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141. The Davis Dynasty: 50 Years of
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142. Alfred Tarski : Life and Logic
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143. Naturalist
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144. Why I Wore Lipstick : To My Mastectomy
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145. Euler : The Master of Us All (Dolciani
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146. Maria Montessori: Her Life and
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147. Dark Hero Of The Information Age:
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148. Hunting the Jackal : A Special
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149. Ten Things I Learned from Bill
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150. Apollo: The Epic Journey to the
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151. The Autobiography of Benjamin
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156. A Lady, First: My Life in the
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159. Cooked: An Inner City Nursing
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160. Strange Angel : The Otherworldly

141. The Davis Dynasty: 50 Years of Successful Investing on Wall Street
by JohnRothchild
list price: $27.95
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Asin: 0471331783
Catlog: Book (2001-08-03)
Publisher: Wiley
Sales Rank: 38109
Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Praise for The Davis Dynasty

"Equally relevant to the uninitiated and to those of us who have many years’ experience with the Davis dynasty, Rothchild’s book takes a close look at the family’s remarkable success and endurance. I know that many will find it interesting to learn how, even today, Davis endeavors remain focused on the long view, guided by the strong investment philosophy and business principles that Shelby himself lived by in one of the most important periods in commercial history."–M. R. Greenberg, Chairman and CEO, American International Group, Inc.

"This is really two books in one. It is the story of a rarity in the investment business: a family whose money management skills have evolved and been passed on from the patriarch to two succeeding generations. It is also a how-to book on commonsense investing. As the dot-com phase passes into history, this book provides some useful lessons on how fortunes are built and then used for constructive purpose."–Byron R. Wien, Chief U.S. Investment Strategist, Morgan Stanley

"This is an unusual biography, a rare gem that captures the history of one of Wall Street’s greatest families. The Davis Dynasty offers unparalleled insight into the Davis family investment philosophy."–Barton M. Biggs, Chairman, Morgan Stanley Asset Management , Morgan Stanley Dean Witter

"When John Rothchild combines history and biography with investing in one package, history illuminates the biography and investing, biography illuminates the history and investing, and investing illuminates the history and biography.This is a sparkling book on each level, but even more so as an adroitly mixed cocktail of all three."–Peter L. Bernstein, author of The Power of Gold: The History of an Obsession and Against the Gods ... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Combination biography and investment ideas
I personally don't care for dry investment books. I read for entertainment. This book provides a great combination as it is a biography of a family steeped in money management and also gives tips of how they were able to grow their fortune.

The book traces the investment history of Shelby Davis to his son to his grandsons. Shelby had family money through his wife and starts investing shortly after the crash in '29. Like many people, I assumed the market has been a somewhat continual climb with some setbacks. This books traces the history showing the many periods of lackluster stock value growth and how most Americans shunned the stock market for bonds. Quite a difference from today.

The original Shelby was a miserly value investor who never spent an extra dime. His investment hits were insurance stocks when no one liked that industry and some prudent investments in Japan, also mainly in the insurance industry. By leaving these investments to compound for years, Shelby built a great fortune. But the hidden engine behind this vast growth was the use of margin to leverage his returns. The original Shelby eventually grew his fortune to over a billion dollars in value.

Shelby's son Shelby did not work with his father until late in his life but eventually became a money manager of some renown also. His philosophy was similar but different and his large money winners tended to be from other industries. The book ends with the sons of Shelby Jr. taking over their father's money management firm and establishing their own identity.

Along this 70 year history, you will learn about the markets and the different stages of development over the years. A significant amount of time is spent in the 60s and 70s as both of the Shelby's were investing at that time. I strongly recommend this book if you have interest in the market and its history.

5-0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended!
John Rothchild has written a fascinating biography of one of Wall Street's most successful and least-known investors, Shelby Davis, who turned a $50,000 initial investment in 1947 into $900 million, almost exclusively by buying and selling insurance stocks. Part character study, part Wall Street history, Rothchild's book reads like a novel, with an accessible and witty narrative. Of special note is the concise summary of Davis' investment strategy, which rivals Buffettology in its simplicity and common sense. In Rothchild's hands, Davis' life becomes a fun read, no matter what your business interests, and we from (..)recommend this book to all curious readers.

4-0 out of 5 stars More Than a Dynasty
While this is not a "how to" book it certainly is "why to" book. It's a look at remarkable family that gives anyone who has never invested in the stock market a perfectly good reason why they should! Patience and long term results are a philosophy that has worked well for them over the years. It's a look at a concept and philosophy handed down by the patriarch of the family that wealth should not be handed down, but earned. Spanning 4 generations, Rothchild gives the reader a remarkable insight into a family that works hard and plays hard. Even with this success the family has given back through many philanthropic endeavers including millions to the United World College. The college, with 10 campus' world-wide endeavers to bring students of different cultures and backgrounds together to foster understanding of each other in a world that desperately needs it. ... Read more

142. Alfred Tarski : Life and Logic
by Anita Burdman Feferman, Solomon Feferman
list price: $35.00
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Asin: 0521802407
Catlog: Book (2004-10-04)
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Sales Rank: 29398
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Book Description

Alfred Tarski, one of the greatest logicians of all time, is widely thought of as "the man who defined truth."His mathematical work on the concepts of truth and logical consequence are cornerstones of modern logic, influencing developments in philosophy, linguistics and computer science. Tarski was a charismatic teacher and zealous promoter of his view of logic as the foundation of all rational thought, as well as a bon-vivant and a womanizer, who played the "great man" to the hilt. Born in Warsaw in 1901 to Jewish parents, he changed his name and converted to Catholicism, but was never able to obtain a professorship in his home country.A fortuitous trip to the United States at the outbreak of World War 1 saved his life and turned his career around, even though it separated him from his family for years. By the war's end, Tarski was established as a professor of mathematics at the University of California, Berkeley, where he started a department in logic and methodology that attracted students and distinguished researchers from all over the world. From the cafes of Warsaw and Vienna to the mountains and deserts of California, this first full- length biography places Tarski in the social, intellectual and historical context of his times.It presents a vivid picture of a personally and professionally passionate man, interlaced with an account of his major scientific achievements. Anita Burdman Feferman is an author and biographer who has written on noted figures such as Jean van Heijenoort and Georg Kreisel. Solomon Feferman is a professor of Mathematics and Philosophy at Stanford University.Both authors were closely acquainted with Tarski and in a unique position to write about his life. ... Read more

143. Naturalist
by Edward O. Wilson
list price: $14.95
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Asin: 0446671991
Catlog: Book (1995-12-01)
Publisher: Warner Books
Sales Rank: 103118
Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars
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E. O. Wilson, among the most prominent biologists working today, has made signal contributions to the field both large and small. As an entomologist, and especially as a student of several kinds of ants, he is famed among a small audience. He is better known for his work in the controversial subdiscipline of sociobiology for his formulations of island-biogeographic theory, and for his catastrophic view of modern extinctions. His lucid memoir, Naturalist, treats all these matters and more, and it celebrates the sea change in our view of nature--namely, that we now see that "we are bound to the rest of life in our ecology, our physiology, and even our spirit"--that has come about in no small measure because of Wilson's distinguished career. ... Read more

Reviews (15)

4-0 out of 5 stars Better Late Than Never
I had always thought a scientist of the calibre of Dr. E. O. Wilson was perhaps out of my league; I'd partly read his Diversity of Life and perhaps got the most out of it by jumping around and reading what interested me. His other famous books seemed too specialized for me, basically a lover of fiction or action stories. However, I saw recently that Wilson had endorsed the book jacket of "Nabokov's Butterflies", one of my favorite writers, whose biography "Nabokov's Blues" was a great read last year. "Naturalist" is a word often spurned by modern scientists, I'm told; its sometimes another word for generalist-- whom "real" scientists often don't take seriously. Nabokov had been one (and not often taken seriously); it interested me that Wilson would use that term to describe his own journey into professional science. What Wilson explains so well here, in his own story, is that it is growing up with a FASCINATION with nature, first perhaps as only a hobby, that based on this "fascination for life", great scientists are sometimes born. Wilson makes the point, echoed by another commentator above, that all of us with a fascination for nature are not so different and perhaps science has not done itself a service by make its field seem so rarified and only for that highly educated PhD. FIRST perhaps comes the youthful fascination with things that then leads to the productive scientist. I know when I was a kid I enjoyed reading the biographies of John Audobon and other naturalists. E. O. Wilson was not well known at the time. But, any youth, parent or teacher who wants to get a proper perspective on what seems to make great scientists, that is, the ongoing fascination with life itself and what makes it tick, will find great support in this biography of, yes, a famous Harvard professor, but also a person not so different from you and me. An autobiography worth reading.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the most interesting autobiographies ever
To me, it looks as if Wilson turned to be a great scientist against all odds. He did not come from the academic royalty, but from a broken family in Alabama. With strong intuition, lot of hard work and endless enthusiasm, he became one of the great scientists of the 20th century. A well written book, that would probably change the course of my life have I read it at the right age...

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent
An engaging and well-written account of the famous biologist's intellectual development from his early to his mature years and most important achievements. Nice discussions of some of his most interesting and important ideas punctuate this history. For example, there's a good section on the origin and development of his ecological ideas and the theory of island biogeography. Wilson is always a cautious but careful writer and thinker, but in a couple of the sections, he gets at least a little bit speculative and is all the more entertaining for it. For example, his discussion of the innateness of our fear of spiders and snakes is entertaining (Wilson himself is very phobic about spiders). Equally entertaining is the section where he discusses people's preference for a particular type of environment or ecology (subalpine or montane foothills parkland or partially wooded savannah with some lakes). Wilson attributes this to it being the environment where we originally evolved. Overall it counts as one of the best scientific biographies I've ever read.

