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21. British Empire Before the American
22. British Empire Before the American
24. The British Empire Before the
25. The Sotadic Zone: Social and Sexual
26. Depositional environment of the
27. Inland Empire Paper Company mixing
28. The British Empire before the
29. Garden Of Joy: A Primer for the
30. The Fall of the Roman Empire:
31. The British Empire Before the
32. Zones of Instability: Literature,
33. The British Empire Before the
34. Zones of International Fiction:
35. The British Empire before the
36. The Canal Builders: Making America's
37. Hidden Empire (The Saga of Seven
38. Multitude: War and Democracy in
39. A Peace to End All Peace: The
40. Lenin's Tomb: The Last Days of

21. British Empire Before the American Reovultion:Zones of International Friction:the Great Lakes Frontier, Canada, the West Indies, India, 1748-1754
by Lawrence H. Gipson
 Hardcover: Pages (1942-01)
list price: US$15.00
Isbn: 0394453417
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22. British Empire Before the American Revolution:Zones of International Friction:North America, South of the Great Lakes Region, 1748-1754
by Lawrence H. Gipson
 Hardcover: Pages (1939-01)
list price: US$15.00
Isbn: 0394453409
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by Lawrence Henry Gipson
Hardcover: Pages (1942)

Asin: B000GU8CHW
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24. The British Empire Before the American Revolution Volume V: Zones of International Friction: the Great Lakes, Frontier, Canada, the West Indies, India 1748-1754
by Lawrence Henry Gipson
 Hardcover: Pages (1967-01-01)

Asin: B001R6ALP0
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25. The Sotadic Zone: Social and Sexual Relations of the Mohammedan Empire
by Sir Richard F. Burton
 Paperback: Pages (1930)

Asin: B0026CRD8W
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Editorial Review

Product Description
96 pp. Cover shows a sword wielding Arab in red robes on horse back. ... Read more

26. Depositional environment of the Middle Proterozoic Spokane Formation-Empire Formation transition zone, west-central Montana (Open-file report / United States Geological Survey)
by James W Whipple
 Unknown Binding: 98 Pages (1980)

Asin: B0007ATGCG
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27. Inland Empire Paper Company mixing zone survey, September 1990
by Joe Joy
 Unknown Binding: Pages (1992)

Asin: B0006R60WE
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28. The British Empire before the American Revolution volume 4 Zones of International Friction
by Gipson Lawrence Henry
 Hardcover: Pages (1967)

Asin: B000LZFQ26
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29. Garden Of Joy: A Primer for the Chinook Zone, Plains States, Prairie Provinces and Rocky Mountain Inland Empire
by James D Searles
 Unknown Binding: 240 Pages (1990)

Isbn: 0961647906
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30. The Fall of the Roman Empire: A New History of Rome and the Barbarians
by Peter Heather
Hardcover: 608 Pages (2005-12-01)
list price: US$45.00 -- used & new: US$39.97
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0195159543
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
The death of the Roman Empire is one of the perennial mysteries of world history. Now, in this groundbreaking book, Peter Heather proposes a stunning new solution: Rome generated its own nemesis.Centuries of imperialism turned the neighbors it called barbarians into an enemy capable of dismantling the Empire that had dominated their lives for so long.Heather is a leading authority on the late Roman Empire and on the barbarians. In The Fall of the Roman Empire, he explores the extraordinary success story that was the Roman Empire and uses a new understanding of its continued strength and enduring limitations to show how Europe's barbarians, transformed by centuries of contact with Rome on every possible level, eventually pulled it apart.He shows first how the Huns overturned the existing strategic balance of power on Rome's European frontiers, to force the Goths and others to seek refuge inside the Empire.This prompted two generations of struggle, during which new barbarian coalitions, formed in response to Roman hostility, brought the Roman west to its knees.The Goths first destroyed a Roman army at the battle of Hadrianople in 378, and went on to sack Rome in 410. The Vandals spread devastation in Gaul and Spain, before conquering North Africa, the breadbasket of the Western Empire, in 439. We then meet Attila the Hun, whose reign of terror swept from Constantinople to Paris, but whose death in 453 ironically precipitated a final desperate phase of Roman collapse culminating in the Vandals' defeat of the massive Byzantine Armada: the west's last chance for survival. Peter Heather convincingly argues that the Roman Empire was not on the brink of social or moral collapse. What brought it to an end were the barbarians. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (63)

5-0 out of 5 stars WoW! Great history text.
This book is astounding. He built on the work of others and lays out a convincing argument for his reasons for why the Empire fell. I am not a historian, nor a student of Rome, I just wanted to read about why Rome fell. This was a great book to read for enjoyment. It was all fun to read.
The only drawback were the maps, which don't show all the cities he refers to. He covers 400+ years of history and even city names changed so the lack of great maps was a deficiency. Other than that minor irritant, the book was worth the read.
There are many great reviews here, but after reading the book I believe that the negative ones are nits, so go with the positive ones.
My big complaint was where I bought it. I was on vacation & so couldn't wait for a mailing. This cost me twice as much at a book store as Amazon.com. I've got to plan better in the future!

5-0 out of 5 stars Best Book Yet on the Fall of the Roman Empire
I am a retiree with an interest in the disintegration of the Roman Empire and not a historian.I have an ever-increasing number of books on the subject and this is the best of the bunch.In particular, I liked Heather's clear and entertaining style of writing, the book's scope and depth, and the fact that Heather sometimes explains, in detail, his reasoning as he extracts information form ancient sources.

A number of reviewers have complained about Heather's use of modern vernacular.To the contrary, I very much enjoyed Heather's use of current expressions such as "supergroup", "cover-up", "warm up for the main event" and even "imperial bureaucrats" and was surprised to find that the use of these expressions added both clarity and interest.

5-0 out of 5 stars Clear, compelling, detailed, and insightful
Peter Heather's The Fall of the Roman Empire: A New History of Rome and the Barbarians is quite simply brilliant. Heather combines a rich, detailed history with clear writing to argue that Rome fell from without, not from within.

It's clear that Gibbon's The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (Penguin Classics) was wrong when he claimed a decline in morals - particularly Christianity - led to the collapse of the Western empire. However, a surprising amount of people still believe this. Some more serious historians, such as Adrian Goldsworthy in How Rome Fell: Death of a Superpower, argue that internal political chaos weakened the empire enough to allow the barbarians to invade.

