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By Thomas Keneally. 2011
Through the lens of three of the most devastating food crises in modern history--the Górta Mor of British-ruled Ireland, the…great famine of British-ruled Bengal in 1943, and the string of famines that plagued Ethiopia during the 1970s and 1980s, Booker Prizewinning author Thomas Keneally vividly evokes the terrible cost of mass starvation at the level of the individual who starves and the nation that watches. Famine is widely misunderstood as a completely natural catastrophe. Keneally recounts that while the triggers--crop, pestilence, and drought--are natural, the political and ideological choices that prolong famine are man-made. Government neglect and individual venality, not food shortages, are historically the causes of sustained, widespread hunger. In Ireland, British authorities ignored the existence of a food crisis while the famished fed on diseased cattle and human remains. In Bengal, where over four million starved to death, Field Marshal Archibald Wavell’s reports of people dying in Calcutta’s streets and demands for relief resulted in little more than a mocking cable from Winston Churchill asking, why, if food was so scarce, hadn’t Gandhi died yet? In Ethiopia, Mengistu Haile Mariam arranged for 400,000 bottles of whisky to ship to Addis Ababa from Britain to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the revolution that put him in power, while one person died every twenty minutes in Korem. These three famines are stark examples of how throughout history, racial preconceptions, administrative neglect, and incompetence have been more lethal than the initiating blights or crop failures. Keneally’s startling narrative history is a sobering warning to the authorities in charge of mercy in our time to stop making choices that feed famine instead of the starving.
By Charles Bowden. 2010
Ciudad Juárez lies just across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas. A once-thriving border town, it now resembles a…failed state. Infamously known as the place where women disappear, its murder rate exceeds that of Baghdad. Last year 1,607 people were killed-a number that is on pace to increase in 2009.In Murder City, Charles Bowden-one of the few journalists who has spent extended periods of time in Juárez-has written an extraordinary account of what happens when a city disintegrates. Interweaving stories of its inhabitants-a raped beauty queen, a repentant hitman, a journalist fleeing for his life-with a broader meditation on the town's descent into anarchy, Bowden reveals how Juárez's culture of violence will not only worsen, but inevitably spread north.Heartbreaking, disturbing, and unforgettable, Murder City establishes Bowden as one of our leading writers working at the height of his powers.
By Lily Koppel. 2013
As America's Mercury Seven astronauts were launched on death-defying missions, television cameras focused on the brave smiles of their young…wives. Overnight, these women were transformed from military spouses into American royalty. They had tea with Jackie Kennedy, appeared on the cover of Life magazine, and quickly grew into fashion icons.Annie Glenn, with her picture-perfect marriage, was the envy of the other wives; platinum-blonde Rene Carpenter was proclaimed JFK's favorite; and licensed pilot Trudy Cooper arrived on base with a secret. Together with the other wives they formed the Astronaut Wives Club, meeting regularly to provide support and friendship. Many became next-door neighbors and helped to raise each other's children by day, while going to glam parties at night as the country raced to land a man on the Moon.As their celebrity rose-and as divorce and tragic death began to touch their lives-they continued to rally together, and the wives have now been friends for more than fifty years. THE ASTRONAUT WIVES CLUB tells the real story of the women who stood beside some of the biggest heroes in American history.
A singular atlas of 100 infographic maps from thought-provoking to flat-out fun Which countries don’t have rivers? Which ones have…North Korean embassies? Who drives on the “wrong” side of the road? How many national economies are bigger than California’s? And where can you still find lions in the wild? You’ll learn answers to these questions and many more in Brilliant Maps for Curious Minds. This one-of-a-kind atlas is packed with eye-opening analysis (Which nations have had female leaders?), whimsical insight (Where can’t you find a McDonald’s?), and surprising connections that illuminate the contours of culture, history, and politics. Each of these 100 maps will change the way you see the world—and your place in it.
