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181. Last Mountain Dancer : Hard-Earned
$24.95 $1.94
182. Greenbelt : A Nostalgic Return
$19.95 $14.90
183. Windmills, Drouts and Cottonseed
$11.53 $4.73 list($16.95)
184. American Pharaoh : Mayor Richard
$12.21 $10.88 list($17.95)
185. Lone Wolf Gonzaullas: Texas Ranger
$23.00 $3.99
186. Eudora Welty : A Writer's Life
$10.91 $9.95 list($16.05)
187. Totch: A Life in the Everglades
$10.17 $9.95 list($14.95)
188. The Land Remembers: The Story
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189. Romance of a Little Village Girl
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190. Growing Up True: Lessons from
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191. The Los Angeles Diaries : A Memoir
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192. On Any Given Day
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193. Autism in History: The Case of
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194. 21 : Very Day Was New Year's Eve
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195. Beauty Before Comfort : The Story
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196. Edge of Tomorrow: An Arctic Year
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197. Be Sweet: A Conditional Love Story
198. Coleman Young and Detroit Politics:
199. Last of the Bighams
200. Birds of Sorrow: Notes from a

181. Last Mountain Dancer : Hard-Earned Lessons in Love, Loss, and Honky-Tonk Outlaw Life
by Chuck Kinder
list price: $25.00
our price: $17.00
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Asin: 0786714069
Catlog: Book (2004-09-09)
Publisher: Carroll & Graf
Sales Rank: 262409
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Book Description

On sabbatical from his professorship at the University of Pittsburgh, native West Virginian Chuck Kinder (portrayed as Grady Tripp in Michael Chabon's Wonder Boys and played by Michael Douglas in the film) makes a midlife pilgrimage to his homeland to re-imagine and reconnect with that fabled, fantastic country. Confronting the regrets and heartaches of his past, present, and future, Kinder seeks solace in the funny and raunchy family stories, lies, legends, and history that reside in West Virginia's haunted hills and the hollows of his memory. But more than anything, Kinder wants to live it up hillbilly style. Immersing himself among the lives of mountaineer characters, both the quick and the dead, the bad-boy author bears holy witness to the triumphs and misdeeds of the loafers and misfits, winos and oddball characters of his homeland. Readers will be astonished by tales of bloody mine wars, outlaws on the run, roadhouse romance, barroom brawlers, beer-joint ballerinas, and a man who calls himself the last mountain dancer. With mothmen, moonshiners, and family feudists, it's Planet West Virginia. Chuck Kinder's wild-ride rediscovery of his West Virginian roots is sure to quicken all of our hillbilly hearts. ... Read more

182. Greenbelt : A Nostalgic Return to a Texas Childhood
by James H. Man
list price: $24.95
our price: $24.95
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Asin: 1929175159
Catlog: Book (2001-01-01)
Publisher: Corinthian Books
Sales Rank: 633544
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Jim Man writes, "In 1972, being twelve was like a future unto itself. I was always in search of adventure around Greenbelt Lake, but the funny thing was that the adventures seemed to find me. The lake was a key which unlocked a treasure trove of events and characters that became permanently embedded in my soul.People like Dwight, who was picked up and carried three miles by a tornado and lived to tell about it. And Stevie "Wander" Johnson, a nine-year-old who, like a mirage, would appear from out of nowhere riding his mini-bike. The freedom we had at the lake fueled these adventures, but freedom is a privileged rope whose length is sometimes nebulous. And boy, did we stretch it!"

This sweet, reminiscent compilation of mischief and friendly mayhem captures the author’s memories of his adolescent years at Greenbelt Lake in Texas. However, this book is not just for Texas natives. Man’s ability to lend his tales vitality and excitement allows any reader to enjoy Greenbelt like he or she was there too – just another visitor to the lake. ... Read more

Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Greenbelt:A Nostalgic Return to Texas Childhood
Greenbelt brought back childhood memories of a Texas lake and the antics one can get away with as a young kid.It reminded me of times that I had not considered in ages.Times when I was invincible.

The stories in this book transcend a regional area, they could have occurred on a Texas Panhandle lake, a California beach or on a Iowa farm.

Read this book to remind you of your own childhood or to remind you of a childhood you wish you had lived!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Summer adventure at its finest!!
Released just in time for for summer reading, I heartily recommend this book to anyone who enjoys adventure.Jim Man's style is easygoing, and at the same time compelling.I kept reading "just one more chapter" to find out what would happen next to Jim, Dwight, and the other colorful characters.This book truly is a return to a simpler time in the not too distant past.A time when kids explored the outside world on their own, and a Mother's parting words were "Be home in time for supper".

5-0 out of 5 stars I've never read a book that made me laugh like "greenbelt"
I picked up the book on a Friday night.I was skeptical at best, but everybody leaves the bookstore with a book; and besides, the author was at the bookstore doing the dog and pony show trying to sell some of his books.Politely, I bought the book, came home and was mesmerized for the next four hours (I am a slow reader). I liked the size of the book, it wasn't real intimidating and I thought I would give it at least three chapters.That was all it took and I was hooked.A NOSTALGIC RETURN is exactly what I got.Mr. Man's book took me back to my own childhood and the amazement that I (and he)lived through it.Chapter after chapter was adventure, exploit, and just good ole' childhood mischief.I finished the book that night (to my wife's dislike). Several times she woke up and hit me with the pillow because the bed was shaking from my laughter.I honestly couldn't put the book down.Anyway, for what it is worth, I wish I had the book to look forward to. Write on Mr. Man, Bart boxwell

5-0 out of 5 stars lively, genuine, and entirely too short
Here we have Jim Man's portrait of a summerful of visits to a lake house in north Texas of 1972 (age 12).The outstanding quality of Man's writing is its credibility:on a topic almost hand-crafted as a foundation for tall tales, I'm darned if I don't believe just about everything he says.

I too grew up in the 1970s in the West, and we did in fact use to shoot at one another with BB guns, dig through any half-ruined building available to us, and gad about on any wheeled vehicle we could scrounge up.While Jim's story is one of a lot of fun--some better and cleaner than others--it is a story of lessons learned about himself and others.Jim's friend Dwight is an especially compelling character, the kind you can't invent; they either are authentic or they are not.(His accent, by the way, is authentic.He sounds precisely like my very rural, very Texan father-in-law.)By the end of the book--which I wish had been longer--I really wanted to know what ever became of the boys in the book.

