before published. Montville lets whole passages stand uninterrupted--from Williams's manager, Joe Cronin, from his teammate Dom DiMaggio, and from other players and baseball officials who tell the story of Williams's quest for a .400 batting average. The tale of the final day of the season (when he refused to be benched and went six for eight in a double header to jump from .39955 to his final total, .406) is as pulse-pounding as any thriller.

Alongside its essential focus on Williams's baseball life, the book also delves into his military service during both World War II and the Korean War, his passion for sports fishing, and his commitment to helping children through the Jimmy Fund. Finally, Montville devotes a chapter to the controversy after Williams's death, exposing the back-and-forth among Williams's heirs in the bizarre decision to freeze his body in a cryogenic warehouse in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Montville's biography makes a good case that Williams was, if not the greatest hitter ever to play the game, certainly among them. For his focused, scientific approach to hitting, Williams is unmatched in the history of the game. His life, marred perhaps by a temper and occasional immaturity that soured his reputation in Boston, is one of true sports greatness. Early in the book, Montville argues that Williams is less appreciated today than he might be because he played out most of his 19-year career in the era before televised highlights. But with Montville's efforts to capture first-hand accounts of Williams's achievements, The Splendid Splinter's legacy is assured. --Patrick O'Kelley ... Read more

Reviews (19)

2-0 out of 5 stars The Life Of Ted Williams
Ted Williams is one of the greatest baseball players of all time. His .406 batting average stands as of the game's greatest accomplishments and is still the benchmark average that modern players aim towards. Leigh Montvale's Ted Williams: The Biography Of An American Hero is the most extensive book about the Splendid Splinter. Despite the fanfare, the book is a disappointment. Mr. Montvale spends far too much time on Mr. Williams' life after baseball than his time within the game. To any reader of any sports biography, the most important aspect of the book should be the subject's athletic career. No one wants to read just an expanded stat sheet, but Mr. Montvale concentrates too much of the book on Mr. Williams' life outside of baseball. The 1941 season has some detail, but the 1946 is almost written as an afterthought. That season ended in Mr. Williams' only trip to the World Series in his long career. His two Triple Crown seasons of 1942 & 1947 are mentioned in passing. Mr. Montvale does do an excellent job of explained the bitter rivalry between Mr. Williams and the Boston sportswriters. But again, he spends too much time into the background of the writers (one doesn't really care about the life history of Mr. Williams' fiercest critic, Dave Egan, but we get that). Mr. Montvale does go into great detail about Mr. Williams' three marriages and his fishing life on the Florida Keys and Canada. This is interesting, to a point, but these aspects of his life should have been given the secondary nature that his career received. Mr. Montvale also conveys Mr. Williams as an impetuous, foul-mouthed crank and relays countless stories from acquaintances and loved ones who hammer this point home. Included is a word for word interview with Mr. Williams' third wife Dolores that was conducted in 1969 but never released that makes this point abundantly clear. Mr. Montvale ends the book with a sort of biography within a biography as he details the life and exploits of Mr. Williams' only son, John Henry. Again, this is interesting and shows how sad of an end that Mr. Williams' life had, but he goes overboard in his tales of John Henry's transgressions. This book is not without merit as it does provide some detailed insights into one of the 20th Century's greatest athletes, but it falls short of its potential greatness.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great biography, depressing ending
This is a fascinating and illuminating book about a talented baseball player, a military hero, and a cantankerous curmudgeon - Ted Williams. Montville does a terrific job of encapsulating the Splendid Splinter's eventful 83 years into a fascinating 500-page book, complete with nearly a hundred black-and-white photographs, many never before seen. If you're looking for a biography of Ted Williams this is probably the one to get; it covers his entire life, something that his 1969 autobiography doesn't do (obviously).

Montville doesn't shine much new light onto the Public Ted - any true baseball fan is already familiar with his battles with the media, his 406 average in 1941, his weak performance in the 1946 World Series, the two military interruptions to his baseball career, his storybook home run in his final at-bat, etc. We already knew that stuff. Where the book truly shines is in illuminating the Private Ted...

The selfish Ted, who'd drag uninterested wives along with him on fishing trips, and who'd rather be alone in a boat somewhere than be present for his children's births; his lustful enjoyment of his hobbies was more important than his family. The angry and blasphemous Ted, who'd spit at fans and frequently (and colorfully) take the Lord's name in vain with a smattering of the f-word and his favorite modifier, "syphilitic." The lonely Ted, who married three beautiful trophy wives, had teammates and friends all over the country, yet still lacked the unconditional love he desperately needed. Somehow Montville manages to paint Williams as sympathetic, lovable, and even heroic, while still telling the story of a bitter and cranky man.

Thankfully, there were at least a few caring people in Ted's life to help diffuse his negativity and give him unconditional love: Louise Kaufman, the grandmotherly woman who became Ted's longtime companion after his three failed marriages to younger women, and the male nurses who took care of him during his final decade on Earth.

Sadly, the book (like Williams's life) ends on an unavoidable down-note. Montville frightens us with the awful tale of Ted's money-grubbing son, John-Henry. Here the author fairly throws objectivity aside, painting the younger Williams in tones reminiscent of Shakespeare's Iago. John-Henry's underhanded machinations and obvious treatment of Ted as a meal ticket rather than a beloved father left me feeling sad and depressed at the story's end. Junior was more concerned with his progenitor's ability to sign and sell valuable autographs than his comfort and welfare during his declining years. The demon seed of Ted Williams kept his father's friends and loved ones from calling and visiting, and then - in an act which violated Ted's wish for cremation, as per his will - John-Henry had his father cryogenically frozen after his death. Thus began the fighting and infinite court proceedings between Ted's offspring - an embarrassing and surreal coda to a life otherwise lived with integrity and dignity.

A great book about a great man. As sports biographies go, it's surely one of the best - just like Ted.

(News update: John-Henry Williams, 35, died of leukemia in March 2004. Perhaps now the legal maneuvering will stop; perhaps Ted can at last be cremated and have his ashes spread across the waters of Florida, just as he wanted. Meanwhile, thanks to John-Henry, the decapitated head of Ted Williams remains in a frozen vat in Arizona.)

4-0 out of 5 stars A must read for Williams fans...
This book is a must read for Williams fans, Red Sox fans and baseball fans in general. I felt this book was one of the most balanced books I have read aboout Williams. Not only does it pay tribute to his success on the field and in the air during WW II and Korea, but also decribes his many faults. I have always been a fan of Montville and this book, simply put, is a great one.

4-0 out of 5 stars A good, honest look at a good, honest man...
I recently read Cramer's bio of Joe DiMaggio and thought this would be a good complement. And it was. While the more one finds out about DiMaggio during and after baseball, the less one likes him; the more one reads about Williams, the more one likes HIM. He was the anti-Joe with his time and genuine concern for people, especially those less fortunate (in particular, children and the Jimmy Fund in Boston).

For baseball fans, this book is not too deep on his accomplishments on the field. But then again, his career is so well-documented that baseball fans are probably very familiar with it. Montville does shed light on his early days in the minors, the majors, the .400 season, the service years, his bad relationship with the Boston sportswriters and his refusal to tip his cap when he homered in his last career bat. All things that we are familiar with, but about which it was good to know more.

For those who are not baseball fans, the book offers more of a look at this man who had achieved so much in his profession, served his country in the middle of his career (in two separate wars) and delved into the complex relationship he had with his family yet how easy it was to be his friend...on his terms.

I think the author gives a good and balanced account of how this man went from a not-so-popular player in his own hometown and even with some of his teammates, to the much-adored icon he was in the last 10-15 years of his life. There are some truly touching passages about his innate goodness that was sometimes overshadowed by occasional and irrepressible bouts of anger. Looking around at today's ballplayers, once hopes for someone like Barry Bonds to have the same fate. To be misunderstood and unpopular while putting up one of the best careers even seen in the game and to be redeemed in the later years of his life. Might be too much to hope for in that case...

5-0 out of 5 stars What a life Teddy Ballgame had!
This book describes greatness, a quest for perfection, deep and long-term friendships between men; heroism and personal sacrifice for country; some of the inside details of baseball, a deep love for the game, betrayal and exploitation; and ultimately one of the most bizarre aftermath's to the life of a legend. There is no doubt that Ted Williams was one of the best hitters who ever lived. In fact, it can be argued, something that I often do, that he was the best hitter to ever play the game. On that note, while he was blessed with incredible skills, like so many successful athletes, he practiced as if he was a religious fanatic and that was his daily devotions. He was also a very intelligent man, some of the facets of hitting that Williams discussed had never been considered before. He studied pitchers with a precision that probably has never been duplicated.
Under the social classifications now used, Ted was a Hispanic, his father was Mexican and his mother Caucasian. Growing up in San Diego, he was worshipping baseball and making it his field of study at a very early age. Unfortunately, his skill at hitting a baseball did not translate into maturity. He became a star at an early age, and he never managed to mellow a ferocious temper, which many of his friends said was the key to his success. Like so many people who accomplished so much, he was a perfectionist. He would hit a homerun and then criticize himself for swinging at a pitch that was not in the strike zone. Montville criticizes Williams for this, but it is not totally justified. A mistake that turns out right is still a mistake, and if you are satisfied with that, then over the long haul, the mistakes will sum to a point that will overwhelm you.
It is amazing to think that he pulled two tours of duty as a Marine Corps pilot, flying combat missions in the Korean War and having a plane shot out from under him. There is no greater testament to his hitting ability than what happened after he returned from Korea at the age of 35. Having almost no time to readjust to the baseball world, he managed to hit over .400 for the remainder of the season and have a slugging percentage over .900. A close second is when he hit .388 at the age of 38, which put him within a few hits of .400. Over the course of the season, that many hits would have been generated by legs even a few years younger.
His later years were spent in and out of baseball, fishing, hunting and enjoying himself. It is here where we also see the consequences of celebrity. His relationships with women were strained, often a consequence of the fact that he could have so many. Women seemed to roll in and out of bed with him at a regular pace and there is a somewhat substantiated rumor that he caught an STD while in Korea. His relationships with his children were poor, which led to his being exploited, manipulated and mistreated in his last years. Those who knew him best and had looked after him were shut out of his life when he needed them most. After his death, his body was frozen, something that was almost certainly the consequence of a forgery that was somehow accepted as legal.
Ted Williams did many things at the highest level. He lived fast, enjoyed the good life of women, fame, adulation and monetary rewards. At the end, it seemed that his only regret was that he did not build familial relationships. Which is probably correct, because he maintained close relationships with friends for decades, old buddies to shoot piles of BS with.
Montville captures Ted Williams as a great man with great flaws. Some criticized him because they could and because it sold papers. Nevertheless, Williams often went out of his way to antagonize others, spitting at and cursing fans and sportswriters when he felt like it. As is so often the case, the very qualities that make someone great also make their flaws great. However, he was also willing to help people in need. There are many stories of his charity work and how he would stop and give a total stranger a tip on hitting. This is a book that all baseball fans should read. ... Read more

108. Elvis and Me
by Priscilla Beaulieu Presley
list price: $7.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0425091031
Catlog: Book (1991-08-01)
Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group
Sales Rank: 140876
Average Customer Review: 3.61 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (54)

5-0 out of 5 stars "Truth or Lies" decide....
I started this book and I have to admitt, I read it in one day....It was very intersting however I don't think it was very factual....If you get this book be sure and get "Child Bride" as well, and compare....It is entertaining that's for sure! I love Elvis Presley...My mom was at his concert when she started having contractions with me...He is a heart throb and a very intersting man. This book I am sure has some truth to the legend, Elvis Presley's life and the things that went on during his time here, but lil Mrs. Priscilla is not as innocent as she tries to say in her book...Just look at her past reviews, the "seductive" pictures she has posed oh so many times in...She is a good story teller though. She tells it like she is a victim. You will see reading this book that in her own words she was very into Elvis, and VERY controlling and jealous....I say read this book...but get "Child Bride" as well...

