Friday, December 31, 2010

Southeast Asia in the Age of Commerce

Southeast Asia in the Age of Commerce, 1450-1680, Volume One: The Lands below the Winds
by Anthony Reid

The history of Southeast Asian societies, like those of East Asia, had developed greatly before European seafarers arrived. It was a region that ``was subject to many of the same climatic, physical, and commercial pressures and thus developed a very similar set of material cultures.'' Reid gives numerous contemporary foreign accounts of life in Southeast Asia on the eve of western imperialism and colonialism in a skillful, analytical, and critical way.

In The Lands Below the Winds--the first volume of a two-volume set chronicling the rise of Southeast Asian culture during the years from 1450 to 1680--Anthony Reid vividly explored everyday life in the different societies of the region, from diet, housing, commerce, and law to sexual and family relations, patterns of warfare, and popular entertainment. In doing so he enables us to perceive the underlying coherence and splendid variety in the complex mosaic of Southeast Asia.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

"Trade in Prehispanic Philippine Complex Societies"

"The Organization of Intra-Regional and Long-Distance Trade in Prehispanic Philippine Complex Societies"
by Laura Lee Junker

"In this paper, I have made a preliminary attempt to construct such a model through ethnohistoric analyses of Philippine lowland societies examining systems of social stratification, the nature of chiefly authority and regionally integrating political structures, and chiefly control over the regional economy, in the early to mid-second millennium. Focusing specifically on the central role of the chiefly political leader in coordinating and controlling both intra-regional and inter-regional systems of resource mobilization and exchange, I examined archaeologically testable predictions about the development of these economic systems, using data on regional settlement and artifact distribution patterns from one region of prehistoric complex society development in the Philippines."

Monday, December 27, 2010

Victors and Vanquished

Victors and Vanquished: Spanish and Nahua Views of the Conquest of Mexico
edited by Stuart B. Schwartz

In 1519 Hernán Cortés and a small band of Spanish conquistadors overthrew the mighty Mexican empire of the Aztecs. Using excerpts primarily drawn from Bernal Diaz's 1632 account of the Spanish victory and testimonies — many recently uncovered — of indigenous Nahua survivors, Victors and Vanquished clearly demonstrates how personal interests, class and ethnic biases, and political considerations influenced the interpretation of momentous events. A substantial introduction is followed by 9 chronological sections that illuminate the major events and personalities in this powerful historical episode and reveal the changing attitudes toward European expansionism. The volume includes a broad array of visual images and maps, a glossary of Spanish and Nahua terms, biographical notes, a chronology, a selected bibliography, questions for consideration, and an index.

STUART B. SCHWARTZ is George Burton Adams Professor of History at Yale University. His scholary work concentrates on the early history of Latin America and the history of Brazil. He is the author of Slaves, Peasants, and Rebels: Reconsidering Brazilian Slavery (1992) and Sugar Plantations and the Formation of Brazilian Society: Bahia 1550-1835 (1985), which won the American Historical Association's Bolton Prize for the Best Work in Latin American History. Professor Schwartz is also editor of Implicit Understandings: The Encounter Between Europeans and Other Peoples in the Early Modern Era (1994) and a coeditor of The Cambridge History of Native American Peoples (1999). A former fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the Institute for Advanced Study, and the American Council of Learned Societies, he is currently completing a work entitled The Rebellion of Portugal and the Crisis of the Iberian Empires, 1621-1668.

"Looking for the Prehispanic Filipino"

"Looking for the Prehispanic Filipino: Mistranslations and Misconceptions"
by William Henry Scott

This posthumously-published masterwork of the leading scholar of the pre-Spanish Philippines is a wonderful argument for the centrality of Philippine evidence for a reconstruction of Southeast Asian societies. Scott is very cautious himself about drawing parallels or larger pictures, confining himself to answering the question, "What did the Spaniards actually say about the Filipino people when they first met them?". As a long-term resident of the Philippines his primary aim is to correct popular Philippine misperceptions, especially the unfortunate Beyer "wave theory" of migration which enabled "Filipinos who had grown up under Spanish domination [to] consider themselves a different people from those who had not... It is precisely this social amnesia which today stigmatises as cultural minorities those Filipinos who resisted colonial acculturation"

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Africa's Discovery of Europe

Africa's Discovery of Europe 1450-1850
by David Northrup

Brilliantly written and thoroughly engaging, this groundbreaking book examines the full range of African-European encounters from an unfamiliar African perspective rather than from the customary European one. Africa's Discovery of Europe, 1450-1850, concludes with an expanded epilogue that extends the themes of African-European commercial and cultural interaction to the present day. By featuring vivid life stories of individual Africans and drawing upon their many recorded sentiments, David Northrup presents African perspectives that persuasively challenge stereotypes about African-European relations as they unfolded in Africa, Europe, and the Atlantic world between 1450 and 1850.

Acclaimed by students in classroom settings ranging from secondary schools to graduate colloquia, the text features thematically organized chapters that explore first impressions, religion and politics, commerce and culture, imported goods and technology, the Middle Passage, and Africans in Europe. In addition, Northrup offers a thoughtful examination of Africans' relations—intellectual, commercial, cultural, and sexual—with Europeans, tracing how the patterns of behavior that emerged from these encounters shaped pre-colonial Africa. The book concludes with an examination of the roles of race, class, and culture in early modern times, pointing out which themes in Africa's continuing discovery of Europe after 1850 were similar to earlier patterns, and why other themes were different.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The World

The World: A History: Combined Volume
by Felipe Fernandez-Armesto

The World gives students the whole story. It is a new kind of history text – not just a collection of facts and figures. World renowned historian, world respected scholar, successful author of more than 25 books translated into 22 languages, and exceptional writer, author Felipe Fernández-Armesto offers a truly holistic narrative of the world, from human beginnings to the present. All aspects of the text – from the exceptionally clear narrative that always places the story in time, to the unparalleled map program, to the focused pedagogical features – support the story. Because of the author’s breadth of vision, students will come away with a deep understanding of the fundamental interrelationships – among peoples and their environments – that make up the world’s story.

