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    Mere Christianity
    by C. S. Lewis
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (05 February, 2001)
    list price: $10.95 -- our price: $8.76
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    Reviews (241)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Enlightened and Inspired
    Perhaps an even better title for this CS Lewis masterpiece might be "Why Christianity?"In this slim volume, Lewis uses a chatty, accessible style to answer questions and explain his faith.The result is one of the best Christian apologetics ever.Less dense and dated that "The Pilgrim's Regress" and more broad than "The Great Divorce," this may be Lewis' finest work--which is truly saying something.

    Not to give away too much of the content, but a favorite section is when Lewis discusses psychology and philosophy.As a Christian, Lewis gives one of the finest explanations for why we should not judge others; that we can only see their actions, not their inactions, and that we do not know others' genetics and life history.Only God does, so only he should judge.God may value someone who has had a cruel life merely refraining from an act of cruelty more highly that He values someone with an easy life performing a positive kindness!

    Lewis goes on to point out that those given great gifts are called on to use them more in service to mankind.Rather like the old Kennedy adage that to whom much is given, much is asked.

    Lewis is much more accessible that contemporary English Christian authors Charles Williams or Dorothy Sayer.Perhaps the only other modest-sized 20th century apologetic as sublime is Bishop Kallistos Ware's "The Orthodox Way."Both share the simple brilliance of addressing the common beliefs of all Christians from ancient times, rather than trying to be sectarian or trendy.

    Whether you are a new Christian seeking answers, someone not yet accepting Christ but curious, or even an experienced Christian, this book will be a comfort and a source of much information.

    It might not be an exaggeration to say that if you only read one book for the rest of your life, excluding scripture, this should be it!

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Timeless Defense of Timeless Truth
    Though over sixty years old (in their first incarnation as radio broadcasts), C. S. Lewis' insights into the validity of Christianity remain as current as today's internet blogs. "Mere Christianity" answers the intellectual questions of post-modern intellectuals and provides nourishment for the spiritual hunger of Gen X/Gen Y seekers.

    Lewis writes in the style of his intellectual mentor, G. K. Chesterton. Both men entered adulthood as agnostics. Both men spent their careers defending the rational integrity of Christianity. Chesterton's "Orthodoxy" addressed the questions typical of the agnosticism of his era (1900). Lewis' "Mere Christianity" addresses the hardened agnosticism of his WW II generation.

    Like Chesterton, Lewis not only discusses how Christianity is rationally consistent, but also how it meets the "real world/real hunger" test. That is, he demonstrates how Christianity is relationally fulfilling, meaningful, and consistent.

    "Mere Christianity" also reads something like a Christian version of Plato's "Republic." In the "Republic," Plato attempted to define the shape of a society that would produce "happiness"--meaningful, purposeful existence for the individual and the society. Philosophically, Lewis offers the Christian version of the ideal individual, in the ideal society, following the ideal Supreme Being. Stepping back and seeing the big picture, you finish "Mere Christianity" and realize, "Christianity really does make sense. It works. It fits the world as it is and the world as we wish it to be."

    Reviewer: Dr. Robert W. Kellemen is the author of "Soul Physicians: A Theology of Soul Care and Spiritual Direction," "Spiritual Friends: A Methodology of Soul Care and Spiritual Direction," and the forthcoming "Sacred Companions: A History of Soul Care and Spiritual Direction."

    5-0 out of 5 stars If this book were written nowadays...
    ...It would have been published under the title "Christianity For Dummies: A God Guide for the Rest Of Us."This is Christianity 101.It's a good book for Christians, or for anyone who has ever wondered what it is that Christians believe, or anyone who has ever thought they knew.It describes the basic tenets of Christianity in clear, laymen's terms.It's easy-to-understand and absolutely inspiring.A must-read. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0060652926
    Sales Rank: 426
    Subjects:  1. Anglican authors    2. Apologetics    3. Christian ethics    4. Christianity - General    5. Christianity - Literature    6. Christianity - Theology - Apologetics    7. Popular works    8. Religion    9. Religion - Classic Works    10. Theology, Doctrinal    11. Religion / Christian Literature    12. Reading Group Guide   


    A Prayer for Owen Meany
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (14 April, 1990)
    list price: $7.99 -- our price: $7.99
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    Editorial Review

    Owen Meany is a dwarfish boy with a strange voice who accidentally kills his best friend's mom with a baseball and believes--accurately--that he is an instrument of God, to be redeemed by martyrdom. John Irving's novel, which inspired the 1998 Jim Carrey movie Simon Birch, is his most popular book in Britain, and perhaps the oddest Christian mystic novel since Flannery O'Connor's work. Irving fans will find much that is familiar: the New England prep-school-town setting, symbolic amputations of man and beast, the Garp-like unknown father of the narrator (Owen's orphaned best friend), the rough comedy. The scene of doltish the doltish headmaster driving a trashed VW down the school's marble staircase is a marvelous set piece. So are the Christmas pageants Owen stars in. But it's all, as Highlights magazine used to put it, "fun with a purpose."When Owen plays baby Jesus in the pageants, and glimpses a tombstone with his death date while enacting A Christmas Carol, the slapstick doesn't cancel the fact that he was born to be martyred. The book's countless subplots add up to a moral argument, specifically an indictment of American foreign policy--from Vietnam to the Contras.

    The book's mystic religiosity is steeped in Robertson Davies's Deptford trilogy, and the fatal baseball relates to the fatefully misdirected snowball in the first Deptford novel, Fifth Business. Tiny, symbolic Owen echoes the hero of Irving's teacher Günter Grass's The Tin Drum--the two characters share the same initials. A rollicking entertainment, Owen Meany is also a meditation on literature, history, and God. --Tim Appelo ... Read more

    Reviews (969)

    4-0 out of 5 stars A Laugh-Aloud, Heart-Wrenching Novel
    The novel A Prayer for Own Meany is one about everlasting friendship, finding faith, and of growth. It is also written in a dizzying order of events that eventually culminate at the point where all is explained.

    A Prayer for Owen Meany, starts off by introducing Owen Meany in a description that could be described as a compact form of what we learn about Owen Meany throughout the whole book. Then, the narrator goes on to introduce himself, and to explain the kind of relationships that Owen Meany had with other people. Thus begins the story of Owen Meany.

    The story continues on with numerous leaps in time, linking feelings and thoughts with explanations and stories of past events. This is probably the most major thing that detracts from this novel. It is confusing and hard to keep track of. Perhaps for others with incredible concentration powers, this book would be an easy read. However, I am not one of those people, and I often found that I'd have to look back and check to see what the narrator was referring to. The other factor that was distracting was the narrator's long political diatribes, which really seemed to take away from the novel's excellence.

    Other than that, I found this story to be very moving, while keeping up the humor. The undying friendship between Owen and the narrator, John, is touching. They stick beside each other through thick and thin, and often coordinate their lives to match. The series of events presented in this book reveals that Owen's special gift of faith sets him apart from all others. After realizing the miraculous life that Owen Meany lived, the narrator, John's, faith is strengthened. His saying, "I am a Christian because of Owen Meany," and the quote written on the back cover of this book, "Owen Meany, the only child of New Hampshire granite quarrier, believes he is God's instrument; he is," is testament to that.

    John Irving injects so much humor into what would have otherwise been a solemn novel. From tales of the two protagonists' girl chasing, to the several acidic articles that Owen writes as the Voice in his school newspaper, to the pranks that Owen and John play on their headmaster, I found myself laughing out loud more often than one would think possible. It has been a while since I've read a book that makes me laugh out loud so frequently.

    Filled with witty dialogue and unbelievably amusing stories, this novel is one that I found myself loudly guffawing at, while also being touched and moved by. I would recommend this to anyone who has the time to really enjoy this 617-page book

    1-0 out of 5 stars not one of John Irving's better books
    I bought a copy of A Prayer for Owen Meany based on the fact I have read and enjoyed other books by John Irving. Mr. Irving's books are usually offbeat and I like that about him. This book, however, was boring. I am like some of the other people here who started reading the book, but could not finish. Dull City!

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Prayer for Owen Meany
    I just finished "A Prayer for Owen Meany" and this was my first John Irving book.I have found John Irving to be a very detailed author and that you need to be a paitent reader in order to let the story unfold.Owen Meany is a character that I will never forget and I will miss Owen's insightful thoughts regarding politics and religion.This book will have you laughing out loud one minute and crying the next. I will agree with some of the other reviews that the narrator "John Wheelwright" and his comments to politics were sometimes a little long but as you drew towards the end of each of them you could see how they would pertain to an occurance from John's childhood memories with Owen.This is a book that I will read again and I believe it is a story that you will learn a little more every time you read it. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0345361792
    Subjects:  1. Fiction    2. Fiction - General    3. Literary    4. Fiction / Literary   


    Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther
    by Roland H. Bainton
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (01 January, 1995)
    list price: $14.00 -- our price: $10.50
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    Reviews (23)

    4-0 out of 5 stars The Next Best Thing to Reading Luther...Maybe
    Several typos and the reference to Karl Barth aside, this appears from many accounts to be THE biography of Luther.It states all the important particulars without deviating to the extreme positions many others do.Doesn't give you the full picture of the man that a thorough reading of his works does. Luther's complete sermons tell more about him and his relation to the Lord Jesus Christ.

    A bit flimsy paperback, this (cover separation within the first 100 pages read), with the grayish paper, but what else at such a price?

    5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best Luther biographies on the market!
    I have tried to read about Luther from various authors and they seem to come up short.Their is something very enriching about this particular bio.The author does not superimpose his own viewpoint onto the revolutionary church reformer.Here I Stand is a classic piece of literature and is easy for the non-theologian, even the unchurched person to read.

    5-0 out of 5 stars One of many Martin Luther biographies
    I am reviewing the 1950, Mentor Books Fifteenth Printing.
    This book is well laid out. Much of the material is in lecture form. There are twenty-two content headings, 12 page Bibliography, References, Source of Illustrations, and comprehensive Index. The illustrations are just that monochrome sketches.

