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Book The Splendid and the Vile Description/Summary:
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The author of The Devil in the White City and Dead Wake delivers an intimate chronicle of Winston Churchill and London during the Blitz—an inspiring portrait of courage and leadership in a time of unprecedented crisis “One of [Erik Larson’s] best books yet . . . perfectly timed for the moment.”—Time • “A bravura performance by one of America’s greatest storytellers.”—NPR NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE EAST HAMPTON STAR AND ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times Book Review • Time • Vogue • NPR • The Washington Post • The Globe & Mail • Fortune • Bloomberg • New York Post • The New York Public Library • Kirkus Reviews • LibraryReads • PopMatters On Winston Churchill’s first day as prime minister, Adolf Hitler invaded Holland and Belgium. Poland and Czechoslovakia had already fallen, and the Dunkirk evacuation was just two weeks away. For the next twelve months, Hitler would wage a relentless bombing campaign, killing 45,000 Britons. It was up to Churchill to hold his country together and persuade President Franklin Roosevelt that Britain was a worthy ally—and willing to fight to the end. In The Splendid and the Vile, Erik Larson shows, in cinematic detail, how Churchill taught the British people “the art of being fearless.” It is a story of political brinkmanship, but it’s also an intimate domestic drama, set against the backdrop of Churchill’s prime-ministerial country home, Chequers; his wartime retreat, Ditchley, where he and his entourage go when the moon is brightest and the bombing threat is highest; and of course 10 Downing Street in London. Drawing on diaries, original archival documents, and once-secret intelligence reports—some released only recently—Larson provides a new lens on London’s darkest year through the day-to-day experience of Churchill and his family: his wife, Clementine; their youngest daughter, Mary, who chafes against her parents’ wartime protectiveness; their son, Randolph, and his beautiful, unhappy wife, Pamela; Pamela’s illicit lover, a dashing American emissary; and the advisers in Churchill’s “Secret Circle,” to whom he turns in the hardest moments. The Splendid and the Vile takes readers out of today’s political dysfunction and back to a time of true leadership, when, in the face of unrelenting horror, Churchill’s eloquence, courage, and perseverance bound a country, and a family, together.
A true story of love, murder, and the end of the world’s “great hush.” In Thunderstruck, Erik Larson tells the interwoven stories of two men—Hawley Crippen, a very unlikely murderer, and Guglielmo Marconi, the obsessive creator of a seemingly supernatural means of communication—whose lives intersect during one of the greatest criminal chases of all time. Set in Edwardian London and on the stormy coasts of Cornwall, Cape Cod, and Nova Scotia, Thunderstruck evokes the dynamism of those years when great shipping companies competed to build the biggest, fastest ocean liners; scientific advances dazzled the public with visions of a world transformed; and the rich outdid one another with ostentatious displays of wealth. Against this background, Marconi races against incredible odds and relentless skepticism to perfect his invention: the wireless, a prime catalyst for the emergence of the world we know today. Meanwhile, Crippen, “the kindest of men,” nearly commits the perfect murder. With his unparalleled narrative skills, Erik Larson guides us through a relentlessly suspenseful chase over the waters of the North Atlantic. Along the way, he tells of a sad and tragic love affair that was described on the front pages of newspapers around the world, a chief inspector who found himself strangely sympathetic to the killer and his lover, and a driven and compelling inventor who transformed the way we communicate.
#1 New York Times Bestseller From the bestselling author and master of narrative nonfiction comes the enthralling story of the sinking of the Lusitania On May 1, 1915, with WWI entering its tenth month, a luxury ocean liner as richly appointed as an English country house sailed out of New York, bound for Liverpool, carrying a record number of children and infants. The passengers were surprisingly at ease, even though Germany had declared the seas around Britain to be a war zone. For months, German U-boats had brought terror to the North Atlantic. But the Lusitania was one of the era’s great transatlantic “Greyhounds”—the fastest liner then in service—and her captain, William Thomas Turner, placed tremendous faith in the gentlemanly strictures of warfare that for a century had kept civilian ships safe from attack. Germany, however, was determined to change the rules of the game, and Walther Schwieger, the captain of Unterseeboot-20, was happy to oblige. Meanwhile, an ultra-secret British intelligence unit tracked Schwieger’s U-boat, but told no one. As U-20 and the Lusitania made their way toward Liverpool, an array of forces both grand and achingly small—hubris, a chance fog, a closely guarded secret, and more—all converged to produce one of the great disasters of history. It is a story that many of us think we know but don’t, and Erik Larson tells it thrillingly, switching between hunter and hunted while painting a larger portrait of America at the height of the Progressive Era. Full of glamour and suspense, Dead Wake brings to life a cast of evocative characters, from famed Boston bookseller Charles Lauriat to pioneering female architect Theodate Pope to President Woodrow Wilson, a man lost to grief, dreading the widening war but also captivated by the prospect of new love. Gripping and important, Dead Wake captures the sheer drama and emotional power of a disaster whose intimate details and true meaning have long been obscured by history.
