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81. A Great Improvisation : Franklin,
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82. Power of Kabbalah Audio Set
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83. Active Side of Infinity
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84. Faith In The Valley : Lessons
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85. Story: Substance, Structure, Style,
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86. John Glenn: A Memoir
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87. An Anthropologist on Mars : Paradoxical
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89. Last Lion : Winston Spencer Churchill
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100. The Feynman Lectures on Physics:

81. A Great Improvisation : Franklin, France, and the Birth of America
by STACY SCHIFF
list price: $32.95
our price: $22.41
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0739320378
Catlog: Book (2005-03-22)
Publisher: Random House Audio
Sales Rank: 490363
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Benjamin Franklin began the "the most taxing assignment of his life" at the age of 70: to secure the aid of the French monarchy in helping the fledgling United States establish their republic. The job required tremendous skill, finesse, and discretion, and as Stacy Schiff makes clear in this brilliant book, Franklin was the ideal American, perhaps the only one, to take on the task, due in large part to his considerable personal prestige. One of the most famous men in the world when he landed in France in December 1776, his arrival caused a sensation--he was celebrated as a man of genius, a successor to Newton and Galileo, and treated as a great dignitary, even though the nation he represented was less than a year old and there were many doubts as to whether it would see its second birthday. Though he had no formal diplomatic training and spoke only rudimentary French, Franklin managed to engineer the Franco-American alliance of 1778 and the peace treaty of 1783, effectively inventing American foreign policy as he went along, in addition to serving as chief diplomat, banker, and director of American naval affairs.

Franklin recognized and accepted the fact that French aid was crucial to American independence, but some Founding Fathers resented him for making America dependent on a foreign power and severely attacked him for securing the very aid that saved the cause. Schiff offers fascinating coverage of this American infighting, along with the complex political intrigue in France, complete with British spies and French double agents, secret negotiations and backroom deals. A Great Improvisation is an entertaining and illuminating portrait of Franklin's seven-year adventure in France that "stands not only as his greatest service to his country but the most revealing of the man." --Shawn Carkonen ... Read more

Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Lively, witty, and fun
Founding Fathers are hot stuff these days. Benjamin Franklin, with two major bios in the past three years (Morgan and Isaacson) and re-publication of others by H.W. Brands and Gordon Wood, may be the hottest. Into this crowd wades Stacy Schiff, whose elegant and witty biography of Vera Nabokov won a 2000 Pulitzer (and whose previous bio of Saint-Exupéry garnered a nomination). Why step from uncommon byways onto a crowded boulevard?

Happily, Schiff's breezy, cosmopolitan, but never superficial style is excellently suited to the open-minded satirist and scientist, and a tale that reads like a cruel farce. _A Great Improvisation_ focuses on just eight years of Franklin's 84-year life, starting in 1776 when he was sent to Paris by the Continental Congress at the age of 70 to get France into the war. Fortunately, France regarded Franklin as a celebrity genius, which was more than many of his colleagues back home in Congress thought of him.

Franklin was "honest, but not too honest, which qualifies in France as a failure of imagination." He could "indulge in the ingenious and wholly specious argument, a staple of French conversation." His defense of French admiral d'Estaing was "a shining tribute to benevolent ignorance. (And one that happened accidentally to be accurate.)" Surrounded by spies, he had papers and money stolen. The other Americans in Paris squabbled endlessly with one another, accusing the French of deceit and intrigue even more than the British. Franklin's co-commissioner, Arthur Lee, "was ideally suited for the mission in every way save for his personality, which was rancid."

Poor trans-Atlantic communications enabled the Paris delegation's enemies to poison Congress against them, especially Franklin, who risked censure several times. He also was beset by psoriasis boils, gout and bladder stones. Schiff does not neglect Franklin's poor relations with much of his family, and his flirtations with French ladies, widowed and married. It's a wonder it all came out so well. Not a little of the credit goes to Franklin's skill as "a natural diplomat, genial and ruthless." When he was "rebuffed, he played hard to get"!

France ended up backing the colonies' successful revolution with men, arms, ships, and aid that would be worth $13 billion today. Americans who carp about Gallic "ingratitude" for their 1940s rescue might consider whether we were paying a 160-year-old debt.

With writing this good, it's startling to encounter a false note: more than once, Schiff uses "adverse" when "averse" is the word she wants. The book also shows rare but regrettable signs of sloppy editing. Franklin's grandson Temple is said to be 18 upon their arrival in Paris in mid 1777, but thirty pages and five months later he is 17. The news of Burgoyne's capture as a prisoner after the Battle of Saratoga is reported to hit Paris on Dec. 4, 1778, which is a year late.

Nevertheless, Schiff handles a broad array of characters and events with élan. Her book reads like a spirited production by Merchant-Ivory.

5-0 out of 5 stars Delicious Prose + Compelling Story = Great Read
Populated by characters worthy of Dickens (including a theatrical producer, a dyspeptic diplomat and a female impersonator), ranging from back alleys to country estates to the royal court, combining elements of espionage, political deal-making, dangerous liaisons and the price of fame, "A Great Improvisation" has a you-are-there immediacy and tells an irresistible story that just happens to be at the heart of our survival as a country.

5-0 out of 5 stars Spy vs. Spy
"Silas Deane was stranded in Paris, sick with anxiety, and nearly out of invisible ink."Every book should begin this well. All the wonderful adjectives others have used to describe this book are true.

A tip: if by chance you are writer and you give this book to your mother and after finishing it she asks why you can't write like Stacy Schiff, the best reply is just, "Who can?" Then leave the room and count to ten.

5-0 out of 5 stars Without Whom, There Would Be No America
In dazzling prose and with impeccable research, Stacy Schiff illuminates one of the most important, and until now grossly overlooked, factors in our country's independence, Benjamin Franklin's successful negotiations with the French to aid the colonists' cause. Without Franklin's wisdom, charisma and diplomatic skills, we might still be singing God Save the Queen/King. This is a compelling, engaging story that brings history to life. A great read!

5-0 out of 5 stars Ben Franklin's Wartime Adventures In Paris (1776-1785)
With the spate of recent biographies of Benjamin Franklin over the past 5 years, Stacy Schiff has narrrowed her focused upon his diplomatic mission to France during the American Revoluntion. Without Mr. Franklin's successful wartime treaties with the French, the American Revolution would have certainly failed.

Well-written, interesting and meticulously researched, this book is for the reader with an interest in diplomacy and a desire for further details of Mr. Franklin's personal exploits in Paris. "A Great Improvisation" highlights the non-military "battles" of the American Revolution.

For a broader perspective, the reader is referred to the fine biographies of H.W. Brand's "The First American" (2000) at 760 pages, Walter Isaacson's "Benjamin Franklin: An American Life" (2003) at 600 pages and Gordon Wood's "The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin" (2004) at 300 pages. Mr. Brand's work devotes over 100 pages to Franklin's diplomacy during the same time period. ... Read more


82. Power of Kabbalah Audio Set
by Michael Moskowitz, Rav Berg
list price: $59.95
our price: $59.95
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Asin: 1571892060
Catlog: Book (2001-03-01)
Publisher: Kabbalah Publishing
Sales Rank: 807197
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The timeless principle set forth in The Power of Kabbalah Audio Set with workbook, apply to everyone who seeks fulfillment. The ancient spiritual tool of Kabbalah, has been called the best-kept secret of our time.

The Power of Kabbalah Audio set is an incredible program including the system of logic and a phenomenal technology that will completely change the way you view your life. ... Read more

Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars Power of Kabbalah Audio Set
I have read a bit about Kabbalah but had never really been exposed to any real practical application of the subject. Moskowitz provides a very good practical application of Kabbalah with this tape set. What is interesting is that the information is really nothing new since it has a common thread with many of the great spiritual and philosophical schools of thought, but Moskowitz has a way of presenting the information on this complex subject in a manner which is easy to grasp and he places emphasis where emphasis really seems to make sense. I am not certain why the tape on Kabbalistic Astrology was added because I thought that it detracted from the overall quality of the entire tape program. I felt that I could have picked up any cheap supermarket astrology magazine and have found the same information. I really couldn't take it very seriously. I think astrology can be useful, but this presentation was just too superficial to be of any real value to anyone. I wish that he had left it out and had just referred the listener to a serious book on kabbalistic astrology instead. Overall it was a good program but I wish it could have been presented in a book format instead. A good bibliography or some book suggestions would have been helpful for those of us who would like to do further research.

4-0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking and Demystifying
The Kabbalah is a system of thought derived from an ancient Hebrew book called the Zohar. To one uninitiated in the system, I have always found books on the subject to be a little too daunting for my taste, with many difficult names and, for me, poorly explained concepts. I am glad to say that Michael Moskowitz manages to demystify the whole subject to an enormous extent.
Although the Kabbalah might be thought of as religious, there is no trace here of religious fervour or any attempts to persuade and convert. On the contrary, it is presented as a philosophical system that can sit alongside any current beliefs you may have, and furthermore is thoroughly grounded in the principle of "no coercion in spirituality".
There are explanations here for the interaction of the material and spiritual realm, for the beginning of the universe, the theory of multiple universes, the nature of miracles, and even the origin of Satan. In every case, these explanations offer genuine illumination for the open-minded.
At the heart of this tape set, as a self-development tool, is the concept of proactive versus reactive thought and action. In this respect, the Kabbalah is interpreted in a way that makes it thoroughly relevant to any modern predicament. The teaching on this subject would sit quite happily with Stephen Covey's The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. But it also takes the practical benefits of proactivity a little deeper by offering an explanation for why this approach is the right one, and a theory of how it works to replace the reactive chaos of our lives with an alternative place of peace and fulfilment.
There are, it should also be said, some challenging sections to the tape set: sections on reincarnation, the Kabbalistic approach to astrology, and the use of Hebrew letters as an aid to meditation. A guided meditation is included to illustrate this last point, but if I have a criticism of the tape set, it touches too lightly on this area to leave any deep impression of the use of it.
In all, I found this a very useful and accessible introduction to the Kabbalah. I have listened to it several times and not yet tired of it. It will reward anyone who comes to it with an open mind. ... Read more


83. Active Side of Infinity
by Carlos Castaneda
list price: $18.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0694521248
Catlog: Book (1999-01-01)
Publisher: HarperAudio
Sales Rank: 410750
Average Customer Review: 4.31 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

"Ordinarily, events that change our path are impersonal affairs, and yet extremely personal." My teacher, don Juan Matus, said this in guiding me as his apprentice to collect what I considered to be the memorable events of my life. Don Juan Matus was a Yaqui Indian shaman from Sonora, Mexico. . . who traced [his] lineage to the shamans who lived in Mexico in ancient times. Over the course of thirteen years, don Juan ushered me into the cognitive world of those shamans, a world which was. . . ruled by a different system of cognition than the one which rules our world of everyday life.

Writing The Active Side of Infinity was a response to don Juan's directive to collect such an album of memorable events. . . . As time went by, he revealed to me that gathering such a collection was a traditional task given by the shamans of his lineage to their apprentices. . . . Don Juan stated that to formulate an album of this nature demanded such discipline and impartiality that it was, in essence, an act of war.

"Don Juan described the total goal of the shamanistic knowledge that he handled as the preparation for facing the definitive journey: the journey that every human being has to take at the end of his life. . . . Don Juan considered that to collect the memorable events in their lives was, for shamans, the preparation for their entrance into that concrete region, which they called the active side of infinity."

In The Active Side of Infinity, written in the final years of preparation for his definitive journey, anthropologist and shaman Carlos Castaneda gives us his most autobiographical and intimately revealing work ever, the fruit of a lifetime of experience and perhaps the most moving volume in his oeuvre.