3-0 out of 5 stars more for the specialist.
This autobiography is more for the professional biological scientist, who should really enjoy the detailed description of the many field works of the author. Although his reflections on aggression, behaviourism (for him grossly overstated), and sociobiology are a worth-while reading.
He confesses that he became far too late an environmental activist.
I can only subscribe his fundamental truths: first, humanity is the product of biological evolution; second, the diversity of life is the craddle and greatest natural heritage of the human species; and third, philosophy and religion make little sense without taking into account these two first conceptions.
Another silver lining in his professional life: his struggle with colleagues, jealousy, slander, undermining of his position, covert attacks (Harvard is not a monastery).

5-0 out of 5 stars A moving autobiography of a humanist naturalist
Shakespeare wrote that "Some men are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them." Edward O. Wilson seems to be a combination of the last two. I would say that he was entirely the second, for it is only by the dint of his hard work and discipline that Wilson is as great a naturalist as he is, but he seems not to have sought greatness at all, but merely to have followed the calling of his heart; he rode the waves of fortune to unintentionally make himself into one of the greatest naturalists since Darwin. The similarity between them does not stop there: the ideas of Darwin were exceedingly controversial, and yet the man himself, in contrast to his bold ideas, was unassuming and reserved. The same could be said of Wilson.

And like the good evolutionary biologist that he is, Wilson's life, its unpredictable twists and turns, parallel the randomness of natural selection. A bumpy family life meant that he moved frequently, and that he was often alone: in response, he took refuge in the wild places and the natural history institutions of the places where he found himself, thus focussing and increasing his love of nature and the sciences. An accident of early life caused him to become very nearsighted, and so he turned to the study of the ants: and on this subject he is a recognized authority. Even his will and his discipline were not characteristics he himself sought out or developed; rather, they were traits which were instilled in him early on. Random chance gave him the tools by which he would become a great naturalist.

Wilson appears to be a man who knows not the word "problem," only "opportunity." The means by which he took advantage of his nearsightedness I have mentioned; he likewise learned to work with, instead of against, the unconscious muscle tremors which make dissection of very small objects difficult. Perhaps the greatest testimony to his ability to turn a problem into an opportunity is in this line: "Without a trace of irony I can say I have been blessed with brilliant enemies [...] I owe them a great debt, because they redoubled my energies and drove me in new directions." These words could be merely self-serving justifications for failure, if Wilson had not achieved in the eyes of others, or if he had not accomplished what he set out to do, which was to be as great a naturalist as he could be: that he did both reveals these sentiments to be the mature recognition of his hard work and dedication to the struggle in the face of adversity coming at him from unexpected directions.

I must say that when I came to this book, I did not accept Wilson's sociobiology, and I still do not see that it is supported by solid proof. It is all the more amazing to me, then, that I am thoroughly moved by this account of his life, in its discovery of the natural world and in the author's sense of wonder at life around him. The lauds which Wilson has received, I suspect, are nothing compared to the joy he gains through his work and his studies.

I don't know what Wilson reads in his spare time, but he has written a text with echoes of Wordsworth and Whitman: his life in nature is no mere analysis and dissection, but a glorious presentation of his wonder before the natural world. Wilson paraphrases Wordsworth's declaration that "the child is the father of the man" as "Most children have a bug period. I never outgrew mine." Wilson has followed his bliss into his adult life, and it has brought him fame and joy. The ultimate paragraphs of his book reveal that though he would change the focus of his studies, he would in no wise vary his field of study, nor the course of his life: he would be then, as he is now, a man who followed the dictates of his heart, who took the random events of his childhood and shaped them into a life that brought him great pleasure. It is fitting, then, that this book should do the same for the reader: out of his experiences, Wilson has created one of the most entertaining and moving autobiographies I have ever read. ... Read more

144. Why I Wore Lipstick : To My Mastectomy
by Geralyn Lucas
list price: $23.95
our price: $16.76
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Asin: 0312334451
Catlog: Book (2004-10-04)
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Sales Rank: 19534
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Book Description

A soulful, surprising coming of age journey by a dynamo who used her own adversity as a platform for examining issues all young women face.

Having finished journalism school and landed her dream job at age 27, the last thing Geralyn Lucas expects to hear is a breast cancer diagnosis.She decides to go public with her disease despite fears about the backlash at work, and her bold choices in treatment are irreverent and uplifting.When her breast is under construction and her hair is falling out, her skirts get shorter.She goes to work every day and gets promoted.She has sex with her bandages on.She reinvents her beauty and in a bold move of conscious objection, forgoes the final phase of her breast reconstruction: the nipple.She is reborn in a tattoo parlor when she gets a heart tattoo where her nipple once was.

Geralyn recovers from her mastectomy and chemo and has a baby in the same hospital where she was treated for cancer.What could have been a huge negative for this young cancer survivor became the impetus to examine her own sexuality and burgeoning womanhood.Virtually nothing has been written for women of a young age who have been diagnosed with breast cancer.This book also deals with the broader issue of self-acceptance that anyone grappling with questions of illness, self-image and sexuality can identify with.
... Read more

145. Euler : The Master of Us All (Dolciani Mathematical Expositions)
list price: $33.95
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Asin: 0883853280
Catlog: Book (1999-01-01)
Publisher: The Mathematical Association of America
Sales Rank: 93566
Average Customer Review: 4.91 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Leonhard Euler was one of the most prolific mathematicians that have ever lived. This book examines the huge scope of mathematical areas explored and developed by Euler, which includes number theory, combinatorics, geometry, complex variables and many more. The information known to Euler over 300 years ago is discussed, and many of his advances are reconstructed. Readers will be left in no doubt about the brilliance and pervasive influence of Euler's work. ... Read more

Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars So much fun it makes you chuckle
I don't have much to add to the excellent reviews above, except to say that if you like clear exposition of sometimes obscure mathematical themes, like logarithms of imaginary numbers, or the almost magical Euler line, you can't do better than read Professor Dunham's books. And when you mix this talent with a subject such as the incredibly clever and curious Leonhard Euler, you can't help but be carried away. I literally found myself chuckling with awe at some of the amazing leaps of intuition this 18th-century mathematician was able to make, even as he was losing his sight and fathering 13 children! I've always been an admirer of Euler's, and Prof. Dunham's wonderful little book only increased my admiration -for both.

I hope Prof. Dunham will decide to write a sequel, and/or tackle the work of other prolific mathematicians, like the Indian Srinivasa Ramanujan, another one of my heroes.

This is the third book by Prof. Dunham I've read. I have enjoyed them all and keep them handy to lift my spirits when I'm down -they're that much fun. I wish I'd had him as a teacher in college, and I envy his students at Muhlendorf. I just hope they appreciate how lucky they are!

5-0 out of 5 stars A little gem.
I had never read any of William Dunham's many books before. Now I want to read them all. In a scant 173 pages he describes in great detail how Leonhard Euler, arguably the greatest mathematician ever, solved the most difficult mathematical problems of his day.

The style in this book is both unusual and clever. Each of the eight chapters covers a different branch of mathematics and each begins with a prologue, then follows with some of Euler's contributions, and finishes with an epilogue. The prologues present the history of mathematics up to Euler's time, so the reader gets a feel of what this great mathematician had to work with. And the epilogues tell where we have come since Euler.

This book is full of equations and expects some work (but not much mathematical background) from the reader. If you like mathematics or ever wondered how some of the great discoveries in this field were derived, do yourself a favor and buy, then carefully read, this wonderful book.

4-0 out of 5 stars Nice book for readers with a background in math
I really enjoyed reading this book that describes some background on Euler and his work. It is written in an informal style, so for people with a math background it reads like a novel.

The book is not suitable for people who want to learn more about the person Euler, but do not have a math background, because 75% of the book is about real math (equations). So if you don't enjoy reading equations, do not buy the book.

Summary: as enjoyable as the other Dunham books, although a bit more expensive (but still worth the money).

5-0 out of 5 stars William Dunham has done it again!
With the publication of this, his third book, Dunham has once more shown himself to be a master himself of mathematical explanation. Unlike his previous two books, The Mathematical Universe and Journey Through Genius, which covered results by a variety of mathematicians, this book focuses on selected results that sprang from the remarkable mind of Leonard Euler, one of the most prolific and important mathematicians of all time. What sets Euler apart is not only the vast quantity of his output (the publication of his collected works, the Opera Omnia, spans six dozen volumes, or over 25,000 pages in all!), but also the breadth and originality of his work. Not only did Euler contribute to a wide array of mathematical fields -- from number theory to complex analysis to geometry -- but in many cases, he was the founder of those fields. For example, Euler invented the field of analytical number theory, and he was the first mathematician to recognize the importance of and to discover the important properties of complex numbers.

This book in many ways resembles Dunham's Journey Through Genius. As in that book, Dunham has selected 15 or so theorems to present in detail, and he makes an effort to keep the proofs similar in spirit to the original proofs. Although the proofs are complete and the book is full of equations, they are accessible to anyone with a high school level of mathematics education. But in addition to the proofs, Dunham also provides historical context, as well as commentary on how later mathematicians used and improved upon Euler's work. For example, we learn that Euler began to loose the sight in his right eye at the age of 32, and that despite his virtual blindness by the age of 65, he continued his prolific rate of output until his death at age 84.

The book's title is taken from a quote by Laplace, who said, ``Read Euler, read Euler. He is the master of us all.'' Indeed, if you have any interest in mathematics, you will almost certainly find yourself in complete agreement with Laplace's sentiments by the time you finish reading this wonderful book. ...

