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The Places in Between

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The Places in Between Cover Image
ISBN: 9780156031561
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Mariner Books - May 8th, 2006

The timing could not be much better for us all to revisit the amazing-walking- journey reporter Rory Stewart undertook across the deep snow covered mountains and between the disparate villages of Afghanistan in 2002. The Places In Between is notable not merely for the sheer brazen, foolhardy guts displayed by Stewart in taking on such an expedition, but even more so for the invaluable insight that his trip provides. The variety of cultures, geography and religious views encountered showcases the many daunting challenges faced by US soldiers in the current war effort. ~ Reviewed by Jon Fine


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Knockout: Interviews with Doctors Who Are Curing Cancer--And How to Prevent Getting It in the First Place Cover Image
By Suzanne Somers, Julian Whitaker (Foreword by)
ISBN: 9780307587596
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harmony - October 5th, 2010

Cancer rates are steadily on the rise- both in the US and in the world (as western culture and its accompanying poor dietary habits- and industrial pollution- continue to spread). And, sadly, the prevailing medical strategy of treating cancer patients by attacking the symptoms of their disease with toxic chemicals and radiation demonstrates low long term survivorship rates in many patients and for many varieties of cancer. 

There are doctors out there battling cancer from a different perspective, doctors focusing on the internal physical imbalances that are at the cause of most tumor development and spread. Although Somers is by no means the first to draw attention to alternative views on cancer healing, her media clout and major publisher backing makes this a significant step forward in the fight to spread the news to all- current and future cancer patients and families- that there are frequently better ways to heal- and prevent- cancer than those currently presumed and accepted by the AMA and its pharmaceutical sponsors. 

Ms. Somers "in-your-face, traditional medicine" variety of zeal may turn some folks off- especially those inclined to disagree with her view points or to discredit her due to her resume (blonde actress, home shopping sales magnate) but, based on her personal experience and acquired knowledge, she is a woman on a crusade. 

In this reader's opinion, she has every reason to be. ~ Reviewed by Jon Fine

Patriot Reign

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Patriot Reign: Bill Belichick, the Coaches, and the Players Who Built a Champion Cover Image
ISBN: 9780060757953
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: It Books - October 11th, 2005

A thorough and unabashed look behind the scenes of the New England Patriot "machine". Fans of Belichick, Brady and the Patriots will not be disappointed as sports writer Michael Holley follows the trying but ultimately rewarding downs and ups of the Pats over a two year span, from the disappointing season after their first Super Bowl victory to their triumphant return as Super Bowl Champs in 2004. What emerges foremost from the profile is the precise difference in attitude and emphasis from the ground up - from college recruiting to big game preparation- that has set this NFL organization apart from its peers. As such, this is a must-read not just for Patriots fans, but for football and sports fans of all persuasions. ~ Reviewed by Jon Fine


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Faithful: Two Diehard Boston Red Sox Fans Chronicle the Historic 2004 Season Cover Image
ISBN: 9780743267533
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Scribner - September 6th, 2005

This is an enjoyable game by game, sometimes day-by-day, recounting of the Red Sox 2004 Championship season. In the journal entries of lifelong, die hard fans O'Nan and King, we become deeply acquainted with the chronic disease that is Red Sox fandom. These guys are obsessed (even moreso than yours truly) but their microcosmic obsession with every element of the shaping of the 2004 Red Sox roster and team dynamic from training camp onwards serves the reader well.

We get a behind the scenes look at what goes on in the high pressure world of the armchair or box seated- big league manager as King and O'Nan swap both journal entries and e-mails, kibbitzing and knit picking every player move and management decision (trans. mistake) that marks the typical fan' typical helpless frustration. All of which serves to keep the story's climax (shh, don't tell if you already know how it ends) all the more uplifting when, in spite of it all, we witness again through the writers' eyes the unfolding of one of the grandest "miracles" in sporting history.

Funny and informative, the perfect fix for those mid-winter, baseball- missing blues! ~ Reviewed by Jon Fine

Clapton's Guitar

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Clapton's Guitar: Watching Wayne Henderson Build the Perfect Instrument Cover Image
ISBN: 9780743266369
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Free Press - June 6th, 2006

This book might more appropriately be entitled, "Wayne Henderson and His Guitars: Old Martin Masterpieces, New Henderson Heirlooms", but who could blame author Allen St. John for wanting to grab more readership by evoking the Clapton name. St. John's primary mission at book's beginning, after all, is to follow what happens when Eric Clapton falls in love with a sound engineer's Henderson guitar and requests that the semi-eccentric guitar builder craft him one of his own. What just might keep Clapton from getting his guitar, however, is that everyone who has ever seen, heard or touched a Henderson guitar wants one for themself and as gifted as both Wayne Henderson the luthier and Wayne Henderson the musician are, mass-productions is definitely not his thing. Most frequently, furthermore, neither is finishing one project before starting another (hence the wild and wooly state of his workshop) and we're never quite sure how much or how little weight, in the world apart that Henderson occupies, Clapton's name carries with this master guitar builder.

As we get to know Wayne Henderson the luthier, Wayne Henderson the musician and Wayne Henderson the character we cannot help but be enlightened by his devotion to craft and his life approach. Along the way we may even learn a bit about regional musical history (Henderson lives in the remote hills of Virginia- the Carter family and Doc Watson occasionally figure in) as well as become experts ourselves on the holy grail of acoustic luthiery: pre-1950s C.F. Martin guitars. For this we are in debt not only to Henderson and his amazing classic guitar collection- which we are exposed to from time to time- but also, of course, author St. John who is quite the knowledgeable collector himself. More so, however, we find ourselves in debt to St. John not merely for bringing this warm and intriguing story and its heartwarming cast of characters to us in the first place, but for doing it in the way of all the classic narrators; he is there constantly, thinking, observing and feeling for us yet, in the end, offering himself merely as a window through which we can more clearly observe the story that he has carefully yet generously laid out before us.

A confession- I have not even completely finished reading this book. But, in my defense, this is not due to negligence on my part but rather the dread that at some time soon I will have to close this book once and for all and walk away from this very special work and the characters contained within. ~ Reviewed by Jon Fine

What Is the What

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What Is the What Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307385901
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage - October 9th, 2007

To not read this epic "memoir-esque" novel of the life of Valentino Acha Deng is, frankly, to not be aware of the true nature and depth-and hellaciousness- of human experience transpiring right here on earth in the modern age. Out of eye and earshot for the, largely, safe citizens of the USA there dwells another variety of life experience nearly unimaginable to most of us. The violence and civil strife in Sudan over the past many years may garner a headline or two which, may in turn, cross our paths and offer us a moderate amount of information as to the mass-murder, chaos and genocide that has been transpiring in that country during that time. Through the words of Dave Eggers and his portrayl of Deng's seemingly cursed existence, however, we gain a near first hand experience of what it felt, looked and smelled like to be in Sudan when the first murahaleen began their murderous death rides.

The author and his subject chose the form of fiction for this work so as best to serve the expression of the story given the difficulties inherent in recounting exact specific memories. The overall story that comes through, however, rings with truth. Egger's literary triumph in telling this story is bested only by Deng's remarkably resilient and generous spirit. Tragic but epic. ~ Reviewed by Jon Fine


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