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The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation As a Basis for Social Policy
by Thomas Sowell
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Paperback (01 June, 1996)
list price: $18.00 -- our price: $12.24
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Reviews (90)

5-0 out of 5 stars Clear thinking and clear writing - terrific
Far from being a mindless bashing of the left, this book discusses a certain world view based upon a psychology of self-importance and self-congratulation that permits those burdened with these qualities to pronounce for others how to live, think, work, and behave.Because Thomas Sowell simply does not pussyfoot around these subjects, some have criticized this book for being too harsh and too one sided.On the contrary, it is simply open and honest about its thesis.It is less harsh and more serious than anything you would read by say, Maureen Dowd, Paul Krugman, or Frank Rich.

The fundamental thesis of the book is that there is a self-anointed group of people who individually and collectively feel the need and the right to decide social policy for others.Too often, these policies result in harm to those designated for this help and despite all evidence, those providing these policies feel gratified that they have done so much good and wish they could only do more if not for the ignorance and resistance of those who would like to choose for themselves how to live.

I think this is a powerful and richly rewarding book.However, those who would most benefit from the wisdom in this book will likely not read it and if they read it they would likely be resistant the self-revelation they could gain.

Thomas Sowell is a wonderful thinker and writer and I commend everything he ever wrote to you.It isn't that he is right about everything.It is that he understands what he thinks and expresses it in such a way that you can actually wrestle with his thoughts and come to your own considered judgments.In that way you will be more richly rewarded than if you simply accept or reject Sowell's ideas on face value.

1-0 out of 5 stars A Pot Condemning a Kettle
Thomas Sowell presents some good statistical evidence, which looks convincing on paper. The problem is all the same methods that he is pinning on liberals are used by conservatives everyday. Take conservative statistics on supply side economics or unemployment caused by minimum wage increases. I might add libertarians here as well ("government control makes health care more expensive").

Below are the fallacies that persist throughout most of Sowell's books including "The Vision of the Annointed":

1. "Life is unfair, and will always be. However, life SHOULD be fair for the wealthy and for me"

No need to debunk this one. Pretty obvious. Incidentally, "life is unfair" argument can be used to justify many things, including genocide, slavery and child prostitution.

2. "Liberals are elitists"

Liberals advocate more democracy and more direct democracy in the form of referenda, intitatives and recalls. Liberals want the people to control the government and to always be able to override bad decisions or bad laws. Most conservatives and especially libertarians HATE democracy and are proponents of "a republic", which is a euphemism for plutocracy. Conservatives want the government to control the people, and want people to have no control whatsoever over the government. It looks like elitists are not liberals, but their plutocratic opponents.

3. "Minimum wage law leads to unemployment among blacks, poverty and crime"

Minimum wage helps minimize poverty *within a nation* because A) it serves as a basis for unemployment benefits, i.e. if you can't find a job that pays a bare minimum, you can receive unemployment benefits and keep looking for a job; B) it prevents corporations from bringing into the country billions of desperately poor foreigners who are willing to work for $1 dollar an hour or less. C) all statistical studies of minimum wage increases at the federal level and in states showed that minimum wage increases do not correlate with increases in overall unemployment and unemployment among minorities.

4. "Socialism is a utopia, therefore pure capitalism is the only way to go".

All developed countries have a mixed economic system, this includes the US. A mixture of capitalism and socialism works OK, and is the only system compatible with democratic government. If there is a utopia, it is pure capitalism, which doesn't exist anywhere except textbooks and Sowell's imagination.

5. "Traditional means correct. By changing the laws and constantly rearranging established rights, liberals are destroying liberty and everything America stands for."

Dr. Sowell doesn't seem to remember that slavery in the US had persisted for some 90 years after the Declaration of Independence. Originally, most people did not have the right to vote, only white male land-owners could (with very few exceptions). Dr. Sowell just doesn't understand that changing a law is not bad in and of itself, what is important is WHO is changing the laws, an elitist minority, or the majority of voters.

5-0 out of 5 stars Just Read The Book
I have read many of these so called "reviews" and I am convinced only half of them have read the book - the others, a synopsis. Just read the book, and please research any doubt one might have about high interest rates not being the result of President Carter and liberalism.The reviewer who tried to blur this fact to "early '80's" really needs to read the book! ... And research some history!!!!!!! ... Read more

Isbn: 046508995X
Sales Rank: 38180
Subjects:  1. Elite (Social sciences)    2. History & Theory - General    3. Politics - Current Events    4. Politics/International Relations    5. Public Policy - Social Policy    6. Social policy    7. United States   


The Abolition of Man
by C. S. Lewis
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Paperback (20 March, 2001)
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Editorial Review

C.S. Lewis's The Abolition of Man purports to be a book specifically about public education, but its central concerns are broadly political, religious, and philosophical. In the best of the book's three essays, "Men Without Chests," Lewis trains his laser-sharp wit on a mid- century English high school text, considering the ramifications of teaching British students to believe in idle relativism, and to reject "the doctrine of objective value, the belief that certain attitudes are really true, and others really false, to the kind of thing the universe is and the kinds of things we are." Lewis calls this doctrine the "Tao," and he spends much of the book explaining why society needs a sense of objective values. The Abolition of Man speaks with astonishing freshness to contemporary debates about morality; and even if Lewis seems a bit too cranky and privileged for his arguments to be swallowed whole, at least his articulation of values seems less ego-driven, and therefore is more useful, than that of current writers such as Bill Bennett and James Dobson.--Michael Joseph Gross ... Read more

Reviews (58)

5-0 out of 5 stars Just say no to nihilism...
The Abolition of Man is a series of lectures wherein C.S. Lewis debunks the debunkers of virtue and values.Pulling no punches, Lewis successfully charts their "belief system" from beginning to bankruptcy.They suppose that the value of a thing is only what we perceive it to be, thus there is no true good, there is no true bad.Nothing is truly of value.Though written decades ago, we see traces of this in our non-judgemental society, in our lowering of expectations, in the race to dumb everything down, make everything equal, where nothing is inherently bad and nothing, it seems, inherently good.

Beyond the fact that, by their own definition, this nihilistic approach has no intrinsic value but what we perceive it to have, we find that the successive devaluation of everything leads to the value of nothing - including ourselves.And this, Lewis has it, is the abolition of Man.We may see evidence of this abolition in many current debates to include euthanasia, abortion, gender selection/eugenics, and embryo farming.When we have no value, but what we perceive, then there may be hell to pay when those perceptions change.Auschwitz is a remarkable example.Bioethicists with the ethics of swine are another.

As usual, C.S. Lewis slings well-honed arrows that hit their mark with ease.What Lewis provides best is clarity such as very few writers can. 5 stars.

5-0 out of 5 stars An indispensable Lewis classic
First of all, let me follow luminous79 in noting that these are *lectures*, speeches by a master of Socratic reasoning.
Mr. Gross's review is so typical of the Left's criticisms.Lewis is condemned for being at once "low brow" and "egotistical."Obviously, Gross notes that Lewis is "less" "egotistical" than Bennett or Dobson, but why is it that anyone who espouses traditional moarlity is proclaimed "egotistical" by the Left?
What is more egotistical?To say that there is a transcendent, objective moral code to which we are all equally subject, or to say that one has the right, as an individual, to make up one's own moral standards?
Gross also seems to imply duplicity in Lewis's "purported" focus on public education.However, this is also very typical of Socratic thought.How many of Plato's dialogues begin with some discussion that seems to have little connection ot the main purpose, but follow along a similar pattern?
Lewis is primarily a literary scholar, and his study of literature was a major impetus in his conversion to Christianity.Therefore, many of Lewis's arguments begin on a kernel of either literary study or philosophy of education.
The classic form for a philosophical system, as with Bacon and DeCartes, is to begin with a study of knowledge itself, then move into metaphysics and theology, and lastly into ethics and aesthetics.My philosophy thesis at the University of South Carolina was on how Lewis turns that process on its head, beginning with aesthetics.
Lastly, I take issue with Gross's offhand, biased comments that "Men without CHests" is the "best" of the three essays, or that Lewis is "cranky" or "privileged."
First, either all three essays are equally good or none are.His statement is based entirely on his revulsion at the content of the second and third essays, when Lewis gets to the real heart of his argument.
Secondly, there is nothing "crnaky" about the book at all; it is quite rational and, if anything, quite jovial.Or is it that Gross finds anyone opposed to artificial contraception to be "cranky"?Perhaps Mr. Gross should refer to the studies which show that couples using natural family planning are far happier than those who use birth control?
Finally, "privilege" has nothing to do with morality.As the elitists in New York and Los Angeles are quite eager to point out, adherence to traditional values is quite often the province of the provinces, otherwise known as the "red states."
So, if you are actually open-minded about learning why people adhere to a theory of transcendent morality, please read this book.If you're a closed-minded liberal like Mr. Gross, it won't do you any good.