5-0 out of 5 stars " Euler, the anlysis incarnate "!!!!
" Analysis incarnate " , no other more suitable words probably can describe the incomparable power of Euler, as his contemparies called him. Concerning the usual style of Dunham to write this stimulating book, other readers have made many comments and I think there is no need to repeat that. What I want is that Dunham to write another book, perhaps volume 2,3 etc and also write a thorough biography of Euler, one the greatest mathematicians in the history. ( To me, for mathematical ability, his should be at the same rank with Newton, Archaemedes, and Gauss, even Einstein concerning the mathematical and theroetical aspect, is below par compared with Euler ) ... Read more

146. Maria Montessori: Her Life and Work
by E. M. Standing, E.M. Standing
list price: $15.00
our price: $10.20
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Asin: 0452279895
Catlog: Book (1998-08-01)
Publisher: Plume Books
Sales Rank: 38886
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Book Description

Maria Montessori is important background reading for parents considering Montessori education for their children, as well as for those training to become Montessori teachers. The first woman to win a degree as a Doctor of Medicine in Italy in 1896, Maria Montessori's mission to improve children's education beganin the slums of Rome in 1907, and continued throughout her lifetime. Her insights into the minds of children led her to develop prepared environments and other tools and devices that have come to characterize Montessori education today. Her influence in other countries has been profound and many of her teaching methods have been adopted by educators generally.Part biography and part exposition of her ideas, this engaging book reveals through her letters and personal diaries Maria Montessori's humility and delight in the success of her educational experiments and is an ideal introduction to the principals and practices of the greatest educational pioneer of the 20th century.
The new introduction to Maria Montessori: Her Life and Work by Lee Havis, executive director of the International Montessori Society, discusses the changes that have taken place in Montessori education within recent years.
An updated appendix of Montessori periodicals, courses, societies, films, and teaching materials.
A revised bibliography of books by and about Maria Montessori.
... Read more

147. Dark Hero Of The Information Age: In Search of Norbert Wiener The Father of Cybernetics
by Flo Conway, Jim Siegelman
list price: $27.50
our price: $18.15
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Asin: 0738203688
Catlog: Book (2004-12-14)
Publisher: Basic Books
Sales Rank: 19733
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In the middle of the last century, Norbert Wiener-ex-child prodigy and brilliant MIT mathematician -founded the science of cybernetics, igniting the information-age explosion of computers, automation, and global telecommunications. Wiener was the first to articulate the modern notion of "feedback," and his ideas informed the work of computer pioneer John von Neumann, information theorist Claude Shannon, and anthropologists Gregory Bateson and Margaret Mead. His best-selling book, Cybernetics, catapulted him into the public spotlight, as did his chilling visions of the future and his ardent social activism. So what happened? Why is his work virtually unknown today? And what, in fact, is Wiener's legacy? In this remarkable book, award-winning journalists Conway and Siegelman set out to rescue Wiener's genius from obscurity and to explore the many ways in which his groundbreaking ideas continue to shape our lives. Based on a wealth of primary sources (including some newly declassified WW II and Cold War-era documents) and exclusive interviews with Wiener's family and closest colleagues, the book reveals an extraordinarily complex figure, whose high-pressure childhood, manic depression, and troubled relationships had a profound effect on his scientific work. No one interested in the intersection of technology and culture will want to miss this epic story of one of the twentieth century's most brilliant and colorful figures. ... Read more

Reviews (5)

4-0 out of 5 stars Norbert Wiener - MIT's "dark hero"


Having been a Tech student during many of the years covered by "Dark hero of the Information Age" - undergraduate in physics from 1948 to 1953, graduate student in electrical engineering from 1957 to 1961, and postdoc in the Research Laboratory of Electronics (RLE) from 1961 to 1962 - I found this book fascinating to read. Norbert Wiener's portly figure waddling about the campus, popping peanuts from his jacket pocket into his open mouth, rapt in conversation, or staring blankly into middle distance was familiar to all as is well described by authors Flo Conway and Jim Siegelman. Although aware of the "communist threat" supposed to stem from some MIT faculty members in those years, it was both interesting and chilling to read that the FBI had investigated even Wiener - interesting because his FBI dossier was a boon to his biographers, chilling to learn that our benighted federal agents had found this kindly, bumbling man a threat to the republic.

Based on many interviews with surviving friends and family members and on Wiener's own autobiographies, the authors provide a highly-readable account of his unusual childhood as a prodigy, force-fed on a diet of germanic poetry and mathematics by his obsessed father - a Harvard professor of modern languages who arrived as a penniless immigrant to the US from Russia at the age of 19. Obtaining a doctorate from Harvard at the age of 18, Norbert Wiener eventually obtained an academic position in the MIT mathematics department, where he taught and conducted research for 45 years until his death in 1964.

Wiener is widely known as the "father of cybernetics" which he famously defined as the science of "control and communication in the animal and the machine". In its heyday, cybernetics was of great interest to anthropologists Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson, neuroscientist Warren McCulloch, and mathematical physicist John Neumann, among others, and Wiener's popular books on the subject brought the implications of the emerging information age to the attention of the general public. In a depressing story that is particularly well told, the authors reveal how the machinations of Wiener's "emotionally-deaf" wife prevented him from interacting with an exciting cadre of cyberneticians that was brought to RLE in the early 1950s, with the aim of making MIT preeminent in the interdisciplinary area between electronics and biology.

Less well presented is the authors' evaluation of Wiener's fundamental contributions to these areas. Although his 1926 papers on Fourier transform theory may have cleared up some fine mathematical points, these papers and Wiener's subsequent writings on the subject go unnoticed by those electrical engineers who teach and study the subject at MIT. To negative feedback theory, Wiener made no fundamental contributions at all - the essential idea sprang from the brow of Harold S. Black, a young engineer at the Bell Telephone Laboratories (BTL) in 1927 and was fully worked out by BTL applied mathematicians, including Henrik Bode, whose famous book "Network Analysis and Feedback Amplifier Design" we all studied. In neuroscience, Wiener seemed unaware of the truly important analysis of nerve-impulse propagation published in 1952 by Alan Hodgkin and Andrew Huxley, and of the basic theory of biological pattern formation proposed by Alan Turing in the same year. Wiener's contribution was to see the importance of feedback control systems in biology and the social sciences and to make his cautionary views known to the general public.

Despite these minor lapses, Dark Hero is highly recommended for all who would understand the birthing of the information age.

Alwyn Scott

5-0 out of 5 stars The original Cybernaut
Charming biography of the founder of cybernetics. Norbert Weiner had a curiously unique life, as a child prodigy and then mathematician at the birth of the new information sciences. The so-called Von Neuman computer is really the Weiner-Von Neuman computer, and the book describes the eclectic birth of modern computation (Weiner was himself a considerable 'computer' in the old-fashioned sense of the term)in the tribulations of warfare research in the second world war. Weiner had a unique concern for the implications of technology, and his _Human Use of Human Beings_ is a classic of its type. The birth of Cybernetics and Information theory projected its own future, but events moved in a slightly different direction. However, as we look back the significance of this period, and of Weiner's work, is resurfacing once again, and we can see the labored birth of our digital generation in the prophecies of such as Weiner.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Most Valuable Literary Contribution
DARK HERO OF THE INFORMATION AGE opens the doors to full understanding of the roots of our present information technology era. But beyond that, it presents, in Novel form, the fascinating and often difficult life of the Dark Hero, Norbert Wiener, who almost singlehandedly made it all possible.

The book is easy reading. The words flow and carry one along on Norbert's magnificent trip from boyhood genius to adult contributor of scientific truth: those truths and insights that have changed our world for the larger good.

One does not need an Engineering or Scientific degree tounderstand it. All can easily follow and appreciate this most interesting biography about a Boy Genius who did not flame out in adulthood, as have so many others with equal talent.

I highly recommend this book for all readers.

5-0 out of 5 stars A testimony to a true hero of science and humanity
Having read "Dark Hero Of The Information Age" I am now somewhat taken aback when I look around and can recognise the hand and mind of Norbert Wiener throughout much of contemporary life. Be it in learning, language, communication or use of technology Wiener's scientific vision and development of cybernetics has had significant influence over the way human beings interact with each other and with technology.

But, as the authors make the point so clearly, his vision and thinking cannot be separated from his humanity. In their book Conway and Siegelman take the reader on an intimate journey into the complex life of an extraordinary person, complete with his personal struggles and failings as well as his triumphs. It's a journey that reveals just how human Wiener really was and the degree to which his scientific genius was underpinned by his innate sense of ethics and morality.

Today, those who bring new science into the world are sometimes criticised as 'soulless' individuals who only focus on assumed benefits, without regard for unrealised consequences. But Norbert Weiner, several decades ahead of his time, is revealed as a scientist whose motivations were tempered with concern for the protection of people, from both the perspective of social cohesion and that at the level of individual well-being. His legacy, apart from all his unique mathematical and scientific contributions, is that the advance of science is not at the cost of human dignity, and is the challenge that he has left squarely in front of today's scientists and of the community at large.

He lived his life acrosscontinents in the northern hemisphere. I was saddened to learn that we in Australia missed a rare opportunity to cross paths with his genius, when an academic appointment he pursued here earlier in his career did not come to fruition. Despite this, we have no doubt indirectly benefited from his wisdom in the many and varied aspects of human endeavour to which he contributed.

The authors bring into the 21st Century a fascinating and relevant story of a 'dark hero' - but also that of someone whose life should illuminate our path ahead, if humanity is to pursue scientific progress without bringing harm to itself.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great reading for both scientist & layman
After reading the "Dark Hero" I find it a fascinating book that should appeal broadly to both academics & general readers who seek to understand the role of communication technology in society. The authors have put together a creative "tour de force" by drawing upon the memories, records & multiple interpretations of events leading up to & following the birth of Cybernetics. I believe that Wiener himself would be pleased with Conway & Siegleman's contribution to the understanding of how we may all may work toward creating " a world that embraces as its goal & highest good the human use of human beings'. ... Read more

148. Hunting the Jackal : A Special Forces and CIA Ground Soldier's Fifty-Year Career Hunting America's Enemies
by Billy Waugh, Tim Keown
list price: $23.95
our price: $16.29
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Asin: 0060564091
Catlog: Book (2004-07-01)
Publisher: William Morrow
Sales Rank: 24689
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Billy Waugh is a Special Forces and CIA legend, and in Hunting the Jackal he allows unprecedented access to the shadowy but vital world he has inhabited for more than fifty years.

