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$10.46 $2.95 list($13.95)
161. Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible
$16.76 $12.99 list($23.95)
162. Eating My Words : An Appetite
$14.96 $13.00 list($22.00)
163. It Seemed Important at the Time
$8.25 $7.08 list($11.00)
164. A Small Place
$15.61 $10.35 list($22.95)
165. A Million Little Pieces
$9.00 $1.88 list($12.00)
166. The Road from Coorain
$1.95 list($18.95)
167. Champions Are Raised, Not Born
$9.00 $1.00 list($12.00)
168. The Woman Warrior : Memoirs of
$12.89 $8.47 list($18.95)
169. The Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt
$8.36 $6.70 list($11.95)
170. Persepolis : The Story of a Childhood
$11.16 $4.99 list($15.95)
171. Victoria's Daughters
$18.48 $10.29 list($28.00)
172. Living History
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173. The Operator : David Geffen Builds,
$10.36 $5.75 list($12.95)
174. An Unfinished Marriage
$15.64 $12.89 list($23.00)
175. Faith and Betrayal : A Pioneer
$9.75 $3.01 list($13.00)
176. Refuge : An Unnatural History
$11.20 $8.25 list($14.00)
177. Too Close to the Falls
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178. Princess Sultana's Daughters
$9.71 $4.00 list($12.95)
179. The Idiot Girls' Action-Adventure
$18.70 $12.49 list($27.50)
180. Fearless Women: Midlife Portraits

161. Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage
by Alfred Lansing
list price: $13.95
our price: $10.46
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 078670621X
Catlog: Book (1999-03-01)
Publisher: Carroll & Graf Publishers
Sales Rank: 1174
Average Customer Review: 4.79 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

'A thrilling reading experience! One of the greatest adventure stories of our times' - New York Times Book Review. In 1914 Ernest Shackleton and a crew of 27 men, sailed for the South Atlantic on the 'Endurance' with the object of crossing the Antarctic over land. In October 1915, still half a continent away from their intended base, the ship was trapped, then crushed in ice. For five months Shackleton and his men, drifting on ice packs, were castaways in one of the world's most savage regions. This gripping book based on firsthand accounts of crew members, describes how the men survived, living together in camps on the ice for 17 months, how they were attacked by sea leopards, had to kill their beloved dogs whom they could no longer feed, and suffered disease with no medicines (an operation to amputate the foot of one member of the crew was carried out on the ice). Their extraordinary indefatigability and their lasting civility towards one another in the most adverse conditions shines through. ... Read more

Reviews (332)

5-0 out of 5 stars An Antidote for the Age of Whining and Self-Absorption
Everything that defines courage and leadership for our age and any other is within the 280 pages of this wonderful book. For nearly two years, in conditions of constant zero and below cold, freezing wet, and often hunger, Ernest Shackleton kept all 27 men who sailed with him on the Endurance alive to eventually return to the England they left on the verge of World War I. That single-minded devotion to his men should make this book required reading for every would-be politician and corporate executive before he dares ask for the faith, trust and respect of those he would lead.

Lansing dedicated the book "In appreciation for whatever it is that makes men accomplish the impossible." He wisely and without flourish often lets the men's own words -- through the journals that many of them kept at the time and in interviews forty years later -- tell their extraordinary story, each stage of which reads more harrowing than the last. On an expedition that would have attempted to cross the Antarctic on foot (a feat not accomplished until four decades later), the Endurance is trapped in pack ice before it can reach shore. Shackleton's perhaps foolhardy original goal thus turns to keeping his men alive until they can be rescued. After ten months locked in the drifting pack, the Endurance is crushed and the men forced to abandon her for an ice floe, then several weeks later a smaller floe still. Eventually they take to three boats to reach forlorn Elephant Island from which Shackleton takes a skeleton crew of five and in a 22 foot open boat navigates the enormous seas of Drake's Passage to South Ascension Island. Once there he only (only!) has uncharted glaciers to cross to reach the whaling station on the other side of the island from which rescue of the Elephant Island castaways is eventually launched. The only other crossing of South Georgian Island by foot at the time Lansing wrote in 1959 occurred on a "easier" route with equipment and time. Shackleton had neither, only a fifty foot piece of rope, a carpenter's adze, and the knowledge that to stop moving was to invite death by freezing. At journey's end, to the astonished manager of the whaling factory, he says simply, "My name is Shackleton." I would have liked to have known him and all his men.

5-0 out of 5 stars An Amazing True Life Adventure Story
I purchased this book for my husband, never intending on reading it myself, but after his raves and recommendations I finally picked it up, and read it with great relish from page 1 to the end. This is surely one of the greatest true life adventure stories of all time. Even though I knew the eventual outcome of this survival tale, I was kept completely captivated by the events as they unfolded, and the almost unbelievable conditions that these men faced. Lansing's well written book presents the facts in a story form that flows easily from event to event. I purchased the illustrated edition, and the wonderful photos were well worth the extra cost. Hurley's photos illustrated the book in a way that no words could, and I found myself frequently turning back to review them.

5-0 out of 5 stars Even knowing the ending, it's a page turner
I'm a fan of survivalist accounts such as "Seven Years in Tibet," and "In the Heart of the Sea." And I loved this true account of the voyage/survival of Shackleton's crew in the Antarctic.

Asking friends and relatives if they've read it, I've heard, "I started it, but I didn't want to see everyone die!" So here's the *spoiler...nobody dies! *

The capacity of the human body to survive and of the human brain to figure out how to do it never ceases to amaze me.

Lansing's account ingeniously pieces together journals of the men involved and includes riveting details without ever being too gory. Even knowing the ending, it's a page turner. I've heard that this is the most involving of all the accounts published...coming across more like a story and less a documentary.

The images of the men on the ice have completely captivated me...the sounds and the movement. Be prepared to grab a blanket and a snack as you read (something not made of penguin)...you'll feel like you're there.

5-0 out of 5 stars ICY Adventure
this book is about how you SHOULD live!
Go for it!

5-0 out of 5 stars Warning: You will not be able to put it down.
I agree with many others this must be one of the greatest survival stories ever told. If you have read the The Longest Walk and found it to be a page turner you will not go wrong buying Endurance. And we know for sure that Endurance is all true. ... Read more


162. Eating My Words : An Appetite For Life
by Mimi Sheraton
list price: $23.95
our price: $16.76
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 006050109X
Catlog: Book (2004-05-01)
Publisher: Morrow Cookbooks
Sales Rank: 3558
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

What's it like to be a food writer? What's it like dining at some of the world's best restaurants, as well as some of the worst? What's it like to share your opinion about food and restaurants with readers around the world?

Mimi Sheraton is one of the most renowned food writers and restaurant reviewers in the country. And perhaps the most frequently asked question is, How did she do it? Her response is simple: "Live my life." Now, in this entertaining and candid memoir, the doyenne of food critics provides a heartfelt and poignant look at the events of her extraordinary life.

A devoted journalist, Mimi's engaging style and meticulous research have made her the standard by which restaurant reviewing and food criticism in the United States is measured. In Eating My Words, she describes how she developed her passion for writing about food and travel. Witty and straightforward, Mimi takes you on an engrossing journey of memorable meals, unforgettable people and outrageous experiences. Travel with Mimi from her childhood growing up in a food-loving Brooklyn family with a very demanding mother ("You call that a chicken?") and a father in the wholesale fruit and vegetable business, through her college years in Manhattan and her rise to fame.

Best known for her work as the restaurant critic at the New York Times, Mimi relates her experiences from how she landed the job there to why she left eight years later. As a journalist, she has tasted and reported on some of the world's finest cuisine, including three-starred French restaurants, and on some of the most dismal food imaginable, from hospital and public school meals to the often unrecognizable fare served in airplanes and fast food chains.

Forthright and never afraid to be controversial, Mimi talks about the importance of a reviewer's anonymity and the excitement of making a new culinary discovery like the now notorious Rao's, and then sharing it through her writing. She reveals some of her most challenging moments, right down to a masked appearance on French television with several well-known French chefs that ended in a mini-brawl.

Fueled by her passion for food, wine and travel, Mimi Sheraton's memoir is a degustation that is as engaging as it is enlightening. A true reflection of this bon vivant's voracious appetite for life, Eating My Words is an irresistible treat you will savor word by word ... and will feel utterly satisfied.

... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Sharp, Short and Witty Delight
By Bill Marsano. Years ago, in the slim hope of making myself useful on a certain magazine, I often volunteered to edit Mimi Sheraton's column. She was counted a tough cookie by the other editors, who preferred saps. My stock did in fact rise through self-sacrifice, and so did my free time, for the fact was her column was a breeze.

Of course, if an editor mucked around with her copy (and that, I can say without exposing any trade secrets, is what editors generally do), then it wasn't a breeze. So after reading her tight-knit prose, her well-reasoned judgments, her lucid thoughts, I'd call her about a couple of minor points and we'd agree on changing or not in about ten minutes. Then, with my door shut and no one in any case daring to approach Sheraton Control, I had the afternoon free. (Later, when other editors asked how it had gone, I just rolled my eyes.)

Keys to Sheraton's style were sticking to the subject and not showing off. Her judgments were measured, not designed to become sound bites; the meal was the star, not the reviewer. Here she does write about (among many other things) herself, and what an interesting self she turns out to be. She covers a lot of ground, including childhood before the war (i.e., World War II); college-girl adventures in New York City (especially funny: her story of breaking up with a civilian boyfriend while being attached to two other guys in the armed services); early work in home-furnishings journalism; plunging into food writing through a passion for travel; her ups and downs as a nationally known food critic for the New York Times (and other publications) and her attempts at improving what professionals call "volume feedings and mass management" and the rest of us call jail, airline, school and hospital food.

Sheraton has a fine line in dry wit and is always informative: Most readers will learn some surprising things about restaurants and reviewing. She lists the 20 most-asked quiestion and answers every one, and provides a good idea of the pressures applied to a critic by big-name restaurateurs--and by people who think they're critics just because they run a newspaper. (Odd--but I don't think the Times has reviewed her book. Odd.) But she isn't dishy. Anyone looking here for gossip, innuendo and the settling of scores has come to the wrong place. Sheraton conquers but she does not stoop.

And she does it all in 240 pages. One reason is that she writes tightly and tartly. (At least one other well-known "foodie" has published two books, totaling nearly 600 pages, and isn't finished yet.) Another is that she speaks often of wonderful dishes but gives no recipes. Good for her. Recipes are turning up in lots of places they don't really belong these days, including mysteries and popular novels. I usually suspect that means the author hasn't really got the goods, and knows it, and hopes I won't notice. (For much the same reason I resist nutritional puns traditional in this sort of review. I refuse to call this a "bubbling bouillaisse of a book.") The only time she comes close to such nonsense is with her brisk instructions (maybe a dozen words?) for how to make a Jewish chicken--or a chicken Jewish.

Sheraton's 240 pages go rattling by--there's no padding--and because even now I read as an editor, I ticked a few things: I disagree with her use of "ascribe" and "masterful," and former New York City Mayor John Lindsay would, if he could, on personal orthography. Once where she says Michelin I'm almost certain she means Gault-Millau, but that's about it. (Come to think of it, where was the copy editor?) In all, the experience was like those long-gone magazine days: great reading and effortless, too.--Bill Marsano is a professional writer and editor.

3-0 out of 5 stars Insights: Serious and Fun
Why hasn't the New York Times reviewed this book?

Here's why:

Ms. Sheraton is a former NYTimes employee; the Times even published her restaurant review book.

She tells a lot-not all, I'm sure, -but enough to learn about how newspaper management attempts to influence a journalist even on the level of restaurant reviews.

Very interesting; but here's the real point of the book:

Ever wanted to enjoy "behind the scenes" anecdotes direct from, quite probably, the nation's most famous restaurant critic?

Great foodie stories; learn some interesting dining, cooking ideas and definitely get a few chuckles.

This book just inspired my dinner this evening! ... Read more


163. It Seemed Important at the Time : A Romance Memoir
by Gloria Vanderbilt
list price: $22.00
our price: $14.96
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743264800
Catlog: Book (2004-10-05)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Sales Rank: 1526
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Book Description

An elegant, witty, frank, touching, and deeply personal account of the loves both great and fleeting in the life of one of America's most celebrated and fabled women.

Born to great wealth yet kept a virtual prisoner by the custody battle that raged between her proper aunt and her self-absorbed, beautiful mother, Gloria Vanderbilt grew up in a special world. Stunningly beautiful herself, yet insecure and with a touch of wildness, she set out at a very early age to find romance. And find it she did. There were love affairs with Howard Hughes, Bill Paley, and Frank Sinatra, to name a few, and one-night stands, which she writes about with delicacy and humor, including one with the young Marlon Brando. There were marriages to men as diverse as Pat De Cicco, who abused her; the legendary conductor Leopold Stokowski, who kept his innermost secrets from her; film director Sidney Lumet; and finally writer Wyatt Cooper, the love of her life.

Now, in an irresistible memoir that is at once ruthlessly forthright, supremely stylish, full of fascinating details, and deeply touching, Gloria Vanderbilt writes at last about the subject on which she has hitherto been silent: the men in her life, why she loved them, and what each affair or marriage meant to her. This is the candid and captivating account of a life that has kept gossip writers speculating for years, as well as Gloria's own intimate description of growing up, living, marrying, and loving in the glare of the limelight and becoming, despite a family as famous and wealthy as America has ever produced, not only her own person but an artist, a designer, a businesswoman, and a writer of rare distinction. ... Read more


164. A Small Place
by Jamaica Kincaid
list price: $11.00
our price: $8.25
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0374527075
Catlog: Book (2000-04-28)
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Sales Rank: 38211
Average Customer Review: 3.85 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A brilliant look at colonialism and its effects in Antigua--by the author of Annie John

"If you go to Antigua as a tourist, this is what you will see. If you come by aeroplane, you will land at the V. C. Bird International Airport. Vere Cornwall (V. C.) Bird is the Prime Minister of Antigua. You may be the sort of tourist who would wonder why a Prime Minister would want an airport named after him--why not a school, why not a hospital, why not some great public monument. You are a tourist and you have not yet seen . . ."

