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61. The Peddler's Grandson : Growing
$10.17 $9.51 list($14.95)
62. Wild Card Quilt : The Ecology
$19.95 $13.85
63. American by Choice
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64. The Doing of the Thing: The Brief,
$9.75 $8.12 list($13.00)
65. Heart of a Soldier
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66. Hideaway : Life on the Queen Charlotte
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67. Set Up Running: The Life of a
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68. State of Grace : A Memoir of Twilight
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69. Open Secrets : A Memoir of Faith
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70. Breaking Clean
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71. Man of the Family
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72. Separate Pasts: Growing Up White
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73. Chinese Playground : A Memoir
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74. Love, Greg & Lauren
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75. Horse Tradin'
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76. Amazing Grace: A Life of Beauford
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77. Two in the Far North
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78. 999 Officer Down
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79. Coach's Life : My Forty Years
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80. Milking the Moon: A Southerner's

61. The Peddler's Grandson : Growing Up Jewish in Mississippi
list price: $12.95
our price: $10.36
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385335911
Catlog: Book (2002-01-02)
Publisher: Delta
Sales Rank: 113545
Average Customer Review: 4.74 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Edward Cohen was among the tiny minority of Jews in Jackson, Mississippi, the heart of the Bible Belt. As a child, he grew up singing “Dixie”in his segregated school and saying sh’ma in synagogue. And in his powerful, luminous memoir, Cohen tells a story as universal as it is particular, at once a deeply personal account of growing up an outsider and a vibrant family story of three generations of American Jews.

To Edward Cohen, it seemed the entire world was Jewish. Then he went to school, where he was the only child who didn’t bow his head during Christian prayers, the only child not invited to dance class.

As the polite ‘50s segued into the racially explosive ‘60s, Jackson, Mississippi, would never be the same. And Edward would escape to the University of Miami in search of a new identity.

There, he thought he would find other Jews and finally gain the acceptance he never had. But once again he found himself an outsider — this time as a southerner.

A stirring memoir for anyone who’s ever felt a loss of identity or pressure to conform, The Peddler’s Grandson is sure to touch readers everywhere who have grappled with who they are.
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Reviews (19)

5-0 out of 5 stars Charming will written memoir
THE PEDDLER'S GRANDSON Growing Up Jewish in Mississippi by Edward Cohen 193 Pages;University of Mississippi Press

This is a beautifully written memoir that is deeper than an ordinary auto-biography. Cohen discusses his grandparents and their immigration into America from Romania and Poland as well as his own conflict in trying to be oone of the crowd and still establish his own creative identity. His father's father was a peddler who walked through the Mississippi countryside, slept in haylofts and eventually imported his brother to help him open up a small clothing store near Jackson, Mississipi. His mother's parents originated in Poland which, according to Cohen, ". . . compared to Romania, it was postively cosmopoliatan. Her people settled first in Louisiana but eventually moved to Mississippi when she married Cohen's father. In many ways, the most interesting portions of the book were the discussions of how these immigrants to the American culture and the Southern Tradition managed to make their mark and settle into a comfortable way of life. Southern prejudice against Jews, the entire country's aversion to anyone "different", all contributed the elements to Edward Cohen's final immigration to that haven of liberal thought: California. He now lives in Venice, California, and works as a freelance writer and filmmaker. His memoir sheds light on what it was like to grow up Jewish and white in the south in 1950's and it is also an account of the ingenuity and courage of Polish and Romanian immigrants who came to this country determined to escape oppression and make a life for themselves. An excellent read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Growing Up Jewish in Mississippi.....and Beyond
Although it is his own autobiography, Edward Cohen tells in a very readable and entertaining narrative what growing up Jewish in America was like for many of us baby boomers, the children and grandchildren of Eastern Europeon immigrants. The Southern setting and experience is central to the theme of this excellent work. Yet, most of the stories and recollections of his large, extended family, his own coming of age in the 50's and 60's have a universality and reflect many shared experiences with those of us who grew up Jewish during this same time, even in the North. While important parts of the book touch on serious themes as racism and anti-semitism, this book offers terrific humor and warm nostalgia, without being "schmaltzy" or self-serving. Less than 200 pages, The Peddler's Grandson can be enjoyed in one cover-to-cover sitting that will for many readers envoke two stories, the author's and for many of us, the parallels of our own lives. A great read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Diaspora below the Mason- Dixon
A wonderful tale that had me captivated from the first page. Whether you're Jewish, southern or just an appreciative reader... the descriptive flow of this tale is unparalleled.

Cohen writes an excellent tale that weaves the stories of his immigrant grandparents into the time of his owning "bringing up" and struggle with his ethnicity, spiritual and regional. The characters are interesting and personal. The descriptions of the region and of the family scenes create clear mental pictures.

This is a book that I intend to add to my own collection.

3-0 out of 5 stars It takes a loving family (you-all!)
Interesting insights abound in this wonderful book about growing up Jewish in Mississippi during the 50's and 60's. Mr.Cohen introduces us to his family, friends and surroundings in a way that kept me from putting the book down. I read it in two sittings on a rainy weekend in Rhode Island and I felt like I was on vacation in Mississippi.

5-0 out of 5 stars Mogen David meets the Magnolia state in wistful memoir
Exploring the consequences of straddling two cultures, "The Peddler's Grandson" proves that being Jewish in the deep South is a lot more than playing Dixie with a klezmer band. Accurately subtitled "Growing Up Jewish in Mississippi," Edward Cohen's enjoyable and instructive memoir recounts the author's childhood in post World-War II Mississippi and explores the dynamics of being a dual outsider: A Jew in the Bible Belt and a southern Jew in a cosmopolitan Jewish university. Written with perceptive sociological insight and engaging self-deprecatory humor, this memoir sheds light on the profound issue of marginality. As Edward Cohen grows up, he leaves the safe cocoon of his protective Jewish home and discovers the strangely alluring and frightening Christian South.

The grandson of an intinerant peddler, Cohen explains both the coherence of a Jewish life and the centripetal influences the dominant culture exerts on that identity. Once in the public school system, Cohen feels a need to reinvent himself, from invisible Jew to iconoclastic rebel. Yet, with each recreation, Cohen feels less complete, even more dissatisfied. Where he yearns for a fusion of his dual Southern/Jewish identities, he experiences alienation and distancing from both. Culminating with four experimental years at Miami University, his story both extols and berates the divisive nature of his existence.

At its best, "The Peddler's Grandson" serves as a model for every immigrant seeking authentic identity in his/her new land. At once desperately seeking inclusion but discovering that the price of admission is cultural abdication, Cohen warns about the notion that one can gain identity by erasing one's past. "From the first day my Jewish self was suddenly full-immersion baptized into that southern world, I wanted to reconcile what couldn't be joined." We watch, with admiration, as Cohen reaches an adult acceptance of who and what he is. "I've learned the difference between discovering who I am and inventing it. Invention for me meant erasure, and whether it was my southern or my Jewish half that I hoped to lose, each time I tried, I got smaller."

"The Peddler's Grandson" is not pedantic in the least. Delightful family history and marvelous anecdotes pepper this memoir. Cohen's battles with the dyspeptic Rabbi Nussbaum over issues ranging from the existential meaning of life to the Edward's refusal as a child to eat a hard-boiled egg at Passover ring with Jewish humor. With characteristic grace, however, is Cohen's admission that he admires his adversary as a civil rights' leader. The author does not have to mention that Nussbaum's home was bombed by the Ku Klux Klan; yet in so doing, Cohen reminds us of his own profound ambivalence over racism during the late 1950s and early 1960s. One senses that the adult Cohen has not forgiven himself for his acquiescent silence during that crucial decade; indeed, his compassionate recounting of the African-Ameicans who worked in his family's clothes store indicate a sensitivity that began during that formative period.

Cohen writes with an assurance he lacked as a child. His memoir is warm, comforting, and, in parts, genuinely inspiring. The author's adult confidence derives, however, from that childhood, both Southern and Jewish. His adult confidence in his roots and his place in both worlds blossoms from a family which, although profoundly assimilated, nevertheless recognized its marginality. His Jewish identity, compromised by an alien culture which celebrated physicality instead of intellectualism, emerges secure; his Southern roots, nurtured by three generations of life in Jackson, Mississippi and tarnished by national denigration of the very name of his state, endure. Thus, Edward Cohen, child of a Jewish peddler who settled in a locale far beyond the reaches of Northern urban Jewish influence, represents the best of the Ameican expeience; his cultural dialectic results in the best of all possibilities -- a genuine multiculturalism. ... Read more

62. Wild Card Quilt : The Ecology of Home
by Janisse Ray
list price: $14.95
our price: $10.17
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Asin: 1571312781
Catlog: Book (2004-09-09)
Publisher: Milkweed Editions
Sales Rank: 173219
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Book Description

Seventeen years after she'd left home "for good," Janisse Ray pointed her truck away from Montana and back to the small southern town where she was born. Wild Card Quilt is the story, by turns hilarious, heartbreaking, and ambitious, of the adventures of returning home. For Ray, it is a story of linking the ecology of people with the ecology of place - of recovering lost traditions as she works to restore the fractured ecosystem of her native South. Her story is filled with syrup boils, quilt making, alligator trapping, and the wonderful characters of a place where generations still succeed each other on the land. But her town is also in need of repair, physical and otherwise. Ray works to save her local school, sets up a writing group at the local hardware store, and struggles with whether she can be an adult in a childhood place. ... Read more

63. American by Choice
by Al Fuentes, Alfredo Fuentes
list price: $19.95
our price: $19.95
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Asin: 097531680X
Catlog: Book (2004-08)
Publisher: Fire Dreams Publishing
Sales Rank: 170505
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Book Description

American By Choice is a modern day odyssey, the story of a young boy from Ecuador who comes to America and encounters the challenges faced by every newly arriving immigrant; the story of a man who rises to the rank of Captain in new York City's renowned F.D.N.Y.

