Archive for the ‘Biography’ Category

Newjack – Ted Conover – Audio Book

November 19, 2007

Newjack – Ted Conover : Guarding Sing Sing is the story of Conover’s rookie year as a guard at Sing Sing. It is a nerve-jangling account of his passage into the storied prison and the culture of its guards – both fresh-faced “newjacks” like Conover and brutally hardened veterans. As he struggles to be a good officer, Conover angers inmates, dodges blows, works to balance decency with toughness, and participates in prison rituals – strip frisks, cell searches, cell “extractions” – that exact a toll on inmates and officers alike.

The tale begins with the corrections academy and ends with the flames and smoke of New Year’s Eve on Conover’s floor of the notorious B-Block. Along the way, Conover also recounts the history of Sing Sing, from draconian early punishment, to fame as the citadel of capital punishment, to its present status as New York State’s “bottom of the barrel” prison.

This book will become a landmark of American journalism – the definitive presentation of the impasse between the need to imprison criminals and the dehumanization of inmates and guards – that almost inevitably takes place behind bars.

“Newjack is an astonishing work by a gifted – and dedicated – journalist. Ted Conover takes us into the dangerous, sad, amusing and instructive soul of one of America’s best known prisons.” — Tom Brokaw

For the first time, I am not able to write down what I think myself about this book for it has been said in many ways by great journalists and in a much better way than what I would have been able to write. Below is what they had to say abizut this brilliant book:

“Compelling…. Fascinating…. ‘Newjack’ is an important cautionary tale…. Conover is to be commended for having the chops to venture where few others would dare to go.” The Los Angeles Times

“Profoundly eye-opening….He brilliantly demonstrates how life in prison brutalizes both the kept and their keepers.” Chicago Sun Times

“This book takes a reader inside one of the many locked doors of America’s penal system. It is clear-eyed and sympathetic, intelligent and engrossing. It reminded me of some of George Orwell’s admirable journalism.” Tracy Kidder

“Those who craft theories and make policy must read this book if they are to understand how those theories and policies affect people …” San Diego Union Tribune

“A devastating chronicle of the toll prison life takes on the prisoners and the keepers of the keys. You can’t get more inside than this … Conover brilliantly conveys the confusion and frustration of trying to use the lessons of the Academy [for training guards] in a real-time situation.” Minneapolis Star Tribune

Listen to the sound sample of this great book here: Newjack – Ted Conover- Audio Book


General Ike – John Eisenhower – Audio Book

November 13, 2007

General Ike – John Eisenhower : John S.D. Eisenhower modestly explains General Ike as “a son’s view of a great military leader — highly intelligent, strong, forceful, kind, yet as human as the rest of us.” It is that, and more: a portrait of the greatest Allied military leader of the Second World War, by the man who knew Ike best.

General Ike is a book that John Eisenhower always knew he had to write, a tribute from an affectionate and admiring son to a great father. John chose to write about the “military Ike,” as opposed to the “political Ike,” because Ike cared far more about his career in uniform than about his time in the White House. A series of portraits of Ike’s relations with soldiers and statesmen, from MacArthur to Patton to Montgomery to Churchill to de Gaulle, reveals the many facets of a talented, driven, headstrong, yet diplomatic leader. Taken together, they reveal a man who was brilliant, if flawed; naïve at times in dealing with the public, yet who never lost his head when others around him were losing theirs.

Above all, General Ike was a man who never let up in the relentless pursuit of the  destruction of Hitler.

Here for the first time are eyewitness stories of General Patton showing off during military exercises; f Ike on the verge of departing for Europe and assuming command of the Eastern Theater; of Churchill tewing and lobbying Ike in his “off hours.” Faced with giant personalities such as these men and acArthur, not to mention difficult allies such as de Gaulle and Montgomery, Ike nevertheless managed to ull together history’s greatest invasion force and to face down a determined enemy from Normandy to the ulge and beyond. John Eisenhower masterfully uses the backdrop of Ike’s key battles to paint a portrait of his father and his relationships with the great men of his time.

General Ike is a ringing and inspiring testament to a great man by an accomplished historian. It is also  personal portrait of a caring, if not always available, father by his admiring son. It is history at its best.

