The unbending dictates of Communist China pit one generation against another in this lyrical and heartrending story of a family's 15-year struggle to honor a grandmother's final wish.
The unbending dictates of Communist China pit one generation against another in this lyrical and heartrending story of a family's 15-year struggle to honor a grandmother's final wish.
From the author who gave us Cod, Salt, and other informative bestsellers, the first biography of Clarence Birdseye, the eccentric genius inventor whose fast-freezing process revolutionized the food industry and American agriculture.
After a New Year's party, McGill was shot in the back by an unknown assailant and McGill was wheelchair bound. Written as a letter to the man who shot him, this book is a reflection on childhood, the event that changed his life, and the challenges of living with a disability.
The untold story of how the world's most feared TV reporter transformed his inner darkness into a journalistic juggernaut that riveted millions and redefined the landscape of television news nbsp; In his four decades as the front man for 60 Minutes, the most successful show in television history, Mike Wallace earned the distinction of being hyperaggressive, self-assured, and unflinching in his riveting exposés of injustice and corruption. His unrivaled career includes interviews with every major newsmaker of the late twentieth century, from Martin Luther King to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Behind this intimidating facade,nbsp;however, Wallace was profoundly depressed and haunted by demons that nearly drove him to suicide.nbsp;Despite reaching the pinnacle of his profession, Wallace harbored deep insecurities about his credentials as a journalist. For half his life, he was more "TV Personality" than reporter, dabbling as a quiz show emcee, commercial pitchman, and actor. But in the wake of a life-changing personal tragedy, Wallace transformed himself, against all odds, into the most talked-about newsman in America. Peter Rader's Mike Wallace: A Life tells the story of a courageous man who triumphed over personal adversity and redefined the landscape of television news.
Over the course of his 60 years, Christopher Hitchens has been a citizen of both the United States and the United Kingdom. He has been both a socialist opposed to the war in Vietnam and a supporter of the U.S. war against Islamic extremism in Iraq. He has been both a foreign correspondent in some of the world's most dangerous places and a legendary bon vivant with an unquenchable thirst for alcohol and literature. He is a fervent atheist, raised as a Christian, by a mother whose Jewish heritage was not revealed to him until her suicide. In other words, Christopher Hitchens contains multitudes. He sees all sides of an argument. And he believes the personal is political.
A vivid, energetic account of the life of Louisa May Alcott, whose work has delighted millions of readers Louisa May Alcott portrays a writer as worthy of interest in her own right as her most famous character, Jo March, and addresses all aspects of Alcott's life: the effect of her father's self-indulgent utopian schemes; her family's chronic economic difficulties and frequent uprootings; her experience as a nurse in the Civil War; the loss of her health and frequent recourse to opiates in search of relief from migraines, insomnia, and symptomatic pain. Stories and details culled from Alcott's journals; her equally rich letters to family, friends, publishers, and admiring readers; and the correspondence, journals, and recollections of her family, friends, and famous contemporaries provide the basis for this lively account of the author's classic rags-to-riches tale. Alcott would become the equivalent of a multimillionaire in her lifetime based on the astounding sales of her books, leaving contemporaries like Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, and Henry James in the dust. This biography explores Alcott's life in the context of her works, all of which are to some extent autobiographical. A fresh, modern take on this remarkable and prolific writer, who secretly authored pulp fiction, harbored radical abolitionist views, and completed heroic service as a Civil War nurse, Louisa May Alcott is in the end also the story of how the all-time beloved American classic Little Women came to be. This revelatory portrait will present the popular author as she was and as she has never been seen before.
As devoted readers of Adriana Trigiani's New York Times bestselling novels know, this "seemingly effortless storyteller" (Boston Globe) frequently draws inspiration from her own family history, in particular from the lives of her two remarkable grandmothers, who have found their way into all Trigiani's cherished novels. In Don't Sing at the Table, this much-beloved writer has gathered their estimable life lessons, revealing how her grandmothers' simple values have shaped her own life, sharing the experiences, humor, and wisdom of her beloved mentors to delight readers of all ages. Lucia Spada Bonicelli (Lucy) and Yolanda Perin Trigiani (Viola) lived through the twentieth century from beginning to end as working women who juggled careers and motherhood. From the factory line to the family table, Lucy and Viola, the very definition of modern women, cut a path for their granddaughter by demonstrating moxie and pluck in their fearless approach to life, love, and overcoming obstacles. Lucy's and Viola's traditions and spiritual fortitude will encourage you to hold on to the values that make life rich and beautiful. Their entrepreneurial spirit will inspire you to take risks and reap the rewards. And their remarkable resilience in the face of tragedy will be a source of strength and comfort.Trigiani visits the past to seek answers to the essential questions that define the challenges women face today at work and at home. This is a primer, grand-mother to granddaughter, filled with everyday wisdom and life lessons that are truly "tiramisu for the soul" (The Examiner), handed down with care and built to last.