The book is a tribute to family, freinds, mentors, guides, and to brother firefighters here and throughout the international community. It taked us to the island of Culebra in the aftermath of Hurricane Hugo, to Oklahoma City, and to the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11th, 2001, where Captain Alfredo Fuented was buried under the collapsed North Tower.

In the end, it is a story about coming home that embraces the thousands of strangers he has met along the way. It is a story of America. ... Read more

64. The Doing of the Thing: The Brief, Brilliant Whitewater Career of Buzz Holmstrom
by Vince Welch, Cort Conley, Brad Dimock
list price: $16.95
our price: $14.41
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Asin: 1892327074
Catlog: Book (2004-05)
Publisher: Fretwater Press
Sales Rank: 300731
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Biography of America's great river runner, Buzz Holmstrom: thefirst to run the Green and Colorado Rivers alone in 1937. Born in the coastallogging communities of coastal Oregon, Holmstrom built his own wooden boats andsoloed several of the country's great whitewater rivers. He died mysteriously onthe Grande Ronde River at age 37. ... Read more

Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Answers to an old story....
I remember years ago when I was a kid a story my father told me about an amazing river rafter and boat builder.My Dad grew up in Coquille and went to school with Buzz's younger brother. His story always ended with how Buzz had been on a rafting trip in eastern Oregon and went off and committed suicide.I couldnever understand how someone who had done the amazing things he did could end his life on that note.I thought about that story many times over the years and always wished I knew more.This book is incredibly well researched and documented.Even thoughmany questions were answered,many more were raised.Such was the enigma that was Buzz Holmstrom.

5-0 out of 5 stars INSPIRING
Well-written and researched. But the thing that shines through is Buzz and his strong spirit - the writers were careful to be sure this was HIS book, not theirs, which is how it should be. A true boatman's boatman, Buzz wasmaybe born too soon - it seems the world wasn't quite ready for his singular love of the rivers and nature. This book won't disappoint you - what will disappoint you after reading it is that Buzz is gone.

5-0 out of 5 stars A "must read" for all Grand Canyon lovers
True adventure is not limited to distant lands and times long ago.Here in the good ol' U.S. of A., just a few short years ago, a common man blew his fanfare in the form of beautiful wooden boats made without plans byhand in his basement, and in his solo running of whitewater rivers in thoseboats.If you have ever slept under the stars, you will understand a bitof Buzz and why he did what he did.You may even want to do it yourself. Buzz would like that.

5-0 out of 5 stars An in-depth look at the man who became a hero.
Buzz Holmstrom is, in the mythos of Grand Canyon boatmen, a singular icon.For years, xerox copies of the journal he kept on his 1937 solo runthrough Grand Canyon have circulated among river runners, avidly read andtreasured.Now, with "The Doing of the Thing," we have athorough and exhaustively researched picture of his life.Buzz is, formany of us, our hero.Now we can know him as a man.The subtlties andnuances of a private life made public by the magnitude of hisaccomplishments reveal a man of sensitive nature and indominable courage.

5-0 out of 5 stars Painstakingly researched, beautifully written, captivating
Years ago (1970) on my first trip to the inner canyons of the Colorado River I heard stories of Bert Loper, Norm Nevills, the Kolb Brothers and "Buzz" Holmstrom, all early pioneers running the whitewater ofthe Colorado river. A one line entry in the "Powell Centennial, GrandCanyon River Guide," mentioned Holmstrom as,"... the first to runthe canyon alone, built boat and rowed from Green River, Wyoming, to HooverDam in 1937."

Welch, Conley, and Dimock have done a beautiful jobof bringing to light a story that should have been told long ago.

If youlike outdoor adventure then, "The Doing of The Thing," should bea perfect read. ... Read more

65. Heart of a Soldier
by James B. Stewart, James Stewart
list price: $13.00
our price: $9.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743244591
Catlog: Book (2003-06-02)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Sales Rank: 29702
Average Customer Review: 4.68 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Heart of a Soldier is the extraordinary story of war, love and comradeship, danger and heroism, told by a Pulitzer Prize winner who is one of our finest writers.

When Rick Rescorla got home from Vietnam, he tried to put combat and death behind him, but he never could entirely. From the day he joined the British Army to fight a colonial war in Rhodesia, where he met American Special Forces' officer Dan Hill who would become his best friend, to the day he fell in love with Susan, everything in his remarkable life was preparing him for an act of generosity that would transcend all that went before.

Heart of a Soldier is a story of bravery under fire, of loyalty to one's comrades, of the miracle of finding happiness late in life. Everything about Rick's life came together on September 11. In charge of security for Morgan Stanley, he successfully got all its 2,700 men and women out of the south tower of the World Trade Center. Then, thinking perhaps of soldiers he'd held as they died, as well as the woman he loved, he went back one last time to search for stragglers. ... Read more

Reviews (22)

5-0 out of 5 stars Surprising and very good
When I picked this book up, I was in a mood to read everything I cound about September 11. I was surprised by this one, though. Rick Rescorla plays a part in the tragedy, but the book is really about his amazing life leading up to September 11. A fascinating read, but not for the reasons I thought when I first got it. I kept turning to my wife saying, "I'm on page 100 and Sept. 11 still isn't mentioned..." or "Now I'm on page 200 and Sept. 11 still isn't mentioned."

Fans of James Stewart will not be disappointed. The rest of you will not be either. A highly engrossing read about Rescorla -- soldier, father, husband, Englishman, American, etc. -- and the people around him.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Heart of a Soldeir
Outstanding read! Given their incredible life stories, I couldn't believe I had never heard of either Rick Rescorla or Dan Hill prior to reading this book. Mr. Stewart has done a great thing bringing their story to the public. It appears to be a fitting tribute to these two warriors....I couldn't put it down. My heart goes out to Susan Rescorla, along with my compliments for her touching testimonial to her husband in the Epilogue.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Heart of a Soldier
After reading "We Were Soldiers Once and Young" and going to the LZ-XRAY web site I found out about the soldier on the cover of we were soldiers once and young. His name was Rick Rescorla. A few more digs into the history behind the photo I learned that Rick had died in the world trade center on 09-11-01 helping to save 2,700 of his fellow employee's. This book is a very good read as to the life of Rick Rescorla and I simply could not put it down reading the entire book in the last 48 hours. A hero that survived the Ia drang valley in Vietnam in November 1965 and numerous other military battles lost his life as a hero on 09-11-01. Rick Rescorla was a true leader in military and should set an example for others to follow. It's a shame we have not heard of Rick or the things that he has done prior to his death. Dan Hill the long time friend of Rick is also another hero of this story. If you want a book that will grab you then by all means this is the one for you. Author James Stewart has outdone himself.

5-0 out of 5 stars Looking for real heros? Look no further.
I nearly wept after reading the excerpt published in the New Yorker. ("The Real Heros are Dead", Feb 11 2003, which is still available free on their website.)

And this piece just a hint of the quality of the rest of the book. Heart of a Soldier is justifiably a welcome respite from the usual politicizing, sensationalizing and garment-rending post-9/11 books. It elevated the tragedy to a profoundly heroic, yet poignantly human level -- something I believe we're all in need of.

After all, the memory of 9/11 means more than the loss of the buildings and of nearly 3,000 souls. Because we rebuild. Life does go on. It's about the human experiences because that's what will be remembered for generations. They are true sources of inspiration. In the context of his experience, Richard Rescorla serves as a powerful reminder -- and an example -- of how one person, one life, anyone, can rise above when called upon to make a difference.

5-0 out of 5 stars A True Hero
I bought this book a year ago and never read it. When I picked it up I assumed I was reading a story of 9/11. But a small portion of this book covers the 9/11 incident. In fact, for the first 50 pages, the book was rather boring and I couldn't understand where it was going. It starts in Africa where two soldiers meet and develop a bond. Then it jumps to a college student who is studying in Portugal and refuses to have an affair with a married man. Where is this book going?

But after this backfill, the book really supercharges. Over half of the book covers Rescorla and Hill's military career, from work in Africa to rejoining the Army in time for Vietnam. In Rescorla's case, he wasn't even an American. They are both exceptional heroes and reading of their battles is very inspiring. It's also interesting to watch their views of the war change as they view the carnage. Although I had read "They Were Soldiers Once...", I did not remember Rescorla's name so it was fascinating to revisit his involvement and performance.

When the book leaves the military section but prior to the 9/11 event, there is an interesting section where Hill and Rescorla struggle with their identity as veterans of Vietnam, Rescorla particularly. But possibly the most fascinating part of this book is Hill's prediction of the next wave of terrorist attacks and what they would target. Hill participated in the Muslim religion including trips to Afghanistan and presented the FBI with an interesting proposal about Osama Bin Laden prior to 9/11.

And that's what makes this book so compelling. These two men touched four continents but seemed to always be involved in fascinating history that concludes with 9/11. Prior to 9/11 the book details a fascinating love story which finally ties back the confusing start of the book.

I strongly recommend this book if you have interest in war stories, particularly the Vietnam War, patriotism or fascinating details of 9/11. But the real reason you should read this book is to learn of a sincere man who chose to become and American and lived a normal middle-aged life until he found the love of his life which sparked his existence and gave him the strength to deal with cancer. ... Read more

66. Hideaway : Life on the Queen Charlotte Islands
list price: $18.95
our price: $18.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0771042434
Catlog: Book (2000-09-01)
Publisher: McClelland & Stewart
Sales Rank: 476097
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

For more than thirty years James Houston has been flying to Vancouver, then taking a little plane north and west to the airport at Sandspit on the Queen Charlotte Islands. After the ferry ride to Skidegate, he takes the single road running north on Graham Island and settles down in his small cottage by the bridge over the Tlell River. There he fishes, writes, draws, roams around, and rejoices that he and his wife, Alice, have found the perfect place.

