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1. Perfectly Reasonable Deviations
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2. American Prometheus : The Triumph
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3. My Life as a Quant : Reflections
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4. iCon Steve Jobs : The Greatest
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5. Incompleteness: The Proof and
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6. "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!":
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7. Arnold O. Beckman: 100 Years of
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8. What Do You Care What Other People
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9. Galileo's Daughter: A Historical
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10. Dr Folkman's War: Angiogenesis
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11. Rocket Boys
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12. J. Robert Oppenheimer : And the
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13. Benjamin Franklin : An American
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14. The New Quotable Einstein
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15. The Man Who Changed Everything
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16. Reason for Hope : A Spiritual
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17. The Orchid Thief : A True Story
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18. Aryan Christ:, The : The Secret
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19. Rocketman : Astronaut Pete Conrad's
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20. Edward Teller : The Real Dr. Strangelove

1. Perfectly Reasonable Deviations From The Beaten Track: The Letters Of Richard P. Feynman
by Richard P. Feynman
list price: $26.00
our price: $17.16
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Asin: 0738206369
Catlog: Book (2005-04-30)
Publisher: Basic Books
Sales Rank: 227711
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Book Description

An extraordinary volume of never-before-published letters written by one of America's most beloved scientists.

Richard P. Feynman, brilliant physicist and beloved teacher, is an iconic figure in the world of science. Born in 1918 in Brooklyn, Feynman received his Ph.D. from Princeton in 1942. Despite his youth, he played an important part in the Manhattan Project during World War II, going on to teach at both Cornell and the California Institute of Technology, and winning the Nobel Prize in physics in 1965 for his research in quantum electrodynamics. Many remember his work on the Challenger commission, in particular his famous O-ring experiment, which required nothing more than a glass of ice water. Besides his work as a physicist, Feynman was at various times an artist, dancer, bongo player, and lock picker.

While there have been many books celebrating his myriad scientific achievements and personal eccentricities, his personal correspondence has remained largely hidden from view buried in the archive at Caltech or locked in a box in his daughter's Pasadena home. Now, for the first time, we have the privilege of reading his wonderful letters to students, long-lost relatives, former lovers, crackpots, colleagues, and die-hard fans. From his early love letters to his first wife Arline, who died at Los Alamos of tuberculosis, to his decades-long attempt to resign from the National Academy of Sciences, Feynman shares his views on feminism, fatherhood and everything in between. These letters, which span a full half-century, tell the story of a marvelous and inventive life, and reveal the pathos and wisdom of a man many felt close to but few really knew. By turns abrasive and charming, intimate and inspiring, we see the many sides of Richard Feynman, and treasure him all the more. ... Read more


2. American Prometheus : The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer
by KAI BIRD, MARTIN J. SHERWIN
list price: $35.00
our price: $23.10
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Asin: 0375412026
Catlog: Book (2005-04-05)
Publisher: Knopf
Sales Rank: 157455
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3. My Life as a Quant : Reflections on Physics and Finance
by EmanuelDerman
list price: $29.95
our price: $19.77
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Asin: 0471394203
Catlog: Book (2004-09-17)
Publisher: Wiley
Sales Rank: 1360
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Book Description

"Derman’s memoir of his transition from mathematical physicist to expert finance whiz at Goldman Sachs and Salomon Brothers reads like a novel, but tells a lot about brains applied to making money grow."
–Paul A. Samuelson, MIT, Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences, 1970

"Not only a delightful memoir, but one full of information, both about people and their enterprise. I never thought that I would be interested in quantitative financial analysis, but reading this book has been a fascinating education."
–Jeremy Bernstein, author of Oppenheimer: Portrait of an Enigma

"This wonderful autobiography takes place in that special time when scientists discovered Wall Street and Wall Street discovered them.It is elegantly written by a gifted observer who was a pioneering member of the new profession of financial engineering, with an evident affection both for finance as a science and for the scientists who practice it.Derman’s portrait of how the academics brought their new financial science to the world of business and forever changed it and, especially, his descriptions of the late and extraordinary genius Fischer Black who became his mentor, reveal a surprising humanity where it might be least expected.Who should read this book?Anyone with a serious interest in finance and everyone who simply wants to enjoy a good read."
–Stephen Ross, Franco Modigliani Professor of Finance and Economics, Sloan School, MIT

" … a deep and elegant exploration by a thinker who moved from the hardest of all sciences (physics) to the softest of the soft (finance). Derman is a different class of thinker; unlike most financial economists, he bears no physics envy and focuses on exploring the real intuitions behind the mechanisms themselves. In addition to stories and portraits, the book documents, in vivid detail, the methods of knowledge transfer. I know of no other book that bridges the two cultures. Finally, I am happy to discover that Derman has a third career: he is a writer."
–Nassim Taleb, author of Fooled by Randomness

"The quintessential quarky quant, Emanuel Derman has it all.Physicist, mathematician, philosopher, and poet blend together to produce a narrative that all financial engineers will find worth reading."
–Mark Rubinstein, Paul Stephens Professor of Applied Investment Analysis, University of California, Berkeley ... Read more


4. iCon Steve Jobs : The Greatest Second Act in the History of Business
by Jeffrey S.Young, William L.Simon
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
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Asin: 0471720836
Catlog: Book (2005-05-13)
Publisher: Wiley
Sales Rank: 234
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Lightning never strikes twice, but Steve Jobs has, transforming modern culture first with the Macintosh and more recently with the iPod. He has dazzled and delighted audiences with his Pixar movies. And he has bedeviled, destroyed, and demoralized hundreds of people along the way. Steve Jobs is the most interesting character of the digital age.

What a long, strange journey it has been. With the mainstream success of the iPod, Pixar's string of hits and subsequent divorce from Disney, and Steve's triumphant return to Apple, his story is better than any fiction. Ten years after the leading maverick of the computer age and the king of digital cool, crashed from the height of Apple's meteoric rise, Steve Jobs rose from ashes in a Machiavellian coup that only he could have orchestrated-and has now become more famous than ever.

In this encore to his classic 1987 unauthorized biography of Steve Jobs-a major bestseller- Jeffrey Young examines Jobs' remarkable resurgence, one of the most amazing business comeback stories in recent years. Drawing on a wide range of sources in Silicon Valley and Hollywood, he details how Jobs put Apple back on track, first with the iMac and then with the iPod, and traces Jobs' role in the remarkable rise of the Pixar animation studio, including his rancorous feud with Disney's Michael Eisner.

  • Written with insider scoops and no-holds-barred style
  • Based on hundreds of highly unauthorized interviews with Jobs' nearest and dearest
  • New information on the acrimonious parting between Eisner and Jobs, the personal vendetta behind the return to Apple, and the future of iPod and the music industry
... Read more

Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars I Have a Very Favorable Opinion of Mr. Jobs Now
After reading this book I have come away with a much more favorable opinion of Steve Jobs.He is the flawed hero type.I found this to be a very enlightening and motivating story.Steve Jobs is the epiteme of the New Age American Dream, a no hoper rising to the top and changing the way everybody sees things.

The truth about the reality distortion field theory is that Jobs doesn't let reality affect him.Rather he is in control of his own reality and he changes it when necessary.It's much easier to change the world when you think it is revolving around you.It's that kind of self-centered focus that many of the world's greatest minds exhibit.Many geniuses are hard to get along with and communicate to, Steve Jobs is no exception.

4-0 out of 5 stars Horrible Book Title
I can't imagine the Apple folks being happy with the title of the book. Is it:

a) iCon -- a symbol or emblem?
b) iCon -- as in "I've conned you into buying a Mac."
c) all of the above.

Somebody's in trouble somewhere...

5-0 out of 5 stars excellent sundeck reading
While completing a website: www.linuxfree.net A friend pass this title along to me. Excellent read. Just five years ago Mac was just another bland corporate player. Since the inclusion of (smooth) well-developed and managed unix, the apple family has finally begun to stir well-deserved praise.

5-0 out of 5 stars Lighten up, Steve.
You would think, with all the fuss Steve Jobs is making about this new release, that it would be the worst hatchet job since "Wired" massacered the late John Bulushi.
In actuality, the approach to the project was even-handed to a fault. William Simon brings his forminable experience with these business giant profiles to the table. His signature combination of terse and flavorful makes for excellent reading.
As the episodes unfold, the Steve Jobs onion is peeled away for the reader to view the admirable along with the not-so-admirable. Great stuff!

5-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating
I've long been intrigued by the Steve Jobs story as well as the early days of company-building and conflict between he and Bill Gates. This book is a real page-turner as it explores the connection between the technology, consumer-focused brand building and the psyche of the man behind it all. Jobs is a fascinating character and the author's representation of his story is better than fiction.

Another new book I enjoyed recently which has fun analysis of public figures is "The Emotional Intelligence Quick Book." This one also has a cool online application that lets you test your emotional intelligence and learn about it via clips from movies. Fun stuff. ... Read more


5. Incompleteness: The Proof and Paradox of Kurt Godel (Great Discoveries)
by Rebecca Goldstein
list price: $22.95
our price: $15.61
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Asin: 0393051692
Catlog: Book (2005-02-28)
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Sales Rank: 79959
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Book Description

A masterly introduction to the life and thought of the man who transformed our conception of math forever.

Kurt Gödel is considered the greatest logician since Aristotle. His monumental theorem of incompleteness demonstrated that in every formal system of arithmetic there are true statements that nevertheless cannot be proved. The result was an upheaval that spread far beyond mathematics, challenging conceptions of the nature of the mind.

Rebecca Goldstein, a MacArthur-winning novelist and philosopher, explains the philosophical vision that inspired Gödel's mathematics, and reveals the ironic twist that led to radical misinterpretations of his theorems by the trendier intellectual fashions of the day, from positivism to postmodernism. Ironically, both he and his close friend Einstein felt themselves intellectual exiles, even as their work was cited as among the most important in twentieth-century thought. For Gödel , the sense of isolation would have tragic consequences.

This lucid and accessible study makes Gödel's theorem and its mindbending implications comprehensible to the general reader, while bringing this eccentric, tortured genius and his world to life.

About the series:Great Discoveries brings together renowned writers from diverse backgrounds to tell the stories of crucial scientific breakthroughs—the great discoveries that have gone on to transform our view of the world. ... Read more


6. "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!": Adventures of a Curious Character
by Richard P. Feynman, Edward Hutchings, Ralph Leighton
list price: $14.95
our price: $10.47
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Asin: 0393316041
Catlog: Book (1997-04-01)
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Sales Rank: 1502
Average Customer Review: 4.63 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

A series of anecdotes shouldn't by rights add up to anautobiography, but that's just one of the many pieces of receivedwisdom that Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman (1918-88)cheerfully ignores in his engagingly eccentric book, a bestsellerever since its initial publication in 1985. Fiercely independent (readthe chapter entitled "Judging Books by Their Covers"), intolerant ofstupidity even when it comes packaged as high intellectualism (checkout "Is Electricity Fire?"), unafraid to offend (see "You JustAsk Them?"), Feynman informs by entertaining. It's possible toenjoy Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman simply as a bunch ofhilarious yarns with the smart-alecky author as know-it-all hero. Atsome point, however, attentive readers realize that underneath all themerriment simmers a running commentary on what constitutes authenticknowledge: learning by understanding, not by rote; refusal to give upon seemingly insoluble problems; and total disrespect for fancy ideasthat have no grounding in the real world. Feynman himself had allthese qualities in spades, and they come through with vigor and vervein his no-bull prose. No wonder his students--and readers around theworld--adored him. --Wendy Smith ... Read more

Reviews (156)

5-0 out of 5 stars It's Good To Be Feynman!
"Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman" is a very interesting book. The many amusing and captivating stories in this autobiography keep you wanting to read more. I personally had a hard time putting this book down every night. Even though I started reading this for a physics project it turned out to be a very entertaining assignment due to the many diverse topics discussed in the book. The subjects discussed range from physics to biology and even touching on hypnosis in one chapter. The book starts out by telling how he acted growing up and then went on to tell about his college life and eventually went all the way to his adult life. This book is a humorous look at the world of science through the eyes of one of the greatest physicists of all time, Richard P. Feynman. It is a must read for anyone interested in any science related field.

