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The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy
by Robert Audi
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Paperback (01 September, 1999)
list price: $32.99 -- our price: $20.78
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Reviews (17)

4-0 out of 5 stars A useful reference work.
As a classicist/medievalist I have found this book to be very useful as a reference work while working on my own areas of study (intellectual life in late antiquity and the high middle ages). I suspect that other people working in different philosophical fields would find this work just as useful, as this edition covers a wide variety of philosophers from vastly different times and places. As someone who is generally interested in philosophy and the history of ideas, I often enjoy browsing the sections on individual modern, postmodern and Asian philosophers, and so I have found this book to be helpful in expanding my own intellectual horizons. Anyone else seriously interested in ideas and/or their academic study will also find this volume both interesting and rewarding.

5-0 out of 5 stars A few comments
Maybe it's just me, but I think that over the last 30 years there's been a dramatic improvement in the quality of short reference works in philosophy since I first studied it way back then. I had several of the classic one-volume books in the past, including some that are out of print now, such as Dagobert Runes's brief Dictionary of Philosophy (which wasn't exactly a "classic," but anyway, it was an enjoyable brief exposition nevertheless), but I think the ones that are available now are much better.

This book is certainly an example of that trend, considered by some to be the best in the field, and for good reason. The current edition sports a team of 440 contributors, with 400 new entries, including 50 on important contemporary philosophers. It also claims to have more entries on non- Western and non-European philosophy than an other comparable volume, including Arabic, Islamic, Japanese, Jewish, Korean, Latin American, and even African. I can't vouchsafe all of those claims, but certainly the coverage of Arabic and Islamic subjects is much more extensive than was the case in such reference works in the past. Another thing I liked is the coverage of modern logicians such as Quine and also philosophers of science, which was my main area of interest, is especially strong.

The entries range in length from a brief paragraph to an entire column (the pages are printed in two-column format), to several pages for important philosophers or key ideas in the history of philosophy. This book will appeal mostly to serious students and professionals seeking a brief refresher or discussion of whatever topic they're looking for, but the writing is often livelier than one might expect for a philosophy tome. Some, such as the one for Emerson, are as readable and enjoyable as anything I've ever read in the field, competing with Hector Hawkins's wonderful little book, Philosophy for Pleasure, a little gem of an introductory classic from the 50s that is now long out of print. All in all this is a great reference work and sourcebook for anyone interested in the subject of philosophy.

4-0 out of 5 stars Very satisfying.But sure enough, an hour later...
This fine reference performs its function admirably, cataloguing the most important milestones in the history of philosophy and explaining abstruse ideas in clear language.What it really lacks, though, is some good ethnic jokes. ... Read more

Isbn: 0521637228
Sales Rank: 46405
Subjects:  1. Dictionaries    2. General    3. Philosophy    4. Reference    5. Philosophy / General   


Alternative Realities: The Paranormal, the Mystic and the Transcendent in Human Experience
by Leonard George
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
Hardcover (01 January, 1995)
list price: $35.00
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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars A delightful reference book of extraordinary experiences
This book is an excellent reference book that includes almost every variety of unusual and extraordinary human experience.Leonard George's writing is clear and down-to-Earth as he describes such esoteric topics asESP, telekinesis, lucid dreaming, meditation, and mystical experiences.Ilove the way each entry contains both an explanation and at least oneexample, so it's easy to quickly comprehend what is being discussed.Somedefinitions go even farther, and cover the history and background of thephenomena around the world.This book is a delightful encyclopedia toeither read sequentially or simply as the need arises to look something up. ... Read more

Isbn: 0816028281
Sales Rank: 988569
Subjects:  1. General    2. New Age    3. Parapsychology    4. Parapsychology - ESP (Clairvoyance, Precognition, Telepathy)    5. Psychology   

The Penguin Dictionary of Curious and Interesting Numbers (Penguin Press Science S.)
by David Wells
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
Paperback (27 November, 1986)
list price: $13.95
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Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars a really neat book
Everyone has that smart-alex relation who ruins Thanksgiving dinner by proving to every four year old inthe room that they know more about math than they do. There are several waysto deal with such a pain in the posterior but the least likely to involve violence and police intervention is this book.

There are few `wonderful' books ... you can count them with the fingers of one hand ... this is one.

The `smart-alex' in the family would call this book: `just a book on popular mathematics' thunder against it and not know 1/100 th ofthose facts within.

