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Death is the Place: Poems
Death is the Place: Poems
by William Bronk
Edition: Hardcover
24 used & new from $3.91

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A quiet collection, August 2, 2000
In this collection, American Book Award winner William Bronk write a series of very, very short sharp poems on a variety of subjects. Most of the poems are just two or three lines; a few of them are mildly humorous ("Reality is willing we should think / about it: no harm."). There are moments of striking beauty: "Summer is the deepness of trees." Many of the poems contemplate the meaning of death, and the relationship between man and the deity. These are serious poems, by a poet highly respected if somewhat unknown. While I would not recommend Bronk to anybody just falling in love with poetry, he is a wonderful acquaintance for those who have met the major poets and want a quiet corner to sit in and reflect. Nothing major here, but a nice place to visit.


Sun (Cahiers Ulysse, fin de siecle) (French Edition)
Sun (Cahiers Ulysse, fin de siecle) (French Edition)
by Michael Palmer
Edition: Paperback
8 used & new from $61.07

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Frustrating obscurities, August 2, 2000
A friend of mine once dreaded the arrival of any new book of poetry, because it would require learning an entirely new set of allusions and references before the poetry would make any sense. I know how she feels. Michael Palmer's "Sun" is a collection of poems full of obscure references to Stein, Derrida, Vallejo, and other high culture icons. Reading poetry really shouldn't be like consulting one's encyclopedia; even though I recognized most of Palmer's references, I enjoyed none of his poems. There are no sharp images that remain in the mind; there are no flashes of insight into human nature that will stay with me for the rest of my life. I was just exhausted after reading this collection, and not the good exhaustion one feels after reading Ezra Pound or T.S. Eliot. To quote Gertrude Stein, "There's no there, there."


Jonathan Edwards (New England writers series)
Jonathan Edwards (New England writers series)
by Perry Miller
Edition: Paperback
12 used & new from $0.93

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two first-rate minds confront each other, August 1, 2000
Jonathan Edwards was without a doubt the greatest theologian America ever produced. That he was also without a doubt the greatest philosopher colonial America ever produced shows what theology was once upon a time in America. Obsessed with returning American churches to its more devout Calvinist roots, Edwards began the Great Awakening in America, only to find himself cast out of his own pulpit for daring to challenge the social order of his church. Edwards deeply investigated the concept of free will, reconciling it as no other theologian had with the doctrines of predestination and divine omnipotence. But Edwards was also a figure of the Enlightenment, and applied Locke's rationalist doctrine of the senses to his preaching style, creating almost singlehandedly the fire-and-brimstone approach used to this day to terrify poor sinners into repentance. Perry Miller, the twentieth century's most dominant American intellectual historian, here explicates the life of Jonathan Edwards as no one has before or since: on the merit of his ideas. Miller was an atheist who spent his life studying American religious movements; this was one of his finest works. Not to be missed by anyone interested in the history of American religion or philosophy.


The Transcendentalists
The Transcendentalists
by Perry Miller
Edition: Hardcover
36 used & new from $0.96

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best anthology of the Transcendentalists, August 1, 2000
This review is from: The Transcendentalists (Hardcover)
Like its model, Miller's classic "The American Puritans," "The Transcendentalists" takes all the major texts of the Transcendentalist movement, excerpts out the most important parts, and frames them with Miller's brilliant comments to the subjects. As in his books on the Puritans, Perry Miller rides the subject like nobody before or since. Still the basic introduction to the writings, "The Transcendentalists" will serve anybody wanting to move beyond Emerson or Thoreau to the lesser-known members of the movement. While the ellipses can come to annoy those who want the complete texts, Miller's anthology is still worth reading, if only because this man was the century's greatest American intellectual historian. If you haven't read Miller, you're in for a long, difficult, rewarding journey, especially in his books on the Puritans. Without a doubt, an indispensable historian.


The American Puritans: Their Prose and Poetry
The American Puritans: Their Prose and Poetry
by Perry Miller
Edition: Paperback
Price: $28.80
56 used & new from $4.15

30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most influential colonial collection, August 1, 2000
Perry Miller -- who, regardless of what the credit on top says, was not the photographer in this pictureless collection, but the editor -- was the twentieth century's most towering colonial historian. Terrifying generation after generation of graduate students at Harvard, Miller was one of those people who knew absolutely everything about his subject: the American Puritans. A confirmed atheist, Miller spent his life exploring the lives of the most religious of all American groups. This anthology, which has been in print for the better part of half-a-century, is still the basic introduction to the subject in most schools. Taking excerpts on all the most important subjects, Miller introduces each with his own framework of ideas and connections; although the ellipses can come to annoy once you really get into the subject, there is still no good substitute for this collection. Indispensable to anybody wanting the primary texts of that most influential of all religious groups in America, the Puritans.