Developing a project like The World required the input of and counsel of hundreds of individuals. David Ringrose, respected World Historian from the University of California–San Diego, served as The World’s editorial consultant, and provided extensive teaching tips in the Instructor’s Guide to Teaching the World. Nearly 100 reviewers critiqued the manuscript, from the first edition to the final draft. Instructor focus groups were held throughout the country during the publication process.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Travels of Sir John Mandeville

The Travels of Sir John Mandeville
by Sir John Mandeville

Immediately popular when it first appeared around 1356, The Travels of Sir John Mandeville became the standard account of the East for several centuries—a work that went on to influence luminaries as diverse as Leonardo da Vinci, Swift, and Coleridge. Ostensibly written by an English knight, the Travels purport to relate his experiences in the Holy Land, Egypt, India, and China. Mandeville claims to have served in the Great Khan's army and to have journeyed to “the lands beyond”—countries populated by dog-headed men, cannibals, Amazons, and pygmies.

Sir John Mandeville claimed in his book to be an English knight who began his travels in 1322, but the book was originally written in French, and the truth of the author's identity—and whether in fact he actually traveled—is not known.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Management

Barron's Management
by Patrick J. Montana Ph.D. and Bruce H. Charnov Ph.D.

Barron's Business Review Books make excellent supplements to college textbooks, and also serve as fine main texts in adult education courses or business brush-up programs. You'll find key business terms defined, important concepts reviewed, and pertinent examples of business transactions summarized. This up-to-date fourth edition of Management comprehensively covers the management curriculum as it is presented in leading business schools today. The authors describe and appraise contemporary trends and techniques employed in the management of both large and small companies.

Patrick J. Montana, Ph.D., is Professor of Management, Frank G. Zarb School of Business, Hofstra University., Hempstead, NY.

Bruce H. Charnov, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Management, Chairperson, Management and General Business Dept., Frank G. Zarb School of Business, Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Confederate Guerrilla Sue Mundy

Confederate Guerrilla Sue Mundy: A Biography of Kentucky Soldier Jerome Clarke
by Thomas Shelby Watson with Perry A. Brantley

In 1864, George D. Prentice, editor of the pro-Union Louisville Daily Journal, created the persona of Sue Mundy, a Civil War guerrilla who was in actuality a young man named Marcellus Jerome Clarke. This volume offers an in-depth, historically accurate account of Clarke's exploits in Kentucky during the Civil War. The work begins with a summary of Kentucky's prewar position: primarily pro-Union yet decidedly anti-Lincoln. The author then discusses the ways in which this paradox gave rise to the guerrilla threat that terrorized Kentuckians during the final years of the war. Special emphasis is placed on previously unknown facts, names and deeds with dialogue taken directly from testimony in court-martial proceedings. While the main focus of the work is Clarke himself, other perpetrators of guerrilla warfare including William Clarke Quantrill, Sam Berry and Henry Magruder are also covered, as are guerrilla hunters Edwin Terrell and James Bridgewater. The last months of Quantrill's life in Kentucky and his final battle are discussed in detail. Previously unpublished photographs accompany this fascinating Civil War history.

Monday, November 22, 2010

“Three Views of Samuel and Joseph ibn Naghrela”

“Three Views of Samuel and Joseph ibn Naghrela”
edited by Olivia Remie Constable
from Medieval Iberia: Readings from Christian, Muslim, and Jewish Sources

Account of Abd Allah ibn Buluggin
from The Tibyan

Poem by Abu Ishaq of Elvira
from Qasida

Account of Abraham ibn Daud
from The Book of Tradition

On December 30, 1066 (9 Tevet 4827), a Muslim mob stormed the royal palace in Granada, which was at that time in Muslim-ruled al-Andalus, assassinated Jewish vizier Joseph ibn Naghrela and massacred many of the Jewish population of the city.

Joseph ibn Naghrela, or Joseph ha-Nagid (September 15, 1035 - December 30, 1066), was a vizier to the Berber king Badis al-Muzaffar of Granada, during the Moorish rule of Andalusia, and the leader of the Jewish community there.

Joseph was born in Granada, the eldest son of Rabbi Sh'muel ha-Nagid (Samuel ibn Naghrela).

Some information about his childhood and upbringing is preserved in the collection of his father's Hebrew poetry, which Joseph writes that he began copying at the age of eight and a half. For example, he tells how once (aged nine and a half, in the spring of 1045) he accompanied his father to battlefield, only to suffer from severe homesickness, about which he wrote a short poem.

His primary teacher was his father. On the basis of a letter to Rabbi Nissim Gaon attributed to him, in which Joseph refers to himself as R' Nissim's disciple, some claim that he also studied under R' Nissim at Kairwan. Joseph later married R' Nissim's daughter.

“The Battle of Alfuente”

“The Battle of Alfuente”
by Samuel ibn Naghrela

Samuel ibn Naghrela, also known as Samuel HaNagid, (born 993 - died after 1056), was a Talmudic scholar, grammarian, philologist, poet, warrior, and statesman, who lived in Iberia at the time of the Moorish rule.

Born in Mérida, his main poetic works include "Ben Tehillim" (Son of Psalms), "Ben Qoheleth" (Son of Ecclesiastes), and "Ben Mishlei" (Son of Proverbs), each of which imitates the "father work". His choice of poetic themes reflected his myriad occupations and personal world-view, including poems describing the battlefield using the analogy of a game of chess, poems speaking of the great beauty of nature, of which there are numerous, etc. His power in word choice of poetic portrayal of nature rivals that of the other great Jewish poets, namely ibn Saruk. He founded the Yeshiva that produced such brilliant scholars as R' Yitzhaq ibn Ghiath and R' Maimon ben Yosef (father of Maimonides).

He fled Córdoba when the Berbers took the city in 1013. For a while he ran a spice shop in Málaga, but eventually he moved to Granada, where he was first tax collector, then a secretary, and finally an assistant vizier to the Berber king Habbus al-Muzaffar.

When Habbus died in 1038, Samuel HaNagid made sure that his son Badis succeeded him. In return, Badis made Hanagid his vizier and top general, two posts which he held for the next seventeen years.

HaNagid's son Joseph ibn Naghrela inherited those jobs. Some Muslims accused Joseph of using his office to benefit Jewish friends, assassinated him, and launched a massacre of Granada's Jews the next day (December 31, 1066).

Friday, November 19, 2010

Beowulf

Beowulf


Widely regarded as the first true masterpiece of English literature, Beowulf describes the thrilling adventures of a great Scandinavian warrior of the sixth century. Its lyric intensity and imaginative vitality are unparalleled, and the poem has greatly influenced many important modern novelists and poets, most notably J. R. R. Tolkien, author of The Lord of the Rings.

