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Book reviews for "Saunders,_George" sorted by average review score:

Writings of Leon Trotsky: (1932)
Published in Paperback by Pathfinder Press (1981)
Authors: Leon Trotsky, George Saunders, and Iain Fraser
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Economic depression, war and working-class leadership
This is one of a 14-volume series of writings by Leon Trotsky, who along with V.I. Lenin was a central leader of the 1917 Russian Revolution. These volumes cover the years 1929-1940, when Trotsky led the political fight world-wide to maintain the continuity of Bolshevik's revolutionary perspective and leadership against the reactionary policies imposed by the Stalinist regime in the Soviet Union. Reading Trotsky carefully, one can learn a lot about history and about today's world, as well as how to apply Marxist methods to orient oneself for working-class political action.

This volume includes more than 100 articles and letters. They cover topics ranging from the economic depression and the rising inter-imperialist tensions leading to World War II, to the Stalinist frame-up trials in the Soviet Union, the Spanish Civil War, and detailed leadership questions posed in workers movements in different countries at the time. These volumes are lively, pointed and have extensive notes and chronologies to aid the reader today.

I'd also recommend some other titles written by Trotsky at this time, including The History of the Russian Revolution, The Fight Against Fascism in Germany, Trade Unions in the Epoch of Imperialist Decay, and The Transitional Program for Socialist Revolution, all available from the same publisher, Pathfinder Press.

Crucial Lessons for Fighting Fascism
This volume contains lessons crucial for those committed to the goal of emancipating working people and oppressed nations.

The workers movement of that time was misled by parties - social democratic and fake communist -- which preferred imperialist "democracy" over workers revolution. This allowed fascism to triumph and, together with "democratic" imperialism, brought us the second world war which slaughtered tens of millions and included the U.S. - supposedly the most "democratic" imperialists - initiating the threat of human extinction with the nuclear bombing of Japan.

Trotsky explains how Lenin's program could have resulted in workers victories over capitalism all over Europe, as well as the overthrow of the murderous Stalin regime and the regeneration of the Soviet Union on a course of world revolution and workers democracy.

Studying Trotsky's writings today is timely as imperialism is again on the march toward fascism and war.

Everything from Frida Kahlo to fighting fascism
You can see why Trotsky was reknown as a fiery public speaker -- he writes with passion, intelligence and friendly, human humour. These pieces written while living in Mexico, staying with Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. Correspondence with and about them included here, too. Articles on the eve of World War II, with fascism triumphant in Germany and Italy especially thought-provoking in light of recent developments in France with LePen's electoral showing. He scathingly makes the point in polemic with "our Palestinian friends" (gives you a feel for the international scope of the debate that was raging) that it is meaningless to talk about the fascist danger without addressing the danger of ordinary democratic imperialism. How else, he points out, to join the Indian masses in their quest for independence from the Mother of parliamentary democracy? Unexpectedly fun to browse through and think about.

Samizdat: Voices of the Soviet Opposition
Published in Hardcover by Pathfinder Press (1974)
Author: George Saunders
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Revolutionary opponents of Stalin's regime
Opens a window on the lives and deeds of those who were the most ferociously persecuted under the regime of Stalin and his Soviet successors: the oppositionists who stood firm on the platform of the Russian Revolution. While most of this generation were wiped out in the mass executions of the 1930s and 40s, some lived through it and told their story, as part of the rising Samizdat ("self-publication") movement of the 1960s and 70s. The "Memoirs of a Bolshevik-Leninist", some 130 pages long, alone make Samizdat worth reading. Former Major General Pyotr Grigorenko, imprisoned in the 1960s for four years in a psychiatric hospital for counterposing Marx and Lenin to the rotting Soviet regime, also tells his story here. Essential to understanding the course the former Soviet bloc has travelled from the 1917 revolution to today.

The future in the past
The current leaders of Russia and the other parts of the former USSR are a different name for the same old group of bureaucrats that muscled their way in under Stalin. Workers, oppressed nationalities, women have to fight them at every step to preserve the gains won during the workers revolution in 1917, to move forward for a decent life. The words of these Bolshevik fighters who refused to let Stalin and his successors stop them from defending the revolutionary ideas of Lenin and Trotsky, their words, and example and struggle will be come weapons for the new generation of fighters in these countries.

