First, let me say that prior to reading this book I was not a Hillary Clinton fan. I supported Obama in the 2008 election. And I was concerned that thFirst, let me say that prior to reading this book I was not a Hillary Clinton fan. I supported Obama in the 2008 election. And I was concerned that this book was just a brochure for her next run for president. Fortunately, I was wrong. This book is full of stories of her time as Secretary of State and the people she met. I was fascinated and intrigued as I read it. She tells stories of both failures of diplomacy and successes. She provides insight into many of the key players on the international scene and some historical context to current events.
If you are interested in international politics, you should read this book with an open mind. While you may not agree with Clinton's conclusions, you will have a better understanding of who Hillary Clinton is and the challenges the United States faces on the world stage. And, yes, if she obtains the Democratic nomination, I will probably support her. My only wish is that she would have remained as Secretary of State another four years instead of choosing to run for President. She could have accomplished so much more.
I also have walked away with the belief that people who run for President should have spent time as Secretary of State. Presidents have less influence on the internal affairs of the country than they do on the international scene. Congress has greater control and influence on the American society than any one President. Congress makes the laws and determines the direction of the country. Decisions made in Congress are with us for generations. Presidents can twist arms, but in the end, their influence is short-lived. Presidents can do more on the world stage than they can at home. Unfortunately, most candidates for President have very little experience on the international stage and waste much of their time in office learning how the world works. If Presidents spent time as secretary of state before running for President, they would have a greater opportunity to influence world events.
I would recommend this book to anyone interested in international politics or in understanding what makes Hillary Rodham Clinton tick. I also would recommend that you listen to the audio version of the book. While Clinton read the opening and closing chapters of the book, she did not read the whole book. Kathleen Chalfant did an excellent job of reading most of the book. Though, I would have preferred to have Hillary's voice all the way through. ...more
I must confess that Roger Ebert was not my favorite movie critic. I preferred Gene Siskel. But this memoir has changed my opinion about Ebert. Roger EI must confess that Roger Ebert was not my favorite movie critic. I preferred Gene Siskel. But this memoir has changed my opinion about Ebert. Roger Ebert was raised in Urbana, Illinois in the 1940's and 50's. I lived in Champaign-Urbana from1975 -1982 so I was familiar with some of the things he talks about. Even though Roger's mother wanted him to be a priest, his passion was journalism. He did not set out to be a movie critic, but spent most of his life discussing movies in print and on television.
Late in life, cancer and 3 surgeries destroyed Ebert's ability to speak and eat. He turned to writing his life story. What amazed me is how much he remembers. He says that he has always had a good memory, but not being able to engage in conversation with others opened up the flood gates and the memories poured through.
I found the book entertaining, funny with touching moments where Roger shares of himself. I would recommend it to anyone who loves memoirs, journalism or the movies. He does not tell his story in a straight forward fashion but skips around much as memory does — jumping back and forth in time. I would have enjoyed having a conversation with Roger while sitting down to dinner....more
This book has to be read if you want to understand the man who is Barack Obama. A powerful book about a man searching for his identity. Very well writThis book has to be read if you want to understand the man who is Barack Obama. A powerful book about a man searching for his identity. Very well written. Written long before he even dreamed of being in the White House....more
This very short book, more like a magazine article, is about the eight days Thomas Fleming spent interviewing Harry S. Truman for a book he was writinThis very short book, more like a magazine article, is about the eight days Thomas Fleming spent interviewing Harry S. Truman for a book he was writing with Margaret Truman. If you have not read anything about Truman, I do not recommend that you start here. This book is for those who love to read anything they can get their hands on about Truman. ...more
This book was much better than I had anticipated. I chose to listen to this book on tape because I have read where Elizabeth Warren is considering runThis book was much better than I had anticipated. I chose to listen to this book on tape because I have read where Elizabeth Warren is considering running for President in 2016. She read the book and I could hear the passion in her voice. I knew very little about Warren prior to reading the book and I walked away impressed. Warren shares the story of her 10 year battle with big banks on the behalf of middle class working people and how she lost. Warren is a law professor and bankruptcy expert turned activist and politician. Mixed in with discussion of her fight with the banks is Warren's personal story of being born in Oklahoma and her struggle to obtain a college degree. She tells the story of her marriage and divorce and re-marriage. She talks of giving birth and raising her children and becoming a grandmother. She also tells the story of her senate race to fill the seat of Ted Kennedy after he died.
I recommend the book to anyone who likes to read political memoirs or who is interested in bankruptcy and the banking industry and consumer protection. I recommend listening to the book rather than reading it so you can hear the passion and concern in her voice....more
Excellent book. Enjoyed it even more because I read it at the same time as someone else and we were able to have a great discussion online.
This book iExcellent book. Enjoyed it even more because I read it at the same time as someone else and we were able to have a great discussion online.
