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    $17.16 $13.89 list($26.00)
    1. Conspiracy of Fools : A True Story
    $16.47 list($24.95)
    2. Under and Alone : The True Story
    $14.28 $11.69 list($21.00)
    3. Assassination Vacation
    $18.45 $13.00 list($27.95)
    4. A Deadly Game: The Untold Story
    $16.50 $10.00 list($25.00)
    5. Dangerous Doses : How Counterfeiters
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    6. Under the Banner of Heaven : A
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    7. The Devil in the White City: Murder,
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    8. Bringing Down the House: The Inside
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    9. Blood Brother: 33 Reasons My Brother
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    10. Midnight in the Garden of Good
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    11. Lucky : A Memoir
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    12. Organized Crime
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    13. Inside Terrorism
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    14. Ballad of the Whiskey Robber:
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    15. In Cold Blood
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    16. Incident Response and Computer
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    17. The Franklin Cover-Up: Child Abuse,
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    18. Spy Handler
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    19. Green River, Running Red: The
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    20. Painful Questions: An Analysis

    1. Conspiracy of Fools : A True Story
    by Kurt Eichenwald
    list price: $26.00
    our price: $17.16
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0767911784
    Catlog: Book (2005-03-14)
    Publisher: Broadway
    Sales Rank: 142
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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    Download Description

    In 2000, when The Informant was published, few would’ve imagined that a story about price fixing at Archer Daniels Midland could be as un–put–downable as the best crime fiction. Yet critics—and consumers—agreed: The New York Times reporter Kurt Eichenwald had taken the stuff of dry business reporting and turned it into an unparalleled page–turner. With Conspiracy of Fools, Eichenwald has done it again.

    Say the name “Enron” and most people believe they’ve heard all about the story that imperiled a presidency, destroyed a marketplace, and changed Washington and Wall Street forever. But in the hands of Kurt Eichenwald, the players we think we know and the business practices we think have been exposed are transformed into entirely new—and entirely gripping—material. The cast includes but is not limited to George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Paul O’Neill, Harvey Pitt, Colin Powell, Gray Davis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Alan Greenspan, Ken Lay, Andy Fastow, Jeff Skilling, Bill Clinton, Rupert Murdoch, and Michael Eisner. Providing a you–are–there glimpse behind closed doors in the executive suites of the Enron Corporation, the Texas governor’s mansion, the Justice Department, and even the Oval Office, Conspiracy of Fools is an all–true financial and political thriller of cinematic proportions.

    ... Read more

    Reviews (53)

    2-0 out of 5 stars strange brew
    This is the book counterpart of a video reconstruction.As best I can tell from the extensive endnotes, the author did a phenomenal research job, and then (from my point of view) turned his work into fiction.Instead of presenting us with the facts (fascinating in themselves) the author presents everything "through the eyes" of the participants, pretenting to be in their thoughts, and using quotation marks with the abandon of a novelist.We all know that this is just plain made up, but by using this form of presentation, the author blurs the distinction between fact and fiction.He DOESN'T know what these people were thinking, and making it up implies that he does; requiring me to search the footnotes at the end of each sentence -- what is true and what is made up? For example, on the first page we follow Ken Lay's thoughts as he is driven to work -- the footnote shows us the source for what kind of car it was -- but of course no reference for Lay's thoughts (and even if Lay had said what he was thinking, we have know knowledge that he told the truth).Accordingly, although the book is entertaining, I demote it to a "2" for horrendously bad journalistic practice.

    4-0 out of 5 stars The End of an Empire
    I'm certain that all of us like to read a good book. One filled with intrigue, deceit, back-stabbing, illegal acts, social issues, fear, egos, greed, scandals,etc.

    All the ingredients of an interesting novel. Only it's not. It is the true story ofENRON's humble pipeline beginnings to its bankruptcy and the saga of a hidden but eventually disclosed paper trail.

    The book---"Conspiracy of Fools" by Kurt Eichenwald.

    Notwithstanding the complicated financial transactions involved, it is written in a fast moving manner by a winning New York Times writer

    5-0 out of 5 stars If you get one book this summer, this is it!
    Everyone knows the Enron scandal.The directors of the corporation have been depicted as nothing less than caricatures of corporate greed and the company itself a cliche of managers run amok.

    This book ends all that.It brings dimension and personality to everyone involved and does justice to the events that transpire in a very evenhanded way.The "fly on the wall" narrative and the incredulous attitude of the author constantly ask the question we all wanted to ask right from the start: "What were they thinking?"Even moreso, a corollary becomes "Why did everyone else just let it happen?"Hard to believe, but the problems of Enron could have been predicted back in the early 90s.

    This is a top-notch book and worth every penny.Its not particularly difficult to comprehend (the dialogue and complex schemes are broken down for laymen to understand), and believe it or not, its a quick read. Once it absorbs you, you just won't put it down.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Reads like a thriller
    I read this book in three days.I have a two year old to chase around, so that tells you just how much time I devoted to finishing it.COF reads like a thriller.I kept waiting for the bad guys to get caught and became more and more incredulous that it took so long.

    COF does an excellent job of showing what a dangerous combination greed, hubris and ignorance is and how prevelant it is in corporate America.Throw in a dash of politics and you have a national scandal.

    Eichenwald does a good job of showing us all the nuances of what happened at the executive level of Enron, but I was disapointed that we never got to see any of it from the perspective of the thousands of employees that woke up one morning without jobs or retirement funds.We also never see the impact of Enron's fall on the varous companies and local governments that invested so heavily in them.

    My last "complaint" is a silly one.There were no pictures of the principals featured in the book, which is pretty standard for non-fiction stories.I wanted to know what Lay, Skilling and the rest looked like so I could put faces with names.

    Overall, well worth the read if you want some suspense and/or an insight into just what went wrong at Enron.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The BEST book I have read in years
    I never thought I would like to read an Enron book, but my father really pushed this on me. I LOVED it. This is the best book I have read in years, certainly since A Civil Action. It is thrilling, unbelievable, captivating. I am up late writing this because the book kept me up until 3 and now I am having trouble not thinking about it. Unlike other books of this type, the research is incredible. Anyone who reads it has to thumb through the footnotes, and see all of the documents and other information that Eichenwald pulled together. A fabulous reporter and a spectacular writer all add up to a great book. ... Read more


    2. Under and Alone : The True Story of the Undercover Agent Who Infiltrated America's Most ViolentOutlaw Motorcycle Gang
    by WILLIAM QUEEN
    list price: $24.95
    our price: $16.47
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1400060842
    Catlog: Book (2005-04-05)
    Publisher: Random House
    Sales Rank: 194333
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    3. Assassination Vacation
    by Sarah Vowell
    list price: $21.00
    our price: $14.28
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0743260031
    Catlog: Book (2005-03-29)
    Publisher: Simon & Schuster
    Sales Rank: 250
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Sarah Vowell exposes the glorious conundrumsof American history and culture with wit, probity, and an irreverent sense of humor. With Assassination Vacation, she takes us on a road trip like no other -- a journey to the pit stops of American political murder and through the myriad ways they have been used for fun and profit, for political and cultural advantage.

    From Buffalo to Alaska, Washington to the Dry Tortugas, Vowell visits locations immortalized and influenced by the spilling of politically important blood, reporting as she goes with her trademark blend of wisecracking humor, remarkable honesty, and thought-provoking criticism. We learn about the jinx that was Robert Todd Lincoln (present at the assassinations of Presidents Lincoln, Garfield, and McKinley) and witness the politicking that went into the making of the Lincoln Memorial. The resulting narrative is much more than an entertaining and informative travelogue -- it is the disturbing and fascinating story of how American death has been manipulated by popular culture, including literature, architecture, sculpture, and -- the author's favorite -- historical tourism. Though the themes of loss and violence are explored and we make detours to see how the Republican Party became the Republican Party, there are all kinds of lighter diversions along the way into the lives of the three presidents and their assassins, including mummies, show tunes, mean-spirited totem poles, and a nineteenth-century biblical sex cult. ... Read more

    Reviews (25)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Wierd but Funny - A Great Way to do History
    This book is just a touch wierd. Who would take a vacation with the specific intent of going to see where the presidents got shot?

    OK, I'll admit having visited the Texas Book Depository building in Dallas. But that was because of the publicity that was high at the time regarding who actually shot him. An aside -- anyone who has ever gone rifle shooting can look out the window he used and will think, "I could have made that shot."

    Still, her dry wit can't help from coming through, "Going to Ford's Theatre to watch the play is like going to Hooters for the food." She makes the study of history come alive much better than the dry history books I remember from school.

    As now the author of five books, television appearances on several shows, and the voice of Teenage superhero Violet Parr in "The Incredibles," Ms. Vowell is a budding great voice in American literature.

    1-0 out of 5 stars For Presidential History Geeks Only
    I like Sarah Vowell's personality and normally enjoy reading her books and listening to her on This American Life.Plus she kicked ass in The Incredibles.

    I found this book really dull reading though. Unless you, like Sarah, are obsessed with the tiny details of President Garfield's presidency (and other subjects equally dry) you may be as bored as I was. She herself keeps saying how the companions she brings along on her research trips are bored to tears by the subject matter.

    I look forward to her next book and a return to more interesting territory.

    5-0 out of 5 stars It's No Coincidence...
    This book is great! The wit and humor of Vowell's essays, collected in Take the Cannoli and The Partly Cloudy Patriot, translate well to this more focused tale of her visits to sites related to presidential assassinations. Filled with Vowell's quirky observations and animated by the rapid-fire connections her mind makes, Assassination Vacation is a page-turner AND a history lesson at the same time. Vowell's deep appreciation of and enthusiasm for her subject matter is infectious. Highly recommended, especially if you're planning a trip that includes visits to historic sites. Vowell's viewpoint will give you a new way of enjoying them that will definitely enhance your experience!

    5-0 out of 5 stars quirky history tour
    Very informative, hilarious and even moving at times. One other reviewer mentioned Vowell's Bush bashing, but they should read or listen to more than a snippet. The "current president" only pops up a couple of times and briefly. The rest of the book is for the most part a quirky nonpartisan journey through American political history. Vowell's narration in the audiobook abridgement is broken up with some interesting guest voices. Stephen King as Abraham Lincoln for instance.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Charming, Witty and Funny
    I just, today, discovered Sarah Vowell's work. It is a wonderful treat. She looks at history in an amazingly honest way. Her history is never boring, of course. I was fortunate to see Sarah do an author presentation on C-Span2 BookTV.

