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161. Imagine: What America Could Be
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162. Science in Seconds for Kids :
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163. Future: Tense : The Coming World
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164. Technical Communication for Readers
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165. Lift the Lid on Mummies: Unravel
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166. Physics for Game Developers
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167. Normal Accidents
168. Surgery, Science and Industry:
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169. Resume Catalog: 200 Damn Good
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170. Caesar's Legion: The Epic Saga
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171. Serious Play: How the World's
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172. Standard Work for the Shopfloor
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173. The Evolution of Technology (Cambridge
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174. Cod: A Biography of the Fish That
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175. Renewable and Efficient Electric
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176. Brassey's Book of Uniforms
177. Science in Action: How to Follow
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178. The Complete Handbook of Model
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179. The Passive Solar Design and Construction
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180. Phantom Soldier: The Enemy's Answer

161. Imagine: What America Could Be in the 21st Century
by Marianne Williamson
list price: $27.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1579543022
Catlog: Book (2000-11-01)
Publisher: International Thomson Publishing
Sales Rank: 200147
Average Customer Review: 4.08 out of 5 stars
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The writers in this optimistic anthology didn't want to buy into the typical doomsayer theories and gloomy forecasts when imagining the future of America. Instead, editor Marianne Williamson assembled a soul-stirring gospel choir to sing out vivid, uplifting songs of hope and imagination. When contributor John Robbins imagines the typical family meal in the year 2030, he serves organic food bought from the local farmer's market and lovingly prepared by enthusiastic family members--even teenagers. This may sound like pie-in-the-sky talk, but Robbins backs it up with a solid plan that could lead to better diets, healthier food production, and even end world hunger.

One of the most profound essays comes from Fred Branfman, who writes about "Legacies." He makes a convincing case for imagining the faces of future generations and taking responsibility now to ensure the health of their world. Other excellent contributions include Eric Utne (editor of Utne Reader magazine) speaking on a new media that becomes "the connective tissue" in our culture, emphasizing community, debate, and conversation. Iyanla Vanzant imagines "Civility," Bell Hooks gives voice to21st-century sexuality, and John Bradshaw sees the future family. Even if you only time travel from your armchair, this is a future you'll want to spend a lifetime creating. --Gail Hudson ... Read more

Reviews (13)

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the most inspiring books I've read
With all the unrest in our world today such as the challenges in health care, education and politics, this book comes along and gives hope for a great future. It's time for a paradigm shift and this book is written to show us new ways of thinking about our culture. Some of our greatest contemporary writers and teachers contribute their wisdom in this great book. Thank you Marianne Williamson for having the vision to put together this inspiring book!

5-0 out of 5 stars Loved This Book!
For anyone who, like me, has gobbled up the works of writers like Deepak Chopra, Neale Donald Walsch, Thomas Moore, Caroline Myss, James Redfield and Barbara Marx Hubbard, this book is a must read. It includes essays by each of these authors and many more of equal stature. In the essays, the writers take the ideas and principles they have developed over the years and apply them in answering the question: "In the realm of highest possibilities, what could America look like in 50 years?" The result is a comprehensive, readable, light-filled blueprint for America's future. Some of the essays are poetic, lyrical. Others are grounded in hard hitting facts and statistics that will blow your mind. (See Paul Hawken's essay) Make no mistake. These are not airy-fairy essays recycling the previous works of these writers. They are clear, disciplined, thoughtful responses to the question posed. In fact, I believe the essays in "Imagine" may very well be the best work of many of these writers. I was blown away by what they delivered in this volume. Hats off to the editor, Marianne Williamson for assembling this phenomenal group of writers and for her skill in weaving these beautiful essays together.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Most Inspiring Collection of Thinkers Ever!
This is a great book, that is doubly-powerful (no TRIPLY, no QUADRUPALLY powerful!) because so many inspiring thinkers are in it: from Deepak Chopra to Neale Donald Walsch, from James Redfield to Anne Lamott. And these thinkers come from all sectors of society: from John Robbins, a whistle-blower of the food industry, to the actor Peter Coyote; from Eric Utne, founder of the Utne Reader, to educator Dee Dickenson. What Marianne Williamson has assembled is a collection of ideas covering all sectors of society representing the viewpoints of very unique individuals each with differing backgrounds. And the beauty of this diversity is that all the contributors are unified in fundamental ways, all visualizing a more accepting, more loving, more grounded future that can truly celebrate the individual. It is a vision of what can WORK given our true natures, and given the tuggings of our soul for a more love-based world. Everyone in the world ought to read this book! If you're skeptical, go ahead and buy it and try it out. You'll be glad you did, even if it provides fodder for a time for all the reasons you dislike new-agey spiritual types. And for all of you who like me are already new-agey spiritual types, or compassionate open-hearted types, go ahead and check this book out, because you're going to love it!

1-0 out of 5 stars Utopia Means "Nowhere"
I won't go into a detailed discussion or refutation of the philosophical Neo-Transcendentalist Utopian Socialist garbage that got thrown into this collection of essays, from descriptions of a "Department of Peace" for a new Marxist America to vague, blurry passages about social issues that manage to be completely unreadable and utterly without content at the same time. I did enjoy the book, because it gave me a whetstone to sharpen myself on. I've always said Neville Chamberlain should have carried a copy of Mein Kamf to Munich. But beyond something to openly chuckle at as the book goes off onto another kooky tangent, I can't find much to like about this. Its not so much that its badly written (although in places it is; appallingly so, with the sort of smug looking-back fiction that says "I know it sounds crazy today in 2050, but once there was such a thing as private property!") but rather that the well-written parts con one into thinking they have a point. If they want a New America and a United States dedicated to communing with the tree spirits--fine. I'm moving to Luxemburg for tax purposes. And as for the rest of it-- I hope you really, really like this brave new world. I'll be reclining on an all-leather sofa drinking out of a chilled glass and watching big-screen television. Remember, all. The large thoughts behind socialism ain't so big:

"Everyone knows that life ought to be fair and that God's a lousy guy for not making it happen. Everyone should get what everyone else gets. And, if everyone gets broke, hungry, and dead, well, fair's fair."
(P.J. O'Rourke)


5-0 out of 5 stars Vastly More Practical (and Political) Than Title Suggests

I almost did not buy this book, and I say that because an awful lot of really smart folks might be inclined to turn away on the basis of the title and the possibility that this is a fairy tale wishful-thinking la la land kind of book. It is not. It is practical (and political), it is enriching, and it is over-all a very high quality endeavor that has been well executed.

Four "great truths" are articulated many times over across the various readings, and they merit listing here:

1) Campaign finance reform is the absolute non-negotiable first step that must precede every other reform. Until the people can reassert their great common sense for the common good, and restore the true democratic tradition, nothing else will happen.

2) Neighborhoods are the bedrock of both democracy and sustainable development, and we have spent fifty years building in the wrong direction. New legal and economic incentives must be found to redirect both urban and suburban real estate management back in the direction of self-contained neighborhoods.

3) Local production of everything, from electricity to food to major goods like automobiles) appears to be a pre-requisite for deconflicting high quality of life needs from limited resource availability. The book includes several very intelligent discussions of how this might come about.

4) Networking makes everything else possible, and by this the book means electronic networking. I was especially fascinated by some of the examples of near-real-time sharing that electronic networking makes possible--everything from a neighborhood car to scheduled hand-me-downs of winter coats from one family to another. We have not progressed one mile down the road of what the Internet makes possible at a personal and neighborhood level, and I would recommend this book for that perspective alone.

The creative editorial role must be applauded. From the identification and recruitment of the contributors, to the selection of the photographs that each tell their own story, to the quality of the paper used to create the book, all testify to the competence and knowledge of the editor.

Lastly, it merits comment that the book serves as a very fine calling card from something called The Global Renaissance Alliance, a spiritually-oriented group that nurtures Citizens Circles and uses a web site to provide pointers to resources and other like-minded folk. ... Read more

162. Science in Seconds for Kids : Over 100 Experiments You Can Do in Ten Minutes or Less
by JeanPotter
list price: $12.95
our price: $9.71
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Asin: 0471044563
Catlog: Book (1995-01)
Publisher: Wiley
Sales Rank: 6257
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Make lightning in your room! Keep paper dry under water! Lose weight by going upstairs! See colors that aren’t there! Experience the magic of science with these quick, easy experiments and activities from Jean Potter. You can complete each activity in ten fun-filled minutes or less. Clear, step-by-step instructions and illustrations help you get it right every time. The projects help you learn about everything from why eggs aren’t round to how submarines surface and submerge. You will find most of the required materials already in your home, backyard, or neighborhood, and you can perform the experiments practically anywhere. The 108 activities in this book cover twelve different subject areas, including air, animals, energy, gravity, magnetism, light, the human body, and much more. You’ll make a rainbow right on your floor, pop a balloon with a magnifying glass, make a coffee can roll back to you after you’ve pushed it away, and bend water as it streams from your faucet—all with the help of a leading educator. Children Ages 8–12 ... Read more

Reviews (4)

3-0 out of 5 stars Not all it is cracked up to be
I bought this book for my 3 year old son since he has an interest in science. When I got the book I was disappointed in the experiments listed, such as disecting an osyter and fish. Not that I have problems with that, but I was looking for something that you can find objects around the house and more cause and reaction type thing.

5-0 out of 5 stars Jean Potter makes science fun
My kids and I love Jean Potter's science books. Not only are the instructions easy to follow, the experiments are always lots of fun. I find I learn as much as my kids!

5-0 out of 5 stars FUN BOOK FOR KIDS!!!
My children loved this book becasue they had fun with experiments. But my husband and I loved this book because it taught our children science conepts that we could never teach. We used this book until it got raggedy and torn and then my kids insisted on getting another copy!
We highly recommend this book.

