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    $18.45 list($27.95)
    1. Twilight at Little Round Top :
    $9.00 $1.88 list($12.00)
    2. The Road from Coorain
    $10.46 $8.60 list($13.95)
    3. The Songlines
    $10.17 $5.98 list($14.95)
    4. We Die Alone: A WWII Epic of Escape
    $16.47 list($24.95)
    5. Carnivorous Nights : On the Trail
    $16.96 list($19.95)
    6. Argonauts of the Western Pacific
    $19.77 $11.98 list($29.95)
    7. The Endurance : Shackleton's Legendary
    $106.98 list($65.00)
    8. Contemporary Jewellery in Australia
    $11.53 $11.33 list($16.95)
    9. The Worst Journey in the World
    $16.47 $5.99 list($24.95)
    10. Ada Blackjack : A True Story of
    $20.99 $14.22
    11. A Concise History of Australia
    $24.00 $13.50
    12. Hidden Horrors: Japanese War Crimes
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    13. The Girl From Botany Bay
    $12.24 $4.67 list($18.00)
    14. The Fatal Shore : The epic of
    15. Taking the Risk Out of Democracy:
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    16. Soap Opera and Women's Talk :
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    17. Highway to Hell : The Life and
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    18. Sea Of Glory: America's Voyage
    $29.95 $19.32
    19. The South Pole
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    20. Ice Blink: The Tragic Fate of

    1. Twilight at Little Round Top : July 2, 1863--The Tide Turns at Gettysburg
    by Glenn W.LaFantasie
    list price: $27.95
    our price: $18.45
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0471462314
    Catlog: Book (2005-02-25)
    Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
    Sales Rank: 260997
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    Book Description

    The dramatic story of Gettysburg’s most crucial engagement–the struggle for Little Round Top

    Little Round Top was a strategically placed hill on the Union line at Gettysburg–a hill that saw some of the fiercest fighting of the war on July 2, 1863. Now, in this masterly account, one of the country’s preeminent experts on Gettysburg brings the struggle for Little Round Top to life. Drawing on newly discovered documents, Glenn LaFantasie reconstructs the engagement from the perspective of ordinary soldiers, capturing in vivid detail the bloody assaults by Alabama and Texas troops, the celebrated counterattack by Colonel Joshua L. Chamberlain’s 20th Maine Infantry, and the New York infantry charge that ultimately won the day.

    Glenn W. LaFantasie (Rhode Island) has written for several magazines and newspapers, including MHQ, North & South, the New York Times Book Review, and American History. He is working on a biography of William C. Oates. ... Read more

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

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

    Reviews (38)

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

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

    A book that will stay will me always.

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

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

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

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

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

    3. The Songlines
    by Bruce Chatwin
    list price: $13.95
    our price: $10.46
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0140094296
    Catlog: Book (1988-06-01)
    Publisher: Penguin Books
    Sales Rank: 31712
    Average Customer Review: 4.19 out of 5 stars
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    The late Bruce Chatwin carved out a literary career as unique as any writer's in this century: his books included In Patagonia, a fabulist travel narrative, The Viceroy of Ouidah, a mock-historical tale of a Brazilian slave-trader in 19th century Africa, and The Songlines, his beautiful, elegiac, comic account of following the invisible pathways traced by the Australian aborigines. Chatwin was nothing if not erudite, and the vast, eclectic body of literature that underlies this tale of trekking across the outback gives it a resonance found in few other recent travel books. A poignancy, as well, since Chatwin's untimely death made The Songlines one of his last books. ... Read more

    Reviews (42)

    5-0 out of 5 stars An Exhilaratingly Complex Experience
    Ordinarily, I say it is difficult to single out one book as significantly above others when I've read a steady stream of good ones, but THE SONGLINES belongs in a rarefied class. It has immediately moved into the pantheon of my all time favorites.

    THE SONGLINES is a trip to central Australia, to Aboriginal country. In the 1980s, Chatwin found it to be a hardscrabble territory under an unforgiving sun, where the remote, sparse population mostly gets along in corrugated metal shelters. The sociological, political and economic condition of the Aborigines compares to that of the American Indian. Most of the white European locals don't quite seem to know how or why they have been plunked down in this weird, other planet. Hooking up with a savvier group of anthropologists and social workers, Chatwin looks for the songlines of an Aboriginal mythology, sacred paths spun out across the inscrutable terrain, each marked by a song that carries identity and connection to the prime movers at the beginning of time.

    Along the way, Chatwin includes portraits of the people he meets, historical notes and readings of anthropology, evolutionary theory, and philosophy. In this far away land, he finds the stimulus that helps him organize a lifetime of readings and memories that come together in a meditation on the human need to travel and to make and share meaning. Looking at the contemporary scene and people, he can see back to the very emergence of humans.

    Chatwin casts a spell you do not want to be broken. I suggest that if you do not know much about him, resist that strong impulse to start reading biographical notes and commentary on the book until after you have finished the book. None of what's out there will deny you its excellence; it just might poke a confusing hole in the reality it has created. The book is an exhilaratingly profound experience in the accessible guise of a pleasant, insightful travelogue. Ask why its author considered it fiction after you've read it.

    3-0 out of 5 stars A journey of discovery
    Bruce Chatwin is considered to be a travel writer. However, he, himself, called this particular book a work of fiction.

    This is basically a journey of discovery. He wanted to learn about the Aboriginal and their "dreaming tracks". As they walk about the land they sing the names of every plant and rock and these "songlines" are one huge maze that define their world.

    He describes the people he meets and his quest to find out more and more, and the book is full of these descriptions. However, it doesn't really have a coherent feel to it, especially during the last third of the book, where he diverts completely from the present and inserts pieces from his notebooks that he had been keeping for many years.

    Basically, Mr. Chatwin is a philosopher who is fascinated with the nomadic existence, and the reader is subject to many anthropological theories about animal and human migration and the nature of human beings. While these concepts are interesting, it just couldn't sustain my interest, and I found much of this part boring.

    The book did increase my understanding of the Aboriginal world however, and added another element to my understanding of Australia. I yearn to know more. And that is good. But it was just too meandering and wordy for me.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Swansong
    'One man's impassioned song' is how the Sunday Telegraph describes this rare jewel of a book and a more apt description of it couldn't be found. It is truly one man's, one great artist's swansong to eternity and like all great works it has something to say to all of us.

    Billed as a 'travel book,' Bruce Chatwin's 'Songlines' is that in name only. Following in the steps of other literateurs who were also originally pigeonholed as mere travel writers ie. Conrad, Greene, etc...Chatwin magically transforms a place, the Australian outback, and a people, the 'aboriginals,' into the characters of a majestic cosmic play. In truth, Songlines is really an accessible and persuasive treatise on the nature of man, hiding under the guise of a travel book.

    Chatwin's thesis is simple: that human beings are migratory--'nomadic' is his catchy phrase--in their most natural (read here, best) state. To support this thesis, Chatwin follows the ancestral songlines of the Australian aboriginals who believe the world and all its creations were sung into existence by their semi-divine 'ancestors.' To reaffirm their identity, their place in this world and the 'world' itself, today's Aboriginals retrace the routes their ancestors walked across the continent, re-singing everything back into life. In mapping out this moving creation myth, Chatwin enlists the help of aboriginal 'expert,' Arkady, erudite son of Ukrainian exiles. With vibrant color, humor and sun-drenched clarity, Chatwin recounts their memorable encounters with the sometimes freakish, always original, denizens of the Australian outback.

    To support his claim of man as migratory animal, Chatwin interrupts these gem-like anecdotes with a vast array of historical and anthropological aphorisms, facts and commentary. While their placement sometimes appears rather arbitrary, these tidbits spice up the whole and provide a pleasant balance to the stories that surround them.

    Songlines is hard to put down as the effortless, pristine style carries the reader along on a voyage all its own. Nicholas Shakespeare wasn't far off the mark in crowning Chatwin as the 'greatest stylist writing in England today.' Even if you don't buy the idea the book is selling, the writing itself is enough to recommend it. Especially for writer wannabes. Every sentence is a cut and polished gem. Terse, tight and clean, all the fat has been cut off, leaving the choicest morsels. And what morsels! Not only does Chatwin say it exquisitely, he also has something to say. That's not just fine writing, that's art.

    And if the writing isn't enough, the seeds of thought that Songlines plants are tough stuff and unlikely to blow away all that easily. Chatwin makes a strong case that when humans decided to 'settle' down---to civilize themselves---they actually caused more evil than good. Settling down meant holding onto things and marking out borders of possession. And because our natural restlessness became inihibited, we learned to covet more things and wider boundaries. Not only that, but by settling down we lost something profoundly important to our physical and spiritual makeup: our connection with the earth itself and with its other inhabitants, who, unlike us, seem content to take only what they need and then move on.

    Songlines' greatest message is that life itself is a journey. Therefore, we should live it as one, constantly moving, constantly growing to the next level of existence, learning to let go of that which was never 'ours' to possess.

    Those who are looking for such a journey into the human condition won't regret picking up Songlines!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing and important
    This is a difficult book to describe: it masquerades as a Theroux style travelogue, but is anything but. I love Paul Theroux, but this totally transcends his travel writing. Chatwin starts out describing a trip to the Australian Outback. It starts out pretty conventional, in beautiful descriptive prose...but before too long you realize you are actually reading Chatwin's brilliant ruminations about the human race as a species, where we came from, and where we are going. The book is NOT really about the Aborigines, though they provide a number of terrific characters, and I suspect someone who really wanted to know more about the actual Songlines could be disappointed by this book. He very clearly sets up his own views against those of many important and popular thinkers. To sum it up, he makes a case that humans are not really an aggressive species at heart, and that evolution has not really programmed the human to fight for power but to defend the tribe. Not every will agree with this, but he makes a wonderful case and the book is beautiful and crystalline and should be read by everyone.

    4-0 out of 5 stars A very human book.
    This book by Bruce Chatwin is a rare pleasure, written by a man truly interested in all the peoples of the world including their culture, language, arts and metaphysics. This time Chatwin went to Australia to attempt to understand the very complex system of Aboriginal religious structures called songlines. As far as I can see from this book songlines are the connections in song of one part of the country to another part, each practised by the people who live there with neighbours sharing the "song". Not only does this define their religion but it in fact recreates their land as well, a kind of pure ideality in the philosophcal sense.

    The first parts of this book concentrate on Chatwin's experiences with the people of outback Australia be they Aboriginal or white. He seems to find truly remarkable people, each unique and even wild in their own way. Typical of Australia, it is full of people from all the world, such as his friend Arkady of Russian extraction. Chatwin has a fascinating background with his experiences of other cultures often allowing him access to other more conservative people who are suspicious of the outsider. Using this technique he breaks down their resistence and writes with compassion and depth of his experiences. Unfortunately two aspects come to light which I believe are not advantageous to the reading of the book. The first is his tendency to both promote and justify the practise of travelling or the nomadic lifestyle which he himself practises. The second is the habit of filling out the rest of the book with too many quotations from others rather than making use of his experiences with their beauty and uniqueness due to the meeting of people as he travels and the sense of the land which formed the backbone and pure joy of the earlier parts of the book.