3-0 out of 5 stars In his own words
Although I'd heard of Feynman for years now--people I know were excited by the Feynman Lectures volumes--I didn't really know who he was. Oh, I could probably have given you the fact that he was a physicist, and maybe that he had won the Nobel prize, and just recently Jill told me about a Feynman anecdote that she had read by Stephen Jay Gould. After Surely You're Joking, I know much more about Feynman, and why he interests people. As far from the stereotype of the scientist that you can get, yet still having some geeky characteristics that he wasn't afraid to admit to, Surely You're Joking is a portrait of the man in his own words. In fact, the best way to approach this book is as if you had stumbled on to it in a dimly-lit bar, sat down next to it, exchanging turns buying drinks and talking about each other. Just like a conversation, some things are funny, some things don't make sense, and--as a one-sided conversation--they all revolve around a singe subject.

5-0 out of 5 stars Just plain hilarious!
I can't see why so many idiots give Feynman's books bad reviews and say "the guy is OVERRATED man!" These people are probably just jealous because Feynman was UNDOUBTEDLY the coolest smart-person who ever lived. Moreover, this is the book which provides conclusive proof of that fact. Anyone who says Feynman was overrated is blatantly wrong -- In fact, I have been interning at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab, where I met a man named Don Thompson who actually met Feynman when he did his post-doctoral work at Caltech. As Don says, "Feynman was just as funny, brilliant, and vibrant as all the books and accounts say he was." So, buy this book, and don't believe all the idiots who give it bad reviews.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful!
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It really gave dimension to a man I've heard so many stories about from my father in law. My husband got a kick out of seeing me read the book too. He had read it a few years ago and after I would finish a chapter he'd want to chit-chat about what I had just read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Greatest autobiography ever!
The book is just great. It has a great humorous and adventurous side and shows the reader what an interesting character Richard Feynman was, totally different from the awkward sterotype by which people relate to scientists. Feynman is very candid and speaks his mind, and the book is a very colorful account of his adventures and experiments with different circumstances. I'll recommend the book to everyone, not just those who are interested in science. The book really shows how much a person can do in one life. Even if one bit of Feynman's personality rubs off on you, this book would be twice worth itself.

Comparing this book to 'A beautiful mind' about John F. Nash, I can see a big difference in the fact that I didn't keep this book down for even a second, while 'a beautiful mind' (a boring description of the boring life of a generally boring person) is lying somewhere gathering dust ever since I read the first chapter. ... Read more


7. Arnold O. Beckman: 100 Years of Excellence (Chemical Heritage Foundation Series in Innovation and Entrepreneurship)
by Arnold Thackray, Minor Myers, James D. Watson
list price: $65.00
our price: $65.00
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Asin: 0941901238
Catlog: Book (2000-04-01)
Publisher: Chemical Heritage Foundation
Sales Rank: 670747
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Arnold O. Beckman is a living legend: the blacksmiths son who grew up to play a pivotal role in the instrumentation revolution that has dramatically changed science, technology, and society. From his rural boyhood world of farming and woodworking, through his spell in the Marines and his appointment to the Caltech faculty, to his path-breaking creation of the pH Meter, the DU spectrophotometer, and Beckman Instruments, this work portrays an individual whose ingenuity and integrity made him a scientific leader and industrial pioneer. It also discusses his role in California and national politics, and his career as a major philanthropist. Arnold Beckmans story is inseparable from that of the twentieth centurya very inspiring read.

Included with this biography is a video portrait of Arnold Beckman, in CD-ROM format for both PC and Mac. ... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Leading with Innovation and Example
This biography of Dr. Beckman was created to coincide with his 100th birthday last year.

While many will not recognize his name, all have had their lives improved by his many innovative contributions to science, medicine, and education. Chemistry as we know it mostly advanced through the development of instruments that can rapidly, inexpensively, and accurately analyze biological and mineral substances. Our modern manufacturing processes rely on these instruments as do our physicians in isolating and diagnosing diseases. Many of these tests were first accomplished by either Dr. Beckman or the company he founded, Beckman Instruments. His company also played a key role in pioneering critical components and instruments for secret projects such as those for radar and the atomic bomb during World War II.

In parallel, Dr. Beckman played a big role in the development of Cal Tech, as a student, professor, major donor, and trustee. The rise of that institution from being a small school to one of the world's very top universities benefited, in part, from Dr. Beckman's efforts on Cal Tech's behalf over many decades.

Dr. Beckman's company continues to thrive today as Beckman Coulter, and is leading the way to finding new ways to diagnose diseases.

If you are like me, you will enjoy reading about how many important chemical and electronic innovations occurred. Dr. Beckman was often involved. For example, Beckman Instruments was at one time briefly a leader in work developing the first semiconductor technology, before there was a Silicon Valley. It was fascinating to see how the team split off to become Fairchild and later Intel.

Dr. Beckman was very generous with his charity, and has donated hundreds of millions of dollars.

The biography is unusually detailed on both the personal and the scientific side. The book also benefits from having many excellent photographs. I particularly liked the many side bars that made it possible to read in more depth about particular aspects of Dr. Beckman's life. .

Anyone who wants to understand about the challenges of being an inventor-businessperson will enjoy this book. Those who are interested in understanding more about how modern instruments developed will find the book like a history of science. Anyone who wants to learn about being a good example will find Dr. Beckman to be a worthy source of study, as well.

After you finish this book, consider where you have stopped following your curiosity. Then take some more steps in those directions. Like Dr. Beckman, your greatest accomplishments may be ahead of you as you follow your curiosity into the uncharted territory of the next big thing.

Look on life with interest and pursue it with high standards!

5-0 out of 5 stars Good
An interesting book about an interesting man. In 1997 "USA Today" listed the top 10 charity givers in America, and Arnold Beckman was listed 10th as having given $280 million to charity. A man who does that is worth reading about! ... Read more


8. What Do You Care What Other People Think?: Further Adventures of a Curious Character
by Richard P. Feynman
list price: $13.95
our price: $10.46
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Asin: 0393320928
Catlog: Book (2001-01)
Publisher: W.W. Norton & Company
Sales Rank: 6735
Average Customer Review: 4.46 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The best-selling sequel to "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!"--funny, poignant, instructive. One of the greatest physicists of the twentieth century, Richard Feynman possessed an unquenchable thirst for adventure and an unparalleled ability to tell the stories of his life. "What Do You Care What Other People Think?" is Feynman's last literary legacy, which he prepared as he struggled with cancer. Among its many tales--some funny, others intensely moving--we meet Feynman's first wife, Arlene, who taught him of love's irreducible mystery as she lay dying in a hospital bed while he worked nearby on the atomic bomb at Los Alamos. We are also given a fascinating narrative of the investigation of the space shuttle Challenger's explosion in 1986, and we relive the moment when Feynman revealed the disaster's cause by an elegant experiment: dropping a ring of rubber into a glass of cold water and pulling it out, misshapen. A New York Times bestseller. ... Read more

Reviews (35)

5-0 out of 5 stars ┬┐Continuation of a curious character┬┐
This book is a continuation and addendum of sorts to Mr. Feynman's first biography, "Surely you are joking, Mr. Feynman". The two major stories of the book involve Mr. Feynman's enormously influential first wife, Arlene and the second story involves Mr. Feynman's work in the Challenger disaster investigation. Sprinkled around these two major bookends are other humorous adventures and observations about a trip to Japan, being labeled a sexist pig by feminists, and hotel hunting in Europe to name just a few.

The Challenger investigation takes up a sizable chunk of the book and is sometimes filled with drier material. But the compelling event and frustrating insight into government bureaucracy holds some interest to make up for the technical specifications.

The first part of the book where his wife Arlene is discussed is so touching and powerful that the reader will be hard pressed not to get teary-eyed.

As noted in the review about the first biography, Mr. Feynman was an extremely curious person who explored things out of simple curiosity. His life's quest was nothing simpler than a desire to understand Nature. All the while, he tried to have the best time he could. Hopefully this reader can take away at least a little bit of that.

5-0 out of 5 stars Scientific background is not a prerequisite
A lot of books written by scientific people claim to be "down-to-earth" and for the "layman" but end up creeping into the obscure. Not so here. Feynman starts with his feet planted firmly on the ground and never strays.

The first few stories range from the serious to the light-hearted. From the pain of losing his wife to being invited to speak at a funeral for a man whom he can't remember. These accounts give you a good look at the ability of Feynman to convey a story and make it interesting. The majority of the book however is given to the time he spent on the committee that investigated the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. Using no nonsense, straight-forward writing he takes you through the process of how he and the others, despite a lot of bureaucratic red tape, managed to find out what went wrong on that fateful day. What could very well be a dry and uninspiring subject becomes quite informative and engaging through his telling.

This is my first book by Feynman, but having absorbed the whole thing in one sitting it surely won't be my last.

4-0 out of 5 stars Not Joking this time
The follow-up to the successful, "Surely you're joking Mr. Feynman" this book offers four pretty distinct parts.

First section describes how his father taught him to think about the world and his father's ambition to make young Richard a scientist. The end of the book is Feyman's case for the importance of science. In between we get the sad, but sweet story of his first wife and the utterly compelling story of his time on the committee investigating the challenger explosion. It was my favorite part of the book.

The description of how government committees decide facts and make recommendations was eye opening. It was the best description of how these things work that I've ever read. Feynman was constantly up against a committee chairman that wanted to keep everyone in a room asking questions of experts. Feynman didn't like that setup. He wanted to travel out to NASA and talk to engineers, so he did.

Going to Huston and Canaveral, Feynman learned something about the nature of NASA that probably goes for any big organization. He found that NASA was a unified force when their goal was putting a man of the moon. Information was shared freely and appreciated at every level. Once that goal was met NASA became compartmentalized.

Leaders at the top spent their time reassuring Congress that NASA would achieve their goals with low costs and high safety. Engineers at the bottom realized that this wasn't entirely possible. The middle managers didn't want to hear the challenges because they would be forced to report it to the top bosses who didn't want to hear it. It was much easier for top bosses to paint a rosy picture to Congress if they were unaware of the actual challenges of making it work. The end result was that top bosses said that the likelihood of a mission death was 1-100,000 while engineers on the ground felt that the likelihood was more like 1-300.

Feynman concludes that maybe the shuttle program was a bad idea. It could never live up to the ambitious projections of the leaders and the American public was being lied to. NASA should be honest with the American people, Feynman thought, then Congress and voters can decide if they are getting enough for their money. It was a surprisingly thing to hear from an advocate of science and discovery. But Feynam reckoned that the amount of science and discovery has been little compared to the cost. He complained years after the first shuttle launch he still hadn't read any significant experiments in scientific journals.