"Born to a sharecropping family in Georgia, Alice Walker thrived in the rich culture of what she called the "agrarian peasantry" to become one of our most important and popular writers. Evelyn C. White charts Walker's childhood, marked by an incident at eight that left her blinded in her right eye and with disfiguring scar tissue and that prompted her, out of a sense of "ugliness," to probe human suffering through her poems and stories. In this biography, we learn of Walker's activism in the 1960s freedom movement, and her leadership in the debate on black women's art, politics, and sexuality. The Color Purple garnered Walker the Pulitzer Prize in fiction - the first awarded to a black woman writer. Drawing on papers, letters, journals, and extensive interviews with Walker, her family, friends, colleagues, and leading American cultural figures including Gloria Steinem, Quincy Jones, and Oprah Winfrey, White assesses one of the most influential writers of our time."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Before Madeleine Albright turned twelve, her life was shaken by the Nazi invasion of Czechoslovakia'the country where she was born'the Battle of Britain, the near total destruction of European Jewry, the Allied victory in World War II, the rise of communism, and the onset of the Cold War. Albright's experiences, and those of her family, provide a lens through which to view the most tumultuous dozen years in modern history. Drawing on her memory, her parents' written reflections, interviews with contemporaries, and newly available documents, Albright recounts a tale that is by turns harrowing and inspiring. Prague Winter is an exploration of the past with timeless dilemmas in mind and, simultaneously, a journey with universal lessons that is intensely personal. The book takes readers from the Bohemian capital's thousand-year-old castle to the bomb shelters of London, from the desolate prison ghetto of TerezÍn to the highest councils of European and American government. Albright reflects on her discovery of her family's Jewish heritage many decades after the war, on her Czech homeland's tangled history, and on the stark moral choices faced by her parents and their generation. Often relying on eyewitness descriptions, she tells the story of how millions of ordinary citizens were ripped from familiar surroundings and forced into new roles as exiled leaders and freedom fighters, resistance organizers and collaborators, victims and killers. These events of enormous complexity are nevertheless shaped by concepts familiar to any growing child: fear, trust, adaptation, the search for identity, the pressure to conform, the quest for independence, and the difference between right and wrong. "No one who lived through the years of 1937 to 1948," Albright writes, "was a stranger to profound sadness. Millions of innocents did not survive, and their deaths must never be forgotten. Today we lack the power to reclaim lost lives, but we have a duty to learn all that we can about what happened and why." At once a deeply personal memoir and an incisive work of history, Prague Winter serves as a guide to the future through the lessons of the past'as seen through the eyes of one of the international community's most respected and fascinating figures.
From the best-selling author of Fun Home , Time magazine's No. 1 Book of the Year, a brilliantly told graphic memoir of Alison Bechdel becoming the artist her mother wanted to be. Alison Bechdel's Fun Home was a pop culture and literary phenomenon. Now, a second thrilling tale of filial sleuthery, this time about her mother: voracious reader, music lover, passionate amateur actor. Also a woman, unhappily married to a closeted gay man, whose artistic aspirations simmered under the surface of Bechdel's childhood . . . and who stopped touching or kissing her daughter good night, forever, when she was seven. Poignantly, hilariously, Bechdel embarks on a quest for answers concerning the mother-daughter gulf. It's a richly layered search that leads readers from the fascinating life and work of the iconic twentieth-century psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott, to one explosively illuminating Dr. Seuss illustration, to Bechdel's own (serially monogamous) adult love life. And, finally, back to Mother--to a truce, fragile and real-time, that will move and astonish all adult children of gifted mothers.
With his big blue eyes and soulful expression, George was the irresistible runt of the litter. But Dave and Christie Nasser's "baby" ended up being almost five feet tall, seven feet long, and 245 pounds. Eager to play, and boisterous to the point of causing chaos, this big Great Dane was scared of water, scared of dogs a fraction of his size and, most of all, scared of being alone. GIANT GEORGE is the charming story of how this precocious puppy won Dave and Christie's hearts and along the way became a doggie superstar. In 2010, George was named by Guinness World Records as the Tallest Dog in the World- ever. He appeared on Oprah, and even has his own global fan club. But to Dave and Christie, this extraordinary animal is still their beloved pet, the one who has made them laugh, made them cry, and continues to make them incredibly happy.