    Nonetheless an exceptional book and a joy to read. A very human book. ... Read more

    4. We Die Alone: A WWII Epic of Escape and Endurance
    by David Howarth
    list price: $14.95
    our price: $10.17
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1558219730
    Catlog: Book (1999-08-01)
    Publisher: The Lyons Press
    Sales Rank: 3634
    Average Customer Review: 4.62 out of 5 stars
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    If this story of espionage and survival were a novel, readers might dismiss the Shackleton-like exploits of its hero as too fantastic to be taken seriously. But respected historianDavid Howarth confirmed the details of Jan Baalsrud's riveting tale. It begins in the spring of 1943, with Norway occupied by the Nazis and the Allies desperate to open the northern sea lanes to Russia. Baalsrud and three compatriots plan to smuggle themselves into their homeland by boat, spend the summer recruiting and training resistance fighters, and launch a surprise attack on a German air base. But he's betrayed shortly after landfall, and a quick fight leaves Baalsrud alone and trapped on a freezing island above the Arctic Circle. He's poorly clothed (one foot is entirely bare), has a head start of only a few hundred yards on his Nazi pursuers, and leaves a trail of blood as he crosses the snow. How he avoids capture and ultimately escapes--revealing that much spoils nothing in this white-knuckle narrative--is astonishing stuff. Baalsrud's feats make the travails inJon Krakauer's Mt. Everest classicInto Thin Air look like child's play. In an introduction,Stephen Ambrose calls We Die Alone a rare reading experience: "a book that I absolutely cannot put down until I've finished it and one that I can never forget." This amazing book will disappoint no one. --John J. Miller ... Read more

    Reviews (45)

    5-0 out of 5 stars a survival classic
    first read this incredible tale of one man's refusal to die alone forty years ago--have been recommending to people ever since. jan baalsrud--a norwegian patriot during wwII--captured my imagination in the page's of david howarth's riveting book, and his story of survival under the relentless pursuit of the nazi's, is maybe the best to come out of that war. page after page, the twists and turns, the chance meetings and narrow escapes, the unrelenting suspense...a book you simply can't put down. and written well enough that it doesn't matter if you're a seventh grader, as i was four decades ago, or a senior citizen, as i'm rapidly becoming. its just a great read. you'll never forget jan baalsrud..guaranteed.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Understanding the Psychology of Survival
    'We Die Alone' was written by David Howarth in the mid-1950s, drawing on his Second World War experience of running espionage operations sent into German occupied Europe. The book recounts the experience of Norwegian Jan Baalsrud, the sole survivor from an abortive attempt to land a commando team on the coast of northern Norway. Baalsrud made his way across Norway in the depths of winter, eventually to find safety in neutral Sweden. The heart of the book is about Baalsrud's amazing capacity to endure extreme hardship, frostbite, and long weeks of isolation in Norway's unbelievably harsh northern plateau region. Ultimately his survival rested on the willingness of the Norwegian people to feed and find him shelter even through the penalty for harbouring a spy was certain death should the German occupiers find out.

    After the war David Howarth built a successful career for himself as a popular historian. For this book his admirably clear writing style has been paired down to match the absolute simplicity of Norway's stark winter environment. The writing is unadorned and spare. It perfectly suits the context, describing in a matter-of-fact way Baalsrud's incredible survival story. Here is a man who amputated nine of his own toes to prevent the spread of gangrene as he lay alone for three weeks in a shallow snow cave waiting for his rescuers to organise an escape to Sweden.

    Reading about such events naturally leads to a sense of puzzlement about how Baalsrud survived hardships that would have killed most people put into a similar situation. David Howarth makes no direct attempt to explain this puzzle, but does explore his subject's psychology. It was as if Baalsrud simply could not conceive of giving up. Even well beyond the point when his Norwegian helpers imagined that he must have died from exposure, Baalsrud doggedly focussed on staying alive hour by hour until, close to death, nomadic Laplanders took him by reindeer-drawn sledge to safety.

    'We die alone' has been through many printings. The absence of a map spoils my 2000 edition from the UK publishers, Cannongate. But readers can follow Baalsrud's journey with any large scale map of Northern Scandinavia.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A well-written story of escape and survival
    I rarely bother with adventure stories, but Howarth's fine prose swept me into this tale and kept me at it. The last half of the book I took in one sitting. We hardly care about the protagonist, Jan Baalsrud, as a personality. He has remarkable courage and incredible physical stamina but little spiritual depth. In the hands of a lesser writer, his story could easily have degenerated into a limp survival yarn of the sort regularly published in Reader's Digest. But Howarth gives meaning to the story both through his fine description of the harsh natural world and by his sympathetic treatment of the dozens of volunteers who came to Baalsrud's rescue. Their attempt to rescue one soldier at the risk of their lives became a political as well as a humanitarian cause, virtually the only blow these Norwegians could strike against German invaders in the wastelands of northern Scandinavia.

    5-0 out of 5 stars March, 1943
    12 men set out in a boat from the Shetland Islands. They are expatriate Norwegians, on a mission to organize, train and supply the Norwegian Resistance against the Nazis. But, they were betrayed, and everything goes horribly wrong. Only one man survives, and it is up to him to complete the mission. He is helped along the way by villagers, who will be shot if they are caught helping him.

    It's a story of heroism and adventure, and very hard to put down once started. Highly recommended!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Strange Tale
    I'm not a compulsive reader of fantastic true survival stories, though I was raised in the Colorado Rockies and enjoy a bit of moutaineering. But this one was available on tape from the public library.

    It started with a lot of bullets over the head and exploding boats and boots lost in the snow and frostbite -- many, many good people who risk their lives for something intangible. The book, I feel, is very good at expressing the states of mind of the people involved -- it's not a simple recounting of events.

    But there's one major event that starts about 2/3 of the way through the book, which was so fantastic that I sort of didn't believe it... until I met two of the people involved in the organization that rescued him. And I think what the fact of that event conveys to me is the power of the human mind -- how much our thought and will do, after all, determine things like whether we live or die. The story has a way of sticking in your mind.

    One other thing that sticks in my mind about the book concerns the Lapps. It's an odd story. The Norwegians are good skiers and strong people by modern civilized standards (I mean that little itsy country beat the whole world in the winter Olympics). The story relates how they tried several times to get him across the Swedish border, but just couldn't get the sledge that far given the weather and time constraints and geography -- had to keep turning back. They tried to involve the Lapps early on, but they have a fundamentally different approach to such things -- the Lapps among other things, like most nomads leave those who are too weak to travel behind to die in the snow. Then after a month of futility on the part of the Norwegians, a Lapp decide to show up and see if the story was true. Horwath describes how he just stands there for 3-4 hours staring at him in the Arctic snow, and then finally resolves to take him across into Sweden. He and his friend receive some brandy in gratitude, drink several bottles in one night and seem none the worse for it in the morning, and then kind of non-chalantly pull off what the Norwegians could not. That combination of ability to do something what their more sophisticated neighbors could not combined with the lack of sense of urgency interests me.

    Jan Baalsrud was born and raised in Kapellveien 4, Kolbotn, Oslo, Norway. ... Read more

    5. Carnivorous Nights : On the Trail of the Tasmanian Tiger
    list price: $24.95
    our price: $16.47
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1400060028
    Catlog: Book (2005-04-05)
    Publisher: Villard
    Sales Rank: 1088426
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    6. Argonauts of the Western Pacific
    by Bronislaw Malinowski
    list price: $19.95
    our price: $16.96
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0881330841
    Catlog: Book (1984-03-01)
    Publisher: Waveland Press
    Sales Rank: 115001
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    The founding document of economic anthropology! Bronislaw Malinowski, one of the all-time great anthropologists of the world, had a talent for bringing together in single comprehension the warm reality of human living with the cool abstractions of science. His pages have become an almost indispensable link between the knowing of exotic and remote people with theoretical knowledge about humankind. This volume--originally published in 1922--can be considered the founding document of economic anthropology, and remains the best one to read. It emphasizes the great significance of primitive economics by singling out the notable exchange system of the Trobriand Islands for special consideration. Although the main theme is economic, constant reference is made in this milestone of anthropological research and interpretation to social organization, life and meaning, the power of magic, and to mythology and folklore. ... Read more

    Reviews (2)

    4-0 out of 5 stars A classic
    This is a real classic in the history of anthropology, published in 1922, and unlike another classic from the same decade, Coming of Age in Samoa, it has worn well, too. This is where modern ethnography begins. Malinowski tells us how to do ethnography, in no uncertain terms, as he explains Trobriand kula expeditions. I found it to be a delightful read and I was continually amazed at the intellectual sophistication of his work, given its age. I believe I learned more about ethnography from this book than from any other I have ever read, and I have been a professional anthropologist for 30 years. It is, I must warn you, a long book, and I doubt that many will be willing to read it from stem to stern, but I think every anthropologist should study the introduction at least. It is perhaps the "sacred charter" for the ethnographic project, complete with felicitous phrases such as the "ethnographer's magic," "the imponderabilia of actual life," "the native's point of view," and "the hold life has." In addition, it is certainly essential reading for anyone interested in magic, because it is as much about magic as it is about kula exchange.

    I assigned this book to a junior-level college class in ethnography, but they weren't as pleased with it as I was. Many of the students understood the importance of the book, but most also found it tedious, dull, repetitive, hard to follow, and definitely too long.

    5-0 out of 5 stars An essential work in this history of anthropology
    Don't be misled by the occasional discouraged student, this is an important work that must be read by someone seeking to understand the nature and history of the social sciences. ... Read more

    7. The Endurance : Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition
    list price: $29.95
    our price: $19.77
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0375404031
    Catlog: Book (1998-11-03)
    Publisher: Knopf
    Sales Rank: 3865
    Average Customer Review: 4.74 out of 5 stars
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    Melding superb research and the extraordinary expedition photography of Frank Hurley, The Endurance by Caroline Alexander is a stunning work of history, adventure, and art which chronicles "one of the greatest epics of survival in the annals of exploration." Setting sail as World War I broke out in Europe, the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, led by renowned polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton, hoped to become the first to cross the Antarctic continent. But their ship, Endurance, was trapped in the drifting pack ice, eventually to splinter, leaving the expedition stranded on floes--a situation that seemed "not merely desperate but impossible."

    Most skillfully Alexander constructs the expedition's character through its personalities--the cast of veteran explorers, scientists, and crew--with aid from many previously unavailable journals and documents. We learn, for instance, that carpenter and shipwright Henry McNish, or "Chippy," was "neither sweet-tempered nor tolerant," and that Mrs. Chippy, his cat, was "full of character." Such firsthand descriptions, paired with 170 of Frank Hurley's intimate photographs, which are comprehensively assembled here for the first time, penetrate the hulls of the Endurance and these tough men. The account successfully reveals the seldom-seen domestic world of expedition life--the singsongs, feasts, lectures, camaraderie--so that when the hardships set in, we know these people beyond the stereotypical guise of mere explorers and long for their safety.

