Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Social Justice: Books on Racism, Sexism and Class Book List

Do you want a book that challenges everything you have ever known? Want a book that makes you pull out the dictionary? Check out this book list...


1) "A People's History of the United States" by Howard Zinn

Library Journal calls Howard Zinn’s iconic A People's History of the United States “a brilliant and moving history of the American people from the point of view of those…whose plight has been largely omitted from most histories.” Packed with vivid details and telling quotations, Zinn’s award-winning classic continues to revolutionize the way American history is taught and remembered. Frequent appearances in popular media such as The Sopranos, The Simpsons, Good Will Hunting, and the History Channel documentary The People Speak testify to Zinn’s ability to bridge the generation gap with enduring insights into the birth, development, and destiny of the nation.


2) "Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America" by Barbara Ehrenreich

Our sharpest and most original social critic goes "undercover" as an unskilled worker to reveal the dark side of American prosperity.

Millions of Americans work full time, year round, for poverty-level wages. In 1998, Barbara Ehrenreich decided to join them. She was inspired in part by the rhetoric surrounding welfare reform, which promised that a job -- any job -- can be the ticket to a better life. But how does anyone survive, let alone prosper, on $6 an hour? To find out, Ehrenreich left her home, took the cheapest lodgings she could find, and accepted whatever jobs she was offered. Moving from Florida to Maine to Minnesota, she worked as a waitress, a hotel maid, a cleaning woman, a nursing-home aide, and a Wal-Mart sales clerk. She lived in trailer parks and crumbling residential motels. Very quickly, she discovered that no job is truly "unskilled," that even the lowliest occupations require exhausting mental and muscular effort. She also learned that one job is not enough; you need at least two if you int to live indoors.

Nickel and Dimed reveals low-rent America in all its tenacity, anxiety, and surprising generosity -- a land of Big Boxes, fast food, and a thousand desperate stratagems for survival. Read it for the smoldering clarity of Ehrenreich's perspective and for a rare view of how "prosperity" looks from the bottom. You will never see anything -- from a motel bathroom to a restaurant meal -- in quite the same way again.


3) "Autobiography of Malcolm X" by Malcolm X

With its first great victory in the landmark Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education in 1954, the civil rights movement gained the powerful momentum it needed to sweep forward into its crucial decade, the 1960s. As voices of protest and change rose above the din of history and false promises, one voice sounded more urgently, more passionately, than the rest. Malcolm X—once called the most dangerous man in America—challenged the world to listen and learn the truth as he experienced it. And his enduring message is as relevant today as when he first delivered it.

In the searing pages of this classic autobiography, originally published in 1964, Malcolm X, the Muslim leader, firebrand, and anti-integrationist, tells the extraordinary story of his life and the growth of the Black Muslim movement to veteran writer and journalist Alex Haley . In a unique collaboration, Haley worked with Malcolm X for nearly two years, interviewing, listening to, and understanding the most controversial leader of his time.

Raised in Lansing, Michigan, Malcolm Little journeyed on a road to fame as astonishing as it was unpredictable. Drifting from childhood poverty to petty crime, Malcolm found himself in jail. It was there that he came into contact with the teachings of a little-known Black Muslim leader renamed Elijah Muhammad. The newly renamed Malcolm X devoted himself body and soul to the teachings of Elijah Muhammad and the world of Islam, becoming the Nation’s foremost spokesman. When his conscience forced him to break with Elijah Muhammad, Malcolm founded the Organization of Afro-American Unity to reach African Americans across the country with an inspiring message of pride, power, and self-determination.

The Autobiography of Malcolm X defines American culture and the African American struggle for social and economic equality that has now become a battle for survival. Malcolm’s fascinating perspective on the lies and limitations of the American Dream, and the inherent racism in a society that denies its nonwhite citizens the opportunity to dream, gives extraordinary insight into the most urgent issues of our own time.

The Autobiography of Malcolm X stands as the definitive statement of a movement and a man whose work was never completed but whose message is timeless. It is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand America.


4) "Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American Textbook Got Wrong" by James W. Loewen

Americans have lost touch with their history, and in Lies My Teacher Told Me Professor James Loewen shows why. After surveying eighteen leading high school American history texts, he has concluded that not one does a decent job of making history interesting or memorable. Marred by an embarrassing combination of blind patriotism, mindless optimism, sheer misinformation, and outright lies, these books omit almost all the ambiguity, passion, conflict, and drama from our past.

In this revised edition, packed with updated material, Loewen explores how historical myths continue to be perpetuated in today's climate and adds an eye-opening chapter on the lies surrounding 9/11 and the Iraq War. From the truth about Columbus's historic voyages to an honest evaluation of our national leaders, Loewen revives our history, restoring the vitality and relevance it truly possesses.

Thought provoking, nonpartisan, and often shocking, Loewen unveils the real America in this iconoclastic classic beloved by high school teachers, history buffs, and enlightened citizens across the country.


