Lynsey Addario was just finding her way as a photographer when September 11 changed the world. One of the few photojournalists with experience in Afghanistan, she gets the call to return and cover the American invasion. She makes a decision she would often find herself making - not to stay home, not to lead a quiet or predictable life, but to risk her life, to set out across the world, and to make a name for herself as one of a new generation of journalists created by the War on Terror.
It's What I Do follows a course unavoidable for Addario - from her first camera and the pictures it inspired, to early years as a street photographer and the inspiration she found in the work of Sebastiao Salgado. Photography becomes a way for her to travel with a purpose - a singular ambition that shapes and drives her. From Afghanistan to Iraq to Darfur to Libya, Addario finds in photography not only the artistic medium to convey people's stories, but the power to change political policy by showing its consequences. As a woman photojournalist determined to be taken seriously, Addario fights her way into a boy's club of a profession, eventually earning widespread recognition.
Refusing to turn down career-defining assignments, she puts romance and family on hold. Yet the sadness and injustice she encounters as a conflict reporter give her a new vision for her own life, and the more she sees of the world, the greater her desires for love and family grow. It's What I Do is also the story of how Addario met her husband and father to their child, and how as a war correspondent and a mother, she learned to live her life in two different - though hardly separate - worlds.
Watching uprisings unfold and people fight to the death for their freedom, Addario understands she is documenting not only news but also the fate of society. It's What I Do is more than just a snapshot of life on the front lines; it is witness to the human cost of war.
A major biography of one of America's greatest writers, from one of our foremost literary critics.
Updike is Adam Begley's masterful, much-anticipated biography of one of the most celebrated figures in American literature: Pulitzer Prize-winning author John Updike - a candid, intimate, and richly detailed look at his life and work.
In this magisterial biography, Adam Begley offers an illuminating portrait of John Updike, the acclaimed novelist, poet, short-story writer, and critic who saw himself as a literary spy in small-town and suburban America, who dedicated himself to the task of transcribing "middleness with all its grits, bumps and anonymities."
Updike explores the stages of the writer's pilgrim's progress: his beloved home turf of Berks County, Pennsylvania; his escape to Harvard; his brief, busy working life as the golden boy at The New Yorker; his family years in suburban Ipswich, Massachusetts; his extensive travel abroad; and his retreat to another Massachusetts town, Beverly Farms, where he remained until his death in 2009. Drawing from in-depth research as well as interviews with the writer"s colleagues, friends, and family, Begley explores how Updike's fiction was shaped by his tumultuous personal life-including his enduring religious faith, his two marriages, and his first-hand experience of the "adulterous society" he was credited with exposing in the bestselling Couples.
With a sharp critical sensibility that lends depth and originality to his analysis, Begley probes Updike's best-loved works-from Pigeon Feathers to The Witches of Eastwick to the Rabbit tetralogy - and reveals a surprising and deeply complex character fraught with contradictions: a kind man with a vicious wit, a gregarious charmer who was ruthlessly competitive, a private person compelled to spill his secrets on the printed page. Updike offers an admiring yet balanced look at this national treasure, a master whose writing continues to resonate like no one else's.
Best known for his provocative take on cultural issues in The Intellectuals and the Masses and What Good Are the Arts?, John Carey describes in this warm and funny memoir the events that formed him - an escape from the London blitz to an idyllic rural village, army service in Egypt, an open scholarship to Oxford and an academic career that saw him elected, age 40, to Oxford's oldest English Literature professorship.
He frankly portrays the snobberies and rituals of 1950s Oxford, but also his inspiring meetings with writers and poets - Auden, Graves, Larkin, Heaney - and his forty-year stint as a lead book-reviewer for the Sunday Times. This is a book about the joys of reading - in effect, an informal introduction to the great works of English literature. But it is also about war and family, and how an unexpected background can give you the insight and the courage to say the unexpected thing.
Charles Lutwidge Dodgson was a pioneering photographer, Oxford don and mathematician, who - as Lewis Carroll - gave the world not only Alice, but the Jabberwocky, the Red Queen, the Mad Hatter, the March Hare, the Cheshire Cat and an unforgettable tea party. But who was he? In this elegant, affectionate biography, Morton N. Cohen brings a singular expertise - drawn from some thirty years' scholarship on Carroll as well as from special access to the Dodgson family documents - to the riddle of the quiet, stammering man who liberated children's books from the moralists and whose imagination brought forth some of the funniest nonsense, wildest characters and most extraordinary cultural icons of modern times. His life has puzzled psychologists and literary historians for generations. Now, with full mastery of Caroll's letters and voluminous diaries, Cohen explores as never before the paradox of the man: the unworldly innocent whose passionate worship of young girls has incited endless speculation; the Victorian gentleman whose sombre religious meditations shared a place in his mind with the Snark and the Boojum; the cloistered, lonely bachelor don whose magical books are known in every culture in the world today. What emerges is a portrait that is filled with admiration for Carroll's accomplishment, delight in his playfulness and charm and sympathy for the self-reproach and emotional turbulence that lay beneath Carroll's apparently placid existence. Lewis Carroll: A Biography is an extraordinary work of literary scholarship.
