Voltaire's Bastards - John Ralston Saul
Known for his novels of international intrigue, Saul in his first work of nonfiction delivers a passionate jeremiad on the follies of our age. Reason, he argues, has run amok; instead of the enlightened utopia envisaged by Voltaire, the modern West is a soulless machine run by technocratic elites that promise efficiency but create disasters. The author targets the insane waste of our "permanent war economy," the perils of nuclear power, the co-optation of democracy by vested interests, the news media's focus on false events and manufactured celebrities, the "personality politics" of presidential campaigns. He critiques the Harvard Business School's management teachings, profiles such figures as Thomas Jefferson, Robert McNamara and Charles de Gaulle, flunks our colleges for failure to reward creativity and imagination. He blames novelists from James Joyce onward for "rendering literature inaccessible" and divorcing fiction from social concerns. He roams freely through history, politics, theology, art and film, challenging his audience on every page. This wonderfully provocative inquiry, a work of bold sweep and originality, may nonetheless leave some readers wondering whether misplaced faith in reason underlies all the ills discussed.
Mammoth Book of Cover-Ups
This book covers The Assassination of JFK, 9/11, the Da Vinci Code, The Death of Diana, Men in Black, Pearl Harbor, The Illuminati, Protocols of Zion,Hess, The Bilderberg Group, New World Order, ElvisFluoridization, Martin Luther King's murder, Opus Dei, The Gemstone Files, John Paul I, Dead Sea Scrolls, Lockerbie bombing, Black helicopters...
In other words everything 'they' never wanted you to know and were afraid you might ask!Jon E. Lewis explores the 100 most terrifying cover-ups of all time, from the invention of Jesus' divinity (pace the Da Vinci Code) to Bush's and Blair's real agenda in invading Iraq. Entertainingly written and closely documented, the book provides each cover-up with a plausibility rating. Uncover why the Titanic sank, ponder the sinister Vatican/Mafia network that plotted the assassination of liberal John Paul, find out why NASA 'lost' its files on Mars, read why no-one enters Area 51, and consider why medical supplies were already on site at Edgware Road before the 7/7 bombs detonated. Just because you are paranoid, it doesn't mean that they aren't out to conspire against you.
Bad Science - Ben Goldacre
The informative and witty expose of the "bad science" we are all subjected to, called "one of the essential reads of the year" by New Scientist.
We are obsessed with our health. And yet — from the media's "world-expert microbiologist" with a mail-order Ph.D. in his garden shed laboratory, and via multiple health scares and miracle cures — we are constantly bombarded with inaccurate, contradictory, and sometimes even misleading information. Until now. Ben Goldacre masterfully dismantles the questionable science behind some of the great drug trials, court cases, and missed opportunities of our time, but he also goes further: out of the ~lol~, he shows us the fascinating story of how we know what we know, and gives us the tools to uncover bad science for ourselves.
"For sheer savagery, the illusion-destroying, joyous attack on the self-regarding, know-nothing orthodoxies of the modern middle classes, Bad Science can not be beaten. You'll laugh your head off, then throw all those expensive health foods in the bin."
— The Observer (U.K.)
"One of the essential reads of the year."
— _New Scientist
"If you were to pick up just one non-fiction book this year, you'd do well to make it this one."
— _Daily Mail
"Thousands of books are enjoyable; many are enlightening; only a very few will ever rate as necessary to social health. This is one of them."
— _The Independent
"It should be on the national curriculum."
— _Time Out_ (five stars)
|05-21-11 at 05:09 AM||#15|
Join Date: May 2011
Last edited by pavancs; 09-22-11 at 01:03 AM.
Discuss Military & Historical Non-Fiction for Kindle at the E-Books & Tutorials forum within tehPARADOX.COM Online Sharing Community.
|05-21-11 at 01:27 PM||#16|
Join Date: May 2011
Millennium - Tom Holland
Of all the civilisations existing in the year 1000, that of Western Europe seemed the unlikeliest candidate for future greatness. Compared to the glittering empires of Byzantium or Islam, the splintered kingdoms on the edge of the Atlantic appeared impoverished, fearful and backward. But the anarchy of these years proved to be, not the portents of the end of the world, as many Christians had dreaded, but rather the birth pangs of a radically new order.MILLENNIUM is a stunning panoramic account of the two centuries on either side of the apocalyptic year 1000. This was the age of Canute, William the Conqueror and Pope Gregory VII, of Vikings, monks and serfs, of the earliest castles and the invention of knighthood, and of the primal conflict between church and state. The story of how the distinctive culture of Europe - restless, creative and dynamic - was forged from out of the convulsions of these extraordinary times is as fascinating and as momentous as any in history.
Persian Fire - Tom Holland
In the fifth century B.C., a global superpower was determined to bring truth and order to what it regarded as two terrorist states. The superpower was Persia, incomparably rich in ambition, gold, and men. The terrorist states were Athens and Sparta, eccentric cities in a poor and mountainous backwater: Greece. The story of how their citizens took on the Great King of Persia, and thereby saved not only themselves but Western civilization as well, is as heart-stopping and fateful as any episode in history. Tom Holland’s brilliant study of these critical Persian Wars skillfully examines a conflict of critical importance to both ancient and modern history.