A remarkable memoir from the best-selling author of Friday Night Lights and Three Nights in August Buzz Bissinger's twins were born three minutes, and a world apart. Gerry, the older one, is a graduate student at Penn, preparing to become a teacher. His brother Zach has spent his life attending special schools. He'll never drive a car, or kiss a girl, or live by himself. He is a savant, challenged by serious intellectual deficits but also blessed with rare talents: an astonishing memory, a dazzling knack for navigation, and a reflexive honesty that can make him both socially awkward and surprisingly wise. Buzz realized that while he had always been an attentive father, he didn't really understand what it was like to be Zach. So one summer night Buzz and Zach hit the road to revisit all the places they have lived together during Zach's twenty-four years. Zach revels in his memories, and Buzz hopes this journey into their shared past will bring them closer and reveal to him the mysterious workings of his son's mind and heart. The trip also becomes Buzz's personal journey, yielding revelations about his own parents, the price of ambition, and its effect on his twins. As father and son journey from Philadelphia to Los Angeles, they see the best and worst of America and each other. Ultimately, Buzz gains a new and uplifting wisdom, realizing that Zach's worldview has a sturdy logic of its own: a logic that deserves the greatest respect. And with the help of Zach's twin, Gerry, Buzz learns an even more vital lesson about Zach: character transcends intellect. We come to see Zach as he truly is: patient, fearless, perceptive, kind---a man of excellent character.
" People have abandoned their loved ones for much less than you've been through," Mira Bartók is told at her mother's memorial service. It is a poignant observation about the relationship between Mira, her sister, and their mentally ill mother. Before she was struck with schizophrenia at the age of nineteen, beautiful piano protégé Norma Herr had been the most vibrant personality in the room. She loved her daughters and did her best to raise them well, but as her mental state deteriorated, Norma spoke less about Chopin and more about Nazis and her fear that her daughters would be kidnapped, murdered, or raped. When the girls left for college, the harassment escalated--Norma called them obsessively, appeared at their apartments or jobs, threatened to kill herself if they did not return home. After a traumatic encounter, Mira and her sister were left with no choice but to change their names and sever all contact with Norma in order to stay safe. But while Mira pursued her career as an artist--exploring the ancient romance of Florence, the eerie mysticism of northern Norway, and the raw desert of Israel--the haunting memories of her mother were never far away. Then one day, Mira's life changed forever after a debilitating car accident. As she struggled to recover from a traumatic brain injury, she was confronted with a need to recontextualize her life--she had to relearn how to paint, read, and interact with the outside world. In her search for a way back to her lost self, Mira reached out to the homeless shelter where she believed her mother was living and discovered that Norma was dying. Mira and her sister traveled to Cleveland, where they shared an extraordinary reconciliation with their mother that none of them had thought possible. At the hospital, Mira discovered a set of keys that opened a storage unit Norma had been keeping for seventeen years. Filled with family photos, childhood toys, and ephemera from Norma's life, the storage unit brought back a flood of previous memories that Mira had thought were lost to her forever. The Memory Palace is a breathtaking literary memoir about the complex meaning of love, truth, and the capacity for forgiveness among family. Through stunning prose and original art created by the author in tandem with the text, The Memory Palace explores the connections between mother and daughter that cannot be broken no matter how much exists--or is lost--between them.
San Francisco's Laguna Honda Hospital is the last almshouse in the country, a descendant of the Hôtel-Dieu (God's hotel) that cared for the sick in the Middle Ages. Ballet dancers and rock musicians, professors and thieves-"anyone who had fallen, or, often, leapt, onto hard times" and needed extended medical care-ended up here. So did Victoria Sweet, who came for two months and stayed for twenty years. Laguna Honda, lower tech but human paced, gave Sweet the opportunity to practice a kind of attentive medicine that has almost vanished. Gradually, the place transformed the way she understood her work. Alongside the modern view of the body as a machine to be fixed, her extraordinary patients evoked an older idea, of the body as a garden to be tended. God's Hotel tells their story and the story of the hospital itself, which, as efficiency experts, politicians, and architects descended, determined to turn it into a modern "health care facility," revealed its own surprising truths about the essence, cost, and value of caring for body and soul.
From the age of four, award-winning writer Edwidge Danticat came to think of her uncle Joseph as her "second father," when she was placed in his care after her parents left Haiti for America. And so she was both elated and saddened when, at twelve, she joined her parents and youngest brothers in New York City. As Edwidge made a life in a new country, adjusting to being far away from so many who she loved, she and her family continued to fear for the safety of those still in Haiti as the political situation deteriorated. In 2004, they entered into a terrifying tale of good people caught up in events beyond their control. Brother I'm Dying is an astonishing true-life epic, told on an intimate scale by one of our finest writers.
Karr pens the long-awaited sequel to the beloved and bestselling "The Liars' Club" in her memoir about a self-professed blackbelt sinner's descent into the inferno of alcoholism and madness, and her astonishing resurrection.
At the time of his death, Louis Auchincloss--enemy of bores, self-pity, and gossip less than fresh--had just finished taking on a subject he had long avoided: himself. His memoir confirms that, despite the spark of his fiction, Auchincloss himself was the most entertaining character he has created. No traitor to his class but occasionally its critic, he returns us to his Society which was, he maintains, less interesting than its members admitted. You may differ as he unfurls his life with dignity, summoning his family (particularly his father who suffered from depression and forgave him for hating sports) and intimates. Brooke Astor and her circle are here, along with glimpses of Jacqueline Onassis. Most memorable, though, is his way with those outside the salon: the cranky maid; the maiden aunt, perpetually out of place; the less-than-well-born boy who threw himself from a window over a woman and a man. Here is Auchincloss, an American master, being Auchincloss, a rare eye, a generous and lively spirit to the end.