From deep inside the suffocating jungles of Southeast Asia to the fetid streets of Khartoum to the freezing high desert of Afghanistan, Waugh chronicles U.S. Special Operations through the extraordinary experiences of his singular life. He has worked in more than sixty countries, hiding in the darkest shadows and most desolate corners to fight those who plot America's demise. Waugh made his mark in places few want to consider and fewer still would choose to inhabit. In remarkable detail he recounts his participation in some of the most important events in American Special Operations history, including his own pivotal role in the previously untold story of the CIA's involvement in the capture of the infamous Carlos the Jackal.

Waugh's work in helping the CIA bring down Carlos the Jackal provides a riveting and suspenseful account of the loneliness and adrenaline common to real-life espionage. He provides a point-by-point breakdown of the indefatigable work necessary to detain the world's first celebrity terrorist.

No synopsis can adequately describe Waugh's experiences. He spent seven and a half years in Vietnam, many of them behind enemy lines as part of SOG, a top secret group of elite commandos. He was tailed by Usama bin Laden's unfriendly bodyguards while jogging through the streets of Khartoum, Sudan, at 3 A.M. And, at the age of seventy-two, he marched through the frozen high plains of Afghanistan as one of a select number of CIA operatives who hit the ground as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Waugh came face-to-face with bin Laden in Khartoum in 1991 and again in 1992 as one of the first CIA operatives assigned to watch the al Qaeda leader. Waugh describes his daily surveillance routine with clear-eyed precision. Without fanfare, fear, or chance of detection, he could have killed the 9/11 mastermind on the dirty streets of Khartoum had he been given the authority to do so.

No man is more qualified to chronicle America's fight against its enemies -- from communism to terrorism -- over the past half-century. In Hunting the Jackal, Billy Waugh has emerged from the shadows and folds of history to write a memoir of an extraordinary life for extraordinary times.

... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Disregard Publisher's Weekly Review
I used to subscribe to Publisher's Weekly, willing to put up with some of that publication's obvious left-leaning sympathies in order to get the most recent publishing news. But no more. I have just cancelled my subscription based on the incredibly biased and belittling review of American patriot Billy Waugh's book. I can only assume that the review was written by the same editor that reviews (negatively, of course) anything that is positive about America, our current President, conservatives, or the military. The author of this poison pill of a review chooses his adjectives as carefully as if he was attempting to craft fine literature. It is obvious that even a well-told tale of a life lived making sure that rags like PW can be published will never receive a fair review from the commissars at Reed Elsevier, Inc. Billy Waugh is not "a one dimensional, blustering character" and anyone who knows him will attest to that. What he is represents what the left so hates: a man who has devoted his entire life to the defense of this Nation, our Nation, his Nation . . . and you ought to be damn proud that he has.

5-0 out of 5 stars Required reading for all who enjoy freedom
Harvard Law School professor Alan M. Dershowitz last April complained to Publishers Weekly about its negative review of his new book. Amazingly, the editor-in-chief agreed and had the book re-reviewed. Billy Waugh should have them do the same. HUNTING THE JACKAL is an incredible look into the world of secret warriors working around the clock to safeguard our freedom. He has hunted--and found--terrorists who top the Most Wanted lists. And here he writes about Carlos the Jackal and Osama bin Laden and others. He's done the dirty work in the world's hellholes (just the descriptions of which seem to upset book reviewers). It is not pretty work, and what they do and how they do it is not particularly appropriate for some polite conversations. But that is the point. This is a well-written book--better than most--that lays out the real underworld in a clean, engaging fashion. You're quickly taken along on an amazing life, and before you know it, you're at the last page, overwhelmed at what you've "witnessed" ... and wanting more. The best-selling author W.E.B. Griffin said it best: "Waugh is the warrior's warrior. From Special Forces missions in Vietnam to black ops work around the world, he has fought our worst enemies hellbent on harming America in ways unimagined. We sleep soundly, our freedoms defended, thanks to men like Waugh. This is his remarkable story -- read it and understand what too few do." ... Read more

149. Ten Things I Learned from Bill Porter
by Shelly Brady
list price: $20.00
our price: $13.60
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1577312031
Catlog: Book (2002-04)
Publisher: New World Library
Sales Rank: 51693
Average Customer Review: 3.95 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Bill Porter worked for the Watkins Corp., selling household products door-to-door in one of Portland’s worst neighborhoods. Afflicted with cerebral palsy and burdened with continual pain, Porter was determined not to live on government disability and went on to become Watkins’s top-grossing salesman in Portland, the Northwest, and the U.S. This book was written by the woman who worked as Porter’s typist and driver and later became his friend and cospeaker. The "ten things" include Mother Knows Best, Persistence Pays Off, and Know Your Limits but Reach Beyond Them. This is an inspiring story with real-life lessons about tenacity in the face of daunting odds.

Mr. Porter was profiled in a piece on 20/20 and his amazing story is the basis for a made for T.V. movie starring William H. Macy that will air July 14th on TNT. ... Read more

Reviews (40)

2-0 out of 5 stars Flawed book but Bill Porter shines through
Like so many other people, I find Bill Porter deeply inspiring. Much has been written about the reactions Bill elicits in people, but this is a situation in which words fail most of us.

Bill is a product of an earlier, vanished time. I think that's a big part of his appeal. His genuine humility and determination mark him as an unwilling hero.

As others have commented, this slender tome is much too much about Shelly Brady and not enough about Bill. As Bill himself has said from time to time, he employed Shelly. She may be "an angel", but she was an angel on a salary.

If you can't imagine an associate of Mohatma Gandhi writing a book about Gandhi's teachings, but instead going on at length about his own obscure life, you won't like _Ten Things I Learned from Bill Porter_. The "I" in the title seems to be the clue to the book's content.

I got through _Ten Things_ by skimming the Brady portions, but even the Bill anecdotes had a Shelly spin. I never felt a connection with the man. For that, you'll need to see _Door to Door_, now available on DVD right here on It's a work of fiction, and yet it feels so much more real.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Story with Heart
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. Shelly's book is about her life long friendship and employment with Bill Porter. This is Shelly's story. It is not an autobiography of Bill Porter.(Read that right on the cover.)It is the engaging story of how a young high school girl went to work for a disabled man, and bonded with him in such an enduring way that her employer became as part of her family. And visa versa. Bill Porter is an amazing man and that shines through in this story. His mother must have been quite a lady. I applaud Mrs Brady for wanting to record this part of her life and sharing it with others. This book is a light read, perfect for Christmas presents.

5-0 out of 5 stars Well worth an afternoon.
Forget all the mean-spirited reviews from people who totally missed the reason for the book. It was NEVER touted as a biography of Bill. (Would you petty naysayers please read the title of the book again!) It was about the profound effect Bill's life had on Shelly Brady. As one astute reviewer noted, the word "I" is in the title. Read the book, take its' many uplifting messages to heart and enjoy the journey of a true American hero and know that anything is possible with enough belief. Both Bill and Shelly have enjoyed a friendship without any barriers that we all wish we had. A remarkable book.

5-0 out of 5 stars A nice light read, but a very powerful story
I fell in love with the story of Bill Porter when I was in high school. I saw the piece on 20/20 and something about it just stuck with me. I was extremely excited when the movie with William H. Macy came out, and eventually came across this book.
The book itself is a light read. (I finished it in one sitting). Some people have complained that Shelly Brady centers too much on herself, and that caused them not to enjoy the book. I felt the opposite. At some points while I was reading, it felt as if I was sitting down to lunch with Shelly and she was just telling me about Bill.
I definitely reccommend this book, look into the movie, "Door to Door" as well.

5-0 out of 5 stars This is an amazing story.
I first saw this story on TV and after I finished crying, I decided I had to read the book. I was amazed at how much detail about Bill Porters life wasnt in the movie, and really made the story so much more amazing. If the TV show moved you, you will love this book. It will inspire you to know that you can overcome any adversity. ... Read more

150. Apollo: The Epic Journey to the Moon
by Wally Schirra, Von Hardesty, David Reynolds
list price: $35.00
our price: $23.10
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0151009643
Catlog: Book (2002-05-20)
Publisher: Harcourt
Sales Rank: 37648
Average Customer Review: 4.29 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

NASA's Apollo answered President Kennedy's 1961 directive to land a man on the moon and return him safely to Earth by the end of the decade. The astronauts, scientists, and mission control operators who took part in the fifteen manned Apollo missions not only accomplished this memorable triumph of courage and technical ingenuity, they stirred the world's imagination and redefined the notion of what is truly possible.

In this captivating story of adventure and exploration, expert David West Reynolds presents a complete and engaging reconstruction of all the key events and personalities in the Apollo program. From the thrilling experiences of the astronauts to the men of extraordinary vision and skill who built a reality out of a dream, Reynolds captures the drama of this epic journey.

Rendering complex and technical material into accessible terms for the uninitiated reader, while providing unusual details for the aficionado, Apollo: The Epic Journey to the Moon takes you along on the most unforgettable ride of the twentieth century.
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Reviews (21)

5-0 out of 5 stars The best and MOST ACCURATE book on the subject!
When I first picked up David West Reynolds' APOLLO: The Epic Journey To The Moon, the first thing I did was turn to the index to seek out "Disney, Walt" and "von Braun, Wernher," two names that greatly influenced my childhood (had "Rogers, Roy" been a space cowboy, I'd've looked him up too). Déjà vu: I was instantly taken back to the past looking toward the future with a 10-year-old's wide-eyed awe and wonderment. That's what this amazing book instills in the reader: that same sort of wonder and expectation, as if the Apollo missions were about to lift off tomorrow, yet providing a jolt to the memory that causes you to gasp, "Omigod, I remember that!"

Reynolds writes about the first of three "sci-fi" segments of ABC-TV's Disneyland that aired on March 9, 1955: "Man In Space explained the challenges that would face humans traveling into space and detailed von Braun's concepts for a reusable space shuttle, dramatizing one of its missions and ending with a spectacular night landing...It was watched by an audience of 100 million. [It] was so popular and so provocative...that President Eisenhower [till then, a doubting Thomas] called Disney to order a copy for review by his staff and the Pentagon. It felt to many like a new age was just around the corner."
Man And The Moon, which was televised the following year, was "a preview of what would become the real Apollo 8...portrayed realistically with actors and included a mysterious sighting of unexplained lights on the surface of the Moon, strangely prefiguring events that would occur during the Apollo missions."