People go misty-eyed when they recall the Queen Charlottes, those distant islands in the Pacific within sight of Alaska that are miraculously temperate and see little snow. The glaciers of the Ice Age passed the islands by, leaving a treasure trove for botanists and biologists. Today, the warming Japan current still protects its shores.

Among its many delights are spectacular wildlife of all kinds. On land are many deer, river otters, and the largest black bears in the world. Its waters shelter giant crabs, salmon, and killer whales. And the air is filled with remarkable birds, especially the ravens and bald eagles that are everywhere. Special landscapes include moss-hung rainforests that remind us that this is Emily Carr country, sheer cliffs that plunge straight into the Pacific, miles of empty beaches piled with sculptured driftwood, Guinness-black forest pools and thundering seascapes, and even a secret Haida mountain that provides the rare carving stone known as argillite.

These are the islands of Haida Gwaii, of course, and James Houston has always had an affinity for native people, whether with Ojibway friends in his Ontario boyhood or with Inuit in the North. His book tells the history of the Haida, the coming of the Eagle and the Raven clans, and the rich culture they developed in this land of plenty. Then came the bloody sea otter fur trade with sometimes ruthless sea captains two centuries ago and later the smallpox that wiped out 80 per cent of the Haida population, with social effects that have lasted to this day. Houston also tells us about totem poles and potlatches, two traditions that he has seen being revived. And while many old Haida legends adorn his book, there are also fine modern characters, including the old Haida visitor who sang a song to her river chez Houston, and the Houstons’ friend Teddy Bellis, who liked to offer their big-city guests a snack of “smoked dog.”

From a visit to the awesome power of the crumbling poles at the deserted village of Ninstints in the south all the way to the site of a crab fishing tragedy on North Beach, the book covers the range of the archipelago. But James Houston is a fanatical fly fisherman and his love of fishing on his doorstep – and dramatic tales of salmon or trout caught or lost by him, or Alice, or their friends – runs through the book. So, too, does their beloved Tlell River, which ebbs and flows with the tide a mere twenty feet from his window. As he and Alice arrive and open up the old green cottage, their excitement will affect everyone whose family has ever had a special summer place, a hideaway. Reading this book is almost as good as being there.
... Read more

Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Well written, informative, and entertaining
This book is well written and it satisfies one's craving for learning more about the Queen Charlottes. As a salmon fisherman, I felt the chapter titled "Old John" was worth the price of the book. ... Read more

67. Set Up Running: The Life of a Pennsylvania Railroad Engineman 1904-1949
by John W. Orr, James D. Porterfield
list price: $39.95
our price: $25.17
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0271020563
Catlog: Book (2001-02-01)
Publisher: Pennsylvania State University Press
Sales Rank: 69060
Average Customer Review: 4.78 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A fascinating account of the life and career of a Pennsylvania Railroad locomotive engineer as told by his son.

"An engaging book, one likely to become a railroad classic. The major strength of Set Up Runningis detail, particularly when it involves locomotives, train movements, and patterns of operation. Especially enjoyable are the depictions of Orr as a loyal Pennsylvania Railroad employee and of his overall pride of workmanship."—H. Roger Grant, Clemson University

"One of my earliest recollections involves the railroad, a plaintive whistle, and my mother stating that my father would soon be home. And it wasn’t long before that large man, clad in blue overalls, came through the door with his travel bag, which he promptly set on the kitchen floor so he could pick me up. There was a strange smell on his overclothes, but it was not offensive, and it was one that I later learned belonged to a steam engine. So from very early in my life I developed an avid interest in the steam engine."—JohnW. (Jack) Orr

Set Up Runningtells the story of a Pennsylvania Railroad locomotive engineer, Oscar P. Orr,who operated steam-powered freight and passenger trains throughout Central Pennsylvania and South Central New York. From 1904 to 1949, Orr sat at the controls of many famous steam locomotives; moved trains loaded with coal, perishables, and other freight; and encountered virtually every situation a locomotive engineer of that era could expect to see.

John W. (Jack) Orr, Oscar’s son, tells his father’s story, which begins at the Central Steam Heating Plant in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania. Oscar operated nearly every kind of steam locomotive the Pennsylvania Railroad owned, working from the bottom of the roster to the top position (number one in seniority). Orr has an ear fordetail, and a vivid memory. He tells about his father’s first encounter with an automobile along the right-of-way, about what it was like to operate a train in a blizzard, and about the difficulties railroadmen encountered instopping a trainload of tank cars loaded with oil in order to take on water and coal-among many other stories in the author’s large memory bank.

This compelling railroad history will enthrall not only everyone in the railroad community but also the general reader interested in railroads and trains, past and present. ... Read more

Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars Railroad Father
"Set Up Running" is not a book of dry statistics of Pennsy RR trackage, assets, debits, or passenger-miles served. Neither is it a sensational narrative of harrowing accidents, up-set locomotives, or exploded boilers (although O.P. does have a few close scrapes, and the line of rail jacks exploding one after another as his massive 2-10-0 freight locomotive thunders down a track under repair sets the reader on the edge of his chair). No, this book is better than those sorts of books because it brings a man--actually two men--to life. We come to know O. P. Orr very well indeed through the eyes of his son, the author, John W. Orr, and we end up knowing John as well.

This book shows American history as it should be written--giant machines moving the citizens and the commerce of the land, a huge railroad corporation with all the bureaucratic "snafus" of any multi-layered business as those snafus are seen by and sometimes affect the career of an engineman, the impact of the Great Depression on one family as typical of America as any could be. Historical facts are all here, but they are facts as seen by two very real, very human people, a father and a son. Were all history books written so well, we would all understand history far better and read it far more willingly.

My own grandfather was an engineman, through his road was the Frisco rather than the Pennsy, and my own father was a great lover of trains, though his career paths took him in a different direction. I came along late in my father's life, and, by the time I had the ability and the leisure to write about him, he was gone and his history with him. "Set Up Running" is the type of book I wish someone could have written about my own father, and I know of no higher praise than that. This is a book for railroaders, historians, Americans, and every father's child. At the end, I hated to have to say good-bye to O.P.--and to his son John--but I left knowing much more about the first half of 20th Century America, and I really enjoyed the telling.

5-0 out of 5 stars Set up Running
This is what too many railroad histories lack -- the human element. This is the story of a man and how he ran locomotives across Pennsylvania. It is also the story of his son, who loved trains and loved to listen to his father's stories. If you are frustrated by railroad histories that are nothing but an endless series of stock transactions, then this is your book.

4-0 out of 5 stars Incredible insights on a working man's life on the railroad
This book brings to life the hard, gritty and dangerous life of working on the railroad. While there's a ton of romaniticized railroad books, this one give the reader insights of what the working stiff had to endure. It does it, however, with an obvious love of railroading, and of the man the book is about.

5-0 out of 5 stars Not only a biography of the man, but the locomotives as well
I am basically a collector of railroad biographies, every occupation from the President down to locomotive watchman, and I have to say that this has to be one of the best I have ever read. In fact, I would call this book a miracle. The details! The mind bending information that the author relays about his father's years of working as a locomotive engineer on the Pennsylvania Railroad is astounding. Just the everyday stories, the trips he made, the people he worked with, and the locomotives, the intricate details about each type, the power, how they handled..........incredible!! There is stuff in this book that guys who wrote first hand accounts don't even include.
If you ever wanted to know what it was like to operate a steam locomotive then this is absolutely the book to read.
I'll stop here because I can't say enough good things about this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Book I couldn't put down!
As a child we had a Lionel train platform at Christmas and I loved them. For a summer evening out my dad would often take my brothers and me for a walk to the Frankford Junction in Philadelphia, PA to watch the trains. It was a train a minute back then. Fast ones, slow ones, freight and passengers were all to be seen. I loved the steam engines - they were alive - on fire if you will. Waving to the engineer in the 1950's was like a kid meeting a pro athelete or rock star today. Heros in the days of hard work. They always waved back! That is all I wanted to be - an engineer. John Orr's book about his dad and his life as a train engineer has given me the opportunity to be up there with a real engineer, in the cab, in the yard, on the road, for a whole career. Of course, I actualy never got to work on, or for, the railroad because by the time I was old enought, the Pennsy and most of the others were dying due to economic conditions. This book was writen as well as any book has ever been. It is a work of art. It is a history book with a soul. It is a history book with a story. If you like trains, if you like industrial or social history, if you only want to read a well written book on a subject you just wish to visit once, this is mandatory reading. Thank you John Orr. Thank you O.P. ... Read more

68. State of Grace : A Memoir of Twilight Time
by Robert Timberg
list price: $26.00
our price: $17.16
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Asin: 0684855615
Catlog: Book (2004-10-12)
Publisher: Free Press
Sales Rank: 9414
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Book Description

From the author of the critically acclaimed The Nightingale's Song ("An amazing piece of work...This is a stunning book" -- Boston Globe), comes an evocative, elegiac and rollicking portrait of America.

The Nightingale's Song was Robert Timberg's extraordinary tale of well-intentioned but ill-starred warriors. In State of Grace, his long-awaited new book, he revives the powerful themes of courage, manhood and loss in a strikingly personal exploration of America between the Good War and Vietnam. "It was the twilight of innocence, or what passed for innocence if you didn't look too closely," he writes. "America was at peace, peering confidently into the future, when it should have been holding its breath for what lay ahead."

Robert Timberg has his finger on the pulse of a generation that split along a fault line called Vietnam, between those who went and those who didn't. In his unflinching and riveting The Nightingale's Song, Timberg chronicled a nation haunted by the war and its corrosive aftermath. Now, in State of Grace, the author rediscovers an earlier time and an America now largely lost.