5-0 out of 5 stars On First Things
This was just really enjoyable to read.Quick, certainly, but, oh, such excellent writing!And even clearer philosophy.I feel I must approach the Master with great humility, for his style and thoughts are so much clearer than my own.What right have I to critique him?

I'll do it anyway.

This would be an excellent introductory book to a class on religions.Lewis displays a convincing argument for the existence of morality, using resources from many different traditions, not just his own Christian one.He is to be commended however for also stating his own tradition, that we might know his biases.(The only flaw is a lack of Islamic sources, perhaps because Lewis tended to know less about that particular religion than others.)It is hard to walk away from the book still convinced that there are no ethics, or that an aethitical system is possible.

Those who have read other Lewis works will see echoes here, such as the essay On First Things from God in the Dock, That Hideous Strength, and the Magician's Nephew.Lewis uses his knowledge of literature to show us that morality is necessary if we are to speak realistically at all; that an amoral system of ethics is by nature moral; and that one absent of any morality at all is reduced simply to animal instincts.In this last unit, he preaches of the fear that science will reduce humanity into mere object, rather than into a glorious creation.In no way is this anti-scientific diatribe- but rather cautionary tale of the dangers of excess, if we continue in our current vein of thought.

A couple flaws bring the book down. Early on, he takes a swipe at pacifism by implying that there is something wrong with those who argue that men are more righteous if they value peace over war.Happily, this is only momentary.And secondly, he consistently uses the word "man".Lewis is a product of his times, yes, but he also strongly argued against inclusive language or women in the pulpit, and his language reflects this.And so the book's title.As well as the use of the term "redskin" when referring to ancient Native American beliefs at the end of the book.

Lewis is at his best when demolishing arguments, using the arguments of his opponents.He does this with tact and compassion, not even mentioning the opponents by name, and constantly complimenting on what they have said- but not being afraid to point out the great tragedy that would result if students of a particular "Little Green Book" were to take the authors seriously.If followed, we would lose something deep within us, the capacity to have passion, and enjoy life, out of which morality springs.For following the guidelines of the Little Green Book, we would no longer be able to say something was good in and of itself, but only that it felt good, as everything is now subjective.

But there is an alternative, the Tao, the Way, which we find in all cultures everywhere, and in all religious traditions.The morality, as Lewis has said many times before in many other places, is basically the same in all religious systems; there is only the smallest of differences between them.And this morality is the guiding principle, or can be, or should be, for us all.It is inherent in our . . . very nature. ... Read more

Isbn: 0060652942
Subjects:  1. Christianity - Literature    2. Christianity - Theology - Apologetics    3. Education    4. English language    5. General    6. Philosophy    7. Religion    8. Religion - Classic Works    9. Study and teaching (Secondary)    10. Religion / General   


C.S. Lewis for the Third Millennium : Six Essays on the Abolition of Man
by Peter Kreeft
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Paperback (01 October, 1994)
list price: $12.95 -- our price: $10.36
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Reviews (7)

2-0 out of 5 stars Boring
I have read most of C. S. Lewis's works. I have read some Kreeft before and I enjoyed his writings. However, these essays are boring. I could not get through them. The essays have very little to do with what Lewis thought and a lot to do with what Kreeft thinks about. What's more after the first essay, I could care less what Kreeft thinks about. I would suggest that you reread "Abolition of Man" again and save your money.

5-0 out of 5 stars Eclipse of the First Things
"Can the natural law ever be abolished from the heart of man?"Prof. Kreeft presents both sides of the argument, pitting Aquinas ("no") against C.S. Lewis ("yes").

I think it is a "loose" argument.Lewis in The Abolition of Man says there will be no men left.Natural law ceases to be because man ceases to be.Does that mean that Lewis' position is correct - that the natural law can be abolished?Well, one might argue that if man himself ceases to be a moral agent, he is no longer truly human.

Kreeft holds out the hope that Aquinas is correct, that man will awaken to his danger.

But, in this polity, a society where people decide how to order their lives together, we are facing a powerful tyranny of thought that has granted unto itself the obligation of making those decisions.That power asserts that the belief of "an ethic or morality that transcends human invention" is a "religious" notion - and that religion can play no part - indeed, must not be permitted to play a part - in the life of the polity.

This tyranny of thought is found in the judicial chambers of our government, in the US Supreme Court and its circuit courts.Surely, the reasoning behind many Court decisions over the past 50 years can be found in the list of 20 "heresies" Prof. Kreeft supplies.

This book is a very "uncomfortable" work - reading it, one should be concerned about the erosion of the polity, should be unhappy about it, should be ready to do something about it.That list of 20 failed philosophies is the most important and valuable part of this work, and possibly the most uncomfortable aspect of it: I am sure the reader would recognize many of his or her own personal beliefs (and those that have been presented to him or her in school or church) described somewhere in that list.

We don't stone prophets anymore - the Court just rules them inadmissible.

The occasional good or interesting idea manages to escape from a confused sea of mannered verbiage.This is the written essence of talk radio.The writer seems more intent on giving paternalistic viewpoints in annoyingly cute expressionsthan explaining.A poor choice for an intelligent person.Rather than look at ideas, set them down, weigh them, and discuss methodically, this book rants.Would make good bird-cage flooring, however, and may be commended for that.The subject matter of the book is of great concern; the treatment, however, is for the mass consumption of the fear prone.I want my money back.The book should be called Kreeft for the Third Millenium, but then, who would buy it. ... Read more

Isbn: 0898705231
Sales Rank: 310359
Subjects:  1. 1950-    2. Civilization, Modern    3. Civilization, Western    4. General    5. Inspirational - Catholic    6. Lewis, C. S. (Clive Staples), 1898-1963    7. Literary Criticism    8. Man (Christian theology)    9. Modern - 20th Century    10. Philosophy    11. Abolition of man, or, Reflections on education with special reference to the teaching of English in the upper forms of schools    12. Lewis, C. S   


People of the Lie
by M. Scott Peck
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Paperback (02 January, 1998)
list price: $14.00 -- our price: $11.20
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Reviews (99)

5-0 out of 5 stars My suggestion to the author
I believe those "people of the Lie" described in this book simply have Asperges Syndrome. I met this book several years ago and found that the description of people here applied to many people I knew. However, as I came to know Aspergers Syndrome, my view has changed. The book is still informative in many aspects. But I advise readers also read books on Aspergers Syndrome.

1-0 out of 5 stars Ok then...
Now where to start on this book...
I found the case histories very interesting and agreed that these so-called 'evil' people where indeed greatly disturbed. However, Dr Peck's extremely free use of the word evil became quite annoying amongst these interesting stories. His continual finger pointing and at times paranoia about 'evil people everywhere' was very off putting.
He also claims to be 'not really religious' but quite clearly literally has the fear of god in him. There is no shame in being a religious person so I was left wondering why the charade?
I think there are truly evil people out there but I hestitate at throwing that accusation around to so many. I think most of the people in this book were just plain ignorant and selfish. Dr Peck mentions that all lying is evil. Well with this I disagree, surely there are times when it is called for? I think Dr Peck is confusing being evil with human nature.