5) "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of American West" by Dee Brown

Immediately recognized as a revelatory and enormously controversial book since its first publication in 1971, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee is universally recognized as one of those rare books that forever changes the way its subject is perceived. Now repackaged with a new introduction from bestselling author Hampton Sides to coincide with a major HBO dramatic film of the book, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee is Dee Brown’s classic, eloquent, meticulously documented account of the systematic destruction of the American Indian during the second half of the nineteenth century. A national bestseller in hardcover for more than a year after its initial publication, it has sold over four million copies in multiple editions and has been translated into seventeen languages.

Using council records, autobiographies, and firsthand descriptions, Brown allows great chiefs and warriors of the Dakota, Ute, Sioux, Cheyenne, and other tribes to tell us in their own words of the series of battles, massacres, and broken treaties that finally left them and their people demoralized and decimated. A unique and disturbing narrative told with force and clarity, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee changed forever our vision of how the West was won, and lost. It tells a story that should not be forgotten, and so must be retold from time to time. 


6) "The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism" by Naomi Klein

In this groundbreaking alternative history of the most dominant ideology of our time, Milton Friedman's free-market economic revolution, Naomi Klein challenges the popular myth of this movement's peaceful global victory. From Chile in 1973 to Iraq today, Klein shows how Friedman and his followers have repeatedly harnessed terrible shocks and violence to implement their radical policies. As John Gray wrote in The Guardian, "There are very few books that really help us understand the present.The Shock Doctrine is one of those books."


7) "Race Matters" by Cornel West

Cornel West is at the forefront of thinking about race. In Race Matters he addresses a range of issues, from the crisis in black leadership and the myths surrounding black sexuality to affirmative action, the new black conservatism, and the strained relations between Jews and African Americans. He never hesitates to confront the prejudices of all his readers?or wavers in his insistence that they share a common destiny. Bold in its thought and written with a redemptive passion grounded in the tradition of the African-American church, Race Matters is a book that is at once challenging and deeply healing.


Monday, January 26, 2015

Top 100 Movies of All Time Part 6

Enjoy movies? Want to revisit older but classic movies? Need something to curl up to during this cold winter? Check out these movies...



1) Braveheart

William Wallace is a Scottish rebel who leads an uprising against the cruel English ruler Edward the Longshanks, who wishes to inherit the crown of Scotland for himself. When he was a young boy, William Wallace's father and brother, along with many others, lost their lives trying to free Scotland. Once he loses another of his loved ones, William Wallace begins his long quest to make Scotland free once and for all, along with the assistance of Robert the Bruce.

Director: Mel Gibson
Writer: Randall Wallace
Stars: Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Patrick McGoohan |See full cast and crew »
Released: 1995


2) The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Blondie (The Good) is a professional gunslinger who is out trying to earn a few dollars. Angel Eyes (The Bad) is a hit man who always commits to a task and sees it through, as long as he is paid to do so. And Tuco (The Ugly) is a wanted outlaw trying to take care of his own hide. Tuco and Blondie share a partnership together making money off Tuco's bounty, but when Blondie unties the partnership, Tuco tries to hunt down Blondie. When Blondie and Tuco come across a horse carriage loaded with dead bodies, they soon learn from the only survivor (Bill Carson) that he and a few other men have buried a stash of gold in a cemetery. Unfortunately Carson dies and Tuco only finds out the name of the cemetery, while Blondie finds out the name on the grave. Now the two must keep each other alive in order to find the gold. Angel Eyes (who had been looking for Bill Carson) discovers that Tuco and Blondie meet with Carson and knows they know the location of the gold. All he needs is for the two to...

Director: Sergio Leone
Writers: Luciano Vincenzoni (story), Sergio Leone (story),5 more credits »
Stars: Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach, Lee Van Cleef |See full cast and crew »
Released: 1966


3) Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Butch and Sundance are the two leaders of the Hole-in-the-Wall Gang. Butch is all ideas, Sundance is all action and skill. The west is becoming civilized and when Butch and Sundance rob a train once too often, a special posse begins trailing them no matter where they run. Over rock, through towns, across rivers, the group is always just behind them. When they finally escape through sheer luck, Butch has another idea, "Let's go to Bolivia". Based on the exploits of the historical characters.

Director: George Roy Hill
Writer: William Goldman
Stars: Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Katharine Ross |See full cast and crew »
Released: 1969


4) The Treasures of Sierra Madre

Fred C. Dobbs and Bob Curtin, both down on their luck in Tampico, Mexico in 1925, meet up with a grizzled prospector named Howard and decide to join with him in search of gold in the wilds of central Mexico. Through enormous difficulties, they eventually succeed in finding gold, but bandits, the elements, and most especially greed threaten to turn their success into disaster.

