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1. John Kenneth Galbraith : His Life,
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2. Thinking In Pictures : and Other
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3. The Soul of Money: Transforming
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4. Darkness Visible : A Memoir of
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5. Memories, Dreams, Reflections
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6. The Promise : How One Woman Made
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7. The Man Who Shocked the World:
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8. Adventures of a Psychic: The Fascinating
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9. The Essential John Nash
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10. A Shining Affliction: A Story
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11. Curious Minds : How a Child Becomes
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12. Songs of the Gorilla Nation :
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13. Freud: Darkness in the Midst of
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14. Secrets of the Talking Jaguar:
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15. In The Shadow of Fame: A Memoir
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16. Genuine Reality : A Life of William
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17. Marx for Beginners
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18. Renewal of Life: Healing from
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19. The Wheel of Life : A Memoir of
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20. Out of Place : A Memoir

1. John Kenneth Galbraith : His Life, His Politics, His Economics
by Richard Parker
list price: $35.00
our price: $23.10
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0374281688
Catlog: Book (2005-02-16)
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Sales Rank: 449
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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From Amazon.ca

John Kenneth Galbraith has led an extraordinary life. The world's most famous living economist started teaching at Harvard when he was just 25 years old and has sold seven million copies of his four dozen books. One reviewer said Galbraith wrote "history that reads like a poem." During World War II, at age 32, he was named "tsar" of consumer-price controls in the United States, and he later advised three American presidents and served as ambassador to India. Now in his 90s, Galbraith is still active and has received 50 honorary degrees. All this was accomplished by a Canadian born in a tiny Ontario farming hamlet, whose major at an obscure agricultural college wasn't even economics but animal husbandry. Such an irony is typical of Galbraith's renowned iconoclasm, writes Richard Parker in his 820-page biography John Kenneth Galbraith.

Parker shows how Galbraith's irreverent views were shaped by the Depression, which helped turn him into a passionate advocate of Keynesian economics, the philosophy that inspired FDR's New Deal. Galbraith later became one of the architects of the expansion of federal social services after World War II. Because of his influence in successive administrations, readers get a fascinating fly-on-the-wall picture of debates and intrigue inside the White House during many of the major crises of the Cold War. Galbraith frequently played crucial behind-the-scenes roles that went beyond the duties of an economist: advising President Kennedy during the Cuba missile crisis, helping Lyndon Johnson write his first speech after Kennedy was assassinated, and opposing the Vietnam War, which became his most passionate cause. He later criticized the dismantling of government programs under Ronald Reagan and seemed to love clashing with conservative economists. Parker managed to sift through a mountain of material from Galbraith's long and lively years to distill an engaging narrative that, like Galbraith's own books, is easily accessible to non-economists. --Alex Roslin ... Read more

Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Long but Fascinating
I am a general reader with little familarity with economics, but I found this biography of Galbraith interesting right up to the end.It is a long book--669 pages of text. Richard Parker's writing is up to Galbraith's own, and is worthy of the task of writing Galbraith's professional biography--there is little of his personal life, which I didn't miss at all.For the layman, a little more explanation of economics terms might have been helpful, but reading further usually clears up the confusion, which I probably wouldn't have needed if I had taken Economics 101. Read it, especially if you are an old-time liberal and Keynesian!

4-0 out of 5 stars A Must Read
The author covers an enourmous amount of economic, social and political ground in a way that is informative and entertaining.
Richard Parker does not come off as overly biased toward Galbraith and the ideas he stands for. Parker is able to pull-off an objective interpretation to not only the life and contributions of Galbraith himself, but also his masters.

4-0 out of 5 stars Dense and interesting, but a little heavy on the economics
John Kenneth Galbraith has been the most famous and widely read economist in the world. An engaging writer and drily quotable, he published four dozen books and countless articles, served as adviser to Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, and regularly blasted subsequent Republican administrations. Galbraith served on a post-war commission that studied strategic bombing of Germany (and concluded that despite its tremendous moral cost, it had had little or no effect on the Nazi war machine-much to our military's embarrassment), had a successful two-year stint as ambassador to India, was an early and vocal opponent of the Vietnam War, and even published three novels.

Richard Parker presents the first substantial biography of this six-foot-eight-inch, Canadian-born Harvard professor who refused to hide in academia. As co-founding editor and publisher of "Mother Jones" magazine, consultant and fundraiser for Democratic candidates and Greenpeace, and finally Harvard professor of economics and public policy himself, Parker was almost uniquely situated to draw a richly sympathetic portrait. Galbraith is not an inherently interesting man, nor do his life and theories present an especially compelling read. What makes the book worthwhile is its mosaic of the many worlds through which Galbraith moved: It offers an excellent review of recent political and economic history, though the slant is decidedly liberal.

It's good to be reminded that different political parties have repeatedly been thought dead (the Democrats in 1955 and 1985, Republicans in 1941 and 1965), only to rise again, and that the nation handled dire economic crises (inflation in 1971, the first oil crisis in 1973, the Depression itself), if uneasily and temporarily. Galbraith forecast the failure of Republican economic policies, the growth of corporate management that is unresponsive to shareholders and manipulates demand, and repeatedly scolded his profession for its increasing worship of complex mathematical modeling that ignores huge chunks of political and economic reality-such as burgeoning military budgets or the public good-to make the numbers work.

He saw the details as well as the big picture, and practiced what he preached. Galbraith froze his own Harvard salary after his books began to sell, and turned back the surplus to his department. He gave his longtime housekeeper a condo upon her retirement, directed a percentage of his books' royalties to his assistant and editor, and set up an anonymous fund to assist students who found themselves unexpectedly pregnant.

Parker seems to want to reach a broader, general audience, but his explanations of economic theory will leave lay readers lost. One would do well to keep a dummy's or complete idiot's guide to economics by one's elbow while reading this book.

Not terribly lively but solid, this book offers plenty of consolation for the mournful blue stater who chooses to scale it, and food for thought about where we might (and maybe should) be headed.

5-0 out of 5 stars The high tide of the Keynesian era
This colorful and anecdotal biography of Galbraith stretchesacross almost the whole of the twentieth century and in the telling leaves behind a cogent history of economics and American government, stretching from the Keynsian revolution to the breaking up of the classic liberalism of the Roosevelt era beginning with Nixon. Galbraith's life puts a lens to the fine grain of virtually all the significant developments since the decade of the thirties and the Depression and leaves behind a lot of insightful asides about the interaction of economists with politicians. The record of clear-headed advice given, but not always taken, has some grimmer moments, such as the repeated cautions and warnings from Galbraith about Vietnam, even as Kennedy was overtaken by events. The picture of the high-tide of Keynesianism is refreshing after two decades of economic sophistry from the post-Reagan generation. You would think that Republicans could manage economies, but the record shows a great fall, as the crackpots with their fancy models and the rest of the looters took over. We could use some the common sense and economic basics that Galbraith once provided (and he wasn't a kneejerk Keynsian). Instead we may be undone by the voodoo artists and their laffer curves, nothing to laugh at anymore as the American public gets swindled one more time. Superb double history, the man, and the American scene. ... Read more


2. Thinking In Pictures : and Other Reports from My Life with Autism
by Temple Grandin
list price: $12.95
our price: $9.71
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679772898
Catlog: Book (1996-10-29)
Publisher: Vintage
Sales Rank: 2745
Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Oliver Sacks calls Temple Grandin's firstbook--and the first picture of autism from the inside--"quite extraordinary, unprecedented and, in a way, unthinkable."Sacks told part of her story in his An Anthropologist on Mars, and inThinking in Pictures Grandin returns to tell her life history with great depth, insight, and feeling. Grandin told Sacks, "I don't want my thoughts to die with me. I want to have done something ... I want to know that my life has meaning ... I'm talking about things at the very core of my existence." Grandin's clear exposition of what it is like to "think in pictures" is immensely mind-broadening and basically destroys a whole school of philosophy (the one that declares language necessary for thought). Grandin, who feels she can "see through a cow's eyes," is an influential designer of slaughterhouses and livestock restraint systems. She has great insight into human-animal relations. It would be mere justice if Thinking in Pictures transforms the study of religious feeling, too. ... Read more

Reviews (30)

4-0 out of 5 stars The life and times of Temple Graindin
... The book Thinking in Pictures involves the evaluation, from the first person perspective, of a life with autism, and delves into the complicated world of an autistic person. The book provides a clear explanation of almost all the problems that plaque a person with autism, and additionally shows the way an autistic person's mind works and
the way the world affects their thinking. The book conveys information primarily through the view of author Temple Graindin, but also makes references and comparisons to animal science and, thus provides an almost parallel theme to the
book.
While parts of the book do diverge from the subject, the book provides an excellent summary of the life of an autistic in a non autistic world. Because the book is written from the first person, there is a personal touch to the book that draws the reader in and helps them to better experience Temple's world. The comparisons to animals also prove to be effective as they further emphasize how different an autistic person's
mind works as compared to our's. It, then as a result, further shows how an autistic person's world is completely different, yet the same to our own. The book at times, however, sometimes goes too in-depth with the descriptions of animal science and
sometimes reads like a cattle-dairy science textbook. Much of the book also deviates from the main topic of autism into her own philosophies of life. Finally, much of the information about the drugs is very tedious, and while it does provide much useful information, does not contribute much to the overall theme of the book. On the whole, the book is very interesting and helps to show the pictures of the autistic world.

5-0 out of 5 stars Well-Written View Of Autism From A Real Insider
Temple Grandin accomplished many things with this book. Technically, it is a very well-written book, with good flow, an extensive display of vocabulary (without sounding pretentious), a logical structure, and only a small amount of repetition (which is an accomplishment for an autistic person).

"Thinking in Pictures" explains autism from the inside-out. Oliver Sacks, in "An Anthropologist on Mars" gave an excellent description of autism (and Temple Grandin) from the outside, but this book gives the inside view from the very same subject. After reading the DSM-IV and many textbooks, I was still having trouble fully grasping what autism was. After reading Sacks' books, I was much clearer on the subject. "Thinking in Pictures" went three steps further in helping me to understand the various forms of autism. I also have a much greater understanding of what sensory integration treatment is all about, even though I had listened to two in-services on sensory integration by sensory integration therapists before reading this book.

I also learned much about the cattle and beef industry in this country, which was surprisingly interesting. I'm glad that there are people like Dr. Grandin in that business working to make it as humane as possible.

Temple Grandin is in an unusual situation and was able to give a perspective on what it means to be a "normal" human being that few people could give. Being a very bright but autistic person, she is almost the "flip-side" of "an anthropologist on Mars": it is as if she were a Martian anthropologist visiting Earth and trying to understand humanity. Her thinking, feeling, and sensory processes are so different from the average person, that she can almost view humanity from the outside.

"Thinking in Pictures" teaches the reader much about autism, the cattle industry, and humanity. What might surprise many people is that, with all that teaching going on, this book is also thoroughly enjoyable. I hope that I can someday meet Dr. Grandin, as I am sure it would be an interesting, unique, and memorable experience.

Christian McCallister, Ph.D., L.P., Clinical Psychologist

5-0 out of 5 stars Thinking in Pictures
I have no connection with autism. This book was recommended to me because I cannot think in pictures; my mind works with ideas and words. Temple Grandin has written a book about a way of thinking that is so alien to me she might as well be from a different planet. Absolutely amazing. I did not know that the world could be seen from this perspective. This book has changed the way I try to see the world. No TV program or lecture will cause you to shake your head in bewilderment like this book.

Temple Grandin is the Helen Keller of the 21st Century. Only her words can describe the world she lives in. Or maybe pictures.

5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent primer for understanding autism
I borrowed this book from a parent of an autistic child when I began working with autistic students in the public school system. It was invaluable to my understanding autism. Ms. Grandin gives an inside look at autism and not only outlines the challenges, but also gives possible benefits. If you are a parent of an autistic child, work in the public school system, or merely wish to understand autism better; I highly recommend this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great insights into the autistic mind
In some passages, Ms. Grandin reflects on her humanity, her mortality and directly addresses her difficulties. I cannot wait to read her other books. Just wonderful. ... Read more


3. The Soul of Money: Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Life
by Lynne Twist
list price: $25.95
our price: $17.13
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0393050971
Catlog: Book (2003-09)
Publisher: W.W. Norton & Company
Sales Rank: 5451
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A wise and inspiring exploration of the connection between money and leading a fulfilling life.

This compelling and fundamentally liberating book shows us that examining our attitudes toward money—earning it, spending it, and giving it away—can offer surprising insight into our lives, our values, and the essence of prosperity.

Lynne Twist is a global activist and fund-raiser who has raised more than $150 million in individual contributions for charitable causes. Through personal stories and practical advice, she demonstrates how we can replace feelings of scarcity, guilt, and burden with experiences of sufficiency, freedom, and purpose. She shares from her own life, a journey illuminated by remarkable encounters with the richest and poorest people on earth, from the famous (Mother Teresa and the Dalai Lama) to the anonymous but unforgettable heroes of everyday life. ... Read more

Reviews (14)

5-0 out of 5 stars A thoughtful exploration of our relationship with money
In this book, Lynne Twist explores the relationship that people - rich, poor and in between - have with money. For many of us, it is a relationship fraught with anxiety and the sense of scarcity. No matter how much we have, or how many things we've bought with it, there's not enough.

But through her globe-spanning experiences, Ms. Twist has found ways to replace a sense of scarcity with a more-positive understanding of sufficiency and the freedom that awareness provides.

No matter what your personal financial situation, this book will be meaningful, helpful and perhaps even inspiring. Well-written and fascinating, beginning to end.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Soul of Lynne Twist
Rusty Schweikart was the first man to walk in space. He had been tightly scheduled with activities each moment he was floating outside the command module in the late 60's. But at one point his camera jammed, and he was able to experience just being in space and circling the earth. Many of you may have seen the video he made from this remarkable experience called "No Frames No Boundaries."

It took Rusty many years to digest and integrate this planetary experience and to realize the responsibilities he felt to mankind for the privilege he had been given. He came to call himself "a sensing element for mankind" (to know more about Rusty, his life and work  http://www.well.com/~rs/ ).

When I read "The Soul of Money: Transforming Your Relationship to Money and Life," I found that Lynne herself is also such a sensing element for mankind.

She worked for several decades as the chief fundraiser (she's raised $150 million from individuals) for the Hunger Project, which has been a revolutionary effort far beyond what some of us may remember it for in its beginnings. In that role her travels have taken her all over the world--from Bangladesh to Ethiopia, from the Women's Conference in Bejing (where she reports some of the most poignant and heartbreaking stories you'll ever read) to South Africa and the installation of Nelson Mandela, although that story is not included.

Lynne has been with the rich and famous. One of her great stories is her returning a $50,000 check from a corporate CEO because she realized it was guilt money. Read the book to find out what happened next! And, of course, she has been with the poor and apparently downtrodden. They have been her great teachers and inspiration for this book. They taught her how money can be blessed, how when it comes from love, appreciation, and intention--from the soul--it has power, it flows and it can transform lives.

