Top Selling in Historical
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ron Chernow presents a landmark biography of Alexander Hamilton, the Founding Father who galvanized, inspired, scandalized, and shaped the newborn nation.
In the first full-length biography of Alexander Hamilton in decades, Ron Chernow tells the riveting story of a man who overcame all odds to shape, inspire, and scandalize the newborn America. According to historian Joseph Ellis, Alexander Hamilton is “a robust full-length portrait, in my view the best ever written, of the most brilliant, charismatic and dangerous founder of them all.”
Few figures in American history have been more hotly debated or more grossly misunderstood than Alexander Hamilton. Chernow’s biography gives Hamilton his due and sets the record straight, deftly illustrating that the political and economic greatness of today’s America is the result of Hamilton’s countless sacrifices to champion ideas that were often wildly disputed during his time. “To repudiate his legacy,” Chernow writes, “is, in many ways, to repudiate the modern world.” Chernow here recounts Hamilton’s turbulent life: an illegitimate, largely self-taught orphan from the Caribbean, he came out of nowhere to take America by storm, rising to become George Washington’s aide-de-camp in the Continental Army, coauthoring The Federalist Papers, founding the Bank of New York, leading the Federalist Party, and becoming the first Treasury Secretary of the United States.Historians have long told the story of America’s birth as the triumph of Jefferson’s democratic ideals over the aristocratic intentions of Hamilton. Chernow presents an entirely different man, whose legendary ambitions were motivated not merely by self-interest but by passionate patriotism and a stubborn will to build the foundations of American prosperity and power. His is a Hamilton far more human than we’ve encountered before—from his shame about his birth to his fiery aspirations, from his intimate relationships with childhood friends to his titanic feuds with Jefferson, Madison, Adams, Monroe, and Burr, and from his highly public affair with Maria Reynolds to his loving marriage to his loyal wife Eliza. And never before has there been a more vivid account of Hamilton’s famous and mysterious death in a duel with Aaron Burr in July of 1804.
Chernow’s biography is not just a portrait of Hamilton, but the story of America’s birth seen through its most central figure. At a critical time to look back to our roots, Alexander Hamilton will remind readers of the purpose of our institutions and our heritage as Americans.
“Nobody has captured Hamilton better than Chernow” —The New York Times Book Review
Ron Chernow's new biography, Grant, will be published by Penguin Press in October 2017.
“Majestic . . . Enthralling, masterful, and passionate.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“A monumental tribute to a titanic figure.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
He was history’s most creative genius. What secrets can he teach us?
The author of the acclaimed bestsellers Steve Jobs, Einstein, and Benjamin Franklin brings Leonardo da Vinci to life in this exciting new biography.
Based on thousands of pages from Leonardo’s astonishing notebooks and new discoveries about his life and work, Walter Isaacson weaves a narrative that connects his art to his science. He shows how Leonardo’s genius was based on skills we can improve in ourselves, such as passionate curiosity, careful observation, and an imagination so playful that it flirted with fantasy.
He produced the two most famous paintings in history, The Last Supper and the Mona Lisa. But in his own mind, he was just as much a man of science and technology. With a passion that sometimes became obsessive, he pursued innovative studies of anatomy, fossils, birds, the heart, flying machines, botany, geology, and weaponry. His ability to stand at the crossroads of the humanities and the sciences, made iconic by his drawing of Vitruvian Man, made him history’s most creative genius.
His creativity, like that of other great innovators, came from having wide-ranging passions. He peeled flesh off the faces of cadavers, drew the muscles that move the lips, and then painted history’s most memorable smile. He explored the math of optics, showed how light rays strike the cornea, and produced illusions of changing perspectives in The Last Supper. Isaacson also describes how Leonardo’s lifelong enthusiasm for staging theatrical productions informed his paintings and inventions.
Leonardo’s delight at combining diverse passions remains the ultimate recipe for creativity. So, too, does his ease at being a bit of a misfit: illegitimate, gay, vegetarian, left-handed, easily distracted, and at times heretical. His life should remind us of the importance of instilling, both in ourselves and our children, not just received knowledge but a willingness to question it—to be imaginative and, like talented misfits and rebels in any era, to think different.
“A soaring and gorgeous American story” (Karen Abbott) from the author of the New York Times bestselling The Girls of Atomic City.
The fascinating true story behind the magnificent Gilded Age mansion Biltmore—the largest, grandest residence ever built in the United States.
The story of Biltmore spans World Wars, the Jazz Age, the Depression, and generations of the famous Vanderbilt family, and features a captivating cast of real-life characters including F. Scott Fitzgerald, Thomas Wolfe, Teddy Roosevelt, John Singer Sargent, James Whistler, Henry James, and Edith Wharton.
Orphaned at a young age, Edith Stuyvesant Dresser claimed lineage from one of New York’s best known families. She grew up in Newport and Paris, and her engagement and marriage to George Vanderbilt was one of the most watched events of Gilded Age society. But none of this prepared her to be mistress of Biltmore House.
Before their marriage, the wealthy and bookish Vanderbilt had dedicated his life to creating a spectacular European-style estate on 125,000 acres of North Carolina wilderness. He summoned the famous landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted to tame the grounds, collaborated with celebrated architect Richard Morris Hunt to build a 175,000-square-foot chateau, filled it with priceless art and antiques, and erected a charming village beyond the gates. Newlywed Edith was now mistress of an estate nearly three times the size of Washington, DC and benefactress of the village and surrounding rural area. When fortunes shifted and changing times threatened her family, her home, and her community, it was up to Edith to save Biltmore—and secure the future of the region and her husband’s legacy.
The Last Castle is the unique American story of how the largest house in America flourished, faltered, and ultimately endured to this day.
The lives of England’s medieval queens were packed with incident—love, intrigue, betrayal, adultery, and warfare—but their stories have been largely obscured by centuries of myth and omission. Now esteemed biographer Alison Weir provides a fresh perspective and restores these women to their rightful place in history.
