Picking up Hockney's story in 1975, this second volume, A Pilgrim's Progress, finds him traveling between Notting Hill and California, where he took iPicking up Hockney's story in 1975, this second volume, A Pilgrim's Progress, finds him traveling between Notting Hill and California, where he took inspiration for the swimming pool series of paintings; creating the acclaimed set designs for operas around the world; and embracing emerging technologies—the camera and fax machine in the 1970s and 1980s, and, most recently, the iPad. Hockney's boundless energy extends to his personal life too, and this volume illuminates his glamorous social life as well as his sometimes turbulent relationships....more
This was an amazing and fascinating look at a greatly influential woman in history. Not only does Kirstin Downey dig into the life of the "warrior queThis was an amazing and fascinating look at a greatly influential woman in history. Not only does Kirstin Downey dig into the life of the "warrior queen" of Spain, she also provides insight into her relationships with other important figures in history, such as Christopher Columbus and Rodrigo Borgia. Her reach and influence expanded continents and her legacy continues to this day. For anyone who is a fan of history, this book is a must-read!...more
“Chaplin's rise makes an enthralling story, and it’s one perfectly suited to Peter Ackroyd’s prodigious and idiosyncratic talents ... Ackroyd acknowle“Chaplin's rise makes an enthralling story, and it’s one perfectly suited to Peter Ackroyd’s prodigious and idiosyncratic talents ... Ackroyd acknowledges Chaplin’s many human failings, while at the same time giving us a vivid sense of what made the man a genius.” —The Telegraph
“[A] fine biography ... The luxury of a short book about a vast life cannot be overestimated.” —Financial Times...more
If you've read one of Terry Pratchett's amazingly funny Discworld novels, filled with insight about the flailing and failings of every little nook andIf you've read one of Terry Pratchett's amazingly funny Discworld novels, filled with insight about the flailing and failings of every little nook and cranny of civilization, you probably would bet that he would make a dynamite and devastating essay writer. Well, it's time to collect your winnings, because A SLIP OF THE KEYBOARD is an astounding collection of his writing. From sci-fi conventions to incurable diseases, Sir Terry always has a unique insight, and he never fails to find a way to share it with a smile. ...more
It's rare that a 19th-century history becomes a page-turner, but there I was, well after midnight, unwilling to put the book down until I found out whIt's rare that a 19th-century history becomes a page-turner, but there I was, well after midnight, unwilling to put the book down until I found out what happened to Captain DeLong and his crew on their desperate quest for survival in the truly unforgiving arctic. That such inhospitable places existed - and still exist - gives us new insight on the ways that we have yet to master the planet's elements at full force. As Hampton Sides takes us from the glorious beginnings of the quest, complete with gilded-age excess and manifest destiny, to the bone-chilling conclusion, we learn that no amount of confidence in a man or a country can overcome the forces that nature has in store for us. Written like a thriller, this book holds a story you'll be surprised you never knew, and will never stop talking about. ...more
A thrilling read from the New York Times reporters who uncovered the real story behind SS Doctor Aribert Heim. A historical account that reads with twA thrilling read from the New York Times reporters who uncovered the real story behind SS Doctor Aribert Heim. A historical account that reads with twists and turns (and reviewers agree):
“He was hardly as famous as Josef Mengele, but Aribert Heim was every bit as vicious. And, like Mengele, this doctor-torturer-murderer eluded his hunters until the very end. The Eternal Nazi finally reconstructs Heim’s dark odyssey—from his sadistic practices in Mauthausen to his life in hiding as a convert to Islam in Cairo. Part detective story, part meditation on how family loyalties obstructed those seeking justice, this book is a remarkable achievement.” —Andrew Nagorski, author of Hitlerland: American Eyewitnesses to the Nazi Rise to Power
“With exacting detail and a rich cast of characters, The Eternal Nazi chronicles the feverish, zigzagging hunt for the barbarous Dr. Heim. A journalistic masterpiece and a thrilling read.” —Neal Bascomb, author of Hunting Eichmann
“This is a deeply reported, fascinating tale of obsession and the heavy burden of family and national guilt. Nick Kulish and Souad Mekhennet take us on a gripping search for the handsome Nazi doctor who became one of the world's most elusive war criminals.” —Evan Thomas, author of Ike's Bluff...more
At last, a balanced, nuanced, and carefully considered history of the eight years these two men ruled the most powerful nation in the world. Bush andAt last, a balanced, nuanced, and carefully considered history of the eight years these two men ruled the most powerful nation in the world. Bush and Cheney emerge as very different players working towards a common goal of strengthening the U.S. and promoting its values around the world. That their actions caused so much controversy and stirred so much resentment is evidence of the magnitude of their work and the strength of their convictions. This work makes no attempt to alter previous judgements of the two, besides working to debunk the simplistic myth that Cheney was, somehow, "really in charge." Instead, Baker presents, in very readable fashion, a huge slate of evidence to consider for those of us who lived through the era and will spend the rest of our lives dealing with its consequences. ...more
WORST HITTERS OF ALL TIME: BILL BERGEN, RANKED NO. 1
Bill Bergen was a catcher for the Brooklyn Superbas in the dead-ball era, when everyone was in a WORST HITTERS OF ALL TIME: BILL BERGEN, RANKED NO. 1
Bill Bergen was a catcher for the Brooklyn Superbas in the dead-ball era, when everyone was in a slump of sorts. Still, even by the measure of his day, Bergen set the gold standard for persistent batting ineptitude. While he demonstrated his futility way back in 1909, his achievement lives and breathes today, still fueling controversy as to whether his hitless slump was really 0-for-45, or 0-for-46. Historians have argued whether one particular handwritten scorecard had him at 0 for 2 in a game or 0 for 3. And when Craig Counsell of the Brewers laced a pinch-hit single at 0-for-45 in 2011, it meant the Bergen argument would live another day.