Where she has been on this planet, what she has seen, and how she has thought about it and integrated it into the soul of her being is the gift she gives back to us, her readers. Very few of us have had the opportunity to go where she has gone, to meet whom she has met, and to have contributed as much as she and her colleagues have to helping to end hunger and poverty on our fragile, blue orb, as Rusty first saw it.

Lynne offers great guidance about how we can each be and be better philanthropists (the amount doesn't matter, but the intention and commitment surely do). But the core of the book (which many of us may already know) is a transformation from a "you or me" world to a "you and me." one. Buckminster Fuller first articulated that as the necessary condition we are challenged to make on spaceship Earth (also his articulation). He was someone who profoundly influenced Lynne.

She leads us through the belief systems around scarcity (fear of not enough, push to always get more, resignation that it's just the way it is) to belief systems around sufficiency (there is always enough; turn our attention and appreciation to what we already have). Sufficiency becomes a more useful word than abundance. Creating a world of sufficiency (includes sustainability) is where we are headed together.

The most compelling parts of the book are the stories she tells from around the planet about actually ending hunger and poverty. She shows that this change of belief systems (we actually do have enough most of the time; we can focus on and appreciate what we already have to get to where we want to go) along with love, understanding, and effective facilitation can get the job done. "The Soul of Money" adds the interior dimensions as a vital and necessary component to solutions to hunger and poverty.

Lynne is herself a gifted and expert facilitator, and at the personal level the stories she shares of people who pull themselves out of poverty and lack are equally riveting. She concludes with a remarkable narrative about the last months of life of her mother, her first role model as a fundraiser and philanthropist. How Lynne assists her mother to fully complete her life is a wonderful offering to all of us with aging parents.

"The Soul of Money" is about far more than just the soul of money. Lynne reveals her own soul, the souls of the rich and the poor, and the collective soul of which we all partake that holds the promise of a sufficient, just, and more peaceful planet. Just as Rusty Scheweikart took us around the whole earth from the outside, Lynne, gives us many inside views of the beauty and commonality which we share. She provides an outstanding, authentic, and worthy ride!

--John Steiner

5-0 out of 5 stars I love this book
To read The Soul of Money is to sit down and have a memorable, life-altering conversation with an extraordinary, courageous, deeply thoughtful and committed soul. Lynne speaks intimately and passionately from each page. The book does a beautiful job of untangling the mess in which almost all of us have learned about money, and then offers important opportunities and challenges to each of us about ways to enrich our lives and those of all around us.

5-0 out of 5 stars This book can help us change the soul of our nation/world
The Soul of Money is fully worth the praise it is getting and far more. Rooted in sufficiency and backed by moving stories situated throughout the world, this book will inspire you, enlighten you, give you hope, and certainly will make you cry.

If this book can help those of us who have been siting on the fence looking for the motivation to invest our souls in the transformation of this world, join those who are engaged in this effort, I believe that we truly can change the world. I believe that Lynn's message is one to help move all of us into activism, whether it is quiet or out there.

My personal commitment is to engage. Lynne asked me at her book signing during a conversation if I had invested in the Pachamama Alliance. I had been taking the newsletter but did not believe I was in a position to participate. I had to say no and I felt small knowing that I could have but did not participate. Oh I had my excuses, many of us do. I made a commitment to invest and I did. First a small donation to the Pachamama Alliance; then a visit to the adoption agency from which I was blessed with my little girl from India; next calls to NGO's working in the Telangana in India looking for ways to donate my time; and finally a commitment to bring Lynne to Yamhill County Oregon for a fundraiser, workshop and a book signing.

Yes I am moving out of my comfort zone of non-action and it is based on Lynne and her inspiring message. Please read this book, yes, but more than that, please join me in taking action to transform our nation and world.

Thank you Lynne for your great work though out the world and for funneling your experiences and insights into this great book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Raise your money consciousness
Most of us think that we understand the facts of money: money is good, lack of money is bad; having more money is better than having less money; competition and scarcity are normal because it's a jungle out there; the way to cure economic depression and hunger is to throw more money at the problem; and so on. But these aren't "facts" in the sense of objective realities; rather, they stem from attitudes towards money that are so ingrained in our culture that they rarely intrude into our consciousness.

This book is an eye-opener: as a highly successful fund-raiser and representative for the Hunger Project, Lynne Twist has worked with everyone from Amazon tribal members to CEOs of multi-billion-dollar corporations. Her sensitivity and willingness to listen have given her insight into the real-life consequences of our attitudes towards money (and resources in general). The money consciousness that she propounds in this book is transformative, but it's based on a breadth of experience that makes her conclusions convincing -- for instance, she's worked in real jungles, and the "law of the jungle" is NOT the way they actually operate!

Despite the many well-chosen anecdotes, this book deals primarily in generalizations. But that's appropriate: the author's purpose is to make us aware of our attitudes towards money, and suggest how changing these attitudes can transform the way we go about solving some of the world's most vexing problems. This book deserves not only to be read, but taken to heart. ... Read more


4. Darkness Visible : A Memoir of Madness
by WILLIAM STYRON
list price: $11.00
our price: $8.25
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679736395
Catlog: Book (1992-01-08)
Publisher: Vintage
Sales Rank: 5753
Average Customer Review: 4.36 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

In 1985 William Styron fell victim to a crippling and almost suicidal depression, the same illness that took the lives ofRandall Jarrell, Primo Levi and Virginia Woolf.That Styron survived his descent into madness is something of a miracle.That he manages to convey its tortuous progression and his eventual recovery with such candor and precision makes Darkness Visible a rare feat of literature, a book that will arouse a shock of recognition even in those readers who have been spared the suffering it describes. ... Read more

Reviews (87)

5-0 out of 5 stars An interesting protrayal of the horrors of depression
William Styron has written an incredibly interesting book, although at times it was hard to truly feel the despair he was obviously feeling because the reader is not allowed far enough into the author's mind. (I recently read a wonderful book entitled "The Music of Madness" where the author not only talks about her deep depression but lets you directly into her conscious thoughts so that the reader can truly experience the horrors of depression). I wish Mr. Styron's book had focused more on his own inner thought processes. There is a great deal of focus on his friends and other rescuers that surrounded him and he was fortunate to have such a wonderful support system, but to truly experience the horrors of depression, one must be led into the dark recesses of the tormented mind itself. This book is brave in its honesty however and to share something so personal in such a public way is a tribute to the author's strength of will. In the final analysis this book is definitely worth reading.

5-0 out of 5 stars Short and sweet
My one-line summary is a cliche, of course, but entirely appropriate; after all, if fatigue is but one of depression's many demons, what person suffering from this affliction is going to have the energy to read a lot? (Darkness Visible is, fortunately, about eighty pages long. I think it's great fortune that the book is short.)

I think it's important that this book was written by an author of the same stature as famous writers who did take their lives. The difference is that Styron came out on the other side of this malady, saw it for what it was. At times he makes remarkable observations on depression, worthy of a clinician in a psychiatric hospital; for example, when he writes sentences such as, The physical symptoms of this affliction trick the mind into thinking that the situation is beyond hope.

As with many, Styron's physical predisposition to depression (a), led to (b) feelings of despair, hopelessness, and suicidal thoughts, which further fed the symptoms and perpetuated the disease.

This literary work helps dispel the idea that depression is "fashionable" and that suicide among the literati is "cool."

His "no holds barred" discussion honors those who fight this affliction.

(By the way, the title is from John Milton's epic "Paradise Lost," "darkness visible" is one of many ways Milton described the Hell into which Satan and his demons were tossed.)

5-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic and Well Written
<br /> <br /> <br /> This is a fantastic and well written moemoir about the life of someone dealing with depression, the reasons behind the depression and the inspirational journey through the darkness and in to the light. Several other good books in this genre are Nightmares Echo, Running With Scissors, and Moods and Madness.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Short and Bittersweet Essay By a Survivor
Having wrestled with various mental health issues myself, I found Bill Styron's essay quite interesting. I recommend this book to anyone.

4-0 out of 5 stars Short and honestly descriptive account
Since I have suffered from depression, I can relate to this book in many ways. For me, it is uplifting in ways to hear an accout of another who has suffered in similar ways and to ultimately hear of his triumph over the disease. He describes the disease well, emphasing how difficult it is to exaplain to others the terrible disabilitating effects of the disease.

It is good that this book is a short, easy reader that does not waste time. The personal accounts are great. Lets others know they are not alone. ... Read more


5. Memories, Dreams, Reflections
by C.G. JUNG
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679723951
Catlog: Book (1989-04-23)
Publisher: Vintage
Sales Rank: 5226
Average Customer Review: 4.71 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

An autobiography put together from conversations, writings and lectures with Jung's cooperation, at the end of his life. ... Read more

Reviews (35)

5-0 out of 5 stars Story about the inner life...
This is not a typical biography. Rather than the usual record one might expect about an individuals life, that is, chronological time, events of significance, famous personages met and their influence, etc, Jung records momentous aspects about his inner life, his life long and extraordinary relationship with the unconscious. As he states from the beginning, this book is a reflection concerning his self-realisation of the unconscious and its manifestations. In old age, he realised that so-called outward memories, the temporal existence of the senses, had faded, and what remained were memories of his inner life, which manifested in dreams and visions. He found that he could only write his life in terms of a personal myth, because he believed 'autobiography', as a form of truthful expression, was at best, unreliable. Memory, in other words, cannot be trusted. Thus, Memories, Dreams and Reflections, is a personal 'story' about a man's journey of spiritual enlightenment and self-realisation, the process of the unconscious finding expression in the outer world.

Jung's inner life was certainly extraordinary. From an early age, the sheer power of the unconscious made itself known to him in terrible visions. Jung must have been an unusually grounded child in order to withstand the psychic forces that pushed their way into his consciousness at such a young age. He survived these onslaughts, I believe, because he didn't resist them, but chose to grapple with the images, follow his instincts and, along with the violence of these images, came also a knowingness and feeling of safeness, that he was, even at a young age, following what he was meant to do. It is no wonder he became a psychiatrist, a "doctor of the soul" as he calls it; because by helping others through their personal journeys of realisation, he came to better understand his own.

At the end of Jung's life he maintained that he was not a mystic, a wise man or a sage. He admits that he drank from the stream of knowledge and life, but was not the stream itself. But what is a mystic in the traditional sense of this term? A mystic is one who, through meditation, prayer or other means, achieves direct intuitive experience of the divine. A mystic experiences these 'other realities' and brings their experiences back, in some cases, to share with the rest of us. To the mystic these experiences are real. Taking this definition at face value, Memories, Dreams and Reflections is a record of one man's intuitive experience with the divine. Jung made it his life's mission to express these experiences in such a way as to make them real, and to then formulate them into a psychological method, in the hope of helping others lost and searching for meaning in their lives. Jung was most assuredly a mystic. His writings tell us that there is something greater than ourselves within us, and our task is to grapple and understand this power, that he has chosen to call the unconscious; and by better understanding this greater part of ourselves, we can become more human.

This is a wonderful story about the inner life of a man, a mystic and original thinker.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wisdom from the inner life in Jung's own words
These writings come straight from Jung's own inner experience and it is his last book before his death in 1961. I have read and re-read this work because at different times in my life I needed to re-evaluate where I was and where I was going. Other books by Jung are more intellectual and scientific, whereas, this autobiography has the wisdom of a person in the later part of life and it was written not so much to teach but to leave with us his legacy. Having myself had a near death experience, I was especially re-affirmed by Jung's own near death experience and his dealings with this phenomenon. His acceptance of his own humanity and his returning from this state to share with us his knowledge and vision is a gift to all of us. It is not easy to return to our humanity and deal with the sufferings we encounter but growth is the only evidence of life. We have to come down from the mountain top and work in the valley. This brings to mind two books written by Hannah Hurnard called Mountains of Spices and Hinds Feet in High Places. Allegories about living our lives with others and not in solitude. Solitude is a wonderful place but if we stay too long we become self-centered, afraid to reach out to others. Another author who gives a good perspective on life is Henri Nouwen and his books Out of Solitude and Reaching Out.

4-0 out of 5 stars A glimpse into the humanity of the healer
This book does give a good overview of Jung's ideas, and how the developed in his life and interior thought. What I most love about this book, however is the feeling I came away with for Jung himself. It made me feel that he was a deeply compassionate, openminded and rational man, if imperfect as all men. Its greatness is that it puts a human face behind all of the science and ideas of his legacy, and gives the reader an insight of his own inner experience which one can relate to.

4-0 out of 5 stars Controversial, insightful, self-contradicting...
Admittedly, this is the most important book for those interested not only in the Jungian approach in psychology, but also in the life itself of Carl Gustav Jung. Indeed, this is an autobiography, imbedded in which is most of Jung's theories and quite an adequate outline of his cosmotheory as well.

Now, this being the book that "allows" us a glimpse into the soul of this psychologist, i was for one somewhat puzzled by the overall insight i got. While for the most part i appreciated Jung's bold approach in matters considered heavy taboos in his time (not to mention our time as well for certain particular issues), on the other side i found that Jung is self-contradicting at times, or murky, for lack of a more descriptive term.

Jung dares to look on the "other side" and consider it openly an integral part of "this" side. What others deem as "paranormal" or "supernatural" is to Jung just the other side of the same coin. He discusses the reality under the accepted reality but he is not straightforward about it. If i wanted to take it far enough I'd even say he's not honest about it. He does mince hiw words much too often and stops short of telling you what he really thinks. But this hardly undermines his openmindedness. Same goes for his treatment of religion.

In the beginning of the book he goes to great lengths in his denouncing of the western religion, and yet, all throughout the book he leaves countless hints that he's religious himself, without ever explaining in what sense. This was in my view perplexing.

The part of the book where he details his views on psychotherapy and explains how he approached his patients is definately the highlight of this book, and it should be of paramount importance for those interested in that subject area.

The last third of the book is mostly about Jung's travels. That part, might be disturbing for some, as one can sense that Jung felt some kind of well hidden superiority over the people he encountered. This superiority is often enough brought forward as his surprise over the insights these people offered him, but it still remains a mystery (at least to me) what he actually "took" from these people pertaining to their beliefs and approach in life. If anything, that is.

All criticism aside, this is still essential reading. Jung was a person torn between the desire to explore the off-limits and his fear of being ostracised by the scientific community. In the gray area within that struggle is where one discovers Jung's most thought-provoking theories because that is where he presents himself bare.