This devastating book illuminates America's gun culture -- its manufacturers, dealers, buffs, and propagandists -- but also offers concrete solutions to our national epidemic of death by firearm. It begins with an account of a crime that is by now almost commonplace: on December 16, 1988, sixteen-year-old Nicholas Elliot walked into his Virginia high school with a Cobray M-11/9 and several hundred rounds of ammunition tucked in his backpack. By day's end, he had killed one teacher and severely wounded another. In Lethal Passage Erik Larson shows us how a disturbed teenager was able to buy a weapon advertised as "the gun that made the eighties roar." The result is a book that can -- and should -- save lives, and that has already become an essential text in the gun-control debate. With a new afterword. "Touches on all aspects of the gun issue in this country. Gives great voice to that feeling...that something real must be done." --San Diego Union-Tribune "One of the most readable anti-gun treatises in years." --Washington Post Book World
Book Summary of The Splendid and the Vile Description/Summary:
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The long-awaited final volume of William Manchester's legendary biography of Winston Churchill. Spanning the years of 1940-1965, The Last Lion picks up shortly after Winston Churchill became Prime Minister-when his tiny island nation stood alone against the overwhelming might of Nazi Germany. The Churchill conjured up by William Manchester and Paul Reid is a man of indomitable courage, lightning-fast intellect, and an irresistible will to action. The Last Lion brilliantly recounts how Churchill organized his nation's military response and defense, compelled FDR into supporting America's beleaguered cousins, and personified the "never surrender" ethos that helped the Allies win the war, while at the same time adapting himself and his country to the inevitable shift of world power from the British Empire to the United States. More than twenty years in the making, The Last Lion presents a revelatory and unparalleled portrait of this brilliant, flawed, and dynamic leader. This is popular history at its most stirring.
Book Somewhere in France, Somewhere in Germany Description/Summary:
Francis P. Sempa tells the story of father's journey through the Second World War. Using letters, local newspaper articles, the 29th Division's After Action Reports, and books about the history of the 29th Division in World War II, Sempa traces his father's steps throughout battlefields of France and Germany.
The intimate, untold story of Winston Churchill's enduring yet volatile bond with his only son, Randolph “Fascinating… well-researched and well-written.”—Andrew Roberts • “Beautifully written… A triumph.”—Damien Lewis • “Fascinating, acute and touching.”—Simon Sebag Montefiore We think we know Winston Churchill: the bulldog grimace, the ever-present cigar, the wit and wisdom that led Great Britain through the Second World War. Yet away from the House of Commons and the Cabinet War Rooms, Churchill was a loving family man who doted on his children, none more so than Randolph, his only boy and Winston's anointed heir to the Churchill legacy. Randolph may have been born in his father's shadow, but his father, who had been neglected by his own parents, was determined to see him go far. For decades, throughout Winston's climb to greatness, father and son were inseparable--dining with Britain's elite, gossiping and swilling Champagne at high society parties, holidaying on the French Riviera, touring Prohibition-era America. Captivated by Winston's power, bravery, and charisma, Randolph worshipped his father, and Winston obsessed over his son's future. But their love was complex and combustible, complicated by money, class, and privilege, shaded with ambition, outsize expectations, resentments, and failures. Deeply researched and magnificently written, Churchill & Son is a revealing and surprising portrait of one of history's most celebrated figures.
