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    Khrushchev: The Man and His Era
    by William Taubman
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (March, 2003)
    list price: $35.00 -- our price: $23.10
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    Reviews (34)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Exquisite Biography of a Complex "Simple" Man
    Nikita Sergeevich Khrushchev was a `simple' man.He was also an extraordinarily complex man full of internal contradictions and conflicts.The child of peasants, Khrushchev had only four years of formal education. Yet he rose up from the ranks of the proletariat (perhaps the only Soviet leader with true proletarian roots) to become the leader of one of the superpowers of the 20th century.William Taubman's meticulously researched and beautifully written, Khrushchev: The Man and His Era, unravels the complexities of this `simple' soul.

    Khrushchev the leader was everywhere during my cold-war youth.I grew up with images of his `kitchen debate' with then Vice President Nixon and his shoe banging episode at the United Nations.Khrushchev's threat to bury the U.S. was common knowledge even to children of the era and may explain my wearing a Khrushchev mask one Halloween while trick or treating.

    Since his departure from the world stage in 1964, neither history nor historians have paid much attention to Khrushchev.Historians continue to pay far more attention to Lenin, Stalin, and even Trotsky than to Khrushchev and no one has ever really managed to take an extended look at the man behind that Halloween mask. William Taubman has, in one fell swoop, managed to balance the scales.

    Taubman follows the normal chronological outlines of Khrushchev's life and times. As one would expect we begin with his impoverished childhood in the Donbass coal mining region of Russia.A skilled sheet metal worker at the outbreak of the October Revolution, Khrushchev joined the Communist Party and began what can best be described as a meteoric rise up the slippery and dangerous slope of the party leadership where sometimes the only thing worse than being too far from Joseph Stalin was being too close.It is from Khrushchev's first interactions with Stalin that Taubman's writing and analysis soars.It is from this point that the tragic contradictions that marked Khrushchev's life began to come to the surface.

    We see Khrushchev in the role of devoted servant to Stalin, participating with no small amount of energy and satisfaction in party purges and the purges of ethnic nationalities.Up until Stalin's death, Taubman makes it clear that Khrushchev's hands (along with the hands of every other player in the court of the Red tsar) were stained with the blood of thousands of Soviet citizens.Yet this was the same Khrushchev who took a tremendous leap of faith in revealing Stalin's `crimes' at the famous Party Congress in 1956.

    We see Khrushchev instituting what became known as the thaw in the USSR.In 1956, Khrushchev opened the gates of the Gulag and thousands of prisoners returned home from Siberia.Yet in this same year he did not hesitate to send tanks to Hungary to crush a popular democratic movement.The thaw enabled Solzhenitsyn to publish One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch, yet the work of Vasilly Grossman was physically destroyed by the KGB.

    Taubman shows us Khrushchev in the role of cold-warrior. He had the Berlin Wall built, sent missiles to Cuba, and paraded Gary Power's downed U-2 spy plane through Red Square.Yet, at the same time Khrushchev understood that the massive amounts of money being poured into the military would have a drastic impact on the Soviet economy, a theory proven by later events.He suggested increasing the USSR's missile defense systems while proposing dramatic cuts in the strength of Soviet Navy and Army.Unfortunately these proposed cuts cost him the support of the military.Believing that the future of the USSR would be guaranteed by agricultural self-sufficiency he promoted scheme after scheme to increase production.Unfortunately most of these schemes turned out to be more than a bit silly and they all failed in a very public fashion.These failures cost Khrushchev public and political support. By October, 1964 Khrushchev was removed, peacefully from office. Khrushchev died a bitter, lonely, man.

    Blaise Pascal wrote: "What a chimera, then, is man! what a novelty, what a monster, what a chaos, what a subject of contradiction, what a prodigy! A judge of all things, feeble worm of the earth, depositary of the truth, cloaca of uncertainty and error, the glory and the shame of the universe!" Taubman has done a marvelous job exploring the chimera, chaos, and contradictions that made the life of Nikita S. Khrushchev so utterly fascinating.

    Anyone interested in Soviet history, history generally, or who just likes well-written, well-informed biographies should read this book.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Soviet Special K
    Krushchev has been a mystery to us as to how he gained and lost power in the Soviet Union.This book allows the reader to enter into the day-to-day existance of a ruler in an oppressed society.The book shows Special K as sometimes a buffoon, a simple peasant/worker but in reality a coniver and plotter. To me it felt that the author tried to portray Khrushchev as a sympathetic character but, he was a man that willingly participated in the murder of thousands upon thousands of innocents.

    The author does well in potraying and explaining Special K to us through the use of such source as his son however, I did not feel he went deep enough into what he was really like.I temper this with the fact that we are gaining access into teh secret aschives and more information is always forthcoming so I find this book helpful.Hence, I can only give a four star rating.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Perhaps a wonderful book for professors, but not for the avg
    Taubman's work goes into great detail about the life and times of Khrushchev, however Taubman is writing to his fellow professors and not to the general public, which detracts from the work's value to the average reader.The text is drawn out and quite boring with little life or enthusiasm to add to Khrushchev's incredible times and remarkable achievements in climbing to the top of the soviet hierarchy while manipulating all those around him who thought him to be an ignorant peasant.

    After attempting to complete this book several times yet failing in each attempt, I attributed my inability to make it past 20 pages without falling asleep to my long hours at work. However, after picking up Edmund Morris' Theodore Rex and devouring it in short order, I determined what was wrong.Taubman is so caught up in the exact details, and writes in a style that adds zero life to the text that one can not help but be bored unless you are preparing for a final or history class and are assigned the reading.This is the type of history text that most American's hate, if you can make it through this than you are a better reader than I, as well as the general public from what I can determine.I am not trying to take away from the work itself, for those of you who are inclined to read from this perspective and can, please do so. But I believe that Joseph Ellis summed the problem up after writing "Founding Brothers"; the issue with most history texts is that the authors are writing to each other and not the general public.If one can write to both, maintaining the facts, yet telling a compelling story about the times, and the lives of the principal characters that also maintains interest for the casual reader of history and the professor than why not do so.
    ... Read more

    Isbn: 0393051447
    Sales Rank: 140965
    Subjects:  1. 1894-1971    2. Biography    3. Biography & Autobiography    4. Biography / Autobiography    5. Biography/Autobiography    6. Europe - Russia & the Former Soviet Union    7. Heads of state    8. Historical - General    9. Khrushchev, Nikita Sergeevich,    10. Political    11. Presidents & Heads of State    12. Russia - History - 1917 To 1991    13. Soviet Union    14. Khrushchev, Nikita Sergeevich   


    Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East
    by Michael Oren, Michael B. Oren
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (01 April, 2002)
    list price: $30.00 -- our price: $30.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
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    Reviews (103)

    5-0 out of 5 stars one of the best books on the Modern Middle East
    A riveting read from an excellent and eloquent historian and former military man.

    5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent history of an unusual war
    This is an excellent history of the Six Day War.It was made possible when the 30-year declassification period expired in 1997 and all sorts of material became available to historians.

    Given that Egypt ought to have been aware of Israel's recalcitrance to fight and Israel's military strength, it has long been puzzling that Egypt committed acts of war that seemed highly likely to provoke an all-out Israeli response.It has also been puzzling that Jordan went along with the war, even when it stood to lose territory.And it was even puzzling that Syria kept shelling Israel during the early parts of the war when it stood to lose the Golan.But Oren shows how it all happened.

    We see some preliminary skirmishes in which Syria provoked an Israeli reply.And false Soviet warnings of an Israeli buildup against Syria.We also see that Egyptian President Nasser was aware that there was no such Israeli buildup but in May of 1967went ahead with kicking the UNEF forces out of the Sinai anyway. Nasser might have been prepared to risk an undesired war to do this.However, he then continued by closing the Straits of Tiran, an act of war which made a major conflict very likely.That would have been truly illogical had Nasser's intention been to avoid war.And we discover that Nasser did indeed plan a first strike (Operation Dawn) that was cancelled in the last few hours only because Nasser feared that the plan had been compromised.That allowed Israel to get away with its failure to act at once when Egypt closed the Straits.In June, Israel gained a big advantage by striking Egypt first and destroying two thirds of the Egyptian air force on the ground.

    While there are excellent descriptions of exactly how the war proceeded, the most interesting questions Oren answers are when and how Israel made the decisions to liberate the rest of Jerusalem, capture the West Bank, and take the Golan heights from Syria.Oren stresses that none of these events, not even the taking of all of Sinai, were in any Israeli Master Plan, and that these decisions were made on the spot.Many other outcomes were still possible even a day after the outbreak of major hostilities.

    This is a fascinating book.If there is any moral, it should be that ignorance can have deadly consequences.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Truth about tired old formulas
    When I first got hold of Oren's stellar Six Days of War in April, 2002, I tore through the advanced readers' copy and swiftly predicted it would be a runaway best-seller. I was not wrong. As history books go, this one has had an extraordinary run, and it is must reading for anyone who wants to understand the true genesis of the current situation in the Middle East.

    Oren rooted through boxes and boxes of declassified Presidential and U.S. State Department documents, as well as those of various Arab and Israeli government offices. What he found puts new historians like Avi Shlaim and Benny Morris to shame.

