Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Thomas Jefferson or Operation Valkyrie

Thomas Jefferson (The American President Series)

Author: Joyce Appleby

An illuminating analysis of the man whose name is synonymous with American democracyFew presidents have embodied the American spirit as fully as Thomas Jefferson. He was the originator of so many of the founding principles of American democracy. Politically, he shuffled off the centralized authority of the Federalists, working toward a more diffuse and minimalist leadership. He introduced the bills separating church and state and mandating free public education. He departed from the strict etiquette of his European counterparts, appearing at state dinners in casual attire and dispensing with hierarchical seating arrangements. Jefferson initiated the Lewis and Clark expedition and seized on the the crucial moment when Napoleon decided to sell the Louisiana Territory, thus extending the national development. In this compelling examination, distinguished historian Joyce Appleby captures all of the richness of Jefferson's character and accomplishments.

Publishers Weekly

Thomas Jefferson, so multifaceted and long-lived, tries the skills of most who venture to write his biography, especially a short one like this. But UCLA historian Appleby (Inheriting the Revolution: The First Generation of Americans) has succeeded in writing as good a brief study of this complex man as is imaginable. Another in a series on the American chief executives edited by Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., her elegant book is a liberal's take on the complex, sphinxlike founder of American liberalism. Appleby convincingly argues that the third president's greatest legacies were limited government (breached, however, by the opportunism that characterized his own presidency) and the great expansion of democracy. If some of her criticisms of Jefferson seem more perfunctory than heartfelt, she fully explains the man's sorry record and tortured views on slavery and race. Providing along the way a short, up-to-date history of the early 19th-century nation, she also concisely surveys the day's great issues-voting, democracy, political parties, commerce, westering and religion. Yet such a balanced picture of Jefferson remains somehow unsatisfactory, no doubt because a man of so many contradictions slips away from every biographer, the tensions in the man mirroring those of his times. Appleby tries to toss a bouquet to the man who vanquished the Federalist Party and purchased the Louisiana Territory. She wants to convince us that Jefferson was "one of history's most intuitive politicians," but even in Appleby's capable hands, Jefferson remains the most unfathomable political figure in our history. (Feb. 1) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Library Journal

On the heels of recent publications like Joseph Ellis's Founding Brothers and James Srodes's Franklin comes Appleby's Thomas Jefferson, part of the "American Presidents" series edited by Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. Though touted as a biography, the work is more a study of Jefferson's years as chief executive, with lengthy discussions of his political philosophy and only intermittent information on his years outside the White House. Appleby (history, UCLA; Inheriting the Revolution) provides an excellent and concise study of our third president's time in office, rich with detail and sharp insights. Her summary and evaluation of the current research on Jefferson's relationship with Sally Hemmings is clear and fair. Most important, her portrait of President Jefferson presents the man in all his complexity: as democrat, people's champion, intellectual, social engineer, and racist. Clearly sympathetic to her subject, Appleby judiciously and objectively balances her work so that readers may draw their own conclusions about this multifaceted and brilliant individual. Recommended for all public libraries.-Thomas J. Baldino, Wilkes Univ., Wilkes-Barre, PA Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews

A portrait of our most controversial Founding Father as a genuine radical possessed of dangerous, frightening ideas about human nature and government. Thomas Jefferson was alone among his revolutionary peers in anticipating the advent of American democracy and striving to assure its peaceful birth, the author writes: "He resisted the notion that political equality was a chimera and strove to root out the last monarchical remnants from American culture," a project that set him in constant opposition to his privileged peers and particularly in opposition to the Federalist Party, the political organ of their class. Appleby (History/UCLA; Inheriting the Revolution, 2000, etc.) takes quite seriously Jefferson's boast that his election represented "as real a revolution in the principles of our government as that of 1776 was in its form"; furthermore, she reckons with some amazement that no American with such a radical bent has met with quite the same level of electoral approval as did Jefferson, though it could be argued that we have never achieved his vision of a liberal, democratic America in which the governors and governed alike possessed "rationality, the drive for self-improvement, the capacity to work independently and to cooperate without coercion." Jefferson was a dreamer, impractical and torn by contradictions, Appleby allows; what is remarkable is that a man of such resolute devotion to liberty could have emerged from his class and position, even if his notion of liberty kept it the province of white men. For all that, Appleby insists again and again, Jefferson was a true radical whose polished words were not mere rhetorical exercises. When he said, "I like a little rebellion fromtime to time. It clears the atmosphere," he meant it. A useful slap against the reactionaries who today claim descent from Jeffersonian ideals.

Table of Contents:
Editor's Notexv
1.A Pivotal Election7
2.Defining His Presidency31
3.Interpreting the Constitution in a Republican Fashion53
4.A Painful Reelection72
5.Contest for the West92
6.Foreign Policy Proves a Quagmire111
7.Coming to Terms with Thomas Jefferson132
Note on Sources169
Selected Bibliography171

Look this: Change One or The Relaxation Response

Operation Valkyrie: The German General's Plot Against Hitler

Author: Pierre Galant

Operation Valkyrie was the code name given to the plot to assassinate Hitler and to enact a far-reaching military coup d'etat, from Paris to Berlin, against the Nazis.

Six Minutes to Freedom or FBI 100 Years

Six Minutes to Freedom

Author: Kurt Mus

Dear President Bush,

My name is Kimberly Anne Muse. I am writing this letter not for me but for my father, Kurt Frederick Muse. As you should know by now, he is a political prisoner in Panama. .

Born in the United States and raised in Panama, Kurt Muse grew up with a deep love for his adopted country. But the crushing regime of General Manuel Noriega in the late 1980s threatened his, and a nation's, freedom. A nightmare of murder and unexplained disappearances compelled Kurt and a few trusted friends to begin a clandestine radio campaign, urging the people of Panama to rise up for their basic human rights.

Six Minutes to Freedom is the remarkable tale of Kurt Muse's arrest and harrowing months of imprisonment; his eyewitness accounts of torture; and the plight of his family as they fled for their lives. It is also the heart—pounding account of the only American civilian ever rescued by the elite Delta Force. Timelier than ever, this is a thrilling and highly personal narrative about one man's courage and dedication to his beliefs.

"A cliffhanger drama of survival against all odds."
—Jeffery Deaver

"A dramatic portrayal of idealism, courage, integrity, and fortitude."
—John Douglas and Mark Olshaker

"A must—read for anyone interested in how Delta Force operates."
—John Weisman

"Harrowing, entertaining, inspiring, and very, very readable."
—Col. Lee A. Van Arsdale, U. S. Army Special Forces (Ret)

"A thrilling chronicle that puts a human face on unspeakable actions."
—Continental magazine

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FBI 100 Years

Author: Henry M Holden

FBI 100 YEARS: AN UNOFFICIAL HISTORY covers them all: the spies and saboteurs, the revolutionaries and fugitives, the mob bosses, gangsters, and petty criminals with colorful nicknames and big-time aspirations, the public and private life of J. Edgar Hoover as well as his now notorious secret files, the Hollywood blacklists, the political assassinations, Ruby Ridge, Waco, and domestic surveillance in post-9/11 America.

Henry M. Holden, author of To Be an FBI Special Agent, traces the history of Federal Bureau of Investigation, the principal investigative arm of the United States Department of Justice, including its power, notable cases, and controversies through the years.

The dramatic story told in FBI 100 YEARS: AN UNOFFICIAL HISTORY also includes how the FBI reacted to the Red Scare of the 1950s and civil unrest in the 1960s, and does not shy away from examining some of the more controversial tactics and surveillance methods used by the Bureau over its century of crime fighting. Author Henry M. Holden explores dozens of categories of criminal activities that fall under its broad investigative authority, and takes a look at the FBI in American popular culture.

• Teddy Roosevelt's trust-busting detective force
• Gangbusters and spybusters
• J. Edgar Hoover's secret files
• Blacklists, blackmail, and McCarthyism
• Civil rights and political unrest in the 1960s
• Bringing down the syndicate: investigating organized crime
• Ruby Ridge, Waco, and other disasters
• Domestic surveillance and wiretapping

Daniel K. Blewett - Library Journal

In anticipation of the FBI's centennial this summer, prolific author and law enforcement veteran Holden (To Be an FBI Special Agent) has produced a work for general readers on the ever interesting and controversial history of this primary investigative agency of the U.S. Department of Justice. The book may be defined as an unofficial history, but Holden was granted access to current agents and to the FBI's photo archive to produce a work profusely illustrated with about 300 photographs of equipment, FBI activities, and agents and criminals in action, all of which will fascinate. Chapters cover the early years when Teddy Roosevelt was President, J. Edgar Hoover's long tenure as director, his role in blacklistings and McCarthyism, the pursuit of organized crime, spies, the use of domestic surveillance, and standoffs gone bad. Some of the popular touches include movie posters and comic strips. The book includes all of the FBI's "10 Most Wanted Fugitives" lists and ends with a list of the 51 special agents who died in service, a brief chronology, and definitions of acronyms and abbreviations. Those looking for more critical discussion of the bureau may want to examine Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones's The FBI: A History, but this book will have appeal in both public libraries and specialized collections.

