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121. Who Was Eleanor Roosevelt?
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122. Commander in Chief: Abraham Lincoln
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123. Lennon Legend
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124. Ataturk: The Biography of the
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125. Ulysses S. Grant (The American
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126. The Life of Andrew Jackson (Perennial
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127. The Path to Power (The Years of
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128. George Washington : Writings (Library
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129. The Selected Journals of L. M.
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130. Thomas Jefferson : Writings :
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131. ELVIS : WHAT HAPPENED?
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132. In the Presence of My Enemies
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133. Martin Luther: A Penguin Life
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134. The Last Best Hope of Earth: Abraham
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135. Lucky Man: A Memoir
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136. Trump: Think Like a Billionaire
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137. A Thousand Days of Magic: Dressing
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138. Karl Marx: A Life
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139. Blinded by the Right : The Conscience
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140. Grace and Power : The Private

121. Who Was Eleanor Roosevelt?
by Gare Thompson, Elizabeth Wolf
list price: $4.99
our price: $4.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0448435098
Catlog: Book (2004-01-01)
Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap
Sales Rank: 84681
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

For a long time, the main role of First Ladies was to act as hostesses of the White House...until Eleanor Roosevelt. Born in 1884, Eleanor was not satisfied to just be a glorified hostess for her husband, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Eleanor had a voice, and she used it to speak up against poverty and racism. She had experience and knowledge of many issues, and fought for laws to help the less fortunate. She had passion, energy, and a way of speaking that made people listen, and she used these gifts to campaign for her husband and get him elected president—four times! A fascinating historical figure in her own right, Eleanor Roosevelt changed the role of First Lady forever. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars An impressive and highly recommended life story
In Who Was Eleanor Roosevelt?, biographer Gare Thompson reveals to young readers the impressive and highly recommended life story of one of the most influential women in American 20th Century history. Individual chapters begin with the question "Who Was Eleanor Roosevelt?", and the continue on with "Early Years"; "Daddy's Little Girl"; "All Alone"; "Years at Allenswood"; "Cousin Franklin"; "Marriage and Children"; "Politics"; "White House Years"; and "Ambassador to the World". ... Read more


122. Commander in Chief: Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War
by Albert Marrin
list price: $25.00
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Asin: 0525458220
Catlog: Book (1997-11-01)
Publisher: Dutton Books
Sales Rank: 868174
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Much more than a biography of Lincoln or a history of the Civil War, this portrait of Lincoln makes our sixteenth president accessible to young readers as a human being, rather than as a historic icon or paragon of virtue. The author, renowned for his award-winning books on great leaders, shows how a principled but imperfect man -- full of intelligence but also of sorrow,logical and determined but also cautious and prejudiced grew under the pressure of personal tragedy and national crisis to become our greatest president.The book is written in a quick-flowing, engaging style, detailed but easy to read. The author effortlessly uses eyewitness accounts -- letters, speeches,diaries, newspapers, poems, songs, memoirs -- to create setting, to show personality, political climate, to give voice to the attitudes and hopes of everyday Americans. The treatment of slavery is especially vivid. All the important events of the war are here, but the emphasis is on people, personalities, human feelings and behavior.As the historian Barbara Fields made clear in the Ken Burns documentary on the Civil War, the issues of that war are still with us. Perhaps never more than now do young people need to be exposed to the unfailing humanity, honesty, and political sagacity that allowed Lincoln to hold together a country racked by secession, racial hatred, and other divisions. Lincoln had that most uy76precious of all human qualities -- the capacity for growth. His life reminds us that any person can learn from experience and rise above poverty, prejudice, and limitation; and that a political leader can and must embody a profound respect forthe plain peopleand the democratic processes that elevate us all. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Human Side of Lincoln
For the first time, I came to know Lincoln not as an iconified hero, but as a funny, direct, engaging and committed human being as I read this book. The author has thorough notes of very detailed research and tells a story that others omitted or overlooked. It made me want to read much more about Lincoln, especially more of the piercing wit and emotional perseverance shared in this book. ... Read more


123. Lennon Legend
by James Henke
list price: $40.00
our price: $26.40
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Asin: 0811835170
Catlog: Book (2003-10-01)
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Sales Rank: 5890
Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Presented in a handsome slipcase, Lennon Legend is both an illustrated and an interactive biography of the creative genius - songwriter, artist, social activist - who changed his times. Created with the cooperation of Yoko Ono Lennon, who has opened her archives for this project, the book offers insightful details about every era of John's life, from his early days at art school to the height of Beatlemania to "Imagine." A live recording of that song is included, along with several interviews of John talking about his life and art, on the audio CD contained in this package. Throughout, the book features archival photographs and reproductions of John's handwritten song lyrics, drawings, memorabilia, and personal papers. In all, 40 removable facsimiles can be enjoyed by the reader, several previously unpublished, including an intimate self-portrait in pen and ink and a plea for world peace. It's been said that John Lennon's was the voice of a generation. Lennon Legend celebrates that voice's power to resonate across the generations. ... Read more

Reviews (15)

4-0 out of 5 stars "Breathe" - Experience John Lennon
Imagine - you are visiting an exhibition about an important artist. An exhibition guide is describing anecdote-rich in short chapters all creative periods of this artist.

Imagine - you are buying the catalog, covering all the things you saw and heard before. Again ...

Imagine - you are taking with you some of the so admired exhibits (ok, only as reproductions, but ... anyway).

James Henke let with his book "Lennon Legend: An illustrated Life of John Lennon" this dream become true. Because provided with large expenditure, a worthy book is published, which resembles rather a fan collection in form of a photo album as a classical biography. The "Clou" - the book contains high-quality reproductions: handwritten letters and Songtexte, historical documents and further 40 removable memorabilia as well as an interview CD, on which also a rare live recording of "Imagine" is to be heard from the year 1972.

Henke avoides dry academical essay and "letter deserts" to the reader. As a curator he knows obviously, how history can be lastingly and affectionately address. Facts become literally "illustrative" and "handable". Therefore you should pull the art cart with Yokos handwritten request "breathe" from page 26 and in thoughts experience , how it could have been, when John met for the first time Yoko.

The author succeeds with this approach to show, almost the entire work of Lennon as a musician, author, painter, performance artist and as an actor. But the book is not a detailed exposition with the John's contradictions. Rather Henke concentrates to point the view of the reader of the strengths and talents of this outstanding artist.

Nevertheless in my opinion this book let the answer to question open, which let John Lennon become a legend. This to mediate clearly, succeeds only in few places in this book: "in somewhat more than three years... they (the Beatles) had revolutionized the music and the fashion, and at the cultural and social changes... they were considerably involved."

Also John never understood itself as legend. In its last interview (contained in cutouts also on that CD) he says: "my role in society is trying to express, what we all feel and not to tell the people how to feel - not as a preacher, not as a leader, but as a reflection of us all, and it's like that the job of the artists in society."

All in all, this book is remarkable, than many biographies about John Lennon before - Henke lets the "legend become touchable":

Imagine - you are opening the book and the Lennon exhibition come to you home.

Already because of this conception that book earned at least four of five stars.

5-0 out of 5 stars Absolutely fab!
Everything Henke publishes is always a high quality, well-researched effort and this is no exception. It's not hyperbole to say that this book contains virtually everything you ever wanted to know about Lennon memorabilia; the details are prodigious. It's an almost encyclopedic chronicle of Lennon's life from 1940 until his tragic death in 1980. Casual fans might suffocate under the weight of all this info, but for Lennon fanatics, like me, this is nirvana.

The book is divided between personal material about John, his relationships, marriages, divorce, and two sons, and his professional career. His partnership with Paul is explored in fascinating detail and no discernible bias can be seen. The index is easy to follow and cross-referenced so you can easily find what you're looking for. The highlights are the color photos of John memorabilia: report cards, Quarrymen stuff, lyric sheets... it'll blow your mind.

If you are a serious fan of John Lennon, this is an indispensible guide to his songwriting, personality and his life. If only he had been allowed more than 40 years on earth, how many more classic songs would he have written? Sadly, we will never know, but this celebration of his life is as good as it gets.

5-0 out of 5 stars IN JOHN'S LIFE
This is an outstanding biography of John Lennon.

This is a high caliber, comprehensive work that follows John Lennon's early years in Liverpool and the formation of the rock bands he founded until its final evolution as the Beatles. There are a plethora of good photographs and material that will captivate readers from Beatle experts to lay persons. This author has clearly done an excellent job of researching his material.

Yoko's input is invaluable and helps to make a good work all the more effective. Imagine owning this masterpiece - you will be so glad that you do. As for the Beatles, in my life, I love them more. This book will certainly spark an even keener interest in the Beatles and the man known as the Chief Beatle, John Lennon.

5-0 out of 5 stars All I'm Saying is give this book a chance
John - my second favorite Beatle, and my favorite solo ex-Beatle (come on, is there really any competition between 'Imagine' and 'Silly Love Songs'?) So you can IMAGINE my giddy excitement when I saw this one on the shelves. A must read. I loved it. For any obsessive Beatle fan (like me) or anyone just looking for a way to pass the days away.

"If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there'd be peace."
John Lennon

If everyone read this book, there'd be peace. Or at least a very satisfied reader.

5-0 out of 5 stars Entertaining
If you love John Lennon then you will love this book. I don't own it, but i saw it in a book store and sat on the floor for about 20 minutes just going through all the little pull-outs it has. Great book to have...i highly recommend it! ... Read more


124. Ataturk: The Biography of the Founder of Modern Turkey
by Andrew Mango
list price: $23.95
our price: $16.29
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Asin: 158567334X
Catlog: Book (2002-11-01)
Publisher: Overlook Press
Sales Rank: 23766
Average Customer Review: 4.16 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In this major new biography of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, and the first to appear in English based on Turkish sources, Andrew Mango strips away the myth, to show the complexities of one of the most visionary, influential, and enigmatic statesmen of the century. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk was virtually unknown until 1919, when he took the lead in thwarting the victorious Allies' plan to partition the Turkish core of the Ottoman Empire. He divided the Allies, defeated the last Sultan, and secured the territory of the Turkish national state, becoming the first president of the new republic in 1923, fast creating his own legend.

Andrew Mango's revealing portrait of Atatürk throws light on matters of great importance today-resurgent nationalism, religious fundamentalism, and the reality of democracy.
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Reviews (25)

5-0 out of 5 stars The best biography of Ataturk ever written
What a wonderful book. Over the years, I have read three other biographies of Ataturk, and I can honestly say that this one is the best. For those who are unfamiliar with the history of the final days of the Ottoman Empire, and the initial days of the Turkish republic, the book gives a great history lesson, while at the the same time, telling the story of a remarkable life. The book goes into extreme detail with regard to the principle players in Ataturk's life, and gives a summary of the careers of those individuals at the end of the book as well. Mr. Mango has obviously spent many hours researching and interviewing people to compile the facts and information necessary to decribe the life of the greatest leader of the 20th century. I highly recommend it for anyone who is interested in Turkish/Ottoman history. Hopefully someday a proper documentery/movie will be produced so the western world can see what a great man Kemal Ataturk really was.

5-0 out of 5 stars Powerful, Unrivalled Achievement
Certainly, I am not the only Turk who feels indebted to Andrew Mango for his wonderful biography of a man whom the west could know more about. However, before reading this scholarly, thoroughly researched and authoritative book about Ataturk, those who are not familiar with the history of Ottoman Turkey could read as a primer Lord Kinross' "A History of the Ottoman Centuries".

In a gesture of gratitude, the Turkish Parliament in 1927 conferred on Mustafa Kemal the surname Ataturk which means "Father Turk". To this day, Turks revere Mustafa Kemal Ataturk because his vision, courage and leadership eventually saved the country from invasion and extinction as a nation. Ataturk's progressive reforms have allowed Turkey to develop into the modern nation it is today. Even his ardent critics in Turkey enjoy freedom today because of Ataturk's life long dedication and service for his country.

This book is a gem, a rich source of information about the life and times of Kemal Ataturk. Anyone who is interested in further understanding the character of this brilliant soldier, the architect of the Turkish Republic and a rare individual whose spirit is alive and well in Turkey today should read this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Man, A Vision, A Country
Andrew Mango first gives his readers an excellent introduction to the declining Ottoman Empire so that they better understand where Mustapha Kemal Atatürk was coming from. The Ottoman Realm, though modernizing slowly, no longer had the means to live up to its ambitions and was shrinking fast under pressure of competing empires and nascent states at the end of the nineteenth century. Furthermore, the Ottoman State was undermined internally by increasingly restive minorities that no longer accepted their subservient condition, as well as, by part of the elite that was dissatisfied with the perceived backwardness and incompetence of the Ottoman ruling class. Born in Salonica in today's Greece around 1880 in a Muslim, Turkish-speaking and middle-class family, Atatürk early on made up his mind to join the westernizing army and thereby discard the external signs of oriental life.

