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    $15.49 list($25.95)
    1. First In: An Insider's Account
    $27.95 $10.99
    2. Unfit for Command: Swift Boat
    $19.77 $19.69 list($29.95)
    3. Stalin : A Biography,
    $19.77 $19.71 list($29.95)
    4. Racing the Enemy : Stalin, Truman,
    $110.49 $108.65 list($129.99)
    5. The Treatment of Modern Western
    $32.00 $26.40
    6. Land of the Firebird
    $16.97 list($24.95)
    7. The Scariest Place : A Marine
    $17.16 $5.00 list($26.00)
    8. Flags of Our Fathers: Heroes of
    $10.50 $8.57 list($14.00)
    9. The Machine That Changed the World
    $155.00 $134.12
    10. The Cambridge History of Japan:
    $14.93 $11.99 list($21.95)
    11. The Web That Has No Weaver : Understanding
    $17.13 $6.99 list($25.95)
    12. Flyboys: A True Story of Courage
    $18.45 $18.10 list($27.95)
    13. Maximum City : Bombay Lost and
    $17.16 $16.90 list($26.00)
    14. Stalin's Folly : The Tragic First
    $10.20 $9.41 list($15.00)
    15. Wild Swans : Three Daughters of
    $17.13 $14.12 list($25.95)
    16. The Fourth Crusade And The Sack
    $29.95 $25.99
    17. Healing with Ki-Kou: The Secrets
    $14.96 $4.90 list($22.00)
    $11.16 $7.00 list($15.95)
    19. 1421 : The Year China Discovered
    $19.77 list($29.95)
    20. Born to Rule : Five Reigning Consorts,

    1. First In: An Insider's Account of How the CIA Spearheaded the War on Terror in Afghanistan
    by Gary Schroen
    list price: $25.95
    our price: $15.49
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0891418725
    Catlog: Book (2005-05-10)
    Publisher: Presidio Press
    Sales Rank: 198
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (1)

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

    2. Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry
    by John E. O'Neill, Jerome R. Corsi
    list price: $27.95
    our price: $27.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0895260174
    Catlog: Book (2004-08-15)
    Publisher: Regnery Publishing
    Sales Rank: 1541
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    Due to the timing of its publication, Unfit for Command could be dismissed as the sort of controversial, loaded book typical in a presidential election year: Either courageous and necessary, or untruthful and malicious, depending on one's political point of view. Filled with interviews of men who served in Vietnam at the same time as John Kerry, the book poses the following question: "Why do an overwhelming majority of those who commanded or served with John Kerry oppose him?" (Note that the issue of "service" has sparked investigation into its definition--in other words, just how close was the interaction between Kerry and those cited in the book during Kerry’s Vietnam tour of duty?)

    The charges leveled against Kerry in this book are severe and include filing false operating reports; lobbying for and receiving three Purple Hearts for minor wounds, two of which were self-inflicted; receiving a Silver Star under false pretenses; offering false confessions of bogus war crimes in both print and testimony; and recklessness in the field, including the burning of a village without cause or direct order. The book also claims that Kerry left Vietnam after serving just four months instead of the usual one year tour and that he returned home and accused his fellow soldiers of atrocities without offering any evidence, endangering POWs in the process.

    It is debatable whether the book will change any minds, or votes. Instead, readers will likely reach one of two conclusions: Either John Kerry grossly misrepresented his military service or the authors are spinning the interviews that they conducted for ulterior motives. There is a third option, however; readers will further investigate both sides of the debate, and by doing so, may reach conclusions independent of partisan extremes. --Brian Neff ... Read more

    3. Stalin : A Biography,
    by Robert Service
    list price: $29.95
    our price: $19.77
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0674016971
    Catlog: Book (2005-04-04)
    Publisher: Belknap Press
    Sales Rank: 4359
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Overthrowing the conventional image of Stalin as an uneducated political administrator inexplicably transformed into a pathological killer, Robert Service reveals a more complex and fascinating story behind this notorious twentieth-century figure. Drawing on unexplored archives and personal testimonies gathered from across Russia and Georgia, this is the first full-scale biography of the Soviet dictator in twenty years.

    Service describes in unprecedented detail the first half of Stalin's life--his childhood in Georgia as the son of a violent, drunkard father and a devoted mother; his education and religious training; and his political activity as a young revolutionary. No mere messenger for Lenin, Stalin was a prominent activist long before the Russian Revolution. Equally compelling is the depiction of Stalin as Soviet leader. Service recasts the image of Stalin as unimpeded despot; his control was not limitless. And his conviction that enemies surrounded him was not entirely unfounded.

    Stalin was not just a vengeful dictator but also a man fascinated by ideas and a voracious reader of Marxist doctrine and Russian and Georgian literature as well as an internationalist committed to seeing Russia assume a powerful role on the world stage. In examining the multidimensional legacy of Stalin, Service helps explain why later would-be reformers--such as Khrushchev and Gorbachev--found the Stalinist legacy surprisingly hard to dislodge.

    Rather than diminishing the horrors of Stalinism, this is an account all the more disturbing for presenting a believable human portrait. Service's lifetime engagement with Soviet Russia has resulted in the most comprehensive and compelling portrayal of Stalin to date.

    ... Read more

    Reviews (5)

    5-0 out of 5 stars We return again to the subject of Stalin
    Gangster! Evil dictator! Georgian Al Capone!Robert Service uses all of these terms to describe Joseph Vissarionovich Dzhughashvili, known as Stalin, in this new biography.That he also uses terms such as intellectual, paterfamilias, singer of songs and lover of wine, to describe the `man of steel' disgusts and alienates some readers.Apparently, we must distance ourselves from such a man, make him somehow inhuman, in order to fit him into our modern worldview.More interesting, and more useful, is a biography that seeks to understand the human factors, for Stalin was not some alien dropped from outer space, but a man.

    This is the work of a professional historian who is deeply immersed in both the primary sources (many newly available) and the historiography of Stalin. Service seeks to undertake a multidimensional approach, looking at political, economic, personal, international and many other factors of both Stalin and the world in which he lived. Among the more interesting points Service brings out, is the importance of Stalin in the pre-revolutionary period, including his importance and high place (although less visible than some of the others) in the party structure, debunking the myth that Stalin came out of nowhere, suddenly and mysteriously knocking the Bolshevik train off track. Stalin was Lenin's protégé and student, and although he differed on several key points, there was continuity between the two. In a sense this is the sequel to the author's works on Lenin.

    If there is one thing I wish could be added to a generally excellent work, it would be while Service sufficiently discredits both Leninism and Stalinism I would have preferred, since he was on the subject,a discussion of the failure not only Bolshevism but of Marxism in general. Admittedly it is slightly beyond the scope, but it seems to leave open the question, could a Marxist state under some more benign leadership have worked?It is my belief that the historian of the twentieth century has already before him evidence to answer this question, and anyway, (with sincere apologies) let us hope no one will ever undertake such an experiment.That being said, in all a very good biography suitable for all readers.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Yes please!
    Quit Stalin (stalling) and buy this book! (that was a joke but this is a good book).

    4-0 out of 5 stars A Biography That Tries To Humanize Stalin
    The author tries to humaninze Stalin and view him as a more intellectual person than he is viewed in earlier biographies. Stalin's vast and terrible crimes against the persons in his own country are almost pure evil and the reader will be disturbed at the author's effort to "rehabilitate" Stalin.

    3-0 out of 5 stars A Step in the Wrong Direction.
    Robert Service's book is the newest addition to the recent spate of books on Joseph Stalin.While a meticulously researched effort, it is disturbing that the author is at pains to "humanize" Stalin and to understand his behaviour. I quote from a review of the book in The Economist, 6 January 2005:

    "Here the reader is told that Stalin's crimes, while vast and terrible, were things which a sane, intelligent, sometimes kindly human being might do for understandable if not defensible reasons. It does not feel like a step in the right direction."