In all, I liked this book a little better than "Surely You're Joking." It was a little more thought provoking than those fun tales.

4-0 out of 5 stars Interesting follow up
This book is the follow on to the book "Surely you must be joking, Mr. Feynman". In the first book there was a time line that progressed from youth to Professor at Caltech. This book is much different in that 45% of the book describes his pre- 1986 life and 55% describes his involvement in the Challenger shuttle accident investigation. This investigation was a mere 2 years of his life (and the final 2 years as well). The same brilliant character shines through in both parts of this book. There are many interesting vignettes of this iconoclast that are not in the first book. The most interesting part is the description of his relationship with his first wife Arlene who succumbed to TB while he was still a young man. He really had a great heart for those close to him. He didn't suffer fools willingly and often was abrupt to the point of rudeness. More interesting observations are available at feynmanonline^com. Detailed there is a more balanced view of the man and his foibles.

2-0 out of 5 stars Hero worship can blind you to reality
Yes, Feynman was brilliant. Yes, Feynman revolutionized the teaching of physics. Yes, he seems to have been a delightful, charming, handsome, womanizing, fun guy to hang out with. But the Feynman cottage industry ran dry a long time ago. I expect his grocery lists to be published any day now to feed the insatiable hunger for anything that he touched. The essays and articles in this book are bland and nearly worthless. One is introduced as "uproarious." Uproarious is defined as "provoking hilarity." If you think anecdotes about Feynman running up a stairway to bring his heart rate up are hilarious, you are easily amused. This book was a complete waste of time and money. ... Read more


9. Galileo's Daughter: A Historical Memoir of Science, Faith, and Love
by Dava Sobel
list price: $15.00
our price: $10.20
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Asin: 0140280553
Catlog: Book (2000-11-01)
Publisher: Penguin Books
Sales Rank: 6525
Average Customer Review: 4.13 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Galileo Galilei's telescopes allowed him to discover a new reality in the heavens. But for publicly declaring his astounding argument--that the earth revolves around the sun--he was accused of heresy and put under house arrest by the Holy Office of the Inquisition. Living a far different life, Galileo's daughter Virginia, a cloistered nun, proved to be her father's greatest source of strength through the difficult years of his trial and persecution.

Drawing upon the remarkable surviving letters that Virginia wrote to her father, Dava Sobel has written a fascinating history of Medici--era Italy, a mesmerizing account of Galileo's scientific discoveries and his trial by Church authorities, and a touching portrayal of a father--daughter relationship. Galileo's Daughter is a profoundly moving portrait of the man who forever changed the way we see the universe.

• Winner of the Christopher Award and a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award

• Named a Notable Book of the Year by the New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, Esquire, and the American Library Association
... Read more

Reviews (195)

5-0 out of 5 stars Galileo's World Under A Microscope
Galileo's Daughter is a rare gift. This marvelous duo biography of Galileo Galilei and his daughter Virginia evokes a sense of time and place, character and action and of cosmic importance that are usually the province of great works of fiction.

Author Dava Sobel's meticulous scholarship and keen insights provide us a literary microscope with which we can examine Galileo's seventeenth-century world as the great astronomer explored the heavens with his telescope.

Galileo's numerous scientific discoveries and his condemnation by the Church for heretically teaching the earth moved around the sun are familiar to most school children. Galileo's Daughter does much more than chronicle these familiar events.

Sobel transports us to the Florence of Grand Duke Ferninando de Medici, the Rome of Pope Urban VIII, the Covent of San Matteo where Virginia Galilei became Suor Maria Celeste and breathes life into Galileo's Italy during the era of The Thirty Years War. Superstition and science, loyalty and treachery, generosity and selfishness, the ridiculous and the sublime each combine in a rich Italinate tapestry of seventeenth-century life.

I recommend this wonderful book to men and women of all ages. It will satisfy even those with little interest in history, science or biography. If you are looking for a good story, well told, that illuminates the human condition, this book is for you.

3-0 out of 5 stars Bringing a historical figure down to a more personal level
Galileo's correspondence with his favorite daughter (only her letters to him are present; his letters to her were lost or destroyed) gives us a new perspective on a well-known historical figure and events.

Sobel weaves fascinating historical background on everything from the plague to international politics around the tender letters from Galileo's daughter, Maria Celeste. Despite the fact that she's a cloistered nun, we learn quite a bit about the world at large.

It's interesting to watch Galileo, a devout Catholic, grapple with his faith and with church authorities who believe science and religion are mutually exclusive. We get to see the personal side of Galileo's famous trial.

The book also presents a suprising portrait of a strong, intelligent woman in a place where you might not expect to find her - a seventeenth-century convent.

If you're not a science or history buff the book can get a bit dry in places, but Galileo's discoveries and persecution generally make for enough plot to draw you along over the rough spots.

4-0 out of 5 stars Refreshing Perspective
From the title of this book, I naturally expected it to be a biography of Galileo's daughter, which it is not exactly. I was a bit disappointed to begin with, as the first hundred pages or so are Galileo's early biography. Once his daughter, Virginia (later Suor Marie Celeste) came into the picture, the story became much more interesting.

Virginia was one of Galileo's three illegitimate children by the mistress of his early years, Marina Gamba. She eventually married, with Galileo's blessings, and he never lost interest in his children. Due to their illegitimacy which he felt would eliminate any chance of a decent marriage, Galileo had his two daughters entered into a convent at a very early age. The both became nuns at the convent of San Matteo on turning sixteen, Virginia taking the name Suor Marie Celeste and Livia that of Suor Arcangela. The son, Vincenzio, lived with Galileo in his late teens and eventually (after an unpromising start) became a good son to him.

This book recounts Galileo's personal and private life, using letters from Marie Celeste to give color to what would otherwise be a black and white, straight forward biography. Their shared love is beautiful to see in her letters--his to her having been lost--and the bits and pieces of every day life that she treats the reader to are thoroughly enjoyable.

This is a very detailed and readable history of Galileo, and gave me a much greater understanding of the man, his work and his difficulty with the Church. The conflict he felt between himself and his discoveries comes through very clearly and poignantly in his own words through his other letters. Her faith in him, and in the fact that he was not being heretical, is very apparent. It was interesting to me to see how differently Sobel portrays Galileo's fight was the Church--if her sources are to be believed (and I see no reason to disbelieve) it was not at all what history textbooks would have us believe.

As a history major and fanatic, I truly enjoyed reading this book. The alternate perspective of Galileo was refreshing and real--and made sense of a lot that had previously seemed murky to me about him and the Church. The addition of Marie Celeste's letters gave this book personality and took Galileo from a science god to a human being. My only regret is how few letters are in this book, and that the title is a bit misleading. Despite that, if you have any interest in Galileo, this is a must-read!

5-0 out of 5 stars "The father...of modern science" had a loving daughter!!
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This six part, 33 chapter book, by Dava Sobel, has two themes running through it:

Theme #1: Decribes thoroughly the life and times of Galileo Galilei (1564 to 1642).
Theme #2: Describes the life of Galileo's daughter (1600 to 1634) through some of the actual letters she wrote to her father.

This is first and foremost a solid, easy to read biography of Galileo. His life is traced from him first entering a monastery before deciding to lead a life of scientific inquiry and discovery. Actual letters or parts of letters (translated from the original Latin, French, or Italian by various experts) by Galileo and others are included in the main narrative. Throughout, we are told of his numerous inventions and discoveries. Perhaps the most sensational is that his telescopes allowed him to reveal a new reality in the heavens and to reinforce the Copernican argument that the Earth moves around the Sun. For this belief, he was brought before the Holy Inquisition, accused of heresy, and forced eventually to spend his last years under house arrest. All the translated papers pertaining to these inquisition days are included and make for fascinating reading.

My favorite Inquisition story is with respect to the June 1633 renunciation or "confession" document (reproduced in this book) Galileo was to speak out aloud. The main point of this document is that the Earth does not move around the Sun and that the Earth does not move at all. After reading it aloud, it is said that he muttered under his breath "Eppur si muove" (translation: "But it does move.")

One of Galileo's daughters born "Virginia" and later appropriately named "Sister Maria Celeste," had the intelligence and sensibility of her father. As indicated by her letters, her loving support, which Galileo repaid in kind, proved to be her father's greatest source of strength through his most productive but tumultuous years. Sobel herself translated these letters from the original Italian. They are expertly woven into the main narrative adding an emotional element to this biography.

This book contains almost twenty-five complete letters and numerous large and small fragments from other letters by Sister Celeste. All letters she wrote begin with a statement showing love and respect for her father. Example: "Most Illustrious Lord Father." The first complete letter is dated May 10, 1623 and the last complete letter is dated December 10, 1633. Those letters Galileo wrote to his daughter have not survived.

Almost 75 illustrations are found throughout this book. They add (besides the actual letters of Galileo's daughter) yet another dimension to the narrative. Two of my favorite pictures are entitled "Moon drawings by Galileo in 1609" and "Sunspot drawings by Galileo."

Another intriguing aspect of this book is a chronology after the main narrative ends entitled "In Galileo's Time." This is not just a timeline of important events that occurred during Galileo's life but includes all significant events (especially scientific ones) between 1543 to 1999 inclusive. For example, what happened in 1687? According to this chronology, "Newton's laws of motion and universal gravitation are published in his [book] 'Principia.'" What happened in 1989? Answer: "[NASA] launches [the] 'Galileo' spacecraft [or space probe] to study the moons of Jupiter at close range."

Where did the author obtain all the fascinating information needed to write such an intriguing book? Answer: from the over 130 references found in the bibliography.

I noticed in the book's "Appreciation" section that the author gives thanks to many people. (Dr.) Frank Drake, who helped with the celestrial mechanics found in this book, caught my eye. She co-authored with him the excellent book "Is Anyone Out There?: The Scientific Search for Extraterrestral Intelligence" (paperback, 1994).

Finally, my only minor complaint is with the book's title. As mentioned above, there are two interconnected themes running through this book. Thus, I think a more appropriate title might have been "Galileo and his Daughter."

In conclusion, this book is a thorough biography of Galileo that includes some translated letters from one of his daugters. It is truly, as the book's subtitle states, "A Historical Memoir of Science, Faith, and Love!!!"

<=====>

4-0 out of 5 stars A original perspective.
Dava Sobel made an excellent job in this book. Family is an aspect of Galileo's life never exploded before (at least not that I know) and totally gives you a different perspective of this controversial and heavily influential individual. Galileo's life, as exposed in Sobel's book, is a very human and touching one. Seeing Galileo from the eyes of his tenderly loving bastard daughter (a nun), evokes such intense conflicting emotions as one might expect only to surge by empathy, a characteristic only obtained when the author makes you compenetrate inside the personage life. A great book, highly recommended for curious people. ... Read more


10. Dr Folkman's War: Angiogenesis and the Struggle to Defeat Cancer
by ROBERT COOKE
list price: $25.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375502440
Catlog: Book (2001-02-15)
Publisher: Random House
Sales Rank: 183450
Average Customer Review: 4.78 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com's Best of 2001

Early in 1998, New York Times science reporter and author Gina Kolata happened to be seated at a banquet next to the Nobel Prize-winning scientist James Watson. When Kolata asked Watson what was new in the world of science, he replied, "Judah Folkman and angiogenesis, that's what's new. Judah is going to cure cancer in two years."

