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161. The New New Thing: A Silicon Valley
162. Fire in the Night : Wingate of
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163. Julian Robertson : A Tiger in
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164. Edward R. Murrow and the Birth
165. God Owns My Business
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166. Cad: Confessions of a Toxic Bachelor
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167. The Map That Changed the World
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168. At Hell's Gate : A Soldier's Journey
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173. Trading with the Enemy: Seduction
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174. Black Sheep One: The Life of Gregory
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175. Miles Gone By: A Literary Autobiography
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176. I Am a Pencil : A Teacher, His
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177. Prime Obsession: Bernhard Riemann
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180. Lucky

161. The New New Thing: A Silicon Valley Story
by Michael Lewis
list price: $13.00
our price: $9.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0140296468
Catlog: Book (2001-01-01)
Publisher: Penguin Books
Sales Rank: 22958
Average Customer Review: 3.79 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

As American capitalism undergoes a seismic shift, Michael Lewis, author of the bestselling Liar's Poker, sets out on a Silicon Valley safari to find the true representative of the coming economic age. All roads lead to Jim Clark, the man who rewrote the rules of American capitalism as the founder of (so far) three multi-billion dollar companies-Silicon Graphics, Netscape, and Healtheon. Lewis's shrewd, often brilliantly funny, narrative provides ahead-of-the-curve observations about the Internet explosion and how the success of Silicon Valley companies is forcing a reassessment of traditional Wall-Street business models.

Weaving Clark's story together with that of this new business phenomenon, Lewis has drawn us a map of markets and free enterprise in the twenty-first century and blown the lid off the changing economy.
... Read more

Reviews (202)

5-0 out of 5 stars Jim Clark, Hyperion & the Internet Bubble
It's true: this book IS mostly about Hyperion, Jim Clark's huge sailboat, but then again, the book is mostly about Clark himself. If you know how Lewis writes, it's a thread here and there, that weave and become this lively patchwork of ideas and facts, and, in the end, you have a profile of the Valley and one of the main characters that created its allure.

Lewis is a master of engaging character portrayals, with intoxicating and hyperbolic prose. He plays objective narrator throughout, sometimes interfering with the plot, but holds no punches in describing Clark's maniacal quest for wealth.

In the end, there is a wonderful demonstration that wealth doesn't bring happiness with it. From p. 258: "Why do people perpetually create for themselves the condition for their own dissatisfaction?" -- an retort to Clark's statement that "Once I have more money than Larry Ellison, I'll be satisfied". A few years earlier, satisfaction for Clark amounted to a measly $10 million on the bank; that number mushroomed to $1 billion.

Throughout, Lewis conveys the feeling of the Internet bubble of the late 90s; the wealthy, controlling venture capitalists; the insanely-priced IPOs for companies that had no clue how to make money. So yes, that's all a bunch of old old things by now, and if I were looking for a historical account of that period, the book would be worth only 4 stars; yet, I was going for the portrait of Clark, and for those who lived through it, the book is a good behind the scenes look at the creation of Silicon Graphics, Netscape, and Healtheon.

5-0 out of 5 stars How Microsoft Screwed up the Valley
I bought this book after listening to Michael Lewis on NPR. It turned out to be, probably, one of my favorite leisure books of all time. It is a remarkable story about a remarkable and ingenious man (Jim Clark) mostly taking place on a fantastic yacht called the Hyperion. You can appreciate this book at many levels. If you are an engineer/scientist you will enjoy this book. If you are an Entrepreneur or businessman you will find great company in Jim Clark. If you sail you will be nailed by the Hyperion adventure.

Michael's excellent writing makes this accurate and detailed book a joy to read. I would have loved to read the pages where Jim slashes Bill Gates but they were probably left out to be politically correct. Also some sections in the book were page fillers and should have been left out to save time.

3-0 out of 5 stars Life of an Internet Salesman
When Lewis set out to write this book, he was attempting to expose and satirize silicon valley in the same way he had skewered wall street in his previous books. In the course of writing the book, he is introduced to Jim Clark. The New New Thing then becomes a hagiography of Clark's personality, ambitions, and achievements. Though I found the book entertaining and well-written, I was disappointed that the author casts such an unskeptical eye on Clark. Lewis saves his satire for the one person that most readers could empathize with - Allan (the Captain of Clark's boat) and an internet investor. One quarter of the book is devoted to Lewis's time on Clark's yacht - this narrative is wholly gratuitous and lends little to the story other than to show that the author had unparalleled acess to Clark. This book would be richer, if a preface was added. Lewis wrote this book before the NASDAQ topped off in March 2000 - and one wonders if Lewis would assign Clark any responsibility for the hype that was created and the real life consequences for those who lost large amounts of money in the ensuing crash.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not as good as Liars poker
Very well written but gives an insight into Clark's life more than an insight into Silicon Valley. Reads more like a biography and does not capture the wheeling dealing in Silicon Valley whcih the reader might have expected to see.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Silicon Valley Story
I really enjoyed the story line here. Jim Clark was portrayed as a man who had vision, yet the desire to never be "locked in" to something for too long. One might wonder if all of the time spent dealing with the Board of Silicon Graphics made him change his behavior.

I do not agree with some of the posts here stating that the author lives and breathes on the words of Jim Clark. He was a business man that believed there were opportunities and quickly acted upon them. Like everything else, there will always be great and poor business decisions from a leader. No one is an exception here; including Mr. Gates.

So, back to the review; this is an excellent book to give folks an insight into the crazy late 90's, where business vision was accelerated 10 fold. Some big successes and many failure stories. ... Read more

162. Fire in the Night : Wingate of Burma, Ethiopia, and Zion
list price: $29.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375500618
Catlog: Book (1999-12-28)
Publisher: Random House
Sales Rank: 218564
Average Customer Review: 4.88 out of 5 stars
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Few men have made as outstanding contributions to their country's cause as Orde Wingate, yet few have divided opinion so completely. "We don't want any more Wingates in the British Army," says an Army Council minute written after the end of the Second World War, and after his death. In contrast, no less than Winston Churchill himself said, before the House of Commons, "There was a man of genius, who might well have become a man of destiny."

John Bierman and Colin Smith's enlightening and rigorous biography of this brilliant man amply demonstrates how the conservative establishment of the British Army could come to adopt such an ungracious attitude to one of their most dynamic sons, who contributed so much to the war effort with dazzling performances in Abyssinia and Burma, and so much to future strategic thinking with his bold formulation of new methods. He ruffled feathers with his uncompromising style, unconventional thinking, and eccentric nature (perhaps most memorably expressed in his unaffected penchant for receiving visitors in the nude). Together with an acute intelligence and great breadth of learning, Wingate was a man possessed of awe-inspiring will and single-minded application, and he was often seen flying into a rage when things were not done as he thought they should be. Many, regardless of rank, felt the lash of his tongue. His almost fanatical commitment to the cause of Zionism, a highly sensitive and ambivalent political hot potato for the British at the time, seems also to have rankled many who simply could not understand a man so unlike the typical public-school-educated officer. Although not Jewish himself, to this day he is widely honored in Israel. Zvi Brenner, his Jewish bodyguard in Palestine before the war when he was commanding the Special Night Squads, elegantly encapsulated the man when, in describing Wingate's uncanny ability to negotiate all terrain in darkness, he said, "Wingate didn't follow any paths but walked in straight lines." A truly exceptional man; there is, unfortunately, little chance of the British Army's having any more Wingates. --Alisdair Bowles, ... Read more

Reviews (8)

Having been brought up on stories from my early years about the brave and often forgotten exploits of the Chindits I was very enthused to tuck into this book. Orde Wingate has been the hero of many, not so much because he was a military successful warrior, but because he was wildly unconventional at a time when staid ethics and methods of war were leading to defeats of the western allies on all fronts.

A fierce Old Testament fear and learning of the bible bread in what would now be called a fundementalist christian family, he blended this with [...] eccentricities like, indifference to appearing nude before his collegues and newspapermen, a complete indifference to British Monarchy and the hierarchical class-bound society and way of thinking. An appreciator of new ideas and probably quite to the left of many of his superiors, he had no hestation in punishing and physically striking his recruits (no matter their colour), and could kill the enemy mercilessly, or order large groups knowingly to their death without a blink.

Wingate pioneered unconventional warfare with his notion that large unit groups can function in the rear of the enemy for long periods of time if they were self-sufficient and well trained. He eschewed the entire idea of "special forces" as they are often called nowadays. In the end I do not think that he squared the circle large unit action and special forces --- he wanted both and got really neither. His tactics worked rather well against the Italians (but that was no surprise he realised), but they were problematic against the Japanese. The first operation, "Long Cloth" was an unmitigated disaster, with enough adventures from its many participants to fill an entire library (they still make some of the most heart thumping reads available). The entire operation broke down and became in some cases, every man for himself. Wingate himself giving the order.

His second operation was more problematic. No doubt these operations had significant effect on the enemy and no doubt were very helpful in the taking of Myikyena and Mogang, but I really think that 14th Army would have rolled up the Japanese flank nicely anyway, as they did and win the Battle of Burma with overwhelming firepower and troops as well unmitigated air superiority.

In the end the Japanese in Burma were beaten by traditional large unit engagements.

That is not a defeat of the ideas of Orde Wingate, nor do they negate the incredible bravery of the men who served with him. What it does DO however is to put to rest the idea that Orde Wingate was a purveyor of "Truth" -- his ideas were worthy, but they were not the be-all end-all of jungle combat. His developments were prodigeous and his personal bravery never in doubt. But I think that, like Moses, he got involved too much in fanatical devotion to one idea and was willing to sacrifice a lot for an idea. In the case of Moses, his people --- in the case of Wingate, it was often his own troops.

This books admirably chronicles the multifacted nature of Wingate. It is factual and comes across as neutral as possible, often citing critical sources and those men (also of incredible courage) that did not fall under his spell.

The narrative is tight and WELL EDITED. Unlike your regular 1000 page biography Smith and Beirman are able to deal with the subject adequately in 400 pages with nothing substantive missing. Also there is just enough detail of almost all of his life. The final 150 pages deals with the Burma campaign the authors are very skillful in their use of detail. They include all of the crucial elements necessary of his many campaigns.

I found the book to be a very admirable read. I think that it only deepened the questions I have about Wingate --- was he a daring experimenter or a madman? --- I think that one can add, bitterly-troubled person to the heap of other appelations surrounding this man.

I still ask myself, if this man were my commander would I succumb and become a convert? Would I stand aloof and protest that something is terribly wrong? I do not know, and cannot judge because I was not born at the time these events transpired. I was not a part of this great crusade, the glory they gained or the horrors they endured.

5-0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary story of a unique person
This is actually three wonderful stories in one. Beginning with a short introduction of the 'early years' the book quickly opens with Wingate in 1936 Palestine/Zion where is quickly discovers the passion that he will keep for the rest of his life, namely Zionism. Wingate, witnessing the anti-Semitic nature of the British officer corps, gravitates towards the Zionists due to his penchant for sticking out and backing underdog causes. This book tells the riveting story of Wingate's training and arming of the famous 'night squads' which became the backbone of the Palmach who eventually led Israel to victory in the 1948 war.

The second story is the story of Wingate in Africa. Exiled to Africa because of his deep connections to the Zionists Wingate once again latches onto a new cause, the 1941 liberation of Ethiopia, which had been the last free African state before the Italians invaded it.

The third story is where Wingate once again shined, namely in Burma leading the Chindits who operated behind enemy lines fighting the Japanese. Once again Wingate's penchant for native causes and brilliant ability to adapt unorthodox fighting techniques helped prepare the way for British victory. Churchill called Wingate a genius and when you read this book you will wholeheartedly agree, this is truly the story of the man who was the 'fire in the night' when the world was becoming dark with fascism.

Seth J. Frantzman

5-0 out of 5 stars One good read begets two
Some time ago, I read QUARTERED SAFE OUT HERE, the wartime memoirs of George MacDonald Fraser concerning the time he spent in the Other Ranks of the British imperial army that recaptured Burma from the Japanese in World War II. In his book, Fraser mentions the high regard the troops had for the army commander, William Slim. I subsequently read DEFEAT INTO VICTORY by Field-Marshal Viscount Slim, a personal account by the man who commanded the Fourteenth Indian Army during its bitter retreat from, and its glorious return march through, Burma. In his volume, Slim mentions the unorthodox British general Orde Wingate's contributions to the Japanese defeat in Southeast Asia. Thus, FIRE IN THE NIGHT, Wingate's biography.

Co-authored by John Bierman and Colin Smith, FIRE IN THE NIGHT is the immensely readable life story of an incredibly complex man. In a nutshell, after several brief chapters on Wingate's early life, the narrative sequentially covers his postings in Palestine, Ethiopia and, finally, India/Burma, during which time (1936-1944) he rose in rank from Lieutenant to Major General. In the British Mandate of Palestine, Orde became an ardent Zionist while fighting Arab "gangs" with Special Night Squads, the armed detachments of British regulars and Jews which he himself brought into being. In Ethiopia, his was a key role in the British victorious military effort to drive the Italians from the country and return Haile Selassie to the thrown. In India, Wingate's ultimate triumph before an untimely death was to conceive, form, train and deploy the Third Indian Division, the "Chindits", as a Special Force to insert behind Japanese lines in Northern Burma to destroy the enemy's means of communication and supply.

To my mind, the strength of this book is that it gives the reader an excellent overview of Wingate the man and soldier without getting bogged down in an overabundance of detail. Certainly, the subject of Wingate's character, obsessions and eccentricities could fill volumes. He was admired and loved by the men he literally led into battle. (He drove them hard, but he drove himself even harder.) Conversely, he was loathed by many of his officer peers and superiors for his arrogance, outspokenness, rudeness and personal slovenliness. (He was on record as calling some of his more Blimpish superiors "military apes".) But, he also had his admirers in high places, most notably Winston Churchill and Lord Louis Mountbatten, the Supreme Commander of all allied forces in Southeast Asia.

