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1. What's Up America?
$99.00 $98.94 list($150.00)
2. African Ceremonies
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3. Event Planning : The Ultimate
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4. Joie de Vivre: Simple French Style
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5. Understanding Death, Dying, and
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6. Professional Event Coordination
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7. Paris to the Moon
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8. The Big House : A Century in the
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9. Confederates in the Attic : Dispatches
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10. Under the Tuscan Sun
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11. Paradise Screwed: Selected Columns
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12. Violence and the Sacred
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13. The Invention of Tradition (Canto)
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14. The Alcoholic Republic: An American
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15. The Practice of Everyday Life
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16. The International Dictionary of
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17. Understanding Culture's Influence
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18. The Japanese Bath
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19. Learning to Bow : Inside the Heart
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20. Research Design for Social Work

1. What's Up America?
by Diane Asitimbay
list price: $14.95
our price: $12.71
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0975927604
Catlog: Book (2004-10)
Publisher: Culturelink Pr
Sales Rank: 286978
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

If you are heading to the United States, this book could be more valuable than an English dictionary or Alka Seltzer tablets to digest the greasy food at the fast food places. This isn’t a traditional guidebook that directs you to a particular hotel or helps you apply for a driver’s license.What it will do is take you inside American culture, serve you a slice of apple pie, and then show you what’s under the crust.

Organized into twenty chapters, the author boldly answers questions like the following. Why do many young Americans leave home when they turn eighteen years old?What is American food? Why are so many Americans on diets but still overweight?How do we judge if an American is just being friendly or truly being a friend?Why don’t Americans learn another language?

You’ll find everything foreigners always want to know about Americans but are afraid to ask.Actually, many of them have asked but no one has answered them until now.In this book, the American author answers the real questions that foreigners have asked her in the course of her international career.

From growing up to growing old, every important cultural topic is covered here, including some controversial ones such as being independent from your family, racial identity and religious practices which are themes usually missing in guidebooks. Foreigners will feel 100% more comfortable being in the United States with a book that uncovers and explains the hidden values of the American people.

Americans who are curious about what foreigners want to know about the United States and its people will find this book entertaining as well. You’ll laugh when you see yourself described in its pages. At the same time, you’ll learn how American attitudes and customs compare to those of other countries.

What’s Up America? will make readers, both Americans and foreigners alike, want to learn more about the rest of the world. ... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars this book must be required reading for international student
"I couldn't stop reading this book because it answers the very same questions that my husband and I have wondered about. The chapters on food and pets were my favorites. The writing style is so clear and different from other guidebooks I've read. It gave me enough confidence to discuss many ideas with Americans.I think this book should be required reading for international students."

5-0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Book-My Review
"The way the author describes American culture by showing the similarities and differences between American, Asian, Latino, and European practices, will undoubtedly help the international newcomer in America. By explaining the peculiarities of Americans and the reasons behind their actions, the book helps to dismantle misconceptions and attitudes found among foreigners.The author picks out and engages in the nuances of American behavior that Americans themselves rarely notice, but which foreigners can easily distinguish."-Annie, Chinese-American

5-0 out of 5 stars A Rare Insight into American Culture
This book presents an insightful look into the hearts and minds of Americans. It comprehensively presents the nuances of American culture that would take one years to figure out for oneself, making it an indispensable tool for visitors to the United States. At the same time, its objective layout presents Americans with a systematic analysis of their own culture. If you ever wondered how you may be perceived by the rest of the world, or how the American culture differs from others, this book has the answer!

Overall, it makes for delightful reading. ... Read more

2. African Ceremonies
by Carol Beckwith, Angela Fisher
list price: $150.00
our price: $99.00
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Asin: 0810942054
Catlog: Book (1999-11-01)
Publisher: Harry N Abrams
Sales Rank: 183051
Average Customer Review: 4.23 out of 5 stars
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By a recent count, the continent of Africa comprises some 1,300 cultures. Some of them number millions of people, some only a few families; some are thriving, while others are in danger of disappearing, the victims of acculturation or, in extreme cases, of genocide. This diversity--and the dangers to it--is little known outside Africa. PhotographersCarol Beckwith andAngela Fisher highlight both matters in African Ceremonies, an extraordinary two-volume collection of some 850 full-color images. The two artists have traveled to almost all the continent's 53 countries in the last three decades, documenting traditional tribal life in earlier books and articles for National Geographic, among other publications. Here they focus on the religious customs of several dozen peoples, combining stunning images with well-written essays to illustrate the enduring power of traditional beliefs.

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

Reviews (13)

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

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

5-0 out of 5 stars BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE

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

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

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

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

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

3. Event Planning : The Ultimate Guide to Successful Meetings, Corporate Events, Fundraising Galas, Conferences, Conventions, Incentives and Other Special Events
by JudyAllen
list price: $34.95
our price: $22.02
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Asin: 0471644129
Catlog: Book (2000-03-31)
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Sales Rank: 13313
Average Customer Review: 4.14 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A detailed blueprint for planning and executing special events with flair—and without unexpected surprises and expenses

Special events such as fundraising galas, conferences, and product launches are complicated, fraught with thousands of details, and have to come off without a hitch. This book gives readers practical advice on every aspect of organizing and managing special events, such as how to choose the best venue; preparing and managing the budget; scheduling; coordinating food and beverages; selecting decor, themes, and entertainment; media; and staffing.

Includes many forms, checklists, and tips for planning and managing events

  • Features examples of events where things went right—and wrong
  • Provides techniques to maximize savings and avoid surprises

Judy Allen (Toronto, Ontario) is President of Judy Allen Productions, a full-service event planning production company that designs, produces, and orchestrates special events worldwide. She is a speaker at industry conferences and a contributor to such publications as Meeting and Incentive Travel magazine and Toronto Special Events. ... Read more

Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars Live & Learn
As a spokesperson for a national woman's interest group, I now understand why taking my potential contributors to a gentlemen's club might have been a faux pas.

5-0 out of 5 stars All inclusive Event Planning
Having planned many events in the past six years, I already had a great "base" of experience. I was looking for a great guide to cover all the bases. This is it! Each chapter details all aspects of event planning and prompts you to think about how you can apply the suggestions to your own events. I was inspired to think outside the box to make events more unique and memorable. Additionally, budgeting and proposal crafting were discussed to aid the event planner in making a succinct and accurate budget/proposal for a client. This book is a "must-have" for any serious event planner.

3-0 out of 5 stars Movie Stars and Presidents
I thought this book was much to focused on "major" events. After the first couple of chapters I really felt that the book was focused on setting up elaborate events for VIP's. If you have a very high budget and need to entertain celebrities, then this book will be helpful.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great read and reference for any type of event planner.
Even a seasoned event planner will enjoy the insights that Judy helps to reveal in her book. It is well layed out, even to the point of leading off with location first, which every event planner knows is the number one step in planning. The steps and points of looking for a location,includes detailed information on what to consider when looking. I particulary like the fact Judy includes using her website, which offers additional advice and insight based on her own experinces. I was hoping to read more regarding contracts but overall the book is A+.

4-0 out of 5 stars A great find!
Judy turns what could have been a rather dry subject into one that is filled with lively stories and money and time saving tips! It's easy to read and for a beginner (which I am) she brought up numerous "thought provoking" questions, I'd never even thought of! Even seasoned event planners will gain a lot from this book-reminding all of the basic principles of "an ounce of prevention". This book is well laid out and flows easily-following a time-line that one must follow to pull off a successful event. I especially enjoyed the stories and tips.

All in all, I'd give this book a true "thumbs up". I will recommend it to anyone I know who is looking to engage in an event which will be long remembered. ... Read more

4. Joie de Vivre: Simple French Style for Everyday Living
by Robert Arbor, Katherine Whiteside
list price: $30.00
our price: $18.90
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743223535
Catlog: Book (2003-05-01)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Sales Rank: 5201
Average Customer Review: 4.08 out of 5 stars
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In Joie de Vivre, Robert Arbor, a Frenchman transplanted to New York City, explains the French philosophy on life and argues for its adoption by stressed Americans. In a funny way, this is sort of a self-help book for people who admire the French lifestyle, and for those who believe that good food is the secret to a happy life. The premise of the book is that you will find "domestic happiness" when you learn to enjoy the most mundane details of your everyday life: "It's about making time for family, growing some vegetables in your garden, chatting with the butcher, and cooking for your family and friends." Quality of life, explains Arbor, is only improved when your pillowcases smell like lavender, and you make your own hot chocolate.

Although there are 50 recipes dispersed throughout the book, Joie de Vivre is not a cookbook. Most of the recipes are for dishes like A Really Good Fried Egg, mayonnaise, and café au lait, but there are interesting as well, such as Carrot Râpée, Beet Vinaigrette, and Fish in Papillotte. The recipes are included more as a way to better describe the French experience and to show how easy it is to adopt as a way of life; a method which works particularly well for those of us who know that the best way to understand and appreciate a foreign culture is through its food. --Leora Y. Bloom ... Read more

Reviews (12)

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book will help you savor and enjoy !
The French are know for enjoying the good life. "Joie de Vivre" by Robert Arbor and Katherine Whiteside shares the traditions for stylish living the French way.

Arbor and Whiteside walk you through a typical French day. You begin with Le Matin (The Morning). You will learn the secret to great coffee, hot chocolate and making a breakfast tartine from French bread. In Le Dejeuner (Lunchtime) and Le Diner (Supper) you experience the pleasure of relaxing with friends over several courses of food. Each course is explained and some recipes are included.

To enjoy the finest foods the way the French do, Joie de Vivre takes you to the butcher, the market, and the baker where you learn to select the freshest cuts of meat and select amongst a variety of breads and cheeses. You also learn how to organize your kitchen so you have the tools and pantry items you need to create tasty dishes.