    Roland H. Bainton received an A.B. degree from Whitman College, and B.D. and Ph.D. degrees form Yale University and form Oberlin College, Dr. Theological Seminary and from Oberlin College. He is a Specialist in Reformation history.

    There are many biography and reference books on Martin Luther, each with its own strength s and weaknesses. This one by Roland H. Bainton is pretty comprehensive and goes into more depth than most. Do not get out your highlighter or you will highlight every page.

    This is the story of a religious leader who is well known for leading the Protestant Reformation. "I cannot...I will not...Recant! Here I Stand." ... Read more

    Isbn: 0452011469
    Sales Rank: 8395
    Subjects:  1. 1483-1546    2. Biography    3. Biography / Autobiography    4. Clergy    5. Germany    6. Luther, Martin    7. Luther, Martin,    8. Lutheran Church    9. Reformation    10. Religion    11. Religious   


    The Things They Carried
    by Tim O'Brien
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (29 December, 1998)
    list price: $14.95 -- our price: $10.17
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    Editorial Review

    "They carried all the emotional baggage of men who might die. Grief, terror, love, longing--these were intangibles, but the intangibles had their own mass and specific gravity, they had tangible weight. They carried shameful memories. They carried the common secret of cowardice.... Men killed, and died, because they were embarrassed not to."

    A finalist for both the 1990 Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award, The Things They Carried marks a subtle but definitive line of demarcation between Tim O'Brien's earlier works about Vietnam, the memoir If I Die in a CombatZone and the fictionalGoing After Cacciato, and this sly, almost hallucinatory book that is neither memoir nor novel nor collection of short stories but rather an artful combination of all three. Vietnam is still O'Brien's theme, but in this book he seems less interested in the war itself than in the myriad different perspectives from which he depicts it. Whereas Going After Cacciato played with reality, The Things They Carried plays with truth. The narrator of most of these stories is "Tim"; yet O'Brien freely admits that many of the events he chronicles in this collection never really happened. He never killed a man as "Tim" does in "The Man I Killed," and unlike Tim in "Ambush," he has no daughter named Kathleen. But just because a thing never happened doesn't make it any less true. In "On the Rainy River," the character Tim O'Brien responds to his draft notice by driving north, to the Canadian border where he spends six days in a deserted lodge in the company of an old man named Elroy while he wrestles with the choice between dodging the draft or going to war. The real Tim O'Brien never drove north, never found himself in a fishing boat 20 yards off the Canadian shore with a decision to make. The real Tim O'Brien quietly boarded the bus to Sioux Falls and was inducted into the United States Army. But the truth of "On the Rainy River" lies not in facts but in the genuineness of the experience it depicts: both Tims went to a war they didn't believe in; both considered themselves cowards for doing so. Every story in The Things They Carried speaks another truth that Tim O'Brien learned in Vietnam; it is this blurred line between truth and reality, fact and fiction, that makes his book unforgettable. --AlixWilber ... Read more

    Reviews (496)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Beautifully Written, Compelling, Disturbing...Don't Miss it!
    They carried canteens, pictures, machine guns, love letters, mine detectors. But most importantly, they carried each other. The soldiers who fought in the Vietnam war that were lucky enough to make it home alive would struggle with the memories they carried as well. Tim O'Brien illustrates his cathartic re-entry into the jungles of Vietnam in this captivating -- indeed poignant -- collection of memories.

    Many question whether "Things..." is a novel, considering the choppy, often non-chronological nature of the short stories which O'Brien tells. As the title page says, it is a work of fiction, but the book itself defies all categorization. Each chapter is a separate and individual memory that is so well written, it could successfully serve as a short story on its own. Together, however, they deliver an impact unlike any book I've ever read.

    "Things..." made me question my hold on reality. It made me question my motives in life, my enemies, my friends, and the way I perceive the world in general. I have never been so moved by a book. I cried, I cringed in horror, I sat dumbfounded and slack-jawed, glued to each page. I read the book in one sitting.

    If I were stranded on a desert island, as the hypothetical question begins, this is the one book I would take with me. It is not only about the Vietnam war, it is about life, about men who fight and die for love and out of innocence. It is about the enemy, or more importantly, the idea of the enemy. It is about friendship. It is about the loss of innocence. And it is about the innocence that may be recaptured through the retelling of stories. It is about the things we carry. A must-read book! But try it for yourself. Pick up a copy! Another book I need to recommend -- very much on my mind since I purchased a "used" copy off Amazon is "The Losers' Club: Complete Restored Edition," an engaging, highly entertaining little novel I can't stop thinking about.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing novel
    The Things They Carried is a book which you will want to read more than once. Tim O'Brien captures the emotion he experienced in the Vietnam War, and he makes the reader feel them as well by telling stories which are "truer than the truth." You don't just read the stories of those who experienced Vietnam, you feel them, almost live them. This is what makes this book so addicting.

    Of course, by setting the book in the Vietnam War, O'Brien guarantees eliciting an emotional response. Added to this, in his original writing style he masterfully combines the past and present, reality and exaggeration, sadness and laughter. Armed with this unique style, The Things They Carried is truly a novelistic masterpiece. O'Brien leaves no stone unturned as he shares the experiences of a platoon in Vietnam. You share with them the sadness of lost friends, the uncomfortable feeling of killing a human being, and the regret many feel when they return home. From a girlfriend in culottes smuggled into Vietnam from the U.S, to "The Man I Killed," to a baby water buffalo which the men brutally take out their frustration on, these men's most personal experiences become yours as well.

    When I had an assignment to re-read a book for English class, I immediately thought of this book. The characters, the stories, and the lessons you learn while reading makes this a memorable book which you will find addicting.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Truely Fantastic Novel
    "The Things They Carried", by Tim O'Brien, is a book that you will pull off that old dusty shelf for years to come and anxiously read through every page again.One of the most emotional books of the Vietnam era, the stories will tug at the strings of your heart.You fall into believing you are part of the story, step by step, laugh by laugh, and death by death.You experience all of the same pains and fears of war that soldiers on the frontline suffer.

    The stylistic approach to how O'Brien wrote the book is something that we do not often see in today's literature.His writing style puts is in Vietnam, it puts us there with the solders as they tell their tales.O'Brien retells war stories, and adds in additional stories from post-war situations, that end up covering more than 30 years of his life, along with only some lasting memories of others in his platoon.As a second read, I caught even more detail and was amazed by how O'Brien at one point in the book, have you laughing with the soldiers as they prank others, and a split second later, bombs were exploding and people were screaming.

    A truly brilliant novel that changes the way you will read books for the rest of your life.This Vietnam war narrative will keep you on the edge of your seat and leave you with a heartfelt message in the end.
    ... Read more

    Isbn: 0767902890
    Subjects:  1. Fiction    2. Fiction - General    3. Historical - General    4. Literary    5. O'brien, Tim - Prose & Criticism    6. Psychological fiction    7. Veterans    8. Vietnam War, 1961-1975    9. Vietnamese Conflict, 1961-1975    10. War & Military    11. Fiction / General    12. Reading Group Guide   


    An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917-1963
    by Robert Dallek
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (13 May, 2003)
    list price: $30.00 -- our price: $19.80
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    Reviews (66)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Bush and Kennedy are not that far apart politically
    Robert Dallek gives a strong and balanced assessment of the life and times of JFK in An Unfinished Life.An appropriate title, coined by Dallek's wife, Dallek's book provides some notable differences from the hundreds of other biographies, angles or conspiracies surrounding the life and times of JFK.The generational timeliness and Dallek's analysis of new medical material released in 2002 on JFK provide some important insights not covered in previous works on JFK.

    While there are certainly many interesting things about JFK to write about and authors have, the current events reader will enjoy the striking similarities between Kennedy and Bush in an era of political redefinition.Unfinished Life is a timely and interesting work on an important political period in American history, showing that the distant past provides a closer reality than the political divide so often reported in American politics today.

    4-0 out of 5 stars From a Gen Xer's Perspective
    I enjoyed this book because for the first time after years of education, documentaries, and personal accounts retold by my parents and their friends, I finally was able to begin to understand the nearly indescribable tension that permeated Kennedy's presidency.The author does a great job of translating the toll on the President caused by the Vietnam War, the struggle with Kruschev and Castro, and Kennedy's own personal struggles, as well as highlighting their underlying causes and effecs.On the other hand, the book was a bit dry at times and often lost itself in the minutiae of detail.At times I found myself forging ahead with the same determination I had to muster in college history classes to get through the reading.

    5-0 out of 5 stars JFK: A Real Human Being
    Almost every time John F Kennedy is mentioned nowadays, it is because of his assassination, but many seem to have forgotten that JFK was still a real person who lived a fascinating and important life before he left the world in 1963. Robert Dallek does the Kennedy legacy proud in this one volume treatment of his `unfinished life', and by focusing a sizable portion of the book on Kennedy's childhood and run-up to his Presidency, (something most biographers of Kennedy have chosen not to do) he has given us an even better understanding of the man.

    Much of the book discusses Kennedy's tasks in foreign policy, and the author unsurprisingly defends and applauds the President's actions; more often than not with justification. He also defends Kennedy's position on civil rights, a subject on which Kennedy has been increasingly criticised, but here Dallek is convincing. He explains that Kennedy faced a congress that was hostile to his aims, and one that would have rejected any radical plan he put to them. He then creates a sympathetic portrait of Kennedy as a man who had to balance the needs of blacks in his own country with those of a world at the brink of a war that could destroy civilisation as he knew it. Although the domestic problems were important, one can understand why Kennedy chose to put them second behind effectively saving the world from possible destruction.