The secret double life of the man who mapped the American West, and the woman he loved Clarence King is a hero of nineteenth century western history; a brilliant scientist and witty conversationalist, best-selling author and architect of the great surveys that mapped the West after the Civil War. Secretary of State John Hay named King “the best and brightest of his generation.” But King hid a secret from his Gilded Age cohorts and prominent family in Newport: for thirteen years he lived a double life—as the celebrated white explorer, geologist and writer Clarence King and as a black Pullman porter and steel worker named James Todd. The fair blue-eyed son of a wealthy China trader passed across the color line, revealing his secret to his black common- law wife, Ada Copeland, only on his deathbed. King lied because he wanted to and he lied because he had to. To marry his wife in a public way – as the white man known as Clarence King – would have created a scandal and destroyed his career. At a moment when many mixed-race Americans concealed their African heritage to seize the privileges of white America, King falsely presented himself as a black man in order to marry the woman he loved. Noted historian of the American West Martha Sandweiss is the first writer to uncover the life that King tried so hard to conceal from the public eye. She reveals the complexity of a man who while publicly espousing a personal dream of a uniquely American “race,” an amalgam of white and black, hid his love for his wife, Ada, and their five biracial children. Passing Strange tells the dramatic tale of a family built along the fault lines of celebrity, class, and race—from the “Todd’s” wedding in 1888, to the 1964 death of Ada King, one of the last surviving Americans born into slavery.
"Evocative and beautifully written, House of Stone . . . should be read by anyone who wishes to understand the agonies and hopes of the Middle East." -- Kai Bird, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and author of Crossing Mandelbaum Gate "In rebuilding his family home in southern Lebanon, Shadid commits an extraordinarily generous act of restoration for his wounded land, and for us all." -- Annia Ciezadlo, author of Day of Honey In spring 2011, Anthony Shadid was one of four New York Times reporters captured in Libya, cuffed and beaten, as that country was seized by revolution. When he was freed, he went home. Not to Boston or Beirut--where he lives-- or to Oklahoma City, where his Lebanese-American family had settled and where he was raised. Instead, he returned to his great-grandfather's estate, a house that, over three years earlier, Shadid had begun to rebuild. House of Stone is the story of a battle-scarred home and a war correspondent's jostled spirit, and of how reconstructing the one came to fortify the other. In this poignant and resonant memoir, the author of the award-winning Night Draws Near creates a mosaic of past and present, tracing the house's renewal alongside his family's flight from Lebanon and resettlement in America. In the process, Shadid memorializes a lost world, documents the shifting Middle East, and provides profound insights into this volatile landscape. House of Stone is an unforgettable meditation on war, exile, rebirth, and the universal yearning for home.
A fresh look at the endlessly fascinating Tudors--the dramatic and overlooked story of Henry VII and his founding of the Tudor Dynasty--filled with spies, plots, counter-plots, and an uneasy royal succession to Henry VIII. 1501 England had been ravaged for decades by conspiracy and civil war. Henry VII clambered to the top of the heap--a fugitive with a flimsy claim to England's crown who managed to win the throne and stay on it for sixteen years. Although he built palaces, hosted magnificent jousts, and sent ambassadors across Europe, for many Henry VII remained a false king. But he had a crucial asset: his family--the queen and their children, the living embodiment of his hoped-for dynasty. Now, in what would be the crowning glory of his reign, his elder son would marry a great Spanish princess. Thomas Penn re-creates an England that is both familiar and very strange--a country medieval yet modern, in which honor and chivalry mingle with espionage, real politik, high finance, and corruption. It is the story of the transformation of a young, vulnerable boy, Prince Henry, into the aggressive teenager who would become Henry VIII, and of Catherine of Aragon, his future queen, as well as Henry VII--controlling, avaricious, paranoid, with Machiavellian charm and will to power. Rich with incident and drama, filled with wonderfully drawn characters, Winter King is an unforgettable tale of pageantry, intrigue, the thirst for glory--and the fraught, unstable birth of Tudor England.