Spanning the years from the Norman conquest in 1066 to the dawn of a new era in 1154, when Henry II succeeded to the throne and Eleanor of Aquitaine, the first Plantagenet queen, was crowned, this epic book brings to vivid life five women, including: Matilda of Flanders, wife of William the Conqueror, the first Norman king; Matilda of Scotland, revered as “the common mother of all England”; and Empress Maud, England’s first female ruler, whose son King Henry II would go on to found the Plantagenet dynasty. More than those who came before or after them, these Norman consorts were recognized as equal sharers in sovereignty. Without the support of their wives, the Norman kings could not have ruled their disparate dominions as effectively.
Drawing from the most reliable contemporary sources, Weir skillfully strips away centuries of romantic lore to share a balanced and authentic take on the importance of these female monarchs. What emerges is a seamless royal saga, an all-encompassing portrait of English medieval queenship, and a sweeping panorama of British history.
Praise for Queens of the Conquest
“Best-selling author [Alison] Weir pens another readable, well-researched English history, the first in a proposed four-volume series on England’s medieval queens. . . . Weir’s research skills and storytelling ability combine beautifully to tell a fascinating story supported by excellent historical research. Fans of her fiction and nonfiction will enjoy this latest work.”—Library Journal (starred review)
“Another sound feminist resurrection by a seasoned historian . . . Though Norman queens were largely unknowable, leave it to this prolific historical biographer to bring them to life. . . . As usual, Weir is meticulous in her research.”—Kirkus Reviews
Joining the ranks of Hidden Figures and In the Garden of Beasts, the incredible true story of the greatest codebreaking duo that ever lived, an American woman and her husband who invented the modern science of cryptology together and used it to confront the evils of their time, solving puzzles that unmasked Nazi spies and helped win World War II.
In 1916, at the height of World War I, brilliant Shakespeare expert Elizebeth Smith went to work for an eccentric tycoon on his estate outside Chicago. The tycoon had close ties to the U.S. government, and he soon asked Elizebeth to apply her language skills to an exciting new venture: code-breaking. There she met the man who would become her husband, groundbreaking cryptologist William Friedman. Though she and Friedman are in many ways the "Adam and Eve" of the NSA, Elizebeth’s story, incredibly, has never been told.
In The Woman Who Smashed Codes, Jason Fagone chronicles the life of this extraordinary woman, who played an integral role in our nation’s history for forty years. After World War I, Smith used her talents to catch gangsters and smugglers during Prohibition, then accepted a covert mission to discover and expose Nazi spy rings that were spreading like wildfire across South America, advancing ever closer to the United States. As World War II raged, Elizebeth fought a highly classified battle of wits against Hitler’s Reich, cracking multiple versions of the Enigma machine used by German spies. Meanwhile, inside an Army vault in Washington, William worked furiously to break Purple, the Japanese version of Enigma—and eventually succeeded, at a terrible cost to his personal life.
Fagone unveils America’s code-breaking history through the prism of Smith’s life, bringing into focus the unforgettable events and colorful personalities that would help shape modern intelligence. Blending the lively pace and compelling detail that are the hallmarks of Erik Larson’s bestsellers with the atmosphere and intensity of The Imitation Game, The Woman Who Smashed Codes is page-turning popular history at its finest.
With masterly skill, New York Times bestselling historian Thomas Fleming gives us life-size portraits of the Pilgrim leaders. The Pilgrims' unique achievements - the Mayflower Compact, their tolerance of other faiths, the strict separation of church and state - are discussed in the context of the first year's anxieties and crises. Fleming writes admiringly of the younger men who emerged in that year as the real leaders of the colony - William Bradford and Miles Standish. And he provides new insights into the humanity and tolerance of the Pilgrims' spiritual shepherd, Elder William Brewster.
On the first Thanksgiving, the Pilgrims are already aware that they are the forerunners of a great nation. It is implicit in William Bradford's words, "As one small candle may light a thousand, so the light kindled here has shone unto many. . . ."
Transcurrido medio siglo desde aquel suceso, la opinión pública sigue dividida.
¿Fue el Che un héroe? ¿O se trataba de un asesino despiadado a la cabeza de una banda de guerrilleros comunistas?
J. J. Benítez, gracias a su predilección por personajes malditos, ha dedicado seis años de investigación para tratar de averiguar qué sucedió en las últimas horas del mítico guerrillero argentino y a quién cabe atribuir su muerte.
Una obra desmitificadora que nos descubrirá quién ordenó matar al Che, cuál era su cara oculta o cuál es el verdadero paradero de su cuerpo, entre muchos otros misterios alrededor de su figura.
The United States was more a fragile hope than a reality in 1790. During the decade that followed, the Founding Fathers—re-examined here as Founding Brothers—combined the ideals of the Declaration of Independence with the content of the Constitution to create the practical workings of our government. Through an analysis of six fascinating episodes—Hamilton and Burr’s deadly duel, Washington’s precedent-setting Farewell Address, Adams’ administration and political partnership with his wife, the debate about where to place the capital, Franklin’s attempt to force Congress to confront the issue of slavery and Madison’s attempts to block him, and Jefferson and Adams’ famous correspondence—Founding Brothers brings to life the vital issues and personalities from the most important decade in our nation’s history.
The son of a freed slave, Solomon Northup lived the first thirty years of his life as a free man in upstate New York. In the spring of 1841, he was offered a job: a short-term, lucrative engagement as a violinist in a traveling circus. It was a trap. In Washington, DC, Northup was drugged, kidnapped, and sold into slavery. He spent the next twelve years on plantations in Louisiana, enduring backbreaking labor, unimaginable violence, and inhumane treatment at the hands of cruel masters, until a kind stranger helped to win his release. His account of those years is a shocking, unforgettable portrait of America’s most insidious historical institution as told by a man who experienced it firsthand.
Published shortly after Harriet Beecher Stowe’s abolitionist classic Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Northup’s memoir became a bestseller in 1853. With its eloquent depiction of life before and after bondage, Twelve Years a Slave was a unique and effective entry into the national debate over slavery. Rediscovered in the 1960s and now the inspiration for a major motion picture, Northup’s poignant narrative gives readers an invaluable glimpse into a shameful chapter of American history. This ebook has been professionally proofread to ensure accuracy and readability on all devices.
