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You Were Once Wild Here.  Don't Let Them Change You -- Isadora Duncan

Long before she spoke these words, Isadora was living them. A gifted child, who hated reality, she was a dreamer like her father, Joseph. Her mother, a woman of strict Victorian principles and her father, a one time bank cashier turned celebrated poet, divorced when Duncan was young. A rebel from an early age, she could dance almost before she could walk. She devoured books and eschewed the formalities of conventional dance to embrace self expression unrestrained by rules and customs. She would become the mother of modern dance.

Her talent and drive would take her from her drab poverty ridden home in Oakland to Chicago, New York, London and Europe. Eagerly accepted by crowds in Paris and Munich, she clung to her dream to someday dance in the land of ancient culture, where Athenian maidens had made dance a religion. She would eventually dance at the Theater of Dionysus in Athens and spend a year there teaching the dances of ancient Byzantium, Greek choruses and songs.

Upon her return to the United States, she would shock and be condemned because of her sensual style and revealing suggestive attire. Acceptance came with the words of Teddy Roosevelt, " Isadora Duncan seems to me as innocent as a child dancing through the garden in the morning sunshine and picking the beautiful flowers of her fantasy."

She would die a tragic, horrifying death in 1927, when one of her trademark flowing veils was caught in the wheel of her automobile. In that moment it seemed that her light and glow had been extinguished but in fact lives on in her dreams of beauty and love of the dance.

To learn more about her life and dreams...........

My Life by Isadora Duncan

Life into Art: Isadora Duncan and Her World by Doree Duncan

The Search for Isadora: The Legend & Legacy of Isadora Duncan by Lillian Loewenthal

For Younger Readers (ages 9-12)

Duncan Dance: A Guide for Young People Ages Six to Sixteen by Julia Levien

Isadora Duncan (American Troublemakers) by Larry Sandomir

Barefoot Dancer: The Story of Isadora Duncan (Trailblazer Biographies) by Barbara O'Conner

There Is Always One Moment in Childhood When the Door Opens and Lets the Future In.........Graham Greene

Greene, an English novelist, was born in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, the son of a headmaster. Greene was educated at the University of Oxford and worked for the London Times as a freelance writer. He worked for the British Foreign Office during World War II. Assigned to Sierra Leone, he found the job, for the most part, boring and made every effort to liven things up by proposing some rather creative plans for the recruitment of spies. The higher powers took a rather dim view of his idea to establish a traveling brothel, infiltrated with spies.

His literary popularity came with Stamboul Train a spy thriller published in the United States as Orient Express. This and subsequent novels such as England Made Me Greene categorized as "entertainments."

Subsequent major works by Greene include The Quiet American , Our Man in Havana, TheComedians, and The Tenth Man. Many of his novels have been adapted for motion pictures; The Third Man (1950), another spy thriller, was written specifically for filming. He also wrote books for children. Greene's works are best known for their strong detail and often exotic locations.

A prolific writer some of his titles include........

Travels with My Aunt by Graham Greene

Brighton Rock by Graham Greene

A Burnt-Out Case by Graham Greene

The Captain and the Enemy by Graham Greene

Greene: Collected Essays by Graham Greene

Stamboul Train: An Entertainment by Graham Greene

The Quiet American by Graham Greene

The Third Man by Graham Greene

Available on Video

The Third Man - Criterion Collection (2-Disc Edition)

To learn more about Graham Greene................

Graham Greene: Man of Paradox by A. F. Cassis (Editor)

The Life of Graham Greene: Volume I: 1904-1939 (Life of Graham Greene, 1904-1939) by Norman Sherry

The Life of Graham Greene: Volume II: 1939-1955 (Vol 2) by Norman Sherry

The Quest for Graham Greene by W. J. West

A Good Head and a Good Heart are Always a Formidable Combination....Nelson Mandela

Born in Umtata, South Africa, Mandela was the son of a Thembu chief. He attended the University of Fort Hare but was expelled in 1940 for participating in a student demonstration.

Mandela then studied law at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. Mandela became very active with the (ANC), a multiracial nationalist movement which sought to bring about democratic political change in South Africa helping to establish the ANC's Youth League and becoming its president.

The National Party (NP) came to power in South Africa in 1948 on a political platform of white supremacy. In 1952 the ANC staged a campaign known as the Defiance Campaign, when protesters across the country refused to obey apartheid laws. In 1952 Mandela and his friends were the first blacks to open a law practice in South Africa. Because of increased government harassment and the prospect of the ANC being officially banned, Mandela and others devised a plan. Called the "M" plan after Mandela, it organized the ANC into small groups of people who were instrumental in grassroots participation in antiapartheid struggles.

By the late 1950s Mandela and others, moved the ANC in a more militant direction against the increasingly discriminatory policies of the government.

Following the police massacre of 69 blacks demonstrating in Sharpeville, the ANC was banned. The ANC abandoned the strategy of nonviolence, an important part of it's philosophy, after the massacre. Mandela was prominent in the development of the ANC's military wing, Spear of the Nation. He was named its commander-in-chief and went to Algeria for military training. Upon his return to South Africa, he was arrested and sentenced to five years in prison for incitement and for leaving the country illegally.