New York Times The Times of the Seventies: The Culture, Politics, and Personalities that Shaped the Decade
By The New York Times, Clyde Haberman. 2013
There is no better record of events then The New York Times, and now, The Times of the Seventies captures…the history, culture, and personalities of the decade through hundreds of hand-selected articles and compelling original commentary in this unique and fascinating book.The New York Times: The Times of the Seventies is a brilliant time capsule containing all of the greatest, most important, and most memorable moments and events from the decade. Organized by sections such as national news, business, science & health, sports, arts & entertainment, life & style, the articles include coverage of historic events like the Watergate scandal, the end of the Vietnam War, the 1973 oil crisis, and the Iranian Revolution of 1979; cultural highlights like the break-up of the Beatles, the rise of disco, reviews of movies like Star Wars, The Godfather, Jaws, and Saturday Night Fever, and features on musicians like Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, the Bee Gees, and Patti Smith; plus pieces on influential personalities such as Gloria Steinem, Bobby Fischer, and Farrah Fawcett and pivotal political figures like Richard Nixon, Pol Pot, and Augusto Pinochet.The stories are written by the great Times writers, including Murray Schumach, Nan Robertson, Craig Claiborne, Mimi Sheraton, Meyer Berger, R.W. Apple, Jr., John Rockwell, Clive Barnes, and John Russell. Editor Clyde Haberman has selected each and every article and guides readers through the stories, putting the events into historical context and exploring the impact these events and individuals eventually had on the future. Also included are hundreds of color photographs from the Times and other sources.Also available from Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers is The New York Times: The Times of the Eighties (978-1-57912-933-0)
International human rights activist Lisa Shannon spent many afternoons at the kitchen table having tea with her friend Francisca Thelin,…who often spoke of her childhood in Congo. Thelin would conjure vivid images of lush flower gardens, fish the size of small children, and of children running barefoot through her family’s coffee plantation, gorging on fruit from the robust and plentiful mango trees. She urged Shannon to visit her family in Dungu, to get a taste of real Congo, peaceful Congo; a place so different than the conflict-ravaged places Shannon knew from her activism work. But then the nightly phone calls from Congo began: static-filled, hasty reports from Francisca’s mother, #147;Mama Koko,” of gunmen#151;Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army#151; who had infested Dungu and began launching attacks. Night after night for a year, Mama Koko delivered the devastating news of Fransisca’s cousins, nieces, nephews, friends, and neighbors, who had been killed, abducted, burned alive on Christmas Day. In an unlikely journey, Shannon and Thelin decided to travel from Portland, Oregon to Dungu, to witness first-hand the devastation unfolding at Joseph Kony’s hands. Masquerading as Francisca’s American sister-in-law, Shannon tucked herself into Mama Koko’s raw cement living room and listened to the stories of Mama Koko and her husband, Papa Alexander#151;as well as those from dozens of other friends and neighbors (#147;Mama Koko’s War Tribunal”)#151;who lined up outside the house and waited for hours, eager to offer their testimony. In Mama Koko and the Hundred Gunmen, Shannon weaves together the family’s tragic stories of LRA encounters with tales from the family’s history: we hear of Mama Koko’s early life as a gap-toothed beauty plotting to escape her inevitable fate of wife and motherhood; Papa Alexander’s empire of wives he married because they cooked and cleaned and made good coffee; and Francisca’s childhood at the family #147;castle” and coffee plantation. These lively stories transport Shannon from the chaos of the violence around her and bring to life Fransisca’s kitchen-table stories of the peaceful Congo. Yet, as the LRA camp out on the edge of town grew, tensions inside the house reach a fever pitch and Shannon and Thelin’s friendship was fiercely tested. Shannon was forced to confront her limitations as an activist and reconcile her vision of what it means to affect meaningful change in the lives of others. Mama Koko and the Hundred Gunmen is at once an illuminating piece of storytelling and an exploration of what it means to truly make a difference. It is an exquisite testimony to the beauty of human connection and the strength of the human spirit in times of unimaginable tragedy.
By Jon Entine. 2007
Could our sense of who we are really turn on a sliver of DNA? In our multiethnic world, questions of…individual identity are becoming increasingly unclear. Now in ABRAHAM'S CHILDREN bestselling author Jon Entine vividly brings to life the profound human implications of the Age of Genetics while illuminating one of today's most controversial topics: the connection between genetics and who we are, and specifically the question "Who is a Jew?" Entine weaves a fascinating narrative, using breakthroughs in genetic genealogy to reconstruct the Jewish biblical tradition of the chosen people and the hereditary Israelite priestly caste of Cohanim. Synagogues in the mountains of India and China and Catholic churches with a Jewish identity in New Mexico and Colorado provide different patterns of connection within the tangled history of the Jewish diaspora. Legendary accounts of the Hebrew lineage of Ethiopian tribesmen, the building of Africa 's Great Zimbabwe fortress, and even the so-called Lost Tribes are reexamined in light of advanced DNA technology. Entine also reveals the shared ancestry of Israelites and Christians. As people from across the world discover their Israelite roots, their riveting stories unveil exciting new approaches to defining one's identity. Not least, Entine addresses possible connections between DNA and Jewish intelligence and the controversial notion that Jews are a "race apart." ABRAHAM'S CHILDREN is a compelling reinterpretation of biblical history and a challenging and exciting illustration of the promise and power of genetic research.