    She presents history in a quirky, honest and humorous way. This book is about the history of the people and events surrounding the assassintions of Lincoln, Garfield and McKinley. You will learn historical details that you never knew or even thought that you wanted to know. You will be very pleased with Sarah's look into history. ... Read more


    4. A Deadly Game: The Untold Story of the Scott Peterson Investigation
    by Catherine Crier, Cole Thompson
    list price: $27.95
    our price: $18.45
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0060766123
    Catlog: Book (2005-03-08)
    Publisher: ReganBooks
    Sales Rank: 1335
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Catherine Crier has been covering the Peterson case since Laci Peterson disappeared from her home on December 24, 2002. Crier, a former judge and one of television's most popular legal analysts, was among the first to question the behavior of Laci's husband, Scott Peterson. And with her network of journalistic sources, Crier was soon able to penetrate the core of the police investigation that followed -- gaining access to a huge and revealing body of previously unseen police reports, transcripts of recorded conversations, photographic evidence, and other exclusive materials. Drawing on these resources -- and extensive interviews with key witnesses and lead investigators -- Crier has written this astonishingly detailed and intimate look at the most notorious murder case since O. J. Simpson.

    Among the revelations in A Deadly Game:

    • Dozens of actual conversations involving Scott, Amber Frey, the police, and his family, friends, and others -- filled with Scott's chilling and incriminating behavior
    • The most complete account ever of Scott's lies and manipulation -- in the words of those who knew him best
    • Accounts of Scott's womanizing from his conquests themselves -- including the woman he was dating just before Laci, and two of his mistresses before Amber
    • How Laci's mother confronted Scott with furious accusations -- while his own mother privately urged him to "deny, deny, deny"
    • How swift police work may have saved the case in the first twenty-four hours
    • The untold story of how Amber maintained contact with Scott without informing police, and was briefly considered a suspect
    • How Scott bragged to two different witnesses about how to kill someone
    • Many never-before-seen police photos, documents, and evidence files

    Thoroughly engrossing yet highly disturbing, A Deadly Game is the definitive account of a murder that left an indelible stain on the American psyche.

    ... Read more

    Reviews (88)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Revealing
    When the case finally ended anD death row was his faTe, a little voice kept haunting me, "what if he didn't do it..he is going to die." After reAding Ms Crier's book there is no doubt in my mind at all.He did kill Laci - HE PLANNED IT OUT, HE KILLED HER 2 DAYS AFTER THEY FOUND THEY WERE HAVING A BABY BOY...I can't believe anyone could do such a terrible thing, and the only apparent reason was he decided he didn't want a wife and a baby-like Mrs. Rocha said'"divorce was always an option.."Not for Scott Peterson.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Detailed, but flawed with errors
    I read this book cover to cover. I had found errors even in the first few chapters. Those errors were confusing, such as the age of McKenzie in Scott's affair with Janet. Later, on page 120, the policemen started interviewing Shawn Sibley (Amber's friend) at 11:02. Then on page 124, according to the book, one of the poliecemen switched off the tape recorder at 12:41 PM. Both policemen stretched their legs before continuing their session with Amber Frey. On page 125, one of the policemen said that he was about to start interviewing again at 11:50 AM. HOW WAS THIS POSSIBLE?

    There are many errors like these, so they made me doubt the credibility of the author and the book. If this is the best book on the case, then I'd better not read any other books about this case at all.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Many Typos and Errors
    As an avid Court Tv watcher, I am very impressed with the intelligent reporting of Catherine Crier although during the Peterson trial I think they all at Court Tv were a bit too biased in implying Scott's guilt before the trial had reached a conclusion.
    About the book, it is very well written, but there are many errors and typos that are pretty obvious.I think the book could have been even better had more time been taken to review and proofread it (ie it gives Laci's age as 26 in one spot and 27 in the other, this type of error is all over the book and takes away from its effectivness and credibility).All in all though, I think it gives us a closer look at who Scott actually is and who Laci was, but still has not convinced me that Scott is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt based on my opinion that Court TV was biased during the trial aside from Beth Karas, she was fair in her reporting.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The most information and compelling read
    I've read Amber Frey's book and Anne Bird's also, but this book by Catherine Crier is by far superior.It has complete and timeline worthy information and is never dull.It rarely even touches on the other 2 books except for transcripts of telephone conversation, which is obviously unavoidable.I did feel that it was obvious she thought he was guilty but still conveyed information on a semi-non-biased front.

    Some of the evidence presented, I thought, deserved a closer, longer look at.Such as the marina pass Scott purchased on the 20th for use on the 22nd and 23rd, but when he told investigators that deciding to go fishing instead of golfing was a 'Morning Decision', that was pretty obvious that it wasn't.

    Good book, very informative.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Incredible must read
    This gave me incredible insite into Scott Peterson and the trial.Catherine Crier is an excellent Court Tv analyst and this book was expertly written.If you want to know anything and everything about this trial, this is book.Don't waste you money and the books by Amber Frey and Anne Bird.The do nothing but show you what idiots they are. ... Read more


    5. Dangerous Doses : How Counterfeiters Are Contaminating America's Drug Supply
    by Katherine Eban
    list price: $25.00
    our price: $16.50
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0151010501
    Catlog: Book (2005-05-09)
    Publisher: Harcourt
    Sales Rank: 2743
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    In the tradition of the great investigative classics, Dangerous Doses exposes the dark side of America's pharmaceutical trade. Stolen, compromised, and counterfeit medicine increasingly makes its way into a poorly regulated distribution system-where it may reach unsuspecting patients who stake their lives on its effectiveness.

    Katherine Eban's hard-hitting exploration of America's secret ring of drug counterfeiters takes us to Florida, where tireless investigators follow the trail of medicine stolen in a seemingly minor break-in as it funnels into a sprawling national network of drug polluters. Their pursuit stretches from a strip joint in South Miami to the halls of Congress as they battle entrenched political interests and uncover an increasing threat to America's health.

    With the conscience of a crusading reporter, Eban has crafted a riveting narrative that shows how, when we most need protection, we may be most at risk.

    ... Read more

    Reviews (5)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great Summer Reading
    This book is astounding.Told as a thriller, it shows why, unbelievably, your pharmacist cannot tell you where your prescription drugs have come from - they have no idea.

    One of many great reviews out there - this one in Salon.com- by Katharine Mieszkowski:
    "They call themselves the Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and they hold meetings at Hooters. Their uniforms consist of black polo shirts emblazoned with a pack of horses flanking the Grim Reaper, who's wielding a scythe. One Horseman's name is Venema, which rhymes with "enema." But he prefers his code name: Ice Station Zebra. These dubious characters are the good guys in "Dangerous Doses: How Counterfeiters Are Contaminating America's Drug Supply," by Katherine Eban, an expose that wades into more rank Florida unseemliness than a Carl Hiaasen novel, and easily boasts three times the number of sleazebag villains...
    Eban mostly lets this stranger-than-fiction cast of characters tell the story, which makes it engaging, even though it's essentially about government failure. The real cause of the corruption of the drug supply isn't the money to be made. It's a weak regulatory system, which doesn't require complete proof ofthe route a drug takes from its manufacturer to the pharmacist. That opens the door for all kinds of shenanigans among the colorful, corrupt middlemen. The drug industry lobbyists say it would be unduly expensive to keep such records, and that they aren't necessary, even as Operation Stone Cold uncovers more and more stolen, fake and mishandled medicine. And the government continues to buy that argument, even after no lesser force than Gov. Jeb Bush convenes a grand jury to look into the matter. (What it turns up is horrifying to all involved.) ..."

    5-0 out of 5 stars An amazing read
    This is a book about an terribly important story--how our most expensive and important medicines are being counterfeited and debased and then sold by good pharmacies to unsuspecting citizens. But it is also a wonderfully exciting read, the kind of narrative nonfiction that doesn't come along very often. The author tells of a rag-tag group of investigators who have personality to spare, and an amazing young DA who decided to go after the counterfeiters in southern Florida. It's an exciting chase story, with lots of personality and humor.
    Even though the theme is scary, the story is riveting.

    5-0 out of 5 stars An eye-opening expose of the underbelly of pharmaceuticals
    Americans need to know that every time we enter the drug store, the current system of regulation allows for the possibility that the drugs we are purchasing are counterfeit or adulterated.Stored in individuals' laundry rooms, strip clubs and even trunks, the drugs that reach the public are not safe under the current system of regulation.Katherine Eban has written a riveting account of how greedy individuals have preyed upon the weakest of the weak who depend on these life-saving drugs for their very survival.Well-researched and thorough, this book provides a startling account of how greed can kill.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Shocking and heartbreaking
    This is a shocking, heartbreaking account of how one of our 'sacred cows'- the prescription drug industry- is really a corrupt breeding ground for low-end criminals and petty corruption.But at its core, and what makes the book such a great read, are the human stories- the stories of the victimized, and the stories of the five investogators who fight at all costs to expose what is happening.Well researched and highly recommended.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Groundbreaking, accurate, important medical journalism
    This book recounts in exacting detail the adulteration of the critical drugs needed by cancer and other critically ill patients, the result of a investigation by a group of dedicated Florida policemen and the author.This fact-driven, exhaustively researched, and beautifully written account is a compelling read, and one which (as an academic physician and cancer specialist) I found impeccable.It is an essential book for anyone for whom the integrity of our medications are important--which is everyone in this country. ... Read more


    6. Under the Banner of Heaven : A Story of Violent Faith
    by JON KRAKAUER
    list price: $14.95
    our price: $10.17
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1400032806
    Catlog: Book (2004-06-08)
    Publisher: Anchor
    Sales Rank: 783
    Average Customer Review: 3.99 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Jon Krakauer’s literary reputation rests on insightful chronicles of lives conducted at the outer limits.In UNDER THE BANNER OF HEAVEN, he shifts his focus from extremes of physical adventure to extremes of religious belief within our own borders.At the core of his book is an appalling double murder committed by two Mormon Fundamentalist brothers, Ron and Dan Lafferty, who insist they received a revelation from God commanding them to kill their blameless victims. Beginning with a meticulously researched account of this “divinely inspired” crime, Krakauer constructs a multilayered, bone-chilling narrative of messianic delusion, savage violence, polygamy, and unyielding faith.Along the way, he uncovers a shadowy offshoot of America’s fastest-growing religion, and raises provocative questions about the nature of religious belief.

