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61. No Lights, No Sirens : The Corruption
$11.16 $8.90 list($13.95)
62. Let Me Hear Your Voice : A Family's
$10.46 $6.46 list($13.95)
63. Expecting Adam: A True Story of
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64. Wild Swans : Three Daughters of
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65. A Brother's Journey : Surviving
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66. The Surrender : An Erotic Memoir
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67. West With the Night
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68. A Man Named Dave: A Story of Triumph
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69. Beautiful Jim Key : The Lost History
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70. Founding Mothers : The Women Who
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71. Front Row : Anna Wintour: The
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72. Madam Secretary: A Memoir
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73. Mary Kay: You Can Have It All
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74. Ballad of the Whiskey Robber:
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75. Welfare Brat : A Memoir
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76. When I Was Puerto Rican
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77. Inside the Kingdom : My Life in
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78. Like a Lampshade in a Whorehouse
79. Elizabeth Taylor: My Love Affair
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80. Who She Was : My Search for My

61. No Lights, No Sirens : The Corruption and Redemption of an Inner City Cop
by Robert Cea
list price: $23.95
our price: $16.29
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060587121
Catlog: Book (2005-05-10)
Publisher: William Morrow
Sales Rank: 812
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

No lights, No sirens is the harrowing true story of an officer who, on his way to becoming one of the most highly decorated cops in NYPD history, lost his soul

Robert Cea began his career as an idealistic young man, a gifted lawman who would right wrongs and make the world a better place by putting away the bad guys. But whatever he'd learned at the academy did not prepare him for the streets, the thugs, or the depravity he'd encounter. "I'd sworn that it would never get to me," he writes, "that I'd never turn into the monsters I was chasing. I was wrong." And become a monster he did during his relentless journey into the criminal netherworld.

Brutally authentic, as gritty and graphic as the life itself, Cea's story takes readers into the cruisers and onto the streets to show how the law was -- and continues to be -- routinely bent to stay one step ahead of criminals. Cea painstakingly reveals his slow downward spiral into the depths of hell that would shatter his conscience, his marriage, and his mind. It would all lead to a final attempt at redemption that would nearly cost him his life.

Illuminating a hidden side of law enforcement that cannot be imagined, No Lights, No Sirens is as gripping as it is terrifying, a morality tale with repercussions for us all.

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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars WOW - what an amazing ride!
I just finished reading this book, and I was hoping there were more titles by Robert Cea.Unfortunately there is only this one.Attn: Mr. Cea, can you hurry up and write another one?Thanks!

The author's writing style makes you feel like you are right there, with him in the car, in the run down bars and in the back alleys of New York City.

I would wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone who can handle the language and violence.Beyond that what emerges is a book of complete and open honesty.You can see where every step seems to be a logical next step in policing.Let a heroin junkie go to get info on a perp with a gun.Thats a good move.A gun gets people killed, a junkie just kills himself.But a small step like that leads to him being completely intertwined with the mean streets and he ends up paying for it.

No more details than that.Its just too good :)

Buy it!You will not be able to put it down.

On a slightly different note, it shows how cops are the real backbone of our system, and they get dumped on from everyone.Defense attorneys, the media, even citizens groups - all for their own political gain.That really sucks, because a lot of good people probably get crushed by the system, who were just there doing a good job.I hate to think about that, but I am sure its true.

Enjoy !! ... Read more

62. Let Me Hear Your Voice : A Family's Triumph over Autism
list price: $13.95
our price: $11.16
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Asin: 0449906647
Catlog: Book (1994-07-19)
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Sales Rank: 4729
Average Customer Review: 4.38 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

She was a beautiful doelike child, with an intense, graceful fragility. In her first year, she picked up words, smiled and laughed, and learned to walk. But then Anne-Marie began to turn inward. And when her little girl lost some of the words she had acquired, cried inconsolably, and showed no interest in anyone around her, Catherine Maurice took her to doctors who gave her a devastating diagnosis: autism.
In their desperate struggle to save their daughter, the Maurices plunged into a medical nightmare of false hopes, "miracle cures," and infuriating suggestions that Anne-Marie's autism was somehow their fault. Finally, Anne-Marie was saved by an intensive behavioral therapy.
Let Me Hear Your Voice is a mother's illuminating account of how one family triumphed over autism. It is an absolutely unforgettable book, as beautifully written as it is informative.
"A vivid and uplifting story . . . Offers new strength to parents who refuse to give up on their autistic children." -- Kirkus Reviews
"Outstanding . . . Heartfelt . . . A lifeline to families in similar circumstances." -- Library Journal
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Reviews (61)

2-0 out of 5 stars Autism is not a "fate worse than death"
This is a well-written and interesting book. Catherine Maurice's devastating criticisms of the fraudulent therapies which attempt to make mothers feel guilty for their children's autism would alone make the book worth reading.

However, I have three very major concerns about the book.

The first is that Maurice presents Lovaas's version of ABA as the only possible option, ignoring the fact that there are other educational methods (such as TEACCH, Greenspan, or the various other techniques within the behavioural field such as the Koegels' modifications of ABA), which also have solid scientific evidence backing them.

Secondly, she also ignores the experts who have raised doubts about Lovaas's claim to have effected complete "recoveries" from autism, and who have pointed out that greatly improving a child's level of functioning, while vitally important, is not the same as a "cure". I've seen too many parents who read Maurice's book and immediately start to plan on the basis that after a few years of Lovaas treatment, their child will be completely normal. The overwhelming balance of evidence is that as a rule autistic children grow up to be autistic adults. We (I have high-functioning autism) may grow up to be independent, happy and successful adults, such as Dr. Temple Grandin, but we remain "different", and often experience great stress from the constant pressure placed on us by families and society to be more "normal".

Thirdly, I was worried by the way in which she constantly treats autism as a tragedy and a fate worse than death, and speaks of dragging her children kicking and screaming out of autism, forcing them to be "normal". Autism certainly doesn't make life easy (and I work with kids with severe autism combined with severe mental retardation, so I know just how difficult it can be), but nonetheless it's also part of who I am, not a "shell" in which there is a normal person hidden away. How would you feel if you found out that your parents viewed who you are as a tragedy to be cured at all costs?

ABA can be a very useful way of teaching, but I'm worried about people who use it not to teach children but to try to "force" them to be normal. There's a big difference between trying to help someone learn and function better and trying to "fix" them by turning them into someone else completely.

I'd recommend that people who read this should not make it their only book on autism - they should also read a more general account of autism giving information on the condition itself and on various methods of educating autistic children, and also a first-person account such as those written by Dr. Grandin.

4-0 out of 5 stars Emotional and Intellectual Introduction to Life with Autism
I found this book heart-rending, inspiring and informative. Maurice describes vividly the pain, terror, hope and confusion that a diagnosis of autism precipitates. She also presents in a clear-eyed way the difficulties of dealing with doctors, the seduction of fake miracle cures, and the continuing difficulties of parenting an autistic child when everyone's suddenly an expert on your kid and how to raise him or her. Maurice is a devout Catholic and described beautifully how religion affected her journey: I found these sections gutsy and inspiring. She does an excellent job providing an introduction to the best-documented treatment for autism, applied behavioral analysis. She also provides resources at the back for setting up programs, getting them paid for etc. Maurice does not make herself out to be perfect in this book: at times she is hot-headed, impatient and a bit of a know-it-all who has to bite back sharp comments. However, this is real life and I am glad she showed her strengths and weaknesses. If the book has any negative, it is that in one chapter Maurice spends a chunk preaching about how people today are not disciplining their kids. Since her oldest kid is only 7 when this book ends, it seems a bit premature to give others advice on the best way to raise children who will lead productive, responsible lives. However, she may be right. In any case, I recommend this book wholeheartedly.

3-0 out of 5 stars Offers hope
I found this book gave me much hope for what would otherwise have been a very devastating diagnosis for my 3 yr old son. I only wish the drills were described in more detail and that there was less religion and preaching. A good first read, but very sentimental and at times condescending.

2-0 out of 5 stars Positive plot, negative attitude
I have never lived with an autistic child. I can not speak for those parents who have to somehow cope with their child's disability. I am sure that this book provides some much-needed hope and inspiration to these parents, some of whom have also reviewed this book. However, it bears mentioning that although the plot is positive, the attitudes towards children with autism are not. I believe it is important to note that acceptance of a child no matter how they are is just important as trying to "fix" or "cure" them. This is a point regretfully absent from this book. Although many of the points made in this book are good ones, they are overshadowed by this absence. I thank the author for writing this book that seems to give hope to those who need hope most, but I warn against drawing all of your thoughts and opinions from the words of one other person.

5-0 out of 5 stars I felt like I wasn't alone
I am a mother of an autistic daughter who was diagnosed a few months ago. This book really inspired me not to give up hope! While reading this book, I would be in tears as to how realistic it truely is. How you preceive your own child. How you go through all the stages of defeat, over and over again! and to reading about the most uplifting little spirits who overcome HUGE obsticals over and over again! This book both breaks your heart and heals it. Great book to give as a gift to those who are an important part in a little persons autistic life who just "don't get it" or want to know hands on what you are going through as a parent. I would recommend to anyone who has autism in their life. Be prepared with a tissue box. ... Read more

63. Expecting Adam: A True Story of Birth, Rebirth, and Everyday Magic
by Martha Beck
list price: $13.95
our price: $10.46
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Asin: 0425174484
Catlog: Book (2000-08-01)
Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group
Sales Rank: 4880
Average Customer Review: 4.41 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The "slyly ironic, frequently hilarious"(Time) memoir about angels, academics, and a boy named Adam...

A national bestseller and an important reminder that life is what happens when you're making other plans.

Put aside your expectations. This "rueful, riveting, piercingly funny" (Julia Cameron) book is written by a Harvard graduate--but it tells a story in which hearts trump brains every time. It's a tale about mothering a Down syndrome child that opts for sass over sap, and it's a book of heavenly visions and inexplicable phenomena that's as down-to-earth as anyone could ask for. This small masterpiece is Martha Beck's own story--of leaving behind the life of a stressed-out superachiever, opening herself to things she'd never dared consider, meeting her son for (maybe) the first time...and "unlearn[ing] virtually everything Harvard taught [her] about what is precious and what is garbage."