5-0 out of 5 stars Pure Genius
When I first started reading this book, I was highly naïve as to what my possible reactions could be. I never realized that this book would spark an internal flame within me, causing me to yearn for more knowledge and a broader insight into many subjects. It even lead me to come to many realizations about myself and my actions that I could never explain, but turned out to be so true and conclusive.
The extremely difficult vocabulary content did not discourage me one bit, it just made my curiosity grow. Jung amazed me with the beauty of his language choice and writing style and further astonished me with this extensive knowledge on so many various subjects and interesting way of interpreting them. Jung constantly referred to literary works and ideas of other authors and always stressed his references. This was perfect because this was the first book that I've ever willingly read from cover to cover in the psychology field, and it gave me an idea of other books like this one that I could read on topics that I liked and could hand-pick.
The book was most interesting knowing that it was written in autobiography-style and at the end of Jung's life, thus giving myself (the reader) his life-experienced and life-proven philosophies. It was a very difficult read but it was well worth it. I could honestly say that sometimes I just couldn't put it down; and no other book has been able to do that for me. ... Read more


6. The Promise : How One Woman Made Good on Her Extraordinary Pact to Send a Classroom of1st Graders to College
by ORAL LEE BROWN, CAILLE MILLNER
list price: $22.95
our price: $15.61
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Asin: 0385511477
Catlog: Book (2005-04-05)
Publisher: Doubleday
Sales Rank: 31934
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Everyone should read this book.
This book is written the way that an average person speaks, which is to say that it rambles a bit and frequently repeats things;but it's an easy read that I think every reader (both young and old) should find very approachable.As literature goes, it's not a great work of linguistic mastery.That being said, this is an excellent book that I wish everyone would read, because there's an extremely important lesson for all of us here.

Oral Lee Brown first recognized the very root cause of the brutal cycle of poverty that persists in America (it's the education system, people!), and then she tackled that problem in one of the most extraordinary ways I've ever heard of.Her story is brilliant and inspiring.And as I said before, I hope that it reaches as many people as possible, and will serve as an inspiration to us all.Great story, great lady, 5 stars.

4-0 out of 5 stars AHeart of Gold
I first heard of Oral Lee Brown a few years ago when one of the children from her original class was accidentally killed. I read a little about Mrs. Brown and when the book came up for review I had to get to know the lady behind the heart. I was not disappointed, this book displays an angel in disguise.A humble woman who just wants to do all she can for those in need. Determined, dedicated and courageous are words I would use to describe her and each of the classes her foundation takes on.The child who initially inspired Oral Lee to start her foundation, was an angel sent from God, to help Mrs. Brown fulfill her purpose here on earth.In addition, to this being an inspiring read, there are tips on applying for college found at the end for both parents and students. If you need inspiration to do something you have been putting off, reading THE PROMISE will give you the motivation you need.

Reviewed by Eraina B. Tinnin
of The RAWSISTAZ™Reviewers

5-0 out of 5 stars The author is a hero in my book....
Words fail me when it comes to Ms. Oral Lee Brown.We were living in the bay area when the Oakland Tribune and other media were reporting on her promise to send an entire 1st grade class to college.A real estate woman who was making less than 50k a year and a big heart and a bigger faith in God is what made her quest and her story so awesome.

And she made some big sacrifices and it did put a bit of a strain on her marriage and family life.And for some of the students parents who worked 2-3 jobs just to support their families, she would often step in and volunteer to attend PTA and parent-teacher meetings and report back to the parent(s).It wasn't just funds she was setting aside for college expenses but her time and energy.

As silly as it may sound she often gives as an example, that instead of buying shoes for her kids at Macy's she would buy shoes at Payless (just like many of us). And she would work more than one job herself.

What she shows is that if a woman who makes less than 50k a year can set aside money for twelve years to send a couple dozen kids to college, then a huge number of Americans can and should try to do the same.

What if a handful of citizens in a given city/town/village/community were to set up a foundation like she did, and raise money to put next years first grade class thru college in twelve years?

Education is power, and while we homeschooled, I still believe that no matter the educational choice, that any child who can get into a Jr. college or four year institution should have that guarantee of funding.

Ms. Oral Lee Brown is a hero of mine. ... Read more


7. The Man Who Shocked the World: The Life and Legacy of Stanley Milgram
by Thomas Blass
list price: $26.00
our price: $17.68
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Asin: 0738203998
Catlog: Book (2004-03-01)
Publisher: Basic Books
Sales Rank: 42467
Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The sole and definitive biography of one of the 20th century's most influential and controversial psychologists.

The creator of the famous "Obedience Experiments," carried out at Yale in the 1960s, and originator of the "six degrees of separation" concept, Stanley Milgram was one of the most innovative scientists of our time. In this sparkling biography--the first in-depth portrait of Milgram--Thomas Blass captures the colorful personality and pioneering work of a social psychologist who profoundly altered the way we think about human nature.

Born in the Bronx in 1933, Stanley Milgram was the son of Eastern European Jews, and his powerful Obedience Experiments had obvious intellectual roots in the Holocaust. The experiments, which confirmed that "normal" people would readily inflict pain on innocent victims at the behest of an authority figure, generated a firestorm of public interest and outrage-proving, as they did, that moral beliefs were far more malleable than previously thought. But Milgram also explored other aspects of social psychology, from information overload to television violence to the notion that we live in a small world. Although he died suddenly at the height of his career, his work continues to shape the way we live and think today. Blass offers a brilliant portrait of an eccentric visionary scientist who revealed the hidden workings of our very social world. ... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Stanley Milgram: His research and his personality
Stanley Milgram was clearly a genius! His research on obedience to authority gave the world surprising insights into such phenomena as the role of ordinary people in the Nazi Holocaust. His innovative studies on the small world problem gave rise to the notion of six degrees of separation-which in recent years has been applied as a general principle in such diverse fields as physics, epidemiology and neuroscience. Whether we consider cognitive maps of cities, the lost letter method of assessing attitudes, the concept of the familiar stranger or Cyranoid communication, the mark of Milgram's research was its originality and brilliance in conceptualizing everyday events in a manner that elucidated the phenomenon, yet was never tried before.

In this beautifully written biography of Milgram by Thomas Blass, we not only get a superb overview of Milgram's work, but we also find out about Stanley Milgram-the person. By learning about his parents and his childhood we can now understand what drew his interest into Holocaust relevant research. Following his graduate career, we can gain insight into the personalities and social dynamics that existed at the Harvard Department of Social Relations and how these forces shaped Milgram's research agenda. His European travels, studies and adventures (amorous and otherwise) fill out the picture of Stanley Milgram's early interests.

Fortunately, Milgram was a prolific writer of letters to his friends that expressed his feelings at that moment. It appears that the author gained access to practically every word ever written by Milgram and through extensive interviews with Milgram's family, colleagues and students Blass compiled an even larger database of quotes and anecdotes which he appropriately shares with the reader. Some of these anecdotes are not complimentary, but I believe they give us an honest view of this very complex person. These firsthand testimonies paint an intriguing image of one of the most influential social scientists of our time.

4-0 out of 5 stars Milgram: Arrogant and Clever
I've been a fan of Stanley Milgram's work since my psychology grad school days in the late 60's. Fortunately, I also had the pleasure of hearing him speak and the honor of meeting him. So I waited with anticipation when I learned that Thomas Blass was writing a biography on Milgram. I was hoping that I would lean more about Milgram's groundbreaking research and that I might also end up liking him as a person, although I know that's certainly not the purpose of biography.

Well, thanks to Blass's book I did learn a lot about Milgram, not all of it very pleasant. And even at that, it seems to me that Blass pulled some punches to avoid making Milgram even less attractive as a person, perhaps in deference to Milgram's wife and his children who cooperated in the writing of this biography. For example, Blass reports that Milgram delayed his departure from Paris until he found out if his French girlfriend was pregnant. Blass doesn't say whether she was or not or what happened if she in fact was. Blass frequently references Milgram's sexual appetite and conquests but avoids discussion of whether this carried over to Milgram's later life. When I met Milgram, he was in the company of a tall, beautiful young woman who was described simply as his "traveling companion".

Blass does repeatedly mention Milgram's arrogance, snobbishness, and abrasiveness but also offers up what seem to be pedestrian acts of kindness attributed to Milgram and that he was a good family man. This "on the other hand" approach by Blass is apparently intended to imply that underneath it all Milgram could be very sensitive and kind or that he was "complicated". Blass also briefly mentions Milgram's drug use as a possible explanation of his mercurial behavior.

Overall, I was left with the impression that although Milgram was certainly funny, clever, creative, and intellectually curious, he was also driven by a strong need to gain status and recognition and that he could be deceptive and manipulative, e.g., he wrote letters to politicians representing himself untruthfully and falsely claimed to be a French student in order to get a rent subsidy from the French government. Later in his career, he even hired a professional clipping service to find all the reviews of his books but then, despite his substantial income, complained about the cost of his children's education.

Does this matter? In terms of Milgram's significant influence on social psychology and our understanding of obedience, the small world effect, etc., probably not. But in terms of biography just for the sake of recreational reading, to me it does. I almost hate to admit it but it's just more fun to read about someone you end up caring about, much like identifying with the main character in a movie. Although I was constantly reminded of Milgram's methodological cleverness and powers of observation, I couldn't shake the notion that Blass was too easy on him and that I would not have liked him very much as either a teacher or as a colleague. But perhaps this very type of personality is exactly what was needed to do the kinds of studies Milgram did, i.e., a "nicer" person wouldn't have done them.

Despite these opinions, I would still recommend the book because Milgram's work is so socially significant, unconventional, and methodologically clever. You might also gain some insight into the department politics at two prestigious universities when Blass writes about Milgram's unsuccessful attempts to land a tenured position at Harvard and Yale. If you decide to read a psychologist's biography other than this one, I would definitely recommend "Love at Goon Park", the biography of Harry Harlow by Deborah Blum. I believe Harlow was even more influential than Milgram. Better yet, read them both.

5-0 out of 5 stars A brilliant biography of a brilliant social scientist
Due to the high level of excitement and anticipation surrounding the arrival of this important biography, I was eagerly looking forward to receiving it, yet naturally concerned it might not live up to expectations. Fortunately, I am pleased to say this couldn't be further from the truth. In fact, it's a fascinating and well-written book by Blass, who is recognised as the authority on Milgram.

Since I am not a psychologist myself, what struck me initially was how readable an account this actually is. I was also extremely impressed by the incredible level of detail and nuance that Blass offers about Milgram's life and work. I've read some earlier material on Milgram that Blass wrote over the years, which is one reason I was looking forward to the publication of the biography.

In my view, it offers a very important and unparalleled glimpse into the life as well as full range of research of a man who became so controversial--in large measure--for revealing a disturbing side of human behaviour that has proven to transcend boundaries of time and culture. Now more than ever--given the current state of affairs on the world stage--I feel this book is a very important contribution to the field of psychology, and obedience to authority in particular. Moreover, given the far reaching implications of the subject matter and the readability of this book, it should appeal to an even broader audience. ... Read more


8. Adventures of a Psychic: The Fascinating Inspiring True-Life Story of One of America's Most Successful Clairvoyants
by Sylvia Browne, Antoinette May
list price: $12.95
our price: $9.71
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Asin: 1561706213
Catlog: Book (1998-09-01)
Publisher: Hay House
Sales Rank: 27304
Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Adventures of a Psychic might not be the next Indiana Jones sequel, but the "adventures" in the title is appropriate, since Sylvia Browne never stops amazing us with her channeling, psychic visions, healing, and even ghost stories. Coauthor Antoinette May's biographical talents are first rate, however her third person point of view tends to distance the reader from Browne's story. May compensates for this minor shortcoming by expertly weaving Browne's psychic talents with her personal life, from childhood to grandmotherhood, and grounding the supernatural parts of Adventures of a Psychic in the same sort of mundane problems we are all prone to run into. While reading this book, you may stare with an open mouth at glimpses of a world beyond death, and at the same time discover that we all possess a limitless potential, even if we are not gifted with psychic ability. --Brian Patterson ... Read more

Reviews (140)

5-0 out of 5 stars Even skeptics will love this
I was so sad when I finished this book, thank goodness Sylvia has written more!! What an amazing life and when you read what Sylvia has to reveal about past lives and the other side you will never feel the same about life or death again. Even if you are a skeptic you can't deny a lot of what Sylvia explains(she even has pictures of a ghost she spoke with). Everything she says rings true and makes sense. After you finish this you'll be back at the bookstore for her next book, The Other Side And Back, which is just as facinating. Don't miss this experience, you'll feel a peace and understanding that will change your life. Thank you Sylvia!!!

5-0 out of 5 stars A skeptic in Arizona, however.......
First let me say that I am very skeptical of all religions, especially the organized ones that only seem to want your money and I've been this way since I was a child. Also this last year has been the worst year of my life what with losing 4 family members including my husband and 4 close friends and my job, which was sent to India. So that's my background and mental state when I started reading this book.

I liked the way Sylvia was bluntly honest in her describing herself and her life. She didn't make herself look completely wonderful or all-knowing. She seemed very down to earth. I was impressed by the fact that she provides a lot of free help to people. Yes, her personal readings are expensive, way out of my price range especially since I'm still unemployed, but her books are very reasonably priced.

This book gave me a lot to think about and more than that, things to hope for. I tend to look at things from a very logical perspective and I've never found a religion that does that. Sylvia gave some very logical explanations that makes me feel somewhat better or at least more understanding of what has happened in my life in the past year. I think I'm able to look to the future with a more positive outlook than before reading this book.

I'm still skeptical about religion but maybe not as skeptical about spirituality. But beware, reading this book could be exspensive. I just purchased three more of her books. :-)

4-0 out of 5 stars Thanks, Sylvia
One of the reasons I enjoy most of Sylvia Browne's books, as I did this one, is that she is very forthcoming about where she has been and that she conveys just how difficult it really is to be spiritually intuitive. To improve their credibility and keep their egos in check, it would be well that others in the New Age/New Thought circles would follow Sylvia's example in this regard.

One of her most famous truisms, one that I appreciate greatly, is that a psychic is rarely able to predict what will happen in their own life...a bit humbling to come to that realization, but if we all (including highly spiritually intuitive people) come here to grow, then this limitation would seem a given.

However, there is an aspect of her personality that comes through in the blunt assertions she makes about the reality of our progression through spiritual and physical existences. My own sense is that, while very sincere, she may actually be oversimplifying and even exaggerating the process.

Three things she appears to assert that I am not convinced of:
(1) All the "evil" people and most suicides don't get to go to her version of heaven because they take an almost immediate u-turn after death and come back into another life, which would seem guaranteed to make for yet another unfortunate and miserable existence on earth, not only for themselves, but (even worse) for many others.
(2) After death, everyone essentially goes to the same place to deliberately plan their next existence on earth. While this may eventually happen for many souls, I would tend to believe that a great many folks just go to a reality that fits their most recent earth experience and that they stay there indefinitely until their spirit has a yearning to grow and seeks out an understanding that will lead to another opportunity to facilitate that growth.
(3) Spiritual beings cannot read our minds unless we consciously allow them to. If psychic people here on earth are able to do this (and I have experienced it myself), then why is it that spiritual beings cannot do it? My own sense is that while some information is profoundly personal and off limits to others, we spiritually project our intentions here on earth and in the spiritual realm to facilitate the work we are intended to do.