Perhaps the most endearing of Wingate's traits were his eccentricities. For example, he carried a wind-up alarm clock on his person because he considered watches unreliable. And then there was his attitude to personal nudity best illustrated by an incident during the wide press acclaim following his first Chindit campaign. An Australian correspondent invited to the general's hotel room in Delhi wrote:

"I found him sitting naked on his bed, eyes buried deep in a book. He hardly glanced up as I entered and rather gruffly asked what I wanted. ... He wasn't interested in me or my requirements, but seemed most excited about the book he was reading ... a critical commentary of Emily Bronte and her work."

Can you imagine those media hogs of the Second World War - Patton, Montgomery and MacArthur - doing that?

5-0 out of 5 stars Balanced and entertaining...
This is a lucid, penetrating, balanced and entertaining analysis of one of the 2nd World War's underestimated and controversial personality---a latter day T.E. Lawrence without the romantic riddle and enigma. The authors skillfully grabs the reader's attention from the start, eliminating extraneous details.(e.g., initial statement: "Orde Charles Wingate entered the world as he left it, amid a flurry of urgent telegrams.")

The book makes one wonder what the outcome would have been if he was given far more timely attention for his, at that time, unconventional theories of long range penetration and supply. On the other hand, it makes one wonder if he would have amounted much in today's athmosphere of the 'politically correct society' with his "amazing success in his getting himself disliked by people who are only too ready to be on his side", with his abrasive way of getting things done. It may well be a classic example of the adage that 'genius is never appreciated in one's time.' But many exalted figures in history considered him a military genius--the authors made it plain and clear there were many detractors too, from the ordinary soldier to Field Marshall Slim's unjust inferences in his post war memoirs.

My only complaint: the maps in the book--one gets the impression they were done in a hurry; the places mentioned which are crucial to the events described cannot be found, and I found myself having to use different atlases.

In retelling this story, the authors proved once more the truth in the saying that two heads working together are better than one.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great!
Bierman and Smith have done a fine job of portraying Wingate. And, what a great read!

Wingate has finally been given his due in this book. His true worth as an Army officer is finally exposed: As great as Lawrence but lacking the literary gifts.

A must-read for the professional Army or Marine Corps officer! ... Read more

163. Julian Robertson : A Tiger in the Land of Bulls and Bears
by Daniel A.Strachman
list price: $29.95
our price: $19.77
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Asin: 0471323632
Catlog: Book (2004-08-20)
Publisher: Wiley
Sales Rank: 9716
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Book Description

PRAISE FOR Julian Robertson

"Julian Robertson may be the most important person to ever manage money. Daniel Strachman has captured Robertson’s impact on the money management industry in this excellent and insightful book. It is an essential read for anyone interested in the way money is truly managed."
–Michael Cacace Fortune magazine

"Daniel Strachman has written an important book about one of the most fascinating people to run a hedge fund. The book reveals how Julian Robertson built the Tiger organization from a single fund with $8 million in assets under management to a fund complex with more than $20 billion in assets under management. Throughout its pages, the book gives readers real insight into this unique man and his business and how the hedge fund industry has evolved over the last fifty years."
–Jack Gaine, President Managed Funds Association

"This is a portrait of one of America’s most diligent and successful money managers–one who had the foresight and courage to walk away when the investment marketplace began to go crazy. Read it. "
–Christopher L. Davis
Executive Director, The Money Management Institute ... Read more

164. Edward R. Murrow and the Birth of Broadcast Journalism (Turning Points in History)
by BobEdwards
list price: $19.95
our price: $13.57
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Asin: 0471477532
Catlog: Book (2004-04-09)
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Sales Rank: 5353
Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

“Get it, read it, and pass it on.”—Bill Moyers

“Most Americans living today never heard Ed Murrow in a live broadcast. This book is for them I want them to know that broadcast journalism was established by someone with the highest standards. Tabloid crime stories, so much a part of the lust for ratings by today’s news broadcasters, held no interest for Murrow. He did like Hollywood celebrities, but interviewed them for his entertainment programs; they had no place on his news programs. My book is focused on this life in journalism. I offer it in the hope that more people in and out of the news business will get to know Ed Murrow. Perhaps in time the descent from Murrow’s principles can be reversed.”—Bob Edwards

... Read more

Reviews (10)

4-0 out of 5 stars Pretty good, considering the format
Bob Edwards' biography of Edward R. Murrow is by no means comprehensive, but considering the restricted format of the Turning Points in History series, Edwards did a very good job hitting the high points of the life of the man responsible for establishing radio and TV news.

Edwards recounts all the notable moments--sprinkled liberally with quotes from Murrow's broadcasts and speeches--of Murrow's career, including his coverage of the development of WWII in Europe and the Blitz of London, and in later years, his crusade against Senator Joe McCarthy's red-baiting efforts for rooting out Communists. The book is very interesting and well-written, and includes bits of information about all the men (and women) whose careers Murrow shaped. Edwards' respect for Murrow is evident throughout the book; he gushes at times, though is not afraid to point out the times when Murrow may have erred in judgment.

Considering that one probably couldn't write a complete biography of a regular person in 160 pages, let alone the man responsible for the development of modern broadcast news, Edwards performed admirably in this effort. He covers all the high points of Murrow's career, and more importantly, explains why Murrow was so important, and shows the influence he still has on modern media.

5-0 out of 5 stars Worth reading
I probably wouldn't have read this book if it hadn't been written by Bob Edwards. (I have a three foot pile of unread books. It used to be four feet, but I slowed my buying rate until I get caught up.)
Not reading it would have been a mistake.
This is a very readable, well written book. (I was actually through with the first chapter by the time it was my turn to get my book signed.) All of book in this series (Turning Point) are short and intended to be quick reads. Even though it is short, the book gives a good picture of the key events that shaped broadcast journalism today. It's surprising how many of the key people in television news well into the 1980's (and to a lesser extent, even to today) got their start with Ed Murrow.
For me, this book fills in the background to the TV news of my earliest memories. It explains how broadcast journalism got from the days of live radio relayed by short wave to the era of instant satellite transmissions around the world.
This book is definitely worth reading.

5-0 out of 5 stars Good story from a time long past.
I remember Edward R. Murrow for two reasons: the reports from London during the blitz (which I only remember from more recent re-broadcasts as I was too little), and the 1953 broadcast that finally started the collapse of Senator Joseph McCarthy and one of the more shameful eras in our time which I saw live.

Making the change from radio to television, Murrow was one of the pioneers that attempted to develop the full potential of television to shape our lives. Remember this was an era before Sesame Street tought us that a few seconds of attention span is all that's needed, before politicans learned that the few second sound bite was all that's going to get on the air.

This was a time when the news was considered important instead of just another aspect of the ratings game.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Birth of Broadcast Journalism
Edward R. Murrow is to broadcasting news just as Red Barber is to broadcasting baseball. The book is at once a brief history of a new and quicker way of delivering news to people during a critical time in the world's history in addition to profiles of other Murrow Boys such as Howard K. Smith, Richard C. Hottelet, William Shirer, Eric Sevareid, Charles Collingwood, and other members who reported on World War II. Murrow's vivid descriptions of The Battle of Britian during August and September of 1940, and the Buchenwald death camp in 1945 showcase him for what he is, a reporter. Murrow and Bill Shirer had a falling out which Murrow later wanted to patch up, but Shirer would change the subject. Shirer felt Murrow was jealous that his book The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich outsold Murrow's This Is London, while Murrow felt Shirer had grown complacent in his broadcasts. CBS boss William Paley released Shirer from employment. It's sad that two Giants who reported on World War II had this unfortunate falling out. The book is only 166 pages long, and is certainly worth your time.

5-0 out of 5 stars Superb Murrow Biography Has Message for Journalism's Future
Bob Edwards' biography of Edward R Murrow is more than the interesting and well-written story of the life of this intriguing man. It is also a thoughtful look at the process by which broadcast news grew from empty entertainment to a window on the world's events that previous generations could never have imagined. In only 160 pages, we get a remarkably full view of what Murrow wanted to accomplish, the struggles he faced in trying to get there, and some of the disappointment Murrow faced at the end of his career, as the excellence and intellectual honesty he had brought to his broadcasts began to be eroded by corporate bureaucrats with lower intellectual standards and an eye only for the bottom line.

On the back of the book jacket, Edwards refers to Murrow as "someone with the highest standards. Tabloid crime stories, so much a part of the lust for ratings by today's news broadcasters, held no interest for Murrow ... I offer [this book] in the hope that more people in and out of the news business will get to know Ed Murrow. Perhaps in time the descent from Murrow's principles can be reversed."

There is real irony in those words, for, no sooner had this book been published, then the corporate bureaucrats at National Public Radio summarily fired Edwards as anchor of their flagship news show, "Morning Edition," which he had built over 25 years into the most-listened-to news show in radio broadcast history. The lame explanations about "natural evolution" of the show made no sense to most listeners, and "Morning Edition," which Edwards nurtured for a quarter century, is vastly less interesting without him. It hasn't descended to tabloid crime stories yet, but there are far more silly, feel-good puff pieces, and less rigorous news coverage and analysis than when Edwards sat in the anchor chair.

Ed Murrow's departure from CBS left Walter Cronkite as the nation's pre-eminent broadcast journalist, and Cronkite was a giant. But, with a few exceptions, broadcast journalism has suffered in the twenty years since Cronkite's retirement. Now, with Tom Brokaw's impending retirement from NBC, and Bob Edwards' departure from NPR's Morning Edition, we the audience may be in for more and more empty "infotainment," and less and less news coverage that lives up to Ed Murrow's high standards. The light that Bob Edwards' little gem of a book has shined on Ed Murrow's life will at least help us to understand what we're losing, and just might help kindle a demand for a return to the kind of journalism that can nurture and sustain our democracy instead of titillating, or simply pandering to the lowest common denominator.

Bill Moyers is quoted as saying of this book, "Get it, read it, and pass it on." I heartily agree. ... Read more

165. God Owns My Business
by Stanley Tam
list price: $10.99
our price: $10.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0889650705
Catlog: Book (1991-06-01)
Publisher: Horizon Books Publishers
Sales Rank: 329014
Average Customer Review: 4.62 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars Life changing book...
This book was given as a gift to me when I visited a small business for a market analysis project. It was the first time someone had presented the idea that a person can have a successful career not at the expense of pleasing God. While few would be called to Tam's same ministry, many people can be changed by the message in this book.

4-0 out of 5 stars Anything but a lunatic
I feel sorry for the first reviewer. I will admit that I have not read the book, (I had to give stars to write this) but I have met Mr. Tam and heard him speak. I was inspired by him and I wish I had his courage. He is not a lunatic. He has proven that a person can be a Christian and be successful in business. His speech was riveting and I would expect the same from the book.

3-0 out of 5 stars Worth a laugh
Stanley Tam used to (and maybe still does) give copies of this book away through his company (we used to order a lot of stuff from his, or should I say God's, company, U.S. Plastic Co.). The book is a lot of fun - basically the ramblings of a lunatic. When he would give these away for free it was always a lot fo fun to have free copies sent to friends. Check to see if you can still get a free copy before buying one.

5-0 out of 5 stars Business and Church leaders take notice¿
This book challenges business leaders, as well as local church leaders to truly place God first. Too often, as business and ministry leaders, we tend to focus on our own personal agendas. This book shares the heart of a man who sincerely desires to place God first in every arena of his life. Mr. Tam's life is not broken into such divisions as business, personal and religious. His life illustrates a true integration of every aspect of being coming together under the Lordship of Christ. This book should be read by anyone who desires to live out the will of God in their life.

5-0 out of 5 stars To the Christian businessman or woman...
I would recommend this book highly to those who are business owners and Christians. Mr. Tam sets forth a good example of one called, and if one heeds that call, what they can do as a servant of Christ, and as a businessman or woman. He deals with those issues common to business owners, faith, inspiration from God, stewardship to name a few. I am finishing reading a book on Anthony Rossi, and to this point, I would recommend this book over Rossi's life. Both served God, but I believe this would be more of an inspiration, and you would gather more wisdom from it. Personal opinion.... ... Read more

166. Cad: Confessions of a Toxic Bachelor
by Rick Marin
list price: $23.95
our price: $23.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0786868821
Catlog: Book (2003-02-14)
Publisher: Hyperion
Sales Rank: 323414
Average Customer Review: 3.63 out of 5 stars
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In the mildly entertaining memoir Cad: Confessions of a Toxic Bachelor, former New York Times reporter and pop-culture critic Rick Marin chronicles the years of marathon dating and shallow living that followed in the wake of his failed "starter marriage." Marin moves through a series of urbane exploits and short-lived affairs, perfecting his trademark move of whipping off his horn-rims midconversation in a "myopic gaze," holding court with his wingman Tad over the hot buffet at Billy's Topless, and regurgitating wisdom gleaned from The Godfather. Like the similarly self-indulgent How to Lose Friends & Alienate People, Cad has its memorablemoments--Marin comparing his wedding video to the Zapruder film and hitting on actress Moira Kelly when she was still an ingénue living with her mom on Long Island--but the book's swinging, ring-a-ding-ding Rat Pack attitude feels noticeably forced and uninspired, leaving a flat aftertaste to the whole affair. --Brad Thomas Parsons ... Read more

Reviews (41)

3-0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, but not 'literature'
Coming out of an early marriage to a somewhat lost young woman, Rick Marin decides to embrace a "love 'em and leave 'em" single life. Readers who enjoy "Bridget Jones" type books or Cosmopolitan magazine will enjoy this male perspective on the NYC dating scene.