5-0 out of 5 stars "I will never write a book about me and Elvis"
Those were the famous words of Priscilla Presley after the death of Elvis. I knew it was only a matter of time before she caved in and righted all the wrongs which were quoted in the many books written about her and Elvis preceding her own. It took ten years but she finally wrote this book, Elvis and Me. I was waiting so earnestly for this book because I felt that Priscilla was probably the only one close enough to the 'real' Elvis to tell us the true background details of day to day life and I was right in my opinion. I felt this book was raw! Priscilla didn't mince words or try to coat the truth. She told it as it happened, in true detail. Priscilla starts her book by telling us where she was when the news of her ex-husbands death reached her. Her book then goes back to the beginning. Her first meeting with Elvis in Germany. How Elvis wanted to "see her again" and even ended up visiting her parents to make this happen. Although the book is filled with the many tender moments she spent with Elvis, it's also a shocker when you learn of his drug dependency. A pill to sleep and a pill to wake up! His many 'hanger-on's' who were constantly at his side whenever he was awake. His free spending ways towards friends and family to the almost abusive way he took over Priscilla's mind and body. She lied constantly to her parents we find out. Especially when she was visiting Elvis for vacations. Elvis thought nothing of telling Priscilla's parents one thing then totally doing the opposite. Then there's the fact that he refused to have sex with her until their marriage night and how it completely stopped after Lisa Marie's birth. Just reading inbetween the lines of this book, you can tell how frustrated Priscilla was. She had everything yet her life reached a point of such emptiness and dispair with Elvis that she left him. Priscilla doesn't leave anything out which surprised me a little. She tells of his numerous affairs during their relationship, his strange habits, and just when you think there couldn't possibly be anything else to talk about, she shocks you with yet another revelation. Do I think you should buy this book? Yes! Do I believe everything in the book? No! Either way, I think this book is the closest we will ever get to the true Elvis. Priscilla was the closest to Elvis we will ever get so if you're an Elvis fan, this book should definitely be part of your Elvis library. I think you'll be quite shocked at some of the things you learn. I was!

5-0 out of 5 stars So first of all best book
Ok so this is such an interseting book for any true elvis fan.I can not believe how gay some of you people are.I think its cool how this bookgoes into as you people call 'a darker side' even thought its not,because shes letting his fans know another side of him,and you get to know more about elvis.Priscilla loved him with all her heart,anbd she isnot negative at all towards him.Maybe you people are just used to'are ytou lonseome tonight' well as far as im concerned that book is complete and total fiction.She doesnbt sayd anything bad about elvis,because its her fantasyu and she tries to make it like everything went well for them,excpet thqt they coulkdnt be together.First of all EVERY relationship hasd problmes.There is not certain thing as a problem free relationship,that author needs a fducking reality check,.Priscilla knows what really went on seeing as she was his wife,and with him for numeral amounts of yeatrs so stop being homos.

1-0 out of 5 stars Elvis gets chewed up and spit out!
Was Priscilla Presley mad at Elvis when she wrote this book? I think so. She comes off as an angel and makes him look like the devil himself. How could you be married to Elvis Presley and write a book telling the most private things about your marriage? Did we need to know he took pictures of her naked? That he made her and her girlfriend appear to be lesbian lovers as he watched? Wait a minute - which is it? Does she go both ways? What a dishonor to the King of Rock and Roll! This book cannot possibly be the real truth - if you want to read a good book about Elvis & Priscilla - read Child Bride. The ex-Mrs. Presley is not as perfect as her book would have you believe. Poor Elvis!

2-0 out of 5 stars You'll get hooked..
I am 16, I love Elvis, and this is a very interesting and great look from Pri's perspective of him. I have not finished the book yet but I will soon because I cannot but it down hardly. One thing I dispize about it is, Elvis held his love making as a very high vurtue, she was always angry with him, but yet she realised how right he was to wait, but didnt give him any credit, I love that about Elvis, that he had high morals and wanted to wait, plus she was young, he wanted the best for her, but she was a young teen wanting to explore and she didnt like to be held back.. To alot of people this book makes them see a "drug addict/dark side" of The King, but to me it just makes me care for him and love him more, and dislike Pri might I add.. Yes she had hard times with him but everyone has problems, even Elvis, and I believe she should have not pressured him so, but thats just my opinion.. Anyways, its a good book, if you love Elvis, and it's written really well... I'll just have to finish it and see how I feel then...

If it does nothing else for you, it's sure to give you chills and a throbbing heart each time he touches Pri holds her tight. Heh.. If it doesnt, your nuts heh.. JK ... Read more

109. The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr.
by Martin Luther King Jr., Clayborne Carson
list price: $15.95
our price: $10.85
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0446676500
Catlog: Book (2001-01-01)
Publisher: Warner Books
Sales Rank: 20221
Average Customer Review: 4.55 out of 5 stars
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Download Description

A professor of history and the noted author and editor of several books on the civil rights struggle, Dr. Clayborne Carson was selected by the estate of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to edit and publish Dr. King's papers. Drawing upon an unprecedented archive of King's own words--including unpublished letters and diaries, as well as video footage and recordings--Dr. Carson creates an unforgettable self-portrait of Dr. King. In his own vivid, compassionate voice, here is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., as student, minister, husband, father, and world leader . . . as well as a rich, moving chronicle of a people and a nation in the face of powerful--and still resonating--change. ... Read more

Reviews (29)

5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding! An excellent read!
The book "The Autobiography of Martin Luther King Jr." is Stanford University historian Clayborne Carson's amazing account of one of the most impressive leaders to have ever lived.

This is an outstanding biography and it accounts for the full story of Dr. King, literally from cradle to grave. Martin Luther King Jr. at university, when he met his wife Coretta, their children being born, the movement begins, fights and struggles, getting arrested etc. etc. Carson does an absolutely amazing job transporting the reader into Dr. King's thoughts, ideas and feelings. I have only read a couple of other biographies that I rank as high as I rank this one. The other two are Che Guevara and Malcolm X's biographies.

Few people are given strength, means and opportunity to make a real and great impact in the world. Martin Luther King Jr. was not only given such opportunity; he seized upon his opportunity as well. His fights and sacrifices made life better not only for millions of black people in America - his fight made the world a better place to be for all of us.

The author uses Dr. King's letters, college papers, and speeches; such as the "I have a dream" speech from 1963, and the Nobel Peace Prize speech from 1964 when telling his story. I had never read the whole "I have a dream" speech, so I greatly enjoyed that.

Carson has done a great jobs combining his own research with Dr. King's own speeches and writings and this is all masterfully woven together into a unique biography. Dr. King had a huge impact on the Civil Right movement, and he made his way into American history as one of its greatest, most charismatic leaders ever.

My recommendation is given for two reasons. Firstly, Dr. King is an extraordinary interesting subject, but also because of Carson's excellent job writing this biography.

Great read - highly recommended!

5-0 out of 5 stars The Manifestation of a great Man
The autobiography of Martin Luther King Jr. is a manifestation of his thoughts, words, philosophies, and his way of life, reborn and written by Clayborne Carson. Carson has done a great job re-writing Kings life, and combining his letters, and speeches, and notes with his words to create the world of Martin Luther King again for us. The book gives us good insight on MLK's life, and his impact on the civil rights movement. You get to know his standpoints well, and how the man worked things out. Sadly you mostly can read about MLK's life inside the civil rights movement, and less about him at home, or his relationship with his family. This is a good one to help you gain insight on the civil rights movement of that time, and all in all, is a great and interesting book to read even if the civil rights is not your main interest.

5-0 out of 5 stars If Nothing Else
This book should be must reading (or in my case listening) for all Americans. The threads of a single man's search for freedom for all are woven in a tapestry of the times he lived with powerful choices of recorded speeches.
I had two of my daughters listen to his reading of his letter from the Birmingham jail and the conversation that followed enriched all of us. Current "Black Leaders" would do well to seek inspiration from his words and recall a time when the motivating factors were the need for freedom, justice and equality independant of financial desires other than the monies needed to accomplish the task at hand. His views of Malcolm X were also well laid out and deserve attention beyond the hollywood version.
If you weren't black then, sympathy is easy but empathy requires study ... this book goes a long way.

5-0 out of 5 stars Immortal Beloved
As I sit here listening to Beethoven, it strikes me that MLK, like Beethoven, will be a man for all ages to come. Both have given the world a gift that we must cherish and always remember.

Let me first say, that I too am glad that Dr. King did not sneeze. That would have been a loss of an unimaginable magnitude.

The other reviewers of this book are on target. This is an extraordinary piece of literature that should be a must read for all students. I was midway through my seventh year when Dr. King was assassinated in Memphis. And although I remember the event it did not resonate fully with me until last year when I took a master's level Civil Rights course. Throughout my own formative years of primary, secondary, and post-secondary liberal arts education, none of my history or social studies courses concentrated on this era of American History. This is a sad commentary and an oversight that needs to change.

Martin Luther King, Jr., was a great man in American History and must be given the credit deserving of his greatness - the book, as articulated by the other reviewers, provides a comprehensive look into that greatness. It is my opinion that God was truly with this man as he undertook his overwhelming mission to obtain freedom and equality for a people so maligned by the majority.

This book was so well-written that I even read the Editor's Acknowledgements. It is so well-written that one can easily become lost in time and simply continue to read chapter after chapter. I could go on, but will stop. I wish to thank Mrs. Coretta Scott King for her undying devotion to her husband and his work; to console her for her unfathomable loss thirty-five years ago, and for not only reviewing this book for accuracy before publication, but also to permit its publication so that Americans from all backgrounds may appreciate and learn.

5-0 out of 5 stars how can we change the world?
This is at one level an uplifting autobiography of an extraordinary man but at another level it is a guide to us a people living in a cynical (we call it "realistic") age in which we are bombarded by so many causes; all of them claiming to worthwhile, all of them claiming that they will uplift human dignity and freedom. How can we choose amongst these causes? How can we tell which cause is truly just and, having decided, how do we champion it effectively?

