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    1. The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues,
    2. Atlantic: Great Sea Battles, Heroic
    3. How to Survive the End of the
    4. The Dangerous Book for Boys
    5. NightWatch: A Practical Guide
    6. SAS Survival Handbook, Revised
    7. Natural History (Smithsonian)
    8. Wonderful World of Horses Coloring
    9. Zeitoun (Vintage)
    10. Cute Overload Page-A-Day Calendar
    11. The Daring Book for Girls
    12. The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance
    13. ZooBorns
    14. A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering
    15. The Lost Dogs: Michael Vick's
    16. Between a Rock and a Hard Place
    17. Back to Basics: A Complete Guide
    18. Bike Snob: Systematically &
    19. Into Thin Air: A Personal Account
    20. 127 Hours: Between a Rock and

    1. The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks and Giants of the Ocean
    by Susan Casey
    list price: $27.95 -- our price: $12.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0767928849
    Publisher: Doubleday
    Sales Rank: 58
    Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    From Susan Casey, bestselling author of The Devil’s Teeth, an astonishing book about colossal,  ship-swallowing rogue waves and the surfers who seek them out.

    For centuries, mariners have spun tales of gargantuan waves, 100-feet high or taller. Until recently scientists dis­missed these stories—waves that high would seem to violate the laws of physics. But in the past few decades, as a startling number of ships vanished and new evidence has emerged, oceanographers realized something scary was brewing in the planet’s waters. They found their proof in February 2000, when a British research vessel was trapped in a vortex of impossibly mammoth waves in the North Sea—including several that approached 100 feet.

    As scientists scramble to understand this phenomenon, others view the giant waves as the ultimate challenge. These are extreme surfers who fly around the world trying to ride the ocean’s most destructive monsters. The pioneer of extreme surfing is the legendary Laird Hamilton, who, with a group of friends in Hawaii, figured out how to board suicidally large waves of 70 and 80 feet. Casey follows this unique tribe of peo­ple as they seek to conquer the holy grail of their sport, a 100­-foot wave.

    In this mesmerizing account, the exploits of Hamilton and his fellow surfers are juxtaposed against scientists’ urgent efforts to understand the destructive powers of waves—from the tsunami that wiped out 250,000 people in the Pacific in 2004 to the 1,740-foot-wave that recently leveled part of the Alaskan coast.

    Like Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air, The Wave brilliantly portrays human beings confronting nature at its most ferocious.
    ... Read more


    4-0 out of 5 stars The Discovery Channel meets ESPN, September 2, 2010

    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
    Susan Casey's THE WAVE features an introduction that would be right at home in a Tom Clancy thriller. Following the headline "57.5 (deg) N, 12.7 (deg) W, 175 MILES OFF THE COAST OF SCOTLAND... FEBRUARY 8, 2000," she launches into sixteen pages of prose describing a handful of shipping disasters.

    Have you ever been on an ocean liner where half the passengers were turning green with nausea as the ship pitched and rolled in 25-foot swells? That's nothing. Dead calm by comparison.

    Monster waves, the height of a ten-story office building (and taller) have taken ships --big, huge ships-- and pounded, pummeled, and overturned them, split them in half and buried them forever along with everyone aboard under thousands of tons of water, and it happens with a frequency that you can't begin to imagine.

    I read those first pages, and by the time I got to Chapter one, I was electrified. This was going to be a page-turner of the first order.

    Only it wasn't. As it turns out, Casey's THE WAVE is about 1/3 "The Discovery Channel" and 2/3rds "ESPN's Gnarliest, Awesomest, Surfin' of the Century."

    Don't get me wrong. It's not that I have anything against people who surf. In fact, there was a fair amount of the surfing story that I found simply fascinating (and until reading this book, I knew NOTHING about.)

    Case in point: Cortes Bank. This is an area in the Pacific Ocean about 115 miles off the coast of San Diego. As it happens, there is a submerged, underwater chain of islands there, and when the large Pacific swells --beefed up by storm fronts-- hit the shallow water... well, surf's up, dude, in a majorly-tasty way.

    Casey's description of her six-hour trip out to this isolated area in a rather small boat with a band of some of the best surfers on the planet looking to ride 100-foot waves was astounding. I had no clue that surfing was anything but a near-the-shore sport.

    But my issue with the book --and the reason I've given it just three stars-- is the amount of ink she devotes to the surfers, their injuries, their families, their gear, their homes, the award ceremonies... well, you get the picture.

    The sections of the book that I was expecting --where she writes about the science of the waves, both what we understand, and that which remains (at this point) well beyond our ability to figure out, are very well written. I really like her writing style, and enjoyed her 2006 book about the Farallon Islands, "The Devil's Teeth" a little bit more than THE WAVE, if only because the subject was a touch more 'focused'.

    - Jonathan Sabin

    4-0 out of 5 stars Well written ultra press release for The Laird...Ultimate Wave Guy (TM), September 5, 2010

    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
    First things first. The Wave was fun to read because Casey is a very solid writer. She knows how to put a sentence, paragraph, and tale together. Technically, her writing is near impeccable; it's a pleasure to read a galley proof and see almost no errors, compared to so many authors who apparently can't write ten words without needing spellcheck and an editor. So from that standpoint, this was one of the best advance copies I've seen of anything over the past few years.

    I haven't read Casey's other book, about sharks, nor have I read her as editor of Oprah's O Magazine (I have trouble picking up a publication that has its owner on the cover every issue, who also named it after herself). After reading The Wave, I might just check out Casey's other writing, as she understands what good scribbling is all about. She always keeps things moving, rarely bogging down in arcane detail even when discussing the science of climatology, waves, etc, and has a fine eye for the telling fact. Perhaps too fine, but we'll get to that in a minute. What's best about The Wave is the overall scope; Casey links how the earth's weather is changing to how waves are growing, and there's no denying the stats: there is a clear correlation. She visits various scientists and marine salvage folks and shares their stories; they all agree that we're seeing the oceans get nuttier, and it's only just beginning.

    Enter our hero! Laird "Larry" Hamilton, big wave rider extraordinaire. In this book he comes off as very humble, very brave, and very wise. You root for him at every turn on every wave and it's clear that Casey has quite a rapport with the guy. She always seems to be at his house, near the infamous Jaws/Pe'ahi, a Maui big wave break, chatting with Larry and Curly and Moe. Just kidding. These guys are no stooges; they've almost perfected the art of tow-in surfing, which is the only way to catch a 50 footer or above---paddling in is too slow. But towing is still very controversial to many, and Casey pretty much skips that argument altogether, a telling omission.

    We're taken to some of the world's best big breaks, like Todos and Cortes and even Jaws' big sister Egypt, which never breaks unless it's almost 100 feet high and provides the highlight of the book, a wild day where Laird and his tow partner almost get killed, and when they realize maybe it's not worth dying to catch the biggest waves. (The fact that Laird went out again at 80-foot Egypt that same session certainly dispels any doubts; this guy definitely does live for the really hairy waves.) That chapter, and the scene where Laird takes Casey on a jet ski down the face of Jaws, offer some visceral thrills for the reader, and are part of why this book is fun. Even if its title should really be The Wave: Kingdom Of Laird.

    Which brings me to some thoughts we're unlikely to hear much about when this book hits the stands. [If you're not a surfer or are just curious if The Wave is good, no need to go further. Enjoy the book, it's a fine read.]

    As a surfer, though sadly landlocked, I've followed Hamilton's exploits on occasion since I first read about him in the '90s. When his infamous Teahupoo monster wave was on the cover of Surfer mag in 2000, I remember standing at my mailbox in true awe at the insanely malevolent lip above his head. That thing could easily vaporize anybody. From that point on Laird became the Ultimate Big Wave Surfer, TM, and suddenly he was everywhere. But here's what's most interesting about LH: he disdains surf contests, for many good reasons, and is seen as the Pure Surfer. Seeking the biggest, baddest, bestest waves on the planet, he has jettisoned the crass commercialism of the surf world to live on his own ethereal plane of Ultimate Waveness.

    Except for those American Express commercials. And that Oxbow stuff. And his own brand of products. And...well, you know, a guy's got to make a living, right? Fair enough. But here's the problem: so do other guys. There's a scene in The Wave where Laird, with his faithful reporter tagging along, gives some grief to Sean Collins, who started the website Surfline, whereby anybody can see where the best waves will be on the planet. Laird feels that's cheating, and not everybody should get that knowledge. Just like many feel that tow-in surfing---which Laird, Buzzy Kerbox and Darrick Doerner pioneered in the '90s---is completely wrong, with its gas fumes and noise and pollution of Mother Ocean, and its disrespect towards paddle-in surfers.

    But you see, when Laird does it, it's pure. Sorry, Pure TM. Just as Surfline isn't pure. And contests aren't. And maybe they're not, fair enough. But you know what? It's time Hamilton realized that while he may be a better surfer than the rest, and thus deserving of more respect out there, he's not the only surfer, and other riders want and maybe even deserve the big waves too. And the magazine covers. And the videos. And the movies. And the American Express commercials.

    And the book written by Oprah's go-to writer gal, which when you really look at it is a long, very well-done puff piece on Laird Hamilton, posing as a scientific inquiry into the world of waves. Which it also is...but it always seems to come back to Laird. So why not call this book Laird: The Super Mega Master (And His Big Waves, Etc)? Well, that would be so crass. And maybe a little too transparent.

    Hey, it fooled me. One of the reasons I picked this up was Laird, but I also wanted to hear what the real wave experts think. And they confirm what many of us were talking about 20 years ago: the waves are getting bigger due to climate change, and there'll be some awesome tubes the size of houses out there, ever bigger. So it's only logical that guys like Laird and Doerner should be stoked, and studied. Wait a minute...who?

    Another weird thing about this book is Darrick Doerner's very peripheral status. He's barely mentioned, even though he was Laird's original long-time tow-in partner. Even though he was catching monsters when Larry was a kid (including a 1988 Waimea wave still considered one of the all-time great paddle-in (ie real surfing, non-TM) waves). Even though true waterman Doerner is seen by many in Hawaii as Laird's predecessor and teacher, in many ways. So why is Darrick barely mentioned? Good question. Just like Buzzy; he and Laird had a falling out and now it's all about Kalama and Lickle here. But if this book is really about big waves, Doerner merits far more time and respect.

    And where is Eddie Aikau?! Come on. He deserves at least a paragraph, if not a chapter. Same with Jeff Clark, who surfed the insanely hairy Maverick's alone for 15 years, probably the greatest big wave feat that ever will be. You'd think that Casey, whose comfort in and respect for the water adds much credence to her writing here, would give those guys the space they very definitely earned.

    Finishing The Wave, I decided to check out Laird's website, which I've never done. And guess what? It was only there and in linked articles that I found many fascinating facts skipped over in The Wave. Like, Casey lived with the Hamiltons on Maui for five years (never once mentioned in the book...why? Seems germane. Maybe too much so?). Like, Laird's site sells a bumpersticker, Blame Laird, a weirdly ironic theft of a sticker popular on many cars at many breaks now. He's being blamed for costing plenty of surfers endless waves by popularizing the stand-up paddleboard, wherein you stand on the board way outside the break and get ALL the best waves. It used to be the old longboarders way outside who peeved folks they too are mad at the stand-ups. So it goes.

    So Blame Laird. But also make sure to check out Laird's new line guessed it, stand up paddleboards! Yes, the ads are all over his website, but Casey never mentions in the book that LH has this product on sale, but she does talk about him stand-up surfing and plugs it as a genuine Hawaiian thang, and ain't it cool, etc. Hmmm. Perhaps Casey is head of O due to a very skillful way with product placement along with her literary skills?

    And Laird's website's front page now has various articles about...this book! It wasn't until I read those articles that I saw very clearly that The Wave was practically commissioned by Laird, or perhaps his wife Gabby. Her own line of products is on his site as well, and she just wrote a gushing piece on she and Laird hobnobbing with the rich in the Hamptons while promoting...The Wave! Wait, are we still talking about Laird Hamilton, hater of surf contests and all that is phony in the surf world? Can't be.

    But it gets better, or worse, or something. Laird is also now sponsored by, try not to laugh...Chanel! Yes, the perfume folks, now hawking watches. Clearly from Gabby's starstruck article ("Laird sat next to super famous artist/New York scenester Julian Schabel at dinner!"), she is all about leveraging the Hamilton brand, and Laird is being dragged along.

    Or rather, towed, into the modern world's Greatest Wave of all: Selling Yourself.

    The pictures of Laird at that party for this book show him almost cringing , and who can blame him? This whole PR exercise can't be his doing (one hopes, but one wonders...). One also hopes that he soon pulls out of this ever-bigger monster wave, with a thousand logos across its face and all sorts of bumpy shelves on the way down to the trough of Eternal Product Placement, where there is naught but a crashing, crushing lip; that's one wave you can't bail on once you're in its brutally gnarly closeout barrel, bruddah.

    Sure, LH has to make cash for his family (always the ultimate excuse for selling anything), but he can't simultaneously hate on Sean Collins, other tow-in surfers, and the surf world in general for following his lead. Especially when he's making all this money selling himself as Mr. Ultimate Big Wave Surfer in TV commercials and books and movies. Pick one or the other, Laird. You're the purist, or you're the sell-out like everyone else. You can't be both...and you ain't. The Wave and its glitzy parties and no doubt upcoming Oprah tie-ins are no better than any surf contest or gaggle of tow-in noobs at Jaws on that rare huge day every three years...they're just somewhat more subtle. Judge not lest thee be judged. You may have started it, but you can't have it all to yourself while cashing in as well. (Just like you can't preach about the purity of Mother Ocean and then jet ski into waves while spewing gas all over your mother).

    So now, along with his t-shirts, movies, bumperstickers, hats, paddleboards, vitamins, watches, credit cards, etc etc etc etc, Laird has a book, The Wave. It's a very well-disguised, well-written, intelligent product placement, and it tricked me up until I went to Laird's website. Kudos to all concerned for the subtlety. But in the end this book The Wave is yet another all too crisp meta-ironic piece of modern culture, a warning of the dangers that modern human life has unleashed on the planet, while also being the kind of well-crafted consumer-culture advertisement that has lead to the selfish earth-trashing behavior that may have caused all these freaks of nature in the first place.

    Oh well. It fooled me and I had fun while it lasted. And that's what matters.

    Isn't it?

    4-0 out of 5 stars she's not one of the boys yet, October 22, 2010
    the book begins excitingly - susan casey is a tour de force when it comes to research. she knows her subject and does all the homework, ranging over continents to talk to sources in science and industry and sport. she obviously has money, because she spares nothing in expense. she also has an amazing ability to bring esoteric concepts to life by translating the phenomenon of these giant waves into little images and analogies that the reader can relate to - she writes vibrant, muscular prose. what disappointed me: when she finally gets to the big waves and big wave surfers, that boldness seems to dissipate. and she writes like a schoolgirl with a crush on things like laird's hamilton's muscles. no longer the intrepid adventurer, she writes about quivering with fear and nervousness at actually going out with the surfers to the wave break-- but in the flank of it, where all the boats and skis sit, the safe zone. she has a tin ear for her own dialogue - her questions seem to be suddenly a whole 6 octaves stupider, focused on feelings and "how do you feel" questions to men she's already characterized as not much for excess words. women surfers appear almost nowhere in the book. the more it annoyed me, the more i began to see casey as just another goggle-eyed chick in a bikini, and i was disappointed because her book began with such a dramatic crackle of energy. when i researched around and read on laird's website that she made a financial deal to pay for access to his world, i felt even more disappointed.

    so i went back to read her first book, about great white sharks. same tendencies. amazing writing, with the same snap crackle pop of good prose. prodigious research, and capacious funds to undertake it. and yet somehow in the middle of the book she becomes all thumbs - afraid to jump from a sailboat to a dinghy, afraid to bait a fishhook, afraid of the dark, afraid of ghosts. afraid her expensive underwear will get taken by a storm. pointing out that she feels sexy wearing fashion rugged gear in the company of men. once again she never really mentions the women interns who are actually living at the farralones - who actually deal every day with the things she finds overwhelming as a visitor. they're there, but the experiences she focuses on are her own, not the experiences of those with more mileage and qualifications under their sexy belts. when a shark researcher shows up (and yes, he's handsome!!! picture included!!) she admires his muscular forearms but seems vague about what he actually does. they go to the aquarium together at the end. meanwhile she manages to lose a sailboat, set off government inquisitions and insurance claims, break federal regulations, and get one of the top research scientists fired from his job, with not so much as a fare-thee-well of regret for being the cause of so much trouble.

    i look forward to the day when casey goes through the teeth of an experience and develops a little stamina and endurance of her own. so far both her books are based on having watched specials produced by others on tv - which means it's a recycled experience, more or less. someone else pointed the way, and she picked up well on the clues, but the path was already given. and she comes across as an amazing woman who still gets self-conscious and intimidated being in the world of rugged men. her claim to fame is access, not achievement. she has too much talent to waste on schoolgirl crushes. the best adventure journalists of our time don't just get their la perla underwear dirty - they write having already gone through transforming adventures of their own.

    apologies to all concerned. as a woman writing and working in the world of men, i took these observations as a cautionary tale about tone. and tone-deafness. and being naive instead of weatherbeaten.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Waves Are Not Measured In Feet Or Inches But In Increments Of Fear, September 9, 2010

    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
    "The relationship between the waves, the weather, the planet's rising temperatures, and the overarching ocean cycles is wildly complex. And, they result in more frequent and higher extreme ocean waves which are a result of Global Warming" Susan Casey tells us this, and so much more. I loved this book, the waves transfixed me, the information transformed me, and the oceans and seas filled me with the fear of God.

    The stories Susan Casey carries with her and places on the written page about waves, oceans, seas, surfs, research, surfing and the people who follow and do these crazy stunts have filled me with a sense that we, the humans that populate this earth, have done it wrong. The oceans absorb 80% of the heat, and as the water heats, the wind increases, storms become more volatile. The ice melts, and the sea levels rise and millions of us who live near the ocean are at risk. The more we know about the waves and our weather and how it affects us, the better off we will be. The next generation is in for a rough ride.

    Susan Casey is a superb writer, she strings the stories of waves and the researchers in language I can understand. The people who ride the surf, the Laird Hamilton's and the Lickles, seem heroic and foolish all at the same time. The risks they take, but it seems they must. They were born to ride the waves, and they must find the highest and the fastest. They become the best surfers. They know the waves, the science and how to read the oceans and the waves. The waves become their friends and their foe. They move from ocean to ocean and place to place to meet these waves and conquer them. Sometimes they succeed.

    What I find especially fascinating are the researchers of the waves. The people who make their life's work studying the waves and how they change in size and their relationship to the universe. The people who rescue the ships that are lost at sea, the products they carry, and the people they lose. One or two ships are lost every week at sea, and it was not until 2000 that a group of like minded men came together to study why these ships were lost. It used to be said that extreme weather was the cause, well, sort of. There is so much to learn, and the list of lost ships and their stories are listed in a ledger by Lloyds of London. The reasons are waves, earthquakes, tsunamis, wind, temperature and a little bit of this and that. The Caribbean particularly Puerto Rico and the North west are overdue for tsunami inducing quakes. Scares me, does it scare you?

    Climate change has been on all of our tongues for many years, and now, we must face it up close and personal. Hurricane Katrina was but one example that should serve as a warning. Look around you and listen, everyday there is an example of warming, floods, ships lost at sea, increase hurricanes, heat, and rain and snow of unheard proportions. Susan Casey has given us a book that enlightens us all.

    Highly Recommended. prisrob 09-09-10

    The Devil's Teeth: A True Story of Obsession and Survival Among America's Great White Sharks

    Women Invent!: Two Centuries of Discoveries That Have Shaped Our World

    2-0 out of 5 stars More the book about and from a extreme surfer groupie..., December 1, 2010
    ...than a book about waves! Susan Casey is obviously fascinated by extreme surfers and spends most of the book on them, their close calls, their family life etc... Now, granted that it is a fascinating life but despite her breathless prose, one does not really get the scale of what these guys are doing: maybe a video of them riding those monsters and talking about would do more justice to their accomplishments. But, in all that, what I had bought the book for, thinking on the basis of early reviews that it would be dealing with the forces creating these monster waves, was basically lost even when eventually she talked to scientists, drawing out of them more their personal experiences than the science of it. A more accurate title would be something like "In pursuit of the ultimate ride"

    5-0 out of 5 stars Surf's UP!!!!!, November 12, 2010
    An incredible account of nature in all her unsettled splendor. I was thoroughly caught up in the telling of how the oceans spawn monstrous waves which are both awesome to behold and at the same time can be devastating to people, ships, and the land.

    Ms. Casey wrote a wonderful book based on scientific evidence and personal accounts from many people who study, live and play on the world's oceans.

    Imagine surfing on a 70ft wall of water. Too hard to imagine? Look up at a 7 or 8 story building, then stand next to it and look straight up. That's where the surfer drops into the moving wave of energy. Can you feel it?

    Photos of ships being pummeled by giant waves; of the devastation left behind when monster waves hit land; and of the very brave people who surf these giants are included.

    I love this book! I grew up on the east coast and remember some very large waves that hit beaches during stormy weather. The waves described in the book far outweigh my experiences.

    A must read for anyone who thinks about global warming, and how weather is dynamically changing the very face of the oceans.

    3-0 out of 5 stars The ocean is full of unpredictable forces and characters too, December 14, 2010
    Here we are presented with a concept book that attempts to hold various subjects, incidents and characters together around one unifying piece of information. That the ocean is full of unpredictable forces that create huge waves, some as high at 100 feet. We join the crew and scientist aboard the RRS Discovery in the North Sea as it is hurled about for days. We attend scientific workshops where mathematicians try and study waves. Find out climate change is going to make the oceans even more unpredictable. We learn two large ships sink each week on average (worldwide) and no one ever studies the cause as we do with airplanes that crash. Their disappearance is simply recorded as the results of "bad weather". Susan Casey then layers on top of this what I found to be the complete idiocy of big wave tow surfing with Laird Hamilton of Maui as the main character we are to identify with. He is sort of the Spiderman of surfing. He and his buddies (in conjunction with the surfing industry who at one point offer $100,000 to the first person who successfully rides a 100 foot wave) risk life (several surfers deaths are covered in the narrative) to just get the rush of the big wave. And interestingly enough it does not count if it is not filmed so we also meet an incredible group of surf photographers. So you mix all this into the stew and bounce around a lot and you find yourself loving and hating the book.
    For me reading is much the joy of learning things you never knew or would know if you had not read a given book. And there is lots to learn in THE WAVE about the ocean and the phenomena of big waves and I doubt many people have heard of the sport of tow surfing or how one goes about doing it. Or that the biggest waves to surf are found some 100 miles off the coast of San Diego in some 6 foot deep water which covers the tops of a huge mountain range, an area called the Cortes Bank. So the book has much to offer. What seems wrong is its balance. The surfers, especially the hero worship of Laird Hamilton gets old after a while. Does Susan Casey ever think Laird's actions as a father with a family are a bit irresponsible no matter his skill and Zen like personality? Is he really a wave whisperer with no warts?
    The interesting character for me at the end of the book is Laird's buddy Brett Lickle who having suffered a major injury which left his left leg with a scar that was "though his entire calf had been melted" (and have being saved by Laird Hamilton) stands on a cliff watching his friends challenge the latest Maui big waves. Lickle made it clear that he no longer misses "the circus, the jeopardy, the nerves" by saying, "The only thing I'll say is that the accident was a kind of ticket out, you know what I mean? What we had was a gang. And you couldn't get out of the gang. There was no way out. There's so much peer pressure like, `come on, you're the man! Let's go!' You can't just walk away can't. But if you get shot up and almost die, they let you out." For the surfers the big waves are a personal challenge and thrill like climbing a mountain. For the scientist and ships crews the waves are something to respect and fear.
    If the subject interests you which I am betting it does I believe you will enjoy the book although I found it very uneven and is a bit to hero worshiping in its promotion of the tow surfing culture.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Scientists, ships and lots of surfing, October 1, 2010
    Susan Casey is a captivating writer. Somehow she is able to take the concept of something as comparatively non-threatening as waves and spin it into an interesting tale, highlighting how wrong I was about the pretty waves breaking on the beach.

    Casey interviews mariners, Lloyd's of London reps, physicists, and--primarily--surfers about their experiences with and predictions for a huuge wave, dude. The science is a little glossed over but I suspect that it would be difficult to go into wave physics in more depth without the reader glazing over. I really did enjoy the section about Lloyd's of London and their history in insuring ships (and Tina Turner's legs, of course).

    The major problem with Casey's approach is I think she got a bit too caught up in the surfing scene. For each original section where she talked to a scientists about their dire predictions for the potential destructivenss of waves, or someone on a ship who had been caught in a wave, etc., she intersperses it with a scene about another wave-chasing day with the surfers, and it got a bit repetitive by the end of the book. I don't know, I think I would have admired the surfers more had I actually known a little less about them by the time the book was over. Anyway, this flaw wasn't enough to drop it to 3 stars. I learned a fair bit about surfing, and I finished the book in awe of the giant waves that could pay us a visit any time they like.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Radical brah, September 27, 2010
    My surfing experience is limited to boogie boarding in San Diego when I was 22, but I had many surfing dreams for about a year after that. Whatever it is, it is powerful. Still, like many others I expected less surfers and a little more exploration into others who deal or have dealt with massive waves, but I still enjoyed the book.

    4-0 out of 5 stars More Stories than Science of Waves, but Conveys Their Beauty and Destructive Power., September 2, 2010

    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
    Susan Casey likes water. In "The Devil's Teeth", she wrote about great white sharks in the Farallon Islands. In "The Wave", she explores the subject of big waves, taller than 50 feet, 100 feet, or even 1,000 feet high. Big waves are normally associated with storms, earthquakes, or reefs... and then there are rogue waves, whose very existence was doubted until recently, that seemingly come out of nowhere to swallow big commercial ships. Water in large volumes at high speeds is perhaps the most powerful force on Earth. To get a feel for these behemoths, Casey talked to the big wave surfers who seek them out, marine salvage experts and maritime meteorologists who help mariners escape them, and the scientists who are trying to understand them.

    Casey crisscrossed the globe for a few years speaking to experts in fields related to waves and tagging along with a group of big wave surfers whose most famous member is Laird Hamilton. Out of 13 chapters, only 5 are not about the experience of surfing big waves: Casey takes us along to the Tenth International Workshop on Wave Hindcasting and Forecasting and Coastal Hazard Symposium, where researchers present their theories on wave formation and prediction. She visits Lloyd's of London, which insures most of the world's shipping fleet, and learns how vulnerable bulk carriers are to big waves. She talks to geohazard experts, scientists at the National Oceanic Center in England, a marine salvage expert who saves ships in distress, and a geologist who speaks of the 1,740-foot wave created by a 1958 earthquake in Alaska.

    And Casey hangs out with people who like big waves: the tow-in surfers who routinely surf Pe'ahi in Maui, Teahupo'o in Tahiti, Mavericks south of San Francisco, and a handful of other big wave hot spots. She travels to those places with surfers and their photographers to get as close as she can to experiencing big waves for herself. And there's the carnage. Two dozen big commercial ships are lost at sea each year; surfers who seek out big waves don't always make it either. "The Wave" has a jaunty pace, and the surfing stories give it glamour and drama. Casey's decision to dedicate so much space to the folks who spend time inside these waves for fun is a good one. They are intimate with big waves and convey a fear and awe of them that helps the audience grasp the size, power, and beauty of such a thing. "The Wave" is a fun read. ... Read more

    2. Atlantic: Great Sea Battles, Heroic Discoveries, Titanic Storms,and a Vast Ocean of a Million Stories
    by Simon Winchester
    list price: $27.99 -- our price: $15.47
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0061702587
    Publisher: Harper
    Sales Rank: 159
    Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Atlantic is a biography of a tremendous space that has been central to the ambitions of explorers, scientists, and warriors, and continues to affect our character, attitudes, and dreams. Poets to potentates, seers to sailors, fishermen to foresters—all have a relationship with this great body of gray and heaving sea.