Mango narrates with mastery the steady progress that Atatürk, a successful and popular student, made during his military education. Work was all that mattered to Atatürk. Atatürk became a politically savvy professional soldier while studying hard during his years of military education in Istanbul, the imperial capital. After his admission to the prestigious Staff College at 21, Atatürk kept in touch with his military friends who were assigned elsewhere, a circle that would reveal its greatest usefulness in the accession of Atatürk to the highest post of Modern Turkey two decades later. Because of his subversive political activities, Atatürk was assigned not to Europe but to the Near East after finishing his studies in 1904. Mango does a great job in giving background information, which helps readers understand the environment in which Atatürk was bound to as a soldier while he actively remained involved in politics through his connections in the empire before, during and after WWI. In 1908, the Society of Union and Progress, of which Atatürk became a member, served as the launching path for the Young Turks in their successful military coup. Atatürk understood very fast that the Young Turks, even with the help of Germany later on, were not up to the task to save the empire from its ultimate downfall after the end of WWI. Atatürk was still too junior to play a key role in the new administration. As usual, Atatürk was critical of the new ones on top because he alone deserved to be leader.

From 1911, Atatürk, still an obscure officer, progressively rose to preeminence. Atatürk first tried to quell rebellions in the disintegrating empire before WWI. Atatürk then illustrated his military superiority when he decisively helped ruin the allied venture at Gallipoli in 1915. After a new promotion in 1916, Atatürk, very resentful of the Germans for continuously meddling into military operations from the beginning, spent two agitated years in the Near East where he did what he could to slow down the advance of the allies until the end of WWI. Officers who ultimately played a key role in the War of Independence were placed under his command during these two years. After the armistice in 1918, Atatürk proved to be the most effective of all Ottoman officers who refused the diktats of the victorious allies and thwarted their efforts to carve up the territory of Modern Turkey into pieces. Mango clearly explained how with the help of other nationalist officers, Atatürk turned Anatolia into a redoubt of resistance while accommodating the decadent rule of the sultan in the short term. Atatürk also progressively centralized all military and political levers of power in his hands through shrewd maneuvering. Mango is brutally honest about the enlightened despotism of Atatürk. Modern Turkey needed a strong regime to impose its legitimacy both internally and externally.

It took Atatürk and his army several grueling years before they could finally defeat the Greeks militarily and thereby commanding the grudging respect of the remaining divided allies. The signature of the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923 was a personal triumph for Atatürk by making the humiliating Treaty of Sevres of 1920 associated with the discredited old regime almost totally obsolete. As George Curzon, a British imperial statesman, noted at the end of the conference: "Hitherto we have dictated our peace treaties. Now we are negotiating one with an enemy who has an army while we have none, an unheard of position." The Treaty of Lausanne, still in existence, has been the most successful and the most lasting of all the post-war treaties. Atatürk was 42 years old when he became the first president of Modern Turkey. He assumed this position until his premature death in 1938. Mango never bores his audience when he overviews the successful and not-so-successful revolutionary reforms that Atatürk enacted during the successive terms of his presidency. Unsurprisingly, Modern Turks still revere Atatürk for westernizing and modernizing at high speed their country at its creation in 1923.

In present times, the adhesion of Turkey and United Cyprus to the European Union should be a fitting tribute to western-bound Kemalism. In addition, this adhesion should help engineer a historic reconciliation between Greece and Turkey, two key U.S. allies. On top of that, Turkey is called to play a key role as a bridge between the European Union and a would-be Islamic Union. Turkey has been an anchor of stability for over 80 years in the most volatile region of the world and has demonstrated with a growing success how to marry democracy, economic liberalism and Islam with one another. Unsurprisingly, Islamic terrorists have had Turkey on their hitting list for this reason.

2-0 out of 5 stars Interesting subject ruined by inferior narrative ability
This is a very interesting topic that has been under-scrutinized in western sources. Mr. Mango has done excellent research, but the narrative is jumbled and difficult to follow. Most egregiously, the author is the equivalent of a dyslexic grasshopper with ADHD-- he tends to switch subjects frequently, often in the middle of paragraphs.

I have no quibble with his facts, but Mr. Mango has done a worse than average job of presenting a fascinating story. This book was a disappointment and not worth the money spent even at half price.

A smaller complaint has to do with the maps -- more could have been done to show maps in the course of the narrative. A bigger complaint is that Mango (has) (never) (met) (a) (parenthesis) (that) (he) (didn't) (love) (to) (use).

Bottom line: if you're already versed in the subject and are looking for another resource, it's fine. If you're reading it to learn something about Mustafa Kemal for fun/interest, you will be an unpleasant combination of bored and confused.

5-0 out of 5 stars Superb! Ataturk is a fascinating read
I'm a Canadian half-Turk who has been fascinated by Turkish and Balkan history. Though I've read Kinross and some of the primary sources in Turkish, this book is a highly informative and bold account of early 20th century Turkish history with Ataturk as the main character but with many other personas in sharp focus. From the influence due to the rabid and hysterical propaganda of the politicians among the Armenian-American diaspora (note: not the regular people, especially our younger generation), it is hard to debate about these issues and even consider some of the historical characters objectively in the US. Mango does this bravely (not worried about denting his book sales) and in a scholarly fashion, but the book as as engrossing as a masterfully worked novel, so even if you aren't well versed in Turkish history it will be an enjoyable read. This should be a textbook in business school courses, as Ataturk was one of the best managers in recent history. ... Read more


125. Ulysses S. Grant (The American Presidents)
by Arthur M. Schlesinger, Josiah Bunting
list price: $20.00
our price: $13.60
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Asin: 0805069496
Catlog: Book (2004-09-08)
Publisher: Times Books
Sales Rank: 1870
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Book Description

The underappreciated presidency of the military man who won the Civil War and then had to win the peace as well

As a general, Ulysses S. Grant is routinely described in glowing terms-the man who turned the tide of the Civil War, who accepted Lee's surrender at Appomattox, and who had the stomach to see the war through to final victory. But his presidency is another matter-the most common word used to characterize it is "scandal." Grant is routinely portrayed as a man out of his depth, whose trusting nature and hands-off management style opened the federal coffers to unprecedented plunder. But that caricature does not do justice to the realities of Grant's term in office, as Josiah Bunting III shows in this provocative assessment of our eighteenth president.

Grant came to Washington in 1869 to lead a capital and a country still bitterly divided by four years of civil war. His predecessor, Andrew Johnson, had been impeached and nearly driven from office, and the radical Republicans in Congress were intent on imposing harsh conditions on the Southern states before allowing them back into the Union. Grant made it his priority to forge the states into a single nation, and Bunting shows that despite the troubles that characterized Grant's terms in office, he was able to accomplish this most important task-very often through the skillful use of his own popularity with the American people. Grant was indeed a military man of the highest order, and he was a better president than he is often given credit for.
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126. The Life of Andrew Jackson (Perennial Classics)
by Robert V. Remini
list price: $18.00
our price: $12.24
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Asin: 0060937351
Catlog: Book (2001-09-01)
Publisher: Perennial
Sales Rank: 23678
Average Customer Review: 3.75 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The classic one-volume biography of Andrew Jackson

Robert V. Remini's prizewinning, three-volumn biography, The Life of Andrew Jackson, won the National Book Award upon it's completion in 1984. Now, Remini captures the essence of the life and career of the seventh president of the United States in the meticulously crafted single-volume abridgement.

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Reviews (16)

3-0 out of 5 stars An all too brief summary of Jackson's life.
"The Life of Andrew Jackson," written in 1988, is an abridgment of Robert V. Remini's masterful three-volume Jackson biography comprised of "Andrew Jackson: The Course of American Empire;" " Andrew Jackson: The Course of American Freedom;" and "Andrew Jackson: The Course of American Democracy."

Normally, I shy away from reading single volume abridgments of multi-volume works. In this particular case, I ended up reading the shorter version AFTER I had finished Remini's longer, more detailed triptych. As abridgments go, "The Life of Andrew Jackson" is decently written. It encapsulates the long and controversial life of Andrew Jackson clearly and succinctly. Unfortunately, it has one glaring flaw: it lacks much of the fine detail I look for in presidential biographies.

Exactly who was this extraordinary man who became our nation's chief executive? Born in 1767 in South Carolina, Jackson was Revolutionary War hero by age 12. As a young man, in Tennessee, he became a lawyer, judge, major general of the Tennessee militia. He made his fortune as a land speculator; married the great love of his life, Rachel Donelson. He killed at least two men while fighting several duels; the wounds he received while duelling caused him lifelong pain.

Jackson gained national stature as a military hero. His most famous victory came on January 8, 1815, at the end of the War of 1812. It was there he led American forces to an overwhelming victory over the British in the Battle of New Orleans.

After losing in the 1824 Presidential election to John Quincy Adams, Jackson was elected President of the United States in 1828; a champion of majority rule in America, he passionately believed that the office of President was the only one that represented all the people, and that the president must be obedient to the will of all the people. Jackson's party became the Democratic party that lasts to this day. His political opponents became "National Republicans," then "Whigs," and finally, in the 1850's, the Republican party that exists today.

When Andrew Jackson died in 1845, at age 78, his legacy was vast indeed. He left behind an America transformed by democratic principles; a nation which had taken its rightful place among the nations of the world; a nation of peace and prosperity. But, also a nation about to be riven by the simmering dual controversies of states' rights and slavery.

Robert V. Remini's biographies of Andrew Jackson are imbued with the highest degree of scholarship, and brilliantly capture the essence of this towering figure in early nineteenth century history. Because Remini uses a wonderfully conversational writing style, the pace of the story never flags and the reading never becomes dry or stuffy. That's true even when Remini discusses political and economic issues.

"The Life of Andrew Jackson's" primary flaw is its brevity. I think Remini cut far too much detail from this abridgment to do Jackson the level of justice he deserves. It touches too lightly on many aspects of Jackson's life and times. I got the feeling that "The Life of Andrew Jackson" was deliberately left too short in order to encourage readers to opt for the three-volume set.

If you only want to familiarize yourself with the basics of Andrew Jackson, without going into any substantial detail, "The Life of Andrew Jackson" is the ideal book for you. You'll find a neat, brief encapsulation of the man and the President. If you'd like the broader, "meatier," more detailed story of our nation's 7th president: skip "The Life of Andrew Jackson" and go directly to Remini's much longer but much more detailed three-volume biography.

4-0 out of 5 stars An engaging, eminently readable snapshot
This is a gripping, well-written chronological account of Jackson's life from his 1767 birth in South Carolina to his death at the Hermitage in 1845. With a gifted, engaging literary style, Remini paints a series of memorable portraits of all the major scenes in Jackson's life. For instance, the opening pages describing the Battle of New Orleans are filled with more tension and excitement than most fiction!

Remini's literary, impressionistic style works most of the time, but for the complex political issues that come up when Jackson is president a bit more analysis would be useful. For instance, Remini describes in detail Jackson's hatred of the Bank of the United States, but never goes into any detailed discussion about whether this hatred was justified or the putative wrong-doings of the Bank. In that sense, the book is incomplete.

Some reviewers have worried that Remini overlooks the horrible fate of the Native Americans under Jackson's rule, such as the forced relocation of Native Americans to reservations west of the Mississippi. I must differ with these reviewers. For instance, in summarizing Jackson's treatment of the Native Americans, Remini says:

The removal of the American Indians was one of the most significant and tragic acts of the Jackson administration. It was accomplished in total violation not only of American principles of justice and law but of Jackson's own strict code of conduct (this is from p. 219).

Finally, to Remini's credit as an editor, the fact that this is a distilled version of his own three-volume work on Jackson never comes through. I would recommend 'The Life of Andrew Jackson' to anyone who wants an introduction to Andrew Jackson's personal and political lives, and doesn't mind missing out on some of finer political complexities of Jackson's time.

1-0 out of 5 stars Andy,..quite a man
Better than fiction, just good reading, entertaining and interesting.

5-0 out of 5 stars Sad to be finished...felt like I knew the man
I enjoyed every page of this biography. Jackson was an amazing man, who, like Theodore Roosevelt, wore so many hats during his lifetime, frontiersman (sorta), attorney, congressman, general, war hero, President...rebellious at times, pensive and practical at others...born out of the families of Ulster, this Scots-Irish president was one our greatest American gems.

The book made me wish I had read the whole three volume, unabridged version. The writing at times was a bit akward, not sure if the author is from the US or Europe, but otherwise well written, specific, full of footnotes, quotes, etc. Gives you a real feel for what was going on.

Bravo...now I'm off to Madison and Monroe.

4-0 out of 5 stars Electrifying!
After Washington and Lincoln, Andrew Jackson is possibly the most important President in American history, and the most over looked. This book is an abridgement of the author's three volume biography that took 15 years to write. But unlike other abridgements, this one is really quite excellent.

Our first populist president, the first one to truly break the choke hold Virginia's aristocracy had on the formation and development of the early republic, Andrew Jackson was the first Chief Executive to put the American people first.

Remini's Jackson is a man of incredible contrasts. Egotistical yet selfless, hateful yet tender, his devotion to his country is so intense that it borders on chauvinistic. Reckless in the extreme, his explosive temper makes one wonder how he managed to accomplish anything at all. Yet his accomplishments are so paramount and his impact on the development of the early United States so indelible that he has managed to leave a legacy of goodness, of uncorrupted power, second to none.

We should all know more about Andrew Jackson. More than any other President he stood fast for the American people. God help the person or country that stood in the way of his serving his people and defending his Nation. ... Read more


127. The Path to Power (The Years of Lyndon Johnson, Volume 1)
by ROBERT A. CARO
list price: $45.00
our price: $29.70
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Asin: 0394499735
Catlog: Book (1982-11-12)
Publisher: Knopf
Sales Rank: 58948
Average Customer Review: 4.69 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Part One Of Three Parts

THE PATH TO POWER reveals in extraordinary detail the genesis of the superhuman drive, energy and urge to power that fueled LBJ. It is the first part of Caro's project and brings LBJ from childhood to Washington.