This isunderstandable number theory ... I guess you could call it that. It takes a number, some whole integers and some fractional or decimal parts and tells you about them. What they are made off, how to use the number, howit was used historically ... in other words it not dry like those awful wiggly things scraggy armed Mr. Enngenheimer [whomever] bored you with in high school

5-0 out of 5 stars a really neat book
Everyone has that smart-alex relation who ruins Thanksgiving dinner by proving to every four year old inthe room that they know more about math than they do. There are several waysto deal with such a pain in the posterior but the least likely to involve violence and police intervention is this book.

There are few `wonderful' books ... you can count them with the fingers of one hand ... this is one.

The `smart-alex' in the family would call this book: `just a book on popular mathematics' thunder against it and not know 1/100 th ofthose facts within.

This isunderstandable number theory ... I guess you could call it that. It takes a number, some whole integers and some fractional or decimal parts and tells you about them. What they are made off, how to use the number, howit was used historically ... in other words it not dry like those awful wiggly things scraggy armed Mr. Enngenheimer [whomever] bored you with in high school

4-0 out of 5 stars No recreational mathematician should be without it
In the foreword to G.H. Hardy's book A Mathematician's Apology, C.P. Snow tells an anecdote about Hardy and his collaborator Srinavasa Ramanujan. Hardy, perhaps the greatest number theorist of 20th century, took a taxi from London to the hospital at Putney where Ramanujan was dying of tuberculosis, Hardy noticed its number, 1729. Always inept about introducing a conversation, he entered the room where Ramanujan was lying in bed and, with scarcely a hello, blurted out his opinion about the taxi-cab number. It was, he declared, "rather a dull number," adding that he hoped that wasn't a bad omen. "No, Hardy!No, Hardy," said Ramanujan, "it is a very interesting number. It is the smallest number expressible as the sum of two cubes in two different ways."

Usually it takes a great deal of insight as well as considerable mathematical training to discover a yet unknown properties of some number. Only recognizing the beauty of a number pattern is much easier, though, especially with a friendly book like this one on hand. Wells, a long-time mathematics popularizer, has collected over 1000 numbers he considers interesting. Each of them is given a short explanation, often accompanied with a bibliographic reference. Celebrities among the numbers, like i, e or Pi, are given a more comprehensive treatment. Included are also several sequences, like Fibonacci's, Mersenne's, Fermat's, Carmichael's or Kaprekar's, each accompanied with its explanation. So are cyclic, amicable, untouchable or lucky numbers, and many more sequences you probably didn't know about.

While Wells' dictionary certainly gives the impression of a well-researched work, the list of numbers is by no means exhaustive. Anyone familiar with chaos theory will notice the absence of Feigenbaum constant; prime hunters would probably be interested in discussion on Woodall primes, Sophie-Germain primes, or Proth primes. But they are better off with Paulo Ribenboim's book on primes, anyway, while Wells' book, with its easily understandable explanations and accessible price is probably more suited for the "recreational mathematics" audience. ... Read more

Isbn: 0140080295
Sales Rank: 653142
Subjects:  1. Number theory    2. Science/Mathematics    3. Mathematics   

The Encyclopedia of the Paranormal
by Prometheus Books, Gordon Stein
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Hardcover (01 February, 1996)
list price: $160.00 -- our price: $160.00
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Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Thorough!
If you're looking for a text that sings the praises of all manner of paranormal activity then this is not your book.It's not "how to talk to Angles" and "Ghost Hunting 101" -- this is a serious look at paranormal phenomenae.If you want a text which explores all of the angles in a scientific manner and in a language which is not too technical but also not sensationalism then this is one to look at. Certainly, if you're a serious student of paranormal activity, you'll want this for your library.

1-0 out of 5 stars The Encyclopedia of the Paranormal
This book should have been entitled "A CriticalAnalysis of the Paranormal."If your looking for objectivity, this book is not for you.

5-0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking and scintillating, a real page turner!
If you are a scholar of the paranormal, or a beginner just starting outlike me, you will be held enrapt by this wonderful compilation. ... Read more

Isbn: 1573920215
Sales Rank: 896369
Subjects:  1. Body, Mind & Spirit    2. Encyclopedias    3. New Age / Parapsychology    4. Parapsychology    5. Parapsychology - General    6. Reference   


The HarperCollins Dictionary of Mathematics
by E. J. Borowski, J. M. Borwein
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
Paperback (28 August, 1991)
list price: $21.95 -- our price: $14.93
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Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars Good reference, but an amazing toilet reading material!
If you're anything like me, you enjoy reading while in the toilet, doing one of the necessities of human nature, this reference has a great "random open" feature, where you can just slide your thumb at any page and find an interesting term you can think and learn about, I dont know how much the shallow discussion to these complex terms is really useful, but it gives you interesting things to think about, it also contains some mathematics history and some information about famous mathematicians, the paperback cover provides for some nice comfortable format, this dictionary has replaced the old Almanac I used to open randomly when I'm bored.
A 5 star for the cuteness.