However, Heather makes the case that it was barbarian strength, rather than Roman weakness, that led to the collapse. First, Germanic tribes along the frontier had become more prosperous, populous, and politically organized. Second, the invasion of the Huns pushed several tribes into the empire, where they decided to resettle - permanently. Third, some of those tribes seized key Roman provinces, particularly North Africa, depriving the empire of a key tax base. Finally, the Persian Sassanian threat diverted just enough resources to drain the Roman military machine. In short, it was a perfect storm spurred by the Hunnic revolution. Heather does admit that internal politics may have exacerbated the situation (particularly Constantine III's uprising), but keeps his focus outside.

One of the best features to Heather's writing style is how he seamlessly incorporates archaeological evidence, economic data, written accounts by Romans themselves as evidence for his argument. He is not afraid to guess - or even guesstimate - when the evidence just can't reach a firm conclusion, but he always prefaces such estimates with his reasoning and qualifiers. As such, Heather takes readers not just into the imperial halls of Rome (or Ravenna), but tries to consider the points of view and interests of provincial Roman landowners, Gothic kings, and even soldiers. Again, this nuance shows how domestic political turmoil just doesn't explain all of the events leading to Rome's collapse.

Perhaps the best thing I can say about The Fall of the Roman Empire is that it changed my mind. Going into it, I thought Heather would simply be yet another revisionist. I honestly thought I'd end up writing a review saying that he ignored the ferocity of Rome's civil wars or that the split between Byzantium and Rome sapped the empire's strength. However, I've come away convinced that, by and large, he's right. I'm looking forward to reading his new book, Empires and Barbarians: The Fall of Rome and the Birth of Europe.

I would warn readers that it would be useful to have some conception of Roman history before 375 A.D. Heather doesn't provide much background (which in my opinion is good, because he leaves more room to discuss the period of the collapse). I'd recommend Neil Faulkner's Rome: Empire of the Eagles, 753 BC - AD 476 for a brief but insightful overview.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Fall of the Roman Empire Decadence Mythology
Peter Heather is upfront in his Introduction: he's about to summarize the main theses of the last couple of decades of academic research. The novelty of this research is that it is informed by archeological discoveries not available to early historians. Using this information, Heather destroys the usual believe that the Roman Empire collapsed mainly because of internal causes.

His prose is clear and to the point. His research expertise is on the Barbarians, and as such that world is really well explained, sometimes using "informed guesses" by the lack of historical documents. Heather always distinguish his sources, but makes it really easy to the reader to follow his argument and main thesis in the book: The Hunnic Empire provoked indirectly the fall of the Roman Empire. It was their collateral damage that cause the massive immigrations and invasions of Barbarians into Rome.

Heather also clearly explained that the Empire was not at all giving his last breath, on the contrary, for example, archeological evidence show how agriculture (a common example of decadence) was in fact thriving in the Fourth and Fifth century. The fall of the Hunnic Empire also serves as a counterpoint of a system that really collapsed for internal reasons.

I'm looking forward to read his new book "Empires and Barbarians: The Fall of Rome and the Birth of Europe".

4-0 out of 5 stars Heather:A Layman's Review
This book is the best recent one-stop shopping-place for anyone interested in the topic.Specialists will cavil about details and emphasis, and any interested specialist and generalist will agree or disgree about interpretation.The author's overarching themes are easily summarized (see blurb and other reviews), and naturally they elicit agreement or argument depending on where the reader (or reviewer) resides on the spectrum of opinion about whether and why antiquity ended and the medieval world began.

That is:does the reader, a la Gibbon and the traditional interpretation, believe the Roman world clearly ended, or does the reader instead believe, with Peter Brown and the more modern school, not in an end to the ancient world but in its transition?(The best recent one-stop shopping-place for a historiographic summary of these antithetical--or complementary--approaches is Ward-Perkins's recent book.Otherwise, Ward-Perkins tells the same story as Heather with much the same emphasis, albeit in a mere 200 pages, and still with plenty of primary-source material and good illustrations, index, and bibliography.)Further, if the reader is a believer in an end to the ancient world, is the primary reason for the end (or are the primary reasons for it, among the dozens or hundreds historians offer) internal to the Empire or external to it?

Abundant detail of the "how" of the end or of transition, whatever the reader may prefer to call it, is among the strengths of this book:Heather quotes liberally from primary sources and tells stories from wide swaths of geography and time.Other strengths:it is long, well organized, easy to follow, accessible and engaging to a nonspecialist (myself), and well indexed.The bibliography is generous, the several maps good.He is enthusiastic, and he encourages the reader to want to continue to read the book and to want to read more elsewhere.

As to weaknesses:first is the author's unfortunate recourse to witticism.Perhaps this reader has a poor sense of humor, and the author himself (in his introduction, I believe) apologizes for what he refers to as addiction (I paraphrase) to puns, but, for me at least, the jokes distract.Funny or not, they don't bring either the subject matter or the writing to life, and sometimes the attendant tone may be jarring.His witticisms often take the form of unusual diction.For instance, he's generous with present-day, hip, idiomatic, or slang terms.This is a minor flaw, but a tighter editorial rein would have made a better book.

The other weakness is one often inescapable in such works:the reader may feel s/he's in the hands of an attorney arguing a brief.

On balance, this book worthy of recommendation to anyone interested in the era.

... Read more

31. The British Empire Before the American Revolution Vol. 4:Zones of Internationa
by Lawrence Henry Gipson
 Hardcover: Pages (1939)

Asin: B000PHUAKI
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32. Zones of Instability: Literature, Postcolonialism, and the Nation
by Imre Szeman
Hardcover: 264 Pages (2003-12-30)
list price: US$49.00 -- used & new: US$26.56
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0801868033
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Attempts by writers and intellectuals in former colonies to create uniquenational cultures are often thwarted by a context of global modernity, which discouragesparticularity and uniqueness. In describing unstable social and political cultures,such"third-world intellectuals"often find themselves torn between the competing literaryrequirements of the "local" culture of the colony and the cosmopolitan, "world" cultureintroduced by Western civilization.

