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Jazz : A History of America's Music

067944551X


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Book Review
First off, let's get the kudos down: Geoffrey C. Ward and Ken Burns deserve far more than simple gratitude for bringing jazz to the limelight with this lavishly illustrated volume. The book features among its 500-plus pictures many of the previously unseen shots of musicians and venues glimpsed in Burns's 10-part documentary, Jazz. (See our Ken Burns Jazz Store for the lowdown on the series.) Jazz: An Illustrated History follows the film episode by episode, and it's filled with rich historical detail in the early chapters. Like the series, however, the book trails off after a certain point in chronicling jazz's history. It gives background aplenty on early New Orleans music, the migration of jazz up the Mississippi to major urban centers, and the developments of swing and bebop. After bebop, the history gets a bit...


The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals
Michael Pollan
1594200823
April 2006
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
[Signature]Reviewed by Pamela KaufmanPollan (The Botany of Desire) examines what he calls "our national eating disorder" (the Atkins craze, the precipitous rise in obesity) in this remarkably clearheaded book. It's a fascinating journey up and down the food chain, one that might change the way you read the label on a frozen dinner, dig into a steak or decide whether to buy organic eggs. You'll certainly never look at a Chicken McNugget the same way again.Pollan approaches his mission not as an activist but as a naturalist: "The way we eat represents our most profound engagement with the natural world." All food, he points out, originates with plants, animals and fungi. "[E]ven the deathless Twinkie is constructed out of... well, precisely what I don't know offhand, but ultimately some sort of formerly living...


American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century
Kevin Phillips
067003486X
March 2006
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
The title of political analyst Phillips's latest book may overstate his case (in the text, he prefers the term "theocratic direction"), but his analysis likely will strike chords among those troubled by our current political moment. Phillips (American Dynasty) expounds upon historical parallels for each of his three subjects. In his section on "Oil and American Supremacy," for example, he points to Britain's post-WWI involvement in the Middle East as an analogy to Iraq, and in his section on radicalized religion, he warns of "the pitfalls of imperial Christian overreach from Rome to Britain." The five major measures of U.S. debt—from national to household—keep setting records, he observes in his section on "Borrowed Prosperity," and the real estate boom spurred by the Federal Reserve, he argues,...


Overthrow : America's Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq
Stephen Kinzer
0805078614
April 4, 2006
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
The recent ouster of Saddam Hussein may have turned "regime change" into a contemporary buzzword, but it's been a tactic of American foreign policy for more than 110 years. Beginning with the ouster of Hawaii's monarchy in 1893, Kinzer runs through the foreign governments the U.S. has had a hand in toppling, some of which he has written about at length before (in All the Shah's Men, etc.). Recent invasions of countries such as Grenada and Panama may be more familiar to readers than earlier interventions in Iran and Nicaragua, but Kinzer, a foreign correspondent for the New York Times, brings a rich narrative immediacy to all of his stories. Although some of his assertions overreach themselves—as when he proposes that better conduct by the American government in the Spanish-American War might have prevented...


The River of Doubt : Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey
Candice Millard
0385507968
October 18, 2005
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
In a gripping account, Millard focuses on an episode in Teddy Roosevelt's search for adventure that nearly came to a disastrous end. A year after Roosevelt lost a third-party bid for the White House in 1912, he decided to chase away his blues by accepting an invitation for a South American trip that quickly evolved into an ill-prepared journey down an unexplored tributary of the Amazon known as the River of Doubt. The small group, including T.R.'s son Kermit, was hampered by the failure to pack enough supplies and the absence of canoes sturdy enough for the river's rapids. An injury Roosevelt sustained became infected with flesh-eating bacteria and left the ex-president so weak that, at his lowest moment, he told Kermit to leave him to die in the rainforest. Millard, a former staff writer for National Geographic, nails the...



The Path Between the Seas
David McCullough
0671244094
Jan 1978
Paperback
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Book Review
On December 31, 1999, after nearly a century of rule, the United States officially ceded ownership of the Panama Canal to the nation of Panama. That nation did not exist when, in the mid-19th century, Europeans first began to explore the possibilities of creating a link between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans through the narrow but mountainous isthmus; Panama was then a remote and overlooked part of Colombia.

All that changed, writes David McCullough in his magisterial history of the Canal, in 1848, when prospectors struck gold in California. A wave of fortune seekers descended on Panama from Europe and the eastern United States, seeking quick passage on California-bound ships in the Pacific, and the Panama Railroad, built to serve that traffic, was soon the highest-priced stock listed on the New York Exchange. To build...