    On the assassination, Dallek is staunchly dismissive of the conspiracy theories, and offers a good explanation on why - he claims that people find it hard to accept that someone as powerful and as important to the world as Kennedy could so easily be snatched from us by a loser like Lee Harvey Oswald. Conspiracy theories, therefore, make people feel better because of the belief that a group of powerful forces beyond our control are what killed Kennedy, rather than an assassin acting alone

    One complaint that could be made of this biography is that Dallek comes across as solidly liberal, which is fine if you share those beliefs (like me), but perhaps not so for those who want a more balanced study, or even one that aims to debunk the Kennedy `myth'. I have to admit that even I found it surprisingly one sided at times. Even so, Dallek has written a fine and fitting tribute to a life that was tragically cut short.
    ... Read more

    Isbn: 0316172383
    Sales Rank: 88063
    Subjects:  1. (John Fitzgerald),    2. 1917-1963    3. Biography    4. Biography & Autobiography    5. Biography / Autobiography    6. Biography/Autobiography    7. Historical - U.S.    8. Kennedy, John F    9. Kennedy, John F.    10. Political    11. Presidents    12. Presidents & Heads of State    13. United States    14. Biography & Autobiography / Political   


    The Lorax
    by Dr. Seuss, Theodor Seuss Geisel
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (12 August, 1971)
    list price: $14.95 -- our price: $10.17
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    Editorial Review

    When Dr. Seuss gets serious, you know it must be important. Published in 1971, and perhaps inspired by the "save our planet" mindset of the 1960s, The Lorax is an ecological warning that still rings true today amidst the dangers of clear-cutting, pollution, and disregard for the earth's environment. In The Lorax, we find what we've come to expect from the illustrious doctor: brilliantly whimsical rhymes, delightfully original creatures, and weirdly undulating illustrations. But here there is also something more--a powerful message that Seuss implores both adults and children to heed.

    The now remorseful Once-ler--our faceless, bodiless narrator--tells the story himself. Long ago this enterprising villain chances upon a place filled with wondrous Truffula Trees, Swomee-Swans, Brown Bar-ba- loots, and Humming-Fishes. Bewitched by the beauty of the Truffula Tree tufts, he greedily chops them down to produce and mass-market Thneeds. ("It's a shirt. It's a sock. It's a glove. It's a hat.") As the trees swiftly disappear and the denizens leave for greener pastures, the fuzzy yellow Lorax (who speaks for the trees "for the trees have no tongues") repeatedly warns the Once-ler, but his words of wisdom are for naught. Finally the Lorax extricates himself from the scorched earth (by the seat of his own furry pants), leaving only a rock engraved "UNLESS." Thus, with his own colorful version of a compelling morality play, Dr. Seuss teaches readers not to fool with Mother Nature. But as you might expect from Seuss, all hope is not lost--the Once-ler has saved a single Truffula Tree seed! Our fate now rests in the hands of a caring child, who becomes our last chance for a clean, green future. (Ages 4 to 8) ... Read more

    Reviews (64)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A classic and a great birthday gift
    A book every kid will love for its characters and cadence and fanciful art work.

    5-0 out of 5 stars GoKidsGrow LLC reviews "The Lorax"
    From the environmentally thought provoking moral of the story to the wonderful illustrations, this is truly a timeless classic. I recommend "The Lorax" without a single reservation.

    The simple fact that you are considering this book and reading this review is testimonial to your willingness to take an active part in your child's development. There is no more noble cause and we at GoKidsGrow LLC salute you. All the best to you and yours.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Great book, terrible cassette
    The book is of course a classic--I give the book by itself five stars.But this cassette is unbelievably bad, yet another example of his widow's mishandling of the Dr. Seuss estate.Ted Danson's turgid, pretentious reading is so over-the-top melodramatic that it's almost funny--I've been to cheerier funerals.

    The good doctor wrote this book in part to deflate the dull preachiness so common to the environmental community, but the reading turns out to be a perfect example of what he was rebelling against.Yuck.
    ... Read more

    Isbn: 0394823370
    Subjects:  1. Children's 4-8 - Picturebooks    2. Children: Grades 1-2    3. Classics    4. Ecology    5. Fiction    6. Juvenile Fiction    7. Nature & the Natural World - Environment & Ecology    8. Nature & the Natural World - General    9. Pollution    10. Stories in rhyme    11. Juvenile Nonfiction / Nature / Forests & Trees   


    Zell: The Governor Who Gave Georgia Hope
    by Richard Hyatt
    Hardcover (01 June, 1997)
    list price: $29.95 -- our price: $29.95
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    Isbn: 0865545774
    Sales Rank: 1252297
    Subjects:  1. 1932-    2. 1951-    3. Biography    4. Biography / Autobiography    5. Georgia    6. Georgia - State Government    7. Government - State & Provincial    8. Governors    9. Historical - U.S.    10. History: American    11. Miller, Zell,    12. Political    13. Political Science    14. Politics and government    15. Miller, Zell   


    Of Mice and Men (Penguin Great Books of the 20th Century)
    by John Steinbeck
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (01 September, 1993)
    list price: $8.00 -- our price: $7.20
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    Reviews (997)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Short But Great American Masterpiece
    The story starts with George and Lennie running away from their previous town of occupation, where Lennie, in his childlike manner, wants to touch a girl's red dress but doesn't let go, resulting in shouts of rape, mass chaos, and the pair of them getting chased out of town (you don't learn all this immediately, though.) They find work at a nearby ranch, which is where most of the story takes place.

    One of the things that immediately stuck out to me about this book is Steinbeck's writing style. Heavily focused on dialogue, the overall terseness and efficient use of words is only interrupted occasionally when Steinbeck describes a new scene, where he goes into great detail. Otherwise, all you see on paper is exactly what you need to understand the story; this prevents it from dragging too much, and it allows the story to progress more quickly without spending forever on the same topic. This results in a natural flow of events that won't leave you reading the same thing re-stated 10 times; as a result, you'll want to read more because you know good things are always around the turn of the page. To almost put it in a blatantly simple manner, this reads like a very complex bedtime story.

    Probably the thing that sticks out most to me is the incredibly well portrayed characters. Steinbeck takes a very Hemingway-like approach in both quantity and quality of characters; he keeps the book very condensed in terms of plots, sub-plots, complex characters, etc ...(it's barely 100 pages), which means you won't be scratching your head after every chapter going, "What on earth just happened?" It's a testament to his writing style that each character is so individually portrayed in a span of barely 100 pages, yet I didn't feel like anything was missing; I could visualize every one of the characters in real life. He does an excellent job of fleshing out the characters simply through what they say, not having to rely on superfluous dialogue or extraneous details to get their personalities across.

    Finally, the ending of Of Mice and Men is very powerful. It illustrates a theme that must have been particularly prevalent in them minds of most people during the Great Depression: "When do we draw the line on tolerance and do what has to be done?" Although the entire book is impressive in its lucidity, the ending is particularly impressive because it brings extreme tragedy to the novel without a change in style; it's perfectly believable, yet not something you really want to believe. Part of it is due to the memorable characters (I assure you you won't forget Lennie after the ending of the book), part of it is just Steinbeck's genius. Pick up a copy of this classic book! Another novel I need to recommend -- completely unrelated to Steinbeck, but very much on my mind since I purchased a "used" copy off Amazon is "The Losers' Club: Complete Restored Edition" by Richard Perez, an exceptional, highly entertaining little novel I can't stop thinking about.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Of Mice And Men
    I thought that is book was very good. It was mostly about friendship between two friends name lennie and George. Lennie is the retarded one and George takes care of him. Cause lennie mom and dad die when he was a little boy. They both have a dream to own there own land. There dreams very come true because George shots lennie. If George didn't shot lennie then the police would kill him because he hurt a girl in the weeds. Weeds is the name of the town that they use to live. But they had to move because what lennie had done to the girl. Now they work on the ranch. Lennie can't talk that well but he is strong like a bull. George is the smart one he takes care of lennie. George gets mad lennie cause George buys lennie a puppy but lennie is so strong that when he pets the puppy they puppy dies. At the end of the book George shot lennie for lennie good. There dreams never came true.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Student on "Of Mice and Men"
    The book "Of Mice and Men" was about two men that had been chased out of their old town. They are sent out to find a new job so they can fulfill their dream of having their own land. When something goes wrong at the ranch, Lennie must hide out until George comes back to get him.Lennie ends up killing the bosses' sons' wife which leads to an unforgettable twist that will shock you. I really enjoyed the book. The only thing I didn't like was there were a few boring parts that described the scenery but there's a reason for that. this book if for young adults because of the Aurthors writting style. I like this book because it makes you think and you have to remember everything you read. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0140177396
    Sales Rank: 357
    Subjects:  1. Classics    2. Fiction    3. Literature - Classics / Criticism    4. Literature: Classics   


    The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr.
    by Martin Luther King Jr., Clayborne Carson
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (01 January, 2001)
    list price: $15.95 -- our price: $10.85
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    Editorial Review

    Celebrated Stanford University historian Clayborne Carson is the director and editor of the Martin Luther King Papers Project; with thousands of King's essays, notes, letters, speeches, and sermons at his disposal, Carson has organized King's writings into a posthumous autobiography. In an early student essay, King prophetically penned: "We cannot have an enlightened democracy with one great group living in ignorance.... We cannot have a nation orderly and sound with one group so ground down and thwarted that it is almost forced into unsocial attitudes and crime." Such statements, made throughout King's career, are skillfully woven together into a coherent narrative of the quest for social justice. The autobiography delves, for example, into the philosophical training King received at Morehouse College, Crozer Theological Seminary, and Boston University, where he consolidated the teachings of Afro-American theologian Benjamin Mays with the philosophies of Locke, Rousseau, Gandhi, and Thoreau. Through King's voice, the reader intimately shares in his trials and triumphs, including the Montgomery Boycott, the 1963 "I Have a Dream Speech," the Selma March, and the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize. In one of his last speeches, King reminded his audience that "in the final analysis, God does not judge us by the separate incidents or the separate mistakes that we make, but by the total bent of our lives." Carson's skillful editing has created an original argument in King's favor that draws directly from the source, illuminating the circumstances of King's life without deifying his person. --Eugene Holley Jr. ... Read more

