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1. Tragic Mountains: The Hmong, the
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2. Lao-Tzu's Taoteching: With Selected
3. In a Little Kingdom: The Tragedy
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4. Lost Over Laos: A True Story of
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5. A Daughter of Han: The Autobiography
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6. Cheating Death: Combat Air Rescues
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7. Covert Ops: The Cia's Secret War
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8. Price of Exit
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9. Anaximander, Heraclitus, Parmenides,
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10. Hmong Means Free: Life Laos and
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11. A Short History of Laos: The Land
12. Christ the Eternal Tao
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13. Shooting at the Moon : The Story
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14. Cultural Crisis and Social Memory:
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15. Call Sign Rustic: The Secret Air
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16. Kennedy's Wars: Berlin, Cuba,
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17. The Libertarian Reader : Classic
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18. One Day Too Long
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19. Lao Tzu's
20. Atlas of Laos: The Spatial Structures

1. Tragic Mountains: The Hmong, the Americans, and the Secret Wars for Laos, 1942-1992
by Jane Hamilton-Merritt
list price: $24.95
our price: $24.95
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Asin: 0253207568
Catlog: Book (1999-12-01)
Publisher: Indiana University Press
Sales Rank: 219018
Average Customer Review: 4.33 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Jane Hamilton-Merritt, Nobel-nominated scholarand photojournalist, has followed the plight of the Hmong andthe war in Indochina since the 1960s.The staunchest ofallies, the Hmong sided with the Americans against the NorthVietnamese and were foot soldiers in the brutal secret warfor Laos. Since the war, abandoned by their American allies,the Hmong have been subjected to a campaign of genocide bythe North Vietnamese, including the use of chemical weapons.Tragic Mountains moves from the big picture of internationaldiplomacy and power politics to the small villages and heroicengagements in the Lao jungle. It is a story of courage,brutality, heroism, betrayal, resilience, and hope. ... Read more

Reviews (15)

4-0 out of 5 stars an informative history
I believe Jane Hamilton-Merritt did her job as a journalist... but there were many incorrect things in the book... She has become a big representative of the Hmong struggle in Laos... thus, I feel it necessary that these mistakes be corrected...

overall, the book was very informative... I've learned a lot from the book... and I do recommend it...

5-0 out of 5 stars The only book that truly depicts who the Hmong people are.

Jane Hamilton-Merritt has done a superb job in documenting the struggles of the Hmong people. By living with the Hmong, she sees through the eyes of the Hmong people. Her views are not those of an outsider, but the views of a Hmong. From the beginning of the Secret War to the settling of the Hmong in America, she documents everything that happens to the Hmong people. Tragic Mountains shows her dedication and love of the Hmong people

4-0 out of 5 stars UNTOLD HISTORY

5-0 out of 5 stars Candlestick Fac analysis
Jane Hamilton-Merritt's research and reporting is outstanding.After serving as a Candlestick fac (NKP 1969-1970),I have spent the last three years reading about these poor people who gave so much for the American aircrews.. I spent a two week'Sabbatical" at 20 alternate and was shocked by the yound age of V.P.s troops.Ms. jane has portrayed it brilliantly....Her work is phenomenal and should be required reading for the war colleges She correctly questions why any country would sign a treaty with the United States.. The genocide which we have supported by "sticking our heads in the sand" is grievous.I retired early from the USAF since I lost confidence in our government.Indeed even the services spent a great deal of their time trying to absorb each other's missions,rather than dealing with the losing battle in SEA in the 1970s.. The administration never told the American people that we were actually fighting against Russian and Chinese advisors leave alone that we were in Laos for almost ten years. .Every congressman should also read about this stain on our moral fiber .Somehow,there are more important things in this life than being reelected .Thank you and Bless Ms. Hamilton-Merritt for trying to wake up Washington. The best treatise ever on our Laotian allies !

1-0 out of 5 stars Uncritical
This book is a fine example of utterly uncritical journalism. She starts out from accepting that the Hmong are victims of yellow rain and from this proceeds to "prove" it without first questionning whether the underlying assumption is valid. While one cannot but have sympathy for the Hmong (as for any people caught up in violent events largely of their own making) this should not mean that one ceases to have a brain. A useful balance to this right wing book is Grant Evans' book called, if I recollect correctly, "Yellow Rain". Also, Vang Pao was a heroin dealer and a CIA tool. Merritt conveniently overlooks this and places no responsibility at the door of this self-seeking greedy warlord. ... Read more

2. Lao-Tzu's Taoteching: With Selected Commentaries of the Past 2000 Years
by Lao-Tzu, Red Pine
list price: $14.95
our price: $10.17
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Asin: 1562790854
Catlog: Book (2001-04-01)
Publisher: Mercury House
Sales Rank: 31299
Average Customer Review: 4.78 out of 5 stars
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Red Pine (a.k.a. Bill Porter) offers a new perspective on the Chinese classic Taoteching. A competent translator and interpreter of Chinese religion, he renders his work with an eye for detail and a spiritualism cultivated during years of Zen monastery living. It's odd that many read translations of Chinese classics as bare-bones texts, whereas no Chinese would tackle such obscurity in the absence of a helping hand from previous pundits. Fortunately, it is no longer necessary to rely on mystical insight in order to understand the Taoteching. Instead, we can look to the 12 or so commentators that Red Pine resurrects from Chinese history. With its clarity and scholarly range, this version of the Taoteching works as both a readable text and a valuable resource of Taoist interpretation. ... Read more

Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars This is it !
This is the most helpful book on Taoism I have ever read. After years of reading different translations, overtly loose or too stiff interpretations, and inaccurate relativistic teachings by some Taoist "experts", I have never found a better translation and study book on the Tao concept. The commentaries are very insightful and very useful with several comments on each chapter to look through and compare. The whole book is very practical and nice to read. I'm fairly skeptical at heart (indeed, a skeptic), but there is plenty of wisdom here that is just plain obvious and helpful. If I could only choose one book on Taoism to have, THIS WOULD BE IT. I even bought a spare. I think that much of it.

4-0 out of 5 stars An Outstanding Version
This is one of the short-list finest English translations of this indispensable work of cosmic insight and practical wisdom (the two are, as Lao Tzu repeatedly points out, identical in effect). Like Jonathan Star's translation (in his wonderful verbatim text), Pine's work is the rendering of a person with a scholarly background who clearly has made a heart-connection with his subject; in short, this is the work of man who loves the Tao and refuses to hide behind a cloak of academic pretence in his translation. The only distraction to the book is its inclusion of commentary from various sources directly on the page with the poems: I much prefer having the translator's or others' commentary in the back of the text, so that the reader can fully experience the poems in the main part of the text independently, without the distraction of "expert insight." These are poems that should be read and re-read, time and again, year after year, for this is a work that always refreshes itself and its readers. In other respects, however, Pine's translation is well worth a spot on the shelf of any lover of the Tao.

5-0 out of 5 stars Indispensable
This is the best translation of the Tao Te Ching that I've seen. I'm confident that I will not live to see a better translation. This is the only translation I have found that conveys the profound clarity and simplicity of the Tao.

I will go one step further: This is the greatest holy book I have read.

I plan on reading every book by Red Pine/Bill Porter.

5-0 out of 5 stars "This is the Way of Heaven."
The TAO TE CHING is one of the most translated books in the world, surpassed only by the BIBLE and the BHAGAVAD-GITA. In his reflective verse, Lao-tzu speaks to those searching for a meaningful way of mastering one's life in a society degraded by economic, militaristic and modern values. More than one hundred translations of Lao-tzu's "Book of the Way" have been published in Western languages, including more than forty versions in English alone. This translation is notable for two reasons. First, Red Pine (aka Bill Porter) draws from the recently discovered Ma-wang-tui texts of the TAO TE CHING to successfully convey the Tao essence of Lao-tzu. Those texts were discovered in 1973 preserved in the tomb of an official's son; that tomb has been dated to 168 BC. Second, although it takes only an hour to read the TAO TE CHING, it requires a lifetime to understand it. Red Pine's book includes selected commentaries from the past 2000 years that provide line-by-line insights into Lao-tzu's difficult verse.

Red Pine's bare-verse translation follows the classic two-part, eighty-one verse format of the TAO TE CHING. It is less scholarly than Robert Henrick's translation, more literal than Stephen Mitchell's poetic rendering of the TAO TE CHING, and as readable as Robert Moss's translation. Red Pine's translations of THE DIAMOND SUTRA and THE COLLECTED SONGS OF COLD MOUNTAIN demonstrate a deep understanding of his subjects, and his translation of Lao-tzu is no exception. Red Pine's TAOTECHING is a well-travelled path to the Tao on my bookshelf, and a recommended translation of "The Old Master."

G. Merritt

4-0 out of 5 stars Like sharing a few hours around the courtyard fire
Remember sitting around a campfire at night, listening to elderly friends and relatives? And high above, the stars seemed to twinkle at you. Drowsily you heard a few shrewd comments, and someone laughing, another profound voice, and then maybe someone uttered what you were thinking?
Red Pine have collected comments to Tao Te Ching that explore, expand and sometimes explains a verse of wisdom from Lao-Tzu. Many comments are flat and literal, a few have been too influenced by Buddhism to understand Lao-tzu, and then suddenly there's a star.
This companion with selected commentaries provides more perspectives and augments your understanding of Tao Te Ching, although you sometimes need a pinch of salt to grasp the irony of a statement or to ward off the influence of Buddhist thought.
I usually consult the translations of Henricks and Lau, because they are seldom tempted to oversimplify. I often find Bill Porter's translation of Tao Te Ching strangely heavyfooted and unpoetic, but the memory of some comments - shooting across the sky - remains. ... Read more

3. In a Little Kingdom: The Tragedy of Laos, 1960-1980
by Perry Stieglitz
list price: $49.95
our price: $49.95
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Asin: 0873326172
Catlog: Book (1990-12-01)
Publisher: M. E. Sharpe
Sales Rank: 1039932
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4. Lost Over Laos: A True Story of Tragedy, Mystery, and Friendship
by Richard Pyle, Horst Faas, David Halberstam
list price: $27.50
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Asin: 0306811960
Catlog: Book (2003-03)
Publisher: Da Capo Press
Sales Rank: 278438
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The richly illustrated story of four combat photographers who died in a fiery helicopter over Laos in 1971--and the search, twenty-seven years later, for the crash site.

In 1971, as American forces hastened their withdrawal from Vietnam, a helicopter was hit by enemy fire over Laos and exploded in a fireball, killing four top combat photographers, Larry Burrows of Life magazine, Henri Huet of Associated Press, Kent Potter of United Press International, and Keisaburo Shimamoto of Newsweek. The Saigon press corps and the American public were stunned, but the remoteness of the location made a recovery attempt impossible. When the war ended four years later in a communist victory, the war zone was sealed off to outsiders, and the helicopter incident faded from most memories. Yet two journalists from the Vietnam press corps--Richard Pyle, former Saigon Bureau Chief, and Horst Faas, Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer in Vietnam--pledged to return some day to Laos, resolve mysteries about the crash, and pay homage to their lost friends. True to their vow, twenty-seven years after the incident the authors joined a U.S. team excavating the hillside where the helicopter crashed. Few human remains were found, but camera parts and bits of film provided eerie proof of what happened there.