I am also not sold on her notion that the spirit world is a squeaky clean place and, except for the suicides and "bad guys" who are sent right back to earth after they die, we all essentially go to the same wonderful and resplendent location after our physical death. Based on the NDEs described by folks like Betty Eadie and Dannion Brinkley, I am inclined to believe that the afterlife location she describes in her books may very well exist, but, as Jesus said, "my Father's house has many rooms". From personal experiences and readings of other authors' works (P.M.H. Atwater, Howard Storm, Bruce Moen, Robert Monroe, among others) my belief is that the spirit realm is actually a very complicated set of realities, with many layers and many shades of light and dark within those layers. I think our world here on earth is a reflection of that complexity.

It would be interesting if some day we could see some of the well known spiritual intuitives and serious researchers of reincarnation and paranormal events come together to have a discussion on some of the more controversial aspects (i.e. where they do not always agree) regarding what they assert about:
(a) Life after death
(b) The nature of good and evil
(c) The power that we possess individually and collectively to create our realities.

Such a gathering might contribute to a better understand of the source or basis of some of their more controversial and intriguing ideas. As it is, the more I read books like Sylvia's, more questions are generated than answered.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great read
This book gives us tons of insight of the life of Sylvia Browne. If you are a Sylvia fan and avid reader of her books, this might bore you a bit. I had to skip about 4 seconds because they were literally the same words as in other books. If you've never picked up a Sylvia Browne book, then you will be enlightened.

3-0 out of 5 stars Bit overhyped
For well-known psychics, business is big money. While I don't decry that anyone ought to be able to make a living at something, charging $750 per reading (as I understand she does now) is a bit much. Shouldn't the most neediest of people, the people who perhaps might most benefit from the reading be charged less? Gee, for $750, I'll tutor you for 3 or four days in physical science and one 100% percent of it will be accurate!

My main quarrel with the book is its presentation of heaven. Greek architecture, a constant 78 deg F "climate," no bugs--just "friendly" animals, councils running the show (committees), and research places where scientists do the research for scientists on Earth. Maybe this is Ms. Browne's vision of heaven, but not mine, nor I suspect that of millions of others.

The one thing that Ms. Browne is probably correct about, is that heaven exists in a higher set of dimensions with considerably higher frequencies. And it's also likely that as a consequence, a different set of physics probably applies. After that, your vision is probably as good as mine. I'm willing to bet to some extent, what any soul arriving in heaven experiences is going to be somewhat dependent on his or her knowledge and beliefs.

Technology (and many other of mankind's activities) continues to wreck the earth despite the goodies it provides for us. The thought that there are people up there in "scientific institutions" busily inventing plasma TVs, the next version of Windows XP (hey, you didn't get the last version right), and better insecticides scares the bejesus out of me. Aren't they teaching enough ecology and themodynamics to you guys up there? (Heck, I'll teach you the basics for free--just "visit" me in the evening when a new episode of West Wing or CSI isn't on.)

I do think that some of Ms. Browne's spirituality is appropriate; it just gets carried away some times.

In case I'm totally wrong about this, it'll be a relief to know there won't be any roaches or spiders crawling around up there. :) ... Read more


9. The Essential John Nash
by John Nash
list price: $34.95
our price: $34.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0691095272
Catlog: Book (2001-11-19)
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Sales Rank: 55481
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

When John Nash won the Nobel prize in economics in 1994, many people were surprised to learn that he was alive and well. Since then, Sylvia Nasar's celebrated biography, the basis of a new major motion picture, has revealed the man. The Essential John Nash reveals his work--in his own words. This book presents, for the first time, the full range of Nash's diverse contributions not only to game theory, for which he received the Nobel, but to pure mathematics, in which he commands even greater acclaim among academics. Included are nine of Nash's most influential papers, most of them written over the decade beginning in 1949.

From 1959 until his astonishing remission three decades later, the man behind the concepts "Nash equilibrium" and "Nash bargaining"--concepts that today pervade not only economics but nuclear strategy and contract talks in major league sports--had lived in the shadow of a condition diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenia. In the introduction to this book, Nasar recounts how Nash had, by the age of thirty, gone from being a wunderkind at Princeton and a rising mathematical star at MIT to the depths of mental illness.

In his preface, Harold Kuhn offers personal insights on his longtime friend and colleague; and in introductions to several of Nash's papers, he provides scholarly context. In an afterword, Nash describes his current work, and he discusses an error in one of his papers. A photo essay chronicles Nash's career from his student days in Princeton to the present. Also included are Nash's Nobel citation and autobiography.

The Essential John Nash makes it plain why one of Nash's colleagues termed his style of intellectual inquiry as "like lightning striking." All those inspired by Nash's dazzling ideas will welcome this unprecedented opportunity to trace these ideas back to the exceptional mind they came from. ... Read more

Reviews (12)

5-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Reading
Even without the Nobel Prize for Economics, the outstanding movie by Ron Howard ("A Beautiful Mind"), or the exceptional biography by Sylvia Nasar (also "A Beautiful Mind"), Professor John Nash would a legend. While cursed with severe mental illness, Dr. Nash was and is an extraordinary man. His contributions to game theory were so ahead of their time it took over 30 years for economists and business leaders to apply them fully. When they were applied, they advanced everything from international trade talks and arms control treaties, to radio frequency auctions and the study of evolutionary biology. Dr. Nash's work has had a profound, highly practical impact on negotiation and decision making throughout business and government. He created a path toward win-win solutions to complex, multi-party agreements.

This book is largely a collection of Dr. Nash's own writings, each a significant contribution to mathematics or economics. Nash's papers are thoughtfully introduced and explained - thankfully so given the complexity of Nash's writings. Also included is Nash's own touching and revealing autobiography.

The result is a compelling glimpse inside the thought processes of a genius - a beautiful mind indeed. Thanks to Harold Kuhn and Sylvia Nasar for pulling this wonderful collection together.

5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent compilation
Having written about the life of the mathematician John Nash in the excellent biography "A Beautiful Mind", Sylvia Nasar teams up with the mathematician Harold W. Kuhn to produce a book that introduces the mathematical contributions of Nash, something that was done only from a "popular" point of view in Nasar's biography. For those who have the background, this book is a fine overview of just what won Nash acclaim in the mathematical community, and won him a Nobel Prize in economics.

It is always easy to dismiss ideas as trivial after they have been discovered and have been put into print. This is apparently what John von Neumann did after discussing with Nash his ideas on noncooperative games, dismissing his ideas as a mere "fixed point theorem". At the time of course, the only game-theoretic ideas that had any influence were those of von Neumann and his collaborator, the Princeton economist Oskar Morgenstern. The rejection of ideas by those whose who hold different ones is not uncommon in science and mathematics, and, from von Neumann's point of view at the time, he did not have the advantage that we do of examining the impact that Nash's ideas would have on economics and many other fields of endeavor. Therefore, von Neumann was somewhat justified, although not by a large measure, in dismissing what Nash was proposing. Nash's thesis was relatively short compared to the size on the average of Phd theses, but it has been applied to many areas, a lot of these listed in this book, and others that are not, such as QoS provisioning in telecommunication and packet networks. The thesis is very readable, and employs a few ideas from algebraic topology, such as the Brouwer fixed point theorem.

The paper on real algebraic manifolds though is more formidable, and will require a solid background in differential geometry and algebraic geometry. However, from a modern point of view the paper is very readable, and is far from the sheaf and scheme-theoretic points of view that now dominate algebraic geometry. It is interesting that Nash was able to prove what he did with the concepts he used. The result could be characterized loosely as a representation theory employing algebraic analytic functions. These functions are defined on a closed analytic manifold and serve as well-behaved imbedding functions for the manifold, which is itself analytic and closed. These manifolds have been called 'Nash manifolds' in the literature, and have been studied extensively by a number of mathematicians.

I first heard about John Nash by taking a course in algebraic topology and characteristic classes in graduate school. The instructor was discussing the imbedding problem for Riemannian manifolds, and mentioned that Nash was responsible for one of the major results in this area. His contribution is included in this book, and is the longest chapter therein. Here again, the language and flow of Nash's proof is very understandable. This is another example of the difference in the way mathematicians wrote back then versus the way they do now. Nash and other mathematicians of his time were more 'wordy' in their presentations, and this makes the reading of their works much more palatable. This is to be contrasted with the concisness and economy of thought expressed in modern papers on mathematics. These papers frequently employ a considerable amount of technical machinery, and thus the underlying conceptual foundations are masked. Nash explains what he is going to do before he does it, and this serves to motivate the constructions that he employs. His presentation is so good that one can read it and not have to ask anyone for assistance in the understanding of it. This is the way all mathematical papers should be written, so as to alleviate any dependence on an 'oral tradition' in mathematical developments.

Nash's proof illuminates nicely just what happens to the derivatives of a function when the smoothing operation is applied. The smoothing operator consists of essentially of extending a function to Euclidean n-space, applying a convolution operator to the extended function, and then restricting the result to the given manifold. Nash gives an intuitive picture of this smoothing operator as a frequency filter, passing without attenuation all frequencies below a certain parameter, omitting all frequencies above twice this parameter, and acting as a variable attenuator between these two, resulting in infinitely smooth function of frequency.

The next stage of the proof of the imbedding theorem is more tedious, and consists of using the smoothing operator and what Nash calls 'feed-back' to construct a 'perturbation device' in order to study the rate of change of the metric induced by the imbedding. Nash's description of the perturbation process is excellent, again for its clarity in motivating what he is going to do. The feed-back mechanism allows him to get a handle of the error term in the infinitesimal perturbation, isolating the smoother parts first, and handling the more difficult parts later. Nash reduces the perturbation process to a collection of integral equations, and then proves the existence of solutions to these equations. A covariant symmetric tensor results from these endeavors, which is CK-smooth for k greater than or equal to 3, and which represents the change in the metric induced by the imbedding of the manifold. The imbedding problem is then solved for compact manifolds by proving that only infinitesimal changes in the metric are needed. The non-compact case is treated by reducing it to the compact case. The price paid for this strategy is a weakening of the bound on the required dimension of the Eucliden imbedding space.

The last chapter concerns Nash's contribution to nonlinear partial differential equations. I did not read this chapter, so I will omit its review.

5-0 out of 5 stars Good Collection of Nash Writings!
I only rate books that I really enjoy reading. While this one has some techy chapters, readers without a strong math background can still enjoy it.

Professor Nash's story was brought to life by the movie, this book shows why. One day his manifold theory will rule! ;)

5-0 out of 5 stars excellent
Personally, I found this book to be very interestring. The proofs and ideas are presented in clear and non-rigomorphic fashion. One is able to read the works of Nash in the way he himself presented them, and hopefully appropriate some mental strategies used by this genius. There is much that goes on behind the scene of creation of proofs. I think mathematicians of today would greatly benefit from availability of larger number of books which would contain the mathematical works in the way they were originally presented. This is certainly a major step in that direction.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Most Welcome Mathematical Banquet
I can't begin to express how deeply satisfying it was to peruse these papers by John Nash. You almost felt you were right there at his side, as he penned them.

There is even something in the book for non-mathematical types: Sylvia Nasar's Introduction and the autobiographical essay (Chapter Two). But for me the greatest interest resided in the remaining chapters: 4-11.

Of these, I particularly enjoyed reading the original presentation of Nash's Thesis on 'Non-Cooperative Games' (Chapter 6), and was fascinated not only with the air-tight logic of his proofs, but the use of hand written-in symbols.

Of course, Chapter 7 is just the re-hashing of Ch. 6, but in proper type-set form, rather than Nash's original script. But - give me the former any day! Reading the original form and format almost made me feel like Nash's Thesis aupervisor, including the same excitement of a new discovery!

Chapter 8 'Two person Cooperative Games' nicely extends the mathematical basis to cover this species of interaction.(And in many ways, people will find the cooperative game model easier to understand than the non-cooperative).

Chapter 9 is important because it delves into the issue of parallel control, and logical functions such as used in high speed digital computers. This chapter was of much interest to me since particular aspects of parallel control figured in my own model of consciousness - recently presented in Chapter Five of my book, 'The Atheist's Handbook to Modern Materialism'. Astute readers who read both books will quickly see the analog between the Schematic of Logical Unit Function (p. 122) and my own Figure 5-13 ('Development of Neural Assemblies', p. 156).

I enjoyed Chapter 10, 'Real Algebraic Manifolds' because of my ongoing interest in Algebraic Topology, and especially homology and homotopy theory. In his chapter, Nash presents a cornucopia of methods for representation, which I am still playing with for different manifolds.

Chapter 11, 'The Imbedding Problem for Riemannian Manifolds', is a delight for anyone familiar with Einstein's General Relativity, or even differential geometry. When you read through this chapter, you also will understand why Nash is still very interested (and involved) in research to do with general relativity and cosmology. Particularly fun for me was his section on 'Smoothing of Tensors' (p. 163) and 'Derivative Size Concept for Tensors' (p. 164).

Chapter 12, 'Continuity of Solutions of Parabolic and Elliptic Equations' is like 'dessert' for anyone who is intensely interested (as I am) in modular functions, which themselves are related intimately to elliptic equations.

In short, I think this book has something for both mathematicians and non-math types alike. Obviously, the former are likely to get more out of it, so the question the latter group must ask is whether the purchase is worth satiating their curiosity about Nash.

I know how I would answer, even if I couldn't tell a derivative from a differential. However, this book can be read on all kinds of levels, and that's the beauty of it. ... Read more


10. A Shining Affliction: A Story of Harm and Healing in Psychotherapy
by Annie G. Rogers
list price: $13.95
our price: $11.16
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0140240128
Catlog: Book (1996-08-01)
Publisher: Penguin Books
Sales Rank: 99397
Average Customer Review: 4.82 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars A must read for anyone whose goal it is to heal
A beautifully written book. Annie Rogers writes about her client's and her own story with depth and wisdom. This book is a testimony that relationships are the most healing vehicle we have, no matter what kind of harm has been done.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Prevalence of Dismal Psychotherapists
Harvard child psychologist and severe child abuse survivor Annie Rogers suffered psychiatric hospitalizations once or twice a year from puberty until her late twenties -- when, after a six year insidiously inept and crazymaking "therapy," an attempt to stab and shoot that therapist and one last hospitalization for another word salad psychosis (and no more insurance), her exceptional and no doubt desperate sister and friends found the gifted and pro bono analyst Dr. Blumenfeld. If this exceptional memoir hasn't become a classic must read in psychology with many reviews by both patients and therapists by now, there are unfortunate reasons. One is that Annie's politically correct adolescence shows in her disdain for the "medical models and diagnoses" Dr. Blumenfeld himself could afford to abandon only because he knew them and the blind therapists who live by them so well -- and thus could authentically reach and stabilize the talented and brilliant, borderline and psychotic personality and doctoral intern Annie. "You have a kind of giftedness, Annie, that probably has always been inseparable from your suffering, and we don't know very much about that yet." What we need now is a wonderful book from the exceptional and sainted Dr. Blumenfeld and more from the healed and gifted writer Dr. Rogers on the two sided magic of play therapy with children. You must meet Annie's beloved "oppositional" 5 year old patient Ben and ponder the 7 foot angel "Theosporus" who protected and accompanied Annie from age 6 to Dr. Blumenfeld's office at 27. A Shining Affliction raises more questions than it answers -- it might have been twice as long, and it's hard to tell if important details were deliberately or unconsciously left out. As it is, it's a daring memoir by a once psychotic Harvard child psychologist that should be a controversial must read classic in both child and adult psychotherapy.

