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The Civil War - A Film by Ken Burns (Boxed Set)
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
VHS Tape (03 June, 1997)
list price: $99.88
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Editorial Review

The most successful public-television miniseries in American history, the 11-hour Civil War didn't just captivate a nation, reteaching to us our history in narrative terms; it actually also invented a new film language taken from its creator. When people describe documentaries using the "Ken Burns approach," its style is understood: voice-over narrators reading letters and documents dramatically and stating the writer's name at their conclusion, fresh live footage of places juxtaposed with still images (photographs, paintings, maps, prints), anecdotal interviews, and romantic musical scores taken from the era he depicts. The Civil War uses all of these devices to evoke atmosphere and resurrect an event that many knew only from stale history books. While Burns is a historian, a researcher, and a documentarian, he's above all a gifted storyteller, and it's his narrative powers that give this chronicle its beauty, overwhelming emotion, and devastating horror. Using the words of old letters, eloquently read by a variety of celebrities, the stories of historians like Shelby Foote and rare, stained photos, Burns allows us not only to relearn and finally understand our history, but also to feel and experience it. --Dave McCoy ... Read more


  • Color
  • Black & White
  • Closed-captioned
  • Box set
  • NTSC
Reviews (151)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Best Documentary Ever Made
I don't quite know what Gary in Chicago has been smoking. This film is simply the best Documentary ever made. Period. I'd rather not gush as so many of the reviews have done. Suffice it to say that if you own any documentray, this is the one to own. One caveat, however.... Invest in the DVD remstered edition instead of the VHS. The picture and sound are vastly improved.

5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing
If you are one of the people who hasn't yet seen this documentary, you MUST see it. It is a MUST for every civil war buff. It is the best way to learn about the war, and as a young teenager it helped spur my interest in the war. I am 26 now, and couldn't wait to purchase it. I love all Ken Burns documentaries, but this is my favorite.

My favorite part of the whole documentary is the letters from people such as Mary Chestnut, who actually lived through the war.

I am glad that the installment has finally come out on DVD. My mom had the VHS set, and mine takes up a lot less space on my shelf. It's also easier to access if you want to re-watch a certain battle you have interest in. Typically, after I visit Gettysburg ( as I do annually), I like to watch the time leading up to the battle on the DVD before my trip, and then the actual tape on the battle afterwards. It just intensifies the meaning of the whole experience.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Thorough History Lesson
It wasn't until 14 years later that I was interested in Ken Burns' epic documentary.The vintage photos, old films, letters, documents and places are just amazing to view.The historians are truly unforgetable as they tell their stories about how life was during that time.But it's the battles and the men that fought them that are the real stars of this movie.There are so many tidbits that I never knew about. This documentary will inspire many who want to know one of the most important events in American history. ... Read more

Asin: 6301996135
Subjects:  1. War Documentaries   

The Civil War for Dummies
by Keith D.Dickson
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
Paperback (01 March, 2001)
list price: $19.99 -- our price: $13.59
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Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Civil War Reading At Your Fingertips
As a history major in college, this book was a wonderful resource to use in my civil war studies in the fall semester of 04. You don't have to read a lot of bull to get to the grit.Each section of the war are very explanatory and full of detail. I am also plowing through Shelby Foot's books on the civil war. This is a great book for someone who likes civil war history, but don't like to doindepth researching and reading volumes of books.

5-0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Source of Information
The Dummie books are getting better as time goes on. The civil war book for dummies, is very educational and informative. You do not have to go through a lot of bull in order to read wonderful history. This should be a textbook in school.I love to read history, but I hate reading thick books that have a lot of worthless reading in the middle and it takes you forever to get to the main parts of history. The dummies books are not that way.

Buy the US History, WW II, and the US Presidents, Lewis & Clark for dummies.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Civil War for Dummies
What began as a way to find out a little more about the Civil War has turned into a full blown passion.And what book do I thank for that?Well actually there are two.While reading Carl Sandburg's three volume bio on Abraham Lincoln, I realized I need to know a little more about the Civil War.So I borrowed a copy of "The Civil War for Dummies" and was hooked.

Because I read this book, it stirred in me an intense interest and desire to know more about the CW.Now I belong to a CW Roundtable in my area and I'm studying on my own different aspects of the CW.

It is a wonderfully easy book to read and get the very basics of the Civil War.From there one can move on to some of the classics.

I highly recommend this book for a beginning view of the CW or as quick reference guide. ... Read more

Isbn: 0764552449
Sales Rank: 114898
Subjects:  1. 1861-1865, Civil War    2. Civil War, 1861-1865    3. History    4. History - Military / War    5. History: American    6. Military - United States    7. Reference    8. U.S. History - Civil War And Reconstruction (1860-1877)    9. United States    10. United States - Civil War    11. American history: c 1800 to c 1900    12. History / United States / General    13. USA    14. c 1800 to c 1900   


Rise of Theodore Roosevelt
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Paperback (12 April, 1986)
list price: $18.00
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Reviews (122)

5-0 out of 5 stars Simply amazing...my new favorite book
In our time, biographies of American historical figures are noticeably numerous, yet one volume stands above the rest as a supreme example of the genre: Edmund Morris's masterpiece The Rise Of Theodore Roosevelt. Perhaps it may be premature to call a book barely thirty years old a masterpiece. But the amazing scope and detail covered by Morris's study, as well as his excellent scholarship and writing, firmly place his work, which won both the American Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize, in the pantheon of great biographies. At the same time, it wins the distinction of being an addictively enjoyable read, being both awe-inspiring and adventurous.

When originally written, The Rise Of Theodore Roosevelt was the first volume of a planned trilogy, covering only the years from the subject's birth to his ascent to the Presidency. But the material in Rise is so rich and absorbing it need not be put into additional context. Even for those not familiar with history and the details of Roosevelt's life (and perhaps especially for those who will be introduced to him for the first time), the story is fascinating. Roosevelt has been called one of the most fascinating figures in American history, and Morris's book serves to confirm the reputation. With the exception of a brief prologue which takes us to the White House for one day during T.R.'s presidential years, which gives Morris the opportunity to powerfully describe his subject for the first time, and an interlude toward the middle of the book, where the author, in spell-binding prose, recounts an exceptionally harsh winter that struck the Badlands in 1886-1887, events proceed chronologically, unfolding excitingly before the reader's eyes. We meet the young "Teedie," son of a divided household during the Civil War, his father a prominent New Yorker, and his mother a delicate Southern belle, and follow him on his numerous travels around Europe and the Old World as a boy, where he begins his education. He is a sickly child, almost near death, and must fight to overcome his afflictions and become strong. He develops an unnaturally deep passion for science, and spends a lot of his youth as an amateur zoologists. He enrolls at Harvard, where his strong personality begins to develop. He soon becomes an amateur historian of great success and a fire-branding young New York assemblyman. Some of the most humorous and touching passages come as his courtship and marriage to the beautiful Alice Lee are described. When Alice and his mother both die on the same day, Roosevelt's spirit is shattered, and he heads West to the Dakota badlands, where we witness the growth of Roosevelt the cowboy, rancher and hunter. It is there that the young man develops the love for wild nature that he will carry throughout his life (and plant the seeds for his leadership in the conservation movement at the turn of the century). He marries his childhood sweetheart, Edith Carow, and begins to work his way up in politics once more, first as a Civil Service Commissioner in Washington and then as a New York City Police Commissioner. In both roles he earns a widespread reputation as a reformer, and by the time William McKinley captures the White House in 1896 Roosevelt is promised a post in the new administration. He chooses to be Assistant Secretary of the Navy, and from that position involves himself in the imperialistic push that was then taking over the country, clamoring for a stronger navy and war with Spain. When the war breaks out, he immediately enlists and raises a regiment of cavalry, composed of a motley assortment of Eastern gentlemen and Western cowboys. He leads his celebrated Rough Riders up San Juan Hill and wins a spectacular victory that quickly ends the war. By the time McKinley is up for re-election, Roosevelt is on the ticket, and soon becomes a heartbeat away from office. When, one morning while hiking in the Adirondacks, he learns of tragic news, he realizes his destiny has forever changed.

Although thus ends the narrative, Morris's work has a sort of completeness to it. Indeed, the following years would contain many ups and downs for the larger-than-life Roosevelt, yet from his birth to his inauguration in 1901 his life was at its most astonishing. It was both a meteoric rise for the youngest man ever to become President, but also dazzling in its diversity. The multitude of occupations and roles that Roosevelt undertook is unbelievable. He was the prototype of the man of action combined with the prototype of the Renaissance man: a uniquely American type, armed with heavy muscles, grinning teeth, and flashing spectacles. Morris's writing is perfectly adapted to the task. He simply lifts Roosevelt out of the page, and brings him into the reader's mind and heart as a powerful life force. The most common theme by almost everyone who met Roosevelt for the first time is that they were shocked and soon overwhelmed by the strength of the man's personality. The highest credit to Morris is that he has duplicated the effect, through the written word, for readers decades later to experience the same feeling of awe. The Rise Of Theodore Roosevelt is my new favorite book.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great Book on TR
After reading Theodore Rex, I was sold and I wanted to learn more about the great president.This book starts off with his birth and works up to Theordore Rex, which highlights Teddy's years in the White House.

I found this book to be very detailed and interesting.The only book I can recommend more than this one is Theodore Rex, which is by the same author.It'd be better to read this one first and then move on.