The narrative of Lost Over Laos is framed in a period that was among the war's bloodiest, for both the military and the media, yet has received relatively little attention from historians. It is rich with behind-the-scenes anecdotes about the Saigon press corps and illustrated with stunning work by the four combat photographers who died and their colleagues. ... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Explores and explains the psyche of the war photojournalist
For those of us born too late to be part of the generation that was, in the words of Richard Pyle, "educated, molded, and aged by the Vietnam experience," our second-hand knowledge of this war has been limited largely to the negative: the horrors of the battlefield, the mental anguish of the young soldiers being asked to sacrifice their lives for goals that were far from clear, and the deeply divisive debates over the agony of continued warfare vs. the humiliation of abandoning the cause. Yet this book is about journalists who VOLUNTEERED to go into the jungle. What would make an otherwise sane person want to do this? As Pyle explores the lives and deaths of the four killed photojournalists, various answers to this question surface, making the journalist's motives comprehensible even to outsiders such as myself--the lure of the exotic setting, the sense of regret that one might have felt if excluded from the most important event of the decade, and the sense of obligation to "compel the world to see Vietnam," to see it "through a camera lens that illuminated, explained, told truths of what the war looked like and how it felt to be there." As for coping with the drawbacks of death and dismemberment, there was always denial. As Richard writes: "It was part of the war correspondent psyche to recognize the possibility of the worst, but to worry or even think much about that was to invite oneself to look for work in another field"; and "there was a sense among members of the Saigon media that journalists who reached celebrity status through repeated stellar performance could become exempt from ordinary danger, passing into a realm of immunity where the worst simply could not happen to them--as if North Vietnamese gunners tracking a helicopter would receive a last-second order: 'Don't shoot. That's Larry Burrows up there.'"

As summarized in the reviews of others, the primary focus of this book is on (1) the lives of Larry Burrows, Henri Huet, Kent Potter, and Keisaburo Shimamoto; and (2) the difficult search for the details of a crash that took place behind enemy lines (details which, for almost thirty years, were limited to little more than "helicopter shot down over the Ho Chi Minh Trail, apparently killing all aboard"). Yet it's the tangent themes that I found the most affecting, perhaps none more than Pyle's search for meaning in the tragic loss of his colleagues and friends. These four civilian photographers went to Vietnam to share the images of war with the rest of the world, and it seems to double the tragedy "that the only monument to their commitment, their skill, and their courage should be a few bone shards and bits of metal, left out in the rain on a nameless, forgotten hillside." Five stars.

5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent, evocative book
This book describes the world of photojournalists in the Vietnam work and focuses on the death of four photojournalists in a battle over the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos during a the US government's semi-covert war against the North Vietnamese in that country (the pilots of their aircraft were South Vietnamese and their death occurred during a South Vietnamese attack against NVA supply lines). The book also describes the effort to find their remains and the authors' attempt to give meaning to their loss. The photojournalists who died included two of the most celebrated of the war and two younger men of great skill. In a relatively short text, the book manages to tell their stories and the story of Vietnam War photojournalism in a manner that is reverent without being professionally aggrandizing. By coincidence, I visited the village where the search for remains took place a few months before the authors and their time in that place was particularly evocative for me. The authors offer a perspective on the war that is complex and, in some ways, more hawkish than other first-hand retrospective war accounts, although too skeptical to really fit the conceptualizations of hawk and dove that characterized the times. Given the many parallels that some have drawn between Vietnam and our own era, this is a book that thoughtful critics and partisans of the Iraqi conflict should read. My only complaint is that book does not include enough of the award winning pictures of Larry Burrows and his fallen colleagues.

5-0 out of 5 stars Especially recommended reading for students of journalism
Collaboratively written by foreign correspondent Richard Pyle and Associated Press photographer and photo editor Horst Faas, Lost Over Laos: A True Story Of Tragedy, Mystery, And Friendship is an historical and memorial testimony showcasing four combat photographers who died in Indochina: Larry Burrows of "Life" magazine; Henri Huet of the Associated Press; Kent Potter of United Press International; and Keisaburo Shimamoto of "Newsweek". Twenty seven years later, a recovery team was able to visit the site of the helicopter crash that took the lives of these remarkable men, recover evidence, and bring closure to the tragedy. Lost Over Laos is a powerful and poignant narration, and especially recommended reading for students of journalism. ... Read more

5. A Daughter of Han: The Autobiography of a Chinese Working Woman
by Lao Toai-Toai Ning, Ida Pruitt
list price: $19.95
our price: $13.57
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Asin: 0804706069
Catlog: Book (1990-10-01)
Publisher: Stanford University Press
Sales Rank: 114797
Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Slice of Life
Ning Lao Ta'i-ta'i. _The Autobiography of a Chinese Working Woman. Translated and Transcribed by Ida Pruitt. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1967.

Every now and then I read an entire book in one for one or two reasons a) I have to read a book that I have put off for the time period in which I had to read it b) I become completely engrossed in it. I must say that, in the case of this book, it started off as the former and it ended up being the latter, although I still have to write a paper on it by tuesday.

This memoir was was orally transcribed by Ida Pruitt over a two year period in which Mrs. Ning visited her from 1936-38. Pruitt was forced to leave Beijing in 1938 when the Japanese invaded the series. In the brief introduction of the book, Pruitt informs the reader that she does not know what happened to Mrs. Ning after she returned to America. The brutallity of the Japanese army was not as great in Beijing as in such areas as Nanjing and Shanghai,but one can not help wondering about Mrs.Ning who the reader, or at least I, becomes quite attached to.

Mrs. Ning begins her tale by detailing how her family became established in the town of P'englai her family history is both entrenched in history and folklore and makes for a fascinting read. The book continues following her life from her childhood, marriage, hard times, working both for government officials and missionaries, and finally living in Beijing. The greatest thing about this book is the extraordinary detail Mrs. Ning goes into describing her everyday life. One can almost see oneself removing the fourth wall of the past and being able to see late Ching China. One gets to see a good picture of opium addiction and the dealings inside yamen, political offices, that are no longer controlled by skilled officials. A great book.

4-0 out of 5 stars I Really Liked this book!
I had to read this book for a core class in college and I thought that I would have hated it. Actually, I really liked it. It told of a Chinese working woman's life. It even gives the reader an insight into her lifestyle and her struggles during this tumuluous time in history. The story even touches on the japanese invasion. I didn't think this biography would be interesting but it was. I would recommended this book to anyone. It is a light read and it is very interesting.

4-0 out of 5 stars life of one Chinese woman
Ida Pruitt's biography of Ning Lao T'ai-t'ai (literally "old lady Ning"), a peasant woman of northeast China born in 1867, is a fascinating anecdotal retelling of Ning's personal history as she related it to the author over the course of their two year long friendship. The storyline of Ning's life: childhood, marriage, work, and children, is laid out in a chronological history, broken into separate sections at particular turning points; and yet a cohesive theme of hardship, oppression and poverty, of strong-willed women and weak men is carried throughout not only Ning's tales but also through the stories she relates of her ancestors and neighbors.

Pruitt writes in the voice of Ning as if she is translating, but what she is really doing is recalling Ning's stories of her life in the first half of the 20th century. Ning was born into an educated middle class family which had fallen on harder times. Her father wants a better situation for her marriage, but the older husband he choses for her becomes addicted to opium driving the family into poverty. To survive and feed her children Ning must become first a beggar, then a servant to various households: military, Muslim, bureaucrat, and finally to Christian missionaries. And Ning's voice does come across clearly; speaking against concubinage and prostitution, about the penury of employers, the need to support and keep family together.

By using a first person retelling of the stories Pruitt gives the impresssion of accuracy, yet there were 7 years between the conversations with Ning and the writing of the book. Also the apparent bias against Japanese in prologue and last chapter together with the pub. date of the book indicate a hidden agenda on the part of the author. Still, although limited to the view of this one woman's experience, Ning's story is reflective of the hardships of life for Chinese women before the Communist era.

1-0 out of 5 stars This book compelled me to dry-heave more than once
Having read a lot of texts translated from Chinese lately for class, I have to say that this is one of the poorest jobs of translating I have ever encountered. Translating from Chinese to English is not an easy job, granted, because Chinese text is pictographic and requires a lot of artistic elaboration on the part of the author to keep the text alive for a Western audience. "A Daughter of Han" is a complete failure in this respect. As a reader, I felt so far removed from the events of the story, it was as though I was hearing an account of the plot from a woman who knew another guy who'd once heard about this lady who'd had these things happen to her that might be interesting if only the storytelling weren't so detached. I suppose one could make an argument that the emotional detachment with which the author treats potentially very dramatic events makes a larger statement about the Chinese culture, but that still doesn't make it worth reading for 250 pages. I could've gotten the same enthusiasm and emotional detachment from the blurb on the back of the book, had I only known better. Plus, if a key point of the book was this unusual treatment of tone, there are definitely tons of books out there that exemplify exactly how to do this without losing the reader, such as "The Stranger." Anyway, I'll wrap this up so as not to be as thoroughly terrible as the book. Bottom line, this book is boring. If you want to find out about how the common people of China lived around the turn of the 20th century, get a good textbook, look up the time period in the index, and read the obligatory social history section. It'll be about a page long. Amen to that.

5-0 out of 5 stars A wonderful book
This book truely helped give insight into the life of a working chinese woman. The hardships and the triumphs are all desplayed. The detail to which Pruitt describes China and the life of Ning Lao T'ai-'ai are amazing ... Read more

6. Cheating Death: Combat Air Rescues in Vietnam and Laos
by George J. Marrett
list price: $27.95
our price: $18.45
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Asin: 1588341046
Catlog: Book (2003-02-01)
Publisher: Smithsonian Books
Sales Rank: 61559
Average Customer Review: 4.71 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Deadly aerial combat, thrilling rescues, and colorful characters from a pilot and natural storyteller who was thereThey flew low and slow, at treetop level, at night, in monsoons, and in point-blank range of enemy guns and missiles. They were missions no one else wanted, but the ones all other pilots prayed for when shot down. Flying the World War II–vintage Douglas A-1 Skyraider, a single-engine, propeller-driven relic in a war of "fast-movers," these intrepid Air Force pilots flew one of the most dangerous missions of the war, helping rescue thousands of downed Navy and Air Force pilots.

With a flashback memory and a style all his own, Marrett depicts some of the most compelling aerial combat of any war, capturing the people, places, and battles with a unique blend of warts-and-all clarity, heart-pounding passion, and mordant wit. The thrilling rescue of "Streetcar 304" and William Jones’ selfless act of heroism that earned him the Medal of Honor are but two of some of the most searing tableau found in the literature of the Vietnam War.

