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101. Ponzi's Scheme : The True Story
$10.46 $6.49 list($13.95)
102. Couldn't Keep It to Myself: Testimonies
$10.88 $6.50 list($16.00)
103. Blue Blood
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104. Another Place at the Table
$16.47 $15.35 list($24.95)
105. Finding Mañana: A Memoir of a
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106. Before and After: Living and Eating
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107. The Private Passion of Jackie
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108. Even After All This Time : A Story
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109. Prozac Nation: Young and Depressed
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110. Learning to Fall : The Blessings
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111. Legends of Winter Hill : Cops,
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112. Angelina Jolie's: Notes from My
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113. Drinking : A Love Story
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114. A Year by the Sea: Thoughts of
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115. Florence Nightingale: Mystic,
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116. The Mind Tree: A Miraculous Child
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117. Brilliant Madness : Living with
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118. Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress
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119. I Love Everybody (and Other Atrocious
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120. Over the Edge of the World: Magellan's

101. Ponzi's Scheme : The True Story of a Financial Legend
by MITCHELL ZUCKOFF
list price: $25.95
our price: $17.13
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1400060397
Catlog: Book (2005-03-08)
Publisher: Random House
Sales Rank: 17368
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Best book I've read this year!
I needn't write a lengthy review as some of my fellowarmchair critics included here have done. I will only second what themajority of them have said. Even J. Edgar Hoover would have had a difficult time disliking this guy!. I'm sure if one had actually been there and suffered personal losses as too many did, he would see it much differently, but from the perspective of this author, Ponzi was a most likeable person and you can't help rooting for him, and poor loyal Rose) until the bitter end! Buy this book! You'll be glad you did.

5-0 out of 5 stars Engaging and Entertaining
In a very engaging account of the arguably the "best" financial scam (before Enron days atleast), Zuckoff narrates the fascinating story an Italian immigrant to the US and his seemingly unending tale of woe, charm, financial trickery - all combined! As the plot (even though this is an actual account of real events, it reads as if it were one of the best written thriller!) develops, one cannot but imagine if any other person could have survived the events Ponzi had to suffer through. Using a brilliant narrative technique, the author develops the main actors' roles in a systematic manner, most notably those of Charles Ponzi, his wife, and Gozier (publisher).

Each chapter also includes a reproduction of a relevant photograph obtained from the famed Post, Boston Library and other sources. Those pictures are so well chosen that they capture the essence of the ensuing chapter very well.

As can be expected from a professor of journalism, the book is well documented with plenty of detailed notes and bibliography for any serious reader.

It should be pointed out that the Epilogue should not be forgotten at all. The unravelling of the "plot" happens mostly in the epilogue and contains numerous twists and turns associated with the fascinating life of Charles Ponzi.

An excellent read, but make sure you have cleared out an entire day or weekend for it, because once you start reading it, you wont stop until you are at the last page!

5-0 out of 5 stars +++COULDN'T PUT IT DOWN!!!!!+++
LOVED this book.Zuckoff's account reads like a well-honed work of fiction, but, as he states in his notes on sources, "the truth was better than anything I could have invented."

The unexpected bonus was a marvelously interesting history of early 20th century Boston politics and newspapers.I grew up here and had heard tell of many of the names mentioned in the book, but never had them fully fleshed out.And of course, I now fully understand the meaning of the phrase, "Ponzi scheme."

Mr. Ponzi was a charming thief, and though he brought ruin through unethical means to countless people whose faith was terribly misplaced, Zuckoff understands that in order to "hate" a character, you have to care about him first.No good villian is 100 percent evil, otherwise, the reader has nothing invested his his tale except clean and simple revenge.In Zuckoff's hands, the verifiable facts of Ponzi's life and character bring to life a villian who adores and is faithful to his wife, loves his mother, literally gives the skin of his back to a stranger, and accumulates 15 million dollars in 10's from laborers and 100,000's from Brahmins and thinks, in the end, he can make good by literally robbing his own bank.

You couldn't make this stuff up, and lucky for us, Zuckoff didn't have to!

BRAVO!!!!

5-0 out of 5 stars The Friendly Thief
We've all heard of the Ponzi Scheme, what they referred to in that era as "robbing Peter to pay Paul".But this well researched book traces the tragic story of how Charles Ponzi came to America, what he did before the Ponzi scheme and what happened to him afterwards.It would make a great movie! Situated in Boston, he ran ads for great returns and when many middle class people invested, publicity soon followed with various members of the media warning that it was a scam.No common criminal, he took the press on and argued the opposite winning much public support.

It is a fascinating tale!The side story of the faithful wife who only wanted her husband at home without the money and the final outcome of their marriage is also heartwarming and tragic.

I like business biographies and this certainly qualifies although I wouldn't consider him the classic success story.This book offers so much more with detailed history of that time period and the roles regulators, politicians and media played in society at that time.And the story itself is charming in many ways.Charles Ponzi was a common man that on the surface became wealthy and everyone rooted for him.But it only lasted so long.If you have interest in finance you will like this book.If you have interest in the history of the early 1900s in this growing country you will be interested.If you like novels and good character growth I think this will also be of interest as it reads like a novel as he develops his scheme.

5-0 out of 5 stars The fascinating and entertaining story behind the term
We have all heard and used the term Ponzi Scheme, but almost none of us living today know the story that gave birth to the term.In this skilful and intelligent biography of Charles Ponzi, Mitchell Zuckoff shows us Ponzi's character flaws, his charisma, how he developed his scheme(s), and how the enemies he made brought him down.

Charles Ponzi was born Carlo Ponzi in 1882 in the town of Lugo, Italy.His family sacrificed to send him to a prestigious university where he fell in with rich kids whose lifestyle he enjoyed.In trying to keep with them he ended up having to leave school without finishing.His family sent him to America where the streets were paved with gold, so they told him.Of course, like most Italian immigrants of the time, he had hard times.However, hard work was distasteful to him.

This combination of a desire to live rich lifestyle combined with a disdain for hard work and an impatience to build wealth led him, predictably, to problems with the law.He was obsessed with get-rich-quick schemes.Then came the lightening bolt.In 1920, he saw an International Reply Coupon.These coupons were merely meant to provide prepaid return postage for international mail.Let's say I sent a vendor in a foreign country a contract.I could include the appropriate coupon so my vendor could return the signed contract at my expense.

Ponzi had about 1/3 of a good idea (noticing the mispricings between the currency exchange rates and the fixed priced coupons).He knew that there were mispricings in these coupons because of the currency devaluations in certain currencies after the Great War.So, all he had to do was buy coupons that were under priced, turn them into stamps, turn the stamps into cash, and he would have oceans of money!So, he plunged ahead without bothering to work out all the details in his scheme.But he needed cash to start the ball rolling.The solution was Ponzi notes.He offered 50% interest on your money in 45 - 90 days.He found the first few "investors" and when he paid on time, money began flowing in.Soon it was a torrent of cash.It wasn't long before Ponzi had an ocean of money; millions of dollars.He was big news and a hero to many.He developed a patter noting how he was making all this happen for the little guy because he didn't care about money whereas banks took all their profits for their shareholders.

Zuckoff writes a fascinating account of how Ponzi tried to find a way of going "legit" while he robbed Peter to pay Paul as he stalled for time.Unfortunately for Ponzi, his sudden and shocking success brought unwanted attention from government and media types including the Boston Post.It is kind of funny how things went bad for Ponzi because the people who were after him had less of a clue than he did (except for C.W. Barron - the financial writer).The author also shows us the one true thing in Ponzi's life, his love for his wife, Rose.

It is hard to feel too sorry for those ending up losing money in this scheme.They were also going after quick riches and even under the best of circumstances high return investments also have high risks of losing everything.Of course, Ponzi's scheme was no investment, and it was all risk.There was never much of a chance that it would ever do anything but crash.Although, I couldn't figure out why he didn't try gradually lowering his interest rate and extending the return period.It doesn't matter.Those after him were going to bring him down anyway.

The book takes us through the trials and jail terms.Ponzi's fame had made him too politically profitable to be left alone or punished only once.His life ends sadly as do the lives of a few of those who built their careers going after him.It seems to me this book would make a fabulous movie or mini-series.However, you would have to find just the right actor to pull off Ponzi's greatest assets: his confidence and charm.He was only five foot two so; the actor would also have to be short.

Anyway, this is a terrifically entertaining read and I recommend it. ... Read more


102. Couldn't Keep It to Myself: Testimonies from Our Imprisoned Sisters
by Wally Lamb, Carolyn Adams Goodwin
list price: $13.95
our price: $10.46
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 006059537X
Catlog: Book (2004-02)
Publisher: Regan Books
Sales Rank: 3426
Average Customer Review: 4.58 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In a stunning work of insight and hope, New York Times bestselling author Wally Lamb once again reveals his unmatched talent for finding humanity in the lost and lonely and celebrates the transforming power of the written word.

For several years, Lamb has taught writing to a group of women prisoners at York Correctional Institution in Connecticut. In this unforgettable collection, the women of York describe in their own words how they were imprisoned by abuse, rejection, and their own self-destructive impulses long before they entered the criminal justice system. Yet these are powerful stories of hope and healing, told by writers who have left victimhood behind.

In his moving introduction, Lamb describes the incredible journey of expression and self-awareness the women took through their writing and shares how they challenged him as a teacher and as a fellow author. Couldn't Keep It to Myself is a true testament to the process of finding oneself and working toward a better day.

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Reviews (31)

5-0 out of 5 stars close to home-literally
I live about fifteen minutes from York and work at a halfway house for drug addicted women trying to get their lives back on track and many of our clients come from this prison...point being I obviously could not wait to read this book. I was not disappointed-it is uplifting and heartwrenching- it teaches compassion and shows these are women are HUMAN BEINGS not just criminals. I am glad Mr. Lamb started this writing program at the prison and that despite the efforts of some to shut it down it continues to thrive. For those who didn't like the book I can only say that you must have a very closed heart to not find any connection with any of these women...should we feel sorry for them, forgive their crimes? No-but should we be able to show some some compassion for those that may have had less than "wonderful" lives? Yes! Not everyone can have as horrible a life as some of these women and then simply pull themselves up by there bootstraps and live a "normal", happy, problem free life! Another reviewer said that it was like reading essays written by kids in grade school or some such nonesense...one must remember when reading this book most-although certainly not all-of the women who were contributers did not complete school and have not had much in the way of formal education-compassion for others is a beautiful quality-may this book help us all to cultivate that trait a bit more in our daily existence.

5-0 out of 5 stars Captivating from the very first page!
Wally Lamb is an amazing writer. I purchased this book with a gut feeling that it would be special, and I wasn't disappointed. The individual stories of the women were touching, well written, and at the risk of sounding corny, truly inspirational. It was enlightening, educational and made me a believer in what Bonnie Foreshaw says several times throughout her story, "We are human beings first, inmates second". A highly recommended read for anyone, and if you are a fan of Wally Lamb, it will do nothing more than reinforce and further your love of his work.

3-0 out of 5 stars Ok read
I had to read the book for class and I thought that is was good but I wouldnt read it for anything other than class.

4-0 out of 5 stars Interesting but..
The book held my attention for the most part and I had it finished in 2 days. I have mixed emotions, however. My curiosity about the reality of prison life is what made me buy this book. This book portrayed prison life as a lot LESS harsh than I had imagined. In this book the prison seemed like a social club for wayward women. Being in prison seemed to actually improve the lives of some of them who had been used to harsh street life, abuse and a daily battle with society but now have three warm meals a day, shelter, clothing, social time, schooling and no responsibilities.