    We knew, of course, that the Soviets in the 1950s and 1960s copiously supplied arms to Egypt, Syria, Jordan and others of the Arab nations. But Oren also shows that the Soviet government in 1966 and 1967 meddled more dangerously. For example, top Soviet officials spread false "intelligence" to Arab governments about alleged Israeli plans for a massive onslaught. Oren shows that Israeli restraint before the war actually encouraged the cataclysmic Arab aggression which followed.

    Sound familiar? We can draw lessons from Oren's impressive history. Appeasing tyrants and offering more land to people who do not want peace is not the solution. I don't know what is. But this fantastic piece of historical investigation shows that recycling the same tired old formulas simply will not work.

    --Alyssa A. Lappen ... Read more

    Isbn: 0195151747
    Sales Rank: 115509
    Subjects:  1. History    2. History - Military / War    3. History: World    4. International Relations - General    5. Israel-Arab War, 1967    6. Middle East - General    7. Military - General    8. Military - Other   


    The Killing of a President: The Complete Photographic Record of the JFK Assassination, the Conspiracy, and the Cover-Up
    by Robert J. Groden
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (01 September, 1994)
    list price: $24.95 -- our price: $24.95
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    Reviews (32)

    2-0 out of 5 stars Get This Volume For The Photos, Not The "Theories"!
    Robert J. Groden's "The Killing Of A President" is a very good resource book for many of the photographs connected with the events surrounding the 1963 assassination of President John Kennedy.

    The softcover version of "TKOAP" that I own, published in 1994, consists of 223 pages and is printed on very high-quality (thick) paper stock. The book measures approximately 9-1/4" (W) x 10-7/8" (H), and has a nice "collectible" feel to it.

    This volume is just crammed full of high-quality photographs and still-frames from motion-picture sequences that were taken on November 22, 1963 (the day of JFK's murder). Some of the pictures depicted here are large-sized and take up entire pages, with a few filling out full two-page spreads.

    Several of JFK's autopsy photos are published within this volume, as well, and are rather graphic and gruesome in nature (especially if you've never had the chance to view them before via other means). So, be forewarned before you turn to Pages 72 through 85.

    The book's text and photo captions are all "pro-CT" in nature (i.e.: pushing the idea that a vast, multi-shooter conspiracy existed to assassinate President Kennedy in Dallas' Dealey Plaza).

    It's a nicely-styled publication, IMO. But the book's 'style' certainly doesn't mean Mr. Groden has proven that any type of "conspiracy" existed on 11-22-63. I do not think he has; and I also don't think that more than one man (Lee Harvey Oswald) was aiming a weapon at JFK that day in Dallas. The overwhelming evidence in the case (on the whole) tells me that one lone killer was involved in ending the President's life that sunny Friday afternoon.

    I'm forced to chuckle when reading in this book of Mr. Groden's "8-Shot" shooting scenario that he believes took place on 11/22. (He even suggests that there might have been up to TEN shots fired at the President's limousine, despite the fact that ONLY THREE of these many shots were heard by the large majority of the witnesses at the scene.)

    Mr. Groden obviously realizes that in any such 8-to-10-shot scenario, a total of up to SEVEN of the bullets had to somehow disappear from view before they could enter any kind of 'official' record in the case (because Oswald, the resident "Patsy" in the JFK killing, per CT accounts, could only have fired three shots from his rifle in the allotted timeframe during the shooting).

    And we must also keep in mind -- per Mr. Groden's theory (in which he has Texas Governor John B. Connally hit TWICE, not just once) -- that FIVE total bullets, including the JFK head-shot missile, MUST "disappear" completely from the record AFTER having gone into TWO different victims' bodies (JFK & Connally). And this includes the 'disappearance' of TWO bullets that struck a man who LIVED through the shooting (Connally). Talk about "Magic Bullets"! Mr. Groden apparently has not just ONE, but FIVE such miracle (vanishing) missiles. Quite remarkable indeed.

    How in the world could ANY "plotters" possibly EXPECT a crazy multi-shot plan like this to succeed? It's completely nutty to think that anyone wanting to "frame" Lee Oswald would be WILLING to shoot that many times at the ONE intended target and from multiple angles and locations.

    Another thing to ask yourself (if you believe in this notion of 8 or 10 shots actually being fired at JFK) -- Just what kind of CRAPPY shooters were being employed to rub out the Chief Executive on November 22nd? Mr. Groden is purporting that up to HALF the shots that were fired (5 out of 10 in the ludicrously-high TEN-SHOT theory being proposed) not only missed their intended target (which was obviously JFK), but all these various shots missed the ENTIRE AUTOMOBILE! Some great riflemen, huh?

    Want another good belly-laugh? Keep reading......

    Good Gosh! Would you look at this! .... Up to TEN shots and (per Groden) NOT ONE OF THEM being fired from Oswald's "Sniper's Nest" in the Texas School Book Depository Building?! (He hints that ONE, and only ONE, of these many shots COULD have come from the "Oswald window", but he feels that even THAT shot "probably" came from elsewhere (the Dal-Tex Building on Houston Street).

    You'd THINK that, given an 8- or 10-shot shooting scenario, that Mr. G. might have a few more of the shots emanating from the ONLY POSITIVELY KNOWN SOURCE OF GUNFIRE -- the southeastern-most window on the 6th Floor of the Depository, from where Oswald HIMSELF was positively identified as firing a rifle at the motorcade!

    Evidently, Mr. Groden must think that this rifle-toting "Oswald Look-alike" in the SE corner window on the 6th Floor of the Depository was only PRETENDING to fire his rifle at President Kennedy, in order to further implicate "Patsy Oswald". I guess it didn't matter to any of the conspirators that NONE of the wounds on the victims would 'line up' properly if the 'plotters' don't have some bullets coming from that Oswald window -- but that (apparently) didn't concern the architects of this doomed-to-fail-from-the-start "Frame-The-Patsy" conspiracy plot.

    And then there's also the testimony of Harold Norman to consider when evaluating the overall validity of any of Mr. Groden's claims. Norman worked in the Book Depository Building and was situated on the 5th Floor, directly underneath the 'Oswald window' at the time of the shooting. Norman actually HEARD the working of the rifle's 'bolt' above him, and HEARD three cartridge cases hitting the floor right above him. Given such detailed testimony from someone within the Book Depository itself (including his preciseness re. hearing "THREE" hulls/shells dropping to the floor and exactly "THREE" shots being fired), how can Mr. Groden possibly purport a theory which includes ZERO shots or just ONE shot coming from the Oswald location?

    Mr. Groden also postulates in this book, as I previously mentioned, his belief that Governor Connally was hit by two separate bullets, the last of these (which Groden says caused the wrist injury to Connally) supposedly occurring six-tenths of a second AFTER the fatal head shot to JFK.

    This "2-shot" theory to 'JBC' is totally unsupported by the evidence and the filmed (Zapruder) record -- not to mention the fact that NEITHER of these bullets, per this theory, is ever found by Parkland Hospital personnel. The ONE bullet discovered at Parkland, according to conspiracists, was "planted" by someone (Bullet CE399). Connally's doctor (Dr. Shaw), however, said on 11/22 that ALL of Connally's wounds were probably caused by "one bullet" (not two).

    And then there's the "Zapruder Film", which (IMO) verifies that Connally's wrist was struck by a bullet WELL prior to the JFK head shot. This "verification", IMO, occurs on the Z-Film in the form of a very rapid movement of Connally's right arm just a few Z-Frames after what I consider to be the one and only shot to John Connally's body -- that being the "Single-Bullet Theory" missile, which occurs at Z223-Z224 on the Zapruder home movie. The extremely fast UP then DOWN movement of JBC's right arm confirms, in my mind, the fact that his wrist has been hit by something at that precise moment. It's obviously an involuntary arm movement.

    I also get particular amusement when I read anything pertaining to the so-called "Umbrella Man" in connection with the Kennedy murder. The "Umbrella Man" was a bystander in Dealey Plaza who held an open umbrella above his head as JFK's car passed by him on Elm Street. Some "CTers" seem to feel that this man fired a "poisoned dart" or some other type of projectile into the throat of JFK, thereby paralyzing the President just prior to the fatal head shot.

    While Mr. Groden doesn't come right out in this book and say he believes such a cockeyed theory, he does give "The Umbrella Man" a nice two-page layout in "TKOAP" (pages 188-189), and hints at the possibility that this man waving his rain-shielding device was MORE than just a man carrying an umbrella.

    Re. "Umbrella Man" -- Can you just hear the 'plotters', on 11-21-63, planning the details of the assassination which would be occurring the following day? I can. It would have made for a very amusing powwow. Here's what such a PRE-Assassination conversation amongst the conspirators mapping out the shooting just might have sounded like........

    >>> "Let's see, Marty -- you're our "Umbrella" dude, and you shoot first -- right out in plain sight on Elm Street where many dozens of people will probably be filming you and therefore will have you on movies and still pics (but don't worry, the post-assassination "Cover-Up Team" can explain away those pics as "fakes" like everything else we're about to do tomorrow).