    I would recommend, Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar by Simon Sebag Montefiore, and as a companion volume, Stalin and His Hangmen: The Tyrant and Those Who Killed for Him by Donald Rayfield as giving superior treatment to the subject.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Ground Breaking
    Reading this biography one becomes aware how much previous biographies of Stalin were affected by Trotsky's work and perspective. A good deal of scholarship about the Soviet Union depended on documents that were carried out by him and his written works were influential. Some of the more influential writers of Soviet history were in fact disciples of Trotsky such as Isaac Deutscher.

    Broadly Trotsky hoped to gain power in the Soviet Union following Lenin's death. He was however outmanoeuvred by Stalin. Trotsky was contemptuous of Stalin's ability and he thought he was a nonentity. This is reflective in his writing and accounts of Stalin's career and rise. As a result he portrayed Stalin as a nothing who had arisen not through his own ability but through a mysterious numbers game in the party which preferred hacks to people of real talent.

    Stalin after in his road to power was happy to portray himself in a similar way to the Trotsky caricature of him.That is an ordinary practical man who could empathise with the problems of workers and peasants and have real solutions to problems rather than overblown rhetoric.

    This book suggests a very different picture of Stalin's rise. In reality he was only General Secretary of the party for a short time before the power struggle to oust Trotsky. He had little time to stack the party and the reason he won was because he was a better political operator. In fact Stalin had always been an important figure in the Bolshevik movement holding important positions such as being the editor of the party newspaper. Although a poor public speaker he was a person of considerable intelligence and he was a skilled writer. Broadly Trosky was a person who was somewhat egocentric and he had little ability to read people and depended on his charisma and ability as a speaker. By the 1920's a bit more was required to gain power in the Soviet Union.

    The main power of the book is to show that Stalin was in fact an intellectual figure. It deals in less detail with the historical background of Stalin's rule skating over the oppression of the peasants and the development of industry. In fact the chapter on the second world war makes at least one mistake suggesting that the battle of Karhov was the first Soviet offensive of the war obviously forgetting the attacks on the German forces by Zhukov in late 1941.

    Never the less the power and importance of the book is to show how previous biographies were written and influenced by ideas around Stalin's rise which when put to the test are shown to be wrong. In looking at Stalin's personality it is also clear that he was not a person who suffered from what would be described as a mental illness. His actions were to purposeful and systematic for that. Despite this the book is perhaps better at showing what could be described as the evil of Stalin's rule. Not only the effects on those who were killed by his regime but the brutal and irrational nature of the regime he created.
    ... Read more

    4. Racing the Enemy : Stalin, Truman, and the Surrender of Japan,
    by Tsuyoshi Hasegawa
    list price: $29.95
    our price: $19.77
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0674016939
    Catlog: Book (2005-05-15)
    Publisher: Belknap Press
    Sales Rank: 3558
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    Book Description

    With startling revelations, Tsuyoshi Hasegawa rewrites the standard history of the end of World War II in the Pacific. By fully integrating the three key actors in the story--the United States, the Soviet Union, and Japan--Hasegawa for the first time puts the last months of the war into international perspective.

    From April 1945, when Stalin broke the Soviet-Japanese Neutrality Pact and Harry Truman assumed the presidency, to the final Soviet military actions against Japan, Hasegawa brings to light the real reasons Japan surrendered. From Washington to Moscow to Tokyo and back again, he shows us a high-stakes diplomatic game as Truman and Stalin sought to outmaneuver each other in forcing Japan's surrender; as Stalin dangled mediation offers to Japan while secretly preparing to fight in the Pacific; as Tokyo peace advocates desperately tried to stave off a war party determined to mount a last-ditch defense; and as the Americans struggled to balance their competing interests of ending the war with Japan and preventing the Soviets from expanding into the Pacific.

    Authoritative and engrossing, Racing the Enemy puts the final days of World War II into a whole new light.

    ... Read more

    5. The Treatment of Modern Western Diseases With Chinese Medicine: A Textbook & Clinical Manual
    by Bob Flaws, Philippe Sionneau
    list price: $129.99
    our price: $110.49
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1891845209
    Catlog: Book (2002-01-01)
    Publisher: Blue Poppy Press
    Sales Rank: 208784
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    This book is a textbook and clinical manual on the treatment of modern Western medical diseases with Chinese medicine. By modern Western medical diseases, we mean all the disease categories of Western medicine excluding gynecology and pediatrics. By Chinese medicine, we mean standard contemporary professional Chinese medicine as taught at the two dozen provincial Chinese medical colleges in the People's Respublic of China. The two main therapeutic modalities used in the practice of this style of Chinese medicine are acupuncture-moxibustion and the internal administration of multi-ingredient Chinese medicinal formulas. Treatment plans for each disease discussed herein are given for each of these two main modalities. ... Read more

    Reviews (1)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Gem of Clarity
    There have been other books in English elaborating the Chinese medical pattern identification and treatment of biomedically-defined diseases, but none so meticulously researched and presented as this one. The writing is organized, logical, and exceptionally clear.

    The introductory chapter contains one of the most lucid discussions of Li Dong-yuan's yin fire theory anywhere. This book is unique in its genre for including relevant points of yin fire theory in its discussion of the Chinese medical evaluation and treatment of more than 65 commonly-encountered biomedically-defined diseases. Practitioners and students alike will deeply appreciate its discussion of disease pathomechanisms, a subject typically glossed over by similar works.

    The level of detail in both the Chinese medical and biomedical discussion of each disease is considerable, and the authors frequently make reference to recent research articles from China and from the English-speaking world.

    The discussion of treatment is at a similarly high level, with a detailed prescription-modifying approach to each pattern for each disease. Both herbal medicine and acupuncture are covered, although the emphasis is clearly on herbal medicine.

    One wishes that the index had received the same care and attention that was lavished on the manuscript; for example, there is an entire chapter on migraine headaches and no corresponding entry in the index. Readers may find the table of contents more useful in locating specific information.

    This book should be considered a primary source for practitioners researching treatment for their patients, and a required textbook in courses on the differentiation of disease for students of Chinese medicine. It is the first English-language textbook to advance an evidence-based, yet individually responsive approach to those diseases most often encountered in outpatient clinical practice of Chinese medicine in North America. Essential reading. ... Read more

    6. Land of the Firebird
    by Suzanne Massie, SuzanneMassie
    list price: $32.00
    our price: $32.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 096441841X
    Catlog: Book (1980)
    Publisher: Hearttree Press
    Sales Rank: 156192
    Average Customer Review: 4.86 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (7)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Well worth the price
    I first read this magnificent tome on Russian history and culture in 1997. As it was part of a history class in college, the first read was a bit of a after page of description concerning the minutia of Russian life: clothes, churches, meals, religious & superstitious rituals, architecture, commerce, political strife, and so on. Really, with the whirl of the Social Circus of that college year, trudging through all this obscure information brought me no end of grief and silent lamentation! To think of all that time I could have been out with friends looking to score whatever cheap release was on hand or burning inside...spent instead sludging through *detailed history*!

    Cut to four years later...

    I'm going to Russia. In two weeks. Like so many other unplanned affairs that seem to formulate out of nowhere and take one by the lapels, shoving one screaming into the storm of life, this reviewer took it in stride and decided to find some quick-but-informative text on the destination in mind--especially one with such contradictory reports as Mother Russia. Thus, I dug this out of my library and began anew, stifling a faint unpleasant feeling no doubt inspired by those long sleepless college nights. There had to be some merit here, yes?

    Oh yes.

    'Land of the Firebird' is a WONDERFUL and ENGAGING in-depth look of Russian history from 987-1917, spanning the ascension of Vlad and the Orthodox Church to right before the Revolution. With colorful prose Suzanne Massie details the variety of Russian existence--tsars and serfs and merchant-princes and babushkas--no stone is left uncovered as she cross-references nearly a thousands years, writing with equal consideration of art, poetry, country-life, court-life, politics and its myriad games, myths and legends, influence "outside the sphere." It would be impossible to truly set down the full range of Russia experience for this time in the 450 pages allotted the reader, but the author does an admirable job in covering the major shakers and movers and events while sparing a considerable amount of print for the minor peoples and patterns that set the foundation of this ancient, troubled country. It certainly put an interesting light on what I saw come the spring of '01.