Director: John Huston
Writers: John Huston (screenplay), B. Traven (based on the novel by)
Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Walter Huston, Tim Holt |See full cast and crew »
Released: 1948


5) The Apartment

As of November 1, 1959, mild mannered C.C. Baxter has been working at Consolidated Life, an insurance company, for close to four years, and is one of close to thirty-two thousand employees located in their Manhattan head office. To distinguish himself from all the other lowly cogs in the company in the hopes of moving up the corporate ladder, he often works late, but only because he can't get into his apartment, located off of Central Park West, since he has provided it to a handful of company executives - Mssrs. Dobisch, Kirkeby, Vanderhoff and Eichelberger - on a rotating basis for their extramarital liaisons in return for a good word to the personnel director, Jeff D. Sheldrake. When Baxter is called into Sheldrake's office for the first time, he learns that it isn't just to be promoted as he expects, but also to add married Sheldrake to the list to who he will lend his apartment. What Baxter is unaware of is that Sheldrake's mistress is Fran Kubelik, an elevator girl in the ...

Director: Billy Wilder
Writers: Billy Wilder, I.A.L. Diamond
Stars: Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine, Fred MacMurray |See full cast and crew »
Released: 1960


6) Platoon

Chris Taylor is a young, naive American who gives up college and volunteers for combat in Vietnam. Upon arrival, he quickly discovers that his presence is quite nonessential, and is considered insignificant to the other soldiers, as he has not fought for as long as the rest of them and felt the effects of combat. Chris has two non-commissioned officers, the ill-tempered and indestructible Staff Sergeant Robert Barnes and the more pleasant and cooperative Sergeant Elias Grodin. A line is drawn between the two NCOs and a number of men in the platoon when an illegal killing occurs during a village raid. As the war continues, Chris himself draws towards psychological meltdown. And as he struggles for survival, he soon realizes he is fighting two battles, the conflict with the enemy and the conflict between the men within his platoon.

Director: Oliver Stone
Writer: Oliver Stone
Stars: Charlie Sheen, Tom Berenger, Willem Dafoe |See full cast and crew »
Released: 1986


7) High Noon

On the day he gets married and hangs up his badge, lawman Will Kane is told that a man he sent to prison years before, Frank Miller, is returning on the noon train to exact his revenge. Having initially decided to leave with his new spouse, Will decides he must go back and face Miller. However, when he seeks the help of the townspeople he has protected for so long, they turn their backs on him. It seems Kane may have to face Miller alone, as well as the rest of Miller's gang, who are waiting for him at the station...

Director: Fred Zinnemann
Writers: Carl Foreman (screenplay), John W. Cunningham(magazine story "The Tin Star")
Stars: Gary Cooper, Grace Kelly, Thomas Mitchell |See full cast and crew »
Released: 1952


8) Dances with Wolves

Lt. John Dunbar is dubbed a hero after he accidentally leads Union troops to a victory during the Civil War. He requests a position on the western frontier, but finds it deserted. He soon finds out he is not alone, but meets a wolf he dubs "Two-socks" and a curious Indian tribe. Dunbar quickly makes friends with the tribe, and discovers a white woman who was raised by the Indians. He gradually earns the respect of these native people, and sheds his white-man's ways.

Director: Kevin Costner
Writers: Michael Blake (screenplay), Michael Blake (novel)
Stars: Kevin Costner, Mary McDonnell, Graham Greene |See full cast and crew »
Released: 1990


9) The Pianist

Wladyaw Szpilman is an aspiring Polish pianist whose entire family are Jews. Shipped off to concentration camps bound for death, Wladysaw's musical renown intervenes and an influential friend in the Jewish police pulls him away from the boarding line. His fortune, however, is exchanged for his division from the remainder of the family. Living in fear and survival guilt, he encounters many near-death experiences and must rely on the courage of others to stay alive. Enthralled by the pianist's ability, one such model was Nazi Captain Wilm Hosenfeld who fed and kept his existence a secret. The Second World War eventually broke down and The Pianist's main character would become a successful musician.

Director: Roman Polanski
Writers: Ronald Harwood (screenplay), Wladyslaw Szpilman (book)
Stars: Adrien Brody, Thomas Kretschmann, Frank Finlay |See full cast and crew »
Released: 2002




10) Goodfellas

Henry Hill is a small time gangster, who takes part in a robbery with Jimmy Conway and Tommy De Vito, two other gangsters who have set their sights a bit higher. His two partners kill off everyone else involved in the robbery, and slowly start to climb up through the hierarchy of the Mob. Henry, however, is badly affected by his partners success, but will he stoop low enough to bring about the downfall of Jimmy and Tommy?

Director: Martin Scorsese
Writers: Nicholas Pileggi (book), Nicholas Pileggi(screenplay), 1 more credit »
Stars: Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci |See full cast and crew »
Released: 1990


Friday, January 23, 2015

Best Graphic Novel Book List

Do you enjoy a good graphic novel? Want to read some of the best out there and not sure where to look? Don't worry and check out this book list...


1) "Watchmen" by Alan Moore

Considered the greatest graphic novel in the history of the medium, the Hugo Award-winning story chronicles the fall from grace of a group of super-heroes plagued by all-too-human failings. Along the way, the concept of the super-hero is dissected as the heroes are stalked by an unknown assassin.