5-0 out of 5 stars Reflection and Critique: People of The Lie
The following document is a response and interaction with two case studies presented in Scott Peck's 1983 work People of the Lie: The Hope for Healing Human Evil. This paper focuses on evaluating issues of the manifested presence of human evil as it is presented in counseling psychotherapy and often convoluted with mental illness. This review does not interact with Peck's insight in regards to demonic possession, as detailed in later chapters. It was found issues of human evil may be addressed effectively in psychotherapy practice, and that evil can be manifested in both "passive" and "active" forms. Suggestions for additional research are provided.
Reflection and Critique of
People of the Lie: The Hope for Healing Human Evil
Scott Peck, in People of the Lie, addresses issues of identifying and healing human evil. The book, in later chapters delves into the matter of demonic possession, though this is not the major focus of the text (it is the focus of a more recent work of Peck's, released January of 2005). The initial focus of People of the Lie centers on issues of human evil (non-possession oriented) in regards to how evil manifests into one's life, how evil is to be treated as a presenting problem in a counseling psychotherapy setting, and when convoluted with mental illness. This reflection and critique will evaluate and interact with several case study examples from Peck's work.
The Man Who Made a Pact with the Devil
The Case of George
With this Vignette, Peck is in a counseling relationship with a man (George) who presents Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) but finds relief from his psychological problem after making a "pact with the devil" in which George wagers the well-being of himself and his son. As the counseling relationship evolves, Peck speculates some points regarding George's childhood history that seem of great importance for ascertaining where George's evil dispositions originated.
Peck writes about George's traumatic childhood that was suffused with violence, and details an account of George's father (who eventually had a nervous breakdown) murdering George's sister's kitten with a broom, as well as George's grandfather's violence upon his grandmother. Similarly, George's mother's unorthodox religiosity and eccentric demands of George (i.e. forcing George to pray on his knees all night), and the eventual transfer of custody of young George to his grandmother, were addressed.
It appears that the evil George displayed was not manifested by his childhood, though the psychological disorder, which tempted George to act in an evil manner, was a product of George's childhood experiences. Peck states:
Frequently, however, children who have been unduly traumatized one way or another do not grow out of their magical-thinking stage. This is particularly true of people with an obsessive-compulsive neurosis. Certainly George had not grown out of it (p. 37).
There are two criteria here that would tempt George to make a pact with the devil. One, magical thinking, present since childhood, first manifested as superstition in which to preserve his grandmother's life George was required to touch a certain rock everyday, which later mutated into adult obsessive-compulsive disorder. Simply, the disorder was uncomfortable and discomfort is negative reinforcement for one to find respite (George used evil to find respite).
Two, the simple "idea" of making a sacred pact with a supernatural being is another manifestation of magical thinking-especially since George does not really believe the devil exists. Most people would not consider such an expression of evil to be effective in resolving a personal problem.
George's Evil
Though childhood experience may have contributed to George's state of being, I believe it is the here-and-now that occupies the most significance, or importance concerning George's spiritual condition. In this, I refer to George's cowardice, as Scott Peck identifies it.
Peck states that George is "sort of a coward" and that it is his cowardice, lack of ability or willingness to experience suffering of any kind, that led him to make a pact with the devil: a pact in which he asked the devil to kill both himself and his son if he were to act on any of his obsessive thoughts (a pact that alleviated his OCD). I believe Peck makes a very good observation, and finds intuitively a correlation between George's cowardice and tendency toward being "evil," though I do not think correlation equals causation in this instance.
When I observe the vignette, instead of cowardice, or fear as the factor that instigates George's evil behavior, I see selfishness as the mitigating factor. Cowardice is an insufficient prerequisite for human evil for George could be the most cowardly person possible; he may feel anxious during sunsets (which in the vignette he did), he may avoid conflict (which he did), he may have a low physical pain threshold, obsessions and compulsions, multiple phobias, full blown agoraphobia, etc. and despite this severity, none of these symptoms or conditions combined can facilitate one to make a pact with the devil. However, when selfness is involved into the equation of George's condition, evil is then possible.
For example, two men are being threatened with death, one escapes death by sacrificing his son, the other man does not sacrifice his son and dies. It is necessary that the man who died was less of a coward (i.e. one who shows disgraceful fear or timidity) than the man who did not die? No. Both men could be cowering, insatiable cowards, and though cowardice may correlate with evil behavior as negative reinforcement-for a man not afraid to die would be less prone to act in an evil way to prevent death-it is not sufficient for allowing evil. The man who survived sacrificed his son in place of himself (similar to George's pact). Such is a display of selfishness, not cowardice.
Roger's Parents
The Case of Roger
Presented is a vignette of a depressed teenage boy, Roger, from an upper-middle class family, referred to Scott Peck by his high-school in response to the recent deterioration of his grades.In session, Roger presents symptoms of depression and mentions that he desires to leave home and go to boarding school. Upon interviewing Roger's parents, they first deny remembering Roger's request (a lie) and then state that they gave is significant consideration, but decided against it because they thought it would not be best for Roger (another lie). Peck recommends Roger see a psychologist, and also recommends his parents send him to boarding school. His parents agree.
Several months later, Roger is referred to Scott Peck again, this time after breaking into the office of a priest. Upon re-evaluation, it is discovered Roger had not received any treatment for his depression, his parent had never taken him to the recommended psychologist (or any psychologist), and had not sent him to boarding school. In addition, Roger's parents had denied him a privilege to attend a conference which Roger had earned funding to attend.
In a second interview with Roger's parents Peck confronts them on their perceivable apathy, and lack of empathy toward Roger, inquires of why treatment was never sought for Roger, and recommend they seek treatment themselves stating:
I strongly recommend that the two of you go into treatment. I think Roger needs help very badly. I think the both of you also need it...yourselves because you really seem to lack empathy for Roger, and your own psychotherapy would be the only thing I can think of that might enable you to understand Roger better...And from my point of view, everything you've done to cope with Roger's problems in the past years has been wrong (pp. 99-100).
Roger's mother responds by stating it is likely their son has a "defective gene" and Roger's father denies any responsibility for Roger stating:
I'm not boasting, but it seems to me I've been quite successful in my profession. My wife also has been quite successful. We have no problems with our other child. And my wife is very much a community leader, you know. She's a member of the zoning board and highly active in church affairs. I'm intrigued as to why you might consider us mentally ill.
Present Evil
Peck addresses Roger's parent's cheapness in not sending him to boarding school, and their lack of empathy toward Roger as evil. However, it is possible the evil displayed by Roger's parents is more active. As George's evil characteristic was selfishness, the evil in Roger's parents is sadism, for it appears they systematically scapegoat Roger, and actively make choices that will hurt or shame him.
Regarding empathy, considering the high intellect of Roger's parents, it is likely they understand the present dynamic, they understood Roger deeply wanted to attend boarding school, desired greatly to attend the conference, and needed psychotherapy or professional treatment for depression. Rogers' parents neglect and active restrictions on Roger are purposeful, and they are partially in willful denial by simply refusing to admit they have chosen to dislike Roger, and are being purposely adversarial toward him.
The following document was a personal review of two vignettes from the text People of the Lie: The Hope for Healing Human Evil. The present evil in both George and Roger's parents was reflected upon, and it was found that the evil was likely rooted in different aspects of the persons' beings. George's possessed a passive evil, made possible through his selfishness, for he valued his well-being over that of his son's. The evil of Roger's parents was an active evil, rooted in sadism, for they made purposeful choices that were destructive to Roger's happiness and existence. Due to the prescribed length of this document, this is an abridged personal reflection of Scott Peck's work.
... Read more

Isbn: 0684848597
Sales Rank: 5872
Subjects:  1. General    2. Good and evil    3. Medical    4. Psychiatry - General    5. Psychological aspects    6. Psychology    7. Psychology and religion    8. Psychology & Psychiatry / General   


Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith
by Joseph F. Smith
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
Paperback (01 June, 1977)
list price: $14.95
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Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Standard Work on Joseph Smith.
This book is the best treasure house of Joseph Smith's teachings. In fact, it is an unofficial source of theology of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.It relies heavily on the rather bulky "History of the Church," but also has some documents that are not included in the official history.It is well organized, and these newer editions have the index compiled by Dr. Robert Matthews.

5-0 out of 5 stars Treasurehouse of Joseph Smith's Teachings!
"Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith" is the most important book any Latter-day Saint can own, outside of the Scriptures.His early teachings from Kirtland to the last days at Nauvoo are chronologically recorded and easily accessed.Included the famous "King Folette Discoures," and June 16, 1844 sermon.This is Joseph Fielding Smith's most imporatnt work ever. ... Read more

Isbn: 087579243X
Sales Rank: 256167
Subjects:  1. Christianity - Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Da    2. Religion - Mormon / LDS   

The Time Machine
by H. G. Wells
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Mass Market Paperback (01 December, 1995)
list price: $3.99 -- our price: $3.99
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Reviews (226)

3-0 out of 5 stars eh
This book has its ups and downs.Like one moment it would be really suspenseful and descriptive then the next it would just have words that mean nothing.I did like the ideas and how the author used them.I definitely think this book could/should have been a lot longer than it was.At certain points it seems like it just gets cut off and just makes me lose my attention to the book.
Some of the twists in this book seem kind of weird and/or obvious that they would happen in the future.I won't say which ones they are because I don't want to give away anything to those who want to read it still.
Things I liked about this book.I like the way H.G. Wells used his ideas that led from one topic to another.I liked how he used description... in most of the book.
Things I hate about this book; for one thing it is way too short.This book could have been way more descriptive in certain areas.And I really didn't like how they never gave the time traveler a real name, as well as most of the other characters.
Overall I think this book is only good for a checkout at a local library but not to buy.