For much of the book, the writer works freelance, including writing articles for fashion and beauty magazines such as Allure and Mademoiselle. Although his work may address things naive women can do when 'he' doesn't call, the writer is more cavalier in his own life--he doesn't call because he never had any intention of calling you and doesn't care. Many of the female characters in the book are self involved, insecure, or just flighty, offering some amusement in the cavalier treatment they receive from the cad. The vulnerability of some of these women sheds some unflattering light on the writer at times.

Consistent with other stories of this genre, the writer grows into an adult during the course of the book. Treatment of a family tragedy is conveyed well and with empathy, without being overly sentimental. However, the final pieces where the writer finds true love aren't consistent with the rest of the novel and feel like they don't quite fit.

Overall, a novel with some literary pretensions that manages to entertain most of the time.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Jolly Ride.
First off, the title for the book is potentially misleading. Mr. Marin is not a cad as he is neither unprincipled nor ungentlemanly throughout the majority of his interactions. At one point a woman he works with wants to set him up on a blind date and he says "I have a girlfriend. I can't take her number." This is not the response of a cad. In the eyes of this reviewer, it appears that Mr. Marin is well within the range of average behavior for a man or woman in America throughout the 284 pages in which he describes himself. He is not a saint or a demon. At one point he even recites the motto of all anti-cads by saying that "sex is not enough."
Marin's is a story with great universality. His work will resonate with many unmarried straight people and there is much truth in it. His observation that "I'd spent so much time 'pouring my heart and soul into being insincere,' I'd forgotten how to act with a girl I actually liked" is an unhappy predicament that affects countless single adults. Re-igniting lost idealism and optimism is a highly daunting task and a foremost reason as to why finding love later in life is such a struggle. Those of us in our thirties all have emotional baggage and it invariably means that sometimes one has been brutalized in the past and can now be brutalizing in the future. This is true regardless of one's sex as we inflict pain but also have it inflicted upon us. Mr. Marin is far from an exception to this rule.
Much of Marin's status seeking in the memoir can be attributed to the old Orson Welles quote about men making civilization to impress their girlfriends but the narrator amends the saying it by changing it "to get girlfriends." He spends tremendous mental capital in the pursuit of making his career as a journalist a success but often finds that he needs monthly subsidies from his parents just to get by. Work is as chancy a venture as love is for Mr. Marin. It seems that his internal makeup and character are nearly insurmountable obstacles to Marin getting what he wants and needs out of life as he lacks the quality of 'decisiveness', which is one of the worlds greatest virtues, and his indecisiveness in all things sabotages his numerous opportunities.
What drives the action in Cad... is the author's attempt to recover and stabilize his life after the debacle of his divorce. This traumatizing event is key to any understanding of our aging anti-hero. In his three year marriage, Marin was flayed and flambéed by his ex-wife severely. By any configuration, his was an awful marriage. His narration humorously documented: "...even our goldfish were committing suicide. I found them on the floor halfway between the door and the window. Making a break for it, maybe. I didn't blame them." Marin had met a girl who cuckolded him and he ignored every portend of their relationship's doom ("after we were married, she was still introducing me as her 'friend'").
This book is a jolly good ride and, therefore, easy to recommend. Unlike other tell-alls, Marin never takes himself too seriously and shows that he can laugh at himself. One of my favorites lines is illustrative: "She called me an 'opportunist,' because I went to publicity events for the free booze. I'm a journalist!' I protested." Cad is a major surprise as the misandry embossed onto the back cover gave this reviewer a bad case of the heebie-jeebies, but, in the end, it is a far more valid description of the single life today than what one finds in practically every other memoir or publication.

3-0 out of 5 stars Lighthearted and fun
There's nothing profound or meaningful about this book, but it sure is a good read. All guys will surely nod their heads in sympathy as they read each episode in this guy's landmine-filled love life. And I think most women would find it insightful, in a lighthearted sort of way. Rick Marin really does get right to the heart of what it means to be a single guy - not that we are all that complicated, mind you, so I'm not saying his achievement is worthy of any kind of prize, be it literary or sociological. But this book could have easily been written badly by a lesser author or lesser human being. Marin, I think, demonstrates quality in both categories.

1-0 out of 5 stars Male answer to Sex and the City?
This might be Rick Marin's male answer to "Sex and the City." I think what Marin is trying to do with this book is show that men can be the flighty, fickle, and fake ones in the world. It's not an impressive read.

The book explores his exploits among New York's women from the point of view of a (supposedly) attractive Latin-Canadian. Marin's "Reference Train" is dated and out-of-touch. He discounts women because they have "bad shoes," or faces like the Easter Island statues, and when he likes a woman, it's because she has "good shoes" and doesn't take crap from him. Sex is a card he plays when he wants to.

Overall, unimpressive, not worth the money. If you must read it, try the library's copy.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Great One Night Stand
RICK MARIN's "CAD" is pointless and meandering...and that's why it is entertaining. You probably won't reread it when you're done but you'll have fun reading it the first time. The only thing really holding it back is that a) the hip attitude seems forced as if Marin does not believe himself to be as cool as he wishes us to believe, and b) he doesn't seem to have an underlying modesty to take his actions with a grain of salt. We're laughing at him, not with him. In Rikki Lee Travolta's "MY FRACTURED LIFE" he covered all the same areas of womanizing and being a "cad" but never took himself too seriously. His is a book I continue to reread, like a regular fling. "CAD" though was like a one night, good for the moment. ... Read more

167. The Map That Changed the World : William Smith and the Birth of Modern Geology
by Simon Winchester
list price: $13.95
our price: $10.46
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Asin: 0060931809
Catlog: Book (2002-08-01)
Publisher: Perennial
Sales Rank: 3241
Average Customer Review: 3.58 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In 1793, a canal digger named William Smith made a startling discovery. He found that by tracing the placement of fossils, which he uncovered in his excavations, one could follow layers of rocks as they dipped and rose and fell -- clear across England and, indeed, clear across the world -- making it possible, for the first time ever, to draw a chart of the hidden underside of the earth. Determined to expose what he realized was the landscape's secret fourth dimension, Smith spent twenty-two years piecing together the fragments of this unseen universe to create an epochal and remarkably beautiful hand-painted map. But instead of receiving accolades and honors, he ended up in debtors' prison, the victim of plagiarism, and virtually homeless for ten years more. Finally, in 1831, this quiet genius -- now known as the father of modern geology -- received the Geological Society of London's highest award and King William IV offered him a lifetime pension.

The Map That Changed the World is a very human tale of endurance and achievement, of one man's dedication in the face of ruin. With a keen eye and thoughtful detail, Simon Winchester unfolds the poignant sacrifice behind this world-changing discovery.

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Reviews (76)

3-0 out of 5 stars A review of the book about the map that changed the world
Simon Winchester, the author of the deservedly best-selling *The Professor and the Madman*, writes in *The Map that Changed the World* about William Smith, who was dubbed in 1831--a bit belatedly--The Father of English Geology by the then president of the Geological Society of London. Smith's great work was an enormous--some 8 x 6 feet--geological map of England, the data for which Smith had spent a considerable part of his lifetime collecting single-handedly. The map, which delineates in splendid color the various strata of rock that underlie England, was the first of its kind. Smith himself was a maverick intellect for his understanding of both the implications of the strata for the history of the Earth and the importance to the rocks' identification of the fossils that could be collected from them.

Smith also had an interesting personal history in that his great efforts for science were so unremunerative that he landed for some eleven weeks at the age of fifty in one of London's great debtors' prisons. Winchester makes much of this great irony in his book, that a monumental figure should be so ill-treated and so long unrespected during his lifetime.

For all Smith's merits as a subject, however, Winchester's narrative is a bit of a slog. His emphasis is very often on the science of geology rather than the personality of Smith. This is reasonable enough given the subject matter of the book, but I, at least, frequently found the author's discussion difficult to follow. Winchester may, as a one-time student of geology at Oxford, have had too high an opinion of his layman readers' capacities. (Or I, of course, may not have been the proper audience for the book.) For those who are not geologically inclined, there may be more discussion of strata, however, than is palatable: "Below the 300 feet of chalk, Smith declaimed before the others, were first 70 feet of sand. Then 30 feet of clay. Then 30 more feet of clay and stone. And 15 feet of clay. Then 10 feet of the first of named rocks, forest marble. And 60 feet of freestone." And so on.

Winchester's narrative does become more interesting toward the book's end, when Smith has, finally, published his map and he is imprisoned for debt--the great dramatic moment toward which the book has been leading. But Smith's stay in the King's Bench Prison is itself anticlimactic, because while Winchester alludes to its "horrors" earlier on, he finally describes debtors' prison as a sort of country club, where the indebted middle-class pass their time playing cards or bowling and drinking beer. Trying and embittering it may have been to be locked away while his possessions were riffled through and sold off, but it was evidently not horrific.

Winchester's writing is at its most charming--and he does write charmingly--in the most personal section of the book, when he tells the story of his discovery at the age of six of an ammonite fossil. He and his fellow convent boys were led by the sisters of the Blessed Order of the Visitation on a miles-long walk to the sea, an expedition they undertook once a week. Winchester's account of the boys' riotous plunge into the sea shows just how nicely he can turn a phrase:

"Up here there always seemed to be a cool onshore breeze blowing up and over the summit. It was tangy with salt and seaweed, and the way it cooled the perspiration was so blessed a feeling that we would race downhill into it with wing-wide arms, and it would muss our hair and tear at our uniform caps, and we would fly down toward the beach and to the surging Channel waves that chewed back and forth across the pebbles and the sand.

"I seem to remember that by this point in the weekly expedition the dozen or so of us--all called by numbers, since the convent's peculiar regime forbade the use of names; I was simply 46--were well beyond caring what the nuns might think: The ocean was by now far too magnetic a temptation. Once in a while we might glance back at them as they stood, black and hooded like carrion crows, fingering their rosaries and muttering prayers or imprecations--but if they disapproved of us tearing off our gray uniforms and plunging headlong into the surf, so what? This was summer, here was the sea, and we were schoolboys--a combination of forces that even these storm troopers of the Blessed Visitation could not overwhelm."

Perhaps Winchester will one day expand on this passage with further autobiographical fare.

4-0 out of 5 stars Geologist's Dream - Readers Beware
"The Map That Changed the World: William Smith and the Birth of Modern Geology," by Simon Winchester, proved to be a bit of a disappointment. It's a wonderful book, and I'm sure for those who make their life in geology it's an excellent read, but for me it was a let down.

The problem may be that Winchester is too good a writer, or too accurate a biographer, to put down any details of which he's not 100% certain. Add to that the fact that the source materials focus on William Smith's professional work almost to the exclusion of any personal detail, and you have what should be a compelling personal journey that winds up reading more like a geology text in too many chapters.

Smith's place in history was assured by his 1815 publication of a map of England showing the geological strata and graphically demonstrating his theories that one could tell the age of the rocks from examining the fossils found within. This was radical stuff in 1815, and the work that led to this map took Smith some 30 years. Along the way he picked up a wife, who was possibly crazy, and adopted a nephew, who became his assistant, had business and financial troubles, which led to his being held in debtor's prison, and had a long running class-based feud with England's scientific establishment, which led to his works not being properly recognized for many years after their publication.

Unfortunately, only the last aspect of Smith's life is covered in any detail because that's all he wrote about in his own journal, or is covered in other source material. About the wife we're told that she was a burden to him, often sick, probably crazy, and possibly even a nymphomaniac. We're told all that, but we're never given examples, or are told how Smith felt about her. Did he love her anyway? Did they ever try to have children of their own? Did she embarrass him publicly? We don't know. About the nephew we're told that Smith took over his care when his sister and brother-in-law died, and that he became his assistant, but we're told nothing of their personal relationship. Was their's a close, familial relationship, or only one of master or mentor to apprentice? We don't know. And such is the frustration with the book (mine, at least).

What's left is endless descriptions of the various layers of the earth's crust, and how Smith could tell if an outcropping belonged to the Jurassic or Cretaceous periods.

I picked up this book because I loved Winchester's previous "The Professor and the Madman" so much. That's a book that's rich in personal detail, and is as important and fascinating in the descriptions of the lives of the subjects as it is in the descriptions of their professional works. "The Map that Changed the World" is likely stunning for students of geology, but may bore beyond belief the reader who doesn't care or know about item one of earth science.

So - In the end, I suppose a mixed review. If you get this joke (and think it's funny): "Subduction leads to orogeny" - or, if you have a bumper sticker that says "Stop Plate Tectonics" - Then this is a five star book that you will love every page of. If you don't even care to look up any of those words, then this is a three star book you should avoid. Which averages out to four stars: An occasionally fascinating and well-written book that is often dry and disappointing.

2-0 out of 5 stars Deadly dull
I'm sorry, but not even Simon Winchester's earnest enthusiasm and lyrical prose can save this tale. It's just too dull. I got through about halfway, and couldn't finish.

Winchester is a glorious writer in his twin histories of the Oxford English Dictionary. But here his subject is just too obscure and trivial, and try as he might, Winchester can't make it seem interesting.

2-0 out of 5 stars Fairly interesting story swamped by dreadful writing
It's a matter of taste, but I'm mystified by people who find Winchester's writing "charming." The author's cardinal rule seems to be: "When in doubt, slather on another thick coat of adjectives, adverbs, and clichés." This kind of prose is too politely described as turgid, florid, and repetitive.
I wouldn't normally review a book after reading 1/4 of it, but I feel about this one the way I do after watching 20 minutes of a movie, and the direction, acting, and story are already tired and weak. It's usually a waste of time to stick it out on the off chance of an improvement.
Given that, I can't comment on whether the underlying story will come close to living up to its grandiose title, but I can say that I have a hard time trusting an author on the big picture once I've seen him get the details wrong in areas that I am intimately familiar with (e.g. coal mining in this case).
As several other readers suggested, John McPhee is an incomparably better writer and researcher, on geology or any other topic he cares to tackle.