2) "The Complete Maus" by Art Spiegelman

On the occasion of the twenty-fifth anniversary of its first publication, here is the definitive edition of the book acclaimed as “the most affecting and successful narrative ever done about the Holocaust” (Wall Street Journal) and “the first masterpiece in comic book history” (The New Yorker).

The Pulitzer Prize-winning Maus tells the story of Vladek Spiegelman, a Jewish survivor of Hitler’s Europe, and his son, a cartoonist coming to terms with his father’s story. Maus approaches the unspeakable through the diminutive. Its form, the cartoon (the Nazis are cats, the Jews mice), shocks us out of any lingering sense of familiarity and succeeds in “drawing us closer to the bleak heart of the Holocaust” (The New York Times).

Maus is a haunting tale within a tale. Vladek’s harrowing story of survival is woven into the author’s account of his tortured relationship with his aging father. Against the backdrop of guilt brought by survival, they stage a normal life of small arguments and unhappy visits. This astonishing retelling of our century’s grisliest news is a story of survival, not only of Vladek but of the children who survive even the survivors. Maus studies the bloody pawprints of history and tracks its meaning for all of us.


3) "V for Vendetta" by Alan Moore

A powerful story about loss of freedom and individuality, V FOR VENDETTA takes place in a totalitarian England following a devastating war that changed the face of the planet.

In a world without political freedom, personal freedom and precious little faith in anything comes a mysterious man in a white porcelain mask who fights political oppressors through terrorism and seemingly absurd acts. It's a gripping tale of the blurred lines between ideological good and evil.


4) "Batman: The Dark Knight Returns" by Frank Miller

It is ten years after an aging Batman has retired and Gotham City has sunk deeper into decadence and lawlessness. Now as his city needs him most, the Dark Knight returns in a blaze of glory.

Joined by Carrie Kelly, a teenage female Robin, Batman takes to the streets to end the threat of the mutant gangs that have overrun the city. And after facing off against his two greatest enemies, the Joker and Two-Face for the final time, Batman finds himself in mortal combat with his former ally, Superman, in a battle that only one of them will survive. This collection is hailed as a comics masterpiece and was responsible for the launch of the Batman movies.


5) "The Complete Persepolis" by Marjane Satrapi

Here, in one volume: Marjane Satrapi's best-selling, internationally acclaimed memoir-in-comic-strips.

Persepolis is the story of Satrapi's unforgettable childhood and coming of age within a large and loving family in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution; of the contradictions between private life and public life in a country plagued by political upheaval; of her high school years in Vienna facing the trials of adolescence far from her family; of her homecoming--both sweet and terrible; and, finally, of her self-imposed exile from her beloved homeland. It is the chronicle of a girlhood and adolescence at once outrageous and familiar, a young life entwined with the history of her country yet filled with the universal trials and joys of growing up.

Edgy, searingly observant, and candid, often heartbreaking but threaded throughout with raw humor and hard-earned wisdom--Persepolis is a stunning work from one of the most highly regarded, singularly talented graphic artists at work today.


6) "Bone: The Complete Cartoon Epic in One Volume" by Jeff Smith

After being run out of Boneville, the three Bone cousins, Fone Bone, Phoney Bone and Smiley Bone are separated and lost in a vast uncharted desert. One by one they find their way into a deep forested valley filled with wonderful and terrifying creatures. It will be the longest - but funniest - year of their lives.

Winner of 11 Harvey Awards and 10 Eisner Awards including Best Cartoonist and Best Humor Publication, as well as being named Best Comic Book by the National Cartoonists Society. BONE has also won multiple international awards in Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Finland and Norway.


7) "Ghost World" by Daniel Clowes

Ghost World has become a cultural and generational touchstone, and continues to enthrall and inspire readers over a decade after its original release as a graphic novel. Originally serialized in the pages of the seminal comic book Eightball throughout the mid-1990s, this quasi-autobiographical story (the name of one of the protagonists is famously an anagram of the author's name) follows the adventures of two teenage girls, Enid and Becky, two best friends facing the prospect of growing up, and more importantly, apart. Daniel Clowes is one of the most respected cartoonists of his generation, and Ghost World is his magnum opus. Adapted into a major motion picture directed by Terry Zwigoff (director of the acclaimed documentary Crumb), which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. This graphic novel is a must for any self-respecting comics fan's library. Two-color comics throughout.


8) "Blankets" by Craig Thompson

Named one of Time's top 100 Best Young Adult Books of All Time! "...A rarity: a first-love story so well remembered and honest that it reminds you what falling in love feels like. ...achingly beautiful." - Time magazine Wrapped in the landscape of a blustery Wisconsin winter, Blankets explores the sibling rivalry of two brothers growing up in the isolated country, and the budding romance of two coming-of-age lovers. A tale of security and discovery, of playfulness and tragedy, of a fall from grace and the origins of faith. A profound and utterly beautiful work from Craig Thompson. At 592 pages, Blankets may well be the single largest graphic novel ever published without being serialized first.


Thursday, January 22, 2015

True Crime Award Winners Book List

Enjoy the occasional true crime novel? Want to read something good enough to win award? Look no further and check out this book list...