Johnson showed political genius early on. His boyhood, filled with friendship and maneuver, set the stage for later moves. He consolidated power in powerful friendships and, in D.C., leveraged the loyalities of his youth.

"Here as never before is Lyndon Johnson--his Texas, his Washington, his America--in a book by a Pulitzer Prize-winning author that brings us as close as we have ever been to a true perception of political genius and the American political process." (Publisher's Source) ... Read more

Reviews (62)

4-0 out of 5 stars A great read, but.....
This huge first volume of Robert Caro's biography of Lyndon Johnson tells the story of Johnson's life up to the time of his defeat in the Texas senatorial election of 1941.

I enjoyed the book very much, staying up late into the night to read more, yet having now finished it I thought that - somewhat perversely perhaps - the book's weaknesses as a biography were its strengths as a more general work of historical analysis.

Although the book is about Johnson, Caro doesn't restrain himself from letting his focus shift away from Johnson for long stretches: for example, the natural history and settlement of the Texas Hill Country are described in detail (fascinating to someone like me who knew next to nothing about these subjects); and the lives of other people who were important to Johnson are described in great detail (Sam Rayburn in particular).

I was happy to follow Caro down these roads, as he wrote so compellingly - for example, the descriptions of women's lives in the Hill Country should destroy a few rural myths. Other historians would have abbreviated or summarised such descriptions to the absolute minimum necessary to add to the reader's understanding of the context of the subject's life, whilst maintaining the overall focus on the subject himself. Indeed, at times, Caro loses sight of Johnson completely, and the book becomes more of a general history.

I felt that Caro made up his mind that Johnson was an utterly unscrupulous and amoral politician, totally devoted to the acquisition of power. The picture he paints of Johnson and of American democracy is unflattering - elections and politicians are there to be bought - money is everything. We're in a precursor stage to the "military-industrial complex". Even where Johnson did good, Caro's praise is brief (for example in his determination to force through the rural electrification program). I thought that there needed to be a better balance - surely there were issues other than money and gerrymandering that decided elections in the US? Or am I being naive?

Also, if Johnson the man was such a hated person, why did he evoke such loyalty? It seems too dismissive to explain this by stating that other people were furthering their own self-interest through Johnson.

I feel somewhat churlish at criticising a book I enjoyed so much, but I will read the next volume!

5-0 out of 5 stars The autoritative LBJ biography.
Caro's work is simply flabbergasting. I read the 768 page book in a week flat (and ordered Vol. 2 at the mid-point to ensure I could seamlessly continue).

The key to the work is the way in which Caro is able to take a complex set of events and explain it in the context of a central theme. For example, Caro uses the building of the Marshall Ford dam to explain the urgency with which Herman Brown and Alvin Wirtz worked to get Johnson elected to the House.

In short, the book is well-written, thorough, and smart. Caro adds the extra value we require of a historian -- that is, he doesn't merely retell events, he places them in a coherent context so that we can understand what made LBJ. In the end, the portrait is a complex but ultimately scary one of power sought for power's sake.

5-0 out of 5 stars The greatest biography in print
The Path to Power is probably the greatest biography ever written.

I'm a Texan, but a Republican, and I never particularly admired LBJ for his political decisions. However, he's a fascinating study in contemporary politics. Even if you hated Lyndon, he was the most masterful politician of the 20th Century.

This book is a 24 karat gold winner. I've probably re-read it twenty times and each time I learn something else.

The Washington Post called it "a book of radiant excellence". That is a gross understatement. This book transcends everthing I have ever read about American politics.

It captures the true feelings, emotions, ambitions, and everything else about America in the middle of the 20th century.

This is the most compelling book I have ever read. You have to read it too. Get it now. You'll love me and thank me later for recommending it.

4-0 out of 5 stars 4 Volumes on a Dead Man since '73. Get a Life Please
Homo-Erotism of a Dead President. LBJ Dead since 1973.

I am always curious why smart people devote years obsessed with dead people, not to mention dead people from the past.

It must be a man acting out their homo-erotic fantasies out of another man. Of course, LBJ was Texas roughneck, cowboy, and Robert Caro, the pencil-neck geek must find this guy attractive.

LBJ died in 1973 from a Heart Attack. He got kick out after one term in office, the Vietnam War was a diaster. The welfare state left us with billions in debt. All this can be debated in academic circles. But why devote four books to a man dead since 1973.

Robert Caro, please get a life, a real job. All humans born, live and then die. The USA life expectancy is about 72. We can debate politics and so on. LBJ has been dead for 31 years.

Weak males tend to be attracted to strong, dominating males and that explains why Robert Caro is devoting three books to a dead man.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fabulous book
I picked up this book on a recommendation from a coworker who said that LBJ was the most intriguing character of all the America presidents. I've read several past presidential biographies and I felt that LBJ's legacy and history were important for me if I were to grasp the motivating forces behind Civil Rights history and Vietnam.

This book exceeded my expectations and turned out to be a gripping read. Caro gives his reader story, character, and research. The length of this book is its strength because he gives the reader so much context for the events. Before talking about how LBJ brought electric power to his impoverished home district for example, Caro breaks away for a 14 page illumination of the realities of day to day to living without electricity entitled "The Sad Irons". Where many other biographers make their subject the sole focus, Caro generously supplies his reader with the details that make you empathize for the characters he portrays. In that sense, I put this book almost up there with Richard Kluger's "Simple Justice" for its ability to create vibrant vivid history.

Caro does see LBJ in a somewhat negative light, although he tries to temper his criticism with understanding of why he became the way he is. Caro respects the political genius of Johnson in his admiration for Johnson's work ethic and drive during the 1937 campaign for Congress. He also admires how LBJ did take pride and gain satisfaction for the individual voters that he presented and the benefits he won for them as a Congressman.

Yet I expect a Macbeth as I read Caro's later volumes. Caro disapproves of Lyndon's unwillingness to take a stand and reveals how the Lyndon Johnson succeeded in part because he was a "professonal son" exceedingly capable of earning the good graces of those with the power to help him be they Sam Rayburn, President Roosevelt, or even the college president as he struggled to earn tuition.

So many episodes in this book will linger. I almost wish LBJ had been an anonymous teacher after hearing how successful he was in the two positions he held early on in his career. The power that he earned through his stint as unofficial Congressional campaign manager is amazing as is his ability to balance New Deal rhetoric with conservative financial backing.

Besides LBJ you gain the story of his rural district, a lesser know side of the New Deal, the beginnings of the awesome power of Texas Oil and understanding of democratic politics.

I could go on so much, but all I can say is if you are at all interested in LBJ this book will be worth the effort.

5 stars!

--SD ... Read more


128. George Washington : Writings (Library of America)
by George Washington, John H. Rhodehamel
list price: $40.00
our price: $26.40
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Asin: 188301123X
Catlog: Book (1997-02-01)
Publisher: Library of America
Sales Rank: 108837
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars 'Marble Man' of Revolutionary War speaks his mind
Like Robert E. Lee, George Washington might be considered the marble man of his time, a revolutionary whose passion doesn't burn as bright on the pages of history as, say, Thomas Paine, or as clear as Thomas Jefferson. He may be admired and revered, but not necessarily loved, certainly not in the way as old Marse Lee.

Whether Washington the man can be reclaimed from Washington the statue is a task left up to biographers and fiction writers, because after thumbing through this collection of his writings, it is with some certainty that the man from Mount Vernon can't do it himself.

Once gets the impression that Washington was a man who believed in duty, to himself as an eighteenth-century man of means, and to his country, whether it be England (for whom he participated on several expeditions against the French in Pennsylvania), or his newly created United States. The man who, in 1755, volunteered to join the British commander in chief, General Edward Braddock, on what became a disasterous expedition into western Pennsylvania, became by 1775 the man who would write to his wife announcing his appointment to head the rebel army, that, "I have used every endeavour in my power to avoid it [command]."

Even his ascention to the presidency was performed in very reluctant steps. In a letter to Henry Knox, he wrote, "I can assure you . . . that my movements to the chair of Government will be accompanied with feelings not unlike those of a culprit who is going to the place of his execution."

So why serve? "It was utterly out of my power to refuse this appointment without exposing my Character to such censures as would have reflected dishonour upon myself, and given pain to my friends," he wrote Martha Washington.

Perhaps an early clue to his character can be found in the first entry, a collection of 100 maxims he composed when he was 15, rules for living which range from the practical ("Put not your meat to your Mouth with your Knife in your hand neither Spit forth the Stones of any fruit Pye upon a Dish nor Cast anything under the table"), to the inspirational ("Let your Recreations be Manfull not Sinfull"), and even a bit of the poetic ("Labour to keep alive in your Breast that Little Spark of Celestial fire Called Conscience").

Sober, practical, firm-minded, George Washington was not a man to inspire devotion through force of personality, only through a far-sighted competence which does not make for glorious history, but to those who cherish the ideals and promise of America, one can be thankful that he was in the right place at the right time.

5-0 out of 5 stars In this splendid book, Washington finally speaks for himself
George Washington is far more revered than known; but, as this splendid book proves, when you come to know him you feel even more admiration for him. This installment in the indispensable LIBRARY OF AMERICA series gathers hundreds of Washington's letters, as well as his more formal public statements as Virginia legislator and revolutionary leader, Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army, advocate of federal constitutional reform, and First President of the United States. The formal public statements display the heavy style that Washington fell into when consciously speaking to posterity. It is in his letters that Washington's vigorous mind, strong emotions, and sound judgment emerge most cleary -- and that portray his humanity and his nobility most clearly and accessibly. Readers of this volume would be well-advised to read John Rhodehamel's superb chronology (appearing at the back of the book) first, and then turning to the text. If they do this, they will have! a sound chronological and historical basis for setting Washington's writings, public and private, in context and for seeing the critical founding decades of the American republic as he saw and experienced them.

-- Richard B. Bernstein, Adjunct Professor of Law, New York Law School; Daniel M. Lyons Visiting Professor in American History, Brooklyn College/CUNY; Book Review Editor for Constitutional Books, H-LAW; and Senior Research Fellow, Council on Citizenship Education, Russell Sage College ... Read more


129. The Selected Journals of L. M. Montgomery: 1935 - 1942
by L. M. Montgomery, Mary Rubio, Elizabeth Waterston
list price: $29.95
our price: $29.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0195421167
Catlog: Book (2004-12-15)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Sales Rank: 295325
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Lucy Maud Montgomery (1874-1942), the author of the classic novel for children, Anne of Green Gables, kept extensive journals for most of her life, beginning them in 1889 when she was fourteen and continuing them until shortly before her death. The much anticipated final volume of The Selected Journals of L. M. Montgomery caps the publication of the unique and powerfully told life-story of this gifted writer. Providing an intimate portrait of the last years of her life as well as a fascinating social history of life in a Toronto suburb, this final volume covers the years 1935 to 1942, the year of Montgomery's death. ... Read more

Reviews (14)

5-0 out of 5 stars I've been waiting so long
These journals, are beautifully put together.I remember when I found the first one and then each suceeding volume.I knew this one was coming.I even called the author at Guelph University to ask her how much longer I would have to wait.

She said then that they had to wait for some of the people in the journals to die before they could publish them.I would guess Dr. Stuart Macdonald was one of them.

They thrill me and make me feel closer to thise amazing woman.I've read everything she's written now.The sad thing is that once this volume is finished there is nothing new to read.

My greatests thanks to L. M. Montgomery and to Drs. Rubio and Waterson for their great work.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating
Poor poor woman. I could scarcely put it down. But it brings up many questions.Why did she think that Mr. Leard, the Love of her life, was not worthy of her?Why did no one ask her husband Mr. McDonald what the heck was bothering him?Why did she not know in 5 years of courtship that something was terribly wrong with him? Poor, poor woman.The synthesis of this book is when she asks herself why a woman that she felt was mean and hateful was happy and she was not.Indeed, why?

5-0 out of 5 stars The Life of Canada's Most Beloved Author
This is the most interesting and enjoyable diary I've ever read. It's no wonder that this was a best-seller when it was first published. L. M. Montgomery, who liked to be called Maud, was a remarkable novelist and diarist. Most of her readers love her for the Anne and Emily books, and I'm a fan of her fiction myself, but I believe her greatest literary achievement was her journals. I also believe that her best novels which will live on are the first two Emily books, Anne of Green Gables, Anne's House of Dreams, Rilla of Ingleside, and the Blue Castle. Also, of her thousand or more poems and short stories, about a dozen of them are outstanding little works which should not perish.

These early journals start when Maud was 14 and end when she's 36, a year before her marriage to the Rev. Ewan Macdonald. Maud's ability to pen a compelling narrative makes the journals read almost like a novel. She writes about her teenage years full of friendships; her year-long stay with her father and his bitchy new wife with whom she didn't get along; her college days full of classes and courtships (she would turn down several marriage proposals); her years as a teacher when she met and fell madly in love with the eldest son of the family she was boarding with; and then the dull and frustrating years of living with and looking after her aging grandmother, which nevertheless did have its happy days, including professional success as a writer, the peak of which was the publication of her classic "Anne of Green Gables." This journal is a most remarkable achievement of a most remarkable woman.