Part history and part mythology, Beowulf opens in the court of the Danish king where a horrible demon named Grendel devours men in their sleep every night. The hero Beowulf arrives and kills the monster, but joy turns to horror when Grendel’s mother attacks the hall to avenge the death of her son. Ultimately triumphant, Beowulf becomes king himself and rules peacefully for fifty years until, one dark day, a foe more powerful than any he has yet faced is aroused—an ancient dragon guarding a horde of treasure. Once again, Beowulf must summon all his strength and courage to face the beast, but this time victory exacts a terrible price.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Satyricon

The Satyricon
by Gaius Petronius Arbiter

Unconventional and unique, the Satyricon stands almost alone in literature. It touches on everything, especially small-town life and ordinary people. Its characters are mostly of Greek or Near Eastern origin and are probably based on real people; Trimalchio's house has a lot in common with Nero's court. Some of the characters' names have given rise to much interesting etymological speculation: the name of Encolpius, our narrator, means "in the fold," or more explicitly here, "in the crotch"; his friend is named Ascyltos, or "unwearied," and they fight over the affections of the boy Giton ("neighbor").

The Satyricon was probably written around 61 A.D.and first printed in 1664. It is a very long work, of which we only have fragments. Petronius probably read it in installments to his friends, and possibly to the court of Nero. The Cena is one of the longer fragments; its survival in its entirety suggests that people have been enjoying it as a separable story for a long time. A banquet is the traditional setting for the kind of light conversation that is featured in the Cena.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Traditions & Encounters

Traditions & Encounters (3rd Edition): A Global Perspective on the Past
by Jerry Bentley

Over a million students at thousands of schools have learned about world history with the best selling book for the course, "Traditions and Encounters". The text is unique in approach: it covers the world as a whole, examining the formations and development of the world's major societies ("traditions"), and exploring cross-cultural interactions and exchanges that have been some of the most effective agents of change in history ("encounters"). In addition, the authors tell a coherent story of the past that is not weighed down by too much detail, enabling instructors to incorporate additional readings. The third edition is accompanied by the "Primary Source Investigator" CD, offering an easy and affordable way for instructors to get students working with primary sources.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Freedom

Freedom: The Courage to Be Yourself
by Osho

In Freedom, Osho outlines three stages of freedom. The first is "freedom from," which is a freedom that comes from breaking out of what he calls the "psychological slavery" imposed by outside forces such as parents, society, or religion. The next stage is "freedom for," a positive freedom that comes from embracing and creating something—-a fulfilling relationship, for example, or an artistic or humanitarian vision. And lastly there is "just freedom," the highest and ultimate freedom. This last freedom is more than being for or against something; it is the freedom of simply being oneself and responding truthfully to each moment.

The Insights for a New Way of Living series aims to shine light on beliefs and attitudes that prevent individuals from being their true selves. The text is an artful mix of compassion and humor, and readers are encouraged to confront what they would most like to avoid, which in turn provides the key to true insight and power.

Freedom helps readers to identify the obstacles to their freedom, both circumstantial and self-imposed, to choose their battles wisely, and to find the courage to be true to themselves.

The works of Osho challenge readers to examine and break free of the conditions, belief systems, and prejudices that limit their capacity to experience life in all its richness. One of the best-known and most provocative spiritual teachers of the twentieth century, Osho has been described by the Sunday Times of London as one of the "1000 Makers of the 20th Century" and by American novelist Tom Robbins as "the most dangerous man since Jesus Christ."

Monday, November 8, 2010

"All and Nothing"

"All and Nothing: Reflections on Experience and Transcendence in the Eurasian Axial Age, c. 800-200 BCE"
by Peter Von Sivers

After critically examining the concept of the Axial Age in the writings of Jaspers, Voegelin, and Eisenstadt, the paper examines the specific concepts with which the Axial Age thinkers described their "breakthroughs" to transcendence. On one hand, the thinkers denied that Unity, encountered in the Beyond of transcendence, is intelligible and can be expressed conceptually. On the other hand, they developed detailed analyses of Being (Greece), of the Self (India and China), and of the Personified One (Yahweh in Israel, Ahuramazda in Iran), in which they made transcendence intelligible. They did not resolve the inconsistenies resulting from this two-pronged approach, while in contemporary thought the dichotomies contained in the concept of Unity are considered to be irresolvable.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Business Law

Barron's Business Law
by Robert W. Emerson, J.D.

Here are understandable explanations of subjects related to business law and the legal environment. Separate chapters discuss the origin and nature of law, contracts in their many forms, negotiable instruments, banking procedures, types of business organization, legal definitions of crimes and torts, the concept of property, environmental law, labor-management relations law, intellectual property and computer law, and more. Business Review books are designed for classroom use, but are also valuable as self-teaching volumes for businesspersons engaged in various fields. When used in college business courses, these titles make fine supplements to main textbooks. Instructors in adult education and brush-up programs often choose these books as their main classroom text. Each title includes review questions with answers.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

"The Maya Collapses"

"The Maya Collapses"
from Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed
by Jared Diamond

Who has looked on the ancient Maya or classical Mediterranean cities and not wondered why they were abandoned? Or whether they hold a message for us? In this fascinating book, Jared Diamond seeks to understand the fates of past societies that collapsed for ecological reasons, combining the most important policy debate of our generation with the romance and mystery of lost worlds. Citizens of first world societies look around and tend not to see signs of imminent ecological collapse: the supermarkets are full of food; water gushes from our faucets; we live amidst trees and green grass. Actually, though, many past civilizations — with far smaller populations and less potent destructive technologies than those of today — have inadvertently committed ecological suicide: the Polynesian societies on Easter Island and other Pacific islands or the Anasazi civiliation, for example.

Ecocide asks why some societies make disastrous decisions, and how can we in the modern world learn better problem solving? Ecocide is an ecological history of human societies that considers why societies in some regions have been more vulnerable than those in other regions, and also compares the trajectories of pastcivilizations with likely trajectories of our own. Why did Greenland fail where Iceland succeeded? What links Rwanda and Australia? What can contemporary Montana learn from the ancient Mayans and modern Chinese?

