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    $17.79 $17.30 list($26.95)
    1. Augustine : A New Biography
    $99.00 $98.94 list($150.00)
    2. African Ceremonies
    $10.46 $6.75 list($13.95)
    3. Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight
    $10.20 $6.50 list($15.00)
    4. We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow
    $11.86 $9.75 list($16.95)
    5. Long Walk to Freedom : The Autobiography
    $11.53 $9.21 list($16.95)
    6. Shake Hands with the Devil : The
    $16.32 list($24.00)
    7. Mimi and Toutou's Big Adventure
    $49.50 $18.34
    8. Silent Images : Women in Pharaonic
    $10.20 $8.40 list($15.00)
    9. King Leopold's Ghost
    $9.00 $5.95 list($12.00)
    10. The Dark Child : The Autobiography
    $16.47 $13.98 list($24.95)
    11. Skeletons on the Zahara: A True
    $23.10 $20.95 list($35.00)
    12. Tutankhamun and the Golden Age
    $179.95 list($175.00)
    13. The Cambridge History of Africa:
    $23.10 $22.00 list($35.00)
    14. Alexandria: City Of Memory
    $10.46 $4.89 list($13.95)
    15. Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern
    $10.50 $3.50 list($14.00)
    16. Stolen Lives : Twenty Years in
    $85.00
    17. Sudan : Ancient Kingdom of the
    $10.20 $9.70 list($15.00)
    18. The Code Book: The Science of
    $26.95 $11.99
    19. History of Africa
    $47.25 $18.99 list($75.00)
    20. Egyptian Treasures from the Egyptian

    1. Augustine : A New Biography
    by James J. O'Donnell
    list price: $26.95
    our price: $17.79
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0060535377
    Catlog: Book (2005-04-01)
    Publisher: Ecco
    Sales Rank: 1926
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    Book Description

    Augustine, sinner and saint, the celebrated theologian who served as bishop of ... Hippo from 396 C.E. until his death in ... 430 C.E., is widely regarded as one of the most influential thinkers in the western world. Augustine: A New Biography tells the story of Augustine from the vantage point of Hippo, where he spent almost forty years as priest and bishop. During Augustine's post-Confessions years he became prominent as a churchman, politician, and writer, and James J. O'Donnell looks back at the events in the Confessions from this period in Augustine's life.

    Much of Augustine's writing consists of sermons and letters rich in vivid primary material about the events of his time. Prosperous men converting to Christianity to get ahead, priests covering up their sexual and financial peccadilloes, generals playing coldly calculated games of Roman barbarian geopolitics -- these are the figures who stand out in Augustine's world and who populate O'Donnell's intriguing portrait set against a background of the battle over the future of Christianity. This book reveals much of what Augustine didn't confess.

    ... Read more

    2. African Ceremonies
    by Carol Beckwith, Angela Fisher
    list price: $150.00
    our price: $99.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0810942054
    Catlog: Book (1999-11-01)
    Publisher: Harry N Abrams
    Sales Rank: 183051
    Average Customer Review: 4.23 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    By a recent count, the continent of Africa comprises some 1,300 cultures. Some of them number millions of people, some only a few families; some are thriving, while others are in danger of disappearing, the victims of acculturation or, in extreme cases, of genocide. This diversity--and the dangers to it--is little known outside Africa. PhotographersCarol Beckwith andAngela Fisher highlight both matters in African Ceremonies, an extraordinary two-volume collection of some 850 full-color images. The two artists have traveled to almost all the continent's 53 countries in the last three decades, documenting traditional tribal life in earlier books and articles for National Geographic, among other publications. Here they focus on the religious customs of several dozen peoples, combining stunning images with well-written essays to illustrate the enduring power of traditional beliefs.

    Among the book's finest moments are a record of the Fulani cattle crossing, when for 10 days young males drive their herds across the wide Niger River to receive gifts from their grateful compatriots; a sequence showing a healing ceremony of the Himba people of Namibia and Angola, whose "wild women," possessed by lion spirits, are riveting actors on the page; and a remarkable series of photographs of Wodaabe courtship dancers, who compete to attract wives by charming them with exaggerated smiles and the skilled use of cosmetics. The authors note that, as women, they entered places men never could--and as foreigners, they were also often welcomed as "honorary males" and allowed to witness male-only ceremonies. Many of these rites are in danger of extinction as old ways are forgotten and in some cases suppressed. Beckwith and Fisher have captured them before it's too late. Beautifully designed and manufactured, African Ceremonies makes a fine companion toHenry Louis Gates Jr.'s Wonders of the African World, and invites leisurely reading--and constant revisiting. --Gregory McNamee ... Read more

    Reviews (13)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Finally!A Nonethnocentric Perspective on African Traditions!
    The New York Times Sunday Book Review section today had a wonderful review of this book (2 volumes in a slipcase). The documentation of ritual and people performing rituals as the seasons change in Nature and life cycles turn for People is a sacred task. The photographers appear to have embraced their subjects with care and respect - perhaps others will follow in this way in the future. What strikes me most about the book and the reviews is the genuine approach of the authors to the dignity, honor and respect of the African People they have photographed and documented. This alone makes the book a winner for me.

    Regarding the book, I am particularly impressed by their treatment of sacredness without judgment and jaded lens. Indeed the art and form of ritual itself creates tradition. The music of these images is at once visual and alive celebrating the sacred as timeless expressions of culture and community.

    5-0 out of 5 stars BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE
    HOW CAN ANYONE SAY THAT THESE CULTURES DON'T EXIST ANYMORE, OR THIS IS AN AFRICA THAT NO LONGER EXISTS. THEY TOOK THESE PICTURES WITHIN THE LAST 10 YEARS.. DIDN'T THEY ? DUH ? EVERYONE KNOWS THERE IS A COMMON EVERYDAY AFRICA.. GOING TO WORK GENERAL LIVING ( JUST LIKE US HERE IN AMERICA FOLKS) BUT STILL THERE IS AFRICAN TRIBAL SPLENDOR. JUST LIKE IN AMERICA INDIAN'S GET TOGETHER FOR TRIBAL POW WOWS. THEY STILL EXIST TOO. THE PICTURES IN THIS BOOK ARE SHOCKINGLY GORGEOUS...AFRICAN PEOPLE STUNNINGLY BEAUTIFUL. PLEASE! THE MEN ARE HANDSOME, THE WOMEN WONDEROUS. IT JUST MAKES ME WONDER WHY THE EUROPEAN STANDARD, HAS ALWAYS BEEN THE "STANDARD" OF BEAUTY. THIS REVUE MAY SOUND SHALLOW, BUT IF YOUR INTO THE HUMAN HAS ART FORM ...BUY THIS BOOK!!

    4-0 out of 5 stars See it before it disappears
    A beautiful look at cultural conventions that may soon be relegated to the quaint and unusual.

    5-0 out of 5 stars An Africa that *does* exist, but that is vanishing
    The "concise edition" of AFRICAN CEREMONIES opens with a preface by Dr. Malidoma Some, president of "Echoes of the Ancestors" and author of his autobiography OF WATER AND THE SPIRIT and THE HEALING WISDOM OF AFRICA. Malidoma is from the Dagara tribe of Burkina Faso. His name means "make friends with the stranger/enemy," and that is why he now lives in the West.

    I have met Malidoma on a few occasions (participating in some of his rituals) and I corresponded with him for a time. He has been incredibly helpful and supportive in my own spiritual journey (he is an initiated shaman of his tribe and has recently become the youngest initiated elder), and therefore I trust what he says. Malidoma's preface makes it clear that, sadly, AFRICAN CEREMONIES documents a world that - unlike the claims of some - is not entirely gone, but that is quickly vanishing. Malidoma comments that these photographs are very important because they show the last time that some of these ceremonies will be performed in such elaborate nature, and perhaps they will never be performed again at all.

    AFRICAN CEREMONIES continues the tradition of these well respected photographers by providing a beautiful volume of beautiful peoples.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Buy it for what it is
    Buyers should understand what this is - a beautiful coffee table book. Beckwith and Fisher present their usual quality of brilliant, sensitive photography. But understand that this is, for the most part, capturing a memory, a fantasy. This Africa no longer exists. Don't buy the book to learn African culture. Buy it if you like photography. As a historical record, it's lacking. One can capture a visual from the outside, but one cannot capture a cultural understanding as readily. ... Read more


    3. Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight : An African Childhood
    by ALEXANDRA FULLER
    list price: $13.95
    our price: $10.46
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0375758992
    Catlog: Book (2003-03-11)
    Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks
    Sales Rank: 1448
    Average Customer Review: 4.25 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    In Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight, Alexandra Fuller remembers her African childhood with candor and sensitivity. Though it is a diary of an unruly life in an often inhospitable place, it is suffused with Fuller’s endearing ability to find laughter, even when there is little to celebrate. Fuller’s debut is unsentimental and unflinching but always captivating. In wry and sometimes hilarious prose, she stares down disaster and looks back with rage and love at the life of an extraordinary family in an extraordinary time. ... Read more

    Reviews (106)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, funny insight into post-colonial Africa
    What makes this book worth reading -- aside from a captivating style and humorous content -- is precisely what separates it from other excellent books about similar subject matter (Godwin's Mukiwa, Dangarembga's Nervous Conditions): the fact that Fuller makes no attempt to analyze, excuse, or explain the racism and insanity of her family history. Rather than rationalizing her parents' racist attitudes, Fuller chooses instead to simply describe in her wry, matter-of-fact voice precisely how the end of the colonial era was experienced by people implicated in it. She does not try to gloss her childhood experiences with politically correct hindsight, and in so doing thrusts the reader into the desperation and the joy of rural African life in the last three decades. Bobo's mother is one of the most memorable and remarkable personalities I've encountered in African literature. The book is worth reading entirely for its hysterical concluding scenes. Fuller's characters are real and human, in all their extraordinary bizarreness!

    Having spent many an hour, like Bobo Fuller, poking grass into ant-lion holes in the hot dusty veld, this moving story captivated me and painted a moving portrait of people fighting the cruelty of the African landscape. Myth and reality are intertwined in a witty and beautiful story. Everyone should read this book!

    3-0 out of 5 stars A different perspective
    It was interesting to read a book about life in Africa, from the perspective of a white woman brought up in a family who clung fiercely to the notion of white supremacy with every last bit of their strength. I disagree with a previous reviewer, however, who seemed to excuse the racism of the Fuller parents by implying that the historic and political situation they were in "made" them that way. Racism is racism, no matter what the circumstance.

    Despite the attitudes of the Fuller parents, their daughter Bobo has documented a well-written account of their life in various African countries, and provides vivid details about the smells, sights, and emotions that the continent evokes for her. Her writing really gives the reader a sense of both the incredible harshness and danger(poisonous snakes, itchy vegetation, scary militaristic governments, etc) of Africa, but also its gentleness and great beauty.