"Beck [is] very funny, particularly about the most serious possible subjects--childbirth, angels and surviving at Harvard." --New York Times Book Review

"Immensely appealing...hooked me on the first page and propelled me right through visions and out-of-body experiences I would normally scoff at." --Detroit Free Press

"I challenge any reader not to be moved by it." --Newsday

"Brilliant." --Minneapolis Star-Tribune
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Reviews (154)

5-0 out of 5 stars If you've ever loved an exceptional child, read this book.
Maya Angelou once said that "there is no greater agony than holding an untold story inside of you." This piece of work represents Martha Beck's luminous journey towards choosing to mother Adam, her son who was prenatally diagnosed with Down's Syndrome.

Like many mothers of exceptional children I've known, Martha has touched on the one theme most of us feel reluctant to talk about--that our lives are peppered with unexplainable, prescient experiences that served to pave our way towards accepting a child that a highly educated world often believes is less than worthy of a chance at life.

Because Ms. Beck's Harvard Education and academic's resume brings the reader into a metaphycial journey towards coming to accept Adam through a skeptics eyes, her story seems more credible than that of the average person who sits down to write a book that says "oh, but my child is so much more than what he seems."

Martha's tale is as convincing as it is spellbinding. Her range as a writer is vast--she is both a comedian and an accomplished dramatist.

Expecting Adam hits its intended mark. It reminds us that every child comes into this world for reasons that often lay beyond the realm of human reckoning. It offers proof that all lives have purpose, meaning and dignity. On top of all this, Expecting Adam offers the reader the benefit of an excellent writer.

As the mother of two boys with autism, one who "came back" and one who "didn't", I commend this writer for sharing her story.

Ms. Beck's experiences felt universal to me, and true in a way I can't begin to put into words.

When I look into my children's eyes, I understand without reservation that nothing is left to chance. Like Ms. Beck, I feel both humbled and awed by the opportunity to mother children like mine.

It is impossible to read "Expecting Adam", and fail to see that every life has meaning and dignity.

For all things, there is a season...

5-0 out of 5 stars Read the whole thing in one sitting
Martha Beck dubs her tale "A True Story of Birth, Rebirth, and Everyday Magic" and sets the imagination churning with her wit and wisdom. An account of a Harvard sociology graduate student from Utah who decides not to abort her Down Syndrome baby sounds more like the recipe for a tragedy than a satire, but Beck is full of surprises. For me Beck's book was a witty critique our success-oriented society, on academia, on pretense and on parents. Beck dreads the mindset that leads our society toward perfect babies, perfect students, and perfect breadwinners, and away from perfect content.

This story carries you high and low over the hurdles and under the weather with Martha all through her pregnancy. You feel the harsh sting of the truth, the terror of the unknown, and the crumbling of life-long plans. Over and above all else this book is a secret look at one of the ways in which life manages to outwit our calculations. The strong survive because they bend, because they stretch to fit the life that chance throws in their path. Perhaps those of us who plan our life events as though they were dinner parties are really weak, weak because we do not know how to rejoice in the unexpected.

5-0 out of 5 stars So many skeptics
It's a shame that people are unwilling to accept possibilities simply because it's beyond the scope of their experience. In reading the reviews here, I understand why people have trouble believing. But, they shouldn't completely discount someone else's experience just because it's different from their own. While I've had nothing in my life nearly as miraculous as Martha Beck's experiences, I've had enough strange occurrences to know that what she writes is absolutely possible. And, there are many people who have had extraordinary experiences. I wish the same for the rest of you who are too closed-minded to open up to the possible. Your life will be forever changed for the better.

4-0 out of 5 stars She swears it's all true, but......
I'm puzzled by this book still, several days after putting it down. Can it be true? Is it possible for someone to have the incredible good luck that Martha and John had during Martha's pregnancy? Or is the story the product of a mind half-crazy from dehydration, overwork, stress, and the knowledge that her baby will be born with Down syndrome? It's a credit to Beck's book that we're not quite sure!

Martha Beck is a very smart woman married to a very smart guy. They have swallowed the Harvard message that work comes first hook, line and sinker. Nevertheless, Martha and John manage to get into serious trouble through a sort-of-unplanned second pregnancy. Martha has an unspecified auto-immune disease which results in 9 long months of debilitating nausea. Her husband takes on an assignment which requires him to spend 2 weeks of every month in Asia while still trying to finish a thesis. She herself has a punishing schedule, also working on her PhD. They already have an 18 month old daughter to whom not a whole lot of attention is paid.

This would be enough to unhinge anyone, but then odd things begin to happen. Martha and John become convinced that they "know" their unborn son; Martha senses there's "something wrong," and when they discover the baby has Down syndrome, they make the improbable--at least for Harvard--decision to continue the pregnancy. At the same time some very good things happen--a generous friend takes Martha under her wing and probably prevents her from spending most of her pregnancy in the hospital, Martha miraculously gets her child into the toughest child care center around, and she somehow finds a way to communicate with John even when he's half a world away.

But some things happen that are hard to believe. Could she have been saved from the burning building by someone unknown? I'm not sure, and I had to wonder why an intelligent, pregnant woman would deliberately start down 10 flights of smoke-filled stairs with an 18 month old child in her arms. Could a life-threatening hemmorage mysteriously stop after Martha passes out form loss of blood? Not sure, and again I had to wonder why with her last ounce of strength Martha didn't call one of the faithful friends she had to bail her out. Can unexpected, wonderful things happen in life? Yes. Do people get saved from life-threatening situations they get into partly through their own fault, again and again? Not so sure.

If, however, you can suspend disbelief for awhile the book is very good in parts. I loved Martha's description of her son, and I wondered for the first time about the automatic assumption that every woman over a certain age will have amnio and abort if something is wrong. Surely Adam must have had problems, which Beck doesn't share with us, but the good times are truly lovely. I also thought her description of life at Harvard quite brutal but mostly accurate. I'm not sure that giving birth wouldn't have been a good excuse for late homework even back then, but Beck accurately portrays the way Harvard professors can completely terrify highly intelligent adults--I know from experience. And Beck makes a very convincing case that there's an alternate reality out there, even if you cen't believe everything she tells us.

2-0 out of 5 stars Expecting Adam, Not Expecting Fiction
It's a little hard to access the veracity of someone's magical experiences, but the veracity of the rest of the book seemed to lose me with each passing chapter. Beck's descriptions of Harvard reminded me of the movie Good Will Hunting - where the academic moral was that the folks who are janitors are in fact the truly smart people and the professors are inadequate boobs. But lucky for Martha, she has it both ways. (she's the OUTSIDER - making her smart - but with the 3 degree credential for her 165 IQ.) And did anyone out there buy the story about the Smurfs??? (This was my first tip off that she was inserting transparently ludicrous scenes that could be easily adapted to a Hollywood screenplay.) And the books she claims were at the Harvard Coop - such as "Pre-Law for Preschoolers" and "Toddling Through the Calculus" are certainly not in print here at Amazon. It certainly made me doubt a lot more incredible material when she was willing to fabricate such seemingly trivial details. Does anyone believe there is a daycare center that signs up parents 5 years before the birth of their child? And if Dr. Goatstroke was anything but a character out of cental casting, I'd be amazed. (apparently Goatstroke is the name of a town in Utah.) The litany of improbable events - near death experiences, strangers at the door with grocieries, car accidents, drownings - combined with the obvious factual fabrications - began to make me think this was supposed to be a satire. Somehow, though, from reading most of the other reviews here, people took this book SERIOUSLY. Perhaps like Martha, there is a profound desire for people to believe what they want to believe. ... Read more

64. Wild Swans : Three Daughters of China
by Jung Chang
list price: $15.00
our price: $10.20
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743246985
Catlog: Book (2003-08-12)
Publisher: Touchstone
Sales Rank: 3506
Average Customer Review: 4.66 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Blending the intimacy of memoir and the panoramic sweep of eyewitness history, Wild Swans has become a bestselling classic in thirty languages, with more than ten million copies sold. The story of three generations in twentieth-century China, it is an engrossing record of Mao's impact on China, an unusual window on the female experience in the modern world, and an inspiring tale of courage and love.

Jung Chang describes the life of her grandmother, a warlord's concubine; her mother's struggles as a young idealistic Communist; and her parents' experience as members of the Communist elite and their ordeal during the Cultural Revolution. Chang was a Red Guard briefly at the age of fourteen, then worked as a peasant, a "barefoot doctor," a steelworker, and an electrician.As the story of each generation unfolds, Chang captures in gripping, moving -- and ultimately uplifting -- detail the cycles of violent drama visited on her own family and millions of others caught in the whirlwind of history. ... Read more

Reviews (234)

4-0 out of 5 stars An entertaining and educational account of Communist China
Wild Swans is a riveting story of the lives of three women in 20th century China. It delineates the lives of a concubine grandmother, a communist spy mother, and a student daughter. This was an extremely comprehensive book containing not only the life stories of three generations of a family, but also the stories of their relatives, relations, and of historical occurrences. It gives an extraordinary first hand account of China's history spanning from imperialist China to the rise of communism, and through the Cultural Revolution.

Jung Chang does a very good job of describing and explaining the history of China and the changes that occurred, including details down to what kinds of foods people ate during certain time periods. She gives descriptive images of shocking oppression and violence, which had been everyday occurrences in China. Although these descriptions initially prevented me from putting the book down, near the end, the violence does become somewhat repetitive and tiresome (yet you can't blame the author because constant violence was part of China's history).