Read by Cotter Smith on two cassettes. ... Read more

Reviews (26)

5-0 out of 5 stars The active side.
What can be said about the book? A must read for anyone familiar with Castaneda. Brilliant if not confusing. Take notice of many inconsistancies with his previous works. Written just before the end of his life or the beginning of his "Definitive Journey". Of course the question is still unanswered... is this stuff for real? The answer is moot. To the average person the stories related to us by Carlos were a big tease, we can never hope to aspire to the warriors way by ourselves. The best we can do is live our lives "like a warrior". The true brilliance of the works, is that it has forced many of us to accept the existence of other possibilities. Don't long for more books just because Carlos has passed on, there are more out there... Just look for them.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Active Side of Infinity
The Active Side of Infinity is the last book Carlos Castaneda wrote before his death in 1998. He described it as "a collection of the memorable events in my life," which he gathered at the recommendation of don Juan Matus, the Yaqui Indian shaman who was his teacher. An anthropologist and shaman, Castaneda wrote ten other books, including The Teachings of Don Juan.
Collecting the memorable events in one's life is a way of stirring "caches of energy that exist within the self," and making that energy available.
The process requires "the genuine and all-consuming act of putting together the sum total of one's emotions and realizations, without sparing anything." It's not a process that one undertakes lightly. Castaneda says that, for a shaman, the act of collecting memorable events is preparation for a "definitive journey" into the "active side of infinity."
Non-shamans call the definitive journey "death," and the active side of infinity "the afterlife." Shamans believe that human energy exists in a very real place after death, and they prepare themselves for continued existence in that place.
The collection of memorable events is not a personal memoir, or a rehashing of life's experiences, but instead is stories and events that touch something universal in all humans. They often change the life path of those to whom they occurred.
Castaneda describes how he first met don Juan, and his difficulties in finding him after they lost contact just after their meeting. He also includes several stories from his life as a child and a young man--events he had totally forgotten, but that had irrevocably changed his life.
Whether or not one agrees with Castaneda and don Juan about the afterlife, those who read The Active Side of Infinity will find themselves thinking about their lives, and journeys they must take after death, in a different way.

5-0 out of 5 stars A farewell to Carlos
Sorcerers from Don Juan's lineage believed that in order for consiousness to survive after death one must recapitulate certain events in one's life. This is the reliving of this experiences to stir caches of energy that exist within the self. This allows our life force to be free from the binds of the eagle, who then feeds itself from those experiences and not our consiousness.
This book is a colection of some of those events in Carlos life wich he recapitulated in the same fashion his benefactor did before he departed into the other world.
It is also a sort of rites of passage for any Carlos reader. We get to see the more personal side of him. An almost old fashioned and mild manner person who in the presence of Don Juan seemed to colapse only to discover his true nature and purpose. We also get to see a more detailed account of some of the unforgetable moments from his past books: His first encounter with Don Juan and his last.
This a great book and a very entertaining one as well. It's a very profound statement and a farewell to a beloved writer and an almost shaman. If he only would've "seen".

4-0 out of 5 stars Preparing for the definitive-journey...
Sometime in 1998, on a not-so unusual evening, my computer, once booting it up, seemed to explode in a dance of light and sound - my email had been inundated with the news that the famous author of 'The Teachings of Don Juan', Carlos Castaneda, had leaped into the abyss, never to return. The general response to his final passing, the commencement of his 'definitive-journey', was an ecstatic celebration: his work, it had been said, was finally complete. My feelings were mixed. Castaneda had been a close 'literary friend', a quasi-spiritual companion who, through his many books, made me aware that all things are indeed possible. The 'warrior-traveller' had moved on, and it was rumoured that his last book, ~The Active Side of Infinity~ was on the way.

It has been four years, and for a variety of reasons, I never got around to reading it, but finally did last week. To be sure, this last installment ranks, in my mind, as one of his best. This is the last in a long line of texts concerning Castaneda's appreticeship as a sorcerer, working under the tutelage of Don Juan Matus - a 'nagual' of mystery, power and hilarious wit. Don Juan has to be one of the most interestiing characters of the twentieth century. And to finally meet him again in ~Infinity~ was certainly a pleasure.

~Infinity~ has to be the most accessible of all Castaneda's books. We can almost categorize it as being his last will and testament before his final exit into infinity - an effort to pay off his spiritual debts as a warrior-traveller, recapitulating (Don Juan's term) memorable events and relationships in his life that changed his path or had, either consciously or not, affected or had a profound significance in his life as a sorcerer. The book is a collection of Castaneda's memories, intense and not so, that through re-living would prepare him for the 'definitive-journey' into the abyss. Death is the central theme in ~Infinity~, communicating the importance of preparing oneself for the unavoidable end we all must embark upon...

I was reminded of Carl Jung, the famous Swiss psychiatrist who, in the last years of his life, always had 'The Tibetan Book of the Dead' on his night stand, referring to it before falling to sleep. This was Jung's way of preparing himself for the definitive journey. Castaneda, though, through re-living the past, sought-out some of the more significant people in his life, and made a practical attempt to set things right. This made a lot of sense to me on many levels.

To suggest to new readers of Castaneda to begin with ~Infinity~ would be, in my mind, a disservice. My advice would be to start from the beginning with 'The Teachings of Don Juan' and move on from there...one's appreciation of the entire philosophy will be much deeper as a result. That said, however, ~Infinity~ could well be a good starting point, because as I mentioned before, it's the most accessible of the canon.

5-0 out of 5 stars ONE OF CASTANEDA'S MOST IMPORTANT BOOKS
This book was published after Castaneda's death and he undoubtedly knew he was dying when he wrote it. This is his most autobiographical account. It provides insight into the very human side of a man surrounded by so much mystery. Many concepts described in earlier books are clarified here. The most important topic is that of "The Predator". This is the only one of Castaneda's books (with the exception of The Magical Passes) that addresses this most controversial subject. Make no mistake, this topic is not making reference to a metaphor. Without an understanding of this topic, one will never be able to make progress on the Path of Knowledge. For those interested, check out these other books that discuss this topic: 1) The Path (Esmeralda Arana), 2) In Search of the Miraculous (PD Ouspensky), 3) Far Journeys (Robert Monroe), 4)Enlivening the Chakra of the Heart (Florin Lowndes). ... Read more


84. Faith In The Valley : Lessons For Women On The Journey To Peace
list price: $17.00
our price: $17.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0671045652
Catlog: Book (2000-12-01)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Sales Rank: 655714
Average Customer Review: 4.96 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (26)

5-0 out of 5 stars Inspirational
Faith In The valley by Iyanla Vanzant is truly a book to help us on our journey toward peace. Ms. Vanzant imparts words of wisdom and encouragement. She is reminding us of some of the day to day things we take for granted. We sometimes forget to be thankful for what we have; good health, a job and a place to live. You will not regret reading this book. As Ms. vanzant writes, "What a blessing! I am so thankful" that I read this book. Go get yourself a copy of "Faith in The valley".

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent! A must read for women of all ethnicities.
This book is targeted towards African-American women, but I don't believe that African-American are the only women who experience "life in the valley." This book offers healing, inspiration and guidance to all who read it

5-0 out of 5 stars GET THIS and GIVE THIS to your favorite women:)
This is my FAVORITE book by Iyanla Vanzant because of: It's size(small enough for your tiny purse), its lack of preach-i-ness and how the index is organized by subject. I feel its a synopsis of all the subjects covered in her other books. I also feel the book is applicable to women of ALL cultures. You can use it as a daily guide or you can use the index to find a subject for which you could use guidance.

5-0 out of 5 stars A great book for daily reflection
I can not express how insightful and helpful this book is! It really makes you look deep into the reason(s) why you thought you needed a book of affirmations in the first place. This book is perfect for those "why me" and "I really can't take any more" moments when you feel like life, and everything in it, needs to give you a break. If you're a woman experiencing a lot of change in your life and it seems like you just can't handle another crisis (or is it a crisis afterall?), this is the book for you. I carry it in my purse!

5-0 out of 5 stars Touches a Point
Each time my spirt is down, or I'm going through a situation, I turn to this book. I hold the book in my right hand by its spine, fan the pages with my left hand to stop at randum. The passages I've read, I have felt its deep spirtual feeling and I understand its meaning. Then I reflect on my situation and the passage fits. It helps me to understanding whats going on. It uplifts my spirit to deal with my situation. It give me insight to view my problem from a different angle. It also assures me that what I am currently going through will end. I will get through it. In my view, its a powerfull book. I have read several other books by Iyanla, even watched her talk show (sorry that went off the air), but like the bible, I keep Faith In The Valley near by. ... Read more


85. Story: Substance, Structure, Style, and the Principles of Screenwriting
by Robert McKee
list price: $25.00
our price: $16.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0694516945
Catlog: Book (1997-11-01)
Publisher: ReganBooks
Sales Rank: 151597
Average Customer Review: 4.56 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

11 Writers Guild of America Awards

17 Academy Awards™

79 Emmy AwardsFor more than 15 years, Robert McKee's students have been taking Hollywood's top honors. His "Story Structure" is the world's ultimate seminar for screenwriters and filmmakers. Now, Robert McKee's Story: Substance, Structure, Style, and the Principles of Screenwriting reveals the award-winning methods of the man universally regarded as the world1s premier screenwriting teacher. With Hollywood paying record sums for great stories, and audiences clamoring for originality, McKee's Story gives you the strategies you need to win the war on clichés.

Story is about form, not formula. McKee's insights cut to the hidden sources of storytelling, the decisive difference between mediocrity and excellence.

This audio goes well beyond the essential mechanics of screenwriting, packed with examples from such film classics as "Casablanca" and "Chinatown." Then, scene by sequence by act, he illuminates the principles of story design that take a writer's vision to brilliant realization. Story elevates the craft of screenwriting to an art form.

Read by the author.

Take it from the pros: if you're serious about your writing, this is the audio that will help you to get your story from page to screen. ... Read more

Reviews (104)

5-0 out of 5 stars Better than any other writing book or course
This book is by far the best book on narrative writing that I've ever read, and is also more useful to me than the many writing courses I've taken over the years. I'm a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop (MFA) and also took many writing courses as an undergraduate -- this single book beats them all put together.

It's truly extraordinary how McKee is able to distill universal forms and principles from a huge variety of narrative writing (primarily screenplays, of course, but his insight extends beyond screenplays). One would think such an approach would be limiting and reductive, but the reverse is true: by helping the reader understand why and how effective narratives work, and how a writer should approach the creation of a screenplay, a universe of possibilities emerges.

The main problem with writing workshops is that they focus on a student's work and what's wrong with it -- it's a very negative approach, the opposite of a support group, that rarely results in genuine improvement. As McKee notes, a lot of writers go through endless revision cycles in the hope of salvaging what's good in their work. But the problem with most narrative writing seems to be in its elemental structure -- the story and its progression -- which occurs on a "pre-writing" level. Once a story is committed to novel or screenplay form, the battle to forge this elemental structure is almost lost. McKee teaches the principles that writers should follow in this critical pre-writing stage as they develop the progression of their narrative.

There's a lot of baloney being spewed in academia and elsewhere that creative writing can't be taught and that plot is relatively unimportant. McKee shows the lie in all this -- that narrative writing *can* be taught and that well-developed plot is critical. Save your money and time, skip the MFA programs, read this book and dedicate yourself to learning from it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent First Book
Robert McKee's STORY is an excellent book, especially for those starting out in screenwriting or, for that matter, other forms of fiction. While his style is sometimes a bit pompous and aloof, his focus on "the story" as the most fundamental component of a film is right on target. In laying out what "works" for screenwriting, he also shows how film is unique from other forms of writing. As a novelist, currently adapting one of my works to a screenplay with another more experienced screenwriter, his insights were particularly helpful.

What McKee's book will not do is provide the novice with a sense of format, lay-out, and terminology. This is very much a book targeted toward getting the fundamentals--the principles--of screenwriting down. While all readers may not agree with everything he suggests (indeed, I didn't), he lays out the basic structure, typologies, and analytics of screenwriting in an insightful and practical way.

I noticed another reviewer thought this book was too formula driven. While McKee offers a basic formula to structure, he also acknowledged the diversity of good films and screenplays--there's plenty of room for creativity. What he provides is basic insight into what makes a "successful" screenplay--one that will be bought, produced, and be successful at the box office. (More appropriately, one that will cover its costs and make at least a small profit for its producers.)

This was a very valuable book, and I highly recommend it as a stable of your writing library.

5-0 out of 5 stars The real thing . . .
I have now ploughed through seven different books on screenwriting. Robert McKee's "Story" distinguishes itself as the best in one significant way: It provides real insight into the strucure of story-telling, the techniques that make stories work and the traps that many writers fall into. This is not a paint-by-numbers approach. This book challenges you to think about the ways that people really behave, and how that can be translated in a meaningful way to the silver screen.

