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    1. Cleopatra: A Life
    2. Broke: The Plan to Restore Our
    3. Guinness World Records 2011
    4. America by Heart : Reflections
    5. Run Like a Mother: How to Get
    6. Pinheads and Patriots: Where You
    7. The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday
    8. The Emperor of All Maladies: A
    9. Silent Screams
    10. The Art of Racing in the Rain:
    11. Stupid History: Tales of Stupidity,
    12. The Warmth of Other Suns: The
    13. All the Devils Are Here: The Hidden
    14. The Communist Manifesto
    15. The Immortal Life of Henrietta
    16. Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes,
    17. Outliers: The Story of Success
    18. Lost Encyclopedia
    19. Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission
    20. The Critique of Practical Reason

    1. Cleopatra: A Life
    by Stacy Schiff
    list price: $29.99 -- our price: $15.59
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0316001929
    Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
    Sales Rank: 7
    Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    The Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer brings to life the most intriguing woman in the history of the world: Cleopatra, the last queen of Egypt.

    Her palace shimmered with onyx, garnets, and gold, but was richer still in political and sexual intrigue. Above all else, Cleopatra was a shrewd strategist and an ingenious negotiator.

    Though her life spanned fewer than forty years, it reshaped the contours of the ancient world. She was married twice, each time to a brother. She waged a brutal civil war against the first when both were teenagers. She poisoned the second. Ultimately she dispensed with an ambitious sister as well; incest and assassination were family specialties. Cleopatra appears to have had sex with only two men. They happen, however, to have been Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, among the most prominent Romans of the day. Both were married to other women. Cleopatra had a child with Caesar and--after his murder--three more with his protégé. Already she was the wealthiest ruler in the Mediterranean; the relationship with Antony confirmed her status as the most influential woman of the age. The two would together attempt to forge a new empire, in an alliance that spelled their ends. Cleopatra has lodged herself in our imaginations ever since.

    Famous long before she was notorious, Cleopatra has gone down in history for all the wrong reasons. Shakespeare and Shaw put words in her mouth. Michelangelo, Tiepolo, and Elizabeth Taylor put a face to her name. Along the way, Cleopatra's supple personality and the drama of her circumstances have been lost. In a masterly return to the classical sources, Stacy Schiff here boldly separates fact from fiction to rescue the magnetic queen whose death ushered in a new world order. Rich in detail, epic in scope, Schiff 's is a luminous, deeply original reconstruction of a dazzling life.
    ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars Masterfully researched and written biography of a great woman
    Stacy Schiff took a great risk when she wrote "Cleopatra: A Life." Can a woman branded a "whore" by the Great Bard himself, ever really have a reputation as anything else? Directly challenging 2,000 year old assumptions that were enhanced by the likes of Dante, and director Joseph Mankiewicz, is a tall order for even the most accomplished writer. Ms. Schiff brilliantly rises to the task.

    Ms. Schiff brings to vivid life a very different Cleopatra from the one depicted to us by playwrights and movie directors. Instead of a wanton seductress relying solely upon her looks, Cleopatra was one of the most authoritative rulers in the history of humanity, inheriting at the age of 18 one of the greatest kingdoms ever known, during a time in history when women had about the same social stature as farm animals.

    Furthermore, Ms. Schiff is a wordsmith extraordinaire. In beautifully constructed prose that reminded me more of Nabokov than your typical biographer, Ms. Schiff paints a lovely, nuanced portrait of a great and vastly misunderstood woman. And what life the author brings to ancient Egypt too! The descriptions of the ancient world in which Cleopatra lived were so vivid that you would think the author was Cleopatra's contemporary, and not her 21st century biographer.

    Ms. Schiff had a tough act to follow with herself; all her previous books have won, or been nominated for, just about every pretigious literary award you can think of.
    I wouldn't be surprised if she at least gets on the short-list for the Pulitzer with "Cleopatra: A Life."

    5-0 out of 5 stars A fuller, deeper, much more interesting take on Cleopatra.
    I'm an avid reader and certainly don't mind books by and/or about men, however, I've always wished there were more books about dynamic, interesting women. "Cleopatra: A Life" more than fulfilled this wish. What I knew about Cleopatra before I read this book came from long ago college classes, the movie with Elizabeth Taylor, and a viewing of the play about her and Antony at a Shakespeare festival. I had the vague impression that Cleopatra was first and foremost a woman who would cast an unbreakable sexual spell on any man who was convenient for her to control. I'm so glad and thankful that Stacy Schiff shows us that Cleopatra was so much more than a seductress; Cleopatra had wit, charm and superlative intelligence.

    The fact that Cleopatra lived through her 20's is a tribute to her intelligence alone, as I simply could not believe just how commonplace murder was for those with power in the ancient world. Then, to maintain her position as Egypt's sovereign, Cleopatra's circumstances dictated that she had to ally herself with the Romans, the world's greatest power at the time. For a time, Cleopatra maintained the upper-hand in the power relations with two of the most powerful Romans, Julius Caesar and Marc Antony; with both men she had much written about sexual relationships. In the end, Rome became her enemy, and they also became her biographer. After reading "Cleopatra: A Life", I get the sense that the patriarchal Romans couldn't bring themselves to write a narrative showing that two of their greatest leaders were outwitted by a woman. Imagine what a biography of Monica Lewinsky would be like if it were written by ardent supporters of Bill Clinton.

    Now, on a separate note, I've read all the reviews thus far for this book, and I've noticed a trend in some of the negative reviews. Although "Cleopatra" was written more for a general audience than Schiff's prior biographies, this is still a work of serious scholarship. I doubt this is a book that most people could easily read at the beach. So with this in mind, if you love the intriguing stories of antiquity, but a book that will demand your attention, then this book is for you. If you want a historical version of "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" then you probably won't like this book.

    In closing, I loved this book. I hope Stacy Schiff's next book is about an overlooked, or misunderstood woman.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The elusive, evasive queen; Slandered for 2000 years

    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
    Cleopatra: A Life
    Stacy Schiff

    Author Stacy Schiff is a Pulitzer Prize winner and in another case was a Pulitzer finalist. She also won the George Washington Book Prize, the Ambassador Award in American studies, the Gilbert Chiard Prize of the Institute Francais d' Am�rique and three NYT Notable Books, The LA Times Book Review, The Chicago Tribune, and Economist books of the year. She received Fellowships from: the Guggenheim Foundation and National Endowment for the Humanities, a Director's Fellow at the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers and much, much more.

    The copy I received from Amazon for review was a typical advanced, uncorrected, proof, Review copy, which is usually a paperback format. Except that in this case the care given to the paperback cover, complete with a florid display of color in a four folded front and back cover, may be a clue to the coming of a hard cover of opulence. This sort of Review copy is more rare than most and it hints at the possibility of a forthcoming major film on Cleopatra.

    As for the content; ah the content... magnifique! One hundred, ten thousand words of unbridled perfection. Stacy Schiff's language is as effusive in was the Queen, which she adorns with deep research - research that blows the cover off more than two thousand years of intentional slanderous inaccuracies. Some by men who hated her, who were, I believe, because of their fear of women of Power, beauty, sexual excellence, confidence and intellect.

    In line after line, paragraph after paragraph, the writing, vocabulary, color and tone of the book is perfection. Words flow into sentences four to ten lines long, and in a few cases paragraphs often cover most of a page, ala Henry James, (Turn of The Screw, etc.) and if you are used to reading the classics in any language, you don't mind it a bit, and some may welcome it.

    Schiff expands her sentences sometimes into nearly page long paragraphs, with serial descriptions of sumptuously, voluptuous parades, banquets and artifacts. She seduces you into falling head over heels in love, and or lust with the girl queen, whose intellect, competence, strategic and tactical planning are equal to if not superior to that of entire enemy nations.

    Cleopatra, a Greek woman, who spoke at least eight languages, played most games as well as or better than her male companions, who were often in awe of her. She who could and did easily charm men with even half an effort, even those who resented, hated and were envious of her (and there were many) made Alexandria the art, cultural and commercial center of the world. Her net worth before her death was valued at roughly $95.7 Billion American dollars, the richest woman in the world, or ever, and among the richest humans (men or women) of all time.

    Her nation became a storied and mythical land in which women excelled in many fields and in comparison to Rome, it was a paradise of perfection. In that and the production of art, decorative items, jewels and ship building was unique, her output of grain was stupendous, as were the creation of exotic clothing, jewelry, and brightly colored clothing were unmatched in all of antiquity. It was a storied land of Amazon females which were also exquisitely feminine. In her case more so. And yet by most evidence and descriptions, though she was not not drop-dead gorgeous, she, by velvety soft, articulate and eloquent voice, and quick wit, quick response, with a satiric sense of humor and the ability to tease, roast, attracted men with her vibrantly vivacious force of personality and her amazingly classical education, which was often superior to that of her enemies. The fabled Library of Alexandria's, mythical contents, grew to 500,000 volumes in fantasy, though most present day estimates say it was closer to 100,000 to 250,000 scrolls.

    Few males could withstand or compete her charm wit and repartee'. These are good reasons why two of the most powerful men on earth fell deeply in comradeship and love/lust with her. Two men who threw away a kingdom and three quarters of the world, just to be with her, whenever possible. Yet, through all of this, she was not, "the whore queen."

    Caesar and Mark Antony were the Charley Sheen of their era, bedding down more women than Hefner, many of which were married to senators and other political and business types. The truth is that despite the slanders of Cicero, Octavian, her rival brothers and sister, Dolabella, Delius, half the women of Rome, and historians of her day later and long after her death, including Lucan, and for centuries afterwords many others using the errors and intentionally reading of motives onto the circumstances surrounding a woman, whose very existence caused them to shrivel in fear of castigation, or swell in lust, despite their fear, even when not in her presence.

    With sumptuous language, the author lays out the truth, beneath the rumors and libels. Schiff uncovers, with exhaustive research, the details as far as they can be deduced without eye-witnesses. She tabulates the incredible odds against Cleopatra even surviving her early teens when she was constantly avoiding assassination at the hands of siblings, adults, traitors, greedy and murderous others all around her. She became, of necessity, a skilled and fearless killer in an atmosphere in which at any turn, or step she could be herself murdered. It was an era where one either learns to kill or is killed. Yet she became a teen aged queen of incredible skills and outlived most of her enemies, and if Mark Antony had acted promptly, she and he would have outlived Octavian and reigned until old age, as co-queen of three-quarters of the world, perhaps including Rome as well.

    The truth concerning her denigrating title (The Whore Queen), by men whose masculinity was threatened by such female of great competence, is easy to unravel. In their case it was the ebony pot calling the kettle black. Most of her male enemies slept with every senator's wife of beauty or wealth, in Rome. Fear and envy was the motivation of the vast majority of those who slandered her. More importantly, was that there is not a shred of evidence of her sleeping with anyone other than Caesar and Mark Antony. Was she a master of poisons? Was she a killer? Was she seductive? Was she manipulative? Yes to the first three, possibly to the fourth, but she lived in a world far different from ours. A world of murder, especially of females in line for Queenship. Was she guilty of incest? No, there was no such crime in her world, nor did she consummate her marriage to her brothers.

    The Mark Antony of the movies and semi-fictional books, was not the Mark Antony of Cleopatra's world. He appeared erratically shifting between competent and ineffective after the death of his mentor Caesar. He failed to eliminate his physically weak chief rival, who was obviously out to destroy him. He seemed to want Rome, Egypt and his position to go away. It appears that the stress of a life of violence, war, intrigue, pressure rendered him inept. He seemed to just want to move away to secret island where love and peace would follow him all the days of his life. He became a fish out of water, and allowed a physical weakling to destroy him. Karma? Tired of warring? Wasted by love and trapped in a world of violence, a soldier who appeared at one time fearless, crumbling and losing his sanity and perspective? Reading between the Schiff lines, I say yes, to all of that.

    Of all of the historical biographies, I have read in my life this ranks it the top five-ten. If you read only one such book this year, I urge you to make Cleopatra: A Life, by Stacy Schiff, the one.

    5-0 out of 5 stars "It is indeed most fine, and befitting the descendant of so many kings."

    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
    As an published author having written (fiction) about ancient Egypt myself, I have to admit I am in awe of this book and its author!

    Ms. Schiff went back to the classic sources and considered each as propaganda, exaggerated legend, and/or fact (the latter being an incredibly rare commodity in ancient texts). For the most part, all the ancient sources of information concerning Cleopatra are a mix of all three of the three aforementioned categories. We have very little by way of artifacts and almost nothing of Cleopatra's actual writings (maybe a fragment containing her preferred sign-off, "Let it be done." and possibly a bit of the end of a letter (that may be a copy of the original). Alexandria, the wonder of the world due to the Ptolemies, is now 20 feet underwater and was looted by Octavion immediately after the deaths of Mark Antony and Cleopatra. A few statues, pylons, and broken bits of structures have recently been pulled from the Alexandrian harbor, but not enough underwater research has been done to date to provide us with much new information.

    Considering all this, it takes great courage for a Pulitzer Prize winning (among MANY other awards) author to tackle such complicated, albeit compelling, subject matter in hope of extracting a logical, accurate-as-possible of not only Cleopatra herself but the torturous times in which she lived. Ms. Schiff refuses to simply reiterate either the oft-repeated Roman propaganda concerning the Egyptian monarch (the Romans despised Cleopatra, in great part due to the manipulations and falsifications of the scheming, obsessive, murderous and ultra-devious Octavion, aka Augustus ) or the glamorously romantic vision conjured and elaborated on by Shaw, Shakespeare, at least 3 spectacular Hollywood films (one silent), and numerous imitators.

    This volume not only makes an exhaustive effort to provide us with a clear understanding of the mind and life of one of the world's greatest leaders, male or female, but manages to successfully weave Cleopatra the person into the hellishly confusing context of the treacherous world in which she lived.

    This is, admittedly, no light read. If that is what is desired, readers might as well pick up the novel based on the Taylor/Burton cinematic extravaganza of a few decades ago. Ms. Schiff's style is scholarly and intense but not beyond the ken of most educated readers willing to pay attention to what they are reading (turn off the TV and rid yourself of background noise). There's a lot to keep track of, yes, but the story takes place in very complex and confusing times. Murder, even within one's own family was rampant, betrayal was a daily event, and a flash of gold or promise of power could turn a monarch's head so quickly that he barely caught a fleeting glimpse of his most loyal comrade as he wields a deadly weapon furiously over his head.

    It would be pointless to try and encapsulate the contents of the book in a short review, so I won't try. I will say I found it to be an admirably fascinating and enlightening read that was amazingly well-researched and stylishly written. Myths are considered and often dismissed as the creations of extremely opinionated authors of and after Cleopatra's time.

    Above all, however, this is the first book that struggles (successfully, in my opinion) to reveal to readers Cleopatra the person rather than the myth; she was not only a brilliant ruler but (to the shock of the ancient world) also a woman. Not only was she other than the dazzlingly irresistible vamp and witch of legend, but she possessed a mind, charm, education and wit so incredible that the two greatest leaders of the Roman world were so captivated by her that they were willing, even eager, to risk their lives and their countries just to be her close companion and sometimes lover (neither of them could legally marry her under Roman law). Cleopatra bore these men children, potential heirs to the vast riches of the most powerful empire in the world at that time. As the author points out, she also ushered in a new era that changed and more often than not improved endless aspects of the rest of the world over the subsequent centuries. We cannot truly understand Cleopatra's motives or actual feelings in many instances, but Ms. Schiff has shifted through all of the most reliable if any of them are truly reliable) authoritative works on the life and times of this most illustrious and fascinating ruler in order to present us with a far more realistic, logical and understandable (not to mention enjoyable) picture than has previously seen print. I wildly applaud her for this wonderful, highly successful and important effort. ... Read more

    2. Broke: The Plan to Restore Our Trust, Truth and Treasure
    by Glenn Beck, Kevin Balfe
    list price: $29.99 -- our price: $14.98
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 1439187193
    Publisher: Threshold Editions
    Sales Rank: 16
    Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review





    In the words of Harvard historian Niall Ferguson, the United States is “an empire on the edge of chaos.” Why? Glenn Beck thinks the answer is pretty simple: Because we’ve turned our backs on the Constitution.

    Yes, our country is financially broke, but that’s just a side effect of our broken spirit, our broken faith in government, the broken promises by our leaders, and a broken political system that has centralized power at the expense of individual rights.

    There is a lot of work ahead, but we can’t move forward until we first understand how we got here. Starting with the American Revolution, Glenn takes readers on an express train through 234 years of history, culminating with the Great Recession and the bipartisan recklessness of Presidents Bush and Obama. It’s the history lesson we all wished we’d had in school. (Did you know, for example, that FDR once made a key New Deal policy decision based on his lucky number?)

    Along the way, you’ll see how everything you thought you knew about the political parties is a lie, how Democrats and Republicans alike used to fight for minimum government and maximum freedom, and how both parties have been taken over by a cancer called “progressivism.” By the end, you’ll understand why no president, no congress and no court can fix this problem alone. Looking toward them for answers is like looking toward the ocean for drinking water— it looks promising, but the end result is catastrophic.

    After revealing the trail of lies that brought us here, Broke exposes the truth about what we’re really facing. Most people have seen pieces of the puzzle, but very few have ever seen the whole picture—and for very good reason: Our leaders have done everything in their power to hide it. If Americans understood how dire things really are, they would be demanding radical reform right now. Despite the rhetoric, that’s not the kind of change our politicians really believe in.

    Finally, Broke provides the hope that comes with knowing the truth. Once you see what we’re really up against, it’s much easier to develop a realistic plan. To fix ourselves financially, Glenn argues, we have to fix ourselves first. That means some serious introspection and, ultimately, a series of actions that will unite all Americans around the concept of shared sacrifice. After all, this generation may not be asked to storm beaches, but we are being asked to do something just as critical to preserving freedom.

    Packed with great stories from history, chalkboard-style teachable moments, custom illustrations, and Glenn Beck’s trademark combination of entertainment and enlightenment, Broke makes the case that when you’re traveling in the wrong direction, slight course corrections won’t cut it—you need to take drastic action. Through a return to individual rights, an uncompromising adherence to the Constitution, and a complete rethinking about the role of government in a free society, Glenn exposes the idea of “transformation” for the progressive smokescreen that it is, and instead builds a compelling case that restoration is the only way forward. ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars A Review of the Book - Not My Position Statement
    Broke, the latest release by Beck, is a surprisingly entertaining text to
    be sure. It's engaging, easy to read and designed as an unapologetic
    agenda...Beck style. It's also packed full of information that is sure to
    create a "teachable moment" among even the most vocal opponent. As a college instructor and business writer, Beck is one of the personalities that tends to draw a lot of attention and followers/critics; for that reason I attempt to stay somewhat up to date with what he/others are doing however, I'm not a "fan" of Beck per se. Although I consider him in the realm of "entertainer" rather than serious economic or political leadership, Beck has done a very real service with the publication of this book if for no other reason than the historical and educational value of the first 2/3 of the book. Also, despite the fact that this is an early review of the book (versus my own personal opinion and/or agenda), please note that this is a verified purchase unlike others. If you want to debate the pro's and con's of the "agenda", the tea party, republicans vs democrats, liberals versus conservatives etc...this is NOT that review.

    Basics About the Book

    First of all, this is a 400 pages of facts, figures, charts, explanations,
    history, examples and action-steps. It contains plenty of resources, ample
    visual impact and a clear concise style that encourages the reader to
    continue reading. This is the hardcover version with dust-jacket and I'm
    happy to say that it was well designed for maximum readability and
    audience appeal. Whether you are the type that sits down and reads 400
    pages at once or just likes to browse a bit here and there, this book will
    work equally well. Plenty of conversation with oodles of tidbits and

    Who Should Read

    Beck Critics - Those that dislike Glenn Beck will not be disappointed - he
    provides plenty of fuel to fire-up even the most reserved of his critics.
    In fact, even hard core Beck advocates are likely to take issue with a few
    items here and there due to "spin" so commonly used by Beck when
    interpreting information and data. Like the old adage, there are lies,
    d-mnded lies and statistics...the cited data is often used for/against
    both sides of a debate, definitions are distorted to the benefit of both
    sides and the usual chicanery is alive and well throughout the book. Yes,
    I cringed at times but let's face it, that is a daily event for most
    Americans that haven't already tuned out entirely. Critics of Beck will
    find ample opportunity to criticize the details, the proposed plan of
    action and even the man himself. However, there is a good chance that even
    the most critical opponent of Beck will actually learn something from this
    book! It is interesting and packed full of relevant historical detail as
    well as food for thought.

    Beck Fans - If you enjoy Beck, this may be his best book to date. It's
    packed with information and is unapologetic in the proposed agenda set
    forth. It's funny. It's informative. It's entertaining. It's educational.
    Without a doubt you will want to buy a copy for yourself, a couple to loan
    out to friends and at least one to keep on hand for naysayers and critics.
    Unless they are so closed to anything other than their very own agenda,
    every thinking person is likely to find something of interest in this
    book. Yes, there is slant or angle but that is true of every "side". What
    does come through (quite clearly) is the position taken by Beck and his
    supporters as well as the reasons and rationale. Agree or disagree, it's
    worth reading.

    Teens & Those New to Politics, Economics, Tax Issues etc. - Anyone with an
    open mind is likely to enjoy this book even if you don't agree...or
    actually disagree...with Beck and his conclusions. This would be a great
    tool for teens, home schooler and others that would like to initiate an
    open conversation about what it taking place (or not) in this nation. The
    historical perspective alone is well written, filled with facts and open
    enough to spur endless debate.

    What is Covered

    With over 400 pages packed to the brim, this book provides a big bang for
    the buck! It's roughly divided into three parts:

    Part I - Part I begins with ancient history, the foundation of this
    nation, monetary policy of Hoover, FDR, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush II and
    now Obama.

    Part II - Covers the crime of the century, the cover up and "the murder

    Part III - The Plan. This is Becks' call for action, response to critics
    and his understanding of the role religion, government, family etc plays
    in shaping our nation.

    Citations, Resources etc...

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Great National Turning Point
    As a financial planner, I am always advising my clients on sound financial investments and it kills me to see our government (suposedly for the people, of the people, and by the people) got absolutely berserk with spending. Most of the facts and figures in this hefty but easy to comprehend book follow common sense and the news that you've heard recently about our country's debt problems (the $202T is new--I've always heard our unfunded obligations at $50T). It is a great resource though.

    What this non-fiction wake-up call means is that what you've read in the great political fiction (Gods of Ruin is right: we have a government full of power-hugry elites that could give a hoot about "the people".

    The timing of this book is impeccable- out just before midterm elections. It provides a clarion call to readers to put restraints on our government or risk some horrendous fiscal consequences (this section in Broke is excellent). Kudos to Beck for doing this at a major turning point for our nation!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Sounds Like A Good Plan
    After reading the free book sample on Kindle, I decided to move on and get the audio book download on Audible. Why? Because, just by reading the sample, I realized that "Broke" reasoning and arguments are not directed to blame anybody or anything in particular. It blames us: the people. The approach of explaining today's struggles from a historical perspective on political systems that once thrived and then failed when people, by some reason and sometimes not willingly, renounced their own freedom is absolutely convincing and agreeable.

    The tale of the working ant and the lazy grasshopper presented in the beginning - and that is of knowledge to the most of us - is a very comprehensible example on how to turn a stimulating and constantly growing environment into something abysmal, allowing government to take part on things that we could manage ourselves. When there's no personal savings, there's no liberty. The whole book develops around this concept which is so simple in theory, yet so difficult to put in practice. We need somebody to remind us about it from time to time.

    To make a case, the book contains in several passages an "interruption" with quick facts comparing past to present data on social and economic indicators which is very hard to disagree if we look around. I believe these fast, non intrusive breaks are quite welcomed and provides to all readers/listeners not only with reasons to keep moving on until the end of the book and let everyone draw their own conclusions, but also the very reason to why this book was written.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Another Eye Opener
    Glenn Beck's newest book is another eye-opener and perhaps his best. Beck continues to educate America, even though it seems to be politically incorrect with some. This book is easy to read and provides clear facts and figures to prove his point that the USA is financially broke. Not only is our economy broke; we are spiritually broke; our faith in our government is at an all-time low...we are a train wreck! The author doesn't leave us without hope, but provides the facts, so that Americans can start to heal their country and themselves. This is a must read for all voters and those who really care about turning our country around before it is too late.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Glenn's best so far!
    Broke is Glenn Beck's third "text book" styled book. The same high gloss, colored pages are back with all your favorite wit and humor used to tackle serious issues. This book, unlike Beck's others, is much more focused in it's scope. It deals with the past, present, and possible future of the financial state of the Nation.

    A great feature in this book are citations that take up over 50 pages! You may not agree with his conclusions, you may say they are reaching a bit, or paranoid, but you definitely can't say that he is simply pulling all this stuff out of thin air!

    I'd recommend this book to any Glenn Beck fan, and to anyone who has never actually watched his show. If your entire view point on Beck's character is made up entirely by Stewart and Colbert, you owe it to yourself to find out exactly what it is this guy is saying.

    5-0 out of 5 stars How we got here, our current status, and how we can fix it.
    One of the things that I think speaks well of Glenn Beck is the kind of crazed hatred he inspires in the Progressive / Collectivist / Socialist class. I am sure this book will be wildly criticized, with few to zero citations, and the non-arguments against it will be personal attacks against Beck.

    But I have read this book and while no one will mistake it for Milton Friedman, David Ricardo, and Adam Smith, it's head and shoulders better than most anything we are being told by Beck's peers on radio and TV. And given the importance and timeliness of what Beck is saying, I recommend that everyone read and think about what Beck is saying. We need to wake up, people. We are broke. While we might have some cash in our wallets, our long term obligations are frightening. Changes are coming. The only choice we have is to plan and manage them on our own or wait until the train leaves the tracks and disaster forces us to change.

    Part I takes us through the history and how thrift, savings, and productivity were transformed by the Progressives into bad things and what the revaluation of those values has been a big contributor to our current crisis. My only question of the material is whether or not Andrew Carnegie really did make a major contribution to the University of Chicago since it is so closely associated with John D. Rockefeller. Maybe he did. But either way, it is no big deal. Chances are, you will learn a lot by reading this section.

    Part II discusses how honest government accounting went out the window during the Reagan administration and has gotten steadily worse. Beck demonstrates why we have to look at the off book spending to realize that there really was no surplus under Clinton and the deficits were always works than the Feds ever admitted. He also shows how the huge Federal Government spontaneously calls into being lobbyists to work on funneling Federal Spending to their clients in return for helping those in power stay in power. Frankly folks, the number one way to get the Feds out of our lives is to quit asking them to give you stuff. Shrink the demand, shrink the spending, and most of their power goes away.

    Part III is the most controversial because you may or may not share Beck's values and his 8 step plan for restoring the values, as he sees them, that made this country wealthy, powerful, and great. What are they? 1) Realize that we have individual rights and that collective rights are an excuse to grab power and chain people to the government. 2) Realize that we have equality of opportunity and that trying to make equal outcomes is just a government way of grabbing more power to try and do something that cannot be done. 3) Believe in America and her greatness. 4) Refashion government to be closer to the people. Decentralization takes away power from the elitists who want government as free of actual control by the people as they can get it. 5) Give the Progressives a taste of the activism they have been giving us for more than a century. 6) Cut spending everywhere. A little, some more, and a lot. 7) Stop printing money. Create policies that support a sound currency with real value. 8) Live your own life so you are "out of the system". Don't allow yourself to become dependent on the government and vote for those that support liberty and responsibility rather than dependence

    Can we do it? Yes! Will we do it? That remains to be seen. I hope we do.

    Reviewed by Craig Matteson, Saline, MI

    5-0 out of 5 stars The book is better than 2010 midterm election results
    This book is incredibly informative and I'm recommending anyone interested in the state of the country whether conservative or progressive to read it. There's alot in here that's good for discussion. It's the smash mouth call outs in the margins of the text that make this book punchy and lively. They back up alot of what he says.

    Of course opinion will vary depending on your interpretation so it's up to the reader to decide. But when you have the likes of Thomas Jefferson calling out from the grave in the pages of this's hard for people who disagree with Glenn Beck to counter his proposals and historical accounts of what's happened. Bottom line is I believe progressive thinking is in serious trouble if Glenn Beck is right in his new book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Very Educational!
    I found that this book taught me a lot of things that I felt I should have already known and didn't. It is written in three sections: the first is our past, and how our Presidents and congresses have brought us to our current financial situation. The second section is all about our current situation, and the many "slight of hand" tricks that are used to make finances look better than they really are, and where that is going to lead us. The third section is how the author feels we need to change things to turn our country around financially.

    First, let me say that I am ashamed that I knew so little about our former Presidents and our own history. Second, I am a bookkeeper, and when I discovered how the accounting in Washington is done I was appalled! Any individual or business who kept books and budgets the way that the government does would be in prison right now. And I never knew! While it is chocked-full of facts and information, I also found the book very entertaining. I had thought it might be dry, but I didn't find that to be the case at all. In honesty, I couldn't put it down.

