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161. My Life and the Beautiful Game:
$10.88 $4.55 list($16.00)
162. Genius : The Life and Science
$12.21 $11.81 list($17.95)
163. Howard Hughes: The Untold Story
164. Who Killed John Lennon?
$16.32 list($24.00)
165. The Thirty-First of March : An
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166. The Tao of Muhammad Ali
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167. Means of Ascent (The Years of
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168. What I Learned From Jackie Robinson
169. The Hoax
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170. No Ordinary Genius: The Illustrated
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171. The America We Deserve
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172. Eleanor Roosevelt: A Life of Discovery
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173. Why Lincoln Matters : Today More
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174. The Uncommon Wisdom of Oprah Winfrey:
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175. FDR: Nothing to Fear
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176. His Way : An Unauthorized Biography
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177. Elizabeth and Mary : Cousins,
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178. Johann Sebastian Bach: The Learned
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179. Hitler: 1889-1936 Hubris
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180. The Man Called Cash : The Life,

161. My Life and the Beautiful Game: The Autobiography of Pele
by Pele, Robert L. Fish
list price: $12.99
our price: $12.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385121857
Catlog: Book (1977-05-01)
Publisher: Doubleday
Sales Rank: 47264
Average Customer Review: 4.62 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This is a book about a man who excelled in a game of soccer. Pele is a athlete best know throughout the world. He is the only three-time world champion in soccer."I dedicate this book to all the people who have made this great game the Beautiful Game." - Pele ... Read more

Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars Edson Arantes do Nascimento: Pele' and his beautiful game.
Few athletes have captured the world's collective admiration and respect as Edson Arantes do Nascimento. Known affectionately to his family as Dico, but to the rest of us as Pele', his influence far exceeded his tremendous exploits on the soccer field. He is one of the most recognized people in the world.

This well-written, extremely detailed, and intriguing autobiography takes us deeply into Pele's world. He describes in great detail his impoverished youth in Bauru, his rapid ascent into the Brazilian National Team, his stellar years at Santos Football Club, and finally, his desire to bring soccer to the skeptical masses in North America. But throughout it all, we see his humility. "I only wanted to be as good as my father, Dodinho."

I had the opportunity to play soccer with a Brazilian who played with Pele' at Santos. My friend was very young at the time, and told me that Pele' treated him very well. "He was well-liked by everyone, and always helpful to his teammates. You never knew he was the best player in the world. He acted just like a regular guy."

Out of his many feats (playing in the World Cup final at the age of 17, the only three time winner of the World Cup, scoring almost 1300 goals), one stands out. Pele' is perhaps the only athlete to ever stop a war. During the Biafran Civil War in Nigeria, a three day truce was called to watch him play two exhibition games.

Pele' was declared a national treasure by his native Brazil. But for the millions of us who had the privilege to see him play, he was our treasure as well.

Thank you for the opportunity to review this excellent book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book
After reading some of the reviews posted online here, especially the ones that claimed the book had nothing in it about Pele's childhood and days before stardom, I bought this book. to my surprise this book starts with great detail from when Pele was born, it seems every single detail about his childhood, school, first club, everything is logged in. one may wonder whether a diary was kept, to give such accurate detail.
i am only 21 years old, but i get the feeling this will be one of the best books i will ever read.
The writting itself is fantastic, it is written in narrative form. (I, me, as though Pele is talking to us via the book) and i think thats what makes this book so good, reading what Pele has to say in his own words. I highly recomend this book it has Pele's history, everything, his humility, his love for the beautiful game.....just wonderful.

4-0 out of 5 stars world best player pele


My name is Jairo Torres, I read your book about the super star Pele', I live in Torrance on California, I was born in Mexico I'm a big fan of Pele, when I so your book I said that book has to main and after reading the book it just tell about when he was a star not when he was beginning to play, like his first club that he had play for like two years and after those year's he went to play with the bigger club's. Santos was his first pay job that he had, after playing for that club the team of his country wish was Brazil was interested on him they took he to play a world cup with other countries.
I have seen the movie about his life and the book is almost teal's all what the movie show, but I think that you mist wear and with ho he started plying most of the time some of them wear with his chill friends just out of his home. He maid a lot of History because he was the only player that stared playing sense he was fifteen year's old he was discover by a coach that had been washing hem from some years. When he was seventeen he had play his first world cup and he was the star of that tournament wear only the best country of the world play, after those games he was known for the King of soccer even that he was famous he was ask to play for some events, he use to pay like five games a week for a player this day two games a week is a lot but for Pele' was not that many but has he got older the injuries stared happening for him he had a lot of problems with his knee and with his muscles. But after many years of playing soccer he had to retayer and he was name has the King of soccer and he is the King and he will be the only soccer player that had score 1,262 goal's.

5-0 out of 5 stars Magical
This is a wonderful book about Pele's career and life; how from the "barrios" of Brazil to the greatest sporting stage in the world, the World Cup, Pele earned the title of the greatest soccer player of all time. The book covers Pele's triumphs as a 17 year old in the 1958 final to his dismay in 1966 and the grand finale victory in 1970. This is a well written thorough book that I purchased and read in 1977 but subsequently lost. I am happy to be purchasing it again today, to read, enjoy and share it with my children.

5-0 out of 5 stars Simply sublime! A MUST-READ for all Pele/football fans!
This book will make a Brasilian football fan's heart beat twice as fast as any other book.

The writing will not win any awards(!!) but the CONTENT is simply sublime. The book is about God himself; the pages take you through his incredible life as the world's greatest sportsman.

The 'commentary' describing the numerous World Cup matches - and goals - is EXCELLENT! I swear I could hear the crowd roar as I read on.

Football fans (Brasilian or not), BUY THIS BOOK; you'll LOVE it! ... Read more

162. Genius : The Life and Science of Richard Feynman
list price: $16.00
our price: $10.88
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679747044
Catlog: Book (1993-11-02)
Publisher: Vintage
Sales Rank: 30767
Average Customer Review: 3.91 out of 5 stars
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If you've read any of Richard Feynman's wonderful autobiographies you may think that a biography of Feynmanwould be a waste of your time. Wrong! Gleick's Genius is a masterpiece of scientific biography--and an inspiration to anyone in pursuit of their own fulfillment as a person of genius. Deservedly nominated for a National Book Award, underservedly passed over by the committee in the face of tough competition, and very deservedly a book that you must read. ... Read more

Reviews (32)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent companion to Feynman's own writing
Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman, Gleick
Q: "I read both of Feynman's autobiographies! Why would I need to read a biography?"
A: "Because it's awesome."

Gleick, firstly, goes far deeper into Feynman's life than Feynman did. Feynman didn't consider his books to be autobiographies; they were "Adventures of a curious character." They were a few hilarious events picked from his long, full life.

Gleick's book covers many of the hilarious aspects, but also covers the painful and formative aspects. Also curiously missing from Feynman's books were his science. Feynman wrote about his adventures, Gleick covered the adventures, the disasters, and the science.

Brilliant, enthralling reading. Highly recommending to anyone who enjoyed Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! (Which is, in turn, recommended to anyone who likes funny stories. It reads fast, BTW.)

5-0 out of 5 stars The life and times of a " half buffoon , half genius "
James Gleick's life of Feynman comes highly recommended to anyone concerned with the scholarship of safe-cracking , impromptu Brazilian samba ensembles and the fineries of quantum electrodynamics . Space shuttle design and the Manhattan Project are also included , so that no critic can claim in any seriousness that Feynman lacked balanced life-experience. This book is highly and competently researched ( 70-odd pages devoted to notes , acknowledgements and bibliography ) but it is no mere archive - there is a sense of presence in Gleick's narrative which , at times , borders on the voyeuristic (see , for example , the chapters detailing the correspondence between Feynman and his first wife Arline while he , shrouded in systematic censorship and effectively isolated , worked on the Bomb and she died slowly of consumption.) His account of Feynman's physics is similarly uncanny, making esoteric and , dare I say it , deep , theoretical material accessible to non-specialists . Perhaps this success in transmitting his ideas in a second-hand fashion is due to some aspect of the nature of Feynman's thinking - he was what might be called a ' freehand ' theoretician , prepared to step outside the realm of the accepted processes in order to see new ways of achieving old results , and thus to reconfigure the family-tree of physics and open new branches of inquiry . His closest rival for much of his career , Julian Schwinger , also comes across as his antithesis - Gleick , in any case , would have us believe in two incompatible minds , in Feynman the intuitive doodler and Schwinger the rigorous draftsman , both working to slice the same pie but with different mental utensils , one with a machete and the other with a laser . This was an academic showdown of the first order and one of the more compelling themes in the book . Compiling the life of an arch-scientist with a penchant for percussion and amateur safe-cracking is no mean feat . Feynman was enigmatic as an individual , to say the least , but this book goes! a lot of the way to answering , in the positive , the old freshman question " IS FEYNMAN HUMAN ? "

5-0 out of 5 stars A Real Genius!
Richard Feynman is certainly one of the greatest physicists of the twentieth century,one who belongs to the small group of the chosen few(Einstein,Bohr,Pauli ,among others)and one who fully deserves to be called a genius!His biography by James Gleick is nothing short of excellent:it is very well documented and very well written.For those who want to understand the role played by Feynman in the advancement of modern physics, and especially in the genesis of the theory of Quantum Electrodynamics,this book is a must!It also gives a thorough account of Feynman's life, which makes very good reading ,even if one is not interested in physics...
But a five- hundred- page book will always contain a few paragraphs which are not at the same level as the rest of the book!One such paragraph will be found at page 177,where the author wastes the reader's time in explaining Hans Bethe's mental calculation ability in the "squares-near-fifty trick".Apart from the fact that this sort of ability has nothing to do with genius and is within reach of any intelligent High School student,James Gleick explains it wrongly!He says that"...the difference between two successive squares is always an odd number,the sum of the numbers being squared.That fact,and the fact that 50 is half of 100,gave rise to the squares-near-fifty trick".In fact ,the trick is based on the "remarkable identity" (50+/-a)^2=2500+/-100*a+a^2.Nothing to do with the difference of two successive squares!

Fortunately,the book does not contain many passages like this one!

3-0 out of 5 stars mediocre
Gleick's biography of Feynman is certainly palatable for even non-techical readers... however, if you're interested in Feynman as a person, you're far better off reading it in Feynman's words: "Surely You're Joking, Mr Feynman"... not only was that book much funnier and an immense joy to read, but you get a much better feel for a lot of the anecdotes that are relayed again in Gleick's book.

If you're interested in learning about the history of QED and Feynman's hand in its development, this book is a nice teaser, but it really doesn't go into much depth. It focuses too much on the shallow rivalries between the physicists of that time, without really making clear what the developments were or how they were developed.

3-0 out of 5 stars Captures Feynman Folklore but Fails to Put Him into Context
This is a fun book, hard to put down, and is comparable to a romance novel or a so-called "chick flick"--with unfortunately about as much depth. If you are a Feynman fan or a Physics fan or someone who is considering Physics as a career--this book is 5 stars. What the author omits one can can figure out,if you already know quite a bit. I dropped out of Physics as I preferred reading about the great Physicists to working through the problems in the Electricity and Magnetism or Quantum Mechanics texts, and did not have the feel for all those waveicles.

Since my brother was for a time a theoretical Physicist I heard much of the Feynman folklore. Gleick captured the folklore quite well. But the power and influence of the famous lectures given by Feynman to Caltech freshman and sophomore Physics students(known simply as Feynman's Lectures)was understated. During the last half of the 60s and through the 70s it would be hard not to find Physics Graduate students at the elite Universities (Chicago,MIT and so on) intensely studying Feynman's lectures as preparation for their PHD comps. This is so well known that the conceitful dream of other introductory text writers such as Samuelson in Economics, is to have the same role in their field.

The real shortcoming of the book is that it is a 90% solution. It would be interesting to have compared him with other Physics theoreticans--as a group. They are quite similar in many ways. You look at the famous and not so famous in that area and they have a set of commonalities. They will have self-taught themselves Mathematical subjects and found those challenges less exciting than understanding the physical world. In fact,that is the rationale of their existence, at least for a time. They all need to be do-it-themselfers. Many are great puzzle solvers in other contexts. They almost all had a certain kind of nurturing to encourage them to develop their talents along the way. The author leaves the false impression that these are special characteristics of Feynman. They are not--he is special enough in his achievement.

The title genius in that already extremely intelligent group goes to those, like Feynman's fellow Noble recipients for developing Quantum ElectroDynamics (QED),who learned the regular stuff/theory so well they were smart enough to figure out difficult solutions for the problem that was implicit in the prior theory. The rarer type of genius is the Feynman treated the problem as if he had figured out just enough to know what the problem was and used novel means (now known as Feynman diagrams)to solve the problem--ignoring the powerful but obscuring technology developed by those who came before and developing new more usable tools.

Despite its originality Feynman did not regard the QED in the same light as his discovery (independent initially of his fellow Cal Tech professor Gell Mann)of a theory of weak interactions. But he regarded his Lectures in Physics as his great contribution--no where could you get that from Gleick. A very interesting oversight was that Gell-Mann suffered writers block but was emersed in the standard literature. But Feynman often worked things out but would not work them out in publishable form but when they were forced to work together they did very well indeed. This relationship should have been explored in more depth. I wondered did Gell-Mann serve as the filter to let some of the standard work or not?

The late great contemplative Thomas Merton kept himself cut out from the news while in the monestary except that which was shared with him by friends such as the Berrigan brothers and James Forest. Did Feynman have similar friends or associates who informed him of problems out in the Physics world he might be interested in? Feynmann appeared to have few lifelong friends beyond family if you listened only to Gleick, but some of his sometime collaborators seemed to have been friends, but not of long standing.