So begins Jamaica Kincaid's expansive essay, which shows us what we have not yet seen of the ten-by-twelve-mile island in the British West Indies where she grew up.

Lyrical, sardonic, and forthright by turns, in a Swiftian mode, A Small Place cannot help but amplify our vision of one small place and all that it signifies.
... Read more

Reviews (20)

4-0 out of 5 stars A Caribbean jeremiad
"A Small Place," by Jamaica Kincaid, is a nonfiction prose piece about the Caribbean island of Antigua. The author bio at the beginning of the book notes that the author was born on Antigua. A lean 81 pages, this is nonetheless a powerful text.

Kincaid discusses British colonialism, the corruption of the Antiguan government, racism, and greed. It seems to me a key question raised by the book is whether post-colonial Antigua is worse than colonial Antigua. The book is very much haunted by the spectre of New World slavery.

This book is a dark, angry jeremiad. I think it works better when seen as an extended prose poem rather than as an essay. As the latter, it could be criticized as full of invalid generalizations and undocumented claims. But as a poetic/prophetic text, it is chillingly effective.

Ultimately, Kincaid's vision of the human condition is extremely negative But her haunting, almost hypnotic prose really held me. I recommend the book to anyone planning a trip to a poor country for their own pleasure.

5-0 out of 5 stars Spell-binding
Exceptional, breathtaking. I have never in my entire life witnessed a god-given writing talent like this.

2-0 out of 5 stars Be Part of the Solution
This book is full of hate and racism on Kincaid's part. Would she have no tourists? What brings in the money? She should be a part of the solution not continue the problem.

3-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating use of tense and voice
Like other reviewer, I was little put off by Kincaid's politics.

But the first thing that struck me about this book was the tense and voice. Second person (?you do this, you do that.....?) isn?t very common in literature, so when I see it, it has an immediate effect on me. Now, in one sense, I admire the choice of this tense. It allows the narrator to talk directly to the reader, informing him or her. It also gives the narrator some freedom to literally paint a scene in the reader?s mind. Instead of going to all the trouble to create the hundreds of details necessary to allow the reader to place himself or herself in Antigua, Kincaid can accomplish this in one sentence. Granted, she goes on to provide the details (she points out the cars, the roads, the hospital, the beach, the sun, etc.) but as she does this she has some additional room with this tense to comment on these details and actually point out their significance.

Using this tense also lets Kincaid convey her opinion of the typical tourist who comes to Antigua. Using the second person present tense makes the book flow more like a conversation, and as such, allows me to imagine one particular narrator, a very specific person who is telling me this story and painting these pictures in my mind, filling in the details and their significance as we go along. And if I am not a middle class or upper middle class white American who travels to other countries, this works very well. If I am not a middle or upper class Briton, this also works. But if I am, as are many of the people who buy and read contemporary literature, this would put me out a bit. In fact, it would pretty well alienate me to this narrator. Kincaid?s narrator pretty clearly says she wishes the tourists would stay home, she despises the English, she disdains the concepts of democracy and capitalism, and doesn?t think much of the people who do. Now on the one hand, using this tense and voice makes the narrator very real, very tangible as a character. We hear the narrator?s opinions on almost everything, so the voice becomes distinctive and individual. On the other hand, what this narrator says can be very challenging to some readers. Kincaid has obviously made some choices about what she has to say and how she sees her readership.

Starting in second person, the narrator focuses on building the scene in the reader?s mind, helping the reader see himself or herself in Antigua. The first sense we get of the narrator is from the asides (?Or worse, European?). The first time the narrator identifies herself is on pg. 10 (?of the people like me...?). I think this relates to the gradual change in voice that becomes evident at the beginning of chapter 2.

At the beginning of chapter 2 (after the illustration) the voice changes from a heavy second person to a slightly more traditional first person. Kincaid starts the chapter with ?The Antigua I knew....? and goes on to stay more focused on the first person voice. For me, this reinforced the conversational aspect of the book, the give and take as the focus moves from one speaker to the other. Even though it is always Kincaid?s narrator talking, the first chapter?s emphasis on the reader (you, you, you) is followed by the second chapter?s emphasis on the narrator (I, I, I). This more closely approximates the rhythm of a real conversation and keeps the essay relaxed and moving forward for me.

Small Place Section Stands Out Because of Voice Change Again

On page 52, the narrator changes voice again. In this section, the narrator stops talking primarily about herself and the reader and speaks in a more essayistic voice about Antigua as a whole. ?In a small place, people cultivate small events.? For me, this served to draw attention to this section. Not only because the voice changed, but also because the meaning of the book?s title is revealed in this section. The effect on me as reader is to keep my attention. The general feeling I come away with is an essay that starts with me, moves to the narrator, then moves to Antigua in general.

Last Section Entirely Third Person

The final change in voice occurs in the last section. The last chapter is totally in third person. The narrator has completely dropped the reader (you, you, you) and herself (I, I, I) and begins to speak in straightforward, third person omniscient point of view about Antigua. She even drops into the essayists questions (?What might it do to people...?) in this section. Ending the book in this voice, to me, lent credibility. If she had stayed in the first or second person voice all the way to the end, I might have more easily dismissed the book as biased or too personal. But slowly moving across the voice spectrum, ending in traditional third person, lends an aura of objectivity to the end.

All in all this was a fascinating change ue of tense and voice to tell a compelling story.

1-0 out of 5 stars The selling out of the West Indies
Unfortunately, I had to buy A Small Place for my University of Michigan class on Latin America. I'm horrified that students and people will believe the West Indies is such a bad place from this book. Horrified. Believe me, I was born and lived in Barbados, an island close and similar in attitude to Antigua. Many everyday activities in Barbados that occur in Antigua are turned into Dateline "controversy of the week" issues. People, it's not that serious! What's worse, she doesn't even touch the real issues of the Caribbean. Not to mention, Jamaica Kincaid wrote the account as a longtime resident of the US. She doesn't even sound like a West Indian; she sounds like a pampered, naive North American who believes every nation that doesn't have a McDonald's on every block is third world, to exaggerate. White superiority is the myth this book perpetuates, and the West Indies is once again made out as a "Banana Republic." What's worse, half of the book's claims aren't even true, nor do natives consider them major issues. A warning to North Americans and Westerners alike; take this book with a grain of salt, most of this account is cornball, "what people want to hear" bull. Unfortunately, most people will believe this "tragedy." Please don't. I'm never believing anything Western media says about the rest of the world again. ... Read more


165. A Million Little Pieces
by JAMES FREY
list price: $22.95
our price: $15.61
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385507755
Catlog: Book (2003-04-15)
Publisher: Nan A. Talese
Sales Rank: 9116
Average Customer Review: 4.11 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

The electrifying opening of James Frey's debut memoir, A Million Little Pieces, smash-cuts to the then 23-year-old author on a Chicago-bound plane "covered with a colorful mixture of spit, snot, urine, vomit and blood." Wanted by authorities in three states, without ID or any money, his face mangled and missing four front teeth, Frey is on a steep descent from a dark marathon of drug abuse. His stunned family checks him into a famed Minnesota drug treatment center where a doctor promises "he will be dead within a few days" if he starts to use again, and where Frey spends two agonizing months of detox confronting "The Fury" head on:

I want a drink. I want fifty drinks. I want a bottle of the purest, strongest, most destructive, most poisonous alcohol on Earth. I want fifty bottles of it. I want crack, dirty and yellow and filled with formaldehyde. I want a pile of powder meth, five hundred hits of acid, a garbage bag filled with mushrooms, a tube of glue bigger than a truck, a pool of gas large enough to drown in. I want something anything whatever however as much as I can.

One of the more harrowing sections is when Frey submits to major dental surgery without the benefit of anesthesia or painkillers (he fights the mind-blowing waves of "bayonet" pain by digging his fingers into two old tennis balls until his nails crack). His fellow patients include a damaged crack addict with whom Frey wades into an ill-fated relationship, a federal judge, a former championship boxer, and a mobster (who, upon his release, throws a hilarious surf-and-turf bacchanal, complete with pay-per-view boxing). In the book's epilogue, when Frey ticks off a terse update on everyone, you can almost hear the Jim Carroll Band's brutal survivor's lament "People Who Died" kicking in on the soundtrack of the inevitable film adaptation.

The rage-fueled memoir is kept in check by Frey's cool, minimalist style. Like his steady mantra, "I am an Alcoholic and I am a drug Addict and I am a Criminal," Frey's use of repetition takes on a crisp, lyrical quality which lends itself to the surreal experience. The book could have benefited from being a bit leaner. Nearly 400 pages is a long time to spend under Frey's influence, and the stylistic acrobatics (no quotation marks, random capitalization, left-aligned text, wild paragraph breaks) may seem too self-conscious for some readers, but beyond the literary fireworks lurks a fierce debut. --Brad Thomas Parsons ... Read more

Reviews (219)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Powerful Read
At age 23, James Frey's life was broken into a million little pieces. He had skipped bail in four states, he was an alcoholic, drug addict and had managed to alienate pretty much everyone who ever cared for him. Yet, those who cared never fully gave up on him, because perhaps they could see the nugget of genius that gave us this powerful memoir. While I cannot speak to those who have lived through the horrors that Frey recounts as he goes through detoxification and rehab--this book may have a different effect for them and I have seen some reviews here who just aren't buying what he has to day--to most who pick up this work--this will be an amazing read. Frey's recount of his time in rehab is almost hypnotic, is addictive in itself. The writing is different, almost disjointed, but it works. At the beginning of the book, he recounts his experience getting root canal without pain killers--it is a powerful and evocative passage. There are several other sections of this book that I don't think I will ever forget, simply because of the power of his writing. I don't normally read memoirs--I picked this one up on a lark. It's a quick read, not quick because it is "easy", but quick because you will need to know how James got through rehab.

5-0 out of 5 stars Harsh and Honest.
I'm typically not a memoir fan, but Frey's style has a stream-of-conciousness lyricism that I found poetic enough to keep me reading until I reached the point where I couldn't stop. Usually when book reviews quote mainly from the first chapter, I feel like the rest of the novel won't keep up (ie: The Lovely Bones). But in this case the narrative continues to bite the entire way through. And sometimes I found myself physically wincing.

What's most refreshing is the lack of irony. I loved Eggers as much as the next guy, but I can't help but feeling that 5 years from now, when I re-read Eggers' work, I'll be embarrassed that I did. Frey never attempts to attach his life to a grander meaning of the times we live in. That job is left (rightly) to the reader. Relating such gruesome facts so plainly is pure elegance. There's meaning in that alone.

This book is bigger than a memoir. It's certainly bigger than a addiction/self-help book. It's near great, in a way that makes me look forward to this author's next work, instead of dreading the ultimate disappointment of the usual second novel flop. It's coming from an honest place, which is the only foundation an author can build on.

Read it because of the press overload, or in spite of it, but i promise it's a book that'll be read for many years after the p.r. goes away.

5-0 out of 5 stars Addiction is a CHOICE, and Frey readily admits it.
I do not believe in addiction. I believe we all make choices every day on how we want to live. I am not saying it is not a condition, but it is still a conscious choice. We all wake up everyday and choice what we want to be. Some people choose a job and a stable life, and some choose drugs and alcohol.

That being, said, I really like this book. The writing is unique and interesting and really drives the point home.

An overall great read.

5-0 out of 5 stars This Book Rocks. Period.
Not being as eliquent with words as James Frey is, I struggle to communicate how this book has impacted my life. There is something about it. It is intriguing. It captures you from the very beginning, and I am easily distracted. The writing format keeps you interested along with what is being said. This gives NOTHING away, but he describes drinking coffee in this book to the extent that I ALWAYS think about his description everytime I have a cup of hot coffee - which is every morning. So I think about this book every morning. I don't struggle with addiction. I, of course, know people who do or have. It is just a fabulous book that really changed me. I love this book. Absolutely love it. Will read it again. But am letting it marinate for a while. Please read it. It will move you.

5-0 out of 5 stars Possibly the best read ever
I don't think you can put into words what James Frey has accomplished. This simply is one of the most intense, heartfelt, and very often painful reads you will undertake. I was skeptical to pick up yet another book on addiction (most book stores have entire sections donated to the subject) but, make no mistake, this novel is exceptional, true, and wonderful. ... Read more


166. The Road from Coorain
by JILL KER CONWAY
list price: $12.00
our price: $9.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679724362
Catlog: Book (1990-08-11)
Publisher: Vintage
Sales Rank: 22334
Average Customer Review: 3.76 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

From the shelter of a protective family, to the lessons of tragedy and independence, this is an indelible portrait of aharsh and beautiful country and the inspiring story of a remarkable woman's life. ... Read more

Reviews (38)

5-0 out of 5 stars A book that will stay will me always.
"The Western plains of New South Wales are grasslands." Grasslands that with their vastness, their cycles of drought and bounty, and above all their isolation, shaped a little girl who would one day become Smith College's first woman president.