The Templars - Michael Haag
The first history of the legendary knights since the Vatican momentously released the records of their trial and exoneration
Who were the Templars?
What was the secret of their wealth and power?
Why did the pope and the king of France act to destroy them?
The Knights Templar were founded on Christmas Day 1119, on the very spot in Jerusalem where Jesus Christ was crucified. A religious order of fighting knights, the Templars defended the Holy Land and Christian pilgrims in the decades after the First Crusade. Legendary for their bravery and dedication, the Templars became one of the wealthiest and most powerful bodies of the medieval world—until they were condemned for heresy two centuries after their foundation, when the order was abolished and its leaders were burned at the stake.
In The Templars, renowned historian Michael Haag investigates the origins and history, the enduring myths, and the soaring architecture of an enigmatic order long shrouded in mystery and controversy. The hand of the Templars, many believe, can be found in everything from Cathar heresy to Masonic conspiracies, and the Knights Templar still inspire popular culture, from Indiana Jones to Xbox games, to the novels of Dan Brown.
Last edited by pavancs; 09-22-11 at 01:03 AM.
|05-22-11 at 01:26 AM||#17|
Join Date: May 2011
The Coming of the Third Reich - Richard J. Evans
On March 30, 1933, two months after Hitler achieved power, Paul Nikolaus, a Berlin cabaret comedian, wrote disconsolately, "For once, no joke. I am taking my own life.... [U]nfortunately I have fallen in love with my Fatherland. I cannot live in these times." How Germans could remain in love with their fatherland under Nazism and even contribute willingly to its horrific extremism is the subject of Cambridge historian Evans's gripping if overwhelmingly detailed study, the first of three projected volumes. Readers watch a great and historic culture grow grotesquely warped from within, until, in 1933, a dictatorial state was imposed upon the ruins of the Weimar republic. A host of shrill demagogues had, in the preceding decades, become missionaries to an uneasy coalition of the discontented, eager to subvert Germany's democratic institutions. This account contrasts with oversimplified diagnoses of how Nazism succeeded in taking possession of the German psyche. Evans asserts that Hitler's manipulative charisma required massive dissatisfaction and resentment available to be exploited. Nazism found convenient scapegoats in historic anti-Semitism, the shame of an imposed peace after WWI and the weakness of an unstable government alien to the disciplined German past. Although there have been significant recent studies of Hitler and his regime, like Ian Kershaw's brilliant two volumes, Evans (In Hitler's Shadow, etc.) broadens the historic perspective to demythologize how morbidly fertile the years before WWI were as an incubator for Hitler. 31 illus., 18 maps.
The Liberators - Michael Hirsh
"These eyewitness accounts are powerful, detailed and horrifying. Of particular note is the last chapter, in which some of the veterans record what happened to them after the war; decades later, many still struggled with nightmares and rage." _–USA Today
Over the past five decades, newsreels and army films showing the stacked bodies, gas chambers, crematoriums, and skeletal survivors have been viewed by millions, so graphic images of the horrors of the death and slave labor camps are not new. What makes this account so valuable is its effort to convey the sheer shock of those American, British, and Canadian soldiers who encountered these camps, often by accident, on their way to another military objective.
This moving but unsettling book is the fruit of more than 150 interviews the author conducted with soldiers who liberated these camps in the closing weeks of the war. Some of these men seem curiously detached in their recollections, but Hirsh points out that these were battle-hardened men who had already been exposed to the brutalities of war. But other witnesses, years after the war, still express their disgust and outrage and even their thirst for revenge upon the perpetrators of these monstrosities. An excellent addition to Holocaust literature.
1776 - David McCullough
Esteemed historian David McCullough covers the military side of the momentous year of 1776 with characteristic insight and a gripping narrative, adding new scholarship and a fresh perspective to the beginning of the American Revolution.
It was a turbulent and confusing time. As British and American politicians struggled to reach a compromise, events on the ground escalated until war was inevitable. McCullough writes vividly about the dismal conditions that troops on both sides had to endure, including an unusually harsh winter, and the role that luck and the whims of the weather played in helping the colonial forces hold off the world's greatest army. He also effectively explores the importance of motivation and troop morale--a tie was as good as a win to the Americans, while anything short of overwhelming victory was disheartening to the British, who expected a swift end to the war.
The redcoat retreat from Boston, for example, was particularly humiliating for the British, while the minor American victory at Trenton was magnified despite its limited strategic importance.
Some of the strongest passages in 1776 are the revealing and well-rounded portraits of the Georges on both sides of the Atlantic. King George III, so often portrayed as a bumbling, arrogant fool, is given a more thoughtful treatment by McCullough, who shows that the king considered the colonists to be petulant subjects without legitimate grievances--an attitude that led him to underestimate the will and capabilities of the Americans. At times he seems shocked that war was even necessary.