5-0 out of 5 stars It just does not get any better than this!
Mr. Morris is to be honored for such a great job on one of our best and most beloved Presidents. TR, who has been called a steamroller in trousers is an extremely complex and fascinating subject. Many have tried but none has come as close to getting it right on this Renaissance Man.(Who else can say they have been POTUS, holder of the MOH and The Nobel Peace Prize?) The writing is almost Homeric and loaded with fascinating tidbits from the life of this Great Man. What the Author wrote about TR's daughter Alice alone is worth buying it. But I don't want to give it away ! ... Read more

Isbn: 0345339029
Sales Rank: 547236
Subjects:  1. Biography    2. Biography / Autobiography    3. Biography/Autobiography    4. Historical - U.S.    5. Presidents    6. Presidents & Heads of State    7. United States    8. United States - 20th Century    9. Biography & Autobiography / Presidents   

The Myth of the Goddess: Evolution of an Image (Arkana S.)
by Anne Baring, Jules Cashford
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Paperback (01 June, 1993)
list price: $26.00 -- our price: $16.38
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Reviews (15)

1-0 out of 5 stars another goddess fantasy work
yet another book written by fanciful feminists dreaming of some (wholly imaginary) matriarchal past.The book is full of wild unsubstantiated statements.They talk about goddesses of the paeleolithic era, a period of which there is nothing known about religious practices or beliefs, how could there be?The carved images of women found may be goddesses, or they may not.We don't know.That doesn't stop these nutty women laying down the law on the subject though.All the authors of these batty feminist sprituality books should be made to write out the following a hundred times "WORSHIPPING GODDESSES DOES NOT MEAN A SOCIETY IS MATRIARCHAL" .History is full of partiarcahl goddess-worhsippers, Egyptian, Greek and Roman society were full of goddesses, and they were totally male-domonated societies.And if Christianity was such a terrible male-domonated religion compared to all those lovely goddess worhsipping religions, how come they got so many women converts?Alos they are banging on about moon goddesses as per usual, sun goddesses not getting a mention, though there were plenty.And these women are meant to be psychologists or something, aren't they?They both seem to me to be in urgent need of psychoanalysis themselves.

5-0 out of 5 stars The New Age Bible Of Spiritual Awakening
It's 2003. The world we live in is far more complex, divided, even chaotic than it was when it first began. The millions upon millions of men and women who make up the world each carry with them collective unconscious, traditions, religions, values and individuality. Above all, the world today is best described as a complicated imbalance of opposing thoughts- feeling versus thinking. The dualism of mind seperate from matter began with thesplitting of God's female principle from his masculine principle.Every devoutly fundamentalist Christian (as well as Jew or Muslim who read the sacred "texts" as absolute truth) will tell you that God is a man. In the Christian Bible, the Torah and the Koran, God is given masculine attributes- he is a warrior, a conqueror, a father figure, a king, etc. Rarely, does it exalt his feminine qualities- compassion, healing, motherhood, love and kindness. Sparingly, he is described as a mother bird taking loved ones under his protective wings ( I will speak about this further).

Anne Baring is a British psychoanalyst specializing in Jungian philosophy, while Jules Cashford is an expert on mythology and folklore. Together, this complimentary duo team of writers have compiled an extensive Bible-size plethora of information on the Goddess. When we speak of "the Goddess" we refer mainly to the Divine Female Principle. God (power, energy, divinity) is both male and female, and not limited to merely one function- he is neither simply a man nor simply a woman. HOWEVER...as the accurate sources of archaeological, historic evidence proves (the wall paintings of various caves like Lescaux in France and stone figures of pregnant women and various goddess idols of the Middle East) there was a time when the powerful God principle was merely female. The Mother is always the first, direct experience for all of us after we are born ( she provides the child with milk, raises him/her and nourishes him/her child). Because humankind's first life consciousness was the mother, God was thought to be a Mother. The Mother Goddess was worshipped in many forms- a bird flying over the world or the oceans (later this bird image would become the dove of the Holy Spirit). In the Egyptian culture, she was Isis, in Mesopotamia/Canaan she was Asherah, Astarte, and in Greece, Athena and Aphrodite. Female/goddess worship extended in many forms, each of the women were fulfilling various roles and functions- she was a warrior, she was a mother, she was a hunter, she was a cook, she provided all of life. It's very sensible - since women give birth and therefore produce life on earth. The whole earth was a woman. She was even the sun.

Later on, Indo-European warriors and expert conquerors demolished the concept of the Goddess, establishing patriarchy. No longer was the one Divinity a Mother, but a Father. Lineage and inheritence was once traced from the mother. The status of power that women once held was seized from them by men. The ancient Jews of Israel conceived the concept of Yahweh or Jehovah as the all-powerful male God who created the world and forbade women worship and women's freedom. The Female Principle was no longer equal to the Male Principle, but subjugated to it. This book is clearly an encyclopedia of how this came about. Extoled is the great female principles in Kabbalah (where she is Sophia or Chokma Holy Wisdom or Holy Spirit). The book also explains the sexist, misogynist points of view from the male writers of the Bible- the figures of Eve as the cause of human suffering, death and sin, the Kabbalah figures of the demonized Lilith, and further examples include the venerated Catholic icon of the Virgin Mary and Mary Magdalene. This book is a must for feminists , be you a male feminist or female feminist, or anyone man or woman who wishes to balance and integrate his male/female principles in harmony. If everyone did that, the world would be a better place.

1-0 out of 5 stars Want facts? Don't touch!
I am an amateur interested in the world's religions, past and present.I like well written books on the subject based on "facts" which are included in references, (I want them not too dry or written by someone who thinks old religions are primitive and uncouth). I really hate books that are sold to me under the pretext of being scholarly when I would much rather enjoy a good fantasy where the author(s) are honest about their imagination.I really want to give this book the rating Aaaarrghh.And yes I am female. ... Read more

Isbn: 0140192921
Sales Rank: 20567
Subjects:  1. Comparative Religion    2. Folklore & Mythology    3. Goddesses    4. Goddesses in art    5. Literature - Classics / Criticism    6. Religion    7. Myths & mythology    8. Theology   


I, Claudius : From the Autobiography of Tiberius Claudius, Born 10 B.C., Murdered and Deified A.D. 54 (Vintage International)
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Paperback (23 October, 1989)
list price: $14.95 -- our price: $10.17
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Editorial Review

Having never seen the famous 1970s television series based on Graves' historical novel of ancient Rome and being generally uneducated about matters both ancient and Roman, I wasn't prepared for such an engaging book.But it's a ripping good read, this fictional autobiography set in the Roman Empire's days of glory and decadence. As a history lesson, it's fabulous; as a novel it's also wonderful. Best is Claudius himself, the stutterer who let everyone think he was an idiot (to avoid getting poisoned) but who reveals himself in the narrative to be a wry and likable observer. His story continues in Claudius the God. ... Read more

Reviews (133)

3-0 out of 5 stars A gossipy narrative about palace intrigue
Robert Graves has earned the right to be Mary Renault's cup-bearer on Mt. Olympus. His opinions, expressed through Claudius, as to the causes of Rome's decline are probably correct. He persuades us that the evil Emperors (and Livia) who seized the Republic from the Senate were to blame.

The tone of this 1934 novel reflects the author's dismay at the rise of fascism in Europe, particularly Germany for which the author reserves special venom. For today's readers, there is an easy comparison to be made between the military adventures of Caligula and Bush. Republicans can take heart that Bush looks better by comparison with the vastly more corrupt and even insane Roman Emperors. Americans can take solace that there were indeed worse rulers in Roman history, yet Rome somehow managed to survive their inept and corrupt rule. It can be hoped our own Republic, also, will survive the present misadministration.

Excessive narration stands out as a glaring fault, though when Graves rises to proper dialogue and action, he performs quite well. His editor was to blame. This represents a good third draft, but needs heavy revision. The only living writer I can think of that might be up to the task--for Graves died in 1986-- would be Maria McCann, author of the historical novel, "As Meat Loves Salt".

The novel reaks of mere gossip. Prepare yourself for the ironically boring narration of serial poisonings and serial treason trials by paranoid rulers. The pages are drenched in blood, and stink of cruelty, sadism, and depravity carefully censored of any sexual, but not violent, content. Graves was of the school, numerous in his time and even today to a lesser extent, that thought, "Heaven forbid an orgasm, but a murder is perfectly acceptable."

After a while all the gore just becomes too much. The Emperor Augustus is followed by Tiberius, who is followed by Caligula; each worse than his predecessor. A downward spiral, representing the Roman Republic going down the toliet.

5-0 out of 5 stars Who wants to be a Roman Caesar?
Who wants to be a Roman Caesar? We do. At least, we would if we were interested in having sex with family members, and enjoyed the adrenalin rush one gets wondering if, this time, the food really is poisoned.

Enter Claudius, reluctant contender for Caesar. Dribbling, lurching, but highly intelligent and misunderstood, Claudius is the focal point of the fictionalised autobiography written in 1934, by Robert Graves. Sure, it's an old book. You should read it anyway.

For the uninitiated, it is palatable introduction to the world of the Roman Emperor, the politics, treachery and instability of men who believed themselves more than merely mortal. Take, for example, the tale of Tiberius and the fisherman.

As the story goes, Tiberius landed on a small island to be greeted by a local fisherman, who, recognising the emperor, offered him a fish as a gift. Tiberius was intensely (and justifiably) paranoid, and believed the man was offering him an omen of death, so he ordered his guards to hold the man down and scrub his face with the fish. When the fisherman later quipped "I'm glad I didn't offer him a crab," Tiberius ordered that he be similarly scrubbed with a crab. He went on to collect the most extensive encyclopaedia of pornography in the known world, owned a giant iguana, held orgies with his sister and died in exile at the hand of one of his soldiers, watched by future screwed-up emperor Caligula.Such anecdotes that reveal personality provide Graves fodder for conjecture: they form the bones around which Graves weaves this fascinating tale. And he is a master of the craft.