And there is so much more covered in this book. Why French butter tastes so good. The proper way to cut cheese. Notes on chocolate. Aperitif suggestions. The rewards of Le Potager (The Garden). Dinner party and picnic ideas and more! You get the feel and flavor of what makes the French way of life so pleasurable and how you can implement these ideas in your own life.

After reading the book, you may feel like you have spent a weekend in the French countryside! A wonderful read and resource.

5-0 out of 5 stars Truly a pleasure to read
Robert Arbor describes daily life in France and how it differs from the average, typical American's day. The French take the time to savor their meals, converse with friends and family, and enjoy every aspect of daily life as much as possible. They don't rush about in a stressed-out state of mind, as many do here in the U.S.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and now, more than ever, want to make another trip to France. Aside from providing simple suggestions to make life more pleasurable, this book is full of wonderful, simple recipes. I've already made the Potatoes a la Nicole and quite a few batches of fresh strawberry jam (it's a hundred times better than any store-bought jam, and better for you!)
If you're looking for an up-lifting, "feel-good" book that will help you improve your outlook on life in general, read Joie de Vivre. You'll be glad you did.

4-0 out of 5 stars A peek at the French lifestyle
I have been fortunate to visit France twice and was a guest in the home of a French lady who is a family friend. Joie de Vivre does a good job of describing the daily routine of the French and their attitudes toward food, family, friends, and enjoying life. I have never been as relaxed as I was when I was in France. Of course, I WAS on vacation, but it was still quite a relaxing experience. Things go at a slower pace than they do in the US and there is more enjoyment of simple things and simple times. Neighborhood grocers, patisseries, butcher shops, and bakeries, make it simpler to have fresh food every day. It also makes the experience of shopping for these items more enjoyable. We walked to the market, the bakery, etc. and it was wonderful. No zooming in the car to find a parking space. This book makes achieving the French lifestyle in the US sound like it would be simple. For those of us who don't live in cities with neighborhood shops, it is a great idea, but would take much more effort to achieve. Also, starting dinner at 8 p.m. sounds unreasonable. My daughter is bathed and in bed by this time and my husband and I are finishing dinner, cleaning the kitchen , and getting ready for a good night's sleep. The French do not watch much television which, I think, makes all the difference in how much extra time they have. They end their days later and start them later. It would be impossible for me to begin dinner at 8:30 p.m., go to bed at 11:30 p.m., get up at 6 a.m., get my daughter to school and myself to work by 8 a.m.

Joie de Vivre can inspire you to add elements of the French lifestyle to your own life.

3-0 out of 5 stars Limited look at modern French relationship to food
Frenchman Robert Arbor owns several restaurants in NYC and New England. The purpose of his book is to share typical French attitudes toward food, friends and family with an American audience. The book is organized to reflect an ideal day which includes breakfast of bread and coffee, a few hours of marketing, lunch---weekday and weekend options, afternoon snack and dinner---with a dinner party option. Each section is followed by a few simple recipes. The reader learns a great deal about Arbor and his family and their home routines in both America and France. If one accepts Arbor's life as typical, then I suppose one can also accept his attitudes as typical, but the book would have benefited from other voices.

4-0 out of 5 stars Simple But Effective
We all know that the French love their food and take it very seriously. That's what they're famous for. In Joie de Vivre, Robert Arthur takes you through the different segments of the typical French day, starting with a simple and relaxing breakfast, and going all the way through the cup of herbal tea before retiring to bed. He explains in very simple language how to get the most out of even the simplest, most mundane things in life that Americans typically either take for granted or rush through in an effort to get to the next task. The French have learned to reap enjoyment from things that many other people have learned to treat as annoyances. By following at least some of the suggestions in this book, one can significantly reduce stress levels and will be able to enjoy life more thoroughly. Even doing something as simple as waking up half an hour earlier and having a quick and easy breakfast of coffee and toasted baguette with butter and preserves can make a huge difference and will likely lead the reader to try some of the other suggestions. The only thing I didn't like about the book is that at some points it seems to be written by a child. I don't know if this was done intentionally to emphasize the simplicity of it all, but it sometimes felt like I was reading a 7 year old's essay. If you can put up with a childish writing style, the ideas behind the words can make a world of difference in your life. ... Read more

5. Understanding Death, Dying, and Bereavement
by Michael R. Leming, George E. Dickinson, George Dickinson
list price: $99.95
our price: $99.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0155066188
Catlog: Book (2001-08-10)
Publisher: Wadsworth Publishing
Sales Rank: 238373
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Using a social-psychological approach, this edition remains solidly grounded in theory and research but places greater emphasis on the individual and copying with death and dying. These two well-known authors and researchers integrate stimulating personal accounts throughout the text, and apply concepts to specific examples that deal with cross-cultural perspectives and the practical matters of death and dying. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars una manera de afrontar la muerte
este libro, que fue leido por mi hace ya muchos anos, es otro que me impresiono y me gusto. muestra diferentes vistas y perspectivas de la muerte de un ser querido. desde la negacion de los hechos hasta la aceptacion y la resignacion, pasando por diferentes estadios que son necesarios tanto social como psicologicamenete para superar la perdida. es de especial interes para estudiantes de medicina o de psicologia o para cualquier persona que quiera aprender a lidiar con una gran perdida. LUIS MENDEZ ... Read more

6. Professional Event Coordination (The Wiley Event Management Series)
by Julia RutherfordSilvers
list price: $60.00
our price: $60.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0471263052
Catlog: Book (2003-10-31)
Publisher: Wiley
Sales Rank: 261600
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Book Description

Introducing a clear path toward event excellence
A comprehensive guide to essential competencies for event coordinators
Professional Event Coordination examines the full event planning process and provides the tools and strategies to effectively procure, organize, implement, and monitor all the products, services, and service providers that will bring an event to life. After establishing each layer of the anatomy of an event, this in-depth guide covers:
* Event design
* Project management techniques
* Site selection and development
* Infrastructure services
* Entertainment possibilities
* Food and beverage options
* Safety and security
* Inviting attendees
In addition to dozens of checklists, tables, and figures, this complete guidebook is enhanced with On-Site Insights (real-world examples), Technology Tips, and Exercises in Professional Event Coordination (reinforcement exercises that help in preparation for the CSEP certification exam).
A versatile tool that is effective for all types of events-for small functions with ten guests to major festivals with 10,000 attendees-Professional Event Coordination is a valuable book for every professional who works events, including event managers, caterers, event planners, and hotel and food and beverage managers.
The Wiley Event Management Series-Series Editor, Dr. Joe Goldblatt, CSEP
The Wiley Event Management Series provides professionals with the essential knowledge and cutting-edge tools they need to excel in one of the most exciting and rapidly growing sectors of the hospitality and tourism industry. Written by recognized experts in the field, the volumes in the series cover the research, design, planning, coordination, and evaluation methods as well as specialized areas of event management.
... Read more

7. Paris to the Moon
list price: $14.95
our price: $10.17
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375758232
Catlog: Book (2001-09-11)
Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks
Sales Rank: 7971
Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Paris. The name alone conjures images of chestnut-lined boulevards, sidewalk cafés, breathtaking façades around every corner--in short, an exquisite romanticism that has captured the American imagination for as long as there have been Americans.

In 1995, Adam Gopnik, his wife, and their infant son left the familiar comforts and hassles of New York City for the urbane glamour of the City of Light. Gopnik is a longtime New Yorker writer, and the magazine has sent its writers to Paris for decades--but his was above all a personal pilgrimage to the place that had for so long been the undisputed capital of everything cultural and beautiful. It was also the opportunity to raise a child who would know what it was to romp in the Luxembourg Gardens, to enjoy a croque monsieur in a Left Bank café--a child (and perhaps a father, too) who would have a grasp of that Parisian sense of style we Americans find so elusive.

So, in the grand tradition of the American abroad, Gopnik walked the paths of the Tuileries, enjoyed philosophical discussions at his local bistro, wrote as violet twilight fell on the arrondissements. Of course, as readers of Gopnik's beloved and award-winning "Paris Journals" in The New Yorker know, there was also the matter of raising a child and carrying on with day-to-day, not-so-fabled life. Evenings with French intellectuals preceded middle-of-the-night baby feedings; afternoons were filled with trips to the Musée d'Orsay and pinball games; weekday leftovers were eaten while three-star chefs debated a "culinary crisis."

As Gopnik describes in this funny and tender book, the dual processes of navigating a foreign city and becoming a parent are not completely dissimilar journeys--both hold new routines, new languages, a new set of rules by which everyday life is lived. With singular wit and insight, Gopnik weaves the magical with the mundane in a wholly delightful, often hilarious look at what it was to be an American family man in Paris at the end of the twentieth century. "We went to Paris for a sentimental reeducation-I did anyway-even though the sentiments we were instructed in were not the ones we were expecting to learn, which I believe is why they call it an education."
... Read more

Reviews (123)

4-0 out of 5 stars Reflections on the city of light
I enjoyed Gopnik's book, primarily due to the mixture of personal reflection and careful observation that make up these essays. The essays about French cooking were certainly confirming in that the history of cooking is grounded in peasant fare and a return to those roots is a central theme in understanding good cooking foundations. I was most impressed however not by the essays on French government and culture but by the soft personal loving sections of the book on Gopnik's young son. Gopkik and his son swim at the Ritz pool in Paris where they meet two young girls. Gopnik's son's playful love for one of the female children was written so well and so transparently that I was amazed. The boy responds like a puppy, abaze with attraction and energy, swimming fearlessly in the deep end of the pool, like a magnet, a duckling, a male. Gopnik, the wise father, perfectly reads the situation, seeing eros engulf his little child, and supports the situation so that his son fully experiences this first taste of the honey and sting of the beautiful other.The children order expensive hot chocolate every day after swimming, which Gopnik endulges. It is Gopnik's wife upon discovering the VISA card balance that brings reality back into the picture. I would say to Gopnik "Your choices were correct, as you yourself know. The good father allows a child to experience the pull of beauty in the world, aware of the risks, aware of the rewards." I expected thoughtful essays because I have been a New Yorker/Gopnik fan. However, the passages on his relationship with his young son were sublime.