4-0 out of 5 stars Nice Dictionary
I'm yet to find a better maths dictionary.Lots of definitions.Well organized/cross-referenced.As an undergraduate, I'm yet to look up something and be disappointed.Handy tables at the back.

It doesn't get 5 stars because of a few glaring misprints.

5-0 out of 5 stars So good I own 2 copies
This is by far the best Mathematics Dictionary I have ever come across.My original copy has been so well read it is held together with tape!I keep one copy at work and one at home and reccommend it to all my Math majors.It is really useful for undergraduate and graduate Math majors and still handy for faculty.As well as good definitions for most math terms it also has short bios for many mathematicians which can be useful in adding historical context to a course. ... Read more

Isbn: 0064610195
Sales Rank: 40861
Subjects:  1. Dictionaries    2. General    3. Mathematics    4. Reference    5. Study Aids / General   


Encyclopedia of the Middle Ages, The
by NormanCantor, HaroldRabinowitz
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Hardcover (01 June, 1999)
list price: $45.00
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Editorial Review

As greater numbers of naysayers look forward to the collapse of civilization, perhaps it's best to see what happened last time. It turns out the Dark Ages weren't so bad--in fact, after reading through The Encyclopedia of the Middle Ages, you might find yourself pining for the good old days before the Renaissance. Historian Norman F. Cantor has assembled a crack team of experts to unleash their copious knowledge on our modern world; better still, Viking Press has enlisted excellent designers to present the information efficiently and even beautifully. You'll find yourself irresistibly drawn from one entry to the next (there are over 600, so leave time for browsing) as the story of the Council of Nicaea leads on to explorations of medieval Christianity and much more. Twenty longer essays on general topics provide the foundation for the rest of the Encyclopedia and make great reading on their own, but the meat of the book is in the details. Lavishly illustrated in both color and black-and-white, including artworks, maps, and timetables, this reference work looks as good on the shelf as it does on the coffee table. --Rob Lightner ... Read more

Reviews (12)

3-0 out of 5 stars good work but typos?? hurt
This is a beautifully produced book with hundreds of color plates. There are many areas barely touched upon, but this is not a deep work, just one meant to acquaint people with Medieval times and possibly lure to a more in depth study. But since this is an "encyclopedia", I ask did you ever get in depth works there? They are merely the start of a journey. If you think along those lines you will have a clear view of how this books works and serves. So approach it as that and you will be pleased.

It is merely a starting point. Some inaccurate information, so beware to double check sources when using information. Not sure if the errors were done in actual research (hard to believe of a Rhodes Scholar) or just typos. Either way, in a work such as this they really hurt the credibility.

4-0 out of 5 stars 1000 of History
'The Encyclopedia of the Middle Ages', edited by Robert Cantor (Rhodes Scholar, Fulbright Fellow, &c.) is a good reference work, an encyclopedic dictionary, covering the roughly 1000 years from the fall of Rome to the Renaissance. In addition the usual definition-explanation entries, it has three types of sidebar essays: Illuminations, which focus on sources, Life in the Middle Ages, which talks about common life details, and Legend and Lore, which explores imaginative concepts which informed medieval life.

There are maps, literally hundreds of photographs and illustrations, a layout that is inviting for study, reference, or general reading. It is 'easy on the eyes', much more so that a usual encyclopedia.

The scope of this work is also broader than most medieval reference texts. 'Despite what students of medieval history are accustomed to reading, life did exist outside of Europe in the Middle Ages.' That having been said, this is still a very euro-centric book. This book gives a great deal of attention to science, medicine, and other topics often ignored or pushed to the periphery of a more politically-oriented textual treatment.

There is an introductory essay that is well worth reading even if this is meant to be an on-the-shelf-for-reference-only sort of book. In talking about the influence on popular culture of the Middle Ages (everything from The Name of the Rose to the medieval garb, feudal structure and apprenticeship-education framework of Star Wars), Cantor says:

'In order to recognise [this Middle Ages influence] one has to have at some time known, and this has been the job of historians, who today painfully append to Santayana's famous saying (about those forgetting the past being condemned to repeat it) the observation that one cannot forget a history one did not know in the first place.'

Cantor describes twentieth century medievalists as being on a quest for 'wellsprings of a romantic and idealistic consciousness that would inspire a vibrant counterculture.' There is some of that in this book, but largely being encyclopedic rather than analytical and critical in nature, the reader/researcher can use the information contained herein for his own evaluations.