Using the New York City sandlot football team he played for after high school as a rich metaphor for what was best about that bygone era, Timberg evokes the period in fine detail and vivid color. It was a world of girls, beer and the proverbial Big Game, but it also was defined by faith in tradition and institutions, including a still unsullied Catholic Church. State of Grace captures life on the threshold of Kennedy's Camelot, before the Beatles, before the Pill, but in the ever-expanding shadow of Vietnam, "a time when the path to an honorable future seemed as straightforward as playing hard, hitting clean, and not fumbling the ball."

The tale is told through Timberg's own eyes as he moves from troubled youth to man, from running back on a team called the Lynvets to Naval Academy plebe to Marine officer. The story is also told through a collection of other characters, including a genius of a coach overmatched when off the field, a driven quarterback sidetracked by booze and an angry loner fresh from the army stockade who reclaims his life on the gridiron. As Timberg writes, the team was where he and his fellow Lynvets "found a toe-hold on our better selves during a troubled time in our lives. Those snatches of pride and courage and strength we shared...eventually grew within us, becoming the core of a decent manhood that might have easily eluded any one of us in other circumstances. There were times, for each of us, when it was all we had." ... Read more

69. Open Secrets : A Memoir of Faith and Discovery
list price: $13.95
our price: $10.46
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0767907442
Catlog: Book (2002-06-11)
Publisher: Broadway
Sales Rank: 84434
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In the tradition of Garrison Keillor, Open Secrets captures the friendships, rivalries, and rumors of small-town life by chronicling the lives of the citizens of a small Midwestern community through the eyes of a young minister.

Fresh out of divinity school and bursting with enthusiasm, Richard Lischer found himself assigned to a small conservative church in an economically depressed town in southern Illinois.It’s an awkward marriage at best--a young man with a Ph.D. in theology, full of ideas and ambitions, determined to improve his parish and bring it into the twenty-first century, and a community that is “as tightly sealed as a jar of home-canned pickles.”In Open Secrets, Lischer tells not only his own story but also the story of New Cana and its inhabitants.With charm, openness, and humor, Lischer brings to life the clash of cultures and personalities that marks his pastoral tenure, including his own doubts, as well as those of his parishioners, that a twenty-eight-year-old suburban-raised liberal can deal with the troubled marriages, alcoholism, teen sex, inadequate farm subsidies, and other concerns of the conservative, tightly knit community.But the inhabitants of New Cana--lovable, deeply flawed, imperfect people who stick together--open their arms to him in their own way, and the result is a colorful, poignant comedy of small-town life and all it has to offer.
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Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars No more secrets
Richard Lischer had a plan -- graduate from seminary, have a few significant pastorates, teach at a seminary, end up as president and 'big wheel' of the denomination. As the lyric says, life is what happens when you are making other plans. In the book 'Open Secrets', Lischer recounts many of the awakenings he experienced as pastor of a small-town, isolated community church, far from the seminary where he'd studied, and far from the city and 'powers' he'd dreamt of.

Lischer begins this autobiographical tale with a brief overview of his life prior to his arrival at New Cana -- only child, good but standard education, 'typical' rebellions in school and seminary -- a fairly conventional upbringing, with only a few points of deviation from the norm. He did have visions of something better, however, and was shocked at his appointment to the church in New Cana, a town so remote that it was difficult to find on a map, and even once he was there, it was still difficult to find.

There was a symbol of foreboding from the first day, in that the cross atop the church was broken. This was a broken community, and had been for generations, in many ways. It was stable, secure in its structure and in its dysfunction, and Lischer's arrival was greeted with what was probably the traditional lack of fanfare. There was one 'ruling family' of the congregation, and insiders were clearly differentiated from the outsiders. Lischer and family were definitely outsiders.

The conflicts in the town were fairly typical of the human condition -- there were family troubles ranging from abuse and neglect to simple emotional wear-and-tear. Overshadowing the town was the almost constant depression that accompanies an agricultural-based community; working the land is hard in the best of times, so people grew accustomed to a hard life.

Lischer ultimately finds value in the community, but one wonders upon reading this memoir if that value was realised largely (or only) in hindsight. The struggle through the conflicts, both internal and external, are very apparent at each turn. Nothing came easily in Lischer's ministry. Ultimately, however, the community was accepting, and Lischer was similarly accepting. One man, Leonard, who loudly proclaimed, 'I didn't vote for you' at the first meeting of congregation and pastor, was in fact the last one to give thanks and blessing as the Lischers departed for new ministries three years later.

The people recounted in Lischer's tale are genuine. We only get the interior reflections of Lischer, but one can sense, among this uncomplicated community, the motivations and simple ways of true living among the parishioners. When Lischer tried for an innovation in the liturgy by permitting guitar music, one member of congregation reacted badly. Worried, Lischer wondered how the trouble might be resolved, others in the congregation assured Lischer not to worry, saying that the trouble-maker had always been trouble anyway.

As a portrait of small-town life, this is a unique and interesting perspective. While the world of the 60s is no longer with us, in many ways the community of New Cana (as many small agricultural towns were) was largely passed over by many of the cultural developments of the 60s (and 70s, and 80s); thus there is a timeless character to this narrative.

Fascinating to read, practical and spiritual at the same time, the reader will be enriched by Lischer's experiences.

5-0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Delightful!
A Portrait of the Pastor as a Young Man. An intimate look at a pastor and his first church. This is a wonderful look back at Lischer's early years in ministry. It details some of his struggles as a well-educated city boy trying to relate to a rural congregation, and expertly captures the difficulties of the early years in ministry for anyone trying to reconcile many years of education with the reality of life as a pastor. Lischer's wonderfully understated sense of humor comes through in many places. Highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Rare Gem
With engaging wit and warm insight Richard Lischer allows us to sneak a peak behind his first pastorate from Lutheran Seminary. Being unfamiliar with Lutheranism I was awed by the profundity of belief and the rich relationships into the community that he entered. He entered as a virgin and left as a lover of his people that God graciously allowed him to pastor. Take the time to read this book and enter heartache, grace, empathy, communion and fellowship of the deepest level. Experience the privilege of a new way of seeing people. ... Read more

70. Breaking Clean
list price: $24.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375401318
Catlog: Book (2002-02-05)
Publisher: Knopf
Sales Rank: 314276
Average Customer Review: 4.18 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

“A memoir with the fierce narrative force of an eastern Montana blizzard, rich in story and character, filled with the bone-chilling details of Blunt’s childhood. She writes without bitterness, with an abiding love of the land and the work and her family and friends that she finally left behind, at great sacrifice, to begin to write. This is a magnificent achievement, a book for the ages. I’ve never read anything that compares with it.”
—James Crumley, author of The Last Good Kiss

Born into a third generation of Montana homesteaders, Judy Blunt learned early how to “rope and ride and jockey a John Deere,” but also to “bake bread and can vegetables and reserve my opinion when the men were talking.” The lessons carried her through thirty-six-hour blizzards, devastating prairie fires and a period of extreme isolation that once threatened the life of her infant daughter. But though she strengthened her survival skills in what was—and is—essentially a man’s world, Blunt’s story is ultimately that of a woman who must redefine herself in order to stay in the place she loves.

Breaking Clean is at once informed by the myths of the West and powerful enough to break them down. Against formidable odds, Blunt has found a voice original enough to be called classic.
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Reviews (44)

3-0 out of 5 stars A near miss
Although I will freely admit that this book held my interest, I must admit to an unsettling feeling at the finish. Why the title? Is she gloating about leaving the life she was raised in and claims to cherish? What happened to her parents, her husband, her friends? The disjointed ending leaves a reader full of questions. I cannot help but wonder how the people of Malta feel about Blunt's analysis of her existence. Although her life as a ranch wife must have been difficult, her husband loved and protected her. The writing style is compelling, the storyline is riveting,but the ending is evasive. Is the author happy now in Missoula? I both like and dislike the book. To me, Blunt seems to be an oxymoron: she pays tribute to her heritage, yet she works feverishly to destroy it. I hope she writes a sequel that provides answers. She is a gifted writer, but the ending of this book does not provide any kind of satisfaction for a reader--- most especially a Montana reader who is familiar with the life of which she writes.

5-0 out of 5 stars An Especially Compelling Memoir
Those familiar with the writings of James Joyce already know that suffocation is one of his dominant themes, especially in The Dubliners and even more specifically in "The Dead," one of the short stories included in that volume. I was reminded of that theme as I read Judy Blunt's memoir. (I suggest no other comparisons of her work with Joyce's.) Both writers have a great deal of value to say about those who live lives of "quiet desperation." In this book, Blunt speaks eloquently and sometimes with humor as she brilliantly describes her first 30 years in northeastern Montana, a period during which she worked on her family's ranch, graduated from high school, married, and gave birth to three children. For various reasons she shares in her book, Blunt eventually decided to leave her husband as well as a lifestyle which had by then become unendurable. During succeeding years, she began to organize and record her thoughts about life on a ranch for her and for the other women she knew. It is important to keep in mind that this is a memoir: It provides Blunt's observations and conclusions and from her own point of view. Presumably not everyone who knew her then agrees with everything she has to say.

Indeed, some may view this book as an indictment of the culture in which she lived, worked, struggled, and suffered throughout much of her life. (No doubt her former husband and father-in-law do.) For men as well as women, there was (and is) always so much to do to maintain a ranch. Prolonged periods of isolation within a human community whose population was diminishing. Harsh winters. Droughts. For women, contrary to the national average, a much briefer life span than for men because of inadequate healthcare and death in childbirth, with wives meanwhile required to maintain a workload (in addition to homemaking) which most men would find daunting. Also noteworthy: according to Blunt, women in this culture are wholly subservient to men in terms of any decisions concerning family members, the home, or the ranching business. In a word women were "powerless." It was from such a life that Blunt fled, making as clean a break as she could.