Lillian Hellman was a giant of twentieth-century letters and a groundbreaking figure as one of the most successful female playwrights on Broadway. Yet the author of The Little Foxes and Toys in the Attic is today remembered more as a toxic, bitter survivor and literary fabulist, the woman of whom Mary McCarthy said, "Every word she writes is a lie, including 'and' and 'the.'" In A Difficult Woman , renowned historian Alice Kessler-Harris undertakes a feat few would dare to attempt: a reclamation of a combative, controversial woman who straddled so many political and cultural fault lines of her time. Kessler-Harris renders Hellman's feisty wit and personality in all of its contradictions: as a non-Jewish Jew, a displaced Southerner, a passionate political voice without a party, an artist immersed in commerce, a sexually free woman who scorned much of the women's movement, a loyal friend whose trust was often betrayed, and a writer of memoirs who repeatedly questioned the possibility of achieving truth and doubted her memory. Hellman was a writer whose plays spoke the language of morality yet whose achievements foundered on accusations of mendacity. Above all else, she was a woman who made her way in a man's world. Kessler-Harris has crafted a nuanced life of Hellman, empathetic yet unsparing, that situates her in the varied contexts in which she moved, from New Orleans to Broadway to the hearing room of HUAC. A Difficut Woman is a major work of literary and intellectual history. This will be one of the most reviewed, and most acclaimed, books of 2012.
The extraordinary and moving story of Carly Fleischmann, a teenager with severe autism who, through technology and today's social networks, has become a passionate advocate for kids everywhere. At the age of two, Carly Fleischmann was diagnosed with severe autism and an oral motor condition that prevented her from speaking. Doctors predicted that she could never intellectually develop beyond the abilities of a small child. Although she made some progress after years of intensive behavioral and communication therapy, Carly remained largely unreachable. Then, at age ten, Carly had a breakthrough. While sitting in her kitchen with her devoted therapist Howie, Carly reached over to the laptop and typed "MEAN," referring to Howie's efforts to get her to do her work for the day. She then went on to further explain her recalcitrant mood by typing "TEETH HURT," much to Howie's astonishment. This was the beginning of Carly's journey toward self-realization. Although Carly still struggles with all the symptoms of autism, which she describes with uncanny accuracy and detail, she now has regular, witty, and profound conversations on the computer with her family, her therapists, and many thousands of people who follow her via her blog, Facebook, and Twitter. A 2009 segment on 20/20 brought her story to national attention, and she has since appeared on television with Larry King, Ellen DeGeneres, and Holly Robinson Peete, all of whom have developed warm relationships with her. In Carly's Voice , her father, Arthur Fleischmann, blends Carly's own words with his story of getting to know his remarkable daughter. One of the first books to explore firsthand the challenges of living with autism, it brings readers inside a once-secret world in the company of an inspiring young woman who has found her voice and her mission.
Dust to Dust is an extraordinary memoir about ordinary things: life and death, peace and war, the adventures of childhood and the revelations of adulthood. Benjamin Busch'a decorated U.S. Marine Corps infantry officer who served two combat tours in Iraq, an actor on The Wire , and the son of celebrated novelist Frederick Busch'has crafted a lasting book to stand with the finest work of Tim O'Brien or Annie Dillard. In elemental-themed chapters'water, metal, bone, blood?Busch weaves together a vivid record of a pastoral childhood in rural New York; Marine training in North Carolina, Ukraine, and California; and deployment during the worst of the war in Iraq, as seen firsthand. But this is much more than a war memoir. Busch writes with great poignancy about the resonance of a boyhood spent exploring rivers and woods, building forts, and testing the limits of safety. Most of all, he brings enormous emotional power to his reflections on mortality: in a helicopter going down; wounded by shrapnel in Ramadi; dealing with the sudden death of friends in combat and of parents back home. Dust to Dust is an unforgettable meditation on life and loss, and how the curious children we were remain alive in us all.
"Maybe I've finally beaten this thing, maybe three years' struggle will not have been in vain. Maybe this is finally over . . ." --from Damon's blog, May 2004 A FAMILY' S LOVE lies at the heart of this gifted boy's fight to survive. Born with a congenital heart defect that required surgery when he was a baby, Damon Weber lives a big life with spirit and independence that have always been a source of pride to his parents, Doron and Shealagh. But when Damon is diagnosed with a new illness as a teenager, his triumphant coming-of-age tale turns into a darker and more dramatic quest: his family's race against time and a flawed heath care system. Immortal Bird is a searing account of a father's struggle to save his remarkable son, a story of a young boy's passion for life, and a tribute to his family's love. It is also a story of the perils of modern medicine and the redemptive power of art in the face of the unthinkable.
Considered to be "as monumental--and enigmatic--a legend as American sport has ever seen" ( Sports Illustrated ), Willie Mays is arguably the greatest player in baseball history, still revered for the joy and passion he brought to the game. Mays began as a teenage phenom in the Negro Leagues, became a cult hero in New York, and was the headliner in Major League Baseball's bold expansion to California. With 3,383 hits, 660 home runs, and 338 stolen bases, he was a blend of power, speed, and stylistic bravado that fans had never seen before. Now, in the first biography authorized by and written with the cooperation of Willie Mays, James Hirsch reveals the man behind the player.. Willie is perhaps best known for "The Catch"--his breathtaking over-the-shoulder grab in the 1954 World Series. It is a classic visual that represents a transcendent figure who ushered in a new era of baseball, received standing ovations around the globe, and--during the turbulent civil rights era--advocated understanding and reconciliation. However, the years of racial attacks, the stress of celebrity, and the mental and physical demands of the game also took a toll. Meticulously researched and drawing on lengthy interviews with Mays, as well as with close friends, family, and teammates, Hirsch presents a complex portrait of one of America's most significant cultural icons..