In his autobiography, Martin Luther King helps us do so. He explains that "constructive ends can never give absolute moral justification to destructive means, because in the final analysis the end is preexistent in the means" (20). Thus, if those whose cause we would champion are murdering babies to achieve justice, the end they and we will achieve will be child murderers whether we want it or not. But if those whose cause we would champion march peacefully to save a life, write countless letters on behalf of a starving child, collect money so that a woman who has been cast out by her society and is facing death might have a good legal defense, then we can be assured that the end we will achieve with our peaceful means will be a saved and happy life. Not least of all our own.

And how should we effectively champion our truly just cause; a cause we know is just because the means its proponents use to achieve their ends are right and noble? We should concentrate on one issue at a time, highlighting that one issue by non-violent means. And we must use nonviolence for today we do not face a choice between violence and non-violence but between "nonviolence and nonexistence" (360).

So let us choose, in our cause and in our methods existence over the nihilism of all too many movements that claim to be revolutionary and yet which "reject the one thing that keep the fire of revolutions burning: the ever-present flame of hope" (329). Let us choose those causes that would bring our fellow men and women life and that would bring us all hope. Let us follow in the footsteps of Dr Martin Luther King and, like him, not follow false causes that (like the Black Power Movement he gives as an example) promise much but deliver only death and despair. ... Read more

110. Eisenhower at War 1943-1945
list price: $29.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0394412370
Catlog: Book (1986-08-12)
Publisher: Random House
Sales Rank: 162894
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (3)

4-0 out of 5 stars Intricately detailed.......
With 825 pages devoted to a period of three years, David Eisenhower, the grandson of DDE, has ample space to provide an intricate look at his grandfather at war. This book is primarily focused on the preparation and execution of Normandy through to the formal capitulation of Germany.

The author, presenting the rivalries between allied generals, the political machinations of Roosevelt, Churchill and the Combined Chiefs of Staff, and the seemingly unfathomable Stalin, shows the extreme patience, diplomacy, and fortitude required of the Supreme Commander of the Allied Expedition Forces, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, to win the war in Europe.

Eisenhower: At War, 1943-1945, expertly dissects the relationships between allied parties while describing the utter destruction of Germany. It is thorough and frequently thrilling. Patton, Bradley, and Montgomery receive appropriate attention as does Normandy and the Ardennes offensive most commonly referred to as the Battle of the Bulge. I recommend the book highly and rate it an enthusiastic 4 stars.

4-0 out of 5 stars Eisenhower, Supreme Allied Commander, President and...
grandpa. I've been meaning to read At War for some time specifically to to get David Eisenhower's perpective. It's a perpective most historians would kill for. As a kid David had the run of the White House. The familiarity he gained from comtemporaries of his grandfather-generals, aides, heads of state, friends & even other historians was invaluable. His admits this. The book look daunting at first glance, but is quite readable & I was able to stay with it for hours at a time. ha-mevaker is correct. This is a political rather than a military view of the war in Europe. Military matters are of course the backdrop for the political intrigues Ike is subjected to. The personal stories are appreciated & humanize the whole horrible war: The young private from Abeliene simply walking up to Eisenhower"s H.Q. & demanding of the guard to see Ike. He got his audience with the general as well as a signed note as proof to his buddies. The book is peppered with little stories like that. The Eisenhower-Montgomery feud is covered extensively. Surprisingly, David is more even handed & perhaps more understanding of Monty's motives than other American historians have been. By D-Day Britain was finished. She was bankrupted, & would never regain her former glory. Montgomery knew this well. The men lost could not be replaced. Yet he wanted one last moment in the sun for Great Britain, that of a spearhead into Germany & the capture of Berlin by the English (& himself). In this plan he was over-ruled by Eisenhower, his superior, a general with no battlefield experience. He was a great patriot & it galled him that by this point the British Empire was the junior partner in the U.S./British alliance. Churchill was proponent a defeating Germany thru Italy & did not support the Normandy invasion. He experienced the carnage of World War I trench warfare feared a repeat if a frontal assault was attempted. Eisenhower greatest strength was he wasn't fighting the last war as many of the people around him were. He was fighting the war he had before him & he did it quite well.

4-0 out of 5 stars This is a different look at the events of WW II
This is the first part of what David Eisenhower's intended political biography of his grandfather. The main thrust of the book is how Eisenhower's decisions in WW II were made, and the tensions that existed in the USA/British alliance during the war. The Anvil/Dragoon controversy is given full length because it was one of the most contended points of the allaince. The fighting of the war is distinctly in the background. It isn't clear to me how much personal analysis David Eisenhower put into the fighting aspect of the book. In a number of places it seems that he relys on the historians. Because of this, I think that it is important to keep in mind that this probably isn't an important book in terms of military history, even though it is very important in terms of understanding the political aspects of the war. Almost all the other books on WW II ignore the political aspects. ... Read more

111. The First Elizabeth
by Carolly Erickson
list price: $17.95
our price: $12.21
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Asin: 031216842X
Catlog: Book (1997-08-15)
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Sales Rank: 125887
Average Customer Review: 4.32 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In this remarkable biography, Carolly Erickson brings Elizabeth I to life and allows us to see her as a living, breathing, elegant, flirtatious, diplomatic, violent, arrogant, and outrageous woman who commands our attention, fascination, and awe.

With the special skill for which she is acclaimed, Carolly Erickson electrifies the senses as she evokes with total fidelity the brilliant colors of Elizabethan clothing and jewelry, the texture of tapestries, and even the close, perfumed air of castle rooms. Erickson demonstrates her extraordinary ability to discern and bring to life psychological and physical reality.
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Reviews (19)

2-0 out of 5 stars A Very Difficult Read
I have read a couple of her books, Mistress Anne and Bonnie Prince Charlie, and I enjoyed them. So when I got The First Elizabeth was extremely disappointed. Having read dozens of books on Elizabeth and knowing something about the subject, this book does not really paint an accurate picture in my opinion. She writes more on gossip and rumours without giving acutal facts. There are accurate statements but they are not in evidence on the whole. She also tended(IMO) to side more with Mary Tudor, who was not as intelligent or politically astute as Elizabeth. She gave the feeling that Mary was just misunderstood. The author seemed to relish in court gossip especially from Elizabeth's maids of honour. I would recommend Mary M. Luke's, Gloriana: The Years Of Elizabeth I, and Alison Weir's, The Life of Elizabeth I before I would recommend this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars The First Elizabeth- A great book about the Virgin Queen
This book is absolutely the best. I had to read it for a school biography and had a really great time learning about Queen Elizabeth. Her character, power, and history simply amaze me, and has gotten me more interested in world history. I feel very satisfied with the book and can't wait to read more of Ericksons books.

4-0 out of 5 stars Nearly reads like a novel ...
I tend to read mostly fiction, but for some reason earlier this year I decided to foray into biographies. This book gives you a peek into Elizabethan life, gives you insight into Elizabeth I's personality, and you learn quite a lot of history, scandals, and rumours-of-the-day along the way.

This book reads more like a biographical novel than a pure biography, which, considering the subject matter is about 500-years old, probably means some license was taken with dialogue, etc., however, I think the style makes the subject infinitely more memorable.

4-0 out of 5 stars First Elizabeth a reading pleasure
The major difference in "The First Elizabeth" by Carolly Erickson and "The Life of Elizabeth I" by Alison Weir is stylistic. Both women are thoroughly versed in the life of their royal subject, and obviously enthusiastic about her as well.

Erickson's style, however, leans more toward novelistic narrative. She seems to be sitting with you, telling you a story about this great monarch with her infamous "virgin" status, her political adeptness, her fearsome temper, her penchant for swearing oaths that made one's blood freeze, and her ability to command deep love and adoration from her subjects.

This style is especially appealing for those for whom this biography is their first foray into Tudor biography. It introduces the major players in the queen's life thoroughly so that one is well acquainted with Robert Dudley, Cecil and Walsingham, as well as Mary I and the many other colorful characters that populated the Queen's life. You also get a real feel for the terror and uncertainty of Elizabeth's youth, when she lived in fear of death at the hands of her unstable, Catholic sister.

Erickson adroitly paints a stunning (and sometimes shocking) picture of life at court - and what a life it must have been. Living at the various castles Elizabeth moved between (they changed castles regularly so that the one previously used could be cleaned and "aired out") was far from our 21st century idea of luxury, and when you read about the trials and travails inherent in the Queen's annual "progresses", you'll never gripe about rush-hour traffic again!

Again, I would recommend this to anyone starting out to read about Elizabeth I, and to the reader already familiar with the life of the greatest queen of England. Those of the latter group might find that the author falls in love a bit too much with her subject (and who wouldn't, as this lady is one of the most fascinating people in history). In some places towards the end the flow of the narrative (going from event to event) isn't quite as seamless as it could be (you feel as though you are jumping from one to the other without a lead-in sentence/paragraph) but never mind that. Erickson does a marvelous job of painting a portrait of the life and times of Elizabeth and it's a most pleasurable learning experience and enjoyable read.

After finishing "Elizabeth I", the reader would do well to continue on with Weir's biography mentioned above. I started with Weir and am now committed to reading Erickson's extensive series on the Tudors, including "Great Harry", "Mistress Anne", etc.

5-0 out of 5 stars Hail Britainia
A great book about a Queen whose story reads more like "The Godfather" than you'd guess.

Elizabeth I, thrust onto the throne while her country was still in the midst of it's centuries-long emergence from Roman rule, turned England into Great Britain through a heady mixture of guile, guts, and British steel(How's that for rhetoric?).

It's a great book, as are most of Erickson's titles. ... Read more

112. Aryan Christ:, The : The Secret Life of Carl Jung
list price: $35.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679449450
Catlog: Book (1997-09-01)
Publisher: Random House
Sales Rank: 405089
Average Customer Review: 2.93 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Carl Gustav Jung, along with Sigmund Freud, stands as one of the two most famous and influential figures of the modern age. His ideas have shaped our perception of the world; his theories of myths and archetypes and his notion of the collective unconscious have become part of popular culture. Now, in this controversial and impeccably researched biography, Richard Noll reveals Jung as the all-too-human man he really was, a genius who, believing he was a spiritual prophet, founded a neopagan religious movement that offered mysteries for a new age.

The Aryan Christ is the previously untold story of the first sixty years of Jung's life--a story that follows him from his 1875 birth into a family troubled with madness and religious obsessions, through his career as a world-famous psychiatrist and his relationship and break with his mentor Freud, and on to his years as an early supporter of the Third Reich in the 1930s. It contains never-before-published revelations ab! out his life and the lives of his most intimate followers--details that either were deliberately suppressed by Jung's family and disciples or have been newly excavated from archives in Europe and America.