    Reviews (32)

    I jumped with joy as Mr. King marched with others for our freedom putting their life on the line, so badly I wanted to join them but I was to young. At school we sing we shall overcome, the song still rings in my ears to this day.
    I still give Rev King highly respect to this day also those others whom marched with him, never have I disrespected Rev King or those whom marched with him name by getting in trouble with the law. With God help Mr. King and those whom marched with him worked hard to give us a better life, we all should thank God and live His way, like Mr. King and those marched with him would have wanted. It sadden me a great deal that some of us is not living the way Mr. King and those whom loss their life for wanted. I know for a fact Mr. King and those whom fought for our freedom and lost their life lives eternal. Rev King was a man like Moses, those whom march with him were very brave soldiers they obeyed God until their mission was finished. I was a child when Rev King and the others mission were finished, but will never for get them. I dream since a child to meet Mr. King family, I am still hoping someday my dream will come true. Thank you heaven Father for a prophet such as Rev King and for Your soldiers whom marched bravely beside him. Mr. King books is a wonderful read, my grandchildren have learned a lot about the prophet Mr. King, I teach them well. I will never forget the day Grandfather told me Mr. King visited him and sit in my chair. I am a prophet of God guiding souls to Him to be saved, every souls is worth being saved. You can visit my web page www.lenacmartin to see my picture. You don't have order my book unless you wants, if you do order thank.Author Lena C. Martin

    5-0 out of 5 stars Required reading!
    Martin Luther King, Jr., is without a doubt one of the most influential and pivotal figures in twentieth-century history.In addition to his work as a Civil Rights leader, his role as a father and pastor, he also was an extensively published writer.However, he never had the chance to write an autobiography in the traditional sense.We as readers in the present day and the future have lost the private details that might have been fleshed out in a proper autobiography, but this skillfully crafted work by Clayborne Carson has given us a religious and political autobiography, revealed in King's almost countless papers (published andunpublished), interviews, letters, sermons and public statements.

    Carson, author and editor of many books relating to the Civil Rights struggle, edited a collection of King's speeches entitled 'A Knock at Midnight', and was selected by the King estate to put together this in conjunction with (according to Carson) dozens of staff and student workers forming part of the King Papers Project.Carson used particular methodology consistently in his reconstruction - that of relying primarily on the words of King himself (utilising early drafts of later writings to discern the difference between authorial and editorial intentions) and developing them as if this overall narrative account was constructed near the end of King's life.

    King's autobiography begins at the beginning, with is childhood as a preacher's kid (who was himself a preacher's kid, who was himself a preacher's kid, etc.).King said, 'of course I was religious.... I didn't have much choice.'King explains the different strands in his life, that of being both militant and moderate, idealistic and realistic, as beginning here.Here he developed questions ('how could I love a race of people who hated me?') and some answers (he learned that racial injustice was paralleled by economic injustice, and realised that poor white people were exploited also).

    King's call to ministry and call to ethical and prophetic witness in the world developed through his schooling at Morehouse College, Crozer Seminary, and Boston University, where he developed interest in theology and social philosophy that would lead him to eventually to his ideas of civil rights activitsm.This would not take practical shape, however, until he was back in the South and working at churches and participating in actual events.He describes his involvement with Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Movement as a mountaintop experience, which also led to an awakening, both in King and in the community, of the power of nonviolent action a la Mahatma Gandhi.

    It is almost incomprehensible to read this autobiography and realise that in a span of barely more than a dozen years (Rosa Parks was arrested for her action in December of 1955; King was assassinated in 1968) so much of what we consider to be the central history of the Civil Rights struggle occurred.Within the pages of text, King talks about the struggles of the common people and the dealings with the powerful, from the police in Alabama jurisdictions to dealing with federal government officials and organisations.

    In the midst of all of this work, King managed to remain a family man, devoted to his wife and children, and a tireless worker in the church.Carson admits to not being able to develop too much of an interior autobiography in these kinds of sections (as even in King's private papers and writings, too much remains unrecorded), but his life in this regard still comes through many aspects of his writings, sermons and speeches.

    This is an incredible book, and should be read as a required part of the education of an American, as it recounts a remarkable and astonishing part of history that continues to shape the direction of the nation to this day.

    5-0 out of 5 stars If Nothing Else
    This book should be must reading (or in my case listening) for all Americans. The threads of a single man's search for freedom for all are woven in a tapestry of the times he lived with powerful choices of recorded speeches.
    I had two of my daughters listen to his reading of his letter from the Birmingham jail and the conversation that followed enriched all of us. Current "Black Leaders" would do well to seek inspiration from his words and recall a time when the motivating factors were the need for freedom, justice and equality independant of financial desires other than the monies needed to accomplish the task at hand. His views of Malcolm X were also well laid out and deserve attention beyond the hollywood version.
    If you weren't black then, sympathy is easy but empathy requires study ... this book goes a long way. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0446676500
    Subjects:  1. Biography & Autobiography    2. Biography / Autobiography    3. Biography/Autobiography    4. Historical - U.S.    5. Political    6. Religious    7. Biography & Autobiography / Religious   


    Different Seasons (Signet)
    by Stephen King
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Mass Market Paperback (02 March, 2004)
    list price: $7.99 -- our price: $7.99
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    Editorial Review

    Different Seasons (1982) is a collection of four novellas, markedly different in tone and subject, each on the theme of a journey. The first is a rich, satisfying, nonhorrific tale about an innocent man who carefully nurtures hope and devises a wily scheme to escape from prison. The second concerns a boy who discards his innocence by enticing an old man to travel with him into a reawakening of long-buried evil. In the third story, a writer looks back on the trek he took with three friends on the brink of adolescence to find another boy's corpse. The trip becomes a character-rich rite of passage from youth to maturity.

    These first three novellas have been made into well-received movies: "Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption" into Frank Darabont's 1994 The Shawshank Redemption (available as a screenplay, a DVD film, and an audiocassette), "Apt Pupil" into Bryan Singer's 1998 film Apt Pupil (also released in 1998 on audiocassette), and "The Body" into Rob Reiner's Stand by Me (1986).

    The final novella, "Breathing Lessons," is a horror yarn told by a doctor, about a patient whose indomitable spirit keeps her baby alive under extraordinary circumstances. It's the tightest, most polished tale in the collection. --Fiona Webster ... Read more

    Reviews (151)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Different King
    Stephen King does nothing but horror right?He's all about the monsters and things that go bump in the night.Right?Nope.And if you really think horror is what Stephen King is all about then you obviously haven't read "Different Seasons".

    "Different Seasons" is, I think, some of King's best written work ever!Four tales, and they're not horror!As King said in the first page of the book "It is the tale, not he who tells it."This is very much true in this book.Four novellas, each of them accompanied by a "season" theme.

    The four Novellas are breathtaking stories (three of them were movies... VERY GOOD MOVIES) that are not about monsters or anything like that, but portraying the human spirit, and the human heart.

    "Hope Springs Eternal: Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption" is the perfect example.Andy Dufrense is a man sentenceed to serve a life sentence in prison for a murder he didn't commit.You'd think the prison known as Shawshank would get to him, but it doesn't.It's Andy's hope that allows him to get through Shawshank and survive a sadistic warden."Rita Haywroth and Shawshank Redemption" also made the best movie of the lot (I'm sure most of you have seen it).

    "Fall From Innocence: The Body" is another perfect example of the common human emotion.Fear.When four boys stumble across a body, they're faced with ultimately the fact that they're not invincible, and that mortality is a reality."The Body" was perhaps the best story in the entire collection.

    Perhaps the only story I didn't like was "A Winter's Tale: The Breathing Method".The only reason I didn't like it was because the other three stories (Including "Summer of Corruption: Apt Pupil" which I didn't talk about) were all about common human emotions.But "The Breathing Method" seemed like a short horror story that King threw in because he can't seem to leave it (he even mentions so in the afterward).

    Overall, if you want to see a different side of Stephen King, then "Different Seasons" is the book you want.Other great reads to see King outside of horror are "The Green Mile" and "Delores Claiborne".Have fun, and happy reading.These tales are amazing.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A GREAT THRILL RIDE!
    Some of Stephen King's most insightful work is in here and he writes it in a way that is exciting and so on and so forth...My two favorite stories in this book are APT PUPIL and THE BODY (renamed "Stand By Me" when turned into a motion picture).Apt Pupil reminds me of a suicidal teen's diary and The Body is like a truely beautiful reminiscing of "the good ol' days" in one's life; "Reta Hayworth & The Shawshank Redemption" makes a little more sense than the movie did; Andy (that was his name, right?) and his pal Red were in prison for like 30+ years and the same warden ran the place all that time?Give me a break!However, if in the film, the same warden HADN'T been running the place, the triumphant ending wouldn't have been possible; as far as "The Breathing Method" goes, I'm not sure I like it.It's been a long time since I read it and back then I was always concerned with finishing a book ASAP.So I'm not sure I judged that story very well then.
    I would have to say that by far, this is Stephen King's best work(s).However, if being scared or being grossed out suits you better, it would make sense for you to disagree.I, on the other hand, don't get scared that easily.

    4-0 out of 5 stars baseball
    i only read two of the storys in this book, but for the thoes two that i read in this book were really good because that were real problems and things that could happen to anybody. That is why i think people should go out and get this book, and take the time to read, and trust me u will like it. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0451167538
    Subjects:  1. Fiction    2. Fiction - Horror    3. Horror    4. Horror - General    5. Short stories    6. Horror & ghost stories   


    All the President's Men
    by Carl Bernstein, Bob Woodward
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (16 June, 1994)
    list price: $14.00 -- our price: $10.50
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    Reviews (66)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Journalism 101 - The Honors Course
    There are good and bad kinds of bugging. The bad kind is when you eavesdrop on political opponents and violate laws and ethical codes. The good kind, as we discover in the opening pages of this classic of journalism as it happens, is when you are a reporter assigned a court case, and don't take no for an answer.

