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141. Eleanor Roosevelt, 1884-1933
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142. Plain Speaking
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143. Luther's Large Catechism: A Contemporary
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144. The Long Loneliness
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145. Nietzsche: Volumes One and Two
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146. Adolf Hitler : The Definitive
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141. Eleanor Roosevelt, 1884-1933
by Blanche Wiesen Cook
list price: $16.95
our price: $11.53
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Asin: 0140094601
Catlog: Book (1993-03-01)
Publisher: Penguin Books
Sales Rank: 32436
Average Customer Review: 4.35 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The most important woman in American politics, Eleanor Roosevelt is recreated in all of her roles-visionary, activist, political wife, and a woman, far more independent than we knew. ... Read more

Reviews (17)

4-0 out of 5 stars Explores New Ground on a Famous Woman
Most books that I have read on Eleanor Roosevelt stress that no matter how revolutionary she might have seemed, she lived her life within certain bounds for her time. Yet this book demonstrates that the historical character and the real woman are very different. The author portrays Eleanor as a woman who did not find herself until her mid-thirties and then was determined to live as she wanted. Her marriage to Franklin was not fulfilling and she needed more. She found this with various life long friends who shared her passion for politics and social change. The author does an excellent job staying on track, and keeping Eleanor in the forefront. This is definitely not a biography of Franklin! I found the information on the early life of Eleanor to be especially interesting, in how so many of the obstacles that she faced as a youth played a large role in how she dealt with others the rest of her life. Her childhood is hearbreaking and I can't help but think that even for all her wealth and priviledge, how sad her childhood was. She seemed to search all her life to find a home and finally decided to create her own with her friends, not her family. Even though she had five children, their lives were controlled by her mother-in-law, Sara Delano Roosevelt. Rather than become depressed at the various obstacles presented by her life, she rose above them and ultimately became a very fulfilled and happy person.

4-0 out of 5 stars An inspiring subject; a skewed portrayal
Eleanor Roosevelt was one of the most inspirational and influential people of the 20th century, despite her own protests to the contrary. While Ms. Cook's biography reveals many insights into Mrs. Roosevelt's private and public lives, certain of the author's own subjective opinions color what information is missing or has been destroyed regarding this wonderful first lady; these opinions are certainly open to debate. Overall, though, the book inspires all to pursue dreams, to grow throughout a lifetime, to change to fit the times and the needs of one's world. Eleanor's own education about living provides a basis from which to begin living life to the fullest. It is this hope and fortitude that Ms. Cook best captures.

5-0 out of 5 stars "...assertive, independent, and bold."
Eleanor Roosevelt's passions impress those who recall her later public image as a dowdy grandmother-type. No cracks about prominent teeth, please. Author Blanche Wiesen Cook does a commendable job of telling a familiar story from a fresh perspective. This book details ER's life from childhood to the beginning of her career as First Lady. The theme of the book is ER as "assertive, independent, and bold." As long as she lived by other people's expectations, ER was stifled. After she asserted her independence, she was happier and more successful. "She feared rigidities," Cook asserts. She abhorred the judgmental absolutes that she thought contributed to her parents' problems and early deaths. ER aspired to walk in the humanist footsteps of her mentor and great teacher, Marie Souvestre. Intriguing questions of ER's private life remain unanswered because she destroyed many of her personal letters and papers. Her marriage to Franklin Roosevelt was mercurial, and the boundaries grew undefined. After 1918, a crisis year in their marriage, ER formed a number of associations with women social activists. She embarked in new directions, and tirelessly supported women's issues. Ironically, she opposed the 1920s version of the equal rights amendment because she felt it would remove protections that women enjoyed under the laws of that time. Woven through the tapestry of the narrative are questions of ER's love life. Her close working friendships with lesbian activists, at minimum, suggest Sapphic possibilities. ER's views of love and sex were nonconformist, and included men and women. Both Earl Miller and Lorena Hickock played special roles in her life. Cook writes of Eleanor Roosevelt as a three-dimensional woman of joy and sorrow. This book is an eye opening and enjoyable read. Highly recommended. ;-)

3-0 out of 5 stars Frustrating and disappointing bio of a great heroine
If you want to understand Eleanor Roosevelt and her times, read Doris Kearns Goodwin's "No Ordinary Time: Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt -- The Home Front During World War II." Her historical perspective is broader, her prose ten times better, and her psychological analysis less one-sided and narrow.

This book is good if you want to know every last little detail about Eleanor's life -- it seems that Cook included every fact that could possibly be documented (and many with questionable or absent documentation - pages of assertions without endnotes to back them up!) Her prose is disorganized and often reads as if she went from one index card to the next without regard for transitions. (In one section she refers to the high regard on of FDR's bosses had for him, and in the very next sentence she says that it was Eleanor who bridged the tension between the two men. What tension was that? We don't find out for many more pages.) I agree with many reviewers that her feminist slant colors her interpretation unduly -- and I'm a strong feminist myself. What a shame - Eleanor deserved better.

3-0 out of 5 stars great life, ordinary biography
ER was certainly an impressive American. However this biography is too light for such a heavy weight. Wiesen Cook provides little analysis of the world between 1884 and 1933, just the occassional reference, yet the reason ER was so impressive was that she interpreted correctly and reacted positively to what was going on around her and her times. While the biographer provides so many extracts from her letters the reader feels like they are guiltity rummaging through another's most private possessions, she does not link these adequately to the times. Also, she is so enamoured with her subject that she frustratingly stops short of making a point or even stating her opinion or point of view on any interesting subject. Flowery prose is no substitute for pointed analysis, espeically in relation to a 20th century giant like ER. ... Read more


142. Plain Speaking
by Merle Miller
list price: $15.95
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Asin: 0399112618
Catlog: Book (1974-02)
Publisher: Putnam Publishing Group
Sales Rank: 223024
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (19)

4-0 out of 5 stars A Truman Biography With A Different Twist
"Plain Speaking" is a Truman biography with a different twist.Based on interviews of Truman by Merle Miller in preparation for an anticipated television series, it is expressed, largely, in Truman's own words.As such, it is as Truman saw himself and the world.

Arranged chronologically, the reader is taken through this remarkable life, the challenges Truman faced and his views on issues and personalities.On these pages we readTruman's uncensored opinions on MacArthur, Ike, Marshall and generals in general, Dean Atcheson, Richard Nixon, the presidency and a host of other topics.Here we learn his conviction that the U. S. has never had a crooked president and that "The only thing new is the history you don't know."

There are other, better, first biographies to learn the facts of Truman's life.Turn to "Plain Speaking" to meet Harry Truman.

4-0 out of 5 stars Candid and Engaging Biography
This candid biography was drawn from never-aired TV interviews filmed in early 1962 when former U.S. President Harry Truman was 77 and retired nine years.Harry S. Truman (1884-1972) had character, courage, and strong views, as is evident on each page.Truman provides straight answers to questions about his childhood, military service, and days as County Administrator, Senator (which Truman liked best), and President (1945-1953).Truman easily discusses tough issues like dropping the bomb on Japan, the Marshall Plan, and Korea.He praises associates Omar Bradley, Dean Acheson, Herbert Hoover, and especially George Marshall.He also shows scorn for wealthy special interests, Douglas McArthur ("Mr. Brass Hat"), Dwight Eisenhower ("difficult"), Richard Nixon ("Shifty-eyed...Liar"), and sees President Kennedy as capable but too young.Truman lacked a college education, but we see how his prolific reading in history and literature proved invaluable.The author/interviewer speaks with some of Truman's friends and relatives, but no critics, and he seldom challenges the President's responses as a good interviewer occasionally must.As a result, this highly engaging book is a bit thin and one-sided.

Merle Miller (1919-1984) admitted that during the course of these interviews he went from Truman skeptic to fan.This is an engaging and revealing look at one of America's better President's.

5-0 out of 5 stars Most Under-rated President in American History
Merle Miller takes us through a "blow-by-blow" account of actual conversation with not only Mr Truman, but with those close to him.From his times as a businessman during the Depression thru his times as a judge, on to his appoiintment as Senator, right on to the Presidency itself.It changed my life!

4-0 out of 5 stars A Fascinating Look at the words of a President
A compilation of interviews with President Truman originally intended for a television series, _Plain Speaking_ offers some interesting insights into the mind of Harry S Truman.I'm not sure this is necessarily a good thing, as Truman was a man of strong convictions who had little patience for those with opposing views, based on his own words.

That doesn't hurt the book, however, as presumably the reader is looking to learn more about what drove Truman.But Merle Miller's severe case of hero-worship of the President does tend to get grating, as it would appear, based on this book, that Miller believes the country would have been better off to elect Truman President-for-Life, because he apparently could do no wrong, and Miller wants to be sure the reader understands this.Miller's hagiography aside, however, the book's primary focus remains on Truman's words, and those are well worth reading.

You may not consider Truman a great President or even a great man after reading _Plain Speaking_, but it will be hard not to respect Truman's willingness to say what he thought.Anyone looking to understand Harry Truman should start here, to hear things in his own words.

5-0 out of 5 stars a strange book
Shipwrecked at my parents' (without my own stuff), I have been time-travelling in their library. This is an odd gem -- originally conceived as a David Susskind TV show, then printed as a Watergate antidote -- and a compelling read.

I can't speak to the issues of authenticity on this quote here and that quote there. Most in my generation formed their opinions of Truman during the Cold War, which forced us to pigeon-hole the man in categories that have not withstood the test of time.

Was he ready to become President in 1945? I think this book will convince you that he was, that this country was well-served by Roosevelt's peculiar anointing.

Truman didn't like Ike. He never forgave him for not defending George Marshall from the McCarthyites; plus, Ike cut Truman completely out of the loop (as FDR did Hoover). This was a personal thing, and Truman carefully avoids undercutting the policies of his successors.

Truman was a student of the Presidency. He held the office in high regard. In this fact lies the secret of his stepping into FDR's shoes, swiftly and with assurance. Quite an original. ... Read more


143. Luther's Large Catechism: A Contemporary Translation With Study Questions
by Martin Luther
list price: $7.50
our price: $6.75
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Asin: 0570035392
Catlog: Book (1988-02-01)
Publisher: Concordia Publishing House
Sales Rank: 25851
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Lutheran perspective
Being a Lutheran (Missouri Synod) I can say that this is one of the greatest theological writings outside of the Bible ever. It is a wonderful overview of many biblical truths. Many of his arguments such as his support for infant-baptism are practically impossible to soundly refute. If you agree with his theology or not, it is a valuable resource for anyone who wants to grow in the Christian faith or learn about what Lutherans believe. ... Read more


144. The Long Loneliness
by Dorothy Day
list price: $16.00
our price: $10.88
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Asin: 0060617519
Catlog: Book (1997-01-15)
Publisher: HarperSanFrancisco
Sales Rank: 28577
Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A compelling autobiographical testament to the spiritual pilgrimage of a woman who, in her own words, dedicated herself "to bring[ing] about the kind of society where it is easier to be good.'' ... Read more

Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Only Solution is Love
Dorothy Day is an absolutely amazing woman, and should be a true inspiration for all Catholics concerned with social justice and care of the poor. The Long Loneliness is Day's autobiography. It details her life, from her childhood until her old age. The book describes how Day's growing concern for the poor leads to a growing inspiration in Catholicism, and how the mysteries of the church deepen her love for other people in her life. Her growing faith is, as to be expected, tinged with doubt, and through this doubt the reader can truly experience Day's humanity. Different experiences, such as her pregnancy, are developed so that readers can begin to see how different moments throughout her life make a profound impact on Day's life and work. In addition to the life of Day herself, this book provides an excellent reference in terms of the beginning points of the Catholic Worker movement. The Catholic Worker has developed houses of hospitality in various cities throughout the United States (135 today), which focus on works of mercy for anyone who needs assistance. The Long Loneliness provides an overview of the history of this movement, from its beginnings as a radical Catholic newspaper, to the founding of the early Houses of Hospitality, to attempts at farming which ultimately failed. Day's autobiography paints a life of Christian love, and is an outstanding work for anyone with a concern for developing a life filled with the richness of service to others.

3-0 out of 5 stars A Worthy Read
More than a story of the life of a great and determined woman, this book is really the story of the Catholic Worker movement. The purpose of Ms. Day's life, and the Catholic Worker movement, was to make the kind of society in which it is easier for people to be good.

To that end, Ms. Day wrote of her life. I've often heard this book compared to Merton's Seven Storey Mountain. However, it does not show the level of introspection that one finds with Thomas Merton. This autobiography does touch on the personal level when Ms. Day speaks of her faith, her love of God and what that means to her. These portions of the book are worth reading and re-reading.

Unfortunately, this is only about one quarter of the book. The remainder regards the Catholic Worker movement and Ms. Day's journey through communism, pacifism etc. In short, the book is more about utopia than it is about Ms. Day.

