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    $23.10 list($35.00)
    1. 1776
    $15.49 list($25.95)
    2. First In: An Insider's Account
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    3. A Great Improvisation : Franklin,
    $16.50 $15.10 list($25.00)
    4. Becoming Justice Blackmun : Harry
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    5. The World Is Flat : A Brief History
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    6. One Soldier's Story : A Memoir
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    7. What's the Matter with Kansas?
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    8. Perfect Soldiers : The Hijackers:
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    9. Man's Search For Meaning
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    10. The New Concise History of the
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    11. Salonica, City of Ghosts : Christians,
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    12. A People's History of the United
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    13. Annals of the World: James Ussher's
    14. The Windsor Style
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    15. Collapse: How Societies Choose
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    16. The Idea of the Self : Thought
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    17. Into a Paris Quartier
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    18. Assassination Vacation
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    19. Ladies and Gentlemen, The Bronx
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    20. Soldiers and Slaves : American

    1. 1776
    by David McCullough
    list price: $35.00
    our price: $23.10
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    Asin: 0743226712
    Catlog: Book (2005-05-24)
    Publisher: Simon & Schuster
    Sales Rank: 147310
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    2. First In: An Insider's Account of How the CIA Spearheaded the War on Terror in Afghanistan
    by Gary Schroen
    list price: $25.95
    our price: $15.49
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    Asin: 0891418725
    Catlog: Book (2005-05-10)
    Publisher: Presidio Press
    Sales Rank: 198
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (1)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great Book
    One of the finest books I ever read. It is the thrilling tale of Gary Schroen's experience in Afghanistan. His thrilling accounts of his interactions with Afghani warlords, are simply incredible. ... Read more

    3. A Great Improvisation : Franklin, France, and the Birth of America
    by Stacy Schiff
    list price: $27.50
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    Asin: 0805066330
    Catlog: Book (2005-04-02)
    Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
    Sales Rank: 340948
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    Book Description

    In this dazzling work of history, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author follows Benjamin Franklin to France for the crowning achievement of his career

    In December of 1776 a small boat delivered an old man to France." So begins an enthralling narrative account of how Benjamin Franklin-seventy years old, without any diplomatic training, and possessed of the most rudimentary French-convinced France, an absolute monarchy, to underwrite America's experiment in democracy.

    When Franklin stepped onto French soil, he well understood he was embarking on the greatest gamble of his career. By virtue of fame, charisma, and ingenuity, Franklin outmaneuvered British spies, French informers, and hostile colleagues; engineered the Franco-American alliance of l778; and helped to negotiate the peace of l783. The eight-year French mission stands not only as Franklin's most vital service to his country but as the most revealing of the man.

    In A Great Improvisation, Stacy Schiff draws from new and little-known sources to illuminate the least-explored part of Franklin's life. Here is an unfamiliar, unforgettable chapter of the Revolution, a rousing tale of American infighting, and the treacherous backroom dealings at Versailles that would propel George Washington from near decimation at Valley Forge to victory at Yorktown. From these pages emerge a particularly human and yet fiercely determined Founding Father, as well as a profound sense of how fragile, improvisational, and international was our country's bid for independence.
    ... Read more

    4. Becoming Justice Blackmun : Harry Blackmun's Supreme Court Journey
    by Linda Greenhouse
    list price: $25.00
    our price: $16.50
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    Asin: 080507791X
    Catlog: Book (2005-05-02)
    Publisher: Times Books
    Sales Rank: 539
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    A Pulitzer Prize-winning correspondent with unprecedented access to the inner workings of the U.S. Supreme Court chronicles the personal transformation of a legendary justice

    From 1970 to 1994, Justice Harry A. Blackmun (1908-1999) wrote numerous landmark Supreme Court decisions, including Roe v. Wade, and participated in the most contentious debates of his era-all behind closed doors. In Becoming Justice Blackmun, Linda Greenhouse of The New York Times draws back the curtain on America's most private branch of government and reveals the backstage story of the Supreme Court through the eyes and writings of this extraordinary justice.

    Greenhouse was the first print reporter to have access to Blackmun's extensive archive and his private and public papers. From this trove she has crafted a compelling narrative of Blackmun's years on the Court, showing how he never lost sight of the human beings behind the legal cases and how he was not afraid to question his own views on such controversial issues as abortion, the death penalty, and sex discrimination. Greenhouse also tells the story of how Blackmun's lifelong friendship with Chief Justice Warren E. Burger withered in the crucible of life on the nation's highest court, revealing how political differences became personal, even for the country's most respected jurists.

    Becoming Justice Blackmun, written by America's preeminent Supreme Court reporter, offers a rare and wonderfully vivid portrait of the nation's highest court, including insights into many of the current justices. It is a must-read for everyone who cares about the Court and its impact on our lives.
    ... Read more

    Reviews (7)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Blackmun maximized the product and so has Greenhouse
    Blackmun was clearly a man who maximized the product.Linda Greenhouse doesn't quite explain how this rather unprepossessing figure achieved such high office.He was bright and industrious, to be sure, but so were many others.He was not a strong personality or even particularly personable or outgoing.But in one respect at least, Blackmun seems to have been truly extraordinary--his penchant from an early age for recording the events of his life and collecting almost every note, letter or document which related to it--as if he knew and were determined to become someone of substance.Indeed, Greenhouse tells us that Blackmun's collection comprises more than one and a half million items, is contained in some 1585 boxes, and takes up more than 600 feet of shelf space in the Library of Congress.

    Greenhouse makes wonderful use of this massive collection, writing a remarkably spare yet elegant narrative of what she quite rightly calls "a consequential life," one that spanned the twentieth century and left its mark not only on the law but on American society.Blackmun's bookish reticence may not make him very attractive or interesting to the general reader, but for those seeking a better understanding of the modern Supreme Court and some of its Justices, this volume is as invaluable as it is fascinating.We see Blackmun increasingly determined to do justice as much as to apply the law, with Greenhouse focusing on his opinions having to do with abortion, capital punishment, and sex discrimination.We see Blackmun grow totally estranged from Chief Justice Warren Burger, his closest childhood friend at whose wedding he served as best man.We see Blackmun relate more closely to his young law clerks, some of whom seem to have authored the most memorable lines in his opinions.

    Someone else will have to research and interview more widely to write the definitive, full-length biography and survey Blackmun's entire judicial career.But we owe much to Greenhouse for this wonderful and most timely introduction.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The evolution of a great justice
    Linda Greenhouse has written an extraordinary book about the life and career of one of the great Supreme Court justices of our time, Harry A. Blackmun. In doing so she has given us, in "Becoming Justice Blackmun", a remarkable behind-the-scenes look at not only Blackmun but the interaction among the justices of the court. She succeeds brilliantly.

    Blackmun's encounter with destiny was certainly not in the cards early on for this man from Minnesota. Greenhouse explores Blackmun's early career and most notably his longtime friendship with Warren E. Burger, with whom he would serve on the Supreme Court for sixteen years. Their friendship is a central theme in her book...a friendship that would falter and eventually dissolve. At every turn the author's narrative flows warmly and vividly as she paints a most impressive picture of the man who would become the center of controversy in Roe v. Wade. Greenhouse reflects accurately on Blackmun, a shy, soft-spoken man, whose studious manner often led to agonizing decisions. Nonetheless, those decisions were carefully crafted and always thoughtful.

    This could have been a dry effort on Greenhouse's part but she spices it up with tales of humor. Like kids at school, the justices passed amusing notes back and forth among themselves and even had a betting pool for the 1992 presidential election. It has always been rumored that the court closely follows presidential elections but I had no idea that they took it this far!

    What emerges finally is the author's extensive research and knowledge of not only the court but Blackmun, especially. Through detailed accounts of some of the most important court cases (effectively explained for those of us who are not accustomed to the law) she connects those cases with Blackmun's personal reflections about them and how he dealt with other justices. Blackmun was unflappable at times but willing to make changes in his own arguments when necessary. Greenhouse covers all of this with obvious admiration for her subject but with an objectivity that lends itself to an impartial overall view of Harry Blackmun.

    "Becoming Justice Blackmun" is a tour de force. There are few opportunities to have such a look at the Supreme Court and its inner workings and having been granted an opportunity to write this book, Linda Greenhouse has made a significant contribution to our nation's history.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A marvelously insightful synthesis
    In this compact and beautifully written book, Linda Greenhouse traces the evolution and growth of Justice Blackmun through the development of several crucial lines of Supreme Court cases.Featuring seldom revealed behind the scenes events drawn from the Justice's private papers, the reader is treated to a tremendously interesting, yet easy to follow, history of the progression of various areas of constitutional law, intertwined with the fascinating disintegration of the life-long relationship between Justice Blackmun and Chief Justice Warren Burger.This book clearly merits the excellent reviews it has received.

    2-0 out of 5 stars History attempted by Journalists is always disappointing
    Linda Greenhouse has done careful research, and as she herself notes, her 264-page treatise on Harry Blackmun chooses certain foci and not others. She makes no claim to exhaustiveness.

    This notwithstanding, with the exception of a beginning that tells us rather matter-of-factly about some of young Harry's experiences, the book reads like a chronological laundy list of Blackmun's approach to issues he faced on the 8th Circuit COurt of Appeals and then on the Supreme Court. Greenhouse tries to spice it up a little by adding her take on the genuinely compelling story of the breakup of the friendship between Blackmun and his lifelong compatriot Chief Justice Burger. Even here, though, she doesn't follow any leads, doesn't bring compelling psychological realism to the page, and maintains a monotone narrative. It is a journalist trying to report rather than a historian or biographer reporting and analyzing that gives this tome it's horribly dry flavor.

    Greenhouse's book does provide useful information and is instructive, but more so to the armchair Supreme Court scholar than to any serious scholar or anyone looking for a good read. What a wonderful subject, what a compelling title, and what a mediocre disappointing little book that could have been so much better. Greenhouse should stick to reporting on the Supreme Court and stay away from longer narratives. Nina Totenberg would have done so much better!

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Changed Man
    This is a remarkable books in so many ways.As other reviews have indicated this is not intended to be a complete biography but rather information gleaned from a review of the archives of Justice Blackmun

    LInda Greenhouse focused mainly on three topic.The first is the ending of a friendship between Justice Blackmun and Chief Justice Burger.The two men grew up together.Burger was the leader bringing Justice Blackmun with him. When Justice Blackmun arrived at the Supreme Court he slowly became his own man and the friendship falls apart.In her reliance on the Blackmun papers only we can only see one side of the fissure but even that shows when old friends go their own way it often is done by small slights that in each detail is irrelevant but together are significant.

    The second theme is the change in Blackmun"sattitude toward the death penalty. In small steps the responsibilities of the Court required Blackmun to more fully understand the implications of the penalty until finally he no longer could support it.Again the change is beautifully detailed and we feel from his writing as portrayed by Ms Greenhouse the depth of the change.In this portion of the book we learn how difficult it is to predict how sitting on the Court will change people.As we see the selection process for a new justices begin we should remember that people do grow with responsibilities and not to be to quick to characterize a nominee.

    The last focus and the most detailed portion of the book is the identification of Justice Blackmun with the Roe decision which he wrote. Starting from the beginning of the research at Mayo Clinic the focus of the decision was the protection of doctors.As Blackmun developed his view he became more concerned about the rights of woman.Roe became his legacy and he worked hard and even stayed on the Court longer to be sure the case was not reversed.

    The book also provides a wonderful insight on how the Court operates.Justices that have different views are friendly.The letters and the notes between the justices are fascinating.

    The theme is the change in Blackmum as he served.The lesson is that as we watch the Court we forget that the justices can change and that there is enormous pride in the institution.