A poor orphan who built a fortune, a great humanitarian, a president elected in a landslide and then routed in the next election, arguably the father of both New Deal liberalism and modern conservatism--Herbert Hoover is also one of our least understood presidents, conventionally seen only as a heartless failure for his handling of the Great Depression.
Kenneth Whyte fully captures this rich, dramatic life: from Hoover's difficult childhood to his meteoric business career, his work saving hundreds of thousands of lives during World War I and after the 1927 Mississippi floods, his presidency, his painful defeat by Roosevelt, and his return to grace as Truman's emissary to help European refugees after World War II. Whyte brings to life Hoover's complexity and contradictions--his modesty and ambition, ruthlessness and extreme generosity--as well as his political legacy. Here is the epic, poignant story of the poor boy who became the most accomplished figure of his time, who worked ceaselessly to fight the Depression yet became the public face of America's greatest economic crisis. Here, for the first time, is the definitive biography that captures the full scale of this extraordinary life.
What do such disparate figures have in common? Why do their extraordinary stories continue to amaze and inspire? In delivering the answers to those questions, Nancy Koehn offers a remarkable template by which to judge those in our own time to whom the public has given its trust.
She begins each of the book’s five sections by showing her protagonist on the precipice of a great crisis: Shackleton marooned on an Antarctic ice floe; Lincoln on the verge of seeing the Union collapse; escaped slave Douglass facing possible capture; Bonhoeffer agonizing over how to counter absolute evil with faith; Carson racing against the cancer ravaging her in a bid to save the planet. The narrative then reaches back to each person’s childhood and shows the individual growing—step by step—into the person he or she will ultimately become. Significantly, as we follow each leader’s against-all-odds journey, we begin to glean an essential truth: leaders are not born but made. In a book dense with epiphanies, the most galvanizing one may be that the power to lead courageously resides in each of us.
Both a repository of great insight and an exceptionally rendered human drama, Forged in Crisis stands as a towering achievement.
Originally published in 1949, To Hell and Back was a smash bestseller for fourteen weeks and later became a major motion picture starring Audie Murphy as himself. More than fifty years later, this classic wartime memoir is just as gripping as it was then.
Desperate to see action but rejected by both the marines and paratroopers because he was too short, Murphy eventually found a home with the infantry. He fought through campaigns in Sicily, Italy, France, and Germany. Although still under twenty-one years old on V-E Day, he was credited with having killed, captured, or wounded 240 Germans. He emerged from the war as America's most decorated soldier, having received twenty-one medals, including our highest military decoration, the Congressional Medal of Honor. To Hell and Back is a powerfully real portrayal of American GI's at war.
In The Marquis, we come to understand the personal struggles, social quandaries, and idealistic visions that inspired an orphaned young man to cross an ocean and fight a war that was none of his concern; we see a guileless provincial whose unexpected inheritance allowed him to marry into the highest echelons of the French aristocracy, and become a self-consciously awkward presence at the palace of Versailles. Here is the young Lafayette, removed from the French army as a result of sweeping reforms, trapped in a gilded cage until American emissaries reached Paris seeking support for their revolution. In the American cause, Lafayette, whose only vision had been of martial glory, saw a way to reach his dreams, and seized it with gusto. Americans welcomed him with open arms, and he returned their affection fully. His American éclat was so brilliant and his enthusiasm so great that he quickly became the symbol of the Franco-American alliance that ultimately defeated Great Britain.
We see how Lafayette’s reputation rose to great heights during the American Revolution but collapsed during the French; that when the Bastille fell on July 14, 1789, Parisians hailed Lafayette as the French Washington and appointed him commander of their National Guard, hoping that he would be able to restore order to a city wracked by starvation and violence. As revolutionaries hurtled in radical directions and staunch monarchists dug in their heels, Lafayette lost control, remaining steadfast in his belief that the French monarchy needed to be reformed but not abolished, and doing everything in his power to prevent an American-style republic from taking root in his native land. Formerly seen as France’s heroic figure, Lafayette was now viewed as opportunistic, a dreamer, and a traitor to his nation--and today remains a murky figure in French memory.
In America, Lafayette’s momentous departure from his homeland for the War of Independence has long been hailed as the start of an extraordinary career to be celebrated for generations. In France, it is often seen as just one of his many misbegotten undertakings. Yet no one has managed to offer a satisfactory answer to the crucial question of why: Why did Americans shower Lafayette with so much acclaim in his own time that he remains a hero today, being named an honorary U.S. citizen in 2002—becoming only the seventh person ever granted this distinction? And why, in contrast, does his memory continue to be denigrated in his own land?
Auricchio, drawing on substantial new research conducted in libraries, archives, museums, and private homes in France and the United States, gives us history on a grand scale as she answers these crucial questions, revealing the man and his complex life, and challenging and exploring the complicated myths that have surrounded his name for more than two centuries.
From the Hardcover edition.
Fighting his way to power on the remote steppes of Mongolia, Genghis Khan developed revolutionary military strategies and weaponry that emphasized rapid attack and siege warfare, which he then brilliantly used to overwhelm opposing armies in Asia, break the back of the Islamic world, and render the armored knights of Europe obsolete. Under Genghis Khan, the Mongol army never numbered more than 100,000 warriors, yet it subjugated more lands and people in twenty-five years than the Romans conquered in four hundred. With an empire that stretched from Siberia to India, from Vietnam to Hungary, and from Korea to the Balkans, the Mongols dramatically redrew the map of the globe, connecting disparate kingdoms into a new world order.
But contrary to popular wisdom, Weatherford reveals that the Mongols were not just masters of conquest, but possessed a genius for progressive and benevolent rule. On every level and from any perspective, the scale and scope
of Genghis Khan’s accomplishments challenge the limits of imagination. Genghis Khan was an innovative leader, the first ruler in many conquered countries to put the power of law above his own power, encourage religious freedom, create public schools, grant diplomatic immunity, abolish torture, and institute free trade. The trade routes he created became lucrative pathways for commerce, but also for ideas, technologies, and expertise that transformed the way people lived. The Mongols introduced the first international paper currency and postal system and developed and spread revolutionary technologies like printing, the cannon, compass, and abacus. They took local foods and products like lemons, carrots, noodles, tea, rugs, playing cards, and pants and turned them into staples of life around the world. The Mongols were the architects of a new way of life at a pivotal time in history.
In Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World, Jack Weatherford resurrects the true history of Genghis Khan, from the story of his relentless rise through Mongol tribal culture to the waging of his devastatingly successful wars and the explosion of civilization that the Mongol Empire unleashed. This dazzling work of revisionist history doesn’t just paint an unprecedented portrait of a great leader and his legacy, but challenges us to reconsider how the modern world was made.
From the Hardcover edition.
The New York Times
In 2013 Assata Shakur, founding member of the Black Liberation Army, former Black Panther and godmother of Tupac Shakur, became the first ever woman to make the FBI's most wanted terrorist list.
Assata Shakur's trial and conviction for the murder of a white state trooper in the spring of 1973 divided America. Her case quickly became emblematic of race relations and police brutality in the USA. While Assata's detractors continue to label her a ruthless killer, her defenders cite her as the victim of a systematic, racist campaign to criminalize and suppress black nationalist organizations.
This intensely personal and political autobiography reveals a sensitive and gifted woman. With wit and candour Assata recounts the formative experiences that led her to embrace a life of activism. With pained awareness she portrays the strengths, weaknesses and eventual demise of black and white revolutionary groups at the hands of the state. A major contribution to the history of black liberation, destined to take its place alongside The Autobiography of Malcolm X and the works of Maya Angelou.
Edith Hahn was an outspoken young woman in Vienna when the Gestapo forced her into a ghetto and then into a slave labor camp. When she returned home months later, she knew she would become a hunted woman and went underground. With the help of a Christian friend, she emerged in Munich as Grete Denner. There she met Werner Vetter, a Nazi Party member who fell in love with her. Despite Edith's protests and even her eventual confession that she was Jewish, he married her and kept her identity a secret.
In wrenching detail, Edith recalls a life of constant, almost paralyzing fear. She tells how German officials casually questioned the lineage of her parents; how during childbirth she refused all painkillers, afraid that in an altered state of mind she might reveal something of her past; and how, after her husband was captured by the Soviets, she was bombed out of her house and had to hide while drunken Russian soldiers raped women on the street.
Despite the risk it posed to her life, Edith created a remarkable record of survival. She saved every document, as well as photographs she took inside labor camps. Now part of the permanent collection at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., these hundreds of documents, several of which are included in this volume, form the fabric of a gripping new chapter in the history of the Holocaust—complex, troubling, and ultimately triumphant.
When the Civil War ended, black men left the Old South in large numbers to seek a living in the Old West—industrious men resolved to carve out a life for themselves on the wild, roaming plains. Some had experience working cattle from their time as slaves; others simply sought a freedom they had never known before. The lucky travelled on horseback; the rest, by foot. Over dirt roads they went from Alabama and South Carolina to present-day Texas and California up north through Kansas to Montana. The Old West was a land of opportunity for these adventurous wranglers and future rodeo champions.
A long overdue testament to the courage and skill of black cowboys, Black Cowboys of the Old West finally gives these courageous men their rightful place in history.
Praise for an earlier book by the same author:
“Whether you are a history enthusiast or a lover of adventure stories, African American Women of the Old West presents the reader with fascinating accounts of ten extraordinary, generally unrecognized, African Americans. Tricia Martineau Wagner takes these remarkable women from the footnotes of history and brings them to life.” —Ed Diaz, President of the Association for African American Historical Research and Preservation
As secretary of war, McHenry remained loyal to Washington, under whom he established a regimental framework for the army that lasted well into the nineteenth century. Upon becoming president, John Adams retained McHenry; however, Adams began to believe McHenry was in league with other Hamiltonian Federalists who wished to undermine his policies. Thus, when the military buildup for the Quasi-War with France became unpopular, Adams used it as a pretext to request McHenry's resignation.
Yet as Karen Robbins demonstrates in the first modern biography of McHenry, Adams was mistaken; the friendship between McHenry and Hamilton that Adams feared had grown sensitive and there was a brief falling out. Moreover, McHenry had asked Hamilton to withdraw his application for second-in-command of the New Army being raised. Nonetheless, Adams's misperception ended McHenry's career, and he has remained an obscure historical figure ever since--until now. James McHenry, Forgotten Federalist reveals a man surrounded by important events who reflected the larger themes of his time.
One night in March of 1945, on the Austrian-Hungarian border, a local countess hosted a party in her mansion, where guests and local Nazi leaders mingled. The war was almost over and the German aristocrats and SS officers dancing and drinking knew it was lost. Around midnight, some of the guests were asked to "take care" of 180 Jewish enslaved laborers at the train station; they made them strip naked and shot them all before returning to the bright lights of the party. It was another one of the war's countless atrocities buried in secrecy for decades--until Sacha Batthyany started investigating what happened that night at the party his great aunt hosted.
A Crime in the Family is the author's memoir of confronting his family's past, the questions he raised and the answers he found that took him far beyond his great aunt's party: through the dark past of Nazi Germany to the gulags of Siberia, the bleak streets of Cold War Budapest, and to Argentina, where he finds an Auschwitz survivor whose past intersects with his family's. It is the story of executioners and victims, villains and heroes.
Told partly through the surviving family journals, A Crime in the Family is a disquieting and moving memoir, a powerful true story told by an extraordinary writer confronting the dark past of his family--and humanity.
Led by the Continental Congress, the Americans almost lost the war for independence because their military thinking was badly muddled. Following the victory in 1775 at Bunker Hill, patriot leaders were convinced that the key to victory was the home-grown militia--local men defending their families and homes. But the flush of early victory soon turned into a bitter reality as the British routed Americans fleeing New York.
General George Washington knew that having and maintaining an army of professional soldiers was the only way to win independence. As he fought bitterly with the leaders in Congress over the creation of a regular army, he patiently waited until his new army was ready for pitched battle. His first opportunity came late in 1776, following his surprise crossing of the Delaware River. In New Jersey, the strategy of victory was about to unfold.