If you are going to read just one book on screenwriting, this is the one. I am not sure I will mention Robert McKee in my acceptance speech when I receive my Academy Award for best screenplay , but I might send him a case of champagne ;-)

1-0 out of 5 stars CHARLATAN MCKEE
I attended Roberth Mckee's the I've-Never-Written-A-Screenplay-In-My-Life-But-Here's-How-In-Three-Hours "workshop". We all sat back and watched the glory and splendor of a few well-lit scenes from Casblanca as McHack droned on and on about their cinematic significance. I found myself occassionally embarrassed at having to wipe the sleep drool from my face. (Luckily I was smart enough to sneak in and not pay $450 for it). The book was worse. The class reminded me more of a cinematography class back at ole USC film school than ANYTHING related to literary theory. I have had one screenplay optioned and directed a short which was at Sundance and gone through developement hell and worked with a good script consultant (Ann Zald - Schindler's List) on my recent script, etc., etc. I'm no Larry Gelbart, but I've been a working, represented writer in this town. McKee's text is more of a rambling, seething mass of amateur exploration than anything resembling the intricacies and time tested princibles of narrative theory and execution. You'll be more confused and stupid reading this text than any other from my estimation. He's a hack. Actually he's not up to the title of hack because he hasn't written anything. Therefore he's a charlatan. For more correct information in my humble opinion and experience, get your feet wet with: Seger's How To Make A Good Script Great, Lajos Egri's The Art of Dramatic Writing; Howard and Mabley's The Tools Of Screeenwriting, Iglesias' 101 Habits of Highly Successful Screenwriters; THEN get more serious with Michael Rabiger's Developing Story Ideas and Gerard Genette's Narrative Discourse Revisited. Of course even better than all that, read the few greats of all time (w/o Cliff Notes, or anybody else's interpratations/footnotes/opinions, etc.): ALL the tragedies of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, ALL the plays of Shakespeare, ALL of Moliere's comedies, ALL of Tolstoy, Shaw, Twain, Ibsen, Dickens, Austen, Eugene O'Neill and Arthur Miller. I also found How To Read A Book by Mortimer Adler/ Charles Van Doren useful- originally published in 1940 (get the revised and updated edition). Great Writers are Great Readers- Great Comprehenders. I have a lot to learn and read from many geniuses. McKee is not one of them. "There's a sucker born every minute and some people love to be snookered." - PT Barnum

5-0 out of 5 stars Best Book on Writing Ever
Not an exaggeration at all. I've never read a better book on writing (and not just screenwriting either). This book transcends all forms of literature. Absolutely amazing. ... Read more


86. John Glenn: A Memoir
list price: $27.00
our price: $27.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553526642
Catlog: Book
Publisher: Random House Audio
Sales Rank: 904069
Average Customer Review: 4.24 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

He was the first American astronaut to orbit the Earth. Nearly four decades later, as the world's oldest astronaut, his courage riveted a nation. But these two historic events only bracket a life that covers the sweep of an extraordinary century. In this engrossing book, John Glenn tells the story of his unique life--one lived at the center of a momentous time in history by a man who helped shape that history.

He is the kind of hero who resists being called a hero. And yet his exploits in the service of his country, his dedication to family and friends, and his rock-ribbed traditional values have made this small-town boy from the Midwest a true American icon.

John Glenn's autobiography spans the seminal events of the twentieth century. It is a story that begins with his childhood in New Concord, Ohio, in the aftermath of World War I. It was there that he learned the importance of family, community, and patriotism. Glenn saw firsthand the ravages of the Depression and learned that determination, hard work, and teamwork could overcome any adversity. These were the values he carried with him as a Marine fighter pilot during World War II and into the skies over Korea, for which he would be decorated for his courage, dedication, and sacrifice. Glenn flew missions with men he would never forget, from baseball great Ted Williams to little-known heroes who would never return to their families. Always a gifted flier, it was during the war that he contemplated the unlimited possibilities of aviation and its next frontiers: speed and space.

John Glenn takes us into the cockpits of the experimental planes and spacecraft he flew to experience the pulse-pounding excitement of the early days of jet aviation, including his record-setting transcontinental flight in an F8U Crusader in 1957, and then on to his selection for the Project Mercury program in 1959. We see the early days of NASA, where he first served as a backup pilot for astronauts Alan Shepard and Gus Grissom and helped refine some of the initial cockpit and control designs for the Apollo program. In 1962 Glenn piloted the Mercury-Atlas 6 Friendship 7 spacecraft on the first manned orbital mission of the United States. Then came several years in international business, followed by a twenty-four-year career as a U.S. senator--and in 1998 a return to space for his remarkable Discovery mission at the age of seventy-seven.

This extraordinary book captures the unique alchemy that brings a man to the forefront of his time. Married to a woman he first met when they were both toddlers, known for his integrity, common sense, and leadership in the Senate, John Glenn tells a story that we must hear. For this narrative of steadfastness, devotion, courage, and honor is both a great adventure tale and a source of powerful inspiration for an age that needs John Glenn's values more than ever before.
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Reviews (34)

3-0 out of 5 stars Delightful biography, but short on space hardware
John Glenn became the first American in orbit when he circled the Earth three times aboard Friendship 7. The most senior of the original Mercury astronauts, he was trumpeted as a hero upon return, but left the space program shortly thereafter because NASA wouldn't give their famous spokesman a second, potentially disastrous flight. Not until almost thirty years later, that is, when Senator Glenn returned to space at the age of 77, amidst a roar of publicity that rivalled his first mission. In the meantime, he had embarked upon a political career that included a shot at the presidency. A rather distinct biography.

In "John Glenn: A Memoir", the Marine turned Astronaut turned Politician shares with the world his life story, which spans the better part of a century and saw aviation progress from biplanes to the Space Shuttle. Yet this is a deliberate and slow-moving book, written in earnest and matter-of-fact prose. It progresses in strictly chronological order, spends a great amount of nostalgic detail on Glenn's childhood - including mother's cooking and playpen stories -, then moves on to the Marine days flying planes in World War II and Korea, then to his test pilot career. Always one step at a time, one little story after the other.

The results are a mixed bag: while the drama-oriented readers will call it outright dull, others might find the leisurely pace quite immersive and captivating. At the least, it is refreshing to read an astronaut biography that does not suffer from tunnel vision. The space program is not as much as mentioned until about half-time, and even recounting his NASA days, Glenn focuses on the big picture - the political and ideological implications of the space race - rather than technical detail. While the accounts of his actual Mercury and Shuttle flights are vivid and gripping, on the whole there is nothing about the space program that could not be found in most other, specialised books. Not surprising, given that Glenn's astronaut career was illustrious but brief, and something that the die-hard space buffs should consider.

The part between Glenn's flights focuses on his political career, his friendship with the Kennedys, and law making as an Ohio Senator. There is more talk about his loved wife and family, and more emphasis on duty, country, values. In truth, it must be said that the only things arguably more all-American than John Glenn are baseball and apple pie; he constantly reflects on his beliefs and guidelines, and never seems to waver in his uncomplicated optimism and patriotism. More remarkably, it all seems genuine, too: no image polishing, that's just the way he is. Indeed, Glenn colours his omnipresent love of America with plenty of humour and palpable feeling, and comes across not as preachy, but entirely likeable.

The concept of such an awfully nice moralist seems strange in today's cynical times, and this is perhaps the most telling point of all: the text seems like a document from a different age. Like the photographs that come with it, showing Glenn's wedding ceremony in uniform, or piloting Corsairs in World War II, this tale is something out of our reach, something delightfully dated. And "John Glenn: A Memoir" sure is a delightful book. Readers looking for a remarkably rich and varied life story can hardly make a better choice. Space enthusiasts lusting for nuts and bolts might want to think twice.

5-0 out of 5 stars A thrilling, exhiliarating autobiography
Marine Colonel John H. Glenn, Jr., was selected as one of the original seven Mercury astronauts in 1959, and made his historic orbital flight aboard Friendship 7 on February 20, 1962. But as this book reminds us, Glenn was involved in many other grand events in our nation's history. He was a fighter pilot in the Marines during World War II and Korea in the 1940's and 1950's, he served in the Senate for four terms in Ohio, and finally, in the fall of 1998, he made a historic return to orbit aboard the space shuttle Discovery. This book captures the details of those events, sweeping the lifetime of this small town boy from the midwest, a true American icon. I thought it was very thrilling, and was interested in hearing of his accounts of his spaceflights , Senate career, and combat flights in the wars. Others have said it was boring because Glenn has almost never faced adversity in his life, but I thought it was entertaining nontheless. His accounts of the Friendship 7 and Discovery missions are nearly minute-by minute, very detailed, and I thought it was very well done.

3-0 out of 5 stars The Story of a Perfect Life?
Based on this book John Glenn never got out of line, never got in any serious trouble or caused anyone else to get into trouble, had a perfect wife and family who always supported him 100%, even if it meant his being away from home for long periods of time. He even goes to the extreme of discounting a story about his concern over his height exceeding the max requirement for space travel. I found many parts of this book enjoyable, but left feeling I had only been reading a whitewashed version purified for mass consumption. On slight hint at the "real" John Glenn may be revealed in his writing a letter to NASA in an effort to overturn the decision to have Alan Shepard and Guss Grissom fly in space before him. This book left me with many more questions about the real man. Showing more of his human, occassionally risking and failing side would have added much to my enjoyment. Unfortunately this was missing.

4-0 out of 5 stars Critical Reflections
There have been many assessments of John Glenn since February 1962, but perhaps none so critically important as those he has made in his Memoir's. All of us have fallen short of fully living our values and maintaining our ethical standards as we move through a life filled with temptations; we are but mortal. While Glenn is certainly an American hero of the highest caliber, and one of my favorites, his shortcomings remain a puzzle to me. The paradox of John Glenn is found in the staunch moralistic tone of his life before his Senate career, and his stance after taking that oath of office.

His criticism of the moral behavior of his fellow Mercury astronauts in 1960 is in stark contrast of his support for a president who was equally as guilty some 40 years later. His support for a political agenda that represents a normalization of deviancy leaves me wondering if his professed Christianity is truly a "born again" commitment or simply cultural attribute that can be influenced by power.

Glenn agonizes over his "guilt by association" in the Keating affair and presents a rather weak defense. He states that one of his reasons for entering politics was to prove that good men can survive and triumph in an atmosphere where power corrupts. Yet he leaves himself open on several occasions to simply reinforce the notion.

Glenn reviews his life in a manner that I found interesting and informative. As an avid space historian, he filled in a few areas of his life and the early manned space program that were unknown to me. Of interest too, are the occasional factual errors that have crept into the book, perhaps because much of the final composition was probably done by his co-author, Nick Taylor (who, overall, did a great job). Gordon Cooper's flight did not terminate early because "his spacecraft lost orbital velocity" but went the full 22 orbits. And, Gus Grissom was not "the first person to fly in space three times". He would have been had he not been killed in the Apollo fire. That privilege belongs to Wally Schirra who was the only astronaut to fly Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo.

John Glenn accomplished more in his three careers (Marine, Astronaut, Senator) than most of us will do in any one lifetime. We pray that his legacy will truly be greater than three Migs, 137 orbits and 9,414 senate votes.

3-0 out of 5 stars Fireflies in space
John Glenn is a space pioneer and knows first hand that there is a "lot more water than land on earth". You feel his honesty in his writing, his no-nonsense approach to every day of his life. And then at age 70 he goes out into space again. Flying "Friendship 7" around in space is the climax of his life for this "down-to-earth" man. The forceful fist of destiny came down on Glenn in the form of his image, the mirror, which knocked him out of politics; he thought he dropped out, but he was dropped out until after Watergate when the Senate calls him. Up to date nobody seems to know: what were the "fireflies" in the night of space surrounding "Friendship". There is this mystery in the otherwise "nuts-and-bolts" story of John Glenn. ... Read more


87. An Anthropologist on Mars : Paradoxical Tales
by OLIVER SACKS
list price: $17.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679439560
Catlog: Book (1995-02-07)
Publisher: Random House Audio
Sales Rank: 637444
Average Customer Review: 4.65 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Neurological patients, Oliver Sacks once wrote, are travelers to unimaginable lands. An Anthropologist on Mars offers portraits of several such travelers -- including a surgeon consumed by the compulsive tics of Tourette's syndrome unless he is operating and a man who confronts the challenges of having his vision restored after more than forty years of blindness.