The great Washington lives up to his considerable reputation in these pages, and McCullough relies on private correspondence to balance the man and the myth, revealing how deeply concerned Washington was about the Americans' chances for victory, despite his public optimism. Perhaps more than any other man, he realized how fortunate they were to merely survive the year, and he willingly lays the responsibility for their good fortune in the hands of God rather than his own. Enthralling and superbly written, 1776 is the work of a master historian
Last edited by pavancs; 09-22-11 at 01:04 AM.
|05-22-11 at 01:34 AM||#18|
Join Date: Jan 2010
fantastic post mate,thanks a bundle
|05-22-11 at 06:39 AM||#19|
Join Date: May 2011
War - Sebastian Junger
War is insanely exciting.... Don't underestimate the power of that revelation, warns bestselling author and Vanity Fair contributing editor Junger (_The Perfect Storm_).
The war in Afghanistan contains brutal trauma but also transcendent purpose in this riveting combat narrative. Junger spent 14 months in 2007–2008 intermittently embedded with a platoon of the 173rd Airborne brigade in Afghanistan's Korengal Valley, one of the bloodiest corners of the conflict. The soldiers are a scruffy, warped lot, with unkempt uniforms—they sometimes do battle in shorts and flip-flops—and a ritual of administering friendly beatings to new arrivals, but Junger finds them to be superlative soldiers. Junger experiences everything they do—nerve-racking patrols, terrifying roadside bombings and ambushes, stultifying weeks in camp when they long for a firefight to relieve the tedium. Despite the stress and the grief when buddies die, the author finds war to be something of an exalted state: soldiers experience an almost sexual thrill in the excitement of a firefight—a response Junger struggles to understand—and a profound sense of commitment to subordinating their self-interests to the good of the unit.
Junger mixes visceral combat scenes—raptly aware of his own fear and exhaustion—with quieter reportage and insightful discussions of the physiology, social psychology, and even genetics of soldiering. The result is an unforgettable portrait of men under fire.
John Adams - David McCullough
In this powerful, epic biography, David McCullough unfolds the adventurous life-journey of John Adams, the brilliant, fiercely independent, often irascible, always honest Yankee patriot -- "the colossus of independence," as Thomas Jefferson called him -- who spared nothing in his zeal for the American Revolution; who rose to become the second President of the United States and saved the country from blundering into an unnecessary war; who was learned beyond all but a few and regarded by some as "out of his senses"; and whose marriage to the wise and valiant Abigail Adams is one of the moving love stories in American history.
Like his masterly, Pulitzer Prize-winning biography Truman, David McCullough's John Adams has the sweep and vitality of a great novel. It is both a riveting portrait of an abundantly human man and a vivid evocation of his time, much of it drawn from an outstanding collection of Adams family letters and diaries. In particular, the more than one thousand surviving letters between John and Abigail Adams, nearly half of which have never been published, provide extraordinary access to their private lives and make it possible to know John Adams as no other major American of his founding era.
As he has with stunning effect in his previous books, McCullough tells the story from within -- from the point of view of the amazing eighteenth century and of those who, caught up in events, had no sure way of knowing how things would turn out. George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, the British spy Edward Bancroft, Madame Lafayette and Jefferson's Paris "interest" Maria Cosway, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, the scandalmonger James Callender, Sally Hemings, John Marshall, Talleyrand, and Aaron Burr all figure in this panoramic chronicle, as does, importantly, John Quincy Adams, the adored son whom Adams would live to see become President.Crucial to the story, as it was to history, is the relationship between Adams and Jefferson, born opposites -- one a Massachusetts farmer's son, the other a Virginia aristocrat and slaveholder, one short and stout, the other tall and spare. Adams embraced conflict; Jefferson avoided it. Adams had great humor; Jefferson, very little. But they were alike in their devotion to their country.At first they were ardent co-revolutionaries, then fellow diplomats and close friends. With the advent of the two political parties, they became archrivals, even enemies, in the intense struggle for the presidency in 1800, perhaps the most vicious election in history. Then, amazingly, they became friends again, and ultimately, incredibly, they died on the same day -- their day of days -- July 4, in the year 1826.
Much about John Adams's life will come as a surprise to many readers. His courageous voyage on the frigate Boston in the winter of 1778 and his later trek over the Pyrenees are exploits that few would have dared and that few readers will ever forget.It is a life encompassing a huge arc -- Adams lived longer than any president.
The story ranges from the Boston Massacre to Philadelphia in 1776 to the Versailles of Louis XVI, from Spain to Amsterdam, from the Court of St. James's, where Adams was the first American to stand before King George III as a representative of the new nation, to the raw, half-finished Capital by the Potomac, where Adams was the first President to occupy the White House.This is history on a grand scale -- a book about politics and war and social issues, but also about human nature, love, religious faith, virtue, ambition, friendship and betrayal, and the far-reaching consequences of noble ideas. Above all, John Adams is an enthralling, often surprising story of one of the most important and fascinating Americans who ever lived.
Truman - David McCullough
The life of Harry S. Truman is one of the greatest of American stories, filled with vivid characters -- Roosevelt, Churchill, Stalin, Eleanor Roosevelt, Bess Wallace Truman, George Marshall, Joe McCarthy, and Dean Acheson -- and dramatic events.