In The Strategy of Victory, preeminent historian Thomas Fleming examines the battles that created American independence, revealing how the creation of a professional army worked on the battlefield to secure victory, independence, and a lasting peace for the young nation.
In this commanding book, Pulitzer Prize–winning author Robert K. Massie sweeps readers back to the extraordinary world of Imperial Russia to tell the story of the Romanovs’ lives: Nicholas’s political naïveté, Alexandra’s obsession with the corrupt mystic Rasputin, and little Alexis’s brave struggle with hemophilia. Against a lavish backdrop of luxury and intrigue, Massie unfolds a powerful drama of passion and history—the story of a doomed empire and the death-marked royals who watched it crumble.
BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Robert K. Massie's Catherine the Great.
The New York Times Book Review • The Washington Post • Entertainment Weekly • The Seattle Times • St. Louis Post-Dispatch • Bloomberg Businessweek
In this magnificent biography, the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of American Lion and Franklin and Winston brings vividly to life an extraordinary man and his remarkable times. Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power gives us Jefferson the politician and president, a great and complex human being forever engaged in the wars of his era. Philosophers think; politicians maneuver. Jefferson’s genius was that he was both and could do both, often simultaneously. Such is the art of power.
Thomas Jefferson hated confrontation, and yet his understanding of power and of human nature enabled him to move men and to marshal ideas, to learn from his mistakes, and to prevail. Passionate about many things—women, his family, books, science, architecture, gardens, friends, Monticello, and Paris—Jefferson loved America most, and he strove over and over again, despite fierce opposition, to realize his vision: the creation, survival, and success of popular government in America. Jon Meacham lets us see Jefferson’s world as Jefferson himself saw it, and to appreciate how Jefferson found the means to endure and win in the face of rife partisan division, economic uncertainty, and external threat. Drawing on archives in the United States, England, and France, as well as unpublished Jefferson presidential papers, Meacham presents Jefferson as the most successful political leader of the early republic, and perhaps in all of American history.
The father of the ideal of individual liberty, of the Louisiana Purchase, of the Lewis and Clark expedition, and of the settling of the West, Jefferson recognized that the genius of humanity—and the genius of the new nation—lay in the possibility of progress, of discovering the undiscovered and seeking the unknown. From the writing of the Declaration of Independence to elegant dinners in Paris and in the President’s House; from political maneuverings in the boardinghouses and legislative halls of Philadelphia and New York to the infant capital on the Potomac; from his complicated life at Monticello, his breathtaking house and plantation in Virginia, to the creation of the University of Virginia, Jefferson was central to the age. Here too is the personal Jefferson, a man of appetite, sensuality, and passion.
The Jefferson story resonates today not least because he led his nation through ferocious partisanship and cultural warfare amid economic change and external threats, and also because he embodies an eternal drama, the struggle of the leadership of a nation to achieve greatness in a difficult and confounding world.
Praise for Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power
“This is probably the best single-volume biography of Jefferson ever written.”—Gordon S. Wood
“A big, grand, absorbing exploration of not just Jefferson and his role in history but also Jefferson the man, humanized as never before.”—Entertainment Weekly
“[Meacham] captures who Jefferson was, not just as a statesman but as a man. . . . By the end of the book . . . the reader is likely to feel as if he is losing a dear friend. . . . [An] absorbing tale.”—The Christian Science Monitor
“This terrific book allows us to see the political genius of Thomas Jefferson better than we have ever seen it before. In these endlessly fascinating pages, Jefferson emerges with such vitality that it seems as if he might still be alive today.”—Doris Kearns Goodwin
From the Hardcover edition.
The Marshall and Potter families had been feuding for generations. Though the original reason had been lost over the years, they found new reasons to keep the fire of hate burning.
The elder Marshalls were devout Christians. They did their best to live Godly lives; yet they struggled daily with the hostility caused by generations of hate. They were examples that though Christians, people still fail.
The Potter family considered the Marshalls pious hypocrites. They were proud of the fact that they were not bound by some fake religion; they enjoyed life. The only thing the Potters took seriously was the feud.
The Marshalls were pro-prohibition. They considered alcohol devil's brew.
The Potters were anti-prohibition. In fact, Hettie Potter was rarely without a pint in her apron pocket. She was often heard griping, "There ain't nobody going to tell me what I can drink and what I can't drink."
Women's suffrage was another area of contention. The Marshalls believed that a woman's place was in the home submitting to her husband. The Potters felt that men had dominated women long enough. They opined to anyone who would listen, "Women have as much right to vote as a man."
The clash escalated when Addie Potter married Clarence Marshall. Now the battle had no end in sight. And when the couple took all of their children but one and left the state, forgiveness seemed forever out of the question.
This book shows how one couple's choice, acted upon, not only affects their lives, but the lives of their children and those around them; especially the little girl that gets caught in the middle.
John S. "Old Jack" Hinson watched the start of the Civil War with impartial disinterest. A friend of Ulysses S. Grant and Confederate officers alike, Hinson was opposed to secession, focused instead on his personal affairs. After a unit of Union occupation troops moved in on his land and summarily captured, executed, and placed the decapitated heads of his sons on his gateposts, however, Hinson abandoned his quiet life for one of revenge.
In this unprecedented and incredible biography, Lt. Col. Tom C. McKenney masterfully recounts Hinson's extraordinary feats as a lone Confederate sniper. Equipped with a rifle he had specially made for long-range accuracy, Hinson became a deadly gadfly to the occupying army. An exemplary piece of historical scholarship and the result of fifteen years of research, this definitive biography includes an amazing cast of characters including the Earp Brothers, Nathan Bedford Forrest, and Jesse James, the cousin of Hinson's wife. This breathtaking story was all but destroyed by the obliterating forces of history and is the only account in print chronicling this one man's impact on the Civil War.
Through exhaustive research, newly discovered documentation, and anecdotal accounts, Görtemaker has meticulously built a surprising portrait of Hitler’s bourgeois existence outside of the public eye. Though Eva Braun had no role in Hitler’s policies, she was never as banal as she was previously painted; she was privy to his thoughts, ruled life within his entourage, and held his trust. As horrifying as it is astonishing, Eva Braun will undoubtedly be referenced in all future accounts of this period.