    Indispensable for the casual student of Russia.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Priceless
    I bought this book in the early 80's and absolutely loved it. I recommended it to friends who were going to spend a year in Russia. They took it with them and shared it with their Russian friends, who copied whole chapters by hand -- all the while bemoaning the loss of so much of their rich, pre-revolutionary culture.

    5-0 out of 5 stars AN ABSOLUTE TREASURE
    Having read many books on Russian history, architecture, notable personalties and points of interest, I found this book to be invaluable. It is a must have if you're interested in Russian history, planning to travel there, or simply want to try to understand how a Russian thinks. Also has wonderful illustrations and photographs.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A "must" for all interested in Russian history & art.
    For an interesing, riveting compilation of history combined with art, this book is unmatched in its ability to inform the reader without getting bogged down in excessive analysis and/or description of historical events. Ms. Massie also treats history and art as appendages of each other, and in a style as narratively friendly as her most popular book, Nicholas and Alexandra. It is a "must" in advance of a Russian tour, and a good one to have in one's personal reference library.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Best compilation of Russian History ever!
    I love this book ... Read more

    7. The Scariest Place : A Marine Returns to North Korea
    by James Brady
    list price: $24.95
    our price: $16.97
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0312332424
    Catlog: Book (2005-04-01)
    Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
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    8. Flags of Our Fathers: Heroes of Iwo Jima
    by James Bradley, Ron Powers
    list price: $26.00
    our price: $17.16
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0553111337
    Catlog: Book (2000-05-02)
    Publisher: Bantam
    Sales Rank: 859
    Average Customer Review: 4.78 out of 5 stars
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    The Battle of Iwo Jima, fought in the winter of 1945 on a rocky island south of Japan, brought a ferocious slice of hell to earth: in a month's time, more than 22,000 Japanese soldiers would die defending a patch of ground a third the size of Manhattan, while nearly 26,000 Americans fell taking it from them. The battle was a turning point in the war in the Pacific, and it produced one of World War II's enduring images: a photograph of six soldiers raising an American flag on the flank of Mount Suribachi, the island's commanding high point.

    One of those young Americans was John Bradley, a Navy corpsman who a few days before had braved enemy mortar and machine-gun fire to administer first aid to a wounded Marine and then drag him to safety. For this act of heroism Bradley would receive the Navy Cross, an award second only to the Medal of Honor.

    Bradley, who died in 1994, never mentioned his feat to his family. Only after his death did Bradley's son James begin to piece together the facts of his father's heroism, which was but one of countless acts of sacrifice made by the young men who fought at Iwo Jima. Flags of Our Fathers recounts the sometimes tragic life stories of the six men who raised the flag that February day--one an Arizona Indian who would die following an alcohol-soaked brawl, another a Kentucky hillbilly, still another a Pennsylvania steel-mill worker--and who became reluctant heroes in the bargain. A strongly felt and well-written entry in a spate of recent books on World War II, Flags gives a you-are-there depiction of that conflict's horrible arenas--and a moving homage to the men whom fate brought there. --Gregory McNamee ... Read more

    Reviews (396)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Ordinary people doing their duty in extraordinary times
    This book is easily one of the best books I ever read. I especially recommend it to anyone who is interested in wars and the men who fight them. Bradley's personal and passionate account of arguably the toughest, bloodiest, and most highly decorated battle our nation ever fought is simply remarkable.

    By the end of the book you will long remember and appreciate the sacrifice and significance of the U.S. Marines' WWII Battle of Iwo Jima and the lives and deaths of the six flag raisers (Harlon Block, John Bradley, Rene Gagnon, Ira Hayes, Franklin Sousley, and Mike Strank) forever immortalized in Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal's prize-winning photo atop Mount Suribachi on February 23, 1945, and in the world's largest bronze statue, the United States Marine Corps War Memorial.

    Shortly after the tragic events of September 11, 2001, an e-mail I will never forget arrived at my work computer. Attached to the e-mail was an image, actually two images side-by-side. No words were needed. On one side was the Rosenthal Iwo Jima flag-raising picture, and next to it was the New York City firemen flag-raising at "Ground Zero" picture. Reading this book helped me to fully understand the old adage, "A picture is worth a thousand words."

    4-0 out of 5 stars Beyond The Photograph and Memorial...
    Having only the cursory knowledge of Iwo Jima from the immortalized "photograph" and monument near Arlington National Cemetary, reading "Flags of Our Fathers" was an eye-opening experience. Born in the late 60's, I grew up in with war and its after-effects having little impact on my own personal life (somehow my immediate family escaped any time in the military). In this deeply personal account of the events surrounding Iwo Jima, James Bradley gives the reader a detailed account of the famous battle that no high school history class lesson could do justice to. From the "underground city" of Iwo to the facts surrounding the quite accidental photographic capture of the incidental second flagraising, the book is both educational and fairly quick read.

    I was a little put-off early in the early stages of the book. In leading up to the actual battle, Bradley seemed to have already elevated the six flagraisers to godlike status. But having finished "Flags," one can easily forgive the author for the high reverence he holds for these individuals now knowing how each of their stories ended. Having recently visited Washington, I stopped at the US Marine Corps Memorial near the end of my trip. I did not know the names or stories of the men behind the impressive statues. Reading "Flags" made me initially regret what, at the time, had been a fairly unemotional visit to yet another DC monument. While that changed as I read "Flags" (I pulled out the photos I had taken several times while reading), I ultimately believe that the surviving flag raisers (particularly the author's father, John Bradley) would be quite happy that I did not associate them with the celluloid or bronze images that dogged them for the remainder of their lives.

    It is heartening to see the success of this book. While not a scholarly historical work, Bradley has done a great service in recording these men's stories and the brave efforts of all who have ever fought for their country.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A book that is written as if you were there in the war
    This book is the best world war 2 book i have ever read to date. This book takes you at an in depth look and the whole history behind the actual picture that was taken that will always be a piece of american history. The details of the battle scenes in the book can make you sick to your stomach at certain point, and even make your eyes water from reading it. This book has everything, emotion, action, and a overall great read.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A sons tribute to his father
    This book is one of the best accounts of Iwo Jima that I have ever read. It tells the story as if you were there, and you feel almost sick to your stomach learning of how these poor marines were dying and yet they kept fighting on. It is about Iwo Jima but i believe it to be a tribute to John Bradley, the father of James Bradley the author. It tells the story of him and the other 5 flag raisers and what happened to them througout there lives. But to me this was the story of John and I felt that i connected with him from his earlier years as a boy through his corpsmen training throught the 7th bond collection tour. I understood John and why he never talked about his ordeal at Iwo Jima, the flag raising, and the navy cross he was awarded. If you have to read a book, read FLags of Our Fathers, its simply a great read.

    5-0 out of 5 stars An Uncommon Generation
    This book is not about a battle, or the tactics used; this book is about six Marines who will forever be immortalized in the picture of the flag being raised on Iwo Jima. It tells their story of having grown up during the Great Depression were then called upon to fight facism in Europe and the Pacific. The story begins with the author's account of his own father Jack Bradley, a Corpsman serving with the Marines. Awarded the Navy Cross, the second highest honor for bravery, he never mentioned it to his family. Nor did he speak about his part in the Iwo Jima campaign. With quiet dignity he tried to live his life out in peace; this is what is truely amazing!

    The book also describes the lives of the other two survivors - the other three never made it off Iwo Jima - and how they tried to deal with their new found fame.

    This book speaks to the heart and every generation will be touch by this story. ... Read more

    9. The Machine That Changed the World : The Story of Lean Production
    by James P. Womack, Daniel T. Jones, Daniel Roos
    list price: $14.00
    our price: $10.50
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0060974176
    Catlog: Book (1991-11)
    Publisher: Perennial
    Sales Rank: 4481
    Average Customer Review: 4.07 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Based on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's five-million-dollar, five-year study on the future of the automobile, a groundbreaking analysis of the worldwide move from mass production to lean production.