1-0 out of 5 stars pass on this title
I had many hours of flying ahead of me and this was the wrong book to have taken. The fact that it was the only book I had gave me great incentive to like it. I didn't. I left it on the plane for someone more desperate than myself. ... Read more

168. At Hell's Gate : A Soldier's Journey
list price: $19.95
our price: $13.57
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 159030134X
Catlog: Book (2004-09-14)
Publisher: Shambhala
Sales Rank: 18406
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by Ernest K. Gann
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0671636030
Catlog: Book (1986-07-02)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Sales Rank: 9528
Average Customer Review: 4.96 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

"This book is an episodic log of some of the more memorable of the author's nearly ten thousand hours aloft in peace and (as a member of the Air Transport Command) in war. It is also an attempt to define by example his belief in the phenomenon of luck--that 'the pattern of anyone's fate is only partly contrived by the individual.'" (The New Yorker)

"This fascinating, well-told autobiography is a complete refutation of the comfortable cliche that 'man is master of his fate.' As far as pilots are concerned, fate (or death) is a hunter who is constantly in pursuit of them...there is nothing depressing about FATE IS THE HUNTER. There is tension and suspense in it but there is great humor too. Happily, Gann never gets too technical for the layman to understand." (Saturday Review) ... Read more

Reviews (69)

5-0 out of 5 stars The most exciting and inspiring book I have ever read.
I have read and re-read "Fate is the Hunter" so many times that the pages are loose and falling out. You are not just reading the best aviation book of all time, you are in the cockpit behind the master himself, as he savors the illicit thrill of a zero-zero takeoff from a fog bound Presque Isle airport in a C-47 during the war, taking a load of steel girders to Goose Bay. Just after takeoff, the girders break loose and slide to the rear of the aircraft, which starts a climb so steep that the plane is shuddering in a stall. As Gann and his co-pilot are pushing the control column forward as hard as they can with their feet a crewmember is trying to move the girders back up the near vertical floor.

Gann's writing so inspired me that I wanted to become an airline pilot, but my flying ability was just slightly better than Bixby, his inept co-pilot that almost collided with the Taj Mahal, another fascinating story later on in the book. I became a dispatcher instead, an occupation I truly loved, which was also inspired by Gann's interaction with the dispatchers of his line.

I wrote Ernest Gann at his home in Friday Harbor, Washington and tried to convey just how much I enjoyed "Fate is the Hunter" and what an impact it made on my life. I received short note from him. It was very gracious and humble, and is one of my greatest treasures.

I also highly recommend "Hostage to Fortune", a chronology of Gann's incredible life from a rebellious young man that could never follow his father into business and be chained to an office, through a lifetime of adventure, to his retirement on Red Mill Farm, on an island in the Pacific northwest.

5-0 out of 5 stars Easily the best book I've ever read!
First off, I am an aviation nut. I am a student pilot and aspiring ATP. For me, finding a good book let alone a good aviation book is nearly impossible. So many books are chocked full of technicalities that I either already know or don't care about. Finding a truly interesting aviation book is a rare treat. After about 2 pages of 'Fate is the Hunter' I was truly hooked. This book puts you right in the cockpit with Mr. Gann as you venture the world from the start of his flying career on the DC-2 to flying across the endless Pacific during WWII when airlines were called to help the war effort. Mr. Gann is truly a talented writer and in my opinion one of the best in Aviation right up with St Ex. If you are as engrossed in aviation as I am, this is one book you wont want to put down and will wish would never end.

5-0 out of 5 stars My Great-Grandfather Knew Him
I am finally reading this book, after so many people in my family, both flying and non-flying, have. This book is almost a mecca for us, because it mentions my great-grandfather, Thomas J. Reid, who died in 1952 when the instrument approach to Newark went down, and he ended up in an Elizabeth, NJ, apartment complex. I now appreciate the kind of conditions my grandfather must have flown in, and can only hope that he is looking down on my own beloved brother, who has himself chosen a career as an airline pilot. But as a reminder, almost all of us have the same picture, framed somewhere in our houses: a picture of T.J. Reid in his uniform.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Iliad and Odyssey of Aviation
Speaking from a background of 36 years as a pilot of small aircraft, tactical supersonic military aircraft, and Captain of a number of modern day airliners, including the Boeing-747, I regard "Fate is the Hunter" as an aviation classic that is not only a "must read" for every aspiring pilot, but a "must have" in his/her library, to be read over and over again, as I have. Gann's book provides a unique insight into the origins and challenges of the trial and error development of the procedures that have now become the rule in modern transport aircraft operations. For anyone who has an interest in the developmental history of aviation in America or, as in my case, anyone who wants to know more about the forces behind the phenomena of "when you pull back on the yoke the houses get smaller and when you push forward on the yoke, the houses get bigger," "Fate is the Hunter" is the place to start.

5-0 out of 5 stars Epic pilot stuff
I'm amazed that so many of my friends who are military and/or commercial pilots don't know of this book. This book should be every pilot's bible. Epic stories about flying mail in pre-war NE U.S., and then overseas during WWII.

Thumb's up all the way.. a must for aviators.

Mike Zinsley
author of The Rapture of the Deep ... Read more

170. When Hollywood Had a King : The Reign of Lew Wasserman, Who Leveraged Talent into Power and Influence
list price: $29.95
our price: $29.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375501681
Catlog: Book (2003-06-03)
Publisher: Random House
Sales Rank: 119626
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In When Hollywood Had a King, the distinguished journalist Connie Bruck tells the sweeping story of MCA and its brilliant leader, a man who transformed the entertainment industry— businessman, politician, tactician, and visionary Lew Wasserman.

The Music Corporation of America was founded in Chicago in 1924 by Dr. Jules Stein, an ophthalmologist with a gift for booking bands. Twelve years later, Stein moved his operations west to Beverly Hills and hired Lew Wasserman. From his meager beginnings as a movie-theater usher in Cleveland, Wasserman ultimately ascended to the post of president of MCA, and the company became the most powerful force in Hollywood, regarded with a mixture of fear and awe.

In his signature black suit and black knit tie, Was-serman took Hollywood by storm. He shifted the balance of power from the studios—which had seven-year contractual strangleholds on the stars—to the talent, who became profit partners. When an antitrust suit forced MCA’s evolution from talent agency to film- and television-production company, it was Wasserman who parlayed the control of a wide variety of entertainment and media products into a new type of Hollywood power base. There was only Washington left to conquer, and conquer it Wasserman did, quietly brokering alliances with Democratic and Republican administrations alike.

That Wasserman’s reach extended from the underworld to the White House only added to his mystique. Among his friends were Teamster boss Jimmy Hoffa, mob lawyer Sidney Korshak, and gangster Moe Dalitz—along with Presidents Johnson, Clinton, and especially Reagan, who enjoyed a particularly close and mutually beneficial relationship with Wasserman. He was equally intimate with Hollywood royalty, from Bette Davis and Jimmy Stewart to Steven Spielberg, who began his career at MCA and once described Wasserman’s eyeglasses as looking like two giant movie screens.

The history of MCA is really the history of a revolution. Lew Wasserman ushered in the Hollywood we know today. He is the link between the old-school moguls withtheir ironclad studio contracts and the new industry defined by multimedia conglomerates, power agents, multimillionaire actors, and profit sharing. In the hands of Connie Bruck, the story of Lew Wasserman’s rise to power takes on an almost Shakespearean scope. When Hollywood Had a King reveals the industry’s greatest untold story: how a stealthy, enterprising power broker became, for a time, Tinseltown’s absolute monarch.
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Reviews (6)

4-0 out of 5 stars When Hollywood was King!
When Hollywood was King and MCA ruled through aggressive, imaginative, creative, dirty, underhanded, political ways. This is not my favorite Hollywood book as I found "Showman, the life of David O. Selznick" by David Thomson and Peter Biskind's "easy Riders, Raging Bulls" far more entertaining. But Connie Bruck's book is more epic, covering as it does the business careers of Jules Stein and Lew Wassermann from the 1920s into the 21st Century in addition to telling the history of their company MCA and the industry they "ruled". Note I reference business careers because these individuals did not seem to have a personal life that did not revolve around business. There is not much surprising celebrity scandal that unfolds, except some strong hints that Ronald Reagan was a charming empty suit who received many sweetheart deals from the industry and he gave back in return. In some ways the Wasserman life story told here is one of the rise and fall, the young mans glory being used by younger students against him. And even though MCA associated with the mob and the mob with them Wasserman gave heavily to his industry and charity. A book for anyone interested in the history of Hollywood as a business in the 20th century.
An epic work that I highly recommend.

3-0 out of 5 stars A Respectful Look at Lew Wasserman
Cinema fans of a certain age will no doubt recall the grand films of the 1940s and 1950s with a wry thought of "They don't make them like that anymore." The current boffo box office consists of pyrotechnical sequels starring beefcake (and cheesecake) performers, not matinee idols like Peck, Hepburn, Bogart and Lancaster.

But in the old days . . .

Connie Bruck, a veteran writer for The New Yorker, has compiled this fulsome biography of Lew Wasserman, one of the most powerful movers and shakers of an era when movies were virtually the only form of popular entertainment. The power wielded by Wasserman and his contemporaries could mean the difference between professional (and sometimes personal) life and death. (Bruck often discusses the Hollywood "gang" in terms of organized crime. Indeed, there was a great deal of dubious dealings with labor unions, often considered under the concern of the gangster trade.)

Wasserman was the type of leader who drew a mixture of respect and fear. He was "an entertainment mogul without peer," according to one admirer. To another, "he had an aura. He was my god." And like many such men, "his explosive tirades were legend."

Most of the book concerns the wheelings and dealings of the industry. For such a potentially juicy subject, Bruck dishes very little dirt/gossip. Instead she seems more concerned with the financial aspects, which readers will either find fascinating or tedious. There is often too much background that detracts from the overall sense of entertainment a book like this would seem to merit. In fact, Wasserman isn't even mentioned until well into the first chapter. Even the title is a bit hard to get through.

Another concern is that the author can't quite decide the direction of her book. The depth of research indicates a scholarly tome, but the voice seems more "popular" in nature.

Taken as a whole, however, Bruck offers a respectful look at Wasserman and a homage to the system when, to paraphrase a popular expression of today's younger crowd, "Hollywood ruled."

--- Reviewed by Ron Kaplan

5-0 out of 5 stars A Larger Than Life Horatio Alger
When Lew Wasserman was growing up in his native Cleveland the Horatio Alger books were popular. They traced the rise of often penniless young men to the high pinnacles of economic and social power. I do not know if Wasserman read any of these stories in his boyhood, but he certainly ended up living them.

Beginning as a theater usher and later becoming a musician, Wasserman hooked up with Jules Styne and began booking musical acts. The dynamic duo recognized that the swing era of bands, which was their bailiwick, would have a limited life span. The Music Corporation of America then expanded into the world of motion pictures, retaining the name of an organization that sounds like and began as a company rooted in the movie field. One of Wasserman's clients in the late thirties was a young actor under contract to Warner Brothers by the name of Ronald Reagan. He would later be in a major position to assist Wasserman and MCA both as president of the Screen Actors Guild and beyond that as U.S. President. Reagan would always remain a bit miffed, however, that Wasserman, who developed solid relationships with presidents Lyndon Johnson and Bill Clinton, would retain his reputation as a loyal Democrat and hence supported Reagan's opponents. The firm was crafty, however, in keeping a foot in each camp, with Jules Styne and Taft Schreiber supporting Republicans assiduously. This factor helped when Reagan and Richard Nixon were in office.

Connie Bruck has provided an impressive body of research, including numerous interviews with the late Wasserman as well as those who worked with him and knew him well. Her industry pays off in the form of a fascinating study of a man who rose meteorically through the agent's ranks to become the supreme giant of the motion picture industry, the man others feared and envied, often at the same time.

5-0 out of 5 stars Masterful, gripping nonfiction
This fascinating book is not only a look at Lew Wasserman and the MCA Hollywood empire he created, but a stunning and incisively written piece of business history -- indeed, a look at U.S. commerce, politics, and entertainment in the modern era. Bruck has the great ability to write about complex business issues and deals in a lucid and readable way. This is a must-read book for those interested in business stories, in modern American politics (Johnson, Nixon, and Reagan play key roles in the book), in Hollywood history (the break of the studio system, the movie stars, the move into TV). Bruck's canvas is so wide, yet she manages to combine all these various elements in a dramatic and compelling narrative. It's a brilliant book.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Consequential Book
One would assume that the subject matter alone of a book with such a title as this one would condemn it to the same low-echelon level as your typical run-of-the-mill Peter Bart/ Border's Hollywood bookshelf fanfare; but what winds up being the most revolutionary aspect about "Hollywood" is the intelligence brought to a definitively intelligence-proof world. With such a powerful approach, Connie Bruck unlocks more doors than she would ever need, but does not simply stop at that. Her vicious appetite for the unadulturated truth tempers each of the six chapters in this book, cultivating a work of non-fiction as true to the multifaceted layers of its subject as Virginia Woolf is to human consciousness. As a result, Bruck's focused undertaking charts nothing less than the complete history of Hollywood as a simeultaneous force of awe and kitsch in American history.
Whether one considers Wasserman's odyssey relevant (which, in today's phenomenally globalizing era it most urgently is) needs not even be questioned; a book as scintillating as Bruck's clearly holds its own, regardless of its artistic content. ... Read more

171. Kingdom of Fear : Loathsome Secrets of a Star-Crossed Child in the Final Days of the American Century
by Hunter S. Thompson
list price: $15.00
our price: $10.20
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0684873249
Catlog: Book (2003-11-01)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Sales Rank: 23519
Average Customer Review: 3.83 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Brilliant, provocative, outrageous, and brazen, Hunter S. Thompson's infamous rule breaking -- in his journalism, in his life, and of the law -- changed the shape of American letters and the face of American icons. Kingdom of Fear traces the course of Thompson's life as a rebel -- from a smart-mouthed Kentucky kid flouting all authority to a convention-defying journalist who came to personify a wild fusion of fact, fiction, and mind-altering substances.

