Pieces by Soviet and American writers of the time are interspersed. The American contributors include Raymond Carver, Mary Gordon, Garrison Keillor, Adrienne Rich, John Updike, Alice Walker and Robert Penn Warren. Among the Soviet writers are Yevgeny Yevtushenko, Andrei Voznesensky, Bulat Okudzhava, Tatyana Tolstaya, Georgy Semyonov and Bella Akhmadulina.
It was the hope of everyone concerned with this anthology at the time of its original publication that its attempt to make new connections between two peoples through storytelling and poetry would capture the imagination of readers in America, the Soviet Union and the world.
In The Two of Us Sheila Hancock relived her life with John Thaw - years packed with love and family, work and houses, delight and despair. And then she looked ahead. What next? Gardening, grannying and grumbling, while they all had their pleasures, weren't going to fill the aching void that John had left.
'Live adventurously', a piece of Quaker advice, was hovering in her mind. So, putting her and John's much-loved house in France on the market - too many memories - she embarked, instead, on a series of journeys. She tried holidaying alone, contending with invisibility and budget flights. She tried travelling in a group, but the questions she wanted to ask were never the ones the guide wanted to answer. She tried relaxing - harder than you might think. Finally, heading out of her comfort zone, she found her travels and new discoveries led her back to her past: to consider her generation - the last to experience the Second World War - and the kind of person it made her.
Just Me is a book about moving on, but it is also about looking back, and looking anew. Sheila, whether facing down burglars and easyJet staff (cross her at your peril) or making friends with waiters and taxi drivers, whether unearthing secrets in Budapest, getting arrested in Thailand, exulting in the art of Venice or mingling with the Mafia in Milan, is never less than stimulating company. Honest - because if you can't say what you think at seventy-five, when can you? - insightful and wonderfully down-to-earth, she is a woman seizing the future with wit, gusto and curiosity - on her own.
Little known among non-Russian readers, Batyushkov left a varied body of writing, both in verse and in prose, as well as memorable letters to friends. France nests a substantial selection of his sprightly epistles on love, friendship, and social life, his often tragic elegies, and extracts from his essays and letters within episodes of his remarkable life—particularly appropriate for a poet whose motto was “write as you live, and live as you write.” Batyushkov’s writing reflects the transition from the urbane sociability of the Enlightenment to the rebellious sensibility of Pushkin and Lermontov; it spans the Napoleonic Wars and the rapid social and literary change from Catherine the Great to Nicholas I. Presenting Batyushkov’s poetry of feeling and wit alongside his troubled life, Writings from the Golden Age of Russian Poetry makes his verse accessible to English-speaking readers in a necessary exploration of this transitional moment for Russian literature.
Conservative evangelicalism and modern business grew symbiotically, transforming the ways that Americans worshipped, worked, and consumed. Gilded Age evangelicals initially understood themselves primarily as new "Christian workers--employees of God guided by their divine contract, the Bible. But when these ideas were put to revolutionary ends by Populists, corporate evangelicals reimagined themselves as savvy religious consumers and reformulated their beliefs. Their consumer-oriented "orthodoxy" displaced traditional creeds and undermined denominational authority, forever altering the American religious landscape. Guaranteed pure of both liberal theology and Populist excesses, this was a new form of old-time religion not simply compatible with modern consumer capitalism but uniquely dependent on it.
Over the years it has had its ups and downs but it has always strived to remain true to its Quaker values in its commitment to the well-being of its workforce and the local community. Schools, libraries and recreation halls were built - and trade unions banned. As the sun set on the British Empire, Clarks opened up new frontiers across the world. Clarks brand logo became one of the most famous in the world. Every parent in the 1950s swore by Clarks shoes for their children as well as buying them for themselves.
But increased competition from within the UK and overseas saw concerns for the future heightened during the 1980s. A hostile bid for the company in the early 1990s saw the board and the family split. Eventually, shareholders voted to reject the bid. The company was reorganised with all its lines made outside the country. This resulted in the closure of all its UK factories and the laying off of hundreds of Clarks employees. But the outcome has been a transformation in the company's fortunes. In 2010 its profits were over 100 million and its retro desert boots and other styles have become the height of fashion, especially in China and America.