    In summary this is a wonderful book by an author who obviously respects her subject ... Read more

    5. The World Is Flat : A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century
    by Thomas L. Friedman
    list price: $19.95
    our price: $13.57
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    Asin: 1593977514
    Catlog: Book
    Publisher: Audio Renaissance
    Sales Rank: 512
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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    Thomas L. Friedman is not so much a futurist, which he is sometimes called, as a presentist. His aim, in his new book, The World Is Flat, as in his earlier, influential Lexus and the Olive Tree, is not to give you a speculative preview of the wonders that are sure to come in your lifetime, but rather to get you caught up on the wonders that are already here. The world isn't going to be flat, it is flat, which gives Friedman's breathless narrative much of its urgency, and which also saves it from the Epcot-style polyester sheen that futurists--the optimistic ones at least--are inevitably prey to.

    What Friedman means by "flat" is "connected": the lowering of trade and political barriers and the exponential technical advances of the digital revolution have made it possible to do business, or almost anything else, instantaneously with billions of other people across the planet. This in itself should not be news to anyone. But the news that Friedman has to deliver is that just when we stopped paying attention to these developments--when the dot-com bust turned interest away from the business and technology pages and when 9/11 and the Iraq War turned all eyes toward the Middle East--is when they actually began to accelerate. Globalization 3.0, as he calls it, is driven not by major corporations or giant trade organizations like the World Bank, but by individuals: desktop freelancers and innovative startups all over the world (but especially in India and China) who can compete--and win--not just for low-wage manufacturing and information labor but, increasingly, for the highest-end research and design work as well. (He doesn't forget the "mutant supply chains" like Al-Qaeda that let the small act big in more destructive ways.) Friedman tells his eye-opening story with the catchy slogans and globe-hopping anecdotes that readers of his earlier books and his New York Times columns will know well, and also with a stern sort of optimism. He wants to tell you how exciting this new world is, but he also wants you to know you're going to be trampled if you don't keep up with it. His book is an excellent place to begin. --Tom Nissley

    Where Were You When the World Went Flat?

    Thomas L. Friedman's reporter's curiosity and his ability to recognize the patterns behind the most complex global developments have made him one of the most entertaining and authoritative sources for information about the wider world we live in, both as the foreign affairs columnist for the New York Times and as the author of landmark books like From Beirut to Jerusalem and The Lexus and the Olive Tree. They also make him an endlessly fascinating conversation partner, and we'd happily have peppered him with questions about The World Is Flat for hours. Read our interview to learn why there's almost no one from Washington, D.C., listed in the index of a book about the global economy, and what his one-plank platform for president would be. (Hint: his bumper stickers would say, "Can You Hear Me Now?")

    The Essential Tom Friedman

    From Beirut to Jerusalem

    The Lexus and the Olive Tree

    Longitudes and Attitudes

    More on Globalization and Development

    China, Inc. by Ted Fishman

    Three Billion New Capitalists by Clyde Prestowitz

    The End of Poverty by Jeffrey Sachs

    Globalization and Its Discontents by Joseph Stiglitz

    In Defense of Globalization by Jagdish Bhagwati

    The Mystery of Capital by Hernando de Soto

    ... Read more

    Reviews (90)

    3-0 out of 5 stars The World IS Flat
    I was super excited when I heard about this book - finally something proclaiming something that I knew all along -but a little of the way into it, I got the feeling Friedman was being facetious with his title.That he didn't actually think the world WAS flat.My point is, the world IS flat.

    Was not this review not helpful to you?

    3-0 out of 5 stars Interesting History, But Erroroneous Conclusions
    Friedman provides an excellent summary of recent changes that have created today's intense global economy. However, his conclusion that this is good for the U.S. - based on anecdotal evidence supplied by outsourcing supporters - is dead wrong.

    Broader data show massive deterioration in U.S. workers' healthcare and pension coverage, and opportunities to use and develop higher-level skills (eg. software, engineering, production management, technical skills). The most recent data even show a decline in inflation-adjusted incomes. Meanwhile, the areas being outsourced continues to grow to now include tutors, and drug trials.

    Friedman observes that Asian competitors are quick learners, moving up the "food chain" from simple production managed by Americans to designing new sophisticated equipment and parts and then manufacturing them under local management. What he fails to note is that sooner or later they will also take over total control and financing - leaving only U.S. distribution to Americans. Thus, most of those that now support outsourcing will eventually find themselves also outsourced.

    Friedman does have a recommendation for America in the "flattened world" - substantially improve education and pupil achievement. Unfortunately, even if accomplished (30+ years of reform efforts have yet to come close), it would be of little help. Experts have concluded that Oriental IQs generally average 10 points higher than those of Americans. China alone has about four times the U.S. population, and then there's India, Pakistan, South America, etc. - earning as little as 5% of what Americans bring in. Meanwhile, eg. the number of U.S. computer science students is DECLINING - as a result of unemployment caused by outsourcing.

    In addition, American corporations are hobbled by having to pay high healthcare costs, vs. other nations' much lower costs - largely born by government. And finally there are the government restrictions on genetic research that American firms are hobbled with - possibly precluding significant participation in a potentially booming new area.

    Clearly the mathematics are against us and the inevitable result is that our standard of living is headed for a substantial fall - unless some other solution is found. Rome, Spain, and England proved that a nation's strength is not permanent. Friedman summarized the factors eroding America's - unfortunately, he failed to look clearly into the future or to find a solution. And those should be America's main concern

    5-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
    Although written in a journalistic (and enjoyable) manner, Friedman provides an excellent overview of how the adoption of new information and communication technologies, as well as supply-chain, work-flow and knowledge management, are accelerating the process of world economic integration.

    Some of the more critical aspects of globalization (e.g., environmental, labor and other social impacts) could have received more attention.

    I highly recommend it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Riveting... Outstanding... Scary... Best of 2005 (so far)
    It's taking me a while to get through "The World Is Flat". This is not like some books that you can read in one afternoon or evening, such as Mark Burnett's "Jump In", just to mention another book I read recently. In fact, it's taken me several weeks, reading a chapter here and a subchapter there, and then letting it sink in for a while.

    There are some that are not buying into Tom Friedman's basic contention, which is (1) the opportunities/threats for more international competition for global trade and services are real, (2) power has shifted from states (up to 1800) to companies (1800-2000) to individuals at the start of the 21st century, and (3) the higher educational system in the US is not adequately prepared for the "quiet storm". To those that don't believe this, I feel sorry for them, for they are not in touch with the real world! My son is about to enter college in a few months, and I'm worried about the competition he will face coming out of college. I love Tom's story about his advice to his daughters: "Girls, when I was growing up, my parents used to tell me 'Tom, finish your dinner--people in India and China are starving'. My advice to you is: Girls, finish your homework--people in China and India are starving for your jobs!"

    Friedman does an excellent job in setting the table on how this all came about, in the so-called 10 forces that flattened the world, including the rise of the Intels and Googles of the world, the outsourcing and offshoring phenoms, etc. I strongly believe that, instead of trying to be protectionist for the sake of hanging on to a few more jobs for a few more years, America instead should find the inspiration to look at what's next to add value in the world economy of today, tomorrow and 20 years from now. Does anyone really believe that imposing quotas on Chinese textile imports will "save" the American textile industry (just to name one industry)? Hardly. At the same time, there are American textile companies thriving today by understanding the new global economic environment they are competing in and then taking advantage of it.

    I can't easily recall another book that has made such an impact on me. There is lots to be learned from Friedman's book, even if as you read it, it all sounds so self-evident (as I see it happen all around me). "The World Is Flat" should be required reading in colleges around the country. And this surely will be one of the best books (if not the very best) of 2005 when all is said and done. Highly recommended!

    4-0 out of 5 stars Provocative and Insightful...and Unclear
    Thomas Friedman is a gifted writer. I very much enjoyed his book and learned a great deal from it. His main thesis, that the playing field has been leveled all over the world due to the rise of the machines (sorry, couldn't resist), makes a good deal of sense to me. His ten causes were clearly outlined and easy to follow. I very much enjoyed the little vignettes from the call center in Bangalore, the housewife in Utah, etc. Once I started reading I could not put the book down. Also, the cover art--mine had the ships sailing towards the edge--was outstanding!

    I do feel Friedman could have made his own point of view more clear, however. He makes it clear that technology has made outsourcing, insourcing, informing, offshoring a common business practice. He does not make his opinion of this practice clear. The huge elephant in the room is the fact that American employees are losing their jobs in this new flat world. It was unclear to me whether Friedman was somewhat neutral: "This is just the way of the world now and we must live with it and try to rise to the top of the global workplace" or whether he was making a more positive statement: "The planet has finally reached the point where we can all play ball together and isn't that just grand?"

    In other words, does Friedman view this new flat world as somehow better than the old round one?

    On another note, as one who sees middle school and high school students struggle daily to read and to write basic English, I was a bit put off by Friedman's take on NCLB and its subset, Reading First. Of course, science and engineering, math and medicine is the goal. It is definitely cause for concern that our country is creating fewer finalists in these fields and that our government is currently cutting those budgets. However, let's be smart about this: Reading comes first. Literacy is the cornerstone of a strong civilization. I did not feel that Friedman did due diligence to the magnitude and complexity of the educational crisis our country is facing. ... Read more

    6. One Soldier's Story : A Memoir
    by Bob Dole
    list price: $25.95
    our price: $17.13
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0060763418
    Catlog: Book (2005-04-12)
    Publisher: HarperCollins
    Sales Rank: 420
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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    Download Description


    Before he became one of America's most respected statesmen, Bob Dole was an average citizen serving heroically for his country. The bravery he showed after suffering near-fatal injuries in the final days of World War II is the stuff of legend. Now, for the first time in his own words, Dole tells the moving story of his harrowing experience on and off the battlefield, and how it changed his life.

    Speaking here not as a politician but as a wounded G.I., Dole recounts his own odyssey of courage and sacrifice, and also honors the fighting spirit of the countless heroes with whom he served. Heartfelt and inspiring, One Soldier's Story is the World War II chronicle that America has been waiting for.

    " ... Read more

    Reviews (18)

    2-0 out of 5 stars Not Enough Here
    Given the favorable press coverage this book has gotten, I was expecting something really dramatic, personal and revealing in a human sort of way. But I found there's really not much here. What there is you can get by reading the book reviews, and save yourself some money.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Soldier's Story & A memoir of a career in government.
    Dole's autobiography is very revealing and more educational than any government school.

    Bob Dole was born in Russell, Kansas, in 1923.He was elected as U.S. representative from Kansas in 1960 and served four terms. In 1968 he was elected to the U.S. Senate. Dole was Gerald Ford's running mate in Ford's unsuccessful presidential campaign (1976) and campaigned unsuccessfully for the Republican presidential nomination in 1980 and 1988. He has served as Senate majority leader (1985-87, 1995 to 1996) and minority leader (1987-95).In other words Dole was a career politician.

    It is clear from the book that being a career politician is probably related to the fact that two weeks before the end of WWII, Dole was severely wounded and remained disabled for life.

    He is not a gifted writer--his prose is often stilted, and he resorts too easily to cliches.That also sums up his political career.He gives no hints of understanding free market economics nor the need for cutting government.Dole shows why the Republican Party is a lost cause for liberty.

    People sometimes mistakenly say that Dole is "conservative" but that is misleading. Dole served in the Senate for 27 years and government did nothing but grow.Dole exemplifies what is known as the "greatest spending generation."

    Dole was the Republican candidate for president in 1996 against Bill Clinton.Given the choice between two big socialists, the voters went with the more charismatic Clinton. Even before Clinton, no republican president had ever cut the size and scope of government. Dole never got his chance to show that he could preside over massive socialism as president. Even so, his fellow republican-socialists are now twice as socialistic as Clinton was (in social spending alone).

    The only way that Dole can be called biased is that he drones on about socialists (Democrats and Republicans) and ignores anyone who wants to cut government (Libertarians).

