ABBEY'S CHOICE JUNE 2013 ----- When the men were chosen who would be the proud and patriotic space pilots proving the superiority of American technology against that of the Soviets, they became instant popular heroes. To that end, their wives were also thrust into the limelight, and were expected to support their husbands, be role models for American femininity and fulfill NASA's demands for perfection. In the pre-feminist times of the 1950s and 60s, these women could rely only on each other for support. This isn't an analytical gender study of the astronauts' wives, but a readable, almost gossipy book about how a bunch of service spouses became Cold War icons for the Space Race. Lindy
As American astronauts were launched on death-defying missions, television cameras focused on the brave smiles of their wives. Overnight, these women were transformed from shy military spouses to American royalty: having tea with Jackie Kennedy, attending high society galas, and being featured on the cover of Life magazine. They quickly grew into fashion icons, donning sherbet-swirled Pucci dresses and lacquering their hair into extravagant rocket styles (to match their husbands' spaceships). Annie Glenn was the envy of the other wives, with her many magazine features; platinum-blonde bombshell Rene Carpenter was proclaimed JFK's favourite; homely Betty Grissom worried her husband was having affairs; Louise Shepard just wanted to be left alone to her card games; and licensed pilot Trudy Cooper arrived on base with a dirty secret. Together they rallied to form the Astronaut Wives Club, which has now turned into over 40 years of enduring friendship. Sexy and sophisticated, rich in melodrama, and set against the uniquely atmospheric backdrop of the Space Age, this tells the real story behind some of the biggest heroes in American history, chronicling their romantic, domestic, and public dramas during the Mad Men era.
Queen Elizabeth was a prolific correspondent from her earliest childhood and her letters offer readers a vivid insight into the person behind the public face. They reveal - in her own words - the little girl writing to her family; the young woman who, eventually, accepted Prince Albert's proposal; the Duchess of York, embracing the public role demanded of her, on royal tours both at home and abroad. They reveal, too, her shock when she and her husband realized that he would become King, the dreadful toll exacted by the Second World War, culminating in the King's tragically early death, and her determination to find a role for herself during her long widowhood. Full of wit, acute observation and a deeply held sense of duty, Queen Elizabeth's letters offer a chronicle not only of her long life, but of the twentieth century.
This is the extraordinary prison memoir of one of China's most prominent dissidents and author of the internationally acclaimed The Corpse Walker. Introduction by Herta Muller, recipient of the 2009 Nobel Prize for Literature. In China, the government continues to erase and distort the collective memory of the country to suit its all-encompassing political agenda. However, an individual's memory, with its psychic encoding and indelible scars of oppression, will forever hide a deeply etched record in blood and intellect. Its imprint, like history, can never be erased. In June 1989, Liao Yiwu witnessed the Tiananmen Square protest. The young poet, who had until then led an apolitical bohemian existence, found his voice in that moment and proclaimed his outrage in the poem 'Massacre'. For a Song and a Hundred Songs captures the four brutal years Liao spent in jail for writing his incendiary poem. He reveals the bleak reality of crowded Chinese prisons-the harassment from guards and fellow prisoners, the torture, the conflicts among human beings in close confinement, and the boredom of everyday life. But even in his darkest hours, Liao manages to find the fundamental humanity in his cellmates. Liao Yiwu presents a stark and devastating portrait of a nation in flux, exposing a side of China that outsiders rarely get to see. For a Song and a Hundred Songs will forever change the way you view the rising superpower.
From video vixen to happy endings - one woman reveals all! How far would you go to pay the bills? Secrets of a Webcam Girl is the true story of a woman's transition from business suit to birthday suit as a way to solve mounting financial problems. Struggling to pay the bills working in real estate after the housing bubble burst, Annabelle answers an online ad promising a big salary while working from home. This introduces her to the world of webcamming and eventually leads to her stripping and performing sex shows online. Once she dabbles in the lucrative skin trade, she begins to experiment with other areas of sex work, eventually prompting a foray from webcam to massage table, where she offers happy-ending body rubs. Although the clients and money are plentiful, Annabelle finds it increasingly difficult to keep her secret life hidden from family, friends and boyfriend, particularly as client boundaries blur. Told with candour and wit, this behind-the-scenes memoir reveals her patrons' fetishes, infidelities and surprising stories, while offering stunning revelations about the life of an empowered webcam girl. The erotic memoir will soon be on the tip of everyone's tongue!