This book generates more questions than answers and adds too little to the knowledge of Feynman but synthesizes quite well. Good work, well written but not up to the clarity or completeness standards of the subject. ... Read more

163. Howard Hughes: The Untold Story
by Peter Harry Brown, Pat H. Broeske
list price: $17.95
our price: $12.21
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0306813920
Catlog: Book (2004-11-30)
Publisher: Da Capo Press
Sales Rank: 234421
Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Howard Hughes was one of the most amazing, intriguing, and controversial figures of the twentieth century. He was the billionaire head of a giant corporation, a genius inventor, an ace pilot, a matinee-idol-handsome playboy, a major movie maker who bedded a long list of Hollywood glamour queens, a sexual sultan with a harem of teenage consorts, a political insider with intimate ties to Watergate, a Las Vegas kingpin, and ultimately a bizarre recluse whose final years and shocking death were cloaked in macabre mystery. Now he is the subject of Martin Scorsese's biopic The Aviator. Few people have been able to penetrate the wall of secrecy that enshrouded this complex man. In this fascinating, revelation-packed biography, the full story of one of the most daring, enigmatic, and reclusive power brokers America has ever known is finally told. ... Read more

Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Person Behind The Name
Hughes was a man who accomplished most of what he did before my time, so I've only remembered him as a billionaire, eccentric, and recluse, before reading this book. During his time he was a go-getter who tried many adventurous things professionally and both personally and privately.

This book brings to light the details of of the younger Hughes' extraordinary personal life, which I found more interesting than the business side of it. He spent notable time in Southern California and Los Angeles. Many tales bring Old Hollywood and Los Angeles to light. His involvement in the movie business producing films, influenced in part, as an avenue to get to the ladies of the screen. Details of his relationships with the stars of the day are illuminated. Taking dates to the mounted cross atop one of the Hollywood Hills, overlooking the flatlands and lights of LA. He even crashed a plane into 3 houses in Beverly Hills.

His 3rd plane crash, occurred while performing a flying stunt during the shooting of a movie (the stunt pilots refused to do the stunt because they considered it too dangerous). As a result of that crash he was in the hospital with critical life-threatening injuries. This was when HH was introduced to Codeine for the severe pain, something he would become addicted to for most of the rest of his life.

The book later progresses in the latter years of Hughes. Today, it is apparent to contemporary psychologists that Hughes was likely suffering from a form of the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Nowadays, OCD is more understood and highly treatable with medication. In HH's time, it was not thought of in biological and physiological terms.

Hughes' first break came when he entered a screening room and stayed in it for 5 full months. He didn't bathe, watched the same movies 30 times over, and survived on a diet of candy bars. Hughes consciously and voluntarily turned over his business affairs to competent managers. These were employees, and were people who made prudent decisions and looked out for HH's best interests. During this time, other sharks started to gather. Such is the case when large amounts of money is involved. Bill Gay, one of Howard's chauffeur, made crafty and cunning political moves to ascend over the years. He got Howard's ear, and became more influential on him. Gay eventually took the reigns of control over Huges' wealth. He then deftly purged the other business managers who served Hughes with dedication and integrity. The former chauffeur and his fellow Mormon henchman took over Hughes and his affairs, isolated him, and squeezed out those who cared for Hughes and wanted the best for him.

It's sad, for during the latter decades of Hughes life it seemed that no one was really there for him, if he had wanted anyone to to be there.

In death, over one thousand--yes, 1000--people came out of the woodwork to lay claim to Howard Hughes wealth after his passing.

To this day, We're still not sure if his death was natural, self-induced, or the intentional doings of others....

4-0 out of 5 stars Very informative.
Howard Hughes died when I was only 12 so I knew next to nothing about him prior to the "recluse" years and I found this book extremely interesting. History has dealt somewhat harshly with HH but this book managed to shed some sympathetic light on the mysteries surrounding him. His strange relationship with his mother, his drive to control and collect, his grand scale successes and equally grand failures touched a chord with me. How sad to have so much but ultimately be so unfulfilled and lonely. Whether you find him an eccentric genius or a man tortured by mental illness, you must agree he left behind a significant legacy.

The only minor complaint I have with this book is chronologically it was occasionally hard to follow since a chapter regarding business deals would then be followed by a chapter on personal affairs that were conducted during the same period of time. It was easy to get confused regarding timeframes.

4-0 out of 5 stars Howard Hughes, The Untold Story
We can call him a womanizer, low life, skirt chaser or many other names. The fact remains the person was a genius and has opened many doors for the traveler of today. Hughes was a very self centered individual and had feeling only for his self gratification. I found this book difficult to put down, even though I could not like the main character.

1-0 out of 5 stars terrible terrible terrible
I love to read.I read almost everything that I can get my hands on.I am currently reading this book for my book club.This man(Howard) is the biggest jerk of the 20th century! I guess it's true money talks and talks and talks. I'm having a very difficult time trying to finish this book. How anyone could be a fan of this man is totally beyond me. I believe that it's the money that they all so fond of. Don't waste your time. Don't waste your money. Howard wasted enough money for everyone.

5-0 out of 5 stars Everything you ever wanted to know about Howard Hughes
If your a HRH fan this is the book for you. Precise detailed account of the life of the most interesting and mysterious man of this century. Lots of new information never before published. Well writen hard to put down. ... Read more

164. Who Killed John Lennon?
by Fenton Bresler
list price: $45.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312923678
Catlog: Book (1990-11-01)
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Sales Rank: 520905
Average Customer Review: 4.71 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (7)

4-0 out of 5 stars Only in America
Fenton Bresler combs through the horrific murder of John Lennon with intimate intensity. Here's A tale of human behaviour sprinkled with government power turned paranoia. I was,i guess, held in trance-like form with every turning page,& when I closed the book I closed a black hole too. I recommend it. Because I must ask in our supposedly free society...Is this just a case of Mark-Chapman killing for some fame? :of a rock star gunned down like BLAM BLAM by a crazy mixed-up fan?...or was the murder of John Lennon deeper than that. I look back And i see that the right-wing Reagan years were like no other previously ;a new period in favour of high rise mondo-Capitalism,New Romantics on MTV--(where the music industry business is changed forever),Enter George Bush-ism & the "Just say no" lecture-- (whilst,of course,those wonderous CIA people operate major drug smuggling affairs/missions with no second thought).
So to me ,During a period such as this,why would the Capitalist FBI bully boys let BeatleJohn Lennon jump on his much anticipated "Double Fantasy" come-back world-tour singing maybe "Give Peace A Chance" & "WAR IS OVER" to a whole new generation of slackers who disliked the Reagan period even more than I did,& hey! John may of slipped into a Beatle-reunion mood & used the event as another world-peace ad (in the 80's perhaps).
I'm sure,& i feel it in my heart,that the intelligence community hypothesis back then & there was "why not entomb this politically out-spoken singer-songwriter guy & move on to bigger things like destroying the environment for money & festering war war bloody war in Iraq or somewhere else where big bombs can be dropped". But Hey,enough of my yackin'. In any case I urge you,the reader,to make up your own mind & please just check out this fine little volume of idea's & i'll guarantee you'll have some fun too. just Order now from .

I Love this book,it opens your eyes & should be given away free with every Happy Meal.

5-0 out of 5 stars Nothing to Kill or Die For
This well researched book explores a possible political component to the 1980 murder of John Lennon. Outspoken and involved in political causes, the late former Beatle had a dossier by the FBI. He was considered an insurgent rebel by many politicos of the day.

Bresler's book does an excellent job of following the man who killed John Lennon. He accurately chronicles the assassin's movements during the latter part of 1980 and his boyhood overidentification with the former Beatle. Bresler does not skip a beat, his work takes his readers along that sad, psychotic trail Lennon's killer took in late 1980.

The assassin, caught in a love-hate obsession concerning John Lennon appears to be confused about his own identity. A former Beatles fan, the killer would, by 1966 turn against them because of John Lennon's comment that the Beatles were more popular than Jesus. Irate and confused, the killer appeared to try to suppress his natural love for their music while justifying his hatred of John.

It is indeed the killer's behavior that calls attention to his desire to emulate the late Beatle. The assassin marries a woman who is Japanese; he expresses an enjoyment for the same types of art and music that Lennon publicly endorsed. By late 1980 the lines between reality and fantasy blurred; on his last day of work, the killer signed out of his company log book as "John Lennon." He then left Hawaii where he was then living for New York. An extremely confused man, he overidentifies with Holden Caulfield, the young protagonist of "Catcher in the Rye" infamy. He, like Holden declares a moratorium against "phonies" and in his mind, John Lennon is one of those phonies His fantasies ultimately consume him and the results are...devastating.

Bresler does an excellent job of chronicling the series of events that took place when and after John Lennon was murdered; he also does an excellent job of debunking many of the tabloid biographies of the day, e.g. Goldman and Guiliano's biographies of the late Beatle. John's youngest son, Sean, for example comes down hard on the Goldman book which portrays John as punitive and uncomfortable around children as a "total lie." He said that John did indeed enjoy being kissed by Sean and his older half brother Julian and that Goldman's statement otherwise was untrue.

I was impressed with the accuracy and objectivity of this work. It will certainly hold a reader's interest and is an invaluable source of information. I'm lucky to have this. It would be nice to see this back in print.

5-0 out of 5 stars There is hope in speaking truth to power
John Lennon's death never DID make sense to me outside of the context of some kind of conspiracy. When he died, I was 27 years old. I had lived through the trauma of JFK's, RFK's and MLK's assassinations. I did not believe they were lone nut killings either, they were too important, and the question "who benefits?" usually leads to an obvious motive and an obvious suspect, even if it can't be proven. Once he was dead, I understood that John Lennon was the last hope of a dying spirit, the spirit of the 60s, the hope of a generation that had dreamed of creating a world of freedom, love and non-violence. That, to me, was the motive of a generation unwilling to pass the torch of life onto the next generation, the very baby boom they had created at the end of WWII to expand their own egos, yet were unwilling to acknowledge as having minds of their own and perhaps valid resentments having grown up with the values of a war torn parentage. This book dovetails nicely with the other books I have read and reviewed (see more about me) and the evidence is startling and massive to validate Bresler's theory that Chapman was, indeed, a mind controlled killer. The fact is, the CIA's shenanigans go far beyond MK-ULTRA, and have not stopped yet. They are gathering power as you read this, and looking the other way will not stop them. I'm not sure what will, but letting anyone else do your thinking for you won't. Learn as much as you can and know your own mind. Question authority, as the mantra from the 60s challenged, and do not allow the dreams and visions of the flower children to be silenced. They are not dead. They did take root. The toxic poison that surrounds us all is a deadly threat, but as long as we are open to learning and knowing and speaking truth to power, there is hope.

5-0 out of 5 stars Army Dreamers.
A fascinating case~(was Lennon bumped off by Mark Chapman via someone else?, higher up who wanted to put the nozzle on a politically out-spoken singer-songwriter with an army of adoring young fans?)~Fenton Bresler tracked it for 8 years,conducting unprecedented interviews & extracting a ream of previously unreleased government documents. Though the paper trail to support the theory is still thin,the best one is an airline ticket found in Mark Chapman's hotel room; a Hawaii-New York connection departing December 5. But Chapman had actually purchased a Hawaii-Chicago ticket to depart December 2,with no connecting flight. The ticket found after his arrest had apparently been altered. None of his friends knew that he traveled on to New York. They thought he went to Chicago for a 3-day stay.

Arthur O'Connor,the detective who spent more time with Mark Chapman immediately following the murder than anyone else,saw things another way. He said "It is definately illogical to say that Mark committed the murder to make himself famous. He didn't want to talk to the press from the very start...It's possible Mark could have been used by somebody. I saw him the night of the murder. I studied him intensely. He looked as if he could of been programmed."

An alternative insight into bewildering history. I hope it comes back in-print someday.

4-0 out of 5 stars Mind Games.
Fenton Bresler's fascinating book examines how John Lennon's killing,in Dec.'1980,could very well be politically motivated...that it was'nt just the act of another "angry lone nut".

America needs books like this & I hope it comes back in-print.
I really like this book because its important to read it ok, have a read of it, you'll love it like i do. ... Read more

165. The Thirty-First of March : An Intimate Portrait of Lyndon Johnson's Final Days in Office
by Horace Busby, Hugh Sidey, Scott Busby
list price: $24.00
our price: $16.32
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0374275742
Catlog: Book (2005-03-31)
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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Book Description

An intimate, compulsively readable memoir by LBJ's closest aide and chief speechwriter.

"I have made up my mind. I can't get peace in Vietnam and be President too." So begins this posthumously discovered account of Lyndon Johnson's final days in office. The Thirty-first of March is an indelible portrait of a president and a presidency at a time of crisis, and spans twenty years of a close working and personal relationship between Johnson and Horace Busby.

It was Busby's job to "put a little Churchill " into Johnson's orations, and his skill earned him a position of trust in Johnson's staff from the earliest days of Johnson's career as a congressman in Texas to the twilight of his presidency. From the aftermath of the Kennedy assassination when Busby was asked by the newly sworn-in President to sit by his bedside during his first troubled nights in office, to the concerns that defined the Great Society, Busby not only articulated and refined Johnson's political thinking, he helped shape the most ambitious, far-reaching legislative agenda since FDR's New Deal.

Here is Johnson the politician, Johnson the schemer, Johnson who advised against JFK riding in an open limousine that fateful day in Dallas, and Johnson the father, sickened by the men fighting and dying in Vietnam on his behalf. The Thirty-first of March is a rare glimpse into the inner sanctum of Johnson's presidency.
... Read more

166. The Tao of Muhammad Ali
by Davis Miller
list price: $22.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0446519464
Catlog: Book (1996-11-01)
Publisher: Warner Books Inc
Sales Rank: 187235
Average Customer Review: 4.43 out of 5 stars
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As a boy growing up in North Carolina, Davis Miller was short, skinny, and scared. But he studied martial arts and after graduating from high school fought professionally as a kickboxer. What gave him the courage to change was the example of Muhammad Ali. In this insightful memoir, Miller recalls how a chance meeting with Ali in Louisville, Kentucky, years later led to friendship and to the beginning of Miller's career as a writer. During one of their meetings, Ali asks why Miller has followed him for so long. Miller's response: "Because you're the single largest person I've ever known." ... Read more

Reviews (21)

5-0 out of 5 stars A wonderful behind the scenes look at the true Ali
This book is one of the best books I have read in a long, long time.It is about the true Ali, the part of him that is not reported on by the press but is noticed by his fans, and everyone else. It shows that it is not just his great boxing talent that people love,but also his drive, his way of making people feel important about themselves.It is also about Davis Miller and tells a lot about himself also, but that is certainly not a handicap.It actually adds alot more flavor to the book itself.I highly recommend reading this book.

