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James Madison and the Spirit of Republican Self-Government
James Madison and the Spirit of Republican Self-Government
by Colleen A. Sheehan
Edition: Paperback
Price: $25.76
76 used & new from $0.77

5.0 out of 5 stars A gift Outright, December 1, 2015
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Colleen Sheehan's book on James Madison offers a wonderfully refreshing view of what it was like to be an active American early in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Her introduction, where she quotes from Robert Frost's poem "The Gift Outright," reminds us of the sense of gratitude felt by those just realizing that this land was indeed a gift, a gift for which we owned enormous gratitude. And gratitude, need I remind anyone, seems sadly out of fashion these days.
I had just been looking over some of Van Wick Brooks essays and F. O. Matthiessen's American Renaissance, and of course they all come together with the founders like Madison....once upon a time this was all part of "American Studies," an inspiring curriculum back in the 1960s and 1970s.
I am a literature person, not a political historian, so the earnestness of Brooks and Matthiessen was infectious for me. Like Madison, they knew that America was special, that the now discarded writers of their time--Longfellow, Holmes, Cooper, Hawthorne, Emerson, Melville, were worth taking seriously because they were so serious thenmselves. Even the gloomy Melville understood that America was a special gift to those who could survive the early, difficult years. We may have been haunted in those strange, distant days, but we were not hopeless. Our regionalism was real but instructive. Everyone seemed to be on the same very exciting train ride, although perspectives differed tremendously.
It was nice for me to be reminded by Dr. Sheehan's intelligent and accessible narrative that so many people--not just the writers--caught that same sense of discovery and excitement. Madison, Hamilton, and others like them can help us to recall what it was like to live in that ragged but brilliant period. The understanding of these times, and the knowledge that all this was part of our own heritage is more than nostalgic--that, too, is a gift outright.


The Crazy Ladies.
The Crazy Ladies.
by Joyce Elbert
Edition: Hardcover
3 used & new from $5.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, September 19, 2015
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This review is from: The Crazy Ladies. (Hardcover)
good job with a tough book to find. ....


Homer on Life and Death (Clarendon Press Paperbacks)
Homer on Life and Death (Clarendon Press Paperbacks)
by Jasper Griffin
Edition: Paperback
Price: $51.38
130 used & new from $5.55

5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, September 19, 2015
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good job with a tough book to find..


Collected Essays of Aldous Huxley
Collected Essays of Aldous Huxley
by Aldous Huxley
Edition: Hardcover

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars good job., September 19, 2015
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a tough book to find. good job.


The Magic School Bus: The Complete Series
The Magic School Bus: The Complete Series
DVD ~ Lily Tomlin
Price: $34.99
34 used & new from $28.96

5.0 out of 5 stars good, September 19, 2015
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prompt, as advertised. good work


A Critical Introduction to Don Quixote
A Critical Introduction to Don Quixote
by Miguel De Cervantes Saavedra
Edition: Paperback
Price: $38.95
31 used & new from $24.00

5.0 out of 5 stars This is a classic of scholarship, written by a ..., June 30, 2015
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This is a classic of scholarship, written by a man who has devoted much of his life to thinking about Cervantes. He is wise, he is thoughtful, you will learn much from him. There is nothing more to say.


Speed Kings
Speed Kings
by A. C. Bull
Edition: Hardcover
28 used & new from $12.24

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a brilliantly written and researched book about a subject you never ..., June 30, 2015
This review is from: Speed Kings (Hardcover)
This is a brilliantly written and researched book about a subject you never thought you would care about. But you will. It is about good people, courageous. people, not quite perfect people, but the kind of people you wish you knew more of.
The four idealistic young men you will encounter here entered the first winter Olympic games in 1932 held at Lake Placid and won the Gold Medal. Their victory was pure improvisation. But they did so much more. and at a time--between the two World Wars--when the world was changing perhaps more completely than at any time in western history. This is a period Americans know too little about. Billy Fiske, a wealthy young American and the leader of the team, parted from his stunningly beautiful wife to join the RAF to fight for Britain in 1939. He was commissioned in March of 1940. A month later he was killed.
Andy Bull has a great deal to say, but he does not waste your time. His voice will get under your skin. In many many ways, this is a most remarkable book.


6 Classic Albums - Mel Powell
6 Classic Albums - Mel Powell
Price: $23.79
35 used & new from $6.68

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars better than great, May 21, 2015
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better than great. Powell is amazingly underrated--probably because he is not in the bop tradition. But he was a most versatile genius.


Silent Suspect
Silent Suspect
Price: $3.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Worth Your While..., May 21, 2015
This review is from: Silent Suspect (Kindle Edition)
Tony Hawthorne has written a wonderful novel--a legal thriller--and I urge you to devote the short time you will need to read it.
The author has spent his life as a lawyer, a profession which demands that a stories be told well. Hopefully, he can present a tidy, sensible narrative in which the client appears to be a reasonable individual, seeking only what is his due. From apparent conflict and disorder, order must emerge. And yes, the world at the end of this story is a good and reasonable one, although far from perfect. To me, it is both flattering and amazing that a writer will devote so much effort perfecting a work that appears so effortless and can be read in just a few hours.
Years ago, when Mr. Hawthorne was a boy, Edmund Wilson wrote two essays in the New Yorker magazine attacking the genre of the detective story ("Why Do People Read Detective Stores?" and "Who Cares Who Killed Roger Akroid?", 1945). Detective stories were very fashionable then, but, Wilson concluded, they were dull, degrading to the intellect, a waste of time in a world with so many fine books to read. Hawthorne has none of these faults; Wilson, were he alive, would love this book.


Common Core: Yea & Nay (Encounter Broadside)
Common Core: Yea & Nay (Encounter Broadside)
by Sol Stern
Edition: Paperback
Price: $6.85
46 used & new from $2.76

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Answer is "Nay", December 15, 2014
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This is a an admirable book for three reasons:
1) The issue is important
2) Both sides are presented
3) The conclusion is obvious...,.Common Core, Nay
Sad but true, the "Yea" case is basically dishonest. Common Core was not designed to raise standards, but to lower them and at the same time to produce higher testing scores, thereby creating the illusion of success. Thus, part of the Core's appeal to its advocates is that it transfers so much power to the Educational Testing Service--and all other test writers and educational advisers--while diluting the curriculum. This is just as true for math as it is for reading and history. The advocates are educational careerists, and huge money has already been made--with more to follow--by selling advisory and testing services to publishers, schools, and other institutions (like ETS) that either stand to benefit or become part of the new educational apparatus. If you are looking for a villain, start with David Coleman, recently made quite wealthy through his advocacy of Common Core, now president of ETS. But of course there are many culprits.
The "Nay" case deals directly with this issue by explaining how and why Common Core never was a good idea, but surely is a sneaky idea. Common Core also has a strong ideological bias which drives advocates. It is far more about a national ideological curriculum than it is about standards--I have seen some of the actual tests, and they are not good. President Obama and Secretary of Education Duncan are leading this charge, but many others of both political parties have joined them. If you read about the recent proposals for Advanced Placement American History you will understand the ideological shift intended. The soft bigotry of low expectations is at work in Common Core, and one can only hope that the push-back coming from the states and the teachers that must work with this new curriculum show some level of success.
For outside reading (or watching her televised testimonies) I recommend Sandra Stotsky, a genuine expert on the subject.


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