This book has been marketed as a coming of age story for girls. It's surely that, and a remarkable one. It is also (for this American reader, anyway) a fascinating look into a culture of many similarities - but with subtle, yet sometimes startling differences. Something else it ought to be is required reading for any young woman (particularly any gifted young woman!) trapped by a co-dependent relationship with her birth family. Read it, and think about what this world loses every time a woman capable of Jill Ker Conway's lifetime achievements subsumes her talents and sacrifices her dreams because the code of her childhood demands it.

A book that will stay will me always.

--Reviewed by Nina M. Osier, author of "Love, Jimmy: A Maine Veteran's Longest Battle"

5-0 out of 5 stars Australia and America - are their histories similiar?
Jill Ker Conway is an excellent, focused, academic writer, now President of Smith College in USA. She grew up in the orange dust of the Australia bush with no children as playmates, yet remembers a wonderful childhood with an especial concern for her mother's life. She writes this book as a successful adult, reconstructing the steps that got her through the University of Sydney's very demanding late-1950's history department. At that time, university studies were open to women, but the focus was on males, both living and dead white men. It was British colonial history that was taught, and most educated people picked up an inferiority complex about being Australian. Near the end of the book she writes about how she shook herself loose of this view, became proud and fond of the outback, and finally accepted that she was a city person. NEar the end she lands a history-teaching position at the U. of Sydney while enrolled in a Master's level program there, and it all closes tantalyzingly with a successful bid for a position at Harvard in USA. I've noticed often as a tourguide that British, Canadian and Australian women on my buses are very well-read and discuss books as a matter of fact, as something that one should know. They speak in a crisp and exact way with reasoned opinions. This writer falls in that category, well at the forefront of course. She knows herself, her own mind, and knows injustice and sexism when she experiences it herself. Her widening eyes begin to grasp that Europeans have simply grabbed the land of the aborigines. As a historian, she starts to want to know their view. To me, as an American, it is a slippery slope. There is only one logical conclusion: that all the land should be given back. Since this cannot be done, and Asians are beginning to flood into Australia as well since the 1960's, then the best strategy of the whites, if guilt they do feel over this landgrab, is to donate of their own accord time, help, money, food, clothing or training to their own poor. Academics around the world are concerned with the rights of "native peoples", but to turn back the clock is impossible. The interlopers are here. I greatly look forward to hie'ing my white yet hairy flesh over to the library and looking for the sequel to her life story and changing views. May she come to some peace about her ancestors' plopping down on the abo's!

4-0 out of 5 stars Mental claustrophobia of an era
I found this to be an uncomfortable read as I can totally empathise with the author, growing up in the same era and knowing the feeling of being out of sync with the older generation. I realise that this probably happens even now but at least these days, females have grown up knowing themselves to be the equal of males and without having to apologise for sometimes being smarter.Jill was fortunate to have a very good education but was also responsible for earning Australian government scholarships which are awarded solely on the good marks earned in exams( not by good luck as one reviewer implied).Even so, she was, not so subtley reminded that a woman's primary function was as a wife and mother and as a mere adjunct to her husband and even brothers. This state of affairs probably existed in all cultures at that time, and not just i Australia, but even as I read, that old feeling of suffocation was present...the feeling that you wanted more but of what, you couldn't say and your parents certainly didn't understand either.

4-0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed it beginning to end
I found her story interesting and well written. I was interested in the culture and geography of Australia, as well as her story of finding her way in life. I quickly connected with her, and found her writing to be clear and honest. Contrary to what others may have said about this author, she had a tough childhood and adolescence, but thrived in spite of it.

3-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating at first. Pedantic in the end.
At first I could not stop reading and was highly fascinated by both the content and the way this book was written. In the end the book became a bit pedantic and longwinded. ... Read more


167. Champions Are Raised, Not Born : How My Parents Made Me a Success
by SUMMER SANDERS
list price: $18.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385334214
Catlog: Book (1999-07-06)
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Sales Rank: 289409
Average Customer Review: 4.75 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

For any parent who feels his/her child has exceptional talent but fears pushing them too hard, Nickelodeon and NBC television personality and Olympic champion Summer Sanders has written this warm, accessible book guiding parents through the agony and joy of raising a gifted child, as someone who was once a budding champion herself.

Parents may well remember Summer Sanders as the golden-haired swimmer who stole the hearts of the world at the 1992 Olympic Games at Barcelona, winning four medals. Kids definitely know Summer Sanders as the host of Nickelodeon's wildly popular program Figure It Out! or as co-host of NBC-TV's NBA Inside Stuff. Helping parents find the perfect balance of motivation and active interest to help their gifted child achieve his or her very best, Sanders tells parents what works and what doesn't, using her own upbringing, as well as those of other world-class athletes like Dan Jansen, Bonnie Blair, Dot Richardson, and Debi Thomas, as reference.

Insisting above all that the one thing happy, successful young athletes have in common is that they have fun participating in their sport, Sanders shows that good parenting can be the difference in making a gifted child's experience positive and empowering. With more children than ever before entering competitive sports, this relevant and timely book from an athlete who's been to the top--and knows what it took to get there--makes an important addition to every concerned parent's library. ... Read more

Reviews (12)

5-0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down
As a former swimmer and as a parent of 3 age-groups swimmers I figured this book would provide some insight into success. However, i didn't anticipate how much insight I would take away from it. It is truly amazing how much Ms. Sanders had been able to accomplish in her life and it is refreshing to see that someone so young had everything in the proper perspective.

Hats off to her parents for raising and supporting (without pushing) Summer to accomplish all that she set out to do. I see the parents on the side of the pool who constantly push their kids so much so that they ultimately push them totally out of the pool all together. This is a fantastic how-to book for parents, regardless of what their kids are into.

5-0 out of 5 stars Overachievers
I really enjoyed this book and Summer has helped me keep my daughter's goals in perspective. I have a 9 year old over achiever who doesn't need pushed but needs encourgement and wants us as parents to comment on her achievements. I have learned that not only verbalizing our comments but showing her through our actions that we approve of her achievements. I learned that through this book. I picked this book up because of the attachment to swimming, but it definately carries over into all corners of our lives.

3-0 out of 5 stars Summer's Olympic Wins were a product of her Family's Support
In Summer Sander's book Champions are Raised, not Born she talks about her life and how her parents affected it. Summer believed that the measure of a true champion I show well they take a defeat and Summer was about to take them in stride. Summer believed that her four Olympic medals were not just from her hard work but from the support of her parents and coaches also. Her childhood wasn't easy with the divorce of her parents but no matter whose house she was at she had both of their support. In her childhood swimming was just something she did to make friends and take up time but it ended up changing her whole life.
In this book Summer gives specific examples of how her parents helped her to be successful. What's good about this book it that Summer also talks about how her life was like other Olympians. She talks bout how her life was different or similar to Dot Richardson, Karch Kiraly, and Bonnie Blair. It makes the readers realize that Olympic athletes' childhoods are not very different from the average persons. Summer proves that everyone can become an Olympic athlete you don't have to come from the perfect family.
Another thing that was good about the book was that Summer didn't just talk about the good times but also the bad ones. She didn't give the impression that her life easy perfect because the struggles made her stronger. No on e can live the perfect life because no matter how close they still have problems. Summer talks about the divorce of her parents as well as losses in major swim meets. There are the good times in her life but these are not the only tings that have made her who she is today.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good Info
While not the most organized book ever written, Summer Sander's discussion is insightful and balanced. There are no "a-ha" moments that will blow you away, but a whole bunch of minor insights that add up to a lot. Great reading for any parent of an athlete, from a star to an also-ran.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Parents Guide
Every parent should read this book. I am on my third time reading it and learn something new everytime. ... Read more


168. The Woman Warrior : Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts
by MAXINE HONG KINGSTON
list price: $12.00
our price: $9.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679721886
Catlog: Book (1989-04-23)
Publisher: Vintage
Sales Rank: 16018
Average Customer Review: 3.53 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A Chinese American woman tells of the Chinese myths, family stories and events of her California childhood that have shaped her identity. ... Read more

Reviews (153)

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Book for Older Readers
Although Maxine Hong Kingston does jump around from chapter to chapter (which seems to confuse most), she does a great job at explaining her life growing up as a Chinese-American. I can really relate to some of the aspects of the books. Kingston recalls constantly being filled with ridiculous stories. These stories, though, become a part of who she is and what she believes. The sub-title of the book, "Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts", explains a lot of what the author has to deal with. She has to deal with hearing that her friends and her are ghosts, because they are American. All of the people that surrounded Kingston's family were ghosts, except for the Chinese people who lived on the Gold Mountain, Chinatown in San Francisco. The children's teachers and coaches were ghosts. Kingston feels like a ghost herself: "...we had been born amonth ghosts, were taught by ghosts, and were ourselves ghost-like. They called us a kind of ghost."

This book is truely a page turner. There's always something to learn or laugh about in each turn. Wonderful book.

3-0 out of 5 stars HOW TO GAIN PITY
Kingston, with her novel about misplaced and awkward lives in society, uses the first person narrative to make the reader understand the problems and opinions of herself, and the way she sees the world. A story about a Chinese girl lost and confused in a new culture, The Woman Warrior has very strong and savage views. These opinions are only enhanced by the first person, and give a greater impact to the message. Slightly disturbed and greatly angered by unfain treatment, Kingston's book is a rather hateful one. She uses strong words, blunt remarks, and subliminal messages to give the reader a feeling that she is simply lost in a world full of hallow ghosts. Throughout the entire novel she portrays herself as the victim, in an attempt to gain the reader's pity. A sad reflection of her own life, The Woman Warrior is truly a novel about a lost soul in an unfamiliar place.

One would first assume Kingston to be a very bitter person, but her strong opinions are formed by the society she lives in. An old Chinese saying, "Better to raise geese than girls," (pg. 46), angers Kingston as a child. Her entire lifestyle and culture, American and Chinese, revolves around the concept of male dominance. Throughout the book the reader sees the cynical hatred Kingston holds for anyone who who does not sympathize with her race and gender; even by writing this book she asks for the pity of others. Such an example can be found when Brave Orchid (Kingston's mother) and Moon Orchid (Kingston's aunt), set out to avenge the marriage of Moon Orchid's husband and new wife. It is not only the cultural differences which set the awkwardness of the confrontation, but Kingston's mother's rage against the weak, (a trait later found in Kingston), which make this argument concerning divorse troublesome. Moon Orchid is shy and afraid, while Brave Orchid, anger fuled by Moon Orchid's timidness and her own extreamly feminist views, demands that she reclaim her title as wife. By the way Kingston words and retells her mother's expiriances, the reader understands the implied message that it is the husband who divorced who is evil, and the shy female who is right; this makes the first person narrative effective in that the reader sees the very strong emotions felt by Kingston and her mother. THe first person is also used to create bias opinions and exagerated comments, such as with Moon Orchid's "animalistic" children. Seen as lying, rude, vain, and selfish, the harsh words of Kingston try to make the reader think the children really are so selfish and evil, when infact it is only a misunderstood cultural difference. By being in the first person, the reader sees the opinions of Kingston, and must try to formulate what is truth and what is exagerated. Kingston, her own views tainted and twisted by society's treatment, uses the first person point of view very well to try to gain the sympathy of the reader.

Well written and very vague, this book leaves the reader searching for the truth rather than Kingston's bias views. Slightly disturbed, she is able to claim the pity of her readers by displaying herself as a victim of racial and cultural differences, and the rest of the world as mindless and uncaring drones. With the first person narrative, she can turn the reader's opinion to fit her own. She very effectivly gain's the readers pity.

4-0 out of 5 stars Trailblazer
I'm astonished to read so many virulently negative reviews. I read this book just after it came out, as a high-school student, and loved it for the strength of the writing and the vivid images, also the mix of fantasy and reality.

I do recall being a bit surprised at her anger, but up until then the only stories of Chinese-American girlhood that were available (all one or two of them, I think; this was the mid-70s) portrayed very dutiful, very quiet, very "good" girls. So this was an eye-opener and a stereotype buster, and should be welcomed for that. We have to remember that this was written nearly 30 years ago, when the whole multi-cultural debate was really just getting going; perhaps some things in it would be different now. But the trailblazers in any society often have to be angry to get their messages heard -- and taken seriously. And people like Maxine Hong Kingston laid the foundations that allowed literature by people like Amy Tan to be published. She deserves credit for this.

I can definitely see that aspects of the book could be annoying to Asian-Americans who find people taking this as gospel about Chinese culture, though.

But I'd also like to suggest that some of the negative responses might also come from people uneasy with the idea that non-white people are angry about the racism they've experienced in the United States. It's easy to think this anger is exaggerated if you've never experienced racism.

4-0 out of 5 stars women warrior
The book by Maxine Kinston is based on five different stories about different Chinese women. The novel is filled with Chinese folktales and culture. This is a story that one as a Chinese or any other culture could relate to because throughout the novel shows ancestry and tales about myths and legends. The novel will take you through stories of deception and haunt that is told through the eyes of Kingston herself. Starting with long lost aunts followed by so-called ghost warriors and ending with stories about her mother's life back in china; this book will keep you reading until the end. I recommend this story to anyone who is interested in story tale and culture of a different sort, that of Chinese. I enjoyed reading the novel myself and it kept me reading in interest on the twist and turns of Kingston's life.

