Monday, October 20, 2008

The Clone Wars (Star Wars)

Product Description

Across the galaxy, the Clone Wars are raging. The Separatists, led by Count Dooku, the onetime Jedi and now secret Sith Lord, continue to press forward, and more and more worlds are either falling, or seceding and joining the cause. Under the leadership of Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, the Republic heroically battles on, championed by its huge army of cloned soldiers and their Jedi generals. Anakin Skywalker, believed by some to be the prophesied “Chosen One” destined to bring balance to the Force, is now a Jedi Knight under the tutelage of his Jedi Master, Obi-Wan Kenobi. Death is a constant possibility–and his chances of survival aren’t improved by the unexpected arrival of an apprentice: Ahsoka, a brash, inexperienced fourteen-year-old Padawan apprenticed to Anakin. But there’s no time for Anakin to question his latest orders: He and Obi-Wan have been assigned a new mission, and failure is not an option.Jabba the Hutt’s precious infant son has been kidnapped, and when the frantic parent applies to the Jedi for help, it falls to Anakin, Obi-Wan, Ahsoka, and their clone troops to track down the evidence and retrieve the missing Huttlet. And more is at stake: For a grateful Jabba just might allow the Republic access to the Hutt-controlled space lanes that the Grand Army desperately needs in order to beat the Separatists into submission. But the Republic is not the only power that craves access to those space lanes. Count Dooku, determined to win the prize for the Separatists, has set a trap for the Jedi. When they find the Huttlet, they will also find Dooku’s master assassin, Asajj Ventress, and countless legions of battle droids waiting to spring a trap.The blazing new animated feature film Star Wars: The Clone Wars takes place in the years preceding Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and sets the stage for the groundbreaking TV series. Both contain all original material–direct from the brilliant imagination of legendary Star Wars creator George Lucas. And these exciting new adventures and characters are being brought to life in book form by none other than #1 New York Times bestselling Star Wars author Karen Traviss.

Obiwan Kenobi

About the Author

Karen Traviss is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of four Star Wars: Republic Commando novels: Order 66, Hard Contact, Triple Zero, and True Colors; three Star Wars: Legacy of the Force novels: Bloodlines, Revelation, and Sacrifice; as well as City of Pearl, Crossing the Line, The World Before, Matriarch, Ally, and Judge. A former defense correspondent and TV and newspaper journalist, Traviss has also worked as a police press officer, an advertising copywriter, and a journalism lecturer. Her short stories have appeared in Asimov’s, Realms of Fantasy, On Spec, and Star Wars Insider. She lives in Devizes, England.

Anakin Skywalker

Star Wars: The Complete Visual Dictionary

Over the years Star Wars readers have come to regard the incredible works of DK Books as the imaginative and authoritative guides inside the Star Wars saga. As announced in the latest Star Wars Insider, DK will publish Star Wars: The Complete Visual Dictionary, the ultimate guide to the entire Star Wars saga.
Here's a look inside the book, which combines all four Star Wars Visual Dictionaries into one volume, and expands the original works with new material. Revenge of the Sith is explored in even more detail, with in-depth looks at Utapau, Mustafar, the Clone Wars and Order 66. The original Star Wars trilogy is also expanded, with overviews of the Rebel Alliance, Imperial personnel, and more. New artwork and props have been built specifically for this project, including a cutaway view of the enormous Sarlacc creature sculpted by Robert E. Barnes, and an exploded view of R2-D2's insides by model maker Don Bies (who has just joined the community here!)

The authors of the book, David West Reynolds, James Luceno and Ryder Windham, worked closely with Lucasfilm and Industrial Light & Magic to research this unique reference book. The result: a fascinating visual gallery of the characters, creatures and hardware of the entire Star Wars saga as they appear nowhere else!

"For SW fanboys, The Complete Visual Dictionary is a little slice of heaven. Highly recommended." -- Library Journal

Product Description
Provides a complete, comprehensive overview of the Prequel movies (Episodes I-III) and the Trilogy (Episodes IV-VI), this is the definitive photographic guide to the entire Star Wars saga.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Frank Herbert's Chapterhouse Dune

Product Description

Now--the conclusion to Frank Herbert's l3-million-copy epic masterpiece. The desert planet Arrakis, called Dune, has been destroyed, and the heirs to Dune's power, have colonized a green world--and are turning it into a desert, mile by scorched mile. "Impressive...the whole saga will be one of the monuments of modern science fiction."--Chicago Sun Times. TP: Berkley.


Chapterhouse: Dune continues quite closely after the events of Heretics of Dune, unlike some of the earlier gaps in the series (which have added up to over five thousand years since the original Dune). In the dozen or so years since Heretics of Dune concluded, the Honoured Matres have almost completely destroyed the Bene Gesserit. Chapterhouse: Dune tells the story of how the Bene Gesserit fight back, and if only it were that simple. Herbert dangles a number of useless plot threads in front of the reader, and the ending is both unsatisfying and inconclusive. After the beautifully written closure of Heretics of Dune, which was both open-ended and a lovely wrap-up, this is particularly disappointing. The jacket copy gives us a bit of hype: "Blending familiar, beloved characters and situations with a whole fresh world of actions and events, [Herbert] leaves us breathless to make the next astonishing leap in the evolving grandeur that is Dune." Unfortunately, Herbert was to die in 1986, the year following the publication of this book, and we never found out how the Dune story would have evolved further.
Darwi Odrade is Mother Superior of the Bene Gesserit, and has to contend with the drastic changes that she herself helped to effect in the previous book. The Bene Gesserit are under sustained attack by the Honoured Matres, with few allies in sight. Using technology gained from the Bene Tleilax (before they too were destroyed), the Sisterhood has created a ghola of Miles Teg, who needs training and education. The former Honoured Matre, Murbella, is also being groomed for Bene Gesserit schemes, along with her lover, Duncan Idaho. Only one Bene Tleilax survives, Scytale, but he does little except grumble in captivity. And in a wildly bizarre and underwritten subplot, a group of Jews decide to help the Bene Gesserit -- unfortunately, this adds nothing at all to the story. Chapterhouse: Dune ends with some violence that seems unexplained and abrupt, and then Murbella suddenly takes centre stage, and the Bene Gesserit pull victory out of a hat like magic.
Odrade directs most of the action in the book, and is a strong, sympathetic character, like the Bene Gesserit often are. Slyly, Herbert writes in a major flaw for all the Bene Gesserit (except Sheeana and Murbella), and in Odrade herself, whose main scheme is later revealed as a cure for that very flaw. I appreciated that turning point which forced a different evaluation of everything that had gone before in the Sisterhood. I also liked the love story between Duncan and Murbella, which, oddly, became a tragedy despite how Odrade's scheme should have made them a better match. Chapterhouse: Dune spends little time on Miles Teg, which would have strengthened the book, and just as small amount of quality time on the Honoured Matres. Herbert has better villains here than the Harkonnens, but I was still hoping for more depth in the Honoured Matres. I suppose Murbella herself stands in for the psychological struggles her former sisterhood will face in the events that follow the conclusion.
Even without a more satisfying conclusion to the series in terms of the overarching story, Chapterhouse: Dune provides tidy closure in an idea that Odrade talks about midway through the book. An acolyte has been asking about the Bene Gesserit Coda, a collection of sayings and aphorisms, and Odrade replies: "'We have them mainly to disprove them. The Coda is for novices and others in primary training'" (232). One of the main aphorisms in the Coda (which I don't want to trivialize by summarizing here) is itself disproved by the course of Chapterhouse: Dune. And in an odd, interesting way, the entire Dune series functions in the same way -- a kind of long-standing corrective to Herbert's tendency to use epigrams in each book. The Coda (Herbert's jargon) and the overall story work together to introduce Herbert's ideas and then refine them. As such, the Dune series demands a rather immense perspective.
Chapterhouse: Dune ends with a touching tribute by Herbert to his wife, Bev, who died in 1984. It seems a bit odd that he would include this -- I can't think of any other book with a similar coda. But it does not seem self-indulgent; it humanizes Herbert in a way that never happened before in this rather cerebral series. Herbert himself stares out from a full-size photograph on the back dust-jacket of my edition, and he looks quite unfamiliar without his trademark beard. His face itself summarizes all the kindness and intelligence that marked this remarkable series, quite unique and unmatched in all of science fiction.