Overall, I think this was a very fascinating book. The author successfully gives a detailed description of the history, recounting tales of the various things different families went through, while also telling the dramatic stories of her relatives. She does a good job of describing what people went through during the changes in Communist China and after reading this book, I have gained a very clear understanding of what happened during the time and why it happened. This was a very entertaining book which I also learned a great deal from.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Complete Yet Engaging Historical Account
I was given Wild Swans to read prior to a summer trip to Beijing. Being a high school student, I was not only daunted by the heft of the book, but by the extensive historical chronology and family tree in the introduction as well. I was also unsure as to whether the story would be a Chinese-generation plot along the lines of Amy Tan or whether it would be more of a strict historical recount of China in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Despite my apprehensions, I decided to go ahead and read it, and I have been thoroughly delighted with the results of my endeavor.
Wild Swans is what I would term a "human-interest history," meaning that the dry historical aspect of the book is tempered by the human emotion surrounding the individual events. Jung Chang uses the female leaders of each generation to provide a thoughtful outlook on the traditions and culture of China. For me, the best way to gain a true feel for the attitudes of a specific time period is to hear a personal account. This is the book's most salient quality. Chang makes the most of the little details that encompass the environment of the characters and uses the thoughts and feelings of her family to convey key concepts pertaining to Chinese morals and behaviors.
The concise language of the book also helps to promote these historical images and gives the book a quick tempo. Each anecdote is told in the same, somewhat removed manner, even Chang's own experiences. While some might find this an impersonal tactic, I felt that it allowed the tragedies of the story to shine by basing them purely on their own facets. Any extraneous writing would have clouded the sheer pain involved in a number of the events, and Chang's distance allows the reader to recreate the scene and absorb the historical depth behind it. Chang's own academic experience provides a particularly striking cultural contrast to typical Western thought processes and teachings.
Of course, there are some minor flaws in the book. Chang tends to gloss over her father's upbringing and adolescence and lingers on her grandmother's trials during her youth and during the Communist takeover, resulting in some unbalanced character depictions. Chang's privileged lifestyle prior to and then under the Communists also provides a lopsided view as to the true reign of Mao and the general state of China during the early Communist years. However, bias is to be expected whenever dealing with a personal account, and these deficiencies become lost in the greater framework of the book.
I have learned more from this book about Chinese history than I could have ever hoped to acquire from a guidebook or textbook. I highly recommend this book to anyone planning to travel to China in the near future or for anyone who is looking for an informative, yet entertaining, story of a family in China over the years.

5-0 out of 5 stars a classic
this is a beautiful book. maybe even my favorite of many classics.

it is the story of three women, strong and united with a determination that will get them through the hardships of China from the early nineteen hundrens to the present. optimism and love for each other and their family, as well as tears and sadness, get them through their lives as well as the tyrannical reign of Mao, a powerful dictator of China.

i am partly struck with wanting to share this book with you, and invite you to read it, (though it is certainly not children's fiction, but mature, adult fact) or to keep it like the treasure it is to me and i'm sure many others. if you do read it, covet it. is a bargain for what you get in return.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent historical account
This book does something that most people don't get around to doing when they say this or that about China: Provide historical detail. Specifically of interest:

1. The reason that the Kuomintang was not successful in China was constant corruption. Some people have suggested that Chinese people love tyrants (Jasper Becker, "The Chinese") and this is the explanation of why they rejected what would have been a democratic government for an authoritarian government. This is partially true, but the Kuomintang blew any chance that it had at legitimacy with its rampant corruption.

2. That the Communist Party became popular because they promised to not be like the corrupt and crooked Kuomintang. Her father is an example of one of the wide-eyed idealists that really believed in his cause at the beginning and was left a broken man when he saw what actually became of this grand vision. People at Western universities are always attacking the West and praising the Communist ideology/ governent allocation of resources, and they haven't a faintest idea of the actual RESULTS of the intended programs. Nor do they understand the incentive structures that led to those results.

3. Historical accounts of the great famine. I can't believe that this very afternoon, there are still people trying to talk away this historical event in China and say that it was just a statistical illusion. This is the second author that I've read that gives historical accounts of people eating their children.

4. Demonstrating how the cult of Mao was created and maintained, as well as what were his motives in the various campaigns (Cultural Revolution/ The Great Leap Forward) that swept the country during his reign. Another author (Anhua Gao) has also noted that Mao generated a lot of morass in the country because the weaker the country, the easier it was to control. But her detail is not comparable to the author of this book. She showed the self-denunciation meetings and the stages of his campaigns to keep the country divided and fighting against itself. It may be another 200 years before China shakes off the residual results of his rule (such as overpopulation and then the resulting sex imbalance that has come about because of population control), but here in this is an example of WHAT happened, and HOW it happened.

5. Showing the highly ritualized behavior of Chinese people in things such as foot binding, etc. A lot of people may come to China and wonder where people here get their ideas from and why they are prisoner of them. This author demonstrates that it's been that way for a *long* time. And it may never change.

It's hard to recommend this book enough times for someone who wants *actual results* of what happens in the context of a Communist Revolution, as opposed to the vague ramblings of something like the Communist Manifesto or state-sheltered academics in Western universities.

5-0 out of 5 stars Outsanding
(Aug 2003 release) Being interested in Chinese culture for sometime, I finally found a book that has given me something other than state sponsored history facts. I came across this book by accident. I began reading at the bookstore on Saturday evening and wasn't able to put it down until going to work on Monday morning. This book made me laugh, cry and scared the **** out of me in some places. It has definitely given me a wider perspective on the Chinese people and its culture. I'm looking forward to the release of Jung Chang's next book on Mao due out this year. ... Read more

65. A Brother's Journey : Surviving a Childhood of Abuse
by Richard B. Pelzer
list price: $21.95
our price: $14.93
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0446533688
Catlog: Book (2005-01-05)
Publisher: Warner Books
Sales Rank: 751397
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66. The Surrender : An Erotic Memoir
by Toni Bentley
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060732466
Catlog: Book (2004-10-01)
Publisher: Regan Books
Sales Rank: 940
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Book Description

This New York Times Notable Book is a stunning story of sexual and spiritual awakening.

Few women do it and even fewer will admit to it. But in Toni Bentley's daring and intimate memoir, The Surrender, she pulls the sheets back on an erotic experience that's been forbidden since the Bible and celebrates "the joy that lies on the other side of convention, where risk is real and rapture resides." From Story of O to The Kiss to The Sexual Life of Catherine M, readers have been enthralled with sexually subversive memoirs by women. But even those erotic classics didn't navigate the psychosexual terrain that Bentley does when she meets a lover who introduces her to a radical and unexpected pleasure, to the "holy" act that she came to see as her awakening.

The Surrender is a witty, intelligent, and eloquent exploration of one woman's obsession that will be sure to leave readers questioning their own desires.

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67. West With the Night
by Beryl Markham
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0865471185
Catlog: Book (1983-05-01)
Publisher: North Point Press
Sales Rank: 3318
Average Customer Review: 4.62 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

West with the Night is the story of Beryl Markham--aviator, racehorse trainer, beauty--and her life in the Kenya of the 1920s and '30s.
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Reviews (79)

5-0 out of 5 stars First Aviatrix in Africa
The rule is, I found, that females can't write. I am staying away from what my own gender writes. Beryl Markham is a wonderful exception to my rule. Ernest Hemingway felt dwarfed by the authoress.
Beryl wrote in 1936, and Africa were she grew up was obviously different than now. She describes first hand encounters with lions and elephants, very interesting observations on animal behavior. She also describes the natives, and I wished she would have even gotten more into them. I love her philosophy on life and often I got the feeling she is writing right now, not 70 years ago. A great book for people curious about Africa! Put it into your collection, because you want to read it again!
Addendum April 30, 2004: After writing the above review I have learned from the biography "The Lives of Beryl Markham" by Errol Trzebinski that Beryl did not write "West with the Night", but her third husband Raoul Schumacher, a Hollywood ghostwriter.
Addendum June 15, 2004: I read "The Splendid Outcast" and in the Introduction, Mary S. Lovell, who wrote another biography on Beryl and knew her personally, does not doubt the authorship is genuine Beryl Markham.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Great American Novel - Only Its A True Story From Africa
Life and love, hardship and adventure, romance and history - all beautifully woven into a delightful autobiography of an unlikely heroine. The daughter of a poor white farmer trying to eke out a living in untamed and uncharted Africa, Beryl Markham rose from very humble beginnings to become a successful horse trainer, bush pilot, and the first person to fly east-to-west across the Atlantic from England. Her fantastic life seems to be one adventure after another, coincidentally commingled with the lives of Isak Dinesen (the author and heroine of "Out of Africa") and Denys Finch Hatton (played by Robert Redford in the movie, OOA). On this level alone, that of an adventure-packed historical tale, this book is compelling. But the absolute poetry of the narrative makes it inescapable.

Ms. Markham's inimitable flair for description and metaphor are enchantingly powerful. One could truly open the book to any random page and find a treasure. No previous knowledge of plot or precedence would be vital to the enjoyment. That such extraordinary prose also reveals an incredible life provides a rich dividend. Savor the following corsage randomly plucked from the bouquet:

"Arab Ruta... is of the tribe that observes with equal respect the soft voice and the hardened hand, the fullness of a flower, the quick finality of death. His is the laughter of a free man happy at his work, a strong man with lust for living. He is not black. His skin holds the sheen and warmth of used copper. His eyes are dark and wide-spaced, his nose is full-boned and capable of arrogance.

"He is arrogant now, swinging the propeller, laying his lean hands on the curved wood, feeling an exultant kinship in the coiled resistance to his thrust.

"He swings hard. A splutter, a strangled cough from the engine like the premature stirring of a sleep-slugged labourer. In the cockpit I push gently on the throttle, easing it forward, rousing the motor, feeding it, soothing it."

My first encounter with this charming book was accidental but fortuitous. I found the paperback in an airport bookstore, and stayed engrossed and enchanted by the lyrical meanderings for the entirety of my three-hour flight. A few years later I discovered the audio version which springs to an even greater life in the voice of Julie Harris. Her reading of the horse race that proved to be a watershed moment for Ms. Markham, still has the capacity to choke me to tears, though I have listened to it many times.

A few reviewers here have given less than laudatory reviews. This book is absolutely among the top five I have ever read, and I must pity those unfortunate souls who are tone-deaf to the rhapsodic music playing among its pages. Never mind my glowing endorsement. Never mind that Ernest Hemmingway said that Beryl Markham "has written so well, and marvelously well, that I was completely ashamed of myself as a writer." Just find this book and open it randomly to any page. You will quickly discover that this book is an extraordinary encounter. Don't miss it!