Karen and Fred

5-0 out of 5 stars Science in Seconds for Kids
My children and I have used this book until it has become tattered and torn. Not only are the science activities easy to understand, they are easy to do and don't require any special equipment. I would highly recommend this book...I loved it so much, that I now have a collection of all of this author's books. ... Read more

163. Future: Tense : The Coming World Order?
list price: $12.95
our price: $10.36
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Asin: 0771029780
Catlog: Book (2004-11-02)
Publisher: McClelland & Stewart
Sales Rank: 34632
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (7)

2-0 out of 5 stars Flawed but readable
Dyer lets his attitude get ahead of his analysis.Although the book will please critics of the Iraq war, it suffers from four major flaws:

1.He greatly exaggerates the tacit collusion between the neo con faction in the U.S. and the Islamist terrorists.Dyer even goes so far as to suggest that the bin Laden crowd would stage incidents to ensure the reelection of George Bush.(The book was written prior to November 2004.)

Indeed, both may find the other a convenient enemy for justifying and advancing their agenda.But to suppose that a kind of mutual dependence exists (a la the warring nations in Orwell's 1984) is carrying the notion to its logical absurdity.Who can seriously doubt that each side would totally exterminate the other were it possible to do so?

2.He grossly underestimates the impact of terrorist acts.Dyer assigns an order of magnitude to various types of catastrophes.Magnitude 7 would be a global plague killing billions; magnitude 3 would be a major war resulting in several million casualties, etc.According to this scale, 9/11 barely moves the needle.Even the terrorist nuking of a city would be relatively small beer.In the author's view, therefore, the American response has been wildly disproportionate and overblown.

This kind of numbers game basically ignores human psychology.Terrorism is a major threat because of the fear it engenders and the disruption that causes to the system, not the because of the numbers actually killed.Sure, lots more people die from auto accidents than serial murderers, but that's no argument for pulling detectives off the major crimes unit and assigning them to traffic duty.

3.Dyer creates a false dichotomy to make his point.He paints a picture of a rogue American superpower throwing its weight around with missionary zeal.This will eventually lead to a breakdown in world order and conflicts with rival powers.The only option is a multi polar, international system that constrains the aggressive tendencies of member states.In other words, the United Nations, or something like it.He does acknowledge in several places that effective U.N. action is only possible when it's consistent with the recognized self interest of the great powers.Yet, in advocating his internationalist solution Dyer curiously seems to seems to disregard his own evidence.

In reality, the equilibrium of world order lies somewhere in between these two models, as ever.U.S. action in Iraq is no more likely to upset the international apple cart than did the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, or any of the other superpower military adventures of the late 20th century.

4.The author completely ignores the cultural dimension of human conflict and cooperation.The Islamists, in Dyer's sanguine opinion, represent a tiny minority of fanatics who do not resonate with the larger Muslim world.He breezily dismisses Huntingdon's Clash of Civilizations as a neo con tract.

The perceptive reader will discover that Huntingdon's work is far more cogently and persuasively argued than Dyer's, and that it has functioned well as a predictive model since it's publication over 10 years ago.Huntingdon correctly observed that Islamist terrorism reflects an underlying civilizational issue, not merely the violent delusions of a few desperate fundamentalists.

In summary, Dyer's book is flawed but worth reading providing one remains alert to his evident biases and predisposition to apocalyptic visions.

5-0 out of 5 stars Clear, concise, and very helpful
Ever since 9/11, I've been wondering what went wrong.Obviously, we did something to really anger somebody.Shows how naive I was, I guess.I subscribed to a few American leftist magazines, hoping for an insight, but I have to say the answers I was looking for are all right here in this book.Why did we attack Iraq?Why were the World Trade Center and Pentagon (and nearby me here in Pennsylvania) attacked?Who did it, and why?Is it really just about oil?

Screeds by the likes of Michael Moore are funny and fun to read, but they don't answer the bigger questions.We know Bushco is doing terrible things to our economy, the environment, he's working hard to roll back every inch of the New Deal...but what's he up to in Iraq?The answer is in this book.

I'm very grateful to the author for publishing this insightful analysis.Note, however, that when I ordered this book, Amazon told me it would be weeks before it shipped.After a month went by, they said it would be a while, was I still interested?At this point I cancelled the order, and ordered it from (Canada).It seems that, as of a few months ago, this book was VERY hard to come by in the US.Published by a Canadian publishing house only, this book should be on everybody's reading list.I don't know why it's not a bestseller, quite frankly.But it is in the top 200.Quite an achievement for a book that you can't order!

If you can get your hands on it, please read it.It will clear up a lot of confusion and misinformation for you.At least, it did for me.

5-0 out of 5 stars Realism meets Classic Liberalism in International Affairs
Gwynne Dyer is an excellent example of a person with tremendous experience of international relations and an uncommon grasp of the broad sweep of history. When he turns his sights on events in Iraq his clear and clean non-ideological logic sees some pretty harrowing things:

1) The war on terror was never part of the agenda in Iraq. It was all about a small clique of neo-conservatives ideologues in the Bush administration that, for the first time had the ability to inflict their vision on universial American dominance on the world, irrespective of the needs and analysis of other countries and contrary to the norms of international law developed since WWI.

2) The Bush administation played directly into the hands of Al Queada by invading a sovereign nation that was no direct threat to the US (iraq), making America the bogeyman of international politics and the perceived oppressors of the Arabs.

3) That Americans have little ability to see that their place in the world has changed: it is no longer the dominant economy and it is no longer the shining beacon of freedom. New countries Russia, and Indonesia and even China are finding the path to a rough democracy. They all are doing it by themselves, they have had no help from America, nor do they require it -- why is Iraq different.

4) That unilateral action of the US undermines the norms of international order build up since WWI and central to any notion of stability in the new century. It is this future stability that is directly threatened by the actions of the US in Iraq.

Since the US economy cannot support a war of Pax Americana for a long duration and the US electorate can only tolerate small casualties, the US will inevitably be forced from this unilateral stance in the long run to either isolation and withdrawal from international institutions.

The only real question Dyer admits is how much damage will the US and its quest for Pax Americana do to the system of international laws before they are forced to either be isolated or allow themselves to be taken more within the international order of nation states supporting the UN and the rule of law? Sooner is better than later -- hence American needs to lose this war in Iraq.

Dyer says that it is in the interests of the world that the US lose the war in Iraq sooner rather than later. It is up to the world to help bring the US back into the international order by offering her a way out of Iraq with inducements and an expanded role for the UN in Iraq, and other hot spots around the world.

Dyer is really spot-on much of his analysis, but there is a really troubling point about this book: his cold lucid, non-ideological analysis is something that the rest of the democratic world considers a norm, but it is a style that is absent from the name calling, paranoid world of US Political Culture (if you disagree with me you must be a liberal of a conservative. This is a society where these two honourable terms have been turned into profane names by the polular media--- remember that there are people such as Rush Limbaugh & Anne Coulter, Fox News, etc. whom people actually listen to in the US! -- just across the border in Canada one would be laughed at if one were to cite one of these people or media outlets as an authorative source on just about anything). But this culture of ideology, bad manners, selfishness and paranoia is what passes for debate in the press and the airwaves of the US. That culture excludes the kind of analysis that Dyer brings!

Dyer accurately points out that the ability to constrain the neo-conservatives was bi-partisan. Reagan, Bush and Clinton all repressed an urge to implement Pax Americana on the world. Bush Sr. specifically after Gulf War I.But 9/11 was the trigger that allow the neo-conservatives to seize foreign policy. Terrorism was a means towards an ideological end and they were ready to stoke the ever burning fires of US paranoia to further their agenda of Pax Americana.

In this sense both the terrorists and the neoconservatives served each others' ends... it seems ironic --- Pax Americana was extended, and Al Queada got the "Great Satan" to be in Iraq as a symbol of US oppression over Arabs -- both furthered their ends with 9/11.

The task now is for the rest of the world to help the US out of Iraq before it runs roughshod over what is left of international order. We must save the US from themselves or at least hope some sane international leadership comes to the for within the Bush Administration. The longer the logic of Pax Americana rules, the worse off the whole world.....

4-0 out of 5 stars Putting the Iraq War Into Perspective.
I'd love to hear this book read by the author, one of my great heroes When I read it, I relish imagining his dry delivery. This would be great book to issue on cassette. It is a frustrating book if you want to use it for debating others, since it has no index and no footnotes to back up what he says. It is an overview of how the Iraq war fits into history, past and future. It gives a convincing argument why Bush invaded Iraq. It explains why Bush's jihad against the U.N. is so dangerous for us all. It also explains why the USA is overreacting to the threat of terrorism.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book
The alliance analysis provided by Mr. Dyer is really eye-opening and a useful tool to understanding what kind of a world lies ahead. I look forward to his next book. ... Read more

164. Technical Communication for Readers and Writers
by Brenda R. Sims
list price: $81.16
our price: $81.16
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Asin: 0618221735
Catlog: Book (2002-09-01)
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Company
Sales Rank: 264367
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Book Description

A comprehensive learning tool, Sims' Technical Communication for Readers and Writers, Second Edition, guides students in planning, writing, and designing effective documents to meet the needs of users and readers. Thoroughly revised, expanded, and redesigned in full color, this edition gives students the tools they need to create appropriate technical documents for a multitude of writing situations and audiences. Contemporary case studies and real-life writing contexts help prepare students for a variety of career situations.

Technical Communication takes a process approach rather than the model-based approach of older tech writing texts. Keeping students focused on the needs of potential readers, the text emphasizes critical thinking and is designed specifically to give students the training and knowledge they need to succeed in the classroom and in the workplace.