    Even if you disagree with Beck's positions, suppositions, or suggested actions; the book is a good read if you would like to understand better how the country's finances are figured, and how the figures for their reporting are kept. It certainly makes for a much more educated American voter, when we understand what a politician is saying (or not saying) about our financial futures, and those of our children. When we understand the rules of the game, we know the questions to ask. I HIGHLY recommend this book. ... Read more

    3. Guinness World Records 2011
    by Guinness World Records
    list price: $28.95 -- our price: $15.05
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 190499458X
    Publisher: Guinness World Records
    Sales Rank: 29
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Guinness World Records 2011 continues to build on the intriguing, informative, inspiring and instructional records and superlatives that have made Guinness World Records one of the most famous brands and an annual best-seller around the world.Over 110 million copies have sold since the first edition was published in 1955.Nearly 4 million copies are sold every year in more than 100 countries and in 25 languages.Market research has indicated that Guinness World Records is one of the strongest brands in the world, with prompted brand recognition of 98.2% in the English language territories.
    What's New in GWR 2011...

    More US specific content including spreads dedicated to "American Heroes", "North American wildlife", "Route 66" andextended US sports pages!
    · New unique design - new decade, new look.A fun, poster-style design reminiscent of the circus, the old wild west and letter pressed WANTED ads!
    ·Records GPS - starting at Greenwich, London - the home of time - we go around the world city by city revealing fascinating records set along the way.
    ·Glossary - improve your vocabulary by learning the meaning of new and unusual words.
    ·As Well as -- New spreads on....
    * Space Shuttle- being retired in 2010
    * TV's 75 years Diamond Anniversary
    * Pop Culture chapter - all your favorite movies, DVDs, comics, graphic novels, manga and so on....
    * Mr. World Record Breaker
    ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars They ruined this book, December 4, 2010
    I had the GBWR 1984 as a kid and used to look up records all the time. Based on my experience I decided to get the current GBWR for my kids. Boy what a mistake! I have 2 basic complaints.

    Number one, the format. This used to be a reference book, kinda like a dictionary. The new version looks like it was designed and laid out by somebody with serious ADHD and an espresso drip. I think they must have cut more than half of the records out to make room for the spinning artwork.

    Number two, the propaganda and fun-facts. I wanted my kids to be able to enjoy looking up who the tallest man is, or who can run the fastest, instead there are all of these little "did you know" blurbs about how people are destroying the Earth, and general facts about the founding of the U.N. and UNICEF. Why is this material in a book about world records? Nuclear energy isn't listed in the section devoted to alternative energy? Who owns this publishing company,...George Soros?

    I am severely disappointed. At least I can still get a copy of the older versions, the versions which are about, you know, world records. I just ordered the 1994 version, which is the last year before the reference book became a comic book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars My first Guiness World Records!, October 29, 2010
    I have seen the Guiness Book of World Records over the years, and had gone though them while at my family or friend's homes. I must say that with this being my first personal copy, I'm not disappointed. And now I can browse through the records on my own time.

    Even though the book is not as thick as the older editions, it's still packed with ALOT of information more than you can believe for a book that's about 1.5 inches thick from cover to cover (hardcover)

    The quality of the pages is good and the print quality and layout is not bad either. At the bottom of each page there are records from around the world in small snippets, so when you're done going through the book, you can go though the snippets at the bottom.

    Overall, I'm happy with my purchase and I'm looking forward to the 2012 Edition.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Great fun--as always!, November 25, 2010
    I look forward to this annual update each year. There are a lot of goofy records here, but also some interesting tidbits as well.

    This volume begins with "Fire" as a category. Here, we read of the largest gathering of fire breathers ever (269 people got together at Eindhoven in the Netherlands); we see the largest flaming image using candles (the image depicted the logo of the Sandoz company [Pakistan]); most people burned at the stake (133 witches were burned on one day in 1859 near Leipzig, Germany).

    Randomly turning pages yields other records:

    Oceans and seas--Oldest seawater (the water at the bottom of the 12,000 foot Canada Basin has been unstirred for several thousands of years); the warmest ocean (Indian Ocean); Newest forming ocean (the Afar Depression in Ethiopia).

    Insects and arachnids--Largest spider (a male bird-eating spider, with an 11 inch long span--ugh!); largest beetle (a beetle from Africa, coming in at 3.5 ounces [doesn't seem that bad to me]); hardiest beetle (1,547 were living in a bottle stoppered for 12 years).

    Human society--Most dangerous country in which to be born (Afghanistan, featuring such negatives as unbelievably high infant mortality rates [257 deaths per 1,000 live births]).

    3D cinema--first full-length 3D movies (in 1953, French, Indian, and Japanese 3D movies were released); most expensive 3D movie (A Christmas Carol, released in 2009).

    Roller coasters--Fastest (Ring Racer at Nurburgring in Germany at 134.8 mph); Most expensive (Expedition Everest, for $100,000,000); tallest (Kingda Ka at Six Flags Adventure in New Jersey--456 feet high; it6's also the second fastest roller coaster).

    Baseball--Most runs batted in a World Series game (Hideo Matsui, 6 for the Yankees in 2009, tying Bobby Richardson); most games played at shortstop (Omar Vizquel, 2681); most postseason wins by a manager (Joe Torre, 84 wins).

    Water sports--Largest race (13,755 participants swam the 2009 Midmar Mile in South Africa); Oldest Olympic canoeing medalist (Josefa Idem of Italy at nearly 44 years of age).

    Another year, another set of wacko records! As always great fun. . . .

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great for my 9-year-old daughter!, November 1, 2010
    My 9 year old asked for it this as soon as it was released. I bought her the 2010 edition last year for Christmas and the pages are completely worn out from reading it over and over. I have a feeling she will be asking for this every year to come.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Terrible Format, October 14, 2010
    This is a very pretty book, with lots of pictures; in fact, far too many pictures and photos instead of facts. Its pages look like comic book pages (I almost expected BAM, POW and BOOM to appear). The pages are confusing, distracting and disjointed, and its index is quite incomplete and useless. Just try to look up a specific record, like "the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world." Good luck! Normally, a picture is said to be worth a thousand words, but, with this edition, the opposite is true. Guiness sacrificed content and ease of use for "flash." I prefer the older editions, where you could look up a very specific record, read it, and say "wow." This book tries to say "wow" for you. Very disappointing.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great Knowledge book, October 30, 2010
    Saw someone with the 2010 book and decided I would buy 1 for myself and 1 for my son for Christmas.Actually, the 2011 book was cheaper than the 2010 book. Makes a great gift for some one who you don't know what to give them.I know he will be happy with this book. ... Read more

    4. America by Heart : Reflections on Family, Faith, and Flag
    by Sarah Palin
    Hardcover (2010-11-23)
    list price: $25.99 -- our price: $12.49
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0062010964
    Publisher: Harper
    Sales Rank: 45
    Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Since the publication of her bestselling memoir, Going Rogue, in 2009, former Alaska governor Sarah Palin has traveled the country extensively. She has visited cities and towns in almost every state, dropped in on military bases, given talks and speeches to small groups and at massive rallies. Throughout her travels, she has had the privilege of meeting thousands of Americans—ordinary men and women who have shared with her their hopes and dreams, their love of country, and their fears about what lies ahead. Governor Palin, inspired by these encounters, celebrates in her new book the enduring strengths and virtues that have made this country a beacon of liberty and hope for the rest of the world.

    America by Heart is a highly personal testament to her deep love of country, her strong roots in faith, and her profound appreciation of family. Ranging widely over American history, culture, and current affairs, Governor Palin reflects on the key values that have been such an essential part of her own life and that continue to inform her vision of America's future.

    ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars Ghost-written, December 27, 2010
    After reading a few dozen pages, I seriously doubt that the woman who has demonstrated problems speaking coherent sentences in public is able to communicate effectively with the written word. Sarah Palin did not write this book. In addition, she offers nothing new. For her, parroting patriotic slogans, attacking her opponents and promoting failed policies from the past is what passes for political discourse. Astonishing that so many Americans consider her seriously. Her public should love this book. For everyone else, read it for light amusing entertainment.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Signed Edition-not!, December 26, 2010
    No way these books are signed personally by Palin. I ordered two and the signatures are identical-stroke for stroke.Must be signed by a machine.

    1-0 out of 5 stars She borrowed a lot from another author/book, November 29, 2010
    Reading this I was starting to wonder if Palin was a true student of political history, and how she had found the time to do so much heavy reading that she quote and discuss Alexis de Toqueville, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson along with Calvin Coolidge and someone as obscure as John Witherspoon. Really, how had her breadth of study and knowledge not been known - was she hiding this in 2008 or has she spent the last 2 years studying - in between book tour, Tea Party and speaking appearances, filming a reality show and being a FoxNews commentator?

    But then I checked out a source she mentioned a few times - the book WE STILL HOLD THESE TRUTHS by Matthew Spalding - and saw a lot of commonality, including the de Toqueville and Coolidge and Witherspoon references. Now it seems apparent (to me) that she read and relied heavily on Spalding's book, adding those folksy touches that her fan base loves. They won't question her originality, anyway (but Spalding should).

    Palin neatly separates progressives and DC people from the patriotic Americans she is so proud of - her base will love it but I found it insulting and distasteful to imply that people who hold different beliefs are somehow less patriotic or "American" than those who agree with her. She considers the term "American exceptionalism" to mean American superiority, when the term really came from an observation of the country's unique ideology. She criticizes some of the leading voices of modern feminism, and admits she's a feminist, but seems oblivious to the societal differences of the 60s and 70s, as well as their contributions to the societal changes that have allowed her to take advantage of opportunities that she wouldn't have been given then.

    I thought Palin's first book was more authentic; this one seems more like a less academic version of Spalding's book. Maybe she can get back to something original next time.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Who wrote this book?, November 26, 2010
    I've read both of Sarah Palin's books and the "voice" in this book is different than the "voice" in her first book. This book reads like a sales pitch and a 300-page infomercial for the author. I can't tell if she's setting herself up for a run in 2012 or to continue her wildly lucrative speaking business. Either way this book is purely money in her pocket and not at all worth the time I wasted/lost reading it, and complete waste of trees.

    5-0 out of 5 stars She tells it like it is!, December 28, 2010
    While not everyone agrees with Sarah Palin's views, my opinion is that the woman is sure not fearful in standing up for what she believes in - and that belief is that America is terrific!

    1-0 out of 5 stars Condescending; doesn't raise level of discourse or present new ideas, November 28, 2010
    When I read non fiction, I want something that raises the level of discourse, stretches my thinking, presents new ideas, challenges my old ones, and expands my horizons. I have found none of these in this book because it's all the same old ideas she's hashed over since she was introduced to the nation, and they weren't new ideas then. I admit I haven't finished this book, nor will I for the reasons already stated and because the writing is condescending, boring, and, along with that, written on about a sixth grade level (I know; I teach sixth grade, and I did several reading level tests on it.) I want a book that treats me like I'm intelligent and can understand new concepts and constructs. This book does not. It doesn't present any solutions except in platitudes we've heard over and over like "take our country back." Back to what? How? Or stereotyping all liberals. I hold many liberal views, wanted to learn more of Palin's views, and only got shot down by her for being liberal. Why? I'm not shooting her down; I'm trying to learn more about her, more about how she would run a nation. Why not anything about how capitalism is changing and how that might affect our democracy? How about ideas for how we should change to energy sources not based on oil because even if we drill we will run out? Where's the level of discourse that she so admires in the Declaration of Independence and which would help establish common ground for solving national and world difficulties? If she thinks we should invade Iran, how would she do this with more success than in Iraq, and how would she balance the budget at the same time?

    For those that agree with her, I imagine that reading it was fun and affirming, but it didn't do anything to help a dialog between left and right, nor did it raise the level of discourse. We don't need another cheerleader book meant to rally those already on "our" side. In addition, there are many areas that don't ring true to her voice; googling certain passages has revealed that she or her ghostwriter have lifted sentences or passages with minimal editing without giving credit to the original author. I want my politicians to be honest, to be able to express their ideas in their own words, and to give credit where credit is due. There's a bibliography of sorts at the end, so maybe these "lifts" are included there. But they should be cited where she uses them. I expect that of my sixth graders. I also expect being highly above board of someone who calls themselves a Christian.

    I am not comparing her to anyone else; I am simply saying that I have certain standards I expect my elected officials to meet and surpass, and I expect certain things of those that call themselves Christian. She has fallen far short in both these areas.

    Ms. Palin, you've disappointed me.

    1-0 out of 5 stars As in Going Rogue, a lot of lies, misstatements & stretching the truth, December 2, 2010
    Here I go for a second time and although my feelings have not changed since I first read the book, I'll have to change the review a bit. I was told that someone complained about the quotes I used. Strange as it may be, those quotes backed up my assertions that Mrs. Palin lied or stretched the truth by omitting certain parts of quotes that would change the meaning of what she wrote.

    Palin references American's exceptionalism and yet, in doing so, she had to try to tear down her President's words about the exceptionalism of the country he leads. When she spoke of our President and his alleged non-belief in America's exceptionalism, she omitted a large portion of his quote. When the quote is read in full, you'll find that our President said he believed in our country's exceptionalism just as citizens of other countries around the world believe in their individual country's exceptionalism, using Greece and England as two examples. Was he denying American exceptionalism? Absolutely not. He went on to speak of our allies during WWII and our invaluable help that was provided which aided them greatly in becoming the strong, dependable countries they are today. We can count on the help of their military in our fight against terrorists whose greatest desire is to see us fail. Our President spoke with pride in regards to our unmatched military strength, the values found in our Constitution, our love and regard for equality and freedom for all people. He said that the recognition of other countries strength and admiration for them in no way lessens his pride in his own country as Palin would have us believe.What Palin has done is quite typical of the things I've seen on Fox countless
    times. She's learned well from Sean Hannity as he does this nightly on his show. It's not misleading, it's LYING. How can anyone call Palin admirable when in order to boost her own self-esteem, she attempts to tear down our President's
    character and does so with an outright lie? What does her character assassination attempts towards the President of our country say about her? That she is not patriotic. In fact, anyone who loves this country, despite disagreement with our President would still respect the power of the office and all it stands for. You are not considered patriotic if you find it necessary to lie about our President in order to try to attract attention for one's self or boost your own overinflated ego.

    Palin complains on page 263 about Obama's enemy-centric policy is coddling our enemies. In using this phrase here
    in the book and in a speech she gave earlier this year, it's obvious she doesn't know what enemy-centric means. For instance, Bush was criticized for using an enemy-centric policy in Afghanistan early on which only caused our enemies to
    move to a different location. Enemy-centric is not a term meaning friendly towards the enemy as Palin indicates in her writing. What does her mistake tell me? That she's picking phrases out of books or earlier speeches and using them
    for herself but not knowing what they mean. Rather than copy the lengthy passage, I've given you the page number or you can do a search for the term here on Amazon.

    Palin has revealed herself to be a phony many times. These are just a couple of instances, in fact, I could give you hundreds. If you have any interest in seeing her become President, you might be wise to do some research on websites
    prior to 2008 (then you can't blame them on Obama) before deciding to rally around her. If you're horrified at the thought of her attempting to lead our country, you already know what I'm referring to."

    1-0 out of 5 stars she has no clue, December 22, 2010
    I read the first three chapters of this mess and wow, this woman is clueless about real America.
    She blatantly stole ideas from other authors. Also, is it possible for her to not use sappy and pointless cliches?
    Save your time and money and get something substantial, not this tome of mediocrity.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Sarah's #2 BOMB, December 26, 2010
    This woman as I wrote about her last book....She is a Con. Making money after she got a taste of the limelight thanks to McCain, she has wasted no time, quitting her job as governor and making oodles of money off of people who buy into her rhetoric. Trust me, she is NO THREAT to Liberals. Plus she is not a woman who should even be considered a Feminist! P.S. She doesn't even write her own books. L. Rudzinskas, Denver, Colorado

    3-0 out of 5 stars The book only deepens the mystery..., November 27, 2010
    First I'll acknowledge right up front that I worked for McCain-Palin, in Alaska, during the first two weeks of her VP run. At first I was thrilled by her as a result of her reputation in Alaska, and the potential lift to the sagging GOP ticket. However once she began to speak publicly, without a script, I got very nervous. It was clear she had a lot of catching up to do on current events and important historical contexts.

    So I've been following her closely since, believing that with a little reading and thinking she could be a serious contender. This book should have been the proof that she is the full package. Instead it read to me like a pamphlet distributed at a college campus political rally, not anything substantive that would electrify conservatives or give birth to a movement, much less have any meaning on a world stage.

    While it is worth a read to get an updated view of of Palin, I think it is a missed opportunity for her to be substantive and reach a bigger, more thoughtful mass of the electorate. Perhaps she is too green to be substantive. Either way, this hyper-partisan brand is solidifying around her and this book may seal it.

    There is a anti-partisan rebellion building in the U.S. and I doubt there will be little tolerance for hyper-partisan candidates in the next election, so why she has chosen this path is a mystery to me. ... Read more

    5. Run Like a Mother: How to Get Moving--and Not Lose Your Family, Job, or Sanity
    by Sarah Bowen Shea, Dimity McDowell
    Kindle Edition (2010-03-23)
    list price: $14.99
    Asin: B003D3N2AQ
    Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
    Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    In Run Like a Mother, authors Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea offer both inspirational advice and practical strategies to help multitasking women make running part of their busy lives.

    McDowell and Shea understand the various external and internal forces in everyday life that can unintentionally keep a wife--mother--working woman from lacing up her shoes and going for a run. Because the authors are multihyphenates themselves, Run Like a Mother is driven by their own running expertise and real-world experience in ensuring that running is part of their lives.

    More than a book, Run Like a Mother is essentially a down-to-earth, encouraging conversation with the reader on all things running, with the overall goal of strengthening a woman's inner athlete.

    Of course, real achievement is a healthy mix of inspiration and perspiration, which is why the authors have grounded Run Like a Mother in a host of practical tips on shoes, training, racing, nutrition, and injuries, all designed to help women balance running with their professional and personal lives. ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars An inspiring read to make you lace up the shoes
    I bought this book with a lot of hope and some trepidation. I'm a lapsed runner, and my last serious race dates back to the postpartum year after my first child was born, when I was eager to show myself I still had my athletic mojo. I just had my fifth child, and ordered this book to help me get inspired again. The authors' voices are real, thankfully, and the essays are honest and accessible. The training tips are great, because they're rooted in an understanding all the things mom use as excuses NOT to run. But what got me really lacing up my shoes again was the page full of short quotes by women saying how they feel after running. Powerful. Competent. Strong. Optimistic. It was like a quadruple dose of any of those herbal mood-boosters hocked by health magazines!

    5-0 out of 5 stars So relatable, it's sick!
    Since finding this book (and blog! and tweets!), I have been completely entertained and inspired and able to connect with a whole new community of runner-mamas.

    This book is so utterly relatable, it is sick! Even as a newbie runner! The moments of "O-M-G! That is EXACTLY how I feel" were countless, as a mom, spouse, runner, wannabe writer and overall multi-tasking-life balancer.

    The book inspired me, me made me laugh out loud causing my fellow commuter train riders to stop and stare (As soon as I would snort, I would hold up the book so everyone would get a peek...long enough for them to write down the title and and go buy it themselves!)

    This is my go-to book for prezzies for my runner mama friends and has saved the day with some much needed inspiration after the oh-let-it-be-over ugly runs.

    I savored every chapter like a rich ooey-gooey chocolately dessert and was thrilled to find more even more witty (and oh so true!) writing online through the blog

    Seriously, check it out, you won't be disappointed.

    5-0 out of 5 stars I'm not a mother, but could still relate
    I bought this book after hearing about it from several people. As my title says, I'm not a mother, but I could relate to most of the book.

    I found the writing very easy to follow--as if it were a conversation--and refreshing. I laughed out loud at some things and it gave me that little "umph" to get back to my running. I felt like I got to know Dimity and Sarah, just by following along in their journeys.

    I would definitely recommend this to others.

    5-0 out of 5 stars For Female Athletes Everywhere
    Run Like a Mother feels like one of those conversations you have with a friend on a long run. It's a book that all female athletes can relate to, regardless of motherhood status or running experience. However, for those of us who both run marathons and mother small children, it's an especially relatable book. At times it's part memoir--telling of Sarah's and Dimity's journeys as runners and marathoners (including a few race reports!), and other times it's more like a helpful training manual--giving advice on running gear, nutrition, and staging a post-pregnancy comeback. You won't find a 16-week marathon training plan in here, but you'll emerge from this book knowing what worked and didn't work for Sarah and Dimity as they trained. As a running coach, I liked the technical talk about running 8 X 400 meters and other training-specific tidbits. But as a mother and a fellow female athlete, I think I most enjoyed the deeply personal revelations about body image, weight, marriage, and mothering. I loved the personal essay format. By the end of the book, you'll feel like you have two new friends: Sarah Bowen Shea and Dimity McDowell.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Inspiring and laugh out loud entertaining
    I'm a mother of two and a fairly competitive runner (with myself). I love this book. The writers are honest and get right down to what is real. And this is what makes some of the excerpts laugh out loud funny. I so relate! But likewise, it is very honest about how difficult it is to run and be a strong runner while balancing kids and family. I read it an excerpt at night night for inspiration for the next day. It sounds corny, but I do. After having D, I know how hard it is to keep the fitness up. So many days I'd rather sit and hold the baby and be at home. But running makes me feel real, at peace and clean. I know this, but I also need the push. The pull, at times, is strong to stay home with the "kidlets." So thanks gals!

    Clothing tips, stories about racing, training, just everyday runs and how to pull yourself out of bed to get out on the road. Pregnancy and running, recovering from giving birth and beginning to run again and all that is involved in that. Right on and inspirational! The quotes and facts from regular runners make me feel part of a great club of women who push each other and support one another in our every day struggles to make the run happen. Totally inspiring. Sarah and Dimity know runners! And I totally feel a closer bond to all the mommy runners out there. I'm going to buy this book for all my mommy running friends.

    I just bought the book for my friend who is off to Boston in a week and am giving it to so she can indulge on her plane ride there. She has two kids, 5 and 3 and worked her butt off to get to Boston.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Must Read
    I purchased this book when I was training to walk/run my first half marathon in my life. As I am not a runner per se I was skeptical about how much this book would pertain to me. I was pleasantly suprised. The book is well written and truly is a must read for anyone who is a ruuner or thinking about becoming a runner. The book is entertaining, informative and fun. It also would make a great gift for a runner in your life.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Run Like A Mother Will Give You The Strength For Motherhood
    I love running. I especially love running as a mom. It is my "me" time, my recharge time and one of the few things that is just for me. I so enjoyed every bit of this book from the humor to the tips. I love any book that inspires moms to take care of themselves and to realize that they can run, will love to run and deserve to run!

    Thank you Sarah and Dimity for giving a shout out to Stroller Strides!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Read like a runner
    A friend of mine recommended this book to me as a new runner, and she was right! It's motivational and informative. I read part of it while on an airplane and it was all I could do not to run up and down the aisle! A great read for all running mothers!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great book for lady runners
    This one's for the ladies. The ones who like to move and move fast. It's called Run Like a Mother: How to Get Moving and Not Lose Your Family, Job, or Sanity by Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea. It all started with two women who had just had children, trying to get back into running shape. They decided to pitch an article to Runner's World about their journey. That whole experience with them trying to balance family, work, and running lead them to write this book.

    There is a lot of great advice in here for runners of all ages, but it is geared toward time crunched mothers who have to consider their families in their decisions. They give advice on nutrition, racing, finding motivation, and managing children and husbands. Their insight is both humorous and helpful. This is a great read for women athletes who can relate to the authors' experiences and find inspiration in their successes.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Absolute greatness
    This book was absolutely wonderful. I have really enjoyed reading it and saddened by finishing the final chapter. The words of Sarah and Dimty really stayed with me - during runs, during my wanting to not run. I am buying this as gifts for all my running mother friends. I laughed out loud and found myself saying "thank you" for touching on all subjects that us mothers want to ask, but are afraid to. Loved it!!!! ... Read more

    6. Pinheads and Patriots: Where You Stand in the Age of Obama
    by Bill O'Reilly
    Hardcover (2010-09-01)
    list price: $27.99 -- our price: $13.97
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0061950718
    Publisher: William Morrow
    Sales Rank: 47
    Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    When Bill O'Reilly interviewed then-Senator Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential elections, the two had a lively debate about the nation's future.

    Since that time, America has changed rapidly—some would even say seismically. And many believe these shifts are doing more than just rocking the political and social climate; they're rocking the American core.

    What are these changes? Who, in addition to President Obama, have been the biggest forces behind them? What exactly do they mean for you, the everyday American citizen? How are they affecting your money, health, safety, freedom, and standing in this nation? Which are Pinheaded moves and which are truly Patriotic? In his latest spirited book, O'Reilly prompts further debate with the President and the American people on the current state of the union.

    After five consecutive, no-nonsense, tell-it-like-it-is megabestsellers, you can count on Bill to offer blunt and constructive political commentary. And as he did in his popular memoir, he offers some introspection too, looking back at his own actions and those of past Pinheads and Patriots who have inspired a code of conduct for such taxing times.

    As always, O'Reilly is fair, balanced, and uncompromisingly tough when guarding the American way. Only Pinheads would fail to fight for what they love most about this country or to embrace some measure of change to make it better. The rest of us Patriots will read this book to discover the difference between the two.

    ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars O'Reilly Pens another Best Seller and why not!!!
    Having read most of the preceding reviews, I find that the ones with which I agree state how much the writer loved Bold Fresh compared to Mr. O'Reilly's newest book. We have ALL of his books and have enjoyed them all - except for this latest one. I have a copy on my Kindle and read parts of it but find my interest is not held as with all Mr. O's other books. My favorite by FAR is Bold Fresh and that seems to be the case with MANY of his other readers also. ... Read more

    7. The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine
    by Michael Lewis
    Hardcover (2010-03-15)
    list price: $27.95 -- our price: $15.36
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0393072231
    Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
    Sales Rank: 30
    Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    The #1 New York Times bestseller: a brilliant account—character-rich and darkly humorous—of how the U.S. economy was driven over the cliff.When the crash of the U. S. stock market became public knowledge in the fall of 2008, it was already old news. The real crash, the silent crash, had taken place over the previous year, in bizarre feeder markets where the sun doesn’t shine, and the SEC doesn’t dare, or bother, to tread: the bond and real estate derivative markets where geeks invent impenetrable securities to profit from the misery of lower- and middle-class Americans who can’t pay their debts. The smart people who understood what was or might be happening were paralyzed by hope and fear; in any case, they weren’t talking.

    The crucial question is this: Who understood the risk inherent in the assumption of ever-rising real estate prices, a risk compounded daily by the creation of those arcane, artificial securities loosely based on piles of doubtful mortgages?Michael Lewis turns the inquiry on its head to create a fresh, character-driven narrative brimming with indignation and dark humor, a fitting sequel to his #1 best-selling Liar’s Poker. Who got it right? he asks. Who saw the real estate market for the black hole it would become, and eventually made billions of dollars from that perception? And what qualities of character made those few persist when their peers and colleagues dismissed them as Chicken Littles? Out of this handful of unlikely—really unlikely—heroes, Lewis fashions a story as compelling and unusual as any of his earlier bestsellers, proving yet again that he is the finest and funniest chronicler of our times.
    ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars Who knew?, March 15, 2010
    Based on reading Michael Lewis' Liar's Poker and Moneyball, I wondered whether The Big Short would prove to be entertaining and informative. If you've read some of Lewis' books, you might agree that the "entertaining" part would seem to be a reasonably safe bet. It turns out, it is. The Big Short is fast-paced, straightforward, conversational and salty--very much like his earlier works. Indeed, if you didn't know Michael Lewis had written this book, you could probably guess it. It is easy reading and very hard to put down. In short (no pun), The Big Short doesn't disappoint in being entertaining.

    In a sense, this book is similar to Moneyball in that Lewis tells his story by following a host of characters that most of us have never heard of--people like Steve Eisman (the closest thing to a main character in the book), Vincent Daniel, Michael Burry, Greg Lippmann, Gene Park, Howie Hubler and others.

    How informative is the book? Well, it may seem that Lewis has his work cut out for himself, since the events of the recent financial crisis are already well known. More than that, lots of people have their minds made up concerning who the perps of the last few years are--banks and their aggressive managers, "shadow banks" and their even more aggressive managers, hedge funds, credit default swaps, mortgage brokers, the ratings agencies, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the Fed's monetary policy, various federal regulators, short sellers, politicians who over-pushed home ownership, a sensationalist media, the American public that overextending itself with excessive borrowing (or that lied in order to get home loans), housing speculators, etc. The list goes on--and on. Okay, so you already know this. The defining aspect of this book, however, is that it asks (and answers) "Who knew?" about the impending financial crisis beforehand. Who knew--before the financial crisis cracked open for everyone to see (and, perhaps, to panic) in the fall of 2008--that a silent crash in the bond market and real estate derivatives market was playing out? Indeed, the good majority of this book addresses events that occurred before Lehman's failure in September of 2008. In describing what led up to the darkest days of the crisis, Lewis does a good job helping the reader to see how the great financial storm developed. All in all, this is an informative book.