5-0 out of 5 stars Companion piece to Out of Africa. Should be read together
From the age of 4, Beryl Markham lived in East Africa and spent her childhood with native Maruni children as her only playmates. She was there during the same era as Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen), author of Out of Africa, and reading these two books together gives a lyrical, poetic, and heart-full-of-love picture of the Africa they both knew. But it wasn't only Africa they loved; they both shared a passion for the same men: Bror Blixen (Dinesen's husband) and Denys Finch-Hatton (Dinnesen's lover), so, inevitably their paths collided at times.
Although Dinesen is more well-known and respected as a writer compared to Markham, better known as an adventurer, Markham rises to heights of poetic imagery and her writing style was praised highly by many other writers of her era, including no less than Ernest Hemingway.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Life, Well Told
I read this book when it first came out in the early 80s and have never forgotten it. I love Beryl Markham's language; and the story she has to tell is better than any fiction. She was an independent spirit, living an amazing life in an immense and beautiful land.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Special Book
I read this book on the recommendation of my husband, who had read it twice over the years, and various comments and adulations from others. I had not heard that there was controversy over the authorship of this magnificent work - but it would not have made any difference. It is a beautifully written book about a beautiful life. What more can one wish for? Whoever wrote this book had a style very little seen today. She writes with care and attention and humour, so that we can experience not only the mechanics of her exciting life, but also the self realisation she developed. The author makes me want to be alone so that I can share the silence of the soul and the environment that she describes so acutely. I have been enthusiastic with my recommendations of this work to my friends and I am sorry to read the rather sad "one star" reviews on this site. ... Read more

68. A Man Named Dave: A Story of Triumph and Forgiveness
by David J. Pelzer, Dave Pelzer
list price: $11.00
our price: $8.25
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0452281903
Catlog: Book (2000-09-01)
Publisher: Plume Books
Sales Rank: 1812
Average Customer Review: 4.59 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The inspiring conclusion to A Child Called "It" and The Lost Boy

"All those years you tried your best to break me, and I'm still here.One day you'll see, I'm going to make something of myself."--Dave Pelzer, from A Man Named Dave

These words were Dave Pelzer's declaration of independence to his mother, and they represented the ultimate act of self-reliance. Dave's father never intervened as his mother abused him with shocking brutality, denying him food and clothing, torturing him in any way she could imagine. This was the woman who told her son she could kill him any time she wanted to-and nearly did. The more than two million readers of Pelzer's previous international bestsellers, A Child Called "It" and The Lost Boy, know that he lived to tell his courageous story. A Man Named Dave is the gripping conclusion to his inspirational trilogy. With stunning generosity of spirit, Dave Pelzer invites readers on his journey to discover how he turned shame into pride and rejection into acceptance. ... Read more

Reviews (164)

5-0 out of 5 stars The most moving experience on paper
I have read all three books in the series, and I feel I have gained so much from all 3. Dave, as a boy, lived as no child should ever have to live. I am a single mom and have done everything in my power to surround my child with as much love as possible,so it almost was impossible to imagine any mother torturing her own flesh and blood as "The Mother" did with Dave.. After reading this book, not only did I feel extreme sorry for Dave and all other abused children in our world, but I also felt an extreme sense of pride for him and the amazing accomplishments he has made in his life. This is a must read. You will cry with Dave, laugh with him, and get angry at him so many times in this book. But most importantly, you will learn about surviving, willpower, trust, and how we all have to ability to make a difference. Thank you Dave Peltzer for making such a difference. I kiss and hug my child a little longer and a little harder each and every night because of what you've taught me. You're better than Superman!

5-0 out of 5 stars HEART WRENCHING STORY
A Man named Dave tells the story of one man's incredible journey through hell and how when as a child he endured the most appalling abuse by his mother. This is gut-wrenching stuff, not for the squeamish. It reveals the courage and strength Dave possessed as well as his ability to forgive his mother. Its a story of triumph and forgiveness.

I'm so pleased that Dave has the most extraordinary relationship with his son and with the love of his life Marsha. Dave, I sincerely pray that you, Marsha and Stephen live happy ever after - you deserve it. Dave also unselfishly helps other abused children and travels extensively to offer guidance and motivational talks. Dave you are truly an amazing person.

You think you had a bad childhood, read this book and you'll soon find out what bad really means. This book is so inspirational to not only abused children, but to anyone who is interested in the resilience of the human spirit.


4-0 out of 5 stars Inspiring
It's hard to criticize a book dealing with abuse, and I certainly don't have any issues to take up with Mr. Pelzer. This is a fine book, regardless of its topic. If you enjoyed books such as "A Child Called It," "Sybil" or "The Bark of the Dogwood," you're sure to like this one. Pelzer's story is truly amazing and an inspiration to anyone whether they were abused or not.

5-0 out of 5 stars excellent excellent excellent
i opened it up and couldn't put it down until i finished it. it's hard to believe there are people so cruel in this world.

5-0 out of 5 stars Cycle Of Abuse Broken
Sally Tremble, Reviewer
In this book 'A Man Named Dave', we learn that the cycle of violence can be broken. He shares his story of how life turns around for him and how he is able to share his new found growth with that of his wife and child. The past that haunts ' A Child Called It' and 'Lost Boy' are the past memories that will stay with him forever. yet his courage and determination to thrive and survive is shown here in this book. Highly recommended.

Recommended reads are: All of the David Pelzer books,Running With Scissors,Lucky and Nightmares Echo ... Read more

69. Beautiful Jim Key : The Lost History of a Horse and a Man Who Changed the World
by Mim E. Rivas
list price: $25.95
our price: $17.13
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060567031
Catlog: Book (2005-02-01)
Publisher: William Morrow
Sales Rank: 186054
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70. Founding Mothers : The Women Who Raised Our Nation
by Cokie Roberts
list price: $14.95
our price: $10.17
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 006009026X
Catlog: Book (2005-02-15)
Publisher: Perennial
Sales Rank: 974
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In the histories of the American Revolution, much has been written about America's founding fathers, those brave men who signed the Declaration of Independence, battled the British, and framed the Constitution. Yet the wives, mothers, sisters, and daughters who supported, encouraged, and even advised them have been virtually ignored.

In Founding Mothers, New York Times bestselling author Cokie Roberts brings to light the stories of the women who fought the Revolution as valiantly as the men, sometimes even defending their very doorsteps from British occupation. While the men went off to war or to Congress, the women managed their husbands' businesses, ran the farms, and raised their children. These women who sacrificed for the fledgling nation spent months or even years apart from their husbands, at a time when letters were their only form of contact.

Drawing upon personal correspondence and private journals, Founding Mothers brings to life the everyday trials, extraordinary triumphs, and often surprising stories of Abigail Adams, Mercy Otis Warren, Deborah Reed Franklin, Eliza Pinckney, Martha Washington, and other patriotic and passionate women, each of whom played a role in raising our nation.

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Reviews (30)

3-0 out of 5 stars Good and Not So Good
The information about the various women was interesting.However, I had to go through the book a second time to be able to sort the facts about each woman separately in order to get a picture of what she was like. The book was so poorly organized that one reading left me with a mish-mash of impressions. I can't imagine why any editor would allow this rough draft to be printed. And I expected better of Cokie Roberts. I am reasonably sure that no one but a celebrity could get by with such a poor effort.Fortunately, the subject matter was arresting enough to carry me through the forest even though I often could not see the trees!

5-0 out of 5 stars Women Powered by Inner Force
Against enormous social,political and family forces the early American dynamos profiled by Cokie Roberts changed the face of the world by revolutionizing a nation. They powered realignment of social and political forces often through low profile but passionate and decisive impact on decision makers as well asgrassroots movements. As Roberts notes, coercive powers that locked many women into racial and gender servitude were not enough to silence or bind Founding Mothers. They were energized by inner forces just as essential for truly free women today - will, knowledge, vision, judgment, conscience, social radar and faith. As skillfully unearthed by Roberts, these stories of early American wonder women seem bittersweet. Bitter, in that they have been buried so long, robbing generations of American women of a rich legacy. Sweet, in finally allowing us to savor the inspiration of their lives. Whether in birth families or in a national family, digging out historic facts of our ancestors empowers us to move on from a stronger position. Truth sets us free. Reviewer: Beverly Hubble Tauke is author of "Overcoming the Sins of the Family," and is a Virginia-based family counselor and lecturer.

1-0 out of 5 stars Great subject matter -- poorly written!
I used to like Cokie Roberts until I started reading this book. I love reading about the Revolutionary War and had (like other readers with comments) read the excellent biography of John Adams that was extremely well-written. Time and again in Cokie's book, she puts in little asides -- for instance early in the book when she speaks of the wedding present that Benjamin Franklin gives his daughter. He changes it from a nicer present to a spinning wheel. Cokie apparently does not think the reader "gets it" and goes on to say that such a present is akin to getting a toaster. She does this throughout the book and it is annoying. Worse, however, the narrative does not flow and it is easy to lose track of who she is talking about and when she is placing them in history. And I really do not like how Ms. Roberts keeps inserting her voice in the lives of these historic people with her 21st century sensibility. The Revolutionary War was a different time period, Cokie! I winced when I would read quotes about Abigail Adams with such Cokie asides as "she must have wanted to hit him." etc. I will look for a better book on this subject!

2-0 out of 5 stars Let's face it, celebrity standards are lower
Would this book even have been published if the author wasn't an NPR commentator? I truly doubt it. The standards for celebrity authors are MUCH lower, even if the book is supposed to be a "scholarly" work, as opposed to, say, a diet book.
If Roberts could pull together a few facts about a woman from the Revolutionary War period (documented or undocumented), that woman landed in the book. There was no real narrative flow.
But, if it interested a few people in the Revolutionary War period that weren't interested before, well, that's a good thing!