In this riveting biography, acclaimed historian David McCullough not only captures the man -- a more complex, informed, and determined man than ever before imagined -- but also the turbulent times in which he rose, boldly, to meet unprecedented challenges. The last president to serve as a living link between the nineteenth and the twentieth centuries, Truman's story spans the raw world of the Missouri frontier, World War I, the powerful Pendergast machine of Kansas City, the legendary Whistle-Stop Campaign of 1948, and the decisions to drop the atomic bomb, confront Stalin at Potsdam, send troops to Korea, and fire General MacArthur.
Drawing on newly discovered archival material and extensive interviews with Truman's own family, friends, and Washington colleagues, McCullough tells the deeply moving story of the seemingly ordinary "man from Missouri" who was perhaps the most courageous president in our history.
Last edited by pavancs; 09-22-11 at 01:05 AM.
|05-22-11 at 07:45 AM||#20|
Join Date: Nov 2010
The Adams and Truman book look really good but the site hangs for me in Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari while it's trying to generate a link. Is there any way you could upload elsewhere?
|05-22-11 at 08:01 AM||#21|
Join Date: May 2011
Hi readingril.. I also use internet explorer.it haven't given me prob even once. Delete browser cookies and try.If same prob cont. will try to provide another link :)
|05-22-11 at 10:00 AM||#22|
Join Date: Nov 2010
Still didn't work, but that's OK, I found the titles elsewhere. Thanks for bringing them to my attention!
|05-22-11 at 12:47 PM||#23|
Join Date: May 2011
Tulipomania : The Story of the World's Most Coveted Flower & the Extraordinary Passions It Aroused - Mike Dash
The centerpiece of this story is a stunning two months, December 1636 and January 1637, when fortunes were made and lost in the Netherlands--in tulip bulb futures trading. Stripped to its basics, this would be a dry case study in an economics textbook. But Dash adds depth to the tale by including relevant bits of botany, sociology and history, as well as glimpses of the personalities involved in the creation of the tulip market, such as the orphans who made a fortune selling their late father's tulip bulbs and the man who owned a dozen extremely rare bulbs and wouldn't part with them at any price.
Dash is fascinated by the contrast between the aesthetic sense of the Ottoman sultans (reflected in their love of tulip-laden gardens) and the ferocity of their rule (evidenced by fratricide, garroting and torture), but his musings on this interesting paradox are too unfocused to be enlightening. Overall, however, Dash (The Limit; Borderlands) effectively brings together a diverse mix of disciplines to illuminate the cultural, financial and psychological elements of an economic bubble--a subject that should be of great interest today. Readers interested in the technical aspects of economic speculation and those attuned to human folly will find this a worthwhile read.
The First Family: Terror, Extortion, Revenge, Murder, and the Birth of the American Mafia
Decades before the Five Families emerged and more than half a century before Mario Puzo wrote The Godfather, Giuseppe Morello and his family controlled all manner of crime in New York City.
Bestselling historian Dash (_Satan's Circus_; Tulipomania) presents an enthralling account of this little-known boss of bosses, dubbed the Clutch Hand because of his deformed arm. Arriving with his family from Corleone, Sicily, in 1892, Morello soon set up a successful operation counterfeiting American and Canadian bills. His empire expanded to include extorting local businesses, insurance scams and kidnappings. The Mafia—a term that Dash underscores was used by outsiders, not members—was in its infancy when Morello came to America, but by the time he was gunned down in 1930, families had cropped up in all five boroughs and in cities across the country. Dash depicts the balance between loyalty and betrayal as an ever-changing dance and nimbly catalogues the endless gruesome murders committed in the name of revenge and honor.
Readers may think they know the mob, but Morello's ruthless rule makes even the fictional Tony Soprano look tame.
Broke, USA: From Pawnshops to Poverty, Inc.
How the Working Poor Became Big Business
Journalist Rivlin (_Fire on the Prairie_) offers a superb exposé of the poverty business—the flock of companies that cater to (and prey on) the working poor. For people living paycheck to paycheck and sometimes falling behind with rent, car payments, and grocery bills, fringe financing and the ubiquitous Rent-A-Centers, Jackson Hewitt, payday lenders, pawnshops, and check cashers—may seem like their only safety net.
These businesses may tout themselves as a necessary service and force for economic development in low-income communities, but Rivlin reveals their dark underbelly: punishing rates of interest and customer service reps explicitly trained to mislead customers who appear gullible. He delves into the effect of financial deregulation on fringe financing, predatory subprime lending, and the major players in this unsavory world, including Allan Jones, a debt collector, worth $200 million, and the activists and advocates like Bill Brennan who've faced them down in the courts.
A timely, important, and deeply disturbing look at the cycle of debt of the nation's most vulnerable.
Germs, Genes, & Civilization: How Epidemics Shaped Who We Are Today
Clark (Molecular Biology Made Simple and Fun) argues that microscopic bacteria, viruses, and fungi have played an enormous and largely unacknowledged role in human history. Beginning with Attila's attack of Rome, which was likely stopped by dysentery, and continuing through modern diseases such as AIDS and the Ebola virus, Clark investigates a large number of illnesses and uncovers the ways in which they have impacted historical events. The same genes that provide humanity with protection against some endemic diseases, Clark argues, may also cause sickle cell anemia and cystic fibrosis. With wit and humor, the author turns death, an ever-heavy topic, into an engrossing exploration of the course of mankind.