4-0 out of 5 stars Interesting Chinese-American Read
I enjoyed reading the fictional tale Warrior Woman by Maxine Hong Kingston. I think anyone who likes to see how other cultures live and relate to one another will enjoy this story. Readers who enjoy fantasy type stories will also enjoy this book, because it is rich in both types of story telling. After reading the novel, I can appreciate Chinese culture more, and although I usually shy away from fantasy stories and novels, the sections dealing with fantastic themes drew me in. In the story White Tigers, I was attempted to skip pages until the end of the section, but somehow I kept reading the story and I became more involved in it. When I realized the story was being told to empower Chinese women, it gave the whole fantasy a new meaning to me. Women at the time of the story held little value in Chinese society. Girls grow up, go away, and leave their aged parents, but boys were expected to stay with the parents along with their wives to care for their elderly parents.
The story No Name Woman disturbed me as I read. No name woman was the narrator's aunt. The aunt became No Name Woman after her family disowned her for committing adultery and becoming pregnant. The aunt would never name the father, so he could bear in her shame. What bothered me most about this section is not so much that the father escaped punishment, although that bothered me too, but the total lack of forgiveness from the family. Because of this total lack of family forgiveness, this young woman killed herself and her newborn. How terribly sad!
Although the Chinese society seemed to value family and a tradition, I found it highly curious that they could not speak about sex at all and they went to great lengths to avoid even family intimacy. Kingston describes how family members in China shout into each other's faces and yell at each other across the room. At mealtimes, which is a sort of intimate family time, no one talks.
I found the section At the Western Place intriguing. I am aware that there are many immigrants who come to the United States to make a better life for themselves, many times leaving families behind until they can establish themselves. When I read how Moon Orchid had been waiting for her husband for over 30 years and he never returned, instead establishing a new family in the United States, to say I was taken back, is expressing my reaction mildly. Moon Orchid did not seem to mind the arrangement though. Could it have been because she was well provided for financially without the obligation of carrying out wifely duties? Perhaps she enjoyed the prestige of being a married woman. Whatever her reasons, I felt so sorry for her after her sister Brave Orchid forced a confrontation between the estranged spouses. Moon Orchid was devastated by the encounter and was never the same afterwards. Something intangible and innocent within her was forever altered.
I would recommend that this book be read in a thoughtful and serious manner, although the narrative is by no means heavy or serious, but the characters themselves as interesting as well as being a complex mixture of clashes between their own culture and their assimilation to American culture. There are marked differences between the struggles of the young people and the struggles of the older people and how both groups try to fit into the new society while holding onto parts of traditional Chinese culture. I found The Warrior Woman a good read. ... Read more


169. The Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt (Quality Paperbacks Series)
by Eleanor Roosevelt
list price: $18.95
our price: $12.89
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 030680476X
Catlog: Book (2000-02)
Publisher: Da Capo Press
Sales Rank: 19093
Average Customer Review: 3 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

To tie in with the paperback publication of volume II of Blanche Wiesen Cook's acclaimed biography of Eleanor Roosevelt

"Mrs. Roosevelt's autobiography is above all the portrait of a person. The history it gives is history as she has seen it-not in the round but directly, with her clear and candid eye. Since, however, she has seen so much and from so central a point of vision, her reflections on our world and on our human prospects have more than an autobiographical interest. She is a very wise woman, and it would be correspondingly unwise not to take notice of her hopes-and fears."
-Barbara Ward ... Read more

Reviews (3)

1-0 out of 5 stars An amazing, fascinating woman writes a dull, lifeless book
Eleanor Roosevelt's autobiography provides very little information about her life. She vaguely refers to many seemingly important events (such as the death of her father, her husband's presidency) with little emotion and no detail whatsoever. If you know a lot about her and the politics of the time already, it may offer an interesting perspective. If you want to know details of ER's incredibly interesting life, read her biography by Blanch Weisen Cook.

3-0 out of 5 stars From Ugly Duckling to Powerful Woman
This autobiography is in four parts. The first one is about her childhood, the second and third part mostly about FDR, something she admits in the beginnning of the chaper. It gives a nice insight in who they both lived together although we know now there was a lot more going on (FDR's affair) which is not in her autobiography.

A nice turn of events comes after the death of FDR. Instead of retiring silently ad Hyde Park she takes on an active role in public life, being present at the founding of the UN and being a member of the committe on human rights which would lead to the Declaration of Human Rights. She also writes extensively about her travels around the world where she interviewed world leaders. Her visits to Israel and the Soviet Union are fascinating to read about.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Life Story Well Told: The Autobiography of Elenor Roosevet
The Autobiography of Elenor Roosevelt, by Elenor Roosevelt, tells the story of a grat woman, one who greatly impacted the lives of many Americans. In her own words, the modest Elenor Roosevelt begins her life story describing her childhood in great detail and continues through her later years. This book not only tells the life story of this remarkable woman, but teaches a history lesson of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. ... Read more


170. Persepolis : The Story of a Childhood
by MARJANE SATRAPI
list price: $11.95
our price: $8.36
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 037571457X
Catlog: Book (2004-06-01)
Publisher: Pantheon
Sales Rank: 5230
Average Customer Review: 4.76 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Originally published to wide critical acclaim in France, where it elicited comparisons to Art Spiegelman's Maus, Persepolis is Marjane Satrapi's wise, funny, and heartbreaking memoir of growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. In powerful black-and-white comic strip images, Satrapi tells the story of her life in Tehran from ages six to fourteen, years that saw the overthrow of the Shah's regime, the triumph of the Islamic Revolution, and the devastating effects of war with Iraq. The intelligent and outspoken only child of committed Marxists and the great-granddaughter of one of Iran's last emperors, Marjane bears witness to a childhood uniquely entwined with the history of her country.

Persepolis paints an unforgettable portrait of daily life in Iran: of the bewildering contradictions between home life and public life and of the enormous toll repressive regimes exact on the individual spirit. Marjane’s child's-eye-view of dethroned emperors, state-sanctioned whippings, and heroes of the revolution allows us to learn as she does the history of this fascinating country and of her own extraordinary family. Intensely personal, profoundly political, and wholly original, Persepolis is at once a story of growing up and a stunning reminder of the human cost of war and political repression. It shows how we carry on, through laughter and tears, in the face of absurdity.And, finally, it introduces us to an irresistible little girl with whom we cannot help but fall in love.
... Read more

Reviews (58)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Iranian revolution viewed by a little girl: touching!
PERSEPOLIS is a graphical autobiography of the author, who experienced the Iranian revolution and the Iran-Iraq war as a child in the 1970s and 1980s. It is told in the beatiful black and white graphical language of a comic strip where simple pictures communicate strong feelings, much better than words could.

But PERSEPOLIS is also the story or a whole generation of young Iranians, who left their land in the quest of better conditions during the post-revolutionary era. I belong to this generation myself and I totally identified with the experiences Ms SATRAPI went through- her childhood in post revolutionary Iran, her description of Iranian society at the time, her exile in Austria- also in the volumes 2 & 3 (which already appeared in French).

Though conceived as a comic book, the book has messages which are not childish in nature: the child, through the naiveness of her views, points out to many of the contradictions of Iranian society that adults are unwilling to face.

It is also one of the rare unbiased personal accounts of what happened in Iran at the time of ther evolution and as such, is an interesting document on this period of Iranian history.
(It certainly contains more information on Iran and its people than the junk broadcasted on most TV channels).

Some readers (including reviews posted here) criticize this book for not being a realistic description of Iran. Though I totally disagree with this criticism, the main point is that PERSEPOLIS is NOT a history book nor a sociological study. It is a story, the story of a childhood and the author has never claimed it to be otherwise.

I definitely recommend this book, first to all Iranians who live abroad, especially those who did not grow up in Iran and did not
experience the revolution, and then to all readers interested in getting a human, insider view of what Iranian society was like in the early 1980s.

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent and Touching Read
I read this book recently and found it imposible to put it down, I finished reading the first time I picked it up. The author does an excellent job in telling and illustrating Iran's contemporary history, and she does so -I think- quite objectibly, squaring blame not only on the major powers for their share on Iran's internal repression, but also on Iranians themselves. This type of self-examination is a rare thing in Muslim countries, where local media is coerced by the local government or which panders to victimization of Muslims and/or demonization of the West.

Ms. Satrapi paints herself, no doubt, in the best light; as a curious, precocious, insightful child, who sometimes sounds too irreverent and self-aware for a 10 year old. Yet this is perhaps the most compelling aspect of Persepolis, she looks at a complex political transition as a child, yet without sounding over-simplistic. It brought together several key ideas I had read in other more technical books about the Islamic Revolution. She weighs the conflicting messages (so harmful to a child's self-esteem) she received from her parents and society and finds a way to navigate through them. Her parents are middle class idealistic leftists who call for 'equality' but who nevertheless spend vacations in Europe and more or less spoil her. On one ocassion she gets advise from her mother about the need to forgive one's enemies, a few pages later she calls for death to those who tortured her brother in jail. The author, as a child, is besieged by these polarities. Her parents had also welcomed the Islamic Revolution, as secular Iranians did, for the unity they could provide while hoping/expecting their influence to dissipate after the Shah was deposed.

Ms. Satrapi lets the reader understand that she was far from under-priviledged in post-revolutionary Iran. She and her friends find ways to be 'cool' in spite of the vice control police that roamed the city. One understands then that no one, no matter how rich, was safe from the repression that ensued. Her father is harassed for drinking alcohol and she for wearing 'punk' (a.k.a Nike) tennis shoes. At some point her parents have to smuggle posters for her, which would have otherwise been confiscated at the airport by customs (how she thought that Iron Maiden only had four members is beyond me, but we'll let that one go!)
A complaint is that the storming of the American embassy only gets a cursory glance. Surely the tension that aroused from this would have been part of her everyday life, because of the international crisis it provoked, not to mention the failed American military Operation ('Eagleclaw') to rescue them. I also expected her to criticize the hostage takeover. She didn't.

A minor glitch is the story of her uncle, a communist who was exiled to Russia, at some point in his story one is not sure whether he was detained by the police in Russia or in Iran (?).

Yet it is the Islamic Revolution who gets the block of her criticism. She tells examples of how the revolution killed the same revolutionaries who midwifed it to life, her uncle included. How even early on, it had become more repressive than the Shah had been.

This book will benefit those whose only image of Iran (as another reviewer eloquently remarked) is that of terrosists and hostage takers. This book gives a human face to a struggle and repression that most Americans cannot fathom, and in the end, shows us that we are not all that different. Most of all, it paints a picture of life in a regime that stiffles the very air out of its people. A regime this reader hopes is on its last leg, and one whose repression has -contrary to what many believe- made Iran a country where popular support for the West is unparalled.

Don't let the less than perfect score discourage you, this is a funny, uplifting and touching work, truly from the heart. What a wonderful book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Autobiography
<br /> The Autobiographies/Memoirs have it this year, i haven't read one i didn't like. "Persepolis" is at the top of the list of spell binding, well written gut wrenching truth and honesty. <br /> Other books to read are: Nightmares Echo, Dry,Reading Lolita,Running With Scissors<br />

5-0 out of 5 stars Quite possibly the best book of the year
"Persepolis" marks the third book in the almighty triumvirate of great autobiographical graphic novels that examine injustice. Joining the ranks of "Maus" by Art Spiegelman and "Palestine" by Joe Sacco, "Persepolis" has garnered a remarkable amount of attention. Positive attention, that is. Suddenly it's getting high marks in everything from "Entertainment Weekly" to "VOYA: Voice of Youth Advocates". I wonder to myself whether or not author/artist Marjane Satrapi has been surprised by the mounds of attention. I also wonder how it is that she was able to take her own life story and weave it seamlessly with the history of her own country, Iran. This book is like an illustrated version of "Midnight's Children", but far darker and far more real.

The first image in "Persepolis" is the same image you see on its cover. Marjane sits wearing a veil in 1980 for the first time. As the story continues, Marjane explains her own beginnings as well as the beginning of the "Cultural Revolution". In her own life, Marjane was an only child of middle class intellectual parents. She experienced the usual childhood ups and downs. Sometimes she believed she was God's next chosen prophet. Other times she wanted to demonstrate with her parents in the street against the Shah. Over the course of her childhood Marjane learns more about the limits of class in Iran as well as the secrets behind her family history. She finds that her grandfather was a prince, her uncle a political prisoner for years, and her parents far braver than she ever expected. Marjane deals with the danger of challenging authority under the rule of religious extremists while growing up as a normal girl. By the end, her parents determine that the only thing left to do is to send their only daughter to Vienna and Marjane must face a future without them by her side.

Before I read the book I scanned the illustrations and found them lacking. I thought (originally) that they were too simplistic to effectively convey a deep plot and deeper discussion of the human propensity for violence (and good). After reading the first page I discovered that this assumption, while normally correct, was wrongdy wrong wrong wrong. Yes, it's certainly true that Satrapi's style is simple. At the same time, it's also the ideal companion to the piece. In a book such as this you do not want to draw attention away from the narrative voice with inappropriately overdone illustrations. As for the writing itself, it's engaging to even the most reluctant reader. And what better way to teach people a little Iranian history? Quite frankly, I was baffled by some of the things I discovered here. I consider myself a lightly educated middle class individual. I know a little more world history than joe schmoe down the street, but not much more. Nonetheless, after reading roughly five pages of "Persepolis" I discovered, to my chagrin, that I know jack squat about Iran. Were you aware that Iranians are not, in fact, Arabs? How about the roots of the Cultural Revolution? How much do you know about that? Or the day to day routines of people living in Iran in the 1980s? No?

Today we the American people live in a country where our rulers like to toss about phrases like, "Axis of Evil", and condemn entire countries with a single blow. What "Persepolis" does so (apparently) effortlessly is to put a human face on inhuman suffering. Iranians have been through more horrors than can be recounted in a single book. I think what struck me the hardest about this story was the little things. The stories about girls in school skipping class to flirt with boys. Discussions with other kids about farting from kidney beans. Punk rock and Michael Jackson. All this took the book from being a personal voice of a nation's struggle to the point where your average reader identified deeply with the characters. The final image in this book is heart breaking. I only hope I have the guts to get "Persepolis 2" and read it cover to cover.