Jimmy Connors took the tennis world by storm like no player in the history of the game. A shaggy-haired working-class kid from the wrong side of the tracks, he was prepared to battle for every point, to shout and scream until he was heard, and he didn't care whom he upset in doing so. He was brash, he was a brat. He was a crowd-pleaser, a revolutionary. And he won more tournaments - an astonishing 109 - than any other man in history, including eight Grand Slam singles titles. Only now is Connors ready to set the record straight on what really happened on and off the court. The rivalry with John McEnroe, that frequently threatened to turn violent, with Bjorn Borg, and Ivan Lendl. His romance with Chris Evert, which made them the sweethearts of the sport. The escapades with his partner in crime, Ilie Nastase. The deep roots of the fierce determination that made him the best player on the planet. This is no genteel memoir of a pillar of the tennis establishment. Unflinching, hard-hitting, humorous and passionate, this is the story of a legend - the one and only Jimmy Connors.
In June 1952, a woman was murdered by an obsessive colleague in a hotel in South Kensington. Her name was Christine Granville. That she died young was perhaps unsurprising, but that she had survived the Second World War was remarkable. The daughter of a feckless Polish aristocratic and his wealthy Jewish wife, she would become one of Britain's most daring and highly decorated secret agents. Having fled Poland on the outbreak of war, she was recruited by the intelligence services long before the establishment of the SOE, and took on mission after mission. She skied over the hazardous High Tatras into Poland, served in Egypt and North Africa and was later parachuted into Occupied France, where an agent's life expectancy was only six weeks. Her courage, quick wit and determination won her release from arrest more than once, and saved the lives of several fellow officers, including one of her many lovers, just hours before their execution by the Gestapo. More importantly, perhaps, the intelligence she gathered was a significant contribution to the Allied war effort and her success was reflected in the fact that she was awarded the George Medal, the OBE and the Croix de Guerre.
Mary Anne Schwalbe is waiting for her chemotherapy treatments when Will casually asks her what she's reading. The conversation they have grows into tradition: soon they are reading the same books so they can have something to talk about in the hospital waiting room. Their choices range from classic (Howards End) to popular (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), from fantastic (The Hobbit) to spiritual (Jon Kabat-Zinn), with many in between. We hear their passion for reading and their love for each other in their intimate and searching discussions. A profoundly moving testament to the power of love between a child and parent, and the power of reading in our lives.
One of the most anticipated autobiographies of this generation, Arnold Schwarzenegger's Total Recall is the candid story by one of the world's most remarkable actors, businessmen, and world leaders. Born in the small city of Thal, Austria, in 1947, Arnold Schwarzenegger moved to Los Angeles at the age of twenty-one. Within ten years, he was a millionaire businessman. After twenty years, he was the world's biggest movie star. In 2003, he was elected governor of California and a household name around the world. Chronicling his embodiment of the American Dream, Total Recall covers Schwarzenegger's high-stakes journey to the United States, from creating the international bodybuilding industry out of the sands of Venice Beach, to breathing life into cinema's most iconic characters, and becoming one of the leading political figures of our time. Proud of his accomplishments and honest about his regrets, Schwarzenegger spares nothing in sharing his amazing story.
M. E. Thomas is a high-functioning non-criminal sociopath. She is charismatic, ambitious and successful. You would be charmed by her if you met her, might even be seduced by her. You would not realise that she is studying you to find your flaws, that she is ruthlessly manipulative, has no empathy and does not feel guilt or remorse. But she does like people - she likes to touch them, mould them and ruin them. She could be your friend or your boss. She could be you... Now she writes with breathtaking honesty about her life, from the confusion of trying to fit in as a child to her growing need for power over others, from her successful stratagems at work and in love to the disasters that brought her greater understanding of herself and the motivation to control her behaviour - most of the time. She also draws on the latest research to explain why at least one in twenty-five of us are sociopaths - and shows why that's not a bad thing. By turns fascinating, shocking and funny, Confessions of a Sociopath is a gripping insight into the mind of a self-confessed predator.