In Zones of Instability, Imre Szeman examines the complex relationship betweenliterature and politics by exploring the production of nationalist literature in the former Britishempire. Taking as his case studies the regions of the British Caribbean, Nigeria, and Canada,Szeman analyzes the work of authors for whom the idea of the"nation" and literature areinexorably entwined, such as Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, C.L.R. James, Frantz Fanon, andV.S. Naipaul. Szeman focuses on literature created in the two decades after World War II,decades in which the future prospects for many colonies went from extreme political optimism toextreme political disappointment. He finds that the "nation" can be read as that space in whichliterature is thought to be able to conjoin two things that history has separated—the writer and thepeople. ... Read more

33. The British Empire Before the American Revolution, 15 volumes complete in dust jacket. Subsets are: The British isles and the American Colonies, 3 vols., Zones of International Friction, 2 vols., The Great War for the Empire, 3 vols., The Triumphant Empire, 5 vols., Bibliographical, 2 vols.
 Hardcover: Pages (1970-01-01)

Asin: B001OA81GA
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34. Zones of International Fiction: North America, South of the Great Lakes Region 1748-1754 (The British Empire before the American Revolution, Volume IV)
by Lawrence Henry Gipson
Hardcover: 357 Pages (1959)

Asin: B0013DV5R0
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

35. The British Empire before the American Revolution volume 5 Zones of International Friction
by Gipson Lawrence Henry
 Hardcover: Pages (1967)

Asin: B000LZFQ2G
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36. The Canal Builders: Making America's Empire at the Panama Canal (Penguin History of American Life)
by Julie Greene
Hardcover: 496 Pages (2009-02-05)
list price: US$30.00 -- used & new: US$5.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B002IKLMNE
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
A groundbreaking history of the Panama Canal offers a revelatory workers-eye view of the momentous undertaking and shows how it launched the American century

The Panama Canal has long been celebrated as a triumph of American engineering and technology. In The Canal Builders, Julie Greene reveals that this emphasis obscures a far more remarkable element of the canal’s construction—the tens of thousands of workingmen and -women who traveled from around the world to build it. Drawing on research from around the globe, Greene explores the human dimensions of the Panama Canal story, revealing how it transformed perceptions of American empire at the dawn of the twentieth century.

For a project that would secure America’s position as a leading player on the world stage, the Panama Canal had controversial beginnings. When President Theodore Roosevelt seized rights to a stretch of Panama soon after the country gained its independence, many Americans saw it as an act of scandalous land-grabbing. Yet Roosevelt believed the canal could profoundly strengthen American military and commercial power while appearing to be a benevolent project for the benefit of the world.

But first it had to be built. From 1904 to 1914, in one of the greatest labor mobilizations ever, working people traveled to Panama from all over the globe—from farms and industrial towns in the United States, sugarcane plantations in the West Indies, and rocky fields in Spain and Italy. When they arrived, they faced harsh and inequitable conditions: labor unions were forbidden, workers were paid differently based on their race and nationality—with the most dangerous jobs falling to West Indians—and anyone not contributing to the project could be deported. Yet Greene reveals how canal workers and their families managed to resist government demands for efficiency at all costs, forcing many officials to revise their policies.

The Canal Builders recounts how the Panama Canal emerged as a positive symbol of American power and became a critical early step towards twentieth-century globalization. Yet by chronicling the contributions of canal workers from all over the world, Julie Greene also reminds us of the human dimensions of a project more commonly remembered for its engineering triumphs. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (10)

1-0 out of 5 stars Must be somebody's thesis - it's really boring
This book was purchased in anticipation of a Panama cruise."Canal Builders" is boring and supplies more information that one needs to get a feel for the history surrounding Americans involvement in the Panama Canal."Panama Fever" by Matthew Parkwer was purchased at the same time and was far more factual and complete without out all the banal additions. "Canal Builders" seems like it was written by a social worker or government bureacrat - cannot think of anyone else who would enjoy it's socialist theme.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fabulous Book
Julie Greene has created the 'missing link' in books about the construction of the Panama Canal.I agree with the reviewer who says this book compliments "Path Between the Seas".The Canal Builders deals with the actual workers who built the Canal, their struggles, and the creation of both the country of Panama and the US run Canal Zone.It is an epic story and one which anyone interested in American History and the beginnings of the "American Century" will thoroughly enjoy.

4-0 out of 5 stars Their-story, Rather than His-story
Julia Greene's book, The Canal Builders: Making America's Empire at the Panama Canal, was both an unexpected pleasure to read as well as a tale that deeply altered my understanding of the geopolitical significance of the building of the Panama Canal. As fascinating as Greene's descriptions of America's aspirations to empire at the opening of the 20th century are, other aspects of her historical explorations will linger far longer in my mind.

Though I don't read much of it these days, I grew up a sci-fi buff, and the building of the canal may be the first significant example of deliberate terraforming (using technology to significantly alter a planet to fit human needs) in the history of Homo sapiens.Greene does give a sense of the enormity of the civil and mechanical engineering that splitting the North and South American land masses apart represented, but it is not her focus.

What is her focus?Greene's focus is on the human story behind the gargantuan effort that it took to get the job done.The human panorama that she unfolds ranges from high altitude macroviews down to the granular and microscopic.Greene describes the role that the raging debate between socialism and capitalism in late 19th century America played in construction company policy decisions as the early 20th century Canal Project got off the ground.Also at macro level, Greene describes the American eagle spreading its wings over the concept of empire, with Teddy Roosevelt seeing the Canal as key to the vision of spreading American influence.

Cruising down to the mid-altitude level, Greene displays the fascinating interplay between racial and nationalistic biases and the policies that governed the workers and residents of the Canal Zone.Workers were split into Gold and Silver designations.A Gold designation, with its better housing and food allowances, as well as more generous pay and vacation time, was originally intended to apply to highly skilled workers, rather than skin color or country of origin.Slowly, but inexorably, Gold designation morphed into the privilege of the white American worker, with approval of this policy being present at the highest level (Teddy Roosevelt).

Greene also uncovers the fascinating convolutions of U.S. federal law interacting with Panamanian law, and the decisions that even U.S. citizens were not guaranteed U.S. constitutional protection even though they were (in the Zone) on federal territory."Constitutional law follows the flag, but does not arrive with it", declared the federal courts.

