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1. A Galaxy Unknown
2. Valor At Vauzlee (A Galaxy Unknown
3. Cure Unknown: Inside the Lyme
4. Paranormal State: My Journey into
5. Identity: Unknown (Tall, Dark
6. Atlas of Unknowns (Vintage Contemporaries)
7. Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal
8. Mao: The Unknown Story
9. Crossing the Unknown Sea: Work
10. Unknown Man #89
11. Down the Great Unknown: John Wesley
12. Address Unknown
13. To a God Unknown (Penguin Classics)
14. Portrait of an Unknown Woman:
15. Lincoln the Unknown
16. Ghost Hunt: Chilling Tales of
17. Unknown Quantity: A Real and Imaginary
18. Journal of the Unknown Prophet
19. The Unknown Craftsman: A Japanese
20. The "Unknown" Reality, Vol. 2:

1. A Galaxy Unknown
by Thomas DePrima
Paperback: 400 Pages (2010-08-10)
list price: US$23.95 -- used & new: US$23.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1435732774
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
June 6th, 2267 - A life-pod, missed by rescuers following the mysterious explosion of a Space Command vessel a decade earlier, is discovered by a passing freighter in deep space. A young officer, still cocooned in stasis sleep, is found inside. When revived, Ensign Jenetta Carver learns of the lawlessness that now suffuses interstellar space. Pirates and slavers seem able to attack and pillage with impunity. Space Command has committed its full resources to stopping the anarchy, but criminal groups have grown immensely powerful. Although determined to rejoin SC as soon as possible, Jenetta is captured by pirates before that can happen. At first she fears for her life, but when she's indelibly marked as a pleasure slave, she gets mad; fighting mad. And when they tamper with her DNA to make her appear sexier, she gets even madder; killing mad. Can a petite blonde, cut off from Space Command, create more mayhem among the criminal elements than a full decade of SC effort? You'd better believe it! ... Read more

Customer Reviews (80)

5-0 out of 5 stars Unexpectedly Good!
I have read a lot of science fiction lately so that I had essentially read up to the latest book in about 5 different series.I was looking for something new and downloaded this to my Kindle with the thought that I'll give it a shot.Wow, I was I ever surprised at how good this book was.Entertaining page-turner with reasonable plot line and reasonable characters in heroic situations that in a science fiction universe are "believable" (as far as science fiction can be believable).Highly recommended for military sci-fi fans.

3-0 out of 5 stars Fairly engaging, some flaws
The first five 'pages' (on a six inch Kindle) hammered me with distracting '-ly' adverbs, but soon enough the book settled down and started flowing. However, there must be some unwritten rule when writing a science fiction novel that requires the author to include the following:

* Situations where knowledge of historical events lead to victory (only the protagonist and senior military can know this)
* Additional historical references for color
* Anachronisms (for color, because somehow the readers will find commonality and cherish the book... or the author likes the topic... whatever)
* References to the author's favored music (self indulgence)
* References to the author's favored author (more self indulgence)
* Aquiline noses and saturnine expressions (get over it already)


Those are nitpicky problems and don't necessarily ruin the story, or even detract from them much if you are patient and willing to forgive.

Worse were some of the questions I had about Space Command. How could a military as large, respected and complex as Space Command be so utterly naive as to leave two of their most powerful new weapons platforms ungaurded? "Disguised as a tech LOL" shouldn't be a viable plan when thieving from an organization respected enough to attract aliens to its training academy.

Additionally, how can the Raiders--a vast criminal organization employing scum that nevertheless manages an amazing degree of discipline and order through paranoia--be so idiotic as to remove cameras from their detention block? If the guards get too worked up and rape the prisoners at least put a few people to guard the guards. For that matter, why not genetically embed something like an RFID or barcode tag on the slave and track their every movment? While you're at it, inspect the cargo of the people that snuck into your base--I'm assuming a couple of torpedos would be easy enough to spot.

Actually, most of the plot seems to revolve around criminal negligence. Book two better have enough disaster to balance the karma out.

Overall, 3 is about right. This is standard fare scifi with little to make it distinct from the rest.

Prospective Kindle readers should know that many Kindle books are poorly edited and contain numerous typos, and "A Galaxy Unknown" is not an exception. Kindle owners should complain long and loud.

2-0 out of 5 stars Poorly written, enormous holes in plot and science, but a glimmer emerges
I ordered A Galaxy Unknown based on good reviews without trying a sample first. I had a sinking feeling in the first paragraph. Here it is, in full:

"A dizzying montage of abrasive red and white splashes from the overhead light slathered the room and savagely doused her sleeping form without effect. But when the red alert horn's undulating shrieks stabbed mercilessly at her body and knifed their way to the marrow of her bones, consciousness aggressively irrupted into Jenetta Carver's sleep-anesthetized brain."

Where does one start critiquing that? If they are having no effect, why are the lights "dizzying," "abrasive," and "savage"? Why would sound knife to the marrow, which is not found in bones anywhere near the ears? Why is consciousness, not sound, aggressive? Is consciousness so different from the brain that it can intrude upon the brain in an unevenly increasing manner? (Got thesaurus?)

Sentences like "... it greatly increased an already heightened state of agitation." and "The gymnastic movement evinced a legerity that contrasted markedly ..." Irrupted? Legerity? The author should tattoo Stephen King's words to the inside of his forehead: "Any word you have to hunt for in a thesaurus is the wrong word. There are no exceptions to this rule." Then the author wouldn't use words like "immurement," "pertinacious," and "sedulous." To be fair, the writing gets a little less overwrought as the story progresses. Still bad, but better.

OK, enough about the writing. What about the science, the immersion in a different time? In a word, dismal. During this time they have zero gravity, faster than light travel, and faster than light communication. But picture frames are "black anodized aluminum", mirrors and viewing ports are polycarbonate, explosive bolts hold on a protective cover on "a small radio telemetry array" (necessary to compute basic nav data, for some reason) and after a training exercise in which a power unit's "circuit rods" are replaced by our heroine, it bursts into flames.

Inconsistencies abound. Jenetta's rescue pod is almost out of power, but has maintained an artificial gravity field for 10 years (which later on is said to require significant power.) Computers can bring an FTL space ship into normal space and not let it resume FTL travel, but torpedoes have to be guided manually. Jenetta is programmed to enjoy pain (don't ask) while unconscious and is later deprogrammed in a few hours, but it takes eight to ten years to completely rewrite her DNA. Generally the science has the feeling that it is made up on the spot to satisfy a plot requirement, then dragged, kicking and screaming, through the rest of the book, leaving implausability in its wake.

OK, enough about the science. How about the plot? Here is where the glimmer of hope emerges. Not because it is anything but preposterous. But because after despairing at the ambiguity and obscurity of much modern science fiction, there is something refreshing in the naivete of a plot like the one in "A Galaxy Unknown." (Spoiler alert!) The more hopeless her situation, the more Jenetta triumphs in the end. Tattooed, trapped, brainwashed, and abused in a detention center in an enemy's hollow asteroid surrounded by 18,000 enemy? Of course she is going to escape in command of not one but two of the most most powerful ships in the known universe and blow the base up behind her. The greater her triumph, the larger the challenge that comes next. Returning Space Command's two lost ships? Of course Space Command is going to shackle her and put her up on charges for desertion, murder, impersonating an officer, etc.

I did end up reading the whole thing. But I really have some trouble understanding how anyone could say A Galaxy Unknown was well written in any way. How about a button like the "Prime Eligible" one that filters out anyone who gave this book four or five stars from affecting the reviews I see? I might start to trust reviews again. Still, I'm envious of anyone who has rated this book highly because they have obviously never read any good science fiction. What I would give to be able to have all of William Gibson, Neal Stephenson, Robert A. Heinlein, Larry Niven, Vernor Vinge, Greg Bear, Orson Scott Card, Daniel Keys Moran, etc., in front of me? A lot.

If, after what I wrote, you still want to get A Galaxy Unknown, you should. And if I'm wrong anywhere, please comment. I haven't forgotten that Thomas DePrima has written and completed books that people enjoy. That is a significant accomplishment in itself, and one that I admire.

5-0 out of 5 stars First Rate Story
When a story elicits all kinds of emotions while reading, you know it's a great story. I highly recommend this book and the following ones in the series.

2-0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
The premise of this book starts out well with the exploding ship and Jenetta having to go into stasis.After she is picked up by the crew of the freighter things begin to snowball.Jenetta is described as smart, but a poor decision maker.After the freighter's captain is "lost", the crew of the freighter chooses Jenetta, who has only been an officer for a few months and an ensign to be the captain.I will not go into the details of her adventures, but she is pretty much successful at the amazing things she does which makes the book hard to stomach.She is too infallible and the characters around her seem very inferior to her superior skills which is ridiculous for a rookie ensign.Unfortunate... ... Read more

2. Valor At Vauzlee (A Galaxy Unknown - Book 2)
by Thomas DePrima
Kindle Edition: Pages (2010-08-05)
list price: US$5.99
Asin: B003YL4GT8
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
A captured Raider officer, eager to secure his freedom, informs Space Command Intelligence of a planned attack on a convoy by a massive Raider armada. An effective spotter network and intelligence system usually allows the pirates to avoid SC warships, so for the first time in Galactic Alliance history, a task force of Space Command warships might have an opportunity to engage a fleet of pirate ships in mortal combat.

The Space Command Admiral at Higgins SCB pulls out all stops to surreptitiously assemble a force of ten ships, the most that can be secretly diverted, to face off against the Raider ambushers. One of those ships happens to be the Prometheus. Jenetta Carver, the newest Lt. Commander in Space Command, on her way to Earth for a medal ceremony for acts of outstanding valor, finds herself again caught up in a life or death situation. The Prometheus arrives at the rendezvous point, a month from Higgins SC Base, to await the arrival of the other ships, and a call for help from the convoy.

Only two other ships have reached the RP when the convoy is attacked. Captain Gavin of the Prometheus, in his capacity as task force commander, decides that they can’t wait for the others, so the three SC warships race off to face a Raider warship force they expect will number forty plus. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (34)

5-0 out of 5 stars Gripping
This was an amazing follow up novel, and it sets the series in motion.I could not put this down, and finished it in just 3 days (would have been 2 if I didnt have a 12 hour duty shift in there).You will not be dissapointed with the novel itself.It has all the elements of drama, the fun of Sci-Fi space battles, and a main character that you cant help but like.

I Personally cannot wait to get into the third one.

5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding
Series is getting better. I like this one best of the first three I think. And the best part is there are several books to the series. I know it takes time to prep books for e-release too but we are getting impatient for the rest :) . {even though the first three came out very fast, some authors/publishers wait a year to maximize profits I guess. Not here and thanks for that.} These books are good enough to be impatient for. Weber, Ringo et al, fans will like this, different but just as enjoyable.

5-0 out of 5 stars Valor At Vauzlee
America's Galactic Foreign Legion - Book 1: Feeling Lucky

"Valor at Vauzlee" is even better than the first book "A Galaxy Unknown."There is lots of thunderous action.What more could a military science fiction fan want?

5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing
This is the best science fiction I have read all year.Nothing more needs to be said.

4-0 out of 5 stars An excellent follow-up to A Galaxy Unknown!
As an excellent follow-up to the first book it has great battle scenes and even a little political intrigue, though not enough to encumber the soldiers kickin' proverbial butt!Lacking significant depth, the story continues the success of Jenetta as the author ties up some loose ends from the first book.It makes for a satisfying light read for those who want to disappear into a colourful environment.

A good bit of entertainment! ... Read more

3. Cure Unknown: Inside the Lyme Epidemic
by Pamela Weintraub
Paperback: 448 Pages (2009-10-13)
list price: US$15.99 -- used & new: US$8.96
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312378130
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

When Pamela Weintraub, a science journalist, learned that her oldest son tested positive for Lyme disease, she thought she had found an answer to the symptoms that had been plaguing her family for years—but her nightmare had just begun.  Almost everything about Lyme disease turned out to be deeply controversial, from the microbe causing the infection, to the length and type of treatment and the kind of practitioner needed.

On one side of the fight, the scientists who first studied Lyme describe a disease transmitted by a deer tick that is hard to catch but easy to cure no matter how advanced the case. On the other side, rebel doctors insist that Lyme and a soup of “co-infections” cause a complicated spectrum of illness often dramatically different – and far more difficult to treat – than the original researchers claim. Instead of just swollen knees and a rash, patients can experience exhaustion, disabling pain, and a “Lyme fog” that leaves them dazed and confused. As patients struggle for answers, once-treatable infections become chronic.

In this nuanced picture of the intense controversy and crippling uncertainty surrounding Lyme disease, Pamela Weintraub sheds light on one of the angriest medical disputes raging today. The most comprehensive book ever written about the past, present and future of Lyme disease, Cure Unknown exposes the ticking clock of a raging epidemic and the vulnerability we all share.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (72)

5-0 out of 5 stars Read it for yourself or your loved ones
No one needs to suffer needlessly, for years, due to bad doctors, bad insurance companies, and bad government agencies. Sorry, but "bad" is the most appropriate word.

Great information. As hard to follow as the series "LOST" on ABC but a must read for those affected by Lyme disease. I'm little over half way through the book and plan to reread the entire book. This time I'll be taking notes and making family trees to keep track of everything / everyone that the author talks about.

I have a personal interest in this book because I've been fighting Lyme Disease, and its effects, for 9 years now. You never know if you've really gotten rid of Lyme Disease. I'm doing quite a bit better than most people. I can bike ride, at a medium level, being careful not to overdo it. And I get to keep going to work (oh boy).

In reading this book you have to get through a lot of sad stories. But you need to know about these sad stories to appreciate the needless suffering that people have gone, and will go, through due to misdiagnosis and under treatment.I have personally gone through quite a few of the things in this book which, for me, makes it credible.I even had Amazon deliver a copy to a good friend of mine that has been sick for 10 years. She's been diagnosed with many different illnesses including Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue. I hope and pray that she gets tested positive for Lyme Disease. Better to have a known disease and begin the treatment. And hopefully no more endless suffering.

That's it. I hope that this helps someone. Spread the word.