By Eduardo Galeano. 2013
Selected by Guernica magazine as an "Editors' Picks: Best of 2013"Unfurling like a medieval book of days, each page of…Eduardo Galeano's Children of the Days has an illuminating story that takes inspiration from that date of the calendar year, resurrecting the heroes and heroines who have fallen off the historical map, but whose lives remind us of our darkest hours and sweetest victories.Challenging readers to consider the human condition and our own choices, Galeano elevates the little-known heroes of our world and decries the destruction of the intellectual, linguistic, and emotional treasures that we have all but forgotten.Readers will discover many inspiring narratives in this collection of vignettes: the Brazilians who held a "smooch-in" to protest against a dictatorship for banning kisses that "undermined public morals"; the astonishing day Mexico invaded the United States; and the "sacrilegious" women who had the effrontery to marry each other in a church in the Galician city of A Coruña in 1901. Galeano also highlights individuals such as Pedro Fernandes Sardinha, the first bishop of Brazil, who was eaten by Caeté Indians off the coast of Alagoas, as well as Abdul Kassem Ismael, the grand vizier of Persia, who kept books safe from war by creating a walking library of 117,000 tomes aboard four hundred camels, forming a mile-long caravan.Beautifully translated by Galeano's longtime collaborator, Mark Fried, Children of the Days is a majestic humanist treasure that shows us how to live and how to remember. It awakens the best in us.
By David M. Wilson. 2011
The myth of Scott of the Antarctic, Captain Robert Falcon Scott, icon of fortitude and courage who perished with his…fellow explorers on their return from the South Pole on March 29th, 1912, is an enduring one, elevated, dismantled and restored during the turbulence of the succeeding century. Until now, the legend of the doomed Terra Nova expedition has been constructed out of Scott's own diaries and those of his companions, the sketches of 'Uncle Bill' Wilson and the celebrated photographs of Herbert Ponting. Yet for the final, fateful months of their journey, the systematic imaging of this extraordinary scientific endeavor was left to Scott himself, trained by Ponting. In the face of extreme climactic conditions and technical challenges at the dawn of photography, Scott achieved an iconic series of images; breathtaking polar panoramas, geographical and geological formations, and action photographs of the explorers and their animals, remarkable for their technical mastery as well as for their poignancy. Lost, fought over, neglected and finally resurrected, Scott's final photographs are here collected, accurately attributed and catalogued for the first time: a new dimension to the last great expedition of the Heroic Age and a humbling testament to the men whose graves still lie unmarked in the vastness of the Great Alone.
By James Bradley. 2015
From the bestselling author of Flags of our Fathers, Flyboys, and The Imperial Cruise, a spellbinding history of turbulent U.S.-China…relations from the 19th century to World War II and Mao's ascent.In each of his books, James Bradley has exposed the hidden truths behind America's engagement in Asia. Now comes his most engrossing work yet. Beginning in the 1850s, Bradley introduces us to the prominent Americans who made their fortunes in the China opium trade. As they---good Christians all---profitably addicted millions, American missionaries arrived, promising salvation for those who adopted Western ways.And that was just the beginning.From drug dealer Warren Delano to his grandson Franklin Delano Roosevelt, from the port of Hong Kong to the towers of Princeton University, from the era of Appomattox to the age of the A-Bomb, THE CHINA MIRAGE explores a difficult century that defines U.S.-Chinese relations to this day.. And at a moment when relations between China and America are Topic #1, the book--the vigorous discussion it will spawn--could not be better timed.
In 1915, two men-one a journalist agitator, the other a technically brilliant filmmaker-incited a public confrontation that roiled America, pitting…black against white, Hollywood against Boston, and free speech against civil rights.Monroe Trotter and D. W. Griffith were fighting over a film that dramatized the Civil War and Reconstruction in a post-Confederate South. Griffith's film, The Birth of a Nation, included actors in blackface, heroic portraits of Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, and a depiction of Lincoln's assassination. Freed slaves were portrayed as villainous, vengeful, slovenly, and dangerous to the sanctity of American values. It was tremendously successful, eventually seen by 25 million Americans. But violent protests against the film flared up across the country.Almost fifty years earlier, Monroe's father, James, was a sergeant in an all-black Union regiment that marched into Charleston, South Carolina, just as the Kentucky cavalry-including Roaring Jack Griffith, D. W.'s father-fled for their lives. Monroe Trotter's titanic crusade to have the film censored became a blueprint for dissent during the 1950s and 1960s. This is the fiery story of a revolutionary moment for mass media and the nascent civil rights movement, and the men clashing over the cultural and political soul of a still-young America standing at the cusp of its greatest days.