    Winchester chronicles that relationship, making the Atlantic come vividly alive. More than a mere history, Atlantic is an unforgettable journey of unprecedented scope by one of the most gifted writers in the English language.

    ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars Another hit from Winchester...., November 1, 2010

    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
    Simon Winchester's Atlantic: Great Sea Battles, Heroic Discoveries, Titanic Storms, and a Vast Ocean of a Million Stories is an arm chair explorers dream and yet another installment in a growing list of terrific books. Filled to brimming with stories of exploration and heroic figures, Winchester sees the Atlantic Ocean as the well spring from which all (or the major part) of European history and greatness finds its roots. Atlantic is as much a biography of the Atlantic Ocean as any other biography and a detailed examination of how some of mankind has interacted with that ocean and been affected by it.

    Not wanting to omit anything, Winchester begins the story with an investigation into the formation of the Atlantic basic 370 million years ago and rapidly advances to relatively modern times. Vikings, Norsemen, Portuguese, Dutchmen, the French, English, all have their place in Winchester's book. The title includes the phrase "Million Stories" and surely this is true. As I was reading Atlantic, I was often mindful of the fact that the stories included in the book aren't all of the stories; that there are more forgotten tales than there are remembered tales. That realization is numbing when you think about it.

    Still, Winchester has managed to pull together a gripping read. If you're a lover of adventure and history you'll want to spend some time with Atlantic.

    Simon Winchester's previous works include three terrific books among other writings. The Professor and the Madman (1998), The Map that Changed the World (2001), and The Crack at the Edge of the World (2005) are all extremely readable and highly interesting. Atlantic is certainly equally interesting.

    I highly recommend Atlantic by Simon Winchester.

    Peace always.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Winchester's winsome winner, November 3, 2010

    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
    Atlantic is not easily described. I'm a science & history reader and so I believed I was undertaking another topical read. That was my mistake. Atlantic is a gently rolling hybrid of a travelogue, life journey story, geological epochs, and human history rolled up in a manner to grab the attention of the curious mind seeking the really `big picture' of half a billion years. Hundreds of books have been written to address the particulars of Atlantic's topics. From this legacy of writings and observations, Winchester derives a kind of "organic" Atlantic to describe with mans 'brief' encounter. Winchester pulls the many layers of man's history and experience together in just the right format of snip-it's in context to permit the reader to witness an Ocean that might otherwise be `missed' as a 400 million year old `life form'.

    This is not a technical read. It is an enjoyable, personal armchair reflection of man's geo-socio-rhetorical relationship with the Atlantic. It might be best enjoyed on your next transatlantic flight or on beach vacation or, if you're really lucky, a ship crossing looking out over the seas horizon ahead and behind. Sans the pain of an Atlantic flight, it is a poetic writing for all that have stared out across the pond and wondered. You are guaranteed to become the resident savant of Atlantic trivia at your next dinner party. The reader can relate to the author's penchant and his coming to terms with a life lived around the often unnoticed Atlantic's defining nature for Western civilization. The core story is the "Atlantic" ... man is the context around the story.

    Great book!

    3-0 out of 5 stars A Disappointing Effort from a solid author, December 13, 2010
    Simon Winchester is one of my favorite authors. I have read all of his books and did not wait long to order this, his newest. It started like several of his others with a geologist's explanation of history... always interesting. He then laid out the vital importance of the ocean to human evolution, civilization, exploration, and history... good stuff but lacking the detail and real human accounts of Krakatoa or Crack at the Edge of the World.

    The disappointment for me was that a large portion of the book is devoted to Dr. Winchester's view on how climate change is affecting the Atlantic and speculation on what future impact it will have. He gives anecdotal stories without solid science or data references and seems to imply that whatever changes have occurred are the result of man's use of the ocean an are harmful or bad - not just historical changes. I felt as if I'd been tricked into reading a case for man-caused global warming. Winchester is obviously passionate about the Atlantic and concerned about its future. However, I bought the book as a historical retrospective and did not care to read an exhaustive op-ed about climate change.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Winchester turns nonfiction accounts into page-turning literature, November 9, 2010
    "Men might as well project a voyage to the Moon as attempt to employ steam navigation against the stormy North Atlantic Ocean."
    - Dionysius Lardner, Irish scientific writer and lecturer, 1793-1859

    This quote opens Simon Winchester's latest book, ATLANTIC. The bestselling author of KRAKATOA and THE PROFESSOR AND THE MADMAN has made a career of turning nonfiction accounts into page-turning literature. Now he is taking on the vast infinity that is the Atlantic Ocean in a work that reads like crisp fiction as it covers this immense space through a number of different themes, blending both fact and folklore along the way.

    What gives the book even more poignancy is how Winchester interjects his personal experiences into the numerous references he provides regarding the great Atlantic Ocean. Once nicknamed "the pond" by Victorian sailors of the 1600s, this body of water has been the site of famous events and the inspiration for thousands of artistic and literary productions.

    Early on in the preface, Winchester mentions the Atlantic Charter of 1941. U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill signed the accord that signaled a changing of the guard, with the United States taking over from Britain as titular leader of the Western world. Winchester also refers to the Atlantic Ocean as a body of water that geologists predict will continue to transform in shape and size dramatically. Because of all the change that has taken place with the ocean over thousands of years, it is a reasonable subject that can have its story told in the form of biography.

    Winchester indicates that the origins of the Atlantic can be traced as far back as the Jurassic period 195 million years ago. However, it was not until the age of early aquatic explorers that this mighty ocean was discovered and recognized. The voyages of Italian explorer Christopher Columbus are well known. Yet the first European to cross the Atlantic and reach the New World was actually a Norse Viking, most likely from Norway. Prior to Columbus reaching the New World, Florentine navigator Amerigo Vespucci was the first to realize North America as a continent and the Atlantic as a discrete and separate body of water --- an ocean.

    Details of the great ships that crossed the Atlantic are covered at length by Winchester, with particular attention given to the HMS Challenger. Initially a warship, the Challenger not only traversed the Atlantic visiting numerous ports along the way but also carried a team of scientists and geologists during its initial three-and-a-half-year voyage. The findings of these men of science included the discovery of hundreds of specimens --- both animal and plant --- many of which still exist today. This was a formidable intellectual achievement that opened up the world and was the most comprehensive study of an ocean ever undertaken.

    ATLANTIC provides proof of the indelible inspiration the Atlantic Ocean has made in the areas of arts and literature. Thousands of poems, stories and artistic achievements claim the ocean as their muse. Among Winchester's references are the Anglo-Saxon poem "The Seafarer" and numerous writings by the great William Shakespeare that provide some of the first Atlantic-inspired literary works. Architecture along the thousands of Atlantic coastline areas also represents respect for the sea. French composer Claude Debussy titled three of his major works "La mer," which helped attach the word "Impressionism" to a new style of sea-centered music. Winchester also points out several famous pieces of art, with none more notable than those of English artist J.M.W. Turner, whose "The Wreck of the Minotaur" exemplified the power of the great Atlantic Ocean.

    No story of the Atlantic would be complete without outlining the role this body of water has played in the war experience. The Portuguese, the French, the Dutch and the English all sailed ships across the Atlantic during colonization efforts with the intent on beating their opponents to new territories. Winchester regales us with the golden age of pirates on the Atlantic, a term that originated from the Caribbean references to buccaneers and privateers. Writers like Robert Louis Stevenson and Daniel Defoe told of the exploits of these infamous traverses and villains of the Atlantic.

    What Simon Winchester does best is to make his biography of the Atlantic Ocean read like a compelling fictional narrative that is never dull. In the hands of a writer with his gifts and talent for phraseology, what could have been an antiseptic textbook type of read is instead an exciting and enthralling literary experience that will appeal to anyone who is interested in history and engaging storytelling.

    2-0 out of 5 stars A rather ridiculous book, December 22, 2010
    I have enjoyed a number of Winchester's books, but this was not one of them. He is at his best when he is detailing a story that is not well-known and surprising. That was what drove the success of his previous work. In this book, he takes on an enormous subject and ends up with a catalog of his research interspersed with totally unsupported assertions and some rather dull writing about his travels.

    The structural problem with the book is that Winchester has chosen a cumbersome thematic structure to organize his writing: the seven stages of man listed in the "All the world's a stage..." speech from As You Like It. While this may have seemed like a clever way to tackle a sprawling subject like the Atlantic, the structure overwhelms any insight Winchester may or may not have had about the Atlantic. Seeking to fill this outline, Winchester stuffs everything into it that either (a) features the words "sea" or "Atlantic" or (b) happens to have taken place in or near the Atlantic. The result is a combination of the obvious (jet travel ended regular ocean liner service) or the downright tautological (in a section on "cities," Winchester writes brief descriptions of New York, Cape Town, St. Helena, none of which have any connection to each other and all of which essentially boil down to the pointless statement 'these are Atlantic cities because they are on the Atlantic ocean.")

    Unsupported assertions abound. Apparently, musical instruments were not powerful enough before the 18th century to tackle the sea as a subject (whatever that may mean in the context of music). The "paramount" issue in the story of the Pilgrims is the Atlantic. What? How do you back that up? Even more bizarre, Winchester then undermines his own point by noting that it was important only as an obstacle to be crossed. Well, yeah. The Pilgrims are remembered for the founding of New England, not for their (total lack of ) seamanship or connection to the Atlantic.

    Aside from the structural problems, Winchester's prose is often leaden and tedious. The opening story about his transatlantic crossing drags on for too long, pulls in totally unrelated issues like the meeting between Churchill and Roosevelt that resulted in the Atlantic Charter, and then peters out with no apparent point. As other reviewers have noted, almost everything is weighed down with vague modifiers. I suspect that these pleading modifiers are Winchester's unconscious attempt to make his lack of insight or, frankly, point sound "important."

    Put simply, the book is a mess. The interesting subjects are covered in other books in better detail and with better writing. Winchester's writing about himself is dull and overwrought. Readers are better off sticking to books where Winchester has tackled a small, somewhat esoteric subject.

    4-0 out of 5 stars The Axis of Western Civilization, December 6, 2010

    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
    Simon Winchester's enjoyable sail through thousands of years of Atlantic history could easily double as a useful general primer on western civilization. Covering everything from the Phoenicians, chilean sea bass, Cadiz, and norse dragon ships to deep sea trawlers and the mid ocean mountain range, this book explores related fishy subjects down through the centuries.

    "Atlantic" can be nicely entertaining about its subjects, even if it's rather like a wine tasting party in overall coverage of any specific topic, say, on Germany's two fearsome submarine campaigns.

    In subduing this leviathan of biographies, Mr. Winchester turned to William Shakespeare for inspiration. He reveals his storyline as, "A stage setting that would transmute all the themes of ocean life into players, progressing for infancy to senescence, so that all could be permitted to play their parts in turn."

    Like weathering patches of rain squalls, Mr. Winchester's story tacks through brief bands of science and lore followed by rather intense short periods of history and geography story telling. Only rarely will the reader find himself fogbound in Mr. Winchester's reminiscenes. Indeed, his personal quest on Namibia's Skeleton Coast in the epilogue, is wonderful reading.

    This fine book is clearly not intended to be the last word on maritime references. But for any readers wanting a learned, entertaining and lucid introduction to a vast foggy subject, Mr. Winchester's "Atlantic" could certainly be their favorite.

    3-0 out of 5 stars A tantalizing but frustrating read, November 14, 2010
    This is an interesting book that could have been far more interesting if it were not so frustrating to read.

    The book is filled with non-sequiturs that leave the reader in total puzzlement. An example is found on page 122: "Who now remembers James Rennell, for instance, a young sailor from Devon, England, who first came upon the Atlantic proper on a long-sea trick from military service in Bengal." What?! Actually I think we can be fairly certain that it was some paleolithic man or woman "who first came on the Atlantic proper." We can only try to guess what a "long-sea trick" is or what this has to do with Bengal.

    The author drops bombshells on us and then blithely goes on to a new topic. We learn that tobacco has been found in an Egyptian tomb. This is a potentially profound discovery. When was this discovered and by whom? Are archeologists in general agreement about this? Has it been tested to determine where it was grown? Is it possible that there is an explanation other than a transatlantic voyage? You will never find out reading this book.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Casting his net too widely this time, December 27, 2010

    Simon Winchester's books are always an adventure of one sort or another. He chooses a topic--person, place, event, in one stunningly expansive outing ("The Meaning of Everything") the Oxford English Dictionary--and covers that topic with infinite range and detail. I make it a point to listen to his books on audio, read by the author, for the joy of his linguistic pirouettes and pyrotechnics. I like his style.

    For his latest book, though, I believe he cast his net too widely. The title says it all: Atlantic: Great Sea Battles, Heroic Discoveries, Titanic Storms,and a Vast Ocean of a Million Stories . In writing about the Atlantic Ocean he gave himself license to include anything that ever existed or occurred on, in or near it; art and music related to it in any way; warfare, trade, piracy, transportation of people and goods on or over the ocean; our overfishing and pollution of it; what will happen if global warming causes it to rise; and finally, the predictions (both dismal and majestic) of how the Atlantic will cease to exist when the continents ricochet back around and pinch it off in a few million years.

    Realizing that he needed a structure to manage this mass of material, Winchester chose Shakespeare's "Seven Ages of Man" monologue from "As You Like It," relating aspects of the ocean to the stages: infant, school-boy, lover, soldier, justice, pantaloon (foolish old man), and second childhood. I didn't think this conceit worked perfectly, and in fact the structure that could bring order to this book probably doesn't exist.

    Winchester's first career was in geology, and his fervor for eruptions and in fact all geological phenomena makes the Atlantic a promising topic for him. On the other hand, writing about individuals--you can scarcely call these books biographies--somehow focuses and settles his writing; "human included for scale," so to speak. I hope his next book will, indeed, be more focused.

    Linda Bulger, 2010

    3-0 out of 5 stars Epic Sea Battles. War At Sea., December 8, 2010

    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
    What an interesting read. We needed a book like this. It talks about the history of the Atlantic Ocean and how she fared with the ships at sea. There were many battles in this ocean (still are) hundreds of ships and boats havetheir last resting place here with Titanic being the most famous one. But it's not just about the ships itself. No, the story is about the Atlantic Ocean and how she has survived through time during storms,battles, destruction, enviroment, weather, you name it and it's here.

    The only problem is that when you read the proofs to a book that has yet to be published, things tend to be out of place. Usually, this isn't noticable but here, you have pictures that are blocked with the source of where it comes from, spelling errors and things like that. What I have is basically a reviewers copy. Does it deter from the reading and enjoyment? No because if you are a fan of history, then this book for you will bring you enjoyment.

    It's also easy on the eyes which will wander to the bottom of the page where the footnotes are. Now, I like the footnotes here instead of the back of the book because this way it doesn't take away from the reading and you can understand things a bit more.

    Atlantic Ocean is the most popular one if you live in the U.S and Canada so it's something we should know about seeing as how one person goes out there every second on a daily basis. Reading this will give us a better understanding.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Fine Slice Through the Grey Waters., December 6, 2010

    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
    A book like this creates a slice with which to orchestrate an essay.

    One of the finest I have ever seen is Europe Between the Oceans by Barry Cunliffe, the story of Europe from 9000 BC through 1000 AD.

    This history of the Atlantic Ocean is quite good, a way for the author to weave the hydrological with the great explorers, the mapping with the peoples, the battles with the flows of peoples. The result is a window to the human condition as it plays out against the grey waters.

    I enjoyed the author weaving some of his own visits to places -- Monaco for charts and naming of the seas, for example, and he always seems to be sailing past a headland -- with his eye for events, such as the grand exploratory tour of the HMS Challenger. He uses clear, simple and engaging writing.

    I am never sure that these sorts of volumes really hang together, in the sense that there is no one story of the Atlantic, rather a series of short essays around the basin, so to speak. But the book is very interesting, the Atlantic from north to south, from cables on the ocean floor to the great ships above. The great scope tells the story of the peoples as they rose against this great ocean, and were consumed within it. ... Read more

    3. How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It: Tactics, Techniques, and Technologies for Uncertain Times
    by James Wesley Rawles
    list price: $17.00 -- our price: $6.98
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0452295831
    Publisher: Plume
    Sales Rank: 184
    Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    The definitive guide on how to prepare for any crisis--from global financial collapse to a pandemic

    It would only take one unthinkable event to disrupt our way of life. If there is a terrorist attack, a global pandemic, or sharp currency devaluation--you may be forced to fend for yourself in ways you've never imagined. Where would you get water? How would you communicate with relatives who live in other states? What would you use for fuel?

    Survivalist expert James Wesley, Rawles, author of Patriots and editor of, shares the essential tools and skills you will need for you family to survive, including:

    Water:Filtration, transport, storage, and treatment options.
    Food Storage: How much to store, pack-it-yourself methods, storage space and rotation, countering vermin.
    Fuel and Home Power: Home heating fuels, fuel storage safety, backup generators.
    Garden, Orchard Trees, and Small Livestock: Gardening basics, non-hybrid seeds, greenhouses; choosing the right livestock.
    Medical Supplies and Training: Building a first aid kit, minor surgery, chronic health issues.
    Communications: Following international news, staying in touch with loved ones.
    Home Security: Your panic room, self-defense training and tools.
    When to Get Outta Dodge: Vehicle selection, kit packing lists, routes and planning.
    Investing and Barter:Tangibles investing, building your barter stockpile. And much more.

    How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It is a must-have for every well-prepared family.

    ... Read more


    4-0 out of 5 stars Not bad, but misses the boat, October 6, 2009
    Rawles is a great non-fiction writer, and this is a well written book. However, it has some major faults:

    - The book is for hard core survivalists only. It assumes complete and absolute break down of civilization. It does not deal with "simpler" short-term emergencies (tornado, fire, flood) that you can ride out living in your normal urban or suburban environment. The book is practically all about establishing a well-stocked remote rural retreat, which you defend tooth-and-nail against looters and invaders, while keeping the curtains down not to let them see your window lights.

    - Rawles preaches to the choir, not to the uninitiated. If you are not familiar with the survivalist vernacular and have not read similar books / blogs, you will find this book a little jarring and over your head. In fact, Rawles often cross-references his fiction novel Patriots as supplementary guide. Speaking of preaching to the choir: all these five stars reviews which are highly rated as helpful - feel free to ignore the ones written before October 2. Given that this book started shipping on the last day of September and is not available for Kindle, there is simply no way people could have received and read the book before Friday October 2. Rawles is known for encouraging his blog readers to all buy the book on the same day to create a "bestseller" effect on Amazon, and this carries over to the reviews. So beware.

    - Book is way too tiny and short for much useful learning. In fact, each chapter is basically a thoughtful intro followed by a list of items to get, with some quick facts (e.g. how long honey or wheat can be stored, where to buy the containers, etc). There is barely any attempt to teach survival attitude and skills - those are farmed out to other books or training courses. To the author's credit, he has plenty of great pointers to other books and courses. However, you are much better off going there in the first place.

    - Rawles has a misanthropic, dog-eat-dog sense to his writing, both in this book and in Patriots. It is too much about hunkering down in your darkened bunker, eating MREs, and using plenty of ammo to keep the less fortunate souls away. While it is possible that a major event could end civilization as we know it, I do wish Rawles had a more positive tone and attitude, at least when trying to covert newcomers to his cause :)

    There is one really big issue with hard core survivalism in general. If a truly massive global or nationwide disaster comes to pass, the likelihood of surviving it is low, no matter how well you prepare. Surviving a nuclear war or a mass epidemic is unlikely, and more about random chance than preparation. The survivors are bound to come together in sizable groups for strength and protection. If a well armed gang or ex-military unit converges on one of the Rawles-style rural retreats, game is over. So at the end of the day, at least to me, hard-core survivalism comes across as a militaristic make-believe game, mostly indulged by paranoid guys. Last but not least, unlike "soft-core" temporary disaster survival, what Rawles recommends is expensive and requires major lifestyle changes, which limits its appeal tremendously.

    So, what's good about this book? The chapters on food storage and vehicles stand out. Also, if you are looking for a primer on surviving a major end-of-civilization disaster, this is a great starting point. To the author's credit, his survival blog has more readers than most daily newspapers, so he knows his stuff, whether you agree with him or not.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Overall it's pretty OK, October 9, 2009
    I have followed Rawles blog and his writings. This book is pretty OK, and here is why. The book does provoke a lot of thought, but.. Here is where it misses. The situation that Rawles describes, he has not lived through. I still have a rather normal life I have to live and for most of us, ditching it all and moving to the mountains is not a feasible option. He often cites needing a years worth of anything on hand, but what happens after that year? Do you really want to live in a place of constant death and destruction. He lists a lot of doomsday scenarios by where the ones who survive will not be the lucky ones.

    I think the much more likely future is similar to what happened in Argentina or what has been slowly happening in South Africa.

    So while next spring I will be tilling up a good part of yard for a garden, harvesting rain water, and buying and stocking in bulk. I will not be buying a GOOD location or a buying an old diesel junker truck to get there.

    There is a lot you can learn from this book, but don't make it your sole reference. Where you live determines your survival strategy, there is no one size fits all approach.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Read this before you buy, July 27, 2010
    First let me start by saying that I seriously debated giving this book either 2 or 3 stars. It's somewhere in the middle in my mind.

    As part of my investigation into disaster preparedness, I read four books. I'd like to compare them here to help other customers.

    The four books can be divided into two groups: practical guides, and the world's gonna end guides.

    The first two books are related to what I'd call likely events - hurricanes, flu pandemics, earthquakes, blackouts, food shortages, water contamination, etc. The two that I read are:

    - Handbook to Practical Disaster Preparedness for the Family by Arthur Bradley

    - Crisis Preparedness Handbook by Jack Spigareli

    These two books are similar in their scope. Neither preaches doomsday preparations and both have a wide range of good advice. Spigarelli's book focuses much more heavily on food storage, whereas Bradley's has a more well-rounded handling of subjects and targets family preparation (including the special needs of children, pets, the elderly, and those with handicaps). Comparing the two, I found Bradley's book to be more recent, easier to read, and more comprehensive. The quality of the publication is also better (numerous clear tables, examples, figures, conclusions, etc.). Spigarelli's book has been around for almost a decade and is highly regarded, but feels a bit dated (text looks almost like it was generated on a typewriter, figures are small, tables are not very clear). Not a bad book at all, just dated, and heavily focused on food storage (about 2/3 of the book). Just to be clear, both books are good.

    The second set of books are targeted for more drastic, world-changing events - nuclear world war, asteroid hitting the planet, collapse of all government, doomsday stuff. The two books are:

    - How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It: Tactics, Techniques, and Technologies for Uncertain Times by James Rawles

    - When All Hell Breaks Loose: Stuff You Need To Survive When Disaster Strikes by Cody Lundin

    Again, these two books are similar. Both target extreme preparation - massive food and water stockpiles, getting off the electrical grid, living in bunkers, stocking weapons and bartering supplies, etc. Of the two, I found Lundin's book to offer more. First of all it is much larger and has much more detailed content. Rawles' book is a low-quality trade publication that has zero figures or tables - think text only. The advice of Rawles book is also very general and not particularly useful.

    There is some significant overlap between the two types of books, but they are definitely different in their focus. My advice is before buying a book, first decide whether you want to prepare for likely events or doomsday events. For me personally, I found the Practical Handbook for the Family to be the most useful. If you want to prepare for both ends of the spectrum, purchase Bradley's book and Lundin's book. Can't go wrong with that.

    Hope this helps!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Covers all the bases, October 2, 2009
    As one of the original pioneers in the survival and preparedness field, I have been critical of arm-chair survivalists who lead people astray with bad advice, product recommendations that don't work, and fail to take into consideration the fact that most people just can't head for the hills without destroying their financial lifeline. Self-sufficiency is fairly expensive, takes a lot of skill, and can't be done on a whim.

    Jim Rawles' book is not in that category. He has lived everything he recommends, and thus gives the kind of savvy advice that carefully guides a person through the tough choices necessary for contingency planning. Moreover, he is very open about the pitfalls and cautions that readers must avoid in order to develop a successful retreat plan. I found myself agreeing with almost every recommendation he makes.

    Highly recommended!

    Joel Skousen, Author of The Secure Home, and Strategic Relocation--North American Guide to Safe Places

    5-0 out of 5 stars A reference for further learning., September 30, 2009
    This book doesn't cover every detail of every disaster, of course. No one book could. What it has is easily referenced, concise summaries of particular events--hurricanes, earthquakes, brush fires, economic collapses, grid failures--and summaries of preparations one can make. Then, those preparations are roughly described.

    All this gives a person or family a handy guidebook to create a disaster plan from.

    Obviously, not all disasters have equal probability, nor are relevant to all locations--brush fires and hurricanes don't affect me in the Midwest. Tornadoes, flash floods and blizzards do, as might a New Madrid earthquake. Long term societal problems aren't currently a problem in the US, but are in quite a few other western nations, such as Argentina and sometimes Chile. There's even advice on a checklist to prioritize exactly those issues.

    As usual, a lot of the negative reviews revolve around a provincial "it can't happen here" mindset. A given disaster might not be likely in your current location at your current time, but places, people and societies change. Preparing ahead costs little, and can save your life. If you never need it, think of it as insurance.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Interesting, but niche appeal, October 14, 2009
    I purchased this book with an open mind. I can say that my purchase was motivated mostly out of respect to the author for his previous work and his blog. I tried to read this book with the only expectation that I would walk away from it with one or two pieces of useful knowledge more than what I started with. At the end of the day, I felt slightly cheated. Let me list some of the biggest flaws with this work so people can be aware of what they need to address if they are looking at this as a resource material.

    1. I am really not sure who is the real audience for this book. After finishing it last night, I concluded that most of the 5 star WOW feedback did NOT read the book before they posted their reviews. I guess if you live on 20 acres in the country 5 miles away from your closest neighbor then a lot of the over view sections in this book are for you.
    2. The book is written with a very pessimistic tone that leaves the reader with a sense of helplessness if he lives with in a city or greater metropolitan area. I live in a city and because of my job I am unable to leave for the country. I think this was the greatest mental hurdle when confronted with this work. If you are unable to commit to a change of location and life style, then reading this book almost feels like a waste of time. Tell me something I can use for city survival as my home, family, job and life have all taken place inside of a society.
    3. Lots of the specific reference areas into subjects that are of great interest (canning, strengthening the defenses of your home, essential home gardening on less than an acre, and the firearms questions) differ to other works by name only. I was rather upset with the feeling that I had just read a survival appendix when many of the real questions I had were just glossed over and left me confused. I know that the author has a lot of knowledge in this realm, but seems to only reference it to his consulting business or divert questions to other authors.
    4. The feeling of "missing the boat" or helplessness which the author brings into his pessimistic conclusions. If you have not already built a stronghold out in the country at the top of your mountain with an independent water supply 5 years ago, then you are probably boned. Good luck!

    These are my own thoughts and conclusions based on this work purely for its standalone value. I still have a lot of confidence and respect in and for the author based on his previous work. I just wish he would have given us more. I am still giving him a slightly positive review 

    5-0 out of 5 stars Relevant, September 30, 2009
    Rawles has been providing an important service to the readers of his books and of his survivalblog for years. Disasters happen regularly all over the world, and Rawles has the best and most relevant info on how to prepare and cope with these life-threatening problems and this book shows you how to do it. I recommend everyone read his books and blog and take steps to prepare for what will inevitably come, be it storms, earthquakes, tornadoes, terrorism, economic breakdown, or civil unrest. Do a little bit of preparing every week and you'll sleep better knowing you can keep your family fed and sheltered in case something bad happens. If it never comes, all the better! We all have home and car insurance, right? This is just another kind of insurance.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Prepper bible, September 30, 2009
    First, ignore that illiterate, lying fool who gave this compendium 1 star. He hasn't read the book, and is condemning Mr. Rawles for something he didn't do: Predict a collapse.