4-0 out of 5 stars Fin de sicle finery
Humor! Pathos! Sports! Food! Shopping (or not)! Wine, women (the heavenly Cressida) and song!

Not to mention, just plain life a la Parisienne.

This book is a modern sentimental sojourn through Paris which is not only a delight for the senses, but truly captures the essence of the French in all their guises. Having recently fallen completely in love with Paris on a short visit, I was longing for more and this book gave me that "You Are There" feeling I sought. Not only does M. Gopnik bring the Paris of today alive, but in the storyline dealing with all things human- his family, his adopted community, and the costume of French nationality which he endeavors to don- we see a glimpse into the Paris that generation after generation has attempted to make its own.

This book was so enjoyable that while reading, I was overcome with the desire to return and have already booked another trip. How lucky is this man to have had 5 years in this most sublime city!

Tres charmant! Merci beaucoup, M. Gopnik!

4-0 out of 5 stars A Must If You Love Paris
This book is a wonderful memoir of a New York family that moves to Paris for a period of 5 years with a young son in tow.

Adam Gopnik writes this book in a style of short stories or essays that weave into one great book. He offers a well thought out idea of what must be said from an American in Paris. His comparisons are very real, some light-hearted, some blatantly profound. Gopnik shows his vulnerability many times as a fish out of water, but he tries harder than the average American to blend into his surroundings and take on some of the easier characteristics of becomming French like developing a fondness for a life of profound beauty, a taste for well prepared food, relaxing into the dining experience of the cafes and brasseries, showing his son the art of the carousel rather than the brainlessness of "Barney", and eventually creating another child born a Parisian.

The best chapters in this book are the ones that Gopnik writes about his son discovering himself in Paris. His favorite food becomes croissants rather than ketchup fast food burgers, his puppy love with a young French girl in the Ritz pool, how he would rather play at the Luxembourg Gardens than with a television and most importantly how he adapts to becomming a childish little Frenchman. With this said the one chapter I would skip is "The Rookie" a portion in the book that somehow just dosen't fit. From the elegance of the French life back to the world of baseball? Personally I would have just left the entire chapter with an editor and walked away.

Gopnik shows how well he has adapted to French life in the portions of the book that he dedicates to the cafe Balzar. This cafe becomes the victim of a corporate buyout and is almost lost until a band of dining brothers glue themselves together and form a secure fortress in pure French flair to save the cafe in its original form, garcons and all! It is an interesting look at how easy and yet how complicated life can be in Paris, all that French discussion can lead to something good.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves Paris and craves a walk down its Rues. Gopnik makes little things seem absolutely important and accurately describes all of the large and small nuances between the French and Americans. His wife, Martha, says it best, "We have a beautiful existence in Paris, but not a full life, and in New York we have a full life and an unbeautiful existence." This must be why Paris remains in the minds of most Americans who walk along its streets but slowly find themselves returning home, to the rush and bustle of America with an over-inflated heart.

3-0 out of 5 stars If You Like The New Yorker Sensibility...
...and think that "The New Yorker" slant on everything is the apex of Western thought, then you'll love this book because you're the kind of person who goes to Paris and experiences it and notices it the way Mr. Gopnik does. If you detest "The New Yorker"/"New York Times" Manhattan-centric provincialism, you'll hate this book. If you're somewhere between these two extremes, well, you'll love and hate "Paris to the Moon."

Gopnik is a fine writer and observer it's always gratifying to read well-written expatriate tales. (I lived in Asia for years and am still looking for competent contemporary expat memoirs of Southeast Asia). Some of what he writes is engaging--he takes you inside the national library, demystifies the Ritz, describes everyday rituals that become something else overseas. Some is mundane--if you're not a parent or you loathe (your) children, your eyes might glaze over reading about his son and daughter and wife's pregnancy. Some is excruciatingly precious--the occupation of a restaurant (such revolutionary, soul-shaking activism!), the explanation of how super-expensive French restaurant cooking really is about peasant roots, one person's outrage over a perceived misuse of curry powder.

In short, my reactions to Gopnik's book were pretty much my reactions to Paris. It's hard to tell sometimes if Gopnik is just reporting or really finds all he writes about momentous, but it's refreshing to read contemporary accounts of urban life that aren't layered in irony or polemics.

A good companion piece is Lawrence Osborne's "Paris Dreambook", a fantastical account of Paris's underworld that is feverish and lurid where Gopnik's book is measured and polished.

5-0 out of 5 stars A father in Paris
Paris to the Moon follows the relationship of a new father with an old city. The book's anicdotes describe Parisians and the awkward curiosity that Americans have with the Gallic personality. Gopnik is a Paris romantic, but doubts that the city remains the international capital of culture.

Gopnik is a New Yorker at heart, but has a tremendous desire to understand and to fit into Paris. This dilemma never resolves itself, but Gopnik's struggle is a journey that is unique to contemporary America (and Paris). The desire to be separate from New York, a romanticism for Paris, and the uncertainties that come with being a father mix for a touching description of an American abroad.

As a casual speaker of French, a new father, and a lover of Paris, I found the book insightful and meaningful. ... Read more

8. The Big House : A Century in the Life of an American Summer Home
by George Howe Colt
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 074324964X
Catlog: Book (2004-06-08)
Publisher: Scribner
Sales Rank: 6727
Average Customer Review: 4.77 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Faced with the sale of the century-old family summer house on Cape Cod where he had spent forty-two summers, George Howe Colt returned for one last stay with his wife and children. This poignant tribute to the eleven-bedroom jumble of gables, bays, and dormers that watched over weddings, divorces, deaths, anniversaries, birthdays, breakdowns, and love affairs for five generations interweaves Colt's final visit with memories of a lifetime of summers. Run-down yet romantic, the Big House stands not only as a cherished reminder of summer's ephemeral pleasures but also as a powerful symbol of a vanishing way of life. ... Read more

Reviews (22)

5-0 out of 5 stars Wistful and nostalgic. Beautiful!
The Big House on Cape Cod was built more than a century ago by the author's great-grandfather. It weathered 2 world wars, joy and tragedy, the changing seasons and fortunes of two families, and the transition from the simpler life-styles of past times to our own modern 'very fast is still too slow' culture. When the house becomes financially untenable for family members to maintain, Colt returns for one last visit before it goes on sale...and there the story, a touching and wistful memoir, begins. Don't miss this lovely book.

5-0 out of 5 stars When They Summered in America
Built by the author's great-grandfather 100 years ago on a peninsula stretching out into Buzzards Bay from Cape Cod, the big house is a landmark. The four-story, 19-room jumble of roof lines, gables, bays and dormers is the emotional home and the center of gravity for the Colt family through the 20th century.
The big house is a wonderful place. Anyone who ever understood the use of the word "summer" as a verb can feel the emotions, smell the smells, hear the creaks in the floors and appreciate the melancholy of the fading glory of this monument to family, local history and old New England aristocracy.
The big house silently presided over five weddings, four divorces and three deaths. There were countless anniversaries, reunions, birthdays, nervous breakdowns, conceptions and love affairs. Author George Colt blends humor and affection as he describes the rise and fall of the significance of his family's social class while saluting his ancestors' deliberate manner and their deep-seated pleasure found in this place at the shore.
For a century everyone returned and worshipped the familiar. It was an unchanging place in a changing world. It was sanctuary for 100 years. But even the best summers come to an end, and people must move on.
The context for this memoir is Colt's pilgrimage to the big house with his own wife and children as his extended family comes to grips with the impossible task of maintaining or renovating the old house in a time when "new money," sterile architecture and thoughtless development are the norm. The big house is being sold.
Colt's book is a gift to anyone with memories centering around a family place and the legends of parents, grandparents and great-grandparents who went there before.
Reviewed by Carroll Colby and the North Star Monthly, Danville VT

5-0 out of 5 stars Like walking through a dream....
This book is incredible. I feel like I am reliving my childhood which is a bit odd because my childhood would have decidedly been on the other side of the tracks from the author's. My grandmother, in fact, was one of those large, warm, cuddly Irish women who worked for families like the Colts and Atkinsons. Until her death she received loving cards and letters from the children that she cared for (reading some of the names in this book, I believe they might be cousins). To me, this narrative transcends the class structure of the 60's in the US. Times have changed, my best friend is from one of those WASP families and 70 years ago our paths never would have crossed. The author tells his story and his family's story in a way that makes me feel he is telling the story of us all. This book made me sad and elated at the same time. I think deep down, people are more alike than different.

5-0 out of 5 stars Rings true
What struck me reading other reviews was that people from around the U.S. and even one from Europe bothered to read it. I figured the reviews would be more along the lines of the bored reader from NYC. I thought the material was the kind only a small regional press might publish, if not the author himself privately for the benefit of a limited readership--mainly the people in the book.

Which is all the more reason to celebrate the literary accomplishment achieved here. It is a subject matter that could easily have fallen flat on its face with anything less than the sensitivity and creativity with which Mr. Colt treats it. He pulls thoughtful meaning and associations out of past incidents and instances that for most of us are memories we retain for reasons we may not fully understand. Mr. Colt explains why such memories endure--their attachments to context and their contribution to the person they helped form.

It makes me happy that such a story can have a mass appeal, since I am familiar with Wings Neck and some of its people. The story about the Colts, Atkinsons, etc. is played out in other coastal towns and alongside lakes and in mountains and valleys across America and beyond, wherever long-surviving family manses hold the history of generations. This one rings true.