1) "Zodiac" by Robert Graysmith

Robert Graysmith was on staff at the San Francisco Chronicle in 1969 when Zodiac first struck, triggering in the resolute reporter an unrelenting obsession with seeing the hooded killer brought to justice. In this gripping account of Zodiac’s eleven-month reign of terror, Graysmith reveals hundreds of facts previously unreleased, including the complete text of the killer’s letters.


2) "In Cold Blood" by Truman Capote

On November 15, 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, four members of the Clutter family were savagely murdered by blasts from a shotgun held a few inches from their faces. There was no apparent motive for the crime, and there were almost no clues.

As Truman Capote reconstructs the murder and the investigation that led to the capture, trial, and execution of the killers, he generates both mesmerizing suspense and astonishing empathy. In Cold Blood is a work that transcends its moment, yielding poignant insights into the nature of American violence.


3) "Escaping Arroyo" by Joyce Nance

On April 5, 1981, two college coeds were kidnapped from a residential street of Albuquerque, New Mexico. The next morning, the girls were found in a desolate mountain arroyo; one raped and murdered, the other savagely stabbed 33 times and left for dead. As fear engulfed the University of New Mexico's quiet campus, police had few clues to assist them in tracking down the vicious killer. This book is based on the true story of what happened that night in the Sandia Mountains, a shockingly brutal crime that changed the city of Albuquerque forever. It is a gritty tale of unspeakable violence and the relentless search for justice, but it is also the story of a young woman's incredible will to live ... and her life-long struggle to escape the legacy of that deadly arroyo.


4) "Killing Mr. Griffin" by Lois Duncan

Mr. Griffin is the strictest teacher at Del Norte High, with a penchant for endless projects and humiliating his students. Even straight-A student Susan can't believe how mean he is to the charismatic Mark Kinney. So when her crush asks Susan to help a group of students teach a lesson of their own, she goes along. After all, it's a harmless prank, right?

But things don't go according to plan. When one "accident" leads to another, people begin to die. Susan and her friends must face the awful truth: one of them is a killer.


5) "Gangsters of Harlem: The Gritty Underworld of New York's Most Famous Neighborhood" by Ron Chepseiuk

For the first time in paperback, author Ron Chepesiuk chronicles the little known history of organized crime in Harlem. African American organized crime has had as significant an impact on its constituent community as Italian, Jewish, and Irish organized crime has had on theirs. Gangsters are every bit as colorful, intriguing, and powerful as Al Capone and Lucky Luciano, and have a fascinating history in gambling, prostitution, and drug dealing. In the late 1800's, Harlem became a highly fashionable neighborhood.


6) "The Murder Room: The Heirs of Sherlock Holmes Gather to Solve the World's Most Perplexing Cold Cases" by Michael Capuzzo

Three of the greatest detectives in the world were heartsick over the growing tide of unsolved murders. Good friends and sometime rivals William Fleisher, Frank Bender, and Richard Walter decided one day over lunch that something had to be done, and pledged themselves to a grand quest for justice.

The Murder Room draws the reader into a chilling, darkly humorous, awe-inspiring world as the three partners travel far from their Victorian dining room to hunt ruthless killers, among them the grisly murderer of a millionaire's son, a serial killer who carves off faces, and a child killer enjoying fifty years of freedom and dark fantasy.


7) "Death's Door: the Truth Behind Michigan's Largest Mass Murder" by Steve Lehto

Death's Door is the true account of the tragedy that struck a Michigan copper mining town during a time when a bitter struggle raged between the striking workers and the mining companies. This haunting story continues to be an unsolved mystery today. Lehto conducts all the research to bring you the most accurate account of what songwriter Woody Guthrie called the "1913 Massacre."


8) "The Cases that Haunt Us" by John E. Douglas

Violent. Provocative. Shocking.
Call them what you will...but don't call them open and shut. 

Did Lizzie Borden murder her own father and stepmother? Was Jack the Ripper actually the Duke of Clarence? Who killed JonBenet Ramsey? America's foremost expert on criminal profiling and twenty-five-year FBI veteran John Douglas, along with author and filmmaker Mark Olshaker, explores those tantalizing questions and more in this mesmerizing work of detection. With uniquely gripping analysis, the authors reexamine and reinterpret the accepted facts, evidence, and victimology of the most notorious murder cases in the history of crime, including the Lindbergh baby kidnapping, the Zodiac Killer, and the Whitechapel murders. Utilizing techniques developed by Douglas himself, they give detailed profiles and reveal chief suspects in pursuit of what really happened in each case. The Cases That Haunt Us not only offers convincing and controversial conclusions, it deconstructs the evidence and widely held beliefs surrounding each case and rebuilds them -- with fascinating, surprising, and haunting results.


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Top 100 TV Shows of All Time Part One

Enjoy watching TV shows? Want to expand your horizons? Want to see what other people have liked the most? Check out this TV show list...