    Bob Woodward is talking to a well-dressed lawyer who mysteriously popped into the courtroom to handle the defense of five equally well-dressed burglary suspects, caught the previous night at National Democratic Headquarters in the posh Watergate complex.

    Why are you here? Woodward asks.

    "I'm not going to talk to you." "I have nothing to say."

    But the lawyer talks, a little, just enough to give Woodward some footing on what would turn out to be perhaps the biggest journalistic break in history, one that ruined a presidency and echoes to this day. Any national political scandal is almost automatically accorded the suffix "-gate," in memory of this.

    People who think they know the story from seeing the movie really should read the book. The movie condensed a lot of the story, almost to the point of rendering it nonsensical. Watergate as a story really comes together from reading the book.

    It's less the story of presidential misdeeds and more of how a couple of mismatched journalists stumbled their way to the scoop of the century, with hard work, stubborn persistance, and occasionally breaking the rules. People who criticize Woodward and partner Carl Bernstein for telling a self-serving story really haven't read the book. Like the part when, stalled for a new story after Nixon's overwhelming re-election, they start knocking on the doors of Grand Jury members legally precluded from discussing the Watergate case. Nothing is learned, and after the jurors complain to Judge John Sirica, the two brace themselves for a stern public lecture, maybe even formal charges.

    But Sirica only notes the violations and leaves the reporters nameless. Woodward and Bernstein find themselves confronted by other members of the press asking questions. Woodward and Bernstein duck the questions, not without lingering irony. "They had dodged, misrepresented, suggested, and intimidated, even if they had not lied outright," the authors conclude, speaking of themselves in the third person.

    Mostly, though, Woodward and Bernstein get it right. June 17, 1972 was not the most important date in history, though some Nixon haters will say otherwise. The burglary itself was small potatoes, indicative of a larger problem with illegalities permitted by Nixon and his senior staff, but it wasn't like Woodward and Bernstein destroyed the Fourth Reich.

    They latched onto a story, kept digging, wouldn't take no for an answer, and made sure they had the facts. In the end they won a Pulitzer, and became heroes of the Fifth Estate. This book, warts and all, tells how, and offers worthy testimonial to all those who want to follow in their footsteps. No Journalism 101 course is complete without it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book, Excellent Reporters
    Watergate, among the most infamous scandals in American history, shocked the nation.All the President's Men's investigative style puts the reading in the exciting position of doubt.We know what happens-that is a matter of history books and lectures.The real story, therefore, is how.How did an odd couple of two young reporters, with no experience working together, manage to crack an embarrassing case of executive fraud?The answer comes with the turn of a page, the book's journalistic adventure eliciting great interest.
    The book's strength is in showing the sedulous effort of Woodward and Bernstein.Working hours on end, they managed to find reliable sources-including the mysterious Deep Throat.But even with an inside source, the work of getting through a political fortress is daunting.They had to go great distances to investigate and learn trust.Both Woodward and Bernstein started with the feeling that one was going to take off with the credit.They, however, soon realize that both have integrity.This book comes out strong in recognizing that honesty is a valuable policy.It didn't take misinformation to bring Watergate to the forefront of the news.Instead, Bernstein and Woodward went through the labor of verifying facts with other sources.
    The book is also admirable in that it provides a model for what we should focus on.Deep Throat is respected by the literature, his identity still a mystery.He wasn't used as tool for the purpose of improving careers; Woodward shows special concern and expresses guilt when he believes that Deep Throat has gotten into danger on his account.We are also reminded that Nixon didn't need to approve and try to cover Watergate.His victory was a certainty.He was more worried about his interests political domination and compromised his integrity.
    All the President's Men also brings a message of hope: we are a check and balance to government.Especially in a time of partisan domination of all branches of government, we need to investigate it.Two young reporters were able to challenge an administration that won the vote of the majority.While Nixon made speeches about the importance of law and order and the constitution, Bernstein and Woodward took the spirit of the law in their own hands and made a difference.
    All the President's Men isn't just a great historical reference (although much can be gained in that regard); it's also narrative with an important lesson: dishonesty and deceit are defeated by honest hard-work.All the President's Men belongs on the shelf of any reader looking for an interesting, motivating thrill ride through the (in)famous mystery of the 1970's.

    5-0 out of 5 stars All the President's Men
    All the President's Men is a well written and enjoyable book.Though their is a serious plot underlying the book, it is light-hearted and witty at times too.This book shows the ups and downs of taking on "the man" and everything that comes with it.Woodward and Berstein show what persistance and taking a few risks can do.They took a simple burglary story and discovered a whole different story behind it.Creating the story that has never been equalled since.Also, Woodward and Bernstein are the perfect foils for each other.They are so different that their differences play off of one another making the story more interesting and adding some wit.Without their competiveness with each other this story may never had broken.This story is like all about the American hero.The reporters found out something that needed to be brought to light and did just that, no matter what.They fought of doubters and liars and brought charges all the way up the line to the President of the Unided States. Theses are the kinds of people we look up to and this book did a good job of showing what the rode is like leading up to the top.Giving us a personal view of what it is like. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0671894412
    Sales Rank: 7682
    Subjects:  1. 1944-    2. Bernstein, Carl,    3. Conspiracy & Scandal Investigations    4. History - General History    5. History: American    6. Political History    7. United States - 20th Century (1945 to 2000)    8. Watergate Affair, 1972-1974    9. History / General   


    Beowulf: A New Verse Translation
    by Seamus Heaney
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (February, 2001)
    list price: $13.95 -- our price: $11.16
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    Editorial Review

    In Beowulf warriors must back up their mead-hall boasts withinstant action, monsters abound, and fights are always to the death. The Anglo-Saxon epic, composed between the 7th and 10th centuries, has long been accorded its place in literature, though its hold on our imagination has been less secure. In the introduction to his translation, Seamus Heaney argues that Beowulf's role as a required text for many English students obscured its mysteries and "mythic potency." Now, thanks to the Irish poet's marvelous recreation (in both senses of the word) under Alfred David's watch, this dark, doom-ridden work gets its day in the sun.

    There are endless pleasures in Heaney's analysis, but readers should head straight for the poem and then to the prose. (Some will also take advantage of the dual-language edition and do some linguistic teasing out of their own.) The epic's outlines seem simple, depictingBeowulf's three key battles with the scaliest brutes in all of art: Grendel, Grendel's mother (who's in a suitably monstrous snit after her son's dismemberment and death), and then, 50 years later, a gold-hoarding dragon "threatening the night sky / with streamers of fire." Along the way, however, we are treated to flashes back and forward and to a world view in which a thane's allegiance to his lord and to God is absolute. In the first fight, the man from Geatland must travel to Denmark to take on the "shadow-stalker" terrorizing Heorot Hall. Here Beowulf and company set sail:

    Men climbed eagerly up the gangplank,
    sand churned in the surf, warriors loaded
    a cargo of weapons, shining war-gear
    in the vessel's hold, then heaved out,
    away with a will in their wood-wreathed ship.
    Over the waves, with the wind behind her
    and foam at her neck, she flew like a bird...
    After a fearsome night victory over march-haunting and heath-marauding Grendel, our high-born hero is suitably strewn with gold and praise, the queen declaring: "Your sway is wide as the wind's home, / as the sea around cliffs." Few will disagree. And remember, Beowulf has two more trials to undergo.

    Heaney claims that when he began his translation it all too often seemed "like trying to bring down a megalith with a toy hammer." The poem's challenges are many: its strong four-stress line, heavy alliteration, and profusion of kennings could have been daunting. (The sea is, among other things, "the whale-road," the sun is "the world's candle," and Beowulf's third opponent is a "vile sky-winger." When it came to over-the-top compound phrases, the temptations must have been endless, but for the most part, Heaney smiles, he "called a sword a sword.") Yet there are few signs of effort in the poet's Englishing. Heaney varies his lines with ease, offering up stirring dialogue, action, and description while not stinting on the epic's mix of fate and fear. After Grendel's misbegotten mother comes to call, the king's evocation of her haunted home may strike dread into the hearts of men and beasts, but it's a gift to the reader:

    A few miles from here
    a frost-stiffened wood waits and keeps watch
    above a mere; the overhanging bank
    is a maze of tree-roots mirrored in its surface.
    At night there, something uncanny happens:
    the water burns. And the mere bottom
    has never been sounded by the sons of men.
    On its bank, the heather-stepper halts:
    the hart in flight from pursuing hounds
    will turn to face them with firm-set horns
    and die in the wood rather than dive
    beneath its surface. That is no good place.
    In Heaney's hands, the poem's apparent archaisms and Anglo-Saxon attitudes--its formality, blood-feuds, and insane courage--turn the art of an ancient island nation into world literature. --Kerry Fried ... Read more
    Reviews (197)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Into the Mythic: The Archetypal Hero
    Heaney has reached through the mists of history to produce a Beowulf that is at once lyrical, majestic and elegaic. I gave up on this poem in high school, but upon discovering that it was one of Tolkien's favorites I gave it another try. Fans of the Hobbit will see the ancestry of that novel's dragon in this poem.
    The three agons that Beowulf faces - Grendel, Grendel's mother, and finally the dragon - are stages in the development of an archetypal hero - the labors of a Nordic Hercules. Leadership/heroism in this world is won through physical courage which equates with moral courage. This poem is perhaps best read today as an extraordinary piece of genre (either fantasy or science fiction), with its dramatic under water fights, its grim monsters and ancient landscapes serving to stir the reader's imagination.
    Many critics have commented on the uneasy play between the pagan and Christian elements in this work, and while lip service is constantly given to the Christian God, I find the pagan striving for an earthly glory that will live beyond the grave to be the most forceful aspect on the poet's/and Beowulf's agenda.
    This poem got better for me as it advanced. And while the characters for the most part lack any convincing interiority, towards the end there arises a poignancy that Heaney's genius elevates to an almost Lear-like lament. Here is King Hrethel lamenting the death of his son: "It was like the misery felt by an old man/who has lived to see his son's body/swing on the gallows. He begins to keen/ and weep for his boy, watching the raven/ gloat where he hangs: he can be of no help./ The wisdom of age is worthless to him./ Morning after morning, he wakes to remember/ that his child is gone; he has no interest/ in living on until another heir/ is born in the hall, now that his first-born/ has entered death's dominion forever./He gazes sorrowfully at his son's dwelling,/ the banquet hall bereft of all delight,/ the windswept hearthstone; the horsemen are sleeping,/ the warriors under ground; what was is no more./ No tunes from the harp, no cheer raised in the yard./ Alone with his longing, he lies down on his bed/ and sings a lament; everything seems too large, the steadings and the fields."
    This kind of poetry is almost Shakespearean before Shakespeare; a blueprint of the triumphs of Anglo-Saxon literature to come. Read it and mourn the loss of a heroic culture.