Call it the evolution of an outlaw. Here are the formative experiences that comprise Thompson's legendary trajectory alongside the weird and the ugly. Whether detailing his exploits as a foreign correspondent in Rio, his job as night manager of the notorious O'Farrell Theatre in San Francisco, his epic run for sheriff of Aspen on the Freak Power ticket, or the sensational legal maneuvering that led to his full acquittal in the famous 99 Days trial, Thompson is at the peak of his narrative powers in Kingdom of Fear. And this boisterous, blistering ride illuminates as never before the professional and ideological risk taking of a literary genius and transgressive icon. ... Read more

Reviews (40)

4-0 out of 5 stars Memoirs of a true outlaw
Unlike many reviewers of this book, this was my first experience reading one of Hunter S. Thompson's books. Having seen the bizarre and hilarious film, Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas, however, I had some idea of what to expect (I look forward to reading that book). So the fact that some of this material may have been in previous books did not bother me. On the other hand, not being familiar with the well known episodes of Thompson's life made the erratic and disjointed style of the book -he jumps from one time period to another without warning-- harder to follow than if I'd had some background. You simply cannot read an author like Thompson expecting a conventional style, and I appreciated his unique, if often drug-induced perspective. With Thompson, all of the usual barriers are meaningless, such as those that separate fact from fantasy, the humorous from the serious and even past from present. There is simply a barrage of words, emotions, perceptions and anecdotes, revealed in a seemingly random order.

Yet Kingdom Of Fear is not entirely without theme or structure. There is an underlying message, as the title suggests, that the nation is moving into a dark period that seriously jeopardizes our privacy and civil liberties. Thompson relates this post-Sept. 11, 2001 environment to episodes in his own life when authorities violated his rights. Unlike a book by the average political commentator or activist, however, Thompson makes his case with emotional verbal outbursts and poetic observations more than logical arguments. This is refreshing; Thompson's style is an anachronistic challenge to the overly regulated, homogenized and conforming culture that has been building, not only since 9/11, but over the last few decades.

5-0 out of 5 stars A view like no other!
HST is bitingly funny in his recounting of episodes fighting against the System. In "The Witness" a has been well known porn star tries her damndest to set Hunter up for a BIG fall on drug charges and sexual assault. Thompson embarasses and shames the District Attorney and LEO's of Pitkin County (here in Colorado where he lives in Aspen).Thompson is, as always, his own person. Describing his days in SF working as Night Manager for the Mitchell Brothers famous O'Farrell Theater - THE center of pornography in it's heyday. Long running legal battles with Diane Feinstein and the leading edge of Freedom of Expression involving Sex in America. Oh enough BS! Thompson loved hanging out with strippers and other free spirits!

This is Thompson's first book since the September 11 attacks. He (accurately, in my opinion) feels that life in America will never be the same. Our generation and todays children, will be in a state of war for our lifetimes. He speculates that, for the first time in recent American history, the next generation will be less well off than the current generation. And America will relearn the sacrifices of previous generations. Not necessarily a bad thing.

Kingdom of Fear is a series of funny, irreverent memoirs describing events in Hunter S Thompson's life. He admits that some embellishing took place. A bit of what he writes about takes place in Aspen with quite a bit of Colorado "references" and landmarks, and personalities. Which (as a long time resident) I found enjoyable. The Ducati blast through "ranch" traffic and close calls with the "sausage maker" are hilarious.
The book has quite a few photographs including the back cover of Hunter buck naked except his famous hat firing a shotgun.
To sum up: As HST's good friend Warren Zevon wrote: "lawyers, guns and money"

A fun read from a guy who has led an interesting life!

4-0 out of 5 stars Troubled thoughts and ruminations along the Proud Highway.
Hunter Thompson takes stock in his tumultuous life and assesses the current situation in America in a very aptly titled book. At its best, Kingdom of Fear evokes the glory days of Thompson. At its worst, it wallows in some rather pitiful encounters which may have been better left unsaid, such as his flirtation with an 8-year-old Xania.

Thompson launches into the current administration, as it inflicts its reign of terror on the civil liberties in this country. He recalls his bouts with the law, in particular a sordid case involving a former porn queen who takes him to court for allegedly abusing her at his home in Aspen. While he managed to survive these battles, he doesn't hold out much hope for the future because of the notorious Patriot Act.

But, his thoughts range far and wide, taking in his early years in Louisville and the proud highway to his remote home in Aspen, which he currently finds under seige from unscrupulous developers and former porn queens bent on ruining his mostly peaceful life. There is plenty of dark humor and pithy insights into the loathsome nature of the American dream. It is a very uneven book, but then that is what I have come to expect from Thompson, who hasn't been able to repeat his past great efforts such as Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72.

4-0 out of 5 stars I can't think of a title
What I really like about "Kingdom of fear" is that Thompson talks about events that happened or are happening during my lifetime, he doesn't do that with his other books, I was born in 87 so Thompson had started writing way before I was born and his other books are great (at least the ones I've read, I have not read them all yet) but I can't directly relate which prevents me from fully grasping Thompson's other works but this one I could. Hilarious reading, if you have that Thompson type of humor, Dr. Thompson is alive and well and this is proof

3-0 out of 5 stars hit and miss, but worth it
On one hand, it's true that this is not Hunter's crown jewel. On the other hand, this one is not to be dismissed. While there are parts of this that are certainly slower than others, it is clear that HST is still a lover of the language so that his prose never fails to entertain, even when the subject matter becomes occasionally less intriguing.

What makes this book indespensible (to me) is some of Thompson's anecdotes about his childhood. One revelation in particular, relating to a situation where the FBI tried to haul him away while he was in his early teens, explains things about his adulthood that make it seem only natural for Thompson to become the outlaw he is.

I've passed on Thompson's books over the last 10-12 years. Maybe he didn't seem to have the devil in him anymore. Having said that, though, there are a lot of quotable moments in this particular book. He's got some devil back and when he is on he is ON, and when he is funny he is DAMN FUNNY. This one is hit and miss, but let's face it, even welterweight Thompson is hard to top. ... Read more

172. War Letters : Extraordinary Correspondence from American Wars
by Andrew Carroll
list price: $17.00
our price: $11.56
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743410068
Catlog: Book (2002-05-01)
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Sales Rank: 49172
Average Customer Review: 4.85 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In 1998, Andrew Carroll founded the Legacy Project, with the goal of remembering Americans who have served their nation and preserving their letters for posterity. Since then, over 50,000 letters have poured in from around the country. Nearly two hundred of them comprise this amazing collection -- including never-before-published letters that appear in the new afterword.

Here are letters from the Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korea, the Cold War, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf war, Somalia, and Bosnia -- dramatic eyewitness accounts from the front lines, poignant expressions of love for family and country, insightful reflections on the nature of warfare. Amid the voices of common soldiers, marines, airmen, sailors, nurses, journalists, spies, and chaplains are letters by such legendary figures as Gen. William T. Sherman, Clara Barton, Theodore Roosevelt, Ernie Pyle, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, Julia Child, Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, and Gen. Benjamin O. Davis Sr.Collected in War Letters, they are an astonishing historical record, a powerful tribute to those who fought, and a celebration of the enduring power of letters. ... Read more

Reviews (27)

5-0 out of 5 stars Welcome to military live
Let me start this review by confessing that I am biased. One of my letters from Vietnam is included in the book. I therefore view the book differently from the average reader.

I also got an advance copy of the book a week before the official release date, and have been able to read it.

Andrew Carroll produced this book by reading through almost 50,000 letters and selected roughly 200 that best show what everyday life in the military - and in war - are like from the viewpoint of the average soldier, sailor, marine, and airman.

Andy was able to get these letters by persuading Dear Abby to publish an appeal in her column on Veteran's Day in 1998. The column urged readers to contribute these letters so that the sacrifices of the writers would not be forgotten. The result was a flood of 50,000 letters - some faded, some muddy, some blood-stained, and one pierced by a bullet. One letter was written on Hitler's personal stationary by an American sergeant who worked in Hitler's personal quarters in Germany just after WW II. What could be a better symbol of justice?

The letter writers' views are very different than the views you will get by reading the memoirs of a general or an admiral. When I was in the Army, there was a wonderful comment that explained life in the Infantry:

"The general gets the glory, The family gets the body, and We get another mission."

Your view of the military - and of war - changes depending on your position in this food chain.

Overcoming an enemy machine gun is an interesting technical problem when you are circling a firefight in a helicopter at 1,000 feet. You take a very different view of the problem when you are so close to the machine gun that your body pulses from the shock wave of the muzzle blast.

These letters were written by soldiers while they were in the military. They are describing events that happened that day, the pervious day, or the previous week. Their memories are very fresh. Their views also are very different from the views that someone might have when writing his memoirs thirty years later. In thirty years the everyday pains, problems, and terrors could very well be forgotten or become humorous.

The book groups these letters by war or police action. There are sections for letters from the Civil War, WW I (the war to end wars), WW II, Vietnam War, Desert Storm, and Somolia/Bosnia/Kosovo.

Some things never change. The Civil War letter writers grumble about poor food, tiresome marches, mindless sergeants and incompetent officers. The Vietnam letter writers (myself included) grumbled about the same things.

One anguished letter was from an officer in Vietnam who was torn by his need to hide his opposition to the war for fear of demoralizing his men. At the end of the letter is a brief comment explaining that the officer stepped on a mine and died shortly after writing this letter.

Welcome to life in the military. Welcome to war.

You should read this book if you want to see what life was like and is like in the military and in war.

5-0 out of 5 stars Welcome to life in the military
Let me start this review by confessing that I am biased. One of my letters from Vietnam is included in the book. I therefore view the book differently from the average reader.

I also got an advance copy of the book a week before the official release date, and have been able to read it.

Andrew Carroll produced this book by reading through almost 50,000 letters and selected roughly 200 that best show what everyday life in the military - and in war - are like from the viewpoint of the average soldier, sailor, marine, and airman.

Andy was able to get these letters by persuading Dear Abby to publish an appeal in her column on Veteran's Day in 1998. The column urged readers to contribute these letters so that the sacrifices of the writers would not be forgotten. The result was a flood of 50,000 letters - some faded, some muddy, some blood-stained, and one pierced by a bullet. One letter was written on Hitler's personal stationary by an American sergeant who worked in Hitler's personal quarters in Germany just after WW II. What could be a better symbol of justice?

The letter writers' views are very different than the views you will get by reading the memoirs of a general or an admiral. When I was in the Army, there was a wonderful comment that explained life in the Infantry:

"The general gets the glory, The family gets the body, and We get another mission."

Your view of the military - and of war - changes depending on your position in this food chain.

Overcoming an enemy machine gun is an interesting technical problem when you are circling a firefight in a helicopter at 1,000 feet. You take a very different view of the problem when you are so close to the machine gun that your body pulses from the shock wave of the muzzle blast.

These letters were written by soldiers while they were in the military. They are describing events that happened that day, the pervious day, or the previous week. Their memories are very fresh. Their views also are very different from the views that someone might have when writing his memoirs thirty years later. In thirty years the everyday pains, problems, and terrors could very well be forgotten or become humorous.

The book groups these letters by war or police action. There are sections for letters from the Civil War, WW I (the war to end wars), WW II, Vietnam War, Desert Storm, and Somolia/Bosnia/Kosovo.

Some things never change. The Civil War letter writers grumble about poor food, tiresome marches, mindless sergeants and incompetent officers. The Vietnam letter writers (myself included) grumbled about the same things.

One anguished letter was from an officer in Vietnam who was torn by his need to hide his opposition to the war for fear of demoralizing his men. At the end of the letter is a brief comment explaining that the officer stepped on a mine and died shortly after writing this letter.

Welcome to life in the military. Welcome to war.

You should read this book if you want to see what life was like and is like in the military and in war.

5-0 out of 5 stars Can't Say Enough Good Things
I can't say enough good things about the book, video and articles produced by Andrew Carroll. In addition, he's a kind, caring and compasionate gentleman. If you want a true taste of what the soldiers and their families are feeling during war time, get this book. This is "reality reading".

4-0 out of 5 stars Very good book, excellent audiobook selection.
I was given this book by my daughter, and I had read from it from time to time. It is in fact a book that very much lends itself to that sort of intermittent reading, as the letters stand well enough on their own and are not part of any particular plot or developing idea. However, when my audiobook account had a balance on it that had to be used, I decided to download this book and have the letters read to me. With more than a dozen readers of excellent quality, and given the wonderful selection of the letters themselves, the narration occupied several days of my commute in a bittersweet but overall pleasant manner.

5-0 out of 5 stars Words Unspoken
An incredible novel of accounts from countless men and women who gave their all-their lives for past and future generations to come.
As a grandson of WWII and Korean War Grandfathers, I strive to understand and relate to their past. This book has helped me do just that and more!

May we never, never, never forget the sacrifices made to ensure freedom for our country. It would be a grave dishonor to forget those who shed their blood for our sake. ... Read more

173. Trading with the Enemy: Seduction and Betrayal on Jim Cramer's Wall Street
by Nicholas W. Maier
list price: $22.95
our price: $15.61
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060086513
Catlog: Book (2002-03-01)
Publisher: HarperBusiness
Sales Rank: 79736
Average Customer Review: 3.73 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In January of 1994, Nicholas Maier hopped on a train that took him from Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he lived with his parents, to New York's Penn Station. With his wallet stuck in his sock, he headed down to the heart of the Wall Street district for a meeting with Jim Cramer that would change his life forever. For the next five years, Maier would work like a slave inside Jim Cramer's hedge fund, a limited partnership that included only the wealthiest investors, where rules were scarce and where, in his glory days, Jim Cramer managed almost a half a billion dollars, raking in phenomenal returns.