At 36, Dr. Reynolds, who has published scholarly articles on archaeology and ancient exploration, also authored the New York Times #1 bestseller Star Wars: Episode 1, The Visual Dictionary, among other books. However, he is truly at the top of his space game here. This is fascinating stuff, and Reynolds writes in a clear, concise, and entertaining style that makes even technophobes like yours truly easily comprehend one of the most spectacular - and complex -- scientific and historical achievements of the last century.

With a "you are there" Foreword by Apollo 7's Mission Commander Wally Schirra, and the cooperation of NASA and the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, the reader can be assured of the accuracy of the detailed facts and figures Reynolds presents.

Richly illustrated with some rare and never-before-seen photos, it also includes many new rocket cutaways, and custom-keyed maps and panoramas that put you more lucidly in the lunar landscape.

Photographed for the first time is the famous memo to LBJ in which JFK asks, "Do we have a chance of beating the Soviets by putting a laboratory in space, or by a trip around the moon, or by a rocket to land on the moon, or by a rocket to go to the moon and back with a man?"

(Amusing to think that nowadays, American multimillionaires like 60-year-old money manager Dennis Tito and 23-year-old Lance Bass of the boy band N'Sync so casually shell out [$]million apiece to the Russians for the privilege of becoming Soyuz cosmonauts.)

However, this merely scratches the surface of the moon, for Reynolds pilots us to an ethereal kind of Tomorrowland in his Jules Vernesque conclusion: "We will one day surpass the achievement of Apollo. In reaching beyond it, we will at last fulfill its promise, a promise that lies waiting today, waiting for anyone to look up at the glow of the night sky, a promise recorded in the footprints on the Moon."

It is the profoundly inspiring Afterword by Gene Cernan, Mission Commander of Apollo 17, which brilliantly encapsulates Reynolds' comprehensive tome.

"One cannot behold all the lands and seas of the Earth in a single glance and remain unchanged by the experience," says Cernan. "Returning to Earth from the Moon poses the challenge of finding a perspective within yourself that can encompass what has happened to you, that can accommodate the matters of ordinary life as well as the memory of having looked into the endlessness of space and time from another world. I once stood upon the dust of the Moon and looked up, struggling to comprehend the enormity of the message that we found in Apollo. All that is here. In this book..."

No way, no how, could I have said it better.

4-0 out of 5 stars Spiffy!
There are a number of books on the American Apollo Moon program,
most prominently Andrew Chaikin's excellent A MAN ON THE MOON, and so
the question that David West Reynolds' APOLLO: THE EPIC JOURNEY TO THE
MOON poses is whether another book on the subject really brings
anything to the party.

The answer is YES, in that Reynolds is taking a somewhat different
approach to the subject. Chaikin's book is relatively long and
detailed, but has no illustrations and is fairly nontechnical.
Reynolds' book is substantially shorter, heavily illustrated, and has
a much more technical bent.

All three of these virtues make Reynold's book probably a better bet
for the casual reader, someone who is interested in the Moon flights
but would be perfectly happy with a tidy summing up, focusing in
reasonable detail on the flights themselves but giving a fairly brief
discussion of the background.

Even the more serious reader will find the book's layout and
illustrations outstanding. It's crammed full of pretty pictures and
paintings, ranging from the Chesley Bonestell artwork of the
1950s Colliers / Disney "space program" to fine NASA photography of
the Moon missions. Serious readers may also find the technical
"sidebars" on items such as the "Moon buggy" and unfulfilled advanced
Apollo missions to have some very interesting information in them.

Those who would want to understand the broader scope of the Apollo
program, including its political background, would probably prefer
Chaikin's A MAN ON THE MOON. Reynolds' tends to ignore the politics
behind the Moon program, which in itself could be regarded as a
rational decision to focus on some things and ignore others.

Unfortunately, to get to the most negative comments I can make about
Reynolds' book, the author occasionally does get on a soapbox, doing a
little flag-waving and sometimes playing "eager young space cadet".
A bit of patriotism is fine, of course, but in a few places I felt
as though I was reading the text with someone playing STARS & STRIPES
FOREVER on a kazoo in the background. As far as being a space
cadet goes ... well, yes, I admire the astronauts and believe that
Werner von Braun was a remarkable man in many ways, but the astronauts
were not Boy Scouts, and much more to the point, von Braun was noted
for his arrogance as well as brilliance, and he'd got his hands dirty
working for the Nazis in a way that would never quite come clean.

The soapbox exercises are infrequent and can be ignored. This is
fortunate, because APOLLO: THE EPIC JOURNEY TO THE MOON is otherwise
a creditable piece of work. I give it four stars and not five to
emphasize that not everyone might want to buy this book. Serious
students of the space program might want something more substantial.
However, I think almost anybody would like to page through such a
pretty book, and casual readers should find it both interesting and
informative. I think adolescents would be particularly taken with it.

I did find one small bug in the book: a picture that is supposed to
be of the launch of the first Earth satellite, Sputnik I, is actually
of a Soviet manned space launch, a Vostok or some later capsule.
This is not a killer bug by any means, just listing it as a minor

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best non-fiction books I've ever read
I highly recommend this book, even if you're only remotely interested in the subject. It has everything from pictures to fold-out diagrams, special inserts on all the major points, etc. Just packed with cool stuff. And as for the text, I got chills just reading it. This should be standard reading in 11th Grade History, and those of us outside of a history class will still love every page. Great book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful addtion to any collection!
Wonderful photos highlight this stunning edition with excellent production values. Very satisfying in every way.

5-0 out of 5 stars Three Manners to Read and Value This Book
For Rick Husband, William McCool, Michael Anderson, David Brown, Kalpana Chawla, Laurel Clark, and Ilan Ramon.

I read this book as a layperson not as an engineer, or someone who has an encyclopedic knowledge that an amateur can gain when an interest becomes a serious hobby, or a consuming subject for study. I was going to suggest there were only two ways to read this book but I finished the volume early Saturday morning several hours prior to the loss of the Columbia Shuttle and the 7 men and women she carried.

If this book contains errors about the size of a tank, or the function of a part, that is inexcusable. This book contains written endorsements from more than one Apollo Astronaut, and it would seem that if there is information that is going to be offered as fact it should be correct.

The book is a treasure to anyone who lived and experienced parts of the wonder that was The Apollo Program. This does not excuse the errors if they exist, but it is not reason enough to condemn the value of the book, or ridicule it as a picture book for children.

What quickly became apparent after the tragedy yesterday is how far out of touch the public has become with the men and women who perform these missions, gather knowledge, and do so in situations that contain a level of risk that few people would ever contemplate much less take. The Apollo astronauts, the Gemini astronauts, and the Mercury astronauts were men that we all knew by name. Movies have been made about the original Mercury 7, more recently a film about the miraculous team effort that snatched the crew of Apollo 13 from what should have been certain death was brought to the screen by Ron Howard and a host of wonderful actors including Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, Gary Sinise, Bill Paxton, and Ed Harris to name only a few.

The Apollo Program was unprecedented, 400,000 people were required to put the program and vehicles together to place men on the Moon. But when the program was ended no money was budgeted to even save all the working documents it took to create Apollo. If we wanted to recreate Apollo the absurd situation is that we would have to do research and development all over again because the records were not properly archived. One of the greatest achievements of humans, and so much of the work is gone.

On January 27, 1967, Gus Grissom, Roger Chaffee, and Ed White died without leaving the ground, when the capsule of Apollo I burned them to death in a pure oxygen atmosphere which a short circuit ignited.

On January 28, 1986 the 7 Challenger astronauts died less than 75 seconds after launch. Michael Smith, Dick Scobee, Judith Resnik, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Gregory Jarvis, and Christa McAuliffe were those persons willing to push the boundries of human exploration on that tragic day.
And then yesterday, 9 hours after January 2002 had ended, the men and women at the beginning of these comments lost their lives for reasons as yet unknown.

The Challenger 7 were eulogized by countless people, but on the day of their deaths one of the most eloquent speakers ever concluded his remarks as follows; The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honoured us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for the journey and waved goodbye and slipped the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of God. President Ronald Reagan ... Read more

151. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin (Dover Thrift Editions)
by Benjamin Franklin
list price: $2.00
our price: $3.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0486290735
Catlog: Book (1996-05-01)
Publisher: Dover Publications
Sales Rank: 6150
Average Customer Review: 4.12 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

One of the most popular works of American literature, this charming self-portrait has been translated into nearly every language. It covers Franklin’s life up to his prewar stay in London as representative of the Pennsylvania Assembly, including his boyhood years, work as a printer, experiments with electricity, political career, much more.
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Reviews (40)

5-0 out of 5 stars Franklin's informal account of his remarkable life
In many ways, this is, to someone coming to it for the first time, a very surprising book. For one thing, it is amazingly incomplete. Franklin is, of course, one of the most famous Americans who ever lived, and his accomplishments in a wide array of endeavors are a part of American lore and popular history. A great deal of this lore and many of his accomplishments are missing from this account of his life. He never finished the autobiography, earlier in his life because he was too busy with what he terms public "employments," and later in life because the opium he was taking for kidney stones left him unable to concentrate sufficiently. Had Franklin been able to write about every period of his life and all of his achievements, his AUTOBIOGRAPHY would have been one of the most remarkable documents every produced. It is amazingly compelling in its incomplete state.

As a serious reader, I was delighted in the way that Franklin is obsessed with the reading habits of other people. Over and over in the course of his memoir, he remarks that such and such a person was fond of reading, or owned a large number of books, or was a poet or author. Clearly, it is one of the qualities he most admires in others, and one of the qualities in a person that makes him want to know a person. He finds other readers to be kindred souls.