As a book for young people, I'd rate it PG-13:the author could have easily pushed it toward R-17, but a visible effort was made to take the edges off the language and content; this effort might not get the credit it deserves, but parents buying books for their children will appreciate it.If you're raising kids today, _Greenbelt_ will encourage you to pose the question:how come we turned out all right in spite of the fact that we behaved like Jim and his cohorts? It will appeal especially to anyone who likes motorcycles, fishing/boating, and modern-day Tom Sawyer hijinks.For anyone who grew up in rural Texas, naturally, the appeal will be even stronger. I came away liking the genuinely warm, adventuresome Man family, and I reckon a lot of readers will too. ... Read more

183. Windmills, Drouts and Cottonseed Cake: A Biased Biography of a West Texas Rancher
by John A. Haley
list price: $19.95
our price: $19.95
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Asin: 0875651410
Catlog: Book (1995-03-01)
Publisher: Texas Christian University Press
Sales Rank: 865959
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184. American Pharaoh : Mayor Richard J. Daley - His Battle for Chicago and the Nation
by Adam Cohen, Elizabeth Taylor
list price: $16.95
our price: $11.53
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0316834890
Catlog: Book (2001-05-01)
Publisher: Back Bay Books
Sales Rank: 347268
Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

"This is Chicago, this is America." With those words, Chicago mayor Richard J. Daley famously defended his brutal crackdown on protestors at the 1968 Democratic convention. Profoundly divided racially, economically and socially, Chicago was indeed a microcosm of America, and for more than two decades Daley ruled it with an iron fist. The last of the big city bosses, Daley ran an unbeatable political machine that controlled over one million votes. From 1955 until his death in 1976, every decision of any importance -- from distributing patronage jobs to picking Congressional candidates -- went through his office. He was a major player in national politics as well: Kennedy and Johnson owed their presidencies to his control of the Illinois vote, and he made sure they never forgot it. In a city legendary for its corruption and backroom politics, Daley's power was unrivaled.Daley transformed Chicago -- then a dying city -- into a modern metropolis of skyscrapers, freeways and a thriving downtown. But he also made Chicago America's most segregated city. A man of profound prejudices and a deep authoritarian streak , he constructed the nation's largest and worst ghettoes, sidestepped national civil rights laws, and successfully thwarted Martin Luther King's campaign to desegregate Northern cities.

A quarter-century after his death, Daley's outsize presence continues to influence American urban life, and a reassessment of his career is long overdue. Now, veteran journalists Adam Cohen and Elizabeth Taylor present the definitive biography of Richard J. Daley, drawn from newly uncovered material and dozens of interviews with his contemporaries. In today's era of poll-tested, polished politicians, Daley's rough-and-tumble story is remarkable. From the working-class Irish neighborhood of his childhood, to his steady rise through Chicago's corrupt political hierarchy, to his role as national powerbroker, American Pharaoh is a riveting account of the life and times of one of the most important figures in twentieth-century domestic politics. In the tradition of Robert Caro's classic The Power Broker, this is a compelling life story of a towering individual whose complex legacy is still with us today." ... Read more

Reviews (33)

3-0 out of 5 stars The Pharoah's Tomb Hasn't Been Found Yet¿
I came to American Pharaoh with high hopes and, unfortunately, was disappointed. I grew up in a Chicago suburb, moved to the City, and even crossed party lines to vote for the son, Richard M. I was weaned on Chicago politics and truly hoped this book would capture the richness, hilarity and passion of Chicago politics, but it didn't.

Richard J. Daley was such a huge figure that he deserves a Robert Caro level biography, ala LBJ and Robert Moses. The authors Cohen and Taylor have painstakingly assembled the facts of Daley's reign, largely from newspapers it appears, but did not seize the spirit of the times. The authors also missed the opportunities to interview some of the critical witnesses, such as Thomas Keane, Daley's political partner, who died during the writing. This book feels as if it was written by people who moved to Chicago ten years after Daley and then tried to reassemble the story. This is a workmanlike history, but not a passionate one.

If you're a political junkie, you should consider this book. It has the facts, the chronology, and the players. However, you won't get to know the Mayor, only his deeds.

4-0 out of 5 stars Darn good with one flaw
A great book with contents delivered in a clear, concise writing style. It reads so fluidly, one can forget he/she is learning history while riding along with a fascinating narrative. I very much enjoyed it and learned a great deal from the exhaustive research that obviously went into the project.

My only criticism, however, keeps me from giving five stars: the co-authors seem obsessed with housing and perceived racism issues in Chicago - at times to the extent that Daley is almost forgotten in their drive to bring home a point. If this is where their academic background is based that is fine, but the reader deserves to know this going in instead of being advertised a full one volume biography type of study. This was an occasional distraction, but one that usually ended soon enough with a paragraph break - welcomed with a 'whew, glad we got back on track'- from this reader.

All in all, a fine book very much worth your time, but be advised not quite what it might seem.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wanted: A Biography of Elizabeth Wood, A True American Hero
This book is incredible. It is filled with wonderful political anecdotes and very informative on the racial polarity in Chicago. Especially fascinating is Chicago Housing Authority chief Elizabeth Wood's valiant attempt to integrate public housing and Martin Luther King's crusade for open housing, both defeated by horrifically violent white opposition. A book for anyone interested in politics or racial issues.

2-0 out of 5 stars Errors Abound
If you're looking for a basic primer on Richard J. Daley, then this book is a harmless introduction. Serious historians will find the many inaccuracies in this book appalling though. On a first skimming, I found two mistakes, and I'm just a little above the average citizen in my knowledge of the city. It's rather scary that the two authors are national journalists, given the sloppy treatment of the facts here.

5-0 out of 5 stars The only side you're allowed to see...
This is a spectacularly well put together book. Part biography and part public policy analysis with plenty of hindsight, it allows one to see a cross-section of the machines that used to dominate the big cities of the United States. Richard J. Daley exemplified this aspect of urban politics, rising as he did from the lowest ranks of the machine to hold the position of mayor for twenty-one years.

Several things struck me about this book. First, the degree to which current mayor Richard M. Daley has followed through on his father's plans. The Chicago 21 urban renewal program has received a huge boost, albeit parsed out into smaller increments, and continues to keep the south side/State Street ghetto alive. He uses similar tactics in his bargaining with Springfield for state budget allowances; his anti-poverty programs tend to benefit the contractors instead of the poor.

Second, with a few exceptions, the book is very objective. They never call the mayor a liar when he is being blatantly dishonest and I often wished that they would express at least a little outrage at his willingness to overlook police graft, racist lynchings, and corruption far surpassing that which is currently making waves in the Illinois political environment today. The man makes Betty Loren Maltese look practically civil! Yet the authors, who do highlight Daley's poor treatment of minorities and the impoverished, do so merely by enumerating the evidence against him, not with Royko-esque name-calling.

A widespread criticism of this book is that the mayor's personal life is utterly absent and that the research involves mainly personal interviews and contemporary newspaper articles. It would have been nice to have had more information about his family, but Daley went to great pains to shield them from his public life until they were old enough to participate in it themselves.

It also bears mentioning that the University of Illinois at Chicago has the complete archive of Daley's papers, but that the Daley family has blocked any public access to them whatsoever. Until this changes, this is simply the best book you will find on the subject. ... Read more

185. Lone Wolf Gonzaullas: Texas Ranger
by Brownson Malsch, BrownsonCaptain M. T. Lone Wolf Gonzaullas Malsch
list price: $17.95
our price: $12.21
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0806130164
Catlog: Book (1998-09-01)
Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press
Sales Rank: 718013
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Lone Wolf Scores Big
Author and historian Brownson Malsch captures with his customary skill the greatness of modern-day Texas Ranger Captain M.T."Lone Wolf" Gonzaullas in this small but powerful biography. From the Lone Wolf's baptism of fire along the Rio Grande in the 1920's to the oil boom days in east Texas, Malsch recounts the engaging story of one of the most renowned and most colorful men to have ever worn the star of the Texas Rangers. In a career that spanned some four decades, the Lone Wolf became one of the most charismatic characters to have served as a Ranger, and one of the most feared lawmen among the criminal element of the Lone Star State. With a forward by Mary Nell Garrison, the wife of Colonel Homer Garrison, the longtime director of the Texas Department of Publich Safety, and an accomplished historian in her own right, this book offers up a fascinating account of the exploits of "Cap" Gonzaullas. The book is well indexed and could easily serve as a source of research data for those interested in the history of the Texas Rangers. Lone Wolf Gonzaullas was, without question, a unique individual who served during a time of transition for the Rangers. This book offers up an interesting perspective on this exceptional man whose work spanned this time of change. ... Read more