It reads like the finest combat fiction, crackling with literary adrenaline and evoking a rich, distinctive pathos, but Cheating Death is the real deal: its heroes, cowards, jokers, and casualties all have names and faces readers will find difficult to forget. ... Read more

Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars Recognition for an important mission
While I was aware that the A-1 Skyraider participated in rescues of downed pilots, I had never read of the use of the A-1 indepth until I read "Cheating Death". Since the A-1 was an old, piston-engine aircraft, it is often overlooked, especially when compared to the F-4, F-105 and B-52 and other jets. George Marrett gives long overdue recognition to the crucial role played by the A-1 and the rescue forces in what is often an overlooked, yet important, role during the Vietnam War.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent book on combat flying the A-1.
As a general aviation pilot myself, my heroes are the attack, close support and fighter-bomber pilots of A-1s, A-4s, F-105s, P-47s, Typhoons, etc. These guys had to fly/dive INTO (not over or around them) their targets in the face of AAA, SAMs, and small arms fire which was not a job regular jet jocks or most other fighter pilots wanted. This a book that I could not put down, finished it in one day and wanted more! Highly recommended if you want to see through the eyes of an A-1 pilot rescuing other downed pilots. It does seem that the Jollies got more of their share of appreciation than the Sandy and Spad pilots did simply because the A-1 pilots weren't the ones to actually pick them up and bring them back to base while the A-1s flew home to a different base. That just didn't seem fair considering the A-1s made the all the difference in clearing or suppresing enemy activity in the area so the Jollies could do their job. The author does seem to be confused as to who actually made the engines in A-1s he was flying - they were not Pratt and Whitney. They were all made by Wright and called the R-3350-26 series.

5-0 out of 5 stars Skyraiders Forever!
For a generation of airmen--and perhaps for other warriors--writing about their time in SE Asia has proven cathartic. I've been involved in two such memoirs ("On Yankee Station" and "Wildcats to Tomcats") and in each case the experience was rewarding and fulfilling. George Marrett's memoir clearly has helped him address the demons of three decades, as he writes with honesty and clarity about his year flying A-1 "Sandys".
Ed Heinemann, the fabled designer of the Skyraider, would appreciate "Cheating Death" in a special way. He retained an affection for the "Spad" that would seem odd to those familiar with his racier designs: especially the F4D Skyray and A-4 Skyhawk. "Cheating Death" is a well deserved tribute to the men and machines who flew one of the least heralded--but most deeply appreciated--missions in the Vietnam War.

4-0 out of 5 stars Solid read and good perspective....
...on what it means to be in the heart of war "just doing your job". My father flew the A-1 in Vietnam and he has never really talked that much about it because his perspective was that "he was just doing his job". This book gave me a great appreciation for his work and efforts and made me even more proud of him than I could imagine. The Skyraiders were a remarkable group that have never gotten that much attention but played an important role. This book does a great job of highlighting their work and efforts in a very "matter of fact" manner.

5-0 out of 5 stars Edge-of -your-seat history lesson!
Cheating Death is informative edge-of-your-seat reading. It will stir the emotions of those of us who remember the Vietnam War era. The book is also written in a style that will appeal to people from all walks of life. The historical and geographical discussions prepare the reader for the author's vivid first-hand accounts of his experiences of flying his A-1 Skyraider in
rescue and bombing missions over Laos during the Vietnam conflict. The book also serves as a touching memorial to the author's fellow pilots (and friends ...many he flew "wing-to-wing" with) who were lost or captured in the line of duty during the "secret war" in Laos. This book is a history lesson
taught on a personal level. Great book!! ... Read more

7. Covert Ops: The Cia's Secret War in Laos
by James E. Jr. Parker
list price: $6.99
our price: $6.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312963408
Catlog: Book (1997-11-01)
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Sales Rank: 143846
Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Uncommon war. Uncommon bonds.

In 1972, U.S. soldiers battle the North Vietnamese. Behind the headlines, a secret war rages in Laos. Sky, a close knit cadre of daredevil CIA agents, spearheads a daring operation. These gutsy secret agents direct a fearless force of Thai mercenaries and native Hmong tribespeople-- fighting the enemy toe-to-toe.

Now Sky veteran James Parker-- codename "Mule"-- reveals the untold story of the covert war in Laos. Parker takes you inside the often mind-boggling world of extraordinary men living and dying on the edge. Covert Ops captures the brutal training and ferocious land and air battles of Air Force Ravens, Air America, and young Hmong pilots. Above all, this first-person account shows the remarkable bonds formed between American soldiers and a courageous people-- who valiantly fought their fierce enemies to the very end.
... Read more

Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Page Out Of History
I served as Chief of Security for Air America in Thailand and Vietnam from 1967-1975. I enjoyed "Mule's" book very much. For those who shared Jim Parker's experiences you will relive old memories. For those who could not be there you will find the details fascinating. I would encourage you to read this one.

4-0 out of 5 stars Covert Ops: The Cia's Secret War in Laos
An exceptional account of our secret war in Loas, pulling no punches in detailing both the bravery of many men as well as the stupidity of others. All of this woven in with a warm picture of the author's family life. In reading the book one concludes that it is an honest and straight forward account of the way our war in Loas was fought, without trying to make heros of the men who were truely the heros, nor overly critizing those who were more of a hinderance than help. In short, a clear, concise and well written account. Highly Recommeded by this reader.

5-0 out of 5 stars Compelling reading
I found this jewel to be more than a diamond in the rough. Parker's carefully crafted personal diary of those men and women who served our country silently, but with incredible valor and tenacity, particularly in a time of confusing events and conflicting values in our own country, is the best evidence of the "other side of the story" about our involvement in SouthEast Asia and those who served there with honor. It brought to the front the noble cause and the selfless courage of those who gave sacrifice, some the ultimate sacrifice, in a political and military conflict that ended with our withdrawal and the fall of the governments so many had fought to save. It was a book so compelling that I could not put it down as I disembarked from my flight, reading it even as I stood at the baggage return.

For patriots, veterans, historians, and the adventuresome this jewel of a book is a must read.

5-0 out of 5 stars the war on the other side of the trail.
Having served in the North of Thailand myself, I read with great interest Jim Parker's account of the war that was lateral to us and just across the border in Laos. I enjoyed the book, found it very interesting, and like Parker's style of writing. Humerous in places, personal, descriptive. Well done.

4-0 out of 5 stars Could'nt put it down
It was an exxelent book i mean it starts to get boring when he has an indoor job but about half way into the book it was really good. i recommend this book to anybody ... Read more

8. Price of Exit
list price: $6.99
our price: $6.29
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0804117152
Catlog: Book (1998-04-29)
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Sales Rank: 240297
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

"The risk of a fatal catastrophe was constant. The NVA was the enemy, but the ultimate opponent was, quite simply, death. . . ."

For assault helicopter crews flying in and around the NVA-infested DMZ, the U.S. pullout from Vietnam in 1970-71 was a desperate time of selfless courage. Now former army warrant officer Tom Marshall of the Phoenix, C Company, 158th Aviation Battalion, 101st Airborne, captures the deadly mountain terrain, the long hours flown under enormous stress, the grim determination of hardened pilots combat-assaulting through walls of antiaircraft fire, the pickups amid exploding mortar shells and hails of AK fire, the nerve-racking string extractions of SOG teams from North Vietnam. . . . And, through it all, the rising tension as helicopter pilots and crews are lost at an accelerating pace.

It is no coincidence that the Phoenix was one of the most highly decorated assault helicopter units in I Corps. For as the American departure accelerated and the enemy added new, more powerful antiaircraft weapons, the helicopter pilots, crew chiefs, and gunners paid the heavy price of withdrawal in blood. For more than 30 Percent of Tom Marshall's 130 helicopter-school classmates, the price of exit was their lives. . . .
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Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars
Tom writes it as it was. No holds barred. I had many an experience of the supposedly allies(the arvn) running and leaving the Americans to fight alone. To all the helicopter pilots I take my hat off.If it hadn't been for them many more of our young men would have died over there. Roadrunner6 out

5-0 out of 5 stars I was there and Tom tells it like it was.
One of the battles will forever be a part of me. I was there and flew a huey into Laos many times. This book is most accurate! Black Widow 25

5-0 out of 5 stars Written from the heart , factual and detailed. Well written.
Tom Marshall has written about his experiences as a helicopter pilot in Vietnam with close attention to detail. His thoughts and feelings are very real about his fallen comrades. This book is an awesome tribute to them and their families. As a Vietnam Veteran, he has professionally told his story, and their stories need to be told and read. They are our best resource to the factual history of the VN war. Thank you Tom Marshall.

5-0 out of 5 stars Powerfull!
To most Americans, and in most history books, the American effor in the unpopular war in Viet Nam ended in 1970. However, many nineteen and twenty somthing year-old helicopter crews; pilots, crew chiefs, gunners and medics, continued to fly dangerous missions in support of ARVN soldiers and a dwindling number of US troops, well into 1973. In fact, the last US helicopter pilot killed in Southeast Asia gave his life in 1975.

In "The Price of Exit", Tom Marshall gives voice to those of us helicopter pilots and our crew members, living and dead, who served with honor and distinction during a period of time when few Americans knew of, and even fewer cared less, of our efforts. Marshall writes of his own participtation during this difficult time. Even though he could have written a complete book of his own valor, Marshall has elected not to do so. Rather, he writes of the valor of others.

In the spring of 1971, the Army of South Viet Nam (ARVN) embarked upon an ambitious helicopter borne invasion, called Lam Son 719, into the NVA sanctuaries of Laos. Very few Americans knew then or will recall now that the helicopters that undertook this invasion were flown by American crews.

Marshall puts a human face on young men who will never grow beyond the ages of 19, 20 and 21 they had reached that terrible spring of 1971. "The Price of Exit", in part tells of 45 days in March and April 1971 when American helicopter crew flew sortie after sortie into Laos. We are allowed to view incredible valor as these American pilots take off, time and again, only to face huge volumes of anti-aircraft fire.

But it is not just pilots Marshall pays tribute to in this wonderful work. As we are remined many of the aircraft were vrewed by equally young enlisted crew members. In many ways Marshall shows us an even higher livel of valor that was demonstrated by these crew chiefs, gunners, flight engineers, and medics. "The Price of Exit" tells us how, without questioning, these unsung heroes climbed willingly in the rear of helicopters they had no control over and made the harrowing trips into an airborne hell.

We are instructed by Marshall that the US emplowyed 659 helicopters in Lam Son 719. Of these 659 helicopters, 444 were shot down or otherwise damged by hostile fire. We are also instructed that it was the best of American youth in those 659 helicopters. Without these American helicotpers and crews Lam Son 719 could never have been undertaken.

