Archive for April, 2007

Jarhead – Anthony Swofford – Audio Book

April 30, 2007

Jarhead – Anthony Swofford : Anthony Swofford weaves his experiences in war with vivid accounts of boot camp, reflections on the mythos of the marines, and remembrances of battles with lovers and family.

When the U.S. Marines — or “jarheads” — were sent to Saudi Arabia in 1990 for the first Gulf War, Anthony Swofford was there. He lived in sand for six months, he was punished by boredom and fear, he considered suicide, pulled a gun on a fellow marine, and was targeted by both enemy and friendly fire. And as engagement with the Iraqis drew near, he was forced to consider what it means to be an American, a soldier, a son of a soldier, and a man.

In Jarhead, Anthony Swofford has written a memoir of his life, particularly his involvement as a Marine during the first Persian Gulf war. He explains how he experiences the “Marine culture”, boredom and terror altogether and realized that to become a man was more demanding than becoming a soldier.This book is in its way a contribution to the literature of combat. Not an easy read but worth it.

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Ugly Americans – Ben Mesrich – Audio Book

April 27, 2007

Ugly Americans – Ben Mesrich : Ugly Americans is the true story of John Malcolm, a Princeton graduate who traveled halfway around the world in search of the American dream and pulled off a trade that could be described as the biggest deal in the history of the financial markets.

Without speaking a word of Japanese, with barely a penny in his pocket, Malcolm was thrown into the bizarre life of an ex-pat trader. Surrounded by characters ripped right out of a Hollywood thriller, he quickly learned how to survive in a cutthroat world — at the feet of the biggest players the markets have ever known.

Malcolm was first an assistant trading huge positions for Nick Leeson, the rogue trader who brought down Barings Bank — the oldest in England. He was the right-hand man to an enigmatic and brilliant hedge-fund cowboy, Dean Carney, and grew into one of the biggest derivatives traders in all of Asia. Along the way, Malcolm fell in love with the daughter of a Yakuza gangster, built a vast fortune out of thin air, and came head to head with violent
Japanese mobsters. Malcolm and his twentysomething, Ivy League-schooled colleagues
rode the crashing waves of the Asian markets during the mid-to late 1990s, culminating in a single deal the likes of which had never been seen before, or since.

A real-life mixture of Liar’s Poker and Wall Street, brimming with intense action, romance,
underground sex, vivid locales, and exotic characters, Ugly Americans is the untold, true
story that will rock the financial community and redefine an era.

If this is a biography what would be a thriller compare to this story ! It’s unbelievable what
John Malcom did to reach the position he once had (or may be still have). In this book there is a mix of sex, money (of course), absolutly no moral, bad boys, and, and..I have to say that the author knows how to plot his story and that this book is a good read.

Bad Boy – Walter Dean Myers – Audio Book

April 25, 2007

Bad Boy – Walter Dean Myers : Into a memoir that is gripping, funny, heartbreaking, and unforgettable, Walter Dean Myers richly weaves the details of his Harlem childhood in the 1940s and 1950s: a loving home life with his adopted parents, Bible school, street games, and the vitality of his neighborhood.

Although Walter spent much of his time either getting into trouble or on the basketball court, secretly he was a voracious reader and an aspiring writer. But as his prospects for a successful future diminished, the values he had been taught at home, in school, and in his community seemed worthless, and he turned to the streets and his books for comfort.

Here in his own words is the story of one of the strongest voices in children’s and young adult literature today.

His glimpse into his own childhood in Harlem in the 40s is really valuable, fascinating and inspiring for the young adult and children. His anecdotes and his memories are a mixture of joke and seriousness. Its the story of a colorful and unforgettable childhood. A real powerful read.

Case for Democracy, The – Natan Sharansky with Ron Dermer – Audio Book

April 22, 2007

Case for Democracy, The – Natan Sharansky with Ron Dermer : In this brilliantly analytical yet personal book, non democratic societies are put under a microscope to reveal the mechanics of tyranny that sustain them. In exposing the inner workings of a “fear society,” the authors explain why democracy is not beyond any nation’s reach, why it is essential for our security, and why there is much that can be done to promote it around the world. Freedom, Sharansky claims, is rooted in the right to dissent, to walk into the town square and declare one’s views without fear of punishment or reprisal.

he authors persuasively argue that societies that do not protect that right can never be reliable partners for peace and that the democracy that hates us is much safer than the dictatorship that loves us.

Natan Sharansky is a former Soviet dissident and political prisoner who has spent his life championing democracy and freedom.