Frank Herbert's Heretics of Dune

Product Description

The planet Arrakis is becoming desert again. Lost ones are returning home from the far reaches of space. The great sandworms are dying, and the children of Dunes children awaken from empire as from a dream, wielding the new power of a heresy called love.

Reviews From

Heretics of Dune is the fifth entry in the ongoing Dune series. And surprisingly, Heretics of Dune is a much better book than I remembered, and a distinct improvement over God Emperor of Dune (which lost favour with me on this re-reading half a dozen years after the first time through). Herbert leaps forward fifteen hundred years after the events of God Emperor of Dune, and works wonders with some new speculation and an entirely new batch of characters. He weaves together several fascinating storylines with almost the same mastery as informed Dune, and keeps the reader intent on the next revelation or twist. What is this basic suspense? There are some involved schemes occurring, and all of the mysterious machinations might become clear on the very next page. If you thought history had ended with the prescient visions of Paul Atreides, or with the millennia-long reign of his son Leto, then Herbert pulls a number of flashy new tricks out of his familiar hat. In some ways, this book belongs to the Bene Gesserit, so the intrigue is indeed intense, but we encounter more bizarre sexual behaviour from the Sisterhood and their enemies than some might wish to know.
The plot hums along nicely from beginning to end, its only flaw that it ends too abruptly. The Bene Gesserit are raising a ghola of Duncan Idaho for some mysterious reasons of their own. This clone was supplied by the Bene Tleilax, about whom we find out a great deal for the first time in the series (which enriches this book considerably). They have their own schemes for the future of the universe, which put them at odds with the Bene Gesserit. On Rakis, formerly known as Arrakis or Dune, the Priesthood of the Divided God (the remnants of Leto now scattered across the desert in the form of the various sandworms) has found a young woman named Sheeana who can control the sandworms. The other main element of the book consists of the peoples of the Scattering, the great outward flight after the collapse of Leto's empire. The scattered ones are returning, and among them are the Honoured Matres, a kind of pseudo-Bene Gesserit, who want to destroy the Bene Gesserit. Each of these storylines is encapsulated nicely in the dilemmas and learnings of the relevant characters.
Duncan Idaho is perhaps central to Heretics of Dune because of his importance to the plot developments. And we follow his voyage to self-knowledge with a kind of aching empathy, mostly triggered by the scene on page 30 where he deduces that he is a clone: "Late afternoon in the library, all of the esoteric machinery around him faded into a sensory background, and a ten-year-old sat silently before a scanner hugging the knowledge to himself. I am a ghola! " (30). Miles Teg is the most famous military commander of the day, and he is assigned to protect Duncan. But Teg is not a military man as we might know it -- in Heretics of Dune's nicest touch, we finally see some of the benefits of Leto's Golden Path as chatted about endlessly in the previous book. Take a glimpse at Teg's thought processes: "He felt as he always did just before battle: Empty of all false dreams. This was failure. The talking had failed and now came the contest of blood... unless he could prevail in some other way. Combat these days was seldom a massive thing but death was there nonetheless. That represented a more permanent kind of failure. If we cannot adjust our differences peacefully we are less than human " (108). Strong words, and ones that perhaps we don't hear often enough. Unfortunately, Teg loses much of his interest after a fantastic transformation near the end.
Teg is commanded by the Bene Gesserit. Taraza is the Mother Superior, the ultimate schemer, who, along with her friend (as much as Reverend Mothers have friends) Odrade, are tweaking their plans throughout the known universe. The two women are characterized fully, despite how much emphasis Herbert places on the fact that the Bene Gesserit repress their emotions. As part of their massive strategy, Odrade goes to Rakis to help train Sheeana. I liked the way that Sheeana was introduced, and her original encounters with the Rakian Priesthood. But her vividness seemed to fade as the mechanics of the plot took over and she became a pawn for the Bene Gesserit. Heretics of Dune has a large cast of supporting characters, and all of them are given at least some depth despite their functional role, like Burzmali, Teg's successor, or Waff, the leader of the Bene Tleilax.
The Honoured Matres have gained power because they know how to create supreme sexual ecstasy for a man. I don't want to give away the main part of Herbert's plot, but the Bene Gesserit are indeed fighting back. This kind of conflict leads to some odd moments, especially in Herbert's hyper-metaphysical writing style. I also thought that the sequence where Lucilla and Burzmali have to disguise themselves was unnecessary -- Lucilla becomes a "lady of Hormu" and Burzmali her customer. In another strange theme that runs through the book, Herbert harps on the belief that everyone should know their place and that hierarchical ways of governing are best (a theme that Leto often expounded upon in God Emperor of Dune and appears explicitly in a few of the Bene Gesserit epigraphs here, page 33 for example). Teg is thinking about the basis for this belief: "It began with the recognition that humans were not created equal, that they possessed different inherited abilities and experienced different events in their lives. This produced people of different accomplishments and different worth" (198). All of the characters in the book seem to hold this belief, and it's partly a way for Herbert to justify his subject: these advanced beings, at the top of the hierarchy, "naturally" get to do all the exciting, important, universe-shattering things. But the underbelly of this viewpoint is a contempt for the mass of un-special people, the "muck" as the Honoured Matres refer to them. Teg tries to draw a distinction between the Honoured Matres' attitude and his own: "Will I ever think of them as muck? It could only happen if he let it happen, he knew" (448). But even Teg, the enlightened military man, makes some elitist-style choices at the conclusion, writing them off as tough command decisions.
Herbert has another successful Dune book here, despite the flaws I've mentioned. Heretics of Dune is a good read, and I've always admired Herbert's ability to get closure out of open-endedness, out of the opening stages of a vast transformation. Heretics of Dune does not stand alone, but builds on the implications and events that have come before -- quite a feat, considering the quality of the earlier books.

