In this riveting, character-driven history, one of our most respected historians traces the diseases in the public mind-the distortions of reality-that destroyed George Washington's vision of a united America and inflicted the tragedy that still divide's the nation's soul.
In prose as beautiful as it is powerful, Rita Gabis follows the trail of her grandfather's collaboration with the Nazis--a trail riddled with secrets, slaughter, mystery, and discovery. Rita Gabis comes from a family of Eastern European Jews and Lithuanian Catholics. She was close to her Catholic grandfather as a child and knew one version of his past: prior to immigration he had fought the Russians, whose brutal occupation of Lithuania destroyed thousands of lives before Hitler's army swept in. Five years ago, Gabis discovered an unthinkable dimension to her family story: from 1941 to 1943, her grandfather had been the chief of security police under the Gestapo in the Lithuanian town of Svencionys, near the killing field of Poligon, where eight thousand Jews were murdered over three days in the fall of 1941. In 1942, the local Polish population was also hunted down. Gabis felt compelled to find out the complicated truth of who her grandfather was and what he had done. Built around dramatic interviews in four countries, filled with original scholarship, and mesmerizing in its lyricism, A Guest at the Shooters' Banquet is a history and family memoir like no other, documenting the holocaust by bullets with a remarkable quest as Gabis returns again and again to the country of her grandfather's birth to learn all she can about the man she thought she knew.
In 1849 Heinrich Barth joined a small British expedition into unexplored regions of Islamic North and Central Africa. One by one his companions died, but he carried on alone, eventually reaching the fabled city of gold, Timbuktu. His five-and-a-half-year, 10,000-mile adventure ranks among the greatest journeys in the annals of exploration, and his discoveries are considered indispensable by modern scholars of Africa. Yet because of shifting politics, European preconceptions about Africa, and his own thorny personality, Barth has been almost forgotten. The general public has never heard of him, his epic journey, or his still-pertinent observations about Africa and Islam; and his monumental five-volume Travels and Discoveries in North and Central Africa is rare even in libraries. Though he made his journey for the British government, he has never had a biography in English. Barth and his achievements have fallen through a crack in history.
In his memoir Anyone Who Had a Heart, Burt Bacharach, one of the greatest songwriters of all time, offers a frank and riveting account of his unparalleled life.From his tumultuous marriages and the tragicsuicide of his daughter, to his collaborations with Hal David, Carole Bayer Sager, Neil Diamond, Elvis Costello, and others, Bacharach details his long-lasting success as well as the never-before-told stories behind the hits.Candid and emotional, and with 16 pages of color photographs, Anyone Who Had a Heart: My Life and Music is Burt Bacharach in his own words a powerful and personal look at the award-winning songwriter and composer.
[A]n excellent book... -- The Economist Financial Times Asia editor David Pilling presents a fresh vision of Japan, drawing on his own deep experience, as well as observations from a cross section of Japanese citizenry, including novelist Haruki Murakami, former prime minister Junichiro Koizumi, industrialists and bankers, activists and artists, teenagers and octogenarians.
Through their voices, Pilling's Bending Adversity captures the dynamism and diversity of contemporary Japan. Pilling s exploration begins with the 2011 triple disaster of earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown. His deep reporting reveals both Japan s vulnerabilities and its resilience and pushes him to understand the country s past through cycles of crisis and reconstruction.
Japan s survivalist mentality has carried it through tremendous hardship, but is also the source of great destruction: It was the nineteenth-century struggle to ward off colonial intent that resulted in Japan s own imperial endeavor, culminating in the devastation of World War II. Even the postwar economic miracle the manufacturing and commerce explosion that brought unprecedented economic growth and earned Japan international clout might have been a less pure victory than it seemed.
In Bending Adversity Pilling questions what was lost in the country s blind, aborted climb to #1. With the same rigor, he revisits 1990 the year the economic bubble burst, and the beginning of Japan s lost decades to ask if the turning point might be viewed differently. While financial struggle and national debt are a reality, post-growth Japan has also successfully maintained a stable standard of living and social cohesion. And while life has become less certain, opportunities in particular for the young and for women have diversified.Still, Japan is in many ways a country in recovery, working to find a way forward after the events of 2011 and decades of slow growth. Bending Adversity closes with a reflection on what the 2012 reelection of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and his radical antideflation policy, might mean for Japan and its future.