At the time of Burma's military coup in 1962, Wendy Law-Yone was fifteen. The daughter of Ed Law-Yone, daredevil proprietor of The Nation newspaper, she'd grown up amidst the perils and promises of a newly independent Burma. But on the eve of her studies abroad, her father was arrested, his newspaper shut down, and Wendy was herself briefly imprisoned before managing to escape from the country. Ed would spend five years in jail as a political prisoner. Yet no sooner was he released and allowed to leave the country than he set about forming a government-in-exile in Thailand where he tried, unsuccessfully, to foment a revolution. Even after emigrating to America with his wife and children, he never gave up hope for a new democratic government in Burma. He died disappointed - but not before placing in his daughter's hands an extraordinary bequest. Ed had asked Wendy for help in editing his papers, but year after year she avoided the daunting task. When at last, decades on, she found the confidence to take up her father's neglected manuscript, she discovered an amazing saga. Here was the testimony of a fiery, eccentric, ambitious, humorous, and above all determined patriot whose career had spanned Burma under colonial rule, under Japanese occupation, through the turbulence of the post-years, and into the catastrophe of a military dictatorship. The result of this discovery is Golden Parasol: a unique portrait of Burma, a nation whose vicissitudes continue to intrigue the world. It is also a powerfully evocative memoir: a daughter's journey of reconciliation that turns shadow into light, illuminating corners long forgotten, or long concealed, in the twin histories of her country and kin.
The behind-the-scenes true story of Paul Watson, the world's most famous eco-pirate and marine animal rights activist. Paul Watson became an animal rights activist at the young age of eleven, in 1962. When trappers killed a beaver that Paul had befriended, he systematically and efficiently located and destroyed their traps. This was the beginning of forty years of animal rights activism. Among the international awards and recognition he has earned in that time, Time Magazine named Watson one of the top twenty environmental heroes of the 20th century. In 1969, when just eighteen, Watson co-founded Greenpeace. He was also the first man to intervene between a whale and a harpoon. Watson left Greenpeace to establish the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, which uses more aggressive direct action strategies to combat threats to the world's ocean creatures. With a goal of protection and conservation of marine mammals, their first priority is ending the illegal hunting of seals and whales. In Antarctica, Japanese whalers kill hundreds of whales each year. To circumvent the moratorium on commercial whaling, Tokyo disguises their fishery under the cover of scientific programmes. Yet the environmental movement got results: Japanese fishermen, who intended to kill 850 minke whales, returned with only 507 whales in 2010. The International Court of Justice was asked to require Japan to end this fishing programme, and the campaigns have included sinking ten illegal whaling ships, ramming more at sea, confiscating hundreds of long lines and drift nets and making more than 250 expeditions worldwide to save hundreds of thousands of marine animals. Captain Watson, though fighting for good cause, is labelled by some as a 'pirate' and an 'eco-terrorist', including those running Greenpeace today. But for those who think that petitions and banners will not be enough to save the ocean, he is a hero. To all his detractors, Paul Watson responds, 'Find us a whale that disapproves of our actions and we promise to give it up!' In this book, Paul Watson reveals to shipmate Lamya Essemlali his motivations, campaigns, dangers and successes. Watson was recently arrested in Germany on a Costa Rican warrant that claimed he endangered the crew of a fishing vessel a decade ago. The Sea Shepherd feels the arrest is politically motivated and that he may be extradited to answer charges related to obstructing Japanese whaling activities. Watson skipped bail in Germany for an unknown destination, and is currently on the run.