1-0 out of 5 stars Beyond Boring
This is probably the most boring, superficial, self-serving book I've read in years. Its title should really be WHO CARES? because that really sums up this tedious, endless tale of a family you don't really care about after 327 pages, mainly because they're all so uninteresting, or at least he makes them that way. And who cares about the details of selling this ridiculous house? Not to mention that the author is so consumed with his WASP roots that he doesn't let you forget for one minute who his family is and has the nerve to pretend not to care. The word WASP appears on almost every page. Ever read a book by a catholic where the word CATHOLIC is always capitalized? How about JEW? This book should have been published by a vanity press. Sorry to say but the author is not a good writer, even though he is a WASP!! (Harvard-educated) ... Read more

9. Confederates in the Attic : Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War (Vintage Departures)
list price: $14.95
our price: $10.17
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 067975833X
Catlog: Book (1999-02-22)
Publisher: Vintage
Sales Rank: 6000
Average Customer Review: 4.38 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

When prize-winning war correspondent Tony Horwitz leaves the battlefields of Bosnia and the Middle East for a peaceful corner of the Blue Ridge Mountains, he thinks he's put war zones behind him. But awakened one morning by the crackle of musket fire, Horwitz starts filing front-line dispatches again this time from a war close to home, and to his own heart.

Propelled by his boyhood passion for the Civil War, Horwitz embarks on a search for places and people still held in thrall by America's greatest conflict. The result is an adventure into the soul of the unvanquished South, where the ghosts of the Lost Cause are resurrected through ritual and remembrance.

In Virginia, Horwitz joins a band of 'hardcore' reenactors who crash-diet to achieve the hollow-eyed look of starved Confederates; in Kentucky, he witnesses Klan rallies and calls for race war sparked by the killing of a white man who brandishes a rebel flag; at Andersonville, he finds that the prison's commander, executed as a war criminal, is now exalted as a martyr and hero; and in the book's climax, Horwitz takes a marathon trek from Antietam to Gettysburg to Appomattox in the company of Robert Lee Hodge, an eccentric pilgrim who dubs their odyssey the 'Civil Wargasm.'

Written with Horwitz's signature blend of humor, history, and hard-nosed journalism, Confederates in the Attic brings alive old battlefields and new ones 'classrooms, courts, country bars' where the past and the present collide, often in explosive ways. Poignant and picaresque, haunting and hilarious, it speaks to anyone who has ever felt drawn to the mythic South and to the dark romance of the Civil War.
... Read more

Reviews (205)

4-0 out of 5 stars A Wealth of Material
First a disclaimer: I am a travel book junkie and I like even bad travel writing. This is not bad writing. Horwitz is very talented and can take what are probably mundane interviews and turn a good tale.

Horwitz crisscrosses the South after getting bit by the Civil War bug. His first encounter is with a bunch of reenactors. Horwitz spends a damp night reenacting in the frosty hills of Virginia with "hardcores" (guys who presumably do not bathe while reenacting). This reenactment consisted largely of "spoon right" and "spoon left" and "Following suit, I snuggled my neighbor."

Showing some good sense Horwitz leaves the reenactors to go about their business without him and he takes up the trail of other obsessive-compulsives who day in day out re-live the Civil War. To his credit, Horwitz shows an amazing amount of empathy for these folks. He does not ridicule or belittle the people he interviews and therefore, I think he presents an unbiased portrayal of at least a portion of current southern culture and thought.

Don't get me wrong, I think these folks are way out there and probably should get beyond their defensiveness over the war. You can shout "States Rights" to the hills, but the war was about slavery. The North won and we should all agree that it was good thing that slavery ended. But as Horwitz shows, there are many, many people out there who will defend the Confederacy to their dying breath and lash out about northern atrocities.

The chapter on Andersonville is particularly poignant. Apparently, there is a small crowd of misfits who celebrate the "martyrdom" of the camp commander, Henry Wirz. Wirz was a war criminal. Thousands and thousands of prisoners of war died due to inhumane conditions at Wirz's camp. Yet there are some who feel compelled to celebrate his life and rationalize that, "the North did just as bad." Maybe so--but I don't know that anyone celebrates the north pow camps and makes saints out of their commanders.

Someone criticized Howitz for not having a thesis and he probably doesn't, but isn't it ok to just write an interesting book showing a little bit of Americana that lives on under the radar screens of popular culture.

5-0 out of 5 stars no farbs here, totally hardcore read
I have spent a fascinated few weeks poring through Horwitz's new book on the "Unfinished war". For an Australian reader, there is obviously large gaps in our understanding of issues and especially the context of the war. I felt this gap was bridged to a large extent and was a fantastic history lesson overall. It was interesting to see the continuing interest in the civil war was problematised rather than derided or praised in simple terms. Although this is a nonfiction text, there are so many characters that leap off the pages with almost fictional energy. I really enjoyed the way Tony Horwitz came alive as an engaging tour guide to the events in the south. My daily lexicon now includes "totally hard core" and "farb" - brilliant concepts and wonderfully illustrated in this engaging book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Interesting and Disturbing, but a GREAT READ!
This is an extremely entertaining book and very well written. The characters are real although sometimes you almost wonder and hope that they aren't. The Civilwargasam with Robert Lee Hodge is, well, interesting. Each chapter tells the story of a different stop on Horwitz's journey across the south and there are colorful characters at each. It was very hard to put the book down at times and hard to keep reading it at others. I almost put it down for good with the chapter "Dying For Dixie" Sad! I'm glad that I kept with however. It was quite a ride, but well worth it!! Really a good read!!!!!

5-0 out of 5 stars My favorite history book
Historically speaking, Horowitz's accounts of the southern ties to the Confederate States of America is accurate yet astonishing. Though a Civil War historian, I, similar to most Americans, believed the War of the Rebellion ended in 1865, but apparently it has not. The examples of Southern patriotism and its commitment to preserving its past is both admirable and scary.
Many ask why? Horowitz does it well revealing the different reasons for Southern remembrance. The simple fact that most of the War was fought in their backyards can, and does, justify their reasons.
What's more sickening, if I may say, is that Horowitz's book only covers a small percentage of the Southern patriotism. Even today, it is not uncommon to drive through a town in the South without seeing the "Rebel" flag or a Confederate banner. Southerners do have a hard time forgeting that War.

5-0 out of 5 stars I'm still thinking about this book a year later....
I read Confederates In The Attic about a year and a half ago; took me about a week and a half. Best book I read that year -- best I've read since then.

Horwitz's style is something to behold. Having agonized myself over the balance of smooth edited prose vs. naturally unpretentious prose, it's amazing how he pulls off both. Sentences are about as lucid, educated and simple as I've seen. Heavily polished, but they don't call attention to themselves at all.

As for content, well, it's simply wonderful. It's a travelogue through American social and political history. A bit pro-Northern and -urban in point of view, it's nonetheless spot-on and great reading.

Basically, he looks for the Lost Cause and its mentality.

While he doesn't write about his failures in finding it, the entire book is everything that he did find -- and boy did he find it.

From wonderfully-painted word portraits of Charleston to embarrassment at dressing like a Confederate in a black-owned store to the BMW of Shelby Foote, the small details and the big pictures are painted quickly and with great humor and education well beyond Horwitz's then 38, 39 years.

"Blue Latitudes" is nowhere near as organized and edited as this book; buy "Confederates" now before its 1998 copyright and 1995 experiences fade from our contemporary political mindset and reality.

Five stars, easy. For anyone who loves history and politics as though a spectator sport, and was the independent and unique student in school. ... Read more

10. Under the Tuscan Sun
by Frances Mayes
list price: $15.00
our price: $10.20
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0767900383
Catlog: Book (1997-09-01)
Publisher: Broadway
Sales Rank: 2232
Average Customer Review: 3.36 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Now in paperback, the #1 San Francisco Chronicle bestseller that is an enchanting and lyrical look at the life, the traditions, and the cuisine of Tuscany, in the spirit of Peter Mayle's A Year in Provence.

Frances Mayes entered a wondrous new world when she began restoring an abandoned villa in the spectacular Tuscan countryside. There were unexpected treasures at every turn: faded frescos beneath the whitewash in her dining room, a vineyard under wildly overgrown brambles in the garden, and, in the nearby hill towns, vibrant markets and delightful people. In Under the Tuscan Sun, she brings the lyrical voice of a poet, the eye of a seasoned traveler, and the discerning palate of a cook and food writer to invite readers to explore the pleasures of Italian life and to feast at her table. ... Read more

Reviews (369)

5-0 out of 5 stars Solleone
The Italian suffix '-one' expands the noun. Solleone = big sun. And that is what this wonderful little book is about - the sun that floods the pages of this book about a renovation of a house in Tuscany, about growing in touch with the self, with what is important in the process of living, with what makes being apart of this universe a beautiful and enigmatic. Frances Mayes writes well and has captured the imagination of the dreamers of this country with her books about the simplicity of discovering the natural pace of life in the small towns of Italy. She makes this 'journal' touching, informative, entertainingly funny, hostess-like in the sharing of the recipes for the inimitable foods of her Tuscan kitchen, and encourages us to observe, to while away our cluttered lives as the Italians do with a mid-day siesta, learn the land and the connection to history and past cultures. She is in her finest mode in her chapters 'Relics of Summer' and 'Solleone' where her gifts as a poet take center stage and she simply shares her re-connected life with us. This is a bountiful book, one to be savoured in any season. One hopes the soon to be released movie version of Frances Mayes' tender meanderings retains the glow of the original.........

5-0 out of 5 stars Evocative, lush, and enchanting
Frances Mayes did for Tuscany what Peter Mayle did for Provence.
I was unfortunate enough to miss an airline connection in JFK, and the airline gave me a $15 voucher for lunch as an apology. I bought this book and a BIG margarita with UAL's money, sat in a booth at TGI Friday's, and nearly finished reading it before my substitute flight was called. I can vouch for this combo as a successful way to combat airport blues.
Mayes takes us with her as she, recently divorced, takes her next egg and, against the strident advice of her accountant, sinks pretty much all of it into a big old house on a large piece of property in Cortona, up in the hills of Tuscany. We watch her wrestle, as Mayle did before her, with the inevitable problems: language barriers, cultural barriers, a European worker's altered sense of time, faulty plumbing, surprises when walls are knocked down, etc. She and her lover (now her husband) weren't even there full time; they did this restoration over a period of years during school breaks and long holiday vacations.
A poet, travel writer, and creative writing professor at SF State, Frances Mayes finest creation is surely her Tuscan house and garden, but coming in a close second is her collection of books she's written on the subject. Don't miss it; it's a thoroughly delightful read, even without the killer margarita in your other hand.