Born and raised in Chicago, and having since lived in several other major cities, I am unable to identify with the way of life Blunt describes. However, over the years, I have frequently encountered men as well as women who also felt trapped in their lives. (Some described themselves as "prisoners.") They expressed feelings of being overworked as well as under appreciated, and (yes) powerless to seek a better life elsewhere. I am certain they and countless others can identify with the experiences Blunt shares in her book. It took courage for her to break away. To her credit, she did. Although it may not have been Blunt's intention, perhaps (just perhaps) her book will help others to find the courage they also need to replace a life of "quiet desperation" with one which offers social freedom and personal fulfillment.

3-0 out of 5 stars Breaking clean?
I am always scouring the shelves for books like this--accounts of modern and not so modern ranch life in the American West--especially from a women's perspective. The boldness of the title attracted me. I thought, 'Now, here's something written by a women who's going to get straight to the point, and I can expect some raw and vivid imagery about the western landscape.' The more I read the less I liked it. I gave it 3 stars just because the prose is good--but the account just didn't live up to my expectations of the title and I was confused as to how Blunt really felt. Bitterness seemed to grow as a theme so I didn't get the idea that she really 'broke clean' she just made a temporary but emotionally she's still stuck on it. As the saying goes, you can't judge a book by its cover.

4-0 out of 5 stars Breaking Clean Review by Judy Blunt
The book Breaking Clean is about the author and her life growning up in a small town of Malta, Montana. She describes her life growing up on farm from a little child in to a grown woman. She tells about how her family wants whats best for her and whats her to keep the family tradition alive by marrying the neigbors son who is 12 years older than her. But she wants more than to be living on a farm for the rest of her life. I thought this book was really good because i can make lots of connections to it from where i am from. But over all it is a good book.

1-0 out of 5 stars breaking clean by judy blunt
I was appalled at this book, I grew up on a ranch close to the one she writes about. Her facts about ranch life are mostly untrue and I believe she was on a vindictive rout of the people on this ranch. I do understand that she has since retracted much of the book, but after she took all her 15 minutes of fame. What has happened to her. I was furious so see such a blantant piece of writing get so much play. There are such good books about ranch life she should never again create any piece of writing and expect the public to be so duped. ... Read more

71. Man of the Family
by Ralph Moody, Edward Shenton
list price: $12.95
our price: $9.71
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0803281951
Catlog: Book (1993-03-01)
Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
Sales Rank: 23784
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Another Top-Notch Autobiographical Work by Ralph Moody
The 'Little Britches' series is every bit as exciting, historical, and fascinating as the 'Little House on the Prarie' series, and Moody has even outdone Laura Wilder in his characterization of great American values like hard work, independence, and respect.

Continuing on after the death of father in 'Little Britches', the second book in the series tells how the Moody family pulled together to survive in turn-of-the century Littleton, Colorado. From using stilts to become the best fruit pickers in town, to outsmarting the manager of the finest hotel in Denver, to trading free coal for a Christmas goose, Moody brings the reader right into this frontier family.

My children, ages 4 to 14, all sat in rapt attention as I read from this book, and every chapter was ended with cries of "just one more, Dad, please!&quot ... Read more

72. Separate Pasts: Growing Up White in the Segregated South (Brown Thrasher Books)
by Melton Alonza McLaurin
list price: $16.95
our price: $16.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0820320471
Catlog: Book (1998-09-01)
Publisher: University of Georgia Press
Sales Rank: 284316
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars An important book
McLaurin has written a valuable and beautiful book. It deserves a place on the shelf with "Coming of Age in Mississippi" as a document of life in the segregated South and of the moral challenges that segregation presented to those who lived in the system.

5-0 out of 5 stars A poignant recollection of growing up in a changing South.
McLaurin's book is a touching recollection of growing up in the South during the 1950s. His rich narative describes not only the difficulties all teenagers face, but explores how these difficulties are made even more difficult in a changing environment. While so many imagine the white teenagers of the Little Rock school integration as pictures of young whites during the 1950s, McLaurin paints a picture of a young man sensitive to the plight of blacks in the Jim Crow South. A very good book, highly recommended to those who wish to get a detailed portrait of the 1950s South ... Read more

73. Chinese Playground : A Memoir
by Bill Lee
list price: $28.00
our price: $23.80
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0967002303
Catlog: Book (1999-03-01)
Publisher: Rhapsody Press
Sales Rank: 389810
Average Customer Review: 4.31 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This startling and unsentimental recollection of childhood and coming of age in the back alleys and bustling streets of San Francisco's Chinatown reveals the sinister and pervasive influences of organized crime. Delivering an almost-casual expose into the underworld of an urban Chinatown, "Chinese Playground: A Memoir" traces author Bill Lee's maturation from innocent child in a troubled family to a street punk, gang member, and college graduate struggling to break free of his involvement in escalating violence. In a dark journey spanning forty years, Lee fights an ongoing battle against relentless childhood demons and nightmares, ultimately coming to terms with his past and peace with himself.

Lee's personal accounts of two high-profile murder incidents are engrossing. The 1977 Golden Dragon Massacre in San Francisco that left five dead and eleven wounded, was carried out by his blood-brothers who were engaged in the most violent Asian gang war in U.S. history. A decade later, a mad gunman killed seven and injured four at ESL, a high-tech firm in Sunnyvale, California where Lee was employed. An unlikely hero emerges as he accepts his fate, employing his street instincts to save co-workers during the murderous rampage.

A moving look at the murky histories of Lee's parents -- both Chinese immigrants -- adds depth to this story and poignantly points to typical family dysfunctions that contribute to confusion, fear and aggression in young people. The author's early recollections are seen through the eyes of an innocent boy who was nearly aborted and sold away. As a young gang member, his pain and fears are hidden beneath a tough, macho facade as he contends with gambling, drugs, extortion and murder. Entering adulthood, Lee's street savvy and dark view of the world manifests itself into an aggressive, win-at-any-costs attitude which he unleashes in Silicon Valley. Lee faces his biggest challenge when he returns to the streets of Chinatown in search of his runaway son and confronts his own dark past. Lee's determination to heal his soul and transform his life is inspiring.

This book is a provocative read providing valuable insight into the Chinese-American culture, organized crime, distressed families, at-risk youths, personal recovery, Bay Area history, and Silicon Valley. ... Read more

Reviews (16)

5-0 out of 5 stars All I needed to know
WOW!!!!! This book was shared with me by my husbands cousin. He knows of my frustrations and my always unanswered questions of my husband and in-laws. You see my husband as well as his family grew up in Chinatown San Francisco in the 60's and 70's and few still remain. I had always questioned my Father in Laws reasons for moving his family out of there as he has made it very clear that he has always wanted his children to marry Chinese and not any others.He also would never answer any questions on or about his childhood etc. My husband has always said its just the way it was and was always telling me please dont ask to many questions (its a respect thing). My husband did read this book also and knows of many of the key characters. When he finished it he said "You get it now?" And yes I do. He was able to share with me all of the family (secrets) history without shame or fear. Thank you Mr. Lee for giving him the courage to release all of this that has been bottled up for so many years. Also Thank you for helping me to better understand and respect my Father-in-law and his past.

5-0 out of 5 stars An accurate portayal of life growing up in SF's Chinatown
Bill Lee's work is important to the history and culture of San Francisco's Chinatown in the 60's and 70's. It tells tales of events which might otherwise go untold. The media presents its stories as a slice of life. The book however presents an in-depth look at the life of a Chinatown youth. As such, we are given an understanding of the situations that surround our daily lives. Professors and Intellectual scholars such as Sanders and Nee in all their wisdom would never be able to attain such a solid grasp of the subject matter. This is an important read, and no doubt should be used as curricula in urban studies and ethnic college level course. Asian American Urban kids are at risk. They must not be allowed to fall through the cracks to society's underbelly. Parents should read this to better understand the problems which their kids face. Bill Lee, thanks for giving these kids a voice.

5-0 out of 5 stars How new generation can relate also.
I was born in San Francisco. It isn't like that anymore as you can see, I didn't live in Chinatown but regularly go to my Grandma or grandpa after school in chinatown. I lived in Japantown til I was six years old. I moved to Oakland ever since.

When I brought this book, I didn't know what to expect, but when I read about his life, I could really relate to his childhood. Not as extreme as his was, but I can really relate, and how I would turn out if I was still in San Francisco. Would probably be the same as him with those family issues like that. Can turn a kid to look at their enviroment for support. I too am Toishanese, does that mean most toishanese parents are stubborn and ignorant? I don't know.

And the Enviroment in Oakland is no different. Kids want to be goo wak jais and hard ghetto punks.

5-0 out of 5 stars excellent book
this is a very well-written book for a non-fiction plot. It was recommended to me by a friend and I have to say the plot was not boring, the author was very descriptive in his writing. Don't miss out on this.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very powerful
Yeah-- so forget about some of the editing problems-- this book is a must read! There are so many similarities between this and cultish groups. It doesn't matter if you're a poor kid in Chinatown or a rich kid in a brainwashing group-the lessons remain the same:One's inner voice--thinking for onesself and then of course--running away when you can --are universal stories. We have seen it in Nazi Germany, with Waco, in Chinatown and in Jonestown. KIDS of all ages should read this truly eye-opening account of how easy it is to get pulled in to an ideology that then kills its own.... ... Read more

74. Love, Greg & Lauren
list price: $24.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553802976
Catlog: Book (2002-03-05)
Publisher: Bantam
Sales Rank: 408142
Average Customer Review: 4.17 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Early on the morning of September 11, 2001, Lauren Manning-a wife, the mother of a ten-month-old son, and a senior vice president and partner at Cantor Fitzgerald-came to work, as always, at One World Trade Center. As she stepped into the lobby, a fireball exploded from the elevator shaft, and in that split second her life was changed forever.