Richard Noll traces the influence on Jung's ideas of the occultism, mysticism, and racism of nineteenth-century German culture, demonstrating how Jung's idealization of "primitive man has at its roots the Volkish movement of his own day, which championed a vision of an idyllic pre-Christian, Aryan past. Noll marshals a wealth of evidence to create the first full account of Jung's private and public lives: his advocacy of polygamy as a spiritual path and his affairs with female disciples; his neopaganism and polytheism; his anti-Semitism; and his use of self-induced trance states and the pivotal visionary experience in which he saw himself reborn as a lion-headed god from an ancient cult. The Aryan Christ perfectly captures the charged atmosphere of Jung's era and presents ! a cast of characters no novelist could dream up, among them Edith Rockefeller McCormick--whose story is fully told here for the first time--the lonely, agoraphobic daughter of John D. Rockefeller, who moved to Zurich to be near Jung and spent millions of dollars to help him launch his religious movement.

As Richard Noll writes, "Jung is more interesting . . . because of his humanity, not his semidivinity." In giving a complete portrait of this twentieth-century icon, The Aryan Christ is a book with implications for all of our lives. ... Read more

Reviews (28)

4-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, but not totally convincing
In this book, Noll argues that not only did Jung create a religious movement but that Jung himself believed he was a savior of sorts. The first claim is, of course, completely convincing (and is, I believe, the main focus of Noll's _The Jung Cult_, which I have yet to read); the letter to C. Long which the author quotes late in the book pretty much closes that debate.

On the other hand, I remain unconvinced concerning the nature of Jung's 'revelation' in 1913 and how he saw himself subsequently; i.e., whether he really believed he was the "Aryan Christ". Noll quotes extensively from dozens of documents, and many of them are very suggestive of this, but when actually coming to this point, I feel Noll loses his grip a little; in each case where this is stated, Noll momentarily leaves the historical evidence behind and infers this final point, which is, unfortunately, the basic thesis of the book.

Still, despite that consistent flaw, which pops up about half a dozen times in the book, Noll's thesis that Jung saw himself as a god or savior is compelling, and I suspect that, if and when the Jung estate opens its archives, he will be proved correct. In the meantime, however, I must remain doubtful.

The rest of the book concerns the development of Jung's various theories and is critical of the concept of the 'collective unconscious' while occasionally lauding Jung's contributions to personality typology. In contrast to critics of this book, I see no evidence that Noll has a 'hidden agenda'. In fact, for the most part I think he has been more than fair to Jung and his movement.

3-0 out of 5 stars Banquet for Jungophobes
I find Noll's previous Jungicidal effort more interesting and persuasive: first and foremost microanalyzing the roots of CGJ's intellectual edifice, from Haeckel and Driesch to Nietzsche. Unfortunately, insightful material was pretty much devalued by Noll's unique blend of personal vendetta against all things Jungian and glaringly obvious intent to write a bombastic bestseller. Anyway, I think Noll has accomplished at least three things:

1. Wrote a convincing record on Jung's, er, "shadow"

2. Traced his Lehrjahre and conceptual development ( albeit distastefully gloating over Jung's polygynistic "scandals" ). Still, I like the "neovitalism" and Mithraism parts - although, in all sincerity, I can't buy anti-Semitism, anti-Christianity and Blut-und-Boden Nazi parts. These two books ( I'd say, intentionally ) overlook Jung's later development, with Christ emerging as the most powerful ( for Westerners ) symbol of Self. In short: Jung's was/is a neo-Gnostic Christ, not "Aryan". Especially ridiculous is the contention that Jung considered himself to be a sort of "Messiah".

3. Vented his rage and lo and behold...he was showered with $$$$$s and academic awards ( at least, one big fish in the net ). If Jung is pop, this is hip-hop, rave and rap combined.

All in all: cca 40-50 pages from both books [The Aryan Christ and Noll's earlier work The Jung Cult] are valuable. The rest is a salacious chronicle a la Seutonius.

1-0 out of 5 stars how projections and hurt feelings write a book
an atrocious bunch of lies, innuendoes and half-truths rush to
print aided by the New York Times book review, noted Jung-hater. One of the most irresponsible books to hit the presses in recent years, it
masquerades as science in areas that most would not be able to
challenge. And like the DaVinci Code (that at least has the grace to call itself fiction), Noll calls into question sacred cows. Noll obviously has a vendetta and is out to discredit and smear Jung. Reader beware! BS camouflaged as "scientific research".

1-0 out of 5 stars Neither History nor Biography
This is neither well-written nor well-supported argument. Terms are bandied about, such as the adjective "magical" to disparage activities, or "lie"--if everything I ever misremembered or simplified (after 60 years) was called a lie, I would be the anti-christ. People do forget, do simplify, do misremember without an active agenda of misrepresentation.

Also, if all that my students ever did was laid at my door, I again would not relish the picture people formed of me. Jung was groping towards ways of articulating his perceptions, and he was treating and attracting a great many obviously disturbed people. That they misinterpreted him, etc., does not mean he encouraged that. Also, their memories are in several instances obviously shaped by personal agendas.

There was not the clear exposition of the contentious view that Jung was a proto- or pronazi in the early years of Hitler. Except of course that he had "volkish" tendencies. The level of argument here would suggest that everyone who ever owned a volkswagen was anti-semitic and prohitler.

No balance at all. Stupid stuff.

2-0 out of 5 stars Agenda masquerading as a scholarly work
Evident in the beginning of this book is the author's obvious disenchantment with Jung and his subsequent dislike of the man. Much of the book is filled with conjecture that is, in turn, used later as if it were fact. For example, early on Noll describes Jung and his associates as a cult, thereafter referring to any member of the Jungian persuasion as a "disciple" or "apostle", instead of what they truly were: patients, colleagues, and admirers. Noll also seems to be confused on the matter of Jung's concept of a person's deification. Anyone familiar with this Jungian concept or similar concepts based upon Gnosticism is probably aware that the terms "inner-god" or "Self" do not literally indicate a person's Godhood or the transformation into a God in the Classical sense, yet indicate a change in awareness that elevates the person's consciousness to a primal state that is in harmony with the universe. Although I can't remember the page this is on, Noll gives a quote by Jung that specifically states his view that psychoanalysis is but one way in which to achieve greater self-awareness, something that doesn't quite fit into the common cult mentality. Another example of the author's clear bias toward Jung is in his disregard for the accounts of patients helped by Jung's analysis. Whenever referring to one of Jung's new patients or followers, Noll uses such phrases as "fallen under Jung's spell" or "snarred by Jung", in obvious attempts to paint these people as if they were victims. When speaking of those that defected from Jungian thought, he uses the word "escaped". The fact that these people were clearly not victims, in fact mant were either cured or enjoyed prestigious careers due to their encounters with Jung, is conveniently never brought up. Fanny Bowditch Katz is a good example of this. Katz came to Jung on the verge of suicide, yet after treatment by Jung and his colleagues, Katz found meaning in her life. This is all mentioned in the book, yet Noll can't seem grasp that perhaps Katz's return to a healthy mental state may be an indication of what Jung was doing right... you would thing a Harvard grad. would have the ability to realize this!
Anyway, there is so much that is bad about this book that 1000 words simply won't suffice. Many of Noll's arguments are either petty or thinly veiled attempts to portray Jung as a lunatic. He also employs that old trick of linking Jung to the Nazis in the last chapter and constantly mentions Jung's antisemitic tendancies (although he excuses Freud's anti-Gentile attitude). If the antisemitism of a thinker was a disqualifying factor for their ideas, we would have to disgard the likes of Luther, Goethe, Kant, Paine, Franklin, and a whole host of others. It is these types of irrelevant remarks attempting to discredit Jung that make up the bulk of this book.
The only reason I don't rate the book lower is due to its cleverness in delivering its deceit.
A true piece of trash produced by an otherwise intelligent individual. ... Read more

113. Theodore Rex
list price: $35.00
our price: $23.10
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0394555090
Catlog: Book (2001-11-20)
Publisher: Random House
Sales Rank: 12953
Average Customer Review: 4.05 out of 5 stars
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In this lively biography, Edmund Morris returns to the gifted, energetic, and thoroughly controversial man whom the novelist Henry James called "King Theodore." In his two terms as president of the United States, Roosevelt forged an American empire, and he behaved as if it was his destiny. In this sequel to his Pulitzer Prize-winning biography The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, Morris charts Roosevelt's accomplishments: the acquisition of the Panama Canal and the Philippines, the creation of national parks and monuments, and more. "Collaring Capital and Labor in either hand," Morris writes, Roosevelt made few friends, but he usually got what he wanted--and earned an enduring place in history.

Morris combines a fine command of the era's big issues with an appreciation for the daily minutiae involved in governing a nation. Less controversially inventive, but no less readable, than the Ronald Reagan biography Dutch, Theodore Rexgives readers new reason both to admire and fault an American phenomenon. --Gregory McNamee ... Read more

Reviews (151)

5-0 out of 5 stars Bully!
A thrilling look at the great Bull Moose at the apex of his career. Morris definitely seems to have regained his stride after his disappointing Reagan roman a clef. Among recent presidential biographies I'd rank "Theodore Rex" just behind McCullough's "Truman."

5-0 out of 5 stars Morris Displays the Roosevelt Personality
In searching for a biography that perfectly balances TR's personal and political life, I found that Theodore Rex hits the spot. From the outset, Edmund Morris envelops the reader in a novel-like way; I never felt like I was reading a biography. His research is so in-depth and his writing so clear that it seems as if he accompanied Roosevelt throughout his presidency. Numerous quotes from such intimates as Elihu Root and John Hay shed fascinating light on Roosevelt's character. While the descriptions of Roosevelt's political battles reveal his political character, it is the description of his summer life at Sagamore Hill, his skinny-dipping escapades in the Potomac River, and his tennis challenges to foreign ministers that personify Roosevelt. Morris has done a fabulous job in leaving no stone unturned. He turns Roosevelt from a detached presidential figure into a jovial personality. A must read for American history buffs and anyone who enjoys reading about dynamic people. I read it before The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt and had no problem, but I recommend some previous knowledge of the Roosevelt administration to truly enjoy the book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Biggest Personality to Occupy the White House
Theodore Rex is the second volume of a promised triology about the life of one of our most fascinating and complex presidents. Morris' first volume was the Pulitzer Prize winning book that chronicals TR's rise to the presidency. This volume opens on September 14, 1901 as TR becomes the youngest president at age 42, following the assassination of William McKinley.

Morris reveals the many dimensions of TR's seven and a half years in the White House. It is not always a pretty story. TR loved the Bully pulpit and boldly wielded the power of his office to the great chagrin of party bosses, Wall Street tycoons, and the Congress. One observer determined TR personified the motto, "Rem facias rem, si possis recte, si non quocunque modo rem"--"The thing, get the thing, fairly if possible, if not, then however it can be gotten." He enraged conservative Republicans and financiers with his initiatives against big business, enflamed the White South when he invited Booker T. Washington to the White House for dinner, and cowed party elders and Congress with his understanding of politics and the common man.