John Eisenhower doesn’t just “copy” other historians works borned years after the war – he writes about he great military and political laeders of the war whom he met personally during war. To read only the chapter about his own father is worth reading the book.

People with a military background in particular will enjoy this book. All Americans should read this ook. So, I highly recommend this book to all who admire Eisenhower, who admire a well-written historical prose.

And when someone like Marshall said to Ike Einsnhower : “You have commanded with outstanding success the ost powerful military force that has ever been assembled. You have made history, great history for the ood of all mankind and you have stood for all we hope for and admire in an officer of the United States rmy.” what else do I have to say? A real good read.

Arrogance – Bernard Goldberg – Audio Book

September 15, 2007

Arrogance – Bernard Goldberg : In Arrogance, Goldberg punctures the bubble in which the media elites live and work, a culture of denial where contrary views are not welcome. He shows how they base their stories on assumptions many Americans don’t share – which inevitably leads to biased reporting and slanted news. With blistering wit and passion, he names names and builds his case, revealing:

-How the media’s coverage of the Jayson Blair scandal missed far more serious problems at the New York Times. -How some of the toughest watchdogs in journalism became Hillary Clinton’s lapdogs. -Why the media refuse to shoot straight when the subject turns to guns. -Which CBS News icon is “transparently liberal, ” according to commentator Andy Rooney. -Why the only kind of diversity you cannot in a lot of newsrooms is a diversity of ideas. -How some journalists, like Bob Costas and Tim Russert, do get it – and how they think American journalism can be made better.

Arrogance is one of those rare programs that can change not only a powerful American institution … but the American landscape as well.

Arrogance by Bernard Goldberg is a truly enjoyable read. Goldberg doesn’t try to create a
vast left wing conspiracy tied to Islam or Communism, he just presents the facts as he sees them. Although himself a former insider, he really does know what he is talking about. But instead of wanting to put this book down, Goldberg gives the reader and/or listener the feeling that he not only loves the country he lives in, but also the profession that he’s chosen, and he has hope for the future.

The Lost Men – Kelly Tyler-Lewis – Audio Book

August 20, 2007

The Lost Men – Kelly Tyler-Lewis : In 1914, Sir Ernest Shackleton sailed south aboard the Endurance to be the first to cross Antarctica. Shackleton’s endeavor is legend, but few know the astonishing story- of the Ross Sea party, the support crew he dispatched to the opposite side of the continent to build a vital lifeline of food and fuel depots.

When the Ross Sea ship, the Aurora, broke free of her moorings and disappeared in a gale in 1915, she left ten men stranded on the continent with only the clothes on their backs and little hope of rescue. Against all odds, the men decided to go forward with their mission, sledging 1, 700 miles in a record-setting two-year odyssey. They never imagined that their immense sacrifice was futile—for Shackleton never set foot on the continent, and the Endurance lay crushed at the bottorn of the Weddell Sea.

Inexperienced and poorly equipped, the men of the Ross Sea party endured the unspeakable suffering of malnutrition, hypothermia, and extreme weather conditions with fortitude, With their personal journals and previously unpublished documents, Kelly Tyler-Lewis brings us close to these men in their best and bleakest times and revives for us their heroic, astounding story of survival in the most hostile environment on earth.

Historian Kelly Tyler-Lewis traveled for research to Britain, Australia, New Zealand. and Antarctica, where she spent two months with the National Science Foundation’s Artists and Writers Program. She was a visiting scholar of the Scou Polar Research Institute of the University of Cambridge from 2002 to 2004.
The Lost Men is an epic struggle of man against the ravages of nature and reveals the triumphs and the ragedies involved. It is a book of determination, leadership and accountability. The writing is crisp nd well done. You can feel the pain and suffering of the men in her words. I highly recommend it.

Too Many Mothers – Roberta Taylor – Audio Book

August 15, 2007

Too Many Mothers – Roberta Taylor : Best known for her roles in EastEnders and The Bill   actress Roberta Taylor is also an accomplished writer, and this moving memoir of her early life has spent weeks on the bestseller lists.