The best-selling author of Devil in the White City documents the efforts of first American ambassador to Hitler's Germany William E. Dodd to acclimate to a residence in an increasingly violent city where he is forced to associate with the Nazis while his daughter pursues a relationship with Gestapo chief Rudolf Diels.
Finalist for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize • “In all of the literature addressing education, race, poverty, and criminal justice, there has been nothing quite like Reading with Patrick.”—The Atlantic A memoir of the life-changing friendship between an idealistic young teacher and her gifted student, jailed for murder in the Mississippi Delta Recently graduated from Harvard University, Michelle Kuo arrived in the rural town of Helena, Arkansas, as a Teach for America volunteer, bursting with optimism and drive. But she soon encountered the jarring realities of life in one of the poorest counties in America, still disabled by the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow. In this stirring memoir, Kuo, the child of Taiwanese immigrants, shares the story of her complicated but rewarding mentorship of one student, Patrick Browning, and his remarkable literary and personal awakening. Convinced she can make a difference in the lives of her teenaged students, Michelle Kuo puts her heart into her work, using quiet reading time and guided writing to foster a sense of self in students left behind by a broken school system. Though Michelle loses some students to truancy and even gun violence, she is inspired by some such as Patrick. Fifteen and in the eighth grade, Patrick begins to thrive under Michelle’s exacting attention. However, after two years of teaching, Michelle feels pressure from her parents and the draw of opportunities outside the Delta and leaves Arkansas to attend law school. Then, on the eve of her law-school graduation, Michelle learns that Patrick has been jailed for murder. Feeling that she left the Delta prematurely and determined to fix her mistake, Michelle returns to Helena and resumes Patrick’s education—even as he sits in a jail cell awaiting trial. Every day for the next seven months they pore over classic novels, poems, and works of history. Little by little, Patrick grows into a confident, expressive writer and a dedicated reader galvanized by the works of Frederick Douglass, James Baldwin, Walt Whitman, W. S. Merwin, and others. In her time reading with Patrick, Michelle is herself transformed, contending with the legacy of racism and the questions of what constitutes a “good” life and what the privileged owe to those with bleaker prospects. “A powerful meditation on how one person can affect the life of another . . . One of the great strengths of Reading with Patrick is its portrayal of the risk inherent to teaching.”—The Seattle Times “[A] tender memoir.”—O: The Oprah Magazine
The definitive work on Hitler's war machine charting its evolution from the formidable force which won stunning victories during the Blitzkrieg in 1940, to the hard campaigns it fought in the deserts of North Africa and the frozen wastelands of the Soviet Union to the eventual retreat to the Fatherland itself. Drawing upon Osprey Publishing's unique archive, this volume expertly weaves together the story of the development and deployment of Hitler's armies displayed alongside a stunning collection of original artwork and photographs to show the kit and equipment of the various land forces.
Book The Devil In The White City Description/Summary:
'An irresistible page-turner that reads like the most compelling, sleep defying fiction' TIME OUT One was an architect. The other a serial killer. This is the incredible story of these two men and their realization of the Chicago World's Fair of 1893, and its amazing 'White City'; one of the wonders of the world. The architect was Daniel H. Burnham, the driving force behind the White City, the massive, visionary landscape of white buildings set in a wonderland of canals and gardens. The killer was H. H. Holmes, a handsome doctor with striking blue eyes. He used the attraction of the great fair - and his own devilish charms - to lure scores of young women to their deaths. While Burnham overcame politics, infighting, personality clashes and Chicago's infamous weather to transform the swamps of Jackson Park into the greatest show on Earth, Holmes built his own edifice just west of the fairground. He called it the World's Fair Hotel. In reality it was a torture palace, a gas chamber, a crematorium. These two disparate but driven men are brought to life in this mesmerizing, murderous tale of the legendary Fair that transformed America and set it on course for the twentieth century . . .