If one is familiar with the Pragmatists, one finds many pragmatist tendencies in Franklin's thought. He is concerned less with ideals than with ideas that work and are functional. For instance, at one point he implies that while his own beliefs lean more towards the deistical, he sees formal religion as playing an important role in life and society, and he goes out of his way to never criticize the faith of another person. His pragmatism comes out also in list of the virtues, which is one of the more famous and striking parts of his book. As is well known, he compiled a list of 13 virtues, which he felt summed up all the virtues taught by all philosophers and religions. But they are practical, not abstract virtues. He states that he wanted to articulate virtues that possessed simple and not complex ideas. Why? The simpler the idea, the easier to apply. And in formulating his list of virtues, he is more concerned with the manner in which these virtues can be actualized in one's life. Franklin has utterly no interest in abstract morality.

One of Franklin's virtues is humility, and his humility comes out in the form of his book. His narrative is exceedingly informal, not merely in the first part, which was ostensibly addressed to his son, but in the later sections (the autobiography was composed upon four separate occasions). The informal nature of the book displays Franklin's intended humility, and for Franklin, seeming to be so is nearly as important as actually being so. For part of the function of the virtues in an individual is not merely to make that particular person virtuous, but to function as an example to others. This notion of his being an example to other people is one of the major themes in his book. His life, he believes, is an exemplary one. And he believes that by sharing the details of his own life, he can serves as a template for other lives.

One striking aspect of his book is what one could almost call Secular Puritanism. Although Franklin was hardly a prude, he was nonetheless very much a child of the Puritans. This is not displayed merely in his promotion of the virtues, but in his abstaining from excessiveness in eating, drinking, conversation, or whatever. Franklin is intensely concerned with self-governance.

I think anyone not having read this before will be surprised at how readable and enjoyable this is. I think also one can only regret that Franklin was not able to write about the entirety of his life. He was a remarkable man with a remarkable story to tell.

5-0 out of 5 stars You will be richer from reading this book
Benjamin Franklin's autobiography is the story of one man's efforts to integrate certain principles and habits - integrity, humility, fidelity, temperance, courage, justice, patience, industry, simplicity, modesty - into his life and to embed them deep within his nature. Franklin was a scientist, philosopher, statesman, inventor, educator, diplomat, politician, humorist and man of letters who led a very full life. He was also a moralist and humanitarian who was happy to be considered unconventional by doing things the way he thought they should be done. His was a life well lived and a model from which we can learn much. In the introduction we are told: "Himself a master of the motives of human conduct, Franklin did not set out to reveal himself in his autobiography. Rather, he intended to tell us (insofar as we, the nation, are the 'posterity' to whom he addressed himself) how life was to be lived, good done, and happiness achieved - how the ball was to be danced."

Franklin did not have an easy life as the tenth son of a candle maker whose education ended at the age of ten. But by hard work and careful planning he was able to retire from business at the age of forty-two and devote his time to science and politics. He was sent to England in 1764 to petition the King to end the proprietary government of the colony. Soon after the Revolution began he was sent to France to negotiate an alliance with Louis XVI. He was a member of the committee that drafted the Declaration of Independence. It is difficult to image anyone not coming away richer from reading this book.

3-0 out of 5 stars A Book Of Firsts
Said to be the first work of American literature, by America's first citizen: Ben Franklin's autobiography has certainly drawn a lot of praise.

Written in several pieces, it takes his life just past his electrical experiments, ending with his ambassadorial trip to London in 1757 on behalf of the Pennsylvania Assembly to argue that the Proprietors (the descendants of William Penn) should accept a tax to fund the raising of a militia.

Ben's early life story is familiar to all, coming penniless from Boston to Philadelphia, etc. particularly these days when new Franklin biographies seem to appear almost monthly. It is an interesting book, particularly because it was written by Franklin himself. But the breathless praise that is everywhere showered upon it seems a bit over done. First of all, it's incomplete, and secondly, it's not nearly as witty as Poor Richard.

5-0 out of 5 stars An Unfinished Autobiography of the Consumate American Life
Franklin wrote this autobiography as a letter of instruction in the ways of the world to his youthful and illegitimate son of 40. It only covers the first half or so of his incredible life, so the things that really made him well-known are not covered, but there is plenty here anyway.

Franklin recounts his family's modest life in England and the circumstances that brought them to Boston. He was among the youngest of a very large family, ultimately finding his way to Philadelphia to find work as a printer when an apprenticeship with an older brother turned sour.

We always think of Franklin as being a slightly older statesman among the Founding Fathers, when in fact he was a full generation older than Washington or Jefferson. Unlike popular perception, he was an athletic and vibrant youth, who rescued a drowning Dutch companion and taught swimming to children of London's elite.

Philadelphia in the 1720's and 1730's was a small town, never sure if it would really take off as a settlement. Franklin quickly befriended key politicians who felt Philadelphia had grown sufficiently to have a world-class print shop. He played a key role in the town's development, leading civic groups in establishing libraries, fire companies, meeting halls, and street cleaning services. Of course, he was also the consummate politician, serving in office, and networking his way to his first fortune by publishing government documents and printing the first paper currency. He also had a knack for working with the several important religious sects of that time and place, especially the pacifist Quakers, even though Franklin was a deist.

Franklin was a clever businessman. In today's lexicon, he effectively franchised across the colonies his concept of the publisher/printer who would provide both the content and the ink on paper. By age 30, he had set up his business affairs so that his printing businesses in several colonies were operated by partners and he received a share of the profits, allowing him to pursue other interests.

The autobiography is unfinished, so we don't hear his account of his pursuits of electricity, which made him as famous and well-known as Bill Gates is today, nor his thought on the Revolution. Franklin did play a key role in establishing logistical support to the British during their fight with the French in the New World. At that time and during his years in Europe, he was generally perceived as a Tory supporter.

Read this book to learn how Franklin devoted himself to self-improvement by establishing clubs, lending libraries, a sober lifestyle allowing time for study, and his methods for measuring his personal performance against metrics he had established for a proper lifestyle. One will also gather a new appreciation for the fullness, utility, and richness of the English language when put on paper by a master.

3-0 out of 5 stars Read as a companion to Isaacson
Ten years ago, I purchased the paperback and could not get past the first few chapters. Five years ago, I bought the cassette version and could not get much further. After finishing and enjoying Walter Isaacson's Franklin bio immediately prior to this third attempt, I was finally able to enjoy "The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin". Fredd Wayne brings Franklin to life with what seems like a perfect portrayal. He *performs* rather than narrates.

Without the insight from Issacson, or, I suspect, from any decent biography of Franklin, the autobiography is disjointed, as he wrote different sections at different times of his life, and some time periods are eliminated completely. And it seems to have multiple personalities, struggling between the subjects of self-help, biography, history and simple meanderings and ruminations of an old man.

As a companion book - 5 stars; as a standalone - 2-3 stars ... Read more

152. One L : The Turbulent True Story of a First Year at Harvard Law School
by Scott Turow
list price: $13.95
our price: $10.46
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Asin: 0446673781
Catlog: Book (1997-09-01)
Publisher: Warner Books
Sales Rank: 9257
Average Customer Review: 4.23 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

One L, Scott Turow's journal of his first year at law school introduces and a best-seller when it was first published in 1977, has gone on to become a virtual bible for prospective law students. Not only does it introduce with remarkable clarity the ideas and issues that are the stuff of legal education; it brings alive the anxiety and competiveness--with others and, even more, with oneself--that set the tone in this crucible of character building. Turow's multidimensional delving into his protagonists' psyches and his marvelous gift for suspense prefigure the achievements of his celebrated first novel, Presumed Innocent, one of the best-selling and most talked about books of 1987.

Each September, a new crop of students enter Harvard Law School to begin an intense, often grueling, sometimes harrowing year of introduction to the law. Turow's group of One Ls are fresh, bright, ambitious, and more than a little daunting. Even more impressive are the faculty: Perini, the dazzling, combative professor of contracts, who presents himself as the students' antagonist in their struggle to master his subject; Zechman, the reserved professor of torts who seems so indecisive the students fear he cannot teach; and Nicky Morris, a young, appealing man who stressed the humanistic aspects of law.

Will the One Ls survive? Will they excel? Will they make the Law Review, the outward and visible sign of success in this ultra-conservative microcosm? With remarkable insight into both his fellows and himself, Turow leads us through the ups and downs, the small triumphs and tragedies of the year, in an absorbing and throught-provoking narrative that teaches the reader not only about law school and the law but about the human beings who make them what they are.

In the new afterword for this edition of One L, the author looks back on law school from the perspective of ten years' work as a lawyer and offers some suggestions for reforming legal education.
... Read more

Reviews (102)

2-0 out of 5 stars Outdated and melodramatic
As fiction, Turow's book is a decent read. As a portrait of Harvard Law School today, it's a dud. I haven't experienced a moment of the backstabbing competition Turow claims to have found everywhere 30 years ago. I have never heard anyone discussing his or her grades. The class is not ranked. Study aids are freely shared. Turow was simply going to a different law school than the one that exists now.

Bear in mind that Turow arrived at HLS with a contract to write this book. Drama, conflict, and agony are necessary ingredients of any good expose, and he provides them in abundance. My happy One-L year would have made the world's most boring book.

Read it for your own entertainment. It isn't bad literature. But don't let it scare you away from law school, or from Harvard.

4-0 out of 5 stars A good recount of the first year
I thought this book was an interesting portrayal of an Ivy League law school - I read it the summer before I began law school at a Jesuit law school on the West Coast.

Many of the 1L experiences will be the same no matter where one attends - the stress from competition, for example - I liked to characterize it as "the thrill of victory" (to get a cherished A) or the "agony of defeat" (to make an idiot out of yourself in class, which, I am sorry to say, I did on more than one occasion!)

My advice to prospective (and current) law students would be to buy the book, and read it with a grain of salt. I believe that each person has the ability to create their own destiny, and there's a hell of a lot more to learning the law, and succeeding in your chosen profession, than being in the top 5% and on law review - make friends, have fun, and most of all, use your knowledge to help more less fortunate than you, no matter if you went to Harvard or number #176 on U.S. News's list of 177 law schools. That's the key to success as an attorney, and in life, for that matter. Just my $.02!