Table of Contents:
1. The "Wild West" Years: Teddy's Trust-busting Detective Force
2. J. Edgar Hoover: The Man with the Secrets
3. Gangbusters
4. Blacklists, Blackmail, and McCarthyism
5. Civil Rights, the KKK, and Political Unrest
6. Bringing Down the Syndicate: Investigating Organized Crime and Political Miscreants
7. Spybusters
8. Standoffs Gone Bad: Confronting Ruby Ridge, Waco, and Other Disasters
9. Sneak and Peak: Domestic Surveillance and Wiretapping

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Duel or I Love You Ronnie

The Duel: Pakistan on the Flight Path of American Power

Author: Tariq Ali

Pakistan is the sixth most populous country in the world. It is the only Islamic state to have nuclear weapons. Its border with Afghanistan extends over one thousand miles and is the likely hideout of Osama bin Laden. It has been under military dictatorship for thirty-three of its fiftyyear existence. Yet it is the linchpin in the United States' war on terror, receiving over $10 billion of American aid since 2001 and purchasing more than $5 billion of U.S. weaponry in 2006 alone.

These days, relations between the two countries are never less than tense. Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf reported that U.S. deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage threatened to "bomb Pakistan back to the Stone Age" if it did not commit fully to the alliance in the wake of 9/11. Presidential hopeful Barack Obama said he would have no hesitation in bombing Al Qaeda inside the country, "with or without" approval of the Pakistani government. Recent surveys show that more than 70 percent of Pakistanis fear the United States as a military threat to their country.

The Bush administration spent much of 2007 promoting a "dream ticket" of Musharraf and Benazir Bhutto to run Pakistan together. That strategy, with Bhutto assassinated and the general's party winning less than 15 percent of the contested seats in the 2008 election, is now in tatters.

With increasingly bold attacks by Taliban supporters in the border regions threatening to split the Pakistan army, with the only political alternatives -- Nawaz Sharif and Benazir's widower Asif Ali Zardari -- being as corrupt as the regime they seek to replace, and with a newly radicalized movement of lawyers testing its strength as championsof the rule oflaw, the chances of sustained stability in Pakistan look slim.

The scion of a famous Punjabi political family, with extraordinary contacts inside the country and internationally, Tariq Ali has long been acknowledged as a leading commentator on Pakistan. In these pages he combines deep understanding of the country's history with extensive firsthand research and unsparing political judgment to weigh the prospects of those contending for power today. The labyrinthine path between a secure world and global conflagration runs right through Pakistan. No one is better placed to trace its contours.

The Washington Post - Bruce Riedel

;&#most Americans don't realize how much of the Pakistani peril is our own fault. The Duel will anger many in this country but should be read for an understanding of, first, what role America has played in creating this dangerous mix and, second, why many Pakistanis see us as responsible for their problems…The Duel makes a strong case that the United States should back Pakistan's civilian leadership, flawed as it is, in an effort to build a modern Islamic democracy.

Veronica Arellano - Library Journal

In his latest examination of Pakistan, Ali (Conversations with Edward Said) takes on the role of political storyteller. The turbulent Pakistani political landscape is both the setting and the protagonist in this study of a country in crisis. Spanning the rule of Pakistan's founder, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, to the Bhutto dynasty and Pervez Musharraf's military control, this work is less an analysis of Pakistan-U.S. relations than a tale of the Pakistani people's struggle for political autonomy and representation. Much like an embedded reporter who becomes a part of his story, Ali is not simply a recorder of events. As an active participant in many of Pakistan's internal political struggles, he cannot separate himself from the living history of his home country. His incisive scholarship on Pakistan's inception and subsequent leadership is peppered with personal anecdotes, biting commentary, and forcefully opinionated prose, effectively demonstrating that objectivity is not a necessary precursor to insightful analysis. Although the storytelling sometimes suffers from chronological breaks and the occasional tangent, Ali's passion for Pakistan and its political future ultimately makes his book an engaging (and often enraging) political story. Recommended for academic libraries.

Kirkus Reviews

Harshly critical of the American-backed Pakistani military and deeply concerned with the plight of his native country's people, London-based filmmaker and novelist Ali (Dictatorship of Capital: Politics and Culture in the 21st Century, 2008, etc.) warns of an imminent "conflagration of despair."His narrative moves gradually through the sad morass of Pakistan's history: its bloody, ethnic-driven birth in 1947, repeated dictatorships, entrenched corruption and incipient Islamic radicalization. The fight against terrorism has renewed America's interest in the country, he notes; since 9/11 the United States has pressured President Musharraf to the tune of $10 billion to cease harboring tribal insurgents from neighboring Afghanistan. America's fear that Pakistan is flirting with the jihadists may precipitate more unwanted U.S. intervention, he warns. Ali carefully examines Pakistan's long, troubled relationship with America since U.S. support of the first military dictatorship by General Ayub Khan in 1958. Patrician political leader Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, father of Benazir, took power during the turbulent period that led to the violent creation of Bangladesh from East Pakistan in 1972; his five-year leadership saw the birth of Pakistan as a nuclear state in defiance of the United States. Bhutto's "removal," according to Ali, was deemed necessary, and his chief of staff Zia-ul-Haq became president. Because it was instrumental in routing the Soviets after their invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, the author comments bitterly, "General Zia's dictatorship thus became the linchpin of U.S. strategy in the region." Ali considers the tenures of Benazir Bhutto and Musharraf, denouncing both for"clientilism, patronage and corruption on a gigantic scale." The American-engineered political marriage of convenience between the two ended in disaster, and Musharraf's military dictatorship is compounding the country's misery rather than delivering stability. Sage and watchful, Ali considers how the "organic evolution of politics in Pakistan," wrecked by American intervention, might be salvaged. Intense, closely observed commentary on perilous developments in an unstable nation. Agent: Andrew Nurnberg/Andrew Nurnberg Associates

Table of Contents:
Preface     IX
Pakistan at Sixty: A Conflagration of Despair     1
Rewinding Pakistan: Birth of Tragedy     29
The Washington Quartet: The Man Who Would Be Field Marshal     50
The Washington Quartet: The General Who Lost a Country     70
The Washington Quartet: The Soldier of Islam     97
The Washington Quartet: The General as Chief Executive     134
The House of Bhutto: Daughter of the West     159
On the Flight Path of American Power     191
Operation Enduring Freedom: Mirage of the "Good" War     217
Can Pakistan Be Recycled?     249
Index     279

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I Love You, Ronnie: The Letters of Ronald Reagan to Nancy Reagan

Author: Nancy Reagan

No matter what else was going on in his life or where he was--travelling to make movies for G.E., in the California governor's office, at the White House, or on Air Force One, and sometimes even from across the room--Ronald Reagan wrote letters to Nancy Reagan, to express his love, thoughts, and feelings, and to stay in touch. Through letters and reflections, the characters, personalities, and private lives of a president and his first lady are revealed. Nancy Reagan comments on the letters and writes with love and insight about her husband and the many phases of their life together.

About the Authors:

Ronald and Nancy Reagan were America's president and first lady from 1981 to 1989.

Nancy Reagan was born in New York, was raised in Chicago, and attended Smith College. During the summers before graduation, she worked in summer-stock theater productions. In New York, she appeared on Broadway, including in Lute Song with Mary Martin. She was signed by MGM, and she made eight motion pictures for the studio before leaving to marry Ronald Reagan. She is the author of a memoir, My Turn.

Washington Post

I Love You, Ronnie...will move, charm and cheer...the letters are models of the genre...revealing Reagan the man.

USA Today

A love story for all ages.

Internet Book Watch

Leo Burmester and Allison Daugherty read this unabridged collection of the letters of Ronald Reagan to Nancy, written from the 1950s when they met up through the 1990s. The dual reading brings these letters alive and paints an intimate autobiographical portrait of the two.

Abraham Lincoln or The Rise of Napoleon Bonaparte

Abraham Lincoln: Speeches and Writings 1832-1858 (Library of America), Vol. 1

Author: Abraham Lincoln

The library of America is dedicated to publishing America's best and most significant writing in handsome, enduring volumes, featuring authoritative texts. Hailed as the "finest-looking, longest-lasting editions ever made" (The New Republic), Library of America volumes make a fine gift for any occasion. Now, with exactly one hundred volumes to choose from, there is a perfect gift for everyone.