From the Abbadid and Abbasid Dynasties to Yaroslave the Wise and Yugoslavia, from Boethius to Wycliffe, this book has hidden treats and interesting articles for all.

1-0 out of 5 stars Not a reliable sourcebook for the Middle Ages
Supposedly, this book was put together by some of the "world's most distinguished medievalists"!One hopes not!In addition to the glaring errors of taste and judgment pointed out by some of the other reviewers, the factual errors are astonishing!One of the most egregious errors occurs on p. 138: "Eleanor of Aquitaine, wife of two kings, Philip I of France and Henry I of England"!!!!! Eleanor, of course, was the wife of Louis VII of France and of Henry II of England!This kind of sloppiness is simply not acceptable in a book that purports to be by "someof the world's best medieval historians" (fronticepiece).The pictures are pretty; some of the articles are acceptable (but hardly noteworthy), but the book should be avoided at all costs by serious (or would-be) students of the Medieval Period. ... Read more

Isbn: 0670100110
Subjects:  1. Encyclopedias    2. History    3. History - General History    4. History: World    5. Medieval    6. Medieval World History (Circa 450 - Circa 1450)    7. Middle Ages    8. Reference    9. History / General   

The Seventy Greatest Conspiracies of All Time: History's Biggest Mysteries, Coverups, and Cabals
by Jonathan Vankin, John Whalen
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Paperback (01 October, 1998)
list price: $19.95
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Editorial Review

The book may claim to chronicle the "greatest conspiracies of all time," but there's a decidedly 20th-century bent to Vankin and Whalen's compilation--not that there's anything wrong with that. Many of their selections are familiar territory--the Kennedy and King assassinations, government suppression of UFO data, questions about Marilyn Monroe's suicide--but this edition has been updated to include information on more recent events like the death of Princess Diana and the Oklahoma City bombing. (Although not without some disheartenment: "Back in the good ol' days when conspiracy theorists were still considered crackpots," they lament, "it actually took some kind of evidence to get this kind of frenzy under way.... Now anytime some poor sap dies every frat boy with an Internet account races to be the first in his quad to post the conspiracy of the moment.") The individual essays are written in savvy, journalistic prose, and the authors freely admit that they don't have the answers to any of these mysteries. But that's part of the entertainment value of such historical paranoia--you're always free to imagine some new twist. ... Read more

Reviews (28)

5-0 out of 5 stars Several years later, and I STILL re-read it!
Especially in the post-9\11 world of intrigue, The 70 Greatest Conspiracies of All Time is by far one of the best tomes ever committed to print.It has nearly EVERTHING: the first Gulf War(where the name Enron mysteriously appears), MK-ULTRA, Roswell, the Men in Black(the "real" ones), fluoridation, and of course the assassinations of the Kennedys.With humor and self-awareness, Johnathan Vankin and John Whalen take you on a bizarre yet all-too-real trip through the foggy underbelly(can an underbelly be foggy?) of conspiracy!

5-0 out of 5 stars You know...I am stunned by the interest,, good and bad
Despite the rather weak title (it put me off a little - and there ware only 60 then) I read this book from cover to cover, and while I know most of the speculation involving these "deep political processes" (I much prefer Peter Dale Scott's distinction between the two), I was stunned by the level of knowledge and real research and committment here. Forget the history teacher that gave 1 star for lack of research - that is laughable. To even make 60 cases for intregue (now 70) and make them well and coherently says a whole lot. My hat is off to the authors for the Pan Am 103 expose. If it ever does come out properly, that could outrage a whole new section of a 'silent but skepticle public'. Notice Qadaffi, now America's new lap dog. INFORMATION is power, and guys like binLaden, Hussein, and Qadaffi have a whole bunch of it. Drugs; the covering and "doubling" of the runners; the huge illegal profits which can be funneled around the Legislative Laws of the Land. These are at the heart of the tragedy of Pan Am 103. My point is that we need to get middle-minded, middle-class, good, bright, loyal Americans to start to take some of this stuff seriously. May I humbly suggest losing the word "conspiracy" - I know that it sells books, but it is the rope which is being used to hang and invalidate the concept of "deep political process". The authors make real valid points with what most people know is fishy, 'cause they've heard about it: MK/ULTRA, the October Suprise - which I think went further than anyone has dreamed. My view is that Carter was sabatauged WHEN the hostages were "TAKEN" - oh...just another American 'asleep at the wheel" intelligence failure? C'mon, we did the same thing with the same cast to Iran and through Iran not but 20 some years earlier. Carter gets screwed by his CIA (bumblers, huh?) much like Dulles ****ed Kennedy in the Bay of Pigs, much like BOTH Dulleses did to Eisenhower every time he tried to make a detente move. The pattern is there and it is well documented - forget that the hostages came home the day the Gipper was sworn in...think about how IMPOTANT Carter was made out to be. Look at the results - No-one gets hurt, the Contras get their arms, we get our "hostages" (and our drugs, and cash) and Carter loses by the biggest landslide since Goldwater disappeared. OK, I'm off topic again. Sorry. This book is So well researched, that I am suprised it is still in print, Seriously. Gore Vidal's Essays from 1992-2000 have been discontinued at public libraries. This is getting very Orwellian. I guarantee you'll find something her that makes you pause. I can only guess what the new 10 are...