    Interestingly, in the book's prologue, Salomon Brothers alumnus Lewis explains how, after he wrote Liar's Poker over 20 years ago, he figured he had seen the height of financial folly. However, even he was surprised by the much larger losses suffered in the recent crisis compared to the 1980s, which seem almost like child's play now.

    For a taste of The Big Short, Steve Eisman was a blunt-spoken "specialty finance" research analyst at Oppenheimer and Co., originally in the 1990s, and he eventually helped train analyst Meredith Whitney, who most people associate with her string of negative reports on the banking industry, primarily from late 2007. Giving a flavor of his style, Eisman claims that one of the best lines he wrote back in the early 1990s was, "The [XYZ] Financial Corporation is a perfectly hedged financial institution--it loses money in every conceivable interest rate environment." His own wife described him as being "not tactically rude--he's sincerely rude." Vinny Daniel worked as a junior accountant in the 1990s (and eventually worked for Eisman), and he found out how complicated (and risky) Wall Street firms were when he tried to audit them. He was one of the early analysts to notice the high default rates on manufactured home loans, which led to Eisman writing a 1997 report critical of subprime originators. Michael Burry (later Dr. Michael Burry) was, among other things, a bond market researcher in 2004 who studied Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger, and who correctly assessed the impact of "teaser rates" and interest rate re-sets on subprime loans. In 2005, Burry wrote to his Scion Capital investors that, "Sometimes markets err big time." How right he would be.

    Greg Lippmann was a bond trader for Deutsche Bank, who discussed with Eisman ways to bet against the subprime mortgage market. Before home prices declined, he noted, for example, that people whose homes appreciated 1 - 5% in value were four times more likely to default than those whose homes appreciated over 10%. In other words, home prices didn't need to actually fall for problems to develop. (Of course, home prices fell a lot.) When Lippmann mentioned this to a Deutsche Bank colleague, he was called a Chicken Little. To which, Lippmann retorted, "I'm short your house!" He did this by buying credit default swaps on the BBB-rated tranches (slices) of subprime mortgage bonds. If that's not a mouthful, read further in the book for a description of Goldman Sachs and "synthetic subprime mortgage bond-backed CDOs." Then there's the AIG Financial Products story, told through the story of Gene Park, who worked at AIG, and his volatile boss, Joe Cassano.

    Did I say this book is informative? Here's a bit more: Did you know that a pool of mortgages, each with a 615 FICO score, performs very differently (and better) than a pool of mortgages with half of the loans with a 550 FICO score and half with a 680 FICO score (for a 615 average)? If you think about it, the 550/680 pool is apt to perform significantly worse, because more of the 550 FICO score loans develop problems. Think about how that got gamed.

    There's more, but hopefully you've gotten the point. This is a very interesting, entertaining and informative book that accomplishes what it sets out to do. Chances are you'll enjoy it.

    3-0 out of 5 stars The Big Short Falls a Bit Short, March 15, 2010
    Let me get the easy part of this out of the way first. Michael Lewis is a remarkably gifted writer, and I have often found his books impossible to put down. When I first read his debut at book authorship, Liar's Poker, I literally read it straight through. I was not alone in this, as Liar's Poker rightfully made Michael a very well-respected author and a very wealthy man. Moneyball, The Blind Side, and numerous other best-sellers built on that reputation. The long-awaited newest contribution from Michael Lewis, The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine, is 264 pages long, and I also read this in 24 hours. However, I doubt many others will feel the same. The book was compelling, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, and nothing in the book modified my view that Michael Lewis is one of the most interesting writers of this era. I simply doubt that this book evoke the same response from the masses of people who will buy it. Perhaps I am wrong. So before I begin to disect the important parts of the book (its underlying messages, etc.), I will say that it was another hard-to-put-down book from Michael Lewis. Thumbs up, and all that stuff.

    So what did I really think of the book? Well, Lewis should be commended for writing a book on the 2008 financial crisis from the most unique perspective thus far. Rather than focus on the major characters that a plethora of other books have focused on (Paulson, Bernanke, Geithner, etc.), Lewis tells his story using some extremely obscure characters as his lead actors: A handful of hedge fund managers who made massive bets against the subprime industry (and by hedge fund managers, I am not referring to high profile, well-known hedgies; I am talking about very, very minor players). Readers will feel connected to the characters when they are done with the book, and a less gifted writer could have never pulled this off. It was a difficult task for Lewis as well, but he skillfully made the points he wanted to make and simultaneously told a story, all through a narrative of four or five unconnected characters of whom the public has never heard.

    What are these points Lewis wanted to make? I suppose the major tension of the book is the teeter-tottering between the greed/evil genius of the major Wall Street firms (on one hand), and then the utter stupidity and incompetence of Wall Street (on the other). It is a difficult balance to strike, and one reason it is difficult is because, well, one can not have it both ways. Lewis can not claim, as he astonishingly and explicitly does, that Goldman Sachs made AIG write credit default swaps on the subprime mortgage industry, guaranteeing AIG's demise and Goldman Sachs flourishing, but then on the other hand claim that the firms had no idea what they were doing, and were completely shell-shocked by what happened to their CDO's (the collateralized debt obligation instruments which served as the toxic assets you hear so much about). This inconsistency permeates the book, and tonight on 60 Minutes I heard Lewis repeat what his major thesis is: Wall Street did not know what they were doing. This is the correct thesis. But it is wholly imcompatible with the obscene Goldman Sachs conspiracy movement that has taken over the Oliver Stone mainframe of our society. Even a Michael Lewis fan like myself was taken aback by the audacity of this oft-repeated contradiction.

    Perhaps the most disappointing message of the Lewis book is the conclusion he saved for the final chapter - the one I have heard him preaching for some time now on the media circuit. Lewis has been preaching since the days of Liar's Poker that the great sin of Wall Street was when all of the major firms went public (i.e. rather than function as closely-held partnerships, they sold shares to the public in the IPO market and now have no reason to ever check their evil inhibitions at the door). It is a rhetorically effective charge, but one that is not up for the most routine of examinations. The individuals most responsible for the massive money-losing operations of 2005-2007 were the largest shareholders in the firms. Jimmy Cayne of Bear Stearns saw his stock holdings decline from $1 billion of value to $50 million of value, directly under his watch. Richard Fuld was thrown to the lions as Lehman Brothers burned to the ground, but it burned up his $550 million of Lehman stock as well. The gentlemen running these firms were wealthy, and they were driven by a desire to get even wealthier, but it is absurd to postulate that the performance of these companies in the public stock markets were not important to them. It was all that was important to them. Are we really to believe that Wall Street would not have found more creative ways to raise capital in the capital markets if they were partnerships? Whether the firms were partnerships or public corporations, they lived off of balance sheet capital that they mostly raised in the debt markets. It was the bondholders who were on the verge of utter collapse in September of 2008. Why would that be different if they were partnerships? The most obvious refutation of Lewis's thesis is the question many are probably dying to point out to him after reading it: If being a public corporation corrupts the intentions of financial firms, why couldn't the same broad brush be used for all public corporations of all industries? If the removal of the partner capital from the company capital is a self-corrupting event, why should any corporation ever be allowed to go public? What exactly is the difference? Do not huge retail businesses, manufacturing firms, and technology outfits also use shareholder money to grow and operate? Does Lewis really want to advocate the abolition of public equity markets in America? It is absurd to even carry that argument through to its logical conclusion.

    I do not want readers to be confused. There are some stellar observations in Lewis's newest book. He gets inside some of the most confused and ridiculous financial transactions ever conducted in the history of civilization, and he does it with the precision of a surgeon. But Lewis does not use his 264-page book to even apply one word - not one single utterance - against the malignant government policies behind much of this malaise. He could easily counter that his book was not meant to be a comprehensive introspection of the financial crisis, and that would be a fair response. But readers hoping for a biog-picture analysis of this crisis will not get it here. They will see the worst of a very small number of Wall Street traders, and they will see a system that was clueless to keep this process from ballooning out of control (his section on the high seven-figure bond traders being regulated by the high five-figure ratings agency analysts is choice). The risk management processes of Wall Street broke down. The hubris of a select number of people grew to a point of perversity. Contrary to Lewis's assertion, the bulk of these CEO's and executives did lose their jobs (Citi, Merrill Lynch, UBS, Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, etc.) all fired their Presidents and CEO's as their houses burned to the ground. But overall, the book has a ton of good to say about the crisis. Most notably, he demonstrates how "in an old-fashioned panic, perception creates its own reality" (a concept that I want to explore much further in the future). He summarizes in a single sentence the most important thing that can be said about Lehman Brothers ("the problem wasn't that Lehman had been allowed to fail; the problem was that Lehman had been allowed to succeed").

    I am truly glad that I read this book, and I do recommend it. However, as the pivotal work of evaluating the big picture of the crisis continues, the conclusion that Wall Street's transition to a shareholder-owned entity was at the heart of the matter is quite lacking. Unfortunately, both evil and incompetence exist in all kinds of business structures.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Liars Poker Squared, March 15, 2010
    Mike Lewis has the gift for watching America and picking stories that are interesting to the public: in the last ten years Moneyball (the effect of statistical analysis on baseball) and The Blind Side (Importance of Left Tackles in American Football and rescuing an impoverished athlete). But his undying fame was Liars Poker, the story of Solomon Brothers Investment firm where he worked when 24 and made bonuses of about $200,000 without really understanding what he was doing. Possibly the most interesting part of this book is the foreward where Lewis describes how he felt when writing Liars Poker Wall Street provided worthless value to the economy and it was just a matter of years before the market recognized this. Unfortunately he was about 24 years too late. Couple this with his closing lunch with John Gutfruend and you have a great bookend for closure.

    Now Lewis presents us with this bookend to Wall Street, how it universally missed the bad securities being issued backed by subprime securities destroying over $1 trillion in wealth. And his vehicle for this exploration is not a complete rehash but rather documenting the very few people (he estimates fewer than 20) that recognized that market crash coming and profiting immensely, people like Michael Burry, a Stanford Medical student who left to manage his own Hedge Fund. Actually there were many more than 20 people that knew this was coming. I began giving speeches in 2004 on "The Coming Crash in Home Prices". But these people he mentioned left conventional wisdom in believing that the subprime mortgages were worthless AND discovered the newly created tools to profit from them: credit default swaps and the ABX index. With the belief and knowledge these investors were rewarded handsomely whereas the rest of us suffered through a very downbeat market. But they deserved it and in Lewis' upbeat writing style he conveys eloquently but simply how the decisions were made and how they profited beyond belief.

    There is one problem with this book. The subject was just covered quite well in The Greatest Trade Ever by Gregory Zuckerman which was released in November 2009. I've now read both books and there is an overlap. Greatest Trade is a very fast read and tells the story well focusing on John Paulson. This book doesn't delve on Paulson but does cover Michael Burry who was featured in the other book also.

    Since so many reviews seem to be more interested in giving their political view of this tragic occurence, I'm compelled to weigh in on this issue even though I know this will upset some politcally closed minds. We must recognize if it was so easy to comprehend and solve we would have all profited in the manner these investors did rather than suffer through the last two years. We wouldn't have had the meltdown that we had. The smart people on Wall Street would not have overleveraged creating the steep downward ascent in destruction of wealth as we deleveraged. Specifically, I'm startled how many people want to blame politicians and FNMA/FHLMC. As a seller of $1 billion a year to these entities and some knowledge of their loss history as well as debating this issue with a former Vice Chairman of one of these entities who is a neighbor, it is shocking when you hear people talk of the subprime mortgages that FNMA/FHLMC owned. Did they do some such targeted loans? Yes. But half their losses came from their foray into Alt A loans. Coupled with the drop in property value and low equity position (they were leveraged at an unsafe 30 to 1 ratio) their insolvency was guaranteed if there was a downturn. Why were they not managing for this? It wasn't politically motivated. It was profit motivated. Quasi-guaranteed by the govt. they could issue callable agencies, their drug of choice, and arbitrage this money into a higher yielding security which they did. UNTIL the losses started. With 3% equity/custion, the 30 to 1 leverage immediately worked against them. Where were the regulators? Where was management managing risk? As the Vice Chairman said, the problem was property value drop. Well, with much advance notice and concern, WHY WEREN'T YOU MANAGING FOR THIS?????

    With that as a background, let's approach the question of should there be a FNMA/FHLMC? I believe there should be. Exactly what do they do? When they are not leveraging for earnings which BTW they started in the early 90s when loan volume dropped and they recognized they needed to do something else to "gin" earnings, they perform their intended function to make borrowing cheap for homeowners. If there were no FNMA/FHLMC for the past two years 30 year mortgage rates for the last two years would not have been 4.25% to 5.25% but rather approximately 5.75% to 7.50%. In addition there would have been a lot more balloon or adjustable rate loans. Now, does America want this higher rate when an effective "NON-Profit" or govt. entity could maintain this function? I think not and I think we need to recognize that the recovery would have been much slower if many people would not have had the availability of this lower cost money to buy homes and refinance to lower rates. Enough with policy and now back to a conclusion.

    But Lewis' writing style makes this book and his credibility from having written Liars Poker and the unique perspective of having worked in the industry and left it will make this a big hit. I strongly recommend this well written, important book.

    4-0 out of 5 stars "W/O Gov't Intervention Every Powerful Financier would Have Lost His Job, & Yet, The Financiers Used Gov't 2 Enrich Themselves", March 15, 2010
    Michael Lewis's "The Big Short" tells a rather disturbing tale of some of the biggest profiteers of one of America's worst financial crisis, which we are likely still in the midst of. The amazing thing cleverly illustrated by Lewis, is that while most of the brightest minds in America woke up to our shocking decline once it was too late, a small handful of speculators not only called it correctly, some became fantastically wealthy. The question that nagged me throughout the book was how should I feel about people who just made a killing while most of us watched our retirements suffer alarming declines, and witnessed friends & family lose their jobs and houses?

    Greg Lippmann is credited with being the first to expose the weakness in the market around 2006. He pitched the idea to hundreds of financial groups, but most seemed to invest in insurance policies to protect their exposure.


    "A smaller number of people -more than 10, fewer than 20- made a straightforward bet against the entire multi-trillion dollar subprime mortgage market and, by extension, the global financial system. The catastrophe was foreseeable, yet only a handful noticed. Among them: Whitebox hedge fund, The Baupost Group hedge fund, Passport Capital hedge fund, Elm Ridge hedge fund, a gaggle of NY hedge funds, Elliott Associates, Cedar Hill Capital Partners, QVT Financial, and Philip Falcone's Harbinger Capital Partners. What most of these investors had in common was that they had heard, directly or indirectly, Greg Lippmann's argument."

    Mr. Lewis is a fun and witty writer and his energy in The Big Short is very reminiscent of Liar's Poker, but I really found something morbid and unappealing about this subject. Reading about Paulson's $15 billion killing in 2007 had a different feel than say Soros in the `80's & `90's, but maybe now I know how the English & Indonesians felt? Our society is bred to believe that hard work and ingenuity are rewarded, but in this case there is a tangible human tragedy as a consequence of speculators earning a massive imbalance of wealth in relation to the rest of the population.

    All of the speculators Mr. Lewis uses as examples technically did the right thing and chose wisely. Some were more sophisticated than others, but they all have one thing in common: they all made an obscene amount of money betting America would be brought down to its knees. I am also even more disgusted now with the rating agencies that were super-slick in stamping AAA ratings on what was absolute garbage in hindsight.

    I found the book both fascinating and disturbing. I think it is now clear to me that financial speculation that doesn't promote sustainable growth needs to be addressed and properly dealt with, and that adequate steps have not been taken. Lewis definitely added a new layer to my awareness of the credit crisis, and covered some fresh ground beyond typical news. I recommend the book if you want to gain a deeper understanding of the sucker punch that just hit most of us.

    5-0 out of 5 stars BookForum review, March 23, 2010
    In the run-up to the housing collapse of 2007-2008, houses weren't merely expensive, they were insanely expensive. Yet just when it seemed that prices couldn't go higher, some fool would come along and pay an enormous sum for a glorified hovel. You didn't have to be a genius to realize that American real estate was overvalued. It did, however, take something special to figure out how to make money off the madness. A group of between ten and twenty people did just that, making the bet of a lifetime that author Michael Lewis calls "The Big Short"

    The cast of characters in Lewis's highly readable chronicle of the collapse (and what led to it) includes a misanthropic former medical resident, a money manager who saw himself as Spider-Man, and a pair of men in their thirties who started with $110,00 in a Schwab account they managed from a backyard shed in Berkeley, California. "Each filled a hole," Lewis writes. "Each supplied a missing insight, an attitude to risk which, if more prevalent, might have prevented the catastrophe."

    Ever since he left Salomon Brothers to write Liar's Poker, the classic 1989 account of his years as a bond salesman, Lewis has been waiting for a day of reckoning. Little did he realize that the Wall Street he once knew now seems quaint. By 2007, it had morphed into a financial Frankenstein, a "black box" filled with hidden risks on complicated bets that could destroy its creators, but only if the government allowed it to do so.

    The first to figure out how to use the system against itself was a man named Michael Burry, who once described himself in an online personal ad as "a medical student with only one eye, an awkward social manner, and $145,000 in student loans." Burry possesses an intellect so unusual that Lewis turns his journey of self-discovery into a fascinating subplot. While working the grueling schedule of a medical resident, Burry started writing about stocks in an online forum. (He also took apart his personal computer and put it back together between 16-hour shifts at Stanford Hospital, prompting his superiors to send him to see a shrink.) When he quit medicine to start the hedge fund Scion Capital, admiring investors tracked him down and gave him money.

    When Burry started buying insurance in 2005 on nearly two billion dollars' worth of bonds backed by lousy mortgages, his investors thought he had gone nuts and nearly mutinied. But in 2007, when the housing market began to crumble and Burry's bet paid off, everyone realized that his predictions weren't crazy so much as a sane interpretation of a market gone mad.

    Burry might have set the trade in motion, but he was no salesman. The one who took his idea and ran with it, the "Patient Zero" of this tale, was a bond salesman at Deutsche Bank named Greg Lippmann, who went around telling everyone he could that the end was near. Only a few took his advice, but most who did became extremely rich. (John Paulson, who made an astounding personal profit of four billion dollars, is the subject of another recent book on the same theme, Gregory Zuckerman's The Greatest Trade Ever.)

    The reader can't help but root for this gang of financial renegades as they take on a corrupt and rotten system. Still, The Big Short lacks the pure narrative drive of Lewis' best-selling sports books, Moneyball and The Blind Side. The new work draws its energy from a different source, a palpable undercurrent of anger at the excesses of Wall Street the author shares with his subjects. Lewis is justifiably outraged at the behavior of Wall Street and what its trillion-dollar subprime-mortgage business truly represented: a means of extracting money from the bottom of America's social pyramid and moving it to the top. The problem isn't that Lehman Brothers failed, he shrewdly observes, but that it was allowed to succeed in the first place.

    Lewis reserves special scorn for the biggest banks. Goldman Sachs was selling large volumes of bonds backed by subprime mortgages and, at the same time, betting against the junk it was peddling. The Big Short also tells the little-known tale of how Morgan Stanley allowed a single trader to lose more than $9 billion.

    It's appalling, but not much has changed. Most Wall Street CEOs who set a course for the iceberg remain in power today. The blind are still leading the blind. At any rate, as Lewis observes, they still can't see things any better than a one-eyed former medical resident.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Good book, but a little late to market, March 15, 2010
    First, I'm a big Lewis fan. Like many, my first exposure to Lewis was Liar's Poker; although, I've read several other Lewis books, his columns in the now defunct Portfolio, and occasional writings on Bloomberg. The Big Short isn't really a Liar's Poker experience.

    I enjoyed the book, and it's a quick read. It's just that a couple of Lewis's main characters--Burry of Scion and Lippman of Deutsche--were previously covered in another book, The Greatest Trade Ever. As a result of The Big Short being released comparatively late, some of Lewis's thunder has been stolen, so-to-speak.

    Regardless, the story is well written and if I had no experience with sub-prime, structured finance products, etc., I would have enjoyed it more. For the most part, I found myself grinding through the pages covering Burry. Ok, sits in his darkened office, listens to heavy metal, pouring over documents, investment from Gotham Partners, at odds with investors, Goldman not valuing CDS fairly, brink of collapse, etc. There's really little insight to add to this character if you've read The Greatest Trade Ever. In some ways, the same can be said for Lippman.

    I did enjoy reading about Eisman of Front Point and his crew.

    Bottom line, if you've read The Greatest Trade Ever and you're a huge Lewis fan, you'll likely enjoy the book, but you'll be familiar with the tale. Otherwise, there are probably other titles on your "To Read" list where your time may be better spent.

    Of course, if you haven't read The Greatest Trade Ever, The Big Short should be rewarding.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Informative and entertaining, March 15, 2010
    Hugely entertaining look at the genesis of our current economic mess. Lewis finds the very few investors who predicted and profited from the sub-prime mortgage meltdown and follows their journey from initial realization of the impending disaster to eventual payout. Following these eccentric characters and their interactions with the big Wall Street investment banks is at turns laugh out loud funny and head shaking incredulous. Lewis knows how to turn a phrase and does a good job teasing out the dark humor of the situations. He also does a very good job at explaining the essence of very complicated financial transactions and gives the reader a good understanding of the whys and hows of the financial meltdown. While this book is an important addition to our understanding of what happened, it isn't complete as it doesn't spend any time talking about US government policies that contributed to the crash (specifically, the special legal status given to the three rating agencies, and Fannie and Freddie's role in weakening underwriting standards). Nonetheless, this is still both an important and entertaining book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Beware: One Star Reviews Based Only on Kindle Availability, March 16, 2010
    I just read through all the reviews. 35 of 41 one-star reviews were to punish Amazon for not making the book available on Kindle at the time of their review. They haven't read the book and don't intend to until it's on Kindle--but that's not going to stop them from punishing Michael Lewis to get back at Amazon. I suppose Amazon should have two rating systems--one for what the author actually wrote, and a second to tally the numbers of those expressing disapproval for the book not being available on Kindle.

    The Big Short is a wonderful read, well-written and informative. Lewis is a storyteller who roots his understanding of human activity in humans rather than in larger "processes". There's nothing wrong with observing the latter, but without humans there would be no economics, financial markets, etc. Nature doesn't provide for them, people do, and people have stories. They make decisions. They do intelligent things, selfish things and nutty things. These things are the threads woven into the larger tapestry. Lewis doesn't tell the WHOLE story of the financial meltdown, but he identifies many of the key players and how their decisions made a difference to the Big Short. He names Names. His prose, as always, is clear, witty and informative. The Big Short filled in many gaps in my understanding of how smart people can make a lot of money without really knowing (or caring) about how their industry actually works or what the consequences of their decisions might be. Makes you wonder.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Another Michael Lewis gem!, March 17, 2010
    Contrary to the whining horde of "munificent" 1-Star allocating-Kindle owners, I actually read the book. Yes, through that "antique" medium, a hardcover printed edition. A medium which allows me to lend it out, have it signed by the author, pick it up in 20 years once more (after Michael Lewis pens the sequel), and place it prominently alongside other Michael Lewis volumes on the book shelves of my homely reading room.

    I refrain from a comprehensive review, given that numerous detailed and persuasive reviews appear on these pages, regrettably buried amongst an alarming preponderance of peeved Kindle owners, who have instead opted to commandeer the reviews for purely self-centered reasons. Reasons completely unrelated to the narrative. (Instead of unfairly skewing the book reviews of The Big Short, Amazon provides Kindle owners with the appropriate forum to voice complaints (below the book image): Tell the Publisher! I'd like to read this book on Kindle!)

    The Big Short is an interesting read, written in the delightful, thoroughly investigated, and remarkably enlightened style to which Michael Lewis aficionados are accustomed. While the book certainly doesn't encompass the entire body of the financial crisis, The Big Short provides an interesting account on some unlikely luminaries engaged in the markets prior and during the heights of the recent financial crisis. The book merits a prominent place amongst a collection of texts recounting products and players that contributed to the rise and fall of financial institutions, markets, and concepts.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Another worthwhile read on those who saw the sub-prime crisis coming, March 28, 2010
    Very much along the lines of Zuckerman's "The Greatest Trade Ever," Lewis explores the cast of characters who correctly deduced that the sub-prime fall was inevitable. Lewis' book arguably had much of its thunder stolen by being beaten to market by Zuckerman. Deciding between the two books, Zuckerman is marginally ahead, but Lewis' treatise covers enough new material and his style is different enough to make The Big Short a worthwhile read. It is an easy, uncomplicated read and flows quite well. It is not technical in nature, but should be more viewed as a populist commentary of characters and events. Lewis' analysis can't be viewed as being too in-depth (especially by market professionals) but then this book is not aimed at a dry academic market, but rather the general public interested in finance and the sub-prime crises. I enjoyed the book, but I'm still searching for the definitive account of the sub-prime debacle. ... Read more

    8. The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer
    by Siddhartha Mukherjee
    Hardcover (2010-11-16)
    list price: $30.00 -- our price: $14.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 1439107955
    Publisher: Scribner
    Sales Rank: 50
    Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    The Emperor of All Maladies is a magnificent, profoundly humane “biography” of cancer—from its first documented appearances thousands of years ago through the epic battles in the twentieth century to cure, control, and conquer it to a radical new understanding of its essence. Physician, researcher, and award-winning science writer, Siddhartha Mukherjee examines cancer with a cellular biologist’s precision, a historian’s perspective, and a biographer’s passion. The result is an astonishingly lucid and eloquent chronicle of a disease humans have lived with—and perished from—for more than five thousand years. The story of cancer is a story of human ingenuity, resilience, and perseverance, but also of hubris, paternalism, and misperception. Mukherjee recounts centuries of discoveries, setbacks, victories, and deaths, told through the eyes of his predecessors and peers, training their wits against an infinitely resourceful adversary that, just three decades ago, was thought to be easily vanquished in an all-out “war against cancer.” The book reads like a literary thriller with cancer as the protagonist. From the Persian Queen Atossa, whose Greek slave cut off her malignant breast, to the nineteenth-century recipients of primitive radiation and chemotherapy to Mukherjee’s own leukemia patient, Carla, The Emperor of All Maladies is about the people who have soldiered through fiercely demanding regimens in order to survive—and to increase our understanding of this iconic disease. Riveting, urgent, and surprising, The Emperor of All Maladies provides a fascinating glimpse into the future of cancer treatments. It is an illuminating book that provides hope and clarity to those seeking to demystify cancer. ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars OFF THE CHARTS
    You remember the scene in the film "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid"? From the top of the bluff looking into the distance at dusk, Butch sees the lights of the pursuing posse which doesn't stop tracking them even at night and says "How many are following us? They're beginning to get on my nerves. Who are those guys?" In the same threatening way cancers have been dogging human beings since the dawn of time, and although we now know quite a lot about cancer we still don't really know "who are those guys" or how to shake them. And they sure are "beginning to get on our nerves" as Butch said. Almost one out of four of us will eventually wrestle with cancer -- the defining illness of our generation -- and lose our lives in the process. Until it catches up with us most of us will try to ignore this fact, just as when we were very young children alone in our bedroom trying to go to sleep at night we tried to ignore the monster that we sometimes feared might be lurking in our bedroom closet.

    Enter oncologist Siddhartha Mukherjee who almost parentally takes us by the hand to give us the courage to open with him the door to that dark and foreboding closet in order to see what is really lurking inside. Since eventually most of us are going to have to wrestle with this monster anyway -- either as a victim or as a loved one of a victim -- looking intelligently and closely into that dark closet does diminish fear and enhance wise perspective. And on this incredible journey into the depths of that darkness, what an absolutely marvelous guide is this modern day Virgil called Siddharta Mukherjee as he leads us on this long and often harrowing journey through the swarth that cancer has cut through mankind throughout time.

    Mukherjee is a veritable kaleidoscope. Turn his writing one way and you experience him as an exciting writer of page-turning detective stories or mystery stories; turn him another and he's a highly effective communicator of cellular biology; turn him a third and you get superb science writing; turn him a fourth and he has the grandeur and broad sweep of an excellent historian. It's hard to believe that this one book, combining all of these appealing characteristics, is the work of just one man. And underlying it all is his sterling medical training and credentials which have been enumerated often elsewhere.