Nothing surprised me concerning the lives of these women. What happened to them was pretty typical in stories you hear of women in the system..child abuse both sexually and physically, neglect, lack of security, no financial stability, etc, etc. I found some of the stories to be monotonous because of this and got tired of how nearly every story went from their childhood to adulthood, childhood to adulthood..back and forth, back and forth..each one so similar. The stories..in my opinion...were very predictable and it doesn't help that you don't know why, specifically, some of these woman are in prison. You hear what drove them there socially and psychologically, but not the exact crime they committed..understandably hidden in some cases because of laws that have to be kept concerning writing about crimes, but these type of stories needed more of that information so you weren't left hanging. It doesn't tie together and flow..you are suddenly jerked to a stop at the end of each story wondering what on earth this person had done to land in jail. A brief excerpt at the end of each woman's story stated matter-of-factly why they were there but the story itself doesn't lead up to each crime..you don't understand what's going on. I kept reading partly because I thought it would pick up my interest the further I delved but that didn't happen. Sure, it has a few touching stories but I wasn't that impressed as a whole.

One thing that really bothered me is how nearly every woman was sexually abused as a child but it was almost spoken of lightly..the abuser wasn't turned in...nothing was done..almost like it's an accepted fact and a part of life. I found it deplorable that it was spoken of so generally and almost in an acceptable manner. All in all to sum it up in one sentence: it was a background on a bunch of women who had hard lives, like millions of us, but they went over the edge.

1-0 out of 5 stars Couldn't Keep It To Myself
Love Wally lamb...Hated this book! The intro was good (because it was written by Lamb) but the rest of the book read like a junior high school writting class project. I know Lamb wanted to dispel any rumors that prison is a fun place to spend a relaxing 10-12 but I believe he accomplished that in the intro without dragging us through chapter after chapter of abuse. (ours and theirs)

Sorry, I wouldn't recommend this to anyone. ... Read more


103. Blue Blood
by EdwardConlon
list price: $16.00
our price: $10.88
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1594480737
Catlog: Book (2005-04-05)
Publisher: Riverhead Trade
Sales Rank: 4382
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

As a Harvard graduate and regular writer for the New Yorker, Edward Conlon is a little different from most of his fellow New York City cops. And the stories he tells in his compelling memoir Blue Blood are miles away from the commonly told Hollywood-style police tales that are always action packed but rarely tethered to reality. While there is action here, there's also political hassle, the rich and often troubling history of a department not unfamiliar with corruption, and the day to day life of people charged with preserving order in America's largest city. Conlon's book is, in part, a memoir as he progresses from being a rookie cop working the beat at troubled housing projects to assignments in the narcotics division to eventually becoming a detective. But it's also the story of his family history within the enormous NYPD as well as the evolving role of the police force within the city. Conlon relates the controversies surrounding the somewhat familiar shoo! ting of Amadou Diallou and the abuse, at the hands of New York cops, of Abner Louima. But being a cop himself, Conlon lends insight and nuance to these issues that could not possibly be found in the newspapers.And as an outstanding writer, he draws the reader into that world. In the book's most remarkable passage, Conlon tells of the grim but necessary work done at the Fresh Kills landfill, sifting through the rubble and remains left in the wake of the World Trade Center attacks on 9/11 (a section originally published in The New Yorker). In many ways, Blue Blood comes to resemble the world of New York City law enforcement that Conlon describes: both are expansive, sprawling, multi-dimensional, and endlessly fascinating. And Conlon's writing is perfectly matched to his subject, always lively, keenly observant, and possessing a streetwise energy.--John Moe ... Read more

Reviews (80)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Captivating story
I do not regret that I bought this book. It is an interesting book. I like the author's style of writing and the police stories which I found exciting. I generally like cop stories and wasn't disappointed by this. If you ever want to know about the inner workings of New York City and the NYPD, then this and True Blue are recommended reads.Disciples of Fortune takes you into another setting and gives us an idea about the negative aspects of the police force out there.

5-0 out of 5 stars Spellbinding read....
It's so hard not to say, "fantastic first novel" because this work reads like ths best of good fiction.Knowing it's an autobiography only deepens the appeal.I look forward to more from Mr. Conlon as both his careers develop......

5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant writing; Fascinating story
When I heard that author Edward Conlon still serves in the NYPD, I was skeptical about whether he was really free to publish a truly candid account of life inside one of the nation's largest police departments. Yet, Detective Conlon does just that and more in a remarkably frank, funny, thoughtful and brilliantly written memoir.

Blue Blood stands out primarily because of Detective Conlon's sharp wit and humor. His vivid descriptions of the characters, customs and encounters that dominate a street cop's life had me laughing out loud. Likewise, his wry observations and amusing insights into the absurd aspects of NYPD bureaucracy (i.e., the petty bosses, the pervasive internal politics, the inane departmental regulations, etc.) made for entertaining fodder. In fact, Conlon's colorful writing and artful phrasing so impressed me that after finishing the CD/audio version of Blue Blood, I bought the paperback just so that I could re-read and highlight the exceptional prose.

Blue Blood also takes an absorbing, unvarnished look at the serious side of urban crime fighting including the tragic conditions that police routinely encounter, the ever-present dangers that confront officers in the line of duty, the devastating mistakes that can sometimes occur in high crime environments, and the flawed criminal justice procedures that too often fail to keep "perps" off the streets. What proves most interesting about this book, however, is that even in the face of such trials and frustrations, there is no sense of bitterness or defeat. Instead, Blue Blood paints an encouraging picture of policing. And in Conlon, you definitely see a good man who thoroughly believes in "the Job" and who relishes in carrying out his calling as a cop.

I absolutely loved Blue Blood. The book is lengthy (559 pages), but it is well worth the time. I highly recommend this amazing work.

2-0 out of 5 stars Blue Blood by Ed Conlon
Gets off to a roaring start: vivid, full of action, and surprisingly funny. Of course we'll never know if it was the author or his editors who made the fatal decision to pad the rest of the book with all sorts of family history and politically correct nonsense... and he never misses an opportunity to remind us how Progressive he is, a tedious quirk. And by the way, no romance whatsoever. Not a single flirtation. No sex. Nothing. Not one badge bunny throws herself at him! Maybe he wants a career in Leftist circles and refrained from saying anything too colorful. Leaves you with the impression he's a somewhat dreary character, like urban municipal buildings, pigeons, the subway, the color of cement, communism, etc.

3-0 out of 5 stars Great but Long!
A terrific memoir of Conlon's life and family history (his family history is the best part of the book).However, it could have stood to lose about 300 pages or so!A handful of stories would have more than sufficed. ... Read more


104. Another Place at the Table
by KathyHarrison
list price: $12.95
our price: $10.36
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1585422827
Catlog: Book (2004-05-24)
Publisher: Tarcher
Sales Rank: 84135
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The startling and ultimately uplifting narrative of one woman's thirteen-year experience as a foster parent.

For more than a decade, Kathy Harrison has sheltered a shifting cast of troubled youngsters-the offspring of prostitutes and addicts; the sons and daughters of abusers; and teenage parents who aren't equipped for parenthood. All this, in addition to raising her three biological sons and two adopted daughters. What would motivate someone to give herself over to constant, largely uncompensated chaos? For Harrison, the answer is easy.

Another Place at the Table is the story of life at our social services' front lines, centered on three children who, when they come together in Harrison's home, nearly destroy it. It is the frank first-person story of a woman whose compassionate best intentions for a child are sometimes all that stand between violence and redemption.
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Reviews (15)

5-0 out of 5 stars Another Place at the Table
Being a foster parent myself for almost four years, I know how difficult it can sometimes be to explain to others what my world is like.Kathy Harrison was right on the mark with this book.It was consistent, educational and emotional.It brought so many of the "zany" parts of foster parenting together and made it real for others.Kudos Kathy, I hope this book encourages many others to join us on the zany ride!

5-0 out of 5 stars The Family Table
This account of providing a home for children who were in dire need is heartwarming and encouraging.Many of the children who had a place at this table had parents who were in jail or were deemed legally unable to care for them.Each child came equipped with major emotional baggage.

The love and acceptance and diligent, dogged efforts on behalf of each child in this home have indeed raised the bar.Instead of being a stark and grim account akin to Dickens, this work instead is uplifting and hopeful.One can only feel that each child who found a place at this table was very fortunate indeed.

This is a book that belongs on our collective bookshelves; in our collective hearts and libraries.I cannot recommend this book highly enough.

5-0 out of 5 stars Good - and Tough
As an adoption worker/counselor, I work hard at learning studying about foster care and the issues that face "my" kids and parents. I'd heard good things about this book, and thought I'd give it a try. I had to stop halfway through. I spend all day dealing with the horrible things of foster care - the terrible abuse, the ridiculous beauracracy, the burnt-out workers, and Kathy did a fantastic job of capturing this world. So realistic a job I could hardly call it after-hours reading.
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone wanting to learn and know more about foster care.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Must-Read for All Prospective Foster Parents
This book should be mandatory reading for anyone interested in becoming a foster parent.Having been a social worker in the foster care system for many years, I appreciate Kathy's frank presentation of some of the most difficult issues that any foster parent may face.Some people go into fostering with a rosy picture of helping an innocent, angelic child, and those people are setting themselves up to fail.Kathy presents a realistic picture of the ups and downs of fostering, the good and the bad, that is definitely not for the faint of heart but is a true depiction of the feelings and constitution that it takes to bring wounded children into your home. I couldn't put it down.

4-0 out of 5 stars A good description of the foster care system
This book is an excellent book on what the foster care system in this country is really like.It is written by someone who was been a foster parent and has seen the ins and outs first hand.She is very straightforward and honest about the foster care system and does not sugar-coat anything.She talks about the shortcomings of being a foster parent, such as the stigma attached to foster parents, the low pay, being on-call 24-7, kids getting sent back to abusive families, getting attached to a child, only to have to say goodbye, having to protect your family from the more dangerous foster kids, etc.

I really liked how she talked about the different foster kids and the descriptions of their backgrounds that brought them to foster care in the first place.

Some parts of the book were difficult to read because of some of the difficult and painful situations that some of the kids were in.But I would highly recommend this book to someone who is considering being a foster parent. ... Read more


105. Finding Mañana: A Memoir of a Cuban Exodus
by MirtaOjito
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1594200416
Catlog: Book (2005-04-07)
Publisher: Penguin Press HC, The
Sales Rank: 13260
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Finding Mañana is a vibrant, moving memoir of one family's life in Cuba and their wrenching departure. Mirta Ojito was born in Havana and raised there until the unprecedented events of the Mariel boatlift brought her to Miami, one teenager among more than a hundred thousand fellow refugees. Now a reporter for The New York Times, Ojito goes back to reckon with her past and to find the people who set this exodus in motion and brought her to her new home. She tells their stories and hers in superb and poignant detail-chronicling both individual lives and a major historical event.

Growing up, Ojito was eager to excel and fit in, but her parents'-and eventually her own-incomplete devotion to the revolution held her back. As a schoolgirl, she yearned to join Castro's Young Pioneers, but as a teenager in the 1970s, when she understood the darker side of the Cuban revolution and learned more about life in el norte from relatives living abroad, she began to wonder if she and her parents would be safer and happier elsewhere. By the time Castro announced that he was opening Cuba's borders for those who wanted to leave, she was ready to go; her parents were more than ready: They had been waiting for this opportunity since they married, twenty years before.