Nonetheless, it is far more than a drab read about the socio-economic condition of man in the 20th century. I'm very glad that I've read this book, and I will read it again no doubt.

If you have an interest in putting your faith into action, this book will inspire you. It should inspire, and for the most part it does. For that reason I recommend it.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Classic Conversion Story
Catholic faith fascinates people. How did her spiritual life develop, and how did it influence the remainder of her life? Many wonderful authors, including but not limited to people such as William Miller, Robert Coles, and most recently Paul Elie, have written extensively about Dorothy Day and help us understand this amazing and complex woman, but nothing is more rewarding than reading the writings of Day herself.

THE LONG LONELINESS is a classic spiritual tome and is often referred to as Day's spiritual autobiography. In many ways it is similar to Thomas Merton's SEVEN STOREY MOUNTAIN, and it is easily a close second in popularity with many Catholics. Though Day's writing style is much drier than Merton's writing and her story is not quite as spellbinding as the artist and aspiring writer turned monk, the reader can sense God working powerfully in Day's life. If the book were published today, it would probably be categorized as a memoir, rather than an autobiography since day does not as much tell her story as reflect on how God called her to a life of faith.

The book is a "must read" for anyone who loves and admires Dorothy Day. It is also a book that will interest people interested in religious social activism. Yet the book may speak most powerfully to those who are on a spiritual quest themselves, either knowingly or unknowingly.

1-0 out of 5 stars she should've stuck to being a social activist
I was required to read this book for school this summer and it was by far the worst book I have read in my life. Its only a 280 page book, but her style of writing makes it seem as if it was about a thousand. She fills the book with useless information (i.e. she writes an in depth account of a cover of a book her brother brought home one day and then wonders what it was about. That was completely pointless and failed to advance the plot at all.) Instead of sticking to the core story, which might have been interesting she rambles off about random occurences constantly.

4-0 out of 5 stars A model
Dorothy Dayƒ­s life story is one that I hope will inspire and motivate many Christians -- many more than it already has. A full-on Bohemian in her twenties, she wrote for Socialist papers, joined strikes and picket lines, and spent her share of time in jail for protests. She was an activistƒ­s activist.
And then she met Jesus. Actually the Call of the Spirit had been upon her, or inside her, since early childhood, but it wasnƒ­t until the birth of her child that she finally acknowledged fully and became a member of the Catholic church.
I can easily identify with her problems and issues with the church -- it always seems to be on the side of the Established, the Rich and Powerful, caring not and giving not to the poor and needy, the oppressed and voiceless. Dorothy found, as too few of us have, that God heart cries out for the poor, Jesus identified himself with the oppressed and voiceless, and, as James said, true religion that God honors is looking after the widowed and the orphans in their distress.
And so, with the help, mentorship and inspiration of her friend Peter Maurin, Dorothy continued her activist ways, in the name of Christ. She started the Catholic Worker newspaper, which championed the causes of the poor and working-class. She and her friends started hospitality houses, taking in and feeding any who needed it.
Like Mother Teresaƒ­s, Dorothy Dayƒ­s story is really very simple -- she saw what there was to do, she took her Masterƒ­s words to heart, and she started doing it. Without advanced programs, grants, visioning sessions, without much of a plan at all really, she just started doing it. And she has changed the world in important ways, giving glory to God all along the way. She is a hero of the faith to me, and I hope that God will use me as He chose to use her.

Dorothy Day trained herself as a journalist, a writer, and made her living as such all of her life. This training is evident in her writing -- the book is compact, imagistic, and quick to read. The first half is fairly chronological, as she relates her life up until the point of her conversion and move to New York. After that -- basically after she meets Peter -- it becomes more topical, and the timeline more of a blur. Which was probably true of her life, so much happening and unfolding that itƒ­s hard to tell what started when and where the endings are, if there are any.

I enjoyed this book, and I learned from it -- most notably that the work of activism, of giving voice to the voiceless, is long and hard, with many defeats. But many defeats add up to slow victory, as we make progress over decades at a time. Things are better than they were in Dorothyƒ­s heyday, and we owe much of it to her and her contemporaries. We also owe a great debt to her for the life she has modeled for us -- a modern day picture of Christ among the poor, the hope of many. ... Read more


145. Nietzsche: Volumes One and Two : Volumes One and Two (Nietzsche, Vols. I & II)
by Martin Heidegger
list price: $24.00
our price: $24.00
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Asin: 0060638419
Catlog: Book (1991-03-01)
Publisher: HarperSanFrancisco
Sales Rank: 139802
Average Customer Review: 4.43 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A landmark discussion between two great thinkers, vital to an understanding of twentieth-century philosophy and intellectual history. ... Read more

Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars Mesmerizing and Meditative; The Mind of Heidegger
.
If you like Nietzsche, don't ignore Heidegger's monumental achievement.

Walter Kaufmann's Nietzche, psychologist and philosopher and on Heidegger in Kaufmann's, Discovering The Mind, Vol II, criticizes Heidegger to a great degree. In much of Kaufmann's objections to Heidegger's analogy of Nietzsche include his attempt to explain man's "essential ontology" into what really amounts to anthropomorphism. Also the fact that Heidegger uses texts of Nietzsche from obscure manuscripts over his published works. This, along with Kaufmann's personal encounters with Heidegger, in which Heidegger claimed to have unpublished writings incapable of adequate translation and explanation in his possession, esoteric information, an obvious manifestation of a prideful and arrogant personality.

Now I will agree with the majority of Kaufmann's arguments against Heidegger, including the fact that the man was an active Nazi, a party member and an active advocate of a totalitarian atmosphere imposed at the University he taught at. And it must be noted; there is no anti-semtic writing here, there is only deep and profound analytic treatment of Nietzsche.

Despite all of Kaufmann's valid criticisms and objectifications, I find Heidegger's Nietzsche, both mesmerizing, thought provoking and soul stirring. One needs to recognize this book is Heidegger, not Nietzche and Heidegger is a deep analytical thinker, whereas, Nietzche was both philosophical and poetic and top it all off, psychological. It takes a man like Heidegger to give it the philosophical, analytical style. Perhaps it is bias and to a degree "scandalous," as Kaufmann so brazenly claims, but to ignore these volumes would be foolish. For me, Heidegger's work is monumental and inspirational. If one reads Heidegger with discernment and awareness, then the four volumes of Nietzche are most beneficial and most certainly worth the read, not to pass in one's study of Nietzsche.

In particular the study of the "Will to Power as Art," where the truth is an error since art is the becoming and truth is always the become that is becoming in self positing, in artistic creativity of thought, the affixation on an apparition. And Heidegger's analytical explanation of Nietzsche's "Eternal Return" are far worth this read.

Also in line with this, is the explanation of Kaufmann in Nietzsche's Will To Power; not being self-preservation of Spinoza, nor pleasure principle of Freud, but of power, the power of the self-positing and creative center, not the power that dictates over others, which has been administered by totalitarian and authoritarian governments.

In addition to Kaufmann and Heidegger, Also excellent books:
Nietzsche: A Philosophical Biography by Rudiger Safranski
Nietzsche : The Man and his Philosophy - R. J. Hollingdale
Nietzsche: by Karl Jaspers

4-0 out of 5 stars Long-winded
Heidegger is a man who knows how to fill up a full class period with lots of talk. It would be possible to condense this book, the transcripts of two lecture courses given in 1936 and 1938, into a book 1/4 the length of the current tome. First of all, the time spent on Nietzsche's Nachlass is not particularly fruitful. What Nietzsche has to say regarding the eternal recurrence and the will-to-power can be found, and in the mature form, in BGE and Zarathustra. The lectures are interesting in some respects, for instance the chapter on Nietzsche and positivism is interesting and worth consulting in connection with "Plato's Doctrine of Truth." The reading of Kant's Third Critique is unique as a demonstration of Heidegger's approval of Kant, specifically the treatment of the beautiful.

5-0 out of 5 stars Two Great Tastes That Taste Great Together
Prior to reading this book, Kaufmann was my favorite interpreter of Nietzsche's writings; but now, Heidegger has the prize. No other book that I have read on Nietzsche has come close to the depth and detail of this work. Heidegger masterfully exposits the concepts of will to power and eternal return to illumine Nietzsche's whole philosophical project in a way that I just haven't encountered previously.

A fair criticism of this book might note that Heidegger draws parallels between Nietzsche and himself (Being and Time: being = will to power; time = eternal return), and that this suggests he may be reading more than is really there. But considering how cryptic some of the original writings are, he'd almost have to. In his own defense, Heidegger does all his thinking right before our eyes, so to speak, and I'm satisfied that any possible invention on his part is true to the original concepts.

Where this book really shines is in its handling of the eternal return. This is Nietzsche's most troubling idea, and many commentators treat it as mere novelty and move on. I must confess that I used to think it was Nietzsche's Achilles' heel; a sort of personal fancy that he worked into the background for giggles. But Heidegger proves the opposite to be true. It is really the mature fruit of Nietzsche's whole project; and along with the will to power, a truly exciting and profound view of the phenomena of life.

5-0 out of 5 stars Forget about any other books on Nietzsche
I read the volumes on The Will To Power as Art and as Knowledge whilst at university studying philosophy and it illuminated Nietzsche's thought for me. Heidegger's is the only worthy exposition of his philosophy because not only does he seem to be the only one capable of comprehending it but he doesn't seek to distort it in any way or use it for his own ends. There are no ulterior motives here : Heidegger lets Nietzsche's philosophy speak for itself - and what a magnificent and awe-inspiring philosophy it is ! If you have ever wondered, as I certainly had prior to finding these works, about the precise meaning of Nietzsche's thought of the 'Eternal Recurrence of The Same', or how it relates to the 'Will to Power', then these are the book you want to read. I had become thoroughly frustrated at the cursory treatment which this part of N.'s philosophy receives elsewhere, but Heidegger shows that the thought of 'Eternal Recurrence' is in truth one of the two indispensable fundamental elements of N.'s philosophy - along with 'Will To Power', without which the thought of Eternal Recurrence cannot truly be thought. The lecture course 'Nietzsche' (reproduced in these books) is a comprehensive and faithful account of Nietzsche's thought (and life) - perhaps the only genuine one. It will also help those who know about Nietzsche's ideas but haven't encountered Heidegger's or can't see the relation between these two giants of Western thinking.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book
Having taken a class on Nietzsche at DePaul University with D.F. Krell, I highly suggest this book as it helped me keep up with his class. This book was not the topic of discussion in the class, but the book added more color to the class for me.

D.F. Krell provides wonderful insights in his essary in this collection and he provides a wonderful translation.

If you would like to dig deeper in Nietzsche's past, I suggest reading D.F. Krell's book "The Good European" as this is a

very beautiful book and well written! ... Read more


146. Adolf Hitler : The Definitive Biography
by JOHN TOLAND
list price: $24.00
our price: $16.32
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385420536
Catlog: Book (1991-12-01)
Publisher: Anchor
Sales Rank: 35309
Average Customer Review: 4.56 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (43)

4-0 out of 5 stars Adolf Hitler
No book written before "Adolf Hitler" ever presented the positive sides of Adolf Hitler. John Toland does an excellent job of removing the normal evil and hate thoughts from the facts. Mr. Toland presents Adolf Hilter in a very fair way and provides a good insight to people to consider. The book leaves no doubt that Adolf Hilter was wrong in his ideas and take over of Germany. This book should be read by any person that truly wants to gain the truth of the years between 1933 and 1945 and of Germany. This book provides the elements that are missing from such books as "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" by William Shirer. It is written without the normal emotions. I recommend reading this in order for the individuals to come to a more fair and unbiased judgement of the German people. People that read this book should also read "Inside the Third Reich" by Albert Speer and "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich". I beleive that a person can then come to a better understanding of the power and hate which was created in Germany during the Third Reich. Yes, John Toland has accomplished what very few historians ever do. He has written an unbiased book that is not that difficult to read. Like most historical books, the book is not for a person that is wishing to just relax and read for pleasure. Instead, John Toland's "Adolf Hilter" is a book to learn of how history is created and tyrant's can rise to power.

Tom

5-0 out of 5 stars Good first biography
I read this book behind Mein Kampf (MK) in 1991. I was 16 then, and much of what was in MK was confusing and hard to understand. Hitler meant MK to be read by adherents to the Nazi party and, therefore, those people would know the history behind what was written in the book. John Toland does a wonderful job in writing an easily accessible and understandable biography for the person who is just beginning to study this complex era in our world's history. His research is well documented throughout the book, and one can get a good sense of what Hitler was like and how life was under his rule from 1933-1945. Also, this book gives a good insight into the men and women who supported the National Socialist movement and how their influence dictated the rise and fall of the Third Reich. One can easily find themselves studying other influential people in Hitler's circle as well as Hitler himself. Toland does a very good job of not painting a judgemental picture of the subject of which he is writing about.

