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181. No Such Thing as Over-Exposure
182. Logical Dilemmas: The Life and
$10.20 $9.31 list($15.00)
183. Storm of Steel (Penguin Classics)
$11.87 $10.33 list($16.95)
184. Damn Right: Behind the Scenes
$9.71 $3.59 list($12.95)
185. Adventures of a Psychic: The Fascinating
186. Partners of the Heart: Vivien
$17.13 $0.96 list($25.95)
187. A Lawyer's Life
$15.75 $10.00 list($25.00)
188. Absolutely American: Four Years
$36.99 list($35.00)
189. Chesty: The Story of Lieutenant
$3.44 list($27.00)
190. Citizen Coors: An American Dynasty
$10.46 $1.90 list($13.95)
191. Learning to Bow : Inside the Heart
$6.29 $4.35 list($6.99)
192. Unnatural Death: Confessions of
$8.25 $6.94 list($11.00)
193. Corps Values : Everything You
$32.97 $32.41 list($49.95)
194. All Creatures Great and Small
$10.20 $8.95 list($15.00)
195. The Right Stuff
$18.15 $16.71 list($27.50)
196. A Secret Life: The Polish Officer,
$15.37 $9.85 list($21.95)
197. Proud Highway (The Fear and Loathing
$23.10 list($35.00)
198. Soren Kierkegaard : A Biography
199. Aryan Christ:, The : The Secret
$10.20 $4.03 list($15.00)
200. Fear and Loathing in America :

181. No Such Thing as Over-Exposure : Inside the Life and Celebrity of Donald Trump
by Robert Slater
list price: $24.95
our price: $24.95
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Asin: 0131497340
Catlog: Book (2005-03-14)
Publisher: Financial Times Prentice Hall
Sales Rank: 440596
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182. Logical Dilemmas: The Life and Work of Kurt Godel
by John W. Dawson
list price: $49.95
our price: $49.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1568810253
Catlog: Book (1996-12-01)
Publisher: AK Peters, Ltd.
Sales Rank: 220483
Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent.
An excellent biography of Godel. Examines his personal life and mathematical work in an integrated manner. Dawson is thorough, well-researched, and shows a command of the mathematics involved. Never sensational or anecdotal, he provides the most accurate picture available of the real Godel. This is not a popular account of Godel's work, so the reader will need an understanding of fundamental mathematical logic and Godel's theorem to appreciate much of the book. But Dawson does provide a lot of history of mathematical logic, including a great chapter on developments up to 1928 that could be read by itself. The appendix provides a chronology, genealogy, and "biographical vignettes" of other important logicians.

5-0 out of 5 stars The definitive biography of Kurt Godel
Knowing what went on in the mind of Kurt Godel will forever be unattainable. Nonetheless, John Dawson comes as close as possible to understanding what made Godel click.

Having catalogued Godel's works and personal papers, Dawson saw aspects of Godel's life that perhaps no one short of his wife had seen.

The book is a fascinating jaunt through the through the lives of one of the greatest minds of the 20th century. What is also interesting is Godel's interaction with personalities such as Einstein and Van Neumann.

While the mathematics is often abstract, as can be expected, Logical Dilemmas is a mesmerizing read.

4-0 out of 5 stars By a Mathematician for Mathematicians
Writing a biography of anyone is difficult. How can a writer, no matter how talented, really claim to understand someone well enough to give an overview of his life? When the subject is a genius like Kurt Godel, whose name is known by few and whose work is really understood by even less, the job must be even more difficult. Fortunately, people like Mr. Dawson are will to give it a shot and he succeeds fairly well.

In putting together this biography, Mr. Dawson has the advantage of being mathematician. Additionally, he has the advantage of being the mathematician who catalogued Godel's papers after his death. This gives him a lot of insight into Godel that other writers cannot have and he weaves quotations from these papers into the biography very well. Mr. Dawson's is a well-documented and logical biography that is short on conjecture and long on footnotes. In brief, it is a biography about a mathematician clearly written by a mathematician. This is both its strength and its weakness.

Actually, I like the purely biographical sections of this book very much. The biographical information is clear and informative, though a bit dry in the academic style favored by mathematicians and scientists. Fortunately, having lived and worked among these people, I am comfortable with this style. More importantly, I feel like I have a better idea now of who Godel was and what he was like from reading this book. His focus on his work, his relationship with his family and friends (particularly his wife) and his ultimate decent into mental illness are much more in focus for me now.

On the other hand, the sections that deal with Godel's mathematics are much more difficult to take. The discussion of mathematics in this book goes far beyond what most people are going to be able to handle. I fear the average reader even with a decent math background who comes across this book will drop it as soon as the mathematics starts and that is unfortunate. (I am always looking for books to promote math even among non-mathematicians. This one does not do it.) A reader who can handle the math, however, will find this book revealing. ... Read more

183. Storm of Steel (Penguin Classics)
by Ernst Junger, Michael Hofmann
list price: $15.00
our price: $10.20
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Asin: 0142437905
Catlog: Book (2004-05-01)
Publisher: Penguin Books
Sales Rank: 19472
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A memoir of astonishing power, savagery, and ashen lyricism, Storm ofSteel illuminates not only the horrors but also the fascination of totalwar, seen through the eyes of an ordinary German soldier. Young, tough,patriotic, but also disturbingly self-aware, Jünger exulted in the Great War,which he saw not just as a great national conflict but—more importantly—as aunique personal struggle. Leading raiding parties, defending trenches againstmurderous British incursions, simply enduring as shells tore his comrades apart,Jünger kept testing himself, braced for the death that will mark his failure.

Published shortly after the war’s end, Storm of Steel was a worldwidebestseller and can now be rediscovered through Michael Hofmann’s brilliant newtranslation. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars The best memoir of WWI
Ernst Junger was there for the duration. He was wounded sixteen times, he lost his brother. He experienced the trench war in all its hellish glory. That's the difference between Storm of Steel and other WWI memoires like Farewll to All That, Memoires of an Infantry Officer, No News from the Western Front, etc: Junger is not anti-war; he loved it! Do not expect some dreaming idealist though. Junger was a harsh realist. Nothing is to horrifying for him to tell (and believe me - there are a lot of horrifying detail!). He took part in the major combats on the western front, so we get a rare first hand glimpse of the war, The style is vivd, yet sober. He comes across as a Prussian gentleman, not cruel, but he does what he has to do to survive.
Junger later became one of the finest authors of the twentieth century. He is sadly unknown in the Anglo-Saxon world, in much due to his refusal to distance himself from Hitler (he did not embrace nazism though either). He lived an interesting life; he stopped doing LSD when he turned seventy, and he wrote a major treaty on the role of bugs in heraldry. More of his work deserves to be recognized. ... Read more

184. Damn Right: Behind the Scenes with Berkshire Hathaway Billionaire Charlie Munger
by JanetLowe, Janet Lowe
list price: $16.95
our price: $11.87
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0471446912
Catlog: Book (2003-05-09)
Publisher: Wiley
Sales Rank: 89434
Average Customer Review: 3.65 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Praise For Damn Right!

From the author of the bestselling WARREN BUFFETT SPEAKS

"Charlie Munger, whose reputation is deep and wide, based on an extraordinary record of brilliantly successful business strategies, sees things that others don’t. There is a method to his mastery and, through this book, we get a chance to learn about this rare individual."
——MICHAEL EISNER, Chairman and CEO, The Walt Disney Company

"Janet Lowe uncovers the iconoclastic genius and subtle charm behind Charlie Munger’s curmudgeonly facade in this richly woven portrait of our era’s heir to Ben Franklin. With a biographer’s detachment, an historian’s thoroughness, and a financial writer’s common sense, Lowe produces a riveting account of the family, personal, and business life of this idiosyncratically complex and endlessly fascinating figure."
——LAWRENCE A. CUNNINGHAM, Cardozo Law School
Author of The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America

"For years, Berkshire Hathaway shareholders and investors worldwide (me included) have struggled to learn more about Warren Buffett’s cerebral sidekick. Now we can rest and enjoy reading Janet Lowe’s book about this rare intellectual jewel called Charlie Munger."
——ROBERT G. HAGSTROM, Author of The Warren Buffett Way

"Janet Lowe’s unprecedented access to Charlie Munger and Warren Buffett has resulted in a first-class book that investors, academics, and CEOs will find entertaining and highly useful."
Money Manager and Author of How to Pick Stocks Like Warren Buffett ... Read more

Reviews (20)

5-0 out of 5 stars Much about Charlie Munger, not as much about investing...
Without a doubt, Lowe has written an extremely interesting biography of Charles Munger, vice-chairman of Berkshire Hathaway. We learn about Charlie's background, his family (maybe a little too much about his family), and how he eventually met up with a gentleman named Warren Buffett (maybe you've heard of this guy, eh?).

From a purely biographical standpoint, you'll want to read this book. Gives much insight into Charlie's personal character as well as some insight into Buffett's character.

What I think the book misses on is investment technique. Granted, that's not how the book is is a biography. But, I was hoping to get some better insight into the Munger/Buffett investment style. I was hoping the author would--at least--tease me a bit. No such luck.

It's an enjoyable read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Recommended reading for all focus investors
Mr. Charlie Munger, Vice-Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, is the partner/sidekick of Mr. Warren Buffett and is considered the man behind the scenes at Berkshire Hathaway. Charlie is a veryentertaining guy, and this book shows why Warren Buffett calls him "one of a kind." Janet Lowe provides readers with an in-depth look at the full and interesting life of Mr. Munger. Many useful lessons on life and investing can be uncovered by a thorough reading of this excellent book. The book also includes two excellent speeches by Mr. Munger in the appendix: Multidisciplinary Skills: Educational Implications and Practical Thought about Practical Thought?

4-0 out of 5 stars Insightful!
Charlie Munger's life story is a version of the classic American Dream: a hard-working young man builds a billion-dollar fortune through hard work and honest business deals, all the while raising eight children with the help of an intelligent, devoted wife. Author Janet Lowe brings this story and Munger's personality to life with well-chosen anecdotes from family, friends and business associates. These include, most notably, Warren Buffett, with whom she already enjoyed a rapport thanks to her work on a previous bestseller, Warren Buffett Speaks. Because Munger's business history is so complex, the chapters are organized thematically rather than strictly chronologically, which can be a bit confusing. Thankfully, Lowe provides a handy timeline in an appendix. We suggest this book to investors, Buffett fans (who may underestimate the contributions others such as Munger have made to the Berkshire Hathaway empire) and to those dismayed by corporate corruption who could use this tale of honest success to renew their faith in capitalism.