5-0 out of 5 stars powerful, beautiful, evoking
I began this book because I am a student of Annie's. I could not put it down, feeling like I myself was becoming somehow involved with her relationship with Ben (the 5 year old boy with brown hair and bangs). I felt like I was getting inside both Annie and Ben while watching the beautiful way in which they interacted. I could not be in the room with this book without wanting to read on into the relationship that evolves. The personal aspect of the patient-therapist relationship becomes the center focus as does Annie's life outside of these interactions with Ben. The reflection, time, energy, and exposure that is demonstrated by the author in this book was by far the best I have ever seen. This has become my favorite book, one that I will never live without, and also one that will remind me of what I want to do with my life and how to do it.

5-0 out of 5 stars a strong memoir, about which I have a few criticisms
At its best it reminded me strongly of I Never Promised You A Rose Garden, in that it shows the healing relationship between an excellent therapist and a disturbed female patient. This book had the added benefit of having the patient/author also be a therapist, and while being healed herself doing a marvelous job of participating in the healing of a young boy whose problems are remarkably similar to her own.

The book was beautifully written, very open and revealing, and gentle in its nature. I also was grateful to hear the author write of her experiences with a TERRIBLE therapist, who, for self-protection, violated therapeutic boundaries left and right and essentially drove the author mad.

A few criticisms:
1) I found annoying the author's rambling free associations when she was psychotic. It's like, she seemed to be trying to be literary and give the reader an idea of what was going through her mind, but I think she could have come up with a more coherent, descriptive and readable way of doing it than spouting out word-noise. It reminded me of the Kesey's dull ramblings about the 'fog' and the 'machine' in Cuckoo's Nest. I tended to skim/skip over these parts.

2) I can't help but wonder what really motivates a person like Annie Rogers to bare her soul to an audience. Granted, she wrote a wonderful and interesting book that contributes to the writing on psychotherapy, but I still think it's suspect, like to some degree she sold herself out. I find a real beauty and self-respect in anonymity, especially for a psychotherapist, so when someone voluntarily gives it up, I can't help but question why. (Grandiosity? Career enhancement? Shaming her bad therapist? Getting her good therapist to love her more ' and to live up to his prophesy?'or perhaps just 'look, mommy, see how great I am!')

3) I also find it suspect that her 'great' final therapist pushed her so hard'yet so subtly'to become a writer. What was in it for him to mold her as such?

5-0 out of 5 stars A must-read for anyone abused by a therapist
I thought I was the only one who had ever been emotionally abused and abandoned by a therapist. My former "therapist"--and I use that term very loosely--also told me that she "loved" me and "would never leave me." Then, during a very traumatic time in my life, she abandoned me, and told me it was MY fault. To say I was traumatized is the understatement of the century. It was nice to know I am not alone in this, but disheartening to know that there are therapists out there who abuse patients, and get away with it. I am still trying to cope with this loss six years later. Ms. Rogers should be commended highly for getting through her experience, while still helping others. She is a brave, courageous woman, and "Dr. Blumenthal" is a saint. ... Read more


11. Curious Minds : How a Child Becomes a Scientist
list price: $23.95
our price: $16.29
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375422919
Catlog: Book (2004-08-31)
Publisher: Pantheon
Sales Rank: 8762
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12. Songs of the Gorilla Nation : My Journey Through Autism
by DAWN PHD PRINCE-HUGHES
list price: $24.00
our price: $16.32
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1400050588
Catlog: Book (2004-03-09)
Publisher: Harmony
Sales Rank: 1216
Average Customer Review: 4.88 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars Author interview on WAER Syracuse 88.3 FM 7/29 at 8 p.m.
Dawn Prince-Hughes will be interviewed on "Women's Voices Radio," on WAER Syracuse 88.3 FM on 7/29 at 8 p.m., along with novelist Kates Niles (THE BASKET MAKER) & essayist Nan Levinson (OUTSPOKEN). WAER does not archive its programming but this show is accessible by web-streaming during the broadcast at www.WAER.org.

5-0 out of 5 stars heartwarming and enlightening
'Songs of the Gorilla Nation' is an autobiography by Dawn Prince Hughes, an interdisciplinary anthropologist who has lived with the hardships of Asperger's Syndrome which is a unique version of autism.

This is a very humane book and should hopefully open up the minds of many to be more empathetic to the plight of those experiencing autism & of diffierent species.

Dawn always knew that she was different, unfortunately for her she never knew why she was different. She reveals her path to self-discovery.

Dawn gives the impression that what are normally instinctive social norms, such as smiling at appropriate times, or knowing when to disagree or agree, are entirely learned behaviors on her behalf. What is obvious for the normal person, she has to intellectually grasp, and learn to correctly apply that knowledge. This fortunately offers her a unique way of looking at the world.

Unlike others when she spends time and studies gorillas, Dawn sees not only the basics such as a silverback and a playful child, she can sense the individualities of each gorilla. She understands why a gorilla behaves a certain manner. She knows if the individual gorilla is being silly, threatening or displaying grief at the sickness of a family member.

With this understanding of Gorillas, Dawn is then capable of applying that knowledge to human behavior, and her own behavior in general. With this application she learns to better handle herself in public and to expand her understanding of the human condition.

Some of the other unique characteristics of this book involve how she views the world. One of the better explanations is that autism provides an overload of the senses. Most people have filters that block out unnecessary information. Our senses are better capable of focusing or disregarding some irrelevant sense, touch, sight, or smell. With autism we get the impression that Dawn cannot prevent all these senses from overloading her brain. Since we dont actively think about all of the filters that we do have it's difficult for most people to understand how she feels.

This book should be mandatory reading for psychologists or anyone teaching. A lot of the problems Dawn encountered as a child could have been avoided if only some simple humanity and understanding had been applied. This is especially true when we read about how one of her teachers treated her.

Hopefully this book will enlighten people on what autism is, and about the fact that apes and animals in general each have their own unique personalities.

5-0 out of 5 stars A fantastic book
Frankly, I didn't expect to be as touched by this book as I was. For some reason it simply blew me away. Let me start out by saying that I don't have, nor do I know anyone who is autistic or has Asperber Syndrome (I realize that the definitions are sketchy). That said, I still found this book riveting and above all, moving. Another reviewer recommended another book--a work of fiction really--dealing with a child who is autistic/Asperger/DID in some manner and I found that one equally riveting: "Bark of the Dogwood." It too was a great read, though very disturbing--not for the faint-hearted. But "Songs of the Gorilla Nation" just left me breathless. Thank God Dawn Prince-Hughes had the courage she did, not only to live her life, but to tell us about it in this highly unusual read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Songs of the Gorilla Nation
This deep thinking book is about a woman who has a form of autism, Asperger's Syndrome. The author combines anthropology, autism and study of gorillas into a finely tuned view of how an autistic person deals with their unique individuality. An excellent nonfiction book for anyone interested in autism.

5-0 out of 5 stars A wondrous book
What a wondrous book! I felt like I was getting a bonus- learning in depth about autism (which I expected) -and learning about the complex world of gorillas -which was a fascinating surprise. In the midst of learning, I laughed out loud and later grieved along with the author when her beloved primate friend Congo died.

If anyone still doubts that people on the autistic spectrum are capable of humor, empathy, and a rich emotional life, this book should put the idea to rest. While she was frequently unable to express her innner world due to fear, being immobilized by overstimulation, lack of skills that she would later learn, or personal depths she would later develop, Dawn Prince-Hughes in fact draws us in with precisely those qualities.

The author was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome in her thirties. She gives us detailed insight into what it means to be on the autistic spectrum - what it means in terms of processing information, enduring ignorance of teachers and classmates, finding a place in the world, and learning to love.

Dawn dropped out of high school after she was no longer able to suffer the abuse and humiliation. She was already drinking to quell her anxiety and frustration. She had no money,no job, and no home. She ended up homeless and later in the unlikely world of erotic dancing, where once again, she just didn't fit the mold. I could only imagine the befuddlement and disappointment of men as they watched this new dancer in body paint imitating wild animal movements and sounds!

Dawn found her spiritual home in the presence of gorillas at her local zoo. Sitting quietly for hours on end, she made connections with the primates that were unlike those she had ever achieved with people. She began to access emotions and to experience relationships of mutual understanding and reciprocal communication.

Reading her descriptions of the worlds of Congo, Nina, Pete, Zuri, Alafia, and the others, I found my views of gorillas and other primates tested and expanded. The implications of her work and observations are immense.

This is an inspiring and thought provoking book. It challenges typical descriptions of autism and it challenges typical descriptions of primates.

Read it, enjoy it, and be enlightened. ... Read more


13. Freud: Darkness in the Midst of Vision--An Analytical Biography
by LouisBreger
list price: $30.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0471316288
Catlog: Book (2000-09-08)
Publisher: Wiley
Sales Rank: 561096
Average Customer Review: 4.13 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Advance Praise for Louis Breger’s FREUD

"Louis Breger’s rich and readable study of Freud offers a thoughtfully complex account of a great but flawed man. Everyone with an interest in psychoanalysis and the psychoanalytic movement will enjoy exploring, grappling with, arguing about, and learning from this absolutely fascinating book."—JUDITH VIORST, AUTHOR,

Necessary Losses and Imperfect Control "Written with brilliance and insight, Freud: Darkness in the Midst of Vision takes us on a daring, at times chilling, journey to the early years of psychoanalysis, revealing both the human weaknesses and the professional triumphs of its founder. . . . Cutting away the accretions of fabrication and romance cloaking Sigmund Freud, Breger has reinstated historical honesty to its rightful, high place, but the figure who emerges at the end of this breathlessly honest biography is quite as extraordinary as the legend concocted by Freud and perpetuated by his followers. Fresh, vigorous, and lucid."—PHILIP M. BROMBERG, Ph.D., CLINICAL PROFESSOR OF PSYCHOLOGY, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY

"Louis Breger’s fine new biography of Freud is a welcome contribution to the existing literature and a corrective to much of it. It is also one of the best intellectual histories of the origin and development of psychoanalysis I have read in recent years. Breger is to be commended for his original research, the objectivity of his views, and the elegance and grace of his writing."—DEIRDRE BAIR, NATIONAL BOOK AWARD WINNER FOR Samuel Beckett AND AUTHOR OF A FORTHCOMING BIOGRAPHY OF CARL JUNG

"Finally, the Freud biography we have long been waiting for. With the history of Europe in the background, we follow with fascination Freud’s journey from an impoverished childhood filled with losses to worldly fame, ending in exile in England. We come to understand the impact of Freud’s difficult personality on the development of his brilliant as well as questionable theoretical ideas. Breger writes with compassion and fairness toward Freud as well as toward the many interesting personalities who cross his life, with their complicated relationships to the great man."—SOPHIE FREUD, FREUD’S GRANDDAUGHTER AND PROFESSOR EMERITUS OF SOCIAL WORK, SIMMONS COLLEGE

"Louis Breger’s magnificent book is the definitive work on the personal psychology of Sigmund Freud. it brilliantly illuminates how the darkness in Freud’s vision has affected psychoanalytic history. This book will be central for psychoanalytic scholarship for decades to come."—GEORGE E. ATWOOD, Ph.D., PROFESSOR OF PSYCHOLOGY, RUTGERS UNIVERSITY ... Read more

Reviews (15)

5-0 out of 5 stars And the truth shall set you free
An excellent treatment of not only the man and his work, but the time and context in which it should be viewed. Breger's greatest treatment of this topic is his use of context in which he views the work and events surrounding Freud and his comtempoaries. A remarkable piece of research that should be mandatory reading for all behavioral science majors at the undergraduate level.

Breger's struggle to provide balance in his treatment of Freud is quite evident in the context of his research. He never questions Freud's contribution to advancing the school of Psychoanalysis. What he does point out is that even a man of his stature is just as human as anyone else in his interpretation of reality. Any competent therapist must not only know this but insure that he/she does not permit their own issues to impact their efforts to assist others. It is this incredible blindness that Breger points out as his chief criticism of Freud which is why the title of his book "Darkness in the Midst of Vision" is so appropriate.

Congratulations on an outstanding effort!

5-0 out of 5 stars "Darkness" is Illuminating
As one contemplates purchasing this biography, attention must be paid to the subtitle: "An Analytical Biography." This is not an all-encompensing portrait of Freud, in that it's not focussed on his many contributions. Rather, the biographer provides a rare glimpse into a man who's name has been omnipresent in all of psychology as well as the arts since his works first began to be published at the end of the 19th century.

Frued's influence is undeniable and inescapable. Yet, there remain very few studies into the psychology of the man himself. What is found mostly are brief accounts of Freud's genius and heroism. Now, at the beginning of the 21st century, what we have with this biography is a psychological profile of the man himself.

In this biography, there is no "hero worship" to speak of. I would like to say that the biography is balanced, but it's not, and that is not even the point. I believe the reason to read this book is to gain account of historical facts that have been white-washed and profound insights that are missing in other Freud studies. We learn, for instance, of the dynamics between Freud and his mother, which (fascinatingly) were characterized by avoidance, fear, guilt, and denial. We also learn of Freud's far-reaching, heavy-handed influence in the early days of psychoanalysis, a level of control that managed to destroy careers, even lives.

One could be left with a vision of Freud-as-tyrant. In this case, pick up another biography of Freud, and you will find some "lightness" to counter the darkness presented in this biography. This book is not, however, some sort of hatchet job. It is vital, important, clear-headed, insightful, and absolutely necessary to gain an understanding of Freud the man. He was no different than the rest of us. This biography helps to balance unreasonable "hero-worship" that, after all, isn't helpful or conducive to level-headed understanding human nature.

5-0 out of 5 stars Our Golden Sigi
He was the founder and autocratic (some would even say dictatorial) leader of one the most controversial, yet profoundly influential, intellectual movements of 20th century. While his own thought sought to systematically dismantle the prevailing medical orthodoxy of his era, it simultaneously introduced a new and even more rigid orthodoxy. Though he was largely uninterested in politics, he proved himself to be the consummate politician, always carefully calculating the effects his actions would have on his movement, the psychoanalytic movement, as a whole. He zealously recruited the best and brightest minds of the time, only to shackle and ultimately squander much of their individual creativity through an endless series of loyalty tests in which the more sycophantic and unquestioning you were, the higher you rose within the inner-circle. His fateful obstinacy extended even to his own physical well-being, as he continued to smoke his trademark pipe even after much of his lower jaw had rotted off from the cancer that eventually killed him.

