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    $16.35 $16.33 list($25.95)
    1. The O'Reilly Factor for Kids :
    list($18.00)
    2. Comrades : "Brothers, Fathers,
    $1.77 list($18.00)
    3. Do I Stand Alone? : Going to the
    $16.35 $15.81 list($25.95)
    4. The Wisdom of Crowds : Why the
    $8.96 $6.48 list($9.95)
    5. The Wise Little Girl: Tales of
    $26.95
    6. Majorie Kinnan Rawlings: Short
    $8.21 $7.20 list($10.95)
    7. The Faithful Gardener
    $16.95
    8. Keepers of the Animals: Native
    $15.75 $2.53 list($25.00)
    9. The No Spin Zone : Confrontations
    $15.95
    10. What Are People for
    $17.13 $1.34 list($25.95)
    11. Lives of Moral Leadership : Winner
    $39.95 $25.17
    12. A Conflict of Visions
    $16.35 $1.88 list($25.95)
    13. The O'Reilly Factor : The Good,
    $23.07 $22.77 list($34.95)
    14. The Journey Of Crazy Horse: A
    $13.57 $13.04 list($19.95)
    15. The Good Body
    $24.95 $1.44
    16. From the Ashes: A Spiritual Response
    $2.45 list($25.00)
    17. Shadow: Five Presidents and the
    $18.87 $2.12 list($29.95)
    18. Ordinary Resurrections
    $16.38 $7.50 list($26.00)
    19. The Myth of Laziness : America's
    $13.57 $13.06 list($19.95)
    20. Race Matters (Audio Editions)

    1. The O'Reilly Factor for Kids : A Survival Guide for America's Families
    by Bill O'Reilly
    list price: $25.95
    our price: $16.35
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 006073843X
    Catlog: Book (2004-11-01)
    Publisher: HarperAudio
    Sales Rank: 95315
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Book Description

    There's no one more blunt, more opinionated, or more outspoken than the average teen. Except, of course, Bill O'Reilly, veteran star journalist, anchor of the most watched cable news program on TV, New York Times bestselling author, husband, father of two and former teacher.

    In his latest book, O'Reilly talks straight to the readers most likely to appreciate his direct style -- teens. To be sure he's addressing their most pressing concerns, he responds to actual letters from kids who tune in to his radio and TV shows regularly and collaborates with an award-winning former high school teacher and college professor Charles Flowers.

    If you're a kid and you're listening to this audio, consider sharing it with your parents -- they'll understand you better.

    If you're a parent and you're listening to this audio, definitely share it with your kids -- you'll sleep better.

    Read by Rick Adamson

    ... Read more

    2. Comrades : "Brothers, Fathers, Sons, Pals"
    by Stephen E. Ambrose
    list price: $18.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0671045792
    Catlog: Book (1999-06-01)
    Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
    Sales Rank: 444298
    Average Customer Review: 3.59 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Acclaimed historian Stephen Ambrose begins his examination with a glance inward -- he starts this book with his brothers, his first and forever friends, and the shared experiences that join them for a lifetime, overcoming distance and misunderstandings.

    He next tells of Dwight D. Eisenhower, who had a golden gift for friendship and who shared a perfect trust with his younger brother, Milton, in spite of their apparently unequal stations. With great emotion, Ambrose describes the relationships of the young soldiers of Easy Company who fought and died together from Normandy to Germany, and he recalls with admiration three unlikely friends who fought in different armies in that war. He recounts the friendships of Lewis and Clark and of Crazy Horse and He Dog. Ambrose remembers and celebrates the friends he has made and kept throughout his life.

    Comrades concludes with the author's recollection of his own friendship with his father. He was my first and always most important friend, Ambrose writes. I didn't learn that until the end, when he taught me the most important thing, that the love of father-son-father-son is a continuum, just as love and friendship are expansive. ... Read more

    Reviews (27)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A GREAT, EASY, INSPIRING READ
    I'm not a historian, but I am a son, and I have a father and many friends. This book, using his own life and his influential father as well as the lives of the Eisenhower boys, the Custer boys, Crazy Horse and He Dog, Eisenhower and Patton, and Nixon, poignantly and emotionally demonstrates the immense joy, satisfaction, and power that is to be had in the relationships that can only be shared between father and son and between two best friends. Reading Ambrose's heartfelt musings, I was often reminded of my own relationship with my father. I bought him one and he had the same reaction, thinking of both his father and me.

    Having read the majority of Ambrose's works from which he pulled the short chapters for Comrades, I was perhaps even that much more moved by the essays. Using quick summaries and then providing insight gained from his years of research and life experience, Ambrose shows how the intimacy among friends and family drive can help drive us to much greater heights than would have been possible alone.

    I strongly recommend this book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Tender book about friendships
    Head the taped version of COMRADES: BROTHERS,
    FATHERS, HEROES, SONS, PALS, a tender book by
    the late historian Stephen E. Ambrose that examines the bond
    formed between men as a result of both family and
    circumstances . . . he looks at the lasting friendships of
    various men, from Sioux Indians to his own brothers, and
    analyzes the special relationship between Meriwether Lewis
    and William Clark . . . in addition, he pays special tribute
    to brothers, including such famous pairs as Dwight and
    Milton Eisenhower, and George and Tom Customer . . . Richard
    Nixon rates a special chapter and in listening to it, you begin
    to understand why he was impeached (in large part because
    he had very few friends).

    I was particularly moved by the author's last chapter,
    describing his own friendship with his father--with whom he
    only got close toward the end of the latter's life . . . "He was my first and always most important friend," Ambrose writes. "I didn't learn that until the end, when he taught me the most important thing,that the love of father-son-father-son is a continuum, just as love and friendship are expansive."

    4-0 out of 5 stars Short, touching account of unheralded male friendships
    Author Stephen E. Ambrose has made quite a career out of his historical writings. Viewed to be one of the most, if the most, pre-eminent World War II historians, Ambrose has written many captivating accounts of the brave men who have taken up arms in defense of this country and freedom. He has also chronicled some of lesser-detailed, though quite famous, events in U.S. history, such as the building of the transcontinental railroad, the journey of Lewis and Clark, and the parallel lives of General Custer and Crazy Horse until their fateful meeting at Little Big Horn. What is common in Ambrose' writing, and what makes the stories so compelling and accessible to average reader, is that he understands the importance of the human emotions and common bonds produced by the strong friendships of the men whose lives are immortalized in history. His seminal work, "Band of Brothers" is THE classic example of this.

    Ambrose has chronicled these male friendships in many of his books, but has felt the need to extract some of these stories and have them stand alone in a separate volume on the strength and importance of male friendships. The result is "Comrades", a sometimes slow, but mostly compelling anthology of the power of male friendships that took place in form of fathers, sons, brothers, and colleagues for famous historical figures. "Comrades" is a relatively short book, with each chapter dedicating just a brief synopsis of these friendships. However, they serve as a primer that makes the reader want to dive deeper in the stories behind these men. One can read the short about the relationship between General Dwight Eisenhower and his brother Milton, an academic man who was his closest confidante, advisor, champion, and friend and be compelled to flesh out the relationship further by reading the Eisenhower biography. The stories about the Custer Brothers and of Crazy Horse and He Dog merely whet the appetite for the stories that permeate "Crazy Horse and Custer". The same can be said for Meriweather Clark and William Clark and "Undaunted Courage".

    It could be argued that a book like "Comrades" is nothing more than a marketing gimmick to get people to buy other Stephen Ambrose books. That is a shortsighted and cynical interpretation. "Comrades" is a wonderful primer that makes these stories accessible to the common reader and if it spurs them to seek out other books about these same subjects, then that is just a testament to the power of these stories and skill of Ambrose' writing.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Sometimes moving essay too expansive
    The late historian Steven Ambrose wrote definitive accounts of the American West, Lewis and Clark, Presidents Eisenhower and Nixon, and the World War II generation. Each topic emerges in some form or another in Comrades, Professor Ambrose's essay indirectly devoted to his father and directly dedicated to friendships among men.

    At times quite moving, and at others nauseatingly maudlin, Professor Ambrose ruminates about a largely ignored area that may be the most important aspect of history. Ambrose opens with a chapter dedicated to the friendships he had with his brothers. This bodes poorly for the rest of the book (think Dr. Phil and/or Oprah) although that initial reaction proves deceptive. Professor Ambrose ends with a powerful chapter devoted to his friendship with his father. Despite its eloquence, though, the final chapter seems disingenuous at times as the author lauds a man whom he has subtly and not so subtly accused of mental, verbal and physical abuse. This is hard to square with blind praise even if the poetry is beautiful.

    The book also is weak because of its brevity. The short format does not lend itself to adequate examinations of Ambrose's personal friendships as well as the relationships historical figures such as Crazy Horse and He Dog enjoyed. This brief book required the author to focus exclusively on either the personal or the historical, and he attempted both.

    Nonetheless, passages of shining prose and heartfelt joy about friendships with other men ultimately save Comrades. Male relationships need further and much deeper exploration, and Ambrose's courageous attempt to tackle the subject, however cursory, is commendable.

    4-0 out of 5 stars True Teaching of the History of Friendship
    Stephen Ambrose extracts Famous and Not-So-Famous friendships from the archives of time, and uses History to teach a valuable lesson. Ambrose demonstrates that great people in History have overcome great obstacles, bolstered sometimes only by the loyalty of close friends. His chapter on Veterans was particularly inspiring, especially in his description of how two former Allied Soldiers -- one of whom was Richard Winters of Easy Company -- verbally defended a lecturing former German World War II officer from the ignorant accusations of a self-righteous student years after the war. Also inspiring was the chapter on the friendship of Lewis and Clark, as well as that of the lasting effects of the bonding of the men of Easy Company. This is a wonderful work. ... Read more


    3. Do I Stand Alone? : Going to the Mat Against Political Pawns and Media Jackals
    list price: $18.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0743506448
    Catlog: Book (2000-09-01)
    Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
    Sales Rank: 873867
    Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    With jackhammer force and candor, Governor Ventura issues an urgent wake-up call to America -- a resounding indictment of our creeping national cynicism, and how our political system rewards mediocrity while turning a blind eye to accountability.

    In Do I Stand Alone? Ventura decries the ease with which most Americans surrender their freedoms and apathetically accept a system of governance driven more by pork and patronage than by the best interests of the constituency. He also denounces an irresponsible media, taking them to task for too often confusing fame with notoriety, and for driving the news instead of simply reporting it. And he unabashedly speaks out on today's hot-button issues, including welfare, racism, abortion, campaign finance reform, and gay rights.

    Giving us fascinating insights into the future of independent parties, Governor Ventura ushers us deep into the polished corridors of power, exposing the best -- and worst -- of our current crop of political personalities while laying out a workable strategy for bringing our political system -- and its politicians -- back to greatness.

    In a forthright, razor-sharp, and entertaining critique, Governor Jesse Ventura has once again thrown down the gauntlet -- challenging today's politicians as well as a disenchanted public to transcend the tired rhetoric and defiantly reclaim the freedom and opportunity that is our American birthright. ... Read more

    Reviews (36)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Plain Talk from Jesse Ventura
    Minnesota Governor Janos' (Jesse Ventura's) first book "I Ain't
    Got Time To Bleed" was both a fascinating autobiography and a
    thoughtful political statement. In his second book, Governor Janos
    describes his experiences as Governor. He also discusses problems
    facing Minnesota and the United States, and his decision to leave the
    National Reform Party.

    Governor Janos' won his Governorship as the
    Reform Party candidate, the highest electoral victory won by that
    political party. Governor Janos' victory resembled that of former
    President Jimmy Carter, an outsider who won upon a platform of
    reforming the Federal bureaucracy. President Carter had limited
    success reforming the Federal bureaucracy, and he had difficulty with
    an unfamiliar national news media.

    Governor Janos describes how he
    attracted the best people from the Democratic, Republican, and Reform
    parties to work in his Administration. His strong tripartisan
    Administration has permitted Governor Ventura to reduce state debt by
    "cutting the pork" from Minnesota spending. This spending
    reduction makes him unpopular with some Minnesota legislators and
    their allies in the news media.

    In nearly half of this book the
    Governor assumes a new role: educator. Governor Janos feels that the
    issues affecting Minnesota and the United States are not discussed
    openly and fairly. He discusses these issues plainly and he states
    his opinions clearly. This is a *very* strong position.