  • Four-color throughout, this edition features abundant web site screen shots and use of color pedagogically to show students how to make smart decisions in designing effective documents.
  • Up-to-date coverage of electronic research tools and the Web shows students how to effectively use and evaluate search engines, web sites, databases, online catalogs, and other electronic resources.
  • A chapter on creating and delivering oral presentations helps students communicate effectively in speaking situations.
  • An extensive web site offers a wealth of features to support instructors and students: an archive of sample documents; templates for memos, resumes, letters, and reports; interactive exercises; project worksheets; job resources; Instructor's Manual; diagnostic exams; chapter quizzes; sample syllabi; PowerPoint slides; and a bibliography.

... Read more

165. Lift the Lid on Mummies: Unravel the Mysteries of Egyptian Tombs and Make Your Own Mummy! (Lift the Lid)
by Jacqueline Dineen
list price: $19.95
our price: $19.95
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Asin: 0762402083
Catlog: Book (1998-03-01)
Publisher: Running Press Book Publishers
Sales Rank: 24430
Average Customer Review: 4.75 out of 5 stars
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Open the mummy-shaped box.... Smell the must of the tomb.... Reveal the secrets within.... Included among these secrets are a 24-page booklet all about real-life mummies and the people who study them, a 10-inch plastic-model body, and four carved heads of gods to protect the Canopic jars where you'll store the plastic organs found inside the body--both lungs in a single jar, please! Find the hidden drawer containing the gauze wrappings, headdress, scarabs, and a cardboard cat you can mummify to accompany your Pharaoh in the afterlife. Wrap your mummy from head to toe, place lucky amulets in the gauze, and bury it in the back yard (soak the gauze in brine first for a more realistic mummy experience). Don't forget to seal the tomb with your "Curse of the Mummy" sticker ... and to warn your parents, so when they rent the expensive tiller to dig up the garden, they don't break the blades on your ultracool mummy.

This kit introduces curious kids to the mummies of many different cultures, such as those of ancient Egypt and South America, and to all the types of mummies, including shrunken heads, bog mummies, and ice mummies. Slightly creepy good fun. ... Read more

Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best kits ever
I bought this for my 9-year-old nephew. He was having problems in school, and I struggled to find a present that would help him see that learning is fun. I was amazed at the hit this was! He knows now that learning isn't all boring, and all my other neices and nephews were amazed by this kit. Even us adults found ourselves playing with the kids and learning about mummies...the kit even has guts for you to "maintain"! What a buy!

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Fun!
I bought this for a nine-year-old and we both enjoyed it thoroughly. It "unwraps" the mystery of mummies which was fun and educational for both of us! Most kids become fascinated by mummies and this gives them a broader perspective, making the whole thing clearer. I highly recommend this as a great gift item.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Book and Activity for Kids
I did not look at the ages when I ordered it but was pleasantly suprised when I received it. My children are taking up an interest in some of the wierd stuff I like and this will be a GREAT project for them.

4-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful. Very entertaining and full of usefull info.
This book was very enjoyable for me to read and I found plenty of useful information I was able to use on my school project. The mummy was so much fun to make and admire. This is such a good book, I can't imagine not reading. I've learned so many things about mummies that I never even thought about before. ... Read more

166. Physics for Game Developers
by David M. Bourg
list price: $39.95
our price: $26.37
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Asin: 0596000065
Catlog: Book (2001-11-15)
Publisher: O'Reilly
Sales Rank: 20453
Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars
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Aimed at the game developer or student/hobbyist interested in physics, Physics for Game Developers reviews all the math for creating realistic motion and collisions for cars, airplanes, boats, projectiles, and other objects along with C/C++ code for Windows. While this authoritative guide isn't for the math-averse, the author's clear presentation and obvious enthusiasm for his subject help make this book a compelling choice for anyone faced with adding realistic motion to computer games or simulations.

It's the clear, mathematical presentation here that makes this title a winner. Starting with the basics of Newtonian mechanics, the author covers all the basic equations needed to understand velocity, acceleration, kinematics, and kinetics, among other concepts. A knowledge of college math (including calculus) is assumed. (Appendices review the basics of matrix and quaternion mathematics for those needing a refresher.)

Central to this book is its presentation of modeling projectiles, airplanes, ships, and cars. The author first presents essential mathematical concepts for each kind of object (for instance, pitch, yaw and roll, and lift for airplanes; modeling fluid drag for ships; and braking behavior for cars). For many chapters, Bourg then presents Windows-based DirectX programs in C++ to illustrate key concepts. For example, you can experiment with different parameters to view a cannonball's path. (On their own, these programs make this book a great companion text to any advanced high school or college physics course since students can see the effect of each variable on the behavior of each body in motion for a variety of equations.)

Modeling collisions is a central concern here (a necessity, of course, for action games). To this end, the author provides collision detection and the mathematics of 3-D rigid bodies for simulating when bodies collide. As the sample programs get more involved, the author discusses techniques of tuning parameters for performance. A standout chapter here models a fluttering flag using particle systems.

In all, this text proves that physics and computers are a perfect match. The author's patient and clear mathematical investigations of common formulas and concepts can add realistic motion to any computer game, as well as help teach essential concepts to any student or hobbyist who's interested in physics and doesn't mind a little college-level math. --Richard Dragan

Topics covered: Mathematical formulas and sample C/C++ code for physics for simulations and games, basic concepts in physics, Newton's Laws of Motion, coordinate systems and vectors; mass, center of mass and moment of inertia; kinematics (velocity and acceleration), constant and nonconstant acceleration, 2-D and 3-D particle kinematics, rigid body kinematics, angular velocity and acceleration, force (force fields and friction, fluid dynamic drag, buoyancy, springs and dampers, torque), 2-D, 3-D, and rigid body kinetics; collisions (impulse-momentum, impact, linear, and angular impulse), projectiles (simple trajectories, drag, the Magnus Effect, variable mass), simulating aircraft (geometry, lift and drag, controls), simulating ships (flotation, volume, resistance, and virtual mass), simulating hovercraft and cars (including stopping distance and banking during turns), basic real-time simulations (integrating equations of motion, including Euler's Method), 2-D rigid body simulator, implementing collision response (including angular effects), rigid body rotation (rotation matrices and quaternions), 3-D rigid body simulator for an airplane (including flight controls and rendering), multiple bodies in 3-D (including implementing collisions), particle systems, reference tutorials for vector, matrix, and quaternion mathematical operations. ... Read more

Reviews (20)

4-0 out of 5 stars Good overview, easy to understand even for non-scientists
David gives an overview to basic physical and numerical principles and than describes the forces occuring in a couple of typical systems: projectiles, planes, ships, hovercrafts, cars. After that some issues on collision detection, integration and many-body-system are discussed.

The overall mathematical level is 'easy'.
David does not dig deeper into mechanics than it is necessary for a game.

The book is usefull for a beginner but also deserves the 'knowing' as a good cookbook for the games-level.

5-0 out of 5 stars Well Done
For really, really small objects, Newton's laws of motion don't apply (that's why we have Quantum mechanics and the like.) For everything else, we follow Sir Issac. If you're a game developer, you'll need more than a rudimentary understanding of physics if your aim is realism. David M. Bourg's most recent book covers the theory you'll need to polish your game while keeping it "real."

Inside the covers, you'll discover a review of Newton's laws accompanied by a hearty dose of explanatory graphics. Warning: as a prerequisite, he assumes solid math and basic intro college physics skills. Next, he segues into Kinematics, you know, the underlying mechanics of motion of objects.) He teaches linear and angular displacement, velocity and acceleration. Don't worry, it's not all equations and graphs, he includes helpful sample code (in C) too.

The final chapters cover advanced topics like 3D rigid body simulators and rotations, collision response and particle systems. Before you reach those chapters however, Bourg covers specific examples for projectiles, aircraft, ships, hovercraft and cars.

With the advancement in speed and power of today's microcomputers, achieving reality in games is certainly possible. Bourg's book helps you achieve that without having to spend days in the library pouring over college physics texts. This book is a sound physics review and very well written for the gaming professional.

4-0 out of 5 stars A good place to start
This book provides a good starting point for anyone looking to introduce more realistic physics into their game. It provides an overview of the laws of mechanics, focusing on rigid body and particle dynamics. It then takes these principles and applies them to specific simulations which often come up in games, such as projectiles, cars, airplanes, and hovercraft. The math is simplified, so the results are not always completely accurate, but they should be good enough for many games.

The book does have several shortcomings which prevent it from being a great book, the most important of which is that the content is fairly limited. It's less than 300 pages, and a significant amount of space (especially in the later chapters) is taken by source code listings. Of course, this is somewhat offset by the book's relatively low price.

If you buy this expecting it to be the ultimate guide to physics in games, you'll be disappointed. However, if you buy it as an introduction to physics in games (which how it's intended to be used), I think you'll be happy with it.

2-0 out of 5 stars Archaic units and sparse context saps potential
While the book has some value (primarily owing to its choice of topic and introductory level), the impact it might have is greatly reduced by its examples reliance on non-metric units -- and a variety of dissimilar choices at that. It makes as much sense as using EBCDIC in your examples in a work on text processing. The result is that the examples suffer a loss of literal value if you wanted to quickly transplant them into a project that has the good sense to use metric measures to avoid confusion over unit conversions.

Secondly, the code examples are sparsely documented. This causes trouble if one wants to transcode one into another language (as I did in taking the flag simulation to Java). One is reduced to blinking and trying to figure out whether the first or second dimension of an array in the author's example corresponds to the flag's height along the pole or its "fly". He's presented a lot in this code, and there are so few comments in it to clarify the arbitrary choices within that a great benefit would have been realized had he added a few. Even had they been taken from the text of the chapter, they would have produced a more valuable result.