4-0 out of 5 stars Wells is the Best !!!!!!!!!
The Time Machine by H.G. Wells is a thrilling sci-fi adventure that every true science fiction must read and experience.This masterpiece written in 1895 is one of the true classics on science fiction.The way Wells is able to make the reader believe he or she is in the story is phenomenal.He is able to show what we hope and dream for in the future while throwing in a mysterious twist.As you read the novel you find many mysteries and encounter strange situations.The story begins as the main character and narrator, the Time Traveler, sits down to a dinner party and begins to tell his visitors has invented a machine that can carry him into the fourth dimension, time.Not only does he have one but he also has used it and he then begins to tell his guests of his narrative.His story starts as he travels into the year 802,701 A.D.After discovering a species of man which he believes is the perfect society. The Time Traveler learns of a dark secret which lies beneath the surface of this society.He realizes in a way this new race is in fact not intelligent.So he decides to move on in his travels.When he is about to leave the race he has traveled to see, his time machine is stolen.He must learn about this strange new world if he has any hope of getting home.The Time Traveler discovers the name of the people, the Eloi.As he spend the days with them he realizes that fear is still instilled in this society.The fear of the night leads the Eloi to many strange behaviors.He begins to ponder these behaviors after seeing mysterious creatures at night.He is able to befriend a certain Eloi, whose name is Weena, which he rescues from drowning.Soon after meeting her he goes down a well to discover more about the morlocks.Together the Time Traveler and Weena, his Eloi friend, travel to a strange porcelain palace where he manages to find supplies and has another encounter with the morlocks.He narrowly escapes this situation, and as he flees the creatures sets the forest ablaze.Sad things happen in this fire, but the Time Traveler returns to his machine and travels into the future.His strange adventure continues into the future then returns.He travels back to the past to tell his story but goes back into the fourth dimension never to return again.This adventure will leave you want more.How he get his machine back?How did the human race split?What happened in the forest? You have to read it to find out. I really liked this book because of all the adventure and excitement.It was the kind of book that you want to find out what is on the next page.I could simply not put this book down, it is that good.It has got me reading other Sci-fi books; it has opened me up into a totally new world of books.

2-0 out of 5 stars The Time Machine High School Review
The story The Time Machine by H.G. Wells is the story of a scientist that is trying to prove that the world not only is three dimensional, but four dimensional. That fourth dimension is the ability to travel though time. To try to prove his point he develops a time machine to show that it is possible to travel through time. He uses the time machine to travel into the future throughout the entire book, where he finds friends and foes, and simple and complex environments. In my opinion this book was probably one of the worst books I've read in a long time. I found the story of the entire book to be boring and unentertaining because the plot itself was very basic and not very deep compared to some of the other books I have to read at a high school level. I feel that this book is more suitable for a 4th or 5th grade reader, or it would work for an elementary school teacher to use as an introduction to science fiction novels for his or her students. I also feel that the book could have ended sooner. After he gets his time machine back from the Morlocks, he goes even farther into the future to a place that I think contributes nothing to the overall story. What he should have done is after he escapes from the world of the Eloi and the Morlocks, he should have gone back in time instead of forward into his own home and end the story there. In the book when he goes even further in time. He lands on a sloping beach and mentions that it has vegetation covering the entire surface facing the unmoving sun. He also mentions seeing many giant crabs and giant butterflies on that same beach. As he goes even farther into the future he just finds even more crabs. The only way I would recommend this book to readers is if they were trying to be introduced to a science fiction theme of literature at a young age. ... Read more

Isbn: 0812505042
Sales Rank: 3378
Subjects:  1. Children: Young Adult (Gr. 10-12)    2. Classics    3. Literature - Classics / Criticism    4. Science Fiction - General    5. Science fiction   


Man of La Mancha
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
Paperback (12 October, 1966)
list price: $9.95 -- our price: $9.95
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Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars This is Exactly What You Should Expect From It
Having performed a goodly segment of this script during an ill-fated production from hell, I must say that it was quite good to have a copy of the script that was what I was looking for. Man of La Mancha is most certainly NOT the original (Don Quixote), but it doesn't need to be. If you want the original book, you may as well read it in it's original, Spanish text (as I have). Have fun with the story, it's one of the more referenced, when dealing with insanity.

5-0 out of 5 stars Is this a different version of "Don Quixtoe"?You decide
Whenever I would teach "Don Quixote" I would take one class period and play the "Man of La Mancha" album for my students.Of course, "Don Quixote" is really a story told in two parts, and there are some significant differences between the first and second parts written by Miquel de Cervantes.If you have read both parts of the first great novel then I think you have an appropriate perspective for looking at the script of "Man of La Mancha" with a critical eye.The big question is whether this version by Dale Wasserman and company achieves a creative synthesis of the two parts of "Don Quixote" or whether this constitutes a totally new and different telling of the tale.There is probably enough evidence from reading the synopsis of the play and listening to the soundtrack, but having this script in hand can really facilitate your analysis.Of course, having an entire class read this script in addition to the entire novel (or a decent abridged version) is probably a bit much.But if I were to convince a teacher to use the synopsis/album as a starting point for discussion, then I would certain urge such teachers to pick up the script for their own personal reference, especially if they have never had the opportunity to see "Man of La Mancha" in performance (and this does not mean having seen the fairly wretched film version).Ironically, the framing device of "Man of La Mancha" makes the story of Don Quixote an extremely personal work to Cervantes, while the musical attempts to craft a unique version of the character and his life's story.Just be warned that becoming familiar with each version is ultimately going to require you to make a choice between the two (or three) versions.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Mirror of Reality is cracked!
I was introduced to Hidalgo Quixote, Knight of the Woeful Countenance in high school and was overtaken by the power of the music and the story. Two years later, I was living in Portugal.Though it wasn't Spain, I still felt the same breeze, and saw the same type of windmills that Quixote tilted in his tilted reason.

Joseph Smith once observed that, "by proving contraries, truth is made manifest," (History of the Church 6:428), and Aristotle once said that if you want to find truth, invert.Cervantes follows this pattern of putting things upside-down to show right-side-upness.He accentuates reality by taking an insane man as his lead character.The paradox, however, is that Quixote seems to be the sanest person in the story.

"The Man of La Mancha" has two advantages over its parent-text "Don Quixote."The first is that Wasserman, et al. did a marvelous job of pairing down Cervantes' two part book into a one act play.A lot of Quixote's adventures are funny parody, but it at times becomes a bit over-done.The play captures the essence of the Quixote-Idea without any gas. "Brevity is the soul of wit," as Shakespeare testified.

The second advantage is the music."The Quest (The Impossible Dream)" is a triumph not only for Wasserman et al, but it is a triumph for humanity.So this book needs to be read with the soundtrack.The original Broadway is my favorite, since it captures the Iberian wind that blows over the story.The Peter O'Toole film is too produced and had too many sweet strings that drench out the Spanish guitars.

You know how good a work of art is by seeing how it is parodies.Quixote has been copied on "Quantum Leap," and Alf, and Jim Neighbors sung "The Quest" on Gomer Pyle.There is even a cartoon "Don Coyote and Sancho Panda."And, of course, there is the classic Mr. Magoo (Jim Baccus) version of Don Quixote.

So buy, and enjoy this play.Read along with the movie, and ponder reality through the eyes of an insane man. ... Read more

Isbn: 0394406192
Sales Rank: 142420
Subjects:  1. Don Quixote    2. Drama    3. General    4. Genres & Styles - Musicals    5. Librettos    6. Musical revues, comedies, etc    7. Musicals    8. Plays    9. Plays / Drama    10. Stories, plots, etc    11. Drama / General   


The Sea-Wolf (Dover Thrift Editions)
by Jack London
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Paperback (23 December, 1999)
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Reviews (68)

4-0 out of 5 stars Depravity breeds depravity in this wonderful adventure story
This very powerful story about a brutal sea captain and the effect that his depravity and evil have on anyone that he is in contact with is a true adventure story as well.Jack London knew how to tell a story, and this book is a page-turner.Not only that, it has some of the best descriptions of sailing one of the old "tall ships" I've ever read.There is a chapter in the book that is a superb description of sailing one of these ships in a bad storm.Mr. London's descriptions of this and other catastrophic events at sea is so realistic that the reader sees it all as he or she reads it.London's political ideology does show through in spots.London was a firm believer in Socialism, and he does put forth these ideas at times in the book.His villain - Wolf Larsen, is the most evil man you'll ever encounter between the covers of a novel.The development of Humphrey from an ineffectual, bookish type of man, to a man that can subsist on his own wits and by the actual use of his own hands is the common thread that runs through the book.Even though he is in close proximity to the evil Larsen, Humphrey does not let Larsen's depravity change his own morals and his own essential goodness.