Paid $10.87 with free shipping. Purchased on 08-31-2010 directly from Amazon.
Paid $10.87 with free shipping. Purchased on 09-03-2010 directly from Amazon.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good book
It's a good book but was hard for me to follow sometimes.There is a lot of medical jargon and words that my Lyme brain can't comprehend.I skipped over some pages and some chapters just because I couldn't follow it.I may re-read it again once my brain fog starts to wear off. She does have some really great information in it and she talks about all the controversy and everything.Good book for Lyme patients to read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Hugely credible
Weintraub has impeccable journalistic credentials, shares her research and sources, and adds the passion and credibility that can only come from an intense personal experience.Whether you think you know a lot about Lyme disease, or feel like you should know more, this will be an important book for you.Very well-organized and easy to read, alternating between the journalistic reporting and the autobiographical.

5-0 out of 5 stars An important subject for everyone
A very knowledgeable history of an epidemic disease caused by a very small tick which many doctors do not recognize.The author describes real cases where Lyme's Disease went undiagnosed and caused much pain and stress to the victims.

5-0 out of 5 stars scleroderma and lyme
I was diagnosed with scleroderma a year ago, and began treatment with antibiotics nine months ago.I am well on my way to returning to health.The nagging question has been, where did the bacterial infection come from that initiated the scleroderma?

After reading Pamela Weintraub's book, it is completely obvious that a tick bite on one of our more than 60 family camping trips with our boys in the Sierra is the culprit.I never had a rash, but I do remember showing my husband two small black dots half the size of a poppy seed just above my ankle.They were quite likely two tick nymphs, though I didn't know it at the time.It happened within a few weeks of my first raynaud's.I know I've had the symptoms and made notes of them on my 3X5 cards for years.I kept them even though my doctor told me about each symptom,'there is nothing to worry about'.Last year, a positive ANA scl-70 forced us to look for a better doctor and appropriate treatment.

I've had the symptoms, I've been getting a partial treatment from my scleroderma doctor, but I realize I need the coinfections identified and treated.If Pamela Weintraub hadn't written this book, I would have no idea what happened to me, and that the treatment may be incomplete.

There's more to this story, Pamela.You've only scratched the surface.My educated hunch is that so-called auto-immune disease begins with a tick bite.This is the next big connection to tick-borne disease. ... Read more

4. Paranormal State: My Journey into the Unknown
by Ryan Buell, Stefan Petrucha
Paperback: 400 Pages (2010-10-01)
list price: US$16.99 -- used & new: US$9.93
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0061767948
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

Ryan Buell, star of the hit A&E series Paranormal State, takes us behind the scenes of his most intense supernatural encounters.

ollow Ryan Buell on his extraordinary journey as he seeks out the truth behind terrifying demonic disturbances, hauntings, and paranormal phenomena to solve unexplained mysteries that have been plaguing frightened families who have nowhere else to turn.

In Paranormal State, Buell gives readers a chilling, in-depth look at some of the most disturbing cases—including some that have never been aired—revealing startling new facts and incredible new discoveries. Buell relives the origins of the Paranormal Research Society—discussed here for the first time—and the strange path his life has taken since the show's beginning. With unparalleled candor, Ryan discusses the intriguing mysteries, the difficult decisions, and the struggles with questions of faith, sanity, and the very concept of reality.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (22)

4-0 out of 5 stars A growing philosophy that show be given considaration
"I have had to really think about how I felt about this. I have watched the first two seasons of the show Paranormal State merely out of intrigue and curiosity. Like most, paranormal shows I try to dismiss the crap. I was reluctant to read this when it fell on my desk, but after reading the personal testimony of Ryan Buell he appears to be a well thought out individual with a natural ability to motivate people in a positive way.

This being said, this book really is a journey of his growth through the experiences he has had on the cases of his first season of the show. The book offers a another look at the cases with add scrutiny that the television show omits. It makes a lot of what you see and hear a little more believable or debunked. Ryan's own personal philosophy is so well written that it's hard not to put even the slightest bit of faith in the kid. The most important point in this book is that he believes and hopes he really is helping people, whether it is supernatural or just stress and a series of coincidences. Helping people recognize what is really going on in their lives and helping them to move forward and take back control of their lives appears to be his mission. There is no greater teacher than personal experience. Ryan Buell demonstrates this in this book on more than one level which makes this personal story great. We see a young man driven by faith transform into a man willing to accept all possible accounts and drawing rational conclusions rather that jumping to them.

The layout of the book made for a quick read, and not once was I bored to put it down and walk away as if I cared less. There is a growing philosophy that I will actually walk away with after reading this. And I will definitely give some benefit of the doubt to some personal testimony of the paranormal."

5-0 out of 5 stars book
it's a great book well written i hope i see more from this person and their show.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Paranormal...
For anyone who is interested in the Paranormal, this is a definite "must have" for your reading library. Ryan and his team are, in my opinion, a huge asset to the Paranormal Community and should be highly respected. Ryan's passion, drive and willingness to accept the unknown is amazingly brave! If you are already a fan of Paranormal State, then you won't be disappointed...and if you are thinking about becoming a fan, this is a great start!

5-0 out of 5 stars Loved this book
I'm a big fan of the show Paranormal State and was surprised and excited when I found a SIGNED copy of this book at my 'local' bookstore. (I wish I had known Ryan was going to be there; would have been incredible to meet him!)The book is an easy read.Ryan uses plain language to share the journey of PRS and the show on A&E.He shares some interesting insights on the familiar cases and people behind them.I would postitively read it again and highly recommend it to others.

5-0 out of 5 stars Read entire book in 24 hours
This book is genuine.I can hear Ryan's voice throughout the entire book.It brings more insight into his life as well as the journey of Paranormal State. I enjoyed reading it, and I am looking forward to the next book. ... Read more

5. Identity: Unknown (Tall, Dark & Dangerous, Book 8)
by Suzanne Brockmann
Paperback: 256 Pages (1999-12-01)
list price: US$4.25 -- used & new: US$24.61
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0373079745
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
What he remembered: His clothing size
What he didn't remember: Everythingelse

Navy SEAL Mitchell Shaw woke up one morning with no clue as to whohe was.And the items hidden in his possession were no help -- an address, alongwith a .22 caliber side arm. The address led him to the Lazy 8 Ranch -- and itsbeautiful manager, Becca Keyes, who made him believe he might have a future.Even if he wasn’t sure about his past.

The gun was another story altogether...

... Read more

Customer Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars haunting love story
really appreciate the quality of her writing... excellent story, characters, and (eventual) love scenes.this one stayed with me...

5-0 out of 5 stars I can't put them down...
I love Suzanne's writing style and here she surprised me. I expected similiar stories to the first few of the TDD series (prince joe, forever blue, etc.). Nope...new twist. Mitch came out of his shell and Becca I fell in love with. True to her normal style of writing...Suzanne made me laugh, I got all teary and those soft love scenes were great.

4-0 out of 5 stars Dark hero, sizzling attraction, witty dialogue .....
Identity: Unknown by Suzanne Brockmann
Silhouette Intimate Moments # 974 - January 2000

Mitch aka the Priest, wakes up with a splitting headache in a homeless shelter in New Mexico. He doesn't know how he got there, and he doesn't know who he is. He discovers $5,000 in cash, a .22 and a fax with an address on it, stashed inside his boot. None of that makes sense. Becca's dream is to someday own her own ranch, but for now she has to be content trying to manage Lazy 8. When Mitch shows up and hands her the fax with the ranch address and her name on it as way of introducing himself, Becca calls him Casey Parker and says she's pleased he's early because the ranch is short handed. Now Mitch has a job, and a name, but neither are familiar. At night he's having nightmares, and he's convinced he's a criminal and has done some horrendous things. Becca doesn't know what to make of her new ranch hand who doesn't seem to know anything about ranching. The attraction between them is sizzling. Mitch confesses his amnesia with Becca and together they try to piece together what he does know and what he's been dreaming about.

It was fun getting inside Mitch's head as he tried to sort through who he is and what his past has been. There's some very witty dialogue. Becca is wonderful at lightening Mitch's darkening moods. They make a great couple

5-0 out of 5 stars Gripping and satisfying
Other reviewers have explained the plot pretty well, so I'll skip the details and just say that Suz's plotting is as detailed, consistent and believable as always.

Derailed from his mission by amnesia, Mitch's worst fears are that he is a criminal and might hurt Becca. (Yes, you would think that he might get a clue about his own character from observing what he is most afraid of!) Becca is strong and honest, a great match for Mitch, yet in all their combined toughness they are both very sensitive and vulnerable characters.

With all the physical and emotional pain that Mitch suffers, the book could be rather dark, but his determination and motivation keep pushing toward the light. And we are treated to some wonderful Keystone Cops moments from SEALs Lucky, Bobby and Wes, as they try to find Mitch and figure out what has gone wrong.

I've read all 11 of Suzanne Brockmann's Team 10 books at least three times each, and this remains one of my three all-time favorites.

5-0 out of 5 stars It's Like "Bourne Identity" Only Better!!
"Identity:Unknown" is one of the best books in the Tall Dark and Dangerous series. It has remarkable characters and tons of action. Good job, Suzanne Brockmann. Now, I can't wait to read Lucky's story. ... Read more

6. Atlas of Unknowns (Vintage Contemporaries)
by Tania James
Paperback: 336 Pages (2010-04-20)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$8.49
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0307389014
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
An utterly irresistible first novel: The story of two sisters, the yearning to disappear into another country, and the powerful desire to return to the known world. Linno is a gifted artist, despite a childhood accident that has left her badly maimed, and Anju is one of Kerala’s most promising students. Both girls dream of coming to the United States, but it is Anju who wins a scholarship to a prestigious school in New York. She seizes it, even though it means lying and betraying her sister. When her lie is discovered, Anju disappears. Back in Kerala, Linno is undergoing a transformation of her own. But when she learns of Anju’s disappearance, Linno strikes out farther still, with a scheme to procure a visa so that she can come to America to look for her sister and save them both.Amazon.com Review
Book Description
A poignant, funny, blazingly original debut novel about sisterhood, the tantalizing dream of America, and the secret histories and hilarious eccentricities of families everywhere.

In the wake of their mother’s mysterious death, Linno and Anju are raised in Kerala by their father, Melvin, a reluctant Christian prone to bouts of dyspepsia, and their grandmother, the superstitious and strong-willed Ammachi. When Anju wins a scholarship to a prestigious school in America, she seizes the opportunity, even though it means betraying her sister. In New York, Anju is plunged into the elite world of her Hindu American host family, led by a well-known television personality and her fiendishly ambitious son, a Princeton drop out determined to make a documentary about Anju’s life. But when Anju finds herself ensnared by her own lies, she runs away and lands a job as a bikini waxer in a Queens beauty salon.

Meanwhile, back in Kerala, Linno is undergoing a transformation of her own, rejecting the wealthy blind suitor with whom her father had sought to arrange her marriage and using her artistic gifts as a springboard to entrepreneurial success. When Anju goes missing, Linno strikes out farther still, with a scheme to procure a visa so that she can travel to America to search for her vanished sister.

The convergence of their journeys—toward each other, toward America, toward a new understanding of self and country, and toward a heartbreaking mystery long buried in their shared past—brings to life a predicament that is at once modern and timeless: the hunger for independence and the longing for home; the need to preserve the past and the yearning to break away from it. Tania James combines the gifts of an old-fashioned storyteller—engrossing drama, flawless control of plot, beautifully drawn characters, surprises around every turn—with a voice that is fresh and funny and powerfully alive with the dilemmas of modern life. She brings grace, humor, deep feeling, and the command of a born novelist to this marvelous debut.

About the Author

Tania James was raised in Louisville, Kentucky, and is a graduate of Harvard and Columbia universities. She has published her work in One Story and The New York Times. She lives in New York City.

Exclusive Essay: Tania James on Sisterhood and Atlas of Unknowns

Tania JamesThis book is primarily about sisters, a subject I know something about, as I have two, an older and a younger. For a lengthy stretch of childhood, the Older and I attended the Harold Roberts School of Dance, where we were packaged as a tap duet, and while other groups boasted sexy titles--The Jazzettes, for example, or Spice--my sister and I bore a name as dull and durable as our school shoes. We were simply, lamely, The James Sisters.

The James Sisters began their tenure at the ages of 7 and 9. I spent many of those youngest years as a pudgy counterpart to the Older (or, you could say, she was my lanky counterpart), and the visual effect, in pictures, evokes Abbott and Costello, or Cee-lo and Dangermouse, but in leotards and feathers. We were, however, serious about tap dance. Several times a week, we spun, flapped, and travel-backed across a linoleum patch of floor in our basement, smacking into walls, smiling blindly. Inevitably, the practice would end in a fight, and the Older would storm away and flop into a nearby armchair while I massaged my blisters and fantasized about a tapless adulthood.

I think that the Older resented being lumped with me, moreso than I did. But we were also aware that there existed some sort of mysterious syncretism to the styles in which we danced, and the way we could, without the aid of music, fall into exactly the same rhythms and gestures. At our best, when we performed, our four shoes emitted the sounds of a single pair, which seemed a genetic asset that our competitors lacked. Only once did we each try to dance a solo piece, but neither of us turned out to be the Paul Simon we had presumed ourselves to be. We were two Garfunkels, and practicing alone was boring. So we continued with our duets and fights, repelled and drawn back again and again, for years.

My apologies if I have given the impression that this novel has anything to do with tap dance. It does not. But in the attempt to sort through the soup of influences that fed this story, a particular image--my sister and I dancing and fighting in a cold basement--floated to the surface. Of course, I can point to other influences, both literary and non-literary, ones whose connection to my novel I can better articulate, like the statue of a martyred saint holding his own head, or a Malayalam film star, or my grandmothers who perpetually wear white, or a few seconds of the documentary Sherman’s March, wherein a woman complains to the filmmaker about his constant filming: “Could you turn it off? This is important. This is not art, this is life!” And then there are the influences that have exercised their hold on my imagination in invisible ways, like the fear of facing the infinite dark of the audience, and the relief of taking my sister’s sweaty hand for a bow. I can’t say that my life is art, but life has offered a steady and generous stream from which to make it.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (20)

4-0 out of 5 stars `But the water, having no memory, moves on.'
After the death of their mother Gracie, Linno and Anju are raised in Kerala by their father, Melvin, and their grandmother Ammachi.Anju wins a scholarship to a prestigious school in America, and lies, thus betraying her sister to accept it.Anju's lie is uncovered a few months into her scholarship, and her life changes.Fleeing from her host family, Anju works in a beauty salon and tries to obtain a green card.Linno, seeking to travel to America to find her sister, earns money by creating handmade invitations.