Lauren was burned over 82.5 percent of her body. As he watched his wife lie in a drug-induced coma in the ICU of the Burn Center at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, Greg Manning began writing a daily journal. In the form of e-mails to family, friends, and colleagues, he recorded Lauren’s harrowing struggle-and his own tormented efforts to make sense of an act that defies all understanding. This book is that e-mail diary: detailed, intimate, inspiring messages that end, always, as if a prayer for a happy outcome:


We share this story day by astonishing day. Greg writes of the intricate surgeries, the painful therapies, and the constant risk of infection Lauren endured. Through his eyes we come to know the doctors, nurses, aides, and therapists who cared for her around the clock with untiring devotion and sensitivity. We also come to know the families with whom he shared wrenching hospital vigils for their own loved ones who were waging a battle that some would not win.

It was, most of all, Greg’s belief that Lauren would win her brave fight for life that kept him writing. Through his eyes we see what she could not-their toddler’s first steps, the video of his first birthday party, the compassionate messages of hope from around the world. And we are there as Lauren gradually emerges into awareness, signaling first with her eyes, then with smiles, her understanding of the words Greg speaks to her, the poems he recites, the songs he plays.

Most miraculously, we are there when Lauren walks out of the Burn Center.

The world knows all too well both the nightmare and the heroism that have marked this terrible time in history. But no account of September 11 matches the astonishing personal story Greg Manning records in these spontaneous and heartfelt pages. It is a story that invites us to share, e-mail after e-mail, the perilous course of a mortally wounded woman who by sheer will and courage emerges from near death because she is determined to live for her husband and her son. And it is equally the story of a man who, as he stays by her side through these long weeks and months, discovers anew the depth of his love and admiration for the woman who becomes his hero.
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Reviews (35)

4-0 out of 5 stars Touching story of a woman's journey to hell and back.
"Love, Greg and Lauren," by Greg Manning, is the true story of a woman's miraculous escape from death. Lauren Manning, a senior vice president at Cantor Fitzgerald, stepped into the lobby of the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11th, 2001, just as a fireball emerged and engulfed her. Lauren was burned over eighty percent of her body.

Lauren's doctors at the Burn Center of New York-Presbyterian Hospital did not expect Lauren to survive her grave injuries. However, Lauren Manning was no ordinary patient. First, she had an enormous will to survive, in order to resume her life with her husband, Greg, and with her ten-month-old son, Tyler. In addition, the staff at the Burn Center was incredibly skilled, and fiercely determined to save as many victims of September 11th as they possibly could. Finally, the prayers and good wishes of people from all over the world were with Lauren and her family.

The book is Greg's e-mail diary of Lauren's remarkable recovery. It is a tribute to Lauren's courage, to the skill and dedication of the marvelous doctors and nurses who cared for her, and to the love and support of her friends and family.

"Love, Greg and Lauren" is not elegantly written, but it nonetheless has great impact. We feel the emotional duress, the pain, and the uncertainty that this couple and their family suffered as Lauren battled back, step-by-step, until she was finally pronounced "out of the woods." I recommend that you read this poignant account. It is a testament to the tremendous power of the human spirit.

5-0 out of 5 stars Inspiring and Insightful!
Greg&Lauren accurately explores the events that occurred on 9/11 and it poignantly chronicles the strength of the human spirit. The author has succeeded in providing both a unique and compelling exploration into the utter devistation that 9/11 reaped on both his family and the industry and companies that he and Lauren worked for.
His eye for detail let me explore (tearfully at times) the agonies of a burn injury as well as the incredible love they have for one another. Laced throughout the story is the power of prayer and its' ability to positively affect the human condition.
This book is a must for historical insights of 9/11 by someone that actually worked at the Trade Center. It is also a book to keep on the shelves for any couple or family faced with the devastation of an injury either physical or pychological. I am certainly a more enlightened and giving person since experiencing Greg&Lauren. Hooray for them and their bravery and all of us as Americans!

3-0 out of 5 stars Something rubbed me the wrong way...
...about this book. While I cannot begin to imagine the horrors Lauren has experienced and I wish her and her family the best,I was left a little cold by the contents of some of Greg's missives. There are frequent references throughout the book to Lauren's beauty, and the reader is left with the feeling that it's Greg who is more dissappointed with Lauren's swollen face and missing hair than she is. Also -- Greg spent quite a few nights playing bass with his band at local bars while his wife lay in her hospital bed. Who was home with baby Tyler each and every night? Lauren's parents, who receive little in the book in the way of thanks. They're the true heroes of this story.

4-0 out of 5 stars Hero!
The book is very good but there are slow moments.
I would not want to go through the pain she did. I give
her a high 5 for wanting to survive. I think the love
around her made her survive. Greg is also a hero. What
a wonderful man he is.
Read the book, but with the understanding it can be slow
but worth it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Touching but a bit slow..
Love, Greg & Lauren is a touching story of a woman who remarkably heals after being burned on over 82% of her body on 9/11. Through her healing process Greg, her husband, talks about her day to day recovery and how all those around Lauren were counting on her to help heal those who lost loved ones.

It's a slow starting book, but in the end you'll be glad you finished it. ... Read more

75. Horse Tradin'
list price: $26.00
our price: $17.68
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 039442929X
Catlog: Book (1967-05-12)
Publisher: Knopf
Sales Rank: 78468
Average Customer Review: 4.33 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Horse Stories
I read this book many years ago and am glad to see it reissued. Even my non horsey kids enjoyed the stories. It's even worth rereading.

5-0 out of 5 stars Green Not Hokey
Whoever said that Green's stories were hokey must be young, and not appreciative of bootstrap operations. Ben Green was a self-made man, sizing up opportunities as an enterprising youngster. He shows determination, he demonstrates decision-making skills, and he always plays within the framework, ever flavored with a fine-tuned sense of humor. In short, he's the sort who made this country great, and what we are woefully short of in today's crop of youngsters. I know; I'm a retired middle school teacher. I'd recommend this book to any of my former students, except most of them don't like to read.

3-0 out of 5 stars Strange Short Stories
This is a book of odd little tales written with a western "flair". The line drawings are nice but the stories were occasionally a bit hokey for my taste. Good for those who like old westerns and beans from a can on the grill. ... Read more

76. Amazing Grace: A Life of Beauford Delaney
by David Leeming
list price: $30.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 019509784X
Catlog: Book (1997-12-01)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Sales Rank: 437754
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Amazing Grace is an intimate portrait of African American artistBeauford Delaney (1901-79). Author David Leeming, who knew Delaney, limns the complex inner life that informed his paintings--notable for psychological depth and vibrant colors--but also fueled his alcoholism and mental illness. A gentle, charming man, Delaney maintained close friendships with writers as diverse as Henry Miller andJames Baldwin, yet often felt lonely and underappreciated as an artist on his life's journey from Tennessee to New York City to Paris. Leeming tells this culturally and personally poignant story with sensitive grace. ... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars SAVED BY GRACE?
America's artistic milieu is known for dismissing from its memory those artists whose works and lives are deemed trivial and not worthy of consideration. Such an attitude has denied younger generations of artists the experience of knowing some of the great artistic man and women of our time. Beauford Delaney was one of those artists relegated to the halls of obscurity.

Amazing Grace is David Leemings biographical piece that examines Delaney's life and contributions to the art world. He looks at the forces which brought forth America's premiere modernist artist and shows how his gift impacted on the way one views life and art.

Who is this man, Delaney? A superficial view of his life reveals him as an impoverished homosexual Black artist who is plagued by many demons as he struggles to find himself as an artist and at peace with his sexuality. James Baldwin called him his spiritual father who was a cross between Brer Rabbit and St. Francis of Asissi. Others knew him as the good negro or an eccentric gadfly. Whatever one may call him, Delaney's goal was to infuse the concept of love within his work that would bring him the wholeness that he failed to capture in his life.

Plagued by paranoia, alcoholism and guilt over his homosexuality, Delaney failed to achieve intimacy in his relationships but poured out his inner struggle through his art. Like many artists, he went through several stages of development in his career which reached its climax in France. Unfortunately the demon of paranoia stripped him of his artistic ability in his later years.

This book must be read to get a handle on the artistic struggles of African Americans and how they succeeded inspite of their alienation from the mainstream art world. Delaney also struggled with being homosexual which undoubtably alienated him from his family and Black colleagues. His struggle opens up a new chapter in examining how sexuality impacts on a minority artists life. Delaney was saved from obscurity through this view of his life. Whether he was saved by grace is a moot point for his demonic voices did him in.

4-0 out of 5 stars Reviewed in Harvard Gay & Lesbian Review
James E. Coleman, Jr., writing in the Harvard Gay and Lesbian Review, Vol. 6, No. 1, 1999 notes: "Whether Leeming is as successful in taking on an artist's life as he had been with the literary life of [James] Baldwin, I am not certain. His knowledge of Baldwin's literary world is not quite matched by his savvy of the art world of the same period. Nevertheless, we have a fine introduction to an artist whose reputation is growing and who lived a fascinating life." That's high praise coming from Coleman, editor of The Encyclopedia Homophilica. ... Read more

77. Two in the Far North
by Margaret E. Murie
list price: $15.95
our price: $10.85
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 088240489X
Catlog: Book (1997-08-01)
Publisher: Alaska Northwest Books
Sales Rank: 46580
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Alaska by an Alaskan
Many of the best-known books about Alaska, its people and wilderness, have been written from an outsider's perspective (John McPhee, for example, or Joe McGinniss), with an outsider's sense of detachment and strangeness, as though what they were commenting on were just slightly odd on some level.

Margaret Murie (known as "Mardy"), gives as Alaska from a true insider's perspective, as one who grew up with it, knows it in her bones, and loves it the way we love our closest family.

Born in 1902, Mardy moved to Fairbanks at age 9, where kids went to school in -50F temperatures and where the only way in or out of Alaska in winter was on the back of a mail sled propelled by sled dogs. One of the first grads of the University of Alaska at Fairbanks, she married the naturalist Olaus Murie and honeymooned in the Arctic. Over the years, fearless Mardy even took her infant children on expeditions into the wild.