In Some Assembly Required, Anne Lamott enters a new and unexpected chapter of her own life: grandmotherhood. Stunned to learn that her son, Sam, is about to become a father at nineteen, Lamott begins a journal about the first year of her grandson Jax's life. In careful and often hilarious detail, Lamott and Sam-about whom she first wrote so movingly in Operating Instructions-struggle to balance their changing roles with the demands of college and work, as they both forge new relationships with Jax's mother, who has her own ideas about how to raise a child. Lamott writes about the complex feelings that Jax fosters in her, recalling her own experiences with Sam when she was a single mother. Over the course of the year, the rhythms of life, death, family, and friends unfold in surprising and joyful ways. By turns poignant and funny, honest and touching, Some Assembly Required is the true story of how the birth of a baby changes a family-as this book will change everyone who reads it.
In a shocking memoir that is equal parts "Angela's Ashes" and "Running with Scissors, Gypsy Boy" reveals what life is really like among the Romany Gypsies in England. A revelation. Moving, terrifying, funny and brilliant.--Stephen Fry.
In this magisterial new biography, New York Times bestselling author Sally Bedell Smith brings to life one of the world's most fascinating and enigmatic women: Queen Elizabeth II. From the moment of her ascension to the throne in 1952 at the age of 25, Queen Elizabeth II has been the object of unparalleled scrutiny. But through the fog of glamour and gossip, how well do we really know the world's most famous monarch? Drawing on numerous interviews and never-before-revealed documents, acclaimed biographer Sally Bedell Smith pulls back the curtain to show in intimate detail the public and private lives of Queen Elizabeth II, who has led her country and Commonwealth through the wars and upheavals of the last 60 years with unparalleled composure, intelligence, and grace. In Elizabeth the Queen, we meet the young girl who suddenly becomes "heiress presumptive" when her uncle abdicates the throne. We meet the 13-year-old Lilibet as she falls in love with a young navy cadet named Philip and becomes determined to marry him, even though her parents prefer wealthier English aristocrats. We see the teenage Lilibet repairing army trucks during World War II and standing with Winston Churchill on the balcony of Buckingham Palace on V-E Day. We see the young Queen struggling to balance the demands of her job with her role as the mother of two young children. Sally Bedell Smith brings us inside the palace doors and into the Queen's daily routines-the "red boxes" of documents she reviews each day, the weekly meetings she has had with 12 prime ministers, her physically demanding tours abroad, and the constant scrutiny of the press-as well as her personal relationships: with Prince Philip, her husband of 64 years and the love of her life; her children and their often-disastrous marriages; her grandchildren and friends. Compulsively readable and scrupulously researched, Elizabeth the Queen is a close-up view of a woman we've known only from a distance, illuminating the lively personality, sense of humor, and canny intelligence with which she meets the most demanding work and family obligations. It is also a fascinating window into life at the center of the last great monarchy. From the Hardcover edition.
In celebration of the Girl Scouts' centennial, a lively salute to its maverick founder. Born at the start of the Civil War, Juliette Gordon Low grew up in Georgia, where she struggled to reconcile being a good Southern belle with her desire to run barefoot through the fields. Deafened by an accident, "Daisy" married a dashing British aristocrat and moved to England. But she was ultimately betrayed by her husband and dissatisfied by the aimlessness of privileged life. Her search for a greater purpose ended when she met Robert Baden-Powell, war hero, adventurer, and founder of the Boy Scouts. Captivated with his program, Daisy aimed to instill the same useful skills and moral values in young girls-with an emphasis on fun. She imported the Boy Scouts' sister organization, the Girl Guides, to Savannah in 1912. Rechristened the Girl Scouts, it grew rapidly because of Juliette Low's unquenchable determination and energetic, charismatic leadership. In Juliette Gordon Low , Cordery paints a dynamic portrait of an intriguing woman and a true pioneer whose work touched the lives of millions of girls and women around the world.
Historian Fox offers this first dual biography of the daughters of Spain's Ferdinand and Isabella, whose family ties remained strong despite their separation. "Sister Queens" is a gripping tale of love, duty, and sacrifice--a remarkable reflection on the conflict between ambition and loyalty during an age when the greatest sin, it seems, was to have been born a woman.