Interesting textbook: Crystal Reports 10 for Dummies or How eBay Really Works

The Rise of Napoleon Bonaparte

Author: Robert B Asprey

Ever since 1821, when he died at age fifty-one on the forlorn and windswept island of St. Helena, Napoleon Bonaparte has been remembered as either demi-god or devil incarnate. In The Rise of Napoleon Bonaparte, the first volume of a two-volume cradle-to-grave biography, Robert Asprey instead treats him as a human being. Asprey tells this fascinating, tragic tale in lush narrative detail. The Rise of Napoleon Bonaparte is an exciting, reckless thrill ride as Asprey charts Napoleon's vertiginous ascent to fame and the height of power. Here is Napoleon as he was-not saint, not sinner, but a man dedicated to and ultimately devoured by his vision of himself, his empire, and his world.

Boston Globe

In its very extravagance, Napoleon's tale may be the most remarkable story of a self-made man ever told. When complete, Asprey's biography bids fair to become the standard work in English on the most prominent avatar of the 'great man' theory of history.

Boston Globe - Madison Smartt Bell

Asprey's biography bids fair to become the standard work in English.

Publishers Weekly

Asprey, a former marine officer and military historian (Frederick the Great), has produced the first volume of a new two-volume biography of a man who was not only one of the greatest generals in history, but also instrumental in the formation of modern Europe. Covering the period from Napoleon's birth in 1769 to his brilliant victory at Austerlitz in 1805, Asprey charts his subject's rise through military school and his path through the treacherous byways of the French Revolution. Though there is a tendency in the earlier portions of this book to reduce the Revolution to a reign of terror, making it difficult to explain why Napoleon would have been such a fervent follower of the radical Jacobins, Asprey generally provides clear explanations of the political environment in which Napoleon acted. The story of the campaign in Italy that brought the young general his first fame is well told in its military, political and diplomatic aspects, and Asprey's fascinating account of the campaign in Egypt is particularly valuable. Here the author corrects misconceptions of Napoleon's actions, such as the notorious "abandonment" of the French army in Egypt. The military aspects of the story tend to overwhelm the narrative in the final chapters, and a summary chapter would have been helpful. But the chapters are bite-sized, and the text is easy, so this book should find a wide readership among those who enjoy biography, history and military history. Illus. (Dec.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

Library Journal

Well written, detailed, and comprehensive, this is the first of a two-volume biography by noted military historian Asprey (At Belleau Wood) of the Corsican nobody who nearly conquered all of Europe. Asprey, who claims to offer a more balanced appraisal than any previously published, points out that the Napoleonic Wars that ravaged Europe in the early 1800s were a natural result of revolutionary chaos and were actually encouraged by aristocratic regimes to defend their thrones and empires from the spread of French revolutionary zeal. Napoleon, then, did not create the Napoleonic Wars but was a product of them. Asprey presents Napoleon as a child, student, youth, soldier, father, statesman, and emperor, using colorful narrative and vivid descriptions of European life, society, politics, and war. This first volume covers Napoleon's life from his birth in 1769 to the Battle of Austerlitz in 1805, revealing Napoleon's political and battlefield genius. This excellent complement to David Nicholls's Napoleon: A Biographical Companion (LJ 11/1/99) and Stephen Pope's Dictionary of the Napoleonic Wars (LJ 5/15/00) is highly recommended for all public and academic libraries.--Col. William D. Bushnell, (ret.), USMC, Sebascodegan Island, ME Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Wise Men or Republic Jowett translation

The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made

Author: Walter Isaacson

A captivating blend of personal biography and public drama, The Wise Men introduces the original best and brightest, leaders whose outsized personalities and actions brought order to postwar chaos: Averell Harriman, the freewheeling diplomat and Roosevelt's special envoy to Churchill and Stalin; Dean Acheson, the secretary of state who was more responsible for the Truman Doctrine than Truman and for the Marshall Plan than General Marshall; George Kennan, self-cast outsider and intellectual darling of the Washington elite; Robert Lovett, assistant secretary of war, undersecretary of state, and secretary of defense throughout the formative years of the Cold War; John McCloy, one of the nation's most influential private citizens; and Charles Bohlen, adroit diplomat and ambassador to the Soviet Union.

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Republic [Jowett translation]

Author: Plato

Without doubt the greatest and most provocative work of political philosophy ever produced in the West, The Republic is here presented in the stately and melodious Jowett translation-a perfect mirror of the beauty of Plato's style.

Beginning as an inquiry into justice as it operates in individuals, The Republic soon becomes an inquiry into the problems of constructing the perfect state. Are the masses really qualified to choose virtuous leaders? Should the rulers of a state receive a special education to prepare them to exercise power virtuously? What should such an education consist of? Should artists who do not use their gifts in a morally responsible way still be allowed a place in society? The Republic's answers to these and related questions make up a utopian (or, perhaps, dystopian) program that challenges many of the modern world's most dearly held assumptions-and leads us to reexamine and better understand those assumptions.

Author Biography:
Plato (c. 427-347 B.C.) was born into a wealthy and prominent family, and grew up during the conflict between Athens and the Peloponnesian states. The execution of his mentor, Socrates, in 399 B.C. on charges of irreligion and corrupting the young, necessitated Plato's leaving Athens. He traveled to Egypt as well as to southern Italy, where he became conversant with Pythagorean philosophy. Plato returned to Athens c. 387 B.C. and founded the Academy, an early forerunner of the modern university. Aristotle was among his students.

Library Journal

Griffith's answer to the question "Why another translation of The Republic?" is that most current translations do not follow the form of a conversation, which Griffith feels the dialog is intended to convey. His aim was to translate the Greek text as if it were a conversation, and he has succeeded admirably. The text does indeed flow like a conversation, with the entire back-and-forth interaction that such exchanges involve. A comparison of his renderings of Books I, VII (the allegory of the cave), and VIII (the discussion of the four forms of unjust regimes) with the same passages in the second edition of Allan Bloom's translation of The Republic (Basic Bks., 1991) shows that Griffith's translation is, on the whole, much smoother and in that sense a more comfortable "read." Consider, for example, the first sentence in Book VII. Bloom's translation reads: " `Next, then,' I said, `make an image of our nature in its education and want of education, likening it to a condition of the following kind.' " Here is Griffith's translation: " `If we're thinking about the effect of education--or the lack of it on our nature, there's another comparison we can make.' " Griffith's smoother style suggests that this new translation may find a greater audience than others have. Griffith has also written a very useful introduction that places the work in historical context and provides a glossary that will help readers identify individuals and places mentioned in the work. Highly recommended for all public and academic libraries.--Terry Skeats, Bishop's Univ. Lib., Lennoxville, Quebec Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

Diamonds Gold and War or 101 Things You and John McCain Didnt Know about Sarah Palin

Diamonds, Gold, and War: The British, the Boers, and the Making of South Africa

Author: Martin Meredith

Southern Africa was once regarded as a worthless jumble of British colonies, Boer republics, and African chiefdoms, a troublesome region of little interest to the outside world. But then prospectors chanced upon the world’s richest deposits of diamonds and gold, setting off a titanic struggle between the British and the Boers for control of the land. The result was the costliest, bloodiest, and most humiliating war that Britain had waged in nearly a century, and the devastation of the Boer republics. The New Yorker calls this magisterial account of those years “[an] astute history.… Meredith expertly shows how the exigencies of the diamond (and then gold) rush laid the foundation for apartheid.”

New York Times

A many-faceted, sensibly incisive overview of events that could easily be oversimplified, and have been in earlier accounts.

The Spectator

Enthralling....Martin Meredith has made good use not only of recent scholarly work by also of contemporary sources... [Meredith] tells the story lucidly so that the reader can draw his own moral.

The New York Times - Janet Maslin

Diamonds, Gold and War is the work of an author who knows African history intimately…Over time he has sifted through a century's worth of controversy over the context and causes of war between the British and the Boers to arrive at the version presented in these engrossing pages…Mr. Meredith's main accomplishment here is in providing a many-faceted, sensibly incisive overview of events that could easily be oversimplified, and have been in earlier accounts. Dismissing reductive ideas like the thesis that capitalism and imperialism collided to create a war that would benefit both, he shows how one misstep led to another, how fear yielded miscalculations, how national pride and arrogance created such poisonous conditions.

The Washington Post - Douglas Foster

"The buildup to this catastrophe [the Boer War] provides the narrative spine for Martin Meredith's accessible, nimble and moving account of the creation of pre-apartheid South Africa. It is complicated history, marked not only by the rivalries of European colonists but also by the varied fates of the indigenous groups the settlers overran. Without sacrificing nuance to story-line, Meredith manages to thread the tale through novelistic scenes and direct quotation."

The New Yorker

[an] astute history . . . Meredith expertly shows how the exigencies of the diamond (and then gold) rush laid the foundation for apartheid.

