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1. Helicobacter Pioneers: Firsthand
2. Atomic Bomb Scientists: Memoirs,
3. John James Audubon: A Biography
4. Mary Renault: A Biography (A Harvest
5. Reentry Programs for Female Scientists
6. Lost History: The Enduring Legacy
7. The Great Melody: A Thematic Biography
8. Life Among the Scientists: An
9. Year of the Comets: A Journey
10. El cientifico rebelde/ The Scientist
11. The Magus of Freemasonry: The
12. Another Way Home: A Family's Journey
13. Justus von Liebig: The Chemical
14. Not Much of an Engineer: An Autobiography/R
15. I Am Not What I Am: APsychologist's
16. Return: The Spiritual Odyssey
17. Erich Fromm: Una escuela de vida/
18. Where to Go, What to Do, When
19. Confessions of an Alien Hunter:
20. A Beautiful Mind: A Biography

1. Helicobacter Pioneers: Firsthand Accounts from the Scientists who Discovered Helicobacters 1892 - 1982
Paperback: 224 Pages (2002-05-24)
list price: US$89.95 -- used & new: US$76.95
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Asin: 0867930357
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Univ. of Western Australia, Perth. Provides research on the helicobacter and the human touch in the discovery process that took almost a century to develop. Contains past and current therapies useful in developing countries, penicillin allergic, and difficult-to-cure patients. ... Read more

2. Atomic Bomb Scientists: Memoirs, 1939-1945
Hardcover: 392 Pages (1989-12-30)
list price: US$228.95
Isbn: 0313280789
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In interviews conducted between 1967 and 1970 by Professor Joseph J. Ermenc, Professor Emeritus of Dartmouth College, nine eminent scientists directly involved in the development of nuclear energy during the war years 1939-45, discuss their contributions and those of their associates in the areas of early atomic experimentation directed towards the nuclear reactor and the bomb, the separation of fissionable materials, the personal and group rivalries, and the interactions with military and government leaders. The memoirists are: Werner Heisenberg, Paul Harteck, Lew Kowarski, General Leslie Groves, Aristid von Grosse, C.E. Larson, A.H. Snell, W.A. Arnold, and K.W. Bahler. ... Read more

3. John James Audubon: A Biography
by Alice Ford
Hardcover: 528 Pages (1989-03)
list price: US$35.00 -- used & new: US$5.90
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Asin: 089659744X
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JOHN JAMES AUDUBON: A Biography by Alice Ford 1988 Hardcover 258 pages Abbeville Publishing ... Read more

4. Mary Renault: A Biography (A Harvest Book)
by David Sweetman
Paperback: 336 Pages (1994-07-15)
list price: US$18.00 -- used & new: US$2.95
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Asin: 0156000601
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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The author of The Charioteer and The King Must Die, Renault studied at Oxford but eventually abandoned the academic world and England for South Africa, where she and her companion, Julie Mullard, remained. "A superb biography of an exceptional novelist" (New Yorker). Named a Notable Book of the Year by the New York Times. Index; photographs.
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Customer Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars A superb biography
I have read and enjoyed Mary Renault's novels of ancient Greece since The King Must Die: A Novel came out in 1958. It got me, like many other of her fans, into reading Greek history. I kept JB Bury's A HISTORY OF GREECE to the Death of Alexander the Great. on my bedside table for years as evening reading. Her other books as they came along, went into my library and have been reread over and over. I don't think anyone has touched her except Steven Pressfield and Gates of Fire: An Epic Novel of the Battle of Thermopylae. I have a few differences with the biographer. I started Charioteer but, perhaps because I am a flagrant heterosexual, I could not get interested. I began the novel assuming it was one of the Greek series. I do think that The Mask of Apollo: A Novel is a wonderful picture of homosexual love for heterosexuals. I can't think of another such sympathetic portrait for the general reader.

The biographer also describes The Praise Singer as an unsuccessful novel, coming as her last effort. I disagree and it is my favorite after The Mask of Apollo. The picture of her life with Julie and their experiences as nurses in England in the 1930s are very well done. Only in the novels of AJ Cronin is one likely to find such a good description of pre-war English medicine and the rather grim picture of nurses' lives in that era. I agree with one reviewer who laments the severe cuts in Last of the Wine. It's too bad a restored version could not be published.

I do take exception to one reviewer's criticism of her reaction to South African racial policies. She was a writer, not a political figure, and she did what she could to protest government policies. It is always easier to criticize from a distance. I also disagree with the review that said the biography was not very readable. I spent the weekend with it and did not put it down until it was finished. Her life was her own private affair but she did do as much as anyone could to reduce prejudice against homosexuals and to oppose Apartheid. Her fiction is another huge achievement. Hers was a very full life and the biography is a pleasure to read.

4-0 out of 5 stars a little disillusioned after the read
I have loved Mary Renault's historical novels about the ancient world since I was a pre-teen and read them today decades later. I was intrigued to see this biography on Amazon and ordered it....must say it was a bittersweet experience to find that a writer I have admired I cannot think of with the same level of admiration...

Sweetman's biography was insightful and gave the knowledge to flesh out what was only a vague skeleton of what I knew about Renault. Her early life was sad and corrosive and could have destroyed someone without her inner drive to be a writer...the fact that she was a lesbian was neither here nor there to me except that it too was a factor in her development as a person and writer...

What was certainly dismaying to me was her apparently inability or lack of desire to be very perceptive about the South Africa where she made her home for decades...Sweetman's explanation for her choices regarding which professional groups to belong to and her method of protest regarding the government's policy regarding the races might be truthful--that she had a distinct aversion to overt conflict and confrontation because of her parents' hostile marriage and the continual criticism her mother gave Renault from her birth onward. But for someone to be so alive and connect to the ancient world of Greece and so oblivious to the ancient worth of South Africa and its tribal cultures, is just a terrible and wasted irony.
If Renault had chosen to become involved and write with the same skill about African values and ancient culture that she chose to enliven her historical novels of ancient Greece, I imagine she could have been a significant factor in a struggle that is still taking place.

Sweetman attempts to deflect the bigoted and racist views that have perhaps attached themselves to Renault's lack of antipathy to the South African government, but to me it seems that she has a double standard of behavior--as most people do--and that she holds her characters to a higher standard than herself.While she could be very charitable and stauch supporter of those she genuinely cared about, her small inner circle was small for a reason. She did not go out of her way to develop or support a native South African voice and seemed to related everything through the eyes of her own European point of view....While she could enjoy the relatively rustic life style of Greece in the 40s, she never made the same attempt to get to know the people of South Africa in their own locals---not always because the govt prevented it either...

I was just disappointed to find her less than I hoped...although I don't imagine it will prevent me from enjoying her novels as much as I always have...

2-0 out of 5 stars Oddly unsatisfactory.
Just couldn't get into this book, especially written as it is by someone who knew Renault. No one admires the author more than I, and books like THE CHARIOTEER, THE LAST OF THE WINE and THE PERSIAN BOY have been for me jewels in the crown of life. So I looked forward to this biography as a tantalising mystery finally about to be solved--Renault unmasked at last! No, sorry, it just didn't happen for me. Sweetman seems fixated on Renault's sexuality, which I don't discount or revile from, but which to me is not the essence of her books, the thing that makes them great. So what is it that makes them great? Her intelligence! Renault is the most intelligent author I've ever read; intelligence seems to stream out everywhere, along with tastefullness and a wonderful compassion for humanity. And style! What a fabulous stylist! I can read and re-read her books endlessly just for the style, not to mention the insight, the fabulous observation of detail. These are the qualities I wanted to find out about. Who was this woman? How did she become such a great person and a great author? Well, I don't know because Sweetman's biography doesn't tell me. We get the facts, yes, especially about her lesbian relationship, and we discover some of her activities while writing the books, most notably a trip to Greece. But we discover almost nothing about her general opinions, her tastes, all those things one asks about in order to uncover a person. For instance I would have liked to know her opinion of some of the fine historical films emerging at the time she was writing her historical novels, most notably Ben-Hur and Spartacus. We hear that she quite liked Quo Vadis, but little information is given. And what music did she listen to (only the Caesar Franck sonata is mentioned)? What did she like to eat? There are a million questions, few of which Sweetman answers. And I miss any decent literary criticism. At one point Sweetman remarks that a certain editor seemed insensible of Renault's literary excellence, but then so does Sweetman himself given how few words he expends on it. How for instance did Renault developsuch a brilliantly unique style? I remember first reading THE LAST OF THE WINE (at 16) and being fascinated by a style unlike anything I'd ever encountered, a way of contructing sentences that seemed at once earthy and punchy and the height of elegance and sophistication. How did she come to this?
Well, no good ranting, I suppose. The book isn't bad, it just seems like a golden opportunity wasted. Obviously the definitive Renault biography has yet to be written--but I suspect it never will be simply because Renault didn't wish to be uncovered. Apparently Sweetman interviewed her in '82. I've never seen the interview, but I suspect she said very little of a personal nature. I suspect she made a point of throughout her life of saying little of a personal nature.