    Krakauer takes readers inside isolated communities in the American West, Canada, and Mexico, where some forty-thousand Mormon Fundamentalists believe the mainstream Mormon Church went unforgivably astray when it renounced polygamy.Defying both civil authorities and the Mormon establishment in Salt Lake City, the leaders of these outlaw sects are zealots who answer only to God.Marrying prodigiously and with virtual impunity (the leader of the largest fundamentalist church took seventy-five “plural wives,” several of whom were wed to him when they were fourteen or fifteen and he was in his eighties),fundamentalist prophets exercise absolute control over the lives of their followers, and preach that any day now the world will be swept clean in a hurricane of fire, sparing only their most obedient adherents.

    Weaving the story of the Lafferty brothers and their fanatical brethren with a clear-eyed look at Mormonism’s violent past, Krakauer examines the underbelly of the most successful homegrown faith in the United States, and finds a distinctly American brand of religious extremism.The result is vintage Krakauer, an utterly compelling work of nonfiction that illuminates an otherwise confounding realm of human behavior.


    From the Hardcover edition.
    ... Read more

    Reviews (379)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Read it between the lines...
    Hmmmm...have some of these harsh critics actually read the book?

    I knew nothing about Mormonism before I read this story. But by the last hundred pages, I was thinking very emphatically to myself that Mr. Krakauer took GREAT PAINS to emphasize that the devil here were these two murderers, neither the Mormon religion itself nor even fundamentalist Mormons (although the latter are portrayed as being less blameless).

    I did not pick up this book intending to come away with a comprehensive history of Mormonism. I did not pick up this book intending to read a true crime story.

    No, contrary to some "misled" individuals who claim to have read this book, I picked up this book intending to read EXACTLY WHAT IT SAYS ON THE FRONT COVER, Einsteins. It states right on the cover, and I directly quote:

    "On July 24, 1984, a woman and her infant daughter were murdered by two brothers who believed they were ordered to kill by God. The roots of their crime lie deep in the history of an American religion practiced by millions..."

    What does this sentence mean to you? It doesn't say, "The Evils of the LDS Church" or "...two Mormon brothers..." For anyone reading those critiques that so harshly pan the book because it "wasn't what they expected," please read the quote that I have written here, and then tell me what you expect to read. I promise you that what you read into that quote is what you will get when you read this. These brothers' roots were indeed in LDS...that does not mean that LDS is wicked, and I never once saw it that way, even without any prior conceptions about LDS.

    And as for you critics who think that Mr. Krakauer is biased because he is agnostic, I find it hard to believe that you could forgive him his well-researched and well-balanced, conscientious manuscript, no matter WHAT his spiritual values. If he was Jewish, you'd find something "biased" about that. And ditto if he was Lutheran, Catholic, or Mormon himself. No matter what religion he was, because he's writing about religion, you'd say he was biased.

    Of course, the only "unbiased" person is the completely ignorant one. Everyone who learns something has an opinion about it. I dare any critic to tell me otherwise. But as far as this book is concerned, Mr. Krakauer has taken the utmost care to make the condemnation of this crime of which he writes as narrow and as specific as possible.

    Mr. Krakauer points out to us time and time again that these are resentful, looney-tunes, fundamentalist, ex-communicated-Mormon brothers who murdered their sister-in-law. So unless you are a resentful, looney-tunes, fundamentalist, ex-communicated-Mormon brother who wants to murder their sister-in-law, know in advance that this book does not set out to offend you.

    Read it to learn, not to judge, and ye shall be the wiser.

    5-0 out of 5 stars well written, well researched
    Jon Krakauer has long been a literary hero of mine. As a fellow agnostic, I have found his works to be a fecundity of insight and self-examination that result in an acute, if not critical understanding of the human spirit.

    This book reads incredibly well and weaves the stupefying history of the latter day saints with the horrifying murders of Brenda and Erica Lafferty. Ultimately, Krakauer makes the tacit polemic that the legacy of the LDS church, which is replete with both violence and polygamy, should not be underestimated when trying to understand the motives of the murderers--Ron and Don Lafferty. Although the LDS church is quick to distance itself from fundamentalist Mormon groups, which happily embrace polygamy, the history is undeniable. Both Joseph Smith and Brigham Young were devout polygamists, and believed polygamy to be the most sacred of God's commandments.

    Many from the LDS church (and reviewers on this site) decry the book as being one-sided. It most certainly is not. Rather ironically, it seems that the ruling patriarchy of the church is the one in fact that is bent on presenting a dubiously researched and one-sided view of its history. To be sure, Krakauer treats all parties mentioned in the book with respect and dignity, remaining an objective narrator throughout the text. This is definitely a recommended read.

    4-0 out of 5 stars An objective, eye-opener
    I had read this author before and liked his work. I checked this book from the public library. I could not have guessed that he grew up Mormon until he tells the reader near the end of the book. There's so much here that I did not know. Fascinating.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Right on the Money
    Jon Krakauer is a superb writer who has taken a controversial subject and not only explained it objectively, but made it entertaining as well. I have read a great deal about the Mormons, my interest spurred by the fact that two of my grandmother's first cousins were wives of John Doyle Lee, and it is incomprehensible to me that any modern woman would tolerate for one moment the abuse and subjection that the church imposes in the name of religion. In the old days, most women were at the mercy of their husbands, but the brainwashing of today is criminal. This is a powerful plea for universal public education, as well as an alert Department of Human Services.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Great story, but author interprets history
    This was a fascinating book, but when I finished the last page I felt like I had read a 365-page story from the National Enquirer. The book oozes with juicy descriptions of fundamentalist Mormons, murderers who kill in the name of God, and the checkered history of the Mormon Church.

    If you're expecting a clinical dissection of a murder, skip this book. It claims to focus on two brothers (Ron and Dan Lafferty) who murdered a woman and her baby two decades ago, but only one-third of the book really talks about the murder. Another third covers the history of the Mormon church, and the final third is a startling (and equally gossipy) survey of polygamist communities from Utah to Canada to Mexico.

    As a story, the book hits a home run. Krakauer is a great writer, and his eye for detail is devastating. You read descriptions of the polygamist communities and you feel like laughing at the crackpots and crying for the victims at the same time.

    Unfortunately--and this is why I give the book only three stars--Krakauer can't merely document the history and describe the events. His book quietly advocates two stealth theses. They don't belong in a book like this, at least not secretly, and I think the second thesis is wrong anyway.

    His theses, which are never spelled out completely but nevertheless lurk below the surface in every chapter, are that (a) religion is a waste, and (b) the mainstream Mormon church has infused its followers with such a spirit of violence that it must share in the blame when its fanatic followers go berserk. These are perfectly valid topics to contemplate, but if you put them forth you should come clean and say so out loud, and then give data to prove them. Krakauer's book tries to prove these theses with anecdotes, extremely narrow vignettes of deranged persons, and sensationalized histories of century-old events. For example, we never hear what the "mainstream" polygamists think of the Laffertys' crime. I think they would probably denounce it, but Krakauer isn't going to give them voice in his book because it would weaken his second thesis. Instead (surprise, surprise) the last chapter revolves around an ex-fundamentalist who found his salvation in atheism. What's his connection to the Lafferty crime? None.

    Krakauer is extrapolating a line from a single point. Can you really draw general conclusions about a worldwide church from the actions of two fundamentalist kooks? Krakauer thinks you can. Worse, he conflates three very different things (the mainstream Mormon church, the fundamentalist polygamists, and the Lafferty brothers) to the point where naive readers will start thinking they're all the same thing.

    The author has right to ask hard questions about religion and the Mormon church, but I think it's wrong to write contentious things by making unilateral interpretations without giving all sides of the story.

    The Appendix to my edition of the book (Anchor) contained a negative review of "Under the Banner of Heaven" by a Mormon official. Krakauer engages him and debates fair and square for a few pages. What the shame the rest of the book wasn't like that. ... Read more


    7. The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America
    by Erik Larson
    list price: $14.95
    our price: $10.17
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0375725601
    Catlog: Book (2004-02-10)
    Publisher: Vintage
    Sales Rank: 136
    Average Customer Review: 4.17 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

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

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

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


    From the Hardcover edition.
    ... Read more

    Reviews (234)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    8. Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six M.I.T. Students Who Took Vegas for Millions
    by Ben Mezrich
    list price: $14.00
    our price: $10.50
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0743249992
    Catlog: Book (2003-09-09)
    Publisher: Free Press
    Sales Rank: 174
    Average Customer Review: 4.15 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    #1 National Bestseller!
    The amazing inside story about a gambling ring of M.I.T. students who beat the system in Vegas -- and lived to tell how.

    Robin Hood meets the Rat Pack when the best and the brightest of M.I.T.'s math students and engineers take up blackjack under the guidance of an eccentric mastermind.Their small blackjack club develops from an experiment in counting cards on M.I.T.'s campus into a ring of card savants with a system for playing large and winning big.In less than two years they take some of the world's most sophisticated casinos for more than three million dollars.But their success also brings with it the formidable ire of casino owners and launches them into the seedy underworld of corporate Vegas with its private investigators and other violent heavies.

    Filled with tense action, high stakes, and incredibly close calls, Bringing Down the House is a nail-biting read that chronicles a real-life Ocean's Eleven.It's one story that Vegas does not want you to read. ... Read more

    Reviews (226)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Beating the odds and living a constant adrenaline high!
    This is a fast and explosive read. It's a true story that's so high-powered that the tension never ceases and I was thrust into a roller coaster ride that kept my eyes glued to the pages.