186. Eudora Welty : A Writer's Life
list price: $23.00
our price: $23.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385476485
Catlog: Book (1999-10-19)
Publisher: Anchor
Sales Rank: 577728
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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"They'd have a hard time trying to find out something about me," Eudora Welty once told an interviewer to explain her fierce aversion to biography. Ann Waldron, who has written well-received biographies of Southern novelist Caroline Gordon and editor Hodding Carter, discovered just how hard a time when she set out to write the first, and of course unauthorized, biography of this "sanctified, canonized, apotheosized" literary figure. But Waldron persisted to brilliant results: Eudora: A Writer's Life is not only a fully detailed portrait but a fair and balanced one.

"Ugly to the point of being grotesque," as a fellow Mississippian said of her, Welty, who was born in Jackson in 1909, always made her way by charm, wit, and an offbeat sense of humor. Though Waldron admits that few of Welty's friends would talk to her, she nonetheless tracked down amazing amounts of new material on her personal life--her tense, guilt-ridden relationship with her widowed mother; her sustaining friendships with such literary figures as Katherine Anne Porter, Elizabeth Bowen, and Reynolds Price; and her possible romance with the mysterious John Robinson, who, like many of the men in Welty's life, turned out to be gay.

Waldron does a creditable, if at times perfunctory, job of following the trajectory of Welty's literary career--from her first hauntingly strange short stories collected in A Curtain of Green to whimsical productions of her midcareer like The Ponder Heart to her "warm, appealing, beautifully written" memoir, One Writer's Beginnings. Literary analysis is scant here, but that's fine, because many others have written at length and in depth about Welty's work. But only Ann Waldron has dared to do the life--and she has succeeded in making it clear, sympathetic, respectful, and wonderfully readable. --David Laskin ... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Reviewed by Heather Grimshaw for
Interpretations of books may differ, but most readers agree that an author's lot in life is to unlock diaries, tell secrets, and share the intimate thoughts of their characters. But when it comes to sharing theirlives, some authors are more willing to bare their pasts and share theirinspiration than others. Eudora Welty did not embrace the notion of herlife populating pages of a biography, yet Ann Waldron portrays the authorin EUDORA: A Writer's Life in a way that will surely prompt a renewedinterest in her works.

Waldron employs a stark style of writing that isat times dry, listing dates and events with little commentary, but hersimplicity allows the richness of her content to shine. A book thatpromises to enthrall readers whose literary interests have led to Welty'snovels, EUDORA: A Writer's Life will undoubtedly serve as a usefulreference.

Those whose interest in Welty precedes her novels should beprepared for a sneak peek into the author's development of characters andthe personal experiences that may have molded them in her mind. Usingquotes from interviews and snippets from correspondence, Waldron is able toproject Welty's voice in a way that allows readers to hear Welty as thoughshe were in the same room. Writers will especially appreciate one quotefrom Welty, in which she explains the way she discovered one character'srole in several short stories. "All I had to do was put two and twotogether, him and my little group, and I had him by the tail," shesaid.

While Waldron shares some of Welty's inner thoughts, asdocumented in letters and such, she does not presume to analyze the meaningbehind Welty's stories or the motivation of her characters, a practice thatWelty openly disparaged. In one chapter, Welty comments on letters shereceived from readers wanting to know whether a character's choice of anapple in "A Visit of Charity" is a reference to the Garden ofEden. Welty, whose impatience resonates in her quote said of the question,"The things some people teach! She was just eating that [an apple] theway you would a Hershey bar --- or anything else you'd saved for a rewardafter an ordeal. I used to visit the old ladies. They scared me. I couldn'twait to leave."

This quote and others help to draw a picture ofWelty, often called "Eudo" by family and friends and lovedunilaterally by colleagues, friends, family, and audiences around theworld. She was not, however, a woman who enjoyed the social life of thetimes. Her looks are described by some as ugly, off-putting, and odd; butsuch descriptions are always followed by praise of her character, her zestfor life, and her talent as a writer. Welty's looks may have prevented aslightly less creative girl from achieving similar heights, but she seemedto channel both the negative and the positives of her life into her work.She was able to transcend the superficiality of the times, which put astaggering amount of importance on looks, and is remembered by colleaguesas a woman before her time.

The book, which spans 340 pages, alsodelves into the network of literary giants that Welty cultivated. From herhometown of Jackson, Mississippi to New York City and abroad Welty toured,spoke, and nurtured a growing base of loyal friends and fans. She wascalled approachable by students who attended her lectures and lovable byfriends who shared intimate moments and memories with her. Well respectedand revered by writers, editors, and publishers, Welty was a multifacetedwoman who first tested creative waters as a photographer who was known towalk into less fortunate neighborhoods and take pictures of people from allwalks of life.

Welty identified her dream to be a writer in the early20s and her determination led her from the society pages of a dailyMississippi newspaper to becoming junior publicist for the Works ProgressAdministration; and, later, a novelist whose life is of interest to readersaround the world.

After reading about her life, I find myself recallingcharacters that at one point or another find themselves in similarcircumstances or places that Eudora experienced, and have already put herautobiography titled ONE WRITER'S BEGINNINGS on my literary wish list.

--- Reviewed by Heather Grimshaw

5-0 out of 5 stars Rewarding glimpses into a remarkable life
I spent most of the weekend immersed in this book--and becoming enchanted with Eudora Welty.Monday I was at the library getting several of her works.I wanted to start at the beginning, so I read her first shortstory--Death of a Traveling Salesman.It was as gripping and powerful as Ihad hoped.This biography is respectful and insightful.It provides youwith a strong sense of a gentle, talented southern lady who was absolutelytrue to herself and the world in which she spent her life and nurtured hertalents. I am looking forward to reading everything Eudora Welty wrote andgetting to know her.And it all began with this biography.

1-0 out of 5 stars The Petrified Biographer
This is a terrible, mean-spirited attack against our greatest living writer, attacking her looks, her private life, etc. Eudora Welty has said throughout her life that she didn't want a biography written about her.This woman obviously does not respect her or she would respect her wishes.And why do such a book at this late date, with Miss Welty about to turn90?? The author coyly pretends to be an admirer and then makes endlesslurid allusions to a lady who basically has devoted her whole life tocultivating her art. Our most gifted writer is dismissed as a homely,unwanted "fag hag." (Judging by the photo of the dust jacket,Miss Waldron is no Hedy Lamarr herself). What would Edna Earle say aboutsuch a woman!!Don't buy this garbage. Buy another copy of one of MissEudora's books instead.You'll love it and it won't upset your stomach.To think some poor trees had to be slaughtered for this trash!!By theway, Happy 90th Birthday to Miss Eudora Welty who will certainly survivesuch a infantileattack as this.And someday an HONORABLE biography abouther no will doubt be written. ... Read more

187. Totch: A Life in the Everglades
by Loren G. "Totch" Brown
list price: $16.05
our price: $10.91
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0813012287
Catlog: Book (1993-10-01)
Publisher: University Press of Florida
Sales Rank: 129304
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars An Amazing Life Story
This book is a wonderfully informative and touching story of a great and honorable man. Through Totch we learn of a nearly forgotten way of life and we see the Everglades as it used to be. I appreciate his honesty and plainspokeness and I'm thankful Totch made this book to preserve an important history. I also recommend the three movies made about him: Totch Brown's tales of the Everglades and 10,000 islands, The Everglades outlaw Totch Brown, and Yesterday's Everglades.