The book is an indivisible combination of autobiography and nature writing. Murie has a remarkable eye; her descriptive powers rival McPhee's but her tone is more one of powerful affection rather than awe. My favorite story was of a young teenage Mardy, on her way to the Lower 48 to go to high school, catching the last mail sled out of town in the spring of 1918. This spring trip took many days; at each river crossing there was a possibility of not making it over the thinning ice.

What an adventure! Combined with that adventure is a powerful romance, the lifelong relationship between Olaus, a professional naturalist; Mardy, the fearless and intrepid companion; and Alaska herself.

Mardy Murie died only last year, at age 101. If you read this book, you will regret having just missed her; she deserves to be missed.

5-0 out of 5 stars "My sense of wilderness is personal" - Margaret E. Murie
Mardy Murie is often referred to as "The Grandmother of American Conservation" and "The Grand Dame of the American Conservation movement, but somehow after reading her story, these titles barely seem adequate to describe such an incredible and personal woman. While we may liken Murie to women like Rachel Carson or Anna Botsford Comstock, Murie's journey is singular. We follow her from her childhood in Wyoming to graduation at the University of Alaska, through love, into the far reaches of the Alaskan North.
Murie successfully bridges the personal and the political, her own life and her life's work, her love for one man and her love for their work together. You will laugh with her, you will cry with her, feel scared for her, and come to love her. She will become your hero.
We must recognize Murie as an American treasure, but we must also recognize that Murie's inspiration is perhaps more important now than it ever was. The most obvious reason for this statement is the continuing struggle to preserve the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from growing oil interests. We must also recognize, however, that Murie could be the inspiration for the young generation of leaders in conservation-- a group of leaders that undoubtedly must include women. That there are very so few women leaders in conservation has caused the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women to recognize the struggle of women in their efforts to achieve leadership positions in the conservation movement. Other organizations such as the World Wildlife Fund, the Sierra Club, and the National Wildlife Federation have launched campaigns to attract more women into leadership roles. The lack of women in environmental leadership reflects America's view of rugged individualism in our collective imagination...nowhere has this myth been more prominent than in the discussion of America's last frontier-- a very personal discussion for Ms. Murie.
Not only is Margaret E. Murie a woman in the conservation movement, but she is an American treasure with a very personal and very political story to tell. Even as she approaches her 101st birthday in August, she continues to speak out for Alaska's lands, peoples, and wildlife. Her story is not one of fame, comfort, or glory, but it is her American story. Mardy Murie will become your hero, your inspiration and your friend. Take the journey with her.

5-0 out of 5 stars "And I see them dancing....."
I, first, heard of Mardy Murie and her husband, Olaus, while watching John Denver's The Wildlife Concert. He wrote A Song For All Lovers for their deep and abiding love for each other and for the state of Alaska. The song's beauty gave rise to my curiousity. And, recently, while watching a documentary of Mardy's life, I became determined to read this book about her life.

This book is a must have. Mrs. Murie paints with words, a picture so vivid of Alaska's tundras and plains, that I felt as if I were part of it. The lifestyle was hard, but satisfying, and this woman's life was nothing short of fascinating. Mardy Murie is a living testament to the strength and beauty of women, and she leaves a shining example of what a woman can do. In her assistance in Olaus' work for the ANWR and other Alaskan Land Conservancies, to her carrying on of that work, she is a beacon to us all of what we can do.

Buy it. You will fall in love with Alaska and with Mardy. ... Read more

78. 999 Officer Down
by Catherine Marfino-Reiker, Catherine Reiker
list price: $19.95
our price: $19.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1893162664
Catlog: Book (2000-12-31)
Publisher: PublishAmerica
Sales Rank: 942803
Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Russ Reiker was a seasoned street cop in Phoenix, Arizona for 21 years. Two months before his planned retirement he was traumatically injured while on duty. He should not have survived, but he did. Chronicling his career with many extraordinary and remarkable incidents, this story culminates with the intensely personal moments preceding and during his impending death - memories that have, until now, been shared with only a few very special people. Russ Reiker?s tragic story is closely mirrored throughout by the circumstances leading to the death of one of his closest friends, and fellow officer. During the worst shoot-out in the history of the Phoenix Police Department, he was killed on almost the same date and time of day Russ? career would end. Their close friendship is the subject of continual laughs, tears, anger, fear and, at times, outrage, but more often humility and pride. Forever changed by the funeral of his friend, Russ Reiker could never go back to being the cop he was. ... Read more

Reviews (6)

3-0 out of 5 stars Excellent story, poor execution
999 Officer Down transports the reader behind the scenes into the life of Phoenix cop Russ Reiker. Written by his wife, Catherine Marfino-Reiker, the narrative is heartfelt and poignant, describing great triumphs and losses in this man's life.

Unfortunately, Mrs. Reiker is not skilled in the craft of writing. She gets her story across, but without the help of a good editor. I frequently stumbled over mid-sentence tense or point-of-view changes. I was also left feeling unsatisfied at the end because she provided few details about the cause of Russ's accident.

For the story, this is great book. If you also read to enjoy creative language and vividly painted images, you're likely to be sorely disappointed.

5-0 out of 5 stars Vivdly recounts the career of a dedicated policeman
999 Officer Down: The Russ Reiker Story is the true tale of Russ Reiker, an heroic street cop of Phoenix, Arizona who served for twenty-one years before suffering a life-threatening injury while on duty. Against all odds, he survived, but shortly thereafter one of his closest friends and fellow officers lost his life. 999 Officer Down vivdly recounts the career of this dedicated policeman and how his job was to change his life forever. Superbly written by Catherine Marfino-Reiker, 999 Officer Down is compelling and highly recommended reading.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Powerful Story Charged With Human Emotion!
999 Oficer Down by talented writer Catherine Marfino-Reiker is a powerful story about triumph and tragedy-- The before and after account of the worse shoot-out in the history of the Phoenix Police Department-- A story charged with human emotion that will have the reader swiftly turning the pages of this 'Must Read' book!

5-0 out of 5 stars Thought Provoking, Makes you think
I found this book to be very interesting, as it was my first experience reading of an Officers life. I found it intriguing the way the chain of command is initiated and followed through. There are rules and codes of procedures when even talking to your superiors. I thought that in itself had to be stressful for the officer, always having to know what to say and how you have to say it to your superiors, as not to ruffle any feathers. I find the officers are a close knit group, they look after their own, no matter what.I would recommend this book to all people in the field of law enforcement, their families and friends.

5-0 out of 5 stars Eye opening,Riveting, Heart Wrenching,Truly a Must Read,
Never have I read a story which truly focuses in on the emotions and reality that an officer of the law must endure while in the line of duty. The corruption and crime on the streets never embraced me until I read this book. One can not imagine what it must feel like to be humiliated, harassed , and even hurt, while your main objective is to uphold the law and protect the people we live with. Think about the oath they take, the intense training, the Risk???? Always having to look over their shoulders. They all have families and lives just like you and I and yet their main objective is to protect the people, uphold the law no matter what it takes. Officer Reiker was a devoted Officer of the Law, a true inspiration to mankind, a leader. He not only enforced law and order, he took the time to educate children who were not as priviledged as some. Never did predujice play a part. In Officer Reikers career, he endured more than any average human could, and survived by only a miracle. Officer Reiker can be proud ,he can hold his head up high knowing in his heart that he always did the right thing, no matter what the risk. . Yes I highly reccomend this book to the people we live with, the people we talk to every day. Take a Walk in Officer Reikers shoes and see what it feels like. Hats Off to Officer Reiker........ ... Read more

79. Coach's Life : My Forty Years in College Basketball
list price: $25.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 037550270X
Catlog: Book (1999-11-02)
Publisher: Random House
Sales Rank: 383623
Average Customer Review: 4.06 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

When Dean Smith retired from the University of North Carolina in 1997 as the most successful college basketball coach in history, he left behind a long list of staggering statistics, including seventeen Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season titles, thirteen ACC tournament championships, twenty-three consecutive NCAA tournament bids, two national championships, NCAA records for twenty-five-win seasons and consecutive trips to the tournament Sweet 16 (thirteen), an Olympic gold medal, and twenty-four first-round NBA draft picks. A special panel assembled by ABC and ESPN named him one of the seven greatest coaches of the twentieth century in any sport. Another measure of Dean Smith's legacy is his profound impact on the lives of the players he coached. From Michael Jordan to the last man on the bench of his least gifted team, Dean Smith's players all credit him with forging in them the values of discipline, respect, camaraderie, and fortitude that laid the groundwork for their success in basketball and in life. Ninety-eight percent of his players earned college degrees, and a high percentage went on to graduate and professional schools.

In A Coach's Life, for the first time, Dean Smith tells the full story of his fabled career. With warmth, humor, and unflinching candor, he gives readers the best seat in the house—the view from the bench—for all of the memorable games, players, coaches, and teams, including North Carolina's fierce rivalries, their darkest hours, and their greatest triumphs. He explains his basketball philosophy and its sources, the origins of his many innovations to the game, and his thoughts on the issues and challenges facing college basketball today. He talks about his roots in family and faith, the source of much of his strength in taking controversial stands on social issues over the years, such as desegregating the Carolina basketball team in the early 1960s. He relates incisive leadership lessons distilled from five decades of showing young men how to win the right way, on the court and off.