If the panorama of the Canal Project was made digital, individual humans would be the pixels, and Greene takes her focus right on down to that microscopic level.Using actual journals and diaries, the author chronicles the travails of American wives arriving with children to join their husbands in the fiercely tropical and disease ridden Zone.Greene tells individual stories of the single U.S. women that made the journey hoping to make their fortune.She chronicles the songs and ballads of the Caribbean workers living in conditions vastly inferior to those of their American counterparts.We hear about the deaths of workers, crushed by machines, hit by trains, felled by disease.Riots break out on Panamanian territory when drunken American workers refuse to acknowledge the authority of Panamanian police based on the premise that people of color do not have jurisdiction over whites, and we read the personal accounts of both the Panamanian officers, and the Americans that participated in the riots.

Is this a perfect book? No.Greene is not the writer that David McCullough is in The Path Between the Seas: The Creation of the Panama Canal, 1870-1914.A bit of editing, it seems to me, could have made the tale more concise.That said, The Canal Builders is a deeply informative and somewhat cautionary narrative.Most of the authors that have written about the canal have told the tale from a "men are from Mars" point of view:numbers, facts, engineering miracles, names and personalities of the men that were in charge.Those on the watch for gender bias have sometimes derided this approach as "his-story", an approach that is endemic, for example, in the history of military conflict (though Winston Groom's Vicksburg, 1863 (Vintage Civil War Library)is an interesting exception).Julia Greene, in this book, has moved his-story into "their-story", with a rich portrayal of both the men and women that built the canal, told in a way that will alter the perceptions of anyone that thinks that they already know everything worth knowing about the Canal.

Though I will remember the macro-historical lessons of the Canal, it was the tales of the humans at the individual level that left the deepest imprint on me.I'm the richer for having read it, and it left me with a hunger to read more history written using Greene's inclusive and more deeply integrated telling of human endeavor on a grand scale.

4-0 out of 5 stars Response to Rita Sasso's Review
This is a response to Rita Sasso's review:

I think Ms. Sasso overly simplifies things by stereotyping "Zonians".I was three years old when my family moved down to the Canal Zone, and I graduated from High School there.So, I grew up with Zonians, while Ms. Sasso admits she never lived there, never had anything to do with the Canal Zone, whose people she stereotypes.

A lot of her complaints have to do with the fact that as an American, she did not enjoy the rights that members of the Canal Zone were granted.The fact is, the United States was prohibited from allowing Americans not working in the zone to purchase products in the zone.That would be unfair to Panamanien businesses.

Ms. Sasso says that Zonians always considered Panama a province of the United States.That's also not true.Most Zonians I knew loved Panama and knew that it was a separate country from the US.There was a lot of respect that she failed to see.Maybe if Ms. Sasso had gotten to know a greater diversity of people in the Canal Zone, she would have known that.

Finally, Ms. Sasso also says it wasn't until almost the end that Spanish was taught in Balboa High School. Either she is terribly ignorant or telling an outright lie.My father came down to the Canal Zone in 1955, as a Spanish teacher in the High School!!!It had been taught before his arrival.It continued to be taught until Balboa High School no longer existed.

No doubt about it - there were some "ugly Americans" living in the Canal Zone.But the vast majority loved the people and culture of Panama, learned Spanish, and had many Panamanien friends.Some even married Panamaniens.

I can't speak to Ms. Sasso's review of the book.Hopefully she did a better job of that than she did with her understanding of people that lived in the Canal Zone.

5-0 out of 5 stars Life in the Ultimate Company Town

Author Greene brings to life the society that developed in the Canal Zone from 1904 - 1914 and ends with a brief discussion of the aftermath of the Canal's opening.I haven't read McCullough's acclaimed book, but as I understand its content, Greene scopes out a totally different area.She does not focus on the engineering, financing or politics of its inception. Her concern is the life of the people, thousands of people, who built the canal.

Workers came from all over the world. An impressive table at the end documents this.They worked long and hard for their employer the ICC, an agency of the US government. Why and how did these faceless thousands sign up to go there?How did they live? What did they eat and wear?How did they sleep?What of their families? What about the fatalites? What were the ICC's personnel policies?

Greene describes the ICC's structure of gold and silver employees. She shows how the resulting caste system affected individuals and how individuals of both the gold and silver grouops and others in the outside world felt about it.

Beyond the Zone's society, Greene introduces the larger issues.While the ICC's personnel policies are not acceptable today, were they enlightened for their day? What of the people of Panama, how did they feel about this endeavor?Were there movements for change?

The book ends with a short discussion of the construction's aftermath, yesterday and today. While contemporary attitudes and values no longer support a labor system based on race and gender rankings, the author shows how the work stata persists under the radar screen. A cruise ship, flagged in Panama, to whom the US has ceded the territory, embeds a similar system.

This is an excellent book.The author has a big topic but she is disciplined. Her balance between structure and anecdote is excellent.She initiates a discussion on many large topics that loom today. While its topic will not appeal to everyone, I highly recommend this book.
... Read more

37. Hidden Empire (The Saga of Seven Suns)
by Kevin J. Anderson
Mass Market Paperback: 672 Pages (2007-11-01)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$2.34
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0316003441
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
Having colonized other worlds, humans are certain the galaxy is theirs for the taking. But they soon discover the horrifying price of their arrogance when a scientific experiment awakens the wrath of the previously unknown Hydrogues and begins a war. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (95)

1-0 out of 5 stars Utter Crap
I hate this book so much I wish I could erase the time it took me to read it. I actually want that time back.

The author steals his ideas pretty blatantly from other authors, most notably Dan Simmons, who does space opera WAY better. A great number of characters wind up being ridiculous cartoonish stereotypes. Unbelievable to a huge degree, and the writing is just awful. Anderson, you are an utter hack.

3-0 out of 5 stars Starts well, but....
I would like to offer an overall review of all seven books combined.Even though each book has its own sub-plots, one has to read all seven to stitch every piece together.Unless you plan to read all of them (a major time commitment) I suggest that you go find yourself some thing shorter to read.This is an epic saga.

I find the books and the story hard to classify.It is science fiction, but what kind?The story starts as if it is going to be hard science fiction.(That's why I probably consider the first book to be the best.)But then it degenerates into several parallel threads, many of which are pure fantasies.By the end of the seventh book, I felt that 90% of the threads and plot were more appropriately described as fantasy than science fiction.