    Bob Dole is stuck in silly left-right political analysis, as taught in government schools. He is still unaware of the Nolan chart or Diamond chart. He uses the word "liberal" unprofessionally to mean "left." His habit forgets the etymology of "liberal" for "liberty" (against government and for laissez-faire capitalism). That bad habit explains why republicans and democrats are the same: socialists.Bob Dole is an example of why government schools are unconstitutional and must end.

    Dole doesn't do well addressing the massive growth in government in the USA. It seems like Dole doesn't think that government in the USA is big enough yet.

    Dole is not libertarian and he uses the misnomer "public schools" to mean "government schools."No one would trust the government to tell the truth if it published books like Dole's. Why would the government tell the truth in government schools?

    Dole doesn't have a problem with "patriotism" and the pledge of allegiance. Big problem: Dole don't arise each morning to gather with neighbors and robotically chant, as he only "loves" the pledge when government's schools lead children in robotic chanting every morning for twelve years of their lives upon the ring of a bell, like Pavlov's lapdogs of the state. Did I mention that Dole is an example of why government schools are unconstitutional and have destroyed a "free press" and why government schools must end?

    Dole book suggests that he doesn't know that the pledge was written by a socialist (Francis Bellamy) in the USA and that the original salute was a straight-arm salute (as shown in web image searches for "original socialist salute"). Dole should know because he was born in 1923 and lived through the pledge's use of the Nazi-style salute (it changed in 1942). Dole doesn't know of the news-breaking discovery by the historian Rex Curry that the straight-arm salute of the National Socialist German Workers' Party (Nazis) came from the USA's pledge of allegiance and military salute, and not from ancient Rome.Dole seems unaware that Bellamy put flags in every school to promote a government takeover of education for widespread nationalization and socialism.

    Dole is an example of why some educated socialists (socialists who know the origin of the pledge) laugh at so-called "conservatives," because socialists presume that conservatives like Dole have been duped into supporting socialism and is ignorant of the pledge's socialist past.

    Francis Bellamy and his cousin and cohort Edward Bellamy were national socialists who idolized the military and wanted to nationalize the entire US economy, including all schools. It was a philosophy that led to the socialist Wholecaust (of which the Holocaust was a part) where millions were murdered (62 million by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, 35 million by the Peoples' Republic of China, 21 million by the National Socialist German Workers' Party) in the worst slaughter in history. That is why the Bellamys are known as America's Nazis.All Holocaust Museums could expand four-fold with Wholecaust Museums.

    Bellamy believed that government schools with pledges and flags were needed to brainwash children to embrace nationalism, militarism, and socialism.

    Bellamy wanted the government to takeover everything and impose the military's "efficiency," as he said. It is the origin of the modern military-socialist complex.

    Bellamy wanted a flag over every school because he wanted to nationalize and militarize everything, including all schools, and eliminate all of the better alternatives. During Bellamy's time the government was taking over education.

    Bellamy wanted government schools to ape the military.Government schools were intended to create an "industrial army" (another Bellamy phrase, and the word "army" was not metaphorical) and to help nationalize everything else.

    Because of the Bellamy way of thinking, government-schools spread and they mandated segregation by law and taught racism as official policy and did so even after the National Socialists were defeated, and well beyond.

    Thereafter, the government's segregation legacy caused more police-state racism of forced busing that destroyed communities and neighborhoods and deepened hostilities.

    Because of the Bellamy way of thinking, government-schools spread and they mandated the Nazi-style salute by law, flags in every classroom, and daily robotic chanting of the pledge of allegiance in military formation like Pavlov's lapdogs of the state.

    The bizarre practices served as an example for three decades before they were adopted by the National Socialist German Workers' Party.

    When Jesse Owens competed in the 1936 Olympics in Germany, his neighbors attended segregated government schools where they saluted the flag with the Nazi salute.

    As under Nazism, children in the USA (including Jehovah's Witnesses and blacks and the Jewish and others) attended government schools where segregation was imposed by law, where racism was taught as official policy, and where they were required by law to perform the Nazi salute and robotically chant a pledge to a flag. If they refused, then they were persecuted and expelled from government schools and had to use the many better alternatives. There were also acts of physical violence.

    The hypnotic "Sieg Heil" salute to a flag symbol mesmerized Americans long before it brainwashed Germans.

    Jehovah's Witnesses were among the first people to publicly fight the government and its pledge ritual in the USA, during the same time that they fought it in Nazi Germany.They eventually achieved total victory over Nazi socialism.They achieved only partial victory over similar socialism in the USA.The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that they could not be forced to perform the pledge.Laws still make teachers lead children in robotic chants of the socialist's pledge daily, on cue from the government. Jehovah's Witnesses and other children in government schools must watch the ritual performed by others.

    The pledge gesture was altered and explicit school segregation by government ended. The Government's schools still exist, the federal flag brands government schools, and government's teachers must chant the pledge daily. Students are kept ignorant of the pledge's original salute and history.That is why the pledge still exists.

    The USA also continued its Nazi numbering (social security from 1935) and its robotic pledge, with no stopping.

    Today, the USA numbers babies, and government schools demand the numbers for enrollment, and the numbers track homes, workplaces, incomes, finances, and more, for life.School laws still tout the daily pledge, a bizarre ritual shunned by every other country.

    Dole has discussed plans for "reform" of social security that would invest social security taxes in private businesses. At the height of Nazi power, the USA's government deliberately stepped onto the same path with national numbering imposed in 1935 with the social security system.The federal government was growing massively and attempting to nationalize the economy in many ways.The US Supreme Court struck down much of the new legislation as unconstitutional until the craven FDR pressured the Court into the "switch in time that socialized nine."

    New social security reform ideas are so-called "privatization" plans that would nationalize all businesses, in addition to schools. It would impress the Bellamys.Dole does not have the ethics to discuss the other side of the issue (the proper side): ending government involvement in education, and ending the social security scam, its taxes and its Nazi numbering.If the antidisestablishmentarianism does not end, then the USA's police state will grow.

    Dole has another bad habit: overuse of the hackneyed word "Nazi" so much that it might cause one to wonder if he knows what the abbreviation abbreviates. Many people forget that "Nazi" means "National Socialist German Workers' Party," and one reason people forget is because the word "Nazi" is overused by politicians like Dole who rarely or never say the actual name of the horrid party.A good mnemonic device is that the sick socialist swastika represented two overlapping "S" letters for "socialism" under the National Socialist German Workers' Party.

    Overall, Dole's book was very revealing and educational and worth the time to review.Let's hope for a more enlightened sequel in the future.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Story of a Different Time
    This book is noteworthy as it is a public figure who has written a book without bragging about himself or supporting his current positions or causes.Dole is a retired politician who in his year's of reflection decides to write about the most significant event of his life, his service in WWII, the subsequent life-threatening injury, growing up in middle-century America and the support he received to overcome this devastating injury.

    This is a simple book that could have been written by thousands of WWII vets.Unfortunately, they are not famous and Bob is so in many respects Dole is writing it for them.He writes this book with no ego and no political agenda.In fact, he writes of his relationships across party lines and as he discusses his involvement with the WWII War Memorial there are great discussions on his excellent relationship with Bill Clinton.

    Where this book is most fascinating is describing his struggles going to college and the mindset of Americans as Pearl Harbor is bombed.Then you see the thought process of these young men as they decide whether to enlist and what should they attempt to do in the armed services.Pre-battle training is covered extensively but mainly from the standpoint of relationships with family through the letters included.Unfortunately, Dole's time in battle was limited as he is wounded almost immediately.So whole the build-up of this battle is compelling, it ends quickly.Then the amazing tale of how he was rescued at great risk and somehow managed to survive is told in great detail.Most Americans know he was injured but how many know of the months he was laid up paralyzed?Or the life threatening infections he fought off with experimental drugs?

    This book is not for everyone.If you are looking for a war book, this isn't it.Political intrigue and partisan politics?Pass on this read.But to reflect family life in a simpler America and the struggles of the heroic WWII soldiers, this is an excellent book and well worth the read.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Soldier's Story, Not the Politicians
    Note the title, this is a soldier's story. Bob Dole spent most of his life as a politician, but that's another story, another book. This is the story of Bob Dole's military career and the aftermath of being wounded in combat.

    This story is one of courage and the continual battle to regain what was lost on a mountain in Italy. Bob Dole is a member of what has been called the Greatest Generation. And regardless of what you might think of his politics, he is a great member of that generation.

    Also surprising is his humor that comes out in his writing. His is not the dour even sullen personality that came across in the election. His is more the Bob Dole being asked for ID in the American Express commercial.

    We are now engaged in a foreign war where young men are coming back horribly wounded. Here is a story of inspiration and hope for them.

    5-0 out of 5 stars NotDole the politician
    This is a book well worth reading.
    Let me say at the outset that I have issues with Dole the politician but this is about Dole the man.
    It is a very human book that tells the story of an average American, a good citizen, a soldier and a man having to deal with a crippling injury.
    It is an unflinching look at how an average life can becomeremarkable life and a story of human endurance and courage.
    Inspiring. ... Read more

    7. What's the Matter with Kansas? : How Conservatives Won the Heart of America
    by Thomas Frank
    list price: $14.00
    our price: $11.20
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 080507774X
    Catlog: Book (2005-05-01)
    Publisher: Owl Books
    Sales Rank: 166
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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    The largely blue collar citizens of Kansas can be counted upon to be a "red" state in any election, voting solidly Republican and possessing a deep animosity toward the left. This, according to author Thomas Frank, is a pretty self-defeating phenomenon, given that the policies of the Republican Party benefit the wealthy and powerful at the great expense of the average worker. According to Frank, the conservative establishment has tricked Kansans, playing up the emotional touchstones of conservatism and perpetuating a sense of a vast liberal empire out to crush traditional values while barely ever discussing the Republicans' actual economic policies and what they mean to the working class. Thus the pro-life Kansas factory worker who listens to Rush Limbaugh will repeatedly vote for the party that is less likely to protect his safety, less likely to protect his job, and less likely to benefit him economically. To much of America, Kansas is an abstract, "where Dorothy wants to return. Where Superman grew up." But Frank, a native Kansan, separates reality from myth in What's the Matter with Kansas and tells the state's socio-political history from its early days as a hotbed of leftist activism to a state so entrenched in conservatism that the only political division remaining is between the moderate and more-extreme right wings of the same party. Frank, the founding editor of The Baffler and a contributor to Harper's and The Nation, knows the state and its people. He even includes his own history as a young conservative idealist turned disenchanted college Republican, and his first-hand experience, combined with a sharp wit and thorough reasoning, makes his book more credible than the elites of either the left and right who claim to understand Kansas. --John Moe ... Read more

    Reviews (244)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Insightful, relevant, and shocking.
    If you want to understand why the armies of righteousness who have the most to benefit from workers' rights, better schooling, and corporate accountability are the same people to cast their votes for the candidate that works against all three, this is the book to read.

    Frank answers the previous question by describing what he calls a "backlash" phenomenon:an eruption of cultural anger, rooted in a sense of powerless, in response to the perception that elites are destroying society.By channeling all of their energies on remedying the perceived cultural ills of society (practices like abortion, gay marriage, evolution in the public schools), the backlashers, predominantly from the lower classes, feel that they are working to improve not only their own lives, but also society at a whole.

    Unfortunately for the backlashers, and as Mr. Frank so correctly underscores throughout the duration of his work, the positions they champion rarely find their way into public policy.In the end, the backlashers elect politicians who have no intention of appointing pro-life judges or of voting for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.Instead, these politicians instead work to eliminate business regulations, gut old-age pensions, repeal the estate tax (a tax on millionaire's estates at the time of their death), and push through countless other measures that obliterate the economic prospects of lower- and middle-class voters.And they do it all while wrapping themselves in the rhetoric of righteousness.