A groundbreaking new biography of one of the twentieth century's most important poets.
On the fiftieth anniversary of the death of T. S. Eliot, the award-winning biographer Robert Crawford presents us with the first volume of a comprehensive account of this poetic genius. Young Eliot traces the life of the twentieth century's most important poet from his childhood in St. Louis to the publication of his revolutionary poem The Waste Land. Crawford provides readers with a new understanding of the foundations of some of the most widely read poems in the English language through his depiction of Eliot's childhood - laced with tragedy and shaped by an idealistic, bookish family in which knowledge of saints and martyrs was taken for granted - as well as through his exploration of Eliot's marriage to Vivien Haigh-Wood, a woman who believed she loved Eliot "in a way that destroys us both."
Quoting extensively from Eliot's poetry and prose as well as drawing on new interviews, archives, and previously undisclosed memoirs, Crawford shows how the poet's background in Missouri, Massachusetts, and Paris made him a lightning rod for modernity. Most impressively, Young Eliot reveals the way he accessed his inner life - his anguishes and his fears - and blended them with his omnivorous reading to create his masterpieces "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" and The Waste Land.
At last, we experience T. S. Eliot in all his tender complexity as student and lover, penitent and provocateur, banker and philosopher - but most of all, Young Eliot shows us as an epoch-shaping poet struggling to make art among personal disasters.
From the bestselling author of 'An English Affair', a dazzlingly original thematic biography which throws fresh light on the greatest economist of the twentieth century. John Maynard Keynes is the man who saved Britain from financial crisis not once but twice - over the course of two World Wars. He remains a highly influential figure, nearly 70 years after his death. But who was he? In this entertaining biography, Richard Davenport-Hines gives us the man behind the economics: the connoisseur, intellectual, public official and statesman who was equally at ease socialising with the Bloomsbury Group as he was persuading prime ministers and presidents. By exploring the desires and experiences that made Keynes think as he did, Davenport-Hines reveals the aesthetic basis of Keynesian economics, and explores why the ideas of this Great Briton continue to resonate so powerfully today.
As a child Geoff Dyer spent long hours making and blotchily painting model fighter planes. So the adult Dyer jumped at the chance of a residency aboard an aircraft carrier.
Another Great Day at Sea chronicles Dyer's experiences on the USS George H.W. Bush as he navigates the routines and protocols of 'carrier-world', from the elaborate choreography of the flight deck through miles of walkways and hatches to kitchens serving meals for a crew of five thousand to the deafening complexity of catapult and arresting gear. Meeting the Captain, the F-18 pilots and the dentists, experiencing everything from a man-overboard alert to the Steel Beach Party, Dyer guides us through the most AIE (acronym intensive environment) imaginable.
A lanky Englishman (could he really be both the tallest and the oldest person on the ship?) in a deeply American world, with its constant exhortations to improve, to do better, Dyer brilliantly records the daily life on board the ship, revealing it to be a prism for understanding a society where discipline and conformity, dedication and optimism, become forms of self-expression.
In the process it becomes clear why Geoff Dyer has been widely praised as one of the most original - and funniest - voices in literature. Another Great Day at Sea is the definitive work of an author whose books defy definition.
How would you make sense of your life if you thought it might end tomorrow? In this captivating and best-selling memoir Vesna Goldsworthy tells the story of herself, her family and her early life in her lost country. There follows marriage, a move to England and a successful media and academic career, then a cancer diagnosis and its unresolved consequences. A profoundly moving, comic and original account by a stunning literary talent.
Jerry Grayson is an ordinary man who chose an extraordinary career. At age 17 he became the youngest helicopter pilot to ever serve in the Royal Navy. By age 25 he was the most decorated peacetime naval pilot in history.