1) Breaking Bad

When chemistry teacher Walter White is diagnosed with Stage III cancer and given only two years to live, he decides he has nothing to lose. He lives with his teenage son, who has cerebral palsy, and his wife, in New Mexico. Determined to ensure that his family will have a secure future, Walt embarks on a career of drugs and crime. He proves to be remarkably proficient in this new world as he begins manufacturing and selling methamphetamine with one of his former students. The series tracks the impacts of a fatal diagnosis on a regular, hard working man, and explores how a fatal diagnosis affects his morality and transforms him into a major player of the drug trade.
Stars:

Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn |See full cast and crew »

Ran: 2008-2013


2) The Wire

Set in Baltimore, this show centers around the city's inner-city drug scene. It starts as mid-level drug dealer, D'Angelo Barksdale beats a murder rap. After a conversation with a judge, Det. James McNulty has been assigned to lead a joint homicide and narcotics team, in order to bring down drug kingpin Avon Barksdale. Avon Barksdale, accompanied by his right-hand man Stringer Bell, enforcer Wee-Bey and many lieutenants (including his own nephew, D'Angelo Barksdale), has to deal with law enforcement, informants in his own camp, and competition with a local rival, Omar, who's been robbing Barksdale's dealers and reselling the drugs. The supervisor of the investigation, Lt. Cedric Daniels, has to deal with his own problems, such as a corrupt bureaucracy, some of his detectives beating suspects, hard-headed but determined Det. McNulty, and a blackmailing deputy. The show depicts the lives of every part of the drug "food chain", from junkies to dealers, and from cops to politicians.

Creator: David Simon
Stars: Dominic West, Lance Reddick, Sonja Sohn |See full cast and crew »

Ran: 2002-2008


3) I Love Lucy

Cuban Bandleader Ricky Ricardo would be happy if his wife Lucy would just be a housewife. Instead she tries constantly to perform at the Tropicana where he works, and make life comically frantic in the apartment building they share with landlords Fred and Ethel Mertz. The first major show to be put on film rather than kinescope.
Stars:

Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Vivian Vance |See full cast and crew »

Ran: 1951-1957


4) Seinfeld

Jerry Seinfeld stars in this television comedy series as himself, a comedian. The premise of this sitcom is Jerry and his friends going through everyday life, discussing various quirky situations that we can all relate to (especially if we live in New York). The eccentric personalities of the offbeat characters who make up Jerry's social circle contribute to the fun.
Stars:

Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Michael Richards| See full cast and crew »

Ran: 1989-1998


5) The West Wing

When the erudite Democrat Josiah "Jed" Bartlet is elected U.S. president, he installs his administration. He places confidants from his electoral campaigns in the White House. Each of these people play a significant role in the Washington power game: the Chief of Staff (Leo McGarry), his deputy (Josh Lyman), Communications Director (Toby Ziegler), deputy (Sam Seaborn, and later, Will Bailey), and press secretary (CJ Cregg). Also in key positions are the assistants of each of the power players. We follow these people through many political battles, as well as some personal ones. Also playing roles are the First Lady (Abigail Bartlet), the President's daughters (Elizabeth, Eleanor, and Zoey), and the personal aide to the President (Charlie Young). All make this series, which supposedly follows the political events (often paraphrasing historical reality) almost day by day, more than merely a political soap. The demands of office on each character show the personal sacrifice and the...
Stars:

Martin Sheen, Rob Lowe, Allison Janney |See full cast and crew »

Ran: 1999-2006


6) The Oprah Winfrey Show

Chicago-based daytime talk-show host Oprah Winfrey invites a guest panel to discuss a topic, in front of a studio audience. The topics are often controversial or sensational.
Stars:

Oprah Winfrey, Nate Berkus, Gayle King |See full cast and crew »

Ran: 1986-2011


7) The Cosby Show

The goings-on in the life of a successful African American family.

Stars: Bill Cosby, Phylicia Rashad, Keshia Knight Pulliam |See full cast and crew »

Ran: 1984-1992


8) The Sopranos

An innovative look at the life of fictional Mafia Capo Tony Soprano, this serial is presented largely first person, but additional perspective is conveyed by the intimate conversations Tony has with his psychotherapist. We see Tony at work, at home, and in therapy. Moments of black comedy intersperse this aggressive, adult drama, with adult language, and extreme violence.

Creator: David Chase
Stars: James Gandolfini, Lorraine Bracco, Edie Falco |See full cast and crew »

Ran: 1999-2007


9) The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson

Host Johnny Carson performs comedy routines and chats with various celebrities.

Stars: Johnny Carson, Ed McMahon, Bob Hope |See full cast and crew »

Ran: 1962-1992


10) 60 Minutes

This series set the pattern for the TV news magazine. Each episode consists of several stories, each presented by a different reporter. Stories have included investigative pieces, celebrity profiles, background pieces on current events, and general human interest stories. The series has also featured "Point-Counterpoint" debates and humorous commentaries by Andy Rooney.

Creator: Don Hewitt
Stars: Andrew Rooney, Lesley Stahl, Steve Kroft |See full cast and crew »

Ran: 1968-still on air


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Top Ten Books for Black History Month

Want to learn more about Black History Month? Want to read more about the Civil Rights Movement? Are you curious about history? Search no more and check out these books...