4-0 out of 5 stars More inspiration than perspiration!
Davis Miller shares the story of his life and the inspiration he has received through his serendipitous encounter(s) with Muhammad Ali. This is a poignant account of a boy's difficult childhood, and the inspiration he receives from his real-life hero, Muhammad Ali. This wonderful book is much less about boxing, and much more about family love. How wonderful it would be to sit in the living room of Muhammad's mother and feel the warmth of her radiating love. The author states that Muhammad Ali would have been a world-class figure even if he had never put on a pair of boxing gloves

5-0 out of 5 stars Exceedingly good fun
Buy both Tao of Muhammed Ali and Zen of Muhammed Ali and Other Obsessions - and all of Davis Miller's other books! They are amongst the most important pieces of literature to have been published in the last 100 years! Simply mind blowing. And incredibly fun.

5-0 out of 5 stars a marvelous book
It is natural for a large Ali fan, as I am, to not easily give an adequate evaluation over a book that I would have surely always bought, no matter how the contents would reveal themselves. But I admit, when this book was first published in Germany, I already waited nearly desperately for the words, which would bring me closer to the "greatest of all times", because D.Miller tells history over Ali as he experienced it. But D.Miller's own story is exactly what keeps me so fascinated with this book today. There are not the statistics over Ali's fights, over his finances or over his marriages that finally failed. This book, it reveals rather "secrets" over the life - the inner life of Ali (particularly after his active career),and also the life of an author who in my opinion places much value on the intrinsic worth of human beings and also gives the reader much concerning himself -- and that is the best part of the book, if the reader only permits it. The fate makes it possible to be able to spend, through the author's experience, real, deep time with Muhammad Ali. It is not time as an ordinary interview is developed, but it is the time like one also with its best friends would spend. Miller recorded all this time with Ali in an affectionate and beautiful way. He describes Ali in Louisville, in the house of his mother, visited and between Rahaman and Mr.Clay senior appears, as Ali and his brother before their mother play like two children ridiculous and again and again. Punches, how affectionately Ali with his own and with all other children of this world goes around and how Ali, sick and 50 years old in an old sport-resounds, beats up a young, strong beginner. Miller accompanies Ali with a meeting with Joe Frazier and Ali says it is wrong to give the pain that he gave Frazier and says he loves Joe Frazier.... During the reading of this book one dips into the mysterious world of the most well-known man of this earth, which the author with his own history connects by his life and thereby hitting a corner of history we share with the author and with Muhammad Ali himself.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Greatest About the Greatest
What a wonderful read! I read this book for a university course in Scotland. This book offers the reader a refreshing approach to the study of the most influential sportsman in history. The reader can share and often empathise with the thoughts of the author as he recounts the growth of his interests in Ali and his eventual meetings with the great man. It's perhaps the closest many of us fans will ever get and provides great insight into the personality of the Greatest. A superb book! ... Read more

167. Means of Ascent (The Years of Lyndon Johnson, Volume 2)
list price: $45.00
our price: $29.70
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0394528352
Catlog: Book (1990-03-07)
Publisher: Knopf
Sales Rank: 49627
Average Customer Review: 4.66 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

MEANS OF ASCENT is the second book in the LBJ trilogy. It carries Johnson from his 1941 Senate defeat through WW II and on to the securing of his fortunes, both economic and political.

Caro tells this story with an eye for detail. He focuses not only on Johnson, but on Johnson's "unbeatable" opponent, former Texas Governor Coke Stevenson. As the political duel between the two men quickens, it moves with all the drama of the perfect Western. Caro has us witness a momentous turning point in American politics: the tragic last stand of politics of issue versus politics of image.

"One of the most important political biographies of our time...the picture of a man on his way up, regardless." (B-O-T Editorial Review Board) ... Read more

Reviews (61)

4-0 out of 5 stars Easy, now...
I have to disagree with the universal 5 stars this book gets from other reviewers here.

First, readers not familiar with Caro should know that he uses LBJ as a springboard to do a larger social history. In the first book, this included fascinating insights into what daily life was like in rural Texas and rural America in the early part of the 20th Century.

One weakness of this 2nd volume is that, despite an early go at Johnson's WWII service & early time in Washington, Caro largely narrows this focus down to Texas itself, a particular election, LBJ's opponent in that election, and finally even to one flunkie in the Texas political machine. This somewhat derails both the social history aspect and the LBJ-biographical aspect.

(Readers who don't want to have some of the story given away shouldn't read the rest of this review.)

Caro tips his hand with this book. In the first volume, Caro says Johnson stole all his early elections, even little ones. Caro tells the tale so well in that book that the whole story becomes rather shocking, even in today's politically cynical age. Here, Caro says Johnson stole his big Senate election. It's becoming quickly apparent that Caro is prepared to tell us that Johnson stole literally every single election he ever ran in during his entire life. I think only the biggest Johnson-loathers around would buy this premise on its face.

Still, this a fantastically-written narrative, and I eagerly await the 3rd volume. But, in the end, let's hope that Caro's whole story doesn't simply boil down to the thesis that "LBJ is not only as bad as you've ever heard...he's WORSE." Given how much of his life Caro has devoted to this work, and how much time and money we readers have devoted to it as well, it would be a shame if Caro's sweeping narrative proves to ultimately be that narrow.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic -- a must read
Anyone interested in the history of US Politics must read this book. It tells the true story of Lyndon Johnson's role in the Second World War. It also discusses Johnson's hatred of the House of Representatives. It is too big. It is, as Caro puts it, "too slow," for Johnson. The only way to get power in the House is to wait. Johnson, impatient and itching for real power, has none. Sitting in the Naval Affairs committee, ruled by Dictator Vinson, Johnson has no power. He would have to wait many, many years until he would possibly, if at all, reach the chairmanship. Handicapped by ancestral health problems (Johnson men died in their 60's), he realizes this path is "too slow".

Having lost the Senate race in 1941 to W. Lee (Pappy) O'Daniel, he gives it another shot in '48. O' Daniel is not running because of the mockery he made of himself in Washington. Even worse, Coke Stevenson, a Texas Legend runs. In perhaps the most monumental and competitive political race in the history of Texas, Johnson wins by a mere 48 votes, but not after a investigation into those votes and a legal battle. You cannot miss the story of this election. I flew throught the book, and you will too. With absolutely impeccable prose and style, Caro does it again with Means of Ascent.

5-0 out of 5 stars Stolen Election
The 1948 Texas Senatorial race is the centerpiece of this outstaning 2nd volume of Caro's epic biography of Lyndon Johnson. Caro spends the first half of the book documenting Mr. Johnson's "war years". The second half is devoted to this controversial election. Mr. Caro's writing flows and he does an outstanding job of setting up time and place. I cannot wait to read Volume 3.

5-0 out of 5 stars Spellbinding and Spectacular
After having read Robert Caro's Path to Power, the first volume of his monumental trilogy on the life of Lyndon Baines Johnson, I came away with the feeling that although Johnson was an utter scoundrel, he had a few redeeming qualities. Now that I've read Path to Power, any redemption Johnson had earned in my eyes has been stripped away.
In this volume, Caro lays bare once and for all the evidence that anyone of any political stripe should need to discover that Johnson was driven solely by naked ambition and was utterly bereft of principle or scruple. No one or nothing was sacred if it stood between him and the power he craved.
In his losing 1941 Senate race against the charlatan Pappy O'Daniel, Johnson ran on a platform of Roosevelt, Roosevelt, Roosevelt. He made a public show in Washington of being one of FDR's most devoted lickspittles. Yet behind the scenes, he made deals with some of the most anti-Roosevelt money men in Texas and was able to convince them that he was really a conservative. Johnson narrowly lost that election and the lesson learned was that he had to steal more votes than he supposed his opponent to have stolen and then not have them counted until after the "last" votes were in.
Reading between the lines, I can guess that FDR was finally on to him as Truman certainly was.
Then there was the matter of his "heroic" war record. Even today when a candidate's claims are so much easier to check for veracity we have those who brazenly lie a la LBJ about their wartime service.
LBJ comes off at his worst during the 1948 Democratic Senatorial primary in which he and his minions stole the election from former Governor Coke Stevenson by arranging the stuffing of ballot boxes and in some cases, paying voters to vote for Johnson. When the "results" were contested by Stevenson, Johnson and his legal team lied and cheated their way through the system all the way to using a Supreme Court Justice to install Johnson as the official Democratic candidate for the US Senate.
A few people come off as heroes: Coke Stevenson himself, Circuit Court Judge T Whitfield Davidson, Federal Master in Chancery William R Smith and a handful of reformers in Jim Wells County and other South Texas counties who had the real courage to stand up to jefe George Parr, his enforcers and his pistoleros. Others include the very brave indeed Mexican-American residents of those counties who were willing to publicly testify that though they were counted as having voted, they had in fact not voted at all or had voted for Stevenson.
Besides those whom the reader would expect to be slimeballs, Abe Fortas, Tom Clark,and Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black emerge from the sordid affair bathed in the stench of corruption.
Although its obvious that the author is developing an increasing distatse for Johnson, he does not neglect showing the shrewd and forward looking side of the man. Johnson proves himself many times to be a keen reader of men and part of his political success stems from his ability to make snap decisions on what is and isn't going to work as far as campaigning goes. The story of his brilliant strategy of barnstorming the state by helicopter as his better known and hugely popular opponent Coke Stevenson slogs along county by county the old fashioned way is one of the high points of the book.
It was that modern and then novel approach, coupled with his use of polling, vicious ad hominem attacks on Stevenson and mass mailings thinly disguised as newspapers that put Johnson in the position that stealing a few thousand votes could win the election for him. At the beginning of the campaign, almost no one outside his camp thought he had a chance of winning.
I recommend this spellbinding and spectacular book to anyone interested in politics. Its a reminder to all of us how ignoble the quest for office can be, and a warning to all of us that we must constantly be on guard to ensure the fairness and sanctity of the principle of one man, one vote.

4-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating political shootout, but may overdo the rehash
Other reviewers on amazon have found this to be the weakest of Caro's three published volumes on LBJ, and while I haven't read volume 3 yet, I agree that this book is not without its flaws. Principally, Caro spends an enormous amount of time rehashing the events of volume 1, often in exactly the same language as in the earlier work. I agree with the reviewer below who asserts that this may have been stronger as a 200-250 page tag to Caro's earlier volume.

Yet the story does focus on 3 major details in Johnson's life that are essential to understanding his future relationship to the American public and the manner in which he would wield Senatorial and Presidential power. First, Caro goes into the facts behind Johnson's war service and exposes the political fuel for his service and how he subsequently exaggerated or outright lied about his military record to gain political favor. Not the most important thing in the book but definitely interesting new info.

Secondly, Caro reveals how Johnson leveraged his political influence to gain control of a fledgling radio station and turn it into the foundation of his personal fortune. This is a major revelation as it demonstrates that Johnson, while frustrated politically during the 40s, found a way to gain a fortune using his political contacts.

Lastly, the entire second half of this book focuses on the Senate primary between Johnson and Coke Stevenson. Caro, while respecting Johnson's energy and creativity in pursuing his aims, considers this an entirely tragic episode in Texas and American politics. The manner in which Johnson obtained funds and outspent his noble candidate bothers Caro. More importantly, Caro feels that Johnson's stolen votes in many ways were the foundation of the credibility gap in Texas politics and in the later Johnson presidency. Caro makes a special point to show how Johnson relished the fact that he used his guile to steal votes, even showing a picture of himself with those he purchased the votes from to a reporter as president. Many reviewers feel this book is too negative on Johnson, but I am convinced by the facts given that a negative position on Johnson is warranted, especially given the amorality of the tactics he used in winning the election.

Where I was less convinced was in the nobility of Coke Stevenson as Johnson's foil. Sure Stevenson did not appear to steal votes in the manner of Johnson or vacillate in his positions or really go negative in attacking his candidate. But on the other hand, Stevenson exhibited debilitating tactical blindness and stubborn pride in not directly confronting Johnson's attacks or changing his style in some ways to meet changing times. Stevenson may have had more integrity, but I also feel that he was a deeply conservative politician who was more interested in his political principles than in the political reality he faced. Caro spends so much time portraying him as "Mr. Texas" that I feel he glosses over many of his faults. While Stevenson was a better man, I am not sure he would have been an effective Senator and the United States may have been worse off having him as Senator. I felt that Caro's dislike for Johnson, though justified, led him to distort his portrayal of Stevenson.

Overall, though this is a good book which could have been done just a little bit better. It remains a fascinating read and a vital addition to Caro's masterful biography that is worthy of your time and effort.

4 stars. ... Read more

168. What I Learned From Jackie Robinson
by CarlErskine
list price: $19.95
our price: $13.57
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0071450858
Catlog: Book (2005-02-01)
Publisher: McGraw-Hill
Sales Rank: 92848
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description


"Jackie needed to quell his anger the first couple of years, a task which only someone of this inner strength and vision could have coped with at that moment. When I reflect and wonder what it must have been like for a man who should have been at the happiest of moments in his life, to still have to deal with racial indignities on a daily basis, it is mind-boggling. Most mortal men would have cracked."--Carl Erskine, from the book

Jackie Robinson changed the game of baseball forever when he paved the way for equality in sports. In What I Learned from Jackie Robinson, former teammate and friend Carl Erskine shares his memories of Jackie's crusade in a loving social memoir.