I would highly recommend this tome for anyone who is interested in learning the basic information regarding Hitler and the Third Reich. (Of course, it should be no substitute for Mein Kampf. If you want to know what Hitler was thinking....why not read his own words for yourself?)

5-0 out of 5 stars Of the ones I've read this is the DEFINITIVE one!
As an amateur student of WWII history I have tried hard to understand more about how the major "players" came to be, thought, and operated before, during, and after (when applicable) the war. John Toland's biography of Hitler is an amazing piece of historical literature!! If you've ever read any of Toland's books (I've read "Battle: The Story of the Bulge" and "The Last 100 Days" - both excellent) you know he can convey a story that makes the words feel alive. He does that here equally as well in a 900 page masterpiece. He starts with a historical background of the Hitler lineage (and possible Jewish blood!) and ends in with various Nazi elites and their capture, deaths, etc after the fall of Berlin and Hitler's suicide. In between we get a marvelous picture of a child Adolf - his closeness to his mother and estrangement from his father; a young man searching for his place - time spent in Vienna flop houses struggling to survive, failing to acheive and finding his place in the political upheaval leading to the Great War; his time at the front - from runner to gassed Iron cross winner; his "Time of Struggle" in forming the NADSP and leading a failed putsch, prison, and release to a country ready to embrace him; to his rise to Chancellor, dictator, statesman, warlord, self-proclaimed Christ, mass murderer; to a broken, pre-aged, sickly man how ultimately takes his own life to avoid paying the butchers bill. Toland weaves a story that is both easy to read and historically engaging. I learned a lot and had fun doing it - just the way I love history!!!

Highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars FROM SOUP TO NUTS!
Whew! This was quite a long biography, but how can a person like Adolf Hitler be written in a short and sweet version. This is without a doubt, one of the best biographies I have ever read, this book deals with Hitler from before birth until after his demise. We are not just shown the war time Hitler, we are shown Hitler the Artist, Poet, Architect, the homeless man (yes he was broke living on the streets at one point folks) and Hitler the demigod. There are no sides taken in this novel it plays out to you like a whirlwind of information getting stories from various people within his inner circle.
This book is very easy to read, and not too heavy with names nor does it dwell on just one topic of his life. I thought it was a very good depiction of the dictator. I especially liked how Jon Toland would describe Hitler's demeanor when he would receive news of victory or defeat.
After reading this book I can see parallels between Hitler and Saddam Hussain. These men have been in power so long that they come to believe that they are Gods to there people and that only they can lead them to glory, despite the obvious doom and destruction that will eventually occur.
After reading the book, I have to say, the early Hitler had some good points, had he only stayed in Germany and made it a great nation he would have gone down in history as one of the greatest leaders. However what he later did can never be forgiven. Well, the guy never got a college degree, what can you expect. He died a madman no doubt about it.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Definitive Hitler
Historian John Toland's "Adolf Hitler" stands as the greatest of the many works that have been published about the 20th Century's most fascinating and diabolical leader. Toland doesn't content himself by merely reporting the facts, rather he makes a real effort to get inside the man's head and determine how he came to be such an explosive package of brilliance and insanity. The story of Hitler the man is so improbable that had this been a work of fiction, no one would have found it plausible. He was a self-man who, against all odds, seized absolute power in a Europe in which until his own adulthood, heredity usually dictated one's station in life.

Though daunting at over 100 pages, Toland has a good stroytelling touch, making the book quite readble. Toland thoroughly chronicles Hitler's life, from his abused upbrining, through his service in the First World War, to his rise as a young politician, and finally his seizure of power and all the evil that followed. The book is generously sprinkled with photographs and other illustratins to help the reader.

Overall, an outstanding historical biography that is as monumental as its subject. ... Read more


147. The Sinatra Treasures : Intimate Photos, Mementos, and Music from the Sinatra Family Collection
by Charles Pignone
list price: $45.00
our price: $27.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0821228374
Catlog: Book (2004-10-15)
Publisher: Bulfinch
Sales Rank: 212
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Book Description

The first-ever collection from the archives of the legendary Chairman of the Board, filled with never-before-seen photos, letters, mementos, and more.

What is a legend? A legend is a man who, more than 65 years after stepping on stage for the first time, is still larger than life. A man who changed the way we wear our hats. A man possessed not of a voice, but The Voice. Frank Sinatra is a legend.

Created in conjunction with the Frank Sinatra Estate, THE SINATRA TREASURES tells the story of Sinatras life with rare and never-before-published quotes from those he loved and those he worked with--and from the Chairman of the Board himself. More than 200 black-and-white and full-color images from several Sinatra archives, as well as 30 removable facsimile reproductions of items, such as a script from one of his radio shows and a Sinatra family photo album, provide a behind-the-scenes glimpse into Sinatras world and talent. Also included is a new compilation CD of rare interviews, early radio appearances, and songs.

This celebration of the many elements of Frank Sinatra--as singer, as actor, as humanitarian, as friend--brings to life as never before the man who made the standards standard. ... Read more


148. Albert Einstein: Out of My Later Years
by ALBERT EINSTEIN
list price: $8.99
our price: $8.09
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Asin: 0517093804
Catlog: Book (1993-10-18)
Publisher: Gramercy
Sales Rank: 48520
Average Customer Review: 4.33 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Albert Einstein, among the greatest scientists of all time, was also a man of profound thought and deeply humane feelings. His collected essays offer a fascinating and moving look at one of the twentieth century's leading minds.

Covering a fifteen year period from 1934 to 1950, the contents of this book have been drawn from Einstein's articles, addresses, letters and assorted papers. Through his words, you can understand the man and gain his insight on social, religious, and educational issues.
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Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Good Collection of Einstein's Thoughts
This is not a book of mathematic formulas or theoretical physics concepts, it is a book of short essays by Albert Einstein on life, freedom, and some aspects of science. This book really gives us a look into the life of Albert Einstein. Not only was he a great physicist, but he was also a great thinker and a person. This is a truly remarkable read.

4-0 out of 5 stars Perfect for Travel, Quick Reads
Out of my Later Years is a collection of Einstein's speeches and articles covering not just physics but his thoughts on the social condition of man, of Jews, and of war as well as several speeches about the likes of Max Planck, Mahatma Gandhi, and Marie Curie.

As letters and speeches, these are written as the ordinary man that Einstein once was - very easy to read and understand. Even some of the physics lectures are understandable. Each is relatively short making this perfect for when you want to read something of substance but don't have much time.

The sections on Public Affairs are especially haunting as Einstein presents his arguments for the "global village" and advocated someting akin to the current U.N. - things that began to come into their own after his passing. In particular, there is an interchange between him and a group of Communist scientists that underlines the Cold War tension in its height and is a chilling read now in the Post Soviet Union age.

4-0 out of 5 stars A different man
I found Einstein's desire to start a rock band at such an early age very surprising. A man before his time for sure. Singing about relativity while distancing himself from the groupies must have been difficult. The book reads like a good guitar riff, jolting one's mind from time to time. Excellent! ... Read more


149. Inventing A Nation: Washington, Adams, Jefferson
by Gore Vidal
list price: $22.00
our price: $14.96
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Asin: 0300101716
Catlog: Book (2003-11-01)
Publisher: Yale University Press
Sales Rank: 9443
Average Customer Review: 3.38 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Gore Vidal, one of the master stylists of American literature and one of the most acute observers of American life and history, turns his immense literary and historiographic talent to a portrait of the formidable trio of George Washington, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson.In Fathers of the Republic, Vidal transports the reader into the minds, the living rooms (and bedrooms), the convention halls, and the salons of Washington, Jefferson, Adams, and others. We come to know these men, through Vidal's splendid and percipient prose, in ways we have not up to now-their opinions of each other, their worries about money, their concerns about creating a viable democracy. Vidal brings them to life at the key moments of decision in the birthing of our nation. He also illuminates the force and weight of the documents they wrote, the speeches they delivered, and the institutions of government by which we still live.More than two centuries later, America is still largely governed by the ideas championed by this triumvirate. ... Read more

Reviews (24)

2-0 out of 5 stars Political propaganda disguised as history
You might look at Gore Vidal's Inventing a Nation: Washington, Adams, Jefferson and think you are gazing upon a book of history. Oh, there is an element of history to it - albeit a messy, unorganized one - but Inventing a Nation is really about two things only: Gore Vidal's glorified opinion of himself and his hatred for George W. Bush. Most hate mongers and political pundits would simply come write out and attack the current administration, but Gore Vidal is far too pretentious and smarmy to take the common man's approach to political protest. Perhaps he hoped to cleverly disguise his political screed by masking it in the history of the founding of this great Republic (he does, after all, consider the majority of Americans stupid enough to believe anything they are told), but his gleeful delight at stepping aside every few pages to launch vicious attacks on just about everyone associated with America betrays the true nature of his work.

Let's look at this book as history and see why I personally say that Inventing a Nation is a perfect example of how not to write it. This could have been an informative work, for Vidal sets out to explain just how contentious and vulnerable the new nation was in its earliest days. He quotes extensively from the writings and speeches of prominent Revolutionaries to reveal the sorts of grudges, bitter disagreements, and questionable behavior these men sometimes engaged in. Unfortunately, he never really builds an adequate framework on which to make his presentation. In his eagerness to dish out dirt on our Founding Fathers, he fails to establish the true context of the times (which is ironic, given his unabashed lament over the ignorance of the American people). He also fails to identify a single source for any of his quotations and references; he does not even provide a bibliography of sources consulted. Thus, all of the quotes he throws around are presented in a manner completely devoid of context, and the reader has no easy way of verifying a single thing he reads here. Vidal also jumps around in time and place continuously. We can be with Jefferson the French diplomat one minute and then, quite suddenly, find ourselves examining President Jefferson's purchase of Louisiana. Poor John Adams is thrown around so violently that he would surely sue Vidal for whiplash, were he alive today.

I will admit that Vidal does manage to put together some valid points and arguments, but he continually nullifies the good he has done with bouts of infuriatingly sophomoric insults and name-calling, not to mention numerous departures from the subject at hand to fan the flames of his fiery political manifesto. Vidal manages to insult just about everyone associated with the founding of America, and I get the impression Vidal thinks the whole idea of America was a mistake. He belittles James Madison, or "little Jemmy," as he calls him, for being short. He describes John Adams as a short, fat man of great vanity and self-pity who "waddled into history." He lampoons the Boston Tea Party and the "Disney-like Mount Rushmore," states as fact that the women of the nascent Republic-to-be found King George's hired Hessian mercenaries much more physically attractive than their "scrawny, sallow" proto-American counterparts. He criticizes Jefferson's "immoral" life but has nothing but praise for Benjamin Franklin (mainly because Franklin provides him with a quote he loves to use when attacking the modern politicians he hates so much). Vidal particularly dislikes Jefferson, whom he continually describes as a hypocrite of the highest order. (He does, however, make use of Jefferson to imply that he would have called for secession from the nation over the establishment of the Patriot Act.)

The only memorable aspects of this book are the numerous vitriolic asides, many of which have little to do with the subject at hand. Vidal cannot speak about a certain Supreme Court justice without including the parenthetical remark "thought by many to be a visiting alien." His attacks on the Bush administration are as snide as they are numerous. The most galling of statements, however, are pointed at the American people, and I can't imagine how any American of any political party cannot but be offended here. He refers to the nation as "the United States of Amnesia," speaks of this country's "uneducated, misinformed majority" and sanctimoniously bemoans the fact that most Americans don't even know what the Electoral College is. That's just the tip of the iceberg. It's one thing to disagree with current policy, but to boldly state that Afghanistan had as little to do with the terrorist attack on 9/11 as Canada did is something else. Those who agree with Vidal's politics will praise this book, but I don't think anyone will argue too strenuously that Inventing a Nation is a work of history. Historians may not always be objective, but they must at least attempt to be so. Twisting history in order to push your own agenda is, was, and always will be propaganda. It is unfortunate because this book did have the potential of filling a few gaps in our understanding of the founding of the United States.

4-0 out of 5 stars More Than Just History
I read this book after having the fun of listening to Mr. Vidal discuss it at an event last month at the new National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. I've also taken into account some of the earlier reviews posted here. I agree it's not his best work; I'd save that distinction for LINCOLN and the UNITED STATES essays. However, it is a very thoughtful and funny piece of work. Vidal INTENDS you to think about what he says. There is more to history (at least there should be) than just getting the dates and names right. If you want the life of Washington read D.S. Freeman or J. T. Flexner. If you want John Adams, go to David McCullough. If you want Jefferson, see Joseph Ellis or even Dumas Malone. Those are first-rate biographies. However, what Vidal attempts here (generally successfully) is the second part of history - how does what they did reflect now? What present events suggest we haven't come as far as this founding trio would like? (See his comments on the relationship of Adams' Alien & Sedition Acts to the Bush Patriot Act.) It's funny, elegant, and enlightening. I enjoyed every skewering line.