5-0 out of 5 stars deep, and honest
As an iranian who has lived in similar years as Marjane is talking about, I could totally relate to what she says...This book is so refreshing, deep, and at the same time simple ... I could not put it down, and forced my self to read less so I would not have to wait too long for the second volume to come out... But no, I finished too fast and I'm waiting now... maybe I could start reading the french version... ... Read more


171. Victoria's Daughters
by Jerrold M. Packard
list price: $15.95
our price: $11.16
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312244967
Catlog: Book (1999-12-23)
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Sales Rank: 3921
Average Customer Review: 4.18 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Five women who shared one of the most extraordinary and privileged sisterhoods of all time...

Vicky, Alice, Helena, Louise, and Beatrice were historically unique sisters, born to a sovereign who ruled over a quarter of the earth's people and who gave her name to an era: Queen Victoria. Two of these princesses would themselves produce children of immense consequence. All five would face the social restrictions and familial machinations borne by ninetheenth-century women of far less exalted class.

Researched at the houses and palaces of its five subjects-- in London, Scotland, Berlin, Darmstadt, and Ottawa-- Victoria's Daughters examines a generation of royal women who were dominated by their mother, married off as much for political advantage as for love, and passed over entirely when their brother Bertie ascended to the throne. Packard, an experienced biographer whose last book chronicled Victoria's final days, provides valuable insights into their complex, oft-tragic lives as scions of Europe's most influential dynasty, and daughters of their own very troubled times.
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Reviews (33)

5-0 out of 5 stars a fantastic way to learn more about history
This was a fantastic way to learn more about the late 18th and early 19th Centuries. I have to admit that although I have a master's degree in history, my major focus has always been ancient history, particularly ancient Near Eastern history (I was one of those people who felt that "modern history" meant everything after 1200 BC.--yes, BC.). Only just lately have I begun to follow up intriguing trails through other periods. Some time ago, I began to realize that one could really gain incredible insight into the events of an era by studying peripherals: the history of countries peripheral to the main stage, side issues like trade, crafts, and long distance contacts, and the women and others behind the main historical figures, etc. Jerrold Packard's book Victoria's Daughters seemed to be just the book I needed to learn about a period in time about which I knew next to nothing, the late 19th Century.

At first it seemed as though the book would be more about Queen Victoria herself than about her daughters. As I read on, though, I realized that the oddity of Victoria's succession to the throne had much to do with the lives of her daughters, as did her early life and her own upbringing. Furthermore, it is against her long life and protracted reign that not only the events in her daughters' lives were measured and chronicled but those of most of the lives of the world's population. There was a reason that most of the 19th Century was labeled "the Victorian era!"

In the past I had given very little thought about the connections that existed throughout European history or about what actually brought about the events that occurred during the turn of the century. I knew of course that the Tsarina of Russia was "Victoria's granddaughter" and a "Prussian princess," but I hardly gave thought to what that really meant. Nicholas and Alexandra were charismatic historical figures in their own right. They were a fairy tale couple, much in love, with a cozy little family living the life of a Russian folktale, and their poetic tale came to a tragic but colorful and certainly very memorable finish. End of story, or so it seemed to me. One knows about World War I, I suppose, and all the people that died in trenches of disease and exposure and mustard gas and enemy fire. One has heard of Bismark and Wilhelm II and Lord Mountbattan, but they're all just interesting names, names one memorizes to answer our world history tests, right? Not when one reads Mr. Packard's story of the children of Queen Victoria.

Each of the daughters, Victoria, Alice, Helena, Louise, and Beatrice had a unique relationship with their mother. Because of whom and what she was, Victoria's was not a particularly warm and maternal presence in their lives. When she was a presence at all, she was distant, self-centered, imperious, and controlling. Unfortunately some of this early relationship translated into problems with parent-child interactions when the girls had children of their own. Lest anyone think that women do not have an impact on the course of history because they don't lead armies into battle--often anyway--one only need read about the relationships between some of these women and their children. That between Victoria, "Vicky," and her eldest son, Willy--later Wilhelm II--will quickly disabuse one of the notion.

Furthermore, the five girls were married into some of the key families of Europe. The titles of each and their in-laws read like a who's who of European nobility, and their sons and daughters became kings, queens, and dukes, many of whom ended up on opposite sides of wars in Europe during the late 19th and early 20th century. The tangled web of personal relationships, treaties, and ambitions ultimately brought about World War I.

I was especially entranced with the intimate detail woven into the stories of each of the women. The author mined diaries, extensive family correspondence, and biographies written about each to create very personal characterizations. The reader becomes as engaged in the story of their lives as in those of fictional characters; one just does feels connected.

FOR THOSE WRITING PAPERS: in history, anthropology, political science, sociology. One might use this book to discuss the limitations of women of the upper classes at the time and their effects on history. One might look at individuals like Alice, who became a follower of the practices of Florence Nightengale, or her sister Louise, who was an accomplished and professional sculptor, who attempted to break out of the social mold of the time to create an identity and existence of their own. What types of role models did they make for others? What changes did they bring about in society? How did they set the stage for our own era? Might the events of WWI been less likely to have happened if the relationships between countries had been based on less personal grounds? Did the relationships between these women and their children and spouses affect the course of events significantly? Or would they have happened anyway? Would they have happened for the same reasons? How was this era a transitional time?

3-0 out of 5 stars Now, which daughter was that??
This is a very readable and interesting book. I think it is one of the few sources in print for information about Queen Victoria's daughters. However, the way the author presents the information can get confusing to the reader. Packard goes from talking about one daughter to the next in the same chapter. This is especially confusing when there is a reference mentioned from earlier in the book. I found myself having to check which daughter I was reading about and looking back at times to remember and item or two. Another slight problem was the author seeming to judge past attitudes and customs by today's standards. I also question some of the facts presented particulary about Queen Victoria. Some disagree with the many other things I have read about this grand lady. Other than these things, I did enjoy the book. I recommend it especially since it is one of the few sources out there.

5-0 out of 5 stars Loved It!
I'm an avid reader of royal biographies. I prefer learning about how people lived the personal side of their lives. Of course, all of these people (given their positions) had some role in politics of the time. I never paid much attention to that aspect and only now realize what a mistake that was.

This book is wonderful simply for it's attention to royal women (some who are often overlooked by other authors) and especially for it's coverage of the family dynamics. But, I also appreciated the way the author described each family member's involvement in wide-reaching European politics. This information is so well weaved into the "story" of their lives, that I was not at all put-off (bored) by it as I usually am. I was quite surprised to finally understand the unification of Germany, the role of landgraves and all those little principalities, and the formation of Canada. Granted, a book of this scope can only touch the surface of these issues. Still, I found it entertaining and elightening.

1-0 out of 5 stars Lackluster writing with plenty of mistakes
This is one book on the Queen and her daughters I would pass on. Packard failed to do any proper research on the princesses and it shows in several huge mistakes committed by the author. I am glad I bought this used as it would have been a waste of my money if I bought it brand new and only to see what a huge dissappoint it was (and is).

5-0 out of 5 stars Victoria's Daughters
This is totally captivating...these very priviledged daughters grew into socially active adults. Very interesting read. ... Read more


172. Living History
by Hillary Rodham Clinton
list price: $28.00
our price: $18.48
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743222245
Catlog: Book (2003-06)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Sales Rank: 1063
Average Customer Review: 3.05 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

As with most books written by politicians while in office (or at least aiming for one), Living History is, first and foremost, safe. There are interesting observations and anecdotes, the writing is engaging, and there is enough inside scoop to appeal to those looking for a bit of gossip, but there are no bombshells here and it is doubtful the book will change many minds about this polarizing figure. This does not mean the work is without merit, however, for Hillary Clinton has much to say about her experience as first lady, which is the primary focus of the book. Those interested in these experiences and her commentary on them will find the book worth reading; those looking for revelations will be disappointed.

Beginning with a brief outline of her childhood, college years, introduction to politics, and her courtship with Bill Clinton, Clinton covers a wide variety of topics: life on the campaign trail, her troubled tenure as leader of the President's Task Force on National Health Care Reform, meeting with foreign leaders, and her work on human rights, to name a few. By necessity, she also addresses the various scandals that plagued the administration, from Travelgate to Whitewater to impeachment, though she does not go into great detail about each one; rather, she seems content to simply state her case and move on without trying to settle too many old scores.

Along the way, she offers many apologies, though perhaps not the kind some would expect. She does not shy away from her "vast right-wing conspiracy" comment, for instance, though she does wish that she had expressed herself differently. Regarding the Monica Lewinsky scandal, she maintains that her husband initially lied to her, as he did the rest of the country, and did not come clean until two days prior to his grand jury testimony. Calling his betrayal "the most devastating, shocking and hurtful experience of my life," she explains what the aftermath was like personally and why she has elected to stand by her man. In all, Living History is an informative book that goes a long way toward humanizing one of the most recognizable, and controversial, women of our age. Shawn Carkonen ... Read more

Reviews (651)

4-0 out of 5 stars Pretty good book
I just love Hillary Clinton, but this is only after I read this book. I never really cared for her, but I decided to give this book a shot. Now that I've read it, I can see what an incredible woman she really is. I admire her greatly.

As for the book itself, it wasn't the best thing I had ever read. Some of it was a little boring, but overall I thought it was worth reading. I enjoyed reading about her childhood and I loved hearing about her getting involved in politics. I now see her relationship with Bill in a new light, and I am glad she didn't dwell on the Monica Lewinsky scandal. She had a much bigger story to tell, and I am glad she did it.

The reason some people may not like this book is because it reads more like a political manifesto rather than an out-and-out memoir. The times when she went into too much detail on foreign policies were things I could have done without. Still, I am glad I gave this book a shot because it really does make you see her in a new light. She is no longer the ice woman I once thought she was. Then again my family is predominantly Republican, so it's no wonder I thought that. It's hard for me to think I once thought so little of this incredible woman.

Another reason people may not like this is because they were expecting a juicy gossip rag about the Lewinsky scandal. Like I said earlier, Ms. Clinton does not dwell on this and I love her for that. That is a time in her life she has moved on from and we should all take a page from her book.

I have a newfound respect for Hillary Clinton. She has inspired me to become more involved in politics and I think she is just an amazing woman. Thanks to her, I have come to embrace my liberal views and am not afraid to be the only Democrat in a family full of Republicans. Go out and buy this book to get a glimpse into who this woman really is. She will get my vote if she ever decides to run for the presidency of the United States.

4-0 out of 5 stars History Light
I must admit that this is the first memoir I have ever read that was by the First Lady and given this one is graded as one of the better ones, I think it may be my last. It was not that the book was badly written, it was just that the majority of what the First Lady does is not all that interesting to me. Reading about this fund raisers, good will trips or party planning are not my idea of thrilling political insider info. I am more interested in the hard fought, inside the beltway battles that make major decisions. I obviously new this book was about the First Lady, but given the Clinton Presidency, I assumed that it would cover more in depth the political battles the administration faced. Then again the book was about her.

The next compliant I would have about the book is that the author seamed to take the high road on all the areas you thought she would come out with both guns blazing on. Her comments were so bland that they almost acted to diminish or completely disregarded the very negative attacks the Clinton's faced during their terms. Sure she touched on the items of major interest, heath care reform, the full independent counsel investigation, Monica and the Senate race, but it seamed to be at such a high level that all the real nasty, dirty inside details were left out of the book. Ok I know that she has a new job now so that she did not what to lay waste the political landscape that she will be working in and one could make the argument that the First Lady needs to stay above the partisan attacks, but hey this is the edge of the seat reading I wanted.

Lastly I wanted more detail. Now given that she had lead a rather full life, Governors wife, working on the Nixon impeachment, First Lady and now Senator, to get a real detailed account of all of these areas she would have needed a much larger if not multiple volume book. I guess I would have just liked her to focus on the First Lady section of her life and have gone into more detail. Just as the book seamed to be getting into a topic, the chapter was over and on to the next installment of Hilary on the move.

Even though I have focused on the areas I disliked with the book, overall I thought it was probably better then most books dealing with the Clinton years. I did think the writing was better then average and she did have an interesting story to tell. The details she did given about the life of the First Lady and some of the inside information about the Clinton Presidency were worth the purchase price, throw in some of the personal bit and the book was not bad at all. I also have a sympathetic spot for her, so the increased my enjoyment of the book. I guess I am just a bit disappointed that the book could have been so much better. It could have been a stinging and focused rebuttal of all the overly negative and harmful to the country attacks. Then again how could one book fight back the 8 year, over the top negative campaign focused against the Clinton's. I felt the book was interesting and enjoyable.

2-0 out of 5 stars She's a good girl...
Hillary Clinton is an interesting woman, with tremendous drive and ambition, and this will often get a woman branded as the devil incarnate. The very polarized views of her are not surprising.

What was surprising was the tone and lack of depth in this book. It reads as if she had a list of items she wanted to tick off as having explained. 'I'm a good girl, really.' was the underlying theme. I can't believe she's as naive as she portrays herself. She does admit to a few mistakes, but her apologies are all for not doing a better job, like any good girl.

The healthcare chapter is a good example. She was unable to overcome hurdles around the complexity of the legislative process involved, and she makes 'apologies' for her failure along the lines of 'well, we tried really hard & it's a good cause'. But as she & Bill are both Yale lawyers, with experience in private practice (her) and as the Arkansas attorney general (him) and as they had easy access to many of the best legal minds in the country, it is hard to understand. It comes across more like professional negligence than the naivety it is painted as. I suspect ambition (the 100 day goal) was the real cause for failure, which is a shame given how important this issue is to our country and how badly we need healthcare reform. To put something this complex under a 100 day deadline is almost sophomoric - or ambition out of control.