David Rehak
author of "Love and Madness"

5-0 out of 5 stars The journals
This is a fabulous work.As a teenager, I read all the novels published by L.M. Montgomery and absolutely loved them.The journals, though, add another dimension to her writing.I have read all 4 volumes of the published journals (supposedly there is one more to come) multiple times.These books offer a fascinating look into the upper middle class life style from the late 1800s to the mid 1930s when the author passed away.Some of issues she covers:
-a powerful look at World War I from the view of Ontario resident
-childbirth in the days before pain killers (she said a toothache was worse)
-her awe at scientific advance (when vitamins were discovered she realized why she was always so lethargic all winter)
-her husband's mental illness in the days before drugs
-meeting the who's who of Canada at the time
Absolutely fascinating for anyone who loves history!

5-0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed this book very much
I give this book a very high recommendation and think anyone who reads it will love it as much as I did.I have read a few biographys on L. M. Montgomery but reading her own thoughts, in her own words was even more interesting and insightful.I am looking forward to reading the next journal. ... Read more


130. Thomas Jefferson : Writings : Autobiography / Notes on the State of Virginia / Public and Private Papers / Addresses / Letters (Library of America)
by Thomas Jefferson, Merrill D. Peterson
list price: $35.00
our price: $22.05
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 094045016X
Catlog: Book (1984-08-01)
Publisher: Library of America
Sales Rank: 8629
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The most comprehensive one-volume selection of Jefferson ever published. Contains the "Autobiography," "Notes on the State of Virginia," public and private papers, including the original and revised drafts of the Declaration of Independence, addresses, and 287 letters. ... Read more

Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Comprehensive Collection
This edition of Jefferson's writings is an excellent comrehensive collection. Edited by Jefferson biographer Merrill Peterson this volume is a treasure.

It includes Jefferson's Anas, Autobiography, The Notes on Virginia( complete), Summary View of the Rights of British America, his version of the Declaration of Independence, numerous public papers, and addresses. This volume is a must have for the Jefferson reader. It also very necassary for the current state of the American Republic which would be wise to hear the words of this great man. A great buy!

5-0 out of 5 stars Jefferson, a renaissance man.
This book is a treasure: it contains many of the writings of Thomas Jefferson, and his letters.
They are reveal a crisp thinking, like Voltaire, Rousseau, the abbey Gregoire, Rabeau Saint Etienne, and other geat thinkers of the 17th Century (T.Jefferson meet with most), as well a Pascal who was way ahead of his time. TJ try to explain the rational for generosity, compassion, respect for life, respect for people, respect for justice, and more: anyone who claims to be president of the USA (or any sovereign nation) should read and understand this book. Unfortunatly this is probably not the case... Politicians love to use a citation of TJ, but their policies would often be despised by TJ.
Let's hope that the future will give the US presidents with the values of this great thinker, and for the time being let's just be patient.

5-0 out of 5 stars Almost One Stop Research
As a student in England, doing work on military academies, I came across the notes, papers, writings, etc of Thomas Jefferson in the bibliography of "West Point", by Norman Thomas Remick. I'm absolutely thrilled that Merrill D. Peterson has put it all together in one 1600 page book. It makes this part of my project almost like one stop shopping. The book is marvelous as a research reference, while at the same time being very interesting reading. By the way, as I see that the book "West Point" is not among the Amazon books on Thomas Jefferson, I hereby highly recommend it to you. It was marvelously interesting, as well.

5-0 out of 5 stars Needed NOW More Than Ever!
JEFFERSON: Writings, Autobiography, Notes on the State of Virginia ... etc. is a collection of Thomas Jefferson's political soul in writing.

Today, perhaps the most anti-democratic bipartisan political elements in American history infiltrated the United States Congress ... wrapping themselves in the mantle of Thomas Jefferson. The ONLY antidote for their well orchestrated propaganda is to actually know what Jefferson stood for by reading what he himself advocated for the democratic republic of the United States of America.

In 1984, the Library of America published this indispensible collection of the most important of Jefferson's writings. And just like his Declaration of Independence and his friends' Constitution it is necessary to have this resource on your bookshelf.

Speaking of the Declaration of Independence, did you know after Jefferson wrote it out "perfectly" [his words] the first time, the colonial representatives who would eventually sign this document revised it at least TWICE? All versions of Jefferson's nation building document are included in "Thomas Jefferson Writings ..." Read about his first condemnation of slavery in the Declaration ... which was deleted by the representatives, and more.

Also, read Jefferson's letter while to James Madison he was in France; in which he strongly recommends including a bill of rights in the new constitution. Also read in his letters to Madison exactly what is Jefferson's concept of a just economy, and much more.

At $25, this book is the 20th and 21st Centuries' biggest bargain!! ... Read more


131. ELVIS : WHAT HAPPENED?
by STEVE DUNLEAVY
list price: $1.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0345272153
Catlog: Book (1977-07-12)
Publisher: Random House
Sales Rank: 102248
Average Customer Review: 2.58 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A devoted son. A generous friend. A model Army recruit. A gifted entertainer. A beloved hero to millions. This is the Elvis Presly the world knew -- and cherished.
Brooding. Violent. Obsessed with death. Strung out. Sexually driven. This is the other side of Elvis -- according to the three men who lived with him through it all -- a man who:
* Chamed a beautiful young fan into joining him on a drug binge for two that nearly killed her
* Took a group of friends on a 3 A.M. visit to a mortuary to look at corpses and talk about embalming
* Hurled a pool cue at a party guest who interrupts his game, injuring her breast
* Talked with his bodyguard about a "hit" on the man he felt stole his wife
Steve Dunleavy has woven together the experiences of three Presley bodyguards who were there partying with him, womanizing with him, worrying with him -- tasting the pleasure and the pains of life with the most fabulous star in showbiz history!
... Read more

Reviews (12)

2-0 out of 5 stars An Embellishment of Truths
I'm not disputing much of the stories that were told to Steve Dunleavy, (a gossip reporter at the NY Post at the time this book was written),he took much of what was told by "the bodyguards" and put a negative spin on them sensationalizing them, making Elvis seem like an obsessed crazed man! After all, gossip was Dunleavy's forte. I'm not saying that the book is inaccurate, but I am saying that this book does not represent the real "Elvis Presely". And the 3 bodyguards were not happy in the way the book was written. This book is an embellishment on the truth, distorting so to sell that many more books. The structure of the book is so fragmented and confusing...one minute you're in 1958 the next your in 1972! It's apparent that Dunleavy was used to writing columns for the Post. Bottomline is that Elvis was no different from anyone else and had problems as we all do. He hurt no one but himself and for all thats ever been said about this man, the good far outweighs the bad.

5-0 out of 5 stars elvis , good and bad
i think the book is a great book, it tells the soft side of elvis , and the hard side, it tells the side that people wanna know , but dont really wanna hear, it is really straight and u can tell how honest it is , i think it is a great book, and most if it is not really bad , about 90 percent is all good....

4-0 out of 5 stars Not as bad as I thought
Perhaps time heals all but this is not as bad as I thought. Throughout his career, there was no real negative publicity about Elvis so at the time this was published it would have been a real shock but looking at it now it's a case of so what!

These guys actually come across as loving Elvis and really at the end of their rope with his behaviour. Perhaps they thought it was the only way they could get him to listen. Red and Sonny really did respect the guy and were pilloried for writing this, but did they feel this was the final straw?

Worth a look if only to look back and see how tame it all was.

4-0 out of 5 stars Well Written, Insightful ...
Contrary to other reviews you've read, this book was extremely well written. No, it's not a chronology of events; however, if one is looking for insight into who Elvis was as a person, I've yet to come across anything as complete as this.
For the pollianna Elvis fan, some of the information may be hard to swallow, but the fact that it was written by those who were closest to him consistantly over a 20 year period provides all the credibility a reader should require.
The book is certainly not a condemnation of Elvis; rather, it is a complete -- seemingly truthful -- sketch of a total man: his talents as well as his faults, his accomplishments and his misfortunes.
The reader who is interested in more than just an iconoclastic version of "The King" will appreciate the candid glimpse of the emperor both in and out of his clothes.

5-0 out of 5 stars The King Indeed
I found this book totally captivating!!
I read it in two days, loved every word...
I was only eight when he died, but I recently visited Graceland
and became fascinated by his life.. and death.
Thumbs up for the guys who wrote it... they definately had some
interesting insight to the king's life!! ... Read more


132. In the Presence of My Enemies
by Gracia Burnham, Dean Merrill
list price: $12.97
our price: $10.38
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0842381384
Catlog: Book (2003-04-01)
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Sales Rank: 22309
Average Customer Review: 4.79 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Soon after September 11, the news media stepped up its coverage of the plight of Martin and Gracia Burnham, the missionary couple captured and held hostage in the Philippine jungle by terrorists with ties to Osama Bin Laden. After a year of captivity, and a violent rescue that resulted in Martin's death, the world watched Gracia Burnham return home in June 2002 with a bullet wound in the leg and amazing composure.

In this riveting personal account, Burnham tells the real story behind the news about their harrowing ordeal, about how it affected their relationship with each other and with God, about the terrorists who held them, about the actions of the U.S. and Philippine governments, and about how they were affected by the prayers of thousands of Christians throughout the world. ... Read more

Reviews (29)

5-0 out of 5 stars You Have Got To Read This Book
During their long struggle in the Phillipine jungles, an entire nation was praying for the Burnhams. I followed their plight and even put their picture on my computer desktop at work to remind me to pray for them.

However, this book was absolutely refreshing--first to hear the real story behind the account. (It's amazing how poor our news media is at getting the story right!). Secondly, Gracia writes in a moving, human way that inspires all Christians to love and serve God with all their heart.

Gracia is a human being who echoes what all of us would feel were we put in the same position. Furthermore, she doesn't edit out her frustrations and doubts--her internal wrestling matches with God. I'm glad for that.

Unlike most books of its type, the editing on the book is superb. Dean Merril manages to tell a compelling story in Gracia's voice. You'll enjoy her sense of humor in difficult times. There are moments where I was tickled to death and moments I was in tears.

Gracia also pays a loving tribute to her husband, Martin throughout the book. She really doesn't take any credit for herself, pointing only to God and to her husband. And after reading it, I think all Christian men will aspire to live like Martin--selfless, caring, and devoted to Christ and family.

I would strongly suggest picking up this book, especially if you've grown depressed, doubtful, or weary of your calling. You can't help but be thankful for what God has given you and you can't help but grow more committed to His calling.

5-0 out of 5 stars Incredible
This is an incredible account of two people who found themselves held against their will for over a year. Not only were they held against their will, but also they were mistreated and lied to on a consistent basis. The story was truly amazing, a demonstration of how love and kindness can be shown in the most adverse of circumstances. Yet the most interesting part of the book was the contrast of the captors' view of God (Allah) and the Burnhams' view of God.

I found it absolutely terrifying at how the Abu Sayyaf captors viewed and responded to their concept of God. At the same time, I was amazed at how Martin and Gracia Burnham responded to their concept of God. In the jungles of the Philippines, theory and debate about abstract terms were not important. These two groups of people lived their day-by-day lives based on their views of God. This story is an amazing apologetic for and attestation to the Christian view of God. Every Muslim should read this book and face the questions that the story so obviously brings to the forefront.

I read the book in two days. I could not put it down. But I found the last chapter the most remarkable. If nothing else, read this chapter.

5-0 out of 5 stars An Unforgettable Story Full of Grace, Mercy and Forgiveness
IN THE PRESENCE OF MY ENEMIES is the true account of the horrendous ordeal that missionaries Martin and Gracia Burnham endured after they were kidnapped by terrorists while celebrating their anniversary in May 2001. Held captive for a full year, the couple were within minutes of rescue when Martin was killed by "friendly fire" --- gunshots from their rescuers, who were soldiers in the Philippine army.

The skeletal story of the Burnhams' captivity and mistreatment at the hands of Abu Sayyaf, a Muslim extremist group active in the Philippines, is well-known to American audiences given the understandable media attention Gracia Burnham's release and homecoming generated. That story pales in comparison to the compelling account Burnham and veteran Christian author Dean Merrill provide in this book.

Whether due to Merrill's deft touch or Burnham's natural instincts, the two skillfully manage to avoid turning the memoir into a sensationalistic politic diatribe or melodramatic evangelistic treatise. The contributing elements were there: tireless workers on the foreign mission field enjoying one night of extravagance during their first real vacation in years, yanked from their cabin at gunpoint, subjected to horrific circumstances and conditions, with only one missionary left alive to tell the story. But Burnham and Merrill realized that the drama was inherent in the facts of the story, and any attempt to overdo it would have diluted the impact of Gracia's straightforward narrative.

The horror of what she experienced and witnessed during her year of captivity is difficult to fathom: beheadings, near-starvation, day-long marches that ended exactly where they began, forced "marriages" between captors and captives, even the fear that the Philippine army would make a rescue attempt --- a fear that proved to be well-founded with Martin Burnham's unnecessary death. And yet, Gracia relates the events of the year with such grace and skill that her story maintains a steady forward movement; she never stops the momentum by expressing outrage or analyzing the reasons why certain incidents occurred. What happened to the hostages on Sept. 11, 2001, for example, would have compelled a lesser person to rail against God and reject him completely, but Burnham --- who must still wonder about the timing of the events of that day --- seems to have come to terms with every aspect of her ordeal.