    4-0 out of 5 stars The New Translation Blew me Away!
    This is a true literary achievement.Heaney's prose and
    the brilliant translation are remarkable.I especially
    liked the norse text side by side with the English.

    The only thing that kind of surprised me was how Tolkien-esque
    the final story sounded.I don't know who was drawing
    inspiration from who here.:)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Beowulf should be heard, not seen
    I have been laboriously teaching myself Anglo-Saxon in order to read the "real" Beowulf.I also have a tape of parts of Beowulf read aloud in Anglo-Saxon.It was with some trepidation that I ordered the CDS.Heaney has kept much of the masculine sound of Beowulf -- the alliteration, the beats, the broken measures.I am happy.
    One criticism:there are no "tracks" so that if you begin listening in the car as I did, when you start to drive home, you're back at the beginning.I would have liked a way to return to the approximate place where I left off listening.
    If you're still struggling with Anglo-Saxon, this is a great way to experience the sounds of Beowulf. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0393320979
    Subjects:  1. Ancient, Classical & Medieval    2. English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh    3. Epic poetry, English (Old)    4. Heroes    5. Monsters    6. Poetry    7. Scandinavia    8. Works by individual poets: classical, early & medieval    9. Works by individual poets: from c 1900 -   


    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (14 May, 1989)
    list price: $10.95 -- our price: $8.76
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    Editorial Review

    Grendel is a beautiful and heartbreaking modern retelling of the Beowulf epic from the point of view of the monster, Grendel, the villain of the 8th-century Anglo-Saxon epic. This book benefits from both of Gardner's careers: in addition to his work as a novelist, Gardner was a noted professor of medieval literature and a scholar of ancient languages. ... Read more

    Reviews (118)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating character and existential intro
    I have read this book twice and will probably read it again, a rare thing.The monster Grendel is a well of contradictions: hysterically cynical while somehow dreadfully sane, childish and wise, a physical powerhouse and emotional coward.In short, an existential primer.

    The dialogue that takes place between Grendel and the dragon is one of the most entertaining of any book I remember.Reminders of it appear to me in some of the most unexpected and unrelated places, which is always a sign of a great book.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Cerebral and Successful
    This novel not only provides an alternative viewpoint for the Beowulf epic, but is a brilliant experiment in style and structure.Each of the twelve chapters represents a different school of Western philosophy, showing how each is applied and contributes to the Grendel character.The chapters also each represent a sign of the zodiac and the implications thereof.Gardner often changes styles within the book, effectively exhibiting the change of the Grendel character.Defenitely a worthwhile read.

    5-0 out of 5 stars An Unforgettable Monster
    In Grendel, Gardner develops the monster from the Beowulf story, a monster that is wrecked and oedipal, an "I" seeing only "Its," an unredeemed scion of Cain as complex as Frankenstein or Dracula.Anyone with an interest in the origins of English literature will recognize the scenery, and philosophy lovers and science-fiction readers will appreciate the Dragon.There's also wicked humor and reflections on the nature of reality and mythmaking.This book is one of the great `new' classics. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0679723110
    Subjects:  1. Fantasy    2. Fantasy - Epic    3. Fantasy - Historical    4. Fiction    5. Fiction - General    6. Literary    7. Fiction / General   


    All over but the Shoutin'
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (08 September, 1998)
    list price: $14.00 -- our price: $11.20
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    Editorial Review

    One reason Rick Bragg won a Pulitzer Prize for his feature articles at the New York Times is that he never forgets his roots. When he writes about death and violence in urban slums, Bragg draws on firsthand knowledge of how poverty deforms lives and on his personal belief in the dignity of poor people. His memoir of a hardscrabble Southern youth pays moving tribute to his indomitable mother and struggles to forgive his drunken father. All Over but the Shoutin' is beautifully achieved on both these counts--and many more. ... Read more

    Reviews (262)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Bragg conveys the southern experience excellently
    The initial chord Rick Bragg's memoirs "All Over but the Shoutin'" struck with me was a personal, emotional one.
    As I found, I have more in common with the former New York Times national reporter than being a journalist from rural Alabama and predilection for trying to paint pretty pictures with words.
    We come from the same "white trash" background and our fathers were both military men turned laborers who married laborer women.
    Though luckily, if it can be called lucky, I lost my father suddenly at age 8. Bragg lost his father in his mid-teens when he finally wasted away from alcohol and tuberculosis.
    The early chapters of Bragg's memoir that describe his occasionally tumultous childhood are probably the book's best if only because they convey so well what it feels like to grow up poor in rural Alabama. The feelings of hopelessness, anger and fear that you will never amount to anything.
    The torture of being ostracized because you "ain't got a daddy."
    He drops details that foreshadow his version of the never-ending southern tragedy extremely well, letting the reader know early on what will become of him and his brothers.
    The timing and structure of Bragg's chapters is almost up to par with his best feature stories, which he gives a behind the keyboard look at here. Unfortunately, this book was written well before the post-Jayson Blair stringer scandal that led to his resignation from the Times, so there are no answers about that situation here.
    But the downside of the book, however, is Bragg's regular reflection and defense of southern life. He is oftentimes antagonistic toward those from northern states for no other reason than they are from northern states or common misperceptions of the South.
    Admittedly, I'm not as enthralled with the South as Bragg seems to be.
    In fact, I'm usually on the side of those criticizing the backwards nature of the region - especially Alabama. While I respect Bragg's loyalty, it does get tiring when he seems to make out every other thing to be a southern issue.
    What I can relate to though is his heartwarming devotion to his mother and, as a young journalist, his recollections of covering some of the bigger stories of the 1990s were fascinating to me.
    And as a former Birmingham Post-Herald intern, I still chuckle when I think about some of the dirty laundry Bragg offers up about the guys across the hall at The News.
    While it has its rough edges, Bragg's story about how he went from a poor rural Alabama boy to a Pultizer Prize winner invokes a carousel of emotions and is definitely a good read.
    (And that strip club story ain't bad either.)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Book for All People

    I was born and raised in California.I feel no affinity for the South.In fact, I find it culturally foreign.This book is rooted in the South, a memoir written by an Alabama native about growing up dirt poor, and the road to becoming an accomplished reporter, finally attending Harvard and later winning the Pulitzer Prize while working for the New York Times.But in his heart,he never left the South,nor did he ever disown his devoted, toothless "mama".A man exposed to religion and respecting it, he never appropriated it for himself.Yet he exemplified the commandment to honor his mother.(His father is another matter!)

    From the very first page this book drew me in.Rick Bragg writes in simple, direct sentences, the unobtrusive words revealing, rather than competing with,the impact of the scene. Instead of writing a mere regional book, he writes a universal book, tying us togetherby our shared emotions and experiences.He sensitively portraysnot northern experiences or southern experiences, but human experiences.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Mom is the star
    The most notable aspect of this memoir is the tenderness with which the author discusses his mother and her tremendous sacrifices to give her children all that she could.For this part, I give the book 5 stars.I otherwise had difficulty obtaining a sense of the author's emotions in other (what would seem to be) highly-charged emotional situations.

    For additional reading about amazing moms, I highly recommend The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio by Terry Ryan. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0679774025
    Subjects:  1. Alabama    2. Biography    3. Biography & Autobiography    4. Biography / Autobiography    5. Biography/Autobiography    6. Editors, Journalists, Publishers    7. General    8. Journalists    9. Regional Subjects - South    10. United States    11. Working class whites    12. Biography & Autobiography / General    13. Bragg, Rick    14. Childhood and youth    15. Reading Group Guide   


    The Lords of Discipline
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (01 January, 1982)
    list price: $7.99 -- our price: $7.99
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    Reviews (158)

    3-0 out of 5 stars Entertainingand engrossing but not great
    Patrick Conroy's Lords of Discipline is a good read but there are definitely some blatant flaws. Before I start criticizing though, I do want to acknowledge the excellent diction and the setting descriptions. Conroy does a nice job bringing the Southern military college to life.

    However, the Lords of Discpline turns into a twisting and turning detective story with lots of puzzle and strays away what the novel's main purpose is at the the beginning of the book: charting the growth of a boy into a man. Also, these plot twists, while numerous, are somewhat predictable and not provoking to the reader.

    I also think that Conroy did not proportion the development of the characters well. Onlythe protagonist, Will McClean, is the character whose thoughts and actions are analyzed and displayed for the reader. The other characters, while important, are more helpers in moving the plot along than dynamic personalities that readers can relate to.