    The story is told through the eyes of the author, who met one of the students at a party and was so intrigued by his outrageous tale that he was compelled to put it into a book. This is a story of a group of math whizzes, most of Asian descent, who used the art of card counting, worked as teams, and legally won as much as 4 million dollars during the few years they spent their weekends in the Vegas casinos, living the high life.

    They strapped thousands of dollars to their bodies with Velcro to get the cash onto planes, used false names, and were always on the lookout for Las Vegas personnel who would sometimes personally escort them out of the casinos. They also learned about the seediness of the gambling world, greed, the way the Vegas corporations work. Of course they all went through changes. And eventually, it had to come to an end. Some of it is kind of scary too. But mostly, it's about beating the odds and living with a constant adrenaline high.

    Well, reading this book is an adrenaline high of it's own. It put me right into the action and kept me there for the whole 257 pages. I loved it. And highly recommend it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars If you've ever played blackjack, this is a must read!
    This is a truly amazing story of six MIT students who beat Vegas at its own game.

    As anybody who has ever been to Vegas knows, the ONLY game in Vegas where the player has a slight advantage (using minor card counting techniques) over the house is blackjack. The MIT students in this book took it a few steps further to increase their advantage even more. The research, practice, and other methods they used are quite remarkable. It certainly helped that they were all mathematical whizzes.

    This book is a lot more than just blackjack, though. It gives an inside glimpse into the life of a high roller (AKA whale in gambling jargon) and even has some suspense and intrigue.

    This is an absolute must read for anybody who has ever gambled in their life, especially if you've ever played a hand of blackjack. The book is a very fast read and you will find yourself turning the pages very quickly as you are enveloped in a fantasy world that only a handful of people ever get to realize.

    HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

    5-0 out of 5 stars Easy to Read
    This is a fun and interesting book. Nothing too heavy. Just a light, easy to read book - which is sometimes the very best thing. In the same easy to read level of entertainment as "Moneyball" (Michael Lewis), "Stranger Than Fiction" (Chuck Palahniuk), or "My Fractured Life" (Rikki Lee Travolta).

    5-0 out of 5 stars CAN'T WAIT TO SEE THE MOVIE!
    Ben Mezrich knows how to tell a story. He takes us along with Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT) Black Jack team on casino assaults from Las Vegas to the Bahamas. We experience the life of high stakes gamblers... the fabulous hotel complementary rooms and the casinos' violent response to big talented winners. He briefly discusses the theory of card counting among team players early on, but saves the details for the last chapter. Ben also admits that the casinos have adapted by implementing continuous card shuffling machines. As a computer programmer with designs on lotteries, I felt a connection to fellow Boston area college students with a plan and the determination to follow through. I hope they make a movie out of this.

    4-0 out of 5 stars decently fun....
    If you like gambling, like myself, I think this book is worthwhile. It's not exactly a dissertation on winning at blackjack by any means, or a how-to book on winning lots of cash in gambling. It's pretty much a tale of a team of card-counters that hit up Vegas for millions. Whether it's true or not, I'm not sure. But it is a fun read. The story is interesting, and keeps you captivated enough so you won't put it down. But a light pleasure read. The main negative I have with this book is that it really isn't that well-written. While it is an easy read, the author shifts in and out of 1st and 3rd person narrative a lot, not only chapter by chapter, but also within pages. Not that it makes it confusing, but after awhile it becomes annoying. But all in all I thought the book was fun to read. So I'd give it 3 and a half stars, rounded up to 4. ... Read more


    9. Blood Brother: 33 Reasons My Brother Scott Peterson Is Guilty
    by Anne Bird
    list price: $25.95
    our price: $17.13
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0060838574
    Catlog: Book (2005-03-01)
    Publisher: Regan Books
    Sales Rank: 3681
    Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    What happens if, after being given up for adoption in childhood, you reestablish contact with your biological family -- only to discover that your newfound brother is a killer?

    Anne Bird, the sister of Scott Peterson, knows firsthand.

    Soon after her birth in 1965, Anne was given up for adoption by her mother, Jackie Latham. Welcomed into the well-adjusted Grady family, she lived a happy life. Then, in the late 1990s, she came back into contact with her mother, now Jackie Peterson, and her family -- including Jackie's son Scott Peterson and his wife, Laci. Anne was welcomed into the family, and over the next several years she grew close to Scott and especially Laci. Together they shared holidays, family reunions, and even a trip to Disneyland. Anne and Laci became pregnant at roughly the same time, and the two became confidantes.

    Then, on Christmas Eve 2002, Laci Peterson went missing -- and the happy façade of the Peterson family slowly began to crumble. Anne rushed to the family's aid, helping in the search for Laci, even allowing Scott to stay in her home while police tried to find his wife. Yet Scott's behavior grew increasingly bizarre during the search, and Anne grew suspicious that her brother knew more than he was telling. Finally she began keeping a list of his disturbing behavior. And by the time Laci's body -- and that of her unborn son, Conner -- were found, Anne was becoming convinced: Her brother Scott Peterson had murdered his wife and unborn child in cold blood.

    Filled with news-making revelations and intimate glimpses of Scott and Laci, the Peterson family, and the investigation that followed the murder, Blood Brother is a provocative account of how long-dormant family ties dragged one woman into one of the most notorious crimes of our time.

    ... Read more

    Reviews (125)

    5-0 out of 5 stars I loved it
    I thought that this book was informative and I read it in three hours.I knew the story, but I continued to read, because I was interestead in what I was reading.I noticed a few errors in the book, but that did not bother me at all.Whispers of the Wicked saints had an error on the cover, but America loved that book.To Error os human to write a good book is divine.

    4-0 out of 5 stars insider's view ofScott Peterson
    Written in straightforward, serviceable narrative style, "Blood Brother" is authored by Anne Bird, half-sister of convicted killer Scott Peterson.A few years previous to the disappearance of Peterson's wife Laci,Bird had been reunited with her birth mother, Jackie Peterson, and had found another warm and welcoming family.

    "Blood Brother" describes Bird's slowly growing suspicions that Peterson may indeed be guilty.Her book gives us many previously unknown details of Scott's whereabouts, actions, and behavior before he was arrested.She describes her increasingly conflicted feelings about the man their mother referred to as "my golden boy."Although she realizes that she risks alienating the warm relationship she had established with her birth mother, she becomes convinced of Scott's guilt.

    "Blood Brother" is an absorbing look into a California family's lifestyle of ease and comfort, unravelled by violent death and sensational publicity.Although Regan Books doubtless rushed it into print, the book is well-crafted, articulate, and well worth reading.Recommended.

    1-0 out of 5 stars What a Rip-Off!!!
    Although I did receive this book from Padman 434 in a more or less timely fashion, the book, "Blood Brother: 33 Reasons My Brother Scott Peterson Is Guilty" was not worth the wait. The other book I ordered, "A Deadly Game" by Catherine Crier, was bought directly from Amazon, and I got it in 4 days. It's super. I'm now wondering why you do business at all from padman 434. All the posted reviews on your site were negative.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent !!
    I read this book in a single day.I had thought I would buy it for a slow read since I already knew the story, but once I started it I could not put it down.It was all new stuff, things I had never heard in the trial.I must admit that at the end I felt sad.What a loss, poor laci and her baby.I could not imagine looking into the face of the man she trusted while he killed her.I definetly recomend the book, it is much better then witness, because it is so much more informative. I would also like to say that the glass castle was excellent and Whispers of the wicked saints was absoluelty awesome !!Read them all, it is rare for me to find books that don't put me to sleep.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Riveting Reading for Peterson Hounds
    Fantastic expose of the REAL Scott Peterson. Want to know how he acted in detail after Laci disappeared? The sickening way he flirted with his sister's baby-sitter? The pathetic episode at a gay bar when he whined about not getting hit on? The way he never ONCE mentioned Laci's name and never missed her? The way he carried on his non-stop partying and womanizing? It's all here, all the disgusting details of this sociopath's bizaare behaivior after he "disposed" of his beautiful wife.Written by the one person he was close to after the murder, it will make your blood run cold. ... Read more


    10. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
    by JOHN BERENDT
    list price: $14.00
    our price: $11.20
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0679751521
    Catlog: Book (1999-06-28)
    Publisher: Vintage Books
    Average Customer Review: 4.06 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    John Berendt's Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil has been heralded as a "lyrical work of nonfiction," and the book's extremely graceful prose depictions of some of Savannah, Georgia's most colorful eccentrics--remarkable characters who could have once prospered in a William Faulkner novel or Eudora Welty short story--were certainly a critical factor in its tremendous success. (One resident into whose orbit Berendt fell, the Lady Chablis, went on to become a minor celebrity in her own right.) But equally important was Berendt's depiction of Savannah socialite Jim Williams as he stands trial for the murder of Danny Hansford, a moody, violence-prone hustler--and sometime companion to Williams--characterized by locals as a "walking streak of sex." So feel free to call it a "true crime classic" without a trace of shame. ... Read more

    Reviews (405)

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

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

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

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

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

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


    11. Lucky : A Memoir
    by Alice Sebold
    list price: $11.95
    our price: $8.96
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0316096199
    Catlog: Book (2002-09)
    Publisher: Back Bay Books
    Sales Rank: 1926
    Average Customer Review: 4.49 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Enormously visceral, emotionally gripping, and imbued with the belief that justice is possible even after the most horrific of crimes, Alice Sebold's compelling memoir of her rape at the age of eighteen is a story that takes hold of you and won't let go.

    Sebold fulfills a promise that she made to herself in the very tunnel where she was raped: someday she would write a book about her experience. With Lucky she delivers on that promise with mordant wit and an eye for life's absurdities, as she describes what she was like both as a young girl before the rape and how that rape changed but did not sink the woman she later became.

    It is Alice's indomitable spirit that we come to know in these pages. The same young woman who sets her sights on becoming an Ethel Merman-style diva one day (despite her braces, bad complexion, and extra weight) encounters what is still thought of today as the crime from which no woman can ever really recover. In an account that is at once heartrending and hilarious, we see Alice's spirit prevail as she struggles to have a normal college experience in the aftermath of this harrowing, life-changing event.

    No less gripping is the almost unbelievable role that coincidence plays in the unfolding of Sebold's narrative. Her case, placed in the inactive file, is miraculously opened again six months later when she sees her rapist on the street. This begins the long road to what dominates these pages: the struggle for triumph and understanding -- in the courtroom and outside in the world.