5-0 out of 5 stars nice bio
It is well-written, and easy to read.I especially appreciated the episodes and explanations of the circumstances, political movements, and her struggles which inspired Mary Renault to write each story.Now I understand how each story was created, and what was on her mind when she wrote them.
When I first read her , which is a remarkable book, one of her best, I couldn't understand why she didn't take more pages to write about Alkibiades and the defeat of the Athenian fleet.This is the kind of scene she normally takes time and writes in great, vivid details.It seemed so odd and out of her character that she just skimmed through it (although it still came out all right).I had to read it twice to understand what exactly happened, and even after I understood, I wasn't satisfied.
Well, the mystery was solved now that I know that the publishing company had forced her to eliminate so many pages, she had to cut out one-third of the book.That particular scene was the one that suffered.I don't blame her if she never forgave the publishing company.We the readers have been deprived a great deal.

I was also tickled to read that she had to let her secretary go because the secretary wanted to improve her grammar!

Her relationships with her parents, friends and her agents, editors, correspondents, and especially with her companion Julie are heart-warming.This biography brought her person alive and vivid, and now I can look at her works from another dimention.

4-0 out of 5 stars How Molly Challans Became Mary Renault
Mary Renault, with her delicate handling of alternative sexual interests, touched a chord in a lot of people, whatever their orientation.This is the story about how little Molly Challans (with her love of cowboys and books) because the best selling author of historical novels set in both Bronze age and Classical Greece, Mary Renault.

One might almost have predicted the loveless marriage that produced her.Her mother's least attractive qualities seem to resonate in the character of Olympias (Alexander the Great's mother)in her later series (written after her mother's death and final betrayal).The absent or ineffective fathers in her books reflect her other father's physical and emotional distance from his family.

And around her momentous events of the 20th century occur-- World War I and II, the rise of the Nationalist Party in South Africa, the liberalization of sexual mores in Britain and the United States, and the struggle against appartheid.

This linear story is probably where the reader should go who wants to know more concrete facts about Mary Renault's life (she pronounced it Ren-olt not like the car).The author at times dips into analysis but doesn't linger there.His main informant seems to have been Mary's lifelong companion, Julia and at times the book seems to be as much about Julia as Mary-- he notes at one point that a friend referred to them as M & J rather than separately.

I'm still waiting for the definitve evaluation of Renault's novels but until it arrives this book is well worth reading if at times a little on the thin side. ... Read more

5. Reentry Programs for Female Scientists
by Alma E. Lantz, Marna C. Whittington
Hardcover: 195 Pages (1980-04-15)
list price: US$95.00 -- used & new: US$95.00
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Asin: 0275905101
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6. Lost History: The Enduring Legacy of Muslim Scientists, Thinkers, and Artists
by Michael H. Morgan
Paperback: 320 Pages (2008-06-17)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$8.96
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Asin: 1426202806
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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In an era when the relationship between Islam and the West seems mainly defined by mistrust and misunderstanding, it is important to remember that for centuries Muslim civilization was the envy of the world. Lost History fills a significant void and is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the major the early Muslims played in influencing modern society.

Morgan reveals how early Muslim advancements in science and culture laid the cornerstones of the European Renaissance, the Enlightenment, and modern Western society. As he chronicles the Golden Ages of Islam, beginning in A.D. 570 with the birth of Muhammad, and resonating today, he introduces scholars like Ibn Al-Haytham, Ibn Sina, Al-Tusi, Al-Khwarizmi, and Omar Khayyam, towering figures who revolutionized the mathematics, astronomy, and medicine of their time and paved the way for Newton, Copernicus, and many others. And he reminds us that inspired leaders from Muhammad to Suleiman the Magnificent and beyond championed religious tolerance, encouraged intellectual inquiry, and sponsored artistic, architectural, and literary works that still dazzle us with their brilliance. Lost History finally affords pioneering leaders with the proper credit and respect they so richly deserve. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (22)

4-0 out of 5 stars A good introduction to the influence of the Muslim civilization on today's world
Michael Morgan has definitely done an extensive research when he wrote this book. Indeed, in today's turbulent world this book has more imporatance than ever. The notion that Muslims were and are a backward civilization who had not contributed anything good is a false and dangerous belief. When history is lost, so do our understanding of each other. As stated in this book, the Muslim civilization had translated thousands of previous civilizations work, innovated countless technological innovations and contributed to fields of science, starting from math and physics to ethics and economy. Cordoba, Cairo and Baghdad were considered "the intellectual center of the world" that attracted scientists from all over the globe. Universities, libraries and observatories were established in the Islamic world to contribute to its advancement in science and technology.

The only criticism I have is that the book has focused around two thirds of it on the expansion of the Muslim conquest. Only a third of the book talks about the scientists, artists and thinkers of that civilization. Regardless, it is still a very valuable book that I will probably read again.

4-0 out of 5 stars Much Needed
I came across this book by chance, but read it with much interest. It's not academic and might not be suitable for people who are well-read in history or trying to accumulate facts.

It offers history lessons in a nice and attractive way. Showing at any point in time, the debates that took place, different parties involved, the location where this took place (great description of Baghdad for example as the most sophisticated city on earth at that time). Hence giving a comprehensive picture of the civilization at that time. Something rarely done with students even in the region where much of this history originates.

The book also demonstrates that the age under study was not only about some scientific and technical achievements with some literature that was all unrelated. It demonstrates that this was a true civilization with the full sophistication expected from people who played their role with great responsibility in leading the human civilization for hundreds of years.

It is great also to see that in many occasions the achievement was not only in science, literature or art. The great victory was philosophical! .. the debate between rationalist and traditionalists. That contradiction between science and religion was not to be avioded, needed, and understood considering the lack of complete understanding of either, and that it not only should be allowed, but it's a basis for continuous debate which was needed. An interesting example was Al-Khwarizmi's mathematics work presented as a great human philosophical achievement that is taken now for granted and went largely un-challenged for hundreds of years.

Again, even if this is not an academic reference, it does a great job education people who have interest in that period or the region. It works well as a list of the people who you would like to read about, or read their work.

It's extremely needed for general education. Even in an area where this history originates, students are not offered a multi-angle view of how politics, religion, culture, science, wars, geography and other aspects intertwined to create something great. It's equally needed at this time to answer those who promote that some cultures are inferior, and some religions are just uncivilized.

Finally, the book doesn't answer 'what went wrong?' and why did it end?'.. but who can provide a short answer?! .. many things went wrong and clearly the book offers a narrow explanation. It would be great to follow the thread of these thoughts; study all the things that were the critical ingredients of success and see what happened ot them along the way. A debate largely abscent in a serious shape.

All in all, a book badly needed at this time, presented in a light approach and offers a very interesting picture making it easier for us to teach the new generation to read the good and bad about their history. Also, to ask more questions and try to go and find answers elsewhere ... exactly what people at that age have done. 4 stars.