1) "King: A Critical Biography" by David L. Lewis

Following the life of the Civil Rights leader, Reverend Martin Luther King Jr, and his struggle to get equal rights to all of mankind no matter their skin color.


2) "Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement: A Radical Democratic Vision" by Barbara Ransby

One of the most important African American leaders of the twentieth century and perhaps the most influential woman in the civil rights movement, Ella Baker (1903-1986) was an activist whose remarkable career spanned fifty years and touched thousands of lives.

A gifted grassroots organizer, Baker shunned the spotlight in favor of vital behind-the-scenes work that helped power the black freedom struggle. She was a national officer and key figure in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, one of the founders of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and a prime mover in the creation of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Baker made a place for herself in predominantly male political circles that included W. E. B. Du Bois, Thurgood Marshall, and Martin Luther King Jr., all the while maintaining relationships with a vibrant group of women, students, and activists both black and white.

In this deeply researched biography, Barbara Ransby chronicles Baker's long and rich political career as an organizer, an intellectual, and a teacher, from her early experiences in depression-era Harlem to the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. Ransby shows Baker to be a complex figure whose radical, democratic worldview, commitment to empowering the black poor, and emphasis on group-centered, grassroots leadership set her apart from most of her political contemporaries. Beyond documenting an extraordinary life, the book paints a vivid picture of the African American fight for justice and its intersections with other progressive struggles worldwide across the twentieth century.


3) "Lost Prophet: The Life and Times of Bayard Rustin" by John D'Emilio

One of the most important figures of the American civil rights movement, Bayard Rustin taught Martin Luther King Jr. the methods of Gandhi, spearheaded the 1963 March on Washington, and helped bring the struggle of African Americans to the forefront of a nation's consciousness. But despite his incontrovertibly integral role in the movement, the openly gay Rustin is not the household name that many of his activist contemporaries are. In exploring history's Lost Prophet, acclaimed historian John D'Emilio explains why Rustin's influence was minimized by his peers and why his brilliant strategies were not followed, or were followed by those he never meant to help.


4) "In Struggle: SNCC and the Black Awakening of the 1960s" by Clayborne Carson

With its radical ideology and effective tactics, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) was the cutting edge of the civil rights movement during the 1960s. This sympathetic yet even-handed book records for the first time the complete story of SNCC's evolution, of its successes and its difficulties in the ongoing struggle to end white repression.

At its birth, SNCC was composed of black college students who shared an ideology of moral radicalism. This ideology, with its emphasis on nonviolence, challenged Southern segregation. SNCC students were the earliest civil rights fighters of the Second Reconstruction. They conducted sit-ins at lunch counters, spearheaded the freedom rides, and organized voter registration, which shook white complacency and awakened black political consciousness. In the process, Carson shows, SNCC changed from a group that endorsed white middle-class values to one that questioned the basic assumptions of liberal ideology and raised the fist for black power. Indeed, SNCC's radical and penetrating analysis of the American power structure reached beyond the black community to help spark wider social protests of the 1960s, such as the anti-Vietnam War movement.

Carson's history of SNCC goes behind the scene to determine why the group's ideological evolution was accompanied by bitter power struggles within the organization. Using interviews, transcripts of meetings, unpublished position papers, and recently released FBI documents, he reveals how a radical group is subject to enormous, often divisive pressures as it fights the difficult battle for social change.


5) "Civilities and Civil Rights: Greensboro, North Carolina, and the Black Struggle for Freedom" by William H. Chafe

Reveals how whites in Greensboro used the traditional Southern concept of civility as a means of keeping Black protest in check and how Black activists continually devised new ways of asserting their quest for freedom.


6) "Cold War Civil Rights: Race and the Image of American Democracy" by Mary L. Dudziak

In 1958, an African-American handyman named Jimmy Wilson was sentenced to die in Alabama for stealing two dollars. Shocking as this sentence was, it was overturned only after intense international attention and the interference of an embarrassed John Foster Dulles. Soon after the United States' segregated military defeated a racist regime in World War II, American racism was a major concern of U.S. allies, a chief Soviet propaganda theme, and an obstacle to American Cold War goals throughout Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Each lynching harmed foreign relations, and "the Negro problem" became a central issue in every administration from Truman to Johnson.

In what may be the best analysis of how international relations affected any domestic issue, Mary Dudziak interprets postwar civil rights as a Cold War feature. She argues that the Cold War helped facilitate key social reforms, including desegregation. Civil rights activists gained tremendous advantage as the government sought to polish its international image. But improving the nation's reputation did not always require real change. This focus on image rather than substance--combined with constraints on McCarthy-era political activism and the triumph of law-and-order rhetoric--limited the nature and extent of progress.