    I do not
    agree with all of Governor Janos' positions. On page 163, Governor
    Janos proposes having armed personnel working undercover in schools to
    prevent events such as the shootings in Columbine Colorado. I
    disagree with Governor Janos because I believe that an armed person's
    first responsibility is to control his firearm. Armed personnel
    wearing ankle holsters will get jostled daily, and gossipy students
    will observe that these individuals are armed. *If* armed individuals
    are required in schools, I believe that high visibility, uniformed
    police officers should bear this responsibility. I also believe that
    these officers should be rotated periodically back to regular duty,
    both to keep them fresh and also to continue their professional
    advancement.

    On page 157 Governor Janos states "Drug addiction
    is a consenual crime, it's a 'crime against oneself.", and on
    page 158 Governor Janos proposes decriminalizing drug abuse. I do
    *not* believe that drug abuse is merely a "crime against
    oneself". Some recreational drugs (e.g., "speed")
    cause violent or paranoid behaviour. Also, drug abuse financially
    victimizes society by wasting money that could be used to feed,
    clothe, house, and educate. I believe that the penalties for drug use
    *should* be re-examined, but I also believe that the Government should
    continue vigorously prosecuting large volume drug
    suppliers.

    Governor Janos is an interesting man. He writes clearly
    and candidly, he discusses a wide range of important topics, and he
    makes you think. I recommend this book.


    4-0 out of 5 stars THE OTHER VENTURA!
    Can an explosive bombastic professional wrestler navigate the undercurrents of the political arena of action? Yes indeed! says author Jesse Ventura not to be confused with that other Ventura- you know-- "Ace Ventura- Pet Detective" aka Jim Carrey. The book is an intensive look into the brave new world of Governor elect Jesse Ventura. He shares his experiences, opinions and positions on complex issues in a straight forward manner; no nonsense, no games. Readers will agree or not, with his candid perspectives on the intrusive media and "spineless" politicians. He makes no bones about the need for all of us to be more alert, knowledgeable and involved in the political process. He has the astuteness of an Adlai Stevenson with a lot more charisma. He doesn't mince words. He is the chief administrator, at least until the next election. For now, he seems to have made the transition from entertainer to politician just fine; and after reading the book, it's fairly clear that he does not stand alone.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Everything I expected
    This book (audio) was everything I expected it to be. I had not read anything from Mr. Ventura prior to this experience, although I had watched a couple of his debates. He sounded like he was a man with an idea, and some principal. I listened to the audio version and found that Mr. Ventura is the exact type of politician this country needs more of. I truly hope more people reado or listen to his material and are inspired to hold public offices, it is the last hope of a declining nation.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Philosophy at its practical best
    I must admit, being the avid reader that I am I did NOT read this book but instead listened to the three-hour audio book as I drove home from a vacation with my wife. I have a lot of collegiate training in the fields of philosophy. Ventura, who is quite impressive with his practical knowledge, is really just applying the laws of logic to political beliefs in his book. In the last quarter of his book (Side 2 of tape 2), he simply goes through the irrelevance of giving "ad hominem" ('to the man') attacks, "ad populum" (to the population) attacks, red herring (irrelevant) arguments and common fallacies of logic used by many in debates. He makes many points, giving examples of each kind of logical fallacy, and when he is finished all I could do was agree with him. I must say, with 7 years of university training in theology/philosophy Ventura is right up there with any famous philosopher. I especially enjoyed his insights on how the news media notoriously twists things around by making invalid points to "prove" something that is really just wrong. I would recommend this to anybody, especially those who are pursing philosophical training.

    3-0 out of 5 stars YES, YOU DO...GET OVER IT!!!!
    First, I have to say that I did like this book; when I first read it. Honestly, Mr. Ventura's positions are very close to my own and I'm sure I would have voted for him if I'd been in Minnesota.

    So if it's not his points that cost him the stars, what did? His attitude. Since his last year and a half in office became a minor disaster, it's only confirmed the hints in this book. Ventura is very much into himself and (like so many other's in our government halls), suprisingly unconcerned with the people. I say this because through anecdote after anecdote, a book on policy (and I believe Ventura COULD have written one if he'd lost the ego) became about what he's done and why he's done it.

    Still if you are a libertarian (l or L), there are some great things in here. Of course, they are better said elsewhere (all except for Ventura's deft criticism of republicrat government.) ... ... Read more


    4. The Wisdom of Crowds : Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few and How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business,Economies, Societies and Nations
    by JAMES SUROWIECKI
    list price: $25.95
    our price: $16.35
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0739311956
    Catlog: Book (2004-05-25)
    Publisher: Random House Audio
    Sales Rank: 364851
    Average Customer Review: 3.95 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (21)

    2-0 out of 5 stars A huge disappointment
    I had high expectations for this book because James Surowiecki's New Yorker column is usually so good. But THE WISDOM OF CROWDS is one of the most disappointing books I've read in years. (Indeed, I feel somewhat ripped off by having purchased it and devoted several hours to reading it.)

    The main problem with this book is that despite Surowiecki's often breathless tone, nothing he says is new. Every point he makes has been made many times before by many other writers.

    For instance, the key theme of his book is that groups can solve certain "cognition problems" better than individuals. No kidding. Ever hear the phrase "Two heads are better than one?" The thesis is so self-evident and widely-known that it comes with its own cliché! Yet Surowiecki devotes more than one-third of the book essentially to arguing that two people can solve a crossword puzzle faster than one person. Amazing, no?

    What's more, Surowiecki's central point about the power of "collective intelligence" has long been a staple of business education. If you've ever taken an organizational behavior class, you've done the exercise where groups of varying sizes are stuck on a desert island with a dozen supplies -- and then each group must devise a solution for escaping the island using those supplies. Inevitably, the larger the group, the better the solution -- because larger groups reflect the accumulated experience and expertise of more people. (In other words, five heads are even better than two.) Want another example of how threadbare this idea is? Google the phrase "none of us is as smart as all of us" - and you'll discover that Surowiecki's supposedly "counterintuitive" notion has been talked about in business circles since Bill Gates was in short pants.

    If that weren't bad enough, the rest of the book -- particularly Suriowiecki's discussion of "coordination," his second "stunning" insight--- is essentially a retread of arguments that have been made elsewhere for more than a decade. James Gleick made many of these points in CHAOS. Kevin Kelly said everything that Surowiecki says ten years ago in OUT OF CONTROL. Steven Johnson said it again four years ago in EMERGENCE. Howard Rheingold said lots of it last year in SMART MOBS.

    And Surowiecki's third argument -- that sometimes cooperation is preferable to competition -- is even older. Charles Darwin told us this in the 19th century! Indeed, there's an entire branch of evolutionary psychology devoted to studying cooperation. Just read Robert Wright's THE MORAL ANIMAL if you want a more thorough and engaging account of this point.

    If this book were an undergraduate term paper that summarized the self-evident and reviewed what others had already had said, I'd give it a B. But for book that costs 20 bucks from a writer who's obviously got some talent, I'd have to give THE WISDOM OF CROWDS an Incomplete. Please try again, James. But next time, try a lot harder.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent
    I'm a big fan of James Surowiecki's "Financial Page" column in The New Yorker. He's consistently able to come up with unusual takes on seemingly familiar topics, and he has a great knack for making business stories compelling and entertaining as well as understandable. But because it's only a page long, I sometimes come away from the column wanting more, and I always wondered how Surowiecki would do if he was able to develop his ideas and arguments more fully. Luckily, "The Wisdom of Crowds" lives up to all my expectations. It's wonderfully readable, full of terrific stories, funny, and its basic argument -- that groups, under certain conditions, can make better decisions than even the smartest individuals -- is counterintuitive without being willfully contrarian.

    The roots of the argument obviously stem from the way markets work -- buyers and sellers find each other and reach efficient outcomes without anyone being in charge, while the stock market (at least some of the time) does as good a job as possible of setting prices. But what I really like is the way Surowiecki extends this argument way beyond business and markets, showing how collective wisdom can be seen (and can potentially be used) in a host of other situations, including the racetrack, on the Internet, and on city streets. He also does a good job of drawing out the possible implications of this for everything from the U.S. intelligence community to the way companies are run.

    This is definitely a big-idea book, but the author is cautious in laying out his evidence, and is careful to show that groups, even if they're potentially wise, are often stupid and dangerous. The chapter on small groups in particular, which focuses on NASA's mismanagement of the Columbia mission, is powerful stuff, and useful to anyone interested in how to run a meeting well (or badly, for that matter). The least satisfying part of the book is the chapter on democracy, where Surowiecki shies away from pushing his conclusion to its logical end. But on the whole, this is just a wonderful book, elegant and enlightening.

    If you're interested in this book, it's also worth checking out Paul Seabright's "The Company of Strangers" and Robert Wright's "Nonzero."

    5-0 out of 5 stars Relevant and surprising
    Although the subtitle to THE WISDOM OF CROWDS is an awkward mouthful, it is at least accurate: the book does an exceptional job of illuminating a remarkably wide range of material from politics, everyday life, and the business world. Surowiecki's not offering a grand unified theory of everything, but in the course of investigating how and when groups and crowds are and are not intelligent, he takes you on an exhilarating ride. You can't go more than a couple of pages without coming across some interesting factual tidbit or clever anecdote. Just a short list of stuff Surowiecki writes about includes: crowds on city sidewalks, Navy men trying to find a lost submarine, the Nielsen ratings, Google, scientists trying to find the SARS virus, the stock market, game-show audiences, fashion stores, and the C.I.A. Thankfully, though, he understands that just stringing together stories isn't enough. Instead, he fits his examples into a strong argument that holds the book together. You can get a lot out of this book just by dipping into individual chapters, but reading it from beginning to end is a powerful experience.

    One of the things about the book that hasn't been much remarked on is the light it sheds on the flaws in the way the U.S. intelligence community -- and, I would argue, the Bush administration -- approaches the problem of forecasting the future and making good decisions. The book's main subject is the wisdom of crowds, but Surowiecki spends a lot of time on how groups go wrong, and his discussion of how groups make bad decisions seems to me completely relevant to our current problems. When Surowiecki delves into groupthink, into the pressure that's exerted on lower-level employees to conform, and the perils of too little diversity of opinion, he's making a broader point about what good decisions require. But in the process, he clarified for me just why the current administration did such a bad job of figuring out whether Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and of planning for the postwar period. I was surprised, but it turns out this book has a lot to say about the state we're in right now.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Refreshingly optimistic
    It seems naive to mention it, but one of the things I liked best about Surowiecki's take on the intelligence of groups is how optimistic it is. Most of what we hear about crowds and democracy and the potential of average people offers a dismal picture. But I came away from this book in a hopeful mood, and infused with a sense of real possibility. Surowiecki is convincing on the idea that the intelligence of Google, or bettors at the race track, or the audience in "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" aren't peculiar anomalies, but are actually connected by the fact that they're tapping into collective wisdom. This makes me think that if we can figure out a way how to use group intelligence in a wider way -- inside companies, governments, whatever -- the decisions society as a whole makes can be improved.

    Stylistically, the book is a delight. The sentences are crisp, and the stories are well-told. Occasionally, Surowiecki makes his ideas too involved and ends up in a digression. But I forgave this because it felt like the result of someone who thinks everything is interesting and wants the reader to feel the same. Wonderful stuff.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Engaging
    Even after having read it, I'm still not sure what category I'd put THE WISDOM OF CROWDS in. It offers important insights into business, and helped me understand the way markets work. But it also has lots of fantastic and entertaining material about group psychology, and it's an interesting look at a host of questions about everyday life, ranging from the way crowds on a sidewalk move to traffic to the role of trust.

    The book's real strength is its ability to take a complex question -- when are people in groups smart, and when are they foolish? -- and make it accessible and engaging, even to those of us without much background in the field. Surowiecki has a light touch with his ideas, and for me the book flew by (with the exception of a few pages about the NFL, which I had a hard time with). I feel as if I see the world now in a different way. ... Read more


    5. The Wise Little Girl: Tales of the Feminine (The Odds Bodkin Storytelling Library)
    by Odds Bodkin
    list price: $9.95
    our price: $8.96
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1882412028
    Catlog: Book (1993-08-01)
    Publisher: Rivertree Productions
    Sales Rank: 292244
    Average Customer Review: 3 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (2)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Storytelling at it's Best!
    Odds Bodkin is truely a Master Storyteller! The Story of the Wise Little Girl had our children silent with excitement the first time they heard it! The music and voices of Odds Bodkin are astounding! It's hard to believe that one person is behind all of this! The Wise Little Girl made our children realize that the wisdom we all have inside ourselves is a wonderful thing to share!

    1-0 out of 5 stars Watch out for the Buffalo's Wife
    All in all, I was not impressed with my first Odds Bodkin encounter. I felt the stories were marred, rather than enhanced, by Mr. Bodkins' sound effects. There were many times that my child (and I) simply could not understand what was being said.