    Japanese companies are sweeping the world, and the Japanese auto industry soars above the competition. Drawing on their in-depth study of the practices of ninety auto assembly plants in seventeen countries and their interviews with individual employees, scholars, and union and government officials, the authors of this compelling study uncover the specific manufacturing techniques behind Japan's success and show how Western industry can implement these innovative methods. The Machine That Changed the World tells the fascinating story of "lean production," a manufacturing system that results in a better, more cost-efficient product, higher productivity, and greater customer loyalty. The hallmarks of lean production are teamwork, communication, and efficient use of resources. And the results are remarkable: cars with one-third the defects, built in half the factory space, using half the man-hours. The Machine That Changed the World explains in concrete terms what lean production is, how it really works, and--as it inevitably spreads beyond the auto industry--its significant global impact.

    ... Read more

    Reviews (14)

    4-0 out of 5 stars a Manufacturing Mustread
    The Machine That Changed the World; The Story of Lean Production
    A great book that although becoming a little outdated portrays the ongoing trends in the automobile production industry in three major cultural areas.
    The three areas are;the Asian lean production (Toyota) v.s. the American system,(mass production) v.s. the European craftsman system. On a larger scale it will and is affecting manufacturing everywhere.
    Henry Ford was the founder of the American mass production system, and Ford was very successful adopting it to the aircraft and steel industries. American companies adopted this system and it is one of the main reasons for American pre-eminence in many industries worldwide. Toyota has become the founder of the Lean system of manufacturing. Most of the
    early adherents to this system were other large Japanese companies, and responsible for the Japanese manufacturing miracle since the 1960's, as it was adapted from automotive to all manner of industries.
    The book is well written and interesting even though it is based on an MIT study of global trends in the auto industry. I would like to see an update to this book. The one anomaly I see is the German Automobile industry. If Japan and Korea have some of the most efficient auto manufacturing plants in the world and
    North America is becoming more competitive, what is happening in Europe comes as no surprise. Many European automakers have yet to fully embrace American mass production techniques and are now faced with the greater efficiencies of Lean
    production. The book does not explain in my mind the success of the German Auto industry. It seems to be the one exception to the rule.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent in-depth analysis of the automobile industry.
    In "The Machine That Changed the World", Womack, along with several other individuals, give an analysis of the Automobile Industry within global boundaries. This book was the summarization of a five year, five million dollar study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Analysis was provided for both foreign and domestic automobile manufacturers with an eye toward the future. This book spoke "globally" far earlier than it was hip to speak in such terms, analyzing such foreign automotive powers such as Toyota, with their Toyota Production System, perhaps the greatest example of Lean Manufacturing in the world. For anyone who would like to learn anything about the automobile industry in general, or even further, would like to learn about successful business practices, I highly recommend this text.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Don't "Machine" - try "Lean" instead
    If you are just starting out learning about Lean Manufacturing, and you only have time to read one book, "The Machine that Changed the World" is an historically important book but "Lean Thinking" is the one that actually gets you started toward implementation. It's one of those rare occasions where the sequel was better than the original.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Lean should be a journey not a destination
    This is the first book that I planned to read as a part of learning about lean, the other two books are "Lean thinking" and "Becoming Lean" , so far I could say that the "Machine that Changed the World" is a good benchmarking between craft, mass and lean producers. It mainly gives you an insight of the differences between lean and mass producers from the production, sales, marketing, customer relation and other dimensions. If you don't know about lean I really recommend you to start by reading his book because it will make you start to think in a lean way, if you know about lean and convinced about what it can do to you organization start with lean thinking and then go to "Becoming Lean".
    This book is aimed at strategic level and as a key tool to convince old timers about the lean-mentality against the push-mentality.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Introductory Book
    I usually refer to this kind of books as "Open Minds", are written in a very simple way that may seem that the content is simple, BUT IS NOT. This book is in my opinion a must read for any Industrial Engineers, Managers, Supervisors. It can be used also for training and kaizen events.
    Silly is that one that reads this book expecting that he will know everything about lean manufacturing, JIT, or modern IE.
    In summary, this book is the entrance to a new world with a new way of thinking and doing thins and it is a necessary complement to any technical book. ... Read more

    10. The Cambridge History of Japan: Volume 3, Medieval Japan (The Cambridge History of Japan)
    list price: $155.00
    our price: $155.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0521223547
    Catlog: Book (1990-04-27)
    Publisher: Cambridge University Press
    Sales Rank: 420893
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    This third volume in The Cambridge History of Japan is devoted to the three and a half centuries spanning the final decades of the twelfth century when the Kamakura bakufu was founded, to the mid-sixteenth century when civil wars raged following the effective demise of the Muromachi bakufu. Volume 3 contains thirteen specially commissioned essays written by leading Japanese and American scholars that survey the historical events and developments in medieval Japan's polity, economy, society, and culture, as well as its relations with its Asian neighbors.The essays reflect the most recent scholarly research on the history of this period.The volume creates a rich tapestry of the events that took place during these colorful centuries, when the warrior class ruled Japan, institutions underwent fundamental transformations, the economy grew steadily, and Japanese culture and society evolved with surprising vitality to leave legacies that still characterize and affect contemporary Japan. ... Read more

    Reviews (1)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive and Scholarly Review of Medieval Japan
    This is an outstanding work and provides both the lay reader and the scholar with a comprehensive discussion of Medieval Japan with all its complexities, richness, and fascinating detail. Understanding Japanese history is a challenge and this work provides an excellent and detailed background of the feudal period. ... Read more

    11. The Web That Has No Weaver : Understanding Chinese Medicine
    by Ted J. Kaptchuk
    list price: $21.95
    our price: $14.93
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0809228408
    Catlog: Book (2000-04-11)
    Publisher: McGraw-Hill
    Sales Rank: 8791
    Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Completely and thoroughly revised, The Web That Has No Weaver is the classic, comprehensive guide on the theory and practice of Chinese medicine. This accessible and invaluable resource has earned its place as the foremost authority in the synthesizing of Western and Eastern healing practices.

    ... Read more

    Reviews (10)

    3-0 out of 5 stars An OK source for TCM information
    I had to learn TCM basics as part of my chinese martial art training. This book was invaluable in learning the basics of TCM. Ted Kaptchuk's writing is at times confusing, but overall is pretty well easy to understand.

    A Great Book! 5 Stars

    ********************NEW COMMENTS************************
    The above was my former review of this book. It is now almost a year later and I am now enrolled in Chinese Medicine school. Now that I have to know a great deal of theory, I find that this book is a bit lacking on explanation, as compared to "Foundations of Chinese Medicine : A Comprehensive Text for Acupuncturists and Herbalists" by Giovanni Maciocia. This book, I find is a much better basic explanation of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) than "The Web That Has No Weaver." Apparently the California Acupuncture board uses The Web book for their exams, as well as others including Giovanni's. I wanted to correct my review now that I have some perspective and understanding in Chinese Medicine. Still a good book with 3 stars.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Eye-opening Primer on TCM and Taoist philosophy
    Lent to me by an acupuncture and herbal doctor, I originally read "The Web" without any prior background and found it extremely enlightening. Thousands of years of Chinese philosophy and medicine explained by a Western doctor helps to bridge the chasm between the two approaches to medical care.

    In the end, expect to be frustrated that Western medicine largely ignores what is proven to work, or steals the ideas and repackages them as "new".

    The irony of the title is that Taoist philosophy acknowledges the intricate web of life, but ignores the Creator (the weaver). This is because, unlike western medicine and philosophy, Taoists do not constantly ask "why?", but instead focus solely on mapping what is. Understanding this fundamental difference may be key to understanding the Chinese mind and how to deal with their government and people.

    This book gives one a sense of how much we could learn from the Chinese, and what Americans miss by ignoring a medical practice thousands of years old.

    Over the course of two years since first reading, my mind repeatedly returns to lessons learned from this book.

    4-0 out of 5 stars More Technical than you may want, but an eye-opening classic
    This text is often refered to as the classic introduction to Chinese Medicine Theory. Because I am not a practitioner of Chinese medicine--or of Biomedicine--I cannot comment on its accuracy of portraying its subject matter. (I have heard that various texts abound with differing interpretations.)