The stories of Linno and Anju are not the only stories in this novel which provides both strength and weakness.The mystery of Gracie's death, the differences between life in Kerala and New York City, and the role of Bird who becomes Anju's protector in New York City add layers to the story.The strength is that this provides a depth and complexity to the story, the weakness is that the stories of the sisters become overshadowed at times by the events of the past.While this detail enriches the story and provides cultural context and colour, I am ambivalent about the way it shapes the journey.I enjoyed the novel: the stories of Linno and Anju caught and kept my attention.But at the end of the novel I wondered about all of the other characters who had been involved.

This is an impressive debut novel and I'll be looking out for other novels by Ms James.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith

5-0 out of 5 stars Began the year with a great book
My other two reviews on Amazon are largely negative. I picked up this book at the library as well. And that is where the similarity ends. Excellent book with memorable characters. The narration is so good you can picture every thing the author writes about, whether it is a beach in Kerala or an Indian "beauty parlor" in the US. As you read the book, you peel layers off until you piece together a linear narrative. As someone mentioned here, there are some loose ends. But the author's refusal to tie them up probably makes the book more intriguing and thought-provoking. I don't think a sequel is a possibility but that doesn't stop me from fervently hoping there is one.

5-0 out of 5 stars captivating
My favorite things:

. Anju's culture shock in the curious world of New York City:"In gym, when someone passes her the basketball, Anju says, 'Thank you,' and immediately another girl steals the ball from her hands."And her attempts to navigate a friendship/relationship with "Fish," a boy who's smart, confident, and immature.
. Linno and her wealthy (and blind) suitor.
. The strange and disappointed Birdie, who seeks out Anju upon learning of her arrival in hopes of finding some meaning to her life.Stalker, mother, accuser, lover?

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent debut!
In Atlas of Unknowns, first time novelist Tania James, tells the funny and honest story of two sisters trying to find their places in this world amidst betrayal and haunting secrets. The older sister, Linno, is scarred by an unfortunate accident and the truth behind her mother's death. She's a gifted artist, yet does not shine the way her younger sister, Anju,does academically. Anju is so successful in school that she applies for and receives a scholarship to attend an elite private school in New York. Though she wins the scholarship under false pretenses, she thinks this will be her opportunity to improve her family's situation. There's also a good supporting cast of characters. These include Anju's Hindu host family, the Sankalis, whose matriarch is a cohost on an American talk show that seems to be a caricature of a real life four woman hosted show and a son who defers college to pursue documentary film making. Then there's Bird, who brings Anju some semblance of comfort in the midst of culture shock and has a secret tie to her. Set in Kerala, India and New York, we see two sisters navigate issues like marriage, family, post 9/11 immigration, and self-discovery.

"For such a small world, the space from person to person can span a whole sea."
This describes the relationship between Anju and Linno both emotionally and physically. However, the emotional divide lessens once the spatial divide becomes a factor.

I absolutely loved this book! At first, I thought this was going to be a story about one fortunate, scheming sister and the other talented and woeful. But, this isn't the case. Even though Linno lacks self-confidence early in the story, when Anju stabs her in the back, Linno calls her out. And like you would hope sisters would do, Linno still supports Anju's temporary success and she desperately tries to get to her when everything falls apart. I cheered Linno on through her self discovery and all but spewed venom at Anju, even after she loses everything. I did, however, sympathize with their father Melvin once he finds himself working for the wealthy man who was once betrothed to his deceased wife. James has a keen sense of narrative. Her characters are well developed, relative, and recognizable. She handles the issues of immigration in a post 9/11 America and a young Indian woman challenging marital customs with honesty. I felt very satisfied once finished with this. A small part of me didn't want it to end, and that's when you know you've read something really special.

3-0 out of 5 stars The Quest For Identity
This is a novel set in Kerala, India -- and in Queens, New York -- about a family torn apart by betrayal and separated both geographically and by life's choices. It was a natural choice for me:lately, I've been entranced by literature written by Indian-Americans and Pakistani-Americans.The lushness of the writing and the soaring of imagination has resonated with me.And I also took note of the many laudatory reviews.

As a result, I wanted to love this book while in the end, I merely liked it.That puts me at odds with the literary community but that's the thing about reading:it's very individual.

A reprise of the plot:After their mother's mysterious death, two sisters -- Linno and Anju --are raised by their loving father.The two quickly set off on different tracks, largely as a result of Anju's betrayal.Disfigured Linno stays behind, using her artistic gifts to forge a career and a name for herself, rejecting marriage and compromises.Anju wins a scholarship to a very elite American school, which she enters based on a lie that is uncovered.She then takes up residence with a woman who shows more than a passing interest in her and who may hold the key to the past.

The novel is largely about the never-ending quest for identity:who are we?Where do we belong?How do we reconcile the yearning for home with the drive for adventure?What role does family play in our lives when we reinvent ourselves?All are worthy questions.

For me, much of the novel was told, not felt.There is a certain something -- perhaps the "soul" of the novel -- that just seems to be missing.Some of the plot twists (don't want to deliver spoilers) seem a little too pat, a little too well-plotted.One of the key characters -- the ambitious son of Anju's host family in America -- is annoyingly one-dimensional.Tania James can definitely write, and I predict good things for her in the future. But I cannot embrace this novel as fervently as other reviewers. ... Read more

7. Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal
by Ayn Rand, Nathaniel Branden, Alan Greenspan, Robert Hessen
Paperback: 416 Pages (1986-07-15)
list price: US$8.99 -- used & new: US$4.34
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0451147952
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
This collection of 26 essays constitutes a challenging look at modern society.

The foundations of capitalism are being battered by a flood of altruism, which is the cause of the modern world's collapse. This is the view of Ayn Rand, a view so radically opposed to prevailing attitudes that it constitutes a major philosophic revolution. In this series of essays, she presents her stand on the persecution of big business, the causes of war, the default of conservatism, and the evils of altruism. Here is a challenging new look at modern society by one of the most provocative intellectuals on the American scene. This edition includes two articles by Ayn Rand which did not appear in the hardcover edition: The Wreckage of the Consensus, which presents the Objectivists views on Vietnam and the draft; and Requiem for Man, an answer to the Papal encyclical Progresso Populorum. This collection of 26 essays includes twenty by Ayn Rand as well as three essays by Alan Greenspan, two by Nathaniel Branden, and one by Robert Hessen. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (130)

5-0 out of 5 stars Ayn Rand's Capitialism: The Unknown Ideal

"Is man a sovereign individual who owns his person, his mind,his life,his work and its products- or is he the property of the tribe(the state,the society,the collective) that may dispose of him in any way it pleases,that may dictate his convictions,prescribe the course of his life,control his work and expropriate his products?Does man have the Right to exist for his own sake-or is he born in bondage, as an indentured servant who must keep buying his life by serving the tribe but can never acquire it free and clear?"

These are beautiful words that relate with me and my thinking and It is RATIONAL,the book is for rational People, A Must for Conservatives and Political Junkies. Capitalism -True Capitalism *No State Involved*- works, but as Ayn Rand puts it in her book so elegantly It's never been given the chance by a people and a media with The "Mob/Collective"*my choice of words here* mentality.the book is an excellent defense and seething rebuttal to common myths and outright lies about Capitalism.

5-0 out of 5 stars In Defense of Capitalism
This book is a set of essays, mostly by Ayn Rand.They explain, in clear language, the attacks on capitalism and the direct answers to those attacks.With the Obama administration attacks on the system that built America, this is required reading.

5-0 out of 5 stars Who said Rand Isn't Accessible?
The essays in this book differ from those in many of Rand's other works because of its accessibility. Although many Objectivists will tell you to start elsewhere, I find that this book has many great arguments for capitalism that the lay man will understand, so START HERE FOR AYN RAND'S NON-FICTION.

Another remarkable feature of the book is its historical perspective. I was hesitant, at first, to get this book because the articles are written from the late forties to late sixties, however, the timeless quality of the articles really shine through. They are so well put together that they stand the test of time. Contributing author Alan Greenspan was the longest sitting chairman of the Fed, so that alone is enough to understand the importance that this book has for current and past economic policy in the United States.

Unlike many other essay collections, this book has a great progression of essays. You can read this book from start to finish, always adding onto the ground established by "What is Capitalism" until the entire picture opens up before you.

5-0 out of 5 stars indispensible
If you are new to Ayn Rand, this may not be the best place to start. Perhaps try For the New Intellectual as a nonfiction base, and Anthem if you perfer fiction. I found this book to be so incredibily powerful and important for many reasons. The theory of capitalism is laid out, given context using history relevence, and is compared to other modes of thinking, namely altruism. Rand makes fundamental arguements for the morality of capitalism in a philisophic sense, as well as making economic and governmental connections. She breaks apart altruism and its precipitation into government, ie. socialism/collectivism. The arguements made, and the thorough nature in which she makes them really made a connection with me and have had a huge impact on my political and philosophic views. There is really no better way of describing this book than by saying it is completely indispensible, especially for those entering adulthood, who are still forming themselves intellectually. This book sheds light on capitalism in a way that today is infrequently seen(unfortunately), and articulated by the best. You will not be disappointed here.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Most Excellent Book
Every page of this book is interesting.Although it was written 50 yrs ago, it reads as though it was written in 2010.It gives evidence and opinions regarding fascism, communism, marxism, vs capitalism; what has taken place, how it happened, and what will happen if we aren't very careful, and awake. It covers so much ground that it is difficult to list topics, but here goes; "There is no direction , no goal, no compass, no vision of the future, no intellectual element of leadership.Are there any 'emotional' elements dominating today's culture? Yes.One. "Fear"...... In a mixed economy, every government action is a direct threat to some men and an indirect threat to all.Every government interference in the economy consists of giving an unearned benefit, extorted by force, to some men at the expense of others. By what criterion of justice is a consensus-governnment to be guided?By the size of the victim's gang."......Britains' Socialized Medicine; the price that does not show up on the cost sheets of socialized medicine is the 'brain drain', the nations scientists left Britain due to the administrative jungle and the low pay and the controlling hand of the Treasury
in all university grants.

"Businessmen - who provide us with the means of livelihood, with jobs, with labor-saving devices, with modern comforts, with an ever-rising standard of living - are the men most immediately and urgently needed by society.They are the first victims, the hated, smeared, denounced, exploited scapegoats..... Doctors come next.It is precisely because their services are so crucially important and so desperately needed that the doctors are now the targets of the altruists' attack, on a world-wide scale.............. penalizing success, of sacrificing productive genius to the demands of envious mediocrity.

A mixed economy is a mixture of freedom and controls - with no principles, rules, or theories to define either.Since the introduction of controls necessitates and leads to further controls, it is an unstable, explosive mixture which, ultimately, has to repeal the controls or collapse into dictatorship.A mixed economy has no principles to define its policies, its goals, its laws - no principles to limit the power of its government. The ONLY principle of a mixed economy - which, necessarily, has to remain unnamed and unacknowledged - is that no one's interests are safe, everyone's interests are on a public auction block, and anything goes for anyone who can get away with it..... a mixed economy is rule by pressure groups. The only enemy is integrity.

"Liberals" deride any political concern with such large-scale matters as an entire society or an economy as a whole; they concern themselves with single, concrete-bound, range-of-the-moment projects and demands, without regard to cost, context, or consequences."Pragmatic" - not "idealistic" - is their favorite adjective when they are called upon to justiy their 'stance' as they call it, not 'stand'.They are militantly opposed to political philosophy; they denounce political concepts as 'tags', 'labels', "myths", 'illusions' - and resist any attempt to 'label' i.e., to IDENTIFY - their own views. They are anti-intellectual.The only remnant of their former 'idealism' is a tired, cynical, ritualistic quoting of shopworn "humanitarian" slogans , when the occasion demands it."

"The destruction of freedom is their common goal, after which they hope to fight one another for power"....... "And thus a country which does abhor fascism is moving by imperceptible degrees - through ignorance, confusion, evasion , moral cowardice, and intellectual default - not toward socialism or any mawkish altruistic ideal, but toward a plain, brutal, predatory, power-grubbing, de facto fascism.""At present, we are a disintegrating, unsound, precariously unstable mixed economy - a random, mongrel mixture of socialistic schemes, communistic influences, fascist controls, and shrinking remnants of capitalism still paying the costs of it all - the total of it rolling in the direction of a fascist state."

"No matter what the verbal camouflage, such is the actual meaning of any variant of 'TRANSORMED', or 'modified' or modernized, or 'humanized' capitalism.In all such doctrines, the "humanization" consists of turning some members of society ( the most productive ones) into beasts of burden."......"the 'rich-by-force, the rich-by-political-privilege, the type who has no chance under capitalism, but who is always there to cash in on every collectivist 'noble experiment.'It is the creators of wealth who are destroyed under this system."..............."Anti-ideology consists of the attempts to shrink men's minds down to the range of the immediate moment, without regard to past or future, without context or memory - above all, without memory, so that contradictions cannot be detected, and errors or disasters can be blamed on the victims."

"A political ideology is a set of principles aimed at establishingor maintaining a certain social system; it is a program of long-range action, with the principles serving to unify and integrate particular steps into a consistent course.It is only by means of principles that men can project the future and choose their actions accordingly."

"You would be surprised how quickly the ideologists of collectivism retreat when they encounter a confident, intellectual adversary.Their case rests on appealing to human confusion, ignorance, dishonesty, cowardice, despair.Take the side they dare not approach; appeal to human intelligence." ... Read more

8. Mao: The Unknown Story
by Jung Chang, Jon Halliday
Paperback: 864 Pages (2006-11-14)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$9.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679746323
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
The most authoritative life of the Chinese leader every written, Mao: The Unknown Story is based on a decade of research, and on interviews with many of Mao’s close circle in China who have never talked before — and with virtually everyone outside China who had significant dealings with him. It is full of startling revelations, exploding the myth of the Long March, and showing a completely unknown Mao: he was not driven by idealism or ideology; his intimate and intricate relationship with Stalin went back to the 1920s, ultimately bringing him to power; he welcomed Japanese occupation of much of China; and he schemed, poisoned, and blackmailed to get his way. After Mao conquered China in 1949, his secret goal was to dominate the world. In chasing this dream he caused the deaths of 38 million people in the greatest famine in history. In all, well over 70 million Chinese perished under Mao’s rule — in peacetime.Amazon.com Review
In the epilogue to her biography of Mao Tse-tung,Jung Chang and her husband and cowriter Jon Halliday lament that,"Today, Mao's portrait and his corpse still dominate Tiananmen Squarein the heart of the Chinese capital." For Chang, author of Wild Swans, this fact is an affront, not just to history, but to decency. Mao: The Unknown Storydoes not contain a formal dedication, but it is clear that Chang iswriting to honor the millions of Chinese who fell victim to Mao's drivefor absolute power in his 50-plus-year struggle to dominate China andthe 20th-century political landscape. From the outset, Chang andHalliday are determined to shatter the "myth" of Mao, and they succeedwith the force, not just of moral outrage, but of facts. The result isa book, more indictment than portrait, that paints Mao as a brutaltotalitarian, a thug, who unleashed Stalin-like purges of millions withrelish and without compunction, all for his personal gain. Through theauthors' unrelenting lens even his would-be heroism as the leader ofthe Long March and father of modern China is exposed as recklessopportunism, subjecting his charges to months of unnecessary hardshipin order to maintain the upper hand over his rival, Chang Kuo-tao, anexperienced military commander.