Along with a huge personality and amazing breadth of interests, TR left an impressive legacy--the Monroe Doctrine reaffirmed and the Old World banished from the New World, a coal strike settlement, the Panama Canal, a brokered peace agreement between Japan and Russia, liberation of Cuba, a greatly strengthened Navy, greater balance between capital and labor, national conservation conference, eighteen national monuments and five national parks, and a folk consensus that he had been the most powerfully positive American leader since Abraham Lincoln.

It is hard to conceive that any author could write a more interesting story about a fictitious character. Morris' book is well researched, thoroughly documented, and a pleasure to read. This is surely one of the most interesting biographies written about one of our most fascinating presidents. Hopefully, Morris will not make us wait as long for the next volume in the series as he did for this volume (~22 years).

5-0 out of 5 stars Dee-lighted! A bully book about a bully President
As this work of popular history by Edmund Morris begins, it's the early morning of 14 September 1901. President McKinley lies dying in Buffalo, NY, mortally wounded by an assassin's bullet. Vice President Theodore Roosevelt is on his way by buckboard and train from his isolated vacation cabin in Upper Tahawus, NY. Over the next 7 years and 169 days, THEODORE REX would drag and shove the United States into the twentieth century.

Unlike perhaps other biographies of TR, this one only hints at his life before his ascendancy to the White House, and ends somewhat abruptly on the day he transferred the mantle of power to William Howard Taft on 4 March 1909. In between, Morris hits all the high points of Roosevelt's two administrations: acquisition of the rights to build the Panama Canal, settlement of the 1902 coal strike, arbitration of the treaty ending the Russo-Japanese War, build-up of the American Navy, establishment of Cuban independence, and the calling of a national conservation conference. And certainly the low point - Theodore's response to the 1906 Brownsville Incident, wherein 20-30 Black troops of the 25th U.S. Infantry allegedly went on a shooting rampage in that Texas town.

One of the strengths of the author's prose is that it never becomes ponderous. Indeed, at times, it approaches oddly lyrical, as when he describes the signing of the canal treaty between newly independent Panama and the U.S.:

"Pens scratched across parchment. Wax melted on silk. Two oceans brimmed closer, ready to spill."

THEODORE REX isn't solely about great affairs of State. Did you know that both Teddy and his eldest daughter, Alice, habitually carried pistols. What would today's anti-gun lobby make of that!

The book also serves to dispel a Hollywood myth regarding the 1904 Perdicaris Affair, in which an American citizen in Tangier was kidnapped by the desert insurgent Ahmed ben Mohammed el Raisuli, an event memorialized in celluloid by the vastly entertaining 1975 film, THE WIND AND THE LION, starring Candice Bergen and Sean Connery. Had the movie been more true to fact, Ms. Bergen couldn't have played the role unless dressed in drag.

With my short attention span and too many books waiting on the shelf, this narrative of Roosevelt's Presidency is just about as good as it gets. At 555 paperback pages, it's long, but not too long to bog me down for weeks. It's detailed, compiled from a nine-page bibliography of sources, but not so detailed as to become tedious. And it's got photographs - one or two in each of its thirty-two chapters. At the book's conclusion, I felt I had a satisfactory appreciation of Teddy the man, and was glad I'd taken the opportunity to pick up this excellent volume. My only criticism is the lack of a brief post-epilogue noting Teddy's abortive 1912 attempt to regain the Presidency at the head of the Bull Moose Party, thus splitting the Republican vote and handing the election to Woodrow Wilson, which would have perhaps better rounded out the saga.


5-0 out of 5 stars A thorough and fascinating book about a great presidency.
If you are looking for stories of Theodore Roosevelt (I consciously use "Theodore" rather than "Teddy" because of the account in this book of T.R.'s bewilderment that NOBODY he saw when traveling around America called out to him by full first name) charging up hills in Cuba with the Rough Riders or returning from African safari and forming his own third party, this is not the book for you. This book does not cover before or after his 7 years and 169 days as president.

Theodore Rex examines the Roosevelt presidency, from William McKinley's assassination by an anarchist in September of 1901, to the swearing in of "Big Bill" Taft in a blizzard in March of 1909.

If you want to read about Roosevelt before his presidency, I would recommend Edmund Morris' The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt. It is similar, in that it is an immensely readable historical examination of one of America's greatest leaders.

Theodore Rex, though, gives great insight into the life and times of Mr. Roosevelt, the way he changed the presidency, the way he changed America, and the way he changed the world.

Roosevelt's (and America's) role in the Panamanian revolution and secession from Colombia, and the subsequent securing of the Panama Canal Treaty, is highly enlightening, and at times bordering on humorous.

To briefly quote from the book (page 290):

"...another cable from Panama City announced that a government gunboat had tossed five or six shells into the city, 'killing a Chinaman in Salsipuedes street and mortally wounding an ass.' If that was the extent of Colombia's rage so far, a tired President could get some sleep."

The story of the kidnapping in Morocco of Ion Perdicaris, a wealthy, American-born expatriate who had given up his citizenship during the Civil War (unbeknownst to the U.S. at the time), and the pressure Roosevelt applied ("Perdicaris alive or Raisuli dead"), during the 1904 Republican presidential nominating convention in Chicago, to secure Mr. Perdicaris' freedom, is another fascinating bit of American history. It is a prime example of America's rising stature in the world, and of Theodore Roosevelt's famous "big stick."

Other parts, big and small, of Roosevelt's presidency are conveyed with a keen knack for detail and a high degree of objectivity: mediating an impasse between labor and capital on more than one occasion and in more than one context; negotiating a peace between Japan and Russia (which won Roosevelt the Nobel Prize); intervening in Cuba; managing the Philippines; dining with Booker T. Washington; commissioning and sending off of the "Great White Fleet" around the world; and even just moments with his family and friends.

A look at a truly independent and forward-thinking individual, Theodore Rex is a joy to read and ponder. Any serious student of American history ought to read this book, but by no means should this book be limited to history buffs. Highly and excitedly recommended! ... Read more

114. I Love You, Ronnie: The Letters of Ronald Reagan to Nancy Reagan
list price: $13.95
our price: $10.46
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375760512
Catlog: Book (2002-02-26)
Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks
Sales Rank: 4711
Average Customer Review: 4.35 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

No matter what else was going on in his life or where he was—traveling to make movies, at the White House, or sometimes just across the room—Ronald Reagan wrote letters to Nancy Reagan, to express his love, thoughts, and feelings, and to stay in touch. Through these extraordinary letters and reflections, the private character and life of an American president and his first lady are revealed. Nancy Reagan reflects with love and insight on the letters, on her husband, and on the many phases of their life together. A love story spanning half a century and the private life of this classic American couple come vividly alive in this rare and inspiring book. ... Read more

Reviews (60)

5-0 out of 5 stars What love! What devotion! Truly sweet and sincere ...
Sweet and sincere best describe this lovely collection of love letters from Ronald Reagan to Nancy Reagan. The media seemed to show that Nancy Reagan was a control freak and overbearing during The White House years, this book tells another story. The story is of a man and a woman deeply in love and totally committed to one another. What impressed me most was the sweetness and the vulnerability of this once very powerful man.

Many of the letters have been scanned from the original copies so you get a real taste of the time and the personality of Ronald Reagan. The letterhead is often from various places and penned in his own handwriting. These letters show his most private and personal feelings of loving his wife and just how much she meant to him. You also get some insight into his sense of humor and in his ability to love and express love. I was charmed by the feeling that he never took his position(s) in government life so seriously that he lost his true core and his true heart.

At first I was a bit shocked that Nancy Reagan would share something so personal because that was not the impression I once had of her. I also wondered what was in it for her? Fame, she has, fortune? But I later learned the proceeds from this book will benefit the Alzeimers Foundation. Whatever her motivation this is a wonderful surprise of a book and a great way for her to share some really neat things about one of our ex-presidents.

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Glimpse into the Private Life of Ronald Reagan
What a warm, touching tribute to our late President from his wife! The letters lovingly saved by Nancy Reagan show us a portrait of a genuine, down-to-earth man. I just finished reading this book for the second time, (it's a very quick read), and I was reminded how much I enjoyed the book. Mr. Reagan's integrity, charm, and sense of humor are clearly evident in every letter and "doodle" in the book.

More than half of the letters are from the period before Reagan entered politics. For several years, Reagan was the host of the General Electric Theatre and spent huge amounts of time travelling the country to promote the show. The letters from this period are particularly poignant.

Thank you so much, Nancy Reagan, for sharing your treasures in this lovely book.

4-0 out of 5 stars GREAT LOVE STORY
seldom read books written by celebrities as too often they are only self serving pap. HOWEVER, this is one of the greatest love stories of all times. Hard to imagine that a man who led such a busy life would find the time, inclination and energy to put his thoughts in writing. A greater gift I can't imagine. The thoughts that occurred to me were the minor things that made him and Nancy so happy with each other and with themselves. My husband was in the Air Force and was gone a lot and was constantly in touch with me either by phone or letter so I know how much it means to have someone thinking of you even when they are so busy and so far away.Thank you Nancy for sharing these intimate parts of your life with us. You have a wonderful husband and I am so sorry you have lost him. But in his own way somehow I know he is still communicating with you.

5-0 out of 5 stars If You Want to Know What Makes a Good Marriage - Read This
I loved this book. There was little commentary by Nancy so you're left to judge him for yourself. The vast majority of the book is composed of the actual letters he wrote to her and what woman wouldn't love to have a husband say these things to her?? I also appreciated that she put in a couple of non-positive occurances and verbiage that things weren't always perfect. The other thing I liked was that she wasn't embarrassed by their pet nick-names they had for each other. I've been married and my late husband and I had silly nick-names for each other. I'd be embarrassed to tell them publically in a book so I admire that she spent about two sentences explaining them and let it go at that. If you want to understand a truly loving relationship (no matter what your politcal views), this is a must read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Reading some of the rotten reviews has really
made me mad. But whereas I might get mad or Nancy would be furious, Ronnie would laugh it off as "they're just having a bad day." This was the type of marriage we hope for, dream about, talk about. It is the kind most kids want to see from their parents, the type parents desire for their children, one where they are newlyweds for 50 years. Patti Davis said she knows her father loved his children but when Nancy walked into the room, there was no one else. Just perfect!!

These letters reveal a man helplessly and deeply in love with all his heart. If this is corny or childish, so be it. The world would be a better place if relationships could be this strong. He says it over and over, "You are my life, you saved my soul." The President could wax poetic and plumb the depth of emotions, something few ever manage. The letters were not only loving and tender but also erudite, witty, colorful and quite original. (My favorites are those written in the same room or those in which he refers to himself in the third person.) This is perhaps one of the best personal portraits of an American President that exist.