About the Author

Frank Herbert was educated at the University of Washington, Seattle. He worked a wide variety of jobs—including TV cameraman, radio commentator, oyster diver, jungle survival instructor, lay analyst, creative writing teacher, reporter, and editor of several West Coast newspapers—before becoming a full-time writer. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Frank Herbert's God Emperor of Dune

Product Description

A beautiful new package with a new introduction…Millennia have passed on Arrakis, and the oncedesert planet is green with life. Leto Atreides, the son of the world’s savior, the Emperor Paul Muad’Dib, is still alive but far from human. To preserve humanity’s future, he sacrificed his own by merging with a sandworm, granting him nearimmortality as God Emperor of Dune for the past 3,500 years.Leto’s rule is not a benevolent one. His transformation has not only made his appearance inhuman, but his morality. A rebellion has risen to oppose the despot’s rule, led by Siona, a member of the Atreides family. But Siona is unaware that Leto’s vision of a Golden Path for humanity requires her to fulfill a destiny she never wanted…or could possibly conceive…

Reviews from

God Emperor of Dune follows closely on the events that conclude Children of Dune, if that can be said about a sequel that takes place approximately three thousand years later. What is the Golden Path that made Paul Atreides do what he could to avoid it and that his son Leto took upon himself? Here we find out, in what can only be described as strange mix of excruciating detail and essential vagueness. God Emperor of Dune has little suspense in the ordinary sense -- we find out on page 14 from Leto what will happen at the end. But the rest of the book proceeds in odd tension to that revelation, as everything marches forward according to normality. Odd seems a good word for the little touches that mark God Emperor of Dune in many places (does anyone care to explain Nayla's orgasm in the third last section?), and I would use the word disturbing for some of Herbert's historical generalizations. But despite whatever faults I might ascribe to the book, I also felt it hard to stop reading, and the milieu was just as fascinating in its own way compared to the three earlier books.
As I said, Herbert chooses to reveal the ending of the book on page 14. So without much of a spoiler warning, I quote that little passage. Leto, the God Emperor, is thinking to himself: "I often think about my final metamorphosis, that likeness of death. I know the way it must come but I do not know the moment or the other players. This is the one thing I cannot know. I only know whether the Golden Path continues or ends" (14). Leto has been ruling for three thousand years at this point, in his half-human, half-sandworm body. Much of the plot that fills in the next four hundred pages has to do with the inner tension that Leto feels between his human-self and his worm-self. Or put another way, whatever little plot that does exist is swamped by Leto's verbosity. As I said in my reviews of earlier Dune books, the plot of God Emperor of Dune mirrors that of Dune Messiah. Unfortunately, what was lean and straightforward in Book Two has become bloated and less interesting in Book Four. Paul was much more of a tragic character, whereas Leto is not struggling against his fate in the same way. Herbert is making a point about Leto's loss of humanity, but it still saps quite a bit of sympathy and urgency from the plot.
That is unfortunate because many of the players in the unfolding story are quite interesting. Nayla, apart from the scene where she has an orgasm for no particular reason, is a bit player with some depth, like the Bene Gesserit Anteac. Moneo and his daughter Siona are both well-portrayed, with Moneo's slow breakdown and Siona's leaps in intuition and power being believable and shown in their actions. I liked how Herbert used the ghola of Duncan Idaho, and how this particular Duncan differentiated himself from the stream of others in the previous three thousand years. I didn't understand the whole Hwi Noree subplot, and I was a little bothered by her portrayal as a "perfect" woman. Every man with tyrannical powers over the universe needs a self-effacing woman to vent some spleen towards, apparently.
On the whole, Herbert carries off the necessary fiction of a three thousand year old superbeing and his internal thought processes. Leto can see the future and access the lives of all of his ancestors, which gives Herbert a glorious opportunity to pontificate with Leto as his mouthpiece. Sometimes the voluble reflections are engaging and serve the plot, like the following two examples. Leto is thinking about jihads and violence: "What is anathema? The motivation to ravage, no matter the instruments" (42). Just like my next example, here we see part of Leto's own motivation for his actions on the Golden Path. Later on, he is talking to Hwi Noree about planning the future: "'Most believe that a satisfactory future requires a return to an idealized past, a past which never in fact existed'" (390). But other times, Herbert seems to lose his bearings in the freedom of trying to speak with surety of such a being as Leto -- witness the section on pages 91 through 99 about homosexuality in the military and about female nature.
I will close this review with two smaller peeves. Leto often takes potshots at people and institutions that his listeners know nothing about, like the Jesuits, as if the thirteen thousand years since the Jesuits of our day couldn't furnish a better example. And while I typically like the kind of framing device that Herbert uses for God Emperor of Dune, here I was hoping for more open-endedness, considering how tightly planned the rest of the book happens to be. Book Four of the Dune series has many of the same strengths as the previous three, and I was indeed kept up late at night. Readers with stamina should read God Emperor of Dune in order to be prepared for the excellent sequel, Heretics of Dune.

About the Author

Frank Herbert was born in Tacoma, Washington, and educated at the University of Washington, Seattle. He worked a wide variety of jobs—including TV cameraman, radio commentator, oyster diver, jungle survival instructor, lay analyst, creative writing teacher, reporter, and editor of several West Coast newspapers—before becoming a full-time writer.

Frank Herbert's Children of Dune

Product Description

The science fiction masterpiece continues in the “major event,”( Los Angeles Times) Children of Dune.With millions of copies sold worldwide, Frank Herbert’s Dune novels stand among the major achievements of the human imagination and one of the most significant sagas in the history of literary science fiction.The Children of Dune are twin siblings Leto and Ghanima Atreides, whose father, the Emperor Paul Muad’Dib, disappeared in the deserts of Arrakis. Like their father, they possess supernormal abilities—making them valuable to their aunt Alia, who rules the Empire. If Alia can obtain the secrets of the twins’ prophetic visions, her rule will be absolute. But the twins have their own plans for their destiny.


Frank Herbert's third installment in the immensely popular Dune series, first published in 1976, covers the life of Muad'Dib's children, Leto and Ghanima Atreides -- both nine years old in the story.
In the wake of the events described in Dune Messiah, the universe is recovering from the Holy War which left the desert planet Arrakis as the center of attention in the Empire. A religion grown around the legend of Paul Muad'Dib is articulated by his sister, Alia of the Knife.
Leto and Ghanima, born of Paul's late concubine Chani, are being raised in the Fremen way despite ancient taboo against the abominations they have become -- children with the minds and memories of adults. However, when a conspiracy rooted in the highest levels of Alia's religiously-backed government threatens the lives of the children, the twins devise a plan to survive and help weed out the troublemakers.
Separating for the first time in their life, Ghanima returns to the capital city of Arakeen where she quickly becomes a pawn in Alia's games of power -- she is forced into an arranged marriage.
Leto, on the other hand, heads deep into the desert where he discovers remnants of ancient customs and legends. He learns about himself, his ancestry and -- unknown to the other residents of the planet -- the history and cycles of Arrakis itself. Gifted with his father's prescience, Leto looks into the past and future and sees a Golden Path which, if followed out, will result in the ultimate success and survival of the entire human race. Where Paul Muad'Dib had made this revelation and shied away from it, Leto realizes he must embrace it for the good of both humanity and the universe.
The unfortunate truth to Leto's plan is that it requires his presence and guidance to succeed; To extend his life the thousands of years necessary, he begins a metamorphosis that changes him from human to a new form.