Stylistically this is a superb novel, seamlessly moving through the Julio-Claudian dynasty, and Graves' deep understanding of the complexities of the Roman political system adds credibility to what can, at times, seem like an impossible tale. His treatment of the psychology of senator and caesar, the fear of power absolute, and the motives behind the plots and counter-plots of assassination are skilfully handled.

Interestingly, Graves also explores the role of women in the history of the empire. Exhibit A: Livia. Wife of Augustus and matriarch of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, Livia was some piece of work. Self-serving, power hungry, frustrated by her status as a woman, she plotted, murdered and deified herself and her husband with a ruthless single-mindedness that made Gladiator's Commodus look like a boy scout.

It is a bold for an author to masquerade as Roman royalty, and yet Graves adroitly manoeuvres through the narrative in the first person, in the guise of Claudius, who, unseen or ignored because of his disabilities, is privy to confidences denied other member of the royal household. So the plot unfolds for us, as it unfolded for him, intricate, outrageous but always moving to its inevitable conclusion -- Claudius himself becomes emperor.

5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent book on an interesting topic.
All fans af historical fiction need look no further for an intersesting read. The book chronicles the reigns of the Roman Emperors Augustus, Tiberius and Caligula as seen through the eyes of Tiberius Claudius. The book reads in true roman fashion, with characters droping like flies from the very start. The odd thing is how the book makes you not cry but chuckle. The combination of ridiculusly evil characters and humerously unfourtunate events make for a story so tragic you just have to laugh. This is only added to by the way that Claudius records things like murder,war,assasination,divorce and mass executions in a trivial way. Claudius, who is considerd as an idiot due to his stutter and limp, plays up his stupidity in order to stay out of the constant political intrigues, while in fact he is one of the smartest romans of the lot and in the end, I couldn't help but feeling somewhat attached to Claudius.

This book is truley marvelous and succeeds perfectly in retellingan ancient tale. And as a plus, I am now extremly knowledgeable on this time of history after reading this book. ... Read more

Isbn: 067972477X
Subjects:  1. 10 B.C.-54 A.D    2. 10 B.C.-54 A.D.    3. Classics    4. Claudius,    5. Claudius, 41-54    6. Emperor of Rome,    7. Emperors    8. Fiction    9. Graves, Robert - Prose & Criticism    10. History    11. Literary    12. Literature - Classics / Criticism    13. Rome    14. Claudius    15. Fiction / Literary   


Mythology's Last Gods: Yahweh and Jesus
by William R. Harwood
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Hardcover (01 June, 1992)
list price: $53.00 -- our price: $33.39
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Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars John A. Henderson MD
The first publisher to whom this book was submitted was convinced that it would "wipe out religion." If it ever reaches the unlearned masses, it will assuredly do just that. It demolishes religion as totally and definitevely as the first photographs of the Martian surface demolished the "canals myth." Nothing of comparable importance has been published in over a decade.

1-0 out of 5 stars Not a very good book at all...
Its an interesting read, but far from scholarly, and I certainly would never use it as a reference in a scholarly discussion. However, the humor makes it worth the price. But back to criticism...

One of the frequent quotes cited from Harwood is on the physical appearance of a historical Jesus. He paraphrases an impossible to verify 'work' of Josephus. But even the Testimonium Flavianum, which is another Josephus passage of far more credibility has proven itself an unlikely source of extra-biblical Christian evidence, and probably a pious interpolation. Yet in Harwood's mind this and far less compelling conjecture is good as gold. I'd recommend the interested reader find a decent translation of the meagre texts drawn upon by scholars and would-be scholars and make their own judgement. Still, unless some great archaeological discovery is made in the future, there's very little to be added to Abrahamic scholarship that isn't composed as simple polemic.

3-0 out of 5 stars A fascinating, but angry analysis.
I have read this book twice and keep returning to it for reference; however, something about it bothers me each time.I am fascinated by Harwood's "methodology of history" applied to Biblical texts normally evaluated with inductive theological methods.Unfortunately, the author approaches his subject with undisguised anger for the perceived frauds perpetrated on him by the religion itself.I am sympathetic to Harwood's goals of opening out the study of Biblical texts to honest historical analysis, but his venom may have marred his objectivity.MAY HAVE... I simply don't know.I will keep returning to this book and I am glad to own it, but I would grade it higher if it was not so emotionally-charged.Perhaps Harwood's promised "Fully-Translated" Bible will be less angry. ... Read more

Isbn: 0879757426
Sales Rank: 461765
Subjects:  1. Bible    2. Bible - CriticismInterpretation - General    3. Bible Commentary    4. Miscellanea    5. Myth in the Bible    6. Religion    7. Theology   


The Book Your Church Doesn't Want You To Read
by Tim C. Leedom
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
Paperback (01 June, 1995)
list price: $19.95 -- our price: $19.95
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Reviews (72)

4-0 out of 5 stars A look at the dark side of orthodoxy
When the hysteria and hyperbole of certain self-described Christain reviewers try to attribute this book to just one "biased" author, clearly they haven't read it.

They're literally bearing false witness.

Moses would not be pleased.

This book is actually the work of several authors who contributed pieces of varying lengths and diverse subjects that all fall under the general subject of Orthodox Christianity.

When such as the aforementioned "christian" (with a small "c") whine,opine and lash out with such anger, it only serves to prove the points these authors put forth about the spiritual learned helplessness, intolerance and mindless belief that such individuals would inflict on the rest of us.

And CLEARLY the attitude of such "christians" is that if you don't agree with them, then you're an idiot--or worse--and in their mind you deserve their worst.

Isn't that attractive?!

Doesn't that just make you want to rush out next Sunday and join their church so you can be with a WHOLE BUNCH of people like that?!!

Yeah right!

It's no wonder that so many find orthodox Christianity utterly repugnant, and in many orthodox churches throughout the world the pews are all but empty.

Clearly such ilk's real catechism of "love only thy fellow pew warmer" and "thou shalt judge, label and condemn anyone who doesn't agree with you" is finally reaping what it has sown. Consequently like the former Soviet Union such is imploding under the millenial weight of its false premises, smug self-righteousness and hypocrisy.

While I don't agree with the often atheist slant of this book (hence only four stars), regardless they do provide a damning expose on the totally un-Christ-like thoughts, actions and deeds of the so-called "christians" who, ironically,history has revealed to be the very "wolves in sheep's clothing" that the Bible warned the genuinely spiritual of.

"Now isn't THAT ironic, don't you think?"

In hindsight perhaps the Gnostic Christians, Cathars and similar, were the *REAL* Christians after all. And if after reading that your first impulse is to immediately click "not helpful," then I suggest that you read Elaine Pagel's "Gnostic Gospels," "Beyond Belief" and "Origin of Satan" first.

For those who don't think/assume that they already have all the answers on this subject I encourage you to check out my reader's guide on Alternative Christianity.

5-0 out of 5 stars to be read with an open, critical mind
i have read this book twice and i find it fascinating, as it shows concepts of religion from many perspectives.those with narrow viewpoints, tunnel vision, or have staunch beliefs should not read this book nor should they feel the need to acid-tonguedly review it.by lashing out irrationally, the book's authors are only being proven more.this book is meant to open the doors of the mind, not lock up the already closed ones.

1-0 out of 5 stars misinformed and scatterer brained
My only joy in purchasing this book was throwing it in the trash. I was hoping for a scholarly piece of objective investigation. This book apparently was written not just by an atheist but by a very desperate one. Some of the information is half true or completely false. If you're a desperate atheist you might enjoy it...otherwise I suggest investing your mind elsewhere. ... Read more

Isbn: 0840389086
Sales Rank: 158574
Subjects:  1. Comparative Religion    2. General    3. Politics/International Relations    4. Religion - General   


A Rage to Live: A Biography of Richard and Isabel Burton
by Mary S. Lovell
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Hardcover (01 October, 1998)
list price: $39.95
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Editorial Review

More than a century after their deaths, Richard and Isabel Burton are legend. Sir Richard Burton was a prolific writer, an insatiable explorer, a linguist, and a translator who pursued controversy and risk as surely as adventure. In 1853, disguised as an Afghani doctor, he became one of the first Europeans to enter the Islamic holy cities of Mecca and Medina. He later led an expedition to discover the source of the Nile--whether he got there first was later protractedly disputed.He spoke dozens of languages and translated the erotic works The Arabian Nights, The Kama Sutra, andThe Perfumed Garden into English, making him fall afoul of the National Vigilance Society and the Society for the Suppression of Vice. Isabel, for her part, defied her upper-crust family to marry Richard and lead the "wild, roving, vagabond life" she had dreamed of as a stifled young lady. She was her husband's collaborator, editor, and most vehement advocate. She defended his oft-besmirched reputation, promoted his writing, successfully campaigned to make him knighted--even arranged a dinner with the queen. After Richard's death, Isabel came under fire for burning his papers, including the Kama Sutra translation.This double biography by Mary S. Lovell (biographer, too, of Amelia Earhart, Beryl Markham, and Jane Digby) attempts to dispel many of the myths that have grown up around the pair of famous Victorians. She defends Isabel's burning her husband's papers as an act designed to protect his reputation and privacy. Lovell points out that even after their being burned, more of Richard's papers remained than were left by many of his contemporaries. And she cites them as primary source material for the book. Lovell also strenuously contradicts the long-held belief that Richard was gay--his interest in and writings about male sexuality, she believes, were borne purely of anthropological research. The Burtons, she assures readers, had an ideal marriage in every way, but she offers little supporting material to prove her claim. Lovell's views seem sometimes to be colored by her adoration for her subjects. But the obvious breadth of her research and her narrative skill make Rage to Live one of the more distinguished biographies of late. ... Read more

Reviews (16)

5-0 out of 5 stars Not Perfect, but there is no option for 4.5 stars
A Rage to Live by Mary Lovell is an outstanding biography of both Sir Richard and the Lady Burton. Burton is about the only person that I have bothered to read multiple biograhies of. He was so complex and his life was just THAT interesting! There are a few other treatments of Sir Richard still in print, and Lovell takes these into account in her own telling. A great deal of data are available for the first time in this book, and the author uses this information adroitly to clear up long-standing misconceptions (and outright slanders) of both Burtons.