Roberta’s distinctive voice really brings Too Many Mothers to life in this portrait of an embattled family at war with itself and the outside world; From petty crime: pet monkeys, tender romance to emotional blackmail, illegitimacy, adoption and even murder, Roberta Taylor has written a bittersweet and memoir of her early life.

This is another one of these books which you will find hard to put down. Its really well written. Its sad, funny. There are rough, tough women, hardship, tears but also lots of hope.  I highly recommend it to those interested who are interested in life in East-end London in the past. A lovely book.

Never Again – John Ashcroft – Audio Book

August 3, 2007

Never Again – John Ashcroft : The most controversial attorney general in U.S. history tells untold story behind the war on terror in post-9/11 America.

John Ashcroft’s service as U.S. attorney general began with turmoil: a loss to a deceased challenger in is U.S. Senate reelection campaign and a tumultuous confirmation battle. Then, on September 11, 2001, is job was transformed into the greatest leadership challenge an attorney general has ever faced.

Highly classified intelligence briefings, secret surveillance of terror cells, and terror war councils with President Bush gave Ashcroft a uniquely comprehensive – and uniquely chilling – view of the threats o American security.

In NEVER AGAIN, Ashcroft breaks his silence about historic events that transpired during his term of ffice – including the largest terrorist attack in U.S. history, the enactment and defense of the Patriot Act, the Robert Hanssen spy scandal, the execution of Timothy McVeigh, and the recently iscovered domestic surveillance program authorized by President Bush. In this provocative audiobook, listeners will meet the man behind the title, hear his take on the dangers to and within America from outside forces, and discover what he did to repair the serious breaches in our country’s security. NEVER GAIN is a fascinating and probing look at what Ashcroft believes will ultimately make America safe.

John Ashcroft served as attorney general of the United States from February 2001 to January 2005. Prior to his appointment, he served in the United States Senate and as the governor of Missouri.

This is a terribly important book written by a man in the epicenter of the national response to the wful attacks of September 11, 2001. It’s an easy read written in a friendly, conversational style hat puts to lie everything said about this man in the media. John Ashcroft describes in detail the events following 9/11 and his horrific discoveries of the ineptitude and blindness of the previous administration in combatting terrorism within the borders of the United States. As someone said : “John Ashcroft came and went and the world did not end”. I highly recommend this ook.

Inside Out – A Personal History of Pink Floyd – Nick Mason – Audio Book

July 27, 2007

Inside Out – A Personal History of Pink Floyd – Nick Mason : Pink Floyd is one of the most creative, successful and enduring bands of all time. Nick Mason’s Inside Out marks the first time that a Pink Floyd member has set down his Individual version of their story. “Of course, ” he says, “everyone has divergent views of what actually happened. I’ve tried to be honest about disasters and triumphs, and not to take all the credit – though I’ve been delighted to share out any blame.”

As the only constant member throughout the 40 years of the Floyd’s existence, Nick has been able to observe every phase of their career from his drum stool, including their time as the darlings of London’s late-1960s underground; the deterioration and departure of Syd Barrett; the huge worldwide success of The Dark Side Of The Moon , one of the bestselling albums ever; the rift with Roger Waters ; and the subsequent decision by Nick and David Gilmour to put their reputations on the line and continue as Pink Floyd

‘Anything but a hymn of praise to the mighty Floyd. Mason’s drummer’s tale is unstintingly and amusingly disrespectful about the band’ – The Sunday Times

‘As charmingly English as Pimm’s and heatstroke on a balmy summer’s day’ – Q magazine

‘Rock’s little drummer boy grows up into a sex cymbal. With a wit drier than an AA clinic, and a charm more disarming than a UN peace-keeping force, Nick Mason gives us a literary drum solo par excellence’ – Kathy Lette

Nick Mason is the only member of Pink Floyd to have played on every album they recorded. He’s also the first band member to put pen to paper and write about their time together.It’s onderfully written. This book exudes personality from every page. If you are into dry humour and itty observation then this book is definitely for you.

American Hostage – Micah Garen, Marie-Helene Carleton – Audio Book

July 13, 2007

American Hostage – Micah Garen, Marie-Helene Carleton : A rare and powerful story of hope, love, survival, and the struggle to bring back alive a hostage in Iraq.