    The book itself is a tour de force. It is the first book of such extraordinary scope regarding cancer. Its architectural structure brings to mind Melville's Moby Dick and how effectively and artfully Melville braided together the three strands of his great classic: a grand adventure story, the technology of whaling, and a treatise of humanity and philosophy. Equally effectively does Mukherjee weave together all the various facets of this iconic disease throughout history, from describing cancer from the patient's perspective, to viewing the never ending battles of physicians and medical researchers with cancer over the centuries, to examining the mysteries of the cellular nature of cancer itself and what really goes on in there, to the pro and con impact of this never ending plague on the spirit of the individual human and on our race as a whole, to peering into a crystal ball for a glance of cancer's and our future together. While doing all of this the alchemy of Mukherjee's writing continually turns science into poetry and poetry into science.

    Simply put, it is so good, and so incandescently clear and lucid, and so powerful, and so engrossing, and so easily consumed that you will not lay it down without someone or circumstances forcing you to.

    Had I read this book in my teens I would have found my life's career. I can only imagine that while you are reading this book, somewhere there will be some very young teenage girl or boy who will also be reading it at the same time you are, and who will become totally hooked by this book just as you will be, and who will go on to make a career in cancer research, a career that might provide the breakthrough that humanity has been searching and hoping for all of these many centuries. Thus although you will never know it, you will have "been there" at the initial motivation of that person and thus indirectly present at the earliest genesis of the eventual great idea.

    This book has THAT potential. It is THAT good.

    Kenneth E. MacWilliams

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Burden, The Mass, Onkos
    In the United States one in three women and one in two men will develop cancer in their lifetime. Dr Siddhartha Mukherjee, a medical oncologist, has written a definitive history of cancer. It may be one of the best medical books I have read. Complex but simple in terms of understanding. A timeline of a disease and those who waged the wars. In 1600 BC the first case of probable breast cancer was documented. In the thousands of years since, the Greek word, 'onkos', meaning mass or burden, has become the disease of our time. Cancer. The title of the book, is "a quote from a 19Th century physician" Dr Mukherjee had found inscribed in a library book that "cancer is the emperor of all maladies, the king of our terrors".

    As a health care professional and as a woman who is six years post breast cancer, Cancer has played a big part in my life. I used to walk by the Oncology clinic, and quicken my pace. I used to give chemotherapy to my patients, before it was discovered that the chemo was so toxic that it needed to be made under sterile conditions and given by professionals who specialized in Oncology. Dr Mukherjee, wisely discusses cancer in the context of patients, those of us who suffer. After all it is because of the patients, the people who have gone before us, who have contracted some form of cancer, they are the base of this science.

    Dr Mukherjee started his immersion in cancer medicine at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. He relates the beginning of the study of ALL, Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia, by Dr Sidney Farber in 1947. Dr Farber, a pathologist at the time decided to change his focus and start caring for patients. He was given a medication to trial for ALL, and though most of his patients died, some survived to remission. This opened his world and with the help of Mary Lasker, and Charles E Dana, philanthropists, they opened one of the first clinics that specialized in cancer care and research, The Dana Farber Cancer Center. Dr Mukherjee gives us the timeline of ALL and lymphomas and the medications that turned into chemotherapy. The development of specific care for blood cancers and the emergence of AIDS and patient activism. He discusses the surgery for breast cancer. It was thought that the more radical the surgery the better the outcomes. We now know that lumpectomies have an excellent outcome. But, women before me had a radical removal of breast, chest tissue, lymph nodes and sometimes ribs. The lesson learned is that breast cancer is very curable now and all those men and women, the patients who suffered, gave us the answers and cancer care has moved on.

    The onslaught of chemotherapies changed the face of cancer, and the 1970's served us well. In 1986 the first outcomes of cancer care were measured. Tobacco emerged as an addiction and soon lung cancer was a leading cause of death. Presidential Commissions ensued, politics entered the world of cancer, the war against cancer and the war against smoking. The Pap smear was developed, and prevention came to the fore. The two sides of cancer, the researchers and the physicians at the bedside, who often thought never the twain shall meet, recognized the importance of research to bedside.

    The story of the boy 'Jimmy' from New Sweden, Maine, became the face of childhood cancer. The Jimmy Fund, a Boston Red Sox charity in Boston, is still going strong today. 'Jimmy' opened the door to the public for the need for money and research, and care for those with cancer. We follow Dr Mukherjee with one of his first patients, Carla, from her diagnosis through her treatment. He has given a face to cancer. We all know someone with cancer, those who survived and those who did not. Cancer prevention is now the wave of the future.

    "Cancer is and may always be part of the burden we carry with us," says Dr Mukherjee. He has now written a "biography of cancer" for us, those without special medical knowledge. However, he does go astray in some discussions such as genetics. I have an excellent medical background, and found I was floundering at times. As I discovered,and Dr. Mukherjee agrees, our patients are our heroes. They/we withstand the horrors of cancer, and the horrific, sometimes deadly treatments. The stories of his patients make us weep, and the complex decision making about their care make him the most caring of physicians.

    The 'quest for the cure' is the basis of all science and research, and Dr Mukherjee has written a superb tome in language that we can all attempt to understand. The biography of Cancer. Cancer may always be with us,Dr Mukherjee hopes that we outwit this devil and survive.

    Highly Recommended. prisrob 11-13-10

    Jimmy Fund of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, The (MA) (Images of America)

    Early Detection: Women, Cancer, and Awareness Campaigns in the Twentieth-Century United States

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Everyman Book of Cancer
    The brilliance of this book is the effortlessness with which the author draws the reader into the world of cancer and keeps him there as a tourist or witness. Dr. Mukherjee's engaging style, precision of prose and overwhelming compassion imbue this work with an energy that carries the reader along a ride like none other.

    Whether the reader is a basic scientist or sociologist, a patient or healthcare provider, a philosopher or philanderer, this book will appeal, entertain and educate.

    A remarkable achievement.

    5-0 out of 5 stars "Cancer was an all-consuming presence in our lives."
    Siddhartha Mukherjee's monumental "The Emperor of All Maladies" meticulously outlines the trajectory of cancer (derived from the Greek word "karkinos," meaning crab) over thousands of years, starting in ancient Egypt. In 2010, seven million people around the world will die of cancer. Many have experienced the horrors of this disease through personal experience. The author provides us with a global view of this "shape-shifting entity [that is] imbued with such metaphorical and political potency that it is often described as the definitive plague of our generation."

    In "The Emperor of All Maladies," we meet a variety of patients, doctors, scientists, and activists. We also hear the voices of such iconic figures as Susan Sontag, author of "Illness as Metaphor," and Alexander Solzhenitsyn, whose "Cancer Ward" is a desolate and isolating "medical gulag." Cancer is such a complex subject that it can only be understood by examining it in all of its facets: through myths, the anguish of its victims, and the untiring efforts of its adversaries, both past and present, some of whom were well-meaning but horribly misguided. Mukherjee says in his author's note that he has made an effort to be "simple but not simplistic." In this he has succeeded.

    Ancient physicians thought that such invisible forces as "miasmas" and "bad humors" caused cancers. Many years of experimentation, studies of human anatomy, laboratory work, and clinical trials have shown cancer to be a "pathology of excess" that originates from the uncontrolled growth of a single cell. Cancer is "unleashed by mutations--changes in DNA that specifically affect genes that incite unlimited cell growth." What treatment to use--surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, or a combination of these approaches--is rarely an easy decision. Equally significant are the efforts of public health officials, who seek to reduce cancer's mortality through early detection (mammography and colonoscopy, among others, are screening methods in use today). In addition, cancer may be prevented by encouraging people to avoid environmental carcinogens such as cigarette smoke.

    This elegant and heartrending narrative is far more than a biography of a terrible malady. It is also a story of paternalism, arrogance, and false hope, as well as inventiveness, determination, and inspiration. We meet Sidney Farber, who pioneered a chemotherapeutic approach to leukemia in children during the 1940's and helped launch "the Jimmy Fund"; William Halstead who, in the nineteenth century, disfigured women with radical mastectomies that, in many cases, were not curative; Paul Ehrlich, who discovered a "magic bullet" to combat syphilis from a derivative of chemical dyes; Mary Lasker, a powerful businesswoman and socialite who zealously raised money and political awareness in what would become a national war on cancer; and George Papanicolaou, a Greek cytologist, whose Pap smear "changed the spectrum of cervical cancer." Mukherjee constantly moves back and forth in time, showing how the past and the present are closely interconnected.

    Throughout the book, Dr. Mukherjee's keeps returning to one of his patients, thirty-six year old Carla Long. In 2004, she was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a cancer of the white blood cells. Carla would have a long road ahead of her, one filled with pain, fear, and uncertainty. We look to the future with cautious optimism that even greater progress will be made in our never-ending battle against a treacherous and multi-pronged enemy. Mukherjee is a brilliant oncologist, gifted writer, scrupulous researcher, and spellbinding storyteller. "The Emperor of All Maladies" is a riveting, thought-provoking, and enlightening work that deserves to become an instant classic.

    5-0 out of 5 stars All In favor say "Aye"
    There seems little left to say so I'll take a different tack, look to another facet of this book and its author.

    Today I heard Dr. Mukherjee interviewed on the Terry Gross show (Fresh Air - NPR), where the topic, the book, was biased in favor of the author ... and a wonderful treat it was. While I am interested in cancer and progress toward cure, the fascinating aspect of today's experience was the man himself. In all the interviews of all the interviewers I've listened in on - mostly literary in nature - I've never heard a more articulate responder than Mukherjee. He's a poet. His choice of words slice in toward meaning like the scalpel itself. He avoids vagueness and ambiguity, courts acuracy and precsion like no one I've heard. He is a treat just to listen to, never mind his insights into the disease, it's history and possible future.

    I ordered this book today in order to get more of his artistry but I wouldn't discourage those seeking the phycician's prowess - that is there too. If I should be in that 25% that ends up with cancer, I would hope Dr. Mukherjee would be there to consult with me and console.

    5-0 out of 5 stars As magentic as a biography can be
    As a work of scholarship, this book is just tremendous. Mukherjee traces the history of our understanding of cancer from 2500 BC to present-day. He writes of political battles for public attention, incredible wiles in the biology of the disease, and schisms among the researchers sent to conquer it. All major developments are present and sourced in sixty pages of footnotes. From this grand historical scope, Mukherjee has crafted a tight and coherent narrative that I found very difficult to put down. I'm aware of no lay-account of cancer with anything approaching the level of depth present here. This book is one-of-a-kind.

    Like anything so vast, it isn't quite perfect. Certain structural changes would benefit fluency, though they've no impact on my unqualified recommendation.

    * More humanizing characteristics and quotations. Smaller researchers, and occasionally even key players, are summed by little more than what they've accomplished. There are perhaps a hundred contributors that Mukherjee covers, but with exception to a handful that have had tens of pages devoted to them or some peculiar eccentricity, they're interchangeable and unmemorable.

    * A more even balance between discovery and those stricken by cancer. Mukherjee is at his best when he's describing the struggles of his own patients. These stories are touching, personal, and an intensely interesting ground-level foil to the bird's eye view of much of the book. The retrospective of cancer discovery is so vast and detailed that these rare moments where the story reverts to the present can feel like an oasis.

    Roughly half of The Emperor is comprised of five and ten-page vignettes where Mukherjee poses a question ("If XY, then could XYZ ... ?") and resolves it with the travails of a researcher ("Person Q, a scientist at H, noticed ..."). These accounts are often gripping, especially as advances accelerate in the mid-1980s, but sets of four or five in a series are enough to cause my attention to drift.

    * A different ending. In the final chapters, Mukherjee suggests he'd originally intended to conclude with the death of a particular patient. By serendipity, that patient was still living in late 2009. Given the great strides in cancer survival and the sense he conveys that genetics may well provide the magic bullets that so occupied the fantasies of early researchers, concluding on a high note would have been within the spirit of the book. Instead, Mukherjee describes another patient that did in fact die. This person was not previously introduced. She was a better fit for the narrative, but including her account for that purpose didn't strike the right tone to me.

    Structure aside, I'd like to have seen Mukherjee become more of a prognosticator in later chapters. I was reeling at the sheer mass of information on display by the last page, but I also felt as if I'd accumulated a great depth of trivia with little binding glue to the present. There probably aren't a hundred people alive in a better position than the author to comment on the state of cancer research, to predict, or to theorize in new directions. But these insights are spare.

    These points aside, if you've even a tangential interest in cancer or biology, Mukherjee's opus remains a must-read.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Spectacular insight into the most feared of all diseases
    This is a spectacular book. I read 100 books a year and this is definitely in the top 10. It is very, very well written and, in some ways, it is like a mystery. The way the book is written, we follow the stream of research and clinical medical treatment over 150 years. It's like feeling around in the dark for a bomb that we know will go off. It is simultaneously horrifying and compelling. I am a doctor and think I am compassionate towards my patients. This book increased my compassion 10X. What surprised me the most was the politics involved in attempting to cure a disease that potentially affects everyone. Surgeons want to cut and oncologists want to drug. They each have their turf and don't want to give it up. The fact that 50% of all men and 33% of all women will get some form of cancer before they die is a very sobering one. The section on the evilness of the tobacco industry was particularly illuminating. I can't put the book down and will truly be sad when it is finished.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic insight into the science behind medical research
    Great book, I will read it again. I love learning and understanding the thought processes, errors and vast achievements of all aspects of scientific research, particularly medicine. This book does not disappoint. The author leans somewhat heavily on his thesaurus, be prepared to dig around in the dictionary. However, great history and insight into the scientific method. A fascinating peek into the mind of a scientist and a clinician. Must read.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The New Standard for Cancer Stories
    It is difficult to even imagine the stacks of reports, articles, notes and interviews that Dr. Mukherjee processed to produce this fabulous book. Each page explains, in very readable prose, complex, arcane subjects. For anyone looking for reason to hope that their cancer is curable, this book is trove of stories of lives saved and changed by the work of cancer researchers.
    This book will be referenced in other works for a long time. ... Read more

    9. Silent Screams
    by C.E. Lawrence
    Kindle Edition (2009-11-12)
    list price: $5.59
    Asin: B002VGSXAU
    Publisher: Pinnacle Books
    Sales Rank: 208
    Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    A Deranged Killer's Twisted Urges

    In the streets of New York City, the Slasher chooses his victim--and makes his move. As he wraps his fingers around the girl's pretty throat, his power increases. As he carves into her skin, his words become flesh. As he arranges her lifeless body in a loving tableau, his fantasies demand new, more violent sacrifices...

    A Profiler's Cunning Plan

    At first, NYPD detectives suspect a jealous boyfriend. But criminal profiler Lee Campbell senses something darker, even ritualistic, about the murder. More chilling, he's convinced he's witnessing the genesis of a full-blown serial killer. But time is running out. A new victim has been chosen. Campbell must search the most terrifying recesses of the human mind--and his own past--before the screaming starts again...

    C.E. Lawrence is the byline of a New York-based suspense writer, performer, and prize-winning playwright whose previous books have been praised as "lively. . ." (Publishers Weekly); "constantly absorbing. . ." (starred Kirkus Review); and "superbly crafted prose" (Boston Herald). ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars Warning - many "fake" reviews are posted for this book
    I saw all these wonderful glowing reviews for this rather pedestrian, paint-by-numbers book and I thought something smelled fishy so sure enough, when I looked closer at the "reviewers" it turns out that more than 3/4 of them appear to have been identities created solely for the purpose of writing a review for this book - feel free to check for yourself. To my eye, they are obvious fakes. I wasn't going to bother posting a review on this book because I thought it was pretty lousy and all the characters were overly typecast, but it made me mad to see all these bogus reviews so I decided to post to warn others!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly unnerving!
    "Silent Screams" puts writers like Michael Connolly to shame ... it is SO much better! Understand, you must want to read novels about serial killers, which is normally not my choice. But I've read Connolly and Dennis Lehane because I've been both an Edgar and Nero Award judge for many, many years .. and C. E. Lawrence's "Silent Screams" far surpasses everything I've read till now. Its protagonist, supposedly NYC's first police department criminal profiler, is both likable and deeply sympathetic. Even the killer, y clept, enlists a certain amount of reader sympathy or, at least, understanding ... but when the mystery and the suspense seem ready to climax, the author gives the reader a shakeup so perfectly logical that one declares -- albeit sheepishly -- "Of course!!!"

    "Silent Screams" is the work of a writer with true skill in plotting and characterization. If this kind of harrowing experience is "your thing," get hold of it immediately!!!

    Marvin Kaye

    5-0 out of 5 stars omg!!!
    Totally cannot stop turning the pages. Beautiful detail, sense of place, rich characterizations. The suspense is understated and pervasive. The feeling of a breakthrough seems to wait around each NYC corner. I'm getting copies for everyone in my family. Best mystery I've read in years. Who is this C. E. Lawrence?

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Page Turner
    Very well done thriller. I enjoyed the twist at the end. Never saw it coming. I highly recommend and I look forward to the book she is working on that will come out in 2010. ... Read more

    10. The Art of Racing in the Rain: A Novel
    by Garth Stein
    Paperback (2009-06-01)
    list price: $14.99 -- our price: $6.49
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0061537969
    Publisher: Harper Paperbacks
    Sales Rank: 52
    Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    A heart-wrenching but deeply funny and ultimately uplifting story of family, love, loyalty, and hope—a captivating look at the wonders and absurdities of human life . . . as only a dog could tell it

    ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars Characters you care about, a story that grabs you -- maybe more dogs should write novels
    I have finally found a new novel I can stand to read.

    To my great astonishment, it's told by a dog. (I'm not a pet-lover).

    It contains many insights about car racing. (I have no interest in car racing, and I look askance at sports analogies.)

    And the author has described it as "Jonathan Livingston Seagull' for dogs." (That book is tied with 'The Giving Tree' as my Least Favorite Ever.)

    So what do I find to praise?

    The concept: "When a dog is finished living his lifetimes as a dog, his next incarnation will be as a man." Not all dogs. Only those who are ready. Enzo, a shepherd-poodle-terrier mix, is ready.

    Enzo has spent years watching daytime TV, mostly documentaries and the Weather Channel (It's "not about weather, it is about the world"). And because Denny Swift, his owner, is a mechanic who's training to race cars, he and Enzo watch countless hours of race footage. So Enzo knows about the world beyond the Swift home near Seattle.

    The situation is equally appealing: Enzo is old, facing death. While he has learned from racing movies to forget the past and live in the moment, this is his time to remember. And he can remember objectively --- as a dog, his senses are sharper, his emotions less complicated. With the clarity of a Buddha, Enzo can see. And he can listen: "I never interrupt, I never deflect the conversation with a comment of my own." So he's quite the knowing narrator.

    And then the story: a happy family, brimming with good feeling and ambitious dreams. Denny loves Enzo like a son. Denny loves his wife Eve, who works for a big retail company that "provided us with money and health insurance." And Denny lives for Zoe, their daughter. Then Enzo smells something bad happening in Eve --- the dog is always the first to know --- and you start to brace yourself. But not enough, not nearly enough. Bad things happen to good people in this novel, and then worse things, and soon you are so angry, so hurt, so tear-stained and concerned that you do not think for one second to step back and say, hey, wait, this is just a story! A shaggy dog story, at that!

    It works out. This is fiction, of course it works out. Not without cost to the characters and the reader. But the payoff is considerable --- a story that commands you to keep going, ideas that are a lot smarter than the treacle Garth Stein could have served up.

    "How difficult it must be to be a person." Enzo nails that. "To live every day as if it had been stolen from death, that is how I would like to live." Who wouldn't? "Racing is about discipline and intelligence, not about who has the heavier foot. The one who drives smart will always win in the end." And there's more --- yeah, this could be summer reading in progressive high schools some day.

    Or you could take a refresher course now in learning how to race in the rain.

    Why wait?

    5-0 out of 5 stars A dog's eye view of humanity
    I might secretly be a dog person, or maybe subconsciously ... but if you were to ask me I would tell you I'm not a dog person. Oh, but how I loved Enzo.

    On the eve of his death, Enzo (a dog) tells what amounts to his master's life story. Stein's attention to detail was amazing - the book read like it was written by somebody who took the time to stop and think "what would a dog feel/do in this situation?" As a result, Enzo is memorable and lovable. He's at once a crotchety old man, and an innocent youth. He's wise, he's naive, and he is devoted.

    I'm not going to lie to you, this book is very sad. But it is also laugh out loud funny at times, and filled with love, devotion, philosophy and hopefulness.

    It's a beautiful book and definitely one of my favorites of the year.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Wrenching and inspiring
    I picked The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein simply because, being a dog lover and seeing the dog on the cover, I couldn't resist. It was one of those moments, as a reader, you'll remember for a while. What a wonderful book.

    Enzo, the narrator, is a dog and Enzo wants nothing more than to be a man. Here is the only aspect of the book I might doubt. Anyone who is aware of "man's" human nature knows that dogs, as a creature, are much nobler. To become a man might not be an upward move. Nuff said there.

    Enzo is part of a happy family, Denny, the racer; Denny's wife Eve, and his daughter Zoe. Life is good. But then Eve develops cancer and decides to remove herself to her parents home along with Zoe. In the end, the parents of Eve decide to challenge Denny for custody to Zoe and do so in a manner that isn't befitting grandparents.

    This book will tear at you in so many ways and on so many levels. Without giving too much away let me just say that I haven't felt compelled to tear up so often by a book in a long time. Reading The Art of Racing in the Rain is like sitting through Old Yeller as a young boy and not crying. But don't let me scare you off. The Art of Racing is a book you've got to read, especially if you love dogs (or animals in general). With a wonderful storyline and characters you become attached to this book is cathartic.

    Garth Stein is to be congratulated on writing a book that is sure to become a classic.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Novel with Tremendous Heart

    Length:: 9:53 Mins

    This morning, my wife and I learned that our son has been diagnosed with speech delay. He is our first child, and we've never been through something like this before. It is easily one of the most difficult days of my life.

    This evening, after we put him to bed, I settled into the last 100 pages of Garth Stein's The Art of Racing in the Rain. The story concerns one family's near total collapse as seen through the eyes of the family dog, Enzo. It is filled with more emotion than any other novel I have read recently, and it shines with wit, humor, and poignancy.

    Narrated by Enzo the dog, we are brought into the home of the Swifts -- Denny, Eve, and Zoe -- as Denny works to realize his dream to become a race car driver. Soon though, we learn that Eve has cancer and is going to die. Denny, who possesses tremendous compassion, patience, and selflessness, gives up his dream to race cars in order to take care of Eve in her final months.

    But Garth Stein ratchets the emotional screws tighter, and Eve chooses to leave Denny and live with her parents in her final months. To make matters worse, she takes Zoe with her, and Denny is left alone with Enzo.

    Just when Denny's situation can't get any worse, it does. His in-laws inform him that they're going to file for custody of his daughter, and they intend to fight him brutally in court to do so.

    It would be wrong to give too much of the second half of this novel away, but let me just say this: if this novel doesn't make you cry, you should have someone check your heart to see if it's still beating.

    The Art of Racing in the Rain is easily one of the most human and compassionate novels I've read in a long time. Harper Executive Editor Jennifer Barth compares it to Charlotte's Web, an appropriate choice for a lot of reasons. If I had to draw a comparison, I'd pick Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men... by virtue of the fact that both novels are short, poignant, sad, funny, and ultimately brilliant. And both stories are models of grace under pressure.

    Congratulations to everyone at Harper and to the folks at Folio Literary Management for bringing this novel to publication. And congratulations most of all to Garth Stein.

    This is an outstanding novel, and I highly recommend it.

    Stacey Cochran
    Author of CLAWS: A Suspense Novel

    5-0 out of 5 stars BEST BOOK EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Since I am a young teenager, you might think it doesn't mean much for me to say that this is the best book ever. But I've read a pretty good amount of books for someone my age. When I read this book, I felt a connection with it that I haven't felt with any other book. It made me feel the pain, the happiness, the sadness, and the humor in the characters lives. I cried at two points in the book because of the way the author was able describe it. It wasn't that it was sad, it was just that it was told in such a beautiful and truthful way. Obviously, you might say that a dog could not think like a human, so how could it be truthful. But this book is not about what real dogs think. It's about spiritual and emotional truths. Doesn't anyone remember Charlotte's Web? Enzo says, "My intent, here, is to tell our story in a dramatically truthful way. While the facts may be less than accurate, please understand that the emotion is true. The intent is true. And, dramatically speaking, intention is everything."

    Because I'm 12, I did have to discuss the book with my parents. I needed to ask questions about the custody battle and Eve's sickness. I recommend this book to anyone who is open to the ideas of creating your own life and not being a victim. Anyone who thinks this book has anything to do with bad luck (I've seen some of the reviews) is really missing the message. There is nothing random. As Enzo says, we are all extensions of everything. Where you focus your energy is what happens in your life. What happens in the end is what has to happen. It is the only true ending that fits the whole buildup of where Denny and Enzo placed their energy.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Darned near perfect read
    I stopped at Starbucks on my way to jury duty, for coffee and something sweet to get me through. I saw this book and, being a dog lover, the cover caught my eye. I read the flyleaf and had to have it. This is as close to a perfect story as I've read in a long time. Yes, the narrator is a dog who is wiser than most of us; yes, Denny is a zen-type race car driver (and I'm bored silly by the entire "sport" of car racing); yes, all sorts of bad luck is heaped upon Denny. With all that I was caught up in the story and believed every word as true and in the very realest sense it is. I've recommended it to all my friends and I recommend it to you too.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A wonderful novel that you'll never forget.
    This novel is now on my top ten favorite books list. It has a unique narrative voice, that makes this novel both singular as well as inventive, standing apart from the onslaught of new releases readers face each year. With themes that many people can empathize with balanced with the racing metaphor, which I thought would never work coming from a non-racing background yet ultimately will add to the experience to any reader. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!

    5-0 out of 5 stars A book every dog parent needs to read
    I laughed and cried while reading this book. Rooted for Enzo and his family throughout the read. This is such a great book, told with humor and humanity and I highly recommend this to any pet parent who loves their pets and just knows your buddy is more human than most humans. Definitely recommend this book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Perfect Novel
    I would call this a perfect novel for the following reasons.
    1. The unique choice of narrator (the dog) which, once you get over the gimmick, is handled with grace and aplomb and not at all off-putting
    2. The language is delicious, without a word too many or too few. The author understates the action just enough that his words are each filled with poignancy and gravitas
    3. The plot, which winds through several permutations, each unexpected but perfectly believable
    4. The characters, all of whom are well-written and three-dimensional
    5. The message, which is one of patience, balance, loyalty and unconditional love

    I read this book in one sitting, unable to take a break once I started. There were several moments where it moved me to tears, and the last few chapters had me weeping openly. The experience was cathartic and immensely rewarding.... and that, I contend, is perfection. ... Read more

    11. Stupid History: Tales of Stupidity, Strangeness, and Mythconceptions Throughout the Ages
    by Leland Gregory
    Kindle Edition (2007-05-01)
    list price: $9.99
    Asin: B002TZ3D2G
    Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
    Sales Rank: 324
    Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    If it would shock you to learn that Benjamin Franklin didn't discover electricity, you'll appreciate this take on hundreds of historical legends and debacles. Historians and humorists alike may be surprised to learn that:

    Samuel Prescott made the famous horseback ride into Concord, not Paul Revere. As a member of Parliament, Isaac Newton spoke only once. He asked for an open window. On April 24, 1898, Spain declared war on the U.S., thus starting the Spanish-American War. The U.S. declared war the very next day, but not wanting to be outdone, had the date on the declaration changed from April 25 to April 21.With these and many other stories, leading humorist Leland Gregory once again highlights both the strange and the funny side of humankind. ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars Light reading on a weighty topic!
    I really enjoy trivia and I really enjoy history so it was nice to see them combined in a really funny collection. This is a collection of entertaining short, historical tales flavored with pieces of trivia and stupid acts through the ages. Leland Gregory has also peppered these narratives with "punny" jokes that are sure to make you crack a smile.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Fun Read
    This is a fun book. The entries are one page little-known facts and anecdotes from history. I found the entries to be from slightly interesting to Wow! Plus, there are several laughs thrown in along the way. The one page entries made this perfect bedtime reading for me.

    5-0 out of 5 stars totally worth it impulse buy
    I purchased this at my local Borders Books. Unintentionally. They had it up at the register, and being a history fanatic, and a fan of all things trivialesque & stupid, I impulsively purchased the book. I'm so glad I did. As another reviewer said, the book is full of everything from, "Oh, really?" to "OH WOW!" and very 'punny' jokes.