    Additionally, although the cover indicates the tape is suitable for children ages 6 and over, I have to say I disagree. One story on the tape, The Buffalo's Wife, has a section where the father (a human, not a buffalo) is stomped to death by a herd of buffalo. It has a fairly graphic description of bone pieces and other blood and gore, which my daughter and I both found quite disturbing.

    Other Bodkin tapes/titles may be better, but I'm not sure I'm willing to invest money to find out. ... Read more


    6. Majorie Kinnan Rawlings: Short Stories (Voices : a Treasury of Regional American Fiction, Book 3)
    by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
    list price: $26.95
    our price: $26.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1883332168
    Catlog: Book (1995-05-01)
    Publisher: Audio Bookshelf
    Sales Rank: 862558
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    7. The Faithful Gardener
    by Clarissa Pinkola Estes
    list price: $10.95
    our price: $8.21
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 156455354X
    Catlog: Book (1995-09-01)
    Publisher: Sounds True
    Sales Rank: 198559
    Average Customer Review: 4.33 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Ph.D. The Faithful Gardener

    What in life is unconquerable; what survives? On The Faithful Gardener, Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés mines the rich storytelling tradition of her own family to unearth a series of lyrical stories that illustrate how faith is the one immortal force in our lives. Raised by a family of refugee immigrants who revered stories as healing instruments, Dr. Estés tells these ageless tales first told "... to nourish, repair, and strengthen – whatever is most needed and wanted." What begins as a simple tale from the lips of a child becomes the greater saga of Uncle Zovár, a quiet refugee from the Nazi slave camps, and his refusal to let bitterness darken his devotion to the earth. The final story, told in the form of a vivid old country tale about "that which can never die," holds an unforgettable lesson about sacrifice and spiritual regeneration. The Faithful Gardener captures the spirit of a long-ago time, while deeply expressing our common desire to know that grappling with sudden and unexpected twists of fate and challenging transitions – however painful – is never in vain. ... Read more

    Reviews (6)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Loved it!
    I listened to the tape and read the book. If you want to know the true nature of survival - especially in times like these - this is the book for you. Full of hope and evidence of the ability of humans to survive, thrive and love - no matter what. I was sorry the book was over. I am every time I read it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Good things have roots in fallow ground....
    The stories are like layers of an onion where each depends on the one before it to exist. The horrors of war are only hinted at by the author's uncle but the reader easily draws parallels between the transitions in life with a fallow field, a fir tree covered with decorations and the emergence of new life and promise from a piece of fallow ground. The book is easily read in an hour and I blinked away tears as I finished. Since the first reading, my front lawn has been returning to Nature, just as the author's did, and every season of watching new life emerge reminds me of the story and that good things are always beginning.

    5-0 out of 5 stars We were born to be happy
    It took me just under two hours to read this book, on the beach, last summer. It took my breath away, it made my eyes roll two fat tears of life-joy and life-pain. How can anyone get over the holocaust and other atrocities that are going on in the world today? Only if we believe that we were born to be happy and can find the strength to carry on, despite grand strokes of fate that wipe out healthy forests of life. Such a story of hope, I can't believe so few people/readers have bothered to write an editorial. I have already bought 6 copies of the book (in Italian, because I live in Italy) and everyone I've give it to is just amazed as I've been by it. Thank you Madame Estes Pinkola.

    5-0 out of 5 stars An inspiring story about storytelling and human nature.
    This book was recomended to me at a time when I needed and recieved much healing. In a delightful and enchanting fashion it tells the story of a little girl whos long lost relative comes to be with her. The girls roots are from a place where storytelling is an intricate part of their culture. The actual tale is one of extraordinary inspiration, of philisophical and spiritual healing by revealing paralells to natures course. I will be forever comforted, moved and changed by reading and re-reading this little gem.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A beautifully crafted mosaic and inspiring story.
    Estes weaves together a tale of life, death and rebirth. It inspires readers to perceive life's trials and difficulties in a new light... An enriching, affirming book. ... Read more


    8. Keepers of the Animals: Native American Stories/Cassettes
    by Joseph Bruchac
    list price: $16.95
    our price: $16.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1555911285
    Catlog: Book (1992-09-01)
    Publisher: Fulcrum Publishing
    Sales Rank: 506875
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (2)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Keepers Series
    Joseph Bruchac is a natural stort teller. This whole series is wonderful. I have used these books with children from the ages of four through fourteen. But of all of them the cassette of The Keepers of the Animals is my favorite and the only one that I cannot keep because I am continually giving it away. It is not only the quality of Bruchac's voice but also the cadence that he brings to the telling that adds a resonance, a native rhthym to the stories, that enhances understanding. This is the way that these stories should be told and should be heard. Native American culture has a rich oral tradition and the sounds, the rhthyms of the language are an important part of the telling of a story. We may not have the sounds of the language per se except in the names but we can hear a little of the native cadence in Bruchac's delivery. These are wonderful tapes for small children and again this is my very favorite.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Bringing Native Stories to Life
    I've been lucky enough to see Michael Caduto perform theseNative stories in person. He brings Native beliefs to life inunexpected and delightful ways. The stories he and Josheph Bruchac have put together here do the same thing. They give young readers a chance to explore Native cultures while they learn and enjoy the stories! In addition to Native tales, this book provides factual information and activities on nature and animals. It's an outstanding resource for teachers, parents, and kids of all ages. ... Read more


    9. The No Spin Zone : Confrontations with the Powerful and Famous in America
    list price: $25.00
    our price: $15.75
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 055352836X
    Catlog: Book (2001-10-16)
    Publisher: Random House Audio
    Sales Rank: 206412
    Average Customer Review: 2.82 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Read by The Author
    Four cassettes, 6 hours

    Bill O'Reilly is even madder than when he wrote his mega-bestseller THE O'REILLY FACTOR-and his fans love him even more. He's mad because things have gone from bad to worse, in politics, in Hollywood, in every social stratum of the nation. True to its title, THE NO-SPIN ZONE cuts through all the rhetoric that some of O'Reilly's most infamous guests have spewed to expose what's really on their minds, while sharing plenty of his own emphatic counterpoints along the way.

    Shining a searing spotlight on everyone from Dubya to Susan Sarandon to Chyna to Dick Morris, THE NO-SPIN ZONE is laced with the kind of straight shooting commentary that has made O'Reilly the voice of middle America's disenfranchised. Examing Medicare with the same feistiness as the death penalty (which he opposes), THE NO-SPIN ZONE delivers not only his opinion, but the documented attitudes of the country's movers and shakers as well.

    Regularly surpassing Larry King Live as cable TV's #1 talk show, The O'Reilly Factor is destined to capture an even wider audience over the next year as millions more viewers enter his No-Spin Zone.
    ... Read more

    Reviews (424)

    3-0 out of 5 stars Work harder on the next book, Bill!
    I enjoy watching Bill O'Reilly's TV show on Fox now and then, as well as a number of other political shows across the political spectrum. They careen from one extreme to the other but I generally find them interesting and entertaining. You expect that when you watch; they need to be provocative enough to attract an audience so they can sell commercials. Fine. However, some of them, O'Reilly included, push their news journalism backgrounds as well as their opinions. The implication is he is a more informed commentator than the typical pretty talking head, and I find that makes his TV show pretty watchable. The nature of the format of his TV show always leaves something to be desired however; with tight time segments there is frequently not enough opportunity to get deeper than simply interesting sound bites. I had read Bill's earlier book, the O'Reilly Factor, or rather, listened to it as a Book on Tape. It was good entertainment and had some provocative elements and as a result I looked forward to reading The No Spin Zone.

    It was just ok and therefore disappointing. The No-Spin Zone is lightweight and does not accomplish what O'Reilly intends it to; convincing the reader that his position makes more sense than his opponents'. If you already hate O'Reilly, this book won't convert you, and if you consider him infallible, well, you'd wholeheartedly agree with his grocery list. I consider myself in neither camp. I'm just looking for an interesting read and to learn something new to help shape my opinion. I hoped to find a deeper discussion of his viewpoints or nuances to his arguments that just aren't possible in the time-limited TV format. You won't find it here.

    The book is presented in 15 chapters, each on a specific topic or newsmaker (Al Sharpton, drugs, government oversight, etc), with an introduction by O'Reilly and an excerpt of an interview transcript from his TV show. We are supposed to read and make our own evaluation of which perspective (his or his guests') is most convincing. To his credit, he says that this format may be unfair, but heck, he is the guy writing it. He is more persuasive on TV than he is in print due to his aggressive personal style.
    I agree with many of his positions (Jesses Jackson used to be an honorable soldier for civil rights and now is a racist corporate extortionist, we need budget accountability in Federal government spending, Bill Clinton lied and it matters even if it was only about sex, and so on.). However, in spite of the potentially lopsided format he rarely slam dunks his point home. In print you don't hear the volume of his voice or the scorn in his tone, just the words in his arguments, and they are frequently thin and incomplete. Maybe he would have been more convincing in the Audio book.

    The anecdotes about why he wanted someone on his show or his days as a reporter in South America were exciting and the most engaging parts of the book.

    The ironic thing about the book O'Reilly choose to put out is how light on opinion and argument it ultimately is. We're supposed buy his arguments because we were believers BEFORE we read the book. Well, that is the kind of spin that O'Reilly himself counsels us all against. In the No-Spin Zone on his TV show we listen to O'Reilly spinning his perspective every night; and why not? It's his show. But I wish he had taken the time to show up when he put this book out. This is a weak effort.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Don't Know Bill O'Reilly? Then Treat Yourself To This Book
    Mr. O'Reilly has done it again. He has written a very good book on a very important topic. He gives us a synopsis of sixteen different interviews he has done over the years of "The O'Reilly Factor."

    This book will probably appeal much more to people who don't have the opportunity to watch Fox News which is only available on some cable networks and satellite dishes. Regular viewers have most likely seen the majority of these interviews and already know most of what is in the book.

    If you do not know or have not seen Bill O'Reilly, buy this book; and better yet start watching "The Factor." If you have an open mind, you will really enjoy this no-holds barred show. After watching him for a while, you will understand just how pathetic the mainstream media really is. Their bias and censorship will drive you to Mr. O'Reilly in particular and Fox News in general.

    Some of the included are interviews are with:

    Floyd Abrams, First Amendment attorney

    Dr. Jocelyn Elders, former surgeon general of the United States

    Steve Allen, comedian and activist

    Dr. Laura Schlessinger

    Susan Sarandon, actress and activist

    Alfred Charles Sharpton, Jr.

    Jesse Jackson and his supporters

    James Carville, former Clinton campaign manager

    George W. Bush, president of the United States

    Mario Cuomo, former governor of New York, and David Walker, comptroller of the United States and head of the Government Accounting Office

    John McCain, senator from Arizona; Barry McCaffrey, former drug czar; and Ted Demme, Hollywood director

    Dan Rather, CBS News anchorman

    Sean "Puff Daddy" Combs

    1-0 out of 5 stars Waste of valuable paper
    After reading this book, I was actually seeing if theres an option on this site where I can give it 0 stars. This book is one-sided and close-minded, and downright garbage just like the author who wrote it. Even if somebody hasnt read this book, he or she should have a light bulb spark in their head telling them not to buy this trash. One could get brain damage from this BS...WASTE OF PAPER!!! ENOUGH SAID!!!

    1-0 out of 5 stars They'll Let Anybody Write a Book
    I'm absolutely astonished that people would buy this trash. If it were possible to give this negative stars, I would. The pieces of it that I have read (of course I wouldn't dare pay for and support this nonsense) were an absolute abortion. Words can't describe how amazingly bad this really is. Bill O'Reilly is the reason there's a way to turn off televisions or at least change the station (yeah, like any self-respecting individual would be caught dead watching Fox News in the first place).