Using exhaustive research inarchives all over the world, Chang and Halliday recast Mao's ascent topower and subsequent grip on China in the context of global events.Sino-Soviet relations, the strengths and weakness of Chiang Kai-shek,the Japanese invasion of China, World War II, the Korean War, thedisastrous Great Leap Forward, the vicious Cultural Revolution, theVietnam War, Nixon's visit, and the constant, unending purges all,understandably, provide the backdrop for Mao's unscrupulous butinvincible political maneuverings and betrayals. No one escapedunharmed. Rivals, families, peasants, city dwellers, soldiers, andlifelong allies such as Chou En-lai were all sacrificed to Mao'sambition and paranoia. Appropriately, the authors' consciences areappalled. Their biggest fear is that Mao will escape the globalcondemnation and infamy he deserves. Their astonishing book will go along way to ensure that the pendulum of history will adjust itselfaccordingly. --Silvana Tropea

10 Second Interview: A Few Words with Jung Chang and Jon Halliday

Q: From idea to finished book, how long did Mao: The Unknown Story take to research and write?
A: Over a decade.

Q: What was your writing process like? How did you two collaborate on this project?
A: The research shook itself out by language. Jung did all the Chinese-language research, and Jon did the other languages, of which Russian was the most important, as Mao had a long-term intimate relationship with Stalin. After our research trips around the world, we would work in our separate studies in London. We would then rendezvous at lunch to exchange discoveries.

Q: Do you have any thoughts about how the book is, or will be received in China? Did that play a part in your writing of the book?
A: The book is banned in China, because the current Communist regime is fiercely perpetuating the myth of Mao. Today Mao's portrait and his corpse still dominate Tiananmen Square in the heart of Beijing, and the regime declares itself to be Mao's heir. The government blocked the distribution of an issue of The Far Eastern Economic Review, and told the magazine's owners, Dow Jones, that this was because that issue contained a review of our book. The regime also tore the review of our book out of The Economist magazine that was going to (very restricted) newsstands. We are not surprised that the book is banned. The regime's attitude had no influence on how we wrote the book. We hope many copies will find their way into China.

Q: What is the one thing you hope readers get from your book?
A: Mao was responsible for the deaths of well over 70 million Chinese in peacetime, and he was bent on dominating the world. As China is today emerging as an economic and military power, the world can never regard it as a benign force unless Beijing rejects Mao and all his legacies. We hope our book will help push China in this direction by telling the truth about Mao.

Breakdown of a BIG Book: 5 Things You'll Learn from Mao: The Unknown Story

1. Mao became a Communist at the age of 27 for purely pragmatic reasons: a job and income from the Russians.

2. Far from organizing the Long March in 1934, Mao was nearly left behind by his colleagues who could not stand him and had tried to oust him several times. The aim of the March was to link up with Russia to get arms. The Reds survived the March because Chiang Kai-shek let them, in a secret horse-trade for his son and heir, whom Stalin was holding hostage in Russia.

3. Mao grew opium on a large scale.

4. After he conquered China, Mao's over-riding goal was to become a superpower and dominate the world: "Control the Earth," as he put it.

5. Mao caused the greatest famine in history by exporting food to Russia to buy nuclear and arms industries: 38 million people were starved and slave-driven to death in 1958-61. Mao knew exactly what was happening, saying: "half of China may well have to die."

... Read more

Customer Reviews (293)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Best Book on Mao Currently Available
Finally, a massively researched book that paints an accurate portrait of one of the evilest men of the 20th century.Why so many others try to see the good in Mao baffles me.It is like trying to rehabilitate the legacy of Hitler or Stalin.Evil thugs are evil thugs.

Yes there are some factual errors in the book, but that is inescapable when someone writes such a massive work.It always bugs me when dilettantes who vastly overestimate how just how smart they are, point to a list of 5 or 10 factual errors and say 'so the rest of the 800 pages are wrong too.' The fact is most of this book is extremely well documented and accurate.And the authors interpretations of Mao's motivations are based on extensive knowledge of the man.Their picture of Mao is fundamentally accurate and consistent.

This book painful.Reading about real world nonfiction sadistic torture, mass starvation, the destruction of all works of art, the incitement of children to beat to death other children, and other crimes against humanity is not pleasant.But if you are interested in Mao, and communist China, this is THE book to get.

So why is there such a strong reaction against this monumental work?

1) Denial.One of the problems most have is not understanding that there exist people in this world with no consciences: that is, people who see other people as nothing more than chess pieces, cattle, and/or playthings.The actions and motivations of conscience-less people are hard to fathom for normal humans; and so when we see or hear about those without consciences,our automatic response is to dismiss the information or to try to rationalize the inhuman behaviour.

Seeing Mao as a normal person and trying to understand his actions and motivations as such means you will not understand Mao.It is like trying to understand Hitler, Stalin, or any other sociopath\psychopath\extreme narcissist without recognizing the fact that their personalities are deviant.

2) I also see the very human trait of believing what we were told as children as coming into play.That is why Muslim children for the most part grow up to be adult Muslims, and Christian children Christian adults.So people who have grown up in Maoist countries, being indoctrinated about Mao, are going to face a struggle coming to terms with just exactly who and what he was.

3) Our need for happy endings.Stories that have no resolution or where evil wins are hard for modern people to take.We look for silver linings where there are none, and in so doing distort history.

5-0 out of 5 stars Must read
This book is a must for anyone interested in the modern history of China. The detail and documentation are phenomenal. If you are not at all familiar with Chinese geography, history or names it will be a little hard to follow but you have to start somewhere.

1-0 out of 5 stars Disgusted and Saddened
I am utterly disgusted and saddened after I read the first few chapters of this book. I am perhaps a few years younger than the author but I also grew up during the Cultural Revolution. Unlike the author who left China in the late 70's, I lived in China all the way through Tienanmen Square massacre (1989). So I am not here to endorse Mao or Maoism or Communism by any means. However, the author has committed the same exact mistake/crime that wrecked hovac into millions of families and lives in China during Mao's reign. The logic, arguments and the premises upon which she built this huge book of hatred are the same exact things that sent my father to hard labor camp because he painted a picture of some western scenary, and that denied my seat in the college because my great grandfater was not "poor enough". I can go on. Reading this book brought back so many of those painful memories. By condamning him for every little thing he did or did not do even as a mere child and a young man seeking a future, the author has done a terrible disservice to those who suffered in his ruling. I will continue to read. But I hope that the author could see what she has done in no way has promoted truth, independent thinking or humanity.

3-0 out of 5 stars Can a 1000 page book be shallow?
The question, as I said it above, is can a 1000 page book be shallow. Well Jung Chang and Jon Halliday have proven that it basically can. As a couple other reviews have pointed out, this book has an almost totalitarian interest in selling, no, cramming one single message down your (eyes?) page after page. That message is that Mao was a terrible person whose personality was about a half inch deep and completely evil for the entire half inch. Now don't get me wrong, I believe Mao did some awful things, some very awful things, but the problem with this book is that it is never satisfied to let you make your own conclusions on these issues. If a single sentence is written about a good deed from Mao, it is followed immediately, not even nearly immediately but immediately with an entire paragraph condemning the previous act as a freak occurrence or the element of some other evil plot. A lot of the points made are highly subjective. It is as though the authors are constantly afraid of letting the reader slip away and think that Mao was anything other than a manipulative psychopath. Honestly there is enough information in this book alone (otherwise) to make that point quite clearly without all of the aggressive hand holding. I had previously read the excellent biography of another 20th century red giant, 'Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar' by Simon Sebag Montefoire, which was a similar length. That book manages to convey a stronger messages about the negative qualities of Stalin's character while allowing the reader the respect to make these decisions on their own. It's basically the difference between saying 'Three thousand people were shot.' or 'Three thousand people were shot and this was a bad act of a bad man.' All that hand holding does is present a lengthy yet shallow, very shallow, portrait of Mao, and this over the course of nearly one thousand pages. As far as the history aspects of the book it is quite valuable. But I can't help feeling that the same information could be gathered elsewhere and in a more effective manner. This book was meticulously researched individually, especially throughout China, and that makes it valuable. I'm not familiar with the other works on Mao and his life, so I can't say if there is a better alternative. Though in spite of this I cannot really recommend this book to anyone except the Mao scholar who has read many sources and is capable of looking at a subjective viewpoint through objective eyes. Either they or someone who is looking to embolden their hatred of the man Mao, and who might be particularly scared of having their sentiments swayed by even an iota of positivity. It really seems that the authors had an axe to grind, either personally or by what they perceived as an obligation to the Chinese who died. Honestly for me I just wish the book offered more dimension to what must have been a very deep person. Though I could be wrong, Mao could simply be an automaton of evil and greed, which leads me to an alternative subtitle for this book: Mao: The Devil's Robot. Read at your own discretion, but honestly, you won't need to use it. The introduction should finalize with, 'Now please take off both your shoes and discretion and come inside, you will be taken care of from here.'

5-0 out of 5 stars Profound academic challenge to glorification of Mao
Well written and meticulously researched, it is a fascinating history of both Mao and China during Mao's rule. It will certainly challenge any glorified images of Mao that one might harbor. This book has been accused of being too "one-sided", personalized, and "extreme". However, there is a great body of historical information that supports this history and view of Mao. The book is not extreme - Mao was extreme, in his narcissism and cruelty. Although he liked to portray himself as a Marx or Trotsky, in reality he was a Stalin. ... Read more

9. Crossing the Unknown Sea: Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity
by David Whyte
Paperback: 272 Pages (2002-04-02)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$7.80
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1573229148
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
Crossing the Unknown Sea shows how poetry and practicality, far from being mutually exclusive, reinforce each other to give every aspect of our lives meaning and direction. For anyone who wants to deepen their connection to their work-or find out what their life's work is-this book is essential to navigating the way.

"Readers who accept poet and Fortune 500 consultant Whyte's invitation to enter into 'an imaginative conversation about life and work' are likely to be challenged as well as delighted by the beauty of his writing and the expansiveness of his views. Gracefully using the metaphor of a sea voyage to depict the journey through the world of work, Whyte views work not only as a means of support, but as a means for interacting with the world and developing self-expression and identity...An abundance of provocative ideas... thoughtful readers will wholeheart-edly savor this book." (Publishers Weekly, starred review) ... Read more

Customer Reviews (30)

5-0 out of 5 stars thought-provoking!
I am in a career direction shift and this book is giving me lots of food for thought! My coach recommended it, and so do I!

2-0 out of 5 stars A bit generalized, a bit narrow
This is definitely right for folks looking for good observations on abandoning work and finding something you've always dreamed of, but it is not as useful for someone in a pretty good line of work, or field they love, searching for attitudes and approaches to make that long stretch of middle career feel more meaningful, worthwhile, and well balanced.His method is to extrapolate from his personal career switch, which, bybecoming a guide in the galapagos, was fairly extreme.It seemed almost cliche the way the danger and near misses helped him find himself, his true values...just not new enough insights for my reading perspective.

5-0 out of 5 stars Powerful prose
This book was recommended by my sister who is a brilliant artist that knows her brother inside out and backwards. I was in tears in the first chapter, and I have never seen a wordsmith put sentences together as does David Whyte; they are packed tight with elegance and meaning. If you are spending much of your time wishing you were somewhere else, doing something else, pick up a copy of "Crossing the Unknown Sea -- Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity."

5-0 out of 5 stars Crossing the Unknown Sea
This book is a must read for anyone who is unhappy working for money and wants to find work that will satisfy their heart and spirit.I have recommended this book to friends who are searching for their life's work.

5-0 out of 5 stars Finding Fulfilling Work Means Embracing the Uncertainty of One's Journey
Each of us will likely reach a point in our professional lives when we ask ourselves what is the value of what we're doing. Some may ignore the impulse and go on with their routines with little adverse effect, while others may feel they are on the edge of a precipice with no path marked toward fulfillment. Author David Whyte, who is both a professional poet and a Fortune 500 consultant, certainly has the experience to write a book about self-discovery, and his most pervasive theme is one of pilgrimage toward our real selves. What makes Whyte's book essential reading is how he is able to translate this journey to our working lives. For many, work is a means to ward off fears of poverty, but the author illustrates how work at its best can be joyful, a "hidden trove of imaginative treasure that we hope can give us self-respect, independence and the ease we desire". At the same time, the harsh reality is that most companies deprive us of time and spaciousness and cause us to lose our creative spark, even ourselves.

Using his life as a guiding post for the reader, the author reveals many of the questions, crises, and turning points in his own search for meaningful work suited to his nature. He candidly discusses the life-changing encounters in his life, as well as the family memories and formative experiences that shaped his own psyche. More specifically, Whyte discusses his stint as a naturalist in the Galapagos Islands and the key role his ancestors have played in shaping the structure and form of his creative work. This emphasis he places upon our inheritance from those who have gone before us is probably the most inspiring message he conveys here. He cites his inspirations from William Blake's paintings, Rainer Maria Rilke's poems, and from the way poet John Keats lived his brief life. Keats believed that truly great people have the ability to accept that not everything can be resolved, that they can thrive in uncertainty. Such dependence on what Keats called the "holiness of the heart's affections" is what Whyte feels needs to be valued now.