Finding Mañana gives us Ojito's own story, with all of the determination and intelligence-and the will to confront darkness-that carried her through the boatlift and made her a prizewinning journalist. Putting her reporting skills to work on the events closest to her heart, she finds the boatlift's key players twenty-five years later, from the exiles who negotiated with Castro to the Vietnam vet on whose boat, Mañana, she finally crossed the treacherous Florida Strait. Finding Mañana is the engrossing and enduring story of a family caught in the midst of the tumultuous politics of the twentieth century.

On the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Mariel boatlift, a Pulitzer Prize winner's extraordinary memoir of her childhood in Cuba and her historic journey to America
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Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the Best in a Long Time, and We Read Them All!
This is definitely the best Cuban memoir book of the year!If you liked "Waiting for Snow in Havana," you'll also love Mirta and her great story.The writing in this book is excellent.Her chronicle of the exodus from Mariel was of particular interest to Jorge, as he shares some of the same memories.This book gets THREE THUMBS UP -- the ultimate Three Guys From Miami seal of approval!

Best to you Mirta!

Three Guys From Miami
(Authors of the book, "Three Guys From Miami Cook Cuban.")


5-0 out of 5 stars Finding Manana: A Memoir of a Cuban Exodus
Finding Manana is a page turner I could hardly set down.I was a television reporter in Miami during the Mariel Boatlift.I was in Key West every week covering the plight of the refugees and the politics that created the situation.I followed the first group of Cubans to their tent city in Lima, Peru.I thought I knew this story inside out but Mirta Ojito has filled in many gaps.I read the book to my teenage children who were shocked and amazed by this piece of history.This book is a gem and should be read by anyone interested in Cuba, Cubans or just the remarkable story of a young girl.

5-0 out of 5 stars A MUST READ FOR ALL
Mirta has been able to capture the essence of what is was like growing up in Communist Cuba, the painful episode of the Peruvian Embassy and subsequently, the Mariel boatlift. With no false pretenses, and in the most elocuent, objective and descriptive style, Mirta, ever the accurate reporter, is able to convey and transfer the facts alongside her feelings. Kudos to Ms.Ojito. This book is a must read for all generations of Cubans and for those interested in our own pursuit of Freedom. Carlos L. Eguaras Miami FL

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Read
I read the final chapters of this book in flight from Miami to Havana. I could not put this book down. I absolutely loved every word. Thanks.

5-0 out of 5 stars a rare success in historical writing
Mirta Ojito attempts a very unusual kind of history-writing and pulls it off to an uncommonly successful degree. Cuba under Castro is a difficult, contentious subject. Many journalists have lost their bearings and produced works that are superficial at best and self-absorbed at worst. Ojito herself took part in the Mariel exodus and treats her own experience in a manner that's dignified as well as personable. In addition, she analyzes the events and provides a genuine historical context. Ojito's dual approach to history avoids the pitfalls of first-person journalism and is replete with insights that will stand the test of time. ... Read more


106. Before and After: Living and Eating Well After Weight Loss Surgery
by Susan Maria Leach
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060567228
Catlog: Book (2004-05-01)
Publisher: Morrow Cookbooks
Sales Rank: 20312
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

At 278 pounds, Susan Maria Leach couldn't fit into a roller coaster seat, couldn't tie a bathrobe around herself, couldn't even ride with her husband on the back of his Harley. Enough was enough. Susan underwent gastric bypass weight loss surgery. Now Susan weighs in at a mere 135 pounds. Her book, Before & After, is the story of her incredible journey from being too big to enjoy her life, to being able to truly enjoy life to its fullest.

Now Susan can fit into that roller coaster seat, completely tie that robe, and ride on the back of her husband's Harley.

More than one hundred thousand people had weight loss surgery in 2003, and as those pounds continue to drop, the number of people opting for the surgery continues to rise.

Part memoir and part cookbook, Before & After includes a foreword by Susan's surgeon, comments from a nutritionist, and a section on frequently asked questions. It is an intimate account of Susan's own transformation, as well as a universal guide for those who have undergone or are considering the procedure.

After her own success, Susan participated in support groups for weight loss surgery patients. There, she discovered that people had as many questions about life after surgery as they had about the operation itself. Before & After answers those questions and many more. An accomplished home cook and longtime culinary enthusiast, Susan quickly became known as the "lady with the recipes."

Determined not to give up good food and a flexible lifestyle, Susan worked hard to develop recipes that meet her nutritional requirements, yet are delicious and satisfying for her, her family, and her guests. The 100 recipes -- which include everything from Roasted Salmon with Mango Salsa and Italian Meatballs to Belgian Chocolate Cheesecake and Lemon Meringue Pie -- make about four servings, but each comes with a measured serving for WLS people along with a calorie/carb/fat/protein count. Susan has recipes for every step of the way, from tastes-like-the-real-thing milk shakes for those first post-op days to an entire Thanksgiving menu.

Before & After is a journal of Susan's own inspirational story, where she shares her ups and downs, her tips and techniques, but mostly it's a book about hope for anyone who has a serious weight problem. ... Read more

Reviews (30)

5-0 out of 5 stars Magnificent Fair
This book is absolutely wonderful. Susan Maria's story is inspiring and true to her heart. She is a wonderful example of someone who has put their mind over matter and made a difference in the lives of the pre op person and especially the post op person. The recipes in the book look amazing. I haven't tried any yet but only because I just got the book and haven't had time. But I have tried recipes from her website bariatric eating.com in the past and those have always been delicious and quick. The book is top notch as is Susan Maria. Two thumbs UP!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Wow, just what I needed!!!
This was exactly what I needed to read after my operation. This book gives hope to people having RNY that food can still be something that we can look forward to and still enjoy post-op. The chapters on pureed and soft foods and shakes are perfect for the early stage that I'm in.
I found that there were simple recipes as well as fancy recipes. They all sound wonderful and the ones I've tried so far have been incredible. Thank you Susan Maria!!!

5-0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed this book cover to cover!
This is an excellent book for pre or post ops. I loved reading of Susan Maria's escapades while she lost her weight. She writes about going to parties, on vacations and out to dinner. I understood her reasoning behind her food choices and can make better choices on my own because of her examples. Every recipe has come out perfect and has been delicious. My favorite is SF banana bread using banana protein powder in place of flour. There are several people who are visciously attacking Susan Maria on some of the MSN message boards, and some of the one star reviews reflect a joint effort to undermine her. Dont let these bitter people talk you out of buying this wonderful book that will help you greatly in your post op life. I hope that some of the bad reviewers get the psychological help they need. To launch a personal attack on a writer because "you are smaller than they are" is juvenile. Susan Maria always speaks highly of Carnie Wilson, and if you actually read Before & After you would know this. A great read!

1-0 out of 5 stars Before and After: Living and Eating Well After WLS
I was more like a journal of her experience w/ wls in the ~1st 60
pages... (perhaps if I read preop would of been more excited???) it is 1/2 recipes pages pp93-244 Q&A pp61-92 and should be a cookbook not WLS book (IMHO)...I guess with almost 2 yrs under my belt and being on 15 ossg-yahoo boards or more it didnt give meanything "new"...Dont get me wrong it isnt bad it just didnt add to my research/knowledge! My 2 cents..(*I wish I had saved the $17!!!)

1-0 out of 5 stars Not worth the money!
This book was like an infomercial selling her vitamins. Wow if this is all it takes to make money, I'm going to write a book too and make millions. Nice try Susan Maria. As preachy as she is on OH and always slamming the wonderful Carnie Wilson, she really needs to follow her own advice and there is no way she weighs 135 Lbs. I met her and I can vouch for that. I just wish people who have had WLS can be honest about how much weight they are really losing and keeping off. I had WLS and I am smaller than she is and weigh 135 Lbs. ... Read more


107. The Private Passion of Jackie Kennedy Onassis : Portrait of a Rider
by Vicky Moon
list price: $44.95
our price: $29.67
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060524111
Catlog: Book (2005-05-01)
Publisher: Regan Books
Sales Rank: 56501
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108. Even After All This Time : A Story of Love, Revolution, and Leaving Iran
by Afschineh Latifi
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060745339
Catlog: Book (2005-04-01)
Publisher: Regan Books
Sales Rank: 15896
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Story with Several Lessons
I see this book as two or perhaps three in one.

On the one hand it is the story of a family torn apart by the execution of the father (convicted of commiting murder on the day he was in a hospital far away). The author was a young girl of ten at that time. This is the story of her life after her fathers arrest and execution. Obviously well to do at the time, the two daughters were sent to school in Austria, and finally to an uncle in America.

As part of this, I am reminded that when people move to the United States, they often become the best, most capable citizens we have. In this family of four children there are two doctors and two lawyers. Often, usually, the people who leave a country are the best people that that country has. Our country is benefitted by their being here.

Finally, this is the story of how an Islamic government moving into power. At one time the author's mother is showing hospital records to the jailer, and is told that it doesn't matter what proof she has, the decision stands and he will be executed. Not too different, I guess, than the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, but a pretty rough way to life. And this is what people say they want???

1-0 out of 5 stars Little Princess Cries,....... Again!
Cheio de Gases must be addicted to fiction and romance novels! He/she certainly lacks appreciation for and understanding of history. It appears to me that Az Kayhan, the other reviewer, hits it on the nose: This book is yet another sob story written by a former little princess who can't be one anymore. Read it as fiction and you'll be fine. Placing any significant amount of factual value on it is like taking the National Inquirer as a legitimate source of news.
Unfortunately, this is yet another book in a series of a dozen or so which very similarly chronicle the life story of children who were forced to leave Iran when the revolution hit and are now grown up to write their own "memoirs" with amazing recollection of the events of 26 years ago, when they were mere children. How detailed and accurate are our recollections of our childhoods? Fiction it is, fine literary work? I'm afraid it it is not.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Blame Game
Another reviewer savagely and unfairly attacks this quietly powerful book by saying that everyone suffered in the Iranian revolution and therefore the book author must learn to deal with her tragedy.Strangely, this bitter reviewer does not mention that the author's father was executed and that this regime is by far more cruel and inhumane than what the Shah was ever even accused of being. The reviewer's bizarre obsession with the CIA-supported coup in the 1950's shows an unhealthy complex of reality avoidance.Get over it--what happened 50 years ago has little to do with Mullah's trampling of human rights today.Talk about weird nostalgia--if one were to accept the reviewer's tortured argument, then every execution in Iran is preceded by a salute to Mossadegh's unattractive portrait.

The simple reality is that political simpletons such as the CIA-obsessed reviewer were naive participants in a revolution that succeeded in killing innocent Iranians, and destroying a generation of hopes with war, religious fanaticism and repression. Now that the simpletons have seen their mistake, they revert to the old favorite of blaming the CIA!You might as well blame the Mongols too---no one ever fully recovered from their rampage and they were possibly under the direct control of the CIA Ulan Bator station.

This book is a personal story with facts that are sadly so true. Let the author tell her story in dignity and give her the respect that she has earned.Her tragic history in Iran is no less real than what she ways.

1-0 out of 5 stars Pretentious, Counter-productive nagging and nostalgia
Another book added to the slew offemale Iranian exile Fifth Generation bleeding heart nostalgic over the "lost glory" books of the same genre that have sprouted like mushrooms in the last 5 years or so.Which begs the question:Who is encouraging and supporting these mostly women exiled "writers" to write these mostly fictional accounts and "auto-biographies"?These books are basically a written transcript of a Persian tea visit to a friend:full of delusional and vague memories, gossip, and exaggerations.
The photo album is cracked open and published, and the authors who are still "after all this time" still suffering from the "Persian Privileged Princess Syndrome" are culturally frustrated and emotionally depressed for having to live outside Iran are reaching out to the public as their potential therapists or saviors.Like all people who are confused about their identity living outside the land they grew up in as kids and teenagers, only worse!