    Totally worth the money. I'm glad it was on display, or otherwise I may have never known of it's existence. ... Read more

    12. The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration
    by Isabel Wilkerson
    list price: $30.00 -- our price: $17.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0679444327
    Publisher: Random House
    Sales Rank: 43
    Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    One of The New York Times Book Review’s 10 Best Books of the Year

    In this epic, beautifully written masterwork, Pulitzer Prize–winning author Isabel Wilkerson chronicles one of the great untold stories of American history: the decades-long migration of black citizens who fled the South for northern and western cities, in search of a better life. From 1915 to 1970, this exodus of almost six million people changed the face of America. Wilkerson compares this epic migration to the migrations of other peoples in history. She interviewed more than a thousand people, and gained access to new data and official records, to write this definitive and vividly dramatic account of how these American journeys unfolded, altering our cities, our country, and ourselves.
    With stunning historical detail, Wilkerson tells this story through the lives of three unique individuals: Ida Mae Gladney, who in 1937 left sharecropping and prejudice in Mississippi for Chicago, where she achieved quiet blue-collar success and, in old age, voted for Barack Obama when he ran for an Illinois Senate seat; sharp and quick-tempered George Starling, who in 1945 fled Florida for Harlem, where he endangered his job fighting for civil rights, saw his family fall, and finally found peace in God; and Robert Foster, who left Louisiana in 1953 to pursue a medical career, the personal physician to Ray Charles as part of a glitteringly successful medical career, which allowed him to purchase a grand home where he often threw exuberant parties.

    Wilkerson brilliantly captures their first treacherous and exhausting cross-country trips by car and train and their new lives in colonies that grew into ghettos, as well as how they changed these cities with southern food, faith, and culture and improved them with discipline, drive, and hard work. Both a riveting microcosm and a major assessment, The Warmth of Other Suns is a bold, remarkable, and riveting work, a superb account of an “unrecognized immigration” within our own land. Through the breadth of its narrative, the beauty of the writing, the depth of its research, and the fullness of the people and lives portrayed herein, this book is destined to become a classic.
    ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars Deep, richly rewarding, heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time., September 7, 2010
    Isabel Wilkerson, the Pulitzer Prize winning newspaper writer, has now come back to write a fascinating and sweeping book on what she calls ""the biggest underreported story of the twentieth century."

    This is the story... no- make that the stories... of the "Great Migration", the migration of sharecroppers and others from the Cotton Belt to the Big Cities: New York, Chicago, Detroit, LA and etc in the period between the World Wars. Over one million blacks left the South and went North (or West). Of course we all know the tale of the "Dust Bowl" and the "Okies", as captured by Steinbeck in words, by Dorothea Lange in photographs, and even in song by Woody Guthrie. But this was as big or even bigger (estimates vary), and to this day the story has not been covered anywhere near as well as the "Dust Bowl" migrations.

    Wilkerson's book has more than ten years of research in its making, and thus is a large and weighty volume at more than 600 pages. It is also personally researched, the author having interviewed over 1,200 people. She picked three dozen of those to interview in great depth, and choose but three of those stories to present to you here.

    The title of this book is taken from Richard Wright's "Black Boy: A Record of Childhood and Youth": "I was taking a part of the South to transplant in alien soil, to see if it could grow differently, if it could drink of new and cool rains, bend in strange winds, respond to the warmth of other suns, and, perhaps, to bloom."

    This book is a not an easy summer read, mind you. At times both heartwarming and heartbreaking, at times so riveting you won't be able to put it down- but at other times so moving that you'll need to put it down for a while.

    The author peppers her book with interesting side notes and anecdotes, such as when some of the migrants, being unfamiliar with a Northern accent, would mistakenly get off at the cry of "Penn Station, Newark," the stop just before Penn Station, New York. Many decided to stay there,according to Isabel , giving Newark "a good portion of its black population."

    A personal note: My Dad got his Masters on the GI Bill, then took us to Los Angeles to be a teacher. He was partnered with a more experienced teacher- a lady we called "Miz Edna" who had migrated to LA from the South. Our families became friends, as also "Miz Edna's" husband had served in New Guinea with my father (as a cook, however, remember the WWII Army was still segregated) . I remember many of her stories, and especially her rich melodic voice, with just enough of the South remaining. Thus, I "heard" many of the quotations and personal stories here in "Miz Edna's" voice.

    This is a deep and great book, I highly recommend it.

    Further reading:

    Arnesen, Eric. Black Protest and the Great Migration: A Brief History with Documents

    Grossman, James R. Land of Hope: Chicago, Black Southerners, and the Great Migration

    Lemann, Nicholas. The Promised Land: The Great Black Migration and How It Changed America

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Rich and Powerful Book, September 20, 2010
    Between World War I and the presidency of Richard Nixon, some six million black Americans fled the indignities and oppression they grew up with in the American south and headed north or west in search of freedom. Some found at least a modicum of it. Some did not. This mass migration --- unplanned, haphazard and often resented --- has affected our laws, our politics and our social relations in all kinds of ways. Some for the better, some not.

    Isabel Wilkerson did a mountain of research to tell this story. She conducted some 1,200 interviews and digested a huge volume of sociological data. Wisely, she concentrated her book on just three of those six million people --- a gutsy woman from the cotton plantations of Mississippi, an orange picker from central Florida and an aspiring doctor from Louisiana. Each of them left the south in a different decade and with different motivations. They met with varying degrees of success and disappointment. While they didn't achieve everything they had hoped for, none of them in their final assessment regretted their move.

    Wilkerson plays off these three protagonists against a vast chorus of others whose stories vary wildly but all come down to the determination to leave behind intolerable social oppression and at least try their luck in freer air. Wilkerson herself, a child of two black immigrants from Georgia, is a part of that chorus. Her book is valuable on several levels. It documents in gut-wrenching detail the brutal way these migrants were treated in the region of their birth. It is honest about their own personal failings and the not-always beneficial effect that northern life had on them. It challenges the popular assumption that they themselves caused the problems that have made their life up north so difficult. It documents a different idea --- that much of the problem stems from their children, born in the north and unmindful of what their parents had to suffer to give them a shot at a better life.

    The book is gracefully written. Its level of personal detail gives readers the impression that its subjects had total recall as they spoke into Wilkerson's tape recorder. She has also elected to preserve the unique syntax and tone of black speech, without cleaning things up to make her subjects all sound like upper-class college graduates, though some of them are.

    Some passages are riveting in their eloquence --- the automobile journey of Robert P. Foster from his native Louisiana to Los Angeles in the early 1950s, a hellish series of efforts to find unsegregated lodgings before he fell asleep at the wheel; the horrifying descriptions of lynch mobs on the rampage; the life of railroad porter George Starling serving white passengers while himself unable to escape discriminatory practices and threats against his person; the far-reaching Jim Crow laws in the south that prevented blacks from patronizing public libraries and decreed that, even after desegregation was the law of the land, they had to wait for service in stores until all the whites present had been taken care of. (In Birmingham, Alabama, for many years it was against the law for blacks and whites to play checkers together).

    Wilkerson devotes major attention to the racial history of Chicago, where immigrant Ida Mae Gladney of Mississippi ended up. This may be simply because the volume of statistical and sociological data on the racial divide there is so enormous, and also because that divide persists to this day in many ways. George Starling made a decent life for himself in Harlem, but watched helplessly as one of his children slid into drugs and criminal activity.

    But perhaps the most vivid story of all is that of Robert Foster, a medical school graduate and prominent Los Angeles surgeon. He achieved greater success than either of the other two major figures, but it only aroused in him a need to "prove himself" by buying an ostentatious home, spending lavishly in fine clothes and elaborate parties, and developing a gambling mania. Of Wilkerson's trio, he is the most arresting character --- a man who made it big but felt he always had to go higher up the success ladder. Wilkerson is candid about his character flaws. She seems to pity him rather than simply wax critical.

    THE WARMTH OF OTHER SUNS is a rich and powerful book. It tells a story that for many people still needs to be told.

    --- Reviewed by Robert Finn

    4-0 out of 5 stars An under reported epic, September 7, 2010

    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
    100 years ago, the majority of "colored people" lived in the rural South. Outside of the South, most major cities had a small Black population but large areas had little to no Black population. Most of the West and much of the rural Mid-West were White. A Black person was an oddity and many small children had never seen a Black person.
    In 60 years, most major American cities had a large Black population. Black America is largely defined as an urban people, who spread over America. This change, from the slower pace of the rural South to the rapid pace of Northern and Western cities is one of the great stories of the 20th Century and one that few wish to tell.
    This book looks at that migration as both a personal experience and as history. The author emphasizes personal experience. This migration is documented through the experiences of three participants. If you are looking for a conventional history, you will not be happy with this book. If you are looking for a very well written book chronicling Black life from the 1920s to the 1970s, this is an excellent book.
    While not a fun read, it is an easy book to read and can be enjoyable. This is a story of people looking for a better life and the adjustments forced on them. Some of the adjustments are painful others are very satisfying to them. The author captures the times and the people, their joys and sorrows.

    5-0 out of 5 stars "Epic" is right, September 21, 2010
    There is a page in the book where Wilkerson recounts what a single day of picking cotton in the old South's a pretty remarkable mini essay in its own right, and you probably won't forget it. The whole book is like this, with one powerful anecdote after another, woven together with great skill. I've always been fascinated with the Jim Crow era in America, and eyewitness stories of those who lived through it...though this book only follows 3 people out of the millions who endured it, it captures America in the 2oth Century as well as just about social history I've ever read.

    As a gay man, I often look to these books to be inspired by how black Americans "soldiered on" and showed such unbreakable spirit during these years. No, I personally never experienced even 1/10th of their struggle, but it still empowers me to face prejudice and avoid a lazy victimhood mentality. I am incredibly grateful for books like this, as should anyone who faces prejudice or discrimination by a majority.

    Clearly a book of this scope took years to complete, and I'm rooting for this to win this year's National Book Award. I suggest you set aside a whole weekend like I did and savor every page of it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars America's Great Migration, September 25, 2010

    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
    An estimated six million African Americans left the South between 1916 -- 1970 to seek a better life in the North. Historians have called this event the "Great Migration", and recognized it as a seminal movement in Twentieth Century American history. The Great Migration began during WW I as Northern industries needed a source of inexpensive labor to meet the growing economy as many workers were called into military service. It continued until the Civil Rights legislation of the 1960s took hold in the South and brought an end to Jim Crow. Although aspects of the Great Migration have been covered in academic histories and in African American novels and poetry, this new sweeping book, "The Warmth of Other Suns", brought the Great Migration to life for me in a way I will be unlikely to forget. It will do so as well for many others readers. Wilkerson is herself a daughter of the Great Migration. She received a Pulitzer Prize in journalism in 1994 as well as a Guggnheim Fellowship and many other honors. She is currently Professor of Journalism and Director of Narrative Nonfiction at Boston University. The title of the book is taken from Richard Wright in a quotation, one of many, that appears on the fronticepiece:

    "I was leaving the South
    To fling myself into the unknown...
    I was taking a part of the South
    To transplant in alien soil,
    To see if it could grow differently,
    If it could drink of new and cool rains,
    Bend in strange winds,
    Respond to the warmth of other suns
    And, perhaps, to bloom."

    Based on more that 1200 interviews with participant in the Great Migration, Wilkerson's book is much more an oral history and a work of literature than it is an academic study. Some earlier studies of the Great Migration have focused on the years of WWI and its immediate aftermath, but Wilkerson studies the 1930s,40s and 50s. She explores in detail the lives of three people who migrated during these decades. The first migrant, Ida Mae Brandon, was a sharecropper in eastern Missippi. At the age of 16 she married George Gladney who worked on a plantation owned by a man known as Mr. Edd. When men in the neighborhood beat and nearly killed a man based on the false accusation that he had stolen Mr. Edd's turkeys, the Gladneys knew they had to leave. They took a train to Milwaukee and soon thereafter moved to Chicago where Ida Mae lived from the 1930s to her death in the 1990s. Of her various subjects, Wilkerson seems fondest of Ida Mae and tells the story of her life in Mississippi followed by her life in Chicago against the changing backdrop of American history and African American life.

    Robert Joseph Pershing Foster grew up in the small town of Monroe, Louisiana where his parents taught at the segregated Jim Crow School. Ambitious, agressive, and intelligent, Foster studied at Atlanta University where he married Alice Clement, the daughter of the famous president of the University, Rufus Clement, who had fired W.E.B. DuBois. Foster became a physician and a surgeon and his ambitions were far broader than his opportunities in the Jim Crow South. After a period as a surgeon in the Army, Foster left the South on a long nightmarish drive to California in the 1950s and settled in Los Angeles. He worked himself up to a highly successful medical practice, centering upon other migrants. Foster became Ray Charles's doctor, and Charles wrote and recorded a song about him. Almost as fond of the casino and racetrack as of medicine, Foster lived lavishly and threw extraordinary parties to demonstrate how far he had come from life in the South. While admiring his drive, intellect, and success, Wilkerson is uncomfortable with the way in which Foster abandoned his roots and with his life-long insecurities not far below the surface of his material success.

    The third protagonist, George Swanston Starling, lived in central Florida near the town of Eustis. Intelligent and ambitious, Starling completed two years of college. When his father could not afford further education, Starling married a young woman, Inez, on the spur of the moment and probably out of spite. The marriage proved unhappy but it endured. Starling took a number of lowpaying and difficult jobs picking fruit. He was forced to flee for his life when he tried to organize the workers and learned that the bosses were likely plotting his death. He and Inez took a train to Harlem in the late 1940 where the unfortunate marriage endured until Inez' death after 44 years. Starling worked as a porter on the railroads where he witnessed and subtly assisted many other African Americans leaving the South in purusit of a better, freer life.

    Wilkerson juxtaposes the stories on these three people, who never met one another, throughout the book as they left the South and faced the America of the North, Midwest, and West. Their stories are told with flair and passion. I felt I knew Brandon, Foster, and Starling, and could share their hopes and sorrows. Much of the writing is stunning, including the long claustrophobic chapters recounting Foster's lonely drive from Louisiana to Texas and the endless instances of discrimination and rebuff he faced along the way.

    Wilkerson tells the stories of her protagonists while also giving the story of the era. She describes the lynchings, discrimination, and many indignities of black life in the South which prompted her characters to leave. She also describes the more subtle discrimination in the rest of the United States. While her protagonists were able to vote, earn money, and succeed to an extent that would have been unlikely in the Jim Crow South, their lives were not easy and the transitions were severe. Her chapters describing her protagonists are interspersed with broader chapters and passages describing American life in the South and in the places in the United States in which the migrants resettled.

    Wilkerson takes issue with some prior treatments of the Great Migration. She argues that in the main the migrants constituted the more intelligent and ambitious portion of the South's African American population. She maintains that their birthrates were lover and educational levels higher than African Americans who lived outside of the South, that their families tended to be more stable, and that they were less likely to be on welfare. She emphasizes individual initiative and drive, the dehumanization of Jim Crow, rather than economic factors, such as the development of mechanized cotton picking, as the primary reasons for African American migration from the South.

    Wilkerson's book of about 650 pages is written with lyricism and love more than with the dispassion of the historian. It captures a people and an era. This is a wonderfully human and insightful book about a part of American history that remains too little known.

    Robin Friedman

    4-0 out of 5 stars Where was I when this was happening?, September 17, 2010
    I found this book not only terrifically readable, but moving and exhilirating and frightening (out of concern for those who are profiled) as well. Isabel Wilkerson is a gifted writer (as well as a beautiful woman, if the head shot associated with the book is any guide at all); she well deserves the journalism Pulitzer she was awarded in 1994 even though the structure of this particular book is as defined and apparent as clothes drying on a line in the back yard.

    I kept asking myself, "Where was I when this was happening?", shocked that so much of the lives of the blacks who are profiled coincided with my life, yet at the time I had no awareness of what they faced, what they lived with, what they endured. I grew up in the southern San Joaquin County Valley of California. It was 'understood' that blacks lived in a separate part of town. I went to a high school with 5,000 students; fights between blacks and whites were rare, but it was also 'understood' that a current ran below the otherwise still waters of the local racial divide. A drive one night with the local police (this was a benefit of the police-high school liaison intended, I suppose, to help me - a white person - to understand the relationship that should prevail between whites and blacks) revealed more than the officers' excitement about their powerful patrol car, but also the 'proper' nature of the divide between both the white and black parts of town as well as between the members of those communities.

    As Wilkerson follows three particular black families out of the South and into the 'Promised Land' of the Northern (or Western) United States, I kept referencing my own life and interactions with the kind of people she was profiling. Unfortunately, I had few points of contact that I could point to. Wilkerson's book makes me regret that lack of interaction and chides me for my anxieties that were all too obviously inculcated by my parents and the white culture in which I grew up.

    I recommend this book highly for its revealing story about a segment of American society that has been hidden - at least hidden from me - as well as for its beautifully written style.

    5-0 out of 5 stars I don't want to put it down!, October 15, 2010
    Ah, come all you people who are tired of poor muddled writing, poor character development, aseptic dry tomes...

    Open this book and I dare you to read 3 pages and then put it away.

    Isabel Wilkerson can WRITE! She describes her characters so well they almost step out of the pages.
    The historical accuracy of this book is evident and it is obvious that she did a ton of research.

    I place this book high on my list of best ever, right along side "Wild Swans" and "David Copperfield"

    This is a story that needed to be told, thank you. Because like lots of Americans, I had no idea.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A history lesson..., October 9, 2010
    This book should be required reading for all American History students, high school and college, in this country and anyone abroad who studies American History. The story is beautifully told by Ms. Wilkerson who weaves statistics, and facts with beautiful quotes from noted authors and just regular folk. The author tells the moving story of 3 individuals during the mid 20th century and the difficult choices they made to uproot and start over within their own country. There are so many stories within the stories told, and anyone born and raised, particularly in the African American community, within the last 90 years, can relate. But it is by and large the American story. It is a major part of America, and it's amazing that many, at the time of the great migration did not recognize it for the huge impact that it was to our entire nation. And sadly the reason for that is because, the main participants were African Americans and many did not think this story worthy of reporting or telling.

    The author gave life to a quiet, historical movement that began way before the civil rights movement, but had just as much impact, if not more, on our country. I would love to see Oprah pick this book for her audience to read. Her broad audience appeal would surely garner many people who might not otherwise read this, to read it. I think all Americans should understand who our country was, where we've come from, and who we are today as a country of diverse people. This is indeed, one of the best books I've ever read about the history of our country.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Unknown Powers of the Great Migration, October 6, 2010
    Excellent examination of the trials and tribulations African American ovecame and endured to create a better life for their families. Moving from the South to the North was like moving to a foreign country. To learn "how to be" in such a hostile environment; to greive for acceptance from other African Americans and others and to make a way out of noway. This is the legacy our ancestors left us to continue to survive and strive to inprove not only ourselves but our families. We oftetimes forgot the sacrifics our ancestors and the pain they endured.

    This is a wonderful book it made me realize how special and privileged I am that my grandfather, aunts & uncle and parents were apart of this great migration. To finally receive recognition for their accomplishments and how they changed the landscape of America step by step. Thrown into the unknown but unwilling to endure the darkness to reach some semblance of light.

    The only gift I'm giving for birthdays and Xmas this year is this book.

    To the author: THANK YOU!! THANK YOU!! THANK YOU!! THANK YOU!!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful book, September 29, 2010
    This book does what I think every really great book does - it draws you in so that you actually enter the world the book creates. It is even harder for a work of non fiction to do this than for a novel, but The Warmth of Other Suns grabs you by the hand on page 1 and pulls you in and doesn't let you go until you finish the last page. I am not an African American and the history that is set forth in these pages is honestly new for me and happened before I was born. It is not often that a book that is so engrossing that you literally cannot put it down is also able to teach you so much. I learned about a big part of American history that will stay with me for the rest of my life. Highly recommended, for the history, for the stories of the people and for the writing. Everything about this book is simply beautiful. ... Read more

    13. All the Devils Are Here: The Hidden History of the Financial Crisis
    by Bethany McLean, Joe Nocera
    Hardcover (2010-11-16)
    list price: $32.95 -- our price: $17.50
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 1591843634
    Publisher: Portfolio Hardcover
    Sales Rank: 98
    Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    "Hell is empty, and
    all the devils are here."
    -Shakespeare, The Tempest

    As soon as the financial crisis erupted, the finger-pointing began. Should the blame fall on Wall Street, Main Street, or Pennsylvania Avenue? On greedy traders, misguided regulators, sleazy subprime companies, cowardly legislators, or clueless home buyers?

    According to Bethany McLean and Joe Nocera, two of America's most acclaimed business journalists, the real answer is all of the above-and more. Many devils helped bring hell to the economy. And the full story, in all of its complexity and detail, is like the legend of the blind men and the elephant. Almost everyone has missed the big picture. Almost no one has put all the pieces together.

    All the Devils Are Here goes back several decades to weave the hidden history of the financial crisis in a way no previous book has done. It explores the motivations of everyone from famous CEOs, cabinet secretaries, and politicians to anonymous lenders, borrowers, analysts, and Wall Street traders. It delves into the powerful American mythology of homeownership. And it proves that the crisis ultimately wasn't about finance at all; it was about human nature.

    Among the devils you'll meet in vivid detail:

    • Angelo Mozilo, the CEO of Countrywide, who dreamed of spreading homeownership to the masses, only to succumb to the peer pressure-and the outsized profits-of the sleaziest subprime lending.

    • Roland Arnall, a respected philanthropist and diplomat, who made his fortune building Ameriquest, a subprime lending empire that relied on blatantly deceptive lending practices.

    • Hank Greenberg, who built AIG into a Rube Goldberg contraption with an undeserved triple-A rating, and who ran it so tightly that he was the only one who knew where all the bodies were buried.

    • Stan O'Neal of Merrill Lynch, aloof and suspicious, who suffered from "Goldman envy" and drove a proud old firm into the ground by promoting cronies and pushing out his smartest lieutenants.

    • Lloyd Blankfein, who helped turn Goldman Sachs from a culture that famously put clients first to one that made clients secondary to its own bottom line.

    • Franklin Raines of Fannie Mae, who (like his predecessors) bullied regulators into submission and let his firm drift away from its original, noble mission.

    • Brian Clarkson of Moody's, who aggressively pushed to increase his rating agency's market share and stock price, at the cost of its integrity.

    • Alan Greenspan, the legendary maestro of the Federal Reserve, who ignored the evidence of a growing housing bubble and turned a blind eye to the lending practices that ultimately brought down Wall Street-and inflicted enormous pain on the country.

    Just as McLean's The Smartest Guys in the Room was hailed as the best Enron book on a crowded shelf, so will All the Devils Are Here be remembered for finally making sense of the meltdown and its consequences.
    ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars I thought it would take at least a decade for a book this good
    I am only about 40% through this book but I had to stop and give it 5 stars! This is an excellent and balanced account of the events, laws and business practices that led up to the crisis. This is not a book that over-simplifies the crisis with terms like "Wall Street Greed". Instead, it sheds light on all the variety of players that it took to create this mess: Fannie/Freddy, The Sub-prime companies (many you probably never seen mentioned in press), policies and laws that go back to the Clinton era, failures of regulators and the justice department, the Fed, Banks, Wall St., the Rating agencies and of course, the general publics own stupidity.

    If you are willing to accept the fact the the answers to the cause of the crisis are not simple and you "can handle the truth" then you must read this book.
    ... Read more

    14. The Communist Manifesto
    by Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels
    Kindle Edition
    list price: $0.00
    Asin: B000JQUHLC
    Publisher: Public Domain Books
    Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers. You may find it for free on the web. Purchase of the Kindle edition includes wireless delivery. Translation of: Manifest der Kommunistischen Partei ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent edition of a political classic, August 9, 2004
    My five star rating is based on the quality of this handsome edition of one of the classics of political philosophy. Classics of this magnitude, whether Adam Smith's THE WEALTH OF NATIONS, Tocqueville's DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA, or THE FEDERALIST PAPERS have achieved a status that makes the assigning of a rating rather silly. Regardless of one's feelings about Marxism or Communism, a work of such gigantic influence is of such a status that rating it is almost silly. It is one of the constitutive artifacts of our culture.

    The particular edition I am reviewing is the recent reissue on Verso with an introduction by Eric Hobsbawm. There are a host of editions of THE COMMUNIST MANIFESTO, and virtually any of them will do the trick, but I very much enjoyed this edition, partly for the handsome jacket and binding, and partly for the superb intro by Hobsbawm. It is not a new translation, and indeed it isn't clear that there will ever be much of a demand for a new translation. The MANIFESTO was first published in 1848 and this translation in 1888. Moore's translation is the standard one for a simple reason: Engels examined it closely and helped Moore in editing the final draft of the translation.

    Although I had read a fair amount in the writings of Marx over the years, this was my first time to read the work from cover to cover. I found it surprising on several levels. First, it was a much easier to read work than I had anticipated. This is upon reflection hardly surprising. The work was intended as a pamphlet for the masses, and it was essential that it be as understandable as possible. Also, the concepts and ideas articulated in these pages have become a part of the intellectual landscape of Western civilization. A host of ideas are commonplace, even among those who do not consider themselves sympathetic towards Marxism. It has become a commonplace of the past decade that Communism and Democracy clashed, and Communism lost. But the fact is that Marxist thought has exerted a massive influence on the way we view the world, and many things introduced by Marx are now central constituents of our world. Just look at the way we write history now. Before Marx a detailed consideration of the economic factors in an era was unheard of; now it is considered essential.

    As a credo, I find myself conflicted over its contents, just as I always find myself conflicted in reading Marx. Marx's analyses of the dynamics governing capitalist society have always struck me as dead on. No one writes more presciently or timelessly about the structures of exploitation that are inherent in capitalism. Nonetheless, I find his positive proposals as to how to transcend capitalism to be untenable, and the post-capitalist world he describes to be undesirable. The best way to express this is that I find Marx the critic to be convincing and impressive, but Marx the visionary to be irrelevant. I want us to pay attention to Marx's critiques, but not to his proposals for change.

    I was delighted in reading the book to find the word "highfalutin" in the text. The world seems somehow to be a more charming place for the unexpected presence of such a light-hearted word in the midst of a serious text.

    Though listed as the work of Marx and Engels, Marx was the primary creator of the work. He also did the bulk of the writing. It isn't sufficiently commented on what a beautiful writer Marx could be when he tried. Too often he adopts the try academic style begun with Christian Wolff and continued by Kant, Fichte, and Hegel. But a host of exquisite phrases such as "All that is solid melts into air" shows that Marx could turn a phrase when conviction didn't prevent him.

    Everyone interested in political thought or modern history needs to read this book. Its influence--its ongoing influence--is incalculable. Its critique of the exploitative nature of capitalism remains astonishingly relevant. And its predictions about the future course of history, even if no longer inspiring or convincing, are crucial to grasp if one is to understand many of the political impulses of the past one hundred and fifty years.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A work of historic significance, December 20, 2000
    I remember reading the Communist Manifesto thirty years ago when I was at University. At the time it seemed tedious and impenetrable. Recently I re-read it and was amazed at how clear it seemed and what an effective piece of propaganda it was and how clear was the writing.

    Reading through the program one realises the distance that has been travelled since it was written. Some of the major planks are the Abolition of Child Labour, the creation of a progressive income tax and Free Education.

    Perhaps one of its major weaknesses is that Marx was a person who tended to carry a grudge. Thus a third of it is devoted to attacks on some of his contemporary enemies and rivals. These disputes have so long passed into history they are incomprehensible.

    The modern notion of Communism of course stems not from Marx but from Stalin and Lenin. Marx wrote at a time when the only democratic country in Europe was France. England, Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire all had limited franchises and Russia was of course an autocracy. One of the major reforms he battled for was the introduction of democracy. It was his belief that the implementation of his program would flow from that.

    Following Marx's death his movement evolved into a parliamentary movement the Social Democratic Party. Communism as a modern political phenomena dates from 1917 when splinter Social Democrats followed Russia's lead and developed small conspiratorial parties who were committed to the seizure of power by force. Stalinism is an offshoot of this system and is a form of state terror aimed at ensuring the survival of unpopular anti democratic regimes.

    Reading through the Manifesto one can see the basis of a system which was not only an effective for mobilising political movements, but came to influence intellectual debate for the next century. There is also perhaps a sense of a naive optimism which could not contemplate the sorts of disasters which were to occur over the next hundred years.

    3-0 out of 5 stars An Important Historical Document, May 21, 2006
    No one can discount the importance this document has to the history of the modern world. This is not an "enjoyable" read by any stretch of the imagination, and the true power of its ideals are not in its wording, but its timing. This is where this document finds its relevance.

    The reader would be well advised to understand the political climate of the age when it was written. Reading this from a modern "Western" context will likely lead to the scratching of your head while wondering how anyone believed these "ideals."

    If you are a history buff or a student of a political nature, this book is an important read, or if you are a skeptical type, you may find this book challenging. At the end of this, the important question to ask yourself is; "Do I believe what I believe because of the merits of the idea or because of the emotions associated with its timing?"