I would love to see Mr Bourg attempt a second edition that attended to some of these needless editorial choices.

5-0 out of 5 stars David Bourg is my brother
David is a genius, It think he was dropped at our doorstep by aliens ... Read more

167. Normal Accidents
by Charles Perrow
list price: $29.95
our price: $19.77
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0691004129
Catlog: Book (1999-09-27)
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Sales Rank: 74543
Average Customer Review: 4.31 out of 5 stars
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Hang a curtain too close to a fireplace and you run the risk of setting your house ablaze. Drive a car on a pitch-black night without headlights, and you dramatically increase the odds of smacking into a tree.

These are matters of common sense, applied to simple questions of cause and effect. But what happens, asks systems-behavior expert Charles Perrow, when common sense runs up against the complex systems, electrical and mechanical, with which we have surrounded ourselves? Plenty of mayhem can ensue, he replies. The Chernobyl nuclear accident, to name one recent disaster, was partially brought about by the failure of a safety system that was being brought on line, a failure that touched off an unforeseeable and irreversible chain of disruptions; the less severe but still frightening accident at Three Mile Island, similarly, came about as the result of small errors that, taken by themselves, were insignificant, but that snowballed to near-catastrophic result.

Only through such failures, Perrow suggests, can designers improve the safety of complex systems. But, he adds, those improvements may introduce new opportunities for disaster. Looking at an array of real and potential technological mishaps--including the Bhopal chemical-plant accident of 1984, the Challenger explosion of 1986, and the possible disruptions of Y2K and genetic engineering--Perrow concludes that as our technologies become more complex, the odds of tragic results increase. His treatise makes for sobering and provocative reading. --Gregory McNamee ... Read more

Reviews (16)

5-0 out of 5 stars Altogether a fascinating and informative book
Wow. This is an incredible book. I have to admit, though, that I had some difficulty getting into Normal Accidents. There seemed an overabundance of detail, particularly on the nuclear industry's case history of calamity. This lost me, since I'm not familiar with the particulars of equipment function and malfunction. The book was mentioned, however, by two others of a similar nature and mentioned with such reverence, that after I had finished both, I returned to Perrow's book, this time with more success.

Professor Perrow is a PhD in sociology (1960) who has taught at Yale University Department of Sociology since 1981 and whose research focus has been human/technology interactions and the effects of complexity in organizations. (His most recent publication is the The AIDS disaster : the Failure of Organizations in New York and the Nation, 1990.)

In Normal Accidents, he describes the failures that can arise "normally" in systems, ie. those problems that are expected to arise and can be planned for by engineers, but which by virtue of those planned fail-safe devices, immeasurably complicate and endanger the system they are designed to protect. He describes a variety of these interactions, clarifying his definitions by means of a table (p. 88), and a matrix illustration (p. 97). Examples include systems that are linear vs complex, and loosely vs tightly controlled. These generally arise through the interactive nature of the various components the system itself. According to the matrix, an illustration of a highly linear, tightly controlled system would be a dam. A complex, tightly controlled system would be a nuclear plant, etc.

The degree to which failures may occur varies with each type of organization, as does the degree to which a recovery from such a failure is possible. As illustrations, the author describes failures which have, or could have, arisen in a variety of settings: the nuclear industry, maritime activities, the petrochemical industry, space exploration, DNA research and so on.

The exciting character of the stories themselves are worth the reading; my favorite, and one I had heard before, is the loss of an entire lake into a salt mine. More important still is the knowledge that each imparts. Perrow makes abundantly apparent by his illustrations the ease with which complex systems involving humans can fail catastrophically. (And if Per Bak and others are correct, almost inevitably).

Probably the most significant part of the work is the last chapter. After discussing the fallibility of systems that have grown increasingly complex, he discusses living with high risk systems, particularly why we are and why it should change. In a significant statement he writes, "Above all, I will argue, sensible living with risky systems means keeping the controversies alive, listening to the public, and recognizing the essentially political nature of risk assessment. Unfortunately, the issue is not risk, but power; the power to impose risks on the many for the benefit of the few (p. 306)," and further on, "Risks from risky technologies are not borne equally by the different social classes [and I would add, countries]; risk assessments ignore the social class distribution of risk (p. 310)." How true. "Quo Bono?" as the murder mystery writers might say; "Who benefits?" More to the point, and again with that issue in mind, he writes "The risks that made our country great were not industrial risks such as unsafe coal mines or chemical pollution, but social and political risks associated with democratic institutions, decentralized political structures, religious freedom and plurality, and universal suffrage (p. 311)." Again, very true.

Professor Perrow examines the degrees of potential danger from different types of system and suggests ways of deciding which are worth it to society to support and which might not be. These include categorizing the degree and the extent of danger of a given system to society, defining the way these technologies conflict with the values of that society, determining the likelihood that changes can be made to effectively alter the dangerous factors through technology or training of operators, and the possibility of placing the burden of spill-over costs on the shoulders of the institutions responsible. The latter might conceivably lead to corrective changes, either by the institutions themselves in order to remain profitable or by consumers through purchasing decisions.

The bibliography for the book is quite extensive and includes a variety of sources. These include not only popular books and publications on the topics of individual disasters, but government documents, research journals, and industry reports as well. I did not find any reference to the Johnstown flood, my particular favorite dam burst story, but there are a wide variety of references to chose from should someone wish to do their own research on the topic.

Altogether a fascinating and informative book.

4-0 out of 5 stars Cool water for hot-headed analysts of complex systems
I'm dismayed to discover that 'Normal Accidents' is so difficult to find.

Like all voters, I'm sometimes asked to make choices about the use of potentially devastating technology, despite having no training in engineering and only a sketchy idea of statistical risk analysis. 'Normal Accidents' doesn't reduce my reliance on experts, but it does provide a common language for us to discuss the issues.

Perrow's accident descriptions are masterly, and should disturb anyone who lightly dismisses accidents in complex systems as "simple human error", or assumes that all systems can be made safe by a technological fix. I've used Perrow's complexity / coupling matrix as a tool for thinking about and discussing the risks involved in decisions about many systems in addition to those Perrow actually discusses, not least software systems.

I think this book still has a lot to offer anyone interested in public debate about complex technological issues, and I hope it will be reprinted. A new edition would be even better.

3-0 out of 5 stars Living With High-Risk Conclusions
I have been mulling over this review for a while now, and am still undecided on the correct rating to award this book. On the one hand Perrow offers some genuine insight into systems safety, but frequently does not understand the technicalities of the systems (or occasionally their operators) well enough to make informed decisions and recommendations. In more egregious cases he comes to conclusions that are guaranteed to reduce safety (as when he argues that supertankers should be run by committee, and the usefulness of the Captain is no more) or are merely the cherished liberal opinions of an Ivy League sociologist (he teaches at Yale) as when he argues for unilateral nuclear disarmament, government guaranteed income plans, and heroin maintenance (distribution) plans for addicts "to reduce crime." In the case of disarmament, remember this was written during the early 1980s while the Soviet Union was still a huge threat...complete nuclear disarmament would have resulted in fewer US nuclear accidents, but would NOT have made us safer as we would have been totally vulnerable to intentional nuclear attack. He has great personal animosity toward Ronald Reagan, and makes inflammatory statements in the mining section that mining safety regulations would surely be weakened by Reagan, causing many more accidents and deaths. Later in the same section, though, he concludes that mining is inherently dangerous, and no amount of regulation can make it safe. So which is it? Any of this is, at very best, folly, but regardless of political bent (he is a self avowed "leftist liberal") has absolutely no place in a book ostensibly on safety systems. As such I think portions of this book show what is so wrong in American academia today: even genuinely excellent research can be easily spoiled when the conclusions are known before the research is started. This is one of the many reasons that physical scientists scorn the social sciences, and it doesn't have to be this way.

Having said all that there IS a wealth of good information and insight in this book when Perrow sticks to systems and their interactions. The book contains the finest analysis commercially available of the Three Mile Island near-disaster, and his insight about how to improve safety in nuclear plants was timely when the book was written in 1984, though many improvements have been made since then.

Speaking as a commercial airline pilot, I feel his conclusions and observations about aircraft safety were generally true at the time of printing in 1984, but now are miserably out of date. (The same is true of the Air Traffic Control section.) I believe that he generally has a good layman's grasp of aviation, so I am willing to take it as a given that he has a knowledgeable layman's comprehension of the other systems discussed. As an aside, he never gets some of the technicalities quite right. For instance, he constantly uses the term 'coupling' incorrectly in the engineering sense; this is particularly objectionable in the aviation system where it has a very specific meaning to aeronautical engineers and pilots.

The section on maritime accidents and safety is superbly written. Here I am not an expert, but there seems to be a high degree of correlation with the aviation section. His section on "Non Collision Course Collisions" by itself makes this book a worthwhile read. He presents very compelling information and reasoning until the very end of the section, at which point he suggests that since ships are now so big, large ships (especially supertankers) essentially should have no Captain, but should be run by committee. This is an invalid conclusion, and he offers no evidence or substantial argument to support that idea. Clearly, it is an idea hatched in his office and not on a ship (or plane.) There always needs to be a person in a place of ultimate authority in fast moving, dynamic systems, or the potential exists to have crew members begin to work at direct odds with each other, making a marginal situation dangerous. Ironically, in the very same part of the discussion where he concludes that there should be no Captain, he has hit upon the key to the problem. He mentions that he was pleased to see that some European shippers were now training their crews together as a team, and that he expected this to lower accident rates. He is, in fact, exactly right about that. Airlines now have to train crews in Crew Resource Management (CRM) in which each member of the crew has the right and obligation to speak up if they notice anything awry in the operation of their aircraft, and the Captain makes it a priority to listen to the input of others, as everyone has a different set of concerns and knowledge. In this way, the Captain becomes much less dictatorial, and becomes more of a final decision maker after everyone has had their say. It IS critical, though, to maintain someone in command, as there is no time to assemble a staff meeting when a ship is about to run aground, or a mid-air collision is about to occur. Many other well documented studies and books have come to this conclusion, and in the airline industry since CRM was introduced the accident rate has decreased dramatically.