3-0 out of 5 stars Good Facts but Poorly Embellished and Interpreted
This author was at his best when he trusted the reader and allowed the facts to speak for themselves, as in the earlier parts of the book where he describes the many achievements of the Moslem golden age.Only there did we also learn what contributed to the demise of that golden era: the hubris of the ruling classes and a veering away from democratic freedoms of expression and thought, suppressed by a rigidity of religious orthodoxy, and thus the eventual ascendancy of the West and Christianity, which, as rigid as it too was, nevertheless, proved to be much more flexible.

His attempt to bring this all alive as a didactic exercise for his own kids and a teachable experience for school children more generally, left me cold, because not only was the author forced to stray away from the facts but also had to add in his own post hoc interpretations. Perhaps it is as he suggested, but during these times when Christians and Moslems have so little trust of each other, better to stick to the facts and leave the interpretations for later. Plus there are some adults in his audience, who resent being "talked down to."

All in all we got his larger point without the foray into his self-styled history lesson: that cultures are always the result of cross-fertilization and inbreeding, and never due to some imagined notion of cultural superiority or inferiority. It is indeed a multi millennial (and always an ongoing) exchange of ideas. Three stars

1-0 out of 5 stars Overblown and fanciful
I don't mind history light and there's a refreshing approach to the writijng of history and science these days that makes it more accessible to non-scholars. Morgan, however, has gone so over the top in a blend of fantasy and fact, it's no longer history. His writing is also overblown and fanciful to the point of irritation. I can't finish it. Frankly, I think he'd be better off writing travel books.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent treatise of Muslim scientist, thinkers, and artists
I was captivated by reading this book, as if I'm taken back to times and living those moments. The book not only outlined the Muslim accomplishments but provided insight into the conspiracies and politics of the times. ... Read more

7. The Great Melody: A Thematic Biography of Edmund Burke
by Conor Cruise O'Brien
Paperback: 768 Pages (1994-03-20)
list price: US$35.00 -- used & new: US$26.99
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Asin: 0226616517
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Statesman, political thinker, orator, and ardent campaigner, Edmund Burke was one of the most brilliant figures of the eighteenth century. This unorthodox biography focuses on Burke's thoughts, responses, and actions to the great events and debates surrounding Britain's tumultuous relationships with her three colonies—America, Ireland, and India—and archrival France.

"In bringing Burke to our attention, Mr. O'Brien has brought back a lost treasure. The Great Melody is a brilliant work of narrative sweep and analytical depth. Conor Cruise O'Brien on Edmund Burke is a literary gift to political thought."—John Patrick Diggins, New York Times Book Review

"Serious readers of history are in for a treat: a book by the greatest living Irishman on the greatest Irishman who ever lived. . . . O'Brien's study is not merely a reconstruction of a fascinating man and period. It is also a tract for the times. . . . I cannot remember another time when I finished a book of more than 600 pages wishing it were longer."—Paul Johnson, The Independent

"The Great Melody combines superb biography and fascinating history with a profound understanding of political philosophy."—Former President Richard Nixon
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Customer Reviews (8)

1-0 out of 5 stars This man is a hack!
This is a piece of trash written by a leftist hack seeking to claim Burke for his own pathetic ideology.If one seeks to understand Burke, he would do well to read Russel Kirk's The Conservative Mind.

5-0 out of 5 stars Quite a Story
When I read this book ten years ago, I had only a glancing sense of Irish history. I read it to gain some perspective on that history through the eyes of one of Ireland's insightful men of letters. The thesis that Burke was loyal...a constitutional monarchist...in the midst of his own deeply held opposition to British treatment of his own country, was a revelation to me. I did not know this...nor did I know that he extended his loyal opposition to British imperial behavior, to the USA and India.

I felt then...through O'Brien's eyes...that Burke was heroic and extraordinarily far sighted; not to mention politically prudent. I haven't yet changed my opinion, after reading earlier contemporary criticism of Burke's alleged blind conservative monarchism. I think that O'Brien is correct to assert that Burke's action and thought was not that simple and un-nuanced. O'Brien makes a convincing case for Burke's underlying purposes.

These purposes, based upon civilized respect for all parties involved, in such a heated historic dispute....in my very humble opinion....presage the non-violent movements toward independence that eventually bore fruit for India and Ireland.

Conor Cruise O'Brien, himself a civilized man of insight and erudition, paints the "big picture"...a perspective that I think could very well become the definitive version of this pre-history, and of Edmund Burke.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Scholarly and Tightly Woven Study
"The Great Melody" by Conor Cruise O'Brien is not your traditional biography; there is little here concerning Burke's personal and family life.Instead, the work concentrates on Burke's political career and thought and, specifically, how they relate to his Irish heritage.The result is a fascinating look into the mind and personality of a man who suffered from a conflict of emotions over his Irish heritage that included his father's conversion to Protestantism while his mother and wife remained Catholic.Burke himself was torn in different directions his entire life; loyalty to Britain and also his Irish ancestors and friends suffering under the Penal Laws, loyalty to the British constitution, but also a deep feeling for the need of justice for the oppressed people at home and abroad.

O'Bien's book takes an in-depth look at Burke's career in parliament and as a member of the Whig party through an extensive analysis of his letters, speeches, political relationships, and writings, specifically, as they relate to his struggle on behalf of the American colonists, the struggle of the Irish Catholics, the people of India suffering at the hands of the rapacious East India Co., and the French Revolution.

The work can be a little dry at times and tends to quote in an overly lengthy manner, but the immense erudition and scholarship and the insightful picture of Burke that emerges more than compensate for this.I do wish, however, that O'Brien had spent more time on "Reflections On The Revolution in France," but he feels that since it is so readily available to the reader there is no need. Finally we see an Edmund Burke as he really was and not the "old reactionary" that is so often depicted.We come to understand that Burke always believed that "the people are the true legislator," that Burke did not want to see Americans in Parliament who were slave holders, that he was a life-long opponent of increased powers for the Crown and the corruption such power entailed, that he was one of the few who consistently fought against injustice toward the American colonials, that he found all authoritaianism abhorrent, and that he opposed commercial monopolies and the abuse of power in all its forms.But, because he opposed the overturning of society and its reengineering on the basis of "metaphysical abstractions," he was often portrayed as a reactionary by later pundits.Lewis Namier and his followers are particularly taken to task by O'Brien for this tendency.In the end we see a Burke who always supported basic human rights, but remained constantly aware that real life circumstances must make social and political change possible if such change is not to lead to chaos and violence.Burke's fear of radicalism based upon abstract theory was real and the destructiveness of the French Revolution, the Russian Revolution, and the Nazi bio-racial religion more than sufficiently proves his point.A reading of O'Brien's fine book can only lead the intelligent reader to a renewed respect for a great man, a decent and liberal minded man, and a man of immense vision.

2-0 out of 5 stars Burke the Cold War Liberal
There is much in O'Brien's book that is interesting, original and insightful.But it suffers from two fatal flaws, one stylistic/structural, one substantive: (1) It is a mess.It is part personal biography, part intellectual biography, part annotated anthology, all mixed together in a confusing and unsatisfactory hodge-podge that may have been deliberate, given Burke's (and therefore O'Brien's) aversion to systems and abstraction.It is as if the author set out with a firm intention to portray Burke a certain way, collected up all the relevant facts, but just couldn't pull it all together in the end.It reads like a work-in-progress, several drafts short of completion and in dire need of a good editor; (2) It seriously overstates its case, and is therefore simply not reliable as an account of Burke's thought.O'Brien's Burke is a pluralist liberal, one of the "good guys" not to be classed among the "reactionaries", as Isaiah Berlin has done.But as Berlin points out--with far too much courtly politeness--in his exchange with O'Brien (reproduced in the appendix), the author has simply turned a blind eye to those aspects of his subject that make him appear illiberal.Most liberals at the time supported the French Revolution, at least in its early phase, and with good reason: it destroyed a confused mass of privilege, injustice and corruption that served the interests of a largely hereditary elite, which Burke vigorously defended.Most liberals since have supported it too.Few (if any) liberals today would hesitate to condemn someone who defended tradition, hereditary privilege and deference to authority as Burke did.To say that Burke was a liberal just doesn't wash.Granted he had SOME liberal tendencies, but he had many other tendencies that liberals have always found repugnant.It is a crude and one-sided portrait.O'Brien subscribes to the old-fashioned Cold War liberalism of Jacob Talmon, who interpreted the struggle between liberal democracy and "totalitarianism" in the 20th Century as a replay of the struggle between liberalism constitutionalism and the Terror.O'Brien's agenda in this book is to accept this dubious and anachronistic framework and to place Burke firmly on the "correct" side in it, with a demonic Rousseau on the other.THE GREAT MELODY was probably out-of-date before O'Brien wrote a word of it, just as much of Burke was when it appeared in the eighteenth century.