Perhaps the most surprising element of her story is the relationships that developed between the terrorists and the hostages. Their conversations were often friendly, and at times, the hostages realized that, in a sense, they were all on the same side, trying to avoid a deadly confrontation with the soldiers who were tracking them. In a particularly enlightening section, Gracia takes the reader into the mind of a terrorist who expressed genuine shock that the hostages thought they were being mistreated. Similarly, she recounts a conversation about the Koran in which her captor maintained that a verse condemning killing did not apply to him. Neither did an admonition against stealing.

Most of all, Burnham's account comes across as honest. She openly writes about those times when her faith in God vacillated, when her hope would turn to despair, and when the sheer boredom of the daily routine began to get to her. In short, her story rings true.

Burnham and Merrill deserve whatever honors and attention this book gets, because this is far more than a dramatic account of a momentous event --- it's an unforgettable story saturated with grace, mercy and forgiveness.

--- Reviewed by Marcia Ford

5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing book, a must read!
This was one of the most innspirational books I have ever read. Gracia and Martin are so spiritual through the hardest time in their life. The Burnhams have such strong faith and never question or blame God. Truly an inspiration and testimony of faith. A must read!

5-0 out of 5 stars Exciting and Very Sad
Gracia Burnham dedicated the book to her husband Martin who died while in captivity. Gracia is an intelligent and educated woman. She does an excellent job in retelling their story by interweaving flashbacks of her life while bringing the reader back to the kidnapping. The digressions are interesting and add depth to the story. The reader learns of the Burnham family's history before they were married and their life as missionaries delivering supplies and encouragement to sick patients in the Philippine jungle. The few disturbing visual descriptions of their year of terror are retold without gory details. Martin and Gracia were courageous Christians while facing many near death circumstances in the jungle. They redeemed tedious hours of captivity by singing psalms and quoting scripture. They prayed for their enemies and encouraged other missionary captives. As the book concludes, it is hard to hold back tears. The Burnhams' exemplify God's command to "love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" (Matt 5:44). God's word was written on the hearts and minds of the Burnhams. His word uplifted and encouraged their spirits during the most difficult trial of their lives. I recommend this book. ... Read more


133. Martin Luther: A Penguin Life (Penguin Lives)
by Martin E. Marty, Martin Marty
list price: $19.95
our price: $13.57
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0670032727
Catlog: Book (2004-02-01)
Publisher: Lipper
Sales Rank: 9147
Average Customer Review: 3.83 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Martin Marty—professor, author, pastor, historian, and journalist—is, in Bill Moyers’s words, "the most influential interpreter of American religion." In Martin Luther this man of unswerving faith, rooted in his own Lutheran tradition yet deeply committed to helping enrich a pluralist society, brings to powerful life the devout Reformation figure whose despair for a perilous world, felt anew in our own times, drove him to a ceaseless search for assurance of God’s love. It was one that led him steadily to a fresh interpretation of human interaction with God—as born solely from God’s grace and not the Church’s mediation—and to the famous theses he posted at Wittenberg in 1517.

Luther’s persistence in this belief, and in his long battle with Church leaders—embellished by rich historical background—make Marty’s biography riveting reading. Luther’s obdurate yet receptive stance, so different from the travestied image of "fundamentalism" we currently face, restored the balance between religion and the individual. Martin Luther is at once a fascinating history, a story of immense spiritual passion and amazing grace, and a superb intellectual biography. ... Read more

Reviews (6)

4-0 out of 5 stars Martin Luther
Lutheran minister and historian Martin Marty writes a brief, but complete biography of Martin Luther, leader of the Protestant Reformation. Marty covers the life of Luther from birth and childhood until his death. Though overly detailed in some spots and sketchy in others, this biography gives the reader a fairly objective view the famous monk turned revolutionary. We learn about Luther's inner struggles through intensive research of his personal journals, letters, and subsequent biographies immediately after his death. A faithful monk and teacher, Martin Luther advocated the doctrine of the 'priesthood of all believers' and 'justification through faith alone.' This was in direct defiance of the Roman Catholic Church, which stressed the special power of the Pope and priests to intervene with God on behalf of the people. Though tolerated for years by Rome, he was eventually excommunicated and lived the rest of his under a death sentence. Some details about Luther's life were fascinating. He married a nun that he helped to escape from a convent. They had six children. He maintained relationships with powerful political figures during his long career. He grew bitter during old age and withdrew from public life. Disturbingly, Luther wrote several tracts condemning Jews that were later used by others to justify anti-Semitism. Throughout the biography, Marty depicts Luther as a man of extremes. He was both an erudite scholar and a fiery debater; harsh with critics, but loved by his students and followers; and a revolutionary that would not support violent peasant uprisings. Marty gives an excellent history lesson on the politics and religious controversies of the day. Understanding the political strife between the Germanic states and Roman Pope is critical to understanding the life and work of Martin Luther. Although slow in the beginning, this biography of history's most overlooked revolutionary is a complete and informative read.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Well Balanced Portrayal
The author has given us a very short biography of one of the most significant historical and religious figures known to history. I have sought for a balanced biography of Martin Luther and believe that this work largely fits the bill. Although I sense that the author fails to fully understand Catholic theology, he does appear to accurately portray how Martin Luther understood that theology. Whether Luther was theologically correct or incorrect, whether he accurately understood his opposition's theology is an argument for theologians. The historian's emphasis is to accept Martin Luther's understanding and write the history of how the man struggled with his own understanding. Far too often, biographies of Luther focus on the theology of the man, either approve or condemn his theology and, depending on the result of this judgment, either praise or condemn the man.

To that end, the reader should not look for a thorough explanation of religious thought in this book, whether it be Catholic or Lutheran. Luther is here portrayed as a man of extremes and contradictions. Unlike other biographies of Luther, Luther is not portrayed as spotless, saintly, or entirely in the right. In contrast, Luther is not blamed for every evil or atrocity during the Reformation committed on behalf of freedom from Rome.

What particularly interested this reader, was the author's handling of how Luther failed to deal with the political forces he set in motion. How he compromised in some rather essential moral questions in order to retain his core theological ideas of salvation by faith alone. In short, the reader is presented with Martin Luther, the politician, and theologian, but most importantly the man.

I found this work to be a very quick read and a good jumping off point for more research on Martin Luther. I recommend it.

2-0 out of 5 stars Gently sidestepping Luther's masterpiece
Most modern Christians have trouble accepting Luther's denial of free will even though they admire Luther the man. Marty proves to be no exception. Luther considered his The Bondage of the Will (1525) his best work, but the best Marty could say about this was that Luther never retracted his views in this book. (p. 130) That's an understatement, to say the least. Also, in The Bondage of the Will Luther emphasized over and over that we humans have no free will or free choice, but Marty chooses to discuss Luther's views of the nature of God instead. Luther did talk about this subject, but that's not the main issue of his masterpiece. Marty's adjectives for Luther's greatest work include: "raucous", "drastic", "shocking", "dark and risky", "bursts", "could not be more radical".

Marty reminds me of Bainton's biography, which tried to sweep Luther's The Bondage of the Will under the carpet, without so much as mentioning the title.

I find it hard to believe that Marty is a Lutheran. Even when a theologian cannot agree, it is a biographer's duty to faithfully report the facts as they are.

As Martin Brecht says, The Bondage of the Will sums up Luther's theology in concentrated form. The reluctance to discuss this work in full and at length mars an otherwise competent biography.

5-0 out of 5 stars A fine intro to a great life
Having grown up Lutheran, I've know the facts of Luther's life practically from the cradle, and in our day we had to virtually memorize his Small Catechism when we were confirmed. Since then I've read other, longer bios and all were fine. But this one is excellent, though brief--or perhaps because it's brief. I learned even more about the man and his thinking, though I already knew a reasonable amount. This would also be a fine introduction for anyone who doesn't know much about Luther. It's concise and very well written, and neither idolizes nor condemns a complex man who did much to shape life as we now know it. I'm recommending it to all my friends, Lutheran and otherwise.

3-0 out of 5 stars A noble theology, but a poor history
This is a disappointing book.

Now, that's on a personal basis and not necessarily on the merits of the book as written. Quite frankly, it's not much of a biography; I found more details about Luther's life in the 1958 edition of Encyclopedia Britannica; my disappointment is based on Marty's emphasis of Luther's religious ideas and development instead of the society in which he lived.

On a religious basis, examining how Luther reached the positions he did, the book may be superb; I'm not a theologian, so I can't judge it on that basis. Marty is an exceptionally fine theologian, and he may well have done a superb analysis on that basis. The editors at Penguin are not fools, and they don't necessarily target excellent works at my interests; so if they missed the mark with me, it may well be my loss.

Having said that, Marty gives little attention to the "small, poor, ugly, stinking, hideous, wretched, unhealthy, smoky, full of slop, populated by barbarians and sellers of beer and not by real citizens" town of Wittenberg in 1512 where 2,100 people lived in 400 houses. True, some 172 houses had licenses to brew beer, so it couldn't have been all bad; and, the town also had a newly created university and a printing press (Johann Gutenberg has "invented" the printing press by 1450). Talk about casting pearls before swine; yet, this "pearl" of Luther was part of a worldwide enlightenment that changed the entire nature of Christianity.

The Pope Luther challenged was one of the most corrupt in the history of the Roman Catholic church; it raises the question of how much Luther would have achieved had he challenged an honest Pope. A second question Marty overlooks -- what would have been the fate of Catholicism had Luther not challenged its fetid corruption?

Luther lived at the same time as Erasmus, in Rotterdam; and when King Henry VIII was challenging the authority of the Pope in England. The Roman Catholic church of that era was clearly an early example of globalisation; this early international insensitivity to local independence led to a rise in nationalism which culminated in the worldwide wars of the last century. Clearly, northern Europe was reacting against the endemic corruption of the Roman Catholic Church and in support of a rapidly growing nationalism. Luther was hardly a courageous dissident marching to a different drummer and thus liberating the exploited masses from a dark tyranny; instead, he was a brilliant evangelical spokesman for a resolute freedom that sought local autonomy and freedom from the dictates of Rome.

It was also a time of bitter anti-Semitism, one of the enduring failures of Europe. Marty says Luther's support of such prejudice was unfortunate, but he avoids the issue of what might have happened had Luther developed a religion based on tolerance instead of bigotry. What if he had preached religious toleration for Islam, even while opposing the Islamic attempt to conquer Europe?

Granted, speculation is not the duty of any competent historian. But, in my view, passing lightly over the issue of Luther's anti-semitism avoids confronting one of the major faults of Luther and this biography. Yet, on a religious basis, Marty is succinct, clear and relevant. As a non-Lutheran, I wanted more history and less theology.

Perhaps there is no better basis for a biography of a major religious leader. If so, Marty has done a good job. But it's less than I expected. ... Read more


134. The Last Best Hope of Earth: Abraham Lincoln and the Promise of America
by Mark E., Jr. Neely
list price: $18.95
our price: $12.89
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0674511263
Catlog: Book (1995-03-01)
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Sales Rank: 344234
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars A PRAGMATIC HERO
The Title of Professor Neely's biography of Lincoln is taken from Lincoln's second Message to Congress dated December 1, 1862. It is an inspiring phrase and an apt title for a Lincoln biography. Professor Neely's biography is good and solid in its analysis of Lincoln's life. It lacks, however, something of the eloquence and vision of the title and of Lincoln's words. We never learn why Lincoln considered the United States "the Last Best Hope of Earth" or what that can mean for our country today.

That said, this book is a good introduction to Lincoln and his Presidency. The book skims briefly over Lincoln's life before he became the 16th President. There are advantages to this, but the treatment of the Lincoln-Douglas debates and of the Kansas-Nebraska Act which led to them is too brief to help understand sucession and the Civil War which followed.

The book's treatment of Lincoln's relationship with his Generals and of the strategy of the War is probably the best single chapter. It has something to teach even those who are familiar with the military history of the war. The chapter on Lincoln as a pragmatic politician and on the 1864 campaign is also well done. The book treats the Emancipation Proclamation at length but to me anyway left something to be desired. (The text and some explicit treatment of it would help) and discusses the fate of Civil Liberties during the War and domestic development during the war in good but not dispositive detail.