These so-called authors are women who were teenagers in the 60s and 70s under the Shah's regime, and who were (and are) mostly brats from privileged and affluent families who consumed the cream off the top of the food chain in Iran and lived really nice lives even with American standards.Now they have lost it all and are like lost Persian kittens in a land they feel estranged in culturally.So, they regurgitate "old glory" stories.The truth is that most of those sweet juvenile memories are exaggerated.Furthermore, for most Iranian people who lived under the old Shah's un-Democratic and Dictatorial regime deprived and persecuted, and without any nuance of social or political freedoms, these books sound hollow, indeed.

The Shah was put back in power in 1953 via a CIA coup d'etats which overthrew the Democratic nationalist government of Dr. Mossadegh, and replaced him with the ruthless General Zahedi who was on the CIA payroll.And so began the un-popular and un-Democratic regime these writers fret over with such longing and pain in their books.None of these books mention these historic truths.None mention SAVAK, the Shah's secret political police, who arrested and killed many free-thinkers and students in the 60s and the 70s.Instead, the authors choose only to depict the pretty, sweet tea parties of their cushiony past that they choose to remember.

Tens of thousands of people lost their lives in the 1979 uprising to correct that historic faux pas committed by US and Britain intelligence services.It was a reaction by a frustrated people who were deprived of the most fundamental freedoms, and deeply resented the foreign-installed monarchy and the atmosphere of fear, corruption, persecution, and social injustice that was created later.Not all who lost their lives were officers in Shah's army.Soldiers accept certain risks when they become soldiers.That is what happens in Revolutions, people die.And Revolutions happen because there is injustice, or at least perceived injustice.The original intent of that uprising was to regain the social justice and freedoms lost under the Shah.But since the Shah and his SAVAK had all but destroyed all viable Democratic opposition in Iran, the mantra of the Revolution was snatched and its path derailed, distorting a genuine movement into a totalitarian theocracy.So does that mean that anyone who was part of the illegitimate rule of the Shah has anything to be proud of now?History has been, and will continue to be the judge of that.But one thing is for certain: no amount of "how sweet it was" tales by Persian Marie Antoinette "Wanna Be"s can alter that judgment.

Besides, there is hardly any Iranian family who was not adversely affected during those times, and even to this day.Iranian ex-patriot hard luck stories are dime a dozen.Everyone has one, but most who were affected do not claim any special mantra because of that loss, nor do they write books to gain financially from that loss, and nor live in the relative comfort, wealth, and social status that most of these women authors writing these kinds of books enjoy outside of Iran.

Feminism is good when it talks about gaining expanded and equal rights for women, but when it becomes a tool for self-propagation, self-righteousness, buying vindication due to real or imaginary loss, or trying to legitimize or create sympathy for an illegitimate and corrupt regime, it becomes pure non-sense.

For effective and Democratic changes to take place anywhere, we should all first stop nagging and crying over the fake Garden of Eden that we think we had.To be effective for creating a Democracy again, we must first and foremost have a vision of history, something that these dreamy and mystified so-called authors sorely lack.We must also be forward-looking and hopeful, instead of being reactionary dreamers of the past.And most of all, please, no moroseness, fretting, sulking, or sad violin playing, and no hiding behind the shield of being a woman from a country where women are oppressed.And one more thing: keep your family photo album to yourselves (That's why they call it "family" album), we all have "look what I was" pictures from our past, no one is impressed.And guess what:no one cares.
As a famous contemporary Persian poet said in a poem:" there is nothing in the past but a dusty, old window shutter".

5-0 out of 5 stars A MUST-READ!OPRAH'SLIST should include this Best Seller!
Afschineh Latifi's touching tribute to her loving, devoted parents touched me in so many ways.I could not put it down.Ms. Latifi is a terrific role model who demonstrates that the power of strong morals beliefs, high personal goals, perseverance and family values can lead not only to professional success but also to inner peace.

The true saga of a young father's execution by barbaric terrorists a mere 25 years ago was very tragic, especially when heard through the voice of the victim's young daughter.The story continues with tales of two innocent little girls who were thrust into the world to fend for themselves without the guidance of a mother or father for many of their formative years.

While reading the book I found myself crying one moment and laughing the next. The author's frankness in sharing the experiences and inner thoughts of a child growing into her own were honest, pure, and often hysterical!

"The wife and daughters of a soldier," as they proudly refer to themselves, Afschineh, her sister, Afsaneh, and their mother, Fatemeh, did what was required to provide for their family through very difficult times. They overcame great obstacles and persevered together to achieve great success in their lives emotionally and professionally.An impressive collection of family photos dispersed throughout the book makes their life story really come to life.I found this book to be extremely inspirational and I would recommend it to anyone, including my 4 children.

... Read more


109. Prozac Nation: Young and Depressed in America : A Memoir
by Elizabeth Wurtzel, Riverhead Books
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1573225126
Catlog: Book (1997-09-01)
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Sales Rank: 7284
Average Customer Review: 3.89 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (266)

5-0 out of 5 stars This book practically saved my life.
Reading Wurtzel's book is like having a friend's shoulder to cry on. ...More therapeutic than psychotherapy, and a helluva lot cheaper. Thank you, Elizabeth Wurtzel, for so eloquently and wittily putting this oft-misunderstood pain in such sharply written focus. Depression can be unimaginably debilitating, yet Wurtzel still lets us laugh a bit, at her own expense - and that sure cuts through a lot of the loneliness and despair that permeates the life of a Depression sufferer. Just knowing that someone else is able to help you "vocalize" the agony is a comfort, and Wurtzel speaks for many of us in this brutally honest memoir. If you suffer from Depression and are having difficulty explaining its power over your life to your loved ones, make them read this book. "Here! THIS is my pain." Insightful, revealing, funny, tragic and, most of all, a godsend to folks like me. I'm gonna give Wurtzel a big hug if I ever meet her. Apparently actress Christina Ricci has optioned the film rights to this book and plans to make a movie from it. But don't wait for the movie. Buy the book for yourself or for someone who needs to learn about how deadly Depression can be.

4-0 out of 5 stars necessary read for those afflicted
Unless you are afflicted with depression or know somebody afflicted with depression, you may see Wurtzel as a whining young woman. After reading some of these reviews, that is the vibe I get. What Wurtzel does is gives you the view of a depressed individual through the eyes of a depressed individual, not through the empirical eyes of some therapist, nor a third person account. What Wurtzel writes is real, what one does under depression may not be rational, nor does it always make sense, but for whatever reason they happen. Maybe if I, or Wurtzel did not have such conditions then we would be seen as "normal" people that do not "whine," or "complain," or handle things ratitionally. After reading this book, it made me feel better to know that depression is a real thing, and that here was another young woman dealing with it too. Perhaps Wurtzel did not act lady-like enough (e.g. when she celebrates her deflowering) for those who criticize her account. If you are diagnosed with any type of depression, bipolar disorder, or are involved with anyone, or friends of anyone with such disorders, please read this book. It will give you a greater insight into what is going on through their head. Maybe you and your relationships will benefit from it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Somewhat Been There; Somewhat Done That
No one, not even for a single instant, can look out at the world through the eyes of someone else's mind. Yet, Wurtzel tries to bring us into hers and show us what it's like to view the world from a mind suffering from hereditary (probably manic-)depression. And since she is trying to show us what it's like INSIDE her mind, is it any wonder that her mostly stream-of-consciousness narrative tends to be self-centered? Who of us in the privacy of our minds is NOT self-centered? After all, we are all fated to be only ourselves 24/7 for our entire lives. And constantly suffering, as Wurtzel does from severe bouts of depression, interspersed with irrational frenzies, is it any wonder that Wurtzel does NOT seem to notice the affects her behavior is having on those close to her, such as her mother? (Yet Wurtzel still dedicates her book, "For my mom, lovingly.")

The hardcover edition of this book came out in 1995. Some of us love it; some of us hate it; some of us don't know what to make of it. But at 269 reader reviews and still counting on this Web page alone, it looks like this book is going to keep disturbing us for quite some time in the future -- particularly now that it's been made into a movie.

I understand approximately ten percent of us suffer from some form of chronic depression, including me -- not to anywhere near the extent Wurtzel does, but enough to understand where she's coming from. Why doesn't she act like a "normal" person? Because she can't understand the mind of a "normal" person anymore than a "normal" person can understand hers. If she could change her mind to that of a "normal" person, don't you think she would? Indeed, isn't that her motive for taking Prozac in the first place?

And since we're dealing with a person's mind here, not a novel, I think it is precisely this inability for any of us to truly be able to occupy another person's mind that is leading to all the controversy. No, this read is not particularly fun, but then neither is being a manic-depressive. Yes, it's often repetitive and at times boring, but so is life. And she does try to give us a bit of humor mixed in with all her problems

Although I recommend this book for everyone due to the insights it can give on how some of us look out at the world, I particularly recommend it for those gnormalh people, such as Wurtzelfs mother, who find themselves either having to bring up, or married to, or have some other such close relationship to someone suffering from depression. Note that the hardest part of her entire day is simply getting out of bed. Note how her mind is stuck in overdrive and almost out of control. Note that while she is just barely functional, she wishes at times she could cross over the line into sheer insanity, be institutionalized, and be done with it. Note the sudden flashes of fear for no reason. And note the state of her mind when she tries to gescapeh from all her problems (from herself, really) by suddenly flying off to a London she has never been to -- and discovers immediately, of course, that shefs just put herself in an even worse situation. Yeah, I can understand where all this is coming from; and a gnormalh person after reading this book will at least gain a better idea.

Ironically, my only disappointment about this book is its misleading title. It is NOT about Prozac since she doesnft start taking it until the end of the main book. It IS about being gYoung and Depressed in Americah. But I had hoped to find out more about this supposed wonder drug and what it feels like to be on it. Interestingly, though, in the Epilogue written some eight years later, she writes that while the Prozac did seems to help her sudden mood swings, after several years on it, her old problems started creeping up on her again. Drugs can help people like her, but not cure them. She is stuck with being herself for the rest of her life. Just like the rest of us. For better or for worse.

2-0 out of 5 stars SO many things wrong; where should I start?
I had many problems with this book. First of all, true depression affects every aspect of your life. It isn't something that you can conveniently set aside when you have to work hard enough to get into Harvard. It's something that ruins your productivity to the point where you couldn't possibly dream of getting into Harvard. Her academic success made me very suspicious about the seriousness of her mental ailments. Second, what's with the now cliche "woke up this morning afraid I was gonna live" line? Doesn't anyone else realize how much of an exaggeration that is based solely on the fact that she continued to live anyway? If her fear of living was as overtaking as she claims it was, she would have killed herself (or at least tried). This brings me to another issue -- her supposed "suicide attempt" that was clearly nothing but a childish ploy for attention. It reminded me of the time when I swallowed 80 sleeping pills at age thirteen to try and scare my parents, er, excuse me, "kill myself," except that Wurtzel was an adult when she did it. Unlike me, she doesn't even have the "I was an idiot thirteen year old" excuse.