A Coach's Life is a book about basketball filled with wisdom about living. To read it is to understand why Dean Smith made everyone around him better, and to see that even in the most competitive of arenas, doing good and doing well can be one and the same thing.
... Read more

Reviews (16)

4-0 out of 5 stars don't expect kiss and tell...
This memoir is consistent with what I have observed of Smith over the years: intelligent, organized, interested in the world outside of basketball, publicly reserved, and loyal to a fault. The last two characteristics make the book a little frustrating to read: Smith will not name names or criticize his former players or coaches, though if you are fan of Carolina basketball you will know the names to fill into the anecdotes and incidents he describes (e.g. J.R. Reid's suspension from the 1989 ACC tournament semifinal for missing curfew.) Nevertheless, it is far better than most other sports memoirs (i.e. he actually had a life off the court)and should broadly appeal to people not especially interested in basketball in general or Carolina in particular.

4-0 out of 5 stars More than just a basketball book
The book was mostly appealling to me because of my love for Carolina basketball. However, the novel would be interesting to any basketball lover in that of the genius behind Dean's coaching strategies. He also sets a great standard for morals that a person should have in life. The book DOES travel into other sectors of life rather than just basketball. Dean Smith provides an excellent role model as his character is nothing less than the fine aspects of discipline, church, and honesty.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Feel Good Book with Substance
Dean Smith accomplishes something truly remarkable in this I 300+ page book. Not a negative word. The book is a building block to help coaches develop fine young men and women. Dean Smith is a true gentleman, and a man of principles who passes along valuable nuggets to coach any sport. The hardest thing for a coach to do is to set and maintain a culture of a team. Smith does this in a focused and people-minded(caring yet pushing them to be better) way. It's not just about winning. He regularly put in his 8-12 spot players in every game in the second half regardless of what the score was. This way they had something to look forward to in each game and would work hard at practice. Carolina had a rule "pass ahead"--pass to the guy who is ahead of you to advance the ball up the floor. What a great message (team enhancing and unselfish) for young players in basketball, soccer, and hockey. What most impressed me about this book was how positive Smith is. He is so complimentary to the people who matter in his life. It is always about them not about him. The one thing which I found curious was very little mention of his first and unsuccessful marriage to Ann. But I also respect his desire to keep their married life personal. If you are a dedicated coach then read this book, and Jim Thompson's Positive Coaching. Both are testimonials to what Erik Erikson coined the "generative" capabilities of men.

5-0 out of 5 stars a great look inside the heart and mind of a living legend !!
college basketball's greatest coach chronicles his life and details the philosophy and principles which governed his life and his approach to basketball. after reading the book you will understand why many consider him not only the greatest college basketball coach,but an even greater man.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Dean of All Coaches
"A Coach's Life" details the interesting facts of Dean Smith's story - from his childhood memories to his first coaching job to reaching the pinnacle of his career (winning the NCAA titles in 1982 and 1993). Along the way, you meet many people who enriched Dean's life and who, in turn, were enriched by him...there's Michael Jordan, of course, but Dean also reveals details of his relationships with a number of his players, associates and opponents, including John Thompson, James Worthy, and Frank McGuire, to name a few.

To his credit, he avoids speaking negatively about others. It seems that he was operating under the axiom, "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything." This would explain the virtual omission of Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski - glaring by its absence. So be warned - those looking for a mud-slinging expose' will be disappointed.

But that's OK - Dean showed that he didn't have to write a "tell-all" in order to write a good book. It's just a story of a simple Kansas boy who found a way to make a difference in people's lives. And what's wrong with that?

Rating: 4 stars. ... Read more

80. Milking the Moon: A Southerner's Story of Life on This Planet
list price: $25.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0609605941
Catlog: Book (2001-08-21)
Publisher: Crown
Sales Rank: 315184
Average Customer Review: 4.73 out of 5 stars
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When Katherine Clark began interviewing Eugene Walter (1921-98) in 1991 for an oral biography of this Mobile, Alabama, legend's picaresque life, friends asked her, "Do you think he will tell you the truth?" "I certainly hope not!" she replied. Clark, herself a Southerner, understood that the charm of Walter's conversation came from his brilliantly polished stories, in which "at a certain point the actual gives way to the apocryphal." So readers shouldn't ask if Tallulah Bankhead really gave Walter three pubic hairs or if Anna Magnani actually asked the mayor of Rome to help find Walter's lost cat: that's not the point. These anecdotes express Walter's appreciation of people he likes, and although the narrative is stuffed with famous names from Truman Capote to Leontyne Price, the exuberant protagonist finds less celebrated folks just as fascinating. His loving evocation of Mobile in the 1920s, when the front porch was the center of all social life, is just as detailed as his portraits of sojourns in more glamorous enclaves: Greenwich Village after World War II ("where I could sit in the evenings and hear Jane and Paul Bowles quarreling in their nearby apartment"); Paris in the early 1950s (his short story "Troubador" appeared in the first issue of Paris Review); and Rome during its La Dolce Vita years. Walter refused Fellini's plea that he perform with his marionettes in that particular movie, but he played an American journalist in 8 1/2 and "must have been in over a hundred of those crazy Italian films" before returning to Mobile in 1979. ("Sooner or later all Southerners come home, not to die, but to eat gumbo.") Clark, who captured an Alabama midwife's wisdom in Motherwit, gets out of her subject's way and lets his words create an enchanting world in this marvelously entertaining reminiscence. --Wendy Smith ... Read more

Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars Just like talking to Eugene.
I suppose I was one of the fortunate few who had a chance to meet Eugene before he died. The people I was working for back in the mid-nineties were friends of his and, therefore, I had the chance to be around him.

Eugene was the consummate storyteller. One of those who never let the truth get in the way of a good yarn. His idea was to make you enjoy where you were and who you were. To inject a little wonderousness into the world. Although based in truth, nothing he told was strictly true.

This book captures him almost perfectly. Although it cannot convey his gestures and antics and voice, it does convey his mind and gift for gab. Pour yourself a glass of port and read with the voice of an eccentric Southern uncle in your head and Eugene starts to come out. It's not quite the same as being there, but this book is as close as any of us will ever be again.

5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant. Best read in a long time.
I recycled my newspapers on September 11. (Mundane chores help.)The front page of the Washington Post Book Review in some week in August caught my eye. I read the review by Jonathan Yardley and promptly bought the book. When the horror of world events got too much, I'd retreat to Mobile, Alabama, Paris, and Rome as told by Eugene Walter. What a life. I didn't think I could feel giddy and goofy again. This guy knew what living was all about. Friends and food and art and goofiness and wit -- I love the stories about his 3 years as a cryptographer during WW2 in the Aleutian Islands and the moose. The man couldn't be boring if he tried. I'm buying everyone on my xmas list this book. Check it out.

5-0 out of 5 stars Gore Vidal calls Eugene Walter the "nice" Truman Capote
I completely fell under the spell of Eugene Walter but must pay homage to author Katherine Clark for seamlessly allowing us to believe we are spending hour after hour with Eugene as he spins fascinating story after fascinating story about his southern childhood, his friends, both famous and obscure, and what it was like to work in every capacity on Fellini movies. Recently I saw a friend from Mobile and said, "I'm just going to say two words to you. EUGENE WALTER. It was so satisfying to see her face light up and hear her squeal, "I LOVE EUGENE WALTER!!!!"

4-0 out of 5 stars Being there
"As-told-to" scribe Katherine Clark preserves Eugene Walter's voice in the memoir of this "character," as we call folks like him down South. Imagine Truman Capote without the best-selling books and TV fame. This is how Walter comes across in this memoir-autobiography-oral history transcript. He is a Southern Zelig, always showing up in pivotal moments in the development of literature and arts during the mid-20th century. Recalling his days in late 1940s New York, 1950s Paris and 1950s-60s Rome, he drops more names than the New York City phone book. From Greta Garbo to Judy Garland to Frederico Fellini, he hangs out with them all. The best-written portions of the book deal with his native Mobile, however. But who is he? He's the ultimate fly-on-the-wall. He writes some, acts some, translates movie scripts, throws cheap yet creative parties and plays the part of Southern eccentric in Europe. Who is he? He seems like an early 1970s Dick Cavett Show guest: an obscure bon vivant who shows up with George Plimpton to discuss a new Martha Graham dance or to cook a Southern meal. I ran across a mention of the book in an Oxford American magazine article and got a copy after reading a couple of very positive reviews by critics like Jonathan Yardly of the Washington Post. The book also received a 2001 National Book Critics Circle award nomination for biography. It's not for everyone. And I'm probably in that group. But it is intriguing and engaging and, at time, humorous. And at all times, like its subject, unique.

5-0 out of 5 stars Milking the Memories
Walker is a Southern storyteller. He more than fits his own definition of one who speaks with dozens of side tales (parentheses). Webster calls these parenthetical expressions "a remark or passage that departs from the theme of a discourse." Walker may depart from the theme, but he always returns, and it always fits. He says: "The mark of a good storyteller is: Have a whole shelf full of shoeboxes of details.... It's like those ballad singers at the Scottish lords who improvised new verses for those ballads every night...." What music this Southern balladeer makes especially as he explains the use of the Southern front porch for storytelling, visiting, shelling peas, and an explanation of the etiquette of porch visiting. He even makes a detour (parentheses) to explain how front and back porches differ (shell peas on the front porch, shrimp on the back). One comes away understanding why Walker fit in so perfectly with the side walk café salons of Paris and Rome. The Southern porches were his training ground. Those were the original talking salons. One almost hears the music of porch furniture: "...a whole world of wicker or rattan chairs and divans and tables and plant stands and swings big enough for three people. How I wish some composer had heard, as I, the different sounds of porch swings. Everything from rattle-squeak to crunch-budge-tink. With a bass accompaniment of shuffling feet, often bare." Ah, these were the real salons, set to music, before people had to go to Paris to talk and before Americans discovered those faux porches that serve as little more than standing room on the front of today's dull houses. Walker explains the South as he remembers it, the South he carried with him around the world, and it makes any Southerner long for the South of his/her youth, or it beckons any curious Yankee to come and savor a romantic time and place that they've never experienced.... ... Read more

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