2-0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
I like Cokie Roberts, listen to her on NPR, etc. etc.Perhaps it was because I had just come off from reading "John Adams," but I was very disappointed in this book.There didn't seem to be much in the way of original research, it didn't challange me to rethink history, and I really wasn't blown away by how these women did much to change the course of history in the grand scale.Nonetheless, there were interesting tidbits of historical information, and a reader may learn some new stuff. ... Read more

71. Front Row : Anna Wintour: The Cool Life and Hot Times of Vogue's Editor in Chief
by Jerry Oppenheimer
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312323107
Catlog: Book (2005-02-01)
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Sales Rank: 152972
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Book Description

From the New York Times bestselling author of Just Desserts: Martha Stewart: The Unauthorized Biography comes a scrupulously researched investigative biography that tells the inside story of Anna Wintour's incredible rise to power

From her exclusive perch front row center, glamorous Vogue magazine editor in chief Anna Wintour is the most powerful and influential style-maker in the world. Behind her trademark sunglasses and under the fringe of her Louise Brooks bob she determines whether miniskirts are in or out, whether or not it's politically correct to wear fur. She influences designers, wholesalers, and retailers globally from Seventh Avenue to the elegant fashionista enclaves of L'Avenue Montaigne and Via della Spiga. In the U.S. alone a more than $200 billion fashion industry can rise or fall on Anna Wintour's call. And every month millions of women-and men-read Vogue, and are influenced by the pages of the chic and trendy style wish-book that she has controlled with an iron hand in a not-always-so-velvet glove since fighting her way to the most prestigious job in fashion journalism.

Anna Wintour's fashion influence extends to celebrities and politicians: because of it, Hillary Clinton underwent a drastic makeover and became the first First Lady to strike a pose on the cover of Vogue in the midst of Monicagate; Oprah Winfrey was forced to go on a strict diet before Wintour would put her on Vogue's cover. And beauties like Rene Zellweger and Nicole Kidman follow Anna Wintour's fashionista rules to the letter.

Now in her mid-fifties, as she nears her remarkable second decade at the helm of Vogue, comes this revealing biography that will shock and surprise both Anna's fans and detractors alike.Based on scores of interviews, Front Row unveils the Anna Wintour even those closest to her don't know.Oppenheimer chronicles this insecure and creative powerhouse's climb to the top of the bitchy, competitive fashion magazine world, showing up close, as never before exposed, how she artfully crafted and reinvented herself along the way.

She's been called many things-"Nuclear Wintour," by the British press, "cold suspicious and autocratic, a vision in skinniness," by Grace Mirabella, the editor she dethroned at Vogue, and the "Devil" by those who believe she's the inspiration for a recent bestselling novel written by a former assistant.

Included among the startling revelations in Front Row are:
*Anna's "silver spoon" childhood spent craving time with her father.
*Anna's rebellious teen years in London, obsessed with fashion, night-clubbing and dating roguish men.
*Anna's many tempestuous romances.
*Anna's curious marriage to a brilliant child psychiatrist, her role as a mother, and the shocking scandal that led to divorce when she had an affair with a married man.
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72. Madam Secretary: A Memoir
by Madeleine Albright
list price: $27.95
our price: $18.45
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0786868430
Catlog: Book (2003-09-16)
Publisher: Miramax Books
Sales Rank: 2168
Average Customer Review: 3.68 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

"It was a quarter to ten. I was sipping coffee, but by then my body was manufacturing its own caffeine. I still couldn't allow myself to believe. Finally, at 9:47, the call came. 'I want you to be my Secretary of State.' These are his first words. I finally believed it."

For eight years, during Bill Clinton's two presidential terms, Madeleine Albright was an active participant in the most dramatic events of recent times—from the pursuit of peacein the Middle East to NATO's humanitarian intervention in Kosovo. Now, in an outspoken memoir, the highest-ranking woman in American history shares her remarkable story and provides an insider's view of world affairs during a period of unprecedented turbulence.

The story begins with Albright's childhood as a Czechoslovak refugee, whose family first fled Hitler, then the Communists. Arriving in the United States at the age of eleven, she grew up to be a passionate advocate of civil and women's rights and followed a zigzag path to a career that ultimately placed her in the upper stratosphere of diplomacy and policy-making in her adopted country. She became the first woman to serve as America's secretary of state and one of the most admired individuals of our era.

Refreshingly candid, Madam Secretary brings to life the world leaders Albright dealt with face-to-face in her years of service and the battles she fought to prove her worth in a male-dominated arena. There are intriguing portraits of such leading figures as Vaclav Havel, Yasser Arafat, Ariel Sharon, Benjamin Netanyahu, King Hussein, Vladimir Putin, Slobodan Milosevic, and North Korea's mysterious Kim Jong-Il, as well as Bill and Hillary Clinton, Colin Powell, and Jesse Helms.

Besides her encounters with the famous and powerful, we get to know Albright the private woman: her life raising three daughters, the painful breakup of her marriage to the scion of one of America's leading newspapers families, and the discovery late in life of her Jewish ancestry and that her grandparents had died in Nazi concentration camps.

Madam Secretary combines warm humor with profound insights and personal testament with fascinating additions to the historical record. It is a tapestry both intimate and panoramic, a rich memoir destined to become a twenty-first century classic. ... Read more

Reviews (41)

3-0 out of 5 stars A Far-Ranging Autobiography --- Readers Will Learn Much
In winding up her far-ranging autobiography, Madeleine Albright tells us with amusement that once, after leaving office as U.S. Secretary of State, she was mistaken in public for Margaret Thatcher.

It's worth a chuckle to the reader --- but there are indeed interesting similarities between the two women, even though their political leanings are light-years apart. They both reached the highest rank ever attained by a woman in their respective democratic governments, were fiercely partisan political figures, and held very strong opinions and were never afraid to battle for them (Albright's favorite expression for this is that she never hesitated to "push back" at those who opposed her).

Albright is best known for serving as U.S. ambassador to the UN in the first Clinton term, and as Secretary of State in the second. Readers of this book will learn in detail about the early years and long political apprenticeship that led up to those two high-profile jobs. They will also learn, in perhaps more detail than they care to absorb, about the many foreign policy crises in which she was a major player under Clinton.

The other thing about Albright that most people will recall is that only after she became Secretary of State did she learn that her family ancestry was Jewish --- that three of her grandparents had died in Nazi concentration camps. This personal revelation is duly covered but not dwelled upon in extraordinary detail.

Her life, though unsettled due to wartime exigencies, was not a rags-to-riches tale. She was born Marie Jana Korbel in Prague into a comfortably situated family. Her father was a respected Czech diplomat and college professor. Fleeing the Nazis, the family spent time in England during World War II. They arrived in the United States when she was 11, and her father took a teaching job in Denver. She entered Wellesley College in 1955 and became an American citizen two years later. She married into a wealthy and well-connected American family in 1959. Her first political idol and mentor was Edmund Muskie, in whose doomed presidential campaign she took part. After the breakup of her marriage, her career in government and politics took off during the Carter presidency, her only personal setback being a painful divorce in 1983.

This is all dispatched in the first 100 pages or so of her lengthy book. The rest of it details her UN and State Department years with a thoroughness that seems at times compulsive. All the heroes and villains of those years pass in review --- Carter, Havel, Milosevic, Helms, Clinton, Putin, Arafat, Barak. The complexities of Rwanda, Serbia, Kosovo, the Middle East, Somalia and other trouble spots are laid out in prose that can get ponderous --- but her incisive personal portraits of these people lighten the mood.

Albright makes no pretense to real objectivity. She is a committed Democrat who admired both Carter and Clinton, and she defends them against all the charges that have been flung at them by their opponents. She defends such controversial actions as Clinton's successful ousting of Boutros Boutros-Ghali as Secretary General of the UN, and his policy of opening up trade with China and warily seeking a somewhat civil relationship with North Korea. Her two biggest regrets are the failure of the UN to stop genocide in Rwanda and Clinton's failure to forge a solid peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (in that regard, while gently critical of Israel on occasion, she holds Arafat mainly responsible for the breakdown). The two biggest villains in her cast of characters, not surprisingly, are Arafat and Milosevic.

There is naturally a strong feminist slant to her narrative. There is also a vein of sharp observation, character analysis, and even humor. The writing, when not bogged down in the minutiae of crisis management, can be bright, though we are left to wonder how much of the credit is hers and how much belongs to her collaborator, Bill Woodward.

Mercifully, Monica Lewinsky remains a bit player in Albright's narrative. Two other things, perhaps more important, are also missing: detailed assessments of the effect of the 9/11 tragedy on America's global course and the George W. Bush administration. Those would have made an already long book longer, but one wishes she had covered them anyway.

--- Reviewed by Robert Finn

5-0 out of 5 stars Exemplary
Madam Secretary is a wonderful capsule of a remarkable life and highly recommended for anyone who is as much of a current affairs geek as I am. While most will be drawn to read this book because of the insights Ms. Albright provides into the Clinton Administration's roles in the Middle East conflict, Kosovo, and North Korea - all of which are discussed in fascinating detail - some of the most compelling (and poignant) sections of the book have to do with her pain associated with the sudden dissolution of her marriage, the discovery of her Jewish ancestry, and her life in Czechoslovakia as a young girl.

Ms. Albright's narrative voice is warm and inviting and utterly without pretension. This is my vote for the best non-fiction book of 2003.

4-0 out of 5 stars An inside view...
Madeleine Albright led a remarkable life - fleeing as a child across war-torn Europe, first from the invading Germans and then from the invading Soviets, the little girl from Prague came to America before a teenager, and ended up becoming the first female Secretary of State in American history (although, interestingly, not even the first non-American-born Secretary of State in the last half century!). She reinvented herself as an American, someone who fell deeply in love with her adopted country, even to the extent that her name Madeleine, isn't the one with which she was christened (although it is the French version of her name, and thus we are reading the memoirs of Madeleine, not Marie Jana Korbel).

She weaves together her personal life and insights together with the professional experiences she has had throughout her various careers, culminating with the office of Secretary of State for several years in Bill Clinton's administration. Her father, part of the Czech government-in-exile, immigrated to America and became a professor (interestingly, one of his student was Condalezza Rice, one of the principle voices in foreign affairs in the current Bush administration). Albright thus had training from the very beginning in terms of both academic and practical aspects of governments and diplomacy.

Albright's academic credentials are impressive, and her experiences in school shaped her later career. For undergraduate work, she studied at Wellesley College in Political Science, and then went to the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. She finished her formal education at Columbia, receiving a Certificate from the Russian Institute, and her Masters and Doctorate from the Department of Public Law and Government. This is also where she got involved with political and media affairs in earnest.

She was a White House staffer, including staffing the National Security Council, during Carter's presidency; during the 12-year Republican administrations in Washington, her career focused on the Center for National Policy, a non-profit liberal think-tank/research organization formed in 1981 looking at issues in domestic and foreign policy. This gave her continued presence in the field so that when the time came, Clinton tapped her to be the ambassador to the United Nations, and then later Secretary of State.