She is also careful to mention every person and cause that might win over supporters. An extraordinary number of her enounters seemed to have resulted in 'lifelong' friendships. Many iconic figures like Jackie Kennedy and Nelson Mandela get a lot of airtime. It's a bit too good to be true. It reads almost as if she's running for something.

Maybe Sarah Bradford, who wrote that wonderful biography of Jackie Kennedy, will write the book about Hillary one day and we'll get a better picture of who she really is - from all angles. Personally, I would have found the intelligent, ambitious Hillary much more interesting and admirable than the girl scout we hear about in this book... it's a shame powerful women still feel they have to paint themselves as 'good girls' to be heard.

5-0 out of 5 stars 10 things to love about this book.
1. Candid revelations: "It was no surprise that Bill turned out to be a cheat. He used to hang out in the parking lot of Arby's to pick up Monica types, but it still hurts."

2. On the Sixties: "Bill really did inhale, as did we all."

3. On lesbianism rumors: "I am not a Lesbian, I only tried it those times to find that out."

4. On faith: "I am a deeply spiritual Church goer, I also dabble in Voodoo and my Wicken name is priestess Dominatrix."

5. On movies: "My favorite movie is that one by Tarintino, I forget the title, something Bill."

6. On her detractors: "They call me a cold angry lady. I am just aloof and have some hate issues."

7. On the vast right wing conspiricy: "They put a computer chip in Bill's head that makes him not very particular about the ladies."

8. On forgivness: "We all make mistakes, even I can recall waking up next to Monica after a night of drinking on a few occasions."

9. On Terrorists: "Let's find out why they are unhappy, maybe they need a hug."

10. On running for President: "I understand that France hates us for being powerful so I will reduce our power to an amount equal or less than that of other countries and stop all this helping people in forign lands stuff."

5-0 out of 5 stars An intelligent account of history, (not gossip filled)
If you are looking for gossip, go read another book. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton's book is as the title states: It is a Living History. It is well-written and filled with facts and stories of past generations. If you have children or grandchildren this is a book you should buy for them. It is a warm and compassionate way to learn history (as opposed to our education system that tends to teach history via war dates). Buy this book. You Won't Be Sorry!

(...) ... Read more


173. The Operator : David Geffen Builds, Buys, and Sells the New Hollywood
by Tom King
list price: $25.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679457542
Catlog: Book (2000-03-07)
Publisher: Random House
Sales Rank: 298868
Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

DreamWorks cofounder David Geffen, as portrayed by Wall Street Journal reporter Tom King, is in various ways a saint, a visionary, and an absolute maniac. In his saintly mode, Geffen both raises and gives record-breaking sums of money to AIDS foundations, advises and supports the President and progressive causes, and races to visit old friends stricken with grief or illness (even the washed-up agent Sue Mengers, whose friendship could do him no earthly good).

As a visionary in the music, movie, and Broadway theater industries, Geffen orchestrates the sale of his record companies, which made him a billionaire, and brings you Laura Nyro; Cats; Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young; Tom Cruise; the Eagles; Nirvana; Bob Dylan; John Lennon; Guns N' Roses; Saving Private Ryan; and Joni Mitchell (who immortalized his deepest yearnings in her tune "Free Man in Paris").

But the most impressive and detailed portion of King's landmark biography is Geffen's performance as an entertainment entrepreneur, and in this capacity he is apparently a visionary and a maniac at the same time. Not only does he discover all manner of talents and works of art and hire the best hit-sniffers in the business, he also masters the fine Hollywood art of the Machiavellian tantrum. Geffen allegedly softens up his prey in a business deal by offering up disarming gossip about his own life--his traumatic courtship of Cher, or Marlo Thomas, perhaps, or the male prostitute he is said to have boasted about being in bed with the night John Lennon was shot. At some point, minutes or decades into an apparent friendship, Geffen is shown betraying anyone, even best friends and mentors, in his relentless quest for winning a deal. King's book provides a ringside seat; it's fascinating to watch Tinseltown's titans slug it out in championship bouts, maneuvering, lying, reuniting, and seizing power like crazed Renaissance princes.

In one memorable encounter, Geffen protests that Sid Sheinberg of MCA is displeasing his DreamWorks colleague, Steven Spielberg. "David, stop screaming," says Sheinberg. "I'm not screaming!" Geffen screams. "David, you know what would make me happy?" says Speilberg. "Stop screaming." It turns out that Geffen doesn't even know the details of the deal in question. But nobody knows how to strike a deal--with mind and maniacal heart--like David Geffen. --Tim Appelo ... Read more

Reviews (50)

2-0 out of 5 stars more like a melodramatic laundry list and less like a novel
I work in Hollywood and when this book came out, word on the street was that Tom King had published a well-researched, well-written, no-holds-barred and blistering account of David Geffen's life and work. Now that I've read this 600-plus-page monster, I'll go along with the well researched and call it a day. Maybe I've worked around too many moguls for too long, but I didn't find anything in here that I found particularly shocking, much less revelatory. I don't doubt the veracity of anything King has written (especially re: Geffen's own childish behavior - his tantrum over this innocuous publication bears that out), but even with Geffen's amazing achievements I closed the book wondering what the hell had made me pick it up in the first place. Geffen's world certainly contains the time-tested elements of a fascinating life - he started from less than nothing and now has a number of careers, fortunes and empires to his name while lacking any essential emotional connections. King has reported all of those elements faithfully, but what separates "The Operator" from great biography is the book's lack of any compelling rationale behind Geffen's behavior. Of course, even the most megalomaniac among us (another title for which Geffen certainly qualifies) don't live our lives thinking about what it's all going to look like when some enterprising reporter commits several years of his life to putting it down on paper. However, if you are that reporter, you had better be able to find the essential threads that knit together the disparate elements - otherwise, you have something that reads more like a melodramatic laundry list and less like a novel (something that my favorite bios, like George Plimpton and Jean Stein's "Edie," certainly resemble). A much better read is David O. Selznick's "Memo From Selznick" - a book that is exactly what it sounds like and yet is still fascinating. I'm not sure if it's still in print, but it's worth the search.

5-0 out of 5 stars Mogul Mania
This is one of the better biographies around, whether or not you end up liking David Geffen (aka "the prince of pain"). It is full of great inside stories about legendary artists of the music business...Phil Spector, Dylan, the Band, Cher, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Jackson Browne, the Eagles, Laura Nyro, Joni Mitchell, Linda Ronstadt, John Lennon, George Michael, Donna Summer etc., etc. King keeps the narrative flowing, and he provides plenty of authentic detail without ever falling into the biographer's trap of being too academic. Of course Geffen is a very interesting subject...having powered his way to the very top of the entertainment business through sheer drive and cunning...and without having the "golden ear" or creative judgement of his competitors. The stories about his interaction with(and abuse of)fellow moguls like Ovitz, Eisner, Ross, and Davis were jawdropping. I found myself shaking my head at the deals he cut, for example talking Steve Ross into giving him back his music label for free after Ross had bankrolled he whole thing! But don't get the impression that The Operator is all about The Dark Side of David....in fact King balances the book nicely by reporting on the many philanthropic and other positive projects in Geffen's life. All in all, a very entertaining read, and well worth having on your shelf, especially if you're fascinated by the entertainment industry.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book
This book is almost impossible to put down. Geffen's life has been truly extraoridinary and it provides an excellent story. Buy this book if you have any interest in the entertainment industry or business in general.

5-0 out of 5 stars Well Researched
I have followed David Geffen's carrer for many years. I have even written a school paper on his Record Company (Geffen Records), which I have had the pleasure of visiting. This book is very well detailed and gives a vast amount of insight and information.

2-0 out of 5 stars CHER, MARLO AND MARKY MARK ... AND QUITE THE BORE
Long before he flung open the closet door back in 1992 and declared his homosexuality, David Geffen made news. Big news. Really big news. His is the life --- from college drop-out to mailroom clerk to founder of record labels and a movie company --- that makes a biography such as the one Tom King has written so lengthy ... and often lumbering. King had access to Geffen and hundreds of people in and outside of Geffen's circle of power. This is Superman as Supermogul: Saving pal Calvin Klein from bankruptcy (it was Geffen's idea to out Marky Mark in that series of memorable underwear ads), paying for experimental surgery for dying pal Dawn Steel, wooing (and almost marrying) galpals Cher (whom King says was Geffen's "first fully-functional heterosexual relationship") and Marlo Thomas to finally settling boy with assorted boytoys, unselfishly donating some of his $3 billion to fight AIDS. So many details, so little substance. This is a meticulously researched, though ultimately superficial, look at the bravo and bullying, the temper and talent that have made David Geffen the builder, buyer and seller of the New Hollywood. ... Read more


174. An Unfinished Marriage
by JOAN ANDERSON
list price: $12.95
our price: $10.36
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0767908716
Catlog: Book (2003-03-11)
Publisher: Broadway
Sales Rank: 36873
Average Customer Review: 3.73 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

With A Year by the Sea, Joan Anderson struck a chord in many tens of thousands of readers. Her brave decision to take a year for herself away from her marriage, her frank assessment of herself at midlife, and her openness in sharing her fears as well as her triumphs won her admirers and inspired women across the country to reconsider their options. In this new book, Anderson does for marriage what she did for women at midlife. Using the same very personal approach, she shows us her own rocky path to renewing a marriage gone stale, satisfying the demand from readers and reviewers to learn what comes next. ... Read more

Reviews (15)

4-0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful Comments about a Relationship
I loved Joan Anderson's book "A Year by the Sea" and I was very happy to see that she had written another book about her life. I wasn't disappointed with this novel and read it in one sitting. I have come to the conclusion that either you like this writing style, a memoir with a homey feel, or you don't. With that said, what this book is, is Joan's opinions about her life and her observations about her marriage. This book won't appeal to everyone. Not everyone will agree with her opinions and may find her constant observations egocentric but for me, it was a wonderful look into an intelligent woman's world of what makes her relationship work and not work. I love the way Joan writes through the seasons, expressing her transformation from the self limiting roles of wife and mother to the open ones of companion, trusted friend and soulmate. Anderson is not afraid to take a hard look at herself and analyze the reasons she falls into negative behavior and attitudes. What's more she genuinely wants to transform and allow her husband to transform in his own unique way without interfering. Not an easy thing to do. As I finshed the book, I felt as if I had just ended a conversation with a friend who had shared some secrets, fears, laughs and accomplishments with me. This was an enjoyable and enlightening memoir.

5-0 out of 5 stars middle-age crisis
I like both this book and Joan's first book, A Year by the sea. I like her written style and her honesty. When I read this book, I feel my heart beat and try to find out what is going to happen. It is a great book! As a woman, I understand her situation. I feel sorry for her. However, I just wonder how Robin (her husband) thinks of these two books. These two books unveiled their unfinished marriage, just like be naked in front of the public. I don't think I would like my husband to write and published our relationship "in public." And, I also wonder how her grown up children feel about the books? Will they feel comfortable about their parent's "problem" to be known? Will the books help their marriage? Well, I don't know. Probably I will have an answer as soon as Joan publishes her third book.

2-0 out of 5 stars An Unfinished Woman
This is a memoir about a woman so selfish, so castrating, that it is wonder that she has any marriage left to finish. I kept wondering why her husband, Robin puts up with her. She appears to have very little to offer. She shows him no love or understanding - it's all about her, her needs, her yearnings. She has no sympathy for his new premature retired state in an isolated beach community. She resents his furniture, his music, his golfing, his plans She gives him a hard time about a TV he wishes to install in the house and his plans for some home remodling. She announces to friends that she would like Robin to take a job in social services. She complains about the lack of money coming in since her husband retirement, yet balks at going to work. She left him the year before to "find herself" It appears as though she still hasn't.

1-0 out of 5 stars An Unfinished Writer
There is one voice in this book and every character uses it in exactly the same pedantic, stilted manner. (At a dinner party, with the alcohol flowing freely, the husband finally lets his real feelings rip: "Joan might wax poetic about the Cape's bucolic nature, and this place may have filled the soul of Thoreau, but I'm not sure what it's going to do for me".) Each tiny situation is analyzed to death within the narrow prism of Anderson's self-centered nature. Considering her broken ankle: "It is no coincidence that the left side of my body sustained the injury, as it is the left side that is thought to be the feminine side - the side that receives and surrenders. In the healing of my ankle, am I also meant to allow my softer energies to flow more freely"? Geez. Joan needs to get out and do some volunteer work.

1-0 out of 5 stars A Unfortunate Sequel
"A Year by the Sea," to which An Unfinished Marriage" is the sequel, is the memoir of a woman who peeled off the layers of her life and found again the person hidden under those layers. This is not unique in literature, nor in the lives of women, but Anderson's story is satisfying to women, most of whom are unable or unwilling to take Anderson's drastic and courageous approach to reshaping their lives. It was well-written and, deservedly, it sold well; a lot of us who read it learned from her experiences and appreciated her insights.

Unfortunately, "An Unfinished Marriage" is a bogus effort to take advantage of that success, with little basis. "Write a sequel, Joan. A lot of readers will buy the book, thinking that you really have something else to say."

Most of this book--and most of the so-called work on "finishing" or rescuing the marriage--takes place in Joan's head, not between Joan and Robin. Robin, newly retired, is undeveloped in the book, presented as though he has little or no role in the marriage and little or no interest in taking any steps to preserve it. He is trying to redefine himself as a retired person, a position for which Anderson has little sympathy. Having spent the preceding year re-evaluating and changing her life, she has not much interest in his attempt to do the same in the year she has apparently designated for re-evaluating and changing their marriage. This is a man who has obviously failed to get with the program.