1-0 out of 5 stars Mistaken Facts
Exept for the chapter "Doing Good at Good Samaritan Hospital" I only scanned this book rapidly but I hope that Mr Munger's recollections of his dazzling successes in the world of finance are more accurate than those relating to his early tenure at Good Samaritan Hospital.His and his stepson's opinions about the quality of the hospital and its medical staff at that time may be insulting but are their privilege.I was Chairman of the Medical Staff when Mr Munger became Chairman of the Board of Trustees,and I was a member of that Board for for about 18 years as well,and I am well aware of what transpired then.For Mr Munger to state that "decisions of the medical staff frequently protected the economic interests of certain doctors,rather than that of the patients or of quality medicine" ,and "a ruling of the organized medical staff was endangering the health and safety of our patients" is simply untrue and libelous.I would like very much to see him provide proof for these allegations At that time,he expressed to me the view that doctors are motivated mainly by financial considerations (greed),presumably based on his own experience in finance as described in this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Background on the Buffett-Munger Team
While there's too much genealogy of the Mungers from the 1600's on, the book does give a thorough grounding in what makes Charles Munger tick.
While this book provides no easy investment answers, Mr. Munger's values and wise quotes* make this book a winner. It makes me want to go to a Berkshire (or to hear more from Mr. Munger, a Wesco Financial) annual meeting.
* "Good businesses throw up one easy decision after another; bad businesses throw up painful decisions time after time." This is both a wonderful quote and a very Berkshire Hathaway way of looking at businesses in which to invest. ... Read more

185. Adventures of a Psychic: The Fascinating Inspiring True-Life Story of One of America's Most Successful Clairvoyants
by Sylvia Browne, Antoinette May
list price: $12.95
our price: $9.71
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1561706213
Catlog: Book (1998-09-01)
Publisher: Hay House
Sales Rank: 27304
Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars
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Adventures of a Psychic might not be the next Indiana Jones sequel, but the "adventures" in the title is appropriate, since Sylvia Browne never stops amazing us with her channeling, psychic visions, healing, and even ghost stories. Coauthor Antoinette May's biographical talents are first rate, however her third person point of view tends to distance the reader from Browne's story. May compensates for this minor shortcoming by expertly weaving Browne's psychic talents with her personal life, from childhood to grandmotherhood, and grounding the supernatural parts of Adventures of a Psychic in the same sort of mundane problems we are all prone to run into. While reading this book, you may stare with an open mouth at glimpses of a world beyond death, and at the same time discover that we all possess a limitless potential, even if we are not gifted with psychic ability. --Brian Patterson ... Read more

Reviews (140)

5-0 out of 5 stars Even skeptics will love this
I was so sad when I finished this book, thank goodness Sylvia has written more!! What an amazing life and when you read what Sylvia has to reveal about past lives and the other side you will never feel the same about life or death again. Even if you are a skeptic you can't deny a lot of what Sylvia explains(she even has pictures of a ghost she spoke with). Everything she says rings true and makes sense. After you finish this you'll be back at the bookstore for her next book, The Other Side And Back, which is just as facinating. Don't miss this experience, you'll feel a peace and understanding that will change your life. Thank you Sylvia!!!

5-0 out of 5 stars A skeptic in Arizona, however.......
First let me say that I am very skeptical of all religions, especially the organized ones that only seem to want your money and I've been this way since I was a child. Also this last year has been the worst year of my life what with losing 4 family members including my husband and 4 close friends and my job, which was sent to India. So that's my background and mental state when I started reading this book.

I liked the way Sylvia was bluntly honest in her describing herself and her life. She didn't make herself look completely wonderful or all-knowing. She seemed very down to earth. I was impressed by the fact that she provides a lot of free help to people. Yes, her personal readings are expensive, way out of my price range especially since I'm still unemployed, but her books are very reasonably priced.

This book gave me a lot to think about and more than that, things to hope for. I tend to look at things from a very logical perspective and I've never found a religion that does that. Sylvia gave some very logical explanations that makes me feel somewhat better or at least more understanding of what has happened in my life in the past year. I think I'm able to look to the future with a more positive outlook than before reading this book.

I'm still skeptical about religion but maybe not as skeptical about spirituality. But beware, reading this book could be exspensive. I just purchased three more of her books. :-)

4-0 out of 5 stars Thanks, Sylvia
One of the reasons I enjoy most of Sylvia Browne's books, as I did this one, is that she is very forthcoming about where she has been and that she conveys just how difficult it really is to be spiritually intuitive. To improve their credibility and keep their egos in check, it would be well that others in the New Age/New Thought circles would follow Sylvia's example in this regard.

One of her most famous truisms, one that I appreciate greatly, is that a psychic is rarely able to predict what will happen in their own life...a bit humbling to come to that realization, but if we all (including highly spiritually intuitive people) come here to grow, then this limitation would seem a given.

However, there is an aspect of her personality that comes through in the blunt assertions she makes about the reality of our progression through spiritual and physical existences. My own sense is that, while very sincere, she may actually be oversimplifying and even exaggerating the process.

Three things she appears to assert that I am not convinced of:
(1) All the "evil" people and most suicides don't get to go to her version of heaven because they take an almost immediate u-turn after death and come back into another life, which would seem guaranteed to make for yet another unfortunate and miserable existence on earth, not only for themselves, but (even worse) for many others.
(2) After death, everyone essentially goes to the same place to deliberately plan their next existence on earth. While this may eventually happen for many souls, I would tend to believe that a great many folks just go to a reality that fits their most recent earth experience and that they stay there indefinitely until their spirit has a yearning to grow and seeks out an understanding that will lead to another opportunity to facilitate that growth.
(3) Spiritual beings cannot read our minds unless we consciously allow them to. If psychic people here on earth are able to do this (and I have experienced it myself), then why is it that spiritual beings cannot do it? My own sense is that while some information is profoundly personal and off limits to others, we spiritually project our intentions here on earth and in the spiritual realm to facilitate the work we are intended to do.

I am also not sold on her notion that the spirit world is a squeaky clean place and, except for the suicides and "bad guys" who are sent right back to earth after they die, we all essentially go to the same wonderful and resplendent location after our physical death. Based on the NDEs described by folks like Betty Eadie and Dannion Brinkley, I am inclined to believe that the afterlife location she describes in her books may very well exist, but, as Jesus said, "my Father's house has many rooms". From personal experiences and readings of other authors' works (P.M.H. Atwater, Howard Storm, Bruce Moen, Robert Monroe, among others) my belief is that the spirit realm is actually a very complicated set of realities, with many layers and many shades of light and dark within those layers. I think our world here on earth is a reflection of that complexity.

It would be interesting if some day we could see some of the well known spiritual intuitives and serious researchers of reincarnation and paranormal events come together to have a discussion on some of the more controversial aspects (i.e. where they do not always agree) regarding what they assert about:
(a) Life after death
(b) The nature of good and evil
(c) The power that we possess individually and collectively to create our realities.

Such a gathering might contribute to a better understand of the source or basis of some of their more controversial and intriguing ideas. As it is, the more I read books like Sylvia's, more questions are generated than answered.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great read
This book gives us tons of insight of the life of Sylvia Browne. If you are a Sylvia fan and avid reader of her books, this might bore you a bit. I had to skip about 4 seconds because they were literally the same words as in other books. If you've never picked up a Sylvia Browne book, then you will be enlightened.

3-0 out of 5 stars Bit overhyped
For well-known psychics, business is big money. While I don't decry that anyone ought to be able to make a living at something, charging $750 per reading (as I understand she does now) is a bit much. Shouldn't the most neediest of people, the people who perhaps might most benefit from the reading be charged less? Gee, for $750, I'll tutor you for 3 or four days in physical science and one 100% percent of it will be accurate!

My main quarrel with the book is its presentation of heaven. Greek architecture, a constant 78 deg F "climate," no bugs--just "friendly" animals, councils running the show (committees), and research places where scientists do the research for scientists on Earth. Maybe this is Ms. Browne's vision of heaven, but not mine, nor I suspect that of millions of others.

The one thing that Ms. Browne is probably correct about, is that heaven exists in a higher set of dimensions with considerably higher frequencies. And it's also likely that as a consequence, a different set of physics probably applies. After that, your vision is probably as good as mine. I'm willing to bet to some extent, what any soul arriving in heaven experiences is going to be somewhat dependent on his or her knowledge and beliefs.

Technology (and many other of mankind's activities) continues to wreck the earth despite the goodies it provides for us. The thought that there are people up there in "scientific institutions" busily inventing plasma TVs, the next version of Windows XP (hey, you didn't get the last version right), and better insecticides scares the bejesus out of me. Aren't they teaching enough ecology and themodynamics to you guys up there? (Heck, I'll teach you the basics for free--just "visit" me in the evening when a new episode of West Wing or CSI isn't on.)

I do think that some of Ms. Browne's spirituality is appropriate; it just gets carried away some times.

In case I'm totally wrong about this, it'll be a relief to know there won't be any roaches or spiders crawling around up there. :) ... Read more

186. Partners of the Heart: Vivien Thomas and His Work With Alfred Blalock
by Vivien T. Thomas
list price: $15.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0812216342
Catlog: Book (1998-02-01)
Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press
Sales Rank: 340329
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Inspiring account of a man behind the scenes
As a medical student at the Johsn Hopkins University School of Medicine, I found it absolutely facinating to peer into the life of a man who worked side by side with Dr. Blalock to help develop some of the most important advances in surgery of the 20th century. I have seen the portrait that Mr. Thomas describes in the book still hanging in the atrium of the Blalock elevators. I recommend this book to anyone interested in medical or surgical history. ... Read more

187. A Lawyer's Life
by Johnnie Cochran, David Fisher
list price: $25.95
our price: $17.13
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312278268
Catlog: Book (2002-10-11)
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Sales Rank: 465273
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Johnnie Cochran had been famed as a folksy oratory in Los Angeles courtrooms since the 1960s, but the 1995 O.J. Simpson trial catapulted him to international fame--a status he gladly acknowledges in this bare-knuckles memoir of his years in court.

Cochran doesn't spend much time revisiting the Simpson case (except to proclaim O.J. innocent). Cochran devotes most of his account to less-celebrated cases that address repeated themes--police negligence and outright perjury; the difficulties minorities face in securing impartial justice; the inherent unfairness of racial profiling. Cochran describes his methods, and explains the reason for his rhyming summations ("If the glove doesn't fit, you must acquit"): "Juries enjoyed them, understood them, and, more importantly, remembered them."

Readers may not be won over by Cochran, but his book will be widely enjoyed and remembered. --Gregory McNamee ... Read more

Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars Defense of the Defense
A lady I worked for was making a snide comment about Johnnie Cochran and Michael Jackson, about how they think they're slick. I lit into her immediately about Michael, his childhood, and what he's done for the community, but I didn't have much to say about Cochran. I didn't know him. I knew about the O.J. trial because I didn't fall off the planet, but I didn't follow it. I do remember this goofy football player I knew standing outside screaming and dancing when he found out Simpson was acquitted of the charges. I shrugged it off. But when that lady called Cochran "Crocodile Cochran" in the same sentence as insulting Jackson, I decided to do my research. I already had an interest in criminal justice and after reading this book, I understand why everyone tries to make me understand that I need to become a lawyer. I loved the fact that he loved to debate, be right, and gave intelligent speeches with a touch of humor. I respect him for standing up for very intense cases (O.J., Puffy, Diallo, Amarou, reparations, etc.) and I will always commend anyone who fights against racial profiling. Needless to say, I got in touch with this critic and pointed out all of the contributions to society that Cochran has made, and told her to get over the O.J. trial. I even offered to buy the book for her. She wasn't convinced but atleast she now was forced to learn some things she originally never knew!

5-0 out of 5 stars
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5-0 out of 5 stars A MUST for White Republicans.
...And I know you well, because I am a Black Republican - far to the Right - libertarian even. This book is not the typical liberal drivel from a neck bone-eatin' preacher. This is a good treatise on recent Black history, and an expose' on the justice system - in my view, the last vestige of true racism.

While I had to hold my nose in reading the very last chapter of the book (where he goes liberal), I could not refute the notion that that I was reading the words of a "wise old man." Such an opportunity should not be ignored, regardless of your race or political persuasion. If you can read this extremely pleasurable book, and still not at least understand the pov of the other side, then you truly don't have a heart.

It is enjoyable reading, unoffensive to all, and a good lesson on life in America from one of its premier insiders. Further, it advances the cause of racial harmony.

BUY THIS BOOK. You won't regret it.

5-0 out of 5 stars A FOOT SOLDIER FOR JUSTICE

5-0 out of 5 stars Life Changing - Mind Boggling!
I read this book in a short period of time, due the fact that it was so interesting, and more importantly, I was so saddened by the REAL justice system in the United States. I was amazed and disgraced that racial injustices such as those described in this book have remained steady as if it were still the 1950s and 60s. I hope and pray that some day we as a people indeed "WILL OVERCOME."

I applaud Mr. Cochran for standing up for what is right for African Americans in the face of his many critics. I say "keep on keeping on, Johnnie." From the infamous Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have A Dream Speech," "And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back..." This quote may help those who are victims of racial discrimination and is a quote I refer to when times are tough.