5-0 out of 5 stars Burke is more than a few famous quotes
Everyone knows Edmund Burke's most famous quote: "for evil to triumph, it is only necessary for good men to do nothing". As a former lecturer in political science, I was mainly familiar with Burke as the founder of Anglo-conservatism (infinitely more nuanced and modern than his equivalent in Franco-conservatism, the Count Joseph de Maistre). I had also read an early work, namely "An Enquiry into the nature of the Beautiful and the Sublime", which I thought a brilliant little jewel. But there's much more about Burke than that.

O'Brien, the great man of Irish diplomacy, shows in this extraordinary book that Burke, whom recently history has shown as a fawning servant to the political leaders of his time (Rockingham and Pitt), was at the heart of the great fight between George III's royal absolutism and the emerging English democracy. Burke was on the right side of virtually all the fights he picked. He advocated equality before the law for the Irish subjects of the king, first tolerance and then freedom for the American colonies, the end of the colonialist abuses of the East India company, and a quarantine on the infectious ideas of the French Revolution. The later one is still a contentious affair. Zhou En Lai famously opined that it was still too early (in the 1970s) to judge the French Revolution. Burke would have had none of that. As early as 1790, in the "benign" initial phase of the revolution, he foresaw the Terror, the execution of the Royal Family, the Consulate and the Empire, and the French banner covering all of the Europe, in the name of "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity".

O'Brien shows the extraordinary situation of an Irish Protestant (always accused of crypto-Catholicism) having great informal influence on the politics of Great Britain, while holding menial offices or representing various "rotten boroughs" in Parliament (this is no aspersion on Burke's memory- that's how politics was done at the time, and anything that gave Burke a pulpit couldn't have been all bad). The "Great Melody" of the title provides the underlying themes around which O'Brien organizes the public part of Burke's life. Far from tiresome, this is a useful device that provides unity and coherence to Burke's thoughts and actions. O'Brien's attacks on mid-century historiography are perfectly adequate, given that much of what was written as that period was designed to regress Burke into irrelevancy, as a sycophant and a lackey. He never was that. He was a good and a great man, and O'Brien does him justice in his book. Perhaps the only fault that I could find in it is a tendency to assume the reader's prior knowledge of the arcanes of Irish history. But these are quibbles. If you can stomach a history of ideas, full of events and studded with memorable characters, this is the book for you. ... Read more

8. Life Among the Scientists: An Anthropological Study of an Australian Scientific Community
by Max Charlesworth, Lyndsay Farrall, Terry Stokes, David Turnbull
 Paperback: 312 Pages (1990-02-15)
list price: US$27.50
Isbn: 0195549996
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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This book provides a fascinating study of a community of scientists at the prestigious Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Science in Melbourne, Australia.These scientists are mainly concerned with investigating the immune system, which enables us to cope with the many bacteria and viruses that invade our bodies.The Hall Institute scientists are part of a distinctive subculture, with its own myths and rites of passage, which can be investigated in much the same way as anthropologists investigate 'primitive' cultures.The volume shows how scientific programs and methods are shaped by cultural factors, including social, political, and economic constraints, and by the Institute's setting and the ethos of the new biology.The emphasis is on how science is actually done in concrete situations as distinct from what scientists say they do, and what philosophers and historians and sociologists of science theorize about what they do. Life Among the Scientists will be of great interest to scientists, students of the philosophy, history, and sociology of science, anthropologists and social scientists, and the general reader who wants to know what the scientific life is really like. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

3-0 out of 5 stars Malfunctioning scientists: Hamlet without the Prince
This is an ambitious book, written by four researchers at work over five years. The immediate focus is upon the activities of scientists at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne in order to explore the way that these activities are shaped by social, political, financial and intellectual influences.

Part One, 'The life-world of the Institute', sketches the recent history of ideas in immunology, the field where the Institute gained world renown when its Director, Macfarlane Burnet, shared a Nobel Prize with Sir Peter Medawar. Part Four is written in the same descriptive vein with a broader geographical scope, detailingsome of the intellectual and political elements of the worldwide quest to find a vaccine for malaria. Part Two, 'The subjective side of science' includes a chapter on 'The myth of objectivity' which lays the foundation for the major purpose of the whole work - to challenge received views on the philosophy and methodology of science. Part Three, 'The mode of scientific production' closely examines the way that scientists approach their daily tasks, with the central image being the laboratory as a factory to produce data.

The book operates at several levels, from high journalism and science criticism to the ecology of excellence and the philosophy and methodology of science. As a piece of high quality reporting it is impressive in its scope and depth, though a hostile insider (Leon Wolpert) described it as 'mere' journalism.This unfair because the writers achieve a standard of science writing that will provide a challenge to all comers.

The major and overwhelming defect of the book is the failure to engage, or even mention, the most robust and fruitful body of ideas in the field. This is a striking example of the phenomenon they describe as 'socially structured forgetting' or 'structural amnesia' (p 101). They have neatly excised Karl Popper's theory of conjecture and refutation from their account of the philosophy and methods of science. But Popper's work surely represents either the orthodox view of scientific method (as accepted by a number of eminent scientists who took their philosophy seriously such as Medawar, Eccles, Monod and Einstein), or a formidable rival to the traditional form of Baconian induction, still championed by David Stove.

An amazing revelation appeared recently when the senior author wrote a review of the reissue of David Stove's critique of Popper and others. He reported that Popper was the only philosopher of science who was held in any regard by the members of the Institute. This evidence would have refuted their major, though unstated, thesis, that Popper does not count in the real world of science.Apparently that particular evidence was regarded as superfluous when it came to writing up the research. Of course scientists discard data when they think that the experimental apparatus was malfunctioning. In this case it appears that was the scientists were considered to be malfunctioning!

Life Among the Scientists is located in the tradition of the 'social construction of science', a form of thought that thrives in the intellectual wasteland created by the popular reception of T. S. Kuhn's work on the diffusion of scientific innovations. To their credit the authors fall short of the strong form of relativism that is common in this tradition and this may indicate that their interest in science is strong enough to resist the debilitating effect of their theoretical framework. The popularity of the 'social construction' view and its serious limitations raise two questions. What is going on in academic departments of philosophy and the social sciences to account for their structural amnesia regarding Popper? And is there any way that philosophers or other metascientists can provide assistance to scientists?

The answer to the first question awaits further anthropological studies, though Bartley throws out some clues in his contribution to In Pursuit of Truth (ed P. Levinson, Humanities Press, 1982).As to the second question, philosophers may have nothing to offer at the tactical level of science where the major requirements are better data and new or revised descriptive theories. However there are times when progress is blocked by problems at a higher (or deeper) strategic level and attention needs to be paid to the unstated assumptions and metaphors that guide the formulation of problems and determine the kind of solutions that are sought. For example the immune reaction by the body to foreign matter was supposed to involve a mechanism of instruction from the invaders to the immune system to produce the appropriate antibodies. Burnet followed a hint from Jerne to demonstrate that the mechanism at work is one of selection among a range of responses generated initially by the immune system. A similar shift of focus, from a mechanism of instruction acting on an essentially passive or reactive organism, to one of selection among trials generated by the organism, has important implications in epistemology and evolutionary theory. Popper has drawn out some of these in his critique of inductive and Lamarckian thinking in his intellectual autobiography, Unended Quest.