    Alexander reveals Shackleton as an inspiring optimist, "a leader who put his men first." Throughout the grueling ordeal, Shackleton and his men show what endurance and greatness are all about. The Endurance is a most intimate portrait of an expedition and of survival. Readers will possess a newfound respect for these daring souls, know better their unthinkable toil and half-forgotten realm of glory. --Byron Ricks ... Read more

    Reviews (134)

    5-0 out of 5 stars THE BEST BOOK!! YOU MUST READ IT!!
    The Endurance by Caroline Alexander is a non fiction book about an explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton and his crew as they try to become the first explorers to cross Antarctica on foot. Sir Ernest Shackleton was one of the most known polar explorers of his day. Shackleton and his crew of 27 set out to sea on his boat Endurance on August 8th, 1914. The 28 men went down to Buenos Aries, Argentina then they continued to their last stop South Georgia Island which is in the southern Atlantic before they went to the pack ice and beyond. Once they got the ship into the pack ice they followed the cracks between each floe (leads) to try to get to the main land of Antarctica. Do they ever get home to England? Do they all even survive such a journey? This book was a heart racing kind of book. If you previously were not interested in history books The Endurance might change your opinion. I was impressed by how these men risked their lives freezing to death just to obtain their personal goals. The adventure of when they have to abandon ship will leave you hanging from your seat. The way Caroline Alexander wrote the book was engulfing . Her detail was thorough and she must have put many months of research on their journey. She also used clips from journals telling in the sailor's words what was happening and what was going on in their minds. I have read a few books about sailing the sea and The Endurance was the best one because of the way in which it was written. The photographer Frank Hurley took unbelievable shots of the whole expedition. The types of photos that were taken included, black & white stills, movies and color slides. The photographs look like they were taken recently by a digital camera instead of a Kodak in the early 1900's. Technically the pictures are crisp and clear for surviving the 22-month journey. This is a book that should be in every school library and all public libraries so everyone can experience The Endurance.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Enduring photographs bring epic adventure into focus
    Caroline Alexander brings a wealth of information into this "last of heroic Antarctic adventures". What sets this book apart from the several others written on this subject is the broad scope of details provided. Each of the 28 characters are individually described in the beginning although for the most part the majority have a collective role in the success of the expedition. Yes success, as in 28 start, 28 survive. It really is hard to go wrong with such a great story. By focusing on the ship's cat Caroline comes dangerously close. The collection of the thoughts from members diaries brings the gravity of their situation to a level the reader can feel and fear. The book itself is beautifully printed, the numerous photographs hit the highlights the trip and are captioned in detail. Where Alfred Lansing's book ends on a romanticized high note, Caroline Alexander goes on to detail the fates of the mates after the expedition. Needless to say such a journey is the high water mark for displaying character in the most oppressive of situations. My advice is to buy it for your coffee table, for it is a beautiful book, but read Alfred Lansing's' Endurance accompanied by the Nov. 1998 National Geographic article (by Ms. Alexander) which includes the Frank Hurley photographs.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Don't Pass this one up!
    A REAL story told REALLY well.
    I listened to it on tape. One of my top five favorite books of all time. I would not have found it if my librarian hadn't suggested it. Couldn't put it down - If you are a man (or woman) in search of true adventure from days gone by then this is the book for you. This insanely difficult journey reveals the true character and spirit of these men in their effort just to stay alive. It feels like you are almost there with them, but glad that you aren't.
    A true vision quest.
    Buy it-
    Read it -
    Then give it to a friend - It's that GOOD!

    5-0 out of 5 stars First-rate
    This book is a first-rate telling of the Endurance story. Even better, the B&W photos are gorgeously reproduced, and Alexander tells some details of how they were taken and preserved.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent large format photos and introduction to Sir Ernest
    A great book to get if you have never read any others of this amazing adventure. The book is worth getting and provides all the basic information on the journey. But let me add a note about seeing the author at National Geographic Explorers Hall some years ago. I read that the author would be giving a lecture. Not knowing much at all about Shackelton, I marked my schedule and planned to attend. I figured I might be one of a handful of people there like most history book lectures in DC. When I showed up, the line to pick up tickets was going out the door. Worse, it was sold out. Hundreds and hundreds of seats sold out to see the author of this book. I was gracefully given an extra ticket from someone who saw my distress and happily discovered a lifelong historical passion. Perhaps a bit of that "Old Provdy" was at play as the ramifications of this adventure go far beyond 28 men in a boat. I had the fortune to touch the James Caird at the travelling exhibit and there is a magic in the oak that defies explanation. If you want to discover a world of providence, human endurance, unreasonable chance and amazing survival, let this be the first step. As the author of this book said at her lecture, she was once walking in Manhattan with a Shackleton book tucked under her arm when a man approached her on the sidewalk after seeing the book. Wide eyed and smiling, he looked at her and said a single word that meant, he too, was part of the faternity of the moved - "Shackelton!" he said, and walked on. It said all there was to say. ... Read more

    8. Contemporary Jewellery in Australia and New Zealand
    by Patricia Anderson, Patricia Anderon
    list price: $65.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 9057033712
    Catlog: Book (1998-02)
    Publisher: Craftsman House (AU)
    Sales Rank: 579577
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (1)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Contemporary Jewellery in Australia and New Zealand
    This is a really thorough review of recent work in the two countries... with some familiar names and some lesser known artists. It's a nice change of pace from american and european jewelry. ... Read more

    9. The Worst Journey in the World
    by Apsley Cherry-Garrard
    list price: $16.95
    our price: $11.53
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0786704373
    Catlog: Book (1997-04-01)
    Publisher: Carroll & Graf Publishers
    Sales Rank: 5271
    Average Customer Review: 4.43 out of 5 stars
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    As Apsley Cherry-Garrard states in his introduction to theharrowing story of the Scott expedition to the South Pole, "PolarExploration is at once the cleanest and most isolated way of having abad time which has been devised." Cherry-Garrard's The WorstJourney in the World is a gripping account of an expedition gonedisastrously wrong. The youngest member of Scott's team, the author waslater part of the rescue party that eventually found the frozen bodiesof Scott and three men who had accompanied Scott on the final push tothe Pole. These deaths would haunt Cherry-Garrard for the rest of hislife as he questioned the decisions he had made and the actions he hadtaken in the days leading up to the Polar Party's demise.

    Prior to this sad denouement, Cherry-Garrard's account is filledwith details of scientific discovery and anecdotes of human resiliencein a harsh environment. Each participant in the Scott expedition isbrought fully to life. Cherry-Garrard's recollections are supported bydiary excerpts and accounts from other teammates. Despite the sad fateof Scott, the reader will grudgingly agree with the closing words ofThe Worst Journey in the World: "Exploration is thephysical expression of the Intellectual Passion. And I tell you, if youhave the desire for knowledge and the power to give it physicalexpression, go out and explore.... If you march your Winter Journeys youwill have your reward, so long as all you want is a penguin'segg." ... Read more

    Reviews (37)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing...
    Apsley Cherry-Garrard has truely given us an epic for exploration and adventure. This book conveys the horror, tragedy, and even ironic humor of Scott's ill-fated last expedition in an extremely eloquent manner.

    Cherry-Garrard could not more fairly credit his companions. From the beginning, he is modest and places huge credit on his fellow explorers. In particular, he talks about Bowers, Wilson, and Scott with a sense of awe and immense respect.

    The countless horrors of Scott's journey are described graphically, and it was easy to imagine anything from leaping from ice-flow to ice-flow for ours on the depot journey to stumbling upon the dead bodies of his friends. I enjoyed every minute of it.

    The Worst Journey was incredibly inspiring. After reading the book, I felt like I could do anything, take on any challenge. The troubles they endured, the lifestyle they adapted to, is mind-numbing. It is difficult to imagine surviving such things.

    In the "Winter Journey," one of the most difficult Journey's ever experienced by man, Cherry-Garrard and two other men struggle through the Antarctic Winter to Cape Crozier to obtain Penguin Eggs. They travel in pitch black, around giant crevasses, in frozen clothing, in -70 degree temperatures, and with sleeping bags that take hours to get into. This was the most intense, gripping reading I have ever done.

    No matter who you are, you will like The Worst Journey In The World. Fantastic writing, gripping plot, and visual descriptions will keep you glued to the book. And when it's done, you will not want to stop reading.

    5-0 out of 5 stars When will there be another Apsley Cherry-Garrard?
    You cannot read this book without being inspired by the courage of the early Antarctic explorers; you cannot read it without being impressed by the good literary taste of the author; nor can you, after reading this book, fail to have admiration grow in your heart for the self-ignoring author. Cherry-Garrard was a first-rate Antarctic explorer, a first-rate writer, and a first-rate human being. What makes Capt. Robert F. Scott, Dr. Edward Wilson and their fellow explorers particularly admirable is that their chief goal was not fame, but to acquire Scientific Knowledge: it was the interest in the penguins as an important evolution chain that led to the Worst Journey by the three valiant men, and it was, in part, the insistence not to abandon the 30 pounds of specimen (let alone a companion) that eventually resulted in the tragedy of the Polar Journey. Indeed, what a price to pay!

    Whereas the book _Endurance_ may have created a "Shackleton mania", it is books of such quality as Cherry-Garrard's book that will have a lasting, lofty place in the history of the exploration literature.

    My favorite passage is also the concluding paragraph quoted by some other people, but here I cannot resist sharing with you another one in its entirety (and chuckling one more time), which is certainly a little far from the main subject of the book, but which shows that even in recounting a side episode like this one, Cherry-Garrard surpasses many writers in that he makes memorable, not only the scene, but the words that describe it:

    "One day there had been a blizzard, and lying open to the view of all was a deserted nest, a pile of coveted stones. All the surrounding rookery made their way to and fro, each husband acquiring merit, for, after each journey, he gave his wife a stone. This was the plebeian way of doing things; but my friend who stood, ever so unconcerned, upon a rock knew a trick worth two of that: he and his wife who sat so cosily upon the other side.

    "The victim was a third penguin. He was without a mate, but this was an opportunity to get one. With all the speed his little legs could compass he ran to and fro, taking stones from the deserted nest, laying them beneath a rock, and hurrying back for more. On that same rock was my friend. When the victim came up with his stone he had his back turned. But as soon as the stone was laid and the other gone for more, he jumped down, seized it with his beak, ran round, gave it to his wife and was back on the rock (with his back turned) before you could say Killer Whale. Every now and then he looked over his shoulder, to see where the next stone might be.

    "I watched this for twenty minutes. All that time, and I do not know for how long before, that wretched bird was bringing stone after stone. And there were no stones there. Once he looked puzzled, looked up and swore at the back of my friend on his rock, but immediately he came back, and he never seemed to think he had better stop. It was getting cold and I went away: he was coming for another."

    5-0 out of 5 stars They felt like friends when I was done.
    As an American I don't even recall being taught anything at all about Scott and his men when I was in school.
    I saw a article in a Life magazine special that got me curious and did a web search and discovered Cherry's excellent book.
    Its my favorite adventure book of all time and the men were a different breed than most today. Bowers in particular sounded amazing, I think I'd rather have a conversation with him than Scott if I had the ability to go back in time and meet only one.
    Sure there was the occasional dry spell but considering the age of the book I thought it was remarkably contemporary sounding.
    Most amazing of all to me though was the fact that after reading the book at least 3 months ago I still think about it at least every other day!
    Not only that it seems like Cherry, Scott, Bowers, Wilson and Evans were old friends of mine that in my opinion is a true testament to Cherry's writing.

    I wish it had more pictures but I guess you can't have everything.