    As an example, Frank points out that Bush campaigned on his moral clarity regarding such issues as terrorism, stem cell research, and abortion.Now in office with the help of the backlash votes, Bush has not made a single overture to translate any of these issues into action, making one brief mention of the sanctity of marriage in his State of the Union address in January.The agenda he has proposed is the privatization of social security, the continuation of his tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, and the appointment of judges who are known more for being anti-consumer than anti-abortion.Ironically, the actions the Bush administration is undertaking affect the very poor people who cast their votes for him in moral indignation last year.

    Fired up by their zealotry, the backlashers still have not realized, even after twenty years, that politicians use morality as a rhetorical device more than as a basis for their policy decisions.As Frank explains, the very purpose these backlash issues serve it to obscure the viewpoint of the voters, to lead them to vote against their own economic well-being in favor of abstract morality, and to do it election after election.Thus, the backlash issues are designed not to become law.They are intended to fester as the rotting carrot on the stick to lead the masses around for as long as they will ignore the consequences of their own voting behavior.

    What Frank does so beautifully in this book is to contrast the self-defeating, seemingly contradictory behavior of backlashing Republicans -- particularly Kansas Conservative Republicans -- with the Kansas populists from a century ago.Whereas William Jennings Bryan correctly identified greed as a driving force behind society's moral composition, today's backlashers are hapless, failing to understand that their righteous politicians are in bed with the corporations that pollute the entertainment industry with depravity.Whereas the Populists that made Kansas a hotbed of activism championed social programs and government subsidies, modern-day Kansans have all-but demolished their own neighborhoods with blind reliance on laissez-faire capitalism.

    If you are a Democrat and you are amazed at how so many people could vote for Bush -- a second time, read this book.If you are a Republican who does not mind hearing points of view which differ from your own, read this book.If you are neither a Republican nor a Democrat, but a concerned American who wants to understand more about today's political landscape, READ THIS BOOK!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Lives Up to its Hype
    Just finished reading the paperback version, which includes an afterword about the 2004 election.After everything that was said about this book by the right and the left leading up to the election, I was prepared to be disappointed.Yet the book provided a rare combination of humor, insight, and almost elegant prose that puts Frank in a rare league-- with the likes of Orwell and Mencken.This is really an essential book for those seeking to understand the trends in American politics, and a breezy, funny read to boot.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Good analysis
    This book is an excellent analysis of how republicans and conservatives came to finally control all three branches of the government in the 1990s. For an analysis of how conservatives accomplished this starting in the 1960s, see a more systematically and well-researched book, "America's Right Turn."

    I will not go into the details of this book, but this one-starreviewer's quote is ample evidence for how conservatives got the poor and disenfranchised to vote for them: "I can't believe a Lefty allowed trees to be killed for this drivel."

    3-0 out of 5 stars Conservatism and Insanity
    Tom Franks book "What's the Matter with Kansas?" highlights a problem found all across the country.The very people who have been typically identified as solid Democrat voters in the past are often breaking ranks and voting for Republican candidates.

    What is most incredible is that such a decision would seem to defy the self-interest of many--if not all--of these voters.Franks describes in his book how farmers who are losing their farms, workers who are stuck in low wage jobs where unions are being de-certified, and blue collar people who are losing health insurance show up on election day and vote for the very candidates who would seem to accelerate this process.

    Franks demonstrates how the GOP has used the so-called "social issues" abortion, gay rights, and prayer in the school as wedges to persuade people to vote republican who have no logical reason for doing so.Incredibly, this strategy seems to be working in the South and Midwest.

    The book has some weaknesses.Franks spends a great deal of time using hyperbole and sarcasm to ridicule the conservatives and those who seemingly ignore their self interest and vote for them.I wish he had spent more time than he does talking about what the Democrats can do to win these voters back.Perhaps, he also fails to understand that one reason the Democrats have been in decline is simply because many of the things the party has stood for since the Great Depression have become less and less relevant.Economic issues were major motivators for voters when 20% of the work force was unemployed, when collective bargaining did not exist in the workplace, and when no social safety for the elderly--like social security and Medicare--existed.However, despite inequalities in income and social problems the situation in America is fortunately not nearly as desperate as it was in the 1930's. Hence, Democrats cannot play these issues as successfully as they did in the past. Political parties have to adapt to changing realities.Democrats must do a better job of explaining how right wing policies are slowly, but steadily eroding economic gains by the middle class. Democrats have to be more willing to tackle issues like outsourcing jobs and free trade than we have in the past.

    Nonetheless, Franks describes a phenomenon that is very real and must be addressed by Democrat leadership if the party is not to remain permanently--or longterm--in the minority.The power that the "social issues" have over a large segment of the middle class and working class population cannot be ignored.Its now a critical factor in determining the outcome of national elections.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Insights
    He gives a very convincing explanation of why people have have abandoned aligning their votes with their best economic interests and switched to "values" based voting.He also shows how misleading are the claims of those who proclaim themselves to be guided by values when in fact they are just in it for the glory and the power. He does go on and by the end I felt the book could have been much shorter. ... Read more

    8. Perfect Soldiers : The Hijackers: Who They Were, Why They Did It
    by Terry McDermott
    list price: $25.95
    our price: $17.13
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0060584696
    Catlog: Book (2005-05-01)
    Publisher: HarperCollins
    Sales Rank: 1571
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    The attacks of September 11, 2001, were a calamity on a scale few had imagined possible. In their aftermath, we often exaggerated the men who perpetrated them, shaping hasty and often mistaken reporting into caricatures we could comprehend -- monsters and master criminals equal to the enormity of their crimes. In reality, the 9/11 hijackers and their cohorts were unexceptional men, not much different from countless others. It is this enemy, not the caricature, that we must understand if we are to have a legitimate hope of defeating terrorism.

    The intent of this book is to uncover a better understanding of who the hijackers were and, thereby, why they did what they did. Perfect Soldiers traces these men's lives and the evolution of their beliefs, putting a human face on heinous acts. Most of the hijackers were from apolitical and only mildly religious backgrounds. As they came of age, though, they were shaped by historical tides and their own circumstances, evolving into devout, pious Muslims. In fundamentalist Islam, religion and politics are inseparable; they saw themselves as pilgrims, soldiers of God. In the end, this is a story about the power of belief to remake ordinary men.

    Matching unrivaled research, undertaken in twenty countries on four continents, with a voice that is engaging, authoritative, and thought-provoking, Los Angeles Times correspondent Terry McDermott provides detailed portraits of the main players of the 9/11 plot, including by far the most comprehensive study yet produced of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the plan's mysterious engineer. With brilliant reporting and thoughtful analysis, McDermott brings us a clearer, more nuanced, and in some ways more frightening understanding of the landmark event of our time.

    ... Read more

    Reviews (5)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Reporting!Fascinating, Frustrating Reading!
    Defeating one's enemies over the long run requires first understanding them.For too long Americans have been led to believe the 9/11 hijackers were part of a super-organized and managed group of monsters, motivated by hatred of America's freedoms.McDermott's detailed reporting chronicling the lives of several hijackers shows that none of this is true - and thus is must reading.It also shows that the thousands trained in Afgan camps had little or no role leading such activities.

    The book first impresses readers with the desperate poverty throughout much of the Middle East - in fact, young Egyptians with graduate degrees are 32 times more likely to be unemployed as illiterate peasants.This clearly is a breeding ground for trouble.Further symptoms include coverage of the machinations many undergo to emigrate to Europe for "asylum" (eg. generous welfare benefits).Once overseas, McDermott reports how several of the 9/11 leaders, despite having come from relatively non-religious families, became Islam militants - they simply became malleable by Islamic extremists while looking for companions in a foreign culture.

    The first World Trade Center bombing cost about $3,000 and caused damage in the hundreds of millions.Why the WTC - because "many Jews worked there."Reading McDermott's accounting we learn that the operation was more slap-dash than professional, and would have been much worse if the terrorists had more money.

    Ramzi Yousef then went ('95) to the Phillipines intending to blow up several 747's in roughly the same timeframe.This plot failed as a result of a freak fire caused by disposing of chemicals.Unfortunately, this effort also led to Yousef meeting a friend who had taken flight training in the U.S. - and the suggestion for crashing a plane into the CIA.This was relayed to Bin Laden in '96 and a meeting to initiate it in '99 - instead targeted at the WTC.Clearly such a long delay is not indicative of a well-managed organization.

    As for Saudis making up the bulk of the hijackers - McDermott points out that this was because Saudi passports were the least scrutinized for entry into the U.S. (most of the screening was to weed out those coming over for 'economic' reasons - such as in Europe).

    Meanwhile, those chosen as pilots took U.S. pilot training, and despite reports to the FBI, no action was taken.(One agent did note that Moussaoui "was the type guy who might hijack a plane and fly it into the WTC.")As the pilots literally muddled through their training, the FBI failed, for 19 months, to find two of the hijackers known to be in the U.S.

    Then came 9/11.The FAA "no-fly" list doesn't even have the name of the bombing plot in the Phillipines - in fact, it only has 14 names total, with none of the hijackers.(Meanwhile, the State Department's list of "monitor/do-not admit" names totals about 61,000 - and is not available for use.

    Lessons to Learn:1)It takes a very few seemingly ordinary people to create unimaginable havoc; further, the Internet etc. are making it ever easier to do so.2)Hatred of the U.S. derives from our actions - support for Israel, occupation of Saudi Arabia, and undoubtedly also Iraq and possibly Afghanistan.3)High Middle-East unemployment and its very large Islamic population provides a fertile ground for hatred of the U.S.4)The reported time-lag between concepualization and implementation of terrorist actions is so long that little/no comfort should be taken in the lack of U.S. attacks post 9/11.5)The U.S. needs to seriously focus on removing major sources of Islamic irritation.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Perfect Soldiers by Terry McDermott
    The author did an excellent job of researching the activities and the background of the terrorists who attacked the World Trade Center. This is an introduction to our new enemy and he is a person both similar and very different from us. In the realm of extremists, he is the common man with all of the incompetencies and blunders in his efforts to cause harm to us, his "sworn enemy".It is this "common man" status, however, that has provided his cloak of protection up to now.Unfortunately, these are people who are easily manipulated through misguided religious fervor and hatred.The combination of anonymity, blind hatred and availability of resources makes for a formidable enemy. Terry McDermott helps us know and understand this enemy.Everyone should read Perfect Soldiers.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Provides First-Rate Narrative of 9/11 Hijackers
    McDermott has written what is so far the definitive narrative of the 9/11 hijackers. He divides his book into three parts: First, he profiles the backgrounds and personality profiles of the hijackers, many who started as regular citizens and slowly drifted into their extremism, often by chance. Second, he explains the political forces in Soviet-occupied Afghanistan that helped to revive Jihad and give power to Osama Bin Laden. Third, he focuses on the actual plot to hijack the planes on 9/11. The reportage is remarkable and provides clues to the hijackers' personalities that have so far not been publicized. What's scary is the effective way the author shows the hijackers often came from privileged backgrounds and then drifted into the fringes of society where, needing direction and identity, they were susceptible to the extremist rhetoric of fundamentalism and violent jihad. Where I might disagree with McDermott is his characterization of the hijackers as "fairly ordinary men." Perhaps I have a different definition of "ordinary" than does McDermott who uses hundreds of salient illustrations to paint these men anything than as ordinary: They are often portrayed as sullen spoiled narcissistic brats and bullies. One of the most prominent of the hijackers, Mohamed Atta, in particular is an extreme personality study in repressed sexuality, narcissism, and sociopathic hatred of others. He cannot smile or enjoy life in the slighest so that when he eats food he mutters to himself how boring and tedious the task of eating is. Everyone who knew him, even people who shared in his beliefs, found him an obnoxious presence. Sullen, brooding, and controlling, he made the hairs on people's neck bristle whenever he entered a room. In spite of his fastidious religious adherence, he takes to the mysterious and disturbing desire to wear eye mascara. I'll let you decided if he is "ordinary" or not. In any event, Atta, like the others, is misogynistic; women are shunned and held in contempt. The total sum picture you get of these hijackers is a bunch of malignant malcontents who need an extreme cause to be a vehicle for their personal frustration and deeply-set anti-social tendencies.