This book has only solidified my desire to enter into the field of Law. I can only hope that I make half the progress towards achieving equality and leveling the scales of justice for my people as Mr. Cochran has. ... Read more

188. Absolutely American: Four Years at West Point
by David Lipsky
list price: $25.00
our price: $15.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 061809542X
Catlog: Book (2003-05-01)
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Company
Sales Rank: 5286
Average Customer Review: 4.02 out of 5 stars
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Individuality would not seem to be a highly prized virtue at West Point. After all, new cadets arriving at the military academy are not required to pack anything more than a toothbrush and some underwear since they will be issued everything else. But despite their uniformity and disciplined bearing, the cadets profiled in David Lipsky's Absolutely American are still college kids who have moved away from their hometowns to figure out what to do with their lives. Lipsky was given unprecedented access at West Point and spent a full four years following a class from wide-eyed arrival through graduation. The most fascinating cadets are the ones who don't fit the gung-ho West Point stereotype. George Rash faces expulsion on a regular basis but persistently hangs in, "Huck" Finn just wants to play football but becomes more enamored of the military life than he ever expected, and Christi Cicerelle stays perfectly coiffed and, as she says, "girly," even while becoming a highly skilled soldier. Lipsky's tenure came at a pivotal time in the institution's history: hazing had recently been discontinued (part of a series of reforms referred to with both gravity and a little remorse as "The Changes") and the attacks of September 11, 2001 placed the United States in a war which the cadets would have to fight. The academy, in Lipsky's portrayal, demands much of its charges, its standards are high, and the possibility of being "separated" from West Point looms large for any cadet not up to par. Yet the cadets are shown as largely happy people, using the harsh demands of a West Point experience to find the kind of structure and purpose that other college students would envy. Lipsky, a contributing editor at Rolling Stone, creates portraits that are, by turns, hilarious, touching, harrowing, disappointing and joyful. As his subjects finally graduate and launch their careers, readers may feel like a proud parent or friend standing in the crowd and cheering their accomplishments. --John Moe ... Read more

Reviews (59)

5-0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Awesome
Absolutely American is the quintessential American feel good book. In the face of a pervasive cynicism in our culture and perhaps a generation's collective amnesia, the characters who grace the book's pages remind us of what has made us great as a people. It's the Herzogs, the Ignacios, the Supkos who have responded to the call to arms...who have accepted the responsibility of preserving our liberty, who have embraced higher ideals - duty, honor, country.

In their West Point and post-West Point experience, the characters display an up-by-the-bootstraps tenacity that is so much a part of our country's heritage. Absolutely American casts the best of our country's young people in the bright light of hope - they are human, they love their country, and they will steward our precious legacy.

Author Lipsky brings to every American the essence of what one of our most cherished institutions means to us today. The book's greatest strength is that it does not indulge us endlessly with U.S. Military Academy history and lore. (Make no mistake; the Academy's ardent supporters among us get our fill.) Rather, the author offers us an amazing glimpse inside the minds and hearts of his subjects - real people with real feelings handling real challenges. Why do they do what they do? What drives them? What are their hopes and dreams?

No sugarcoating here. West Point cadets live in a complex world in which they might trade loyalty for duty, where uneasy bonds are forged in a crucible of unrelenting demands, where a 4-year series of rapid-fire "wake up calls" defines one's coming of age.

We are provided with an insider's view of what amounts to a fascinating social laboratory - young people struggling into immediate responsibility while their peers at civilian colleges and universities are able to grow into theirs perhaps more gradually. It is as much a study in human behavior - under exceedingly rigorous conditions, to be sure - as it is a story of succeeding in adversity.

Lipsky's book, for me, unleashed a torrent of memories of a simpler time in the presence of the Herzogs, the Ignacios, the Supkos. As a West Point graduate, I was able to feel the cadets' struggles so deeply. I was able to recall similar situations with similar outcomes so vividly. I was transported back to a time and place that at once was both magical and terrifying. Because Absolutely American depicts the cadet experience as it really is, very little in the way of gaps are left for the reader's imagination. A welcome surprise, the work is remarkable in its honesty.

Reading Absolutely American renewed in me, as I suspect it has others, a faith in our emerging generations. That the cadets experience distractions today that severely test their mettle was not a surprise to me. In our day, we had our distractions and they were often challenging. Cadets today seem to be much more aware, more real, perhaps even a bit jaded. While they are not infallible, they more often than not seek the moral high ground. They try to do what's right!

Lipsky does a terrific job of lifting the shroud of mystery that envelops West Point. Students who attend what remains a breathtaking stone fortress are not heartless automatons or bloodthirsty warriors. Instead, they are 18, 19, and 20-year old soldier-scholars - half self-conscious, half self-assured. They are trying to make sense of the world as you and I did at that age, albeit through a unique set of filters. As Lipsky points out, irony is nonexistent at the academy. Through their eyes we learn that lesson early.

What sets cadets apart and what makes Absolutely American such a great read is that the academy's character is one free of the disenchantment that characterizes much of our society today. It is a book about hope and promise for shining young lives bursting with potential standing ready to answer the call to service in the proud shadow of their forefathers. Their destiny stands with the Grants, the Pattons, the MacArthurs, the Schwarzkopfs... We need to be reminded that noble ideals embodied in the words duty, honor, country still exist with us today. Absolutely American assures us that the leaders of tomorrow will perpetuate those ideals.

A truly wonderful read!

2-0 out of 5 stars Not a Gripping Read, don't bother.
In Absolutely American, Lipsky's pedigree as a magazine writer shows through. The story lines doesn't hang together for more than a few pages at a time and the writing has no depth, feeling or analysis. Lipsky introduces themes that either contradict something he has previously written, (when one cadet struggles, Lipsky first writes that he's shunned, then writes about how his classmates band together to help him pass) or never develop beyond just a cursory description (The Goodfellas "crew" story never develops beyond just a bunch of kids hanging out, what particular relevance that has to USMA escapes me). This book is pretty superficial, it's like trying to read an episode of "The Real World", you see small snippets of what's actually going on and none of it gives you any kind of idea of what the whole picture is supposed to look like. Lipsky seems to have missed that, unlike magazines or TV, books are supposed to have a story line, it's also nice if they have some depth, consistency, story development and better editing (yep, some typos in there). I never found myself really enjoying this book but rather just wondering where the last piece of data that I read fitted into the overall story. Lipsky claims to have spent 4 years following cadets through their school careers so I'm sure he's got a lot of data, it's just too bad that he chose to present it so poorly. I find it unsurprising that this book reads like a bunch of magazine columns pasted together. I'm sure that the story of the process of entry, life at and life beyond the USMA is both interesting and compelling, "Absolutely American" pretty much fails to be either.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Truly Wonderful Book
This is a fabulous book. Lipsky succeeds in humanizing the Army by spotlighting the members of West Point classes 1998 to 2002. While this book is about West Point, it is told by focusing on the stories of individual cadets, and the cadets Lipsky follows through the arc of the story are compelling and fascinating people. You cannot read this book and not come away awed by the strength of their character. I was truly inspired by the young men and women Lipsky describes that choose to test themselves with 4 years at West Point and then service to their country in the military. Honor, valor, strength of character, intelligence...these cadets have them in spades. This is a fascinating portrait of a world most people never learn about, let alone experience. I can't recommend this book enough. And finally, thanks to all members of our armed forces for putting their lives at risk to protect our country.

4-0 out of 5 stars Extremely revealing
The journalist author chronicles his observations of the cadets and staff at the military academy. He doesn't stick with one class from induction to graduation, opting instead for a sort of scatter-shot approach which allows him a wider view: the ability to check up on graduates after they've moved on to real Army officer status, or to observe the plebes (freshmen) being inducted at any given year, which allows the reader more perspective on the experience. (It's not in the least confusing.) Lipsky writes with the clear, simple style of a reporter, informative and inviting. He really gets into his subjects' heads, conveying all the cadets' and officers' thoughts, fears and dreams about West Point and military life. He also touches on a bit of history and is not afraid to shine a light on some of the problems West Point would probably rather not admit: sex among cadets and illicit drugs especially (but both are remarkably scarce, all the same). Kudos to the academy for having the integrity to allow Lipsky full access, and kudos to Lipsky for allowing civilians a good long peek at what cadet life can be all about. (Oh, and a final word to the wise regarding some other reviews on Amazon: any "reader" that says the book is out to revel in the moral impropriety of West Point, or who could come away from the book knowing nothing about cadet Rash than he had trouble with the two-mile test, obviously stopped reading less than halfway through. Do yourself a favor if you're at all interested in the military culture: buy this book and see for yourself. Lipsky has nothing but respect for the honor and ability of these fine cadets and officers.)

1-0 out of 5 stars DISAPPOINTING

189. Chesty: The Story of Lieutenant General Lewis B. Puller, USMC
list price: $35.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679447326
Catlog: Book (2001-08-07)
Publisher: Random House
Sales Rank: 333528
Average Customer Review: 4.64 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The Marine Corps is known for its heroes, and Lieutenant General Lewis B. Puller has long been considered the greatest of them all. His assignments and activities covered an extraordinary spectrum of warfare. Puller mastered small unit guerrilla warfare as a lieutenant in Haiti in the 1920s, and at the end of his career commanded a division in Korea. In between, he chased Sandino in Nicaragua and fought at Guadalcanal, Cape Gloucester, and Peleliu.

With his bulldog face, barrel chest (which earned him the nickname Chesty), gruff voice, and common touch, Puller became—and has remained—the epitome of the Marine combat officer. At times Puller's actions have been called into question—at Peleliu, for instance, where, against a heavily fortified position, he lost more than half of his regiment. And then there is the saga of his son, who followed in Chesty's footsteps as a Marine officer only to suffer horrible wounds in Vietnam (his book, Fortunate Son, won the Pulitzer Prize).

Jon Hoffman has been given special access to Puller's personal papers as well as his personnel record.The result will unquestionably stand as the last word about Chesty Puller.

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Reviews (14)

4-0 out of 5 stars A thorough look at a Marine legend
Chesty Puller is one of the most revered warriors in U.S. military history, and it was surprising that until the publication of this biography, there was scant few books on this legend - outside of a slightly exaggerated biography published shortly after his forced retirement from the Corps.

Lt. Col. Hoffman presents a thorough, if slightly dry, narrative of the life of Lewis B. Puller. Expecting a slight bias from the author - a Marine himself - I found the biography largely free of bias and very fair. Every facet of Chesty's immense personality, whether it be good or bad, is given equal footing throughout. Also, Lt. Col. Hoffman avoided the trap of basing his biography on the numerous myths that surround Chesty's life.

I found the second half of the book to be most interesting. While Chesty's early life and Marine career - including his stints in Haiti, Nicaragua, and China - are worthwhile in establishing his warrior spirit and forging the man, there is not much depth in these topics. I presume this is due to lack of documented information more than any omissions by the author, but it does make for a slightly tedious first half of the biography. Once the narrative begins touching on Chesty's exploits in World War II, Korea, and post-Marine life, the full measure of the man is revealed, and more relevant information is presented. It is here that the "meat" of his life exists, and we get a good picture of how he was equally lauded and criticized for his tactical strategies, personality, and opinions of the military establishment.

Also, we get a partial, yet satisfying, glimpse of his interaction with his son, who would later become famous with his book "Fortunate Son". While some reviewers have criticized the author for omitting Lewis Puller, Jr.'s suicide several years ago, I believe that this tangent would only serve to be off-topic and out-of-place in a biography of a man who died in the early 1970's. The interaction of father and son following the son's gruesome wounds in Vietnam are enough of a glimpse - and a powerful one at that - to satisfy most readers.