Repeated misuse of semicolons aside, my biggest problem with her writing itself was her overuse of metaphors. Rather than just writing "I pushed myself out of bed," she writes "I pushed myself out of bed like a tape ejecting from a player." Sure, on its own it doesn't sound very annoying, but imagine that preceded by five other equally unnecessary metaphors...on the same page. Aren't metaphors supposed to be use to help explain something that isn't easy to understand? Does Wurtzel really think we need help understanding "I pushed myself out of bed"? To me, that many useless metaphors implies that the reader is stupid. Then again, she could have just been doing it to take up space, since the repetitiveness of her writing shows that she really never had much to say and could have condensed the whole thing into 50 pages.

In her after word, Wurtzel responds to people telling her they found the book angering to read by saying "good," because forcing them to feel the frustration felt by those who deal with depressives was "what [she] set out to do." I'd buy that statement if she hadn't said shortly before it that she doesn't really know why she wrote the book. Which one is it, Lizzie? Did you start writing with a goal in mind, or did you just want to put your dramatic life on display for everyone to ooh and aah over? Methinks it's the latter, and that the former is just a way to get out of admitting that some find her book angering or annoying not because they're supposed to, but because from some people's perspective, the book and the author both just suck.

One final thing -- What's with people calling the book "funny"? I didn't laugh once throughout the entire thing. I don't think I could even find something that was MEANT to be funny. At least I borrowed this book from a friend rather than wasting money on it.

5-0 out of 5 stars A new favorite
I thought this book was beautiful and touching and have no doubt that I will pick it up and read it again sometime very soon. However, I am not surprised that many readers found this book to be somewhat tedious or immature, or that they had difficulty identifying with the author.

As someone who has been through depression, I related to this book on so many levels. The feelings expressed and the thought processes were so familiar that I often found myself thinking about things in my life that I had tried to desperately to forget. I am someone from the same area, someone who has been to the same hospitals, someone who has felt and done the same types of things. Now, I am about to graduate from law school and am excited about the future. My journey to this point has been long and arduous, as I am sure the author's will continue to be.

For readers who have never felt the way the author has felt, I can understand their lack of ability to relate. However, to call what she is feeling immature or whiney is a close-minded view that I think you all should be somewhat ashamed of. Yes, many of these events happened when the author was young, respectively, but I think that it takes a certain amount of age and experience to understand why you feel the way you feel and to put it into proper perspective. To the readers who did not enjoy the book: I think you need to wake up and understand the realities of the world. Not understanding this book or enjoying it shows me that you still cannot grasp the idea that someone can be depressed, for a long time, for no particlar reason. Shame on you.

This book was a very quick read, with beautiful language. The author articulates feelings that so many of us have felt but been unable to express. Prozac Nation is definitely one of my new favorite books. ... Read more


110. Learning to Fall : The Blessings of an Imperfect Life
by PHILIP SIMMONS
list price: $12.95
our price: $10.36
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 055338158X
Catlog: Book (2003-04-29)
Publisher: Bantam
Sales Rank: 26042
Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Now I find myself in late August, with the nights cool and the crickets thick in the fields. Already the first blighted leaves glow scarlet on the red maples. It’s a season of fullness and sweet longings made sweeter now by the fact that I can’t be sure I’ll see this time of the year again....
— from Learning to Fall

Philip Simmons was just thirty-five years old in 1993 when he learned that he had ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, and was told he had less than five years to live. As a young husband and father, and at the start of a promising literary career, he suddenly had to learn the art of dying. Nine years later, he has succeeded, against the odds, in learning the art of living.

Now, in this surprisingly joyous and spirit-renewing book, he chronicles his search for peace and his deepening relationship with the mystery of everyday life.

Set amid the rugged New Hampshire mountains he once climbed, and filled with the bustle of family life against the quiet progression of illness, Learning to Fall illuminates the journey we all must take — “the work of learning to live richly in the face of loss.”

From our first faltering steps, Simmons says, we may fall into disappointment or grief, fall into or out of love, fall from youth or health. And though we have little choice as to the timing or means of our descent, we may, as he affirms, “fall with grace, to grace.”

With humor, hard-earned wisdom and a keen eye for life’s lessons — whether drawn from great poetry or visits to the town dump — Simmons shares his discovery that even at times of great sorrow we may find profound freedom. And by sharing the wonder of his daily life, he offers us the gift of connecting more deeply and joyously with our own.


From the Hardcover edition.
... Read more

Reviews (15)

5-0 out of 5 stars Learning to Fall -- Spiritual Handbook for Mortals
This book is what every post-modern spiritual seeker is after -- a humane, down-to-earth exploration of the essence of soul, as seen from inside a full, thoughtful, suffering and joyful life. There are lots of references to spiritual "authorities," from Buddha to Emerson, but these just serve to ground the stories and insights. The author himself speaks with such gentle and frank authority that really nothing from outside is needed.

What is special about this book is Simmons' own experience of illness -- he has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease -- and how he has found his way through despair to redemption. Without resorting to any religious "teaching," Simmons still manages to achieve what he calls the chief function of religion: to explore "the harrowing business of rescuing joy from heartbreak."

5-0 out of 5 stars Learning the blessings
After receiving suggestions to read this book, I waited almost a year to do so. Knowing the author's illness, I felt some trepidation about diving into something ripe with sadness. But anyone considering this book should know that the book really is a blessing. Because it's not sad. In fact, at moments, it's hilariously funny. The stories and ruminations about life (and sometimes death), told by a man who has as much cheer as he does courage (abundant!) lifted my spirits as much as made me see the humor and beauty in the everyday world. Terrific book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Uplifting
Although this book was about the devastating disease ALS, I found it uplifting because the author had such a positive outlook and an acceptance of the situation due to his belief in God. It is hard to have hope in a hopeless situation and ALS is a hopeless situation.

I became a part of Mr. Simmons' life while reading this book because he lets us into his everyday life and not only his thoughts but also those of his wife and young family. He truly touched my heart. He teaches us all how to fall.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Painful, Exceptable Fall
There are no coincidences in life! I found this book by accident at a time when I was wondering why I was living and if I should continue. I read this book and realized that suffering is what life is about and once we come to accept and internalize it, it's not so bad. Philip truly made me humble before him and I thank him for sharing his deepest thoughts with the world at a most difficult time. He took his pain and turned it around to help others - there is nothing better! He writes with humor and with sensitivity about a subject none of us wants to face but a subject we will all confront eventually. I am a Hospice Volunteer and realize how fleeting life can be. Philip showed me that my work is what makes sense of the suffering. This is an inspirational, uplifting piece of literature without being too "GOD" oriented. If you're questioning life, this book is for you.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Timeless Legacy & Oasis
During a very dark time in my life, I happened to pick up this book, sarcastically thinking that it was going to be a positive thinking fluff ball of well-intentioned writing, but I thought I could use it anyway. Thank heavens my temporary cynicism did not deter me from one of the greatest gifts ever to be in print! This book is a spiritual power tool for anyone coping with loss, a candle lit by a stranger in our stormiest nights. This book looks death in the face with the quiet rage of a human being and the grace of a sage- and offers a bridge over the roughest waters of our lives. God bless you, Mr. Simmons for your hard-earned wisdom and generosity of spirit. May your journey lead to all of the riches you've given us in this book and this life. Just knowing someone has been there has meant meant everything. You have given us a legacy that will last a long, long time. I pity those indifferent souls who find no other better thing to do with their idle lives and self-righteous overblown intellects than to criticize this literary jewel. For the "urban fella" below, you have a long way to go, buddy... and a very hard fall. Only then will you know the value of this book and this man's experience. Marlene' M. Druhan- Author (Naked Soul, Llewellyn 1998) ... Read more


111. Legends of Winter Hill : Cops, Con Men, and Joe McCain, the Last Real Detective
by Jay Atkinson
list price: $24.00
our price: $16.32
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1400050758
Catlog: Book (2005-03-15)
Publisher: Crown
Sales Rank: 42643
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Flavorful, fast-paced and entertaining
Okay, the title is a bit much.But I enjoyed this book tremendously.Some of the criticisms point to the elements I liked best.The routine cases, how they were approached, and the results were a revelation to someone who has no real idea of police work except what I've seen on "Cops" (constant action and crisis!).There was a new story on every page, and I wound up reading until 1 a.m. on a work day because I just couldn't help reading "one more page".The descriptions of the surroundings, the characters, the sounds and smells of the settings, conjured up a real sense of being there.I was fascinated by the character faults and virtues of the people in the book, as Atkinson tried to remain true to McCain's philosophy that most people aren't entirely good or bad.As a resident of the area, I finally understand the gang wars that were taking place when I was growing up (I remember the old Boston Record American newpaper with the crime scene photos splashed across the front).I HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone who lives in the Northeast, and to others who'd like a glimpse into how Boston politics are practiced in every profession! ... Read more


112. Angelina Jolie's: Notes from My Travels
by Angelina Jolie
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743470230
Catlog: Book (2003-10-01)
Publisher: Pocket
Sales Rank: 11107
Average Customer Review: 4.81 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Three years ago, award-winning actress Angelina Jolie took on a radically different role as a Goodwill Ambassador for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Here are her memoirs from her journeys to Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Pakistan, Cambodia, and Ecuador, where she lived and worked and gave her heart to those who suffer the world's most shattering violence and victimization. Here are her revelations of joy and warmth amid utter destitution?compelling snapshots of courageous and inspiring people for whom survival is their daily work?and candid notes from a unique pilgrimage that completely changed the actress's worldview -- and the world within herself. ... Read more

Reviews (21)

5-0 out of 5 stars An Inspiring Journey
Reaching towards the end, sadness takes over as I did not want the journey of the true meaning of humanity to end. It was the only window to learn more about innocents' lives. Every day passes by, my appreciation and gratitude intensifies to UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie who managed to educate us.

Notes from My Travels, nourishes the soul and directs one's energy to the humanitarian issues exposed in this book. 20 million refugees around the world, some of us are simply not aware of the issue, and some are just selfish enough to ignore. Thanks to Angelina Jolie for raising awareness among both groups of people.

It is inspiring, educating and motivating; it will enlighten the mind of any individual who reads it. It is a blessing for us to know how other people are living and what their needs are so we can all contribute in building a better world.

It is about time we get over our selfishness and read about our innocent brothers and sisters and take action.

While I was reading, a friend who does not speak English asked me about the book, so I briefed her. Without hesitating, modestly her next question was "where can I find it in our language?" Then I realized how Angelina Jolie managed to raise enough awareness even to those who could not read the book as well.

It is such a Treasure. Don't hesitate to read it; Notes from My Travels are pure facts from a big heart.

5-0 out of 5 stars As raw, honest, and shocking as Angelina's personality
In this written account of Angelina Jolie's early trips with the UNHCR, readers are given a first-hand glimpse at the strength and beauty of refugees from around the world. Jolie holds nothing back, writing with emotion, intelligence, and incredible insight as she describes the people whose suffering inspired her to become a UN Ambassador and donate more than $6 million -- as well as adopt a child,(...) from Cambodia. It is a must-read for Jolie fans as well as anyone who wishes to be more aware of the living conditions of third-world countries. Jolie eats and lives with these people, forgoing all Hollywood luxuries but at the same time knowing that she is barely making any sacrifices compared to how refugees must live on a daily basis. We literally watch as these courageous and inspiring people win her heart... and it's difficult to finish this book without being won over ourselves. One of the most beautiful women in the world describes the world's ugliest crimes against humanity and does so in a way that moves her readers to action. Her two goals are to better understand and to help bring awareness, and by the end she has more than met them.