He is the deadliest American sniper ever, called ?the devil? by the enemies he hunted and ?the legend? by his Navy SEAL brothers . . . From 1999 to 2009, U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle recorded the most career sniper kills in United States military history. The Pentagon has officially confirmed more than 150 of Kyles kills (the previous American record was 109), but it has declined to verify the astonishing total number for this book. Iraqi insurgents feared Kyle so much they named him al-Shaitan (?the devil?) and placed a bounty on his head. Kyle earned legendary status among his fellow SEALs, Marines, and U.S. Army soldiers, whom he protected with deadly accuracy from rooftops and stealth positions. Gripping and unforgettable, Kyle's masterful account of his extraordinary battlefield experiences ranks as one of the great war memoirs of all time. A native Texan who learned to shoot on childhood hunting trips with his father, Kyle was a champion saddle-bronc rider prior to joining the Navy. After 9/11, he was thrust onto the front lines of the War on Terror, and soon found his calling as a world-class sniper who performed best under fire. He recorded a personal-record 2,100-yard kill shot outside Baghdad; in Fallujah, Kyle braved heavy fire to rescue a group of Marines trapped on a street; in Ramadi, he stared down insurgents with his pistol in close combat. Kyle talks honestly about the pain of war'of twice being shot and experiencing the tragic deaths of two close friends. American Sniper also honors Kyles fellow warriors, who raised hell on and off the battlefield. And in moving first-person accounts throughout, Kyles wife, Taya, speaks openly about the strains of war on their marriage and children, as well as on Chris. Adrenaline-charged and deeply personal, American Sniper is a thrilling eyewitness account of war that only one man could tell.
In his magisterial bestseller "FDR," Smith provided a fresh, modern look at one of the most indelible figures in American history. Now this peerless biographer returns with a new life of Dwight D. Eisenhower that is as full, rich, and revealing as anything ever written about America's 34th president.
In 1990, Anthony Zuiker was just another Hollywood wannabe-a balding, overweight guy driving a tram in Las Vegas for eight bucks an hour, telling his friends about the screenplay he was writing, dreaming of fame. He'd grown up in Vegas, where his mother worked the blackjack table at a casino, while his father flitted back and forth from investment schemes that didn't seem to go anywhere. His friends figured Anthony wouldn't either. But twenty years later, Zuiker stands as the mastermind behind the most popular television show in history, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation , and its spin-offs: CSI: Miami and CSI: NY . How he got there-a remarkable rise from nothing to something-is the narrative lifeblood of Mr. CSI , only, like the show itself, there's a catch: On a January morning in 2005, Zuiker got a call from the Las Vegas Police Department while he was working at his desk on a script for CSI: NY . His estranged father, whom Zuiker hadn't seen for a decade, had put a shotgun in his mouth and pulled the trigger. So begins Mr. CSI , a book that frames Zuiker's astonishing ascendency to fame and fortune with an unsettling and honest appraisal of his father's suicide. It's a book that uses the conventions that have made CSI a worldwide success to tell a far more personal story, of what one man left behind in his success and what he gained when he returned.
The Hurt Locker meets Marley & Me in this thrilling and inspiring true story of a U.S. Marine and his German Shepherd Rex, a bomb-sniffing dog on the war-torn streets of Iraq's most dangerous city. "I am your Guardian: you are my Protector." This is the motto of the United States Marine Corps K9 unit. It describes a sacred bond between two soldiers--one man; the other man's best friend. In Sergeant Rex , decorated Iraq War veteran Mike Dowling recounts the incredible story of this unique relationship. Deployed into the cauldron of Iraq in 2004, Sergeant Mike Dowling and Rex were part of the first military working dog (K9) team sent to the frontlines since Vietnam. It was Rex's job to sniff out booby traps, suicide bombers, and IEDs, the devastating explosives that wreaked havoc on soldiers and civilians alike. It was Mike's job to lead Rex into the heart of danger time and time again, always trusting Rex to bring them both back alive. At first Rex suffered a seemingly incurable fear of explosions and gunfire, but with Mike at the other end of his leash, Rex gained the courage he needed to get the job done. Filled with harrowing tales of knife-edge bomb-detection work, including an extraordinary baptism of fire in the infamous Triangle of Death, Sergeant Rex is both a heart-pounding and heart-warming account of how an unbreakable human-canine bond helped Mike and Rex to stay focused on their mission and save countless lives.
· Donna Britt has always been surrounded by men-her father, three brothers, two husbands, three sons, countless friends. She learned to give to them at an early age. But after her beloved brother Darrell's senseless killing by police 30 years ago, she began giving more, unconsciously seeking to help other men the way she couldn't help Darrell. BROTHERS (AND ME) navigates Britt's life through her relationships with men-resulting in a tender, funny and heartbreaking exploration of universal issues of gender and race. It asks: Why, for so long, did Britt-like millions of seemingly self-aware women-rarely put herself first? With attuned storytelling and hard-wrought introspection, Britt finds that even the sharpest woman may need reminding that giving to others requires giving to oneself.