4-0 out of 5 stars First half: GREAT, last half: weak
Humphrey Van Weyden, a pampered son of wealth, has lived a comfortable life of bookishness and learning in 1890's San Francisco.But everything changes when an accident on a ferry-trip across the bay leaves him floating helpless in a foggy sea.He is picked up by a schooner heading out to hunt seals, captained by the vicious Wolf Larsen.He is immediately pressed into service as cabin-boy aboard the Ghost, and learns a different kind of life than he has been raised to know.Wolf Larsen is not only brutal and overbearing to everyone he encounters, but he is also highly intelligent, having taught himself reading and mathematics."Hump," as Humphrey is called by the Captain, gains some measure of favor with the Captain as he is able to discuss philosophy and such things of which the rest of the crew is wholly ignorant.

The characters and plot are intensely compelling, especially throughout the first half of the book where the drama is intense as he struggles to survive aboard the Ghost.His observations of the other crew members are interesting, as he discovers how different their lives are from his, and he feels pity for the things they lacked and which he took for granted.Also, the character of Captain Larsen is incredible; completely horrible yet you feel a sort of sympathy even for him.

My biggest complaint with the story is at about its midpoint where a woman character enters the story.The struggle for life suddenly takes on a different meaning for Humphrey, as he now has someone other than himself to worry about, but this changes the whole mood of the story.The struggle is no longer filled with the painful drama, but practically turns into a romance, and a fairly sappy one, at that.It's also here that the book slows down with quite a few long passages about the mechanics and technical details of ships and sailing.But overall a very interesting tale of struggle - it's just unfortunate that the ending wasn't as strong.

3-0 out of 5 stars Starts off strong, but becomes lackluster by the end.
Humphrey van Weyden is a gentleman. He has never had to work for his living, or do a single task for himself. All that changes when the ferry-steamer Martinez, running across the mouth of the San Francisco Bay, is wrecked after a collision with another boat in the fog. Van Weyden is tossed into the sea, and eventually picked up by another boat. But this is no ordinary boat. It is the Ghost, a seal-hunting schooner captained by Wolf Larsen, who is far from being an ordinary man. He snickers at Van Weyden's offers of money in exchange for taking him to shore, and instead conscripts the unfortunate man to replace a recently-deceased member of the Ghost's crew. Van Weyden's trials encompass far more than merely learning how to work on a ship. He must also find his place in the strange web of heirarchy among the men. More precarious yet is his relationship with the captain.

We soon find out that Wolf Larsen is a monster of a man, possessing superhuman strength and a complete lack of deference to any idea of morals. He is certainly one of the most fascinating characters I've come across in my reading. You fear him, you hate him, and yet there is still something to admire about him. He commands respect. He can kill a man with the strength of his hands alone, but he is also something of a self-educated philosopher. He has clearly studied Darwin, and continually likens life to a ferment of yeast, in which the natural way of things is for the stronger to consume the weaker. And yet, despite Larsen's superhuman image, London manages to keep him plausible for the reader by giving him his own Achilles's heel, which becomes more and more apparent as the story progresses. "The Sea-Wolf" is worth reading for a character study of this man alone. Unfortunately, however, the second half of the book shifts its focus, losing sight of the Van Weyden-Larsen relationship and simultaneously losing much of the driving force behind the story.

Almost as soon as Maud Brewster entered the story, I began to lose interest. Shipwrecked and adrift in a small boat, she is picked up by the Ghost much as Van Weyden was. She, too, is refused passage to land. And inevitably, a romance develops between Brewster and Van Weyden. The story makes an abrupt change in course from one of survival and complex relationships between the ship's men, to that of a love story. But what a silly and unconvincing love story it is! London just doesn't write women well, nor does he make the relationship between Van Weyden and Brewster in any way believable. Maud is a flat character, and just doesn't seem real. She is also full of ridiculous contradictions. She is alternately described as a frail lily and a cavewoman. She bestows the name of Lucifer on Wolf Larsen, but turns all to pity and mush the moment he is struck by one of his headaches. The story would have been much better with romance left out and the focus kept on Van Weyden's personal struggle with Larsen.

The strength of this book definitely lies in its first half. London's writing is strong and vivid, and he does a superb job of capturing the nuances of each relationship between crew members. I only wish he had stuck to that. Every writer has his niche, and London's is not in the romance genre. The second part of the book is contrived, predictable, and does little to hold one's interest. The ending is dissatisfying. It is, however, worth finishing in order to discover what end comes to the aforementioned Wolf Larsen. This is the only element of the latter part of the book that really intrigued me. So read "The Sea-Wolf" for its adventure component, found in the first half, and read it for the wonderfully crafted character of Captain Larsen. But don't expect too much out of the latter half and its conclusion. ... Read more

Isbn: 0486411087
Sales Rank: 952387
Subjects:  1. Action & Adventure    2. Arctic Regions    3. Classics    4. Fiction    5. Literature - Classics / Criticism    6. London, Jack, 1876-1916    7. Sealers (Persons)    8. Sealing ships    9. Ship captains    10. Fiction / Classics   


A Tale of Two Cities
by Charles Dickens
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Mass Market Paperback (01 May, 1997)
list price: $4.95 -- our price: $4.95
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Reviews (345)

5-0 out of 5 stars One of my favorites ever!!
I love this book, I have read it at least five times, but I have to accept that I read it in spanish, but I don't care I still think that it is great.
The lead character is so complex and at the same time so obscure that when I read first I did not know that he was the leading man but I loved him anyway, he is the ultimate antiheroe.

5-0 out of 5 stars 56 year old Joan of Arc fanticraves for Tale of Two Cities
"It was the best of times.It was the worst of times."
It was the worst of times because of the rampart evil in France.
It was the best of times because it allowed the human spirit to overcome the oppression of a valley of tears and achieve self-sacrificing virtue to a heroic degree. Mr. Lorry goes to Paris at great risk to himself because he is loyal to his firm. Lucie is loyal to Charles Darnay.Charles renounces his great wealth because it is right to do so, and returns to Paris to try to save his old servant. Dr.Manette goes into the chaotic mobsof Paris streets to try to save Charles.But most of all,Sydney Carton, the depressed drunk from who we expect nothing,is the greatest hero of all.

This book is about good and evil, and the human spirit's conquest of its own weakness. Sydney Carton's situation is that of every man. "I know this now.Every man gives his life for what he believes. Every woman gives her life for what she believes. Some people believe in little or nothing, yet they give their lives to that little or nothing."--Joan of Arc.

We give our lives to what we believe by the way we live it.It is not optional.We must give our lives to something.Sydney Carton redeemed himself by his sacrifice for a noble end.

5-0 out of 5 stars wow!
I read A Tale of Two Cities for school recently, and I have yet to regret it. This beautiful tale is writtin in a language that causes you to think and figure things out. As soon as you figure out how to understand it, it paints both a beautiful and terrible picture of the time of the French Revolution. A Tale of Two Cities has everything that makes a good book: love, sacrifice, sadness, anger, revenge,suspense(sp?),and a great ending. I definitly intend on reading more books by Dickens. ... Read more

Isbn: 0451526562
Sales Rank: 1144
Subjects:  1. 1789-1799, Revolution    2. Classics    3. Fiction    4. France    5. History    6. Literature - Classics / Criticism    7. Literature: Classics    8. Revolution, 1789-1799   


The Worthing Saga
by Orson Scott Card
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Paperback (15 December, 1992)
list price: $7.99 -- our price: $7.99
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Reviews (58)

4-0 out of 5 stars What if there were no hypothetical questions?
The Worthing Saga is by far one of the most interesting books that Card has produced. It is also his first science-fiction attempt. It has been discussed before whether the worthing saga is Sci Fi or Fantasy, but either readers would probably dive into the tales told in the book and will enjoy them just the same.

The Worthing Saga tells the stories of three worlds and a few man and women. Their stories build up into the breaking of the greatest space empire, the healing of the universe, and the un-doing of it. The stories told from different eras of the universe and tell of different types of people. These are not just army personel like we had seen on Ender's Game, this is a comprehensive collection that builds up the story of tens of thousands of years.

Through out the book Card confronts with some of the hardest and deepest philosophical issues that occupied the human mind since ancient greece. Through out the book Card uses the concept of somec to give deep contemplation about mankind's desperate attempts to live forever; He opens up the neverending conflict between Justice and Mercy; and deals well with the battle between ideas of constant progress and Utopia.