    P.S. I can't help but looking at modern things and modern problems and thinking what would Bowers think of that or Cherry, I'm sure they'd be depressed at the overall state of morals around the world and Englands decline would suprise them but in particular I wonder what they would think of modern clothing and stuff like GPS.

    5-0 out of 5 stars It's my Benchmark
    I read this book two years ago, and have read a lot of true adventure books since then. I can honestly say that I have compared all others to "Journey" - it has become my benchmark!

    The level of human suffering combined with positive life affirming attitudes in this book is overwhelming! It's difficult to apprehend the challenges these men faced, and for such long periods of time. Their feats are nothing short of miracles.

    To top it off, "Cherry" recounts the story with superb style and grace. In todays world of "keep it simple", "dumb it down", and "shorter is better", it's refreshing to read an author who lets the language flow and uses it with a beauty of it's own. Granted, it was "normal" language at the time that it was written, but even among his peers, he excelled at the written word. That's why "this" book is a better choice that other books on the same topic. You get this one from Cherry's own diary and words, not a modern author looking at it from the outside in.

    In spite of the illustrations included in the edition that I read, it would be helpful to consult other maps of the area. There were times when it took some digging to figure out exactly where the authors were (geographically) and the terrain difficulties that they discussed. Once you figure it out, though, there is usally another "WOW" moment attached to it.

    If there is anything wrong with this book, it would be that it needs better maps in a variety of scales for frames of reference, and MORE PICTURES! There are times when your imagination just won't do justice to reality. Seeing it in a photo would be fantastic. There are many other sources for those photos... check them out while reading this book.

    All in all, a GREAT adventure book. If you are interested in true life adventure which tests the limits of the human soul, spirit, and physical abilities, this book is an absolute MUST read.

    5-0 out of 5 stars he makes us understand
    Either the Antarctic draws explorers of uncommon literary ability, or something in that desolate, terrible beauty draws out eloquence from those who go there. Apsley Cherry-Garrard stands primus inter pares among south polar chroniclers. With the hindsight of ten years, and with liberal use of letters and diaries written by his companions on the Terra Nova expedition, he gives us a clear insight into the splendor and horror, the tedium and exhilaration of life in Antarctica. He talks about everything; most eloquently, perhaps, of his companions and their life in the snug little hut at the base of Mount Erebus. But his narrative gleams with wonderful portraits of fractious ponies and rambunctious dogs; of killer whales and of penguins notable for "devouring curiosity and a pigheaded disregard for their own safety". He tells of the "worst journey": a harrowing, immiserating and near-fatal trek through the Antarctic night in quest of ... a penguin egg. He describes a barren landscape of snow and ice which somehow vibrates with color and awes all who see it. And he makes us understand why they go back. ... Read more

    10. Ada Blackjack : A True Story of Survival in the Arctic
    by Jennifer Niven
    list price: $24.95
    our price: $16.47
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0786868635
    Catlog: Book (2003-11-12)
    Publisher: Hyperion
    Sales Rank: 19061
    Average Customer Review: 4.76 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    From the author of The Ice Master comes the remarkable true story of a young Inuit woman who survived six months alone on a desolate, uninhabited Arctic island.

    In September 1921, four young men and Ada Blackjack, a diminutive 25-year-old Eskimo woman, ventured deep into the Arctic in a secret attempt to colonize desolate Wrangel Island for Great Britain. Two years later, Ada Blackjack emerged as the sole survivor of this ambitious polar expedition. This young, unskilled woman -- who had headed to the Arctic in search of money and a husband -- conquered the seemingly unconquerable north and survived all alone after her male companions had perished. Following her triumphant return to civilization, the international press proclaimed her the female Robinson Crusoe. But whatever stories the press turned out came from the imaginations of reporters: Ada Blackjack refused to speak to anyone about her horrific two years in the Arctic. Only on one occasion -- after charges were published falsely accusing her of causing the death of one her companions -- did she speak up for herself.

    Jennifer Niven has created an absorbing, compelling history of this remarkable woman, taking full advantage of the wealth of first-hand resources about Ada that exist, including her never-before-seen diaries, the unpublished diaries from other primary characters, and interviews with Ada's surviving son. Ada Blackjack is more than a rugged tale of a woman battling the elements to survive in the frozen north -- it is the story of a hero. ... Read more

    Reviews (21)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A beautiful book
    I was lucky enough to sneak a peek at an advanced copy of Niven's book, Ada Blackjack, and found myself swept away by this riveting story about an Inuit woman who was the lone survivor of a grueling expedition. If you are tired of the Arctic genre, don't despair-- this transcends Arctic adventure. Although part of it is set in the Arctic, it is really the story about an amazing, extraordinary woman and her journey to survive, both in the ice and in civilization. I was a fan of Niven's first book, The Ice Master, and am even more of a fan now. Her prose is immediate, accessible, gripping, and skilled, and I love the way she weaves a story, making this reader forget he is receiving a history lesson as, all the while, he is speeding to the last page, desperate to see how it ends.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Worthy follow up to the ICE MASTER
    I had read the ICE MASTER by Jennifer Niven when it was first published and found it a remarkably well written and compelling narrative of a strange arctic expedition lead by strange and misguided Vilhjalmur Stefansson. The story of the Karluk getting trapped in the ice and drifting north of Siberia to remote Wangel Island is gripping, as is the miracle of who dies and survives. And now Jennifer Niven has written a kind of sequel or continuation of the story as the strange Mr. Stefansson sends four explorers back to Wangel island to live and settle so the island can be claimed by the British or Canadians (who want nothing to do with the expedition). Strange as it seems one of the survivors of the Karluk, Fred Maurer is one of these four. Joining the expedition is Ada Blackjack, an Inuit Eskimo woman they hire to sew clothing for them while living on Wangel Island. This second volume is told though Ada Blackjack's life story and introduces us to wide ranging cast of characters, the expeditions relatives, Mr. Harold Noice who leads a rescue mission and his mad wife Florence who's paranoia leads to lies and the undoing of Noice and Ada Blackjacks reputation. If this all sounds a bit like an arctic soap opera, it is of course, and the story is not as exciting a read as the ICE MASTER. But anyone who loved that volume as much as I did is sure to enjoy the complete irony of this return exposition and Ada Blackjack's
    Unusual life story.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Heart-wrenching heroics of an Inuit woman
    Ada Blackjack reads like a documentary and can be a bit dry at times as it really tells the greater story of the doomed Wrangel Island Expedition of the Arctic. But the deeper story of Ada Blackjack, the lone survivor of the expedition, is riveting. Her simple faith and love for her son gives her the strength to endure unimaginable hardship. This woman should not be forgotten, nor should the folly of the men who pioneered the expedition go unremembered. Kudos to author Niven.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Spend the jack to buy this book!
    I havn't even finished the book (about 3/4 through it) but I am so impressed by the writer's style, and the general interest of the subject, that I am compelled to recommend it highly. This is one of those books I just can't wait to pick up again. The writer's style is so concise, logical, and flowing that the story moves along effortlessly. Niven has obviously taken a huge amount of information and distilled it skillfully into a lean narrative. Buy it! I am a lover of the adventure/survival genre, particularly as regards the Arctic, and this book is one of the good ones!

    5-0 out of 5 stars a worthwhile read
    If you like inspirational stories, this is a great one. Ada Blackjack is an amazing woman, every inch a hero, even though she is also a flawed, fallible person. That makes her even more likable and easy to identify with. I highly recommend this book to anyone craving a good story, a good adventure, or inspiration. I will think twice about complaining about the mundane daily details of my life now, after reading what Ada and her colleagues endured. ... Read more

    11. A Concise History of Australia
    by Stuart Macintyre
    list price: $20.99
    our price: $20.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0521625777
    Catlog: Book (2000-01)
    Publisher: Cambridge University Press
    Sales Rank: 138111
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Australia is the last continent to be settled by Europeans, but it also sustains a people and a culture tens of thousands of years old. For much of the past 200 years the newcomers have sought to replace the old with the new. This book tells how they imposed themselves on the land, and describes how they brought technology, institutions and ideas to make it their own. It relates the advance from penal colony to a prosperous free nation and illustrates how, in a nation created by waves of newcomers, the search for binding traditions has long been frustrated by the feeling of rootlessness. Now, with the realization that colonization began with invasion, present-day Australians are more than ever before coming to terms with their past and recognizing the need to redefine and reposition Australia ina changing world. This is the most up-to-date single-volume Australian history available. ... Read more

    Reviews (2)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Informative and well-written
    I have long wanted to read a general history of Austrailia, and when I read. on April 3, 1988, The Fatal Shore, by Robert Hughes, I said to myself, in my post-reading note: "I am glad I read this book, but maybe I'd've done better to read a plain history of Australia than this long account of this aspect of its beginning." I am shamed to say that it has taken over 12 years to do what I thought I should have done back then. This book goes up to 1999, and portrays very well the current dilemmas facing Australia. If you enjoy the articles in Current History, as I do, this book reminds me of those articles, except it is less bland and neutral. Ordinarily I avoid histories with designations such as "short" or "concise" figuring that I want a fuller treatment. But when one knows as little of a country as I do of Australia, I thought this a good introduction to its history.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Very good modernist view of Australian history
    Stuart's work is an excellent overview of Australian history from the dreamtime to the present. He captures the major periods and events that shaped the progress of Australia towards federation and beyond, into the current malaise over national identity and the development of a unique and identifiable cultures.

    Modern thought increasingly accepts the indigenous problems that were part of Australian colonisation, and Stuart probes these and other contemporary issues by drawing from both sides of the debate. He illustrates research that examines the language of overland explorers, to determine whether they were 'exploring' or 'conquering', and he comments on modern interpretations of the constitution by the high court. Readers not well versed in Australian issues may pass over these slights of hands without understanding their importance in the nature of forging an Australian history, culture and identity.

    I would recommend this book as a necessary overview for any person interested in the history of the country, including potential tourists. ... Read more

    12. Hidden Horrors: Japanese War Crimes in World War II (Transitions--Asia and Asian America)
    by Yuki Tanaka, Toshiyuki Tanaka
    list price: $24.00
    our price: $24.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0813327180
    Catlog: Book (1998-01-01)
    Publisher: Westview Press
    Sales Rank: 80375
    Average Customer Review: 3.76 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (17)

    3-0 out of 5 stars Important Book to Read even if Author is Lightweight
    This is an important book to read to further an understanding of the magnitude of Japanese war crimes in WWII. The author touches on the fact that these war crimes were part of a pattern of inhumanity; not simply isolated incidents of criminality, but an artifact of Japanese culture which demanded subservience of the individual for the sake of "social harmony". Individual morality or even a desire for morality can play no role in such a regime. Interestingly, even the author provides names of officers , but for the most part treats the enlisted men who carried out the barbarous orders not as men but as mere cogs.

    The scary thing is that what was previously demanded is still encouraged as socially desirable -- still for the sake of "social harmony." This means that there is an unwillingness to broach ugly topics like grandpa's inhumanity, thus it is unlikely that books such as this will ever provoke the soul searching that has taken place in other countries that have thrown off fascism or otherwise confronted their past.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Read
    By looking at possible motives behind Japanese war crimes committed in WWII, Yuki Tanaka clearly separates himself from other authors writing on this disturbing subject.