I would highly recommend this book in favor of "Marine!", because it is far more in-depth, fair, and accurate. Lt. Col. Hoffman has done an excellent job with this biography. The only thing that prevents me from rating a full five stars is that the narrative is slightly dry and that the first half of the book is a little slow. As such, the casual reader may find it difficult to plow through the whole book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Needed it all along
When I first heard someone was going to do a biography on Chesty I thought they were nuts. Why do we need another Chesty book? You see, I am a Marine and I understand the lore and myth that surrounds Chesty in our everyday life. How could anyone possibly write an objective book about Chesty Puller? For a long time in my career whenever I find myself in a tough scrape, I often ask "What would Chesty Do?" and proceed to solve my problem in a like manor. For a non-Marine, it is impossible to understand what Chesty means to us. Myth, Legend, Hero, he is all that and then some. To us, he is THE Marine of all time, with no exceptions. Jon Hoffman cut through all that. Jon Hoffman has gathered his resources and the facts and really looked at Chesty hard, and from a detracted point of view. He asked questions about Chesty no other Marine possibly could have. In the end, after he examined Chesty in a purely professional military sense, I found myself loving Chesty all the more, as well as respecting the total military professional he was. I guess I needed another look at Chesty after all.

Semper Fi Lt.Col. Hoffman,
Well done.

5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Biography of a deceptively complex man
There's a marvelous scene in one of the first Viet Nam war movies, "The Boys in Company C." The movie begins with the obligatory first-day-at-boot-camp sequence, which ends with lights out. The drill instructor makes the recruits lie in bed at attention and shout "Goodnight Chesty Puller, wherever you are!" and then turns the lights out and leaves. After a moment, one of the recruits says into the darkness "Who the hell is Chesty Puller, anyway?" For most who are or were in the Marines, he needs no introduction, but for the public at large, this book will fill the gap for those who are interested.

Lewis Burwell Puller joined the Marines at the end of WW1, and spent most of the 20s as an enlisted man seconded to the Haitian Gendarmerie, acting as an officer in that organization. He became an officer in the Marine Corps in the mid-20s, and spent the late 20s and early 30s in Nicaragua. By the mid-30s, his reputation as one of the premier small unit tactics experts in the Marine Corps resulted in his teaching that course at the Marines Basic school for three years. About a third of the junior officers in the Corps during the period took the course from him. When WW2 started, he served first on Guadalcanal, then New Britain, and finally Peleliu. He later saw extensive action in Korea, retiring in 1955 and dying in 1971. He had an extensive combat record and a series of awards that are hard to match: he remains the only Marine ever awarded five Navy Crosses.

It's difficult to understand or explain what he personifies to Marines (and I should point out that I'm not a Marine myself). Puller was an iconoclast from the moment he became a Marine, and also something of a subversive. At the same time he was very insistent on loyalty to the Corps and the country, and worked very hard to make sure that these things were always held dear by his troops. One of the revelations of the book, to me, was that he turns out to have been an excellent training officer (though he disdained the duty) and a relatively decent staff officer (though he despised this duty, and everyone else who did it). Hoffman does a rather good job of recounting Puller's career, and is surprisingly frank and critical (not neccessarily negative) when examining the choices Puller made and the opinions he expressed.

Chesty Puller is a hard subject to write about. Given his legendary status (note I didn't use the word almost: the man had more stories made up about him than Elvis) the author admits to more than a bit of trepidation in writing the book, and merely notes that the only book-length treatment of Puller's life is Marine!, the authorized biography which is really more of a memoir, and not terribly reliable. Hoffman's book, by comparison, is a balanced, well-researched, incisive biography of a man who turns out to have been much more complex than he let on, and a more rounded soldier (or Marine) than his legend implies. This is an excellent book; I would recommend it highly.

5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Biography of a Marine Legend
Boy was I suprised to see "Chesty" on a feature table in our local [store]. Although Chesty Puller wasn't that well known outside his beloved Corps, his combat record is well known to all Marines. Col. Hoffman's extensive research of Chesty's military career has lead to an exceptionally fine biography. Covering a span of over seventy years and three major wars this book reads more like a novel. Much like Geoffrey Perret's "Old Soldiers never die" (MacArthur's biography), every detail is included and well documented. Sure to be a historical reference for many years.

4-0 out of 5 stars Who says we can't handle the truth?
Like many Marines, both active and ex, I was interested in learning more about this icon. Hofmann does an excellent job of telling Chesty's story in straight forward and efficient manner that keeps the focus on his subject without wandering too far astray into military minutia.
In the latter stages of his career it appears Chesty's single minded ambition for rank and fame becomes the focus of his day to day life. One is left to wonder if his well known affinity for enlisted men has some basis in the fact they were not competing for spots on the promotion list.
This ambition becomes clear when Chesty questions the fitness of another regimental commander in Korea because the guy did not spend enough time in command billets during WWII. The fact that the officer in question escaped from the Japanese to help wage guerilla war in the Phillipines and upon being liberated led a battalion of Marines on Okinawa seems to highlight Chesty's double standard for evaluating those who are vying for spots he wanted.
All in all, a good unvarnished tale that makes Chesty more human while not diminishing his outstanding career as a Marine. ... Read more

190. Citizen Coors: An American Dynasty
by Dan Baum
list price: $27.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0688154484
Catlog: Book (2000-03-01)
Publisher: William Morrow & Company
Sales Rank: 287930
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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The Coors Brewing Company in Golden, Colorado, is one of those prototypical American businesses that sprang from the efforts of a single-minded individual to become a dominant force in its industry. The elements that led to its ascension make quite a story, too: a destitute but hard-driving immigrant founder; kidnapping, suicides, and murder; secretive, right-wing politics and boisterous consumer boycotts; and, to top it off, an aristocratic ruling family that never dealt well with outsiders. To make sense of it all, former Wall Street Journal reporter Dan Baum interviewed more than 150 people, excluding, unfortunately, the primary family members, who still routinely refuse to talk to outsiders. Nevertheless, Baum tells this colorful Hollywood-esque tale in a comprehensive and compelling manner. He shows with considerable insight how the corporate and familial tone was set early by patriarch Adolph, a figure so domineering he "was still effectively running the company more than 60 years" after his death. And he shows with equal clarity why Peter, the heir, ultimately turned to an outsider to help the company address its competition in a way befitting a prototypical American business. An interesting tale, well told. --Howard Rothman ... Read more

Reviews (13)

5-0 out of 5 stars Citizen Coors: An American Dynasty
I thought the book was outstanding.It was historical, personal, tragic, economic, political and ideological.It also included incredible lessons for the business world.I have been and will continue to recommend this book to others.

4-0 out of 5 stars Coors Family's Personal and BusinessTraumas
"Citizen Coors" is a book written about the ups and downs of the Coors family, in both the business and personal arenas. Founded by Adolph Coors, a Prussian stowaway to America, the Coors Company has been in existance now for more than 100 years and during that time, it has often found itself thrust into the spotlight over problems with employees, political involvement, and family crises and disputes.

Author Dan Baum spends a little bit of time talking about the foundation of the company, then he heads directly into the 20th century, discussing at length the Coor's family members (Bill, Joe, Adolph II, Adolph III, Peter, Joe, and others) and their various business philosophies and personal lives. As most people know, the Coors family has always had problems with organized labor, and the company has been the target of strikes and boycotts by various pro- labor and ethnic groups. Accused of being anti- labor, anti- gay, sexist, and racist, the Coors Company has been forced to face a never- ending onslaught of criticism from various civil and political groups. Author Dan Baum covers many of these important issues thoroughly, while managing to leave out his own opinions, allowing the reader to digest the information and make his/her own decision.

Reading a book like will make some people a little bit annoyed at the Coors family and its beliefs. The labor problems are one thing, but there are other issues that the author covers which are just as controversial. For example, it is known that Coors was very slow to accept the changes in the marketplace in the 1970's, when the other big brewers, Miller and Anheuser- Busch, were both switching to a brand marketing emphasis. Coors could visibly see the changes, but refused to make any moves until it was almost too late. Bill Coors, in particular, is incredibly rigid, refusing to even consider producing and selling a light beer, even though other family members and marketing experts all warn him that change is necessary if the Coors Company has any hope to survive.

The book ends by talking about the modern era. Coors is still around, but the boycotts and other problems have taken a toll. The company is no longer family run, like it was in the past. Now, Coors is directed by professionals who have managed to expand the product line, allocate more money toward marketing and sales, and have rescued the company from bankruptcy.

"Citizen Coors" is a very good read. It has its share of tragedy (Adolph Coors I and great- granddaughter Missy both committed suicide and Adolph III was murdered) but it also has its share of success. Coors is credited for inventing the aluminum can and for encouraging recycling on a massive scale. Above all, though, "Citizen Coors" shows the importance of accepting change. If Coors had acted more quickly, it could possibly be a much larger brewer than it is today, rivaling A-B for the top spot in the industry. A little more flexibility and open- mindedness could have worked wonders.

4-0 out of 5 stars Insightful
Baum does not go easy on the Coors family, but I also found Citizen Coors sympathetic and very touching, with frank discussion of the family culture and their very human conflicts, weaknesses, and strengths. Stubbornly, and honorably, they stuck to their belief that if they made excellent beer, people would buy it with or without advertising.They finally succumbed to the need for expensive advertising campaigns in the face of market share wars that erupted when Phillip Morris bought Miller Brewing Company and applied sophisticated tobacco marketing strategies to beer.

At times, the book portrays some Coors as very much bewildered, as when Bill Coors innocently suggested at an employee meeting that citizen's votes should count in proportion to how much each person pays in taxes.But when it came to engineering, in which most of the family members were trained, Bill Coors was creative and determined in the successful effort to develop the aluminum can, and an aluminum can recycling program.

The Coors, and the companies they control, have expended enormous resources for the causes in which they believe, which included development of the aluminum can, and a tab that did not leave a separated ring, so prone to becoming a separate piece of litter.They also were willing to spend millions and suffer economic and public relations losses to fight for their conservative political and religious ideals. Many (but not all) of the family members have a born-again or fundamentalist Christian faith, and there is an uncomfortable conflict between their morals and the manufacture and marketing of beer.

Sometimes they implemented their ideals about private sector action, in place of government programs.As Business Week pointed out in its review of the book, Coors "recruited urban unemployables right out of prison", because they wanted to give them a chance to become productive members of society. In another situation they did not act so responsibly.When they discovered that chlorinated organic solvents from aluminum can manufacturing had gotten into the groundwater, they decided not to report it as required by law, and secretly pumped the water into Clear Creek for ten years, before finally getting caught.

To maintain their absolutist view of property rights, including the right to run their brewery any way they saw fit; they waged battles with labor unions, hurting Coors' image with some of its consumers.Property rights also seemed to be the basis of their 1960's opposition to civil rights laws.Baum asserts that it was the Coors' repugnance about having government inspectors coming onto their property and reviewing their records, more than the cleanup costs, that motivated them to not report the groundwater contamination.

The history of the Coors family and Golden are very much entwined, so those interested in local Golden history will enjoy the book.Many Golden residents personally know various people in the book. Ruben Hartmeister's work with Bill Coors to develop the aluminum can is excitingly recounted.There is an astonishing story about Leo Bradley and Coors setting up private drug stings, and expanding the operations to downtown Golden to Shotgun Annie's (now The Buffalo Rose).Meanwhile its owner, whose business was put at considerable risk, was also a client of the Bradley law firm, and was therefor owed a duty of loyalty by the firm.But he was kept in the dark about the drug sting operations, set up on his property.

With Thanks to historian Rick Gardner regarding the new name for Shotgun Annie's

Hint: As I read the book, I found it very helpful to sketch a family tree.

5-0 out of 5 stars Amazingly Compelling
Two of my neighbors read this book and told me, repeatedly, that I'd love it.They said they'd both finished it in two days.Finally they gave it to me for my birthday--and I spent my birthday (and most of the following night) reading it.I finished it in even less time than they did--and me, a fiction reader!