For the Navy's Search and Rescue pilots, getting to work is both an adventure and an ordeal. Whether rescuing a wounded fighter pilot who has ditched in the sea, saving desperate survivors from a sinking ship, or picking up a grievously ill crewman from the deck of a nuclear-armed submarine that is playing a cat-and-mouse game with the Soviet navy, Jerry Grayson has lived a life of unparalleled excitement and adventure. His finest hour came during the infamous Fastnet Yacht Race of 1979 in which 25 yachts were lost. When a catastrophic storm enveloped the competitors he and his crew pushed their Wessex helicopter to its absolute limits and put their own lives at risk, flying into hurricane-force winds to winch shipwrecked sailors from heaving tempestuous seas. An investiture at Buckingham Palace with Her Majesty the Queen was the result. Being a Rescue Pilot is a fast-paced career because there is no choice. Lives are at stake and pilots must move and think fast.
Jerry Grayson's inside view of this heroic service is as inspirational as it is celebratory. Excitingly told, frequently funny but also very poignant, Jerry's story is not an account of just one man's deeds, it is a salute to all the men and women he worked with who were able to turn tragedies into triumphs. Includes a Foreword by HRH The Duke of York, Prince Andrew, Commodore-in-Chief of the Fleet Air Arm.
It was like a scene out of a thriller: one morning in April 2012, China's most famous political activist - a blind, self-taught lawyer - climbed over the wall of his heavily guarded home and escaped. For days, his whereabouts remained unknown; after he turned up at the American embassy in Beijing, a furious round of high-level negotiations finally led to his release and a new life in the United States.
Chen Guangcheng is a unique figure on the world stage, but his story is even more remarkable than we knew. The son of a poor farmer in rural China, blinded by illness when he was an infant, Chen was fortunate to survive a difficult childhood. But despite his disability, he was determined to educate himself and fight for the rights of his country's poor, especially a legion of women who had endured forced sterilizations under the hated 'one child' policy. Repeatedly harassed, beaten, and imprisoned by Chinese authorities, Chen was ultimately placed under house arrest. After a year of fruitless protest and increasing danger, he evaded his captors and fled to freedom.
Both a riveting memoir and a revealing portrait of modern China, this passionate book tells the story of a man who has never accepted limits and always believed in the power of the human spirit to overcome any obstacle.
In 1938, with the Japanese army approaching from Nanking, Huan Hsu's great-great grandfather, Liu, and his five granddaughters, were forced to flee their hometown on the banks of the Yangtze River.
But before they left a hole was dug as deep as a man, and as wide as a bedroom, in which was stowed the family heirlooms. Among their antique furniture, jade and scrolls, was Liu's prized porcelain collection, one he had amassed over many years and which contained priceless imperial items. The vault was fill to its brim before being covered with a false floor and replanted with vegetation.
The family's flight across wartorn China, and the arrival of the Communists, would scatter them across the globe. Grandfather Liu's treasure became family myth, from a time that no one wished to speak of - no one ever returned to find it. Three years ago, Huan Hsu moved back to China from the US. Armed with only the slightest threads of family memory, he set out to discover the truth. His investigations will take him through China's cultural past and present, of which porcelain is a unique linking thread. He will gather memories of the China of another age from elderly relatives, uncover the story of his family's flight from the Japanese, and confront the contradictions of contemporary China. The Porcelain Thief will combine Hsu's fascinating record of his family history with accounts of great political and cultural changes, and perhaps reveal, at last, the secret hiding place of his grandfather's porcelain.
He was 'the Wickedest Man Alive'...
He went to Oxford University at the age of 12. He slept with his first prostitute at 13. He was an alcoholic by 14. He was imprisoned in the Tower at 18. He was acclaimed a war hero at 19. He died of syphilis at the age of 33. He was English history's first celebrity. He was John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester: Poet, dandy and libertine.
This is a compelling portrait of a remarkable and complex man, and of a cultural golden age that often spilled over into depravity.
'Oh, what can I not do, in my dreams. In my dreams I travel on trains and climb mountains, I play concerts and swim rivers, I carry important documents on vital missions, I attend meetings which become song-and-dance routines. My body lies boxed in darkness, but beneath my closed eyelids there is colour, sound and movement, in glorious contrast to the day; mad movies projected nightly in the private theatre of my skull.'
Anna Lyndsey was living a normal life. She enjoyed her job; she was ambitious; she was falling in love. Then the unthinkable happened. It began with a burning sensation on her face when she was exposed to computer screens and fluorescent lighting. Then the burning spread and the problematic light sources proliferated. Now her extreme sensitivity to light in all forms means she must spend much of her life in total darkness. During the best times, she can venture cautiously outside at dusk and dawn, avoiding high-strength streetlamps. During the worst, she must spend months in a darkened room, listening to audiobooks, inventing word-games and fighting to keep despair at bay.
Told with great beauty, humour and honesty, Girl in the Dark is the astonishing and uplifting account of Anna's descent into the depths of her extraordinary illness. It is the story of how, through her determination to make her impossible life possible and with the love of those around her, she has managed to find light in even the darkest of places.