    "OK, so, Marty, you've checked out that 'Umbrella Dart' thing-a-ma-bob, right? It's working OK? It wouldn't do to have a "misfired" poisoned dart, because you might then hit the "DCM" ("Dark-Complected Man"), who's gonna be standing next to you and wave to JFK as a "final sign" to him of who it is that's about to kill him, remember.

    "OK, so Marty's got the Umbrella thing down cold. He'll fire the WARNING shot into Kennedy's neck so that he'll be paralyzed for a shot that comes many seconds later. There's no real need, of course, for this dart-shot; in fact it's pretty stupid if ya ask me -- but them's my orders from 'upstairs' guys, so we gotta live with it.

    "OK, so then Francisco in the Dal-Tex is to fire next, after the Umbrella shot; but Francisco's second shot into JFK's back is ALSO a low-powered shot, like the Umbrella shot. Only'll go into the back about two inches. Remember, guys, we don't want to kill him yet! Not after just a mere two shots! We want him to have TWO "Warning" shots, so that Kennedy and his many Secret Service agents will have ample time to GET WISE to what is about to happen, and he'll have time to duck away from our "Kill" shot. After all, fair is fair, right?

    "Plus, we also want this "Patsy" plot of ours to be so overly-complicated and impossible to pull off in order to make as much work as possible for our "Cover-up" operatives who'll be taking over the conspiracy case tomorrow at 12:31 PM -- like having to fake AS MUCH EVIDENCE AS WE CAN POSSIBLY DREAM UP. We want these guys to have to dig out of JFK's body AS MANY USELESS, NEEDLESS BULLETS AS POSSIBLE in order to earn their keep tomorrow!

    "We COULD just use Billy Bob here (who kinda looks like Oswald) as the lone shooter from the Sniper's-Nest window -- but -- Nah! Let's go whole hog and clog the works with as many futile and needless shots as possible to give the cover-up crew a good workout tomorrow! OK? OK! Let's do it!" <<<

    Place obligatory "ROFL" icon here ----> :-)


    To summarize ..... "The Killing Of A President" is definitely a 'Must-Have' publication for any JFK assassination buff or researcher (CTers and LNers alike) -- but ONLY for the large photographic record of the tragic assassination that is documented within these 223 pages. If all of this pro-CT text that's printed here could be eradicated, it'd be an even far better volume, IMHO.

    My Amazon Review "Breakdown" for this item ----
    For the photographs depicted: 5 Stars.
    For the text/captions: 0 Stars (I just simply can't embrace ANY of these conspiracy notions).
    Overall rating: 2.5 Stars.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Speaks thousands upon thousands of words
    The reason why this book is among the best written about the JFK conspiracy is because it doesn't contain so many words. Wisely, Robert Groden has elected to let the pictures, for the most part, do the talking in his book, The Killing of a President: The Complete Photographic Record of the JFK Assassination, the Conspiracy, and the Cover-Up. No crackpot theories, no half-truths supported by whole lies, no official whitewashing. If you look at the pictures--not just of the limousine--but of the crowd, there's no doubt that shots came from several directions. One of the nails on the Warren Report's coffin is the photo of the man sitting on the DalTex Building's fire escape, suddenly leaping to his feet and looking in the OPPOSITE direction of the Texas Schoolbook building during the shooting.

    There's no denying Groden's position on the conspiracy issue, but he reins in his usual heavy-handed prose and keeps his theory to a minimum. (However, based on other reviewers, it's apparent that there was more than one man involved in the writing of the scant text. Whatever.) AND BE WARNED: Please listen seriously to the other reviewers here when they alert you to the graphic autopsy photos. They are extremely gruesome and not for the weak-hearted.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Best collection of assassination photos to date
    I pretty much side with the lone assassin group.I also think Robert Groden sells more books, by finding more people hiding out in the grassy knoll. He's up to about 8 people and 15 shots. However, for this book he gets five stars from me.He has amassed the best collection (and some of the pictures are not very pleasant) of the Kennedy Assassination photos I have been able to find.I was almost afraid to buy the book because of all the sour notes about the captions, but I was not bothered by that. Even though I don't agree with Grodens thoughts on A lot of issues, it will take people like him, to demand that we need to open private files now, and not after 75 years. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0140240039
    Sales Rank: 378077
    Subjects:  1. History - General History    2. Murder - General    3. Sociology    4. United States - 20th Century/60s   


    At Dawn We Slept: The Untold Story of Pearl Harbor
    by Gordon William Prange, Donald M. Goldstein, Katherine V. Dillon
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (01 December, 1991)
    list price: $20.95 -- our price: $14.25
    (price subject to change: see help)
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    Reviews (35)

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Best
    This book is the best ever on the attack.For anyone who wants a serious knowledge of the attack they should read this one

    5-0 out of 5 stars Thorough coverage of the post attack investigations
    Wonderfully researched and written, this book is a must read for anyone interested in Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor.The book moves slowly at first, but picks up as the Japanese begin to put plans and thoughts into action. Thoroughly researched and footnoted, the book covers the pre-war planning, the attack and the aftermath.I found the coverage of the post attack investigations and congressional hearings fascinating in light of the current 9/11 Commission.The author is fair and presents the facts in a manner that allows the reader to draw his or her own conclusions about the causes/failures/mistakes regarding the destruction of a large portion of the US Pacific Fleet.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Thorough Analysis of Pearl Harbor
    This is the most credible study of Pearl Harbor - and the most valid pessimistic account of Pearl Harbor.

    Franklin Roosevelt did NOT know about that attack on Pearl Harbor.

    The American commanders suspected that Japan was about to attack somewhere near Japan, but the American leaders naturally thought it would be in the Far East. The attack at Pearl Harbor was a surprise and a disaster, and it caused Franklin Roosevelt to become enraged, leading to his powerful and infamous speech to Congess. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0140157344
    Sales Rank: 88296
    Subjects:  1. History    2. History - Military / War    3. History: American    4. Military - United States    5. Military - World War II    6. Pearl Harbor (Hawaii), Attack    7. Pearl Harbor (Hawaii), Attack on, 1941    8. Pearl Harbor (Oahu, Hawaii), A    9. Pearl Harbor (Oahu, Hawaii), Attack on, 1941    10. Air forces & warfare    11. American history: Second World War    12. Asian / Middle Eastern history: Second World War    13. Japan    14. Second World War, 1939-1945    15. USA    16. War & defence operations   


    Freedom: A Photographic History of the African American Struggle
    by Manning Marable, Leith Mullings, Sophie Spencer-Wood
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (10 October, 2002)
    list price: $59.95 -- our price: $37.77
    (price subject to change: see help)
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    Reviews (2)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous Book
    This is an absolutely gorgeous book, very comprehensive and tons of excellent pictures

    5-0 out of 5 stars Freedom:Photographic History/African American Struggle
    This book is a gorgeous coffee-table volume. It is divided into sections by time periods beginning in the 1840s and continues to the present. Each chapter is introduced with an in-depthdiscussion of what was happening at that time, then moves to captioned photos. The book is large, 10"x12", and is presented on heavy, high quality paper; a pleasure to hold and look at! My only criticism is that readability was sacrificed for design. The type is very small and, therefore, difficult to read, and the caption reference number below each photo is mircoscopic. Also, even though I'm sure the photos were reproduced perfectly, some are hard to make out (what do I expect for 100+ year old photos!) I recommend this book whether you are interested in this subject, interested in photography or just love beautiful books. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0714842702
    Sales Rank: 333413
    Subjects:  1. Africa - General    2. African American civil rights    3. African Americans    4. Architecture    5. Civil rights    6. Ethnic Studies - African American Studies - Histor    7. History    8. People of Color    9. Photo Essays    10. Photoessays & Documentaries    11. Pictorial works    12. Photography / History   


    The Encyclopedia of World History
    by Peter N. Stearns
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (24 September, 2001)
    list price: $59.95 -- our price: $40.77
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    Editorial Review

    The "Langer Encyclopedia," as the professional academics call TheEncyclopedia of World History originally edited by the late William L.Langer, is basically a history of everything--and an outstanding referencevolume. Want to know why the English called their 10th-century king Ethelred"the Unready"? See page 181. Or what the Ottoman Empire's constitution of 1876said? See page 531. Or when women in Honduras got the vote? See page 955. Thissixth edition, completely updated and revised by a team of scholars led byGeorge Mason University's Peter N. Stearns, packs all it can into a year-by-yearand region-by-region chronicle of human life on planet Earth. The book is big,the type is small, and the maps and genealogical tables are excellent. Stearnshas added more material on women, leisure activities, and demographics to thisedition, and the sections on Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and LatinAmerica are much different from the previous version. As if this weren't enough,the book comes with a CD-ROM featuring the complete text and fantastic searchcapabilities. The Encyclopedia of World History is highly recommended forserious history buffs. --John Miller ... Read more

    Reviews (9)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Best Single Volume Reference Available
    William Langer's original daunting task - to offer a single volume encyclopedia that would be the standard reference volume for historians - was admirably fulfilled in past editions.This sixth edition, with Peter Stearn and his team of scholars of unquestioned authority, continues the tradition.For the layman, this book offers a remarkable brevity and depth.Often within just two or three pages entire significant periods or trends are covered thoroughly.There are rare factual errors, as is the case with any encyclopedic work, but this new edition still delivers the most exhaustive reference with the least errors.For those who love dates and places, people and trends, this is an invaluable reference.For those who hate such detailed information but must keep it around for work or school, this is still the best single volume encyclopedia available.The CD-ROM is painless to install.The integration into MS Word is only mildly quirky - for most terms the desired reference information pops up within seconds and is reasonably relevant.David R. Bannon, Ph.D.; author "Race Against Evil."