All in all, The Worthing Saga is a well written book covering a stunning story of a universe, dealing with deep issues with respect and is still a great read for the end of a day's work or study.

4-0 out of 5 stars Worth a read
I first discovered Orson Scott Card as did most everyone else, reading Enders Game, in fact one of my top ten books is its sequel Speaker for the Dead. The Worthing Saga is Card's very first story he wrote. It demonstrates his promise as an author. While he acknowledges that he afterwards rewrote the entire tale, the basic plot and premise remained. One thing that I enjoy about Scott novel's is how he creates a moral dilemma, often through tension of a desired ideal, and the consequences of faulty execution. This story spans thousands of years and follows the diaspora of the human race among the stars, the scientific miracle of living "forever" and the power to save that developed in the progeny of Jason Worthing. The dilemma centers on the age old question of suffering; why we suffer, what if you could prevent suffering and some of the possible consequences of eliminating suffering.

5-0 out of 5 stars Greatest book ever written. Its the source of my morality
Unlike others here who have loved this book and claimed they disagreed with Card's supposed message that God allows suffering because it makes us truly human and worthwhile, I feel I have truly understood the message of this book. I will not speculate as to what Mr. Card intended with this book, but the message I clearly got from this book was a hypothesis for disproving the existance of god. Masterfully, Card shows us that if God truly existed in the way Christians believe it does, that it could not restrain itself from relieving human suffering. Those who have read this know what I speak of. When Justice saved Sala at the end against her "better judgment," even Jason himself, the doubter of the good intentions of Worthing, told her that she "passed the test."

This is a wonderful book that has guided me through some of the more diffucult parts of my life and allowed me to retain my strong, secular morality. With all the pressure to give in to one of the many fanatical forms of religion out there, a Mormon author has given me the gift of understanding to hold myself against a tide of emotional predation and undue influence. ... Read more

Isbn: 0812533313
Sales Rank: 14233
Subjects:  1. Fiction    2. Fiction - Science Fiction    3. Science Fiction    4. Science Fiction - General    5. Short stories    6. Fiction / Science Fiction / General   


Brave New World & Brave New World Revisited
by Aldous Huxley
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Paperback (07 July, 1942)
list price: $16.00 -- our price: $10.88
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Reviews (20)

3-0 out of 5 stars Brave New World
Nothing about this book really caught or held my attention. The premise of the novel is of course very original and a thought provoking idea, but the novel just didn't live up to the ever-present hype that surrounds it. I gave it three stars for the originality of ideas and detailed descriptions of future distopia, but in the end this novel did nothing for me. "1984" was much more effective and interesting in my opinion.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Dictatorial Happiness
I would like to keep this short. We all know what the book is about: the bankruptcy of the individual. It's just that most people seem to miss a point: the society depicted in this book is obsessed with being happy and banning every form of discomfort out of their lives. Now there are certain people in this novel who rise up against this society but, I think, their motives are misunderstood: most people seem to think these dissenters are fighting for the right to be free so they can be happy in their own individual way. Actually they are fighting for the right to be unhappy, to suffer. For the greatest freedom you can enjoy as an individual is the right to be yourmiserable self.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent piece of work
This book is a terrefic piece of work and it always amazes me when I think that this book was written nearly 70 years ago.If you do not fear Big Brother, Genetics, and other such things you will after you read this.

I was forced into reading this in High School...and thank God I was.This is an absolutely amazing piece of classic writing that seems frighteningly close to the not so distant furture. ... Read more

Isbn: 0060901012
Sales Rank: 10509
Subjects:  1. Brainwashing    2. Classics    3. Culture    4. Literary    5. Literature - Classics / Criticism    6. Propaganda    7. Sociology    8. Fiction / Literary    9. Reading Group Guide   


Standing for Something : 10 Neglected Virtues That Will Heal Our Hearts and Homes
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Paperback (20 March, 2001)
list price: $14.95 -- our price: $10.17
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Editorial Review

"Virtue is too often neglected, if not scorned or ridiculed as old-fashioned, confining, unenlightened," laments author Gordon Hinckley, a 90-year-old ordained leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Even as he enumerates all of America's social ills (including $482 billion a year spent on gambling, rampant child neglect and abuse, school massacres, a pervasive deterioration of values) Hinckley believes there is a remedy. Chapter by chapter Hinckley presents 10 old-fashioned virtues that will return America to the glory envisioned by its founding fathers. These virtues include Love, Honesty, Morality, Civility, Learning, Forgiveness, Thrift and Industry, Gratitude, Optimism, and Faith.

Hinckley makes a compelling case for every one of these virtues, quoting extensively from the Bible but mostly using convincing personal anecdotes (after all, he is an elder with 90 years worth of stories and wisdom). In his glowing foreword, Mike Wallace (of 60 Minutes fame) writes that Gordon Hinckley is an "optimistic leader of the Mormon Church who fully deserves the almost universal admiration that he gets." Clearly, Hinkley has struck a resounding chord with the American populace, including dyed-in-the-wool New York cynics such as Wallace. Word of this book is rapidly spreading across America as simple folk clamor to steer their lives and country with a more virtuous compass. ... Read more

Reviews (106)

5-0 out of 5 stars Can't get enough!
I absolutely love this book! There is so much good in it. Every chapter applies to specific issues in your life. At first, I was disappointed that I couldn't find anything about teasing. But when I got to the fourth chapter called "Our Fading Civility," I learned so much about teaching my children, and how to be an example of what being civil is and how it applies to teasing, bullying and other communication issues that children, teens and adults deal with on a daily basis. If we could memorize the information in this book, and then learn to shape our hearts and actions, our lives would be so much better! I highly recommend this book to people of all religions. It applies to everyone.

5-0 out of 5 stars How refreshing.
While considering the best way to comment on this book in a brief statement i feel lead to try and articulate the qualities that give this book its uniqueness and resonate so clearly with the reader. Previous reviewers have commented that this book is an easy read- this is true in a sense. "Standing for Something" goes down like a long tall cool glass of crystal clear water on a weary soul. Clean, cool, pure and oh so refreshing and revitalizing. I read this book almost in one sitting and found it to be sober, enlightened, genuine, inspiring, motivating, comforting, humbling and sustaining. The truths, principles and qualities found in this book are timeless, universal and "common" in the sense that what is most personal to each is most common to all. But for me "Standing for Something" is also special for what one does NOT get from it. Unlike so many other books and authors around today one does not get the sense that the author is "promoting" the latest "self-help" angle, or seeking to pierce the market with the latest spin on old material, or even that he is attempting to "put his best foot forward" in a new work. Rather one gets the sense that the content of this book flows naturally and effortlessly out of the mind, heart and long rich life experience of a man who speaks through his book no differently than he would any day of the week if you were sitting with him in person in his living room. In todays world this is a rare and refreshing quality and in my opinion is what gives the book its satisfying resonance and credibility. This is a book one can read over and over and still glean new insight and nourishment from with each read- not necessarily because of its "originality" as so many other authors would like to have you believe about themselves- but rather through each read one is reminded a of ones own deepest and best self in refreshing and inspireing ways. How can that not be appealing? It is difficult for me to imagine a single individual anywhere who could not benefit from this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars A book or an author?
It is interesting to find that those who didn't like the book, were in fact criticizing the author--with whom I'm sure they do not have a personal relationship.Those who disagree with the teachings of the church Hinckley belongs to will stop at nothing convince others of their own feelings--even review a harmless book by the church's leader.I find it petty and even arrogant.