1-0 out of 5 stars Unscholarly Rant
In this poor excuse for a work of scholarship, Vidal spends his time (and ours) entertaining personal assumptions (see Publishers Weekly review), viewpoints, and pet themes. Why, in the middle of a purported historical work on the Founding Fathers, does he digress into making weak connections with the war in Iraq, his generalizations of contemporary America, and other unrelated, obviously biased dribble? If I want politically charged opinion on the topics of the day, I'll read Op/Ed pieces, or at least something that admits its bias from the onset. If you are looking for an unbiased, focused, and SCHOLARLY substantive work on the topic, read Ellis' Founding Brothers. It won the Pulitzer--because it is everything Inventing a Nation is not.

5-0 out of 5 stars when the People shall become so corrupted ....
Vidal's latest, is a broadside typical of the period he's writing about -- a mixture of historical anecdote, contemporary commentary and unabashed partisan analysis --in other words, a great read! Vidal surveys the period from 1776 to 1800, concentrating on the personalities and writings of Washington, Hamilton, Adams & Jefferson. Along the way, he contrasts 18th century politics and political philosophy with 21st century politics [only, since he sees little reasoned analysis in modern government]. And sometimes he just goes for the quick jab, as when he quotes Adams view of the newly arrived French minister as a comparison with our first unelected president:

>>>>>>>John Adams had known Genet's family in France: he had also known the boy himself. Politely, he received the fiery minister and then wrapped him round with Adamsian analysis of the graveyard sort: "A youth totally destitute of all experience in popular government, popular assemblies, or conventions of any kind: very little accustomed to reflect upon his own or his fellow creatures' hearts; wholly ignorant of the law of nature and nations . . . " Adams did grant him "a declamatory style. . . a flitting, fluttering imagination, an ardor in his temper, and a civil deportment." Thus two centuries ago the witty French had sent us an archetypal personality whose American avatar would one' day be placed in Washington's by now rickety chair.
<<<<<<<

But Vidal's slyness is only a cover for his real subject -- the creation of a government that could hold democracy at bay without the trappings of a monarchy. The book is not much longer than an old-style New Yorker series, and he summarizes major events like the constitutional convention to provide details of the men involved, as seen by themselves and their peers. Early on he shows the prescience of many of the founders:

>>>>> At eighty-one Franklin was too feeble to address the convention on its handiwork, and so a friend read for him the following words: "I agree to this Constitution with all its faults, if they are such: because I think a General Government necessary for us, and there is no Form of Government but what may be a Blessing to the People if well-administred; and I believe farther that this is likely to be well administred for a Course of Years and can only end in Despotism as other Forms have done before it, when the People shall become so corrupted as to need Despotic Government, being incapable of any other.
Now, two centuries and sixteen years later, Franklin's blunt dark prophecy has come true: popular corruption has indeed given birth to that Despotic Government which he foresaw as in-, evitable at our birth. Unsurprisingly, a third edition of the admirable Benjamin Franklin: His Lift As He Wrote It, by Esmon . Wright, is now on sale (Harvard University Press, 1996) with' significantly-inevitably?, Franklin's somber prediction cut out, thus silencing our only great ancestral voice to predict Enron et seq., not to mention November 2000, and, following that, despotism whose traditional activity, war, now hedges us all around" No wonder that so many academic histories of our republic and its origins tend to gaze fixedly upon the sunny aspects of a history growing ever darker. No wonder they choose to disregard the wise, eerily prescient voice of the authentic Franklin in favor of the jolly fat ventriloquist of common lore, with his simple maxims for simple folk; to ignore his key to our earthly political invention in favor of that lesser key which he attached to a kite in order to attract heavenly fire.
<<<<<<<

In the afterword Vidal pushes the point home, starting from his discussion of the Alien & Sedition Acts, progenitors of the Patriot Act, he follows Jeffersons careful defense of civil rights with his orchestration of the states counterattack that resulted in the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions. Jefferson had to act cautiously, for, even as Vice President, his mere criticism of the acts of Adams & Hamilton could be a violation of the Sedition Act. [Not so different from today's Bush supporters who declare any dissent being aid and comfort to the enemy.] In this case, the ultimate confrontation was avoided by Jefferson's electoral defeat of Adams and immediate suspension of the 2 acts. But nullification remained an inflammatory concept lurking within the Constitution; exploding in the Civil War 2 generations later. Today, Vidal sees it as perhaps the last defense of the states when the Federal Executive abrogates power.
I've only traced here one of several threads Vidal ties to contemporary issues. Others include Hamilton's creation of the financial system, and Marshall's bold construction of judicial review. Shortness doesn't prevent Vidal from presenting many arguments that are vital to today's national politics. Conservatives kneejerk reactions is amusing since much of the discussion in the book is of ideas any true conservative should hold as core values!

1-0 out of 5 stars Supercilious Ego Trip
This book is all about how smart and witty Vidal thinks he is. Why doesn't he just build an altar to himslef so we can all worship at his feet? Enough already with the same lame stuff. Do not expect any serious insight about the founding fathers. He disguises lack of scholarship and historical understanding with dime-store psychology and tabloid journalism. ... Read more


150. Until the Final Hour : Hitler's Last Secretary
by Traudl Junge
list price: $26.00
our price: $17.16
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1559707283
Catlog: Book (2004-04-02)
Publisher: Arcade Publishing
Sales Rank: 26457
Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Intensely disturbing, well written memoir
Junge's story of her relationship with Hitler is intense, disturbing and thought provoking. The translation and editing are excellent and the reader almost can feel the claustrophobia of life in the bunker, and the clock ticking down to their ultimate defeat.

Most fascinating and enfuriating is the very human side of the Fuhrer detailed by the author. He is often depicted as pedenatic...a frail, old gentleman, polite and artistic, rather than the mad annihilator we know him to truly have been. This contributes, of course, to the always impossible to understand appeal of his message to the masses.

Historians and buffs alike will be compelled to read this very interesting, detailed account of one woman's experiences of life inside the Third Reich.

5-0 out of 5 stars WW II Account Of A Would-Be Ballerina Who Worked For Hitler
First of all I would like to correct a statement made elsewhere that this book was previously published in 1989 under the title Voices From The Bunker. That volume, reviewed elsewhere under its title, was co-written by Pierre Galante, author of The Berlin Wall, Operation Valkyrie, The General, and Malraux, as well as being a writer for Paris Match, and Eugene Silianoff, a one-time Bulgarian diplomat who was working in Switzerland during WW II and who has also contributed to Paris Match.

In their volume they do refer often to Traudl Humps who, at age 22, still dreamed of becoming a prima ballerina, right up to the day in 1942 when she got a job as one of Adolf Hitler's private secretaries.

But this book is HER account of those days, culled from her journal which she began writing in 1947 following exhaustive questioning by the Western Allies and the Soviets, and was co-written with Melissa Muller who provides the background. The name Junge was the result of her brief marriage to one of Hitler's valets, Hans Junge of the Liebstandarte SS, who was killed in action in the year following their wedding.

To the time of her own death at age 81 on February 10, 2002, shortly after the book's launch under its original title of To The Last Hour, she claimed that her appreciation of the momentous and horrendous events going on around her never really struck home until the years immediately following the war. When she started jotting down her thoughts in 1947 she did so from the perspective of one who had no choice but to acknowledge her naivety and who now realized she would have to live the rest of her life with the guilt of actually having been fond of "the greatest criminal ever to have lived."

When she worked for Hitler she'd found him to be a "pleasant older man and a good employer" - was naturally fascinated by this charismatic character - but recalls her duties as being mostly the taking of shorthand and then the typing of non-controversial material, and at times helping to make tea.

There are many who scoff at her oft-stated ignorance of the holocaust and other monumental war crimes during her days as a secretary but, whether or not you choose to believe her claims, her book detailing that part of her life offers a fascinating insight into the day to day functions, and the slow but steady mental and physical deterioration, of one of history's most evil men. It certainly will be the last first-hand account by a member of his inner circle.

In addition to touching upon the powerful people around him, and relating daily routine, she describes in chilling detail the events of April 28, 1945. With Russian artillery shells pounding the outer portion of the bunker in Berlin, ironically being defended by the Charlemagne SS Division made up primarily of Frenchmen, Hitler called her in to dictate his last will and testament. He told her to "make three copies and then come in ... I wrote as fast as I could ... my fingers worked mechanically and I was surprised that I hardly made any typing mistakes."

This is typical of the information imparted in her book and, as such, it's a great companion to Voices In The Bunker. But it's not the same book.

5-0 out of 5 stars New Information--Even for those who think they've read all
What I like best about this book is that it gives new insight into the Nazi's that isn't found in other books. The author has nothing to hide (like Speer may have) and it is an incredible experience to read first hand what it was like being with Hitler socially and in the final days before his suicide.

In most books about Hitler seems to be almost an inhuman supernatural monster. In this book he is shown more as an egomaniac surrounded by people who are ineffective at advising him. His coolness and evil are even more chilling when his portrait is fully drawn and he is not simple an evil caricature as in many biographies.

The author shares how she was drawn in by Hitler and later felt betrayed.

So many books about the Nazi rehash the same facts without a personal perspective. The author had lunch and dinner with Hitler almost every day for a year!

This is a must read for anyone interested in this period of history.

4-0 out of 5 stars If you're new to Hitler, this is good
For people who haven't read much about Hitler, this will be an interesting book. Traudl Junge was one of his secretaries from 1942 until his death three years later. She never knew him as well as Schroeder, Wolf or Gerda Christian, his other secretaries, and this is because she arrived so late on the scene. Hitler had deteriorated physically and mentally by 1942, so she was never privy to the full range of his charisma; she saw him in the period of his marked decline.

For those who think Hitler behaved as "movie Hitlers" act, then you'll be shocked to see that in private, he was a charming, fatherly fellow, at least to his inner circle. Hitler's dark, maniacal side was reserved for Himmler, Bormann and others. Junge grew attached to Hitler and enjoyed his company, even the interminable nightly monologues.

This entire book was previously published in 1989 and was called "Voices from the Bunker." Junge died in 2003 and this has been rushed out because of her recent demise. If you're well-versed in Hitler, there is nothing new here, Junge was interviewed exhaustively for years before her death. I was able to meet her, in Munich, twenty years ago, and she was a reserved, rather withdrawn woman, oppressed with guilt because she had served a mass murderer. I think anyone with an interest in Hitler will enjoy the book, but don't expect any new or revealing material.

4-0 out of 5 stars Hannah Arendt Was Right
Evil is banal. It also is anethesthetizing. It also has a morbid illumination (Ger. "grelles Licht") about it. The late Traudl Junge's account of her secretarial service to Adolf Hitler confirms the observations.
In her quite interesting memoir, helped along by editor Melissa Müller, we see the images of a young woman whose dream for life is so like our own that we get caught up in its hum-drum nature. But -- what, then, do many secretaries do that is not a matter of daily routine and technical correctness? Any person who took dictation and then prepared a memo knows what is needed: a perfect piece of work. Junge seems to tell us that her efforts met the mark. Banal life.
She was caught up in Hitler's informal inner circle, like it or not, and saw images of the man not many others did -- from a safe distance. She was numbed by his common nature -- a man, she states, who cared about walks in the alps, his dog (which he, a dictator seemed very good at ordering around), and his consummately bland personal lifestyle. One opines he and Eva Braun never had sex because, per Junge, he felt he would not make much of a father. How numbing.
Her report is mysteriously apart from reality. However, it may be a very correct appraisal of Adolf Hitler, from stem to stern: the monster lived in a world other than ours, at least in his head.
Traudl Junge seems to have been about as close to Hitler's personal mind as anyone except Eva Braun (who must have longed for a broader anatomical scene, but generally was unrequited) if one believes what one has read. Morbid illumination....
This is a story well worth reading and I recommend it to serious historians. Had the editor's handling of its technical aspects produced a smoother narrative, I would have gone Five-Star. ... Read more


151. Howard Hughes: His Life and Madness
by Donald L. Barlett, James B. Steele
list price: $17.95
our price: $12.57
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0393326020
Catlog: Book (2004-09-30)
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Sales Rank: 11390
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Book Description

The life that inspired the major motion picture The Aviator, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and directed by Martin Scorsese.