    For an excellent companion book to better understand the types of personalities who get drawn to extreme forms of belief, I highly recommend Eric Hoffer's slim masterpiece The True Believer.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Wow
    Wow. The reporting here is intense, but "Perfect Soldiers" doesn't read like some stretched-out newspaper feature or a clip file---the writing is clear and crafted, the story well-told and well-paced. McDermott is a reporter's reporter, but more than that: he's gone out, mastered it all, and comes back now to tell us what is good and true and what is BS. Characters and places mean something here, and what McDermott has found is often incredibly shocking and sometimes unnervingly weird. I'm very glad I read this book, and I look forward to reading it again.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great Biographies
    The accounts of the hijacker's lives show a disturbing banality.For figures that until their death lived such illusive and insignificant lives the biographies are superbly detailed and comprehensive.

    The style of writing is informative and generally fair and balanced given the nature of the subjects.It is probably the clearest account of the events leading to 9/11 that has been written.

    Two minor criticisms:Every major religion has its share of extremists. Islam is no exception.The book implies a more general malaise than is probably deserved.All major religions have their high and low points: prior to the renaissance, Arabic scholars preserved much of previous eastern and western philosophy, while making significant advances in algebra, medicine and navigation.

    The description of the countries and places in which much of the plotting occurs sometimes lacks context (but not accuracy).E.g., although the authors' description of Cairo is superb, but as far as cities go, it surpasses most of the developing world, both for safety and quality of life.Also, to state that German bureaucracy conducted minimal monitoring of Islamic extremists is true; but at the time the US wasn't doing such a great job itself.

    Overall this is a superbly written book that is very readable.It appears to be very well researched and is an excellent set of biographies. ... Read more

    9. Man's Search For Meaning
    by Viktor E. Frankl
    list price: $6.99
    our price: $6.29
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    Asin: 0671023373
    Catlog: Book (1997-12-01)
    Publisher: Pocket
    Sales Rank: 518
    Average Customer Review: 4.74 out of 5 stars
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    Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl is among the most influential works of psychiatric literature since Freud. The book begins with a lengthy, austere, and deeply moving personal essay about Frankl's imprisonment in Auschwitz and other concentration camps for five years, and his struggle during this time to find reasons to live. The second part of the book, called "Logotherapy in a Nutshell," describes the psychotherapeutic method that Frankl pioneered as a result of his experiences in the concentration camps. Freud believed that sexual instincts and urges were the driving force of humanity's life; Frankl, by contrast, believes that man's deepest desire is to search for meaning and purpose. Frankl's logotherapy, therefore, is much more compatible with Western religions than Freudian psychotherapy. This is a fascinating, sophisticated, and very human book. At times, Frankl's personal and professional discourses merge into a style of tremendous power. "Our generation is realistic, for we have come to know man as he really is," Frankl writes. "After all, man is that being who invented the gas chambers of Auschwitz; however, he is also that being who entered those gas chambers upright, with the Lord's Prayer or the Shema Yisrael on his lips." ... Read more

    Reviews (174)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Book to Provoke, What is Your Life's Meaning?
    I wish I read this 20 years ago, it would have created a whole new perspective on my life. I won't repeat what many of the other fine reviewers have mentioned, but will add the following:

    According to Frankl, man's search for meaning is his primary motivation for life, not a secondary rationalization.

    Existential Vacuum, in today's Modern Society, we all have basic food, and shelter, we all can survive (thank goodness we don't have to endure what Frankl had to), we are all comfortable in our existence, and yet this comfort creates boredom, and therefore, our search for meaning is even more compounded. Thus is what Frankl refers to as existential vacuum, we exist today day to day, but do so in a vacuum of existence, until we know our meaning.

    Man should not ask what is the meaning of life, but rather BE asked. In response, man must answer in his responsible, to whom is he responsible to, to what, to whom?

    True meaning is discovered in the world, not within man himself. Seek out your experiences, the meaning is out there in the world, not within yourself.

    You cannot avoid untentional suffering, but you can change your attitude towards it, to give suffering a meaning to you.

    Live your life as though you were living it the second time. View life as a series of movie frames, the ending and meaning may not be apparent until the very end of the movie, and yet, each of the hundreds of individual frames has meaning within the context of the whole movie.

    View your life from your funeral, looking back at your life experiences, what have you accomplished? what would you have wanted to accomplish but didn't? what were the happy moments? what were the sad? what would you do again, and what you wouldn't?

    A must read for anyone searching for a deeper meaning in life. The book won't give you the meaning, only you can, but it will certainly help you get started.

    5-0 out of 5 stars POWERFUL AND COMPELLING!
    I look with awe and reverence at those who have survived Auschwitz and similar death camps and am amazed beyond belief at how they managed to survive not only physically, but emotionally. I do not believe any amount of psychology could fully prepare one for the horrors inflicted on the survivors of such attrocities. Both my parents fought for their country overseas during the World War II and I heard, first hand, of stories that touch, horrify and will remain with me for a lifetime.

    Dr. Frankl developed an approach to psychotherapy known as, logotherapy. At the core of his theory is the belief that man's motivational force is reaching for meaning. While this book is not one that could be described as enjoyable reading, there is something about the author's experiences that will remain with us long after the book has concluded. Frankl gives meaning to life, despite life's suffering, and in a thought-provoking manner leaves a lasting impact on the reader that could well change the path of direction you choose to follow and how you continue to live your life.

    4-0 out of 5 stars All have a unique meaning to life to personally discover!
    After years of hearing others praise this book, I finally read it for myself, and found it is worth reading! Dr. Victor Frankl, an author-psychiatrist, experienced first-hand the horrible atrocities that were forced upon the Jews in Nazi Concentration Camps, and lived to tell about it. He shares the truths he learned as a prisoner, including man's search for meaning in life, and his ability to survive extreme physical and emotional hardships, despite the odds. In the process he developed a new approach to psychotherapy, known as "logotherapy." At the root of the theory is the value of helping others find their unique purpose or mission in life.

    What was the key to the survival in the Nazi death camps? It wasn't survival of the fittest in the traditional sense of those who were the most physically robust of the human species. Rather it tended to be those individuals, described below, who found inner survival strength as follows:

    (1.) Those who had a meaning in life, a sense of purpose, or intent to accomplish a goal. It was Dr. Frankl's desire to survive the death camps so that he could write and publish his experiences and truths learned through his suffering.

    (2.) Those who had a spiritual belief in God and a faith that there was a divine plan for them. They believed God would help them through their difficulties. Dr. Frankl said: "In spite of all the enforced physical and mental primitiveness of the life in a concentration camp, it was possible for spiritual life to deepen."

    (3.) Those who had an intellectual life to fall back on (in their thoughts) during the monotonous, strenuous, and most painful times of endurance. He states: "Sensitive people who were used to a rich intellectual life may have suffered much pain... but the damage to their inner selves was less. They were able to retreat from their terrible surroundings to a life of inner riches and spiritual freedom." This was something their oppressors were not able to take away from them.

    (4.) Those who held on to the cherished bonds of loved ones. Dr. Frankl often found strength by carrying on imagined conversations with his beloved wife who had been taken to another death camp. His ability to communicate his love for her in his thoughts, and receive back her love, gave him the incentive to hold on to life during the toughtest of times. Unfortunately his wife was not able to survive, but he didn't know this at the time. (Perhaps it was her Spirit he was communicating with afterall.)

    I was impressed with the description Dr. Frankl gave of a few of the prisoners, who despite being in a starving and sickly state, managed to go around offering aid and moral encouragement to others. Such individuals often gave of their meager piece of daily bread to keep another fellow prisoner alive. Such selfless service in the face of death, was truly admirable.

    In the second half of Dr. Frankl's book he distinguishes the difference between his theory of logotherapy and that of traditional approaches to physcho-analysis. At the core of his theory is the challenge to help individuals discover for themselves their reason for being, even a worthwhile goal. He quotes Nietzche who said: "He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how." Dr. Frankl says: "The meaning of life always changes, but it never ceases to be." This book can be a great resource for readers to evaluate their own purpose in life, and perhaps in the process choose a path that is worthwhile not only to them but that will benefit others as well.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Both touching and helpful!
    This book was touching to the point that it was painful to read at times. Yet, the overall message of this book is wonderfully exhilarating. Whatever meaning you find in your life is your life. If that meaning gives you hope, you will have hope. If that meaning gives you despair, you will find despair. This is a fantastic piece of existential work! The whole idea in this book reminds me a bit of the concept of the self-system in Toru Sato's genius book "The Ever-Transcending Spirit". Now "The Ever-Transcending Spirit" is a much newer book but it is another truly excellent book that takes these things one step further by integrating these ideas with the psychology of relationships as well as transpersonal experiences. I recommend this Frankl and Sato's book very very much! They are both outstanding!

    5-0 out of 5 stars A monumental work of human courage
    This book would be instrumental to those who wish to understand the greater purpose behind their suffering. The author describes his enduring many horrific experiences of the Holocaust while discovering a greater meaning in these experiences.

    Viktor Frankl believes there is a deeper meaning behind the suffering many continue to experience. He also feels that it's one's personal challenge to discover the purpose behind the pain they feel. While being non-judgmental about human suffering, the author sees our pain as a source of strength rather than as a sign of weakness.

    This book is ideal for those who are seeking the greater meaning in their suffering. While much of his story takes place during the Holocaust, the lessons are universal to anyone who has ever experienced great difficulty. ... Read more

    10. The New Concise History of the Crusades, Revised Edition
    by Thomas F. Madden
    list price: $24.95
    our price: $16.47
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0742538222
    Catlog: Book (2005-05-25)
    Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
    Sales Rank: 2356
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    How have the crusades contributed to Islamist rage and terrorism today? Were the crusades the Christian equivalent of modern jihad? In this sweeping yet crisp history, Thomas Madden offers a brilliant and compelling narrative of the crusades and their contemporary relevance. Placing all the major crusades within their medieval social, economic, religious, and intellectual environments, Madden explores the uniquely medieval world that led untold thousands to leave their homes, family, and friends to march in Christ's name to distant lands. From Palestine and Europe's farthest reaches, each crusade is recounted in clear, concise narrative. The author gives special attention as well to the crusades' effects on the Islamic world and the Christian Byzantine East. ... Read more

    Reviews (2)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Superior Introduction to a Fascinating Topic
    The author of this book is the most distinguished historian of the crusades in the U.S.I worried, though, that his erudition would make the book overly complex and unreadable.I shouldn't have worried!This book is a joy to read.Madden brings out the tension, excitement, and human drama of the crusades.Best of all, it is not the usual rehash of tired cliches, but instead the story is based on the best and most recent research.This is that rare book that appeals not only to professional historians, but also to interested general readers as well.If you want to know the truth about the crusades, grab this book!

    3-0 out of 5 stars Captivating reading....but also an apology for the Crusades
    Assuming that the documents on which the book is based are factual, it does contain a lot of interesting information, whose verification of course would take a lifetime of meticulous research and a great deal of financial resources. Not since the historical volumes of Will and Ariel Durant, which covered the Crusades, has there been a work that adds strong personal viewpoints regarding the Christian religion. The commentary of the Durants and that of author of this book are diametrically opposed regarding Christianity, but it definitely distracts readers who are extremely curious about the causes and historical context behind the Crusades. However, since the author has chosen to include opinions on the moral legitimacy of the Crusades, readers are justified in making critical analysis of these opinions.