    After detailing selected incidents of war crimes committed by the Japanese, Tanaka postulates various motives (some plausible, some a stretch) for the horrible atrocities that were unleashed upon the unfortunate victims.

    This book is as much about trying to determine "why it happened" as it is about "what happened".

    3-0 out of 5 stars Book Contains Great Facts, but Lame Excuses
    The most outstanding attribute of this book is its honest depiction of Japan's atrocities. The description of these horrific onslaughts surpasses similar titles in some portions of the book.

    But the downside is the author's attempt to explain why the Japanese acted as they did, as if doing so will somehow make us view the Japanese army as something more than the monsters they were. Though Tanaka probaly doesn't mean to, he comes across as making excuses for the Japanese military's barbarism. Nevertheless, when he moves beyond fact description and into analysis, his intentions seem ambiguous at best. But overall, a good read.

    3-0 out of 5 stars OK
    Interesting info, but author seems to try and make the point the Japanese did nothing worse than others have done thru out history.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Nauseating, shocking, necessary reading about WWII
    Japanese ex-pat professor (he lives in Austrailia) desribes in stomach turning detail the crimes of Imperial Japanese forces in WWII. While I knew some of the things done, I had no idea the extent and depth of the crimes committed.

    Tanaka describes in pages NOT FOR THE TIMID READER the Japanese high command's plan for using cannabalism to feed their troops in the southern arc of their conquest plans. It wasn't just enemy troops who were on the menu, but low-ranking Japanese ground-pounders. I will spare the detail, but Tanaka doesn't, so be warned.

    I give this book only 4 stars because it has one serious flaw. Tanaka makes the laughable, morally unsustainable claim that the atomic bombings are morally equivalent to Japanese crimes. This will rightly outrage every American, but it doesn't tarnish the overall effort.

    Professor Tanaka is to be congratulated for his courage in revealing the worst things committed by his people. Things that many in Japan, especially school textbooks, refuse to admit. I don't think it coincidence that the good professor lives in the Land Down Under. ... Read more

    13. The Girl From Botany Bay
    by CarollyErickson
    list price: $24.95
    our price: $16.47
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0471271403
    Catlog: Book (2004-10-01)
    Publisher: Wiley
    Sales Rank: 408494
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    Book Description

    Acclaim for Carolly Erickson

    "Carolly Erickson is one of the most accomplished and successful historical biographers writing in English."
    –The Times Literary Supplement

    The First Elizabeth

    "Even more readable and absorbing than the justly praised works of Tuchman and Fraser. A vivid and eminently readable portrait of history’s favorite Tudor."
    –The New York Times Book Review

    "A masterpiece of narrative, a story so absorbing it is as hard to put down as a fine novel."
    –Los Angeles Times Book Review


    "Gifted . . . breathless . . . heartbreaking . . . Erickson excels."
    –Chicago Tribune


    "An intimate, richly detailed, and candid portrait . . . [Erickson’s] scholarly insights combine superbly with a mastery of period manners more often found in the best historical fiction."
    –Kirkus Reviews

    Mistress Anne

    "Carolly Erickson is a most admirable biographer, and this book is highly enjoyable as well as being reliable and acute; indeed, it is popular historical biography at its best."
    —The Times (London) ... Read more

    14. The Fatal Shore : The epic of Australia's founding
    list price: $18.00
    our price: $12.24
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0394753666
    Catlog: Book (1988-02-12)
    Publisher: Vintage
    Sales Rank: 11535
    Average Customer Review: 4.28 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    The history of the birth of Australia which came out of the suffereing and brutality of England's infamous convict transportation system. With 16 pages of illustrations and 3 maps. ... Read more

    Reviews (40)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Historical Masterpiece
    As luck would have it, I recently had the opportunity to make a brief business trip to Australia. I knew very little about Australia and thought the best way to get some brief but non-superficial background would be to learn something of its history. I opted to read Robert Hughes's book which tells the story of Australia's founding and of its convict past. The book is lengthy, even too lengthy to complete on the 14 hour flights from the West Coast of the United States to Sydney and back. But the story was fascinating, and the book was well worth the attention and effort.

    Hughes tells the story of the discovery of Australia, the decision of Great Britain to "transport" its convicted to the continent, the various kinds of lives the convicts found there, the aboriginal settlers and their treatment by the newcomers, and the ultimate creation of a new society. There are harrowing accounts of the passage from Britain to Australia in the convict ships, and still shocking accounts of the secondary places of punishment created in Australia for repeat offenders -- places such as Norfolk Island, Port Aurthur, and Macquarrie Bay. Hughes describes these nineteenth century camps as precursors of the Gulag in our own time, and I am afraid he is correct. They reminded me to of Andersonville Prison in our own Civil War but on a much broader, more wicked scale. The description of the prisons and barbaric punishments were to me the most vivid portions of the book.

    Besides the horror stories, there is a great deal of nuanced, thoughtful writing in the book about the settlement and building of Australia and of the dangers of facile over-generalization about how the convicts fared, or about virtually any other historical subject. Some were able to serve out their sentences and rise to prosperity and a new life. Others were shamefully abused. The history of the aboriginal peoples too is described and it is an unhappy subject, alas.

    Hughes begins with the early days of the transport and concludes when the system was finally abolished in the 1850's as a result of protests and of the Australian gold rush.

    After reading this book, I thought I had realized my goal of learning something of Australia. More importantly, I felt part of the land even though I hadn't seen it before and will likely never see it again. Places that I read about and that were only names took on character and importance.

    I have read a substantial amount of United States history but hadn't read about Australia before. This book is well-documented, eloquently written and has a feel for the pulse of its subject. It is an outstanding work of history and is sure to broaden the human perspective of the reader.

    5-0 out of 5 stars RH's "The Fatal Shore" made learning history a pleasure!
    I have travelled to Australia, thus far, eight times since 1990. In all of my travels I have focused on learning the evolutionary significance of Australia's fascinating fauna, as well as the the culture of its people, past and present. But in all of my travels in Australia (I have yet to go to Tasmania) I have never learned so much about its people (non-Aboriginal) and their colonization, as I have from reading The Fatal Shore. I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, a historian or even one who "likes" history. But Robert Hughes's book was so well written, and so insightful, that I can truly say I could not put it down. What I learned from this book really put my travels to Australia in perspective, and it made me want to learn so much more. If I could, I would give this book ten stars! This book is an absolute must-read for anyone who is interested in travel to Australia, or wants simply to learn about Australia's fascinating, albeit horrific, past. Robert Hughes has quite a talent for impecable research as well as for bringing his readers into the heart of unimaginable horrors. Australians need not be ashamed of their past (as is implied in the book) - on the contrary - they should relish in their success as a colorful and awe-inspiring nation (which is something they already do)!

    4-0 out of 5 stars A Worthy Entry in the Annals of Crime and Punishment
    I read this book in anticipation of a trip to Australia, and indeed it was an excellent backdrop to travel there. But it proved to be much more: a deep insight into the genesis and nature of institutional evil, with its low-key, meticulous depiction of the brutality and sadism visited upon Australia's transportee convicts. Anyone who contemplates the Holocaust or any other of humankind's planned atrocities must wonder at the essential question of how bascially sane people end up doing such horrendous things, with state sanction. Hughes' book illustrates how overly rigid, rationalistic bureaucracies, implementing theoretical constructs about human behavior without having to face the immediate consequences, tend toward sadism and self-justifying cruelties. His book is of great value not only to students of Australia, or of history, but to anyone in the criminal justice field, law enforcement, or penology.
    Oh, and the book also is extremely sound, well researched and documented, and well written. This is not a quick read, but it is a rewarding one.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Silver and Currency
    *The Fatal Shore* was originally recomended when I entered the criminal justice field, and is one of the few books I've ever read in one sitting. Once I had started it was impossible to put down. It is fascinating not only as an account of the founding of a nation, but as a history of prisons and prison reform, and also represents powerful argument against the notion of a "criminal class." It also highlights the differences between the three primary "settler societies:" Canada, the US, and Australia, as settled respectively by upper, middle, and working class British emigrants. It also places in context the current "nativist" struggles over the influx of the Asian diaspora. For a more traditional, but no less interesting, discussion of English settler societies see S.M. Lipset's *Continental Divide* or *The First New Nation*.

    4-0 out of 5 stars First Class Book About Australia's Convict Past.
    I think most of the reviews herein outline the reasons why this book is rated so highly, and I agree wholeheartedly with most. As an Australian living in London, it has even inspired me to demand a street name (Foveaux Street) in Sydney be changed upon my return, given it is named after the mindless barbarian Captain Foveaux who took pleasure in torturing (and killing) convicts on Norfolk Island.
    I have rated the book one star lower as, I am sure North American readers would agree, it was written in American English rather than Australian English (esp. `ize instead of `ise). I found this extremely irritating and a little offputting given the author is Australian (albeit a long term NYC resident) and it is book about Australians. It is one question I pose to ask the author if we ever have the chance to meet. ... Read more

    15. Taking the Risk Out of Democracy: Corporate Propaganda Versus Freedom and Liberty (History of Communication)
    by Alex Carey, Andrew Lohrey, Noam Chomsky
    list price: $18.95
    our price: $18.95
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    Asin: 0252066162
    Catlog: Book (1996-12-01)
    Publisher: University of Illinois Press
    Sales Rank: 475379
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (5)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Taking the risk out of democracy
    Mr. Andrew Lohrey informs us in his introduction, to this collection of essays by the late Australian psychologist Alex Carey, that Carey was prevented from going to college by his parents after he finished secondary school as they wanted him to manage their sheep farm which he did with such success that he could sell it about a decade later and enter a university.

    Here and there this book is dreadfully dry, particularly towards the end. His ideas probably would have been made clearer and much better organized if he would have been able to put together a regular book instead of a book of essays put together by someone else but he died in 1988 before he could get it done. But the topics he discusses are very important especially now when business and government propaganda has never been more powerful.

    The main title of this book describes what big business and their intellectual and political minions have tried to do particularly in the United States as rights to vote and to organize in this country were extended to large segments of the population of this country over the last hundred years. Carey's old friend Noam Chomsky quotes in his preface the numerous intellectual advocates (Walter Lipmann, Harold Laswell,etc.) of what Thomas Jefferson called late in his life "a single and splendid government of an aristocracy" made up of the "banking institutions and monyed incorporations" whom he feared would destroy the freedoms gained during the American revolution. Many prominent liberal intellectuals devoted loyal service to the state during World War one particularly in the government propaganda agencies putting out massive bogus atrocity stories about the Germans and turning a largely anti-war population in a short period into a bunch of maniacs looking to destroy everything remotely connected with Germany and German culture. A young German soldier named Adolf Hitler was deeply impressed with the allied propaganda effort and blamed German weakness in this field for their defeat and vowed that Germany would learn its lessons by the time the next war came around.