5-0 out of 5 stars Lovely, lovely Tuscany
Even if you never plan to visit Tuscany, it is worthwhile to saturate yourself in Tuscan sunshine, inhale the aromas of Italian meals and feel the heartbeat of the countryside by reading this book. Mayes' words are so evocative that the scenes she describes transport you from your armchair to Tuscany immediately.
I put off reading this for quite a while thinking it must surely be overhyped. I'm glad I got past that and allowed myself the pleasure of seeing Tuscany through Frances Mayes' eyes.
I think some of the negative reviews on Amazon carry overtones of jealousy. Sure we would all love to have the funds to have a second home in a scenic spot on the planet. Wouldn't we enjoy having the summer off to indulge ourselves playing lord of the manor? I sure would, but reading her book gave me the chance to experience it vicariously and I thank her for that.

4-0 out of 5 stars Audio version comment
The content of this is very good - but don't read it when you are travelling along empty stretches of highways and you are hungry! It's torture! I have read the first in this series -Under the Tuscan Sun and listened to the audio of In Tuscany, read by the author. I think another reviewer commented that F. Mayes obviously does not speak Italian. Well, I'm not sure whether she does or doesn't but I can certify that she has absolutely no Italian accent. Not a shred. I found that the audio was not as appealing as it might have been had it been read by someone else with a better acting voice and a facility for an Italian accent for the Italian phrases.

2-0 out of 5 stars Bascially "A Year in Tuscany"
I, like many other readers, was put off by the author's flippancy at spending money. The book was full of complaining about the costs of extreme renovations and their inconviences. I was also quite irritated when the author insinuates those that try to get a crash course in Europe, i.e. those who CAN'T afford an Italian farm house and the ability to spend 3-4 months away from there domestic jobs, are inferior to people like herself. Additionally, I found her writing to be rather unstructured. Perhaps, I would have enjoyed this more if it had been written by a poor, stuggling graduate student sleeping in hostels and taking odd jobs. ... Read more

11. Paradise Screwed: Selected Columns of Carl Hiaasen
by Carl Hiaasen, Diane Stevenson
list price: $25.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0399147918
Catlog: Book (2001-10-01)
Publisher: G. P. Putnam's Sons
Sales Rank: 56293
Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

"Reminiscent of the snarky, opinionated newspaper articles of the great Mark Twain, Hiaasen's columns are finely crafted little gems." (Booklist)

Carl Hiaasen takes you on a wide-ranging safari, observing south Florida's wildlife in its natural habitat-from fat-cat politicians to migrating mobsters, drowning dolphins to stray chads. This collection of Miami Herald columns-written with a satiric wit and biting humor-will give Hiaasen fans a glimpse of the facts that inspire his frenetic fiction.

Harking back to the muckraking journalists of old, Hiaasen lets readers in on the comings and goings of corrupt local politicos, misguided tourist bureaus, and flailing sports franchises. He tackles such current events as the Elian Gonzalez imbroglio and the 2000 presidential election recount. All in all, more than two hundred columns chronicle the everyday circus that gives south Florida a flavor and a flair all its own.

Since 1985, Hiaasen's twice-weekly, "baseball-bat-to-the-forehead" column has given the average citizen a voice. A staunch defender of his native state, Hiaasen isn't afraid to take anyone on, including environmental despoilers, Big Tobacco, and the NRA. But as proven in his first collection of columns, Kick Ass, his righteous rage and spirited wit resonate far beyond the Sunshine State-and show readers a world-class journalist in his element.

Edited by Diane Stevenson.
... Read more

Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Even Better Than His Best Novels
I wish I could say I was a rabid Carl Hiaasen fan like a lot of people who seem to love all of his novels, because I love to read and love good writing, and Hiaasen's writing style is always excellent. I loved "Tourist Season", "Sick Puppy", and "Stormy Weather", but thought that he was pushing it a little in some of his other novels like "Lucky You" and "Native Tongue" where the plots were, at least in my opinion a little contrived. So when I got this book, which is a collection of his newspaper articles for the Miami Herald, I wasn't sure what I was going to think about it.
It's excellent! I thought his best novels were very good but his true calling is his work as a reporter. The articles are meaningful in the way that he exposes corruption and the destruction of Florida's natural resources, but they're written with a great sarcastic wit. I know a little about South Florida politics and environmental issues, because we always vacation in Key West and you get the news on television from Miami, but you don't need to in order to enjoy this book tremendously. There are too many great articles in this collection to name them all, but the one about the "Incredible Shrinking Palm Trees" in particular is one of the funniest things I've ever read. This book is better than even his best novels, and the shame of it is that all of it is [unfortunately] true.

5-0 out of 5 stars A crusader with a sense of humour
I love this man's writing! I started with his fiction and having devoured all there was of that at the time I stumbled on his first book of Miami Herald columns. I bought Paradise Screwed as soon as it was out.
The really exciting thing about Carl is that he takes on the corruption and the sleaze and the bizarre goings on in Florida and makes people aware of them through witty yet hard hitting writing. He isn't afraid to make waves and when you read this book you will begin to wonder about the greasing of the wheels in State politics.
He is passionate about his home state and what is happening to it and as a visitor to Florida on more than one occassion, he has really made me think about the affects of inconsiderate development and tourism.
But even if you aren't keen on any of that, the columns are clever and well written, so it's well worth the read.

5-0 out of 5 stars What Michael Moore is to the nation, Hiaasen is to Florida
Another collection of "baseball-bat-to-the-forehead" columns in a similar writing style as Moore. Both men use biting satire and their wicked wit to tell you what they think, and are unafraid in doing so. Hiaasen is even more impressive I think because his substantive job is still journalism and yet he can find humor in real people and events as easily as in fiction.

These columns are a selection from over the last 20 years of events in South Florida. You don't have to go back any further than 2 years to Elian Gonzalez and the 2000 presidential election to know that there's enough grist-for-the-mill here to fill much more than one book on these two topics alone. Nevertheless Hiaasen reins himself in and spreads his verbal darts around. Topics covered include "Mayor loco", the soon-to-be-gone Marlins, Chads (not a person, those bits of paper, remember?) Dolphins (both the team and the ones that frequently drown offshore), Race Riots, a con artist doctor and a pet-hating extortionist. That's the more exotic stuff. Then there's the normal South Florida fare of crooked politicians, stupid state officials, assorted mobsters and mafia, drugs, guns, and general mayhem and madness. As Hiaasen said in a recent interview "all the paths of slime and disreputability seem to lead here."

The man is a Florida treasure and for those of us who live through what he writes about his humor is a saving grace. Very few of us can express it the way he does so he is our voice of reason saying yes, it's PARADISE SCREWED allright, but we're still alive we can laugh about it.

5-0 out of 5 stars More Greatness from the Mencken of Greater Miami
I think that the previous customer review misses the point of this collection. Its predecessor, KICK ASS, was mostly intended to showcase Hiaasen's brilliance of style. PARADISE SCREWED is not aiming to be KICK ASS, PART TWO; it's not a gathering of columns that did not make the cut for the first volume. Instead, it expands outward to focus on issues. Its purpose is entirely different (as is evident from the title), and so is the principle of selection. The writing itself, though, is as biting and as crucial as that in the first collection. Both books are vital and essential.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good, But Not As Good As The First Hiaasen Compilation
Carl Hiaasen's second compilation of his Miami Herald columns continues to show the biting wit which is prevalent in his usually terrific novels. But my guess is that the first book of columns "Kick" was probably designed to be the Best of Hiaasen with no plans for a sequel. Thus the columns contained in "Paradise" are the second cut and thus just not as good, although they are enjoyable to read. Not as many idiotic South Florida politicians this time around, not as many idiotic citizens. I was also disappointed in the way he handled the Florida election fiasco for the 2000 Presidential election. This was a topic just made for his humor, but he chose to use his forum as a soapbox to get a recount and to get Al Gore elected (he doesn't say it, but it was pretty obvious to me). My hope is that he plans to use this as fodder for a future novel and thus wanted to save his material.

Hiaasen is a great columnist. I live over 1,000 miles away from South Florida, but he gets his point across pretty well. It would have been nice if each story had a little afterword as to what ultimately happened to the people in the column (i.e. did the politician give up his $15,000 desk that was paid for with taxpayer money voluntarily).

Good for the Hiaasen completest, but the first book "Kick" is the better choice. ... Read more

12. Violence and the Sacred
by Rene Girard
list price: $20.95
our price: $20.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0801822181
Catlog: Book (1979-02-01)
Publisher: Johns Hopkins Univ Pr
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars No One but Girard
No one but Rene Girard could touch upon the deepest human drive and emotion as Girard does. This work is possibly his greatest thus far and is certainly destined to be a classic. The book is of imeasurable value to anthropologists, sociologists, psychologists, and theologans all at the same time. I highly recommend this book to anyone that seeks to understand this imporant aspect of human nature.

5-0 out of 5 stars A stunning defense of cultural order against violence.
Those who read contemporary French criticism will understand where Kristeva and others culled their best insights. Girard shows how violence both generates and destroys cultural order. Religious attempts to curtail violence, and modern secularists remain more ignorant than ever of the "virus" of violence, which they displace onto the secondary realm of sexuality. Girard is most brilliant when revealing how myths occlude persecution, scapegoating, and surrogate victimization. Essential reading for feminists as Girard indirectly reveals that women (via Freud) have become the surrogate victims du jour of man's power to evade confronation with his own violence.