    Mr. Rawles is a fountain of knowledge regarding basic and not-so-basic prepare-to-survive techniques. Additionally, he supplies excellent Do's and Don'ts for just about every likely, and unlikely scenario you may enounter.

    This book is far more likely to save your life than whoever is on the other end of a 911 call, if anyone.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Agree with the Rawles Philosophy, Disagree on Many Details, and Hope We're Wrong About People, October 19, 2009
    First off, I have read most of the reviews of this book and have found some misinformation. This is not a book of extremist thinking or encouraging extremist actions. One reviewer stated the book goes into details such as "man traps," and that is simply not true, not once does the book go into such a contrivance. The reviewer probably has a "knee jerk" reaction to anything with the term "survivalist" applied to it and might have run across a discussion of the subject elsewhere, perhaps on the authors survival blog, but not necessarily written by Mr. Rawles. One thing about this author, he certainly doesn't censor other opinions of the contributors to his blog, at least in my experience. That being said, I think the potential reader "on the fence" about it give this work a try, I think you will be pleasantly surprised. I am of the opinion that Mr. Rawles does himself a disservice and denies his work a potentially broader audience by using marketing tactics (such as the title of this work) that will win with his core audience, but scare off others that could benefit.

    A core principle that Rawles puts forth early in the book is the fragile nature of our current society. Just in time inventory practices, out of control government spending, and a fleeting work ethic in our nation are indeed a formula for disaster. Interestingly, the idea that there is a "bureaucratic branch" putting in place our downfall is put forth in Mark Levin's "Liberty and Tyranny" and echoed here. Inflation may very well be in our near future and may very well be a cause for what Rawles calls here (and in his novel Patriots) "The Big Crunch." I agree with this view wholeheartedly.

    A second core principle put forth, is that the typical citizen of this country, when denied his TV, drugs, microwave entr�e's, and other instant gratification will revert to a savage state. When confronted with deprivation and potentially starvation, he will resort to outright unbridled barbarism. I WANT to disagree on this point and believe in "the better angels of our nature." It is my hope that in a cataclysmic situation, people will respond as they did on 9/11, and "pitch in." We cannot trust this will be the case however, so we must prepare.

    The last principle that I wanted to touch on in this review is the inclusion that is part of this philosophy. Mr. Rawles wants a prepared America. He does not only want white Christians to be prepared. I sincerely believe it is his hope that there will not be a societal collapse, but that he has abandoned the hope that there will not be. I think he believes the mechanisms put in place by the "bureaucratic branch" and the "moneychangers" have reached terminal velocity. The point that should be taken from this is that this is a NEW class of "survivalist" that can (and should) include everyone, although the principles of the philosophy tend to be more embraced by white Christians. Sometimes it does have that "traditional survivalist" flavor in its delivery, but to be dismissive and brand this man as a "survivalist nut" is the hallmark of a fool.

    I disagree with some details in the book. I disagree completely on the idea that we can all somehow live at a retreat full time, requiring I adapt the information for my situation. I disagree with his advice on firearms completely. Many of the recommendations could be simplified, and one does need to consider an "oddball caliber" because of the current supply problems with ammunition. I dislike the at times "preachy tone" his Christian beliefs inject into the work, but that is his prerogative, and I like that his beliefs lead him to include charity in his philosophy. However, because I disagree with many points of this philosophy, and have some experience in Emergency Management, I develop and evangelize a philosophy called StrongPoint Preparedness and it's out on the web to those that may be interested in an alternative, and I invite all to participate.

    This book is geared towards a cataclysmic circumstance, but much of the work is useful in planning for "routine emergencies" like hurricanes, fires, tornadoes, particularly the sections on G.O.O.D. All in all, this is an excellent preparedness resource that I hope none of us will ever need, written by a sincere man who practices what he preaches. Good luck!

    2-0 out of 5 stars Not great, October 22, 2009
    This book does a good job of telling you why to prepare for emergencies, big and small, in the first 10 pages. The rest contains precious little actionable information to help you prioritize and accomplish any sizable preparations. This combination sets up the reader with a (maybe healthy) sense of foreboding and then leaves them with an unhealthy level of confusion and anxiety. Definitely not what I would call an effective introduction to emergency preparation.

    In several areas where actionable information is provided, I noted flaws in the recommendations. Certainly everybody's situation is different, but packing grains for long term storage is not difficult and this book got it wrong. As an example, a metal twist tie for mylar bags is not as effective as heat sealing. This level of mistake in areas I have personally worked through leaves little confidence in the book's content on other areas of prepping I'm still learning about.

    There are better books out there; few of them are "survival" manuals per se. The reader would be better served with books on low-tech living and camping, traditional skills like canning, gardening and homesteading and Mel Tappan's Tappan on Survival as an introduction to the prepper/survival mindset. ... Read more

    4. The Dangerous Book for Boys
    by Conn Iggulden, Hal Iggulden
    list price: $26.95 -- our price: $17.79
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0061243582
    Publisher: William Morrow
    Sales Rank: 244
    Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    The bestselling book for every boy from eight to eighty, covering essential boyhood skills such as building tree houses, learning how to fish, finding true north, and even answering the age old question of what the big deal with girls is.

    In this digital age there is still a place for knots, skimming stones and stories of incredible courage. This book recaptures Sunday afternoons, stimulates curiosity, and makes for great father-son activities. The brothers Conn and Hal have put together a wonderful collection of all things that make being young or young at heart fun--building go-carts and electromagnets, identifying insects and spiders, and flying the world's best paper airplanes.

    The completely revised American Edition includes:

    The Greatest Paper Airplane in the World
    The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World
    The Five Knots Every Boy Should Know
    Building a Treehouse
    Making a Bow and Arrow
    Fishing (revised with US Fish)
    Timers and Tripwires
    Baseball's "Most Valuable Players"
    Famous Battles-Including Lexington and Concord, The Alamo, and Gettysburg
    Spies-Codes and Ciphers
    Making a Go-Cart
    Navajo Code Talkers' Dictionary
    Cloud Formations
    The States of the U.S.
    Mountains of the U.S.
    The Declaration of Independence
    Skimming Stones
    Making a Periscope
    The Ten Commandments
    Common US Trees
    Timeline of American History

    ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars My 6 year old went nuts for it., May 15, 2007
    I bought this book after seeing the author on the Colbert show (or was it the Daily Show?). I loved the idea of the book and ordered it from Amazon immediately.

    On arrival if found it exceeds my expectation. It reminds me a lot of the Popular Mechanics books from the 30's & 40's that I found in my grandmothers attic when I was a kid.

    The style is archaic, which is part of the charm. My 6 year old son, who really isn't into "chapter books", went nuts for this book. I think this mostly had to do with the title, but as we scanned each chapter together he seemed to get more and more excited.

    Before his bed time we read "coin tricks", "Girls" and he started planning how to get the badges found in the back of the book. He managed to learn the "French Drop" and proceeded to show everyone his new trick. Tomorrow he wants to hear about hunting and cooking rabbits.

    My wife was a bit nervous about the book, especially after seeing the section on hunting and cooking a rabbit. But I think she liked the section on "Girls" and she realizes that this book is targeted to boys, not Moms.

    It's definitely a hit. I will be reading chapters out of it to my son for some time to come. But I don't mind and will probably learn a thing or two myself.


    It's more than a year later. The book is dog-eared, dirty and worn but my (now) 7 year old still reads and loves this book. I doubt there is a better review you can get from a 7 year old.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Breath of Fresh Air, May 30, 2007
    I have been thoroughly enjoying the book, as has my son and thousands of boys (and dads!) in Great Britain and the US. What is it about this book that brings such excitement to so many?

    If I had to offer my opinion, I would say that the appeal of this book is that it does not ask any boy to apologize for being a boy. Our culture is infested with the demand that boys forgo their God given call to grow up to be men, largely because we have adopted an unhealthy view of just what a man is. Whether our example be found in Homer Simpson, Ray Romano or the dad on Family Guy, men are portrayed as selfish imbeciles in a large portion of the media. Women are shown to be compassionate and intelligent, and they are usually given the role of the one who fixes the problems created by men. I have no doubt that most women are compassionate and intelligent, but the common negative portrayal of men is presented far too often, and frankly I'm tired of it.

    This book has a different take on what it means to be a boy, which is important because boys grow up to be men. From a biblical standpoint, men are meant to lead their families and churches by serving them. Where can you find such a concept on the television? You can't. This is yet another reason to get this book in the hands of a boy and his dad and get them outside to explore the world, whether that be an excursion in the woods or even just in the back yard. But how does this book portray a boy? What ideals are encouraged?

    I'm glad you asked.

    I simply cannot take this book section by section. There are instructions meant to get a boy started in tying knots, making a bow and arrow, fishing and many other activities. These are expected out of a book about being a boy. But included with such topics are other mini-chapters about the wonders of the world, grammar, historical battles, understanding latitude and longitude (something I never grasped in a classroom), the Declaration of Independence, poetry, Latin phrases, literature the Ten Commandments and also how to talk to girls.

    I mention talking to girls last, not because it is the last topic, but because I would like to highlight it for a moment. The first piece of advice about girls is to listen to them. The second is to avoid a long string of nervous jokes by listening to them. I'm sure that my wife wishes I had this book as a child! After this, romance is mentioned. Buying flowers is often not a good idea if you are young, because the girl will know your parents purchased them. I wouldn't have thought of that. Anonymous valentines are a good idea, due to the suspense the girl will have trying to figure out who's eye she has caught. Vulgarity of all forms is to be avoided at all costs. Respect for girls is given the utmost priority.

    Is this what is so dangerous about this book? Is it the high value the authors place upon girls or is it the very fact that they say that girls and boys are not identical? Is it the suggestion that every boy should have band-aids available for the inevitable mishap, because our bodies do heal? Or is it the way this book portrays a healthy boy in a way that expresses both a boy's natural desire for adventure and the ideal of respectfulness for others? I really can't say for sure.

    If I had to pick one way that this book is considered dangerous and why it has met some opposition, I would say that it is because The Dangerous Book for Boys resonates so well with dads who can only wish such a book was available to them when they were growing up, and because their sons by and large are reveling in the contemplation of spending Sunday afternoons and long summer days with their dads, rediscovering what it means to be a boy with their father acting as the primary instructor.

    I give this book my highest praise and encourage every dad to buy it for their sons. If you have a boy, you really need to get this book. If you don't have any boys, I'm sure you know somebody who does.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Pride of Ownership, May 10, 2007
    Some books you hang onto because they are useful, or well written, or happy memories are associated with them. And then there are the select books that are so handsome, you keep them because of pride of ownership. THE DANGEROUS BOOK FOR BOYS is a keeper in all these categories. It is so durable and well designed, it is an absolute pleasure to hold and read.

    As to its actual contents, it sits at the pinnacle of nonfiction for early teen and 'tween boys, alongside The Big Book of Boy Stuff by, er, yours truly. Anyway, the chapters in DANGEROUS BOOK are a glorious, encyclopedic hodge-podge. They range from the historical ("The Golden Age of Piracy") to the esoteric ("Grinding an Italic Nib"!) to the quite daring ("Understanding Grammar").

    My kudos to the Brothers Iggulden for this retro look celebrating the secrets of boyhood. And again, neither gender nor age should restrict its readership; this book looks great sitting on anyone's nightstand.

    5-0 out of 5 stars It's too dangerous!, June 13, 2007
    And great for it!

    It's dangerous because it brings back values from a time when personal responsibility was assumed, not assumed to be absent. Hunting with airguns is dangerous, but teaches that meat doesn't arrive on Earth wrapped in clear plastic. Anything to do with spies is dangerous, but codes and invisible inks are fun, can be used responsibly, and are an important part of history (n.b. the role of espionage in the American Revolution). Doing things with electricity like making batteries, electromagnets, and pocket lights is dangerous, but teaches some of fundements of the technologies that drive the modern world. Soccer is dangerous, I've seen kids break bones playing it, but it is good healthy fun, and the kids who broke bones openly and loudly resented having to sit out games while they recovered. Girls are dangerous in so many ways, but when treated with respect can make life better. Grammar is dangerous, especially in the hands of an attorney, but creates quite an advantage for those who master it.

    All these things and more are discussed, and alternatives to XBox, Gameboy, PlayStation, etc are offered. This book is incredibly dangerous to proponents of a 'managed society' where everyone is protected from everything, and everyone is free and happy in exactly the proscribed fashion. And I'm OK with this. Because "the Dangerous Book for Boys" also encourages responsibility, manners, education, self-reliance, creativity, and a host of other values that receive lip-service but little actual support in mainstream America.

    Several reviewers have expressed their displeasure with the phrase "for Boys". Get over it. Get some perspective; if this is the most important thing you can take a stand about, go visit a third world country and watch children walk half a mile for water every day. Who cares what it says on the cover? I bought it with a blond, blue-eyed, [...] girl in mind, and she loves it. If it is such a heartache to you, quit whining and write "The Dangerous Book for Girls" while my daughter reads this one.

    For the rest of y'all, get this for any boy or girl of any age. This book is excellent and an investment in the future.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Dangerous Book for Boys, June 16, 2006
    I bought this book for my nine year old nephew. When the box arrived and I opened it, the appearance of this book literally took my breath away. It is a large, beautifully fabric bound book with gold leaf lettering. Very retro and charming. Looks like it could have been pulled off of a bookshelf in the 40's. As I watched my nephew thumb through the chapters I saw and felt his excitement as he found sections on fossils, baseball, knots, bows and arrows, pirates and so much more. He is very excited to try everything he found!! I'm a woman in my 40's but I want a copy for MYSELF!!! Buy this'll be glad you did. Oh, and go ahead and get that extra copy for yourself while you're at it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars If only..., May 1, 2007
    My mom wouldn't let me go to summer camp because she thought I would drown in a lake. Consequently, I couldn't use a power tool until I was twenty-five years old. And I still can't tie a decent knot. If only I'd had this book! Especially the chapter about girls. Absolutely crucial information for any boy and it's written by witty and learned authors. I've already bought a copy for my three-year-old son. N. Smith author of Stolen from Gypsies.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Perfect for moms of boys, April 18, 2007
    As a mom of two boys (who happened to grow up in a household with three sisters and no brothers), I needed this book. Sometimes I am at a loss over what skills to teach my boys. How to tie knots, play chess, shoot marbles, skim rocks, build a's all in here. With diagrams and sketches, the book feels like a manual you'll return to time and time again. It even includes poems every boy should know, such as Whitman and Frost. Would make a wonderful Mother's Day or Father's Day gift for parents of boys.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A great book for bonding!, May 20, 2007
    I got this book for myself [mom of a girl] because I used to be quite a tomboy as a child and my daughter seems to be heading that way too:) But, I am planning to get this for my dad for Father's Day so he can try some of the skills in this book with my younger brother. Its a great an age where most kids' idea of fun is staying indoors and either being glued to the TV or playing video games, this is a timely reminder that the greatest joy in life is to exercise the mind and hands in healthy, intelligent, adventurous pursuits, preferably outdoors! The skills covered in this book are diverse in levels of difficulty, but all of them are unique and though some may seem quite dated , it is also refreshing to come across a few from my childhood days:) Highly recommended for the young and young-at-heart!And the lovely red cover with illustrations is an added bonus!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Not just for boys and their fathers!, May 16, 2007
    I bought the UK version of this amazing book two years ago--and amazing it is! History, sport, battles, nature, girls, grooming, science, knots, magic tricks. . .it may *look* a bit nostalgic, but it's very, very applicable to every boy's life. . .and his mom's and his sister's, too. I loved, loved, loved this book (60 year-old-mother of a daughter here) and would give it 10 stars if allowed! Delight your boy--or girl--young or old--with this thrilling book! On my shelf right next to the Harry Potters and the Enid Blytons! ... Read more

    5. NightWatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe
    by Terence Dickinson
    list price: $35.00 -- our price: $20.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 155407147X
    Publisher: Firefly Books
    Sales Rank: 372
    Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Thoroughly revised, updated and expanded.

    The first three editions of Night Watch sold more than 600,000 copies, making it the top-selling stargazing guide in the world for the last 20 years. The key feature of this classic title is the section of star charts that are cherished by backyard astronomers everywhere. Each new edition has outsold the previous one because of thorough revisions and additional new material.

    Night Watch has been acclaimed as the best general interest introduction to astronomy. The fourth edition has revisions in every chapter, including:- The famous charts, ideal for stargazers using a small telescope or binoculars- A complete update of the equipment section, including computerized telescopes- An enlarged photography section, including how-to instructions for using the new generation of digital cameras for astronomical photography, both with and without a telescope- The tables of future solar and lunar eclipses, planetary conjunctions and planet locations, updated through 2018.

    This edition includes for the first time star charts for use in the southern hemisphere. There are also dozens of new photographs throughout the book that show the latest thrilling discoveries made by current space observatories and probes. ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars Absolutely essential before you purchase a telescope, January 24, 2002
    This book is outstanding for two people: parents that are considering buying a telescope for their children, and adults that have an interest in becoming an amateur astronomer. This book will allow both groups of people to learn more about not only the stars, planets, and our universe, but to make intelligent decisions on purchases of such things as telescopes, binoculars, software programs, or more reading material.

    All too often a parent will buy the "blue light special" telescope for their children, yet the child is quickly frustrated with inferior optics, a wobbly stand, and no knowledge of what to look at and why. This book will allow those parents to grasp the basics of astronomy and therefore teach their children to appreciate the universe. Mr. Dickinson has presented material so that everyone can enjoy the night sky; whether viewed with a telescope, binoculars, or the naked eye.

    For those older children or adults, this book will allow them to jump headfirst into astronomy as a lifelong enjoyment. If you want to have only a basic understanding of the celestial bodies, this book is more than enough. But in the last few pages, Mr. Dickinson tells you where to go to find greater resources to further knowledge. Because of his recommendations and my own research, I've acquired the following items that I would also like to recommend:

    Sky Atlas 2000.0 by Wil Tirion (a great resource for finding objects not usually in the astronomy magazines' monthly inserts)

    The Backyard Astronomer's Guide by Terence Dickinson (this is a "sequel" to Nightwatch and between these two books, they are used about 80% of the time compared to my other resources)

    Turn Left at Orion by Guy Consolmagno (I enjoy using this book to plan an observation session for "old favorites" or as a "highlights tour" for showing to those new to astronomy)

    Other resourses that are more in depth that you may want to consider if you become very serious about astronomy:

    Burnham's Celestial Handbook, Volumes 1, 2, & 3

    Deep-Sky Companions : The Messier Objects

    A subscription to Sky & Telescope or Astronomy

    I can't say enough about Nightwatch. This may be your first, or your "first and last" book on astronomy. But either way, you will enjoy astronomy because of Terence Dickinson's writing.

    5-0 out of 5 stars an absolute essenttial for all enthusiasts, November 19, 2001
    Having recently purchased a telescope, I've been reading lots of astronomy books. Even though this one is very basic, overall I've found it the most useful. No math, no equations, but tons of helpful advice that will have you up and finding stars right away. I like the fact that he emphasizes how much you can see with binocs too. The star charts are very helpful and are printed so that they can be read by a red light while you're out observing. Lots of great information on how to buy a telescope too. The bound version is perfect for carrying with you to find objects in the sky. Well written, easy to follow and informative -- if you only buy one book, this should be it (although I'd have to add my all time favorite, The Stars by H.A. Ray, the only book that draws the constellations so that they actually look like pictures).

    5-0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive tutorial for budding backyard astronomers, July 1, 2000
    This is perhaps the most important book you'll need to get started if you feel you're one of those people who have suddenly been captured by astronomy. The book sets out to answer all those questions that will inevitably flood your mind and does so in a way that is very easy to understand, complemented by a touch of inspiring poetry. It never gets too technical, yet the amazing wealth of information in there is never compromised.

    Topic coverage is very broad and the depth of information I find is very satisfying. Chapters include the structure of the universe, stargazing, a detailed guide to selecting and purchasing equipment, the stars, the planets, the moon and sun, solar and lunar eclipses, comets, meteors, auroras and even how to photograph the night sky.

    The book is further enriched by an abundance of backgrounders, star charts, tables, breathtaking images and excellent diagrams explaining things like measuring degrees with your hand and how to use the constellations to find other stars. Important stars and constellations are treated like individual personalities as a lot of the associated data such as distances are put into perspective.

    Nightwatch is a clearly focused book. Rich in information, and down to earth with its content, it will satisfy the budding backyard astronomer's need to appreciate what's out there and how to enjoy it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Guide for Amateur Astronomers!, October 30, 2000
    Terence Dickinson's "Nightwatch" is a practical all-around guide to amateur astronomy. Spiralbound for outdoor and easier use, and packed with colorful pictures, charts and skymaps, the book gives the reader all the help needed to become a first class amateur astronomer. Wonderfully written with chapters on the Sun, the moon, the planets and the motions of the sky, the constellations and the stars, comets, meteors, eclipses and auroras, stargazing equipment and photographing the nightsky this revised and updated edition is expanded for use through the year 2010, and contains also a chapter on resources covering astronomy magazines, books, software, clubs, conventions and useful websites as well as information on observatories and leading manufacturers of astronomical telescopes and binoculars. An acomplished astronomer himself and the author of 14 books, with "Nightwatch" Dickinson has crafted one of the best astronomy field guides available today. A superb book!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Impressive and imformative, November 23, 2000
    I was discouraged at an early age by the books on practical, observational astronomy for the amateur. Most of them contained star charts that were a mass of confusion, and the printed information was hardly any more helpful. When a friend and I decided to take a beginning observational astronomy course, I was doubtful, but Dickinson's volume is much more lucidly written and his charts are designed for the beginner. I was able to find the planets Venus, Mars and Jupitor on a casual night time walk with my Great Dane and was absolutely thrilled. Just as told, the planets were clearly visible despite the city lights. Although I have been able to identify the big dipper since childhood, finding other named heavenly bodies was something I hadn't believed myself capable until trying it with this book. Both my friend and I have enjoyed the experience. She says she wishes she'd known about it when her "kids" were still kids! Speaking of which, the book also has VERY important information for the prospective purchaser of a telescope, a must read especially for those looking to buy a gift for the amateur astronomer in their family. This would make a fun family book for those who enjoy doing special things with the kids.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A very good beginner's book..., July 23, 2002
    I own several books on observational astronomy, but this is one of them I frequently turn to for help. This has been recommended as the first book to get introduced to astronomy and I would strongly agree with that.

    Perhaps, the most useful aspect of the book is its available in spiral bind. It makes so easy to navigate the pages and keep it spread around during observation.

    The second useful aspect, especially for the beginners, is the charts of constellations. I own the SkyAtlas 2000.0, but the info in it is sometimes overwhelming. But Nightwatch displays the brighest objects of deepsky in easy charts and also gives quick info (light years, magnitude, is it good for binocs etc) right below the object. When my friends visit my back-yard, this book is helpful in locating the star and also give them quick funda about it.

    In fact just binocs and this book are enough to spend a dark sky night. This book along with Backyard Astronomers (by same author) will probably be a complete beginners library. (Backyard Astronomers gives more details about telescopes).

    4-0 out of 5 stars Almost flawless..., August 28, 2000
    Dickinson does an excellent job of covering all the bases for the amatuer astronomer. The most worthwhile aspect of the entire book are the 20 annotated and detailed maps of the sky as seen from the northern hemisphere. They are absolutely indespensable when viewing the sky and allow one to find otherwise easily missed stellar sights. I have two complaints about this book, one minor and the other major. The minor complaint is that his moon map would benefit from more detail, as I quickly exhausted the list of named and detailed features it held and imagine many have as well.

    My major complaint and only real reservation I have about this book is that the author is very biased in favor of large and expensive telescopes and makes the argument that only such instruments can provide quality views of the stars. The truth is that such instruments are beyond the financial reach of 95% of amatuers. I own a 4 and 1/2 inch newtonian reflector and separately purchased a handful of quality plossl eyepieces and have made detailed observations of most of the planets as well as many nebulae and other objects. I spent a total of about $300-400. Had I listened to the advice of the author and not bought a scope in this range I would have missed out on years of quality viewing. It would have been more helpful if he had mentioned which of the low-cost scopes were worth buying (as some are) instead of dismissing all models below $500.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Astronomy 101 a truly great book, April 29, 2000
    It just gets better and better all the time. Night Watch Third Addition, is jammed packed with information, that an aspiring astronomer can't live without especially if your just getting started, be he/she 11 or 75 years of age. I can't rant and rave enough about this book and how it has helped so many people discover the Night Sky.

    When a new comer comes to our club or viewing session and asks for a book that will help them to learn more, it is "Night Watch" that is always recommended to him or her.

    The book talks plainly and easily to the new beginner, helps them to imagine and realise the size and depths of the universe, offer's tidbits of information on telescopes, what to look for what not to look for.

    Star charts expertly detailed and easily read, offering all kinds of celestrial targets to shoot for. The charts are done in such a way as not to confuse the user with thousands of stars (such as found in the more involved star atlas, these come later), the charts offer targets not only for the telescope but for the binoculars as well. For those of you who do not own a telescope YET!

    By far this is probably one of the best purchases you'll ever make.

    This book without a doubt won't be sitting on the bookshelf collecting dust, rather it will be in your lap while you search the night skys!...

    Enjoy the book!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, practical ..., November 19, 2000
    This book was recommended to me by an avid backyard astronomer when I mentioned I was interested in learning more about astronomy. I was absolutely delighted with this book. The photos are beautiful, the diagrams are excellent. It makes star/planet identification easy, gives guidance on buying a telescope, has a nice introductory chapter on the universe, putting everything in perspective. The writing is clear, straightforward, understandable. I am extremely pleased with my purchase, as I feel that this single book contains everything I really want to know at this time. I would recommend it to anyone who wants an interesting, comprehensible introduction to the night sky.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent book for budding astronomers, December 21, 2002
    I cannot praise this book enough.Within minutes of "pre-reading" it, I repacked the telescope I had just purchased,and am sending it back.Why? Because Mr. Dickinson explained, in perfectly understandable terms,why that particular telescope was the wrong choice for me.The section on "trash telescopes" was very informative.I also now have a real respect for binoculars..and may purchase a good quality pair,based on Mr.D.'s comments about proper binoculars for viewing the nightsky.They will be a good stepping-stone on my way to purchasing the best telescope for me. I have always dreamed of being a backyard astronomer,but never had enough time to pursue the hobby.Now that I am retired,the first thing I crossed off my "to-do" list was the telescope purchase.It was an impulse buy,I am ashamed to say,and if it hadn't been for the excellent advice from Mr.D,I would have wasted a few hundred bucks on something that would ultimately cause me frustration.
    So...if you are thinking of getting into amateur astronomy,look no further than this wonderful,well-thought out,easy to understand,and beautifully presented book.I will now purchase the right equipment I need to really get into my long-desired hobby. ... Read more

    6. SAS Survival Handbook, Revised Edition: For Any Climate, in Any Situation
    by John 'lofty' Wiseman
    list price: $19.99 -- our price: $13.50
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0061733199
    Publisher: Harper Paperbacks
    Sales Rank: 422
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    For Any Climate, in Any Situation

    Newly updated to reflect the latest in survival knowledge and technology, the internationally bestselling SAS Survival Handbook is the definitive resource for all campers, hikers, and outdoor adventurers. From basic campcraft and navigation to fear management and strategies for coping with any type of disaster, this complete course includes:

    Being prepared: Understanding basic survival needs and preparing essentials, such as a pocket survival kit.

    Making camp: Finding the best location, constructing the appropriate shelter, organizing camp, and creating tools.

    Food: What to eat, what to avoid, where to find it, and how to prepare it.

    First aid: A comprehensive course in emergency/wilderness medicine, including how to maximize survival in any climate or when injured.

    Disaster survival: How to react in the face of increasingly frequent natural disasters and hostile situations—and how to survive at home if all services and supplies are cut off.

    ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars Survive- anywhere, June 18, 2009
    No need for a long review here. This book was written by a professional soldier who was in the SAS, or the Special Air Service. For those not in the know, that's an elite unit of the British Army trained to carry out operations in ALL parts of the world. Eventually, the author became a survival instructor to the SAS, so you can be sure that this guy knows his stuff.