Lovell provides a good bit of compelling discussion about the conflict between Burton and John Hanning Speke over the source of the Nile. It has been common for Burton biographers to over-simplify the nature of the disagreement: Burton thought the Nile originated in Lake Tanganyika, Speke argued for Victoria Nyanza. Not so! Speke only really WANTED the source of the Nile to be Victoria (the lake, not the queen), whereas Burton, a Man of Science, argued that the observations at hand were insufficient to decide one way or the other. With the available information, Burton understood that Tanganyika or some as yet unknown spring could still have been the head of the Nile. Lovell explains well the behind-the-scenes wrangling at the Royal Geographical Society by Burton's detractors to back Speke as much out of spite as any other reason.

What really compelled me to read A Rage to Live -- besides what might best be called an obsession of the man -- was my desire to learn more about the Lady Burton, Isabel. She was an independent and interesting person herself, but she has been abused at the hands of other Burton biographers. To them, Isabel was an over-zealous Catholic, the schemer ready to use her influence and Richard's name for her own advancement, and the arsonist of Burton's papers and manuscript of the Scented Garden. Lovell makes the case that this is hogwash, the previous biographers have given too much credit to the bigoted opinions of Richard's spinster niece. Among the new information provided by Lovell's research is the fact that Richard was instructing Isabel what to write on his behalf. She was very much his partner in all aspects of their life together, and Lovell's story does provide some justice for the Lady Burton. Most significantly, Lovell demonstrates that Isabel burned at Trieste what Richard had instructed her to burn, and that many important papers did indeed survive.

A Rage to Live is an enormous volume, more than 900 pages -- my train ride to and from work has been considerably lightened since I finished reading the book. It has the best maps of the recent Burton biographies, but the fewest illustrations. Sources are well documented. Previous reviewers have commented upon the state of the editing of this book; they make some good points. But speaking (NOT speke-ing) as someone who has tried to read everything that they can find by and about Sir Richard Francis Burton, Lovell's A Rage to Live is the best single source on the subject.

4-0 out of 5 stars The final word?No.Illuminating?Definitely.
Author Lovell clearly wants to refurbish Isabel Burton's image, and she has done so.In doing so, Lovell does not appear to have let the desire to attain that goal outrun the evidence at hand.Indeed, Lovell provides the reader with a considerable body of previously unknown and/or unused material which supports her contention that Isabel Burton---long branded as some sort of religion-filled and -frenzied lunatic---was of a piece with many other Victorian women who actually helped their husband's careers immeasurably.(Consider, for example, Elizabeth Custer, wife of George Armstrong Custer.)This book is not the end-all-be-all for those interested in Richard Burton, however, for there is actually very little in the way of detail about his travels and experiences.This makes sense when the narrative hits areas Burton himself purposely left blank (his Indian years, forinstance).But this approach makes for problems in areas Burton purposely highlighted.I enjoyed the book as a book, and found Lovell a stylish writer who alerts her readers to her own biases (always welcome in a historian).But for those who have read about Burton before this could---stress on "could"---be an oddly unsatisfying piece of work.For those who come to the subject fresh, or wish to round out their understandings about this intriguing couple (hence the "could" caveat above), this is a wonderful book.It is, after all, not all about Richard (although Richard might've thought so; yet even here, Lovell makes him a good deal more rounded in his sensibilities and sensitivities than many who've earlier given him a go ).The book is about a couple, and within those parameters it is a solid and fascinating volume.

5-0 out of 5 stars An astonishing life, definitely a keeper
I have very much enjoyed Lovell's previous biographys (on Jane Digby and on the Mitford family) firstly because she goes all out to uncover new material, secondly because of her meticulous detailing of all sources - especially when going against the traditional view of previous writers, and lastly because I think she makes her subjects real and therefore an incredibly good read. She certainly does that with the Burtons - necessarily so because both Isabel and Richard Burton led full and active lives (it seems almost to be underselling the incredibly contributions they made to Victorian society) and the 700 odd pages which Lovell uses to talk about them barely seems enough.

Having read the other reader reviews on this book I was struck by one person opining that there wasn't enough discussion on Burton's books in here. I would say that there is enough. This is a biography and it covers an awful lot of ground. Each of Burton's books was about his travel, and each trip is minutely detailed in which Lovell uses not just his books, but his notes, his letters, and other sources to track not just his trips, but the dynamics of his relationships with others. I also think it is fair to say that Lovell has talked about the impact his books made on society - certainly many of his books are still in print and in some cases are still used as text books in modernEastern study as they are still considered relevant.

Both the Burton's come alive under Lovell's pen. Isabel's intense love for Burton - and his for her. Lovell is careful in discussing each of Burton's controversies in life such as his falling out with Speke, and his inability to seem to get on with other men (Rigby, Playfair, the Ambassador while as Consul in Damascus and so on).Again these petty political battles are carefully detailed and the entire growth of each situation shown. Lovell demonstrates how many of Burton's strengths were also his greatest failings. He had a huge intellect, great intellegence but little patience and diplomacy to follow his calling in the Foreign Office. His energy was generally spent on his exploring in which he was ably supported and often accompanied by his wife, Isabel. Certainly with as many enemies as Burton managed to make, coupled with his ironic sense of humour he managed to leave behind a mythology of a rather horrid nature what he did and didn't do. He was fond of telling self-deprecating stories to people - at the expense of his reputation. Lovell has sifted through these rumours and misinformation to find the real man and his exploits underneath. These are no less amazing only less voilent.

Burton was a scholar and a linguist of some note. While in India he learnt a number of the major dialects and would have been officially noted as the foremost scholar in the field had not professional jealousies prevented him from being credited with his last language exams. Certainly he passed top in his class in each of his exams. He opened up inner Africafor future European explorers making it possible for them to confirm the source of the Nile, he also was the first European to make the Haj as a disguised as a muslim - and these are just a few of the explorations he undertook.

I think Isabel comes off a lot better under Lovell's pen than I have read about her before. She has also suffered a great deal of bad press in the past - again her own deeds are obfuscated by rumour and dislike. She was not the most likeable woman in the world, but in conclusion I did feel she was the only woman who could have matched Burton, especially in that stultifying conventional world which Victorian England limited their women to inhabiting.

I really enjoyed this book. It was a long read - hard to do with a young baby handing around -but each chapter was almost like a new story. Lovell was excellent in tying each chapter in the Burton's life together into a fresh story - a fresh outlook on the Burton's altogether a satisfying read. ... Read more

Isbn: 0393046729
Subjects:  1. Biography    2. Biography & Autobiography    3. Biography/Autobiography    4. Discovery And Exploration (General)    5. Explorers    6. Explorers' spouses    7. Great Britain    8. Great Britain - History - 19th Century    9. Historical - General    10. Scholars    11. Biography: general    12. Burton, Isabel    13. Burton, Richard Francis    14. Geographical discovery & exploration    15. Marriage    16. United Kingdom, Great Britain    17. Bargain   

Mindhunter : Inside the FBI's Elite Serial Crime Unit
by John E. Douglas, Mark Olshaker
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Paperback (01 August, 1996)
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Editorial Review

Mindhunter enters the minds of some of the country's most notorious serial killers to tell the real-life story of the Investigative Support Unit (ISU) -- the FBI's special force that has assisted state and local police in cracking some of the country's most celebrated serial murder and rape cases. The unit specializes in understanding the chemistry and mechanical workings of the brain's of these serial criminals, and did its homework by interviewing such murderers as Charles Manson and David Berkowitz (the Son of Sam). John Douglas, who worked for the FBI for 25 years, is an authority on the unit, and his book combines the best of nonfiction with that of a murder mystery. ... Read more

Reviews (154)

4-0 out of 5 stars Crime fighters best resource
First in a three part series describing the creation of the Investigative Support Unit (ISU) of the FBI which profiled cases involving serial killers and rapists.Immaculate detail given for each case as well as `psychological fingerprints' that allow law enforcement to catch most of the suspects.Cases covered include the Green Rivers killer, Susan Smith and the Atlanta Child Murder case.Well written and easily to understand, a real page turner.Not for the faint of heart or anyone offended by graphic descriptions or language.

5-0 out of 5 stars How to spot dragons before they hatch
I bought Mindhunter: Inside the FBI's Elite Serial Crime Unit, for research purposes.I'm writing a book about playing the "good guys" who hunt typical movie slashers, and this book seemed like a good introduction into how the ESCU works to catch the bad guys.What I got was something else entirely.