America Back on Track
Edward Kennedy
0670037648
April 18, 2006
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
As the title implies, Senator Kennedy's book of political history, criticism and advice is an effort to reawaken the belief in progress that underlay politics in the 1960s, often lauding his brother's presidency and Johnson's just after. Kennedy presents some of his most important points in bulleted lists, giving the appearance of simplicity and clarity on complex topics like ways to adjust to globalization and "the shrinking world," steps to achieve "a sound energy conservation policy" and how to provide health care for all. Although Kennedy isn't often as clear as his bulleted points make it appear, his straightforward solutions—like equal federal, state and local government funding for education and an increase in the minimum wage to $7.25—are refreshing. Not unexpectedly, Kennedy's proposals also...


When Affirmative Action Was White
Ira Katznelson
0393052133
Aug 2005
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
Rather than seeing affirmative action developing out of the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, Katznelson (Desolation and Enlightenment) finds its origins in the New Deal policies of the 1930s and 1940s. And instead of seeing it as a leg up for minorities, Katznelson argues that the prehistory of affirmative action was supported by Southern Democrats who were actually devoted to preserving a strict racial hierarchy, and that the resulting legislation was explicitly designed for the majority: its policies made certain, he argues, that whites received the full benefit of rising prosperity while blacks were deliberately left out. Katznelson supports this startling claim ingeniously, showing, for instance, that while the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act was a great boon for factory workers, it did nothing for maids and...


The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)
Mark Twain
1593080689
January 2004
Mass Market Paperback
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1491 : New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus
Charles C. Mann
140004006X
August 9, 2005
Hardcover
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Book Review
1491 is not so much the story of a year, as of what that year stands for: the long-debated (and often-dismissed) question of what human civilization in the Americas was like before the Europeans crashed the party. The history books most Americans were (and still are) raised on describe the continents before Columbus as a vast, underused territory, sparsely populated by primitives whose cultures would inevitably bow before the advanced technologies of the Europeans. For decades, though, among the archaeologists, anthropologists, paleolinguists, and others whose discoveries Charles C. Mann brings together in 1491, different stories have been emerging. Among the revelations: the first Americans may not have come over the Bering land bridge around 12,000 B.C. but by boat along the Pacific coast 10 or even 20 thousand years earlier; the Americas...


One Nation Under God
James P. Moore, Jr.
0385504039
Nov 2005
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
The simple contention of this fascinating study is that prayer has always been intertwined with America's cultural life. Moore, who teaches at McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University, casts a broad net, beginning with Native American prayers before European colonization and culminating with the prayers of Americans after 9/11. He attends not only to prayers said around tables and in houses of worship but also to the way that the arts contribute to prayer: in the 19th century, artists like Thomas Cole penned prayers in art journals, and 20th-century Jewish composer Leonard Bernstein wrote a symphony that meditated on the Jewish kaddish. Indeed, Moore has really written a history of religion in America told through the lens of prayer; for example, his discussion of Shaker prayer is embedded in a...


Everyman
Philip Roth
061873516X
May 2006
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. [Signature]Reviewed by Sara NelsonWhat is it about Philip Roth? He has published 27 books, almost all of which deal with the same topics—Jewishness, Americanness, sex, aging, family—and yet each is simultaneously familiar and new. His latest novel is a slim but dense volume about a sickly boy who grows up obsessed with his and everybody else's health, and eventually dies in his 70s, just as he always said he would. (I'm not giving anything away here; the story begins with the hero's funeral.) It might remind you of the old joke about the hypochondriac who ordered his tombstone to read: "I told you I was sick."And yet, despite its coy title, the book is both universal and very, very specific, and Roth watchers will not be able to stop themselves from comparing the hero to Roth...


The Assassins' Gate : America in Iraq
George Packer
0374299633
October 15, 2005
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
[Signature]Reviewed by Christopher HitchensIt is extremely uncommon for any reporter to read another's work and to find that he altogether recognizes the scene being described. Reading George Packer's book, I found not only that I was remembering things I had forgotten, but also that I was finding things that I ought to have noticed myself. His book rests on three main pillars: analysis of the intellectual origins of the Iraq war, summary of the political argument that preceded and then led to it, and firsthand description of the consequences on the ground. In each capacity, Packer shows himself once more to be the best chronicler, apart perhaps from John Burns of the New York Times, that the conflict has produced. (I say "once more" because some of this material has already appeared in the New Yorker.)A very strong opening...