The Coors family saga is fascinating.It's a classic American success story, with elements straight out of a Greek tragedy.The very qualities that made the family succeed so well for the first hundred years--attention to product quality and family concepts of integrity--nearly destroyed them in the last twenty-five.

I can't agree with the earlier reviewer, who commented that the book was poorly organized.I thought the author did a great job of interweaving story lines, so I understood what all of the players were doing during a given period of time.

I thought the author also did a good job of remaining unbiased.He may have had "Eastern Establishment" leanings, as one of the other reviewers commented, but I thought he painted the Coors family members in a reasonably sympathetic light.He certainly helps you understand how people with their family background--immigrant founder who built the business from scratch--would have developed some of the attitudes they hold (or held).

My only problem with the book was that the anecdotes were so fascinating that I was compelled to read long sections to my husband--even though he fully intended to read the book himself as soon as I finished it.

I highly recommend this book!

4-0 out of 5 stars Concise, relevant historical background
This book is particularly fascinating for those of us living in Colorado. As someone who enjoys regularly visiting Golden, (and taking Coors brewery tours), it's interesting to look at the town from a different perspective; The Coors' family's.

While tragic in some respects, I do think that this tome paints a real and unflinching picture of the life of one immigrant family which has made in America. ... Read more

191. Learning to Bow : Inside the Heart of Japan
by Bruce Feiler
list price: $13.95
our price: $10.46
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060577207
Catlog: Book (2004-05-01)
Publisher: Perennial
Sales Rank: 37409
Average Customer Review: 3.77 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Learning to Bow has been heralded as one of the funniest, liveliest, and most insightful books ever written about the clash of cultures between America and Japan. With warmth and candor, Bruce Feiler recounts the year he spent as a teacher in a small rural town. Beginning with a ritual outdoor bath and culminating in an all-night trek to the top of Mt. Fuji, Feiler teaches his students about American culture, while they teach him everything from how to properly address an envelope to how to date a Japanese girl.

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Reviews (22)

5-0 out of 5 stars This is how it really is
Bruce Feiler was one of the first participants on the JET program, a program sponsored by the Japanese government to bring foreign young people to Japan for the purposes of education and "internationalization." While Feiler's experiences are a little unusual, in that he can already speak Japanese when he arrives and the events at his school are rather dramatic, overall his story reflects the life of a typical JET program participant. The culture shock, the unbending bureaucracy, the complex and often disaffected attitudes of students, the instant celebrity and lack of privacy that goes with it, are all symptoms that JETs experience. I read the book and often found myself nodding in agreement, having experience the same events and feelings myself. If you want to have an intimate look at the world of education in Japan today, Feiler's book is an excellent place to start. If you are thinking about joining the JET program, this book is a must, along with Importing Diversity.

3-0 out of 5 stars Learning to Bow
Although Feiler paints a detailed, and often humorous picture of life in a Japanese public school, his picture is far too clean. He strikes me as being a bit like the foreign talents that work in Japan who have been neutured by Japanese society to make them more palletable to their xenophbic audience. I felt like the Ministry of Education had come through and ereased the negative comments before I could read them. So, in short: it is a well-written book, but should not be the final word on an outsider's perspective on the Japanese educational system.

4-0 out of 5 stars Useful Information For Any Gaijin in Japan
This book is useful for anyone moving to Japan, either as part of the JET Programme or any other reason. After living in Japan for a few years (not on the JET Programme) I recognized a lot of truth to what Feiler had to say. This book also provided me with an inside look at and the pros and cons of the Japanese school system. Through my own experience, I honestly am amazed at the amount of pressure placed on students to do well in school in Japan. For the most part, the students' effort pays off when they are accepted into a great high school or college, regardless of the two-hour-one-way commute some of them endure. At the same time, however, I wish the school system in Japan encouraged students to be more creative and that the environment allowed them to learn more about the world around them. Despite that, though, the Japanese people make great students and are some of the nicest people you'll meet in your life. This book, through the author's experiences in Tochigi Prefecture, show this and more, all in an entertaining, well-written way. And if for that reason alone, this book is worth reading once for anyone interested in Japan.

5-0 out of 5 stars Cultural lessons disquised by an American sensei in Japan
Bruce Fielder pens the story of his experience as an English Teacher in Japan. Similar to "You Gotta Have Wa", this book is more about the experiences of an outsider fitting in to Japan than the occupational hazards of teaching English. To use his own words, Fielder really does cut into the heart of Japan. Interspersed between stories of the challenges of the educational system are many deeper lessons. Included are an explanation of the importance of group harmony and identity, how co-workers balance formal working relationships with personal bonds, and how personal development differs between Japan and the West.

Perhaps my only struggle was hearing how hard it was for the author to find a date in Japan. Japan is legendary for English teachers "punching above their weight" and finding girlfriend's well out of their league in the US. But perhaps the book would have lost it's tone and cultural insights if it degenerated into a story of how many girls the author picked up.

The book has held up remarkably over the past 10 years. Despite the bursting of the Japanese bubble, the cultural lessons ring true today. I recommend the book to anyone interested in Japan, independent of occupation.

2-0 out of 5 stars rather offensive to a fellow American
I am an easy audience and for the first twenty pages or so, I was really set to enjoy this book.

Then I found myself gradually more and more frustrated when Mr. Feiler would stop to explain how some event or peculiar classroom trend he experienced was obviously due to blah blah blah historical or cultural Japanese dynamic...for pages upon pages. If I wanted to study social complexities, I think I could read Reischauer or someone with ample expertise.

He also maintains quite an attitude of American superiority over the absurd Japanese way of doing things. He seems to think himself immune to this, though, because he has learned Japanese. He even goes so far in one chapter to discuss his anxieties about the feasibility of engaging in intimate acts with a Japanese woman due to his highly developed gringo genitalia. He also seemed obsessed with the fact that he was taller than almost all Japanese people. If there is one thing you will learn in this book, it is that Bruce Feiler is 6'4". His light humility is hardly bevievable.

Despite the vast network of superiority complexes seen in this specimen, this book is periodically entertaining. However,I think it is not worth your time, ... Read more

192. Unnatural Death: Confessions of a Medical Examiner
list price: $6.99
our price: $6.29
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0804105995
Catlog: Book (1990-03-28)
Publisher: Ivy Books
Sales Rank: 9336
Average Customer Review: 4.16 out of 5 stars
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Forensic pathologist Michael Baden was a medicalexaminer in New YorkCity for more than 25 years.Now he works forthe New York State Police and teachesforensic medicine. This engrossing book covers: (1) several famous cases, including Baden's personal re-examination of the autopsy findings forMartin Luther King andJohn F. Kennedy; (2) unusual cases Badenhad as medical examiner for NYC, such as anautopsy on a dining room table at the Plaza Hotel; (3) how medical examiners decide onmeans of death, with a section on poisons; (4) the history of coroners and medicalexaminers since 12th century England;(5) disturbing politics involved in the office ofthe Chief MedicalExaminer of NYC; (6) identification of the dead; (7) time of death; (8)multiple-murder cases; (9) an almost perfect murder; (10) close calls, including neardeaths during sex; (11) cases of mistaken diagnosis; and (12) autopsy findings that shedlight on what happened in the Attica uprising. ... Read more

Reviews (31)

3-0 out of 5 stars Interesting But Jaded
In 1977, Congress set up the Select Committee on Assassinations to look into JFK's assassination. Baden was in charge of the forensic pathology investigation and set up a panel of nine medical examiners. Others investigated the non-forensic areas. Baden feels that the conspiracy theories abounded due to a poor medical-legal autopsy performed on the president by Commander Humes who'd never done one before. Baden feels these theories still abound because he was not allowed to testify about the committee's forensic findings. The Select Committee on Assassinations concluded that theirs was a second gunman based on acoustical evidence.

I think the book was poorly organized. In his Introduction, Baden explains the science of forensic pathology. He followed this with a chapter on Heroes and Conspiracies possibly for the sensationalism. It makes more sense to follow the explanation of forensic pathology with the following chapter order History, The Education of a Medical Examiner, Autopsy, Manhattan Postmortem (about city politics and how they interfere with ability of the ME to do his job), Earthly Remains, Time of Death then Heroes and Conspiracies with the remaining chapters in the same order.

The book provides a lot of valuable information on the profession however I recommend reading Cause of Death (which I also reviewed) by Cyril Wecht, M.D., J.D. with Mark Curriden and Benjamin Wecht for the story behind JFK's assassination. Wecht was also on the Select Committee on Assassinations.

4-0 out of 5 stars excellent and fascinating nonfiction
You might have seen Dr. Michael Baden as a guest commentator on the cable news shows or as a featured expert on HBO's Autopsy series. He's one of the best forensic pathologists in the country, and he's written a definitive and concise treatment of his profession in Unnatural Death. Near the front of the book is one of the best and most convincing segments on the JFK assasination and the single bullet theory. This alone makes the book worth getting, especially if you want a solid but short objective treatment of the single bullet theory (and don't want to delve into Gerald Posner's Case Closed).

But that's just the beginning. Baden goes on to look at a variety of celebrity deaths and types of deaths through the eyes of the forensic pathologist. He makes a great case for the need for this specialty and for how much it can contribute to society by a fuller understanding of death and its processes. The celebrity parts are reminiscent of the Coroner books by Thomas Noguchi (which I would also recommend if you're into this sort of thing), but it's the comprehensive treatment of the specialty of forensic pathology that sets this book apart.

2-0 out of 5 stars When great stories go bad
This book had amazing potential in its premise alone: the former Chief Medical Examiner of New York City gives us insight into the medical (and often political) twists and turns behind the scenes of highly publicized unnatural deaths. Unfortunately, this book turned out to be a HUGE letdown.

The writing was poor and often confusing. Not a smooth read by any means - very fragmented, scattered and random. The stories themselves pull you in because they are interesting, true and controversial, but then the author leaves you with about a dozen loose ends and unanswered questions. For example, in Chapter 11, he talks about the murder of Gail Morris. We are taken through the story only to be left hanging at the end. Why did Leonard Barco confess? Too many important details are left out. I feel like I only read half a book.

Then, there is the story of Miriam Weinfeld (Chapter 5). Baden claims that she could not have been raped because her hymen was intact, making her a virgin. This is misleading, since that is not a definitive test of virginity (it is possible for a small percentage of women have an elastic hymen, which does not break). So, for someone who does know that, that definitive statement is misleading. Little details like this - statements made without any qualifications - made me distrust the book. I am sure Michael Baden has some great stories to tell (and is obviously qualified to tell them), but the writing screwed them up. It's too could have been an incredible book.

5-0 out of 5 stars The best of the two . . .
I thought this book was better than Michael Baden's other book "Dead Reckoning." This was a very interesting read. I learned a few things about the industry of medical examiners and forensics. I wouldn't recommend this book to those who have a weak stomach, because the author doesn't hold back the details in quite a few areas of the book. For those people who love C.S.I. (you know, that popular forensic television show?) or are simply curious about the industry this book will be an interesting read! I even gave this book to some friends of mine and they enjoyed it just as much as I did. The style of writing makes the topic easy to understand for the average Joe Smoe. Good book, I like it!