    The best part of Carey's text, by far, is about the first five chapters. The first topic discussed is the Americanization movement begun in the few years before World War one by big busisiness associatons who were particularly worried about such events as the victory of the IWW led strike of textile workers in Lawrence Massachusetts in 1912. Big business was particularly worried about the influence of IWW-type radicalism on the U.S. immigrant population which mostly worked under very bad conditions at very low wages and set to work with a somwhat successful drive to inculate immigrants as well as the population at large with "American" values like free enterprise and the status quo and social harmony and against alien values like socialism or the welfare state or non-pliable unions. Out of this campaign came the Fourth of July holiday signed into law into 1918. This campaign culminated in the government crushing of the labor movement during 1919-21 under the cover of chasing communists and German spies.

    The labor movement, says Carey, did not recover until the Great Depression which forced the U.S. government to enact very basic welfare legislation and protection of unions. This greatly alarmed important segments of big business. The National Association of Manufacturers literature in 1938 warned of the "hazard facing industrialists" of the "newly realized political power of the masses."

    The end of World War two saw the beginnings of a massive attack on independent thinkers and organized labor under the cover of a red scare. After a lag in the early 1970's, the elites in this country began to steer this country towards a very markedly right wing political climate, seeing the rise of previously regarded fringe elements as represented by such think tanks as the American Enterprise Institute and the Heritage foundation which featured such profound thinkers as former Nixon and Ford treasury secretary William Simon who fulminated about how the Carter administration was steering the country towards collectivist totalitarianism.

    He goes into some detail examining the right wing apparatus in his native Australia. He ends with discussion of some matters dealing with industrial psychology and industrial sociology culminating in a study of the Hawthorne studies, laborious research at an Illinois assembly plant made up of female workers in the late 20's and early 30's where a group of industrial psychologists tried to secure evidence that workers don't care about money and just want to be left alone to do the wonderful jobs that the labor market has forced on them. The Hawthorne chapter is in large part almost unintelligible and very dry, probably inevitable given that it is a scientific paper.

    5-0 out of 5 stars One of the most important books you'll ever read
    Alex Carey's work is absolutely some of the best. My favorite quote of his is this: "The 20th century has been characterized by three developments of great political importance: the growth of democracy, the growth of corporate power, and the growth of corporate propaganda as a means of protecting corporate power against democracy." This has become a touchstone for Sheldon Rampton and me in our books Toxic Sludge Is Good for You, Trust Us, We're Experts, and our writing for PR Watch. Carey is much missed.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Explains the role of thought control in democratic societies
    Carey points out that citizens living in totalitarian regimes have no choice but to tow the government line out of fear for their personal safeties. In free societies, Carey explains that more subtle means are used to keep populations under control. Specifically, propaganda is used to ensure that most people will think in a manner that is consistent with the corporate agenda (such as belief in the free market and business' right to unlimited profit). Carey documents how Americans and Australians have been subjected to corporate propaganda during most of the 20th Century, and explains how these efforts have perverted our democracy (for example, American's over willingness to fight communists, real or imagined, to protect capitalism). Indeed, while many Americans were conditioned during the Cold War to believe that propaganda existed only in the Soviet Union, China and other communist regimes, Carey persuasively argues that propaganda actually played (and continues to play) a more critical role in molding the attitudes of citizens in democracies.

    5-0 out of 5 stars a seminal analysis of corporate propaganda
    "Taking the Risk Out of Democracy : Corporate Propaganda Versus Freedom and Liberty" is a pioneering work in the field of corporate propaganda analysis which reveals just how much of a major force corporate propaganda is in contemporary society. Alex Carey quotes the business press as stating that the public mind is the greatest "hazard facing industrialists."

    "Taking the Risk Out of Democracy : Corporate Propaganda Versus Freedom and Liberty" points out that there are two types of propaganda, each of which have specific societal functions. The first type is aimed at the educated, articulate sectors of the population that are involved in in decision making and setting the agenda for others to adhere to. The second type of propaganda is aimed at the unwashed masses, to keep them distracted so as they don't interfere in the public arena where they have no business in being. All in all, "Taking the Risk Out of Democracy : Corporate Propaganda Versus Freedom and Liberty remains a seminal analysis of corporate propaganda and its uses in creating an obedient elite and a subserviant citizenry. Very enjoyable.

    5-0 out of 5 stars I never read this book in school...
    An excellent and scathing critique of modern information systems and how those symbols can channel thought to protect the powerful.

    Alex Carey examines how Management, Gov't, and other powerful interests manipulate the symbols of our cultural life to destroy union solidarity, dillute political accountability, and distract attention away from issues (and solutions) that threaten those institutions.

    Very well researched and cleverly developed, it is unfortunate that Carey's career was abruptly cut short. This book and those it has inspired stand strong, albeit quietly, in the face of the information control systems that they seek to expose. ... Read more

    16. Soap Opera and Women's Talk : The Pleasure of Resistance (Communication and Human Values)
    by Mary Ellen Brown
    list price: $51.95
    our price: $51.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0803943938
    Catlog: Book (1994-05-11)
    Publisher: SAGE Publications
    Sales Rank: 741166
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    Book Description

    "This book contains a good mix of original research and theorizing with a comprehensive survey of the literature in the field. Its aim--to get us to rethink and reevaluate the positive and progressive contribution of female soap opera fans to women's culture and through that to the broader culture of late capitalism--runs clearly throughout the book and is gratifyingly well achieved. I expect the book will make a significant contribution to television studies, cultural studies, and women's studies. This is a good book that will make a significant, original, and provocative contribution to the field. I expect it to be widely read and cited."

    --John Fiske, University of Wisconsin-Madison

    How can such an apparently trivial or even exploitative genre as soap opera be associated with empowerment for its viewers? The answer, states Mary Ellen Brown, is that soap operas create and support a social network in which talk becomes a form of resistive pleasure.

    Undertaken as an ethnographic study in which the author is a member of the group, a fan, and also a researcher, Soap Opera and Women's Talk demonstrates how the enjoyment of and engagement with soap operas create the opening for women to serve as wedges in the dominant culture. Brown explores how the hegemonic notions of femininity and womanhood are developed at one cultural site and how they can be accepted, resisted, and negotiated in the processes of consumption. This pivotal work on the relationships between feminism, cultural studies, and the media is essential reading for all students and scholars studying and working in these areas.

    ... Read more

    17. Highway to Hell : The Life and Times of AC/DC Legend Bon Scott
    by Clinton Walker
    list price: $22.95
    our price: $16.07
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1891241133
    Catlog: Book (2001-04-15)
    Publisher: Verse Chorus Press
    Sales Rank: 60750
    Average Customer Review: 3.83 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    The definitive account of a bestselling rock band’s glory years

    Since its initial publication in Australia, Highway to Hell has established itself as a classic of rock writing. It’s the definitive account of AC/DC’s rise to fame, when the ribald lyrics and charismatic stage presence of singer Bon Scott, along with the formidable guitar work of brothers Angus and Malcolm Young, defined a new and highly influential brand of rock’n’roll.

    Drawing on many first-person interviews and featuring a gallery of rare photos, Clinton Walker traces AC/DC’s career through the life of their original front man, from the Scottish roots he shared with the Youngs to small-time gigs to recording studios and international success—right up to Bon Scott’s shocking death in 1980, just as the band were attaining the worldwide recognition for which they had worked so tirelessly.

    AC/DC’s undiminished superstar status today—and their lasting influence on such different genres as hard rock, grunge, and rap/metal—ensure that Bon Scott’s presence continues to be felt. Now Highway to Hell offers the full story of this seminal rock figure.

    Highway to Hell has previously not been available outside Australia, and the author completely revised the text for this first American edition. ... Read more

    Reviews (18)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Mr Walker sure has done his homework!
    This book was great. I dont often read anything, but this one only took a short amount of time because I couldnt stop reading it. It dives back into the life of Bon Scott, but not the Bon Scott that is whats sort of "mythical" or "legend", nor does it start from when Bon joined AC/DC!

    This book was orginaly supposed to be a movie, but Alberts wouldnt allow a movie about Bon to be made. Clinton Walker has not given you a collection of rumurs or storys that are just words of fans who heard rumours, he has actualy gone and found freinds & fammilly of Bon, and gone straight to the horses mouth for the info, from the people who knew Bon best!

    It starts from the begining of Bons life; And gradulay tells you about Bon's life during the 50's & 60's, and the previous bands he was with, and why they colapsed. It is very suprising to find out who Bons closest freinds actualy where!!! Not to mention that many of Australias best rock bands members all kind of worked together at one stage, or knew each other, it is very intresting to read about who Bon knew!

    Then of coarse, the life into Bon's introduction to AC/DC. And it lays to rest the rumour that Bon was a driver/roadie type of person for the band, it explains why people would think that, and the real story of how Bon joined AC/DC; and you will discover it was on purpose, not accidently as many have come to beleive!

    There is alot of great information that let you into the life of not just a rock & roll legend that we are all fammiluer with fronting the worlds greatest rock band, but also who Ronald Scott was on the inside. He was not the wild man everyone saw him as, he had a public image that he would put on, but behind the frontmans public mask, there beat the painfull heart of a man who's dream was to be the biggest. And he got there after a hard struggle. But unfortunatly, when he got there, he didnt have anyone to share that glory with. Youll find out that Bon, despite what his public interveiws and charactor said, he was really searching for love and someone to take care of him. My thoughts on when Bon died, it wasnt just choking on his own vomit as you would have heard. He was also dieing of a broken heart. The poor man acheived fame, but didnt find love before his time had come.

    Many other intresting things I found from this book. How Bonny got into AC/DC, who Bon really was, Who bons freinds where, how Bon was not as solid in the band as you might think, he was considered disposable of and replacable by the Youngs untill around about 1977!! It also speaks about the struggles and hurdles of AC/DC, they where almost dropped by Atlantic untill pretty much the Highway To Hell album! There struggles on the road in the early days, there disrespect in Australia, and there hard fight as they discovered that it really is a long way to the top, if you wanna rock n roll!

    The only reason I drop it one star is that I feel that Walker has a grudge about the Young Brothers. He seems ticked about them not wanting to be interveiwed for the book, and maybe having somthing to do with the movie not beeing made? But he speaks about there shyness like it was some kind of disgrace, and he just dosent seem to have much nice to say about Angus or Malcolm, and I get a strong vibe that he feels that the Youngs pushed him into his grave, and drove him to drink himself to death. But I dont think so, Bon i'm sure died of a broken heart after splitting up with his girl. Then it dosent seem to talk about AC/DC's success after Bons death, it mentions the 80's and early 90's, but dosent mention the sucsess they had with LIVE performances as they always did from the begining. He seems to have gone out of his way to try to make it look like AC/DC died when Bon did, and blames the Youngs for it.

