The Monitor Guide to The Bestsellers

1. THE GREATEST GENERATION, by Tom Brokaw, Random House, $24.95 Tom Brokaw has effectively captured a cross-section of World War II veterans and their contemporaries. They revisit their pasts to tell stories of struggle, perseverance, and heroism. He was inspired by veterans he met while preparing an NBC documentary on the 40th anniversary of D-day in 1984. Fifteen years and hundreds of interviews later, Brokaw chronicles the era through the eyes of everyday men and women, as well as distinguished individuals such as George Bush, Julia Child, and Bob Dole. (352 pp.) By Stephanie Cook

2. TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE, by Mitch Albom, Doubleday, $19.95 A beloved college professor who is dying agrees to meet each Tuesday with a former student and discuss life and death. Mitch Albom, a well-known sportswriter, recorded 14 "classes" with his former teacher Morrie Schwartz. Religion, family, friends, and work are carefully considered. Schwartz (now deceased) was interviewed at home by Ted Koppel and appeared on "Nightline." What keeps this uplifting book from being maudlin is Albom's crisp writing and Schwartz's generous heart. (192 pp.) By Jim Bencivenga

3. ALL TOO HUMAN, by George Stephanopoulos, Little, Brown & Co., $27.95 From the presidential counselor described by pollster Dick Morris as Clinton's former ankle bracelet, comes a tell-all that inadvertently portrays the author more as an ankle-biter. For all the book's promised sound and fury, it discloses little more than mildly embarrassing revelations and the often serendipitous style of a chief executive the public has already seen laid bare. For news junkies, the book will be interesting reading about an adviser who got his guy into the Oval Office. (Full review 3/25/99) (400 pp.) By James Thurman By James Thurman

4. LIFE STRATEGIES, by Phillip C. McGraw, Disney Press, $21.95 "Life rewards action," says McGraw. If you're an idler, wake up and smell the bushes burn. Life is a game of choices, and you choose to win or lose. Outlining 10 laws of life - maxims like "You either get it or you don't" and "You create your own experience" - he argues that learning and applying the strategies are essential to becoming an effective manager of your life. The book's essence is simple: The choice is yours, so make a positive change today. (304 pp.) By Letitia Adu-Danso

5. BELLA TUSCANY: THE SWEET LIFE IN ITALY, by Frances Mayes, Broadway Books, $25 In her luminous follow-up to "Under the Tuscan Sun," Mayes infuses richness, color, and humorous observation. Amid the current trend of publishing houses to jump on the rural-Italian bandwagon, Mayes is a wonderful storyteller. The book sometimes over-romanticizes the "foreign" and the preciousness of the "authentic," but Mayes vividly and deftly describes everything from a leaky roof to a slippery lizard with delicious, engaging prose. (286 pp.) By Elisabetta Coletti

6. YESTERDAY I CRIED, by Iyanla Vanzant, Simon & Schuster, $22 Iyanla Vanzant, a Yoruba priestess and popular radio talk-show host, tells how she rose and continues to rise from a history of abuse. She speaks out with great openness and honesty about how physical, sexual, and verbal abuse tried to take over her life and her mind. This hard story never holds back any of the unpleasant details, but it benefits from a sense of grace that proves this woman has truly risen above the hardship she was told to endure. (304 pp.) By Christy Ellington

7. SUGAR BUSTERS! by H. Leighton Steward, et al., Ballantine, $22 Three MDs and one CEO cooked up this latest opinion on the best way to trim your waistline. Complete with graphs and low-sugar recipes, this book focuses on insulin levels in the bloodstream. If you aren't afraid of food now, you will be after reading "Sugar Busters!" Keep your reading on a low-blab diet and avoid this book. (270 pp.) By Kendra Nordin