    1-0 out of 5 stars Worse than I thought
    This book is total hypocracy O'reily works for Rupert Murdoch and fox news. How can he possibly know anything about not being Powerful and infamous? He is a slanderer for the right wing. This book makes him look like he is for the average joe in truth he has an alterior agenda. I would say read Al Frankens Liars a fair and balanced look at the right to help get you back in balance after reading this. ... Read more


    10. What Are People for
    by Wendell Berry
    list price: $15.95
    our price: $15.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0944993532
    Catlog: Book (1998-04-01)
    Publisher: Audio Literature
    Sales Rank: 791285
    Average Customer Review: 4.75 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    In the twenty-two essays collected here, Wendell Berry, whom The Christian Science Monitor called “the prophetic American voice of our day,” conveys a deep concern for the American economic system and the gluttonous American consumer. Berry talks to the reader as one would talk to a next-door neighbor: never preachy, he comes across as someone offering sound advice. He speaks with sadness of the greedy consumption of this country’s natural resources and the grim consequences Americans must face if current economic practices do not change drastically. In the end, these essays offer rays of hope in an otherwise bleak forecast of America's future. Berry’s program presents convincing steps for America’s agricultural and cultural survival.
    ... Read more

    Reviews (4)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Should Be Read By All
    This book sits on my coffee table in the living room. I draw from Mr. Berry's philosophy and writings almost daily. This book should be required reading in colleges and universities. It speaks of the sensibilities most of us have forgotten. I have loaned my copy to many friends, all have read it, it has changed the way they approach their lives and how they look at how we all live.

    5-0 out of 5 stars If Only More People Listened
    I do not agree with everything Berry says in this book, but I must confess that he changed the way I see the world. His lucid dissections of American culture and economical practices, his bottom-up solutions to the problems facing us today, and his unselfish, honest prose convinced me of most of his points. Here is a writer not in it for fame or awards or prestige. Here we have a truly passionate, motivated, moral voice for these hollow times.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A gentle voice for common sense
    Berry hits another homerun in this collection. This Jeffersonian throwback offers us a vision of life far removed from the shopping mall mania that is stripping much of our countryside of its natural beauty. Berry, instead, suggests that a return to basics is the best way to ensure our independence, freedom and quality of life. Berry argues, as did T.S. Eliot, that a wrong attitude toward nature suggests a wrong attitude toward God. He introduces us to men whose greatness lies in being themselves -- a black farmer named Nate Shaw, a Kentucky environmentalist named Harry Caudill, and writer Edward Abby. He explores Huck Finn and A River Runs Through It, he suggests that an education that does not prepare us to take care of ourselves cannot be complete and argues that our educational system prepares us mainly to function as cogs in an industrial society. In short, Berry sustains his claim, made in most of his books, that we need to slow down our lives, rebuild human connections, value the land around us for its intrinsic worth, and cultivate our souls by cultivating our garden, if you will. As a previous reviewer points out, Berry does not fit easily into any political movement of today -- that is because there is no Jeffersonian movement to speak of, the democrats having abandoned local empowerment, the conservatives, too many of them, having embraced corporate power. Berry's is a voice that needs to be heard.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Berry at his best and most contrary
    Wendell Berry is a farmer, poet, novelist and literary critic. It is as an essayist of enormous acuity, however, that he has become best known. What Are People For? is an important collection of essays (and two 'poem essays') written between 1975 and 1989. The pieces here range from the literary and reflective - meditations on the work of writers such as Edward Abbey and Wallace Stegner, to the empassioned and urgent. 'Why I am not going to buy a computer' is as cogent a rallying call for the neo-luddite movement as could be imagined! Berry is an advocate of the local, the real, the humane, that which is connected to the earth and which knows and loves its place. Essays such as 'Writer and Region', 'The Work of Local Culture' and 'Nature as Measure' display a deep-felt commitment eloquently argued. While Berry writes of the politics of farming, Hemmingway, Twain and Blake are never far away. Berry's aim is to recall his readers to the wasteland corporate, industrialised America is becoming and to offer an alternative vision, one of considerable hope. Too critical to be co-opted into the ranks of the acceptable voices, too contrary and complex to be labelled simply an 'environmentalist', Berry's writing is essential. ... Read more


    11. Lives of Moral Leadership : Winner of the Pulitzer Prize
    by ROBERT COLES
    list price: $25.95
    our price: $17.13
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0375416250
    Catlog: Book (2000-10-03)
    Publisher: Random House Audio
    Sales Rank: 865122
    Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Read by the author
    4 cassettes/ 6 hours

    In this important and insightful audiobook, Robert Coles tells about moral leaders--people who had an impact on American life in the last decades--as a way to illustrate the qualities that will enable each of us to be moral leaders in our homes, communities, and nation.Quoting Walker Percy, who wrote about our need to "hand one another along" in life, and drawing on his personal experiences, Coles shows how moral leaders influence others to achieve important ends.Coles says we need to be inspired by heroes and to be alert to occasions on which we ourselves are called upon to be heroes.He speaks about the position of the American president in affecting how adults and children feel about themselves; he considers the roles of Danilo Dolci and Dietrich Bonhoffer, the religious martyr; and he explores how literature can motivate discussion, action, and growth, including examples from his own life and history; the impact of Shakespeare on Robert Kennedy; of Tolstoy on Coles' mother; and of the continuing moral influence of Emerson, Conrad, and others.

    As we begin a new century and elect a new U.S. president, Coles urges us to restoren firm moral leadership in our nation.
    ... Read more

    Reviews (5)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A book that every ... member would find silly...
    I enjoyed a lot the reading of that book. Dr. Coles is a man who really dedicated himself for the well being of children and society in general. His examples are powerful and instructive. But reviews like the one of John S. Bradburn inspires me pitty. I looked at Mr. Bradburn's interest, and found out that Charlton Heston seems to be his favorite "philosopher", and war his theme of predilection. Fortunately, USA has citizens like Robert Coles and the individuals he described in his book, and it is because such people that Leonard Cohen is right when he sings that "Democracy is coming to the USA"...

    1-0 out of 5 stars Rather Silly
    As a comedy, this would rate 5 stars. But I don't think the author intended it as such. This book comes off as the hysterical ranting of some one who has decided to impose their idea of morality upon everyone else. I am still laughing at this nonsense.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great Grad. Gift
    Coles does a fantastic job of capturing the essence of morality in our every day life. This book is a great gift for any graduate (or anyone), allowing the reader to fully understand that just as our teachers, Senators, and even bus drivers should me moral, we too are called upon to be moral to others. It is a great book for anyone looking to get inspired about a couse. I loved it.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Great Book. Tiresome Sentences
    I agree with the Washington Post Book World assessment that Robert Coles should be declared a "national treasure." For years his writing have shown him to be a man of compassion with a heart for the oppressed and downtrodden as well as for the children who are often so easily overlooked in our society.

    Coles new book "Lives of Moral Leadership" is also a national treasure. I think it is important not only for the insights it provides concerning moral leadership but also because of its behind the scenes glimpse of historic events that shaped the American character in the latter part of the 20th century.

    In the book, Coles displays the tensions inherent in moral leadership including the tensions of inherent moral force and political pragmatism, the leader as hero and also as one who must garner the consent of his/her followers, wisdom and innocence, and "standing apart" in order to give courage to others.

    The book is a collection of narratives and reflections. Much of the material is drawn from Coles interviews with such people as Robert Kennedy, Dorothy Day, and Danilo Dolci. The reader is asked to do a good bit of reflecting based upon the stories Coles tells.

    My only complaint about the book has to do with Coles style of writing. While his style is clear in most instances, he has a tendency to launch into never ending sentences. Me thinks he sometimes feels "he will be heard for his much speaking." Every so often you will want to say, "Robert, a period costs no more than a semi-colon, dash, colon and parentheses."

    The chapter on Dorothy Day is worth the price of the book and is a wonderful of example of someone who tried to stay faithful to the leading of God as well as to the wisdom of community.

    Great book. Tiresome sentences at times.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Moral Leaders Beget Moral Leaders, and Beget a Moral World
    The book clearly deserves more than 5 stars.

    Dr. Coles is helping us see "circles of human moral connectedness growing, touching, informing the lives of individuals and of the communities to which we belong."

    This is the most insightful book on moral leadership that I have read. That success builds on giving you an inside-out examination of how moral leaders developed their perspectives, how their words and deeds affected others, and how moral progress ensued. Professor Coles was able to do this by heavily drawing on people and situations he knew personally, so that you get many lovely nuances of how moral leadership has worked in his life through civil rights and humanitarian examples.

    The book opens with a lengthy anecdote about how Robert Kennedy (when he was a Senator) worked with a group of Doctors, including the author, to develop the food stamp program. The physicians would have been satisfied with venting their moral outrage at hunger in America and going home. Kennedy helped them understand that they could accomplish much more by matching their indignation to the practical matters of influencing others. The author often thought that Kennedy was not being sincere as these lessons were being given, but later came to realize that Kennedy had given them all and the nation a great gift of moral leadership.

    Unlike most books about leadership, this one talks about ordinary people as well. Those examples speak louder to us, if you are like me, because they describe situations where we are likely to find ourselves, and can draw practical inspiration. I was especially interested in how the Tomasellos encouraged Mr. Thomas (a black man) to go after the vote in the South, Elaine Vogel's efforts to develop her white students' moral sensibilities during the school integration years in New Orleans, and Al Jones' example in encouraging busing in Boston (both by speech, becoming a bus driver, and using the bus rides to provide moral lessons for the embattled black students).

    Many anecdotal books seem to have no point, but Dr. Coles has created one here that gives you the rich detail necessary to make the points for yourself. The lessons you learn from your self-examination will stay with you more than if he continually made all of the points for you. This is a greater gift of moral leadership than a traditional book attempts.

    Clearly, moral leadership has many roots, and each is examined in detail through the cases here. The most important ones seem to be in literature (such as Conrad's heroes), the examples of great moral leaders (such as Gandhi), and the supportive reactions we get to efforts at moral leadership (as when someone tells us we should go ahead). We can each stimulate much more moral leadership by reading literature about moral leadership, sharing what we learn with others and encouraging them to read the same literature, reading about the lives of moral leaders and sharing those lessons and encouraging similar reading, encouraging the moral observations and actions of others, and by being a good example in taking moral stands and actions. I came away with a sense that the amount of moral leadership could be greatly expanded if each person simply absorbed and acted on the major lessons of this book.

    If you are moved by this book, I suggest that you develop your moral consciousness by looking for places every day where you can share what you learned with younger people. In that way, you can have the most influence for the longest time, and help create a magnificent legacy for your own life.

    Create more goodness!

    ... Read more


    12. A Conflict of Visions
    by Thomas Sowell
    list price: $39.95
    our price: $39.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0786100028
    Catlog: Book (1997-08-01)
    Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks
    Sales Rank: 466342
    Average Customer Review: 4.77 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Controversies in politics arise from many sources, but the conflicts that endure for generations or for centuries show a remarkably consistent pattern. The analysis of this pattern is the purpose of A Conflict of Visions. its theme is that the enduring political controversies of the past two centuries reflect radically different visions of the nature of man. Issues as diverse as criminal justice, income distribution, or war and peace repeatedly show those with one vision lining up on one side and those with another vision lining up on the other.

    Dr. Thomas Sowell describes A Conflict of Visions as "the culmination of thirty years of work in the history of ideas"--a field in which he established his professional reputation years before writing any of his well-known books on ethnicity and other social issues. Dr. Sowell and his books have received a nember of awards and honors, and have been translated into several languages. He has been a consultant to three administrations of both parties, as well as scholar-in-residence at three "think tanks." He is now a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institute in Stanford, California. ... Read more

    Reviews (31)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A brilliant and invaluable book.
    In "A Conflict of Visions," Thomas Sowell compiles a study of the two dominant socio-political ideologies of the day via the idea of "visions"--that is, a received, almost precognitive set of assumptions about human nature and humanity's place in the world. Sowell calls these the "constrained" (i.e. "conservative") and "unconstrained" (i.e. "liberal") visions. The two visions are fundamentally different and, therefore, produce conflicting ideas about such basic concepts as knowledge and reason and conflicting attitudes toward such values as equality, power, and justice. Sowell substantiates his observations of the conflict by quoting often from those authors over the past 250 years who wrote most insightfully and prolifically from the vantage of one or the other of these visions--such writers as Edmund Burke, William Godwin, John Locke, Marie Jean Antoine Nicolas de Caritat Condorcet, Ronald Dworkin and Milton Friedman.

    In the conservative vision, human nature is viewed as essentially selfish, and society protects individuals from each other through the various institutions, traditions, religions, and laws that have evolved over the course of history. However, the liberal vision considers human nature as essentially good and hampered only by various power structures and social restrictions (thus progress is made by subverting those institutions and traditions that conservatives prize). As one example of the effect this conflict of visions has on society, Sowell shows that the conservative vision has this view of knowledge: knowledge is as vast as the number of human beings in the world, and thus some form of democracy is the best method of ensuring that that knowledge is well represented in society. The conservative vision sees knowledge as one facet of the human experience, but it does not elevate reason to the highest value in that experience. The liberal vision sees knowledge as the key to solving the world's problems (whereas conservatives believe there are no solutions--rather, there are only "better" and "worse" options). In the liberal vision, the lack of knowledge (that is, rational enlightenment) is the cause of the world's problems. The mass of people are not bad, they are just unenlightened and thus subject to the common errors of the ignorant. Therefore, in this vision, what society most needs are enlightened individuals willing to remake the world on behalf of their brothers and sisters who lack their education and their special knowledge.