About the Author

Frank Herbert was born in Tacoma, Washington, and educated at the University of Washington, Seattle. He worked a wide variety of jobs—including TV cameraman, radio commentator, oyster diver, jungle survival instructor, lay analyst, creative writing teacher, reporter, and editor of several West Coast newspapers—before becoming a full-time writer.

Monday, October 13, 2008

New Moon A Vampire Fiction

Bella has been going out with her vampire boyfriend Edward for six blissfully happy months. The only thing that worries her is his steadfast refusal to even consider making her into a vampire like him. As the day of her eighteenth birthday rolls around she feels less than happy because she is now older than Edward, who will never age past seventeen.
To celebrate her birthday Edward takes Bella to a birthday party at his family home but when a stupid accident that leaves Bella covered in blood and nearly triggers a feeding frenzy in Jasper, Edward’s brother, the party falls somewhat flat.
Edward suddenly becomes more distant towards to Bella and finally he tells her that he and his family are leaving Forks, to never return, and he no longer wants to see her.
Edward is Bella’s whole world and his abandonment is a harsh blow. Her whole world falls apart and as she becomes withdrawn from the world she soon loses most of her friends becoming even more isolated and lonely.
When she does something dangerous she starts hallucinating and thinks she can hear Edward telling her not to do anything stupid and to be more careful. This leads to a whole new range of interests for Bella including learning to ride a motorbike and cliff diving because she feels that he is still with her at those times. Her old friend Jacob Black becomes her partner in crime, fixing up her motorbike for her and teaching her to ride it. Although the pain of Edward’s departure never leaves Bella, Jacob soon becomes her best friend and he helps to fill some of the voids in her life.
Jacob himself is no ordinary boy and soon Bella discovers that part of his Quileute heritage is to be cursed to be a werewolf. Certain members of the tribe turn into werewolves in their teenage years in response to the presence of vampires. Werewolves and vampires are natural enemies and the enmity runs deep on both sides.
Alice returns to Forks and although she brings no news of Edward with her, her extraordinary gift of being able to see the future soon tells her that Edward is heading on a path of self destruction that only Bella can advert. But will Bella be in time to stop the tragedy?
The Review
New Moon is the sequel to Stephenie Meyer’s remarkably good debut novel Twilight. This novel works well enough as a stand alone but I think that you will get a better understanding of the story and maximum enjoyment from reading it if you have read Twilight first.
New Moon is always going to be compared to Twilight and people who are expecting this novel to be essentially the same as Twilight may be disappointed. Twilight had an almost dreamy, fairytale quality to the writing, which this story lacks. The Cullen family of vampires are also absent from a large proportion of New Moon, and vampire fans may keenly feel their absence. Do not let this put you off reading the book however because it is still one of the best books that I have read this year.
The story is narrated in first person by Bella and has an obvious parallel with Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and I mean obvious because even Bella recognises that she is in danger of playing out history’s greatest romantic tragedy. I think keeping Romeo and Juliet in the forefront of the readers mind actually helps the author build the tension for the climax of the story because we can all see the tragedy that is waiting to happen.
The pain that Bella feels when Edward abandons her is extremely well written and is really what this story is about. Most of the things that happen to Bella in New Moon are as a result of the overwhelming loss that she is trying to bear. Her friendship with Jacob has a doomed quality to it not only because he obviously loves her while she is in love with Edward but because he is a werewolf and he naturally hates all vampires.
For fantasy fans, the story isn’t all about Bella and her emotional pain. The rogue vampires Laurent and Victoria return to Forks. They are looking for revenge against Edward but they only find Bella. The Quileute werewolves are an exciting addition to the story and it will be interesting to see how this plot line is developed in the next novel in this series.
I stayed up until the early hours of the morning reading this book because once I was caught up in the story I couldn’t stop reading. I’m sure I’m not the first person, and won’t be the last person either, to say that about this novel. New Moon is highly recommended reading.

New Moon Audio CD
New Moon is available in audio CD format too. Narrated by Ilyana Kadushin the novel is completely unabridged making the audio book nearly 15 hours long (that’s 12 compact discs.) 15 hours sounds like a long time but Ilyana’s story telling soon becomes compelling listening and time flies by as disc after disc is feed into the CD player.
After listening to Twilight I felt that Ilyana’s breathy rendition of Edward was a little off putting but with Edward having a much smaller part in New Moon than he did in Twilight there isn’t so much of that in New Moon. Jacob and Charlie have larger parts and Ilyana narrates both parts well (an angry Charlie is probably her best character so far) making for an enjoyable listening experience.
Audio CD is a whole new way to enjoy this story, and as the audio book is completely unabridged the listener doesn’t miss out on a single word from the printed version of this novel. Be warned – New Moon is just as addictive in audio format as it the first time you read it in print - you will end up making excuses to take your CDs or iPod with you where ever you go, so you can keep listening!

Product Description

I FELT LIKE I WAS TRAPPED IN ONE OF THOSE TERRIFYING NIGHTMARES…For Bella Swan, there is one thing more important than life itself: Edward Cullen. But being in love with a vampire is even more dangerous than Bella ever could have imagined. Edward has already rescued Bella from the clutches of one evil vampire, but now, as their daring relationship threatens all that is near and dear to them, they realize their troubles may be just beginning. . . . Legions of readers entranced by the New York Times bestseller Twilight are hungry for the continuing story of star-crossed lovers Bella and Edward. In New Moon, Stephenie Meyer delivers another irresistible combination of romance and suspense with a supernatural spin. Passionate, riveting, and full of surprising twists and turns, this vampire love saga is well on its way to literary immortality.

About the Author

Stephenie Meyer was born on Christmas Eve in Hartford, Connecticut, but she has lived in Arizona since the age of four. She graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in English Literature, and lives with her husband and three young sons.

Buy it now here.

Find Other works Stephenie Meyer one of the most fantastic vampire story writer here.

Listen to her interview about Twilight,New Moon , Eclipse here.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Origin of Financial Crises: Central Banks, Credit Bubbles and the Efficient Market Fallacy

The Origin of Financial Crises provides a compelling analysis of the forces behind today's economic crisis. In a series of disarmingly simple arguments George Cooper challenges the core principles of today's economic orthodoxy, explaining why financial markets do not obey the efficient market principles described in today's economic textbooks but are instead inherently unstable and habitually crisis prone. The author describes the evolution of our modern monetary system, explaining along the way how financial instability emerged and why this instability required the development of central banking. Cooper claims that misguided faith in the power of free markets has led some central banks to neglect their core role of managing the financial system and instead caused them to pursue policies which promote a series of ever more violent boom-bust cycles. The Origin of Financial Crises calls for a radical shift in central bank strategy the abandonment of inflation targeting and a paradigm shift in our attitude to economic policy. Along the way the reader will learn about the fundamentals of inflation and discover what policy makers can learn from the designers of the Eurofighter jet. They will also learn how an obscure paper on steam engines, written in 1868, by the inventor of colour photography shows us how to avoid repeating recent monetary policy mistakes. Uniquely, The Origin of Financial Crises presents tangible policy proposals aimed at helping break out of the seemingly endless procession of damaging boom-bust cycles.