In conclusion, Life Among the Scientists succeeds in some of its objectives despite the problems at its conceptual heart. It is a good read for the most part provided that one is not distracted by the potentially irritating device of the first person narrative. It probably deserves a place in the bookcase (though not on the same shelf) with Medawar's Pluto's Republic, Koestler's The Sleepwalkers and Barzun's Science: The Glorious Entertainment. ... Read more

9. Year of the Comets: A Journey from Sadness to the Stars
by Jan DeBlieu
Paperback: 208 Pages (2006-11-01)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$3.88
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 159376121X
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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On the clearest nights in the darkest places you can see as many as two thousand stars. On what scaffolding are they hung? Jan DeBlieu began to wonder. Her husband had become enveloped in a depression of his own, and both he and DeBlieu were struggling to find points of light out of that darkness. DeBlieu discovers it in the sky above, a firmament of order and beauty that prompts her to consider the worlds inside our minds, the delicate framework of neurons and synapses that support our fragile selves. Year of the Comets is her record of the journey she and her husband take from pain to healing.
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Customer Reviews (6)

4-0 out of 5 stars Darkness and light
I really appreciated the author's humility regarding her knowledge of astronomy. She takes us on her journey of self-education which, for someone like me who knows very little about the stars, allowed me to keep pace with her discoveries. Her writing is descriptive but not overly flowery; I appreciated the directness and succinctness.

My only regret is that she did not share more of her experiences in dealing with her husband's slide into deep depression. Her description of what she went through seemed muted, too measured. Didn't they argue? Wasn't she angry? Didn't she feel helpless? She touches on these but I would have liked her to go a bit deeper.

Nonetheless, it is a very well-written, engaging combination of memoir and scientific discovery.

5-0 out of 5 stars Interesting Mix
This is an "enjoyable" book. Given its subjects of depression and astronomy, one would expect a heavy read; however, I zipped through the 200 pages with ease. Perhaps it is because I enjoy astronomy and cosmology, but I rather think it is because the book is well written and edited.

It is not a light read by any means, both subjects are serious and DeBlieu treats them as such. However, she describes them in layman's terms and only provides enough technical information to explain her views of the concepts. That approach makes it easy for any reader to grasp the insights she presents.

The book is more about her experience with her husband's depression, than his experience. I appreciate that approach, as it is first-hand and personal. She does not try to write the book on his behalf nor does she pretends to understand what he is going through. In fact, her own confusion and suffering comes to the fore every now and then, but she never dwells on it or look for sympathy. It provides wonderful perspectives for spouses and family members of depression sufferers. But be warned, DeBlieu does not provide a cure for depression nor does she have the ultimate answer for living with a depression sufferer. This is not what the book is about. It is rather about a personal experience and how she coped with it. At best, it registers empathy with those who suffer from depression and their loved ones who are affected by it without choice.

Having suffered from depression for a number of years myself, the glimpses that DeBlieu provides of her husband's experience are startling real. Her rather `gentle' description of the impact on the people around us is even more startling - in a state of depression one tends to focus on oneself and forget about those around you. And the fact that depressed people can do little about it is downright frightening even though they (we) know it is true.

I particularly appreciated the way she aligned the complexity of the human mind with the complexity of cosmology and astronomy. It is true that it is non-scientific and rather her way of coping with and thinking about depression as an illness of the mind, but her views are easy to relate to and provides that little bit of a different perspective to the everyday sadness of depression.

I recommend this book strongly for anyone who is living with or close to a depression sufferer as well as to anybody inclined towards depression. It is uplifting to both parties to see that it is possible to deal with depression even if it might require adjustments and sacrifices. If you are interested in astronomy it will be a huge bonus, but if you are not, do not let it put you off the book. You will most likely understand DeBlieu's astronomical and cosmological descriptions relatively easily, but if not, it will not lessen the value of the book. The book is certainly not for readers who are looking for astronomy and cosmology in terms of scientific subjects.

3-0 out of 5 stars The Healing Power of the Cosmos, New Discoveries.
This is part memoir concerning her husband, Jeff's bout with clinical depression (deep sadness) over the impending death of his mother."I read somewhere ...that soliders dying on the battlefield cry out for their mothers.People walking throught the carnage at Normandy heard grown men calling out, 'Mommy!'"She asks him what it felt like to know his mother's dying.He says it is scary; he's scared of not having a mother. "It's like being caught in a vortex and being sucked down; it's more out of control."

She philosophized about how many centuries ago, "people often turned to the stars to allay their fears and chart their paths."They had used stargazers not just to 'allay their fears' but to find answers to life's most pressing questions and sought wisdom about the best treatment of illnesses.

Since she is the Cape Hatteras Coastkeeper in North Carolina where that spectacular lighthouse stands tall, she started observing the night sky."We now have the skills to examine the stars in more than a half-dozen ways, with scans for radio signals, microwaves, X-rays, gamma rays, and cosmic rays.Telescopes capture infrared and ultraviolet light, as well as visible light."The edges of the cosmos have been pushed back farther and farther with the advent of each new telescopic tool."The various light waves that penetrate space give us glimpses of what lies beyong Earth's atmosphere... We are watching celestial events that would have startled our grandparents, never mind the first stargazers whose intellects were set ablaze by the objects they saw through their crude telescopes."She learned from an astronomy "history" book about the composite photograph called 'Hubble Deep Field' made from some 342 exposures over a ten-day period of December 1995, into the deepest parts of Space."In that one tiny keyhole of the sky, the telescope detected hundreds of previously unknown worlds."In 1930, we knew of nine planets which made us our universe.Today's astronomers are now certain that the solar system is a lot more interesting than just a list of nine planets.There is no precise definition of the word, 'planet,' and astronomrs are thinking and re-thinking about where comets actually come from; in addition to the planets and their moons, there appear to be lots more to our solar system.In June 2002, Quaoar was discovered, as was Xena in October 2003, with its own little moon and is the most distant object ever found orbiting the sun.In February 2004, DW was discovered by a robotic telescope with an orbit farther out in Space of Sedna, discovered in March 2004.These new world have been found by looking far outside the plane of our solar system.

By studying the stars, she writes, "I imagined the whole of our tiny, perfect world -- people, animals, plants -- watching the sky together, saying as one, "Oh!"A diamond torch exploed in Orion and fell, leaving a misty,savering path as long as a comet's tail."With her new interest in the universe and by writing this account, she says that she embarked on "an unusual literary journey" and had some help from friends to "realize that my journey was indeed at an end."

Jan Debliue has also written MEANT TO BE WILD, HATTERAS JOURNAL, and WIND: HOW THE FLOW OF AIR HAS SHAPED LIFE, MYTH AND THE LAND.Her natural history/science articles have appeared in 'Audubon,' 'Orion,' and the 'New York Times Magazine.'

5-0 out of 5 stars Unusual
This is an interesting and unusual book in which the author
weaves together an account of her husband's depression with
observations on her hobby - Astronomy.One gets the strong
feeling that her marriage would not have survived the impact
of depression had she not had some interest to turn to for

5-0 out of 5 stars Clear, readable and sympathetic
Jan Deblieu is a gifted nature writer whose straightforward, accessible prose can make both the tangle of the galaxies and the tangle of neurons in a person's brain comprehensible to the lay reader.

As a mother, wife, and amateur astronomer, Deblieu walks a fine line between personal revelation (about her husband's depression and its effect on her and their young son) and abstract explication (about the complexities of contemporary astronomy and physics).

Year of the Comets effectively links these two seemingly disparate subjects, presenting both with clarity and vitality. Highly recommended. ... Read more

10. El cientifico rebelde/ The Scientist as Rebel (Spanish Edition)
by Freeman Dyson
 Hardcover: 375 Pages (2008-11-15)
list price: US$48.95 -- used & new: US$26.72
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 8483067676
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11. The Magus of Freemasonry: The Mysterious Life of Elias Ashmole--Scientist, Alchemist, and Founder of the Royal Society
by Tobias Churton
Paperback: 320 Pages (2006-06-27)
list price: US$16.95 -- used & new: US$5.00
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Asin: 1594771227
Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars
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A comprehensive look at the life of Elias Ashmole, who represents the historic missing link between operative and symbolic Freemasonry

• Explores the true role of occult and magical studies in the genesis of modern science

• Explains the full meaning of the term magus, which Ashmole exemplified

Elias Ashmole (1617-1692) was the first to record a personal account of initiation into Accepted Freemasonry. His writings help solve the debate between operative and “speculative” origins of Accepted Freemasonry, demonstrating that symbolic Freemasonry existed within the Masonic trade bodies. Ashmole was one of the leading intellectual luminaries of his time: a founding member of the Royal Society, a fellowship and later academy of natural philosophers and scientists; alchemist; astrological advisor to the king; and the creator of the world’s first public museum. While Isaac Newton regarded him as an inspiration, Ashmole has been ignored by many conventional historians.