    5-0 out of 5 stars Very important but see other Marx works for bigger picture, July 25, 2002
    What many don't realise is that this book sits at the top of a larger body of work which forms Marx's philosophy. Beyond the manifesto, Marx has been extremely influential in the areas of philosophy, psychology, ethics, aesthetics as well as the more obvious areas such as political economy. This book therefore is a consequence of a much more complex philosophical analysis of his times. In other philosophical discussions of Marx, you will rarely if ever come across references to the manifesto which puts it into perspective relative to his other, philosophically more important writings. However, as a polemic and a political manifesto this book is spot on for it's time even if Marxism, due to the subsequent events of history needs to be seriously reworked and comtemporised.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Never have so many extrapolated so much out of so little, July 10, 2009
    A concept born in a simpler time used as an excuse for many things from Socialism to controlled capitalism. As with any pivotal work, one should read it for his/her self. There is always the chance of misinterpretation by an individual, but if you do not read this then you are just accepting someone's word anyway.

    This is more than an economics book it is a way of life. It sounds good on paper but makes many assumptions. Instead of worrying about workability, look at the logic that is built on assumptions of that time (written, in 1848). Add this to your library.

    You can pick a side (pro or con) and make a stand if you like; but look at the size of this book and realize that many people will just use the title and build their own case. You will have read the real thing.

    Be sure to balance it with "The Capitalist Manifesto" by Louis O. Kelso

    The Capitalist Manifesto by Louis O. Kelso and Mortimer J. Adler

    5-0 out of 5 stars A quick-start guide to what Communism is really about., December 12, 1999
    Marx and Engels were brilliant men who lived in a time and place not that different from our own. Overrun by commmerce, mid-19th Germany and the millenial United States have much in common: A huge and seemingly inexplicable stratification of rich and poor; A general malaise and widespread social displacement which lead to violence and mental illness; and a progression toward fascist ideologies (particularly racism, nationalism, & militarism) as so-called leaders rise up and claim solutions to our problems.

    As historians and observers, Marx & Engels knew something many intelligent adults strugggle with today: That the world seems to have always been like this, and that our way of life (government and economy) provides no way out. In a cultish, group-think manner its only proffered solution to any raised objection is merely self-perpetuation. In place of education about its real goals and methods, it offers standardized national platitudes and smoke-and-mirror explanations designed only to further the ignorance of the general populace who must be lulled into cooperation. To improve education, we cut school spending. To decrease violence, we have wars. To help the poor, we give to the rich.

    If you, like many people, are looking for an explanation of these events -- and a possible way out -- you owe it to yourself to read The Communist Manifesto. A careful reading and discussion with others, both aligned with and opposed to these ideas, will be most helpful in dealing with your own questions.

    If, on the other hand, you are a steadfast capitalist, you also deserve a reading of the Manifesto, if for no other reason than to know your enemy. The ideas proposed here have been tried and have worked, but you have to look past the propaganda to see the meanings of Marx's words. The Soviets started out with his ideas, but were not able to really implement them. Reading the Manifesto will quickly demonstrate that. One society which was successfully based on Communist ideas (in fact, predating the word) is that of the native Hawaiian population -- a subject also recommend for interested students and detractors of socialism.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Must Read, February 14, 2005
    If you have ever wondered about Communism and its true this.

    Any Political Science Major should have read this book cover to cover.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Good Primer for Future Marx/Engels' Writings, February 20, 2006
    The Manifesto is a short political tract, under sixty pages, but its affect on history has been enormous. We forget this today, especially after the Cold War, but if one reads into Marx's critique of capitalism, it still resonates even a century and a half later.

    Of course, the tract is enunciated by a 19th century positivism that seems grossly misplaced in our postmodern, cynical world. Additionally, the rise and collapse of the Soviet Union and Communism (except in maybe today's North Korea and rhetorically in Cuba) has illuminated the weaknesses of the application of Marx's ideas. Nevertheless, it shows the costs of an unfettered market economy, in an industrial context, extremely well. Notice also the ten planks of the Communist Manifesto platform of action, to be implemented by a revolutionary state, which included some things we take for granted today--abolition of land ownership, progressive income tax, public and universal education, and nationalization of all railways, means of transportation, as well as abolition of child labor, and centralization of bank credit in a state bank.

    If you're going to study 20th century politics and social movements, the Communist Manifesto is a must. It is a nice, more readable introduction to some of Marx's more obtuse works, such as his writings on German philosophy (The German Ideology), the 1848 revolutions, the 1871 Paris Communards (covered in The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon and the Revolutions in France), philosophy (The Poverty of Philosophy), and the three volume set of Das Kapital [the last two of which Engels co-wrote and edited from Marx's writings and transcripts].

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Hobo Philosopher, September 13, 2007
    Well, if you are a student of Philosophy or economics you must make this a part of your reading whether you want to or not. It is not long. It is not difficult. It is quite explicit. And after you read it you should have a better understanding of where you personally stand politically. I am not going to comment on what it says or advocates. Read it and find out for yourself. You won't need an interpreter.

    Books written by Richard Noble - The Hobo Philosopher:
    "Hobo-ing America: A Workingman's Tour of the U.S.A.."
    "A Summer with Charlie"
    "A Little Something: Poetry and Prose"
    "Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother"
    "The Eastpointer" Selections from award winning column.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Idealistic and prone to failure...but ultimately insightful, April 28, 2001
    Karl Marx and Friedrich Engel's ~The Communist Manifesto~ has affected probably more lives then most books of its time had (save maybe Upton Sinclair's ~The Jungle~). Marx and Engel's set forth a series of ideals as to achieving the perfect utopian society and abolishing with the "feudalistic class systems." In so doing, Marx creates probably the most relevant section of the little book, Section I.: Bourgeois and Proletarians. With this section, Marx paints a picture of modern capitalist society for the proletariat (or worker if you will) in order to play up his ideal classless society. Although his society was never achieved, the idea of alienation and exploitation in the workplace is still relevant today.

    Marx sums up the situation of the worker in this first chapter very well. Marx first begins by comparing modern Bourgeois society to that of Feudalistic Europe, "The modern Bourgeois society that has sprouted from the ruins of the feudal society has not done away with class antagonisms. It has but established new classes, new conditions of oppression..." Just a few, short pages later, Marx introduces us to the Modern working class; the proletariat, "But not only has the bourgeosie forged the weapons that bring death to itself; it has also called into existence the men who are to wield those weapons - the modern working class - the proletarians." Marx describes the Proletarians as "slaves of the borgeois class" and as being "enslaved by the machine, by the overlooker, and above all, by the individual bourgeois manufacturer himself."

    Despite Marx's constent bashing of the bourgeosie, he has some interesting things to say about them as well. Marx says that the bourgeoisie "by the rapid improvement of all instruments of production, by the immensely facilitated means of communication, draws all, even the most barbarian, nations into civilisation." Marx even credits the bourgeoisie with another accomplisment: "[he] has rescued a considerable part of the population from the idiocy of rural life." I think what Marx is trying to tell us is that the Bourgeoisie is essential to the progress and development of a nation, but it certainly should not be the end, there must be something beyond the bourgeois society.

    Later on in Section II. (Proletarians and Communists), Marx sets down the ten steps that should be taken by the government upon establishing a Communist/Socialist government/economic nation.

    1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.

    2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.

    3. Abolition of all rights of inheritance.

    4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.

    5. Centralisation of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with state capital and an exclusive monopoly.

    6. Centralisation of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the state.

    7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the state; the bringing into cultivation of waste lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.

    8. Equal obligation of all to work (different from Capitalism in which you have two choices: work and get money, or don't work and die). Establishment of industrial armies, especiaaly to agriculture.

    9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of all the distinction between town and country by a more equable distribution of the population over the country.

    10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children's factory labour in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production, etc.

    The only difference in the rules between today's capitalist based economies are rules 1, 3, 4, 5, and number 8. Remember, in a capitalist economy, you have the choice whether to work or not. The thing is, if you don't work, you're pretty much screwed. Marx states in the Communist Manifesto that, "the theory of Communists may be summed up in a single sentence: Abolition of private property."

    Marx sets up a series of systems which the state will gradually ease off of into a different economic state. However, in the "Communist" countries we've seen that almost all of them haven't graduated off their strict form of socialism, skipping the fedualistic stages and the capitalistic stages. China however, has been able to gradually ease onto a more capitalistic economy but the nature and spirit of the country remain "Communist." Because of greed and impatience we may never know whether Communism (in its purest form) can actually work and if it leads to a Utopian society, but we do know that Karl Marx was a very, very idealistic man.

    I highly recommend the Signet Classics copy of ~The Communist Manifesto~. It's an excellent buy... and a good print of the book (meaning the text is very readable). The Signet Classics copy also contains a very enlightening introduction by historian Martin Malia, and preferences on each edition (two on the various German editions, one on the Russian edition, and one on the English edition) written by Friedrich Engels. ... Read more

    15. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
    by Rebecca Skloot
    Kindle Edition
    list price: $26.00
    Asin: B00338QENI
    Publisher: Crown
    Sales Rank: 30
    Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells—taken without her knowledge—became one of the most important tools in medicine. The first “immortal” human cells grown in culture, they are still alive today, though she has been dead for more than sixty years. If you could pile all HeLa cells ever grown onto a scale, they’d weigh more than 50 million metric tons—as much as a hundred Empire State Buildings. HeLa cells were vital for developing the polio vaccine; uncovered secrets of cancer, viruses, and the atom bomb’s effects; helped lead to important advances like in vitro fertilization, cloning, and gene mapping; and have been bought and sold by the billions.

    Yet Henrietta Lacks remains virtually unknown, buried in an unmarked grave.

    Now Rebecca Skloot takes us on an extraordinary journey, from the “colored” ward of Johns Hopkins Hospital in the 1950s to stark white laboratories with freezers full of HeLa cells; from Henrietta’s small, dying hometown of Clover, Virginia—a land of wooden slave quarters, faith healings, and voodoo—to East Baltimore today, where her children and grandchildren live and struggle with the legacy of her cells.

    Henrietta’s family did not learn of her “immortality” until more than twenty years after her death, when scientists investigating HeLa began using her husband and children in research without informed consent. And though the cells had launched a multimillion-dollar industry that sells human biological materials, her family never saw any of the profits. As Rebecca Skloot so brilliantly shows, the story of the Lacks family—past and present—is inextricably connected to the dark history of experimentation on African Americans, the birth of bioethics, and the legal battles over whether we control the stuff we are made of.

    Over the decade it took to uncover this story, Rebecca became enmeshed in the lives of the Lacks family—especially Henrietta’s daughter Deborah, who was devastated to learn about her mother’s cells. She was consumed with questions: Had scientists cloned her mother? Did it hurt her when researchers infected her cells with viruses and shot them into space? What happened to her sister, Elsie, who died in a mental institution at the age of fifteen? And if her mother was so important to medicine, why couldn’t her children afford health insurance? 
    Intimate in feeling, astonishing in scope, and impossible to put down, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks captures the beauty and drama of scientific discovery, as well as its human consequences.

    From the Hardcover edition.
    ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars Thank you for this beautiful tribute to Henrietta Lacks, February 5, 2010
    Wow. This book should be required reading for scientists and students of life. The true story of Henrietta Lacks and her family has finally been told, beautifully, in this book. The book encompasses science, ethics, and the story of a family who was terribly wronged in the pursuit of scientific research. I could gush about this book for pages but I'll try first to hit the main points of why this book is so remarkable in list form for the sake of brevity:

    1. The author clearly developed a strong relationship with the Lacks family, which was absolutely critical to ensuring the story was told accurately and with the respect to Henrietta Lacks that was so deeply deserved.

    2. The storytelling is amazingly moving despite the need to convey a lot of scientific information. It reads like fiction.

    3. Ms. Skloot's research into the science is impeccable.

    4. The book is FAIR. It presents the unvarnished truth, obtained DIRECTLY from as many prinicpal people involved in the story as is humanly possible. It would have been easier to simplify the story into heroes vs. villians, but Ms. Skloot deftly handles all sides of the story.

    For some detail: I have worked with HeLa cells in the past, but did not know even the barest information about the story of Henrietta Lacks until a few years ago. It simply was not common knowledge, until a few less ethical folks released her name and medical records to the public. This obviously should not have been done without the express permission of the Lacks family, which Ms. Skloot obtained. In the past, others have not been as ethical. The book covers Ms. Lacks' early life, how her cells came to be harvested, and what happened to both the cells and her family afterward.

    The contributions of HeLa cells to science are absolutely staggering and cannot be over-stated. The sections where the science was described were clear and accurate. With the story of Ms. Lacks' family interwoven, this book was fairly close to perfect. I found myself moved to tears several times because of the fate of the Lacks family and Henrietta's daughter's indomitable spirit. I do not think anyone but Ms. Skloot could have written this book. She worked with the family for over a decade in order to get the story right. This was critical, as the family had been wronged too many times in the past.

    Thank you for this astounding work of art. I will be donating to the Henrietta Lacks foundation in honor of the entire family, and I hope many others will read the book and be similarly moved.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Captivating, engrossing, fascinating, heartbreaking, englightening...ALL in one stellar book!, January 16, 2010

    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
    This is hand's down one of the best books I've read in years and I wish I could give it more stars. It is going to be difficult to capture exactly what makes this book so outstanding and so captivating, but I'm going to give it my best shot.

    First of all I want to say I am STUNNED that this is the author's first book. She has poured ten years of her heart, soul, mind and her life in general in this book. What she has given birth to in that long period of labor is worthy of her sacrifice and honors Henrietta Lacks and her family.

    Other reviews have given the outline of this amazing story. What I want to stress is that Ms. Skloot has navigated the difficult terrain of respecting Mrs. Lacks and her family, while still telling their story in a very intimate, thorough, factual manner. What readers may not know is that the Lacks family isn't just a "subject" that the author researched. This is a real family with real heartaches and real challenges whose lives she entered into for a very long season. The Lacks' family has truly benefitted from the author's involvement in their life and that is something I am very appreciative of. I believe that Ms. Skloot was able to give Henrietta's daughter, Deborah, a real sense of healing, deliverance, peace and identity that she had been searching for her whole life...that story alone would have made the book for me.

    It would have been very easy for the author to come across as condescending or patronizing or possibly as being exploitive as she wrote about a family that is poor and uneducated. Instead the story is infused with compassion and patience as she not only takes the family along with her on a journey to understand their current situation and the ancestor whose life was so rich in legacy but poor in compensation; she educates the family in the process. I get the sense that the author grew to genuinely love Henrietta and her family. I am in awe of this level of commitment.

    The author has managed to explain the complex scientific information in a way that anyone can comprehend and be fascinated by. The author's telling of the science alone and the journey of Henrietta's immortal cells (HeLa) would have made the book a worthy read in itself. Ms. Skloot and Henrietta captured me from page one all the way to the final page of the book. I read it in one pass and I didn't want it to end.

    The author manages to beautifully tell multiple stories and develops each of those stories so well that you can't help but be consumed by the book. This is the story of Henrietta. It is the story of her sweet and determined daughter, Deborah. It is the story of the extended Lacks family and their history. It is a story of race/poverty/ignorance and people who take advantage of that unfortunate trifecta. It is a story about science and ethics. It is a story that should make each of us reflect on the sacrifices made by individual humans and animals that have allowed us to benefit so much from "modern" medicine. It is a story about hope and perseverance. It is a story about love and healing.

    I cannot imagine a single person I know who wouldn't love this book and benefit from reading it. I will be purchasing the final copy of the book and am looking forward to reading the book again.

    I am counting the days til Ms. Skloot writes another book and can't wait to attend one of her upcoming lectures. A fan is born!

    5-0 out of 5 stars 2010 Non-Fiction Award Winner?, January 8, 2010

    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
    As I recall this book was categorized as CANCER, I believe it might be more aptly described as science based non-fiction. In the last two decades I've seen occasional news items alluding to human cells taken from a black woman in the 1950's that have been replicated millions of times. The cells are referred to as HeLa and on the face of it I wouldn't have thought there was much of a story behind the extraction of these cells and their use by the biomed industry. However, this book dispells that rather naive assumption completely and puts a name and a face, a family, and a story behind the contents of many petri dishes and slides. THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS explains how the cells were obtained, replicated, distributed, and used without informed consent of the owner and family by John Hopkins and how they benefitted mankind w/o compensation to the family. Author Skloot tells the story of a family victimized by socioeconomic conditions and racism that can't get fundamental things like health coverage while these cells make a lot of money for the health establishment. It is a disturbing read that will stay with the reader long after the book is finished. It may also make the reader take a long hard look at the need for standardized health care in our society among many other things.
    The one thing that I found fascinating about this book is how Skloot managed to take a generally dry topic that might have been addressed in a scientific textbook and humanized it on a very personal level by developing a close relationship with Henrietta's family. The input received from the family took this book to a higher level and made it a very personsl story. From my perspective, it was very hard not to get involved with the Lacks family and not feel their sense of betrayal and loss.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Absolutely superb, January 17, 2010

    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
    Equal parts history, psychological drama, expose and character study, Rebecca Skloot's gripping debut is a deeply affecting tour de force that effortlessly bridges the gap between science and the mainstream.

    Her subject is the multilayered drama behind one of the most important--and in many ways, problematic--advances of modern medicine. Captivated by the story of Henrietta Lacks, a poor African-American woman whose cervical cancer cells (dubbed HeLa) were the first immortalized cells grown in culture and became ubiquitous in laboratories around the world, Skloot set out to learn more about the person whose unwitting "donation" of the cells transformed biomedical research in the last century. Her research ultimately spanned a decade and found her navigating (and to some extent, mediating) more than 50 years of rage over the white scientific establishment's cavalier mistreatment and exploitation of the poor, especially African Americans.

    Skloot deftly weaves together an account of Lacks's short life (she died at age 31) and torturous death from an extremely aggressive form of cancer; the parallel narrative concerning her cells; and the sometimes harrowing, sometimes amusing chronicle of Skloots's own interactions with Lacks's surviving (and initially hostile and uncooperative) family members. Moving comfortably back and forth in time, the richly textured story that emerges brings into stark relief the human cost of scientific progress and leaves the reader grappling with many unanswered questions about the ethics of the scientific endeavor, past and present. While the goals of biomedical research may be noble, how they are achieved is not always honorable, particularly where commercialization of new technologies is at stake. Skloot offers a clear-eyed perspective, highlighting the brutal irony of a family whose matriarch was a pivotal figure in everything from the development of Jonas Salk's polio vaccine to AIDS research to cancer drugs, yet cannot afford the very medical care their mother's cells helped facilitate, with predictable consequences.

    The LA Times book review section named Skloot one of its four "Faces to Watch in 2010," an honor that, based on "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" is well-deserved.

    Five stars--it was hard to put down this compelling, admirable and eminently readable book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A fantastic effort about the life of a forgotten woman, March 14, 2010
    Henrietta Lacks was born to an impoverished family of in rural Virginia in 1920. Her family worked on the same tobacco fields that their slave ancestors did during the preceding century, and after her mother died she grew up in her grandfather's dilapidated log cabin that served as slave quarters. She left school after the sixth grade to pick tobacco for ten cents per day on the farms of local whites. Henrietta had her first child with her first cousin Day at age 14, and they eventually married and moved to a small town outside of Baltimore during World War II so that Day could work at Bethlehem Steel for less than 80 cents an hour.

    In early 1951, Henrietta went to the gynecology clinic at Johns Hopkins Hospital after feeling a "knot" in her womb. After she was taken to a "Colored" examination room, the gynecologist on duty found a firm mass on her cervix that seemed cancerous, but was unlike anything he had ever seen. He sent a slice of the mass for analysis, and Henrietta was soon diagnosed with cervical cancer.

    Henrietta returned to Johns Hopkins a few weeks later, where she underwent treatment for cervical cancer. She was given a generalized consent form that gave permission for her doctors to perform any operative procedures necessary to treat her illness. However, she was not told that one of the staff gynecologists was collecting specimens of clinic patients with cervical cancer for a clinical study, and biopsies of healthy and cancerous cervical tissues were taken from her during her initial procedure. The cancerous cells, which were named HeLa after the first two letters of Henrietta's first and last names, proved to be the first human cells that could be grown indefinitely in a nutrient broth, and the Johns Hopkins researchers were overjoyed at this long awaited success.

    The treatment she received at Hopkins was state of the art, but was unsuccessful, due to the aggressive nature of her primary tumor, and she succumbed to her illness several months later. The researchers wanted to acquire more specimens from her tumor ridden body by performing an autopsy with biopsies. Her husband, after initially denying a request for an autopsy, was misled into agreeing to allow the Hopkins pathologists to perform a limited autopsy, after he was told that the doctors wanted to run tests that might help his children someday.

    The HeLa cell line was provided to scientists and organizations worldwide for minimal cost, as neither the researchers nor Johns Hopkins profited from the first immortal human cell line. However, a number of companies made millions of dollars by mass producing HeLa and selling them at a much higher cost. HeLa was used in numerous important biomedical studies, including the development of the Salk polio vaccine at the University of Pittsburgh in the mid-1950s, cancer and viral research projects, and studies of the effects of weightlessness and space travel on the human body by NASA.

    During this time Henrietta's husband and children were completely unaware that her cells had been harvested for medical research by the Hopkins doctors. By that time most of them were living in poverty in Baltimore, and were unable to afford basic health insurance. Articles about HeLa began to appear in medical journals and in the lay press, but it wasn't until 1973 that the family accidentally learned about the HeLa cell line. The family was contacted by Johns Hopkins, so that their cells could be analyzed and compared to those taken from Henrietta 22 years earlier. Once again they were misled into believing that the purpose of these tests was to determine if any of her children also had cancer, which caused Deborah, Henrietta's oldest surviving daughter, many years of anguish.

    Once Henrietta's name was released in the media, the family was besieged by journalists and others wishing to profit from her story, causing her husband and children to become distrustful and wary.

    Rebecca Skloot became interested in Henrietta Lacks after hearing about the HeLa cell line and its forgotten host as an undergraduate student. She spent many months and countless hours attempting to contact the Lacks family, and she slowly but painfully gained the trust of Deborah and her siblings, after she promised to tell the family's story alongside the history of HeLa.

    The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is a fantastic achievement, given the hurdles that Skloot had to overcome to obtain information from the Lacks family, Johns Hopkins, and the other key actors in this story. In addition to an in-depth history of this ordinary yet quite remarkable family, she provides just the right amount of information about HeLa and what it meant for biomedical research, along with information about informed consent from the 1950s to the present, the effect of race on medical care in the United States and the views of African-Americans toward medical experimentation, and the biology of cancer. The book is meant for a lay audience, but it would be of interest to those with a formal medical background. I found the book to be a bit overly sentimental and personal at times, but this is a very minor criticism of a fabulous book.

    3-0 out of 5 stars 5 star story, February 17, 2010
    Just so id doesn't sound like I damn this book with faint praise, let me say that this was an excellent story told well (for the most part). I'll save the synopsis for others. Needless to say, Henrietta Lacks' story is just as gripping as the science that was done with her cells. You will most likely enjoy her story (as I did).

    My criticisms:

    The author spends a rather substantial portion of the book describing her own efforts. It didn't add to Henrietta's story and leaving it out would have made for a better, more concise narrative.

    Black people were treated inhumanely to say the least (go look up the Tuskeegee Syphilis Study, for example). At the risk of sounding callous, this is well trod ground and some of it could also have been omitted for the sake of brevity without losing any of the story's impact.

    Lastly, there is an implicit condemnation of the doctors that took her cells (the author does say that this was "common practice" at the time). I can tell you that as a former cancer patient who has been biopsied more times than I care to remember, once a doctor removes something from you, it's gone. They are not going to pay you for it.

    Those criticism aside, this is a worthy read.

    5-0 out of 5 stars An astonishing scientific, sociological, racial exploration--and an engrossing work of art, December 28, 2009

    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
    Rebecca Skloot's story of Henrietta Lacks and her cancerous HeLa cells is both a fascinating history and an engrossing work of art. The book combines sharp science writing with some of the best creative nonfiction techniques and a heartbreaking story. The result is a stunning portrayal of twentieth century medicine, science, race, and class like nothing I've ever read before.

    Skloot skillfully interweaves the saga of a poor young black mother and her children with an elucidation of the almost primitive-seeming medical practices that were once customary, and the culturing and dissemination of the woman's cancer cells (unbeknownst to her or her relatives) around the world. This was a period when even paying patients were seldom if ever asked for consent and frequently experimented on without their knowledge. Skloot brings to life not only Henrietta's tragedy but also her own quest with Henrietta's daughter to find the woman behind the HeLa cells and the incredible accomplishments those cells have made possible. Just about all of us on the planet have benefited, while medical corporations have made billions and Henrietta's children received not one cent.

    A disturbing and even haunting aspect of the situation is that the 'Immortal Life' involved here is not that of Henrietta's cells alone but rather of her cells overcome and transformed by the terribly aggressive cancer that killed her. That is what has lived on and been used in thousands of experiments and inadvertently contaminated other cells lines around the world, replicating so much times that one scientist estimated all the HeLa produced (laid end to end) could circle the earth more than five times.

    As the author states in her opening, the history of Henrietta Lacks, her cells, and the way the medical establishment treated her family raises critical questions about scientific research, ethics, race, and class. It's also a supremely engrossing story and one that taught me more about race in America, medical ethics, science, and what makes writing matter than anything I've read in years. Original in scope and presentation, personal, thought provoking, and even profound, this is the kind of nonfiction that rarely comes along.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Good try, but could have been better, July 31, 2010
    I'm a big fan of science and medical non-fiction, so when I saw the rave reviews for The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, I was excited to read it. It started off strong; I'd give the first half five stars. The oral history of the Lacks family was fascinating, and I loved reading about how the cells got their start in the lab. When the author introduced the adult family (Deborah, et al), I felt a strong sympathy for them and what they'd been through. I was already recommending it to friends, anticipating that the second half would be as good.

    However, once I got to the second half, it went downhill considerably. The writing was fairly tight in the beginning, keeping all of the stories woven together in a comprehensible way, but seemed to unravel as the book went on. When I read the introduction, I didn't understand why Skloot was so defensive about inserting herself into the book (in my experience, medical non-fiction authors do it all the time), but I soon realized why - because by the second half, the book becomes less about HeLa, science, history, and ethics, and instead turns exclusively into a memoir about Skloot's dealings with the family. And at this point, the family became unsympathetic and insufferable. The writing became repetitive, somewhat informal, and ridden with unnecessary details. One reviewer called this book "deftly written" and I'd have to disagree. The second half gets one star.

    The book ended on a strong note, with the Afterward. The Afterward took us back to questions of bioethics. As I was reading it, I wondered why the Afterward was a separate part - couldn't it have been woven into the second half of the book?

    In short, I thought this book was merely ok, but as the reviews show, a lot of people loved it. If you think that you're one of the people who will love it, read it. If you're looking for a book that's just outstanding, look somewhere else.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Is Immortality really worth the price?, January 21, 2010

    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
    Rebecca Skloot has written a book that certainly sounds like it could be science fiction, but in truth it is incredible science. However, it's not only about the science, but more importantly about who is behind it all. She has put a very real face to one of the most important medical research discoveries of our lifetime and given an appropriate name to the HeLa cells used in that research all over the world; Henrietta Lacks.

    This book recounts the life of Henrietta, the death of Henrietta and the immortal cells she left behind that became the basis of many life saving discoveries in the medical field. HeLa cells are those which were taken from Henrietta's cancerous tumor many decades ago. They were easily replicated and viable for testing therefore they became an important staple in laboratories doing medical research right up to the present. Many have her cells to thank for their treatment and cures of deadly diseases.

    Sounds like a generous donation to the medical community, doesn't it? But, what if Henrietta and her family had no idea any of this had taken place? They didn't know that her doctor had taken the cells, and upon realizing how unique they were, shared and traded them with other researchers. They especially were unaware that these were eventually being sold for a profit among labs and medical companies. Was this a case of explotation or was it simply how science progresses?

    The author finds the surviving family of Mrs. Lacks and realizes there is far more to the story than it would first appear. She touches on each of the sensitive topics that present themselves as the family approaches her with so many questions left unanswered. The more I read, the more fascinated I became with the complexities.

    The Lacks family are uneducated and living in poverty, struggling to understand how their loved one could have saved so many lives while her own could not be saved. They find it hard to believe their mother has done so much for the medical community, and made some companies millions of dollars, yet they cannot even afford good medical care. They wonder how cells were named after her yet there was no true recognition of her by her full, real name. The children hope that Ms. Skloot will not be another journalist to take advantage of them, but that she will give their mother the place she deserves as a real person, not just a "cell donor". Ms. Skloot does exactly that and I believe they would be very happy with the care she has given to the subject.

    It's my opinion that everyone studying medicine & science should read this book to gain insight as to the genuine lives of patients. The understanding that there is much more to a person than their cells, their lab results, their disease, etc., is such an important lesson to be learned. To take a quote from the book, stated by the assistant who helped retrieve the cells while Henrietta was in the morgue, "When I saw those toenails I nearly fainted. I thought, Oh geez, she's a real person. I started imagining her sitting in her bathroom painting those toenails, and it hit me for the first time that those cells we'd been working with all this time and sending all over the world, they came from a live woman. I'd never thought of it thay way".