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Art of War

The Art of War
by Sun Tzu


"Know your enemy and know yourself and you can fight a hundred battles without peril."
--Sun Tzu

For more than two thousand years the words of Sun Tzu, the founder of military science in ancient China, have exerted a powerful influence on the history and development of Eastern and Western philosophical thought, military strategy, and warfare. As a result, The Art of War has long been studied, analyzed, and adapted by scholars, battlefield commanders, and corporate CEOs.

The Art of War is also a profoundly nuanced and intimately revealing work of literature. Although often misunderstood as a selection of koans or idiomatic expressions, The Art of War, like the writings of Confucius and the Tao Te Ching of Lao Tzu, in reality forms one of the founding pillars of Chinese philosophical thought and is one of the finest examples of the "Golden Age" of Chinese classical prose.

The Art of War was written during a time of great social and political upheaval in China. Although it is concerned with warfare, it repeatedly emphasizes the use of restraint, careful analysis, and, most importantly, introspection and cultivation of one's inner self.

The Art of War continues to offer lessons for those in all walks of life. It is one of those rare texts which will continue to influence the course of human civilization for centuries to come.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

"The Nature and History of the Shu"

"The Nature and History of the Shu"
from The Shu King
translated by James Legge

The Shu consists of 58 chapters (including eight subsections), of which 33 are generally considered authentic works from the Warring States or earlier. The first five chapters of the book purport to preserve the sayings and recall the deeds of such illustrious emperors as Yao and Shun, who reigned during legendary age; the next 4 are devoted to the Xia Dynasty, the historicity of which has not been definitively established; the next 17 chapters deal with the Shang Dynasty and its collapse. The blame for this is placed on the last Shang ruler, who is described as oppressive, murderous, extravagant, and lustful. The final 32 chapters cover the Zhou Dynasty until the reign of Duke Mu of Qin.

The Classic of History contains some of the earliest examples of Chinese prose, and is considered one of the Five Classics. Many citations of the Shangshu can be found in the bamboo slips texts from the tombs of Guodian, in Hubei, dated to the 300 BC. The language is archaic and differs in grammar and vocabulary from that typical of prose from the classical age of Chinese literature (e.g., The Analects or The Mencius). This reflects an early date of composition in some chapters or deliberate use of archaism in others. The five announcements (誥) in the Documents of Zhou closely resemble inscriptions found on Western Zhou bronzes and are generally regarded as authentic products of that period (11th c. - 770 BCE). On the other hand, chapters that are purported to date from high antiquity (e.g., the Canons of Yao and Shun) likely date from the Spring and Autumn or Warring States periods.

In July 2008, Zhao Weiguo, an alumnus of Tsinghua University donated a collection of 2100 bamboo slips to his alma mater after obtaining them through auction in Hong Kong. The previous owner and the slips' whereabouts have not been revealed. In the collection, the Shangshu is one of the historical books. According to expert Li Xueqin, the collection dates to the Warring States Period from Hubei, the homeland of Chu.

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
by Robert A. Heinlein

Robert A. Heinlein was the most influential science fiction writer of his era, an influence so large that, as Samuel R. Delany notes, "modern critics attempting to wrestle with that influence find themselves dealing with an object rather like the sky or an ocean." He won the Hugo Award for best novel four times, a record that still stands. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress was the last of these Hugo-winning novels, and it is widely considered his finest work.

It is a tale of revolution, of the rebellion of the former Lunar penal colony against the Lunar Authority that controls it from Earth. It is the tale of the disparate people—a computer technician, a vigorous young female agitator, and an elderly academic—who become the rebel movement's leaders. And it is the story of Mike, the supercomputer whose sentience is known only to this inner circle, and who for reasons of his own is committed to the revolution's ultimate success.

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress is one of the high points of modern science fiction, a novel bursting with politics, humanity, passion, innovative technical speculation, and a firm belief in the pursuit of human freedom.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

"Why Settle Down?"

"Why Settle Down? The Mystery of Communities"
by Michael Balter

ÇATALHÖYÜK, TURKEY--This 9000-year-old settlement in Anatolia was once hailed as the earliest city, with a population of 10,000, shared institutions, a division of labor, and a reliance on agriculture. But a meticulous new excavation of the site, being conducted by a team including on-site specialists in human and animal remains, fossil plants, pottery, and stone tools, is challenging the long-held assumption that the first settlements and the transition to agriculture were part of a single process dubbed the "Neolithic Revolution". By using the techniques of a relatively new field called micromorphology, which puts archaeological remains under the microscope to provide the maximum amount of information about how people lived and died, it now appears that the people of this high-density settlement, and other early communities, still depended heavily on hunting and gathering and may have settled down for some still-mysterious cultural purpose.

Read the full article here.

See Michael Balter's website here.

"Religion as a Cultural System"

"Religion as a Cultural System"
by Clifford Geertz

Geertz does not only talk about theory in broad terms – he also delves into particular theory, such as the anthropology of religion. In accordance with his emphasis on symbols, Geertz defines religion as “1) a system of symbols which acts to 2) establish powerful, pervasive, and long-lasting moods and motivations in men by 3) formulating conceptions of a general order of existence and 4) clothing these conceptions with such an aura of factuality that 5) the moods and motivations seem uniquely realistic” (Geertz 1973d:90). Geertz then breaks down his definition to examine exactly what the study of religion as a cultural system should be.

The important aspect of symbols in this definition is that symbols are models – and importantly, both models of and models for (Geertz 1973d:93). Systems of symbols function similarly; that is, systems of symbols act as models of reality and models for reality.

Religion also must establish something. What this “something” is differs from culture to culture, but in each culture this “something” must make sense of the lives people are leading. In addition, this something must be perceived as “uniquely realistic”; i.e., this feeling should be the ground-level interpretation of a culture. A man may not be religious, but when a man needs to find meaning at its deepest level, religion will be the system of symbols he uses.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Bad Girl

The Bad Girl
by Mario Vargas Llosa

Ricardo Somocurcio is in love with a bad girl. He loves her as a teenager known as “Lily” in Lima in 1950, when she arrives one summer out of the blue, claiming to be from Chile but vanishing the moment her claim is exposed as fiction. He loves her next in Paris, where she appears as the enchanting “Comrade Arlette,” an activist en route to Cuba, and becomes his lover, albeit n icy, remote one who denies knowing anything about the ily of years gone by. Whoever the bad girl turns up as—whether it’s Madame Robert Arnoux, the wife of a high-ranking UNESCO fficial, or Kuriko, the mistress of a sinister Japanese businessman—and however poorly she treats him, Ricardo is doomed to worship her.

