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Rodrigo Salazar: A Warrior's Tale
Rodrigo Salazar: A Warrior's Tale
Price: $3.99

5.0 out of 5 stars As Good As Anything by Robert Louis Stevenson, February 20, 2014
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If you grew up as I did as a glutton for the historical adventure novels of Robert Louis Stevenson (Kidnapped, Treasure Island) or those non-Sherlock tales by Arthur Conan Doyle (The White Company)you will find this story of a slave boy who fights his way into the nobility of 10th Century Iberia to be a welcome new classic of the genre. On at least two counts, the story of Rodrigo Salazar is more than a rival of the ripping yarns of our youth, it is superior. Author Ballentine knows his medieval Spain with an expert's grasp of the fractured politics of the Christian north and southern Spain where the Muslim Caliph dwelt. He also knows what the disorganized melee of armed combat is like with its sweat, confusion and fear. He weaves both the history and the battle drama seamlessly with a practiced narrative that draws the reader along, informing even as it thrills. What a treat!.


Born Into the Dance: (the story of Bella, a very persistent, clumsy and tiny grizzly bear)
Born Into the Dance: (the story of Bella, a very persistent, clumsy and tiny grizzly bear)
by Lisa Sharon
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.95
3 used & new from $11.95

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just Right for the Ballerina on your gift list, November 20, 2013
This charming, light-hearted and whimsically illustrated book is the solution to my Christmas choice for my two seven-year-old nieces who are determined prima ballerinas. You can't go wrong.


Browne's Guide to Hacks
Browne's Guide to Hacks
by John McCaughey
Edition: Paperback
Price: $24.95
10 used & new from $14.95

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fleet Street; Lampooned--and Celebrated, March 31, 2013
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Do you savor accounts of the seedy (very real) side of the craft of journalism? Do you enjoy the films made out of Ben Hecht's stage play "Front Page" (including the gender-bender version "His Girl Friday")? Do you cherish your well-thumbed copies of Evelyn Waugh's "Scoop" and Lawrence Durell's "Antrobus" series.?
Then hasten to add "Browne's Guide to Hacks" to your collection. This witty, acerbic and thoroughly enjoyable satire lampoons and also celebrates the then craft of newspaper reporting and its often eccentric practicioners as they scrambled, connived and drank their way through the kaleidoscope world of axe-murders in suburbia, insurrections in Africa and general worldwide mayhem.
The setting is London's Fleet Street newspaper district in that brassy age of from the Fifties through the early Eighties but it could easily be fitted into any of the American big city newspaper centers before the sligtly seedy craft of newspapering became the pompous profession of Journalism. The format follows Durrell's "Antrobus" series of vignettes in which the narrator is being regaled at a London club bar by an older journo-hack (to be called a hack was high praise in those days).
Author John McCaughey knew whereof he wrote. For many years he was a foreign desk editor on the prestigious Financial Times of London before he transferred to Washington, DC to become an equally prominent editor and columnist covering energy news. This slim volume properly can be called a roman a' clef for many of the characters are only thinly disguised versions of some very real eccentrics who never let the hunt for a good story interfere with a good drink.
In fact, having a good beverage of your choice at hand will be the perfect compliment as you laugh your way through this delight. Cheers!


Words from the White House: Words and Phrases Coined or Popularized by America's Presidents
Words from the White House: Words and Phrases Coined or Popularized by America's Presidents
by Paul Dickson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $14.39
61 used & new from $0.01

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Presidents as Wordsmiths, February 8, 2013
You could furnish a pretty good library with the more than fifty books written by the eclectic Paul Dickson over the last five decades. The breadth of his interests is astonishingly wide--books on the space program, electronic warfare and ice cream jostle for shelf space with his two main areas of expertise---baseball and words. His baseball dictionary is now the standard work; his biograohy (last year) of baseball icon Bill Veeck has been a prize winner already. But Dickson's passion above all is for the English language-more specifcally the American version of English which these days is driving the international use of the language even in Great Britain. Words from the White House is a thoroughly researched, cheerfully written meditation on how important U.S. Presidents from George Washinton onwards have been in creating new words and new usages for our common tongue.
Get it. Read it. Laugh with Dickson's sly wit while you do.


The First Mormon Candidate
The First Mormon Candidate
Price: $0.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Political Time Capsule With a Message for Today, September 17, 2012
Thomas Allen gives us further proof of why he is one of our most versatile history writers in this tightly written, fascinating reminder that American politics is not always what the two major parties say it is. In taking us back past Mitt Romney (and his presidential candidate father George), Allen graphically shows how Mormon Church founder Joseph Smith transformed what began as just another 19th Century religious cult into a major force in the American Protestant movement and, in 1844, into a major force in American politics through his own ill-fated campaign for the Presidency. Allen makes clear that "hot button" political issues are not unique to today's brawling election cycle. Smith's controversial stands on divisive issues ranging from abolition of slavery to polygamy were just two points of contention that sparked bloody violence that drove Smith and his followers ever westward to their ultimate sanctuary in Utah. With Allen's usual narrative gifts on display this is a timely story and a compelling one.