Tobias Churton’s compelling portrait of Ashmole offers a perfect illustration of the true Renaissance figure--the magus. As opposed to the alienated position of his post-Cartesian successors, the magus occupied a place at the heart of Renaissance spiritual, intellectual, and scientific life. Churton shows Ashmole to be part of the ferment of the birth of modern science, a missing link between operative and symbolic Freemasonry, and a vital transmitter of esoteric thought when the laws of science were first taking hold. He was a man who moved with facility between the powers of earth and the active symbols of heaven. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

2-0 out of 5 stars Could Be Great, But Isn't
This could have been a really great biography, breaking ground in a critical and little understood era of European-English history and the history of alchemy and Hermeticism. But instead, it has a biased intent and imposed thesis that little lends it to scholarship. ... Read more

12. Another Way Home: A Family's Journey Through Mental Illness
by John Thorndike
Paperback: 256 Pages (1997-05-01)
list price: US$11.95 -- used & new: US$1.83
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0140265708
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Soon after the birth of their son, Janir, John Thorndike's wife began a terrifying and dangerous drift into schizophrenia. Realizing that the only way to protect Janir was to take him away from his mother, Thorndike found his way through the pratfalls of child rearing alone. All who have experienced the wrench of mental illness in the family will recognize their own journey in Thorndike's heartfelt and heroic story of fatherhood. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars GREAT BOOK!!
This book is very well written! It was such a great read, I could not put it down. I definitely recommend.

5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing story that hit close to home
I met John Thorndike at a writing conference in 1997. I had not heard of him, but I bought a copy of Another Way Home as the story hit close to home for me. I, too, was raised by a single father and had a mother who was battling schizophrenia. While I did not live in all the different places this family did, I found the book to be honest, raw, and heart-warming all at the same time. This is a book more people should read.

5-0 out of 5 stars very emotional and personal story of a father and son
I met Janir a few months ago. He is an amazing man and I hope to someday meet his father, John. They have had a challenging life together and haveprevailed with support from each other. I was emotionally involved in thisbook, but even if you do not know either of these men you will find thisbook hard to put down.I cried through the entire book and after readingthe last sentence broke down myself.I was overwhelmed with lonliness andfelt honored to be a part of Janir's life. This story is powerful,emotional, and REAL.

5-0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking & heart-wrenching
I read this book several years ago, after meeting Janir at summer camp.Knowing little of his background, I was overcome by the emotion in the story.
A fantastic (if heart-wrenching) read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Awesome!
This book is very well written, it gives a very honest depiction of the problems associated with being a single parent. I know John Thorndike's son personally as his summer camp counselor. Janir, now in his twenties, isenthusiastic, considerate, creative and full of energy. A tribute to Johnmeeting the challenges presented to him in his life. ... Read more

13. Justus von Liebig: The Chemical Gatekeeper (Cambridge Science Biographies)
by William H. Brock
Hardcover: 394 Pages (1997-07-13)
list price: US$145.00 -- used & new: US$43.70
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0521562244
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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One of the founding fathers of organic chemistry and also a great teacher, Liebig (1803-73) enjoyed a close relationship with Britain, whose scientific education, medical practice and agriculture he transformed. Brock's fresh interpretation of Liebig's stormy career shows how he moved chemistry into the socio-political marketplace, demonstrating chemistry's significance for society in food production, nutrition and public health. Through popular lectures and his readable Chemical Letters, Liebig also commented on issues such as scientific methodology and materialism. This is the first English-language biography of Liebig since 1901. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Justus von Liebig's Chemistry
Baron Justus von Liebig was one of the most important chemists of the nineteenth century. He was, for instance, one of the founders of organic chemistry and largely responsible for the increasingly important study ofbiochemistry and bacteriology. His early work on agricultural chemistryrevolutionized both British and American agriculture. His work on animalchemistry, combined with his agricultural work, to establish an influentialtheory of disease. William Brock's book is an admirably clear,understandable, and interesting study of von Liebig's life and career. Hischapters are arranged topically,"Liebig and the Doctors," forinstance. This makes reading on particular topics much easier than it wouldotherwise be. His footnotes and bibliography are well presented, thorough,and do not clutter up the text. Those interested in either the historyof science or the cross-cultural influences between Germany and VictorianBritain will find this study both informative and very interesting, even ifthey are not scientists themselves. ... Read more

14. Not Much of an Engineer: An Autobiography/R 12
by Stanley, Sir Hooker
 Paperback: 256 Pages (1991-12)
list price: US$12.00
Isbn: 1560911573
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best books I have ever read.
Not so great for its literary value but the fact that it is a true story.The author was so influential in the development of the RR/Bristol Pegasus, RB 211 and even the RR Merlin aero engines.This is how real engineeringshould be.Inspirational.

5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding book. Couldn't put it down.
An excellent book on the history of the jet engine. Told from a different perspective by an individual who was there from the beginning. ... Read more

15. I Am Not What I Am: APsychologist's Memoir Notes on Managing Personal Misfortune
by Thomas F. Linde
Paperback: 209 Pages (2001-09)
list price: US$19.95
Isbn: 0759650039
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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This Iowa Psychologist, artist, spouse, father and grandfather tells how he deals with misfortune. His massive disability, Cerebral Palsy, is a misfortune he mastered to become highly socially productive. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars A REMARKABLE STORY -
Imagine the thrill I felt when, by accident, I came across Tom Linde's book at amazon.com. I knew Tom when he was in high school and have always wanted to know what happened to him. The reader will find this a story of what a noble man has brought to life. He turned a damaged beginning into a well used life, a life that signifies something: a marvelous story of love, inspiration, courage, and intellect.

5-0 out of 5 stars Becoming Reacquainted
I've known Tom since 1973.The book adds a dimension to our relationship that was missing up to the present.His ability to successfully cope with the devastating "horror" of his circumstance is remarkable.His descriptive articulation of this "horror" is what is very new to me and substantially deepens my value of, respect for, and love of this remarkable man.Tom's debits as a human being are similar to many of us and are neither diminished or aggrandized by his unique circumstance.He is truly human, ornery, cunning, at times devious, and genuine.


5-0 out of 5 stars Inspirational...........
I would have to take issue with Dr. Linde's son who says his dad "is an average person, he just works harder at it".He is an extraordinary person who dailyfaces monumental challenges to live an ordinary life.He demonstrates an iron will and incredible determination in the face of overwhelming obstacles and maintains a beautiful sense of humor throughout.

Dr. Linde possesses a brilliant mind, trapped in a seriously disabled body.He has indeed "worked vigorously to establish a discernible, productive social presence" his entire life, often against great odds.I feel such anger when I read about the lack of accessibility which is afforded him in his own community.

This book answers lots of questions about coping with a serious handicap and is an inspirational journal of Dr. Linde`s life.Praises to his parents and his brother, Dick, who taught him from the beginning that no hurdle was too high and no obstacle to large for him to overcome.

This book possesses humor, culture, education, inspiration - appealing to a broad variety of readers.I highly recommend it!

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book!
I'm lucky enough to know Dr. Linde personally, and he is an amazing person.It was interesting to get to read his book and see life through Tom's eyes; to try and understand what it feels like to suffer from such a horrible disease.Tom has overcome his setbacks and propelled farther than many thought he would ever be able to go.Now, through this book, he can teach all of us.
Read this book.Not only is it a well-written book, but it's important for all "normal" people to try to understand what it may be like to be handicapped.Tom's book does that.It can open your heart and mind.