    Sowell has produced a brilliant and invaluable book. In this age when comedians masquerade as valid pundits and when the talking heads in the media do not know their history--cannot remember even the details of foreign policy in the previous presidential administration--Thomas Sowell shines through as the rare sort of thinker with the potential to clarify the murky political debate in the United States.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The good is enemy of the best
    Dr. Sowell wrote an amazing book, that deeply impressed me since the first page I read, attaining a level that I only knew previously in Karl Popper, Friederich Hayek and, perhaps, Murray Rothbard.

    The author depicts the main characteristics of the two antagonic ideological visions that, at least since the 18th century, fight each other in the western world's political arena, not unusually at a very hot level - the constrained vision (or the right / conservative) and the unconstrained vision (or the left / liberal), being himself, as it is widely known, an obvious follower of the constrained vision.

    Summing up the finely erudite analysis of dr. Sowell, we can conclude that, contrarily to the unconstrained vision, the constrained one prefers common sense to emotion, reality to utopia, the best world possible to the ideal world, the real man of ever to the new man, and reformation to revolution, resulting that differences from the way each one faces that same man: the constrained looks him as an imperfect and decayed creature, with unchangeable vices and tendencies, so, to her, the most effective policy that can be taken is the one that tries to conciliate such a nature with common social good, puting the first working for the profit of the second; inversely, the unconstrained, facing man as a small god, believing blindly in the unlimited capacities of reason and in the complete maleability of man's characther, intends to built, in her most radical version, paradise on earth, but, despising simple truths about human nature, only reachs...hell.

    This a superb book that I highly recommend to everybody, specially persons from the conservative and non-political correct family.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Political opinion is like a bowel movement; we all have one.
    This book's value is in it's exploration of the history of political philosophy. It explores the ideas that have been offered but in a way less obvious and to the point as Francione's HOW TO SAVE AMERICA AND THE WORLD.

    It is a good reference book if you wish to study the various viewpoints on political matters. But it lacks the logical examination of the reasons behind many of those views. Also it is redundant in many areas and could have been much shorter. I found myself becoming bored and had to scan rather than read many portions

    3-0 out of 5 stars A Conflict of Visions: Ideological Origins of Political Stru
    In this clearly written book, Sowell divides world visions or ideologies into two basic types: constrained and unconstrained. The constrained view accepts human nature and historical experience roughly as they are. The other philosophical perspective highlights the perfectability of humanity, widening the range of individual choices without saying when or how far. Various hybrid positions are sketched. Sowell shows Marxism, for example, to embody a constrained past under slavery and bourgeois capitalism, but foresees an unconstrained future under socialism. Fascism imposes constraints upon followers but not on its leaders. The author relies mainly on the great theorists for his illustrations. Hobbes, Adam Smith, Malthus, Burke, F. Hayek, and M. Friedman, among others, convey a constrained philosophy. Rousseau, Godwin, Condorcet, Veblen, and Galbraith tilt toward unconstraint. The dividing lines, however, are rarely sharp. This book is not anchored as it should be in history or in systematic comparisons of societies. Nothing is said about the civilizations of India, China, Africa, or Latin America; the focus is upon Western societies and their ideologies. For this reason, the work is somewhat limited

    4-0 out of 5 stars Good Read
    This book was helpful in seeing other sides of issues. It enforced my belief that most people are attempting to do what is right. They have logically come to their visions of what is right based on differernt premises. One minor detraction is Sowell's altruistic contention that both visions do and should do what is best for society rather than what is best for oneself. He mostly ignores rational individualism as moral. ... Read more


    13. The O'Reilly Factor : The Good, the Bad, and the Completely Ridiculous in American Life
    list price: $25.95
    our price: $16.35
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0553502689
    Catlog: Book (2000-09-12)
    Publisher: Random House Audio
    Sales Rank: 44453
    Average Customer Review: 3.67 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    An irreverent, straight-talking look at American politics and culture from the iconoclastic anchor of one of the highest-rated TV news programs in the country.

    Bill O'Reilly has the hottest cable news program on the air. "The O'Reilly Factor," seen nightly on the Fox News Channel, boosted its ratings by more than six times in 1998, and has kept soaring. His blunt, ironic, no-holds-barred style has earned O'Reilly a devoted audience of viewers--friends and foes alike--who send him five thousand letters every week. Now, with the wit and intelligence that have made him one of the most talked-about stars in television, Bill O'Reilly identifies what's right, what's wrong, and what's absurd in the political, social, economic, and cultural life of America:

    *The media: why what you see is decided upon by morons

    *Politics: why most politicians are obsolete

    *Sex: why Americans would declare war on Denmark if they knew what was going on there

    As the nation prepares for another presidential race, O'Reilly's provocative opinions are sure to add fire to the ongoing debates. THE O'REILLY FACTOR is poised to follow in the footsteps of bestsellers such as Rush Limbaugh's The Way Things Ought to Be and Jesse Ventura'sI Ain't Got Time to Bleed.
    ... Read more

    Reviews (358)

    2-0 out of 5 stars Long on ego, short on substance
    After reading "The O'Reilly Factor" I realized just how far I've lowered my standards. I tune into the televised factor a couple of times a week for a more honest approach to issues. But after reading this book, I was shaken by the fact that the flow of ideas in America have become so restricted and sterile and the major outlets for information have become so corrupt by the politically correct left that Bill O'Reilly's show and book seem revolutionary by comparison.

    While the first few chapters are ok, the truth is, his ideas, format, and approach are far from revolutionary. Bill O'Reilly offers rather mundane observations that run from the truly obtuse found in the chapters on parents, dating, sex, the spouse, the child etc., to the silly as evidenced by the drug and alcohol , the job, and race chapters. And what can be only categorized as the "who cares" chapters found in "the bad" and "the good" sections are nothing short of throw away filler. O'Reilly fans like facts. The fact is Bill O'Reilly is only slightly brighter than the talking heads found on all of the other media outlets. A sad state of affairs indeed.

    O'Reilly didn't really even try to put together anything worthy of note in this book. A stream of consciousness format is utilized that wouldn't challenge even a high school sophomore. Like his show, he delves into too many topics --many of which are tedious and lack evidence or fact. He offers insight into child rearing based solely on his experience then transitions into a chapter to brag about his dating exploits. I admire an egocentric personality if they have the intellect to back it up. Bill O'Reilly is far from an intellectual. Instead of an honest leap into a few important issues that may yield some insightful payoff, O'Reilly offers the reader a wide range of topical ramblings which leaves you with the same emptiness you would have if you were to do your weekly shopping at a 7-11. I suspect even Bill would be bored by these observations if he didn't actually write them.

    While I have found there are still some great thinkers out there authoring books, periodicals, and the occasional essay, sadly they are becoming as rare as personal rights and responsibilities in America. While I think Bill O'Reilly really believes he is trying to seek truth even if his method is shallow -even somewhat satirical, very little of an honest search is reflected in this book. If you are looking for light hearted fare then so be it, though P.J. O'Rourke is a far superior satirist. For serious, thoughtful writing on the state of America, look elsewhere.

    1-0 out of 5 stars If Only I Could Give It 0 Stars
    If it weren't for my strong belief in free speech, I would say O'Reilly should be exiled. Ok, a little dramatic. In all honesty, I didn't like O'Reilly even before I read the book, so I was already partial. I feel he simply is too arrogant, doesn't care to hear someone else's point of view, and heaven forbid you disagree with the man, all hell breaks loose. His "No Spin Zone" whirls like a top. Someone said in a review that O'Reilly never claimed to be a news reporter and he simply states his opinion. That would be perfectly acceptable accept for the fact that that's not true. O'Reilly states on his show every night that you are about to enter a "No Spin Zone." That would imply he would be giving a fair and balanced view of a given situation which simply does not happen. I'm not saying I'm a Michael Moore fan, but one night during the "No Spin Zone" O'Reilly's report was how much of a coward Michael Moore is for not wanting to come on the show. Oh Bill, how objective. He also stated that Moore's film was nonsense. No opinon there either, Billy boy. Look, if the man wanted to have a show to simply rant and vent, fine, but don't lie and say there's no spin when there's blatant opinion thrown into the mix. His hypocritism is sickening. He once had a young man on his show by the name of Jeremy Glick. Mr. Glick had a father who was killed in the 911 attack. Because Mr. Glick felt that the government was not blameless in the attack, O'Reilly flipped out and cut his microphone and told him to shut up and that what he was saying was a "bunch of crap." He told him to shut his mouth and he hoped that his mother was not watching. At the commercial break, he said to Mr. Glick, "Get out of my studio before I tear you to #$)%(@#$ pieces." FAir and balanced.. mm hmmm. I know that has nothing to do with the book, but my point is, these are all solid examples of how this man simply is the opposite of fair and balanced, and the book was pretty much the same as the tv show. Unfair, and about as balanced as a sea saw with 500 pound boulder on one end and a six year old kid on the other. Reading the Berenstain Bears is more informative than watching his show or reading his books. Give it up O'Reilly, nobody wants to hear from an opinionated bomb thrower (oh wait, doesn't O'Reilly always say how much he hates bomb throwers?) Oops. Hope he doesn't slap me with a lawsuit!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Good Stuff
    This was very easy reading and different. It was refreshing to read well thought out ideas. Some of them may be "old fashioned" (but not necessarily liberal or conservative), but most of it is right on target.

    3-0 out of 5 stars The opinion of one man
    While reading this book, it got annoying to hear Bill O'Reilly's opinion on everything. The subjects that Bill tlaks about and gives his opinion about, also has a another side to it and l would liked to have read it as well. For most part Bill gives his point of view and it doesn't mean his right.

    5-0 out of 5 stars O'Reilly don't spin & I should know it cuz I danced with him
    He's a marvelous raconteur who loves to bake bran muffins that are just soooo oversized they fairly pop right out of the oven and melt in your mouth. Sadly, he won't share recipes. He hates small animals, too. He tried to kick our Nancy-Boo once and she tore a hunk out of his pants leg. He threatened to sue us for everything we had at the time (which wasn't much - my gran was an invalid and dad's store burned down). His lawyers advised him against it, though (whew) because they said it wouldn't give him good publicity.
    Being a true curmudgeon, he consistently cheats at cards. This is, I think, kind of cute, except for the time we all went to Vegas together. Then it was scary. One time I caught him going through my younger sister's diary. He shoved me out of her room, saying, "I need some new material, you little ******* no-necked monster." (That was the show he did about how alienated and anti-republican today's teens are. Man! He made it sound like we were from outer space!) He makes up a whole lot of that stuff when he's full of, as aunt Bessie likes to say, "a snootful of you know what."
    If my uncle Bill wrote a book, then you should read it cause, as he tells it, it's just got to be "entirely excellent and brilliant beyond the dull comprehension of the average unwashed masses, who aren't being done away with fast enough by republican initiatives." That is a sore point with him. He really hates "unwashed masses." I don't know who they are or what third world country they are from or whatever, but they sure must be bad! My uncle Bill says so! So read this book. Please. ... Read more


    14. The Journey Of Crazy Horse: A Lakota History
    by Joseph M., III Marshall
    list price: $34.95
    our price: $23.07
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1565118685
    Catlog: Book (2004-10-07)
    Publisher: HighBridge Audio
    Sales Rank: 111342
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    Book Description

    Most of the world remembers Crazy Horse as a peerless warrior who brought theU.S.Army to its knees at the Battle of Little Bighorn. But to his fellow LakotaIndians, he wasa dutiful son and humble fighting man who—with valor, spirit, respect, andunparalleledleadership—fought for his people’s land, livelihood, and honor. In thisfascinatingbiography, Joseph Marshall, himself a Lakota Indian, creates a vibrant portraitof theman, his times, and his legacy.

    Drawing on firsthand research and his culture’s rich oral tradition (rarelyshared outsidethe Native American community), Marshall reveals many aspects of Crazy Horse’slife,including details of the powerful vision that convinced him of his duty to helppreservethe Lakota homeland—a vision that changed the course of Crazy Horse’s life andspurredhim confidently into battle time and time again.