5-0 out of 5 stars lucid and insightful -- an enlightening read
This book was an unexpected pleasure. Mythology and cultural anthropology have always been of interest to me, but Girard's scintillating and illuminating ideas, in my opinion, blast through the ubiquitious shadows which cling to and obscure our broader vision. I loved it -- not because of the often revolting realities of human nature which it illuminates, but because of it's unswerving quest for truth. Great! ... Read more

13. The Invention of Tradition (Canto)
list price: $18.99
our price: $18.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0521437733
Catlog: Book (1992-07-31)
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Sales Rank: 228394
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Many of the traditions which we think of as very ancient in their origins were not in fact sanctioned by long usage over the centuries, but were invented comparatively recently. This book explores examples of this process of invention - the creation of Welsh and Scottish 'national culture'; the elaboration of British royal rituals in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries; the origins of imperial rituals in British India and Africa; and the attempts by radical movements to develop counter-traditions of their own. It addresses the complex interaction of past and present, bringing together historians and anthropologists in a fascinating study of ritual and symbolism which poses new questions for the understanding of our history. ... Read more

Reviews (4)

3-0 out of 5 stars Informative, but somewhat misguided
The basic thesis of all essays in "The Invention of Tradition" is that many of the mass, public traditions in various societies of the world (from Scottish kilts to the very concept of tribes in Africa) are well-crafted ("invented") constructs of the 18th/19th centuries, and are not as ancient or immemorial as they are generally believed to be. Parenthetically, the very expression "invention of tradition" is somewhat redundant, since all traditions, as products of human behavior and human imagination rather than the result of natural forces, are invented in one way or another. All of the essays in the book show how this is so, providing an excellent analysis of the origins of these traditions. As such they are very valuable contributions to contemporary social/political history. However, although the tone of the book is that such "invented traditions" were frequently almost imposed and/or used as instruments of political manipulation, it can't be denied that they also very often gave expression to very real feelings - as editor Hobsbawm concedes in his concluding essay. Thus, rather than demonstrating some sort of arbitrary "invention" and manipulation, Prys Morgan's chapter on the Welsh also shows how previous traditions in Wales were revived, reformulated and continuously adapted from the late seventeenth century on to meet various political, social and cultural challenges, thus making the process of invention seem quite "natural." On the other hand, Terence Ranger's essay on Africa is almost disturbing in that it seems to imply that almost every aspect of African politics and society today were bequethed by the continent's former European colonial masters. Hugh Trevor-Roper's chapter on Scotland is useful in that it pinpoints the exact origins of the "highland tradition" and all outer, visual identity markers used by the Scots, but the overall implication seems to be that now that the sham is revealed, the Scots should discard their kilts and bagpipes in shame. It would have been more useful if he had provided an explanation of why Scottish patriots, and others, so eagerly accepted these "invented traditions," and why they are so deeply entrenched and stronger than ever today. This goes for the entire book: it's main value may be in (unitentionally) showing how all traditions are in fact invented in one way or another, and that they become traditions because, at least at the time of their inception, they serve strongly felt political, social, cultural or even economic needs.

4-0 out of 5 stars The truth behind the tartans!
Hugh Trevor-Roper's contribution to this book is priceless. In his chapter "Invention of Tradition: The Highland Tradition of Scotland", he details for the reader where the supposedly "ancient" costume of Scotland came from. The kilt was invented by an English Quaker about 1726 to allow his Highland workmen to more easily move while smelting the iron ore he was extracting. The kilt was thus an expression of the Industrial Revolution rather than an ancient freedom of the heather.

The "setts" of tartans purporting to show a particular pattern of plaid belonging to a particular Highland clan is an even more recent invention. The concept of a unified group wearing the same tartan began with the English formation of the Highland regiments in the 1740s and later. The Scottish cloth industry recognized a good thing when they saw it and with the help of the Scottish Romantic movement and with promotion by Sir Walter Scott, by the 1820s, Clan/tartan pattern books (which often disagreed with one another) were happily catering to this invented tradition.

Invented by mis-guided or plainly fraudulent "antiquarians", the concept of particular tartan patterns being associated with a specific Clan is one of the long-running jokes played by the Scots on the rest of the world. Rather like the game of golf.

5-0 out of 5 stars The real stuff of legend
The principle argumentative thread running through each of this book's essays is that the traditions Europeans hold dear about their respective cultures date back merely to the turn of the 20th century. Far from legendarily old, things like Scottish tartans and the English monarchical love of pomp and circumstance date back only to the Victorian era. More to the point, many traditions aren't even native to the land which celebrates them. Tartans, the book concludes, are actually northern English ideas, and the "British" love of pageantry comes more from India than from anything deeply rooted in the gardens of the House of Windsor.

But so what? What is the importance of discovering the "truth" of a legend? Does it make us less reverential of it? Judging by the continued popularity of Santa Claus, no. Traditions, after all, aren't really about truth. Many traditions are simply lies that have been repeated enough that they become ennobled. The point isn't that they were once lies. The point is the journey they have made from lie to legend.

That is what is so intriguing about this book. True, there are other, more political subtexts in these essays-some of the authors clearly don't LIKE that the lies have become cultural "truth"-but all of the essays tell of the trek each of these myths made. Far from the "inconsequence" that another reviewer has mentioned, these essays deepen our understanding of cherished myths and even make them more endearing.

4-0 out of 5 stars interesting but somewhat inconsequential
This book, edited by the famous Marxist historian Erich Hobsbawm and the African specialist Terrence Ranger, is a collection of historical essays dealing with the invention of national or imperial traditions. Hobsbawm writes about Europe 1870-1914, Ranger about colonial Africa, Hugh Trevor-Roper about Scotland, Prys Morgan about Wales, David Cannadine about the British monarchy, and Bernard Cohn about imperial India. All are historians except for Cohn, an anthropologist, and all write about the nineteenth century.

All seven essays (Hobsbawm wrote two) are well written and clearly show the invention of traditions as a means of 'inculcating certain values and norms of behaviour by repetition'. In his heart Hobsbawm obviously wants to show that these new traditions are lies and that he and the other writers have done us a great service in uncovering them. Yet while many of these traditions were invented, many of their inventors would not lie about their young age (with the exception of the amazing brothers Allen of Scotland), and all of those traditions that resonated among people did draw from older, 'real' traditions. These qualifications, which Hobsbawm partially admits, heavily qualify the strength of his arguments, thus making the book an interesting but somewhat inconsequential collection of essays. ... Read more

14. The Alcoholic Republic: An American Tradition
by W. J. Rorabaugh
list price: $17.95
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Asin: 0195029909
Catlog: Book (1981-09-01)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Sales Rank: 313750
Average Customer Review: 4.33 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (3)

4-0 out of 5 stars Interesting Study on American Alcoholic Consumption
William Rorabaugh, an associate professor of History at the University of Washington, provides a very interesting study of alcoholic consumption in the United States from the 18th century through the mid 1800s. He looks at the issue from the supply side (expense and technology in the production of distilled beverages and the import of rum) and the demand side. There is some eye-opening information in this work. The annual per capita consumption of alcohol between 1800-1830 exceeded 5 gallons; nearly triple today's consumption (p. 8). The demand for alcohol (particularly whiskey) stemmed from such things as alleged medical and dietary benefits, social camaraderie, a way to cope with a rapidly changing society, and such particle reasons as the lack of alternatives (water and milk was unhealthy and other substitutes were comparatively expensive) and strong beverages were needed to overcome the bland, monotonous American diet. Rorabaugh also devotes much of this study to the medical and moral critics of alcohol, including temperance societies. One doctor in the 1740s favored moderation: "not more than one bottle of wine each evening" (p. 32). I believe there is a lot of over-generalization in this study, especially when disillusionment over the voting system and the burden of living up to the ideals of the independent man are used as reasons for drinking (although drinking probably came before such feelings). Still, the book is extremely well-researched, with source notes at the end and several appendixes on estimating consumption of alcohol, cross-national comparisons of consumption, and cook books. The text, excluding the appendixes, is 222 pages and includes illustrations.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Drunkenness of the American Tradition
If you enjoy reading history, pull up a chair and pour down the whisky because you are going to read "The Alcoholic Republic." It is on the drinking patterns in the United States and the reading is simply interesting as well fascinating. You thought drinking was terrible these days lets go back to the great alcoholic binge of the nineteenth century.

"It was the consensus, then, among a wide variety of observers that Americans drank great quantities of alcohol. The beverages they drank were for the most part distilled liquors, commonly known as spirits.. whiskey, rum, gin and brandy. On the average those liquors were 45 percent alcohol, or, in the language of distillers, 90 proof." (Page 7)

It is simply a fun history book to read and recommend the drunkenness to anyone interested in the drinking habits of previous Americans. I give it five stars because it is one of the most interesting history books I have read in a long time.

4-0 out of 5 stars good smart book about how colonial Americans drank like fish
If you don't understand drinking, you don't understand American history. Colonial Americans drank like fish ‹ average whiskey consumption one pint daily. In the early 1800s they went on a bigger binge, mostly on hard liquor and drinking alone, rather than sociably like in the old days. Rorabaugh says this explains how the temperance movement came up just then, & it was the stress of industrialization & frontier loneliness & inflated dreams for the new nation. Readable & smart & has the good modern historical perspective on ³alcoholism² but¹s still skeptical of heavy intoxicant use. ... Read more

15. The Practice of Everyday Life
by Michel De Certeau, Steven Rendall
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Asin: 0520236998
Catlog: Book (2002-12-02)
Publisher: University of California Press
Sales Rank: 13139
Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Michel de Certeau considers the uses to which social representation and modes of social behavior are put by individuals and groups, describing the tactics available to the common man for reclaiming his own autonomy from the all-pervasive forces of commerce, politics, and culture. In exploring the public meaning of ingeniously defended private meanings, de Certeau draws brilliantly on an immense theoretical literature in analytic philosophy, linguistics, sociology, semiology, and anthropology--to speak of an apposite use of imaginative literature. ... Read more

Reviews (5)

This book - whose subject is the tactics employed by those at odds with institutions physical and intellectual - offers profound insights not only into terrorism and the tools available to terrorists but also the deep philosophical and psychological rift between the Western and Arab worlds. It fact after reading the book I am convinced that efforts to combat terrorism are doomed to failure until the issues in this book are both discussed and absorbed by people in charge of counter-terrorism (on the policy level and on the enforcement side) and the public at large. Though it's not an easy read (What philosophical discourse is an easy read?), it is illuminates the battleground between the institution which imposes order (democracy for instance) and it's improvising enemy, who operates within the dominant force's own field of vision and seizes opportunities as they arise. It would give me great feeling of reassurance if FBI and CIA counter-terrorism officials used it as a practical guide.