Though Clark's lack of references will make it difficult for readers to gain additional information, there's much of interest in this chronicle of microbes through the ages.
Castles of Steel: Britain, Germany, and the Winning of the Great War at Sea - Robert K Massie
The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Nicholas and Alexandra returns with a sequel to Dreadnought that is imposing in both size and quality, taking the British and German battle fleets through WWI.
The fluent narrative begins amid the diplomatic crisis of July 1914 and ends with the scuttling of the German High Seas Fleet at Scapa Flow in 1919. Massie makes a coherent if long narrative out of a sequence of events familiar to students of naval history but probably not to many other potential readers. The focus is on the two fleets that confronted each other across the North Sea, their weapons and tactics and their complex and controversial leaders, both military and political. As in his other books, the author describes his cast of characters with the vividness of a novelist, British Admiral Beatty's disastrous marriage being a painful case in point. What emerges from that focus is not only a number of outstanding battle narratives (Jutland is only the most famous), but a closely argued case for the German fleet having been a disaster for its country's war effort.
Once built, the High Seas Fleet made war with England and the blockade of Germany inevitable. Unable to break the blockade with that expensive fleet, Germany felt compelled to choose between a negotiated peace and unrestricted submarine warfare. Once the Germans chose the latter course, American intervention and disaster become nearly unavoidable. It may seem odd to describe a book of this size as an "introduction," but readers will soon understand that the size of the topic requires a long narrative. "Castles of steel" was Winston Churchill's grand phrase for the Grand Fleet and its German counterpart, and this unusually fine military narrative lives up to it as well.
The Worst Journey in the World - Apsley Cherry-Garrard
As Apsley Cherry-Garrard states in his introduction to the harrowing story of the Scott expedition to the South Pole, "Polar Exploration is at once the cleanest and most isolated way of having a bad time which has been devised."
Cherry-Garrard's The Worst Journey in the World is a gripping account of an expedition gone disastrously wrong. The youngest member of Scott's team, the author was later part of the rescue party that eventually found the frozen bodies of Scott and three men who had accompanied Scott on the final push to the Pole. These deaths would haunt Cherry-Garrard for the rest of his life as he questioned the decisions he had made and the actions he had taken in the days leading up to the Polar Party's demise.
Prior to this sad denouement, Cherry-Garrard's account is filled with details of scientific discovery and anecdotes of human resilience in a harsh environment. Each participant in the Scott expedition is brought fully to life. Cherry-Garrard's recollections are supported by diary excerpts and accounts from other teammates.
Despite the sad fate of Scott, the reader will grudgingly agree with the closing words of The Worst Journey in the World: "Exploration is the physical expression of the Intellectual Passion. And I tell you, if you have the desire for knowledge and the power to give it physical expression, go out and explore.... If you march your Winter Journeys you will have your reward, so long as all you want is a penguin's egg."
Why People Believe Weird Things - Michael Shermer
Few can talk with more personal authority about the range of human beliefs than Michael Shermer. At various times in the past, Shermer has believed in fundamentalist Christianity, alien abductions, Ayn Rand, megavitamin therapy, and deep-tissue massage.
Now he believes in skepticism, and his motto is "_Cognite tute_--think for yourself."
This updated edition of Why People Believe Weird Things covers Holocaust denial and creationism in considerable detail, and has chapters on abductions, Satanism, Afrocentrism, near-death experiences, Randian positivism, and psychics.
Shermer has five basic answers to the implied question in his title: for consolation, for immediate gratification, for simplicity, for moral meaning, and because hope springs eternal.
He shows the kinds of errors in thinking that lead people to believe weird (that is, unsubstantiated) things, especially the built-in human need to see patterns, even where there is no pattern to be seen. Throughout, Shermer emphasizes that skepticism (in his sense) does not need to be cynicism: "Rationality tied to moral decency is the most powerful joint instrument for good that our planet has ever known."
Last edited by pavancs; 09-22-11 at 01:30 AM.
|05-23-11 at 02:34 AM||#24|
Join Date: May 2011
In the Place of Justice: A Story of Punishment and Deliverance - Wilbert Rideau
A death row inmate finds redemption as a prison journalist in this uplifting memoir. In 1961, after a bungled bank robbery, Rideau was convicted of murder at the age of 19 and received a death sentence that was later commuted to life in prison at Louisiana's Angola penitentiary, then the most violent in the nation. Against all expectations, his own included, he turned his up-to-then cursed life around, becoming editor of the prison newsmagazine, the Angolite, and an NPR correspondent who published nationally acclaimed articles on prison violence, rape and sexual slavery, and the cruelty of the electric chair.