Entranced by the game, Maier quickly rose from the office assistant fetching sandwiches from the deli downstairs to a trader playing with a fifty-million-dollar portfolio. But under the pressure of Jim's constant war, Maier's adrenaline rush wore off, and the dark side of Wall Street was revealed: Maier had become exhausted and money driven -- at his worst moments swapping tranquilizers with his coworkers and passing out on a New York subway.

This is a true insider's story -- an honest, raw, page-turning account that takes us on a journey through the volatile, anything-goes world of hedge funds. From Cramer & Company to the brokerage houses and analysts to the reporters who cover the market action, we are shown a Wall Street where almost everyone is dirty -- a world where even the SEC fails to maintain order.

At the heart of this narrative is an incredible character study of Jim Cramer, one of Wall Street's brightest stars. Employing any means possible to make money, Cramer engaged in brilliant but questionable strategies that danced on the edge of ethics and legality. A typical day inside the fund would begin with Cramer's declaration, "I love the smell of money in the morning," followed by a boom-box serenade of Coolio's "Gangsta's Paradise." At the first sign of trouble, however, Cramer would turn paranoid and vicious, smashing phones and computer monitors and screaming insults that would leave even the toughest employees in tears.

In the tradition of Liar's Poker, this fascinating account of greed and excess on Wall Street will inevitably force the business world to reassess itself through the story of one young man who walked away from it all. ... Read more

Reviews (74)

4-0 out of 5 stars Captures the man!
As the pages turn, I get a perfect visual of Jim Cramer screaming and waving his arms as he exhorts his team to maximize the profits in their hedge fund. It's a hedge fund as any viewer of Kudlow and Cramer would expect, with Cramer waving his arms, pulling at his tie, and screaming at the top of his lungs.

It is easy to visualize the temper tantrums and computer terminals getting smashed. The book also describes Maier's descent into the madness of a hyperactive "blame the enemy" day trader. The personalities are clearly spelled out, and it's easy to understand the motivations of the key players.

The book is easily accessible to the layman. The trading methodologies used are easily explained, as are the alleged improprieties commited by Jim Cramer. The book reads quickly, and is easily digested over a 3 hour flight.

The one thing I struggle with is, "Is it true?" In the end, none of the formal charges against Cramer stuck, and no hard evidence was produced. To Maier's credit, he ends with a favorable review of Cramer's long term returns.

5-0 out of 5 stars Required Reading for Everyone in the Business World!
I read this book in a day -- I could not put it down. Besides being extremely well written and at times down right hysterical (I had to set it down twice while I could not stop laughing!), it drives home a major point that too many people in the business world have only started thinking about since September 11 -- is it worth it? I hardly knew who Jim Cramer was and it doesn't matter. There are a million other business executives that "model" the kind of behavior Jim Cramer exhibited in this book. I know firsthand after 20+ years in Fortune 500 companies. But why do we sit back and tolerate, promote and enrich people who scream at their secretaries and copier repairmen, turn the air blue with their foul language, entertain themselves by belittling others and value money far above fundamental ethics or concern for fellow human beings? Maier's book is the perfect reading material for those who need a laugh over the ridiculous corporate cultures we've come to rationalize as acceptable -- and who may need the courage to walk away.

5-0 out of 5 stars Inside Wall Street "laid bare"...
To say that Jim Cramer is "intense" masks the true nature of this man's character...if what Nicholas Maier tells us is true, the general public should be very worried that people like Cramer are handling billions of dollars of assets and have an important say in the country's financial security. I was literally appalled at the nature of the day trading depicted in the fast-moving world of hedge funds and can think of no reason why the SEC let this continue when they had a chance to stop it. This is the type of emotion, I'd wager, that Maier solicited when he wrote this otherwise fine account of life on Wall Street. "Trading with the Enemy" is a fast-paced and wide-open telling of what it was like to work at Wall Street for Cramer and Co. in the mid 90's under the psychotic oversight of Jim Cramer and a testament to the abuses of money and power that this type of environment sows.

The story starts innocently enough with a young, seemingly un-motivated recent college grad who's interested in the American dream of making it rich in the stock market. Nicholas Maier uses his connections to procure a job at Cramer and Co., then the leading hedge fund on Wall Street. Once in, Maier learns very quickly just how this high octane world operates and starts a 5 year period of constant self-justification working for a maniacal, but otherwise brilliant stock market trader. The reader is led down the path of insider trading and we learn all about the ins and outs of trading thousands of shares of stock for major profit. We also learn that to make this kind of money, it requires an almost insane boss who's insecurities abound as he's able to dismantle the complex world of stock trading and see the market as others don't. Mental and sometimes physical abuses (he has to avoid flying computer monitors on more than one occasion) are the norm that Maier has to endure in this company, but so is the high-energy environment that he craves and becomes addicted to. Slowly, the mental anguish overtakes the addiction and Maier becomes one of the many casualties that Cramer lays waste to in his career. What this results in is an almost unbelievable story of being subjugated to a character that often refuses to take his medication (much needed I might add) and one that assumes the attitude of a general going to war...frought with all the tactics and betrayals that "everything is fair in war" surmises. Cramer knows no bounds (mentally or physically) in getting what he wants and goes berserk at something as comparetively trivial as selling thousands of shares at an eighth of a point lower than he thought.

To compensate, Maier turns to drugs and finally decides that he's had enough...fortunately for us, he majored in Writing and Literature in college and pens a revealing expository that should be required reading for all young brokers. In fact, the only criticism of this work that I can come up with is that the story ends too quickly...we go from hearing about the initial stages of his substance abuse to his walking out the door in only a matter of a few pages. I would have liked him to expand on this a little more.

To be fair, I suppose that one should read Cramer's account of this period ("Confessions of a Street Addict") to get his perspective, but the overwhelming theme won't change I'll bet. For those who want to learn about the inner workings of Wall Street, this book will be a powerful introduction. Fast paced and imminently readable, one comes away from this work with a sort of bitter that says that it takes this kind of personality (Cramer's) to control the market and to make major money when there could be alternatives that could be equally successful.

1-0 out of 5 stars Book Doesn't Fullfill Title
Just finished this book and was so disappointed I decided to write this review.

Yes, Cramer is a jerk. Yes he's a nasty boss. That was the basic point of this book. So what? Go work for someone else. I read this book to hear the truth revealed about Cramer's dealings in the stock market and the truth behind the SEC investigations into Cramer's behavior. What I got was: He's a mean, screaming bully and, oh, by the way, the SEC investigated him and he was found innocent (but he did "worry" about the outcome). Hardly revealing or even interesting.

Hardly worth the cost of the book. Also the author seems to have a love - hate relationship going on with Cramer.

Save your money.

5-0 out of 5 stars They don't come worse than Cramer
They don't come worse than Cramer. Maier only told half the story, if even that much. There are many who want to see Cramer out of commission, however that comes about. I do not know of anyone on the Street more hated than him. ... Read more

174. Black Sheep One: The Life of Gregory "Pappy" Boyington
list price: $29.95
our price: $19.77
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0891417168
Catlog: Book (2000-12-01)
Publisher: Presidio Press
Sales Rank: 83124
Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Black Sheep One is the first biography of legendary warrior and World War II hero Gregory Boyington. In 1936, Boyington became an aviation cadet and earned the “wings of gold” of a naval aviator. After only a short period on active duty, however, he was “encouraged” to resign from the Marine Corps due to his unconventional behavior. Remarkably, this inauspicious beginning was just the prologue to a heroic career as an American fighter pilot and innovative combat leader. With the onset of World War II, when skilled pilots were in demand, he became the commander of an ad hoc squadron of flying leathernecks. Led by Medal of Honor winner Boyington, the legendary Black Sheep set a blistering pace of aerial victories against the enemy.

Though many have observed that when the shooting stops, combat heroes typically just fade away, nothing could be further from the truth for Boyington. Blessed with inveterate luck, the stubbornly independent Boyington lived a life that went beyond what even the most imaginative might expect. Exhaustively researched and richly detailed, here is the complete story of this American original.

From the Paperback edition.
... Read more

Reviews (10)

2-0 out of 5 stars Black-"Sleep"-One A Drunken Hero and his life
I was pleasantly surprised that the author took the time to talk about his childhood and family. I just don't think over 100 pages at the beginning was necessary. Yawn! It read like a reader's digest story. The author spends a great deal of time linking every little mishap in Boyington's life to his drinking. Yes, discussion of his drinking is necessary and important, just don't make it the theme of the book. The details and discussion of his missions were dry and almost surgical in nature. If I wanted that I would read a military report. No passion or flavor. However, the Boyington quote at the end of the prologue or intro to the book could make a grown man cry. For people who did not like Boyington's Black Sheep book because of it is bragging and strecthed stories you would really like this book. The author does cut threw alot of the B.S. tall tales and backs his conclusions up. However, I can not recommend this book due to its over-emphasis on the drinking, the dry writing style and lack of passion.

5-0 out of 5 stars Boyington...a tactician way ahead of his time..
Being a military history buff and a Boyington fan, this book was a "must read" for me. This book shows the human side of Boyington. While Boyington may have seemed a larger-than-life war hero (which in many ways he was) he was an ordinary man with his own demons. His worst enemy was himself.. and his addiction to addiction he never totally defeated. One wonders what Boyington may have accomplished had he not have been an alcoholic. His alcohalism cost him a lot.. several divorces, alienation from his family, and quite possibly a polital career.

Boyington was way ahead of his time in the area of air combat tactics. Sometimes his propensity to deviate from regulation got him into trouble with superiors, but no one can deny the combat victories the Blacksheep attained under his leadership. No Marine Squadron has ever attained the success VMF 214 had in those two combat tours then or since. His military combat record speaks for itself. Boyington's tactics were unconventional, in the sense he never employed the same tactics for long. He was constantly evolving, a theory that never allowed the Japanese to catch on to his tactics.

This is an excellent book to learn about Boyington the man, how he thought, and what made him tick. In spite of his faults, he will forever be remembered as the greatest Marine Ace of all time. This book does him justice. I highly recommend it.

5-0 out of 5 stars A truly epic study of a tragic hero
Bruce Gamble deserves great credit for dealing with a mythic and controversial hero who laid claim to be the leading USMC ace in World War II and won the highest award in the country. His introduction to combat and first claims came from his stint as a member of the famed American Volunteer Group (AVG) known to most as the "Flying Tigers". He was summarily dismissed from the AVG for his abuse of alcohol and disrepect for authority (both of had which led him to abandon his USMC flying career to join the AVG along with chronic financial woes). World War II offered him an opportunity for another chance to fly and serve his country that he might not have gotten in peacetime. Arriving in the Solomon Islands, he continued to abuse alcohol and raise a ruckus, but he eventually got his own squadron, the "Black Sheep" which he led to great success against the Japanese. There is no doubt that he was a gifted aviator despite flying under the influence or at least hung over. Some of the aerial victory claims may be disputed (certainly his AVG claims are), but these type claims have been controversial by antagonists in all conflicts since aerial combat began. Gamble deals with all of this in great detail particularly the virtual clinical examination of Boyington's alcoholism so many years after the event. Gamble's research could have yielded a good book, among the best written, on the Black Sheep and Boyington, but he superbly wrote the Black Sheep story as its own subject and then dealt with Boyington as a biography andproduced a truly unique study of a tragic hero, flawed on several levels, but just as laudable on others. The author deserves great credit for deep research, sensitive and accurate writing and weaving a very readable treatment of Boyington, truly the best on any shelf.

5-0 out of 5 stars This may be the only biography I have ever finished.
I hate biographies with their authoritarian tones, time lines, dates and obscure facts, and get bored before finishing them. I do, however, prefer to be historically accurate rather than politically correct, so when my children started watching Black Sheep Squadron on the History Channel, I figured I had better learn more about Greg Boyington.

Having seen Mr. Gamble's commentaries during breaks from the show, I expected the typical pompous biography with a military cadence to match the author and subject. When I began to read it, I was floored: I couldn't put it down and I finished it. Mr. Gamble's prose was lyrical, and his treatment of Boyington was fair and meticulously researched.

Heroes aren't necessarily bums, and biographies aren't necessarily dull, boring and omnipresent.

4-0 out of 5 stars Before, during and after the fall.
Gamble's biography of Boyington begins with his dysfunctional upbringing in the Pacific Northwest. Raised by a troubled mother and a ...stepfather, the deck was stacked early against this man of great potential. This good time Charlie, devil-may-care college boy became one of the leading Aces of WWII, with twenty-nine kills, if he is to be believed. And Gamble apparently does not believe all that Boyington has to say on this subject. Never drinking until his twenties, Boyington became the cliched drunk. Often he flew loaded or badly hung over.

In this frank look at the life of the Black Sheep Squadron's leader, Gamble strips away much of the lies, myths and Hollywood trappings to present the man as he was; the tragic hero.

From his brief time spent with Claire Chennault's Flying Tigers to his rejoining the Maine Aviators to his being awarded the Medal of Honor, the bottle was never far from arm's reach. After spending almost two years as a POW and upon his triumphant return to the states at war's end, he is told by his intelligence officer, Frank Walton, he could be anything he chose but he had to leave booze alone or it would kill him. Needless to say, his life spiraled out of control until it was much too late. From a series of failed relationships and marriages, to repeated job changes and financial ruin he became a mere curiosity hustling his former valor for a few dollars. In Walton's own book, "Once They Were Eagles", he compares him unkindly to a dancing circus bear pushing his autographs at air shows and conventions.