Folkman, a longtime physician and medical researcher at Harvard University and Children's Hospital, was caught off guard by the excited news reports that followed Watson's remark, but there was good reason for excitement. For nearly four decades, when not busy doing such things as inventing the heart pacemaker and attending to hundreds of patients, Folkman had been puzzling out a peculiarity of tumors: at some point during their formation, they sent forth chemical signals that in effect "recruited" blood vessels to feed them. If those signals could be intercepted through well-targeted drugs, Folkman reasoned, and the blood supply to cancerous formations thus interrupted, then the tumors themselves might be starved to death, or at least to dormancy.

In this book, Newsday writer Robert Cooke offers an accessible account of Folkman's work on angiogenesis, or the formation of blood vessels, which may well point the way to new treatments for cancer and related illnesses. Following Folkman's roundabout trail, one marked by considerable resistance on the part of doubtful colleagues, readers will gain a sense of how medical research is conducted--and, almost certainly, a sense of wonder at the medical breakthroughs that, as James Watson hinted, are just around the corner. --Gregory McNamee ... Read more

Reviews (23)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Modern Odyssey of Medical Innovation
This book clearly deserves many more than five stars.

Dr. Folkman's War contains many valuable insights including how to: Raise children to be outstanding people; be an astute observer about nature to unlock new lessons; pioneer in a new field of science; and be persistent about something important. When the history of medicine in the twentieth century is written, Dr. Judah Folkman will be considered one of the most important figures. This book is the most accessible and complete source of information about his remarkable life and accomplishments.

Dr. Folkman's research to date "has found applications in twenty-six diseases as varied as cancer, diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, psoriasis, arthritis, and endometriosis." "Ordinarily, researchers working in any of these fields do not communicate with each other."

Angiogenesis looks at the way that capillaries are formed in response to the body's biochemistry to help and harm health. Tumors depend on this action to get the blood supply they need to grow. Wounds also rely on a similar mechanism to grow scar tissue.

I have been following Dr. Folkman's career for over twenty-five years, and heard him speak about angiogenesis just a little over two years ago. Because I felt I was well-informed, I almost skipped this book. That would have been a major mistake on my part. Dr. Folkman's War contained much new and interesting information that helped me to better understand the lessons of Dr. Folkman's life, as well as the future implications of angiogenesis.

Unknown to me, Dr. Folkman had also played a role as an innovator in implantable pacemakers, time-released drug implants, and specialized types of heart surgery before he began his serious assault on angiogenesis.

The discoveries had their beginning in 1961 when he was a draftee in a Navy lab in Bethesda, Maryland. He noticed that tumors could not grow unless they first recruited their own capillaries to bring an increased blood supply. "Over time, he convinced himself that there had to be some way to block the growth of those blood vessels." He was right, but it took a long time before he knew any of the answers.

In brief opening comments about the book, former surgeon general C. Everett Koop, M.D. and Sc.D. observed how this new science evolved. "In the 1970s, laboratory scientists didn't believe any of it." " . . . [T]he critics' objections were hushed for good in 1989." "In the 1990s, the criticisms came chiefly from the clinical side, and the pharmaceutical companies didn't want anything to do with angiogenesis."

The story is a very heart-warming one. Dr. Folkman's father was a rabbi who asked each member of the family each night what she or he had learned that day. He also constantly implored his son to "Be a credit to your people." His father clearly thought that Dr. Folkman would also become a rabbi. Having announced his attention to become a physician, his father told him, "You can be a rabbi-like doctor." This injunction was one he took to heart, often seeking out his father's counsel on how to console the families of his patients.

His first taste of how close mortality is to all of us was when his first two children inherited cystic fibrosis. The younger of the two died, and the older one needed lots of special care to deal with infections. This probably made him a better doctor, by helping him see things more from the patients' points of view.

Space constraints keep me from discussing the book's description of how angiogenesis developed, but if you like stories about trail-blazing research, you will be amply rewarded. The key hurdles are described, along with the blind alleys that were followed. Anyone reading this will see how important it is to add new skills to the study of any new subject.

I was particularly interested in the way that press reports tended to harm the progress of angiogenesis, either by annoying other scientists, attracting hucksters, or delaying key deals with potential partners. We often think about freedom of speech being helpful, but here the case is a mixed one.

My only disappointment with the book is that it does not provide as much clinical data about the drugs under testing now as has been made public. That material would have made for fascinating reading. There are also natural substances that can cause a tumor to shrink, and clinical studies have been very successful in growing and shrinking tumors for some time.

I suspect that some member of your family will live a longer, healthier life due to future treatments soon to be available using angiogenesis. This book is a great way to learn more about the subject now, so you can encourage exploration of these experimental therapies where possibly appropriate. If anyone in your family now has cancer, this book is must reading for you!

Dr. Folkman summarized the book nicely as follows: "Success can often arrive dressed as failure." "If your idea succeeds everybody says you're persistent. If it doesn't succceed, you're stubborn."

May we all live longer and healthier lives due to the emerging medical treatments using angiogenesis . . . that were helped by Dr. Folkman's persistence!

5-0 out of 5 stars Persistence & vision overcomes dogma an ignorance.
Through long, arduous practice, Buddhists believe it is possible to remove the lens of self-interest and dogma to perceive "absolute reality," with "automatic compassion." After reading Robert Cooke's biography one believes that Dr. Judah Folkman has never looked at medicine any other way.

But the emperors of the scientific establishment have never dealt kindly with the boys who can't see their robes, as Cooke points out with several examples. (The Hungarian doctor who demonstrated that deaths from childbirth fever could be eliminated if doctors washed their hands was hounded by his colleages to suicide.) Dr. Folkman's heresy was the observation that tumors can't grow without stimulating healthy tissues to supply new blood vessels.

Fortunately for all of us, Dr. Folkman's vision has been matched by his persistence in pursuing it. In following Dr. Folkman's path from his boyhood in Ohio as the son of a rabbi, to Harvard where he gained his self-confidence, to the Navy research lab where his angiogenesis hypothesis first formed, and back to Boston as a pediatric surgeon-scientist, Cooke makes what might have been a difficult and technical story into an epic adventure.

In keeping with the fashion that writing a biography in chronological order is boring and passe, Cooke instead follows parallel thematic threads in Dr. Folkman's storied career. I personally found the resulting forward and backward jumps in time distracting, but not insurmountable.

It would have been enough if this were merely a story of scientific progress and the triumph of a new idea over entrenched dogma, but it is also the story of a man whose vision is matched by his devotion to his patients. It should be required reading for all prospective medical students.

Now angiogenesis-based therapies for cancer, atherosclerosis, blindness and arthritis are on the verge of exploding on the scene and Dr. Folkman's lab at Children's Hospital Boston is ground-zero. He and the generation of doctors and researchers that he has helped to train are revolutionizing huge swaths of medicine. When it happens it will seem like it was overnight, but those of us who have read Robert Cooke's book will know it was a lifetime in the making.

5-0 out of 5 stars Dr. Folkman is my hero -- a story better than SeaBiscuit!
This book by Robert Cooke is incredible! Mr. Cooke is able to explain to the average layperson the medical concepts of angeiogeneis conceived by the most under-valued person of our time: Dr. Judah Folkman. Dr. Folkman is to cancer what Salk was to Polio! Personally, Dr. Judah Folkman is my hero! A real hero, deserving of the Nobel Prize....and I don't speak lightly. I am a cancer patient that has recently learned that my cancer (thought was beat) has advanced to my lungs. The ONLY therapy for me is in an ANGIOGENESIS drug therapy program for a drug currently in study and labeled as "PI-88." I am just so confident this drug will work. I am the only patient with my type of cancer cell (adenoid cystic carninoma), so I am a little bit more of a lab rat for this program.

God Bless Dr. Folkman and h is incredible perserverance! His story should be a movie----a tale better than SeaBiscuit! He is my SeaBiscuit!

LHH

5-0 out of 5 stars Cure for cancer?
Chances are someone close to you has succumbed to the ravages of cancer, while you and the medical establishment could only sit by and watch the process reach its inevitable conclusion. The good news is, for nearly 40 years, Dr. Judah Folkman has been pursuing a cure for cancer -- or at least a way to fight tumors more effectively than chemotherapy or radiation -- that only until very recently has garnered serious attention. Dr. Folkman's theory is called angiogenesis, the process by which cancer cells emit an agent which triggers the growth of blood vessels to feed the growth of the cancer itself. For years Dr. Folkman's idea was basically scoffed at as the flailings of an amateur researcher, but Cooke shows how Dr. Folkman has perservered -- while maintaining his brilliant career as a physician -- and eventually, through a slow accumulation of experimental evidence, as well as the discovery of several antiangionesis agents, turned opinion around. Throughout this engaging and fascinating retelling of Folkman's journey, Cooke also provides an eye-opening account of the workings of academia, medical research, and their relationships to those Orwellian biotech companies you keep hearing about. The science is clear and vivid, the battle to defeat cancer inspiring, and the promise of victory -- thankfully, finally -- just around the corner.

2-0 out of 5 stars interesting story, but ......
I work in this field of research. I do like the story of the persistance and creativity of Judah Folkman. However, the author stumbles in describing some of the science and the intellectual contributions of others that led to some of the Folkman lab's discoveries. After reading the reviewers' praise for Mr. Cooke's "detailed research " on the book's back cover, I was diappointed by some obvious errors in the book. I believe that most of the innaccuracies are the unfortunate result of the author's failure to corroborate all of his facts. He may have been in a hurry to get the book out, but I wish that he had taken a little more time to get the science and other facts straight. ... Read more


11. Rocket Boys
by Homer Hickam
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385333218
Catlog: Book (2000-01-11)
Publisher: Delta
Sales Rank: 6441
Average Customer Review: 4.79 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The #1 New York Times bestselling memoir that inspired the film October Sky, Rocket Boys is a uniquely American memoir--a powerful, luminous story of coming of age at the dawn of the 1960s, of a mother's love and a father's fears, of a group of young men who dreamed of launching rockets into outer space . . . and who made those dreams come true.

With the grace of a natural storyteller, NASA engineer Homer Hickam paints a warm, vivid portrait of the harsh West Virginia mining town of his youth, evoking a time of innocence and promise, when anything was possible, even in a company town that swallowed its men alive. A story of romance and loss, of growing up and getting out, Homer Hickam's lush, lyrical memoir is a chronicle of triumph--at once exquisitely written and marvelously entertaining.

Now with 8 pages of photographs.

... Read more

Reviews (442)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Moving Memoir
Homer Hickam's Rocket Boys was one of those books that I couldn't put down, and I thought about for a long time after I finished it. There is humor mixed in with the story of one boy's determination to succeed in achieving his goals. I would recommend this book to people who are looking for an inspiring story. It is about growing up in a rural mining town in West Virginia struggling to accomplish goals in space when the main concern of the town is what is below the ground, not what is above it. I thought that this was an excellent book and would recommend it to teenagers as well as adults. It's considered an adult book, but it is an easy book to read and teenagers can relate to the main character. This is one of my favorite books.