Howard Hughes has always fascinated the public with his mixture of secrecy, dashing lifestyle, and reclusiveness. This is the book that breaks through the image to get at the man. 80 photographs. Originally published under the title Empire: The Life, Legend, and Madness of Howard Hughes. ... Read more


152. Flawed Giant: Lyndon B. Johnson, 1960-1973
by Robert Dallek
list price: $40.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0195054652
Catlog: Book (1998-04-01)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Sales Rank: 153890
Average Customer Review: 3.38 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

In the opening pages of Flawed Giant, readers meet adowntrodden politician whose greatest ambition--the presidency--istantalizingly close but seemingly out of reach. JFK's elder by almost20 years, Johnson was a reluctant and unenthusiastic vice president.When he finally realized the office, his satisfaction there was marredby his difficulty in reconciling his deeply held beliefs and politicalexpediency. In this sequel to the critically acclaimed Lone Star Rising,biographer Robert Dallek concentrates on Johnson's White House years.In addition to expertly covering the major events of Johnson'spresidency, Dallek probes lower-profile episodes that help exposeJohnson's character. His agonizing search for a vice president in 1964is one such example--in order to salve his ego, Johnson was adamantthat he should win reelection without a Kennedy on the ticket andresisted both the Democratic party and Robert Kennedy right up until the convention.

Dallek is skilled at laying bare the man's complicated and evencontradictory nature. At diplomacy, Johnson often seemed like a loud,brash American, yet successful trips to Southeast Asia and Africa asvice president prove his occasional adroitness in this area. One ofJohnson's Achilles' heels, it seems, was paranoia; a firm believer inthe fact that knowledge is power, Johnson rarely communicated his trueintentions or feelings, even to his closest confidants or cabinetmembers, until the last. And he secretly tape-recorded thousands ofconversations with people at all levels of government. Dallek aversthat Johnson's impenetrability is the reason why much of his action onVietnam defies explanation. And the dark cloud of the war now largelyobfuscates Johnson's impressive congressional record. Careful toneither vilify nor deify his subject, Dallek devotes large sections ofthe book to both Vietnam and Johnson's major accomplishments in thearea of reform and funding for programs such as civil rights, Medicare,clean air and water, the NEA, public broadcasting, and food stamps.

This engrossing biography is peppered throughout with snippets of its subject's trademark: colorfully idiomatic speech that brings himvibrantly to life. Based upon exclusive interviews with Lady BirdJohnson and Bill Moyers, as well as recently released papers andtranscripts, Dallek's biography is a major contribution to thecollective understanding of this man whose passions had a major impacton American society. ... Read more

Reviews (8)

3-0 out of 5 stars Sympathetic but the Fairest work on LBJ
LBJ, a very complex and contrdictory man, is often remembered for the failings of the Great Society and is often blamed for U.S. involvement in Vietnam. Thus, him and Richard Nixon have unfairly become the scapegoats of an entire generation. One thing that I deeply admire about Johnson was his partiotism but, unfortunately, his partiotism and his idealism were not a good mix. It was a noble gesture to try and end poverty and fight a limited war at the same time, but economically and socially, it was just not feasible. His policy of "Guns" and "Butter" drove the United States into domestic chaos and shattered the economy to an extent that it is still suffering from the Johnson years. My main criticism of Dallek would be the fact that he downplayed Johnson's patriotism and belief that Vietnam was a just cause. After McGovern won the party's nomination in 1972, Johnson became somewhat disillusioned with the party and continued to support Nixon in the war. There is little emphasis on the fact that Vietnam was a just war, but the Johnson administration, composed of JFK's elite advisors, manhandled the war in such a way that the national will never was able to recover and thousands of people were lost because of those blunders. Other than the aforementioned criticisms, 'Flawed Giant' is the most definitive work on Johnson and is recommended to and student of U.S. History.

5-0 out of 5 stars Definitive Johnson
Robert Dallek's concluding volume on Lyndon Johnson completes what is to date the definitive biographical account of Johnson's life. Flawed Giant primarily deals with Johnson's Presidential years and is a bit more sober in tone than the lyrical Lone Stare Rising. But Dallek provides a fresh look at the difficult decisions facing a conflicted man with absorbing detail. This is no small feat, as the events of Johnson's life from 1961 to 1973 have been picked apart by biographers, historians and journalist again and again. It is unfortunate that the middlebrow, popular accounts of Johnson's life by Robert Caro have received so much attention. The result has been that serious biography on this subject has not been given it's day in the sun. I should note that Robert Dallek's comments about Mr. Caro have been much kinder to the popular writer than mine. Flawed Giant is a must read for those interested in American history and politics.

1-0 out of 5 stars Skip this one!
Dalleck is a third rate historian who has produced a poorly-written, pro-LBJ screed that provides almost new information. Read Robert Caro and learn the truth.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Fine Sequel
Unlike some other reviewers, I was not disappointed by this sequel to Lone Star Rising. LBJ was so complex, and so was his Presidency. I've read many books on him and often get the impression given by the parable of the elephant and the three blind men: each writer gives a part of the description of the 'elephant' that was Johnson, but no real complete picture. Mr. Dallek comes closer, in my opinion, to representing the complete picture of Johnson and his Presidency, than others. I've always viewed Johnson in the same mold as FDR, in terms of scope of personality and ability to place a personal stamp on his Presidency. Both mean had such great assets and achievements, and both had great shortcomings. The difference that comes to mind immediately is Johnson's lack of confidence in many judgments and life-long lack of self-confidence; this is well-illustrated in this book. Unlike Roosevelt, Johnson lacked the ability to disguise his motives and emotions in an ongoing manner.

Like other reviewers, I only wish there had been greater coverage of Johnson's Vice-Presidential years. I've never read any detailed history of this period in Johnson's life, other than the feuding with the Kennedy clan. There's probably a book here for someone willing to spend the time and effort.

Dallek's writing is much more balanced than the books by Caro, and I think history will prove them of greater value.

4-0 out of 5 stars An excellent biography of a complex president.
This is the second volume of a two-volume biography; the first is "Lone Star Rising", which covers Johnson's life up until his run for the vice-presidency with JFK; this volume covers his years as vice president, president, and his short retirement.

Dallek does a very good job of showing both the positives and the negatives of a man who he demonstrates clearly deserves the title of the book. Johnson is unquestionably a giant of American history; his domestic accomplishments, most notably pushing the Civil Rights Act through congress (something that few other men could have accomplished in the same position, given that Johnson had more influence with southern politicians who were inclined to oppose the act than most liberal democrats at the time) are certainly undeniable. Yet his flaws were spectacular too, notably his handling of the Vietnam war; it isn't just that he escalated the war from a minor, we-had-a-few-advisors-over-there situation to a situation in which thousands of Americans were dying; it isn't just that he refused to pull out when it became apparent that we weren't going to win the war anytime soon, and that Americans by and large didn't support the cost in lives of staying the course. It's that he lied repeatedly about our prospects there in order to build support for something that he knew perfectly well people wouldn't support if they knew the truth, and that he became downright paranoid on the subject, considering anyone who disagreed with him on it to be a "commie dupe" and a "traitor". It's that he subtly undercut the presidential campaign of Hubert Humphrey, his own vice-president and the man most likely to continue his domestic policies, in favor of Richard Nixon, because Nixon's stance on Vietnam seemed more in keeping with his own.

Dallek does an excellent job of detailing all of this, and having read this book, I am both more aware of the good Johnson did, and more aware of the reasons why, prior to reading this book, I did not credit his presidency for that good; all I knew prior to reading this book was the negative side of the story, and not even all of that. ... Read more


153. An American Life : The Autobiography
by Ronald Reagan
list price: $29.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0671691988
Catlog: Book (1990-11-15)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Sales Rank: 197097
Average Customer Review: 4.54 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Ronald Reagan is an American success story. From modest beginnings in a small midwestern town to a distinguished career in films and television, he lived the American dream; as governor of California and as the century's most popular president, he embodied and revitalized the American spirit.

Now in this dramatic and revealing memoir, Ronald Reagan recounts both his life and his beliefs with uncompromising candor and his familiar wit. He discusses his decision to run for president, historic meetings with Mikhail Gorbachev and other heads of state, his frustrations in dealing with an often hostile congress, his unshakable faith in the American people and the enduring love for Nancy, who will always be his First Lady. In a moving passage, President Reagan also speaks frankly about the assassination attempt on his life and its effects on him and his family.

An American Life is a richly detailed, definitive account of a great and historic presidency and of a unique American Life -- from the man who restored America's confidence and strength and shaped the future of the world. ... Read more

Reviews (37)

5-0 out of 5 stars A wonderful self-account by a great President
In today's day and age of instant polls and a feel-good presidency, it's heartening to note that, not long ago there was a President who was moulded into a different sort of leader than many of us have come to expect.

Reagan's account of his early life is especially revealing. His strong stand against the attempted Communist take over of Hollywood is a little-known testimony to his moral courage and foresight.

When you finish the book, you really understand that he was the right leader at the right time: he won the Cold War, restored pride and confidence to America, and began the process of slowing the role of the Federal government in our daily lives. The wonderful thing is that you come to know this through a simple, matter-of-fact recounting of the truth -- not through some self-puffery, over embellishment of his time in office. This is all Reagan, pure and strong.

5-0 out of 5 stars After Lincoln, the Greatest American President We Ever Had!
I read this book in a week. Very interesting and fun read. I felt like President Reagan was really talking to me as a friend reading his autobiography. Alhough I was born in 1981, I've always liked Reagan even then when I did not completely understand him or his policies. As a child of the 80's, I felt it was a time of prosperity and great optimism. I'm grateful for what President Reagan did to mold our world by bringing down the Iron Curtain and spreading democracy all over Europe and the former Soviet Union blocs. Not only this, he also restored America again. He showed us that we could be great again and need not settle for mediocrity like Jimmy Carter encouraged us to do. The world is all the better off for us and our children now and in the coming years because a man named Ronald Reagan was president.

5-0 out of 5 stars THE FINEST BOOK I HAVE EVER READ
This is without question the finest book that I have ever read. You won't want to put it down. You know that when you read this fine work it is perfectly clear that President Reagan was a great man who loved and believed in this country and its people. While reading the story of his life I felt like he was telling me the story in person. President Reagan is a completely genuine man, something that is solid throughout the entire 700+ pages, something that cannot be faked. Trust me if you are thinking about reading about President Reagan, this is the book to read. President Reagan tells the truth unlike another former President whose autobiography was just released and is already being questioned for its truthfulness. No matter where you are politically, when you read this book you will know that President Reagan did what was right for our great nation. He will be remembered as one of the greatest Presidents in our history.

5-0 out of 5 stars Tremendous and Honorable
This is the finest autobiography I have ever read. If you want a real insight into President Reagan this is the ONLY Reagan book you need to read. While other Reagan books, such as those by D'Souza, Peterson, Noonan and a few others are fine works, this is the finest and most noble writing of Ronald Reagan. A great American and, as history will show, one of the Greatest Presidents. There is no blame game or excuse making for ANY of his actions, but rather a warm and genuine insight into the who, what and how of the Reagan Presidency. From his simple beginings in Illinois to the Iran Contra affair and his relationship with Gorbachev, this is a story of greatness and what the American spirit is capable of.

This is a feel good classic in the words of a fine and descent man who strongly believed in the greatness of America and its people.

JR

5-0 out of 5 stars An American Life
As I read through some of these reviews I see only hate imbedded into some of these minds, if they could only see pass their hate they could understand the man and what he has done for this country. In this book Ronald Reagan speaks from his heart, from his home life to his time as president of this great country. Turning through the pages you find yourself feeling as a friend of Ronald Reagan and he's letting you in on his life. a must read- Larry Hobson-Author-"The Day Of The Rose" ... Read more


154. Augustine of Hippo: A Biography, Revised Edition with a New Epilogue
by Peter Robert Lamont Brown, Peter Brown
list price: $19.95
our price: $13.57
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0520227573
Catlog: Book (2000-08-07)
Publisher: University of California Press
Sales Rank: 22652
Average Customer Review: 4.73 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This classic biography was first published thirty years ago and has since established itself as the standard account of Saint Augustine's life and teaching. The remarkable discovery recently of a considerable number of letters and sermons by Augustine has thrown fresh light on the first and last decades of his experience as a bishop. These circumstantial texts have led Peter Brown to reconsider some of his judgments on Augustine, both as the author of the Confessions and as the elderly bishop preaching and writing in the last years of Roman rule in north Africa. Brown's reflections on the significance of these exciting new documents are contained in two chapters of a substantial Epilogue to his biography (the text of which is unaltered). He also reviews the changes in scholarship about Augustine since the 1960s. A personal as well as a scholarly fascination infuse the book-length epilogue and notes that Brown has added to his acclaimed portrait of the bishop of Hippo. ... Read more

Reviews (15)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellently portrays Africa as the Mid-West of Ancient Rome
For those who are unfamiliar with Peter Brown, he is one of the most eloquent writers of late antiquity. He writes his biography of St. Augustine--the man who founded the base of medieval Christianity and theology. Brown's book begins at the site of North Africa as it was when occupied by Rome. Brown describes the boyhood home of young Augustine as the stomping grounds for an intelligent, but incorrigible youth. Augustine was indoctrinated into Roman culture by receiving a Pagan education even though he was raised as a uncommitted Christian. Augustine's childhood and teens are reflected by the Saint in his old age as selfish, immoral, and reckless. He gradually gave up his self-indulgences and came to associate them with his Pagan education. He turned to Manicheeism to learn the scientific principles of the universe, but found the religion unfullfilling. He embraced Neo-Platonism, but realized it did not offer the true God. Finally, Augustine reclaimed his Christian heritage while in Milan under the tutalge of St. Ambrose. Augustine found the simplicity, but ambiguous scriptures full of the one answer he wanted in life: the origin of evil.