Rideau frames his 44-year fight to get his conviction reduced to manslaughter and win parole (he succeeded in 2005) as a black man's struggle against a racist criminal justice establishment. More inspiring is his self-reclamation through tough, committed journalism in an unpropitious setting where survival required canny alliance building against predatory inmates and callous authorities alike. To a society that treats convicts as a worthless underclass, Rideau's story is a compelling reminder that rehabilitation should be the focus of a penal system. 16 pages of photos; 2 maps
One Minute to Midnight: Kennedy, Khrushchev, and Castro on the Brink of Nuclear War - Michael Dobbs
Washington Post reporter Dobbs (_Saboteurs_) is a master at telling stories as they unfold and from a variety of perspectives. In this re-examination of the 1963 Bay of Pigs face-off between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R., Dobbs combines visits to Cuba, discussions with Russian participants and fingertip command of archival and printed U.S. sources to describe a wild ride that—contrary to the myth of Kennedy's steel-nerved crisis management—was shaped by improvisation, guesswork and blind luck.
Dobbs's protagonists act not out of malevolence, incompetence or machismo. Kennedy, Khrushchev and their advisers emerge as men desperately seeking a handle on a situation no one wanted and no one could resolve. In a densely packed, fast-paced, suspenseful narrative, Dobbs presents the crisis from its early stages through the decision to blockade Cuba and Kennedy's ordering of DEFCON 2, the last step before an attack, to the final resolution on October 27 and 28.
The work's climax is a detailed reconstruction of the dry-mouthed, sweaty-armpits environment of those final hours before both sides backed down. From first to last, this sustains Dobbs's case that crisis management is a contradiction in terms.
Holy Warriors: A Modern History of the Crusades - Jonathan Phillips
University of London historian and History Channel contributor Phillips (_The Second Crusade_) superbly condenses the four centuries of the Crusades into a single, easily accessible volume.
Islamic as well as Western sources are utilized to demonstrate the similarities between jihad and crusading. The narrative weaves a tragic tapestry, beginning with the bloodily successful First Crusade, through the establishment of the Crusader states, to the failure of subsequent Crusades, the victories of the Muslim counter-Crusade, and the continuing legacy of religious and cultural hatred that permeates the Holy Land. Individuals such as the charismatic Queen Melisende of Jerusalem; the Leper King, Baldwin IV; the Muslim warriors Nur ad-Din and Saladin; England's Richard the Lionheart; and many others play major and minor roles in the creation of a past that still lives today. Episodes including the breathtaking naivete of the Children's Crusade and the Reconquista of the Iberian Peninsula are effectively described.
Concluding chapters examine the impact of the Crusades since the 15th century. Regrettably, little attention is given to the crusading spirit resurrected by the 1571 Battle of Lepanto. But this is an outstanding summary of centuries of religious strife, the effects of which are with us still. 8 pages of b&w photos, 5 maps.
Helmet for My Pillow - Robert Leckie
Robert Leckie, one of America’s greatest military historians, was both an eyewitness and participant to some of the greatest battles in the Pacific. Helmet for My Pillow is his vivid account of combat and survival in World War II.
In January 1942, in the aftermath of the infamous Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, Leckie enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. From boot camp in Parris Island to the bloody war in the Pacific, Robert Leckie experienced it all — the booze, the brawling, the loving on sixty-two-hour liberty; the courageous fighting and dying in combat as the U.S. Marines slugged it out, inch by inch, island by island across the Pacific to the shores of Japan.
Last edited by pavancs; 09-22-11 at 02:03 AM.
|05-23-11 at 11:54 PM||#25|
Join Date: May 2011
The Battle for Iwo Jima - Robert Leckie
Iwo Jima is one of the most famous battles in World War II, and the greatest battle fought by the U.S. Marine Corps in World War II. From that battle came the most famous image of the war, the raising of the flag on Mount Suribachi. Robert Leckie, the bestselling author of Helmet for My Pillow has written an extraordinary story of one of the bloodiest battles in Marine Corps history.
Boardwalk Empire - Nelson Johnson
From its inception, Atlantic City has always been a town dedicated to the fast buck, and this wide-reaching history offers a riveting account of its past 100 years—from the city's heyday as a Prohibition-era mecca of lawlessness to its rebirth as a legitimate casino resort in the modern era. A colorful cast of characters, led by Enoch “Nucky” Johnson, populates this stranger-than-fiction account of corrupt politics and the toxic power structure that grew out of guile, finesse, and extortion. Atlantic City's shadowy past—through its rise, fall, and rebirth—is given new light in this revealing, and often appalling, study of legislative abuse and organized crime.
The Class of 1846 - John Waugh
Waugh, a former correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor , brings an original but ultimately unsatisfactory approach to this study of command in the Civil War. The West Point class of 1846 graduated 59 men: 10 of them, including Stonewall Jackson (1824-1863) became confederate generals; 12, including George McClellan (1826-1885), wore stars for the Union. Waugh is at his best describing the routines of West Point and the experiences of the Mexican War (1846-1848) that welded the class into a community. But when he addresses the Civil War, he focuses almost entirely on Jackson and McClellan while their classmates receive cursory and episodic treatment in a text that jumps abruptly from Gettysburg to Appomattox. Confederates like George Pickett, Cadmus Wilcox and A. P. Hill, and Union generals like John Gibbon and Darius Couch ('46ers all), invite comparative analysis in the context of their common professional experience. What Waugh offers instead is operational narrative, well-written but adding nothing to standard images of McClellan's failure and Jackson's genius.