Freud is a legend, no doubt. But, as this skillful biography of the man makes clear, his legendary status is marked as much by deep personal flaws as by personal greatness. This is only fitting for the man who invented psychoanalysis. We all have tendencies toward self-mythologization, towards the creation of a narrative which minimizes our weaknesses (either by ignoring them outright or blaming their causes on others) and maximizes our strengths. Indeed such narratives are but the linguistic manifestation of our unconscious defense mechanisms. And consequently much of analysis centers around penetrating the core of this chain of signifiers and discovering the breaks, infinite loops and ideological repetitions within. And while he is no Lacanian (the Frenchman is never even mentioned in this text), Breger's analysis is completely given over to this psycho-linguistic imperative, an imperative which is governed and ultimately enforced by the biographical narrative of Freud himself.

This is because so much of what has been written about Freud's life has been directly influenced by Freud's pathological desire to craft a public persona that fits within his own neurotic view of himself as the great conqueror . And so Breger's destructuring of the typical Freudian biographical narrative is tantamount to a bloody confrontation with the man's well-fortified psycho-linguistic defense mechanisms (Freud himself always spoke of analysis in military terms). Whether we're talking about Freud's own autobiographical hero narratives ("On the History of the Psycho-Analytic Movement", "An Autobiographical Study"), Jones' dutiful doting, or even the more recent version of the same by Peter Gay, the man himself is almost always lost in the excremental haze of pre-digested meaning. Thus Freud's neuroses--his travel phobia, his dislike of music, his prudish attitudes towards sex, his desperate, inverted oedipal desire to slay his adopted male children (Jung, Adler, Rank, Ferenczi)--are rarely given the hermeneutical space necessary to stand in their proper relation to the events of his life. Breger's diegetic approach places the events of Freud's life in their proper socio-historical context, but without simply substituting history for personal responsibility, as is so often the case. Freud's cruelty (towards his fellow analysts, towards his patients) is shown to be a symptom of his neuroses, rather than mere juridical technique. (Freud constantly claimed that utter coldness and neutrality was required in the relationship between analyst and analysand, but he was most successful as a therapist when he befriended his patients and showed them warmth and sympathy.)

As you may have guessed, Breger is a practicing analyst, which obviously brings certain prejudices to his account of Freud's life. But Breger shows a remarkable level of honesty by pointing out this fact himself in a section at the end the book. And though I may quibble with him over his emphasis on the primacy of personal trauma over the primacy of sexuality and the role of larger social institutions in the formation of the individual ego, I still think this is a superb example of that particularly personal form of insight which only the very best of psychoanalysts can achieve.

A fine piece of work.

5-0 out of 5 stars Factually fulfilling
This book informed me on the one question that I most wanted to know about Freud. I have been reading a lot of magazines, in which the funniest thing that could relate Freud's life to our times was that he had been ask to sign something, like Americans being able to waive a few rights in order to achieve some meaningful concessions from a government which had its own ideas about the kind of order which needs to be imposed. All Freud wanted was to leave Vienna, after "a gang of storm troopers did come to the apartment and confiscated $500," (p. 359), "the Nazis moved in on the Psychoanalytic Press and arrested Martin for a day," (pp. 359-360), "the Gestapo took Anna in for a day of questioning," (p. 360), and:

There is a widely circulated story that before finally allowing the party to leave, the German authorities made Freud sign a document stating that he had been treated with `respect and consideration.' It is said that he asked if he could add something, and wrote, "I can heartily recommend the Gestapo to anyone." This sounds like a fine bit of Freudian irony, though it would have been foolhardy to endanger so many lives on the very point of departure. The document has subsequently been found and it contains no such comment. Perhaps it was what Freud imagined himself writing. (p. 360)

This reminds me, too much, of Nietzsche, in ECCE HOMO, complaining that Stendhal "took away from me the best atheistical joke that precisely I might have made" (Walter Kaufmann translation, p. 244). As R. J. Hollingdale put it, in the Penguin Classics edition, "Perhaps I am even envious of Stendhal? He robbed me of the best atheist joke which precisely I could have made:" (p. 28). In a thoroughly comic society, any book which can precisely describe the setting for the best joke I ever read, "I can heartily recommend the Gestapo to anyone," deserves to be read. I hope it is this useful for everyone.

4-0 out of 5 stars This IS the Man, Myth and His Chilling Darkness
I am not expert in psychoanalysis. What drew me into this book was the humanization of this slightly stooped, ambitious, clearly brilliant, altogether bourgeois, autocratic, but - yes - great man. Breger shows us, mostly sympathetically, a thoroughly human man, with all the foibles and prejudices of his time. But Breger also shows us the other side of the coin - a fanatic drive for personal fame and a chilling cruelty to all of the many who even slightly questioned his drive for mythic status. We realize the revolution in the late 19th and early 20th centuries wrought by Freud's brilliant, if now widely regarded as deeply flawed, insights into the nature of the mind. Indeed, that there is such a thing as a subconscious, an id ("the horse"), ego ("the man on horseback"), and superego (the rider's "internal voice"). There are so many famous Freudian phrases that virtually all his basic theses have "passed into the common domain", almost biblically, in Breger's typically serviceable prose.

I would recommend this aptly titled "Freud: darkness in the midst of vision" to any interested lay person, not for critiques of Freudian theories, though they are well-presented and solidly researched. Rather, I recommend this for Breger's at times soaring descriptions of Freud's utterly fascinating inner demons and his tempestuous relationships with colleagues: the 'Napoleon of neuroses' Charcot; Brucke of the "terrifying blue eyes"; his 'beautiful' Ernst Fleischl, whom he bathed, and whose photo was the only one in his consulting room, 45 years after Fleischl's death. The [narcotics], the nicotine addiction, the erotic Jung, the dissenter Adler, the hagiographer Anna Freud, and on and on --explosive relationships powerfully described. Through it all, Breger mostly succeeds in giving us a balanced criticism of Freud's ideas and, more excitingly, an intimate view of the deeply complex man. The rare photos, integrated into the text, are a treat. ... Read more


14. Secrets of the Talking Jaguar: Memoirs from the Living Heart of a Mayan Village
by Martin Prechtel
list price: $13.95
our price: $10.46
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0874779707
Catlog: Book (1999-08-01)
Publisher: Jeremy P. Tarcher
Sales Rank: 78574
Average Customer Review: 4.36 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This powerful memoir of an American who was adopted by a shaman and allowed to study the secrets of a Tzutujil Mayan village in deepest Guatemala "offers readers a privileged and rare glimpse into [the village's] complex and spiritually rich life." (Rocky Mountain News)

Twenty-five years ago, a young musician and painter named Mart'n Prechtel wandered through the brilliant landscapes of Mexico and Guatemala. Arriving at Santiago Atitlan, a Tzutujil Mayan village on the breathtaking shores of Lake Atitlan, Prechtel met Nicolas Chiviliu Tacaxoy--perhaps the most famous shaman in Tzutujil history--who believed Prechtel was the new student he had asked the gods to provide. For the next thirteen years, Prechtel studied the ancient Tzutujil culture and became a village chief and a famous shaman in his own right.

In Secrets of the Talking Jaguar, Prechtel brings to vivid life the sights, sounds, scents, and colors of Santiago Atitlan: its magical personalities, its beauty, its material poverty and spiritual richness, its eight-hundred-year-old rituals juxtaposed with quintessential small-town gossip. The story of his education is a tale filled with enchantment, danger, passion, and hope.

"The picture [Prechtel] creates of idyllic Indian life is so beautifully drawn that his delight in their culture becomes contagious, as does his grief when civil war creates havoc in their village." --Publishers Weekly
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Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars one of the best books I've ever read
Anyone with an interest in indigenous people as well as a lust for fascinating accounts of wayward travellers will find this impossible to put down. Humorous, yet poetic at times, the writer has a gift to share, and he does so with incredible dexterity. The insights into how the Maya lived within nature, their social heirarchy, inside jokes, love of life, and slow victimization by 20th (and 21st) century power-mongers make this account a valuable resource for all human beings.

Interestingly, the Mayan calendar, put forth centuries ago, ends within this decade, fodder for Armegeddon-theorists in the last half century. Prechtel's book helps to explain how this happened before his eyes and the role he has come to play in keeping the soul of the Maya alive.

This should be a must-read for anthropologists, linguists, spiritualists, environmentalists, economists, missionaries of all faiths, travellers, and policy makers. And yet with such a broad base, it remains a fascinating narrative as well. This was unquestionably one of the best books I have ever read.

5-0 out of 5 stars wonderful
This is one of the most enjoyable books I've ever read. I've always been interested in the Mayas and read lots of books on them, but I must say that I never felt this level of awareness before. Not only is this great ethnology at it's best, but its a very intimate sharing of the world view of these people through the magic-realism of Martin Prechtel. He is a wonderful storyteller who can impart a vision without telling all - there are no shaman secrets revealed here. One of those rare books where the prose matches the content - both thoroughly enjoyable!

1-0 out of 5 stars Fiction at its worst
The author would have better served his readership by admitting the entire tale is a work is fiction. Poorly researched fiction at that. Riddled with factual, geographic and cultural inaccuracies, he does a great disservice to native people he claims to respect and serve. I have been a student of the Maya for almost thirty years and spent much of that time in the areas the author claims to have inhabited. A casual tourist to the markets in the area could come away with a more accurate description. Many of the incidents he describes would be abhorent to the local Maya population. While the final chapter describing the genocide of the last 25 years is fact,the rituals and social structures he describes are nonexistant. The H'men would certainly not include a drunken, lazy, fat gringo in any meaningful discussion of closely held lineage practices much less "initiate" him and allow him to marry into a local clan only to abandon his "family". This is yet another example of cultural prostitution to sell a book. The Maya of the area have suffered much at the hands of latino politicians, protestant missionaries, and the hordes of international tourists. The author only adds to the indignities with his misguided fictional tale. Judging by the other reviews included in this list, he had filled a niche for the idealistic and gullible hoping to escape modern life. Unfortunately, the society he describes never existed.

5-0 out of 5 stars How he found the words...
I'm almost done with this book. It's fantastic! He writes very lyrically without over doing it. It's not too flowery or hokey.

4-0 out of 5 stars 13 working parts to the heart
I've seen too many drunk, passed-out, "Maya" in Guatemala, laying belly-up on the side of the road, the asphalt ribbon some strange skimmer in a waterless aquarium of patchwork land plots, to really romanticize the "beauty" in drunken public rituals and feasts. Yet, Prechtel makes a really solid case for Beauty breaking the Glass Ceiling to the Gods: Beauty in the ornate ancient eloquence of their speech (often expressed in food terms of deliciousness and "cooking"); Beauty in their many layers of opulent, intricate clothing; and yes, Beauty in being drunk out of their gourds from having made themselves irresistibly delicious to the Gods during an income-leveling, life-renewing, inner-twin calling, Desire-Fest with the Gods.

Other than having to walk two miles with no shoes to fill a tank with water before going to school, it makes me Wanna Be Maya. I guess I have to start with my Bundle: objects, previously unknown to me, exactly like one seen in a dream. "One's power would then have an actual physical place to sit...The spirits must have a home, or they become sad orphans or renegades. A person whose spirit has no home becomes depressed or a criminal". Maybe if I could have a dream about mousetraps or blossoming avocado seeds, I would be spared the ignomy of 21st century affluent society. Then I too could divine that Holy Boy has his hand near Mountain Goddess's cucaracha and avoid getting lice in my eyebrows. Or at least have enough breakfast cereal to fill my molars.

The real message here is, don't send missionaries, Peace-Corp volunteers and aid (lawyers, guns and money), it ain't going to change something that was never really broke. Or if it is broke, it wasn't meant to last that long anyway, and just gets fixed the time-honored way of remembering the Gods with feeding Them deliberately and ritually. Try telling that to a Psych major Peace Corp volunteer, and watch them beat themselves with a solar oven brick. Chiviliu is laughing all the way to the buried cigar box. ... Read more


15. In The Shadow of Fame: A Memoir by the Daughter of Erik H. Erikson
by Sue Erikson Bloland
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 067003374X
Catlog: Book (2005-02-07)
Publisher: Viking Adult
Sales Rank: 58389
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

As the daughter of the renowned psychoanalyst Erik H. Erikson, Sue Erikson Bloland struggled from an early age to reconcile the public view of her father as a pioneering intellectual - and, for many, a quintessential father figure - with the complex and rather insecure man whom she knew in private.

In her beautifully written and moving memoir, Bloland recounts her father's rise to celebrity and the eagerness with which her parents embraced fame. Feeling overwhelmed and eclipsed by her father's acclaim, she spent many years searching for meaning and direction in her own life. She watched her father relate comfortably to strangers in ways that he was unable to with his own family. And like the children of many celebrities, she felt compelled to uphold her father's public image despite her awareness of his human vulnerabilities.

In a portrait enriched by her own psychoanalytic training, Bloland describes her family both before and after the advent of her father's fame, sharing her personal insights into the costs as well as the rewards of celebrity.

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Reviews (3)

2-0 out of 5 stars Ego Identity vs Despair
In the final stage of ego development, Erikson suggests that an acceptance of one's life is an indication of conflict resolution and maturity leading to end-life satisfaction. Having purchased the book because I knew and admired Harland Bloland prior to his recent death,I was eager to explore how this marriage and associationsmight have influenced thisbrilliant, humble and patient man who lived so generously in the shadow of others.Many of my questions have been answered about Harland, and my admiration for him has grown. While I did not have the opportunity to know Harland better, it is clear that he was, perhaps, the most centered member of the Erkison clan while he was with them.

That said, at times I found Ms. Bloland's work to be surprisingly elementary, her prose style erratic and seemingly unedited.The dishonesty and trauma surrounding the birth of Neil with Down Syndrome, the facade created by fame and her need to appear perfect, her emotional abadonment--most readers can identify with these issues.Ms. Bloland appears to suffer from hyperinsulation: at times her issues appear to have less to do with the thedark shadow of fame than with living an encapsulated life where she is drowining in psychoanalysis in a Woody Allen world. But there are clear signs of redemption and she appears to be moving toward end-life satisfaction.

Perhaps a good prescription for her latent ennui would be for her to read "Turn Me Into Zeus' Daughter" by Barbara Robinette Moss. Ms. Moss tells her powerful tale of distortion and resileince with remarkably beautiful prose and follows it with a second memoir, "Fierce." Ms. Moss demonstrates the possibility of moving through Erikson's eight stages of development using creativity, determination, and ferocity.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great reading for those with or without famous parents

This is a beautifully written and insightful memoir about the author's experience as the daughter of the famous psychoanalyst Erik H. Erikson. Bloland's personal struggle resonated deeply with me, even though I have no familial connection with fame. She writes so candidly about her most painful (as well as her most affirming) experiences growing up that the reader is able to identify with her on many different levels. One of the most compelling books I've read in a long time.