    The book covers all you'd ever want to know about the essentials of surviving in climates such as: the polar region, mountains, seashores, islands, tropical regions, or even at sea. Here's few of the many topics the book covers:

    -food, what you can and can't eat
    -animal tracking with numerous pics
    -color pics of edible plants
    -pictures of traps and how to trap things
    -how to handle animals you've killed for food
    -how to make a camp and various shelters
    -knot tying pics
    -first aid
    -color pics of medicinal plants
    -picures of dangerous/poisonous critters
    -things to have in a survival kit

    A very handy resource for anybody who enjoys outdoor/wilderness activities, it's just a darn good thing to have around in case of emergencies- or even just to look at the pictures! Also recommend Treat Your Own Rotator Cuff if you have a shoulder problem that is interfering with your outdoor activities.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Best survival guide, September 16, 2009
    I own and love this book. It is a super comprehensive guide to surviving all sorts of extreme emergencies in a variety of geographic zones and climates. Plane crashes, car crashes, getting lost in the wilderness, tsunamis, earthquakes, terrorist attacks - you name it, book covers it!

    The author is an authority on survival, being the former survival instructor or the British SAS special forces troops, which operate around the world, from arctic to desert zones, and from big cities to remote jungles. Tone is very down-to-earth, and straight to the point. The book is easy to read and understand and does not assume or need any prior knowledge of military and survival techniques (which is the author's background). I am a former search-and-rescue team member and trained wilderness first-aid responder, and I find the information in this book first rate.

    The content is very densely concentrated, so reading it once will not make you an expert. To make the best of this book, you need to practice some of the survival techniques. The best way is probably to go camping and backpacking, but you can try a lot of them in your own backyard.

    The book overemphasizes outdoors survival (what plants to eat, how to fish and catch animals), which is due to the author's background as a special forces soldier. For more on urban disaster preparedness, read Cody Lundin's book "When All Hell Breaks Loose". Unlike Cody Lundin and many American survival books, the SAS Guide is refreshingly free of political statements and sticks strictly to the topic of survival :) The SAS Guide is about surviving a relatively localized and temporary emergency (measured in days, not years), and assumes you will eventually be helped, rescued or return to civilization. If you are interested in long-term survival of a total global catastrophe (aka "survivalism"), this is not the best guide.

    It is such a great book that I am planning to buy more copies, to keep in my car, take when traveling, and give to friends. Highly recommended!

    5-0 out of 5 stars This is the book to beat!!!, August 21, 2009
    First, someone left a 3 star review because of illustrations. That is SO reckless that I almost feel it's got to be someone who supports the competition. The illustrations are great with great written details.

    Now, I won't go into the obvious about the book because others have touched on the excellent details on survival within the book. You WILL enjoy reading this book and you WILL learn survival techniques and you WILL create yourself a survival kit as a result if you don't already have one.

    However, here is one thing I actually was VERY impressed with about this book. The QUALITY of the book. The book is SOLID. The spine of the book is VERY strong and the pages are not cheap recycled type of rough paper. They are quality semi gloss type of thick pages that will likely last a WHILE under normal use.

    I bought two, one for myself and one for my son. I think I'll make this a holiday/birthday gift for friends and family for a while. I want EVERYONE I care about to have this book in their life.

    I got mine... did you get yours? Run, don't walk.

    3-0 out of 5 stars In need of an editor, August 4, 2010
    The content of this book gets five stars for being neatly organized and helpful, however this edition is in serious need of a revision.

    My first indicator was the introduction to the book. It mentions the Berlin Wall coming down in 1999. An oversight like this is inexcusable and sent up warning flags right away as to how many eyes had actually read the book from cover to cover (as I'm in the process of doing).

    The text is written in a British style (SAS, of course), which will take some getting used to for US readers but isn't a big deal. That said, I've still had to re-read several passages due to poorly assembled sentences which lack proper punctuation. Has this guy ever heard of a comma? They can be a lifesaver to a reader. Again, not to be a grammar snob, but if you want to use this as a quick reference in a time of need, the last thing you want to tackle is a confusing run-on sentence. Those are my major gripes.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Best book of Survival, but..., October 27, 2009
    This book is really amazing, the best in his category, but I'm really disapointed with this revision edition. The book is the same than the older version. If you had the older one don't buy this one, it's the same. I can't find significative changes in this revision.

    5-0 out of 5 stars great starter book, July 20, 2009
    More than i expected, i havent seen the other books in this category to compare, but this one seems like a good buy imo. I've only read the first 4 chapters & have leared quite a few new things already. i've only camped a little when i was younger so im no expert. From skimming the pages it has decent pics on plants to avoid, eat, etc, definately not as good as a dedicated herb book, but decent enough to give u an idea what to look out for. I noticed it had a chapter on telling directions etc by the stars/moon, didnt read it yet, but random thngs like that made it a great buy for me personally.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Information, July 10, 2010
    As an Eagle Scout, I decided to purchase this book as a condensed means to information when I go out camping. Though I have done more then my fair share of camping and backpacking, its extremely difficult to keep this information memorized unless you are backpacking very regularly and using this information. Its got excellent information and detailed diagrams of everything from building a shelter to typical plants that are edible or not. If you are an avid outdoor backpacker, I highly recommend this book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Can You Survive?, March 5, 2010

    This is the book to read if you want to know how to survive high-risk, difficult situations. Chances may be good you never have to use the information in here, but it certainly can't hurt, and in the current economy, the information may come in handy in a non-survival situation.

    I've read a lot of Survival Handbooks, and I like the variety of information in them, but this one is the one that I really had to have. The information goes a little deeper, and it all is laid out in a attention grabbing way. This one also hase the broadest range of subjects, attempting to cover more survival situations than most books. And it does a pretty decent job of covering them, too. However, John "Lofty" Wiseman hasn't been in the SAS for a very long time, so the modern methods they use aren't going to be in here. But it is a great reference to use on survival methods, and I intend to learn the skills they mention.

    Hope that helps all you potential customers, and happy reading!

    Luv ya,
    Tashi :)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Covers just about everything...., April 12, 2010
    This was a very good read, but not the kind of book you read and your an expert at surviving in the Artic Shelf. Excellent information, the only two areas I could see improvement on were, shelter building, and edibles. With only a few ideas on temporary shelters, I felt it kind of lacking as that situation could very well be in order if survival is threatened. Also the author's suggestion of eat and "pray" method leaves a little to be desired, but it seems to have worked for him, and he has very high credentials. Overall though, one of the most comprehensive survival books out there, but don't leave it all to one book. Supplement this guide, with shelter building, and a book solely on wilderness edibles to make yourself the most rounded survival instrument you can be. Also in regards to my opening sentence, you WILL NOT be an expert on any survival book, unless you try the techniques outlined, before you need them!!

    5-0 out of 5 stars great book., February 5, 2010
    ive read several pages. im using as a reference book and highlighting things important. i was shocked that he thought of the idea that even a condom was a good tool to carry/hold water. in an emergency situation, its good to know these little things. but the book shows pictures also of things like poisonous plants or weeds and what to avoid ingesting in the woods. just so much information in this book. im keeping it in my emergency bag(for the i need to store it inside a ziplock bag. well worth the price paid for this book!! enjoyable reading ... Read more

    7. Natural History (Smithsonian)
    by DK Publishing
    list price: $50.00 -- our price: $30.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0756667526
    Publisher: DK Publishing
    Sales Rank: 400
    Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    A landmark in reference publishing and overseen and authenticated by the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History, Natural History presents an unrivaled visual survey of Earth's natural history. Giving a clear overview of the classification of our natural world-over 6,000 species-Natural History looks at every kingdom of life, from bacteria, minerals, and rocks to fossils to plants and animals. Featuring a remarkable array of specially commissioned photographs, Natural History looks at thousands of specimens and species displayed in visual galleries that take the reader on an incredible journey from the most fundamental building blocks of the world's landscapes, through the simplest of life forms, to plants, fungi, and animals. ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars The Ideal Guide to the Livin' World!!!, October 17, 2010
    I am a man of nature.
    So it's no suprise that it only took two minutes after it's discovery to officially want to add this to my compendium collection.
    After a week, I manage to find and buy this book at Barnes n' Noble (cost me $50 - you'll get a much better deal on here!)

    First off, I'm going to tell you know (though you probably already know), this book is FREAKIN' BIG!!!! Might as well be a college textbook! You'll need to find some (worthy) space in your bookshelf for it.

    Secondly, the sheer number of species (and specimens, mind you) inside these covers in astounding. Compare a book from the same series (DK's Animal for example), which had about 2,000 species in it.
    This tome has 5,000 (something you need to see in order to grasp the sheer quantity)! And not just animals... where else could you find a book with rocks, minerals, fossils, shells, microbes, fungi, plants, protists, and animals all in one!
    It's taxonomically organized (with the system for rocks and minerals as well) starting with Bacteria & Archaea first, then Protists (yes, it uses the kingdom Protista - something I don't usually favor), then the plants take over for a good portion of the book (any lover of flowers is going to flip out), fungi proceed, then finally come the animals (which takes up half of the book - and I don't even mind). One thing I really enjoy is the fact that this is one of the only plant books I've seen were everything isn't organized for gardeners. And there are some very cool rocks and minerals in here.

    Third, the format is reminicent of a Sears/Walmart catalog - the species group is listed, and then specimens abound to every last corner of the page. The photos (and illustrations for some) are wonderful and very clear.

    A few "not favorable" things I might add - not all animal groups get coverage, most entries that cover trees do not show the entire plant but simply a branch or leaf, the fish diversity is somewhat limited, and I've already mentioned the kingdom Protista and the dominating Animalia.

    But you shouldn't pay attention to these things, because if you're looking for a book with a complete diversity of the world we live in - I would recommend this.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The natural world, October 22, 2010
    `Natural History' is, as it claims a visual guide, perhaps not the ultimate, but close and not everything - almost. Its chapter on fish seems a little lean, but most will not notice.
    It is a big heavy, over 7 pounds, coffee table book. It does have some stunning pictures and lots of colored illustrations. Most of what it includes are sections on each page with coloured charts, pictures, and illustrations of many elements of the natural world; rocks, ferns, a variety of snails, birds of prey - it is filled with almost any living thing you could think of.
    The maps are well done and it will do much to clear up any confusion one has on classifications. You could even accomplish much identification yourself of rocks and birds using its clear pictures.

    There are sections on; the living earth, minerals, rocks and fossils, microscopic life, plants, fungi and animals including invertebrates, chordates, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals.
    There is a glossary and an index. It is an excellent reference and learning tool and of course has the expertise of the Smithsonian Institute behind it.
    This is a book young children could learn from, but adults would not feel `talked" down to.
    It would make a great addition to your home, school or as a Christmas present that should get much use.

    5-0 out of 5 stars ANOTHER GREAT DK BOOK!!!!!!!!!!, November 14, 2010
    The DK science books have set a standard that is hard to beat - and this is one of their best. Great photography and graphic design and just enough info to get you started on any subject. I can't reccomend this book with enough superlatives. An absolute joy!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Another amazing book from DK, October 23, 2010
    I have many of the DK books--History, Animal, Earth, Animal Life, Universe, etc. This book doesn't let you down. It is packed full of beautiful photographs of all different kinds of wildlife. I look at it for hours, and then go back to it and look at it again. It is amazing!!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great deal, December 4, 2010
    The order for this book was filled very quickly. When the book arrived it was in great shape. The book is filled with lots and lots of useful information. It's a "must have" book for any artist! ... Read more

    8. Wonderful World of Horses Coloring Book (Dover Coloring Book)
    by John Green
    list price: $3.99 -- our price: $3.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0486444651
    Publisher: Dover Publications
    Sales Rank: 584
    Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Thirty handsome illustrations capture the legendary grace and beauty of the horse. Depictions of mounted riders; horses racing across fields; mares with their colts; horses walking, galloping, trotting; a stallion rearing up on its hind legs; and more. Captions supplement an impressive panorama of the world's best-loved and most highly prized animals.
    ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars Loved it!, January 18, 2007
    My six year old daughter asked for a coloring book for Christmas and is really into horses. She was so excited to receive this book. The pages are thick and of nice quality. The brown pen she used slightly bled through onto the backside but not enough to ruin the picture. She uses colored pencils or crayons on most of the pictures.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Magnificent Horses, September 16, 2007
    Page after page of beautifully drawn horses in various poses, many of them are action poses.

    A few of the pictures feature riders but most are just of the horses--which was my preference.

    The drawings are large and easy to color, and there is also lots of background with mountains, trees, rocks and even rivers/streams.

    I am an adult colorer, but I think anyone from about the age of six would enjoy coloring in this book.

    I highly recommend it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great coloring book!, April 9, 2007
    I bought this as a gift for my step daughter (age 5), along with several other coloring books; Dragons Coloring Book & Gargoyles and Medieval Monsters Coloring Book. Of the three she has taken most to horses. It is a fairly easy book to color out of, but not annoyingly easy. We have spent a lot of time coloring together, and having good books like these make that time an enjoyable way to bond with your children, while teaching them the value of prime colors and staying in the lines. :)

    5-0 out of 5 stars If you like horses You'll love this book, October 22, 2007
    This is a very good coloring book. John Green is an excellent artist and with a little colored pencil or crayons the pictures come alive. I bought this book for myself, and I love it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great for older kids, December 20, 2007
    This is a beautiful book that an older kid could really appreciate. I bought it for my 3 year old because she's very into horses right now but she will not do it any justice. An older child with artistist ability would love turning these black & white images into stunning pictures. Would work great with colored pencils as the pages are much nicer than the usual "crayon" type pages of kids coloring books.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great coloring book!, July 10, 2007
    My daughter, a seven year old horse lover, thinks this book is the greatest. It went missing for a couple of days and she was distraught! It has beautiful horse pictures.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great Coloring Book, August 16, 2009
    I shopped around for a coloring book about horses that was not "cutesy", to no avail. This coloring book has interesting pictures of beautifully drawn horses on each page. The cover and pages are of high quality materials. I was very pleased to give this coloring book as a gift.

    5-0 out of 5 stars coloring book, January 19, 2009
    Very nice book of beautiful horses and backgrounds to color, good quality paper. I'm very pleased with my will be too.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Perfect for horse "happy" children., July 4, 2009
    The Wonderful World of Horses coloring book is perfect for children who adore horses. The drawings are large enough that even our youngest grandchild (3)can do well with the detail. All of the kids love this coloring book and bringing the pages to life.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful idea!, March 27, 2009
    I am so glad I ordered this book! As I was packing for a visit in another state I turned to Amazon for a quick gift for my granddaughter-a surprise.
    The order came very quickly and was just what I needed. There is beautiful detail in the pages to be colored. She was excited to receive a book which clearly required more skill. She is eight years old and this was perfect for her as she is a meticulous coloring fan. It also was in stark contrast to the easier one her little sister got, so she felt her talents had been recognized. ... Read more

    9. Zeitoun (Vintage)
    by Dave Eggers
    Paperback (2010-06-15)
    list price: $15.95 -- our price: $7.45
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0307387941
    Publisher: Vintage
    Sales Rank: 341
    Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    National Bestseller 

    A New York Times Notable Book
    An O, The Oprah Magazine Terrific Read of the Year
    A Huffington Post Best Book of the Year
    A New Yorker Favorite Book of the Year
    A Chicago Tribune Favorite Nonfiction Book of the Year
    A Kansas City Star Best Book of the Year
    A San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of the Year
    An Entertainment Weekly Best Book of the Decade

    The true story of one family, caught between America’s two biggest policy disasters: the war on terror and the response to Hurricane Katrina.
    Abdulrahman and Kathy Zeitoun run a house-painting business in New Orleans. In August of 2005, as Hurricane Katrina approaches, Kathy evacuates with their four young children, leaving Zeitoun to watch over the business. In the days following the storm he travels the city by canoe, feeding abandoned animals and helping elderly neighbors. Then, on September 6th, police officers armed with M-16s arrest Zeitoun in his home. Told with eloquence and compassion, Zeitoun is a riveting account of one family’s unthinkable struggle with forces beyond wind and water.
    ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars Simple Story, Simply Told, Simply Horrifying, August 11, 2009
    First off, Zeitoun painted my house about 8 years ago so maybe I'm a little bit biased. I also think Dave Eggers is a great writer (doubly biased, perhaps). This story needs to be told to a large audience and Mr. Eggers is just the person to tell it. Maybe we can knock Eggers for the simplistic style he chose to write this book. On the other hand, this story frankly didn't need much artistic enhancement. It is shocking on its own accord and told in a very straightforward manner. Appropriate for the material, I believe.

    Every American NEEDS to read this book. What we find in it is an America that lost its core. It is truly shocking that no matter how bad things were in New Orleans immediately following Katrina (most reporting was inaccurate and sensationalized), we are still Americans with common beliefs in our system of rights. That these rights were tossed out the window is appalling.

    Mr. Zeitoun is a kind and gentle man. His signs are ubiquitous in New Orleans and he is a stranger to no one and well liked by all who have met him. That he could be mistreated is a crime and an outrage. That others were rounded up and treated even worse is one of the worst black eyes on our country. As I read this book I just kept saying out loud over and over again, "This cannot be America."

    5-0 out of 5 stars Riveting, July 26, 2009
    I had never read anything by Dave Eggers before, but his reputation set some pretty high expectations. I am a fan of narrative non-fiction and non-fiction, and enjoy books like "In Thin Air" or "The Colony." I picked up the book yesterday, and finished it this morning. It was spectacular.

    The writing style is perfect. It is not over the top with descriptions, but still makes you feel as if you are there, canoeing along in the streets of New Orleans. The subject matter is interesting, not just in a "can't stop watching this train wreck" sort of way, but because it ties together Hurricane Katrina and 9/11, two of the largest national events of the last decade. I never thought or knew about much beyond what I saw on TV regarding Katrina. This book thoroughly explores one story of one family, but manages tell it from a perspective that everyone can understand.

    Much like the book Three Cups of Tea brought attention to the plight of women in Pakistan, I hope that Zeitoun will bring to light the problems and issues that still need attention in the US and in New Orleans.

    Eggers took the main event, Katrina, and by telling the Zietouns' story, made it of human scale.

    I'm rambling--all I can say is, I think this book is worth a read for everyone. It isn't preachy-it is interesting. I learned a lot about many different subjects. I hope it ends up on the best seller list and stays there for a long time. Unlike some books that end up on the best seller lists, this one really deserves to be there.

    5-0 out of 5 stars beauty and horror, August 1, 2009
    Zeitoun is a creampuff to read and then there is a huge lump in your stomach where the content boils. I finished it in a couple of days, finishing on a cross-country plane flight and got off in a furious mood that didn't wear off until the end of a hot bath and a tall cold rum drink. Massive injustice has been done in New Orleans and this book follows it right down to the foundations. You won't read another word about Katrina without finding your thoughts completely reoriented. Let's hear it for the truth.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The rule of law, suspended, September 1, 2009
    Dave Eggers's account of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, the first story in "Zeitoun," is immensely readable. However, there has been a lot of well-written reportage on the storm and the Bush administration's botched handling of the rescue efforts. What's extraordinary about "Zeitoun" is the second, intersecting story, Eggers's narrative of the arrest and imprisonment---without charge, without representation, without even the ability to make a phone call--of Abdulrahman Zeitoun, Syrian immigrant, successful businessman, and American citizen. Incredibly, in "Zeitoun," the War on Terror merges with the Katrina disaster to produce a truly stunning example of what happens to xenophobia in the hands of petty officialdom. I've read several novels in which writers as diverse as Andres Dubus II, Claire Messud, and, most recently, Lorrie Moore, attempt to incorporate the events of September 11, 2001. None of these writers is, to my mind, particularly convincing with this material. (Don DeLillo, in "Falling Man," comes closest, I think.) Eggers, on the other hand, a master of narrative nonfiction, simply (artfully) gets out of the way of his material, letting it speak for itself. And his depiction of the weeks after the storm, a period when Zeitoun's wife, Kathy, at first does not know whether he is dead or alive and then struggles with callous officials to free her unjustly detained husband, is powerful indeed. So too is the narrative thread that traces Zeitoun's family history. Most painful and revolting, however, are the scenes in the jail-cages of "Camp Greyhound," the temporary prison constructed outside the New Orleans bus station. As with the photos of Abu Ghraib, the emotion a reading of "Zeitoun" is mostly likely to evoke is shame.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Zeitoun: A Reflection On New Orleans and America, August 23, 2009
    "Zeitoun" is an inspiring, tragic and powerful book that will endure decades from now about how America failed at helping New Orleans and the residents of the city during and after Hurricane Katrina. In a nonjudgmental and factual manner, the book recounts failed expectations and lack of accountability by FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security in response to the devastation brought to the city by Katrina.

    Author Dave Eggers, one of the important storytellers of our time, chronicles the true story of one man - Abdulrahman Zeitoun - a prosperous Syrian-American and father of four who chose to stay through the storm to protect his house and contracting business.

    Zeitoun risks his own life daily by paddling through the city in a canoe in his attempt to save lives and help provide food and water to others, only to endure shameful, unjust and unaccountable torture at the hands of police and the military. The lasting harm done to Zeitoun, his American wife Kathy and their children continues even today, four years after the storm.

    Eggers documents that Homeland Security, FEMA and the military sent troops to New Orleans not necessarily to assist in rescues but rather because of an unfounded and paranoid belief that terrorists might take advantage of the hurricane situation to cause further disruption. In the perverted and racist government process, Zeitoun is viewed not as a savior of the city but as the enemy.

    While I suspect that the story of Zeitoun will further enhance Dave Eggers' well-deserved destiny as a meaningful voice in American nonfiction writing, I am most struck by the fact that all proceeds and royalties are going to the not-for-profit Zeitoun Foundation in New Orleans.


    5-0 out of 5 stars This is a page turner with substance!, August 7, 2009
    I struggle all the time with "must" when it comes to giving advice to other people. Who am I to tell you what to do? Will you forgive me this one time? Because if you do, you will learn some important things by reading this book.

    You MUST read Zeitoun. Especially if you live in one of those areas -- like I do -- that can be struck by a natural disaster. Most of us do now, don't you think? With global warming, there are more fierce hurricanes, more tornados. And just the other day I looked at an old National Geographic magazine's map of where earthquake areas are in the world -- there's a lot of them! And I live in the San Francisco Bay Area ... so we think about them all the time -- that is, when we're not in a state of denial.

    You better hope hope hope and pray (if so inclined) that you are never in a natural disaster of huge proportions like the poor folks in New Orleans were! The natural disaster parts are bad enough ... but what is far worse is the army of "helpers" who come in later: National Guard, FEMA, law enforcement from other areas. That's when the real tragedy will happen. These people don't know you. They've been told to watch for looters. And like one of the quotes says in the front matter of this important book: To a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Every person looks like a looter. Or a terrorist if you've got a Middle Eastern-sounding name.

    That's what happened to Abdulrahman Zeitoun. At the time of Katrina, he was (and still is) a citizen and successful businessman in New Orleans. Think of it: you're well-known by your community and a successful businessman -- yet, after Katrina, you are thought of as a looter and terrorist. Without any proof. No evidence whatsoever. No hearing for weeks. No phone call. The phone call. It's that special part of the U.S. judicial system: the phone call. We're taught about this all the time as children: if you're arrested, you get a phone call. The worst serial killer gets a phone call.

    Don't count on it after a disaster. In a disaster with our friends from FEMA in control you become one of the Disappeared -- and yes, they are the ones in control -- and now that they are a part of Homeland Security they have even more control and an even worse attitude -- to an employee from FEMA, everyone looks like a looter and a terrorist.

    And what about you, woman in your 70s -- do you really think your safe? Read about the tale of Merlene Maten. She was 73 and a diabetic. She and her husband had fled their home before the hurricane and checked into a downtown hotel thinking they would be safer there. After three days, Maten went down to their car in the parking lot next door to get some food they had in the car. She was arrested for looting. It made no sense! Yet she was arrested anyway. Folks, this is what is so striking when you read this book: the "helpers" -- law enforcement, National Guards or whatever -- do not listen to you if you are just regular folks. Remember, you're a nobody. They don't listen to your story ... they don't look at the real facts: you're 73 and diabetic and you're at *your* car getting food. They don't take the time to see if you really are checked into that hotel next door. They just arrest you.

    You better hope hope hope and pray that a disaster doesn't head your way.

    I want to thank Dave Eggers for writing this book -- and for all the important things he does with his abundant energy. Good stuff. Thanks. From deep down. I hadn't read any of his books before, glad I started with this one.

    The writing is so very good too. The book is a page-turner. It's not depressing at all. The book has a main story -- the story about the Zeitouns -- plus lots of other very interesting stories. Although watch out! If you were mad about how folks in New Orleans were treated before -- WATCH OUT -- you're gonna be furious by the time you finish this book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars History on the personal level..., July 24, 2009
    Disclaimer: I am a big Dave Eggers. I don't think he is infallible, but I'm a fan.

    I found this work of non-fiction to be riveting, honest, and gripping. When Katrina hit New Orleans, I was studying abroad, traveling through Italy and seeing the hurricane's aftermath called "Bush's Folly" on a number of Italian newspapers and periodicals. Zeitoun and Kathy's story is tragic and heart-wrenching, while proving, ultimately, hopeful.

    To think of what the Zeitoun family, and countless other residents of the New Orleans area, went through in 2005 and in the months following is unfathomable. But Dave Eggers has written a frank, quite readable retelling of what happened a few short years ago.

    I admire Eggers for his 826 literacy programs and social awareness, among other things, and for his commitment to help get the Zeitouns' story out there, so as to put a unique face to natural disaster of Katrina, and to the human disaster and American failures that followed, and in many ways continue to the present day.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Life, Faith and Dangerous Waters, July 31, 2009
    As a writer, Dave Eggers has the ability to find the small story within the larger one, as exemplified by his "Voice of Witness" series, out of which arose this book. But no one else could have written this book -- his extraordinary skill as a writer coupled with his deep seated humanity and puckish humor have woven a story of courage and loyalty and love far beyond any other I've read, save for his own "What is the What," my favorite book of 2006. His befriending of his subjects results in epic volumes, that have effects far beyond the selling of books -- Foundations in this case, a School in the case of WITW. I don't say this often, but everyone should read this book.

    Dave Eggers is unique. He is also supernatural -- how can so many hats be worn on just one head? And when does he have the time to accomplish all he does? At what was supposed to only be a book signing for
    "Zeitoun" recently, he gave an impromptu speech about the family at its core and the events they endured during the horror of Katrina, before and after the Storm. He was generous with his time and information, without giving too much away about the story. He never gave the impression he had somewhere else to be, but as it was a noon signing, seemed more concerned about the attendees' need to return to work.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Zeitoun - A Teacher's Review, October 6, 2010
    With the recent controversy over the Ground Zero Mosque, it is crucial that teachers incorporate literature into the curriculum that highlights the fact the Muslim religion is not equated with terrorism; terrorism is not a religion.

    Eggers successfully documents the trauma of the Zeitoun family following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. The novel is based on a series of in depth interviews of the Zeitoun family, friends, and relatives, as well as, other central figures who share Zeitoun's fate. About two thirds of the book is spent focusing on the bond between Zeitoun and his family, which extends to his community at large; a community that Zeitoun, even after Katrina, finds value in, from the disabled to the able-bodied, to the animals left behind. It is within this post-Katrina community, however, that Zeitoun is falsely accused, tortured, and degraded by the U.S. government because he is thought to be associated with terrorist activity. Although Zeitoun's imprisonment is one of the defining characteristics of the book, Eggers also touches upon what it means to be a Muslim woman in America today. Through Kathy, Zeitoun's wife who is an American woman that converted because she felt the religion gave her power and control over her own life, we learn that the hijab, which is often seen as a sign of suppression by a patriarchal culture, actually becomes one of liberation.