Tim Hetherington (1970-2011) was one of the world's most distinguished and dedicated photojournalists, whose career was tragically cut short when he died in a mortar blast while covering the Libyan Civil War. Someone far less interested in professional glory than revealing to the world the realities of people living in extremely difficult circumstances, Tim nonetheless won many awards for his war reporting, and was nominated for an Academy Award for his critically acclaimed documentary, Restrepo. Hetherington's dedication to his career led him time after time into war zones, and unlike some other journalists, he did not pack up after the story had broken. After the civil war ended in Liberia, West Africa, Tim stayed on for three years, helping the United Nations track down human rights criminals. His commitment to getting the story out and his compassion for those affected by war was unrivalled. In Here I Am, Alan Huffman tells Hetherington's life story, and through it analyses what it means to be a war reporter in the twenty-first century. Huffman recounts Hetherington's life from his first interest in photography and war reporting, through his critical role in reporting the Liberian Civil War, to his tragic death in Libya. Huffman also traces Hetherington's photographic milestones, from his iconic and prize-winning photographs of Liberian children, to the celebrated portraits of sleeping US soldiers in Afghanistan. Here I Am explores the risks, challenges, and thrills of war reporting, and is a testament to the unique work of people like Hetherington, who travel into the most dangerous parts of the world, risking their lives to give a voice to those devastated by conflict.
In 1994, Anchee Min made her literary debut with a memoir of growing up in China during the violent trauma of the Cultural Revolution. Red Azalea became an international bestseller and propelled her career as a successful, critically acclaimed author. Twenty years later, Min returns to the story of her own life to give us the next chapter, an immigrant story that takes her from the shocking deprivations of her homeland to the sudden bounty of the promised land of America, without language, money, or a clear path. It is a hard and lonely road. She teaches herself English by watching Sesame Street, keeps herself afloat working five jobs at once, lives in unheated rooms, suffers rape, collapses from exhaustion, marries poorly and divorces.But she also gives birth to her daughter, Lauryann, who will inspire her and finally root her in her new country. Min's eventual successes-her writing career, a daughter at Stanford, a second husband she loves-are remarkable, but it is her struggle throughout toward genuine selfhood that elevates this dramatic, classic immigrant story to something powerfully universal.
Born into a devoutly Maoist family in 1950s Shanghai and forced to work on a communal farm from the age of seventeen, Anchee Min found herself in an alienating and hostile political climate, where her only friendships were perilous and intense. Both candid and touching, this compelling memoir documents her isolation and illicit love against the backdrop of China's Cultural Revolution. From her coming of age in the Red Guard to her recruitment into Madame Mao's burgeoning industry of propaganda movies, Red Azalea explores the secret sensuality of a repressive society with elegance and honesty.
'The Boys in the Boat' is the story of Joe Rantz, a charismatic young man born dirt poor in the woods of Washington State, who dreams of escaping the challenges of the Great Depression, and a complicated family life full of painful memories. What follows is an extraordinary journey, as Joe and eight other young men exchange the sweat and graft and dust of ordinary life for the purer rigours of sport at its very highest level - a journey at the end of which lies a gold medal rowing race at the Berlin Olympics of 1936, in front of Hitler himself. Told against the grand backdrop of 1930s America, 'The Boys in the Boat' is a story full of lyricism and unexpected beauty; a story that rises above sport, and even the grand sweep of history itself, in favour of something more personal.
These letters cover the activities of Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, and Jack Kerouac in the years that gave birth to the Beat Generation . Written mostly to Ginsberg or Kerouac, the letters provide a rare glimpse into Burroughs' psyche, revealing his struggle with drug addiction, his confusion over his sexual identity, and his search for a form fluid enough to mirror his mind and art.
When Cristobal Balenciaga died in 1972, the news hit the front page of The New York Times. One of the most innovative and admired figures in the history of haute couture, Balenciaga was, said Schiaparelli, the only designer who dares do what he likes. He was, said Christian Dior, the master of us all. But despite his extraordinary impact, Balenciaga was a man hidden from view. Unlike today's celebrity designers, he saw to it that little was known about him, to the point that some French journalists wondered if he existed at all. Even his most notable and devoted clients - Marlene Dietrich, Barbara Hutton, a clutch of Rothschilds - never met him.