The exploration of these individual lives is not one that can be made in a consulting room or office, and Sacks has taken off his white coat and deserted the hospital, by and large, to join his subjects in their own environments. He feels, he says, in part like a neuroanthropologist, but most of all like a physician, summoned here and.there to make house calls, house calls at the far border of experience.

In his lucid and compelling reconstructions of the mental acts we take for granted -- the act of seeing, the transport of memory, empathy for others -- Oliver Sacks provokes anew a sense of wonder at who we are.

Oliver Sacks is the author of the bestselling titles The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Awakenings.

An Anthropologist on Mars is available in hardcover from Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. ... Read more

Reviews (34)

4-0 out of 5 stars Headache? Just read about these poor folks
With the format and style of the earlier "The Man who Mistook his Wife for a Hat", each chapter describing a patient suffering from a particularly unusual and often spectacular neurological disorder, Sacks successfully shows how poor our understanding of the functioning of our own minds really is. More than ever his primary focus is the human aspect of mental affliction, the emotional trauma involved, presumably so he can appeal to a wider audience. I feel that the earlier book actually has the best material and is certainly a better choice if picking one title. Though the cases in "The Anthropologist" are hardly dull, it does seem a little long winded and repetitive in places - is he paid by the page? Perhaps others would disagree, but I would prefer to see more of the clinical speculation and brain-function theorizing. This is my only criticism for what is for the most part provocative and illuminating reading.

5-0 out of 5 stars Sheds Some Light On the Mind-Brain Relationship
An Anthropologist On Mars sheds some light on the mind-brain relationship and the concept of one's self. Oliver Sacks, a neurologist, takes the reader through seven case studies of people with neurological disorders, exploring not only the particular disorders, but also his patients' individual personalities.

Read the seven amazing stories in this book, entitled "The Case of the Colorblind Painter", "The Last Hippie", "A Surgeon's Life", "To See and Not See", "The Landscape of His Dreams", "Prodigies", and "An Anthropologist on Mars". Oliver Sacks presents his seven case studies of neurological disorder in an intruiging manner, and I recommend An Anthropologist On Mars to anyone with an interest in the workings of the human mind.

5-0 out of 5 stars Color blindness and autism
What if a painter is color blind. Absolute color blindness is a rare condition. Sacks encountered a painter who had been injured. The color blindness experienced meant to the painter that everythin appeared wrong. He particularly missed the colors of spring. Things were leaden. The artist did derive pleasure from looking at drawings. He did start painting again, black and white paintings. As time passed there was evidenced in the painting a lessening of fear and depression.

Sacks describes a a surgeon with Tourette's syndrome. Writers on temporal lobe epilepsy have spoken of the doubling of consciousness. One of the subjects of the essays, Franco, has a prodigious memory and a gift for painting. He paints the town of his boyhood incessantly. His Pontito is minutely accurate. Returning to the town was not the intense experience Franco expected. Everything seemed small.

Sacks writes of the savant syndrome in a child called Stephen, an accomplished artist. He has extraordinary powers of visual perception. Savant talents seem to have a more autonomous even automatic quality than normal ones.

The anthropologist on Mars is Temple Grandin. Her work devising cattle chutes is described. She is constantly trying to understand her own autism.

Oliver Sack's medical stories are sui generis. Running into them is always a delight.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of his best books!
I've read several books by this author, including "The man who mistook his wife for a hat", "The island of the color blind" and "Seeing voices", but I have to say that this is the one I've enjoyed the most.

In keeping with the format of his hugely popular "The man who mistook his wife for a hat", Oliver Sacks presents his readers with several case stories that are both gripping and enlightening. As always, the author's greatest talent is being able to teach the general reader about the intricacies of the human mind, without reducing the particular patient to something other than human. The people behind each of these case studies are never reduced to being just freaks of nature, but are instead described with a great deal of respect.

I highly recommend all of Dr Sacks' books, but this is the best one to start with if you're new to his work. However, if lengthy footnotes are a pet peeve of yours, you may want to stay away. I, on the other hand, along with many other of his readers, really enjoy the many footnotes as they give his books more depth and points the reader in new interesting directions.

5-0 out of 5 stars Unforgettable people
Science, medicine and psychology aside, these people who are triumphing over the most inhuman odds are unforgettable and inspiring. Most would be unlovable to us if we knew them personally, but that's not important. All of us know people who've had many more advantages in life who have not lived up to their potentials. These folks more than make up for the underachievers. They're all somehow brilliant in their own rights. ... Read more


88. Finders Keepers: The Story of a Man who found $1 Million that fell off a Truck
list price: $26.00
our price: $26.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743527224
Catlog: Book (2002-10-01)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Sales Rank: 660719
Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Who hasn't dreamed of finding a million dollars?

Joey Coyle was down and out -- the affable, boyish South Philadelphian hadn't found dock work in months, he was living with his ailing mother, and he was fighting a drug habit and what seemed like a lifetime of bouncing into and out of bad luck. One morning, while cruising the streets just blocks from his home, fate took a turn worthy of Hollywood when he spotted a curious yellow tub he thought might make a good toolbox. It contained $1.2 million in unmarked bills -- casino money that had just fallen off the back of an armored truck.

Detective Pat Laurenzi, with the help of the FBI, was working around the clock to track it down, Joey Coyle, meanwhile, was off on a bungling, swashbuckling misadventure, sharing his windfall with everyone from his girlfriend to total strangers to the two neighborhood kids who drove him past it. To hide the money, Joey turned to the local mob bos -- a shadowy, fearsome man who may or may not have helped launder it. But as adrenaline-filled nights began taking their toll, Joey Coyle's dream-come-true evolved into a nightmare: Whom could he trust?

By one of our most evocative and versatile chroniclers of American life, Finders Keepers is not only a gripping true life thriller, it is the remarkable tale of an ordinary man faced with an extraordinary dilemma, and the fascinating reactions -- from complicity to concern to betrayal -- of the friends, family, and neighbors to whom he turns. ... Read more

Reviews (15)

5-0 out of 5 stars Breezy book with an edge
I received this as a Christmas present, and what a neat present it was!
I started reading this obviously fictional book about this unemployed meth addict Philadelphian dockworker named Joey who finds $1.2 million in unmarked unsequential $100 bills laying on the street -- a $1.2 million which literally fell off the back of the truck. He immediately enters into all these improbable and zany adventures, capped by an arrest at the airport as he's getting ready to fly to Acapulco! During his trial, his attorney opts for a temporary insanity defense, which the jury buys because the guy's buddies testify he "went bananas" for a week when he found the money.
Yet this comedy has an edge to it -- the tragedy of "men who were raised to go to work out on the docks like their fathers and uncles and older brothers, only there's no work for them on the docks anymore, and there's nothing else they know how to do.... It's a story about addiction, about the belief that there is a shortcut to true happiness."
When I got to the Epilogue, I was quite surprised to find that this obviously fictional story was true! The author tells what happened after the trial, and how Joey's story was literally Disneyfied -- and how his good fortune turned out to be his tragic ruin.
The typeface used is a bit distracting since there is no "1" -- and unlike ancient typewriters, instead of the small "L," the capital "I" is used: thus $100 is $I00 and 314 Dunfor Street is 3I4 Dunfor Street.
This is a great book because it encompasses universal themes -- Joey is a Greek tragic figure whose internal flaws, despite his good fortune, emerge to undo him. Many of us, likewise, have envisioned what we would do if sudden riches came upon us.

5-0 out of 5 stars I Know What I Would Do!!
What would you do if you found over a million dollars lying by the side of the road in a yellow metal tub? I know what I would do, but I'm not saying. This is the dilemma 28 year-old Joey Coyle found himself in with two of his friends while driving down a side road in Philadelphia. Joey's answer was very simple: 'Finders Keepers'. This is an exciting true-life story from the author who also wrote the book 'Black Hawk Down'.

In February 1981, over a million dollars in unmarked bills fell off the back of an armored truck in South Philadelphia. Joey Coyle, a popular, working-class, young man who's addicted to drugs, goes from rags to riches, and eventually becomes somewhat of an urban hero. Joey finds himself in a drug-enhanced frenzy for the next week trying to decide what to do with all the money. The story is actually quite funny at times. Joey has a hard time keeping the money a secret, and tells just about everyone he meets about it. Will this be Joey's downfall or saving grace? Joey does get involved with the wrong people, as the entire city becomes swept up in the search for the money. What happens to Joey takes several different turns and this story has many unexpected surprises in store for us.

What an riveting story! This is a remarkable story of an ordinary young man who comes face to face with an extraordinary opportunity, and has the make the decision of right from wrong? Or does he? I recommend this one to anyone who enjoys a good true-to-life thriller.

Joe Hanssen

4-0 out of 5 stars Losers, are Always Weepers
Written like a fiction novel, Bowden tells the true story of an instant financial windfall of $1.2 million for Joey Coyle an unemployed, drug dependant, loser with nothing going for him and the IQ of a rock. Joey, depressed after his drug dealer wasn't home spots a yellow container on the side of the road which he thinks would make a good tool box. Looking inside he discovers two bags with reserve bank written on them. Not really caring that this money obviously belongs to someone he quickly puts the bags in his friend's car and they drive away.

This book tells what Joey does with the money in the seven days it takes the authorities to work out he took it and capture him. It is a crime in Philadelphia not to try and return something found with a value over $250. His big plans and how absolutely terrified he gets when he realises the mob is not around just to help you change hundred dollar notes into smaller currency are examined in detail. You'll be amazed at just how stupid this guy is. Also the stupidity of Purolator Armored Car Company and their drivers who lost the money of the back of the truck in the first place.

What would you do if you found 1.2 million? To be honest I would keep it but I sure wouldn't be as stupid as Joey. This is an extremely interesting book. I never heard of the actual story before so I have no idea how accurate this book portrays events but I thoroughly enjoyed it. It does drag on a bit with the trial and epilogue at the end which could have been summed up with a lot less paragraphs. Apart from that though, I was addicted and wanted to know the outcome. Highly recommended!

1-0 out of 5 stars Not a lot of substance to this book
I bought this book after reading a complimentary review online. Unfortunately, this book proved to be a very bland, unentertaining read about an unintelligent, vanilla main character who doesn't even give himself a chance to keep the money that he found.

Nothing spectacular really happens in the book; in fact, this probably would have been a better feature article for a second-tier major newspaper.

I found the characters very difficult to follow, much less get interested in. I do not recommend this book at all.

3-0 out of 5 stars not really that great
This book is the worst of the 4 Bowden books I've read. It's mildly entertaining and much too short. It seems like there really wasn't enough of a story to turn it into a book. If you want something short to read it's alright I guess. ... Read more


89. Last Lion : Winston Spencer Churchill Vol 1 Part II: Visions of Glory 1874-1932
by William Manchester
list price: $89.95
our price: $89.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0786101822
Catlog: Book (1990-01-01)
Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks
Sales Rank: 731635
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Part One Of Two Parts

It is hard to imagine anything new about Churchill. But in this life of the young lion, William Manchester brings us fresh encounters and anecdotes. Alive with examples of Churchill's early powers, THE LAST LION entertains and instructs.

"Manchester is not only master of detail, but also of `the big picture.'...I daresay most Americans reading THE LAST LION will relish it immensely." (National Review) ... Read more

Reviews (34)

5-0 out of 5 stars Best Churchill biography
Best biography of the person who really should have been the " greatest person of the 20th century".He, more than anyone else, stood alone against Nazism, which, no matter how you feel about the present state ofWestern civilization, kept it from being completely unrecognizable today. He pushed Roosevelt into joining Britain against the Nazis, and was willing to push Britain to keep on fightingalone, down to the last person ; at suicidal odds for many months.He had vision, and was fearless.And, prior to WW2, his exploits in the Boer War and in WW1 make his entire life fascinating.The fact that he was very "aristocratic" in his background has probably made his image diminish in our time.That sort of reverse discrimination is very unfair, I feel. He was also witty, not the least bit warm and cuddly (!) and a pretty good painter.