Regardless, Bergen made himself a good case for being labeled the very worst hitter in major-league history. He still holds the record for the lowest single-season batting average, .139, for a position player with a qualifying number of at-bats. He also posted the lowest career batting average, .170, and hit a grand total of two homers in 3,028 at-bats. How did Bergen manage to draw a paycheck for 11 seasons? The catcher had a Hall of Fame arm, amassing 1,444 assists in 941 games behind the plate.
When Paul Du Chaillu set out to bag the gorilla in the name of science (and as a shortcut to academic credibility), it was still the quasi-mythical njWhen Paul Du Chaillu set out to bag the gorilla in the name of science (and as a shortcut to academic credibility), it was still the quasi-mythical njena of the Western imagination: a savage, bloodthirsty beast deep in the forests of equatorial Africa, seen only by the tribes that dwelled within. He got his animal--he got many, by way of his rifle--but when he eventually made his way to England, he and his stuffed specimens became unlikely pawns at the center of the burgeoning debate over evolution in the wake of Darwin’s insurgent hypothesis. While jealous explorers questioned his bona fides and jaded scientists glibly dismissed his methods and observations, Du Chaillu's status as a death-defying killer of monsters granted him celebrity status, lifting the often bewildered hero to rarified levels of London society. With the unlikeliest of heroes at its center, Between Man and Beast is a fast-paced and fun blend of adventure and history.
“In The Dispensable Nation, Nasr delivers a devastating portrait of a first-term foreign policy that shunned the tough choices of real diplomacy, ofte“In The Dispensable Nation, Nasr delivers a devastating portrait of a first-term foreign policy that shunned the tough choices of real diplomacy, often descended into pettiness, and was controlled ‘by a small cabal of relatively inexperienced White House advisers.’… The Dispensable Nation constitutes important reading as John Kerry moves into his new job as secretary of state. It nails the drift away from the art of diplomacy — with its painful give-and-take — toward a U.S. foreign policy driven by the Pentagon, intelligence agencies and short-term political calculus. It holds the president to account for his zigzags from Kabul to Jerusalem….The Dispensable Nation is a brave book. Its core message is: Diplomacy is tough and carries a price, but the price is higher when it is abandoned.” —Roger Cohen, New York Times
“The Dispensable Nation is an indispensable book. Taking us into the secretive world of high-level American foreign policy, Vali Nasr shares astounding, previously unrevealed details about the Obama administration's dealings with Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran. But Nasr doesn't just spill secrets—he also charts a path forward, advancing an insightful prescription for how the United States can regain its lost influence. This provocative story is a must-read for anyone who cares about America's role in the world.” —Rajiv Chandrasekaran, author of Little America and Imperial Life in the Emerald City.
“An original, powerful, and provocative critique of American foreign policy under President Obama.” —George Packer, author of The Assassins' Gate: America in Iraq
"Vali Nasr was in the room during key moments of the Obama administration's first two years as it faced some of its most important foreign policy challenges. His portrayal of strategic confusion inside Obama's White House is devastating and persuasive. Nasr writes with the dispassion of one of the United States' leading experts on the Middle East and South Asia and with the insider knowledge he gained as a senior adviser to Richard Holbrooke, the legendary diplomat. Nasr asserts that the Obama White House didn't really believe in diplomacy in its dealings with the Afghans and Pakistanis and he makes his case with great cogency and clarity in this indispensable book." —Peter Bergen, author of Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for bin Laden, from 9/11 to Abbottabad
"Vali Nasr is the George Kennan of U.S. policy in the Middle East. A renowned scholar but also a practitioner and insider who served two years in the Obama administration, Nasr delivers a sharp, sober, fast-paced and absolutely riveting critique of President Obama’s policies in the Middle East and Afghanistan." —Robert Kagan, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution and author of The World America Made
“The Dispensable Nation is an important wake-up call by a thoughtful, astute and deeply knowledgeable scholar and policymaker. Anyone interested in the Middle East, China, or the future of American power should read it immediately and think hard about its message.” —Anne-Marie Slaughter, Bert G. Kerstetter ’66 University Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University and former Director of Policy Planning, U.S. Department of State, 2009-2011
“An impressive tour d’horizon which includes a personally frank eulogy to Richard Holbrooke’s failed efforts to shape U.S. policy in Afghanistan, revealing insights into White House vs. State Department collisions over U.S. strategy, and a sweeping review of the escalating geopolitical challenges the U.S. needs to address more intelligently in the Middle East, the Far East, and especially Iran. Gutsy, intriguing, and challenging.” —Zbigniew Brzezinski
“Vali Nasr is without peer in explaining how and why political order is crumbling across the Middle East, and how and why China may reap the spoils. Along the way, he lays out in never-before-told, granular detail why President Obama's first term was such a disappointment regarding foreign policy.” — Robert D. Kaplan, chief geopolitical analyst, Stratfor, and author of The Revenge of Geography...more
"The first thing you should know about me is that I'm crazy." In The Long Walk: A Story of War and the Life That Follows, Brian Castner heartbreakingl"The first thing you should know about me is that I'm crazy." In The Long Walk: A Story of War and the Life That Follows, Brian Castner heartbreakingly shares anything but your typical war story. Castner takes us on a personal journey through not one, but two wars -- one in Iraq, and the other within himself -- brilliantly intertwining the two in a way so explosively raw.