Keats' concept of negative capability is the crux of Whyte's thesis, that one should follow one's calling and be guided by one's desires and aptitudes in spite of the uncertainty. Choosing or working at a job or career one is not suited to by nature is a mistake many make due to blinding factors like keeping up with the bills or placing emphasis on what others think. Whyte shows why and how to get back in touch with one's nature and get back on track and why it is so important for people to do so. This is not a stepwise manual toward self-fulfillment. Rather, it's a book of the author's own decisive path, and as such, certain sections of the book will be more relevant than others. Fortunately, Whyte knows firsthand what the corporate world is like and shows how he got back to writing poetry and what the costs and benefits were of doing so.Now he works in the corporate world, using his poetry self to help those who have left behind their creative, inner selves to regain them. It appears he has found the best of both worlds. ... Read more

10. Unknown Man #89
by Elmore Leonard
Mass Market Paperback: 368 Pages (2002-06-01)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$4.15
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060082216
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Detroit process server Jack Ryan has a reputation for being the best in the business at finding people who don't want to be found. Now he's looking for a missing stockholder known only as "Unknown Man No. 89." But his missing man isn't "unknown" to everyone: a pretty blonde hates his guts and a very nasty dude named Royal wants him dead in the worst way. Which is very unfortunate for Jack Ryan, who is suddenly caught in the crossfire of a lethal triple-cross and as much a target as his nameless prey.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (20)

5-0 out of 5 stars Don't miss this one
This is one of Leonard's earlier crime novels, and perhaps easily overlooked because it doesn't have a typically snappy EL title.What I love about his novels is how he eases into a story.No trumped-up, high-concept razzle-dazzle from page one.He starts with the characters, reveals telling details about them and how they talk, then lets them evolve and interact naturally.You always feel like the fly on the wall eavesdropping on real people in his books.And then there's the trademark martini-dry humor.It all works like a charm, and UNKNOWN MAN #89 is a prime example of Leonard working his magic.Don't let this one get away.

5-0 out of 5 stars Nancy in Seattle, WA :Top notch classic!
Truthfully, you never know for certain how a story by Elmore Leonard is going to end until you get to the last page.There are more twists than a switch-back mountain hiking trail. The dialog is easy, never contrived and flows like you are evesdropping on something you might not want to know anything about.You can see the thought process as characters try to work out their next step.Ryan is a thinking person's antihero in the classic sense, slow moving and looking at all the odds.I have always liked Mr. Leonard's women.While Denise, 'Lee', might not be the girl next door any longer, you get a good picture of what she has been through and how she is trying to redefine herself.This is not an action thriller bloodbath, it is worth reading over and over.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Discovery
Elmore Leonard is never a discovery; he's the master, but this book was hiding in a bin I hadn't been through in awhile and the moment I found it I devoured it.This is classic Leonard--lean, Hemingwayesque, beautifully plotted and clear as crystal.A Detroit process server stumbles onto a strange case and finds himself trapped by an array of dangerous individuals: a scam artist with a Louisiana hit man/sidekick, two local black criminals, the dead partner of one of them and his alcoholic ex-wife.The process server, Jack Ryan, walks the tightrope, dodging shotgun blasts, getting cozy with the ex-wife and finding some help from a local cop named Dick Speed.This is pure Leonard genre heaven, but without the Damon Runyon clumsy figures.These people are all serious.It's the difference between Killshot and Get Shorty--Leonard in his ultra-serious mode, doing what only he can do so well.It's a lightning-fast read, dated only by the dollar amounts in play.Highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars Leonard is a genius.
What is it about Elmore Leonard that makes him so awesome?

He's a master of the language, yet his prose is understated.He communicates a great deal with few words, and what he communicates is always unique and interesting.He doesn't overwrite or show off but by the same token doesn't fall into the affected "terse" style other crime writers sometimes put on.

His characters breath.They're all three dimensional and unpredictable.There is rarely a character who hasn't been through something dark and gritty.They're all wounded and trying to get somewhere better.None of them are stock "good guys" or "bad guys"- and sometimes you don't know which will turn out to be which.Leonard doesn't fall back on genre cliches.And the dialogue is incredible- Leonard is the master of real sounding, tense, menace-laden conversation between people with hidden agendas.

Plotting: again, awesome.Truly masterful.Pacing is spot on.

Regarding this book in particular it exemplifies all of the above in spades.

Thanks to Hollywood, we all know Mr. Majestyk, 52 Pickup, Get Shorty, Be Cool, KillShot, etc., but Unknown Man # 89, published in 1977 after Swag, is an unknown gem that'll keep you flipping pages at night. Leonard weaves an original story of Jack Ryan, a Detroit process server, who is hired to find Bobby Lear by a con man named Mr. Perez. The con deals with unclaimed stocks and Ryan will hit pay dirt if he can just locate him for Mr. Perez. Easy enough right..? It's what Ryan does for a living. Wrong! Ryan gets himself in deeper to the con and has to figure out how to turn the tables on Mr. Perez. It leads to a clever triple-cross only Elmore Leonard could engineer.

Most notable scene: where Virgil Royal plants a shotgun in the room of his victim-- the fire escape of Bobby Lear's hotel room; it is reminiscent of Puzo's Godfather.

I would read Unknown Man # 89 again... and again...
Highly recommend!!! ... Read more

11. Down the Great Unknown: John Wesley Powell's 1869 Journey of Discovery and Tragedy Through the Grand Canyon
by Edward Dolnick
Paperback: 400 Pages (2002-09-01)
list price: US$13.99 -- used & new: US$4.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060955864
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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0n May 24, 1869, a one-armed Civil War veteran named John Wesley Powell and a ragtag band of nine mountain men embarked on the last great quest in the American West. No one had ever explored the fabled Grand Canyon; to adventurers of that era it was a region almost as mysterious as Atlantis -- and as perilous.

The ten men set out down the mighty Colorado River in wooden rowboats. Six survived. Drawing on rarely examined diaries and journals, Down the Great Unknown is the first book to tell the full, true story.

Amazon.com Review
Edward Dolnick's Down the Great Unknown depicts the "last epic journey on American soil," John Wesley Powell'sexploration of the Grand Canyon and the fulminating, carnivorous Colorado River. The book, a model of precision, clarity, and serene passion, outshines, arguably, its bestselling brother-volume, Stephen Ambrose's Undaunted Courage.

On May 24, 1869, Powell, an ambitious, autocratic, one-armed Civil War veteran and amateur scientist, and a casually recruited crew of nine--without a lick of white water experience--embarked from an obscure railroad stop in the Wyoming Territory to travel through a region "scarcely better known than Atlantis." Ninety-nine days, 1,000 miles and nearly 500 rapids later, six of the men came ashore in Arizona--the first humans to run the waters of the Grand Canyon. Dolnick tells this story of courage, naiveté, hardship, and petty squabbling simply and authoritatively using entries from the men's journals, deft overviews (we always know where we are), and short science, history, and psychology lessons, as well as the prodigious knowledge of present-day river runners and his own first-hand observations. His prose carries the day: Powell looks like a "stick of beef jerky adorned with whiskers," the boats are "walnut shells," which in rapids are little better than "ladybugs caught in a hose's blast" or "drunks trying to negotiate a revolving door," while the river is a "taunting bully," a "colossal mugger," a "sumo wrestler smothering a kitten," and a notable rock formation looks like what might happen if "Edward Gorey had designed the Bat Cave."

Down the Great Unknown brushes against perfection. This is history written as it should be--and too rarely is: enthusiastic, rigorous, painterly, gloriously free of both pedantry and hyperbole. --H. O'Billovitch ... Read more

Customer Reviews (31)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book
It is a "page turning" real life adventure story objectively told. The story is perfectly put into the context of the time and place and the way people thought. Lots of citations and a large bibliography as well. Great book. My congratulations to the author for a job well-done; thank you.

5-0 out of 5 stars gift
I bought this book as a gift for my husband.We are going down the Grand Canyon this summer - he is loving the book.He also liked "River of Doubt".

5-0 out of 5 stars Down the Great Uknown
Down the Great Unknown is a re-telling of the 1869 John Wesley Powell expedition by boat through the Colorado River and Grand Canyon, the first ever descent. The advantage of Dolnick's modern archival-based history over Powell's 1875 primary source memoir is that Dolnick has the advantage of perspective and time. Drawing on diaries of Powell and other crew members, and more recent historical and archaeological research, he is able to flesh out a more complete and objective re-telling. Unlike some other past biographers, Dolnick emphasizes how dangerous the trip was, that its safe conclusion was far from a sure thing. Today when rafters run the river daily as a matter of course, Powell is often seen as the lucky one who got there first - but Dolnick successfully projects for the reader how dangerous it was for first-time boatmen to take on the Superbowl of rafting in fragile wooden boats - and not knowing what danger was behind the next bend in the river, for all they knew there could be another Niagra Falls with no place to portage around, a death trap. A little slow at times as the repetition of running rapids, portaging, camping and climbing the canyons wears on, but it is the nature of the trip, and Dolnick does a pretty good job with keeping the narrative suspense flowing by using historical backgrounders and building up to a sort of climatic scene with the splitting of the party. It's not novelistic, but it is highly accurate, Dolnick doesn't embellish, it's well sourced, and easy and enjoyable to read. If your looking for a 1-book on Powell, this is a good one.

4-0 out of 5 stars An Important Chapter in the History of the West
This is awell researched, well written account of John Wesley Powell's exploration of the Green and Colorado Rivers.Having grown up in Utah and spent my formative and post-formative years exploring the deserts of Southern Utah, including many of the tributaries to the Green and Colorado, I found this book absolutely fascinating.It has given me new insight into a part of the country I enjoy visiting frequently, and will enhance all my future trips there.It is clear that Powell had a love and admiration for the red rock country that many of us share.My only criticism, similar to other reviewers, is that I found many of the tangents unnecessary and sometimes annoying (e.g. describing the "gullible tourists" floating the Colorado, explaining that a million years is a short period in geologic time-no kidding!).But this is a minor issue.Otherwise, it is a fine read, and a great story.

3-0 out of 5 stars Good story but a slog to read
This non-fiction book is about the expedition of John Wesley Powell and their pioneering and death-defying exploration of the Grand Canyon in 1869. Powell, a college professor who had lost an arm at Shiloh, was well-prepared to map the canyons of the Colorado and do a scientific andgeological survey. Unfortunately, he was no leader, and the expedition suffered terribly for it. He rounded up a crew of mountain men and ne'er-do-wells, as well as a few neurotic former Civil War veterans and set off in rowboats that couldn't have been more ill-suited to running the violent rapids of the Colorado. Powell and his men saw amazing sites, but they almost perished multiple times. Finally there was a mutiny in which several men ended up leaving the party and trying to hike out of the canyon(they were never seen again); the others ran the rapids and somehow lived to tell the tale.

While I liked learning more about Powell's expedition, Dolnick has little sense of pacing, and uses annoying modern metaphors every time he gets the chance. The result is a plodding read on what should have been a can't-miss story. Down the Great Unknown has its merits, but the definitive book on Powell and the Grand Canyon has yet to be written.

Reviewer: Liz Clare, co-author of the historical novel "To the Ends of the Earth: The Last Journey of Lewis & Clark" ... Read more

12. Address Unknown
by Kathrine Kressmann Taylor
Paperback: 64 Pages (2001-04-01)
list price: US$8.95 -- used & new: US$2.57
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743412710
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description

A rediscovered classic, originally published in 1938 --
and now an international bestseller.


When it first appeared in Story magazine in 1938, Address Unknown became an immediate social phenomenon and literary sensation. Published in book form a year later and banned in Nazi Germany, it garnered high praise in the United States and much of Europe.

A series of fictional letters between a Jewish art dealer living in SanFrancisco and his former business partner, who has returned to Germany, Address Unknown is a haunting tale of enormous and enduring impact. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (31)

5-0 out of 5 stars Powerful Read
Books do not have to be long to be mesmerizing.I loved the fact that so much is accomplished in such a short space - character development, historical references, emotional connection with the reader.Couldn't get the ending out of my head.

5-0 out of 5 stars best novel!!!
I offered this novel 100 times since 10 years in french and in english and I continue tu offer it , I ask the people to read the book (20 to 30 minutes)with NO telephone and NO pause
written in 1938 and still on line!!!!
Bonne lecture

5-0 out of 5 stars Old person's review
I read this as a short story in high school.Way past my 50th reunion there, I still remember it and cannot wait to read it again!

5-0 out of 5 stars A must read
How many times have we asked, "How could the German people have allowed Hitler to do what he did?"this book, contemporary to the period, begins to answer.It is very short, more like a long story, but so fascinating I reread it as soon as I finished it the first time.I had to figure out--did I just read what I thought I read?!

1-0 out of 5 stars A simple book for simple minds
This review is based on the French edition, "Inconnu à cette adresse"

The book tells a simple story with the characters conveniently painted in black and white - black for the Germans and white for the others.Dramatis personae are the American art dealer Max Eisenstein, intelligent, erudite and generous, his sister Griselle who is working in Germany as a theatre actress, gifted, courageous and passionate, we have Max' German associate Martin Schulse (as typical a German name as Smiss would be for an Englishman), not very bright, a coward of sorts, and an adulterer, and finally Martin's wife Elsa (no description needed, I suppose).

As soon as Hitler is nominated chancellor in January of 1933, Martin returns to the Old Country, is immediately made top manager of a German bank and moves into a castle near Munich; his wife is thrilled by being again a mere Hausfrau and having more babies.

Then things really get going.As early as mid-1933, Max hears of anti-Jewish pogroms in Germany, Schulse implores him, using a letterhead of the bank, to stop writing to his home address and hide any news on the back of promissory notes (which, seemingly, nobody at the bank looks at).Max reacts by becoming racist, saying that his sister, who uses a pseudonym because Eisenstein in Germany would be impossible, can easily be spotted as a Jewess by her looks, her gestures and her passionate nature.He informs Martin that he can no longer keep him as an associate, because his American clients would not buy anything from an art dealer named Schulse (Eisenstein does not seem to be perceived in the same way).

Meanwhile it is the fall of 1933 and Griselle has declared, while appearing on stage, that she is Jewish and proud of it, whereupon the public turns on her and chases her from the theatre.She must hide in a basement, together with another Jewish family and decides to return to the more liberal city of Vienna, not by train - that would be far too dangerous - but on foot so that nobody can spot her.It is only a 600-mile hike as she cannot dare cross the border with Czechoslovakia and use the direct route, but then anyone with a little training can do that in a month.For some strange reason, she does not consider getting in touch with the American Consulate, well, maybe she has mislaid her American passport.

On the way to Vienna she calls on Martin (her former lover) in Munich, with the SA beasts hard on her heels, he locks his door on her and the Nazis do her in, leaving the corpse on Martin's doorstep.Martin has a hole dug for her body and tells Max that, well, unfortunately, she died.End of the first part, Griselle's death.