    The Journey of Crazy Horse is the true story of how one man’s fight forhispeople’s survival roused his true genius as a strategist, commander, and trustedleader.And it is an unforgettable portrayal of a revered human being and a profoundcelebrationof a culture, a community, and an enduring way of life. ... Read more


    15. The Good Body
    list price: $19.95
    our price: $13.57
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0739315005
    Catlog: Book (2004-11-09)
    Publisher: Random House Audio
    Sales Rank: 239640
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    16. From the Ashes: A Spiritual Response to the Attack on America
    by Graham Billy, Richard Davidson, Alison Fraser, Billy Graham, Neale Donald Walsch, Desmond Mpilo Tutu, Thom Hartmann
    list price: $24.95
    our price: $24.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1565116356
    Catlog: Book (2001-10-01)
    Publisher: Highbridge Co
    Sales Rank: 986119
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    United We Stand. Together We Heal.

    As a nation we watched as heroic rescuers sifted through the rubble in search of signs of life. As individuals, we are still sifting through our emotions in search of peace, solace, and understanding. Our emotions have run the gamut from shock and disbelief, to grief, anger, fear and hope. From the Ashes: A Spiritual Response to the Attack on America is a collection of original essays, poems, and statements from religious leaders and extraordinary citizens whose wisdom will help lead us - and our nation - on a spiritual search toward justice, hope, and healing. Contributors include: Archbishop Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Bruce Wilkinson (author of The Prayer of Jabez), Karen Armstrong (author of The History of God), Reverend Andrew M. Greeley, Thich Nhat Hanh, Kathleen Norris (author of The Virgin of Bennington), Neale Donald Walsch(author of Abundance and Right Livelihood), Sharon Salzberg (author of Loving Kindness), Michael Wolfe (author of The Hadj), and many others. Also included are previously published essays about the tragedy from Pope John Paul II, Reverend Billy Graham, and His Holiness the Dalai Lama. All profits will go to disaster relief funds.
    ... Read more

    Reviews (11)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, inspiring, real
    So many people are turning to faith since September 11, looking for reassurance, trying to find answers to hard questions. This remarkable book skips the banal platitudes; instead, it gave me real, solid guidance to begin to face those hard questions and try to make sense of it all. The variety and depth of this astounding collection of essays is breathtaking. I was astonished by how many different faiths are represented. Especially moving, to me, was a New York parish priest's account of ministering to victims. We also get to eavesdrop on the Beliefnet community as they helped each other cope in the days following the attacks; the personal interactions are riveting. Only Beliefnet could have created this book. This is a gift that truly will help us all rise "from the ashes."

    5-0 out of 5 stars This book gave me comfort
    This wonderful, heartwarming book comforted me not just with inspiring words, but with the profound spiritual wisdom of a multifaith array of religious leaders. It is heartening to know that people of all faiths both condemn violence and believe that the human family can move beyond it. The community discussion part of the book -- in which computer users post messages of fear and suspense on Beliefnet.com as they realize what has happened with the crashed planes -- is gripping. These users' interfaith prayers and concern for each other show an Internet community at its best.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A BEAUTIFUL COLLECTION!
    Since the tragedy of September 11th, people around the world, particularly in the USA and Canada, have been searching for answers as to how this devastation could have occurred. As a counsellor, I have seen an increase in the number of people who have been jolted in reality out of the fear that the same situation could also happen in my country. Patient visits to physicians are up, stress leaves from work are on the increase, marriages have increased (perhpas using the philosophy that one should leave each moment to the fullest) and office visits to counsellors and psychologists have increased dramatically.

    While this book will not solve the world's problems, it does provide reading that will help soothe the soul, and gives the reader some peace of mind in knowing that the universe truly is unfolding as it should, even though there are times and tragedies that make this almost impossible to believe. The book contains poems, essays, etc. from a great number of religious leaders and world-known compassionate individuals. Regardless of one's religious belief, this book is truly non-denominational. Personally, as a follower of Buddhist Philosophies, I particularly liked the writings of Thich Nhat Hanh and the Dalai Lama. A terrific plus for this book is that all profits will go to disaster relief efforts. "From the Ashes" is most deserving of not a five-star rating, but a universe of stars.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Our crimes and hatred against one another
    I can only look at the events of September 11, 2001 in a spiritual sense. After those terrible acts, I went to church to seek solace, pray for the victims and their families and also pray for the perpetrators. All humans are members of God's family despite the atrocities we commit against each other and we all will face God on Judgement Day. Therefore, I don't believe that the terrorists won: their hatred was and is totaly alien to God's nature and wishes for God's children and I believe they will suffer eternally. And, as Reverend Jakes wrote in his sermon, Jesus took many to be with him at the end of their lives. Christ is the Christian's hope and light in the terrible darkness we are walking through today. His love is a salve to me as it is to many others. The author's in this book accurately pointed out the many mistakes American politicians have made in foreign policy and have supported evil when it was to in their minds, advantageous to America. This book is well-written and I believe a must-read for those of us who are seeking answers.

    5-0 out of 5 stars awesome and inspiring
    Picked this book up at an airport just before
    my flight and was unable to put it down during
    the entire flight! It is filled with healing
    words, inspirational thoughts, and wisdom from
    some of the greatest spiritual leaders of our
    times, at a time when so many are desperately
    seeking answers to questions regarding this
    horrific tragedy against mankind. I strongly
    recommend this book --- a must read for all of
    us who care deeply about what happened to our
    nation on September 11. ... Read more


    17. Shadow: Five Presidents and the Legacy of Watergate 1974-1999
    by Bob Woodward, James Naughton
    list price: $25.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0671044478
    Catlog: Book (1999-06-01)
    Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
    Sales Rank: 705054
    Average Customer Review: 3.25 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Twenty-five years ago, after Richard Nixon resigned the presidency, Gerald Ford promised a return to normalcy. "My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over," President Ford declared.

    But it was not. The Watergate scandal, and the remedies against future abuses of power, would have an enduring impact on presidents and the country. In Shadow, Bob Woodward takes us deep into the administrations of Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush and Clinton to describe how each discovered that the presidency was forever altered. With special emphasis on the human toll, Woodward shows the consequences of the new ethics laws, and the emboldened Congress and media. Powerful investigations increasingly stripped away the privacy and protections once expected by the nation's chief executive.

    Using presidential documents, diaries, prosecutorial records and hundreds of interviews with firsthand witnesses, Woodward chronicles how all five men failed first to understand and then to manage the inquisitorial environment.

    A behind-the-scenes look into all of the post-Watergate White Houses -- with particular focus on the scandals surrounding President Clinton, Shadow is an authoritative, unsettling narrative of the modern, beleaguered presidency. ... Read more

    Reviews (109)

    4-0 out of 5 stars An interesting historical study
    In this book, Woodward attempts to take one of the pivotal events of American politics-the resignation of Richard Nixon--and analyze how it has affected the Presidencies of those following Nixon. An ambitious assignment, to say the least, but one that Woodward does not necessarily fulfill. Woodward's biggest problem is that he does not start out with a clear thesis, which makes it difficult to follow how the phenomenal amount of information presented fits together. The only clear point that Woodward makes throughout the book is a rather obvious one: that Watergate has significantly impacted the Presidencies of Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, and Clinton. After reading the book, I would draw the conclusion that the enduring reason for this affect, beyond the increased skepticism of the President by members of the media, is the Independent Council provision, which Woodward suggests has caused endless scrutiny of peccadilloes by investigators who feel they have to bring charges to justify their investigation. If this was indeed Woodward's point, I think he would have been better served to make it clear in the beginning of the book and show throughout the book how his evidence supported this thesis.
    However, the storytelling in the book makes it worth reading. You may forget why you're reading it, but Woodward uses his numerous high-level sources to give a fascinating retelling of many of the scandals that have lurked in the media through the last thirty years. He pays close attention to detail, trying to help readers who are unfamiliar with the events surrounding various investigations understand what was happening and who was involved. Because of this, I would still highly recommend this book, despite its occasional lack of a cohesive argument.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A must for any student of history or politics
    Woodward's "Shadow," was, indubitably, the best book I have read in several years. It examined, with incredible detail and authority, the sundry effects of Watergate on the American presidency. Since Nixon's resignation, Woodward shows, the American public has viewed every leader as thoroughly corrupt and intent only on serving their own self interests. With painstakingly accurate and unbiased facts, Woodward convinced me that most of the post-Watergate presidents were victims rather than villians. President Reagan, for example, likely had little if any awareness of the Iran-Contra operation at the time it was executed; President Clinton has been plagued incessantly by unvalidated insinuations and malicious investigators hoping to serendipitously stumble upon some wrongdoing, e.g. Whitewater, where none existed. Overall, Woodward seems to suggest that the expiration of the independent counsel statute was overwhelmingly positive and that, in the future, the public should cease its endless cynicism and regain its erstwhile sentiments of respect for our leaders. Regardless of your views of my interpretation, I believe "Shadow" is one the most informative, and simultaneously engrossing, reads you are likely to find.

    4-0 out of 5 stars The effect the Independent Counsel had on the Presidency
    I think this is a pretty good book on the Presidency of the United States since Watergate. Of course, Mr. Woodward played a significant role in reporting Watergate and has written extensively about the Presidency since then.

    This book examines the various difficulties and scandals the Presidents since Nixon have had and the shadow the legacy of Watergate fell on those events and affected how they were handled and perceived. The most significant event in the way these things played out was the creation of the Independent Counsel. While I was never wild about the Independent Counsels before I read this book, I have come to the conclusion that it was an awful idea and an abuse of our Constitution. While the office was designed to not be accountable to the President to afford a credible ability to investigate the Executive Branch, it has no reasonable boundaries or limits and is not subject to any of the checks or balances that enable our government to function as reasonably as it does.

    Freed from any limits of time, budget, or public accountability it is not surprising that many, but not all, of these Independent Counsels end up pursuing all kinds of things apart from what they were originally charged to pursue. My chief conclusion from reading this book is that this was a bad law with worse execution and should never be revived. Good riddance!

    Half of the book is devoted to the Clinton scandals. The other large section is Iran-Contra. How you perceive Woodward's balance and objectivity will be colored by your personal politics. I have to admit that I found my own reading of the book varied at different points because of my own view of these scandals and whether or not I agreed with Woodward or felt that his own political biases were creeping in (which is impossible to avoid). But all-in-all there is a lot of good reporting here and is written in way that is easy to read. There are lots of endnotes to document the sources for the various statements, meetings, and conclusions drawn.

    I recommend the book highly.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Interesting, disturbing look at the presidency
    Heard the taped version of SHADOW: FIVE PRESIDENTS
    AND THE LEGACY OF WATERGATE by Bob Woodward . . . it
    is a very interesting, as well as disturbing, look at what it takes to be president in this country.

    Because of Watergate, the press no longer takes a "hands off"
    approach to what is being done in the White House . . . consequently, Woodward points out that all presidents--from Nixon through Clinton--seem to have had lapses in judgment, during which they either did not tell the truth or had others help cover it up for them.

    I got a fresh perspective on Ford's pardon of Nixon, and though
    I had thought I had known a lot about the Monicagate morass,
    I now know even more (including a lot of dirt not uncovered
    elsewhere).

    Fortunately, Woodward is only heard at the beginning and
    the end . . . he does not have a great speaking voice, that's
    for sure . . . the rest was narrated by James Naughton . . . his
    impressive baritone voice made for easy listening . . . moreover, he actually sounds like many of the characters he portrays, such as James Carville, Ronald Raegan and Jimmy Carter.

    4-0 out of 5 stars An important bridging of common sense psychology & politics
    The first line in Micahel Lind's deeply provocative treatise on the modern American conservative movement UP FROM CONSERVATISM kicks you in the stomach, regardless of your political beliefs:"American Conservatism is dead." Like the political Nietzsche he is, Bob Woodward, in SHADOW: FIVE PRESIDENTS AND THE LEGACY OF WATERGATE, finishes that statement in this 500-plus page tome by saying, essentially, "...and Nixon has killed it."

    None other than Gore Vidal has nicknamed America the *United States of Amnesia* so often that the trueness of it stops it from being funny. Yet any psychologist worth their salt will tell you the many reasons why memory, in a person or culture, is often the first thing to be EXORCISED. It isn't always something that leaves willingly. Bob Woodward brings common sense psychology--memory--back into the discussion of what has happened to the presidency, and America's relationship to it, since the quasi-psychotic Nixon disgraced it in the early 1970's. He reveals this with SHADOW, not by calling out and judging the Nixonians from the perspective of opinion, but via showing and analysing actual history. The degree to which the entire concept and institution of the American Presidency has been almost irrevocably debilitated by Watergate is the subject of this book, and it cannot be ignored in our time after reading it. In revealing the new cynically invasive psychic architecture of American politics, built on the destroyed remnants of the trusted Tao of FDR, Truman, Eisenhower, LBJ and Kennedy, he offers a glimpse of what Watergate symbolized about Nixon's soul. And what that tortured soul has meant for American culture today, in the 21st century.