Recommended by Bill Gates and included in GatesNotes Longlisted for the PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award "Elaborating on the science as well as the business behind the fight against cystic fibrosis, Trivedi captures the emotions of the families, doctors, and scientists involved in the clinical trials and their 'weeping with joy' as new drugs are approved, and shows how cystic fibrosis, once a 'death sentence,' became, for many, a manageable condition. This is a rewarding and challenging work." —Publishers Weekly Cystic fibrosis was once a mysterious disease that killed infants and children. Now it could be the key to healing millions with genetic diseases of every type—from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s to diabetes and sickle cell anemia. In 1974, Joey O’Donnell was born with strange symptoms. His insatiable appetite, incessant vomiting, and a relentless cough—which shook his tiny, fragile body and made it difficult to draw breath—confounded doctors and caused his parents agonizing, sleepless nights. After six sickly months, his salty skin provided the critical clue: he was one of thousands of Americans with cystic fibrosis, an inherited lung disorder that would most likely kill him before his first birthday. The gene and mutation responsible for CF were found in 1989—discoveries that promised to lead to a cure for kids like Joey. But treatments unexpectedly failed and CF was deemed incurable. It was only after the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, a grassroots organization founded by parents, formed an unprecedented partnership with a fledgling biotech company that transformative leaps in drug development were harnessed to produce groundbreaking new treatments: pills that could fix the crippled protein at the root of this deadly disease. From science writer Bijal P. Trivedi, Breath from Salt chronicles the riveting saga of cystic fibrosis, from its ancient origins to its identification in the dank autopsy room of a hospital basement, and from the CF gene’s celebrated status as one of the first human disease genes ever discovered to the groundbreaking targeted genetic therapies that now promise to cure it. Told from the perspectives of the patients, families, physicians, scientists, and philanthropists fighting on the front lines, Breath from Salt is a remarkable story of unlikely scientific and medical firsts, of setbacks and successes, and of people who refused to give up hope—and a fascinating peek into the future of genetics and medicine.
At the dawn of the twentieth century, a great confidence suffused America. Isaac Cline was one of the era's new men, a scientist who believed he knew all there was to know about the motion of clouds and the behavior of storms. The idea that a hurricane could damage the city of Galveston, Texas, where he was based, was to him preposterous, "an absurd delusion." It was 1900, a year when America felt bigger and stronger than ever before. Nothing in nature could hobble the gleaming city of Galveston, then a magical place that seemed destined to become the New York of the Gulf. That August, a strange, prolonged heat wave gripped the nation and killed scores of people in New York and Chicago. Odd things seemed to happen everywhere: A plague of crickets engulfed Waco. The Bering Glacier began to shrink. Rain fell on Galveston with greater intensity than anyone could remember. Far away, in Africa, immense thunderstorms blossomed over the city of Dakar, and great currents of wind converged. A wave of atmospheric turbulence slipped from the coast of western Africa. Most such waves faded quickly. This one did not. In Cuba, America's overconfidence was made all too obvious by the Weather Bureau's obsession with controlling hurricane forecasts, even though Cuba's indigenous weathermen had pioneered hurricane science. As the bureau's forecasters assured the nation that all was calm in the Caribbean, Cuba's own weathermen fretted about ominous signs in the sky. A curious stillness gripped Antigua. Only a few unlucky sea captains discovered that the storm had achieved an intensity no man alive had ever experienced. In Galveston, reassured by Cline's belief that no hurricane could seriously damage the city, there was celebration. Children played in the rising water. Hundreds of people gathered at the beach to marvel at the fantastically tall waves and gorgeous pink sky, until the surf began ripping the city's beloved beachfront apart. Within the next few hours Galveston would endure a hurricane that to this day remains the nation's deadliest natural disaster. In Galveston alone at least 6,000 people, possibly as many as 10,000, would lose their lives, a number far greater than the combined death toll of the Johnstown Flood and 1906 San Francisco Earthquake. And Isaac Cline would experience his own unbearable loss. Meticulously researched and vividly written, Isaac's Storm is based on Cline's own letters, telegrams, and reports, the testimony of scores of survivors, and our latest understanding of the hows and whys of great storms. Ultimately, however, it is the story of what can happen when human arrogance meets nature's last great uncontrollable force. As such, Isaac's Storm carries a warning for our time.