    I can say that the book is known as a classic, and it is HIGHLY DETAILED. It illustrates very well how Chinese Medicine is completely different from the view of health we are used to in "The West". For example, instead of diagnosing someone with cancer, or arrhythmia, or bronchitis, a diagnosis sounds something like dampness affecting the Spleen, Deficitent Kidney Yang, Congealed Blood, etc... (These are not respective equivalents for the western diagnoses cancer, et al.)

    And Blood, Kidney, Spleen, Spirit, and a host of other terms that look familiar to our eyes take on larger meanings than we are used to.

    What I liked best was the chapters on Meridians and on Organs, showing the organization of energy and systems of the human body.

    Other later chapters got extremely detailed. While this was more than I wanted, it was fine, I just skimmed them without trying to memorize or really remember too much. Just get a basic sense of how there is a completely different approach to health and illness, which showed me that different possibilities and viewpoints always exist. I definitely enjoyed the book despite being more technical than I wanted. It opened my eyes.

    (I am a massage therapist with just a pinch of training in "5 Element Theory" and Shiatsu, which is accupressure.)

    I found this book to be the most complete resource on Traditional Chinese Medicine. It goes through the introduction and goes to quite deep details of the basics, the diagnoses, and more. I found this book to be the best so far at explaining pulse diagnosis on a level understandable to a beginner.
    This book can be read on many, many levels. It is meant to be read several times over the course of one's studies of TCM, each time getting a bit more than the last time.
    Some advice to beginners like myself: If while reading this book you get stuck and feel uninterested and repelled by some part of the chapter, just skip it and move on. Don't get discouraged no matter what. You may just not be ready for that part yet. Skip it and move on to the next part. You can always come back and read it.
    I found that the language of this book is very easy and flowing, there is no difficult jargon at all. It is very smooth and easy to follow.
    An amazing book, I would recommend it to everyone interested in TCM!!

    4-0 out of 5 stars For those studying for the California State Board...
    This is a classic book for acupuncture in the U.S. In many places, it uses specific different terminology from other books. The appendixes contain a large amount of info on diagnosis and pattern differentiation. I had to pull out the patterns with unfamiliar names like "heat poison in the Liver and Gallbladder" to make sure I wasn't stumped on the test. Apart from the appendixes, however, the rest of the info is covered in other books or is too philosophical or speculative to be tested.

    It's not a bad first book for those new to chinese medicine, but it assumes you want to know a lot... and you may not! ... Read more

    12. Flyboys: A True Story of Courage
    by James Bradley
    list price: $25.95
    our price: $17.13
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0316105848
    Catlog: Book (2003-09)
    Publisher: Little, Brown
    Sales Rank: 752
    Average Customer Review: 3.19 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Flyboys is the true story of young American airmen who were shot down over Chichi Jima. Eight of these young men were captured by Japanese troops and taken prisoner. Another was rescued by an American submarine and went on to become president. The reality of what happened to the eight prisoners has remained a secret for almost 60 years. After the war, the American and Japanese governments conspired to cover up the shocking truth. Not even the families of the airmen were informed what had happened to their sons. It has remained a mystery—until now. Critics called James Bradley's last book "the best book on battle ever written." Flyboys is even better: more ambitious, more powerful, and more moving. On the island of Chichi Jima those young men would face the ultimate test. Their story—a tale of courage and daring, of war and of death, of men and of hope—will make you proud, and it will break your heart. ... Read more

    Reviews (141)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Thought Provoking Book About War.
    If you are looking for a feel good American heroes book this is not it. "Flyboys" is a very worthwhile and thought provoking book. There are times when it causes the reader to feel uncomfortable as it describes large scale and individual atrocities including cannibalism and mass murder performed by the Japanese that are very distressing to read about. Many of the previous patriotic reviewers I believe found it difficult to face the descriptions of the small and large scale violent and destructive American behavior even though it was dwarfed by the Japanese behavior.

    The author remained remarkably non judgmental in his descriptions. He tries to put in context the violent behavior, although not to excuse it, by supplying relevant cutural and historic background.

    The book invites us to examine the contrast between war time and peacetime humanity. Which is really us? Is war time meanness just kept below the surface during times of peace? It reminds us that when hundreds of thousands of lives are lost, that these are the lives of valuable individuals whether American or others. It emphasizes the remarkable heroism and perhaps the naivete of our servicemen particularly our "Flyboys." They were heroes especially because they completely understood the risks they were taking and proceeded out of choice because they were needed. George Bush Sr., as one of them , is featured as a sensitive and lucky(to be alive)hero.

    The Japanese soldiers were brutalized by their officers and were required to follow orders without question. One gets concerned about group think and herd mentality. How independent are human beliefs and actions? Do we actually choose them or are we mostly a product of the society in which we were raised? We must intuitively know that it is wrong to bayonet a restrained man with a sharpened bamboo pole with the purpose of of causing pain, prior to beheading him while still alive, The officers who ordered this behavior earn our contempt. They force soldiers to carry out their orders as if they were slaves.

    The Japanese "Spirit Warrier" believed that all orders originated with their Emperor who they believed descended from the Sun Goddess. In a way they were following their faith. Is it right to unquestioningly follow a religious leader or a religious belief ie Jihad,or perhaps to believe that followers of our culture are more worthwhile than the followers of other cultures. We must have known as Americans in the 19th century that slavery was wrong and that women should have the right to vote but it took us a long time to correct these injustices. Were we not deserving of contempt for thoughtlessly following the group think?

    This is a history of WWII in the Pacific told mainly through a small group of people involved with the battle for the island of Chichi Jima by an author who is a truth seeking patriotic American whose father was incidentally a flag raiser at Iwo Jima. It raises our awareness of the horrors of war. It ends with some optimism and descriptions of forgiveness or at least understanding by memebers of both sides. There is even some real humanity displayed as Private Iwatake, who developed a personal relationshop with a subsequently beheaded cannibalized "Flyboy" named Warren Earl Vaughn, when phoned by the author, doing his research, answers the phone with, "Hello, this is Warren." He had changed his name to honor his dead prisoner.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Has its faults, but important nevertheless...
    I read about 20 of the earlier reviews of "Flyboys" as I struggled through the book this past week. Some of the negative comments are deserved, such as referring to the late Gen. Curtis LeMay as "Curtis" in half or more of the references to him. This is bizarre and distracting. Whether a result of careless editing or author-torial stubborness, it does not work. Also, I agree that the term "Flyboys" as a collective description of pilots, gunners and radiomen is over-used. I also agree that the book perhaps tries to cover too much history and abandons its cover story for too many pages at a time. Some condensing and reorganization would have enhanced its power. That said, many of the other negative comments seem to be unfair. Yes, Mr. Bradley dwells on America's mistreatment of Indians and Filipinos at length, including prisoners of war. Yes, he gives disgusting details of how our napalm drops on Japanese cities destroyed civilians indiscriminately. But he is not making up those facts. And to emphasize how easily combat and its stresses can make soldiers willing to do horrible deeds is not exactly the same thing as excusing the acts. I have read my share of WW II books, as I near 60 years of age, and "Flyboys" is the first one which sensibly explains how the Japanese fighter rationalized not only his willingness to die in already-lost battles, but his contempt for those from other cultures who chose to be prisoners of war instead. To explain the Japanese viewpoint, again, is not to excuse the acts. Nor is it unpatriotic.

    "Flyboys" describes disgusting acts of brutality and cannibalism, and is ultimately a very sad tale. It is not a work that should be tackled by readers who are emotionally fragile. As most people reading this review will already know, Mr. Bradley's dad was one of the Iwo Jima flag-raisers, wounded physically by Japanese soldiers in that fight, and wounded in some ways psychologically by the whole of his wartime service. The fact that his son went off to study in Japan, and developed much respect for the residents there, must have been painful and puzzling for the father. But I don't think any intelligent reader of Bradley's earlier book, "Flags of Our Fathers" or of "Flyboys" can question the younger Bradley's respect for our troops or our country. One of our strengths as a representative democracy is that we can love our nation for having humane ideals even if we are imperfect in living up to them every minute. And we can learn from injustices committed in our names by our government or military agents, and change our ways.