Overall, if you have a desire to understand high risk systems, this book has a lot of good information in it; however it is woefully out of date and for that reason among others, I can only recommend it with reservations. A better and much more contemporary introductory book on the subject is 'Inviting Disaster' by James R. Chiles. Remember, this book was written over twenty years ago, and much has changed since then. There is knowledge to be gleaned here, but you have to be prepared to sort the wheat from the chaff.

2-0 out of 5 stars Good Sociologists Should Not Dabble in Engineering
Perrow regurgitated too many facts. Give us enlightenment. Give us a view of system safety we have not seen before. Give us substantial information by which we can make decisions. Present us with critical analysis about what engineering and operational safety processes work and what do not work. Don't regurgitate history to us. We can get it elsewhere. It is a good summary for historians on accidents, but its not good for those in positions who can make systems safer. If you want to know about accident prevention go to the System Safety Society.

5-0 out of 5 stars Of Lasting Value, Relevant to Today's Technical Maze

I read this book when it was assigned in the 1980's as a mainstream text for graduate courses in public policy and public administration, and I still use it. It is relevant, for example, to the matter of whether we should try to use nuclear bombs on Iraq--most Americans do not realize that there has never (ever) been an operational test of a US nuclear missile from a working missle silo. Everything has been tested by the vendors or by operational test authorities that have a proven track record of falsifying test results or making the tests so unrealistic as to be meaningless.

This book is also relevant to the world of software. As the Y2K panic suggested, the "maze" of software upon which vital national life support systems depend--including financial, power, communications, and transportation software--has become very obscure as well as vulnerable. Had those creating these softwares been more conscious of the warnings and suggestions that the author provides in this book, America as well as other nations would be much less vulnerable to terrorism and other "acts of man" for which our insurance industry has not planned.

I agree with another review who notes that this book is long overdue for a reprint--it should be updated. I recommended it "as is," but believe an updated version would be 20% more valuable. ... Read more

168. Surgery, Science and Industry: A Revolution in Fracture Care, 1950s-1990s
by Thomas Schlick
list price: $69.95
our price: $69.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0333993055
Catlog: Book (2002-09-06)
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Sales Rank: 1237635
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Book Description

This book charts the history of the worldwide introduction of an operative treatment method for broken bones, osteosynthesis, by a Swiss-based association, called AO. The success of the close cooperation between the AO's surgeons, scientists and manufacturers in establishing a complicated and risky technique as a standard treatment sheds light on the mechanisms of medical innovation at the crossroads of surgery, science and industry and the nature of modern medicine in general.
... Read more

169. Resume Catalog: 200 Damn Good Examples
by Yana Parker
list price: $19.95
our price: $13.57
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0898158915
Catlog: Book (1996-10-01)
Publisher: Ten Speed Press
Sales Rank: 78166
Average Customer Review: 4.47 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (15)

5-0 out of 5 stars A great resume book even for a novice like myself.
This book breaks down what makes a resume great; title, skills, and all the things you need to know on how to write a damn good resume is in this book. It covers everything from IT technician, to Administrative assistance. It gives you examples on how to go for the job, and get it on the spot, and shows what to put, and what not to put on a resume.
This book is a definite get for anyone wondering on how to write a functional resume and make you feel like you are the king of the world. The books gives MANY examples for people who dont know how to write good resume's, and trust me it is HARD!
This book takes your hand, and shows you that you can write a good resume, and it is great for someone who is looking for a job, but dont know how to write a good resume, this book is a MUST GET for a employer.

5-0 out of 5 stars THIS IS THE BEST RESUME GUIDE!
i think that yana parker's damn good resume guides are DAMN good there the best around and anyone looking for help at writing a resume or anything to do with a resume should definitly look at the damn good resumes, whether your in high school just graduating or your 60 looking for a new job and new resume yana parkers book are the place to go!

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book!
This book is excellent in content and well written.

5-0 out of 5 stars Guide Gives Examples of Resumes that Solve Problems
Well organized book of resumes. Career fields include office support, finance, education, sales management, youth and students, human resources, technical and computers. Solutions are offered to problems such as gaps in employment, putting together an attractive resume with minimal word processing software, lacking paid experience, a confusing work record, and having only part time employment. A list of these types of problems is followed by resumes that model their solutions.

As originally published in the Annotated Bibliography of "Learning A Living; A Guide to Planning Your Career and Finding a Job For People with Learning Disabilities, Attention Deficit Disorder, an Dyslexia."

2-0 out of 5 stars 200 not so good examples
I was very disapointed in this resume guide. Not fresh or powerful and not much worth using here. ... Read more

170. Caesar's Legion: The Epic Saga of Julius Caesar's Elite Tenth Legion and the Armies of Rome
by StephenDando-Collins, Stephen Dando-Collins
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0471095702
Catlog: Book (2002-01-18)
Publisher: Wiley
Sales Rank: 58126
Average Customer Review: 3.52 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

PRAISE FOR Caesar’s Legion

"A unique and splendidly researched story, following the trials and triumphs of Julius Caesar’s Legio X–arguably the most famous legion of its day–from its activation to the slogging battle of Munda and from Thapsus, Caesar’s tactical masterpiece, to the grim siege of the Jewish fortress of Masada. More than a mere unit account, it incorporates the history of Rome and the Roman army at the height of their power and gory glory.Many military historians consider Caesar’s legions the world’s most efficient infantry before the arrival of gunpowder. This book shows why. Written in readable, popular style, Caesar’s Legion is a must for military buffs andanyone interested in Roman history at a critical point in European civilization."
–T. R. Fehrenbach, author of This Kind ofWar, Lone Star, and Comanches ... Read more

Reviews (23)

5-0 out of 5 stars Behold The Glory of Rome!
Caesar's Legion is one of the finest books on the Roman military that I have read. As a history major, and prospective professor of History, I find the narrative format chosen for Caesar's legion to be refreshing and vivid, and yet still maintaining tight historical focus. Many such books on history can ramble on in a rather dry manner, but Caesar's Legion supplies top-notch historical research with gripping narrative that keeps you turning the page, hungry to learn more.

The author takes the reader on an incredible journey, almost as if the reader were a legionaire recruit himself. Reading the fine story, the author grips you with the feeling of going on the long marches with the legions, of settling in to build a Roman camp, and of digging in for a long siege. The sweat rolling down the soldier's back, the acrid smell of smoke, the terror of bloody and ferocious combat, is all here. Mr. Collins succeeds brilliantly in bringing the reader into the world of the Roman soldiers who forged the foundation of empire in the blood and fire of war that raged from one end of the ancient world to the other. The insight and brilliance of Caesar is made manifest in every chapter. Even when Caesar made mistakes, he recouped well, and adapted. At every turn, Caesar not only learned from his mistakes, but he was able to exploit the smallest detail in order to bring victory.

Caesar's Legion covers all that one could imagine, from what the Roman Legionaire ate, to how they trained, to their weaponry, leadership, rank structure, and force organization. It is all here. The integration and deployment of siege weapons, artillery, and cavalry, are all covered in excellent detail. This book will make a fine addition to any historian's shelf, as well as anyone interested in the Roman Empire, and what made the Roman Empire the ferocious war machine that dominated the ancient world. Caesar's Legion is simply an essential book to have concerning the ancient history of the Roman Empire.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Tenth Legion
"Caesar's Legion" is partly a unit history of the famous 10th Legion, and partly the story of Rome's military adventures from the Gallic Wars through the fall of Masada. The book seems to be very carefully researched and it is certainly well written--Dando-Collins is fascinated by his subject, and his enthusiasm shows.

The Tenth Legion was, for most of its history, an elite and honored unit. Like America's 82d and 101st airborne divisions, the Tenth enjoyed a world-wide reputation for skill in battle. Dando-Collins explains how the Tenth earned its stripes, from recruitment and training to victory as the legion that usually occupied the position of honor on Caesar's right flank. As he does so, he tells the story of the centurions and other soldiers in the legion--how they were recruited, how long their terms of enlistment could be expected to last, when they would be promoted (if they lived) and how they could expect to spend their retirement.

Dando-Collins also points out some things that are probably old hat to students of Roman military history, but are very interesting to someone who is new to the subject. He explains, for example, that Roman javelins were designed so that they would bend upon striking an enemy shield (or an enemy), thus preventing the weapon from being re-used against the attacking legion. He also describes the remarkable training, discipline and mobility of a legion--on campaign, a unit like the Tenth might disassemble its fortified camp, march a great distance, assemble another camp to precise military specifications, and then repeat the process day after day until the enemy was run to ground.

In battle, a Roman legion would fight in a tight, disciplined infantry formation and engage enemy units first with javelins, then with Spanish swords in what must have resembled a rugby scrum from hell. A well-trained legion like the Tenth won far more often than it lost--the Romans understood that a soldier should sweat in peace so that he didn't have to bleed in war.

The story of the Tenth is told in the context of the times. Dando-Collins follows the Legion as it helps Caesar pacify Gaul, crosses the Rubicon and fights a civil war, endures the assassinations of Pompey and Caesar, casts its lot with Antony at Actium, and finally captures the Zealot fortress at Masada. The Romans, it seems, were very skilled and very ruthless, and the Tenth Legion (for better or worse) represented the pinnacle of their military art.