Winnipeg Free Press

engrossing . . . Anyone interested in African history and the British Empire will find this book fascinating.

Kirkus Reviews

The unruly formation of South Africa, set to a backdrop of war over the country's invaluable resources. Meredith (The Fate of Africa: From the Hopes of Freedom to the Heart of Despair, 2005, etc.) plunders his expansive knowledge of the continent's history once again for this examination of the genesis of current-day South Africa. A ten-page introduction sketches Britain's contemptuous disinterest in the colony before the late 1800s; the main narrative opens in 1871, the year a fertile deposit of diamonds was discovered outside Cape Town. This triggered a hunt for further riches, and the region proved to be positively swimming in diamonds and gold. The author proceeds to take his readers on an epic journey into South African history stretching from 1871 to 1910 and revolving around the brutal, costly war that broke out between the British and the Boers, each side hungry for the riches springing from South African soil. Cecil Rhodes led the Brits, Paul Kruger the Boers; Meredith's vivid depictions of these men and their activities lie at the story's bloody heart. Rhodes is portrayed as a megalomaniac hell-bent on ruling over sizable portions of the globe. (His will contained instructions to extend British dominion throughout the world via a secret society he wished his successors to set up.) The author vibrantly captures the Brits' disastrous misjudgment of Kruger as "an uneducated, ill-mannered peasant." On the contrary, Meredith reveals, Kruger's oafish persona masked a keen intelligence far greater than he was given credit for; acknowledging this is key to understanding the strong resistance the Boers were able to stage in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. The author alsocovers a tremendous amount of ground beyond the battlefield before threading his various strands together to paint a fascinating picture of the Afrikaner nationalism that emerged from this turbulent period and eventually resulted in the formation of Apartheid. No stone is left unturned in this dynamic analysis of an intriguing period in African history.

What People Are Saying

Wilbur Smith
It] will take a prominent place upon my bookshelf . . . I know I will re-read time and again over the years.

Table of Contents:
Map     xii
Author's Note     xv
Introduction     1
Part I
Diamond Fever     13
Blue Ground     22
Kimberley     33
The Diggers' Revolt     41
Enter the Magnates     50
Part II
The Imperial Factor     63
Oom Paul     74
The Washing of Spears     85
Majuba     95
Part III
The Diamond Bubble     107
The Stripping Clause     113
Dreams and Fantasies     125
The Road to the North     133
The German Spectre     143
The Most Powerful Company in the World     153
Part IV
A Chosen People     167
Johannesburg     176
The Corner House     186
A Marriage of Convenience     194
Part V
The Place of Slaughter     207
The Balance of Africa     214
To Ophir Direct     229
Kruger's Protectorate     238
Part VI
Groote Schuur     247
A Bill for Africa     259
Not for Posterity     270
The Loot Committee     279
Part VII
A Tale of Two Towns     291
The Randlords     302
The Rhodes Conspiracy     311
Jameson's Raid     323
Missing Telegrams     335
By Right of Conquest     354
The Richest Spot on Earth     365
Nemesis     378
The Great Game     386
The Drumbeat for War     403
Ultimatums     416
Part IX
The Fortunes of War     427
Marching to Pretoria     436
Scorched Earth     449
The Bitter End     462
Envoi     470
Part X
The Sunnyside Strategy     481
Vukani Bantu!     494
The Black Ordinance     504
The Sphinx Problem     511
Epilogue     520
Chapter Notes     527
Select Bibliography     539
Index     551

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101 Things You - and John McCain - Didn't Know about Sarah Palin

Author: Gregory Bergman

Hunter. Hockey mom. Live action figure.
Sarah Palin is living proof that politics does indeed make strange bedfellows. In 101 Things You—and John McCain—Didn't Know about Sarah Palin, readers learn the (alleged) truth about the (reputed) Republican darling from Alaska who's taken the nation by (ice) storm. In this hilarious, irreverent look at the world's most infamous Miss Congeniality, comedian and WTF? author Gregory Bergman reveals more than one hundred bizarre, obscure facts about the bizarre, obscure governor from Wasilla, including:

#3 Sarah Palin supports funding for abstinence-only programs in schools. Just call her Grandma.

#4 In 2007, Sarah Palin offered $150 to every hunter who hacked off the left foreleg of a wolf shot from a plane. Talk about wolves being thrown, uh, to the wolves.

#12 Sarah Palin once dressed as Tina Fey for Halloween. She gained twenty IQ points and a sense of humor.

101 Things You—and John McCain—Didn't Know about Sarah Palin—because politics is funnier than fiction!

Writer and comedian Gregory Bergman (Los Angeles, CA) is the author of WTF?, BizzWords, -Isms, and The Little Book of Bathroom Philosophy. He might just vote for Sarah Palin, because she's one hot MILF of a politician. But don't tell his Sisterhood of the Traveling Pantsuits mother.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Day After Roswell or Eight Lives Down

Day After Roswell

Author: Philip J Corso

A landmark expose firmly grounded in fact, The Day After Roswell ends the decades-old controversy surrounding the mysterious crash of an unidentified aircraft at Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947. Backed by documents newly declassified through the Freedom of Information Act, Colonel Philip J. Corso (Ret.), a member of President Eisenhower's National Security Council and former head of the Foreign Technology Desk at the U.S. Army's Research & Development department, has come forward to reveal his personal stewardship of alien artifacts from the Roswell crash. He tells us how he spearheaded the Army's reverse-engineering project that led to today's:

  • Integrated circuit chips

  • Fiber optics

  • Lasers

  • Super-tenacity fibers

and "seeded" the Roswell alien technology to giants of American industry.

Laying bare the U.S. government's shocking role in the Roswell incident -- what was found, the cover-up, and how they used alien artifacts to change the course of twentieth-century history -- The Day After Roswell is an extraordinary memoir that not only forces us to reconsider the past, but also our role in the universe.

Publishers Weekly

Never mind a crashed saucer with dead aliens strewn around it. Corso has bigger news to impart: that alien technology harvested from the infamous saucer crash in Roswell, N.Mex., in July 1947 led directly to the development of the integrated circuit chip, and laser and fiber optic technologies, among other marvelsand that he knows this because he was in charge of distributing the harvest. Senator Strom Thurmond offers a foreword that will reassure readers that Corso is in fact a real person, and a patriot. Curiously, Corso first learned of the Roswell incident when, on July 6, 1947, he saw one of the alien bodies, which was en route to Air Materiel Command in Ohio. Fourteen years later, as the newly appointed head of the Foreign Technology Desk in Army R&D at the Pentagon, he "inherited" a file cabinet filled with Roswell debris. He details the "program" by which the debris and/or its technologies were released to defense contractors (and ascribes the invention of the transistor to discussions among Wernher von Braun, Bell Lab technicians and others regarding "silicon wafers from the Roswell crash"); he also explores the government's cover-up of the UFO phenomenon. Despite flashes of paranoia (e.g., of a KGB-manipulated "secret government within the [U.S.] government"), in general Corso comes off as calm, sober and rational. His claims are so outlandish, though, that the many readers he's going to attract likely will have difficulty discerning whether they are reading a hoax, ravings or the biggest story of the century. (July)

Library Journal

As the 50th anniversary approaches of the crash of a so-called extraterrestrial craft near Roswell, New Mexico, the UFO conspiracy theory is getting more attention. These latest books approach Roswell from different perspectives but identical agendas. Hesemann and Mantle are young UFO researchers who have visited Roswell and spent several years collecting documents and eyewitness testimony from people reputedly involved in either the crash recovery or its cover-up. (Most of the eyewitnesses turn out not to be.) The authors trade off chapters, with Hesemann using his anthropologist's training not only to tie the Roswell crash to Native American legends but to claim that Egyptian hieroglyphics and the Greek alphabet are directly related to the characters said to have adorned the crashed spacecraft's exterior. Corso, a career military intelligence officer, claims to have managed myriad research projects throughout the 1950s connected to recovery of the Roswell craft. Like Hesemann and Mantle, he asserts that the Cold War was a cover to develop "alien technology" that superpowers USA and USSR could not only use against the other but against the threat of extraterrestrial invasion. The most memorable passage in either book, however, is Hesemann and Mantle's suggestion that President Clinton induced the warring parties to make peace in the Bosnian war only by showing them proof of that alien menace. For public libraries convinced that pro-UFO books are needed for balance, the Hesemann and Mantle may be appropriate. The Corso is only for the few special libraries that have made documenting the unconventional a collecting priority.Scott H. Silverman, Bryn Mawr Coll. Lib., Pa.