What Marshall has accomplished in "The Price of Exit" is to tell the story of the uncommon valor shown by young helicopter crews at places with names like Ripcord, Khe Sanh, Lolo, Sophia, and Brown. The reader may not be as familiar with these places as one might be with those visted by the World War II generation of airman. However, thanks to Marshall's efforts histroy will now recall a time when young men willingly paid "The Price of Exit" from an unpopular war, not for their country, but for each other. ... Read more

9. Anaximander, Heraclitus, Parmenides, Plotinus, Lao-Tzu, Nagarjuna: From the Great Philosophers: The Original Thinkers (Harvest Book, Hb 288)
by Karl Jaspers
list price: $15.00
our price: $15.00
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Asin: 0156075008
Catlog: Book (1974-10-01)
Publisher: Harvest Books
Sales Rank: 395430
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Book Description

Taken from the Great Philosphers, Volume II.
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10. Hmong Means Free: Life Laos and America (Asian American History and Culture)
by Sucheng Chan
list price: $22.95
our price: $22.95
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Asin: 1566391636
Catlog: Book (1994-05-01)
Publisher: Temple University Press
Sales Rank: 247633
Average Customer Review: 3 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This collection of evocative personal testimonies by three generations of Hmong refugees is the first to describe their lives in Laos as slash-and-burn farmers, as refugees after a Communist government came to power in 1975, and as immigrants in the United States. Reflecting on the homes left behind, their narratives chronicle the difficulties of forging a new identity. ... Read more

Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars Hmong History
The stories in this book were true story for the Hmong. If you didn't know who are Hmong and where they came from. You better read this book. It is every a good book. After you read this book, you also get information from Hmong culture. The book talked about Hmong history from China, joined with CIA when the Vietnam War, how hard their lives and also how hard they had moved from country to country. The book also included story by each person. After I read the stories in this book, I felt very interesting and enjoying with.

Hmong Means Free, because Hmong was a group that didn't like to live by law control. For me, I understand that Hmong had joined the law when general Vang Pao become a Hmong leader. He was the first one that forced the Hmong to join with the law and had education with other foreign people.

3-0 out of 5 stars hmong means free? attractive, but NOT accurate!
Hmong means free is an inacurrate phrase... it is unfair to label hmong in such a way because Hmong are attracted by the phrase and repeat it when it is untrue...

4-0 out of 5 stars Cried and laughed all at once.
The author's intro was informative but lacks passion (some day, a Hmong author may be able to do a more passionate job on our plight).

The narratives were honest and sincere. There was no "sugar-coating"--I know! The narratives had a single common denominator: the sufferings of the human condition. Throughout the narration, I cried and laughed all at once. I cried: all the sufferings. I laughed: when one of the narratives failed the drivers' written test (in California) the first time because after she took the test, she didn't even realized it was in Spanish until her husband told her--she did not know Spanish.

The book gave me a sense of my history in a personal and down-to-earth way. The book is an excellent reference.

5-0 out of 5 stars Helping young Hmong Americans find and identity...
I work in the healthcare field and have seen quite a few young (teenage +) Hmong Americans struggling with their sense of value. In particular, a young girl who had been "Americanized" AKA taken from her family when she was young because of supposed abuse - a common practice not that long ago. She was depressed, living with a loving but very white family in which she felt inferior. Asian gang activities in our area made her feel embarrassed. This book put a spark back in her eyes. I found it wonderful and would highly recommend it.

1-0 out of 5 stars Hmong means free
I just want to say something about the two words Hmong and Meo because many people seem to misunderstand.

"Hmong" is what the Hmong called themselves long ago during Fishing & Gathering, agrarian, and horticulture civilization. On the other hand, "Meo" is what the Chinese named the Hmong due to prejudice and discrimination result from war: Chinese battled with the Hmong during pre-industrial society in the late 1700s.

Tou B. YAng ... Read more

11. A Short History of Laos: The Land in Between (A Short History of Asia series)
by Grant Evans, Milton, Ph.D. Osborne
list price: $16.95
our price: $11.53
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Asin: 1864489979
Catlog: Book (2003-05-01)
Publisher: Allen & Unwin Pty., Limited (Australia)
Sales Rank: 131823
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This comprehensive and vivid history of Laos is an ideal introduction for tourists, business travelers, and students. Informative and portable, it chronicles the history of Laos from ancient times, when the dynastic states of the region waxed and waned, to the turmoil of the Vietnam War and independence from France. This guide investigates these key events under a new light and presents serious challenges to the conventional views about Laos's intriguing history. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive, insightful, culturally-sensitive
For a newcomer to Laos, Dr. Evans's volume would seem an excellent introduction to its history, politics and culture. For someone like myself, who had his own intense introduction to Laos in the late 60s and looks forward to a return, the book is an insightful refresher and update. It has helped me put my own experience in context and rethink the Laos I once thought I knew. This short history is thoughtful, well-written, and largely devoid of moral judgments.

The subtitle "The Land in Between" sums up an unfortunate reality -- for much of its history Laos has been caught between more powerful neighbors and sometimes their even more powerful patrons. But Evans does not stop with such a facile explanation of the Laos that has emerged. I particularly appreciate his continuing emphasis on the deep and enduring cultural roots of the peoples who inhabit Laos -- and the interplay among them.

With so many Western writers and readers still caught up in the battles that we fought in Laos in the 60s and 70s, Evans's book is a refreshing reminder that Laos merits attention -- indeed fascination -- in its own right. ... Read more

12. Christ the Eternal Tao
by Damascene, Lou Shibai, You Shan Tang, Hieromonk Damascene
list price: $19.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0938635859
Catlog: Book (1999-03-01)
Publisher: Saint Herman Press
Sales Rank: 327687
Average Customer Review: 3.76 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Not until now has the ancient wisdom of Lao Tzu been presented alongside the otherworldly revelation of Jesus Christ in a way that encompasses the full significance of both. Christ the Eternal Tao presents the Tao Teh Ching as a foreshadowing of what would be revealed by Christ, and Lao Tzu himself as a Far-Eastern prophet of Christ the incarnate God.

Through heretofore unpublished translations and teachings of Gi-ming Shien -- perhaps the greatest Chinese philosopher to have ever come to the West -- this book uncovers the esoteric core of the Tao Teh Ching. Then, through the transmission of mystics of the ancient Christian East, Lao Tzu's teaching is brought into a new dimension, exploding with new meanings. Christ, in turn, is seen in a unique light, His pure image shining in the clarity of Lao Tzu's intuitive vision.

With its practical, time-tested advice on how to unite oneself with the incarnate Tao and acquire uncreated Teh, this is both a philosophical source-book and a spiritual manual, touching the heart and leading one to profound inward transformation. It is a long-awaited Answer to those who, having turned away from modern Western "churchianity," are drawn to the freshness, directness and simplicity of Lao Tzu, and at the same time are strangely, inexplicably drawn back to the all-compelling reality of Jesus Christ.

The book is adorned with Chinese calligraphy and seals (created especially for it by well-known Chinese artists), and with traditional Chinese paintings of the life of Christ. ... Read more

Reviews (17)

5-0 out of 5 stars Yea, I found it!
As a Chinese Christian (and now a minister), I grew up reading and hearing bits and pieces of Jesus being the Tao. Only recently I took the effort to browse the book store to find a solid book that would give me a fuller knowldege of it and I ran into this book. As a third generation Chinese Christians (and also third generation minister) growing up in China and Burma, most of the information in this book are not new for me but I am so glad that it is put together so beautifully in one book that I can use to share it with the seekers of the Truth.

The 'Word'(Logos) is translated as 'Tao' in the Chinese Bible and the more I learn about the Tao the more I am amazed by the wisdom of the tranlators of the Chinese Bible. To most learned Chinese Christians, Taoism and Christianity has never been two completely unrelated "religions." Taoism is purely the ancient Chinese's effort to seek the "relationship" with Christ and it became fuller knowing Tao became flesh. (To the nagative fundamantalist reviewer above, please be informed that even though Laozi's name is not mentioned in the Bible, but Tao is. Don't think God speaks only English!)

Just as a today's Taoist without knowing Christ does not know Tao in a fuller form, a today's Christian who doesn't know Tao misses an opportunity to know Christ deeper.

This book makes me proud of being Chinese and of my ancestors, and also feel thankful to God who didn't leave them alone but have spoken to them. Every seeker of truth must read it!

5-0 out of 5 stars A brilliant presentation of the hidden Christ in Taoism.
Christ the Eternal Tao is a highly original, beautifully written study of the relationship of the Taoist tradition to the Christian tradition. However, this book is not a foray into the religious relativism of contemporary studies of "comparative religion" typical of academic religious studies programs. Neither is it merely a theological effort (as was common in Church circles a generation ago) to "appreciate" the positive qualities of what used to be called "natural mysticism" while comparing it unfavorably to the "supernatural" mysticism of Christianity.

In fact calling it a "study" probably does not do proper justice to the beauty and originality of this work. It is rather an intuitive and profound meditation on the mystery of the Logos in its Taoist "incarnation". Its originality is such that there is little to compare it with in recent publication history. The closest works to it might be Raimundo Pannikar's The Hidden Christ of Hinduism or Ravi Ravindra's Christ the Yogi: A Hindu Reflection on the Gospel of John, but even in the company of these superb studies, Christ the Eternal Tao stands out as something decidedly different, even unique. For one thing, the author is not only a monk and a theologian, he is also an accomplished poet. Indeed, the first section of the book is itself a Christian commentary in verse on the Tao Te Ching of Lao Tzu. The last time the Christian theological world saw anything like this was perhaps St. Ephrem the Syrian in the 4th Century. Like St. Ephrem the Syrian, perhaps the greatest poet-theologian in the Christian tradition, Monk Damascene shows himself capable of theologizing through poetry. The first section of Christ the Eternal Tao is actually a long poem, composed of enneadic sections in the manner of the Tao Te Ching, This is in fact a meditation in verse on the deep realities of the Christian faith and the astonishing manner in which these are anticipated in the work of Lao Tzu. The commentary which follows stands on its own as a theological study of the Orthodox Christian tradition, especially in its dimension of mystical theology. Highest recommendation.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book
I don't think the reviewer below me has actually READ the book. This is a thoroughly Orthodox treatment of Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching, which the Orthodox monk shows to anticipate the coming of Christ.

Brilliant, Fascinating, Orthodox.

Again, I really don't think the reader directly below this review has actually read the book. This is not about relativism, but how Christ fulfills all faith-- how the world, not just the Jews, were prepared for His glorious incarnation.