From the Hardcover edition.
In this first full biography, Andrew Lownie shows us how even Burgess's chaotic personal life of drunken philandering did nothing to stop his penetration and betrayal of the British Intelligence Service. Even when he was under suspicion, the fabled charm which had enabled many close personal relationships with influential Establishment figures (including Winston Churchill) prevented his exposure as a spy for many years.
Through interviews with more than a hundred people who knew Burgess personally, many of whom have never spoken about him before, and the discovery of hitherto secret files, Stalin's Englishman brilliantly unravels the many lives of Guy Burgess in all their intriguing, chilling, colorful, tragi-comic wonder.
The Washingtons includes the time-honored John Wright line which in recent years has been challenged largely on the basis of DNA evidence. Volumes one and two will form a set, with a cumulative bibliography appearing at the end of volume 2. Volume two will highlight the most notable descendants and spouses from the later volumes, including such luminaries as General George S. Patton, the author Shelby Foote, and the actor Lee Marvin. All of the volumes, now estimated at fourteen in all, are virtually complete and are scheduled for release over the course of the next year.
Rejecting charismatic leadership as a means of social change, Baker invented a form of grassroots community organizing for social justice that had a profound impact on the struggle for civil rights and continues to inspire agents of change on behalf of a wide variety of social issues.
In this book, historian J. Todd Moye masterfully reconstructs Baker’s life and contribution for a new generation of readers. Those who despair that the civil rights story is told too often from the top down and at the dearth of accessible works on women who helped shape the movement will welcome this new addition to the Library of African American Biography series, designed to provide concise, readable, and up-to-date lives of leading black figures in American history.
In life, and in the grisly manner of his death, Joseph Goebbels was one of Adolf Hitler’s most loyal acolytes. By the end, no one in the Berlin bunker was closer to the Führer than his devoted Reich minister for public enlightenment and propaganda. But how did this clubfooted son of a factory worker rise from obscurity to become Hitler’s most trusted lieutenant and personally anointed successor?
In this ground-breaking biography, Peter Longerich sifts through the historical record—and thirty thousand pages of Goebbels’s own diary entries—to provide the answer to that question. Longerich, the first historian to make use of the Goebbels diaries in a biographical work, engages and challenges the self-serving portrait the propaganda chief left behind. Spanning thirty years, the diaries paint a chilling picture of a man driven by a narcissistic desire for recognition who found the personal affirmation he craved within the virulently racist National Socialist movement. Delving into the mind of his subject, Longerich reveals how Goebbels’s lifelong search for a charismatic father figure inexorably led him to Hitler, to whom he ascribed almost godlike powers.
This comprehensive biography documents Goebbels’s ascent through the ranks of the Nazi Party, where he became a member of the Führer’s inner circle and launched a brutal campaign of anti-Semitic propaganda. Though endowed with near-dictatorial control of the media—film, radio, press, and the fine arts—Longerich’s Goebbels is a man dogged by insecurities and beset by bureaucratic infighting. He feuds with his bitter rivals Hermann Göring and Alfred Rosenberg, unsuccessfully advocates for a more radical line of “total war,” and is thwarted in his attempt to pursue a separate peace with the Allies during the waning days of World War II. This book also reveals, as never before, Goebbels’s twisted personal life—his mawkish sentimentality, manipulative nature, and voracious sexual appetite.
A harrowing look at the life of one of history’s greatest monsters, Goebbels delivers fresh insight into how the Nazi message of hate was conceived, nurtured, and disseminated. This complete portrait of the man behind that message is sure to become a standard for historians and students of the Holocaust for decades to come.
Praise for Goebbels
“Peter Longerich . . . has delved into rarely accessed material from his subject’s diaries, which span thirty years, to paint a remarkable portrait of the man who became one of Hitler’s most trusted lieutenants.”—The Daily Telegraph
Praise for Heinrich Himmler
“There have been several studies of this enigmatic man, but Peter Longerich’s massive biography, grounded in exhaustive study of the primary sources, is now the standard work and must stand alongside Ian Kershaw’s Hitler, Ulrich Herbert’s Best and Robert Gerwarth’s Hitler’s Hangman: The Life of Heydrich as one of the landmark Nazi biographies. As the author of a celebrated study of the Holocaust, Longerich is better able than his predecessors to situate Himmler within the vast machinery of genocide. And he brings to his task a gift for capturing those mannerisms that are the intimate markers of personality.”—London Review of Books
“[An] excellent and comprehensive biography.”—The New York Review of Books
From the Hardcover edition.
Perhaps the most influential sovereign England has ever known, Queen Elizabeth I remained an extremely private person throughout her reign, keeping her own counsel and sharing secrets with no one--not even her closest, most trusted advisers. Now, in this brilliantly researched, fascinating new book, acclaimed biographer Alison Weir shares provocative new interpretations and fresh insights on this enigmatic figure.
Against a lavish backdrop of pageantry and passion, intrigue and war, Weir dispels the myths surrounding Elizabeth I and examines the contradictions of her character. Elizabeth I loved the Earl of Leicester, but did she conspire to murder his wife? She called herself the Virgin Queen, but how chaste was she through dozens of liaisons? She never married—was her choice to remain single tied to the chilling fate of her mother, Anne Boleyn? An enthralling epic that is also an amazingly intimate portrait, The Life of Elizabeth I is a mesmerizing, stunning reading experience.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
During World War II, trains delivered thousands of civilians from the United States and Latin America to Crystal City, Texas. The trains carried Japanese, German, and Italian immigrants and their American-born children. The only family internment camp during the war, Crystal City was the center of a government prisoner exchange program called “quiet passage.” Hundreds of prisoners in Crystal City were exchanged for other more ostensibly important Americans—diplomats, businessmen, soldiers, and missionaries—behind enemy lines in Japan and Germany.
“In this quietly moving book” (The Boston Globe), Jan Jarboe Russell focuses on two American-born teenage girls, uncovering the details of their years spent in the camp; the struggles of their fathers; their families’ subsequent journeys to war-devastated Germany and Japan; and their years-long attempt to survive and return to the United States, transformed from incarcerated enemies to American loyalists. Their stories of day-to-day life at the camp, from the ten-foot high security fence to the armed guards, daily roll call, and censored mail, have never been told.