    I would also highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the ethical and legal aspects of the medical and scientific communities. There is also a significant component relating to the Johns Hopkins, the black community and black history. Every aspect was fascinating and eye-opening.

    If you are wondering how this could have happened, be warned that it could just as easily happen to any of us tomorrow, as there are still no laws in place preventing any doctor or hospital from keeping and using our tissue, or our children's umbilical blood, or our parents tumors for research once collected. Perhaps it is better that we all contribute to furthering scientific discoveries. But, you might rethink "immortality" after hearing this story. Just one more good reason to read this book.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Two different books, August 25, 2010
    I enjoyed the first half of the book. It was informative and educational. The second half - not so much. It took a bad turn with the introduction of Deborah and their trip together. The author depicted her as a woman who has the mind of a hyperactive 5 year old with ADD. "Oh my god. . . . I did this to her?" Maybe. Maybe not. The book went from the scientific and factual to the land of superstition and sensationalism I was left with the impression the book was a collage of facts and embellished observations. It's a good idea to leave your readers for a desire for more. I was left with a desire for less. ... Read more

    16. Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen
    by Christopher McDougall
    list price: $24.95 -- our price: $14.58
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0307266303
    Publisher: Knopf
    Sales Rank: 80
    Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    An epic adventure that began with one simple question: Why does my foot hurt?
    Isolated by Mexico's deadly Copper Canyons, the blissful Tarahumara Indians of have honed the ability to run hundreds of miles without rest or injury. In a riveting narrative, award-winning journalist and often-injured runner, Chris McDougall sets out to discover their secrets. In the process, he takes his readers from science labs at Harvard to the sun-baked valleys and freezing peaks across North America, where ever-growing numbers of ultra-runners are pushing their bodies to the limit, and, finally, to a climactic race in the Copper Canyons that pits America’s best ultra-runners against the tribe. McDougall’s incredible story will not only engage your mind but inspire your body when you realize that you, indeed all of us, were born to run.
    ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars A great story and so much more, May 16, 2009
    Born to Run succeeds at three levels. First, it is a page turner. The build up to a fifty-mile foot race over some of the world's least hospitable terrain drives the narrative forward. Along the way McDougall introduces a cast of characters worthy of Dickens, including an almost superhuman ultramarathoner, Jenn and the Bonehead--a couple who down bottles of booze to warm up for a race, Barefoot Ted, Mexican drug dealers, a ghostly ex-boxer, a heartbroken father, and of course the Tarahumara, arguably the greatest runners in the world.

    Born to Run is such a rip-roaring yarn, that it is easy to miss the book's deeper achievements. At a second level, McDougall introduces and explores a powerful thesis--that human beings are literally born to run. Recreational running did not begin with the 1966 publication of "Jogging" by the co-founder of Nike. Instead, McDougall argues, running is at the heart of what it means to be human. In the course of elaborating his thesis, McDougall answers some big questions: Why did our ancestors outlive the stronger, smarter Neanderthals? Why do expensive running shoes increase the odds of injury? The author's modesty keeps him from trumpeting the novelty and importance of this thesis, but it merits attention.

    Finally, Born to Run presents a philosophy of exercise. The ethos that pervades recreational and competitive running--"no pain, no gain," is fundamentally flawed, McDougall argues. The essence of running should not be grim determination, but sheer joy. Many of the conventions of modern running--the thick-soled shoes, mechanical treadmills, take no prisoners competition, and heads-down powering through pain dull our appreciation of what running can be--a sociable activity, more game than chore, that can lead to adventure. McDougall's narrative moves the book forward, his thesis provides a solid intellectual support, but this philosophy of joy animates Born to Run. I hope this book finds the wide audience it deserves.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A phenomenal book about running but more importantly a way of life, May 17, 2009
    My wife handed me Born to Run about 24 hours ago and said "you might like this." Having run quite a bit but nursing an achilles tendon injury for about 3 years, I had almost given up on my dreams of getting back into marathon shape. 24 hours (and very little sleep) later, I feel inspired, awed, and enlightened, and I have Christopher's wonderful book to thank.

    In a nutshell, I have not been this entralled by a story since Shadow Divers, Seabiscuit and/or Into Thin Air. Christopher's recounting of the forbidding Copper Canyons, the amazing Tarahumara, ultramarathoners young and old, and the greatest race you've never heard of is enough for me to give this a rave review. But like the aforementioned books, there is so much more to this story, not the least of which was Christopher's own quest (and amazing resiliency) to run without pain. Finally, he put to words many of the thoughts and feelings I've had about running but am unable to articulate. And Christopher is a great writer - I laughed out loud many times throughout. He has a style akin to a Timothy Cahill - a great wit that was obviously aided by a wonderfully intriguing cast of characters.

    As the sun was coming up this morning I was a bit sad to see this book end, and am already contemplating picking it up again. But only after I strap on the old, beaten up sneaks and get in a quick jog. Thanks so much for writing this book - I hope it changes lives and perspectives in the process.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Cure for Modernity, May 11, 2009
    If, when you finish with this book, you don't immediately get yourself outside and run like hell, then there's probably not a drop of living blood in you. This book is the perfect antidote to everything that's wrong with modern running and the way to find everything that's still so right with it. Even if it were all a work of fiction McDougall's tale would still be worth the price of admission. Fabulous.

    4-0 out of 5 stars 5 stars for inspiration, 3 stars for some hyperbole, July 5, 2009
    I have to ditto other readers who said this book changed their life. And that is not hyperbole. Prior to reading this book I viewed myself as a fast short distance runner and I rarely, if ever, ran more than 3 miles at a time. I felt this was just the way things were and that I should accept it.

    "Born to Run" completely changed my internal thought process about running. I was already aware of the running shoe issue. I've been slowly using Vibram Five Fingers for over a year and I've been trying to alter my gate from heel strike first to toe strike first. I found that it just takes patience and time to adapt in getting those muscles developed. McDougall is no liar - we've been screwed over by the running shoe companies. The first time I ran with the Vibram's I could barely walk for a week I was in so much pain. Now I can climb mountains in them.

    What changed for me after reading this book was just the simple notion that I wasn't limited by some personal flaw or lack of will. I was failing to run longer distances because both my mindset and my running style were flawed. One, we can all run farther than we think. Two, don't get obsessed over speed or time, just run at a pace that feels comfortable. Your body will tell you when you can step it up a notch. In other words, just enjoy the experience.

    Before I started the book my max was 3 miles with a hard push on the first two. Five weeks after reading the book I can now do 8 miles or more. I can probably do 10 or more now, but haven't pushed because I'm still working on getting those calve muscles stronger and adapted to the new running style. Don't get me wrong - I'm running slow! But wow, does it feel good. I'm enjoying running more and I feel better than ever before. My blood pressure, which was high, is now below normal and I feel great. One of the points McDougall makes in the book is that many experienced ultra runners don't run that fast. Many of them are just doing 10 minute miles. That's part of what caused me to rethink my obsession over speed.

    Unfortunately, as a few critics have pointed out, McDougall's book does come off as hyperbole in some parts. I also strongly disliked his focus on extremists. "Barefoot Ted" is one example.

    Just search the net for the term "barefoot running" and you'll find some of the most absurd absolutist garbage about how the only way to run is barefoot and anyone who stoops to using shoes (even the likes of Nike Free shoes or the Vibram's) is misguided or even stupid. The sad reality is that we have all been lied to by the shoe companies - Nike especially. These lies are pushed on us by the alleged "experts." I recently picked up a pair of Nike Hayward Prefontaine runners. "Runners World" gave them a mixed review and slammed the shoe for not having enough support. So we have the barefoot absolutists telling us to ditch our shoes and we have the mainstream press telling us we need to wear the very shoes that are making us weaker runners. And the accepted normal shoes do make us weaker - I was told by a doctor after two major ankle injuries that I'd be limping for life if I was injured again. That ankle is the strongest it has ever been after changing my running style.

    You don't change people's minds by using extremists to make your case. And that's unfortunately what comes across at times in McDougall's book. I would have personally preferred more information about his personal transformation and less on the likes of "Barefoot Bob" and the other runners who share very little in common with everyday people who just want to get into shape.

    I don't think "Born to Run" is going to be that interesting to those who are already hardcore runners. The more you already run, the more the hyperbole will stick out. But I do recommend the book to those who thought like I did about what was physically possible for them. After reading this book you won't be able to watch a marathon again and think of how it's beyond your abilities. You won't make it into the Olympics, but the odds are you can run a marathon.

    And speaking of marathons, McDougall makes an earth shattering point about older runners and their ability to outrun teenagers. The age at which you can beat a teenager (in long distance running), assuming you've trained appropriately, will blow your mind. Since it's one of McDougall's "secrets" I won't post the spoiler here. It's just one of his many points that will make you rethink your own ability to run.

    EDIT: I have to scoff at all the critics of this book who say to take it all with a grain of salt. Each person is obviously different so your mileage will vary. Nonetheless, the central message in McDougall's book is that YOU can run and you can run longer distances than you think.

    I served in the Army and I was a runner in high school. And yet, at almost 40 - with heart disease and a stent implant! - I'm now running longer distances than I have ever run in my life. One of the reasons is simply because I took McDougall's advice. I'll never run ultra-marathons, but that doesn't matter.

    There are nuggets of truth and inspiration in this book along with all the exaggerations. If you're already a long distance runner there's very little meat for you to digest and the hyperbole will annoy. But if you're one of the many people who've never gone more than a few miles there's a powerful message here.

    I now can outrun all 3 of my nephews (15 to 24) nephews in the long distance. On one fast 4.5 mile mountain hike (Mt. Monadnock in NH) I beat my athletic 15 year old nephew by more than 3 minutes. He led the entire run/hike until the end when I left him in the dust after he ran out of steam. He had the speed, I had the stamina - just like McDougall presents it in his book.

    3-0 out of 5 stars running-yes, Tarahumara-?, August 18, 2009
    I am not a runner, but I did find the running portions of the book interesting. However, the parts about the Tarahumara people was another example of outsiders glorifying one portion of a peoples' lives and ignoring or not reporting correctly the rest.
    I lived on the western edge of the Copper Canyon for five years amongst the Tarahumara. They are amazing runners! I had the privilege of watching not the long races, but the shorter 5 to 10 mile ball races in which the men split into usually two groups of about 4. They take turns kicking a wooden ball to a designated spot then return. Bets are placed on the runners and teams. Women also have a races. The races can take hours and the teams are very soon lost to sight, but the crowd stays put and waits. Bets range from chickens to tesguino #homemade corn alcohol# parties #the later being far more popular#.
    However, though the races are exciting, they are only one small highlight in the often miserable lives the Tarahumara live. One review used the word frugal in relation to the Tarahumara. I rarely have seen a word used so wrongly. Most live in extremely small homes built of logs or planks, while the more remote live in small caves. They have nearly as close to nothing as humans can get. This is NOT by choice; they are desperately poor. Often men will commit crimes so that they can be put in the small town jails where they receive a blanket, clothing, and regular meals #once a day of usually beans and corn tortillas#. The people try to grow corn #not sweet#, beans and squash, but the terrain is rocky and steep, and the dirt is poor for crops. Most must apply fertilizers they receive on a debt schedule from the government. Though many have goats, these are not for eating, they are instead used for fertilizer. If a goat dies, then it gets eaten. The list of privations is long and sad, especially concerning the children #an area of Tarahumara life that is often far from glorious#. And they are vicitims of drug growers, just not always how we think of victims.
    My criticism is not of Mr. McDougall's admiration for the Tarahumara runners because he is correct: they are fantastic runners. My hope, however, is that people will see far more than just the running.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Not just for runners, May 23, 2009
    When have you seen a book with this many reviews and none below 5 stars? You know what this book is about from the other descriptions and reviews. Here's how I feel about it. This is the first time I've reviewed a book on and it's the first thing I wanted to do when I finished the book ten minutes ago. The second thing I will do is email many of my friends to urge them to get the book. I will NOT loan them my copy! My wife will be reading it next, though I interrupted her so many times to read portions of it that she is already thinking of people to tell about it.
    I've been a serious runner (sometimes more/often less) for 40 years and have read countless articles and books about running. This is the best. It satisfied my running soul and my academic mind. I couldn't wait to finish it and I didn't want it to end.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Strong finish, just like a great marathoner, August 23, 2009
    If you'd asked me for a review halfway through this book, I would have said that it was pretty good, but it was also annoying. I enjoyed the travel adventure aspect and the and sociology study of the Tarahumara people of Mexico, but I was annoyed by the author's hipster language and gung-ho, X-games style. (I find that type of writing to be designed to make you feel guilty that you're not as cool or fearless; but I always think, well, how does this guy's wife and two kids feel when he leaves for 5 weeks to go on an adventure for an article?)

    But at some point, the author found his stride (or perhaps I found a way to match his stride), and I was hooked. McDougall has a fantastic finishing kick, in the sense of tieing things together. He wraps up disparate ideas from sociology, history, biology, modern athletic competition, nutrition, and X-games type partying into one satisfying whole. And, contrary to making me jealous, the book potentially will change my life. I'm starting to work on the running style that he advocates, and I hope that it will reduce or eliminate the persistent heel pain I've had for more than 5 years.

    McDougall, is an established freelance writer who's not afraid of challenges (war reporting, X-games types of adventures, etc.). He's not your average guy, despite his effort to portray himself as such. But the one nagging thing for him is that he's been unable to become a decent distance runner despite years of effort, expensive equipment, and the help of a multitude of doctors, massagers, and physical therapists. At the point of his worst failure, he decides to find out if a radically different type of running style will give him the breakthrough that he is seeking.

    And thus, McDougall goes in search of the Tarahumara, "tribes" of natives who live in the Copper Canyon region of Mexico. Living in an extremely harsh environment and desperate to hide from centuries of human predators (conquistadores, Mexican government, drug smugglers), the Tarahumara have developed super-human abilities to run long distances in the heat and without much water or food. Are they just rumor, in the same way as the legendary running monks and other endurance specialists? McDougall sets out to find out if they exist, and then if they have learned techniques that can be translated to the lifestyles of the rest of us.

    The descriptions of wandering around Tarahumara territory are fascinating. The land is a bunch of dirt trails and shantytowns of 5-20 buildings, set impossibly deeply in canyons and almost invisible from 50 yards away. But with the help of an American, Micah True, who's refashioned himself as Caballo Blanco and become a part of the Tarahumara community, McDougall gets to meet some runners and see them in action. He's convinced that they are doing things differently, and he agrees to help Caballo Blanco by publicizing Caballo's dream of a race between the Tarahumura and the world's best distance runners. Actually, the Tarahmuara have raced -- and won -- ultramarathons throughout the US West; but Caballo's idea is to bring the modern world's runners down to Tarahumara territory instead.

    As we build towards the race, McDougall explains how the Tarahumara run: literally. The Tarahumara run in homemade sandals from discarded tires, and they can go 50, 60, 100 miles a day over unforgiving terrain. The different is that they move differently than those of us who use highly padded running shoes. They use their whole feet and their legs to absorb impact, rather than landing on their heels. Apparently, our high-tech shoes have made our arches soft, which has then pressured our Achilles, calves, ankles, etc., and that's why so many of us distance runners have chronic injuries.

    In exploring this difference, McDougall gives us quick history and biology lessons, covering evolution, the Olympics, and utra-distance running. It's great stuff. And he introduces us to Scott Jurek, perhaps the world's most accomplished ultra runner, and a never-quit guy; up-and-comers Jenn Shelton and Billy Barnett, two surfer-hipsters who eschewed proper food and normal training; Dr. Joe Vigil, an elite running coach who also believed in the innovations of the Tarahumara; and Rick Fischer, a runner and entrepreneur who first brought the Tarahumara out of the Canyon. Other characters abound, too.

    It all comes together unforgettably on the road trip down the Canyon, complete with near-death experiences, warm cultural exchanges, and the ultimate respect that world-class athletes have for each other.

    And if this book has exposed me to a running style that will reduce my pain, then it will literally change my life. How often can you say that about a book?

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Run Revolution is BORN, May 17, 2009
    There is no confusing the message of this book and it starts with the title. It is a message of adventure, inspiration, hope, revelation, and living your life unconditionally. If you are a runner, you will want to read this book so slowly, not wanting it to end. And, you will most likely be wanting to head out for a run after each chapter anyway. If you are a frustrated runner with injuries or a beginning runner, this book gives you HOPE and possibility. Quite simply, McDougall lays the foundation of how we were all Born to Run and tells you why we "should" be running.

    Most of all, this book leaves a lasting "runners high" for runners and non-runners alike. This is a story about following your passion and how powerful self belief can be.

    We are all born to run, but maybe even more important, we are born to be individuals, and McDougall is masterful at taking a true running adventure with real characters and illustrates how powerful running can be to life, and how powerful life can be to running.

    5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best books I have ever read, September 20, 2009
    One of my favorite things about Born to Run is how the author explores several technical myths (mostly perpetuated by athletics companies) about exactly what you need to do in order to be a great distance runner, and dispels them.
    I've been a casual runner ever since my late teens, but I've never been able to get beyond the 8-mile mark due to some knee and hip problems. Information in this book led me to restructure my form and diet after a long break from running, and now I'm doing 6 miles a couple times a week and my old joint issues haven't so much as reared their heads. I'm training for my first half-marathon in November, and I plan on doing a full one soon thereafter if all goes well.

    But the technical stuff only occupies the smallest percentage of what this book is all about, and isn't the best reason to check it out. Not by a long shot.

    Born to Run is, at it's heart, an adventure story. It's hard to imagine a book about distance running being very exciting, but Christopher McDougall's (completely true) account is full of so much action, it could be made into a Hollywood blockbuster. From his surprisingly dynamic and exciting descriptions of the few footraces he chronicles in the book, to the close-call brushes with death the characters must face (among them some chilling encounters with territorial drug traffickers), this book is as entertaining as any novel I've ever read. Near the end of the book when the author describes the race mentioned in the title, I swear it was like watching Top Gun for the first time when I was a kid.

    And yet that's not all this book has to offer.

    Born to Run has the power not only to make you love running, but to spark in you a greater love for being human and humanity as a whole. McDougall makes an extremely powerful case for several novel ideas, among them that the ability to run for extremely long distances (a very unique ability in the animal kingdom, and indeed the major one that sets us apart from other creatures, second only to our intellect in importance) was the primary reason for our species' success in it's earliest infancy. He also suggests to us that because running is so intimately tied to our survival as a species, it is also intimately tied to our most important emotion for survival: Love. Love is by far the biggest theme evident in this book, and it doesn't seem at all like a coincidence that it shines through to an amazing degree in the personalities of each and every one of the athletes mentioned. Love of life, love of running, love of others, love of self.

    To sum it all up, this is a truly three-dimensional work of literature that had a profound effect on me. Intellectually, it changed the way I think about the human race, our origins, and our place in the world. Physically, it gave me information that allowed me to improve my performance as a runner and aim higher as an athlete. And spiritually, it reinforced the lessons of unity, compassion, peace, and brotherhood that great men and women have been trying to teach us for thousands of years which still, somehow, get pushed to the wayside when we look for the easy way out.

    Best $20 I ever spent.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great book, May 12, 2009
    I am not a runner, but I want to become one now. I picked this book up not as a fan of ultra distance running- I had always considered ultra distance runners as masochistic freaks driven by the runners high as their body tries to cope with this grueling activity that they were never meant to do. After reading this book, I still think ultra distance runners are freaks, but not masochistic ones. They are freaks because they are some of the few who understand that man was designed to run, and run long distances. The book centers around trying to unearth the secret of the Tarahumara Indians- how are they able to run long distances on insufficient nutrition on bad terrain with little foot protection without injury? While doing this, McDougall winds through the entertaining history of ultra running and its quirky athletes along with scientific evidence for the health benefits of endurance running, and barefoot endurance running in particular. This book is funny, mesmerizing, thought-provoking, and, if you thought you were not cut for running, may make you give it another go. Highly recommended. ... Read more

    17. Outliers: The Story of Success
    by Malcolm Gladwell
    Hardcover (2008-11-18)
    list price: $27.99 -- our price: $14.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0316017922
    Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
    Sales Rank: 79
    Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    In this stunning new book, Malcolm Gladwell takes us on an intellectual journey through the world of "outliers"--the best and the brightest, the most famous and the most successful. He asks the question: what makes high-achievers different? His answer is that we pay too much attention to what successful people are like, and too little attention to where they are from: that is, their culture, their family, their generation, and the idiosyncratic experiences of their upbringing. Along the way he explains the secrets of software billionaires, what it takes to be a great soccer player, why Asians are good at math, and what made the Beatles the greatest rock band.

    Brilliant and entertaining, OUTLIERS is a landmark work that will simultaneously delight and illuminate.
    ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars Where do you lie?
    The main tenet of Outliers is that there is a logic behind why some people become successful, and it has more to do with legacy and opportunity than high IQ. In his latest book, New Yorker contributor Gladwell casts his inquisitive eye on those who have risen meteorically to the top of their fields, analyzing developmental patterns and searching for a common thread. The author asserts that there is no such thing as a self-made man, that "the true origins of high achievement" lie instead in the circumstances and influences of one's upbringing, combined with excellent timing. The Beatles had Hamburg in 1960-62; Bill Gates had access to an ASR-33 Teletype in 1968. Both put in thousands of hours-Gladwell posits that 10,000 is the magic number-on their craft at a young age, resulting in an above-average head start.

    Gladwell makes sure to note that to begin with, these individuals possessed once-in-a-generation talent in their fields. He simply makes the point that both encountered the kind of "right place at the right time" opportunity that allowed them to capitalize on their talent, a delineation that often separates moderate from extraordinary success. This is also why Asians excel at mathematics-their culture demands it. If other countries schooled their children as rigorously, the author argues, scores would even out.

    Gladwell also looks at "demographic luck," the effect of one's birth date. He demonstrates how being born in the decades of the 1830s or 1930s proved an enormous advantage for any future entrepreneur, as both saw economic booms and demographic troughs, meaning that class sizes were small, teachers were overqualified, universities were looking to enroll and companies were looking for employees.

    In short, possibility comes "from the particular opportunities that our particular place in history presents us with." This theme appears throughout the varied anecdotes, but is it groundbreaking information? At times it seems an exercise in repackaged carpe diem, especially from a mind as attuned as Gladwell's. Nonetheless, the author's lively storytelling and infectious enthusiasm make it an engaging, perhaps even inspiring, read.

    Emotional Intelligence 2.0 is another of my favorites in this genre. I recommend it strongly because, unlike Gladwell's book, Emotional Intelligence 2.0 shows you how to become an outlier...

    5-0 out of 5 stars Another Amazing Gladwell Journey
    Spoiler alert! This book contains about a dozen "whoa, amazing" nuggets that could change your life, or at least tell you why you never changed your life, and I'm going to include all of them here just to have them listed somewhere convenient online for my benefit (and yours). But as any Gladwell fan knows, you don't read his writings just for the "holy cow" moments, you read them for the journey he takes you on in delivering those moments. This work provides several amazing journeys, even as they stray progressively farther from what seems to be the advertised purpose of the book: to illustrate how certain people become phenomenal successes. We learn early on the secret to being a great Canadian hockey player, assuming you are already spectacularly talented and work hard. But eventually we wind up learning not how to become a spectacularly successful airline pilot, but rather a spectacularly bad one. No bother, the book is providing entertaining information that can transform your professional life. So as for those dozen points, here goes, and you've already been warned:

    1. There was a town in Pennsylvania called Roseto where people lived far longer and suffered far less from heart disease than people of similar genetic stock, eating similar diets, and living in similar nearby towns. The only explanation researchers could find was that Roseto had a uniquely strong sense of community: family and faith were both strong, and the wealthy did not flaunt their success.

    2. In the Canadian "all star" junior hockey league - the surest ticket to the NHL - the majority of the players on the winning team were born in January, February, or March. The league was for players between 17 and 20 years old. Why the month anomaly? Because in Canada, elite hockey teams have try-outs at the age of 10, and the age cut-off is January 1. In essence, the oldest 10 year olds are far better at hockey than the youngest 10 year olds, so the youngest (those born in December) have no chance to make the select teams, which are the only ones with excellent coaching. The pattern continues all the way through high school. Similar birthday patterns are seen in places such as the Czech junior national soccer team. Makes you wonder about what "good for your age" means in academics too.

    3. Many researchers believe in the "10,000 hour rule," namely that you need to spend about 10,000 hours on a skill - anything, including music, computer programming, business dealings in the expanding American West, or mergers and acquisitions - in order to become great at it. This is something Bill Gates and the Beatles have in common, thanks largely due to circumstances beyond their control.

    4. At least 15 of the wealthiest 75 people in world history (in modern dollars) were born in the 9 years from 1831 to 1840. They were old enough to have learned how to profit in the rapidly industrializing United States (via 10,000 hours of experience) but not so old as to have already settled down and been inflexible with their life options or concepts of business. Similar birthdate "coincidences" are seen among the wealthiest tech entrepreneurs including Bill Gates, and among some of the most successful lawyers in New York.

    5. In long-term studies, IQ is found to predict professional success - but only up to a score of about 120, past which additional points don't help. Nobel prize winners are equally likely to have IQs of 130 or 180. When minority students are admitted through affirmative action, their achievement scores may be lower, but as long as they are above the threshold, it does not affect the likelihood of professional success.

    6. Anecdotes from the "world's smartest man," (according to IQ tests) Chris Langan, and the children of middle class families, suggest that "practical intelligence" about when, how, and with what words to speak up are a huge factor in success - specifically when speaking up can save you from losing a scholarship. Longitudinal studies of high-IQ children showed that a family's high socioeconomic background was more important to predicting success than very high IQ.

    7. Many people put in their 10,000 hours in something like computer programming, but then never find themselves in the midst of a revolution where people with 10,000 hours of experience are desperately needed. Bill Gates did. The connections he formed as an early highly-sought programmer helped him rise and found Microsoft. Joe Flom, one of the most successful lawyers in New York, became a specialist in mergers and acquisitions before such transactions were considered "acceptable" business by mainstream lawyers. When the culture changed in the 1980s to accept such dealings, Joe Flom was the best of the best who had put in his 10,000 hours in a now-mainstream business. He became an historic success almost overnight.

    8. When economically tough times hit, people stop having children for fear of being unable to provide for them. However, this may be the best time to have children, because there are few other children competing for things such as classroom attention, spots on school sports teams, professors' attention, and jobs upon high school or college graduation. There are also more children a decade behind them who will provide the demand for the goods and services the older children will provide.

    9. The typical airline crash involves seven consecutive human errors, and crashes are significantly more likely to occur when the more-experienced captain is flying the plane, as opposed to the subordinate first officer. The likely reason is that the first officer is much less likely to speak up when he or she notices something wrong or a human error, and the captain is flying the plane. Flights in countries with a large "power distance index," which characterizes cultures where subordinates are generally afraid of expressing disagreement with superiors, are the most likely to crash. This included Korean air, which had the worst safety record among major airlines until it instituted a program requiring subordinates to speak up when there were problems. There are benefits to deferential, polite, and subtle conversation, but they are unlikely to be beneficial in stressful cockpit environments.

    10. There are at least two non-genetic reasons Asian people excel at math (and some tests have suggested that Asians may have genetic _disadvantages_ in math). First, most commonly used Asian languages use a monosyllablic, ordered, regular system to describe numbers, unlike English and European languages. This gives young children up to a year's head start in math. Second, math often requires persistence and trial and error, characteristics also needed for successful rice farming, the dominant form of agriculture (and employment) in Asia even in the 20th century. Hilarious evidence of correlation of persistence with high math scores is found in results on the TIMSS, an international math exam. The beginning of the exam includes a tedious 120-question section that asks students about their parents' education, their friends, and their views on math, among other things. It is exhausting, requiring great _persistence_, and some students leave it partially blank. If you rank countries by how many of the survey questions their students completed, and by the TIMMS score, the lists are "exactly the same." Holy cow! At the tops of both lists were Singapore, South Korea, China (Taiwan), Hong Kong, and Japan.

    11. Students from middle class and poor neighborhoods show an achievement gap in reading that widens over the years of elementary school. However, the financially poorer students progress (in terms of grades on standardized tests) the _same_ amount during the _academic_ year as the wealthier students. It is during the _summer_ break that better-off students with better-educated families continue to read and learn, while the less well-off students likely do not, and show major declines in autumn test scores compared to the previous spring. Students in "KIPP" (Knowledge Is Power Program) schools showed major success despite coming from low income neighborhoods, because of a much longer school day and academic year.