The letters range over a period of several years and contain some biographical data. Just to set the record straight, the proceeds from this book went to an Alzheimer's fund; the family received not one penny. ... Read more

115. John F. Kennedy : A Biography
by Michael O'Brien
list price: $35.00
our price: $23.10
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Asin: 0312281293
Catlog: Book (2005-03-01)
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Sales Rank: 451130
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116. Profiles in Courage
by John F. Kennedy
list price: $19.95
our price: $13.57
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060530626
Catlog: Book (2003-03-01)
Publisher: HarperCollins
Sales Rank: 54071
Average Customer Review: 3.71 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

"This is a book about that most admirable of human virtues-- courage. 'Grace under pressure,' Ernest Hemingway defined it. And these are the stories of the pressures experienced by eight United States Senators and the grace with which they endured them."

-- John F. Kennedy

During 1954-1955, John F. Kennedy, then a U.S. Senator, chose eight of his historical colleagues to profile for their acts of astounding integrity in the face of overwhelming opposition. These heroes include John Quincy Adams, Daniel Webster, Thomas Hart Benton, and Robert A. Taft.

Awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1957, Profiles in Courage -- now reissued in this handsome hardcover edition, featuring a new introduction by Caroline Kennedy, as well as Robert Kennedy's foreword written for the memorial edition of the volume in 1964 -- resounds with timeless lessons on the most cherished of virtues and is a powerful reminder of the strength of the human spirit. It is as Robert Kennedy states in the foreword, "not just stories of the past but a hook of hope and confidence for the future. What happens to the country, to the world, depends on what we do with what others have left us."

... Read more

Reviews (62)

5-0 out of 5 stars This book brings out the true meaning of patriotism.
With the recent impeachment of President Clinton by the U.S. House of Representatives, and the impending trial in the Senate, "Profiles in Courage" gives an appropriate historical persepective on the impact of the impeachment process. This book allows the reader to truly understand the immense pressure each member of Congress was under at the time of the impeachement of President Andrew Johnson. It also brings into focus the sheer magnitude of the duties we have bestowed on members of both the House of Representatives and the Senate today. This book points out that an impeachement trial should not be taken lightly. As was demonstrated in "Profiles in Courage", John Kennedy skillfully portrays the agony Edmund G. Ross went through before making his decision to cast a not guilty vote - saving President Johnson - from being thrown out of office. Ross'decision would have a resounding impact on the Constitution and the history of our nation. Now, 130 years later, members of the U.S. Senate are being asked to face the same challenges that Senator Ross faced. This portion of "Profiles" should be read by every member of the U.S. Senate before any votes to throw the president out of office are cast.

5-0 out of 5 stars Courage is indeed a virtue
John F. Kennedy presented to America a book that obviously would have stood out for all time as one of the most patriotic and true books ever to be written about the courage to stand up for what you believe is right. The central theme that Profiles In Courage emphasizes is that courage is a virtue that should, and has been, a trait which only a few Senators have shared. JFK was himself a senator at the time that this book saw the light of day in 1957. Perhaps it goes without mention that this book reveals the author's courage in the face of opposition. JFK biographers have pointed out on numerous occasions that President Kennedy was, as a youth,taught to stand up for your rights. Every senator portrayed here in this masterpiece tells a different story, but every single one of them never allowed themselves to be subjected to a popular referendum. Politicians today have lost sight of some of the most sought after virtues in America and within the United States Government. Our nation's leaders should take a good look at this book and read every chapter, word for word, until they understand, as did JFK, that political courage is always learned and never aquired. I would recommend this book to any serious American who is concerned with the way in which the United States is being governed.

4-0 out of 5 stars A must buy
I have never been a big fan of JFK and I have found that many things remotely associated with him to be unnecessarily praised because he is a Kennedy, American royalty. However, I found the book "a must buy" for the two objectives JFK wanted to demonstrate:
- The courage of individuals at key points in their careers who risked and usually lost everything for what they believed in
- That politicians are forced in their careers to balance of the interests of their parties, their voters, their state, the nation, and their conscience. It is very hard to serve so many masters.
The book increased my understanding of the difficulty of the political process.

5-0 out of 5 stars Courage Defined
John F. Kennedy was an award winning writing before he became President. While I have long intended to read his best known book, I have only recently acted on the opportunity. Although my primary interest in American history is relegated to more recent history, I found "Profiles in Courage"to be a very pleasurable read.

Kennedy chose a select group of senators with courageous motives to be the subject of his book. The time periods of the senators are as diverse as their deeds. John Q. Adams is the discussed for his valor in voting against the Federalist principles he was elected to defend. His actions made him unpopular in his home state of Massachusetts. Daniel Webster is noted for his attempts to keep the union together. Thomas Hart Benton refused to allow Missouri to leave the union while combating the Kansas-Nebraska Bill. Sam Houston turned most of the state of Texas against himself by refusing to allow Texas to leave the union. Edmund Ross perhaps received more abuse than any of the senators mentioned in the book for being the vote that prevented Andrew Jackson's conviction on impeachment charges. Lucius Quintas Cincinnatus Lamar became the unpopluar southern senator to bridge the gap with the North in the Reconstruction. George Norris caused an end to the political machine the senate had become in his time. Robert Taft became to unpopular spokesman for the illegalities of the Nuremberg Trials. Most of these men sacrificed their political careers for their stance. These stories are refreshing in an era of partisan politics. It is difficult to image similar acts today.

Although Kennedy was never allowed to reach his potential as a President, he proves to be an accomplished writer. Kennedy unintentionally raises questions about the functioning of the senate and government in general. It must be questioned if a democracy is truly working if the main goal of a senator or elected official is to be reelected. With reelection at stake, can any elected official vote for the best interest of the country if it is unpopular with the people? Government is intended to act in the people's best interest. It must be considered if appointed senators were more effective than elected senators. While there may be no easy answer to this, pondering the question and potentially making changes is an example effective democracy.

5-0 out of 5 stars The prescience to transcend
Edmund G. Ross(R). Who is he? How could someone so unknown be so significant in saving our country during a time of unprecedented peril? From threats both near and far, Ross was under a seemingly insurmountable burden to vote for impeachment, he chose, however, to exhibit "the courage to vote according to the dictates of my judgment and for the highest good of the country." This courage to uphold the Constitution and ignore the rabble rouser constituents of his native Kansas and the ever-strident Radical Republicans emboldened him to cast the deciding vote in acquitting President Andrew Johnson from certifiable impeachment -- by one vote. In doing so, Ross sagaciously restored order in the most tumultuous time in our history, and more importantly, forever rescued the dwindling autonomy of the executive branch from an increasingly partisan Congressional autocracy.

While this profound book chronicles the trials and tribulations of an impressive, yet eclectic, group of Senators all the way from the courageous John Quincy Adams up until the principled Robert A. Taft, I found one prevailing theme to be both extolled ad nauseam yet rarely enacted -- the laudable attribute of unassailable principled conviction in a time of unfathomable duress which, oftentimes, leads to grave repercussions.

"The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in a time of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality."
- Robert F. Kennedy in the foreword ... Read more

117. Tuva of Bust: Richard Feynman's Last Journey
by Ralph Leighton
list price: $19.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0393029530
Catlog: Book (1991-01-01)
Publisher: W W Norton & Co Inc
Sales Rank: 691947
Average Customer Review: 3.96 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A moving story of Richard Feynman and his friend Ralph Leighton's attempts to reach the land of Tannu Tuva.An adventure that is sure to inspire everyone.Well written and imaginative, this book is essential for fans of Feynman. Includes a 5-minute soundsheet of Tuvan throat-singing. ... Read more

Reviews (25)

5-0 out of 5 stars Extremely pleasant and informative book on lost land of Tuva
When I was a kid in the 1950s I collected stamps and had quite a few from a mysterious little land called "Tannu Tuva". It always intrigued me because though I could find it on the old globe we had at home (made before the USSR swallowed the unfortunate Tuvans in 1944)I never heard the slightest news from there, nor did I ever hear of anyone going or coming from that little red country sandwiched between the yellow Soviet Union and green Mongolia. Time passed. A lot of time. Fast forward in fact, forty years. One day I saw a new book advertised--TUVA OR BUST. I could scarcely believe that somebody else in America remembered that hapless little country that once issued diamond and triangle stamps with yaks, camels, archers, and horsemen on them. Yet, they had it at our local bookstore. I bought it and read it as soon as I got home. What a treat ! I had never heard of Richard Feynman, not being a physics aficionado, but he turned out to be a great character. I enjoyed reading about his years-long efforts with Ralph Leighton to get to Tuva. They went through all kinds of trouble and interesting side voyages. I strongly recommend that you read this book. For me, reading the book was only a beginning. I listened to the plastic disc of Tuvan throat singing that came with the book, and subsequently bought tapes and attended Tuvan concerts by the group Huun Huur Tu in Boston. I also became a "Friend of Tuva". You can find their website on the net. I still drive around with my 'Tuva or Bust' bumper sticker. All of this stemmed from reading this delightful book on a faraway, unknown country and two people's adventures trying to get there. A very pleasurable experience.

4-0 out of 5 stars funny, informative, and even a little inspiring
"Tuva or Bust!" is the story of three friends in the 1980s, who were determined to travel to Tuva, a little known land in Central Asia, which at that time was part of the Soviet Union. Their original motivation? As Richard Feynman says in the first chapter, "A place that's spelled K-Y-Z-Y-L (Tuva's capitol) has just got to be interesting!"

The book chronicles the adventures and misadventures of Ralph Leighton, one of Feynman's longtime friends. Though the book is subtitled "Richard Feynman's Last Journey," it's really Leighton's story; Feynman is more of an inspiration and a supporting character. Over several years, Leighton and his friends wrote letters, researched articles, read books, and became more and more fascinated by Tuva, a tiny country in the middle of nowhere. They learned, among other things, that Tuvans practice three different types of steppe herding lifestyles, within a hundred miles of each other, and that Tuva is the home of throat-singing, a musical technique in which a single person produces two notes at the same time.

Leighton's narration is chatty, reminiscent of Feynman's autobiographical works; one suspects Leighton learned to tell anecdotes from his friend. However, Leighton isn't as inherently fascinating a narrator as Feynman. Also, Feynman's persistent cancer, which kept him from participating in several preliminary trips, and finally killed him shortly before Leighton received permission for a group of Americans to travel to Tuva itself, casts a pall over the book.

Still, this is a fascinating story -- a great example of what people can do if they really care about a cause, and don't realize precisely how little chance they have of succeeding. It is also informative, if somewhat superficial in its description of Tuvan culture; I now want to know more about Central Asian peoples, and Tuvans in particular. But while the chapter "Reflections 2000," included in the new paperback version of "Tuva or Bust!" is interesting, I really don't think it was fair of Leighton to mention a new idea for a Tuvan monument to Feynman, and refuse to give any details. Now I want another reprint!