Written with New York Times bestselling coauthor Burton Rocks and filled with personal photos, this moving portrait of friendship takes readers for the first time inside the locker room, inside the soul of Jackie, and inside the hearts of his friends, teammates, and oppressors. As a former Dodger, with access to the important people from Jackie's life, Erskine talks with Robinson's widow and also shares memories about:

Yogi Berra

Whitey Ford

Sandy Koufax

Stan Musial

Pee Wee Reese

Roy Campanella

Don Drysdale

Billy Martin

and many other players, coaches, sportswriters, and entertainers who remembered Jackie on and off the field. A retrospective on a man who fought for his cause until death, this memoir is a testament to the man and the game that brought the world together when it was falling apart.

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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Book of Sincere Appreciation
Carl Erskine has written a book of sincere appreciation of former Brooklyn Dodgers' teammate Jackie Robinson for the role he played in Erskine's life and also in advancing the cause of civil rights in which baseball paved the way for the rest of the country to follow.Part of the book covers the careers both had as teammates on the Dodgers and their almost yearly quest to dethrone the Yankees as World Champions in the World Series.Some of the anecdotes can be found in other books, but there are some stories Erskine relates that I have never heard before.Erskine relates the struggle Robinson faced in gaining acceptance in baseball to his (Erskine's) son Jimmy, a Down syndrome child, faced in gaining acceptance in a prejudiced American society. As Erskine relates, the Boys of Summer are now in their autumn as many of his teammates have passed on.Carl believes that our experiences that take place early in our life are designed to prepare us for what is to come ahead.A black friend he had as a young boy prepared him for the time when Robinson would become his teammate.It's easy to see Erskine's affection towards Robinson.Sometimes what appears to be a small kindness looms large in the one who receives it.Carl Erskine pitched as a minor leaguer against the parent Brooklyn Dodgers' team, and after the game Robinson came over and praised Carl's pitching effort to him.To hear this praise coming from Jackie Robinson meant a lot to him, and was something Erskine always remembered.A chapter I especially enjoyed was Erskine relating a year 2000 trip he and his family made to New York and returned to Brooklyn to see the old neighborhood he used to live in while a member of the Dodgers.The book is only 150 pages long, but whether you are of age to remember the Brooklyn Dodgers of the 1950's or not this is a book you will find to be of interest to you. I give the book five stars for Carl's efforts to relate his experiences in trying to teach others the importance of accepting others for who they are. ... Read more

169. The Hoax
by Clifford Irving
list price: $22.00
our price: $22.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0932966144
Catlog: Book (1981-06-01)
Publisher: Permanent Press (NY)
Sales Rank: 151264
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The ultimate caper story, novelist Clifford Irving's no-holds-barred account of the literary hoax of our time--his "autobiography" of Howard Hughes--was published in Great Britain in 1997, where it became a bestseller.But no American hardcover house would touch THE HOAX until now. One major publisher offered a $500,000 advance when the book was nearing completion, drew up the contract?then abruptly bowed out.Why?The answer is implicit in this classic tale of daring, treachery, and corruption. As fast-paced and exciting as any spy novel, it involves the reader at every devilish twist and turn. In this first U.S. hardcover edition, Clifford Irving tells how the hoax developed, like a Chinese puzzle, from its madcap beginning to the final startling confession--a witty and nail-biting story of international intrigue and beautiful women, of powerful corporate executives and jet-set rogues, of cover-ups and headlines. ... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Truth is more Complex than Falsity
This book has the ring of truth to it, and that is unmistakeable. It's the story of a writer who hoodwinked the world by writing the hoax autobiography of billionaire Howard Hughes, and paid the price by going to prison. It reads like a novel, in the sense that it's thrilling, and you understand Clifford Irving to the bone. It's well-paced, filled with memorable characters and incidents, and if there were ever a book to nail down the sin of greed in both individuals and corporations, this is it. I loved it.

2-0 out of 5 stars At Least This One was (Maybe) Honest
This is a good read, a good read about a master forger and a man who refuses to repent. A sociopath in action. Mr Irving claims this book is honest, the truth, but since he is writing about a giant lie, it's hard to believe this is as honest as he would have us believe. If you are are interested in the mind of a sick man, then this book is for you. ... Read more

170. No Ordinary Genius: The Illustrated Richard Feynman
by Richard Phillips Feynman, Christopher Sykes
list price: $21.95
our price: $14.93
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 039331393X
Catlog: Book (1995-06-01)
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Sales Rank: 40204
Average Customer Review: 4.86 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars From Physics to Touva!
My reading of "Surely You're Joking Mr Feynman" was surely "forced" me to read the life of Richard Feynman furthermore: NO ORDINARY GENIUS is a GREAT BOOK. Family, friends and colleagues of Feynman share their views regarding the genius (with bump's-language-style) Feynman. The photos are great and can make a good spot on his life. Truly inspiring especially when he stated that he's an irresponsible man! And also, he couldnt stop to do physics until several days before his death: he's still doing the physics in 70. Feynman also brought the tiny-state named TOUVA to the world: even a geographic teacher wouldn't know bout this region! Buy this book, okay?

5-0 out of 5 stars fun character fun book!
This book made me laughed and it made me cry but most importantly it taught me a lot, not just about feynman but a lot more other stuff like science, life, having fun and reminded me why I got into science in the first place. It was very inpirational as well as fun.

If you want to know a little about what feynman was like, then you must read this book. I said
"little" because there is no way you will ever get to know this man just by reading a book. This book was really good at taking out the really good stuff from other books and integrating it.

I like what his friends and family had to say about him and adventures they had, as much as when Feynman was quoted. It is
really interesting and gives you a really deep insight on stuff he may not had put into his other books.

Even if you don't like to read biographies, or care about feynman, you could read this book like a novel. Its little
stories are so interesting funny (sometimes sad) that you forget that you are reading a biography. I say this because
reading biogrphies usually gets me bored. Not this one however, its and adventure!

After I read this book I felt like I lost a friend and mentor--it was that good or perhaps feyman's life was that interesting--I actually missed a guy I never met before! It sounds flaky, but I guessed Feynman would had liked it that way!

Alex Lee

4-0 out of 5 stars A Superb Introduction to an Under-Appreciated Man
Richard Feynman was a remarkable man who lived many remarkable lives, most of which are succinctly summarized in this fast, engaging read. Relying upon testimonials from close friends and associates of Feynman's and mostly from Feynman's own recollections, No Ordinary Genius delves into each of these lives, including Feynman's childhood obsession with finding out how things worked (a trait inherited from his father), his work at Los Alamos both as the keeper of the keys to the mainframe processing the mathematical calculations for the Manhattan Project and as the head of on campus hi-jinx and safe-cracking, his Nobel Prize for developing the field of Quantum electrodynamics (and along the way the now famous "Feynman diagrams" which have become the physicist's graphical tool for "viewing" sub-atomic activity), his very early visionary forays into what has become nanotechnology, and his ability to buck the NASA bureaucracy and quickly get to the bottom of what really went wrong with the 1986 Challenger disaster. Along the way we learn of his love of people (including his two wives, the first of whom died when she was only about 20 years old of TB), of life, and of physics (though probably not in that order), and what begins to emerge is a rare character, a multi-dimensional, and apparently "human" genius-one with foibles like anyone else...but one surprisingly devoid (at least as Sykes's book of recollections would have us believe) of the peccadilloes and neuroses of similarly brilliant historic figures. In fact one wonders whether Feynman's relative "normalcy" may have prevented him from being more widely known outside of scientific circles. This is itself somewhat ironic as Feynman was not just a brilliant physicist in his own right, but was perhaps the greatest interpreter (and hence most accessible) of all physicists who tried to explain how the world really worked to the rest of us.

Feynman was often criticized for not giving greater weight to the moral consequences of the actions of scientists like him who were responsible for creating "the" Bomb. At one point toward the end of the book, and partially in response to this question about the morality of scientific progress, Feynman observes the interesting irony that it's only in the most free, open, and democratic societies (i.e, the U.S.) that computers capable of infringing the most upon individuals' privacy have been developed. I.e., the countries that would have stood to benefit the most from this advanced "snooping" technology (i.e., the USSR, China, etc.) during Feynman's Cold War days, weren't able to produce the requisite technological infrastructure.

Later, towards the end of the book, the Nobel laureate, Marvin Minsky speaks about a feeling he and Feynman shared about man's soul. "Now here you are, a person, and thirty thousand genes or more are working to make the brain, the most complicated organ. If you were to say it's just a spirit, just a soul, just a little hard diamondlike point with no structure, a gift from some creator, it's so degrading! It means that all of the sacrifice by all of our animal ancestors is ignored. It seems to me [any by implication, Feynman] that the religious view is the opposite of self-respect and understanding. It's taking the brain with a hundred billion neurons, and not using it. What a paradoxical thing to be taught to do!"

So at once you have Feynman then specifying democracy and freedom as the necessary precursors to allow for scientific innovation. Then later he's demonstrating his "belief" in the pre-eminence of reason over non-fact-based belief and religion. Though non-Objectivists and spiritualists could debate his point-of-view, it is particularly refreshing to observe in thought and action a true seeker of the way things truly work. In many respects, Richard Feynman was Ayn Rand's John Gault.

This book should be read as a precursor to getting to know one of the great characters of the 20th century. But it won't suffice if one really wants to understand his genius. For that, one has to read his two books of "Six Easy Pieces", his lecture on Quantum Electrodynamics, or most appropriately of all, his Lectures on Physics.

5-0 out of 5 stars Does it even need one ???
Does a book on the one of the greatest person to have lived need a review. Even a badly written book about Feynmam would be fun to read ! and this is one of the better written one. My only wish is that every person gets to read about this fascinating person.

5-0 out of 5 stars A MUST for Feynman fans everywhere!
This is a wonderful book for all those individuals who are even remotely interested in the life of the great Richard P. Feynman. It is illustrated with pictures that cover the entire scope of his life; from his earliest days as a boy all the way up to his final years.

The book is mostly a collage of anecdotes and commentary written by a slew of people from all walks of life. We hear from an artist friend of his, Feynman's musician friends, his sister Joan (who herself received a Ph.D. from Syracuse university) and his daughter, as well as the memories of such distinguished colleagues as Freeman Dyson, Hans Bethe and Marvin Minsky.

So order this book, borrow this book, do whatever you have to do to read & enjoy it. Come, take a tour of the life of a humble & friendly (and extraordinary) genius. You owe it to yourself. ... Read more

171. The America We Deserve
by Donald Trump, Dave Shiflett, Donald J. Trump
list price: $24.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1580631312
Catlog: Book (2000-01-01)
Publisher: Renaissance Books
Sales Rank: 33934
Average Customer Review: 4.31 out of 5 stars
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Donald Trump doesn't pull any punches when he surveys the American political scene: Pat Buchanan's "totally lost it," Al Gore is "an able, underrated man who seems confused," and Bill Bradley is simply a "disaster." But the real estate tycoon has some ideas of his own about how the United States should be run, and he shares them with the potential electorate for the 2000 presidential race in The America We Deserve. There aren't too many surprises here: Trump lambastes the government bureaucracy that's made a mess of the civic infrastructure, particularly the public school systems; he supports creating opportunities for business developers (both large and small); and he's tougher than tough on crime. He's also prepared to come down hard on America's enemies abroad, such as China, North Korea, and Cuba. Among the more interesting aspects of his platform is his desire to do away completely with soft money in campaign financing and allow unlimited personal contributions--along with full disclosure of political contributions, updated daily on the Internet.

The America We Deserve is an effective combination of Trump's straight-shooting personality and policy-wonk data points. As another American presidential campaign heats up, Trump raises issues that will force voters to give serious consideration to what they want in a candidate. --Ron Hogan ... Read more

Reviews (13)

5-0 out of 5 stars ANY book by TRUMP is a great investment!
In his previous book, Trump: Art of the Comeback (1997) -Donald stated it would be his last. It's good to see it isn't so. Thisman knows how to communicate any topic with concise and intelligent rhetoric. Trump doesn't banter and waste the reader's time (or money) by talking nonsense. He's not out to impress the reader. This book is simply a straight-forward view of our country's current issues, where it might be headed, and what would be the best route to take. All of Trump's books are not only worth reading, but owning. If you can get a hold of Trump: Art of the Deal, Trump: Surviving at the Top, and Trump: Art of the Comeback -- buy them! You'll have a better understanding and appreciation of his political logic in Trump: The America We Deserve. END

I am not an American citizen but, I have always been interested in why some people succeed and what they have done to be successful. Well, in reading Donald Trump's book I came away with a clear understanding (I have read his other boks as well)why Mr. Trump is a very successful man. First, he is a take charge guy. When there are problems he meets them head on. The impression you get in reading his book is that of a man who dosn't like problems to fester. He likes to solve things right away in the most efficient manner possible. Moreover, he is a realist, which is to mean that he faces facts. This can be seen in his chapters on The Safe Streets We Deserve, The Foreign Policy We Deserve, and Freedom From Terrorism. He tells things exaclty the way they are. Another characteristic of Donald Trump although this may seem obvious is that this is a very serious man. He cares about his country. He is a very results oriented person who wants to succeed. You can see this throughout the whole book. Personally, I found the book very interesting, reading it more from the point of view of analyzing his personality. I've come away concluding that this is one very tough man, who is very smart, no-nonsense, with the attitude of "lets get down to business and do what has to be done." And to top it all off, he knows people. He seems to have the instict or talent to hire the right people around him. A very important trait for any successful person to have. It seems to me, he would make quite a President.

5-0 out of 5 stars Classic Trump prose mixed with logic and wit
It's about time a guy like Donald Trump published this book. Whether you love him, hate him, or want him to fix his hair, The Donald presents fresh takes on age-old arguments and explains why he has what it takes.

While every other candidate in 2000 was writing books about their youths, military service, or whatever else, Trump uses his get-down-to-business style to attack issues (and people) and offer quick-witted solutions. The fact that I disagree on a few points does not take away from the quality of the book. If you want a straight-shooting tome from a guy who takes care of things himself, The America We Deserve is a must-read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Trump beat Gore and he didn't even run!
According to surveys taken at that time, Trump was ahead of Gore and just behind G.W.Bush. No doubt if Trump would have run, Gore would have blamed him too!