Through reading this book, I have learned that hard work and determination will allow a person to reach his or her goals in life. In this book, Homer Hickam had many obstacles to overcome in order to reach his goal of becoming a rocket scientist. This book has taught me that if I have a dream, I must try to reach it. No matter how many and how hard the obstacles are that come in the way of dreams, a person must keep trying. I would also recommend seeing the movie that was based on this book, October Sky. October Sky is an accurate presentation of the story. If you have already seen the movie, you are sure to enjoy this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars October Sky: A Memoir
Rocket Boys

This is a book which was inspired by a boy's desire to please his father. Homer Hickman Junior, referred to as Sonny, grew up in Coalwood, a mining town in West Virginia. Sonny's mother knew he was special; she encouraged him regardless of the upsets, the destruction, or his fathers reluctance from him to go on. Spanning his years in high school, this memoir evokes encouragement, disappointment, and sheer ecstasy. To see the blossoming of a "geeky" child into a man revered in Coalwood and all through out society should be an inspiration to us all. All of his efforts were concentrated on a single person, his father, to gain his full support. Rocket Boys is a book which is impossible to put down, looming in the back of your head until you finish. A magnificent read. Attending high school and being in those formative years gave me a chance to reflect on what the message might be. Every nook and cranny of the book is something a person can relate to, a well thought out memoir

5-0 out of 5 stars Loved this book!!
I'm not sure which was more interesting--the story of the rocket building or the story of growing up in a small West Virginia coal mining town. I was captivated by both.
To those that say this book doesn't appeal to women--nonsense! I'm a woman and am recommending it to my daughter and all my friends.
And finally, to the reviewer that said the movie is better--I loved the movie, but guess what, the book was even better.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent - a quick read
This book really drew me in - although it is nearly 400 pages long, I finished it within two days! Highly recommended - especially if you have an interest in space/rocketry. However, it is hard to imagine many people who wouldn't enjoy this book. Better than the movie. I'm also amazed that a "rocket scientist" can write so well.

5-0 out of 5 stars Rocket Boys
One day my class teacher told us we would all be picking a book, reading it, and writing a critique for it. Then she told us we would be placing it on the internet. I wasn't too thrilled about any of this. This book turned out to be a lot better than I thought it would be. Rocket Boys, by Homer H. Hickam was written beautifly, tellling the story of a few young boys trying to reach a common goal. Homer "Sonny" Hickam Jr. starts out as a freshman in highschool trying to find a way with the ladies, especially Dorthy, and battling the jocks, one being his brother, for popularity. Sonny takes a sudden intrust in Sputnik. This is what gets him started on his incredibly passoinate love for rockets. His father is a miner and is always gone, as where his mother is incredibly supporting to whatever he does as long as he "doesn't blow himself up." Miss Rilly was another very supporting person in Sonny's life. She is the one that provides the "fuel" for Sonny's dream when she gives him a book on rocketry and encourages him to enter the science fair. I loved how the story is so vivid and colorful, how you can see the excitement, anger, fear, and love that the character expresses. This story also shows you that you have to keep trying to get what you want, and that not everything comes easily, but if you work hard for it, it can be very rewarding. Sonny learns this when he decides to enter the county science fair. It ends up being incredibly rewarding, and surprising to him. He ends up in the national science fair and returns home with a medal. Sonny eventually ends up working for NASA and accomplishing his dream. I loved this book because it was what really happened to him and it shows. He made a lot of really great frinds along the way, whether in the mine workshop or just some "different" people at school. I give this book five stars and would read it again anyday! ... Read more


12. J. Robert Oppenheimer : And the American Century
by David C. Cassidy
list price: $27.95
our price: $19.01
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0131479962
Catlog: Book (2004-08-20)
Publisher: Pi Press
Sales Rank: 49090
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Download Description

The unexplored secret of the American Century, the last 100 years of US history, is the rise of American science, specifically physics. At the heart of that story is J. Robert Oppenheimer, leader of the Manhattan Project that built the atomic bomb. He was a man of contradictions: a scientist who discovered black holes and then turned his back on cutting edge research; a gentle liberal humanist responsible for the creation of the first real weapon of mass destruction; a genius who founded "scientific militarism" and then let it destroy him. His life story embodies the great conflicts of American society, its genius, its weaknesses, and even its essential morality. How did an aesthete man uninterested in the acquisition of power become the leader of American science, the most powerful research community in the world? And how did he, with all his intellectual and social advantages, lose his power and become regarded by many as an unfulfilled if not failed scientist. While it is biography of a physicist, it is also a history of the 20th century offering insights into the "scientific militarism" behind events on the world stage today.

DR. DAVID CASSIDY is a Professor in the Natural Science Program at Hofstra University, and has been Chair of the Section for History and Philosophy of Science of the New York Academy of Science. Dr. Cassidy has had an outstanding career as a writer and editor in the history of physics. He has been awarded the American Institute of Physics Science Writing Award and the Pfizer Award of the History of Science Society, the latter the highest award in the field. He is also the author of "Einstein and our World "and coauthor of "Scientists at War: The Farm Hall Transcripts." ... Read more


13. Benjamin Franklin : An American Life
by Walter Isaacson
list price: $16.95
our price: $11.53
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 074325807X
Catlog: Book (2004-04)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Sales Rank: 1902
Average Customer Review: 4.39 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Benjamin Franklin is the founding father who winks at us -- an ambitious urban entrepreneur who rose up the social ladder, from leather-aproned shopkeeper to dining with kings.

In bestselling author Walter Isaacson's vivid and witty full-scale biography, we discover why Franklin turns to us from history's stage with eyes that twinkle from behind his new-fangled spectacles. In Benjamin Franklin, Isaacson shows how Franklin defines both his own time and ours.

The most interesting thing that Franklin invented, and continually reinvented, was himself. America's first great publicist, he was consciously trying to create a new American archetype. In the process, he carefully crafted his own persona, portrayed it in public, and polished it for posterity. His guiding principle was a "dislike of everything that tended to debase the spirit of the common people." Few of his fellow founders felt this comfort with democracy so fully, and none so intuitively.

In this colorful and intimate narrative, Isaacson provides the full sweep of Franklin's amazing life, from his days as a runaway printer to his triumphs as a statesman, scientist, and Founding Father. He chronicles Franklin's tumultuous relationship with his illegitimate son and grandson, his practical marriage, and his flirtations with the ladies of Paris. He also shows how Franklin helped to create the American character and why he has a particular resonance in the twenty-first century. ... Read more

Reviews (98)

5-0 out of 5 stars A great effort.
Walter Isaacson's "Benjamin Franklin: An American Life" is an excellent biography of the eldest of the American founding fathers. Isaacson's writing style is incisive, so the book is never dull. Many Americans tend to view the founding fathers as god-like patriots; but Isaacson is able to show Franklin's flaws through the many refrences to Franklin's correspondences. Isaacson also extensively covers Franklin's pragmatism and frugality through many examples from his letters and other records.

I can't compare this book to any of the other popular Franklin books because I haven't read them, but I would reccomend this book for a less analytical, though not superficial, read. I say this because it was written by a journalist - journalists tend to be incisive and easier for most to read than scholers. If you would enjoy a more psychological view into Franklin's character, HG Wells' version would probably be more appropriate.

5-0 out of 5 stars An American Renaissance Man
Publisher, philosopher, scientist, inventor, and statesman - Walter Isaacson's "Benjamin Franklin: An American Life" is a fascinating portrait of our Founding Father's most senior citizen. But it is also an outstanding history of American life in the 18th century, first as a colony, then in the struggle for independence. The role of France in the American Revolution - and Franklin's role in securing that key alliance - unfolds with a clarity I'd not previously encountered. And Franklin's often-combative relationship with John Adams is a riveting character study, especially when balanced by McCullough's biography of Adams. In vivid detail and painstaking research, Isaacson's Franklin is brilliant, but still an enigma. Despite unquestionably high morality, we see a ruthless businessman. While possessing an obvious love for socializing - especially with members of the opposite sex - his immediate family is effectively abandoned, as Franklin lives virtually parallel lives between Europe and America. We see Franklin typically charitable and charming, yet alternately cold and calculating. Yet despite his foibles and flaws, Franklin emerges deservedly as "the most accomplished American of his age." And given the breadth of these accomplishments, an argument could be made "for any age". In summary, Isaacson achieves the rare combination of an important and scholarly biography that at the same time is a lively and entertaining story of America and one of our greatest Americans.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great Portrayal of the Most Versatile American
Let me first start off by saying that I have read few biographies. But Isaacson made a biography that is both readable and balanced between Franklin's personal and professional life. Franklin was the true founding father that believed in the common man. Franklin was not perfect but he believed in fair treatment for all. America would have advanced much slower if it was not for Ben. Probably his greatest contribution to our society was the feeling of helping one another. He helped form the first fire station, post office, police force (much less his inventions) - his work had community written all over it. All of his work was done with the premise of helping mankind. Maybe other founders fought the wars and wrote the documents. But we survived all these years because we formed a community; the idea that as Americans we have to all work together. That is Franklin's legacy to our nation. I will read biographies on the other founders (Hamilton, Jefferson, Adams and Washington) to gain a more complete perspective on how this country started. This book lays an excellent foundation and is a must read for those interested in the origins of America through the eyes of one of its greatest citizens.

5-0 out of 5 stars An outstanding biography of a remarkable man
Walter Isaacson, former chairman of CNN and managing editor of Time Magazine, has written an immensely readable and informative biography of Benjamin Franklin that never gets too stuffy or bogged down in meaningless minutae. Instead, we are treated to a fascinating glimpse at a man who was early America's greatest publisher, scientist, politician, inventor and diplomat.

We all have our pre-conceived notions of Franklin, including him out flying his kite to try and link electricity with lightning, or him dozing off during the lengthy and tedious deliberations at the Constitutional Convention. Isaacson peels back the layers of the story a bit, reminding us how often our vision of Franklin derives from Franklin's own pen, such as the vision of the young teen arriving in Philadelphia with loaves of bread, looking ridiculous as he passed by the window of his future wife (a scene written by Franklin at age 65 when he penned his autobiography).

The book does a very good job not only of recounting the many accomplishments of Franklin, but also of exploring his middle class ideals and values. For example, Isaacson's book reminds us that while Franklin was never terribly pious or religious throughout his life, he favored organized religion because churches encouraged citizens to behave well, and to do good things. There was always a sense of pragmatism and public service in everything Franklin did and believed in. As a publisher, if he thought a public policy or official was wrong and needed to be criticized publicly, he would invent characters (to avoid libel suits) to write humorous and sometimes scathing attacks that were basically anonymous.

The book also dwells repeatedly on the Franklin's love and admiration of the middle class as the real core of American society. While Thomas Jefferson founded the University of Virginia as a college for southern gentlemen, Franklin founded the University of Pennsylvania to serve a much larger, and more low-brow, populace. As a statesman, it is remarkable that Franklin (despite many years abroad as an effective French ambassador) was a participant and signer of virtually every key treaty/document in colonial history, including the Albany Plan of the Union, the Declaration of Independence, the Treaty of Alliance with France, the Peace Treaty with England, and the Constitution. His spirit of compromise and his sage demeanor no doubt helped bridge the gap which sharply divided members of the Constitutional Convention. He occasionally flip-flopped on an issue, including his views on the Stamp Act and his belief in the possibility of conciliation with Britain, but without his sense of compromise the Constitution would never have made it in its present, remarkable form.

Isaacson also explores the personal side of Franklin, including his strained relationship (and ultimate lack of a relationship) with his loyalist son, who became governor of New Jersey, as well as his relatively harmless flirting with the ladies of French society while he was abroad. The contrasts in his character, and that of John Adams (who was sent out to France to work with him on the French alliance), was remarkable. Both great men to be sure, but they could not be more unalike, and their pairing was an unfortunate one.