The protean Lily, gifted liar and irresistible, maddening muse—does Ricardo ever know who she really is? The answer is as unclear as what has become of Ricardo himself, a lifelong expatriate shadowed by the sense that he is only ever drifting. In Mario Vargas Llosa’s beguiling new novel, the strange bedfellows of good and bad turn out not to be what they appear.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Have Space Suit - Will Travel

Have Space Suit - Will Travel
by Robert Heinlein

One minute Kip Russell is walking around his own backyard, testing out an old space suit and dreaming about going to the moon–the next he is the captive of a space pirate and on his way to the very place he had been dreaming of. At first, the events are so unreal he thinks he might be having a nightmare . . . but when he discovers other prisoners aboard the spaceship he knows the ordeal is all too real. Kip and his fellow abductees, the daughter of a world-renowned scientist and a beautiful creature from an alien planet, have been skyjacked by a monstrous extraterrestrial who is flying them to the moon–on a journey toward a fate worse than death. . . .

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Radicals for Capitalism

Radicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement
by Brian Doherty

This illuminating, lively history of an influential political movement—told through the life stories of its standard bearers— casts new light on the intellectual and political history of postwar America

Brian Doherty is a senior editor at Reason magazine. His articles, essays, and reviews have appeared in dozens of magazines, newspapers, and books, including the Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Mother Jones, and The Weekly Standard. He is also the author of This is Burning Man: The Rise of a New American Underground. He lives in Los Angeles.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Code of Hammurabi

The Code of Hammurabi

 
The Code of Hammurabi (Code of Hammurabi) is a well-preserved ancient law code, dating to ca. 1792 BC (middle chronology) in ancient Babylon. It was enacted by the sixth Babylonian king, Hammurabi, and partial copies exist on a human-sized stone stele and various clay tablets. The Code consists of 282 laws, with scaled punishments, adjusting "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth" (lex talionis) as graded depending on social status, of slave versus free man.

One nearly complete example of the Code survives today, on a diorite stele in the shape of a huge index finger, 2.25 m or 7.4 ft tall (see images at right). The Code is inscribed in the Akkadian language, of the common people, using cuneiform script carved into the stele (on display in the Louvre).



Hammurabi (Akkadian from Amorite ʻAmmurāpi, "the kinsman is a healer," from ʻAmmu, "paternal kinsman," and Rāpi, "healer"; (died c. 1750 BC)) was the sixth king of Babylon from 1792 BC to 1750 BC middle chronology (1728 BC – 1686 BC short chronology) He became the first king of the Babylonian Empire following the abdication of his father, Sin-Muballit, extending Babylon's control over Mesopotamia by winning a series of wars against neighboring kingdoms. Although his empire controlled all of Mesopotamia at the time of his death, his successors were unable to maintain his empire.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Epic of Gilgamesh

 Epic of Gilgamesh

The Epic of Gilgamesh is an ancient poem from Mesopotamia (present day Iraq) and is among the earliest known works of literature. Scholars believe that it originated as a series of Sumerian legends and poems about the hero-king Gilgamesh, which were fashioned into a longer Akkadian epic much later. The most complete version existing today is preserved on 12 clay tablets from the library collection of 7th-century BC Assyrian king Ashurbanipal. It was originally titled He who Saw the Deep (Sha naqba īmuru) or Surpassing All Other Kings (Shūtur eli sharrī).

The story revolves around a relationship between Gilgamesh (probably a real ruler in the late Early Dynastic II period (ca. 27th century BC)[1] and his close companion, Enkidu. Enkidu is a wild man created by the gods as Gilgamesh's equal to distract him from oppressing the citizens of Uruk. Together they undertake dangerous quests that incur the displeasure of the gods. Firstly, they journey to the Cedar Mountain to defeat Huwawa, its monstrous guardian. Later they kill the Bull of Heaven that the goddess Ishtar has sent to punish Gilgamesh for spurning her advances.
The latter part of the epic focuses on Gilgamesh's distressed reaction to Enkidu's death, which takes the form of a quest for immortality. Gilgamesh attempts to learn the secret of eternal life by undertaking a long and perilous journey to meet the immortal flood hero, Utnapishtim. Ultimately the poignant words addressed to Gilgamesh in the midst of his quest foreshadow the end result: "The life that you are seeking you will never find. When the gods created man they allotted to him death, but life they retained in their own keeping." Gilgamesh, however, was celebrated by posterity for his building achievements, and for bringing back long-lost cultic knowledge to Uruk as a result of his meeting with Utnapishtim. The story is widely read in translation, and the protagonist, Gilgamesh, has become an icon of popular culture.

A Streetcar Named Desire

A Streetcar Named Desire
by Tennessee Williams

Williams's classic play begins with Blanche DuBois's arrival in New Orleans to stay with her sister and brother-in-law, Stella and Stanley Kowalski. The determinedly genteel Blanche is shocked by their lower-class lifestyle-and by Stanley's frequently aggressive behavior. As Blanche's secrets catch up with her, a seedy reality trumps her love for romance.

Tennessee Williams, born Thomas Lanier Williams in 1911 in Columbus, Mississippi won Pulitzer Prizes for his dramas, A Streetcar Named Desire and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Other plays include The Glass Menagerie, Summer and Smoke, The Rose Tattoo, Camino Real, Suddenly Last Summer, Sweet Bird of Youth and Night of the Iguana. He also wrote a number of one-act plays, short stories, poems and two novels, The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone and Moishe and the Age of Reason. He died in 1983 at the age of 72.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Economics In One Lesson

Economics In One Lesson: The Shortest and Surest Way to Understand Basic Economics
by Henry Hazlitt

Called by H. L. Mencken, "one of the few economists in history who could really write," Henry Hazlitt achieved lasting fame for this brilliant but concise work. In it, he explains basic truths about economics and the economic fallacies responsible for unemployment, inflation, high taxes, and recession. Covering considerable ground, Hazlitt illustrates the destructive effects of taxes, rent and price controls, inflation, trade restrictions, and minimum-wage laws. He also writes about key classical liberal thinkers like John Locke, Adam Smith, Thomas Jefferson, John Stuart Mill, Alexis de Tocqueville, and Herbert Spencer.