Russian opposition from the 1920s to the 1970s
This volume shows a view of the history of Soviet anti-bureaucratic opposition that is not widely known in the U.S. Samizdat is the term for self-published political writings in the former Soviet Union. This volume includes documents ranging back to revolutionaries purged by Joseph Stalin, and as late as the early 1970s.

My favorite section is the anonymous "Memoirs of a Bolshevik-Leninist", written by a veteran of Lenin's Bolshevik Party and member of Leon Trotsky's Left Opposition, imprisoned by the regime until the 1950s.

Hercules: The Complete Myths of a Legendary Hero (Laurel-Leaf Books)
Published in Paperback by Dell Pub Co (1997)
Authors: Georges Moroz, Heather Saunders, Christopher J. Spollen, and Bantam Doubleday Dell
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The Author Knows the Subtleties of the Myth
First off you know an author of a book on Greek Myth knows his subject when he's able to identify the 12 principle Gods and Goddesses of Olympus. This Moroz shows before the table of contents. (Hades is NOT included, and Dionysus replaces Hestia to name two of the more common mistakes you find.) Also, just that he knew there are TWELVE is impressive on its own... The anthropological glossing is kept to a minimum, but what IS there is refreshingly not academia/wet. He's got a sense of the poetry of these stories. (I'm pointing these things out because most retellings of Greek Myth are the equivalent of musicians who perform Bach based on their attainments in the formal study of musicology. This has given the harpsichord a tedious reputation.) This is not just a book for children. These stories of Hercules are told truthfully, and the 'scary' parts (not too scary) are left in. The subtitle advertises the book as complete, and the book gives the reader a sense of completeness. I'm an addict of these myths and I learned details I'd never come across before (or never had come across in a way that they stood out or just stayed in my memory.) The timeline of events and adventures in Hercules' life is made clear and put into perspective as well. Greek Myths are simple stories and they can often best be experienced in simple, truthful retellings like this little book.

An Outstanding Work With A Lot To Offer.
This book was amazing. It had everythhing a book should have. The way the events were discribed were great! It was as if I were really there. I really do recommend this book for anyone with a good imagination or someone who just loves reading great books. I had a fun time reading this book.

There's Always a Way/Kevin Saunders Reached Past Pain to Find the the Champion Within
Published in Paperback by Wrs Pub (1993)
Authors: Kevin Saunders, Bob Darden, and George S. Bush
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Inspiration at its best.
This book gives us insight into the life of a man who had it all, then lost it in an accident that left him in a condition that could almost be considered a fate worse than death. With incredible strength of purpose he slowly brought himself to the position of one of the world's leading wheelchair athletes, a respected speaker and a happy, whole person. The story of the journey is told with open-hearted candor. He shares the pain and humilation he experienced as well the glory he has achieved. If you want to be uplifted; if you want to be inspired to wake up every morning with the determination to be the best that you can be, then read this book! If Kevin did what he did, then you can, for sure, do what you need and want to do!

Intriguing read about the USA's best paraplegic athlete.
Kevin Saunders' is arguably the greatest paraplegic athlete. The winner of two bronze medals in the past Olympics, Saunders' story -- beginning with the horrific grain elevator explosion that snapped his spine -- through his triumphant sprint to the finish line is a pretty good read. Saunders is no paper hero: he screws up along the way and occasionally gets involved in a laugh-out-loud funny situation. But the main thrust is the motivational message -- you CAN do this. And there's ALWAYS a way. A good afternoon read for teen-agers or adults.

Trail Fever: The Life of a Texas Cowboy
Published in School & Library Binding by Lothrop Lee & Shepard (1992)
Authors: D. J. Lightfoot and John Bobbish
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A Thrilling Tale
In my admiration for this fun, fascinating, fact-filled book, I yield to no authority but the eminent KIRKUS REVIEWS:

"George Saunders participated in many great cattle drives from 1871 to 1886; later, he spent years collecting and setting down his aging comrades' reminiscences. His career makes a thrilling tale, full of danger and hardship, stampedes, hostile Native Americans, rough country, and bad weather. Lightfoot also depicts Saunders's life between drives as a rancher and businessman, a solid citizen who rode with a vigilante group but also stepped forward to prevent a local massacre of Mexicans, at a time when racial tensions ran high. ...readers will get a clear idea of a cowhand's work, and of Saunders's important role in preserving the lore of a vanished era. Bibliography. (Biography. 10-12)"

A book to treasure!
Trail Fever brings to life the true adventures of a Texas hero, George Washington Saunders. George was a gallant cowboy who braved stampedes, storms, droughts, and outlaws. D.J. Lightfoot tells this nonfiction story with thrilling description and a narrative full of adventure and danger. This is an exceptional easy-to-read biography with plenty of rich, authentic detail--perfect for schools, libraries, and homes. I especially loved the part where 20-year-old Saunders stopped a vigilante group of nearly 80 men from mistakenly taking revenge on some Mexican people. Lightfoot makes the reading easy, but most important she makes the reading fun and exciting. This is a perfect book for youngsters or anyone who'd like to get a genuine experience of a courageous man and an interesting era!