    It is within the pages of Eggers narrative that educators will find the opportunity to teach students how to embrace and understand other cultures beyond what is reported by media outlets. By not including this book in our curriculum, or a work that confronts the same issue, we are doing our students a disservice, which will eventually become extensions of further ignorance and intolerance. Making students aware of how 9/11 has changed what it means to be American will only foster the knowledge of real situations, situations like Zeitouns that forever altered a man and his family; a situation that forever altered Americans.

    An interesting aspect about this book is the title because Zeitoun represents the man, the family, as well as, the extended network of friends and relatives of Zeitoun's (the man) around the world. It may be an interesting aspect to bring up in class discussion after reading the book.

    This book also contains a comprehensive list resources on rebuilding New Orleans, support for, and education about the Muslim community. Utilizing these sources in the classroom would be excellent an way to get students involved in the reality of the text they have just read.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing to Read, August 6, 2009
    I don't know much about Katrina and only a bit about its aftermath. This book was a wake-up call. I admit I picked up the book because of its Arabic title, and was intrigued to see Egger's name as the author. As an Arab-American, I have to say, Egger captured the nuances of Arabs in America seamlessly. I felt at home with Abdulrahman and Kathy- many of my relatives, including myself, have married non-Arabs. I read Abdulrahman's account of paddling around New Orleans in awe and wonder. Then, the arrest. I am enraged and angry over his treatment, not only as an Arab, but as an attorney. I am disheartened to see the America I loved so much as a child sink to such a dark, unfair place. This is an important and indispensable piece of nonfiction that I hope is widely read. ... Read more

    10. Cute Overload Page-A-Day Calendar 2011
    by Meg Frost
    list price: $12.99 -- our price: $11.69
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 076115776X
    Publisher: Workman Publishing Company
    Sales Rank: 557
    Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Cute after cute after cute after cute. The redonkulously adorable wall calendar based on Cute Overload—“the fuzziest, nicest blog on the planet” (CBS News)—Cute Overload is chock-full of adorable animal photographs enhanced by witty, pitch-perfect captions. Each full-color spread celebrates one “Rule of Cuteness” (#2: Look helpless; #12: Fuzz + floppy limbs is cute) with a large photograph at the top of the page and dozens of smaller ones in the grid below. Awwww: round little bunnies. Impossibly small ponies. A hamster nibbling a clover leaf. A baby deer—all spots and wobbly legs. Plus lots of puppies, kittens, hams and guinea pigs, not to mention the occasional wallaby, llama and itty-bitty snail. It’s equal-opportunity cuteness, all year long. ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars If you like, November 26, 2010
    this is a must have. If you aren't familiar with the website, you might want check it out before ordering. Some people have found some of the language offensive or weird. However, I love the site and I have bought all of the calenders since they were first offered. I have already ordered this year, in both wall and page-a-day!

    5-0 out of 5 stars a must have for animal lovers, October 26, 2010
    I have the 2010 "cute overload calendar "and if you love cute animals or animals in cute situations this 2011 is a must have!!! Every morning there is a giggle or an awwwww to brighten your day.

    5-0 out of 5 stars More than just pictures, December 2, 2010
    I enjoy, visiting the site daily. It is a great community. The pictures and captions in this calendar are a wonderful tribute to that community and its creative spirit. Personally I enjoy having the captions and unusual pics rather than your standard cutesy photos that just sit there. Those get rather boring after a while. To me the captions and settings tend to get a creative spark going, get you thinking in a different way. Sure the humor found here might not be for all, and it isn't aimed at kids, but more at teens and young adults, but I'm 40 and a professional, and I appreciate the fun intended by the calendar's creators.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Adorable!, November 2, 2010
    I love this calendar! It's soooooo cute. Fast shipment, too. Don't hesitate to buy this product if you like cute furry animals.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Cuteness is never enough..., December 27, 2010 is one of my favourite websites. Be amazed by what the animals can do. I am so excited when I see this calendar on sale at It is now sitting on my table already.... looking forward to 2011 as you are greeted by a fluffy little face every day!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Good gift for teen and pre-teen girls, December 26, 2010
    My girls love getting this calendar each year. It's cute, for sure, but it's also funny. And funny without being dirty or overly snarky.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Do Your Research, People, December 20, 2010
    Love the site? Love the calendar. Never heard of the site? Maybe you ought to check it out first, as Meg would say, natch.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Worthwhile Extention of, December 1, 2010
    While I wouldn't personally display this on my desk (I bought it for a [female] friend of mine.) I can certainly appreciate the humor. I knew I could appreciate the humor prior to buying this, though, because the CuteOverload blog has been a frequent topic of office conversation. Is it appropriate for your kids? Have you let them watch a "PG"-rated movie? Yes? Then yes.

    Everyone needs a desktop calendar. I'll keep my "365 New Ways to Curse," but if it's down to CuteOverload and Betty White, it's dogs' rumps with sunglasses for my money.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Lame captions on almost every page, December 21, 2010
    I have the 2010 one and I'm glad the year is almost over. The captions on every single day is lame. Really? That is supposed to be funny? The animals themselves are cute, but the captions are not funny, not cute, not intelligent, and just outright WTF?

    We've always had the cats one and I thought let's be adventurous in 2010 and buy this one for our kitchen. Lame. Thank goodness I'm going back to the kitty cats one in 2011.

    I should write to the company and tell them to fire whoever allows those ret*rded comments to be printed. They're better off just having the cute animal photos minus the LAME commentaries.

    Thank you, I've been meaning to get that off my chest for a long time. Today I was staring at the cute baby penguin having my coffee and this huge WTF compelled me to write this review. I will sleep better tonight.

    10 more days till I can use my trusty ol' cats Page a Day calendar. Thank goodness.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Very Disappointing..., November 8, 2010
    I have the 2010 version of this calendar. I find many of the Editor's ideas of "cute" very strange --- and in many cases patently offensive. For example, do you think it's "cute" to look at a dog's hind end with a pair of sunglasses over the tail? Do you want to explain to your child why some pictures feature animal droppings, or the meaning of "effing","wtf" or other equally crude "captions" and inappropriate sexual innuendos?

    Many of the captions are very, very bad attempts at humor. I found myself forced to blot out many of the captions with ink marker, so as not to have to explain them to my naturally inquisitive children.

    I did not like this calendar at all and I am truly sorry I purchased it. Although it appears innocent and cute from the cover --- once you are inside you will find that way too many of the pictures and captions are in bad taste. Fortunately, Amazon has MUCH better Page-A-Day calendars to choose from. ... Read more

    11. The Daring Book for Girls
    by Andrea J. Buchanan, Miriam Peskowitz
    list price: $26.95 -- our price: $17.79
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0061472573
    Publisher: William Morrow
    Sales Rank: 547
    Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    The Daring Book for Girls is the manual for everything that girls need to know—and that doesn't mean sewing buttonholes! Whether it's female heroes in history, secret note-passing skills, science projects, friendship bracelets, double dutch, cats cradle, the perfect cartwheel or the eternal mystery of what boys are thinking, this book has it all. But it's not just a guide to giggling at sleepovers—although that's included, of course! Whether readers consider themselves tomboys, girly-girls, or a little bit of both, this book is every girl's invitation to adventure.

    ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars A wonderful book for young girls (or boys) - you'll love it as much as your kid!, November 9, 2007
    This is the perfect book to share with your daughter/ granddaughter/that special girl you know who is a tween or young teen. It has just the right mix of articles - informative, fun, and stimulating! When the "Dangerous Book for Boys" came out I wished for a version for girls and this book is as good as the one for boys if not better.

    When you first flip through its pages it will remind you of the time you were her age. You probably read a book almost like this but not quite. I say not quite as this book does a perfect balancing act between skills and general knowledge, between techniques we learned from our grandmothers and the ones that became popular later. It tells you "how to press flowers" but also "five karate moves". "Make your own quill pen" is preceded by "how to change a tire". I remember reading a book almost like this in my childhood. I dearly treasured that book till its pages were yellow and stiff into my college days. I spent many afternoons after school experimenting with the projects. I remember the bitter candy apples I made from a recipe in that book, or the quill pen with which I wrote my "secret language" notes for my friends and this book brought back those memories. With more words than illustrations, the Daring book for Girls will encourage the girl who reads it to use her imagination.

    This book will appeal to the "girly-girl" in every girl with the sections like "Palm reading", "Hopscotch", "Princesses today" or "Boys"; to her sense of adventure with articles like "Going to Africa" (short section on each country), "Hiking", "Reading tide charts"; and to the "builder" in her with sections like "Building a campfire", "Tree swings", "Every girl's toolbox". There is a ton of useful information and facts in this book too for those rainy or quiet days - "from French terms of endearment" to "Queens of Ancient world" to "Women Inventors". Sports are covered too - basketball, softball, netball, bowling, playing cards and more.

    My daughter was thrilled to get this book. I wasn't sure she'd like it as much as I liked my childhood book. But she began her next project "how to tie a sari" in minutes and over dinner started telling me about the women inventors in the book. We have now designated this book the "mother-daughter time" book. Each weekend, we pick up the book and try something new! What a great antidote to the "Mom, I'm bored" refrain!

    Some are activities she can attempt on her own and for others like building the ultimate scooter she will need help as it requires some sawing and drilling. It is a challenge for me too as I've not really attempted to build anything from scratch before. I'm ready with my saw and drill and as excited as her to begin that project!

    This book gives just the right kind of stimulation for a younger girl's (or boy's) curious mind and their thirst for new knowledge and skills. This book will also grow with the reader as it gives practical advice and even contains chapters like "Stocks and shares" and "Negotiating salaries." This book is therefore highly recommended and will make a great gift for a 7-14 year old.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Sparking Imagination, November 12, 2007
    There are certain things that every girl should learn in her young life, like how to press flowers, what games to play at a slumber party, and how to put her hair up with a pencil. You know, girly things. But they also need to know things like salary negotiation, self defense with karate, and how to change a tire.

    She'll get that and more in The Daring Book For Girls, by authors Andrea Buchanan and Miriam Peskowitz. This wonderful collection of projects, primers, and practical advice is so compelling and fun to read that I found myself browsing through it for hours after my daughter went to bed.

    The letters of Abigail Adams, the history of women in the Olympics, making a lemon-powered clock... The book is packed with stimulating knowledge and activities. It's sure to stir my daughter's imagination for years to come. The authors have wisely designed the book to appeal to a wide range of ages, from 8 to 18. I'm well beyond those years, and NOT a girl, and even I'm envious of the new worlds of information that will be introduced to my daughter through these pages.

    If you're the parent, or grandparent, of a girl, think twice before you spend your holiday money on some new toy or electronic gadget. The Daring Book For Girls will be the gift that gets the most attention this year.

    5-0 out of 5 stars If you have a daughter, buy this book!, November 8, 2007
    I don't know what I like better -- The Daring Book for Girls or the fact that it's written by two women I greatly admire, Andrea Buchanan and Miriam Peskowitz.

    Written as a sequel, of sorts, to last year's The Dangerous Book for Boys, The Daring Book for Girls is a compendium of activities and information to help today's girls rediscover that there are ways to have fun besides shopping at the mall, watching Hannah Montana or IM'ing their friends.

    As the mother of a seven-year-old daughter, I was thrilled when I learned that the founders of MotherTalk would be writing this book and couldn't wait to see what it would have in store.

    When it arrived, my daughter and I were both very excited because it's just got so much STUFF! Where to begin? There was so much to take in after I was done ooh-ing and aah-ing over the beautiful teal cover with the sparkly silver letters (yes, that did appeal to the "girl" in me!)

    How to make a lemon-powered clock (really!)? Reading the chapters on women who were pirates and spies? How to make a tree swing or check out the list of books "that will change your life?"

    Aimed at the "tween" girl market, it is perfect for that age group, billing itself as the book "for every girl with an independent spirit and a nose for trouble."

    If you're the parent of a daughter who could use a little nudging to take off the headphones and get a little fresh air, then this book is just what the doctor (or Santa) ordered. There are so many great craft ideas and topics to spark the imagination of a girl it's hard to know where to start.

    Since the book's release, some commenters have questioned whether this type of book can really have an impact on the way our daughters are socialized today -- can we really hope that a book that is an homage to our childhoods in the 1970s will be the tonic that will drag our girls out from behind the laptops and forsake the sassy outfits?

    Can it really get our girls away from the world of Libby Lu parties, Bratz Dolls, and questionable Halloween outfits?

    Is it too much to take the feminist optimism we had as girls of the MS. generation and help our daughters discover that they can do "boy" things, too? I think it's imperative. At seven, my daughter is already succumbing to the phenomenon of boys having too much sway on her budding self-esteem. If a few of the activities in this book can help boost her already waning self-confidence, then I'm going to go for it.

    Perhaps it is too much to expect that one book can start a new feminist wave for our daughters of the 21st Century. But if we don't start somewhere, who will?

    As a parent, I can't be responsible for reclaiming the girlhoods of all the "tweens" in America by making them turn off the Disney Channel and sit down to make a quill pen or learn about Queens of the Ancient World. But I can start with one excited second-grader and I'm planning on doing just that.

    What I can do is take one second-grade girl, who is chomping at the bit to dig into the activities in The Daring Book for Girls, and help her discover things she never thought she could do. And I can make sure other moms know about it, too.

    5-0 out of 5 stars fantastic book for all kinds of kids, November 13, 2007
    I am a fifth grade school teacher, so I see a lot of books meant for kids who are growing up. many of these books, especially the books geared for girls tend to be very dramatic, social survival guides that delve into the social ins and outs of growing up at younger and younger ages.

    This book rises above all of that in the same way that the Dangerous book for boys (also a staple in my classroom) did. It tells kids that it is OK to be kids, it is OK to have a lot of interests, from sports to science to history to literature, to enjoy life by doing.

    when I discovered this book on amazon I looked at the table of contents and was delighted at what I saw; the rules of basketball, how to tie a sari, campfire songs and many more topics. I called the girls in my class over, some who are jocks, some who are girly-girls, some who are science minded, and our social butterflies. accross the board each and every girl found something to love about this book, to the extent that there was a fight over it when it arrived in our classroom.

    I am convinced that if there were more books like these telling kids to be kids and live life rather than play video games or watch TV all day, the world would be a better place.

    2-0 out of 5 stars The Daring Book for Girls, January 2, 2008
    I picked up this book in the store and realized it is representative of what I learned as a girl scout brownie (friendship songs, how to make bracelets, etc.). Maybe this is what girls wanted to know in the fifties, but it seems terribly silly for girls of this era. The boy version, amusing and easy to read, included intelligent and interesting information: how things work, mechanics, astronomy, herbology, entomology, how to make a treehouse, etc. I bought the boy book instead.

    My recommendation: Scratch out "Boy" on the title, write "Girl" instead, and give the "Dangerous Book for Boys" to your little girl - she will get much more out it, actually learn something meaningful/useful, and enjoy herself in the process.

    I know I did.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Book, November 5, 2007
    This is not a girly book. It's not sexist or anti-male. It's a book full of fun, wonderful, clean adventures and lots of useful information for girls of all ages. And don't girls need all the help they can get? I sure wish this had been around when I was a girl.

    The book begins with all the essential gear girls just have to have. Included are a swiss army knife described as a key tool for survival, a bandana to keep your head cool, rope and twine to help learn about knots, a journal (that's a big one), a hair band for girls with long hair-- duct tape, to fix almost everything, and patience--which is described in the book as a quality and not a thing.

    The book tells girls to not try and be perfect. (Good for all of us.) In the face of frustration, your best tools are a few deep breaths, and remembering that you can do anything once you've practiced it two hundred times. Isn't that wonderful advice? Girls especially are sort of perfectionists. As girls, we tend to think we have to be better and never make a mistake. This books helps girls to discover they don't need to be perfect BUT that if they keep trying, they'll be great!

    Highly recommended.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Highest Compliments Department, October 28, 2007
    One of the highest compliments the author of a book for younger readers can get is from a parent who says, "I wish there had been a book like this when I was a kid."

    My guess is that authors Buchanan and Peskowitz will hear this a fair amount from older readers who fall prey to their daughters' nightstands. Despite its sidekick status as the companion volume for the extraordinarily successful The Dangerous Book for Boys, The Daring Book for Girls more than holds its own. Like the boys' volume, this one has a great, retro design, and handsome interior layout.

    But content is where the Daring Book really shines. It has terrific pacing, as the chapters alternate between activities and interesting information about history and culture. The underlying emphasis is on being active and (dare I write it?) daring. There's a can-do tone that informs Daring Book that I found really admirable... and my guess is that boys who voyage beyond its front cover will as well. Terrific work! See also The Big Book of Girl Stuff, the best book for this readership that I've ever written. :)

    4-0 out of 5 stars "Daring Girls" Lives Up To It's Title., December 1, 2007
    This book celebrates the fact that you can change a tire,be good at math,play softball & still be a girl,which I think is great.So I bought it out of both curosity & admiration,(although I figured there'd be one eventually)that there is now a female equivalant of "Dangerous Book For Boys" Also,the hand-clapping songs,daisy chains & the infamous "Bloody Mary" legend brought back many fond memories for me. I just wish the book had more art projects,but perhaps in the the next book(?),they're will be. Also,the book has a slightly slapdash feel to it,one topic follows another without rhyme or reason. For example: how to make a book cover follows an article on Cleopatra,follows an article about how to deal with boys(which btw,is both sensible & age-appropriate).I feel the book should have catergories,but that's an adult P.O.V., not one of a tween girl(whom this book is definately aimed at) Also,I spotted a few typos,though my spelling isn't the greatest at times (as you can see here) OK, but I'm nit-picking. The over-all spirit of the book wins you over & definately would make a cool gift for a "daring" girl(or mother/aunt/ big sister of one:-)!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Equal to or better than the Boys' book...., November 3, 2007
    ... depending on whether you prefer hunting and tanning (boys) or jump-rope and karate (girls). Much of the content in the Daring Book for Girls is very like the content in the Dangerous Book for Boys, with slight variations which are nice if you happen to have both. If you are a parent wondering whether to buy this for your daughter or go with the boys' book because you think it might be better, rest assured, this one is every bit as fun, adventuresome and fascinating as the boys' book. I have a young daughter and bought the boys' book before I knew there would be a girls' one; now I have them both and side-by-side I can say this one at the very least lives up to its predecessor, and in my opinion surpasses it, although both are excellent.

    There are things in this book I'd completely forgotten that I did as a girl. Remember four-square? Elastics? Daisy-chains? Friendship bracelets and hand-clap games? And there are some fascinating tidbits in here, too; did you know Julia Child was a spy before she became a famous TV chef? Who would have thought it? There's a neat section on "Vedic math" tricks, which are something I've always thought amazingly cool and useful. And another neat thing is the international flavor of the book; living in the U.S. but having grown up in New Zealand, it's a real treat to see netball included here among the ball/court games, right between basketball and korfball!!

    Really, moms and dads, do your girls a favor and buy this book, it's worth every penny (for the nostalgia factor alone, hehe).

    5-0 out of 5 stars A wonderful treasury of fun knowledge and women's history., November 16, 2007
    I have a daughter who considers herself to be at least two things: an intellectual and a tomboy. This book satisfied both!

    Fun, useful 'how to' information such as how to build a lemon clock, how to play tetherball and how to press flowers, written in a concise, very readable way. Information about women in history is also in the book, along with the periodic table of elements and information on how to build the perfect scooter.

    I think this book would appeal to anyone; boy, girl, man, woman...of any age, who just likes to learn and do new things. It's a book you can read cover to cover as an adult and both become a bit nostalgic and enlightened at the same time.

    Wonderful! ... Read more

    12. The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival (Borzoi Books)
    by John Vaillant
    list price: $26.95 -- our price: $17.79
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0307268934
    Publisher: Knopf
    Sales Rank: 626
    Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    It’s December 1997, and a man-eating tiger is on the prowl outside a remote village in Russia’s Far East. The tiger isn’t just killing people, it’s annihilating them, and a team of men and their dogs must hunt it on foot through the forest in the brutal cold. As the trackers sift through the gruesome remains of the victims, they discover that these attacks aren’t random: the tiger is apparently engaged in a vendetta. Injured, starving, and extremely dangerous, the tiger must be found before it strikes again.

    As he re-creates these extraordinary events, John Vaillant gives us an unforgettable portrait of this spectacularly beautiful and mysterious region. We meet the native tribes who for centuries have worshipped and lived alongside tigers, even sharing their kills with them. We witness the arrival of Russian settlers in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, soldiers and hunters who greatly diminished the tiger populations. And we come to know their descendants, who, crushed by poverty, have turned to poaching and further upset the natural balance of the region.

    This ancient, tenuous relationship between man and predator is at the very heart of this remarkable book. Throughout we encounter surprising theories of how humans and tigers may have evolved to coexist, how we may have developed as scavengers rather than hunters, and how early Homo sapiens may have fit seamlessly into the tiger’s ecosystem. Above all, we come to understand the endangered Siberian tiger, a highly intelligent super-predator that can grow to ten feet long, weigh more than six hundred pounds, and range daily over vast territories of forest and mountain.

    Beautifully written and deeply informative, The Tiger circles around three main characters: Vladimir Markov, a poacher killed by the tiger; Yuri Trush, the lead tracker; and the tiger himself. It is an absolutely gripping tale of man and nature that leads inexorably to a final showdown in a clearing deep in the taiga.
    ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars Gripping and informative, April 26, 2010

    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
    Someone asked me recently what sort of non-fiction I like to read, and I had to think about it. I have a few niche areas that I enjoy, but generally all I ask of a book is that it keep me engaged and give me something to think about. This approach means that I read a lot of books in areas where I have no expertise and little real interest, merely because someone did a great job of presenting the material and I got hooked. "The Tiger" is one of these books.

    Primarily it's the story of a tiger, hungry, injured, and irritated, which starts killing off the members of a Russian community, and of the men tasked with tracking the tiger and killing it. But there's a lot more here, too: interesting background on tigers and other animals, and how they hunt; the culture of the Russian Far East, including issues surrounding the Chinese-Russian border; the effects of perestroika on poorer Russians. And it's all woven together in a manner that made me want to keep reading.

    I was particularly intrigued by how recent the events in the story are, being from the late 1990s. The people depicted are clearly on the fringes of Russian society, living literally hand to mouth just to stay alive. That someone could have a TV and other modern conveniences, and still rely for their survival on hunting small game and gathering pine cones, was not something that had occurred to me. Also interesting were the observations on how, through many years, tigers and people have lived together peacefully in the Far East, yet in a balance so fragile that either may be forced to hunt the other just to survive. And of course there are some fascinating statistics on tigers, both their declining numbers, and their physical abilities.

    While this book is footnoted and has an extensive bibliography, I would suggest it for anyone who simply likes a good adventure story. It's a great read!

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Lyrical, Insightful, and rather Exhaustive Analysis, June 5, 2010

    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
    This is far more than just an animal-eats-man thriller like Alaska Bear Tales. It does have a rather small story of a man eating tiger terrorizing a community, but it balloons out, covering all the eddies of history, natural history, economics, and culture that moved the characters to this moment where their worlds collide.

    The story could easily be covered in 160 words on page two of a newspaper as some AP wire from Russia. Or in a narrative book it would take maybe 20 pages or so pages. But here the author brings nearly every back story to light in an amazing parade and alignment of stars that borders on fate. The Soviets annexing Northern Manchuria, Defending it from China, bringing Russians to the far East, the crumbling of Soviet systems, the crippling impoverishment of the community, the open markets to the South, the Chinese appetite for tiger products... Everything lines up to bring this confrontation in a way too clear cut for fiction.

    I will not say that this book is a slow read, because I had problems putting it down, but at times it was frustrating that the core story of the tiger never seemed to move closer. It reads like a local history text, a biographic series of many of the main characters and a natural history account of tigers all blended together. I don't think I have ever come away from a book feeling like I knew the context of events better. The image created of post Perestroika Russia alone is worth the price of the book.

    However, I can see some people being turned off by all the detours and side streets the book takes. This is not a straight narrative. By the time I knew the end was near, I felt almost like the hunters tracking the tiger, just willing the confrontation to come. And the climax was worth it. The author uses cinematic timing and fated suspense right up to the last moment.

    I highly recommend it. Not as a riveting storyline, but much more - a riveting, all encompassing history. Occasionally the auther went a little over the top with his description of tigers, but I can never look at a tiger in a zoo the same way again.

    3-0 out of 5 stars A Digressive Tale, May 12, 2010

    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
    This is a very well-researched account of the hunt for a tiger that was terrorizing a remote Russian community in the Far East in 1997. In the wake of perestroika and the fall of the Communist regime, the economy of the former Soviet Union cratered, and plenty of people in the far-flung territories out past Siberia were reduced to a subsistence level of living, taking to the forests to poach game and forage for natural resources coveted by the nearby Chinese. Some turned to hunting the local Amur tigers, all parts of which would fetch a high price across the border. Consequently it was inevitable that conflicts between man and tiger would arise.

    The problem with this account is that there is not a whole lot that can be known for certain about the tiger's attacks and about the actions and intentions of the victims prior to their deaths. As there were no witnesses, it remains uncertain what all parties involved, the tiger and its forest-haunting human prey, were up to over the course of the few days of the predator's brief reign of terror. As a result, the author is reduced to a great deal of conjecture and speculation. Worse, because of this absence of solid evidence, he's forced into endless digressions to pad out the story. There's plenty of material about other tiger-human interactions and folklore and research across the centuries, and efforts at conservation, and the lifestyles of Russian poachers and even of rogue Germans in hiding in Namibia in WWII. And every figure involved in the hunt for the killer tiger, no matter how inconsequential or tangential to the core of the story, gets a capsule biography.

    Also troubling is the author's propensity to ascribe feelings and motivations to this particular tiger. I don't hew to the scientific school that denies that animals have any emotions and that they are driven purely by instinct and ingrained behavioral patterns, but I feel the author goes a little too far in crediting the tiger with a rich and complex inner life that verges on the metaphysical.

    Still, this is a relatively intriguing story and is definitely thoroughly documented and seems to have involved a lot of personal investigation. It drags a little at the end and seems a bit anti-climactic, but it's heartfelt and tackles some important issues about our responsibility to stop wiping out various species. If nothing else, it also serves as an interesting glimpse into the chaos and despair of pre-Putin Russia, so it's a valuable book for that at least.

    5-0 out of 5 stars This Tiger really burns bright, September 6, 2010
    The remarkable thing about John Vaillant's The Tiger is not that it's a total page-turner, or that he manages to stuff the Tiger with so much fascinating natural and political history that you come away with three or four points added to your IQ, or that his lush descriptions are sensuous without being cloying and muscular without being macho, or that his characters are indelible and engaging and worthy of The Dirty Dozen or Where Eagles Dare, or even that the tiger and its hunters will relentlessly stalk your consciousness when you aren't reading the book (quite a trick in attention-challenged times). It's that you will, without even knowing it, and even if you don't want to, find yourself suddenly occupying the tiger's world, and seeing it through his eyes, feeling its wounds and its anguish and its hatred, and, above all, rooting for it against your fellow humans. Let this book hunt you down and pounce on you. You won't regret it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Loved it but not as described., June 17, 2010

    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
    The Tiger was excellent but the narrative surrounding the relationship between the tiger and its victims is only part of this book. Much of it is spent on the landscape, cultural examinations, and on the personal history of the people involved. The description gives the idea that this will be a story about renegade tiger attacks and the hunt for that tiger. There is a lot more here, the information about the attacks is spotty and fills but a portion of the book.