Max' revenge follows immediately:he fakes a correspondence with his former associate which so compromises Martin with the Gestapo that he is arrested and disappears - address unknown; it was as simple as that, in those days.What we are not told in the closing pages of the book is the fate of Elsa and her children.We can only surmise that they, too, shared Martin's fate, as otherwise Max' letters would have been delivered.Max could be satisfied, his revenge had reached biblical dimensions, the innocent suffered the same fate as the guilty, God would recognize his own.One wonders if the book is not, in the end, an anti-Jewish pamphlet besides being political kitsch.

As I was looking at the reviews by other readers on amazon.com and amazon.co.uk., I was struck by the fact that many underlined the realism of the book, using phrases like "a simple, powerful and disturbing account of Nazi Germany" "the chain of letters are shocking in their realism", "the book really shows how Hitler managed to win over the minds of the German people", "in an instant this book answers these questions and a great deal more regarding the Jews and Nazi Germany".Most of the reviewers are British or American, now probably somewhere between 20 and 70 years old and it is likely that quite a few of them have never even set foot on German soil.Hence, they have no way of knowing- other than by hearsay -what the situation in Germany in the early 1930s was really like and yet they consider the book a realistic representation of that time and place.

Regardless of whether the situation in Germany at the time (1933) was or was not like that, such statements are logically unsound.These views show to what extent "the devastating effects of propaganda and misinformation" have been shaping our conception of History, with the result that even a book like this is considered to be a reflection of real life simply because it is in tune with similar books or films and merely confirms the readers' expectations - quite apart from the fact that the mind of the author of the book was probably shaped, in 1938, not by first-hand knowledge of the subject, but by reports from others.

As far as the book itself and is author are concerned, it is also a little strange to note that in the various editions of the book the author is sometimes a woman, Kathryn Kressmann Taylor, sometimes, possibly, a man, Kressmann Taylor.One also wonders how a story which allegedly appeared in print in 1938 can get a copyright in 1995, almost 60 years later.

Only one reader, Anne-Elisabeth Moutet, writing fom Paris, placed a review on Amazon.com that went beyond dumbfounded acceptance.She analyzed the mistakes, the inconsistencies and the unconvincing constructs that this book contains and which other reviewers have swallowed like so many marshmallows.
... Read more

13. To a God Unknown (Penguin Classics)
by John Steinbeck
Paperback: 240 Pages (1995-08-01)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$6.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0140187510
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
While fulfilling his dead father's dream of creating a prosperous farm in California, Joseph Wayne comes to believe that a magnificent tree on the farm embodies his father's spirit. His brothers and their families share in Joseph's prosperity and the farm flourishes - until one brother, scared by Joseph's pagan belief, kills the tree and brings disease and famine on the farm. Set in familiar Steinbeck country, "To A God Unknown" is a mystical tale, exploring one man's attempt to control the forces of nature and to understand the ways of God. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (43)

4-0 out of 5 stars "This Man is Not a Man, Unless He is All Men."
(Spoilers) To a God Unknown is John Steinbeck's third published book.It is primarily the story of Joesph Wayne, a man in his thirties living in Vermont.He desires land of his own in California and after receiving a blessing from his father, heads west to claim a homestead.While on his ranch, he feels a strange sensation and comes to believe that the spirit of his father has entered an oak tree on his land.When he receives a letter from his brother informing him of his father's death, he's not surprised and invites his brothers to come to California, as there is plenty of land for them all.His brothers Thomas, Burton, and Benjy, as well as their families, soon come to join Joesph and his hand, Juanito.

The brothers are all very different.Joesph is an intense man, feeling a spiritual, almost sexual connection to the land and its fruits.Thomas dislikes the company of people, preferring to spend his time with animals.Burton is a devout Christian and Benjy is a womanizing drunkard.The brothers find that under Joesph's leadership, they become prosperous.With Juanito, Thomas and Joesph discover a little glade containing a stream issuing from a mossy rock.Juanito tells them that the place is sacred and Joseph believes it to be the heart of the land.This place comes to have special significance in the second half of the novel.

Joesph courts and marries a schoolteacher named Elizabeth, who tries to understand her new husband and his ways.Joseph talks to and makes small sacrifices to the tree he thinks of as his father's spirit, which angers his brother Burton.He leaves, but not before killing the tree.Whether that is the cause or not, the land soon after succumbs to drought and the brothers must make tough decisions or risk losing everything they have worked for.

To a God Unknown explores the nature of man's beliefs and the effect they have on himself and the surrounding environment.As with any Steinbeck novel, there are wonderful descriptions, especially of the natural surroundings.While not as fine as his East of Eden or The Grapes of Wrath (Penguin Classics), To a God Unknown is still a compelling read from an American master.

5-0 out of 5 stars A beautiful masterpiece
This is John Steinbeck's second novel. `To a God Unknown' begins with the protagonist Joseph Wayne, third son of four, eager to leave Vermont and find his own way. After receiving his father's blessing leaves to homestead his own land out west in a town called Nuestra Senora. His brothers' Thomas a naturalist, Burton the zealot and Benjamin the drinking womanizer, move west to join their brother Joseph and homestead their own land after the death of their father John.

Joseph's relationship to his environment in evident in his belief that the lone oak tree is somehow his father's spirit. 'To a God Unknown' is one of my favorites books by Steinbeck, the book challenges the reader to think about his/her own relationships which hopefully evokes a desire to delve into their own beliefs about land, spirituality, family,love and God. This book is a quick afternoon read of 240 pages, and easily understood. This book is simple and beautifully written.

5-0 out of 5 stars My aunt read it long ago
I can't wait to read it my aunt read it when she was younger may she R.I.P

3-0 out of 5 stars A highwayscribery "Book Report"
Purple and brown, dusty wine shot through with wheat-colored sun.

John Steinbeck's, "To a God Unknown," is both love letter and a Dear John to his native Northern California countryside.

The author lingers often and long on the Salinas Valley landscape, now a land of milk 'n honey, moist, juicy, dashed with clover; now a dry and crusty graveyard frozen beneath a foreboding moon. These pastoral passages can transport. Steinbeck looks at the same places and renders them differently with each new encounter.

The protagonist is grafted by his creator to the land, and Steinbeck is an avid guide, reading the topography and its changes like a mood-ring, drafting his American rustics to rise and fall depending.

Steinbeck's dialogue, at this point in his life, was not as strong. The exchanges between country people, makin' butter and castrating cows, seems like they're chatting from the couch about their inner swoonings. But you move along with a sense of the things that are agitating them.

As Golden State portraiture, we can see how past is prologue. After Burton, Joseph's holy-rolling brother, leaves the farm in disgust with the devil's presence, the protagonist tells his wife: "We'll try to get along without another hand. If the work gets too much for us, I'll hire another Mexican."

Oh brother.

It is a dark and brooding book, mostly tragedy with redemption only in death. Steinbeck's characters shrink before the enormity of nature. Christians new to the heathen west are bent on exploiting and controlling the wilds. Others are more ready to make love with them.

Earthy stuff.

There are many ways to read "To A God Unknown," and with some work, you might find your own.

5-0 out of 5 stars A meditation on creation and destruction and the acts in-between
Though a fan of John Steinbeck's works for a great many years, I only recently took up "To a God Unknown," and it was with great surprise and joy that I discovered his greatest masterwork came early in his career.An alternately brooding and exalting meditation on self, nature, and God -- and the frayed connections amongst them, and amongst humans to one another -- "To a God Unknown" subsumes Steinbeck's trademark image specificity into a larger description of the life and death of land, and how we owe our own to its.

His characters are thoughtful, but confused -- certain of truths and sorrows that are secretly fringed with doubt.You will find no portrayals more fascinating or complex than in this book.I can honestly say that I cherish "To a God Unknown" as much as I do any art not spilled from the mind of Bruce Springsteen. ... Read more

14. Portrait of an Unknown Woman: A Novel
by Vanora Bennett
Paperback: 464 Pages (2008-04-01)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$3.45
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0061252565
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description

In the year 1527, the great portraitist Hans Holbein, fleeing the Protestant Reformation, comes to England under commission to Sir Thomas More. Over the course of the next six years, Holbein paints two nearly identical portraits of the More family, his dear and loyal friends. But closer examination of the second painting reveals several mysteries. . . .

Set against the turmoil and tragedy of Henry VIII's court, Portrait of an Unknown Woman vividly evokes sixteenth-century England on the verge of enormous change—as viewed through the eyes of Meg Giggs, More's intelligent, tenderhearted, headstrong adopted daughter, who stands at the center of this sweeping, extraordinary epic. It is a tale of sin and religion, desire and deception—the story of a young woman on the brink of sensual awakening and a country on the edge of mayhem.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (36)

4-0 out of 5 stars a work in progress
Can't really review the book accurately because I am still reading it but I am finding interesting tidbits along the way.Things that Meg, the main character, keep finding out about the people around her.She thinks she knows someone then finds out there is more to that person than first supposed.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not my favorite from Vanora Bennett....but still worthwhile (3.5 stars)
While this wasn't my favorite from Vanora Bennett, it is still a good read,and still recommended.The story is interesting, very creative and unique (which is a major accomplishment in itself) but felt a teeny bit contrived sometimes.I have long been fascinated by Thomas More and Erasmus and it felt like that fascination with More was shared by the author (the extreme admiration but at the same time appalled by his extremism and some times hypocrisy) - I think that even if you had never heard of More or Erasmus before, or knew very little about them,the author's enthusiasm with these characters is infectious. I was intrigued also by Hans Holbein's conflicting character.He seemed so simple and shallow to be so deep and thoughtful! All in all,this is an amazing accomplishment for a first book - and even though it wasn't my personal favorite of Bennett's,she will always be on my list of favorite authors.

5-0 out of 5 stars Surprising people
This was a surprising and wonderful exploration of people known to readers of historical fiction.

The family of Sir Thomas More is a rich mine of characters -individual reflecting their times and responsive to the dramatic changes.The individuals are well drawn, subtley developed and whether the specifics are true or not, the story line hasthe ring of truth.There are surprises and deft insights - questions raised about Sir Thomas More himself which would be interesting to explore.

The whole question of the rise of the Protestantism and the course it followed in England is carefully drawn and objectively framed.I did not get the feeling we were taking sides here but were viewing, sometimes with shock and disappointment, this religious revolution.

One of the characters is the painter, Hans Holbein.I was so piqued by his personality, I wanted to know more about him.I ordered books of his paintings from the library so I could see some of the things so carefully delineated and described in the book.If I had any complaint about this book it was that there is only one very poor illustration of his work.I constantly referred back to that drawing to "see" the characters, or to see the changes described in the reading.
There is also a verbal comparison of two paintings done of the same family but some years apart so, at least, both painting should have been in the book.

There should be a cross reference about him in the Amazon recommendations - and I wonder if there are any more books about him.I wish someone would write one.

I so enjoy a book that makes me want to know more - to research the period or the individuals or, even (gasp) read a real history of the person or time.

I was sad the book ended, wanted to know more - wanted to travel with them all the way to the execution (which I have to reveal this book does not get to).For me that is the joy of a book like this - I care about the individuals, I am curious about the times they lived in and I want to know more.

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautifully Detailed Historical Fiction
In her historical fiction debut, "Portrait of an Unknown Woman," Vanora Bennett has brought a crucial slice of English history to life with compelling characterizations and a keen eye for period detail.Based on the rise and fall of humanist author and statesman Sir Thomas More during the English Reformation and the German artist, Hans Holbein, who created a painting of More's family during that time, "Portrait" is a work rendered in stunning clarity and often breathtaking prose.

Although some readers may find the idea of Thomas More torturing anyone in the name of God quite bizarrely out of sync with his character as they understand it, Bennett's characterizations all have the ring of authenticity within the framework of her novel.She has made Meg Giggs (Thomas More's ward) a strong and thoughtful character and has believably placed her centrally in the vortex ofthe political and religious convergence of Reformation England.By doing so, Bennett is able to present the details of that turbulent era through Meg's intelligent and sympathetic eyes.

The actual plot points move rather slowly during the book's first half but the reader is far too carried away by the novel's intriguing, shadowy forebodings and compelling characterizations to actually notice this.When the plot does quicken its pace, Bennett reveals her genius - evident throughout her entire book - for seamlessly interweaving fiction with fact: "All through the spring and summer we lived apart from reality in our own joy.We paid no attention the day the poor devout queen went on her knees in the divorce court and swore, in her Spanish-accented voice, that she had come to the king's bed a virgin all those years before, or to the stories of the look of disgust on the king's face as he publicly pushed her away."

In the current climate of increasingly strident ideologies, Bennet's remarkably balanced and sympathetic portrayal of the novel's central religious dispute is nothing short of miraculous.For instance, a Protestant character describes his new devotion to God in the following way: "there are people - like me - who believe that being a Christian means they're allowed to have a simple conversation with God without having to pay a priest for the privilege.People who believe that . . . all you have to do is truly believe and your sins will be forgiven. . . "

But Thomas More waxes no less lyrical regarding the beauties of Catholic worship when he describes it as "the sacred continuum that joins everyone alive now with every Christian from St. Augustine onward who has believed what we believe and worshiped as we worship.Take that away . . . lose the beauty of Latin, the common language that unifies all believers . . . and you're left with nothing but the ranting and babbling of lunatics.".

There are a few sexy scenes/situations in the book which seem extremely out of place considering the general character of the Thomas Moore family, but I suppose these additions are a nod to 21st century readers hungry for a bit of bodice-ripping in all their historical fiction. These scenes don't overwhelm the narrative but they do seem odd.

Although the enjoyment of this book is greatly enhanced by a general understanding of Plantagenet/Tudor history, it is sure to please anyone with the slightest interest in beautiful writing and realistic characterizations set within a historical framework.