    Lucky is, quite simply, a real-life thriller. In its literary style and narrative tension we never lose sight of why this life story is worth reading. At the end we are left standing in the wake of devastating violence, and, like the writer, we have come to know what it means to survive. ... Read more

    Reviews (154)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A TRIUMPH OVER TRAGEDY
    Like her wonderful novel The Lovely Bones - which I've also reviewed and which you must read - Lucky is a harrowing, heart-wrenching book about the worst possible thing that can happen to a woman. Alice Sebold tells the raw story of her rape ordeal and her subsequent struggle for recovery with an honesty and warmth which is compelling. Lucky reads almost like a novel itself at times, with gripping moments of suspense, particularly during the court trial scenes.
    Alice Sebold was the innocent victim of an unforgivable crime - but she doesn't ask for our sympathy or pity in these beautifully written pages. She earns our respect and admiration for the courageous way she tells how the traumatic events changed and shaped her life; how the naive college student would eventually become a hardened, determined aggressor herself in her brave fight for justice against her attacker. Sadly, this natural reaction to her personal violation came with a price - destructive behavioural damage that brought a later downward spiral into drugs. What the author didn't know at the time is that she was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder; an anxiety syndrome that emerges following a psychologically distressing traumatic event such as rape, which she battles to overcome.
    Can someone really, truly, get over something so savage and brutal as rape is the numbing thought you're left with long after you put the book aside? The past can never be forgotten, but Alice Sebold has managed to crawl from the wreckage and move on with her life to a happier future that has brought her international fame and acclaim. That says something about the human spirit - and everything about this remarkable woman.

    4-0 out of 5 stars A Story of Survival - Incredible.
    In this thought-provoking, chilling memoir, Alice Sebold recounts the events of her rape and the aftermath of that tragedy. While strong enough to go through with the trial and conviction of her attacker, Sebold's emotional state was deeply affected for many years after. Her memoir follows the events that occurred after her rape and the things she attempted in order to escape her pain.

    Sebold captures this period in her life with great intensity and literary skill. Not only does the reader become informed of the actual events of the rape and the events following it, but we get a look into Sebold's home life and her personality before the night that would change everything.

    This story isn't just about a college girl's rape and her survival story. It's a story about her life: her family, her friends, her childhood. Sebold explains how when she was younger all she wanted was to be hugged by her parents, but she would settle for something as simple as a touch because she was offered nothing more (and sometimes not even that luxury). It's about growing up in a dysfunctional family and getting through it. It's about surviving not only bad experiences in life, but surviving and coping with continuing bad situations.

    A great read - highly recommended to anyone.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Must Read!
    A must read for clinical psychologists and students interested in the sexual abuse topic.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Yet again I'm left disappointed ...
    I was a bit underwhelmed with 'The Lovely Bones' - started out great, lost me entirely by the end - but I expected great things of 'Lucky'. Yet again it starts out well, the opening chapter is horrifying, moving and completely unputdownable - but as we move away from the actual rape and its immediate aftermath all Alice Sebold's faults as a writer surface again. She seems unable to select material which will be of interest to the reader and fills pages and pages with irrelevant detail of her family life and unnecessary background detail. The book comes alive again when she spots her rapist in the street but in between I found myself losing interest. We all know the argument about real-life not being as tidy as fiction - but in this case it WAS tidy - the rapist was identified by Alice, caught and punished (a much more satisfactory ending than that of 'The Lovely Bones', ironically). I wish the book had been more scrupulously edited to focus on the essential elements of her story rather than filled up with padding. I felt cheated at the end of the book - at the beginning I felt that I would be with Alice throughout her every step of her journey to find justice and recover from the trauma she suffered but somehow this connection was lost and by the middle of the book I had no idea what she - or indeed anyone else involved was thinking or feeling. What a shame as this could have been a truly great book and an inspiration to rape survivors everywhere ...

    5-0 out of 5 stars A real tale, full of sound and fury
    This book is so many things, but the one that comes first to mind is "brave." For Seabold to have written this is amazing--the courage it must have taken. But that aside, it is well-written. I read "Lovely Bones" first, and then this one. While the premise of "Lovely" was great, I found "Lucky" to be a better book. Don't get me wrong, I like both of them, but "Lucky" was by far the more "real" tale. Try them both and then decide for yourself.

    Also recommended: McCrae's Bark of the Dogwood, A Boy Called It ... Read more


    12. Organized Crime
    by Howard Abadinsky
    list price: $81.95
    our price: $81.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0534551580
    Catlog: Book (2002-07-24)
    Publisher: Wadsworth Publishing
    Sales Rank: 479357
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Abadinsky provides a detailed analysis of the origins, history, theoretical explanations, and structure of organized crime, including drug trafficking, gambling, and loan sharking. The author also explains the methods employed by law enforcement agencies to combat organized crime, and the policy decisions reached by various investigating committees and commissions, including the President's Commission on Organized Crime.This text is known for presenting a comprehensive history of the subject and for being written in an engaging, "storytelling" style. In addition to presenting information on traditional organized crime groups in the United States, particularly New York and Chicago, Abadinsky covers organized crime groups on the international stage, including Chinese, Columbian, Italian, Jamaican, Japanese, Mexican, Nigerian, Russian, as well as outlaw motorcycle clubs with chapters throughout the world. ... Read more

    Reviews (3)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent text for Criminal Justice majors
    I am a college professor who just finished teaching ORGANIZED CRIME to twenty college juniors and seniors. I selected Abadinsky's book as the text because it is carefully and thoughtfully "choreographed." The information provided flows in a sensible and clearly written design. Some texts appear to be designed for Rhodes Scholars and are virtually impossible to read. This is not the case with this great book! I recommend it to teachers and those who have in interest in this fascinating subject.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Organized Crime's concept, empircial evidence and current LE
    If you (the reader, the researcher) is interested in Organized Crime, I strongly recommend this book (Howard Abadinsky's Organized Crime, 6th Ed.) This book is the only detailed book I have come across in studying Organized Crime. I am currently a criminal justice graduate student attending the University of Central Florida. RSB

    5-0 out of 5 stars A classic work by a leading expert in the field
    In this revised edition of the classic text on organized crime Abadinsky provides a comprehensive overview of organized crime groups, traditions, operations and the impact on American society. ... Read more


    13. Inside Terrorism
    by Bruce Hoffman
    list price: $70.00
    our price: $70.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0231114680
    Catlog: Book (1998-04-15)
    Publisher: Columbia University Press
    Sales Rank: 321086
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    The word "terrorism" first became popular during the French Revolution, when the régime de la terreur was initially viewed as a positive political system that used fear to remind citizens of the necessity of virtue. The use of violence to "educate" people about ideological issues has continued, but it has taken on decidedly negative connotations--and has become predominantly, though not exclusively, a tactic deployed by those who do not have the powers of state at their disposal.

    Bruce Hoffman, the director of the Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence, has written a clear summary of some of the major historical trends in international terrorism. He makes careful distinctions between the motivations that drive political (or ethno-nationalist) terrorism and religious terrorism, and he also shows why the rise of religious terrorism, coupled with the increased availability of weapons of mass destruction, may foretell an era of even greater violence. In the past, Hoffman argues, the main goal of the terrorist was not to kill, but to attract media attention to his cause in the hope of initiating reform. "For the religious terrorist," however, "violence is first and foremost a sacramental act or divine duty executed in direct response to some theological demand or imperative ... religious terrorists see themselves not as components of a system worth preserving but as 'outsiders,' seeking fundamental changes in the existing order." Hoffman does not "choose sides" in this framework, pointing to the bombings of the World Trade Center and Oklahoma City and to the sarin nerve gas attacks in Tokyo in order to demonstrate that fundamentalists of any religious denomination are capable of extreme acts of terrorism. ... Read more

    Reviews (10)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A highly relevant work on an extremely important topic
    Dr. Bruce Hoffman, long regarded as an authority on terrorism, adds great insight through his book Inside Terrorism.Continuing on the good work done on the subject by Paul Wikinson and others at the leading terrorism institution- University of St. Andrews, Scotland- Hoffman illustrates for the reader the key components of terrorism and goes on to tackle very important and complex aspects of the subject.

    This book is certainly a MUST READ for any serious study of terrorism.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great introduction to terrorism studies
    A definite must-read for beginners.Hoffman discusses everything from "what is terrorism" to various major terorrist groups.The book progresses logically and reads well.It's broken up into subchapters and offers extensive endnotes for further reading, should you so choose.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent one volume introduction to the subject
    Bruce Hoffman, long one of RAND's key terrorism-wallahs and an affiliate of St Andrews University has written an excellent book on a controversial topic.

    There was a fair amount of literature on terrorism prior to September 11th and, my, but there's even more now. A lot of it was a load of old rubbish prior to September 11th and even more of it is now. Hoffman's book is a work of substance which in itself puts it ahead of much of the pack.

    "Inside Terrorism" covers a variety of areas. It opens with a discussion about the lengthy (and continuing) debate that surrounds the issue of defining terrorism - an issue which has stumped everyone from academics to the UN. What and who exactly IS a terrorist? Hoffman doesn't provide a clear cut, definitive answer but he does provide clear coverage of what is framing the argument, along with some of the possible answers which are being put forward. Whether you consider this level of debate to be self-indulgent and ivory tower or not (as I increasingly do, interesting thought it is) it is important to know that the debate does exist and what it's all about as it goes to the heart of some real-life anti-terrorism policy making, especially with regard to multilateral attempts to curb terror groups.

    Hoffman moves on to cover Post-colonial ethnic or nationalist terror groups, international terrorism, Religion and terrorism, Terrorism, Media and public opinion, Terrorist methods and mindsets and the potential future of terrorism. All in all, it adds up to a fairly comprehensive introduction to the subject. Some of Hoffman's conclusions aren't to everybody's tastes, but terrorism is an inherently controversial and hotly debated issue, it's the nature of the beast.