    However, The Tiger is still great. The author takes a documentary approach but has a wonderfully desciptive and insightful style that provides a rich understanding not only of the events but their context. Vaillant does a masterful job of drawing out the personalities of the actors and making them come alive for the reader. You can visualize the people, the landscape, and feel the conditions in which they have to exist. This is more than a tiger story, it is an examination of the relationship between man, a stark and challenging environment, and another highly intelligent predator that shares it with him. Vaillant has tremendous empathy for all the actors involved, despite a strongly realistic outlook, and you will be able to feel the story as though you were a part of it. I highly recommend it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Incredible!, August 23, 2010

    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
    "The Tiger" was an amazing piece of non-fiction that is a great example of what really good non-fiction should be. First there was the basis for the book --- the man-eating Siberian tiger and the investigative team that began tracing its actions. But then John Vaillant goes so much further -- his reader learns about the region's history and biology, the place of the Siberian tiger in nature, superstition, and the lives of the people who live in the area, and so much more! And best of all, the entire time I was learning about all of the crucial background information, Vaillant was seamlessly sliding back and forth into the primary narrative. This is a great book that gave me a window into an unexpectedly rich animal and environment that I'd never thought much of -- I recommend it very highly.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Siberian tigers - an amazing story, August 5, 2010

    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
    The Tiger by John Vailiant is described as the story of a man-eating tiger on the prowl outside a small Siberian village in 1997. That's enough to get your attention but there is more, much more, to this book. This tiger basically destroys people and seems to engage in vendettas against particular individuals. The tiger must be stopped, and that job falls to a small team of hunters and their dogs who track the tiger through deep forest in snow and in temperatures often staying in a range of thirty to forty degrees below zero.

    When you finish the book, you will know a lot more about tigers in this relatively unknown corner of the world than you knew before. Their physical powers are unbelievably impressive. The tigers are huge and correspondingly immensely strong. As if that weren't enough, they also have very quick reflexes and an amazing ability to hide. However, the key impression that the author left with me is that the tigers can think and plot and scheme. This makes them truly scary creatures.

    A good deal of the book is also devoted to describing the living conditions in that part of the world, the history of the region, the political and government influences, and the extremes the people must go to simply to survive day by day, Some of this bogs things down a bit. I always wanted to get back to the tiger.

    On the whole, this book is an excellent effort by Mr. Vailiant, particularly the parts of the story that focus on the tiger and the hunt.

    3-0 out of 5 stars A History Lesson, May 17, 2010

    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
    This book ended up being a disappointment for me. I feel that the description is inaccurate. I was under the impression that this was a story about a vengeful tiger and the tale of what the humans went through to take care of the menace.
    So is the book about what it says. Yes and no. The story of the tiger is mixed in with a whole lot of history not always related to the tiger. Now there is nothing wrong with that, if that's what you want in your book. I was not looking for a history lesson. I was hoping for a edge of my book page scary tale about a vengeful tiger. Not a history lesson on things other than the tiger. I found some of the history stuff to be boring. Some interesting. It felt like all this additional info. was filler to make a longer book. The actual full story of the hunt for the terrorizing tiger is rather short. The parts about the tiger are excellent.
    Overall I'd say if you want to read about the tiger tale only, you will not be happy with this book at all. On the other hand, if you are a history buff, I believe you will enjoy this book immensely. It wasn't a book for me.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Good, but too ambitious and strains credibility, September 26, 2010
    This is a fascinating true story of the environmental and economic forces that bring man and tiger into conflict, but it ranges too far in trying to bring these threads together. The basic story is pretty simple: post-perestroika poverty in southeast Russia combines with Chinese demand for natural resources and exotic animals to incentivize poaching and other environmental depredation. This, in turn, leads to scenarios in which the tiger sometimes wins, at least temporarily. In this particular case, a tiger kills and eats a poacher who had shot it. Injured and unable to hunt its normal prey, it kills and eats another human before it is killed by authorities.

    (1) All you ever wanted to know about human-tiger relations, from prehistory forward.
    (2) All you ever wanted to know about the effects of communism and perestroika on south-eastern Russia.
    (3) Sympathetic presentation of all the actors. The abject poverty of many of the humans involved makes it easier to understand why they did the things they did.

    (1) See #1 and #2 above, "and more". The story is stretched thin by too much backstory about too many people and human-tiger encounters. These digressions hurt the flow.
    (2) As the book progresses, the tiger is presented as a sort of demiurge, exercising supernatural power over the actions of the humans.

    Negatives aside, the book is still worth a read.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Informative, But Tries To Do Too Much, August 14, 2010

    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
    At its core, The Tiger is a simple story of a man-eating tiger and the efforts to stop it before it kills again. But, Vaillant isn't satisfied with just telling that simple story. As he did in The Golden Spruce: A True Story of Myth, Madness, and Greed, Vaillant uses the core story to explore the sociological, anthropological, political, biological, and environmental aspects that have an influence on the basic story. Unfortunately, this holistic approach, which worked so well in The Golden Spruce, doesn't work as well in The Tiger. The reason the approach falls short is due to the nature of the basic story. In The Golden Spruce, the core story is comprised of a single act (the cutting of the tree referenced in the book's title). Thus, the book's additional information provided the reader a valuable context for the act. In the Tiger, the core story is made up of three (arguably, four) acts. Thus, the extra material inserted between the main story's acts breaks up that story's flow, thereby diminishing the power of both the main story and the information that provides a holistic context.

    Despite its problems, The Tiger is still an informative book. Vaillant combines Jon Krakauer's kinetic prose with Erik Larson's obsessive detail to create an assertive, almost aggressive, writing style that keeps the reader's attention while imparting information. Consequently, it's impossible to read Vaillant and not have learned something new. Still, by trying too hard to provide a complete picture, Vaillant loses most of the readability needed to make the information memorable. The Tiger is by no means a bad book; but, it's certainly below the standards that Vaillant set with his previous work. ... Read more

    13. ZooBorns
    by Andrew Bleiman, Chris Eastland
    list price: $9.99 -- our price: $9.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 1439195315
    Publisher: Simon & Schuster
    Sales Rank: 605
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    ZooBorns showcases the newest and cutest animal babies from accredited zoos and aquariums around the world. With interesting animal facts and background stories on the featured babies, ZooBorns illustrates the connections between zoo births and conservation initiatives in the wild. ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars buy this book for everyone you know, October 29, 2010
    I've waited months for this, and it didn't let me down. It's a fundraiser for and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Conservation Endowment Fund. If you don't know the website, check it out immediately, then buy the book (or the children's version ZooBorns!).
    It's a perfect example of what the web should be and this book is a delightful way to enjoy it offline. Gorgeous pictures, with just enough information to make you want more- but it's all about the pictures.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Adorable, a Perfect Gift!, November 24, 2010
    ZooBorns features baby animals from zoos and aquariums around the world, and discusses the role that these births play in conservation efforts. Beautiful photos of animals are accompanied by descriptions that include the dates of births, their endangered status, and background stories for each baby.

    In ZooBorns pages, you will find well known animals like orangutans, giraffes and kangaroos. However, you will also see photos of animals like the crowned sifaka and the rock hyrax that I've personally never seen or heard of before.

    ZooBorns is more of a photo/coffee table book than one that required dedicated reading. The images are too adorable for words and you will definitely find an animal or two that you knew nothing before opening this book. It's likely to appeal to adults and children alike, and will surely spark a conversation in any room!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Zooborn fun for "kids" of all ages!, November 9, 2010
    I own both of the ZooBorns books and have bought a bunch of extras to give as Christmas gifts to my niece and nephews. The photos are precious and I love the additional information about each of the animals featured. This book is now prominently displayed on our coffee table. If you are looking for a fun little gift for an animal lover - of any age - you can't go wrong with ZooBorns! ... Read more

    14. A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail
    by Bill Bryson
    Mass Market Paperback
    list price: $7.99 -- our price: $7.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0307279464
    Publisher: Anchor
    Sales Rank: 538
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    The Appalachian Trail trail stretches from Georgia to Maine and covers some of the most breathtaking terrain in America–majestic mountains, silent forests, sparking lakes. If you’re going to take a hike, it’s probably the place to go. And Bill Bryson is surely the most entertaing guide you’ll find. He introduces us to the history and ecology of the trail and to some of the other hardy (or just foolhardy) folks he meets along the way–and a couple of bears. Already a classic, A Walk in the Woods will make you long for the great outdoors (or at least a comfortable chair to sit and read in). ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars More than a hiking narative., May 10, 2000
    This is much more than a travelogue of two neophyte hikers on the Appalachian Trail, and readers looking for a blow by blow account of the travails of Bill Bryson and his companion, Stephen Katz, will be disappointed. Hiking provides only a backdrop to a heartfelt discourse on the social condition of America, local history, the environment, and the complexities of friendship. The pretext for the book was Bryson's return to the United States after twenty years in Britain, and his interest in "rediscovering America" after such a lengthy absence.

    The vast majority of the reviews of the book cite its hilarity (one reviewer called it "choke-on-your-coffee funny"), and indeed there are very many funny parts. However, the deeper I got into the book, I detected a strong shift in the author's sentiment from satire to deep introspection. His observations became more acute, more angry, and more individualized as his long hike constantly brings to his mind the fragile environment of the Trail, the insanity of bureacrats entrusted with the AT, and his own personal limitations.

    This was my first encounter with Bill Bryson, and while I found him entertaining, a beautiful writer, and an astute observer, some readers will be put off my his sharp satiric wit. It is certain that he will offend somebody. A friend of mine, who also read the book, was very much upset by the fact that Bryson and Katz didn't hike all 2,200 miles of the Trail, and that somehow their "failure" should prevent the telling of the story. This is utter nonsense and just throws more manure onto the present dung heap that has accumulated from the participants involved in peak bagging, wilderness races, and experiential therapy groups.

    Bryson and Katz at least tried to hike the entire AT, and they returned from their hike as changed men who learned many lessons about the wilderness and friendship. Towards the end of the book, the two men are talking about the hike. When Katz remarks that "we did it," Bryson reminds him that they didn't even see Mount Katahdin, much less climb it. Katz says, "Another mountain. How many do you need to see, Bryson?" I agree with Katz (and ultimately Bryson). They hiked the Appalachian Trail.

    5-0 out of 5 stars I strongly recommend it to anyone, February 7, 2000
    A Walk in the Woods is a travel memoir on the Appalachian Trail, one of America's greatest hiking routes. The author, Bill Bryson lived in England for 20 years and came back to the United States with the urge to go on a long hike. Stephen Katz, an old college friend, and a former alcoholic accompanies him. Both men are out of shape, and beginners at hiking, so it is a wonder how they can endure such hardships along the trail. They had to carry a pack that contained their tents, food, water, clothes and other items. Katz and other interesting characters provide the book with much comic relief to keep the reader involved. At some points in the book I was laughing out loud. Along the journey they meet many people including Mary Ellen a slow-minded woman who follows them around, and Beulah, a fat woman with a very angry husband. The commentary about the long, rich history of the Appalachian Trail brings insight on the wilderness that we hardly know about. It also speaks for the preservation of the forestry and animals that we take for granted in the city. After reading this book I have more appreciation of the wilderness, and an interest in going hiking myself. One downside of the book was that some points in the book the author expanded the book with knowledge that made it a little less interesting, then the actual story. But I liked how Bryson went back and forth to discuss his journey and the history, creating a balance of interests. This book will offer something to any type of reader because it is funny, and contains a lot of historical information, and is interesting enough to keep the reader to keep going. But for someone who wishes to go on a hike, this is not a how to guide. It is also not an amazing adventure of two men and the great outdoors. What this book has to offer is an entertaining journey of two regular guys, who decide to go on a hike along one of the most difficult trails in the United States. I am highly recommending this book, and it will truly leave the reader entertained.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Interesting history of the trail, second half less compelling than the first., September 23, 2006
    As both a Bill Bryson fan and a long distance hiker myself (although I have not done the Appalachian Trail yet) I really expected to love A Walk in the Woods. I was a little bit concerned, since when my partner handed it to me (he finished the book first) he said, "I don't think you're going to like it..." But still, I was really looking forward to reading it.

    For the first half of the book, I also really did enjoy the book. I wasn't bothered by the fact that they were unprepared or out of shape. Nobody is really prepared for their first long distance hiking trip until they are a few weeks into the trail. I remember my own experience of staggering along under my overly ambitious pack. I also enjoyed that he talked honestly about the experience of hiking, and I liked the way that he interspersed history and facts about the trail with the travel writing.

    The second half, however, got much less interesting. The day trips and the abortive Maine portion were actually kind of disheartening. The whole feel of the prose got sort of mean spirited. He didn't have to walk the whole trail to feel like he walked it, but I honestly would have preferred to see him expand the first half and leave the second half out completely.

    There is still quite a bit of good stuff in here, particularly if you are interested in the southern part of the trail. There is also quite a bit of truth about the culture of the long distance hikers. I laughed quite a bit while I read. I guess that the complaints boiled down to not quite being as good as it could have been.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Laugh out loud funny!, January 8, 2000
    Very seldom do I read anything that makes me laugh out loud. To do so more than once or twice in a single book almost never happens. With "Walk," I became almost hysterical over certain chapters - in an airport, no less, while waiting for my flight. People must have thought I was nuts! Anyway, this is the story of two middle-aged and out of shape men (Bryson and his buddy, Katz) who decide to hike the Appalachian Trail. The AT is the third longest nature trail in the US, stretching from Georgia to Maine, along some incredibly rough terrain. Not all of their journey is rustic, however, as they often take a break to spend a night in the closest little town off the trail to have a shower, sleep in a "real" bed, and wash the grime from their clothes. It is during one such trip to the laundromat that Katz has a rather interesting encounter with 300 lb. Beaulah, her extra-large-sized panties, and a washing machine. Aside from the comical adventures, Bryson also has a great deal to say about the AT itself, and in particular, how much the National Parks Service needs a giant kick in the pants to help preserve these Trails.

    5-0 out of 5 stars It's not only funny, it's educational., March 19, 2007
    Bill Bryson has a great sense of humor and an excellent, precise way of expressing it. My husband had just had heart surgery when I started reading this book. I was concerned that my LOL while reading A Walk in the Woods might disturb him as I sat next to his hospital bed. However, on the other hand, I thought it might expedite the healing process. He told me later he heard me laughing and it made him feel better. So, there you go, Bill, your book is good for heart patients!!

    Bill and buddy, Stephen Katz, the only person to take Bill up on the offer to join him as he hiked the Appalachian Trail in 1997?, began their odyssey on March 9 (this just happened to be the day I began reading the book...2007). The laughs came early and continued throughout, though parts of the book are more history and information than comedy. I took notes in these sections.

    Both Bryson and Katz were out of shape when they hit the AT, but Bill noticed his body slimming and becoming more svelte right away (one thing I looked for, but never found, was word on how the adventure affected Katz's weight and figure. I would've been interested in knowing that). The men hiked the AT in two segments and, incidentally, did not hike the entire trail, which they decided was okay. I agree. At any rate, they hiked a few weeks in pre- and early spring and again in the heat of August. While they were off the trail, Bryson took day trips to walk parts of the AT between where he and Katz left off and the Hundred Mile Wilderness in Maine they planned to hike in August. This book not only tells the tale of two men attempting to walk the 2,200 miles of the AT, but is full of history lessons, geological and geographical information, stories of lost/doomed hikers, and social intercourse (i.e., the more than rude, self-centered, and boorish hikers the boys meet on their next to last day on the trail the first time).

    This book is a good companion so read it slowly, digest it thoroughly, and you will enjoy it immensely.

    Carolyn Rowe Hill

    5-0 out of 5 stars Nature writing and a travelogue with "oomph"!, August 18, 2007
    Perhaps it was a fit of angst dealing with his own personal version of a mid-life crisis that led Bill Bryson to tackle the challenge of hiking the 2,100 mile Appalachian Trail! It was certainly a solid understanding of his own personality and clear recognition of his own physical and mental limitations that prompted him to invite his friend, Stephen Katz, an overweight and out of shape recovering alcoholic with an inordinate fondness for snack foods and cream soda to accompany him on this daunting challenge. The demands of the AT ultimately proved too much for Bryson and Katz who sensibly (and with an almost relieved sense of philosophical acceptance) decided to abandon the notion of a complete through hike. But the resulting story, drawn from Bryson's daily journal of the summer's efforts, is an overwhelming success and pure joy in the reading.

    "A Walk in the Woods" is an extraordinary, entertaining travelogue on both the AT - the Appalachian Trail - and the people and places of small town America that dot the trail's path along the eastern seaboard from Georgia to Maine. At the same time, it is much, much more. Bryson is scathing in his political commentary and almost enraged criticism of the ongoing state of mismanagement and the sadly misguided policies of both the Parks and Forest Services of the US government. "A Walk in the Woods" is also a deeply moving introspective examination on the nature of friendship, family, perseverance, joy and despondency. As he and Katz amble along rock strewn trails dappled with sunlight broken by the leafy forest canopy, Bryson frequently, effortlessly and almost without our even noticing the change, wanders metaphorically off the main trail and onto a side path of lightweight but nonetheless informative and educational sidebars of nature writing on an amazingly wide variety of topics. Glaciation, bears, bugs, ecology, continental drift, hypothermia, hypoxia and weather are only a few examples of the topics which he elucidates for the lay reader with his clear, concise prose.

    Then there is the humour! It is perhaps an understatement to say that, in this regard, Bryson has a rare gift. He has treated his readers to laughs originating in every imaginable corner of the vast world of humour - wry sardonic wit; biting satire; slapstick; self effacement; sarcasm and insults; fear; and even extended comedy sketches worthy of stage or television. His description of the astonishingly stupid and entirely self-absorbed fellow hiker Mary Ellen who has the annoying habit of constantly clearing her sinuses with a grating honk is definitely laugh-out-loud material.

    Pure entertainment and enjoyment from first page to last. I believe Bill Bryson would consider it a compliment if I suggested that "A Walk in the Woods" is the first book I've ever read with a smile on my face during every single moment of the reading. Highly recommended - even if you've never spent a single night under nylon in the woods.

    Paul Weiss

    4-0 out of 5 stars Funny and informative., February 27, 2002
    Bill Bryson's travel writing has influenced my personal life in no small way. His 1989 book "The Lost Continent" (which I first discovered in 1996 and have since revisited many times), documenting his (mis)adventures driving cross-country in the United States, played a significant role in my own decision to hit the road and see this fascinating nation for myself. (Coincidentally, I am currently writing this review from Iowa, Bryson's birthplace and frequent target of his signature dry wit.) Having spent the greater part of his adult life abroad in England, Bryson returned to the United States with his family several years ago, settling in a small town in New Hampshire, to rediscover the land he'd left as a youth. He has since written two books about his time spent in America, one of them being "A Walk in the Woods", Bryson's account of his experiences hiking the renowned Appalachian Trail.

    Considered by many to be the Holy Grail of hiking trails in the United States, the Appalachian Trail runs approximately 2,100 miles long, stretching from Georgia to Maine and passing through 12 additional states along the way. Every year, hundreds of people attempt to walk the entire length of the trail from beginning to end, with only a small portion of them successfully completing the endeavor. Known as "thru-hikers", the majority of these aspiring individuals underestimate the sheer scope and arduousness of the undertaking. Most drop out well before the halfway point. Those who persevere are treated to extreme temperatures hot and cold, gruesomely harsh terrains, unrelenting winds and rainfall, a wide variety of wild predators, and some of the most awesomely scenic sights of natural beauty on earth.

    Bryson begins his own trek along the Appalachian Trail admittedly inexperienced and somewhat out-of-shape. Accompanied by an oafish college buddy named Katz with whom he shares a decidedly odd love-hate relationship (it often feels like Katz's sole purpose in being there is so that Bryson will always have someone to make fun of), the two set off with full backpacks on what promises to be a journey filled with humor, wit, insight and adventure. Along the way they encounter other hikers (some highly eccentric in disposition), endure the hardships of bad weather, visit neighboring small towns, and cover more ground on foot in a scant few weeks than most of us will in an entire year. Eventually they end their first phase of the hike in northern Virginia and part separate ways. Bryson continues to investigate key points along the trail in short spurts over the next several months, embarking on daytrips and brief overnighters in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and New England. In the last section of the book Bryson and Katz reunite to tackle the final hundred-mile stretch of the trail in Maine. Although Bryson never actually completes the entire length of the trail in true "thru-hike" fashion, he explores enough of it from enough different places to ensure that his description of the Appalachian Trial overall is valid and well-informed.

    If you have read any of Bryson's previous books, you will be familiar with his penchant for digressing from the main line of action to muse on various tidbits of history, factoids and trivia. In one paragraph he'll be admiring the splendid view from a mountaintop; in the next he's providing an overview of the trail's origins. Some of this information, especially when it pertains to the ecological aspects of the Appalachian Trail, is genuinely fascinating. Bryson is also well-known for his wry and witty observations about virtually everything he encounters: from the exasperating science of shopping for hiking gear, to the shoddy upkeep of certain portions of the trail. Though not as laugh-out-loud funny as some of his other works, there are plenty of moments scattered throughout the book that will inspire a hearty chuckle. He also does an admirable job of conveying the beauty and grandeur, not to mention the less attractive elements, of the Appalachian Trail. Although you never obtain a true sense of actually "being there" from reading his descriptive passages, Bryson nevertheless provides an adequate depiction of what it must feel like to embark on this epic journey.

    There is something agreeably comforting in reading a book by Bryson, who comes across as a friendly, educated, next-door-neighbor type of guy who would make a fine traveling companion. His informal, chatty writing style is ideally suited for a warm, lazy summer's afternoon sitting on the front porch with a glass of lemonade by your side. It's a pleasant, light reading experience that provides equal doses of laughter and insight. Although "A Walk in the Woods" is not particularly romantic, it is affectionate and sentimental in the right places, and may very well inspire me to someday throw on a pair of hiking boots and head off for a little 2,100-mile walk of my own.

    5-0 out of 5 stars You will LOVE this book!, November 18, 1999
    Fair Warning -- do not read this book while commuting - you will be laughing so uncontrolably you will risk being committed by your fellow commuters. I have loaned this book to 3 friends - in each case, the spouse was so intrigued by the constant belly laughs that they also read the book before returning it. One friend bought copies for Christmas presents. The appeal is that universal. I dare say even those with no interest in backpacking or the Appalachian Trail would find the book highly entertaining.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Laughing out loud while I'm riding the train, April 7, 2007
    I'm about 2/3 of the way through this amazing book and have to let everyone know that you need to read this one. I have been reading it during my train commute, grinning from ear to ear, and cackling out loud every few minutes.

    The book alternates between a hilarous telling of a lengthy hike along the Appalachian Trail by the author and his out-of-shape buddy Stephen, and a well-researched description of the AT's construction, history, & ecology. The stories of their hiking-gear research, the author's deathly fear of bears, and their run-ins with neurotic fellow hiker Mary Ellen had me in tears.

    This book ties with "Catch 22" as the funniest I've ever read, just ahead of Palahniuk's "Lullaby".

    3-0 out of 5 stars Half good read, half disappointment, August 30, 2004
    If you are looking for a book that describes the experience of hiking the ENTIRE Applachian Trail (a.k.a. "the AT," per hiking lingo)in a year's time, then do NOT read this book.

    Yep, you read that sentence correctly. This is NOT that kind of book.

    Knowing this one important fact in advance (as the book jacket copy does not disclose this), then you won't be disappointed as I was when I hit the point, midway through the book, when Bryson and Katz, a friend from high school days who decides to accompany Bryson on the AT, make the decision to stop at Front Royal, Virginia, part ways for a few months, and then resume the hike later that same year in Maine's Hundred Miles Wilderness. (They don't even bother to hike the entire segment from the start of the AT to Front Royal, getting into a cab at one point to take them further along the trail.)

    The first half of the book is incredibly funny and educational as Bryson prepares for the hike and begins to learn about the history of the AT. He also begins to face the truth of what it means to make this type of journey. Hiking the entire AT in a year is, after all, not your typical Sunday afternoon hike or 3-day backpacking holiday in the Sierra Mountain range. The piece on the dangers of bears is especially fine writing, and places the issue of bears in the larger context of the wilderness lands that surround us, even in large urban centers. Bryson skillfully weaves current events, history, and anecdotes about the AT.

    However, the quality of the book suffers once Bryson and Katz finish the first part of their great adventure. Bryson's writing almost mirrors the disappointment he must have felt, knowing he wasn't going to finish the trail but still had to complete the writing of this book. The writing in the second half is sketchy and almost haphazard, seemingly written in bits and pieces that lack the loving flow, attention to detail, and story-telling that mark the first half of the book.

    This is my first book by Bryson, and I may pick up another of his books, although I'll probably borrow it from the library rather than buy it. "A Walk in the Woods" is probably best saved for readers who already know Bryson's work from other books and are already-won fans of his writing style. ... Read more

    15. The Lost Dogs: Michael Vick's Dogs and Their Tale of Rescue and Redemption
    by Jim Gorant
    list price: $26.00 -- our price: $17.16
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 1592405509
    Publisher: Gotham
    Sales Rank: 681
    Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    An inspiring story of survival and our powerful bond with man's best friend, in the aftermath of the nation's most notorious case of animal cruelty.

    Animal lovers and sports fans were shocked when the story broke about NFL player Michael Vick's brutal dog fighting operation. But what became of the dozens of dogs who survived? As acclaimed writer Jim Gorant discovered, their story is the truly newsworthy aspect of this case. Expanding on Gorant's Sports Illustrated cover story, The Lost Dogs traces the effort to bring Vick to justice and turns the spotlight on these infamous pit bulls, which were saved from euthanasia by an outpouring of public appeals coupled with a court order that Vick pay nearly a million dollars in "restitution" to the dogs.

    As an ASPCA-led team evaluated each one, they found a few hardened fighters, but many more lovable, friendly creatures desperate for compassion. In The Lost Dogs, we meet these amazing animals, a number of which are now living in loving homes, while some even work in therapy programs: Johnny Justice participates in Paws for Tales, which lets kids get comfortable with reading aloud by reading to dogs; Leo spends three hours a week with cancer patients and troubled teens. At the heart of the stories are the rescue workers who transformed the pups from victims of animal cruelty into healing caregivers themselves, unleashing priceless hope.

    Includes an 8-page photo insert.
    ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars Bravo Jim Gorant!, September 19, 2010
    Once I started reading this book, I was unable to put it down. The only time I put it down was to walk my two pit bull rescues. I read it in a day, and it sent me through a wide range of emotions. There were parts of the book that were very difficult to get through but necessary to understand the monsters that were eventually prosecuted. I do think the book was fair. Vick is a monster, and sorry...he's going to look like a monster even if you are just telling the story from an unbiased point of view. It shows his clear lack of remorse, not from commentary but from Vick's actions following his guilty plea (specifically his court ordered monetary payment for the rehabilitation of the dogs).

    It was fascinating to learn about the legal hoops that law enforcement officers were forced to jump through in the county of Surry. I was unaware of the local politics which leaned toward letting football players display open sociopathic behavior without any threat of arrest. These investigators risked their careers; they are true heroes, and it is nice to know that these tough guys have such a soft spot for our canine best friends. It was also uplifting to hear of a U.S. attorney that cares about animal cruelty. While Vick's gang was a perfect storm of monsters, the investigators, attorneys, veterinarians, legal representatives and rescue organizations that came together afterward were a perfect storm of the best of mankind.

    This book does make me wonder about the NFL in general. Why do we continue to reward criminal behavior with loyal fans? As football season starts, I see college kids walking around with new Vick jerseys. I try to understand that Eagles fans are a loyal breed, but do they have to wear Vick jerseys? I used to think that the Eagles organization should be ashamed of themselves, but now I blame the entire NFL organization. Vick made absolutely no effort to redeem himself following his sentence, and they rewarded him by welcoming him back. That's the negative and it is the part of this story that leads me to sometimes feel anger and disgust...on to the positive...and yes, there is a positive side to this story.

    One of the reasons I felt good after reading this book is that I found myself addicted to reading about the progress these dogs made outside the confines of the prison of a monster. I still am unable to think of Jonny Justice or Leo without laughing, and I'm unable to think of Sweet Jasmine without shedding a tear. At the same time I shed a tear for Sweet Jasmine, I'm so content to know that she found kindness and love in this world.