This book is about the journey we all make towards some dream that we want to achieve. Filled with philosophical, religious and spiritual questions. Coelho chooses to make the Pilgrimage to Santiago, one of the 4 great pilgrimages of the Middle Ages. He is on a quest for a sword that symbolizes his achievement of Master.
Recommend to anyone who is searching spiritually....more
Great first hand account of the Cortes invasion of Mexico by someone who was there. This is a must read for anyone interested in the Spanish conquestGreat first hand account of the Cortes invasion of Mexico by someone who was there. This is a must read for anyone interested in the Spanish conquest of what is now Mexico....more
I bought this book because I have been a life-long St. Louis Cardinal fan. Mike Matheny took over as the manager of the Cardinals in 2012 with almostI bought this book because I have been a life-long St. Louis Cardinal fan. Mike Matheny took over as the manager of the Cardinals in 2012 with almost no experience managing professionally. Mike was a catcher in the major leagues for 13 years until a concussion ended his playing days. Five of his best playing years was with the St. Louis Cardinals during 2000 - 2004 seasons.
I knew very little about Matheny until I picked up this book. He was born in West Virginia and raised near Columbus, Ohio. He was drafted out of high school by the Toronto Bluejays but chose to attend college at the University of Michigan. He was drafted a second time by the Milwaukee Brewers where he spent the first 5 years of his professional career.
After Mike's playing career ended and he was searching for what to do with the rest of his life, he was asked to coach a Little League team. Before he accepted the position, he wrote a five page letter to the parents spelling out how he would manage and what he expected from them. Mike was not happy with the way youth sports was being played and would only manage if parents would let the coaches coach.
Someone posted Mike's letter on the internet and it went viral and gave him his 15 minutes of fame. He successfully created several Little League teams that behaved differently than other teams. The focus was on building character not winning.
I recommend this book to anyone who loves baseball as well as any parent who has a child in sports. What Matheny has to say may surprise you and even challenge your thinking. The book, co-written with Jerry Jenkins, is a fast read....more
Fantastic humor. Billy Crystal wrote and read this book to celebrate his 65th birthday. Don't buy the print version. Buy the audio version. Some partsFantastic humor. Billy Crystal wrote and read this book to celebrate his 65th birthday. Don't buy the print version. Buy the audio version. Some parts of the book are recorded live. You have to hear Billy read this book. Fantastic. I laughed all the way through. I highly recommend this book to anyone over the age of 60. I guarantee you will enjoy it. Billy Crystal nails the meaning of growing old. You must listen to this book....more
Since I had never read anything by Maya Angelou, I decided after she died to become familiar with her writing. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings was firSince I had never read anything by Maya Angelou, I decided after she died to become familiar with her writing. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings was first published in 1969 and spent 2 years on the New York Times best seller lists for paperbacks. The autobiography covers Angelou's growing up in Stamps, Arkansas and follows her to St. Louis and California where she became pregnant at sixteen. The book covers her molestation and rape at age of eight and touches on the murder of her rapist by relatives. She discusses racism and devotes an entire chapter to a dentist who would not help her when she was suffering from a tooth ache. He told her grandmother that he would rather put his hand in the mouth of a dog. Her grandmother and brother were both influential in her childhood. Maya Angelou loved to read from a very young age. The book ends with Angelou giving birth to her son at the age of seventeen....more
If you have watched the movie, Twelve Years a Slave, then you should read this book. If you have not watched the movie, Twelve Years a Slave, then youIf you have watched the movie, Twelve Years a Slave, then you should read this book. If you have not watched the movie, Twelve Years a Slave, then you definitely need to read this book. The book is an as-told-to story by Solomon Northup, a man who was born, raised and living in New York state. As Northup tells the story, he was conned into traveling to Washington D.C. where he was drugged, kidnapped and sold into slavery in the deep South in 1840. He spent 12 years as a slave before he was able to send information of his whereabouts to friends who traveled south and freed him. .
The book shares the experience of one man as a slave and all the horrors that he faced. Married with children before the kidnapping, Northup suffered as no person should be made to suffer. He was whipped, beaten and almost hung. His skills as violin player and his intelligence kept him alive through these difficult, almost unbearable times. He was also forced to whip other slaves.
The book was written by David Wilson who served as Northup's ghost writer. It followed in the footsteps of the publishing success of Uncle Tom's Cabin and was used by the abolition forces to further their cause. After Northup's release from slavery, he traveled around the north giving anti-slavery speeches and may have been involved in the Underground Railroad, though, there is no evidence to support this. Published in 1853, the book was an instant success with 8,000 copies being sold in the first month. The book went out of print in 1856 and remained out of print until 1968.