If you are looking for an understanding of Lincoln and of the Civil War this is a good place to start but not to end. I suggest reading the book together with the complilation of Lincoln's own speeches and writings in the Library of America series.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good general biography
I really enjoyed this work. I felt it could have been more in-depth, but only so much can be expected from its relatively short length. It is a good resource and point of departure for the Lincoln historian or enthusiast, but I would recommend additional reading to fill in the gaps. ... Read more


135. Lucky Man: A Memoir
by Michael J. Fox
list price: $22.95
our price: $15.61
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0786867647
Catlog: Book (2002-04)
Publisher: Hyperion
Sales Rank: 26999
Average Customer Review: 4.75 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

The same sharp intelligence and self-deprecating wit that made MichaelJ. Fox a star in the Family Ties TV series and Back to the Futuremake this a lot punchier than the usual up-from-illness celebrity memoir. Yes,he begins with the first symptoms of Parkinson's disease, the incurable illnessthat led to his retirement from Spin City (and acting) in 2000. And yes,he assures us he is a better, happier person now than he was before he wasdiagnosed. In Fox's case, you actually might believe it, because he thencheerfully exposes the insecurities and self-indulgences of his pre-Parkinson'slife in a manner that makes them not glamorous but wincingly ordinary and ofcourse very funny. ("As for the question, 'Does it bother you that maybe shejust wants to sleep with you because you're a celebrity?' My answer to that onewas, 'Ah...nope.'") With a working-class Canadian background, Fox has anunusually detached perspective on the madness of mass-media fame; hisdescription of the tabloid feeding frenzy surrounding his 1988 wedding to TracyPollan, for example, manages to be both acid and matter-of-fact. He is frank butnot maudlin about his drinking problem, and he refreshingly notes that gettingsober did not automatically solve all his other problems. This readable, wittyautobiography reminds you why it was generally a pleasure to watch Fox onscreen:he's a nice guy with an edge, and you don't have to feel embarrassed aboutliking him. --Wendy Smith ... Read more

Reviews (153)

5-0 out of 5 stars A book that celebrates life
Most people know that Michael J. Fox is a talented and charismatic actor,
but what you realize when you read "LUCKY MAN" is that he is also an
amazing human being. His experience with Parkinson's Disease is obviously
a major theme of this book, but you never feel sorry for him, nor does he
ever complain about what has happened to him. In fact, he does just the
opposite and explains how he actually found his life and his vitality when
he came to terms with his circumstances. His honesty and vulnerability in
describing his life leading up to his diagnosis and coping with the reality
of an (as yet) incurable disease has helped and will help many thousands of
people lead happier lives. After reading this book, I find myself inspired
by the possibilities life has to offer and grateful that Mr. Fox chose to
share the intimate details of his and his family's journey so that
everyone, not just those afflicted with Parkinson's Disease,
can lead lives as their own master, as creators of an extraordinary life for themselves.

While reading "LUCKY MAN", I kept wishing I could recommend "WORKING ON
YOURSELF DOESN'T WORK" by Ariel and Shya Kane to Michael J. Fox and the
Parkinson's community he discovered. Anyone who is touched by his outlook
on life, who is looking for something magical, who wants to discover the
moment-by-moment joy of being alive should read this book also. In "LUCKY
MAN", I found empathy, compassion and admiration for Mr. Fox and those who
suffer from PD (or other debilitating diseases). In "WORKING ON YOURSELF
DOESN'T WORK", you will find the road map to loving life, no matter what
your circumstances.

5-0 out of 5 stars Why should Michael J. Fox pen his memoirs?
Because his story is more fascinating than most Presidents.'

Fox begins with the first twitch he felt in his left hand back in 1990. He titled this chapter, "A Wake-up Call," but even he admits he went through long periods of doubt, denial and even self-destruction on the road to accepting Parkinson's Disease as part of his daily life.

Even though Fox goes into great detail about his battle with Parkinson's, he also takes you back to his childhood and all the way up to modern day. His words are candid, straight from the heart and he doesn't sugarcoat his autobiography to be a self-serving tool.

The love of his family clearly shows throughout the book as he talks about his brother, three sisters, parents and his beloved grandmother, Nana. And, of course, he doesn't leave out his home life with wife Tracy and their four children.

From his "escape artist" days as a two-year-old in Canada where neighbors labeled him as a real "charmer," to his decision to go public with his disease, Fox bares his soul in these pages. This includes how he got started in showbiz in Canada, crossing over to Hollywood success and even living the glamorous lifestyle.

Heart-warming tales are scattered throughout and you can't help but laugh, cry and feel like Fox is a member of your own family.

You're embarrassed for him when he meets with an agent in the late '70s who thinks he has a physical handicap because he's wearing platform boots with four-inch heels and two-inch soles, which he thought were in style. As he speaks about becoming a man on his 18th birthday, the sense of being an adult since he's now legal age, you'll laugh outloud when he says he blew out the candles on his Mickey Mouse birthday cake.

You witness the growth of his relationship with Tracy that ultimately lead to marriage and the start of his own family. You shudder when you realize the pain and turmoil he and his family endure as he has undergoes brain surgery, being awake during the entire process.

And you watch the evolution of this man come full circle as he leaves the partying behind to dedicate himself to his family and to the search for a Parkinson's Disease cure.

Michael J. Fox is not just an award-winning actor, he's a devoted family man and an activist for research-funding and finding a cure for Parkinson's Disease. With "Lucky Man," Fox also proves he is an outstanding author. The book has topped the New York Times bestseller lists and the audio tapes have been nominated for a Grammy.

5-0 out of 5 stars More than a bio, ten stars plus, a must read by all,
Michael J. Fox was born in Edmonton in 1961. Residing in Burnaby, British Columbia, while his father was in the Royal Canadian Army Signal Corps, he recounts growing up with parents, siblings, Nana, and friends. Describing himself in the toddler years, Michael says, "... a handful, a whirlwind... precociously funny in a what-spaceship-dropped-off-this-alien kind of way." Michael's early love of music, specifically the guitar (self-taught), was fruitful as a member in the "Halex" band. His love of drama and art was realized at age sixteen when Michael made his debut as a twelve-year old in the Canadian Broadcasting Company's production of the series "Leo and Me". Fox's American career was launched with Disney in "Midnight Madness". Career credits include the theater screen with "Back to the Future", "Teen Wolf", and "Doc Hollywood"; and popular television series, "Family Ties" (on the set, Michael met actress/wife Tracy Pollan), and "Spin City". With humor Michael describes success, '...those who got, get', i.e., if famous and with fortune, free offers abound. Just the mention of his favorite beer in a conversation, brought a truckload of the beverage to his front door... with a promise of more anytime he wanted it!

Fox's emotional journey in facing the reality of the diagnosis of Young Onset Parkinson's Disease (PD) began in 1990 with the twitching of a finger. In LUCKY MAN, Fox approaches his story with wit, positive attitude and honesty, emotions, and the trials in the continuation of his career. The diagnosis of PD was understandably kept from the public for seven years... shared only with his inner circle of family and trusted associates. Michael experienced the ritual commonly traversed with diagnosis of debilitating diseases including anger, denial and acceptance. Candidly, Fox tells his faults, ups and downs, the highs and lows of life and show biz, his philosophy, and the thrill of playing hockey against Bobby Orr. In admitting his problem with alcohol and the existence of PD, Michael is led to a therapist and engages a permanent neurologist for treatment of his illness.

As an advocate for PD research funding, Fox has testified before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee Hearing. His campaigning efforts, continued to this day, have had a definite effect on raising awareness of PD in the public and private sectors. Specifically, the acknowledgement that PD is prevalent in earlier ages vs. the medical textbooks statement that PD is diagnosed in later ages of 50-65 years. The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Disease Research has become a passion in his life. To this date, the exact cause of PD is unknown. LUCKY MAN is not only biographical, it is a highly-informational writing with regard to the progression and research of PD. Medications associated with treatment are described, differing in results with each person. Fox says of his release of the diagnosed illness to the public, "Disclosure had allowed me to rearrange life so that I could get more from it."

Michael J. Fox possesses obvious penchant for writing. His exceptional narrative in LUCKY MAN is philosophical, uplifting and insightful. While reading LUCKY MAN, I laughed and I cried. I am in awe of Michael J. Fox for his honesty, humility, compassion, and courage (that includes wife/actress Tracy Pollan and his four children). Review based on paperback edition 2003

[Note: The author's profits from the sale of "Lucky Man" are donated by the author to The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research. Please visit the author's website: michaeljfox.com]

Connected books recommended are: LIFE LESSONS by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross; THE WHEEL OF LIFE: A MEMOIR OF LIVING AND DYING by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross; SHAKING UP PARKINSON DISEASE: FIGHTING LIKE A TIGER, THINKING LIKE A FOX by A. N. Lieberman, Abraham, M.D. Lieberman

5-0 out of 5 stars A GOOD READ FROM MARTY MCFLY
I REALLY LIKED THIS BOOK. MIKE DOES A GOOD JOB DESCRIBING HIS DISEASE. HE GOES IN GREAT DETAIL WITH THE SYMPTOMS, DENIAL, MEDICATION, ACCEPTANCE AND FINALLY COMING OUT OF THE CLOSET IN DEALING WITH THIS DISEASE. HE ALSO GOES IN DETAIL WITH HIS OTHER BATTLE WITH ALCOHOL WHICH HE NOW HAS SEVERAL YEARS OF SOBRIETY. I FIND MIKE TO BE A PRETTY GOOD GUY WHO HAS FACED ALOT OF ADVERSITY. I LOVED HIM IN THE BACK TO THE FUTURE MOVIES AND AS ALEX KEATON IN FAMILY TIES. A VERY TALENTED AND FUNNY GUY. I GIVE ALOT OF CREDIT FOR FACING UP TO HIS DEAMONS AND COMING PUBLIC WITH BOTH OF HIS DISEASES. A VERY INTERESTING BOOK. ALSO GIVE CREDIT TO MIKE'S WIFE TRACY FOR STAYING WITH HIM THRU HIS DRINKING DAYS. THE ONLY THING I WISHED HE HAD DONE IS THIS BOOK IS TOLD US MORE ABOUT WAS THE MAKING OF HIS BACK TO THE FUTURE MOVIES. THIS IS A VERY SMALL COMPLAINT. A MUST READ FOR EVERYONE.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great read!!
Short and Sweet, this book is great. I listened to the book-on-Cd which Michael J. Fox read, and it was a fantastic voyage through his life. ... Read more


136. Trump: Think Like a Billionaire : Everything You Need to Know About Success, Real Estate, and Life
by Donald J. Trump, Meredith Mciver
list price: $21.95
our price: $15.36
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1400063558
Catlog: Book (2004-10-12)
Publisher: Random House
Sales Rank: 354
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137. A Thousand Days of Magic: Dressing Jackie Kennedy for the White House
by Oleg Cassini
list price: $42.50
our price: $26.77
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0847819000
Catlog: Book (1995-06-01)
Publisher: Rizzoli International Publications
Sales Rank: 30515
Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

There are moments in history where events converge to create something rare and special. Jacqueline Kennedy's selection of Oleg Cassini to design her personal wardrobe as First Lady was one of those moments, not only in fashion history, but political history as well. As creator of the "Jackie look," Cassini made the First Lady one of the best-dressed women in the world and a glamourous icon of the Kennedy era.

During the thousand days of the Kennedy administration, Cassini designed over 300 outfits for Jackie Kennedy--coats, dresses, evening gowns, suits, and day wear. He coordinated every aspect of her wardrobe, from shoes and hats to gloves and handbags.

For the first time, Oleg Cassini offers a fascinating and comprehensive view of his role as Jackie's personal couturier. His international background allowed him to fit comfortably into the Kennedy poltical dynasty, and offered him unprecedented access to both Jackie and John Kennedy as a designer and a trusted friend. From the details of his long-standing friendship with the Kennedy family to his first meetings with the First lady to his thoughts on Jackie's clothes and their legacy, Cassini's recollections are far-ranging and informative.

Cassini's original sketches are accompanied by 200 color and black-and-white photographs of the First Lady as she tours India, France, England, and Italy, shows off the White House, and hosts state dinners and family gatherings. Public moments as well as private ones capture the great elegance and charm of one of the most admired and emulated women in the world.
... Read more

Reviews (12)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Combination that Works
This lovely volume combines Cassini's memoirs of working closely with Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis during her brief White House years, his fashion philosophies and ideas, and the iconography of the early 1960s style and vigor of the Kennedy years. Each piece plays the right part in the book as a whole, illustrating what must have been an enchanted time for Cassini. If one is interested in fashion and its technical aspects, the book's sketches and interesting details (letters from Jackie about to whom Cassini should send swatches for hat and glove construction for each dress), his memories of Jackie along with excerpts of her letters (photographic and in text, reproduced verbatim) along with the requisite, but lovely photographs of Jackie is his creations. It brings couture to the United States in a grand way and makes this French sensibilitiy part of our own Americana.

With all of the Jackie Kennedy products on the market, it was lovely to read such a heartfelt memoir from the man who helped to position her in our nation's consciousness as a precious and dear woman.

4-0 out of 5 stars Top Jackie Fashion Book !
As far as I am concerned this is THE top book about Jackie's Fashions and I have either read, bought, or extensively reviewed all of them. This big coffee table book written by Oleg Cassini contains more information, better pictures and sketches than any other book about Jackie's fashions. In fact,I would say in some ways it is almost a biography of Jackie albeit a heavily illustrated one. Do not let the new influx of books about Jackie's fashions deter you from buying this book. The new books that came out around the time of the exhibit of her fashions at the Met are all ok . And Hamish Bowles book about the exhibit was the best of the three released during this timeframe. However none of these books match the lushness of Cassini's book!

5-0 out of 5 stars An Exquisite Book Capturing an Exquisite Woman
I bought this book in 1995 when it first came out, it has held up beautifully, and is one of my all time favorite books about Jackie.

A large, coffee table book that is filled with exquisite photos from Jackie's wedding day to President Kennedy through her time as First Lady, and her later years.

Jackie has always been one of my favorite role models, and Oleg Cassini did one fantastic job in showing the sketches of clothing illustrations, as well as when and where Jackie wore them. He gives wonderful and detailed paragraphs of information that are respectful of Jackie. The book also has clear copies of the many letters of gratitude Jackie has written, as well as the many activities she was involved in.

It is a true and dignified portrait of Jackie's greatest 1,000 days, and is a timeless treasure, showing the class, dignity, heart, and soul of a woman who will forever remain eternal.
HIGHLY Recommended for the beautiful and dignified manner with which it is presented.