    But apart from some bad blood issues; I think the book is great, letting us see the Bon that we never knew, and his days with Fretinity and the Valentines, even back with the Spktors, his hay days in Perth and what Bon would get up to, the great storys of freinds memorys of Bon, and the sad tradjedy that Bon was seen as the wild legendary frontman of a great powerfull rock band, but on the inside, just your average Joe looking for freinds and love, and who sadly didnt get to settle down as he wanted to

    Rest In Peace Ronald Bon Scott - We Salue You

    4-0 out of 5 stars VERY GOOD READING
    This book is simple a must if you're a real AC/DC fan. Altough it is focused mainly on Bon Scott ( for the simple reason of the man's unbeliavable great charisma ), of course it deals a lot about AC/DC's career until the "HIGHWAY TO HELL" album. YOu have to got a little patience in the first hundred pages or so, when the book deals with all the secundary bands Bon worked before joining the Young Brothers. But this phase is fundamental in understanding the man's backgorund and way of life. Of course there is no official quote from AC/DC actual members ( AC/DC would never permit it!!!), but a lot of interviews from ex-bassist Mark Evans. What becomes clear after reading the book (what was already clear for clear-minded fans) is how the band lost creativity after Bon died, mainly in the lyrical department. The book reveals that some years ago the band even contemplated sacking Brian Johnson (the guy just can't sing or scream anymore - it's awful !!). The band today is almost an "Institution", like the Stones (that's why they released only two albuns in the entire period since 1991)and losing their second singer could be a definitive blow to the band. All in all, this book is a must have.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great
    Highway to Hell tells the story of singer extraordinaire Bon Scott. Bon rocked hard, lived hard and played hard. This book takes you behind the scenes in recording stories and tales from the road.

    Even with all of Bon's hard living, he is portrayed in a sentimental manner. You get to know him as a man in addition to the rock star. This is a must read for any AC/DC fan.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Worst Book Ever
    Mr. Walker wrote this book in a voice of being scared to publish anything controversal about Bon. People who say that it was wrong that the Young brothers didnt give an interview to honor Bon have their head up their arse. Back in Black was their way to honor Bon, not give a stupid interview 15-20years after hes been dead

    1-0 out of 5 stars A juvenile effort
    I was expecting so much more from this piece, a profound disappointment. I can see why the members of the AC/DC organization wanted no part of it. Its full of sophomoric, misleading, and inconsequential innuendo and hearsay. The writer has talked to lots of people who knew Bon Scott at one time or another or another, yet little of any substance is presented. Instead, the author spends more time trying to place the life of Bon Scott in a context that did not exist when he was living.
    This book is more of a study in social phenomenon than an actual biography. Instead of concentrating on the man and his music, he focuses more on Bon Scott as a social icon. The book is filled with stale cliches and endless repetition of the same dull themes that would be more at home in a mass market paperback about Joan Collins.
    If I read a book about Mars, I would expect the author to have a firm grasp of astronomy in particular and science in general. If I read a book about rock and roll, I would expect the writer to actually know something about guitars, chords, notes, progression, recording etc. This author's main credentials with regards to Bon and AC/DC appears to be that he is Australian, and that he has written about Australian music as a popular phenomenon.
    Very thin, not much weight to bring to bear on a subject that deserves much better treatment. A lame limp-wristed effort. ... Read more

    18. Sea Of Glory: America's Voyage of Discovery, The U.S. Exploring Expedition, 1838-1842
    by Nathaniel Philbrick
    list price: $16.00
    our price: $10.88
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0142004839
    Catlog: Book (2004-10-01)
    Publisher: Penguin Books
    Sales Rank: 4715
    Average Customer Review: 4.94 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    America’s first frontier was not the West; it was the sea—and no one writes moreeloquently about that watery wilderness than Nathaniel Philbrick. In hisbestselling Inthe Heart of the Sea Philbrick probed the nightmarish dangers of the vastPacific.Now, in an epic sea adventure, he writes about one of the most ambitious voyagesofdiscovery the Western world has ever seen—the U.S. Exploring Expedition of 1838– 1842. On a scale that dwarfed the journey of Lewis and Clark, six magnificentsailingvessels and a crew of hundreds set out to map the entire Pacific Ocean—and endedupnaming the newly discovered continent of Antarctica, collecting what wouldbecome thebasis of the Smithsonian Institution, and much more. ... Read more

    Reviews (16)

    5-0 out of 5 stars The U.S. Ex. Ex.
    I always enjoy reading a book about American History that tells me something about a topic of which I am completely ignorant. Before reading this book, I had no knowledge about the 1838-1842 circumnavigation of the globe that this expedition conducted. The author has taken a long-forgotten journey from our country's past and brought it to the attention of a new century, and for that he should be thanked. There were many benefits garnered from this trip, such as the founding of the Smithsonian, which is quite important to our nation. The narrative of the journey, and the various personalities involved, is extremely lively and interesting, and makes for fascinating reading. Discovering the almost unlimited power which the captain of a sailing ship had over his crew is quite chilling, and very foreign to those of us who today believe in individual freedom. The writing is first rate, and it moves along quite readily. If you want to learn something new about your country, and have a good read while doing it, I highly recommend this book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars All the joy of recovered history
    Philbrick is undoubtedly one of the finest maritime writers working today. I thought his previous book, on the whaleship Essex, was excellent, but in the breadth of the tale told, Sea of Glory surpasses it. This book deserves wide attention, not the least for helping restore to history a fascinating tale of exploration that has simply vanished from America's history books: A four year journey round the globe, in which the existence of the Antarctic continent is proven, many islands of the South Sea and the Pacific Northwest surveyed for the first time and charted, and thousands upon thousands of plant, animal, and ethnographic specimens collected, which became the founding collections of the Smithsonian. Indeed, Philbrick makes clear that many US scientific organizations owe their start to the "US Ex Ex."

    In addition to US Ex Ex's accomplishments, Philbrick tells of many, sometimes deadly, adventures -- ships wrecked and battered by storms, encounters with island natives, even a very short "war."

    Finally, there is the all important human element: One reason the US Ex Ex vanished was the way the journey ended -- in courts martial and wrangling. The commander of the expedition, Wilkes, managed to turn his many young officers from ardent admirers into bitter enemies, through his fierce ambitions, paranoia, and other deep personal flaws -- which in turn may have colored Melville's portrait of Captain Ahab in Moby Dick.

    I'm very glad to have found this book. Be sure to look through the excellent bibliography as well, which is a goldmine of sources for more information on US expeditions and early science.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Richie's Picks: SEA OF GLORY
    "There ain't no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them." --Mark Twain

    "By this time the sound of the dragging anchors had become 'almost an incessant peal,' Dana wrote, 'announcing that the dreaded crisis was fast approaching.' "They had drifted to within a ship's length of the reef. One of the anchors finally caught and, for a few brief moments, the Relief hovered in the wild surge of the breakers. '[T]he ship rose and fell a few times with the swell,' Dana wrote, 'and then rose and careened as if half mad: her decks were deluged with the sweeping waves, which poured in torrents down the hatches.' The strain on the cables proved too much, and at 11:30 P.M. the anchor chain parted. '[W]e found ourselves,' Long wrote, 'at God's mercy.' "

    I am a major fan of Joy Hakim's American History series, THE HISTORY OF US. But looking back through it today, I am surprised. While Ms. Hakim devotes five pages to an excellent biographical introduction of Nathaniel Bowditch (1773-1838), the author of THE NEW AMERICAN PRACTICAL NAVIGATOR, there is not a single word in her entire series about Lieutenant Charles Wilkes, the man who was undoubtedly Bowditch's most important student.

    Hakim is not alone in having ignored Wilkes. I telephoned an eighth-grade student to check on our middle school's American History text. Again, no mention of Lieutenant Wilkes.

    Despite my own love for American History, if I've ever heard mention of Wilkes, it has certainly slipped my mind. And yet, as the commander of the U.S. Exploring Expedition (referred to as the Ex. Ex.), Wilkes led an incredibly ambitious and successful four-year journey that ranks right up there with that of Lewis and Clark.

    "By any measure, the achievements of the Expedition would be extraordinary. After four years at sea, after losing two ships and twenty-eight officers and men, the Expedition logged 87,000 miles, surveyed 280 Pacific Islands, and created 180 charts--some of which were still being used as late as World War II. The Expedition also mapped 800 miles of coastline in the Pacific Northwest and 1,500 miles of the icebound Antarctic coast. Just as important would be its contribution to the rise of science in America. The thousands of specimens and artifacts amassed by the Expedition's scientists would become the foundation of the collections of the Smithsonian Institution. Indeed, without the Ex. Ex., there might never have been a national museum in Washington, D.C. The U.S. Botanical Garden, the U.S. Hydrographic Office, and the Naval Observatory all owe their existence, in varying degrees, to the Expedition."

    So why is the groundbreaking work of the Expedition so widely ignored? That is the question that Nathaniel Philbrick both asks and provides answers for in his latest, thrilling volume of nonfiction, SEA OF GLORY.

    The reason for the Ex. Ex. having become a complex and controversial subject that is ignored by American history textbooks has to do with Wilkes. On one hand, Wilkes was one heck of a history-making marine surveyor, and one bold, daring, and determined hombre when it came to exploring uncharted seas and supervising collection of information and specimens. But he was an equally crazy, abusive, and evil SOB when it came to leading men and dealing with natives, Brits, superiors, subordinates, Friends, Romans, Countryman...(You get the idea.) And since what comes around goes around, his return to America after four years of such phenomenal successes was cause for a court-martial rather than a rolling out of the red carpet.

    The trouble began not long after the Expedition set sail.

    "All his life, Wilkes had cast himself as the righteous outsider who must battle against the forces of ignorance and ineptitude to achieve what others thought could never be done. He was the antithesis of the 'team player,' and as he had proven...more than a decade before, he was capable of turning on the people closest to him if he thought it served his best interests...
    "A year into the Expedition, Wilkes had essentially re-created the environment in which he had always operated: it was he, and he alone, against the rest of the world. It was a turbulent, hurtful, and ultimately wasteful way to conduct one's life, but it was the only way he knew how to do it."

    Nathaniel Philbrick once again showcases his ability to meld primary source materials with commentary and background in a manner that grabs and holds readers. It is incredibly exciting to travel with these nineteenth century Americans as they dodge icebergs, challenge dangerous straits, and climb Mauna Kea. It is truly fascinating to read about the disparities between what had at that time previously been reported--even in the well-traveled Atlantic--and that which Wilkes surveyed. As the author points out, "As the Ex. Ex. was proving, exploration was as much about discovering what did not exist as it was about finding something new." The book is immersed in the rich mathematical and scientific background information that is necessary to really understand the Expedition's procedures and accomplishments.

    But what is also thought-provoking--particularly in the context of today's communications revolution where we can be in touch with anyone, anywhere (including Mars) at a moment's notice--is that a vital and pivotal U.S. government operation and its commander could operate for four long years without word one passing between Wilkes and either his military superiors or civilian government officials in Washington, D.C. (Then again I suppose, considering testimony in the current highly publicized hearings going on, some might say that, "Things never change.")