1-0 out of 5 stars You've got to be kidding
I've been a fan of Michael Baden ever since watching my first HBO special. I've seen several of them. I decided to buy a book by Baden even though I don't read many books. I knew he was involved with the HSCA investigation of Kennedy, which comprises over 90% of the books I have read, and was aware of his conclusions at the time. I would have figured by 1989 he would have somewhat changed his tune. He hadn't and as far as I know still hasn't. Any respect I had for this man as an expert in the field is now tainted by what I read in the beginning of this book. Dr. Baden makes several statements that when not cross-examined seem compelling but are if fact grossly mis-representative or unbelievable false. I can't believe someone of his caliber would stoop as low as he did. He provides his "opinion" but not the cross-examination that his opinion warrants. If he did then he would have to explain himself and based on SEVERAL comments he made it is simply not possible. Someone of his esteem should have been decent enough to make an attempt to examine both sides. An example would be his opinion that the reason Kennedy was thrown back and to the left was because the car accelerated at that precise moment. What a joke! Can you explain Dr. Baden why NONE of the other occupants of the car were not forced back and to the left as well. Based on the way Jackie was sitting she would have been thrown around more than her husband, but that didn't happen. Further explain why the head was thrown back and to the left with much greater force than the rest of the body. The video evidence clearly shows that the head was thrown back first, and with greater force, with the body following simply because it was attached. This is not speculation based on faulty evidence which Mr. Baden gives. This is fact based on hard and fast evidence that anyone viewing the Zapruder film can see. Unfortunately when someone with an ego such as Baden's he has to maintain his ridiculous opinion. The Kennedy assassination is fascinating in that it is really the only event where conspiracy can be proved by watching a very short film. Any hunter or marksman, not to mention scientist, will tell you when you shoot something the force of the projectile will propel that something in the same direction the projectile is traveling. It is that simple. Scientifically as well as logically what you see on the Zapruder film cleary shows the direction the bullet that killed the president was traveling. You can dispute that all you want but run a million tests and 1 million times the results will all be the same. Oh yeah Dr. Baden also contradicts himself by vehemently stating that bullets simply don't fall out of a wound. Then later he speculates that in fact that very thing did happen. Did he bother to proof read what he wrote? ... Read more

193. Corps Values : Everything You Need to Know I Learned In the Marines
list price: $11.00
our price: $8.25
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Asin: 055337981X
Catlog: Book (1998-09-01)
Publisher: Bantam
Sales Rank: 13213
Average Customer Review: 3.89 out of 5 stars
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Call it Robert Fulghum by way of John Wayne... In 1953, Zell Miller was as low as he could get. He'd dropped out of college after being made to feel inferior because of his "hillbilly" background and wound up in jail one weekend after getting drunk on moonshine and driving his car into a ditch.In an effort to turn his life around, he signed up for marine boot camp.The experience changed his life, and he remains convinced that the values he learned during his 90 days at Parris Island are "the only basis upon which diversity can coexist with commonality and all people can pursue individual goals for themselves while contributing to the general well-being and advancement of society as a whole." These simple values, from neatness and punctuality to discipline and loyalty, are for Miller the basis of a strong civil society. Although some readers may find some of his notions--such as his frustration at seeing kids wear caps backwards--a bit extreme, Miller reminds us that any organization that pumped out men like Bernard Shaw, Don Imus, Ted Williams, and Art Buchwald must have something going for it. ... Read more

Reviews (18)

5-0 out of 5 stars Buy it; buy 10; and give them to your employees and friends!
If you want to know about real American values this book must be read. Gov Miller's staight talk about the values he learned as a Marine are the ingredient for America's success. Today young Marines are taught the Corps values of "Honor, Courage and Commitment." The book took me back to my days as a drill instructor and I hope I made the same impression on my young Marines to be and Gov Miller's DI did. I truly enjoyed it and pick it up often to what Dr. Covey calls "to sharpen my saw." Semper Fidelis, Anthony Hudson Capt USMC (Ret.)

5-0 out of 5 stars this book is great and every marine needs to read it
I read this book in boot camp at the same island that Governor Miller went to. The book was great. The Corps values we learned at boot camp are right on and this great book expains a lot of what we go through.I'm glad that Governor Miller wrote this book and think every Marine needs to read it.

So Governor Miller, if you read this, thank you for a great book and SEMPER FI DEVIL DOG.

p.s. Some day it would be my pleasure to meet you and shake your hand to thank you for what you have done for me and the United States Marine Corps. DANIEL G STOY LCPL USMC

2-0 out of 5 stars Great Values- But does the author have them?
I have had the privilage to serve as a citizen under the ruling of Governor Zell Miller. He was a fine governor, presumably one of our state's best. His points about these core "corps values" are exactly on the nail's head. But, he could have chosen a much more respectful way to approach teaching them. He seems to get caught up in the tragedy of the society's misguided attention to these values instead of telling us why they are just so important. He is disrespectful to the youth of today's society several times throughout the book. It is one thing (and a great thing!) to be proud to be a Marine, but being so doesn't give you the right or privilage to disgrace everyone who is not. Do the Marines teach you to be stuck-up? I don't appreciate many of Gov. Miller's comments. I aggree totally with all those values, but he forgot one thing about respect: To get respect, you must GIVE respect. I don't know how he expects us (youth) to respect him if he doesn't even show it to us. Sitting around and writing a book with his great name on it that basically is more of his complaints instead of beliefs is just disrespectful. How about writing it as suggestions to live up to these morals and not just saying If you're a kid or not a Marine, well, damn you for your ignorance.

"Corps Values" is a good read, but is hurtful to some. I give it a 2 out of 5.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Quick Read of Some Really Important Stuff
I sat down and read Zell's "Corps Values" in less than 2 hours. It spoke volumns to me about how people's lives can be changed for the better when they have a solid moral and ethical model for proven success to follow. I put in my tour of duty with the US Army but I have always had the highest respect for the US Marine Corps and the men that it produces. Every young man and woman should be challenged to read this little book and begin to practice the keys to molding character and always doing the next right thing. "Corps Values" is a valuable adjunct to solid values taught by your church or synagogue-its a wonderful applications tool to guide us all.

5-0 out of 5 stars Corps Values
I stumbled across this book just as my son entered Marine boot camp. It is what "got me" through his Marine boot camp experience. Every word written by Zell Miller was an inspiration as to why my son joined the Marines (which I did not previously fully understand) and what being a United States Marine means. Beyond Honor, Courage, & Commitment, Zell Miller explains, through his experience at Marine boot camp, how the young recruit gains these humankind values: Neatness, Punctuality, Brotherhood, Persistence, Respect, Shame, Responsibility, Achievement, Courage, Discipline, Pride, and Loyalty. A chapter is devoted to each. In letters to my son, I sent exerpts from the book which helped him through the toughest times and gave him extra encouragement to keep believing in himself and this greatest challenge of his life. This book is definitely a "must read" for family members of Marine recruits, and makes a wonderful keepsake gift. The values it describes is good reading for all family members, young and old, and to embrace and incorporate the Marine Corps values into one's own life can only make our world a better place to live. I can't say enough about how much I enjoyed this book. ... Read more

194. All Creatures Great and Small
by James Herriot
list price: $49.95
our price: $32.97
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Asin: 1559277734
Catlog: Book (2002-12-13)
Publisher: Audio Renaissance
Sales Rank: 16847
Average Customer Review: 4.81 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

These are the stories that catapulted James Herriot to literary fame.When this book was first published, it was merely a simple volume of memoirs by an unknown Scottish veterinarian.But within a year, the book became recognizedas a masterpiece.And in the three decades that followed, Dr. Herriot became one of the most universally loved authors of our time.

In this first volume of memoirs, then-newly-qualified vet James Herriot arrives in the small Yorkshire village of Darrowby and he has no idea what to expect.How will he get on with his new boss?With the local farmers?And what will the animals think?This program is filled with hilarious and touching tales of the unpredictable Sigfriend Farnon, Sigfreid's zany brother, Tristan, and Herriot's first encounters with a beautiful girl called Helen.

Now as then, All Creatures Great and Small is full of humor, warmth, pathos, drama, and James Herriot's love of life.His journey across the Yorkshire dales, and his encounters with humans and dogs, cows, and kittens are lovingly told by Christopher Timothy with all the fascination, affection, and joy that suffuses Dr. Herriot's work.
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Reviews (75)

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent....
I picked this book up one day with no clue as to what it was. After having read it I've concluded that it's the best story that I've read concerning animals (excluding animal farm). It also helped me understand life as a veternarian (at least some fifty years ago!) I've also come to the conclusion that Herriot has created a brilliant novel in his first try that have taken so many others years to complete. Synopsis: A heart-warming true tale of a veternarian named Dr. James Herriot in the late 30s in Yorkshire, England.

5-0 out of 5 stars classic works!
James Herriot's books stand out in modern writing as absolute classics, evocative of an earlier, more innocent time, and more wonderously, by the skill with which these deceptively simple, entertaining, moving stories are written. Beneath the entertaining text and characters lies absolutely beautiful, artful writing, with craft and skill that ties all these chapters and stories together in a pattern of one country vet's life in England in the 1930's and 40's. These are so much more than animal stories. I am biased; these are my favorite all-time books, read and re-read since my youth. Increasing age has not diminished their charm. History will write James Herriot's name large. If you haven't read these books yet, you owe it to yourself to start with "All Creatures Great and Small". Whether or not you care for animals, you will fall in love with a gentler time, the escapades of a trio of young men, and the laugh-out-loud as well as very tearful events this author writes about so beautifully. Absolutely timeless and a classic.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best Listening Book Experience Ever!!
James Herriot is a wonderfully gifted writer. The way he can describe a scene with the exact perfect wording and phrase is simply uncanny.

You are THERE on the Yorkshire dales living the lowly daily life of a young vet.

Add to that Christopher Timothy's truly masterful performance and this audio book should be in the hall of fame. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

A breath of fresh air. Genuinely hilarious, heart warming, uplifting.

Give yourself the best gift ever. Listen to this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars The beginning of magic
This is where it all started with James Herriott for me - a paperback tucked in with 3 or 4 other books I received for my birthday a long time ago. I couldn't tell you what the other books were, but this book, and its sequels, have become dear friends. I can tell you the stories from memory (and from my heart) and I have read the paperbacks so often I've had to replace them with hardbacks just so they'll last longer.
James Herriott was a vet practicing in Yorkshire (England) from the end of the Depression until about 20 years ago.
The stories are charming, happy, glorious, tragic and tear-jerking. It was a wonderful but brutal time to be practicing veterinary medicine. It was before many of the surgeries we have now and Herriott was there for the introduction of antibiotics and many other medicines. Think about it - how often have you had your cat or dog treated for infections - 60 years ago there was nothing to kill the bacteria that brought death to so many. How impossibly hard it must have been for him to lose so many of the animals he treated, and how wonderful when he knew he saved them either for the farmers who needed their stock or the families who loved their pets. And the people he writes about! What characters!
I have pets and love to read the stories about cats and dogs and horses. I teach medical students and use more than a few examples from these books about the PROCESS of thinking which is so essential to any practice of medicine. His stories here and in later books about diagnosing hoof and mouth disease or husk or heatstroke or nettlerash are fascinating reading about the mind of a physician as it works while the seconds of life tick away.
This book is great, the series of books is great - curl up somewhere and get to know them.

5-0 out of 5 stars A great book
You have to be dead not to enjoy this book. I just wanted to register my five stars. ... Read more

195. The Right Stuff
list price: $15.00
our price: $10.20
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553381350
Catlog: Book (2001-10-30)
Publisher: Bantam
Sales Rank: 7452
Average Customer Review: 4.47 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

When the future began...

The men had it. Yeager. Conrad. Grissom. Glenn. Heroes ... the first Americans in space ... battling the Russians for control of the heavens ... putting their lives on the line.

The women had it. While Mr. Wonderful was aloft, it tore your heart out that the Hero's Wife, down on the ground, had to perform with the whole world watching ... the TV Press Conference: "What's in your heart? Do you feel with him while he's in orbit?"

The Right Stuff. It's the quality beyond bravery, beyond courage. It's men like Chuck Yeager, the greatest test pilot of all and the fastest man on earth. Pete Conrad, who almost laughed himself out of the running. Gus Grissom, who almost lost it when his capsule sank. John Glenn, the only space traveler whose apple-pie image wasn't a lie.
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Reviews (62)

3-0 out of 5 stars A good read, but not without problems
With all the hype over A Man In Full (and, having previously read Bonfire of the Vanities), I decided to read The Right Stuff over the Xmas holiday to check out Tom Wolfe's nonfiction work. I've always had a fascination with the space program, and so was primed to read the story about its origins in the U.S., about which I had known very little.