The book ends with a wonderful chapter titled "Conclusions" in which Franklin's place in history, and the changing attitudes towards his character over the years, are explored. The Trascendentalists like Emerson and Thoreau had little use for Ben, as he was too practical and mundane for their "rarefied tastes", but as the country became more industrial and Horatio Alger novels became the rage, Franklin's work ethic and maxims were embraced all over again. Ultimately Isaacson points out that as a writer he was "more Mark Twain and less William Shakespeare", and as a scientist he was more like Edison than Newton. Always witty and charming, if not profound, he probably did more than anyone in history to try and advance the common good, through civic associations, libraries, volunteer fire departments, post offices, etc. I put the book down terribly impressed with Franklin the man, and Isaacson the biographer.

1-0 out of 5 stars Walter Isaacson: Mr. Shallow, An American Life
As a direct descendant of Simon Meredith (1663-1745), father of Hugh Meredith, Benjamin Franklin's erstwhile business partner in Philadelphia, I looked forward with great interest to Isaacson's much touted book, and immediately consulted it between flights, looking up Cousin Hugh. With respect to Hugh, Isaacson, like so many predecessors, again proved shallow, inept, under informed and a grand source of misinformation: as we Merediths know all too well, Franklin simply stiffed Simon and dumped Hugh after the venerable Ben had gained a virtual monopoly to print money. Isaacson remains oblivious of the fact that the Simon Merediths of Radnorshire, members of a medieval college of physicians and clerics, were and remain one of the most distinguished Welsh-American families this country has ever known. I realize Isaacson is reputedly a great publicist and business person, but as an historian and researcher he remains woefully ignorant. Welcome to another silly, sorry Franklin read. ... Read more


14. The New Quotable Einstein
by Albert Einstein
list price: $14.95
our price: $10.17
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0691120757
Catlog: Book (2005-02-22)
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Sales Rank: 9611
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

For the first time in paperback, here is a newly expanded edition of the best-selling book that was hailed as "setting a new standard" for quotation books. Tens of thousands of readers have enjoyed The Quotable Einstein and The Expanded Quotable Einstein, with translations into twenty-two languages. This updated edition--which appears on the 100th anniversary of Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity and the 50th anniversary of Einstein's death--offers more than 300 new quotations, or over 1,200 altogether. Nearly all are by Einstein himself and a few are about the self-professed "lone wolf" Time magazine named "Man of the Century" at the turn of the millennium.

The New Quotable Einstein also includes a new section, "On Aging," and fresh material has been added to the appendix-from a touching account by Helen Dukas of Einstein's last days to a day-by-day summary of Johanna Fantova's telephone conversations with Einstein during the final year and a half of his life.

Also included are a poem called "Einstein," by Robert Service; and three virtually unknown verses to the song "As Time Goes By" (made famous in the movie Casablanca) that refer to Einstein. New photographs have been selected to introduce each section of the book.

Through well-documented quotations and supplementary information, The New Quotable Einstein provides a bigger and better biographical account of this multifaceted man-as son, husband, father, lover, scientist, philosopher, aging widower, humanitarian, and friend. It shows us even more vividly why the real and imagined Einstein continues to fascinate people across the world into the twenty-first century.

  • 300-plus new quotations, more than 1,200 in all
  • A day-by-day summary of Johanna Fantova's phone conversations with Einstein toward the end of his life
  • A touching account of Einstein's last days
  • A new section, "On Aging"
  • Three virtually unknown original verses of the song "As Time Goes By" (from the movie Casablanca) that refer to Einstein
  • Robert Service's poem "Einstein"
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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars On the whole excellent
I was overjoyed when the first edition came out. Here in one small volume were many of Einstein's most famous lines.I was even happier when new expanded editions came out.I have used the book almost as an index to my collection of books about Einstein (and I have a dozen of them).

But I noticed one problem in the editing.In the first edition, in the chapter "On Religion, God, and Philosophy," Einstein is quoted as saying "I see only with deep regret that God punishes so many of his children for their numerous stupidities, for which only he can be held responsible; in my opinion, only his nonexistence could excuse him."In the "expanded" edition, the word "only" (the first one) was removed.Well, this changes the meaning a lot, given what we know about Einstein's denial of free will in man.With the word "only" removed, God's guilt is lightened, as though suggesting there are other culprits, but in so doing she also distorts Einstein's meaning.I was startled enough by this that I went to the science library at the University of Toronto, and double-checked Einstein's words in the multivolume "Collected Papers of Albert Einstein."The word "only" appears in both the German original ("nur") and the English translation.Over and over Eisntein denied that human beings have free will, and so objectively there is no one to blame for our crimes but God - if, as Einstein said, He even existed.

Initially I suspected the editor of deleting "only" deliberately - after all, the "censored" version appears in both the second and third editions.But I'm now satisfied that this was an honest editing error and I have been reassured that it will be corrected in the next edition.

On the whole, the quotes are quite reliable.And the sources are very wide, including not only Einstein's own collected papers but the Einstein Archive and other secondary writings (such as memoirs).There must be materials that may be new and interesting even to Einstein scholars.

In his foreword Freeman Dyson claims Einstein had a "darker side" - for example, with respect to his family.Well, I'm sorry, but Einstein never pretended he was a saint.He was in some ways only an ordinary human being with a very extraordinary brain.He was certainly no great father or husband.But Einstein never asked anyone to censor his biography for him, making him look better than he was.If he cheated his wife, he did so virtually openly.So I think Dyson's point is really pointless.Besides, the term "darker side" misleads people into thinking that Einstein must have done some evil deeds which he tried to keep away from view.Newton's deceitful conduct in the priority dispute certainly suggests a nasty side to his personality.Nothing of the kind was ever in Einstein's character or conduct.Einstein had a temper, and he could be grumpy, or sexist, or rude, or over-the-top in his words on occasion.And that's about as far as his "dark side" gets. So what?He never did anything remotely criminal or unethical or even deceitful, for those of us wondering what this "dark side" means.(Incidentally, Dyson's assertion that the Japanese show "exquisite taste" in admiring Einstein and Hawking defies common sense. It's not just the Japanese but the whole world over who have such "exquisite taste"; nor is it just Einstein and Hawking whom the Japanese admire. The Japanese admire all sorts of people, some of whom would not be considered terribly heroic by us.Dyson is a great mathematical physicist, but I'm familiar enough with Dyson's many writings to know this guy doesn't always say sensible things.)Returning to Dyson's foreword, his story about armed Israeli soldiers commandeering Einstein's files at Princeton, NJ on a dark and rainy Christmas night, possibly breaking American laws, while good enough for a cheap movie scene, sounds too fantastic to be believable.His implication is that Einstein's dirty laundry is now safely and deliberately hidden in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.Unless you're a connoisseur of conspiracy theories, you can safely dismiss this notion.Unless the files are physically destroyed, archivists will dig them out sooner or later.There is no reason to believe that non-Israeli Einstein specialists are denied access to them.I can't say I'll never be surprised by new revelations, but I doubt any will be interesting enough by now because the most important of Einstein's deeds and words and beliefs are already well known.What's yet to be revealed is most likely not interesting enough.(If someone could somehow find a manuscript proving Mileva doing most of the original mathematical thinking in Special Relativity, that would be an example of interesting new revelations.)

This book is very good as a general introduction to Einstein the man and even to his physics to a limited extent.The quotes are well-chosen and cover a good range.On the other hand, I wouldn't call it an Einstein concordance.For one thing, it is too short to be any such thing.For another, only an expert about Einstein AND his physics - like Abraham Pais - is qualified to compile a "concordance."(It would help that this expert also knew Einstein personally, though this is perhaps not necessary.)

This book is thus not the real thing - but surely a handy enough substitute.Its merits still far outweigh its imperfections.Here in one handy volume you can find Einstein's views on wide range of subjects, from politics to women to pipesmoking to Germans and Jews and of course physics.Not all of us will agree with everything he said.But in my opinion, Einstein's insights in philosophy, the scientific method, and music are devastatingly penetrating.And this book gives a fair and representative sample of these.(For those of you who are really interested in Einstein's "darker side," look for his tough opinions on Germans.For me, Einstein's bitter views of Germans come closest to showing his so-called "darker" side.Close but not quite though.Given all those dumb things Germans did in his lifetime, who can blame him?)

Two indexes, one for subjects and another for key words, make this book particularly user-friendly.

Calaprice has done Einstein admirers like myself a fine service.And the timing of this edition is good.Not only is 2005 the 100th anniversary of Special Relativity (1905), but April 18, 2005 is also the 50th anniversary of Einstein's death.



... Read more


15. The Man Who Changed Everything : The Life of James Clerk Maxwell
by BasilMahon
list price: $29.95
our price: $19.77
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 047086088X
Catlog: Book (2003-10-03)
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Sales Rank: 24914
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

‘Since Maxwell’s time, physical reality has been thought of as represented by continuous fields, and not capable of any mechanical interpretation. This change in the conception of reality is the most profound and the most fruitful that physics has experienced since the time of Newton.’

Albert Einstein

‘He is easily, to physicists, the most magical figure of the nineteenth century.’

Times Literary Supplement ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Tribute to a Truly Great Man
The scientific accomplishments of James Clerk Maxwell are astounding! To think that he was able to accomplish so much in electromagnetism, optics, thermodynamics, etc., in so short a life boggles the mind. This biography is well done. The writing is clear and engaging. The various scientific explanations give a good indication of how Maxwell the scientist approached and solved physical problems. His charming personality and his wittiness stand out to give one a good overall impression of Maxwell the man. Notes at the end of the book provide added information on some issues discussed in the main text. Complete with an index and a bibliography, this book should be read by anyone interested in knowing more about one of the greatest, yet less known, all-time giants of the scientific world. ... Read more


16. Reason for Hope : A Spiritual Journey
by Jane Goodall, Phillip Berman
list price: $32.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0446522252
Catlog: Book (1999-09-01)
Publisher: Warner Books
Sales Rank: 223064
Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

As a young woman, Jane Goodall was best known for her groundbreaking fieldwork with the chimpanzees of Gombe, Africa. Goodall's work has always been controversial, mostly because she broke the mold of research scientist by developing meaningful relationships with her "specimens" and honoring their lives as she would other humans.

Now at the age of 60, she continues to break the mold of scientist by revealing how her research and worldwide conservation institutes spring from her childhood callings and adult spiritual convictions. Reason for Hope is a smoothly written memoir that does not shy away from facing the realities of environmental destruction, animal abuse, and genocide. But Goodall shares her antidote to the poison of despair with specific examples of why she has not lost faith. For instance, she shares her spiritual epiphany during a visit to Auschwitz; her bravery in the face of chimpanzee imprisonment in medical laboratories; and devotes a whole chapter to individuals, corporations, and countries that are doing the right thing. But most of all Goodall provides a beautifully written plea for why everyone can and must find a reason for hope. --Gail Hudson ... Read more

Reviews (33)

4-0 out of 5 stars A soul-searching book.
"So here we are, the human ape, half sinner, half saint, with two
opposing tendencies inherited from our ancient past pulling us now
toward violence, now toward compassion and love," 65-year-old
Jane Goodall writes in her soul-searching memoir (p. 143). When faced
with a world of environmental destruction, human suffering,
overpopulation, over consumption, pollution, deforestation, poverty,
famine, cruelty, hatred, greed, violence, and war (pp. 230-31), she
observes "it is these undeniable qualities of human love and
compassion and self-sacrifice that give me hope for the future"
{p. 148).