5-0 out of 5 stars Sleep well my child, for everything's fine out there...
Ah here's another book destined to disgust the orthodox thinkers of this world who insist everything is clear-cut out there. If you belong to that caste you need not bother with the book or this review. The rest do read on.
Basically, this book is the musical industry's equivalent of a "best of". While seasoned conspiracy theorists will tell you that there's definately more than 70 conspiracies that need listing this is not the aim of this book.
What it aims at is to serve you with a summary of the top conspiracy material circulating planet earth and poke you on to do the rest of your reading yourself (or should i say the rest of your thinking?).
What you get is a short summary for each of the 70 conspiracy theories listed here. They seem to be well researched too for anyone with a deeper reference to all these theories.
True, most of the stuff being "investigated" here belong to the really glorified conspiracy theories, and, it's very probable you've heard or read them somewhere before: aliens, area 51, mind control programs, JFK, machurian candidates, secret weapons to name but a few.
The writting is very entertaining especially since the authors don't omit to add their own touches of sarcastic scepticism to some of the most extreme theories they involve.
More addvanced students of conspiracy lore (if you want to call it that) will probably not be satisfied here as this book is nothing more than a very dense presemtation of the "facts".
But, if you are just starting to get into this kinda stuff this book is a cool start as it will smoothly and effectively introduce you to the trenchcoated world within your world.
And if some of the theories presented here seem a bit "too far out" for your tastes just remember that "nothing is really as it seems" whether you believe in conspiracy theories or not.
Reality is not monodimensional anyway, and neither is the level of reality that we humans can interfere with.
Or are we humans to start with? But no, i better not get into that one.. ... Read more

Isbn: 0806520337
Subjects:  1. Conspiracies    2. Crime And Criminals    3. History    4. History - General History    5. History: World    6. Miscellanea    7. Modern - 20th Century    8. Reference   

Portable Curmudgeon, The
by Various, JonWinokur
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Paperback (01 October, 1992)
list price: $13.00 -- our price: $9.56
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Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent, one of the best, could've used an index
I give it 5 stars because it's one of the best of its kind. Compare, for example, a few pages to "The Curmudgeon Woman" and you may understand my meaning. The latter book is filled with weak minded quotes. I couldn't find a single intelligent epigram, let alone any caustic ones. On the other hand, it must take a certain degree of perseverance to weed out the blandest of quotes from the otherwise fine writers that Ms. Henley has researched. But the key to quality curmudgeon thinking is intelligence.

Winokur's interviews and commentary, the latter of which is minimal, are engaging. Apparently he's something of a purist crank himself. The most brilliant of the Algonquin generation: Parker, Mencken, Fields is an interesting and brief read. He's a witty interviewer, too: he asks the right questions and doesn't underestimate, fully understands the intelligent nuances of his interviewees. The Liebowitz interview, for instance, is a classic, and the bios of Fields, Kaufman and the beloved hypochondriac Oscar Levant are actually rather touching, balancing out the cold detachment necessary in creating a book of this type. If I'm gushing, I apologize, particularly in this setting, but I believe Winokur nailed this one.

On the down side, the book was created, published in 1987, so it can be, at times a bit dated, such as in the interviews, but this is minimal. The arrangement of the quotes is alphabetical according to various topics which, for some reason, never seems to help me. I find myself searching too long to find a quote that I remember is somewhere in there, only what damn topic was it under, you know? An index would have been helpful, but then I guess that would have extended it and threatened its portableness. Consequently, I tend to enjoy it more as a browser.

It's a great travel book because it really is portable, not too heavy to hold and also fits in a coat pocket like a paperback, yet isn't a paperback, so it's fancier and makes a nice gift. I'm promoting it because I believe that people should read the thoughts of intelligent people. The problem is finding such intelligence in the hay stack of a library or book store. This book does a great justice by doing the research work and finding the most intelligent quotes. It's no small wonder that the smartest of thoughts are also the most caustic.