    Overall, this is an excellent overview and introduction to the subject of terrorism. Certainly better than the recent work of Walter Laqueur. The newcomer to the subject would also be well advised to check out Christopher Harmon's "Terrorism Today" as well, along with Paul Wilkinson's "Terrorism and Democracy". Ken Booth's "Worlds in Collision" is an excellent collection of essays by various authors that is ideal for somebody with an interest in the post-September 11th world.

    Hoffman's writing style is not immediately engaging (I found the book far more digestible on a second reading), but this is still an excellent work for the beginner. In a field that is both crowded and shallow, Hoffman has produced a book of genuine substance and for that he deserves credit.

    4-0 out of 5 stars If only it wasn't so redundant
    Not having any bakcground in the history of terrorism, I found this book extremely informative. I learned a great deal about the development/evolution and history of modern-day terrorism,. Furthermore, I found the discussion of the various types of terrorism to be especially useful. However, the book seemed very redudant to me. I recommend this to whoever is looking for a brief overview of how terrorism has changed since its beginnings.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Invaluable Perspectives Within an Historical Context
    For the general reader, Hoffman provides probably the best introduction to terrorism from an historical perspective.It is instructive to view the tragic events of September 11th from that perspective. Terrorists' motives as well as their strategic objectives and tactical means have differed (sometimes significantly) over the centuries. Hoffman does a brilliant job of reviewing and explaining a wide variety of separate acts of terrorism. All terrorists (religious or secular) are extremists. Frankly, I continue to have problems with the term "fundamentalists" because so many historical figures now revered acted upon the most fundamental of principles for which they were prepared to die...and many did. Like heroism, terrorism is in the eye of the beholder. Case in point: those involved with the Resistance in occupied France during World War Two. To his credit, Hoffman presents the material with great precision but without bias. It remains for each reader to formulate value judgments. Especially now, this is a "must read" for those of us who struggle to understand events on a recent Tuesday. ... Read more


    14. Ballad of the Whiskey Robber: A True Story of Bank Heists, Ice Hockey, Transylvanian Pelt Smuggling, Moonlighting Detectives, and Broken Hearts
    by Julian Rubinstein
    list price: $23.95
    our price: $16.29
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0316071676
    Catlog: Book (2004-09)
    Publisher: Little, Brown
    Sales Rank: 1220
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    Book Description

    Elmore Leonard meets Franz Kafka in the wild, improbably true story of the legendary outlaw of Budapest.

    Attila Ambrus was a gentleman thief, a sort of Cary Grant--if only Grant came from Transylvania, was a terrible professional hockey goalkeeper, and preferred women in leopard-skin hot pants. During the 1990s, while playing for the biggest hockey team in Budapest, Ambrus took up bank robbery to make ends meet. Arrayed against him was perhaps the most incompetent team of crime investigators the Eastern Bloc had ever seen: a robbery chief who had learned how to be a detective by watching dubbed Columbo episodes; a forensics man who wore top hat and tails on the job; and a driver so inept he was known only by a Hungarian word that translates to Mound of Ass-Head.

    BALLAD OF THE WHISKEY ROBBER is the completely bizarre and hysterical story of the crime spree that made a nobody into a somebody, and told a forlorn nation that sometimes the brightest stars come from the blackest holes. Like The Professor and the Madman and The Orchid Thief, Julian Rubinstein's bizarre crime story is so odd and so wicked that it is completely irresistible. ... Read more


    15. In Cold Blood
    by Truman Capote
    list price: $13.00
    our price: $9.75
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0679745580
    Catlog: Book (1994-02-01)
    Publisher: Vintage
    Sales Rank: 3645
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    "Until one morning in mid-November of 1959, few Americans--in fact, few Kansans--had ever heard of Holcomb. Like the waters of the river, like the motorists on the highway, and like the yellow trains streaking down the Santa Fe tracks, drama, in the shape of exceptional happenings, had never stopped there." If all Truman Capote did was invent a new genre--journalism written with the language and structure of literature--this "nonfiction novel" about the brutal slaying of the Clutter family by two would-be robbers would be remembered as a trail-blazing experiment that has influenced countless writers. But Capote achieved more than that. He wrote a true masterpiece of creative nonfiction. The images of this tale continue to resonate in our minds: 16-year-old Nancy Clutter teaching a friend how to bake a cherry pie, Dick Hickock's black '49 Chevrolet sedan, Perry Smith's Gibson guitar and his dreams of gold in a tropical paradise--the blood on the walls and the final "thud-snap" of the rope-broken necks. ... Read more

    Reviews (204)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Capote Offers Much in an Amazingly Detailed Account
    While Capote's work offers a deep and involving plot to any reader in search of a entertaining yet thought-provoking story, it is the lengths to which Capote goes which leave In Cold Blood a few steps ahead of a simple account of crime and its consequences. Other than offering the simple story, the author went beyond my expectations in delivering an amazingly comprehensive psycological analysis of the killers, explaining the possible reasons behind such an appalling crime.

    I heard that the author spend around six years researching the Clutter case in order to write the account, and it definitely shows. Capote incorportates massive amounts of detail, yet this added information does prove to be too much for the reader. The author skillfuly informs while simultaniously drawing the reader's attention further into the grip of the story. Also to be commended is Capote's inclusion of the trial and punishment of the two men. I would recommend to anyone this book before he or she forms a truly concrete opinion of capital punishment, as the author sheds a detracted, yet sympathetic, but also somewhat vengeful light upon the operation of our capital punishment system. This harrowing account of American crime is definitely a must.

    4-0 out of 5 stars In Cold Blood
    In the story "In Cold Blood" by Truman Capote, I found that this man's version of the story was quite interesting to me. He was very descriptive in detail of all the characters of the book by being very meticulous in his writing style. He also performed such extensive research of Holcomb by describing every little detail about the town. This book was unique because of how Truman would talk about Perry Smith and Dick Hickock in one paragraph and then the next paragraph he would switch over to the Clutter family and what they were doing. He had so much information about the Clutters that he even described how the daughter Nancy was helping a little girl learn to bake a pie. By explaining in detail of what happened the day of the murder made this book so interesting that I could not put it down until I read the whole thing. When a writer explains all of the details in this way, someone who reads this book can understand what must have happened and how surprised the town was to have this happen to such a nice family in the community. I was very impressed with how Truman was so particular in his details of the murder itself. Truman identified every piece of the murder and by doing this, I felt like I got to know every character in the book. I know that with forensics today some murders do not take as long to solve, but back in 1959 murders were very rare. This murder case was so intriguing because the police did not have all of the technology of today to help solve this murder. The murder was solved with simple police tactics and this is partially what made the book so interesting for me to read. I would recommend that anyone who likes to read books of this nature, "Cold Blood" would be of interest to them.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Just perfect!
    There are only a handful of "perfect" books out in the world. You know what I mean: Books that have a great dramatic arc; books that make "sense;" Books that bring everything together; Books that seem "Classic" even though they might have been written only a few years ago. A few come to mind. Steinbeck's EAST OF EDEN is one. McCrae's BARK OF THE DOGWOOD is another. And, yes, IN COLD BLOOD is yet a third. There are a few more, but then, everyone has their opinion, so I'll leave it at that. Suffice it to say that this Capote book will NOT disappoint you with its great yet disturbing story. And lest you think that we're (as a society) numb to murder, violence, and the workings of a sick mind, think again, for Capote's brilliant work will still make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. It sounds cliche to say "Classic" but that's just what it is.

    5-0 out of 5 stars In Cold Blood, an undeniable classic.
    In Cold Blood by Truman Capote is a celebrated meld of fact and inference. In it Capote pioneered the genre of the nonfiction novel. Using the real-life murder of the Clutter family in 1959 Holcomb Kansas, Capote spins a story that impresses and engages everyone who reads it. The original way Capote uses scenes creates a specific and lasting impression. His take on the Clutter murders is all-encompassing. It's informative, accurate and saturated with details. Capote transforms a news article into a creative work and makes history doing it.

    I thoroughly enjoyed In Cold Blood. Even though the Clutter family was murdered 50 years ago, when I read it the story it felt immediate and pertinent. The psychological insights Capote made in the book, especially when looking at the killers, were phenomenal and ahead of his time. In Cold Blood read like a romance novel with the added intensity of knowing that the content was real; that it actually happened. The connection Capote makes to the Perry is so deep that it left me feeling that Perry was almost the good guy, and although it was inevitable, he wouldn't end up being executed. I suppose that is the real difference between fiction and nonfiction: in nonfiction that author can't twist the plot to create a happy ending.

    5-0 out of 5 stars One of the five all-time great reads
    This book is still holding its own after all these years, and with good reason: It's a well-crafted piece of literature by one of the last century's great American writers. Without a doubt, this is one of the top five books that everyone should read and keep. Not only did Capote develop a new hybrid of book, but he managed to couch the tale in such wonderful prose that it's still haunting and harrowing, even today after all we've seen and been through. But this is the essence of Capote--his ability to get down to the bones of the story, yet give us enough details that make the telling come alive with a fresh horror. And as if this book were not enough of a legacy for him to leave, consider how he changed all literature that came after "In Cold Blood." So many writers have taken their cue from Capote with regard to hybridizing genres (think Berendt's "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil," or Jackson McCrae's "The Bark of the Dogwood") that it is impossible to ignore the contributions this brilliant and damaged man has made to the cannon of American literature. But don't be put off by the fact that "Blood" is now a classic--read it for the brilliant story it is. On another note, the movie is equally as harrowing, shot in black and white, with Robert Blake. The scenes in which the Clutter family is killed are some of the most disturbing footage ever to be seen on film. Bottomline: Great book, great movie, great writer. ... Read more


    16. Incident Response and Computer Forensics, Second Edition
    by Chris Prosise, Kevin Mandia, Matt Pepe
    list price: $49.99
    our price: $31.49
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 007222696X
    Catlog: Book (2003-07-17)
    Publisher: McGraw-Hill Osborne Media
    Sales Rank: 19128
    Average Customer Review: 4.64 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Written by FBI insiders, this updated best-seller offers a look at the legal, procedural, and technical steps of incident response and computer forensics. Including new chapters on forensic analysis and remediation, and real-world case studies, this revealing book shows how to counteract and conquer today’s hack attacks. ... Read more

    Reviews (25)

    5-0 out of 5 stars The best computer forensics book just got better
    First, full disclosure: the publisher sent me a free review copy, I used to work for Mandia and now work with Prosise and Pepe, and I contributed material incorporated into chapters 8 and 14. I still think "Incident Response and Computer Forensics, 2nd Edition" (IRCF2E) is the best forensics book on the market. Notice I said "forensics." It's significant that the first edition's title was "Incident Response: Investigating Computer Crime." While IRCF2E contains plenty of IR material, I sense a shift away from computer security and towards the legal world in this second edition.