Henry Hazlitt (1894-1993), was a libertarian philosopher, an economist, and a journalist. He was the founding vice-president of the Foundation for Economic Education and an early editor of The Freeman magazine, an important libertarian publication. Hazlitt wrote Economics in One Lesson, his seminal text on free market economics, in 1946, bringing his ideas and those of the so-called Austrian School to the American scene. His work has influenced the likes of economist Ludwig von Mises, novelist and essayist Ayn Rand, and 2008 Libertarian Party Presidential nominee and congressman, Ron Paul. Hazlitt has been cited as one of the most influential literary critics and economic writers of his time.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Freedom Just around the Corner

Freedom Just around the Corner: A New American History, 1585-1828
by Walter McDougall

The creation of the United States of America is the central event of the past four hundred years," states Walter McDougall in his preface to Freedom Just Around the Corner. With this statement begins McDougall's most ambitious, original, and uncompromising of histories. McDougall marshals the latest scholarship and writes in a style redolent with passion, pathos, and humour in pursuit of truths often obscured in books burdened with political slants.

With an insightful approach to the nearly 250 years spanning America's beginnings, McDougall offers his readers an understanding of the uniqueness of the "American character" and how this character has shaped the wide ranging course of historical events. McDougall explains that Americans have always been in a unique position of enjoying "more opportunity to pursue their ambition than any other people in history." Throughout Freedom Just Around the Corner the character of the American people shines, a character built out of a freedom to indulge in the whole panoply of human behaviour. The genius behind the success of the United States is founded on the complex, irrepressible American spirit.

A grand narrative rich with new details and insights about colonial and early national history, Freedom Just Around the Corner is the first instalment of a trilogy that will eventually bring the story of America up to the present day, a story epic, bemusing, and brooding.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Volume II

The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Volume II
by Edward Gibbon

Famous for its unflagging narrative power, fine organization, and irresistibly persuasive arguments, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire has earned a permanent place of honor in historical literature. Gibbon’s elegantly detached erudition is seasoned with an ironic wit, and remarkably little of his work is outdated.

This second volume covers 395 A.D. to 1185 A.D., from the reign of Justinian in the East to the establishment of the German Empire of the West. It recounts the desperate attempts to hold off the barbarians, palace revolutions and assassinations, theological controversy, lecheries and betrayals, all in a setting of phenomenal magnificence.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Finance

Finance: Applications and Theory
by Cornett / Adair / Nofsinger

While developing Finance: Applications & Theory, McGraw-Hill engaged professors in a number of activities to better understandt he goals, challenges, and successes involved in teaching the Undergraduate Corporate Finance course. We connected with more than 600 corporate finance instructors through reviews, focus groups, class tests, and course surveys. You spoke; we listened; and the result is a market-driven corporate finance book that will help students succeed in the classroom and in their careers.

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Conscience of a Libertarian

The Conscience of a Libertarian: Empowering the Citizen Revolution with God, Guns, Gambling and Tax Cuts
by Wayne Allyn Root

In today's turbulent economy, more and more people are growing concerned about their financial future and looking for answers that make sense. While the government attempts to "fix" the problems created by the credit crunch and subprime crisis, the fact is that in order to improve America's economic future, government intervention must be limited.

In The Conscience of a Libertarian, Libertarian Party vice presidential nominee and frontrunner for the 2012 Presidential nomination Wayne Allyn Root presents a passionate case for the dramatic overhaul of governmental programsand policies that are essential for the continued survival of the American Dream. Focusing on the need to shrink the size of government—including the elimination of the IRS—Root proposes the dramatic reduction of government spending, lowering entitlements, reducing bureaucracy, increasing market freedom, reducing the tax burden on all Americans, and an end to the nanny state among many other ideas.

Divided into four comprehensive parts—A Revolution Is Brewing, Let's Talk Money and Politics, Solutions for the Mess We Are In, and Protecting and Preserving Our Inalienable Civil Liberties—The Conscience of a Libertarian puts our current situation in perspective and reveals what it will take to overcome the enormous obstacles we face.

Throughout these pages, Root also shares his thoughts on what he believes the government should do to improve our situation—and bring money back to the American taxpayer—including: upgrade the education system on the state level; foster investment to provide workers with more capital; lower the income tax rate to empower Americans to save the money needed to invest in stocks, real estate, and business start-ups; encourage reasonable risk and entrepreneurship; and eliminate corporate welfare.

It's time for a new revolution, a Citizen Revolution led by a Citizen Politician. Just as our Founding Fathers intended, Root's goal is to give the power back to you, the citizens and taxpayers. Focusing in part on his home state of Nevada—which represents smaller government, has among the lowest tax rates in America, and continuously promotes personal and economic freedom—Root examines what happens when his principles are applied to state government, and reveals how the American Dream can survive and thrive during this current economic crisis.


Wayne Allyn Root is one of the most charismatic, fiery, outspoken, and controversial political personalities in America today. He was the 2008 Libertarian Party vice presidential nominee. A college classmate of Barack Obama at Columbia University, he is now the leading contender for the Libertarian presidential nomination in 2012. Root is the son of a butcher, small businessman, and homeschool dad—the quintessential "Citizen Politician" envisioned by America's Founding Fathers. A former anchorman and host on Financial News Network (now known as CNBC), his business and political careers have been profiled by CNBC, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and Time magazine, among others.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Colonial Wars

The Colonial Wars: 1689-1762
by Howard H. Peckham

Although the colonial wars consisted of almost continuous raids and skirmishes between the English and French colonists and their Indian allies and enemies, they can be separated into four major conflicts, corresponding to four European wars of which they were, in varying degrees, a part: King William's War (1689-97) (War of the League of Augsburg); Queen Anne's War (1702-13) (War of the Spanish Succession); King George's War (1744-48) (War of the Austrian Succession); and The French and Indian War (1755-62) (Seven Years' War).

Mr. Peckham chronicles the events of these wars, summarizing the struggle for empire in America among France, England, and Spain. He indicates how the colonists applied the experience they gained from fighting Indians to their engagements with European powers. And what they learned from the colonial wars they translated into a political philosophy that led to independence and self-government.

The ready involvement of the colonies in European ambitions, the success and failure of co-operation between colony and mother country, the efforts of the English colonies together, and the growing differences between them and Britain give the narrative continuity and rising excitement.