While I enjoyed the book, however, I was left feeling vaguely unsatisfied. I think the main problem stems from what Wolfe mentions in the Forward: what he set out to write about (the space program) was not exactly what he got interested in (the test-flight program and its unique "fraternity"). As a result there's an odd sense of disinterest in the actual Mercury program--you can almost feel Wolfe's relief in the last chapter when he returns to Chuck Yeager and a particularly harrowing plane flight. In one sense this works to the book's advantage, as it exposes what I think is his main theme: the great gulf between the tightly-controlled, relatively underwhelming Mercury flights (compared to those in the test-flight program), and the extraordinary national response to those flights. However, to explore this theme better I wish Wolfe could have gone into more depth on what was happening politically with the program. I also wish he could have gone further forward in history so we could see how the astronaut evolved from a fighter-jock to the more erudite scientist that we today associate with NASA.

I did enjoy the book, overall, and I think it provides a unique and non-jingoistic (at least less so than, say, the movie Apollo 13 or the miniseries From The Earth To The Moon) look at the early U.S. space program. Just don't expect a completely satisfying experience.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Stunning Portrait of the First Pioneers of Space
The Right Stuff is a facinating and accurate depiction of the saga of the Mercury astronauts. Tom Wolfe really does a wonderful job of making both an interesting factual presentation of history as well as a colorful portrayal of the lives of those directly involved. The stress on the wives of the pilots for example gives one the untainted look at these incredible ladies composure and character that is seldon captured in other historical novels. The astronauts and pilots themselves who were regarded as more than human by the press of the period, are also portrayed very artfully in this often candid expose' on their often carefree regard for the dangerous jobs they constantly undertook. These men and women truly had the 'Right Stuff' at a very unpredictable period in US history: the dawn of the space race. High pressure situations continually kept all those involved on constant edge. This book carries you from the testing flight testing years at Edwards airforce base where Yeager is the king, through the Sputnik challenge and the American failed rocket testing early on, and finally arriving at the eventual successful space flights themselves. Throughout the book is the ongoing weave of eager and relentless reporters, a clamoring nation of people demanding immediate success, as well as the political pressure through three presidential administrations all piled on the shoulders of those connected with the program. The pressure cooker builds as the story progresses, and the explosion of success takes everyone involved by surprise including the astronauts themselves. This is an incredibly unique period in US history depicting the first astronauts who were idolized in a time when the nation truly needed heroes for its own personal pride. These men restored patriotism at a time when the feeling was considered lost. Additionally Wolfe covers the early years of the space programs development, including the Air Forces success with the X-15 project which was over-shadowed by the popularity of the Mercury program. The Mercury program's success sparked the later Apollo and Gemini programs almost immediately after the first flight with Alan Shepard. The sudden success of the NASA space program created a silent upheaval in the national brotherhood of pilots that is brilliantly detailed by the author giving a a full picture to the reader. One really gets the full practical viewpoint and daredevil gallantry of the test pilots in this book that is seldom touched elsewhere. In addition to that the author describes the beginning of the space program and the early positioning of power within that reveals an almost complete upheaval at times by its early architects (scientists, engineers, pilots, and all) and finally settling into a sensable orderly structure in the later years. This book truly sheds light on the early years of the NASA space program and gives one the candid look behind all the fanfare showing what really was happening outside of the public eye. Tom Wolfe completes a very tasteful coverage of the lives of the people involved and the evolution of the exploration of the new frontier with this exciting work. I found the later movie that followed the book to be very much in keeping, however there are many details that are left out of the movie that are covered in the book. This alone makes it a must to read. parts of the story that were unable to make it to the big screen was the flight of Wally Shirra and Scott Carpenter. These two flights alone had a great deal to do with setting the future direction of the space program. This is one you will enjoy as it will capture you interest from the beginning and leave you with a sense of national pride at the bravery and true pioneer spirit of all the people involved. You will be amazed as I was at the out-pouring of affection these men generated on America during this period. A stunning portrayal of a unique period in American history. All in all a great book to read and enjoy. I am very grateful to Tom Wolfe for having written such a novel, as this was a story that needed to be told.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Zenith of American Culture
My boss lent me this book in about 1982. He also had just invited me to become a member of the Southern California Soaring Club (gliders). For me, it was the most important and inspiring book of its decade. As a kid, the astronauts were, to me, mythic figures who risked their lives to prove what we were worth as Americans. Several of them died in the process. The space race was not some society social. These guys embodied what President Kennedy said, that "...We do not do these things because they are easy. We do them because they are hard." That, to me, epitomizes the meaning of the term, The Right Stuff. Kennedy's statement resonated with me at the age of nine. Tom Wolfe's book brought me down from the clouds right to ground zero. All the faults and foibles of the astronauts, and the process of becoming one, grabbed me as incredibly real and authentic. It also convinced me that heroes often don't have names like Smith and Jones. And they all don't look like Gregory Peck. And that their wives sacrificed so much, and kept their best face forward, where others would have collapsed under the weight. It is also an incredibly funny book (the red boots, and other anecdoetes).

This is inspiring nonfiction of the highest order. It was the near prospect of imminent death that brought it all together. They were modern samurai. It was a huge gamble, and we all went for it. Other reviewers have commented elequently on Tom Wofle's prodigious writing talent, so I will leave it there. Bottom line, you can count on one hand novels that captured the full depth and breadth of intense emotion that surrounded the space race of the 1960s. Particularly in the late 70s and early 80s. Jim Lovell's Lost Moon is a good example.

Those were heady years, and I wish to God we could have them again, today. Compared with today, the years of the space race were the best years of our lives. And Wolfe captured all those emotions brilliantly. For me, it was America's finest hour. When we sat around the kitchen table and watched Neil Armstrong set foot on the Moon, it was, for me at least, the crowning achievement of the human race. I am thankful to have witnessed it, live. I will treasure that memory forever.

"The Right Stuff" BY Tom Wolfe's book was a wonderful American story about the Mercury space program that told the tale of U.S. pilots just brimming with gusto, bravado and...the right stuff.


5-0 out of 5 stars Good Stuff
Although Tom Wolfe's way of writing may seem strange and at times weird, the story of these test pilots and pioneer astronauts is a classic. Beginning with the stories of pilots like Chuck Yeager, the man who broke the sound barrier, the book develops into the grand drama that was the space program and the race against the Soviets to the new frontier, chronicaling the pilots who took such great risk in participating in it. If you liked the movie, you'll love the book. A great work that I highly recommend to all readers. ... Read more

196. A Secret Life: The Polish Officer, His Covert Mission, and the Price He Paid to Save His Country
by Benjamin Weiser
list price: $27.50
our price: $18.15
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1891620541
Catlog: Book (2004-01-01)
Publisher: PublicAffairs
Sales Rank: 8122
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

For almost a decade, Col.Ryszard Kuklinski betrayed the Communist leadership of Poland, cooperating with the CIA in one of the most extraordinary human intelligence operations of the Cold War. Now that Poland is free, a riddle remains: Was Kuklinski a patriot or a traitor?

In August 1972, Ryszard Kuklinski, a highly respected colonel in the Polish Army, embarked on what would become one of the most extraordinary human intelligence operations of the Cold War. Despite the extreme risk to himself and his family, he contacted the American Embassy in Bonn, and arranged a secret meeting. From the very start, he made clear that he deplored the Soviet domination of Poland, and believed his country was on the wrong side of the Cold War.

Over the next nine years, Kuklinski rose quickly in the Polish defense ministry, acting as a liaison to Moscow, and helping to prepare for a "hot war " with the West. But he also lived a life of subterfuge--of dead drops, messages written in invisible ink, miniature cameras, and secret transmitters. In 1981, he gave the CIA the secret plans to crush Solidarity. Then, about to be discovered, he made a dangerous escape with his family to the West. He still lives in hiding in America.

Kuklinski's story is a harrowing personal drama about one man 's decision to betray the Communist leadership in order to save the country he loves, and the intense debate it spurred over whether he was a traitor or a patriot. Through extensive interviews and access to the CIA's secret archive on the case, Benjamin Weiser offers an unprecedented and richly detailed look at this secret history of the Cold War. ... Read more

Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars A more balanced view from Warsaw
Well, if anybody is really interested in facts regarding Poles' attitudes to colonel Kuklinski, here they are, according to Pentor's survey in 2002: 36% consider him a traitor, 35% consider him a hero, 30% are undecided on the issue. Lech Walesa was against colonel Kuklinski's rehabilitation, the former president considered him a "bad example" for the army. Ex-communists Miller and Kwasniewski when they won the election soon afterwards decided to rehabilitate the colonel, which Walesa called "a political trick". Well, as you can see things are no longer black and white in Poland... and thanks God.

5-0 out of 5 stars Patriotic Voice From Poland
I read this book, and didn't plan on writing a review until I read the comment by 'Voice from Poland'.

The fundamental observation that I would have regarding Kuklilnski is that he is a hero. He cannot be seen as a traitor because by definition it is impossible to betray a Quisling.

Secondly, to call Kuklinski a hero calls into question the morality of those who rationalized their cooperation with the Soviets. It is precisely the invitation to rationalize cooperation with the Soviets that made the Soviet/KGB/NKVD system so invidious. Many can't face the fact that their rationalizations in working with the Soviets were actually self-serving.

Jaruzelski is seen as a somewhat hapless 'gentleman' who was in a terrible spot, but who chose the easy path. And the opinion polls do not suggest that Jaruzelski is supported by the majority of my countrymen.

Again cooperation with Quisling is traitorous behavior; working against Quisling is heroism.

As to the book, decently well-written, gets bogged down at times - but very much a worthwile read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Reply to Voice from Poland
The amazing story of Colonel Kuklinski and his work on behalf of the free world and America, resulted in many laudatory comments, but also an outrageous condemnation from pro-Communist sources. The understanding of this scurrilious attack will be helped by the recollection that our gallant ally, Poland, was abandoned at Yalta to the Soviet occupation, which lasted 46 years. During this time, some Poles were seduced, or bribed, to serve their Soviet masters and their interests. When the general discontent by the majority of the people, led by Solidarity, brought about the downfall of the Communist masters and their stooges, they naturally felt hate for the freedom-seeking patriots.

The kangaroo Communist court sentenced Colonel Kuklinski to death just like they condemned so many patriots, and even the anti-German resistance fighters. To most Poles, Colonel Kuklinski is a hero and the cities of Krakow and Gdansk made him an honorary citizen. The regime henchmen could not reach the colonel but his two sons met with sudden death in suspicious circumstances in America. So he paid the highest price for his efforts on behalf of the free world and Poland.

5-0 out of 5 stars Patriot or Traitor
A Secret Life will attract numerous audiences but holds special appeal for those who enjoy the mental challenge of wrestling with questions of moral dilemma. Colonel Kuklinski, the subject of the book, lived as a citizen of a country, Poland, during a time when Poland's national interests were subjugated to the interests of another nation. In sharing military intelligence with the American authorities, did Kuklinski act as a patriot whose mission was to protect Poland's freedom or as a traitor to its national security? The author's conclusions are clear from the phrase in the subtitle "the Price He Paid to Save His Country," but his meticulous research allows the reader to appraise the narrative at every step of Kuklinski's journey and to draw one's own conclusion. An absorbing tale that one constantly has to remind oneself is not fiction!