Throughout the book there are more than a few glimmers of the man beneath the booze and the greatness that awaited Boyington were it not for his illness. A college wrestling champion, a fine college student, a natural leader and above all, a bold and fearless fighter pilot. If Gamble destroys some myths, he also lets Boyington's greatness stand without the tinsel. And in 1943 he was a giant. ... Read more

175. Miles Gone By: A Literary Autobiography (with CD)
by William F. Buckley Jr.
list price: $29.95
our price: $17.97
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0895260891
Catlog: Book (2004-07-15)
Publisher: Regnery Publishing
Sales Rank: 1931
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars Appropriate
I always thought of Buckley has having four careers. He was of course that TV fellow that talked funny and look down his nose at his guests and viewers on a show that was very successful - Firing Line; he was that business man, writer, and publisher that started the National Review; he wrote fiction spy novels, and he wrote his sailing stories.

Most people would be happy and content to achieve just one of those undertakings. One might imagine that running the National Review for all those years and keeping it fresh was an enormous challenge. I never agreed with all the stories in the NR and conservatives are now much more complicated people but if you think it is easy to start something like the NR, try starting your own national magazine.

In any case I read many of his books and very much appreciated his sailing books. His book on crossing the Pacific "Racing Through Paradise: A Pacific Passage" was one of the best sailing books ever written. Hence the quote by John Kenneth Galbraith, who "consistently writes pleasant tributes to my own books, inevitably advising the reader that my political opinions should be ignored, my fiction or accounts of life at sea appreciated". Maybe you have to be a sailor to understand his books but it is unlikely.

In terms of a biography it would be very difficult for Buckley to achieve the same level of literary excellence in a biography that he might write today as compared to some of his many past writings. So in the end his collection of selected writings speak for themselves and are most appropriate. He does not need a conventional autobiography - his writing for those of us that have read his books are perfect. We understand that was always his strength.

How can one really criticize this book? The CD for myself was not needed. Incidentally and it is not really the same but George Plimpton came out with a similar series of stories which he called - a readers collection - in the book "George Plimpton on Sports" also available at, published in 2003. I read that book also and thought it was excellent and often very funny but less autobiographical. It is the same idea but for some reason it was never a best seller as the present book appears to be.

Jack in Toronto

3-0 out of 5 stars Not as inspirational as most autobiographies, but good.
Aaaah, William F.Buckley, the erudite American with the faux British accent and devilish (some would say perverse) glare, master maligner of the English language and scathing critic of the left. Aaaah, Buckley, author of a thousand wordy books, host of a thousand wordy Firing Lines. At age 80, Buckley favors his fans with "Miles Gone By", a collection of previously written essays which taken together uniquely form what he smartly describes as a "literary" autobiography.

There are essays of his childhood days growing up in the family estate in upper Westchester, then attending Rugby games at Yale, then developing an interest in Yachting, and then of course, essays covering his experiences as a conservative commentator and television personality and hanging out with the likes of Whittaker Chambers, Jack Kerouac, Rowan and Martin and Jay Leno.

The audio CD is especially enjoyable, covering the music that influenced his life. Selections include Yummy Yummy Yummy by Ohio Express, Love is Like A Buttefly by Dolly Parton, She-Bop by Cyndi Lauper, Blinded Me With Science by Thomas Dolby and That's The Way by KC and the Sunshine Band, to list only a few of the golden nuggets provided here.

The essays on yachting are easily the most boring. I have never understood why his yachting experiences were turned into books. I recall there was even a painfully boring tv show about his yachting. I mean, come on..the guy likes to yacht...not much you can write about that. But Buckley managed to write hundreds of pages about it and turned it into these essays and even a whole book, describing the great spiritual exhiliration and his connection with nature and describing in excruciating detail every pelican, compass, turn of the sail, piece of driftwood, gust of wind and sunset he ever experienced. It's just too much.

But the rest of it, if you're a Buckley fan, is an OK read. I mean, it's not exactly an inspirational rags to riches story filled with tales of poverty, desperation, personal tragedies and ultimately the triumph of the human spirit or anything like that. It's basically about a boy who was born into a wealthy family and went to an ivy league school and did a lot of yachting and then became a wordy critic of the left. So if you know Buckley and like that sort of thing, then you will enjoy this book.

4-0 out of 5 stars A wonderful read, an interesting life
I am only a quarter of the way through this book, but I have been happily surprised at the wonderful stories and relevant topics that are contained. I really know nothing of Mr. Buckley, and was hesitant to purchase at first, but then I decided to take a chance and to pick it up.
This is one chance that paid off.
Though Buckley is known for his conservative ideology, this book offers so much more. I was particularly touched by the writings about his family.
In this world of deceptive and slanted political books (just look at the number of liberal books available), this is a breath of fresh air. Highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars Laughing out loud
William F. Buckley pulled precisely the right excerpts from his large store of material to give a vivid picture his extraordinary life, full of verve and that irrepressible twinkle in his eye. I have laughed, smiled, chuckled, or groaned at least once with every page. This is truly a delightful, entertaining, and brilliantly written account. It's an unusual way to "write" an autobiography, but then who would expect less than the unique from Bill Buckley?

5-0 out of 5 stars The making of a conservative icon
Read this book and unearth The Real Buckley: athlete, family man, world traveler, peerless intellectual, a religious soul with an inquisitive, skeptical mind-- and an insatiable appetite for adventure. ... Read more

176. I Am a Pencil : A Teacher, His Kids, and Their World of Stories
by Sam Swope
list price: $25.00
our price: $16.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0805073345
Catlog: Book (2004-08-03)
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Sales Rank: 9657
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Book Description

A teacher discovers how reading, writing, and imagining can help children grow, change, and even sometimes survive

A few years back, children's-book writer Sam Swope gave a workshop to a third-grade class in Queens. So enchanted was he with his twenty-eight students that he "adopted" the class for three years, teaching them to write stories and poems. Almost all were new Americans (his class included students fom twenty-one countries) and Swope was drawn deep into their real and imaginary lives, their problems, hopes, and fears. I Am a Pencil is the story of his years with this very special group of students. It is as funny, warm, heartbreaking, and hopeful as the children themselves.
Swope follows his colorful troop of resilient writers from grades three to five, coaxing out their stories, watching talents blossom, explode, and sometimes fizzle, holding his breath as the kids' families brave new lives in a strange big city. We meet Susie (whose mom was a Taoist priestess), Alex (who cannot seem to tell the truth), and Noelia (a wacky Dominican chatterbox). All of the children have big dreams. Some have big problems: Salvador, an Ecuadorian boy, must cope with a strict Pentecostal father; Soo Jung mystifies Swope with sudden silences-until he discovers that her mother has left the family. Preparing his students for a world of adult dangers, Swope is astonished by their courage, humanity, but most of all by their strength.
... Read more

177. Prime Obsession: Bernhard Riemann and the Greatest Unsolved Problem in Mathematics
by John Derbyshire
list price: $27.95
our price: $18.45
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0309085497
Catlog: Book (2003-04-23)
Publisher: Joseph Henry Press
Sales Rank: 8375
Average Customer Review: 4.61 out of 5 stars
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Bernhard Riemann was an underdog of sorts, a malnourished son of aparson who grew up to be the author of one of mathematics' greatestproblems. In Prime Obsession, John Derbyshire deals brilliantlywith both Riemann's life and that problem:proof of the conjecture,"All non-trivial zeros of the zeta function have real part one-half."Though the statement itself passes as nonsense to anyone but amathematician, Derbyshire walks readers through the decades of reasoningthat led to the Riemann Hypothesis in such a way as to clear it upperfectly. Riemann himself never proved the statement, and it remainsunsolved to this day. Prime Obsession offers alternating chaptersof step-by-step math and a history of 19th-century European intellectuallife, letting readers take a breather between chunks of well-writteninformation. Derbyshire's style is accessible but not dumbed-down,thorough but not heavy-handed. This is among the best popular treatmentsof an obscure mathematical idea, inviting readers to explore the theorywithout insisting on page after page of formulae.

In 2000, the Clay Mathematics Institute offered a one-million-dollarprize to anyone who could prove the Riemann Hypothesis, but luminarieslike David Hilbert, G.H. Hardy, Alan Turing, André Weil, and FreemanDyson have all tried before. Will the Riemann Hypothesis ever be proved?"One day we shall know," writes Derbyshire, and he makes the effort seemvery worthwhile. --Therese Littleton ... Read more

Reviews (38)

5-0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Read, Highly Recommended
Prime Obsession is an excellent popularization of the Riemann Hypothesis. I found John Derbyshire's presentation of the math to be very approachable by non-mathematicians like myself. It's taken slow, one basic step at a time, and spread across a well written and fascinating history of Bernhard Riemann and other key players. Simply put, you do not need an advance degree in mathematics to enjoy this book.

My math bakground is limited to 2 semesters of calculus 20 years ago and I haven't used it since. For me, John Derbyshire's approach was both refreshing and entertaining. If you've got even the faintest interest in math, you will find this book rewarding.

4-0 out of 5 stars Read this one for the pure entertainment value of it all.
I found this to be a rather delightful book with its arrangement of chapters alternating between historical point of view back to mathematical progress and then back to historical.

I found it very entertaining to read about the lives of the great mathematicians involved in developing the prime number theory and furthering the study of the Riemann Hypothesis. Mathematics is littered with such interesting characters that even a liberal arts major can enjoy these expository stories of their lives.

The only downside to this whole book is that he takes too much time for the non-math inclined readers to get 'caught up' with their basic skills before he jumps to anything interesting. If you have a background that is strong through calculus, then you could probably avoid reading all the math-based chapters up through the end of the prime number theory section of the book, and you most likely woud not have missed a thing.

5-0 out of 5 stars Complex Math Made Very Understandable and Interesting
Although this book deals with a subject that no-one would sensibly place in a category below "Very Advanced," John Derbyshire treats his subject as well as any math author I've ever read, and I've read a lot of math books over the past 40-some years.

My formal math education ended after a standard introductory calculus course as an undergrad. However, I have always been, and remain, extremely interested in math -- a math aficianado if you will. As such, I've self-taught myself a lot of math -- including a lot of very advanced math -- over the past 40 years; ergo, my reading of a great many math books. And without doubt, Derbyshire's book is the finest math book I've yet to read.

I suspect Derbyshire started with the hypothesis that his readers are not familiar (or only familiar in a passing sense) with high-level, advanced math, and perhaps might even suffer from math anxiety. Any such readers, however, should have absolutely no fears. Derbyshire's exposition is superb. He clearly defines everything the reader needs to know to grasp AND understand fully the more advanced parts of the book. The book is clearly well designed to convey the information he wants or needs of convey and masterfully explains what would otherwise be quite difficult to understand.

Without any doubt this is by far the best book on any advanced and complicated subject -- the best book on ANY math subject (including a book on something as simple as how to add one and one) -- I have ever read.

Without sacrificing the complexity of the subject, Derbyshire has written his book in a very readable and interesting manner. And he does all this while making the subject so interesting you can hardly wait for someone to finally prove Riemann's Hypothesis and Riemann's zeta function so we can read Derbyshire's account of that landmark event in the history of mathematics.

5-0 out of 5 stars splendid (though heavy math)
This book should be the first one to appear in Amazon's listings for the Riemann Hypothesis, yet doesn't even appear in the top ten. It gives fascinating historical background to a very real Riemann and his friends, traces developments to the present day in a conversational tone, and somehow manages to take the reader through the details of what the RH says so that you actually understand it. Recommended with one reservation; to understand the chapters (every other one) which bring one to understand the RH, you will need to make a considerable investment in reading and rereading to make it. That is not for the faint of heart. However, the other half of the book can be enjoyed by anyone who likes general science history books.

5-0 out of 5 stars What a piece of work a man is!
"Prime Obsession" is a fascinating book for several reasons: the author explains a difficult topic with such clarity that it's simply amazing. For those who are more skilled in math, this book would also be very enjoyable to read, except that they might find some of his explanations redundant because he really assumes that the we don't know anything (and I mean anything!).
Mr. Derbyshire obviously understands the topic quite well himself. He has written an amazing book for everyone to enjoy.
200 years since Riemann first presented the problem, we are still desperately trying to solve it, and one day, you never know... what a piece of work a man is! ... Read more

178. Panzer Operations: The Eastern Front Memoir of General Raus, 1941-1945
by Erhard Raus, Steven H. Newton
list price: $35.00
our price: $23.80
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0306812479
Catlog: Book (2003-12-01)
Publisher: Da Capo Press
Sales Rank: 61453
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A significant postwar memoir written by one of Germany's best field commanders and a brilliant panzer tank general.

German general Erhard Raus was one of the most talented commanders to fight on the Eastern Front in Russia, where he was eventually appointed to army group command in early 1945. By the time the war ended, Raus had established a reputation as one of the German army's foremost tacticians of armored warfare, which made him a prized capture by U.S. Army intelligence. In American captivity, Raus wrote a detailed memoir of his service in Russia. His battlefield experience and keen tactical eye makes his memoir especially valuable.

The Raus memoir-now translated, compiled, and edited by prominent World War II historian Steven H. Newton-covers the Russian campaign from the first day of the war to his being relieved of his command at Hitler's order in the spring of 1945. It includes a detailed examination of Raus's 6th Panzer Division's drive to Leningrad, his experiences in the Soviet winter counteroffensive around Moscow, the unsuccessful attempt to relieve Stalingrad and the final desperate battles inside Germany at the end of the war. ... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars should be mandatory reading at all military institutions
Steven H. Newton has compiled one masterful book and rescued one of the most vital documents of wwii. Austrian born Erhard Rauss along with Erwin Rommell are the two top tacticians of all time. His daring approach for dealing with the massive soviet assaults on the eastern front by withdrawing his main battle line and supporting elements to alternate positions prior to the devastating artillery bombardments preceeding the main thrust has got to be one of the most innovative concepts in wwii warfare. Requiring pinpoint timing and nerves of steel this operation was both extremely difficult to assimilate and execute and sadly was not generally adopted by other commanders. Another highlight was 6 Panzer's actions during the attempt to relieve the German 6 Army trapped at Stalingrad. Rauss' bold, creative use of his lone division (23 Panzer was too weakened to be of any offensive use) has got to be considered the single most outstanding feat of wwii, (second only to the extrication of Army Group Caucasus from the jaws of encirclement and annihilation by Manstein, in my opinion the single most difficult operation of wwii) that a single German Panzer division wreaked such destruction and havoc against overwhelming russian numbers that it almost succeded singlehandedly in extricating 6 Army, confirms once more that it was numbers and NOT quality that brought about allied victory in wwii. This action caused the russians to open a new front that necessitated the withdrawal of 6 Panzer. His defensive exploits at Belgorod and Kharkov caused the russians (all the way up to Stalin) to rethink their whole offensive approach and must be labeled amongst the most skillfully executed operations of the war. He adds fresh and expert analysis of kursk and the final defensive battles in the east.