    I stuck with "Flyboys" right to the end, flaws and all, and I'm glad I did. It gets more powerful as it goes on, and it does finish the story of the eight Chichi Jima American POW's as much as it could be completed, so long after their 1945 deaths. We live in a time when we may be facing 30 years or more of sporadic war with terrorists and the countries which fund and hide them. To read a book which makes war and its (initially) unintended horrors seem like a step to be accepted only with the greatest caution is not a bad thing right now. While Mr. Bradley is not the smoothest historian/writer on the block, he shows promise. In some ways this book is better than "Flags of Our Fathers" despite its problems of style, language and organization. For sure, it is more important than the previous book, because the Iwo Jima battle story had already been well-covered in earlier works. Former President George Bush came close to being a prisoner on Chichi Jima, and plays a small part in this book. If he cooperated, and if he thinks Jim Bradley has done a service to the country with his research into the horrors of war in the Pacific from both sides, I won't argue with him. He was there, I was not. I'm glad I read "Flyboys" but unlike "Flags of Our Fathers" which I've read three times since it was first published, I won't be reading it twice. Its medicine is too strong for a second dose.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Strays way off course
    I am very offended in the tone that book takes in regard to comparing Japan's Chinese campaign with our final offensives in Germany and Japan. With all of the well written reviews I do not have much to add except to say that Japan was dead in the water and would have fought to the last man, woman and child. I also think that the nuclear bombs definately did create a new level of war and by doing so expedited the surrender. I am tired of people trying to apologize for America, the fact remains if they did not engage us then they would not have faced our wrath. The Chinese on the other hand recieved the barbaric wrath of Japan without so much as provoking them. I suppose we are supposed to draw a parallel in our manifest destiny or turn of the century Phillipine campaigns that were both in a very different era. By taking away all of Japans budget to make war America gave them a head start on creating a modern economy unparalleled in the world.

    This book gets three stars for having some nice solid sections when it stays on task and does not get to preachy. If it wasn't for that I would have flunked it. The author has talent though and the read is pretty good being that is so severly flawed.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Not sure what to make of this book
    First off, I find it surprising that this story was not told sooner, as it involved a future U.S. president (I suppose much of the information was not available until recently). I give Bradley credit for telling the story of the airmen who gave their lives in service to our country, but I'm not sure what to make of Bradley's commentary on U.S. policy before and during World War II. It's true that atrocities happen in war, and the actions of our military should not be whitewashed. It seems wrong to me, however, to try to draw moral equivalency between the aggressors, and those who fight that aggression at great cost to themselves so that others may enjoy freedom. I also reject Bradley's suggestions that all atrocities committed by the Japanese were a direct result of earlier U.S. actions, however wrong those actions may have been (Bradley's description of the Japanese corruption of the Samauri code seems to contradict his own assertions regarding this point). I rate "Flyboys" 3 stars for telling a story that should have been told earlier, but I have reservations about the revisionist history in the book.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Very disappointing, misleading title
    A few months ago, I overheard an argument by two people over this book, so I figured I would read it myself to see what it was really like. I must say I was very disappointed. The first few chapters are not even about World War II. The title is misleading, for it is not really about "Flyboys", and the author uses it as a platform to condemn the use of airpower. Unfortunately, civilians were killed in bombing raids, but it should be remembered that it was the Germans and the Japanese who started this war. The author also sees very little, if any, difference, between the Americans and Japanese, yet he overlooks who rebuilt Japan. If Japan had defeated the US, would they have rebuilt our cities? I highly doubt. There are better books about World War II in the Pacific, and certainly better books that portray the courage of the American Fighting Man. ... Read more

    13. Maximum City : Bombay Lost and Found
    list price: $27.95
    our price: $18.45
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0375403728
    Catlog: Book (2004-09-21)
    Publisher: Knopf
    Sales Rank: 757
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    14. Stalin's Folly : The Tragic First Ten Days of World War Two on the Eastern Front
    by Constantine Pleshakov
    list price: $26.00
    our price: $17.16
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0618367012
    Catlog: Book (2005-05-15)
    Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
    Sales Rank: 7596
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    On June 22, 1941, Hitler launched a massive three-pronged attack on the Soviet Union, and in days his troops were within reach of Moscow. The attack was stunning, but Stalin"s response was even more astonishing. During the invasion, the mighty Soviet military stood in place while its soldiers were slaughtered by the hundreds of thousands.

    Drawing on a wealth of newly available documents, from classified Politburo papers and diaries of key generals to diplomatic cables and secret police memos, the Russian historian Constantine Pleshakov paints a startling portrait of Stalin, one of history"s most feared despots, as a vulnerable and paralyzed leader. Refusing to believe that the Germans would strike first, despite repeated warnings, he continued to supply them with war materials in the days before the attack, then tied his generals" hands in the crucial first hours of the invasion. For more than a week, while Hitler rolled over Soviet territory, Stalin cowered in his dacha, leaving the country rudderless and — as Pleshakov reveals here — nearly losing power. The Red Army"s effort to regain the territory lost in those first ten days cost more than 10 million Soviet lives.

    Stalin"s Folly is a dramatic hour-by-hour account that sheds light
    on an enigmatic and ruthless figure while providing a new and far
    deeper understanding of Russian history.
    ... Read more

    Reviews (4)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A must read
    Stalin could not be woken.The warnings had been there all along.Zhukov was calling him on the phone.Operation Barbaroosa was already in full swing, the greatest titanic clash of arms the world had ever seen began on June 22nd, 1941.This book takes the reader through the outbreak of hostilities to the first ten days.The lead up to the war and the causes of Russia's weak position are given a tour de force of story telling.We learn how Stalin, while pretending to prepare for war and claiming he knows the attack is coming, puts his army in the worst possible situation.

    When war comes, the army is helpless, the commanders shaken, and they want leadership.Stalin offers to resign, and then he disappears.He is shaken too. He has been betrayed?Perhaps he worries he will lose his empire?Zhukov and the few competent Soviet commanders are forced to deal.In the end millions die, hundreds of thousands are captured.10 days did no change the world however.As the Nazis strike deep into Soviet territory already the gears are coming into motion that will make the Russian war machine unstoppable.For all his failings Stalin had built up a country economically to win, he had instilled an ideology of victory.Stalin waited for the Germans in Moscow and he declared "if the Germans want a war of extermination they will get one." When Churchill visited in 1942, Stalin said "the Germans are not supermen".

    This is a masterful account of these days, an insiders account of the Soviet mindset, a character study of people under crises, no one will be disappointed with this excellent account.

    Seth J. Frantzman

    5-0 out of 5 stars Stalin's Follyis a great read!
    By 1941 Stalin had either killed off his best military leaders or brutally subdued them into fearful and servile yes-men.His psychotic breakdown in the face of the German invasion paralyzed the Red Army and resulted in the needless slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Soviet soldiers and civilians.

    Pleshakov transforms the history of the first ten days of World War II into a profoundly moving account of the capacity of the human spirit to survive.His portrait of Stalin is devastatingly on target.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Ten (More) Days That Shook the World
    Constantine Pleshakov's Stalin's Folly is a comprehensive and compelling examination of the first ten days of the German invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941.

    The invasion and the events leading up to it are well known.Pleshakov begins the story by tracing briefly the course of evens in Easter Europe in the two years before the invasion.The Hitler-Stalin Pact was signed on August 23, 1939.Eight days later, the German military launched its blitzkrieg against Poland.After the rapid defeat of Poland and pursuant to secret protocols in place between Germany and the USSR, the conquered territories were divided into Soviet and German spheres of influence.Estonia, Latvia and the eastern portion of Poland were placed under the Soviet sphere.