She met and married Joseph Albright, part of a wealthy media family, and recounts in some detail and emotion the difficulties with the breakup of that relationship. She also confesses an affair with a Georgetown professor, and other difficult times in her life. However, these take a back seat most of the time to her professional career.

Albright makes the claim to have not discovered her Jewish ancestry until late in life; there is reason to discount this belief, given that she is the kind of person likely to know the details of her background, and given that she visited family back in Czechoslovakia back in the 1960s. Reasons for not wanting to be identified as being of Jewish descent during her career are unclear, but in an otherwise very straightforward autobiographical account, this one point seems less than convincing.

Albright does reflect with candor on many world leaders, including her boss Bill Clinton, and his wife Hillary; few of the key names of the 90s are missed here. Ultimately, one comes across with the impression of a erudite diplomat, a skillful politicians, and a sincere worker for the best interests of the nation.

5-0 out of 5 stars Smooth, captivating and thoughtful
A fascinating story of a remarkable person who has served her country well.

3-0 out of 5 stars Filling in What the Media Neglects
If your interesting in knowing the truth about one of the 1990s most important foreign policy personalities, this book won't necessarily help. While it is an easy read with lots of details about what was happening behind closed doors, Ms. Albright also spun it to her own advantages. But that is to be expected. Considering her harsh handing at the hands of the right wing, it is good to get her point of view. ... Read more

73. Mary Kay: You Can Have It All : Lifetime Wisdom from America's Foremost Woman Entrepreneur
list price: $22.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0761501622
Catlog: Book (1995-07-12)
Publisher: Prima Lifestyles
Sales Rank: 85849
Average Customer Review: 4.71 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Mary Kay may be the most successful woman entrepreneur in the world today, but she started her company as a single mother supporting three children—using her total life savings of $5,000. Following her priorities—God first, family second, and career third—and some sound, savvy business strategies, she managed to create a multibillion-dollar international company as well as a fulfilling life that reflects her values. Here she reveals to you how she did it, how thousands of other women have done it, and how you can do it, too!

Mary Kay accomplished all her goals without any special advantage—without trying to be a "superwoman." Instead, she rediscovered the timeless secrets of true success and happiness and applied them in her life. These are the secrets she now shares with you.
In Mary Kay: You Can Have It All, you will discover how to:

Become more confident personally and professionally
Deal with the male ego
Plan your work and work your plan
Do well by doing good
And much, much more!

Mary Kay will donate a portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book to the Mary Kay Ash Center for Cancer Immunotherapy Research at St. Paul Medical Center in Dallas, Texas.

Mary Kay Ash is the founder and chairman emeritus of Mary Kay Cosmetics Inc., listed among Fortune magazine's Most Admired Corporations in America and boasting annual retail sales of more than $1.5 billion.

Also available in Paperback. ... Read more

Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars AWESOME AND POWERFUL

3-0 out of 5 stars anonymous
Mary Kay Ash is truly an inspiration to all women. Not only does she succeed she lets you know that there will be obstacles to overcome, but you can and will succeed if you keep your priorities in order GOD,Family, and career and work hard. Nothing comes in life easy and through perservence and a dream and goal setting there is nothing you can't do. I LOVED IT!!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Changed the way I think!
Thank you Mary Kay Ash for writing the words that I needed to read! Mary Kay's ideas may seem old fashioned to some, but I found them to be refreshing. It's nice to be reminded once in a while that God and Family should come before Career. This book is an inspiration to all women (not just those who like cosmetics and skin care) who want to be the best they can be at whatever it is that they do. The book will keep all women grounded!

5-0 out of 5 stars clear and concise advice from a very successful woman!
It was a quick-read and I was able to absorb her advice very easily. Mary Kay is a wonderful inspiration to all women! I highly recommend this book, especially if you are a new Mary Kay beauty consultant.

5-0 out of 5 stars I appraiciate the lifetime wisdom:God 1th,family 2&career3
I divorced one year ago, I hope to saviour,I work hard, and read a lot of books,try to find some spirit foods from them,now I get it from " you can have it all". I check the phone No.and find the "Mary Kay beauty centre" in Beijing. I become one of them and share the "Mary Kay" to my friends! ... Read more

74. Ballad of the Whiskey Robber: A True Story of Bank Heists, Ice Hockey, Transylvanian Pelt Smuggling, Moonlighting Detectives, and Broken Hearts
by Julian Rubinstein
list price: $23.95
our price: $16.29
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0316071676
Catlog: Book (2004-09)
Publisher: Little, Brown
Sales Rank: 1220
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Book Description

Elmore Leonard meets Franz Kafka in the wild, improbably true story of the legendary outlaw of Budapest.

Attila Ambrus was a gentleman thief, a sort of Cary Grant--if only Grant came from Transylvania, was a terrible professional hockey goalkeeper, and preferred women in leopard-skin hot pants. During the 1990s, while playing for the biggest hockey team in Budapest, Ambrus took up bank robbery to make ends meet. Arrayed against him was perhaps the most incompetent team of crime investigators the Eastern Bloc had ever seen: a robbery chief who had learned how to be a detective by watching dubbed Columbo episodes; a forensics man who wore top hat and tails on the job; and a driver so inept he was known only by a Hungarian word that translates to Mound of Ass-Head.

BALLAD OF THE WHISKEY ROBBER is the completely bizarre and hysterical story of the crime spree that made a nobody into a somebody, and told a forlorn nation that sometimes the brightest stars come from the blackest holes. Like The Professor and the Madman and The Orchid Thief, Julian Rubinstein's bizarre crime story is so odd and so wicked that it is completely irresistible. ... Read more

75. Welfare Brat : A Memoir
by Mary Childers
list price: $23.95
our price: $16.29
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1582345864
Catlog: Book (2005-05-02)
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Sales Rank: 17608
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Book Description

An intimate and frank look at poverty, abuse, and welfare dependence by a "welfare brat" who came of age in the blighted Bronx of the 1960s.

Mary Childers grew up in a neighborhood ravaged by poverty. Once a borough of elegant apartment buildings, parks, and universities, the Bronx had become a national symbol of urban decay. White flight, arson, rampant crime, and race riots provide the backdrop for Mary's story. The child of an absent carny father for whom she longed and a single welfare mother who schemed and struggled to house and feed her brood, Mary was the third of her mother's surviving seven children, who were fathered by four different men.

From an early age, Mary knew she was different. She loved her family fiercely but didn't want to repeat her mother's or older sisters' mistakes. The Childers family culture was infused with alcohol and drugs, and relations between the sexes were muddled by simultaneous feelings of rage and desire toward men. Fatherless children were the norm. Academic achievement and hard work were often scorned, not rewarded; five of the seven Childers children dropped out of high school. But Mary was determined to create a better life, and here she recounts her bumpy road to self-sufficiency. With this engaging and thoughtful examination of her difficult early years, Mary Childers breathes messy life into the issues of poverty and welfare dependence, childhood resilience, the American work ethic, and a popular culture that values sexuality more than self-esteem.
... Read more

76. When I Was Puerto Rican
list price: $12.95
our price: $9.71
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679756760
Catlog: Book (1994-10-11)
Publisher: Vintage
Sales Rank: 11827
Average Customer Review: 4.59 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Selling over 16,000 copies in hardcover, this triumphant coming-of-age memoir is now available in paperback editions in both English and Spanish. In the tradition of Black Ice, Santiago writes lyrically of her childhood on her native island and of her bewildering years of transition in New York City. ... Read more

Reviews (76)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Gift From Santiago
A joyful and proud eulogy to the island of her youth. Santiago is a wonderfully talented voice that exudes passion. The title alone, When I WAS Puerto Rican, is at first intriguing. But we soon learn the profound sense of this past tense usage. I read Santiago's memories in Spanish, which, in my view presents her story in a distinctive poetic prose, rhythm and rhapsody (often characteristic in Spanish) that is absolutely captivating. However, what is most appealing about this autobiogaphy, interwoven delightfully with memorable and richly detailed anecdotes, is the moving revelation that Santiago shares with her readers who don't know what it means to be caught in the agonizing web of dual-identities/dual-allegiances that is largely the Puerto Rican Experience ... as well as other North American immigrant experiences. This writer has presented us with a lyrical gift of enormous joy. High on the list of Must-Read novels, especially those by the new cadre of Latina writers. If you haven't as yet seen the excellent movie version of the sequel to this novel, Almost A Woman, do so. Wanda de Jesus is brilliant in the lead role.

Alan Cambeira
Author of AZUCAR! The Story of Sugar (a novel)

5-0 out of 5 stars When I Was Puerto Rican
When I Was Puerto Rican is a chronicle of the events that take place in the life of author Esmeralda Santiago during her childhood in Puerto Rico and later New York city.

Two things make this book worthwhile right off the bat. One it crosses the divdes of age, sex and race. I found it to be an effective introduction to Puerto Rican culture. However, this isn't a story for simply one group of people it was written for everyone.

I believe that Mrs. Santiago while writing this biography tried her best to keep the events of her early life in the child-like perspective,in which she first experienced them. What I mean by this is she does not pollute her narrative with the reflections of an older wiser adult woman looking backward. She allows the story to unfold as it was at the time.

Culturally this book is far different from any other book I've read. But the story and the empathy I felt for the characters in it has stayed with me.

4-0 out of 5 stars Touching and Heart Felt
I just finished "When I was Puerto Rican." I thoroughly enjoyed the book and connected with the author. Being the oldest female child in my family, I have felt the way that she did. The book takes you back through your adolescence and makes you exam life.

Another plus to the book is how much culture it has. I enjoyed learning about the culture, the food, the dichos (sayings). I am pretty familiar with the Mexican Culture but the Puerto Rican has a completely different vibe and I enjoy it. Esmeralda's experience in New York is what so many people dream of. She makes me proud of her and I feel that I know her so intimately. That is what I love about her writing. Thank you for being so honest with your readers.