    12. The author, Malcolm Gladwell, tells a story in the final chapter about how his family, and thus he, benefitted from light skin tones and changing racial attitudes in Jamaica. It's a stretch compared to the rest of the book, but gets you thinking and is an awkwardly charming read. ... Read more

    18. Lost Encyclopedia
    by Tara Bennett, Paul Terry
    list price: $45.00 -- our price: $25.90
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0756665949
    Publisher: DK Publishing
    Sales Rank: 153
    Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    Featuring more than 400 pages and over 1500 images, the LOST Encyclopedia will be a comprehensive guide to the characters, items, locations, plotlines, relationships, and mythologies from all six seasons of the landmark series aired on ABC-TV and produced by ABC Studios. Created in full collaboration with ABC Entertainment and ABC Studios, this will be the first and only fully licensed and comprehensive reference to all things LOST, and it includes a foreword by executive producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse.

    LOST © 2010. ABC Studios. All Rights Reserved.
    ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars Great content; poor editing, October 15, 2010
    First, an initial statement of possible sources of bias: I am a professional academic and an unapologetic LOST enthusiast (you may read what you like into that conjunction). I ordered the LOST Encyclopedia on May 4 and received it on October 12 following a delay from its original listed release date of August 24, so I've been anticipating its release for a while.

    Second, an executive summary: as a fan of the show, I'm glad to finally have this "encyclopedia" on my bookshelf and think it an excellent resource. Nevertheless, the presentation of the book is somewhat less polished than I would have hoped, leading me to suspect that a second edition may be in the works. Any recommendation that I can give would therefore have to be a guarded one.

    Like the show for which it serves as a reference guide, this book must have been a massive undertaking for everyone involved with little guarantee of pleasing everyone in its audience. I can therefore forgive the omission of some items (no entry for the Hybird, or "Hurley bird," for example) and the lack of linked entries (e.g. "The Hatch: see Swan Station," or "Jeremy Bentham: see John Locke").

    My objections to the book's editing begin with the character entries, which are generally sorted alphabetically by first name. I have no problem with organizing an encyclopedia in this way, as this is hardly an academic text and there are a variety of minor characters whose last names are unknown; however, the glaring exceptions to this rule--John Locke, whose entry is filed under "L," and James Ford, whose entry is filed under "S" for "Sawyer"--happen to be among the most important entries in the volume. Finding those entries will only take an extra few seconds of the reader's time (especially since, as mentioned above, there are no linking entries), but the organization comes across as sloppy.

    Also sloppy are the various textual redundancies. In the "Man in Black" entry, for example, a text blurb entitled "Jacob's Spirit" calls attention to the fact that "The spirit of a young Jacob repeatedly appeared to the Man in Black while he was acting out his end game as Locke..." One page later, immediately facing that blurb, is another blurb entitled "Haunting Reminders" which calls attention to the very same fact using the very same text, the only difference being in the capitalization of a single word. Similarly, the entry for Magnus Hanso ends with a three-sentence paragraph: the first sentence states that "Hanso's death remained a mystery to the outside world [until] DHARMA Initiative member Stuart Radzinsky documented Hanso's final resting place on the Blast Wall Map"; the second sentence states that "Details of Hanso's death remained a mystery to the outside world"; the third sentence states that (you guessed it) "DHARMA Initiative member Stuart Radzinsky documented Hanso's final resting place on the blast wall map." Again, this book constitutes a relatively massive undertaking and it's understandable that various typos would slip through (and there are a number of those), but given the two-month delay in the book's release I would have expected the editors to catch these obvious artifacts of the rewriting process.

    I had initially speculated that the publication delay was a function of the writers' need to rewrite some entries in light of the final episode's controversial revelations regarding the "flash-sideways universe." That was apparently incorrect, as the only reference to the flash-sideways (that I've found, at least) comes at the tail end of Juliet's entry. Instead, all information about that "universe" is relegated to a few text-light and picture-heavy character entries that follow the encyclopedia's index. The entries seem arbitrarily organized (in order: Desmond, Hurley, Ben, Sun, Jin, Sayid, Kate, Claire, Locke, and Jack) and utterly disconnected from the rest of the encyclopedia. To the writers' credit, they call attention to some quotes from the final episode that should help confused viewers figure out where the flash-sideways universe fits into the overall story structure; however, one is left with the impression that someone involved with the book's production was embarrassed by the reception of the final episode and wanted to minimize its influence on the rest of the text. I would certainly hope that delaying publication gave the writers and editors adequate time to integrate this information--if they had wanted to do so. For better or for worse, this storyline is as much a part of LOST canon as anything else and it should have been treated as such.

    Finally, there are several minor factual errors in the text--particularly with respect to the descriptions of the philosophers referenced by the show--but those are more nits to be picked than they are problems affecting the book's presentation. Nevertheless, it's an editor's job to pick those nits before publication.

    Again, I'm glad to own the LOST encyclopedia and will readily admit that fans of the show (be they dedicated or casual ones) won't be able to find a better reference. The content is top-notch, covering both breadth and depth, as detailed in other reviews. If asked whether or not I would recommend that someone else spend $25 on it (much less the $45 cover price), however, I would only be able to answer that anyone considering doing so should take into account the very real possibility that an updated and cleaned-up new edition may be forthcoming. Of course, I also can't guarantee that any such edition will actually see the light of day. As such, I have no regrets on my part, but less risk-averse fans might think otherwise.

    3-0 out of 5 stars A good, if not definitive resource with some noticeable flaws, October 19, 2010
    The LOST Encyclopedia will not bring a bevy of new insights or craved "answers" for fans of the show, but it is a solid catalog of facts and histories from the show's vast mythology. I wouldn't call it comprehensive, but it's an enjoyably casual reference for fans of the show.

    The biggest negative trait of the book is the sloppy editing. Despite being delayed multiple times before its release, the articles still contain numerous typographical errors (I'd estimate one every couple of pages on average), far more than should be acceptable for a professionally published work like this. There are even entries that are OUT OF ALPHABETICAL ORDER: under "D," there are three entries ordered "Donovan," "Dogen" and "Doctors." I know it's something most people won't lose a lot of sleep over, but as an English major I found them impossible to ignore and quite distracting from the flow of the book.

    More important and germane to the nature of the LOST Encyclopedia, there doesn't seem to be much rhyme or reason to the emphasis placed on some elements of the show in contrast to others. For example, on the same two-page spread, Eddie Colburn, a minor character featured in ONE flashback episode, is given as much attention as Edward Mars, a character who appeared in multiple flashbacks and on the Island. Another example: there's a massive two-page entry dedicated to the RECORD PLAYER in the Swan station. The same amount of space is given to the blast door map, one of the pivotal set pieces of the series. If I had to guess, I'd say that such decisions were made to make the articles fit into neat two-page layouts, with the visual presentation emphasized over the relevance of information.

    As mentioned in a previous review, the alphabetization of the entries is slapdash. If you want to actually look up an obscure element of the show rather than just casually browse the book, you may find yourself taking several guesses on what your query may be titled before you find it. For example, if you want to look up the glowing river alternatively called "The Source" or "The Heart of the Island," you won't find it listed under either of those two names. Instead, it is mentioned in a brief paragraph in the massive entry "The Island," as well as intermittently in other entries. Other aspects of the show that this fan thinks should have entries but do not, based on their importance in the show, include the Whispers, Time Travel, and the Donkey Wheel.

    Now, to the positive. Given the existence of the much more comprehensive fan wiki "Lostpedia," the biggest appeal of The LOST Encyclopedia is not the depth or organization of its entries. Instead, it is the hundreds and hundreds of visual aids that accompany the entries, along with photos of LOST props and locales sprinkled liberally throughout the book. All of the entries on the major Dharma stations feature original diagrams. There are hundreds of close-ups of key props, such as Faraday's journal and maps used by the characters, as well as more obscure pieces like Drive Shaft promotional posters and the contents of Kate's time capsule. Most fans have never had an opportunity to see such components of LOST lore this clearly and up close.

    The encyclopedia also features a number of ancillary elements that exist outside of the show, thus establishing them as canon while also exposing them to fans who may not have seen them before. The entry for Alvar Hanso contains information about Thomas Mittlewerk and Rachel Blake, characters featured only in the LOST Alternate Reality Game "The LOST Experience." The article on the Purge includes a copy of the truce between the Others and the Dharma Initiative, previously available only to those who bought the special edition of the Season Five box set. There are even translations of many of the hieroglyphics featured on sets and props from the show, engravings that would be impossible to discern from screencaps.

    Ironically, the unofficial Lostpedia easily remains the definitive source of information on LOST even after the release of this book. Really, The LOST Encyclopedia functions best as a kind of coffee table attraction, a tome to peruse for the sake of curiosity as opposed to a serious study of the show's mythology. While its numerous textual errors give some entries an unpolished feel, from a strictly visual perspective the book is stunning. It's not easy to produce as many new images from a show as heavily scrutinized as LOST, but the material unique to the book, as well as the conversational tone best suited to enjoyable casual reading, make it worth the buy.

    5-0 out of 5 stars No buts-this book is canon, October 12, 2010
    I still highly recommend this book to anyone who loved Lost. If you want a gift for your favorite Lost fanatic, this is the only book you should consider buying. That is because this is the only book written with the help of the Lost producers. It is fact-canon. Other books may theorize what happened in the Lost world but this is the only book that tells you what did happen.

    "No great depth" said the previous review! I was amazed at all the depth and details. Just a few examples: Jacob appreciated Widmore's loyalty and allowed him to rise to leadership with Eloise. Jacob had Alpert strip Widmore of his position and banish him. Danielle arrived on the island after the Purge. Ben planned to fool Juliet into releasing the gas from the Tempest killing herself, the 815 survivors and the freighter crew. Plus it confirms things we suspected like Widmore being the one to execute the Purge of the Dharma Initiative via gas from the Tempest and the one who told his goons to slaughter the Ajira 316 survivors.

    There is very little on the flash-forwards. The 14 or so pages (text is limited to brief recaps) are tacked on the end of the book after the index like an afterthought. Given this is an encyclopedia there isn't much for the writers to say about them anyway but the placement is very odd.

    Know what else is odd? Apparently the editors didn't show up for work! I found too many instances of misplaced and repeated text including this gem in a series of bullets about Shannon; "Loudly whined about Marshal Mars dying too callously." LOL! It is sooo annoying when someone dies callously! That probably should have been "Callously whined about Marshal Mars dying too loudly."

    I also found overall that the text lacked clarity. Many paragraphs were poorly worded and clumsy. In places grammatical errors left the text unnecessarily ambiguous. It's obvious that neither the publisher nor the writers were up to the task of producing this book properly which is sad. Or perhaps the producers are at fault for not choosing writers who could produce clean text under a tight deadline.

    I'm still giving it five stars because the book looks great (all 400 pages), it contains a mountain of information that is all canon (which no other Lost book can claim) and it is relatively cheap for all it contains. For all its faults, it still makes the best gift you can buy for any kind of Lost fan from the causal fan all the way up to the Lost fanatic.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Coffee Table Book, NOT Encyclopedia, November 27, 2010
    First off, let me explain that this is a coffee table book, plain and simple. It is hardly encyclopedic and exhaustive like I had expected. Every page is crammed full of large photos and the text is squeezed in the left over space as an afterthought. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with pictures, but why do they have to dominate the entire thing? I wanted an encyclopedia with lots of information and painfully detailed entries. Instead, they delivered an excersize in photoshop. When I actually saw this thing, I was really surprised how tall and thin it was. I was expecting something squat and fat, more along the lines of a dictionary. The proportions further emphasize the coffe-table-bookedness of this thing.

    If you already own this book and enjoy it, then I do not mean to take away from your enjoyment. I simply would like to warn those who haven't purchased this and who are on the edge to NOT buy it. At the very least, go to Barnes and Noble (like I did) and check it out first. If it's what you want and you are pleased, then I am happy for you. But I will be sticking with my guides by Nikki Stafford, which I can't say enough about. I really hope some day someone will come along and give us the thousand-page treatment this material deserves.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Overall nice, if not a complete presentattion, November 20, 2010
    Now I will readily admit that I do not actually own the book yet (I'm planning on ordering it ASAP), but I have read some of it at local bookstores and so far I do think it will be worth the purchase, and a nice complementary book to the LOST series. I did notice that some entries were oddly ordered, and although I haven't read much, I did notice an error in Alex's entry -- in reference to the episode "Stranger in a Strange Land" from season three, it stated that Alex opened the door of Jack's cell in the Hydra station so that he could stop Juliet's trial, which was not true -- in the episode "I Do," she unlocked Jack's cell door in the Hydra station which led to him seeing Kate and Sawyer on the monitor, but in the episode about Juliet's trial, Alex actually broke Jack out of one of the cages OUTSIDE of the Hydra station, when Jack asked to see Ben (so that he could save Juliet). I know this may be a minor mistake, and I may not have a right to gripe since I don't actually own this book yet, but as a rabid LOST/Jack fan, mistakes like that rub at me the wrong way. I also don't understand why some minor characters (like the undercover cop in one of Locke's flash back episodes), had a picture in his entry, but other characters (like Ben's childhood sweetheart, Annie) did not. Was it a space issue, or could they not get permission to use them? It was more likely the first, but still, that doesn't seem right to me. Especially since this is an offical encyclopedia.

    Also, I wish that the book had a section devoted to the Flash-sideways - not like the one in the back of the book, but a special one that explains characters only in that world (i.e, Sayid's brother, and David Shephard), and the events that took place. I wasn't expecting answers to be explained that weren't in the show (Lindelof and Cuse are determined to be cagey about those), but a whole season was devoted to the Flash-sideways, and although those stories may have confused/pissed off people, I liked the majority of them, and would've liked them included. To have them omitted feels to me like they weren't a part of LOST - like the writers had "buyer's remorse" a little too late. But it WAS LOST, and they should be in the book! It makes me sad that they weren't.

    And to the reviewer who mentioned the ordering of the characters listed in the Flashsideways - I think it begins with Desmond and ends with Jack because they were the two most important people in the FS. At least, that's what I think...?

    Overall, though, I will gladly get this book in a few weeks if I can. It's a nice looking book, and the LOSTIE in me demands it. =)

    3-0 out of 5 stars Great book, but with painful grammatical and other editing errors, October 19, 2010
    This is a great book for any die-hard LOST fan. It includes a number of details and clarifications that have not been offered anyplace else, which makes it indispensable. At the same time, many valuable features that one can find on (unofficial Lost encyclopedia online) are missing. Things like full lists of episode titles and summaries of each season, and, especially, timelines, character and mystery statuses. The book is also missing an index, which is quite odd for a publication of this nature, and makes it impossible to cross reference. This would lead me to believe there was not enough room to include all these features, which makes it somewhat curious that Sawyer's reading list, for example, is including twice in the book. Indeed, a number of facts and pictures are duplicated, while others are left out entirely.

    My biggest complaint though is the number of grammatical errors. Someone who wrote or edited the book has a lot of trouble identifying the subject of a sentence. For instance, one sentence reads "Before his father went on the Kahana mission, Michael tried to make contact with Walt." What this sentence means is that Michael's father went on the Kahana mission, but this is incorrect--it was Walt's father, Michael, who went on the mission. This type of incongruent-subject error is very frequent in the book. I've only read about 1/10 of it so far and have found similar mistakes five times already, as well as a number of typos.

    Most books have some mistakes, partly because our eyes tend to see what we know to be correct, so even astute editors miss some of these things. But there's a reasonable limit on just how many mistakes there should be, especially when this book is published by DK, known for its reference and educational books.

    I'm glad I bought the book now, but I'm also hoping for a second, improved edition, at which time I'll sell the current one on Ebay and cut my losses.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Informative Book for the LOST fanatic, October 15, 2010
    I just received my copy of the LOST Encyclopedia last night and while I have only read about 20 entries so far, in no particular order, I can tell I will be very pleased with this purchase. From what I've read so far I am very happy with some of the information I have got from it. It seems there is an entry for every single character that ever had a speaking role on LOST, whether it was a main character or someone who just appeared on the show once and said only 3 words. Almost every location has a detailed entry as well. Another great aspect of the book is that it seems to tie up some small loose ends on the show. While you aren't getting answers for all major mysteries I have noticed loose ends such as why Libby was in the mental institution and if she recognized Hurley was answered to my surprise. I'm excited to read more of the book and I believe it's a must have for any serious LOST fan.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Overall pleased, October 20, 2010
    As a fanatic of the show who followed all things CANON, I enjoyed the book overall. It's a great overall resource if you want to look something quick for reference. Whenever I thought something was omitted, it would pop up as information under a different entry.

    There are some small errors here and there. But I think they can be taken with a "grain of salt."

    Overall it's a great resource for the show. It doesn't offer "answers", but I felt the clarifications on things can be considered as new information. Such as how Ethan joined the others, that Widmore ordered the purge an JAcob suggested to Richard that he be removed from power, etc. ... Read more

    19. Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace . . . One School at a Time
    by Greg Mortenson, David Oliver Relin
    Paperback (2007-01-30)
    list price: $16.00 -- our price: $6.98
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0143038257
    Publisher: Penguin Books
    Sales Rank: 84
    Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    The astonishing, uplifting story of a real-life Indiana Jones and his humanitarian campaign to use education to combat terrorism in the Taliban’s backyard

    Anyone who despairs of the individual’s power to change lives has to read the story ofGreg Mortenson, a homeless mountaineer who, following a 1993 climb of Pakistan’s treacherous K2, was inspired by a chance encounter with impoverished mountain villagers and promised to build them a school. Over the next decade he built fifty-five schools—especially for girls—that offer a balanced education in one of the most isolated and dangerous regions on earth. As it chronicles Mortenson’s quest, which has brought him into conflict with both enraged Islamists and uncomprehending Americans, Three Cups of Tea combines adventure with a celebration of the humanitarian spirit. ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars A blueprint for making a difference
    After four trips over the past three years to Pakistan and Azad Kashmir, and after founding Kashmir Family Aid ( to aid victims of the Oct 8, 2005 earthquake, I whole-heartedly endorse Greg Mortenson and his work. This book adds new life to the over-wraught dictum that "one CAN make a difference." Beyond that, if one wants to truly get inside the rural Pakistani's heart and soul, this is mandatory reading.

    My personal experience has been that once I met these people (and yes, had tea with them in their tiny homes, or in the quake region, in their tents), it was difficult to want to leave to return to the West. It's a hard thing to explain but Mortenson's book will absolutely do the job. A powerful thread within his story: It would be impossible not to love these people after getting to know them one-on one.

    These remote village people are simple, strong and proud. Their lives are spent nurturing their families and working hard in a politically and environmentally tortured region. BUY THE BOOK, get inside the people of this place and then send Greg Mortenson your donation.

    5-0 out of 5 stars One man's remarkable vision
    "Three Cups of Tea" is a compelling account of the difference one fiercely determined person can make in the world. I won't use this space to repeat the descriptions already covered in the editorial reviews, but Greg Mortenson's passion for educating children, especially girls, in the rugged mountain regions of northern Pakistan is truly remarkable. The relationships he has patiently built with local people and moderate Muslim leaders in the area over many years are key to his success.

    In addition to education, Mortenson's Central Asia Institute funds projects that provide health care and clean water. He is also building schools in northern Afghanistan, again with the support of local people.

    One alarming chapter of the book includes a discussion of the spread of fundamentalist madrassas in the mountain regions of Pakistan, which should deeply concern Americans, including the government. It is essential for Americans to support Mortenson's Central Asia Institute initiatives to provide children with educational alternatives.

    "Three Cups of Tea" is very well written, with heartfelt portraits of courageous people. It is a superb and moving story of an exceptional man.

    5-0 out of 5 stars So Much More Than Just a Book
    It's a book but then so are the latest bestsellers yet they offer nothing beyond a mindless distraction. To say Three Cups of Tea is about peace is to say that Mortensen goes hiking in the mountains. To say it's about building schools in the most desolate, remote, obscure part of the planet is to say an idealistic young man had a wild idea.

    Mortenson and co-author David Oliver Relin bring the reader to the foot of K2, into a village so isolated from everything that there doesn't even exist a bridge to connect them to the world beyond the raging river that flows from the glacier fields. There Mortenson introduces us to children so eager to learn they work multiplication tables in the dirt without benefit of a teacher or books.

    How does this man, so grateful to the people who saved his life, repay them? One school at a time. It's a truely inspirational story of what any of us, including a kid born in Minnesota, can do to change the world. The fact that the book is also a true page-turner and is so "can't put it down, don't interrupt me, I gotta know what happens next" good makes this must reading for every high school senior, every empty-nester, every one of us wondering what to do with the rest of our lives. Although I likely won't venture to the high mountains of Pakistan or Tibet, Mortenson has inspired me to find a way to make a difference. Go read it and find your inspiration!!!

    5-0 out of 5 stars STOP what you are doing...
    you.. yes YOU behind the terminal, surfing the web, maybe finding that cheap chotcky to buy or something. Stop what you are doing if you have come across this book and this review. You need to read this more than you think!

    Within the confines of 350 pages you can be transported to a world that for most Westerner's and specifically Americans, is probably very unknown, and more than likely, highly misunderstood. In this world you will be introduced to a man named Greg Mortenson, or as you soon to know him, as Greg Sahib..

    The story that is told by David Oliver Revin, will not just be inspiring, will not be just teeth clenching, it will make you re-evaluate what you do in your life. While most of us may talk about the incapacity of the administration, or some (unfortunatly) the hatred of the middle East, or maybe some of you are even lying down in the streets, but there is ONE person who is TRULY doing something about the problems of foreign policy by litteraly getting his hands dirty touching the earth to build a school foundation, and risking his life ten times over.

    When you have read this journey, you will be saying to yourself, did he really do that? That guy is CRAZY! Did that really happen?, the Taliban? , How is that possible? In the journey that is fortold of a change of fate through a failed mountain expedition, you can see what the spirit of the individual can do and how it can be transformed. As the events of 9/11 soon come to fruition, Greg couldn't be in a better place at the right time, and with David's narration, you are litteraly put in the drivers seat.

    After reading Mortensen's journey, you will want to litteraly book a plane ticket to somewhere you have never been before. In reading the accomplishments of a somewhat flawed (hey what person is perfect) individual, you will feel small and insignifigant. David Relin will not just explain what Greg did, he will make you live it, with some enjoyable side narrations that will make you grin.

    In Three Cups of Tea, David has managed more than anything to explain the heart of a problem (Islamic hatred of the West) of a very complicated nature (through numerous foreign policy debacles and politics spanning decades), and how one man knows of an easy solution (Go to poor regions of the Middle East and give education and extend the olive branch. Build schools for the poorest of the poor, ecspecially for girls. And more importantly, let them know that it was done.. by an American).

    As if it was so difficult to understand.

    I encourage you to take this journey and figure out that sometimes the biggest problems in life require some of the most common sense solutions. I also echo the other comments on here that you should buy this book from the actually CAI institute and consider a donation as well.

    Greg Mortensen is doing what he is doing best, and his passion comes through the pages. For myself my passion is to write. Like Gregg I feel it is what I can do best (when I put my effort my passion, and my soul into it).

    now if you'll excuse me...

    I have to go write a check.

    5-0 out of 5 stars What an incredible story...
    My goodness. I just finished the book, and I am in tears. I am a world traveller (32 countries in just about every region on the globe), and consider myself compassionate to a fault; but even I, after September 11th, possessed a fair degree of anger at Muslims. I had spent some time in the Middle East and North Africa, and although I tried to respect the traditions as much as possible (covering my arms, wore long skirts, not looking at men in the eye), I was still assaulted in broad daylight in a street bazaar in Cairo, Egypt, surrounded by at least a dozen of my classmates (an old man came up and grabbed my [...]). The anger that started then had totally blown up after September 11th and consumed me, the point where I had actually said that I will never believe Islam is a religion of peace, especially after the reaction to the Mohammed cartoons.


    I was wrong.

    This book has reminded me why I loved the regions in the Himalayas and beyond; the simplicity of life, the fierceness and protectiveness towards family and friends; and their incredible desire to do the best for themselves with whatever they have on hand, even if it means going to school on a bare field covered with morning frost. Greg and David describe these people in Baltistan and beyond so well that you cannot help admiring or even falling in love with these proud, strong people.

    I've always told people if you encourage positive change for just one person, you'll change the whole world for them. Greg and his CAI cohorts have done that for literally hundreds of thousands of children. It was so gratifying for me to read, despite the selfishness of our people today, that there are still some who passionately believe in changing the world for others.

    For me, it was the speech by Syed Abbas (on page 257, hardcover) that broke the last of my hard-core attitude towards Muslims and Islam.

    I am off to make my contribution - meager but still a contribution - to CAI so they can continue their incredible work.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A MUST read
    Greg Mortenson's three cups of tea is an account of his unsuccessful attempt on mighty K2, world's second highest peak in Himalayas. Though unsuccessful, his failure embarked him on a mission to educate people of an area inhabitants of breath taking hills and valleys and virgin plains. Whats mind boggling about his adventure is his spirit of self sacrifice for a people of a land much misunderstood by the west. His story proves that with love, compassion and sincerity, you can melt the hearts, even those of mountains. Rightly regarded a hero in Northern Pakistan, his book would go a long way in bridging the divide between the inhabitants of East and West. If you haven't read the book, you are Missing on something. Highly recommended.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Promote peace on Earth. Read this book.
    This is the most amazing and inspiring book I have read in a very long time. I am a high school teacher and the mother of a U.S. Army Seargent who has completed a tour in Afghanistan and is currently serving in Iraq. I bought the book to send to him, but thought I would read it first. I'm very glad I did. The book is as exciting as an adventure novel, but it's true. Anyone who cares about the education and welfare of children and who desires to understand the problems faced in fighting terrorism should read this book. There is hope for peace in this world and Greg Mortenson is doing wonderful things to make it happen. He is a true American hero. Everyone needs to read this book and everyone who does will want to share it with others.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A lesson in altruism
    This book is absolutely wonderful. Mortenson shows us how one dedicated person can make a difference. He also poignantly shows the world that education and non-violent assistance does a profoundly better job of winning support and "attacking" terrorism than warfare! (Duh!) I think there are very few Americans who would be willing to make the kind of sacrifice Greg Mortenson has but he has certainly inspired me to support his and similar efforts in the best way I can. In my opinion, he deserves a Nobel Peace prize. I would like to see this book in every high school library in America. ... Read more

    20. The Critique of Practical Reason
    by Immanuel Kant
    Kindle Edition
    list price: $0.00
    Asin: B000JQUEUQ
    Publisher: Public Domain Books
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers. You may find it for free on the web. Purchase of the Kindle edition includes wireless delivery. ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars Making the ideas stick, February 1, 2006
    The 'Critique of Practical Reason' is the second volume in Immanuel Kant's major Critique project. Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) is considered one of the giants of philosophy, of his age or any other. It is largely this book that provides the foundation of this assessment. Whether one loves Kant or hates him (philosophically, that is), one cannot really ignore him; even when one isn't directly dealing with Kantian ideas, chances are great that Kant is made an impact.

    Kant was a professor of philosophy in the German city of Konigsberg, where he spent his entire life and career. Kant had a very organised and clockwork life - his habits were so regular that it was considered that the people of Konigsberg could set their clocks by his walks. The same regularity was part of his publication history, until 1770, when Kant had a ten-year hiatus in publishing. This was largely because he was working on this book, the 'Critique of Pure Reason'. He then published this second installment, 'Critique of Practical Reason', seven years later.

    Kant as a professor of philosophy was familiar with the Rationalists, such as Descartes, who founded the Enlightenment and in many ways started the phenomenon of modern philosophy. He was also familiar with the Empiricist school (John Locke and David Hume are perhaps the best known names in this), which challenged the rationalist framework. Between Leibniz' monads and Hume's development of Empiricism to its logical (and self-destructive) conclusion, coupled with the Romantic ideals typified by Rousseau, the philosophical edifice of the Enlightenment seemed about to topple.

    The foundations of this text (a much briefer one than the first Critique) can be found in the short volume 'Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals'. Whereas 'Groundwork' sets out some short, basic principles, the Critique is a more synthetic text - it takes these principles and combines them with experiences, then presenting them 'as the structure of a peculiar cognitive faculty, in their natural combination.'

    According to translator and scholar Lewis White Beck, this second Critique has two functions - it affirms concepts 'without which moral experience would be unintelligible or impossible' while it negates dogmatism and fanaticism that claims unique ultimate insight into metaphysical realities. Kant does make his argument for the existence of the immortal soul and for God in this volume, but these are considered lesser areas of Kant's competence. His discussion of freedom and autonomy, carried forward from his discussion in 'Groundwork', is much more studied and used in today's philosophical circles.

    5-0 out of 5 stars It's Too Good for Me to Read, October 11, 2010

    This is one of the most important philosophy books ever written; unfortunately it is so dense that it is over the heads of most people. I'm one of them, and I have a Ph.D.(Doctor of Philosophy)degree in English. But I studied only the philosophy of creating and reading texts, rather than general philosophy. I can talk all day about deconstruction and semiotics, but don't expect me to understand Kant. (By the way, deconstruction is often used completely incorrectly, to prove things that just aren't true.) I find myself wondering how Kant would have made out in Van Vogt's Null-A universe. ... Read more

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