    Although I think Alexandra Fuller writes very well, and I appreciate her honest writing about her parents' behavior and attitudes, I couldn't warm to the family. Despite their numerous trajedies and troubles, I found it difficult to feel sympathetic. In contrast, when I read "The Flame Trees of Thika", another memoir of an African childhood by another white woman, Elspeth Huxley, I rooted for her colonial, turn-of-the-century, white-is-right parents, Robin and Tilly, through all their successes and setbacks. They held the same attitude of racial superiority as the Fullers, yet there is something intrinsically more likeable about how they handled themselves on a continent where they were the minority race, political upheaval or no. After reading Fuller's memoir, it was a relief to pick up "Nervous Conditions" by black female Zimbabwean Tsitsi Dangarembga, and read about three-dimensional black Africans. Her book is set in 1960s Rhodesia, for those interested (A. Fuller recommends it herself in the Afterword section of her memoir). Despite my personal reaction to this book, I recommend it to anyone interested in African writing, because I think that Alexandra Fuller's perspective is just as important and valid as that of any other African writer.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Bravo
    A wonderful insight into the mind of a child and a precise memoir of life itself. Life isn't straightforward and simple, yet we survive, thrive and love, even in the most difficult situations. Ms. Fuller: You said it all and you said it well.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Just meanders . . .
    I read this book for my book club. It just seemed to meander through her childhood, no real plot or climax. Yes, this girl definitely had a different type of childhood, but what makes it that interesting or significant?????

    5-0 out of 5 stars A very different childhood
    Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight by Alexandra Fuller is an extraordinary memoir of growing up white in war ravaged Africa. Alexandra, called Bobo by her family, was born in 1969 in England. Her parents moved the family to Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) in 1972. Always suffering from "bad, bad luck", which included losing three children, the family moves from farm to farm within Rhodesia and Malawi.

    Fuller's writing style is rich, lyrical and many times, funny. I could picture the land, feel the heat and smell the smoking fish that embodies the Africa she describes. I found myself laughing even as I was shaking my head in disbelief at some of the choices her parents made. Bobo's mother, Nicola Fuller, is racist, resilient, strong and mad as a hatter. In other words, she's the most memorable character in the book.

    Of course, to Fuller all of this stress and strife was, while not exactly normal, expected. She was a child, after all, and it's all she'd ever known. As I was reading, I couldn't help but think that American kids really have no idea how hard their life could be.

    Overall a captivating read. It left me reminiscing about my childhood and reflecting on how simple and uncomplicated (read boring) it was. ... Read more


    4. We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda
    by Philip Gourevitch
    list price: $15.00
    our price: $10.20
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0312243359
    Catlog: Book (1999-09-01)
    Publisher: Picador
    Sales Rank: 4547
    Average Customer Review: 4.62 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction.

    In April 1994, the Rwandan government called upon everyone in the Hutu majority to kill each member of the Tutsi minority, and over the next three months 800,000 Tutsis perished in the most unambiguous case of genocide since Hitler's war against the Jews. Philip Gourevitch's haunting work is an anatomy of the war in Rwanda, a vivid history of the tragedy's background, and an unforgettable account of its aftermath. One of the most acclaimed books of the year, this account will endure as a chilling document of our time.
    ... Read more

    Reviews (140)

    3-0 out of 5 stars Modern Atrocities
    Gourevitch's book is a gut-wrenching account of the 1994 genocide on the part of the Hutu government to kill 800,000 Tutsi neighbors, not because of the graphic nature but because of the complacency and ignorance of the rest of the world while this was happening. Gourevitch seems personally affected by the genocide, particularly when western nations 1) not only could have stopped the genocide but also 2) aided the Hutus in refugee camps.

    Gourevitch's blame falls on the Clinton Administration, the UN and General Kofi Annan and France. The fact that massacres were going to take place, he claims, was within the knowledge of all these different powers even before the massacre occurred.

    The bulk of Gourevitch's book is interviews with a cross-section of the Rwandan public who displayed courage, as well as those who didn't.

    The theme of genocide progresses throughout the book but then becomes subsumed in a narrative of various relief efforts with names that are difficult to keep track of (RPF, FAR, UNAMIR, etc.)

    Gourevitch writes as a journalist, and it differs in many ways from scholarly articles such as "Beyond Nuremberg" by David Cohen, which I read previous to We Wish To Inform You. In trying to draw parallel themes, I found that Gourevitch was seeking to expose how the murder of the Tutsis in Rwanda was carried out even more methodically than the Nazis' Final Solution. His point is particularly disconcerting after having read about the complex legalities of the Nuremberg and Tokyo Tribunals, only to have another genocide occur 50 years later, largely ignored by the public. Gourevitch's book effectively changes this, and brings the atrocities in Rwanda to the public, where they can no longer be ignored.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A life changing experience
    The genocide in Rwanda was a tragedy beyond belief, especially considering that after the Jewish Holocaust of WW2, the international community had sworn never to allow such a mass murder to happen again. Yet as thousands of people screamed out in pain and anguish for their lives to be saved, for the violence to stop, for justice to prevail, no one heeded their cries. Reading this book, and others on this genocide, opened my eyes to the painful truth of what happened in Rwanda. It broke my heart, realizing there was no rescuer, no savior for the hundreds of thousands of murdered persons who perished in 100 days. No happy ending. No white knight (or whatever color) galloping in to save the day. Philip Gourevitch eloquently writes about what happened, uncovering the bitter truth of Western inaction and describing the horrific scenes of evil in the course of the genocide. The victims, whether they be Hutu or Tutsi, appear real to the reader, never seeming too unrealistic as to turn someone away from the book. Gourevitch makes them on paper what they were in real life: human beings, and this affects the reader even more. Reading this book is a life changing experience, as the reader is forced to ask painful questions during and afterwards about what happened, why it happened, and why it was allowed to happen. Why do human beings do this to each other? Why didn't anyone stop it? Why didn't enough people care enough to bring it to the spotlight of public attention? Gourevitch, in a significant part of the book, writes of how the murderers, the Hutu Power militia, were saved, fed and protected by international aid agencies and governments who arrived too late to save the genocide's victims. The irony is painful, and even more such for Americans such as myself is the realization that America is to blame for the prolonging of the genocide, and for a majority of the lack of action on the part of other nations. Gourevitch exposes the American government's heinous actions: denying a genocide was even occuring at first, and once the bodies were piling up, trying to label it something other than a genocide so that America wouldn't be forced to act to halt the holocaust. When African nations sought to put an end to the genocide, America dragged its heels and did its best to slow the effort. As a young man raised in a family full of military veterans and fierce patriots, it is shameful for all of us to believe our government, our nation, would do such a heinous thing, but it did, and from the truth perhaps some good can occur. More genocides are going to occur in the very near future, whether they be in Sudan, Indonesia, Burundi, one of the former Soviet Republics, or anywhere else, and the call to arms will be made to prevent/stop the genocide occuring. Will anyone answer?

    5-0 out of 5 stars An eye opener - The US press did not provide this view!
    Gourevitch does a nice job of changing from past to present throughout the book to weave a story that is much different from what the US press provided. At points he seems to take sides in this social divide, but overall he provides what appears to be a clear and even handed accounting of what is in essence the worst of mankind. The writer's style lends itself to quick reading.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Heartwrenching Documentary
    This book will rip your heart out if you have the compassion for this poor, strife-ridden country (and many others like it). I am still trying to understand the Dark Continent and why all these tragedies happen in such brutal ways (I am an avid reader of the pan-African countries and visited Botswana and Zimbabwe last year). Philip Gourevitch paints a pretty bleak picture, but I believe what he relays is very accurate for everything else I have learned about this genocide through international reports. I would love to see Steven Spielberg (or someone as talented) do for this book what he did for Schindler's List. This story needs to be told. These brutalities are still going on there, and, in other countries of Africa. Only now, in 2004, are the perpetrators of these horrendous acts now being brought to trial (with only a glimpse in your local newspaper, if at all). I definitely recommend this book, but only if you have a strong stomach. If you are interested in other countries, I strongly recommend "In the Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz", Michela Wrong (Congo) and "Our Votes, Our Guns", Martin Meredith (Zimbabawe). Primitive man arose from Africa. The industrial nations left the African nations in obscurity while beating them down and teasing them with our so called progressive ways (and exploiting their natural resources at their expense). Has this led to the corruption of the new African leaders? Power? Greed? The atrocities that follow? Why can't the African countries overcome the stigma befallen them? We can only better understand these conundrums if we educate ourselves.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Read Now! It is a must as an American, as a human
    I just finished this book today 3 days shy of my 22nd birthday. I had to read it for Comparative Politics at the university I attend. I am glad I read it.
    I barely remembered the genocide. I was 11 and 12 years old when it occurred and only remember hearing blurbs on the news back then. Now, ten years later, I am abosolutely amazed and frightened that something like this can happen (and is happening. Look at the Sudan.) This book was sad and depressing, but it opened my eyes about how heartless mankind can be. I am appalled at the LACK of help, interevention, ANYTHING that the international community did. I am still trying to grasp why this happened and why the world was tricked into helping the Hutu Power hiding in the refugee camps.
    I recomend this book to anyone who can read. Please read it. We, as humans, always say we will never forget. Many of us have. It shouldn't happen again, but it will if people do not understand what can and has happened... over three times in the last 60 years. Read it now. ... Read more


    5. Long Walk to Freedom : The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela Tag: The International Bestseller
    by Nelson Mandela
    list price: $16.95
    our price: $11.86
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0316548189
    Catlog: Book (1995-10-01)
    Publisher: Back Bay Books
    Sales Rank: 3000
    Average Customer Review: 4.46 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    The famously taciturn South African president reveals much of himself inLong Walk to Freedom. A good deal of this autobiography was written secretlywhile Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years on Robben Island by South Africa's apartheid regime. Among the book's interestingrevelations is Mandela's ambivalence toward his lifetime of devotion to public works. It cost him twomarriages and kept him distant from a family life he might otherwise have cherished.Long Walk to Freedom also discloses a strong and generous spirit that refused to be broken under the most trying circumstances--a spirit inwhich just about everybody can find something to admire. ... Read more

    Reviews (89)

    5-0 out of 5 stars This Man Is My Hero.
    I read "Long Walk to Freedom" right after I graduated from college in 1996. This is the written life of one of the absolute greatest world leaders who ever lived. I had the pleasure to visiting Robben Island, where most of its tour guides were, like Mandela, political prisoners under apartheid. Words cannot describe what it felt like to actually stand inside of the jail cell that Mandela occuppied. What is even more incredible is that, looking back, the man was not the least bit bitter or angry about what he went through (and who could blame him if he were?); in fact, he invited his former jailers to his 1994 inauguration as South Africa's first black president.

    If after reading this book you do not come away with a greater sense of admiration and respect for this outstanding human being, then you are not human.

    4-0 out of 5 stars A good autobiography
    Long Walk to Freedom is the autobiography of Nelson Mandela, one of the greatest leaders of South Africa. It gives a detailed account of his childhood, youth, and adulthood. It takes you through his years in college and his work as a lawyer as well as all of his political struggles with apartheid including his years in jail.
    The book is extremely well written and gives the detail that only someone who witnessed the events could posses. Mandela's hindsight as he reviews the events of his life shows a more personal side to him. I liked the book but anyone who is considering reading it should be reminded that it is an autobiography so it does have a bias. He wrote the book as someone who had been wronged. Long Walk To Freedom provides an interesting and detailed account of the South Africans struggle with apartheid. It details Nelson's joining of the ANC (African National Congress) his rise in the ANC, and his creation of the MK. It also gives facts about his personal life and the life of his family. It is recommended to anyone who enjoys autobiographies or to anyone who is looking to learn more about the history of apartheid and South Africa.