Even if you prefer fantasy over hard science fiction, you will still be disappointed by the repeated "deus ex machina" saving the day.I count seven such cases, three of them occurring in the last volume.Anderson is very good in weaving a complex story to its crescendo and creating a very tense (nearly hopeless) situation for the heroes.Then he cannot get them out of there in any plausible way, and he resorts to dues ex machina time after time.Because of that, you will feel disappointed (perhaps even cheated) once you finish the story, even if you will find it entertaining most of the way.

The characters are one-dimensional.There are good sub-plots of love, hatred, betrayal, revenge... The evil is really evil, and the good-guys could do no wrong.If you don't mind that, you may enjoy the saga.

1-0 out of 5 stars Science? what's that?
I tried to read this book and didn't make it past the first couple of chapters. You have a ship flying in the upper levels of a gas giant mining hydrogen? ok, that works.

The ship has an outside deck? ok, under a force field i assume.

Nope, it is in the open air and the crew can go out for a breath of fresh air. And there are birds that never land anywhere except on this deck. Yes you can find a level in the atmosphere where the pressure is earth sea level, but it won't be breathable air! You're mining hydrogen at that level! You think there would be oxygen in a human usable concentration? What about the gases causing all the interesting colored clouds, like hydrocholoric and sulfuric acid vapor? Not to mention mixing hydrogen and oxygen at earth pressure and temp (can you spell B O O M?)

Threw the book away, it's not even worth trying to sell to the used book store because then I would inflict this pain on someone else.

1-0 out of 5 stars These are not the books you are looking for ...
I read the first 2 books of the series and finally quit 1/3 of the way through the third book because I couldn't respect myself if I read any more.The story is good, it's a fun space-opera, but the writing is horrible.The author would receive a C in any lit class on earth for the lack of narrative skills and it upsets me that a publisher would print these books over others that can't possibly be less deserving.There are so many great masters of Sci-Fi out there in the world, please look for them and don't waste time on this series.

3-0 out of 5 stars Average
This series just gets worse and worse as it goes on.I would love to point out all the points where the series chooses ridiculous directions and twists but I would have to ruin the story.

Short and Sweet, if you're interested in reading something semi space opera'ish you can read this and when it starts getting annoying just put it down and know that the rest of the series just gets worse. ... Read more

38. Multitude: War and Democracy in the Age of Empire
by Michael Hardt, Antonio Negri
Paperback: 448 Pages (2005-07-26)
list price: US$17.00 -- used & new: US$8.13
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0143035592
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
In their international bestseller Empire, Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri presented a grand unified vision of a world in which the old forms of imperialism are no longer effective. But what of Empire in an age of "American empire"? Has fear become our permanent condition and democracy an impossible dream? Such pessimism is profoundly mistaken, the authors argue. Empire, by interconnecting more areas of life, is actually creating the possibility for a new kind of democracy, allowing different groups to form a multitude, with the power to forge a democratic alternative to the present world order. Exhilarating in its optimism and depth of insight, Multitude consolidates Hardt and Negri’s stature as two of the most important political philosophers at work in the world today.Amazon.com Review
Complex, ambitious, disquieting, and ultimately hopeful, Multitude is the work of a couple of writers and thinkers who dare to address the great issues of our time from a truly alternative perspective. The sequel to 2001's equally bold and demanding Empire continues in the vein of the earlier tome. Where Empire's central premise was that the time of nation-state power grabs was passing as a new global order made up of "a new form of sovereignty" consisting of corporations, global-wide institutions, and other command centers is in ascendancy, Multitude focuses on the masses within the empire, except that, where academics Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri are concerned, this body is defined by its diversity rather than its commonalities. The challenge for the multitude in this new era is "for the social multiplicity to manage to communicate and act in common while remaining internally different." One may already be rereading that last sentence. Indeed, Empire isn't breezy reading. But for those aren't afraid of wadding into a knotty philosophical and political discourse of uncommon breadth, Multitude offers many rewards. --Steven Stolder ... Read more

Customer Reviews (12)

1-0 out of 5 stars Another dumb idea
The argument here is simple and fantastic.The democracies in the world are not 'real' democracies, they are dictatorships of capital.But the world needs democracy.Of course it is the typical cirle.Everything you see is fake, but everything that you think you see should be real.The Communist Manifesto led directly to some 30 million deaths and the enslavement of 1.5 billion people, hopefully this manifesto will not wreak any havoc whatsoever, the world has tired of thse fake pseudo-intelletual 'we will solve the world's problems' ideas.

The 'fake' democracy the authors of this book so abore is ironically the very one that allows them to write it and it is the capitalism this book hates so much that gives it a market.

Seth J. Frantzman

5-0 out of 5 stars The communist manifesto of the 21st century
Key Terms

Empire: "the new form of global sovereignty . . . [that] includes as its primary elements, or nodes, the dominant nation-states along with supranational institutions, major capitalist corporations, and other powers" (xii).

Immaterial Labor: "labor that produces immaterial products, such as information, knowledges, ideas, images, relationships, and affects" (p. 65)

Biopower: "a form of rule aimed not only at controlling the population but producing and reproducing all forms of social life" (p. 13)

Biopolitical Production: "Biopower stands above society transcendent as a sovereign authority and imposes order its order. Biopolitical production, in contrast, is immanent to society and creates social relationships through collaborative forms of labor." (p. 94).

Multitude: "an internally different, multiple social subject whose constitution and action is based not on identity or unity (or, much less, indifference) but on what it has in common. . . . The multitude is the only social subject capable of realizing democracy, that is, the rule of everyone by everyone." (p. 100)

The Common: "an artificial result and constitutive basis . . . [that] configures the mobile and flexible substance of the multitude" (p. 349)