    In an extended introductory section, Pleshakov points out that the Soviet defensive fortifications running along its old border, strong and well built, were dismantled and plans for new fortifications along the new border were made.Most of the Soviet air force was also moved into these forward areas. By the time of the invasion the new fortifications were not complete.Further the Soviet general staff and virtually its entire officer corps had either been killed or sent to the Gulag in Stalin's purges.The survivors included older cavalry generals from the Civil War and newly promoted senior officers such as the soon to be world famous Georgy Zhukov.

    Despite their inexperience the Soviet High Command understood that Stalin's decision to position the bulk of his army and air force so close to the front lines was extraordinarily dangerous.From a military viewpoint, defensive lines should be further from the initial point of attack so they would have time to deploy effectively.This advance positioning would only be effective if Soviet forces were planning a preemptive attack on the German forces.And this is exactly what Stalin was planning.Pleshakov's extensive research into Soviet archives indicates that Stalin planned a preemptive strike to commence in June 1942.Stalin knew the pact would not last but that the Germans would not attack until after Hitler's armies had conquered Britain. Sadly for Stalin, by the summer of 1940 Hitler had decided not to invade Britain and turned his attention east. Hitler instructed his general staff to plan for an invasion, codenamed Operation Barbarossa, to begin in the spring of 1941.

    Once the invasion begins, in the dawn hours of June 22, 1941 Pleshakov takes the reader on a detailed, almost hour-by-hour discussion of the disastrous first ten days.These were ten days in which Stalin would not speak to the Soviet people.Pleshakov details Stalin's mood swings, his deep depression and panic.Disastrous counterattacks were ordered.On the first day of the invasion virtually the entire Soviet Air Force was destroyed on the ground. Three weeks into the war, the Soviet Union had lost 28 infantry divisions and 600,000 soldiers out of 3 million in uniform.It would take 3 more years and at least 10 million more Soviet lives before the territorylost in the first ten days of the war was liberated by the Red Army.

    It is a tribute to Pleshakov's writing skills that he conveys the drama and suspense of an event that we know the outcome of.I should also add that the fact that this work may be called a popular history does not mean that Pleshakov's research and attention to detail is less than rigorous. It is.

    Shakespeare once wrote, that "the common curse of mankind,-folly and ignorance, be thine in great revenue!"As Pleshakov so artistically and intelligently shows, folly was found in great revenue in the first ten days of the war on the Eastern Front.Yet he also shows the courage and resilience of the people of the Soviet Union that enabled them to eventually stem the tide and destroy the German armies in the east.This is an excellent book. Anyone interested in the Second World War or Soviet history should enjoy it immensely.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent book
    An excellent source for the first few weeks of the War on the Eastern Front.A few minor mistakes here and there (like saying 35,000 officers were killed in the purges, when in fact 35,000 were arrested) but overall it is an invaluable addition to the literature on the time period and events it describes.At times hour by hour accounts of what was going on, excellent descriptions about the problems units had in terms of communications with their superiors and suborindates as well as the devastation suffered by front line units and the useless counter-attacks and conflicting orders being sent out.Well worth the read. ... Read more

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

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

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

    Reviews (234)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    16. The Fourth Crusade And The Sack Of Constantinople
    by Jonathan Phillips
    list price: $25.95
    our price: $17.13
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0670033502
    Catlog: Book (2004-10-21)
    Publisher: Viking Books
    Sales Rank: 2845
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    Book Description

    In 1202, zealous western Christians gathered in Venice determined to liberateJerusalemfrom the grip of Islam.But the crusaders never made it to the Holy Land.Steeredforward by the shrewd Venetian doge, they descended instead on Constantinople,wreaking devastation so terrible and inflicting scars so deep that as recentlyas 2001 PopeJohn Paul II offered an apology to the Greek Orthodox Church.

    The crusaders spared no one: They raped and massacred thousands, plunderedchurches,and torched the lavish city. A prostitute danced on the altar of the ravagedHagia Sophia.And by 1204, barbarism masquerading as piety had shattered one of the greatcivilizations of history. Here, on the eight hundredth anniversary of the sack,is theextraordinary story of this epic catastrophe, told for the first time outside ofacademia byJonathan Phillips, a leading expert on the crusades.

    Knights and commoners, monastic chroniclers, courtly troubadours, survivors ofthecarnage, and even Pope Innocent III left vivid accounts detailing the events ofthose twofateful years. Using their remarkable letters, chronicles, and speeches,Phillips traces theway in which any region steeped in religious fanaticism, in this case ChristianEurope,might succumb to holy war. ... Read more

    17. Healing with Ki-Kou: The Secrets of Ancient Chinese Breathing Techniques, Second Edition
    by Li Xiuling
    list price: $29.95
    our price: $29.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1891434179
    Catlog: Book (2003-09)
    Publisher: Agora Health Books
    Sales Rank: 73327
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    Book Description

    Virtually unknown outside of China, Ki-kou is an ancient healing technique that is a unique combination of mindful targeted breathing, simple flowing movements, and restful poses. These gentle exercises, handed down for centuries by traditional Chinese doctors, are designed to harness your body’s own natural healing abilities.

    Ki-kou is a powerful weapon against illness that moves beyond many traditional yoga techniques, offering targeting healing benefits. Using the principle of chi, considered by Eastern disciplines to be the energy source that carries life through your body, this step-by step guide brings improved health and self-awareness while targeting specific health complaints ranging from the common-cold, to cancer, to back pain.

    The gentle yet highly effective nature of the Ki-kou technique makes it appropriate for everyone from those just starting to exercise to athletes—from teenagers to older adults. Ki-kou can be used as a stand-alone fitness and healing program or in combination with traditional yoga, QiGong, or western exercise plans. ... Read more

    by David H. Hackworth
    list price: $22.00
    our price: $14.96
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0671695347
    Catlog: Book (1990-04-15)
    Publisher: Touchstone
    Sales Rank: 34313
    Average Customer Review: 4.74 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (57)

    5-0 out of 5 stars One of the greatest leaders of the 20th century

    I first heard of Colonel Hackworth when I was a cadet at the United States Coast Guard Academy, where he came and gave a guest lecture during my sophomore year. After hearing him talk, I had to go out and get his book.

    "About Face" is, quite simply, the best book I've ever read...again and again. Colonel Hackworth's no-nonsense approach to leadership is tried-and-true, and what makes each point hit home is that he has learned everything through real life experience. The stories that he tells in this book are not just entertaining. They tell a lot about the life of a soldier; they tell a lot about a military hierarchy and how it should work (as opposed to how it works now); they tell us what really happened in Vietnam and how the U.S. Government "black balled" Colonel Hackworth in order to quell public disatisfaction with the war in Vietnam. He doesn't just make this book a bitch session....he offers his expert opinion as a soldier and a leader about how to correct what is happening to our fighting forces. He offers comparisons to leaders of the past and insight into the leaders of the future...and the future of our military leaders looks bleak.

    Lastly, this book isn't just about being a military leader and telling war stories. This book is a must read for anybody that is in charge of anything or anyone. Many of the points he makes in his book apply "across the board". Being a leader is a skill as well as a science. Learn from the best, because "those who fail to study history are doomed to repeat it".


    5-0 out of 5 stars Eye Opener
    This book will show what really goes on in the army, it is an eye opener. Check out his web site: A lot of good information.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A True Warrior
    Hackworth has produced a well written and provocative book concerning his time in the USA Army beginning with his enlistment at the end of WWII. His thoughts on the Vietnam War and the Army's command structure and bureaucracy created a lasting impression with me. Obviously he writes from his own perspective, but many of his ideas are worth discussing and giving more thought. A great book about one person's Vietnam experience.

    5-0 out of 5 stars I should have read this in High School
    For those of you people who have read this, and more specifically the guys I went to Marmion Military Academy with; I never really understood who Walter Schroeder was (Good ol' Steady Schroeder- as Hack refers to him) until I read this book. Mother, Fathers, if your kids are thinking about ROTC scholarships or joining the military in any way at all you need to read this book and then make them read it before they sign on the line that is dotted!

    Raise your glasses to Colonel David Hackworth!