5-0 out of 5 stars A classic biography of a master theologian
Peter Brown melds the diverging factors to cover the history of a very complex man. By setting Augustine in his time and place he effecively traces the impacts on Augustine's life, which profoundly affect his doctrines. Make no mistake, Brown is writing an acedemic history, not hagiography. The reader should expect a thorough discussion of history, philosophy and or course religion. The evenhanded nature of the work and its beautiful style are a lesson for all other writers of religious biography.

5-0 out of 5 stars An elegant and precise biography of Augustine
It is quite often said that biographies like the one I have in my hands , be them autobiographical or third-party bios, are the "vin rosé" of books, ranking behind the more palatable red or white vintages. For my part, I dont quite agree at all with this assertion, having already read many dense, enjoyable and full of meaning biographies. When crisscrossing biographies as "low-grade" literary accomplishments, critics should remember that one of the two most relevant textbooks from Augustine is his celebrate Confessions, written probably c.397 and listed among the most momentuous texts ever done. Should we follow the expert's advice and scrape it into the trash bin of unimportant works? I don't think so.

Getting back from this digression, I am not at all ashamed to affirm that "Augustine of Hippo - a biography", by Peter Brown, is a pretty elegant account of the life and work of one of the two most important philosophers of Catholicism of all times, the other being St.Thomas Aquinas, the writer of Summa Theological. "Augustine of Hippo" first published in 1967 was recently revised and republished , in 2000, with a new and fascinating epilogue, accouting for the whole new breed of archealogical evidence that cropped up in between the two dates.

The book is not just a factual and competent account of the life of the man Augustine, being also a ponderous sketch of his unsurpassed work and contribution to the erection of the scaffolds and edifice of the Catholic Church, in a time of the decline fortune of paganism and of the Roman Empire itself. "Austine of Hippo" is a dense text, some 500 pages long, and dulcissimus to read, all the subjects and issues related to his life and work, being presented on good schematical order, supported by clear-cut tables and maps. The issues are well-chosen and give a full scope of the somewhat tumultuos life of the philsopher saint, son of Saint Monica, a towering figure over his son, much more so than his father Patricius and his prematurely dead son Adeodatus. Many potentially mind boggling issues like Manichaeism, Neo-Platonism and the Trinity Dogma are written with simplicity, withouth the loss of inner coherence.

As a minor defect, I don't quite agree with the extensive use of page footnotes, which makes the reading of the text somehow tedious.But, despite this irrelevant fault, I can think of no better way of addressing such unsurpassable subject as Saint Augustine and his contribution to world affairs.

5-0 out of 5 stars Scholarly Biography at Its Best
Peter Brown has accomplished what a scholarly biography should: make us feel that we have come to enter the life and mind of the subject of the biography. Brown's chapters are relatively short and thus make reading this long book pleasurable because you can make identifiable progress in your reading. Brown also has copious citations to the works of Augustine for those who wish to track down a quote. In addition, he has added an epilogue that actually corrects the flawed judgments he made in the first edition over thirty years ago (this is a humility rare in academic circles). The epilogue also has a chapter on new writings of Augustine that scholars have uncovered since the first edition of his work. My only wish would have been for more theological exploration of the theme of predestination which is presented in a superficial manner. As a Catholic, I would also have preferred more explicit exploration of Augustine's relations with the popes of his time. But, all in all, Brown has written and updated a great biography that deserves its stature as the definitive biography of Augustine. I heartily recommend it.

4-0 out of 5 stars A ponderous classic and author
As a result of his having ballooned up to 425 pounds because of a serious endocrinologoical problem, Augustine was actually known during his lifetime as "Augustine the Hippo." Out of respect to the great Christian thinker and philosopher, they later reverted to the original version of his name.

But Augustine's obesity problem aside, The City of God is certainly a weighty and profound volume itself, and I'd like to say that in consideration of the philosophical contributions he made in this book, I have no problem throwing my own not inconsiderable bulk behind it. Also, I suspect that Augustine was actually beatified for founding the first weight-control clinic, certainly an important contribution in and of itself. ... Read more


155. Make Gentle the Life of This World: The Vision of Robert F. Kennedy
by Robert F. Kennedy, Maxwell Taylor Kennedy
list price: $20.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0151003564
Catlog: Book (1998-05-18)
Publisher: Harcourt
Sales Rank: 223373
Average Customer Review: 4.73 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

President John F. Kennedy and his brother, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, collaborated on a daybook project in which they would jot down passages from their reading that moved them in some way. RFK continued the project after his brother's death in 1963, and would frequently use the quotations in it as source material for his speeches.

Maxwell Taylor Kennedy, Robert's youngest son, has drawn upon that journal, as well as material from his father's speeches, to create a unique portrait of RFK's spirit and character. In addition to his own powerful testimony to his passion for social justice, we learn that Robert Kennedy was able to learn as much about the meaning of freedom and justice from Albert Camus as he was from Thomas Jefferson or Abraham Lincoln. The concern with civil rights, pacifism, and America's role in the international arena (among other issues) that permeate Kennedy's thoughts are as relevant today as they were in the 1960s. Make Gentle the Life of This World is a stirring reminder of one of this century's strongest political visions. ... Read more

Reviews (22)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Leader from the 60's Speaks to Us Today
As Tennyson said, it is not too late to seek a newer world. In this book Bobby Kennedy's son sets out the quotes, speeches, notes, and words that shaped the journey of Robert F. Kennedy in the late 1960's. A journey to seek a newer world. That journey ended much too soon with Kennedy's assassination in Los Angeles in June 1968. But the efforts he began and the philosophy he followed continue to live today. These words speak to us still about our current lives in America, about what we need to be doing to make a better country, and about how we should view our fellow man. They tell us a lot about ourselves and the many things left undone by Kennedy's untimely death. For those of us who participated in the last campaign of 1968, it is important to us that others hear his message of what America can and should be. This is a book about hope in the midst of despair, about ending violence despite all the violence in our lives, and about so very many things still left undone some 30 years later. It is a message of hope and promise that speaks to everyone today, from a time not so long ago, that we must have courage and always continue to strive to seek a newer world. This book provides insight about what we should do, shows how we can be guided by the past, and it provides words of strength for us to continue on that journey. These are words that motivated Bobby Kennedy, and they will motivate you today.

5-0 out of 5 stars Reminders
While those alive during 1968 clearly remember his assassination and cannot help but be moved when reminded of the young leader, the power of Robert F. Kennedy's actions and the emotion of his words are still able to make those of a younger generation yearn for the type of leadership he provided. Divided into appropriately title sections, such as "A Citizen in a Civil Society" or the "Life of the Heart," this book is a collection of the thoughts and feelings written in the day journal he kept during the 1960s. Maxwell Taylor Kennedy's tribute to his father is filled with quotes, either read or heard, from different sources, along with reactions to those words. A man whose life was cut short in its prime, Kennedy did not have the chance to change the world in the way he wanted to, the way only he could have. This book gives the reader a little insight into the mind of a great politician, a inspirational philospher, an idealistic dreamer, a kind man. Like Martin Luther King Jr, Kennedy had a vision of the world that he wanted his children, and all people, to live and prosper in. This touching tribute reminds us that peoples are not all that different from each other and the path to equality and a peaceful environment is not as hidden or unattainable as it seems. In a society where doing right and good is less and less commendable, this book provides encouragement to dream and reminders of what society should be. Robert F. Kennedy was a man unlike any other, and this book, through his own words, reminds us why he is to be missed.

5-0 out of 5 stars An inspiring collection
RFK's son has put together a collection of thoughts, quotes, and inspirational material on various topics from life to race relations. I think this book would make a great graduation gift! Also it is a positive book, full of hope and improvement. A great sources for quotes for papers and speeches. I enjoyed learning more about Bobby Kennedy through the words that inspired him to make a difference.

3-0 out of 5 stars Great Man, Great Message
Make Gentle the Life of This World is a collection of excerpts from RFK's speeches, his writings, and some of his favorite quotes. The editor, RFK's son Max Kennedy, has used these to convey RFK's goals and message to a reader from any age or walk of life. There are some good selections in here. RFK's own words are wonderful, but nothing new. Most of the excerpts are from his more famous speeches, so anyone familiar with RFK would know them. However, for anyone just becoming interested in RFK, they would be a Godsend. The quotes are taken from authors like Plato, Emerson, and Camus, all RFK favorites. This book lets us in on the mind of this great man. Thanks to Mr. Max Kennedy for putting this together.

5-0 out of 5 stars The man...The inspiraion
RFK was a Hero of his time...perhaps for all times. Like so many inspirational people, he left us before his time. Yes, I clearly remember the day, the moment,the sorrow, the tragedy. What would the world have been had RFK lived to his full potential. His words and private quotations are an inspiration to all "who see things that have never been and ask 'Why Not'? "
This little collection brings alive, once again, the man who could have led our nation to it's greatnness. It is an inspiration and a message to all of us that we can heed and follow. We , once again, are reminded of our responsibilities to our ideals. ... Read more


156. All Cloudless Glory: The Life of George Washington : From Youth to Yorktown and the Making of a Nation
by E. Harrison Clark
list price: $69.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0895264412
Catlog: Book (1995-11-01)
Publisher: Regnery Publishing
Sales Rank: 499639
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Volume Two takes the nation's first president from the end of his career as a great general, through his final days at Mount Vernon, to the often tumultous years of his presidency. ... Read more

Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Straight facts, verbatim words from the man, himself.
Not only did I read this book, Vol 1 of 2, but I read Vol 2, as well.The first is "From youth to Yorktown"the second is "Making a Nation."This is not just a read, but a study of Washington with a vast quantity of verbatim correspondence from and to the man himself. Great insight into the inner man, how he thought, the deeds, the challenges he and his peers faced.Read these two volumes, cross-reference with other works, and you'll have a much enriched appreciation for the father of our country.Great Read/Study.If you like factual history, Enjoy!

2-0 out of 5 stars Searching for a good book on Washington - don't buy this one
I am under the belief that the people that wrote favorable reviews for this book were related to Harrison Clark (the author).

Although the book contains a lot of great information, the format, the grammar, and the lack of good maps limits the readers understanding.

format - there were times when the text was so disjointed that I had to reread sections several times and sit down with pen an paper to map out his ideas.

grammar - the author, for example, will tell a story about several men.When continuing the story about one man specifically Harrison will refer to the person as "him" without letting the reader know which of the men to whom he is making the reference.

maps - The author refers to a lot of places, but doesn't map them out so it is hard to gain an understanding of what is happening in the book.

If you haven't purchased this book - don't.Given Harrison's creditials this book is a disappointment.

2-0 out of 5 stars woman seeking a better book on George Washington!
I found this author to be a very cumbersome writer.He delivers a lot of great information, but often in a scattered, non grammatically correct format.This has caused me to reread sections of the book and make assessments about what the author is attempting to convey.For example, the author could be telling a story about 3 men and then continue talking only about one of them - but never tells the reader about which man he is speaking....he only refers to the man as "him".For a man of his credentials, I am really disappointed.

3-0 out of 5 stars Great Information, But A Clumsy Format
The first of Harrison Clark's two-parter on George Washington focuses on Washington's life and career up through 1781, and this volume closes with the victory at Yorktown that effectively ended the American Revolution.

Iwould take issue with the Book Description (above) which describes the maincharacter in this book as the "youthful Washingon, one not transformedinto the dignified figure we associate with our first president."While Washington does not become president at any point in these pages, allthe traits that we look for in Washington -- the dignified figure, masterpolitician and diplomat, and inspirational leader -- are already in well inplace by the final third of this book.One factor that practically leapsoff the pages is the all-out adoration that men and women alike, regardlessof their place in society, felt for the man.Clark lets those who saw andinteracted with Washington do the talking through their letters or diaries,and Washington's charisma shines brightly from these pages.

Clark haschosen to let Washington and his contemporaries tell the story ofWashington's life and career through their own writings, and it would be awelcome choice but for one thing -- the book is organized so clumsily as tobecome disjointed.Rather than edit and organize the various writings intoa narrative, Clark instead divides each chapter up into what I can onlythink to describe as a series of short vignettes.

For example, chapter19, "Cambridge and Boston," is broken up into 11 smaller parts,some of them only half a page long.It makes progress rather like readinga college textbook, with each section broken into smaller subsections,separated by its own little bold-faced headline ("The VanishingArmy"). Clark does tend to group events into short pieces that makesense on their own, but lack the context of the larger story.