About George Cooper
Dr. George Cooper is a principal of Alignment Investors a division of BlueCrest Capital Management Ltd. He was born in Sunderland and studied at Durham University. George has worked as a fund manager at Goldman Sachs and as strategist for Deutsche Bank and JPMorgan. He lives in London with his wife and two children.
More about George Cooper

Reviews for The Origin of Financial Crises
"A must read...Cooper's book is by far the most cogent and reasoned of the modern-day 'credit excess' school." - The Economist "A well written book...Cooper's most novel doctrine is that investors do not have to be irrational to generate bubbles." - Financial Times

Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution--and How It Can Renew America (Thomas L Friedman) ReviewBook Description
Thomas L. Friedman’s phenomenal number-one bestseller The World Is Flat has helped millions of readers to see the world in a new way. In his brilliant, essential new book, Friedman takes a fresh and provocative look at two of the biggest challenges we face today: America’s surprising loss of focus and national purpose since 9/11; and the global environmental crisis, which is affecting everything from food to fuel to forests. In this groundbreaking account of where we stand now, he shows us how the solutions to these two big problems are linked--how we can restore the world and revive America at the same time.
Friedman explains how global warming, rapidly growing populations, and the astonishing expansion of the world’s middle class through globalization have produced a planet that is “hot, flat, and crowded.” Already the earth is being affected in ways that threaten to make it dangerously unstable. In just a few years, it will be too late to fix things--unless the United States steps up now and takes the lead in a worldwide effort to replace our wasteful, inefficient energy practices with a strategy for clean energy, energy efficiency, and conservation that Friedman calls Code Green.
This is a great challenge, Friedman explains, but also a great opportunity, and one that America cannot afford to miss. Not only is American leadership the key to the healing of the earth; it is also our best strategy for the renewal of America.
In vivid, entertaining chapters, Friedman makes it clear that the green revolution we need is like no revolution the world has seen. It will be the biggest innovation project in American history; it will be hard, not easy; and it will change everything from what you put into your car to what you see on your electric bill. But the payoff for America will be more than just cleaner air. It will inspire Americans to something we haven’t seen in a long time--nation-building in America--by summoning the intelligence, creativity, boldness, and concern for the common good that are our nation’s greatest natural resources.
Hot, Flat, and Crowded is classic Thomas L. Friedman: fearless, incisive, forward-looking, and rich in surprising common sense about the challenge--and the promise--of the future.

