It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
Charlie Gordon is about to embark upon an unprecedented journey. Born with an unusually low IQ, he has been chosen as the perfect subject for an experimental surgery that researchers hope will increase his intelligence - a procedure that has already been highly successful when tested on a lab rat named Algernon.
As the treatment takes effect, Charlies intelligence expands until it surpasses that of the doctors who engineered his metamorphosis. The experiment appears to be a scientific breakthrough of paramount importance, until Algernon suddenly deteriorates. Will the same happen to Charlie?
We were discussing the definition of wisdom late one night, and we were just about to fall asleep from it all when Pooh remarked that his understanding of Taoist principles had been passed down to him from certain Ancient Ancestors.
"Like who?" I asked.
"Like Pooh Tao-tse, the famous Chinese painter," Pooh said.
"That's Wu Tao-tse."
"Or how about Li Pooh, the famous Taoist poet?" Pooh asked cautiously.
"You mean Li Po," I said.
"Oh," said Pooh, looking down at his feet.
Then I thought of something. "That doesn't really matter, anyway," I said, "because one of the most important principles of Taoism was named after you."
"Really?" Pooh asked, looking more hopeful.
"Of course - P'u, the Uncarved Block."
"I'd forgotten," said Pooh.
With this book, Follett risks all and comes out a clear winner, escaping the narrow genre of suspense thrillers to take credit for a historical novel of gripping readability, authentic atmosphere and detail and memorable characterization. Set in 12th-century England, the narrative concerns the building of a cathedral in the fictional town of Kingsbridge. The ambitions of three men merge, conflict and collide through four decades during which social and political upheaval and the internal politics of the church affect the progress of the cathedral and the fortunes of the protagonists. The insightful portrayals of an idealistic master builder, a pious, dogmatic but compassionate prior and an unscrupulous, ruthless bishop are balanced by those of a trio of independent, resourceful women (one of them quite loathesome) who can stand on their own as memorable characters in any genre. Beginning with a mystery that casts its shadow on ensuing events, the narrative is a seesaw of tension in which circumstances change with shocking but true-to-life unpredictability. Follett's impeccable pacing builds suspense in a balanced narrative that offers action, intrigue, violence and passion as well as the step-by-step description of an edifice rising in slow stages, its progress tied to the vicissitudes of fortune and the permutations of evolving architectural style. Follett's depiction of the precarious balance of power between monarchy and religion in the Middle Ages, and of the effects of social upheavals and the forces of nature (storms, famines) on political events; his ability to convey the fine points of architecture so that the cathedral becomes clearly visualized in the reader's mind; and above all, his portrayals of the enduring human emotions of ambition, greed, bravery, dedication, revenge and love, result in a highly engrossing narrative. Manipulating a complex plot in which the characters interact against a broad canvas of medieval life, Follett has written a novel that entertains, instructs and satisfies on a grand scale.
John Perkins started and stopped writing Confessions of an Economic Hit Man four times over 20 years. He says he was threatened and bribed in an effort to kill the project, but after 9/11 he finally decided to go through with this expose of his former professional life. Perkins, a former chief economist at Boston strategic-consulting firm Chas. T. Main, says he was an "economic hit man" for 10 years, helping U.S. intelligence agencies and multinationals cajole and blackmail foreign leaders into serving U.S. foreign policy and awarding lucrative contracts to American business. "Economic hit men (EHMs) are highly paid professionals who cheat countries around the globe out of trillions of dollars," Perkins writes. Confessions of an Economic Hit Man is an extraordinary and gripping tale of intrigue and dark machinations. Think John Le Carré, except it's a true story.
Perkins writes that his economic projections cooked the books Enron-style to convince foreign governments to accept billions of dollars of loans from the World Bank and other institutions to build dams, airports, electric grids, and other infrastructure he knew they couldn't afford. The loans were given on condition that construction and engineering contracts went to U.S. companies. Often, the money would simply be transferred from one bank account in Washington, D.C., to another one in New York or San Francisco. The deals were smoothed over with bribes for foreign officials, but it was the taxpayers in the foreign countries who had to pay back the loans. When their governments couldn't do so, as was often the case, the U.S. or its henchmen at the World Bank or International Monetary Fund would step in and essentially place the country in trusteeship, dictating everything from its spending budget to security agreements and even its United Nations votes. It was, Perkins writes, a clever way for the U.S. to expand its "empire" at the expense of Third World citizens. While at times he seems a little overly focused on conspiracies, perhaps that's not surprising considering the life he's led. --Alex Roslin
The Art of War (Chinese: 孫子兵法; pinyin: Sūnzǐ Bīngfǎ) is a Chinese military treatise that was written by Sun Tzu in the 6th century BC, during the Spring and Autumn period. (Some scholars believe it was written during the later Warring States period.) Composed of 13 chapters, each of which is devoted to one aspect of warfare, it is said to be the definitive work on military strategies and tactics of its time, and still one of the basic texts. The Art of War is one of the oldest and most successful books on military strategy. It has had an influence on Eastern military thinking, business tactics, and beyond. Sun Tzu suggested the importance of positioning in strategy and that position is affected both by objective conditions in the physical environment and the subjective opinions of competitive actors in that environment. He thought that strategy was not planning in the sense of working through an established list, but rather that it requires quick and appropriate responses to changing conditions. Planning works in a controlled environment, but in a changing environment, competing plans collide, creating unexpected situations. The book was translated into the French language in 1772 by French Jesuit Jean Joseph Marie Amiot, and into English by British officer Everard Ferguson Calthrop in 1905. Leaders as diverse as Mao Zedong, General Vo Nguyen Giap, Baron Antoine-Henri Jomini, and General Douglas MacArthur have claimed to have drawn inspiration from the work. The Art of War has also been applied to business and managerial strategies.
Galileo Was Wrong: The Church Was Right is one of the most unique and penetrating books you will ever read. Now complete in Volumes I and II, authors Robert Sungenis and Robert Bennett take you on a tour of science and history the likes of which you would have never believed possible unless it were told to you in detailed and graphic form. Has modern science led us down the primrose path and convinced us of something that they cannot prove and that is in actuality false? Were the Fathers, the Medievals, our popes and cardinals of the 16th century correct in believing that the Earth, based on a face value reading of Scripture, was standing still in the center of the universe? Come with an open mind and allow these two authors to show you facts and figures that have been hidden from the public for a very long time. This is a page turner that you will find hard to put down, once you get riveted by the astounding material these authors have assembled for you. Prepare yourself, however. Your world will be rocked, literally and figuratively. Not only will you see from Volume I how modern science has documented for us in bold fashion that the Earth is motionless in space and occupies the center of the universe (yet have done an equally remarkable job in keeping these important facts out of our educational system)