    One of the biggest surprises I found after reading this book was the feeling I had this morning. I walked my dogs down to the beach where I live in San Diego as I do every morning, and I thought that I would look down on them as they waited for their treats and think about how lucky they are to have a "sucker" like me as their human. Instead, I thought about how lucky I am to have them. This book left me with a peaceful feeling that there are others like me out there who devote a good chunk of their lives to enriching the lives of this sweet, goofy and loyal breed.

    I can't forget to point out that Jim Gorant is another new hero for me. He actually took the time to document this case, and he "gets it". There are portions of the book where he peeks into the mind of what a dog must feel, and it is touching. He also enlightens us on where the money goes with rescue organizations, and he shines a light on organizations that wanted nothing to do with saving these dogs; they just wanted a sound bite on CNN (I'm talking to you PETA!!!). Gorant is just an excellent writer; his descriptions of these dogs and their goofy behavior hit close to home with me. So Bravo Mr. Gorant. Excellent job.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Riveting and heartwarming, September 18, 2010
    This book was a great read. Thorough, smart journalism combined with true crime and a beautiful story of salvation. No dog lover should miss this, but it's quite compelling reading for anyone. Well researched, well reported and well written, it moves along at a good clip, carrying you with it. Even non-dog lovers will be engrossed and moved, at parts hiding their eyes, at others cheering out loud. I love books like this.

    5-0 out of 5 stars best dog book since Shiloh, September 17, 2010
    I haven't felt this way about a dog story since I was a 9 year old reading Shiloh. The only difference is this story actually happened, and reality really kicks you in the butt. While the ugliness of the story is hard to digest at times, Gorant give care in detailing the heroics of the protagonists, as they relentlessly shuffle through legal proceedings and irritable sports fans. The dedication of the investigative team was astounding, as they spent every last hour of their days and every penny from their own pockets in order to save these awesome dogs. I see a movie in the future.

    Gorant made it clear that the only reason why dog fighting still exists is because apathetic government officials want an easy job. This book, and the Vick case in general, exposes all the behind-the-scenes nastiness of not only dog fighting, but bureaucracy. It's about time that these macho phonies got more than a slap on the wrist, and my hope is this book will capture enough publicity to pressure local and federal governments to grow a pair and treat dog fighters like the murderers and rapists that they truely are.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written and forthright, September 18, 2010
    This book shows how some people's acts of cruelty can be overcome by acts of love and hope for these innocent souls who rely on humans to care for, love and protect them. Although some of the details are very difficult to read, I think it's important to inform the public about all of the details surrounding the Vick case. The author puts you right there in the mind and broken spirit of these innocent, helpless dogs. It's beautifully written and I highly recommend it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Brilliant tribute, September 25, 2010
    Jim Gorant has written a brilliant tribute to the courageous Vick dogs and the kind and generous people who helped them. At all times even handed, Jim Gorant's skill as a writer and journalist shines throughout the text. He shows us which people did their best to prevent justice for the dogs and which fought to make it happen. The dedication of the dogs' advocates is inspiring and will, hopefully, motivate more people to take up the gauntlet to defend other pit bulls rescued from dog fighting kennels.

    The thing that struck me the most, however, was the resiliance of the dogs. Coming first from a "home" devoid of any form of socialization and stimulation, transferred to shelters where they languished for months in often equally barren environments, many of the dogs went on to earn their Canine Good Citizen and/or therapy dog certificates and a couple even passed the American Temperament Testing Society test. I know from personal experience that this test requires a dog to have a very sound temperament to pass.

    I agree 100% that Michael Vick's deeds are dispicable and the National Football League needs to take a long, hard look at its values, but in many ways the very survival and success of the dogs has transcended Michael Vick and make any successes he has on the football field irrelevant and shallow in comparison. By overcoming their fears and learning to live life as loving and well loved dogs, the pitties are the winners in every way.

    There is one section of the book that haunts me. Gorant writes: "One experienced law officer estimates that 80 percent of the dogs, even those raised in a professional fighting operation, won't even scratch. That is, they won't even cross the line and engage the other dog." (pg. 19) If this is even remotely true, this makes pit bulls more of a victim that ever. That this breed, profoundly friendly to people, can have a reputation as vicious killers when the vast majority of them want nothing to do with bloodshed is a travesty.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Powerful reading, September 23, 2010
    I bought this book thinking it would be about the dogs and how they were doing right now. I soon realized how short-sided my thinking was. You have to know in full sordid detail where the dogs came from to fully appreciate where they are now. I cried through the entire first half of the book. I stopped there and had to share the horrors I read about with fellow dog lovers. When I picked it up again, I cried some more, mostly happy tears but tears the same. The book is so well written, fair, and factual. I learned a lot more about what happened and the wonderful people who helped make things happen for these dogs. Pit lover or not, I challenge anyone to read this book and not have their heartbroken by the unspeakable cruelties these dogs and many more like them have endured.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Finally, some GOOD press about Pit Bulls, September 18, 2010
    ...good being relative here...

    Surprisingly insightful--especially the parts from the dog's viewpoint. I felt it.

    I wish I could say it will change a lot of minds about Pit Bulls, but likely those who read it are already drinking that kool-aid. I hope Mr Gorant considers a follow-up book on Pit Bulls in general; he writes with subtle-but-great empathy for the breed, and they need all the help they can get these days.

    Highly recommended!

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Must Read Book, September 20, 2010
    I felt so many emotions while reading this book.Anger,Tears,Laughing at
    the antics of Jonny and Leo.It beautifuly written.Thank you Jim Gorant
    for bringing this book to us.I don't keep many of the books I read.I will
    keep this one.As for Vick he should had served a longer sentence than he
    did.He should never been allowed back on a football field again.Vick
    you rememember what you did to that little dog? You deserve the same.
    What goes around comes around.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Book!, September 23, 2010
    I finished reading this book last night & I must say it was a wonderful book but very hard to read. I read the book in 3 nights & cried every night after putting it down. It is very well written & you feel like you know these dogs by the end of the book. It was very heart wrenching but at the same time it gave you inspiration to know that there are such fantastic people out there who give up so much to help rehabilitate these dogs. I truly believe there is a special place in heaven for these people. I highly recommend this book & want to applaud Jim Gorant for an outstanding job.

    This is my favorite quote from Senator Robert Byrd, who passed away at age 92.

    From a stirring speech in 2007 where he condemned dog fighting:

    "The immortal Dante tells us that Divine Justice reserves special places in hell for certain categories of sinners. I am confident that the hottest places in hell are reserved for ...the souls of sick and brutal people who hold God's creatures in such brutal and cruel contempt."

    As sickened as I am to see Michael Vick back playing football in the NFL, I know that he and other people who treat animals with such hatred will one day get what they deserve. Our God is a fair and just God and I feel very confident that Vick will come face to face with what he has done.

    God Bless all of those who help rescue & shine light on the innocent animals that cannot stand up for themselves.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Kudos to Jim Gorant..., September 17, 2010
    I haven't read the book yet because it's not released, but have read all the advance reviews (which are all raves) and viewed the related videos. I've followed this case closely from the outset, and am grateful to Jim Gorant for his insightful Sports Illustrated article and now this book that shares with us the ongoing recovering of these wonderful dogs. I have two pit bull mix dogs myself and they are great companions, wonderful with kids and other dogs, and just plain fun to have around.

    As for Michael Vick, well I think we all know, even if he doesn't, that there's a special circle in hell reserved just for him and other animal fighters/abusers. I watched the Vick "rehab" interviews when he got out of jail, and saw not one shred of genuine regret for what he did. Just regret that he "upset people" and "had to go to jail." Keep your eye on him, he's going to screw up again, I think we can count on it.

    Shame on the NFL for permitting him back in the league. I'm boycotting football until that sports organization can get their act back together with some baisc moral standards -- like not fighting dogs, not running interstate gambling rings, not beating up women... you know, the basics! What a lously example they set for kids with how they handled the Vick case, shame on them. ... Read more

    16. Between a Rock and a Hard Place
    by Aron Ralston
    Paperback (2005-08-30)
    list price: $15.00 -- our price: $10.20
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 074349282X
    Publisher: Atria
    Sales Rank: 689
    Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    One of the most extraordinary survival stories ever told -- Aron Ralston's searing account of his six days trapped in one of the most remote spots in America, and how one inspired act of bravery brought him home.

    It started out as a simple hike in the Utah canyonlands on a warm Saturday afternoon. For Aron Ralston, a twenty-seven-year-old mountaineer and outdoorsman, a walk into the remote Blue John Canyon was a chance to get a break from a winter of solo climbing Colorado's highest and toughest peaks. He'd earned this weekend vacation, and though he met two charming women along the way, by early afternoon he finally found himself in his element: alone, with just the beauty of the natural world all around him.

    It was 2:41 P.M. Eight miles from his truck, in a deep and narrow slot canyon, Aron was climbing down off a wedged boulder when the rock suddenly, and terrifyingly, came loose. Before he could get out of the way, the falling stone pinned his right hand and wrist against the canyon wall.

    And so began six days of hell for Aron Ralston. With scant water and little food, no jacket for the painfully cold nights, and the terrible knowledge that he'd told no one where he was headed, he found himself facing a lingering death -- trapped by an 800-pound boulder 100 feet down in the bottom of a canyon. As he eliminated his escape options one by one through the days, Aron faced the full horror of his predicament: By the time any possible search and rescue effort would begin, he'd most probably have died of dehydration, if a flash flood didn't drown him before that.

    What does one do in the face of almost certain death? Using the video camera from his pack, Aron began recording his grateful good-byes to his family and friends all over the country, thinking back over a life filled with adventure, and documenting a last will and testament with the hope that someone would find it. (For their part, his family and friends had instigated a major search for Aron, the amazing details of which are also documented here for the first time.) The knowledge of their love kept Aron Ralston alive, until a divine inspiration on Thursday morning solved the riddle of the boulder. Aron then committed the most extreme act imaginable to save himself.

    Between a Rock and a Hard Place -- a brilliantly written, funny, honest, inspiring, and downright astonishing report from the line where death meets life -- will surely take its place in the annals of classic adventure stories. ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars Compelling, riveting tale of survival and human strength
    I agree with the last reviewer. The fact that Aron Ralston used poor judgment, i.e. hiking alone and not telling anyone where he was, only makes his story more compelling. Hasn't everyone made a huge mistake that leads to a painful, regretful plight?
    Calling the media sensationalistic,in this instance, is just plain silly--amputing one's arm in order to save one's life IS a sensational, highly unusual event. I don't think the media or Aron is making it anything more than what it was. The charge that Aron is self-promoting is just as ridiculous. After you read the book, you will see that Ralston is a humble person with great integrity and strength. He is simply telling his own, true, unbelievable story. Bottomline, this book is incredibly well-written, moving and not to be missed.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Must-read literature
    Aron's story is intelligent, sincere, warm and at many times, funny. As amazing as the story of his ordeal is, what is nearly as amazing is that something this well-written was created by the person it involved, not a ghost writer. It is nothing short of fine literature, not to mention an obviously compelling story.

    Aron inspires us all. He shows us that a motivated person can save himself, and that the force of life can beat unbelievable odds against the force of death. ... Read more

    17. Back to Basics: A Complete Guide to Traditional Skills, Third Edition
    Hardcover (2008-04-17)
    list price: $24.95 -- our price: $16.47
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 1602392331
    Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing
    Sales Rank: 838
    Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    Over 100,000 sold! Now newly revised and up to date, with over 2,000 color photographs and illustrations.Anyone who wants to learn basic living skills—the kind employed by our forefathers—and adapt them for a better life in the twenty-first century need look no further than this eminently useful, full-color guide. Countless readers have turned to Back to Basics for inspiration and instruction, escaping to an era before power saws and fast food restaurants and rediscovering the pleasures and challenges of a healthier, greener, and more self-sufficient lifestyle.

    Now newly updated, the hundreds of projects, step-by-step sequences, photographs, charts, and illustrations in Back to Basics will help you dye your own wool with plant pigments, graft trees, raise chickens, craft a hutch table with hand tools, and make treats such as blueberry peach jam and cheddar cheese. The truly ambitious will find instructions on how to build a log cabin or an adobe brick homestead. More than just practical advice, this is also a book for dreamers—even if you live in a city apartment you will find your imagination sparked, and there's no reason why you can't, for example, make a loom and weave a rag rug. Complete with tips for old-fashioned fun (square dancing calls, homemade toys, and kayaking tips), this may be the most thorough book on voluntary simplicity available. 2,000 color photos and 200 black-and-white illustrations
    ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars A traditional skills primer.
    A primer on self-reliance and rural skills, this is a large-format book of 456 pages lavishly illustrated with photographs and drawings, about half in full color. Here are 57 subjects, many with subsets, as in gardening, which includes information on soil, cultivation methods, making and using a greenhouse, and specific information on many veggies, herbs, fruits. Some presentations are simplistic, like telling you how to find and evaluate a farm or can produce in only four pages. Building and using a smokehouse gets one page. Using dairy products butters ten pages. Woodworking and furniture making nail down thirty pages. Build and decorate a house and the chairs, tables, beds to furnish it. Build a springhouse, a dam, a well, a water system. Grow vegetables, fruits, grains. Raise bees, fish, chickens, ducks, geese, rabbits, hogs, sheep, goats, cows, horses. Make cheese, maple syrup, beer, wine, bread, soap, candles, baskets. Cook with wood. Spin yarn, use natural dyes, make cloth, quilts, rugs, hammocks. Learn tanning and leather work, tinsmithing, blacksmithing, toolmaking. Celebrate harvest and holidays with traditional decorations, recipes, toys, games, dances. Learn camping, hiking, fishing, canoeing, snowshoeing, skiing. Whew! This book will keep you happily occupied for several decades.

    5-0 out of 5 stars back to basics
    i was given this book over 15 years ago. it has become my "bible" for basic skills. we refer to this book at least once a week for advice and instruction - and always manage to find what we're looking for! it does more than touch on subjects! you get in-depth instructions with pictures to guide you through such things as building a foundation and canning your own garden goods. my copy is well-worn from much use! i treasure this book and all the things i've learned from it. for those out there who wish to live more self-sufficiently, you must have this book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Best of Basics...
    This was a really interesting book and I got a whole more than I expected. This book covers all kinds of traditional skills from chopping wood, building houses, plowing fields, food preparation, and so on. Just about anything you can imagine on everyday life skills from days long gone.

    The bonus part to this was that it included a lot of modern day adaptations and applications for these skills. It could be a useful how-to manual for those that want to live a more simple life. It also includes a description of alternate eco-friendly fuel sources

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Wealth of Practical Information

    My grandparents owned the first edition of this book years ago and I read it almost every time I was over at their house. When I saw it was updated, I bought my own copy. This is a how-to tome par excellence! In these pages you can learn to go far toward practical self sufficiency. Just about anything and everything you could ever seek to know regarding hands-on survival skills is explained inside this book. It's useful information for everyday life and a potential lifesaver in times of crisis. In here you can learn how to start fires under any weather conditions, make your own shoes from scratch, build furniture, houses, boats, find out how to raise animals, grow gardens and survive diasters. I feel more confident in my ability to get by in almost any situation than I did before I re-discovered this pragmatic classic. Knowledge, as they say, is power.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great book
    Not a step-by step guide, but usually has enough info on a particular subject to get you started. Some topic are covered in detail, like making braided rugs, while others understandably are only given a cursory review, such as building construction.

    Tons of topics, with enough info to get you headed in the right direction for most, but you'll obviously want to get more detailed info on any of the more complex tasks they descibe. ... Read more

    18. Bike Snob: Systematically & Mercilessly Realigning the World of Cycling
    list price: $16.95 -- our price: $11.53
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0811869989
    Publisher: Chronicle Books
    Sales Rank: 508
    Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Cycling is exploding in a good way. Urbanites everywhere, from ironic hipsters to earth-conscious commuters, are taking to the bike like aquatic mammals to water. BikeSnobNYC cycling's most prolific, well-known, hilarious, and anonymous blogger brings a fresh and humorous perspective to the most important vehicle to hit personal transportation since the horse. Bike Snob treats readers to a laugh-out-loud rant and rave about the world of bikes and their riders, and offers a unique look at the ins and outs of cycling, from its history and hallmarks to its wide range of bizarre practitioners. Throughout, the author lampoons the missteps, pretensions, and absurdities of bike culture while maintaining a contagious enthusiasm for cycling itself. Bike Snob is an essential volume for anyone who knows, is, or wants to become a cyclist. ... Read more


    4-0 out of 5 stars Great to see "The Snob" in book form, May 1, 2010
    The Bike Snob writes a wickedly funny blog poking holes in practically every pretension in the cycling world. His blog careens unexpectedly between the worlds of pro cycling, hipsters, fixed gear bikes, Craigslist ads and the indignity of bike commuting (especially in New York). He never runs out of targets -- the studied poses of various cycling subcultures has given him an unending stream of targets.

    In print -- both in his columns in Bicycling Magazine, and now in this book -- he's a bit toned done. In order to reach a broader audience, his writing is a little more accessible, with fewer self-referential, super-inside jokes that propel the humor in his blog. In print, the satire is still there, but the very sharpest edges have been softened a bit.

    What's left is a still-funny survey of the world of bicycling in America -- from a brief history of cycling, to a tour of the various cycling subcultures, to some guidance on how to perform basic bike maintenance tasks. The Snob also addresses the "real world" of urban cycling today: what it's like to try to control your temper when a car nearly kills you in traffic, or how to stay warm and dry in a winter rain. And although The Snob avoids organized "bicycle advocacy" efforts (and explains why in his book), he manages to deliver some solid pro-bicycle messages of his own: "Telling cyclists to get out of the road is like telling women to get of the voting booth and go back into the kitchen, or telling Japanese-American people to 'Go back to China.' The ignorance inherent in the statement is almost more offensive than the sentiment behind it."

    While he's at it, he tries to knock some sense into cyclists themselves -- questioning the sanity of riding brakeless track bikes on the street, for example, and poking fun at the marketing-driven compulsion of "roadies" to endlessly upgrade their bikes (especially those that are most likely to get stolen anyway).

    Some overall themes that emerge are encouraging to the newcomer ("get out and ride"), while persuading the cycling-obsessed to take themselves (and their bikes) a bit less seriously. (He holds a special disdain for "bicycle fetishists" who are more focused on their gear than on riding: "They keep their bicycles clean all the time, they fear scratches like they're herpes, and they don't ever ride in the their bikes won't get dirty or rusty. They're like the people who collect toys but don't remove them from the package so as not to diminish their value." )

    The book is a must-buy for fans of the blog, and great gift for the cyclist in your family.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Fun on two wheelz!, May 10, 2010
    I don't read BikeSnobNYC's blog, and the few times I've checked it out it was a little too all over the place for me to really get into.

    The Bike Snob book, on the other hand, is nearly as much fun as riding itself. It's relatively brief but will leave you satisfied with a solid little knowledge of the history of bicycles and bicycle-related subcultures, why to do certain things and not other things on/with your bike, and how to maximize the fun (and utility) of cycling.

    BikeSnobNYC is enormously clever, makes plenty of fun similes ranging from spot-on ("In a lot of ways, being a cyclist is like being a vampire. ... Both cyclists and vampires are cultural outcasts with cult followings who clumsily walk the line between cool and dorky.") to a hilarious stretch ("The Urban Cyclist is one of the very few groups of cyclists among whom cigarette smoking is not only acceptable but considered "cool," which is sort of like being really into performance cars but driving around with rags shoved up your tailpipe."), and overall just seems like a good guy. He has clearly thought about every in and out of cycling more than pretty much anyone, and really does make some strong arguments for being conscientious about your life with a bicycle, as well as life in general.

    The author isn't out to make you feel stupid, or to give you a step-by-step on how to become a bike snob. He doesn't have any brands or particular types of bikes to push (although you've got some explaining to do if you ride with handlebars chopped more narrow than your own hips). He seems genuinely interested in getting more people on bikes, and the people who are already on bikes to be on their bikes more often. Overall it's just a very enjoyable read, and will encourage you to bike more and to think more.

    My only complaint is that the included stickers are not very waterproof. Where would I stick one but on my down tube?

    5-0 out of 5 stars I Loved It!!, May 25, 2010
    I'm a big fan of his blog, but this was a real surprise to me. Very funny of course, but much , much more. A real love letter to cycling, with an historical perspective and just a fun read from beginning to end. You'll end up loving the Snob and being more motivated than ever before to just ride. The Bikesnob uses cycling as a metaphor for life, and his view of life is witty, funny and profound.

    5-0 out of 5 stars An ode to bicycling, not bicycles., June 20, 2010
    This book is not a reprisal of BikeSnobNYC's blog. It is a book that is made possible by the blog, and it is a book that many people have tried to write, but few have succeeded in riding the thin line between advocacy and obnoxiousness.

    In his blog BikeSnobNYC, has poked fun at all aspects of bicycling subculture for many years. This has earned him a broad and somewhat eclectic following. His writing on the blog is rapier-sharp, but it far toned-down in the book, which is apparently aimed at a wider audience.

    This book basically tells why BikeSnob thinks cycling is great; what cycling is all about; and a little bit about how to enjoy life and not get killed on the street.

    As a cyclist myself, and a semi-regular reader of BikeSnob's blog, I enjoyed the book immensely. But beyond, that, this is the type of book I would give to my non-cycling friends who just need a little nudge to get them on a two-wheeler of their own.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Required reading for your loved ones, June 9, 2010
    Here it it, everyone's favourite bicycle blog in the hardcover bookway.

    As a long time reader of Bikesnob, I ordered the book not sure what to expect, the hyperlinked format of a blog does not intuitively translate well in printed form. I was pleasantly surprised.

    This book is essential reading for the loved ones of every bike-nerd. It helps explain why we ride to an audience that doesn't.

    Although slightly NY-centric, the book has mass-appeal and is easy to read (in a good, readable way, not in a special-ed way).

    I actually think that several chapters should be required reading for all learner drivers and driver's ed students.

    If you can actually get your wife/girlfriend/partner/helper-monkey to read it, you will not regret it..

    3-0 out of 5 stars OK Bicycle humor, November 8, 2010
    A humor book offering social commentary on the opinions & attitudes of different groups of cyclists (Roadie, Mountain Biker, etc). The author makes clever observations on human kind he expresses in colorful & memorable characterizations ("If you're unfamiliar with the newspaper, it's something people used to read before the internet. Basically it was like reading a giant tablecloth . . ."). While lewd comments are a tradition in humor going back to Chaucer the author mentions pornography, sex and genitals a little more frequently than is necessary. After reading the introduction a woman I know was put off and did not read further. At the very least this is a book for guys.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Ignore all sub-5 star reviews, June 7, 2010
    A wonderful book, it fills a huge gap that nobody else could or would have filled...and if they'd tried, it wouldn't have succeeded nearly as well. It's not a book of facts, though there are facts in it, and although it's billed as a book-o-rants, it's way more than that, I'd say.

    If you take it sentence by sentence or section by section, you won't fully appreciate its contribution, which is that here, now, in the midst of sharply dilineated cycling factions, against each other as much as we are against the non-cycling world, BikeSnob shakes us all by the shoulders, gently slaps our faces to get us to snap out of it, and says "Look at what you're doing and laugh at yourself and reexamine everything you think about the totem pole of bike riders."

    It is funny, but not trying-too-hard funny, and that's a tough little tiny dot to hit. Eben comes off as casual, one of us, but has a way with words that belies his mid-30s age and his authorookieship. He has a style, it's polished, and I like it a lot. It's a cheap book--$16.95. You'll get many times that out of it in a new personal and global bike perspective, information, and entertainment. A whopping success, I'd say.


    5-0 out of 5 stars Sofa King Funny, November 19, 2010
    Plainly, if you like the blog, the book is a bonus. The Bike Snob put real effort into 'crafting' this book: It's well written (a clear voice), the writing is humorous with insight (substantive material), and the book itself is noticeably constructed in a way that doesn't suck (It's a hardcover with a high-quality binding; the paper and page design is also notable).

    I think readers transitioning from the blog will appreciate this book and find it worth the cash.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great writing!, November 17, 2010
    I've read the first 60 pages and it's just great. Lots of insight into the cycling world and very creative writing. If you know a cyclist, this would be a great gift.

    5-0 out of 5 stars great blog, great book, November 11, 2010
    I've been reading his blog for a long time now...the book is right there with the same wit, humor and quality. Love me some BSNYC ... Read more

    19. Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster
    by Jon Krakauer
    Paperback (1999-10-19)
    list price: $15.00 -- our price: $10.20
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0385494785
    Publisher: Anchor
    Sales Rank: 1033
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    A bank of clouds was assembling on the not-so-distant horizon, but journalist-mountaineer Jon Krakauer, standing on the summit of Mt. Everest, saw nothing that "suggested that a murderous storm was bearing down." He was wrong. The storm, which claimed five lives and left countless more--including Krakauer's--in guilt-ridden disarray, would also provide the impetus for Into Thin Air, Krakauer's epic account of the May 1996 disaster

    By writing Into Thin Air, Krakauer may have hoped to exorcise some of his own demons and lay to rest some of the painful questions that still surround the event. He takes great pains to provide a balanced picture of the people and events he witnessed and gives due credit to the tireless and dedicated Sherpas. He also avoids blasting easy targets such as Sandy Pittman, the wealthy socialite who brought an espresso maker along on the expedition. Krakauer's highly personal inquiry into the catastrophe provides a great deal of insight into what went wrong. But for Krakauer himself, further interviews and investigations only lead him to the conclusion that his perceived failures were directly responsible for a fellow climber's death. Clearly, Krakauer remains haunted by the disaster, and although he relates a number of incidents in which he acted selflessly and even heroically, he seems unable to view those instances objectively. In the end, despite his evenhanded and even generous! assessment of others' actions, he reserves a full measure of vitriol for himself.This updated trade paperback edition of Into Thin Air includes an extensive new postscript that sheds fascinating light on the acrimonious debate that flared between Krakauer and Everest guide Anatoli Boukreev in the wake of the tragedy."I have no doubt that Boukreev's intentions were good on summit day," writes Krakauer in the postscript, dated August 1999. "What disturbs me, though, was Boukreev's refusal to acknowledge the possibility that he made even a single poor decision. Never did he indicate that perhaps it wasn't the best choice to climb without gas or go down ahead of his clients." As usual, Krakauer supports his points with dogged research and a good dose of humility. But rather than continue the heated discourse that has raged since Into Thin Air's denouncement of guide Boukreev, Krakauer's tone is conciliatory; he points most of his criticism at G. Weston De Walt, who coauthored, The Climb, Boukreev's version of events. And in a touching conclusion, Krakauer re!counts his last conversation with the late Boukreev, in which the two weathered climbers agreed to disagree about certain points. Krakauer had great hopes to patch things up with Boukreev, but the Russian later died in an avalanche on another Himalayan peak, Annapurna I. In 1999, Krakauer received an Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters-a prestigious prize intended "to honor writers of exceptional accomplishment."According to the Academy's citation, "Krakauer combines the tenacity and courage of the finest tradition of investigative journalism with the stylish subtlety and profound insight of the born writer.His account of an ascent of Mount Everest has led to a general reevaluation of climbing and of the commercialization of what was once a romantic, solitary sport; while his account of the life and death of Christopher McCandless, who died of starvation after challenging the Alaskan wilderness, delves even more deeply and disturbingly into the fascination of nature and the devastating effects of its lure on a young and curious mind." ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars A Classic Tale
    I first read "Into Thin Air" right after it was first published five years ago. It haunted me at the time, and it continues to do so today. By now, the story has been told so many times and by so many different people that it hard to remember that Krakauer's original account is the one that made it famous to begin with. Were it not for his incredible abilities as a storyteller, it is doubtful that anyone outside the world of mountaineering would remember what happened at the peak of Everest in that fateful May of 1996.

    Krakauer's account is so compelling because it reads like a book length confession, which it is in a sense. The author worked through his very considerable feelings of survivor's guilt in the book's pages. His descriptions and not inconsiderable opinions have become legendary. For example, how many people read of AOL Chairman Robert Pittman's recent outster from the company and remembered him as the husband of Sandra Hill Pittman, who personified the rich amature climber who buys their way to the top of the world's tallest peak and who has no business being there? Krakauer's descriptions of Mrs. Pittman on the mountain are an example of his simple but devastating observations.