Thomas Friedman and Fareed Zakaria: Author One-to-One
Fareed Zakaria: Your book is about two things, the climate crisis and also about an American crisis. Why do you link the two?
Thomas Friedman: You're absolutely right--it is about two things. The book says, America has a problem and the world has a problem. The world's problem is that it's getting hot, flat and crowded and that convergence--that perfect storm--is driving a lot of negative trends. America's problem is that we've lost our way--we've lost our groove as a country. And the basic argument of the book is that we can solve our problem by taking the lead in solving the world's problem.
Zakaria: Explain what you mean by "hot, flat and crowded."
Friedman: There is a convergence of basically three large forces: one is global warming, which has been going on at a very slow pace since the industrial revolution; the second--what I call the flattening of the world--is a metaphor for the rise of middle-class citizens, from China to India to Brazil to Russia to Eastern Europe, who are beginning to consume like Americans. That's a blessing in so many ways--it's a blessing for global stability and for global growth. But it has enormous resource complications, if all these people--whom you've written about in your book, The Post American World--begin to consume like Americans. And lastly, global population growth simply refers to the steady growth of population in general, but at the same time the growth of more and more people able to live this middle-class lifestyle. Between now and 2020, the world's going to add another billion people. And their resource demands--at every level--are going to be enormous. I tell the story in the book how, if we give each one of the next billion people on the planet just one sixty-watt incandescent light bulb, what it will mean: the answer is that it will require about 20 new 500-megawatt coal-burning power plants. That's so they can each turn on just one light bulb!
Zakaria: In my book I talk about the "rise of the rest" and about the reality of how this rise of new powerful economic nations is completely changing the way the world works. Most everyone's efforts have been devoted to Kyoto-like solutions, with the idea of getting western countries to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions. But I grew to realize that the West was a sideshow. India and China will build hundreds of coal-fire power plants in the next ten years and the combined carbon dioxide emissions of those new plants alone are five times larger than the savings mandated by the Kyoto accords. What do you do with the Indias and Chinas of the world?
Friedman: I think there are two approaches. There has to be more understanding of the basic unfairness they feel. They feel like we sat down, had the hors d'oeuvres, ate the entrée, pretty much finished off the dessert, invited them for tea and coffee and then said, "Let's split the bill." So I understand the big sense of unfairness--they feel that now that they have a chance to grow and reach with large numbers a whole new standard of living, we're basically telling them, "Your growth, and all the emissions it would add, is threatening the world's climate." At the same time, what I say to them--what I said to young Chinese most recently when I was just in China is this: Every time I come to China, young Chinese say to me, "Mr. Friedman, your country grew dirty for 150 years. Now it's our turn." And I say to them, "Yes, you're absolutely right, it's your turn. Grow as dirty as you want. Take your time. Because I think we probably just need about five years to invent all the new clean power technologies you're going to need as you choke to death, and we're going to come and sell them to you. And we're going to clean your clock in the next great global industry. So please, take your time. If you want to give us a five-year lead in the next great global industry, I will take five. If you want to give us ten, that would be even better. In other words, I know this is unfair, but I am here to tell you that in a world that's hot, flat and crowded, ET--energy technology--is going to be as big an industry as IT--information technology. Maybe even bigger. And who claims that industry--whose country and whose companies dominate that industry--I think is going to enjoy more national security, more economic security, more economic growth, a healthier population, and greater global respect, for that matter, as well. So you can sit back and say, it's not fair that we have to compete in this new industry, that we should get to grow dirty for a while, or you can do what you did in telecommunications, and that is try to leap-frog us. And that's really what I'm saying to them: this is a great economic opportunity. The game is still open. I want my country to win it--I'm not sure it will.
Zakaria: I'm struck by the point you make about energy technology. In my book I'm pretty optimistic about the United States. But the one area where I'm worried is actually ET. We do fantastically in biotech, we're doing fantastically in nanotechnology. But none of these new technologies have the kind of system-wide effect that information technology did. Energy does. If you want to find the next technological revolution you need to find an industry that transforms everything you do. Biotechnology affects one critical aspect of your day-to-day life, health, but not all of it. But energy--the consumption of energy--affects every human activity in the modern world. Now, my fear is that, of all the industries in the future, that's the one where we're not ahead of the pack. Are we going to run second in this race?
Friedman: Well, I want to ask you that, Fareed. Why do you think we haven't led this industry, which itself has huge technological implications? We have all the secret sauce, all the technological prowess, to lead this industry. Why do you think this is the one area--and it's enormous, it's actually going to dwarf all the others--where we haven't been at the real cutting edge?
Zakaria: I think it's not about our economic system but our political system. The rhetoric we hear is that the market should produce new energy technologies. But the problem is, the use of current forms of energy has an existing infrastructure with very powerful interests that has ensured that the government tilt the playing field in their favor, with subsidies, tax breaks, infrastructure spending, etc. This is one area where the Europeans have actually been very far-sighted and have pushed their economies toward the future.
Friedman: I would say that's exactly right. It's the Europeans--and the Japanese as well--who've done it, and they've done it because of the government mechanisms you've highlighted. They have understood that, if you just say the market alone will deliver the green revolution we need, basically three things happen and none of them are good: First, the market will drive up the price to whatever level demand dictates. We saw oil hit $145 a barrel, and when that happens the oil-producing countries capture most of the profit, 90% of it. So, some of the worst regimes in the world enjoy the biggest benefits from the market run-up. The second thing that happens is that the legacy oil, gas and coal companies get the other ten percent of the profit--so companies which have no interest in changing the system get stronger. And the third thing that happens is something that doesn't happen: because you're letting the market alone shape the prices, the market price can go up and down very quickly. So, those who want to invest in the alternatives really have to worry that if they make big investments, the market price for oil may fall back on them before their industry has had a chance to move down the learning curve and make renewable energies competitive with oil. Sure, the market can drive oil to $145 a barrel and at that level wind or solar may be very competitive. But what if two months later oil is at $110 a barrel? Because of that uncertainty, because we have not put a floor price under oil, you have the worst of all worlds, which is a high price of dirty fuels--what I call in the book fuels from hell--and low investment in new clean fuels, the fuels from heaven. Yes, some people are investing in the alternatives, but not as many or as much as you think, because they are worried that without a floor price for crude oil, their investments in the alternatives could get wiped out, which is exactly what happened in the 1980s after the first oil shock. That's why you need the government to come in a reshape the market to make the cost of dirty fuels more expensive and subsidize the price of clean fuels until they can become competitive.
Right now we are doing just the opposite. Bush and Cheney may say the oil market is “free,” but that is a joke. It's dominated by the world's biggest cartel, OPEC, and America's biggest energy companies, and they've shaped this market to serve their interests. Unless government comes in and reshapes it, we're never going to launch this industry. Which is one of the reasons I argue in the book, "Change your leaders, not your light bulbs." Because leaders write rules, rules shape markets, markets give you scale. Without scale, without being able to generate renewable energy at scale, you have nothing. All you have is a hobby. Everything we've doing up to now is pretty much a hobby. I like hobbies--I used to build model airplanes as a kid. But I don't try to change the world as a hobby. And that's basically what we're trying to do.
Zakaria: But aren't we in the midst of a green revolution? Every magazine I pick up tells me ten different ways to get more green. Hybrids are doing very well...
Friedman: What I always say to people when they say to me, "We're having a green revolution" is, "Really? A green revolution! Have you ever been to a revolution where no one got hurt? That's the green revolution." In the green revolution, everyone's a winner: BP's green, Exxon's green, GM's green. When everyone's a winner, that's not a revolution--actually, that's a party. We're having a green party. And it's very fun--you and I get invited to all the parties. But it has no connection whatsoever with a real revolution. You'll know it's a revolution when somebody gets hurt. And I don't mean physically hurt. But the IT revolution was a real revolution. In the IT revolution, companies either had to change or die. So you'll know the green revolution is happening when you see some bodies--corporate bodies--along the side of the road: companies that didn't change and therefore died. Right now we don't have that kind of market, that kind of change-or-die situation. Right now companies feel like they can just change their brand, not actually how they do business, and that will be enough to survive. That's why we're really having more of a green party than a green revolution.
Zakaria: One of your chapters is called "Outgreening Al-Qaeda." Explain what you mean.
Friedman: The chapter is built around the green hawks in the Pentagon. They began with a marine general in Iraq, who basically cabled back one day and said, I need renewable power here. Things like solar energy. And the reaction of the Pentagon was, "Hey, general, you getting a little green out there? You're not going sissy on us are you? Too much sun?" And he basically said, "No, don't you guys get it? I have to provision outposts along the Syrian border. They are off the grid. They run on generators with diesel fuel. I have to truck diesel fuel from Kuwait to the Syrian border at $20 a gallon delivered cost. And that's if my trucks don't get blown up by insurgents along the way. If I had solar power, I wouldn't have to truck all this fuel. I could—this is my term, not his—‘outgreen' Al-Qaeda."
I argue in the chapter that "outgreening"--the ability to deploy, expand, innovate and grow renewable energy and clean power--is going to become one of the most important, if not the most important, sources of competitive advantage for a company, for a country, for a military. You're going to know the cost of your fuel, it's going to be so much more distributed, you will be so much more flexible, and--this is quite important, Fareed--you will also become so much more respected. I hear from law firms today: one law firm has a green transport initiative going for its staff--they only use hybrid cars--another one doesn't. If some law student out of Harvard or Yale is weighing which law firm to join--many will say today: "I think I'll go with the green one." So there are a lot of ways in which you can outgreen your competition. I think "outgreening" is going to become an important verb in the dictionary - between "outfox" and "outmaneuver."
Zakaria: Finally, let me ask you--in that context--what would this do to America's image, if we were to take on this challenge? Do you really think it could change the way America is perceived in the world?
Friedman: I have no doubt about it, which is why I say in the book: I'm not against Kyoto; if you can get 190 countries all to agree on verifiable limits on their carbon, God bless you. But at the end of the day, I really still believe--and I know you do too--in America as a model. Your book stresses this--that even in a post-American world we still are looked at by others around the world as a role model. I firmly believe that if we go green--if we prove that we can become healthy, secure, respected, entrepreneurial, richer and more innovative by greening our economy, many more people will follow us voluntarily than would do so by compulsion of a treaty. Does that mean Russia and Iran will? No. Geopolitics won't disappear. But I think it will, speaking broadly, definitely reposition us in the world with more people in more places. I look at making America the greenest country in the world like running the Olympic triathlon: if you make it to the Olympics and you run the race, maybe you win--but even if you don't win, you're fitter, healthier, more secure, more respected, more competitive and entrepreneurial, because you have given birth to a whole new clean power industry--which has to be the next great global industry--and put your economy on a much more sustainable footing. So to me, this is a win-win-win-win race, and that's why I believe we, America, need to take the lead in it. In the Cold War we had the space race with Russia to see who could be the first to put a man on the moon. Today we need an earth race with Japan, Europe, China and India--to see who can be the first to invent the clean power technologies that will allow man to live safely and sustainably on earth.