Informed throughout by the insights shared by Pilling s many interview subjects, Bending Adversity rigorously engages with the social, spiritual, financial, and political life of Japan to create a more nuanced representation of the oft-misunderstood island nation and its people. James Fallows, The New York Times Book Review The ground-zero disaster reporting will command the attention of any reader. Pilling vividly recreates the waves of different sorts of destruction... For me, these scenes powerfully recall John Hersey s Hiroshima --and although the causes were obviously different, in each case the longest-lasting source of damage came from radiation... Pilling is eloquent and direct. The Financial Times David Pilling quotes a visiting MP from northern England, dazzled by Tokyo s lights and awed by its bustling prosperity: If this is a recession, I want one. Not the least of the merits of Pilling s hugely enjoyable and perceptive book on Japan is that he places the denunciations of two allegedly lost decades in the context of what the country is really like and its actual achievements. The Telegraph (UK) Pilling, the Asia editor of the Financial Times, is perfectly placed to be our guide, and his insights are a real rarity when very few Western journalists communicate the essence of the world s third-largest economy in anything but the most superficial ways. Here, there is a terrific selection of interview subjects mixed with great reportage and fact selection... he does get people to say wonderful things. The novelist Haruki Murakami tells him: When we were rich, I hated this country ... well-written... valuable. Publishers Weekly (starred): Aprobing and insightfulportrait of contemporary Japan.
Every Sunday, readers of The New York Times Book Review turn with anticipation to see which novelist, historian, short story writer, or artist will be the subject of the popular By the Book feature. These wide-ranging interviews are conducted by Pamela Paul, the editor of the Book Review, and here she brings together sixty-five of the most intriguing and fascinating exchanges, featuring personalities as varied as David Sedaris, Hilary Mantel, Michael Chabon, Khaled Hosseini, and James Patterson. These questions and answers admit us into the private worlds of these authors, as they reflect on their work habits, reading preferences, inspirations, pet peeves, and recommendations. By the Book contains the full uncut interviews, longer than the versions that run in the newspaper, and they reflect a range of experiences and observations that deepens readers' understanding of the literary sensibility and the writing process, forging a new appreciation for what goes into creating a work of the imagination. By the Book also features dozens of sidebars that reveal the commonalities and conflicts among the participants, underscoring those influences that are truly universal and those that remain matters of individual taste. If you are a devoted reader, By the Book is a way to invite sixty-five of the most interesting guests into your world. It's a book party not to be missed.
A major historical biography of George C. Marshall-the general who ran the U.S. campaign during the Second World War, the Secretary of State who oversaw the successful rebuilding of post-war Europe, and the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize-and the first to offer a complete picture of his life. While Eisenhower Patton, Bradley, Montgomery, MacArthur, Nimitz, and Leahy waged battles in Europe and the Pacific, one military leader actually ran World War II for America, overseeing personnel and logistics: Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army from 1939 to 1945, George C. Marshall. This interpretive biography of George C. Marshall follows his life from his childhood in Western Pennsylvania and his military training at the Virginia Military Institute to his role during and after World War II and his death in 1959 at the age of seventy-eight. It brings to light the virtuous historical role models who inspired him, including George Washington and Robert E. Lee, and his relationships with the Washington political establishment, military brass, and foreign leaders, from Harry Truman to Chiang Kai-shek. It explores Marshall's successes and failures during World War II, and his contributions through two critical years of the emerging Cold War-including the transformative Marshall Plan, which saved Western Europe from Soviet domination, and the failed attempt to unite China's nationalists and communists. Based on breathtaking research and filled with rich detail, George Marshall is sure to be hailed as the definitive work on one of the most influential figures in American history.
A veteran White House reporter reveals our 37th president was even more sinister and haunted than we knew. While Richard Nixon resigned from the White House as our most disgraced president, the American people never knew the full extent of his demons, paranoia, prejudices, hatreds, and chicanery. Calling on his work in covering Nixon in the White House, as well as scores of interviews and invaluable, newly declassified documents and recordings, reporter Don Fulsom sheds new light on Tricky Dick by revealing his violent streaks, paranoia, mob ties, and even treasonous activity in exchange for political gain. Nixon's Darkest Secrets reveals that the Watergate scandal was only half the story, and sheds new light on our most devious president.