4-0 out of 5 stars Understand the most Remarkable Man of the 20th Century
This is an excellent book on the first half of the life of a truly exceptional man.Mr Manchester's book deals with Winston's early life and his rise to power and fame.I particularly liked the vignettes about life at the turn of the century; the social situation, the class struggle, the morals of the upper and the working classes.

Just reading it makes you feel somehow inadequate against the intellectual brilliance, courage and sheer energy of the subject.

It would have merited a full five star rating but for two faults.It should have been shorter.It as if every single little titbit of information had to be written out in full, rather than filtered through the critical intellect that Mr Manchester undoubtedly possesses.Instead, he quotes too many letters, reports and speeches in full when his job as a biographer was to summarise them.

The second fault was Mr Manchester's tendency to lionise his subject.Brilliant he may have been, but a bit more acknowledgement of Winston's faults would have made him more human and reachable.

But this is nitpicking.Overall the book is a good read on a subject well worth reading about.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Great Story!!!
Manchester has written a masterpiece.His intimate portrayal of Winston Churchill, one of the most charismatic figures of the 20th century, reads like a classic novel and is filled with more information than many history books.Born as the grandson of a duke at a time when the British Empire was at its height, Churchill's youth is full of adventure as well as adversity.His parents are absent throughout most of his childhood and he is largely brought up by his nanny.He attended Harrow during his high school days and then went on to Sandhurt, which is the equivalent to England's WestPoint.Churchill was never popular among his classmates but excelled at fencing and was a truly great polo player.

After Churchill graduated from Sandhurst he was assigned to the Fourth Hussiers Calvary Regiment as a second lieutenant.He begins his tour in India and would go on to fight in the Boer Wars in Africa, where he was captured as a P.O.W. His dramatic escape would help make him a household name.Manchester then navigates the reader through Winston's time as a young war correspondent, his first failed attempt to run for Parliament, and his engagement to Clemintine.Churchill is victorious in his second attempt at Parliament and through his great ability and oratory, becomes a member of the cabinet by his early 30s.His tenure as First Lord of the Admiralty during WWI is a highlight of this volume.He would hold six different cabinet positions before 1925.He would change political parties twice.At moments he had penetrating insight and incredible vision, his mind could juggle multiple ideas at once, and his work ethic is legendary.But make no mistake; his blunders were nearly as big as his triumphs.

This is a beautiful story and a fascinating history.Manchester portrays Churchill as an original.Churchill would entertain guests while he was taking a bath.Once a lady of social standing was appalled at Churchill's behavior and said, "Winston, you're drunk."Churchill's reply: "Yes, and you are ugly...but I shall be sober tomorrow."

I highly recommend this book as well as the second volume.Excellent reading!

5-0 out of 5 stars Truly Exceptional.
I've now read four of Mr. Manchester's works and all have been excellent. This is one of the two best biographies, or framents thereof, that I have ever read. Mr. Manchester has a style of writing that belongs in the hands of a novelist, not a historian or biographer. He can make 900 pages fly by without you noticing. I've read the two first parts of his Churchill biography and am completely devastated that the last one will probably never be completed. I mourn for the loss of Mr. Manchester's wife but history will truly mourn the loss of the concluding piece of this opus.

5-0 out of 5 stars Magisterial
William Manchester's first Churchill volume is one of those books that makes you just love to read.

This clearly isn't a book for all those who are fascinated by the mediocre and skeptical of the possibilities for true greatness. This is an unreconstructed and unapologetic look at a leader whose instincts often cut against the grain of the 20th century, but who would emerge as one of the great heroes of it, just when extraordinary leadership was needed the most.

Manchester is the rare gifted writer who has mastered the biographical craft as well as the sweeping narrative needed to succinctly encapsulate the mores and habits of an entire nation at a particular moment in time. He does this brilliantly in his introduction, about one hundred pages long, which sets the stage with a lavish description of Victorian England. This is one of the best parts of the book.

Early on, it is clear that the ambitious young Winston is headed for big things. This wasn't only because he came from one of Britain's most prominent families -- his father rose to become the second most powerful man in the government, and his mother was romantically linked to the Prince of Wales. Despite this, Manchester convinces us, successfully, that Churchill was the best of his generation, that he would have risen even from less auspicious circumstances (admittedly, this interpretation has its limits, since entire social classes were excluded from Parliament at the time).

Churchill made his career as a political maverick, changing parties not once, but twice, consistently taking positions that brought him close to political death. Yet Churchill survived -- and what's more, he turned out to be one of the most enduring political presences any democracy has ever seen. What is striking about Churchill's career is that it didn't simply culminate in 1940 after a plodding journey up the political ladder. No -- Churchill had first been elected to Parliament forty years earlier, and he rose quickly within a few years of his election. But then his career plateaud for about a quarter of a century. Here you had a man who was considered a future Prime Minister at age 30, who was in a position to be considered the heir apparent in governments of two different parties at various points from World War I until the late 1920s, and yet didn't take the next step. What happened?

The Great War and its aftermath, more than anything, foreordained Churchill's postponed "rendezvous with destiny." It was here where Churchill was the most out of step with prevailing political attitudes. Churchill held close to his heart a heroic vision of Britain, and believed deeply in the nobility of a war fought for a just cause. He also believed in the Empire, and did not think that Britain should relinquish what was already hers, even in a time of relative decline vis a vis the United States. Where most saw senseless slaughter in the trenches of France, he saw selfless heroism, a nation at its best.

The nation, or at least the political classes, did not agree with this interpretation. In a time that Walter Lippman proclaimed was "tired of greatness" and where the great fear was that Britain had overextended herself, Churchill defended greatness and Empire. In his view, strength in the service of democracy, and not blind disarmament, would prevent future wars. This view, ascendant in World War II, and in many ways, ascendant again in America today, was seen as discredited at the time, and Churchill in the 1920's repeatedly butted heads with a Conservative leadership over disarmament and withdrawal from India. The trend was so strong in the other direction that Churchill was effectively cast out of his party by the end of the 20's, and looked destined to repeat the fate of his iconoclastic father, who was cast permanently out into the political wilderness for his own apostasies.

But with this son, there would always be a second act. ... Read more


90. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (unbridged)
by JOHN BERENDT
list price: $39.95
our price: $25.17
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679460802
Catlog: Book (1997-08-12)
Publisher: Random House Audio
Sales Rank: 175164
Average Customer Review: 4.06 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

12 cassettes / 15 Hours
Unabridged

Shots rang out in Savannah's grandest mansion in the misty,early morning hours of May 2, 1981.Was it murder or self-defense?For nearly a decade, the shooting and its aftermath reverberated throughout this hauntingly beautiful city of moss-hung oaks and shaded squares.John Berendt's sharply observed, suspenseful, and witty narrative reads like a thoroughly engrossing novel, and yet it is a work of nonfiction.Berendt skillfully interweaves a hugely entertaining first-person account of life in this isolated remnant of the Old South with the unpredictable twists and turns of a landmark murder case.

It is a spellbinding story peopled by a gallery of remarkable characters: the well-bred society ladies of the Married Woman's Card Club; the turbulent young redneck gigolo; the hapless recluse who owns a bottle of poison so powerful it could kill every man, woman, and child in Savannah; the aging and profane Southern belle who is the "soul of pampered self-absorption"; the uproariously funny black drag queen; the acerbic and arrogant antiques dealer; the sweet-talking, piano-playing con artist; young blacks dancing the minuet at the black debutante ball; and Minerva, the voodoo priestess who works her magic in the graveyard at midnight.These and other Savannahians act as a Greek chorus, with Berendt revealing the alliances, hostilities, and intrigues that thrive in a town where everyone knows everyone else.

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil: A Savannah Story is a sublime and seductive reading experience.Brilliantly conceived and masterfully written, this enormously engaging portrait of a most beguiling Southern city is certain to become a modern classic.
... Read more

Reviews (405)

4-0 out of 5 stars A wonderful and intriguing story line keeps this book moving
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt made for a wonderful read. The interesting twists and turns imbedded within almost every chapter make you want to keep turning the pages. Although Midnight reads like a novel, it is actually based on historically accurate details relating to Savannah, Georgia and it's society. This creates for an interesting genre, probably falling into the realm of historical nonfiction. The entire book is based primarily on the murder of a young man in Savannah, and his supposed killer, another gentleman prominent in Savannahian society. However, leading up to the actual murder, the author introduces a series of other Savannah natives, all of them quite interesting characters. From drag queens to lawyers, businessman to hustlers, you are able to meet individuals on both ends of the spectrum. I find it rather difficult to make a comparison between this book and another of its type, being as this is the first one of the sort that I have read. I was entirely captivated by this sort of literature and would love to get my hands of another similar piece. Berendt did a great job of writing from a technical standpoint. The setting centered the book in the heart of the South, Savannah, Georgia during the 1980's. Being born and raised in Iowa, I found the sharp contrast of lifestyles enthralling. The characters, well, WOW! As I said before, there was such a dynastic scale or personas that it created for a complete surprise every chapter when he would introduce somebody new. My favorite by leaps and bounds, however, had to be Chablis. The initial description we receive creates a vivid picture in my mind: "She was wearing a loose white cotton blouse, jeans, and white tennis sneakers. Her hair was short, and her skin was a smooth mild chocolate. Her eyes were large and expressive..." Then, a few pages later, we get another entirely different scene from the author, putting almost a disturbing picture in my mind. "Chablis suddenly burst into view, looking like raging fire in a skimpy sequined dress with jagged red, yellow, and orange flamelike fringes hanging from it. She wore huge hoop earrings and a wig of long black curls. The audience cheered as she strutted down the runway, working every nuance of the rhythm, shaking her behind like a pom-pom, whipping it from side to side." As you can see from looking at the characterization in the book, Berendt also uses great description. He uses the same intense description all throughout the book, describing everything from houses to parks to squares to people. The imagery was simply amazing. I don't believe that there was any strong symbolism or theme within this piece. The author just stuck right to the main plot of describing typical Savannah life, taking us on a journey, letting us witness people and events. I wouldn't necessarily recommend this book for everybody. Those younger than "teenager" probably would find this book a bit over their heads, as it does contain some rather adult context and material. But I still hold my stance that anybody ready to read a book that will seemingly involve them in the plot should open the cover of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt.

4-0 out of 5 stars The South Rises Again
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is really two books - the first half is a present day snapshot of Savannah, Georgia, an old-style Southern city with plenty of grace and charm. The second half is the story of the murder trial(s) of Jim Williams, one of Savannah's most interesting residents. The second half is much more interesting than the first. Perhaps that is because every time Williams makes an appearance, things turn interesting very quickly. (Having seen the movie, I can't picture Williams without thinking of the remarkable Kevin Spacey). One character who draws a lot of attention in both the book and the movie is the Lady Chablis. In the movie she occupies far too much screen time - her role in the book is much more reasonable. I suppose the popularity of the Lady is due to her "exotic" nature as a drag queen, but I find her character to be pretty unremarkable - it seems faintly ridiculous to complain that she could be any ol' drag queen, but realistically, she adds nothing to the story of any substance. I wish more attention had been paid to the "occult" aspects of the story - the title seems to invite this scrutiny. The fact that an extrememly wealthy Southern man on trial for murder puts more stock in voodoo than his defense lawyers IS remarkable. I found myself wishing Berendt would have questioned Williams at length as to the reasons he chose to believe in these supernatural powers. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil does a great job of transplanting the reader into "Old South" Georgia with enough colorful characters to keep the interest level high; it's just a shame none of us will ever get invited to one of Jim Williams' Christmas Parties.

5-0 out of 5 stars Yes, Savannah is that strange....
This story is a good read about some of the wild and wealthy who lived and died in Savannah in the 1980's. My parents live in Savannah, if you have ever spent anytime in that area you would know that it is a dead on account of the people who live there... Everything from the kooky insect guy (Driggers) to the Voo Doo which goes on "religiously" just over the Savannah river in South Carolina. As usual the book and movie share the same name and thats about it (read: the movie stinks the book doesn't).