While Mandela was in prison, ANC colleagues who had been operating in hiding were arrested and Mandela was put on trial with them for sabotage, treason, and violent conspiracy. He was found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment. He spent 18 years imprisoned on Robben Island confined under brutal conditions. Mandela wrote much of his autobiography secretly in prison. The manuscript was smuggled out to be completed later and was published in 1994 as Long Walk to Freedom.

In response to tremendous international and domestic pressure, the South African government lifted the ban against the ANC and released Mandela in February 1990. .

Mandela, who enjoyed enormous popularity, assumed the leadership of the ANC and led negotiations with the government for an end to apartheid. While white South Africans considered sharing power a big step, black South Africans wanted nothing less than a complete transfer of power. Mandela played a crucial role in resolving differences. For their efforts, he and then South African president Frederick de Klerk were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. The following year South Africa held its first multiracial elections, and Mandela became president.

To read more about him...........

Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela Tag: The International Bestseller by Nelson Mandela

Mandela : The Authorized Biography by Anthony Sampson

Nelson Mandela: A Biography by Martin Meredith

For Younger Readers

Nelson Mandela (First Biographies) by Gini Holland (ages 4-8)

My Wish for Tomorrow: Words and Pictures from Children Around the World Introduction by Nelson Mandela (ages 4-8)

Available on Video

Biography - Nelson Mandela: Journey to Freedom

Best of Nightline: Nelson Mandela

One Can Never Consent to Creep When One Feels an Impulse to Soar......Helen Keller

Imagine yourself as a small precocious toddler. Armed with a natural curiosity, you are just beginning to explore your world and recognize your independence. Venturing from beneath your mother's skirts, you are amazed and infatuated with the sights and sounds that occupy your world. Chubby fingers reach to investigate everything. With simple words and phrases you are starting to announce your intentions to make your mark on a most fascinating world. Now imagine that you've been plunged into a dark, soundless abyss. No bright colors, no bird song, not even the soothing tone of your mother's voice. You can only imagine why this horrid punishment has befallen you. This was the world that Helen Adams Keller found herself condemned to after recovery from scarlet fever before her second birthday. Consumed with unanswered questions, anger and frustration she became wild and unruly, and who would not? Keller would eventually learn to read and write in Braille, read people's lips by pressing her fingertips against them to feel the movement and vibrations and learn to speak herself, no simple feat for one who could not hear at all. She would graduate with honors from Radcliffe College, where she penned "The Story of My Life". She would become an active suffragette and a tireless worker in the pursuit of equal pay for women and better wages for the working class. 

To read more about her remarkable journey........................

The Story of My Life (Bantam Classic) by Helen Keller

Helen Keller: A Life by Dorothy Herrmann

For Younger Readers

Helen Keller (Scholastic Biography) by Margaret Davidson

Courage Of Helen Keller by Francine Sabin

Available on Video

The Miracle Worker details the extraordinary relationship between Helen and her long time teacher, companion and friend Anne Sullivan. After having portrayed Keller and Sullivan on Broadway in a play by the same name, Patty Duke and Anne Bancroft recreated their roles for this film adaptation, winning both an Academy Award for their performances.

The Miracle Worker is a remake of William Gibson's classic play about Annie Sullivan's efforts to draw Helen Keller from her world of darkness and silence.

It's the Friends You Can Call Up at 4 A.M. That Matter.......Marlene Dietrich

Ms. Dietrich could boast a most impressive list of 4 a.m. friends. Gary Cooper, Edith Piaf, Noel Coward, Fredrich Hollander, Rudolf Seiber, Jean Gabin and John Wayne, her best friends, had all passed away by the time of her death in 1992. 1976 was a particularly cruel year for Dietrich with the deaths of Seiber (her husband of 52 years), Hollander (composer of some of her most famous songs).

Born Maria Magdalene Dietrich on December 27, 1901, she would study both piano and violin before embracing the decadence of the 1920's by becoming an actress and chanteuse. The films that truly launched her career, The Blue Angel and Morocco are considered two of the great moments in cinema.
Awarded with medals from the governments of the United States, France and Israel for her venomous radio broadcasts, aimed at Germany and denouncing the Nazis, she is said to have frequently ridden with Patton at the front of the French and German campaign.

She would add to her impressive list of film credits with the renowned Stage Fright, Witness for the Prosecution and Judgement at Nuremburg.

A grand and gutsy dame worth further inspection you might want to investigate......

Marlene Dietrich: Life and Legend by Steven Bach

Marlene Dietrich by Maria Riva
Written by Dietrich's only daughter this is a comprehensive and engaging look at the life, good times and bad, of the legend.

Available on CD

Lili Marlene: Marlene Dietrich . Described in reviews as 2 parts ice queen and 1 part vamp this collection of songs gives full rein to the sultry, provocative voice of Ms. Dietrich.