Clarkwisely spends most of his time in this book outlining Washington's careerin the Continental Army, but it is sometimes difficult to get anappreciation for the battles and skirmishes Washington fought because themaps of the battle sites are almost completely useless.The map of the1776 New York Campaign, for example, is difficult to align with almostanything in the text.

It's a shame that Clark has chosen such a floppyformat in which to present his information, because there's some reallyfirst-rate stuff in here (the chapter on Benedict Arnold's treason is ahighlight of the book, although it, too, gets bogged down in somedisjointed narration).If you've not had the opportunity to readWashington's own letters from this period, Clark provides you with lots ofsamples of Washington's writings which, by themselves, make this volumeworth owning.But if you're looking for an easily accessible, readablebiography, this one probably isn't for you.

Five stars for wealth ofinformation presented, but only one star for the format, bringing this onedown to a three.

5-0 out of 5 stars A great book making me want to learn more.
This is a great book.It is (obviously) centered around Gearge Washington rather than the events of his time.I learned alot about the person and the early history of America.George comes as alive as much as one canfrom strictly written sources. The two heros of the book are Washington andLaFayette, everyone else does something that is not favorable to the eyesof Washington or the author.John Adams, John Hancock, Gates and othersare seen as obstacles to Washington's success.I would like to learn moreabout these individuals . This book opened my eyes to The AmericanRevolution and how truly great a struggle it was. ... Read more


157. Warren Buffett Speaks : Wit and Wisdom from the World's Greatest Investor
by JanetLowe
list price: $19.95
our price: $13.57
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 047116996X
Catlog: Book (1997-03-14)
Publisher: Wiley
Sales Rank: 37597
Average Customer Review: 3.64 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Most people come to know of Warren Buffett through his ability to generate wealth. However, as Janet Lowe reveals in her book, Warren Buffett Speaks, Buffett is more than a money-making machine. Warren Buffett Speaks is a library of notes and quotes that have been collected over the years, aimed at revealing the many aspects of the World's Greatest Investor--his wit, personality, and wisdom. The first half of the book deals with Buffett's view of life, family, and friends, while the latter half focuses on Buffett's investment philosophy and observations about the market. This book is a must for every Buffettologist. ... Read more

Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars If you like Warren Buffett, you'll love this book!
I'm a big fan of Warren Buffett already, but I have to say this is one of my favorite books of recent years. It's quite an easy read and very well written. Authored by someone who also appears to be a big fan of Warren Buffett. The book is well laid out, with sections on a number of topics. It imparts a variety of Mr. Buffett's business and investing wit & wisdom through quotes and interesting stories relating to both his personal and investing life. Not only may this book help you become a better investor, but it may also help you become a better person as well. Highly recommended, whether you invest in stocks or not.

3-0 out of 5 stars A good effort in collecting Warren's quotes in his life.
A good introductory into the life of Warren Buffett. Though it was too generalized for me. The price was a bit steep too. It's a relaxed, easy to read book. Overall, you could learn from some of the quotes in the book. Not bad.

1-0 out of 5 stars Random thoughts¿
This books should be called "The random thoughts of a rich old man." It appears to me someone followed Mr. Buffet around and wrote down what ever he said then thought "how do I present this is a book?, oh how about a random collection of dis-jointed thoughts! yea that's it!!"

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent! A must read for any investor
The ugly front page had deterred me from buying this book. Fortunately, I still bought it with the strong recommendation of a trader friend. Otherwise, I would have regretted for omitting such an excellent read.

In short, this short book is a concise but wise collection of what Buffett spoke about life, work, running a business, investing blah blah blah. It easily convinces me why Buffetts is the most successful investor (he's the richest guy) in history. Things are always easier said than done, but Buffett proved that he had done what he spoke. I had read many books about Buffett and value investing. I think this is by far the best considering value/quality per page. I strongly recommend you to read some sample pages available right here in Amazon and I bet you would love to own the book at once.

3-0 out of 5 stars A Collection of Quotes
This is the wit and wisdom of Warren Buffet, the "World's Greatest Investor." Not all of the quotes are from him but are from friends, family, and colleagues. As mentioned in the book, this is more along the lines of Will Rogers. It is not strictly aphorisms on investing.

Just seeing Buffett's name sparked my enthusiasm in the book. Thinking this book would have a lot of investing tips, I was disappointed. The first part of the book consists of sayings on life in general. As the book progresses, then some investing thoughts are covered. When they are covered, they are not easily converted into a personal strategy to make a quick profit.

This does not mean that it is without merit. The key idea I will take from this book is to invest in companies rather than stock. If your research shows that the company is solid, you should invest in that company. Another idea is to invest as if you were going to leave for 5-10 years and had no way to change the investment.

There is a repeat of at least one quote. "You don't need to be a rocket scientist. Investing is not a game where the guy with the 160 IQ beats the guy with 130 IQ." A rather encouraging thought about investing.

If you are looking for a guide to investing, then this is not your book. If you were looking for ideas to think about that would help shape long-term goals, then this would be more helpful. I would wait for the book by Warren Buffett. ... Read more


158. Lazy B : Growing up on a Cattle Ranch in the American Southwest
by SANDRA DAY O'CONNOR, H. ALAN DAY
list price: $13.95
our price: $11.16
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0812966732
Catlog: Book (2003-04-08)
Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks
Sales Rank: 39835
Average Customer Review: 4.26 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Now, for the first time in paperback, here is the remarkable story of Sandra Day O’Connor’s family and early life, her journey to adulthood in the American Southwest that helped make her the woman she is today—the first female justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, and one of the most powerful women in America. In this illuminating and unusual book, Sandra Day O’Connor tells, with her brother, Alan, the story of the Day family, and of growing up on the harsh yet beautiful land of the Lazy B ranch in Arizona.

Laced throughout these stories about three generations of the Day family, and everyday life on the Lazy B, are the lessons Sandra and Alan learned about the world, self-reliance, and survival, and how the land, people, and values of the Lazy B shaped them. This fascinating glimpse of life in the Southwest in the last century recounts an important time in American history, and provides an enduring portrait of an independent young woman on the brink of becoming one of the most prominent figures in America.
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Reviews (23)

5-0 out of 5 stars Beatifully captures a bygone era of the American Southwest
I loved reading this beautiful, gritty account of the remote Arizona cattle ranch where O'Connor and her brother grew up. The book is a portrait of the Lazy B ranch and the family and cowboys who created and sustained it for over a century. O'Connor's account is unromantized and yet touching, and it succeeds in vividly revealing a bygone way of life from the old West.

We see the the daily rhythms and activities of ranch life, the ongoing struggles of the Day family to keep the ranch afloat, and portraits of the colorful, rugged cowboys who worked at the Lazy B for most of their lives. And we hear the perspectives and fond recollections of the young girl (O'Connor) and her brother who grew up there.

If you are drawn to the West, you'll enjoy this book as much as I did.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Fascinating Memoir
Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O'Connor and her brother, H. Alan Day, tell the story of growing up in the harsh yet beautiful land of the Lazy B Ranch in Arizona. The book is organized as a series of vignettes ranging from character sketches of the cowboys who spent their lives on the ranch to rain to the BLM.

I loved this book. I first became aware of it during a trip to southern Arizona. The authors describe a way of life -- on an isolated cattle ranch -- that is almost extinct. I knew that water was important in such a land, but I didn't know that the majority of the time of the owners and employees of the ranch was spent in maintaining the wells, windmills and pumps that provided that water.

I also enjoyed comparing the book to Jimmy Carter's An Hour Before Daybreak, his memoir of his childhood in rural south Georgia during a similar time period.

2-0 out of 5 stars Semi-BORING
This book seemed politically written. The "right" word took center-stage over the substance.

5-0 out of 5 stars Only the B was Lazy
Growing up in a city, I always wondered during car trips through ranchland how the people there lived. Was it a hard life? Lonely? Were they like us in the city?

I knew from movies and TV that calves in pastures were grown into large steers through a gradual process of fistfighting and gunslinging, with the cowboys taking frequent breaks to drink whiskey and play poker. But that was only part of the story. What role did the women and children play? Why the windmills? Who provided basic services?

All these questions and more have now been answered by a Supreme Court Justice, of all things. Lazy B is Sandra Day O'Connor's memoir of her girlhood on a ranch in the desert Southwest. The simple unaffected style of her writing is just right to convey the power of the story: a family living on a desolate ranch for 113 years--a happy family, a resourceful and persistent family.

The Day ranch had already been operating for 50 years when Sandra was born in 1930, and was still going strong when she was appointed to the high court 51 years later. The Days didn't have hot running water until 1937, but when they did it was from a solar heater designed by Sandra's father--40 years ahead of the solar energy craze of the 1970s.

That sort of self reliance and innovation is one of the main themes of the book: when they needed more water they built windmills to bring it up out of the ground. When the windmills broke, they fixed them. Before the windmills and solar heater, the limited hot water for bathing was used in sequence: first Sandra's mother, then her father, then the children, then the ranch hands, if they had any interest in the water that remained. Not a cushy life, but several of the cowboys liked it enough to stay at Lazy B for over 50 years.

The self-reliance in the area of first aid is even more striking: Sandra's father successfully mending the uterus of a cow with a wine bottle and some stitches; one of the cowhands giving himself a root canal with red hot baling wire, or taping his broken finger to a nail so he could keep working.

And while all of them--Mom,Dad,kids,cowhands--did whatever they had to do to keep working, O'Connor's memories are overwhelmingly happy ones of card games and wild animal pets and riding through the desert and, more than anything else, conversations. One gets the impression that no one ever had a better childhood.

O'Connor may or may not be a great justice--I don't know much about the law--but it seems to me that she was a part of something great long before she ever got a law degree. A happy family and a solvent ranch are two things which are hard to maintain for more than a dozen years. The Days did it for a dozen plus a year and a century. Looking at the picture on page 257, I see the very bedrock of the country.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Facinating Portrail of a Time Gone...By a Facinating Woman
Sandra Day O'Connor is simply one of the most impressive women to have lived in the 20th Century. I've only very recently reached this opinion, primarily based on listening to her read 'Lazy B'. Her childhood was remarkable, and it is indeed a testament to her character. Her voice is distinct and understated. Yet, one can tell that she is at once humble and proud. I highly recommend listening to her reading of the book, and I believe that you will come away with a strong impression of this distinguished lady. ... Read more


159. Elvis: A Celebration : Images of Elvis Presley from the Elvis Presley Archive at Graceland
by Mike Evans
list price: $50.00
our price: $31.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0789489023
Catlog: Book (2002-07-01)
Publisher: Dorling Kindersley Publishing
Sales Rank: 62513
Average Customer Review: 4.25 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The ultimate celebration of the King of Rock 'n' Roll as seen from the archives of the Elvis Presley Estate at Graceland published on the 25th Anniversary of his death.

Compiled and written with the full authorization and assistance of the Elvis Presley Estate, and using exclusive material from the official archive at Graceland, Elvis: A Celebration is the ultimate tribute to the King of Rock 'n' Roll on the 25th anniversary of his death. This pictorial record of Elvis's life features over 600 photographs and illustrations, from his early days in Tupelo and Memphis, his rise to superstardom, his career in movies, his television and Vegas performances, and his posthumous ascent to the top rank of the pop-culture pantheon. Loaded with news photographs, memorabilia, and movie stills-many never before published-this is the one book that Elvis fans should not be without! ... Read more

Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars The King Lives
Having acted with Elvis in Jailhouse Rock, I remember many of the images in this book. I like to look through this book over and over to keep my memories alive. The book is a great item to have for every Elvis fan and people that would like to find out more about the King. I love the layout and the quality of the pictures! My thumbs up for this book, Elvisly yours, Jennifer Holden

4-0 out of 5 stars Elvis Presely : A Life In Pictures
This is a beautiful book dedicated to Elvis. I was looking for an Elvis picture book and I am very happy with this. I only wish there was some more information.
However, this is a picture book, and not really meant as a biography of words.

5-0 out of 5 stars 25th Anniversary Tribute
Since most of Elvis' life was over before mine ever began, the only way I can understand the fascination with his life is by seeing his life in pictures. To be honest, I was rather impressed with this collection. Not only do you see his entire life in pictures, there are many exclusive pictures you won't find in any other collection.

What DK has literally done is given fans a memorable collection at an affordable price. This book has a classic feel while also showing Elvis at his prime. The truth is, if you've never understood the fascination with Elvis, you will after reading this comprehensive volume.

This is a unique collection of over 600 photographs. You will find archive pictures, news photographs, autographed photographs, rare memorabilia, movie stills and never-before-published pictures. If you are interested in the details of Elvis' life, you will enjoy reading the detailed caption tidbits sprinkled throughout this well-organized visual feast.