5-0 out of 5 stars When I was Puerto Rican
The book of "When I was Puerto Rican by; Esmeralda Santiagon was really great. It's shows the way she lived in Puerto Rico her life was easy she lived with her mother and her uncle that would always help them out, she also lived with six cousins. She got older she wanted to get married with this guy that she liked but her uncle wanted to get married with this older guy. She didn't want to but if she didn't her uncle would have to go to this counselor camp. That's when she decided to run away she wanted to go to America.
She wanted to come America and have a better life but sometimes cominh to america is so easy. She also wanted to come and find her dad that was a soldier. Esmeralda books are really amazing because she puts you in her shoes and she takes you with her in her journeys. She shows how hard it was for her to live in the situation she did. Not knowing anything about her culture. This book is a really good book if you want to know whether she goes to America and finds her dad and gets a better life.

5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
This is, without question, the best autobiography I've ever read. Santiago's writing is vibrant, fluid, and concise. Her evocation of life in PR as Americanization slowly seeps in is deadeye brilliant, and her transition to life in the margins in Brooklyn is heart-rending. She never uses a hammer to make her points, choosing the subtle, the offhand, the seemingly innocuous instead.

Edwidge Danticat should take notes. Ernesto Quinones should be embarrased. ... Read more

77. Inside the Kingdom : My Life in Saudi Arabia
by Carmen Bin Ladin
list price: $23.95
our price: $16.29
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0446577081
Catlog: Book (2004-07-14)
Publisher: Warner Books
Sales Rank: 2899
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Osama bin Laden's formersister-in-law provides a penetrating, unusually inti- mate look into Saudi soci-ety and the bin Laden family's role within it, aswell as the treatment of Saudi women.On September 11th, 2001,Carmen bin Ladin heard the news that the Twin Towers had been struck. She instinctively knew that her ex-brother-in-law was involved in these hor-rifying acts of terrorism, and her heart went out to America. She also knew that her life and the lives of her family would never be the same again.Carmen bin Ladin, half Swiss and half Persian, married into-and later divorced from-the bin Laden family and found herself inside a complex and vast clan, part of a society that she neither knew nor understood. Her story takes us inside the bin Laden family and one of the most powerful, secretive, and repressed kingdoms in the world. ... Read more

Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars answers many questions
Have you ever wondered how on earth a Western woman could marry a man from a culture that is totally alien to hers? In Inside the Kingdom, Carmen Bin Laden tells the story of how she went from being a free spirited Swiss schoolgirl to the wife of one of the members of the Saudi Arabian Bin Laden clan. It was easy. She was young, he was charming, handsome, rich and seemingly easy going. They fell in love. She thought they were going to live in America and Europe. She was wrong.

Imagine living in a place where it's against the law for you to show your face in public. Imagine not being able to go shopping even for your own clothes or personal items. Imagine shocking your in-laws becuase you want to go for a walk.

One of the most vivid and sad scenes from the book describes how Carmen's husband had to make special arrangements in order for her to go to a grocery store to buy baby formula. While she rushed to the baby section the customers (all male) left the store and the staff turned their backs to her.

Carmen quickly discovered to her horror that listening to music was considered sinful, reading books was considered odd and having a thought in one's pretty head was seen as completely unnatural.

Eventually, the marriage soured and Carmen decided to leave Saudi for the sake of her daughters. The book will attract attention of course because of the author's infamous brother-in-law, Osama (he was apparently a foreboding figure even as a young man) but it's more than a tragi-comic look into the Bin Laden home. This book is a clear eyed look at Saudi life.

Carmen Bin Laden went to Saudi thinking that modernity would prevail and that in a few years Saudi women would have more rights. She was wrong then and things don't look any better now. Since Saudi Arabia is ostensibly an American ally taking an honest look at it makes sense. Can such a culture really change? Are we fools to it expect to?

Inside the Kingdom is a very good book.I'm glad I bought it.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Must Read for all women
Normally I don't read biographies. Usually they focus on rags to riches stories that I can't relate to. This book was the exception.
This bio starts normally: boy meets girl, boy and girl fall in love, boy and girl get married. But this is where the normality ends. Carmen marries into the Bin Ladin family,which back then were not synominous with terrorism. Carmen, who is foreign to Saudi life, is forced to live in isolation. She cannot come and go as she pleases without being completly veiled. She is forced to live in a world where women are property of the men; she is viewed as a foreigner by the other women because she was not born Saudi. Women,imagine going in a time machine from 2004 to the mid 19th century. At least that is the closest analogy I can think of.
This book made me appreciate the simple freedoms that we Americans take advantage of. I couldn't imagine living a life where I felt so powerless as a woman. I admire Carmen for being strong enough to get away from Saudi Arabia once and for all. Every female should read this book. It is an eye opener how far we women have come in America. ... Read more

78. Like a Lampshade in a Whorehouse
by PhyllisDiller, Richard Buskin
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1585423963
Catlog: Book (2005-02-17)
Publisher: Tarcher
Sales Rank: 12478
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

From housewife to humorist, Phyllis Diller has been making millions laugh for five decades with her groundbreaking comedy. Now the laughter continues with her uproarious autobiography.

Like a Lampshade in a Whorehouse recounts the story of how, against all odds, Phyllis Diller became America's first successful and best-loved female stand-up comic. She began her professional career at age thirty-seven, in spite of the fact that she was a housewife, mother of five, and working at a radio station due to her husband's chronic unemployment.Now, fifty years later, after two traumatic marriages; extensive cosmetic surgery; numerous film, television, and stage appearances; and separate careers as an artist and piano soloist with symphony orchestras, Phyllis Diller finally tells her story.

With her trademark laugh, incredible wit, and self-deprecating humor, Phyllis Diller has etched her way into comedic history. And while her wild hair and outrageous clothes may make her look "like a lampshade in a whorehouse," her strength, self-belief, perseverance, and raucous sense of humor are what make her truly unforgettable.
... Read more

Reviews (6)

4-0 out of 5 stars Having the last laugh?
If living well is the best revenge, then it is hard to appreciate why Phyllis Diller spends a good portion of her latest autobiography settling scores with dozens of minor people whose names would have completely faded from history if not for her memoirs.

But then, for a woman who made a comedic career out of catastrophes and disappointments, perhaps this is her way of having the last laugh. Unfortunately, these bitter remembrances just aren't funny and mar an otherwise delightful book. Instead the story is jagged and a little too hard-edged and earns a solid three stars.

Penguin, however, has produced a beautiful book for Ms. Diller with a stunning bright orange cover with raised printing while the book underneath features a three-piece case binding with foil stamping. Even the ivory-colored paper inside is high-quality stuff. And I couldn't find one typo. The presentation reflects Penguin's star-quality regard for Diller giving this book an overall four-star rating.

When Diller focuses on her successes by highlighting colleagues (like Bob Hope) or good timing (like breaking in at a time when no other female comics offered serious competition) or techniques (like ending punch lines with consonants to emphasize the mock hostility), the book really entertains. But the story just isn't worth the hardcover admission price and I would recommend waiting for and buying the paperback version of Diller's story.

5-0 out of 5 stars "Terrific Bio"
"LIKE A LAMPSHADE IN A WHOREHOUSE, from the "QUEEN" of comedy is such a fun book.I both laughed and teared-up a bit (at times), while reading.

I have always admired the fun spirit of this "funny lady."It is nice to finally get to know more about her on a "real-life" level.For example...I Had No Idea She Had Six Children!That in itself is impressive.

Many years ago I met Phyllis Diller in person at the 'Beverely Hills Supper Club," in Kentucky.I found her to be both funny and charming (at the time), and after reading this book, I'm happy to learn she is a lot more than that.

I really enjoyed this book and know that any person who enjoys reading this fact-filled genre will love it to.

"LIKE A LAMPSHADE IN A WHOREHOUSE," by Phyllis Diller, is a "must read."Add it to your list of books to order.You will be glad you did.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not what I expected
Being the funny person Phyllis Diller is, I expected something different than the tone of this book.Miss Diller comes across as bitter and resentful towards the men in her life.I understand that this was with cause, but it has been many years now and she seems to be carrying a lot of unforgiveness and resentment around.Being that she is a lover of "The Magic of Believing" by Claude Bristol, I guess I expected a more positive view. She seems to be proud of her atheism.What makes her so sure there is no deity?What force did she tap into with belief to change her life?

She also told me far more than I needed to know about her sex life with her first husband, Sherwood Diller, "banging away at her with no thought of how to ****" to second husband Warde Donovan's trysts with a chauffeur "coming home with the smell of semen on his breath."Then she writes "I had my share of one-night stands."Point is, I really didn't need to know all of that.She also spent an inordinate amount of time complaining about her first husband's mental illness.If he was truly mentally ill, it was cruel of her to write as she did. Going on and on about her in-laws got to be a bit boring too.This could have been a better book.

5-0 out of 5 stars WHATTA BOOK; WHATTA PERSON
It is so interesting to read about a multi talented person who is supremely successful where they reveal the downside parts of their life and wonder why they did what they did...but they did it.Like Phyllis Diller, I read a most wonderful book "The Magic of Believing" by Claude Bristol when I was in my early 20's that did change my life, but not to the extent that she transformed herself because of that book.Many miserable things happened to her traveling through her life journey, but she was always optimistic and overcame the adversities.This book has funny parts, however, it is really an autobiography and details the life of the author.A marvelous read and a story that should get more than 5 stars.

5-0 out of 5 stars She's terrific
I am in my early sixties so I can remember when Phyllis Diller was appearing on all the variety shows. She was hysterical. But as this book shows she is also a hardworking, warm BRAVE woman with great spirit. She had 6 kids!!!! Who knew? She tells a great story for women and is so funny. Enjoyable. ... Read more

79. Elizabeth Taylor: My Love Affair with Jewelry
by Elizabeth Taylor
list price: $65.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0000CAR5K
Catlog: Book (2002-09-30)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Sales Rank: 410657
Average Customer Review: 4.46 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

"Here, in my own words and as I remember them, are my cherished stories about a lifetime of fun and love and laughter...I've never thought of my jewelry as trophies. I'm here to take care of it and to love it, for we are only temporary custodians of beauty."

--Elizabeth Taylor

She has mesmerized movie audiences since her debut in National Velvet at the age of twelve, dazzled both men and women with her luminous beauty and iconic presence, displayed shrewd business acumen by creating a line of fragrances with unparalleled success, and her AIDS activism has been a call to arms for people around the world. She is Hollywood's greatest living star and a living legendElizabeth Taylor.