In Multitude, Political theorists Hardt and Negri theorize a new form of global democracy and a new revolutionary vanguard that can bring such change about. Beginning with Marx's assumption that the mode of production determines subjectivity, Hardt and Negri argue that Marx's economic paradigm has shifted from the production of goods to the production of life itself, a process they term biopolitical production. In this new postmodern era of neoliberal capitalism, ontological warfare, supranational sovereignty, corporate transnational despondency, and the hegemonies of immaterial and affective labors have imploded modernist/dialectical thinking and established the prerequisites for a new way of thinking about revolutionary agency. To flesh out this complicated thesis it is necessary to analyze these four historical conditions in more detail and then discuss the new agential framework that Hardt and Negri term the multitude.
With the signing of the antiballistic missile treaty in 1972 and the subsequent collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, there is no longer any nation/state that poses a dialectical threat to America's exceptionalism, or its ability to intervene in the production of other societies. As a result, the United States, in tandem with other European superpowers, has launched a new form of warfare called biopower, a political strategy more concerned with producing global subjectivity and maintaining global hierarchy then fending off any sovereign foreign enemy. Abstract discourses (i.e., rhetoric) such as "the war on drugs" and "the war on terror" allow the United States to implement a regime of govermentality, or a strategy of policing subjects by managing their labor power and extracting from them surplus value (excess productive energies). The upshot of biopower is that war has achieved a new ontological character. No longer is warfare a temporal battle between sovereign nations, but instead an indefinite process of controlling, producing and expropriating life itself.
Just as nuclear weapons and biopower have disrupted the modernist understanding of warfare, the emergences of supranational institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank have challenged the modernist conceptualizing of nation/states. In the past, capitalist nation/states functioned as sovereign entities and had to promote their mode of production through force, coercion, or imperialism. With the rise of supranational institutions, however, the valorization of capitalism no longer depends on any unilateral or multilateral nations. Because supranational institutions stand outside of representational politics, it is difficult, if not impossible, to link the hegemony of capitalism to any centripetal source of power.The IMF's ability to loan money to developing nations and the World Bank's capability to build nations under the discourse of foreign aid, reify the ontological nature of capital and its ability to yoke together all social subjects under a common capitalist identity. Such institutions also demonstrate the pernicious consequences of biopower, ossifying the current (amorphous) global hierarchy by creating an indefinite state of debt and poverty.
While supranational institutions have occluded the question of nation/states, multinational corporations have broken down the distinctions between public and private, appropriating all forms of life by transmuting material products into immaterial knowledges, ideas, and codes. Hardt and Negri discuss "the Green revolution," and other biological reforms, as a means of illustrating the way life forms can be owned by private corporations. With the ruling of two Supreme Court cases in the mid 1980s, for example, genetically altered life forms have been deemed patentable so long as they are a product of human ingenuity. What such a trend depicts for Hardt and Negri is that a new era neofeudalism is afoot. Seeds, water, and labor, materials that at one point were all part of the common (i.e., everyone), are now being expropriated by corporations and transformed into private knowledges and codes.
The expropriation of life by transnational corporations provides a segway for discussing the final historical variables of Hardt and Negri's project: immaterial labor and affective labor respectively. Immaterial labor signifies how knowledge, communication, and ideas have become integral to the (re)thinking of labor and production in late capitalist society.The example of genetically modified seeds listed above, for example, demonstrates the way products produced through material labors are becoming interchangeable with immaterial codes. Not only have the products produced become immaterial, however, but the process of production itself has also become immaterial. The shift from the Fordism of the late 1920s to the postFordism of the 1980s has made networking, branding, and communication central to the laboring experience. In an international economy where products are created transnationally and in a climate where a label is as important as the product itself, networking and communication become integral to the distributing and producing of most commodities.
As labor takes an immaterial turn, affective labor becomes exigent as well. Affective labor illustrates the way that labor in a late capitalist society increasingly relies on human mobility, emotion, and communication to achieve particular objectives. The service industry, for example, one of the more common occupations in the postmodern era, depends not so much on industrial labor as it does on the worker's ability to manipulate and solicit particular affects and emotions. Similarly, the instability of the labor market, caused by the perpetual outsourcing of jobs to foreign countries, has made participants in the labor market flexible and mobile, a shift that signals a new way of thinking about work and identity. Even the domain of consumption, a realm typically isolated from the arena of labor practices, is also becoming inseparable from labor when viewed from the perspective of affects. The consumption of movies, books, and television dramas, for example, cannot achieve their results without soliciting people's emotions and identities.
What affective labor and immaterial labor point to specifically, is that labor can no longer be viewed dialectically, or as a tension between productive and unproductive labor. Under the logic of biopolitical production, the new economic paradigm of late capitalist society, all labor shares a common exploitative element. Every single laboring subject, whether consuming or producing, is exploited by the parasitic nature of capitalism and robed of their living labor so that empire, an amalgam of multinational corporations, aristocratic elites, and political regimes can generate surplus value.
It is from this common starting point, this new era of biopolitical production, that Hardt and Negri propose an alternative strategy for rethinking revolutionary agency. Although ontological warfare, supranational sovereignty, corporate transnational despondency, and the hegemonies of immaterial and affective labors have created terrifying conditions for a vast majority of the world, they have also, for the first time in human civilization, have connected human beings in ways that were never previously possible.
In the Hobbesian premodern era, hierarchical differences were central to the theorizing of society. All citizens obeyed the asymmetrical power of the monarch and disparities were visibly maintained and respected. In the Hegelian modern era, in contrast, unity became the dominant mode of theorizing about society. Consensuses and enlightenment were the teleologies of this time and transcending differences were central to such a perspective. In the postmodern era of biopolitical production, however, neither difference nor unity can adequately describe the current state of thinking. Instead, only a new metaphor of simultaneous unity and difference (see also Hall, 1985) can offer a framework for (re)theorizing revolutionary agency. This reality, for Hardt and Negri, means that dialectical models of agency, such as Aune's (1994) distinction between structure and struggle, are no longer tenable. At the same time, however, it also means that associating Hardt and Negri's project with the relativistic premodern era is not a tenable practice either (p. 37) (see also, Cloud, Aune, & Macek, 2006).
What the postmodern era teaches Hardt and Negri is that all models of theorizing instrumental agency (whether dialectical, hierarchical, or aesthetic) are no longer relevant. The exploitation of everyone by late capitalist society (i.e., empire) means that "the multitude . . . is not only a model for political decision making but also tends itself to become political decision making" (p. 339). The becoming common of exploitation and communication, in other words, means that revolution and antagonism are immanent. "From this perspective, the crisis of capitalism is now, not in some unspecified future awaiting the revolutionary plans of the party" (Greene, 2006, p. 88).
Yet while agency in the postmodern era must be fundamentally reconceptualized so too must one's definition of warfare. In the age of nuclear weapons and global capitalism, dialectical warfare is no longer a valid option. Instead, the multitude must wage a war against war, or a battle that takes place more in the form an exodus (a refusal to partake in capitalism).The project of the multitude, then, becomes not one of forming instrumental class based oppositional blocs, but awaking the revolutionary agency that is dormant in all of us. Perhaps Marx's dream of escaping the alienation of labor is still an actual possibility.