But one woman knew Balenciaga very well indeed. The first person he hired when he opened his Paris house (then furnished with only a table and a stool) was Florette Chelot, who became his top vendeuse - as much an adviser as a saleswoman. She witnessed the spectacular success of his first collection, and they worked closely for more than thirty years, until 1968, when Balenciaga abruptly closed his house without telling any of his staff. Youth-oriented fashion was taking over, Paris was in upheaval, and the elder statesman wanted no part of it. Here, Mary Blume tells the remarkable story of the man and his house through the eyes of the woman who knew him best. Intimate and revealing, this is an unprecedented portrait of a designer whose vision transformed an industry but whose story has never been told until now.
She took from me the belief that absolute evil exists in this world, and the belief that I was fighting against it. For that girl, I embodied absolute evil ...Since then I have been left without my Holocaust, and since then everything in my life has assumed a new meaning: belongingness is blurred, pride is lacking, belief is faltering, contrition is heightening, forgiveness is being born. The Girl Who Stole My Holocaust is the deeply moving memoir of Chayut's journey from eager Zionist conscript on the front line of Operation Defensive Shield to leading campaigner against the Israeli occupation. As he attempts to make sense of his own life as well as his place within the wider conflict around him, he slowly starts to question his soldier's calling, Israel's justifications for invasion, and the ever-present problem of historical victimhood. Noam Chayut's exploration of a young soldier's life is one of the most compelling memoirs to emerge from Israel for a long time.
'In the Ring' deals with impossibly devious plots and characters - ambitious presidents and prime ministers from all corners of the world, some determined to hold onto power at any cost; a British government often with a misplaced sense of its own role in one of the world's oldest organisations; and an organisation of 300 people, externally working to help the world while inwardly struggling along racial and geo-political lines. You couldn't make it up - and he hasn't. For the first eight years of the 21st century, Don McKinnon was the Secretary General of the Commonwealth and this was the stuff of his day-to-day life, whether facing down armed coup leaders or soothing internal staff factions. Here for the first time he reveals what was going on behind the scenes during such major events as the suspension of Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth. With fascinating background detail and his predictions for the future of the Commonwealth itself, this is a compelling account of the trials and tribulations of running an international organisation in a complex world.
Defined in the public eye by her two high-profile marriages, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis faced a personal crossroads on the eve of 1975. Her relationship with Aristotle Onassis was crumbling while his health was rapidly declining. Her children were nearing adulthood, soon to leave her with an empty nest. Both death and scandal were about to strike yet again. But 1975 would also be a time of extraordinary growth and personal renaissance for Jackie, the year in which she reinvented herself and rediscovered talents and passions she had set aside for her roles as wife and mother.
Unearthing new information from archives and original interviews, acclaimed author and journalist Tina Cassidy explores this prolific yet incredibly daunting year in the life of Jacqueline Onassis, revealing intimate stories about Jackie's projects and interests. Jackie After O is an exciting and original portrayal of the life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.
AFTER CAMELOT, Taraborelli's newest audio book, picks up where Jackie, Ethel and Joan left off, as we follow these three Kennedy women as they continue their lives as high-profile, single women raising their children.This book spotlights the Kennedy sisters - Pat, Eunice and Jean - and, most importantly, focuses on the next generation of Kennedys, since it has fallen upon that fourth generation to fulfill many of the dreams of the third. And, finally, Taraborlli brings into clear focus the complex and intriguing story of Ted Kennedy, the family's patriarch, and how he has influenced that next generation's sensibilities. Capturing the wealth, glamour and prestige for which the Kennedys are so well-known, as well as their darker side,Taraborrelli takes the reader on an epic and sweeping journey as he becomes intimately familiar with the members of, arguably, the nation's most famous - and controversial - family.
An enthralling, tragic, and intensely private portrayal of the captivating first lady from a man who knew her like no one else. When Secret Service agent Clint Hill was initially assigned to guard First Lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, he envisioned tea parties and gray-haired matrons. But as soon as he met her, he was swept up in the whirlwind of her beauty, her grace, her intelligence, her coy humor, her magnificent composure, and her extraordinary spirit. For four years, Clint was by Jackie's side - through the early days of JFK's presidency; the birth of sons John and Patrick and Patrick's sudden death; Kennedy-family holidays; her intriguing meeting with Aristotle Onassis; and the president's assassination and the dark days that followed. Filled with unforgettable details, startling revelations, and sparkling, intimate moments, this is the once-in-a-lifetime story of a man doing the most exciting job in the world, with a woman all the world loved, and the haunting tragedy that ended it all too soon.