    1-0 out of 5 stars Typical ivory tower academic bias
    Don't look to this book for a balanced even-handed look at history.It has the unfortunately all-too-typical biases now running rampant on cloistered university campuses.There is a not-so-subtle slant throughout the book against all things "Western," essentially placing the blame for all of the world's ills on people of European ancestry....

    Find another volume that is able to deal with history more objectively.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Classic Updated
    The 1972 Langer was THE standard reference for history students, as I ws for six years of graduate school.It bailed me out numerous times.It parallels the value of the CRC for chemistry students or the OED for scholars of the English language.This splendid revision and updating belongs in the collection of anyone wanting a handy, convenient reference to all phases of history.It has splendid essays that lay out the basics in many fields, like art, math, science, and culture.It should not be the last word on a topic, which you can get from poking through amazon.com, or visitng your local library.The CD-ROM is a dream, and the maps printed out fine, even though they are just an outline of say, the partition of Africa.As for Lindbergh, the error was perpetuated from the 1972 book, but that should not detract from the overwhelmingly excellent job.Any general reference work that cites my obscure dissertation hero, even thought it is spelled in the English and not the Polish style, is truly remarkable! ... Read more

    Isbn: 0395652375
    Subjects:  1. Encyclopedias    2. History    3. History - General History    4. Outlines, syllabi, etc    5. Reference    6. World - General    7. History / World   


    DK Atlas of World History
    by Jeremy Black
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (01 April, 2000)
    list price: $50.00 -- our price: $31.50
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    Reviews (10)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Making History a Journey
    The DK World History Atlas brings the DK uniformity of style and lots of helpful illustrations to something that's more than a collection of maps.I really use this book frequently and find it well-organized and indexed.The companion to this book is the DK Timelines of History.The only complaint is one that another reviewer raised.The 20th century is short-changed given the density of boundary-moving events.

    3-0 out of 5 stars I Rate and Compare World History Atlas Books
    As a reader I like to have quick reference books at my finger tips including a new version of the Oxford English Dictionary about 3500 pages long - that I use almost daily. So I decided to add a "history atlas". In the process of doing my research I read the other amazon.com reviewers and then made three trips to two large book stores to actually look at the books and get a better feel for which was the best. I ended up buying the Oxford Atlas of World History. Here are my picks and rankings.

    Listed by My ranking, #1 is the best, #2 is a creative alternative but no substitute.

    1.Atlas of World History, Oxford University Press 2002, 368 pages, $57.80, 13.5" x 10.3" x 1.62" ranked 46,632 on Amazon.com. Hands down winner - professional - good text descriptions, outstanding maps and drawings, covers most things from the cave man forward. Negatives: Big and heavy. If you want to save a few dollars buy the "concise" version.

    2.Creative alternative: The Penguin Atlas of World History, Penguin Books 2004, $11.20, just a paperback sized, just published, 304 pages. Surprisingly impressive, lots of text and pictures mixed together and it is easy to carry around. A nice quick alternative but it will be printed in two volumes.
    3.Timelines of World History, DK Publishing 2002, 666 pages, $27.20. 10.0" x 1.6" ranked 25,800 on Amazon.com. Second with lots of value but in some ways not as comprehensive.

    4. National Geographic Almanac of World History, National Geographic 2003, 384 pages, $28.00, 9.6" x 7.8" x 1.17" ranked 24,426 on Amazon.com. Similar to but less impressive than Oxford books. More text, narrower coverage, fewer maps and drawings.

    5.DK Atlas of World History, DK Publishing, 352 pages, $35.00, 10.96" x 14.66" x 1.28" ranked 10,716 on Amazon.com. My 4th or 5th place book seems like a giant comic book. I love the DK travel books but this seems like one step beyond DK's area of expertise. Superficially it is similar to the Oxford book and it is cheaper to buy, and some might like it but it tries to be politically correct and fails.

    6.Oxford Dictionary of World History, Oxford University Press, 704 pages, $7,66, pocketbook sized, sales rank 330,000. Mainly terms, people, and dates but has a few maps also. Limited use but an alternative. I prefer the new Penguin book but this is the best history dictionary to buy.

    Jack in Toronto

    2-0 out of 5 stars The most politically correct atlas of world history
    The DKAtlas of World History: Mapping the Human Journey is a huge top shelf book. It is divided into two parts: the first gives the reader a global view of history divided into different eras(e.g.the advent of agriculture, trade and first cities, the age of the crusades,etc.), the second describes regional history (North America, South America, Africa, Europe,West Asia, South and South East Asia, Noth and East Asia, Oceania, the Arctic and Antarctica).In both parts you will find numerous time lines with the important dates, small color illustrations and short paragraphs about the events covered.At the end of the book there is a subject index and glossary and an index with all the place names shown on the maps.Finally there is a two page bibliography.

    There is no question that this is a very beautiful book with pleasant pastel colors, pleasant, glossy paper and maps of different sizes and seen under different angles, which avoids monotony.

    Having said that, it is also clear for an attentive reader that the editor has been at pains to be absolutely politically correct, which means:
    -ostentatious use of BCE and CE instead of AD and BC
    -gross neglect of Christianity: whereas the spread of Islam is worth a double page with big maps in both sections of the Atlas, there is not a single chapter or map about the spread or history of Christianity, which is amazing, considering its importance for the "human journey". In the index, Jesus is nonchalantly called "the inspiration of the Christian religion" (is it an abstract character, one wonders), crucified as a "troublemaker in 29 CE". Strangely enough, Buddha and Muhammad are called "founders" of their respective religions, which is quite true but why deny the title to Christ?
    The entry for "Christianity" is also enlightening: here we are told that the early Christian faith, which is decribed as an "offshoot of Judaism", split from the very beginning into "many sects". Never mind the same happened to Islam, there is no mention of any heresies or infighting inside that religion at the corresponding entry.
    I also could not find a single time line showing the birth or death of Jesus and other great Christians like Paul and Peter.
    -neglect of European history: although European history is the best documented, in this atlas it is treated on the same level as Africa or Australia, which means that at least a dozen chapters and scores of maps are missing for the serious student of history.

    Being anti-Christian and anti-European are, as some have rightly said, the last acceptable prejudices. ... Read more

    Isbn: 078944609X
    Sales Rank: 8110
    Subjects:  1. Atlases    2. Atlases - General    3. Atlases - Historical    4. Historical atlases    5. Historical geography    6. Maps    7. Reference    8. Reference / General   


    Historical Atlas of Empires (Historical Atlas)
    by Karen Farrington
    Hardcover (01 May, 2002)
    list price: $35.00 -- our price: $23.10
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    Isbn: 081604788X
    Sales Rank: 217052
    Subjects:  1. Atlases - Historical    2. Historical atlases    3. Historical geography    4. History    5. History - General History    6. History: World    7. Maps    8. World - Colonial Studies    9. World - General    10. World history   


    A History of the Modern Middle East
    by William L. Cleveland
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (01 November, 1999)
    list price: $51.00
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    Reviews (14)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommend
    As a student of Middle East studies, I highly recommend this book as a good introduction to the dynamics of Middle East history.It not only provides a solid & comprehensive survey of Middle Eastern history, it also explains in sufficient detail the currents of ideologies and prominent social factors that contribute to the historical social and political patterns of the region.Also includes a good bibliography for further study.It is also notworthy to mention the relatively objective approach Cleveland takes to most historical events of the Middle East.Overall, it is a very good book that may be useful for all people interested in studying this region - I know I've used it to reference things numerous times.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Essential Reading on Middle East History
    William Cleveland's "A History of the Modern Middle East" is without a doubt an essential book for anyone interested in or studying Middle East history.

    Cleveland presents the history of the region from the late Ottoman Empire through to the more recent struggles dominating the airwaves and - and this is the most important thing - explains what on earth is at stake. This is a particularly important thing in Middle East history, as some of the alliances and divisions between different groups are somewhat arcane to the beginner.

    Unlike many books covering the history of the region, Cleveland writes in an eminently readable manner. While some readers will be astonished at the lack of diacritics and the like, this serves the purpose of communicating his information much more clearly.

    His analysis and sense of history are spot-on. Whether writing about the defeat of the Ottoman Empire or the land-rights struggle between the Palestinians and the Israelis, Cleveland presents the facts clearly and with a wry sense of humour at times - particularly in his discussion of Iran's modernising drive.
    Cleveland also has an eye for the anecdote and the illuminating personality, which greatly improves his abilities as a writer. If there's one problem with a lot of contemporary Middle East scholarship, it's the reliance on the dry historical record at the expense of the character sketch.