Castner served three tours of duty in the Middle East as an officer of the U.S. Air Force, two of them as the commander of an Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit in Iraq. Castner delves into the day-to-day experiences of an EDO at war: the dangerous investigations of the aftermath of car bombs, the unbearable heat, and the house-to-house search for bomb makers. But his greatest challenge would come on the once familiar soil of his own home. These passages of Castner's terror and fear both in Iraq and at home left me holding my breath.
Flashing back and forth between the two locales, Castner describes the horrific events that took place during his tours of duty, and the uninvited panic he refers to as "the Crazy" during his transition to returning home. We receive a rare glimpse into the mind of a soldier suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, the mind of a person dealing with unwanted memories and severe anxiety.
Castner's story snuck up on me in a way that was surprising. He talks about how he enjoyed his job in the military, found meaning in the work he was doing, and embraced the camaraderie of those in his unit. He admits that "despite being surrounded by the gory horrors of war and facing near-death experiences, I somehow never considered what life would be like once I went on the final call to dismantle a roadside bomb." When Castner goes from disrupting roadside improvised explosive devices, to giving his children cereal before they leave for school in the morning, he finds both tasks equally challenging. Riddled with wounds and loss not visible to the naked eye, he reveals a different kind of post-war aftershock. Castner found himself questioning his significance in his family, as his relationship with his wife and children deteriorates, and shares these thoughts freely. Castner's ability to speak openly about a subject that isn't talked about enough is not only inspiring; it's also so very honorable.
The Long Walk is immensely personal, deeply moving, and at times will leave you stunned. This is a story that won't leave you. The eye-opening, touching revelations make this book a must-read, especially during this fragile time....more
“‘Abandon Hope, All Ye Who Enter Here’ might well be the words above the door of Kings County Hospital’s notorious G Building. Serial killer Son of Sa“‘Abandon Hope, All Ye Who Enter Here’ might well be the words above the door of Kings County Hospital’s notorious G Building. Serial killer Son of Sam and rap legend Ol’ Dirty Bastard punched their tickets at this under-funded, over-crowded mental hospital; so does Darcy Lockman, a wet-behind-the-ears psych intern fresh out of graduate school. She can empathize with the human flotsam washed up on the outer edge of outer Brooklyn—the white folks get sent to Bellevue, in Manhattan—but more to the point, she can write. Brooklyn Zoo is a sorrowful and fascinating portrait of the institutional underworld where criminality and mental illness co-exist, and patients find themselves at the mercy of a medical-penal complex ill-equipped to either cure or punish them.” —Alex Beam, author of Gracefully Insane: Life and Death Inside America’s Premier Mental Hospital
“Reading Brooklyn Zoo is like getting a nightly e-mail from your best friend as she explores the far side of the moon. I gasped at what she saw and alternately winced and cheered at her responses. A smart, delightful surprise of a book.” —Susan Baur, author of The Dinosaur Man: Tales of Madness and Enchantment from the Back Ward
“Brooklyn Zoo takes us to places where very, very few of us would ever go—or want to go. This interesting memoir deals with situations which might be considered hopeless with great compassion and clarity. For so many of these people, mental illness is the least of their worries but the most of their handicaps. An insight therapist is at a huge disadvantage, and Lockman feels it deeply. She cares about people in a way that few of us dare.” —Joanne Greenberg, author of I Never Promised You a Rose Garden
"Darcy Lockman left her journalism career to become a psychotherapist. Clearly a gifted writer, the decision could not have been easy. But she made it and stuck with it.... Brooklyn Zoo, to be released in July 2012, is expertly written: The prose flows, the pacing is even, and the structure is well crafted. As well, the content—the story—is utterly fascinating.... It is...an intelligently written, sobering look at what it takes to be a psychotherapist.... It’s the kind of book you don’t want to rush through; you want to dwell on each chapter, and meditate on Lockman’s experiences to get a fuller sense of what she saw. With a unique voice and a knack for painting verbal portraits, Lockman has delivered a rare gem."—Dan Berkowitz, Psych Central...more