    Readers of the first edition will want to know what's new. While reading IRCF2E I thumbed through the first edition and make some notes. The following chapters appear mostly or totally new: 1 (Real-World Incidents), 3 (Preparing for Incident Response), 4 (After Detection of an Incident), 9 (Evidence Handling), 10 (Computer System Storage Fundamentals), 11 (Data Analysis Techniques), 17 (Writing Computer Forensics Reports). Some chapters contain rewrites or new material: 2 (Intro to the IR Process), 5 (Live Data Collection from Windows), 6 (Live Data Collection from UNIX), 7 (Forensic Duplication), 8 (Collecting Network-based Evidence), and 14 (Analyzing Network Traffic). The remainder received minor rewrites. Some chapters from the first edition on IIS and application forensics were integrated elsewhere.

    The most informative sections for me, as a reader of both editions, appear in chapters 7, 10, and 17. Chapter 7 lays down the law on differences between a "forensic duplication," a "qualified forensic duplication," and a "mirror image." Expert witnesses can turn to IRCF2E as a standard when testifying, thanks to this chapter's clarity and citations of "Daubert" and "Kumho." Chapter 10 nicely explains file systems and storage layers. Chapter 17 gives desperately needed guidance on writing forensics reports -- the part of an engagement the client really wants.

    I found a few errata items, such as p. 61's reference to the PPA; it should be "Privacy Protection Act." On pp. 97-98, all of the "ps" tools should list the Sysinternals home page, not Foundstone. Despite my contribution of material to the network-oriented chapters of IRCF2E, don't believe that I advocate using laptops for monitoring duties (p. 179). Laptops and especially their NIC drivers are not built for packet capture in high speed environments.

    IRCF2E is one of the few books in print where the word "forensics" deserves to be on the cover. Many prominent "forensics" titles deliver nothing useful to practitioners. As was the case with the first edition, investigators can use IRCF2E in operational environments to do real work. This book lays much of the groundwork for doing cases. Watch for "Real Digital Forensics" to be published next year, which walks readers through case-based evidence to teach how to collect, interpret, and analyze host- and network-based evidence.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Extremely valuable for infosec and law enforcement
    This is my First Edition review, Second is coming soon.

    Unlike other incident response books, this one has all the technical details. Having just the book and equipment authors recommend, one will be able to start doing
    computer forensics after two hours of reading. The focus is on technology and the process of response and forensics.

    The authors also cover preparing for incident response in great detail: from measures such as secure and auditable host configuration, system logging, network access
    control up to acquiring the forensics workstation and assembling the tools.

    The response procedures cover general techniques for any computer incident and then go into platform-specific details. The useful distinction between the first response
    and investigation is outlined: the reader will know what to do when confronted with a freshly hacked box and will also learn how to approach a hard disk extracted from a
    dishonest employee workstation.

    Advanced network monitoring section is simply brilliant: catching the bad guys using SYN-less TCP communication or ICMP tunneling certainly presents a fun challenge for
    "cybercops". Application specific tips will be useful for many, as well. Nowadays, everybody knows that Word document identifies the creator, but did you know that MAC
    address of the hardware is actually recorded and can be extracted by the forensics expert.

    While definitely not giving legal advice, authors also go though many of the cybercrime regulations and relevant laws. For example, did you know that if your system
    administrator monitors the firewall logs to see LAN traffic is it fine, while if law enforcement agent does the same with no court order - it is illegal. On the other had, if the
    admin does it in violation of company policy - it is illegal as well. Also enlightening are evidence collection and preservation methods. To navigate the maze of what is
    allowed and what is not - read the book.

    The book, as authors suggest, is useful not only for security professionals, but for law enforcement as well. That is supported by lots of background information such as TCP
    header formats and general knowledge of filesystems.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent basic reference
    I read the book in about three days and found it to be a good primer for one leaning towards computer forensics. While some of the technology and tools described in the book will undoubtedly change within the next few months, a lot of the basic principles will remain pertinent for a long time to come. I heartily recommend this book for anyone with more than just a casual interest in Computer Security.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Very Best Computer Forensics Primer Out There (1/04)
    As an attorney and a formally-trained computer forensics examiner and instructor who has been tilling the fields of digital evidence for some time, I'm always on the prowl for the next great computer forensics tool or text that's going to help me find the next smoking gun...or at least be confident I haven't overlooked it. I've built a substantial library of books and articles on computer forensics, some very good and some a complete waste of money. But, this book is the best of the best.

    From its step-by-step detail of the forensic process to its copious and helpful illustrations and screen shots to its unvarnished discussion of the tools in the marketplace, the second edition of Incident Response and Computer Forensics is, for my money, the most valuable resource any computer forensic examiner could have on their shelf. Many of the techniques and shortcuts detailed are "trade secrets" in that I've never seen them described in print. Unlike other forensic guides that assume the reader owns a costly forensic software suite, this book fairly splits its emphasis between Linux tools, shareware and the best software packages. That means the reader can begin the learning process at once, without investing anything more than their time and interest.

    Another strength is that the book neither presupposes a too-high level of knowledge or experience nor dumbs down its content such that an expert wouldn't derive any value. There's something here for everyone who cares about computer forensics, from the neophyte to the grizzled veteran. When I paid $50.00 for this tome at a big box bookstore, I worried I was paying too much. Now, I'd think it cheap at twice the price.

    As another reviewer pointed out, it doesn't devote a chapter to the law, but that is not to say that legal considerations are ignored. To the contrary, I think the authors do an excellent job of giving a useful "heads-up" where needed and not moving out of their depth.

    I don't know these guys, but I'd sure like to shake their hands for a job well done! Thanks.

    Craig Ball is an attorney and certified computer forensic examiner based in Montgomery, Texas, who teaches and consults with attorneys and the courts on matters of computer forensics and electronic discovery.

    2-0 out of 5 stars mediocre
    The book gives a decent overview on the field, but lacks technical accuracy. The authors fumble on technical details. For example, the authors botched the explanation of what happens when a unix file is deleted by claiming that all files with a link count of zero will be deleted. They also make the claim that only the SCSI interface will accommodate the multiple simultaneous communication that RAID requires - when really IDE will do this as well given proper firmware. Another gross oversight was the exclusion of reverse engineering in their investigation of rogue files chapter.

    When emailing the authors about this, all three ignored the email. I do not recommend supporting authors that ignore their readers. ... Read more


    17. The Franklin Cover-Up: Child Abuse, Satanism, and Murder in Nebraska
    by John W. Decamp
    list price: $11.95
    our price: $8.96
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0963215809
    Catlog: Book (1996-12-01)
    Publisher: AWT
    Sales Rank: 101168
    Average Customer Review: 4.29 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (31)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Scary
    This book is quite shocking in many ways. The allegations of child abuse, money laundering, drug running and official governmental cover-ups both big and small. The Iran-Contra affair and CIA mind control. How do they all play in this midwestern state? Read this book to find out.

    If it's true it is totally shocking. And how can it not be true? While the allegations many times appear outlandish the writer names names and points fingers at very powerful individuals. Why has no one filed law suits for slander if these allegations are not true? That brings is back around to the unbelievable thought that these allegations are true.

    A groundbreaking book that sometimes seems to go off on tangents but all the while is a very important read. Witness the power of the government in ways that most people don't realize exists, the sordid underbelly. Outstanding.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Scary Stuff
    I live in Omaha and I well remember when this story broke in the press. It was big news; Lindbergh baby headlines, in fact. When I saw this book was available, I knew I had to read it and find out the information that the press refused to carry. John DeCamp names names and skewers people with little regard for his own personal safety.

    I won't go into too much detail on what happened. Read the book to find that out. It is sufficient to say that there were many allegations of child abuse, homosexual encounters, drug abuse and embezzlement of monies involved. The people accused of the abuse were very prominent people in Omaha society, and still are today. DeCamp lays it all out for everyone to see. He cites sources and makes devastating charges against all those involved. He even indicts the federal government as a willing participant in this cover-up. DeCamp is most impressive when he outlines the scandals of Bob Kerrey's tenure as Nebraska governor in the early and mid 1980's. Several bank scandals and questionable loans cast Kerrey in a fairly sinister light. DeCamp says Kerrey used NIFA (Nebraska Investment Finance Authority) to make loans to his buddies and corporate interests. This is the same thing Bill Clinton did in Arkansas with the ADFA while he was governor, around the same time! Those wacky Democrats! What will they come up with next!

    Needless to say, some of the revelations in this book are tough to read and pretty shocking. There are explicit descriptions of unnatural acts and violent incidents. There are big drawbacks to this book, however. For one thing, DeCamp has an ego the size of a house. He is constantly patting himself on the back and makes sure everyone knows how much money he could make, how successful his career is, and how many big names he can drop. It gets old real fast and hurts the book, in my opinion. He also gets off on some weird tangents. It's one thing to brag about your involvement in the Gordon Kahl case, or the militia movement. When you start talking about a CIA project called Monarch, in which America's youth are being programmed to kill and maim, you are really stretching credulity. I even roared out loud with derision when I got to the section on Monarch. Attempting to tie one of the Franklin kids into Monarch isn't a good idea, either. It erodes credibility. Despite these parts, the book is a good examination of the entire scandal. No matter what anyone ever says, the death of Gary Caradori is EXTREMELY suspicious. No one can argue that Peter Citron isn't a pedophile, either, as he served time in prison for that crime. These two events alone cast sinister suspicion that something was going on, although whether anyone will ever know the true scope of the scandal is highly unlikely.

    Would I recommend this book? Yes, especially for the Kerrey info and the actual discussions of the Franklin cover-up. Just be sure and read this book with caution. Never believe everything you hear, see, or read!