    5-0 out of 5 stars This book is well worth of my shelf space.
    You should read, at least, a book or two about biographies of such noble people as Nelson Mandela, whose lives have been a blessing to the world. This was a great inspirational book and helped me to realize how simple and small things in life could bring so much joy into one's life. Far too often, I personally take simple pleasures of life for granted. The freedom is not free and the book cites how the freedom is brought at the expense of sacrifices of our fathers. The book is very well written and what impresses me is Nelson Mandela's mastery of English language.

    4-0 out of 5 stars LOOOOONG Book
    This book kept me in prison for a long time. It really bogs down in the middle and then hurries to wrap up. It's a much more "satifying" read in the first 1/3 of the book.

    4-0 out of 5 stars THE DETERMINATION OF ONE MAN- A MUST READ!
    After reading LONG WALK TO FREEDOM, I came away with a sense of awe for a man who spent 27 years in prison but never gave up the hope for his freedom and the freedom of his country.

    Communicating was key to keeping the "freedom fighters" on the outside informed and encouraged. One way this was done was to write in tiny, coded script on toilet paper. The paper was so small and easily hidden that this became a popular way of smuggling out messages. When the authorities discovered a number of these communications, they took the extraordinary measure of rationing toilet paper. After awhile, only eight squares of toilet paper were given to each prisoner each day.

    To live under such conditions where you can be so isolated from the world (For 27 years), that you contemplate conversing with a cockroach, is a test of the human spirit. To sacrifice the obligations of family so that a nation of people can breath in freedom is nothing short of courageous with a fiercely determined spirit. Here is what Nelson Mandela writes about in his struggle for family and nation:

    I did not in the beginning choose to place my people above my family, but in attempting to serve my people, I found I was prevented from fulfilling my obligations as a son, a brother, a father, and a husband.

    In that way, my commitment to my people, to the millions of South Africans I would never know or meet, was at the expense of the people I knew best and loved most. It was as simple and yet as incomprehensible as the moment a small child asks her father, "Why can you not be with us?" And the father must utter the terrible words: "There are other children like you, a great many of them....." and then one's voice trails off.

    Nelson Mandela is a man that has a spirit and determination that is above and beyond most people or leaders today. READ THE BOOK!! It will open your eyes and in the end, it'll make you feel good about the human spirit. ... Read more


    6. Shake Hands with the Devil : The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda
    by Roméo Dallaire
    list price: $16.95
    our price: $11.53
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0786715103
    Catlog: Book (2004-12-10)
    Publisher: Carroll & Graf
    Sales Rank: 2973
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    For the first time in the United States comes the tragic and profoundly important story of the legendary Canadian general who "watched as the devil took control of paradise on earth and fed on the blood of the people we were supposed to protect." When Roméo Dallaire was called on to serve as force commander of the UN Assistance Mission for Rwanda, he believed that his assignment was to help two warring parties achieve the peace they both wanted. Instead, he was exposed to the most barbarous and chaotic display of civil war and genocide in the past decade, observing in just one hundred days the killings of more than eight hundred thousand Rwandans. With only a few troops, his own ingenuity and courage to direct his efforts, Dallaire rescued thousands, but his call for more support from the world body fell on deaf ears. In Shake Hands with the Devil, General Dallaire recreates the awful history the world community chose to ignore. He also chronicles his own progression from confident Cold Warrior to devastated UN commander, and finally to retired general struggling painfully, and publicly, to overcome posttraumatic stress disorder-the highest-ranking officer ever to share such experiences with readers. ... Read more

    Reviews (35)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Mind buggling
    Shake Hands with the Devil In this account of the Rwandan genocide, General Romeo Dallaire vividly reveals to the reader the total failure of the international community to stop the genocide. He gives a succinct outline of the failures of the international community, including the United Nations, the UN Security Council, and many NGOs, and bravely holds nations like France responsible for doing nothing despite the strong influence they had on the Hutu extremist Rwandan government which ended up killing over 800,000 minority Tutsis and moderate Hutus. Dallaire distinguished himself as someone with a great deal of courage who went through hell without breaking and goes further to relive the hell in this book so that we might learn from it.

    This book like Disciples of Fortune, When victims become killers, A problem from Hell is a must read if you have an interest in improving the lot of the United Nations and if you have faith in better and more United Nations influences in the future to solve international issues.

    5-0 out of 5 stars When The Devil Ruled The World For One Hundred Days
    The terrible truth about General Dellaire's book, "Shake Hands With The Devil" is that it is so well written it takes its place among the literary classics devoted to history such as Julius Caesar's Memoirs and Gibbon's Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire.The General shows a profound awareness of literary tradition and wields it ruthelessly to expose the ruin at the heart of global humanity and how it lead to thebrutal rapes, mutilations and murders of almost a million human beings in the country of Rwanda. Corpses are piled everywhere and they fill the rivers and lakes of the country. The odor of death - perhaps the most diabolic odor in the world - is so strong and intense that the General feels it is impossible to physically move. The body of a boy trembles and the General trys to assist the lad but the body crumbles to pieces filled with worms and insects that had caused the flesh to quiver.
    But there is something truly disquieting beneathe all of the evils and dark strategems described by the General. His book is essentially a work of atonement - but it goes furthur.He contaminates us all with his atonement because almost all of us (myself especially) are guilty of the genocide. We did absolutely nothing while the political and economic alliances that seek to dominate our world handed the people of Rwanda over to unnatural horrors.
    Those of us of rational age are guilty.We must all follow in General Dellaires on-going work of expiation.

    5-0 out of 5 stars SHAMEFUL
    When will we ever get if right.Hardly a day goes by in America that you don't hear about past atrocities, and yet, these holocausts continue to happen. Why?Maybe if Five Million died it would have gotten recognition.Or maybe, if there were valuable resources in the land, they may have gotten some help.Or maybe, if their location was strategic in the world, or if America was sending endless billions to their country - they may have gotten help. But they were nothing more than God's children - not worthy of help from the all-knowing powerful people of the world. We hear everyday about other peoples atrocities, but theirs hardly gets a footnote.Money will always come first, morality second...always

    5-0 out of 5 stars Thank You General, You are a true hero.
    Special thanks to General Dallaire, as well as to his family for this amazing account of hell on earth. Once you have read this your world will be changed forever.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Preventable Atrocity
    We live in a political age where the currency of the politician is words, not actiion. Politicians "paint pictures" with words and the voters do not often hold them accountable. However, what was needed in Rwanda was, of course, action. There were no words that could stop the genocide.

    The Rwanda genocide is the an example of what happens when the world governments do not take the neccessary action. The author was there and he tells the entire story.

    ... Read more


    7. Mimi and Toutou's Big Adventure : The Bizarre Battle of Lake Tanganyika
    by GILES FODEN
    list price: $24.00
    our price: $16.32
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1400041570
    Catlog: Book (2005-04-05)
    Publisher: Knopf
    Sales Rank: 345105
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    8. Silent Images : Women in Pharaonic Egypt
    by Zahi Hawass
    list price: $49.50
    our price: $49.50
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0810944782
    Catlog: Book (2000-04-01)
    Publisher: Harry N Abrams
    Sales Rank: 460411
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (1)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Pharahonic women....
    I have read this book and I think it is one of the greatest piece of literature...it explain everything you need to know about women in those time...it's completed very well illustrated and the price compensate the product..it's worth it...it's great! ... Read more


    9. King Leopold's Ghost
    by Adam Hochschild
    list price: $15.00
    our price: $10.20
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0618001905
    Catlog: Book (1999-10)
    Publisher: Mariner Books
    Sales Rank: 3036
    Average Customer Review: 4.23 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    In the 1880s, as the European powers were carving up Africa, King Leopold II of Belgium seized for himself the vast and mostly unexplored territory surrounding the Congo River. Carrying out a genocidal plundering of the Congo, he looted its rubber, brutalized its people, and ultimately slashed its population by ten million--all the while shrewdly cultivating his reputation as a great humanitarian. Heroic efforts to expose these crimes eventually led to the first great human rights movement of the twentieth century, in which everyone from Mark Twain to the Archbishop of Canterbury participated. King Leopold's Ghost is the haunting account of a megalomaniac of monstrous proportions, a man as cunning, charming, and cruel as any of the great Shakespearean villains. It is also the deeply moving portrait of those who fought Leopold: a brave handful of missionaries, travelers, and young idealists who went to Africa for work or adventure and unexpectedly found themselves witnesses to a holocaust. Adam Hochschild brings this largely untold story alive with the wit and skill of a Barbara Tuchman. Like her, he knows that history often provides a far richer cast of characters than any novelist could invent. Chief among them is Edmund Morel, a young British shipping agent who went on to lead the international crusade against Leopold. Another hero of this tale, the Irish patriot Roger Casement, ended his life on a London gallows. Two courageous black Americans, George Washington Williams and William Sheppard, risked much to bring evidence of the Congo atrocities to the outside world. Sailing into the middle of the story was a young Congo River steamboat officer named Joseph Conrad. And looming above them all, the duplicitous billionaire King Leopold II. With great power and compassion, King Leopold's Ghost will brand the tragedy of the Congo--too long forgotten--onto the conscience of the West. ... Read more

    Reviews (123)

    5-0 out of 5 stars 10 Million Dead - Hochschild documents the Congo holocaust
    Researcher Adam Hochschild provides a lurid and surprisingly fascinating account of the brutal exploitation of the Congo under the rule of King Leopold II of Belgium and beyond. With the real-life stories of Henry Morton Stanley, William Sheppard, Leon Rom, Joseph Conrad, Roger Casement and others as foundation, Hochschild is able to outline the rise of Leopold, and to paint a vivid portrait of his development from an unlikable and oafish young heir of the Belgian throne to a cunning and vicious ruler responsible for the death of approximately 10 million African men, women and children. More than that, this book is also the story of E.D. Morel, an Englishman whose chance discovery of apparent misdeeds in so-called "trade" with the Congo gave rise to the most extensive and politically powerful anti-slavery and anti-colonization movements of the century.

    I recommend this title for its readability (few historians ever make their subject matter as accessible to general readers), its underlying - and savvy - political analysis of the brutality of European colonization across Africa, and its detailed account of what it took to launch, extend and sustain a human rights movement.

    I recommend pairing this work with Michela Wrong's "In the Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz," which details Congo's later struggles under dictator Mobutu Sese Seko.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Horrifying history of colonial cruelty!
    Lets face it! Belgium is not a country that readily springs tomind when one thinks of perpetrators of mass murder &genocide. This makes the harrowing story of King Leopold's Ghost all the more harrowing. His single-minded, obsessive desire to carve out a piece of the "African cake", that most of his neighbouring European colleagues were busy doing in the late 19th. century, is fascinating enough. His cunning use of contempory international personalities, the manipulation of the media, the guise of an anti-slavery organisation to further his ends, might even allow one a grudging admiration for the man's abilities. However, his cavalier indifference to the suffering & death of millions of the Congo natives that he caused in the sordid pursuit of personal profit, is quite simply appalling. One is left with a feeling of admiration for the fierce & dauntless opponants of this tyranical regime, contempt for the lily-livered support they received from statesmen of so-called enlightened countries & loathing for the king that brought these deeds to pass. The book, I would mention, is well written, well researched & recommended.