Combining big-picture World War II history with a little-known event in American history, The Train to Crystal City reveals the war-time hysteria against the Japanese and Germans in America, the secrets of FDR’s tactics to rescue high-profile POWs in Germany and Japan, and above all, “is about identity, allegiance, and home, and the difficulty of determining the loyalties that lie in individual human hearts” (Texas Observer).
Spain's memoir offers readers a firsthand account of U.S. diplomacy and of a family that tied its experiences to the events of contemporary history. He writes of personal triumphs and family tragedies and speculates on the meaning of it all, including the joys and tribulations of retirement in Sri Lanka.
Published in cooperation with the ADST-DACOR Diplomats and Diplomacy Series.
Hollywood, Madison Avenue, and the mainstream media celebrate Ernesto ?Che? Guevara as a saint, a sex symbol, and a selfless martyr. But their ideas about Che ? whose face adorns countless T-shirts and posters ? are based on the lies of Fidel Castro?s murderous dictatorship.
Che?s hipster fans are classic ?useful idiots,? the name Stalin gave to foolish Westerners who parroted his lies about communism. And their numbers will only increase after a new biopic is released this fall, starring Benicio Del Toro.
But as Humberto Fontova reveals in this myth-shattering book, Che was actually a bloodthirsty executioner, a military bumbler, a coward, and a hypocrite. In fact, Che can be called the godfather of modern terrorism.
? How he longed to destroy New York City with nuclear missiles.
? How he persecuted gays, blacks, and religious people.
? How he loved material wealth and private luxuries, despite his image as an ascetic.
Are Che fans like Angelina Jolie, Jesse Jackson, Carlos Santana, and Johnny Depp too ignorant to realize they?ve been duped? Or too anti-American to care?
In this richly drawn portrait, Casanova emerges as very much a product of eighteenth-century Venice. He reveled in its commedia del arte and Kelly posits that his successes as both a libertine and a libertarian grew from his careful study of its artifice and illusion. Food, travel, sex: Casanova’s great passions are timeless ones and Kelly brings to life in full flavor the grandeur of his exploits. He also articulates the fascinating personal philosophy that inspired Casanova’s quest to bed all manner of women.
A riveting look at the life of the most legendary lover of all time, this is destined to become the definitive biography of Giacomo Casanova.
History’s most unlikely friendship—this is the astonishing story of Queen Victoria and her dearestcompanion, the young Indian Munshi Abdul Karim.
In the twilight years of her reign, after the devastating deaths of hertwo great loves—Prince Albert and John Brown—Queen Victoria meets tall and handsome Abdul Karim, a humble servant from Agra waiting tables at her Golden Jubilee. The two form an unlikely bond and within a year Abdul becomes a powerful figure at court, the Queen’s teacher, her counsel on Urdu and Indian affairs, and a friend close to her heart. This marked the beginning of the most scandalous decade in Queen Victoria’s long reign. As the royal household roiled with resentment, Victoria and Abdul’s devotion grew in defiance. Drawn from secrets closely guarded for more than a century, Victoria & Abdul is an extraordinary and intimate history of the last years of the nineteenth-century English court and an unforgettable view onto the passions of an aging Queen.
North Korea's leaders have consistently kept a tight grasp on their one-party regime, quashing any nascent opposition movements and sending all suspected dissidents to its brutal concentration camps for "re-education."
Kang Chol-Hwan is the first survivor of one of these camps to escape and tell his story to the world, documenting the extreme conditions in these gulags and providing a personal insight into life in North Korea.
Part horror story, part historical document, part memoir, part political tract, this record of one man's suffering gives eyewitness proof to an ongoing sorrowful chapter of modern history.
At the height of his fame Thomas Alva Edison was hailed as “the Napoleon of invention” and blazed in the public imagination as a virtual demigod. Starting with the first public demonstrations of the phonograph in 1878 and extending through the development of incandescent light and the first motion picture cameras, Edison’s name became emblematic of all the wonder and promise of the emerging age of technological marvels.
But as Randall Stross makes clear in this critical biography of the man who is arguably the most globally famous of all Americans, Thomas Edison’s greatest invention may have been his own celebrity. Edison was certainly a technical genius, but Stross excavates the man from layers of myth-making and separates his true achievements from his almost equally colossal failures. How much credit should Edison receive for the various inventions that have popularly been attributed to him—and how many of them resulted from both the inspiration and the perspiration of his rivals and even his own assistants?
This bold reassessment of Edison’s life and career answers this and many other important questions while telling the story of how he came upon his most famous inventions as a young man and spent the remainder of his long life trying to conjure similar success. We also meet his partners and competitors, presidents and entertainers, his close friend Henry Ford, the wives who competed with his work for his attention, and the children who tried to thrive in his shadow—all providing a fuller view of Edison’s life and times than has ever been offered before. The Wizard of Menlo Park reveals not only how Edison worked, but how he managed his own fame, becoming the first great celebrity of the modern age.
Desde su llegada al poder en 1999, Vladímir Putin se ha hecho con el control de los medios de comunicación, sus rivales políticos han acabado encarcelados, exiliados o muertos, y el frágil sistema electoral ruso apenas se sostiene. Pese a las valientes manifestaciones de protesta por el fraude en las elecciones de diciembre de 2011, Putin sigue siendo el favorito para las presidenciales y Rusia ha vuelto a ser una amenaza para sus ciudadanos y para el mundo entero.
Masha Gessen ha vivido esta historia de primera mano, con las amenazas, el asesinato, el exilio y las misteriosas desapariciones de muchos de sus amigos y colegas. Su valor la llevó a volver a Moscú para contar el asombroso ascenso de Putin, tras hablar con fuentes que nohablarían con ningún otro periodista. Su relato de cómo un hombre anónimo se abrió camino hasta alcanzar un poder absoluto, y absolutamente corrupto, está destinado a convertirse en un clásico de la narrativa de no ficción.