John Douglas is a very scary man.He's someone who has seen far too many horrific crimes, such that they affect him personally-when his kids scrape their knees, Douglas recounts tales of children torn in half by a murderer.When his wife cuts her finger with a kitchen knife, he points out how the spatter pattern would tell a story about what happened.Ultimately, this sort of exposure leads to a divorce and Douglas is upfront about the damage his profession did to his job.

The book starts out with Douglas in the hospital, the victim of being overworked and without enough manpower to help him.Near death, he recounts the creation of the ESCU and his struggles in making the profiling of serial killers (he invented the term) a legitimate profession.But it does not go into much detail as to how the ESCU works.In fact, it's more about Douglas and about the murderers themselves.

And what a ghastly rogues gallery it is!We have serial killers who invent vigilante groups to cover their tracks, we have killers who like to fly prostitutes out to woodlands and then hunt them down like deer, killers who believe God is telling them to kill people, and killers who strangle, rape, drown, and stab.

I read "Legacy of Blood: A Comprehensive Guide to Slasher Movies" at the same time and found an odd juxtaposition between the two books.Legacy of Blood states that the comfort of slasher flicks is that the bad guy is easily recognized by his disgusting appearance and his sudden attacks, when in reality serial killers often look like normal people and torture their victims for hours.

Not true, according to Mindhunter.Indeed, many of the killers are degenerate slimeballs, incapable of social contact and forced to use blitz-style attacks against the weak and helpless because of their inadequacies.Many have severe stutters, bad acne, or some other disfigurement.Nearly all have been abused in some fashion by their parents.

By now, the serial killer traits are well known: bed wetting, fire starting, and torturing small animals.But Douglas makes it clear that in every case, it's the child's upbringing that so horribly warps them to a life of murder.There are no strong role models to stop these children from turning into monsters; indeed, when children fall into the cracks, serial killers are what sometimes crawl out of them.

Unfortunately, exactly how Douglas comes to his conclusions is a lot like magic.Despite all of his attempts to legitimize what he does, his efforts amount to "and then magic happens!" Then Douglas comes up with a startling accurate profile.He never lets us know when he's wrong. That's a minor quibble with a book that I couldn't put down.

Mindhunter is as much a cautionary tale as it is a woeful biography of Douglas' life.Only one of the victims actually manages to turn the tables on their assailant.And in just about every other case, the killers were on murder sprees that lasted years with dozens of victims.As Douglas puts it, "sometimes the dragon wins."

As an author, this book gave me a host of ideas on how the good guys and the bad guys work. As a citizen of the United States, it gave me a new appreciation for the FBI.As a husband, it gave me a healthy regard for the mentally disturbed. A must read for anyone who wants to understand how to spot the dragons before they hatch.

2-0 out of 5 stars Don't bother reading this book
I believe this is my second John Douglas book and although I enjoyed the first one, this one was rather boring.I still haven't finished reading it.Douglas put too much of his own personal life in this book and as always he likes to praise himself , things I don't care for.He jumps around too much in this book and it sometimes get's confusing. If you like John Douglas don't buy this book. ... Read more

Isbn: 0671528904
Subjects:  1. Criminal investigation    2. Criminology    3. Murder - General    4. Nonfiction - True Crime / Espionage    5. Political Freedom & Security - Law Enforcement    6. Psychology    7. Serial murder investigation    8. Serial murderers    9. Social Science    10. Sociology    11. United States    12. Biography & Autobiography / General   


No Man Knows My History : The Life of Joseph Smith
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Paperback (01 August, 1995)
list price: $18.00 -- our price: $12.24
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Reviews (117)

5-0 out of 5 stars No Man Knows My History...
Brodie presents a frank and controversial study of Mormonism, guaranteed to offend conservative minds.

1-0 out of 5 stars shoddy research
While it was an interesting read, though to be fair quite negative of the Mormons, further research into her sources reveals that she does appear to pull some of them out of thin air.Some of the sources simply do not exist that I can find.A few are quoted accurately. Others are quoted out of context or misquoted entirely.Some are second-hand accounts from people who felt slighted or were disgruntled. Such accounts do not make for very objective research.

I did read Hugh Nibley's rebuttal, and while it is somewhat polemical, it does answer ms. Brodies half-hearted effort to discredit the Mormon church, which she belonged to as a child. While some Mormon practices do seem weird, they are no less peculiar than those of any other faith, such as Islam or even Reformed Presbyterianism.

What strikes me most is the virtual absence of any positive information about the Mormons founder Joseph Smith other than a token "he meant well." Despite her access to official Mormon archives, ms. Brodie failed to bring out any original material from the single most authoritative source. The Mormons have spent tens of thousands acquiring documents, some true and some discredited forgeries, regarding their history, and have perhaps the most complete history of any church, so far as original documentation is concerned.

When reviewing this book, don't simply look at the fact that she cites everything, look into those citations to ensure that they really are accurate, and that they truly exist.

If you are looking to educate yourself about the Mormons, use a balanced approach.Read material from both sides, preferrably that which is written from an objective point of view.I would also recommend reading from Hugh Nibley's extensive writings (particularly "Tinkling Bells and Sounding Brass") if you are interested in Mormon theology.While it is geared for the Mormon believer, it can offer valuable insights to the Mormon church.

Don't take this book at face value.

1-0 out of 5 stars Walk In Mud,Your Shoes Get Dirty
My entire life has included constant exposure to this attempt to capture,beat and bury poor old Joe Smith.She is a many decade favorite with those who like to throw rocks at all things LDS.Living in VA,in the shadow of Monticello,her horrible,discredited "biography"of our beloved Mr.Jefferson,should show the casual reader that her scholarship is extremely suspect.Reading her book is like going to a Harry Reid/Nancy Pelosi press party for ALL your info on the Bush administration.Her view of Smith is so twisted,so fabricated,so devoid of actual truth, as to make one wonder why anyone would care.But itching ears go for what fits their desires.Many desire to dismiss Smith as a charlatan,fake,fraud-Keep trying.Ain't gonna happen. ... Read more

Isbn: 0679730540
Sales Rank: 15116
Subjects:  1. 1805-1844    2. Biography & Autobiography    3. Biography / Autobiography    4. Biography/Autobiography    5. Literary    6. Religious    7. Smith, Joseph,    8. Biography & Autobiography / Literary    9. Smith, Joseph   


Nightfall at Nauvoo
by Samuel W. Taylor
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
Paperback (01 February, 1974)
list price: $2.75
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Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Great Mormon Novel (?)
Sam Taylor was one of the very best writers of Mormonism's "Lost Generation": a group that co-existed roughly at the same time as Hemingway and that cohort and had ambivalent feelings about their Mormonheritage."Nightfall at Nauvoo" is Taylor's masterpiece.It'sthe story of the church from the 1838 Missouri period to Joseph Smith'sassassination in Illinois in 1844.It could be called a historical novel,but it mixes straight history with fictionalized narrative, much like theother books in this trilogy, "The Last Pioneer" and "RockyMountain Empire".The effect (and tone) is not unlike like that ofTom Wolfe.Taylor loves his people but can't restrain his satirical bent. The result isa mixture of reverence and realism that is unique in Mormonliterature.This is an epic story well told, and should be interesting toanyone who enjoys Western American history.

5-0 out of 5 stars One Of the Most Important Stories In American History.
I remember picking up a paperback copy of this book years ago simply because it had a chilling picture of some covered wagons leaving a town during a snow bound winter, and the title added to the ominous impression.My thought was "Why would anyone travel in those conditions?" Iwas soon to find out. This book was first published as a hardback byMacmillan Company of New York, New York in 1971, and it drew me into one ofthe most exciting, colorful, and extraordinary true stories that was everrecorded about the wild West during the 1840s. It's a good thing no one hadtold me that this was about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter DaySaints, popularly known as the Mormons, because had I known that I wouldhave thought "Oh, Oh, religion," and not given it any furtherinvestigation. I came from a Catholic background, and I didn't really thinkabout it until later, but the Mormon church was the other importantorganization responsible for settling the West. Once a person has thisinsight, they won't be surprised when encountering entire shelf loads ofbooks about Mormons in bookstores run by folks who actually know somethingabout Western Americana. What you have in this book is the story of a townbuilt by the Mormons in Illinois, and how controversies arose there whichresulted in the death of Joseph Smith, the founder of the church. Now I'mnot going to spoil it for you by filling in too much, but after JosephSmith was killed at Carthage, just outside Nauvoo, his church split into anumber of competitive factions. The largest of these, the Church of JesusChrist of Latter Day Saints, is based in Salt Lake City, Utah. The secondlargest one, the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints,is headquartered in Independence, Missouri. There were other factions whichcame out of the incidents in this story as well, but the largest areusually the most familiar. This story will introduce you to thecontroversies that go on to this day between many Mormon sects - and alsobetween Mormons and the outside world. It will give you an understanding ofwhy there are so many people hooked on collecting anything they can aboutMormon splinter groups, or anything published by those sects. In fact, theculture of Mormon politics is exciting enough to quench the thirst ofanyone already hooked on political ideology or more familiar forms ofreligious theology. Imagine a true story which is partly a nerve wrackingwild West shoot out, and blend that with the scattering seeds of a peculiarreligion, and you've got some idea of the riveting read you're in for.Nightfall At Nauvoo is the reason I'll usually stop to examine any bookabout LDS (Mormonism), and it's also the reason I nearly always find thetime to say hello to their missionaries. It is a great story by a greatwriter, on the same level of importance as Jim Bishop's The Day Lincoln WasShot; Bernal Diaz's Conquest of New Spain - about Cortes bringing down theAztec empire; and William Connelley's perfect telling of Quantrillsdestruction of Lawrence Kansas. Some readers may even appreciate that ithas similar elements. ... Read more

Isbn: 0380002477
Sales Rank: 631203
Subjects:  1. History - General History    2. United States - General   

Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies
by Jared Diamond
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Hardcover (01 March, 1997)
list price: $29.95 -- our price: $18.87
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Editorial Review

Explaining what William McNeill called The Rise of the West has become the central problem in the study of global history. In Guns, Germs, and Steel Jared Diamond presents the biologist's answer: geography, demography, and ecological happenstance. Diamond evenhandedly reviews human history on every continent since the Ice Age at a rate that emphasizes only the broadest movements of peoples and ideas. Yet his survey is binocular: one eye has the rather distant vision of the evolutionary biologist, while the other eye--and his heart--belongs to the people of New Guinea, where he has done field work for more than 30 years. ... Read more

Reviews (700)

5-0 out of 5 stars A convincing explanation of human progress
This book dropped into my lap at exactly the right time and place, and it inspired in me a fascination for global history that has remained with me ever since.