5-0 out of 5 stars Lao Tzu: Ego Death and Mystical, Otherworldly Christianity
_Christ the Eternal Tao_ by Hieromonk Damascene (Serbian Orthodox) examines the philosophy of China's ancient sage Lao Tzu, and how it is a precursor to the Revelation of Christ. Lao Tzu lived in China about 500 years before Christ and is known by his metaphysical work, _The Tao Te Ching_, which translated can mean _The Way and its Power_. The first part of the book is an introduction explaining how ancient traditions not specifically Christian can be said to speak of Christ in mystical terms, based on human intuition but not Divine Revelation. The high point of human intuition lies in the _Tao Te Ching_, an indefinite yet profound document, which is as far as a human philosopher can approach the Truth without Divine Revelation. The highest Revealed Truth is in the Gospel according to John, "In the Beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." The ancient Greek philosophers such as Heraclitus, Pythagoras, Socrates and Plato shared many similarities to the Chinese, and there are also many parallels between the Byzantine Empire under an official Christian Emperor and Imperial China. Heraclitus developed the idea of the Logos or Word in Greece. Lao Tzu's "Tao" is translated from the Chinese as the "Way" or the "Word", both of which are titles of Christ. "Te" is similar to the concept of "grace" in Christian theology, an energy from God. The ancients before Christ had traditions that were handed down from generation to generation, but they became more diluted as time passed. The wise Chinese teacher Confucius confessed "that the great Sacrifice to Heaven had been corrupted and that its meaning had been lost." The introductory material also covers the phenomenon of Westerners becoming more interested in eastern religions, Taoism among them. Conversely, many Chinese today are converting to Christianity en masse. The _Tao Te Ching_ represents a human wisdom and insight uncorrupted by modernity and distortions of original Christian teachings, a pristine philosophy according to the interpretation here points to Christ. _Christ the Eternal Tao_ will probably not appeal to Protestant evangelical Christians; another commentator noted "there is no in-your-face theism here." In addition to evangelicals/fundamentalists the book will not appeal to people who consider themselves "Taoists." Many "Taoists" today are those searching for an alternative to Christianity, and are generally predisposed against a specifically Christian interpretation of Lao Tzu. The second part of the book is composed of a poem written after the style of the _Tao Te Ching_, intentionally rewritten to make it explicitly Christian. This "Gospel According to Lao Tzu" assimilates ideas from the Chinese scholar Gi-ming Shien whose exposition of classical Chinese philosophy (not the contemporary Western-liberal interpretation) influenced Fr. Seraphim Rose. This poem contains an explanation of the Trinity and how the three persons relate to one another, described in a way that almost approaches a rational explanation (of course a religious doctrine can never be explained "rationally"). The second half of _Christ the Eternal Tao_ goes into Chirstian mysticism and how hesychasm and the Jesus Prayer/Prayer of the heart relate to Lao Tzu's teaching. This section was not as interesting as the first and but would appeal to a monastic audience. The ascetic, suffering, all-loving, self-emptying ideal is the one most revered. To overcome worldly passions one must experience "ego-death", the total loss of self: "The Way...may also work through physical pain, or through emotional pain arising from the loss of a loved one or any other of our earthly attachments. At the time, we may find this to be terribly and unnecessarily cruel..." Life in the Divine "required the slow, painful, merciless death of the ego...with that true life begins." Damascene, in another section, draws from Fr. Seraphim's work and explains the enigmatic meaning of Christ's statement referring to Himself as the least in the kingdom of Heaven in addition to Lao Tzu's concept of "nothingness." "...'Nothingness' in the meaning that Lao Tzu gives it, is the 'point of convergence' or axis of the universe...If nothingness or self-emptying is the axis of the universe, then the Cross of Christ, the greatest sign to man of the self-emptying of God, now becomes that axis. Christ the Tao/Logos stands at the axis; and there, in the 'space where there is nothing,' we find not an impersonal void, but the personal heart of the selfless, self-forgetting God." In all I recomment _Christ the Eternal Tao_ as an insightful, if sometimes tedious read, about the "esoteric core" of the _Way and its Power_.

5-0 out of 5 stars Christ and Lao Tzu shed light on each other
Christ: The Eternal Tao. Very interesting book, published by a Romanian Orthodox monk, Hiermonk Damascene, who writes on the work of another monk, Fr. Seraphim Rose, who saw the connection between Christ and the Tao, and studied directly under the great Chinese Taoist Teacher, Gi-Ming Shein. He sees Lao Tzu as intuiting the Eternal Logos in China several hundred years before the coming of Christ. Christ and Lao Tzu each shed light on the other. There is also several beautiful Chinese paintings, calligraphy, Chinese text, and a new Taoist Work, called the Gospel according to Lao Tzu, written and translated by Fr. Seraphim and based on the teaching Gi-Ming Shein. Although he sees Lao Tzu pointing to the Eternal Logos, which is revealed in Christ, he does not see the Tao as an inferior religion or philosophy to Christianity, but as an enduring witness to the Eternal Nameless (Beyond Names or Conception), that is Incarnated in Christ. On the other hand, this book does not teach a religious syncretism or relativism. IT does maintain the unique revelation of Jesus Christ, and explains how Lao Tzu prepares minds and hearts for the revelation of Christ, much in the same way the Torah and Greek Philosophers had done at the birth of Christianity. There is also some very moving history on the Chinese Christians, especially as the suffer persecution in the Communist Regime in the underground Church movement in Modern China. A Moving, Inspiring book. It is very beautiful to look at. Higly recommended, for the Taoist, Christian or any other spiritual person. ... Read more

13. Shooting at the Moon : The Story of America's Clandestine War in Laos
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1883642361
Catlog: Book (1998-06-01)
Publisher: Steerforth
Sales Rank: 349744
Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars
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In Shooting at the Moon, Roger Warner chronicles a covert operation that used Hmong villagers as guerrilla fighters against the North during the Vietnamese War. Thought to be an expendable resource by Central Intelligence Agency strategists, the Hmong died by the thousands fighting the North Vietnamese. Those who survived were abandoned to their fate when the United States pulled out of the war.Warner's history is the moving and tragic story of how America's "secret war" devastated its own allies in Southeast Asia. ... Read more

Reviews (10)

3-0 out of 5 stars Readable
Shooting at the Moon details the "alliance" between the American government and the Hmong (Meo) minority people of Laos during the Lao civil wars. Roger Warner writes with a very readable, journalistic style that draws the reader in. The book tracks several main "characters" throughout the war's development and escalation, explores possible motivations for American involvement, and the aftermath of the American betrayal of the Hmong. If you have read "The Ugly American," then you will see many instances of those fictional events happening for real in Shooting at the Moon.

As a university student who read this book to complement a research paper, I was disapppointed. Although very reader-friendly, Warner's style also verges on fiction and it is difficult to separate true fact from his interpretations of events. In such a book, this may be unavoidable, given that he attempts to plop the reader down into Laos of the late 1960's and 1970's. Warner does his job in that sense, but in doing so he blurs the line between fact and fiction. Moreover, I find that he often glosses over events and writes in a very American style, sometimes very dismissive of the Lao and Meo peoples. However, if you are looking for a "real life" wartime Communism vs. Capitalism cliffhanger, then Shooting at the Moon should fulfill that role quite nicely. For more thoroughly researched and more comprehensive books on Lao history, including the Lao Revolution, I would recomend Arthur J. Dommen's Laos: Keystone of Indochina and anything by Martin Stuart-Fox.

5-0 out of 5 stars Shooting at the Moon is on the Mark!
Shooting at the Moon is the great image Roger Warner employs to shed light on the USA strategy in Laos and perhaps for all of Southeast Asia. With literary aplomb, Warner brings to life many of the key figures in the CIA 's covert attempt to level the playing field in Laos as the overt war raged in Vietnam. The incredible shift from a small operation to a technically air dependent approach in the context of global political strategy, set up the Hmong people, our allies, for inevitable genocide. Warner succeeds in placing the reader inside Laos in its last days of glory as "The Land of a Million Elephants and a Parasol." In the end, shooting at the moon eclipses the sincere efforts of a handful of people to stave off the darks days in Laos following the communist takeover.

5-0 out of 5 stars This Title Also Known as "Back Fire"
Roger Warner has published the only comprehensive, unbiased account of the strange but tragic "sideshow" war in Laos, the mountainous, landlocked neighbour of Vietnam that was consumed in the same domino-theory meltdown as the two Vietnams and Cambodia, but which was assiduously kept out of the media's scrutiny for most of the 1960s. The sporadic war between the American-sponsored tribesmen and the communist Pathet Lao was wholly financed, on the American side, through the CIA, with unofficial air support from the USAF (traveling incognito) and private CIA front airline. Warner tells the story from several angles, including the zealous mid-western missionaries who traveled to Laos in the early 1960s to help improve agriculture, the often equally idealistic CIA field operatives who trained the tribesmen and the less saintly backroom boys in Washington who made sure Congress kept giving the money. He reserves special praise for the brave freelance journalists who helped expose the secret bombing, albeit all too late: by the end of the conflict there were parts of the Plain of Jars (a prominent Laotian land feature near the North Vietnamese border) that resembled a lunar surface.

For reasons obscure this title has a different paperback name ("Shooting at the Moon") than hardback ("Back Fire").

5-0 out of 5 stars Bullseye for Shooting At The Moon
The author spent years gathering the material for this book and Warner has written the definitive book on the period. Rarely has a non-participant so closely captured the feel and intensity of the times. I worked as a fighter pilot with the Raven FACs and was totally astounded at how good this book reads. A triumph.

4-0 out of 5 stars Failed Strategies
Warner accurately captures the bizarre twists and turns of the U.S. surrogate warfare efforts in Laos. My experience as a direct participant during the 1972-75 time frame gives me the advantage of being able to attest to some of Warner's chronicle. The historical record also provides us information on the failed strategies used by the American State Department in their desire to control events in Laos. Although the North Vietnamese considered all of Southeast Asia as their theater of operations, the American effort, in contrast, became one of disjointed and , at times, bumbling entities running into each other without effective command and control. This does not in any way diminish the heroic efforts of honest men trying too carry out tactical operations while complying with unreasonable controls of the American government bureaucracy. The legacy of these failed strategies can be seen with the difficult acclimation of the Hmong into American society. Warner's spares us the micro detail and intense emotionalism of other books on the same surrogate warfare. This makes "Shooting at the Moon" a good compelling read. With the above bureaucratic absurdities in mind, Warner was right on when he said that "it was the Americans who were shooting at the moon"! ... Read more

14. Cultural Crisis and Social Memory: Modernity and Identity in Thailand and Laos (Anthropology of Asia)
by Shigeharu Tanabe, Charles F. Keyes
list price: $45.00
our price: $45.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0824826035
Catlog: Book (2002-05-01)
Publisher: University of Hawaii Press
Sales Rank: 1124716
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Book Description

Remembering is socially constructed through a range of social activities, ranging from rituals to political events. The social activities presented here are in the context of"crisis of modernity" experiences related to processes such as secularization, integration into the modern nation-state and global economy, and the expansion of the mass media. These processes are linked to the rapid transformation of social and cultural reality, to an increasing sense of insecurity and anxiety in the present and to crises of identity.