5-0 out of 5 stars Curmudgeons should like this one..
The only quotation book I've seen that is limited to Curmudgeons and it stays fairly true to its theme.It shows what a mean spirited and miserable bunch most curmudgeons are.They are more to be laughed at than laughed with. Most seem to have a very negative existance and it would be hard to imagine spending much time with any of them.How could you find them likeable when they don't even like themselves;but that would suit them just fine.If you are looking for wit,humor and great observations on life in general,you'll find this book lacking;except possibly the quotes from Twain.However,if you like self-centered satire emanating from a deep seated bitterness and loneliness ,then this is for you.
Webster defines a curmudgeon as "a bad tempered,churlish man."
Many of the characters quoted don't fit that definition and certainly it doesn't fit females.Example.."one more drink and I'll be under the host."..Dorothy Parker.How is that a quip from a curmudgeon?
The interviews were a bit of a drag and a better effort would have been to give a short note on each quoted,especially the less known names;and an index by author.
I have rated this book on how well the compiler completed what he set out to do.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great little book, tons of laughs per page
I'm a little young to know many of the people who are quoted in this book, but the hilarity of the quotes made me look up and start reading authors like George Shaw and Oscar Wilde.Those two names should give you an indication of the type of quotes you'll be reading in this little gem.Most are wry, a bit sarcastic, pessimistic and critical.

I have no idea what book the previous reviewer was reading when he talked about the author's interpretations of the quotes.I've had this book for years and went thru it tons of times; there are no interpretations.It is a bunch of quotes on topics arranged alphabetically with some selected biographies mixed in.It actually reads quite nicely.

Buy this book unless you agree with Oscar Levant..."I have given up reading books; I find it takes my mind off myself". (pg 34) ... Read more

Isbn: 0452266688
Sales Rank: 37604
Subjects:  1. American - General    2. American wit and humor    3. General    4. Humor    5. Large Print    6. Quotations    7. Quotations, English    8. Wit and humor    9. Humor / General   


Vampire Book: The Encyclopedia of the Undead
by J. Gordon Melton
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Paperback (01 December, 1998)
list price: $24.95 -- our price: $16.47
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Editorial Review

J. Gordon Melton has the credentials: he's a religious historian, author of 25 books about religion and vampires, president of the American chapter of the Transylvania Society of Dracula (founded in Bucharest, Romania), and chairman of the committee that put on Dracula '97: A Centennial Celebration in Los Angeles. The Vampire Book is meticulously researched and well organized. Included are an article on the cultural history of the vampire; a historical timeline; addresses of vampire societies all over the world; a 55-page filmography; vampires in plays, opera, and ballet; a 13-page list of vampire novels; and an extensive index. The A to Z entries, each with a short bibliography, include vampire lore in more than 30 different geographic regions and a comprehensive "who's who," and cover topics ranging from fingernails to sexuality, the Camarilla to Szekelys. ... Read more

Reviews (28)

5-0 out of 5 stars A book you will love... if you like vampires
As far as research goes, this book is a gold mine. No matter what your interest in vampires you will find plenty of information to keep your brain ticking along. Over the years I have done extensive reading on vampires, and it seems Melton has too. His work is factually correct throughout, and he is careful to distinguish folklore from historical fact.

Even if you need to get truly in-depth information, this book is a good place to start. You can get the basics of a concept and then find other places to look for the rest of the details. For any vampire enthusiast (or supernatural enthusiast) this book will definitely come in handy.

That said, the editing sometimes leaves you wanting. There were times during my first reading of this book that I wondered if it had ever seen an editor's pencil. There isn't enough to confuse the information, but it is occasionally distracting. I will say that, after the first reading, I ceased to notice the typographical errors in favor of the wealth of information.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very Well Researched Reference Book - Highly Enjoyable.
The Werewolf Book is a very well researched reference book on Werewolves and Shape shifting. It covers everything from the origins of the Werewolf myth to the Wolf Man movies. It does have, as another reviewer pointed out, a whole lot of entries on popular culture. I think that's wonderful, because this book covers EVERYTHING that has to do with Werewolves, past and present. So, what others see as immaterial data, I see as icing on the cake.

This book covers many aspects of Werewolves, but primarily two; the Hollywood side, and the real side - including myths, legends, historical accounts, authors of fiction novels, Werewolfologists,researchers, etc. The Hollywood articles of this book covers television shows, movies, and even stuff I've never heard of. Whilethis book covers the Hollywood aspect of the Werewolves very well, it does cover about everything you can think of relating to the Werewolves in every culture and legend. Some may not like the `encyclopedic' format, but I do as I can find what I want quicker and more efficiently.