3-0 out of 5 stars Something To Do
A peculiar book: Ralph Leighton's TUVA OR BUST isn't really about Richard Feynman, who, the more one reads about him, begins to seem a genius, yes, but more than a little insufferable. He does instigate this whimsical notion of visiting Tannu Tuva (which had become Tuvinskaya of the U.S.S.R. (the book takes place from the late 1970s to Feynman's death in 1989), but the ball is picked up by Leighton, and Feynman is merely a supporting actor in the book.

The quest carries itself through many frustrations, mostly having to do w/ the hermetic paranoia of the Soviet Union, which seems to work like an enormous rural county: If you know someone, then things can be smoothed out; if not, then the official channels will be little help.

I'm not sure why anyone would read this book. There's no reason to if you're interested in Feynman, because, besides his concoctions to fit in at Esalen, amongst the New Age mumbo-jumbo, his mind is absent from the book. His personality & his drumming are there on occasion, but Feynman's thinking, no.

Leighton is not intrinsically interesting, and though a fluent writer, gives little sense of character. All the foreigners are forgettable, so the index is very handy. When a name turns up on page 150, say, then one can look it up to see which person this is.

As one reads, one begins to have the same thoughts about oneself that one has about Leighton's attempts to visit Tuva: Why am I going on?. Moreover, I think that one comes up with the same answer: Just to get through the damn thing. By the time that Leighton reaches Tuva (without Feynman, who died just a smidgen too soon), the appearance is anti-climactic, and the land is colorless: A Nevada trailer-park suburb, but with yurts instead of double-wides.

TUVA OR BUST! becomes a critique of bureaucracy. The slow, spirit-killing, mind-numbing bureaucracy of the Soviet Union ensured that Feynman would die without reaching Tuva. Our world, in which stupid little men can control our lives, is death to the spirit, and is death to the spirit of Feynman, insufferable though he may be, and inexplicably kow-towed to by everyone (you get the feeling that Feynman never opens a door for anyone or shuts one for himself).

TUVA OR BUST!, in its pedestrian prose, preaches, unwittingly, I think, for a freedom for whimsy, for the spirit, for the individual. At the same time, excepting the author and his male friends (his wife is also colorless), the book has no individuals. So, by the end, nothing: No Tuva to speak of, no more Feynman, nothing but an accomplishment to scratch off the list.

4-0 out of 5 stars Mostly Great, But Slightly Condescending!
Did you know of certain artists who painted scenes on a human hair! Yes, bring your magnifying glass! Or singing in 2 part harmony with only one singer! I surely did not before reading this book! However, as a stamp collector starting at a very young age (about 7) , I also was fascinated by the Tanna Tuva stamps, and still have a nice assortment of diamonds and triangles. This book is an amusing and informative read, not least in its descriptions of meetings between Soviet and western scholars during some of the "Bad Old Days" of the 1980's Cold War, including moments like the shooting of KAL 007 near Korea. At times , though, there does seem to be a slightly condescending attitude towards a small section of Siberia based on what seems "funny" to English speakers. Nonetheless a very worthwhile read, with many amusing anecdotes, not to mention the amazing cancer recovery attitude of Mr. Feynmann himself!

5-0 out of 5 stars Feynman's inspiration...
If you're reading this review, you've probably read dozens of witicisms from Richard Feynman, one of science's most colorful characters. Though the name suggests otherwise, this is really about a Feynman inspired journey.

Ralph Leighton and Richard Feynman spot a stamp from Tuva, which inspires Leighton's journey around the world. What makes the book an interesting read is that you can easily follow Feyman's curious energy in the actions and writing of the author. This really brings the heart of the book's value - this type of intellectual curiosity is not just the property of Richard Feynman. Anyone can chase a journey because it's fun or because it's there.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and hope that you do too. ... Read more

118. Thomas Jefferson
by R. B. Bernstein
list price: $26.00
our price: $16.38
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0195169115
Catlog: Book (2003-08-01)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Sales Rank: 5350
Average Customer Review: 4.19 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Thomas Jefferson designed his own tombstone, describing himself simply as 'Author of the Declaration of Independence and of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, and Father of the University of Virginia.' It is in this simple epitaph that R.B. Bernstein finds the key to this enigmatic Founder--not as a great political figure, but as leader of 'a revolution of ideas that would make the world over again.' In Thomas Jefferson, Bernstein offers the definitive short biography of this revered American--the first concise life in six decades.Bernstein deftly synthesizes the massive scholarship on his subject into a swift, insightful, evenhanded account.Here are all of Jefferson's triumphs, contradictions, and failings, from his luxurious (and debt-burdened) life as a Virginia gentleman to his passionate belief in democracy, from his tortured defense of slavery to his relationship with Sally Hemings. Jefferson was indeed multifaceted--an architect, inventor, writer, diplomat, propagandist, planter, party leader--and Bernstein explores all these roles even as he illuminates Jefferson's central place in the American enlightenment, that 'revolution of ideas' that did so much to create the nation we know today. Together with the less well-remembered points in Jefferson's thinking--the nature of the Union, his vision of who was entitled to citizenship, his dread of debt (both personal and national)--they form the heart of this lively biography.In this marvel of compression and comprehension, we see Jefferson more clearly than in the massive studies of earlier generations. More important, we see, in Jefferson's visionary ideas, the birth of the nation's grand sense of purpose. ... Read more

Reviews (16)

5-0 out of 5 stars The best one volume Jefferson biography I've read
A great book. This wonderful biography takes an unbiased look at the life of Thomas Jefferson. By not trying to stir things up or offer his opinion on an unresolvable issue, Bernstein succeeds in bring Jefferson's life into clear focus.

Well written and very informative, this would be a great indroduction, or a great re-introduction, to Jefferson. From there you can try the many other Jefferson biographies (Dumas Malone's 6 Volume Set, etc..) or one of the many book that examine his character and/or certain events in his life (American Sphinx, Understanding Jefferson, Negro President, etc...).

Highly Recommended!

5-0 out of 5 stars Response to Richard E. Dixon
I read with mingled exasperation and disappointment Richard E. Dixon's misleading review of my book. To cite particulars:

* There was no way for me to cover everything in a book of this length, so an omission of a statement that Jefferson's work on the Virginia capitol was the introduction of classical forms of architecture to America is hardly an error or a fumble.

* I grounded my interpretation of Napoleon's actions regarding the Louisiana Purchase on the work of Peter Onuf, Jon Kukla, Lawrence Kaplan, Roger Kennedy, and Alexander De Conde. Since my book appeared, the recent Monticello Monograph by James E. Lewis has appeared, and is in accord with the arguments already cited. If he disagrees with their -- and my -- interpetations, that is a disagreement, not a historical error.

* On page 74, I wrote that Jefferson HELPED to move Madison from opposing a bill of rights to favoring it. I have noted the four reasons that Madison made this transition in my 1987 book ARE WE TO BE A NATION? THE MAKING OF THE CONSTITUTION and my 1993 book AMENDING AMERICA -- those including (i) Madison's pledge during ratification; (ii) his recognition that the Federalists' pledge to work for amendments was a necessary concession to popular opinion; (iii) his working out a solution -- embodied in the Ninth Amendment -- to his fear that a bill of rights might omit rights by failing to list them; and (iv) his having been influenced by Jefferson. I cited AMENDING AMERICA in JEFFERSON (210n118). No fair-minded reader would have drawn the conclusion that Mr. Dixon drew from that passage, or from the larger discussion on pages 72-74.

* On page 137, I write that the Executive Mansion is "now known as the White House." "Now" in that passage means today, not in Jefferson's or Madison's presidency. Indeed, not till Theodore Roosevelt's presidency (1902 or 1903) did the Executive Mansion acquire its official name of the White House. No fair-inded reader would have misread the text as Mr. Dixon misread it.

* On the Sally Hemings question, Mr. Dixon is unpersuaded and, I find from previous experience of his approach to this controversy, unpersuadable. One specific error that he made in misrepresenting my work: I note in my text at page 196 that the DNA study disproved the Woodson claim. His "reasoning" on Frasier Nieman's study -- which consists of dubbing it a "Monte Carlo" methodology, then claiming that another scholar using a similar "Monte Carlo" methodology failed miserably, with the implicit conclusion that Mr. Nieman's study is similarly a miserable failure -- is worthy of a place as an illustrative example in Jeremy Bentham's HANDBOOK OF POLITICAL FALLACIES.

I respectfully but firmly request that Mr. Dixon withdraw his imputations against my book. I would have written to him privately, but I could not find a current, valid email address for him.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good overview of Jefferson life but author stumbles
Thomas Jefferson's long and accomplished life resists compression into a one volume treatment. Professor R. B Bernstein almost meets the challenge but not without some lapses. He misses the importance of Jefferson's design of the Virginia State Capitol as the introduction of classical architecture to public buildings. It was not Jefferson's influence that brought James Madison to accept the need for a bill of rights, but the opposition of Virginia and other states to the adoption of a Constitution that lacked such amendments. It was the loss of Saint-Domingue (Haiti) that caused Napoleon to give up his dream of a western empire, not the costs of maintaining the Louisiana Territory. Bernstein succumbs to the revisionist effort to create a persona for Sally Hemings in asserting she was given "extensive authority over running" Monticello.

There are errors of fact which should have been caught by the readers Bernstein credits in his Acknowledgments: Eston Hemings was born in 1808, not 1809; the earliest references to the Presidents House as the White House was 1812, not at the time Jefferson moved into it; Sally Hemings never went to Ohio with her sons, but died in Charlottesville.

It is disappointing to read the "proof" Bernstein, a law professor, accepts in the last chapter when he discusses whether Jefferson fathered children by Sally Hemings. Bernstein is one of the "believers" scattered throughout academia who have followed a pattern of making the test for paternity "could he have" rather than "did he." Two examples suffice. One, in his first term as president, the Federalist press accused Jefferson of fathering a son Tom with Hemings. A Woodson family had long claimed they are the descendants of this Tom. Although DNA tests destroyed this myth, Bernstein calls the family stories of other descendants of Sally Hemings "oral history" and insists they are "proof" of paternity. Two, Bernstein endorses a Monte Carlo simulation by an archeologist at Monticello on the "odds" that Jefferson was the cause of Hemings' conceptions. If this gibberish had any value Bernstein should take it to the racetrack. Recently, a professor at St. Joseph's University did a Monte Carlo simulation for the NCAA basketball tournament. In the round of sixteen, he got eight right.

In short, not the "brilliant" biography praised on the back cover, but certainly a readable and thorough one. Just skip the last chapter.