5-0 out of 5 stars Essential read for pre-laws; still a good read for others.
This is a great book. If you are thinking about Law School, you HAVE to read it. Understand, though, that the Law School experience--and the HLS experience, in specific--has changed a lot since the time this book was written. Still, nothing can give you a better idea of what law school will be like than this book. Today, hundreds of law students keep blogs of their experience--this phenomenon was clearly inspired by this book, which is written like (and, in fact adapted from) Turow's journal.

Even if you're not Law School bound, this is an exciting, engaging book that tells a great story. Turow is, of course, a successful author and an established writer. This book stands on its own as a good read.

5-0 out of 5 stars IT HAS A SPOOKY ATTRACTION
I'm a Brit and I'm not a lawyer, I left University 22 years ago. I have kids and a dog (and a wife). I have never been to the USA and know virtually nothing about Harvard.

So why have i read this book FIVE TIMES !!?

It must be VOODOO because the whole thing about struggling through law school inspired me. Not only have I read it 5 times outright, I find myself even now dipping into it to catch a quick fix.

It is a truly tremendous book, full of humanity, intellectual discussion and it evinces a real love of the law.

It is probably one of, if not thee, best book old ST has written.

3-0 out of 5 stars The book probably does not represent the typical HLS Student
I'm not sure what to make of Turow's book. Here is a guy who goes to Harvard Law School, an institution which has existed in its present form for well over 200 years. As a first year law student, he has the nerve to have all these criticisms of the institution -- that it's hostile, that the law is not warm and fuzzy, that there are clear boundaries in the law, which seem to indicate that he has choosen the wrong field. He seemed to be quite selfish in that he wanted the school to change many of its most cheerished methods of teaching to satisfy one alienated, empty-headed student.

All readers assume that one's first year at Harvard Law School is challenging. Ironically, it does seem as though Harvard may have listened to Mr. Turow's complaints since I have not heard of the difficulty of the institution from other students/graduates. It is possible that they have dumbed-down the curriculum to satisfy those who would prefer to complain than learn.

At the same time, this book certainly opens our perspective in how the law school class is set up, including the Socratic method, to which I was already quite familiar with. I would urge readers not to think that Mr. Turow's experience is at all shared by most at Harvard -- or any other institution. Remember that Mr. Turow just happened to want to write about his experience, but many others who choose not to write probably had drastically different experiences. Maybe they choose to learn and excel rather than to criticize an institution ten times their age.

Mr. Turow's analysis of the other students also appears rather superficial and shallow. The students are essentially grouped into the achievers, the complainers (who think of themselves as "intellectuals," but who, in reality, are no more intellectual than a kindergardener with a crayon), and the professors who "harass" the students. What about the exact types of questions one faces in law school. How are the questions different from undergraduate life? Is law school merely a tarriff to prevent competition in the legal professsion? Also, as with most people who advocate change, Mr. Turow is remarkably short on specifics on how he would change the law school experience. The lack of specifics is common for those who gripe about the present but are unable to explain an alternative system to which they aspire.

This is certainly an interesting book, but I would hesitate to think that it is the Bible of the Law School experience. It is merely one story about one institution in a particular year. ... Read more

153. Goodbye, Darkness: A Memoir of the Pacific War
by William Manchester
list price: $16.95
our price: $11.53
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0316501115
Catlog: Book (2002-04-12)
Publisher: Back Bay Books
Sales Rank: 9513
Average Customer Review: 4.23 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

For the first time in trade paperback, the book in which one of the most celebrated biographer/historians of our time looks back at his own early life and gives us a remarkable account of World War II in the Pacific, of what it looked like, sounded like, smelled like, and, most of all, what it felt like to one who underwent all but the ultimate of its experiences.

Back Bay takes pride in making William Manchester's intense, stirring, and impassioned memoir available to a new generation of readers. ... Read more

Reviews (47)

5-0 out of 5 stars I've read it again and again
Few books moved me like this one. William Manchester has always been one of my favorite biographers writing such magnificent books as The Arms of Krupp, American Caesar, and The Last Lion. But Goodbye Darkness is an intensely personal look at his own life as a soldier fighting in the brutal battle of Okinawa during World War Two. As the title suggest, this book is an attempt by a aging man to come to grips with the brutality and the deeds of his youth. More than a personal biography, Manchester weaves the whole Pacific Campaign into his story, we learn of the terror of Guadalcanal, the bravery of the Marines at Tarawa, and the courage of ordinary men who were put in extraordinary circumstances. It is an intensely personal story as we get to know a young Manchester and his Raggedy Ass Marines. We see how friendships were man, mistakes were made and lives were lost. It is a magnificent book.

Manchester comes to grips with the ferocity of his enemy, the Japanese solider. One can sense both a sense of admiration and enmity as Manchester talks about those he fought so long ago. Underlying this hate is the seed of racism as seen in the Japanese who took no prisoners to the Marines who mounted the severed heads of their enemy on their tanks. It was brutal. Both sides saw the other as inferior human beings; thus, it was killed or be killed with very few prisoners taken. Yet, the reader senses Manchester admiration of his enemy, the courage of the Japanese solider who fought with interior weapons, weakened by disease and who was often on the verge of starvation. In the end, however, the authors observes, We were better soldiers.

I have read this book three, maybe four times over the years, and I am due to read it again. It is that good.

5-0 out of 5 stars The warp and woof of war
Not only is William Manchester a first rate writer, but he was there. The title of this book depicts his nightmares as a repository left over from his experiences in the infantry in the South Pacific in WWII. His attempts to dispel them are worked out through visiting each island the marines fought on in the pacific theatre.

His marine outfit was made up of Ivy leaguers like himself and the book is a distillation of his exploits. He takes the reader through the island fighting on Guadalcanal, Tarawa, New Guinea, the Philipines, Iwo Jima and Okinawa. The scenes in which he describes the fighting are absolutely gripping, This is easily as good as any war novel I've ever read if only for the descriptions of the combat. His description of the apparition in the foxhole with him in the Philipines is some of the best writing I've ever read. True, I'm not a literature buff, but this man can really write. It's too bad that more people aren't aware of it today.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Book
Not the typical WW2 memoir. Comes at things a little sideways, but the writing is suberb. One of the finest memoirs I have ever read, and I've read a ton of them. To have a writer of Manchester's caliber relate his personal experiences is truly unique. Highly recommended. And a great overview of the Pacific Theatre.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Glimpse Into Hell
This memoir of fighting in the Pacific Theater was as personal and compelling as I have ever read. Manchester masterfully uses feel, touch, smell, sight, and sound, to capture the imagery of war-making in the Pacific. He combines a superb overview of the history with the very personal touches of his own experiences, so that the reader gets both historical perspective and a powerful sensual effect. He discusses candidly issues of war that are seldom talked about in straight historical discussion. He writes this memoir after returning to the islands in 1978, attempting to restore something lost after fighting there. When finished, you get the feeling you've made the journey with him, experienced something of his pain, and found something also.

5-0 out of 5 stars great read, hope you're up on your literature
This is an excellent book, though, if you're like me and lack an advanced education, many of the literary and foreign language references are baffling. Not so bad that you can't get the jist of what the author means, but a challenge nonetheless. If you like first person oral histories, as I do, you'll love this book. I am happy to have it as an addition to my Pacific War collection. ... Read more

154. Titan : The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr.
list price: $18.00
our price: $12.24
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1400077303
Catlog: Book (2004-03-30)
Publisher: Vintage
Sales Rank: 9121
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155. But Not for the Fuehrer
by Helmut Jung
list price: $21.95
our price: $21.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1414034458
Catlog: Book (2004-01-01)
Publisher: 1stBooks Library
Sales Rank: 613382
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Awesome military story!
This book is a very easy and fast read. There are no complicated military jargon, so anyone (not just military veterans) can read this. Mr. Jung's story is absolutely amazing and I am surprised at how much he endured and then lived to tell about it. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes reading autobiographies and/or military stories. ... Read more

156. A Lady, First: My Life in the Kennedy White House and the American Embassies of Paris and Rome
by Letitia Baldrige
list price: $15.00
our price: $15.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0142001597
Catlog: Book (2002-10-01)
Publisher: Penguin Books
Sales Rank: 69348
Average Customer Review: 3.73 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Letitia Baldrige is the woman best known as Jackie Kennedy's social secretary during the White House years. But in this fascinating memoir Baldrige reveals a career sparkling with a host of other achievements: embassy work in an era when women rarely were given jobs overseas, becoming the first female executive at Tiffany & Co., and founding one of the first companies run by a female CEO. In her amazing life story Baldrige shares her perspective as a White House insider: the hilarity of young Jackie's antics on foreign diplomatic visits, the terror of the Cuban missile crisis, and the heartbreak of President Kennedy's funeral. Stylish, chic and always polite, Baldrige reveals the determination that has made her a success and brought her the admiration of women around the world. ... Read more

Reviews (15)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Wind Beneath Their Wings
I have always been a fan of Miss Baldrige, and I have several of her books, but I really enjoyed this one. I feel it gives a more personal glimpse into the HOW behind the WOW. She really was (is) the wind beneath the wings of her glamorous employers, Evangeline Bruce, Clare Boothe Luce, Jacqueline Kennedy. Creative mind behind the clever Tiffany campaigns, and later of her own company Letitia Baldrige Enterprises.

I particularly enjoyed her telling of early life, and then of life on her own. I have always found her quite as interesting as her illustrious employers, and delight to catch her on television.

I think her chouce of "A lady, First:" says it all.
She is indeed a lady, and a very interesting one.

I recommend this book heartily.

5-0 out of 5 stars An Interesting and Amazing Woman
Tish Baldridge has led an interesting and amazing life. She wasn't blessed with great wealth or beauty yet she managed to live and work on the upper echelons of American political and social society in the 50's, 60's, 70's, 80's, and onward.
Baldridge takes you through her beginnings in the midwest, her education at Miss Porter's and Vassar as one of the less financially advantaged students, her life in Paris and Rome working for such trend setters as Clare Booth Luce, her days at Tiffany, her years in the White House with Jackie Kennedy, and her life after.