The War That Made America
Fred Anderson
0670034541
Dec 2005
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
The author of the award-winning, scholarly account of the French and Indian War Crucible of War (2000) offers a scaled-down, popular version of that history in this companion volume to the January 2006 PBS documentary. It is an excellent introduction to a conflict that most Americans know little about, and that Winston Churchill called the first worldwide war. Anderson focuses on the North American theater, the outcome of which he claims "transformed the colonists' world forever" and, in effect, "made America." He shows how the conflict encouraged colonials "to conceive of themselves as equal partners in the [British] empire," a concept that Britain did not share and that led inexorably to postwar strife and revolution. In a departure from earlier accounts, Anderson gives unprecedented coverage to the role of...


The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)
Mark Twain
1593083513
August 2005
Hardcover
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The New World: A History of the English-Speaking Peoples, Volume II (The Barnes & Noble Library of Essential Reading Series)
Winston S. Churchill
0760768587
April 2005
Paperback
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Chopper
Robert F. Dorr
0425202739
July 2005
Hardcover
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From Booklist
This history of American helicopters in combat manages to be both readable and comprehensive. Comprehensive because it provides not only narratives of operations but also technical data on the machines used in those operations, from Burma in 1944, where early Sikorskis flew, to contemporary Afghanistan, in which late Sikorskis have figured. Readable because it is a series of narratives by actual helicopter operators charged with, for instance, rescuing British wounded and American liaison pilots in Burma, and moving Special Operations troops in Afghanistan. In between are accounts, always accompanied by illustrations of all the hardware, of medevacs in Korea, the seminal consequences of air mobility in Vietnam, and the successive generations of deadly gunships, ending with the Apaches and SuperCobras now...


The Art of Innovation : Lessons in Creativity from IDEO, America's Leading Design Firm
Tom Kelley, et al
0385499841
January 16, 2001
Hardcover
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Book Review
IDEO, the world's leading design firm, is the brain trust that's behind some of the more brilliant innovations of the past 20 years--from the Apple mouse, the Polaroid i-Zone instant camera, and the Palm V to the "fat" toothbrush for kids and a self-sealing water bottle for dirt bikers. Not surprisingly, companies all over the world have long wondered what they could learn from IDEO, to come up with better ideas for their own products, services, and operations. In this terrific book from IDEO general manager Tom Kelley (brother of founder David Kelley), IDEO finally delivers--but thankfully not in the step-by-step, flow-chart-filled "process speak" of most how-you-can-do-what-we-do business books. Sure, there are some good bulleted lists to be found here--such as the secrets of successful brainstorming, the...


Mayflower : A Story of Courage, Community, and War
Nathaniel Philbrick
0670037605
May 9, 2006
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. In this remarkable effort, National Book Award–winner Philbrick (In the Heart of the Sea) examines the history of Plymouth Colony. In the early 17th century, a small group of devout English Christians fled their villages to escape persecution, going first to Holland, then making the now infamous 10-week voyage to the New World. Rather than arriving in the summer months as planned, they landed in November, low on supplies. Luckily, they were met by the Wampanoag Indians and their wizened chief, Massasoit. In economical, well-paced prose, Philbrick masterfully recounts the desperate circumstances of both the settlers and their would-be hosts, and how the Wampanoags saved the colony from certain destruction. Indeed, there was a first Thanksgiving, the author notes, and for over 50 years the...


John, Paul, George and Ben
Lane Smith
0786848936
April 2006
Hardcover
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From School Library Journal
Starred Review. Grade 2-5–Describing each man in turn as either bold, noisy, honest, clever, or independent, and taking many liberties with the truth, Smith relates how the Founding Fathers of the title–and Jefferson, too–played a part in securing Americas freedom. Hancocks penchant for sprawling his name across the chalkboard as a child led to his boldly writing the biggest signature on the Declaration of Independence. Reveres loud voice selling underwear in his shop came in handy when he had to scream The Redcoats are coming! Washingtons honest admission to chopping down trees led to his serving as president in New York City where there were few forests. Well, you get the idea. The pen-and-ink cartoon illustrations, richly textured with various techniques, add to the fun. Page turns...


To Hell and Back
Audie Murphy
0805070869
May 2002
Paperback
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From Library Journal
Texan Audie Murphy was the most highly decorated G.I. of World War II, being awarded almost every medal the Army could offer as well as the Congressional Medal of Honor. His memoir of the war is a classic, still retaining some popularity. Tom Parker brings this terse yet vivid and articulate memoir to life. Able to give each of Murphy's comrades credible accents and characterizations, Parker's clear and well-paced reading is a joy. For popular and military collections.AMichael T. Fein, Catawba Valley Community Coll., Hickory, NCCopyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

From AudioFile
Audie Murphy hit the big time with this simple, compelling narrative of his time as an infantryman in WW II Europe. It is a...