La autora opina:
«A lo largo de los años noventa, mientras jóvenes como yo intentábamos salir adelante en un país nuevo, junto al nuestro existía un mundo paralelo. Yo había estado en muchas zonas de guerra, había trabajado bajo fuego de metralla, pero esta era la historia más aterradora que había tenido que escribir; nunca antes me había visto obligada a describir una realidad tan desprovista de emociones y tan cruel, tan patente y tan despiadada, tan corrupta y con una falta tan completa de remordimientos. En unos años, Rusia estaría viviendo en esa realidad. Cómo sucedió es la historia que contaré en este libro.»
Martin Luther King, Jr. died in one of the most shocking assassinations the world has known, but little is remembered about the life he led in his final year. New York Times bestselling author and award-winning broadcaster Tavis Smiley recounts the final 365 days of King's life, revealing the minister's trials and tribulations -- denunciations by the press, rejection from the president, dismissal by the country's black middle class and militants, assaults on his character, ideology, and political tactics, to name a few -- all of which he had to rise above in order to lead and address the racism, poverty, and militarism that threatened to destroy our democracy.
Smiley's DEATH OF A KING paints a portrait of a leader and visionary in a narrative different from all that have come before. Here is an exceptional glimpse into King's life -- one that adds both nuance and gravitas to his legacy as an American hero.
New Orleans Hurricane Katrina survivor Phyllis Leblanc reveals moment by moment the impending doom she and her family experienced during one of the greatest disasters in contemporary American history. The initial weather forecast, the public warnings from officials, and then the increasingly devastating developments -- the winds and rain, the rising waters -- Not Just the Levees Broke begs the question, What would you do in a life-and-death situation with your family and neighbors facing the ultimate test of character?
Not Just the Levees Broke is a portrayal of the human spirit at its best -- the generosity of family, neighbors, and strangers; the depth of love that one can hold for another; the power to help and heal others.
The unabashedly aggressive Jackson came of age in the Carolinas during the American Revolution, migrating to Tennessee after he was orphaned at the age of fourteen. Little more than a poorly educated frontier bully when he first opened his public career, he was possessed of a controlling sense of honor that would lead him into more than one duel. As a lover, he fled to Spanish Mississippi with his wife-to-be before she was divorced. Yet when he was declared a national hero upon his stunning victory at the Battle of New Orleans, Jackson suddenly found the presidency within his grasp. How this brash frontiersman took Washington by storm makes a fascinating story, and Burstein tells it thoughtfully and expertly. In the process he reveals why Jackson was so fiercely loved (and fiercely hated) by the American people, and how his presidency came to shape the young country’s character.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
• Genghis Khan, who united East and West by conquest and by opening new trade routes built on groundbreaking transportation, communications, and management innovations.
• Mayer Amschel Rothschild, who arose from an oppressive Jewish ghetto to establish the most powerful bank the world has seen and who ushered in an era of global finance.
• Cyrus Field, who became the father of global communications by leading the effort to build the transatlantic telegraph, the forerunner to global radio, television, and the worldwide Internet.
• Margaret Thatcher, whose controversial policies opened the gusher of substantially free markets that linked economies across borders.
• Andy Grove, a Hungarian refugee from the Nazis who built the company—Intel—that figured out how to manufacture complex computer chips on a mass, commercial scale and laid the foundation for Silicon Valley’s computer revolution.
From Silk to Silicon is an essential book to understanding the past—and the future—of the most powerful global forces of our times.
On September 23, 1939, Wladyslaw Szpilman played Chopin's Nocturne in C-sharp minor live on the radio as shells exploded outside—so loudly that he couldn't hear his piano. It was the last live music broadcast from Warsaw: That day, a German bomb hit the station, and Polish Radio went off the air.
Though he lost his entire family, Szpilman survived in hiding. In the end, his life was saved by a German officer who heard him play the same Chopin Nocturne on a piano found among the rubble. Written immediately after the war and suppressed for decades, The Pianist is a stunning testament to human endurance and the redemptive power of fellow feeling.
“Civilizations have been born and completed and then forgotten again and again. There is nothing new under the sun. What is has been. All that we learn and discover has existed before” (Colonel James Churchward, 33rd degree Freemason). However, “each generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it” (George Orwell, 33rd degree Freemason).
Maybe you’ve been able to somehow challenge the system in which you’ve been raised by achieving some things that weren’t expected in your lifetime while complying with many others that you weren’t in favor of, but surely you didn’t transform it enough, or you would have lost friends, relatives, jobs and even love. “Anyone who challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with surprising effectiveness. A genuinely unfashionable opinion is almost never given a fair hearing” (George Orwell, Freemason).
Do you remember quitting your dreams? It was supposed to happen. Any advice received from people around you, especially the ones that love you the most, were fabricated to make you follow the same mind programming in which you and them are included so that nobody goes out of it. “If thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought” (George Orwell, Freemason), and that’s how the sentences heard since you were born, from parents, teachers and friends, as well as ideas strongly imposed by the media, conditioned the way you think as an individual.
This programming is so strong that interferes with our emotions and affects our personality. Nonetheless, within this book a path is shown to deprogram yourself, develop the power of being aware of the universal truth and change life as much as you want it to be changed. Hopefully, you’ll “stretch thinking and awareness” while “uncovering many truths” just like other readers of this bestseller recognized to have accomplished.
We’re now living in the Age of Aquarius, and “as Aquarius is an airy, scientific and intellectual sign, the New Faith for this age must be rooted in reason” (Max Heindel, Rosicrucian Fellowship). This is the prophecy and this book shows the way to understand it and accept it by alchemically transforming your conscience and spirit for the order of the new world.
Taking into consideration the amount of information presented here and the level of simplification applied, this is surely the most empowering, enlightening, complete and uplifting book you’ll ever read in your entire life about gaining wealth, power and health with the law of attraction.
In this action-packed page-turner, Ashcroft reveals the dangers of his adrenalin-fuelled life as a security contractor in Baghdad, where private soldiers outnumber non-US Coalition forces in a war that is slowly being privatised. From blow-by-blow accounts of days under mortar bombardment to revelations about life operating deep within the Iraqi community, Ashcroft shares the real, unsanitised story of the war in Iraq - and its aftermath - direct from the front line.