5-0 out of 5 stars Enigmatic and enlightening
Sometimes I am simply proud that I have read a book. This slim volume falls into that category. The fourteen short chapters explode with new ideas, fresh perspectives, and tantalizing viewpoints. To summarize these riches is unlikely to do them justice, yet I will try.

De Certeau inverts social values and cultural hierarchies. His hero metaphor is not the exemplar, but rather the ant. Wisdom resides not in the pronouncement of expert or philosopher, but in the routine discourse between ordinary people. To De Certeau the definitional constraints imposed by the experts result in artificial distinctions. Only the discourse of ordinary people is firmly rooted in experience and embraces the varieties and logical complexities of living.

Among these complexities of life is the amazing adaptive capacity of the ordinary. Even the most oppressive and controlling of cultures cannot eradicate the subversive agency of the peasant. This subversive agency is expressed through mythic stories, common proverbs, and verbal tricks. De Certeau refers to the adaptive capacity of the ordinary as tactics of living, and these tactics may be best exemplified when the worker does the personal while on the clock.

The distinction between strategy and tactics is central to De Certeau's thought. Strategy refers to the top-down exercise of power to coerce compliance. Tactics refer to the opportunistic manipulations offered by circumstance. The conflict between strategies and tactics is ironic - as strategic forces expand to increase dominance, there is a corresponding increase in opportunity for tactical subversion.

De Certeau relates his ideas to the theoretical work of Foucault and Bourdieu, and continues his inverted perspective by looking anew at the concept of city, commuter travel by rail, story telling, writing, reading, and believing.

This book is more of a riddle than a narrative; de Certeau provides glimpses of his meaning from time to time, but deliberately avoids propositional clarity. This style requires that the reader take an unusual stance toward this book. Instead of expecting the author to communicate, the reader must content himself with hints and suggestions of meaning. I am convinced that these hints and suggestions are more than worth the reader's investment of time. Find a quiet place and enjoy!

5-0 out of 5 stars Incomparable style and scholarship
Michel de Certeau's brilliant book is one of the primary nodes in the historical switchbox that eventually crossed the signals that led us through structuralism and practice theory to critical realism and Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things. His classic exploration of everyday life will send flashes of light and pleasure through the mind on a constant basis - his dense, absolutely masterful, and witty expository quasi-poetry on economy, power, and practice is essentially an extended series of aphorisms, upon any one of which an entire essay could be based. And a good one, at that.

What we have here is a celebration of the everyday, the common, the mundane, and the wonderful capacity of life to resist systematization and classification via its organic flexibility and espirit de corps. It is a wonderful wake-up call: "A few individuals, after having long considered themselves experts speaking a scientific language, have finally awoken from their slumbers and suddenly realized that for the last few moments they have been walking on air, like Felix the Cat in the old cartoons, far from the scientific ground. Though legitimized by scientific knowledge, their discourse is seen to have been no more than the ordinary language of tactical games between economic powers and symbolic authorities."

Writing in the tradition of Lefevbre (more so than anyone else who comes to mind at the moment), his work touches upon contemporary Foucault and Bourdieu only briefly and then moves on to do much more. For example, in the way of analyses of strategic and tactical behavior, resistances, spatial practices, sublatern hermeneutics, and state/scientific ideologies of secrecy and knowledge. In de Certeau, we see not just a clearing of the intellectual path for towering figures such as Baudrillard, Bourdieu, Giddens, Lash, Appadurai, and Taussig (to name only a handful) - enabling them to come whistling along with their variously insightful ideas from A to Z - but we see it done with a panache and "Ich weiss es nicht" that is memorable in the persona it invokes.

And as long as you're sitting on the Paris-Munchen ICE, scratching your chin and contemplating the axiological implications of beer or coffee at 9am, I can't think of anything better to read than de Certeau's comments on the rite of passage of Railway Incarceration and Navigation (Chapter VIII), in which a whole series of transformations is extracted from the mundane in a suprahumane and very-French manner. Bon voyage!

5-0 out of 5 stars a book that changed the way I think
This is one of the great books of French post-structuralist thought. I realize that to some people that might be like saying "one of the nicest Nazis I know." But for those who don't immediately dismiss the entire genre, there is much to be gained from reading, and rereading, this book.

In essence, Certeau is challenging the rather despairing vision of Foucault's The Order of Things, with its image of the panopticon from which no one can escape. Certeau focuses on everyday practices to see how people do in fact escape the all-seeing gaze of the panopticon. In particular his distinction between "strategy" and "tactics" is useful and intriguing.

The language is highly poetic and at times difficult going, but *how* Certeau says what he says is in some ways as important as *what* he says. He wants to write in a way that at the same time uses and escapes the constraints of ordinary language. It takes some getting used to, but it is worth it.

3-0 out of 5 stars good ideas, but painful reading
DeCerteau's ideas in this book primarily deal with control and resistance: he finds that average people have developed various strategies that establishes their independence in a world that seeks to dominate them. He's especially interested in how people receive media: he thinks media producers (including writers) seek to impose meaning on media consumers, yet he rejects the notion that consumers consume mindlessly. DeCerteau examines the creative strategies employed by consumers, and he in fact sees them as a form of unrecognized producers (which is part of why this book is of interest to people studying 'fan fiction' and similar phenomena).

Like much French theory, this book functions like a poem, making its argument by way of symbolic relationships and analogy rather than by calling upon the causal / statistical relationships that characterize much American argument. This may turn some people off, and even by French-theory standards this book is not user-friendly at all. DeCerteau often uses common, general words (say, "writing," or "time") to refer to very particular, highly-nuanced concepts. Simply relying upon the commonly-accepted meanings of those words will not do, and yet deCerteau rarely takes the time to explain the meanings that he has in mind. The result is that the book reads like an enormous cryptogram: you can only decipher what he means by particular words by noting and crossreferencing the varying contexts in those words are used throughout the book-- a tedious process which forced this reader to continually question whether the nuggets of gold were really worth all the panning through silt. ... Read more

16. The International Dictionary of Event Management (The Wiley Event Management Series)
list price: $35.00
our price: $35.00
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Asin: 047139453X
Catlog: Book (2000-12-22)
Publisher: Wiley
Sales Rank: 241031
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Book Description

Managing events--from conventions, expositions and trade shows to fairs and special occasions--requires a unique vocabulary to help professionals communicate clearly and do their job effectively. The new edition of this unique reference covers the essential terminology used in the events management field today. ... Read more

17. Understanding Culture's Influence on Behavior
by Richard Brislin
list price: $76.95
our price: $76.95
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Asin: 0155083406
Catlog: Book (1999-10-07)
Publisher: Wadsworth Publishing
Sales Rank: 178004
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Written in a lively, engaging style with many examples to illustrate complex concepts, this text helps readers to understand the influence of intercultural interactions in their own lives. It introduces students to disciplines, including cross-cultural psychology, intercultural communication, and international organizational behavior, that study culture's influence on human behavior. It covers a wide range of topics, such as schooling, work, gender, socialization of children, and health. This solid treatment of basic concepts applicable in the study of all behavior and social sciences lets students see that the study of culture and cultural differences is inherently connected to the other courses they will take throughout their college careers. ... Read more

Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars Brislin makes it easy
Understanding Culture's Influence (2nd edition) has been my "foundation" book for a college course entitled Diversity In the Workplace.

Dr. Brislin uses an easy to follow format which is loaded with excellent analogies, making complex topics understandable.

My only negative comment would be for the publisher.As this book is used as a text, the selection of print paper was poor.Highlighters bleed through from one page to the next which makes spotting important information difficult on review.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excelent! Academic but Readable. Suitable as textbook.
Of the many good books on the subject of intercultural communication and psychology, this hits a good balance of readability and academic soundness.Lots of good illustrations.Great text for college interculturalcommunication courses. ... Read more

18. The Japanese Bath
by Bruce Smith, Yoshiko Yamamoto
list price: $21.95
our price: $14.93
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Asin: 158685027X
Catlog: Book (2001-04-24)
Publisher: Gibbs Smith Publishers
Sales Rank: 12395
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In the West, a bath is a place one goes to cleanse the body. In Japan, one goes there to cleanse the soul. Bathing in Japan is about much more than cleanliness: it is about family and community. It is about being alone and contemplative, time to watch the moon rise above the garden.

Along with sixty full-color illustrations of the light and airy baths themselves, The Japanese Bath, delves into the aesthetic of bathing Japanese style and the innate beauty of the steps surrounding the process. The authors explain how to create a Japanese bath in your own home. A Zen meditation, the Japanese bath, indeed, cleanses the soul, and one emerges refreshed, renewed, and serene. ... Read more

Reviews (5)

4-0 out of 5 stars 4 for the photojournalism and philosophy, 3 for ideas
I'm confronted with a major redecoration of my bathroom (status post leaking tub, water damaged floor, and Great Dane deconstruction project!), so I've been casting about for ideas. Since I've always admired the minimalist beauty of Japanese art and architecture and the oriental appreciation of the natural as art, when I found The Japanese Bath by Bruce Smith and Yoshiko Yamamoto I decided to check it out for ideas. What I was looking for was practical information, however, and this book is more a philosophy of The Bath as multi level sensual experience. As the authors write, "Entering a bath in Japan is to enter another world. It is a place where one not only cleans the body but also cleanses the mind (p. 13)".