Prior to reading this brilliant book, I knew that I was supposed to believe that the hugely varying positions of different peoples in the world was nothing to do with race and genetics. But for all I knew, this was just the result of modern PC ideology, and I had yet to encounter convincing arguments supporting this view.

Diamond's book was epic, and I will never forget it. Certainly, I can now see why a continent such as Australia - where to this day only the cashew nut has been successfully cultivated or domesticated of all its flora and fauna - provided little opportunity for Australian aborigines to embark on an era of dramatic population increase, technological achievement, and advanced civilisation. The point is fairly simple and obvious at heart: Give one group of people little and another group plenty, and - unless there is some way for those with little to take from those with plenty (as has happened frequently) - you can fairly much expect that those with plenty will move ahead.

In 'Guns, Germs, and Steel' this logical truth is explained so thoroughly and convincingly that upon finishing this compulsive read I felt myself to be quite comfortable on the subject. It is one of those reads from which you learn an incredible amount and yet retain an incredible amount also. I cannot say enough for this book. I have known it to satisfy both laymen and academics alike and I recommend it to all.

5-0 out of 5 stars There is no master race
The western colonising pioneers have left a legacy of racial bias to their descendants. Wherever white folk have taken civilisation to the savage native populations the indigenous peoples have suffered destruction of their own cultures (which were invisible to the colonizers or regarded as proof of the natives' savagery)and racial vilification. The superiority of western culture, as perceived by Europeans, has been taken as proof of the superiority of Europeans themselves and the inferiority of the colonised peoples. Surely, the arguement goes, if they had been as intelligent, hard-working, creative or favored by God as the Europeans, they would have developed advanced cultures as the Europeans have done.
Diamond's book is a brilliant riposte to that racist arguement. He shows how domesticatible plants and animals were the key factor in the development of farming allowing the abandonment of a hunter and gatherer existence. He shows that the so-called inferior cultures lacked those resources. He shows that the development of farming allowed specialisation in production, the development of an army and resistence to disease through close contact with farm animals which are the ultimate source of most human infections. He shows that colonising forces were able to subdue indigenous populations by infecting them and carving them up with their superior weapons.
Once again science demonstrates the folly of racial supremacy theory. Good on you, Jared!

5-0 out of 5 stars Guns, Germs and Steel
An interesting book, which tries to explain the emergence of western civilization as the dominant culture in our times. Revealing though it is; it failed to explain a lot that defied the views postulated. A great read though. Collapse, Disciples of Fortune, The Third Chimpanzee are other interesting books to read. ... Read more

Isbn: 0393038912
Subjects:  1. Anthropology - General    2. Archaeology / Anthropology    3. Civilization    4. Ethnology    5. History    6. Human Evolution    7. Human Geography    8. Human beings    9. Life Sciences - Evolution    10. Social Science    11. Social evolution    12. Sociology    13. World History    14. Science: General Issues    15. Reading Group Guide   


Early Mormonism and the Magic World View
by D. Michael Quinn
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Paperback (01 December, 1998)
list price: $19.95 -- our price: $13.57
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Reviews (25)

4-0 out of 5 stars Hard reading but worth it.
Quinn's latest edition of "Early Mormonism and the Magic World View" is not a light and easy read.However, the information contained is well-documented and Quinn makes a compelling case for the origins of the Mormon faith.Quinn is surprisingly non-judgmental of Joseph Smith and early Mormon leaders in this book and appears to, as best as possible, dispassionately explain early Mormonism within the framework of 19th Century superstitions, occult practices and folk magic.Quinn addresses a facet of Americana that doesn't get enough research or serious discussion; the role that folk magic and the occult played in 19th Century America.

After reading this book, many of the myths and practices of Mormonism make more sense and the unique culture and history of this remarkable church is much better understood.This groundbreaking work, though ridiculed by so-called FARMS scholars, sets the standard for early Mormon studies and is one of the most valuable books out there for understanding Mormon origins.

One concern I have with the most recent version is that Quinn appears to spend too much time answering his critics and responding to apologists for the Mormon Church.Quinn's research and perspective stands on its own without reference to apologists.Perhaps a chapter addressing apologists separately would have worked better than addressing them throughout the book.Apologists (or as Quinn calls them "polemicists") really aren't worthy of the mention Quinn gives them in this book. They aren't scholars but advocates and mention of them and their spurious arguments should be relegated to the back page as Krakauer did in "Under the Banner of Heaven."Quinn is a courageous and honest scholar.Soiling his book with the opinions of non-scholars such as Daniel Peterson and that Hamblin dude only weakens the book.Even so, I gave this book four stars because of the value of the information contained. This book stands with other groundbreaking works such as "No Man Knows My History" as a standard reference in Mormon studies.Thanks to Dr. Quinn for putting together such a remarkable resource.

I welcome feedback on this and all reviews at wstrnlibwarrior@yahoo.com

1-0 out of 5 stars Scholarly?!
This book seems to be a very scholarly work, and Quinn gives very persuasive arguments in support of his thesis.However, on further investigation of his sources, one will find that some of his citations are downright dishonest representations of historical records, some are simply taken out of context, and some are taken from irreputable sources (unfortunately, I do not have the space to treat all of these items).Quinn simply cannot be trused with his sources.In addition, he equivocates the use of the word "magic" in the early nineteenth century with its current usage, thus leading the reader astray.Although he spends quite a bit of time trying to show that it was possible that Joseph Smith could somehow have had access to occult books, he never really shows that there actually was a connection.

Perhaps a better theory is on why Quinn wrote this book in the first place.More likely than the idea that Joseph Smith was steeped in the occult is the idea that Quinn's theory was based on documents "acquired" by Mark Hoffman that portrayed early Mormon leaders being associated with magic.Unfortunately for Quinn, the rug was pulled out from under him when the documents were shown to be forgeries. As a generally respected scholar, Quinn most likely tried to save his face by finding his own evidence.Although he argues his point very convincingly by using ad hominem attacks against his opposition and "refuting" alternative theories, his evidence is weak and his conclusion does not follow from it.

This book does not accurately reflect reputable documents on Mormon history.A person desiring an understanding of Mormon history should look elsewhere.Reputable biographies of Joseph Smith have been written by such scholars as Robert Remini (not affiliated with the Mormon Church) and Richard Bushman.These will present a much-less-skewed view of the foundings of the Mormon Church than Quinn's work.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Reflection of culture
One of the problems I keep seeing in history is the attempt to avoid the cultural influences on the subject.There are those who say that Joseph Smith was a charlatan because of his interest in money digging, yet it was a respectable (or at least not considered a scam) by the majority of his peers in the western NY area.If Joseph Smith were a charlatan it comes from other sources that the author did not discuss.He merely put the origins of Mormonism into a context of the culture surrounding him.He attempts to draw no conclusions on the veracity of the revelations received, but does show how the Smith family and later others were influenced by the folklore magic surrounding them.To call this a pro-mormon book would be laughable as many who read this might find their faith in question.However, to call this anti-mormon is almost as comical has he creates no proofs nor demonstrates any counter to the basic LDS claims.
Personally, I found the book enlightening, particularily in the footnotes where he discusses his arguments with FARMS (and almost supports the opinion I had been forming with respect to FARMS).To read this is to find some of the connections on the influence of culture on the style of the phraseology used in the Book of Mormon and further emphasize that there is a significant (which I believe apologists will disagree with) influence from Joseph's background and the events of his surroundings.
I do think that the title doesnt really give the non-historian a good perspective of the book,I would rather title it "Early Mormonism and the Cultural Influences of Folk Magic" ... Read more

Isbn: 1560850892
Sales Rank: 184955
Subjects:  1. 19th century    2. Christianity - Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Da    3. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints    4. History    5. History of doctrines    6. Latter-Day Saints (Mormons)    7. Mormon Church    8. Occult Sciences    9. Occultism    10. Religion    11. Religion - Mormon / LDS    12. Religious aspects   


Fast Food Nation
by Eric Schlosser
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Hardcover (17 January, 2001)
list price: $25.00 -- our price: $15.75
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Editorial Review

On any given day, one out of four Americans opts for a quick and cheap meal at a fast-food restaurant, without giving either its speed or its thriftiness a second thought. Fast food is so ubiquitous that it now seems as American, and harmless, as apple pie. But the industry's drive for consolidation, homogenization, and speed has radically transformed America's diet, landscape, economy, and workforce, often in insidiously destructive ways. Eric Schlosser, an award-winning journalist, opens his ambitious and ultimately devastating exposé with an introduction to the iconoclasts and high school dropouts, such as Harlan Sanders and the McDonald brothers, who first applied the principles of a factory assembly line to a commercial kitchen. Quickly, however, he moves behind the counter with the overworked and underpaid teenage workers, onto the factory farms where the potatoes and beef are grown, and into the slaughterhouses run by giant meatpacking corporations. Schlosser wants you to know why those French fries taste so good (with a visit to the world's largest flavor company) and "what really lurks between those sesame-seed buns." Eater beware: forget your concerns about cholesterol, there is--literally--feces in your meat.