2-0 out of 5 stars A novel that didn't know what it wanted to be
I have been interested in More since first seeing Man for All Seasons, and so I was curious about this book. The writing is basically good, and I was carried along for a bit till - oh, ok, its not just Historic Fiction, its Historic Romance. Ok, got it. Not my fav genre but the writing is good. So I continue to be carried along, bothered a bit by some modern anachronisms, but its a beautiful day outside reading in the garden so I continue. Until - there comes the revelation of a secret that totally pulled me out of the book and all the kings horses aren't going to put me back in.Its one of those secrets that plays with unknown history - what if.I don't mind, if it makes sense.But this time...its so totally off what the book is supposed to be about (Thomas More, I thought) that it jarred me.And frankly, this 'what if' istotally ridiculous (spoiler alert......) IF the boys survived the War of the Roses, they would not have survived Henry VII.So what is this novel? HF, Romance, or the Davinci Code? Never mind, there are other books on the subject that will take me where I want to go. ... Read more

15. Lincoln the Unknown
by Dale Carnegie
Hardcover: 256 Pages (1993-06)
list price: US$29.95 -- used & new: US$84.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0899683207
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (31)

5-0 out of 5 stars Lincoln the Unknown
After years of fascination and research on Abe Lincoln, this is a knock dead, little known fact book that is so interesting that you cannot put it down!It was such an incredibley good read that I purchased a copy for my son! A +++++++++

5-0 out of 5 stars This will inspire, educate as well as depress you
Very well written book, as are other dale's books. If you are interested to know about AB's life this book should be your answer. I said depress in the subject line because AB had to suffer so much in his personal life.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful insight on private aspects of Lincoln's life and his time
Dale Carnegie is famous for his books and classes on self-improvement, and no doubt he was the early master of what has now become an industry in its own. Some of Carnegie's methods are based on his close studies of Abraham Lincoln, whom he admired, and who emerged from the most modest origins imaginable at the time to become President of the United States, something that was usually reserved for people from renowned, wealthy and educated families.
Carnegies focus was not so much on political impact or wartime strategy, but on Lincoln's private life and character. Therefore, his book can't be measured by scientific standards and would not necessarily be included in "serious" bibliographies. But it provides a unique insight on many aspects of this fascinating man, and it is as well a sometimes stunning picture of the time. The description of his election campaign just leave us speechless about how long a way the U.S. have gone, and how small and limited the financial frame of the time was.
Doing the research for his book back in the 1910s and 20ies, Carnegie found many traces of Lincoln gone today, and he still met people who had known Lincoln personally. So, we get to know a lot of anecdotes that sum up to a colourful and sometimes unbelievable description of Lincoln and his time.
But after all, this is a Carnegie book with his typical language from the 193ies, entertaining and lively, never boring. It was published in 1932, when the term "negro" was obviously not considered to be offensive, allthough it makes us swallow today reading it. Carnegie admits frankly that Lincoln himself was willing to stick to slavery to save the Union, and turned anti-slavery to win the war. He also reveals in many details that Lincoln's marriage must have been an ordeal to him, and you can almost see Carnegie shaking his head about Lincoln's wife all the time.

5-0 out of 5 stars Abe Lincoln
My wife is very happy with this book and finds it is very well written.she really enjoys the personal touch that the book offers in the life of Abe Lincoln.

5-0 out of 5 stars Lincoln the unknown
Best book I have ever read on Pres. Lincoln.
You can walk away feeling like you knew the man
personally. His life makes you grateful for the one
you have! ... Read more

16. Ghost Hunt: Chilling Tales of the Unknown
by Jason Hawes, Grant Wilson
Hardcover: 304 Pages (2010-09-07)
list price: US$16.99 -- used & new: US$9.82
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0316099597
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
An exciting new middle grade collection of spooky paranormal investigations based on REAL ghost hunts from stars of the TV show Ghost Hunters, the number one reality show on cable television!

In a lush, thick volume, Ghost Hunt will feature multiple stories dramatized with cliff hangers and red herrings to heighten suspense and character interaction. Through the investigations, the reader will learn the ins and outs of ghost hunting, how to spot a hoax, and how to face their fear of the paranormal.

The book will also have tips for ghost hunting at the end of the book, including guides to the technical equipment and how to set up your own traps for ghosts. Though presented as fiction, these stories are based on real cases, and the GHOSTS ARE REAL!
... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Great Read!
Love the show.Loved the book.It gives you some insight on how they think and why they do what they do.

5-0 out of 5 stars True to the Ghost Hunter's episodes.
I love the Ghost Hunters.I watch their shows all the time and have their DVDs
and books.I loved this book.It was episodes that were not on TV and I totally
enjoyed reading about them.I finished the book in record time!Didn't want to
put it down.
I hope they do more books.

5-0 out of 5 stars Not What I Expected, I'm Thrilled To Be Surprised!
I recieved this Book by Jason Hawes expecting a first person point of view of TAPS investigations. I began reading and soon found out this very well written book was Fiction, based on Real life cases, and written for a young person. I read this book and gave it 5 stars because the Author is breaking new ground by letting kids know that Paranormal happenings are real, and it's alright to talk about an experiance you might not understand. I'm not saying everything is paranormal, most occurances have a rational explanation. But I know that some kids do have experiances their afraid to talk about.This book is fun to read, the written in a style that reminded me of sitting around a camp fire telling spooky stories. I believe it will have a positive effect on it's readers.And may even help a young/old person talk about concerns they may otherwise keep inside.

3-0 out of 5 stars Ghost Hunters Jason and Grant only have a supporting role in their own book
The guys from T.A.P.S. are delving into the scariest territory of all - adolescence. Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson's first foray into the realm of young adult fiction is "Ghost Hunt: Chilling Tales of the Unknown," a collection of imaginary stories based on real-life cases investigated by the "Ghost Hunters" of the SyFy Network. The familiar T.A.P.S. logo adorns hats, shirts, converted Roto Rooter vans - now it graces the cover of a book aimed at a young audience. Tweens love to shiver between the pages from R.L. Stine's "Goosebumps" to the writings of Christopher Pike, and this particular installment is much like the T.V. show - more technical than emotional. The focus is on electromagnetic field detectors and electronic voice phenomena rather than blood-curdling screams and heart-racing panic. By employing a female point-of-view through new team member, Lyssa Frye, the book attempts to target both genders, but with more terminology than horror it is a better fit for a boy's bookshelf.

The publisher's sampler includes two chapters. The first is "Pennies from a Ghost," where two brothers keep finding seven pennies in their room arranged in the shape of a flower. The spare change appears in different locations next to the bed, under the window, etc. Lyssa fields the distress call on her first day at The Atlantic Paranormal Society office. The reader experiences the investigation through her eyes as the new chief interviewer. She has a panic attack investigating a dark basement with Jason.

"This is harder than it looks! Lyssa realized suddenly. She was talking to the dark. She was asking a ghost to show itself. Most people would be running the other way. But I'm not most people. I'm a T.A.P.S. investigator. Or at least she was trying to be one."

The end result has shades of the plot from Zac Efron's "Charlie St. Cloud."

Chapter two entitled "The Ghost of Grandma Helen" explores an area not often addressed on the show - psychic mediums. The goal of any T.A.P.S. investigation is to debunk paranormal claims. They rarely, if ever, turn to those with the ability to converse with the dead. However, the team turns to a psychic to commune with the spirit of a deceased grandmother who is appearing to her 4-year-old granddaughter. This paranormal dialogue is not on the level of Kate Hudson's terrorizing ordeal in "The Skeleton Key," but it is a departure for T.A.P.S. It concludes with a poignant ceremony at the family grave site.

The end section is a Cliff-Notes/Wikipedia introductory guide to ghost hunting. Told in the narrative voice of Jason and Grant, the appendix adheres in tone to the T.A.P.S. philosophy - "If you set out to prove a haunting, anything will seem like evidence. If you set out to disprove it, you'll end up with only those things you can't explain away." It's a junior high entry course to "Ghost Hunters Academy." The seven steps of the T.A.P.S. method are explained; a test case measures ghost hunting skills with a multiple choice quiz; and a back-of-the-book glossary defines terms of the trade.

For "Ghost Hunters" fans, the book feels like Jason and Grant just slapped their names onto the project. Only the introductory pages to the fictional stories and ghost hunting guide are attributed to the guys from T.A.P.S. When they appear as characters, their actions ring false. A weird romantic undertone is found in the lines:

"Grant leaned forward. His dark eyes stared into Lyssa's."

Jason appears as if he is talking to a room full of kindergarten kids when he says,

"Don't be afraid to admit you're scared, Lyssa. We all are sometimes."

Meanwhile, Steve and Tango are replaced by an annoying set of twins. Chris Williams is M.I.A. instead the fictional team is led by female technical manager, Jen Shorewood. The producers of the book are more interested in creating formulated drama than depicting the reality behind the series.

Overall, "Ghost Hunters" Jason and Grant only have a supporting role in their own book. ... Read more

17. Unknown Quantity: A Real and Imaginary History of Algebra
by John Derbyshire
Paperback: 416 Pages (2007-05-29)
list price: US$16.00 -- used & new: US$5.24
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0016BV3JY
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
"Here is the story of algebra."With this deceptively simple introduction, we begin our journey.Flanked by formulae, shadowed by roots and radicals, but escorted by an expert who navigates unerringly on our behalf, we are guaranteed safe passage through even the most treacherous mathematical terrain.

Our first encounter with algebraic arithmetic takes us back thirty-eight centuries to the time of Abraham and Isaac, Jacob and Joseph, Ur and Haran, Sodom and Gomorrah.Moving deftly from Abel’s proof to the higher levels of abstraction developed by Galois, we are eventually introduced to what algebraists have been focusing on during the last century.

As we travel the ages, it becomes apparent that the invention of algebra was more than the start of a specific discipline of mathematics – it was also the birth of a new way of thinking that clarified both basic numeric concepts as well as our perception of the world around us.Algebraists broke new ground when they discarded the simple search for solutions to equations and concentrated instead on abstract groups.This dramatic shift in thinking revolutionized mathematics.

Written for those among us who are unencumbered by a fear of formulae, Unknown Quantity delivers on its promise to present a history of algebra.Astonishing in its bold presentation of the math and graced with narrative authority, our journey through the world of algebra is at once intellectually satisfying and pleasantly challenging. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (38)

4-0 out of 5 stars excellent work in need of a layman's touch
This is allegedly written for the educated layman but I know few who could grasp (or care about) field vs group theory, rings, tensors or manifolds much less "movements" like "Intuitionism" and "Constructivism". The author thankfully does not attempt a deep inquiry into every crevice of modern math but instead presents a breezy if sometimes obtuse overview.

Even mathematicians can be informed here, particularly on the personalities.The author attempts to stay within the bounds of algebra while explaining that various disciplines necessarily cross lines with geometry, topology other algebras.The author thankfully includes illustrations although many more are required.Many times, it was next to impossible trying to picture the prose.Then again, much of the latter part of the book is conceptual without basis in reality - parallel lines that meet, many dimensions (presented in three, of course), complex numbers, vectors, etc. Many times, the creation of the mathematical concept (matrix, field permutation, etc) is as astounding as the principles by which they are solved. My Grade - B+

5-0 out of 5 stars A nice book on the history of algebra
This book is a relatively easy to read history of algebra, togehter with short introductions to some topics in algebra that a layman might never have encountered (or needs to review).

The author gives good concrete examples of concepts such as groups, rings and fields, so that one can get an idea of what these ideas mean and why they are important.So I think it's a good introduction to some of abstract algebra; however, to understand that subject well would require more in-depth study than one could get from this book.

The narratives about prominent mathematicians are interesting and well-written too. (They also provide a sometimes-needed break from reading the more technical material.) The author also does a good job of showing the historical context for the development of certain ideas in mathematics.

Toward the end of the book, I found myself sometimes losing track of what was going on - the concepts get more and more abstract, and the explanations seem to get shorter.

In summary: this book has enough technical material so that one not familiar with the subject can learn something.I think much of it would be understandable to a motivated reader who didn't have any math background beyond what is taught in high-school algebra.

4-0 out of 5 stars Abstraction not quite brought down to earth
Don't get me wrong, Derbyshire makes a lot of VERY abstract ideas a lot more accessible to the non-specialist reader than he/she should reasonably expect.Even so, he takes a lot more for granted this time round than he did in his last book (on prime numbers and the Riemann Hypothesis).By the end of that book, I felt that I really understood (albeit in a not especially technical way) a very difficult area of mathematical thought.Granted, UQ has as it's focus the entire mathematical branch of algebra over its 3,000 year history.I should not have expected a thorough explication of mathematical details along the way.As a survey, UQ certainly whetted my appetite to further read and explore in the field of algebra.And it was packed with fascinating information.Less one star only because JD had set such a high bar with his last book.This one doesn't quite reach it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Group theory for beginners
This is simply brilliant.However, it is also different from John Derbyshire's other book "Prime Obsession".It is more abstract and I myself had to read in a second time to understand the concepts fully.But what a reward!Once the reader comprehends his deliberation on groups and invariance, he or she can enbark on other journeys in understanding the nature of physics (and by corollary the universe itself).So in summary, it is as clear as it can be, and as engaging as Derbyshire has been.

5-0 out of 5 stars Good explanations + history
The historical attributions balance & complement the algebraic examples beautifully.Fun to read. ... Read more

18. Journal of the Unknown Prophet
by Wendy Alec
Paperback: 304 Pages (2005-10-20)
list price: US$18.00 -- used & new: US$8.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0955237718
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
During a ten day period in November of 1999, Wendy Alec received a visitation from the Lord Jesus Christ. He spoke of mercy, He warned of judgment...on the world's trading systems, on ministry leaders...upon the church. He wept.In two separate visitations in 2002, He spoke in anguish of the Last Days assignments against the elect, He warned of the Great Blinding, of seduction, lust and Jezebel and the Great Falling Away...'My children perish...' Jesus' voice was so soft...that it was barely audible...And then He turned to me, His beautiful countenance ravaged with grief. 'Now warn My children...warn My beloved...that even those in the deepest mire might find their way home...' ... Read more

Customer Reviews (50)

5-0 out of 5 stars Awesome Book

I am really excited about this book.I encourage anyone who wants to develop a closer relationship to the Lord to read this book and hear what He is saying to us in our generation. It will comfort you, and encourage you. May God bless you as you read it.

5-0 out of 5 stars enjoyed this book
i am not a big reader, but i enjoyed this book. i think the author is very sincere and found a lot of comfort and wisdom within its pages.

5-0 out of 5 stars BOOK REVIEW

5-0 out of 5 stars THIS BOOK IS A MUST READ
Through this book Christ is speaking to all of us with His tender mercy and love. May we all hear his words and reach out to Him. It is refreshing to finally have some words of substance and relevance to the end time generation.