A case for Democracy is a fascinating book. You will love it and you will have as well an idea of how our world functions, of how dictatorial government think about themselves and about the democratic government too. You will have as well an idea of how to compose or deal with such dictatorial government to be able to reach peace because the democratic societies also need the moral clarity to dentify… evil !

No Room for Error – John T Carney and Benjamin F Schemmer – Audio Book

April 18, 2007

No Room for Error – John T Carney and Benjamin F Schemmer : When the U.S. Air Force decided to create an elite “special tactics” team in the late 1970s to work with special-operations forces, John T. Carney was the man they turned to. Since then Carney and the U.S. Air Force Special Tactics units have circled the world on clandestine missions.

They have combated terrorists nd overthrown dangerous dictators. They have suffered eighteen times the casualty rate of America’s conventional forces. But they have gotten the job done.

Now that he is retired, Colonel Carney finally explains what goes on in a special-operations forces. Very instructive – an real eye opener and must read / must listen book / audio book!

The Golden Mountain – Irene Kai – Audio Book

April 17, 2007

The Golden Mountain – Irene Kai : A journey back in time, The Golden Mountain is the gripping story of four generations of Chinese women who live and die under the restrictions of their cultureexcept for one, the author. Her story tells of growing up in Hong Kong and of her transition to New York City where she struggled to meld the American dream with her ethnic background. Finally, at age fifty, she dares to move into the present and understand the true nature of dreams and what it means to live.

Spanning continents, generations, immigrations, cultural changes, and social movements, The Golden Mountain is the deeply inspiring tale of a woman claiming her power.

How difficult it is to try to mix two cultures, to desperatly want to understand the new land in which one lives and at the same time not forget ones roots ! A very compelling story.

Storyteller’s Daughter – Saira Shah – Audio Book

April 16, 2007

Storyteller’s Daughter – Saira Shah : Born in Britain, Saira Shah was inspired by her father’s dazzling stories to rediscover the now lost life their forebears knew for 900 years within sight of orchards, snow-topped mountains, and the minarets of Kabul. This is Saira
— part sophisticated and sensitive Western liberal, part fearless (even fierce) life-gulping Afghan, falling in love with her ancestral myth, chasing Afghanistan.

Saira, at 21, becoming a correspondent at the front during the war between the soviets and the Afghan resistance. Then Saira, self-imprisoned in a burqa, risking her life to film Beneath the Veil — her acclaimed record of the devastation of women’s lives by the Taliban. Saira discovering her extended family, discovering a world of gorgeous family ritual, of community, of male primacy, of arranged marriages, finding at last the (now war-ravaged) family seat, discovering at last what she wants and what she rejects of her compelling heritage.

An extremely poignant, vibrating book, describing how life was in Afghanistan ….. before all that ! I found it fascinating.

Banker to the Poor: Micro-Lending and the Battle against World Poverty – Muhammad Yunus – Audio Book

April 15, 2007

Banker to the Poor: Micro-Lending and the Battle against World Poverty – Muhammad Yunus : In 1983, Muhammad Yunus established Grameen, a bank devoted to providing the poorest of Bangladesh with miniscule loans. Believing that credit is a basic human right, not the privilege of a few, Yunus aimed to support that spark of personal initiative and enterprise by which the poor might lift themselves out of poverty forever. Grameen Bank now provides over 2.5 billion dollars of micro-loans to more than two million families in rural Bangladesh. Ninety-four percent of Yunus’s clients are women, and repayment rates are nearly 100 percent.

In Banker to the Poor, Yunus traces the journey that led him to rethink the economic relationship between rich and poor and recounts the challenges he faced in founding Grameen. He provides wise, hopeful guidance for anyone who would like to join him in the burgeoning world movement of micro-lending to eradicate world poverty.

It seems so easy and we are asking us:”Why the bankers or the loans societies did not think of it earlier”. Listen to this audio book and you will have part of the answer.

Great Explorers – David Angus – Audio Book

April 12, 2007

Great Explorers – David Angus : Here are the stories of nine great adventures and the lives of the men who took part in them. They pushed back the frontiers of man’s knowledge of the world by their vision, courage and sheer doggedness. They were very different people – from bold adventurers facing the unknown with enjoyment to careful, more scientific individuals. Their journeys are placed within their historical context, but also contain the words of the men themselves.

Where would we be without these men? I love biography and I thought that I knew already “a lot” about these men. How wrong was I : I simply was gready to listen this audio book till the end.