    4-0 out of 5 stars Credible, Documented Account Of Elite Crimes & Pedophilia
    This book, authored by a former Republican Nebraska State Senator, exposes the elite web of crime, satanic cults, and child sexual abuse that reaches through the highest levels of power in our society. The organized cover-up and suppression of the events and victims' accounts is well documented, as is the author's role as attorney in the investigations and court cases. It's interesting that former CIA director Bill Colby ambiguously acknowledged to the author that the scenario described is real, and not long thereafter Colby turned up dead under suspicious circumstances. This is a good book to recommend for those in denial about the depravity and deviousness of those with power and influence in our society. The only significant weakness about the book is that it does not go into much discussion of the larger context of elite cults and organized conspiratorial activity, instead just focusing on a small portion of this activity.

    5-0 out of 5 stars I LIVE IN OMAHA
    This book only touches on the things that pervert government.
    It makes you understand that where there is great wealth
    there is great power. The average person in the USA has no idea
    what is going on right under their noses.
    Open you eyes people. Ours is not a rose colored world.
    Those who do not believe in the truth of this book just ask
    yourself "Why have their been no lawsuits for slander filed and
    won?" Read this and understand that this is real! Sad but true.
    You must read this.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Ted Gunderson Report talks about "The Franklin Cover-Up"
    I believe that there are secret societies in our government.
    It has been going on for thousands of years throughout history, why is it so inconceivable that it's not going on now?

    Please do a search on google for the Ted Gunderson Report, it is hard to believe. ... Read more


    18. Spy Handler
    by Victor Cherkashin, Gregory Feifer
    list price: $26.00
    our price: $17.16
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0465009689
    Catlog: Book (2005-01-01)
    Publisher: Basic Books
    Sales Rank: 35985
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    Book Description

    Victor Cherkashin's incredible career in the KGB spanned thirty-eight years, from Stalin's death in 1953 to the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. In this riveting memoir, Cherkashin provides a remarkable insider's view of the KGB's prolonged conflict with the United States, from his recruitment through his rising career in counterintelligence to his prime spot as the KGB's number- two man at the Soviet Embassy in Washington. Victor Cherkashin's story will shed stark new light on the KGB's inner workings over four decades and reveal new details about its major cases. Cherkashin's story is rich in episode and drama. He took part in some of the highest-profile Cold War cases, including tracking down U.S. and British spies around the world. He was posted to stations in the U.S., Australia, India, and Lebanon and traveled the globe for operations in England, Europe, and the Middle East. But it was in 1985, known as "the Year of the Spy," that Cherkashin scored two of the biggest coups of the Cold War. In April of that year, he recruited disgruntled CIA officer Aldrich Ames, becoming his principal handler. Refuting and clarifying other published versions, Cherkashin will offer the most complete account on how and why Ames turned against his country. Cherkashin will also reveal new details about Robert Hanssen's recruitment and later exposure, as only he can. And he will address whether there is an undiscovered KGB spy-another Hanssen or Ames-still at large. Spy Handler will be a major addition to Cold War history, told by one of its key participants. ... Read more


    19. Green River, Running Red: The Real Story of the Green River Killer--America's Deadliest Serial Murderer
    by Ann Rule
    list price: $26.00
    our price: $15.60
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0743238516
    Catlog: Book (2004-10)
    Publisher: Free Press
    Sales Rank: 494
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    Amazon.com

    Veteran crime writer Ann Rule is uniquely qualified to chronicle the grisly career of Gary Ridgeway, the man convicted of being the "Green River Killer," the most prolific serial killer in American history. Not only is she one of the more successful true-crime authors, but for nearly 20 years, Rule was exceptionally close to the case, reporting on it for a Seattle newspaper, preparing a long-delayed book on the subject, and living within a few blocks of the strip of highway where most of Ridgeway's victims were abducted. In Green River, Running Red, Rule lends unique humanity to the string of murders that haunted the Seattle area throughout the '80s and '90s by exploring the lives of the dozens of young women who fell into prostitution and were ultimately murdered. Similarly, she catalogues Ridgeway's troubled and bizarre life in such a way that the reader becomes uncomfortably familiar with Ridgeway, although it's never truly clear what drove him to commit such heinous crimes. Along the way, she traces the decades-long struggle of the law enforcement officials assigned to the case as they tracked down countless leads, questioned innumerable suspects, and explored multiple theories that came up empty before finally cracking the case through a series of technological advancements and a little luck. But the most disturbing aspect of the Green River killings (named for where the first victims were found) is how they occurred in relatively plain sight, with Ridgeway, seemingly living an unremarkable life, dwelling and working within a few miles of where his lengthy killing spree took place and evading capture for years. Rule skillfully weaves herself into her account, relating the psychic and cultural impact of the case as it evolved, but she never takes the spotlight off Ridgeway, his eventual captors, and the women who died at his hands.--John Moe ... Read more


    20. Painful Questions: An Analysis of the September 11th Attack
    by Eric Hufschmid
    list price: $25.00
    our price: $25.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1931947058
    Catlog: Book (2002-09)
    Publisher: Ink & Scribe
    Sales Rank: 26739
    Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    This book has the color photos, diagrams, and the analysis to show that the World Trade Center towers and Building 7 were demolished with explosives that were placed in the buildings in preparation for the 9-11 attack.

    This book is being used by people around the world to support the accusation that the US Government was the primary conspirator in the 9-11 attack.

    For two examples, David Ray Griffin references it in his book "The New Pearl Harbor", and Andreas von Bulow, a retired German government official, is referencing it in his book published in Germany.

    If you believe Osama bin Laden attacked us without our government's assistance, why not find the flaws in this book, put these accusations to rest, and help restore America's credibility?

    If you already believe the attack was conducted by the U.S. government, this book will help you educate your fellow citizens on the unbelievable corruption in our world. ... Read more

    Reviews (5)

    1-0 out of 5 stars Physics?
    This book should be blowen up!

    5-0 out of 5 stars After reading this, I am convinced 9/11 was a scam.
    I am an structural engineer. Whoever wrote that other article is ignorant of steel buildings. There has never been a steel building destroyed by fire, including ones where explosions occured. As that other reviewer said, there is no way that the impacts on the top floors was large enough to pulverize the concrete. Look at pictures of other buildiong collapses and you will see they look nothing like what happend at WTC. Moreover, building 7 was built entirely differently from the twin towers, yet it collapsed exactly the same way?

    Wake up and smell the coffee. Sounds like that other "engineer" is CIA or Mosad plant.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Wow! Science at last!
    I am blown away by the alleged engineer's comments. If you look at the video, you can see that when the very top first floors hit the floors below them, they are pulverized and the clouds of conrete dust come out of the windows at supersonic speeds. These top floors would not have the falling mass nor speed to pulverize them, nor eject such clouds. Moreover, even though it the floors might crash through the floors below, their speed would be slowed below the free fall speed. Moreover, the pieces of the building would not be so uniform. Examine any building destroyed by artillary or bombing and later fire. This was a controlled explosion beyond any doubt. Would an architect design a building that would collapse when one or two floors collapsed? The engineering is all there to look at.

    1-0 out of 5 stars B for effort, F for physics, F for logic
    I've watched the video and it is clear this is an AUTHOR and not an ENGINEER (which I am). He consistently compares apples and oranges to support his theory. Here are some examples:
    1.Why did towers collapse and not the federal building? Towers were built as a MASSIVE STEEL CAGE with hanging CONCRETE (dried dust) floors inside (to provide enormous floor space) and is a commercial building. The federal building was built to government standards and constructed to support weight evenly throughout the building, preventing total collapse.
    2. I've seen simple house fires that bend steel. Different fuels burn differently, but if there is nothing to get rid of the heat, it's simply a matter of time until the temperature climbs past the melting point of steel. The building was in essence a strong house of cards. Bend ONE card (steel cage) and the house easily collapses.
    3. PHYSICS: Energy = 1/2 * mass * speed squared. You know; crashing a car at 60mph vs. 30mph is a factor of two in speed, but factor of four for energy (destructiveness). Now imagine if that car was going 400mph. Speed factor is 13 and energy factor is 177 times greater. Sometimes metal in cars shred to 30 mph, image a crash 177 times greater. IT WOULD BE PULVERISED ALONG WITH ANY BODY.
    4. Why didn't they fall immediately? It was DESIGNED to withstand a hit by a jet, but not a jet FULL OF FUEL. Where were the flames? They were in the elevator shafts (where most of the tons of fuel went). That heat heated the support of the inside of the building leaving ALL support on the outside cage. A chain reaction started on weakened crash floors, that partially pan-caked the floor below, increasing the force required to hold those floors and floors above, so those collapse down again, increasing weight, again and again until total failure.
    5. Wind didn't make or prevent the fall, the fire and unique design made them fall. Air resistance is negligible when comparing to floors weight that probably weighed many tons.
    6. Name hufschmid is popular in Germany. Isn't that where many terrorist cells were found?
    7. Fire never a caused steel building collapse before? Of course, towers were one of a kind and circumstances of collision of aircraft/steel building are pretty rare these days.

    SAVE YOUR MONEY!! Where is the 0 star rating when you need it?

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Forensic Tour de Force
    There is no other 9/11 book anything like this. Eric Hufschmid gave me my eyes back, so I could see what should be obvious: buildings being demolished the usual way (a view that was obscured by clouds of government propaganda and flaming jet fuel).
    "Painful Questions" does this with relentless logic, common-sense physics, and lots of color photographs.
    For instance, Hufschmid asks how Building 7 could suddenly collapse when it was completely intact, and slide into the ground at free-fall speed, except in a demolition? Is this why WTC 7 is not on the agenda of our sycophantic media and "911 commission?"
    The book has a running commentary of insights about why people don't care to think about the uncomfortable truth - and why they should: the political dangers of playing the ostrich.
    The evidence collected here shows the WTC collapses had all the marks of controlled demolitions. However, if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and waddles like a duck - it has to be a Boeing, if the majority and the media say so!
    Painful Questions is also a tribute to what the ordinary citizen can do using their own education, common sense and logic, while "experts" follow the herd.
    It includes chapters on some other cover-ups, like the anthrax scare, and on why it's possible for our military intelligence or whoever was really behind 9/11 to get away with it. ... Read more


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