Exploration of the Universe (Saunders Golden Sunburst Series)
Published in Hardcover by Hbj School (1991)
Authors: George O. Abell, David Morrison, and Sidney C. Wolff
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I have read the 1964 version of this book and loved it.
I am a 16 year old male. I found this book at a friend's house and started reading it. At the time I wasn't interested in astronomy, and I just wanted something to read. I soon realized how much I was enjoying what I was reading. Since then I have become very involved in astronomy and hope to someday become one professionally. This book has certainly changed my life.

Portraits, Political and Personal
Published in Paperback by Pathfinder Press (1977)
Authors: Leon Trotsky, George Breitman, and George Saunders
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Real Humans fighting in our world of struggle
This book adds profiles of revolutionists from the 1920s and 1930s to those Trotsky published in his original book of revolutionary profiles shortly after the Russian Revolution. We learn the personal strengths and weaknesses of revolutionists of the generation that made the Russian Revolution, and the generation that rose in struggle for and against Stalin in Russia and the World. Even with his worst enemies, Trotsky attempts to be objective. He is after the lessons of character, the problems of human strength and weakness, in this world of economic crisis, imperialist wars, fascism, Stalinist betrayal, working class struggle, and proletarian revolution. There is some eloquent inspiring writing here in his writing on Lenin and on his son Leon Sedov, murdered by Stalin's assassins. This is a book workers and youth fighting for a future can use to understand the human side of fighting in this world of struggle.

The red beret : the story of the parachute regiment at war 1940-1945
Published in Unknown Binding by Battery Press ()
Author: Hilary Aidan St. George Saunders
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British Parachute Training and Action
An excellent book for anyone who has been in the military as a parachute jumper. It was a personal choice for me as I was a Parachute Jumping Instructor at some of the places mentioned in this book. It covers a lot of useful information in regard to the training of British Paratroopers by personell of the Royal Air Force. The people who completed their jumping course during the war years or the years after when the Parachute School was still part of the Royal Air Force will enjoy re-living their experiences of the training and will recognize the names of many of the Instructors involved at the time. They will also live through the moments when they went in to action and immediately find some of the names of the Army personell will bring back some very good and also some very sad memories.

The Trail Drivers of Texas: Interesting Sketches of Early Cowboys and Their Experiences on the Range and on the Trail During the Days That Tried Men
Published in Paperback by Univ of Texas Press (1993)
Authors: J. Marvin Hunter and George W. Saunders
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First-hand accounts of TX trail drivers or their descendants
An excellent rendition of early TX history through a compilation of first hand accounts of trail drivers or their spouses or descendants. Since the accounts were either written or spoken there are frequent misspellings of names such as the Dietert Brothers of Boerne, TX, and Wenzel Friedrich of San Antonio Horn furniture fame, but the reader can find through this with some research efforts. Much history of the people, places, times, and conditions given as individual recollections serve as an excellent source of reference. Forturnately, the Trail Drivers Association in conjuction with the author foresaw the importance of such an endeavor before this important history would be lost as these people inevitably would die off. I feel the book is a tremendously interesting book! I accidentally stumbled on it in Boerne, TX, in the library and was so excited when I found a copy for myself in hardback, though also available in paperback.

Published in Paperback by Bloomsbury Pub Ltd (2000)
Author: George Saunders
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Compassionately cruel
George Saunders is weird and then some. The America in his short stories is light years away from the picture postcard vision of sun-drenched cornfields swaying in the wind.

In the short story that gives the book its title, Pastoralia is the sort of theme park that would give Disney executives a heart attack. Visitors see people as they lived in past epochs, such as the couple who play Neanderthal cave dwellers, daubing prehistoric paintings on walls, making unintelligible grunting noises and roasting goats. But, there are few visitors to the park and the "cavewoman" Janet is cracking up under the pressure of mounting debts and a drug-addicted son.