One of her greatest passions is jewelry, and over the years she has amassed one of the world's foremost collections. By the time she was in her thirties, Elizabeth Taylor already owned an outstanding set of Burmese rubies and diamonds from Cartier, a fantastic emerald and diamond suite from Bulgari, and the 33.19-carat Krupp diamond, a gift from Richard Burton. That ring was later eclipsed by a subsequent gift from Burton, when he bought a staggering 69.42-carat pear-shaped diamond. Newly named the Taylor-Burton Diamond, it catapulted Elizabeth Taylor into that rarefied pantheon of great jewelry collectors.

In this revealing book, Elizabeth Taylor offers a personal guided tour of her collection. She takes us into her confidence, sharing personal anecdotes, witty asides, and intimate reminiscences about her life, her loves, and her collection. Whether talking about the famous La Peregrina pearl, which was briefly abducted by a household pet, or chatting about a childhood gift to her mother, Elizabeth Taylor shows herself to be the most seductive of storytellers: direct, irreverent, and charming.

Complementing the stories are 125 stunning new photographs of her most remarkable pieces, specially commissioned for this book, and more than 150 rarely seen images (many from Elizabeth Taylor's personal collection) of the star wearing her jewelry over the course of almost sixty years. We see her as a young ingenue of fifteen wearing what would be the first of many charm bracelets, and again, equally dazzling, as a mature woman, wearing the famous Duchess of Windsor diamond brooch, which she purchased to benefit AIDS research.

Elizabeth Taylor: My Love Affair with Jewelry marks the first time this beautiful jewelry will be seen together as a collection. Lavishly produced and illustrated, the book has an introduction by the world-renowned authority on jewelry, François Curiel, of Christie's. It is for those who are enchanted by this most incandescent and enduring star, for those who cherish and dream of jewelry, and most importantly, for those who believe in the true meaning of love. This book is a fabulous display of unbelievable glamour, assembled over a lifetime, by one of the most extraordinary women in the world. ... Read more

Reviews (13)

5-0 out of 5 stars Liz's Jewels
This is an absolutely breaktaking book. It has 280 illustrations, 175 of them in color, and many of them from Elizabeth Taylor's personal collection. I cannot stress how vivid and gloriously they capture the beauty of Ms. Taylor and her jewelry. The wonderful stories that go along with many of the pieces portray Elizabeth as a witty, warm ... and yes, cunning woman. I've always been a huge fan of hers, but this book has made me even more so.
Although Ms. Taylor own magnificent pieces from some of the most famous jewelers of all time ... Cartier, Bulgari, Van Cleef & Arpels, and Jean Schlumberger (Tiffany & Co.) ... many of my favorite's were her historical pieces. Like the Duchess of Windsor's diamond brooch, the Taj Mahal diamond, La Peregrina, and a beautiful bracelet from the collection of King Farouk.
The book also has a wonderful index that describes almost every piece in the book, along with who bought it and where. Some of you may be surprised to find that although Richard Burton and Mike Todd sure knew how to spoil a girl, Ms. Taylor did buy a lot of her jewelry herself. I also read from one of the following reviews that Ms. Taylor did not say who or why she sold the 69.42 carat Taylor-Burton diamond. I can't tell you why she sold it, but the index says she sold it in 1978 to a jeweler named Lambert who in turn sold it to Mr. Robert Mouawad in December of 1979.
So, even if you don't particulary care for Elizabeth Taylor and her legendary love affair with jewels, this book leaves little or no doubt that Ms. Taylor is definitely one of the most beautiful women of all time and her jewels are some of the most fabulous.

5-0 out of 5 stars Liz's Jewels
This is an absolutely breath-taking book. It has 280 illustrations, 175 of them in color, and many of them from Elizabeth Taylor's personal collection. I cannot stress how vivid and gloriously they capture the beauty of Ms. Taylor and her jewelry. The wonderful stories that go along with many of the pieces portray Elizabeth as a witty, warm ... and yes, cunning woman. I've always been a huge fan of hers, but this book has made me even more so.
Although Ms. Taylor own magnificent pieces from some of the most famous jewelers of all time ... Cartier, Bulgari, Van Cleef & Arpels, and Jean Schlumberger (Tiffany & Co.) ... many of my favorite's were her historical pieces. Like the Duchess of Windsor's diamond brooch, the Taj Mahal diamond, La Peregrina, and a beautiful bracelet from the collection of King Farouk.
The book also has a wonderful index that describes almost every piece in the book, along with who bought it and where. Some of you may be surprised to find that although Richard Burton and Mike Todd sure knew how to spoil a girl, Ms. Taylor did buy a lot of her jewelry herself. I also read from one of the following reviews that Ms. Taylor did not say who or why she sold the 69.42 carat Taylor-Burton diamond. I can't tell you why she sold it, but the index says she sold it in 1978 to a jeweler named Lambert who in turn sold it to Mr. Robert Mouawad in December of 1979.
So, even if you don't particulary care for Elizabeth Taylor and her legendary love affair with jewels, this book leaves little or no doubt that Ms. Taylor is definitely one of the most beautiful women of all time and her jewels are some of the most fabulous.

5-0 out of 5 stars Exquisite
I have admired Elizabeth Taylor and her love of fine jewelry for many, many years. This book is a visual treat and a must have for anyone who loves jewelry.

5-0 out of 5 stars Grandma loved it
I didn't read this book. I bought it as a gift for my 87 year old grandmother. Someone had mentioned this book on another website and I came here to look it over.

I was impressed. The photographs I saw and the reviews were impressive. I knew she would love it. I bought it for her for Mother's Day.

She phoned me to tell me how much she LOVED it! I've never seen her go on and on about a book. I know if she didn't love the book she would have just said "Thank you sweetheart." But this was a different reaction. Her friends have seen the book on the table in the living room and tell her how much they love it. And how the photographs are superb.

I'm sure when I visit her I will spend hours looking at this book at her house. She told me that she spent hours and hours just sitting in the chair looking at all the great photos.

4-0 out of 5 stars Fabulous idea, a little sparse on content tho...
I found the idea of a star like Elizabeth Taylor sharing the personal history of her exquisite jewels a truly original idea. As for the person who was offended by the fact that she'd received all her jewellery as gifts from husbands and friends...what's the big deal? The woman has given away millions, she clearly *can* buy any jewel that catches her eye. And when your husband buys you jewellery, technically, he's only buying 50% since you own half of HIM anyway, you're really buying half of it yourself. Back to the book...I found some of the stories touching, some of them just made me smile. The photography is very nice. It's the kind of book you can sit down with at night and savour with a hot cup of coffee. My only complaint was that the text in the book wouldn't fill a chapter of a novel. Perhaps it's best that way, tho. The pictures do speak a thousand words.

Taylor's history on her jewels was an eye-opener for me. I never realized she was the rich, frankly. The stories of her shopping the globe's great jewellery shops was wonderful. What seems to permeate (sp?) the book, tho, is Taylor's gratefulness in being just the keeper of such fabulous rocks. She shows a love for her jewels and desire to share them with others. That fact alone makes the book a very pleasant experience. Recommened for the joy of jewellery; I liked it very much. ... Read more

80. Who She Was : My Search for My Mother's Life
by Samuel G. Freedman
list price: $24.00
our price: $16.80
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743227352
Catlog: Book (2005-04-01)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Sales Rank: 14749
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

When Samuel G. Freedman was nearing fifty, the same age at which his mother died of breast cancer, he realized that he did not know who she was. Of course, he knew that Eleanor had been his mother, a mother he kept at an emotional distance both in life and after death. He had never thought about the entire life she lived before him, a life of her own dreams and disappointments. And now, that ignorance haunted him.

So Freedman set out to discover the past, and Who She Was is the story of what he found. It is the story of a young woman's ambitions and yearnings, of the struggles of her impoverished immigrant parents, and of the ravages of the Great Depression, World War II, and the Holocaust.

It is also the story of a middle-aged son wracked with regret over the disregard he had shown as a teenage boy for a terminally ill mother, and as an adult incapable for decades of visiting her grave. It is the story of how he healed that wound by asking all the questions he had not asked when his mother was alive.

Whom did she love? Who broke her heart? What lifted her spirits? What crushed her hopes? What did she long to become? And did she get to become that woman in her brief time on earth?

Who She Was brings a compassionate yet unflinching eye to the American Jewish experience. It recaptures the working-class borough of the Bronx with its tenements and pushcarts, its union halls and storefront synagogues and rooftop-tar beaches. It remembers a time when husbands searched hundreds of miles for steady work and wives sent packages and prayers to their European relatives in the desperate hope they might survive the Nazis. In such a world, Eleanor Hatkin came of age, striving for education, for love, for a way out.

Researched as a history, written like a novel, Who She Was stands in the tradition of such classics as Call It Sleep and The Assistant. In bringing to life his mother, Samuel G. Freedman has given all readers a memorable heroine. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars When we reach the age when our first parent died ....
When we reach the age when our first parent died we have to come to a kind of realization that they didn't have any more than we're already had. Somewhere about then many of us start to reflect a bit on the life that that parent lived.

In my case it was a father who lived very poor in rural Arkansas.His father ... well this is not my family's story. It was later that I realized what he had gone through working in the hot Louisiana sun to give me a couple of college degrees.

I wish that I had the way with words Mr. Freedman has to put down the story of his mother's life. Indeed I'd like to have even researched my father's life as extensively as he has his mothers.

It was certainly a different life in the East Bronx than it was in the Arkansas Ozarks. I don't think better, or worse, just different. Mr. Freedman's grandmother had a major and not necessarily beneficial impact on his mother's life. My father's mother had died when he was six (childbirth).

Mr. Freedman has taken this story beyond just the story of one lady, it's a tale of the life of new immigrants living the Depression Era American Jewish experience. It's a good tribute to Eleanor Freeman. It's also a good tribute to Samuel Freedman.

He, like I, think of the casual cruelty we caused our parents. We'd like to go back and fix a few things, say a few things. But we can't. Instead, we smile and think of the things our kids have done, and we don't mind.

Mr. Freedman, your mother is, I think, looking down on you with pride, as I think my father is with me -- even though we know we don't deserve it. ... Read more

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