The Johnstown Flood - David McCullough
David McCullough is known to millions as the author of the critically acclaimed, best-selling books The Great Bridge, The Path Between the Seas, and Mornings on Horseback, and as host of the popular PBS television series "Smithsonian World?'
The Johnstown Flood, David McCullough's first book, was praised by Time magazine as a "meticulously researched, vivid account of one of the most stunning disasters in U.S. history." At the end of the last century, Johnstown,.Pennsylvania, was a booming coal-and-steel town filled with hard-working families striving for a piece of the nation's burgeoning industrial prosperity. In the mountains above Johnstown, an old earth dam had been hastily rebuilt to create a lake for an exclusive summer resort patronized by the tycoons of that same industrial prosperity: among them Andrew Carnegie, Henry Clay Frick, and Andrew Mellon. Despite repeated warnings of possible danger, nothing was done about the dam.
Then came May 31, 1889, when the dam burst, sending a wall of water thundering down the mountain, smashing through Johnstown, and killing more than 2,000 townspeople. It was a tragedy that became a national scandal. From research in the voluminous records, diaries, letters, interviews with numbers of survivors, and a rare, previously unknown transcript of a private investigation conducted by the Pennsylvania Railroad, David McCullough vividly re-creates the chain of events that led to the catastrophe, and then unfolds the incredible story of the flood itself and its aftermath.
Graced by David McCullough's remarkable gift for writing richly textured, sympathetic social history, The Johnstown Flood is an absorbing, classic portrait of life in 19th-century America, of overweening confidence, energy, and tragedy. It also offers a powerful historical lesson for our century and all times: the danger of assuming that because people are in positions of responsibility they are necessarily behaving responsibly.
Lost and Found in Russia: Lives in the Post-Soviet Landscape
Part travelogue, part contemporary history, Richards's new work explores postcommunist Russia from the point of view of the Russian people directly affected by one of the 20th century's most defining sociopolitical events, the collapse of the U.S.S.R. Recounting her travels in Russia from 1992 to 2008, Richards, who wrote the PEN/Time-Life Award–winning Epics of Everyday Life, focuses on the country's forgotten provinces and the lives of her friends--the monastic, poetic journalist Anna; the manic, wandering couple Natasha and Igor; entrepreneurial Misha and his serene beauty of a wife, Tatiana.
As a writer Richards wears her heart on her sleeve, and her story is full of empathy, frustration, and admiration as she observes her friends going through the roller-coaster of emotions, from hope to despair. And while glimpses into the lives of Russia's common folk are interesting, the real gems Richards uncovers are about the parts of the Russian society and mindset that remained hidden from Western eyes for nearly a century. Whether she is discovering a town said to be frequented by UFOs, exploring Russia's development of parapsychological weapons, or visiting a lab where "communication with the divine" is studied, Richards is constantly exposing a mystical and religious side of Russia that flies in the face of Western rationalism.
Hitler - Ian Kershaw
"Summer 1936: the eyes of the world were trained on Berlin, elaborately decked out for the Olympic Games. Aside from the swastikas unfurled inside and outside the massive stadium, visitors to the games saw scant evidence of a repressive regime. Nazi Germany and its unchallenged leader, Adolf Hitler, were on their best behavior. Yet, away from the spectacle in Berlin, an ominous war machine was in the making."
As Ian Kershaw opens this monumental volume, large segments of the German population idolize Hitler for bringing the nation out of economic despair.
Supported by four pillars of the Nazi regime -- the Party, the armed forces, the industrial cartels, and the civil service -- Hitler is poised to realize his Mephistophelian vision: the subjugation of Europe under the Thousand Year Reich and, in the process, the annihilation of the Jews. Meanwhile, a continent still carrying the scars of the First World War largely ignores his blueprints for conquest." "Soon Hitler embarks on expansion. With chilling efficiency, he annexes Austria with the support of rabid local Nazis, and then, after hoodwinking European leaders in Munich, undertakes a lightning conquest of Czechoslovakia. His invasion of Poland plunges Europe headlong into a cataclysmic war, a war that Hitler is convinced he alone has the genius to conduct.
In unsparing prose, Kershaw describes the slaughter of conquered troops and civilians alike as German soldiers, accompanied by fanatical SS units, sweep into country after country." "For three years, Hitler's armies have the upper hand. But once the tides of battle turn in favor of the Allies, Hitler, no longer the invincible warlord, becomes an increasingly desperate gambler. Rarely leaving his "Wolf's Lair" he continues to mastermind the war, his public appearances and radio broadcasts limited to whipping up fervor among his countrymen against Jews, "Bolsheviks," and others deemed enemies of the Aryan race.".