Book review: The Gambling Addiction Patient Workbook or Pain

Eight Lives Down: The Story of the World's Most Dangerous Job in the World's Most Dangerous Place

Author: Chris Hunter

Visceral and compelling, Eight Lives Down is the most exciting and nerve-jangling work of military non-fiction since Bravo Two Zero.

If fate is against me and I’m killed, so be it, but make it quick and painless. If I’m wounded, don’t let me be crippled. But above all, don’t let me fuck up the task.

So goes the bomb technician’s prayer before every bomb he defuses. For Chris Hunter, it is a prayer he says many times during his four-month tour of Iraq. His is the most dangerous job in the world — to make safe the British sector in Iraq against some of the most hardened and technically advanced terrorists in the world. It is a 24/7 job — in the first two months alone, his team defuses over 45 bombs. And the people they’re up against don’t play by the Geneva Convention. For them, there are no rules, only results — death by any means necessary.

The job of a Bomb Disposal officer is a lonely one. You are alone with the sound of your own breathing and the drumming of your heart in a protective suit in forty-plus degrees of heat. The drawbridge has been pulled up behind you as you advance on your goal. It’s just you and the bomb.

But for Chris Hunter, just when life couldn’t get any more dangerous, the stakes are raised again.

Kirkus Reviews

A British Royal Logistic Corps captain shares his experiences of front-line service in Iraq. Trained in IRA and Colombian FARC tactics of bomb construction, 31-year-old Hunter shipped out to Iraq in 2004 for a 101-day tour disposing of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and rooting out bomber teams. Despite his disgruntled wife (she wanted him back home in Oxfordshire) and two small daughters, Hunter admits that after 13 years on the job he still found its dangers and risks exhilarating. That may not be the adjective that comes to readers' minds as they peruse his narrative, written as a present-tense diary of his tour of duty. IEDs created havoc for the troops in some 2,000 attacks a month, and sniffing out insurgents and their homemade bombs in a country where Westerners were angrily resented was perilous and extremely dicey work. Soldiers were both witting and unwitting provokers of disaster. Hunter saw a husband give his pregnant wife a severe beating after her burqa slipped and the British gazed at her face. He did nothing, he later explained to his men, because he'd heard about what happened when some fellow soldiers retaliated against a man who had beaten his 11-year-old daughter-the father cut her throat "to save his honor." Neutralizing banks of explosives was a punishing, thankless task, and Hunter was frequently plagued by guilt and sadness about the violence he and the Americans inflicted. Eventually, he had to say goodbye to the other blokes (lots of jocular Briticisms here); he was promoted to major and got a desk job as a staff officer, leaving the situation in Iraq much the same as when he arrived. Ponderous platitudes from Gandhi to Gilda Radner form epigraphs to eachchapter but don't add much gravitas. Hunter's prose is wooden, his experiences rather formulaic, but he offers singular glimpses of the Iraqis' harsh, hardscrabble lives. Agent: Mark Lucas/Lucas Alexander Whitley

The Social Transformation of American Medicine or The Worst Person In the World

The Social Transformation of American Medicine: The Rise of a Sovereign Profession and the Making of a Vast Industry

Author: Paul Starr

Winner of the 1983 Pulitzer Prize and the Bancroft Prize in American History, this is a landmark history of how the entire American health care system of doctors, hospitals, health plans, and government programs has evolved over the last two centuries.

Charles McGrath

....This important book is written with wit, irony and great style. --The New York Times Books of the Century

What People Are Saying

H. Jack Geiger
"The definitive social history of the medical profession in America....A monumental achievement."

Table of Contents:
Book 1A Sovereign Profession: The Rise of Medical Authority and the Shaping of the Medical System
Introduction: The Social Origins of Professional Sovereignty3
The Roots of Authority
Dependence and Legitimacy
Cultural Authority and Occupational Control
Steps in a Transformation
The Growth of Medical Authority
From Authority to Economic Power
Strategic Position and the Defense of Autonomy
Chapter 1Medicine in a Democratic Culture, 1760-185030
Domestic Medicine
Professional Medicine
From England to America
Professional Education on an Open Market
The Frustration of Professionalism
The Medical Counterculture
Popular Medicine
The Thomsonians and the Frustration of Anti-Professionalism
The Eclipse of Legitimate Complexity
Chapter 2The Expansion of the Market60
The Emerging Market Before the Civil War
The Changing Ecology of Medical Practice
The Local Transportation Revolution
Work, Time, and the Segregation of Disorder
The Market and Professional Autonomy
Chapter 3The Consolidation of Professional Authority, 1850-193079
Physicians and Social Structure in Mid-Nineteenth-Century America
Medicine's Civil War and Reconstruction
The Origins of Medical Sectarianism
Conflict and Convergence
Licensing and Organization
Medical Education and the Restoration of Occupational Control
Reform from Above
Consolidating the System
The Aftermath of Reform
The Retreat of Private Judgment
Authority over Medication
Ambiguity and Competence
The Renewal of Legitimate Complexity
Chapter 4The Reconstitution of the Hospital145
The Inner Transformation
Hospitals Before and After 1870
The Making of the Modern Hospital
The Triumph of the Professional Community
The Pattern of the Hospital System
Class, Politics, and Ethnicity
The Peculiar Bureaucracy
Chapter 5The Boundaries of Public Health180
Public Health, Private Practice
The Dispensary and the Limits of Charity
Health Departments and the Limits of Government
From Reform to the Checkup
The Modernization of Dirt and the New Public Health
The Prevention of Health Centers
Chapter 6Escape from the Corporation, 1900-1930198
Professional Resistance to Corporate Control
Company Doctors and Medical Companies
Consumers' Clubs
The Origins and Limits of Private Group Practice
Capitalism and the Doctors
Why No Corporate Enterprise in Medical Care?
Professionalism and the Division of Labor
The Economic Structure of American Medicine
Book 2The Struggle for Medical Care: Doctors, the State, and the Coming of the Corporation
Chapter 1The Mirage of Reform235
A Comparative Perspective
The Origins of Social Insurance
Why America Lagged
Grand Illusions, 1915-1920
The Democratization of Efficiency
Labor and Capital Versus Reform
Defeat Comes to the Progressives
Evolution in Defeat, 1920-1932
The New Deal and Health Insurance, 1932-1943
The Making of Social Security
The Depression, Welfare Medicine, and the Doctors
A Second Wind
Symbolic Politics, 1943-1950
Socialized Medicine and the Cold War
Three Times Denied
Chapter 2The Triumph of Accommodation290
The Birth of the Blues, 1929-1945
The Emergence of Blue Cross
Holding the Line
The Physicians' Shield
The Rise of Private Social Security, 1945-1959
Enter the Unions
A Struggle for Control
The Growth of Prepaid Group Practice
The Commercial Edge
The Accommodation of Insurance
Chapter 3The Liberal Years335
Aid and Autonomy, 1945-1960
Public Investment in Science
The Tilt Toward the Hospital
The Structural Impact of Postwar Policy
The New Structure of Opportunity
The New Structure of Power
Redistribution without Reorganization, 1961-1969
The Liberal Opportunity
Redistributive Reform and Its Impact
The Politics of Accommodation
Chapter 4End of a Mandate379
Losing Legitimacy, 1970-1974
Discovery of a Crisis
The Contradictions of Accommodation
The Generalization of Rights
The Conservative Assimilation of Reform
Health Policy in a Blocked Society, 1975-1980
An Obstructed Path
The Generalization of Doubt
The Liberal Impasse
The Reprivatization of the Public Household
Chapter 5The Coming of the Corporation420
Zero-Sum Medical Practice
The Doctor "Surplus" and Competition
Collision Course
The Growth of Corporate Medicine
Elements of the Corporate Transformation
The Consolidation of the Hospital System
The Decomposition of Voluntarism
The Trajectory of Organization
Doctors, Corporations, and the State

Look this: Encyclopedia of Muscle Strength or Complete Massage

The Worst Person In the World: And 202 Strong Contenders

Author: Keith Olbermann

The stinkers, the rascals, the reprobates. . . and the just plain dumb.

(Yes, Bill, he's talking about you.)

Geraldo Rivera. The Coca-Cola Company. Victoria Gotti. Tom Cruise. Various members of the Bush administration. All have earned the dishonor of "Worst Person in the World," awarded by MSNBC's witty and controversial reporter Keith Olbermann on his nightly MSNBC show Countdown with Keith Olbermann. Now, he brings all his bronze, silver, and gold medalists together in this wildly entertaining collection that reveals just how twisted people can be—and how much fun it is to call them out on it.

From tongue-in-cheek observations to truly horrific accounts, Olbermann skewers both the mighty and the meek, the well-known and the anonymous for their misdeeds, including:

Ann Coulter, for, among other things, calling Muslims "ragheads" in a speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington

Barbara Bush, for making a generous donation to the Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund earmarked exclusively for the purchase of computer software . . . software sold by her son, Neil

The staff of Your World with Neil Cavuto, for the story about the murders of Iraqi civilians that was accompanied by the on-screen graphic: "All-out Civil War in Iraq: Could It Be a Good Thing?"