Jon Ronson's subjects have included people who believe that goats can be killed by the power of a really hard stare, and people who believe that the world is ruled by twelve-foot lizard-men. In Out of the Ordinary, a collection of his journalism from the Guardian, he turns his attention to irrational beliefs much closer to home, investigating the ways in which we sometimes manage to convince ourselves that all manner of lunacy makes perfect sense -- mainstream, domestic, ordinary insanity. Whether he finds himself promising his son that he will be at his side for ever, dressed in a Santa costume, or trying to understand why hundreds of apparently normal people would suddenly start speaking in tongues in a Scout hut in Kidderminster, he demonstrates repeatedly how we all succumb to deeply irrational beliefs that grow to inform our everyday existence. Out of the Ordinary is Jon Ronson at his inimitable best: hilarious, thought-provoking and with an unerring eye for human frailty -- not least his own. Praise for The Men Who Stare at Goats: 'Not only a narcotic road trip through the wackier reaches of Bush's war effort, but also an unmissable account of some of the insanity that has lately been done in our names' Observer Praise for Them: Adventures with Extremists: 'A funny and compulsively readable picaresque adventure through a paranoid shadow world' Louis Theroux, Guardian
In this remarkable work, Terry Alford tells the story of Abd al Rahman Ibrahima, a Muslim slave who, in 1807, was recognized by an Irish ship's surgeon as the son of an African king who had saved his life many years earlier. The Prince, as he had become known to local Natchez, Mississippi residents, had been captured in war when he was 26 years old, sold to slave traders, and shipped to America. Slave though he was, Ibrahima was an educated, aristocratic man, and he was made overseer of the large cotton and tobacco plantation of his master, who refused to sell him to the doctor for any price. After years of petitioning by Dr. Cox and others, Ibrahima finally gained freedom in 1828 through the intercession of U.S. Secretary of State Henry Clay. Sixty-six years old, Ibrahima sailed for Africa the following year, with his wife, and died there of fever just five months after his arrival. The year 2007 marks the thirtieth anniversary of the publication of Prince Among Slaves, the only full account of Ibrahima's life, pieced together from first-person accounts and historical documents gathered on three continents. It is not only a remarkable story, but also the story of a remarkable man, who endured the humiliation of slavery without ever losing his dignity or his hope for freedom. This thirtieth anniversary edition, which will be released to coincide with a major documentary being aired on Ibrahima's life, has been updated to include material discovered since the original printing, a fuller presentation and appreciation of other African Muslims in American slavery-Ibrahima's contemporaries-and a review of new and important literature and developments in the field.
The American Heritage(r) Science Dictionary defines the vocabulary of the sciences in language general readers will understand and enjoy. With 8,500 entries, it covers all the major fields of science, from the fundamental disciplines of chemistry, physics, biology, and mathematics to the applied realms of medicine, earth science, technology, and anthropology. Each entry has a clear, concise definition that gets to the meaning and importance of each term. There are 175 notes on key scientific concepts, such as relativity, genomic sequencing, nanotechnology, and plate tectonics, as well as 320 biographies of notable scientists from ancients such as Aristotle and Archimedes to modern greats like Rosalyn Yalow and Leo Szilard. Illustrations accompany more than 350 entries. Fully updated for 2011, the dictionary covers the latest scientific discoveries and developments. There is information on the newest named element, copernicium, and the discovery of element 117. Entries encompass the latest finds in anthropology, including information on Homo floresiensis, as well as newsworthy items such as the suspected carcinogen bisphenol A. This is the perfect resource for people looking to improve their science literacy or understand the scientific breakthroughs reported in the news.
The recent translation of a Babylonian tablet launches a groundbreaking investigation into one of the most famous stories in the world, challenging the way we look at ancient history. Since the Victorian period, it has been understood that the story of Noah, iconic in the Book of Genesis, and a central motif in Judaism, Christianity and Islam, derives from a much older story that existed centuries before in ancient Babylon. But the relationship between the Babylonian and biblical traditions was shrouded in mystery. Then, in 2009, Irving Finkel, a curator at the British Museum and a world authority on ancient Mesopotamia, found himself playing detective when a member of the public arrived at the museum with an intriguing cuneiform tablet from a family collection. Not only did the tablet reveal a new version of the Babylonian Flood Story; the ancient poet described the size and completely unexpected shape of the ark, and gave detailed boat building specifications. Decoding this ancient message wedge by cuneiform wedge, Dr. Finkel discovered where the Babylonians believed the ark came to rest and developed a new explanation of how the old story ultimately found its way into the Bible. In The Ark Before Noah, Dr. Finkel takes us on an adventurous voyage of discovery, opening the door to an enthralling world of ancient voices and new meanings.