The fascinating story of one of the grand dames of Georgetown society and a true Washington insider.
Henry Kissinger once remarked that more agreements were concluded in the living room of Susan Mary Alsop than in the White House. A descendent of Founding Father John Jay, Susan Mary was an American aristocrat whose first marriage gave her full access to post-war diplomatic social life in Paris. There, her circle of friends included Winston Churchill, Isaiah Berlin, Evelyn Waugh, and Christian Dior, among other luminaries, and she had a passionate love affair with British ambassador Duff Cooper. During the golden years of John F. Kennedy's presidency - after she had married the powerful journalist Joe Alsop - her Washington home was a gathering place for everyone of importance, including Katharine Graham, Robert McNamara, and Henry Kissinger. Dubbed the second lady of Camelot, she hosted dinner parties that were the epitome of political power and social arrival, bringing together the movers and shakers not just of the United States, but of the world. Featuring an introduction by Susan Mary Alsop's goddaughter Frances FitzGerald, American Lady is a fascinating chronicle of a woman who witnessed, as Nancy Mitford once said, history on the boil.
From Bulgaria to Berkeley, Indonesia to Australia, Roger Carrick has travelled the world as an English diplomat. He was shadowed by the secret police in Sofia, witnessed the 1968 riots in Paris, befriended Shirley Temple at Stanford University and negotiated the withdrawal of British troops from Singapore. In between he rose to the heights of ambassador to Indonesia and High Commissioner to Australia. All in a day's work for a distinguished diplomat. Diplomatic Anecdotage is a reflection on his career and on the ups and downs of diplomatic life. By turns witty and thoughtful, it is an absorbing and appealing read and a unique behind-the-scenes look at diplomacy in action. It is also an account of a changing world, whose author has played a discreet role in shaping its course.
A lavishly illustrated retrospective in celebration of the 90th birthday of Judith Kerr, author of The Tiger Who Came to Tea and many other iconic books. Her story begins with the extraordinary events of her early childhood in Berlin, dramatically cut short by the rise of Hitler's Nazi Party in 1933. Judith tells of her family's struggles with language and money, and what it was like to be a German refugee in London during the war. We see her early attempts at drawing and writing; her sketches and work from art school, and her textile designs from her first job. We hear of her life-changing meeting with her future husband, the scriptwriter Nigel Kneale, and her time at the BBC, first as a reader and then as a scriptwriter herself. Judith's career as a children's book writer and illustrator began after she had children, and over forty years on she is still producing classic picture books. She is a rare and wonderful talent and this is a fascinating insight into the person behind the books that have been enjoyed by generations.
Leaving so few traces of himself behind, Thomas Aquinas seems to defy the efforts of the biographer. Highly visible as a public teacher, preacher, and theologian, he nevertheless has remained nearly invisible as man and saint. What can be discovered about this man, his mind, and his soul? In this short, compelling portrait, Denys Turner clears away the haze of time and brings Thomas vividly to life for contemporary readers - those unfamiliar with the saint as well as those well acquainted with his teachings. Building on the best biographical scholarship available today and reading Thomas' texts with piercing acuity, Turner seeks the point at which the man, the mind, and the soul of Thomas Aquinas intersect. Reflecting upon Thomas, a man of Christian Trinitarian faith yet one whose thought is grounded firmly in the body's interaction with the material world, a thinker at once confident in the powers of human reason and a man of prayer, Turner provides a more detailed human portrait than ever before of one of the most influential philosophers and theologians in all of Western thought.