Olbermann also reports on some of the recent fallout from his awards, such as the controversy with John Gibson and the mysterious disappearance of remarks about Cindy Sheehan on Rush Limbaugh's Web site. Plus, he reveals the winner of the most coveted award of all: "Worst in Show."

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Profiles in Courage or John Adams

Profiles in Courage

Author: John Fitzgerald Kennedy

"This is a book about that most admirable of human virtues-- courage. 'Grace under pressure,' Ernest Hemingway defined it. And these are the stories of the pressures experienced by eight United States Senators and the grace with which they endured them."

-- John F. Kennedy

During 1954-1955, John F. Kennedy, then a U.S. Senator, chose eight of his historical colleagues to profile for their acts of astounding integrity in the face of overwhelming opposition. These heroes include John Quincy Adams, Daniel Webster, Thomas Hart Benton, and Robert A. Taft.

Awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1957, Profiles in Courage -- now reissued in this handsome hardcover edition, featuring a new introduction by Caroline Kennedy, as well as Robert Kennedy's foreword written for the memorial edition of the volume in 1964 -- resounds with timeless lessons on the most cherished of virtues and is a powerful reminder of the strength of the human spirit. It is as Robert Kennedy states in the foreword, "not just stories of the past but a hook of hope and confidence for the future. What happens to the country, to the world, depends on what we do with what others have left us."

New York Times

It is refreshing and enlightening to have a first-rate politician write a thoughtful and persuasive book about political integrity.

Springfield Republican

A book that deserves reading by every American.

Table of Contents:
ICourage and politics1
Pt. 1The time and the place23
IIJohn Quincy Adams29
Pt. 2The time and the place51
IIIDaniel Webster57
IVThomas Hart Benton75
VSam Houston93
Pt. 3The time and the place111
VIEdmund G. Ross115
VIILucius Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar139
Pt. 4The time and the place165
VIIIGeorge Norris170
IXRobert A. Taft193
XOther men of political courage206
XIThe meaning of courage217

Book review: Icon of Evil or A Crime So Monstrous

John Adams

Author: David McCullough

In this powerful, epic biography, David McCullough unfolds the adventurous life-journey of John Adams, the brilliant, fiercely independent, often irascible, always honest Yankee patriot -- "the colossus of independence," as Thomas Jefferson called him -- who spared nothing in his zeal for the American Revolution; who rose to become the second President of the United States and saved the country from blundering into an unnecessary war; who was learned beyond all but a few and regarded by some as "out of his senses"; and whose marriage to the wise and valiant Abigail Adams is one of the moving love stories in American history.

Like his masterly, Pulitzer Prize-winning biography Truman, David McCullough's John Adams has the sweep and vitality of a great novel. It is both a riveting portrait of an abundantly human man and a vivid evocation of his time, much of it drawn from an outstanding collection of Adams family letters and diaries. In particular, the more than one thousand surviving letters between John and Abigail Adams, nearly half of which have never been published, provide extraordinary access to their private lives and make it possible to know John Adams as no other major American of his founding era.

As he has with stunning effect in his previous books, McCullough tells the story from within -- from the point of view of the amazing eighteenth century and of those who, caught up in events, had no sure way of knowing how things would turn out. George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, the British spy Edward Bancroft, Madame Lafayette and Jefferson's Paris "interest" Maria Cosway, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, the scandalmonger James Callender, Sally Hemings, John Marshall, Talleyrand, and Aaron Burr all figure in this panoramic chronicle, as does, importantly, John Quincy Adams, the adored son whom Adams would live to see become President.

Crucial to the story, as it was to history, is the relationship between Adams and Jefferson, born opposites -- one a Massachusetts farmer's son, the other a Virginia aristocrat and slaveholder, one short and stout, the other tall and spare. Adams embraced conflict; Jefferson avoided it. Adams had great humor; Jefferson, very little. But they were alike in their devotion to their country. At first they were ardent co-revolutionaries, then fellow diplomats and close friends. With the advent of the two political parties, they became archrivals, even enemies, in the intense struggle for the presidency in 1800, perhaps the most vicious election in history. Then, amazingly, they became friends again, and ultimately, incredibly, they died on the same day -- their day of days -- July 4, in the year 1826.

Much about John Adams's life will come as a surprise to many readers. His courageous voyage on the frigate Boston in the winter of 1778 and his later trek over the Pyrenees are exploits that few would have dared and that few readers will ever forget.

It is a life encompassing a huge arc -- Adams lived longer than any president. The story ranges from the Boston Massacre to Philadelphia in 1776 to the Versailles of Louis XVI, from Spain to Amsterdam, from the Court of St. James's, where Adams was the first American to stand before King George III as a representative of the new nation, to the raw, half-finished Capital by the Potomac, where Adams was the first President to occupy the White House. This is history on a grand scale -- a book about politics and war and social issues, but also about human nature, love, religious faith, virtue, ambition, friendship and betrayal, and the far-reaching consequences of noble ideas.

Above all, John Adams is an enthralling, often surprising story of one of the most important and fascinating Americans who ever lived.

Washington Post Book World - Edwin M. Yoder

The authentic John Adams has been concealed too long in the glamorous shadows of Jefferson and Washington, and some rectification is past due. McCullough's biography will go far to provide it, for none before it -- not even Gilbert Chinard's classic of a generation or more ago -- has attained its height of narrative art. But that is only to be expected of the writer who is our historian laureate in waiting.

Caspar Weinberger - Forbes


Our response to the Sept. 11 horror is exactly right. The only opposition seems to be coming from academic left-wingers who fancy themselves fashionable in their constant and now-frantic efforts to blame America, even for Sept. 11.

Had we failed to launch the continual, strong attacks that we have, we would have told terrorists around the world that it is safe to attack America with impunity. The road we have chosen is the right one. It will be long, and not without risk. If the patience and strength of our country matches those of our leadership, we will win.


This annual review of books read during the summer in Maine is appearing now because far more important events intervened. These books, however, are worth reading anytime.

John Adams (Simon & Schuster, $35) is David McCullough's magisterial and altogether wonderful bi-ography. Joseph Ellis' 1993 biography of Adams began the process of demonstrating how much we owe to this most extraordinary of our founding fathers. McCullough completes the rescue of our second President from the comparative obscurity to which the far better known lives of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin had seemingly condemned him.

Adams, a Massachusetts farmer and lawyer, was a proud descendant of the Puritans and outdid some of them in his rigid rectitude. He had a towering intellect, refined and toned by his Harvard education. He scorned those of lesser intellect and some who simply disagreed with his firmly held opinions. Anyone subjected to his disdain was not likely to forget it.

Adams worked endlessly for causes he believed in, especially personal liberty and freedom fromoppression. He was unwilling to compromise in the least on anything remotely resembling a matter of principle. But these character-istics enabled him and his sometimes irritated colleagues (no mean intellects themselves) to work together to produce our democracy. We probably would never have taken the extreme step of severing relations with Great Britain without Adams' relentless pursuit of what he saw as necessary to secure our freedom and our future.

Some of the finest chapters are those involving Adams' responsibilities representing the Colonies' interests in France, which led to France's committing troops to our Revolution. In all this Adams was far more than aided by his extraordinary wife, Abigail. Almost a dual biography, this book includes perhaps the first full appreciation of how much Abigail contributed to the Revolution and our nation's birth.

The summer was also enlivened by a controversial little book, The Jefferson-Hemings Myth: An American Travesty (Thomas Jefferson Heritage Society, $11.95). Ten contributors, including editor Eyler Robert Coates Sr. and Bahman Batmanghelidj, offer virtually irrefutable proof that Jefferson did not father a child by Sally Hemings, a myth that many have come to accept.

Three novels, brilliantly written, with fascinating narratives, completed this summer's fare. Readers may recall my unbounded admiration for James Webb, one of our finest war novelists since Stephen Crane. It is a pleasure to re-port that Webb's Lost Soldiers (Bantam Books, $25) is fully up to his high standards--taut with skillfully nar-rated realism. It is a tale of the search for two American traitors who caused the death of Marines in a remote outpost in Vietnam. No one else has ever conveyed better the dangers, risks and horrors of our war in Vietnam. Once again we see and live through the misery, terror and hardship of infantry fighting in that strange land--a land that Webb has clearly come to love.

Death in Holy Orders, by P.D. James (Knopf, $25), is the latest of the Adam Dalgliesh mysteries. An ordinand's death at a small theological college leads into a tale of multiple murders and horribly sacrilegious acts, along with the familiar descriptions and character studies that distinguish all of Baroness James' works. This is a most reward-ing and skillfully constructedexample of the classic mystery as told by a master of the art.