5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent book that is easy to read!!!
This was a wonderful and easy to read book. What made it so great, is that it read like a novel, but it was real history. What is really great is that even though I knew how the history turned out, I actually looked forward to reading it, and was upset when it was finished. A book for anyone who enjoys ancient history, the Romans, or military tactics.

5-0 out of 5 stars SPQR
The critical reviews on this site utterly miss the mark. Do we not weary of the "historian's" tiresome delusions regarding objectivity? This is a delightful read and easily as "factual" as anything the "academic guild" can manufacture. Read it and enjoy it. There are many other wonderful books that I have seen criticized on this site by some failed academic whose tiny bit of the world is, at last, made interesting by a writer from outside of the guild. Save the general intellectual reading public from the professional historians.

2-0 out of 5 stars Part guesswork, part history
This proves to be a pretty interesting effort but I think it fall bit too short for my taste. I think this book was geared too much toward the general readers. Much of the information seem rather generic in nature and book as a whole, don't say too much. For beginner level Roman military history, its a pretty passable book but for experience reader like myself - and perhaps like some of the previous reviewers, I found the some of the information pretty questionable, unproven or simplistic. There seem to be little source to the facts given and as previously reviewers noted, there were two 10th Legions and there seem to be no fact linking Caesar's 10th to the 10th that took Masada!! There are other books far superior then this, try again. ... Read more

171. Serious Play: How the World's Best Companies Simulate to Innovate
by Michael Schrage
list price: $27.50
our price: $18.15
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0875848141
Catlog: Book (1999-12-01)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 30344
Average Customer Review: 4.41 out of 5 stars
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Recall the old saying about all work and no play making Jack a dull boy? World-class companies today need play--serious play--if they want to make truly innovative products, argues Michael Schrage, an MIT Media Lab fellow and Fortune magazine columnist. In Serious Play he writes, "When talented innovators innovate, you don't listen to the specs they quote. You look at the models they've created." Whether it's a spreadsheet that tests a new financial model or a foam prototype of a calculator, what interests Schrage is not the model itself, but the behavior that play--be it modeling, prototyping, or simulation--inspires.

Schrage examines the approaches to successful prototyping at companies such as AT&T, Boeing, Microsoft, and DaimlerChrysler and describes the kind of culture that's needed for encouraging innovation. In the last chapter, he lays out the 10 rules of serious play, including: Be willing to fail early and often; know when the costs outweigh the benefits; know who wins and who loses from an innovation; build a prototype that engages customers, vendors, and colleagues; create markets around prototypes; and simulate the customer experience. Well-written and inspiring, Serious Play, is a first-rate user's guide for managers, project leaders, and other innovators. --Dan Ring ... Read more

Reviews (17)

5-0 out of 5 stars Serious Play is Serious Fun
Prototypes, simulations, beta versions, these, according to author Michael Schrage, are the stuff of Serious Play.

Serious Play is a book that I found myself taking very seriously in deed. Its well-researched, highly readable pages gave me a framework for understanding so much of my own experiences, both in the development of games and the development of technography, that I found myself having genuinely serious fun reading and rereading this remarkably intelligent little book.

The subtitle, "how the world's best companies simulate to innovate," explains a great deal of the power of Schrage's vision. His is a deep, and firmly rooted understanding of the emergence of a key practice for doing business in the new economy. He draws his insights from Microsoft and Disney, Boeing and Shell, top design firms and winners of the America's Cup.

Designing games, I learned over and over again the value of a good prototype. No matter how clear my vision or how carefully sketched and documented the game might be, the only way I could successfully communicate the concept was by giving people something they could actually play with. At Ideal Toys, the toy and game designers worked next to the model making group. At Mattel Multimedia we had a whole division of people who spent their days creating storyboards or prototyping our ideas in Director. The more detailed and functional the prototype, the more successfully I was able to engage my programmers, my designers, my marketers, my bosses, my salespeople, and my audiences in the design and development of a truly innovative game.

"Prototypes," explains Schrage, "should turn customers, clients, colleagues and vendors into collaborators...That's why such invitations should emphasize play...errors can be captured before they become obstacles, serendipity becomes a colleague. The more flexible and dynamic the prototype, the more flexible and dynamic the play -- and the greater the opportunities for profitable innovation."

The efficacy of the outliner as a tool for supporting collaborative work can be explained by thinking of the dynamic outline itself as a prototyping tool. Every technography-enabled consultation has at its heart the goal of helping people play with their ideas.

Schrage quotes British management professor David Lane: "Rather than attempting to take the position 'I am an expert in techniques that will teach you about your business,' the consultant should offer a process in which the ideas of the team are brought out and examined in a clear and logical way."

Technography works because it gives people the chance to see their words on screen, and then to play with their ideas, to organize and reorganize, iterate and reiterate, until they are able to synthesize individual views into a coherent, well-structured vision.

When I first met Michael Schrage and demonstrated technography to him, he was so moved by the power of what he experienced that he wound up writing Shared Minds. Today, reading Serious Play, I find my own ideas "brought out and examined in a clear and logical way," and myself moved to a new and clearer perspective on my work. As Tom Peters says of Serious Play, it is "simply the best book on innovation I've ever read."

3-0 out of 5 stars Questions, questions (and not so many answers)
I'm not sure of Michael Schrage's actual background in this field, but from the book, I got the impression that he's more of an academic/writer than someone actually deeply immersered in this process of "serious play" (prototyping or modeling).

He certainly provides some useful tips and advice about the modeling or prototying process yet, for me, I found the book coming up short.

One device the writer uses is to consistently ask the reader questions about the modeling/prototyping process, i.e."Is it better for a company to do more [modeling] iterations to perfect the product, or to use less and send the product quickly to market with less iterations, but beating the competition?" While this is an effective device in getting the reader to realize that these are very real questions any company will face in using extensive prototyping, unfortunately, Mr. Schrage doesn't really provide much guidance or assistance in how companies have arrived at conclusions regarding these issues.

I'd like to ask Mr. Schrage, "How have these companies resolved these issues?, What kind of metrics do they use to decide those types of questions relating to decisions surrounding the prototyping process?" Maddeningly, these issues are never substantively dealt with.

As Mr. Schrage informs the reader on page 201 (near the end of the book, but the start of a brief 13 page "User's Guide") ... "A time-pressed innovator hungry to benefit from serious play might prefer a book entitled 'The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Innovators' or 'The One-Minute Modeler'. This is not that book."

I agree with that statement.

5-0 out of 5 stars Three years on, still a great book
Here's the best review I can give Michael Schrage's "Serious Play": Three years on, it's consistently the first book I pull out of my bookshelf when I'm looking for ideas for presentations, thoughts on introducing new products or services, etc. His commentary on "mean-time-to-payback" is something that will stick with you for years. It's brilliant stuff, written in clear, concise terms. And, surprisingly, very little of it is dated. Unlike many books from that era, there's no .com or Enron fixation for the author to be embarrassed about. Schrage's examples are pulled from health care technology, animation, short, an eye-opening spectrum of ideas. I consider "Serious Play" one of my best purchases ever.

2-0 out of 5 stars Preaching to the choir
This is a good book for someone to read if they are skeptical of the benefits of prototypes. However, since I already know the value of interactive prototypes I became quickly tired with the book.

Other critiques: it felt like the author had a bunch of cool little examples lying around and finally got the idea to put it together, surrounded by some fluffy text to make it thick enough to sell as a book, and put it on the market. Lots of space is taken up by these excerpts, as well as big text in the margins summing up "important points," which I would usually find useful but instead gave the impression of just taking up space.

Also, the author makes repeated use of similes to the point that it got annoying; "Just like a is to b, c is to d."

At one point, the author brings up the difference between a "simulation" and a "prototype," and just when you think the core of the matter is going to be distinguished the author backs out, leaving you wondering why they brought it up in the first place if they weren't going to take a stab at defining and differentiating them.

Sorry, but given the hype I was sorely disappointed. Read the first chapter or so in a bookstore before actually buying this.

4-0 out of 5 stars Enlightening
This book gave me a very good and new insight of how to manage prototyping. It is enlightening for not only it explains and lists the topics that are important. It also gives us lots of practical examples of implementations. ... Read more

172. Standard Work for the Shopfloor (Shopfloor Series)
by Productivity Press Development Team
list price: $25.00
our price: $25.00
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Asin: 1563272733
Catlog: Book (2002-08-01)
Publisher: Productivity Press Inc
Sales Rank: 264400
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Book Description


Productivity Press Development Team

STANDARD WORK FOR THE SHOPFLOOR is the latest in the Productivity Press"Shopfloor Series" created by our in-house development team. This book is a guide to standardizing and documenting operators’ current best practices on the shop floor. Standardized work stresses consistency while remaining dynamic enough to change with products and process. It documentsguidelines and illustrations for employees performing the same specific job. ... Read more

173. The Evolution of Technology (Cambridge Studies in the History of Science)
list price: $31.99
our price: $31.99
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Asin: 0521296811
Catlog: Book (1989-02-24)
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Sales Rank: 249890
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Book Description

Presents an evolutionary theory of technological change based on recent scholarship in the history of technology and on relevant material drawn from economic history and anthropology.Challenges the popular notion that technological advances arise from the efforts of a few heroic individuals who produce a series of revolutionary inventions that owe little or nothing to the technological past.Therefore, the book's argument is shaped by analogies drawn selectively from the theory of organic evolution, and not from the theory and practice of political revolution.Three themes appear, with variations, throughout the study. The first is diversity: an acknowledgment of the vast numbers of different kinds of made things (artifacts) that long have been available to humanity.The second theme is necessity: the mistaken belief that humans are driven to invent new artifacts in order to meet basic biological needs such as food, shelter, and defense.And the third theme is technological evolution: an organic analogy that explains both the emergence of the novel artifacts and their subsequent selection by society for incorporation into its material life without invoking either biological necessity or technological process. ... Read more

174. Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World
by Mark Kurlansky
list price: $23.00
our price: $16.10
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Asin: 0802713262
Catlog: Book (1997-06-01)
Publisher: Walker & Company
Sales Rank: 27610
Average Customer Review: 4.36 out of 5 stars
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You probably enjoy eating codfish, but reading about them? Mark Kurlansky has written a fabulous book--well worth your time--about a fish that probably has mattered more in human history than any other. The cod helped inspire the discovery and exploration of North America. It had a profound impact upon the economic development of New England and eastern Canada from the earliest times. Today, however, overfishing is a constant threat. Kurlansky sprinkles his well-written and occasionally humorous history with interesting asides on the possible origin of the word codpiece and dozens of fish recipes.Sometimes a book on an offbeat or neglected subject really makes the grade. This is one of them. ... Read more

Reviews (76)

5-0 out of 5 stars A bitter ecological tale for our time
This is a fascinating book.