5-0 out of 5 stars South Florida revisited
Any south Florida history buff will want to add "Totch' to their collection.

1-0 out of 5 stars Totch a Life in the Everglades
Don't be misled by Peter Matthiessen's forward, this one is not for the ecologically friendly faint-of-heart. Totch was a one man ecological disaster, constantly on the move wrecking havoc on the wildlife wherever he went. His life of slaughtering animals for personal profit was a willful life choice, hardly dictated by the times, as he claims in his self-serving attempts to justify his pogrom against nature. His self-indulgence was carried to the extreme by illegally poaching thousands of alligators in the protected Everglades National Park in defiance of the laws of man and nature. The purpose for his illegal acts was personal profit, to skin the animals, only using their hides. Their dead carcasses, several hundred in a period of a few days, were dumped into the water to rot. This was hardly an act of survival. He did this because he wanted to, not because he had to. There are several other books, more accurate, better written, and less self-centered, that better describe the early pioneers of Southwest Florida. Rather than augment Totch's bloody legacy by buying his book, I encourage readers interested in the Everglades to look elsewhere, and leave Totch's book describing his carnage against nature to rot, like one of his skinned alligator carcasses, on the ash pile of despicable acts by the self-indulgent.

5-0 out of 5 stars A view into the past...
Totch is a fascinating book written in a natural writer's style illustrating how it really was down in the islands.The chapters not only offer us the life of Totch Brown but share photos and history unmatched in any other source I have found. Any reader interested in Florida history and/or anyone who was mesmerized by Peter Matthiessen's trilogy (Killing Mister Watson, Lost Man's River, and Bone by Bone) will revel in this book's information. The photographs add so much to the story offering a glimpse at this rather mysterious corner of Southwest Florida (where else, for example, can one see a photo of Ted Smallwood's store as it looked at the turn of the century?). I read it cover to cover without putting it down, and I turn to it often for Florida history/environmental/sociology information. A great find for any lover of Florida history! Totch offers us all a real glimpse into the lives and lore of inordinately tough, brave people who were real pioneers in a little known and enigmatic part of America.

5-0 out of 5 stars A wonderful account of yesterday's Everglades & its people!
Peter Matthiessen, author of "Killing Mr. Watson," and a master in is on right, is definitely on the mark in describing Loren G. "Totch" Brown as "a natural-born story-teller." A wonderful account of yesterday's Everglades & its people, "Totch, A life in the Everglades" is so colorful and entertaining you'll almost feel the need to keep the mosquito repellent handy while reading it. ... Read more

188. The Land Remembers: The Story of a Farm and Its People (Wisconsin)
by Ben Logan
list price: $14.95
our price: $10.17
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1559717181
Catlog: Book (1999-06-01)
Publisher: Creative Publishing International
Sales Rank: 272208
Average Customer Review: 4.83 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars One of my all time favorites
This is one of those books I will always remember. My children were young when I read it and I felt that it contained many lessons on how to be a good parent. And all in the context of very enjoyable reading. The story about learning to use the horse drawn cultivator shows how a parents help their child develop self-confidence, which is something I see so many people lacking. I can't say enough good things about this gem of a book.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of my favorites!
This book is full of humor and spends wonderful time on how a farm is run, explaining the land, the chores, the wonder of living on a farm. Ben's antics with his brothers are delightful, and his account of his evenings with his family are memorable. I read this anytime I need a lift, and share its richness with anyone who will listen.

4-0 out of 5 stars A time capsule of growing up on a farm.
One room school house, the changing of the seasons and the farm chores for each one...a memior of one man's boyhood experiences. I liked this book and my husband liked it even more than I did. He was born and raised in rural WI, picking rocks, milking, and going sledding with his brothers. This book is well written and reads like a time capsule...the people & chores on a family farm. I would have given it a perfect 5 stars, but there is too much about bees. Less bee watching and the author would have a classic here. Great that his story goes full circle. We learn what happens to the people we've read and cared about...which is always gratifying to us readers.

5-0 out of 5 stars Hard to put the book down!
After finishing this book, I added Gays Mill, WI to my list of places to visit. I could hardly put the book down once I got into it. The stories that Logan tells are thought provoking...some brought tears to my eyes while others filled me with laughter. All will warm your heart! Having grown up on a farm, I could relate to the events that happened as Logan was going up. Although we are years apart in age, there are some aspects of growing up on a farm that all can relate to.

5-0 out of 5 stars For family reading
I read this book to my children when they were in grade school and recently read it again to my husband on a long trip. We felt at peace and surrounded by love as we read this book together. My children loved the adventures and laughed at the stories in many chapters, eagerly looking forward to the next night's reading. The ending is both painful and filled with hope. I highly recommend this as a read aloud book instead of watching television. ... Read more

189. Romance of a Little Village Girl (Paso Por Aqui: Series on the Nuevomexicano Literary Heritage (Paperback))
by Cleofas Jaramillo
list price: $19.95
our price: $13.57
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Asin: 0826322867
Catlog: Book (2000-10-01)
Publisher: University of New Mexico Press
Sales Rank: 857241
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Book Description

Cleofas M. Jaramillo (1878-1956) grew up in northern New Mexico, and her memoir, originally published in 1955, offers a unique and engaging portrait of daily life and customs from the late nineteenth through the early twentieth century. The story of her life in a prominent family steeped in the traditions of Old Spain takes us into village life of a bygone period. Jaramillo's vivid recollection of a time when tradition clashed with modernization and New Mexican cultures nevertheless came together to form a richly diverse society makes her autobiography not only the story of one woman's life but of changing lifeways on the edge of a new era.

Jaramillo narrates her life from girlhood through courtship and marriage, motherhood, and her later years in Santa Fe. Throughout we witness her enduring and indomitable spirit despite political upheaval, economic depression, and family tragedy. Jaramillo drew singular strength from her faith and her heritage. She discusses religion, politics, local customs, family, love, and more, recounting in unique detail customs associated with courtship, marriage, fiestas, and hospitality that are so much a part of Hispanic culture in New Mexico. ... Read more

190. Growing Up True: Lessons from a Western Boyhood
by Craig S. Barnes
list price: $22.95
our price: $15.61
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1555913504
Catlog: Book (2001-09-01)
Publisher: Fulcrum Publishing
Sales Rank: 597512
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In Growing Up True, Craig Barnes shares his stories of growing up in rural Colorado during and after World War II. As the youngest of three boys, and an imaginative one at that, he dreamed of many a swashbuckling adventure far beyond Colorado's Highline Canal. But the lessons and demands of real life always nipped at the edges of his fantastic dreams. Barnes's mother told him that he would develop moral character if he would carry water to her maple saplings. His father held that a small person "... should learn to plan ahead, think a problem through, be lighthearted, cheerful, ready to help whenever needed. It would also be good to do the algebra homework, and geography, too, and it would be good to clean the barn ... ." ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Boyhood Classic
Craig Barnes has crafted a beautiful, evocative book. This vivid reminiscence of family life in the rural West explains--better than any general work I have read--the beliefs and values and personal strengths that enabled the so-called "greatest generation" to surmount the challenges presented by the Great Depression and the world's first global war. As a story of family life in America, GROWING UP TRUE is a boyhood classic which belongs on the special shelf that holds Russell Baker's book about GROWING UP in Baltimore. ... Read more