5-0 out of 5 stars It's Midnight---do you know where your children are?
This book is like two others that I've read in the past few years. The first was "The Two Mrs. Grenvilles" by Dunne, and the other was "The Bark of the Dogwood." These two, along with "Midnight" are excellently paced, gossipy, accessible, and great reads. But of the three, "Midnight is by far my favorite. "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" is really two books - the first half is a present day snapshot of Savannah, Georgia, an old-style Southern city with plenty of grace and charm. The second half is the story of the murder trial(s) of Jim Williams, one of Savannah's most interesting residents. The second half is much more interesting than the first. Perhaps that is because every time Williams makes an appearance, things turn interesting very quickly. (Having seen the movie, I can't picture Williams without thinking of the remarkable Kevin Spacey). One character who draws a lot of attention in both the book and the movie is the Lady Chablis. In the movie she occupies far too much screen time - her role in the book is much more reasonable. I suppose the popularity of the Lady is due to her "exotic" nature as a drag queen, but I find her character to be pretty unremarkable - it seems faintly ridiculous to complain that she could be any ol' drag queen, but realistically, she adds nothing to the story of any substance. I wish more attention had been paid to the "occult" aspects of the story - the title seems to invite this scrutiny. The fact that an extrememly wealthy Southern man on trial for murder puts more stock in voodoo than his defense lawyers is remarkable. I found myself wishing Berendt would have questioned Williams at length as to the reasons he chose to believe in these supernatural powers. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil does a great job of transplanting the reader into "Old South" Georgia with enough colorful characters to keep the interest level high; it's just a shame none of us will ever get invited to one of Jim Williams' Christmas Parties.

Would also recommend "The Two Mrs. Grenvilles" and "Bark of the Dogwood."

5-0 out of 5 stars Understand the comparisons
I understand the comparisons being made to Capote's "In Cold Blood" what with
the hybrid genre thing going on, but for me,
"Midnight" was more like "Bark of the Dogwood" than "In Cold Blood."
Nevertheless, this John Berendt
thriller (not in the gaudy commercial sense) is one
of the best-written books of the last century.
Truly. I avoided this for years because of the hype
and the awful movie that was made of it, but
when I did finally read it I found an almost perfect book.
My question is this: Where is Mr. Berendt now and WHERE'S his next book? We're all waiting! ... Read more


91. What's So Amazing About Grace?
by Philip Yancey
list price: $17.99
our price: $12.23
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0310215781
Catlog: Book (1997-10-10)
Publisher: Zondervan Publishing Company
Sales Rank: 139405
Average Customer Review: 4.57 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

On the heels of Philip Yancey's bestselling The Jesus I Never Knew comes his equally insightful exploration of grace, the most powerful force in the universe and our only hope for love and forgiveness. Read by Philip Yancey.Abridged Audio Cassettes. ... Read more

Reviews (137)

5-0 out of 5 stars Exceptional
Phillip Yancey has written his masterpiece. This book will touch you to your core being, your soul, and your heart. I found myself so into reading this book, I could not put it down. Yancey is incredibly adept at showing how much love Christ has for all of his followers, and all of humanity. I have shared this book with numerous people, and I have never had a bad response to the message it puts forth.

We must learn how to show grace to each other. If you read the story of the father who is waiting for his runaway teenage prostitute daughter and do not cry, you are living in an alternate reality. This book was very challenging, and not afraid to tackle the issues of homosexuality and other tough issues that Christianity, especially evangelical Christianity, refuse to deal with.

Thanks again to the author for an incredible book. I will read it again and enjoy it more, like a fine wine, Yancey gets better with age.

5-0 out of 5 stars More Books Needed Like This One!
Philip Yancey strikes a chord here that resounds in the heart of every true believer. He speaks of the unique nature of grace, and how it is desperately needed in the Church today. Yancey confronts modern Christians with the problem of "ungrace," the striking absence of the grace that so characterized Jesus Christ.

While targeted primarily towards conservative Christians, this work also applies to those persons who have more liberal views. Believers on both ends of the spectrum can be sorely lacking in grace, a quality that can only be shown by the Church.

Up to this point, the best modern book I have read on grace is "Grace Awakening" by Charles Swindoll. Yancey's work surpasses Swindoll's volume by virtue of its contemporary applications and illustrations. There are few recent books on grace available today, and this one is the best of which I am aware.

I recommend this book HIGHLY to all conservative Christians, especially persons who would identify themselves with the "Religious Right." Yancey truly emphasizes the fundamentals here. One note of caution: if you DON'T want your heart to be warmed by God's grace and compassion, then avoid this book!

2-0 out of 5 stars Just a So-So Effort
Please, don't shoot the messenger. I am a Christian and not some anti-Christian trying to write a bad review. As for this book, I was immediately taken in when I read one critic on the back cover of the book state that it was the best book that he had ever read. Well, since I had read Yancey's "The Jesus I Never Knew" (Which I consider to be the greatest book ever written), then I was excited to read this book. Needless to say, I was disappointed. The book had its interesting moments, but never came close to living up to the hype. Just an average book. I love the concept of Grace and all, but this book didn't really do much for me. Yancey kind of lost his direction half way through. I finished the book only because I wanted to complete what I had finished. I'm not trying to offend anybody, rather, I want people to have a candid review.

5-0 out of 5 stars Philip Yancey Is Amazing!
Author Philip Yancey offers a refreshing viewpoint of grace in his spiritually challenging book What's So Amazing About Grace? He effectively uses the scriptures as a lens to focus on the life we lead today. His illustrations help the reader to turn that lens on himself or herself - not in a critical way, but in a soul-opening way. He has chosen some of the most startling and effective illustrations I have ever encountered. This book, already being used in our Christian colleges, needs to be required reading for anyone who takes his or her Christian life seriously.

5-0 out of 5 stars Everyone needs to read this book - Christian or not
This is one of my favorite books of all time. I've bought many copies and given them away. To me this book summarizes what Jesus was all about - love, forgiveness...GRACE. ... Read more


92. The Devil in the White City : Murder, Magic & Madness and the Fair that Changed America (Illinois)
by ERIK LARSON
list price: $25.95
our price: $16.35
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0739303406
Catlog: Book (2003-02-11)
Publisher: RH Audio
Sales Rank: 53372
Average Customer Review: 4.17 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Two men, each handsome and unusually adept at his chosen work, embodied an element of the great dynamic that characterized America’s rush toward the twentieth century. The architect was Daniel Hudson Burnham, the fair’s brilliant director of works and the builder of many of the country’s most important structures, including the Flatiron Building in New York and Union Station in Washington, D.C. The murderer was Henry H. Holmes, a young doctor who, in a malign parody of the White City, built his “World’s Fair Hotel” just west of the fairgrounds—a torture palace complete with dissection table, gas chamber, and 3,000-degree crematorium. Burnham overcame tremendous obstacles and tragedies as he organized the talents of Frederick Law Olmsted, Charles McKim, Louis Sullivan, and others to transform swampy Jackson Park into the White City, while Holmes used the attraction of the great fair and his own satanic charms to lure scores of young women to their deaths. What makes the story all the more chilling is that Holmes really lived, walking the grounds of that dream city by the lake.

The Devil in the White City draws the reader into a time of magic and majesty, made all the more appealing by a supporting cast of real-life characters, including Buffalo Bill, Theodore Dreiser, Susan B. Anthony, Thomas Edison, Archduke Francis Ferdinand, and others. In this book the smoke, romance, and mystery of the Gilded Age come alive as never before.

Erik Larson’s gifts as a storyteller are magnificently displayed in this rich narrative of the master builder, the killer, and the great fair that obsessed them both.


From the Hardcover edition.
... Read more

Reviews (234)

5-0 out of 5 stars Unspeakable Wonders and Startling Evil
Larson has created the first must-read nonfiction title of the year, an assured and satisfying work which vividly portrays the one of the last grand gasps of the nineteenth century, the World's Fair of 1893.
Daniel Hudson Burnham, architect and overseer of the fair, builds the White City itself, while Henry H. Holmes is the titular devil, a charismatic young doctor with blood-curdling obsessions. The British of the period may have dealt with Jack the Ripper, but our ever-expanding country weaned its own monster, whose house of horrors stood in the shadows of the great architectural triumphs of the Fair.
This compelling book moves with the relentlessness of the greatest novels of our time. The supporting cast includes such luminaries as Edison, Archduke Ferdinand, Buffalo Bill, and Susan B. Anthony; the ill-fated Titanic even makes an appearance in the books opening pages.
Larson's evocative prose fully engulfs the viewer in the period, and the dark and dreadful scenes with Henry H. Holmes are given welcome respite by the tales of Burnham's amazing accomplishment. The enjoyment of this stunning work is only heightened by the knowledge that the story is true.

4-0 out of 5 stars Nice Follow-Up
Erik Larson had a tough job ahead of him. He had to find a follow-up to the successful, fascinating and entertaining Isaac's Storm. He selected the same decade of history but an entirely different story in The Devil in the White City. This is truly a worthy successor to the previous volume. This time the story is shared by two main protaganists, the architect Daniel Burnham and the serial killer, Dr. H. H. Holmes, although the main character is the White City itself, the Chicago World's Fair. The author paints his portraits breathlessly and moves the reader quickly along leaving no odd or interesting fact unstated as he weaves the narratives together. This pop history is without a doubt entertaining, while not being overly enlightening. Sometimes the writing follows set repeated patterns, such as the constant reference to several personalities startingly blue eyes that, after a while, may make the reader feel those eyes must actually even have glowed in the dark. Overall though, it is a fascinating read that will keep the reader up into the dark themselves. The author met his own challenge set up by Isaac's Storm.

5-0 out of 5 stars Chock full of history
I wasn't seeking this book out to read. I was in N.C. visiting a friend when I saw it in his place. He briefly told me what the book was about, so I read the opening pages. And then more, and then more. Eventually I asked if I could take it home and finish it. Before this book I never knew how big that fair was. How many odds were against the architects, that the Ferris wheel was born there and it was HUGE. I didn't know that on one day over 700,000 people attended the fair and A.C. electricity was born there. I didn't know who H.H. Holmes was, nor what he did. And I never knew his body lies 15 minutes from my house.

4-0 out of 5 stars History lovers will Enjoy!
History lovers will revel in this factual account of two separate but related nineteenth century events. A serial killer who uses the occasion of the Chicago Columbian Exposition of 1892 to provide his victims, and the story behind that exposition's creation, will interest most mystery fans.

Larson's love for research and detail is apparent from the onset and provides the reader with much detail to make these true stories live once more.

The author reacquaints us with a cast of famous characters whose names will be recognized from that time. Their amazing accomplishments and the lasting effects of these accomplishments, even to today, will surprise and astonish.

If you like your historical facts wrapped around a bit of the macabre you will enjoy reading this well written non fiction work.

reviewed by:
Spencer W. Birt
Mahogany Book Club
Albany, N.Y.

5-0 out of 5 stars Demonically good
What a great find this turned out to be! I generally abhor history - but someone recommended this book to me. It was so compelling I could not put it down. Larson flawlessly weaved the two stories together, demonstrating his incredible talent for storytelling. It is definately a great -and quick - read for someone who does not know a whole lot about the events of the fair, judging from some of the other reviews however, maybe not one for Chicago history buffs! You'll also enjoy "The Alienist" and "The Bark of the Dogwood" is you liked this book. ... Read more


93. Tibetan Wisdom for Living and Dying
by Sogyal Rinpoche
list price: $39.95
our price: $26.37
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 156455676X
Catlog: Book (1999-06-01)
Publisher: Sounds True
Sales Rank: 415407
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Don't Miss This One
A new friend told me about these Tibetan Wisdom for Living and Dying tapes, and surprised me with a set to borrow. I was 42 and had just read Sogyal Rinpoche's Tibetan Book of Living and Dying cover to cover. It was the single most important book I had ever had in my hands, a book I wanted each of the people I knew and loved to read - preparation for dying which prepares us to make the most of living.

I had no idea that hearing Sogyal Rinpoche's voice and laughter would have such a powerful impact on me. But we are all in different places, and as such, different voices and angles speak to us. So the only way you'll know if he speaks to you is to actually hear him. But I'm going to wager that if you're reading this review, you have enough interest to benefit from these tapes.

I found the six tapes so compelling I have listened to them several times, taken notes, repeated sentences to friends, brainstormed about starting a study group to listen to and discuss these tapes, and bought extra copies to give to a couple of local leaders for inspiration in their work.