5-0 out of 5 stars Liberating Fame's Captives
Using her own personal history as well as other historic sources, Sue Erikson Bloland documents the phenomenon of "fame" and its origins. Ms. Bloland has described not only her particular situation but the dilema of a generation.At some point in the 20th century, the cult of the individual eclipsed the cult of the collective (religion) and our immersion, both conscious and unconscious, in its web continues to shape our contemporary cultural landscape.This book is aptly packaged as a personal memoir yet Bloland sets the stage for further research as to why fame has become a defining social goal. Her focus is the damage rendered not only to those intimately connected to fame's fall-outbut also to a society that diminishes itself as it elevates individuals to super-human status. At the end, Ms. Boland reconciles herself to her family (and heritage) and encourages us to re-examine our own need to worship other mortals."In the Shadow of Fame" has brilliantly set the groundwork for liberating ourselves from the "cult of the individual" and gently encourages us to humanize the heroes we worship. ... Read more


16. Genuine Reality : A Life of William James
by Linda Simon
list price: $18.00
our price: $18.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0226758591
Catlog: Book (1999-05-15)
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Sales Rank: 386674
Average Customer Review: 4.14 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Intellectual rebel, romantic pragmatist, aristocratic pluralist, William James was both a towering figure of the nineteenth century and a harbinger of the twentieth. Drawing on a wide range of sources, including 1,500 letters between James and his wife, acclaimed biographer Linda Simon creates an intimate portrait of this multifaceted and contradictory man. Exploring James's irrepressible family, his diverse friends, and the cultural and political forces to which he so energetically responded, Simon weaves the many threads of William James's life into a genuine, and vibrant, reality.

"William James . . . has never seemed so vulnerably human as in Linda Simon's biography. . . . [S]he vivifies James in such a way that his life and thought come freshly alive for the modern reader."--David S. Reynolds, New York Times Book Review

"Superb. . . . Genuine Reality is recommended reading for all soul-searchers."--George Gurley, Chicago Tribune

"Ms. Simon . . . has provided an ideal pathway for James's striding. . . . [Y]ou become engaged in his struggles as if they were your own."--Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, New York Times

"[A]n excellent narrative biography at once sensitively told and lucidly written."--John Patrick Diggins, Wall Street Journal

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Reviews (7)

4-0 out of 5 stars Billy Boy
Very nicely done biography, Simon seems to be a meticulous, sympathetic critic of her subjects. While I enjoyed reading about this legendary figure in American philosophy and psychology, I ended up being less impressed by him than before. Such disenchantment is probably the hallmark of reading a good biography, as it necessarily brings the mighty down to fallible human dimensions. I had always wondered what it was about the James household that produced such a noteworthy novelist and such a thoughtful philosopher--it turns out that inept dysfunction is the source of this family genius. Their father, at least through Simons's interpretation, seems a very unlikable figure--a passive-aggressive tyrant who would constantly move his family from place to place rather than have them come to develop roots and mentors beyond his control. Sadly, this tactic generated in his family a doubt of self that could lead to such insights as those his two most prominent boys seemed to understand in all its nuances. While we may appreciate their hard-won insights, it doesn't seem any fun to have suffered through them as each of his children did for all their lives. The book provides a complex look at a figure who for all his knowledge remained an embattled, unsatisfied self-critic--like all the best thinkers, I suppose.

5-0 out of 5 stars Experience James
Of all the James biographies, I enjoyed this one the best. As a female English teacher, Simon has a triple advantage in understanding and conveying Jame's life as it might have been. For starters, her writing skills are simply amazing. The book was very clear and enjoyable to read. Secondly, Simon provides us with a portrait of James we rarely see: that is, James as husband and father. In the past, the role Jame's wife and sister played in the formation of his character and thought passed by completely unnoticed, or was ignored. As important as those two figures were in James life, they cannot be ignored. Lastly, Simon's own experiences as a university teacher may have contributed to her portrait of James as university professor - another aspect of James often overlooked. The result of this triple-advantage is one powerful biography, unlike anything ever written about this Philosopher. More than any book, this one provides the reader with a sense of who James really was as a person, and for that I gave it 5 stars.

5-0 out of 5 stars Do somebody a good turn and Not be found out...
The truly great men in early American history, in my humble opinion, are as follows:

Thomas Jefferson
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain)
William James

Because of their intense individualism, idealistic views, and unique personalities, their writings, thoughts and ideas continue to affect western civilzation into the 21st century. Let me just say at the start - I'm not proposing a forum for argument, debating the worth and influence of one historical figure against another - these are men who have shaped my life in lasting ways - particularly the psychologist, philosopher and teacher, William James.

If you are interested in the works and life of this noble individual, ~Genuine Reality~ is a good place to begin. Linda Simon is an adept biographer and this book reflects her skill, understanding and love for the subject. It was refreshing to read a biography without the once fashionable 'psychoanalytical method' of interpreting history: inserting the Oedipus complex or hints of homoeroticism into the work. This method gets tedious and more reveals the biographer's mind than the subject. It is obvious that Simon wanted to approach James from a pragmatic perspective and she succeeded in showing James' life, warts and all, more specifically, however, his inspiring personality, compulsive curiosity and genuine love of life.

Similar to most people of genius, James' life was indeed a contradiction, at times almost enigmatic. He realized early on, that to rivet one's thought or perspective to a single dogma, to close one's mind to the infinite possibilities of existence, was to commit intellectual and spiritual suicide. Thus his thoughts are mercurial, bouncing from one possible view to another, always searching, investigating with an incessant vigour of a child. Following the works of Heraclitus, Henri Bergson, and aspects of Fredric Nietzche, James' 'Pluralism' is a philosophy of affirmation, transformation and becoming. Rallying against the Platonic and Aristotelian belief that fixity has more worth than change, he proposed that life or existence is not fixed at all but involved in an on-going state of flux: the operating word is change. And his life certainly reflects this perspective, as Simon writes:

"He was a scientist with a disposition of a philosopher and a philosopher with the perspective of an artist. He was convinced of his own essential complexity: certain that his public personality contradicted a hidden, more authentic self. He championed the new, he hungered for astonishment."

At the core of James' view of life is to maintain a continual openness to our existence: attempt to create a kind of vital joy to life's infinite possibilities. In other terms, do not sit back and merely observe, but get your hands dirty, engage, and life will give back to you many fold.

~Genuine Reality~ is an important contribution to American history. Linda Simon is a genuine biographer with transparent humility, more concerned with presenting her subject as it is, rather than trying to show off her knowledge, wit and writing skills. All too often, biographer's egos get in the way: they become so involved in revealing their intellectual capacity, the subject of the biography falls by the wayside. Not so with this text.

This book is an intimate portrayal of a great man's life: his interesting and unusual family, his work and relationships, and his sometimes-underrated contribution to philosophy. Out of all of James' writings, there is a line that showed me, in essence, the true character of the man:

"Just for today I will exercise my soul in three ways: I will do somebody a good turn and Not be found out. I will do two things I Don't want to do."

This biography is recommended without reservation.

3-0 out of 5 stars Accurate, but not as lively as one would wish
He was born before the Civil War, but Linda Simon's accurate yet occasionally grinding biography `Genuine Reality` depicts William James (1842-1910) as a decidedly contemporary thinker. A pioneering psychologist and unorthodox philosopher, he rejected rigid systems in favor of a flexible, relativist approach that stressed the fluid nature of identity and physical reality. His students at Harvard found this a gas, as did James himself. (He was always showing off to somebody his whole life, apparently greatly concerned that he be popular with this peers, whoever they happened to be.) One of the book's many virtues is Simon's sensitive analysis of how his ideas rescued him from years of spiritual confusion and the smothering embrace of a neurotic family. One of the books vices is her unnecessary GRE-like drills of vocabulary. Interestingly enough, these start appearing in the middle of the book, as if her editor said "cool it, so your readers won't drop the book due to your unnecessary pretentiousness." Anyway, this is still a very well researched bio. of W.J., giving particular attention to his family life.

5-0 out of 5 stars WONDERFUL!
I pride myself on being a William James buff and this biography by Linda Simon has proven to be the best, most accurate portrayal ever written. If you don't believe my review, take a look at the excellent review of the book by the New York Times. I hightly recommend this book to all those who have enjoyed Linda Simon's previous biographies, and to all those who agree William James is a man worth remembering. ... Read more


17. Marx for Beginners
by RIUS
list price: $11.00
our price: $8.25
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375714618
Catlog: Book (2003-07-15)
Publisher: Pantheon
Sales Rank: 79861
Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A cartoon book about Marx? Are you sure it's Karl, not Groucho? How can you summarize the work of Karl Marx in cartoons? It took Rius to do it. He's put it all in: the origins of Marxist philosophy, history, economics; of capital, labor, the class struggle, socialism. And there's a biography of "Charlie" Marx besides.

Like the companion volumes in the series, Marx for Beginners is accurate, understandable, and very, very funny.
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Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars A surprisingly impressive introduction to Marxist thought
A lot of people probably think they know what Marxism is all about, but in reality only a precious few have any intimate acquaintance with the man's writings and ideas. Only the hardiest of souls can pour through the voluminous pages that constitute Marx's significant body of work, writings that are as dense and complex as just about anything you would ever hope to find. No single book can communicate the depth and breadth of Marxism, but a single book, namely Marx For Beginners by Rius, can and does offer readers an interesting, comprehensible introduction to the basic principles and themes of one of the world's greatest thinkers. I might point out the fact that I personally detest Marx with a passion; the man indirectly caused more trouble than any other individual in history. It is important to know one's enemies well, though, and that is why I have studied Marx to a limited extent.

This book was actually one of several required readings in a college course I took on the history of socialism. I had to laugh when I first saw the actual book as it looks like a book of cartoons. Don't let the seeming simplicity of the book fool you, though. Rius uses cartoons and tiny bits of comedy in order to make one's introduction to the subject as interesting as possible, and he covers the basics quite well indeed: Marx's philosophy, his economic doctrine, and his concept of historical materialism. This is an increasingly complex triumvirate of concepts. Actual quotations from Marx himself often drop in front of you like a ton of bricks, but Rius uses this building material to construct a humble edifice of understanding and instruction. He especially excels at placing Marx's ideas in their original historical context, summarizing the evolution of society over the years and pointing to the sources from which Marx drew most heavily: German philosophy, English political economy, and French socialism. You may just be skimming the deep waters of Marxism, but before you know it you've actually learned something about what Marx thought and why he thought it. To further help you along, Rius provides a pretty impressive little glossary of terms at the end and offers a few suggestions on the subject of further reading for those who would like to pursue the subject further. Whether you hate him or love him, Marx is important, and Marx for Beginners is the most accessible gateway to his philosophy and economic theories that I know of.

5-0 out of 5 stars Iskra (The Spark)
Certainly the book is dated, but it gives a great overview of the history of European philosophy (critical if you want to understand where Marx was coming from), a sketch of Marx's life, and a very-abbreviated overview of his philosophy. Like all of the cartoon introduction books, "Marx for Beginners" is meant to give you enough information to spark your interest, but not enough to be a substitute for the subject's work. To be honest, Marxism is like one of those ultra-complicated gadgets you see in "The Way Things Work" books, and like those books, Rius gives the reader and exploded view of Charlie's theory. Will be used in poli-sci classes forever.

3-0 out of 5 stars I Was Disappointed
I had been eyeing this book for a while. It looked like a lot of fun. I had been looking for simpler ways of explaining Marx to people.

In some ways, this book does exactly that. It starts to illustrate some Marxist concepts that work great in diagram format. Yet there aren't many concepts here.

Most of the book concentrates on Marx's life and philosophers leading up to him. Then a scant few pages mention Marx's view, many of which are just cut-and-pasted from the Manifesto or Das Kapitel without much explanation. And then there's a funny-headed picture of Lenin and "The End."

I was hoping for something better, more entertaining. And certain concepts were missed or not presented well, such as the relationship between the Structure and Super-structure. It doesn't lay out Marx's pre-requisites for socialism (of which, Russia had not met before the revolution and therefore was doomed to failure).

It is also a product of its time, 1976. It's not too useful to have a pro-Lenin interpretation of Marx after the Cold War. And that's where maybe my personal views of Marxism interfered with my enjoyment of the book. It too closely ties Leninism-Stalinism to Marxism. It, in fact, suggests that Leninism was the conclusion of Marxism.

Anyway, the book is not that entertaining. It confuses more than it clarifies. And it barely even approaches its subject.

3-0 out of 5 stars Start here for Marx understanding
A great book for beginners, but still confusing. All info on Marx and thinkers before and after him are summarized. Only the bare facts are given which is quite enough. The author gives a wonderful overview of thought from the beginning of understanding to Lenin. Everything is drawn in cartoons to help the reader grasp different concepts. I found it difficult to stop reading because there were no formal chapters or even paragraphs, and remembering where you left off was difficult.

Rius gives communism and capitalism overviews from the socialist view point, which is extreamly interesting, but a bit frustrating. In 1976 when this book was written the USSR was still in power and thriving (?) it would be interesting to read a revised edition today. Marx claims over and over that capitalism will fail and communism is the future.

The definations located in the back are wonderful and helpful. I used this book as the sole reference when writing a college paper on the theorys of Marx. My professor loved my deliverable and I got an A.

5-0 out of 5 stars Marx: a dirty word, but fun to say!
Eduardo Del Rio's "Marx for Beginners" is an indispensable guide to the writings of Karl Marx. It's informative, easy to read and a lot of fun. Don't let the title or the cartoons inside fool you, this is a serious book that succeeds in introducing the reader to the works of Karl Marx. If your familiar with "Charles," as Rius (the author's pen name) affectionately calls him, then this book will serve as a reference and refresher; if you know nothing of Marx and want to learn more, then "Marx for Beginners" is the place to start. The book gives you a concise biography of Marx, a run down of his influences, his philosophy and doctrines. There's also some nice background on Marx's time period and a brief intro to ancient philosophy, as it applies to Marx. Included is a little dictionary of Marxist terms that serves as a great reference. Marxism isn't an easy subject to tackle and it's certainly not something you can digest in a few days, but this book puts Marx's work into a clear framework and has helped me understand it more clearly. I enjoyed this book immensely and I'm still reading it. If you're in a state of moratorium with your political, social, economic, and/or spiritual beliefs, please read this book...it's bound to have some kind of influence on you! Believe me, this book has moved me to learn more about Marx and his work. ... Read more


18. Renewal of Life: Healing from the Holocaust
by Henri Parens
list price: $25.95
our price: $25.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 188756389X
Catlog: Book (2004-09)
Publisher: Schreiber Publishing, Inc.
Sales Rank: 394445
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19. The Wheel of Life : A Memoir of Living and Dying
by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
list price: $13.00
our price: $9.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0684846314
Catlog: Book (1998-06-19)
Publisher: Scribner
Sales Rank: 21625
Average Customer Review: 4.62 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

On Life and Living

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, M.D., is the woman who has transformed the way the world thinks about death and dying. Beginning with the groundbreaking publication of the classic psychological study On Death and Dying and continuing through her many books and her years working with terminally ill children, AIDS patients, and the elderly, Kübler-Ross has brought comfort and understanding to millions coping with their own deaths or the deaths of loved ones. Now, at age seventy-one facing her own death, this world-renowned healer tells the story of her extraordinary life. Having taught the world how to die well, she now offers a lesson on how to live well. Her story is an adventure of the heart -- powerful, controversial, inspirational -- a fitting legacy of a powerful life. ... Read more

Reviews (21)

5-0 out of 5 stars Conquer your fears and live for today
Kubler-Ross is a role model to be looked upon for faith, courage and love, and the greatest of her gifts is love. In the footsteps of her mentor Dr. Albert Schweitzer she vowed to live and give her life for those less fortunate then herself. In her memoirs she give us an account of her life from her years has living her childhood as a triplet and not having an identity to her years as a young woman finding her identity and her golden years lived out with the same force, determination and courage as in her youth. She never deterred from her goals and focused herself beyond what life and circumstances were sent her way. She could have stopped in mid-stream, saying that she had done enough for humanity but at the age of 63, after many disasters, went to Virginia to set up a home for children dying of AIDS. She met with much disapproval but managed to get beyond the dissent of the people and found foster homes for these children. Since 1972, I have been interested in the issues of death and dying and Elisabeth Kubler-Ross has confirmed many of my ideas and beliefs. Thank you Elisabeth for taking a stand and making this world a better place.