    SEA OF GLORY reveals a significant chunk of American History that--as with the many aficionados of the Lewis and Clark Trail--will have readers wanting to visit Pacific Islands, Antarctic peninsulas, and Pacific Northwest landmarks. Thanks to Nathaniel Philbrick, the U.S. Exploring Expedition and its remarkable-yet-flawed leader will be given its due in our nation's history.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Important and entertaining US maritime history
    One of the many questions Sea of Glory raises is how could this amazing four-year voyage have rated so little attention from historians? Herein lies Philbrick's greatest achievement, telling the story. And what a story it is. Over three year's worth of sea faring adventures when much of the Pacific Ocean (then more commonly known as the South Seas) and its isles were uncharted and the Antarctic was still not a geographic fact.
    While the EX EX had numerous encounters with natives, both those predisposed to violence such as in Fiji, and those who welcomed foreign sailors with open arms (to say the least) such as the Tahitians, it was the expedition's scientific achievements that were most notable.
    Much of their findings influenced much of what the United States was to know about the Pacific, Antarctic and numerous islands, peoples, plants and animals.
    That in itself is a not for an enriching even entertaining book. But as the TV ads say: there's more! The story of the expedition's leader, Charles Wilkes, is a fascinating character study. Philbrick gives Wilkes his due for his surveying skills and his necessarily aggressive leadership. But Wilkes had an uncanny ability to annoy, hurt and offend his underlings and had a tendency to capricious decisions and frequently folding under pressure. These intrigues add considerable spice to the story. As he did with his earlier masterpiece, "Heart of Sea" Philbrick expertly draws all characters, from the primary to the supporting cast. Keeping up with all of them was a difficult task that the author was certainly up to.
    Sea of Glory is not just a wonderful addition to American and maritime history; it fills a void in it. I'm sure I join countless other readers in eagerly awaiting Philbrick's next work.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A very compelling telling
    People interested in American History should not pass this up! A re-discovery of our past and fascination in the exploration of the Pacific and Antarctica lost to the discovery of gold in California is vividly read by Dennis Boutsikaris.

    A telling of the turbulent leadership of Charles Wilkes is revealed as well as the Naval politics of the pre-civil war. ... Read more

    19. The South Pole
    by Roald E. Amundsen, Roland Huntford, Captain Roald Amundsen
    list price: $29.95
    our price: $29.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0815411278
    Catlog: Book (2001-01)
    Publisher: Cooper Square Publishers
    Sales Rank: 223962
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    The first explorer to reach the South Pole recounts the rigors of his expedition. ... Read more

    Reviews (2)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Preparedness Leads To Success
    In the Foreword, Roland Huntford describes Amundsen's narrative as "all that Scott's is not". How right he is! This a very large book, but nonetheless an easy read. Amundsen relates a fascinating tale of fortune, misfortune, hardship, and ultimately - success. The narrative is detailed, but not overly so. In many places, a dose of humor is weaved in. Complete with numerous photos, maps, and scientific data, this book should be considered one of the great narratives of exploration. The great moral lesson of this tale is that preparedness ultimately leads to success. Is it any wonder that Roald Amundsen and his comrades won the race to the South Pole?

    5-0 out of 5 stars The South Pole - The Masters Tale
    Recent years have seen a re-examination of the Golden Age of Antarctic Exploration. Roland Huntford in his excellent books "The Last Place on Earth" and "Shackleton" helped to debunk the myth of the glorious failure (Scott the Martyr) as an example to follow.

    The greatest tale of this age was surrounded by no great tales of hardship, no honeyed or sanitised versions of the deed. In this book we hear in the words of the greatest exponent of the art of polar travel, the story of that rarest of plans - the perfectly executed coup.

    For a coup it was. When Amundsen turned from the North Pole to the South after the question of "the great nail" had been settled by Cook & Peary, his decision was treated in many sectors (most notably an unbalanced and jingoistic British Press) as underhanded and double dealing. Amundens account of the reasoning behind it makes clear that any deceit was necessary to ensure no forestalling of his plans by others - not only Scott. To ensure the future of his extended plan (the drift across the Arctic which was eventually carried out in the "Maud") he knew the Press Barons would need an exclusive and juicy story. The South Pole would give him this currency.

    The book is written in an honest and clean style - an extension of the Man and his nature. The hardships faced are almost disguised by the simple tale of their telling. To strike up an unknown glacier and forge his way over virgin ground on the way to the polar plateau and the Pole itself displays fortitude and grit we can only marvel at in todays world. But his description of the task is hidden behind a work-a-day narrative. To truly appreciate the splendour of the achievement is difficult in our modern era.

    One cannot help but admire the total outcome of the plan. There are few tales in history and few great men who can truly say they accomplished exactly what they set out to do in the manner in which they planned. Those who can are Masters of their field. Amundsen is such a man - and master.

    A feature of this book is the credit given by Amundsen to those who went with him. Where others claimed responsibility for the great deeds of their men, Amundsen retreats to the background and gives the credit to those who did the act. Natural humility is a trait of the Norwegian nature and Amundsen shows this in the writing of the book. There is no playing to the crowd but deeds are allowed to speak for themselves.

    To appreciate the tale, read the book and marvel. ... Read more

    20. Ice Blink: The Tragic Fate of Sir John Franklin's Lost Polar Expedition
    by ScottCookman
    list price: $24.95
    our price: $24.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0471377902
    Catlog: Book (2000-01-21)
    Publisher: Wiley
    Sales Rank: 503099
    Average Customer Review: 3.52 out of 5 stars
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    By the mid-19th century, after decades of polar exploration, the fabled Northwest Passage seemed within reach. In 1845 the British Admiralty assembled the largest expedition yet, refitting two ships with steam engines and placing the seasoned if somewhat lackluster Sir John Franklin in command of the 128-man expedition. After sailing into Baffin Bay, they were never heard from again.

    Drawing on early accounts from relief expeditions as well as recent archeological evidence, Scott Cookman reconstructs a chronicle of the expedition in Ice Blink. Cookman, a journalist with articles in Field & Stream and other magazines, excels when firmly grounded in the harrowing reality of 19th-century Arctic exploration. When he speculates about what happened to the Franklin expedition, however, he is on less solid ground and his writing suffers.

    Particularly overwrought is the promised "frightening new explanation" for the expedition's demise. Cookman suggests that it was caused by the "grotesque handiwork" of an "evil" man, Stephan Goldner, who had supplied its canned foods. This is hardly new. As early as 1852, investigators determined that the expedition's canned goods were probably inferior and canceled provisioning contracts with Goldner. How a hundred men survived for nearly three years despite lead poisoning and botulism remains a mystery. In the end, as Cookman himself acknowledges, the expedition was ultimately doomed by its reliance on untested technology such as the steam engine, armor plating, and canned provisions. These criticisms aside, Ice Blink is an interesting narrative of this enduring symbol of polar exploration and disaster. --Pete Holloran ... Read more

    Reviews (23)

    5-0 out of 5 stars FANTASTIC
    I was flipping the channels on early Sunday morning when for some reason I stopped on Book TV on C-Span 2 and caught Scott Cookman talking about the search for the Northwest Passege. It was the Apollo mission of its time. I have read a number books over Sir John Franklin Polar Expedition and this one by far is the best. Polar Exploration the 1800's was pretty dicey, even today it is. If you have any interest Polar Expedions and true mystery this is your book and it all rally happend.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Spielberg should make it a movie!
    Years ago I had read a National Geographic article about the discovery of the frozen bodies of three seamen from an ill fated expedition to explore the Arctic for the fabled Northwest Passage. The modern discoverers of the remains were scientists who performed an onsite autopsy to determine the cause of death, as the scope of the disaster had left many unanswered questions since it's occurrence in the mid-19th Century. The amount of knowledge that was gained after more than a century post mortem was impressive, and left a lasting memory of the unfortunate expedition: The Franklin Polar Expedition. When I saw the summary for the book The Ice Blink, I was immediately captured by the Franklin subject, and got the book.

    The volume reads like a novel, written as it is by a well researched journalist rather than an historian. I read it in a single day, almost in a single sitting, so riveting is its human detail. The author covers the topic lengthily, including other equally unfortunate attempts to search for the passage to the Pacific by way of the northern most reaches of North America. He details the careers of the various officers as well as that of the Second Secretary of the British Admiralty, Sir John Barrow, who was as much a part of the events as any of the actual participants. He outlines the background of many of the enlisted men, and points out the financial incentives that encouraged them to go on the discovery voyage. He also points out that few who had been on one before, were actually willing to go for any amount of money!

    Cookman's biography of the titular leader of the expedition, Sir John Franklin is illuminating, but that of the captain of the Terror is by far the most interesting. Francis Croiser was passed over as leader of the expedition on the basis of his social and ethnic status (Irish middle class) but was the most experienced of the officers with the rigors of polar exploration. It was ultimately on his shoulders that command fell after the early death of Franklin, and under the worst of all possible conditions. From physical remains found at the site of the abandoned ships and strewn across the landscape following the doomed men's path, it would appear that the flight from the pack ice in which both ships had been imprisoned for almost 18 months had been well and carefully planned by Croiser, and except for the desperation and hopelessness of their situation might well have brought a few home. He certainly seems to have given them the only real hope they had of survival.

    The author paints a vivid picture of the retreat of the men, using the 19th Century reports of efforts to find survivors, those of modern investigators of known sites (like that mentioned above) and of reports by other explorers and natives who accidentally discovered remains. Putting the story together with what is known of other polar expeditions, what is known of the 19th Century naval organization, and the society of the time, and the information about the Arctic that 20th Century polar expeditions have given us, Cookman provides the reader with a thoroughly convincing tale of the early conditions of exploration.

    What makes the story most intriguing, though, is the probable cause of the disaster itself, which turns out to have been staggering greed, incredible double dealing and total indifference to the fate and well being of others. There is definitely a message to the modern world in the tale of the "lowest bidder!" Steven Spielberg should make a movie of the entire affair! Read it, and see if you don't agree!

    3-0 out of 5 stars More than Slightly Speculative
    One reviewer has called the book "slightly speculative." That is too charitable. Cookman generally does not contradict known facts about the Franklin expedition, but he invents much more detail than he has evidence to support. The book is unsuitable for academic purposes, but it provides a compelling, though at times poorly written, story. I do not wish to be too harsh on the book. To its credit, many of Cookman's speculations are reasonable and provide information that serious historians withhold in their books on the expedition. It is best to read one of the many other books on the topic in order to know what parts of Ice Blink to trust, and which to take with a grain of salt.

    4-0 out of 5 stars A good read, slightly speculative
    The Fate of the Franklin expedition will most likely always be a mystery. This wonderful, speculative account is one of the best. The author does a step by step look at all the factors and issues leading to the disaster that cost the lives on 129 British Navy personnel in search of the Northwest passage. Franklin had left England in 1845 with two of the best equipped ships ever put to sea for arctic exploration, he had experienced officers and a compliment of 129 men. They were never seen again. Subsequently 50 expeditions searched and found only scraps of clues as to their disappearance.

    This book claims the culprit was most likely Botulism in the canned meat. This speculation runs contradictory to that lead poisoning thesis put forward in 'Frozen in Time' and the fact that admiralty investigations proved the meat tins were not thoroughly sealed(thus Botulism couldn't have formed). Nevertheless this is one of the best books on the fate of the expedition. The author describes the final 'death march' south along King William Island and the subsequent cannibalism that took place. Excellent diagrams bring the ships to life and maps show the final route of Franklins last survivors. A must read for those interested in arctic survival and the riddle of Sir John Franklin.

    Seth J Frantzman November 2003

    4-0 out of 5 stars Great Book
    The Arctic expedition of Sir John Franklin is one of the most infamous incidents in a series of infamous incidents that was Arctic exploration in the 19th century. This book retells his story, and the story of his men. In this, it is no different from the many other books on the subject, including Buried in Ice, a recent archeological study of the Franklin expedition. However, this book gives a name to the enemy: Stephen Goldner, who sold the canned food to the expedition. It is the perfect book for the novice, like myself, who just wants a basic overview of one of the more fascinating and tragic episodes in exploration history. ... Read more

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