    4-0 out of 5 stars The Unknown???
    King Leopold-this is a story that deserved to be told but wasn't. It was one of the biggest and one of the cruelest colonial regimes in Africa. It is a story of manipulation, drama, brutal murders, corruption, and immorality. In my opinion, King Leopold of Belgium is one of history's most notorious characters. Due to Leopold being the heir to the throne, as a child he was drawn towards wealth and indulgence. Greed drove him. Even into his adulthood, greed and self-indulgence were the traits that surfaced when he realized through gaining colonies he could continue to accumulate his riches. He positioned himself as a concerned leader of the people who wanted to combat the Arab slave trade that pervaded Africa. In the public eye, he was seen as a humanitarian, but the real facts didn't support that popular opinion and contradicted his image. Leopold used unethical methods to acquire his land. He ordered his men to force the natives, the Congolese, into manual labor. His inhumane treatment of them was characterized by killings, whippings, destruction of crops and local villages, and taking, as hostages, the wives and children for those who resisted or didn't produce enough rubber or ivory for the day. According to the author, Adam Hochschild, there was an estimated ten million Congolese deaths during Leopold's colonization process. (That sounds familiar.) Sadly, King Leopold's name isn't mentioned with the Hitlers and the Stalins of world history in the classrooms, as it rightfully should be. As people during that time started to find out the truth, Leopold resorted to cover-ups, lawsuits and bribery. In my opinion, Hochschild has done a fantastic job telling a story that most haven't heard to enable them to understand the outcome and, more importantly, the motives behind it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A great read
    This is a must read if you are at all interested in Africa and the atrocities commited there. Normally i don't like history books, but after reading the introduction I was hooked. it is very easy to read, and reads like a novel. It is a history of King leopold's Congo, how came to be and how it was brought down by the hard work of a few individuals that created a world wide mouvement to stop him. The book discribes in detail the horrors that occured and how the people of the Congo were mistreated. Hochschild has a way of bringing the charachters to life through revealing their past and showing them as real human beings as opposed to one dimentional characters from history. In the beging of the book he discribes the history of the Congo, and how King Leopold aquired it. In the second half of the book he shows how his rein was pulled down by the first major humanitarian effort of the last century.

    3-0 out of 5 stars A Colonial Morality Play
    The story in "King Leopold's Ghost" is a powerful one -- colonization taken to its extreme -- but the book is rendered mediocre by the author's trite moralizing, lack of historical rigor, and tiresome reliance on depicting every actor with either a halo or horns.

    Hochschild's constant speculation into motives and fits of amateur psychoanalysis made it difficult to separate the matters of record from dramatic characterizations. The substantive research is rather thin and commonly presented in relative terms such as "many", "some", and "few" without context for comparison. At no point did I gain a clear insight into how widespread or coordinated were the atrocities or how damaging the secondary effects may have been (the chapter addressing this is awfully feeble). Leopold, here an antagonist of extraordinary guile, is only weakly connected to the governmental and business interests with which he worked; the reader is given pages of anecdote concerning the king's depravity with nearly no overview of the system in which he operated.

    The final chapter is a model of the book's flaws. It considers the Belgian process of forgetting which followed their foray into colonialism, aided by international sympathy during the first world war. Instead of pursuing this interesting and somewhat complicated topic in more detail, however, we are duly regaled with additional vignettes of heroism and villainy. The book then concludes with a sermon aimed squarely at us in the choir. While some readers might find this inspirational, it bored me.

    Assuming that research into the history of the Belgian Congo is ongoing, I'll look for a more definitive and less melodramatic account. ... Read more


    10. The Dark Child : The Autobiography of an African Boy
    by Camara Laye
    list price: $12.00
    our price: $9.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 080901548X
    Catlog: Book (1954-01-01)
    Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
    Sales Rank: 140165
    Average Customer Review: 4.17 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    The Dark Child is a distinct and graceful memoir of Camara Laye's youth in the village of Koroussa, French Guinea. Long regarded Africa's preeminent Francophone novelist, Laye (1928-80) herein marvels over his mother's supernatural powers, his father's distinction as the village goldsmith, and his own passage into manhood, which is marked by animistic beliefs and bloody rituals of primeval origin. Eventually, he must choose between this unique place and the academic success that lures him to distant cities. More than autobiography of one boy, this is the universal story of sacred traditions struggling against the encroachment of a modern world. A passionate and deeply affecting record, The Dark Child is a classic of African literature.
    ... Read more

    Reviews (6)

    1-0 out of 5 stars I can't believe I read this garbage
    A year ago in my freshman language arts class, I was forced to read The Dark Child. Previously having been assigned garbage such as Nectar in a Sieve and Things Fall Apart, I expected this book would be terrible as well. I was not to be disappointed.
    I soon discovered that The Dark Child was a sort of childhood memoirs written by a native of rural Guinea, which is described as a primitive paradise. After choking down five pages of the poorly written (or poorly translated?) prose, I thought to myself, "Could there be a premise less compelling than a boy living an idyllic life in 1920s rural Africa?" I mulled over this thought for a while and decided that there wasn't. This book is plagued by the fundamental problem that the reader knows, doesn't want to know, or doesn't care about what's coming next. Even if you are interested in what life was like for Camara Laye's people, you will be put off by the poor writing and the utter directionlessness of this book - indeed, I constantly found myself dumbfounded by the meandering descriptions, the contrived dialogue, and the pointless vignettes.
    In conclusion, I would suggest to the prospective buyer that you spend your money on something better-done and more enjoyable, such as a porn DVD.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Read African Child and Radience Of The King together
    Fascinating. A young foreigner in Paris, a young foreigner in Camara Laye's African Kingdom. It doesen't get any better. Read these 20 years ago.

    George Pope

    5-0 out of 5 stars beautiful
    A beautifully textured, fluid and organic autobiography, Camara Laye offers readers a piece of his life in The Dark Child. As part of the Malinke community in Upper Guinea, Laye captures the layered tradition and culture of his community, deemed, perhaps by most, to be simplistic or primitive compared to today's modern standards. Yet it is exactly from Layes descriptions of the traditions of his community that we can begin to understand the psychology of the author. Each chapter is rich with imagery, and his words smack of sincerity and innocence, bringing about an effortless quality and flow to his work--it is as if we are there with Laye experiencing his many transitions, from boyhood to manhood. His descriptions of the communal lifestyle of his people is remarkable. Laye's works like other modern African authors reveal the realities of colonization, and help readers to appreciate and celebrate indigenous African traditions.

    5-0 out of 5 stars It took me a long time to read this book.
    I first got this book in junior high by a family friend but never bothered to read it until I entered high school. Not having anything to read, I took it upon myself to read the book. I found myself intrigued by the author's way of life during colonialism and his upbringing in a village and his graduation from high school. It was sad that one of his classmates died unexpectedly. Wanting to find out some more about this author I looked up a book of African authors. Unfortuately he passed away in 1980. He is a great writer and wished that I had read it soon as it was given to me.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Memoir of an African Childhood
    Camara Laye was one of the first sub-saharan writers to become well-known outside of Africa. "L'Enfant Noir" or "The Dark Child" (also titled "The African Child"?) was published in 1953 when the author was twenty-five and living in France. It is a pleasantly nostalgic memoir of a childhood spent in the town of Kouroussa (French Guinea, now Guinea) and the village of Tindican, his mother's birthplace. Chapter by chapter Camara recounts his childhood memories: his father's work as a goldsmith and his position in society, his parent's magic, village life, the rice harvest, elementary Koranic education, circumcision and young men's secret society, secondary education in Conakry, girls and courtship, and his departure to continue his studies in France. After almost half a century in print, this deserves to be called a classic. [Note: some authorities state that his family name is Camara (also spelled Kamara) and his given name is Laye; the text supports this at one point. If using search engines to look for information on this author it may be useful to try both versions of his name.] ... Read more


    11. Skeletons on the Zahara: A True Story of Survival
    by Dean King
    list price: $24.95
    our price: $16.47
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0316835145
    Catlog: Book (2004-03)
    Publisher: Little, Brown
    Sales Rank: 887
    Average Customer Review: 4.55 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    Some stories are so enthralling they deserve to be retold generation after generation. The wreck in 1815 of the Connecticut merchant ship, Commerce, and the subsequent ordeal of its crew in the Sahara Desert, is one such story. With Skeletons on the Zahara: A True Story of Survival, Dean King refreshes the popular nineteenth-century narrative once read and admired by Henry David Thoreau, James Fenimore Cooper, and Abraham Lincoln. King’s version, which actually draws from two separate first person accounts of the Commerce's crew, offers a page-turning blend of science, history, and classic adventure. The book begins with a seeming false start: tracing the lives of two merchants from North Africa, Seid and Sidi Hamet, who lose their fortunes—and almost their lives—when their massive camel caravan arrives at a desiccated oasis. King then jumps to the voyage of the Commerce under Captain Riley and his 11-man crew. After stops in New Orleans and Gibraltar, the ship falls off course en route to the Canary Islands and ultimately wrecks at the infamous Cape Bojador. After the men survive the first predations of the nomads on the shore, they meander along the coast looking for a way inland as their supplies dwindle. They subsist for days by drinking their own urine. Eventually, to their horror, they discover that they have come aground on the edge of the Sahara Desert. They submit themselves, with hopes of getting food and water, as slaves to the Oulad Bou Sbaa. After days of abuse, they are bought by Hamet, who, after his own experiences with his failed caravan (described at the novels opening), sympathizes with the plight of the crew. Together, they set off on a hellish journey across the desert to collect a bounty for Hamet in Swearah.King embellishes this compelling narrative throughout with scientific and historical material explaining the origins of the camel, the market for English and American slaves, and the stages of dehydration. He also humanizes the Sahrawi with background on the tribes and on the lives of Hamet and Seid. This material, doled out in sufficient amounts to enrich the story without derailing it makes Skeletons on the Zahara a perfectly entertaining bit of history that feels like a guilty pleasure.--Patrick O'Kelley ... Read more

    Reviews (20)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Thank you Dean King, and thank you Peter Hillary
    After a frustrating run with a dozen or so mediocre books (three best-selling thrillers, two famous name memoirs, three populist science and the universe curios and assorted easy-digest sex and violence trash teasers) I've read TWO brilliant books in the last week! SKELETONS OF THE ZAHARA was one of them. Survival stories can be a real drag after a while, as the miseries begin to mount with no end, but King has managed to make this tale sing with the excitement of legend. There are times when there's something spiritual about the trials of these men, especially when they go out of their minds and into a trippy state with thirst and anxiety. A superb tale.