It's also very sad, because it illustrates the ability of modern people to almost unconsciously wipe out the natural resources of our planet. Codfish were once the "buffalo" of the oceans -- big, fat, useful and dumb. As one early explorer wrote, to catch cod all you need do is lower and bucket into the water and haul it back up full of fish. Sorta like buffalo in the days when passengers could shoot them from the windows of passing trains as a harmless sport intended solely to break the boredom of the trip.

Yes, this book is a bitter ecological tale for our time.

It is also a wonderful history of a marvelous fish. Kurlansky obviously had fun writing it, and his love of cod shows in the comfortable style of his writing. He delves into word origins for the different ways used to describe cod, and he plays with the history of a dozen or so nations to illustrate the impact one fish had on entire peoples. Plus, he includes dozens of recipes by which cod was cooked for generations.

But he also explains why such an international treasure has almost vanished.

"Whatever steps are taken, one of the greatest obstacles to restoring cod stocks off Newfoundland is an almost pathological collective denial of what has happened," Kurlansky writes near the end of the book. "Newfoundlanders seem prepared to believe anything other than they have killed off nature's bounty."

What happened? Kurlansky writes that "One Canadian journalist published an article pointing out that the cod disappeared from Newfoundland at about the same time that stocks started rebuilding in Norway.

"Clearly the northern stock had packed up and migrated to Norway," he adds. If this is the Canadian attitude, in one of the self-proclaimed best educated and wealthiest of nations, it's not hard to understand why and how Third World nations have environmental problems. My personal experience with a similar depletion is in the Sea of Cortez, where Mexican fishermen have taken about 20 years to just about exterminate the sharks.

Shrimp boats, based in Puerto Penasco, have likewise decimated the shrimp. Who's to blame? The United States, of course, because the Americans built dams on the Colorado River which prevents the river water from reaching the sea.

There's always someone else to blame.

As I said earlier, it's a sad book. Yet, it is an excellent one and perhaps one of the most appropriate to read in terms of what is fast happening to our marine life. Cod are invisible, not like cute furry little baby seals which so excited Europeans a few years ago when they saw how Canadians clubbed them to death to avoid marking the fur. If the future of our world depends on cute pictures on TV, then our future is truly in deplorable shape.

But, the fact this book exists and is written with elegance, style, wit and great insight, may persuade thick-headed politicians that even "invisible" wildlife deserves protection from our greed and ignorance. If not, and having known many politicians for many years I'm not optimistic, it is a beautiful elegy to a noble fish.

What happens when a native species disappears? Well, two centuries ago the US Southwest had some of the world's finest grasslands. Then came the Russian Thistle, an almost useless weed that choked out the grass. Now we celebrate this import in song, "See them tumbling along . . . . . the tumbling tumbleweeds."

It happens.

4-0 out of 5 stars hungry for a lost fish
A purse-sized history of the cod fishery, from the Basques & vikings to the fishes' modern decimation by large scale bottom-dragging. The social & historical ramifications spawned (no pun intended) by the international quest for this fish are incredible. Kurlansky's book weaves historical accounts in choronological order with hundreds of years of recipes for preparing cod. Though the book was well-written, concise, and highly interesting, I found it oddly incongruous to read about the vast decimation of this species yet find myself hungry for the very same fish after reading the next page's recipe for it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Perfect For Detail Junkies
Cod is not for every reader, reflecting as it does the author's deep interest in history, and how individual foods relate to history. What the book gives to thoughtful readers is true context along with its detail. Kurlansky drives home a real point: you cannot separate the fish from the men who risk and lose their lives to extract it from the sea, nor can the food be divorced from the dollars it represents. In culinary terms, I was inspired to start cooking with dried cod; it's the kind of thing you don't notice in your supermarket until something--this book in my case--sticks it into your consciousness with no going back. As a real "foodie" and an incurable history buff, I am thankful that writers like Kurlansky go to the trouble of applying their talents to subjects like this.

Food writer Elliot Essman's other reviews and food articles are available at

3-0 out of 5 stars Interesting and informative , but ...
This book is another interesting and informative, but narrow subject history book of the type this author prefers to write. In some sections it poses as a cookbook. I was irritated by the amount of text actually devoted to Codfish recipes, when what I purchased was a historical type book . The author has a very good writing style. The book covers the early history of some cultures that took advantage of this bottom dwelling fish prized for its unique white meat. The Codfish affected these early cultures as it still does today, where regional and national economies are suffering from the impact of worldwide diminishing Codfish stocks in spite of some sporadic conservation measures.
This reader recommends ignoring the all too frequent codfish recipes interspersed with the good historical information. This book makes for a fine compact interesting history of man's relationship with the Codfish. Ignore the historical section and I suppose it would be a passable Codfish cookbook.

3-0 out of 5 stars A Cod piece
Overall, I thought Cod to be an "ok" read. It's strongest points were the inclusion of historic references to cod, images, and recipes - a novel approach for a non-fiction work. I also found the stories of contemporary cod fishermen (who aren't allowed to fish!) quite compassionate and the history of Basque fishers-of-cod both enlightening and surprising.

However, Kurlansky was often repetitive with his cod anecdotes, and I found his writing style to be a bit cumbersome and slow. I'm a big fan of John McPhee's work, which exemplifies the essay as poetry, and I had hoped that Kurlansky might offer a new, strong voice in the non-fiction, natural history essay. I was a bit disappointed that the central text read much like an undergrad research paper. I do plan to read his recent book Salt because I find the subject premise intriguing.

If you like eating fish or fishing, are interested in how natural and human history intertwine, or are simply a fan of nature writing, I would recommend giving Cod a try. ... Read more

175. Renewable and Efficient Electric Power Systems
by Gilbert M.Masters
list price: $120.00
our price: $120.00
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Asin: 0471280607
Catlog: Book (2004-07-30)
Publisher: Wiley-IEEE Press
Sales Rank: 572143
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Book Description

This is a comprehensive textbook for the new trend of distributed power generation systems and renewable energy sources in electric power systems. It covers the complete range of topics from fundamental concepts to major technologies as well as advanced topics for power consumers. ... Read more

176. Brassey's Book of Uniforms
by Timothy Newark, Tim Newark
list price: $34.95
our price: $34.95
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Asin: 1857532430
Catlog: Book (1998-01-01)
Publisher: Brassey's, Inc.
Sales Rank: 925771
Average Customer Review: 3.33 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A fully illustrated history of uniforms from Barbarian times to the present. ... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars WORTH EVERY PENNY
This book not only covers the evolution of uniforms, but the use of uniforms throught history to bring identity to combatants. The use of uniforms as phycological weapons, and the economy of color, why some color uniforms were use in place of others. Conferderate gray for instance. This book is not only worth the price, but worth sharing with others. It will be enlighting to both the armchair historian and the serious millitary acadenic.

1-0 out of 5 stars Not worth the price
These two authors write general books on various military themes. The publisher Brassey generally publishes various books on military subjects.
I generally don't like this publisher as their books are too pricey when compared to other similar military books and the authors have done a wishy-washy job on the text, as usual.

4-0 out of 5 stars Review of Brassey's Book of Uniforms
Rather than a detailed analysis or encyclopedia of types, this book takes a sweeping look at the meaning and making of military uniforms. Featuring color photos on the making of uniforms as well as historical lithographs, this book is a nice addition of any military history library. ... Read more

177. Science in Action: How to Follow Scientists and Engineers Through Society
by Bruno Latour
list price: $21.95
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Asin: 0674792912
Catlog: Book (1988-10-01)
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Sales Rank: 227107
Average Customer Review: 3.67 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars An Engineer's Opinion...
I'm an electrical and electronics engineer, working for a governmental R&D Institution. I also study on Science and Technology Policy Studies for an M.S. degree. I found the book quite useful, especially in its aspect of analyzing the scientist and engineer in his own time, his own context, his own psychology... It is a well organized, fluent, clear book. It may not be a complete guide or a definitive study, but it is a good point to start. Recommended...

1-0 out of 5 stars Trivial where not incorrect
Latour again demonstrates trivial insights and egregious errors. He simply does not know his subject (allegedly science) well enough - he makes conceptual and factual blunders. I am glad this book is still in print because it is a useful aid in teaching humanity students about science - but not in the way Latour had envisioned! By understanding his misinterpretations, we can learn how laypeople get confused.