5-0 out of 5 stars I think of Dr. Ross over strong black coffee
I have just finished reading her book, Wheel Of Life, and recommend it highly. It is her autobiography in which she pulls no punches as per her beliefs and recounts her life of service to the dying. It is written with simplicity, passion, humanitarian concern and Love.

A significant portion of "Wheel of Life" does deal with near death experiences, out of body experiences, after death communications and messages from Jesus. But the truly remarkable aspect of the book are not these fantastic, sensational paranormal accounts, rather what shines brightest is the measure of unconditional Love she has shown to the suffering throughout her life. Her long record of helping terminally ill patients cope and grow in death through unconditional Love and significant self sacriifice gives those paranormal claims a degree of crediblity that otherwise might not exist.

Every morning as I sit savoring my strong, black coffee, I think of Dr. Ross' lesson of Love.

5-0 out of 5 stars Look up , little mouse, the eagle is flying
Come out of your dark holes, little mouse.
Fear not, little mouse, don`t you always fear that much .
Look up, for the sky is high.
Look up ,for the eagle is flying.
Look up, little mouse, and learn the secret
of souls both humble and great.
Learn awe.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Full Life And A Great Read
This is a wonderful book. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross has done the world a tremendous service by helping to humanize death and the process of dying, and in this autobiography she tells of all the surprises and inevitabilities that marked her own growth, and the growth of her work. Somewhere along the line, however, a few years back, Kubler-Ross adopted the role of an amateur prophet, and some of her later works deliver a confusing, inconsistent, and often strident set of contradictory neo-Jungian messages about matters spiritual. Those who think she lost her marbles will find plenty of evidence here as elsewhere to support their views. But this book is actually a whole lot more accessible, and far less preachy, than some of her other books have been. I think one would be unwise to ignore the complications entailed by Kubler-Ross's many spiritual injunctions, but one would be uncharitable to also dismiss the tremendous good that has come out of her life's work. I don't find in this book the accepting, non-ideological compassion of Stephen Levine, nor the unassuming experimental spirit of Raymond Moody, but Kubler-Ross remains incomparable as the initiating spokesperson for a humane death. Her tale is extraordinary, and this book is an exceptional, welcome, and one-of-a-kind read.

4-0 out of 5 stars what falls through the sieve will be very useful.
I believe that anything Dr. Kubler-Ross has written is worthy of our attention, and this autobiographical book is no exception. I just finished it today... found it very thought-provoking overall. However, this particular one needs to be read more CRITICALLY than her others, and I don't mean "skeptically" in a negative sense so much as simply "requiring careful judgment"... especially the last third of the book. In this latter section, the author really gets specific about her experiences with "channeling the other side" and outlines her concept of her own "cosmic consciousness." I tried to be as enlightened and open as possible, and yet found that I could just not buy into everything she had experienced and was teaching others to experience. I am referring mainly to her ongoing relationships with disembodied spirits, her ability to conjure them up at will, and (maybe most remarkably) their apparent ability to physically manifest themselves (as in, writing things down on a piece of paper in response to her questions). She refers to these spirit-friends as her "spooks" and by her own admission at one point she even attributes the collapse of her otherwise successful marriage to her profound belief in these entities. Many people felt she had lost her marbles. She admits that a few of the experiences were proved to be the hoax of her Californian spiritual instructor, whom she calls "B". Also, throughout the last half of the book is an underlying allusion to her belief in re-incarnation.

For the first half of the book I could think of so many people I would have recommended it to, but then it suddenly arrived at a place where I think a reader has to be very selective, or adept at SIFTING through to their own concept of truth. Very critical. Be aware of that if you intend to give this book as a gift to someone.

I agree thoroughly with the core principles of what can rightfully be called Kubler-Ross's thanatology. I agree with her that death does not exist in the traditional sense, and that life in a physical body represents a very short span of one's total existence. That at the moment of death human beings maintain an awareness and can still make observations, have thoughts, be free of pain, and that all of this has nothing to do with psychopathology. That those who pass from life into death are simply passing into "a different wavelength than the rest of us." I agree that our body "imprisons our soul the way a cocoon encloses the future butterfly, and when the time is right we can let go of it." She says that the butterfly is then free to return "home to God... which is a place where we are never alone, where we continue to grow and to sing and to dance, where we are with those we loved, and where we are surrounded with more love than we can ever imagine." I wish that this last sentiment was more emphasized in the book, rather than appearing in the next to last page. Because it seems inconsistent to me that if the spirits return home to God (which I firmly believe), then what are we to make of the ones that were roaming around in the elevators, appearing in the author's bed, and in the flower-garden etc.? Maybe we should just leave those sort of spirits alone instead of trying to make them our pals? Hey, our lives ARE definitely going someplace! Life is indeed a sort of "wheel". But God, and God alone, is at the wheel. ... Read more


20. Out of Place : A Memoir
by EDWARD W. SAID
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679730672
Catlog: Book (2000-09-12)
Publisher: Vintage
Sales Rank: 50638
Average Customer Review: 4.17 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

From one of the most important intellectuals of our time comes an extraordinary story of exile and a celebration of an irrecoverable past. A fatal medical diagnosis in 1991 convinced Edward Said that he should leave a record of where he was born and spent his childhood, and so with this memoir he rediscovers the lost Arab world of his early years in Palestine, Lebanon, and Egypt.

Said writes with great passion and wit about his family and his friends from his birthplace in Jerusalem, schools in Cairo, and summers in the mountains above Beirut, to boarding school and college in the United States, revealing an unimaginable world of rich, colorful characters and exotic eastern landscapes. Underscoring all is the confusion of identity the young Said experienced as he came to terms with the dissonance of being an American citizen, a Christian and a Palestinian, and, ultimately, an outsider. Richly detailed, moving, often profound, Out of Place depicts a young man's coming of age and the genesis of a great modern thinker.
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Reviews (30)

2-0 out of 5 stars Out of Sight, Out of Mind
It was unlucky for Edward Said's long-awaited memoir to coincide with the expose by Justus Reid Wiener, writing in Commentary (9/99), on Said's past representations of his early life. The resultant controversy, unavoidably, has been as much about what his book is about, as well as what it is not about.

There is nothing wrong with Said's ability to conjure up a sense of distant youth or to evocatively discourse on his quickly-acquired sense of alienation. He discusses being 'invented', a post-modernism that grates with repeated use, but which is deployed fruifully here to conjure up a sense of powerlessness and bewilderment that can accompany childhood. His emphatic and repetitive emphasis on personal victimhood will not be to everyone's taste, but it has at least the ring of authenticity.

Out of Place has been widely (though scarcely universally) praised by a host of literary and journalistic notables. Indeed, there are some highly evocative pasages, of a Proustian kind, intent on recapturing the tang and smell of distant times and places. As to the account's factual reliability, one cannot take issue with it, if only because it tallies in all important respects with the detail unearthed by Wiener.

Why, then a controversy? Wiener, alleges that, prior to Out of Place, Said deliberately misrepresented his past in order that his public biography fit the idealised form of a Palestinian forcibly dispossessed of his patrimony in December 1947. In fact, says Wiener, Said was actually raised in Cairo and had departed a temporary stay in Jerusalem long before Palestinians evacuated Jerusalem in April-May 1948. Now Said admits as much; importantly, however, not in so many words. Nor do Said's defenders, who seem to recognise no contradiction in insisting that Said has been smeared by an account of his life that in fact tallies with the one Said himself has now put before the public.

Said makes no effort in Out of Place to clear up the swath of discrepancies between the new, authorised version and the competing ones he offered over the years. As these discrepancies are more than merely incidental, it is inevitable that Said has been, and will continue to be, scrutinised on the grounds of intellectual honesty. Thus the resultant fervour of his defenders, who insist on viewing the Wiener exercise as an intellectual mugging by a partisan Zionist.

Salman Rushdie has been particularly virulent on this score. His attack on Wiener, of an indirect McCarthyist kind aimed at slurring the institution that employs him, is unworthy of someone who might be expected to exhibit special sensitivity to innuendo aimed at character assassination.

It is true that raised in Palestine or not, Said's Palestinian credentials are clear, even if earlier misrepresentations as to his early life point to an unsavoury agenda of assumed victimology. In other words, it would mean that it was not enough to be born in Jerusalem to a largely Palestinian family and to have departed after a long visit there as the place descended into chaos; it was necessary to have lived there throughout early life and to have been driven out by those evil Zionists.

Rushdie and others have batted vigorously for Said, believing him to be a exponent of enlightenment and rationalism where the Arab-Israeli conflict is concerned. If only it were true.

Said formerly gentrified the PLO. He opposes it now that it has embraced negotiations with Israel. Nor is this just a matter of specifics. Said condemns any solution that leaves Israel intact, just as he opposes Israeli-Palestinian dialogue as collaboration with an enemy he has seen fit to liken, with boundless moral relativism, to Nazi Germany. He has intellectually winked at so-called 'collaborator killings'.

It is possible, at the end of his memoir, to empathise with the experience of Palestinian refugees. It is harder to excuse Said's 'invention', if I might for once use the word, both personal and political.

5-0 out of 5 stars truely a proustian portrait!
Many here have acknowleged this: its a wonderful book. one of the thing that i really admire Said is his memory. He's got an incredible memory!. he remembers each and every students, friends, family meembers, from grade 1 till his graduate mates. he's also very honest and in one in his personal expose,he mentions the time when his pyjamas would be examined constantly for seamen stain (and if not found any then, his parents would scold him for "torturing oneself").second, his taste in music and language is also very interesting and amazing (He's known for his musical criticism as well for those of you who dont know yet). third, he's very eloquent and and meticulous. he doesnt give lazyness a chance (not even (in said's words) "professionalism"). Its an incredible read esp. regarding his sympathy towards his people and the existing palestinian predicament. he doesnt vilifiy jews, americans or french but is priviliged by the kind of scholarship that he was givin changce to be part of.what he laments is the semi-hegemonic advances he had to go through while he was in western schools and he doesnt mention much about his experiences in universities but his longing for his homeland was inevitable.As far as he could remember, even before he moved to U.S, jews and arabs were living peacefully and he cherish those moments. The scenery and the picturesque landscapes of beirut, jerusalem, cairo and others that he discribes in his book is incredibly romantic. Lastly, make use of your idle 'day off' and read this brilliant critic, intellectual writer and one of the geatest public intellectual narrates his life story in a precise and exquisite words woven into this 300+ pages book. And by the way, he's known the world over to be by far, the greatest Palestinian Scholar and polarized orientalism in his previous canonical text "orientalim". this one, by far is one of the greatest memoir i've ever come across.

5-0 out of 5 stars What they won't tell you on FOX News
Ignore Mendel's vicious smear on Said's honesty below - he is repeating a right-wing smear which is as crude as the falsified Kerry-Fonda photo.

If you really want to understand what is going on in the Middle East, it is your duty to seek out the most moderate, intelligent voices from the other side, listen to them and try to understand them. Few are as intelligent, cogent, and passionate as Said.

Or, like Mendel, you can live happily in the ignorance of your cable-news-fed view that "All Ay-rabs are evil".

5-0 out of 5 stars a must-read autobiography of a great intellectual
It is extraordinary, and dismaying, that years -- years! -- after Said's personal account of his life was conclusively confirmed, we still see racist attacks on him in forums like this. Commentary's (and others') libels have been decisively debunked, yet they are still dragged up as fact. This alone should tell any reasonable observer that Said offered an insight that some found so troubling, and so sound, that they had to attack the man rather than the idea.

Don't be deceived by anti-Said, hate-filled diatribes. Said was in a rare position, one particularly unfamiliar to anyone who has grown up in Europe or the U.S. Here is a great intellectual thoroughly bound to one of the great tragedies of the 20th century. It is an exceptional tension. And Said had a uncommon ability to draw great insights from tenuously related subjects about his own experience and the common experience of people generally.

Said's writings also form a whole -- the mark of truly expansive thinker. That is, the more work of his you read -- from the most academic to the most personal -- the more his distinctive insight emerges.

4-0 out of 5 stars A human Voice in Defiance of Dehumanizing Gaze of Colonizers
It is unfortunate that Amazon.com has chosen to "Spotlight" the Mandel's review of Dr. Said's book. Mandel's drivel may be well written (one of the apparent requirements for being included in that esteemed space), but it is drivel nonethelesss. For those of who you are NOT interested in spin and for those of you interested in learning about the human being behind one of the most articulate (and courageous) supporter of the Palestine Movement, then this is the book for you.

Said's books "Culture and Imperialism" as well as "Orientalism" articulated how the West's gaze has defined the East, and his arguments have shaped Subaltern studies as well Postcolonial studies around the world. In this book, Said puts a human face to the effects of colonization, of expropriaton, and of exile. The book is reminiscent and deeply reflective--and in the crepuscular hues of his life, Said allows the reader to feel and experience how deeply tragic it is that Palestine no longer exists, because the deeply personal stories that Said presents are sadly memories of a past that have truly been relagated to the Rushdian space of an "Imaginary Homeland." Moreover, the constant harrasment, vandalism, abuse, and death threats that Dr. Said has suffered in the United States for presenting his views, heightens the elegiac quality of the narrative. If you have never seen Dr. Said lecture, please make an effort to do so (there are some terrific online streams)--especially after reading this book and his literary criticism. Not only has Dr. Said given the voicelesss a voice, he has also made us feel human. ... Read more


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