5-0 out of 5 stars Food for thought
I have nothing but glowing praise for this author of "Thomas Jefferson", R.B. Bernstein. I just wanted to say that I agree with all the reviewers who gave the book good marks. I also took one reviewer's suggestion and went on to read "West Point:Thomas Jefferson.." by Remick and found it different than the Bernstein book and other T.J. books because it is not so much ABOUT Jefferson, as is a biography, but FROM Jefferson, the moral history and philosophy being drawn from his own readings and writings. I recommend after reading Bernstein's "Thomas Jefferson" you go on to the book by Remick, if you enjoy food for thought.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very readable
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and learned a significant amount about this most interesting character. It is interesting to compare with "An Imperfect God" by Wiencek, which seems to dislike Jefferson somewhat, perhaps justifiably in places, where these subjects (such as that of Sally Jennings) are dealt with kid gloves in this book. ... Read more

119. The Survivor : Bill Clinton in the White House
list price: $29.95
our price: $19.77
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375508473
Catlog: Book (2005-05-31)
Publisher: Random House
Sales Rank: 11033
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120. The Essential John Nash
by John Nash
list price: $34.95
our price: $34.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0691095272
Catlog: Book (2001-11-19)
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Sales Rank: 55481
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

When John Nash won the Nobel prize in economics in 1994, many people were surprised to learn that he was alive and well. Since then, Sylvia Nasar's celebrated biography, the basis of a new major motion picture, has revealed the man. The Essential John Nash reveals his work--in his own words. This book presents, for the first time, the full range of Nash's diverse contributions not only to game theory, for which he received the Nobel, but to pure mathematics, in which he commands even greater acclaim among academics. Included are nine of Nash's most influential papers, most of them written over the decade beginning in 1949.

From 1959 until his astonishing remission three decades later, the man behind the concepts "Nash equilibrium" and "Nash bargaining"--concepts that today pervade not only economics but nuclear strategy and contract talks in major league sports--had lived in the shadow of a condition diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenia. In the introduction to this book, Nasar recounts how Nash had, by the age of thirty, gone from being a wunderkind at Princeton and a rising mathematical star at MIT to the depths of mental illness.

In his preface, Harold Kuhn offers personal insights on his longtime friend and colleague; and in introductions to several of Nash's papers, he provides scholarly context. In an afterword, Nash describes his current work, and he discusses an error in one of his papers. A photo essay chronicles Nash's career from his student days in Princeton to the present. Also included are Nash's Nobel citation and autobiography.

The Essential John Nash makes it plain why one of Nash's colleagues termed his style of intellectual inquiry as "like lightning striking." All those inspired by Nash's dazzling ideas will welcome this unprecedented opportunity to trace these ideas back to the exceptional mind they came from. ... Read more

Reviews (12)

5-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Reading
Even without the Nobel Prize for Economics, the outstanding movie by Ron Howard ("A Beautiful Mind"), or the exceptional biography by Sylvia Nasar (also "A Beautiful Mind"), Professor John Nash would a legend. While cursed with severe mental illness, Dr. Nash was and is an extraordinary man. His contributions to game theory were so ahead of their time it took over 30 years for economists and business leaders to apply them fully. When they were applied, they advanced everything from international trade talks and arms control treaties, to radio frequency auctions and the study of evolutionary biology. Dr. Nash's work has had a profound, highly practical impact on negotiation and decision making throughout business and government. He created a path toward win-win solutions to complex, multi-party agreements.

This book is largely a collection of Dr. Nash's own writings, each a significant contribution to mathematics or economics. Nash's papers are thoughtfully introduced and explained - thankfully so given the complexity of Nash's writings. Also included is Nash's own touching and revealing autobiography.

The result is a compelling glimpse inside the thought processes of a genius - a beautiful mind indeed. Thanks to Harold Kuhn and Sylvia Nasar for pulling this wonderful collection together.

5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent compilation
Having written about the life of the mathematician John Nash in the excellent biography "A Beautiful Mind", Sylvia Nasar teams up with the mathematician Harold W. Kuhn to produce a book that introduces the mathematical contributions of Nash, something that was done only from a "popular" point of view in Nasar's biography. For those who have the background, this book is a fine overview of just what won Nash acclaim in the mathematical community, and won him a Nobel Prize in economics.

It is always easy to dismiss ideas as trivial after they have been discovered and have been put into print. This is apparently what John von Neumann did after discussing with Nash his ideas on noncooperative games, dismissing his ideas as a mere "fixed point theorem". At the time of course, the only game-theoretic ideas that had any influence were those of von Neumann and his collaborator, the Princeton economist Oskar Morgenstern. The rejection of ideas by those whose who hold different ones is not uncommon in science and mathematics, and, from von Neumann's point of view at the time, he did not have the advantage that we do of examining the impact that Nash's ideas would have on economics and many other fields of endeavor. Therefore, von Neumann was somewhat justified, although not by a large measure, in dismissing what Nash was proposing. Nash's thesis was relatively short compared to the size on the average of Phd theses, but it has been applied to many areas, a lot of these listed in this book, and others that are not, such as QoS provisioning in telecommunication and packet networks. The thesis is very readable, and employs a few ideas from algebraic topology, such as the Brouwer fixed point theorem.

The paper on real algebraic manifolds though is more formidable, and will require a solid background in differential geometry and algebraic geometry. However, from a modern point of view the paper is very readable, and is far from the sheaf and scheme-theoretic points of view that now dominate algebraic geometry. It is interesting that Nash was able to prove what he did with the concepts he used. The result could be characterized loosely as a representation theory employing algebraic analytic functions. These functions are defined on a closed analytic manifold and serve as well-behaved imbedding functions for the manifold, which is itself analytic and closed. These manifolds have been called 'Nash manifolds' in the literature, and have been studied extensively by a number of mathematicians.

I first heard about John Nash by taking a course in algebraic topology and characteristic classes in graduate school. The instructor was discussing the imbedding problem for Riemannian manifolds, and mentioned that Nash was responsible for one of the major results in this area. His contribution is included in this book, and is the longest chapter therein. Here again, the language and flow of Nash's proof is very understandable. This is another example of the difference in the way mathematicians wrote back then versus the way they do now. Nash and other mathematicians of his time were more 'wordy' in their presentations, and this makes the reading of their works much more palatable. This is to be contrasted with the concisness and economy of thought expressed in modern papers on mathematics. These papers frequently employ a considerable amount of technical machinery, and thus the underlying conceptual foundations are masked. Nash explains what he is going to do before he does it, and this serves to motivate the constructions that he employs. His presentation is so good that one can read it and not have to ask anyone for assistance in the understanding of it. This is the way all mathematical papers should be written, so as to alleviate any dependence on an 'oral tradition' in mathematical developments.

Nash's proof illuminates nicely just what happens to the derivatives of a function when the smoothing operation is applied. The smoothing operator consists of essentially of extending a function to Euclidean n-space, applying a convolution operator to the extended function, and then restricting the result to the given manifold. Nash gives an intuitive picture of this smoothing operator as a frequency filter, passing without attenuation all frequencies below a certain parameter, omitting all frequencies above twice this parameter, and acting as a variable attenuator between these two, resulting in infinitely smooth function of frequency.

The next stage of the proof of the imbedding theorem is more tedious, and consists of using the smoothing operator and what Nash calls 'feed-back' to construct a 'perturbation device' in order to study the rate of change of the metric induced by the imbedding. Nash's description of the perturbation process is excellent, again for its clarity in motivating what he is going to do. The feed-back mechanism allows him to get a handle of the error term in the infinitesimal perturbation, isolating the smoother parts first, and handling the more difficult parts later. Nash reduces the perturbation process to a collection of integral equations, and then proves the existence of solutions to these equations. A covariant symmetric tensor results from these endeavors, which is CK-smooth for k greater than or equal to 3, and which represents the change in the metric induced by the imbedding of the manifold. The imbedding problem is then solved for compact manifolds by proving that only infinitesimal changes in the metric are needed. The non-compact case is treated by reducing it to the compact case. The price paid for this strategy is a weakening of the bound on the required dimension of the Eucliden imbedding space.

The last chapter concerns Nash's contribution to nonlinear partial differential equations. I did not read this chapter, so I will omit its review.

5-0 out of 5 stars Good Collection of Nash Writings!
I only rate books that I really enjoy reading. While this one has some techy chapters, readers without a strong math background can still enjoy it.

Professor Nash's story was brought to life by the movie, this book shows why. One day his manifold theory will rule! ;)

5-0 out of 5 stars excellent
Personally, I found this book to be very interestring. The proofs and ideas are presented in clear and non-rigomorphic fashion. One is able to read the works of Nash in the way he himself presented them, and hopefully appropriate some mental strategies used by this genius. There is much that goes on behind the scene of creation of proofs. I think mathematicians of today would greatly benefit from availability of larger number of books which would contain the mathematical works in the way they were originally presented. This is certainly a major step in that direction.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Most Welcome Mathematical Banquet
I can't begin to express how deeply satisfying it was to peruse these papers by John Nash. You almost felt you were right there at his side, as he penned them.

There is even something in the book for non-mathematical types: Sylvia Nasar's Introduction and the autobiographical essay (Chapter Two). But for me the greatest interest resided in the remaining chapters: 4-11.

Of these, I particularly enjoyed reading the original presentation of Nash's Thesis on 'Non-Cooperative Games' (Chapter 6), and was fascinated not only with the air-tight logic of his proofs, but the use of hand written-in symbols.

Of course, Chapter 7 is just the re-hashing of Ch. 6, but in proper type-set form, rather than Nash's original script. But - give me the former any day! Reading the original form and format almost made me feel like Nash's Thesis aupervisor, including the same excitement of a new discovery!

Chapter 8 'Two person Cooperative Games' nicely extends the mathematical basis to cover this species of interaction.(And in many ways, people will find the cooperative game model easier to understand than the non-cooperative).

Chapter 9 is important because it delves into the issue of parallel control, and logical functions such as used in high speed digital computers. This chapter was of much interest to me since particular aspects of parallel control figured in my own model of consciousness - recently presented in Chapter Five of my book, 'The Atheist's Handbook to Modern Materialism'. Astute readers who read both books will quickly see the analog between the Schematic of Logical Unit Function (p. 122) and my own Figure 5-13 ('Development of Neural Assemblies', p. 156).

I enjoyed Chapter 10, 'Real Algebraic Manifolds' because of my ongoing interest in Algebraic Topology, and especially homology and homotopy theory. In his chapter, Nash presents a cornucopia of methods for representation, which I am still playing with for different manifolds.

Chapter 11, 'The Imbedding Problem for Riemannian Manifolds', is a delight for anyone familiar with Einstein's General Relativity, or even differential geometry. When you read through this chapter, you also will understand why Nash is still very interested (and involved) in research to do with general relativity and cosmology. Particularly fun for me was his section on 'Smoothing of Tensors' (p. 163) and 'Derivative Size Concept for Tensors' (p. 164).

Chapter 12, 'Continuity of Solutions of Parabolic and Elliptic Equations' is like 'dessert' for anyone who is intensely interested (as I am) in modular functions, which themselves are related intimately to elliptic equations.

In short, I think this book has something for both mathematicians and non-math types alike. Obviously, the former are likely to get more out of it, so the question the latter group must ask is whether the purchase is worth satiating their curiosity about Nash.

I know how I would answer, even if I couldn't tell a derivative from a differential. However, this book can be read on all kinds of levels, and that's the beauty of it. ... Read more

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