The book makes a significant theoretical contribution to the study of social memory. It will be of considerable value to scholars interested in the ways people of Thailand and Laos are responding to the rapid and radical changes brought about by modernity. ... Read more

15. Call Sign Rustic: The Secret Air War over Cambodia, 1970-1973
by Richard Wood
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
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Asin: 158834049X
Catlog: Book (2002-09-01)
Publisher: Smithsonian Books
Sales Rank: 169676
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

American army troops entered Cambodia in April of 1970. President Richard Nixon could not keep ground troops there beyond June 1970 without authorization from Congress, which was not forthcoming. He did not want to desert the anticommunist Lon Nol regime, so he ordered top-secret, round-the-clock air support over Cambodia, and the Rustics were born. This three-year mission was so secret--managed directly from the White House--that there are no official records of it. Richard Wood flew as one of the Rustics, a group of forward air controllers (FACs) who provided twenty-four-hour air support to the Cambodian ground commanders by flying low and slow over enemy positions. Wood bases his book on his own experiences and those of the other pilots and Cambodians who took part in the operation. He shows how the Cambodian fighting men welcomed the American pilots like they were the cavalry, and how the Rustics played a major part in the fight against the North Vietnamese and Khmer Rouge guerrilla forces. The Rustic pilots and their enlisted interpreters unequivocally expressed admiration for the courage and dedication of the Cambodian field troops, commanders, and radio operators. They were proud to support the Cambodians, and when all U.S. operations ceased in 1973, many of them were devastated at abandoning their friends. This covert air war ended on August 15, 1973; the Cambodian radio operators' calls for air support were no longer answered. The Rustics, while in action, played a major part in staving off both the North Vietnamese and Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge. The loss of American air support eventually contributed to the fall of Cambodia and the horribly dark period of Cambodia's history that will live in infamy as "the killing fields." ... Read more

Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars The Book Description start with a goof.
The "Book Description" submitted by the publisher started: "American army troops entered Cambodia in April of 1970. President Richard Nixon could not keep ground troops there beyond June 1970 without authorization from Congress, which was not forthcoming."
This is incorrect. President Nixon chose to pull all U.S. troops out at the end of June, but that was his decision. He could have kept troops there months longer, if he had chosen to do so. There were people in Congress trying to impose limitations on the President's ability to use U.S. forces in Cambodia, but they did not manage to get such a limitation enacted into law until January of 1971. I have not yet seen the book, but this error right at the beginning of the publisher's summary of it leaves me a bit suspicious.
I don't like the idea of giving a rating (4 stars out of 5) when I have not actually read the book, but the software on this site will not permit me to post any comment without making a rating. ... Read more

16. Kennedy's Wars: Berlin, Cuba, Laos, and Vietnam
by Lawrence Freedman
list price: $18.95
our price: $12.89
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Asin: 0195152433
Catlog: Book (2002-03-01)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Sales Rank: 237173
Average Customer Review: 4.25 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In his thousand-day presidency, John F. Kennedy led America through one of its most difficult and potentially explosive eras. With the Cold War at its height and the threat of communist advances in Europe and the Third World, Kennedy had the unenviable task of maintaining U.S. solidarity without leading the western world into a nuclear catastrophe. In Kennedy's Wars, noted historian Lawrence Freedman draws on the best of Cold War scholarship and newly released government documents to illuminate Kennedy's approach to war and his efforts for peace. He recreates insightfully the political and intellectual milieu of the foreign policy establishment during Kennedy's era with vivid profiles of his top advisors--Robert McNamara, Dean Rusk, Robert Kennedy--and influential figures such as Dean Acheson and Walt Rostow. Tracing the evolution of traditional liberalism into the Cold War liberalism of Kennedy's cabinet, Freedman evaluates their responses to the tensions in Berlin, Cuba, Laos, and Vietnam. He gives each conflict individual attention, showing how foreign policy decisions came to be defined for each new crisis in the light of those that had gone before. The book follows Kennedy as he wrestles with the succession of major conflicts--taking advice, weighing the risks of inadvertently escalating the Cold War into outright military confrontation, exploring diplomatic options, and forming strategic judgments that would eventually prevent a major war during his presidency. ... Read more

Reviews (4)

4-0 out of 5 stars The Playboy President Goes to War
While JFK was idolized and glorified by the press, his image has not withstood the test of time. Thus, Mr. Freedman tries to portray a more objective history of Kennedy's foreign policy. Mr. Freedman does a remarkable job drawing on various sources to examine JFK and his NSC staff and how they approached various global hotspots in the early 1960s. The Kennedy that emerges is hardly a man "willing to bare any burden," for world freedom, but rather a President constantly concerned with his own popularity. Rather than make decisive decisions in the national interest, JFK constantly focused on the publics response. The quality of a great leader is a man who can make tough decisions and then explain to and convince the nation why they were just. Unfortunately, JFK was not able to stand up to difficult circumstances in Cuba and Laos and then tried to pretend that the problems did not exist. Therefore, nuclear war almost broke out and the Ho Chi Minh Trail led to the fall of Saigon. Perhaps the greatest lesson of JFK's foreign policy, as interpreted by Freedman, is the flawed 'graduated response' idea. The idea of using minimal force in response to aggression in hopes of detering your enemy only led and will always lead to escalation, a prolonged war, and massive casualties. Thankfully, in the U.S. today we have the Powell Doctrine to avoid such a flawed foreign policy. My only complaint with the book was that it was to soft in regards to Kennedy but, nonetheless, it is by far the best work on the 35th U.S. President.

5-0 out of 5 stars Well Researched Objective History of Kennedy as Cold Warrior
Sir Lawrence Freedman has been Professor of War Studies at King's College, London, since 1982 and is an outstanding researcher and writer. This book is a very scholarly look at President Kennedy's performance in four hot spots of the Cold War: Berlin, Cuba, Laos, and Vietnam. It's must reading for anyone who wants to understand Kennedy's approach to crisis management, also for those who think that Kennedy would have kept the Vietnam War from being an American war--that is, with Lyndon Johnson's later deployment of large numbers of American ground troops. Unlike the recent book Death of a Generation, by Howard Jones, which argues that Kennedy would never have turned Vietnam into an American war, Freedman's view is that we can't know what Kennedy would have done in 1965 when the government of Vietnam was on the brink of being defeated by a stepped-up Viet Cong insurgency. The situation in Vietnam during the years 1961 to 1963, covered by this book, was very different from that in 1965, when U.S. choices were very limited: basically either insert significant numbers of U.S. troops, or see South Vietnam fall to the communists, an unacceptable outcome for any American president at that time. The South Vietnames army was weak, and U.S. air power alone, used both in North and South Vietnam, could not alone have turned the tide (airpower never does, though today it has become an increasingly significant key to victory). Sir Lawrence has researched thousands of documents, summaries of administration meetings, and state department cables. His views are both documented and balanced. No one studying this period in U.S. and world history, and conflicts in Berlin, Cuba, Laos, and Vietnam, can do without reading this first-rate book.

4-0 out of 5 stars A history of the Cold war during the Kennedy presidency
John F. Kennedy's presidency took place at the height of the Cold war and this book is an authoritative study of his foreign policy during the period.

It's refreshing when dealing with President Kennedy to be able to read something that goes beyond emotionalism, tenuous speculation and excessive proselytising and simply studies the concrete details of his administration's achievements. This is a serious, impeccably researched historical work which examines the key policy decisions and strategies of President Kennedy and his administration in dealing with the many international crises which punctuated his time in office.

What the book succeeds in demonstrating is how President Kennedy, despite coming under intense pressures from the military, the public and his political opponents, was able to peacefully navigate through the most dangerous period of the Cold War and even eventually to reach an understanding with the Soviet Union on many issues. It is a significant achievement of his presidency, a product of his intelligence, intuition and judgement, an ability to clearly work through problems and find peaceful solutions, while preserving the United States' strategic position in the world.

Mr Freedman makes it clear from the beginning that his subject should be taken in context. The book stands back from taking an objective look at the origins of the superpower confrontation and asking the serious questions as to the necessity of such a dangerous rivalry. This is not the object of the book, instead it is an assessment of the actions of a President who assumed office in the midst of "hostilities" as such. It would be foolish to believe Kennedy could have made an objective judgement as to the efficacy of the East-West divide and mould his decisions accordingly. He had only so much leeway in the face of the numerous pressure groups surrounding him. It is important however to consider how he dealt with these pressures and throughout the narrative an image emerges of a man who was genuinely concerned with making the world a less dangerous place.

After in turn dealing with Berlin, Cuba and the Test Ban Treaty, the book at length discusses Southeast Asia and the nascent conflict in Vietnam, which Kennedy presided over in his final days. Historians and commentators of this period inevitably turn to the what-if scenario of President Kennedy surviving to serve his full term of office and then re-election in 1964. Would this have altered the course of US involvement in Southeast Asia and the Vietnam war? Mr Freedman makes it clear that this question cannot be answered with certainty and that at best one can only attempt to make an informed guess based on the pattern of Kennedy's decisions up to his death. However, such is the weight of this book that posing such a question does not seem like an entirely idle endeavour. It is on record that Kennedy was strongly opposed to the US becoming embroiled in a large scale military conflict in Southeast Asia and this viewpoint allowed the like-minded figures in his administration to initially dominate US policy in the region. Events subsequently took a different course after Kennedy's death under President Johnson who, as Mr Freedman shows, fatally allowed policy to be controlled by the hawks.

In short, this book is a valuable addition to the history of the Cold war and while at times is written in such a way as to deter all but the most serious students of the period, is well worth the effort.

4-0 out of 5 stars "John F. Kennedy as Cold Warrior: One Crisis After Another"
This book about John F. Kennedy's foreign policy focuses on the United States' confrontation with the Soviet Union over Berlin 1961, the nearly cataclysmic events in Cuba, and the deepening U.S. involvement in Indochina, which culminated in the overthrow and murder of the prime minister of South Vietnam just weeks before President Kennedy, himself, was assassinated. Is it appropriate to emphasize "wars" in a book about foreign policy? The answer, of course, is: Yes. Author Lawrence Freedman, one of Britain's leading authorities on the Cold War, does not expressly invoke Clausewitz's famous dictum that war is the continuation of politics by other means, but every reader knows that diplomacy and military power often are inextricably linked. On few occasions in American history has this been more true than during the "High" Cold War, the dangerous period between the first Berlin crisis in 1948 and the Cuba missile crisis in 1962. Freedman's fascinating, if occasionally frustrating book, examines the relationship between foreign and military policy at a time when U.S. and the Soviet Union confronted each other, directly or through surrogates, in venues throughout the world, several of which could have, by a single miscalculation, led to nuclear Armageddon.

If John Kennedy genuinely deserves of the judgment of history as great, it is because of the remarkably cool judgment during the missile crisis. According to Freedman, Kennedy followed this advice in a book written by British military historian and strategist Basil Liddell Hart, which Kennedy reviewed shortly before his election: "Never corner an opponent, and always assist him to save his face." The Soviet Union may have been foolish, if not reckless, to send nuclear missiles to Cuba, but, once they were there, the only way Nikita Khrushchev could remove them was through a political bargain which allowed his country to avoid international humiliation. If Kennedy had not allowed Khrushchev to save face, some sort of military confrontation, if not general nuclear war, would have been inevitable. Kennedy's decision not to take the advice of his more hawkish advisers was one of the great profiles in courage in the history of the American presidency.

Kennedy defused the Berlin and Cuban crisis, but the war in Vietnam was well on its way to disaster when Kennedy died. Would anything have changed if he had lived? It is, to be sure, impossible to say. Shortly before he was assassinated, President Kennedy met with George Ball, a senior State Department official, to discuss Vietnam. When Ball spoke of the possibility of a war involving 300,000 American troops and lasting five years, Freedman reports that Kennedy reacted with "asperity," stating: "George, I always thought you were one of the brightest guys in town, but you're just crazier than hell. That just isn't going to happen." Freedman notes that Ball was uncertain whether the president was "making a prediction that events would not follow this line or that he would not let such a situation develop." In any event, we now know that George Ball was, indeed, one of Washington's most astute policy-makers, that Kennedy's assassination prevented him from determining the course of American policy in southeast Asia, and that the American commitment in Vietnam reached a peak of over 500,000 troops and lasted nearly 12 years before it ended in failure.