The first major biography for forty years tells the tragic story of ballet's great revolutionary, Nijinsky. 'He achieves the miraculous,' the sculptor Auguste Rodin wrote of Vaslav Nijinsky. 'He embodies all the beauty of classical frescoes and statues'. Like so many since, Rodin recognised that in Nijinsky classical ballet had one of the greatest and most original artists of the twentieth century, in any genre. And his life is the stuff of legends: a story of great beauty and great tragedy. Immersed in the world of dance from his childhood, he found his natural home in the Imperial Theatre and the Ballets Russe, and a powerful sponsor in Sergei Diaghilev - until a dramatic and public failure ended his career and set him on a route to madness. As a dancer, he was acclaimed as godlike for his extraordinary grace and elevation, but the opening of Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring saw furious brawls between admirers of his radically unballetic choreography and horrified traditionalists. Though 2013 marks the Rite's centenary, Nijinsky's story has lost none of its power to shock, fascinate and move. Adored and reviled in his lifetime, his phenomenal talent was shadowed by schizophrenia and an intense but destructive relationship with his lover, Diaghilev. 'I am alive' he wrote in his diary, 'and so I suffer'. In the first biography for forty years, Lucy Moore examines a career defined by two forces - inspired performance and an equally headline-grabbing talent for controversy.
Both conservative and subversive, Burke's beliefs have never been more relevant than in today's 'Big Society', as MP Jesse Norman explains. Philosopher, statesman, and founder of modern conservatism, Edmund Burke is both the greatest and most under-rated political thinker of the past three-hundred years. Born in Ireland in 1729, and greatly affected by its bigotry and extremes, his career constituted a lifelong struggle against the abuse of power. Amid the 18th century's golden generation that included his companions Adam Smith, Samuel Johnson and Edward Gibbon, Burke's controversial mixture of conservative and subversive theories made him first a marginal figure, and finally a revered theorist - a hero of the Romantics. He warned of the effects of British rule in Ireland, the loss of the American colonies, and most famously, he foresaw the disastrous consequences of revolution in France. This he predicted, would trigger extremism, terror and the atomisation of society - a profound analysis that continues to resonate today. In this absorbing new biography Conservative MP Jesse Norman gives us Burke anew, vividly depicting his dazzling intellect, imagination and empathy against the rich tapestry of 18th century Europe. Burke's wisdom, Norman shows, applies well beyond the times of empire to the conventional democratic politics practised in Britain and America today. We cannot understand the defects of the modern world, or modern politics, without him.
Rin Tin Tin was born on a battlefield in France towards the end of WW1. He died in 1932, supposedly in the arms of Jean Harlow, the original 'blonde bombshell', epic in death as he was in life. In his prime, he was one of Hollywood's the biggest stars. He received two thousand fan letters a month, had jewels, furs and a private driver, had his paw-print set for posterity on Hollywood Boulevard and was credited with saving Warner Brothers from bankruptcy - twice. His owner, Lee Duncan, was so completely devoted to him that when his wife sued for divorce she cited Rin Tin Tin as co-respondent. Rin Tin Tin's story is a great yarn with a big heart and, in Susan Orlean's hands, it is also very funny. But at its core lies a profound and moving meditation on the idea of heroism: of what it means to dream of a figure who is brave and bold and strong, and why those ideals hold such power over our imagination. This book is set to become an eccentric classic.
David Sylvester, who died in June 2001, was one of the greatest art critics of our time. He achieved fame with his work on Cezanne but became known especially for his close, perceptive studies of artists who became personal friends: Giacometti, Henry Moore, Francis Bacon. A brilliant interviewer who could make the most reticent artists disclose their secrets, he rarely revealed his own - but in the weeks before his death he wrote this brief, unforgettable account of his childhood in the 1920s. Beginning with his bewildered shuttling between an English nursery school and the turbulent Yiddish-speaking 'parental country', he reaches back for his child's-eye view. We meet Grandma Rosen with her passion for Rudolph Valentino, and Grandpa returning from his fishmonger's shop and reading out next day's runners at Kempton in his thick foreign accent. We learn of the large Sylvester clan, and of his parents' contradictory ambitions for their son: British army officer or 'a career like Noel Coward's'. We hear of friends and nannies, picnics and outings, schools and siblings; of music, politics, rows and disasters; of love and tenderness and death. Dry, comic yet poignantly unforgettable, Memoirs of a Pet Lamb brings us a life and a whole world in miniature.