This book is a Master Class in tactics at all command levels and a treat to any future commander of military forces. The tactical and strategic concepts are as fresh and useful today as they were back then. Rauss is a master of economy of movement in battle and it shows in his writing too, which flows precisely, entertainingly and is easy to assimilate. I urge you the reader to get a copy now of this soon to be scarce classic work.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful New Title on German Operations
The name Erhard Raus will not register to many students of WWII, but the general saw as much action on the Eastern Front as any officer I know of.

Raus entered Operation Barbarossa in command of a brigade in the 6th Panzer Division, and ended the war as the head of an Army Group. He learned the art of tank tactics under fire. After he was captured he penned an extensive memoir (while the war was still fresh in his mind). Although pieces were used by American intelligence, they were often heavily edited and incomplete. Here, for the first time in print, is Raus's complete memoir. In a word, it is extraordinary.

The memoir was located, pieced together, and translated and edited from the original German by Steven Newton (Professor of History, Delaware State University). Raus was as good a writer as he was a tank commander. Simply put, this is extraordinarily well written, although it assumes at least a working knowledge of the war in the East and the structure of the German military.

Raus discusses the offensive battle in Army Group North during the drive for Leningrad, the offensive against Moscow, his role in Manstein's abortive effort to relieve Stalingrad (oddly, Manstein is not found in the index though is mentioned often), and the final defensive battles back into Germany, where Raus was relieved of command by Hitler in March 1945. Hasso von Manteuffel (who also is absent from the index) assumed his command, ending Raus's 40 years of military service. Raus's writing is often personal, always perceptive, and offers a hands-on knowledge that was obviously fresh in his mind when he wrote.

Newton provides an enlightening Introduction to this memoir and a date-oriented resume of Raus's career, which appears as an appendix. Thirteen maps are included (they are good but not great).

Panzer Operations should be read and owned by every WWII tank and East Front student everywhere. Run, don't walk, to your local book store (or order on line) and pick up a copy. With his work getting this manuscript into book form, Dr. Newton has proven once again why he is widely considered one America's foremost military historians. ... Read more

179. Storyteller's Daughter
list price: $24.00
our price: $16.32
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375415319
Catlog: Book (2003-09-16)
Publisher: Knopf
Sales Rank: 29137
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The vivid, often startling memoir of a young woman shaped by two dramatically disparate worlds. Saira Shah is the English-born daughter of an Afghan aristocrat, inspired by his dazzling stories to rediscover the now lost life their forebears presided over for nine hundred years within sight of the minarets and lush gardens of Kabul and the snow-topped mountains of the Hindu Kush. Part sophisticated, sensitive Western liberal, part fearless, passionate Afghan, falling in love with her ancestral myth–chasing Afghanistan–Shah becomes, at twenty-one, a correspondent at the front of the war between the Soviets and the Afghan resistance. Then, imprisoning herself in a burqa, she risks her life to film Beneath the Veil, her acclaimed record of the devastation of women’s lives by the Taliban. Discovering her extended family, discovering a world of intense family ritual, of community, of male primacy, of arranged marriages, and finding at last the now war-ravaged family seat, she discovers as well what she wants and what she rejects of her extraordinary heritage. ... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Multifaceted Jewel of a Book
Saira Shah's stunning new memoir is one of those rare and wonderful books that's hard to classify because it touches the reader in so many different ways. A jewel of many facets -- from high adventure to geopolitics to the wisdom of the ages -- it takes us on a journey of the human spirit as compelling as it is rewarding. The setting of the book is Afghanistan, a country that, despite its recent prominence on the world stage, remains for most of us little known and much misunderstood. Shah opens up Afghanistan for the reader, revealing it to be far more complex and culturally rich than the evening news would lead us to believe; and in so doing, she opens up much, much more. An acclaimed London-based journalist whose powerful television documentary "Beneath the Veil" exposed the horrors of the Taliban to the world just prior to Sept. 11, Shah comes from an accomplished Afghan family of ancient pedigree. Her brother, Tahir Shah, is a celebrated travel writer, and her father, Idries Shah, who died in 1996, was a well-known Sufi philosopher whose 30-plus books have been translated into a dozen languages. But growing up in England, where her family had settled, Saira Shah's main contact with her Afghan heritage was through the stories her father told her and her siblings -- timeless stories of fairytale mountain landscapes peopled by proud and fearless warriors upholding a centuries-old code of honor. THE STORYTELLER'S DAUGHTER is built around her search for her own identity as she attempts to reconcile the romantic Afghanistan of her father's tales with the country's reality after years of devastating civil war. In gripping fashion tempered with gentle humor, it recounts her clandestine forays into Afghanistan with the mujahidin as a fledgling reporter in the mid-1980s, as well as her equally risky trips there in 2001 to film "Beneath the Veil" and its follow-up documentary, "Unholy War." In the process, it sheds considerable light on the conflict that has ravaged that country for decades, as well as on the upsurge of Islamic fundamentalism -- quite alien to Afghanistan's moderate, Sufi-influenced tradition -- that has given rise to al Qaeda. But the book goes far beyond those things in scope and appeal and, like the very best literature, serves as a lens through which the reader can gain a greater self-understanding. Thought-provoking, moving and beautifully written, THE STORYTELLER'S DAUGHTER is, among many other things, a timely reminder that we can rarely fit the world's complexities into the narrow confines of our own preconceived notions and oversimplifications.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Valley of Song that will change you
Saira Shah continues the tradition of her esteemed family with a compelling and personal travelogue and object lesson that meets the high standards set by her grandfather, grandmother, and father (Sirdar Ikbal Ali Shah, Morag Murray Abdullah, and Idries Shah). This book is necessary reading for all Americans, considering our relationship with her ancestral homeland of Afghanistan over the last twenty-plus years. Those who seek easy answers, who rely on programmatic belief-structures and simplistic views of the complex phenomena that are human nature and culture... are, as usual, advised to seek elsewhere. The combination of ancient wisdom, colorful people and locales, horrific atrocities, and the hope that is endemic to humanity despite everything... is wonderfully realized here, and will change the reader, much like the characters in a story Ms. Shah presents and from which the title of this review is taken. I believe it remains incorrect to jump to any conclusions about her being placed in some sort of jeopardy or other by her father's ideas; first, because it was her interpretation of those ideas, not the ideas themselves, that led to the jeopardy; second, because her father made it clear that if she grew up she would not need to go; third, because he warned her of a need to compromise or she might get herself killed; fourth, because, given his participation in the struggle against the Soviets, it would have been hypocritical for him to stop his adult daughter doing what she could about the situation; fifth, because her father did not believe in forbidding as a teaching method, and it would have been inconsistent for him to use it in this case. Given the time span and events involved in this narrative, it goes almost without saying that things were omitted; it is unknown, perhaps even to the author, what steps were taken by others, and at whose behest, to minimize the risk of her capture or death. But what is here rings of truth, and is more than sufficient; indeed, it is excellent.

5-0 out of 5 stars Exciting and Enlightening
This book is both a series of tales of travel in Pakistan and Afghanistan as well as the personal memoir of a young woman in search of the Afghanistan of her father's stories. It is studded with unforgetable characters and situations, a world away from typical western concerns. The writing is excellent. The author is fully engaged intellectually and emotionally, and has the ability to inspire that engagement in her readers as well. Further, anyone with a familiarity with her father Idries Shah's writings will find it of great interest that he left at least one member of his own family struggling to understand his broad claims about the wisdom and nobility of the Afghan people (see his Kara Kush, for instance). His ideas led his daughter, per her own admission, into some terribly dangerous situations during the Afghan conflicts. ... Read more

180. Lucky
by Alice Sebold
list price: $18.00
our price: $18.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0684857820
Catlog: Book (1999-08-04)
Publisher: Scribner
Sales Rank: 70695
Average Customer Review: 4.49 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Enormously visceral, emotionally gripping, and imbued with the belief that justice is possible even after the most horrific of crimes, Alice Sebold's compelling memoir of her rape at the age of eighteen is a story that takes hold of you and won't let go.

Sebold fulfills a promise that she made to herself in the very tunnel where she was raped: someday she would write a book about her experience. With Lucky she delivers on that promise with mordant wit and an eye for life's absurdities, as she describes what she was like both as a young girl before the rape and how that rape changed but did not sink the woman she later became.

It is Alice's indomitable spirit that we come to know in these pages. The same young woman who sets her sights on becoming an Ethel Merman-style diva one day (despite her braces, bad complexion, and extra weight) encounters what is still thought of today as the crime from which no woman can ever really recover. In an account that is at once heartrending and hilarious, we see Alice's spirit prevail as she struggles to have a normal college experience in the aftermath of this harrowing, life-changing event.

No less gripping is the almost unbelievable role that coincidence plays in the unfolding of Sebold's narrative. Her case, placed in the inactive file, is miraculously opened again six months later when she sees her rapist on the street. This begins the long road to what dominates these pages: the struggle for triumph and understanding -- in the courtroom and outside in the world.

Lucky is, quite simply, a real-life thriller. In its literary style and narrative tension we never lose sight of why this life story is worth reading. At the end we are left standing in the wake of devastating violence, and, like the writer, we have come to know what it means to survive. ... Read more

Reviews (154)

5-0 out of 5 stars A TRIUMPH OVER TRAGEDY
Like her wonderful novel The Lovely Bones - which I've also reviewed and which you must read - Lucky is a harrowing, heart-wrenching book about the worst possible thing that can happen to a woman. Alice Sebold tells the raw story of her rape ordeal and her subsequent struggle for recovery with an honesty and warmth which is compelling. Lucky reads almost like a novel itself at times, with gripping moments of suspense, particularly during the court trial scenes.
Alice Sebold was the innocent victim of an unforgivable crime - but she doesn't ask for our sympathy or pity in these beautifully written pages. She earns our respect and admiration for the courageous way she tells how the traumatic events changed and shaped her life; how the naive college student would eventually become a hardened, determined aggressor herself in her brave fight for justice against her attacker. Sadly, this natural reaction to her personal violation came with a price - destructive behavioural damage that brought a later downward spiral into drugs. What the author didn't know at the time is that she was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder; an anxiety syndrome that emerges following a psychologically distressing traumatic event such as rape, which she battles to overcome.
Can someone really, truly, get over something so savage and brutal as rape is the numbing thought you're left with long after you put the book aside? The past can never be forgotten, but Alice Sebold has managed to crawl from the wreckage and move on with her life to a happier future that has brought her international fame and acclaim. That says something about the human spirit - and everything about this remarkable woman.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Story of Survival - Incredible.
In this thought-provoking, chilling memoir, Alice Sebold recounts the events of her rape and the aftermath of that tragedy. While strong enough to go through with the trial and conviction of her attacker, Sebold's emotional state was deeply affected for many years after. Her memoir follows the events that occurred after her rape and the things she attempted in order to escape her pain.

Sebold captures this period in her life with great intensity and literary skill. Not only does the reader become informed of the actual events of the rape and the events following it, but we get a look into Sebold's home life and her personality before the night that would change everything.

This story isn't just about a college girl's rape and her survival story. It's a story about her life: her family, her friends, her childhood. Sebold explains how when she was younger all she wanted was to be hugged by her parents, but she would settle for something as simple as a touch because she was offered nothing more (and sometimes not even that luxury). It's about growing up in a dysfunctional family and getting through it. It's about surviving not only bad experiences in life, but surviving and coping with continuing bad situations.

A great read - highly recommended to anyone.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Must Read!
A must read for clinical psychologists and students interested in the sexual abuse topic.

3-0 out of 5 stars Yet again I'm left disappointed ...
I was a bit underwhelmed with 'The Lovely Bones' - started out great, lost me entirely by the end - but I expected great things of 'Lucky'. Yet again it starts out well, the opening chapter is horrifying, moving and completely unputdownable - but as we move away from the actual rape and its immediate aftermath all Alice Sebold's faults as a writer surface again. She seems unable to select material which will be of interest to the reader and fills pages and pages with irrelevant detail of her family life and unnecessary background detail. The book comes alive again when she spots her rapist in the street but in between I found myself losing interest. We all know the argument about real-life not being as tidy as fiction - but in this case it WAS tidy - the rapist was identified by Alice, caught and punished (a much more satisfactory ending than that of 'The Lovely Bones', ironically). I wish the book had been more scrupulously edited to focus on the essential elements of her story rather than filled up with padding. I felt cheated at the end of the book - at the beginning I felt that I would be with Alice throughout her every step of her journey to find justice and recover from the trauma she suffered but somehow this connection was lost and by the middle of the book I had no idea what she - or indeed anyone else involved was thinking or feeling. What a shame as this could have been a truly great book and an inspiration to rape survivors everywhere ...

5-0 out of 5 stars A real tale, full of sound and fury
This book is so many things, but the one that comes first to mind is "brave." For Seabold to have written this is amazing--the courage it must have taken. But that aside, it is well-written. I read "Lovely Bones" first, and then this one. While the premise of "Lovely" was great, I found "Lucky" to be a better book. Don't get me wrong, I like both of them, but "Lucky" was by far the more "real" tale. Try them both and then decide for yourself.

Also recommended: McCrae's Bark of the Dogwood, A Boy Called It ... Read more

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