Joan seems to feel that the future of the marriage is entirely in her hands and that somehow the marriage will move forward if she is very introspective and contrives everything possible into a series of lame metaphors that supposedly represent the marriage. A trip to the dump makes her realize that the marriage can be recycled like an aluminum can or a plastic bucket? Oh, please. Robin and Joan undertake the renovation of the beach house that has now become their year-round home and that is a metaphor for the remodeling of the marriage. Yes indeed, a recycled metaphor.(Which came first, the renovation or the metaphor?)

The dialogue in this book is stilted, way too heavy for normal conversation, fraught with meaning. In fact, everything in the book is fraught with meaning, too significant. If this reflects the their daily life during the period reported in the book, no wonder reassembling the marriage was so difficult. It seems that every action, every conversation, every event must be analyzed, reshaped and forced into significance for the sake of the book.

And therein lies the major problem with this book: It was forced into being. There is no book in this book. ... Read more


175. Faith and Betrayal : A Pioneer Woman's Passage in the American West
by SALLY DENTON
list price: $23.00
our price: $15.64
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 140004135X
Catlog: Book (2005-04-26)
Publisher: Knopf
Sales Rank: 4884
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Definitely "DRAMATIC AND POWERFUL"
What a life ! What a book ! It's Biography, 19th Century American and European History, Religion, Woman's Studies, Self-help and so much more. I hope it finds room inyour book collection ; the impact that it has on you will determine its placement. The story of Jean Rio is a gracefull written portrait of adventure, the acceptance of compromise and the integrity found in perseverance. The rich dance oftender touching tough touches every page. Jean Rio was in search of the music within herself and the heartfelt breathing of a Spiritual life fully lived. Did she succeed ? I believe that if she were sitting here with me today she might answer the question by saying, "go listen to Etta James' GOTTA SERVE SOMEBODY ". You'll have to read the book to find out what she thought of slavery and polygamy. ENJOY !

5-0 out of 5 stars Intimate and Epic
I saw the quote, "intimate and epic," in a review in a Santa Fe newspaper, which intrigued me so I bought the book.The book is indeed full of paradox.It is intimate and epic.Small and large. Simple and complex.Historic and mundane.I was touched deeply by the life of Jean Rio. ... Read more


176. Refuge : An Unnatural History of Family and Place
by TERRY TEMPEST WILLIAMS
list price: $13.00
our price: $9.75
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Asin: 0679740244
Catlog: Book (1992-09-01)
Publisher: Vintage
Sales Rank: 8574
Average Customer Review: 4.68 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

The only constants in nature are change and death. Terry Tempest Williams, a naturalist and writer from northern Utah, has seen her share of both. The pages of Refuge resound with the deaths of her mother and grandmother and other women from cancer, the result of the American government's ongoing nuclear-weapons tests in the nearby Nevada desert. You won't find the episode in the standard history textbooks; the Feds wouldn't admit to conducting the tests until women and men in Utah, Nevada, and northwestern Arizona took the matter to court in the mid-1980s, and by then thousands of Americans had fallen victim to official technology. Parallel to her account of this devastation, Williams describes changes in bird life at the sanctuaries dotting the shores of the Great Salt Lake as water levels rose during the unusually wet early 1980s and threatened the nesting grounds of dozens of species. In this world of shattered eggs and drowned shorebirds, Williams reckons with the meaning of life, alternating despair and joy. ... Read more

Reviews (28)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent weaving together of place and heart
Now that I have read Terry Tempest Williams' excellent book on finding refuge in the areas around the Great Salt Lake, I find I want to visit, to see for myself the stunning landscape and myriad of birdlife. I also find myself drawn to this courageous woman who lets us into this difficult part of her life, as her mother passes into the shadow of cancer. Not for the first time, we learn, and not such a rare occurrence in her family, we discover; a discovery that, for me, evoked anger at the unfairness of exposing human beings to atomic bomb test fallout. There is so much in this book: the detailed descriptions of the birds and their habits, the extraordinary unfolding of the progression of cancer and its effect on the family, the interplay of three women -- grandmother, mother, daughter -- and through it all, the gentle and exquisite writing carried me nearly effortlessly, yet with great strength. I can find no fault with the writing, the evocative images, the revelation of relationships, and the treatment of this undoubtedly amazing place. Thank you, Terry, for writing this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars A refuge becomes a sanctuary
As the Great Salt Lake rose to submerge and destroy the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, grief rose and submerged Terry Tempest William's spirit with the destruction of her mother and grandmother by cancer. The gradual regeneration of the Refuge with the subsiding of the lake parallels the regeneration of her spirit and the subsiding of her grief. But the pain and the scars remain and transform. Terry is no longer an accepting trusting Mormon daughter but a searching questioning activist after her tumultuous emotional experience. One wonders if the gifts of awareness and sensitivity are worth the price of the pain endured. The Refuge becomes a sanctuary for the returning birds and Terry's returning spirit. No more moving piece has been written about the folly and ultimate tragedy of human intervention in the environment. From the nuclear testing of the 1950s to the manipulation of the level of the Great Salt Lake, there is much to learn about the long term consquences of our short sighted acts. Everyone should read and reread and pass on this book.

4-0 out of 5 stars admirable
I give Ms. Williams points for her honesty. The book is at times insightful. Her relationship to the environment is admirable and her use of the Great Salt Lake as metaphor is quite poetic. Ms. William's ideas on solitude and our place in the landscape are something that I can relate to and appreciate. I too lost my mother to breast cancer in Utah. There is much about Ms. Williams that I admire.

I believe that this was her first book and it is often pretentious which is excusable in a first work. She over uses simile, as new writers often do, which only trivializes the piece. It is often disjointed which I am certain is how life felt to Ms. Williams as she lived through these simultaneous life changing events.

I recommend it as a loving tribute to Ms Williams's mother and the Utah landscape and as an honest portrayal of her personal growth in relationship.

2-0 out of 5 stars I tried to like this book, but just couldn't -and here's why
Living in Utah, having a Master's Degree in Aquatic Ecology from BYU, being a physician, and LDS, I get given a copy of this book every year or so from someone who admires this book. Having read this book several times (There are well-written and interesting parts), I usually then ask them what they think about some aspect of the book like the anti-male stance of the author. Most people look puzzled and then admit they have never really read the book, they just heard from someone else that it was really good.

Since this book deals with Utah, aquatic ecology, medicine, and Mormonism and most of the reviewers of this book gloss over the nuts and bolts of this book, I thought I would share my impressions of this book since I have some expertise in all these areas.

First of all, it really isn't that interesting. It took me several aborted attempts before I actually finished the thing and I love reading. Yes, portions of it are good prose, but I would usually finish 10 pages or so and be unable to say what exactly it was that I had just read. The writing reminds me of Annie Dillard - confusing and over-rated in general. There are other writers who have joined personal and family travails with nature much better. Read Norman Maclean's "A River Runs Through It" after reading "Refuge" and you will see that there is really no comparison; Maclean is so obviously superior that you wonder why anyone ever told you "Refuge" was that good.

Williams attempts to tie together her mother's and grandmother's breast cancer possibly caused by radiation exposure to 1950's nuclear tests to the flooding of a bird refuge in the 1980's. She really doesn't do this that well and this lack of similarity makes the whole book choppy at best and disjointed and irrelevant at worst. Throwing in a little tiresome male-bashing, church-bashing, and anyone-that-doesn't-think-like-me-bashing really grates on the reader after a while and you finish the book feeling like you need to take a long shower to remove the grime from your mind.

That said, the strength of this book is the account of how the female family members cope with breast cancer that runs through the generations. This is also the weakness of the book because the author has such a glaring lack of insight of the male members of the family and their feelings. Yes, Ms. Williams, men have feelings too!

The last portions of this book are laughable with some mystical feminist eco-worshippers sneaking onto some government test range. Apparently because these women chant and sway and have uteri, there is some mystical significance to this act of pointless civil disobedience. Well anyway, I don't recommend reading this book for anything other than the accounts of breast cancer coping. The anti-Utah, anti-Male, anti-Mormon aspects, and the real lack of anything meaningful regarding ecology makes this book not worth the effort, in my opinion.

1-0 out of 5 stars read Edward Abbey instead
This book is overrated and self-indulgent. If you do read it, don't feel compelled to like it just because you've heard so many good things about it. ... Read more


177. Too Close to the Falls
by Catherine Gildiner
list price: $14.00
our price: $11.20
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 014200040X
Catlog: Book (2002-03-01)
Publisher: Penguin Books
Sales Rank: 51063
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Welcome to the childhood of Catherine McClure Gildiner. It is the mid-1950s in Lewiston, New York, a sleepy town near Niagara Falls. Divorce is unheard of, mothers wear high heels to the beauty salon, and television has only just arrived.

At the tender age of four, Cathy accompanies Roy, the deliveryman at her father's pharmacy, on his routes. She shares some of their memorable deliveries-sleeping pills to Marilyn Monroe (in town filming Niagara), sedatives to Mad Bear, a violent Tuscarora chief, and fungus cream to Warty, the gentle operator of the town dump. As she reaches her teenage years,

Cathy's irrepressible spirit spurs her from dangerous sled rides that take her "too close to the Falls" to tipsy dances with the town priest.

"Anyone who appreciates a good story, well told, will find it in Too Close to the Falls." (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

"Gildiner beautifully portrays her outrageous youth through the innocent, yet sometimes frighteningly worldly eyes of a child." (The Quill & Quire)
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Reviews (18)

5-0 out of 5 stars It would be perfect for your book group
Oh, what a yummy treat! This was my era, too: childhood in the 50s, a time when men worked and learned to barbecue, woman baked and played bridge, and children ran free in a world that was threatened by Communism from without but was seen as safe from within. Of course, all is not as safe as it appeared - but that doesn't dilute the hilarity of this tale. A coming-of-age memoir by a gifted story-teller, Too Close to the Falls is told in the child's voice - her world seen through her eyes - but as a microcosm of a larger world with dark woods and threating waterfalls at the edges.
Don't miss it. Read it, laugh, think about it more deeply, then share it with a friend.

5-0 out of 5 stars A view of a quaint era from the viewpoint of a unique child.
I don't read much non-fiction, but I received this book as a gift and thoroughly enjoyed it. The author describes her unconvential childhood growing up near Niagara Falls, NY. Today, Gildiner would probably be diagnosed with attention deficit disorder, but back then, she was put to work in her father's drugstore at age four to burn off some of her "excess eneregy"--her doctor's orders! As Gildiner describes her experiences from pre-school through her teen years, she talks in the voice of the child she was then rather than the adult she is now. Her style is extremely effective in transporting the reader into her past life, a life that seems to have been both bewildering and magnificent at the same time. There is something for everyone here: television, racial conflicts, religious questioning, teen sexuality, Hollywood, and much more in this unique view of the "Leave it to Beaver" era.

5-0 out of 5 stars An unconventional childhood
Catherine Gildiner, a clinical psychologist and advice columnist, has written a fascinating memoir about her years growing up in Lewiston NY in the 50s. As a hyperactive and precocious child of four, she was put to work in her father's pharmacy under "doctor's orders." Her unconventional upbringing by older, free-thinking parents, who gave her a lot of leeway to think for herself and take responsibility for her actions, contrasted sharply with her stringent Catholic school education. Gildiner deftly uses her psychology training to show how young Cathy perceived herself and others, and how she struggled to peel through the layers of social and religious convention to see small-town Lewiston as it really was.

The author does an excellent job of painting portraits of the people that influenced her life. These include her mother, a very atypical 50s housewife who never cooked or kept house, her hard working civic-minded father, and Roy, the black pharmacy deliveryman who took Cathy on his rounds. Through her prescription deliveries, Cathy met Warty, a disfigured outcast who worked at the garbage dump, Mad Bear, the chief of the Tuscarora Indian tribe, and Marie, a retired prostitute/abortionist. Cathy bumped heads with an assortment of classmates, nuns, and priests at school and church.

This is a wonderful coming of age story that is poignant and thought-provoking. There were many humorous touches as Cathy described the world through an innocent child's eyes. There was also a dark side to this memoir as she puzzled over the disturbing and often contradictory elements of society that were often kept under wraps during that era. Having grown up in western New York in the 50s, I recognized many of the details of Cathy's childhood, such as beef on weck, early TV programming with its frequent test patterns, the use of fluoroscopes in shoe stores, and the severe lake effect snow storms in the area. This book makes an excellent selection for a discussion group, and the paperback edition includes a reader's guide for that very purpose.

Eileen Rieback

5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant recall of thoughts and feelings
I was there during the '50's, although I did not know the author, I did know the characters and places she describes so well. How in the world she remembers her reactions so clearly--as a concrete-thinking child her conclusions are so funny to us as adults--yet we remember making similar absurd conclusions as children, and accepting them. Both versions available from amazon, I prefer the version with the authentic names and locations. I would give anything for another book of hers--it is her memory and writing, not the events, that are so endearing.

5-0 out of 5 stars READ THIS BOOK!
This book was an absolute delight to read. It has the innocence and laugh-out-loud humor of a child's perpective.

From the intelligently quirky mother to Warty, the self-appointed caretaker of the city dump, all of the characters ring true. And after just a few sentences Gildiner has you feeling like you really know them.

And then there's the main character, the author as a child, who basically grew up in her father's drug store. It's a miracle she lived long enough, given her adventures and attitude, to write the book. Lucky for us she did.