This celebration is organized into ten chapters:

Child & Teenager (1935-1955)
The Sun Years (1954-1956)
Superstardom (1956-1957)
The King (1957-1958)
Army Days & After (1958-1961)
In the Movies (1960-1969)
Relaxing (1967-1973)
TV & Vegas (1968-1969)
Elvis on Tour (1970-1977)
Elvis Lives: The Legend Continues

Since I have mostly seen pictures from later in his life, I was personally surprised by the sheer magnetism of his younger years. In a way, this volume spares us from the reality of his rapid decline by highlighting the high points of his life and only briefly touching on the later years. There is a list of "facts, figures and statistics" on the life of Elvis at the end of the book which will be appreciated by the true fan.

Who knew that in 1957 Elvis was promoting "Teddy Bear Eau De Parfum" or "Elvis Presley Lipstick." The pictures of "Elvis in the Army" are quite interesting and you can also read about how Priscilla met Elvis when she was only 14 in Germany. There is a small section on his life with Prinscilla. Want to see what Elvis looks like with a beard or see pictures of him doing karate? This is your book.

An affordable way to have your own "Elvis Photo Album."

1-0 out of 5 stars Waste of MONEY!
To think that a publication from Dorling Kindersley would be at least something worthwhile. But I was fooled.

This book is a lame attempt at "celebrating"? Elvis' death 25 years later.
(I thought one's death should be commemorated and not celebrated - oh well Dorling Kindersley is actually HAPPY that Elvis is dead so they can cash in on the poor man's demise).

The photo quality is pathetic!
The information is rather dull and uninviting.
I wasted so much money on this book thinking it would be educational or at least "fun". I was wrong on both accounts.

This got me thinking: I went to check Dorling's other publications and I was right!
All their other books are beautiful compared to this cheap and made-quick Elvis book.
I guess they did not want to spend any decent money to make a real good book!

Hey Dorling next time why don't use a real expert in the Elvis world to put together a book for you ... and make sure you invest at least a few dollars in printing like your other books.
Elvis may be dead --- but he deserves some kind of respect.

I suggest that people do not buy this book .. but rather go to a bookstore or library and flip through it.
Don't waste any money on this 25th Anniversary Disaster!

5-0 out of 5 stars Very good but not definitive
I'm not normally a picture book person, but I liked this one quite a lot. Care has been taken in writing the captions and section introductions, which does not always happen in picture books--this is a scholarly book as well as a fan book. The only negative about the book is that it is not the definitive book of photos of Elvis--there are (I presume for copyright reasons) none of the famous photos of Elvis on Milton Berle or Steve Allen. There are also no truly unflattering photos of the later Elvis, but I assume those buying the book would, like me, not want such photos anyway. On the other hand, there are many pictures I hadn't seen before, and all the pictures, familiar or not, are well-presented. A good buy. ... Read more


160. Hughes: The Private Diaries, Memos andLetters : The Definitive Biography of the First American Billionaire
by Richard Hack
list price: $18.95
our price: $12.89
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1893224643
Catlog: Book (2002-09-01)
Publisher: New Millennium Press
Sales Rank: 12766
Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (33)

4-0 out of 5 stars 4 1/2 stars. Fascinating
If you're looking for a good biography on Howard R Hughes, look no further, because this is the one you'll want. Richard Hack writes in an open and laid-back manner making it all easy to enjoy and absorb. The subject manner certainly makes for entertaining reading itself. This most noted of eccentrics will captivate you as well as disgust you. Hack takes you inside the Hughes empire and paints a very good picture of the how and why of his world. If not for Hughes inheritance from his father-owner of the Hughes Tool Co-you most likely will never have heard of Howard Hughes. Basically Howard himself had no business acumen. His life does read somewhat like a fairy tale in that most of the things he wished for he got. From movie starlets to hotels and casinos. Money can truly buy most things. Unfortunately he wasn't psychologically stable for the last half of his life and this caused him and those around him much misery. Form whatever opinion you like about Hughes, but after reading this biography, the opinion you form will be a strong one. It was a well-written biography that lagged just a little on the editing.

Highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars This would make a terrific movie
There has been a lot of writing about Howard Hughes. A lot of it was based on incomplete or just flat out false information, going back even to when he was living with the Clifford Irving hoax. If we are to believe the author of this book had access to thousands of never before available documents, and he's telling what he found factually, this would be the definitive Hughes biography to date. That he makes it a fat, juicy biography makes it great reading.

So I would nominate George Clooney to take this role to the big screen. There are remarkable similarities in their looks, and the public would just eat up this tale. Here we have a man who was lucky enough to inherit a big fortune early in life. But he didn't just sit on his money. He re-invested a lot of it into other industries, such as movies and airplanes. His resources greatly advanced the art of aviation in it's time, and his movie marketing greatly enhanced Jane Russell's breasts in their time. He was a hands-on, get involved manager who flew test planes himself, setting many speed records.

This dashing lifestyle also made him the darling of Hollywood. His string of glamorous conquests was a who's who of movie actresses, from budding starlets to major icons. He literally had the world in his hand for awhile.

Alas, something happens to people when they gain so much power that there are very few people or institutions that can tell them "No". We've seen this in the last 100 years with characters such as Hitler, J. Edgar Hoover, Elvis, and Michael Jackson. They get a few successes, and think they are infallable. This leads to bad decisions in life that either deteriorate them, or leave a mess for those that surround them. They also withdraw, always mentally, sometimes physically, from the world around them, as if they were surrounding the wagons to protect them from that world.

This also happened to Howard Hughes. We see early signs of where he's going when he was merely a ruthless young business man. The first thing he did upon inheriting part of a company was to immediately buy out all the other inheritors to give him total control. Holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas mean nothing to him, and he calls upon his associates to work on these days to get more done. Marriage had it's uses, but none of them ever involved love.

So we get to see one side, which is this dashing young millionaire who becomes America's first billionaire. We see him as he lands at crowded airports after setting yet another air speed record. We see him with every hot babe on the silver screen, and a lot more hoping to get there. America even liked him thumbing his nose at the government when he felt they were digging into his private life too much. This would all have to be portrayed.

But we would need a director like Martin Scorsese to turn this into a "Raging Bull" type of hell. Yes, he had the women, but the feedback from them seemed to indicate a very selfish lover who often couldn't produce where it counts. Yes, he directed several films, but was such a control freak that the products went way over budget. And the volumes of instructions he wrote to his staff on how to guard against germs, real or imaginary, show a very disturbed mind.

And the movie would have to show how this increasingly lonely man deteriorated in his last ten-fifteen years of life. While it is true, as suspected, that his paid caretakers took advantage of his situation, and in fact sped up his demise, it is also surprising how much of his faculties remained in his later years. While he was well on his way to looking like the Walking Death he eventually became, he still had the ability to conduct a two-hour press conference to convince the world that the Irving biography was a hoax.

But the ultimate ending would have to show that all the money in the world cannot buy happiness. For the last several years of his life, he was surrounded only by people who were paid to be there. His hair, beard, and nails grew to extreme lengths. While obsessed with germs, he ended up living in putrid squallor, with jars of his own wastes stored everywhere. His body was stoked up with enough drugs to kill an average person, and he even had the remnants of five broken needs inside his arms.

This could be Oscar time for both Clooney and Scorsese if Hollywood lets them do it right.

5-0 out of 5 stars A fine biography
A very good biography of a fascinating individual. Aside from some really lame analogies (especially in the first half of the book), the author's writing is crisp and his grasp of his subject is impressive. Overall, I enjoyed reading this biography and highly recommend it to other.

5-0 out of 5 stars Do not miss this one.
Could anybody be more eccentric? Very well written
biography. I just couldn't believe it. Wow.

5-0 out of 5 stars This guy is unbelievable!
Howard Hughes was born in 1905; he died in 1977. His mother had died in 1922 , his father in 1924 - thus, Hughes became independent at age 17 - with a guardian (Aunt Annette) and his inheritance (Hughes Tool Company) - valued at $626,000. He ignored his Aunt's advice to attend Rice Institute. He'd already identified his three main goals in life: to become the world's greatest golfer, the world's greatest pilot, and the world's greatest movie-maker. He entrusted the management of Hughes Tool Company (eventually acclaimed for having revolutionized the oil producing industry) to the same people his father had hired; thus, he enjoyed security and independence, a comfortable income, plus time and money to pursue his goals.
At 19 Hughes decides that a serious, young entrepreneur like himself needs a wife; he chooses Ella Rice, a pretty, socially prominent young lady in Houston. Though already in love with another 'promising' young man, Ella was persuaded by her mother and Aunt Annette that Howard - handsome and already rich - was a better 'catch'. After a 3-month honeymoon in New York City the newlyweds headed for California - where Hughes could launch his movie-making career. Soon Hughes was so involved in his golf (he eventually lowered his handicap to a respectable 2-plus) and movie making, that he had little time or energy left for Ella, who left him after 6 months.
In Hollywood Hughes hires an 'executive assistant'. Together they produce in 1926 one flop and one 'so-so' movie, then in 1927 they produce and Hughes directs "Two Arabian Nights" (with actors William Boyd and Boris Karloff ) - a film that wins for Hughes an Oscar for 'Best Director of a Comedy'. In 1928 Hughes begins "Hell's Angels" - a movie that includes 'dogfights' in Sopwith Camels and German Fokkers (78 of them!). Though the movie must eventually be totally re-made (converted from silent to 'talkie' version) , Hughes in the process discovers actress Jean Harlow and the movie establishes box-office records everywhere. The film's premier at Grauman's Chinese Theater was the 'best night of his life' - according to Hughes. Hughes goes on to make many other famous and profitable films (Scarface, the Outlaw), discover other starlets (Jane Russell), and in 1948 he buys a major movie studio - RKO - which establishes him as a major film maker.
Meanwhile, Ella has divorced him , thus freeing Howard to 'play the field'. He's still only 23 - but now richer, more famous and even more handsome than ever - ergo, a very eligible bachelor. Plus, he now has his own little air force, a movie studio and a 170-foot yacht. He thus has little trouble meeting and squiring the world's most beautiful women -like Lana Turner, Ginger Rogers, Ava Gardner, Ida Lupino, Olivia de Havilland, Katherine Hepburn, Terry Moore, Yvonne DeCarlo, Kathryn Grayson, Bette Davis, Rita Hayworth, Linda Darnell, Billie Dove, and Faith Domerigue - to name a few. Not infrequently he'd be engaged to two, even 3, women at the same time. His love life was in a word - hectic. In 1957 an aging Hughes finally remarries - to actress Jean Peters, a former beauty-contest winner from Canton, Ohio.
In 1927, prompted by the exploits of Charles Lindbergh, and Amilia Earhart, Hughes turns again to his third yet unachieved goal - to become the world's best pilot. He seeks out J.B. Alexander - an experienced pilot-instructor, who is also a 'barnstormer' and stunt flyer. Alexander reports that Hughes was a natural flyer. Soon Hughes was flying his own planes and conjuring up new goals related to flying. In the early '30's, when the depression was hurting Hughes Tool Company profits and Hughes' movie-making pursuits , Hughes takes a 11 month 'sabbatical'. He works temporarily (incognito) as an airport baggage handler, then , elsewhere, as a stunt pilot - for $250.00 per month. Later, Hughes employs a pilot-mechanic and tasks him with 'souping up' Hughes' recently purchased 8-passenger Sikorski S-43. Together they would make flights around the country with Hughes' movie-star girlfriends - and sometimes with 'best friend' Cary Grant and Randolph Scott - two famous actors who later were reportedly bi-sexual - which fueled the rumor mill that Hughes, too, was probably bi-sexual.
In 1934 Hughes and his team set about designing and testing a plane (the H-1) that Hughes wanted to use to set flight records that would establish him as a great pilot. A year later, after Hughes had personally flight-tested the plane, he started flying it to establish new records - speed records, long distance records, altitude records, and, in 1938, a new record for an around-the-world flight. These achievements won for Hughes other awards and recognition for flying : a congressional medal, the Harmon Trophy, and the Collier Trophy. He was also honored with a ticker-tape parade down Broadway in New York City. Hughes, now convinced that air travel had a future, eventually acquired an airline (TWA) that promised fast, comfortable air travel for the general public.
During World War II Hughes' enterprises expanded to meet war demands. Hughes' empire eventually became one of the government's biggest suppliers of aircraft, helicopters, aircraft parts, weapons, missiles and munitions. In 1966 Hughes was declared a billionaire and the richest man in the world. His latest interests now included Las Vegas, where by 1971 he controlled 17% of the city's gambling revenues and employed some 8,000 people. By now Hughes has 'done it all' and he's become a recluse.
Howard Hughes was a giant of his times. He was shrewd, but also lucky: the fields of endeavor that he chose to enter were all just 'taking off': real estate investments in California and Las Vegas, gambling in Nevada, air travel, golf, the movie industry, and the oil industry (which boomed when the auto industry exploded.). Hughes also profited immensely because he was well positioned when World War II began. Hughes' life reads like a fairy tale. Just unbelievable! Believe me! ... Read more


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