5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant view on scientific truth as a network of strength
Latour today can be regarded as one of the leading philosophers of science and technology. After his first work with Steve Woolgar, "Laboratory life", this is his second major work in which he generalises on various topics that he only touched in a very preliminary way in the above work. Latour adopts a very original way of following scientists in their struggle to "produce" scientific truth. He studies them as if they were a tribe (Latour is originally an ethnographer).

His conclusion is that scientific truth and the designing of succesful technological artefacts is not so much a "unveiling of some hidden truth behind things" or a logical construction, but a very heterogeneous project in which money, resources, statements, objects, people and numerous other things are linked in such a way that a strong chain is formed. Something is true if the chains is strong enough to withstand "trials of strength". Latour does away with metaphysical ideas of "The Truth" but insist in stead that truth is very much a stage in a process of negotiation between human and non-human actors. The idea that truth is the result of a logical process in which an abstract "reality" is discovered is, according to Latour, a story that is told afterwards to defend the theory itself and not something that is inherent in the forming of the theory itself.

In a very easy-to-read way Latour guides his readers through the work of science and technology "in the making". A must for any student in science and technology as well as for any scholar in social sciences and philosophy. ... Read more

178. The Complete Handbook of Model Business Letters
by Jack Griffin
list price: $18.95
our price: $12.89
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Asin: 0137691181
Catlog: Book (1997-09-24)
Publisher: Prentice Hall Art
Sales Rank: 65169
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Useful, timely resources!
I use to think that a business writing book would be boring and outdated. However, this book did provide a good resources for the executives during their day to day job.

I would have no doubt to recommend this book to everyone. ... Read more

179. The Passive Solar Design and Construction Handbook
list price: $115.00
our price: $103.50
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Asin: 0471183083
Catlog: Book (1997-10-14)
Publisher: Wiley
Sales Rank: 260564
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Book Description

Passive solar design refers to design strategies that minimize or eliminate the need to heat or cool a building mechanically. This sourcebook of details, drawings and case studies of passive solar buildings throughout the U.S. provides is a complete guide to passive solar design and construction. ... Read more

180. Phantom Soldier: The Enemy's Answer to U.S. Firepower
by H. John Poole
list price: $14.95
our price: $12.71
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Asin: 0963869558
Catlog: Book (2001-08-09)
Publisher: Posterity Pr
Sales Rank: 55451
Average Customer Review: 4.83 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Phantom Soldier: The Enemy’s Answer to U.S. Firepower may be the best treatise on Oriental warfare ever produced in the West. Well researched and illustrated, it sheds new light on what an Eastern infantry unit can do in combat: (1) alternate between guerrilla, mobile, and positional warfare; (2) use “ordinary forces” to engage and “extraordinary forces” to beat an opponent; and then (3) run away when fighting holds no more strategic import.While what occurred in history does not change, one’s perception of it does — as he comes to better understand his former adversary.Well versed in the Asian arts of deception and delay, the author explains in detail what really occurred at Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima, the Chosin Reservoir, Hue City, and other Vietnam battlefields.It would seem that former adversaries have used strategic retreat and tactical withdrawal not only to save their soldiers, but also to undermine U.S. resolve.By revealing how Eastern soldiers could hold their own without resupply, tanks, or air support, Phantom Soldier shows what U.S. infantrymen must do to survive the more lethal weaponry of the 21st century.This is must reading for any combat leader or concerned citizen. ... Read more

Reviews (12)

5-0 out of 5 stars If you want to win - read this book!
Phantom Soldier is the natural follow-up to John Poole's book "Another Bridge to Cross".
In Phantom Soldier he continuous his effort to explain the right way to fight - this time with more clarity and easy-to-read style. I find the way he mixes the old, and still true, theories of war fighting with real world examples to be most helpful.

Every person slightest interested in learning the ways of war is probably familiar with Sun-Tzu, but in this book the author also introduces us to some of the less know Asian theorists like Sun Bin. For the uninitiated "The Art of War" by Sun-Wu (or Sun-Zi) seams to be the reference work to read, but the truth is that "The Art of War" is only one in the ancient collection "Seven books of war". A less well-known work, the Liu Tao, or Six Strategies for War, was also highly regarded by rulers of ancient China. The six strategies (Civil, Military, Dragon, Tiger, Leopard, and Hound) each deal with a different subject and corresponding plan for success.

In Phantom Soldier the Battle Arrays of Sun Bin are explained so they are applicable to modern units right now.

I don't agree with J R Dunn on his critic on John Poole's writing. J R Dunn referrers to him self as a military historian, if he really is this, he should know better than to confuse efforts that use history as example with absolute truths. I doubt that Mr. Dunn ever participated in a battle or even a fire-fight. If he had he would know that fighting is complex and very fluid, you cannot make science of art. What John Poole really does is to try and make use think the right way.

If a force with all its modern weapons, support, intelligence assets and the overall technological superiority would be able to adopt this way of thinking it would be unstoppable.

If you keep one eye on history and the other on the future - you will be blind on one eye.
If you keep two eyes on the future you will be blind on both.

5-0 out of 5 stars America's Duty to Its Fighting Men Is to Read This Book!
H. John Poole's first two books were profoundly valuable. The first was a handbook of high-skill small unit infantry technique. The second was his ethical and religious philosophy of warfighting, in which he points out that the ethical point in a just fight is to *win*, not simply to kill. The only key to winning without excessive killing is *skill*, not technology, although appropriate technology supplements skill.

Now comes _Phantom Soldier: The Enemy's Answer to US Firepower_. We owe it to our military service members to study and absorb this book in ALL services and ALL military and civilian levels, even if it means that readers in sea and air forces, and in diplomacy and economic warfare have to make their own translations from ground combat. _Phantom Soldier_ shows that skill has trumped technology-our technology-in the wars of the 20th century. Specific, detailed, professional analyses of the Japanese defense of Iwo Jima, the Chinese at the Chosin Reservoir, the Vietnamese against landing U.S. Marines at Than Tham Khe in late December 1967, illustrate many of the maxims of the ancient Chinese military philosopher Sun Tzu [lucidly summarized and explained in the Appendix] and show how again and again, Americans attempt to substitute technology for skill, shedding rivers of American blood in the process.

This is the most lucid and enlightening readily-available account of Sun Tzu's and his disciples' military philosophy, and will generate one "ah-ha!" experience after another, in understanding both maneuver warfare, and 4th generation or "asymmetric" warfare, such as the attack launched against us in September, 2001.

It is our duty as a nation to only send Americans into fights in cohesive, *skilled* units, led by practiced, competent leaders, because only this wins the fights, sparing their lives and spirits.

Devour this book and then give copies to all your friends. ...

5-0 out of 5 stars H. John Poole is the best
This is an analysis of how the eastern way of war trumps the American/western way of war. It also shows why people in Iraq are shooting at US troops rather than hailing them as heros. I've mailed a copy to George Bush. It's too bad that the military culture that he represents is incapable of understanding the importance of this book. The result of this inability is graphically portrayed in John Shey's two classics ACHILLES IN VIET NAM and ODYSSEUS IN AMERICA.

5-0 out of 5 stars Small Unit Sanity Check
What a fantastic collection of small-unit lessons learned (or ones that should have been learned) from the history of U.S. armed forces military successes and failures for the last 60+ years!

John Poole has "taken the road less traveled, and that has made all the difference." Poole's emphasis on the importance of small unit dominance on the battlefield is definitely less traveled than the mistaken U.S. over-reliance on superior technologies. The convincing discussion and analysis in this book can make all the difference in how the military decides to prepare for the future: tactical parity with our enemies to augment our technological superiority, or technological advances to complement our superior tactical expertise over our enemies.

Poole's thought-provoking book provides insights and answers to some very important questions: When our enemies or the environment neutralize our vast technological advantages, can our small-units still fight and win on the battlefield? How easy is it for our enemies to minimize our technological advantages? What are the differences and similarities between the eastern and western approaches to warfighting? How well has our training prepared our small-units to fight since WWII? Is it an advantage for our enemies to willingly train and fight with little to no reliance on modern technologies? How well do our small-units record and pass on tactical lessons learned as compared to what our adversaries have done? Are there better ways to fight and minimize the costs of war?

Today's changing face and nature of conflict demand an even greater understanding of the different styles and approaches to warfighting. This book challenges our traditional understandings of battlefield prowess and deserves, at a minimum, serious study and discussion.

3-0 out of 5 stars A Great Thesis, But...
The opening pages of this one require a particularly large grain of salt. I don't believe for a minute that the garrison of Iwo Jima snuck off the island though tunnels to be rescued by submarines. Similarly, to read Poole's version of the Second Vietnam War, you'd be forgiven for thinking that the Vietcong actually controlled the entire country from underground bases and abstained from wiping out U.S. forces, as the old song puts it, out of kindness, I suppose. (I'll add that there's also no mystery about the walls of the Citadel at Hue. As clearly recorded by George Smith in his SIEGE AT HUE, the walls were honeycombed with tunnels that the the NVA used with alacrity and were very difficult to clear out. Why Poole treats this as a hypothetical I have no idea.)
But the core of the book is a different matter: this is the first volume on tactics I've read (and as a military historian, I've seen quite a few) which suggests that Asian soldiers not only revere Sun Tzu but, in fact, study him, apply him, and live by him. Stated baldly, this may seem obvious. But entire generations of military men have fought Asian armies as if their commanders had taken the same courses at West Point, or Sandhurst, or (we can't leave the French out of this) St. Cyr. The result, often as not, has been disaster. It's to Poole's infinite credit that he wants to assist future Western armies in avoiding the same fate.
I suggest reading this book in tandem with David Hackworth's STEEL MY SOLDIER'S HEARTS, a memoir of Hackworth's service in the Mekong Delta that clearly demonstrates that the Asian soldier can be met and defeated on his own terms... ... Read more

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