The book itself is an easy read.I find it refreshing to read a book that espouses "old-fashioned" values that society seems to so casually discard.Indeed, if more people were to "Stand For Something"--anything at all, instead of blowing wherever the wind takes them, we would enjoy a much more responsible and respectful society.I applaud the author for sharing his stories and ideas with mainstream America. ... Read more

Isbn: 0609807250
Subjects:  1. Christian life    2. Christianity - Christian Life - General    3. Christianity - Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Da    4. Inspirational - General    5. Mormon authors    6. Religion    7. Religion - Mormon / LDS    8. Virtues    9. Religion / Inspirational   


Can Man Live without God
by Ravi Zacharias
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Paperback (23 July, 1996)
list price: $12.99
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Reviews (52)

1-0 out of 5 stars all you need to know about this book
Finishing this book was a lesson in patience. Don't bother with this waste of paper, there are many other fine writers of christian leaning--g.k.chesterton and t.s.eliot come to mind--who can write without egregious fallacies.
First, RavZac asserts that his book counters the 'steady barrage of scholarly attack' which 'has been foisted upon religion' in general, and on christianity in particular (p xiv). Paradoxically, he then goes on to quote Kant's assurance(as representative of modern antitheistic thought)(p9) that spirituality is not threatened by Kant's antitheistic philosophies, and also acknowledges that modern thought has been a natural evolution of human history (p6). Second, RavZac continually correlates societal ills with modern intellectualism (p xiv,xvii,8,12,et al), and actually asserts causality between the two (p xvii,8,22-33). Then, he states that 'every generation raises the issue of life's essence' and discusses the long history of humanity's existential angst. If dissatisfaction with life is universal in all times and places, and if the history of humanity is the history of pleasure as well as pain, then where does RavZac get off when he tries to pin it all on modern intellectualism and philosophy? Finally, he states 'that all philosophizing on life's purpose is ultimately two conclusions, Does God exist? and What is his character?'(p8) He may hold such a view, however he seems to be ignoring a vast record of philosophy that does not presuppose a theistic view, let alone the monotheistic variant. RavZac is atrociously unrigorous in his sophomoric attempt at conversing with the great philosophers.The foregoing should show that one needn't get very far into his book before being stumbled at his profusion of ineptitude. The entire writing has so borrowed pseudo-biblical language as to be cloying, and RavZac thoroughly conveys his paranoid rhetoric by overutilizing key words such as 'warned, aberrant, terrifying, unbridled, unleashed, attacks, machinations, trickery', etc. ad nauseum.
In short, this book is the religious version of political paranoia as discussed in Richard Hofstadter's THE PARANOID STYLE IN AMERICAN POLITICS, 11/64.There are no redeeming features of this writing, save for giving the lucid reader abundant opportunities to identify logical fallacies and monitoring the addled ramblings of today's christian writers.

3-0 out of 5 stars There are certainly people who can live without God.
While believing in God can surely be beneficial to man and can make the person healthier as well as provide much improvement in other areas as well, there are still atheists who had and have lives as perfectly fine human beings. Take for instance Bertrand
Russell, the philosopher and mathematician who was an atheist. He led an exemporally life without having to be involved in God. And he was a compassionate man wo cared deeply about human suffering and human decency. A lot of times, people need there to be a God because humans had previously hurt them so. This is not always the case but many times it certainly is. By the way, I myself believe in God , that is, a supernatural entity which created life, but other then that, I think "HE" minds his own business. Keep in mind, there is probably a huge amount of life
forms in the universe. I wonder what their thoughts are about God? If they have thoughts, that is. Who knows?

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent book.
As an ill-educated person (I have little more than a public high school education), I admittedly am ignorant in the area of Philosophy. It is for this reason I am very glad Ravi Zacharias did not write this book so only the pedants and PhD's could understand it. It is an intensively interesting book and a pleasure to read. ... Read more

Isbn: 0849939437
Sales Rank: 148012
Subjects:  1. Christianity - General    2. Christianity - Theology - Apologetics    3. Religion    4. Theology    5. Apologetics    6. Religion / Theology   

Historians' Fallacies : Toward a Logic of Historical Thought
by David H. Fischer
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Paperback (30 January, 1970)
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Reviews (12)

3-0 out of 5 stars Commendable goal, poor follow through
I used Fischer's book in my Master's thesis. I had to not only go through it with a fine-toothed comb, but I also had to look up the sources Fischer claims made fallacious arguments.Although Ficher has a praise-worthy goal for his book, he falls short of meeting this goal (L.O. Mink discusses this in great detail in his review of Fischer's book).Fischer often incorrectly attributes the label "fallacy" to some parts of texts.In order to qualify as a logical fallacy, the text *must* be making a conclusion based on evidence that does not support that conclusion.Fischer frequently labels things as fallacies that are not drawing any conclusion or even making an argument, particularly in his section on analogy fallacies.
Moreover, Fischer commits some pretty egregious errors in identifying fallacies; he mislabels a number of fallacies.In some cases, he has skewed an author's words in order to find a fallacy.
I think Fischer's book brings to light an issue in historiography that too many historians are not aware of; however, his work is riddled with errors.Hisotrians should read this text should follow on with a text on logic.

3-0 out of 5 stars Fischer Gave Name to All the Fallacies
?and then some

The study of history carries with it a load of fascinating philosophical and epistemological questions. Beyond such generalities such as "what is the nature of truth?", historians have to decide which facts are relevant to the case they are studying, what are causes in history, and how to make a narrative, a book or a mathematical model, that will capture something significant of the world.

All of these are interesting questions, but except peripherally, David Herbert Fischer doesn't discuss them. Rather, Fischer tries to track down specific fallacies that historians commit, and spell them out, apparently in order to help other scholars avoid them.

"Historians' Fallacies" is basically a collection and a catalogue of errors, some well known ones, such as "the fallacy of post hoc, propter hoc" (following, therefore caused by, p. 166) or "the pathetic fallacy" (ascribing animate behavior to inanimate objects, pp. 190-193) and some as obscure as "the fallacy of indiscriminate pluralism" (enumerating multiple causes without discrimination, pp. 175-177).

There are at least three commendable aspects to Fischer's study. First, Fischer is a fine writer, with remarkable turns of phrases: "Sir Lewis [Namier] was no enemy of chosenness in either facts or people. He was, indeed, a committed Zionist in both respects." (p. 69).

Another is Fischer's willingness to name names. Too many critics prefer uses such as "many writers", etc, but although Fischer does occasionally shy away (such as in his discussion of ad hominem attacks pp.290-293), he's willing to openly criticize some leading historians and intellectuals. Nor does Fischer satisfy himself with attacking such usual suspects as Robert Fogel, Arthur Schlesinger Jr. and Arnold Toynbee. Everyone who has any interest at all in American intellectual history of the 20th century will find at least some of his heroes under fire: Historians from Charles Beard to E.P. Thompson, from economist Kenneth Boulding (who was the mentor of one of my college professors) to Henry Kissinger. My favorite is the critique of Southern historian C. Vann Woodward:

"Through two revisions, the author has held his ground with a tenacity worthy of a better cause. The result is another fallacy ? the overwhelming exception. We are now told that the interpretation applies to all Southern institutions except churches, schools, militia, hotels, restaurants, public buildings, jails, hospitals, asylums, gardens, and the New Orleans Opera House" (p. 149 n).

A third highpoint of the book is that it sometimes hits the bull's eye. Under "the fallacy of semantical questions", Fischer criticizes historians who focus on labels instead of content such as the 'prolonged dispute among American colonial historians over the question "Was the political structure of seventeenth-century America 'democratic' or 'Aristocratic'?"' (p.22). If you've never read studies who committed the same offence, you will not recognize the immense desire to strangle a historian who does.

But in the attempt to describe the errors of Historians, Fischer falls to the same trap that my Business courses in college fell into ? they tried to make laws and regularities of something that if far too context dependant for that. So almost all the time, what you've got is specific instances of erring historians, with fallacies which say something like "don't exaggerate", "do careful research" and "use sound judgment".

When it comes to generalize, to give positive insight as how to go on a historian's business, Fischer's advice is invariably trivial, true-but-obvious. "Motives are usually pluralistic in both their number and their nature. Abraham Maslow writes, 'typically an act has more than one motive'. To this, one might add that it has motives of more than one kind." Oh really? (p. 214)

Maybe some of my criticism of Fischer's book is (as he might have said) anachronistic. Fischer objects to unnecessary jargon: "Ordinary everyday words like "simple" are replaced by monstrosities such as "simplistic" without any refinement of meaning" (p.285). Today, I doubt anyone would write about a simple solution while meaning a simplistic one, but maybe in the 1960s the distinction was not as clear.

Within the point by point critiques of Historians' errors, there seems to be an overarching thesis that remains implicit, but that guides Fischer's thought process: the inevitability of history, or the assumption that events are caused by the forces of history, rather then the actions of individuals.

Fischer calls the "fallacy of responsibility as cause", confusing the problem of agency with that of ethics (pp.182-183). If I understand him correctly, he seems to argue that individual leaders are not responsible to wide scale events "The cause of the failure of Reconstruction race policy muse surely be sought in general phenomena for which no free and responsible human agent can be held to blame" (Ibid.). Is Fischer really saying that there was nothing that, say, Andrew Johnson or Grant could've done better differently? Or that it wouldn't have mattered? If he does, then he robs human beings of their abilities to change the future. That's a highly controversial (and clearly metaphysical) position, and one that clashes with his call for using history as a way to teach people rationality (pp. 316-318).

Despite its frequent wit and occasional insight, Fischer's book does not quite illuminate a path for other historians to follow. Despite his claims, I don't think we're any closer to a logic of historical thought then we were before.