Book Tiger Girl and the Candy Kid Description/Summary:
The true Jazz Age tale of America’s first gangster couple, Margaret and Richard Whittemore Before Bonnie and Clyde there were Tiger Girl and the Candy Kid. In the wake of world war, a pandemic, and an economic depression, Margaret and Richard Whittemore, two love-struck working-class kids from Baltimore, reached for the dream of a better life. The couple headed up a gang that in less than a year stole over one million dollars’ worth of diamonds and precious gems—over ten million dollars today. Margaret was a chic flapper, the archetypal gun moll, partner to her husband’s crimes. Richard was the quintessential bad boy, whose cunning and violent ambition allowed the Whittemores to live the kind of lives they'd only seen in the movies. Along the way he killed at least three men, until prosecutors managed a conviction. As tabloids across the country exclaimed the details of the couple’s star-crossed romance, they became heroes to a new generation of young Americans who sought their own version of freedom. Set against the backdrop of the Roaring Twenties’ excesses, acclaimed author Glenn Stout takes us from the jailhouse to the speakeasy, from the cabarets where the couple celebrated good times to the gallows where their story finally came to an end—leaving Tiger Girl pining for a final kiss. Tiger Girl and the Candy Kid is a thrilling tale of rags to riches, tragedy and infamy.
A New York Times Editors Choice Longlisted for the 2020 Simpson / Joyce Carol Oates Literary Prize One of Vogue.com's “Best Books of 2020 So Far” One of Elle's “Best Books of 2020 So Far” Named A Most-Anticipated Book by The New York Times, Vogue, The Boston Globe, Salon, The Millions, Inside Hook, and Vol. 1 Brooklyn In 1996, the unnamed narrator of Teddy Wayne's Apartment is attending the MFA writing program at Columbia on his father's dime and living in an illegal sublet of a rent-stabilized apartment. Feeling guilty about his good fortune, he offers his spare bedroom--rent-free--to Billy, a talented, charismatic classmate from the Midwest eking out a hand-to-mouth existence in Manhattan. The narrator's rapport with Billy develops into the friendship he's never had due to a lifetime of holding people at arm's length, hovering at the periphery, feeling “fundamentally defective.” But their living arrangement, not to mention their radically different upbringings, breeds tensions neither man could predict. Interrogating the origins of our contemporary political divide and its ties to masculinity and class, Apartment is a gutting portrait of one of New York's many lost, disconnected souls by a writer with an uncommon aptitude for embodying them.
An astonishing World War II story of a trio of fearless female resisters whose youth and innocence belied their extraordinary daring in the Nazi-occupied Netherlands. It also made them the underground’s most invaluable commodity. May 10, 1940. The Netherlands was swarming with Third Reich troops. In seven days it’s entirely occupied by Nazi Germany. Joining a small resistance cell in the Dutch city of Haarlem were three teenage girls: Hannie Schaft, and sisters Truus and Freddie Oversteegen who would soon band together to form a singular female underground squad. Smart, fiercely political, devoted solely to the cause, and “with nothing to lose but their own lives,” Hannie, Truus, and Freddie took terrifying direct action against Nazi targets. That included sheltering fleeing Jews, political dissidents, and Dutch resisters. They sabotaged bridges and railways, and donned disguises to lead children from probable internment in concentration camps to safehouses. They covertly transported weapons and set military facilities ablaze. And they carried out the assassinations of German soldiers and traitors–on public streets and in private traps–with the courage of veteran guerilla fighters and the cunning of seasoned spies. In telling this true story through the lens of a fearlessly unique trio of freedom fighters, Tim Brady offers a fascinating perspective of the Dutch resistance during the war. Of lives under threat; of how these courageous young women became involved in the underground; and of how their dedication evolved into dangerous, life-threatening missions on behalf of Dutch patriots–regardless of the consequences. Harrowing, emotional, and unforgettable, Three Ordinary Girls finally moves these three icons of resistance into the deserved forefront of world history.
At the outset of the Second World War, John Colville, a young diplomat, was seconded from the foreign office to Number 10 Downing Street. For nine of the next sixteen years, he served three prime ministers - briefly Neville Chamberlain and Clement Attlee - but for much of that time as Private Secretary to Winston Churchill. During those momentous years Colville kept a diary, though this was forbidden by wartime regulations, locking it nightly into his desk at Number 10. Colville seldom left Churchill's side and the insights and observations he records paint an invaluable portrait of the nation's most famous leader both in times of war and peace. Transcribed and edited by Colville before his death, this new edition includes new material, both from the war period and from the time when he was private secretary to the then Princess Elizabeth when she became engaged and then married Prince Philip.