Schlosser's investigation reaches its frightening peak in the meatpacking plants as he reveals the almost complete lack of federal oversight of a seemingly lawless industry. His searing portrayal of the industry is disturbingly similar to Upton Sinclair's The Jungle, written in 1906: nightmare working conditions, union busting, and unsanitary practices that introduce E. coli and other pathogens into restaurants, public schools, and homes. Almost as disturbing is his description of how the industry "both feeds and feeds off the young," insinuating itself into all aspects of children's lives, even the pages of their school books, while leaving them prone to obesity and disease. Fortunately, Schlosser offers some eminently practical remedies. "Eating in the United States should no longer be a form of high-risk behavior," he writes. Where to begin? Ask yourself, is the true cost of having it "your way" really worth it? --Lesley Reed ... Read more

Reviews (1184)

5-0 out of 5 stars Do you still want a burger?
Incredible, essential and finally out for all to see.Take a look at what goes into the "American meal" and see if you emerge changed.This book is a gift.

4-0 out of 5 stars Nothing Beats a Fine Burger
Frankly, there is a dark side to anything and the subtitle of this book is a transparent and alarmist attempt to catch attention and sell books.I for one, resent the author's sometimes snide implication that the market isn't capable of providing healthy food or that people aren't capable of making more educated eating choices.However, for any lover of fine burgage, this is a captivating summary of the history and scope of the fast-food market that is both well-researched and an interesting read.

This book gets four stars based solely upon the author's recognition of the ultra-quality In-n-Out burger--the product of a chain born in Southern California that is fanatically dedicated to providing the freshest and highest-quality fast food according to a recipe and menu that has been unchanged for over 40 years.(Name any other restaurant that can guarantee that the meat was never frozen and where the french fries start their day in potato form and I'll be there buying lunch.)The author's recognition that the entire market is or should be chasing In-n-Out, i.e. focusing on the quality of the food, truly shows that this guy knows his stuff.

If consumers accept crappy merchandise, that is what the market will provide; rather, consumers should demand quality, especially when their food is concerned.Perhaps the message of this book lies more in the fact that so many of us fail to exercise our freedom to discriminate between good and bad even when all it takes is walking across the street to a better restaurant.

5-0 out of 5 stars fast food nation
Am i the only one that sees the obvious here. This book does enlighten us on the harmfullness of fast food and the chemicals they put in it, and so on. But then why does the FDA approve it!! Why are they allowing the gross food to be sold. Because they are taking payoffs from the fast food companies. Read the book "natural cures they dont want you to know about" and you will know all about it. ... Read more

Isbn: 0395977894
Subjects:  1. American cooking    2. Business / Economics / Finance    3. Convenience foods    4. Corporate & Business History - General    5. Fast food restaurants    6. Food Industry Services    7. Food Science    8. Food industry and trade    9. Industries - General    10. Industries - Hospitality, Travel & Tourism    11. Nutrition    12. Popular Culture - General    13. Sociology    14. Technology    15. United States    16. Social Science / Popular Culture   


The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark
by Carl Sagan, Ann Druyan
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Paperback (25 February, 1997)
list price: $14.95 -- our price: $10.17
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Editorial Review

Carl Sagan muses on the current state of scientific thought, whichoffers him marvelous opportunities to entertain us with his own childhoodexperiences, the newspaper morgues, UFO stories,and the assorted flotsam and jetsam of pseudoscience.Along the way he debunks alien abduction, faith-healing, and channeling; refutes the arguments that science destroys spirituality, and provides a "baloney detection kit" for thinking through political, social, religious, and other issues. ... Read more

Reviews (320)

5-0 out of 5 stars Clarity and reason
I have just finished reading this book and could not put it down. Dr Sagan has a brilliant way of explaining the complex issues that surround human superstitious behavior in a way that is both entertaining and informative. This book is simply magnificant, a triumph of crear thinking that humanity should be thankful for.

Everyone should read this book. It should be studied in schools, it should be placed in hotel rooms in place of the bible.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Candle in the Dark
This is a simply wonderful book. In the introduction, Carl Sagan recounts a conversation he had with a cab driver, whom he calls "William F. Buckley." "Mr. Buckley" is interested in things like the lost continent of Atlantis, UFO abductions, and other "pseudosciences" instead of real science.

The book is a series of essays that seek to debunk some of these pseudosciences (UFO abductions, the Face on Mars, and faith healing, to name a few) and explain why people seem drawn to such things. In so doing, Dr. Sagan also explains how the scientific method is used to advance humanity's knowledge, and why science is the best (and only) way to understand the world around us. He explains how scientists must be both extremely imaginative and extremely skeptical, how scientific discovery always contains some uncertainty, and how even scientific mistakes can help advance knowledge.

There's a particularly interesting essay called "The Fine Art of Baloney Detection," in which Dr. Sagan presents the "Baloney Detection Kit." The Baloney Detection Kit includes several tools that can be used to help winnow out the truth (Dr. Sagan uses these to ask pointed questions about J. Z. Knight, the channeler of "Ramtha"), and also lists many logical fallacies.

The essays convey Dr. Sagan's awe and wonder at the natural world and his dedication to science, but are never cruel, dismissive, or condescending to the "Mr. Buckleys" of the world.

5-0 out of 5 stars a must-read
I read this 7 or 8 years ago.It's gotta be one of the best books I've ever read.I have never misplaced my copy of it.

I would be hard-pressed to remember specifics about any other book I read so long ago, but Sagan's style (and his choice of examples) is so lucid that to this day I can recall many of his examples.

I still dip into it from time to time to reread various hilarious or engrossing sections (e.g., "Carlos to appear in Australia, the discussion of how Lourdes water is actually harmful for you, the face in Mars, the crop circles, the primer on fallacies, etc.).

I have also discovered that I am not alone in thinking this book should be required reading for American high school students.

A sublime effort. ... Read more

Isbn: 0345409469
Subjects:  1. Controversial Knowledge    2. General    3. Literacy    4. Methodology    5. Philosophy & Social Aspects    6. Popular works    7. Science    8. Science/Mathematics    9. Study and teaching    10. Science / Philosophy & Social Aspects   


The Dragons of Eden: Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence
by Carl Sagan
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Paperback (12 December, 1986)
list price: $7.50 -- our price: $7.50
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Reviews (49)

5-0 out of 5 stars It's a shortcut to self-awareness
What drew my attention to this fantastic book is that each chapter Dr. Sagan delivered us a complete chunk of knowledge about brain functioning. The information came in layers using a precise and simple vocabulary turnning this book in a real delight. The book credibility came from Sagan's writting style showing us clearly the difference between his opinions and science facts. After reading it you'll look to humans and beasts with a different perspective. Keep this book intact, you'll consult it constantly!

5-0 out of 5 stars An Example of Balanced Thought
While this book is in many ways dated, it is also in many ways timeless.The ideas that Sagan presents are not only related to science and technology, but also spirituality and ideals.The scientific aspects of the book are dated, but of course they are.I found those areas of the book to be entertaining and nostalgic, particularly the section about the video game Pong.Still, aside from the retro appeal, the less tangible (less scientific) ideas are age-old, thought provoking, and I dare say, inspirational.
Yes, at times Sagan is not always as critical as he could (should?) be.That is not what this work is about.It is an open-ended exploration of ideas - one idea being the idea of the critical mind. This exploarion is not only based on facts, but also possibilities. Sagan speaks of the importance of utilizing both the left and right hemispheres of the human brain equally, and the cross-disciplinary discussions in The Dragons of Eden serve as a good example of the benefits of balanced thinking.
As is the usual, Sagan's sense of humor is subtle and always right on time.

5-0 out of 5 stars Turn your Thinking about Thinking Upsidedown.
I had certainly heard of Carl Sagan, but only in terms of cosmology. I had no idea that he wrote extensively on the field of evolutionary biology-stimulated by his wife, the biologist Ann Druyan.My field is not science, so The Dragon's of Eden was my first encounter with the idea of the tripartite brain. The idea does not originate with Sagan, as he himself points out,but this slender volume makes the idea quite assessable for the lay person and, more importantly, it creatively explores the idea's possible implications.Although I read this book years ago, I have thought of it several times a week since then, as I speculate upon some of the biological causes of human behavior.Newer models of the brain have already proved some of the basic ideas in this book as a bit oversimplified, but if you are looking for an introduction to speculating about how the brain's evolution may shape human behaviors, this is great place to start.I found the book a "mind blower"-and I always pick it up used when I see it to give to friends.Prepare to have your perceptionof perception itself turned upside down. ... Read more

Isbn: 0345346297
Sales Rank: 60286
Subjects:  1. Brain    2. Cognitive Psychology    3. General    4. Genetic psychology    5. Intellect    6. Life Sciences - Evolution    7. Science    8. Science/Mathematics    9. Science / Environmental Science   


Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy
by Kevin Bales
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
Paperback (01 July, 2000)
list price: $17.95
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Editorial Review

The horror of slavery, says Kevin Bales, is "not confined to history." It is not only possible that slave labor is responsible for the shoes on your feet or your daily consumption of sugar, he writes, the products of forced labor filter even more quietly into a broad portion of daily Western life. "They made the bricks for the factory that made the TV you watch. In Brazil slaves made the charcoal that tempered the steel that made the springs in your car and the blade on your lawnmower.... Slaves keep your costs low and returns on your investments high."