    The atrocities of 9/11 are of course mentioned in the preface, and the author's bias against the Islamic faith is expressed early on. Indeed, in the second paragraph of the book the author makes it a point to remind the reader that unlike Christianity the Islamic faith had a notion of holy war before the Middle Ages. It took the Roman Emperor Constantine, in his conversion to Christianity in A.D. 312 to realize that Christians, who endured brutal persecution for two centuries, now had armies and power at their disposal. And, as the author points out, this caused St. Augustine in the fifth century to formulate criteria for a "just war." Such a war was not to be one waged for religious conversion or for destroying heresies. The Crusades and the Inquisition are two examples where his formulation was corrupted and abused, and this corruption and abuse has continued to this day. In the intervening centuries intense competition for carnage and horror took place between Islam and Christianity. It is hard to say who won this competition, given the level of brutality exhibited by each. The city of Jerusalem was one of the major sources of contention and "moral justification" for the Crusades, as is readily apparent when reading this book. Christian pilgrims to Jerusalem filled the coffers of those who ruled the city, but this enrichment still did not suppress its political instability. It is very troubling that one city could be responsible for so much violence, and this violence continues to this day.

    There are many interesting discussions in this book however, and due to its size the knowledge it contains can be rapidly assimilated. The reader learns for example of the "Children's Crusade," which arose, as can be expected, from the incessant preaching for the Crusades that occurred in northern France and various areas in Germany. Fortunately, and the author relieves quickly the readers anxiety, this Crusade was not made up of children, and not really a crusade in comparison to the rest. It was made up of a collection of "unknown" people, who no doubt really believed in the content of the preaching they listened to. The author describes their march to the Holy Land, which ended in tragedy, some of them being sold as slaves. Their efforts were nullified, no books have been written exclusively about them. Being mere footnotes in history, they did not qualify for the "great people of history," and no canonization or glorification was imputed to them.

    But one crusader stands out in the book as being more heroic and morally sound than the rest, and it is easy to question the author's objectivity in his description of this crusader, due to his academic affiliation. Indeed, the picture painted of St. Louis is one of extreme piety, generosity, and holiness. Being king of the most enriched country in Europe at the time gave him access to resources that enabled him to crusade for the liberation of Jerusalem. But despite the abundance of material wealth, St. Louis of course had to motivate people to follow him into battle. The author describes him as being very "inspiring" to the troops, and a "gifted leader." There is no reason to doubt this, as wars are not fought by one man, but with many who must control their fears and engage in activity that is not directly in their interests. Religion of course always helps in supplying this courage, which St. Louis was eager to supply. The individuals who accompanied St. Louis are of course not remembered; they were not canonized, and no American cities were named after them. But even though the author chose to characterize St. Louis as one who viewed the conquest of Jerusalem as the "greatest act of devotion to Christ," the fact remains that the Crusades he led were inhumane, immoral acts, having absolutely no ethical justification, and a complete waste of time and resources, just like the others. ... Read more

    11. Salonica, City of Ghosts : Christians, Muslims, and Jews Since 1430
    list price: $35.00
    our price: $23.10
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0375412980
    Catlog: Book (2005-04-26)
    Publisher: Knopf
    Sales Rank: 85118
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    12. A People's History of the United States : 1492-Present (Perennial Classics)
    by Howard Zinn
    list price: $18.95
    our price: $13.26
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0060528370
    Catlog: Book (2003-04-01)
    Publisher: Perennial Classics
    Sales Rank: 175
    Average Customer Review: 3.83 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Known for its lively, clear prose as well as its scholarly research, A People's History of the United States is the only volume to tell America's story from the point of view of -- and in the words of -- America's women, factory workers, African Americans, Native Americans, working poor, and immigrant laborers. ... Read more

    Reviews (404)

    3-0 out of 5 stars Actually it is History of American Protest and Labor Dispute
    Tough book to review. His bias is clear, but he is also upfront about it. I feel the greatest flaw of the book is that it paints history in incredibly "good vs evil" colors. While attesting to narrate a history of the American people, Zinn is also willing to portray much of America as remorseless villains. His portrayal of police forces make them seem as humane as stormtroopers in Star Wars. While the "underclass" have names and inspire sympathy the police forces and conservatives are faceless drones whose only role in history is to step over others. Then violence of his favorites is always justified implicitly while all other forms of violence are a symbol of tyranny. In this he falls in the same flaw he critiques, American history may at times glorify the American role and gloss over its failures, Zinn commits the same mistake in the opposite direction greatly focusing on American failures and forgetting its virtues.

    Zinn's book has also very little comparison to other countries, American racism, poverty and misogyny is never placed in a historical context. America's reality becomes always compared to an unexpressed ideal; with no allowance for a period of development in any historical scenario. For instance read Gordon Woods "The Radicalism of the American Revolution" for a completely different view on the American Revolution (and much more comparative to the eighteen century reality of the world).
    The book also becomes even more childish as it approaches more modern periods, while in from the Jacksonian and the Progressive era Zinn was willing to basically list the strikes happening in America (again without contrast to foreign comparisons, British for example), as he tries to explain quickly his views in modern American society his lack of arguments becomes more apparent and the superficiality of his so ambitious work is made more evident.

    This is also very Marxist rendition of history. Class struggle dominates, and the charming explicative simplicity of Marxist analysis of history is ever present (along with is implied superficiality), along with a good dose of paranoia on the abilities of Big Brother over the centuries. The good and bad guys are so obvious in Zinn's History that all that he could do to make it more so was to dispense white and black hats as the old Westerns did.

    Why three stars then? Well the book is also very passionate and a very fast read. Although I greatly disagree with the philosophy in it, this is a very clear presentation of it. The very influence of this book and its views on the American historiography and debate makes it a very important read. Those who agree with everything Zinn says really should read more in depth views of history that can greatly challenge this thesis, while those who can't read it at all must open their minds for the incredible value of the questioning (whether at times sophomoric) that Zinn can create.

    Zinn successfully approaches the history of the United States from a very accurate and justified perspective. Our nation's history has been written by the point-of-view of scholars who solely use the triumphs of American presidents, generals, and heroes to tell the victories of a very proud people. Zinn, on the other hand, reveals the struggle, the unknown story of those who were not as fortunate. A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES educates its readers with extraordinary force, compelling even the most conservative reader to consider the assertions made throughout the book. Despite Zinn's radical nature, his scholarly research based on accurate, reliable, and sometimes first-hand resources strongly supports even Zinn's Marxist leanings. Those who accuse Howard Zinn of unattainable idealism, red communism, and liberal nature must take into account just how realistic A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES actually is. What elementary, high school, or even college text includes the exploitation of the poor for the profit of the rich throughout American history, the heinous crimes of U.S. soldiers during the Vietnam war, or the government's conspiracy to undermine antiwar groups during the Cold War? If America is to reap the economic rewards from the world it exploits, Americans might as well accept the responsibility and the truth behind our much celebrated history. The only alternative is that our "IGNORANCE IS BLISS".

    1-0 out of 5 stars There were no "American Masses" in the Colonial Period
    The entire text, which I reviewed for a History class when it was first released, is based upon the false assumption that America was a place of "masses of the people" and that some great eglatarian war similar in structure and purpose as that ongoing in Europe was replanted and flourishing in the colonies.

    For those who believe that communistic ideology has a place in real life and benefits real people, this is a great argument for them and referrence. However, America was not and is not and has not been a "socialist democracy" or a society of equality.

    America, historically, is a country founded on the essence that individuals have a right to express themselves within certain constraints in a manner that is not necessarily popular or preferred.

    This individual liberty is what allows our nation to grow and evolve into a nation that is REACHING but has yet to achieve "equality". Often, we forget that Equality is the Goal not the Fact.

    1-0 out of 5 stars a review
    Although the rest of my AP US history class hates this book, i find that this book is a more appealing way to research "what really happened" and not a bunch of lies that have compounded over the centuries and become the "history" that we teach the children of the "best country"in the world."

    2-0 out of 5 stars Incomplete
    For people who are already very familiar with American history, Zinn provides an interesting alternative view of events. I disagree with many of his premises and most of his conclusions, but he lays out his arguments clearly and provides a starting point for worthwhile debate.

    That said, I would not recommend this book to someone wanting an overview of American history. Zinn jumps around and fails to provide important background information on many of his subjects. Unless the reader is already very familiar with the events being discussed, they will be misled into accepting one man's rather biased and depressing view of America.

    Finally, I know this has been mentioned before, but I found the lack of foot-notes and the scantily compiled bibliography rather inadequate for a 'scholarly' book. ... Read more

    13. Annals of the World: James Ussher's Classic Survey of World History
    list price: $69.99
    our price: $55.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0890513600
    Catlog: Book (2003-10)
    Publisher: Master Books
    Sales Rank: 32915
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Master Books commissioned this important literary work to be updated from the 17th-century original Latin manuscript to modern English and made available to the general public for the first time. In its pages can be found the fascinating history of the ancient world from the Genesis creation through the destruction of the Jerusalem temple.

    Find Out:
    • Why was Julius Caesar kidnapped in 75 B.C.?
    • Why did Alexander the Great burn his ships in 326 B.C.?
    • What really happened when the sun "went backward" as a sign to Hezekiah?
    • What does secular history say about the darkness at the Crucifixion? ... Read more

    Reviews (3)

    5-0 out of 5 stars James Ussher was extremely knowledgeable
    He was very knowledgeable to true history, and not the evolutionary fairy tales that exists today.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Incredible!
    I eagerly awaited the arrival of this book, and was amazed beyond my best expectations. The first day I picked it up, I could hardly put it down, reading long past midnight. The descriptions of the people, the rulers, the battles, the times, are fascinating. Not only is there a treasure trove of biblical information, but also many first person accounts of encounters with Cleopatra, Alexander the Great, etc. The source materials used are from the people who were there! Any one with an interest in history and notable people of the past will be fascinated. Remember Herod, who ordered the slaughter of the infants when Jesus was born? According to this, he included his own children! Read about Ptolemy Philopator, who in 216 BC tried to murder all the Jews in Alexandria by locking them in the hippodrome with 500 drunken elephants. (It didn't work.) Really, you have to see this to believe it. This is definitely worth every penny.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Go To School, You Delinquent!
    Instead of going to school, I read this instead. I win! Summary: For more than three hundred years, Ussher's colossal Annals of the World remained inaccessible to all but the most esoteric of scholars. This is the first-ever English translation of this enormously important work. A hero of biblical chronology and one of the most astute church historians ever, Ussher is both loved and hated. He is loved by all those who share a commitment to the fidelity of Genesis as an accurate account of human origins, and who consistently hold to the literal, grammatical, historical approach to Bible interpretation. He is hated by evolutionists and compromising theologians who would seek to integrate evolutionary cosmology with the philosophy of science advocated in Holy Scripture. Many thanks to the people at Masters Books for years of research and hard work to bring this volume back to life, and in such a beautiful form. As of this writing, Amazon does not have a photo of this great-looking edition, but it is truly heirloom quality.
    What Augustine was for orthodoxy and Calvin was for theology, James Ussher was for Biblical historiography. No man in church history left a more indelible imprint on the thinking of Christians concerning the chronology of the ancient world than Ussher. Though he was an Anglican Archbishop of Ireland who died during the rule of Cromwell, Ussher was decidedly a Puritan. He was so revered by all, including Cromwell (an independent), that Ussher was given the honor of being buried in Westminster Abbey.
    For three hundred years, his rigorous and comprehensive scholarship on chronology and biblical history was considered the unassailable standard by theologians. Until the very recent takeover of our major seminaries by misguided theories of origins which integrate evolutionary cosmology with Scripture at the expense of sound theology and sound science, Ussher's work was not only a staple of Christian education, but his comments were found in the margin notes of many King James Bibles.
    Ussher did what no other theologian of note had ever accomplished. He dedicated an entire lifetime of study to the issue of world history and chronology. His studies required him to travel extensively throughout Europe, examining the oldest and most rare manuscripts in the world, manuscripts which today are missing or have been destroyed, which is why Ussher's work can never be replicated.
    Dr. Francis Nigel Lee (who has more than ten doctorates), a biographer and commentator on Ussher, explains that the Dublin-born prelate was "raised in a Bible-believing Calvinistic environment. He soaked himself in the Holy Scriptures without ceasing. He also read the Early Church Fathers - systematically, every day, for eighteen years. After becoming Professor of Divinity at Dublin's Trinity College in 1607, he wrote the Irish Articles during the next decade. Head of Ireland's foremost Theological Faculty, Ussher was internationally the greatest Anglican antiquarian and theologian of his age - if not of all time."
    Ussher not only gave us a reliable date for the age of the Earth and drafted the documents which were the primary influence outside the Scriptures themselves on the Westminister Confession of Faith, but he proved through his exhaustive and well-documented research that the first five hundred years of Christianity in Ireland predated the influence of the Roman church. According to Lee:
    "Ussher was very emphatic that Christianity had first reached the British Isles not via Rome but directly from Palestine. He put the arrival date, shortly after Calvary, at around A.D. 35f and not at all at around A.D. 596f (and from the Vatican). (See Ussher's 1631 Discourse of the Religion Anciently Professed by the Irish and British and his 1639 Antiquities of the British Churches. Especially the latter is highly impressive. The Schaff Herzog Encyclopaedia rightly describes it as a work of twenty years' labour, great research, and critical penetration.) Ussher was a pioneer in the historiography of the Early Church. He set out to prove that the Ancient Church in the British Isles was independent of the Roman Church and its later unscriptural traditions. Ussher's various views themselves derived from the remnants of Irish Culdeeism or Proto Protestantism readily found themselves into the later Westminster Standards based upon his own Irish Articles."