Each chapter is a short-story unto itself, a la Jean Shepherd. And there just aren't enough of them. After 350 pages you're left feeling cheated because there aren't 350 more.

Read this book. ... Read more


178. Princess Sultana's Daughters
by Jean P. Sasson, Jean Sasson
list price: $12.95
our price: $11.01
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0967673755
Catlog: Book (2001-03-01)
Publisher: Windsor-Brooke Books
Sales Rank: 22772
Average Customer Review: 4.38 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Readers of Princess Sultana's extraordinary story, PRINCESS, were gripped by her powerful indictment of women's lives behind the veil within the royal family of Saudi Arabia. Now, Jean Sasson turns the spotlight on Sultana's two teenage daughters, Maha and Amani.

As second-generation members of the royal family who have benefited from Saudi oil wealth, Maha and Amani have never known the poverty which their grandparents experienced as children. Surrounded by untold opulence and luxury from the day they were born and which they take for granted, but stifled by the unbearably restrictive lifestyle imposed on them, they have reacted in equally desperate ways.

Their dramatic and shocking stories, together with many more which concern other members of Princess Sultana's huge family, are set against a rich backcloth of Saudi Arabian culture and social mores which are depicted with equal color and authenticity. We learn, for example, of the fascinating ritual of the world-famous annual pirlgrimage to Makkah as we accompany the princess and her family to this holiest of cities.

Throughout, however, Sultana never tires of her quest to expose the injustices which her society levels against women. In her couragewious campaign to improve the lot of her own daughters of Arabia, Princess Sultana once more strikes a chord amongst all women who are lucky enough to have the freedom to speak out for themselves. ... Read more

Reviews (66)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Sequel Worth a Second, Third,......Reading
As two people who lived in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, my wife and I read and enjoyed Jean Sasson's first "Princess" book, albeit with sadness because it is all so true. We are glad to know of and admire Jean Sasoon's courage and determination in making the world aware of the plight of women in Saudi Arabia -- Saudi's own women and women of other nations. We hope to hear more on this issue in yet another book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Does Royalty Really Pay Off!!!!
I was required to do a paper on this book for my government class. Well, I had other books to choose from, but I love to read about Royal families.

This is a very well written book, but what the Saudi women go through is very sick. I must say that I admire Princess Sultana for standing up for what she feels is only fair treatment for women. This book also exposes all the secrets of how the women royalty get treated like doormats. I think it is high time that the Western world sees what really goes on across the globe.

Since when is it alright for a husband to have numerous affairs when the wife is required to wear a veil in public and not even associate with a man who is of no relation to her? They already have more than one wife as it is, then they are allowed mistresses and nobody says a thing about it. I give a lot of credit to Princess Sultana that she did not allow her husband, Kareem to take on another wife and she put an end to his affairs by threatening divorce. Princess Sultana sure kept Kareem in line.

Princess Sultana's oldest daughter Maha ended up rebelling in her own ways. Then her son Abdullah's friend escaped with a girl the family knew to be together. Now my friends, would such a step be nessary if there were no such restrictions as to who they are to marry or not to marry?

Here is a family of enormous wealth, but of very little happiness. I don't mean just problems with Princess Sultana's children, but of her brothers, sisters and relatives as well.

Princess Sultana clarifies that she strongly believes in the Koran and from her explanations in the book, it seems that her faith does not condone treating women like they are subhumans. As I stated in another review, and it is quoted in this book: Mohammed did not ever state that a girl born is less than a boy. In fact, Mohammed states that a girl born is just as much a gift as a boy born. I may not have the exact wording here.

This book makes for interesting as well as educational reading.

4-0 out of 5 stars Memories
I am an arabic young woman, and i loved the book. Princess Sultana conveys her opinions and she had the courage to stand up and tell the world what she was going through.

Such activities of torture and harm which were described in the book, are not allowed in arabic countries and they are unacceptable in out faith as Muslims. Our Prophit Says that a boy and a girl are equal in everything.

As for the practice of having more than one wife has a reason, which is because of the need of a husband to have children if his wife is barren, so he marrys a woman other than his wife and he keeps his original wife for a very important reson and so that loved ones are not seperated , because having mistresses is not allowed in our faith. BUT that does not mean he is allowed to be unfair between wives (Ex. spending more time or money on one more than the other) , Islam INSISTS on the importance of fairness between wives. and that men who will not be fair with their wives are not allowed in islam to marry a second because he would be harming his wife.

Arabic women are educated and are working in very high positions. the world has changed a lot since her diary has been written and published, and arabic countries have became so much better. the things that sultana's family were doing are not right things, and they must not be mistaken to be the way that arabic families are. You must keep this in mind when reading this book.

3-0 out of 5 stars Good book, but not what I expected
I thought Princess was a very well written, and engaging book. I had no idea that some of the things discussed in the book were taking place in other areas of our world, and felt humbled that I have taken my life of freedom so easily for granted.

Sultana often makes mention of her desire to change her country for the better, and I picked up the second book expecting that I might read of ways that she has gone about making these changes. I realize that one person, let alone a woman in Saudi Arabia, cannot make these changes overnight, but I really did not see much evidence of what she is doing... just what it is she wants changed. I didn't find myself doubting any of the events she described in her second book, but I just felt that this book was written for shock value. Chapter after chapter is written of tragic events that have taken place and I finished reading the book feeling thoroughly discouraged. I do think we all need to be educated as to what is happening to women in this country, and maybe Sultana's intent is to bring about change by getting this word out to the world. I just wasn't as impressed with this book as I was the first. It is evident that Sultana is burdened by what is going on around her, and it seems that her husband supports her desire to advance women's rights, but yet they continue to live lives of amazing luxury while often standing aside and taking a hands off approach when tragedy befalls friends and family. This was a good book, but not filled with the info I was hoping to find.

5-0 out of 5 stars Single in Saudi
For a different perspective of life as a woman in Saudi Arabia, I recommend you read Single in Saudi by Genia. It is the rollicking and revealing story of a single American nurse working and playing in Saudi Arabia. She got away with all of the things Sultana could not in this very restrictive society. ... Read more


179. The Idiot Girls' Action-Adventure Club : True Tales from a Magnificent and Clumsy Life
by LAURIE NOTARO
list price: $12.95
our price: $9.71
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375760911
Catlog: Book (2002-07-02)
Publisher: Villard
Sales Rank: 4433
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

“I’ve changed a bit since high school. Back then I said no to using and selling drugs. I washed on a normal basis and still had good credit.”

Introducing Laurie Notaro, the leader of the Idiot Girls’ Action-Adventure Club. Every day she fearlessly rises from bed to defeat the evil machinations of dolts, dimwits, and creepy boyfriends—and that’s before she even puts on a bra.

For the past ten years, Notaro has been entertaining Phoenix newspaper readers with her wildly amusing autobiographical exploits and unique life experiences. She writes about a world of hourly-wage jobs that require absolutely no skills, a mother who hands down judgments more forcefully than anyone seated on the Supreme Court, horrific high school reunions, and hangovers that leave her surprised that she woke up in the first place.

The misadventures of Laurie and her fellow Idiot Girls (“too cool to be in the Smart Group”) unfold in a world that everyone will recognize but no one has ever described so hilariously. She delivers the goods: life as we all know it.
... Read more

Reviews (119)

5-0 out of 5 stars Read it a Year Ago and Still Laugh About it
OH MY GOD!!! This is the funniest book for the single woman. But a warning, DO NOT read this book in public due to excessive outbursts of laughter and cackling, and definately eating or drinking while reading this book could cause you to choke. I have recently re-read this book to make me feel better about my Idiot Girl life and it worked! I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE this book and cannot wait to get my hands on Fat Bride.
An additional note: I sent an e-mail to Ms. Notaro telling her how much I loved the book and she sent me some wonderful stickers and a certificate making me an official member of the Idiot Girls Club. I was so excited that the stickers adorn my car windows and my certificate of membership hangs proudly next to my college diplomas in my room.
She's a REAL people and I think that's why we loved the book so much.
GO LAURIE!!!!

5-0 out of 5 stars So funny I almost embarrassed myself!
I haven't even finished this book yet, but I simply must let everyone know that it is one of the funniest books I've ever read! During the third chapter, which I read in my office during lunch, I began laughing so hard my stomach hurt and tears were welling up in my eyes. If someone had seen or heard me, they would have thought I was insane! Notaro's book proves that the best comedy is so funny because it's so true! There are so many stories in this book to which I can relate. Warning: you may need to tap into your inner bad girl or rebel to fully relate to some of these stories (like understanding the 12-step drunk program), but anyone can appreciate them for their humor, bad girl or not. This book is perfect for anyone with a sense of humor! Buy it for yourself, and for any of your friends who you want to send a smile (or a donky-snort of a laugh).

5-0 out of 5 stars So funny it... bonds?
I am not the eldest of three daughters, though I am the youngest. I am not an alcohol-loving college graduate with a microbiologist best friend, though I do tend to think like one. I do not live in Arizona, nor would I ever, but I was born in southern california, if that's close enough.

In Laurie Notaro's first book she introduces us to her family, friends, and memorable moments from the Idiot Girls' Action Adventure Club, which every reader feels like a member of at one time or another. This delightful book, a quick, but often, read is one that any girl (and perhaps boy?) can relate to at least once.

Laurie and Jamie trying to break into the house? Why, my sisters and I have done that repeatedly- though we had the sense to use the window. (We also weren't suffering from, *ahem*, mild alcohol toxicity.)

More than once you know you've forgotten deoderant, and you're lying if you never picked at your pimples.

Notaro's shining moment in this novel is when she says what every female everywhere has always known.

"Goddamnit, I've never been the Pretty Friend."

That one line (along with the following chapter, telling- in great detail- how she manages to not only make a fool of herself with men she's intrested in, but also play "the male lesbian" with men whom her friends are not) sums up her entire meaning.

Life is meant to be fun, if a little embarassing. And if to have that fun you need to flick a sizzling cigarette butt onto a stranger's crotch, well then, flick away.

5-0 out of 5 stars plain and simply...
..this book is so funny. It is my favorite, easy to read and you can relate to what she's going through! Buy this, you won't be disappointed!

5-0 out of 5 stars What an incredible woman!!!!
Laurie is such an incredible writer and it shows in "The Idiot Girls' Action-Adventure Club". She has a way with self-deprecating humor that lets the reader laugh at her while still respecting her. It's an absolutely hilarious book and you won't be able to put it down until it's finished, at which time you will be begging for more. Fortunately, there is more, in "Autobiography of a Fat Bride", and the soon-to-come third book "I Love Everybody". ... Read more


180. Fearless Women: Midlife Portraits
by Nancy Alspaugh, Marilyn Kentz
list price: $27.50
our price: $18.70
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1584794127
Catlog: Book (2005-04-01)
Publisher: Stewart, Tabori and Chang
Sales Rank: 8087
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Ask some women their age, and they'll demur. Ask others, like Joni Mitchell or Cybill Shepherd, and they'll take up a sword. In this inspirational book, 50 women ranging in age from their 40s to their 60s-including movie and television personalities, musicians, and Olympic athletes-are presented in stunning photographs holding a sword to symbolize their passionate and courageous approach to aging. Their stories are told alongside the pictures, capturing the experiences of the 38 million women of the Baby Boom generation who are challenging the age barrier and living the second half of their lives to the fullest.

Coauthors Nancy Alspaugh and Marilyn Kentz are founders of the Fearless Aging movement, which encourages women to discard outdated views of getting older and celebrate who they are today. Joan Lunden, Leeza Gibbons, Shari Belafonte, Erin Brockovich, and Native American medicine woman Brooke Medicine Eagle are among the women who share their feelings about how they have become wiser and more powerful with age. The book concludes with an empty page for one final woman: a place where her photo can be added and her story can be told. As a tribute to a friend or loved one, this book is one of the best gifts a fearless woman can receive. AUTHOR BIO: Nancy Alspaugh, 49, is the Emmy Award-winning producer of numerous network and nationally syndicated programs, including NBC's long-running talk show Leeza.Marilyn Kentz, 57, is a member of The Mommies, the comedy duo whose stage show led to a television sitcom, a Showtime comedy special, and the ABC talk show Caryl and Marilyn: Real Friends. Together Nancy and Marilyn have published Not Your Mother's Midlife: A Ten-Step Guide to Fearless Aging and created a stage show about fearless aging. Mary Ann Halpin, 53, is an acclaimed photographer best known for her celebrity portraits and album and CD covers, along with a vast body of other work. She is the author and photographer of Pregnant Goddesshood: A Celebration of Life.
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Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Magnificent mid-life - we ain't done yet!
After looking at three of the photographs and reading the first page of the introduction, I immediately purchased three copies of this book - one for myself, and one for each of my sisters.Now halfway through looking at these amazing women and reading their inspiriational stories, I am empowered and inspired.Life is long, and the middle of it is fabulous! My first book was published when I was 53 and my next one is due out when, God willing, I will be 57.So take heart all you "women of an age."The best is yet to come, as the authors of this book and the women in its pages will show you.You, too, can join this company in making this the most delightful time of your life!Give this book to every "Boomer Babe" you know.

5-0 out of 5 stars Spectacular
I purchased two copies of this book.The photographs are strong and captivating, followed by awe inspiring stories from a variety of backgrounds.It is a perfect gift for any woman in your life.

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and inspiring
Wow! I just got it and this book is beautiful and what amazing women.I am so excited to buy this as gifts for my friends who are in that age range but also just my female friends who are making it up in this world like some of the women in the book.The photos are awesome and it is also inspirational to read each of their stories.Definitely one to keep out on the coffee table for when guests come over. ... Read more


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