The exhaustive research in Disposable People shows that at least 27 million people are currently enslaved around the world. Bales, considered the world's leading expert on contemporary slavery, reveals the historical and economic conditions behind this resurgence. From Thailand, Mauritania, Brazil, Pakistan, and India, Bales has gathered stories of people in unthinkable conditions, kept in bondage to support their owners' lives. Bales insists that even a small effort from a large number of people could end slavery, and devotes a large chapter to explaining the practical means by which this might be accomplished. "Are we willing to live in a world with slaves?" he asks. As a sign of his commitment, all his royalties from Disposable People will go toward the fight against slavery. --Maria Dolan ... Read more

Reviews (12)

5-0 out of 5 stars How much did your television cost?
If you think slavery was abolished after the American Civil War, then read this book. Schoolbooks these days are mostly filled with historical references to the evil trade in slaves. Something that was used to build empires, but eventually was overcome by a moral desire to right the wrongs of the past. But next time you buy charcoal at the local Wal-Mart, think about the human and environmental cost of your BBQ. This book gives an excellent overview of modern slavery in various forms from direct servitude to forced labor in countries like Mauritania, Brazil, Thailand, India and Pakistan to the extent of an estimated 27 million people in some sort of forced labor worldwide. As a person interested in human trafficking, I found this book gets right to the heart of why so many people are in trouble in the world. Easy and cheap labor is a necessity of global corporations, the cheaper the better. What is cheaper than someone you don't have to pay? Bales looks at not only the economic factors, but also the cultural factors involved which keep people succumbing to slavery. Many cultures regard women or certain races or ethnic groups as inferior and therefore available for exploitation. This is one hindrance in the fight against slavery. The book is very well-researched (including undercover research)and only left me wishing the book was longer and wanting to learn more.

5-0 out of 5 stars Globalism and Capitalism: The Story Behind the Story
Disposable People, by Kevin Bales, presents in disturbing and often uncomfortable detail what he labels as "new slavery" within the global framework of capitalism. Having traveled to Thailand, Mauritania, Brazil, Pakistan and India Bales illustrates for readers the dire conditions in which his respondents live and toil day after day.When discussing the new slavery, Bales points to four elements that allow for its persistence (31): Slaves are cheap and disposable; Control continues without legal ownership; Slavery is hidden behind contracts; Slavery flourishes in communities under stress.According to Bales, with these conditions in place, a way of life for 27 million people (conservative by his estimates) around the world is strengthened.

Well organized and logical in its approach, Bales begins with the issue of prostitution slavery in Thailand brothels and ends the book with a discussion of what can be done to eliminate slavery from the planet.By opening the discussion with prostitution-slavery, Bales not only puts the issue in the reader's face, he shows that Siri, a fifteen year-old enslaved prostitute, could be either a neighbor's child or worse yet one of our own.In using this approach, he grabs the reader's attention and holds it as he guides them around the globe for an unsettling understanding of the social conditions in these five countries; conditions which promote the entrenchment of such a heinous institution.Making several references to the African slave trade in the United States and Caribbean, Bales illustrates how new slavery is not only brutal in its enforcement, it is often accepted among tenets of religious and social norms in some countries and surreptitiously hidden behind dubious employment contracts in others.Being, more often than not, overlooked by investors engaged in what he calls "arms length capitalism" many corporations feign shock and ignorance when made aware of their role in creating and sustaining such conditions.

Having gained access to countries, sometimes under a guise other than social researcher, Bales gathers important interviews, which provide considerable data, which support his thesis, that today's "slavery focuses on weakness, gullibility and depression" as a mainstay in societies where it is present.Not only is his work timely, it is also path breaking provided his admonitions of"don't put this book on the shelf" and "ask hard questions" of charities, politicians and pension fund personnel are heeded.Not unlike efforts, which ended South African Apartheid, Bales' suggestions are a road map that readers can employ to bring the situation from the back burner to the front in seeking to make slavery unprofitable to corporations who are complicit in its existence.While some corporations and business owners turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to such atrocities in the name of profits, by pressuring multinational corporations the cycle of slavery will see its demise.

Disposable People is a good, albeit extremely disconcerting, read that explores the reality of slavery and the story behind the story as it is tied to an ever-expanding global framework of capitalism.Not only is it informative for the academic, it is also approachable by the non-academic alike.Given so, it will not only cause considerable discussion within academia, it will enlighten lay readers as to realities faced by millions of people around the globe.

Needless to say, while reading Disposable People, I found myself cringing, aching and even mentally placing myself into the conditions faced by Bales' respondents.Doing so, my mind periodically wandered to the quest for reparations by some African American scholars, lawyers and concerned parties in the United States.And a question nagged me, given the seemingly entrenched nature of Bales' "new slavery" as it is tied to global capitalist expansion and disenfranchisement, are proponents for economic reparations the equivalent of Albert Camus' Sisyphus?I mean,from a legal perspective, if efforts in the direction of an economic solution are realized, what does such a decision hold for the conservative estimate of 27 million slaves around the globe?

4-0 out of 5 stars A clear and documented picture of modern slavery
As far as I'm concerned, this book only scratches the surface in regard to the dangers of powerful corruption in the hands of those at the top of a global economy. Suspiciously averse to pointing out what I consider to be an increasing wedge of slavery in the U.S., Bales nevertheless paints a clear and documented picture of slavery elsewhere that the U.S. clearly benefits from. We need more books like this, and Anti-Slavery International <http://www.antislavery.org> definitely needs more help and promotion. It doesn't have to cost a lot of money. Anyone who runs a website can give them a hand.

Read this book. Give it for Christmas. More, now than ever, how workers are being viewed and exploited is the most important window on where our government is going in 2004. ... Read more

Isbn: 0520224639
Subjects:  1. International - Economics    2. Labor & Industrial Relations - General    3. Political Freedom & Security - Civil Rights    4. Political Science    5. Politics/International Relations    6. Sociology    7. Sociology - Social Theory   

The Real Science Behind the X Files: Microbes, Meteorites, and Mutants
by Anne Simon
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
Hardcover (04 October, 1999)
list price: $25.00
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Editorial Review

In The X-Files episode "The Erlenmeyer Flask," FBI agent Dana Scully shows some bacteria to microbiologist Anne Carpenter, who pronounces them extraterrestrial: containing different DNA nucleotides than those found in Earthly organisms. But like the hapless redshirts of Star Trek, scientists who uncover extraterrestrial evidence have shortened life expectancies. Indeed, Carpenter is soon snuffed out in a highly suspicious car crash. But the real scientist on whom she was based, University of Massachusetts virologist Anne Simon, remained as scientific advisor to the popular program: she is the "X-Pert."

In her book, Simon describes the scientific basis of various X-Files episodes, and writes about some of her behind-the-scenes work putting the Scully into Scully. Sometimes it gets a little difficult to keep track of when Simon is describing an episode and when she's talking about cutting-edge science, but that's part of her point: "The life of a research scientist is filled with mysteries as complex as any that appear on The X-Files. We are Scullys." Simon knows that this show, for all its paranormal apparatus, gives a taste of the thrill of real science, enough to be inspiring a new generation to follow in Scully's footsteps. --Mary Ellen Curtin ... Read more

Reviews (12)

5-0 out of 5 stars Simply Wondeful !
I love the X files and I'm a mixture of Mulder and Scully with regard to their beliefs. But after reading this book, I think I have become a scully!This book is so lucid and simple in its explanation of certain "paranormal" phenomenon. The author does a wondeful job combining biology and humour to explain to the lay person that not all things are paranormal and that if you do a little scientific research most of the things out there will make sense. All my knowledge on DNA, chromosomes, cancer comes from this book !Though she herself admits that not everything you see on the X files can be explained by science, most of the things that happen on a macro scale in the X files happen on a micro scale in real life. Genetic mutation is a reality, a virus surviving an cosmic travel is plausible, and so on. Finally, for those of you who are deceived by books written by the layperson/idiots/quacks, read this book and you will become fascinated as to what science has to offer.

5-0 out of 5 stars For the Scientist and Non-Scientist
I came upon this book at the house of a friend and couldn't put it down.

It is a wonderful read and, to a non-scientist, an entertaining and clear look at some of the scientific mysteries of the universe.

This is a perfect book for a graduation present and for anyone with an interest in brain-sucking worms, aliens and mutating organisms.I recommend it highly.

5-0 out of 5 stars Way More Entertaining than a normal biology textbook...
Sexual tension aside, the coolest thing about this show seems to be thequestions it poses about nature and science as we know it. And being amolecular biology student, I always get a kick out of shooting down thesupposed theories that the show's characters spout out. It's hard sometimesto figure out if Chris Carter and the powers that be are really seriousabout certain phenomenons/ideas. This book clears it up nicely. Dr. Simonis completely knowledgeable about these topics and presents the informationwith much more gusto than your typical molecular biology textbook. I'drather be tested on her book come final exams, but such is life! :) ... Read more

Isbn: 0684856174
Subjects:  1. General    2. Genetics    3. Genetics +    4. Life sciences    5. Philosophy & Social Aspects    6. Science    7. Science/Mathematics    8. Television Plays And Programs    9. Science / General   

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