The impact of Sogyal Rinpoche's voice is so amazing compared to just reading the words that I can't recommend it enough - its great to have words to look over and reflect on, but hearing his voice is like being there with him.

If I could have only one set of tapes with me for my whole life, or for the rest of this life, this is what I would chose. Whether you are a devout Catholic, or a pagan, a humanist, or a practicing Buddhist, an intellectual or just a curious soul, this set of six tapes is one of the richest sources of wisdom I have ever known.

Here is just one quote, so you can see for yourself how precious his understanding is:

"When you say that Buddhists do not believe in God it does not mean that Buddhists do not believe in the nature of God, because the nature of God is the nature of Truth, [...] same, but Buddhists do not believe in the concept of God, because in many ways, [...] however good the concepts of God are [they] do not do justice for the Absolute."

For me, that explanation alone was worth the cost of all the tapes. And there are hundreds more in this set. Don't pass this one by, whether for you or those you love, we all can benefit. ... Read more


94. A Good Walk Spoiled : Days and Nights on the PGA Tour
list price: $17.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1570422974
Catlog: Book (1995-06-01)
Publisher: Time Warner Audiobooks
Sales Rank: 151522
Average Customer Review: 3.96 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (49)

4-0 out of 5 stars Solid, insightful, inspiring
I'll begin by saying that I don't find Feinstein a particularly elegant writer. Like so many of the golfers he admires, Fienstein is a bit of a grinder. I prefer the golf essays of Herbert Warren Wind and John Updike. That said, I immensely enjoyed this book for its detailed and often inspiring look at the golfing and private lives of several players on the Tour. If the book had a central point, I thought it was that playing professional golf is just about as difficult a way to make a living as there is. The physical, mental, and emotional strain is almost unbearable and the lonelieness and self-reliance very fatiguing. Like another reviewer, I did not find the book too long, but too short: I wanted to read about more players and about more seasons.

5-0 out of 5 stars Pressure that most people will never feel
For any of us out there who still harbor dreams of one day hitting the tour, this book is enough to scare those dreams right out of you. Focusing on everyone from top tier players to rookie scramblers, this is the most comprehensive look at the world of competitive golf I have seen in a long time. For some players, the PGA Tour is a goldmine, where private jets and Florida mansions are the norm, while for others, just winning enough to enter the next tournament is a victory in itself.

Feinstein does an excellent job of getting in the golfer's heads and really conveying what they're thinking as they experience pressure most ordinary people won't ever understand. He was given almost unheard of access to the players, and he makes the best of it. His ability to describe the courses makes you feel like you are right there with Davis Love III, with 148 yards to the pin, or with Tom Watson as he looks over one of the most important putts in his life.

This book is a real gem for any sports fan, and a must for any golfer.

4-0 out of 5 stars Loved it, a new perspective on the game...
If you are a golfer, read this....gives you a new appreciation for the game and people that play it. It looks so different on television....

4-0 out of 5 stars Inside The Bags And Heads Of The Pros
Golf is the cruelest sport, and "A Good Walk Spoiled" is a probing look at what beats inside the hearts of those who play it for a living. Author John Feinstein chronicles the 1994 PGA Tour season through the experiences of several pro golfers, stars like Tom Watson and Davis Love III as well as those trying to make the grade.

If you watch pro golf at all, even just occasionally tune in on the final round of a major, this is a book for you. It gives you a taste of why the Tour is so absorbing to those who follow it week-in, week-out. The first 100 pages pull you right in with scenes from two pressure-cooker events from opposite ends of the bell curve: The 1993 Ryder Cup at The Belfry resort in England, where America's best golfers compete with those from Europe for a much-coveted trophy; and Qualifying School, where the wanna-bes vie simply for the chance to compete on tour. Both are nervous narratives, and highly addicting.

Feinstein is no elegant prose stylist, but he's not a short-order cook, either. He writes in a deceptively easy-going way, not beating you over the head with all the words he knows or quoting from great works of literature to describe how John Cook felt about trying to make a certain putt. He just puts it all together and makes it gel, sometimes throwing in a clever metaphor. About the weather at the start of the 1994 British Open: "Turnberry had the feel of a schoolyard on the first warm day of spring, everyone excited and rejuvenated by the gorgeous weather." On the work ethic of the pros: "On any Tuesday and Wednesday on tour, the [driving] range looks like the exchange counter at Macy's on the day after Christmas."

Feinstein is even better as an interviewer. From normally taciturn guys he draws out some personal stories worth reading, like Paul Azinger's fight with cancer and how Curtis and Sarah Strange dealt with an unexplained medical condition she had that hobbled her for months. Some nice catty comments, too, like Davis Love's noting the demeanor of tour legends Watson and Jack Nicklaus: "I'm sure it's subconscious, but sometimes with those guys you feel as if they have to remind you how great they were because they can't show you anymore."

Watson was a revelation for me in this book. He always came off as prickly and distant, but he shared a lot with Feinstein and comes across the better for it. He was still trying to win majors in 1994 at age 44, and coming heartbreakingly close, but maintained a stoic demeanor and a sense of humor throughout.

Feinstein is a friendly-enough golfer's Boswell, but not everyone benefits from his pen. John Daly, working through his personal demons in 1994, comes in for some withering criticism, as does Greg Norman, who plans an elitist alternative to the PGA Tour that never gets off the ground. Tiger Woods is conspicuous by his absence, just a single mention near the end. He was barely on the radar screen in 1994, a teenage phenom noted for his skin color and not much else.

Some say "A Good Walk Spoiled" is the lesser for the lack of Tiger-time, but I enjoyed the opportunity to see what the tour was like before he changed everything. It's a worthy historical record for that alone. And though the book does drag a bit in the last 100 pages, with Feinstein not putting the same level of effort into his writing as he did detailing earlier tournaments, it makes for very pleasurable and edifying reading all the same. Even if you still can't make yourself care about who's squaring off in the last round of the Match Play Championship, you will finish "A Good Walk Spoiled" with a much deeper appreciation for those who live and die by how they play the game.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good storytelling, but disjointed
As I read this very enjoyable book, I felt more like I was listening to a conversation than reading a book. It almost feels like "Did I ever tell you about the time I was playing with Greg Norman, and he..." Feinstein has access to places and people that most golf fans never will, and as such, he has boatloads of great stories about the events and players of the PGA Tour (and the PGA wannabes). Feinstein is great at collecting and telling the stories, particularly the character-revealing ones. For that, the book is wonderful. Specifically, I felt I was in Davis Love's quaking shoes while he was "throwing up on himself" at the Ryder Cup. Feinstein tells the story so well, the reader feels part of the action.

At the same time, I couldn't help but think that the book was poorly organized. Feinstein makes some effort to put the contents into a unified semi-chronological tale, but he fails in that. Most of the events or people that he writes about require going back to cover background info on what set up that situation, or how that player got where he is now. The backgrounding leads to a lot of de-synchronization (? -- throwing off the timeline?) in the book. Many of the background information is also great and enjoyable storytelling, but given the chronological organization of the book, it was hard for me to keep the events straight -- which came first, which story had later impact on what, which ones overlap (two stories about two players at the same event, for example).

There's also a lot of jumping from discussions of one player to another. This works fine for the well known players, but not so well when the reader is trying to remember which of the Q-school players is which. Still, in thinking about it, I couldn't think of a better way to organize it.

Having felt self-imposed "pressure" on the golf course -- if I make par here, this will be my best round ever! -- reading anecdotes about the *real* pressure of Q-school was fascinating. Feinstein gives the reader the feel of needing to make a shot to be able to eke out a living by playing golf, and made me appreciate the difference between that than the pressure of making a shot to take pocket change from my foursome.

Overall, I really enjoyed the book. What's not to enjoy, really -- it's good stories about an interesting (to any golfer or golf fan) subject. I give only four stars because I just can't help feeling that the book could be much better organized for a more consistent read. ... Read more


95. The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate
by Gary Chapman
list price: $16.99
our price: $11.55
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1881273563
Catlog: Book (1996-01-01)
Publisher: Northfield Press
Sales Rank: 36386
Average Customer Review: 4.74 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In The Five Love Languages, Dr. Gary Chapman talks about how different people express love in different ways. Some people are verbal, expressing their love in words. Others may never speak their affection, yet they show it by the things they do.

Sadly, many couples look to receive love the same way they give it, misunderstanding their spouses. This can lead to quarrels, hurt feelings, and even divorce. However, if you understand each other's love languages, you can learn to give and receive love more effectively.~ ... Read more

Reviews (196)

5-0 out of 5 stars be careful when you read this - it will change your life!
Whilst I am currently single, I have been on a search for a partner this year. In somewhat of a state of confusion in a 2-month relationship, I was recommended this book to help me understand the man I was dating. I was feeling that his "heart wasn't in it" & I couldn't work out how we could be in a relationship without emotional involvement. We both seemed to want the same things. When I suggested that to him, he was terribly hurt as he thought he was acting in a loving manner.
After reading this book, I now know why. We were speaking different love languages & I wasn't receiving what he was sending.
This book has changed the way I think about all of my relationships - intimate, family, friends, even flatmates! I recommend this book to everyone - those married recently, those single, those married for a long time, those with children - in fact, I can't imagine someone not getting something out of this book.
The book is an easy & hugely beneficial read & will no doubt impact your life as much as it did mine.
Enjoy reaping the benefits!

5-0 out of 5 stars Required Reading for Successful Marraige Relationships
"The Five Love Languages" is a well written, practical and Biblically based book on getting the most out of a marriage relationship. The book is so effective, it is used in counseling and ministerial training (Depending on your training) to name a couple of other uses, and is easy enough for anyone to put into practice assuming the reader is willing to make some changes.

Gary Chapman articulates the little challenges in marriages that every couple in some shape or form have run into during the life of an ever maturing marriage relationship. The focus of his teaching is the understanding of your mates "love language" or the manner in which he or she says "I love you" or feels loved in tangable ways. Gary Chapman then addresses how our ability to recognize and respond to our spouse can dictate the success of our marriages. With application and consistent work, you will understand your mate and yourself in the mix of your relationship better than you ever thought.

Some books in this genre may make a potential reader afraid, skeptical or intimidated to even consider. For reasons ranging from too abstract that you would need a Phd. to get any value from it, to just too theoretical coming across with all the warmth and sincerity of a text book, not so here! The beauty of this book is it's simplicity, light reading and success stories that inspire hope. Though it's light reading, you shouldn't under estimate the impact this teaching could have in your situation. A good example of this is the books teaching format and practical examples where these priciples have been applied and have worked.

A great book with potentially great results.

5-0 out of 5 stars Good Book
This book REALLY gives you the steps to improving your relationship. My husband and I have a great relationship already and there still was much food for thought in there. I also liked it because it have a Christian base to it- and to me, that is important.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great gift to yourself and others
Someone gave me this book as a wedding present and since that time I have gifted out 3 copies to other people. As you read you are able to better understand yourself and those who you care about.

5-0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful lessons on expressing love, receiving love.
We see too many relationships fall apart when a failure to communicate leads to great misunderstanding, then to unyielding terminal unhappiness. THE FIVE LOVE LANGUAGES is a thoughtful book, that can help you examine your own personal rhetoric of love (verbal and non-verbal), and that of your partner, then translate that understanding into more effective expression of the love you share. If your relationship is struggling with communication issues, even to the point of questioning the love itself, this book can help shed light for course correction. If you're in a strong and healthy relationship, the book can give personal insights for communicating your love, all the more. ... Read more


96. Men to Match My Mountains
by Irving Stone
list price: $112.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 5557079343
Catlog: Book (1956-01)
Publisher: Books on Tape
Sales Rank: 712451
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Stone has created an interwoven pageant of stories of the great westward drive which, in a few rousing decades, settled a continent and gave the United States dimensions of which its founders hardly dreamed. ... Read more

Reviews (9)

4-0 out of 5 stars A great read
I found it a little plodding at first, but then I had trouble putting it down.It was interesting, enlightening, and entertaining (a lot of unanticipated little giggles).The portions devoted to the construction of the transcontinental railroad are far superior to Ambrose's book on that subject.