Goodall's journey through life has been an adventure.
"I have tried to write my story honestly," she says in her
book's introduction (p. xv). We meet Jane as a child dreaming
"about nature, animals, and the magic of far-off wild and remote
places" {p. 11}. Her parents divorced when she was twelve
{p. 17}, and it was on her trip to Africa at age 23 when her life was
forever changed upon meeting famed paleontologist/anthropologist, Louis
Leaky (p. 49). Jane then spent her twenties studying chimpanzees in
the solitude of Gombe before marrying National Geographic
photographer, Hugo van Lawick, in 1964 (pp. 83-84), and having a son
(affectionately nicknamed "Grub") in 1967. Reflecting upon
her divorce from van Lawick, Goodall writes, "I experienced, as
have many others, the bitterness of a close and joyful relationship
with a spouse slowly changing and souring, and the intense emotional
pain that this generates. And the sense of failure and guilt"
(p. 83). In approximately 1974, Jane married Derek Bryceson after the
two survived a plane crash, only to lose him to cancer roughly five
years later.

Although insightful, Goodall is not a great writer; but
her prose is simple and easy to follow. In addition to studying
chimpanzees in Gombe, she has been studying us "human apes,"
and her findings deserve our attention. The message, really, of her
book is "a very simple one: Each one of us matters, has a role to
play, and makes a difference. Each one of us must take responsibility
for our own lives, and above all, show respect and love for living
things around us, especially each other. Together we must reestablish
our connections with the natural world and with the Spiritual Power
that is around us" (p. 267).

G. Merritt

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the most important books of the century.
Reason for Hope: A Spiritual Journey, by Jane Goodall with Phillip Berman, Warner Books, 1999, New York. by Marc Bekoff Reason for Hope is an amazing book by a most-amazing woman. Jane Goodall's autobiography is easy to read and will appeal to people of all ages. She writes about highly personal issues and reflects on science, religion, and spirituality. Goodall is clearly a "Jane of all trades and master of many." She wears many hats and she wears them well. Goodall is a naturalist at heart, can do multivariate statistics, write about God and spirituality, be a faithful and committed mother and wife, and find time tirelessly to share her experiences world-wide. There is so much between its covers that one can only offer a glimpse of the numerous topics that are considered in Reason for Hope. This very personal book touches on diverse issues ranging from practical matters we all face daily to more philosophical questions concerning the meaning of life and spirituality. We learn about the events in Goodall's development that led to her views of the world, the incredible importance of family and friends, her work with Louis Leakey (her incredulity when he chose her to begin studies of chimpanzees although, and perhaps because, she had no formal training and no degree), field studies of chimpanzee behavior, conservation biology, environmental ethics, evolution and its relationship to creationism, cultural evolution, the agonizing death of Goodall's husband, Derek, the ins and outs of how much science is done behind the scenes, science and politics, and how so many scientists shy away from confronting the ethical issues that are raised by "doing science." Goodall also learned that naming animals and describing their personalities (I think that "animalities" might have been more acceptable terms) was taboo in science, but because she had not been to university she did not know this. She "thought it was silly and paid no attention." In an interesting story, Goodall notes how fortunate she was when her mother, Vanne, found she had taken a whole handful of worms to bed at 10 months old she did not throw them out, but quietly told Jane they would die without earth, so she toddled with them back into the little garden outside their London apartment. In many ways Vanne is no less amazing than her daughter. In her mid-fifties, Vanne joined Jane on her initial journey into the wilds, leaving for five months a nice peaceful existence in England. Goodall also relates how her novel observations of tool-use in chimpanzees, which were responsible for redefining what is it to be human ("Man the toolmaker" no longer was tenable, tool use did not separate humans from other animals), were looked upon with skepticism by people who thought she was untrained to do the work she was doing, many of whom had never left their ivory tower or seen a wild animal. Photographs of tool use subsequently squelched their concerns. Goodall also ponders evil, warfare, love, and hope, and writes about such notions as reincarnation and the meaning of time and space. She also wonders if she should have brought a child into what many call a hopeless world. Goodall fearlessly discusses how science, intuition, religion, and spirituality merge. Few scientists ever attempt to walk in fields in which she strolls comfortably. Goodall claims, rightfully, that "Science does not have the appropriate tools for the dissection of the spirit." But perhaps changing our views of science will help us along. Goodall is also an accomplished poet and sprinkles some of her works throughout. Goodall also espouses how words, used as labels, can lessen an experience, make it too rational. She notes "Words are part of our rational selves, and to abandon them for a while is to give freer reign to our intuitive selves" What is so appealing about this book is that Goodall does not profess to be an expert in such matters of time and space or in such areas as moral philosophy and religion. Rather, she shows how questions that seem so irrelevant to many scientists are, in fact, highly relevant to the way they go about their business. And, a message that comes out loudly and clearly throughout is that after all is said and done, Goodall is a human being before all, a mortal made of flesh and blood. Just like all us, Goodall can cry, laugh uncontrollably, and most importantly, laugh at herself. So, what are Goodall's reasons for (3) the energy and enthusiasm that is found or can be kindled among young worldwide; and (4) the indomitable human spirit. Everybody can make a difference, and it is the little things we do for others that count so much. Goodall obviously loves what she does. She enters her standing-room-only lectures carrying her stuffed animal buddy Mr. H and begins by emitting a walloping pant-hoot. People laugh and then relax. Goodall then begins quietly to talk about her work and the world at large. Her audience is eerily silent. Goodall speaks softly with confidence, but carries a big stick. She also is light and sprinkles serious discourse with down-home humor. Goodall is not a quitter. Most people expected her to leave her difficult and dangerous field work after a few weeks, but she is now entering her fortieth year of research! She is unrelenting in carrying messages of hope across the planet. Just as she stills her audiences so will this book still you. There is no better model for us to follow as we head into the millennium and beyond. Reason for Hope is one of the most important books of the century. Marc Bekoff teaches in Environmental, Population, and Organismic Biology at CU-Boulder. He is editor of Encyclopedia of Animal Rights and Animal Welfare, for which Dr. Goodall wrote the Foreword

5-0 out of 5 stars Very uplifting, insightful, and inspirational
Jane Goodall writes openly and honestly about her awesome and inspiring life. Jane Goodall tells us about her amazing travels-- from a young ambitious girl growing up in the birches of England to a brillant woman documenting apes' behavior in the forests of Africa to bravely fighting for environmental change around the world.

In this book, Jane Goodall pours from the deep corners of her heart. By sharing her personal experiences, Jane Goodall is a witness to the true innate goodness of all human beings, the triumph of the human spirit, and the great God in which we all live, move, and have our being.

Jane Goodall ponders the greatest of human questions throughout her book. Is God real and present in our world, even with all of the modern discoveries of science? Can human beings achieve greater levels of moral, intellectual, and spiritual growth and overcome the great obstacles that they face? Jane Goodall makes sense of these questions and helps the reader to come to a better understanding of how to live in the world.

I read this book for an assurance that science only adds to the wonder and mystery of existence, and that science can help us come closer to God. My favorite part was when Jane Goodall went to the forest after the death of her second husband, and felt a connection to the "great spiritual energy of life itself." She reaffirmed her conviction by discovering how science was only a part of the human pursuit of understanding and knowledge, not the complete and final truth.

At the end of the book, Goodall asks a significant question as she reaches the autumn of her life, "And when I reach the end, it will be the beginning?" I recommend this book to all who want to remember that the journey of growth, understanding, and knowledge we are all on is always just beginning.

5-0 out of 5 stars Simply... remarkable. Utterly inspiring.
Jane is a remarkable woman, who's story of struggle as a young and inexperienced scientist with what were thought to be absurd ideals and methods of study, received much flack from the scientific community of her time. Still, many scientists under go the rigors of the scientific community's lateral and blinkered thinking. Reason for Hope, serves more than to encourage individuals into believing that each is capable of achieving their ideals and dreams, but that the simpler, intangible qualities like motivation, tenacity, courage and love, can triumph in the end with belief and resilience.
Jane made an amazing and commendable effort to be honest and humble with her readers, sharing her deepest and seemingly most private thoughts, which all have played a part in shaping her life and character. anyone will appreciate this book, be they from a scientific, animal welfare, spiritual or casual background. because jane's work relates to of all of us in the simplest of ways - we all have ambitions we wish to fulfill, depending on what they are we're often hard challenged and many of us have been defeated, yet we hold true to our beliefs and jane reminds us all, that that is which matters most - that is which will pull through to the end. that that, could only be, our reason for hope.

5-0 out of 5 stars A True Inspiration
I got this book as a present and knew hardly anything about this incredible woman, Jane Goodall before reading her book. Thankfully, because it is her autobiography this book tells her story in her own words. Jane Goodall is a true inspiration for all. Anybody, whether they are young or old, in the science field or just the average person, could relate to the themes represented in this book. This book shows Ms. Goodalls' true good nature and humanity towards apes as well as showing the courage, determination, sensitivity and passion that she had for life. Ms. Goodall is truly a woman with class and is an inspiration to all people. ... Read more


17. The Orchid Thief : A True Story of Beauty and Obsession (Ballantine Reader's Circle)
by SUSAN ORLEAN
list price: $14.95
our price: $10.17
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 044900371X
Catlog: Book (2000-01-04)
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Sales Rank: 7386
Average Customer Review: 3.47 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In Susan Orlean's mesmerizing true story of beauty and obsession is John Laroche, a renegade plant dealer and sharply handsome guy, in spite of the fact that he is missing his front teeth and has the posture of al dente spaghetti. In 1994, Laroche and three Seminole Indians were arrested with rare orchids they had stolen from a wild swamp in south Florida that is filled with some of the world's most extraordinary plants and trees. Laroche had planned to clone the orchids and then sell them for a small fortune to impassioned collectors. After he was caught in the act, Laroche set off one of the oddest legal controversies in recent memory, which brought together environmentalists, Native Amer-ican activists, and devoted orchid collectors. The result is a tale that is strange, compelling, and hilarious.
&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;
New Yorker writer Susan Orlean followed Laroche through swamps and into the eccentric world of Florida's orchid collectors, a subculture of aristocrats, fanatics, and smugglers whose obsession with plants is all-consuming. Along the way, Orlean learned the history of orchid collecting, discovered an odd pattern of plant crimes in Florida, and spent time with Laroche's partners, a tribe of Seminole Indians who are still at war with the United States.
&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;
There is something fascinating or funny or truly bizarre on every page of The Orchid Thief: the story of how the head of a famous Seminole chief came to be displayed in the front window of a local pharmacy; or how seven hundred iguanas were smuggled into Florida; or the case of the only known extraterrestrial plant crime. Ultimately, however, Susan Orlean's book is about passion itself, and the amazing lengths to which people will go to gratify it. That passion is captured with singular vision in The Orchid Thief, a once-in-a-lifetime story by one of our most original journalists.
... Read more

Reviews (133)

5-0 out of 5 stars An original, quirky and entertaining book.
Susan Orlean's "The Orchid Thief" is an intriguing look at people who are obsessed with collecting orchids. Originally, Ms. Orlean's main focus was to write a profile of John Laroche in "The New Yorker" magazine. Laroche is an offbeat character who spent a great deal of time and money amassing a huge orchid collection. When Laroche banded together with a group of Seminole Indians to steal orchids from the Fakahatchee Strand, a 63,000-acre preserve in southwest Florida, he was arrested and tried for his crime.