191. The Los Angeles Diaries : A Memoir
by James Brown
list price: $21.95
our price: $14.93
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Asin: 0060521511
Catlog: Book (2003-09-01)
Publisher: William Morrow
Sales Rank: 75518
Average Customer Review: 4.88 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A wrenching chronicle of loss and
reaffirmation from novelist James Brown

Plagued by the suicides of both his siblings, heir to alcohol and drug abuse, divorce and economic ruin, James Brown lived a life clouded by addiction, broken promises and despair. In The Los Angeles Diaries he reveals his struggle for survival, mining his past to present the inspiring story of his redemption. Beautifully written and limned with dark humor, these twelve deeply confessional, interconnected chapters address personal failure, heartbreak, the trials of writing for Hollywood and the life-shattering events that finally convinced Brown that he must "change or die."

In "Snapshot," Brown is five years old and recalls the night his mother "sets fire to an apartment building down the street," an act that splinters the family, later leading to their destruction. In "The Facts," he is a young writer and professor "afraid to step out of the darkness" and confront his double life as an addict. In "Daisy," Brown purchases a Vietnamese potbellied pig for his wife to atone for his sins, only to find himself engaged in a furious battle of man versus beast -- with the pig's bulk growing in direct proportion to the tensions in his marriage.

Harrowing, brutally honest, The Los Angeles Diaries is the chronicle of a man on a collision course with life, who ultimately finds the strength and courage to conquer his demons and believe in life once more.

... Read more

Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars A privilege to read.
There's something terribly disturbing about confessional writing. In the hands of a man or woman at the top of their craft, a writer of immense skill and transparency, the experience for the reader can border on the pathological. Honesty without the slightest hint of pretence, particularly from an experienced and intelligent individual, knowing full well that what they tell the world is deeply personal and the honest to goodness truth, is rare. There's always some other agenda. For example, the two most famous confessional pieces in world literature are St. Augustine's Confessions and Jean-Jacques Rousseau's The Confessions; both author's had an agenda in writing these works, whether for purposes of religious conversion or literary immortality - both achieved their respective ends. Brown's book, however, is different. This is a writer telling a story because this particular story needed to be told. I get the impression that Brown needed to communicate his life in the only form he knew how to as a writer. This is a memoir about writing, addiction, alcoholism, relationships and human responsibility. It is about madness, suicide, compulsion, irony and love. This is a heartbreaking story that leaves the reader with a tiny glimmer of hope. As a true confessional does, it doesn't raise feelings of sympathy or thoughts of self-righteous condescension, but a real empathy, because we've all experienced, in varying degrees, this man's life.

Brown's vivid and deceptively rendered prose reminds me of a style of American writing that's all its own. One reads this simple, clear-eyed style of writing and thinks that it would be easy to imitate. Wrong. It appears simple but is awfully difficult to do. Brown's prose adds to the subject matter, making his family obsessions and chemical escapes much harsher, difficult to swallow, but in the end, inspiring and troubling.

The L.A. Diaries is a rare memoir because it is what it is and doesn't pretend to be anything else. Brown is a fine writer and this work was a privilege to read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Powerful
Not to take anything away from JAMES BROWN and the very powerful writing he does with "THE LOS ANGELES DIARIES" but he covers the same territory as "MY FRACTURED LIFE" and I'm not sure it can be done better than that. Mentally ill mother, moderately successful suicidal Hollywood actor, absentee father, they're all the same subject matter. Like I said, Brown does write a powerful book. Plus he does tell his own story, he's not imitating Travolta. This is Brown's own story, be sure. I just can't say that he does it as well as Travolta did. Perhaps I'm biased because I read "MY FRACTURED LIFE" first and I'd feel different if I read them in the opposite order (only one chance for a first impression). I definitely recommend reading "THE LOS ANGELES DIARIES" and give it 4 and 1/2 Stars. "MY FRACTURED LIFE" I give 5 stars. They're both excellent. Which you like better will come down to preference. Maybe if you buy them together you'll flip flop the ratings.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wow....Brought back tough memories of my own
What a great book. If you have grown up in a dysfunctional, truly dysfunctional, family then you need to read this book. I'm tempted to write the author and tell him he is awesome (maybe he checks these reviews). These stories/memories bring back a lot of pain of my own but I cannot help but think that he is healing himself by writing this and hopefully passing this along to his children and his niece. This is a book for someone who is ready to recover, not just from alcohol or drug addiction but from dependency.

5-0 out of 5 stars Unforgettably Honesty
James Brown's memoir, The Los Angeles Diaries, cuts to the quick with its terse but layered descriptions of alcoholism, mental illness, sibling suicide, and, unexpectedly: hope. Without glorifying his addictions or misbehavior--especially towards his wife and three children--Brown's confessional creates a powerful intimacy where none should be.

When the book opens during the middle of Brown's usual commute to a screenwriting job in Hollywood, he seems a likeable professional, with morbidly intelligent commentary on his childhood and southern California. Then like a fast-forward edit in a music video, we witness one of Brown's typical three-day binges. He begins with one drink. And promises himself only one. Next comes crank, followed by crime... Without eliciting sympathy, Brown creates a sense of intimacy by simply stating his emotions: "My wife's name is Heidi, and I know I should call her, that I owe her that much, but I don't want to hear it. Her cursing. Her screaming. I know I've done wrong. I know there's no excuse for getting drunk when you're supposed to be home with your family and I wish knowing this would stop me from doing it. I wish that's all it took. That I could will it to happen. But it doesn't work that way, it never has, and in my state of mind, at this particular moment, I can't imagine living without it. The alcohol. The dope. I've been drinking and using since I was nine years old and sometimes I think it's the only thing that gives me any real pleasure."

The following eleven autobiographical sketches of The Los Angeles Diaries operate in a similar fashion. Brown's brutally honest narration, modestly describes disturbing situations throughout his life. Watching an author publicly display the pains and problems of his past, in a dignified, without-whining-way shows how people can learn from their mistakes and move forward into a brighter present.