    Krakauer's highly readable prose make the book read like fiction, probably another reason why it was so popular. He signed on for the Everest climb intending to write a standard mountaineering magazine article. That he chose the fateful May 1996 climb is simply a rare case of someone being at the wrong place at precisely the right time. Though it caused him plenty of personal torment, it also allowed him to write a story for the ages.

    Overall, "Into Thin Air" fantastic storytelling make it one of the best non-fiction books published in the last decade or so.

    Having never understood why people climb mountains, and after seeing Beck Weathers on television last year, I bought INTO THIN AIR in order to gain more insight. Krakauer delivered.

    Have some time on your hands, because once you begin reading Jon's story depicting the turn of events throughout his journey on Everest in the Spring of '96, you won't be able to stop reading until you've read the last word in his book. This account of summitting Everest is a page turner even though the outcome is old news. It will leave you wanting to know more about other attempts made on Everest, both failed and successful.

    For those who don't understand why on earth anyone would want to do something as dangerous as climbing "Into Thin Air" on rock and ice ... this book answers that curiosity. Because Jon introduces his readers to the backgrounds and personalities of the main characters in his book, we can better comprehend the different reasons people spend thousands of dollars and two or more months of their lives in "hell" on a mountain - freezing and injured - 'just to get to the top'. We learn through Krakauer why they continue their ascent even though the conditions are pure torture and more life threatening with each step; why they don't give it up once they've lost feeling in their extremities, separated their ribs, lost their vision, can no longer breathe due to oxygen depleted air, why they don't turn back even when they see the dead who've attempted to reach the summit on prior expeditions. You'll understand because of Krakauer's talent as a writer ... his ability to replay his emotions, his thoughts, his experiences, and his opinions through writing.

    You'll feel the frigid wind, the snow, the ice, the pain, the desperation, the sorrow, the regrets. The "if only's" will torture your soul just as they have and continue to torture Jon's.

    He writes in such a way you will have no choice other than to join him on that mountain. You'll meet and get to know the members and guides of Rob Hall's team as well as Scott Fischer, his guides, and some of his team members whom you will respect even though you may not like. Unfortunately, not everyone on the mountain was a "good guy" ... you'll be livid thanks to the danger the teams encounter due to the inexperience, egos, arrogance, and ruthlessness of the few "bad apples".

    For the survivors, Jon's book is an avenue in which fathers, husbands, wives, sons, daughters, and other loved ones are portrayed as the heroes they were. Although some of the deceased's relatives were upset with Krakauer, it will seem unjust because of the respectful way in which he depicts his fellow mountaineers and the Sherpas.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Page by Page Suspense
    Even if you already know the story of the deadly Mt. Everest expeditions of 1996, you will appreciate Jon Krakauer's own first person account of the Adventure Consultants and the Mountain Madness groups. Both of these expeditions were led by well-seasoned Everest climbers---Rob Hall from New Zealand and Scott Fischer from the States--and had the aid of expert guides, Sherpas from Nepal and "outsiders". But we soon find that even these experienced people are not immune from the human frailties of greed, denial and self-serving. Those Achilles' heels will cause both expeditions to completely fall apart. At the same time, human error combined with the unforgiving terrors of high altitude climbing sets the scene for heroism in many of the climbers and crew.

    Krakauer, a journalist who signed on with Hall's expedition to do a story for Outside magazine, doesn't disappoint as weaver of a tale. I took the book everywhere with me while reading it, always eager to find out what would happen next.

    If a book that explores deftly our desire to reach an unreachable summit appeals to you....especially when that book does not shy away from the tragedy caused when the desire to reach it undoes common sense and humanity....I highly recommend "Into Thin Air."

    5-0 out of 5 stars How to tell the truth at 29,000 feet
    By and large, the negative reviews posted here have little to do with the quality of this book and almost everything to do with the presumed character of the writer, Jon Krakauer. Similarly, those who dislike Krakauer's Into the Wild tend to focus their judgment of the book's worth on their own feelings regarding the essay's subject, Christopher McCandless, the young man who traveled the Western United States and Mexico for two years before perishing in Alaska. I read Krakauer differently. I am not interested in Krakauer's liberal politics, his emotional instability, and variable maturity. I am not interested in whether he portrays the absolute truth in his account of the 1996 Mt. Everest disaster for the simple fact that I don't believe the truth can be told. Writing is a very poor substitute for a frostbitten finger or a hypoxic head. All we have is Krakauer's writing, so let's look at what he does as a writer.

    Krakauer is a sensationalist journalist, and since he reports on dangerous and near-death experiences regularly, he really can't help being grandiose and spectacular. The subject of his writing demands that he ratchet up the emotional power of his style and word choice. And let's be honest--don't we, as readers, demand it of him as well? Don't we want a voyeuristic and graphic account, where the size, the shape, and the smell of death seem to lift from the pages? Who wants to read about a mountain climbing disaster sans the emotion and the ego it takes to put one's self unnecessarily into such perilous situations?

    Perhaps some readers want a quiet truth about what happened on the mountain, but this is to ask the impossible since every climber is guaranteed to have a different story and different perceptions of similar experiences--none of which are altogether true and none of which are altogether lies. And when he/she goes to tell about it, pieces of reality will inevitably be missed and left forgotten on the mountain. Emotions will well up and color an event with bias. Egos will peek from behind a boulder and whisper truths and nonsense.

    No writer can make sense of all of that, but Krakauer has tried, and largely succeeded, to give the reader an idea of what it was like on Mt. Everest in late spring 1996. He may or may not have retraced every path exactly, but he acts as a good guide. He welcomes the reader to disagree with him and simultaneously makes a bold and convincing case. He admits a myriad of his own mistakes and points out the mistakes of others. I'm impressed mostly with the balanced feel of his account. For example, much is made of Krakauer's portrayal of Anatoli Boukreev's actions on the mountain. Those who read Krakauer as blaming Boukreev for the deaths of some climbers must not have closely read the many times Krakauer praises Boukreev's numerous heroic actions. By telling of both the shameful and heroic actions of Boukreev--all told from Krakauer's self-admitted hypoxic state--I find that Krakauer achieves a kind of truth about both Boukreev and himself.

    In the end, for me, the book is about how truth changes states: It's solid and reliable when you start to climb Mt. Everest. And then you climb too high, and the truth becomes slippery and liquid; you're not quite sure and you're not quite in doubt. And then sometimes, the truth changes to a gas, a gyre of contradictions--the terrible beauty of chaos, which you'll never completely remember or entirely forget.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Thrilling and Unforgettable
    I found Into Thin Air, as well as Krakauer's excellent Into the Wild, to be two of the most gripping, emotional, unforgettable reads of my life. Into Thin Air tells a fascinating story of hardship, tragedy, heroism and perhaps lack of respect for nature, and unlike virtually all books of the genre the author was there, suffering through the storm and watching his comrades fall. Sebastian Junger, in his compelling book The Perfect Storm, pieced together information to try and imagine what it was like on the Andrea Gail out in the North Atlantic. Krakauer was actually on the summit of Everest in May 1996, and he takes the reader on one helluva ride.

    Most of you who have gotten this far in the reviews knows the basic premise. Krakauer was sent to Everest by Outside magazine to join New Zealand guide Ron Hall's expeedition in the spring of 1996. He was there to write an expose about how anyone who is reasonably in shape, has some (and not a lot) of climbing experience, and who can fork over more than $60,000 could be taken to the summit of Everest while Sherpas and yaks carried most of your supplies, cooked your meals, and carried you when you collapsed. One climber even brought an espresso machine. He also wanted to comment on how Everest has become a virtual junk yard, with empty oxygen cannisters strewn all over the face of the mountain.

    What he found changed his life forever. Krakauer was caught up in a deadly storm, that appeared virtually "out of thin air", leaving members of his and other teams stranded on the summit and on Hillary Step (a ledge just below the summit) with little chance of making it down. The story is gripping, suspenseful and ultimately deeply moving. The reader may think humans, especially those with pregnant wives at home, have no business at the summit of Everest, but you cannot help being deeply moved as you read about Rob Hall talking to his wife on the other side of the world, via satellite phone, to discuss the name of their unborn child while Hall is stranded on the mountain. The book kept me up nights as few others ever have.

    A point about the "feud" with Anatoli Boukreev is worth mentioning, since, in my opinion, this has been blown out of proportion by others. Krakauer recognizes that each climber has his own way of doing things, but he took some shots at the Mountain Madness expedition led by Scott Fischer, and at his guide Boukreev in particular, for climbing without supplemental oxygen and for descending ahead of the group's clients. I think he made some good points there. Boukreev was no doubt a great climber, and his death in an avalanche the next year makes the whole debate a little pointless, but I think a client if I were to fork over $60,000 I have the right to expect that the guide will be out on the mountain with me as I descend, not warming up in the hut drinking tea. Boukreev is credited by Krakauer with a heroic trip back up the mountain during a blizzard to reach Fischer, and he may have been told earlier by Fischer to descend (we'll never know for sure), but those tactics are surely open to debate. Some reviewers here on Amazon have taken personal shots at Krakauer's actions during the storm, but he was no paid guide, and he rightfully takes some blame himself in his book for abandoning Beck Weathers and for giving some false info to the family of one of his guides, Andy Harris that added to the confusion in those first days of the incident.

    In any event, if you want to get caught up in the whole Krakauer v. Boukreev debate, be my guest - you can read both of their accounts of what happened on that fateful trip. For my money, Krakauer's account is the definitive, well-written story, which should at the very least be used as a starting point for anyone interested in the 1996 Everest tragedy. And for most people (like myself) with little or no interest in climbing, read Into Thin Air on its own as a gripping, unforgettable account of a very public tragedy which you will not soon forget.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Getting up is easy, the hard part is getting down
    Jon Krakauer takes you for a front seat ride up the deadly slopes of Mount Everest, during the notoriously deadly expedition of May 1996. Barely escaping the mountain with his own life, journalist Krakauer remembers the team members and friends left on the mountain. Four out of eleven members died on the fatal mountain.

    Inch by weary inch, step by shivering step, Krakauer takes us on his journey up Everest and introduces us to the members of his team. This book is so well written that you can feel the oxygen depravation and the cold, and are left feeling the personal loss of lives you come to know and care about as fully fleshed out people.

    He brings to life the real concerns of guided ascents up Everest, the use of oxygen by guides, the inexperience of people who pay mega-bucks to be escorted to the world's highest peak, the state of mind that thin air brings to the human mind, and the accomplishments and follies of those who attempt such an extra-ordinary feat.

    The book includes a map, eight pages of glossy black and white photos, some dark pictures leading into every chapter, blurbs from different publications that lead each chapter, a bibliography, and an extensive postscript answering some outstanding issues that arose in DeWalt's account of the same ascent called 'The Climb'.

    This is one of the best non-fiction books I've read in a long time. The story is compelling and the telling is honest. Krakauer speaks of his survival guilt with open poignancy and candor. He passes over his own hardships and applauds the heroism of those who helped to save many of the stranded members of the climbing parties. He reports on bottlenecks high up on the mountain, particularly on the Hillary Step, that cause costly delays and could mean the difference between life and death at such altitudes. If you're looking for an exciting, heart pounding non-fiction read then look no further. I highly recommend this book. Enjoy!

    Jon Krakauer's narrative of the 1996 disaster on Mt. Everest is excellently written and extremely engrossing. Although the events are true, the book reads like a top action/adventure thriller, keeping us turning pages until the end. This is definitely a first-person account, though, and Krakauer makes sure the attention is centered on him, as he alternately extolls his virtues and reveals his faults. I felt extremely saddened when reading this book and I think we must look closely at how and why this tragedy happened. I cannot help but fault, in part, the two guides, Hall and Fischer. Both were experienced climbers and both had previously been on Everest. As guides, these men were running a business for profit and were desirous of satisfied customers--that meant making the summit. But these two men had also accepted the responsibility of caring for their clients' safety, as well as for the safety of those in expeditions not their own. The fact that they ignored self-imposed turn-around times simply cannot be forgiven. Ultimately, however, each person must take responsibility for his or her own actions. Technically, Everest is an easy climb, but the physical demands are enormous. The bulk of climbers were untrained, unfamiliar with their equipment, and simply not in the top physical condition needed to withstand the rigors of high-altitude climbing, a fact of which they certainly must have been aware. And if they weren't, then certainly Hall and Fischer were. Many of the previous reviewers have faulted the climbers for turning their backs on Beck Wethers and Yasuko Namba, but once you have actually engaged in high-altitude climbing, as I have done, you know Everest is not the place to become your brother's keeper. No one should have died and had Hall and Fischer turned around, as they should have, in all probability no one would have. Into Thin Air is a fascinating tale and one that poses many thought-provoking questions each man and woman must answer, not only on Everest, but in the course of his or her day-to-day life.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Riveting - But Tread Cautiously Through It
    This account ignited a long distilled passion for the mountains, and renewed interest in the Outdoors. Krakauer (the name itself conjures up courage and strength)writes with immediacy and more important, from firsthand experience. He's a hardcore adventurer, he's lived it, and is one of those rare, original people able to express what is often inexplicable. This book was easy to read in one or two sittings, and tremendously compelling (leading me to read Into The Wild and other books related to the 1996 Everest incidents).

    I was also one of those chagrined to discover, after having loved and being incredibly excited by this book, that for all its accuracy, there are some areas that should not be read without circumspection. Although the book mostly avoids The Blame Game, it lapses into this once focus moves to the Head Climber of Mountain Madness, the heroic but inarticulate Boukreev. Krakauer's facts are interspersed with some opinions, and a few of these opinions, especially those of Boukreev (who died in 1997, in an avalanche on Annapurna 1, instead of remaining in America to receive one of the highest awards for mountaineering bravery) - some of these opinions are distasteful.

    While I am merely a reader, and I respect and admire the talents of these men in the mountains a great deal, I do wonder what prompted Krakauer to pursue his character assissination of Boukreev. Krakauer has dogged determination in his writing as much as he does in his climbing, but also a stubbornness, and in writing Into Thin Air (which he did incredibly quickly after the fact) seems to strive to be seen as the one and only leading authority, acknowledging that it is not perfect, but nevertheless the complete'the best'and total story of that 1996 climb. This is unfortunate, because Krakauer himself was on the mountain, and his own perceptions were not 100%. He does succeed in communicating his experience with profundity. He fails though, in a few of his many interpretations, including of some of his own mishaps, and thus, has opened the door to a raging debate on 'what really happened', including, for example, what happened to Andy Harris, his encounter on the Kangshung Face, and important conversations he was not privy to close to the summit.

    His 'Postscript' response to The Climb goes to great lengths, and like the rest of the book, turns out to be well worded, but does not hide what eventually are borne out to be a few inaccuracies (inadequacies?). His experience on Everest is not his best mountaineering experience (he was at one point assisted by 2 guides), and Boukreev fared far far better. Actions, should at the end of such events, speak louder than Krakauer's (or anyone else's) words, and Boukreev's actions do. Krakauer's behaviour on that day was quite limited by comparison.

    Krakauer needs to be more gracious to a man who helped insure the safety of every one of the members on his team (all but the leader survived,) with no permanent damage, while 4 members of Krakauer's team died, and at least one survivor had severe and permanent damage. The idea should not be to blame people in mountains, when things go wrong, but to recognise the right things that happen that save lives.

    Krakauer's own account of his meeting with Beck Weathers also differs from Weather's own version. Krakauer actually resisted Weather's desperate plea for assistance, although Krakauer paints a more gracious picture of himself in his story. The point though, is not to point fingers, and Boukreev puts it perfectly when he says 'each is responsible for his own ambition' on the mountain. Thus, others should not be blamed when things go wrong, but hopefully, will have the wherwithal to respond in these extreme circumstances. The reality in the Death Zone is one person who breaks down, slows down, and needs assistance causes a domino effect, it leads to an exponential increase in the risks to the lives of others, as valuable resources of energy and oxygen and time get used up.

    We live in world of soundbites, of show, and of course the 1996 Incident has been written about, and made into a television show.

    Into Thin Air powerfully communicates the meaning and drama of that high world. It's most important defects though, are not recognising the astonishing courage of a man who stood up through the storm that day while it seemed everyone else, including the sherpas, whimpered in their tents. Few understand what happened, and Into Thin Air sadly perpetuates that mystification as far as it communicates Broukeev's role. Read The Climb after Into Thin Air, for more perspective. It's equally engrossing, well written, but a far more genuine account.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Impossible to put down!
    Perhaps timing is everything, but don't tell that to Jon Krakauer, an outdoors writer and mountain climber who was offered the opportunity of a lifetime to climb Mount Everest; only to find himself in the middle of the most notable catastrophe to ever strike the mountain. With the 50th anniversary of the successful assent by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, there is renewed interest in Chomolungma (the Tibetan name for the mountain. Previous to the second half of the twentieth century, Everest was a forbidden monolith that crushed anyone who attempted to scale it's heights. But with it's invincibility shattered by Hillary and Norgay, Everest began to shed some of it's mystery, and bit by bit, the appearance (but just the appearance) of it's lethality. By the 90's, the primary requisite for a summit attempt was a bank account large enough to pay for an experienced guide. New problems like the litter of discarded oxygen canisters became a threat to the mountain, as the climbing ranks swelled with serious amateurs anxious to achieve various ego firsts like "first woman over 60," "first Lithuanian" to summit Everest, along with the highest mountains on each of the continents.

    Outside magazine sent Krakauer on an expedition with Rob Hall, one of the most experienced of the new crop of guides, whose business it was to get climbers to the summit. Even with modern equipment and climbing techniques that's still a daunting task, not for the faint of heart or the expanded of waistline. However the professional mountaineers of Hillary's generation were being followed on Hall's expedition by a postal employee, a New York socialite and others. They were joined on the mountain by various teams, some so inexperienced as to be comical. Among the other teams was one led by Scott Fisher, another guide that was making a name for his ability to get people to the top and in a bit of braggadocio had even claimed that he had "found a golden staircase to the summit."

    Krakauer outlines all of the minutia regarding preparation and execution of an Everest climb. You can almost find yourself wheezing as he describes what existence is like above the elevation that is known as the Death Zone. And he recounts in harrowing detail the storm that hit while Hall and Fisher's teams were near or below the summit, and the efforts of the others to rescue them. I had mixed feelings when I read of the final conversation between Rob Hall, as he sat helpless and dying on the mountain, and his pregnant wife back in New Zealand. Here is a man and woman exchanging their final words, both fully aware of his fate, and yet we mortals who will likely never be tested in this way are privy to his private thoughts and her quiet despair.

    Moving from the role of dispassionate observer, into a deeper role of survivor, Krakauer anguishes over what he could have done differently, of the mistakes he believes he made and how he will ever reconcile his grief. Yes, he stood on the summit. Yes, he survived and returned home. But he has no satisfaction about conquering the mountain. And he questions why anyone else would even attempt it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Seeking a state of grace
    I remember the spring of 1996 and the Everest disasters very well. I was stuck in traffic when a writer named Jon Krakauer was briefly interviewed on NPR when he first returned as one of the survivors of a deadly climb. I had never given mountaineering or Everest much thought but the drama, and especially Krakauer's traumatized voice, inspired a curiosity I've only now actually pursued by reading this book.

    If you have ever been at a popular tourist spot when several buses pulled up and disgorged different tours, you have the picture of what mountaineering on Everest had become by 1996. The golden era of exploration and mountaineering on Everest was over. Commercial expeditions charging $65,000 a head would take up clients who could pay, not necessarily those who were vetted mountaineers. Base Camp was a cross between a vanity fair and a scout jubilee. Krakauer, a practiced climber who was commissioned by Outside Magazine to write about the experience, had signed on with an ethical and highly skilled outfit. There was, to the climbers, little warning that anything could go wrong. Across the next several weeks, the climbers moved slowly up the mountain, becoming acclimated. Perhaps the first clue of the reality of Everest was encountering dead bodies from previous years that had simply been left behind. The 1996 groups kept going. The ravages of altitude sickness, the increasing consumption of oxygen canisters, and the physical punishment should have been more flags. The day scheduled for achieving the summit became a train wreck of bad choices, rejection of basic guidelines such as turn around times, altitude sickness, and the surprise of a subzero storm that suddenly grabbed the top of the world with hurricane force. The scramble for survival meant, in some cases, abandoning people for dead on the mountain, people who had become comrades on the ropes. Krakauer documents incredible stories of heroism and survival, as well as the death toll and permanent physical injuries incurred by some.

    Krakauer is an astonishing writer who does a good job of sorting out a confusing series of events. Realizing the limitations of one person's memory in the midst of a traumatic experience that has bequeathed a sense of guilt, he went back and interviewed other survivors to get at the truth. Although he never imposes overarching themes on the narrative, his story illustrates classic conflicts as humans are seen tempting mortality on the grandest scale on earth. The more they push their human capacities, the more the mountain seems determined to push the climbers down into their very flawed human place. In the end, this is not so much a tour of a mountain as it is an exploration of humanity. There are a lot of Monday morning quarterbacks pointing fingers at those who survived, and some are pointed weakly at Krakauer, but I found this to be very evenly handled.
    ... Read more

    20. 127 Hours: Between a Rock and a Hard Place
    by Aron Ralston
    Mass Market Paperback (2010-10-26)
    list price: $7.99 -- our price: $7.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 1451617704
    Publisher: Pocket
    Sales Rank: 1256
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review


    Aron Ralston, an experienced twenty-seven-year-old outdoorsman, was on a day’s solitary hike through a remote and narrow Utah canyon when he dislodged an eight-hundred- pound boulder that crushed his right hand and wrist against the canyon wall. Emerging from the searing pain, Aron found himself completely stuck. No one knew where he was; no one was coming to rescue him. With scant water and food, and a cheap pocketknife his only tool, he eliminated his options one by one. On the fifth night, wracked by delirium and uncontrollable shivers, Aron scratched his epitaph into the rock wall, certain he would not see daylight.

    Yet with the new morning came an epiphany: if he could use the rock’s vise-like hold to break his arm bones, his blunted pocketknife could serve as a surgeon’s blade. . . . ... Read more


    5-0 out of 5 stars one of the best books i've read., December 17, 2010
    I'm not sure who these reviewers are who have such pity for Aron Ralston, or who think he's a "dumbf--k" for his risk-taking, or who think he hasnt learned something of crucial importance from his experience at Blue John Canyon. Either they missed the point of this incredible story, or I did. Given how deeply this book touched me, I'd say it's a safe bet that it wasnt me that missed the point.

    The story of his saga in the canyon is retold in this book in often excruciating detail, to the point where I sometimes found my hands clenching, my heart pounding, my eyes welling with tears as he reminisced, hallucinated, struggled with things that seem to me the very core of being human - in particular, discovering a greater appreciation for the people we love.

    I would recommend this book to all but maybe the most squeamish of individuals, and even then I would suggest sucking it up and reading it anyway. This story is inspiring in so many ways. Totally worth reading.

    Aron, if you're reading these reviews....thank you. Your suffering was not in vain, my friend. And i thank you for sharing it with all of us.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Fabulous Compendium of Adventure Stories, December 14, 2010
    This book was well written and a great read. I was delighted by the central story's backdrop of numerous other contrasting adventures Mr. Ralston experienced scaling mountains in the wild on his own - in the winter. I was wowed by the unexpected depth and breadth of his numerous solo expedition experiences. I particularly enjoyed the bear-stalking story from the Tetons.

    Mr. Ralston is a person singularly intent on achieving his goals despite any extenuating circumstances. And he pays for his myopia - dearly. The numerous messages to readers are self-evident within the storylines of his tales: leave your food accessible, get stalked by a bear; lead your friends down a chute with questionable snowpack stability, almost kill one of them; canyoneer in a remote area without notifying anyone of your whereabouts, lose an arm. One thing I think we can all admire about Mr. Ralston is his relentless (albeit at times thoroughly reckless) pursuit of high adventure in the great outdoors, a sentiment many of us stubbornly harbor in our modernized cyberspace world.

    Thank you for your stories, Mr. Ralston.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Only 12 hours to read this good book!, November 22, 2010
    Aron Ralston is a gifted writer and a very adept and prolific climber/mountaineer/canyon explorer.
    It was impossible to put this book down, once I got my reading underway. Ralston alternates between his BlueJohn Canyon mishap, and his vast prior experiences in the wild. There are many stories of Ralston being out in the wilderness and he is careful to include all sorts of details. Sometimes - if you were to ask my opinion, he includes way too many technical details ... not every person reading this exciting book will appreciate all the dry techie details but it's doable.
    He does include a special mountaineering glossary in the rear of the book, which is very handy.

    What I was interested in most however, was understanding the inner psyche of Aron - I wanted to understand the mental process he had to undergo in order to sever his right forearm....once he was trapped deep within a slot canyon, with no chance of somebody coming along to help. He being right-handed, his right hand was the more valuable of the two hands he could have lost.
    Fate dealt him this hand, and with great stamina and stoicism, he had to do the deed.
    And he had to do it with a very dull knife - which was a gift given to him by his own mother. So, on one hand - she should have splurged and bought him a top of the line knife, not a cheapie.
    But on the other hand, had she not have given him this cheapie knife, he would have died at the hand of the rock. So it is seen that his mother handed him back his life - during a very dark hour of choosing.
    The woman who birthed him 27 years earlier was the same woman who inadvertently handed him back his life, when it hung by a fragile balance. Oh, the irony of it all!

    Nurses would attempt to understand his psyche by assigning him a self-mutilation nursing diagnosis, as approved by the North American Nursing Diagnosis Assocation of America.
    Self mutilation related to right hand pinned by 800 pound (immobile) boulder while canyoneering, as evidenced by (self) amputation of right distal forearm.
    The goal would be that he would not place himself in any other similar area of risk ever again - but we all know that Mr. Ralston is out there still; engaging full-heartedly in mountain climbing and whatnot. The question is, is he full-hearty or fool-hearty? The jury's still out on that one.

    I am glad that Mr. Ralston survived this terrible ordeal. Why he didn't join up with his two angel friends of Blue John Canyon, Meghan and Kristi, when they met on the trail earlier on that fateful day - I will never understand - but I do beleive they were sent there by God to intervene with Ralston, but he stubbornly clung to his lonely pursuits.
    I guess all things happen for a reason, but I fail to find any such reason to justify the sacrifical offering of ones' right hand?
    The price was too high.

    I just feel so sorry for the man, but he's alive and well and he's loving his life, so that's really the most important thing of all.

    I hope he does all he can to protect the rest of his 3 surviving extremeties.

    I highly recommend this interesting book; I also saw the movie, 127 Hours and I highly enjoyed the visual journey of the beautiful, otherworldly Utah Canyon Wildnerness. The red rocks are so gorgeous, and their spooky names add a frightful dimension to the experience of being out there in the desolute rock valley. The ancient maroon-colored pictographs etched on 300 foot-tall canyon walls add to the mystery of ancient peoples who once inhabited this desolate region. And to think that the 800 pound chokstone rock was around to silently witness all of that...but it remains to this day - motionless and aphasic.

    Both versions of Ralstons's story are excellent stories - the book is able to explain vastly more vital information in it than the movie. I love both equally because they are unique ways to spin the yarn.

    I wish Mr. Ralston and his family all the best.
    Thank you, Mr. Ralston - for sharing your story and hopefully many young men will hear it and take precautions and tell someone WHERE they are headed before they leave the house, tell them WHEN they will be back and WHO they are going with. Most importantly, it's always best to hike with buddy or 3 or 4. Hiking solo is really asking for trouble, so - take a friend, people!!!!
    Take a friend, take alot of food and water, and remember to pack that Swiss Army Knife in your pocket!!!
    Guess what my 2 sons are getting in their stockings this Christmas? SWISS ARMY KNIVES!!!! Yes!
    That's the most popular gift under the tree this year. Merry Christmas to all!!! ... Read more

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