The controversial story of Chanel, the twentieth century's foremost fashion icon. Revolutionizing women's dress, Gabrielle "Coco' Chanel was the twentieth century's most influential designer. Her extraordinary and unconventional journey-from abject poverty to a new kind of glamour- helped forge the idea of modern woman. Unearthing an astonishing life, this remarkable biography shows how, more than any previous designer, Chanel became synonymous with a rebellious and progressive style. Her numerous liaisons, whose poignant and tragic details have eluded all previous biographers, were the very stuff of legend. Witty and mesmerizing, she became muse, patron, or mistress to the century's most celebrated artists, including Picasso, Dalí, and Stravinsky. Drawing on newly discovered love letters and other records, Chaney's controversial book reveals the truth about Chanel's drug habit and lesbian affairs. And the question about Chanel's German lover during World War II (was he a spy for the Nazis?) is definitively answered. While uniquely highlighting the designer's far-reaching influence on the modern arts, Chaney's fascinating biography paints a deeper and darker picture of Coco Chanel than any so far. Movingly, it explores the origins, the creative power, and the secret suffering of this exceptional and often misread woman.
Isak Dinesen's 1937 memoir acquainted readers with her lover, Denys Finch Hatton, a member of the British gentry who made a name for himself as a pilot and big-game hunter in the early 20th century. No other books on Finch Hatton (portrayed by Robert Redford in the movie adaptation of Dinesen's memoir) existed until Sara Wheeler produced this biography, which evocatively portrays his early years, his adventurous life, and the East African landscape that has attracted so many foreign adventurers. Finch Hatton, it turns out, was fascinating in his own right -- not just as a minor character in Dinesen's life.
In 2011, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf shared the Nobel Peace Prize with two other women, thus fulfilling the prophecy she refers to in the title of her memoir, . Johnson-Sirleaf was elected President of Liberia in 2006, after years of civil war that nearly destroyed her country. Speaking out against government incompetence and corruption, she was rewarded with imprisonment and exile but eventually returned to assume leadership and begin to build national identity and cooperation between indigenous Liberians and "American Liberians" -- those descended from African-American slaves who were repatriated to the region beginning in 1822. This eloquent account complements another recent Liberian memoir, by Helene Cooper.
Sudanese militia attacks on his village in Darfur forced Daoud Hari into exile in 2003. Recalling the days before the war, when people settled ethnic disputes peacefully over meals in one another's homes, Daoud has devoted his life to working as a translator, aiming to tell the world about the genocide in Sudan. Working for journalists (such as Nicholas Kristof), filmmakers, and UN investigators, he has survived imprisonment, life in refugee camps, and other dangers and hardships. This powerfully and simply written memoir offers "a life-changing read," according to. You'll find another eyewitness report on Sudan in by Alephonsion Deng.
Dirty wars in Africa, which were motivated by greed as much as lust for power, scooped up thousands of boys and turned them into fighters who were forced to commit atrocities against innocent residents of other villages. One of these wars raged in Sierra Leone, and Ishmael Beah was one of these boys. His memoir, , describes how he became caught up in the slaughter, how he survived, and how he escaped to safety. This riveting personal account of how a culture of violence affects children belongs to "an elite class of writing: Africans witnessing African wars," says the .
Aaron Burr, one of the founding leaders of the United States, served in several important positions in the young nation, including Vice President. Then he disgraced himself, killing Alexander Hamilton in a duel and later getting involved in a plot that led to his being charged with treason. Much of the information about him comes from indirect sources, but biographer David Stewart meticulously develops a fascinating analysis of Burr's arrogant, ambitious personality, focusing especially on the allegedly treasonous plot. The result is "two parts adventure story and one part courtroom thriller," says . If Stewart's book whets your appetite for the political scandals around Burr, read Nancy Isenberg's .
NBA star Shaquille O'Neal was one of the most recognizable figures in sports during his career, both because of his skill as a basketball player and because of his larger-than-life personality. His memoir covers his childhood and youth, his success in college basketball, and his stellar professional career. A skilled entertainer (who even had a brief career in rap), O'Neal presents himself in a very positive light. He also offers insight into what it's like to play a team sport that requires balance among standout players and those who play supporting roles. says that Shaq's recollections shed light on "the knotty psychology behind the swagger."
Novelist Kurt Vonnegut came to prominence with the publication of , a bestseller that portrayed the firebombing of Dresden, where he was a POW during World War II. Born to parents from two wealthy German families in Indianapolis, Vonnegut drifted into college and the Army after the Great Depression depleted their riches. He was a complex character who struggled to support his family before his first successful novel guaranteed a stable income. Shields focuses more on Vonnegut's personality and relationships with friends and family than on his literary work. This compelling biography provides a fascinating backdrop against which to read or re-read Vonnegut's fiction.
Eva Braun is best known for having been Adolf Hitler's mistress during World War II and married to him during the last days before the Soviet army took over Berlin. Hitler kept her firmly in the background, and there is little documentary information about her life. Biographer Heike Görtemaker has drawn on a variety of resources to produce a fascinating portrait of Braun, including her enthusiastic support of Hitler's agenda and his anti-Semitism, as well as her relationship with him. Given the scarcity of information, this biography provides as much detail as possible about the "monster's lover" ().