5-0 out of 5 stars She can act and she can also write
I bought this book and enjoy it. She explains very clearly and it's really true. She risk her life to go and see and help others, because it was dangerous. I recomend this book. If you want to read some of it e-mail me at jj_025@lycos.com

5-0 out of 5 stars Inspiring
A well written book! Angelina has obviously become very passionate about her work overseas as an ambassador, her book gives us a raw look at the lives of refugees with living conditions that most of us cannot even begin to imagine. It is refreshing to have the chance to look into Angelina's mind and actually learn something new about her, instead of reading the same things over and over: the knives, the blood, tattoos, men. I'd definitely recommend this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars CHAD KULTGEN IS JUST SAD
Chad - Dude, when I read what you wrote about this book, it totally pissed me off cause I thought - HOW IN HELL can you say that about someone that wrote a book about the humanity of refugee children? Just cause she's hot you think that's all she's good for?(My condolences to your blow up doll girlfriend)

Then I read all your other "reviews" and realized, all you do in life is write rude nasty reviews on Amazon.com all day - that's pretty sad. Almost all of the "reviews" you wrote just verified the fact that you have no life and probably are into child porn whacking off every night in front of the computer.

Best of luck with all that ;) ... Read more


113. Drinking : A Love Story
by CAROLINE KNAPP
list price: $15.00
our price: $10.20
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385315546
Catlog: Book (1997-05-12)
Publisher: Delta
Sales Rank: 8761
Average Customer Review: 4.22 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Drinking: A Love Story is journalist Caroline Knapp's powerful, New York Times-bestselling account of her twenty years as a functioning
alcoholic.Knapp drank through her years at Brown University, and through an award-winning career as a lifestyle editor and columnist.Publicly, she was a
dutiful daughter, attentive friend, and a sophisticated professional. Privately, she was drinking herself into oblivion, trapped in destructive love relationships--until a series of personal crises forced her to confront and, ultimately, break free of the "liquid armor" she'd used for most of her life.
... Read more

Reviews (97)

5-0 out of 5 stars Best Alcoholism Book I've Read!
I've spent 26 of the past 28 years as a sober, happy, recovering alcoholic. This is the best-written account I've seen of how it feels, how we deceive ourselves and others, the struggle of secrecy and denial, the battle of recovery, etc.
I found it very much like a long, heart to heart conversation with Caroline, and was sad when she stopped talking to me. I wanted more!
I loved it so much I immediately ordered eight copies for friends and family, and planned to write Caroline to thank her. Sounds like she'd be a delightful dinner companion! Broke my heart to read tonight that she died of lung cancer last summer...alas, probably from all those cigarettes with the booze.
I find it fascinating that 95% of reviewers think it is very well-written, magnificent,compelling---and 5% think it is awful, repetitious, boring. Can't help wondering which are alcoholic!
If you or anyone in your family has a problem, or thinks they may have a problem with alcohol, this book may save your life.

5-0 out of 5 stars In Memory of Carolyn Knapp
I was told by my mother earlier this week that Carolyn Knapp, author of 'Drinking: A Love Story", had died of cancer at age 42. I immedietly broke down a cried- which is hard for me to do. But Ms Knapp's autobiographical book about alcoholism was so important to me, my family and my therapist, in understanding and recognizing the thinking/feelings in a functional alcoholic. I had always wanted to read more from her, but don't see that she published another book....and, of course, I always had wanted the opportunity of either meeting her at a book signing, or writing to her, to thank her for her honesty and insight into this problem.....now it is to late to say this to her directly, and I grieve...but I also celebrate the life she had, and her courage and strength in overcoming this most maddening of problems. To anyone interested in a true and thoughtful book on functional alcoholics (of which there are many of us), or to anyone who is in a close relationship with such a person, this is THE book to read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Praise from a recovering alcoholic male
I read this book initially as a practicing alcoholic in denial, and then in early recovery. I loved the book the first time recognizing the honesty and courage. The author's style was very pleasing. Now, I appreciate the honesty, courage, and accuracy. I go to A.A. meetings every day, and A.A. is my family now. I wondered, "What could this book offer that I wasn't already getting?" The fact is that this book offered wisdom I hadn't heard before, such as, in decision making, how to tell the difference between the alcoholic alternative and the better choice. I re-read this two days ago, and used it today. I won't spill the beans. You'll have to read the book to learn.

In A.A., sponsors are always the same sex as the sponsee. I wondered what insight I could get from a female alcoholic. I learned tht this is not an issue. I strongly recommend this book to everyone.

2-0 out of 5 stars Alcoholism and Anorexia AreTwo Different Problems
My guess is this woman wanted to write a book about her alcoholism. But her publisher said (just as mine did when I tried to write a memoir about my heroin addiction) "No, no, no. People do not buy books about women who have drug or alcohol problems. It is not considered masochistic or self-effacing enough. Everyone knows drunks and junkies like to have fun, and people only like reading about women when they torture themselves." So Caroline Knapp decided to compromise--discuss the tiresome travails of anorexia ("It's about control!" "I looked at all the women, particularly this one 120 pound, 5 foot 7 woman, and thought about how fat she was.", etc. etc.) and the far more interesting tale of her alcoholism. In my own research (both academic and personal; including many, many talks with fellow female addicts), we have a WAY lower rate of eating disorders than the non-addict female population. Part of what makes addiction such a tough snare to crawl out of is that the addict likes to feel good even as her life is falling down in the process. So she drinks or does heroin to avoid DTs or withdrawal. If she was that concerned with how much she melds with society's image of the perfect female (with which anorexics are obsessed), she WOULD NOT drink or drug, because using one's body for pleasure, not pain, is considered a male not a female activity in our society. Therefore, I am left only with two options: Is Knapp a phony drunk or yet another female addict who was rendered invisible by a society that refuses to admit that women love escaping into the world of drink and drugs as much as men?

5-0 out of 5 stars This book was right on the mark!!
I myself have had a drinking problem in the past and when I was trying to sober up I bought this book and let me tell you, I thought I was reading my life. I am just glad that she had the guts to come out in public and tell her story. I would have loved to have met her. It's a shame she died before her time was up. ... Read more


114. A Year by the Sea: Thoughts of an Unfinished Woman
by JOAN ANDERSON
list price: $12.95
our price: $9.71
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0767905938
Catlog: Book (2000-08-15)
Publisher: Broadway
Sales Rank: 5771
Average Customer Review: 4.26 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Now available in paperback, the entrancing story of how one woman's journey of self-discovery gave her the courage to persevere in re-creating her life.

Life is a work in progress, as ever-changing as a sandy shoreline along the beach. During the years Joan Anderson was a loving wife and supportive mother, she had slowly and unconsciously replaced her own dreams with the needs of her family. With her sons grown, however, she realized that the family no longer centered on the home she provided, and her relationship with her husband had become stagnant. Like many women in her situation, Joan realized that she had neglected to nurture herself and, worse, to envision fulfilling goals for her future. As her husband received a wonderful job opportunity out-of-state, it seemed that the best part of her own life was finished. Shocking both of them, she refused to follow him to his new job and decided to retreat to a family cottage on Cape Cod.
At first casting about for direction, Joan soon began to take plea-sure in her surroundings and call on resources she didn't realize she had. Over the course of a year, she gradually discovered that her life as an "unfinished woman" was full of possibilities. Out of that magical, difficult, transformative year came A Year by the Sea, a record of her experiences and a treasury of wisdom for readers.
This year of self-discovery brought about extraordinary changes in the author's life. The steps that Joan took to revitalize herself and rediscover her potential have helped thousands of woman reveal and release untapped resources within themselves.
... Read more

Reviews (84)

3-0 out of 5 stars Thoughts of an Unfinished Man
A female friend suggested I read a new book by Joan Anderson if I wanted to get a notion of the female psyche going through a sort of mid-life crisis. Admittedly, there may be a general con- sensus that only males, and then only some of us, experience this life phenomenon, that women some- how don't or, worse, shouldn't. They, in fact, have their own rite of passage...menopause. So, without a lot of enthusiasm, I got my hands on a copy of this autobiographical book and began reading. A Year by the Sea is another in the long line of twentienth century self-help books which present themselves with modern answers to modern dilemmas. The problem with Anderson's book, like so many of its type, is that it presupposes a problem, in fact, creates a problem so that it has something to solve. Anderson makes no sound case in describing a married life that demanded rescuing. She alludes to one or two instances of insensitivity on her husband's part, but even these are not of a magnitude to justify in most people's minds the compelling need to abandon the nest and strike out on one's own. If anything, her marriage may have become stale, or predictable, at least as she briefly describes it. It would seem then that her motivation was questionable, even if her intentions were sincere. The conclusion in the twelve month chronicle comes quickly and is more than a bit unsatisfying. Whether the newly reborn couple will live happily ever after we will never know, at least not based on the 195th page. Anderson's solution to her marital dissatisfaction is to escape to the sea...a primal drive to return to one's roots. What she fails to acknowledge, however, is that in seeking to uncover herself, she cannot bury her past.

5-0 out of 5 stars A YEAR BY THE SEA
This book spoke to my very being! It touched my soul and heart, and made me realize the importance of getting in touch with who I really am and always have been. Joan Anderson had the courage to find her true self, and the graciousness to share that journey with her readers. She has moments of self doubt,but carries on despite the circumstances. It appears she dug deep within her soul and unlocked resources that had been trapped within for years. There is something about the sea - its ever changing forms - its constant ebb and flow, and its ability to soothe. Ms. Anderson seems to seek answers about life while by the sea. In her writing, the inhabitants of that seaside area - both human and animal - are so well characterized and developed, the reader actually comes away with a feeling of "being there". Her well described relationship with seals,for example, presents the reader with a sense of fulfillment and spiritual awakening. I shall read the book a second time(and perhaps more). I am already sharing it with friends. Joan Anderson, through this book, has made me realize how very important it is to "get away" - take time for yourself - so you can share with others the "REAL YOU". It also confirms my belief in the healing qualities the sea holds for the human race. It soothes the soul, and truly gets us in touch with ourselves and nature.

5-0 out of 5 stars Proud to be an "unfinished woman"
This is the best book I've read in a long time. I was feeling a little lost the week that I happened to find this book and it totally changed my attitude. So many pages had at least one sentence if not more, that echoed exactly how I felt. I no longer feel alone in my thoughts and I am now proud to be an "unfinished woman." Thank you to the author for sharing her experiences!

5-0 out of 5 stars Thought Provoking
How many of us have wished for a year of solitude with Nature in order to reflect, learn and grow. By reading this little book, we can at least share Anderson's experiences. So many of her thoughts and emotions reflect what many of us feel, especially at that age and point in life. Kids are grown and have become independent, our traditional role in life is over and we're not quite sure where we belong anymore. Excellent read!

5-0 out of 5 stars A Book For All Women to Enjoy and Relish Each Chapter!
I loved this book. It is so "real". I wish I could go away for a year to "find myself". Swimming with sea lions, working in a fish market to earn $ to fix her hot water heater, I could only dream about this adventure!

After reading this book - I rushed out in search of her second book - An Unfinished Marriage. I cannot wait to read all 3 of her books! I own all of them and will begin the second book as soon as I have some free time. I wish we could have a book discussion at *Bucks on these books! ... Read more


115. Florence Nightingale: Mystic, Visionary, Reformer
by Barbara Montgomery Dossey
list price: $55.95
our price: $55.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0874349842
Catlog: Book (2000-01-15)
Publisher: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
Sales Rank: 127348
Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars Florence Nightingale brought to life
As a nurse and amateur Florence Nightingale historian, I was so excited to find this book. The content did not disappoint me. It offers the best coverage of the life of this extraordinary woman I've seen or read. This book is exciting, informative, and beautiful.