5-0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended!
I highly recommend this book by Dr. Linde.It gives the reader a very clear understanding of what it is like to live with cerebral palsy. But more than that, this book is applicable to readers in all situations who have personal misfortune to deal with.The courage, humor, and personal strength shown by the author are an inspiration to all readers, regardless of whether they are dealing with personal infirmities.This book is a must read for special education majors, and could be helpful in occupational therapy training as well.Also a good personal interest book for the general population. ... Read more

16. Return: The Spiritual Odyssey of a Soviet Scientist
by Herman Branover
 Paperback: 248 Pages (1996-05-01)
list price: US$41.95 -- used & new: US$4.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1568215290
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
As Branover's philosophical autobiography, this book documents his extraordinary spiritual odyssey. Originally published in 1982, the book became a bestseller within the Jewish community, but it was published minus a significant portion of Branover's philosophical notes written while still in Riga. This volume contains this additional material. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars An admirable life
Herman Branover here tells the story of his' return' to Jewish faith and practice. A struggle which begins in the Soviet Union has its continuation in Israel. In Israel Professor Branover continued to develop his distinguished scientific career and became a pioneer in outreach to the large community from the former Soviet Union in Israel.
... Read more

17. Erich Fromm: Una escuela de vida/ A School of Life (Contextos/ Contexts) (Spanish Edition)
by Rainer Funk
 Paperback: 207 Pages (2009-03-02)
list price: US$37.95 -- used & new: US$28.84
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 8449322308
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18. Where to Go, What to Do, When You Are Bern Porter: A Personal Biography
by James Schevill
 Hardcover: 339 Pages (1993-01)
list price: US$27.50 -- used & new: US$9.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0884481255
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars Ace of Waste
Bern Porter led a big American life: Maine potato farmer turned Ivy League physicist, unwitting worker on A-Bomb, then TV and Saturn capsule researcher, achievements debouched into footlong security file, an Iliad of mid-century American repression and fears. Porter turned his wasted career into a searching aesthetics of waste--Mail Art, "Sciart" (Science + Art), and a remarkable series of "Founds," tight Cornell-boxy collages of ads, data tables, and sly consumerist come-ons that ensure his place as one of America's Yankee secrets, jeremiads bright as fireflies. Schevill's got the only bio in town, but read this and change that. We can't afford to lose our Berns.

4-0 out of 5 stars Biographies on an underappreciated eccentric
The value of biographies on the more illustrious eccentrics is that the ideas, insights, and accomplishments of their lives can be taken out of the sometimes confusing even frustrating daily context and presented as ameaningful whole, where the importance of their voices in society can beevaluated and appreciated.This personal biography adds to this value thepleasure of being a good read. ... Read more

19. Confessions of an Alien Hunter: A Scientist's Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence
by Seth Shostak
Audio CD: Pages (2010-09-01)
list price: US$24.99 -- used & new: US$15.64
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1423376420
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Since the first Martian “canals” were charted in 1877, space aliens have captivated skygazers, night travelers, and television watchers worldwide. Polls show that nearly half of all Americans believe in extraterrestrials, and many are convinced they’ve visited Earth. A fair number of scientists also suspect that aliens exist, and for decades they’ve been seriously searching — using powerful antennas and computers to scan for radio waves coming from other star systems. This engaging memoir reveals the true story of the Search for Extraterrestrial
Intelligence (SETI), and discloses what we may very soon discover.

Chronicling the program’s history with insight and humor, SETI senior astronomer Seth Shostak assures us that if there is sentient life in the universe, we are within decades of picking up its signal. Methodically busting urban legends about alien crash landings, crop circles, and the like, Shostak pits scientific truth against speculation and delivers important news on the
state of our knowledge. He answers a host of questions about SETI, including where its antennas are aimed…how we know which frequency to monitor…what our response might be…and why, if a signal is detected, “it will be one that’s deliberately beamed into space, not the Klingon equivalent of I Love Lucy.” Contrary to popular opinion, any aliens found by SETI will not resemble the squishy, big-eyed creatures on cinema screens. Rather, they will have already invented their successors: super smart post-biological thinking machines vastly beyond our own capabilities.

Edgy, amusing, and remarkably profound, Confessions of an Alien Hunter addresses the startling possibilities awaiting us in deep space and in humankind’s own future.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (22)

4-0 out of 5 stars A good introduction to radio SETI
I need to admit up front that I am not an unbiased reviewer.I am a fan of Seth Shostak.I listen to the Are We Alone podcast from the SETI Institute every week.I like his corny jokes and overacting, and I like the way he tries not to take himself too seriously.I have also read Sharing the Universe by Shostak. The title of this book drew me in because I thought it might be a much more personal approach to the subject.I was hoping for a sort of autobiography, as I am always interested in what motivates people in science.Yes, there is some of personal history in the book, but not enough to quench my curiosity.The book reads much more like an introduction to radio SETI than a detailed personal journey.It is full of Shostaks wit and I enjoyed that.As I am pretty familiar with most of the material presented, the humor kept me reading when I might have distracted by something else.As someone who is very into radio technology I hoped for a more convincing defense of radio SETI in the face the recent challenges put forth by Paul Davies in his new book The Eerie Silence.Perhaps that will be part of Shostak's next book.I also hope it will contain more of the technical details of Paul Allen Array and the way it is being used.In short, it is a good introduction to SETI, full of humor and a bit of personal (and SETI) history. Its hard to imagine that you will not enjoy it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Interview with the Iconoclast
Watch Video Here: http://www.amazon.com/review/R23CELFRLT90GE The thoughts of a key participant in one of the riskiest scientific endeavors ever conducted.

4-0 out of 5 stars A quick, entertaining read
Seth Shostak provides an entertaining glimpse into the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. For the casual reader, this is a good introduction to the activities and reality of SETI.

Shostak takes a playful approach - which while usually entertaining, can become annoying. I was sometimes put off by all his analogies.

His conclusions about the nature of "intelligent beings" we're likely to encounter is a bit disturbing, though possibly true (read the book). To me, though it makes sense relative to whatHUMANS may become in the next few hundred years, it isn't necessarily what another life form would be like.

All in all - a recommended read.

4-0 out of 5 stars Disappointing but Probably True!
The author is a scientist and an expert on life in the universe. I am disappointed that it's unlikely that we'll ever encounter those close encounters or meet an actual alien. It's disappointing but you know that's probably true. But the author helps explain the reality instead of mere fantasy. Just because we've made it to the moon and Mars, doesn't mean that another planet has intelligent creatures to have the same technology or advances.

We would probably be aware of actual aliens and unknown flying objects which are probably top secret government experiments that even some administrators don't know about not even the top elected officials are aware of their presence. It's sad but probably true that we are all alone in this universe and the that the nearest life on another planet is light-years ahead and too far to reach. Maybe they feel the same way, all alone in the universe.

I remember watching the science fiction shows like V where the lizard aliens in human skin came to earth to steal the water and take us as food. To know that's probably not going to happen is comforting but sad. I think humans would like to meet intelligent creatures from other worlds.

I think we're ready for them but they should know that we are not as dumb as the shows make humans out to be. Just because we haven't created high technology spacecrafts, doesn't mean that we are not far behind. Maybe in a 100 years, we'll be ready for the aliens to visit us and we visit them. There is that time continuence and that it would take years to reach our destination. What do we do, freeze ourselves on a spacecraft? I just hope some day that I was proven wrong.

This book gets very technical and redundant with some information and material. If you are into science and technicalites, you will probably enjoy it. Reading this book has been in useful in learning that there are legitimate scientists out there trying to find extra-terrestial life. Shostak's writing may not appeal to everybody but it's an important book because it's realistic and factual. The author shows us the actuality and reality as opposed to the Hollywood version. Maybe we are far away or maybe we're really alone in this part of the galactic universe.