    Hundreds of years after first publishing this work for the scholars of his day, Master Books has accomplished the massive and expensive task of translating the entire 960-page tome so that this rare treasure trove of ancient history can, for the first time, be accessible to the general public. Updated from a seventeenth-century Latin manuscript into modern English, "The Annals of the World" contains the fascinating history of the ancients, from the Genesis creation through the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple in A.D. 70. At last, students have a comprehensive history of the ancient world which allows them to draw heavily from Scripture and primary source documents. Despite the open mockery of him by evolutionists committed to their own religiously driven view of earth history, Ussher's scholarship remains unassailable and has stood the test of time.

    Annals of the World is packaged in a beautiful display box, and the volume itself is smythe-sewn with gold-gilded edges and foil embossing. It includes eight appendices, and contains over ten thousand footnotes from the original text which have been updated to references from works in the Loeb Classical Library by Harvard Press.

    This is perhaps the most significant Christian publishing event of 2003. This is a multi-generational book, meant to be passed to your children. Christian fathers owe it to their posterity to acquire this volume and display it in a place of prominence in the family library. ... Read more

    14. The Windsor Style
    by Suzy Menkes
    list price: $627.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0881623210
    Catlog: Book (1988-04-01)
    Publisher: Salem House Pub
    Sales Rank: 662131
    Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (1)

    4-0 out of 5 stars A View Inside A Shrine to Self
    The Windsors, while they were living, epitomized style, glamour, and wit. Ultimately theirs was a wasted life, empty of meaning in the end. From the heady days of their scandalous romance, life was all downhill, a private struggle to conserve their dignity in the aftermath of the abdication. To fill this emptiness and lack of purpose in life, the Duchess obsessed on perfection; of herself, of the things she collected and of the table she set. The Windsor's sous chef spent hours sorting salad leaves into leaves of exactly the same size to be set before their guests. Their relationship was a hollow recreation of the childhood the Duke never could leave behind. Moulin de la Tuilerie, their country home outside of Paris, was the York Cottage of Edward's youth reborn. Wallis herself was Queen Mary, obsessively arranging the display of small objets and cosseting the little boy who was King. A long time servant said, "They had nothing and no-one. They were just two lonely old people." Suzy Menkes takes the reader on an interesting tour through not only of the tangible objects of this relationship, but of the relationship itself. ... Read more

    15. Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed
    by Jared M. Diamond, Jared Diamond
    list price: $29.95
    our price: $19.77
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0670033375
    Catlog: Book (2004-12-29)
    Publisher: Viking Books
    Sales Rank: 4859
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    Book Description

    In his million-copy bestseller Guns, Germs, and Steel, Jared Diamond examined how andwhy Western civilizations developed the technologies and immunities that allowed them todominate much of the world. Now in this brilliant companion volume, Diamond probes the otherside of the equation: What caused some of the great civilizations of the past to collapse into ruin,and what can we learn from their fates?

    As in Guns, Germs, and Steel, Diamond weaves an all-encompassing global thesisthrough a series of fascinating historical-cultural narratives. Moving from the Polynesian cultureson Easter Island to the flourishing American civilizations of the Anasazi and the Maya and finallyto the doomed Viking colony on Greenland, Diamond traces the fundamental pattern ofcatastrophe. Environmental damage, climate change, rapid population growth, and unwisepolitical choices were all factors in the demise of these societies, but other societies foundsolutions and persisted. Similar problems face us today and have already brought disaster toRwanda and Haiti, even as China and Australia are trying to cope in innovative ways. Despite ourown society’s apparently inexhaustible wealth and unrivaled political power, ominous warningsigns have begun to emerge even in ecologically robust areas like Montana.

    Brilliant, illuminating, and immensely absorbing, Collapse is destined to take its place asone of the essential books of our time, raising the urgent question: How can our world best avoidcommitting ecological suicide? ... Read more

    16. The Idea of the Self : Thought and Experience in Western Europe since the Seventeenth Century
    by Jerrold Seigel
    list price: $27.00
    our price: $27.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0521605547
    Catlog: Book (2005-03-28)
    Publisher: Cambridge University Press
    Sales Rank: 34470
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    Book Description

    What is the self? The question has preoccupied people in many times and places, but nowhere more than in the modern West, where it has spawned debates that still resound today. Jerrold Seigel here provides an original and penetrating narrative of how major Western European thinkers and writers have confronted the self since the time of Descartes, Leibniz, and Locke. From an approach that is at once theoretical and contextual, he examines the way figures in Britain, France, and Germany have understood whether and how far individuals can achieve coherence and consistency in the face of the inner tensions and external pressures that threaten to divide or overwhelm them. He makes clear that recent 'postmodernist' accounts of the self belong firmly to the tradition of Western thinking they have sought to supersede, and provides an open-ended and persuasive alternative to claims that the modern self is typically egocentric or disengaged. ... Read more

    17. Into a Paris Quartier
    by Diane Johnson
    list price: $20.00
    our price: $13.60
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0792272668
    Catlog: Book (2005-05-01)
    Publisher: National Geographic
    Sales Rank: 4197
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    Book Description

    Paris has always held a special appeal for Americans -- its cosmopolitan culture, its great boulevards, the majestic sweep of its history. But what really makes Paris irresistible is a deeply personal connection that's not found in any guidebook but rather in a particular café, a chance encounter, a side street whose charm inspires an affection at once instant and indelible.

    For acclaimed novelist Diane Johnson, that feeling focuses on ST.-Germain-des-Prés, and in this delightful book she takes us on an affectionate tour of her home neighborhood, where the Three Musketeers swaggered, La Rochefoucault honed his cynically delightful maxims, and Gertrude Stein played den mother to a Lost Generation of American expatriates. Evoking both a rich past that has everywhere left its mark and the vibrant urbanity, Johnson brings a keenly curious eye and an eloquent pen to this fascinating, welcoming portrait of the Paris she knows and loves so well.

    ... Read more

    18. Assassination Vacation
    by Sarah Vowell
    list price: $21.00
    our price: $14.28
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0743260031
    Catlog: Book (2005-03-29)
    Publisher: Simon & Schuster
    Sales Rank: 250
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Sarah Vowell exposes the glorious conundrumsof American history and culture with wit, probity, and an irreverent sense of humor. With Assassination Vacation, she takes us on a road trip like no other -- a journey to the pit stops of American political murder and through the myriad ways they have been used for fun and profit, for political and cultural advantage.

    From Buffalo to Alaska, Washington to the Dry Tortugas, Vowell visits locations immortalized and influenced by the spilling of politically important blood, reporting as she goes with her trademark blend of wisecracking humor, remarkable honesty, and thought-provoking criticism. We learn about the jinx that was Robert Todd Lincoln (present at the assassinations of Presidents Lincoln, Garfield, and McKinley) and witness the politicking that went into the making of the Lincoln Memorial. The resulting narrative is much more than an entertaining and informative travelogue -- it is the disturbing and fascinating story of how American death has been manipulated by popular culture, including literature, architecture, sculpture, and -- the author's favorite -- historical tourism. Though the themes of loss and violence are explored and we make detours to see how the Republican Party became the Republican Party, there are all kinds of lighter diversions along the way into the lives of the three presidents and their assassins, including mummies, show tunes, mean-spirited totem poles, and a nineteenth-century biblical sex cult. ... Read more

    Reviews (25)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Wierd but Funny - A Great Way to do History
    This book is just a touch wierd. Who would take a vacation with the specific intent of going to see where the presidents got shot?

    OK, I'll admit having visited the Texas Book Depository building in Dallas. But that was because of the publicity that was high at the time regarding who actually shot him. An aside -- anyone who has ever gone rifle shooting can look out the window he used and will think, "I could have made that shot."

    Still, her dry wit can't help from coming through, "Going to Ford's Theatre to watch the play is like going to Hooters for the food." She makes the study of history come alive much better than the dry history books I remember from school.

    As now the author of five books, television appearances on several shows, and the voice of Teenage superhero Violet Parr in "The Incredibles," Ms. Vowell is a budding great voice in American literature.

    1-0 out of 5 stars For Presidential History Geeks Only
    I like Sarah Vowell's personality and normally enjoy reading her books and listening to her on This American Life.Plus she kicked ass in The Incredibles.

    I found this book really dull reading though. Unless you, like Sarah, are obsessed with the tiny details of President Garfield's presidency (and other subjects equally dry) you may be as bored as I was. She herself keeps saying how the companions she brings along on her research trips are bored to tears by the subject matter.

    I look forward to her next book and a return to more interesting territory.

    5-0 out of 5 stars It's No Coincidence...
    This book is great! The wit and humor of Vowell's essays, collected in Take the Cannoli and The Partly Cloudy Patriot, translate well to this more focused tale of her visits to sites related to presidential assassinations. Filled with Vowell's quirky observations and animated by the rapid-fire connections her mind makes, Assassination Vacation is a page-turner AND a history lesson at the same time. Vowell's deep appreciation of and enthusiasm for her subject matter is infectious. Highly recommended, especially if you're planning a trip that includes visits to historic sites. Vowell's viewpoint will give you a new way of enjoying them that will definitely enhance your experience!

    5-0 out of 5 stars quirky history tour
    Very informative, hilarious and even moving at times. One other reviewer mentioned Vowell's Bush bashing, but they should read or listen to more than a snippet. The "current president" only pops up a couple of times and briefly. The rest of the book is for the most part a quirky nonpartisan journey through American political history. Vowell's narration in the audiobook abridgement is broken up with some interesting guest voices. Stephen King as Abraham Lincoln for instance.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Charming, Witty and Funny
    I just, today, discovered Sarah Vowell's work. It is a wonderful treat. She looks at history in an amazingly honest way. Her history is never boring, of course. I was fortunate to see Sarah do an author presentation on C-Span2 BookTV.