The Smell of Summer Grass is the story of the years spent in finding and building a personal idyll, sometimes a dream, sometimes a nightmare, by writer Adam Nicolson and his wife, cook and gardener, Sarah Raven.
Without knowing one end of a hay baler from the other, Adam Nicolson and Sarah Raven, fed up with London and with life, escaped with his family to a run-down farm in the Sussex Weald. Looking for Arcadia, they found a mixture of intense beauty and profound chaos. Over three years they struggled with dock leaves, spring flowers, bloody-minded sheep and neighbours before eventually arriving at some kind of equilibrium.
Funny, poetic, ironic and wise, 'The Smell of Summer Grass' is based partly on the long out of print 'Perch Hill'. It traces the growing intimacy between man and his chosen place, his love affair with it and his frustrations with its intractable realities. As an attempt to live out the pastoral vision, it makes one heartfelt plea: we should never abandon our dreams.
In this powerful story of discovery, a black woman learns by chance the truth about her family's secret Nazi past.
Jennifer Teege is 38, married, a mother of two, and ten years into a career in advertising when by chance she pulls a book from the library shelf. The book is about her own family, and its contents will profoundly change her life and lead her down a painful path of self-discovery.
Jennifer discovers that her grandfather is Amon Goeth, the brutal Nazi concentration camp commandant who oversaw the clearing of the Krakow ghetto in 1943 as well as the Plasz w concentration camp. He shot hundreds of people and was personally responsible for the deaths of thousands more. Millions of people worldwide know of him through Ralph Fiennes' chilling portrayal in Steven Spielberg's film Schindler's List. Guilty of genocide and war crimes, Goeth was hanged in 1946. Teege is his African-German granddaughter.
Raised by foster parents, she grew up with no knowledge of the family secret. Now, it unsettles her profoundly. What can she say to her Jewish friends, or to her own children? Who is she - truly?
My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me is Teege's searing chronicle of grappling with a haunted past that is suddenly, irrevocably hers. Research into her family takes her to Poland and to Israel, where she had lived for several years in her twenties, and learned fluent Hebrew. Her story was co-written by award-winning journalist Nikola Sellmair who also supplies historical context in a separate, interwoven narrative. Step by step, horrified by her family's dark history, Teege builds the story of her own liberation.
The winter of 1924: Edith Olivier, alone for the first time at the age of fifty-one, thought her life had come to an end. For Rex Whistler, a nineteen-year-old art student, life was just beginning. Together, they embarked on an intimate and unlikely friendship that would transform their lives.
Gradually Edith's world opened up and she became a writer. Her home, the Daye House, in a wooded corner of the Wilton estate, became a sanctuary for Whistler and the other brilliant and beautiful younger men of her circle: among them Siegfried Sassoon, Stephen Tennant, William Walton, John Betjeman, the Sitwells and Cecil Beaton - for whom she was 'all the muses'.
Set against a backdrop of the madcap parties of the 1920s, the sophistication of the 1930s and the drama and austerity of the Second World War and with an extraordinary cast of friends and acquaintances, Anna Thomasson brings to life, for the first time, the fascinating, and curious, friendship of a bluestocking and a bright young thing.
A rare eyewitness account by an important author of fleeing the Nazis march on Paris in 1940. This is the first ever English publication of important French author Leon Werth. Restored here with the original introduction, long thought to be lost, by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, author of The Little Prince. 33 DAYS is Werth's memoir of l'exode (the exodus) during the fall of France to the Nazi forces. With poetic economy and journalistic precision, Werth recounts his experiences as one of the estimated 8 million civilians who fled the advancing German army's invasion of France.
Edmund White was forty-three years old when he moved to Paris in 1983. He spoke no French and knew just two people in the entire city, but soon discovered the anxieties and pleasures of mastering a new culture.
White fell passionately in love with Paris, its beauty in the half-light and eternal mists; its serenity compared with the New York he had known. Intoxicated and intellectually stimulated by its culture, he became the definitive biographer of Jean Genet, wrote lives of Marcel Proust and Arthur Rimbaud. Frequent trips across the Channel to literary parties in London begot friendships with Julian Barnes, Alan Hollinghurst, Martin Amis and many others. When he left, fifteen years later, to return to the US, he was fluent enough to broadcast on French radio and TV, and as a journalist had made the acquaintance of everyone from Yves St Laurent to Catherine Deneuve to Michel Foucault. He'd also developed a close friendship with an older woman, Marie-Claude, through whom he'd come to a deeper understanding of French life.
Inside a Pearl vividly recalls those fertile years, and offers a brilliant examination of a city and a culture eternally imbued with an aura of enchantment.