The photos are lovely (my favorites are the "created scenery" on pp. 30, 33, and 47), and one can hardly but envy those wealthy enough to have the space, let alone the wherewithal, to have a separate building devoted to the "zen" of bathing. Unfortunately I live in a town house, and I rather doubt that the association would appreciate my extending my bathroom into the commons-I could be wrong, but I sincerely doubt it; they're not terribly open minded! I suspect I am not alone in my lack of space for major remodeling.

Taking the above quote from page 13 as a starting point, what I did gain from the book was a realization that in our fast paced Western lives we can still find moments of relaxation and relief from stress by creating small environments in our homes conducive to the Eastern concept of "centering." It needn't be hours long and one needn't even be consciously aware of the effect to derive a benefit from the experience. While The Japanese Bath provided some information useful to the average person for creating a bathing room (it does discuss tubs and wood for making them), there was little of the nitty gritty of how to apply the philosophy to the smaller homes most of us live in these days.

The information one gleans from The Japanese Bath has to be more indirect. The notes on the Japanese "palette," for instance, suggest the use of darker, less vivid colors to create a quieter, more restful room. Certainly this idea above all gave me a starting point that finally helped me pull some of my other ideas more smoothly into place. I'd been struggling with loosely associated "great" ideas for over a year. The notion that brighter isn't necessarily better also gave me plans for less direct lighting-after all one isn't always shaving or putting on makeup. Integrating something of nature into the bathroom-table top fountains, plants, an aquarium, etc.-while it seems a bit '70s, certainly isn't a bad one; furthermore it's affordable and not terribly space intensive.

Still while it's nice to see how the other half lives-or at least the other 5%- the book really is more of a coffee table display than a practical book for the average home owner to make design plans.

4-0 out of 5 stars easy on the mind -- easy on the eyes
This is a handsome little book. The emphasis is on photography. If you're seeking a photo essay for Japanese baths and possible details (designs, plans, etc.) this is not the reference for you. However, if you just want a visually pleasing browse, this book has beautiful photography and very limited captions. You're not likely to use this book for detailed design research but you may find it useful for idea research (brainstorming). Although the baths look authentic, most of them are Western replicas(many in the US) of their Japanese cousins. If it's authentic Japanese baths and detailed explanations (concepts, theories, etc.) this is not the book for you. But, if you just want a nice browse, the photographs are thought provoking enough to be useful.

5-0 out of 5 stars A gorgeous photographic journey into the art of the bath
A relatively short book (less than 100 pages), what "The Japanese Bath" lacks in length it makes up for in content. Just about every page is filled with beautiful, full color photos ranging from small, home baths, to exquisite, private baths found in spas, to the large, community baths found in Japan. The authors keep the writing brief and simple, but it's nonetheless enlightening and captures well the Japanese mindset towards bathing.

Paragraphs on how to build a Japanese bath from scratch are absent, but a great emphasis is placed on the points that make the Japanese bath so unique: lighting, depth, materials. The book provides abundant inspiration for creating your own design, without providing actual builders plans.

If your wish is to incorporate a Japanese bath into your home, or simply to visit one, the resources guide in the back of the book will prove very useful. Most suppliers and spas are on the West Coast, but many have web addresses where they can be reached. One of the finest, Ki Arts, boasts "the flexibility to work anywhere in the world" since they utilize the traditional Japanese joinery system for their projects.

All in all, "The Japanese Bath" gives truth to the adage that great things can come in small packages. It is a diminutive, but excellent volume for those interested in the topic.

3-0 out of 5 stars Nice but confusing book
The descriptions in the book were appropriate and accurate but the photos were mostly of baths in California! I was really hoping for more photos of actual Japanese baths in Japan, and was confused by the choice to include many California baths.

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent overview, beautiful pictures
"The Japanese Bath" gives a very good introduction to the purposes, ritual and architecture of bathing Japanese-style. The authors explain why the Japanese bath doesn't belong alongside a toilet in a Western bathroom, and why taking a shower falls short of the Japanese bathing experience.

There's an explanation of the essential elements of the Japanese bath for those who wish to create one (homeowners are encouraged to have a room or outbuilding dedicated to bath use). The bath's relationship to the outdoors is also explained.

The book includes a lengthy list of resources for bath-related fixtures and other items. Many suppliers are in California.

The pictures are beautiful, tranquil and relaxing.

What you won't find here is a lot of scaled drawings or plans describing how to build a bath; instead, you'll be encouraged to choose the proper site in your home or on your property and develop a design to fit your space and needs after looking at the authors' examples. A knowledgable, sensitive do-it-yourselfer could read the book and take it from there.

A few "sample" architectural-type plans would have improved the book for my own use, but "The Japanese Bath" remains a very beautiful and informative book. ... Read more

19. Learning to Bow : Inside the Heart of Japan
by Bruce Feiler
list price: $13.95
our price: $10.46
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Asin: 0060577207
Catlog: Book (2004-05-01)
Publisher: Perennial
Sales Rank: 37409
Average Customer Review: 3.77 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Learning to Bow has been heralded as one of the funniest, liveliest, and most insightful books ever written about the clash of cultures between America and Japan. With warmth and candor, Bruce Feiler recounts the year he spent as a teacher in a small rural town. Beginning with a ritual outdoor bath and culminating in an all-night trek to the top of Mt. Fuji, Feiler teaches his students about American culture, while they teach him everything from how to properly address an envelope to how to date a Japanese girl.

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Reviews (22)

5-0 out of 5 stars This is how it really is
Bruce Feiler was one of the first participants on the JET program, a program sponsored by the Japanese government to bring foreign young people to Japan for the purposes of education and "internationalization." While Feiler's experiences are a little unusual, in that he can already speak Japanese when he arrives and the events at his school are rather dramatic, overall his story reflects the life of a typical JET program participant. The culture shock, the unbending bureaucracy, the complex and often disaffected attitudes of students, the instant celebrity and lack of privacy that goes with it, are all symptoms that JETs experience. I read the book and often found myself nodding in agreement, having experience the same events and feelings myself. If you want to have an intimate look at the world of education in Japan today, Feiler's book is an excellent place to start. If you are thinking about joining the JET program, this book is a must, along with Importing Diversity.

3-0 out of 5 stars Learning to Bow
Although Feiler paints a detailed, and often humorous picture of life in a Japanese public school, his picture is far too clean. He strikes me as being a bit like the foreign talents that work in Japan who have been neutured by Japanese society to make them more palletable to their xenophbic audience. I felt like the Ministry of Education had come through and ereased the negative comments before I could read them. So, in short: it is a well-written book, but should not be the final word on an outsider's perspective on the Japanese educational system.

4-0 out of 5 stars Useful Information For Any Gaijin in Japan
This book is useful for anyone moving to Japan, either as part of the JET Programme or any other reason. After living in Japan for a few years (not on the JET Programme) I recognized a lot of truth to what Feiler had to say. This book also provided me with an inside look at and the pros and cons of the Japanese school system. Through my own experience, I honestly am amazed at the amount of pressure placed on students to do well in school in Japan. For the most part, the students' effort pays off when they are accepted into a great high school or college, regardless of the two-hour-one-way commute some of them endure. At the same time, however, I wish the school system in Japan encouraged students to be more creative and that the environment allowed them to learn more about the world around them. Despite that, though, the Japanese people make great students and are some of the nicest people you'll meet in your life. This book, through the author's experiences in Tochigi Prefecture, show this and more, all in an entertaining, well-written way. And if for that reason alone, this book is worth reading once for anyone interested in Japan.

5-0 out of 5 stars Cultural lessons disquised by an American sensei in Japan
Bruce Fielder pens the story of his experience as an English Teacher in Japan. Similar to "You Gotta Have Wa", this book is more about the experiences of an outsider fitting in to Japan than the occupational hazards of teaching English. To use his own words, Fielder really does cut into the heart of Japan. Interspersed between stories of the challenges of the educational system are many deeper lessons. Included are an explanation of the importance of group harmony and identity, how co-workers balance formal working relationships with personal bonds, and how personal development differs between Japan and the West.

Perhaps my only struggle was hearing how hard it was for the author to find a date in Japan. Japan is legendary for English teachers "punching above their weight" and finding girlfriend's well out of their league in the US. But perhaps the book would have lost it's tone and cultural insights if it degenerated into a story of how many girls the author picked up.

The book has held up remarkably over the past 10 years. Despite the bursting of the Japanese bubble, the cultural lessons ring true today. I recommend the book to anyone interested in Japan, independent of occupation.

2-0 out of 5 stars rather offensive to a fellow American
I am an easy audience and for the first twenty pages or so, I was really set to enjoy this book.

Then I found myself gradually more and more frustrated when Mr. Feiler would stop to explain how some event or peculiar classroom trend he experienced was obviously due to blah blah blah historical or cultural Japanese dynamic...for pages upon pages. If I wanted to study social complexities, I think I could read Reischauer or someone with ample expertise.

He also maintains quite an attitude of American superiority over the absurd Japanese way of doing things. He seems to think himself immune to this, though, because he has learned Japanese. He even goes so far in one chapter to discuss his anxieties about the feasibility of engaging in intimate acts with a Japanese woman due to his highly developed gringo genitalia. He also seemed obsessed with the fact that he was taller than almost all Japanese people. If there is one thing you will learn in this book, it is that Bruce Feiler is 6'4". His light humility is hardly bevievable.

Despite the vast network of superiority complexes seen in this specimen, this book is periodically entertaining. However,I think it is not worth your time, ... Read more

20. Research Design for Social Work and the Human Services
by Jeane W. Anastas
list price: $61.50
our price: $61.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0231118902
Catlog: Book (2000-01-15)
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Sales Rank: 431532
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Book Description

Utilizing complete case studies to illustrate different methodological approaches, the book integrates material on women and people of color, and draws attention to the ways racism, heterosexism, sexism, and classism affect the conceptualization and conduct of research.

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