Winner of the National Jewish Book Award in the Holocaust category
A monumental work of nonfiction on a wartime atrocity, its sixty-year denial, and the impact of its truth
Jan Gross's hugely controversial Neighbors was a historian's disclosure of the events in the small Polish town of Jedwabne on July 10, 1941, when the citizens rounded up the Jewish population and burned them alive in a barn. The massacre was a shocking secret that had been suppressed for more than sixty years, and it provoked the most important public debate in Poland since 1989. From the outset, Anna Bikont reported on the town, combing through archives and interviewing residents who survived the war period. Her writing became a crucial part of the debate and she herself an actor in a national drama. Part history, part memoir, The Crime and the Silence is the journalist's account of these events: both the story of the massacre told through oral histories of survivors and witnesses, and a portrait of a Polish town coming to terms with its dark past. Including the perspectives of both heroes and perpetrators, Bikont chronicles the sources of the hatred that exploded against Jews and asks what myths grow on hidden memories, what destruction they cause, and what happens to a society that refuses to accept a horrific truth. A profoundly moving exploration of being Jewish in modern Poland that Julian Barnes called one of the most chilling books, The Crime and the Silence is a vital contribution to Holocaust history and a fascinating story of a town coming to terms with its dark past.
In this vivid tale of adultery and intrigue, witchcraft and murder, Glenn Watkins explores the fascinating life of the Renaissance composer Carlo Gesualdo-a life suffused with scandal and bordering on the fantastical. An isolated prince, Gesualdo had a personal life that was no less eccentric and bewildering than the music he composed; his biography has often clouded our perception of his oeuvre, which music scholars have periodically dismissed as a late Renaissance deformation of little consequence. Today, however, Gesualdo's music, once deemed so strange as to be unperformable, stands as one of the most vibrant legacies of the late Italian Renaissance with an undeniable impact on a host of twentieth-century musicians and artists. The incendiary details of Gesualdo's life recede, and his grip on our musical imagination comes to the fore. Watkins challenges our preconceptions of what has become a nearly mythic persona, weaving together the cumulative experience of some of the most vibrant artists of the past century from Stravinsky and Schoenberg to Abbado and Herzog. Beyond questions of mere influence, however, The Gesualdo Hex offers a profound meditation on cultural memory and historical awareness: how composers attempt to shape the legacy they will bequeath to the world, and how music and history inevitably take on a new guise as they are revisited by subsequent generations and reinterpreted in light of contemporary experience. In examining Gesualdo's life, music, myth, and memory intertwine with one another to reveal an uncanny affinity with our own time. With his elegant and engaging prose, Watkins asks us to grapple with our understanding not only of art and the artists who create it but also of history itself.
Venice: Ethan Gage has escaped after surviving the naval battle of Trafalgar. His plan: to circumvent the French Empire and rescue his wife, Astiza, and son, Harry, from imprisonment by a ruthless mystic who seeks revenge for disfigurement, and from an evil dwarf alchemist who experiments with the occult on Prague's Golden Lane.Using death as his ruse, Gage seeks an unlikely ally in the Jewish Napoleonic soldier Gideon Mandel, who saves Ethan's life at Austerlitz, and Gideon's father, Aaron, a rabbi whose knowledge of the legends of the Golem adds another layer to the hunt for the Brazen Head. The three must decipher clues from Durendal, the sword of Roland. Meanwhile, Astiza uses her own research to concoct an explosive escape and find a lost tomb, with their tormentors in relentless pursuit.William Dietrich skillfully weaves intrigue, magic, romance, and danger in a historical thriller that sprints from the fury of the Napoleonic wars to the mystical puzzles of Central Europe--where a medieval machine promises power over the future.
For every Pratchett fan, the must-have fully updated guidebook to Discworld!
The Discworld, as everyone knows, is a flat world balanced on the backs of four elephants which, in turn, stand on the shell of the giant star turtle, the Great A'Tuin, as it slowly swims through space.
It is also a global publishing phenomenon with sales of nearly 85 million books worldwide (and counting). With 39 books in the canon, not including the various guides, maps, diaries, and other tie-in volumes, there's a lot of Discworld to keep track of more than most fans can manage without magic.
is the ultimate authority on probably the most heavily populated certainly the most hilarious setting in fantasy literature and includes a guide to Discworld locales from Ankh-Morpork to Zemphis, as well as information to help you distinguish Achmed the Mad from Jack Zweiblumen and the Agatean Empire from the Zoons. Plus much, much more.
Covering everything from The Colour of Magic
, the first Discworld novel, through Snuff!
, Turtle Recall: The Discworld Companion . . . So Far
is the most up-to-the-minute encyclopedia of Terry Pratchett's extraordinary universe available.