One of the nicest short books I've read in a long time is Girl With a Pearl Earring, by Tracy Chevalier (Plume, $12). This is the tale of painter Johannes Vermeer and his tumultuous household in 1660s Holland. But it is also the story of his 16-year-old housemaid and model, Griet, who sat for the glorious portrait "Girl With a Pearl Ear-ring." This is a most delightful lesson in art history, as well as a study in vivid contrasts between Vermeer's life and that of his most famous model.

Book Magazine

William Shakespeare could have found plenty of dramatic inspiration in the American Revolution. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and Alexander Hamilton were all larger-than-life figures with all-too-human complexities, engaged in an era of upheaval and conspiratorial intrigue. As for John Adams, Shakespeare had him nailed centuries before the fact: Adams is Polonius, a loquacious foil to the tragic Hamlet, an object of derision to others but never to himself. He is a conventionally minded man who speaks in platitudes, lacks the dimensions of greatness and can't comprehend how fatuous he sometimes seems to those who ridicule him. "Adams often felt ill at ease," writes David McCullough, whose biography combines scholarly research with the readability of historical fiction. "He sensed people were laughing at him, as sometimes they were, and this was especially hurtful." His ambition, his ego, his squat corpulence and ruddy complexion all made him subject to caricature.

The man who was so ordinary when compared to the revolution's extraordinary figures showed a profound commitment to the country he served in so many pivotal ways. As both ambassador and president, Adams accepted responsibilities for which he'd had little experience, recognizing that few people in this young country were any better prepared for the challenges inherent in this experiment in democracy.

McCullough makes it easy to understand why Adams would be both an attractive and sympathetic figure to the historian who won the Pulitzer Prize for his similarly expansive study of Harry Truman. Like Truman, Adams was a good-humored, sharp-tempered, fiercely independent man; he wasdevoid of aristocratic pretense and incapable of political artifice. "I am an ordinary man," he wrote in his diary. "The times alone have destined me to fame."

Adams certainly rose to the challenges of his turbulent times. As a fledgling lawyer from a humble Massachusetts farm family, he seemed to follow an unerring moral compass, from his defense of British soldiers in the Boston Massacre on legal grounds, to his aggressive arguments for independence, well ahead of the curve of public sentiment. One of the most vocal advocates of the Declaration of Independence, he was the overseas ambassador charged with rallying foreign support to the fledgling nation. (France would have preferred his more revered cousin Samuel Adams, while Britain disparaged him as a nobody.)

Rewarded upon his return home with his country's first vice presidency, Adams discovered that the office was no reward at all, "the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived." He then had the unenviable task of succeeding the beloved Washington, becoming both the first president to occupy the White House and the first to be booted from it by the electorate, as partisanship turned increasingly acrimonious. He was also the first (until recently, the only) president to raise a son who would also be president.

One of the more influential delegates to the Continental Congress, Adams established a mentor-protege friendship with the younger Thomas Jefferson, a relationship that would shape the lives of each to the end. "With Adams there was seldom a doubt about what he said," writes McCullough. "With Jefferson there was always a slight air of ambiguity." Eventually, Jefferson would both betray and defeat his former mentor—whom he considered a monarchist reactionary, at odds with Jefferson's beloved French Revolution—though they somehow resumed cordial correspondence once both had retired from politics. McCullough's account leaves little doubt that, while Jefferson had the more brilliant mind, Adams was the better friend. "He wished to be President of the United States, and I stood in his way," Adams remarked of Jefferson, after wounds had healed. "But if I should quarrel with him for that, I might quarrel with every man I have ever had anything to do with in life. This is human nature."

According to McCullough, the best of human nature is exemplified through his subject's marriage to Abigail Adams—"the most important decision of John Adams' life." It is a love that further humanizes this biography (while contrasting sharply with the Clintonian hedonism of Jefferson). Esteemed throughout colonial society for her essential goodness and lively mind, without the reservations so often attached to her husband, Abigail served as his ideal. "Where others might see a stout, bluff little man," writes the biographer, "she saw a giant of great heart."

McCullough writes of his subject with warmth and respect but not reverence, and the truth about Adams falls somewhere between his wife's assessment of his character and Benjamin Franklin's famous description of him as "always an honest man, often a wise one, but sometimes and in some things, absolutely out of his senses." After a presidency troubled by a holdover cabinet that remained loyal to Washington, dissension over relations with both Great Britain and France and acceptance of the Sedition Act (which threatened anyone criticizing the president with imprisonment), Adams enjoyed his happiest decades once he retired to his farm, his library and his voluminous correspondence.

John Adams lived to be ninety-one years old, long enough to see his son John Quincy elected to the presidency. He died on the same day as Thomas Jefferson—July 4, 1826, as the country was celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. Shakespeare couldn't have scripted it more poetically.
—Don McLeese

Publishers Weekly

Here a preeminent master of narrative history takes on the most fascinating of our founders to create a benchmark for all Adams biographers. With a keen eye for telling detail and a master storyteller's instinct for human interest, McCullough (Truman; Mornings on Horseback) resurrects the great Federalist (1735-1826), revealing in particular his restrained, sometimes off-putting disposition, as well as his political guile. The events McCullough recounts are well-known, but with his astute marshaling of facts, the author surpasses previous biographers in depicting Adams's years at Harvard, his early public life in Boston and his role in the first Continental Congress, where he helped shape the philosophical basis for the Revolution. McCullough also makes vivid Adams's actions in the second Congress, during which he was the first to propose George Washington to command the new Continental Army. Later on, we see Adams bickering with Tom Paine's plan for government as suggested in Common Sense, helping push through the draft for the Declaration of Independence penned by his longtime friend and frequent rival, Thomas Jefferson, and serving as commissioner to France and envoy to the Court of St. James's. The author is likewise brilliant in portraying Adams's complex relationship with Jefferson, who ousted him from the White House in 1800 and with whom he would share a remarkable death date 26 years later: July 4, 1826, 50 years to the day after the signing of the Declaration. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Library Journal

This life of Adams is an extraordinary portrait of an extraordinary man who has not received his due in America's early political history but whose life work significantly affected his country's future. McCullough is here following his Pulitzer Prize-winning biography, Truman, and his subjects have much in common as leaders who struggled to establish their own presidential identities as they emerged from the shadows of their revered predecessors. The author paints a portrait of Adams, the patriot, in the fullest sense of the word. The reader is treated to engaging descriptions and accounts of Washington, Jefferson, and Franklin, among others, as well as the significant figures in the Adams family: Abigail, John's love and full partner, and son John Quincy. In tracing Adams's life from childhood through his many critical, heroic, and selfless acts during the Revolution, his vice presidency under Washington, and his own term as president, the full measure of Adams a man widely regarded in his time as the equal of Jefferson, Hamilton, and all of the other Founding Fathers is revealed. This excellent biography deserves a wide audience. Thomas J. Baldino, Wilkes Univ., Wilkes-Barre, PA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews

A great, troubled, and, it seems, overlooked president receives his due from the Pulitzer-winning historian/biographer McCullough (Truman). John Adams, to gauge by the letters and diaries from which McCullough liberally quotes, did not exactly go out of his way to assume a leadership role in the tumultuous years of the American Revolution, though he was always "ambitious to excel." Neither, however, did he shy from what he perceived to be a divinely inspired historical necessity; he took considerable personal risks in spreading the American colonists' rebellion across his native Massachusetts. Adams gained an admirable reputation for fearlessness and for devotion not only to his cause but also to his beloved wife Abigail. After the Revolution, though he was quick to yield to the rebellion's military leader, George Washington, part of the reason that the New England states enjoyed influence in a government dominated by Virginians was the force of Adams's character. His lifelong nemesis, who tested that character in many ways, was also one of his greatest friends: Thomas Jefferson, who differed from Adams in almost every important respect. McCullough depicts Jefferson as lazy, a spendthrift, always in debt and always in trouble, whereas Adams never rested and never spent a penny without good reason, a holdover from the comparative poverty of his youth. Despite their sometimes vicious political battles (in a bafflingly complex environment that McCullough carefully deconstructs), the two shared a love of books, learning, and revolutionary idealism, and it is one of those wonderful symmetries of history that both died on the same day, the 50th anniversary of the signing ofthe Declaration of Independence. While McCullough never misses an episode in Adams's long and often troubled life, he includes enough biographical material on Jefferson that this can be considered two biographies for the price of one—which explains some of its portliness. Despite the whopping length, there's not a wasted word in this superb, swiftly moving narrative, which brings new and overdue honor to a Founding Father.