From Bookmarks Magazine

It’s hard not to admire Thomas Friedman’s reporting, even if it sometimes feels like a sales pitch. That’s why those who agree with Friedman’s analysis were excited about this book: it may not be the best volume available on the subject, but it will encourage millions of people to think about the central role climate change should play in the national discourse. But Bjøorn Lomborg, author of Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist’s Guide to Global Warming, wrote that Friedman exaggerates the impact of global warming, uses random research to support his argument, and completely fails to take economics into account when he proposes solutions. Eric Fisher, on the other hand, was so annoyed with Friedman’s drastic tone and predilection for coining sociological “laws” that his review skirted Friedman’s argument and mocked its form, which may represent the reaction of some of those seeking a more sophisticated take on this timely subject.Copyright 2008 Bookmarks Publishing LLC

The Green Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems

Publisher Comments:
Provocative, personal, and inspirational, The Green Collar Economy is not a dire warning but rather a substantive and viable plan for solving the biggest issues facing the country — the failing economy and our devastated environment. From a distance, it appears that these two problems are separate, but when we look closer, the connection becomes unmistakable.
In The Green Collar Economy, acclaimed activist and political advisor Van Jones delivers a real solution that both rescues our economy and saves the environment. The economy is built on and powered almost exclusively by oil, natural gas, and coal — all fast-diminishing nonrenewable resources. As supplies disappear, the price of energy climbs and nearly everything becomes more expensive. With costs and unemployment soaring, the economy stalls. Not only that, when we burn these fuels, the greenhouse gases they create overheat the atmosphere. As the headlines make clear, total climate chaos looms over us. The bottom line: we cannot continue with business as usual. We cannot drill and burn our way out of these dual dilemmas.
Instead, Van Jones illustrates how we can invent and invest our way out of the pollution-based grey economy and into the healthy new green economy. Built by a broad coalition deeply rooted in the lives and struggles of ordinary people, this path has the practical benefit of both cutting energy prices and generating enough work to pull the U.S. economy out of its present death spiral.
Rachel Carson's 1963 landmark book Silent Spring was the pivotal ecological examination of the last century. Now, rising above the impenetrable debate over the environment and the economy, Van Jones's The Green Collar Economy delivers a timely and essential call to action for this new century.

"Van Jones reminds us that the worst of times can also be the best of times — that a nation with an abundance of resources it's wasting — beginning with its youth — has an enormous opportunity to stop foolishly bankrupting itself by chasing resources it is running out of — like oil." Carl Pope, Executive Director Sierra Club
"Van Jones' authentic and passionate arguments trump the status quo. In The Green Collar Economy he holds the welfare of our neediest people front and center as he lays out a viable plan for the remainder of the 21st century." Tavis Smiley, Author, Television and Radio Host
"Jones accomplishes the super heroic feat of linking together the solutions for poverty, the energy crisis, and global warming. Van is a visionary of our times, and one of my personal heroes. Every relevant 21st century leader needs to read Van’s book." John Hope Bryant, Founder & CEO, Operation Hope
"Van Jones has a unique ability to inspire people of all colors, classes and generations to uplift vulnerable people, while protecting our vulnerable planet. His sparkling intelligence, powerful vision and deep empathy are all on full display in The Green Collar Economy." Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives
"Van's words echo the sentiments of many indigenous communities, who have endured the effects of coal strip mining, uranium mining and mega dams. The Green Collar Economy outlines industrial society's path towards a just future." Winona LaDuke, Native American and environmental activist
"The Green Collar Economy is a both a rallying call and a road map for how we can save the planet, reduce our dependency on budget-busting fossil fuels, and bring millions of new jobs to America." Fred Krupp, Environmental Defense Fund President and New York Times best-selling co-author of Earth: The Sequel
"Brother Van Jones is a visionary who spells out real solutions in black and white — and, of course, green. Van's vision of a thriving, green economy doesn't have throw-away things or throw-away people. It's the kind of environmentalism everyone can get behind." Mario Van Peebles, actor and producer, Mario's Green House
"Once in a very long while, a truly original voice enters our national political discussion — and changes the conversation for the better....Van Jones does just that. The Green Collar Economy lets us envision a world in which the Earth and everyday people both thrive." Senator Tom Daschle
"In The Green-Collar Economy, Van Jones has penned a working man's manifesto for the solar age. When green solutions finally catch on among everyday folks, Van and this book will deserve the lion's share of the credit." Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Hip Hop Caucus
"In The Green Collar Economy, Van Jones turns conventional environmentalism on its head. Watch out: this book could change everything." Larry Brilliant,
"As the Earth warms and the oceans rise, the civil and human rights agenda must expand. No one has worked harder to level the playing field in the rapidly growing green economy than Van Jones." Ben Jealous, President, NAACP
"Van Jones represents a new generation of environmental leader — one who sees the Greening of America as both a moral imperative and a nuts and bolts economic issue. His passion, intelligence, and idealism shine through every page of this must-read book." Arianna Huffington
"This book illustrates the link between the struggle to restore the environment and the need to revive the US economy. Van Jones demonstrates conclusively that the best solutions for the survivability of our planet are also the best solutions for everyday Americans." Al Gore
"Pay attention: we are witnessing the debut of a major American voice." Paul Hawken, author of Blessed Unrest
"The baton is passed to climate advocate Van Jones who clearly sees that our future must be green and must include everyone. His powerful new book The Green Collar Economy shows us how to accomplish it." Laurie David, global warming activist
"It's rare that someone with such a gift for speaking is able to convey the energy and excitement of his message equally well in writing. With The Green Collar Economy, Van Jones surpasses all expectations. The country seriously needs his take on the environment and the economy." Gavin Newsom, Mayor of San Francisco
The award-winning human rights activist and advisor to policy makers and presidential candidates delivers a 21st-century economic plan to rescue working-class Americans.

About the Author
Van Jones is the founder and president of Green for All. An internationally acclaimed and award-winning activist, Jones is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress. In addition, Jones is a board member of 1Sky, the Apollo Alliance, and a Fellow with the Institute of Noetic Sciences. A Yale Law graduate, Van Jones is living in Oakland with his wife and two sons.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Faith of My Fathers (John McCain's Story)

John McCain is one of the most admired leaders in the United States government, but his deeply felt memoir of family and war is not a political one and ends before his election to Congress. With candor and ennobling power, McCain tells a story that, in the words of Newsweek, "makes the other presidential candidates look like pygmies." John McCain learned about life and honor from his grandfather and father, both four-star admirals in the U.S. Navy. This is a memoir about their lives, their heroism, and the ways that sons are shaped and enriched by their fathers. John McCain's grandfather was a gaunt, hawk-faced man known as Slew by his fellow officers and, affectionately, as Popeye by the sailors who served under him. McCain Sr. played the horses, drank bourbon and water, and rolled his own cigarettes with one hand. More significant, he was one of the navy's greatest commanders, and led the strongest aircraft carrier force of the Third Fleet in key battles during World War II. John McCain's father followed a similar path, equally distinguished by heroic service in the navy, as a submarine commander during World War II. McCain Jr. was a slightly built man, but like his father, he earned the respect and affection of his men. He, too, rose to the rank of four-star admiral, making the McCains the first family in American history to achieve that distinction. McCain Jr.'s final assignment was as commander of all U.S. forces in the Pacific during the Vietnam War. It was in the Vietnam War that John McCain III faced the most difficult challenge of his life. A naval aviator, he was shot down over Hanoi in 1967 and seriously injured. When Vietnamese military officers realized he was the son of a top commander, they offered McCain early release in an effort to embarrass the United States. Acting from a sense of honor taught him by his father and the U.S. Naval Academy, McCain refused the offer. He was tortured, held in solitary confinement, and imprisoned for five and a half years. Faith of My Fathers is about what McCain learned from his grandfather and father, and how their example enabled him to survive those hard years. It is a story of three imperfect men who faced adversity and emerged with their honor intact. Ultimately, Faith of My Fathers shows us, with great feeling and appreciation, what fathers give to their sons, and what endures.