By Daniel Jonah Goldhagen. 2013
A groundbreaking--and terrifying--examination of the widespread resurgence of antisemitism in the 21st century, by the prize-winning and #1 internationally bestselling…author of Hitler's Willing Executioners.Antisemitism never went away, but since the turn of the century it has multiplied beyond what anyone would have predicted. It is openly spread by intellectuals, politicians and religious leaders in Europe, Asia, the Arab world, America and Africa and supported by hundreds of millions more. Indeed, today antisemitism is stronger than any time since the Holocaust. In THE DEVIL THAT NEVER DIES, Daniel Jonah Goldhagen reveals the unprecedented, global form of this age-old hatred; its strategic use by states; its powerful appeal to individuals and groups; and how technology has fueled the flames that had been smoldering prior to the millennium. A remarkable work of intellectual brilliance, moral stature, and urgent alarm, THE DEVIL THAT NEVER DIES is destined to be one of the most provocative and talked-about books of the year.
By Pamela D. Toler. 2012
It takes more than 10 billion years to create just the right conditions on one planet for life to begin.…It takes another three billion years of evolving life forms until it finally happens, a primate super species emerges: mankind. <P><P> In conjunction with History Channel's hit television series by the same name, Mankind is a sweeping history of humans from the birth of the Earth and hunting antelope in Africa's Rift Valley to the present day with the completion of the Genome project and the birth of the seven billionth human. Like a Hollywood action movie, Mankind is a fast-moving, adventurous history of key events from each major historical epoch that directly affect us today such as the invention of iron, the beginning of Buddhism, the crucifixion of Jesus, the fall of Rome, the invention of the printing press, the Industrial Revolution, and the invention of the computer. With more than 300 color photographs and maps, Mankind is not only a visual overview of the broad story of civilization, but it also includes illustrated pop-out sidebars explaining distinctions between science and history, such as why there is 700 times more iron than bronze buried in the earth, why pepper is the only food we can taste with our skin, and how a wobble in the earth's axis helped bring down the Egyptian Empire. This is the most exciting and entertaining history of mankind ever produced.
By Richard Lingeman. 2012
From one of our finest cultural historians, The Noir Forties is a vivid reexamination of America's postwar period, that "age…of anxiety" characterized by the dissipation of victory dreams, the onset of the Red Scare, and a nascent resistance to the growing Cold War consensus. Richard Lingeman examines a brief but momentous and crowded time, the years between VJ Day and the beginning of the Korean War, describing how we got from there to here. It evokes the social and cultural milieu of the late forties, with the vicissitudes of the New Deal Left and Popular Front culture from the end of one hot war and the beginning of the cold one-and, longer term, of a cold war that preoccupied the United States for the next fifty years. It traces the attitudes, sentiments, hopes and fears, prejudices, behavior, and collective dreams and nightmares of the times, as reflected in the media, popular culture, political movements, opinion polls, and sociological and psychological studies of mass beliefs and behavior.
By Andrew Morton. 2015
A meticulously researched historical tour de force about the secret ties among Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, the Duke of…Windsor, and Adolf Hitler before, during, and after World War II.Andrew Morton tells the story of the feckless Edward VIII, later Duke of Windsor, his American wife, Wallis Simpson, the bizarre wartime Nazi plot to make him a puppet king after the invasion of Britain, and the attempted cover-up by Churchill, General Eisenhower, and King George VI of the duke's relations with Hitler. From the alleged affair between Simpson and the German foreign minister to the discovery of top secret correspondence about the man dubbed "the traitor king" and the Nazi high command, this is a saga of intrigue, betrayal, and deception suffused with a heady aroma of sex and suspicion.For the first time, Morton reveals the full story behind the cover-up of those damning letters and diagrams: the daring heist ordered by King George VI, the smooth duplicity of a Soviet spy as well as the bitter rows and recriminations among the British and American diplomats, politicians, and academics. Drawing on FBI documents, exclusive pictures, and material from the German, Russian, and British royal archives, as well as the personal correspondence of Churchill, Eisenhower, and the Windsors themselves, 17 CARNATIONS is a dazzling historical drama, full of adventure, intrigue, and startling revelations, written by a master of the genre.