    She presents history in a quirky, honest and humorous way. This book is about the history of the people and events surrounding the assassintions of Lincoln, Garfield and McKinley. You will learn historical details that you never knew or even thought that you wanted to know. You will be very pleased with Sarah's look into history. ... Read more

    19. Ladies and Gentlemen, The Bronx Is Burning: 1977, Baseball, Politics, and the Battle for the Soul of a City
    by Jonathan Mahler
    list price: $25.00
    our price: $16.50
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0374175284
    Catlog: Book (2005-04-15)
    Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
    Sales Rank: 1431
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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    New York City in 1977 was in the middle of wild upheaval on all fronts, from the hunt for the Son of Sam killer and the citywide blackout to a brutal mayor's race and the rise of punk rock and the zenith of disco. In Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx Is Burning, journalist Jonathan Mahler revisits all those storylines through another drama, which grabbed tabloid headlines all summer long: the outrageous--and pennant-winning--New York Yankees. The Yankees weren't the greatest baseball team ever assembled--they weren't even the greatest of the era (the talent-laden Cincinnati Reds were superior player for player). But no modern team has earned more type than the "Bronx Zoo" Yanks of the late '70s, thanks in no small part to such characters as meddling owner George Steinbrenner, firebrand manager Billy Martin, and flashy slugger Reggie Jackson.

    But what more is there to say about a ball club, even one as stormy and successful as the '77 Yanks? Mahler wisely strays out of the dugout and into the chaotic city to give his chronicle breadth and shape. Mahler deftly brings together a host of characters and developments--from doomed old-school catcher Thurman Munson to congressional hellraiser Bella Abzug, from media kingpin Rupert Murdoch to battling politicos Ed Koch and Mario Cuomo, from downtown punks to the glittery decadence of Studio 54. The result is a lively read that will entertain readers who wouldn't know an RBI from CBGB. --Steven Stolder ... Read more

    Reviews (9)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Takes one back
    I lived just outside of NYC, in New Jersey, during this summer of 1977, and reading Mahler's book was like traveling back in time.He captures the weirdness of the Yankee's season perfectly, in which one never quite knew whether Billy Martin was going to implode or not.He captures the tension of the blackout-related looting and the fear surrounding the serial-killings of Son of Sam.Looking back from this vantage point, it's somewhat amazing how far back from the brink NYC has come.Mahler chronicles the events of that time extremely well, and is a wonderful storyteller.My only question is:to what end?If he sees that year as a turning point, he was too subtle in discussing that significance.The takeaway is that he simply saw it as an interesting year, with large events occurring simultaneously, with no relation to one another, and little relationship to the outside world as a whole.If you were not there to witness -- or read about -- these events, you might say, "Interesting, but so what?"What was missing from the end of this book -- which so many books similar to this have -- is a "where-are-they-now" section.A coda such as that may have answered the question as to why these events and stories were significant and why we should care about them.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Big '77
    This book is for everyone who grew up in New York, survived the City's dark ages, graduated Jamaica High School, rode the 1 train to Columbia University, loved (or hated) the Yankees, remembered the blackout and the looting, didn't sit in parked cars because of the Son of Sam (first called the ".44 caliber killer"), danced to the "hustle" and the "walk," saw Star Wars fifteen times, tried to get into Studio 54, avoided 42nd Street, and wondered how the City didn't sink into the East River. Those were the good old days. I love this town, and The Big '77.

    4-0 out of 5 stars A year that stunned New York
    Jonathan Mahler's new book, "Ladies and Gentlemen, The Bronx Is Burning" is a terrific accomplishment that weaves together many fractured elements which helped to contribute to a year that was quite unlike most other years in New York City. It was, by and large, a depressing time for New York but the enormous boost New Yorkers received by the Yankees' World Series victory that October, coupled with a change in mayors shortly thereafter, began to lift the city out of the doldrums. As one who remembers New York in 1977 very well, Mahler has reminded us of a place which seems light years away from the present. It's a walk down memory lane for some of us.

    "The Bronx is Burning" is told in three parts and the least effective part is the first. Necessarily introductory, Mahler's narrative style in Part One never gains much traction. Betweenthe political landscape of the early part of the year and the problematic Yankees, the author doesn't quite bounce back and forth so much as he diarizes. If there is tension to be found in what's to come, it's not found here. Reggie Jackson's ego is certainly a reportable topic but Mahler spends far too much time on him. It's filler that doesn't quite sate. Mahler, however, has plenty of good stuff to come. With Part Two he begins to build a story of intense proportion. From this point on, I couldn't put down the book. He begins by giving us an account, rich in detail, about the first hour of the summer blackout and the hapless Con Edison systems operator who was at the heart of it. Continuing on through the night's ensuing riots, "The Bronx Is Burning" begins to breathe new life. From here the links in the book become clearer. As the events of July, August and September unfold, the city of New York is forced to take a sharper look at itself and there is no better focal point than the upcoming Democratic primary and its characters from central casting. Mahler brilliantly connects the dots at the same time adding an exceptionally good section about the murderer known as the "Son of Sam", who terrorized the city for over a year. The author's final chapters regarding the Yankees' championship are told with clarity and passion.

    It's hard to remember that all of these events happened in one calendar year but maybe we were so benumbed by those happenings that we tended to overlook their confluence. Jonathan Mahler has brought them all together in "Ladies and Gentlemen, The Bronx is Burning" and has done so in a way that puts that year back in some of our minds and gives a great account to those who were not yet around to experience it.

    1-0 out of 5 stars I'm a huge Yankee fan.
    I'm a huge Yankee fan and I read everything about them.I had high hopes for this book; the reviews I saw were good.But it was a major disappointment. Mahler can't keep his political leanings out of the story (please tell me what his antipathy to neoconservatives has to do with 1977) and that spoils it for me.
    If I want Ann Coulter or Al Franken, I'll buy their books.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Highly Addictive -- A Home Run
    Jonathan Mahler has hit a home run with this excellent examination of New York City politics, baseball and social life in 1977.The dual narrative focuses primarily on the titanic, four-way struggle for Gracie Mansion involving Koch, Cuomo, the incumbent Abe Beame and Bella Abzug, as well as the incendiary Steinbrenner-Martin-Jackson triangle of animus in the Bronx.

    The sweltering summer of 1977 also featured the Son of Sam serial murders and power-failure-induced rioting - the City's worst civic disorder since the Civil War - and Mahler skillfully weaves these compelling events into a captivating, past-faced narrative.Ground-zero of the rioting was the Bushwick section of Brooklyn - less than a decade before a stable, working class neighborhood - and Mahler provides a vivid portrait of the chaotic mayhem that took hold there (as well as in other poor communities) when the lights went out on July 13.

    Mahler also shows how the ghetto rioting transformed the Mayoral race.In mid summer, Ed Koch, then a relatively low profile Congressman, was fourth in the polls, mired in the low single digits. However, the erstwhile Greenwich Village liberal recognized that New Yorkers were ripe for a stern, law-and-order message. In particular, Koch's embrace of capital punishment and his get-tough policies generally found resonance with an electorate that had grown weary of the culture of lawlessness that increasingly pervaded their lives.The long-shot candidate - David Garth, his campaign guru, placed Koch's odds at no better than 40 to 1 - rode voter outrage to a first-place finish in the Democratic primary, and after besting Cuomo in a runoff, to City Hall.

    Meanwhile, up in the Bronx, the season-long hostilities between the egocentric Reggie Jackson and his combative manager flared famously in an ugly confrontation in the visitor's dugout at Fenway Park.Steinbrenner sided with his million-dollar superstar (Mahler calls Jackson New York's first black superstar; I'm not so sure), the fans overwhelmingly with the pugnacious Martin.Despite the team's success, the melodrama off the field eclipsed the drama on the field for much of the season - until Jackson's prodigious, three-homer performance in the last game of the World Series.Mr. October's Ruthian feat helped the Yanks capture their first world championship in 12 years and set everything right - at least until next season.

    I am a compulsive reader, but found this book especially addictive.I think you will, too. ... Read more

    20. Soldiers and Slaves : American POWs Trapped by the Nazis' Final Gamble
    by Roger Cohen
    list price: $25.95
    our price: $17.13
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 037541410X
    Catlog: Book (2005-04-26)
    Publisher: Knopf
    Sales Rank: 2039
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (3)

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Holocaust Did Happen to Our Boys Too!
    I had first heard of Berga and the 350 American GI's - Jewish - but in many cases not, who were herded by the Nazis into the Berga camp on a PBS special last year - and my reaction was shock, anger, but even admiration - NOT for the Nazis but for that gallant German-American Captain who not only defied the Gestapo by refusing to turn over his Jewish personnel but tried to escape several times.

    There have been stories - even other books written about Jewish-Americans, GIs but also in some cases civilians who were swept into the Third Reich by Hitler's advancing armies.This is the first history of how Americans faced firsthand the Holocaust by a mainstream publisher. While men like Erwin Rommel chose not to differentiate between Jews and Non-Jewish POWs; there were others, including those involved in the Bulge operation who chose to do so. The 350 prisoners at Berga were captured at the Bulge, where the Nazis were known to have committed atrocities en masse - the Malmedy Massacre against unarmed American POWs - and Belgian civilians nearby.

    While more fortunate than their compatriots butchered by the SS Monster Peiper at the Malmedy crossroads, at least 70 of the Americans - Jews and Non-Jews alike, perished from starvation, exposure - and execution - at the Berga camp. The Americans too, came face-to-face with the horror of Hitler's extermination program, as they were placed in close promixity to starved, slaved Russian and Polish Jews who were also at Berga.

    When the survivors were liberated they were told to keep silent, and worse, Berga ended up in the Soviet zone - and notwithstanding the Soviet's intense hatred of the Nazis - they chose NOT to expose what happened at Berga - after all, to the Russians they were only ZHIDS - and the Russkies too wanted the former Nazis on board with them to fight us in the Cold War. That is NO excuse however,for our government, especially in the face of Eisenhower's hatred of Nazism, to cover over the atrocities committed against AMERICAN GIs at Berga.

    Roger Cohen has given us a history that while is appalling - is one that needs wide-exposure, as our GREATEST GENERATION is dying out and anti-Semitism is again rearing its ugly head. The stories of the brave Captain aforementioned; and of the individual Americans who stood up to the bestality of Nazism deserves to be placed in every American school and library.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Soldiers and Slaves
    Soldiers and Slaves by Roger Cohen is the story of 350 Americans, captured during the Battle of the Bulge, who end up in a Nazi slave labor camp.A major portion of this group were Jewish.The prisoners were sent from a Stalag, where the Jewish prisoners were separated from their fellow POWs.How these men were treated at Berga was a travesty.What was a greater travesty however was how the Americans allowed those who perpetrated these heinous acts to get away with what, considering how they treated their prisoners, amounted to nothing more than a slap on the wrist.Cold war concerns got in the way of justice.The men who were able to survive the camp and the horrific death march after they were forced from the camp by their Nazi guards were heroes in every sense of the word.Those who are alive today still suffer both physically and emotionally as a result of their experiences.Recently, another book on the same subject was published.Although that book was good, this one is a much more interesting read and I recommend it to any WWII buff.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Little Know Incident in a Horrific War
    When the Germans attacked in what is now known as the Battle of the Bulge they captured more American soldiers than any other battle. Most of these captured solders were treated with at least some respect and with some consideration of the rules set forth by the Geneva Convention.

    During this time however, some 350 soldiers were specially selected by the Nazi's as being Jewish, some by the "H" (Hebrew) on their dog tags, some just by looking Jewish to the Germans. These unfortunate captives were sent to a camp at Berga and forced to work at digging tunnels that were to hold a synthetic fuel factory. More than 70 of then died. Those that still lived have the appearance we've come to expect from the German camps, rail thin starvation.

    This is a little known incident in a horrific war. It is perhaps made worse because of the disappearance of Berga into the Eastern zone, the Cold War that followed. Maybe it was forgotten simply because it was too small. That is not to say that any life isn't important, but with perhaps 50 million killed.... ... Read more

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