Orlean eventually expanded her article on Laroche into this book. She widened the scope of her research and came up with many interesting tidbits about orchids and those who collect them. For example, I learned that orchids often outlive human beings. In fact, orchids can theoretically live forever, since they have no natural enemies. Some orchid owners designate a person as an "orchid heir" in their wills, since the owners expect that their precious orchids will outlive them.

Orlean has a delicious sense of wonder, a beautiful and lyrical writing style, and an eye for fascinating details. She has the ability to place the reader in the middle of a swamp, at an orchid show, or on an expedition into the wilds of South America. Not only does Orlean provide the reader with little known facts about orchids, but she also explores some of the oddities of human nature. What causes people to become so passionate about collecting orchids that they risk their fortunes or even their lives to acquire rare species of this coveted plant? When does a passion for collecting orchids become an unhealthy obsession?

If you are tired of reading formulaic novels, you may want to join Susan Orlean on her exciting and memorable journey into the world of orchid collecting. You do not have to be a plant lover, a gardener or a botanist to enjoy "The Orchid Thief."

5-0 out of 5 stars Flower powered.
I was inspired to read Susan Orlean's "true story of beauty and obsession" after seeing the movie "Adaptation" twice in one week. THE ORCHID THIEF is a fascinating love story: "When a man falls in love with orchids, he'll do anything to possess the one he wants. It's like chasing a green-eyed woman or taking cocaine . . . it's a sort of madness" (p. 78). And Orlean's book is as much about exotic orchids as the eccentric characters who collect them.

THE ORCHID THIEF evolved out of a article Orleans first published in "The New Yorker" magazine about John Laroche's 1994 trial for removing endangered orchids from Florida's Fakahatchee swamp. Thirty-six-year-old Laroche is a tall, skinny guy, "with the posture of al dente spaghetti," Orleans writes, "and sharply handsome, in spite of the fact that he is missing all his front teeth" (p. 4). Laroche's life has been a series of obsessions, from Ice Age fossils, turtles, and old mirrors, to orchids. In writing about Laroche's criminal lust for orchids, Orleans ultimately discovers her own "unembarrassing passion--I want to know what it feels like to care about something passionately" (p. 41). Laroche's oddball obsessions offer Orleans a meaningful lesson in "getting immersed in something, and learning about it, and having it become a part of your life" (p. 279).

With its lessons in living a passionate life, exotic flowers, quirky characters, muddy swamps filled with snapping turtles, rattlesnakes, bugs and critters--who could ask for anything more from a book?

G. Merritt

1-0 out of 5 stars excuse me?
In this book is revealed John Laroche's guide to "mutating" plants, and his general theory of mutation. Laroche says that mutation is responsible for some people being real smart. Like him, for example. He tells Orlean that what must've happened is that he was exposed to some kind of toxic stuff when he was young and was then mutated into the brilliant person he is today. I am not joking. This is in the book. Apparently either Orlean is making the whole thing up (quite possible) or John Laroche actually believes in a comic book account of genetic mutation. I guess this is where his lack of formal education really starts to show.
As any schoolboy who has not gone to school and instead has learned about life from reading comic books knows, people are mutated by being pivotally exposed to some radioactive or otherwise toxic agent. This is how they derive their superpowers. In the case of John Laroche, the superpower is extreme intelligence. Laroche then goes on to state that he has "mutated" lots of plants by putting germinating seeds in the microwave. Now, again, there is a popular misconception, propagated by the media, that microwaves are in some way "radioactive" This is not so. Microwave ovens do nothing but excite water molecules with non-visible light, making the water heat up. Laroche would have achieved the same result by putting the plant seeds under a heat lamp. The result would be that the germinating seeds would wither and cook and die. The result would NOT be that they would "mutate." So this is all nonsense. The only thing difficult to determine is whether Laroche actually believes any of this. I'm guessing he just made it up as he went along while talking to a captive audience in the form of Susan Orlean.

1-0 out of 5 stars round two
okay, here's another run at why this is unbelievably bad writing. When I "watched" Adaptation (see my review of this stinker for details) I initially thought it was based on a fictitious book. When I learned otherwise, I couldn't believe that such malarkey existed, though of course I should have known better.
Some writers are the biographers of Einstein. Some are the biographers of saints. Susan Orlean is the biographer of a piece of white trash with a mental disorder. It is supposed to be very quixotic and eccentric, but at bottom we are hit with a guy who is an obsessive collector of random things. He is also not above breaking the law to suit himself, hence the title. In this degenerate age, this is all we can hope for when looking for an exemplary life. This guy's life is not even very interesting, let alone inspiring.
And then there is the matter of disingenuousness. The author tells the reader that Laroche - the collector - was writing a guide to growing plants which he was going to advertize in High Times. However, marijuana plants "grown according to his instructions would never mature and hence would never be psychoactive." See, this Laroche is keeping kids on the straight and narrow. We should laud him. Except for the fact that this "information" is completely false. I have grown my fair share of marijuana and have found first-hand that it certainly is not just budding plants which are psychoactive. In fact, sadly, not one of my plants ever made it that far: I smoked them long before that.
So if this part is a load of BS, just think what else may be completely made-up.

1-0 out of 5 stars an insider's guide to book publishing
Let me explain the world of modern publishing for you. A writer's agent pitches a book. The editor at the publishing company looks at it and says, "No, this will never sell. Not mainstream enough. Try the small presses who will pay dogsh#t." What IS bestseller material? Well, here's where it gets interesting. A can't-miss bestseller that is sure to garner wild critical acclaim is a book that is:
VERY LONG
VERY BORING
VERY POINTLESS
VERY VULGAR

Why, you ask, is this the formula? Bend close and I'll tell you: Because people don't actually read these books. People pretend to read them. Then they recommend them to others, who then pretend to read them. Critics don't read them either. You kidding me? Do know what kind of attention critics pay to anything? About as much attention as anybody pays while on the job: as little as possible, am I right? No, they just hold their finger up to the wind and try not to stand out by differing from the herd opinion. They've heard its great, don't even look at the book, write a review based on somebody else's review and it goes from there. All a bestseller must have is the LOOK of a bestseller. It must be thick, it must have an exotic yet boring title and cover - just so you know you're in for some real art. And it must be vaguely historical seeming so you feel you're getting a real education while you have the unopened book lying next to you at the beach. Some relative of yours wanders over and makes some inquisitive noises about the book and you make noises back to the effect that its real great. The relative then hears Oprah talk about it - who also has not and never will read the book - and then goes and finds it prominently displayed on the new release rack at the bookmegastore. Thus is perpetuated el hustle. If I were a consultant to a publishing house I would advise them to save money by not having any print inside the book. What's that you say? Save further money by gluing the book shut and having a hollow interior? No, the book's gotta have that heft to it or nobody will buy it. You know, its gotta be real heavy material. Kapeesh? ... Read more


18. Aryan Christ:, The : The Secret Life of Carl Jung
by RICHARD NOLL
list price: $35.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679449450
Catlog: Book (1997-09-01)
Publisher: Random House
Sales Rank: 405089
Average Customer Review: 2.93 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

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

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

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

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

Reviews (28)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No balance at all. Stupid stuff.

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


19. Rocketman : Astronaut Pete Conrad's Incredible Ride to the Moon and Beyond
by NancyConrad, Howard A.Klausner
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0451215095
Catlog: Book (2005-05-03)
Publisher: NAL Hardcover
Sales Rank: 4431
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

He was the third man to walk on the moon. And the first to dance on it.

For Pete Conrad, it was all about the ride. Nicknamed the Comeback Kid, he survived his family's financial hardships, overcame dyslexia, landed a Navy scholarship to Princeton, and became one of the country's elite test pilots. Never the squeaky clean NASA poster boy, he famously bounced himself out of the Mercury Program but came roaring back to fly two Gemini missions, walk on the moon as Commander of Apollo 12, command the first Skylab, and work to develop the first re-usable commercial rocket-logging more time in space than all the original astronauts combined. Based on interviews conducted with Conrad by his wife before his untimely death, Rocketman is the amazing-but-true, surprisingly candid insider's view of the greatest ride in history, America's glorious race to the stars, as seen through the eyes of the real Space Cowboy: Pete Conrad, the Rocketman.
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Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Only One Book this Year? This is must be the one.
Authors Nancy Conrad and Howie Klausner accomplished the impossible in The Rocketman. Since I was so fortunate to count Pete Conrad as a friend, I was able to evaluate the degree of success that the authors achieved in the very difficult task of writing this book. How is it possible to accurately emblaze Pete's life with the upbeat fun, astronomical success, and down to earth personality that was uniquely and gloriously his? Yet they did so magnificently. What a triumphant accomplishment! Since Pete was treasured by many, there naturally exists a tendency for the book to be challenged by an unfair level of expectation or criticism. Yet the authors were impossibly able to take mere black symbols on wood pulp and make the characters come alive with rich history and inspirational imagery. They were able to accomplish something even larger than what Pete Conrad might have wistfully desired as life's final result. Even though he left his footprint on the surface of the moon and indelibly upon the hearts of many, only the authors reached beyond that by giving Pete life beyond his years and extending to millions the joy of his presence, all within the cherished pages of this book. This great book launches beyond its five star rating, leaves behind most of the techno-jargon which typically saturates aeronautical titles, and positively impacts its readers long, long after its covers are reluctantly closed. You simply cannot miss this one.

5-0 out of 5 stars Take This Book For A Ride
So, you like me might first think of the Elton John song when seeing the title of this book, but start reading it and it's more like a movie than a song.Frankly, my expectations weren't too high realizing a screenwriter and Pete's wife wrote this book (Real frankly - my money is on Klausner, the screenwriter, as the real author). Open the book to ANY page and you'll be sucked in like a flock of pigeons into an F-18 jet intake. You won't want to put the book down. ... Read more


20. Edward Teller : The Real Dr. Strangelove
by Peter Goodchild
list price: $29.95
our price: $19.77
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0674016696
Catlog: Book (2004-10-29)
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Sales Rank: 43902
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Book Description

One Nobel Prize-winning physicist called Edward Teller, "A great man of vast imagination...[one of the] most thoughtful statesmen of science." Another called him, "A danger to all that is important...It would have been a better world without [him]." That both opinions about Teller were commonly held and equally true is one of the enduring mysteries about the man dubbed "the father of the H-bomb." In the story of Teller's life and career, told here in greater depth and detail than ever before, Peter Goodchild unravels the complex web of harsh early experiences, character flaws, and personal and professional frustrations that lay behind the paradox of "the real Dr. Strangelove."

Goodchild's biography draws on interviews with more than fifty of Teller's colleagues and friends. Their voices echo through the book, expressing admiration and contempt, affection and hatred, as we observe Teller's involvement in every stage of building the atomic bomb, and his subsequent pursuit of causes that drew the world deeper into the Cold War--alienating many of his scientific colleagues even as he provided the intellectual lead for politicians, the military, and presidents as they shaped Western policy. Goodchild interviewed Teller himself at the end of his life, and what emerges from this interview, as well as from Teller's Memoirs and recently unearthed correspondence, is a clearer view of the contradictions and controversies that riddled the man's life. Most of all, though, this absorbing biography rescues Edward Teller from the caricatures that have served to describe him until now. In their place, Goodchild shows us one of the most powerful scientists of the twentieth century in all his enigmatic humanity.

... Read more

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