8. LABELLE CUISINE, by Patti LaBelle, Broadway Books, $25 Rhythm-and-blues singer Patti LaBelle doesn't use up all her sauce and sizzle on stage. She saves a dollop for the kitchen. In "LaBelle Cuisine, Recipes to Sing About," she and co-author Laura Randolph got it goin' on. "I'm hard pressed to say where I'm happiest - in concert or in the kitchen," LaBelle croons. "Roast leg of lamb with rosemary-lemon rub" sounds a bit too haute cuisine for my taste, but I'll have seconds of "Clear-out-your-sinuses super-spicy steamed shrimp," if you please, Miss LaBelle. (216 pp.) By John Edward Young

9. THE LEXUS AND THE OLIVE TREE, by Thomas Friedman, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $25 The buzz term "global village" has been bandied about a lot in the '90s, but no one gives a better explanation of this concept than New York Times correspondent Thomas Friedman. The author's primer on how information technology. has raised living standards worldwide should be required reading for anyone who still thinks the Internet is just a gimmick. Friedman illustrates the global impact of new technology and markets with a rich array of anecdotes. (Full review 4/29/99) (394 pp.) By Stephen Humphries

10. THE MAJORS: IN PURSUIT OF GOLF'S HOLY GRAIL, by John Feinstein, Little, Brown & Co., $25 This book is a look into life on the 1998 PGA tour and the quest to win one of the four tournaments that define a career in golf: the Masters, the U.S. Open, the British Open, and the PGA Championship. Journalist John Feinstein, author of "A Good Walk Spoiled," reports many of the untelevised moments from last year's tour and provides an understanding of how this game and its athletes are different in the late-'90s world of celebrity sports. (472 pp.) By Leigh Montgomery

11. THE CENTURY, by Todd Brewster and Peter Jennings, Doubleday, $60 Jennings and Brewster employ a pastiche of approaches in piecing together the past century - formal historical narrative, unfamiliar photographs, and, most striking, eye-witness accounts of events like Hiroshima, Vietnam, and Auschwitz. Conceived as a companion piece to the 27-hour documentary on PBS, the book rolls along, ticking off all that is newsworthy. But the sometimes cool tone burdens the eyewitness accounts with the task of conveying the human side of history. (608 pp.) By Ron Fletcher

12. THE ART OF HAPPINESS, by the Dalai Lama and Howard Cutler, Riverhead Books, $22.95 The purpose of life, says the Dalai Lama, is to seek happiness. This seemingly elementary statement requires strict adherence and mental discipline toward a benevolent, rather than self-centered, happiness. There is great value in reading the basic spiritual values of this unique world figure and Tibetan spiritual leader: human qualities of goodness, compassion, and caring. This book is based on a series of conversations with Howard Cutler, a Phoenix-based psychiatrist. (315 pp.) By Leigh Montgomery

13. THE COURAGE TO BE RICH, by Suze Orman, Riverhead Books, $23 Orman believes that it takes courage to become wealthy. If people are courageous, she says, they can take charge of their financial future - by overcoming the defeatist "I'll-never-get-rich" attitude. Her most sound advice: In order to be rich, you should value the possessions as well as the relationships that you already have. At the same time, however, you should only have things in your life that you value. The book is chock-full of smart financial recommendations, while avoiding technical jargon. (370 pp.) By John Christian Hoyle

14. BLACK HAWK DOWN, by Mark Bowden, Atlantic Monthly Press, $24 Reporter Mark Bowden retells the story of a 1993 peacekeeping mission gone wrong: the deadly firefight in the streets of Mogadishu that generated ghastly images, but then descended into obscurity. His work recalls the epic Vietnam narrative "We Were Soldiers Once ... and Young." Recommended for those hungering to understand the world of one superpower and the forces swirling around it. But Bowden could have put the battle into better historical context. (Full review 3/11/99) (386 pp) By Dave Moniz

15. BUSINESS @ THE SPEED OF THOUGHT, by Bill Gates, Warner Books, $30 Gates's new book argues that companies will prosper if they operate with a "digital nervous system" that unites all processes under one electronic infrastructure. Those that think this way, he says, will energize their customer dealings and enjoy big savings. The book provides good illustrations of Gates's philosophies, but some sections are so bloated and repetitive that they almost spoil an otherwise thoughtful contribution to the issue of how technology will shape future businesses.

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