    Doing this not only puts Monica Lewinsky into a less mythological perspective. It also puts all of the machinations that now go into politicking for your right to actually BE President long after you have been elected--Republican or Democrat--into a new, important, and ultimately saddening perspective. (The degree to which her very existence in the public mind is shown to be part of a desire of Clinton's powerful enemies to erase Nixon's legacy from the annals of history with the impeachment of a Democratic President is brilliant. That omen is ironically overshadowed, however, by the way he explains the uncontrollable political Frankenstein that was the Office of Independent Counsel. This evil genie, with its granted near absolute power, is what Clinton let out of the bottle; a bottle that, after Watergate, was thought never to be opened again. Without it, the reincarnation of the Salem witch trials with Kenneth Starr and the pornography of his reports would never have occurred.)

    I happened to have picked up this book to read after reading Conason and Lyons' THE HUNTING OF THE PRESIDENT--something which truly must be read in tandem with this if one is to really understand the social forces that also took center stage in the Clinton drama, despite their desire to still remain hidden. As such I found the Clinton chapters of SHADOW a rehash of previously digested material. SHADOW nonetheless, with its detailed meticulous analyses of the weaknesses and foibles of Ford, Carter, Regan, Bush and Clinton, and how these weaknesses became debilitating through the sins of their Watergate predecessor Nixon, cuts to the quick of our social consciousness today.

    It is so important, it seems, for the American public not to have a historical perspective on anything that happens in politics. As if the pretense that all of it has no precedence somehow makes it more real or important--or worse, justifies an often hypocritically manufactured moral outrage. (I'll never forget the rage Clinton-haters would express at the mere mentioning of Sally Hemmings [Thomas Jefferson's slave mistress], Judith Exner [one of Kennedy's mistresses] or the broken first marriages of Ronald Reagan and Newt Gingrich, seemingly defending their right to believe Bill and Monica had ushered in the seventh sign of the Book of Revelations with their original sin.) Woodward's SHADOW destroys any validity that way of thinking had, and redefines the desire to be willfully politically/historically ignorant (as if ignorance buys someone moral virtue) as anything but sane. The book has a way of revalidating the entire concept and discipline of psychology, and its ability to explain the source of today's events, as it gives new strength to the battle weary line of Santayana: "Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it."

    Anyone interested in a deeper perspective on the Clinton presidency, the presidency of both Bushes, and modern American culture would highly benefit from this powerful trinity: Michael Lind's UP FROM CONSERVATISM, Conason and Lyons' THE HUNTING OF THE PRESIDENT, and this book. Woodward's SHADOW is extraordinarily well written, tremendously informative, and, even with its inevitable biases both in favor of journalism as it is presently practiced (Consaon and Lyons are fortunately not so kind--particularly to the Washington Post) and against the possibility of a president after Nixon inspiring the kind of faith and hope that those like FDR and Kennedy did (though he is almost right, Conason, Lyons and Lind will explain clearly why it could have happened but would not be allowed in Clinton's case), Woodward's masterful writing and storytelling skills hide a multitude of sins. Highly recommended. ... Read more


    18. Ordinary Resurrections
    by Jonathan Kozol, Dick Hill
    list price: $29.95
    our price: $18.87
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1567403700
    Catlog: Book (2000-04-01)
    Publisher: Brilliance Audio
    Sales Rank: 468737
    Average Customer Review: 4.71 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    In a stirring departure from his earlier work, Jonathan Kozol has written his most personal and hopeful book to date, an energized and unexpected answer to the bleakness of Death at an Early Age, the prize-winning classic that he published more than 30 years ago.

    Like his most recent book, Amazing Grace, this work also takes place in New York's South Bronx; but it is a markedly different book in mood and vantage point, because we see life this time through the eyes of children, not, as the author puts it, from the perspective of a grown-up man encumbered with a Harvard education. Here, too, we see devoted teachers in a good but underfunded public elementary school that manages, against all odds, to be a warm, inviting, and protective place; and we see the children also in the intimate religious setting of a church in which they are watched over by the vigilant grandmothers of the neighborhood and by a priest whose ministry is, first and foremost, to the very young.

    A work of guarded optimism that avoids polemic and the fevered ideologies of partisan debate, Ordinary Resurrections is a book about the little miracles of stubbornly persistent innocence in children who are still unsoiled by the world and still can view their place within it without cynicism or despair. Sometimes playful, sometimes jubilantly funny, and sometimes profoundly sad, they're sensitive children, by and large -- complex and morally insightful -- and their ethical vitality denounces and subverts the racially charged labels that the world of grown-up expertise too frequently assigns to them.

    The author's personal involvement with specific children deepens as the narrative evolves. A Jewish man, now 63 years old, he finds his own religious speculations growing interwoven with the moral and religious explorations of the children, some of whom have been his friends for nearly seven years. The children change, of course, from year to year as they learn more about the world; but the author is changed also by the generous and tender ways in which the children, step by step, unlock their secrets and unveil the mysteries of their belief to him.

    Salvation in these stories comes not from the promises of politicians or the claims of sociology but from the ordinary resurrections that take place routinely in the hearts of children. "We all lie down," a theologian tells the author. "We all rise up. We do this every day." So, too, when given a fair chance, do many of the undervalued urban children of our nation. In this book, we see some beautiful children as they rise, and rise again.
    ... Read more

    Reviews (21)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Kozol has done it again
    Having read many of Kozol's previous books, I have developed a great admiration for him and his lifelong dedication to social justice and poor children, and his eloquent arguments on their behalf. I've wondered at how he has managed to spend nearly 40 years of his life in this pursuit. This book shows us why--he truly enjoys and loves the children he advocates for. Like Savage Inequalities and Amazing Grace (both must reads) the children's words themselves move you with their honesty, their innocence, and their hope. I can still see Elio moving his arms to "catch one of God's answers to his prayers". But this book also gives us some insight into Kozol himself--his struggles with the failing health of his parents especially. While his earlier books often were suffused with anger at the inequalities of the public education system and social framework, this book is filled with hope and joy. and a little bit of sadness too. And, surprisingly, it is just as effective.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Anything but Ordinary
    This powerful work is at once inspiring, frustrating and captivating. Kozol draws the reader into a world called Mott Haven that is filled with substance, love, service and hope. He poignantly describes the lives of children while blasting the manner in which we have chosen to deal with our most needy sectors of society. Kozol's gifted and powerful storytelling reminds us of several truths:

    1. Segregation is potentially a bigger problem today than ever. White flight, private schools, school choice, home-schooling, virtual schools and lack of equitable access to technology are widening the gap.
    2. Inequities in education must be addressed with the underlying belief that every child has the potential to achieve his/her dreams. Society must be responsible and held accountable for creating conditions ensuring that this occurs.
    3. Teachers and students must all be able to work and learn in optimum conditions that safeguard and ensure dignity.
    4. Although children appear to be resilient, we must protect their innocence, ensure they have the chance to dream and be inspired by their eternal optimism and hope. The real heroes of today are those who spend time with our children, listening to and nurturing their dreams.
    5. We spend too much on our prison system and must figure out a way to divert that funding to education and healthcare so we can be proactive rather than reactive.

    Kozol manages to convey the realities of inner city education by illuminating the complexities behind the daily challenges facing teachers and parents. His manner of connecting the problems to the institutions and practices that society has created to deal with those who do not "fit the system" provides a wake-up call to all of us who are working to make a difference in the lives of children. Kozol shows us that the system we have created is nurturing itself instead of helping people to break out of the vicious cycle characterized by lack of quality education, health care, meaningful work opportunities and dignity. We can no longer ignore the problems in the inner cities of America, not just because it makes economic sense but because it makes human sense to individually develop our most precious resources - our children. Community leaders, parents, educators, and corporate leaders should put this compelling book on the top of their "must read" list.

    1-0 out of 5 stars overrated
    I really have nothing good to say about this book. Maybe I don't like the book because my chest doesn't hold a bleeding heart. That probably is the case. First of all, what is Kozol's purpose for writing the book? What is he trying to prove? Of course educational situation in slum neighborhoods is poor. Is this a secret? I feel bad for anyone who made this revelation after reading the book. Another complaint would be how Kozol throws the term segregation around as liberally as he does. The students he meets with are not the victims of segregation. Segretation is the forced separation of two things. At best, the residents of Mott Haven are victims of economic segregation. Unfortunately, those people have victimized themselves - they are the victims of their own ways of life. There are no men in the neighborhood - boo hoo, let's shed some tears. Where have all the men gone? - to jail for selling drugs. In short, you get what you deserve. In the end, there are incredible problems with this book and I did not find it enjoyable at all. I suppose I'm supposed to feel sympathetic for these people, but we all control our own destinies. If those youngsters decide to get an education and get themselves out of the neighborhood, then I'll applaud. They can sell drugs like everyone else and end up in prison and get their just deserts for their activity and continue the cycle. Open your eyes when you read this book and realize that Kozol has filled this book with liberalized rants and tears. The only people that I feel for are those who are forced to read this drivel. The system will never be perfect and remember, not everyone can graduate and be a doctor or a lawyer. We need to have the local McDonald's and the local gas station staffed too.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Touching Portraits of Resilience
    In Ordinary Resurrections, Jonathan Kozol deviates from his usual "gloves off" attack of the issues facing minority children. Instead of building the case against the inequitable system with facts and figures, as he has in previous work, he has chosen the subtle but effective approach of a storyteller. He paints a very descriptive portrait of the victims of continued segregation and racism that may inspire those in positions of influence to make more compassionate decisions regarding the lives of the children they serve.

    Things that scream out to me from Kozol's book(s):

    1) Incarceration vs. Education (do the math!)
    The incarceration industry is thriving on blind public support. If taxpayers knew they were paying on the average ten to twenty times more to incarcerate supposed perpetrators of victimless crimes than it would cost to educate them, I'd bet they might even overlook their racist fears. The corporate/federal mentality that chooses to decide early on what these children will bring to the economy seems to prefer them as a product in this system versus potential contributors to something greater.

    2) Resilience (despite our conditional "help")
    In their innocent naiveté the children neglected by the system remain courageous, hopeful, and resilient. This resilience may diminish as they weather the inequities of the system that oppresses them, but it is often the attribute that enables them to succeed regardless of our preaching and teaching. Just imagine what heights they might reach if they continued to be nurtured as they are by the caring individuals in their lives now.

    3) Compassion (essential)
    As a beneficiary of white male privilege his reflections from the other side of the gap are poignant and insightful lessons for those of us too far removed from the reality that exists in many of our cities. Even after this racial inequity is acknowledged it is difficult for most of us to express empathy in ways that ring genuine. Kozol does! He is trusted and welcomed by the culture and community he strives to serve. His stories reflect a model for learning and practicing compassion which, in my opinion, may be the single most important factor in saving ourselves from extinction. Kozol repeatedly demonstrates the importance
    of compassion in his work. Listen to him!

    4) Racism, segregation, inequality (market view politics)
    Racism is institutionalized in the United States despite the hope segregation was ending that the civil rights movements of the sixties inspired. "Kids notice that no politicians talk about this. They hear the politicians saying, "We're gonna have tougher standards in your separate-but-not-equal schools. We're gonna raise the bar of academic discipline in your separate-but-not-equal schools." But nobody says we're going to make them less separate and more equal. Nobody says that." - Kozol interview in Education World

    5) Toxic environments (no one to litigate)
    AIDS, asthma, drugs, violence, toxic pollution, poverty, malnutrition, lack of medical attention, apartheid economics, and neglect are common elements in the environment Kozol's children try to survive in. Basic needs must be satisfied before we can expect children to be receptive to that which we would have them learn. Kozol is issuing a wake-up call to the complacent masses that are either unaware or in denial that this situation is serious and threatens all of us socially, emotionally, and economically.

    In my opinion, implications for educators that may be gleaned from Kozol's book include:
    • The extreme importance of compassion in all aspects of dealing with children.
    • Recognition that before we talk about diversity we need to spend a lot more
    time in the conversation about racism.
    • Locking people up is not rehabilitation and in the long run is socially,
    emotionally, spiritually, and economically disastrous. Break the cycle of incarceration!