Nightingale transformed healthcare in the nineteenth century, and built a foundation for modern nursing. Dossey's clear writing, coupled with her extensive research, presents an enjoyable, comprehensive picture of the significance of Nightingale's life. The historical photographs and illustrations complemented the text and were a delight to view.

I recommend the book to anyone interested in nursing, history or the biography of an amazing woman. Thank you Barbara Dossey for bringing Florence Nightingale to life in this wonderful book!

5-0 out of 5 stars Florence Nightingale: Mystic, Visionary, Healer
This beautiful book is the most comprehensive and creative examintation I have ever read of the life of this remarkable woman. The book is profusely illustrated. Many of the images are in full color and have not been previously printed. Words and images combine to produce insights of incredible depth and beauty. The author's straightforward and readable writing style reminds readers of Nightingale's own writings. Clearly, Dossey has a connection with the fascinating Miss Nightingale that spans the boundaries of time and space. This is lucky for us, the readers of this sesntive portrait of one of the most amazing women in history. I wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone interested in feminist history, healing, the path of the mystic, leadership, or the history of nursing. It will surely become a classic in its genre!

5-0 out of 5 stars A Most Inspiring Book
I knew of Florence Nightingale's nursing activities before reading this book but had no idea of the extent of her self-discipline, dedication and accomplishments. She was a systems analyst, administrator, networker and mystic who devoted her life to doing God's work. She was also a prolific writer of books, lay reports, pamphlets and thousands of letters. The author provides a wealth of background material describing the historic times and places associated with Florence Nightingale. One of the things I appreciated about this book were the many maps and photographs appropriately placed near the text about the person or places.

5-0 out of 5 stars outstanding biography
This is unquestionably the best biography of Nightingale ever written. The author reminds us that Nightingale was one of the first statisticians -- one of the first members of the statistical society in the U.K. and for many years the only woman member. Nightingale collected and published voluminous statistics about health care (she proved that the rate of childbirth fever was lower among women cared for by midwives vs those cared for by physicians and surmised correctly that the difference was that the midwives washed their hands and established hygiene in the birth chamber. The physicians came to the birth room covered with blood from dissections.) The germ theory of disease had not been developed -- but she was able to reduce the death rate in the hospitals in Crimea by ensuring cleanliness, safe water and good food for the patients.) She was also a suffragist and one of the first signers of a petition in support of suffrage put forward by her
friends, the philosopher John Stuart Mill and his wife Harriet Taylor, who were prominent proponents of women's suffrage. Mill asked Nightingale to dedicate herself to the cause of female suffrage and she replied that there were others as qualified as she; she was needed to reform the British military, hospital and medical systems. Nightingale shook up the British military, hospital and medical establishments. She had many enemies because of her work -- and they became even more virulent when she was proved right. Unfortunately their calumnies persist to this day. While doing the work which first brought her to public attention she contracted Crimean Fever -- a common complaint of those who served in the Crimea War. Dossey points out that recent research indicates that Crimean Fever was probably brucellosis which was and is epidemic and endemic in the Crimea. (It occurs now, too, in the U.S. among persons who work with infected cattle.) Nightingale was a very devout Christian. At 17 she sought a direction for her life. She came to feel that she was called to serve the sick and took a vow of chastity when she was 17. Barbara Dossey is an R.N. with a Master's degree in nursing. She has written texts on intensive care nursing and on wholistic health. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing -- which signfies the high respect of her research peers for her work. This is the finest contribution she has made and that says a lot.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great Book on the History of Nursing
learn about the history of the nursing profession... very interesting... lots of beautiful pictures ... Read more


116. The Mind Tree: A Miraculous Child Breaks the Silence of Autism
by Tito Rajarshi Mukhopadhyay
list price: $21.95
our price: $14.93
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1559706996
Catlog: Book (2003-10-09)
Publisher: Arcade Publishing
Sales Rank: 72558
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Once in a great while, a special person emerges in the history of science and medicine whose unique set of characteristics sheds light on an entire disorder and sometimes even on the mysteries of the human brain.Tito is such a person.Although he is severely autistic and nearly nonverbal, his ability to communicate through his extraordinary writing is astonishing.At the age of three, Tito was diagnosed with severe autism, but his mother, with boundless hope and determination, read to him and taught him to write in English.She also challenged him to write his own stories.The result of their efforts is this remarkable book-written when he was 8 to 11 years old-comprising profound and startling philosophical prose and poetry.His beautifully crafted language reveals how it feels to be locked inside an autistic body and mind.THE MIND TREE is the work of an artist.With each page, Tito bursts through his silence into a world of art, beauty and hope. ... Read more

Reviews (4)

4-0 out of 5 stars Extremly touching
I loved Tito every moment I read the book and have immense respect for the dedication, persistence and effort of his mother Soma. She seems to be a very strong woman to handle it all alone. But I have to mention this that I hated the part where Tito writes he was hit hard until he paid attention. I have seen and heard of many successful people who cannot ever forget their childhood abuse by their parents even though they were for good reasons.This is a very wrong concept used earlier and is not encouraged any more by many many people these days. Even though hitting might prove right for some reason it does a permanent damage to one's inner self.

5-0 out of 5 stars The book that will change your perception of "normal" life
My brother's daughter is a an autist child of similar age to Tito. This book has so emotionally moved me that I do not have Tito's genius to express them in words.

I understand that one child in every 250 born could be an autist. Then it is a must that the rest 249 must read this book.

Simply amazing and I wish a very happy life for Tito with the fullest kindness and consideration from humanity at large - the least I can wish for the author.

5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant book
I found this book absolutely fascinating. For a severely austistic child to be able to write and voice his thoughts is an incredible feat. All the hype behind it is very appropriate-this is a book that should have exactly that sort of exposure. Tito allowed his writings to be published, not only so they could be shared with the general public but also to raise awareness about autism. A severely austic child is clearly not a helpless case as many people before believed and if there are other books out there like this one, perhaps The Mind Tree will help bring attention to them.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good book, but disregard all the hype
As autobiographies by autistic people go, this is a fairly good one. Written by an autistic boy from India, it details his early life, the sometimes brutal methods his mother used to teach him to type, and his life since he learned to communicate. He writes the story about himself primarily in the third person, and there is poetry at the end. This is basically an American release of _Beyond The Silence: My Life, The World, and Autism_ that was published in Great Britain in 2000.

The main difference -- perhaps the only difference -- between this book and its British counterpart, is the hype. It's clearly visible in the subtitle -- "Miraculous Child Breaks the Silence of Autism" strongly resembles the "Extraordinary Autobiography of an Autistic" from the subtitle of _Nobody Nowhere_, the earliest book by Donna Williams. This sensationalism used to be typical of books by autistic people who could speak, and it seems that people have taken longer to accept as normal books by autistic people who can't speak. Which is strange, considering both sorts of books have been around the same amount of time. There is a lot of talk on the back cover and the first several pages about how there is nobody in the world like Tito and his mother, how he is the first to write a book like this, and so forth. None of these claims are true, and other books like this by people who have learned to type using similar techniques have been published, but most of the others didn't have a powerful organization providing financial backing and publicity.

That said, it's actually a pretty good book. It does defy a lot of stereotypes, which along with the others like it, should be a good thing in the long run, as long as people remember that there is more than one book like this. The book is no more miraculous than it's miraculous that I'm sitting here typing this review, but the author has a writing style which should keep readers entertained and informed to the end. I especially liked the sections where the author describes being put in front of audiences and answering questions that he found easy, and getting a lot of attention for it. That seems to happen to a lot of autistic people, and his description is subtle and amusing. Readers familiar with books by autistic people will find his descriptions of sensory issues and cognition familiar as well.

I didn't like how indifferent he was about being smacked around until he paid attention -- a lot of authors, like Donna Williams, have addressed abuse specifically as something wrong while acknowledging that it may have caused some paradoxical benefits, and I wish this book had done the same. I was also smacked around in similar contexts, some of them resulting in things that may have been positive, but I don't condone it, thank the people who did it, or complain about people who tried to put a stop to it -- so that part disturbed me.

The author's plea for a society in which nobody would be viewed as 'normal or abnormal', but would all be respected as who we are, is well worth listening to. That is the most important message I would take away from this book. Beyond the glitzy hype on the cover is a real person who clearly wants to be seen as a real person, a predicament lots of autistic people can identify with. ... Read more


117. Brilliant Madness : Living with Manic Depressive Illness
by PATTY DUKE
list price: $7.99
our price: $7.19
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553560727
Catlog: Book (1993-06-01)
Publisher: Bantam
Sales Rank: 10811
Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In her revealing bestseller Call Me Anna, Patty Duke shared her long-kept secret: the talented, Oscar-winning actress who won our hearts on The Patty Duke Show was suffering from a serious-but-treatable-mental illness called manic depression. For nearly twenty years, until she was correctly diagnosed at age thirty-five, she careened between periods of extreme euphoria and debilitating depression, prone to delusions and panic attacks, temper tantrums, spending sprees, and suicide attempts. Now in A Brilliant Madness Patty Duke joins with medical reporter Gloria Hochman to shed light on this powerful, paradoxical, and destructive illness. From what it's like to live with manic-depressive disorder to the latest findings on its most effective treatments, this compassionate and eloquent book provides profound insight into the challenge of mental illness. And though Patty's story, which ends in a newfound happiness with her cherished family, it offers hope for all those who suffer from mood disorders and for the family, friends, and physicians who love and care for them. ... Read more

Reviews (27)

5-0 out of 5 stars finally! Some real answers to all my questions
Patty Duke's book A Brilliant Madness is the first real good information about bi-polar disorder I have been able to put my hands on! The medical backup informatiom that Gloria Hochman contributes has given me an almost umlimited list of resources to also turn to. I read this book because my 9yr old son and my current husband are both diagnosed as bi-polar, but as I read this intense book I was amazed by feelings of fear, relief, sadness, and anger. I was able to relate to much of what I read and began to see myself which is scary. I now want to find help for all of us as our area is devoid of support groups and other local means of coping with this illness. This book is truly "Brilliant" in both the writing style and the content and has given me some hope in an otherwise bleak future. I strongly recomend this book to anyone where Manic Depression has touched their lives.

5-0 out of 5 stars Insightful, informative and well-written.
Patty Duke has brought bipolar affective disorder (Manic Depression) "out of the closet" and given those with the illness better insight into why they feel the way they do. Co-authoring with a medical writer was a *brilliant* idea. We read Patty's story, then we read the medical side of the story. The only thing I found disturbing was, like Dr Kay Jamison, Patty claims a Lithium a day does the trick. This can be misleading when many bipolars have to have meds assessed and re-assessed many many times. This gives the reader the undertone that if you're not a Lithium-responder, you're not quite right. Otherwise, an excellent book on the topic!

4-0 out of 5 stars Amazing!
Patty Duke gives an amazing description of what it is like to have Bipolar Disorder. It made such a difference in my ability to understand my Bipolar family members! This is staying on my shelf, along with "The Bipolar Child" and "IF YOUR CHILD IS BIPOLAR" as my top resources!

4-0 out of 5 stars Quite enjoyable and informative
I enjoyed this book quite a bit- it's engaging, entertaining, and informative. The quality of writing isn't as good as that of the finest mental illness memoirs, like "An Unquiet Mind" and "Girl, Interrupted", but it's definitely well worth reading. One intriguing point is that there might be some relationship between mania and Patty's acting skill. In other words, bipolar disorder may confer some advantages to the afflicted, in spite of some of its dreadful consequences. Avery Z. Conner, author of "Fevers of the Mind".