    The other book that has simply stunned me is IN THE GHOST COUNTRY. It's about Peter Hillary's heart-breaking journey to the South Pole, the loneliest and most disturbing oddysey of his life on the edge. Hillary has survived where many, many of his friends have died in the mountains -- and many of them who were at his side at the time. On the body-wrecking and mind-warping haul to the bottom of the world, the ghosts of friends and family rise up to walk with him. Shocking, sad, captivating and a very trippy experience. Too many amazing stories to go into here.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The lessons of suffering in the age of surviving
    I was with a group of friends the other evening and we started talking about these uncertain and violent times, and how people seem to be looking for examples and symbols of courage and endurance in the face of anxiety and extinction. After pondering the question of leadership and where to find it... we decided the best place to find it at the moment is in books. Namely, survival stories. Dean King tells a wild and harrowing tale of men desperately trying to keep it together as their alien surroundings swallow them alive. Running parrallel to the marooned band's epic... is King's expedition through the desert in search of his story. At its best it reads like a man clawing through the ashes of an evaporated city. More intimate and ''beautful'', and in many ways more shocking, is Peter Hillary's In The Ghost Country, about his own journey to the bottom of the world and the depths of his mind, his titanic struggle to hold on to his sanity as the ghost of his past rise up before him in living color. A brilliant evocation of the human condition.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Twin journeys very satisfying
    King follows in the desperate footsteps of Captain Riley and his marooned crew -- and in the end almost replicates as their struggle for survive and sanity. King lives out their story in his head while tracing their paths through the cruel sands. Well done. An interesting contrast is Peter Hillary's diabolical attempt to complete Captain Robert Scott's famous fatal journey -- chronicled in the beguiling and very different IN THE GHOST COUNTRY -- and nearly ended up repeating it. What makes Hillary's book both important and effective is its exploration of the inner life, of fear and guilt and loneliness, which thereby makes it a book that anyone with half a brain and a full heart can relate to. A great one.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating tale of survival
    "Skeletons on the Zahara" by Dean King reflects a recent trend in history writing towards more personal, localized discussions of history. Books like "Twelve Days of Terror", "The Devil in the White City" and "Krakatoa" taken events that were enormously important when they occurred, but which have, over time, faded into vague remembrance. By looking at these forgotten events, the author has an opportunity to not only tell and original story, but also reflect upon the era as a whole, and draw conclusions about how it shaped, and was shaped by, the event in question.

    Handled poorly, this approach can feel severely contrived, as the writer attempts to shoehorn a host of effects into his ill-fitting cause. However, when done successfully, as is the case with "Skeletons on the Zahara", the author brings a unique perspective to the period, while engaging the reader with new adventures. In fact, if nothing else, this is an adventure story, detailing the appalling and yet somehow inspiring story of sailors shipwrecked on the North African coast and captured into slavery.

    King sets the stage, by explaining the disastrous consequences the War of 1812 had on the commercial shipping industry in New England, and how limited prospects on land and potentially rich rewards at sea drove men to a life of danger and separation from their families. Offering personal glimpses into the lives of Captain James Riley and his crew, he paints a portrait of ambitious men, living life on the edge between prosperity and destitution. At the same, he offers a glimpse into the life of a merchant on the Sahara, where not just material wealth but life and health itself is determined by the desert's fickle and unrelentingly brutal conditions. By juxtaposing lifestyles that couldn't be more different except of their common precariousness, the author nicely sets the stage for the clash of cultures to come.

    When Riley wrecks along the coast of Africa he and his crew find themselves in a world as alien as that of another planet. As they are placed into bondage, there world is literally turned upside down; as white New Englanders they may not have been pro-slavery, but they certainly never anticipated being held in servitude to Africans. Over the following months, Riley, in a remarkable display of leadership and loyalty to his crew manages to wheedle, cajole and bluff their way to salvation even as they suffer horrendously at the hands of their captors and the elements.

    While the story of survival is remarkable in and of itself, the glimpse King offers into a time and place most modern American's are entirely familiar with is fascinating. Operating within a clan based feudal system, North Africa in the early nineteenth century was a place of shifting, capricious alliances, where attention to personal survival and aggrandizement were crucial. Although he couldn't have been aware of the labyrinthine political systems he was ensnared in, Riley and his crew on more than one occasion almost sparked open war.

    However, it is in placing Riley's narrative within the larger historical context that King's book truly shines. While the aforementioned aspect of slavery is paramount, "Skeletons of the Zahara" also offers insight for our own age. Even as America struggles to understand the Arab mind, King offers at least a glimpse into a culture that is fundamentally different, but not necessarily at odds with, our own. The compassion shown by numerous Arabs to the sailors outstrips the brutal culture in which they operate. This common humanity touched Riley deeply, and made him a crusader for abolitionism for the rest of his life. There is no reason to think this humanity has eroded over the years, and King obliquely argues that it can become the basis for a new understanding with Islamic culture today.

    Part adventure story, part history, part social commentary, "Skeletons of the Zahara" breaths new life into a forgotten tale of survival. Given that Riley's narrative helped shaped the minds of such luminaries as Abraham Lincoln and Henry David Thoreau, it is worth reading in its own right, but when coupled with King's historical analysis it rises to a different level. While sometimes presumptuous in his narrative, King has nevertheless produced a book that highlights cooperation and commonality across cultures at a time when such elements are sorely lacking. The author, while primarily interested in telling a fascinating story of survival, is also able to offer precedent for mutually beneficial interaction between American and Islam.

    Jake Mohlman

    3-0 out of 5 stars what if a good writer had written this story?
    I agree with the other reviewer who said that this story cannot compare with Shackleton's story, but this is still a story worth reading. Too bad it is written by a mediocre writer. Dean King tries to enliven the story by pretending to know what Riley and his shipmates must have said or thought. At one point, he says that Riley picked up a piece of fruit that he must have thought was a date. The fruit was bitter, and King says that Riley made a connection between the looks-good-tastes-bitter fruit and Africa. Except that this little metaphor is fiction and I doubt that Riley ever thought Africa looked good. King's attempts to turn this into a spiritual journey or to find the wisdom hidden in the misery...you'd find better in high school essays. The dialog King makes up is awful. Bad writing. That said, it is still a good story. Borrow it from the library, though. ... Read more


    12. Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs : Official Companion Book to the Exhibition sponsored by National Geographic
    by Zahi Hawass
    list price: $35.00
    our price: $23.10
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0792238737
    Catlog: Book (2005-06-01)
    Publisher: National Geographic
    Sales Rank: 6702
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    Book Description

    The discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun- the most spectacular royal tomb ever found- is one of the most famous events in the history of archaeology.The treasures of this tomb surpass all others, and the fifty Tutankhamun artifacts featured in this book illustrate many uses of gold and other precious materials in ancient Egypt, giving us a glimpse into the extraordinary richness of this ancient civilization. The book also includes never-before-seen images of the full-body forensic recreation of the boy king.How did Tut really look and what caused his untimely death?Cutting edge CT scan data provides tantalizing clues.In addition artifacts from the period preceding the reign of Tutankhamun will be featured, illuminating this fascinating era of Egyptian history and setting the stage for the treasures of Tut. These pieces will illustrate the history of the 18th dynasty, daily life under the golden pharaohs, and the journeys of both kings and commoners to the afterlife, and will include pieces dating to the reigns of four 18th dynasty pharaohs, the direct ancestors of Tutankhamun:Amenhotep II and Tuthmosis IVThese two great warrior kings ruled in the mid-18th Dynasty, and solidified the great Egyptian empire built by their predecessors.Although their tombs had both been robbed in antiquity, many fascinating pieces were left behind by the thieves.The tomb of Amenhotep II was reused just after the end of the New Kingdom as a cache for a group of royal mummies.Amenhotep III and AkhenatenA number of pieces come from the Theban area, where the great temple of Amun stood, the site of many great discoveries, and Amarna, where Akhenaten built a new capital city.Other artifacts come from one of the rare private tombs in the Valley of the Kings, the burial of Amenhotep III's parents-in-law, Yuya and Tjuya.

    ... Read more

    13. The Cambridge History of Africa: Volume 5, From c. 1790 to c. 1870 (The Cambridge History of Africa)
    list price: $175.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0521207010
    Catlog: Book (1977-01-20)
    Publisher: Cambridge University Press
    Sales Rank: 743549
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    Book Description

    The period covered in this volume is one which begins with the emergence of anti-slave trade attitudes in Europe, and ends on the eve of European colonial conquest. But except for white conquests in Algeria and South Africa, and colonies of free Blacks on the west coast, the theme is that of African independence, initiative and adaptation in the last phase of its pre-colonial history. Under greater external pressures than ever before, from European trade, exploration, missionary and political activity, African history in this period moved with greater momentum and larger scale than in past ages, with rapid changes in economic and political life. In general the approach in this volume is through chapters focusing on regions of Africa, each written by an established authority in his field. Concluding chapters sruvey the activities of Europeans in Africa, and those of Africans and their descendants overseas. ... Read more


    14. Alexandria: City Of Memory
    by Michael Haag
    list price: $35.00
    our price: $23.10
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0300104154
    Catlog: Book (2004-10-01)
    Publisher: Yale University Press
    Sales Rank: 53213
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    Book Description

    A luminous portrait of the now-vanished cosmopolitan city and those who inhabited it during the first half of the 20th century

    This book is a literary, social, and political portrait of Alexandria at a high point of its history. Drawing on diaries, letters, and interviews, Michael Haag recovers the lost life of the city, its cosmopolitan inhabitants, and its literary characters.

    Located on the coast of Africa yet rich in historical associations with Western civilization, Alexandria was home to an exotic variety of people whose cosmopolitan families had long been rooted in the commerce and the culture of the entire Mediterranean world.

    Alexandria famously excited the imaginations of writers, and Haag folds intimate accounts of E. M. Forster, Greek poet Constantine Cavafy, and Lawrence Durrell into the story of its inhabitants. He recounts the city’s experience of the two world wars and explores the communities that gave Alexandria its unique flavor: the Greek, the Italian, and the Jewish. The book deftly harnesses the sexual and emotional charge of cosmopolitan life in this extraordinary city, and highlights the social and political changes over the decades that finally led to Nasser’s Egypt.



    Michael Haag is a writer, photographer and publisher. He published and provided the afterword and notes to the first British edition of E. M. Forster’s Alexandria: A History and a Guide, and he is the author/photographer of Alexandria Illustrated (The American University in Cairo Press).



    ... Read more


    15. Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War
    by Mark Bowden
    list price: $13.95
    our price: $10.46
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0140288503
    Catlog: Book (2000-03-01)
    Publisher: Penguin Books
    Sales Rank: 7322
    Average Customer Review: 4.71 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    The acclaimed New York Times bestseller Black Hawk Down is "a shocking account of modern warfare . . . gripping and horrifying" (San Francisco Chronicle)

    Destined to become a classic of war reporting, Black Hawk Down is Mark Bowden's brilliant account of the longest sustained firefight involving American troops since the Vietnam War. On October 3rd, 1993, about a hundred elite U.S. soldiers were dropped by helicopter into the teeming market in the heart of Mogadishu, Somalia. Their mission was to abduct two top lieutenants of a Somali warlord and return to base. It was supposed to take an hour. Instead they found themselves pinned down through a long and terrible night fighting against thousands of heavily armed Somalis. The following morning, eighteen Americans were dead and more than seventy had been badly injured.