5-0 out of 5 stars gorgeous book depicting the first among First Ladies
This book shows Jackie Kennedy during her truncated run as First Lady in designs by Oleg Cassini. Each entry has a photo of Jackie Kennedy at a historical event during JFK's presidency, with details of the outfit she is wearing as well as a short blurb on the time and significance of the event.

3-0 out of 5 stars Chic, but pictures were rather tiny
I bought this book before all the Jackie style books came out. This is a good book, and what Oleg says of Jackie is insightful--but the pictures were secondary to the words! (And the cost!) There would be a drawing taking up the whole page, with this little picture of Jackie. Plus, it doesn't have all the clothes she wore--and--- They are not all his clothes!...This book, however, is a nice companion book to the Jay Mulveney book, or even the Hamish Bowles if you chose to buy that....If you want to know about Jackie's style, buy this or the IN THE KENNEDY STYLE by Latetia Baldridge, or especially the Jay Mulveney book. ... Read more


138. Karl Marx: A Life
by Francis Wheen
list price: $27.95
our price: $27.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 039304923X
Catlog: Book (2000-05)
Publisher: W.W. Norton & Company
Sales Rank: 232977
Average Customer Review: 3.94 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Karl Marx, whose influence on modern times has been compared to that of Jesus Christ, spent most of his lifetime in obscurity. Penniless, exiled in London, estranged from relations, and on the run from most of the police forces of Europe, his ambitions as a revolutionary were frequently thwarted, and his major writings on politics and economics remained unpublished (in some cases until after the Second World War). He has not lacked biographers, but even the most distinguished have been more interested in the evolution of his ideas than any other aspect of his life. Francis Wheen's fresh, lively, and moving biography of Marx considers the whole man--brain, beard, and the rest of his body. Unencumbered by ideological point scoring, this is a very readable, humorous, and sympathetic account. Wheen has an ear for juicy gossip and an eye for original detail. Marx comes across as a hell-raising bohemian, an intellectual bully, and a perceptive critic of capitalist chaos, but also a family man of Victorian conformity (personally vetting his daughters' suitors), Victorian ailments (carbuncles above all), and Victorian weaknesses (notably alcohol, tobacco, and, on occasion, his housekeeper). But there is great pathos, too, as Marx witnessed the deaths of four of his six children. For those readers who feel Marxism has given Marx a bad name, this is a rewarding and enlightening book. --Miles Taylor, Amazon.co.uk ... Read more

Reviews (18)

4-0 out of 5 stars The political genius interpreted as a pariah
This book is pretty good but I was disapointed because there was not enough on Marx's youth; there was probably about a half chapter on how he acted as a child and as a student. Robert Service's biography on Lenin covered the subject of youth in a grandoise matter; tracing Lenin's roots back a few generations. From what I have heard, Isaah Berlin's biography is the best on Marx; the strong points in this biogrpahy are as follows: Marx's adult social life, the scene in the 19th Century, Engels influence, and MArx's ideas. When I picked this book up I did not think there would be anything to do with Marx's ideas but only details about his life; If you have never read anything on Marx I would say that this book is good b/c Wheen has many excerpts from MArx's life.

4-0 out of 5 stars Anecdotes and humor -- but a melancholy tale...
This book is chilling reading. It is difficult to put one's finger on the reason why. Perhaps because Karl Marx (1818-1883) was always a distant person - even while he lived As Marxism flickers out, Wheen takes us back in time to find the "historical Marx". A solid grounding in 19th century European history will make reading this work a lot more interesting. Wheen's book is whimsical, eclectic, comprehensive, and humorous, but it presupposes a knowledge of the 19th and 20th century European revolutionary and political history which is rapidly fading from our 21st century minds. This book dwells as much on Marx's family life as on his political life. ----Wheen's work is filled with fascinating anecdotes. It does not explain Karl Marx, but this man was so complicated that no one (including himself) may have ever understood his motivations. He was a family man, deeply devoted to his wife and six children, four of whom died before he did. (The other two who took their own lives!) On the other hand he quarreled with and was hated by scores - if not hundreds - of former friends. Karl Marx was not a likeable man. This book uncovers hundreds of gems about his life that most persons who studied "Marxism" or "Communism" would never stumble on: for example, the moves in a chess game he played in 1867 (he lost!). That he was precocious, to the point of being expelled from Prussia, France, and Belgium - each time by royal order - before he reached 30 years of age. While many are vaguely aware of Marx's friendship with Friedrich Engels, how many know that it began when Marx was 26 and Engels was 23? Or that Engels was one of only 11 persons present at Marx's funeral 37 years later! Wheen has done an excellent job on a very difficult topic!

4-0 out of 5 stars Let us now praise famous ragamuffins!
As the reader below observed, this book was a chilling read. Marx was a very strange fellow and this reading this book felt like surveying the scene of a car accident. It hurts to continue but one finds themselves so intrigued that they can hardly stop. For my part, I disagree thoroughly with just about every idea Marx had. Still, I thought it refreshing to read a biography of the man that objectively treated Marx as human first, ragamuffin later; Unlike the brief essay on him in Paul Johnson's "Intellectuals," which is meant only to slam Marx and infuriate the reader.

I took half a star away for the a-little-less-than-constant humor (or so the author thought.) At first it was mildly amusing, probably do to its gauche inapropriateness. After the first few chapters though, it became a nuisance. How about this one? "Like another Marx, Karl did not want to belong to any club that would have him as a member." PUKE!!

The other half star is deducted for a suggestion the author makes about three-quarters through, when discussing Das Kapital. He suggests that Marx did not mean Kapital to be a work of science, but a work of ART (he means this literally, not figuratively.) His evidence? Marx refered to Kapital as his "work of art" (my guess, this is metaphor). Also, the author argues, if Marx had already summed up the themes of Kapital in a speech a few years earlier (he did), then why did he write a 1000 page tome espousing the same ideas (he did). Honestly, with flimsy evidence like that, this claim looks utterly ridiculous - not to mention likely insulting to any Marxist or person who takes Marx seriously as a thinker. Enough to cost half a star.

Otherwise, this book is an unbiased, humanistic read that plays just like a novel. Marx, of course, is a far superior character than any author could ever devise and in the end, my bet is that whether you love or hate him, you will find yourselves modifying your opinion to ambivalence as Marx (the person, not the manifesto) is much too complicated to love or hate.

4-0 out of 5 stars Top Marx
I would not have imagined that a biography of Karl Marx could be such an entertaining and interesting read. This was. Much more has been written about the 'ism' than the man. This is a fascinating insight into his life, his poverty, his exile, his contradictions as well as his thinking.

What was most noticeable was the remarkable loyalty of Engels - friend, ghost-writer and benefactor - who even became a stranger in a strange land (Capitalism) to help finance publication of Marx's ideas, often in the face of staggering procrastination by the latter.

This is a very readable account of the life and carbunkles of one of the last century's most influential figures.

2-0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, and deeply so
Let's write a book about Karl Marx which wants to talk about the Man, rather than simply about the Ideas. Sounds great, right? Except that in Wheen's hands, the relationship of the life to the ideas and the ideas to the life are brutally banalized.

The opportunity to write a good biography obviously presented itself, but what we have instead is some charming personal biography by a man who does not grasp the smallest part of Marx's ideas nor any meaningful engagement with Marx's political activity.

This book is so lame on the theoretical level that one would think that Wheen spent too much time reading old Stalinist schoolbooks on Marx, avoiding any actual scholarly work, such as Debord, C.J. Arthur, the journals Common Sense and Capital and Class, the work of Lukacs, Korsch, Adorno, Horkheimer, Rubin, etc. Wheen's treatment of the politics is less than worthless and mars his obviously generous sentiment towards Marx the man because Wheen simply cannot grapple with Marx as a whole human being.

Instead, we are treated to tawdry discussions of Marx's 'psychologically induced illnesses' every time deadlines came due. And these are tawdry not for being uninteresting, but because we never get a sense of the juxtaposition between Marx the researcher (who happily spent a great deal of time in the London Library system) and Marx the writer who did not simply hate deadlines, but who struggled with the content and style of each line he wrote. We never get any sense of why Marx might be the single most influential thinker of the last 150 years.

I gave it two stars because I do not see Wheen as intentionally malicious, but as merely incompetent. In a world where malicious intent and lack of scholarly scruple towards Marx seems welcome, this is not the worst book ever written on the man, but certainly not one worth reading. ... Read more


139. Blinded by the Right : The Conscience of an Ex-Conservative
by DAVID BROCK
list price: $15.00
our price: $10.20
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1400047285
Catlog: Book (2003-02-25)
Publisher: Three Rivers Press
Sales Rank: 22943
Average Customer Review: 3.81 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In a powerful and deeply personal memoir in the tradition of Arthur Koestler’s The God That Failed, David Brock, the original right-wing scandal reporter, chronicles his rise to the pinnacle of the conservative movement and his painful break with it.

David Brock pilloried Anita Hill in a bestseller. His reporting in The American Spectator as part of the infamous “Arkansas Project” triggered the course of events that led to the historic impeachment trial of President Clinton. Brock was at the center of the right-wing dirty tricks operation of the Gingrich era–and a true believer–until he could no longer deny that the political force he was advancing was built on little more than lies, hate, and hypocrisy.

In Blinded By the Right, Brock, who came out of the closet at the height of his conservative renown, tells his riveting story from the beginning, giving us the first insider’s view of what Hillary Rodham Clinton called “the vast right-wing conspiracy.” Whether dealing with the right-wing press, the richly endowed think tanks, Republican political operatives, or the Paula Jones case, Brock names names from Clarence Thomas on down, uncovers hidden links, and demonstrates how the Republican Right’s zeal for power created the poisonous political climate that culminated in George W. Bush’s election.

Now in paperback and with a new afterword by the author, Blinded By the Right is a classic political memoir of our times.
... Read more

Reviews (340)

3-0 out of 5 stars The Truth Will Set You Free. The Reader or the Writer?
Blinded by the Right is in some ways a remarkable book. In other ways, it is a frustrating tale of self-centeredness and greed -- the author's. Brock is a fine writer. He is informed and clearly intelligent. In Blinded, Brock provides a first-person account of the tactics employed by the conservative Republican extreme throughout the 1990's in their effort to "spread their message" and exert the considerable power of their money and influence.

The book is frightening in that political games are laid bare and the conservative Republicans look pretty reprehensible in the process. While there are just as many - perhaps more -- similar books on the opposite spectrum of politics, Brock's stands out because it is so strongly autobiographical and he was so much a part of the propaganda machine as a reporter for the American Spectator during the 90's. He wrote many of the stories that caught our attention in the news media. David Brock was one of the party's key delivery boys!

Even more frightening is the fact that David Brock was a soul-less chameleon who served as a political puppet for many years. While some folks are motivated to advocate positions because of deep personal conviction, David Brock was a shallow, selfish man, essentially interested in only one cause - himself. Brock essentially proved he was willing to be anything he needed to be and to go to any lengths to advance his own standing, inflate his own ego, make himself more money, and promote his own notoriety.

I can't say that I leave Blinded by the Right with much sympathy for David Brock. While Brock has obviously gone through some form of personal transformation in writing this book about his own dishonesty, he actually got quite a bit out of his personal prostitution over the years as one of the key party messenger boys. If he believes it was he that was used, I would urge another look. Even after his "breakthrough" there still seems to be disingenuousness to Brock's desire to "come clean" and his personal ego looms large throughout the book - even after his supposed "wake-up" call.

I'm not really very convinced that Brock has actually changed his agenda very much through all of his soul searching. So much of the undertone of Blinded by the Right seems to sound a discordant note that "the world somehow should revolve around David Brock". Sadly, he still seems to lack very much conviction or commitment to anything other than to himself.

While I enjoyed reading Brock's account of some of the zealotry that drove a wedge through American politics all through the 90's, I can't help but finish the book hoping that David Brock himself finds something to believe in that is worthy of his intelligence and giftedness. A man at middle age who doesn't have any personal conviction, regard for others, or much to believe in that is larger than oneself, quite frankly, isn't very impressive.

Daniel J. Maloney
Saint Paul, Minnesota

4-0 out of 5 stars GOP = Gated Only Please
David Brock's "Blinded by the Right" gives an insider's view of what's being done "behind the curtain" by a veritable phalanx of "neo-conservative" societies, foundations, think tanks, newspapers, publishers, et al. Well written, the book is quite entertaining in a chilling "Star Chamber" sort of way. One must wonder how the underlying attitudes of misogyny, racism, and elitist classism would play if presented openly as the one and only "patriotic" American Way. Trouble is, the underlying philosophies (and the policies they promote) negate and/or corrupt nearly everything my twenty years in the American lit classroom spoke of and to. As for rational, meaningful debate in any election cycle, post Bork, -- forget about it.

Politics from here to Armageddon in this media-drenched culture will be a loud and insulting Limbaugh-Springer carnival, relying mainly on smears and character assassination. It will be this way because the hugely wealthy echelon that funds it will accept no less than their entitlement to the lion's share. Curiously, McVeigh could be the overarching poster boy for this version of a home rule, anti-DC, WASP-only vision of a grand "Gated Community of America." Such is the toxicity poisoning the executive branch.