    If there is one criticism which could be made of this work, it's that Cleveland sometimes expects a little more background knowledge from his readers than perhaps he should. Already having an interest in this field, I did not suffer too much from this expectation, although the absolute beginner might have some problems.

    That said, this is a book I can highly recommend for anyone keen to learn about the genesis of a region which - for better or worse - looks as though it will be in the news headlines for many years to come. After all, as Winston Churchill (a man who does not come up roses in the history of this region) once said, those who do not understand history are doomed to repeat it. Arguably, this is more true in the Middle East than anywhere else on earth.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Introduction to the Broader Middle East
    "A Histrory of the Modern Middle East"By John Cleveland published
    by Westview Press C. 1999it is about 592 pages and is an outstanding book for general knowledge aboutthe entire region including Iran.Real easy read but a lot of information.This should be for the type of person who really wants to learn about a very misunderstood culture, region of the world and faith.As with almost every book on the Middle East, It gives a nice introduction to Islam without deluging the reading with the minute details.It shifts very quickly to the 20th century but does give lip service to the Ottoman Empire especially the Janissary Corps (We get the modern Marching band from them).The author really shines in his discussion of the Arab Israeli conflict and the Palestinian Israeli conflict.All in all outstanding.The new edition has the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0813334896
    Sales Rank: 111558
    Subjects:  1. 1517-    2. 20th century    3. History    4. History & Theory - General    5. History - General History    6. Middle East    7. Middle East - General    8. Middle East - History    9. Political Science    10. Politics/International Relations   

    A History of Britain : At the Edge of the World, 3500 B.C.-1603 A.D
    by Schama Simon
    Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (25 October, 2000)
    list price: $40.00 -- our price: $26.40
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    Editorial Review

    What do you get when you combine the resources and ethos of the BBC with the literary panache of one of the world's best narrative historians? The answer is Simon Schama's A History of Britain, the first volume of which accompanies the BBC-History Channel series of the same name. In a beautifully written and thoughtfully crafted book, studded with striking portraits, pictures, and maps, Schama, the bestselling author of books on European cultural history such as The Embarrassment of Riches and Citizens, as well as 1999's Rembrandt's Eyes, has managed to be both conventional and provocative.

    He tells the official version of Britain's island story--from Roman Britain, through the Norman conquest, the struggles of the Henrys and Richards with their barons and clerics, Edward I and the subjugation of Wales, King Death (the plague), and on to the Henrician reformation, before closing with the remarkable reign of the virgin queen, Elizabeth I. But, while sticking to a script familiar to anyone who sat up and listened in history lessons at school, Schama brings it all alive, with memorable prose--Simon de Montfort's rebel parliament is described as inaugurating the "union between patriotism and insubordination"; with Henry VIII, Schama says, "you could practically smell the testosterone." And with fine sensitivity, too, particularly on the symbolism of buildings, memorials, language, and ceremonies, and on the complex relations between England and her Celtic and Catholic neighbors. If history must have gloss, then let it be written and presented like this. --Miles Taylor, Amazon.co.uk ... Read more

    Reviews (37)

    3-0 out of 5 stars Who is the target audience?
    There were some very facinating insights written in this book, especially the role of the plague, but I found that the book did not flow very well and suffered from a lack of editing.My understanding was that the book was a general history of Britain, and yet little was written on Scotland, Wales and Cornwall.Maybe if I had viewed the video prior to reading the book it would have been more meaningful.As an American fairly ignorant of British history outside of the American Revolution, there were so many gaps in the book that I found myself having to do additional outside research on several personalities and events to get a better grasp of the story.For example, Mr. Schama went to great lengths to describe the origins of the house of Plantagenent and used only 3 words to describe the house of Tudor: an illegitimate line.It was only after doing some further research that I was able to discover the facinating link to Owen Tudor, Wales and the Tudor English royal line.Is this a book for readers already well versed in English history?Although, I intend to read the 2 remaining books of the series I am not sure to whom I can recommend this book...who is the target audience?

    4-0 out of 5 stars A tad sciolistic, but an entertaining read
    There are ample names and locations with which to keep up, and Schama does a respectable job at keeping them organized.The insights are valuable, the anecdotes, compelling--and that characteristic British flair for the pithy is pervasive.

    5-0 out of 5 stars One of the better general British history books out there
    The first in this three part series (and companion to the amazingly good BBC documentary series) this is a fact filled history book that is actually easy to get into - you can actually read it cover to cover rather than look up in the index what interests you. Much of this is down to Schama's engaging writing style - not quite casual, but definitely not dry and dusty. This book manages to steer an even keel, avoiding parochialism and Politically Correct revisionism. An entertaining read for those interested in British history - the title really says it all. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0786866756
    Subjects:  1. Europe - Great Britain - General    2. Great Britain    3. Great Britain - History    4. History    5. History - General History    6. History: World    7. History / Great Britain   


    Lies My Teacher Told Me : Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong
    by James W. Loewen
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (03 September, 1996)
    list price: $15.00 -- our price: $10.20
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    Reviews (282)

    4-0 out of 5 stars A Treat to Read
    A nice critique on american educational history and the lies distortions and falsifications that are inherent in the pages of our childrens history books. The author makes no bones about it, history taught as it currently is, is boring, over-simplified, mostly always with a happy go lucky ending of events. The real object was to, of course make those on top appear better, more knowlegeable than the evidence shows...Loewan does a good job with correcting some of the distortions and at the same time he offers suggestions on how to improve the teaching of the subject,by replacing misrepresented history with historical information more closely aligned with the truth is a first step. No wonder revisionist history is so popular, it is so much fun discoveringthat everyone contributed to the planet!!!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Very worth reading...I promise you will learn something new
    Many other reviewers have complained about the author's bias in the book.And it is quite true that Loewen has strong leftist leanings and that these leanings come through.

    It's still an excellent book, because even though his opinions are present, his complaints about the books and his suggestions for improving them are all based in fact.He footnotes everything and references respectable sources.You might disagree with his opinions, but his facts are well-argued and persuasive.You may or may not agree with his leanings, but amongst his opinions are a lot more facts, and those facts clearly indicate serious problems with our history curriculum.

    If the history curriculum literally lies or seriously deceives (for example, saying the US government "challenged" someone whom we actually assassinated), that's a problem, no matter what political leanings you may have.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Good, but filled with an almost Marxist ideology
    This book is informative, well written and well researched. It is a refreshing perspective on American history. However, the Lowen seems to be trying very hard to imbue us with his left-wing views. Much of his analysis and many of his conclusions are a major stretch from the facts, to the point where his interpretations are quite annoying. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0684818868
    Sales Rank: 319
    Subjects:  1. Historiography    2. History    3. History - General History    4. History: American    5. Indians of North America in te    6. Indians of North America in textbooks    7. Study & Teaching    8. Textbooks    9. Thanksgiving Day in textbooks    10. United States    11. United States - General    12. United States History (General)    13. Education / General   


    Holy War : The Crusades and Their Impact on Today's World
    Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (27 November, 2001)
    list price: $17.00 -- our price: $11.56
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    Reviews (52)

    2-0 out of 5 stars Excuses, excuses, not a root but a leaf
    The Crusades happened.For hundreds of years, reacting to persecution of pilgrims in the Holy Land, Christian Armies ravaged Europe, the Byzantine Empire, Egypt, and the Holy Land.They captured Jerusalem, and held the land for a hundred years.They erected many castles and played out a romantic drama between the legendary King Richard II and Saladin.

    Today the Crusades is used by political opportunists to claim that `the roots of the problems of the middle east are the crusades'.It is a nice idea and it fits in with the modern day Western view that everything wrong with the world must be the West's fault.
    However when we deal with the Crusades we must realize that it is memory and obsession that keeps them alive, not the reality of the endeavor.The Crusaders had only a few hundred knights in the Holy Land.They paid for their laborers, unlike the Muslims who used slaves.They were intolerant, but they were confronting intolerance, they were from a different period.They were confronting Islamic Crusading that had brought Islam to the gates of Paris, and Constantinople.The roots of the middle east conflict are not in the crusades, it is a moronic theory, rather the roots of the conflict are in the geographical location of the Holy Land, and the tragic fact that the worlds largest religions inherited a claim to that land from the small tribe of Jews who settled it so long ago with their One God.This is the root, not the battle at Hattin, or the Siege of Jerusalem in 1099.The Crusades are an excuse.It is as if American terrorists were attacking England claiming that they ahd to make up for the wrongs of the revolutionary war.Pope Urban IIs call for the crusades was akin to Mohammed call to his followers to take over the world.One must put themselves at the time to understand it.To graft modern issues onto the past is foolish, and excuses like these only work so long as people believe them.The root of WWII was at Munich, the root of the middle east conflict has nothing to do with what happened long ago.

    Seth J. Frantzman

    5-0 out of 5 stars Well dug out
    I am impressed with Karen's ability to dig out facts and present them in a very subtle manner, she has once again proven herself in this BooK, I felt she had the least amount of bias towards any side in her book.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Unreadable
    I'm sort of sorry to give it only one star, because it is very well-researched and thorough.It is unreadable, however, because of the author's pervasive political bias against the West and her deference to Islam.I was not expecting this from this author, who I had thought would be more balanced (or better yet, honest).