Sinatra! The Song is You: A Singer’s Art
Sinatra! The Song is You: A Singer’s Art
by Will Friedwald
Edition: Hardcover
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The music comes first, August 1, 2000
A century from now, nobody will care about the controversies of Sinatra's life. But the music will live on, as sure as the sun will rise and set. With the possible exception of Louis Armstrong, the twentieth century produced no greater interpreter of song than Frank Sinatra. When I was a teenager, Sinatra was this old guy who sang about New York. I didn't pay attention; I was ignorant of the amazing career. As an adult, I happened upon a copy of "Songs for Swinging Lovers" in a used cd bin -- and that was all it took. I have been a Sinatra fanatic ever since, particularly of the music he produced from the mid-fifties to early sixties. Will Friedwald is quickly emerging as the foremost writer on jazz singing; his book "The Jazz Singers" opened up whole new vistas of music for me. But "Sinatra!" is his masterpiece. He goes through the entire musical career, from start to finish, and quite simply, puts down on paper every single relevant fact, from the composition to the recording to the reception. It's a tour-de-force of writing which I have read cover-to-cover at least four times since I bought it when it came out. My only complaint? Mr. Friedwald, when are you going to do the same for Satchmo himself, Louis Armstrong? Until then, I'll just have to read this book -- again. Buy "Sinatra!" immediately -- you won't regret it.


The Annotated Sherlock Holmes: The Four Novels and Fifty-Six Short Stories Complete
The Annotated Sherlock Holmes: The Four Novels and Fifty-Six Short Stories Complete
by Arthur Conan Doyle
Edition: Hardcover
43 used & new from $9.98

24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A godsend for any Holmes fan, August 1, 2000
Sherlock Holmes has been an obsession of mine since adolescence. When I came across this relatively expensive set of books in junior high school, I ran home and did every chore in the world in my entire neighborhood for three straight days --and added up the dimes and quarters people would give me until I had enough to buy these two volumes. They have been with me ever since. For the first time, I understood what all those words were that I couldn't find in a dictionary, with illustrations and explanations. Even more amazing, I learned that Sherlock Holmes was a real person -- or at least, the editors of these books believed so! The product of a great generation of Holmes fanatics, this collection is full of the arguments over what each story means, what has been included by Dr. Watson, and what must have been left out to protect the innocent. The one truly indispensable volume for Holmes fans, "The Annotated Sherlock Holmes" is an unadulterated joy!


Inside the White House
Inside the White House
by Ronald Kessler
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
57 used & new from $0.01

17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Mix one part gossip, one part history, one part scandal rag, August 1, 2000
Ronald Kessler is out to shock. And shock he does: learning that Lyndon Johnson kept three secretaries on the payroll to supply him with sexual favors in the Oval Office was a more frightening enough display of presidential arrogance than anything Bill Clinton did. But Kessler is playing sloppy historian and journalist here. One cannot keep on making accusations about every single president in the last forty years, and then not identify the source beyond "a Secret Service Agent said." While there are a number of responsible citations by name, by not revealing his sources more concretely, Kessler violates the rules of the game: always get confirmation from more than one source, and always cite your sources. It's one thing to protect your sources for a daily newspaper, when exposing the source can get him fired or hurt. It's another thing to do it in a book that wants to be taken seriously as history. That said, this is the thinking person's version of the National Enquirer. You simply have to separate out what has been attributed to a reliable source, and what has been reported as hearsay. All in all, a guilty pleasure at its most reliable, and one best used as a source for stories to tell gullible friends. Another sign of our times, where the juiciness of the tale is the top priority.


Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonists and the Ecology of New England
Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonists and the Ecology of New England
by William Cronon
Edition: Paperback
182 used & new from $0.01

48 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly original work on the Puritans, August 1, 2000
At one point in my life, I read every single thing ever written on the Puritans; I was preparing for a dissertation that took me a year to prepare for, only to find somebody else published almost exactly what I was working on a month before I sat down to write. To this day, I have an inordinate fondness for books on the Puritans that mystifies my friends. Like all fans, I know everything there is to know about the subject at hand. So my joy in discovering "Changes in the Land" was in finding a book that told me much that I didn't know about the Puritans. William Cronon, a student of my favorite colonial historian Edmund Morgan, has come up with an excellent mix of ecology and anthropology, history and theology. The development of New England as a land separate from the Indians, and from their uses of the land, is one which resonates throughout American mythology. From the Pilgrims' first Thanksgiving (wherein their wholesale adoption of Indian agriculture kept them starving) to the wholesale abandonment of New England farms in the early 1800s due to their miniscule returns, Cronon covers all the bases. A truly fine read for anybody wishing to know more about the history of ecology, the dynamics of invasion, or the Puritans themselves.


The New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics
The New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics
by Brogan Preminger
Edition: Paperback
65 used & new from $1.77

33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The ulimate reference work for poetics, July 27, 2000
I love huge, exhaustive books like this. I hate not being able to find the answer to a question in under five minutes, and my library has dozens of books like this that make such searches easy (the internet is another fast tool, but very few websites have more than the most basic knowledge.) If you want to learn how to write poetry and learn prosody by hands-on examples, go read John Hollander's little masterpiece, "Rhyme's Reason." If you want fast biographical and literary references, go check out "Benet's Reader's Encyclopedia." But if you want the absolute last word on poetic forms and meters, with absolutely thorough histories of each subject, use this book. It's saved my critic's keister more than once in the classroom. As one of my professors said, a scholar is not somebody who knows all the answers: a scholar is somebody who knows how to find all the answers. This book is an indispensable reference tool for anybody seriously interested in poetry.
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