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Uncommon Grounds : The History of Coffee and How It Transformed Our World
Uncommon Grounds : The History of Coffee and How It Transformed Our World
by Mark Pendergrast
Edition: Hardcover
72 used & new from $0.01

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Informative, April 18, 2000
I found this book generally readable and informative - apparently well-researched, but not scholarly to the point of being burdensom. "Uncommon Grounds" is as much a history of consumerism in the United States, and to some degree the history of the global economy as it is a history of coffee. In many ways this book reminded me of "Made in America" by Bill Bryson.


Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies
Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies
by Jared Diamond
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.28
1245 used & new from $0.01

8 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars yeah, yeah, yeah..., April 3, 2000
Outside of the tedious repetition and somewhat pedantic style of writing, my primary issues with this book are: 1) Almost flippant references to anthropology and anthropological theory. Diamond makes it sound as it cultural anthropology is a transparent and non-complicated discipline (one need not even be educated in anthropology to write a best-selling book on the subject.) This is a familiar - in my opinion - mistaken view of professionals in the "hard sciences." 2) I disagree with the views that Diamond articulates in the final chapter - that history should (let alone can) become a science, and that this will enable people to make a better future. My opinion is that to successfully challenge racism require a change in the terms of the debate - which may mean getting away from "scientific" thinking altogether.


Memoirs of a Geisha: A Novel
Memoirs of a Geisha: A Novel
by Arthur Golden
Edition: Paperback
Price: $9.41
1362 used & new from $0.01

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An air of authenticity, March 24, 2000
As a novel, there is no question that "Memoirs" is extremely well-written, pursuasive and enjoyable. My opinion is that it is important to not confuse the feeling of authenticity with actual authenticity. Mineko Iwasaki's strong negative reaction to this book (which is based largely on the author's interviews with her) cannot be discounted out of hand.


Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West
Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West
by Gregory Maguire
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.88
1173 used & new from $0.01

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good airplane read., March 24, 2000
I found "Wicked" an enjoyable book to read: an interesting spin on an old story while making a point that is not all that deep (but nonetheless worthwhile). "Wicked" provides an attractive alternative to watching "The Wizard of Oz" while listening to "Dark Side of the Moon."


Seven Pillars of Wisdom: A Triumph (The Authorized Doubleday/Doran Edition)
Seven Pillars of Wisdom: A Triumph (The Authorized Doubleday/Doran Edition)
by T. E. Lawrence
Edition: Paperback
Price: $17.24
230 used & new from $0.01

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Uplifting..., March 24, 2000
"Seven Pillars" is both vibrant and introspective. Lawrence portrays his Arab acquaintances sensitively and his own exploits without pretense. This book is a must.


The Poisonwood Bible (Oprah's Book Club)
The Poisonwood Bible (Oprah's Book Club)
by Barbara Kingsolver
Edition: Paperback
835 used & new from $0.01

9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Required reading for international development professionals, March 1, 2000
This book should be required reading for humanitarian/international development professionals. Among many others, "Poisonwood" makes the point that the relevance of a particular worldview is ultimately tied to a very "real" time and place - and that to try to force a worldview on a time and place that it was not meant for can have unimaginable (and disasterous) results.
This is also an excellent travel book: One trans-Pacific flight with a layover or two should be enough to finish it off!


Made in America: An Informal History of the English Language in the United States
Made in America: An Informal History of the English Language in the United States
by Bill Bryson
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.40
201 used & new from $0.01

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars linguistics or history?, March 1, 2000
I found "Made in America" to be an enjoyable read. More of the book is taken up with historical contexts than etymologies, but very interesting and informative nonetheless. As one who is routinely irked by the tendency of many non-American native speakers of English to denigrate the way Americans talk and write, I appreciated the validation of American "English" as a dynamic and creative langue in its' own right.


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