After reading this book (actually re-reading) I really wish Trump would have run for President. He has some very good views on how to make this country stronger and certaintly would b e a better choice than the comedy team (RE: Democrats) that are running.

I particularly like Mr. Trumps ideas on how to save social security.

Mr. Trump, if you are reading this, you should consider running in 2004. Mr. Bush could use some real competition. Obviously right now, he doesn't have any. Your views could make for a stronger America.

5-0 out of 5 stars Interesting Book
Very good book by Trump. I didn't agree with all of Mr. Trump's views but this book was very well written. Unfortunately, Trump did not run for president. It would have been intersting to hear more of his interesting politcal views. I'm not sure though that a country should be run the way that a billion dollar corporation is run. Overall, Trump wrote a very good book and he deserves to be applauded for it. ... Read more

172. Eleanor Roosevelt: A Life of Discovery
by Russell Freedman
list price: $10.95
our price: $8.21
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0395845203
Catlog: Book (1997-04-14)
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Co
Sales Rank: 92253
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The intriguing story of Eleanor Roosevelt traces the life of the former First Lady from her early childhood through the tumultuous years in the White House to her active role in the founding of the United Nations after World War II.A Newberry Honor Book. ... Read more

Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Woman of the century
To my mind there are two biographers that write for children and that can do no wrong. On is the ineffable J. Giblin (author of "The Life and Death of Adolf Hitler") and one is Russell Freedman. Freedman is best known for his well-rounded and intensely researched biography of Abraham Lincoln (entitled "Lincoln: A Photobiography"), winner of the Newbery award. Turning his sights to a slightly more modern personage, Freedman examines the life and times of Eleanor Roosevelt.

Every biography needs a hook. It's not enough to lay out the facts of a person's life and let them speak for themselves. Many times, a work examining a famous figure needs to go a little further. To find out what exactly made this person tick. Eleanor Roosevelt's life was not a common one, but it many ways it began ordinarily. Born to beautiful but distant parents, Eleanor struggled with her plain looks and her inordinate shyness from day one. Freedman is often in a position to demonize those people in Roosevelt's life that let her down, yet he never wishes to do so. Rather than actually say, "Eleanor's parents were negligent baboons", the author instead places the facts before the viewer. Examining them, we see that, yes, they were negligent baboons. But we have reached that conclusion on our own, without being told what to think. So goes the rest of Freedman's book. As she grows, Eleanor matures, finds strength in herself, and eventually becomes the best known (and most widely respected) first lady of the United States.

There are a few problems with the biography, though they are small. The book allows itself a small flourish occasionally. One example might be Eleanor's death scene, wherein the author supposes that the former first lady may have seen the image of her father upon dying. Also, though the sources cited are many, Freedman fails to footnote a single page in any way (a talent Giblin has always excelled in). A timeline of Eleanor's life would not have been out of place here either. Just the same, these are small potatoes.

This is a book written specifically with children or young adults in mind. As such, it is interesting and informative. Beautiful photographs accompany almost every page, and there is even a small photo album of additional shots in the back. Hearsay and conjecture about Mrs. Eleanor's private life has been ignored entirely. The book does observe FDR's romantic liaisons (some provided by his daughter, no less) but it does not dwell on them obsessively. As Eleanor forgives but does not forget his dalliances, and so too the reader comes to forgive (maybe a little less) but not forget them either. FDR is interesting, but this is a book about Eleanor Roosevelt and the life she led. Anyone wishing to teach about a popular proto-feminist would do very well to use this woman as their primary example. Freedman has treated her with the dignity she deserves. It is a noteworthy accomplishment.

5-0 out of 5 stars This is a fantastic book to look into for information!
This book is one of the books that you should really read. It contains tons of information about Eleanor Roosevelt. I had to write a biography about her for a project at school and I aced it! This book had lots of pictures too. I could not put it down!

5-0 out of 5 stars Very well researched and fascinating!
As a fifth grade student, I did not think that reading a biography would be interesting. However, this book captured my interest from the beginning to the end. The author provides many details about Eleanor Roosevelt's life both before and after she met FDR. After reading this book I really admire Eleanor Roosevelt. She was truly a determined, caring woman.

5-0 out of 5 stars This book really reveals the life of an American Heroine!
This book is truly one you should read. I read it for english and loved learning about a first lady who wasn't afraid to stand up for her rights. But when you read you will discover her life wasn't all glamour. The book is easy reading and enjoyable. There are some parts that you may skip and won't really make a difference. So buy this book now and read until your done! ... Read more

173. Why Lincoln Matters : Today More Than Ever
by Mario M. Cuomo
list price: $24.00
our price: $14.40
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0151009996
Catlog: Book (2004-06-01)
Publisher: Harcourt
Sales Rank: 15337
Average Customer Review: 4.14 out of 5 stars
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Politicians have been casting themselves as inheritors of the banner of Abraham Lincoln since his assassination nearly a century and a half ago, as former New York governor Mario Cuomo chronicles in the first of this slim but eloquent political treatise. From William Jennings Bryant to William Jefferson Clinton, from FDR through W, figures on the left and right have declared themselves heirs to the martyred "secular saint" of American statesmanship. (Ronald Reagan went so far as to misattribute eight conservative maxims from the great man at the 1992 Republican convention; the adages turned out to be the creation of a early-20th-century clergyman who was putting his own spin on the Lincoln legacy.) Cuomo notes that Lincoln is too complex a figure to belong exclusively to either the left or the right, but that doesn't stop him from finding an enduring link from Lincoln’s vision to Cuomo's brand of unabashed liberalism. The notion may be debatable, but Cuomo, one of the great orators of his generation, is as fluent at the keyboard as he is at the lectern, making Why Lincoln Matters a rewarding read for those on both sides of the divide. Fired by 9-11 and the 2004 presidential election, Cuomo surveys a host of contemporary issues---from the battle against terrorism to religion, race, and the role of government---interpreting the words and notions of his political hero like a true believer deciphers the Bible. One can dispute his conclusions, but his rousing passion and sense of mission are at the very least thought provoking and articulately reasoned. --Steven Stolder ... Read more

Reviews (7)

4-0 out of 5 stars a valid argument in spite of a clear political bias:
Call this a good book with a number of obvious problems. The first issue I would take (and my four star review is quite sincere, regardless of the spate of criticisms to follow) is the fact that many of these essays were clearly written at different times. The editorial process, or what there is of it, has managed somewhat admirably to keep the issues up to date (or at least to the time of its publication as so many things are happening so quickly it is impossible to avoid an ensuing irrelevence). What is wrong is the fact that so many points are repeated--endlessly, it seems at times--and this makes the reader sometimes wonder if they hadn't just read or overheard the exact same thing elsewhere. Now there are positives and negatives to this impression. A positive, certainly, would be the implied rational logic of the argument--yeah, I've heard that before so this guy really makes sense. The negative (and this probably affected me more specifically) is that you will read the same idea over and over again.

Now Cuomo has some good things to say, some interesting parallels to make between Lincoln's time and the present moment in history and he argues passionately and forcefully. He didn't necessarily need to convince me as I likely already agreed with much of what he is saying. But as a reader I try to avoid applying my own personal biases and look at the issue at hand objectively (although if I disagreed with his points I bet my review would have dropped a star or two).

What is ultimately at hand, after the eloquent sling shots of President Bush and his supporters, is a minimal hypocrisy on the part of Mr. Cuomo, a man I admire and respect tremendously. He condemns certain politicos of the past for "quoting Lincoln out of context" or for applying his words to their own issues. Unfortunately he does the exact same thing here, assuming Lincoln's opinions regarding issues a mid-19th century politician, a radical or otherwise, could not possibly grasp.

Again, I agree (if not wholeheartedly than essentially) with many of Cuomo's criticisms of the way the Bush administration is running the economy, the 'war on terrorism'--even the murky religious/moral issues at hand throughout the world. This is a worthwhile book if only to get an intelligent man's opinions, stated clearly and persuasively, regardless of what you may actually believe. This is not the angry ranting of some spoiled and frustrated 'liberal' nor the embittered mumblings of a professional contrarian, but a well thought out screed and ideology about how to improve not just America but the very world itself.

This is, in spite of its temporary contemporary relevence, a celebration of Lincoln's brilliance in statesmanship and his greatness as a communicator. It is a history book applied to the present. I would whole-heartedly recommend Cuomo's ideas to anyone--to consider, to talk over, even to debate prior to dismissing. I would just warn that the author is guilty of much of what he seems to disparage in his own political opposition, regardless of his greater ability to communicate his ideas.

5-0 out of 5 stars Lincoln From a (Very) Liberal Viewpoint
Mario Cuomo, three time governor of New York is also a long-time Lincoln scholar. Here he writes a very interesting book on how he thinks Lincoln would have handled the situations facing George W. Bush.

The simularities are striking, not only a war, but deep divisions within the country on the basic conservative/liberal viewpoints.

During the civil war Lincoln silenced some of his enemies by simply arresting them and holding them without trial or due process. In 1866 the Supreme Court ruled this illegal. Now the US is holding some 158 accused Taliban and al Qaeda members. Just this week the Supreme Court said 'no-no.'

Throughout the book Mr. Cuomo uses selected quotations from Lincoln to illustrate how he thinks Lincoln would have handled the current situations. As Mr. Cuomo is an unabashed liberal, and Mr. Bush is an unabashed conservative, I wonder if Mr. Bush might have picked a different set of quotations to prove that he is handling the situation just like Lincoln would have done.

This is a very different approach to using history to illustrate our current problems. One small section of the book is devoted to how Lincoln might have addressed Congress, a Lincoln's State of the Union Message if you will. Mr. Cuomo uses this 'speach' to decry budget deficits (strange how the Democrats and Republicans have switched sides on this issue), but spend more on education, give more money to the states, etc.

5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing Synthesis
Gov. Cuomo has done a tremendous job weaving together his own commentary on our nation's present predicament with Lincoln's wisdom. When I read Donald's biography of Lincoln, I found Lincoln's humility in the face of his challengers to be the most enduring lesson. In part, I think it grew out of his considerable depression and what was clearly a sense of being alone in the world. Ironically, it became his greatest asset. In a strange way, by contrast, George W is too well-adjusted for our nation's good. The thread that runs through his prosecution of this war, his cynical treatment of the environment, his tax policies, and many other policies is a complete absence of self-doubt. The beauty of this book is that Gov. Cuomo has captured both Lincoln's essence and Bush's in a nuanced contrast.
I found three areas particularly fascinating. First, the discussion of civil liberties and Lincoln's approach to the Supreme Court appointments. I had not thought about the relevance of Lincoln's actions in the Civil War to the current Court's consideration of "enemy combatant" status for U.S. citizens. Second, Lincoln's religion fascinates me in part b/c Jefferson's does as well. I wish it were better appreciated that two of our nation's most foundational thinkers and leaders had deep concerns about the role of organized religion in issues of state and worked hard to preserve the separation without denying the value of religious beliefs and practice. Third, and most important, the State of the State chapter was a terrific idea and beautifully executed. I only wish that it were being issued by the White House today rather than just being published by Harcourt Brace.

5-0 out of 5 stars Democratic Republican or Republican Democrat?
In today's political climate, the rhetoric and the pressure to be either Democrat or Republican often ignores the fact that the issues are so closely interwoven that it's difficult to tell the difference in some cases. In fact, logic requires that when persons like Reagan or Clinton grow up in Democratic households as Reagan did, or Republican households as Clinton did, (I think), and as many others have, it may be impossible to typecast the person as all Democrat or all Republican, based upon the kinds of issues defined by Lincoln and others who founded the parties. Unfortunately, the political labels of today with respect to conservative or liberal don't really convey much anymore, and the lables of Democratic Republican or Republican Democrat may serve to identify the political hybrids of today which are flocking into the elections as candidates, Hillary included who once, was Republican possibly until the McGovern campaign as volunteer. As America grows more mature, Cuomo may have the perspectives to allow America to evaluate its political momentum more effectively through the number of political crises that reveal more than has been currently discussed with regard to political centers. These rifts have yet to be debated successfully, and may cause the bulk of the derision seen on many current political talk shows.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Clear Voice For America's Most Important Values
Governor Cuomo, one of the nation's foremost experts on Abraham Lincoln's life and writings, has examined the ways in which Lincoln dealt with the crises facing the nation during his presidency, deconstructed them to find Lincoln's core values, and brilliantly applied them to the key issues facing us today: war, civil liberties, the role of government, economic opportunity, globailization, religion, the Supreme Court, and race. While both Republicans and Democrats have claimed Lincoln as their own, Cuomo's book shows us that Lincoln's legacy transcends party lines, and that Lincoln's views on these issues, his values and his vision of America are as important and relevant today as they were then. Whether you agree or disagree with Mario Cuomo's politics, this is a readable, thought-provoking book by a great intellect, communicator and historian about another great intellect and communicator that reminds us why America became and still is such a great country.
I particularly enjoyed "Abraham Lincoln's 2004 Address to Congress" -- Cuomo's take on what Lincoln would say to us today, and how he would say it. ... Read more

174. The Uncommon Wisdom of Oprah Winfrey: A Portrait in Her Own Words
by Oprah Winfrey, Bill Adler
list price: $14.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1559724196
Catlog: Book (1997-01-01)
Publisher: International Thomson Publishing
Sales Rank: 53322
Average Customer Review: 3 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Words more important than packager
You can get lost in the fact that this is a collection of quotes by Oprah and not thoughts written by Oprah exclusively for this book.
Or you could be smart and glean wisdom from what she has to say.
How she grew up, what she learned from her errors, what she thinks of money and herself in relationship to it, the mental preparation to receive the abundance that she has and how she stays centered.

What I think thsi book is valuable for is insight, and perhaps personal inspiration for how to manage one's self in certain situations. The goal is not to become Oprah, it is to become the best YOU possible.

You take or you leave it, but you integrate it into the lessons and challenges of your own life. The same with John D. Rockefeller, Bill Gates, Jenny Jones (hahhahahaha----kidding).