5-0 out of 5 stars Awsome
I was looking for a book that would draw me closer to Jesus, bring me back to the place were I once was. The place were I would sit at the feet of Jesus, and listen to the gentle whisper, the still small voice of Jesus.The place I once knew.
I had seen this book three years ago in a shop in England. had a big urge to buy it but never did. I came across it again recently, and bought it.
What a special book it is.
It,s helping me so much accomplish my heart,s desire.Drawing closer and closer to Jesus. ... Read more

19. The Unknown Craftsman: A Japanese Insight into Beauty
by Soetsu Yanagi
Paperback: 232 Pages (1990-01-15)
list price: US$35.00 -- used & new: US$19.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0870119486
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
This book challenges the conventional ideas of art and beauty. What is the value of things made by an anonymous craftsman working in a set tradition for a lifetime? What is the value of handwork? Why should even the roughly lacquered rice bowl of a Japanese farmer be thought beautiful? The late Soetsu Yanagi was the first to fully explore the traditional Japanese appreciation for "objects born, not made."

Mr. Yanagi sees folk art as a manifestation of the essential world from which art, philosophy, and religion arise and in which the barriers between them disappear. The implications of the author's ideas are both far-reaching and practical.

Soetsu Yanagi is often mentioned in books on Japanese art, but this is the first translation in any Western language of a selection of his major writings. The late Bernard Leach, renowned British potter and friend of Mr. Yanagi for fifty years, has clearly transmitted the insights of one of Japan's most important thinkers. The seventy-six plates illustrate objects that underscore the universality of his concepts. The author's profound view of the creative process and his plea for a new artistic freedom within tradition are especially timely now when the importance of craft and the handmade object is being rediscovered. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars A milestone book
My interest is woodwork that is made within the traditions of Japanese woodworking techniques though not necessarily replicating traditional Japanese designs or style.While I have been happy with the aesthetics of objects I've been making, I haven't really understood the sometimes muted reactions from some of my Japanese friends.I've been to Yanagi's Folkcraft Museum in Tokyo and to a museum to the work of Kanjiro Kawai (a close friend of Soetsu Yanagi) in Kyoto and so have first hand experience of the pottery and woodwork objects that have inspired or been made by these men.However, it was only when I read "The Unknown Craftsman" that I was able to fully appreciate and to attempt to translate into my own work, Yanagi's "insight into beauty".From the book, it is apparent that Yanaki had a broad exposure to both Japanese and Western culture and philosophy and as a result, I feel that the principles that Yanagi describes are as applicable to western craft objects as they are to those of Japanese origin.

5-0 out of 5 stars Craftsmanship
This is one of the few great books.My copy is worn out, stained, covered with notes. It brings together in a new way ideas from Zen, Taoism, Pure Land Buddhism, and the crafts heritage of Morris and Ruskin.It is more than a book about craft: it is a book about enlightenment and the world "before duality". It deals in profound ways with the nature of tradition and what Yanagi saw as the roles of the ancient craft worker and the modern artist.

Leach and Hamada (Yanagi's co-workers, and inheritors) have commented elsewhere that the only real thing missing from Yanagi's legacy is more emphasis on how the modern individual artist is to cope with the situation of modernity. This may be.But one can't have everything. It is the task of others to go on and figure it out:a task to be carried out in the daily work.Yanagi did his own work, and it's a blessing......

4-0 out of 5 stars a different way of looking at art/craftsmanship
This book offers an insight into an Eastern approach to beauty and what defines it. In the West we're constantly in this persuit of "perfection", maybe because of our religion, in our work as artists. Basically, we have a culturally imposed standard to our work and the things we posses. This book teaches the beauty of imperfection and humility. He shows examples of pottery and other crafts to illustrate his point. It helped me to let go of my idea of what my work should look like, and the beauty of letting it evolve "by grace" or naturally. The appreciation of the old and worn or even slightly broken. My example would be, if you were to hang a picture on your wall of either a brand new house in an emaculate yard or a painting of an old, somewhat worn down barn covered in vines in field of tall grass, which would you choose? Clearly, the first would be hideous and yet that's what our culture is taught is attractive.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Unknown Craftsman: A Classic for Clay-lovers
I approached Soetsu Yanagi's The Unknown Craftsman as a potter and university art student who has repeatedly been told by other potters and craftsman that this is a must-have book.The Unknown Craftsman plays a vital part in developing a further understanding of ceramic history (including the Mingei movement), Japanese influence in western pottery practices, and the philosophical approach that some potters take in relation to their work.I enjoyed Yanagi's views and insights as I read his essays looking for respect and appreciation for the rich tradition that has influenced functional pottery.He presents a great "...insight into Beauty" (as the books is subtitled) from a Buddhist point of view.I specifically loved his thoughts about what it means to `see' an object and the importance of viewing things a whole, instead of just in parts.In the majority of his essays, Yanagi did a good job of speaking to his western audience in a way that was fairly easy to understand.

My only disappointment in The Unknown Craftsman arose when I began to read Yanagi's essays while searching for a better understanding of contemporary ceramic art.Much of what he said wasn't applicable, or I just flat out didn't agree with.In the end I concluded that wanting one book to answer all my questions about ceramic art and how it fits into current art trends (or is left out of them), was probably a bit too high of an expectation.After all, that was not Yanagi's point in writing.I was probably searching for answers in the wrong book.

I would recommend this book.If you are interested in gaining a better understanding or appreciation of craft or a deeper appreciation for what it means to be a craftsman, The Unknown Craftsman is a must-read.

5-0 out of 5 stars A beautiful set of fine essays
I know very little about pottery but I have spent a lot of reading time studying Buddhism and specifically Zen and its underlying life philosophy.I found these essays to be especially beautiful in showing the way for artists and craftsmen to embrace 'no-mindedness' in their creative efforts, effacing their own egos and personalities in order to let nature flow through them in the creative process.

'Objects born, not made' is an especially humbling concept to consider.To think that the objects are 'born' through nature and the craftsman is mostly a mere vehicle for that, his signature on 'his' work completely unncessary, the object itself being the 'signature'.

I was pleased to see in the next to last essay in this collection, the author's references to the 'Way of Tea' and its demonstration of the same principles embodied in this work.I strongly recommend 'The Book of Tea' by Okakuro Kakuzo as an adjunct to this material, amplifying his ideas and further reflecting the beauty of Zen.

My only objection, and this is really minor, is this work's subtitle 'A Japanese Insight into Beauty'.As many Japanese are not Buddhist and do not embrace the Zen philosophy, nor understand it, this insight is not so much 'Japanese' as 'Zen'.Thus the finer subtitle could have been 'A Zen Insight into Beauty'.
... Read more

20. The "Unknown" Reality, Vol. 2: A Seth Book
by Seth, Jane Roberts
Paperback: 576 Pages (1997-01)
list price: US$23.95 -- used & new: US$14.26
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1878424262
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (12)

1-0 out of 5 stars These books are not the Truth.
I truly hate this book.A couple of years ago I stumbled upon the Seth material on the internet and became interested in them.I ordered Seth Speaks, and while reading about the "Lumanian" race, I remembered a dream I had as a child that matched the description.This got me really interested in the material, and I ended up getting three more books and reading them all in a row:Unknown Reality vol. 1, Nature of Personal Reality, and Nature of Mass Events.

As soon as I finished the fourth book I began to hear voices.A voice that said it was Jane Roberts said she wanted to introduce me to my "entity" (a concept from these books).One voice, saying it was the Seth entity, had me dictate some definitions by pen and then type a table of contents for "The New Seth Material" that went "Observational Techniques for when you're in your 30s" - going through every decade until your 110s.Then "my entity" told me he wanted me to become an "entity channeler" and learn to channel him so that he could counsel people on their lives.It started to control everything I did, telling me I had to dress conservatively and become a raw foodist, and that it eventually wanted me to move to California where channeling is more popular.It would wake me up at 4 a.m. and make me sit in a chair and "channel" where it would take over my consciousness for hours.It talked constantly, and sometimes would make me stay awake for three full days, not allowing my body to get tired.I was under physical attack all of the time, and ended up losing over 20 lbs. in just a month, making me a mere 79 lbs., and I lost my period and became infertile.From then on I stopped doing what "my entity" wanted, and things got even worse.It began to bring up every traumatic event that ever happened to me and condemning me.It constantly tried to convince me to commit suicide, saying it had found another "personality self" that it wanted to make his entity channeler, and that my life had no purpose anymore, because I had ruined it.

For months I suffered trying to get these entities to leave me alone.They pretended to be my entity and the entities of people around me, my parents, people I worked with, and anyone I came in contact with outside, and they all said they didn't like me, and they wanted me to stay away from "their personality selves", and they all wanted me to die.After a horrible episode where one entity screamed, "What are you thinking about?Kill yourself!" over and over until I went to the emergency room to get on antipsychotic medication, the hospital bill I received was, strangely, $666.

The medication did nothing, and I continued to be harassed.Finally, during a conversation with my cousin's wife, a Christian, one night, she brought up that she used to hear condemning voices after befriending someone that was into the occult.They harassed her about the traumatic experiences in her past as well.I asked her how she got rid of them, and she said that the only one that has authority over them is Jesus Christ.She led me to reaccept Jesus as my Lord and Savior, as I'd been baptized as a child, and from then on the spirits no longer had control.The name of Jesus terrifies them.

So, why would these books say that Christ's death and resurrection on the cross was only a "psychic event" and not a true physical occurrence if the name of Jesus makes these "entities" or "spirit guides" shriek like the demons they are?That statement is blatant heresy.Demons are well aware of what Jesus did on the cross - "having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross."(Colossians 2:15)And when God raised Christ from the dead he "seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion" (Ephesians 1:20-21).The powers and authorities referred to are those of the kingdom of darkness, or Satan's army, that operate on earth.It would make sense that the "Seth entity" would targetthe work on the cross and say that it did not actually, physically occur, because if you believe in its truth then you will have everlasting life in heaven.Regardless of what these books say, you will be judged by the living God in the presence of Jesus Christ.(2 Timothy 4:1)

The Seth books also plainly say that there are no such things as demons.I did believe that when I originally read it, but the truth about these books, the phenomenon of channeling, and the New Age movement as a whole is that they are all the product of demonic powers trying to distract you from the one important Truth in every human being's life:that Jesus Christ died on the cross for you.And if you believe that, you will, among other things, enter into the loveliest peace you have ever experienced in your life.As lovely as it would be to believe that there is no such thing as evil, a major concept of the New Age movement, the truth is there is a war going on between two kingdoms in this world: the kingdom of darkness and the kingdom of light.And the ruler of darkness does not even want you to know that there are evil forces working in the world.It makes it all the more easy to deceive you.Then you will openly accept the spirit guides, private oracles, ascendant masters, etc. that lead you to total spiritual death.

If you have read these books and you feel like something is different - you feel consumed or otherwise oppressed, there are a lot of strange thoughts in your head, events in your life are starting to play out along with your reading of the material, unusual dreams, or something is trying to speak to you in your consciousness - please take into consideration that you are not just overwhelmed by the material, but there are demonic spirits trying to create for you an unsound mind and disrupt your life.If you want to read a book about the true nature of creation and the living God that created it, there is no other book to read than the Holy Bible.

"Who is the liar?It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ." (1 John 2:22)

"But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you.They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them - bringing swift destruction on themselves.Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute.In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up.Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping."(2 Peter 2:1-3)

"I will set my face against the person who turns to mediums and spiritists to prostitute themselves by following them, and I will cut him off from his people."(Leviticus 20:6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great service
Condition of item was as advertised, and shipped promptly. Would definately order from them again.

4-0 out of 5 stars Narratives, appendixes, foot notes and more footnotes
This is volume two of a series "The Unknown Reality".If you decide you are interested in the Seth material, I recommend you read the following books in this order before you read this one:
1)Seth Speaks
2)The Nature of Personal Reality
3)The Unknown Reality Vol 1

As usual the Seth material itself is great.Some of my favorite parts are as follows:

The body can maintain itself when the "main consciousness" is away.

"Now, facts may or may not give you wisdom.They can, if they are slavishly followed, even lead you away from true knowledge.Wisdom shows you the inside of facts, so to speak, and the realities from which facts emerge."

"Different varieties of dreams often provide frameworks that allow you to leave your own world view under `cushioned conditions.'You step out of the normal picture that you have made of reality."

The reflections of our ideas and intimate emotions are projected outward in a rich drama.

"You may understand that many of your dreams have a symbolic meaning.It may escape you, however, that the symbolic meanings-only these are three-dimensional.You may spend time trying to understand the nature of dreams and their implications, without ever realizing that your physical life is to some extent a three-dimensional dream.It will faithfully mirror your dream images at any given time."

We shouldn't take our spiritual journey too serious.Take it too serious and we may inhibit our spiritual growth.Take it too serious and we lose sight of what "spirit" is.

The properties of the earth are meant to lead us into the nature of the soul.Nature as we understand it is meant to be our teacher.We are not its master.

An active fire place is cleansing.It helps to clear the blood.

The past can be changed.We personally do it all the time.We blot out things in the past.They become literally non-existent when we block out aspects of our past reality and consciously cut down on our choices.

To find the ruins of Atlantis, we must put it in our future first; it must be placed in our past from the future.

Illness and suffering is not thrust upon us by God, or by All That Is, or by an outside agency.They are a by-product of the learning processes, created by you; in themselves quite neutral...Illness and suffering are the results of the misdirection of creative energy.Suffering is not good for the soul unless it teaches how to stop suffering.

"all exterior events, including your own bodies with their insides, all objects, all physical materializations, are the outside structures of inside ones that are composed of interior sound and invisible light, interwoven in electromagnetic patterns."

In terms of my rating, while I adore the Seth Material, I agonized over the redundant appendixes, footnotes and footnotes to appendixes that are extremely long.They break up the flow of the Seth material.One would think that you could ignore the appendixes and footnotes but there is actually "some" good information in there and if you miss it, you will miss the intent of the Seth messages.I give the Seth material 5 stars and the rest of it 3 stars.Without the extraneous appendixes and footnotes this book could have been easily combined into "one" book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding
Volume II of "The Unknown Reality" is essential to understanding how the human psyche is assembled.If you know that, you'll know how we create our universes, and All That Is.

Get it now.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Quantum Life Changing Experience.
I struggled a bit with the themes and complexity of the ideations expressed by the Author Jane Roberts. This would be easy for Doctorate level reading ability and I only have a dabbling in Masters Level Education. I recommend this book to highschool and undergraduate readers who want to use other books as crutches to get through these two volumes. When you get to parts of this book that you fail to grasp you will want to surf Wikipedia or get other books to explain these parts or chapters.That having been said- It took me almost 4 years of daily reading to get through these books.( I read everything Roberts has written in this time) Before you judge this author's ideations- you will not be fair unless you read the complete works. The books are not lengthy-they require you to engage in complex challenges while they depart extraordinary concepts about the metaphysical world. DEEP baby DEEP!!!! ... Read more

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