The Last Tsar

The Last Tsar: The Life And Death Of Nicholas II
by Edvard Radzinsky

Historians have long believed that Lenin personally ordered the murder of Czar Nicholas II and his family in July 1918; this contradicts the official Soviet version, in which Siberian Bolsheviks ordered the executions without Moscow's clearance. Radzinsky, a Russian playwright, adds many valuable pieces to the jigsaw puzzle in an hour-by-hour reconstruction of the slaying, based on royal diaries and newly uncovered eyewitness accounts from the executioners. The author unearthed the testimony of Lenin's bodyguard, who said that Lenin had ordered him to destroy a secret telegram (and its transmittal ribbon), which contained the top Bolshevik's order to carry out the executions. Oral testimony by a soldier who participated in the killings, given decades later to an informant whom Radzinsky interviewed, alleges that two bodies were missing from the truck that took the executed royal family to an unmarked grave; this will fuel speculation that Anastasia and Alexei, heir to the throne, survived the fatal night. Using the diaries of Czar Nicholas and Empress Alexandra, Radzinsky also presents a fragmentary account of Romanov family life, their kidnapping and the abortive plots to save them.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
by Benjamin Franklin

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin is one of the most important and influential works in American history. It tells the story of Franklin's life from his humble beginnings to his emergence as a leading figure in the American colonies. In the process, it creates a portrait of Franklin as the quintessential American. Because of the book, Franklin became a role model for future generations of Americans, who hoped to emulate his rags to riches story. The Autobiography has also become one of the central works not just for understanding Franklin but for understanding America.

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) was a man of many roles-printer, author, philosopher, scientist, inventor, diplomat, and politician to name only a few. He lived a wide and varied life and found himself at the center of virtually every major event involving America during the second half of the eighteenth century. He was so successful as a businessman that he was able to retire at the age of 42. He proved equally adept at science, and his experiments in electricity made him the most famous American in the colonies. Politics and diplomacy occupied him for most of the latter half of his life.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Becoming Mexican American

Becoming Mexican American: Ethnicity, Culture, and Identity in Chicano Los Angeles, 1900-1945
by George J. Sanchez
Twentieth-century Los Angeles has been the locus of one of the most profound and complex interactions between variant cultures in American history. Yet this study is among the first to examine the relationship between ethnicity and identity among the largest immigrant group to that city. By focusing on Mexican immigrants to Los Angeles from 1900 to 1945, George J. Sánchez explores the process by which temporary sojourners altered their orientation to that of permanent residents, thereby laying the foundation for a new Mexican-American culture. Analyzing not only formal programs aimed at these newcomers by the United States and Mexico, but also the world created by these immigrants through family networks, religious practice, musical entertainment, and work and consumption patterns, Sánchez uncovers the creative ways Mexicans adapted their culture to life in the United States. When a formal repatriation campaign pushed thousands to return to Mexico, those remaining in Los Angeles launched new campaigns to gain civil rights as ethnic Americans through labor unions and New Deal politics. The immigrant generation, therefore, laid the groundwork for the emerging Mexican-American identity of their children.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Inhuman Bondage

Inhuman Bondage: The Rise and Fall of Slavery in the New World
by David Brion Davis

Winner of a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award, David Brion Davis has long been recognized as the leading authority on slavery in the Western World. Now, in Inhuman Bondage, Davis sums up a lifetime of insight in this definitive account of New World slavery.

The heart of the book looks at slavery in the American South, describing black slaveholding planters, the rise of the Cotton Kingdom, the daily life of ordinary slaves, the highly destructive slave trade, the sexual exploitation of slaves, the emergence of an African-American culture, and much more. But though centered on the United States, the book offers a global perspective spanning four continents. It is the only study of American slavery that reaches back to ancient foundations and also traces the long evolution of anti-black racism in European thought. Equally important, it combines the subjects of slavery and abolitionism as very few books do, and it connects the actual life of slaves with the crucial place of slavery in American politics, stressing that slavery was integral to America's success as a nation—not a marginal enterprise.

A definitive history by a writer deeply immersed in the subject, Inhuman Bondage offers a compelling portrait of the dark side of the American dream.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Migrations and Cultures

Migrations and Cultures: A World View
by Thomas Sowell

Migrations and Cultures goes beyond the political view of immigration and presents the whole phenomena of migration and immigration and the major role it plays in the general advancement of the human race.

Most commentators look at the issue of immigration from the viewpoint of immediate politics. In doing so, they focus on only a piece of the issue and lose touch with the larger picture. Now Thomas Sowell offers a sweeping historical and global look at a large number of migrations over a long period of time. Migrations and Cultures shows the persistence of cultural traits, in particular racial and ethnic groups, and the role these groups’ relocations play in redistributing skills, knowledge, and other forms of “human capital.” answers the question: What are the effects of disseminating the patterns of the particular set of skills, attitudes, and lifestyles each ethnic group has carried forth—both for the immigrants and for the host countries, in social as well as economic terms?

Thomas Sowell has taught economics at a number of colleges and universities, including Cornell, University of California Los Angeles, and Amherst. He has published both scholarly and popular articles and books on economics, and is currently a scholar in residence at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Volume I

The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Volume I
by Edward Gibbon

British parliamentarian and soldier Edward Gibbon (1737-1794) conceived of his plan for Decline and Fall while "musing amid the ruins of the Capitol" on a visit to Rome. For the next 10 years he worked away at his great history, which traces the decadence of the late empire from the time of the Antonines and the rise of Western Christianity. "The confusion of the times, and the scarcity of authentic memorials, pose equal difficulties to the historian, who attempts to preserve a clear and unbroken thread of narration," he writes. Despite these obstacles, Decline and Fall remains a model of historical exposition, and required reading for students of European history.

Gibbon’s masterpiece, which narrates the history of the Roman Empire from the second century a.d. to its collapse in the west in the fifth century and in the east in the fifteenth century, is widely considered the greatest work of history ever written. This first volume covers the last two hundred years of the Roman Empire leading up to its collapse.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Paper Money

Paper Money
by George Goodman writing as "Adam Smith"

In the 1970s, the world economy suffered heavily from brutal spikes in the oil price.
One of the culprits was OPEC, which was formed on the model of the 'Texas Railroad Commission'.
The rise in the oil price provoked an enormous wealth transfer from the oil consuming to the oil producing countries.
Moreover, the oil consuming countries were confronted with the choice between higher taxes or printing money and chose for the latter. But in the US, the bill of the Vietnam War was still not paid. It all ended in stagflation, a mighty drop of the dollar (`my swissies') and a real estate bust.