Here's what is great about this book and her story: her life didn't begin and it didn't end with her association with Jackie Kennedy. Camelot fans will get great glimpses into those years from her vantage point. But there is a lot more to this book...

I would highly recommend this book to women who love biographies on the Jackie Kennedy, Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn set. I also would recommend this book to women who enjoy the story of a self-made woman and a survivor and anyone interested in the social history of this era. I would not recommend this book to most men and I would caution all readers to note that this is a book filled with details of food, flowers, gowns, and jewels and not policy making or congressional bills. You learn about the parties that Jackie Kennedy went to in the year of the Cuban Missile Crisis not about the policy nuances behind the crisis.

I gave this book as a present to several female friends and they loved it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Class from the past!
Oh! how I wish I had a life like Tish Baldridge's! She is a gutsy and classy lady and I admire her for that. I loved to read that book because it goes to show that dreams come true when we put the energy and efforts for them to materialize.

5-0 out of 5 stars Classy!
I just couldn't put this book down! Mrs. Baldridge has led a wonderful and exciting life.

4-0 out of 5 stars Strong women with great manners are always in style ...
I thoroughly enjoyed this book as my first glimpse into the life of Letitia Baldridge ... I was consistently intrigued as to what intimate political and social disclosure the next page would bring, all the while appreciating her honest and often self-deprecating narrative. She has in fact led an extraordinary life which she often acknowledged in reflection of each experience, always seemingly thankful for the opportunity to have played small, yet significant roles in our nation's history. She also represented the classic female struggle more commonly found for today's woman ... unafraid to admit her conventional desire for an all-American red-blooded husband, while also refusing to compromise all of her intelligence, skill and experience by stopping anywhere short of being an accomplished business executive, saleswoman, philanthropist and lecturer.

Anyone who has enjoyed biographies from other great woman of the last century (i.e. Eleanor Roosevelt, Katherine Graham) would definitely enjoy this one as well ... ... Read more

157. Our Brother's Keeper : My Family's Journey through Vietnam to Hell and Back
by JedwinSmith
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0471467596
Catlog: Book (2005-03-04)
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Sales Rank: 30381
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Advance Praise for Our Brother's Keeper

"Beautifully written and extraordinarily poignant, Our Brother's Keeper is a Vietnam book like none other. The ghosts of Vietnam are finally starting to circle home, and this remarkable writer has given them voice with passion and resonance.I love Jedwin Smith's Fatal Treasure; Our Brother's Keeper is even closer to the heart."
— Jeff Long, New York Times bestselling author of The Descent and The Reckoning

"Our experience in Vietnam has been searingly recorded in both fiction and nonfiction, but no book about those years is quite like this one. Jedwin Smith's Our Brother's Keeper tells the story of one family that has lived with death by remembrance, and of a man who found redemption when he wanted revenge. It will break your heart, but change it, too."
— Michael Skube, winner of the Pulitzer Prize in criticism

"I read Our Brother's Keeper in the span of an evening and found it deeply affecting and totally enthralling. This book is a haunting, gut-wrenching, and ultimately redemptive journey through time and the human heart. Magnificent."
—Jack Kerley, author of The Hundredth Man ... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Vietnam: One family's war
Jedwin Smith (no relation, but I was once his boss at the Atlanta newspaper where we both worked) has written a spellbinding account ofhow his brother's death in Vietnam (remember that war?) impacted his family and fueled his own decline into alcohol and depression. Without bitterness or animosity, he relates the unraveling of his family and eventually tells of how he and his siblings came to cope with their brother's death, and to mend their lives and relationships with each other. Part and parcel of the story is his climb from the depths, aided by Vietnam War vets who knew his brotherin the field and as always, by the love and strength of his devoted wife, June. Don't think of this as a "war" book. It's not. Rather, this is the story of human relationships, told with insight won the hard way, that will send you to Vietnam War Web sites/books to knock the dust off your memories of that era. Jedwin's a natural-born storyteller and this book will grab you from the first page.

5-0 out of 5 stars Gut-wrenching yet remarkable book
This is the kind of well-written book you'll read in 24 hours but think about for weeks. Its the gut-wrenching story of a family suffering through the loss of a beloved son/brother to the Vietnam War.The author, Jedwin Smith, gives us a rare insight into the long-term effects a family endures and also allows us to go along on his painful and emotional journey toward some sense of healing. Without disclosing elements of the book, be advised there is a reconciliation late in the book that is unique, remarkable and inspirational.
We must never forget the sacrifices veterans made for our country, but this book also reminds us to never forget the sacrifices the families of these veterans made as well. ... Read more

158. They Made America: Two Centuries of Innovators from the Steam Engine to the Search Engine
by Harold Evans
list price: $40.00
our price: $24.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0316277665
Catlog: Book (2004-10-12)
Publisher: Little, Brown
Sales Rank: 58
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Book Description

An illustrated history of American innovators--some well known, some unknown, and all fascinating-- by the author of the bestselling The American Century. ... Read more

159. Cooked: An Inner City Nursing Memoir
by Carol Karels
list price: $13.99
our price: $11.89
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0970947763
Catlog: Book (2002-12-05)
Publisher: Full Court Press
Sales Rank: 426818
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In May 1971, Look magazine featured a story entitled "Chicago’s Cook County Hospital: A Terrible Place." The article provided an inside look at the largest public hospital in the country, one located on Chicago’s dangerous gang-controlled and drug-infested west side. Months later, Carol Karels and seventy other nursing students began their nurse’s training there, despite newspaper articles that warned that the hospital might close any day. ‘The County,’ as it was called by the multitudes who sought health care treatment there, has weathered massive layoffs, doctors and nurses strikes, budget slashing, and public relations nightmares. Chicago’s counterpart to the Statue of Liberty, ‘the County’ welcomed the sick, desperate, and destitute multitudes who were turned away elsewhere. Burn victims, abused children, Skid Row drunks with TB, gunshot victims, nursing home rejects, drug overdoses, and those with complex medical conditions all found refuge on County’s massive wards. Metal beds, separated only by green curtains, lined the walls of these wards. Patients shared a common bathroom (at one end of the ward) and TV (at the other end of the ward). The nurse’s station was often a full block away from the last bed. Call lights were unheard of—patients shouted if they needed help.

Within weeks after starting nursing school, Ms. Karels began work on one of the busiest emergency wards in the hospital. Each night she assisted the overworked nurses and doctors by washing the vermin-infested bodies of the homeless, applying leather restraints to those who were confused and violent, shaking those with drug overdoses to keep them alert, translating street English for foreign doctors, and racing around the hospital to find medications and emergency equipment. Most who trained at Cook County Hospital, the hospital on which television’s hit "ER" is loosely based on, describe it as a city unto itself. While the patients were housed on wards, the staff lived and ate right across the street in sexually segregated dormitories--male doctors in one, female nurses in the other. Social life consisted of Friday teas in the nurse’s residence, local frat parties and Saturday night dances in the doctor’s dormitory.

County was also a hotbed of political activity with staff members representing every imaginable political ideology. In the years before Medicare, Medicaid, legalized abortions, and managed healthcare, County’s idealistic nurses and doctors were among the first in the nation to go on strike for better working conditions, and the first to go to jail for their convictions. The struggle for change, complicated by a massive internal bureaucracy, internal corruption, and city politics, is also documented.

"Cooked" chronicles the day-to-day challenges faced by committed caregivers and shows how stress and exhaustion often leads to indifference, callousness, tragic mistakes, and burnout. The memoir also shows how humor on the wards helps both caretakers and patients maintain their sanity. One example was a pre-dawn roller-skating romp in County’s musty tunnels.

The memoir also explores the culture of the Mexican immigrant on Chicago’s near south side. Feeling shut out of the Chicago’s public health care system because of language barriers, the Hispanic community resorted to forming their own community health clinic run by a street gang called ‘the Brown Berets.’ Ms. Karels shares memories of her Wednesday evenings at the clinic, which survived until organized violence took precedence over community healthcare.

COOKED is filled with stories about the compassion, caregiving, dedication, and chaos that took place on County’s huge wards and in the surrounding neighborhoods. In COOKED the medical novice will get an inside look inside the country’s largest public hospital while those with a medical background will nod their heads in recognition and encourage their children to read about a bygone era of institutional, yet excellent, medical care. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great read of a grand place
I received this book as a gift after retiring from a long career of nursing at Cook County Hospital. I enjoyed the way the author accurately described this hospital's atmosphere and the types of patients that we helped. Her unique stories were similiar to my own. I highly recommend it to all people who want to remember this grand institution. ... Read more

160. Strange Angel : The Otherworldly Life of Rocket Scientist John Whiteside Parsons
by George Pendle
list price: $25.00
our price: $16.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 015100997X
Catlog: Book (2005-01-18)
Publisher: Harcourt
Sales Rank: 398778
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Book Description

Brilliant Rocket Scientist Killed in Explosion screamed the front-page headline of the Los Angeles Times on June 18, 1952. John Parsons, a maverick rocketeer whose work had helped transform the rocket from a derided sci-fi plotline into a reality, was at first mourned as a tragically young victim of mishandled chemicals. But as reporters dug deeper a shocking story emerged-Parsons had been performing occult rites and summoning spirits as a follower of Aleister Crowley-and he was promptly written off as an embarrassment to science.

George Pendle tells Parsons's extraordinary life story for the first time. Fueled from childhood by dreams of space flight, Parsons was a crucial innovator during rocketry's birth. But his visionary imagination also led him into the occult community thriving in 1930s Los Angeles, and when fantasy's pull became stronger than reality, he lost both his work and his wife. Parsons was just emerging from his personal underworld when he died at age thirty-seven. In Strange Angel, Pendle recovers a fascinating life and explores the unruly consequences of genius.
... Read more

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