Compassionate conservatism...sure thing.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Kafkaesque Hate Trip
This book gets five stars for the list of names it drops, and I get five for actually making it to the last page without vomiting once. Brock gives us a guided tour of the hate matrix from the top down. Bizarre freaks like Rupert Murdoch, Sun Moon, and Richard Scaife bleed influence and money into a rat maze crowded with legions of hungry rodents thoroughly purged of principal and hungry to feed. And feed they do, on everything from the self-esteem of a 13-year-old Chelsea Clinton, to the tentative and twisted lies and fantasies of a bunch of power junkies, gold diggers, hillbillies, sociopaths, and miscreants, all floundering around together like pigs in a sty.

Brock and his buddies attended the delivery of the current Rosemary's Baby of a presidential administration that we currently cower under in a state of near-perpetual fear and utter victimhood. He appears to repent as it twitches away in its black cradle, but his confessions and regrets are little more than weak platitudes, and the author's core personal defects are neither explored nor resolved here in any meaningful way. At the bitter end, I was left with a haunting feeling that endures. The book is billed as an autobiography, but the interior world of its author is either heavily guarded or nonexistent. Who is this guy, and who abducted his soul? Certainly not the Berkeley anarchists who angered him, or his neocon professor friends who mentored him - no comic book activists or university faculty could ever warp a smart guy like this to such an extreme. Don't crack this book expecting anything but solid concrete - it's nothing more than a running diary describing who he screwed, how hard he screwed 'em, and his resulting ample compensation. That's what you get, but you get a LOT - perhaps more than you can take. Occasionally Brock describes his motivations with blubbering, intelligence-insulting rationale: "I wanted status. I wanted love and acceptance." After a while these shallow reflective utterances taper down to a predictable drone as he plods through detailed descriptions of year after unrelenting year of his own original and continuous journalistic atrocities.

Liberals wonder why they do not possess a frankenstein-meets-godzilla kind of media monster that might lumber forth to confront the fascist hate regime fueled by minds like the one floating around inside Brock's head. Read this book and you might gain some insight into the problem, but only by its very LACK of a real explanation. Maybe it has something to do with personality type. Brock's is a perfect fit for the extreme right - vain, superficial, materialistic, opportunistic, sex-confused - his every paragraph is an act of servile, self-conscious spite dedicated to advancing his puppetmasters' agenda. There's no way the left can compete with this stuff - David Brock's work makes Michael Moore's look like empirical science by comparison.

Actually, it's not even ironic that Brock could come out of the closet and still survive within the hard right on nothing more than his skills in the art of character assassination and slander. To me, there's no irony in even the very thought of this book, and this idea kind of scares me, and it leads straight to the conclusion that Brock is an incorrigible operator, a hard-core narcissist with a Huey Lewis soundtrack bubbling away endlessly in the shallow murk of his own semi-conscious mind. At the end of the day, David Brock was never really 'blinded by the right'; he was already blind before he ever enlisted his services. This book doesn't describe how that happened. Read at your own risk, serve up a short dose of pity, and pray that you and your offspring will never turn out like David Brock.

5-0 out of 5 stars Needs More on the Ladies!
If you need to know, Brock tells how disgusting the right wing is. Reagan put a happy face, unity, and some civility on it all, but when Daddy left, the "kids" started to lose it. Gingrich and so many others could throw bombs, but couldn't lead. Nope. Brock found himself fronting and digging dirt for this wingnut crowd, after (understandably) shying from and countering ultra-PC lefties in college. So Brock went Reagan's direction in formative years, like so many others his age. And then... well, Brock tells the story best... and I can't think of a more encompassing history of 1990's politics. The story is dark, and if you're too alert you'll keep questioning Brock's initial motives for the book, and how he spins his tales in his book. (Especially after Bill Clinton's performances - with fingers to chest -, this reader is cynical toward apologies). But, if you lay back and give Brock the benefit of doubt (at least until you finish the book), it's a good read about 90's right-wing politics, tactics, $$$$, careerism, "friendships" of convenience, and hypocrisy, not in that particular order. When I finished the book (which is hard to do -- just keep plowing through it; the info and perspective *is worth it*) I actually felt for Brock (and I don't *think* I'm a bleeding heart :-). Brock's arc and inside perspective are wholly unique. Is this book a new Whittaker Chambers' (who left the communists and spoke up) "Witness" for the *left*? A little, maybe?

Anyway, I'm pretty conservative, and learned a lot. Brock's is a hard book to get through, but I'll never view the 90's (Newt, Clinton, all media) the same again. Oh yeah, back to my review title: Brock tells of his relationships with right-wing queens Arianna Huffington, Laura Ingraham, and Ann Coulter. More details next time! Do they like to play quarters? Caps?! Keggers or wine boxes?

5-0 out of 5 stars A good read...
A great perspective on two decades of American history. Engrossing and powerful. ... Read more


140. Grace and Power : The Private World of the Kennedy White House
by SALLY BEDELL SMITH
list price: $29.95
our price: $17.97
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375504494
Catlog: Book (2004-05-04)
Publisher: Random House
Sales Rank: 3050
Average Customer Review: 4.38 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (13)

5-0 out of 5 stars Fair and enticing: interesting and easy readI just finished
I just finished Grace and Power : The Private World of the Kennedy White House by Sally Bedell Smith, and it was a terrific read from start to finish. It reads like a very long and interesting magazine article and is, hence, not gossipy, but factual and interesting. It's a well-constructed account of the days from the election to JFK's assassination; it covers both the political and social history of JFK's brief time in the White House. Thousands of sources are called upon as the author has painstakingly pieced together her story. There is much in the book that is new information about the Kennedys and their days in the White House, though not being a Kennedy aficionado, I was not aware of what was old and what was new. I felt the book was very fair and did a wonderful job of calling forth the duality of the Kennedy panache and mystique coupled with the huge burden of tragedy that seemed to be part of their heritage. I'd highly recommend this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars A fascinating retelling of Camelot
GRACE AND POWER gives the reader the sights, sounds and textures of the Kennedy White House. William Safire called the book "a stunning new history" (his column lead me to buy the book)) and he's right.

You feel like you are right there in the Washington DC of the early 1960s, and what a very different DC it was! The Kennedys liked to work hard and play hard, and Bedell Smith shows the rivalries, friendships and goings-on of the Kennedy's inner circle.

This is truly the first book to make Jack and Jackie human, and Bedell Smith does a wonderful job of telling both the political and social sides of the First Couple.

I read the Vanity Fair excerpt and there is indeed new material here: Jackie's intimate conversations about her marriage with Dr. Frank Finnerty, her secret therapist who helped her improve her relationship with her husband; one of JFK's lovers who speaks for the first time about their two-year affair; and most importantly, details of JFK's last days and the aftermath of the assassination from the sealde (for 40 years!) papers of historian William Manchester, who authored DEATH OF A PRESIDENT.

A historical, serious and fascinating retelling of the Camelot years.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating
Though I haven't read any other books about the Kennedy administration, and consequently cannot say if this one is better or worse than others on the same topic, this one caught my attention. The book appears to be well researched and documented and gives the reader a real feel for what the Kennedy White House must have been like, warts and all. I found the view to be balanced, presenting both the strengths and the personal foibles of the people involved.

The book is full of fascinating historical dichotomies; for example, it shows how the administration would deal with war with Russia over Cuba during the day, and then party at night. (One must maintain one's standards, even in the face of nuclear annihilation.) The reader also gets a real sense of tremendous responsibilities and burdens that go with living in the White House.

To digress a bit, what I really got from this book was a reminder of what politics in the USA used to be like, when politicians were more interested in doing what was best for the country, before the citizens of all political persuasions allowed it to become so bitterly and unproductively polarized. There used to be dialog between the political parties instead of ranting; there used to be pragmatic compromises and solutions instead of unyielding positions; and there used to be respect for the concept that reasonable minds can differ. Camelot, indeed.

That reminder alone makes this a worthwhile read.

5-0 out of 5 stars "Camelot" re-revealed magnificently...
The essence of "Camelot" wasn't necessarily the inspiring leadership of John Kennedy (although this certainly doesn't hurt the Camelot mystique) or the seemingly serene picture of the youngest elected President and his equally youthful wife, rather it was a culture, indeed an attitude or mystique that many historians have tried to capture with heretofore moderate to little success. In this light, Sally Bedell Smith has presented her attempt at synthesizing the mystique with the well documented history of JFK's administration and has succeeded fabulously with "Grace and Power".

The perspective that Smith presents is one that many historians have missed...in a day when JFK administration books abound, Smith gives us a whole new view into the Kennedy family. Right from the beginning of this work, we delve into the personal and behavorial side of both the new President and his First Lady and see how they are in turn affected by the avalanche of the media and policy machine. JFK's full medical history (recently made public in Robert Dallek's magnificent work "An Unfinished Life") is further explained by Smith with many new nuances and she describes how these many maladies not only affected his work as President, but his family life as well. Indeed, we see JFK's covert doctor (Max Jacobson..."Dr. Feelgod") administering to Jackie as well (during periods of stress or depression) and it's this level of new information, presented not in a tawdry gossipy style, but in fair and elegant prose, that really made this work hard for me to put down. JFK's dalliances with many other women comes to be a main theme at the beginning of the story and we see how Jackie's attitude of benign acceptance at this behavior is formed over time in the White House. At the same time, Smith suceeds in presenting JFK as a loving Father and husband...further enhancing this mysterious component of JFK's behavior.

The social scene at the JFK White House is comprehensively descibed...at times offering a counter-balance with what is happening in the world and I thought this added a fullness to the Kennedy story that is usually missing from many otherwise excellent JFK works. For example we see the dinners and the guests who attended them given equal importance in the book while the emotion and stress of the Cuban Missile Crisis is distracting the President. How JFK reacts at these events (i.e. away from "work") is a fascinating new look at the Crisis and Administration as a whole and is this new information that I mentioned that should be the selling point for this work. Closing out the book, Smith eloquently descibes the before and after affects of the assasination on all the participants (old girlfriends as well as close family friends) and tries to philosophize on what the tragedy meant to each.

Historians may argue that the level of scholarship pertaining to Presidential history is lacking (although, I thought Smith did an admirable job describing the events that she did cover), but clearly the focus of this work was not a historical narrative but a genuine social/historical synthesis.

Supported by many new interviews and research, Sally Bedell Smith has added immensly to the monumental amount of literature surrounding the JFK administration and given us a unique perspective that should be used by all as an emotional target for that magnificent and tragic time. A fairly quick read (about 470 pages of readable text) and lively written, I would recommend this book very highly.

5-0 out of 5 stars A compelling read-- what the reviewers have to say
Grace and Power is a compelling read, and I highly recommend it. Instead of offering my own comments, I thought Amazon readers should hear what the professionals-- reviewers, historians, columnists and feature writers around the country-- have been saying about the book. I took these quotes from the author's website, www.sallybedellsmith.com .

Washington Post Book World (page one review by William E. Leuchtenburg, Professor of History Emeritus at the University of North Carolina): "Sally Bedell Smith has written the nonfiction beach book of the season...she is in firm command of the vast Kennedy scholarship...The book is impressively well researched and smartly written. It is rich in character sketches, anecdotes and accounts of events"

Los Angeles Times (page one review by Gary Indiana): "A gracefully written tell-all that really does tell a story worth reading...Smith's portrait of Jackie is irresistible...One falls in love with her all over again."

The New York Times (William Safire column): "A stunning new history... [written] with taste and sensitivity... prodigiously researched... The reader is placed right there in the salons of Georgetown and upstairs at the White House"

Liz Smith (syndicated columnist): "A ravishingly readable book"

Houston Chronicle (review by Fritz Lanham, Books Editor): "Smith writes neither to make idols nor to break them. She's unblinking but fair-minded in her assessment of the Kennedys and their friends, and she writes lucidly and engagingly... Grace and Power really does make you feel that you've stepped inside the private quarters of the White House"

New York Daily News (Sherryl Connelly): "Stylistic grace and authoritative reporting...the ultimate account."

The Philadelphia Inquirer (Karen Heller): "The White House that Smith presents is an elite circle of brilliant men and elegant women...In this history, Jacqueline Kennedy emerges as a more engaged, substantial and controlling presence."

The Boston Globe (Recommended Summer Reading by David Mehegan): "The background is the thousand days of the Kennedy administration, and the big events are here. But the narrative tension is in the tight circle around Jack and Jackie Kennedy... If we did not already know the ending, one might say this book reads like a novel"

San Francisco Chronicle (Carolyne Zinko): "What emerges is the complex nature of the relationship between the president and first lady, a marriage strained by his infidelity yet preserved in part by her tolerance of it; the transformation of the White House into a royal court of sorts... and the degree to which the president manipulated his advisers and the press, for good and bad."

Daily Mail (London): "Riveting history...Grace and Power paints a lively picture of this `social' White House, but though Bedell Smith captures its glamour she never falls in love with it... Throughout the book, Bedell Smith deftly manages to include the weightier events of those Cold War years without either trivialising them or lessening the fun of her lighter gossip."

Newsweek: "Smith has made a career out of turning the lives of bold-faced names into meticulously researched biographies...Smith chronicles Jack and Jackie's highs and lows, heroic diplomacy, prodigious infidelity and a sparkling intellectual and social life unsurpassed by their successors."

Dallas Morning News (Joy Dickinson): "A book that puts journalistic integrity above gossip but includes juicy details." ... Read more


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