    Thank you, Sir. ... Read more

    19. 1421 : The Year China Discovered America
    by Gavin Menzies
    list price: $15.95
    our price: $11.16
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 006054094X
    Catlog: Book (2004-01-01)
    Publisher: Perennial
    Sales Rank: 5046
    Average Customer Review: 3.42 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    On March 8, 1421, the largest fleet the world had ever seen set sail from China. Its mission was "to proceed all the way to the ends of the earth to collect tribute from the barbarians beyond the seas" and unite the whole world in Confucian harmony.

    When it returned in October 1423, the emperor had fallen, leaving China in political and economic chaos. The great ships were left to rot at their moorings and the records of their journeys were destroyed. Lost in China's long, self-imposed isolation that followed was the knowledge that Chinese ships had reached America seventy years before Columbus and had circumnavigated the globe a century before Magellan. Also concealed was how the Chinese colonized America before the Europeans and transplanted in America and other countries the principal economic crops that have fed and clothed the world.

    Unveiling incontrovertible evidence of these astonishing voyages, 1421 rewrites our understanding of history. Our knowledge of world exploration as it has been commonly accepted for centuries must now be reconceived due to this landmark work of historical investigation.

    ... Read more

    Reviews (128)

    I encourage anyone interested in the history of world exploration to read 1421 because it contains a nice collection of the information known about the Chinese explorations as well as some very interesting speculation about why the european explorations of the late 15th and early 16th centuries were so successful. The book does a good job of identifying numerous objects, sites, and areas of research whose study could provide answers to the many open questions about the Chinese explorations.

    The most interesting part of the book, to me, is the speculation on how the Columbus brothers conspired to distort the secret Portuguese maps to convince the Spanish court that the western route to the Orient was shorter than the eastern route being explored by the Portuguese.

    However, Menzies claims about his discoveries and insights are extremely overblown. He seems to suffer from the same myopia that he accuses europeans of - the facts (rather than America) were not known until he discovered them, no matter how many people were there before him.

    I tired of hearing about what he discovered, and the only possible conclusion on page after page. Menzies correctly categorizes himself on page 406 when he references those who preceded him in drawing conclusions about he Piri Reis map. Hapgood proved the map was the product of an ancient and unknown civilization and von Daniken proved it had extra-terrestrial origins. There are enough facts, including the Piri Reis map, that Menzies' rampant speculations and claims really aren't necessary. I would prefer to let the professinal historians decide what is proven.

    1421 includes information that will be new to most readers, but most of the significant facts have been in circulation for some time. His statements to the contrary are as accurate as the 1421 web page statement that "...historical purists have constantly stood their ground in the belief that Columbus was the first to discover America". Putting aside the aboriginal discoverers, most school children know about the Vikings, and many of us know about some of the others.

    The several pre-columbian discoveries of the western hemisphere and other parts of the world are interesting curiosities. What sets off Columbus's discoveries from the rest, is that his discovery had important and immediate consequences.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A History I Never Knew
    In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean in search of new land. This is what westernized history would have us believe. Gavin Menzies, a retired Royal Navy Submarine commanding officer and amateur historian, is the author of the book, "1421: The year China discovered the world." Menzies writes about a history that only a few individuals have heard of. In the novel 1421 it is stated that the largest fleet the world had ever seen sailed from China. The Emperor of China and his fleet journeyed across the Indian Ocean to discover new land and were the first to colonize and inhabit North America. Admiral Zheng, who served under several powerful Chinese emperors, commanded this journey using star charts. This book contains compelling evidence that Chinese explorers were able to solve the problem of longitude long before Western seafarers. Artifacts of the Chinese voyage have been discovered all around the coastal areas of North and South America. Zheng and his Chinese fleet not only discovered America 72 years before Columbus but also colonized the new world. Menzies' controversial book is fascinating. His theory that the Chinese had discovered North America before Columbus will appeal to historical conservatives and skeptics alike. One possible area for concern in regards to Menzies' theory is that western scholars will require incontrovertible proof to support his claim. The claim that China predated Columbus' voyage to the America is truly interesting. Despite some shortcomings, Menzies' book offers an interesting read, one that will satisfy inquiring minds and historians alike.

    5-0 out of 5 stars I HOPE it's true!
    If you read this lively and entertaining book, you'll hope Gavin Menzies is right and will offer further evidence of his notions. This book is certainly a bit fanciful, but just too fun to ignore.

    The idea that Europeans were nothing more than "also rans" shakes the bedrock of our historical foundation, but the snippets of miscellaneous 'discoveries' (such as the strange descriptions of kangaroos, the flora and fauna transplants, and the suspicious wreckages located off far-flung coasts) tempt me towards investigating the 'new' frontiers of speculation.

    I don't doubt Menzies' sailing expertise, but he needs a battery of other experts to back up some of his tangential theories. I certainly hope he finds them. I look forward to reading the further research that is sure to follow. It would certainly be fun to imagine that the Chinese managed to get an ancient ship lodged in San Francisco, located the North Pole, mined in Australia, and swapped goods with the early Central Americans.

    With style and enthusiasm, Gavin Menzies opened up a big 'can-o-worms' that will provide several decades of exciting study and further speculation. This book is a great place to begin that intellectual journey that awaits.

    (paperback version)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Interesting but with flaws
    Different - it certainly addresses the euro-centric view of world exploration, but there are some parts I found suspect or disappointing.

    The introductory map professes to be of East Asia in 1421, but it describes Persia as being within the modern boundaries of Iran, and gives modern boundaries to China, Mongolia & the Russian Far East? This fails to represent whatever were the true spheres of influence.

    Repeatedly Menzies confuses cause & effect. Many of the resultant journeys appear to be based upon the Chinese having prior knowledge of Ocean currents, eg in the Pacific the South Equatorial Current divides, going North to the Philippines and South to Australia. So apparently the fleet deliberately divides itself in 2 - but surely if they did divide, it was accidental, as the hitherto unknown Current flow caught them unawares?

    They were swept up the Sacramento River from San Francisco Bay at the mercy of the prevailing winds, but then there is no explanation of how did they ever get back again to the open sea?

    He waxes lyrical about the problems of measuring Longitude, but when he draws his own maps, such as those of the Chinese Island bases across the South Pacific, the maps aren't accurate, eg placing Easter Island some 3,000 miles west of its true position.

    For a book with such a strong emphasis on geography, spoilt by some sloppy cartography.

    5-0 out of 5 stars 1421 by Menzies
    This is an excellent rendition on the early explorations of the
    Chinese around the globe. Under the leadership of Zhu Di,
    worldwide travel flourished in China. Advanced concepts of
    Maritime Engineering were implemented. Chinese seafarers
    ate fish and Oolong tea. The explorations began in China and
    traversed India, the Far East, Africa, the Falkland Islands and
    Australia. For the first time, the DNA of the American Indians
    contained diseases which originated in China. The Maize
    plant was unknown in China previous to an explorer named "He".
    Zhou Man's fleet reached Australia as evidenced by numerous
    fortresses in the general area. Chinese records dating back to
    1430 showed illustrations of "Strange Countries". There are many
    beautiful pictures in full color. Spectacular shots of
    Antartica are depicted, as well as numerous maps of the Old World. This book has a wide constituency of readers including
    historians, teachers, students, political scientists and a considerable general readership. The work would be perfect
    for a student project in World History/Culture. This rendition
    provides a rare perspective on China in the 14th and 15th centuries. Just the pictures alone are worth the price of the volume. The author's
    perspective is unusual. In many ways, it rewrites the history
    of the period. There are sporadic factual patterns to support
    the contention that the Chinese were early travellers to the
    new world. The findings of this author will require more
    investigation and authentication by historians. In the interim,
    the presentation will continue to fascinate readers and
    contradict fairly well known and established facts on the
    history of the new world. ... Read more

    20. Born to Rule : Five Reigning Consorts, Granddaughters of Queen Victoria
    by Julia P. Gelardi
    list price: $29.95
    our price: $19.77
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0312324235
    Catlog: Book (2005-03-19)
    Publisher: St. Martin's Press
    Sales Rank: 533495
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