    Here's an example of the general tone of PC myopia that keeps popping up, making a reader like me cringe every few pages or so: "I want to emphasize this point [yes, that's Ms. Armstrong speaking to you, dear reader].One of the fantasies [!] that Christians created about Islam at the time of the Crusades was that it was an essentially violent, intolerant religion.This was not true."p. 376.[Wow, everything is so simple!I'm getting nostaligic for 1992 even as I write this review!]

    Armstrong goes to great length to show Western ideology surrounding the Crusades as arrogant, barbarous, and racist, yet she defers completely to the opinions of Islamic scholars, who are not subjected to the slightest scrutiny.In fact, she relies on the opinions of Islamic scholars in her attack on the West.For example: "It will be recalled that during the crusading period the Franks of Europe had nothing to offer the Islamic world, which was far more advanced [...]It seems that the Arabs identified the West entirely with the inferior Christianity and therefore may have rejected its Christian culture in advance as inherently unsatisfactory.Indeed even in the early eighteenth century we find the famous Ottoman scholar Naima comparing the European states of his day to the medieval Crusaders and concluding that they were not worth his attention."p 463.Oh, well if Naima says so, then OK!Who am I to question the famous Naima?

    Her whole thesis, as one reviewer noted, is also simplistic PC pap: the Crusades are part of the grand narrative of victimhood, which ultimately led to September 11th [unless that incident was just another fantasy concocted in our barbaric heads].Well, we had better get busy trying to figure out how to make them like us, and quick!

    Glad I kept the receipt... ... Read more

    Isbn: 0385721404
    Sales Rank: 46755
    Subjects:  1. Crusades    2. History    3. History - General History    4. History: World    5. Influence    6. Medieval    7. Medieval World History (Circa 450 - Circa 1450)    8. Middle East - General    9. History / Middle East   


    The Year 1000 : What Life Was Like at the Turn of the First Millennium
    by Danny Danziger, Robert Lacey
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (01 April, 2000)
    list price: $12.95 -- our price: $10.36
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    Editorial Review

    "August was the month when flies started to become a problem, buzzing round the dung heaps in the corner of every farmyard and hovering over the open cesspits of human refuse that were located outside every house."

    Although daily dangers were many, housing uncomfortable, and the dominant smells unpleasant indeed, life in England at the turn of the previous millennium was not at all bad, write journalists Lacey and Danziger. "If you were to meet an Englishman in the year 1000," they continue, "the first thing that would strike you would be how tall he was--very much the size of anyone alive today." The Anglo-Saxons were not only tall, but also generally well fed and healthy, more so than many Britons only a few generations ago. Writing in a breezy, often humorous style, Lacey and Danziger draw on the medieval Julius Work Calendar, a document detailing everyday life around A.D. 1000, to reconstruct the spirit and reality of the era. Light though their touch is, they've done their homework, and they take the reader on a well-documented and enjoyable month-by-month tour through a single year, touching on such matters as religious belief, superstition, medicine, cuisine, agriculture, and politics, as well as contemporary ideas of the self and society. Readers should find the authors' discussions of famine and plague a refreshing break from present-day millennial worries, and a very stimulating introduction to medieval English history. --Gregory McNamee ... Read more

    Reviews (74)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A great read!
    If you're like me, and you're interested in this time period but do not want to read an 800-page treatise on Anglo-Saxon daily life, then this is the book for you!It's a fun, empathetic, and interesting look at life in 11th century England.

    3-0 out of 5 stars An entertaining look at our ancestors
    One of the remarkable things about Anglo-Saxon history is how little we know about it.As the authors of this compact guide to life in England around 1,000A.D. attest, there is at least thirty times more information available about the sexual proclivities of the 42nd President of the United States than about the entire first millenium of English history.Most chronicles were destroyed: firsty by the Normans - who sought to obliterate evidence of the robust native culture - and then during the chaos that followed Henry the Eighth's rejection of the Roman church. This latter orgy of destruction saw the almost complete annihilation of all manuscripts in Englisc, the Anglo-Saxon language from which modern English has descended, and the even greater and inexplicable destruction of virtually all visual art in English churches.
    The authors' depiction of life at the end of the first millenium breaks away from many of the Anglo-Saxon stereotypes we hold in our collective unconsciousness. For example, do you think of pre-Norman Englishmen and women as short and malnourished, with rotten teeth? Well actually, their average height was similar to people in England today and they had very good teeth because their diet contained no sugar (sugar cane was imported from the Caribbean some six hundred years later). Although life was short (averaging forty years) and physically hard by today's standards, it had a particular richness, as this passage shows:
    "They were practical, self-contained folk, not given to excessive agonizing or self-analysis. They knew how to make and mend, and when their day's work was done, they could also be very good company, since one of the most important things they had learned in their lives was how to entertain themselves. The knowledge in their heads had rarely come directly from books - they had learned everything by observing and imitating, usually by standing alongside an adult who was almost certainly their father or mother, and by memorizing everything they needed to survive and enrich their lives."

    This fascinating book is, like the Anglo-Saxons themsleves, practical and self-contained. It is divided into chapters that correspond to the months of the year, so we learn, for example, that July was the toughest month because it was immediately pre-harvest and stored food was at its lowest level. The possibility of famine was ever present and "haunted the imagination" (infanticide was not considered a crime in times of famine). We learn that there were frequent outbreaks of mass delirium because the people often consumed the equivalent of LSD in the ergot-infected grain they made into bread.
    There is a lot of absorbing trivia in the little information we do have about this time, for example:
    There was no toilet paper, but there was moss.
    The monks' euphemism for a toilet was a "necessarium".
    Infection was often called "elf-shot".
    King Henry the First died from eating "a surfeit of lampreys" (eel-like fish).
    The weather was warmer than today (this was a considerable help to the Vikings who reached present-day Newfoundland around about 1,000 AD) and there were many vineyards in England.
    There were no prisons so justice tended to be summary and brutal - the punishment for a woman who committed adultery was the removal of her nose and ears!
    The authors address the state of mind of everyday people as the millenium approached and compare it to today's febrile imaginings. In both cases, St John's Revelations played a part in convincing people (mainly clerics) that the end was nigh:

    "Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven with the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hands. He seized the dragon, that serpent of old, the Devil or Satan, and chained him up for a thousand years; he threw him into the abyss, shutting and scaling it over him, so that he might seduce the nations no more till the thousand years were over.After that he must be let loose for a short while."

    In spite of this eschatological fervor, it appears the approaching millenium was not of major concern to the average Anglo-Saxon, for whom it was "business as usual".In fact after the year 1,000 had elapsed there was a veritable outbreak of optimism and many "oaths of peace" were passed. There was much worse to come - the destruction of much of the Anglo-Saxon way of life after the Norman invasion (ironically the Normans were Vikings - the constant scourge of Anglo-Saxons and Celts - who had previously overrun northern France), and the unimaginable cataclysm of the Black Death in the mid-14th century, which changed the world forever (chronicled brilliantly in Barbara Tuchman's A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous14th Century).
    In fact you get a definite sense of plus ca change in reading this history: many clerics gave thundering sermons decrying the state of the "modern world", and their complaints sound remarkably similar to today's radio shock-jocks and assorted oratorical fanatics:

    "The devil has deceived this people too much, and there is little faith among men, and too many crimes have gone unchecked in the land. The laws of the people have deteriorated."

    Lacey and Danzinger paint a clear picture of life in a relatively benign period of Medieval history and leave us with no doubt that the values and way of life of the Anglo-Saxons still influence us today in our language, our system of law and our very character.

    4-0 out of 5 stars "when the year DCCCCLXXXXViIIIJ became a simple M"
    What fun to romp in the year 1000 led by these authors. They weave a plethora of scholarly information into a witty and enchanting tale. Amazingly, in just 200 pages they paint a rich and engaging portrait with writing that is dense yet never labored, and pithy yet never pedantic.

    An inherent feature of our minds is that we quickly loose a sense of perspective in as little as two decades. So, it was interesting -- with our current millennium wrapped in despair from time to time - to read, "And lo! What other thing is clear and evident in all these events, if not the anger of God?" The authors gently nudge throughout to liberate us from what C.S. Lewis called the "snobbery of chronology" that assumes our superiority of character is assured by virtue of us being more recently arrived on the scene.

    The compassion and empathy these authors take in presenting life 1000 years ago, is for me best captured in their closing sentence: "But weather we today display more wisdom or common humanity is an open question, and as we look back to discover how people coped with daily difficulties of existence a thousand years ago, we might also consider whether, in all our sophistication, we could meet the challenges of their world with the same fortitude, good humor, and philosophy."