Available on Video

Dietrich's film credits are many. Here are just a few of her most noteworthy performances.

The Blue Angel
Destry Rides Again
Judgment at Nuremberg
Witness For the Prosecution
An Evening with Marlene Dietrich
, generously sprinkled with interviews and film clips, this video features an outstanding live performance by Ms. Dietrich.

We Have Only to Believe.......Teilhard de Chardin

A profoundly complex man, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin spent most of his life trying to integrate his beliefs in Christian theology with his beliefs in the theories of evolution. Rather than limit himself to adherence to only one creed, this French Jesuit, paleontologist, biologist and philosopher was enthralled with the countless possibilities for mankind.

He excitedly anticipated a time he referred to as the "Omega point", when a fusing of consciousness would lead to peace and planetary unity. He suggested that the Earth in its evolutionary development was growing a new organ of consciousness, called the noosphere, comparable to the development of the cerebral cortex in humans. He envisioned the noosphere as a planetary thinking network, an inter linked system of consciousness and information, a global net of self-awareness, instantaneous feedback and planetary communication. Very visionary for a man whose death in 1955 came at a time when the Internet was little more than speculative science fiction. He fervently believed that this unification would not merely be of minds and bodies but of hearts.

 To learn more about this compelling idealist..................

Spirit of Fire: The Life and Vision of Teilhard De Chardin by Ursula King is a excellent choice if one wants to read more about this man, particularly if one wants to read works written by Chardin. His writing is as complex as the man himself and this thorough presentation of his life and beliefs would be of great assistance.

The Phenomenon of Man by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Christianity and Evolution (Harvest Book, Hb 276) by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Divine Milieu by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Use What Talent You Possess: The Woods Would Be Silent If No Birds Sang Except Those That Sang Best..........Henry van Dyke

Henry Jackson Van Dyke was born on November 10, 1852 in Germantown, Pennsylvania. He was educated at Princeton and graduated from the theological seminary there. He served as a Presbyterian minister for almost two decades before returning to Princeton as a professor of English Literature.

Several of his early works, The Story of the Other Wise Man ( 1896 ) and The First Christmas Tree ( 1897 ) were first read aloud as sermons, to his New York congregation. The popularity of these, as well as other stories, brought him recognition and he began publishing collections of his work.

In 1907, while visiting a friend in Massachusetts, Van Dyke would put words to the music of Ludwig Von Beethoven?s, Hymn to Joy from the Ninth Symphony resulting in the well known, beloved hymn, Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee.

A close personal friend of American author and humorist Mark Twain, Van Dyke would deliver the eulogy at Twain?s funeral in 1910.

The following is an excerpt from the eulogy that he delivered with great emotion:

"Mark Twain himself would be the first to smile at the claim that his humor was infallible. But we may say without doubt that he used his gift, not for evil, but for good. The atmosphere of his work is clean and wholesome. He made fun without hatred. He laughed many of the world's false claimants out of court, and entangled many of the world's false witnesses in the net of ridicule. In his best books and stories, colored with his own experience, he touched the absurdities of life with penetrating but not unkindly mockery, and made us feel somehow the infinite pathos of life's realities. No one can say that he ever failed to reverence the purity, the frank, joyful, genuine nature of the little children, of whom Christ said, 'Of such is the Kingdom of Heaven.'

"Now he is gone, and our thoughts of him are tender, grateful, proud. We are glad of his friendship; glad that he has expressed so richly one of the great elements in the temperament of America; glad that he has left such an honorable record as a man of letters, and glad, also for his sake, that after many and deep sorrows, he is at peace, and we trust happy in the fuller light.

"Rest after toil, port after stormy seas, Death after life doth greatly please."

A few of his notable works include...........

Treasury of Christmas Stories by Henry van Dyke

Who Owns the Mountains Classic Selection by Henry van Dyke

The Fourth Wise Man retold by Susan Summers

You Can't Scare Me -- I Have Children - Mom

Mom was born at a very early age.  She was educated at  the finest prep school, Mrs. McGahey's Wee Care and School of Dance.  She learned right from wrong from that noted child psychologist, Captain Kangaroo.  After graduation from high school she married and launched a career in neo-natal intensive care by pro-creating her own care unit. 

Her literary achievements include ghost writing many unfinished reports, term papers and book reports for such locally noted literary giants as  The Assassin and Doctor Samuels.  Before there was spell check, there was Mom, who could not limit herself to merely spell checking due to their sometimes serendipitous approach to grammar.  A true virtuoso in the dispensation of guilt, Mom has led her progeny from mere single-celled protoplasm to the verge of normalcy.  We eagerly anticipate her reaction to this bio.  The routine guilt we have known in the past will wither in comparison to this when she finds it on the web.  We will dwell in the valley of the shadow of guilt for many ages to come. -- The Assassin, Doctor Samuels, and Pop

Two of four offspring that inspired this web site. Bios will be posted when Mom is confident that a coalition has not been formed and legal representation sought.

I Have Issues -- The Assassin

Ah! Go Ahead! What Could It Hurt -- Dr. Samuels

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