I admire Freedman's cogent presentation of the Kennedy-era military crises in just over 400 pages. That includes a brief, but most welcomed, digression into the rift between the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China in the early 1960s. The relaxation of the United States' confrontation with the Soviet Union during the Kennedy administration simply cannot be understood without reference to Sino-Soviet relations. I must candidly concede that, if Freedman had pursued other, similar digressions, the text would have approached 600 pages, and I then would be critical of its length. Nevertheless, I disagree with some of his choices. Every book must begin somewhere and the introduction to this one starts with a short summary of Kennedy family history. Most readers are familiar with the most salient points: The overbearing Joseph P. Kennedy was almost pathologically ambitious for his sons; after the eldest, Joseph, Jr., was killed in combat during World War II, the mantle fell to John, who had spent his early manhood as a playboy; after the war, JFK was elected first to the House of Representatives and then to the Senate but distinguished himself in neither body and was generally dismissed as a handsome, glib lightweight. Instead of rehashing that, Freedman should have devoted more space to Kennedy's role in the "missile gap" controversy of the late 1950s. It was one of the issues which brought Kennedy to national prominence, and it is significant for the fact that, by the time Kennedy was elected in November 1960, if any missile gap existed, it favored the United States. Consider this scenario: Within weeks of taking office, several of President Kennedy's key aides, principally National Security Adviser McGeorge Bundy and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara realized that the U.S. was superior to the Soviet Union in the missile race; having lost the missile gap as an issue, but under pressure to make good on Kennedy's campaign promise to increase defense spending, the administration decided to take a more aggressive stance elsewhere. The Soviet Union clearly provoked the 1961 Berlin crisis, but "Kennedy's wars" in Cuba and southeast Asia resulted from the new administration's deliberate effort to confront the international Communist menace wherever they found it.

I doubt that Kennedy's Wars will change many minds about John Kennedy's legacy. His partisans will continue to view Kennedy's unexpected and untimely death as one of the great lost opportunities of the 20th century. Critics will find in this book further ammunition for their position that Kennedy must be judged by what he did and based on his charisma and soaring rhetoric. Nevertheless, this book must be read by anyone who wants to understand why the 1000-day Camelot era was one military crisis after another. ... Read more

17. The Libertarian Reader : Classic and Contemporary Writings from Lao Tzu to Milton Friedman
by David Boaz
list price: $17.95
our price: $17.95
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Asin: 0684847671
Catlog: Book (1998-02-04)
Publisher: Free Press
Sales Rank: 63380
Average Customer Review: 4.62 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The first collection of seminal writings on a movement that is rapidly changing the face of American politics, The Libertarian Reader links some of the most fertile minds of our time to a centuries-old commitment to freedom, self-determination, and opposition to intrusive government. A movement that today counts among its supporters Steve Forbes, Nat Hentoff, and P.J. O'Rourke, libertarianism joins a continuous thread of political reason running throughout history.

Writing in 1995 about the large numbers of Americans who say they'd welcome a third party, David Broder of The Washington Post commented, "The distinguishing characteristic of these potential independent voters—aside from their disillusionment with Washington politicians of both parties—is their libertarian streak. They are skeptical of the Democrats because they identify them with big government. They are wary of the Republicans because of the growing influence within the GOP of the religious right."

In The Libertarian Reader, David Boaz has gathered the writers and works that represent the building blocks of libertarianism. These individuals have spoken out for the basic freedoms that have made possible the flowering of spiritual, moral, and economic life. For all independent thinkers, this unique sourcebook will stand as a classic reference for years to come, and a reminder that libertarianism is one of our oldest and most venerable American traditions. ... Read more

Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Valuable Addition to Any Political Science Library
If you are looking for a quick introduction to the principles and practices of the Libertarian Party, avoid this book; a good search engine and some basic research skills are all you need. If instead you're searching for a deeper understanding of the philosophy of liberty, then I can suggest no better starting point.

The book itself is a collection of short essays from a wide range of contributors to the libertarian tradition, from political economists and philosophers (such as Locke, Mill, and Adam Smith) to some perhaps more surprising sources (like the Old Testament and the Tao Teh Ching). These essays are grouped around broad themes - "individual rights", "free markets", "skepticism about power" - certainly a boon to students, but also an aid to the casual reader. Should a particular topic or thinker pique your interest, a lengthy essay called "The Literature of Liberty" catalogs the sources as it closes the book.

Whether reading this book will convince you to join the Libertarian Party, or send money to the Cato Institute, is a matter open to debate; indeed, some critics rightly point out elements of "big L" Libertarianism that are at odds with "small l" classical liberal thought. My own hope is that reading these essays will give you not only a better understanding of the founder's intent, but also a clearer vision of a better possible future - a freer, saner world. How we get there, if we get there, remains to be seen.

5-0 out of 5 stars An Anthology Capturing the Essence of Libertarian Thought
I being of a classical conservative mind, hope to offer a fair critique of both this book and libertarianism in general. I acquired it during my pre-law days when studying political theory. Anyway, David Boaz has assembled a motley collection of political and philosophical writings gleaned throughout history of what he deems to be 'libertarian thought.' The introductory section entitled 'Skepticism About Power' puts forward the crux of libertarian thought, namely skepticism of concentrated power and an affinity for the principle of subsidiarity and the widespread dispersal of power. In sum, libertarians affirm Lord Acton's axiom that 'power tends to corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.' Boaz tosses in a selection from the Scriptures, in 1 Samuel 8, which shows the consequences of the ancient Israelites insisting on a monarchy. Here, the prophet Samuel warned of the consequences of absolutism that would ensue, but they the people would not relent and God being sovereign gave them their monarchy. James Madison's poignant Federalist #10 is included and correlates the founder's reverence of liberty with libertarian thought. Boaz infers the continuity of mainstream libertarianism with the 'classical' liberalism of yesteryears. Not surprisingly, advocates of free-markets and opponents of statism are among the cast of characters featured in his selections. Economists like Adam Smith, Frederic Bastiat, F.A. Hayek and Ludwig von Mises grace the pages. Frenchmen Bertrand de Jouvenal offers a poignant critique of redistribution, which was gathered from the pages of 'The Ethics of Redistribution.' Some egalitarian levelers, anarchists, and other assorted radicals like Lysander Spooner and social Darwinist Herbert Spencer are featured as well.

With regards to foreign policy issues, the essays featured seem to acquiesce with the sentiments of the founding fathers, which may be summed up in the dictum of Jefferson: 'Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none.' These essays advocate strategic disengagement, a policy of strategic independence, which is commensurate with the prevailing foreign policy of armed neutrality espoused in the early years of the American republic. One essayist, namely Ted Galen Carpenter, works alongside Boaz at the Cato Institute, and offers a sensible assessment of our entanglement with the UN and its negative long-term consequences. However, libertarianism may be shallow in some respect on international affairs, hence their affinity for Richard Cobden whom Boaz featured. Cobden's fanciful screed entitled, 'Commerce is the Grand Panacea,' acts as if free trade amongst the nations will whimsically do away with war. For political realists, this is a bit of well wishing that doesn't mesh too well with reality or history.

Thus far I've been dispassionate for the most part, but now let me toss in a monkey-wrench in regards to Boaz's selection of libertarian icons. Many contributors selected never identified themselves 'libertarians' as such. Moreover, some were avowed opponents of 'libertarianism.' In the 1950's, economist F.A. Hayek deplored those who would assign the 'libertarian' appellation to him. He insisted that he was an Old Whig, with emphasis on Old. Likewise, Ayn Rand too, had bad things to say about it, yet many in libertarian circles strangely have an affinity for her crude, materialistic objectivist philosophy. Some of the philosophical and theoretical underpinnings of libertarianism (visible in the schisms of 19th century classical liberalism) planted the seeds of what mutated into modern, permissive liberalism with its penchant for radical secularizing and egalitarian leveling. Some of these flaws are manifest in the nineteenth century selections featured in this book. Granted, some libertarians (i.e. paleolibertarians) are openly appalled at these dark facets of modernity that I'm about to describe. Generally, many libertarians have a dogmatic affinity for an abstract liberty, a tendency to reject a transcendent moral order, a penchant for crude utilitarian reductionism, and some even find all forms of coercion appalling, apparently even the social stigmatism of family, tradition and societal custom. (BTW If you think this is an overstatement than read Harry Browne's 'How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World.') Murray Rothbard was adamant that libertarians aren't libertines. However, as libertarian writers prattle off screeds like 'Ain't Nobody's Business If You Do' and 'XXX: A Woman's Right to Pornography''advocating an unfettered market for drugs and sex'the more libertine side of libertarianism is becoming more readily apparent. Those avowed libertarians that retort, 'but I'm against these things,' probably favor Edmund Burke over Thomas Paine, and might as well fall on the outskirts of the conservative camp if they do an accurate self-assessment. Furthermore, many libertarians devalue both community and the nation-state, and question the sovereignty of states to regulate immigration while they long for a borderless world of hyper-atomized individuals engaged in economic transactions. That 'globalization' is a cousin of 'internationalism' remains a fatal concession to what I'm saying whether they tacitly admit it or not. Some have a tendency to supplant the marketplace in place of civil society. In doing so, they adhere to a dictum that can be surmised as 'everything inside the market and nothing outside the market,' thus turning Mussolini's fascist mantra on its nose. 'Ideas have consequnces,' as Richard Weaver observes, and naturally the liberalism of Paine, Spencer, Mill and yes even Locke gave way to modern liberalism and the perils of modernity.

I was once an avowed libertarian, but with a kick; I fancied myself as 'a conservative with a libertarian bent.' As conservative thinker Russell Kirk surmises, anyone who thinks seriously about politics falls away from it. Nevertheless, there is much in libertarian thought to be admired, though they're not always the harbingers of all these good ideas they espouse. Libertarians particularly those affiliated with the Cato Institute are aligned with the Old Right in an effort to unleash what we might characterize as a 'devolution revolution.' Such a move would effectively restore the 10th Amendment and federalism commensurate with original intent of the U.S. Constitution's framers. (Neoconservatives are too apt to constitutional compromise.) Anyhow, for accomplishing his task of making an anthology offering a cross-section of 'libertarian thought,' I'll give Boaz a thumbs up and a five-star rating despite my misgivings about libertarianism.

5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding
This book inspires us to think about how collectivist ideas can damage our civil society. With its writings, this book also gives us a historical perspective of libertarianism since we keep in touch with all kind of authors: ancient (e.g. Bible, Lao-Tzu,), classical (e.g. John Locke, Adam Smith) and contemporary (e.g. Ayn Rand, Mario Vargas Llosa).