5-0 out of 5 stars Colonel Kukllinski, a hero or a traitor?
I heard many things about the martial law in Poland, and I read many books on the cold war. I think what Colonel Kuklinski did, was very dangerous and also heroic. In order to look at the martial law, everybody must ask himself/herself, where was Poland at this time? Was it free from foreign domination? Did Poland make indepedent decisions in regards to foreign policy or even internal policy? I think not. If those who think he is a traitor, then they think comunism was a good thing, and they enjoyed life under comunism. Most documents that Kuklinski shipped to Americans were in the Russian language. He did not take any money as some comunist members including Jaruzelski think.
I am one of many, who met Colonel Kuklinski personally. He is a man of a great courage and patriotism. His sacrifice was that he lost his two sons, and did not receive recognition among the Poles. I believe that his sacrifices wiill find recogniztion if we will read this book. ... Read more

197. Proud Highway (The Fear and Loathing Letters , Vol 1)
list price: $21.95
our price: $15.37
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0345377966
Catlog: Book (1998-04-07)
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Sales Rank: 78319
Average Customer Review: 4.71 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Before there was Gonzo, there was just plain Hunter -- a precocious, earnest, and occasionally troublesome honor student in Louisville, Kentucky.

Before there was Doctor Thompson, there was Airman Thompson -- the military's answer to Grantland Rice, protecting America by covering sports for his Florida base's newspaper.

Before there was Fear and Loathing,there was Dow Jones -- that is, Thompson's early reportage for that company's National Observer, which raised the standard for hip and provocative foreign coverage.

Before there was Rolling Stone, there were job applications everywhere -- in hopes of being hired by a paper, pretty much any paper, an obsession for the starving writer with expensive tastes in alcohol, nicotine, and room service.

In The Proud Highway, readers will find a Hunter S. Thompson they've imagined but never known. With the publication of these extraordinary letters, written from the time of his high school graduation in 1955 through the triumph of his first book, Hell's Angels, in 1966, critics and fans can finally trace the development and maturation of a singular talent, one of our era's most important voices. How Thompson changed the face of contemporary nonfiction -- and of America itself -- is the mesmerizing story of The Proud Highway.
... Read more

Reviews (38)

5-0 out of 5 stars The man who made Old Crow Famous!
I have just got through reading this collection of Letters and found it to be worthwhile reading. I received the book as a gift and was not aware of a Fear and Loathing Letters Volume. I found this to be a highway of following (if anyone possibly could) and watching Thompson grow as a writer. While at the Air Force Base working as an editor of the Sports Section, he wrote to his family and friends as well as ex-girlfriends. Probably because he was away from home for the first time.

As the years go on the more this book became more interesting. Between following all over this country we follow him to South America were some of his best articles came from. I have read Hell's Angels and The Great Shark Hunt and found this to tie in with those books. Through his consumption of Old Crow and god only knows what else, we see letters to LBJ, various magazine editors, and Mr. Semonin and start to see the Hunter we all know and love to come out. The thing that makes him "likeable" is his blunt honesty, since he calls them as he sees them. He is intelligent and knows a lot about everything. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to read Thompson!

If anything this book offers a chance to see what makes this amazing mind tick!

5-0 out of 5 stars The compelling pre-gonzo mind at its finest
Perhaps, as Hunter Thompson suggests in The Proud Highway, people really do take more of a liking to his letters and not his serious work. This statement is easily endorsed by the fine contents that surround it. This is the perfect book for a typical Thompson fan, a collection of eccentric one plus page letters that suit a person with a short attention span. His sylistic prose is best received in short bursts, such as essays, articles, and letters. The letter format also allows us to see the evolution and experimentation Thompson has endured in his life. This pre-gonzo collection is Thompson as himself, not the "Raoul Duke" character he has personified in the past. While Hunter seems incapable of writing anything unautobiographical, the fact remains he is far more qualified to tell this story than any hack biographer seeking to romanticize and sensationalize Thompson's myth for a profit. The Proud Highway tells Thompson's story in a much more engaging fashion than the biographies, though there is no lack of effort and emulation in any of these books. This book should be required reading for aspiring authors.

4-0 out of 5 stars HST at his best
Hunter S. Thomson came to the conclusion at a very young age that he was brilliant, and as a result made a point of saving his letters to prove it. Before Gonzo was Gonzo there was Hunter S. Thomason the lover of the written word, and this collection of letters lets you in on the adventure of an author coming of age. Like the readers of Hemmingway and Kerouac, if you are a lover of Hunter S. Thompson's writing you are more than likely a lover of Hunter S. Thompson - This book is for you. Anyone not familiar with HST will find in this book the archetypical American idealist: self reliant, self directed and uncompromising. However what makes Thompson unique is that he is able to write very, very well, and in so doing his journey is told with vibrancy and power that can only be told by a man who has done much, thought a lot, and wrote even more.

Editor Douglas Brinkley has done an outstanding job arranging Thompson's "trunk load of letters" from a mix of miscellaneous correspondences into a brilliant historical look at the history of America over latter half of twentieth century.

5-0 out of 5 stars Simply awesome!
This is a must for every wannabe author. This is not simply for the diehard HST fan. The author speaks to everybody but for those born before 1964 it is particularly poignant, a real coming-of-age story. If this had been fiction, it would not have been published because it would have simply been too outrageous to accept. I'm sure in this case 90% of it is true, but only HST would know for sure -- and even he probably forgets much of it. (If you can remember the 1960's, you weren't there.)The softback copy has a great feel and look to it, the paper and the font. A great book to keep in your carry-on baggage even if it is a bit heavy.

5-0 out of 5 stars Start with Hell's Angels, then move here
Did you ever secretly read someone's diary? You knew it was wrong but you couldn't help yourself. We do it because it offers a glimpse into a part of someone's personality that we may have not known. That's essentially what these letters are. When Thompson wrote them it's unlikely he ever intended for them to be open to the public. Although at one point he does make a prophetic statement about his suspicion that people like reading his letters better than his fiction. AND he did keep carbons of everything. No matter. This is completely entertaining. It's fascinating to the see the evolution of his writing and depth of his intellect. He really grows fangs and claws along the way and uses them, usually hilariously, to rip people to shreds. He says the things that we would want to but are afraid to. No one is off limits. Unfortunately, his incredible talent as a writer is overshadowed by his reputation for consuming freakish amounts of booze and pills. Everyone loves a freak show, right? But this shows his power--what made him great. If you're a writer, you'll especially love it. One note: If you've never read any Hunter Thompson, start with his breakout book, Hell's Angels, and then move here. Not only does Proud Highway culminate with the release of that book (which erupted Thompson's fame) but it also rumbles with energy and is a heck of a lot of fun. ... Read more

198. Soren Kierkegaard : A Biography
by Joakim Garff
list price: $35.00
our price: $23.10
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 069109165X
Catlog: Book (2004-12-15)
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Sales Rank: 55337
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199. Aryan Christ:, The : The Secret Life of Carl Jung
list price: $35.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679449450
Catlog: Book (1997-09-01)
Publisher: Random House
Sales Rank: 405089
Average Customer Review: 2.93 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

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

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

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

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

Reviews (28)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No balance at all. Stupid stuff.

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

200. Fear and Loathing in America : The Brutal Odyssey of an Outlaw Journalist
by Hunter S. Thompson
list price: $15.00
our price: $10.20
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0684873168
Catlog: Book (2001-12-04)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Sales Rank: 14000
Average Customer Review: 4.45 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Brazen, incisive, and outrageous as ever, Hunter S. Thompson is back with another astonishing volume of his private correspondence, the highly anticipated follow-up to The Proud Highway. When that first book of letters appeared in 1997, Time pronounced it "deliriously entertaining"; Rolling Stone called it "brilliant beyond description"; and The New York Times celebrated its "wicked humor and bracing political conviction."

Spanning the years between 1968 and 1976, these never-before-published letters show Thompson building his legend: running for sheriff in Aspen, Colorado; creating the seminal road book Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas; twisting political reporting to new heights for Rolling Stone; and making sense of it all in the landmark Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72. To read Thompson's dispatches from these years -- addressed to the author's friends, enemies, editors, and creditors, and such notables as Jimmy Carter, Tom Wolfe, and Kurt Vonnegut -- is to read a raw, revolutionary eyewitness account of one of the most exciting and pivotal eras in American history. ... Read more

Reviews (29)

5-0 out of 5 stars Like A Steakknife Into the Heart of Journalism
Thompson's style illuminates his letters to freinds, creditors, debtors, associates, and enemies. This collection of Thompson's letters to the above showcase his unparrelled talents and imagination. No one rages or praises like Hunter S. His vitrolic rants are both scary (you can practically taste the bile) and engrossing (never have I heard the words ...; used so appropriately and w/ such abandon). This collection encapsulates the time Thompson wrote the letters ('68-'76), everything from the end of the hippies to Nixon to the music, and is loaded w/ political and pop culture references. The Proud Highway showcased Thompson's budding talents and raw prose, here his Gonzo style comes out clearer w/ each writing, and though, like The Proud Highway, wanes on certain letters, it will regain your interest in just a few pages. It's an insight into his life at that period, argueably his most brilliant time, when he wrote the now classic (which he predicted) Fear and Loathing in Las Vegs; The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved, and Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72. It also tells of Thompson's tale to run on the Freak Power ticket for Sherriff of Aspen, his strokes of humanity when dealing w/ people, and the backlash that is Thompson when he's treated poorly. A must for any fan of Hunter S. Thompson.

4-0 out of 5 stars Fear and Loathing in the Heartland
When I started to read this book - I must admit, I was disappointed. Having read everything that Hunter Thompson had written, I was a lttle under whelmed at first. However, I started to warm to the book as the years ran by. I could picture the events described in his letters - the Vegas book, the 72 campaign trail, fall of Viet Nam, the fall of Richard Nixon thru his eyes - it brought back my own memories of the events. In the end, the Gonzo style of prose took over and I found myself devouring the book in big chunks. For anyone who wants to remember the crazy, wild times of the late 60's - mid 70's, there isn't a better book.

4-0 out of 5 stars I again can not think of a title
Fear and Loathing in America is mainly for hardcore fans or people who after reading Fear and loathing in Las Vegas wanted to know what Thompson is really like and if all the strange myths and terrible legends they heard about Thompson are true or not, I myself am a big fan of Thompson and I enjoy this book quite a lot, I did not like it at the beginning, for two months is stood their on my bookshelf and one day, I gave it another go and I loved it, I was so surprised at how much I liked it, these days, I pick it up to a random page and read it. Long live Dr. Thompson

4-0 out of 5 stars Some of the funniest reading ever...
...'course you'll have to work for it. This is a massive book that in my opinion isn't meant to be plowed through, but rather enjoyed from time to time.

A complition of his letters written over a decade or so (during his rise from a relatively obscure journalist/writer to cult hero) most every letter is interesting in one way or another, some are so funny that you'll be laughing about them for days.

HST's humor is unmatched in my opinion by any writer I've read. This book is an extraordinarily private, very insightful, often hilarious glimpse into one of America's most interesting social figures.


2-0 out of 5 stars More caustic ranting & opinions
I was a big fan of volume 1 of his letters- it was new and fresh and unlike anything I had read before. It seems as Hunter ages he sours rather than mellows, which for someone of his ilk isn't surprising. However it doesn't always make it for compelling reading either. He is so proud of his opinions, so righteous, with each letter trying to outdo the previous it gets like a one joke movie.
I also wish he would write what he knows and leave out the letters with personal opinions that aren't relevant, only there to wound and lift his pedestal a little higher. Specifically his anti-Christian tirade on page 55 in a letter to a reader of his remarkable "Hells Angels". Hunter explains that the Angels had no attitude toward Christianity, fine, he knows. However, not enough just to report, he puts down the pen and picks up his sword and writes, ". . . they (the Angels) have been spared the millstone of one of history's greatest lies." Really? Why? Couldn't leave it at just answering the question? Ego rules over reason again.
Read his first collection, its fresher and energetic. This collection is like visiting with a bitter old man who believes his opinions on everything are "breaking news". ... Read more

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