    Drawing on interviews from both sides, army records, audiotapes, and videos (some of the material is still classified), Bowden's minute-by-minute narrative is one of the most exciting accounts of modern combat ever written--a riveting story that captures the heroism, courage, and brutality of battle.

    "Black Hawk Down ranks among the best books ever written about infantry combat. . . . A descendent of books like The Killer Angels and We Were Soldiers Once . . . and Young."-- Bob Shacochis, The New York Observer

    "If Black Hawk Down were fiction we'd rank it up there with the best war novels: The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer, or The Things They Carried, by Tim O'Brien."-- Tom Walker, The Denver Post

    "Stands in a league with Shelby Foote's stirring Civil War Diary, Shiloh."-- Jim Haner, The Baltimore Sun

    "One of the most gripping and authoritative accounts of combat ever written."-- Kirk Spitzer, USA Today

    "Amazing . . . One of the most intense, visceral reading experiences imaginable."-- The Philadelphia Inquirer
    A New York Times bestseller for 14 weeks
    Bowden's Black Hawk Down series, which appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer was awarded the Overseas Press Club's Hal Boyle Award for best foreign reporting
    ... Read more

    Reviews (601)

    5-0 out of 5 stars WOW!!!
    Black Hawk Down written by Mark Bowden is an account of modern warfare and the events that played out in Mogadishu, Somalia on October 3, 1993. Bowden's book, written 3 years after the firefight happened, vividly recreates the battle through the soldiers' eyes during the combat. Black Hawk Down totals 392 pages and is well worth the price for the amount of information and enjoyment one receives when reading the book. Mark Bowden was a journalist writing columns about the Battle of Mogadishu for a newspaper during the 1993 incident. Bowden is a nationally credited journalist receiving many awards for his writing. Having now military experience himself, Bowden gains primary sources for the book from personal interviews with the soldiers, radio tapes of the combat, and video filmed during the combat. Given Bowden's journalistic accomplishments and awards, the type of research conducted, and the first-hand sources used gives him the experience he needs to write the book. Mark Bowden's novel Black Hawk Down does an excellent job in creating a story that is easy and fun to read while implicating accurate details from primary sources. The author makes sure the book is interpreted as popular history and not mistaken for scholarly history. The book focuses on an event that occurred instead of a historical document or artifact. Bowden creates a story that is so intriguing the reader does not want to put the book down. He creates this story through the sources he used to gather his information. The dialogue was taken from personal interviews he conducted with the soldiers who fought in the battle. There might have been some inconsistencies about fact and fiction in the stories because the event took place three years ago and it depends on whom he interviewed. Because of the popular support from the armed forces, as the "Afterword" states in his book, we can say he does an exceptional job at finding the discrepancies and interpreting the truth. The dialogue was also taken from radio communications that were recorded while the battle took place. The physical evidence of audio taped conversations left no room for Bowden to misquote the dialogue.

    In the back of Bowden's book, there is a complete bibliography from which he attained all his information. Mark Bowden does not present any new information about the Mogadishu incident, although he does tell the story from the soldiers perspective which is a different approach than other works have done. Throughout the novel, there are no citations from other works except from the material he gathered through interviews and recorded audio. The lack of footnotes and citations throughout the novel guarantees easy and enjoyable reading. Bowden bases most of his work on interviews and government documents and then uses his journalistic and creative writing style to tell a captivating story. He documents how he was able to obtain the sources, who he interviewed, what books and articles he referred to, and where he got the radio tapes. Because of these documented sources, it is hard to question the validity of the information he presents you. Bowden accomplishes his purpose in writing the novel because he gives an accurate and in-depth description of the battle through the soldiers perspective while maintaining a story which is fun and worth the time reading.

    Mark Bowden stays true to his thesis throughout Black Hawk Down, and presents the audience with a book that you do not want to put down. The book is non-stop action that keeps you on the edge of your seat. The novel jumps around from different people's perspective throughout the story, yet his excellent writing skill does not allow you to be confused or lost. He also provides background information about the soldiers and characters when they are first introduced and when he refers to them later in the story. Bowden provided a lot of information about the military and used acronyms for names throughout the story. He used the military style of communicating when he wrote the book. However, Bowden does a superb job in providing the audience with the definition of the acronyms stood for. He defined them in the back of the book where there is an index and by putting the definition in parenthesis next to the acronym. This method of writing almost made it feel as if the reader was actually hearing the radio communications and conversations when it happened. Bowden also provided a few maps in the book to visually show where the battle took place and what the routes of the forces were. The implication of maps made it easier to follow and understand the circumstances better. There are pictures in the back of the novel showing some of the soldiers and equipment they used during the operation.

    Mark Bowden wrote the novel Black Hawk Down with the purpose of making an enjoyable and easy to read novel from the soldiers perspective while providing an accurate first hand account of the events in Mogadishu, Somalia on October 3, 1993. Because Bowden used his journalistic writing abilities, his first hand interviews, and actual recordings of audio transmissions, this allowed him to write such a detailed and successful novel. Since the author is a journalist and not a historian, he wrote a popular history story about an event that happened three years before the book was published. Black Hawk Down, which sells for about fourteen dollars, is an excellent book filled with accurate information and is worth reading by anyone interested in modern warfare or the military.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Perspective from a former Ranger
    Blackhawk Down is the first readable war story of my generation. I've followed the development of Mark Bowden's book since his first publication of the story in the Philadelphia newspaper. A few years prior to the battle of Mogadishu, I was myself a member of the 3rd Ranger Battalion. At the age of 19, I was a sent to invade Panama as a member of this unit and was fortunate to know several of the men in this book. As a former Ranger, I will tell you that Bowden left nothing out about how these elite units fight, survive, and think. Every moment of the book is the real, gut-wrenching, dirt filled, in your face brutal truth of what it's like to be of this generation and in combat. He accurately and vividly describes the failures of the US administration, the intelligence community, and the soldiers themselves. Bowden also recreates the success brought about in these units through preparation, tough training, discipline, and dedication to your fellow soldiers. Folks, if you ever wanted to know why your tax money goes to fund military training, then read this book. If you ever doubted the military and thought its harsh, disciplined lifestyle was unnecessarily brutal and unkind, then read this book. If you've ever thought about joining the military just for the college money, thinking that you'll never have to fight, then read this book. This one will slap you in the face with the reality of today's elite military units.

    5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent book!
    Mark Bowden has done an outstanding job of telling the story of the battle of Mogadishu. U.S. army rangers and delta forces were in Mogadishu trying to kill or capture Mohamed Farrah Aidid, a local warlord, leader of the Habr Gidr clan, who was preventing international relief agencies from properly distributing food in famine-decimated Somalia.

    Trying to pluck one well-hidden person from the midst of a very sympathetic populace is not so easy, as we learned then and have re-learned in the case of Ossama bin Ladin. The U.S. began to settle for picking off top Aidid aids.

    This battle bagan when U.S. forces learned that two Aidid lieutenants were meeting in a building near the center of the Aidid-controlled section of Mogadishu. The plan called for Delta forces to take the building and capture the men, for army rangers to secure the corners of the block containing the target building, and for black Hawk helicopters to provide overhead cover for the rangers.

    It was a reasonably good plan, but it had one very serious weakness. It turned out that the Black Hawks were very vulnerable to fire from rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), a cheap and reliable Soviet made weapons system. RPGs are as common as dirt in third world countries, and Aidid's forces had plenty of them. Two of the Black Hawks were shot down by RPG fire, and two more were damaged so badly that they had to crash land back at the U.S. base. In trying to retrieve the downed Black Hawk pilots and crews (or their bodies), the rangers and Delta forces got shot to hell by an extremely hostile city full of AK-47-toting Somalis.

    It is an amazing story, well told by Mark Bowden. Part of the irony and horror of the situation is that we were only trying to help, we were only trying to do good. Yet we ended up getting 19 of our own boys killed and 70 others wounded, and killing perhaps (no one knows for sure) 500 Somalis. The moral to the story is that if you're trying to do good, send missionaries. The army is not a missionary force. The purpose of the army is to kill people, and it should never be deployed unless U.S. national security is implicated, which it was not in Somalia.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Could not put it down.
    I first hear about this book years ago when someone suggested it on tv. But I did not pay it any attention until I saw the movie. Once I saw the movie I wanted to know more about what happened with those soldiers. What I loved about the book was Mark Bowden's attention to detail. It is as if you are reading a very long but very interesting news article. I did not sense any bias, as if Mr. Bowden was trying to lead me to see only one side of this story. Needless to say, the book is very informative and has given me a new favorite author. I am reading his other book "Killing Pablo" now and loving it. Read Blackhawk Down.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Only Half the Story
    Mark Bowden's story is an excellent retelling of the events of that day in 1993, but it only tells half the story. I don't think he even realized he was telling only part, even though he did try to get Somali voices in it. The real other half, which he does not seem to have a clue about, is that the whole event was a trap, an ambush coordinated and managed by Bin Laden and the Islamists in Sudan and Iran (see Y. Bodansky's book, Bin Laden, The Man Who Declared War on America). Isn't the author even curious about how, without any warning, all of these snipers and other armed individuals knew to be where the US soldiers were at that particular time? Mogadishu was and is a pretty lawless place, but even there I doubt that most areas have that many RPG launchers in one place all the time, just in case US soldiers drop in. The lack of adequate intelligence then and now, has led to the vulnerability of Western nations to terrorism. That and an unwillingness to admit that anyone could hate the US enough to ambush its soldiers, as well as putting hundreds of innocent civilians in the line of fire. Unfortunately, the US did not learn in Mogadishu, at the Khobar Towers, on the USS Cole, or even the WTC bombing in 1993. But it did learn on Sept. 11th.

    This book is very good in many ways. But the complete story of these events in Mogadishu has yet to be told. ... Read more


    16. Stolen Lives : Twenty Years in a Desert Jail (Oprah's Book Club (Paperback))
    by Malika Oufkir
    list price: $14.00
    our price: $10.50
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0786886307
    Catlog: Book (2002-05-01)
    Publisher: Miramax Books
    Sales Rank: 9572
    Average Customer Review: 4.06 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    A gripping memoir that reads like a political thriller--the story of Malika Oufkir's turbulent and remarkable life. Born in 1953, Malika Oufkir was the eldest daughter of General Oufkir, the King of Morocco's closest aide. Adopted by the king at the age of five, Malika spent most of her childhood and adolescence in the seclusion of the court harem, one of the most eligible heiresses in the kingdom, surrounded by luxury and extraordinary privilege.

    Then, on August 16, 1972, her father was arrested and executed after an attempt to assassinate the king. Malika, her five younger brothers and sisters. and her mother were immediately imprisoned in a desert penal colony. After fifteen years, the last ten of which they spent locked up in solitary cells, the Oufkir children managed to dig a tunnel with their bare hands and make an audacious escape. Recaptured after five days, Malika was finally able to leave Morocco and begin a new life in exile in 1996.