1-0 out of 5 stars Multitude, Hardt& Negri
I found this book so obscurely written that I did not bother to finish reading it.

2-0 out of 5 stars A Multitude of Partially Formed Ideas (and Not All Good Ones)
I read almost exclusively fiction and this book is an example of why, on those rare occasions when I summon the necessary moral fiber to read a non-fiction title, that I run scurrying back to stories about science fiction and detectives.

Multitude is, what exactly?Large parts of it are socio-political mumbo jumbo filled with slippery abstractions and meaningless code words and phrases - the second quarter of the book is practically unreadable for this reason.

At one point in this swill, Hardt and Negri examine Marxism as if it were the best idea in social organization to date instead of the colossal failure that it mutated into in the hands of Stalin and his ilk.It's difficult to take anyone seriously who's still willing to consider what I like to call "the tyranny of the bottom" as a valid governmental system.

Thankfully, and just as one begins to think the book is a lost cause, the authors veer away from Marx and into a reasonably well-done analysis of the current state of global affairs vis-a-vis individual liberties and international relations.It's certainly not the stuff of the Bush administration and, for that at least, is an interesting perspective.

Ultimately I found the authors' linchpin argument - the idea that labor is coalescing around some sort of supra-national set of shared knowledge the authors call "The Common" - unconvincing.Yes, non-tangible labor such as software and other service industries are "hot job markets" and yes, technology is working its way into even the most banal of industries, such as agriculture.But the notion that this provides intellectual, emotional or social-class links between farmers and technologists simply isn't the case, at least at this stage of integration (call me on that when I'm sent to Kansas to program Farmer Brown's John Deere to harvest 100,000 acres of wheat without an operator).

The questions that Multitude tries to ask are:Are we governed in the optimal way and, if not, what would a more optimal system look like.Their conclusions are clear on the former - no - and vague on the latter."We should have more democracy" is essentially what the authors message is but they don't provide a recipe for getting there.

That is, of course, exactly what is needed in the world.How do we transition the U.S. away from big money politics to a more democractic system?What rules govern its operation?How do the people of Iran get to choose their own leaders in fact, as opposed to leaders in name only?Without answers to these questions, the rest is interesting but meaningless.

4-0 out of 5 stars Simply beautiful!
This book took me back to my schooldays in the old Soviet Empire (not a capitalist one, and yet in a perpetual state of war both internally and externally).More specifically, to my mandatory propaganda classes run by highly trained and experienced Soviet counter-intelligence officers.This book is so smartly written it would make them proud!Why?Let me quote from memory "To get people to see things your way and join your cause follow few basic but very important rules:Speak to their instincts and their hearts; not to their minds. Attempts to reason with your targets at the intellectual level are bound to trigger critical thinking, at which point you as good as lost them.So do not engage in discussions and do not state facts to advance your cause, i.e. do not follow "there is X and there is Y therefore this is A".This makes your targets focus on X and Y which they may question, they may add a Z, and challenge your arrival at A as manipulation of facts.Which it needs to be - only smarter.Therefore, present targets with statement A first and win over their hearts and instincts.Then present facts X and Y selectively "to illustrate".Trick is that by then your targets will have already bought A and will happily accept X and Y as "factual justification".Of course they are only self-rationalizing why they bought your A in the first place, but this is exactly what you need to make A stick.Always use short simple sentences, big numbers, bigh words, bright colors, make sweeping statements...It may be counter-intuitive, but your targets will always have a propensity to believe big lies than small facts.And once they belive, they will be able to explain away anything that does not fit into their belief.This is how you set in motion self-sustaining process and know that you have succeeded."And so it goes.And this is what this book does, and this is why it is so effective.Have fun reading it!And remember Fox Mulder - "I want to believe" :) ... Read more

39. A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East
by David Fromkin
Paperback: 672 Pages (2001-09-01)
list price: US$20.00 -- used & new: US$7.57
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0805068848
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
The critically acclaimed New York Times bestselling account of how the modern Middle East came into being after World War I, and why it is in upheaval today

In our time the Middle East has proven a battleground of rival religions, ideologies, nationalisms, and dynasties.All of these conflicts, including the hostilities between Arabs and Israelis that have flared yet again, come down, in a sense, to the extent to which the Middle East will continue to live with its political inheritance: the arrangements, unities, and divisions imposed upon the region by the Allies after the First World War.

In A Peace to End All Peace, David Fromkin reveals how and why the Allies came to remake the geography and politics of the Middle East, drawing lines on an empty map that eventually became the new countries of Iraq, Israel, Jordan, and Lebanon.Focusing on the formative years of 1914 to 1922, when all-even an alliance between Arab nationalism and Zionism-seemed possible he raises questions about what might have been done differently, and answers questions about why things were done as they were.The current battle for a Palestinian homeland has its roots in these events of 85 years ago.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (139)

5-0 out of 5 stars History of the Middle East Made Interesting
Responsible citizens of the West today cannot afford to ignore the history of the Middle East. As other reviewers here have commented, this book alone will not serve to enlighten you on all that is going on in the Middle East today. However it is a good start, and it illustrates what has worked and what has not worked in the past when the West has dealings with Middle Eastern cultures and countries. It is not an area of the world that can simply be ignored.
David Fromkin did the world a favor in writing this book and makes the History of the Middle East come alive. He is thoroughly readable. This is a history book that is hard to put down once you have started. It also does much to chronicle events and battles of WWI that are not readily available in most books concerning that war, yet have perhaps had longer lasting impact on the history following.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Overview
Draws on original sources to document the political considerations on the part of power brokers of the pre-WW I world.If you want to understand the Middle East today, you need to understand how the current boundaries were determined and how the decisions made by foreigners in the early part of the 20th century led to the convoluted mess that is Middle Eastern politics today.The hubris of the British, French, and Russians of 1900 is matched only by that of the Americans today.