5-0 out of 5 stars Not Only For Historians
Fischer is a classic. It should be kept readily at hand by anyone who considers clear thought important. ... Read more

Isbn: 0061315451
Sales Rank: 130417
Subjects:  1. Historiography    2. History    3. History - General History    4. Methodology    5. Reference    6. History / Historiography   


Arrow to the Sun: A Pueblo Indian Tale (Picture Puffin)
by Gerald McDermott
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Paperback (01 February, 1977)
list price: $6.99 -- our price: $6.99
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Reviews (13)

5-0 out of 5 stars Arrow To The Sun By Gerald McDermont

This is an inside look about Indian heritage and the kinds of myths they had in their times. The reader really gets a feel for how the strange boy feels when he gets picked on because he is different. This is a fictional and adventurous book with such great details that it almost seems real as you're reading it.
This story is set in a little pueblo where a mother is giving birth. Suddenly the God of the Sun sent down an arrow to the women and she gave birth to his son. As the little boy grows up, all the other boys make fun of him because he looks different and has no father. Then finally one day he sets off to find his father and to truly know who he is.
The author does such a fantastic job on his voice and sentence fluency that when you're reading the book it seems like you are the strange little boy. This is my favorite children's book because I read it over and over since I was a kid and I enjoy Indian myths. I also enjoy this book because the pictures are phenomenal and the colors are amazing.
People who like adventure and can relate to the little boy would love this outstanding book. This book is very inspiring and shows that you can do anything you want to if you try. I gave this book five out of five stars and I hope you'll like this awesome book just as much as I did.
By Tanner

3-0 out of 5 stars Level 5: Escape the serpents and the room of lightning
I don't think I can judge Gerald McDermott's 1975 Caldecott winning picture book, "Arrow to the Sun" fairly.You see, I am a child of the 80s.I remember the early days of Colico Vision and Atari.I have very clear images in my head of some of the first arcade games, like Q-Bert, Donkey Kong, and Super Mario Brothers.Why do I invoke such images when I'm (supposedly)reviewing "Arrow to the Sun"?Because like these games, "Arrow to the Sun" suffers for its time period.Author/illustrator Gerald McDermott strived very hard to make this story both deeply original and timeless.In many ways, he has succeeded.But if you, like myself, played a single pixilated arcade game in the late 70s or early to mid 80s then you'll take one look at this book and notice its video game aspects.It's a beautiful story.It's just tainted in the eyes of the children of the 80s.

In this retelling of an ancient legend (or so the bookflap assures me), we learn about a boy unlike any other.When the Lord of the Sun sent a "spark of life" to earth, it found a young woman in a pueblo.The woman then gave birth to a son who found himself desperate to know his father.The boy leaves home and finally comes to realize from whom he is descended.To prove himself to the Lord of the Sun he withstands numerous video game-like trials and finally is transformed so that he may bring the Sun's spirit to the world of men.

Echoes of this story have been found around the world in everything from the birth of Christianity to ancient Zeus-appears-as-a-shaft-of-light type tales.This particular rendition of such a story is a little more tasteful in its presentation.McDermott has always had a keen sense of storytelling.This is apparent in everything from his fan-freakin'-tastic, "Zomo the Trickster Rabbit" to the more contemporary "Creation"."Arrow to the Sun" has just the right tone of voice and increasing urgency one needs in a good story.

As for the pictures, they look like characters from a Commodore 64 game.According to all-knowing bookflap, this tale, "captures the stylized look of Pueblo Indian art".I'm fairly certain I've seen Pueblo Indian art before.And I'm almost certain it didn't give me urges to go play Load Runner or Frogger.While much of the art in this book is very beautiful (the design on our hero's chest is a lovely geometric shape) it suffers from its form.The colors are beautiful, no question.The designs on many of the pictures is great.But the odd blocky pixel-like look is jarring and (to my mind) overly familiar.

So unfortunately, McDermott ended up doing something he didn't want to.His intentions, I'm certain, were to create something timeless.Instead, he make a picture book that remains firmly stuck in the age of Pac-Man.If arcade settings and characters don't disturb you, you may be the perfect consumer for this tale.If, on the other hand, you prefer your picture books to be a little lovelier and a little less circa 1983, you might want to pass this puppy by.Just a warning to you Gen X parents out there.

5-0 out of 5 stars Why I love Arrow to the Sun
This book just calls to me.I love the words, I love the pictures.Most of the time when I read a book over and over I get bored with the book.But every time I read this book I love it even more.I give it 5 stars.I think it is the best book ever. ... Read more

Isbn: 0140502114
Sales Rank: 39589
Subjects:  1. Children's 4-8 - Picturebooks    2. Children: Grades 2-3    3. Fairy Tales & Folklore - Native American    4. Fairy Tales & Folklore - Single Title    5. Indians of North America    6. Legends    7. Pueblo Indians   


The Gift of the Atonement: Favorite Writings on the Atonement of Jesus Christ
by Eagle Gate
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
Hardcover (01 March, 2002)
list price: $14.95 -- our price: $14.95
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Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars I never thought I'd learn so much about Christ!
This is a perfect book to pick up when you need a spiritual boost. Each time I read a section/chapter, I learn and feel so much about my Savior. The way these authors share their testimony and feelings about Christ is so clear and wonderful. Their words hit me deep down and I can actually imagine the scenes they are describing about the Savior's life and his love for us. Reading about their feelings and experiences helps me to conform my life more to the will of the Savior because I can feel the spirit deep in my soul. I just feel really good every time I sit down and read a few chapters. Especially when I start wondering why I'mhaving a problem or a challenge, reading a chapter in this book reminds me of how much Jesus Christ went through and his willingness to do that for me, and all of mankind. I recommend this book for everyone who is a Christian.

5-0 out of 5 stars Meditations on the Messiah
"Without the Resurrection, the gospel of Jesus Christ becomes a litany of wise sayings and seemingly unexplainable miracles-but sayings and miracles with no ultimate triumph. No, the ultimate triumph is in the ultimate miracle: for the first time in the history of mankind, one who was dead raised himself into living immortality. He was the Son of God, the Son of our immortal Father in Heaven, and his triumph over physical and spiritual death is the good news every Christian tongue should speak."

--Howard W. Hunter, page 84.

This is my new favorite book.I hope it starts appearing at baptisms, confirmations, ordinations, farewells, and in Christmas stockings.

As Joseph Smith taught, the atonement is the central doctrine, with all other things being mere appendages (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 121).This book, then, focuses us on this one thing that matters most.This book has selections from both the prophets and the scholars.

Contributors include Presidents Howard W. Hunter, John Taylor, and Bruce R. McConkie.In fact the first entry is by Joseph Fielding Smith, so it starts out on the right foot.But other contributors are Chieko Okazaki, Sheri Dew, and Ardeth Kapp, so we have the distaff adding testimony. There are even quotes by Hugh Nibley, Gerald Lund, and it also has Steven Robinson's "Parable of the Bicycle," so all the bases are covered.

Also included are Orson F. Whitney's, and Melvin J. Ballard's visions of the Savior

Two criticisms:There is no index, just a table of contents, and they missed Joseph Smith's quote that I alluded to earlier.The first is forgivable, the second isn't.They also missed Lorenzo Snow's, David O. McKay's and David B. Haight's visions of the Savior (Ensign, Nov. 1989).People at Desert Book can e-mail me for more comments.

This is not a "brass-knuckles" doctrinal treatise, but a soft, reassuring testimony of Christ and how His atonement applies in our lives.Indeed, this book provides a great way to buttress talks, testimonies, and lessons with verifiable and reliable statements on the Savior.

I have nothing but raves about the packaging.The book is both informative and beautiful.The profound picture fix the passion and emotion associated with Christ's life.Philosopher Adam Smith pointed out in his "Theory on Moral Sentiments" that sight was the key to moral feelings, and they have capitalized on our capacity to feel by sight.

This book provides a great overview of the Atonement from many authors and many points of view.All of these testimonial arrows hit their target, which is our heart and our mind. ... Read more

Isbn: 1570087806
Sales Rank: 1358462
Subjects:  1. Atonement    2. Christianity - Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Da    3. Christianity - Theology - Christology    4. Religion    5. Theology   


Consider My Servant Job
by Kendal Brian Hunter
Paperback (01 April, 2004)
list price: $14.95 -- our price: $12.71
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Isbn: 1555177522
Sales Rank: 1832786
Subjects:  1. Christianity - Christian Life - General    2. Christianity - Discipleship    3. Religion - Christian Living   


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