Micah Garen and Marie-Helene Carleton were journalists and filmmakers working in Iraq on a documentary with their Iraqi translator Amir Doshi. In the late summer of 2004, they began to wrap up their work, and Marie-Helene returned home while Micah remained for a final two weeks of filming. As Micah and Amir were filming in a Nasiriyah market, something went horribly wrong: Micah was unmasked as a foreigner and kidnapped by militants in southern Iraq.

Home in New York, Marie-Helene awoke to a gut-wrenching phone call from Micah’s mother with word of his abduction. She promised Micah’s mother the impossible – that together they would bring Micah back alive.

American Hostage is the remarkable memoir of Micah Garen’s harrowing abduction and survival in captivity, as well as the heroic and successful struggle of Marie-Helene; along with family and friends to win Micah’s and Amir’s release from their captors. The world watched and waited as Micah’s drama unfolded, but the authors, now safely home and engaged to be married, detail the dramatic untold story.

The fight of Marie-Helene Carleton is the one which makes the impossible comes true and the proof s well that when one believes with all his or her strengh everything is feasable and possible. Its as well and astonishing read because we do discover a moving, sympathic portrait of Iraq and its people truggling against the chaos unleashed by the American liberation. And the description of Micah aren’s friendship with his translator Amir, an educated, secular Muslim. To read absolutly.

Natasha – The Biography of Natalie Wood – Suzanne Finstad – Audio Book

June 9, 2007

Natasha – The Biography of Natalie Wood – Suzanne Finstad : After twenty years, the story of Natalie Wood’s extraordinary life and mysterious death is revealed in a riveting new biography We watched her mature on the movie screen before our eyes in Miracle on 34th Street, Rebel Without a Cause, West Side Story, Splendor in the Grass, and on and on. She has been hailed, along with Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor, as one of the top three movie actresses in film history, a legend in her own lifetime and beyond. But the story of what she endured, of what her life was like when the doors of the soundstages slid closed, has long been obscured. Natasha is based on years of exhaustive research into Natalie’s turbulent life and mysterious death. Suzanne Finstad conducted more than four hundred interviews with Natalie’s family, close friends, legendary costars, lovers, film crews, attorneys, police officials, and Dr. Thomas Noguchi, the coroner who investigated her strange death by drowning.

Finstad has reconstructed a life of emotional abuse and exploitation, of almost unprecedented fame, great loneliness, and loss. Finstad tells this tragic beauty’s story with sensitivity and grace, revealing a complex and conflicting mix of fragility and strength in a woman who was swept away by forces she could not control. Natasha is the definitive biography of Natalie Wood.

This book about Natalie Wood if its not perfect has at least the merit to be true. We are left with a vivid idea of the person Natalie Wood truly was. We realize as well that she was a person with a kind nature. Unhappily for her, her mother has totally controlled (or tried to) her life not only as human being but as actress too.

And we still ask us, even after having read this book, what really happened to Natalie Wood. I highly recommend this audio book.

State of Denial – Bob Woodward – Audio Book

May 23, 2007


Bob Woodward examines how the Bush administration avoided telling the truth about Iraq to the public, to the Congress, and often to themselves in State of Denial. Woodward’s third book on President Bush is a sweeping narrative from the first days George W. Bush thought seriously about running for president, through the recruitment of his national security team, the war in Afghanistan, the invasion and occupation of Iraq, and the struggle for political survival in the second term.

State of Denial answers the core questions: What happened after the invasion of Iraq? Why? How does Bush make decisions and manage the war that he chose to define his presidency? And, is there an achievable plan for victory? Woodward provides the fullest account, and explanation, of the road Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice and the White House staff have walked.

Once the book of Bob Woodward is read we do have the feeling that President Georges W. Bush decided mostly on its own to start the war in Irak. And after 4 years of it, it seems that there won’t be, in terms of victory, a pro-democracy future in Iraq. Of course there will be the pro and the contra about this book but Bob Woodward is known as a journalist committing himself in telling a story very accurately and not caring about what his critics may think. For a wide overwiewI recommend it.