5-0 out of 5 stars A book to end all books
Ever wonder about the Armenian genocide by Turkey, or what Winston Churchill did in WWI and after?Or what the Balfour Declaration was, and why it was made?Ever wonder about how Iraq, Jordan and Palestine got formed?These and countless other questions are answered about Middle Eastern history in this masterpiece of writing and history by Prof. David Fromkin.It's a long book, but surely one of the best I have ever read.

3-0 out of 5 stars Allied Europe Divides the Middle East After World War I
This is a lengthy, extremely detailed history of the process by which the Allied Powers divided up the remains of the decaying Ottoman Empire after the First World War.That is the short description.In reality, this is 567 densely-packed pages describing the ebb and flow of wartime politics, tactics, alliances, aspirations and -- most importantly -- commitments.The book therefore provides all the information you need to understand the genesis of the Israel-Palestine conflict as created by incompatible promises to European Zionists, (largely ineffective) Hijazi irregulars and Syrian Arabs.It also covers revolt in Afghanistan, power-plays in post-Shah Iran, the debacle at Gallipoli, the roller-coaster career of Enver Pasha, Bolshevik duplicity in Central Asia, Wilsonian diplomacy ... the list goes on and on.The book is barely limited in chronology and geography, and thus covers immense territory.Fromkin also includes some interesting analysis, as with the Ottoman purchase of warships from London.

The author generally seems pro-Israel (or at any rate, not anti-Israel).He never pulls any punches against any western politician, party or power, but seems sympathetic to Churchill, and not as much to Lloyd George.

I emphasize the level of detail as both a recommendation and a warning.The book should be an excellent reference (although in places the end notes are too sparse), but it is a slow, difficult read.I am an avid consumer of Middle Eastern history, and a fast reader, and it still took a very long time for me to finish.It's not a problem with writing style or clarity of presentation; there's simply too much here to digest.Accordingly, I do not recommend this book to the casual reader.I do recommend it to students and scholars, but with the cautions noted above.

1-0 out of 5 stars F - Fail - Disgraceful Scholarship -
Any Grade 8 student who handed this in would be lectured on proper grammar,footnotes and bibliography.

The teacher would give wee Charley a very stern look and say:

" Now Charley Boy - where did you learn history book chapters are 1-4 pages long ? - now I want you to go back and edit this to a 10 page paper because that is all that's here"

Grade : F- Fail
Student expelled for academic laziness

The pickings are slim in the Ottoman area but...

Try Paris 1919 by Margaret Macmillan
... Read more

40. Lenin's Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire
by David Remnick
Paperback: 624 Pages (1994-04-26)
list price: US$16.95 -- used & new: US$7.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679751254
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
In the tradition of John Reed's classic Ten Days That Shook the World, this bestselling account of the collapse of the Soviet Union combines the global vision of the best historical scholarship with the immediacy of eyewitness journalism. "A moving illumination . . . Remnick is the witness for us all."--Wall Street Journal.Amazon.com Review
"...the most eloquent chronicle of the Soviet empire'sdemise." --Washington Post Book World

"...an extraordinary confluence of observation, hard work,knowledge, and reflection; a better book by a journalist on thewithdrawing roar of the Soviet Union is hard to imagine."--The New York Times Book Review ... Read more

Customer Reviews (40)

5-0 out of 5 stars Lenin's Tomb by David Remnick
The ironically titled Lenin's Tomb is a stunning piece of reportage about the circumstances leading up to the destruction of the Soviet Union. It was written by a reporter who was in the middle of the crisis as it reached its apex, and has a lived-in immediacy to it that sets it apart from other researched works on the topic. It succeeds on numerous levels, as journalism, as accessible history lesson, as a devastating portrait of a massive and failing country, as a treatise on 1980's European politics, and as an honest character study on the big names in Soviet government, their desires and intentions, and how those were never humanely transposed to the public which led to massive protest and a stunning moment in world history. Remnick tells the story circuitously, devoting whole chapters to different injustices or portraits of Communism's failures throughout the country, be it in starvation in a collectivized farm, corruption with the KGB in Lubyanka, or miserable working conditions in a coal mine in the Urals. These pieces of governmental incompetence grow and grow, culminating in murder, Chernobyl, apathy mixed with anger, and a renunciation of perestroika and Gorbachev within the Politburo. It is an incredibly complex story beautifully told by a brilliant reporter who knows the topic inside and out. Attention to detail is great here as well; Moscow, a far away city going through unbelievable upheaval, comes alive here. My only complaint is that the book got a little dry in the end, but for what you learn up to that point it is highly recommended for anyone interested in the subject.

5-0 out of 5 stars May it never go out of print.
This book is flat awesome.I read it three times.It stands as a classic.I hope it never goes out of print.Anyone... I mean ANYONE... who is interested in the fall of the Soviet Union... this is required reading. This book absolutely deserved the Pulitzer.Very very well done.

5-0 out of 5 stars Now I clearly understood why URSS fell so ignominously
A great fresco of the dramatic death of the communist URSS. The author lived as a correspondant in moscow for many years during the final years of the cold war and describes the tragic living conditions of the common people, the corrupt style of living of the burocrats, the disgusting privileges of the elites. An enclosed empire founded on corruption, lies, violence and misery where the dream of a better life for the masses promised by the communist leaders in the decades only became a rotten shell of deception and misery. The author interviewed hundreds of people of any social class, from the miners in the urals to Mr. Gorbachev, from Yeltsin to the moscow houseviwes, including scientists, artists, poets, smart people confined to the edges of the empire because of their open mindedness and acumen. This book is another important tragic witness of a wrecked dream, a tale told by hundreds of different voices that all tell thesame story of treachery and indecency, corruption and stupidity. A great history book that I highly recommend and that clearly helps us to understand why now Urss is governed like an authocracy by an ex kgb officer. Great book.

4-0 out of 5 stars Useful insights
Both Remnick's on Russia provide deep and useful insights on the political life of this country. A must-read for people interested in Russia's recent history.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating tour of the times leading up to and after the fall of the Soviet Union
This book is a fascinating exploration of the last days of the Soviet Union, providing a background of the broad mix of events and people involved both before, during and after the Gorbachev era. It maps the mindset and events during this dramatic change. It is told with a direct, personal style that I found gripping, and that gives a very good sense of the societal changes and impacts. I highly recommend it. ... Read more

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