Along side the amazing story of Solomon Northup is the fascinating story of Sue Lyles Eakin and the work she did to bring the book to the attention of American readers in the 20th and 21st centuries. Sue Eakin discovered an original copy of the book in a plantation home near where Northup was a slave when she was 12 years old. Northup's story became her life's passion. Dr. Eakin wrote her master's thesis about Northup's story and after decades of research produced the first authenticated edition in 1968. She continued to spend her life verifying, validating and substantiating the story through thousands of hours of research. In 2007, at the age of 88, she completed her final definitive edition with over 100 pages of new information, images and maps. In her spare time, she authored over a dozen other history books and was a history professor.
One of the fascinating facts that I learned in this book was that in 1840 New York state passed a law authorizing the governor the authority to seek the release of free people who were sold into slavery. This law is what the friends of Solomon Northup used to travel to Louisiana and secure his release.
Amazon lists more than 30 different editions of this book. I would recommend you purchase this edition by Dr. Sue Eakin which contains all her documentation and verification of the facts in the story. ...more
In 1971, like many of America's young, I purchased Carole King's best selling album, *Tapestry*. The album has sold over 25 million copies world wide.In 1971, like many of America's young, I purchased Carole King's best selling album, *Tapestry*. The album has sold over 25 million copies world wide. What I did not know at the time was who Carole King was. This memoir has opened some of the doors into her life. Carole is the daughter of Sidney Klein and Eugenia Crammer. She was born in Manhattan in 1942.
Carole King has lived a full life and still does. She married Gerry Goffin when she was seventeen and together they became a powerful song writing duo. Carole wrote the music and Gerry the lyrics. John and Paul of Beatle fame wanted to be song writers like Carole and Gerry. Carol and Gerry wrote songs for the Monkees. She separated from Gerry when she was 26, but they still on occasion wrote songs together. They wrote A Natural Woman for Aretha Franklin.
The book is an easy read. Carole touches on almost every important aspect of her life, but usually on a very surface level. We don't get many deep personal feelings. The closest she came was when she revealed the fact that she had been abused by a long-term boyfriend. She was successful on many levels from financial to career. She was a strong woman and yet, she let a man abuse her and she didn't leave. Yet, even as she revealed this terrible fact, I did not feel the emotion she must have felt. She did not take us inside the relationship. She lets us know that it happened and moves on.
I did buy a digital version of *Tapestry* to listen to as I read the book and I recommend you do the same. It brought back lots of memories and feelings.
The book in many ways is like her song, Beautiful. The opening lines of the song are: "You got to get up every morning with a smile on your face and show the world all the love in your heart." And that is how Carole King comes across in this book — she wakes up every morning with a smile on her face no matter what challenges she is facing.
I would recommend this memoir to anyone who loves the music of Carole King and want to know more about her....more
First a disclaimer: I was born and raised Mennonite in rural Illinois. Some of what Janzen writes about is very familiar to me and other parts are newFirst a disclaimer: I was born and raised Mennonite in rural Illinois. Some of what Janzen writes about is very familiar to me and other parts are new. For those who don't know, Mennonite churches have a history of creating offshoot congregations. People have parted ways over something as small as wearing buttons on shirts. I have traced my family roots back to the pre-Revolutionary War. Many Mennonites arrived from Germany and settled in Pennsylvania, then moved to Ohio, Indiana and Illinois is search of new farmland. Rhoda Janzen grew up in the Russian branch of Mennonites who moved from Germany to Russia to North America. While there are similarities, there are also differences. By the time I was born a couple of decades before Janzen, my parents and grandparents no longer spoke German. Her father was a minister and professor. Mine was simple farmer and carpenter. Janzen grew up in the Mennonite Brethren church and I in a General Conference Mennonite church. We are similar in that we both rejected the Mennonite church and its teachings at a young age. With the above disclaimer in mind, let me say that this book is not really about being Mennonite or even about discovering that one's husband is bisexual. These concepts form more a frame for marketing the book than for the content. This book is about family relationships. The tone of the book is post-modern, tongue-in-cheek, in-your-face sarcasm. Janzen has a biting sense of humor and able to put people in their place with her sarcastic wit. Her mother Mary, a nurse, plays a strong role in the book while her father, an important figure in the Mennonite church, is barely mentioned except in passing. I suspect she changed names and places to protect the guilty. On the point of her abusive husband leaving her for a gay man, she admits midway through the book that she knew her husband was bisexual before she married him. He had a serious relationship with a man as well as a woman before marrying her. I quote from page 172: "I entered my marriage with full knowledge that Nick had dated a man before he moved in with Julia, the woman he was with for eight years before he met me." Probably the most profound statement for me comes from Rhoda's Mom: "When you're young, faith is often a matter of rules. What you should do and shouldn't do, that kind of thing. But as you get older, you realize that faith is really a matter of relationship — with God, with the people around you, with the members of your community." As one who rejected the rules of the Mennonite church by the time I was eighteen, I was deeply impacted by this comment. I realize now that if I had not rejected the rules, I would have lived a very narrow, rigid life. Life is about relationships and that is what is best about this memoir. ...more