Adam Smith gives us also a brilliant course on the origin of banks and money.

This book reads like a thriller and is a must read for all those interested in the economy of the 1970s in the West.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

American Literature

American Literature: A study of the men and the books that in the earlier and later times reflect the American spirit
by William J. Long

While the New England colonies have often been regarded as the centerpiece of early American literature, the first North American settlements had been founded elsewhere many years earlier. Many towns are older than Boston, such as Saint Augustine, Jamestown, Santa Fe, Albany, and New York. Furthermore, English was not the only language in which early North American texts were written. The eventual emergence of the English language was hardly inevitable. The large initial immigration to Boston in the 1630s, the high articulation of Puritan cultural ideals, and the early establishment of a college and a printing press in Cambridge all gave New England a substantial edge. However, political events eventually would make English the lingua franca for the colonies at large as well as the literary medium of choice. One such event is the conquering of New Amsterdam by the English in 1664, which was renamed New York. The first item printed in Pennsylvania was in German although it issued from the press established by an immigrant Englishman, and was the largest book printed in any of the colonies before the American Revolution.

The printing press was active in many areas, from Cambridge and Boston to New York, Philadelphia, and Annapolis. From 1696 to 1700, only about 250 separate items were issued in all these places combined. This is a small number compared to the output of the printers in London at the time. However, printing was established in the American colonies before it was allowed in most of England. In England restrictive laws had long confined printing to four locations: London, York, Oxford, and Cambridge. Because of this, the colonies ventured into the modern world earlier than their provincial English counterparts.

Legion

Legion
by William Peter Blatty

Legion is a 1983 horror novel by William Peter Blatty, a sequel to The Exorcist. It was made into the movie The Exorcist III in 1990.

Like The Exorcist, it involves demonic possession. The name is derived from The Bible, particularly The Gospel of Luke, which describes Jesus traveling in the land of Gadarenes where he encounters a man possessed by Demons:

“ Jesus asked him, saying, "What is your name?" And he said, "Legion," because many devils had entered him. (Luke 8:30) ”

Or the more common quote on the incident, sometimes called the Gerasene Demoniac, from The Gospel of Mark:

“ And he asked him, "What is thy name?" And he answered, saying, "My name is Legion: for we are many." (Mark 5:9)

The story opens with the discovery of a twelve-year-old boy who has been murdered and crucified on a pair of rowing oars. Kinderman already sees that the boy is mutilated in a way identical to the victims of a serial killer known as the Gemini Killer, who was apparently shot to death by police twelve-years previously while climbing the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. A priest is later murdered in a confessional, once again bearing the mutilations distinctive of the apparently deceased killer. The fingerprints at the two crime scenes differ, however. Further victims soon follow, including one of Kinderman's friends, another priest, who is slain in a hospital, his body drained of blood before being decapitated. Yet again the Gemini Killer's mutilations are present.

In the end, the implication is that the Gemini Killer possessed the body of Damien Karras and spent many years trying to gain control of the body, during which time Karras was held in a mental hospital. He lacked any identification and was nicknamed Sunlight because he sat in the sun's rays as it passed through the window of his cell. Upon finally gaining control of Karras' body, the Gemini occasionally left it to possess the bodies of the patients suffering from senile dementia, and as they were in an open ward with access to the outside world, he could use them to go forth and commit murders. This is why the fingerprints of several senility patients were found at the crime scenes; their bodies carried out the murders but the Gemini Killer was in control of them.

The Exorcist

The Exorcist
by William Peter Blatty

The Exorcist is a horror novel written by William Peter Blatty. It is based on a 1949 exorcism of Robbie Mannheim that Blatty heard about while he was a student in the class of 1950 at Georgetown University, a Jesuit and Catholic school. Aspects of the novel are based upon an exorcism performed by the Jesuit priest, Fr. William S. Bowdern, who formerly taught at both St. Louis University and St. Louis University High School.

An elderly Jesuit priest named Father Lankester Merrin is leading an archaeological dig in northern Iraq and studying ancient relics. Following the discovery of a small statue of the demon Pazuzu (an actual ancient Sumerian demigod) and a modern-day St. Joseph medal curiously juxtaposed together at the site, a series of omens alerts him to a pending confrontation with a powerful evil, which unknown to the reader at this point, he has battled before in an exorcism in Africa. Meanwhile, in Georgetown, a young girl named Regan MacNeil living with her famous actress mother, Chris, becomes inexplicably ill. After a gradual series of poltergeist-like disturbances, she undergoes disturbing psychological and physical changes, appearing to become "possessed" by a demonic spirit.

After several unsuccessful psychiatric and medical treatments, Regan's mother turns to a local Jesuit priest. Father Damien Karras, who is currently going through a crisis of faith coupled with the loss of his mother, agrees to see Regan as a psychiatrist, but initially resists the notion that it is an actual demonic possession. After a few meetings with the child, now completely inhabited by a diabolical personality, he turns to the local bishop for permission to perform an exorcism on the child.

After consultation with the Jesuit president of Georgetown, the bishop appoints the experienced Merrin, recently returned to the States, to perform the exorcism and allows the doubt-ridden Karras to assist him. The lengthy exorcism tests the priests, both physically and spiritually. After the death of Merrin, the task ultimately restores Karras' faith, leading him to give his own life to save Regan's.

The Greatest Generation

The Greatest Generation
by Tom Brokaw

In this superb audiobook, Tom Brokaw goes out into America to tell - through the stories of individual men and women - the story of a generation, American's citizen heroes and heroines who came of age during the Great Depression and the Second World War and went on to bud modern America.

Tom Brokaw, a native of South Dakota, graduated from the University of South Dakota with a degree in political science. He began his journalism career in Omaha and Atlanta before joining NBC News in 1966. Brokaw was the White House correspondent for NBC News during Watergate, and from 1976 to 1981 he anchored Today on NBC. He's been the sole anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw since 1983. Brokaw has won every major award in broadcast journalism, including two DuPonts, a Peabody Award, and several Emmys. He lives in New York and Montana.