It is definitely worth the price, and easy and enjoyable to read. This book is my best Werewolf book on my shelves of over 50 covering Werewolves and Vampires. Anyone who has ever loved the Werewolf's myths needs to get this book! Being an avid reader and collector of books, this is the first one people pick up and thumb through when in my large study.

The book is full of everything, and is over 400 pages long and 8" X 10" size. The indexes in the back are very helpful. All in all, this book is extremely helpful and I would recommend it to any one who is interested in Werewolves. This book is a must for Werewolffanatics.

I have been a fan of Steiger's works and have read these best-selling books by the author which I highly recommend; `Philadelphia Experiment', `Alien Rapture', `The Star People', and `Project Blue Book'.I also recommend `Vampire Book' by Melton, and `A Field Guide to Demons, Fairies, Fallen Angels and Other Subversive Spirits', by Mack.

5-0 out of 5 stars Impressive Reference for Both Enthusiasts & Casual Fans.
Written by religious scholar and head of the Transylvania Society of Dracula's American chapter, J. Gordon Melton, "The Vampire Book"is an impressive attempt at a comprehensive reference work on vampire lore, from the emergence of documented vampire folklore in the 11th century to the present fascination with vampires in literature, film, and our popular culture. This mammoth volume (919 pages) begins with an forward by Martin V. Riccardo of the Vampire Studies network in which he presents an informative overview of the history of vampires in world cultures. Author J. Gordon Melton's preface addresses the important and sometimes perplexing question: What is a vampire? And there is a chronology of important events in vampire history from the year 1047 to 1997.

The bulk of "The Vampire Book" is 802 pages of encyclopedia that addresses a wide variety of subjects, in alphabetical order, relevant to vampire culture in literature, film, theater, folklore, history, and gaming. Entries for people include writers, actors, directors, and vampire scholars. As an example, the long entry for "Blood" recounts the significance of blood in ancient Biblical and secular traditions and vampire mythology. "Greece, Vampires in" presents the history of vampire legend in Greece. Each entry is followed by a list of sources. Among novels, films, and authors, only works that are considered significant or pivotal are given a separate entry. For example, the "Blade" comic book serial has its own entry. The 1998 film "Blade" does not, although it is alluded to under some other subjects. There are some black-and-white photographs scattered throughout the book, and there is a 16-page color insert in the center.

For those who own the first edition of "The Vampire Book", this "revamped" edition has 100 additional topics and updates on other entries. The vampire filmography that was included in the first edition became too unwieldy. It has been expanded and is now published as a separate book: "VideoHound's Vampires on Video".

Vampire fanatics and casual fans alike will find the "Vampire Resources" section in the back of the book useful. There are lists of vampire organizations, periodicals, and websites in North America and Europe, including separate lists for "Dark Shadows" fans. Vampire dramas on stage and all "significant" vampire novels from 1897 to 1997 are listed. There is a bibliography of vampire non-fiction and literary criticism. And if the subject you seek isn't where you thought it would be in the encyclopedia, there is a 50-page index to assist you.

I'm sure that there will be disagreements on what should or should not have been included in "The Vampire Book", but this is about as comprehensive as we can expect a reference work covering 1,000 years of vampires in popular culture to be. J. Gordon Melton's research is impressive. His writing is fluid and not as dry as might be expected. I'm only a casual fan of vampire film and literature, so I thought that I would use this book to learn about the particular vampire topics that appeal to me. But I found it so interesting that I read the whole thing. "The Vampire Book" is a scholarly resource for all aspects of vampire lore and a highly readable reference for the casual fan as well. If vampires fascinate you, "The Vampire Book" will too. ... Read more

Isbn: 157859071X
Subjects:  1. Body, Mind & Spirit    2. Encyclopedias    3. New Age    4. New Age / Parapsychology    5. Occult Sciences    6. Occultism    7. Supernatural    8. Vampires   


A Skeptics Handbook of Parapsychology
by Paul Kurtz
Paperback (01 December, 1985)
list price: $33.00 -- our price: $22.44
(price subject to change: see help)
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Isbn: 0879753005
Sales Rank: 507803
Subjects:  1. Controversial Knowledge    2. New Age / Parapsychology    3. Parapsychology    4. Parapsychology - ESP (Clairvoyance, Precognition, Telepathy)   


Too Good to Be True: The Colossal Book of Urban Legends
by Jan Harold Brunvand
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Hardcover (May, 2000)
list price: $29.95
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Editorial Review

Have you heard the one about the new computer owner who mistook the CD-ROM player for a cup holder? Or the woman who thought her brains were oozing out of a gunshot wound, when the "truth" was that when her Pillsbury Poppin' Fresh can exploded, striking her on the head with the lid, the goo she felt was biscuit dough? Jan Harold Brunvand, professor emeritus at the University of Utah and author of numerous urban-legend collections, includingThe Vanishing Hitchhiker, The Choking Doberman, Curses! Broiled Again, and American Folklore: An Encyclopedia, has been studying urban legends for some 20 years, and his new book, Too Good to Be True, relates more than 200 of these indestructible tales.