4-0 out of 5 stars The ideal plane book to expand one's mind
This is a good intellectual book that covers writings from past and present thinkers like John Locke, Thomas Paine, and Milton Friedman. This is not a fast read -- but the good thing is that you can pick and choose what chapters to read. This is the ideal plane book for someone that wants to expand the mind.

3-0 out of 5 stars Good book, questionable choices
So far as it goes, this book offers a decent selection of writings, but I am dumbfounded that Boaz considers the deprivations of liberty in the name of psychiatry and medicine so trivial as to not warrant the inclusion of an essay by Thomas Szasz. Or perhaps Boaz does not consider psychiatric imprisonment to even qualify as anti-libertarian. ... Read more

18. One Day Too Long
by Timothy N. Castle
list price: $70.00
our price: $70.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0231103166
Catlog: Book (1999-03-15)
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Sales Rank: 313803
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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From October 1967 to March 1968, the United States operated a top-secret radar system in Laos near that country's border with North Vietnam. This was a provocative move: Laos was a neutral country. Yet the air force desperately needed all-weather bombing capability in the region, and so the Pentagon decided to take a chance. When Communist troops learned of Site 85, they hit it hard. The result: "The largest single ground combat loss of U.S. Air Force personnel in the history of the Vietnam War."

The public still does not know what happened to nine of the men posted at Site 85. They may have been killed or captured, or perhaps fell victim to "some atrocity" perpetrated by the Communists. The military establishment isn't talking, and neither are knowledgeable sources in Laos and Vietnam. One Day Too Long combines scholarship, journalism, and detective work to learn all that can be known. Apparently there is plenty to hide. "It was criminal to leave the technicians and the other Americans and their security forces stranded [at Site 85]," writes Castle. Yet one conclusion is certain, he says: there is "an unseemly pattern of U.S. government duplicity" surrounding this forgotten incident. --John J. Miller ... Read more

Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars I WAS THERE.
As one of the pilots of Jolly Green 67 I simply want to thank Dr. Castle for his comprehensive and historical accurate account of the events at Lima Site 85. This is a story that begged to be told; Dr. Castle pulls no punches, providing a riveting and revealing account. His work was a key factor in the eventual recognition of the heroic efforts of Sgt. Etchberger at the Enlisted Hertiage Hall, Maxwell AFB Annex (formally Gunter AFS), Montgomery AL. A great read.

5-0 out of 5 stars An American tragedy in Laos.
Congratulations to Dr. Castle for this fine book. A meticulously researched historical work of the finest order that reads like a Tom Clancy action novel. A bombshell that exposes one of the most egregious and hitherto publicly undisclosed tragedies of the Vietnam War. In March 1968 an NVA sapper team avoided detection and attacked a top-secret radar bombing facility (code name Jolly Green) which was manned by sixteen "civilianized" Air Force technicians. The site, LS 85, was located on a mountain top in Laos less than twenty-five miles from the North Vietnam border. The attack caught the technicians off guard and resulted in the loss of the site to the communist forces. Two of those dedicated volunteers manning the site were confirmed killed, five were rescued alive (one died on the evacuation flight) and the remaining nine have never been accounted for and their status remains unknown. This incident holds the distinction of being the largest single loss of Air Force ground personnel during the entire Vietnam War. Why did the Air Force continue to operate this site in the face of considerable evidence the site would soon fall under bombardment and attack by large NVA forces gathering in the area? Was it incompetence or was the site considered so essential to the North Vietnam bombing effort that the loss of the men was an acceptable risk? Dr. Castle looks at these questions in detail. One Day Too Long chronicles the history of Site 85 from its initial concept of operations through the tragic consequence of this miscalculation. But the story does not stop there. It also relates the stoic efforts by one widow to find answers to questions about her husbands death at this site the government was unwilling to provide. This book should be mandatory reading for all future military leaders.

5-0 out of 5 stars An exposure of a shameful episode in US history.
I have a very personal reaction to "One Day Too Long" in that Mel and Ann Holland were our military sponsors when my family and I were first assigned to an AC&W squadron in southern Spain in early 1961, and I worked with Mel until he rotated to the States. It is embarrassing and shameful to learn how both the military and civilian authorities were willing to sacrifice those men in order to cover up their own mistakes, but I suppose if ALL the truth were known about SE Asia operations, we would not be able to stand it. Dr. Castle has perfomed an invaluable service for democracy. EVERYBODY should read this book! (Ann, we'd love to hear from you!)

5-0 out of 5 stars Compelling story of a good cause gone bad.
A story of noble sacrifices by military men and their families. Regretfully, those sacrifices were eventually overlooked by those eager to use the PW-MIA issue as a convenient political tool -- first those who strove to keep Vietnam at arm's length, and since 1992 those who set out to use the ploy of alleged "full faith cooperation" to faciliate ties with Vietnam. One Day Too Long shows that when the American people seek to measure foreign government "cooperation" on such humanitarian issues, they must first evaluate the seriousness and good faith of efforts made by their own government.

5-0 out of 5 stars Book arrived 6pm, finished 3am. Amazing history.
I was assigned to a electonic surveillance system at NKP Thailand. We went operational in Nov 1967. During my first days in Thailand, I lived at the Siam Intercontinental Hotel in Bangkok. After office hours and weekends, were spent poolside at the Siam where we became friends with many of the Airforce Pilots from various bases. Among them were Col Giraudo and Major Frank Billingsley of the 355th at Takhli. Our system, Task Force Alpha, used the Dustys and the Zorros at NKP and RF4's from Korat. What amazes me, as a participant in some of the high secret operations, is discovering how many other secrets there were that were unknown to those of us in the field. The Colonel [amazing that he made general with his outspokenness] has unfortunately passed away. He could handle one hell of a lot of "Stingers". Does Doctor Castle have an email address. Would be interested in his comments about Task Force Alpha. ... Read more

19. Lao Tzu's
by Robert G. Henricks
list price: $18.00
our price: $18.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0231118171
Catlog: Book (2005-02-25)
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Sales Rank: 581658
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A revolutionary archaeological discovery -- considered by some to be as momentous as the revelation of the Dead Sea Scrolls -- sheds fascinating new light on one of the most important texts of ancient Chinese civilization.

... Read more

Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Embrace this translation with confidence...
This is a sure bet for a reliable edition of the Tao Te Ching in the hands of a skilled translator.

He guides you through a brief introduction to the 'philosophy' of Taoism and through the significance of the Mawangtui texts.These provide marvelous foundation for approaching this ever elusive, ever unfolding Tao.

Of my six copies, I have found his to be the most 'objective' (recognizing, of course, that this is somewhat of an illusion) and matter-of-fact.As far as I can tell, he sticks to the text as text, having a scholastic view of the Tao rather than a spiritual bent.Whereas many, if not most, translations display the spiritual background of the translator, I never get that feeling from this one.

It reads easy and makes sense of some passages that have proven difficult in other translations.Of course, if we can understand the Tao then we really don't have it!

But this is a surefire bet to give you a solid foundation and an easily approachable translation of the Tao Te Ching.It's one I return to again and again.

4-0 out of 5 stars Earliest Version!
A must-have for those who can't wait for a translation and commentary a little more in-depth and "friendlier" of this, the earliest copy.

4-0 out of 5 stars Scholar excellence on Taoist classic
It was with amazement that I read about the new publication of the Guodian slip of Laozi, translated by Robert G. Henricks. This new treasury found in 1993 was studied upon by several Chinese and western scholars, including R.G. Henricks. He was one of the 31 scholars who attended the International seminar for discussion and study upon this new bamboo slip scripture.

It doesn't need explanation, to say that Mr Henricks is an extraordinary skilled and profound scholar in the Laozi realm of work. After translating and publishing his work on the Ma-Wang-Tui text of the Lao-Tzu - which proves over and over again to be a high-quality translation and commentary - it was but logical to find the 1st translation of the Guodian treasure to be translated and commented upon by him.

The Guodian version, named the Laozi, consists only of 31 chapters out of the 81 chapters we know today as being the complete Lao-Tzu work called the Tao Te Ching. It should be seen as an indepth study on the new Guodian version and I would not recommend this book to someone who has not studied the 'complete' Tao Te Ching prior to reading this book.

The Laozi is organized as it was written down on the bamboo slips; In three different Themes. For simplicity, Mr Henricks named these A, B and C. This division has a similar approach in Chuang-Tzu's work: three Sections making up his work:Inner section, Outer section and Miscellaneous. If this was intentedis a thesis, but not a fact. It is opted this version to be one that's connected with the Guan-Dao school of Daoism. A great explanation is included on the completeness of the Guodian version compared to the philospical elements that are known in the later versions of the Lao-Tzu (Tao Te Ching).

For those who study and want to have new revelation upon the philosophy and Meaning of the Lao-Tzu, this book is a MUST read.

5-0 out of 5 stars An exceptional piece of work
As a student of the Dao i have studied six different translationsof the Dao de Jing intensly.I have never been able to pick one out as the best.All versions have something of the essense of the Dao, and all have something of the translators desires or his or hers own spiritual/philosophical background.But then the Ma-wang-tui texts were translated by Mr. Henricks and we were indeed closer to source. The translation of the older Guodian chapters casts an even brighter light on the text we are familiar with today. Was there an "old Master" who wrote the original?No matter what we believe there is no doubt that his work was added to again and again.I have often wondered about the content of some of the chapters and how different portions (within the same chapter) related to one another.I often suspected that often they were different chapters combined.This work bears that out. Compare this work with your favorite version and others.You will be suprised by the added clarity.This is not for everyone, but the time spent in study and comparison will benefit reader and practioner greatly.I highly recomend the Ma-wang-tui texts by Mr. Henricksas the best foundation in the "modern" Dao De Jing.And please throw away the Mitchell version if you own it--it rarely gets it right.

5-0 out of 5 stars Impeccable Scholarship
This is (and is likely to remain) THE definitive dissertation on one ofthe most influential and widely-translated works in the history of humanthought.A word of caution, though: it is NOT an introductory text; itpresupposes that the reader is already familiar with the 81"chapters" of the _Tao_Te_Ching_ as they are conventionallypresented.For those just beginning their study, either theKwok/Palmer/Ramsay or the Feng/English volumes are the place to start: thelush watercolors in the former or the stark, almost surreal, black andwhite photographs in the latter -- and the beautiful calligraphy in both --are invaluable aids to comtemplation while reading the text.If you thenfind yourself developing a scholarly as well as spiritual interest,Henricks' own earlier "Ma-Wang-Tui" translation is an excellentstepping-stone to his current work.

As I said originally, this is NOT abook for every reader, but, for its intended audience, it is a work withoutpeer. ... Read more

20. Atlas of Laos: The Spatial Structures of Economic and Social Development of the Lao People's Democratic Republic
by Bounthavy Sisouphanthong, Christian Taillard
list price: $24.95
our price: $24.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 8787062879
Catlog: Book (2001-05-01)
Publisher: Nordic Institute of Asian Studies
Sales Rank: 1486835
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Book Description

This atlas of Laos is the first of its kind to appear in English. Statistics were gathered in the late 1990s and cover the 20 years since the founding of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic. Change is visualized in a series of 299 full color maps. ... Read more

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