3-0 out of 5 stars A chronology of quotations
While this is a very interesting and well researched book on Oprah, keep in mind that it is an unauthorized biography. This book is basically a chronology of Oprah's life, and Adler does a decent job of stringing her quotes into a coherent history. A nice bonus is the section of short quotes on a wide variety of subjects. If you love Oprah, you'll probably love this book!

1-0 out of 5 stars An unauthorized book of Oprah Winfrey quotes.
Bill Adler has taken past interviews, articles, and speeches of Oprah Winfrey and complied _his list_ of her best quotations. It's an unauthorized book - meaning Oprah didn't write it nor was she involved in the production. Some quotations show the source of information with a date and some don't -- which makes it a bit disappointing not to have the history or context pertaining to the quote. If you have an extensive Oprah collection, you'll want this book just to say you have everything, otherwise there are many other good Oprah biographies available. ... Read more

175. FDR: Nothing to Fear
by Franklin D. Roosevelt, Speechworks
list price: $15.95
our price: $13.56
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1885959060
Catlog: Book (1995-08)
Publisher: Jerden Records
Sales Rank: 54034
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Featuring highlights of 15 Major Speeches given by FDR.Includes his riveting take-charge Inaugural Address, the Declaration of War, memorable fireside chats, the war-time Christmas-Eve message, the solemn D-Day Prayer and more. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Great Book!
This is a great book. FDR may be a favorite of yours or not, regardless his speeches desereve to be read. FDR was an inspirational speaker who moved the masses with his words. He has left us with many timeless and priceless quotes that can be found in the speeches featured in this book. I would highly recommend this book to any one looking for a boost in confidence. FDR's words make you feel like anything is possible. Remember "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself". ... Read more

176. His Way : An Unauthorized Biography Of Frank Sinatra
list price: $7.99
our price: $7.19
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553265156
Catlog: Book (1987-09-01)
Publisher: Bantam
Sales Rank: 181736
Average Customer Review: 3.18 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (17)

3-0 out of 5 stars A mixed bag
Kitty Kelley's book about Frank Sinatra made countless headlines when it was released and shot to the top of the best seller list. Unfortunately, the book is very tabloidy. If you read this book without knowing anything about Sinatra, you will come away with the impression that he was a monster. True, he did have his share of fights and problems with the press, but Kelley makes it sound as if all he did his life was yell at people. The few times she mentions all of the charity work he did, its in passing and never very respectful.
There is no doubt that the book is readable. I found myself not wanting to put it down, but at the same time wishing Kelley was more unbiased.
It is one of the longer Sinatra bios, but I feel that the definitive biography of the man as a human being with both good points and bad points has yet to be written. Read this book with an open mind and don't take everything as fact. I suggest that to get "the other side of the story", you read Nancy Sinatra's "An American Legend" as well.

1-0 out of 5 stars Don't waste your money on this garbage!!!!
Don't buy this garbage, if you want to read about Frank Sinatra and want to know what he was really like pick up "Frank Sinatra: An American Legend: by Nancy Sinatra" and "My Father's Daughter :by Tina Sinatra" =-)

5-0 out of 5 stars Ol' Red Eyes
This book is very readable. Pick it up at any page and go. A lot of Sinatras wild exploits are written about. Many are of a negative nature (as many interesting wild exploits are), but there are many references supporting them.

The long length of this book, combined with its interesting items, and its ease of reading, make this book great.

Truth or not? Who knows to what degree. Certainly there have been enough well documented incidents with Sinatra that the content of this book is not unreasonable to believe.

It does focus on his behavior, and life, more than his actual music activities. If that makes this book "tabloid" then fine, it also makes it interesting and readable.

For in depth Sinatra music related biographical information, there must be a better book than this.

This book is great if you are intersted in the wild exploits of his life. And oh they were wild.

The book keeps moving. Its fast (though long). Nothing in the book is uninteresting.

3-0 out of 5 stars Fun Fiction
I didn't know Frank was in the mob and was required to bed down every new star in Hollywood, oh yea an then there was the part about him and Jack Ruby... If you have ever read one of her books then this is the same thing, an easy to read book full of juicy rumors and assumptions that are fun to read. My only complaint is that I think her legal team probably goes over the test better then the editors, some cuts here and there would have made it moves a bit faster. This book is like a 350 page Start Tabloid issue devoted to Frank, if that is your type of thing this is a good book for you. IF you are after an unbiased story I would keep looking.

3-0 out of 5 stars "If Adolph Hitler Could Sing....."
When her meat cleaver of a 'biography', "His Way," was first published in 1986, Kitty Kelley appeared on the Larry King show and claimed it was a "balanced" book.

Had King read the book and if he had some guts as an interviewer,
he would have laughed her off the show.

Claiming "His Way" is "balanced" is like the Grand Dragon of the KKK stating his group is racially mixed.

With a certain amount of glee, Kelley recounts every seamy story of Sinatra's personal life...the women, the brawls, the fits of temper, the mistreatment of employees (Frank allegedly dumped a plate of spaghetti over his valet's head, because the man didn't cook it 'al dente').

Nowhere, however, in this litany of horrors, real or rumored, does Sinatra, the musician,emerge.

"His Way" paints the man who many regard as the finest pop singer of our time,as a psychotic egomaniac, who sang a song from time to time.

Kelley completely misses the point of what made Sinatra so alluring to the public...the dichotomy of the public man and the private artist...that a man so capable of violence and ugliness could also produce such continually beautiful music through the years (Example: Kelley recounts the year 1965 without once mentioning Sinatra's record breaking tour with the Basie band).

By almost ignoring the music, Kelley has produced a book with the mentality of the worst of the supermarket Sinatra epitaph would ever use the phrase "Frank was a nice guy," but'His Way' portrays a man who was Adolph Hitler with a tuxedo and hand mike.

It's like writing a biogprahy of Picasso and adding as a footnote at the end.."oh, by the way, he could ALSO paint!" ... Read more

177. Elizabeth and Mary : Cousins, Rivals, Queens
list price: $30.00
our price: $19.80
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375408983
Catlog: Book (2004-01-06)
Publisher: Knopf
Sales Rank: 3666
Average Customer Review: 4.11 out of 5 stars
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Jane Dunn’s Elizabeth and Mary: Cousins, Rivals, Queens offers a blend of history and biography that traces the "dynamic interaction" between two of the most powerful women in Western history. Dunn remains ever aware of the uniqueness of her two central figures: both women ruled as divinely ordained monarchs in a male dominated power structure; and both women were from the same family (Elizabeth I was the granddaughter of Henry VII, and Mary Queen of Scots the great-granddaughter of King Henry).

By focusing not on pure biography but instead on relationships, Dunn is able to narrow her book (still mammoth in scope) to the most salient and interesting events in the two queens’ lives. The book begins in 1558, the year in which Mary first wed and Elizabeth assumed the throne of England. Almost immediately the cousins were embroiled in a conflict that would endure for the remainder of Mary’s life. A restless, sexually-active Catholic, and leader of the Scottish people in alliance with France, Mary was ever a conduit for rumors of rebellion. The "Virgin Queen" Elizabeth used Mary as a dark reflection to underline her own celibate constancy as a ruler of law and order.

The pair never met face to face, but as Dunn reveals, their lives were closely intertwined. After holding Mary in Fotheringhay prison for nearly two decades, Elizabeth ordered her cousin executed in 1587. Mary had chosen martyrdom in favor of a confession to complicity in the Babington assassination plot. In court, she declared: "I would never make Shipwreck of my Soul by conspiring the Destruction of my dearest Sister." Though the ostensible victor, Elizabeth (who had struggled to find a way to release her cousin while still upholding her own power as queen) confessed, "I am not free, but a captive." In Elizabeth and Mary, Dunn has built a rich world that underlines the tragic struggle between private emotions and the public faces history puts on them. --Patrick O’Kelley ... Read more

Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars An outstanding historical comparison...
Dunn did something different with this book. Rather than reiterate all the facts in the lives of these two contemporary monarchs, Dunn zoned in on the both the similarties between the two women, but more importantly on the differences that led one queen to being one of the best monarchs (female or male), while the other one's claim to fame would end up being a martyr around whom fogs of mysteries could be built (and were).

At first I was a little disappointed in not getting more information than Dunn was providing. It wasn't until where I saw where she was going through comparing the two women, that I could settle in and enjoy the book. I am quite sure there are more then enough biographies out there on both the English and Scottish monarchs, and the world of intrigue swirling around them. What was interesting about this book is the recognition that Elizabeth's very uncertain childhood had an immense impact on her later abilities as a queen, while Mary was spoiled in the French court and so when she came across difficulties later on, she did not know how to handle political crises diplomatically.

Another interesting point, is how much written information (usually in letter formats, or writing from diplomats to their respective kings or queens or popes) still exists from over 500 years ago. We may live in the information age, but these guys managed to get information quite well, as well as spread disinformation successfully.

Dunn's writing is excellent. This book was an enjoyable and fast read. Dunn provides an excellent geneaological chart at the beginning of the book, as well as a chronological chart of the time period. In the back is a great select Bibliography for those who wish to continue to read on this fascinating time.

Karen Sadler

4-0 out of 5 stars A fascinating side-by-side comparison of two rival queens.
Many have criticized this dual biography for not introducing new material, and simply re-hashing what has been written elsewhere. And clearly there is no shortage of excellent biogaphies on both of these queens. However, it is the format of Dunn's book that sets it apart and gives us an innovative perspective. Queen Elizabeth I of England and Mary, Queen of Scots, were both fascinating monarchs in their own right, but equally fascinating is the complex relationship between them. Both women had a claim to the throne of England. Elizabeth was the daughter of King Henry VIII and his second wife, Anne Boleyn. Elizabeth's grandfather, Henry VII, who overthrew Richard III and founded the Tudor dynasty, was also the great-grandfather of Mary (born to King James V of Scotland and Mary of Guise). Elizabeth was Mary's elder by only nine years. Both women were ambitious, passionate, and cunning. Yet despite their similar status as queens and cousins, these two women were also very different from one another.

Mary became Queen of Scotland only six days after her birth in 1542, upon the death of her father. In 1548 she was sent to France, to grow up in the court of her French fiance, the dauphin Francis. Her status was never in question, and therefore she never questioned it herself. Elizabeth, however, traversed a much more tumultuous path to her throne. When her mother was beheaded so Henry VIII could marry his third wife, the young princess was declared illegitimate and removed from the succession. Ultimately her place in the succession was reinstated, but this in no way guaranteed that she would ever become queen. First in line was her radically Protestant half-brother, Edward, who died young. Next came the devoutly Catholic Mary I ("Bloody Mary"), Elizabeth's half-sister from Henry VIII's first marriage, under whom Elizabeth even spent some time in the Tower of London. It was only upon Mary's death in 1558, when Elizabeth was 24 years of age, that she finally ascended the throne herself.

The relationship between Elizabeth and Mary was very multi-faceted (despite the fact that the two queens never met). For most of her life, Mary referred to Elizabeth as a dear sister, and actively sought her cousin's favor. Yet at the same time Mary coveted the English crown, and even on several occasions declared that she herself was the rightful Queen of England. Yet the Queen of Scots, by dint of her as-yet unthreatened sovereignty, could also be presumtuous to a fault. Her impulsive marriage to Lord Darnley, her second husband (who was shortly thereafter murdered), against the will and advice of many in both Scotland and England, marked the beginning of her ultimate downward slide. Elizabeth, while she displayed more pragmatism in matters of the heart, was also somewhat jealous of her cousin's romantic exploits. Elizabeth had realized early on that she could never marry her personal favorite, Robert Dudley, the Earl of Leicester, and that she must instead declare herself to be married to her country, but this did not erase her longing for romantic fulfilment.

Ultimately Elizabeth was forced to imprison, and eventually execute, her cousin and rival queen. Mary, fleeing from Scottish rebels, thought to run to Elizabeth for refuge and support. But Elizabeth insisted on an investigation into Mary's possible involvement in the murder of Lord Darnley, and therefore detained the Scottish queen in a remote castle. Despite Mary's repeated pleas, she refused an audience with her, fearing the Queen of Scots' reputation for beguiling charm. Mary's imprisonment became all the more serious when she was implicated in a plot to assassinate Elizabeth. The English queen had no desire to execute her cousin, despite pressure from her counselors. Only when irrefutable proof of Mary's involvement was produced did Elizabeth finally sign the death warrant, and even then she was plagued with guilt. In all, Mary spent nearly two decades as Elizabeth's prisoner, and was finally beheaded in 1587, still having never met her cousin and greatest rival.

The basic story is obviously the same. Indeed, I think it would be hard to introduce any new material on the lives of Elizabeth and Mary at this point, when we probably already know all we ever will about them. Yet Dunn's presentation here is fascinating. By placing the two queens side-by-side for comparison and contrast, and focussing on their relationship, we get to see both sides of the story simultaneously. This format emphasizes the inter-connectedness of their lives, and really shows how much each was dependent on the other. In many ways each served as the only person who could truly identify with the other, both being women rulers in a time when females were seen as incapable of effective leadership, and being each other's closest blood relatives (with the exception of Mary's son, James VI & I).

Dunn's writing style, while not the most engaging I have ever read, is nevertheless very accessible. She has clearly done her research, and paints a lovely dual portrait of these two women. I also liked the fact that, when using direct quotes, Dunn gives both the original text with its archaic and unstandardized spellings, and also the same quote written with modern spellings, which makes it easier to read and understand. My only real criticism of the text is that she skims over a few events that are considered "well-known," when the book would have been more balanced and informative if Dunn had written on all events with equal detail. After all, not all her readers will have read extensively on these monarchs before picking up this book. On a positive note, the book is equipped with numerous full-color pictures, including portraits of the queens, their family members, important members of their courts, and even some pictures of embroidery Mary completed while imprisoned in England. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book, learned much from it, and would definitely recommend it.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Pair of Queens
Some have criticized Jane Dunn's history of Elizabeth I and Mary, Queen of Scots, for not covering any new ground. I find that the parallel biography format makes a new look at an old story well worth while. You may already know the histories of the two queens and their separate lives, but to read about them simultaneously makes vividly clear how intertwined their stories are.