    In working to build a life where we thrive both personally and professionally, it is always a good thing to take your mind out of your zone, out of your box, and to ponder how are things change while they also remain the same. This book offers such a journey.
    ... Read more

    Isbn: 0316511579
    Subjects:  1. England    2. Ethelred II, 979-1016    3. Europe - Great Britain - General    4. Great Britain    5. History    6. History - General History    7. History: World    8. Medieval    9. One thousand, A.D    10. Social life and customs    11. To 1066    12. History / Great Britain   


    The Fatal Shore : The epic of Australia's founding
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (12 February, 1988)
    list price: $18.00 -- our price: $12.24
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    Editorial Review

    An extraordinary volume--even a masterpiece--about the early history of Australia that reads like the finest of novels. Hughes captures everythingin this complex tableau with narrative finesse that drives the readerever-deeper into specific facts and greater understanding. He presentscompassionate understanding of the plights of colonists--both freemenand convicts--and the Aboriginal peoples they displaced. One of thevery best works of history I have ever read. ... Read more

    Reviews (42)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Incredibly compelling. With extra flogging.
    This is an extremely interesting book of historical non-fiction, and it's very well researched and written. I learned an enormous amount about early Australian history. It has two major recurring motifs: flogging, and starvation. If you don't like flogging or starvation, this book is not for you. Even the chapters that aren't about flogging and starvation have some flogging and starvation thrown in just for laughs. I learned almost as much about flogging and starvation as I did about Australian history, which is saying a lot. I am now eager to go on to read more about the non-flogging era of Australian history. Buy this book, it's great!

    4-0 out of 5 stars History Well Told
    Hughes' account of Australia's early history is solidly researched, informative, and entertaining (albeit shocking, and disheartening).Hughes is to be commended for eschewing the prevailing revisionism in Australian historiography and taking his subject head on.Were I able to, I would give Fatal Shore 4.5 stars.My only criticism is that Hughes' thematic approach is at times a bit repetitive and yields a somewhat confusing chronological picture.Overall, however, Fatal Shore is a terrific piece of social, political, and institutional history.An important read.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Writing, Highly Recommended
    On the book jacket, a reviewer said that it was one of the best non-fiction books he had ever read, and I would have to agree.The convict past of Australia is not a topic that has much written about it, and Hughes' book will become the benchmark for all to come.Hughes has made the past come alive.The characters are larger than life: the man flogged 2000 times, the prison warden who walked among his prisoners and insulted them, etc.The best part of the history for me was Hughes' continual use of primary source material, such as songs of the time period and journals of the convicts.These items, along with the great writing made it very hard to put down.Highly recommended for those interested in traveling to Australia, or those wanting to know more of its history ... Read more

    Isbn: 0394753666
    Subjects:  1. 1788-1900    2. Australia    3. Australia & New Zealand - Australia    4. Exiles    5. History    6. History - General History    7. History: World    8. Penal colonies    9. History / Australia & Oceania   


    Putin's Russia
    by Lilia Shevtsova
    Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (01 April, 2003)
    list price: $19.95 -- our price: $19.95
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    Reviews (5)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A realistic look
    The reviewers who give this book a bad rating must have picked up the book expecting a pageturner. This book is not one, in the least. That being said; this book is an excellent academic resource and fairly interesting. But I say 'interesting' from the point of view of a political fanatic. If you are joe shmo you will probably abondon this book after the first chapter.

    Excellently written, impressivly informative, and an all around good book.

    1-0 out of 5 stars If you want history dont read this...
    What this book does not cover.How did Putin get in office?The country was getting ready to elect a communist government.How did he gain an advantage?Corruption.How is he corrupt, GO into that please.The only way you can be in charge of Russia is with the US help.Please tell the real story please.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Bad Journalists book
    This book is horrible. Basically a vacuous stream of consciousness motif that raises more questions than answers, but not thought provoking questions, just: what if this / what if that / I think this / others think that / and the latest poll X says 17% of Russians believe Y.

    Reading the editorials at Moscow Times dot com would be better.

    Further, it does not cover events post January 2003.

    I believe this author is known within Russia as a sort of intellectual. If this is the quality of Russian scholarship, then indeed Russia has no future. Maybe something was lost in the translation?

    ... Read more

    Isbn: 0870032011
    Sales Rank: 70675
    Subjects:  1. 1952-    2. 1991-    3. Europe - Russia & the Former Soviet Union    4. Government - Comparative    5. History & Theory - General    6. International Relations - General    7. Political Science    8. Politics - Current Events    9. Politics and government    10. Politics/International Relations    11. Putin, Vladimir Vladimirovich,    12. Russia (Federation)   


    The Fall of Berlin 1945
    by Antony Beevor
    Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (09 May, 2002)
    list price: $29.95
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    Editorial Review

    By December 1944, many of the 3 million citizens of Berlin had stopped giving the Nazi salute, and jokes circulated that the most practical Christmas gift of the season was a coffin. And for good reason, military historian Antony Beevor writes in this richly detailed reconstruction of events in the final days of Adolf Hitler's Berlin. Following savage years of campaigns in Russia, the Nazi regime had not only failed to crush Bolshevism, it had brought the Soviet army to the very gates of the capital. That army, ill-fed and hungry for vengeance, unloosed its fury on Berlin just a month later in a long siege that would cost hundreds of thousands of lives on both sides. But as Beevor recounts, the siege was also marked by remarkable acts of courage and even compassion. Drawing on unexplored Soviet and German archives and dozens of eyewitness accounts, Beevor brings us a harrowing portrait of the battle and its terrible aftermath, which would color world history for years to follow. --Gregory McNamee ... Read more

    Reviews (99)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Captures the stories inside the story
    A very well written account that perfectly blends a macro analysis of battle plans and troop movements with the personal, anecdotal remembrances of individual participants. A graphic portrayal of the most gruesome details of war and a society in collapse. Beevor alternates his focus from the Russian troops and armies to the civilian struggles to Hitler and his entourage in the bunker seamlessly. The effect is a highly readable account of the final hours of Nazi Germany. Highly recommneded.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Full of tragedies at the end of World War II in Europe
    Beevor does just as good a job in this book as his _Stalingrad_ book. Beevor shows all aspects of the end of World War II with the depth and unbiased writing as in _Stalingrad_. We see the rampant destruction and pillage of Berlin by the Russian soldiers. There seems to be very little discipline of the Russian soldiers as they advance to Berlin. I find it hard to have sympathy for the Germans for all the lives and nations they destroyed as well as causing the Holocaust.

    Another aspect we see is the cowardice and hypocrisy of the German leaders and assistants around Hitler. Hitler is disconnected from reality as the Russians advance. Others around him make escape plans while they tell the citizens of Berlin to stay and fight to the last man (or child for that matter).

    Beevor gives many examples of personal accounts of the events as well as the big picture view from the generals and leaders. Beevor also does a remarkable job in showing the faults and idiosyncrasies of Stalin and Hitler. Stalin is shown as having a strong jealousy of his top army officer Marshal Zhukov. Beevor rips away any glorified views of what the end of WWII was like in Berlin. One added plus is that Beevor does have more situation maps in this book than in _Stalingrad_.

    I definitely recommend this book to anyone who wants to read about how World War II ended in Europe. Beevor paints a picture of horror, courage, jealousy, and cowardice all in one book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Real History
    An Excellent book!

    I really respect an author who attempts to cover both sides of a conflict, too many WWII books out there are 'one sided', either focusing on the Allies or the Germans. Beevor brings you the conflict from both the Russian and German viewpoint with detail, insight and understanding.

    The book is also a good read, Beevor includes both the military/strategic information as well as the social/personal side of the conflict.

    I also recommend his other best seller: Stalingrad ... Read more

    Isbn: 0670030414
    Subjects:  1. Berlin    2. Berlin (Germany)    3. Berlin, Battle of, 1945    4. Berlin, Battle of, Berlin, Ger    5. Berlin, Battle of, Berlin, Germany, 1945    6. Europe - Germany    7. Germany    8. History    9. History - General History    10. History: World    11. Military - World War II    12. World War, 1939-1945   

    America's War in Vietnam: A Short Narrative History
    by Larry H. Addington
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (01 April, 2000)
    list price: $13.95 -- our price: $13.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
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    Reviews (5)

    3-0 out of 5 stars A Mixed Response
    The first word in this book is "Vietnam," and the last two words are "folly there."That sums up the author's view of American involvement in Vietnam.

    I appreciated the brevity of the book; I finished it in only two evenings.The author explains clearly the military problems the US faced there, how they found themselves caught up in a war they couldn't win, at least in a way acceptable to world opinion, but also a war they couldn't disengage from without endangering the South Vietnamese they'd vowed to help.The book could have used more maps and at least some photos.

    The author portrays the North Vietnamese in a favorable light, with Ho Chi Minh coming off as almost a hero; the chief culprits are America's policy makers and presidents, particularly Johnson, who were driven by anti-communist paranoia.This is the part that made me uneasy.I know the US government made plenty of mistakes then, but I find it hard to believe that the North Vietnamese communists were as benign as this book makes them out to be.There was a reason why America was so opposed to communism in the 50's and 60's, but this book doesn't address it.