There are relatively recent stories based on modern technology, such as the classic microwaved pet, and yarns that have been making the urban-legend circuit for decades, such as the solid-cement-Cadillac story, which can be traced back to the 1940s, at least, involving a cement-truck driver who spies a new Cadillac convertible in his driveway and his wife talking to some strange man. He dumps his load of concrete on the Cadillac, but later discovers the stranger was a car dealer and the car was to be a gift from his wife, one she'd spent years saving her pennies for.

The stories are grouped by subject, including "Dog Tales" and "Just Desserts," "Sexcapades" and "Losing Face." There are baby stories and work stories, criminal tales and college anecdotes, plus stories of mistaken identity, human nature, and technology. Brunvand achieves more, however, than a mere compendium of highly entertaining stories. He discusses the nature of urban legends--those almost believable, addictively retellable tales that always happened to a friend of a friend (FOAF, in folklorist parlance)--and for each individual story, Brunvand includes as much of its history as he has been able to trace, including newspaper accounts, alternative versions, and the story's natural cycle, that is, how many years, typically, between resurfacings. The result is an exceptionally engaging book and a great resource for debunking that next story, as heard from a friend by that unnamed acquaintance of unassailable honesty, that sounds just a little too perfect to swallow whole. --Stephanie Gold ... Read more

Reviews (25)

5-0 out of 5 stars Buy All Of Jan's Books -- And Check out TURN ME ON DEAD MAN
Dr. Brunvand mentions the "Paul-is-Dead" rumor in his books.This is the singular event that found Beatle Paul McCartney dead. There is a great new book that covers this saga in great detail. TURN ME ON, DEAD MAN: The Beatles and the "Paul-Is-Dead" Hoax by Andru Reeve is now available on Amazon.com But be sure you have enough money left over to buy Dr. Brunvand's excellent Encyclopedia of Urban Legends!!!

2-0 out of 5 stars Portable Snopes rehashes same old stories.
Brunvand has been profiting from everyone's love of urban legends for far too long.His books are a waste of trees since he insists on reprinting the same tired stories over and over.This volume is no exception; its only virtue is that it can be read in the bathroom or while lying in bed.

Yaawn.I recommend www.snopes.com, the Urban Legends Reference Page, for far more entertainment in the form of fresh, tasty urban legends and no dead trees.Visiting the Snopes site is not without risks -- the endless theorizing about the role urban legends play in controlling social behavior is quite boring, and Barbara Mikkelson's (Mrs. Snopes) passion for cutsey "internyms"[i.e., Joe "I Wrote It" Smith] is seriously annoying.Be warned, though -- take the "disturbing image" labels seriously, or you may see some pictures that will stick in your mind far longer than you'd like.

4-0 out of 5 stars Fun and interesting read
Mr. Brunvand's book is a delight to read simply as a collection of Urban Legends - the stories play on our love of fun, irony, mischief, coincidence or even morbid twists of fate.But anyone could compile a bunch of urban legends.The real meat of the book is in Mr. Brunvand's analysis of each legend, or group of legends.It is pretty amazing to see him trace the origins of each legend and pick apart the contents.Several of the legends actually have their root in real events, but most are pure fancy.Why do I give it only a four star rating?I save the fifth for truly outstanding books.This one is fun, but not a must-read.

Format of the book: The author divides the book into chapters based on the theme of the legends.Each chapter has many legends (from his "files"), interspersed with his analysis. In his analysis, he may talk about the feasibility of a legend, the origin, other occurrances of the same or similar legends in history, or sociological aspects of the legend.

"Parental advisory": A few of the legends have some somewhat twisted sexual content.

So bottom line: Fun book - it will keep you entertained and give you the upper hand next time someone tries to tell you one of these legends. ... Read more

Isbn: 0393047342
Subjects:  1. Folklore    2. Folklore & Mythology - Folklore    3. Legends    4. Popular Culture - General    5. Social Science    6. Sociology    7. Sociology - Urban    8. United States    9. Urban folklore    10. Humour collections & anthologies   

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