    A heartrending account in the face of extreme deprivation and the courage with which one family faced its fate, Stolen Lives is an unforgettable story of one woman's journey to freedom. ... Read more

    Reviews (197)

    4-0 out of 5 stars five stars for story and three stars for style
    Malika Oufkir tells us the powerful and tragic story of her life in the book Stolen Lives. She begins the story describing her life as a princess after being adopted by the king of Morocco. She lived an almost unreal life of luxury while at court. The opulence Malika describes is comparable to the time of Marie Antoinette. From the resplendent court, her life is irrevocably altered when her father fails in an assassination attempt and her entire family is placed in prison including her three year old brother.

    The family's story is extraordinary. Their triumph of spirit is remarkable considering the duration and horrors which they suffered. We see the importance of unity and belief of oneself and each other. We see incredible love and sacrifice. But we also see how imprisonment can degrade the human spirit and affect the psyche.

    We learn in the preface of the book, how Malika came to hire Michele Fitoussi as the co-author of her book. Throughout the book, the reader cannot help but wonder why. It is a shame that such an interesting and compelling story was so poorly written. The author fails terribly in her attempt to describe herself as a sympathetic person prior to her imprisonment. The continual jumping back and forth in time is confusing and annoying to a reader. I also wondered if perhaps the translation was poor, because of the use of certain words and general lack of eloquence from a person who entertained her family with her stories in their darkest hour.

    Another book which may interest readers who liked and appreciated Stolen Lives is In the Time of Butterflies by Julia Alvarez. Readers who appreciate stories about the triumph of the human spirit will enjoy Stolen Lives.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Amazing story that deserves a better telling.
    "Stolen Lives" needs to be evaluated on two different levels - the moving tale of a family imprisoned under the worst conditions for 20 years and the way this amazing story has been memorialized by Malika Oufkir and Michele Fitoussi. The subject is engrossing and important, but the book itself is not well-written. This accounts for the disparity in ratings that the book has received.

    It is fascinating to read about Malika'a unique and frequently heartbreaking life. The eldest daughter of a Morococcan general, she was taken from her family and adopted by the King. Western readers will find the tales of her life in the royal household surprising and enlightening. Not only was the lifestyle outrageously lavish, it was also consisted of customs and traditions that are completely different from our own. Malika was allowed to return to her own family as a young teenager. She only had a few years to get to know her father and enjoy life outside the confines of the palace. Her father before General Oufkir was implicated in a coup attempt against the King and was assassinated. The rest of the family - Malika, her mother, her oldest brother, three young sisters and three year old baby brother were summarily imprisoned. For twenty years they lived in increasingly brutal and inhumane conditions, persecuted by the King for their father's crimes and forgotten by the world. Thanks to their uncommon courage and ingenuity, the family was able to survive and eventually escape. It's not easy to read about many of the horrors and indignities that were heaped upon the Oufkirs, but it's important that the world know about their story.

    Unfortunately, the book is not worthy of this amazing story. It was written by Malika with the assistance of Michele Fitoussi. The first problem is that the book does not give sufficient background about either the history of Morrocco or General Oufkir's powerful role as one of the King's chief aides. Those unfamiliar with Moroccan history will frequently find themself at a loss for context. Second, given that this is Malika's first person account, it necessarily is a very one-sided version of history. Not that I doubt her version of events - I just would have preferred a more complete and well-researched book that included not only Malika's story but also those of her siblings. Malika frequently portrays herself as the backbone of the family, the strongest member who kept them all from succumbing to madness. This very likely is true, but it would have a much greater impact coming from someone else. Finally, the writing style is very repetitive and immature. While Michele Fitoussi is very sympathetic to Malika's story and deserves much credit for persuading her to tell her story, I have no doubt that a more objective and skilled writer would have improved the quality of the book immensely. Hopefully a serious scholar will undertake a complete telling of the Oufkir's story. I, for one, will be anxious to read it.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Shallow and Poorly Written
    After living off and on in Morocco for 7 years in the 90's I'd never actually heard of the Oufkirs but I did hear much of the supposed royal excess. I was always taken the stories with a grain of salt. To see them recounted on the pages of this book was interesting to say the least.

    It's too bad that this is so poorly written because the story definitely deserves to be told....please someone tell it with a bit more depth.

    5-0 out of 5 stars **Unforgettable**
    Some of you may have seen this woman on Oprah a few years back telling of her ordeal. I put off reading this book & had come to the conclusion that I didn't want to read a depressing nightmare of being locked in a remote prison for decades. Then along came a friend of a friend, who encouraged me to read it, that I "needed" to read it.
    This book, to me, was life-changing. As I recognize how spoiled us Americans truly are, nothing could've prepared me for this family's struggles.
    Malika & her family displayed such amazing gifts of courage & strength that I was blown away. In awe and humbled. Their "tale" was almost just that: a tale. I simply cannot fathom the conditions that these poor people survived in.
    As I was continuously mesmerized by their strength during their imprisonment, I was later caught in Malika's greatest feat of all: forgiveness. This woman showed me what a powerful thing it truly is. She forgave with such grace & eloquence that I was just speechless. I speak mainly of her due to the fact that she was "adopted" by the royal family as a child & later cast out in a most horrifying way. As us readers were not given as much detail of her siblings (especially after their release), I can make no assumptions for them. Nevertheless, this family as a whole is an unwavering symbol of love, strength, & survival.
    I hope that they are doing well now & thank each one of them for their story.
    I hope that I never forget it, for it is a daily reminder of what I have in this life with my freedom & my family.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing Story of the Human Spirit!
    I have not done any research to verify if the information in this book is accurate or not. However, it was an excellent read and I highly recommend it! It provided an extraordinary glimpse into the world of human rights abuses and leaves the reader with a deep appreciation for the simple joys that we take for granted.

    Malika Oufkir was a teenager in the prime of her life when she was put into horrible prison conditions for twenty years with her family. Her family was being punished for the political actions of her father.

    Malika is an excellent story teller and has lives on the inside of the royal family in Morocco so it is very interesting to hear details of her upbringing.

    It is extraordinary to hear of the atrocious jail conditions inflicted on this family that was used to such a lavish existence. If you have any interest in human rights or the politics of Morocco then you will be fascinated by this read! ... Read more


    17. Sudan : Ancient Kingdom of the Nile
    list price: $85.00
    our price: $85.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 2080136372
    Catlog: Book (1997-04-15)
    Publisher: Flammarion
    Sales Rank: 445517
    Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    In association with the Institute du Monde Arabe, Paris, and the Kunsthalle, Munich.

    The culture of the ancient Sudanese and Nubian Kingdoms is chronicled in this groundbreaking exhibition catalog.
    ... Read more

    Reviews (2)

    3-0 out of 5 stars Good book despite inaccuracies and racial bias
    The book convers a vast history from the beginning of the Khartoum Mesolithic and Neolithic to the unfolding of the Arab invasion of the Sudan. Through each chapter readers will find out more information about Sudanese history. All the leading experts in the field of historical and archeological reserch from Charles Bonnet to Timothy Kendal.
    Not only does this book cover Sudanese history,but also accomplishments of the Nubians. In the past various books have tried to overshawdow Nubia with using the ''Eurocentric'' implications of strictly Egyptian influce. In this book,however,it shows indigenous relgious existed well before the absorption of Egyptian relgious deities like Amun. In fact,there is proper evidence that the deity Amun,itself,might have been based off a Nubian deity called Amani.

    Despite the shinning qualities of the book,many bias of long dead scholarship seems to rear it's ugly head. Jean Lecant tries his hardest to argue based off tomb scenes of Huy that the figures depicted are not streotypical ''true negroes'' Lecant fails to observe the diversity of Africans and that phenotypical traits like noses are influced by adaptation of climes not intermixture with caucasoids. Lecant unfortunatley still clings on to old outdated anthropology that clearly demonstrates his ignorance.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A wonderful gift for anyone interested in Sudan or the Nile
    This beautiful 'coffeetable' book is something every Sudan scholar should take a look at, perhaps once a month? The book illustrates and catalogs an exhibit at the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris, and goes from Neolithic gravesites to the Christian era of Meroe. Anyone who doubted the complexity of prehistoric Nubian society will be convinced that here was an extremely interesting and complex society. The artisanship evident in the jewelry, construction of temples, and pottery, is stunningly skilled. If you can't justify buying it for yourself, give it as a gift to a friend. ... Read more


    18. The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography
    by SIMON SINGH
    list price: $15.00
    our price: $10.20
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0385495323
    Catlog: Book (2000-08-29)
    Publisher: Anchor
    Sales Rank: 2601
    Average Customer Review: 4.76 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    People love secrets. Ever since the first word was written, humans have sent coded messages to each other. In The Code Book, Simon Singh, author of the bestselling Fermat's Enigma, offers a peek into the world of cryptography and codes, from ancient texts through computer encryption. Singh's compelling history is woven through with stories of how codes and ciphers have played a vital role in warfare, politics, and royal intrigue. The major theme of The Code Book is what Singh calls "the ongoing evolutionary battle between codemakers and codebreakers," never more clear than in the chapters devoted to World War II. Cryptography came of age during that conflict, as secret communications became critical to both sides' success.

    Confronted with the prospect of defeat, the Allied cryptanalysts had worked night and day to penetrate German ciphers. It would appear that fear was the main driving force, and that adversity is one of the foundations of successful codebreaking.

    In the information age, the fear that drives cryptographic improvements is both capitalistic and libertarian--corporations need encryption to ensure that their secrets don't fall into the hands of competitors and regulators, and ordinary people need encryption to keep their everyday communications private in a free society. Similarly, the battles for greater decryption power come from said competitors and governments wary of insurrection.

    The Code Book is an excellent primer for those wishing to understand how the human need for privacy has manifested itself through cryptography.Singh's accessible style and clear explanations of complex algorithms cut through the arcane mathematical details without oversimplifying.--Therese Littleton ... Read more

    Reviews (201)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Sound, Entertaining, and Informative Introduction
    The fine popular science writer Simon Singh (author of _Fermat's Enigma_, about the proving of Fermat's Last "Theorem") has just put out _The Code Book_, a quick survey of the basics of cryptography from a historical perspective.

    Singh's book is an enjoyable and well-done overview of the basics of cryptography. He begins with a story about how Mary Queen of Scots was doomed because her crypto was bad, and continues up to the present day. He describes the 16th Century French Vigenere cipher, World War I cryptography, including the Zimmerman telegram, and lots of detail about Enigma. There is a fascinating side branch into the related issue of deciphering ancient languages. He does a good job describing the Rosetta Stone and the work in deciphering that, and a good job discussing Linear B. The concluding chapters discuss computer based cryptography, particularly the Data Encryption Standard, Public-key Cryptography, the RSA algorithm, and Pretty Good Privacy. I was a bit disappointed in the final chapter, on Quantum Cryptography, which didn't explain things as clearly as I would have liked. Their is also a set of ciphers in the back, and a contest for readers to try to decode them.