Archival information, much of it newly available, supports Dudziak's argument that civil rights was Cold War policy. But the story is also one of people: an African-American veteran of World War II lynched in Georgia; an attorney general flooded by civil rights petitions from abroad; the teenagers who desegregated Little Rock's Central High; African diplomats denied restaurant service; black artists living in Europe and supporting the civil rights movement from overseas; conservative politicians viewing desegregation as a communist plot; and civil rights leaders who saw their struggle eclipsed by Vietnam.

Never before has any scholar so directly connected civil rights and the Cold War. Contributing mightily to our understanding of both, Dudziak advances--in clear and lively prose--a new wave of scholarship that corrects isolationist tendencies in American history by applying an international perspective to domestic affairs.

In her new preface, Dudziak discusses the way the Cold War figures into civil rights history, and details this book's origins, as one question about civil rights could not be answered without broadening her research from domestic to international influences on American history.


7) "Simple Justice: The History of Brown v Board of Education and Black America's Struggle for Equality" by Richard Kluger

Simple Justice is the definitive history of the landmark case Brown v. Board of Education and the epic struggle for racial equality in this country. Combining intensive research with original interviews with surviving participants, Richard Kluger provides the fullest possible view of the human and legal drama in the years before 1954, the cumulative assaults on the white power structure that defended segregation, and the step-by-step establishment of a team of inspired black lawyers that could successfully challenge the law. Now, on the fiftieth anniversary of the unanimous Supreme Court decision that ended legal segregation, Kluger has updated his work with a new final chapter covering events and issues that have arisen since the book was first published, including developments in civil rights and recent cases involving affirmative action, which rose directly out of Brown v. Board of Education.


8) "Sweet Land of Liberty: The Forgotten Struggle for Civil Rights in the North" by Thomas J. Sugrue

Sweet Land of Liberty is Thomas J. Sugrue’s epic account of the abiding quest for racial equality in states from Illinois to New York, and of how the intense northern struggle differed from and was inspired by the fight down South. Sugrue’s panoramic view sweeps from the 1920s to the present–more than eighty of the most decisive years in American history. He uncovers the forgotten stories of battles to open up lunch counters, beaches, and movie theaters in the North; the untold history of struggles against Jim Crow schools in northern towns; the dramatic story of racial conflict in northern cities and suburbs; and the long and tangled histories of integration and black power. Filled with unforgettable characters and riveting incidents, and making use of information and accounts both public and private, such as the writings of obscure African American journalists and the records of civil rights and black power groups, Sweet Land of Liberty creates an indelible history.


9) "Just My Soul Responding: Rhythm and Blues, Black Consciousness and Race Relations" by Brian Ward

One of the most innovative and ambitious books to appear on the civil rights and black power movements in America, Just My Soul Responding also offers a major challenge to conventional histories of contemporary black and popular music. Brian Ward explores in detail the previously neglected relationship between Rhythm and Blues, black consciousness, and race relations within the context of the ongoing struggle for black freedom and equality in the United States. Instead of simply seeing the world of black music as a reflection of a mass struggle raging elsewhere, Ward argues that Rhythm and Blues, and the recording and broadcasting industries with which it was linked, formed a crucial public arena for battles over civil rights, racial identities, and black economic empowerment.

Combining unrivalled archival research with extensive oral testimony, Ward examines the contributions of artists and entrepreneurs like Sam Cooke, Aretha Franklin, James Brown, and Berry Gordy to the organized black struggle, explaining what they did for the Movement and—just as important—why they and most of their peers failed to do more. In the process, he analyses the ways in which various groups, from the SCLC to the Black Panthers, tried—with very mixed results—to use Rhythm and Blues and the politics of celebrity to further their cause. He also examines the role that black-oriented radio played in promoting both Rhythm and Blues and the Movement, and unravels the intricate connections between the sexual politics of the music and the development of the black freedom struggle.

This richly textured study of some of the most important music and complex political events in America since World War II challenges the belief that white consumption of black music necessarily helped eradicate racial prejudice. Indeed, Ward argues that the popularity of Rhythm and Blues among white listeners sometimes only reinforced racial stereotypes, while noting how black artists actually manipulated those stereotypes to increase their white audiences. Ultimately, Ward shows how the music both reflected and affected shifting perceptions of community, empowerment, identity, and gender relations in America during the civil rights and black power eras.


10) "Waiting 'Til Midnight Hour: A Narrative History of Black Power" by Peniel E. Joseph

With the rallying cry of "Black Power!" in 1966, a group of black activists, including Stokely Carmichael and Huey P. Newton, turned their backs on Martin Luther King's pacifism and, building on Malcolm X's legacy, pioneered a radical new approach to the fight for equality. Drawing on original archival research and more than sixty original oral histories, Peniel E. Joseph vividly invokes the way in which Black Power redefined black identity and culture and in the process redrew the landscape of American race relations. In a series of character-driven chapters, we witness the rise of Black Power groups such as the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and the Black Panthers, and with them, on both coasts of the country, a fundamental change in the way Americans understood the unfinished business of racial equality and integration.

Waiting 'Til the Midnight Hour traces the history of the Black Power movement, that storied group of men and women who would become American icons of the struggle for racial equality.