5-0 out of 5 stars This Book Help Me More Than My Psychiatric counseling Lady
I`m 44 Yrs.I Have Allways Love Patty From Watching Her On T.V. I Even Have Her Doll With The Red Phone. I Also Am Bipolar and Was hospitalized 9 Years Ago. This Book Really Hits Home For Me. I Don`t Quite Feel As Bad About Being Bipolar. But I Would Love To Give A What To To Some Doctors Out There.I Live In Aberdeen, Washington And There Isn`t Much Here For Help. So I`m Very Thankful For This Book, I Would Recomend This Book Highly.
I Thank Patty For Wrighting Her Life. ... Read more


118. Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress
by Susan Jane Gilman
list price: $12.95
our price: $9.71
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0446679496
Catlog: Book (2005-01-01)
Publisher: Warner Books
Sales Rank: 603809
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119. I Love Everybody (and Other Atrocious Lies) : True Tales of a Loudmouth Girl
by LAURIE NOTARO
list price: $12.95
our price: $9.71
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0812969006
Catlog: Book (2004-06-08)
Publisher: Villard
Sales Rank: 3179
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (17)

5-0 out of 5 stars Laurie Notaro ROCKS! What a GREAT book!
I love this woman. I read the first story in this new collection, and by the end I was in danger of requiring a box of the Extra Absorbent Depends! I was laughing so hard my husband asked me if I was going to pass out. I have loved every book since her first, Idiot Girls Adventure Club. Then Autobiography of a Fat Bride came out, and I rejoiced! Now this one...it's even better than the last! Her writing is wonderful, warm and funny and monumentally truthful. I can hardly wait for the next book! Meanwhile, I will read this one till the spine cracks (like I did her others) and enjoy every word! Thanks Laurie! You Rock!

5-0 out of 5 stars Thank You Laurie
This third book again had my whole family laughing and shrieking in delight. Just as fresh, well written, and hilarious as Laurie's first two. Her writing style continues to mature, even as it retains the unparalleled uniqueness that is Laurie Notaro. Met her at a booksigning for this book. She is beautiful inside and out. She read some items from her fourth book - can hardly wait for it since we devoured this third one in 24 hours. You rock Laurie.

5-0 out of 5 stars Laugh Out Loud Funny
What a breath of fresh air,I laughed so hard I was crying! When her husband pees his pants in front of the Fireman was HILARIOUS!! 5 Stars is not enough-BRAVO Laurie!

5-0 out of 5 stars Hurray for Idiot Girls!
Laurie Notaro has managed to convince me, yet again, that being an Idiot Girl makes for good readin'. Witty and self-depreciating as ever, Laurie had me laughing so hard I was actually snorting... in public. Now that the mark of a truly talented humorist.

5-0 out of 5 stars She's done it again
Laurie Notaro is back again, delighting me and her other readers with her third book in as many years. Her writing is maturing and her life is just as funny as her stories in "Idiot Girls". The story about her trip to Disneyland made me put the book away so that I wouldn't embarrass myself on public transportation! I wish that Laurie got the credit she deserved - unlike David Sedaris, Laurie keeps coming up with fresh, new material that allows you to feel like you know her and makes you wish you did. ... Read more


120. Over the Edge of the World: Magellan's Terrifying Circumnavigation of the Globe
by Laurence Bergreen
list price: $27.95
our price: $18.45
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0066211735
Catlog: Book (2003-11-01)
Publisher: William Morrow & Company
Sales Rank: 1927
Average Customer Review: 4.13 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Ferdinand Magellan's daring circumnavigation of the globe in the sixteenth century was a three-year odyssey filled with sex, violence, and amazing adventure. Now in Over the Edge of the World, acclaimed author Laurence Bergreen, interweaving a variety of candid, first-person accounts, some previously unavailable in English, brings to life this groundbreaking and majestic tale of discovery that changed many long-held views about the world and the way explorers would henceforth navigate its oceans.

In 1519 Magellan and his fleet set sail from Seville, Spain, to find a water route to the Spice Islands in Indonesia, where the most sought-after commodities -- cloves, pepper, and nutmeg -- flourished. Most important, they were looking for a passageway, a strait, through the great landmass of the Americas that would lead them to these fabled islands. Laurence Bergreen takes readers on board with Magellan and his crew as they explore, navigate, mutiny, suffer, and die across the seas. He also recounts the many unusual sexual practices the crew experienced, from orgies in Brazil to bizarre customs in the South Pacific. With a fleet of five ships and more than two hundred men, they had set out in search of the Spice Islands. Three years later they returned with an abundance of spices from their intended destination, but with just one ship carrying eighteen emaciated men. They suffered starvation, disease, and torture, and many died, including Magellan, who was violently killed in a fierce battle.

A man of great tenacity, cunning, and courage, Magellan was full of contradictions. He was both heroic and foolish, insightful yet blind, a visionary whose instincts outran his ideals. Ambitious to a fault and not above using torture and murder to maintain control of his ships and sailors, he survived innumerable natural hazards in addition to several violent mutinies aboard his own fleet -- and it took no less than the massed forces of fifteen hundred men to kill him.

This is the first time in nearly half a century that anyone has attempted to narrate the complete story of Magellan's unprecedented circumnavigation of the globe -- to tell this truly gripping and profoundly important story of heroism, discovery, and disaster. A voyage into history, a tour of the world emerging from the Middle Ages into the Renaissance, an anthropological account of tribes, languages, and customs unknown to Europeans, and a chronicle of a desperate grab for commercial and political power, Over the Edge of the World is a captivating tale that rivals the most exciting thriller fiction.

... Read more

Reviews (31)

4-0 out of 5 stars detailed, vivid, interestingly digressive
Mention Magellan and most will tell you he's that guy that sailed around the world. There their knowledge ends, or such as it is, since as Bergreen reminds us in wonderful detail, it was some of Magellan's crew that actually sailed around the world while the majority of it, along with Magellan himself, actually only survived part of the trip.
Packed with historical detail supplemented by first person accounts and side stories that some will find of equal or surpassing interest and others might find too digressive, Bergreen gives us a satisfyingly full look at the man and the journey.
The focus for the first three-quarters of the book is of course on Magellan. His early life history is quickly covered, enough to inform us of his abilities and motivations without bogging the reader down in unnecessary detail or too much psychohistory ("rejected by his father at age six, young Magellan turned to the sea to prove . . . "). The details start to come in Magellan's early attempts to convince his native Portugal to sponsor a journey to the Spice Islands and accumulate even more fully once he takes his leave for Spain and the planning for the trip begins in earnest.
The trip itself is covered in sharp and vivid detail--the political in-fighting, the mutual antagonisms of class and country aboard ship, multiple mutiny attempts, successful and not-so-succesful contacts with natives, and of course the nautical travails themselves--deathly storms,a myriad of navigational obstacles and pursuing Portugese. Not to mention the fact that the entire trip was based on an idea that the world was much, much smaller than it in fact turned out to be.
Most of the trip is seen through the lens of Magellan, and while a clear fan of Magellan, Bergreen is also unafraid to criticize his many errors with regard to ship policy, to politics, to contact with the natives. Magellan comes across as a complex all-too human figure rather than an icon or simple villain. Brilliant at times and amazingly stupid at others, he never fails to hold our attention. Other important figures in the crew are offered similar respect with regard to the fullness of their portrayals.
Beside the journey's details, the reader is treated to digressions into royal relationships, international maneuvering, the importance of spices to sixteenth century economies, the running battle for economic and nautical supremacy between Spain and Portugal, and maybe most fascinating of all, a brief history of the Chinese Treasure Fleet. While some might think Bergreen goes into too much detail here, other might wish for more. I personally fell somewhere in between, able to live with less on the royal personages and wanting more on the spice trade itself (those who feel the same way could do worse than turn to Nathaniel's Nutmeg for more on the topic)as well as on the Treasure Fleet.
I thought at times Bergreen could have left the "European" perspective a bit more, giving us a more full glimpse at the journey from the other end of the spectrum. I also could have done with more frequent use of maps throughout the book to have a more immediate and visual sense of Magellan's progress (or lack thereof). While I felt the lack of both several times, these flaws were relatively minor and only detracted somewhat from the work as a whole. Money, lust, greed, politics, mutiny, pride, betrayal, tragic accidents, man versus nature, battles, shipwrecks, castaways, man versus man, heroism and cowardice, man versus himself. The book has it all, with the added luxury of being true. Well-recommended history.

5-0 out of 5 stars great account of one of the legendary journeys
Laurence Bergreen provides a deep look at Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan's sixteenth century quest that led to the first known navigation of the world. This journey is a pivotal point in how Europeans viewed the world as people realized that not only will one not fall off the globe, but that Europe is not the epicenter of the orb. Mr. Bergreen followed the ill-fated journey through what is now the Straits of Magellan at the tip of South America and uses satellite images to further enhance the trek. Of interest to historical buffs is the daily journal that encompasses known research from around the globe. This includes sailor Albo's log and the comments of scholar sailor Pigafetta. The author debunks several modern day myths such as Magellan's mission was not go around the world, but to find a water route to the Spice Islands; and that the voyage was not glorious but brutal and filled with tragedy and misfortunes including the Captain having died in the Philippines. Magellan never made it. The trek took three years with only one ship with eighteen survivors making it back to Spain.

This is a great account of one of the legendary journeys of history. Supplemented by maps, inserts, and first hand accounts, readers join on the harrowing trek that proved once and for all that the world is round. No one will feel over the edge with this great look at the "Terrifying Circumnavigation of the Globe" by Magellan and his crew.

Harriet Klausner

5-0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down!
Extraordinary! A great read. It has found a special place in my 'special' books place on the bookshelf!

4-0 out of 5 stars very entertaining
At one point in Laurence Bergreen's narrative he points out that the maps Magellan's armada relied on had long since become useless. This pretty much sums up the courage, adventure, and excitement encountered in this beautifully written book. Magellan pitched his idea to seek a water route to the spice islands by sailing west until he reached the east to two kings. After his own sovereign, the king of Portugal, refused him, Magellan boldy defected and secured the support of the king of Spain. Bergreen does a great job of putting the voyage into historical context, without overindulging in tangential details. This is the rare history book which educates and entertains.

5-0 out of 5 stars An Incredible Journey and an Excellent Book!
I rarely give books a 5 star rating, but this one certainly deserves it. The book gives full account of Magellan's circumnavigation of the globe, in all its horrifying and glorious details. While it is clear that the writer is a staunch Magellan admirer, he does not hesitate to criticize Magellan's style of leadership, the Captain's over-inflated ego or the needless risks he took (one of which ultimately resulted in his death).

Reading this book, I found myself transported into 16th century Europe, an era full of intrigue, magic and of casual disregard for human life. The book was absolutely captivating and I was not able to put it down. From my perspective, the most interesting thing about the story is that while today Magellan is recognized as a hero and as one of the most important explorers of all time, in his day Magellan received no recognition and was the target of suspicion and hatred.

For the most part, Bergreen's writing style is fluid and easy to read, however at times it is a bit too flowery for my taste. The book also suffers from a shortage of illustrations and maps which could have been instructive. For example, an illustration of Magellan's ships, the weapons and armor of the era and current pictures of some of the main locations involved, would all have been nice. Nevertheless, I highly recommend this book for any fan of popular history books. ... Read more


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