5-0 out of 5 stars A dark voice that utters absolute truth
I don't know where James Brown found the courage to recount the tragic tale of his life, but I cannot emphasize enough how meaningful it has been for me to read it. Where many will see this memoir as a classic depiction of the descent into substance abuse, what resonated for me was honesty in regard to the issue of suicide. I believe it takes a potential suicide to understand a potential suicide; most family members respond in the same way that 'Jimmy' did to his older brother: "You don't really mean that stuff." Sometimes we do. Beyond his courageous though brutal honesty, Brown has the rare ability as a writer to bring his readers into a scene so deeply that we forget we are reading the words on the page and begin to believe we are living these scenes with him. His power as a writer comes from his concise, unembellished rendering of every scene. In 200 pages we have his life--and his soul. I suspect this book will see the same success as Angela's Ashes--because everyone will tell everyone to read it. Bravo. ... Read more

192. On Any Given Day
by Joe Martin, Ross Yockey
list price: $21.95
our price: $14.93
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0895872331
Catlog: Book (2000-09-01)
Publisher: John F. Blair Publisher
Sales Rank: 447123
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars A writer first
I cannot add much to the previous reviews-- all of with which I agree-- except this: Mr. Martin is, first and foremost, a writer. Indeed, he has ALS, and that is much of what he writes about here. But his lean, athletic style, keen observation and outstanding sense of humor would entice me to read router bit catalog copy, if Mr. Martin wrote it. I'm in search of his short story published in the Crescent Review ( if anyone finds it first) and am hopeful he is at work on something else for us to enjoy and think about.

5-0 out of 5 stars An inspiration for all
Like another reviewer, I also have the pleasure of knowing Joe Martin. And while I knew of some of his remarkable achievements, I was astounded to read of many more. Like Joe, I have ALS, Lou Gehrig's disease. He, and his book, have inspired me to live life with joy, love, purpose, hope and faith notwithstanding the ravages of this disease. His book, like Tuesdays With Morrie, should inspire anyone and everyone. But while Morrie spoke as a dying man, Joe, with the same terminal illness, speaks with the vitality of a man truly living life to the fullest.

Laura Murphy Atlanta, Ga.

5-0 out of 5 stars On Any Given Day
I found this first person account co-authored by Joe Martin, who has ALS, very inspirational. Joe allows the reader to share his feelings of frustration as well as to grasp the depth of his convictions that life should be celebrated and cherished. Ross Yocke's commentary throughout the book provides an additional source of information which is helpful for the reader to gain perspective about Joe Martin's life with ALS. This short 178 page book pulls the reader into Joe Martin's reality, and allows the reader to share his religious and moral convictions, as well as to revel in his wonderful anecdots. This book reminds me of Tuesdays with Morrie. I hope others will enjoy reading On Any Given Day as much as I have.

5-0 out of 5 stars Inspirational, real and challenging
Joe Martin and his family (family, friends and bank colleagues) are the greatest support system. Joe's life inspires, challenges and motivates all to do more. His will to live is refreshing, unbelievable given the impact of ALS on his body but not on his mind or spirit. For anyone facing disease, stress or looking for meaning, this is a must read.

It's a quick read and doesn't leave you down -- but instead deals with a tough subject -- living with a terminal disease -- with reality and purpose. You will learn how "you can live like this"

5-0 out of 5 stars Hope Amid Hopelessness
I must admit my bias up front. I know the Author, although we've never met face-to-face. I viewed a video of Mr. Martin several years ago, "Mountains Into Molehills", where he gave his acceptance speech for the Whitney Young Award from the Urban League. I was so inspired, I sat down and wrote him a letter, and so started a long distance relationship (I would like to call a friendship) via e-mail. The Joe I've admired for these past 3 years certainly comes across in his book...a man who is "recovering" from ALS (Lou Gherig's Disease), a man so full of life and hope despite the fact that he cannot lift his head, or any other part of his body, from his pillow in the morning.

There will be obvious comparisons with this book and the best-seller "Tuesday's With Morrie". Both books deal with the struggle of ALS,and both books feature remarkable human beings. Joe, in fact, mentions that book in his memoir. If it's possible, Joe affirms life and hope even more that Morrie. He may not offer his observations on all of the points of life that "Tuesday's" addressed, but his lessons on life shine through in how he lives every day. He faces each day with hope, gratitude, and grace. Long before this book, Joe Martin has impacted lives across the country..mine included.

If you are questioning life, are feeling sorry for yourself, or are facing the challenges that living can sometimes bring, buy this book now, and read it tomorrow. I'm sure the book will never achieve the stratosperic sales that "Tuesday's with Morrie" has achieved, but the message is just as inspirational and timeless. Joe's lessons and words will endure for many, many years. ... Read more

193. Autism in History: The Case of Hugh Blair of Borgue
by R. A. Houston, Uta Frith
list price: $29.95
our price: $29.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0631220895
Catlog: Book (2000-12-01)
Publisher: Blackwell Publishers
Sales Rank: 608212
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Book Description

This case study is the result of a unique collaboration between a social historian and a cognitive scientist. It examines the enigmatic case of Hugh Blair, an eighteenth century Scottish 'laird' or landowner, whose arranged marriage was annulled on the grounds of his mental incapacity. Through an in-depth study of the evidence surrounding the case, the authors conclude that Blair, who was classed at the time as a 'fool', was in fact autistic. Writing in a lively and engaging style, the authors draw together witness statements from court records with a wide range of other documentation to set the sociohistoric scene for the case. This provides a fascinating context to which the latest theories on autism are applied. This book will not only intrigue both historians and psychologists but will also appeal to a wider audience for its study of this compelling and deeply affecting human story. ... Read more

194. 21 : Very Day Was New Year's Eve
by H. Peter Kriendler
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0878332294
Catlog: Book (1999-03-25)
Publisher: Taylor Trade Publishing
Sales Rank: 291318
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Book Description

The story of New York's 21 Club is the story of American glamour in the twentieth century. ... Read more

195. Beauty Before Comfort : The Story of an American Original
list price: $12.95
our price: $10.36
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0812972678
Catlog: Book (2004-07-13)
Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks
Sales Rank: 91357
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

“The first lesson [my grandmother] ever taught me was that dancing matters. . . . When she did come across men she fancied who didn’t dance, she sent them away until they did. They always learned, because my grandmother was bitingly beautiful, and that is the second lesson she taught me—that beauty inspires, all of God’s beauty, but especially hers.”

So writes Allison Glock at the start of her irresistible memoir of her maternal grandmother, Aneita Jean Blair, a woman who came of age during the Depression in a West Virginia factory town yet refused to succumb to the desperation that surrounded her. Instead, Aneita Jean rouged her cheeks and kicked up her heels and did
her best to forget the realities of life in an in-sular community where your neighbors could be
as unforgiving as the Appalachian landscape. Before it was all over, Aneita Jean would have seven marriage proposals and her share of the tragedies that befall small-town girls with bushels of suitors and bodies like Miss America, girls “who dare to see past the dusty perimeters of their lives.”

In lyrical and often breathtaking language, Glock travels back through time, assisted by a fistful of old photos and the piercing childhood memories of her grandmother, “a skinny, eager child with disobedient hair and bottomless
longing.” Together they guide us through the cramped dankness of the pottery plants, the dense sweetness of the holler, and into the surging promise of the Ohio River, capturing not only the irrepressible vitality of Aneita Jean Blair, but also the rich ambiance of working-class West Virginia during the twenties, the Great Depression, and World War II. Expertly written, lovingly told, Beauty Before Comfort is stirring testimony to the vanished dreams, and powerful spirit, of an extraordinary person and place.
... Read more

Reviews (20)

5-0 out of 5 stars So far from beautiful
Well, I don't know what the negative reviewers were reading, but they clearly took some offense to components I did not see in this beautiful book.Having grown up in the mountains of North Carolina, I am always on the lookout for books about life in Appalachia, and "Beauty Before Comfort" has to be one of the best in recent years.The honesty, reality, humor--they recall Dorothy Allison's "Bastard Out of Carolina" and the poetry of Kathryn Stripling Byer.Glock deserves a place at the table of strong, stunning Southern women writers.

