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Todays all American have a pinky dream for the future. That's why they studied past their history and now live in the center of the world and already prepaired so many things for 21th century. Other countries have to learn what American did, do and will do for the peace of the new millennum.
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Final Note: Parents or teachers should make a point of explaining that Richard Wright, author of "Laughing Boy," is a noted African-American writer. This will be important in understanding the meaning of this short poem about a boy standing in the falling snow who "holds out his palms until they are white."
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Twain completely dissects the "good ol' days" of Arthurian Britain by exposing the vicious social practices of the time: white slavery, le droit de seigneur, confiscation of property in event of suicide, the complete lack of impartial justice, the degrading influence of the Church on the mass, etcetera etcetera etcetera...
The Arthurian legends are wonderful tales, but they are a mythic literary production; Twain deals with the brutal reality of daily living in the Dark Ages, and points out that the good ol' days were not so good, anyway.
As for its applicability to modern America, I am not fit to judge. Perhaps it's there. But "The Connecticut Yankee" is a wonderful tonic for those prone to romanticizing the past. Twain seems to agree with Tom Paine that the English nobility were "no-ability", and simply the latest in a series of robbers.
And, of course, the book is stuffed with wonderful Twainisms... My favorite is his observation that a conscience is a very inconvenient thing, and the significant difference between a conscience and an anvil is that, if you had an anvil inside you, it would be alot less uncomfortable than having the conscience.
Twain also mentions the beautiful mispronunciations of childhood, and how the bereaved parental ear listens in vain for them once children have grown.
You'll never look at castles the same again...
The plot is a familiar one in our age of sci-fi and fantasy, though it was innovative when Twain conceived it: Hank Morgan, an enterprising 19th-century engineer, is knocked unconscious and comes to in King Arthur's fabled Camelot. Bewildered but determined to make the best of the situation, Morgan uses his knowledge of history and mechanical skills to convince everyone he is a super-magician greater than even Merlin. Once ensconced as the King's right-hand man, Morgan sets about reforming the country into a republic, a sort of prototype America. Most of the book follows Morgan through a series of haphazard adventures which Twain uses to illuminate the great but often forgotten evils of the Dark Ages, including the abuses of the Catholic Church, the ignorant and useless ruling body that inevitably arises from a monarchy, and the pitiful working conditions of the medieval peasant or slave.
Nor is Twain's critical eye trained only on the far-flung past. Though Morgan is essentially a sympathetic figure, he struggles to find anything the least bit admirable about the knights and nobles he must live with, and considers the chivalric code merely fit for derision. Meanwhile, Morgan's own capitalist code is in full effect, and he takes advantage of every opportunity to cash in his advanced education for the big bucks.
Colorful and sublimely written, Twain's time-travel masterpiece is both a magical fantasy and a stinging dystopian satire. Don't be fooled by the several movie versions of this story, some of which are great fun in their own right. Yes, the novel is funny, often riotously so, but the humorous skin hides a deadly earnestness beneath, and the finale is far less optimistic than one who has first seen the film versions will doubtless expect. A deservedly immortal literary gem.
BY: Christian J. Vazquez
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I was pulled into Icy Sparks immediately by the interesting prose and became completely immersed during the sequences when Icy would struggle to control the outbursts brought on by her disorder. The excellent narration of these events is fluid and believable.
Although the narrative is excellent, a well-crafted plot is what makes Gwyn Rubio's first published novel outstanding. The novel describes the universal plight of a young girl trying to understand the differences which set her apart from her peers. The plot unfolds in a natural way, with Icy, a victim of Tourette Syndrome, trying to come to terms with her undiagnosed condition. Her search for acceptance and understanding culminates in a beautifully written scene which is charged with emotion.
I enjoyed this book immensely.
The book is so rich in detail that the reader is often left feeling as though they have actually witnessed one of Icy's outbursts. The question is -- from which point of view? One of Gwyn Hyman Rubio's strongest assets is her ability to convey the shock and horror of those around Icy as she "jerks" and "croaks," while at the same time describe Icy's self-hatred of the inablity to control her body.
In the end, this book is not simply about Tourrette's syndrome. It is about human igonrance, fear and tolerance. I would highly recommend it to anyone.
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You would find this book useful if you already knew the basics of C++ fairly well, had a few years of experience, and you were looking for advanced tips and tricks, or perhaps an alternate discussion of common techniques ... but if you were truly looking for ESSENTIAL techniques, a superior book is "C++ FAQs" (well worth the money), followed by "Effective C++". And if you were looking for a good, short book on C++ essentials, try Lippman's "Essential C++".
If you want to flesh out your knowledge of general programming practices, I highly recommend "The Pragmatic Programmer", "The Practice of Programming" or "Writing Solid Code".
I don't understand why this book includes a CD of the code printed within the book. I don't see how running the code would provide any information that you wouldn't receive from reading the book, and ... if there were any benefit of running the code, the code should have been placed on a web site for free access to book owners, instead of inflating the cost of the book by several bucks for the physical medium of the CD. I don't like paying for something I don't need.
And speaking of code, the examples should have been edited and formatted for understandability. There is a poor use of white space ... and why did they use real variables such as "m_rgdw" when the examples would have been much more understandable with common metasyntatic variables such as "foo"?
Summary: an OK book, with a few tips that you won't find elsewhere, and a fairly likeable reading style ... but the code examples needed editing (don't use production code for training examples!) and the book's cost is high (probably due to the useless CD). Not a book for a beginner, and certainly there are other books that are more essential for beginning to intermediate programmers ... but good advice for serious programmers who want a different perspective on common situations or who want to finesse their art.
Intro C++ books: "Accelerated C++", "Essential C++", "C++: The Core Language"
Programming books: "Practice of Programming"