Dunn's style is accurate and entertaining without being over-scholarly. The addition of details that other biographers have omitted is welcome. (She mentions that Elizabeth was nearsighted, for instance.) The narrative flows naturally from one queen to the other without seeming choppy. Just when you are starting to wonder what's going on with the other, the scene changes to keep you up to date.

I was somewhat disappointed with the way Dunn treats the murder of Riccio (spelled Rizzio in some accounts). While she discusses fully the repurcussions of the murder, she glosses over the actual sequence of events in one sentence, since the story "is well-known." I think a popular history such as this is the perfect place to include a full account, both for those who are new to the subject and to re-acquaint the rest of us with a dramatic event.

Dunn, like many biographers, is attached to her subjects. She gives everyone the benefit of a doubt. This is surely the most sympathetic account of Lord Darnley that I have read yet. (Especially on the heels of the recent Alison Weir history of Mary and Darnley.) But she backs up her assertions and conclusions with solid arguments and thorough documentation. And although she says that people still tend to divide themselves into Elizabeth admirers and Mary supporters, she seems to have an equal bias for each queen.

5-0 out of 5 stars Elizabeth (Sense) vs. Mary (Sensibility) is great history!
Jane Dunn has authored an outstanding work of Elizabethian history. Dunn is an excellent historian who is also a superb stylist writing with wit and wisdom.
Elizabeth and Mary are, of course, Elizabeth I the daughter of Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII and Mary Queen of Scots who was the daughter of Mary of Guise and James V of Scotland.
They were cousins, rivals and queens! Mary was raised in the decadent court of France when she married the French king. Later she would marry twice more-Darnley who was murdered and the murderer of her husband Bothwell. Mary was impetuous, vain,a Francophile and a devoted Roman Catholic. Her wish was to make England Catholic and herself queen. She was devious and loved nothing more than a good plot against cousin Elizabeth. Mary died in 1587 as Elizabeth executed her Scottish cousin due to the latter's involvement in a plot against her own life.
Elizabeth spent time in the Tower as an adolescent placed their by her half-sister Bloody Mary; had outstanding advisors to guide her diplomacy (such as Cecil, Leicester and Walsingham)
while Mary made one tragic mistake after another. Her life was one of adventure, murder (Darnley and her friend Riccio) and an insatiable desire for power. Mary gave birth to James VI of Scotland who despite her wishes was raised as a Protestant later becoming King Jame I of England.
On and on could this reviewer go in delineating the intricacies of life in 16th century Europe as Spain and France
with Catholic might looked with hatred at that island upstart called England.
Elizabeth is the greatest of English queens who triumphed over both Mary and the Spanish Armada of 1588.
This is the only dual biography I know of these two fascinating queens. Dunn has a done a superb job and is to be commended for an outstanding biography which will behoove every English history buff to read with enjoyment and profit.


1-0 out of 5 stars ONE SIDED
Impartial to both rulers, I find this book terribly one sided...much in favor of Elizabeth while essentially chastising Mary through repetetive points of describing Mary's sexual appetite and ineptness even though the next lines and paragraphs have nothing to do with the description. ... Read more

178. Johann Sebastian Bach: The Learned Musician
by Christoph Wolff
list price: $19.95
our price: $13.57
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0393322564
Catlog: Book (2001-09)
Publisher: W.W. Norton & Company
Sales Rank: 23998
Average Customer Review: 4.31 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Finalist for the 2001 Pulitzer Prize in Biography. A landmark biography of Bach on the 250th anniversary of the composer's death, written by the leading Bach scholar of our age. Although we have heard the music of J. S. Bach in countless performances and recordings, the composer himself still comes across only as an enigmatic figure in a single familiar portrait. As we mark the 250th anniversary of Bach's death, author Christoph Wolff presents a new picture that brings to life this towering figure of the Baroque era. This engaging new biography portrays Bach as the living, breathing, and sometimes imperfect human being that he was, while bringing to bear all the advances of the last half-century of Bach scholarship. Wolff demonstrates the intimate connection between the composer's life and his music, showing how Bach's superb inventiveness pervaded his career as musician, composer, performer, scholar, and teacher. And throughout, we see Bach in the broader context of his time: its institutions, traditions, and influences. With this highly readable book, Wolff sets a new standard for Bach biography. 42 b/w illustrations. ... Read more

Reviews (13)

4-0 out of 5 stars dry but readable and insightful
After reading this book I came away with a good understanding of Bach's musical achievements and his concept of what music is all about. This is a very well written and comprehensive look at Bach's music and musical evolution thru life - including his major, longer works (no minuets included) and musical surroundings. It is very well worth reading for its study of Bach's music if you have some technical musical background (more on that later).

One small complaint: most of the music titles are given in German only. Since there are hundreds of such cases, it was impractical to do always search for a translation on the internet so I'm sure I missed a few points. For example the titles of Bach's first three key teaching works are listed - with only the first in English. Wolff then says that "the carefully coordinated phraseology of all three titles" were impressive!
Fortunately, the German version of "The Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach" is obvious in meaning but shamefully without translation: for many of us, one of our first piano pieces came from that notebook!

Finally, this is not a complaint, but a warning. You will have great difficulty with this book if you don't have some background in musical terminology, notation, and Baroque music history. You should know the meaning of terms like "basso continuo", "counterpoint", "thoroughbass" (figured bass), etc. to appreciate the text. For example, there is much discussion of Bach's role in the evolution of the "Fugue". Other forms, such as the "motet" (sacred music not an integral part of the mass) are mentioned without definition. For such a background, I would recommend Kamien's "Music An Appreciation, Ed.8" - or a less expensive alternative that covers music from the Middle Ages to the Baroque Period.

5-0 out of 5 stars A scholarly masterpiece worthy of your intelligence!
This book is most ostensibly not a work intended to provide a layman's knowledge of Bach. The book assumes a fair knowledge of Bach and his oeuvre, as well as a thorough knowledge of music theory and general instrumentation. Cristoph Wolff has written a thoroughly satisfying and extraordinarily comprehensive summary of Bach's professional and personal lives. I found that despite the book's intrinsically serious tone, reading it as a whole felt not like a biography, but a story that us Bach fanatics wish would never end.

This book is thoroughly impressive in both its scope and its detail, though the numerous tables cataloguing Bach's work from the various periods such as Weimar and Cothen are not as well integrated in text as one might hope. Where Wolff makes the occasional reference to the tables, I as the reader desired to see more comparison and analysis of various works in each period.

It is also immediately apparent upon even a glance through the index that Wolff dedicates much of his analysis of Bach's major works to Bach's vocal music, and notably less space to Bach's instrumental and keyboard/organ music. As we know, Bach's Fugue "the Great" in G minor, BWV 542, is a towering masterpiece of Bach's (and Baroque) organ music, but Wolff hardly affords it the analysis it demands. He also neglects to develop much depth of analysis with Bach's instrumental works. For example, we know that nearly all of Bach's solo and multiple piano concerti have their roots in previous concerti, but little attention is paid as to why Bach chose to transcribe to piano(harpsichord), why he selected the works he did, and whether there is a distinct method/pattern to Bach's transcriptions.

Wolff does do, however, an exquisite job of analysis of Bach's vocal music, exploring the depth of Bach's passion for writing cantatas, and how skillfully he was able to interpet his vision of the words into music. Wolff provides numerous glimpses of Bach's organ expertise, especially in the field of repair and construction. These descriptions do require some prior knowledge of how an organ produces sound and how it is played in order to be enjoyed to the fullest. The book also does a magnificient job of exploring and relating the various and primary influences on Bach's musical development and style. Wolff provides an insight into the influence of Dietrich Buxtehude especially, as well as that of Johann Pachelbel and the numerous older Bach relations. Much has been heaped upon Mozart's child prodigy fame, but even those of us for whom Bach is a perpetual favorite, know little about Bach's formative years, and Wolff gives a very comprehensive look at Bach's musical training.

Wolff's small digressions notwithstanding, this book is truly one every lover of Bach should keep in his library. (And reread every so often!)

4-0 out of 5 stars Detailed and Learned but Ultimately Unrewarding
This is a very detailed book covering a great deal about the life of Bach. A great deal of insight is on offer regarding the great man's life and times as well as the likely basis under which he produced his work. I have found that reading and re-reading this book has significantly enahnced my understanding of Bach's world - Thuringia in the first half of the 18th century.

There is more detail here in terms of how Bach lived and his day to day relations, both personal and professional, than anyone could possibly need. In terms of factual aspects concerning Bach and his life one could not expect or need anything more that this book and in this regard the book is successful; Christolph Wolff has been more than thorough in his research. So many points of detail are listed that I thought that I would come across one of Bach's laundry lists if I read for long enough. It could be said that there is actually too much detail here which doesn't significantly more forward one's understanding of Bach the man or Bach the musician. However, in an academic book such as this it is generally accepted that a surfeit of information does not constitute a lapse of quality. Concise is not an adjective which could be applied to the author.

However, there are two drawbacks for me in this book. The first is a relatively minor point but the second is very significant.

The first drawback is that the content of the book is, at times, meandering. Wolff seems to move around subjects and themes within a single chapter leaving the reader confused and unsatisfied. While there is plenty of information - sometimes too much even - the underlying structure is confused and confusing. This can appear as a meandering text which sometimes seems to lose the idea of the point it is pursuing. This is more a matter of style than an outright criticim however.

The second drawback is far more significant for me. Most people who would go to the extent of buying and reading this book would have a specific interest in Bach; that is his music represents something special to them. Many such readers will view Bach as a great genius; I am in that camp myself, no doubt so is Christolph Wolff. The main point about Bach is his musical, expecially compositorial skill. Why then is there no analysis of Bach's genius? How and where did it originate and how did it develop in his lifetime? How, in the view of the author, does Bach's genius manifest itself in his works. What is it about Bach which has raised his work to such an exalted level - how is this different to his contemporaries? The author scant regard to where Bach's creativity ebb and flow and how this manifested itself in his work. Little effort seems to be made in this book to consider the work of Bach in terms of how it could be analysed and contrasted - surely this is of primary importance in understanding Bach and his music.

I'm afraid that the dry factual/quantative approach which Wolff takes with regard to Bach's creative process is ultimately unrewarding for me. Most people who listen to Bach would be interested to hear the different musical aspects of, say the Masses. Why is the B Minor Mass considered great and how could it be compared in musical terms to the Mass in F for instance.
Which of Bach's cantatas are the ones to focus on when trying to expand one's understanding of his oeuvre? Merely listing the various Cantata cycles is not sufficient in terms of understanding the qualitative aspects of the music.

While this book gets behind the day to day Bach it does not give any insight into the creative core of Bach. This is certainly not easy given the essentially unknowable aspects of creative genius and the elapsed time since Bach's life - however I would have appreciated some effort on this front.

No book can serve the purposes of all potential readers and what this book covers it does in quality and detail. However an analysis of Bach's life should never be divorced from an analysis of his genius which the author seems to have done here.

Christolph Wolff is clearly a man who understands the life and times of Bach in great detail but I would have preferred to see more focus on the qualitative aspects of Bachs music.

In summary, then an informative and useful factual book but one which misses the opportunity to inform the reader as to the practicalities of the works of the great genius Bach.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best book ever on Bach
The usual view of Bach's life that I grew up with portrays him as something of a musical hermit, producing masterpieces and children at a prolific rate in relative anonymity with little or no earthly recognition. This book completely revises my view of Bach's life. Wolff shows Bach as a fantastically well-rounded and charismatic musician with a fantastic ability to create masterpieces, a great teacher, well loved and respected member of the community, a profound and simple Christian, and a fundamentally happy, joyful, complete man. Wolff also tries to show that Bach was the greatest musician who ever lived, and does a pretty convincing job at that. I always knew Bach was a great musician; this book simply reinforces and proves my intuition. His intermittant references to Newton are a little annoying and indicative of the hyperbole Wolff sometimes uses, but one gets used to them. The book also shows his human side - his mercurial temperment, his sometimes overbearing and demanding personality, and his greed. This book contains an enormous amount of personal information on Bach, far more than I knew existed. Wolff writes well and does not use an inordinate amount of musical terminology, so a musical illiterate like myself can still read and enjoy him. If you love Bach's music get this book, and you might as well the New Bach Reader along with it, as a good percentage of the quotes in Wolff's come directly from this source.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Great Book on Bach's Life and Influence
J.S. Bach has been my longtime favorite classical composer, but while I knew he was one of the most influential composers in history, I never quite knew why. Moreover, he always seemed to have a tacit reputation as being rule-bound and stern, unlike the more dynamic, perhaps more charismatic, figures of Mozart and Beethoven (the latter's horrible temper notwithstanding). Cristoph Wolff's book has at last provided me with a fuller picture of Bach and his influence.

The subtitle "The Learned Musician" sets a primary theme for the work, namely Bach as the scholar-musician, who was able to pass rigorous theology exams in Latin and whose mastery of organ building was a significant achievement of engineering, math and acoustics, to say nothing of raw musical genius. A motif that crops up in this book is the comparison between Bach and Newton (which was made in Bach's time). Bach thought that there were rules of causality in canons just like there is causality in Nature, and used other musical pieces to explore theological concepts. Musical science is no mere metaphor applied by Wolff to Bach, but is something that the composer himself took very serious, and this was realized even by some of his contemporaries. Likewise Wolff also points out that this does not mean that Bach was some soulless theoretician either. Rather, Bach's work worked within rules of composition, but also broke and surpassed them when necessary. Bach refused to divorce theory from practice, so his collections of music like the Well-Tempered Clavier and the Art of the Fugue served to show how a particular form of music (e.g., the keyboard or the fugue) could be applied in just about any combination imaginable. These compositions were theoretical statements, albeit ones without words. Wolff does not get too bogged down in musical terms: this layman did struggle periodically, and I would understand more if I were a musician, but a lack of music theory would not destroy this books value to you.