By Jason Stearns. 2011
At the heart of Africa is Congo, a country the size of Western Europe, bordering nine other nations, that since…1996 has been wracked by a brutal and unstaunchable war in which millions have died. And yet, despite its epic proportions, it has received little sustained media attention. In this deeply reported book, Jason Stearns vividly tells the story of this misunderstood conflict through the experiences of those who engineered and perpetrated it. He depicts village pastors who survived massacres, the child soldier assassin of President Kabila, a female Hutu activist who relives the hunting and methodical extermination of fellow refugees, and key architects of the war that became as great a disaster as--and was a direct consequence of--the genocide in neighboring Rwanda. Through their stories, he tries to understand why such mass violence made sense, and why stability has been so elusive. Through their voices, and an astonishing wealth of knowledge and research, Stearns chronicles the political, social, and moral decay of the Congolese State.
By Benjamin Ajak, Benson Deng, Alephonsian Deng, Judy Bernstein. 2005
A stunning literary survival story of three young Sudanese boys, two brothers and a cousin—hailed by the Los Angeles Times…as a “moving, beautifully written account, by turns warm and tender.”<P><P> Between 1987 and 1989, Alepho, Benjamin, and Benson, like tens of thousands of young boys, took flight from the massacres of Sudan’s civil war. They became known as the Lost Boys. With little more than the clothes on their backs, sometimes not even that, they streamed out over Sudan in search of refuge. Their journey led them first to Ethiopia and then, driven back into Sudan, toward Kenya. They walked nearly one thousand miles, sustained only by the sheer will to live.<P> They Poured Fire on Us from the Sky is the three boys’ account of that unimaginable journey. With the candor and the purity of their child’s-eye-vision, Alephonsian, Benjamin, and Benson recall by turns: how they endured the hunger and strength-sapping illnesses—dysentery, malaria, and yellow fever; how they dodged the life-threatening predators—lions, snakes, crocodiles and soldiers alike—that dogged their footsteps; and how they grappled with a war that threatened continually to overwhelm them. Their story is a lyrical, captivating, timeless portrait of a childhood hurled into wartime and how they had the good fortune and belief in themselves to survive.
By Alan Weisman. 2013
A powerful investigation into the chances for humanity's future from the author of the bestseller The World Without Us.In his…bestselling book The World Without Us, Alan Weisman considered how the Earth could heal and even refill empty niches if relieved of humanity's constant pressures. Behind that groundbreaking thought experiment was his hope that we would be inspired to find a way to add humans back to this vision of a restored, healthy planet-only in harmony, not mortal combat, with the rest of nature.But with a million more of us every 4¿ days on a planet that's not getting any bigger, and with our exhaust overheating the atmosphere and altering the chemistry of the oceans, prospects for a sustainable human future seem ever more in doubt. For this long awaited follow-up book, Weisman traveled to more than 20 countries to ask what experts agreed were probably the most important questions on Earth--and also the hardest: How many humans can the planet hold without capsizing? How robust must the Earth's ecosystem be to assure our continued existence? Can we know which other species are essential to our survival? And, how might we actually arrive at a stable, optimum population, and design an economy to allow genuine prosperity without endless growth?Weisman visits an extraordinary range of the world's cultures, religions, nationalities, tribes, and political systems to learn what in their beliefs, histories, liturgies, or current circumstances might suggest that sometimes it's in their own best interest to limit their growth. The result is a landmark work of reporting: devastating, urgent, and, ultimately, deeply hopeful.By vividly detailing the burgeoning effects of our cumulative presence, Countdown reveals what may be the fastest, most acceptable, practical, and affordable way of returning our planet and our presence on it to balance. Weisman again shows that he is one of the most provocative journalists at work today, with a book whose message is so compelling that it will change how we see our lives and our destiny.
By Natan Sharansky. 1998
Temperamentally and intellectually, Natan Sharansky is a man very much like many of us--which makes this account of his arrest…on political grounds, his trial, and ten years' imprisonment in the Orwellian universe of the Soviet gulag particularly vivid and resonant. Since Fear No Evil was originally published in 1988, the Soviet government that imprisoned Sharansky has collapsed. Sharansky has become an important national leader in Israel--and serves as Israel's diplomatic liaison to the former Soviet Union! New York Times Jerusalem Bureau Chief Serge Schmemann reflects on those monumental events, and on Sharansky's extraordinary life in the decades since his arrest, in a new introduction to this edition. But the truths Sharansky learned in his jail cell and sets forth in this book have timeless importance so long as rulers anywhere on earth still supress their own peoples. For anyone with an interest in human rights--and anyone with an appreciation for the resilience of the human spirit--he illuminates the weapons with which the powerless can humble the powerful: physical courage, an untiring sense of humor, a bountiful imagination, and the conviction that "Nothing they do can humiliate me. I alone can humiliate myself. "