    These are my two biggest criticisms of Conroy's work, that is strays from the theme and only develops one character. Despite these shortcomings, it is an entertaining read and I recommend reading it because it has alot of action to keep you hooked.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A beautifully written book
    If there is a more elloquent writer out there, someone please point him out to me. The book is beautifully written, with a well a constructed plot, and and deep character development. I found myself constantly envious of Pat Conroy's talent as I moved through the pages. You will find yourself quickly connected to the lead character, and from that point on this book is a page turner. I would call this work a "must-read" and give it the highest possible review.

    5-0 out of 5 stars One of my favorites...
    I was reluctant to read The Lords of Discipline as I'm not much interested in books with military themes.But I finally decided to read it as I love Pat Conroy and it takes place in my favorite of all cities, Charleston, SC.Wow!Not only was I blown away, but I also have a new book for my top ten list.

    Aspiring novelist and basketball player, Will McLean, finds himself a college student at the Carolina Military Institute (The Citadel--thinly disguised).Will was not interested in the military, but he promises his dying father that he will attend his alma mater.Will doesn't exactly excel in military studies, but he's a decent student, an athlete, and his professors and peers recognize him for his integrity and his sense of fairness.Still, this is not an easy time to be a student in a military academy--especially in the South.The Viet Nam War was raging, the military was unpopular and desegregation was knocking on the doors of Southern schools.The Fourth Class system is brutal at best, and most cadets will look on their freshman year and Hell Night as living nightmares.There are also rumors of a powerful and clandestine group of Institute students and alumni called The Ten.While nothing has come forward to prove their existence, the possibility of such a group casts a cloud over the Corps of Cadets.

    Will and his roommates have survived the trials and tribulations of their underclassmen years.But circumstances change very rapidly.The first black student enrolls at the Institute and Will is asked to be a secret mentor to Cadet Tom Pearce.It quickly becomes apparent that a group of cadets is trying to run Pearce out of the Institute.Will steps in to intervene, and he discovers a truth so horrendous that this knowledge can bring down the Institute.It also makes Will and his roommates targets.Not only is their graduation now in jeopardy, but their lives are also in danger.

    Conroy is a master wordsmith, and I find myself reading his sentences over and over again.It's comparable to taking a bite of a decadent dessert, and rolling it around on your tongue to savor every forkful.His descriptions are priceless, his characters well fleshed out, and the plot will have you marathon reading to finish this 498-page book.I especially loved his observations about Charleston and the low country.Conroy also deals with timeless and universal issues.They include the struggles of a young boy growing into manhood and how difficult it is to stand up for your beliefs.Also, how those that love you can cause the worst hurt, and how those you think are loyal friends can betray you in a heartbeat.Conroy dwells on how it is possible to love and hate something at the same time (in this case, the Institute), and how the righteous don't always prevail.And while things might turn out in the end, they might not turn out the way you envision them.

    The one bad thing about Pat Conroy is that he is not one of those "serial" bestsellers who produce a book every year-whether they have anything to say or not.While we often have to wait years between books, Conroy's works are definitely worth the wait.Also, after reading The Lords of Discipline, I suggest picking up his nonfiction work, My Losing Season.Detailing his senior year playing basketball for The Citadel, Conroy will reveal how much of The Lords of Discipline is autographical.
    ... Read more

    Isbn: 0553271369
    Sales Rank: 11683
    Subjects:  1. Fiction    2. Fiction - General    3. General    4. Fiction / General   


    Where the Sidewalk Ends : Poems and Drawings
    by Shel Silverstein
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (20 November, 1974)
    list price: $17.99 -- our price: $12.23
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    Editorial Review

    Shel Silverstein shook the staid world of children's poetry in 1974 with the publicationof this collection, and things haven't been the same since. More than four and a half millioncopies of Where the Sidewalk Ends have been sold, making it the bestselling children'spoetry book ever. With this and his other poetry collections (A Light in the Attic and Falling Up), Silverstein reveals his genius for reaching kidswith silly words and simple pen-and-ink drawings. What child can resist a poem called"Dancing Pants" or "The Dirtiest Man in the World"? Each of the 130poems is funny in a different way, or touching ... or both. Some approach naughtiness or are a bitdisgusting to squeamish grown-ups, but that's exactly what kids like best about Silverstein'swork. Jim Trelease, author of The New Read-Aloud Handbook, calls this book"without question, the best-loved collection of poetry for children." (Ages 4 to10) ... Read more

    Reviews (116)

    5-0 out of 5 stars poems
    Where the Sidewalk Ends is a really good poem book. If you had ifs about the book and you like poems this is the book to read. Once you read it then you will know why I gave it five lovely stars. The author Shel Silverstein is a good writer he knows how to write cool and weird poems.Most of the poems are weird but they are fun to read. So that is why you should read Where the Sidewalk Ends.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Everyone loves to read poems
    I bought this book for my daughter who was 10 at the time, she read them and just put it away on her shelf- she is now 14 and she still loves to take the book out and read a happy poem from
    Shel Silverstein.It can put a smile on a face sometime when
    things get you down.

    The poems in this book are fun, cute and give you the "warm fuzzies"


    5-0 out of 5 stars the best book ever
    I love this book!!! I have read probably a thousand times since i got it when i was 6. I never get tired of it. I like the way he mixes the serious poems in with the funny ones.My favorite poem is Ickle me, Pickle me, Tickle me too. This is the best book ever!!! ... Read more

    Isbn: 0060256672
    Subjects:  1. Children's 9-12 - Poetry / Plays    2. Children's poetry, American    3. Children: Grades 2-3    4. Humorous poetry    5. Humorous poetry, American    6. Poetry - Humorous    7. Juvenile Nonfiction / Poetry / Humorous   


    The American Reader : Words That Moved a Nation
    by Diane Ravitch
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (01 September, 2000)
    list price: $20.00 -- our price: $13.60
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    Reviews (6)

    4-0 out of 5 stars An ideal supplmental work for an American History class
    "The American Reader: Words That Moved A Nation" is a useful collection that can be used by history teachers to supplement the traditional American History textbook, which tends to ignore significant public rhetoric.At best you might get a paragraph or two, but usually there are just references to a speech or a choice quote.The goal of Diane Ravitch's book is "to put its readers into direct contact with the words that inspired, enraged, delighted, chastened, or comforted Americans in days gone by."From "The Mayflower Compact" to Theodore H. White on "The American Idea," Ravitch includes dozens of works that can be easily duplicated as one-page handouts.There are speeches by Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln; songs from "Yankee Doodle" to "Blowin' in the Wind"; poems by Longfellow, Whitman, Frost and Sandburg.They are pamphlets like Thomas Paine's "Common Sense," Supreme Court decisions like Brown v. Board of Education, and aphorisms from "Poor Richard's Almanac."Sections cover major sections of American History such as the Colonial Days and the Revolution, Antebellum America, the Civil War, the Progressive Age, the Depression and World War II, and the Troubled Times of the Sixties.These words, as well as the illustrations and cartoons included in the volume, can add flavor and variety to an American History class.This is a worthwhile supplemental text that may well have an advantage over trying to track down these works on line.

    5-0 out of 5 stars What We've Lost Is Found Again
    With the politicization of the schools and the increasing emphasis on race, gender and enthnicity as guides to the "multicultural" curriculum, we have lost the emphasis on our common heritage that should bind us together as a nation and a society.The sad proof of this is how little American kids know about the past that is their cultural patrimony.National Assessment of Educational Progress tests have revealed that three quarters of high school juniors tested did not know when Abraham Lincoln was president; one third did not know what the Brown Decision was about, and 70% could not identify the Magna Carta.One third did not know that the phrase "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" is from the Declaration of Independence; many were unfamiliar with the Getysburg Address.The American Reader is the best corrective to this situation that there is. Between its covers it presents those words that define our country's past and have expressed its goals and its dreams, its efforts and its achievements.This is what American children should be reading in school.Since many of them are not doing so, this book should be in every home, ready at hand to every parent and teacher.

    5-0 out of 5 stars LOVE THIS BOOK!
    The American Reader is an anthology of wonderful poems and speeches from critical figures in American history. It is not only perfect for the classroom, but a great bedside companion. I like to read a different selection every night. It is a good tool for self-education, for those of us who had too much "social studies" and not enough real history. And it is fun to read. I love it. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0062737333
    Sales Rank: 16639
    Subjects:  1. American - General    2. American Literature (General)    3. Ethnic Studies - General    4. History    5. History - General History    6. Language    7. Literary Criticism    8. Politics and government    9. Reference    10. Sources    11. United States    12. United States - General    13. History / United States / General   


    Peanuts: The Art of Charles M. Schulz
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (23 October, 2001)
    list price: $29.95 -- our price: $18.87
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    Reviews (37)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful and Moving Compilation
    If you are or were a fan of good old Charlie Brown, I highly recommend this beautiful and moving compilation of Schulz's work. More than 500 strips are reproduced, from his last penstrokes to his pre-Peanuts work. There are also modest quotes from Schulz throughout, as well as some interesting photos of his working space. As I re-read some of the earlier strips, I could vividly recall reading them as a kid. Something indelible in the seemingly simple lines of Schulz's drawing.

    Its interesting and somehow affecting to trace the development of the characters, to see Lucy as an innocent baby, and then follow her into domineering fussbudgetness. And Charlie Brown grew as well, losing some of his original pumkinheadedness over the years, but also losing some of his spunk and mischievious sense of humor. You can get the sense of the strip maturing, as in the earlier strips the characters were innocent, even in their anxieties, where later they became more knowing and resigned to their lot in life. Even though the strip changed over time, it had a timeless quality. There is evidence of a world outside of Schulz's palette, as in his few strips dealing with Viet Nam. But as with his drafting p.o.v., social issues are drawn from a child's perspective, a son's anxiety over his dad's absence, the fear of being sent off to somewhere strange in the future. There is no grand moralizing or strident argument, only a small, worried child.