1-0 out of 5 stars ick............
I found the the story excruciatingly boring, virtually pointless.After Jean marries Don, the next sixty years of their lives are dealt with in ten pages.Ms. Glock may be a gifted writer, but she is a poor storyteller.

4-0 out of 5 stars Evoking Passion

You're a great little writer.That you evoked this much emotion from people reading your book says that you have the gift of telling a story passionately.You have stirred up some powerful emotions that goes to the heart of your ability to write.When people who can't spell or put a sentence together are moved to write a review of your book, you're doing something right.Either they love you or they hate you, but they are reading you.

I went to school with your mother, until I was one of the ones who got out of Hancock County when I moved to California.Your mother must be very proud.I sure would be.

Your book brings back many precious memories, even memories of some of the hardships grabbed something in my heart.You have written a very accurate description of the people and the area, and you have been able to tell it like it was while also conveying a loving image of your grandmother and the times.

This is your first book.Incredible!!!I gave you four stars because I'm saving that fifth one for your next book.

Sharin (Fletcher) Bowers

5-0 out of 5 stars Read it straight through
I came from an industrial town in Tennessee, and Allison Glock's wonderful story of her grandmother, who lived in that kind of environment, really resonated with me.Aneita Jean Blair's life is not the kind that usually gets the full biographical treatment, especially from a granddaughter.

The second outstanding part about this book is the writing.Lines such as "Just walking through the house required lurching effort," written about the death of a family member, make the story more real.

Having read some of the reviews here on Amazon, I cannot understand the hostility that some people convey about this book.My favorite line from an angry reader was this one:"I think if you right (sic) a book you should actually know what you are talking about."

That line--complete with spelling that shouts ignorance--says it all.Allison Glock does know what she is talking about, and tells it very, very well.

5-0 out of 5 stars The author speaks
I just wanted to thank everyone for taking the time to read my book. It means a lot to me and I appreciate your interest, even from the few of you who didn't ultimately enjoy the experience. (Although I will admit it hurts to be called "garbage" by a stranger.) For those of you who also wrote reviews, thanks again. Your feedback matters.
Happy reading,
Allison Glock ... Read more

196. Edge of Tomorrow: An Arctic Year (Northwest Voices Essay Series)
by Sam Wright
list price: $14.95
our price: $14.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0874221676
Catlog: Book (1998-10-01)
Publisher: Washington State University
Sales Rank: 209853
Average Customer Review: 4.33 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (3)

3-0 out of 5 stars Philosophy from the north slope
Having read Mr. Wright's first book, Koviashuvik: Making a Home in the Brooks Range, I was anxious to read this. Although much of the book is his philosophical viewpoint about "life explanations", a great deal of the wonderful Alaskan serenity and harshness comes through. I am sad to say, this writing was neither entertaining nor left me soulful. I think the author has grown old and yet as wise as he clearly is/was, doesn't fit well into 21st century solutions. I take homage at his reference to the northern lights and Billie talking to him with the same voice, and will just have to live with his first Koviashuvik stories. By the way, did anyone ever find the thief who cleaned out the cabin?

5-0 out of 5 stars I live in Alaska. I couldn't have read a more enjoyable book
Sam's book, written from his cabin 100 miles north of the arctic circle, is a contemporary adventure story par excellence. I'm a recent University graduate in sustainable agriculture now living in Alaska. I appreciate Sam's view of living with the land, not just upon it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wrights philosophy of life.
Edge of Tomorrow By Sam Wright Reviewed by Frank Kadish

Few people are able to synthesize their lives from being born and raised in the west, to being a scientist, to become a minister in a free thinking liberal church, to an be outdoorsman and to put into practice his philosophy by combining it with living off the land as our ancestors did. My wife bought the book at our meeting of our group interested in communing with nature. I spent the last three hours reading it in one gulp. It has been as satisfying an afternoon as I have had in many a year.

Sam structures his philosophy and experience with the calendar and the events of the year in his in his cabin just below the Arctic Circle. His wisdom comes thru the stories he tells and the parables that he creates. With his wide-ranging experience in life, his story becomes an adventure of the mind.

Get the book and enjoy. ... Read more

197. Be Sweet: A Conditional Love Story
by Roy Blount
list price: $13.00
our price: $9.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0156006820
Catlog: Book (1999-05-01)
Publisher: Harvest Books
Sales Rank: 457342
Average Customer Review: 3.55 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

My mother loved me to pieces, as she often said, writes Roy Blount Jr., "and I'm still trying to pick up the pieces." In the book his readers have been waiting for, our generation's master of full-hearted humor lays open the soul of his life story. Blount-Georgia boy, New York wit, lover of baseball and interesting women, bumbling adventurer, salty-limerick virtuoso, and impassioned father-journeys into his past, and his psyche (and also to China, Manhattan, and sixty feet underwater) in search of the answers to three riddles that have haunted his life: one, the riddle of "the family curse"; two, the riddle of what drives him, or anyone, to be funny; and three, the riddle of what so cruelly tangled his bond to the beguiling orphan girl who became the impossible mother who raised him to Be Sweet. Sardonic and sentimental, hilarious and grieving, brazen and bashful, tough and tender, honest and wayward, Be Sweet resonates with the complex but bouncy chords of a whole man singing, clinkers and all. ... Read more

Reviews (11)

3-0 out of 5 stars Interesting mother -son history
Roy Blount Jr. writes a rambling account of growing up with his strong yet troubled mother -- a woman who despite an abusive upbringing herself managed to raise a son and a daughter with little help from a good but passive husband to be individuals with a strong sense of themselves. Blount is funny and he makes good points about the defensive nature of humor, the lurking self-loathing beneath the humorist. The only turnoff in this saga is that as a middle-aged man, Blount still is in rebellion against his mother for her guilt trips, so much so that he can't, it seems, "be sweet" to the women in his personal life whom he claims he has loved. Otherwise a good read for anyone intersted in family relationships and 1950s nostalgia.

4-0 out of 5 stars bitter with the sweet
I was lucky enough to stumble across Roy Blount reading from this book in a Vermont bookstore. I bought it on the spot, telling him that it was the first one of his books that I had paid full price for. He thought this was pretty fun, the store employee sitting next to him didn't. This book is worth its full price.

Be Sweet in no way sets out to "make fun of the mother-son relationship". I suppose because Blount is such an irreverent goof-ball on the radio and in print, it seems fair to have that preconception. However, Blount has always let us know that some things are sacred and after you get a short way into this book you realize that family is one of them. He desperately does not want to cast aspersions on his own mother's character, but he has to acknowledge that she did drive him to distraction throughout his life.

There were several points in this book were Blount seems to be going off on a tangent. To be honest I began to wonder if he was just filling the space between the covers. Oh me of little faith! In the last third of the book I was progressively more amazed and impressed as I discovered that his seemingly unconnected threads were actually germane to the resolution of his mid-life psychic wrestling match with himself.

Bill Bryson's recent A Walk In the Woods similarly surprised me. I don't expect journalists to write deeply personal prose. Roy Blount beats Bryson hands down as far as the psychological depths that are plumbed and illuminated. If the presentation of the psychological dimension of things bores you or insults your sense of decorum, then don't read this Roy Blount book. If you want to know what is going on in the head of middle aged white Southern guys of above average emotional honesty, then this is a pretty good place to start.