5-0 out of 5 stars A lesson in human psychology
Man versus nature. That is how I would summarize this book. The epic struggle between the basic human desire to better himself and the seemingly formidable force of nature standing in its path is brilliantly written in such a personal way only Irving Stone can depict. I would recommend this book to those who are not only a student of American history but to all who are wondering what exactly we, as human beings, are truly capable of once we have a dream, a destination and that little thing we call hope. This book truly inspires.

2-0 out of 5 stars Obvious Errors
I agree that Irving Stone's Men to Match My Mountains is an entertaining series of intertwined stories about the settling of the west, but it is tainted by a couple of obvious and major factual errors in the early going. Before page 60, he's got 1840s explorers walking the banks of Shasta Lake, which didn't exist until Shasta Dam was completed in 1944. He's also got guys climbing UP the Eastern Sierra to Owens Lake, which is impossible since Owens Lake is at the base of the Eastern Sierra (or was, until the City of L.A. diverted its water). It makes me wonder what else he got wrong. An entertaining book about history loses a lot of its appeal if it's inaccurate.

5-0 out of 5 stars Readable History Lesson
Irving Stone is known more as a novelist than a historian.Consequently some serious historians have relegated this book to the realm of popular blather.But in spite of the fact that the book is entertaining and readable it is also serious history.Stone conducted extensive research and produced a masterpiece.It has been continuously in print for over 40 years.Its pages encompass the mountain west from Colorado to California and it is populated with heroes, visionaries, eccentrics and rogues.A must have book to be enjoyed again and again.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully Readable, Entertaining and Informative History
I agree with the previous reviews so I will not duplicate their effort. I too want to emphasize that this book's strength is in its wonderful telling of the stories of western expansion that many Americans know only a piece of. It is an excellent survey with enough detail to do justice to theindividual episodes without getting bogged down. Each subject in the bookhas been treated in more detail elsewhere; where this book shines is incovering them all and deftly weaving them together to give a portrait of19th-century western America. I think those of us who live in Californiaespecially appreciate learning about the people for whom much of ourlandscape is named. Read it and tell your friends about it. ... Read more


97. The Mars & Venus Diet & Exercise Solution: Create the Brain Chemistry of Health, Happiness, and Lasting Romance (Mars & Venus)
by John Gray, John, Ph.D. Gray
list price: $34.95
our price: $34.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1559279214
Catlog: Book (2003-02-01)
Publisher: Audio Renaissance
Sales Rank: 494436
Average Customer Review: 4.55 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The mega-bestselling author who celebrated gender differences turns to diet and exercise as a source of well-being and harmony

In the groundbreaking bestseller Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, John Gray taught men and women how to embrace their differences to gain strong, loving relationships. Now this practical guide reveals how diet, exercise, and communication skills combine to affect the production of healthy brain chemicals. John Gray shows men and women how to use this revolutionary approach to diet and exercise to achieve happiness, love, and fulfillment.

The Mars & Venus Diet and Exercise Solution will help listeners:
• understand how men and women gain and lose weight differently
• manage their weight without needing will power
• gain unending energy
• overcome anxiety / depression by changing the breakfast meal
• discover how diet affects mood and the quality of relationships
• sustain a lifetime of passion.
... Read more

Reviews (29)

5-0 out of 5 stars Three cheers for Dr. Gray!
For the past month I have followed John Gray's advice, which he outlines in his recent book, "The Mars & Venus Diet & Exercise Solution". As a result, I lost weight and have a heightened sense of well being. Gray's combinations of ideas on nutrition, diet, exercise and weight management DO INDEED work, and the results carry over to promote stronger male-female relationships. Three cheers for Gray for sharing his latest ideas!

5-0 out of 5 stars John Gray has done it again!
It takes John Gray to show, once again, that men and women are different - that we react differently to food and exercise programs just as we react differently to just about everything else in life! How obvious! So obvious, we would have completely missed it, were it not for Dr. Gray's new book The Mars & Venus Diet & Exercise Solution. And we would have missed the advice and solutions that can help all of us have the energy, resiliency and optimism to reach out for life's next great adventure... that next glorious trapeze.

Gail Blanke
CEO/President, Lifedesigns
Author, "Between Trapezes, Flying Into a New Life with the Greatest of Ease" (Rodale, August 2004)

5-0 out of 5 stars A better slant on dieting
Not really desiring to lose weight, I was interested in John Gray's book The Mars and Venus Diet and Exercise Solution for its cleansing properties and was not disappointed. I tried John's method in the book for 9 days. Nothing much seemed to happen until just about two weeks after I began the course of treatment. I have always had a sweet tooth, but as I get older realize it is a sugar addiction. I found that I wasn't craving sweets (a common occurrence for 40 years after every meal and often between them) and I wasn't really trying. I wanted things like celery and peanut butter or carrots for a snack instead of cookies. And coming from the world's greatest candy fan, this is saying a lot!! I also found myself naturally drinking more water and feeling lighter and fresher. My skin has a great tone and after several weeks, as I look for signs of diminishing effects, I am pleased that I am still resting in a place of healthful balance. I also have lost several pounds even without trying. I will refresh my liver and remind myself of my wholeness every so often with his recommended treatment as I feel a calling to do so, but for now I feel great.

The other thing I really related to in this book was his presentation of the different chemistries of men and women and what, how and when they are activated. It was a missing piece in understanding my very male husband. Very insightful and clearly intended for more than just a fix-it diet, this book The Mars and Venus Diet & Exercise Solution offers ways to achieve and maintain balance and health within the self and also within a relationship.

Julie Hutslar
Author of Relationships:Gifts of the Spirit

5-0 out of 5 stars Wow....and I thought I knew so much.....
Having dieted all of my adult life, I thought I knew it all. Then, after joining Curves for Women and not losing in weight in 3 months with 5 workouts per week the entire time, I spoke with the manager of my workout facility. She recommended this book. I have John Gray's "original" Mars & Venus book but I'm not a big reader so I've scanned it. But THIS book? I can't put it down. Goodness. How interesting. I knew when I put my husband on the South Beach and he quickly lost weight and continued to....or when I'd go to a Weight Watchers meeting and see all those guys just DROP the weight, I knew woman lost differently than men but this book puts it all out there in plain English for even the KIA (know it all) like me to grasp and understand. I thought I was an expert on "dieting" (though none have ever worked for me except to give up the carbs). Thank you, John Gray, for showing me yet another aspect that I never even would have thought existed.

5-0 out of 5 stars Thank you Dr. Gray!
I have studied nutrition for over 15 years, so when Dr. Gray came out with his new book on diet and exercise, I was very interested to read what he had to say on the subject.

Because of my background I didn't expect to find any new information about diet and nutrition. I was delighted to find that this book contains cutting edge, scientific information on diet and nutrition that was not in any of the other resource materials that I had previously studied.

This book has added a new dimension to my understanding and I thank Dr. Gray for once again sharing his knowledge and providing couples with another valuable resource for enhancing relationships. ... Read more


98. Intuitive Healing: Five Steps to Developing Intuition
by Judith Orloff
list price: $59.95
our price: $37.77
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1561709492
Catlog: Book (2002-01-01)
Publisher: Hay House
Sales Rank: 88718
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Brillantly done
A lot of the books written on the subject seem to miss the point with glossy covers that entice you to buy - "Almost a cigar", but here, Dr Judith Orloff is smoking Havanas with her book "Intuitive Healing".

It is well written in an easy manner and guides you through a process of feelings, rediscovering your body's signals and what my ancestors knew long ago - trusting your inner voice, your spirit, to guide you through some of life's decisions - a skill we have come to ignore in these busy times. The examples she gives in the book rennosante with me and gave me insight and brought tears to my eyes as they touched my soul.
I recommend the book to those who need a little guidance in their life and also for those who do not, as this books re- acquaints us with some of the life's skills that were ours once - Brilliantly done ... Read more


99. The New Buffettology: How Warren Buffett Got and Stayed Rich in Markets Like This and How You Can Too!
by David Clark
list price: $18.00
our price: $18.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743524926
Catlog: Book (2002-09-01)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Sales Rank: 932552
Average Customer Review: 3 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

If you listened to the original Buffettology, you know exactly half of what you need to know to effectively apply Warren Buffett's investment strategies.

Buffettology was written specifically for investors in the midst of a long bull market. Since then we've seen the internet bubble burst, the collapse of Enron, and investors scrambling to move their assets -- what remains of them -- back to the safety of traditional blue chip companies. As price peaks turned into troughs, worried investors wondered if there was any constant in today's volatile market. The answer is yes: Warren Buffett's value investing strategies make money.

The New Buffettology is the first guide to Warren Buffett's selective contrarian investment strategy for exploiting down stocks -- a strategy that has made him the nation's second-richest person. Designed to teach investors how to decipher and use financial information the way Buffett himself does, this audiobook guides investors through opportunity-rich bear markets, walking them step-by-step through the equations and formulas Buffett uses to determine what to buy, what to sell -- and when. Authors Mary Buffett and David Clark explore Buffett's recent investments in detail, proving time and again that his strategy has earned enormous profits at a time no one expects them to -- and with almost zero risk to his capital.

The New Buffettology is an essential companion to the original Buffettology, a road map to investment success in the worst of times. ... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars I loved the book and enjoyed the CD
This is great book on investing and I highly recommend it. The CD is great to listen to in the car and gets all the points across. I suggest that you also get the book. It's way better than the Graham books - which are very dated - they give you the tools to buy stocks selling at below book value - not a lot of those around any more. Besides Buffett got over Graham years ago.

1-0 out of 5 stars A Complete Joke
This book tries to reverse-engineer Warren Buffett's investment strategy and does a horrible job of it. Like all of Mary Buffett's books, this is long on hype and short on credibility.

For about the same price, you can buy the Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham, a book that Warren Buffett personally recommends reading. ... Read more


100. The Feynman Lectures on Physics: Feynman on Fundamentals : Energy and Motion (Feynman Lectures on Physics (Audio))
by Richard Feynman, Richard P. Feynman
list price: $40.00
our price: $40.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0738201634
Catlog: Book (1999-10-01)
Publisher: Perseus Books Group
Sales Rank: 484608
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Perseus is proud to announce the release of the next two volumes in the complete collection of audio recordings of Feynman's famous Caltech course from which his classic textbook, Lectures on Physics, was produced.

These fifth and sixth volumes in the collection comprise Feynman on Fundamentals. Volume 5 makes up a beginning course in Energy and Motion, and includes chapters on the conservation of energy, motion, Newton's laws of dynamics, the conservation of momentum, and work and potential energy. Volume 6 makes up a course in Kinetics and Heat, and includes chapters on the kinetic theory of gases, brownian motion, applications of kinetic theory, diffusion, the laws of thermodynamics, and illustrations of thermodynamics. ... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Fun learning lectures on Physics ...
What better way to share your enthusiasm of science and physics with your kids than with Richard Feynman's audio physics lectures. Since I started playing them for my six month old son, we have gradually gone through each of the series.

In the beginning I had been a little critcal of Richard Feynman. Who was this gravelly voiced man? It's kind of like saying who's Albert Einstein? Well my knowledge grew as both my son and I listened to Richard Feynman and learned not only about this amazing man but also about his love of learning.

I can't thank the team enough who has taken the time to put this series together. It is so valuable! So predominate is Richard Feynman at bedtime now that the physics audio lectures are now referred to as Grandpa Feynman's bedtime stories. My son is now 25 months.

I highly recommend these audio physics lectures and enthusiastically encourage more physics, science, geology, astrophysics and biology.

Edutainment does not get any better than this. Discover Richard Feynman and discover the amazing world around you!

Thank you Arnie and Reid

5-0 out of 5 stars Feynman at his best!
Although this is volume 5 of the lectures on tape, it is his earliest audio lectures. This set is the one to have! In this set, Dr. Feynman covers the basics of kinematics. He discusses energy, momentum, distance, and work. Whether you are a physics student, eager to learn from the best, or just an interested amateur, Feynman puts these fundamentals into sparkling clear terms, and you can gain a true understanding of these important aspects of physics. My recommendation is to have volume I of the "Big Red Books" out and put these tapes on. You will be amazed at how much you can learn from any of them. If you can only get one of the (so far) 6, this is the one to get! ... Read more


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