    5-0 out of 5 stars In the Children's Words
    Jonathan Kozal has taken away the protective myth that America's school children are all treated equally, with dignity and given unvarying opportunities. In his latest book, ORDINARY RESURRECTIONS, Kozal's readers get a glimpse into a reality that replaces equal value with present day segregation to children of the poor. Although many in power would like to ignore the disgrace of how our underprivileged students are educationally treated in areas such as Mott Haven, New York, Kozal's first hand account of such inequality calls for a recognition and reformation of America's priorities. Told in the children's words, this book contributes awareness to the desperate need for compassion to and knowledge of the struggles of many American youth. The facts are both shocking and compelling, and will challenge the values one holds to necessitate action on our children's behalf. As Kozal states, the reality is that "...there are few areas in which the value we attribute to a child's life may be so clearly measured as in the decisions that we make about the money we believe it's worth investing in the education of one person's child as opposed to that of someone else's child." Once read, ORDINARY RESURRECTIONS destroys the bliss of ignorance. One is faced with the decision to powerfully act or despairingly ignore. ... Read more


    19. The Myth of Laziness : America's Top Learning Expert Shows How Kids--and Parents--Can Become more Productive
    list price: $26.00
    our price: $16.38
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0743527801
    Catlog: Book (2003-01-01)
    Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
    Sales Rank: 90407
    Average Customer Review: 4.47 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    How many times have you heard a teacher say that your child has tremendous potential "if only he'd just apply himself" or "if only sh'd work just a little harder"? How often have you said the same thing to your son or daughter? Or perhaps you have a coworker who can't seem to finish anything; his reports are never in on time, or her projects are always behind the schedule. No matter what excusses you hear, you suspect that laziness is the real reason for your colleague's low productivity.

    Almost no one is actually lazy, says Dr. Mel Levine, author of the #1 national bestseller A Mind at a Time. Low productivity -- whether in school or on the job -- is almost always caused by a genuine problem, a neurodevelopmental dysfunction. despite this, untold number of people have been stigmatized by unfair accusations of laziness, many of them adults who still carry emotional scars from their school days. In The Myth of Laziness Dr. Levine shows how we can spot the neurodevelopmental dysfunctions that may cause "output failure," as he calls it, whether in school or in the workplace. Dr. Levine identifies seven forms of dysfunctions that obstruct output. Drawning on his years of clinical experience he describes eight people -- children, adolescents, and adults -- he has worked with who exhibited one or another of these problems. He shows how identifying the problem can make all the difference, leading to a course of corrective action rather than to accusations of laziness and moral failure.

    With its practical advice and its compassionate tone, The Myth of Laziness shows parents how to nurture their child strengths and improve their classroom productivity. Most important, it shows parents how correcting these problems in childhood will help children live a fulfilling and productive adult life. ... Read more

    Reviews (15)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Another outstanding book by Dr. Levine
    This book is just as relevant as Dr. Levine's earlier books, such as "All Kinds of Minds" and "Keeping a Head in School," which I read when my son was in grade school. I've also attended a conference where Dr. Levine was the keynote speaker. All of his advice was a tremendous help to me in understanding the reasons why our son was struggling so much in school. He was the classic example of the "lazy" student. Fortunately, he was in a small private school where teachers recognized the problem immediately, he was tested, and by understanding his learning disabilities when he was 6 years old, he successfully completed K-12 and is now in his sophmore year at college. I firmly believe the reason he is where he is today is that we kept him out of public schools, in environments where the teachers understood the way he needed to learn. He was never labeled as "disabled" or "special needs", or put into "special classes." The only difference between the schools he attended and public schools is that the teachers were not bound to the inflexible "teach to the test" format and could offer a range of learning experiences for their students based on individual ability. Teachers who "get" Levine's teachings know how to approach these kids, and our son is living proof that such enlightened teaching methods achieve success for the student.

    A previous review, written by a teacher, is a typical example of the mind-set of some public school teachers toward students who don't fit the public school model of learning. Blame the student -- it's not the school system's/teacher's problem that they're unwilling to recognize there's no such thing as a "one size fits all" approach to education. Yes, there may be some students who, because of home environment, will have difficulty ever achieving their potential, but too many kids have been written off too soon because of the rigid public school bureaucracy.

    It wasn't easy to find the money for tuition for 12 years of school, and we're struggling to pay college tuition/expenses now, but we'll never regret a single sacrifice or a single dime we spent. And we'll always be grateful to Dr. Levine for continuing to educate the public about misunderstood children.

    5-0 out of 5 stars a pediatrician's view
    I bought this book because I took several courses with Dr. Levine while he was at Boston Children's and because of the children in my practice. It is superb. I have started recommending it to the parents in my practice. It explains very succintly and precisely various types of learning issues and how to handle them. It also helps parents be their children's advocate. Children should not be kept back unless the teachers know what is happening to that particular child. Children are starting school too late and too much is required of them when developmentally they are not able. Why is it that teachers accept differences in their colleagues but not among children. It is time that we stop putting round pegs in square holes. It is time that teachers teach better with more compassion and understanding. This is what Dr. Levine has been trying to do for years.

    4-0 out of 5 stars important, but missed
    It is an important book, as it tries to refute the myth of laziness. Levine argues that the so called `laziness`, is actually the result of a neurodevelopmental problem, and that every child `yearns to be productive`. According to his analysis a broad spectrum of neuro-development dysfunctions may prevent children from reaching their potential. I found Both claims very problematic as they ignor the social construction of reality as a major determinate factor.

    5-0 out of 5 stars You'll be able to relate to this book!
    Heard the taped version of THE MYTH OF LAZINESS, written and
    read by Dr. Mel Levine--a professor of pediatrics at the University of
    North Carolina Medical School.

    Levine persuasively makes the point that children and adults
    aren't really lazy when they can be seen not working up to their
    potential . . . rather, he contends that "everybody yearns to be
    productive" . . . and what happens is that they are simply
    experiencing "output failure" due to different neuro-developmental

    weaknesses.

    While the aforementioned may come across as gobbledygook, it
    really isn't because of Levine's use of case studies . . . you'll
    be able to relate to the seven children and adults profiled, either
    because you will see yourself and/or others you know.

    I liked the last few chapters best because they were devoted
    to concrete suggestions for what can be done to help supposedly
    lazy folks . . . tips on how to cultivate writing skills, as well as
    how to set up an organized home office, are presented . . . also,
    teachers are urged to take into account the individuality of their
    students' learning skills.

    Furthermore, I found several worksheets in the book version (that I
    skimmed after listening to the tapes) that can be most helpful
    to help students plan their stories and reports.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Too bad you can't clone Mel Levine's genius
    This book is organized as a series of case studies building up to three chapters of recommendations.

    Levine's insight into children is stunning. It is why people come from all over the country to see him in North Carolina. I am sure he wishes as ardently as anybody that his genius were transferrable. While this book gives one an appreciation of his methods, it also highlights how subjective the judgments really are. Any parent who has been through the rounds of physical therapists, speech therapists, child psychologists, ritalin, Prozac, tutors, school counsellors, etc. etc. will know that not all experts have the same powers of perception, and they certainly don't all agree.

    I of course love the advice with which I agree. Turn off the TV! Have the kids read. Practice writing. He gives some very concrete and useful advice on how to do this... forms you can copy and suggest that your child's teachers hand out with assignments.

    As another reviewer suggests, examining the unique balance of skills and weaknesses in each child, and tailoring life and learning plans to meet their special needs, takes a tremendous amount of resources. Public school classroom teachers charged with 35 young minds, or a modestly paid and trained counsellor responsible for a whole school cannot possibly be expected to handle every child's issues.

    There are always alternatives -- many, confusing and conflicting -- for parents with the money and time to investigate them. The sad reality is that society just can't devote enough resources to give all kids the attention that would benefit them. How to apply Levine's insights and techniques to as many kids as possible within what voters are willing to spend is an interesting question. ... Read more


    20. Race Matters (Audio Editions)
    by Cornel West
    list price: $19.95
    our price: $13.57
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0945353928
    Catlog: Book (1994-06-01)
    Publisher: Audio Partners
    Sales Rank: 369592
    Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Hear Professor Cornel West, the master teacher and intellectual, reading his influential New York Times bestseller, also named a best book by Publishers Weekly. West provides a transformative voice that is willing to go to the heart of issues involving racial hatred and violence in America and begin the long-overdue healing of our nation. This audiobook resonates with the power of West's voice and views. Complete and Unabridged. 3 cassettes. ... Read more

    Reviews (52)

    5-0 out of 5 stars I'll keep coming back to it
    I read this book from a non-American prespective. As I don't live in America but in Israel, I can't help but read a book such as this while constantly comparing West's analysis to my own environment.
    At the beginning of the book, the immediate comparison was to the oppression of the Palestinians. But as I progressed, there was a shift to the situation of the Ethiopian immigrants in Israel. I was amazed at how easily West's words can be applied to the situation of the Ethiopians in Israel. I quoted a few insights from the book to Ethiopian friends, and there was a common feeling as if West wrote the book about them - and not about the American race matters. Of course the difficult chapter dealing with black Antisemitism was interesting as an American phenomena, without direct implications to the Ethiopian situation (here I could go back to the Palestinian issue).
    In the end, West's book proved to be a bold attack on racism and racist institutions, and did provide some interesting directions for change. I must disagree with those that were disappointed by West's "failure" to bring up coherent solutions. A book such as this should not be expected to provide a detailed solution layout, but instead give food for thought, and point at the directions which have not been taken yet.
    This the book does. I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the issue of race and politics.

    2-0 out of 5 stars highlights problems but doesn't give solution
    Having read "Soul's of Black Folk" by du bois and looking for a more current analysis of how we have progressed from 1903 to the present, i picked up race matters. Cornell West does a great job presenting the current state of black people, especially in discussing nihilism and how it threatens to destroy our communities and his discussion of black homophobia was long overdue. Well written, well thought out, however in attempting to provide solutions to these issues he does a disservice to the book, and to the reader. Ambiguous proposals like 'politics of conversion (love and care) as a solution to "right-wing cutbacks for poor people struggling for decent housing, child care, health care and education" seems a little bit like blind optimism to me, or a not-very-well-thought out last minute ditch at finding a solution. To talk about the crisis of black leadership without addressing the increasing alienation between the black bourgeoisie and blacks in the ghetto is doing disservice to a major problem that confronts 'race matters today. (the current black middle class, while in a position to prevent the rightwing cutbacks West talks about, increasingly remains silent). I would have given the book 4 stars if West had remained faithful in highlighting the problems facing african americans today, without attempting to offer patronizing (read half-assed) solutions especially becuase i believe he has brought to the table issues that we need to start addressing and maybe collectively, find solutions to.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Eye-Opening
    I'm not very surprised at the contrasting reviews posted here. Considering the extraordinarily divided state of the nation, it's almost impossible to say anything serious without making half of the people angry. Furthermore, I think most people would like to pretend that everything is going alright, and ideas that shake things up or that look at reality from a different angle aren't going to be popular. At least, not right away. Cornel West's ideas are these types, revealing the reality of the African-American condition in an America that worships the market and loses sight of a humanity in need of hope and an actual opportunity to achieve those things hoped for, an America that refuses to offer love to those most in need. Cornel West's ideas admit that America is not a totally perfect place, and we need to change some things. We need to wake up. The ideas in this book are essential to read, and it is essential that we make the changes West calls for. This doesn't just effect African-Americans, this is something to save all Americans. If the views in this book irritate you, you should probably read it again. If an idea bugs you enough, it probably means there is something there you need to learn, even if you do not ultimately agree with everything. If the ideas in Race Matters strike you, you need to act. We must all act out passionately, with compassion and love, to change things so that we may save ourselves.

    1-0 out of 5 stars It takes more than one side to fix things
    I think someone made a good point by referencing a Malcolm X quote: "You don't stick a knife in a man's back nine inches and then pull it out six inches and say you're making progress." However, was Malcolm X not simply holding the knife in place when he argued for separatism? Sure, his "radical transformation" at the end of his life saw him reverse his attitudes, but others continue with the belief that the white community is saddled with an enormous guilt and sole responsibility for the current state of affairs. Off the subject somewhat, there is another book regarding race in schools, where the author comments on the fact that it is good to see minorities form groups to foster identity-formation. In my and any other pragmatist's opinion, though, this merely perpetuates the fracturing of the human community.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Keep a dictionary handy!
    When you read this book, make sure that your mind is totally void of all thoughts, so that you can fully comprehend exactly what Dr. West is pointing out! Besides needing a dictionary to read it, everything in the book is true, well written and to the point. I especially love the quote from Malcolm X about race relations in America...
    "You don't stick a knife in a man's back nine inches and then pull it out six inches and say you're making progress." ... Read more


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