5-0 out of 5 stars The search for ET in a down-to-Earth approachable book
Dr. Shostak should be applauded not only for his ongoing efforts in the search for ET, but for writing down his personal take on the history & future of SETI. He has a playful, humorous writing style which lends itself to making this book an entertaining and fast read.

Whether you are new to the subject of SETI or an old hand, you're sure to gain new insights from this book! ... Read more

20. A Beautiful Mind: A Biography of John Forbes Nash, Jr., Winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, 1994
by Sylvia Nasar
Hardcover: 459 Pages (1999-01)

Isbn: 0571197183
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
At the age of 21, a brilliant and highly eccentric graduate student made a major contribution to game theory: John Nash had discovered an influential theory of rational human behaviour. But ten years later, at the peak of a dazzling mathematical career and soon after his marriage to a physicist, Nash suffered a breakdown. Diagnosed a schizophrenic, he was beset by bizarre delusions, unable to work, and repeatedly incarcerated in mental hospitals. He spent most of the next three decades as a silent, ghost-like figure haunting the Princeton campus. Then, when he was 61 and all but forgotten, a dramatic remission of his illness and the Nobel Prize committee's decision to honour his achievements restored the world to him. His story is told in this book by an author who is intimately familiar with the academic world that Nash has occupied. She wrote it with the backing of Princeton and Nash's friends and colleagues.Amazon.com Review
Stories of famously eccentric Princetonians abound--such asthat of chemist Hubert Alyea, the model for The Absent-MindedProfessor, or Ralph Nader, said to have had his own key to thelibrary as an undergraduate. Or the "Phantom of Fine Hall,"a figure many students had seen shuffling around the corridors of themath and physics building wearing purple sneakers and writingnumerology treatises on the blackboards. The Phantom was John Nash,one of the most brilliant mathematicians of his generation, who hadspiraled into schizophrenia in the 1950s. His most important work hadbeen in game theory, which by the 1980s was underpinning a large partof economics. When the Nobel Prize committee began debating a prizefor game theory, Nash's name inevitably came up--only to be dismissed,since the prize clearly could not go to a madman. But in 1994 Nash, inremission from schizophrenia, shared the Nobel Prize in economics forwork done some 45 years previously.

Economist and journalist SylviaNasar has written a biography of Nash that looks at all sides of hislife. She gives an intelligent, understandable exposition of hismathematical ideas and a picture of schizophrenia that is evocativebut decidedly unromantic. Her story of the machinations behind Nash'sNobel is fascinating and one of very few such accounts available inprint (the CIA could learn a thing or two from the Nobelcommittees). This highly recommended book is indeed "a storyabout the mystery of the human mind, in three acts: genius, madness,reawakening." --Mary Ellen Curtin ... Read more

Customer Reviews (291)

4-0 out of 5 stars boy, does he look a lot like russell crowe!
It's amazing how much the picture of John Nash on the cover of this excellent biography looks like Russell Crowe! Or is it Russell Crowe who has the beautiful mind? How can someone with a beautiful mind throw a phone at a hotel receptionist?

All kidding aside, this is an enjoyable read. The subject is well known to moviegoers, so they'll be quick to spot the mistakes in this book where it makes up incidents not found in the movie and shamelessly distorts other incidents found in the movie just to make a better-reading book. But that typically happens whenever a writer decides to write a book based on a movie. All journalistic integrity is forgotten in the interests of commercial appeal.

To recapitulate, John Nash was a brilliant mathematician and a sometime a**hole who after publishing some breakthrough papers lost his mind intermittently for several decades, finally finding it again and re-emerging reasonably sane shortly after winning a belated Nobel Prize in Economics for his first big discovery in game theory. This raises interesting questions about the nature of paranoid schizophrenia and its interaction with brilliance. It's fun to speculate about this topic, especially because there are really no hard facts or proven theories so anybody's opinion is about as good as anyone else's. Certainly the author had fun speculating.

For those readers who wish to learn more about Nash's mathematical discoveries there is the "Essential John Nash", which I challenge anyone without a strong background in math to understand any of.

4-0 out of 5 stars This Book Helped Me to Understand Schizophrenia
This book is an interesting and well-written account of a highly intelligent and creative man who suffered from schizophrenia. Like many people, I first heard of Nash by watching the movie starring Russell Crowe. The movie is true to the basic outline of the biography, but omits or fudges many relevant details. For example, the movie didn't mention Nash's travels to Europe or his divorce. From the movie, one would think that Nash's disorder began at graduate school at Princeton, since that is when he first "sees" his imaginary roommate. This imaginary roommate isn't mentioned in the book.

Although eccentric and strange, Nash didn't suffer his first breakdown until age 30, which is relatively late for schizophrenia. If Nash had developed this disorder when he was 20, no one would have heard of him, and there would be no biography to read. It's important to emphasize this point. For every famous person like Nash, there are thousands of talented people who, due to mental illness, never get a chance to exercise their talents.

What precipitated Nash's initial breakdown? It could have been his marriage that occurred two years before, along with his wife's pregnancy. Stress is known to precipitate psychiatric symptoms, and major life changes like getting married and having a child are significant sources of stress. It could have been a European honeymoon trip that Nash and his wife went on about 6 months prior to his breakdown. There's no way to know for sure.

After his breakdown and initial hospitalization, Nash gave up his tenured position at MIT and headed to Europe, where he would spend the next 9 months, attempting to renounce his U.S. citizenship and become a "world citizen." This behavior exemplifies that the severe mental illnesses are primarily disorders of instability. Who in his right mind would give up a tenured faculty position at MIT? Most normal people crave stability, and there's nothing more stable than a tenured position. Mentally ill people crave the opposite; for them the stability of a tenured position is both frightening and undesirable. Nash's travels are further indications of instability.

After Nash returned to the U.S., he had temporary episodes of sanity alternating with psychotic episodes. With some brief exceptions, he wasn't able to resume his career until he had a remission in his fifties. This remission occurred after having lived a relatively quiet and stable life at Princeton for over ten years. Nash won the Nobel Prize in economics in 1994.

Nasar's biography convinces me that schizophrenia is closer to bipolar disorder than Alzheimer's Disease. Schizophrenia is an episodic disease, characterized by alternating sanity and insanity, of rational thought and delusions. At least in Nash's case, it doesn't appear to be degenerative.

I recommend this book for anyone interested in the biographical details of an eminent man's battle with mental illness.

5-0 out of 5 stars An inspiring, compelling and, ultimately, beautiful read
This is the book that inspired the film of the same name staring Russell Crow. Whilst elements of the story are similar, anyone coming to the book from the film, as I did, will find a more complex, interesting, and, on occasions, unlikeable Nash than the Hollywood version.

Starting with his early, pre-illness, days, Nash begins as a typically brilliant, temperamental, and eccentric genius. He knew it too with his interpersonal skills making him aloof and arrogant. Although it might have been wonderful to meet the early Nash, it is hard to see how one would have liked him. It seems astonishing, therefore, that anyone would feel romantically attracted to Nash, much less devote their life to his care, but this is exactly what Alicia Nash took on. The terrible effects of paranoid schizophrenia are evident in Nash's decline into alternative realities, which threatened to end his life as much as his career. It is a terrible illness. That Nash was able to recover is perhaps testament to his determination to restart his career as well as the unfailing love of his wife. For me, the title of the book could easily belong to Alicia.

Nasar writes wonderfully well and she conveys the complexity of Nash's thoughts and his decline into illness in extraordinary detail. Occasionally, as with all good biographies, you feel that the characters let you down and Nasar never shies away from telling the whole truth. Whilst her voice is silent through most of the book it is only at the end, when the prejudice against mental illness comes to the fore, that Nasar allows her own distaste of such bias to surface. It forms a fitting conclusion to this monumental work.

5-0 out of 5 stars Good reading
I bought this book after watched the movie based on the same book.

I like movies based on academic settings.

The book arrived on time and in good shape.

2-0 out of 5 stars not like the movie at all
Nasar is a good writer and she's obviously done her research.My problem was with the subject matter.In this book John Nash comes across as boring, creepy, and a bit of a jerk.Not the kind of person I care to read about. ... Read more

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