    So this book was useful for a quick read on the military operations in Vietnam, but less so in addressing (even in brief) the larger issues of why the US was there.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Not exactly what I was looking for
    The book provides are very thorough accout aobut the tactics employed during the war and the battles that resulted.The level of detail is tremendous and the book is well written.However, I was hoping for a more thorough examination of the sociological effects of the war, particularly here in the US.Maybe there is another book that I can read for this.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent overall review of the Vietnam war
    Being 22 years old, I wasn't even born when the Vietnam war was going on. Nevertheless, something about it has always captured my interest, and I try to read several books a year regarding various aspects of Vietnam. I did not feel that my historical knowledge of the subject was up to par, so I purchased this book with hopes of filling in the gaps. I'd say it performs nicely. It gives an excellent overall review of the war and everything leading up to it. I'd recommend it to anyone wanting to refresh themselves on the general history of America's involvement in the Vietnam war. I have since purchased other books focusing on more specific aspects of the war, but this book has served as a nice launchpad from which I formed a general understanding of Vietnam. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0253213606
    Sales Rank: 412845
    Subjects:  1. Asia - Southeast Asia    2. History    3. History - Military / War    4. History: American    5. Military - Vietnam War    6. United States    7. United States - 20th Century    8. Vietnamese Conflict, 1961-1975   


    The Illustrated History of the Vietnam War
    by Chris McNab, Andy Wiest
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (01 October, 2000)
    list price: $24.98
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    Reviews (2)

    5-0 out of 5 stars The American Vietnam War in one book...
    The best general account of our war in Vietnam that I have read.I recommend it without reservation.Excellent photographs, most of which I have not seen elsewhere, and a surprisingly low price.I served as an infantryman in Vietnam, and I am gratified to find an even-handed and understanding narrative by two noted military writers.Thank you, Dr. McNab and Dr. Wiest!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent!
    This book hits the nail on the head. The information in this book really shows what an awful blot on US history the Vietnam War really was. ... Read more

    Isbn: 1571452664
    Sales Rank: 150576
    Subjects:  1. History    2. History - Military / War    3. Military    4. Military - Vietnam War    5. Pictorial works    6. Vietnamese Conflict, 1961-1975   

    The First World War
    Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (16 May, 2000)
    list price: $16.00 -- our price: $10.88
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    Editorial Review

    Despite the avalanche of books written about the First World War in recent years, there have been comparatively few books that deliver a comprehensive account of the war and its campaigns from start to finish. The First World War fills the gap superbly. As readers familiar with Keegan's previous books (includingThe Second World War and Six Armies in Normandy) know, he's a historian of the old school. He has no earth-shattering new theories to challenge the status quo, no first-person accounts to tug on the emotions--what he does have, though, is a gift for talking the lay person through the twists and turns of a complex narrative in a way that is never less than accessible or engaging.

    Keegan never tries to ram his learning down your throat. Where other authors have struggled to explain how Britain could ever allow itself to be dragged into such a war in 1914, Keegan keeps his account practical. The level of communications that we enjoy today just didn't exist then, and so it was much harder to keep track of what was going on. By the time a message had finally reached the person in question, the situation may have changed out of all recognition. Keegan applies this same "cock-up" theory of history to the rest of the war, principally the three great disasters at Gallipoli, the Somme, and Passchendaele. The generals didn't send all those troops to their deaths deliberately, Keegan argues; they did it out of incompetence and ineptitude, and because they had no idea of what was actually going on at the front.

    While The First World War is not afraid to point the finger at those generals who deserve it, even Keegan has to admit he doesn't have all the answers. If it all seems so obviously futile and such a massive waste of life now, he asks, how could it have seemed worthwhile back then? Why did so many people carry on, knowing they would die? Why, indeed. --John Crace, Amazon.co.uk ... Read more

    Reviews (181)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Military History Reads Like a Novel
    A real page-turner thatis a fantastic read that explains an often-overlooked period in warfare.After reading, I am amazed at how little I actually knew about WWI beforehand.I cannot recommend this read enough.

    Aside from the descriptions of battles, Keegan spends a fair amount of time discussing the various technological advances and constraints of the day.The lack of technology, or sometimes just keeping pace with it, paints a frustrating picture that can be directly linked to a massive death toll.

    John Keegan is a true historian who not only lays out the facts in a coherent fashion, but spends time delving into causes and effects so we can better understand how to prevent such a tragic situation from recurring.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Fantastic!!!
    The First World War by John Keegan was a fantastic read. I began this book with little understanding of the First World War and ended it feeling like an expert (of course I know this is not the case). To begin with John Keegan did a superb job describing the causes and effects of the war as well as the political atmosphere during the conflict without straying to far away from what I was looking for: A Military History. I felt Keegan gave a magnificent introduction to Schlieffen and his contingency plan in the event of a war with France and Russia. Keegan did a surprisingly good job when describing the actual military actions of the War. I was afraid he would break it down to a brigade or even regimental level (like many of the Civil War books I read), but was pleasantly surprised that his general military history of one of the largest wars ever stayed more on an army level than a division or brigade level (not to mention my difficulty taking in all those foreign names). He also payed excellent attention to the often overlooked aspects of the war such as the conflicts in the Ottoman Empire and the naval battles of the war. Keegan also takes a look at fortifications and their role in modern warfare. While I wish I could provide some criticism the maintain a loose hold on objectivity I'm afraid I can't find anything I disliked about this book (I even enjoyed the chapter on mobilization with the uniform descriptions). This work has established Keegan, in my mind, as one of the foremost military authors in Europe and has made me a fanatic reader of his other works. I would recommend this book to almost anyone whether you're looking for a fun weekend and night time read or you're an avid history reader and want to enhance your already thorough knowledge of the subject.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding
    An utterly engrossing, detailed account of WWI, especially for those who are not full-time students of the topic.As the narrative unfolds in its interested, quiet manner, the overwhelming tragedy of the conflict emerges.

    My only complaint is related to the maps.First, there are not enough of them.Second, they are dispersed randomly throughout the text, so that readers must maintain a thumb at the most recent map.In future editions they should be located at the beginning for easy reference. Third and finally, there is a lack of synchronization between the maps and the text.Locations named in the text very often are not displayed in the corresponding map.Quite a few minutes are lost searching the maps for this town or that forest when they aren't labeled. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0375700455
    Subjects:  1. History    2. History - Military / War    3. History: World    4. Military - World War I    5. World War, 1914-1918    6. History / Military / World War I   


    The Cambridge Illustrated History of China (Cambridge Illustrated Histories)
    by Kwang-ching Liu, Patricia Buckley Ebrey
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (13 May, 1999)
    list price: $35.00 -- our price: $23.10
    (price subject to change: see help)
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    Editorial Review

    To compress 8,000 years of a civilization's life into a single volume is a daunting task, but University of Illinois historian Patricia Ebrey does the job with authority and considerable flair. Writing with an eye to explaining recurring themes in Chinese history, she discusses ideas of order and statecraft, resource allocation and use, imperialism and population growth. Along the way she makes interesting asides, noting, among other things, that the Mongol conquerors of China monopolized the bamboo trade because they did not want the ethnic Chinese to make weapons, and she gives stimulating overviews of such matters as the manufacture of silk, hardwood furniture, and ceramics. ... Read more

    Reviews (12)

    2-0 out of 5 stars Bored to tears
    I faithfully read this book as a text for a class.The fact that it was boring wasn't such a problem because reading the book was unpleasant.In fact, it wasn't such a bad read, for a textbook.However, I was bored enough that I retained next to nothing from each chapter.
    I personally find Chinese history fascinating (I speak the language, studied in Beijing, and majored in Chinese studies) but this book was a snoozer.For what you are going to get out of this book, take my short synopsis instead and forget the rest:

    Qin Dynasty 220 BC: Unified China, Machiavellian
    Han Dynasty 200 BC - 200 AD: Confucian
    Tang Dynasty 600-900: Cosmopolitan
    Song Dynasty Around 1000 AD: Confucian revival
    Yuan Dynasty Around 1200: Mongols
    Ming Dynasty 1300-1600: VERY Chinese
    Qing Dynasty 1600-1900: Manchus

    5-0 out of 5 stars very good, very brief
    If you're looking for a general overview or first book to read on Chinese history, this is it. It's concise and very clearly organized, giving an even coverage over the whole course of Chinese history. The many photos are generally quite relevant to the text, though I found the maps made little sense to me. She uses pinyin for all names regardless of time or place -- which is mostly good. I found her writing very dry, but you'll notice some reviewers say she's a great writer. I think the book is strongest on high culture (as opposed to politics and battles and emperors and such)

    Don't expect this brief book to overflow with details. If you want details, then you'll have to read Jacques Gernet's "A History of Chinese Civilization".

    3-0 out of 5 stars Factual, but dry
    One of the interesting things about this book is that it uses standard Mandarin Pinyin (Chiang Kai-Shek is Jiang Jieshi, Sun Yat-Sen is Sun Zhongshan, etc).While this can be very helpful to those who know Mandarin Pinyin, it can be somewhat confusing to those who do not.

    For the most part, the book is factual and unbiased, although Ebrey does allow her anti-Maoist bias to slant her discussion of post-1949 China.The read is extremely dry, however, and often comes across as a colorless collection of irrelevant facts. ... Read more

    Isbn: 052166991X
    Subjects:  1. Asia - China    2. China    3. China - History    4. Civilization    5. Far East    6. History    7. History - General History    8. History: World    9. World - General    10. Asian / Middle Eastern history    11. History / World   


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