She downs a bottle of Jack Daniels bourbon and starts using the sort of expletives no Neanderthal man would know.

In the best and funniest story, Sea Oak, a down-at-heel, bickering family tries to make ends meet in a housing estate that gives new meaning to the term concrete jungle. They spend most of their time mindlessly watching television. The stations have run out of Worst Accidents or When Animals Attack videos and have to resort to The Worst That Could Happen, a half-hour of computer simulations of tragedies that have never happened but theoretically could. A child hit by a train is catapulted into a zoo, where he's eaten by wolves. A man cuts off his hand chopping wood and while staggering screaming for help is picked up by a tornado and dropped on a preschool during recess and lands on a pregnant teacher.

Sea Oak is a modern parable. The family's dead granny comes back from the grave to tell them to get their act together but, unlike the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future, she just won't go away, but sits putrefying in her favourite armchair.

"In the morning she's still there, shaking and swearing.

" 'Take the blanket off!' she screams. 'It's time to get this show on the road.'

"I take the blanket off. The smell is not good. One ear is now in her lap. She keeps absentmindedly sticking it back on her head."

Sea Oak is like one long-running sick joke, where you know you shouldn't laugh, but can't help yourself.

Saunders sees humour in misfortune, loneliness and deformity, but it is a cruel humour laced with compassion and that makes his stories not just palatable, but at times moving and wickedly funny.

The misfits he describes are not outcasts to him. The sky may be a different colour on their planet, but the space they inhabit is as real to them as the lives so-called normal people lead.

Not all the stories are consistently good. I read The End of FIRPO In The World three times and still haven't the faintest idea what it's about. But at his best, the arrows that he fires at the alienating culture of urban America hit their mark.

this is a great and wonderful book
I found this collection almost physically disabling it was so good. I finshed "Sea Oak" and walked around bumping into doorways and shaking my head and laughing and muttering out loud. I don't think stories get any better than "Sea Oak." That story will stand the test of time and should be anthologized widely, although it will take a brave editor to include it. Saunders insists on making his characters think and question. This collection is ruled, always, by a heartfelt cry for decency in a world that seems to have misplaced that trait somewhere. The stories shape themselves around decency. You finish them and you are a better person, and that is as good a definition of high art as any I know. Not only that, Saunders is the most original writer to come along since Cormac McCarthy; it's a voice that can be instantly marked and identified. These stories are filled with a horrific beauty.

A Quick, Hilarious, and Sometimes Heart-warming Read
I can imagine that some wouldn't like the fiction of George Saunders. It's bizarre at times in its pulling situations from left field and making them central to the world of its characters. It's even more bizarre, though, in its ability to invest these scenarios with legitimate feeling. For me, that's what makes Saunders' "Pastoralia" such an interesting, hilarious, and--at times--even heart-warming read: the mixture of the almost inhumanly bizarre on the one hand, and the totally human sentiment on the other.

The stories are constructed so that the reader spends the first couple of pages trying to squint at the new world we've been thrown into. There are things that look familiar--self-help mantras, frustration, common corporate names--but what on earth is with the roast goat? The pilot-themed male strippers? The barber's fantasies of love-making in a hacienda? Slowly, as we work at it, it all comes into focus, and then it's even funnier. Saunders times this increased clarity (this readerly struggle for clarity) so that it generates an increasing identification with the emotional situation of the protagonists, who are frustrated, limited by their own decisions and by the obligations imposed on them by their loved ones, and doing their best to cope in a civil and civilized way.

Saunders is merciless in his parodic cultural contacts: corporate culture, self-help culture, the overly-picky standards of the American male, Jerry Springer culture, the self-consciousness and self-doubt of aging academics, all of them get lampooned to no end. The collection is well-constructed, though, as most of the pessimism is weighted toward the beginning. What comes through in the end, then, in the later stories in the collection, is the rare and satisfying moment at which we rise above the ridiculous, at which our humanity trumps our absurdity. The final story is the best example of this; lost in reveries and longing for a chance at real heroism, a strolling academic is presented with a real, in-process life-or-death situation on the banks of a river. He can run away, or he can help. The fate of our worth--of the worth of humanity in general--rests in his hands, and he just might do us proud.

"Pastoralia" tells both sides of the story. As a collection, though, it builds nicely towards its defining moment. Saunders leaves us perched there, painfully aware of our failures but with the highest of hopes for what we might still do. It's a quick read, and a great collection of stories, and I highly recommend it.

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