Throughout the book Wolff shows how Bach's methodical perfectionism formed a powerful combination when joined with Bach's surprisingly passionate, joyful life. Just as his music was rigorous, Wolff also points out the profound, genuine emotion that goes into them. He also writes about some of Bach's comic cantatas--one in particular was written for a coffeehouse, and was written on coffee addiction. This did much to endear Bach to this college graduate's heart!

Just as important, Wolff presents Bach's musical odysseys within the context of his personal life. Troubles and triumphs with jobs, Bach's family life and personal anecdotes appear throughout the book with a special chapter at the end also dedicated to Bach's later home life. We learn of a man who always entertained guests despite a brutal work schedule, and who also managed to find time to buy his wife singing birds and flowers. Much of his life would sound quite familiar in America (e.g., rebellious sons, moving to a city with a better-paying job, etc.), and does much to remind us that Bach is a man, not some musical force of nature.

In the end, we have a picture of a man who used his art to explore nature and God, but did so with joy and while surrounded with a family to support and superiors to placate in the workplace. Now I have a foundation for appreciating some of his works that I never studied before, namely Bach's Masses and cantatata, and my appreciation for other works. I had previously read and enjoyed Douglas Hofstadter's _Godel, Escher, Bach_ (which I also recommend), and now I can why Hofstadter chose Bach to help him explore the nature of intelligence in both man and computers. Bach was truly a sort of scientist or natural philosopher, and Wolff lets you appreciate how Bach was both a philosopher and composer of beautiful music. ... Read more

179. Hitler: 1889-1936 Hubris
by Ian Kershaw, Norton
list price: $35.00
our price: $23.10
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0393046710
Catlog: Book (1999-01-01)
Publisher: W.W. Norton & Company
Sales Rank: 46958
Average Customer Review: 4.61 out of 5 stars
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Noted for his excellent structural explanation of the Third Reich's political culture in The Hitler Myth, eminent historian Ian Kershaw shifts approach in this innovative biography of the Nazi tyrant. The first of a two-volume study, Hubris is far from a simple rehearsal of "great man" history, impressively exploring the historical forces that transformed a shiftless Austrian daydreamer into a dictator with immense power.

In his forthright introduction, Kershaw acknowledges that, as a committed social historian, he did not include biography in his original intellectual plans. However, his "growing preoccupation" with the structures of Nazi domination pushed him toward questions about Hitler's place and considerable authority within that system. He argues that the sources for Hitler's power must be sought not only in the dictator's actions but also (and more importantly) in the social circumstances of a nation that allowed him to overstep all institutional and moral barriers. In a comprehensive treatment of Hitler's life and times up through the remilitarization of the Rhineland in 1936, Kershaw draws from documents recently made available from Russian archives and benefits from a rigorous source criticism that has discredited many records formerly understood to be reliable. Hubris thus supplants Alan Bullock's classic Hitler: A Study in Tyranny as the definitive account of a man who, with characteristic smugness, indicated that it was a divinely inspired history that made him: "I go with the certainty of a sleep walker along a path laid out for me by Providence." Kershaw's penetrating analysis of how such a certain path could emerge from the dire circumstances of post World War I Germany is the abiding strength of Hubris. --James Highfill ... Read more

Reviews (54)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Landmark Biography
Biographies of Adolf Hitler are commonplace, but the first volume of Kershaw's new effort is well worth the read. Kershaw gets past the myths of Hitler to present a detailed, encyclopedic examination of his early life and rise to power. He manages the neat trick of remaining relatively dispassionate and objective about Hitler's political evolution. Kershaw also takes other historians to task for their assertion that Hitler was an energetic genius, revealing that much of the time Hitler was lazy and slothful and could not be bothered to pay attention to matters that did not intrigue him. The one downside of the book is that, in refusing to indulge the Hitler mythos, Hitler: 1889-1936 Hubris can be a bit dry in stretches. Still, it's worth it to see this new interpretation of Hitler's life and career.

5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding biography of Adolf Hitler.
Mr Kershaw has written a very engrossing study of Hitler's personal and political lives. The book is very well written - accessible to the general reader, but with a wealth of footnotes for those who would like to dig deeper on their own.

Kershaw has done an admirable job in trying to get at the truth of the events of Hitler's life - not an easy task with so many layers of myth obscuring the subject. One example is the time that Hitler spent in Vienna before the First World War. Using primary and secondary sources, Kershaw paints a detailed picture of Hitler's years in Vienna - a picture that is often at odds with Hitler's own version as published in Mein Kampf.

This book is an authoritative examination of Hitler's "formative years", the creation of the Nazi Party and Hitler's rise to absolute power. I am looking forward to the publication of the second volume.

5-0 out of 5 stars No Hubris Without Complicity
It probably goes without saying that every American citizen should read at least one critical biography of Adolf Hitler over the course of a lifetime. It is hard to conceive of anyone who has influenced American life, foreign policy, and human sensitivities more than Hitler in our own times. There are past and prospective readers of this work who fought the War that he essentially started and fueled, and very few American families are untouched by his legacy of destruction.

Given his place in history, detested as that may be, it would be hard to cite a better biographical sketch of Der Fuhrer than that of Professor Ian Kershaw of the University of Sheffield in England. We all know that Hitler was bad. Kershaw takes us for a two-volume excursion that explains, as well as anyone can, how he became bad and how his evil was allowed to ferment, verily to thrive, when others in power could have squashed him.

The first volume traces Hitler's life up to and including the German reoccupation of the Rhineland in 1937, a daring but bloodless military foray that left both the Treaty of Versailles and the League of Nations in tatters. One might suspect that Hitler's flaunting of international law might have been halted midstream by the appropriate checks and balances of German government, business, the military and popular opinion. Obviously, this did not happen. The genius of this volume, in my view, is Kershaw's penetrating analysis of the national conditions of German life and politics that carried Hitler's agenda to fruition, at ultimately terrible cost.

Alois Schicklgruber changed his name to Alois Hitler in 1876, thirteen years before the birth of his son Adolf in 1889. [Heil Schicklgruber?] There are hints in "Mein Kampf" and other sources that Adolf Hitler's overbearing mother was unable to protect him from his father's physical outbursts of anger, though materially the family was comfortable. His secondary school reports describe him as an unmotivated underachiever, and he seems to have left formal schooling with enthusiasm only for history. In his late teens and early adult years Hitler lived an existence described by Kershaw as "parasitic idleness," drawing from inheritances and fancying himself an artist. In actuality he was refused admission on multiple occasions to institutes of advanced artistic training.

When his money ran out, Hitler gravitated to Vienna and painted postcards. He was something of a beer hall bum who worked only enough to survive in a public shelter and pontificate with other down and outers on issues of the day. Kershaw describes in vivid detail the social and political currents of Austria at the time. Nostalgic/apocalyptic pan-Germanic dreams, anti-Semitism, quirky eugenics theories, an uneven economy, and general frustration with ineffectual bureaucratic government led to the rise of energetic but scattered right wing political movements prior to World War I. Bombarded by but very congenial to such influences, Hitler's political philosophy of German preeminence began to form, and the outbreak of international hostilities seemed to galvanize and energize him.

Hitler volunteered for military service in Munich [though legally he was required to do so in Austria and barely escaped prison.] He served primarily as a messenger to the front lines, an unglamorous but respectable tour of duty, and at one point he was temporarily blinded in the line of duty. After hostilities ceased, a thoroughly demoralized Hitler was ordered to work as a teacher in a program to indoctrinate German soldiers to the dangers of Bolshevism, now a major threat to Germany's east in the wake of the Russian Revolution. In actuality such indoctrination was a closet rallying of German nationalism in the military under the restrictions of Versailles. Hitler surprised himself, and many of his influential superiors, with his rhetorical prowess. Throwing his lot with the German Workers Party, a collection of right wing militarists/socialists, Hitler gained national recognition as a spokesman of discontent with the economy and post war shame. His message was hardly unique, though-72 other such parties crowded for influence.

In 1921 he became his own party's leader, and in this capacity led a 1923 ill-timed and poorly conceived revolt against the sitting Reich government known today as the "Beer Hall Putsch" [named for its place of proclamation, not conception.] Kershaw examines the Putsch as a prime example of the way that Hitler himself was used by discontented men of influence from a variety of interest groups. By rights the Putsch should have cost Hitler his life-a treasonous act that killed several. But before a sympathetic judge, Hitler used his trial-with the judge's compliance-as a national podium to articulate his vision of a reformed and restored Germany. Here he broke ahead of the pack of other like-minded rivals for national influence. He received a ludicrously brief prison sentence in quarters that allowed him to write, receive and entertain guests, and continue to expand his political influence. After release, he was banned from speaking for a time [outdoors!] Any chance to beard the lion by the state was now lost forever.

Hitler's nationalist party, easily the loudest of Germany's political parties in the early 1930's, never captured more than a third of the popular vote, but on January 30, 1933, with Hindenburg's government in crisis, Hitler himself wrangled the position of Chancellor, second only to Hindenburg. Upon Hindenburg's death in 1934 he seized full control of the government, with the help of extensive street violence and a propaganda machine second to none. Immensely popular with the masses, he embraced wholesale rearmament and survived the resulting economic upheaval by the dramatic Rhineland venture.

Kershaw discusses Hitler's notorious anti-Semitism at considerable length, though at the conclusion of this first volume there are no clear indications of the genocide that lie ahead. Hitler spoke of segregation and exportation of Jews in private and public addresses and diplomatic meetings through 1937. The death camps, with many other horrors, were not in focus just yet.

5-0 out of 5 stars "Everybody Loves a Winner"
The Rise

In this first of two volumes, historian Ian Kershaw portrays how a disaffected loser through diligence, and with more than a bit of good fortune, transformed himself from an embittered Veteran of World War I to a beer-hall orator, political leader, and eventually the dictator of Germany.

The prose is workmanlike, without emotion or flash. The annotations are extensive. The story is cautionary.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Definitive Biography
There are many books that focus on the life of Adolf Hitler, but none can be compared to the work of shear perfection that is Ian Kershaw's Hitler 1889-1936: Hubris. In the first volume of his Hitler biography, Kershaw addresses the key themes that led to Hitler's rise to power. The book does not begin with any preconceived notions regarding the "evil" or "inhumanity" of Hitler, but rather examines him as he was, a flesh and blood human being. Kershaw presents Hitler as a three dimensional figure. It is this balanced view that makes this book so unique. Hitler presents a full view of its namesake's story and directly challenges and refutes many misconceptions that have become part of the Hitler myth.
The author's motivation behind writing this book is also key to the overall understanding of its significance. Kershaw states that a Hitler biography had never been part of his agenda. In fact, he was extremely hesitant to even begin undertaking this venture because of the prior works of Alan Bullock and Joachim Fest. Kershaw's prior works did not focus on individuals, but rather broader social trends surrounding Hitler's acceptance and Nazism. It was the inescapable link between Hitler and Nazi Germany that finally drove Kershaw to begin his book.
Ian Kershaw's "Hitler 1889-1936 Hubris" is the first part of the greatest biography ever written on the subject of Adolf Hitler. It is the most complete and thought provoking of all the Hitler biographies. While the work can only be described as massive, at well over 800 pages, it is well worth the read. Kershaw addresses all sides of the Hitler. He looks at the figure of Hitler independently of preconceived notions. Kershaw comments on and discredits many of the numerous Hitler myths ranging from the possible Jewish origins of his grandfather, his sexual preference, and the roots of his anti-Semitism. Kershaw references the earlier works of Joachim Fest and Alan Bullock to make his descriptions of Hitler more well rounded. This book address nearly ever key element of Hitler's early life from his boyhood days in Austria to his time in the trenches of World War I and finally to his eventual rise to power through the Nazis. The book is incredibly detailed and presents the full scope of each event in Hitler's life. Kershaw also helps to place Hitler's life in the larger context of the German nation throughout the pre-1936 era.
Perhaps the most prominent theme addressed by Kershaw is Hitler's anti-Semitism. Not only is this one of the most fundamental issues to understanding Hitler, but it is also a prime example of the skill employed by Ian Kershaw in his book. I found Kershaw's theory to be well formed and the most sound of all the other material available. The book is supplemented by a diverse collection of Hitler and Nazi photographs. These photos add to the work as they depict Hitler before he would become the Fuhrer of Germany. Some of these photos, especially of his youth, are not commonly seen and offer a different look on a man whose life is frequently analyzed throughout the world. The book is skillfully written and has a great flow, which makes its length seem almost a non-factor. After reading "Hubris" one will not be able to resist diving into the second volume "Hitler 1936-1945: Nemesis." Overall, you could not find a better biography of Hitler. Kershaw does not provide "shocking" new details or "sensational" accounts he simply gives the reader the facts. I highly recommend Kershaw's book for anyone interested in Nazi Germany or history in general. ... Read more

180. The Man Called Cash : The Life, Love and Faith of an American Legend
by Steve Turner
list price: $24.99
our price: $16.49
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0849918200
Catlog: Book (2004-09-23)
Publisher: W Publishing Group
Sales Rank: 1494
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Book Description

Johnny Cash is one of the most influential figures in music and American popular culture today. While he was an icon to people of all ages during his life, Cash’s legacy continues after his death. His remarkable story is captured in this exclusive authorized biography, addressing the whole life of Johnny Cash—not just his unforgettable music but also his relationship with June Carter Cash and his faith in Christ. His authenticity, love for God and family, and unassuming persona are what Steve Turner captures with passion and focus in this inspiring book.

Different from other books written about him, The Man Called CASH brings Cash’s faith and love for God into the foreground and tells the story of a man redeemed, without watering-down or sugar-coating. Unquestionably one of the biggest book releases of 2004, The Man Called CASH will be a huge success with his millions of fans and will draw in many new fans with this inspiring story of faith and redemption.

The audio book, ISBN 084996377X, is narrated by Cash's close friend and musical partner, Kris Kristofferson.

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