    50 years at the board, a worthy and dignified labor of love.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Sheer genius
    Charles Schulz.In one word...genius.It may be safe to say that I learned much about life from Peanuts.At the very least, I was able to see the humor in it.It's definitely safe to say that Charles Schulz is my all-time hero for one reason: an ordinary man through a simple medium was able to affect so many people by making them aware of what it means to live and what it means to be human.This is the obvious reason why Schulz's work transcends what we perceive to be unbreakable boundaries -- race, class, and language.Reaching 355 million readers worldwide is a breathtaking, if not, unbelievable accomplishment.

    This book (the expanded edition in paperback) is well worth the buy.I bought the original hardcover copy, but the expanded edition includes a few more gems from the Schulz family vaults and the asking price is, of course, more incentive to lay your money down.While this is not a collection of comic strips proper, that is, strictly page after page of strips for the collector, it provides a most fascinating glimpse to the early days of the strip and the development of characters with whom we identify and whom we adore.Granted, there was a lot to put in this book. so many of the early strips are reduced in size and "horded" onto a single page, but it's worth the sacrifice to "squint" and take a peek at them.Many of these have not been reproduced and have not been seen in years.

    The book is a unique glimpse into the work of a man who simply wanted to be remembered for creating great cartoons and pleasing people.It's nice to know that whenever life "get rough", we can retreat to Peanuts and laugh at ourselves.If you love Peanuts or want to pass on Schulz's legacy to others who are interested, buy this book, even though it's not a comprehensive collection or laid out the way a normal collection of strips would be.Consider this book a enjoyable "warm-up" for a major event -- the release of the ENTIRE Peanuts collection, complete and in chronological order starting April, 2004,from Fantagraphics Books.Pay them a visit on the web or search Amazon for The Complete Peanuts for more information.This is Peanuts lover's dream come true.

    2-0 out of 5 stars This is not really for comics fans...
    I bought this because there is currently no other collection of Schulz's earliest Peanuts strips being published. I certainly like the book for what it is - an art book. The wealth of material inside is fantastic, and the book focuses on the strip in a holistic way, examining its influence on pop culture as well as presenting a good overview of the actual strip. However, and this is extremely crucial, this is NOT a book to buy if one wants a good collection of older Peanuts material to read and reread. Most of the strips are just photos of old newspaper clippings (I'm not quite sure what they were going for there) and hundreds of them are reprinted so small that they hurt your eyes. Also, there is virtually no continuity among the reprints. They just seem to be a random collection of the book's creator's favorites. If you are a serious fan of comics and a serious fan of Peanuts in particular, save your money for the Fantagraphics-published Peanuts albums that are coming out in April, 2004. I'm keeping this book until they do come out, and then I'm giving it to someone who's an art student with better eyesight than me (who might appreciate it a little more). ... Read more

    Isbn: 0375420975
    Sales Rank: 257994
    Subjects:  1. Art    2. Comics & Cartoons    3. Graphic Satire And Humor    4. Humor    5. Peanuts    6. Schulz, Charles M    7. Schulz, Charles M.    8. Techniques - Cartooning    9. Humor / Comic Books, Strips, etc.   


    Free Speech for Me--But Not for Thee: How the American Left and Right Relentlessly Censor Each Other
    by Nat Hentoff
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (01 October, 1992)
    list price: $25.00
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    Reviews (6)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Interesting collection of anecdotes
    Hentoff, one of the foremost free speech advocates, presents stories, many involving his own experiences, of individual examples of censorship initiatives from both the 'left' and 'right'.He doesn't really present a comprehensive philosophical case, but rather provides concrete examples of the necessity for rigorous protection of free speech.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great book--very objective
    Hentoff deals with the subject of free speech in the most objective manner I've seen.As a writer for the Village Voice, he could not be accused of being a right-winger, so criticism of the hypocrisy of the left is very credible.I've always thought it ironic that the left portrays itself as having a lock on being open-minded, yet it is all too happy to restrict speech that presents a contrary point of view.

    Hentoff gives many examples, including some of his own, where both sides of the political spectrum attempt to censor the speech of the other.He discusses everything from efforts on college campuses to prevent non politically correct subjects from being discussed to censorship he faced while writing his columns.

    Great book for people to read on both sides of the political spectrum.Perhaps it could move more people on both sides to actually listen to opposing points of view rather than trying to prevent the discussion.We have to understand that the 1st Amendment was not designed to protect speech we agree with--their would be no need for such protection.Being offended is really not a constitutional reason to preclude speech (in my view as well as Hentoff's).

    5-0 out of 5 stars Hentoff seeks the truth
    Though the Left has now turned against Hentoff for his politically incorrect views on Bill Clinton, he is far from being some cranky right-winger.In this book, he holds up free speech as an ideal that fewpeople really uphold.He especially criticizes "civillibertarians" who use the First Amendment as protection of things theylike and then ignore it when trying to ban what they hate (racist writing,sexual harassment, etc.).Rather than set up left-wing straw men to knockdown, Hentoff details stories of how the left censors, while acknowledgingthat the Right censors as well. But sinceconservatives admit theirintentions they are not as dangerous as the duplicitous people on the Left. Hentoff seeks truth in everything, and this book is his finest. ... Read more

    Isbn: 006019006X
    Sales Rank: 703677
    Subjects:  1. Censorship    2. Civil Procedure    3. Free speech    4. Freedom of speech    5. General    6. Politics - Current Events    7. Politics/International Relations    8. U.S. - Political And Civil Rights    9. United States   

    A Man in Full
    by Tom Wolfe
    Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (05 October, 1999)
    list price: $8.50
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    Editorial Review

    Ever since he published his classic 1972 essay "Why They Aren't Writing the Great American Novel Anymore," Tom Wolfe has made his fictional preferences loud and clear. For New Journalism's poster boy, minimalism is a wash, not to mention a failure of nerve. The real mission of the American writer is to produce fat novels of social observation--the sort of thing Balzac would be dishing up if he had made it into the Viagra era. Wolfe's manifesto would have had a hubristic ring if he hadn't actually delivered the goods in 1987 with The Bonfire of the Vanities. Now, more than a decade later, he's back with a second novel. Has the Man in White lived up to his own mission?

    On many counts, the answer would have to be yes. Like its predecessor, A Man in Full is a big-canvas work, in which a multitude of characters seems to be ascending or (rapidly) descending the greasy pole of social life: "In an era like this one," a character reminds us, "the twentieth century's fin de siècle, position was everything, and it was the hardest thing to get." Wolfe has changed terrain on us, to be sure. Instead of New York, the focus here is Atlanta, Georgia, where the struggle for turf and power is at least slightly patinated with Deep South gentility. The plot revolves around Charlie Croker, an egomaniacal good ol' boy with a crumbling real-estate empire on his hands. But Wolfe is no less attentive to a pair of supporting players: a downwardly mobile family man, Conrad Hensley, and Roger White II, an African American attorney at awhite-shoe firm. What ultimately causes these subplots to converge--and threatens to ignite a racial firestorm in Atlanta--is the alleged rape of a society deb by Georgia Tech football star Fareek "The Cannon" Fanon.

    Of course, a detailed plot summary would be about as long as your average minimalist novel. Suffice it to say that A Man in Full is packed with the sort of splendid set pieces we've come to expect from Wolfe. A quail hunt on Charlie's 29,000-acre plantation, a stuffed-shirt evening at the symphony, a politically loaded press conference--the author assembles these scenes with contagious delight. The book is also very, very funny. The law firms, like upper-crust powerhouse Fogg Nackers Rendering & Lean, are straight out of Dickens, and Wolfe brings even his minor characters, like professional hick Opey McCorkle, to vivid life:

    In true Opey McCorkle fashion he had turned up for dinner wearing a plaid shirt, a plaid necktie, red felt suspenders, and a big old leather belt that went around his potbelly like something could hitch up a mule with, but for now he had cut off his usual torrent of orotund rhetoric mixed with Baker Countyisms.
    Readers in search of a kinder, gentler Wolfe may well be disappointed. Retaining the satirist's (necessary) superiority to his subject, he tends to lose his edge precisely when he's trying to move us. Still, when it comes to maximalist portraiture of the American scene--and to sheer, sentence-by-sentence amusement--1998 looks to be the year of the Wolfe, indeed.--James Marcus ... Read more
    Reviews (871)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A solid, first-class pageturner
    Don't be frightened by the book's length, because once you pick it up, you'll end up hooked right till the last pages. But hooked in a good sense, because this is a pageturner that provides wide social commentary on many issues such as race, the insides of corporations, social class, sex, etc. The characters are wonderfully defined and each of them is interesting in their own terms, although the most fascinating is Charlie Croker. The book has everything: frantic action and suspense (in the Conrad sections), humor, a great insight into the characters' thoughts (most notably in Martha and Ray's date) and even some philosophy thrown in. The title is appropiate as the book deals with what defines manhood in modern society. Is it wealth, social prominence, or integrity? I also enjoyed the setting; Atlanta was a city I knew nothing about and I feel the book captured its spirit.

    Some minor quibbles: there were too many descriptions about what each character was wearing, and about such person's garden, driveway, mansion, etc. I felt they didn't add much to the story. As for the ending, it seemed a bit rushed and contrived, but it worked for me.

    I guess the best compliment I can make about this book is I never wanted it to end!

    3-0 out of 5 stars Verbose in Full
    Like its overblown main character, Wolfe wrote a book too full of words.While the storyline is interesting, the book deflates at the end.Apparently, the author had no creative idea how to write "the end"ing...

    4-0 out of 5 stars Some good parts, some worthless parts
    I loved loved loved loved loved all the parts/bits about Charlie Croker. I couldn't get enough of him.

    All the parts about Conrad can be COMPLETELY skipped and you'll still know exactly what's going on at the end. That's what I did.

    ... Read more

    Isbn: 0553580930
    Subjects:  1. Fiction    2. Fiction - General    3. General    4. Legal    5. Literary    6. Political    7. Fiction / Literary   

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