"Drawing on many previously unutilized sources, Kershaw describes the Draconian measures taken by Hitler's henchmen -- Himmler, Goebbels, Goring, Bormann, and others -- to tighten the Nazi grip on the home front without significant resistance from the German people. In the Fuhrer's name, Gestapo and SS leaders orchestrate and carry out the persecutions that lead to the death camps of the Holocaust." "After the D-Day invasion and a steady stream of defeats on the Eastern Front, Hitler is virtually alone in insisting that victory is still possible. When Hitler asserts that his survival after an assassination attempt by German officers on July 20, 1944, "is a sign of Providence that I must continue my work," Kershaw depicts a beleaguered fanatic prepared to leave his country in ruins. Ten months later, while his shattered forces desperately attempt to stave off the Russian onslaught on Berlin, Hitler spends his final days, chillingly documented here, in a bunker under the city until he ends his life with a pistol shot to his head." "Throughout this masterful account, Kershaw never loses sight of the German people and their massive support for Hitler and the Nazi regime. "Decades would not fully erase," he observes, "the simple but compelling sentiment painted in huge letters" in Munich shortly after the surrender to the Allies: "I am ashamed to be a German."
Last edited by pavancs; 09-22-11 at 02:08 AM.
|05-24-11 at 04:13 AM||#26|
Join Date: Jun 2010
Pavancs, your thread is full of great reads! Thanks for this great share!
|05-24-11 at 11:37 PM||#27|
Join Date: May 2011
u r welcome bittybat!
|05-24-11 at 11:44 PM||#28|
Join Date: May 2011
Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin - Timothy Snyder
If there is an explanation for the political killing perpetrated in eastern Europe in the 1930s and 1940s, historian Snyder roots it in agriculture. Stalin wanted to collectivize farmers; Hitler wanted to eliminate them so Germans could colonize the land. The dictators wielded frightening power to advance such fantasies toward reality, and the despots toted up about 14 million corpses between them, so stupefying a figure that Snyder sets himself three goals here: to break down the number into the various actions of murder that comprise it, from liquidation of the kulaks to the final solution; to restore humanity to the victims via surviving testimony to their fates; and to deny Hitler and Stalin any historical justification for their policies, which at the time had legions of supporters and have some even today. Such scope may render Snyder’s project too imposing to casual readers, but it would engage those exposed to the period’s chronology and major interpretive issues, such as the extent to which the Nazi and Soviet systems may be compared. Solid and judicious scholarship for large WWII collections.
Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution - Simon Schama
In what Publishers Weekly called a "sprawling, provocative, sometimes infuriating chronicle that stands much conventional wisdom on its head," Schama argues that the Revolution did not produce a "patriotic culture of citizenship" but was preceded by one.
This well-written, thoroughly documented book should be on every high-school library shelf. It explains the self-destructive, bloody orgy that occurred in France but not in England or Prussia, countries in similar states of poverty and with similarly deprived, disenfranchised populaces. Schama theorizes that the cause of France's revolution lies in the self-deception of the ruling intelligentsia, who believed that they could make a Utopian France by allowing controlled violence, murder, and the destruction of property in the name of liberty, and all to exist simultaneously with good government.
Schama presents Talleyrand, Lafayette, and others with more understanding than they are given in most histories, setting them amidst a web of violence of their own making. This book speaks to today's world, as nations strive to move from despotism to democracy. A more modern view of these same problems is found in Z. Brzezinski's The Grand Failure.
Iron Kingdom - Christopher Clark
The story of Prussia is one that has been told many times, but seldom as intelligently, elegantly and interestingly as it is here. Christopher Clark has written a monumental history of a state that started from small beginnings as the Mark of Brandenburg, grew in size, violence and pretensions, and ended up being destroyed forever in 1947, when the victorious Allies decided they had had enough of this troublesome phenomenon...The bulk of a fascinating text, littered with intriguing detail and wry observation, focuses on this transformation in the 200 years from the bloody Thirty Years War in the 17th century (which cost Prussia half its population) to the creation by the Prussian nobleman Otto von Bismarck of a German Empire in 1871...Clark has written a masterly synthesis of [the] many disparate strands in a long and ultimately forlorn history.
For the Thrill of It - Simon Baatz
In 1924, Nathan Leopold, 19, and Richard Loeb, 18, both intellectually precocious scions of wealthy Jewish Chicago families, kidnapped and brutally murdered 14-year-old Bobby Franks in an attempt to commit the perfect crime.
Historian Baatz, of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, replays the crime (on which Meyer Levin's 1956 novel Compulsion was based) from the killers' point of view, detailing their intense, often sexual, relationship that culminated in the murder. But they left a crucial piece of evidence and eventually confessed to the murder.
Clarence Darrow cleverly had the boys plead guilty to avoid a trial, and the legendary defense attorney went head to head with State's Attorney Robert Crowe in a sentencing hearing before Judge John Caverly. Both sides trotted out psychiatrists to testify whether Leopold and Loeb were mentally ill. Darrow's gamble paid off in life sentences. Loeb was murdered in prison in 1936; Leopold was eventually paroled in 1958.
Baatz gives an acute portrait of the two murderers bound together in a web of fantasy, but his heavy reliance on novelistic techniques (there!—he had done it) and meandering pacing prevent this from being as convincing as his exhaustive research deserves. B&w photos.
Last edited by pavancs; 09-22-11 at 02:09 AM.