About the Author

John McCain
After a career in the U.S. Navy and two terms as a U.S. representative (1982-86), John McCain was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1986 and re-elected in 1992 and 1998. He has seven children and four grandchildren. He and his wife, Cindy, reside in Phoenix.

Mark Salter

has worked on Senator McCain's staff for ten years. Hired as a legislative assistant in 1989, he has served as the senator's administrative assistant since 1993. He lives in Alexandria, Virginia, with his wife, Diane, and their two daughters.

The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream Barack Obama

“A government that truly represents these Americans–that truly serves these Americans–will require a different kind of politics. That politics will need to reflect our lives as they are actually lived. It won’t be pre-packaged, ready to pull off the shelf. It will have to be constructed from the best of our traditions and will have to account for the darker aspects of our past. We will need to understand just how we got to this place, this land of warring factions and tribal hatreds. And we’ll need to remind ourselves, despite all our differences, just how much we share: common hopes, common dreams, a bond that will not break.”–from The Audacity of HopeIn July 2004, Barack Obama electrified the Democratic National Convention with an address that spoke to Americans across the political spectrum. One phrase in particular anchored itself in listeners’ minds, a reminder that for all the discord and struggle to be found in our history as a nation, we have always been guided by a dogged optimism in the future, or what Senator Obama called “the audacity of hope.” Now, in The Audacity of Hope, Senator Obama calls for a different brand of politics–a politics for those weary of bitter partisanship and alienated by the “endless clash of armies” we see in congress and on the campaign trail; a politics rooted in the faith, inclusiveness, and nobility of spirit at the heart of “our improbable experiment in democracy.” He explores those forces–from the fear of losing to the perpetual need to raise money to the power of the media–that can stifle even the best-intentioned politician. He also writes, with surprising intimacy and self-deprecating humor, about settling in as a senator, seeking to balance the demands of public service and family life, and his own deepening religious commitment.At the heart of this book is Senator Obama’s vision of how we can move beyond our divisions to tackle concrete problems. He examines the growing economic insecurity of American families, the racial and religious tensions within the body politic, and the transnational threats–from terrorism to pandemic–that gather beyond our shores. And he grapples with the role that faith plays in a democracy–where it is vital and where it must never intrude. Underlying his stories about family, friends, members of the Senate, even the president, is a vigorous search for connection: the foundation for a radically hopeful political consensus. A senator and a lawyer, a professor and a father, a Christian and a skeptic, and above all a student of history and human nature, Senator Obama has written a book of transforming power. Only by returning to the principles that gave birth to our Constitution, he says, can Americans repair a political process that is broken, and restore to working order a government that has fallen dangerously out of touch with millions of ordinary Americans. Those Americans are out there, he writes–“waiting for Republicans and Democrats to catch up with them.”

About the Author
BARACK OBAMA is the junior U.S. senator from Illinois. He lives in Chicago with his wife, Michelle, and two daughters. In 2008, he is Democrat president election candidate.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Kill Bin Laden: A Delta Force Commander's Account of the Hunt for the World's Most Wanted Man

Editorial Reviews

"Mr. President if you had let these guys run this war it would have been over by now. Read this book now, all of you. [Kill Bin Laden is] the best book ever written by a special operations insider. This guy Fury’s men are the real-deal Delta Force operators. You need to know what happened at Tora Bora, and this great book will tell you." --Colonel David Hunt, U.S. Army (Ret.), New York Times bestselling author of They Just Don’t Get It and On The Hunt, and FOX News Special Ops and Counterterrorism Analyst "Special Forces Operational Detachment - Delta is without doubt one of the most fearsome military units ever assembled, with many camp followers seeking with only limited success to record its deeds. There is only one way to know what really happened in any Delta mission, and that is to be there. Delta officer Dalton Fury didn't just take part in the battle of Tora Bora, he commanded all the special operations troops, both U.S. and British, who were there. Kill Bin Laden is a proud, riveting, warts-and-all account of that battle, one of the most important special operations missions of all time." --Michael Smith, author of KILLER ELITE: The Inside Story of America’s Most Secret Special Operations Team “An important, must-read book about real warriors. A story that so positively reflects what on-the-ground decision making, professional acceptance of risk, and maximizing interagency cooperation can do. Dalton Fury shows us with amazing detail and insight what highly trained and motivated special operators can accomplish successfully in combat out of all proportion to their numbers.” --Cofer Black, former chief of the Central Intelligence Agency's Counter Terrorist Center.

Product Description
The mission was to kill the most wanted man in the world--an operation of such magnitude that it couldn’t be handled by just any military or intelligence force. The best America had to offer was needed. As such, the task was handed to roughly forty members of America’s supersecret counterterrorist unit formerly known as 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta; more popularly, the elite and mysterious unit Delta Force. The American generals were flexible. A swatch of hair, a drop of blood, or simply a severed finger wrapped in plastic would be sufficient. Delta's orders were to go into harm's way and prove to the world bin Laden had been terminated.These Delta warriors had help: a dozen of the British Queen’s elite commandos, another dozen or so Army Green Berets, and six intelligence operatives from the CIA who laid the groundwork by providing cash, guns, bullets, intelligence, and interrogation skills to this clandestine military force. Together, this team waged modern siege of epic proportions against bin Laden and his seemingly impenetrable cave sanctuary burrowed deep inside the Spin Ghar Mountain range in eastern Afghanistan. Over the years, since the battle ended, scores of news stories have surfaced offering tidbits of information about what actually happened in Tora Bora. Most of it is conjecture and speculation. This is the real story of the operation, the first eyewitness account of the Battle of Tora Bora, and the first book to detail just how close Delta Force came to capturing bin Laden, how close U.S. bombers and fighter aircraft came to killing him, and exactly why he slipped through our fingers. Lastly, this is an extremely rare inside look at the shadowy world of Delta Force and a detailed account of these warriors in battle.

About the Author
Dalton Fury was the senior ranking military officer at the Battle of Tora Bora. As a Delta troop commander he commanded ninety-one other Western special operations commandos and support personnel and helped author, along with some of Delta’s most talented sergeants, the tactical concept of operation to hunt and kill bin Laden.