Northwest Washington, D.C.:: Tales from West of the Park
Northwest Washington, D.C.:: Tales from West of the Park
by Mark N. Ozer
Edition: Paperback
Price: $17.02
23 used & new from $14.72

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Welcome Addition for Washington Buffs, August 6, 2011
Dr. Mark Ozer is fast becomming the best current historian of Washington, D.C.'s many colorful neighborhoods. As with his previous offerings on Washington, D.C.'s Politics and Places and on the Massachusetts Avenue boulevard, Ozer combines well written observations on the geography, architecture and biography of the important Northwest Washington quadrant that sweeps west of Rock Creek Park to encompass Georgetown and other storied enclaves. What's valuable about these books is that they can double as a tour guide or be read at leisure at home with equal profit. Add this one to your shelf.


To Burgundy and Back Again: A Tale Of Wine, France, And Brotherhood
To Burgundy and Back Again: A Tale Of Wine, France, And Brotherhood
by Roy Cloud
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.13
84 used & new from $0.01

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is more than a book about wine., July 2, 2011
I confess a double prejudice: I love a well-written story about complex relationships. And I love the complex variety of the wines of Burgundy. So I was predisposed to like To Burgundy and Back Again; but I was surprised to find that not only did I thoroughly enjoy the accessibly conversational writing style, but I find I now keep the book with my stack of other wine guides as a ready reference work for planning a meal. The storyline of two brothers on a journey of mutual discovery is warming without being cloying and the back story about the evolution of wine drinking (and buying) here in America is (you should pardon the expression ) food for thought. This book is a lot like Burgundy itself, something to be savored.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 28, 2012 9:52 AM PDT


WASHINGTON, D.C.: POLITICS AND PLACE: THE HISTORICAL GEOGRAPHY OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
WASHINGTON, D.C.: POLITICS AND PLACE: THE HISTORICAL GEOGRAPHY OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
by Mark N. Ozer
Edition: Paperback
Price: $18.01
30 used & new from $9.69

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Splendid Guide to Washington, D.C.'s Places and History, May 11, 2011
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This is a welcome addition to Mark Ozer's illuminating look at storied Massachusetts Avenue that was published a year ago. In this splendid guide to Washington, DC's places and history, Ozer walks the reader at a brisk, always illuminating, pace through the early days of the capital city's beginnings as a political compromise through its evolution from provincial backwater to world power center. As in his previous outing, Ozer uses the changing architecture of Washington's various neighborhoods as trail markers to chart the community's progress. This is a book to hand to your tourist visitors or to take along yourself on a ramble through unexplored parts of the city.
James Srodes


Massachusetts Avenue in the Gilded Age:: Palaces and Privilege
Massachusetts Avenue in the Gilded Age:: Palaces and Privilege
by Mark N. Ozer
Edition: Paperback
16 used & new from $14.95

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the book for the Washington,DC tourist or local historian., May 4, 2011
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This is a gem of a book made to order for the visitor to Washington, DC who is looking for traces of its old Beaux-Arts glory amid the glass and concrete government squalor, or for the local resident who wants to learn who lived where on one of the main thoroughfares of the city. It has all the photographs one needs to traverse the length of Massachusetts Avenue, and the writing is accessible and entertaining as well as thoroughly researched. While one can spend a great deal more for coffee table architecture books that don't inform as well, you can't beat this book or its affordable price, which makes it both a keeper and a great gift.
James Srodes


Slipping the Moorings
Slipping the Moorings
by Susan McCallum-Smith
Edition: Hardcover
12 used & new from $9.94

5.0 out of 5 stars The New Alice Munro, July 17, 2009
This review is from: Slipping the Moorings (Hardcover)
What we have here is a sampler, akin to what young ladies in previous centuries used to produce with needle-point creations that displayed the variety of stitches in their repertoire. So there are nods to John Cheever, Jorege Luis Borges, and even Graham Greene's Brighton Rock, but each with a darker palate and a sharper edge to them I defy anyone to read without laughing out loud "Letting George Down," a Munro send-up about a man who climbs the television antenna atop Montreal's old Canadin Pacific Telegraph tower to get a better reception for his Canadienes hockey game.
The trouble is these comparisons don't do McCallum-Smith justice. Behind the dark atmosphere of some of her plots wild laughter lurks waiting to burst out. Some of her characters are bad people but we reocgnize them and understand the difference between the ones who are really bad and those who, like us, often don't understand what's relaly going on. While the landscape ranges over different lands and periods her stories are about very real people who confront familiar problems and reach for imperfect solutions that never quite work out as the reader expects. The solution reached by the woman who wants to get pregnant but whose husband is in jail is worth the price of the book itself.
Buy this book. Buy two, give one as a gift.


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