3-0 out of 5 stars good writing...but
Blount is a good writer and has an excellent sense of phrasing. Many of these essays are insightful and quiet funny but overall this memoir really needs some editing. It is too long and rambling and he continually looses sight of his own theme. The best essays aren't even about his past but his current situation as a "humorist." His travels to China and stints on talk shows are the best.

1-0 out of 5 stars A not very funny humorist!
Having roared at Roy Blount's humor on the Garrison Keillor show, I really looked forward to reading his book making fun of the mother-son relationship so aptly caught up in the title, "Be Sweet". I was terribly disappointed and found him not only lacking in humor but exhibiting a real dislike for females altogether. It was a book I easily gave away to the second hand shop.

4-0 out of 5 stars An amazing book; very serious, but still true to past work
I was very surprised by this book on a number of levels. I've thought Blount's past works were funny, but also quite well thought out. Blount is never "funny" in the sense that Dave Berry is funny. There is no silliness about Blount; he is firmly grounded in reality.

This work is very serious. It is his attempt to displell his "family curse." He explores his relationships with his parents, sister, and ex-wives. He speculates on the nature of humor and humorists.

I thought the book was brilliant. It's like Blount is willing to talk about things that no one else will because doing so would sound stupid, but it's still what you want to say.

An added bonus is Blount's voice. He is not a particularly elegant reader. But it is hard to imagine any other voice reading this work. I compare it to Jean Shepard, who also has the perfect voice for his own work. ... Read more

198. Coleman Young and Detroit Politics: From Social Activist to Power Broker (African American Life Series)
by Wilbur C. Rich
list price: $34.95
our price: $34.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0814320937
Catlog: Book (1989-02-01)
Publisher: Wayne State University Press
Sales Rank: 1150696
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199. Last of the Bighams
by J.A. Zeigler
list price: $7.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0878440569
Catlog: Book (1984-06-01)
Publisher: Sandlapper Publishing
Sales Rank: 1223934
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Straightforward and Detailed
Although one cannot accuse J.A. Zeigler of being a creative writer, his account of this horrifying family is definitely an interesting one. I live in the town that the Bighams lived in, and practically everyone here has read this book as well as the now out-of-print "A Piece of the Fox's Hide" by Katherine Boling. Who came before Charles Manson? Jim Jones? Jeffrey Dahmer? The Bighams! ... Read more

200. Birds of Sorrow: Notes from a River Junction in Northern New Mexico
by Tom Ireland
list price: $12.95
our price: $12.95
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Asin: 0939010194
Catlog: Book (1991-09-01)
Publisher: Zephyr Press (MA)
Sales Rank: 857470
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Food for the Heart
There ought to be a name for this genre.The jacket blurb says "nature/Southwest literature".But Annie Dillard did this in the Northeast and Edward Abbey did it all over the Southwest and down rivers.Everett Ruess and Ann Zwinger did it in SE Utah with superb sketches and wood cuts.C.L. Rawlins and Gretel Ehrlich do it in Wyoming with sketches and photographs.Stanley Crawford did it with *Mayordomo* and *A Garlic Testament* a few miles SE of Tom Ireland in the Embudo Valley between Taos and Santa Fe (or halfway to Los Alamos - whichever way your crow flies).

"People who bond with 'place' and then write about it with philosophical comments and profound/funny/zen-like observations along the way" is a bit cumbersome.These people out-Thoreau Thoreau (and I'm from Thoreau, New Mexico [heh heh]; I ought to know).All these authors (and more) do this thing superbly well, in their own unique voices, but all the same, the genre deserves a better name than "nature/Southwest" or "nature/Northeast."

Ireland has added a new dimension with Angie Coleman's joyful paintings of exactly this same country round about.[I've debated about extracting and framing these paintings - still debating.Think I'll have to buy another copy of the book.]

This author reproduces his encounters with his Spanish and Indian neighbors (sometimes poignant, somtimes frustrating, always funny).These little essays/vignettes stand by themselves, but at the very end, the writer includes a story about La Pascualita - a real person who sweeps the roads with her broom and is housed and adopted by the entire community of La Madera.Ireland weaves her into a story that is reminiscent of Rudolfo Anaya, but very much his own.

And his piece about Magdalena, the magpie he adopted, is an original for sure.

"Walking around with a bird on your head is like watching life from a tenement window." "What's the collective noun for magpies?How about 'complaint'?There's a complaint of magpies in a cottonwood on the hillside across the river."

He watches the ravens of La Junta:"I was still standing there when the raven blew up over the cliff and almost into my face.It must have scared him almost as much as it scared me, to be riding the blast sixty feet off the ground and then all of a sudden to be facing a man.He shat, climbed up over the reach of harm, and held there at the closest safe distance to look again, reassembling his world into the kind of order he trusted it to have.(Ravens up.Men down.)Then he spoke.It was a sort of rattle, as much from the bowel as from the throat, and in it there was both fear and outrage:'This cliff is taken.You are not wanted here.'He drifted north, riding the thermal, checking to see if there were any more of me around, then fell up and away into the bottomless sky."

About roosters:"...their voices make me think of the smell of joss sticks because *things mean things:" the rooster means incense, and the helicopter means searching the river for the body of a dead man, and I deceive myself that at eight o'clock this morning the real work will begin.Things mean things: the substance of faith, what we live for, those meanings, those coincidences of sky & rain & thought that jump at us."

He makes you feel like you're perching on his shoulder, looking through his eyes, seeing what he sees, hearing what he hears, and understanding through his mind and heart.

"Towards evening, the sun dropped into a corridor between the clouds and the little valley was filled with pink light.I put down my shovel and stood under a juniper to witness the change.It was like being in an aquarium: immersed, the bare cottonwoods, the hillside, the vacant house across the river, the fence posts, my own hands acquired a light of their own.The air filled with sugary spines of ice, and a rainbow appeared, its northern pole planted in the willows of a neighbor's cow pasture.I could see impossible distances in every direction; up the valley to La Zorra, down the crooked Valleciros, up the canada behind Vigil's store - as if I could see around corners."

All through these reflections are little personal musings:

"What is it about the presence of parents that makes us feel something less than alive, when they're the ones responsible for bringing us here in the first place?"

About dreams and water:"To wake in the dark and peel off the skin of your dream:to go out in the dark in the wet yard where drops of water hang from the asparagus berries and the night sounds are swamp sounds, sounds of water.And this our dry land smells like water and the creek runs brown."

And about work:"Ulceration of the spirit.It seems that when I have a job, my life becomes the job and not much else.There is no true rest and no true work until it's over."

"...we have made our joy depend on our work, and having come this far, we can't renounce it, can't be free from it, but only look for freedom in it."

"When I stand outside watching the clouds and the birds, I'm doing my work.These things need to be studied and praised, at least reported on."

And report he does.The title of the book comes from a quote by Malcolm Lowry, "You cannot prevent the birds of sorrow from flying over your head, but you can prevent them from building a nest in your hair."

This is a beautiful little gem of a book with lovely paintings, anecdotes and musings - the kind of book to keep by your bed and pick up and read at random.It's also a book to read all the way through from the beginning - more than once.In a word - delight.Five stars - easy. ... Read more

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