Our Town: A Heartland Lynching, a Haunted Town, and the Hidden History of White America
Cynthia Carr
0517705060
March 2006
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Former Village Voice arts writer Carr has crafted a searing look at race in America that combines investigative journalism with an intensely personal family history. She uses the 1930 lynching of two African-American men in Marion, Ind., where her father and grandfather grew up, as a prism to examine not only the psychology of the lynch mob members but the thousands of bystanders, some of whom were immortalized in a revolting and haunting photograph, which shows townspeople gathering to stare at the mutilated corpses, still dangling from their nooses. Carr's discovery that her beloved grandfather belonged to the Ku Klux Klan and may have been involved in the hate crime leads her to return to Marion and ask questions that many on both sides of the racial divide find uncomfortable. Carr's sense...


At Canaan's Edge : America in the King Years, 1965-68
Taylor Branch
068485712X
January 10, 2006
Hardcover
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Book Review
One of the greatest of American stories has found its great chronicler in Taylor Branch. Beginning with Parting the Waters in 1988, followed 10 years later by Pillar of Fire, and closing now with At Canaan's Edge, Branch has given the short life of Martin Luther King Jr. and the nonviolent revolution he led the epic treatment they deserve. The three books of Branch's America in the King Years trilogy are lyrical and dramatic, social history as much as biography, woven from the ever more complex strands of King's movement, with portraits of figures like Lyndon Johnson, Bob Moses, J. Edgar Hoover, and Diane Nash as compelling as that of his central character.

King's movement may have been nonviolent, but his times were not, and each of Branch's volumes ends with an assassination: JFK, then Malcolm X,...



Caterpillars of Eastern North America
David L. Wagner
0691121443
July 2005
Paperback
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Suzanne Hively, The Cleveland Plain Dealer
"David Wagner has compiled a comprehensive guide to identification and natural history of nearly 700 butterflies and moths".

Review
Robert E. Hoopes Wildlife Activist : A wonderful field guide for those interested in studying the fascinating world of caterpillars.

See all Editorial Reviews


The Path Between the Seas
David McCullough
0743262131
June 2004
Hardcover
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Book Review
On December 31, 1999, after nearly a century of rule, the United States officially ceded ownership of the Panama Canal to the nation of Panama. That nation did not exist when, in the mid-19th century, Europeans first began to explore the possibilities of creating a link between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans through the narrow but mountainous isthmus; Panama was then a remote and overlooked part of Colombia.

All that changed, writes David McCullough in his magisterial history of the Canal, in 1848, when prospectors struck gold in California. A wave of fortune seekers descended on Panama from Europe and the eastern United States, seeking quick passage on California-bound ships in the Pacific, and the Panama Railroad, built to serve that traffic, was soon the highest-priced stock listed on the New York Exchange. To build...



Churchill's History of the English-Speaking Peoples
Winston S. Churchill
1566198135
January 1995
Paperback
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The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America (Vintage)
Erik Larson, Erik Larson
0375725601
February 10, 2004
Paperback
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Book Review
Author Erik Larson imbues the incredible events surrounding the 1893 Chicago World's Fair with such drama that readers may find themselves checking the book's categorization to be sure that The Devil in the White City is not, in fact, a highly imaginative novel. Larson tells the stories of two men: Daniel H. Burnham, the architect responsible for the fair's construction, and H.H. Holmes, a serial killer masquerading as a charming doctor. Burnham's challenge was immense. In a short period of time, he was forced to overcome the death of his partner and numerous other obstacles to construct the famous "White City" around which the fair was built. His efforts to complete the project, and the fair's incredible success, are skillfully related along with entertaining appearances by such notables as Buffalo Bill Cody, Susan B. Anthony, and Thomas...


Guests of the Ayatollah : The First Battle in America's War with Militant Islam
Mark Bowden
0871139251
April 25, 2006
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. SignatureReviewed by Philip CaputoWith Iran fingered in the latest National Security Assessment as America's number one enemy, Mark Bowden's new book is particularly timely. Guests of the Ayatollah chronicles the takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran by student militants, who held 66 American staffers hostage from November 1979 till January 1981, seizing this nation's attention in the process.In the aftermath of 9/11, with wars raging in Iraq and Afghanistan, that event seems to belong to the remote past, but as Bowden points out, it was "America's first confrontation with Islamo-fascism," while the hostages (who were released alive) were "the first victims of the inaptly named War on Terror."Although some may dispute those points, his portrayal of the hostage takers and their fanatical...

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