Delivering Health Care in America or The Power of Nice

Delivering Health Care in America: A Systems Approach

Author: Leiyu Shi

In a clear, cohesive format, Delivering Health Care in America provides a comprehensive overview of the basic structures and operations of the U.S. health system-from its historical origins and resources to its individual services, cost, and quality. Using the unique "systems" approach, it brings together an extraordinary breadth of information into a highly accessible, easy-to-read text that clarifies the complexities of healthcare organization and finance, while presenting a solid overview of how the various components fit together.

The Fourth Edition has been thoroughly updated with the most current information on trends and issues in health care, including: Mandates of recent legislation such as the Medicare Prescription Drug Act and the Deficit Reduction Act, The global threat of avian influenza, Health policy agenda of the Bush administration, Progress toward Healthy People 2010 goals, The effects of corporatization, information revolution, and globalization on healthcare delivery, Pay-for-performance initiatives, Updated information on health services for special populations, State Children's Health Insurance Plan reauthorization issues, The President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, Insurance restructuring in Massachusetts, Challenges in long-term care and trends in home healthcare services, The era of evidence-based medicine.

Doody Review Services

Reviewer:Patricia Kelly, EdD, PA-C(Nova Southeastern University)
Description:This extraordinarily comprehensive book describes and analyzes the U.S. healthcare system from a health policy perspective. It is both wide in scope and detailed in its analysis of specific problems and constraints encountered by the system. A very important section describes the probable future of the healthcare system given current trends.
Purpose:This book engages in a descriptive analysis of the institution of U.S. healthcare using a systems framework. Including historical antecedents, it provides an entirely comprehensible yet thorough overview of health systems and health policy in this country. The authors seek to meet the needs of both graduate and undergraduate health policy students. In updating this work, the authors continue to provide one of the "gold standard" academic health policy texts.
Audience:The book is written for upper level undergraduate and graduate students of health policy and health systems. Because it addresses a relatively diverse audience, the authors attempt to provide a reader-friendly resource while including sufficient reference materials to encourage further scholarship. This is an excellent reference work for health policy students and also provides a "stepping off" platform to enable students to gain a sufficient fund of knowledge to understand and use primary works in the field. The authors are widely known and at the forefront of health systems analysis.
Features:The scope of the book is enormous; it is literally a well organized encyclopedia of information concerning delivery. Each chapter starts with basic learning objectives and ends with terminology and review questions, which initially makes it seem simplistic. However, the intricacy of the explanations and illustrations and depth of the reference materials included at the end of each chapter make this book usable at a number of different levels. The glossary and index are complete and useful.
Assessment:This would be an excellent book for entry level graduate students in health systems analysis and health policy, health law, and public administration. It provides students with an adequate fund of knowledge, enabling them to conduct subsequent and more in-depth research and analysis using primary source material. Appropriate primary source materials are clearly identified. Given the explosion of knowledge in American medicine and increasing controversy involving healthcare funding and policy in this country, a new edition is necessary and welcomed.


Provides a detailed overview of health care delivery in the US, using a systems approach that clarifies the complexities of health care organization and finance while explaining how various components fit together in actual operation. Coverage includes conceptual basis and historical origins, structures of care, costs, and quality. Learning features include objectives, summaries, key terms, and review questions. This second edition offers new lead articles for each chapter to spark student interest, and incorporates new laws and current health data. Also new is a list of Web sites. Shi teaches in the School of Public Health and Hygiene, Johns Hopkins University. Singh teaches in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University-South Bend. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Table of Contents:
List of Exhibits
List of Figures
List of Tables
List of Abbreviations/Acronyms
Ch. 1A Distinctive System of Health Care Delivery1
Ch. 2Beliefs, Values, and Health37
Ch. 3The Evolution of Health Services in the United States81
Ch. 4Health Services Professionals117
Ch. 5Medical Technology155
Ch. 6Health Services Financing187
Ch. 7Outpatient and Primary Care Services237
Ch. 8Inpatient Facilities and Services281
Ch. 9Managed Care and Integrated Organizations323
Ch. 10Long-Term Care371
Ch. 11Health Services for Special Populations423
Ch. 12Cost, Access, and Quality483
Ch. 13Health Policy533
Ch. 14The Future of Health Services Delivery563
App. A: Glossary595
App. B: Selected Web Sites619

Interesting book: 1500 Calorie A Day Cookbook or The Metabolism Advantage

The Power of Nice: How to Conquer the Business World with Kindness

Author: Linda Kaplan Thaler

Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval have moved to the top of the advertising industry by following a simple but powerful philosophy: it pays to be nice. Where so many companies encourage a dog eat dog mentality, the Kaplan Thaler Group has succeeded through chocolate and flowers. In The Power of Nice, through their own experiences and the stories of other people and businesses, they demonstrate why, contrary to conventional wisdom, nice people finish first.

Turning the well-known adage of “Nice Guys Finish Last” on its ear, The Power of Nice shows that “nice” companies have lower employee turnover, lower recruitment costs, and higher productivity. Nice people live longer, are healthier, and make more money. In today’s interconnected world, companies and people with a reputation for cooperation and fair play forge the kind of relationships that lead to bigger and better opportunities, both in business and in life.

Kaplan Thaler and Koval illustrate the surprising power of nice with an array of real-life examples from the business arena as well as from their personal lives. Most important, they present a plan of action covering everything from creating a positive impression to sweetening the pot to turning enemies into allies. Filled with inspiration and suggestions on how to supercharge your career and expand your reach in the workplace, The Power of Nice will transform how you live and work.

Publishers Weekly

With a foreword by Jay Leno, how could this not be a nice book? Coauthors Thaler and Koval submit their own success in the cutthroat world of advertising as evidence that nice girls can finish first while taking home more than a dozen Clio awards along the way. Following up their bestselling look at creating compelling marketing strategies-Bang!-they turn most truisms about business inside out, arguing that good deeds are returned, not punished. Warning against a me vs. you mentality, they even suggest helping opponents as a good way to boost a career. Game face on? Thaler and Koval say, take it off. Being genuine, they explain, produces much better results. From crediting their friendly building security guard for helping them sign new clients to recommending chocolate as an accompaniment to presentation materials and invoices, they build their case for using little gestures to get you what you want. Though a lively and pleasant read, this is not a cutesy little bonbon of a book. Well thought-out and crisply presented, it offers key principles, case studies and exercises to help make niceness habitual. Some exercises, like turning personal disappointment into positive energy, are even quite therapeutic. (Sept.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Soundview Executive Book Summaries

From the authors who wrote Bang!, the best-selling book on the creation of innovative marketing strategies, comes The Power of Nice: How to Conquer the Business World With Kindness. By providing examples of their own successes in the advertising industry, Thaler and Koval prove that those who are nice in the business world can finish first. Don't be misled by the book's smiley-face cover: The authors provide real-world advice about being genuine, lively case studies and key principles. Copyright © 2007 Soundview Executive Book Summaries

What People Are Saying

"This little book will show you why women should run most corporations in America, and maybe the entire country. Reading "Nice" will improve just about everything in your life, and that's a promise."
—James Patterson, bestselling author and former CEO, J. Walter Thompson North America

"If the Power of Nice equates to: caring for other people, having honor, working with honesty, competing with dignity, sharing knowledge and behaving with kindness, then "The Power of Nice" should be a mandatory business seminar at every major university. Can you imagine if Enron executives had practiced "the Power of Nice"?
—Marcia Gay Harden

"In negotiation, the cheapest concession you can make is to be nice. And the returns can be high, as Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval show in this delightfully readable primer packed with practical advice and entertaining stories. I recommend it with pleasure!"
—William Ury, co-author of Getting to Yes and author of The Power of a Positive No (2007)

"In a dog-eat-dog world where so many seem prepared to do whatever it takes to get ahead, Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval point out that it is truly the quiet, kind gesture that speaks most loudly. 'Please, Thank You, and 'No, You First' really are key words that should be a part of every go-getters lexicon. The Power of Nice should become the new bible for those looking to hit the top."
— Deborah Norville, Host of Inside Edition

"Leo Durocher was wrong! Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval's The Power of Nice is the antidote to our increasingly mean-spirited culture. I'm going to send a copy to every political campaign consultant I know."
—Arianna Huffington

"Having matured during the most savage era of entertainment, I can vouch for the fact that being nice is one sure means of success. Nice guys do finish on top."
—Dick Clark

"The Power of Nice is a wonder drug! It could literally save your career and your life... And let me suggest a first act of kindness: buy some extra copies for your enemies. I'll bet they need The Power of Nice more than you do."
—Keith Ferrazzi, author of Never Eat Alone, the bestselling book on building relationships for success

"For my money, I would always rather make a deal with people I like who treat me well. If you want to discover the surprising power of nice, read this book. Memorize it. Use it. You'll be glad you did."
—Donald Trump