    Singh does a good job describing the characters involved, in the best tradition of popular science. And though I've known a bit about this subject for some time, he still taught me lots of new stuff. I was particularly surprised to learn that British researchers had invented both Public-key Cryptography and an equivalent to RSA several years before the more famous inventor, but that the British government had classified their work, denying the researchers credit for their discoveries.

    This is a sound, entertaining, and informative introduction to the basics of cryptography.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Historical and Mathematical intrigue
    Simon Singh can describe tails of drama, history, and common mathematical sense into a great book. While most people take cryptography for granted, Singh provides historical and simple examples to illustrate it's importance to mathematics and history. He details it's use in wars, especially World War 2, and commerce. He even delves into the political ramifications of strong versus weak encryption when discussing PGP.

    Singh also provides easy to understand ways on how encryption works and even more intriguing, how to break it. He shows how all various encryption algorithms are done, and then how code breakers can decipher them, both in practical and historical consequences.

    In the end, he even provides a challenge for would be decipherers out there. Granted, it's already been solved, it's still education and exciting that he offered a considerable amount of money for this challenge ($15000).

    All in all, it's a fascinating book that will capture anyone's imagination, even if they hate history or math.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece!
    This book is truly an achievement! SimonSingh takes up a seemingly esoteric, difficult, mysterious, exhaustive subject of Cryptography (or in simple terms Coding and decoding) and backed up by exhaustive research , he has written an engrossing book; The 400page read is a fascinating journey for the reader. The journey spans a broad range and time period. The hallmark of this book apart from the wealth of information it has, is the facile style of writing of SimonSingh which doesn't smother the lay reader with verbiage or technicalities; The structure of chapters is period wise, starting with the basic codes used during the middle ages, with the advancement of monoalphabetic ciphers and then polyalphabetic ciphers (including the vignere ciphers); then the automation of ciphers which happened during WWII with the famous Enigma machine; Then comes the intresting phase of cat and mouse game between the cryptographers and cryptoanalysts, which has always happened, but took a intense phase during the WWII, primarily between the camp at BletchleyPark,London (which housed a motley crowd ranging from Mathematicians to Linguists, all in a hectic pursuit to break the German code) and the Germans. The simple explanation behind the logic of Enigma is a demonstration of SimonS's ability to express the technical in the simplest of terms.

    I found the description and concept of DES , the breakthrough of asymmetric ciphers , the concept of public key and Private keys, digital signatures especially illuminating.

    The background leading to the development of PGP by Zimmerman and its features is an highlight and very topical. Next time I buy anything from the Web, i will appreciate the technology of security which happens in the backend;

    The politics of encryption between the camps for free speech vs Government control is fascinating and becomes all the more urgent in the light of 9/11 and Govt attempts to curtail and control.

    Even if you have a passing intrest in science, you will find this book worthwhile to spend time on . Don't get intimidated by the term Cryptography. This is a not-to-be-missed books. There is history, politics(Zimmerman telegram; Navajova talkers;Hans-Schmidt; )I was mesmerised enough to read it twice in a month's span.

    ---

    5-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating subject!
    This author did a fantastic job of taking what could be a very dry subject and making it quite interesting. As the subtitle indicates, he traces the history of cryptography and cryptanalysis from the late 1500's to the modern time.

    Singh gives examples throughout, and does a great job of explaining them as well. You don't have to be a math major to follow what he's talking about.

    The end of the book contains a "Cryptography Challenge" in which he offers $15,000 to the first person to correctly crack ten encrypted messages. Don't set your heart on the prize; it's already been won. Most of the messages can be decrypted by the average (but tenacious) reader; several of the latter require significant computer skills, however.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Very interesting book
    I'd like to put this out there first. If you dont like math and science, get a clue you wont like this book. I however do enjoy math and science, especially computers. This book captivated me from the beginning I very much enjoyed how the material was presented in the codemaking, codebreaking chronology. There was however a section on language as code that I did not care for, but in all honesty Simon Singh writes at the beginning of the chapter that it is a bit of a detour and you do not have to read it. It's a very good book if you would like get a general understanding about cryptography. Or you just love interesting scientific fact and advances. ... Read more


    19. History of Africa
    by Kevin Shillington
    list price: $26.95
    our price: $26.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0312125984
    Catlog: Book (1995-05-15)
    Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
    Sales Rank: 173063
    Average Customer Review: 3.33 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    In a single volume, History of Africa offers an illustrated and critical narrative introduction to the history of the continent from earliest times to the present. Beginning with the evolution of mankind itself, the book traces the history of Africa through the millennia of the ancient world to the centuries of medieval and modern Africa. The clear and simple language the wealth of carefully chosen maps combine to make an essential and accessible text.
    ... Read more

    Reviews (6)

    4-0 out of 5 stars A Good Analysis of Africa
    Shillington provides a good survey style textbook on African history from antiquity to the modern period. He covers in great detail and quality of the relationship between Africa and Islam as well as the nature of slavery and apartheid. He covers the slave trade in quite a bit of detail, explaining the value of the African as a marketable commodity. He also explains the origins of apartheid as a colonial parting gift that became entrenched racist national policy for more than fifty years. Shillington's survey is quite appropriate for a high school African history class, an undergraduate African history survey or introduction or even as a first book for a graduate African history course. The topics covered here are obviously from an Africanist point of view although there is a minimum, if any, level of bias on Shillington's part.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Admirable Intention
    The book is written from an African point of view, which is badly needed in the current world of academia. Shillington does a great job of portraying things from the "other side". The only defect is that he can sometimes be too sympathetic to the other side and penalize westerners, giving the book a slight bias. Despite this, it is an excellent book for getting a look into African history from another angle.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent survey for the first-time reader
    Extremely well written and hard to put down.

    Shillington has an obvious affection for Africa, but I expected it and allowed for it. I'd recommend this book to anyone looking for a first survey of African history.

    I would like to have seen more maps, with less information on each map.

    I'm not sure the book would make a good text for college, but it makes a great book for general reading.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Historically inaccurate and biased
    I am a fan of Shillington and I expected more from this book. His effort to glorify African leaders and condemn Europeans makes this text biased and inaccurate. I would recommend Blaine Harden's "Africa: Dispatches from a Fragile Continent."

    1-0 out of 5 stars The worst Africa survey I have yet encountered.
    In the past year I have had the good fortune to read around 30 or so texts that can be considered excellent choices for an introduction to African history and civilization.

    Unfortunately, this book is easily the worst. The illustrations are excellent, but the book is nothing more than a rabin pro-African propoganda dumbed down for elementary or high school students. It is not thought provoking, as all of Africa's ills are blamed on Western colonialism.

    It's aimed for a high-school or lower audience. It seems Shillington is more concered with increasing the damaged self-esteem of Black students than with providing an accurate history that will allow those students to see the world realistically. ... Read more


    20. Egyptian Treasures from the Egyptian Museum in Cairo
    by Francesco Tiradritti
    list price: $75.00
    our price: $47.25
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0810932768
    Catlog: Book (1999-09-01)
    Publisher: Harry N Abrams
    Sales Rank: 141026
    Average Customer Review: 4.92 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (13)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Best Egyptian-artifact photo book I've seen. Don't miss it.
    I don't know about you, but when I get a big photo book, I thumb through the photos first, then go back and look at them individually, and read the text last, if at all -- skim it, usually. So -- the photos here are magnificent! Color printing has gotten pretty close to photographic quality in the last few years, and you won't find better-quality color than in "Egyptian Treasures." Book design (by PB Lovisetti & C. Zanotti) is clean and attractive. Bravo!

    The artifacts, all from Cairo's Egyptian Museum, span some 4,000 years -- and for 3,000 years, from the First Dynasty to the Roman conquest, their artistic conventions stayed pretty much the same -- enough so that almost any artwork from this period is, even at a casual glance, obviously 'Egyptian.'

    Anyway, if you're over 12, and have been to any fair-size art or archaeological museum, you've seen some mummies, coffins and statues, probably some jewelry and woodwork too -- not to mention pictures of the Pyramids and King Tut's gold. But, unless you've been to dozens of Egyptian collections, you've never seen the range of first-rate art displayed here -- unless, of course, you've already been to Cairo. Makes me want to go out & buy a ticket to Egypt. Some of this stuff is just astonishing. The jewelry is (often) 'Art-Deco', not by coincidence, since much of this material was unearthed in the early 20th century. And if you've only seen the knock-offs, wait til you see the originals! There are wall-paintings that, if they didn't have papyrus plants, you'd think were Chinese. And the little painted wood-carvings, with marvelous scenes from everyday life -- and with colors so bright, they could have been your grandmother's, instead of being 4,000 years old. There's a lot to be said for using the desert for cemeteries....

    The text is by 16 (or so) specialists, and ranges from pretty good to instant eye-glaze. You don't buy this kind of book for the text. Fortunately, the photo captions are uniformly good. Complaints: no map, and no index! C'mon, folks -- we don't all know where Tanis is, or Zagazig. And we might want to find out, later, who Muhammad Ali (1769-1849) *really*was....

    5-0 out of 5 stars 10 stars is the correct rating !
    This book presents the collection of Egyptian antiquities located in the Egyptian Museum of Cairo; each featured object is accompanied by a short description and a photograph. The photographs, never before published, were expressly made for the book by internationally acclaimed photographer Araldo De Luca. The numerous essays were written by international contributors, among which are Francesco Tiradritti, Christiane Ziegler, Zahi Hawass, Jean Yoyotte and Anna Maria Donadoni Roveri; they cover topics such as Egyptian art, history, the Valley of the Kings and Tutankhamun. Art lovers will thoroughly enjoy this beautiful and informative guide, now available in many languages.

    5-0 out of 5 stars One of Egypt's greatest collection without a doubt.
    The artifacts are arranged from earliest to latest, which creates a greater understanding of the arts and their progression. The arts themselves are mostly jewelry, coffins, statues, and painted carvings. There are many other objects like beds, chairs, etc. A discription of the objects is listed with it's use, material properties, aerchaeological founder, and a story behind each item.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing Book
    This is definitely a cheaper way of seeing the museum in Cairo! When I went to Egypt last fall, we spent an afternoon in the museum. People could spend days in there and see new things. It is so packed full of artifacts that we could only stand to be in there for a few hours. Our brains could only absorb so much! This book is a good way to go back and learn about all of the things that we saw.
    The pictures are large and unbelievably clear. I would recommend this book to everyone! Of course, I would also recommend a trip to Cairo...

    5-0 out of 5 stars EGYPTIAN TREASURES FROM THE EGYPTIAN MUSEUM IN CAIRO
    IF YOU WANT TO VISIT THE EGYPTIAN MUSEUM IN CAIRO BUT FIND IT INCONVENIENT TO GET THERE THIS IS THE SECOND BEST WAY TO VIEW THE OBJECTS. THE COLOR PRINTS ARE AS GOOD AS CAN BE PRINTED AND THE DETAIL IN DESCRIPTION IS VERY HELPFUL. I HAVE A LIBRARY AND THIS IS THE BEST AND MOST DETAILED BOOK I HAVE SEEN IN YEARS WRITTEN ON ARTIFACTS FOUND IN EGYPT. 5 STARS !!! ... Read more


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