More in autobiography

The relationship between Eleanor Roosevelt and Associated Press reporter Lorena Hickok has sparked vociferous debate ever since 1978, when archivists at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library discovered eighteen boxes filled with letters the two women exchanged during their thirty-year friendship. But until now we have been offered only the odd quotation or excerpt from their voluminous correspondence.
In Empty Without You, journalist and historian Rodger Streitmatter has transcribed and annotated 300 letters that shed new light on the legendary, passionate, and intense bond between these extraordinary women. Written with the candor and introspection of a private diary, the letters expose the most private thoughts, feelings, and motivations of their authors and allow us to assess the full dimensions of a remarkable friendship. From the day Eleanor moved into the White House and installed Lorena in a bedroom just a few feet from her own, each woman virtually lived for the other. When Lorena was away, Eleanor kissed her picture of "dearest Hick" every night before going to bed, while Lorena marked the days off her calendar in anticipation of their next meeting. In the summer of 1933, Eleanor and Lorena took a three-week road trip together, often traveling incognito. The friends even discussed a future in which they would share a home and blend their separate lives into one.
Perhaps as valuable as these intimations of a love affair are the glimpses this collection offers of an Eleanor Roosevelt strikingly different from the icon she has become. Although the figure who emerges in these pages is as determined and politically adept as the woman we know, she is also surprisingly sarcastic and funny, tender and vulnerable, and even judgmental and petty -- all less public but no less important attributes of our most beloved first lady.
In November 1943, George Watt, Flying Fortress gunner, parachuted out of his burning bomber and landed in a village in Nazi-occupied Belgium. The villagers risked their lives to hide him in the field, sneaking him past the German patrols, and bringing him safely to Brussels, where he connected with the Comet Line, the rescue arm of the Belgian resistance.

While hiding in "sale houses" in Brussels, Watt had a ringside view of bold acts of defiance by Belgian patriots against the German occupation. From Brussels he traveled by rail past Gestapo control to Bordeaux, rode a bicycle through southern France, and was led by Basque guides along ancient smugglers' trails over the Pyrenees into Spain.

Six years earlier. Watt had climbed those same Pyrenees to join the Abraham Lincoln Brigade in the Spanish Civil War against General Franco. Watt's experience in that prelude to World War II adds insight and drama to the story of his escape from Fortress Luropa, his fears of capture heightened by his having been a Lincoln Brigader as well as a Jew.

Forty years after the war Watt returned to Belgium to find that the "story of George Watt" had become a legend in the villages of Zele and Flamme, passed on to second and third generations. And in Brussels he heard with grief of the tragic fates of several of the underground comrades who had helped.

Whether writing about the war in the skies or the "war within the war" (the resistance movement) or recalling the earlier fighting in Spain, Watt's style is uncompromising and direct. The writing is tilled with suspense and humor, illumined by love and appreciation for its participants. This gripping story of compassion and commitment can be enjoyed for its high adventure alone. For the young, and for students of history, it is also a valuable contribution to understanding the two great antifascist struggles of our century.

A “brilliantly written and meticulously researched” biography of royal family life during England’s second Tudor monarch (San Francisco Chronicle).
 
Either annulled, executed, died in childbirth, or widowed, these were the well-known fates of the six queens during the tempestuous, bloody, and splendid reign of Henry VIII of England from 1509 to 1547. But in this “exquisite treatment, sure to become a classic” (Booklist), they take on more fully realized flesh and blood than ever before. Katherine of Aragon emerges as a staunch though misguided woman of principle; Anne Boleyn, an ambitious adventuress with a penchant for vengeance; Jane Seymour, a strong-minded matriarch in the making; Anne of Cleves, a good-natured woman who jumped at the chance of independence; Katherine Howard, an empty-headed wanton; and Katherine Parr, a warm-blooded bluestocking who survived King Henry to marry a fourth time.
 
“Combin[ing] the accessibility of a popular history with the highest standards of a scholarly thesis”, Alison Weir draws on the entire labyrinth of Tudor history, employing every known archive—early biographies, letters, memoirs, account books, and diplomatic reports—to bring vividly to life the fates of the six queens, the machinations of the monarch they married and the myriad and ceaselessly plotting courtiers in their intimate circle (The Detroit News).
 
In this extraordinary work of sound and brilliant scholarship, “at last we have the truth about Henry VIII’s wives” (Evening Standard).
Growing up in a small college town in central Mississippi in the 1930s, Leon C. Standifer knew little of the trauma of war. But by the time he was nineteen, World War II had made war a reality for him. Standifer volunteered for and was accepted by a special army program that would send him to college for technical training; he somtimes hoped and sometimes feared that the war would end before his training did. Events turned out quite otherwise. A serious shortage of trained riflemen needed for the invasion of Normandy meant that Standifer and more than one hundred thousand other young men were taken from the program and sent into battle as combat infantrymen.

Not in Vain: A Rifleman Remembers World War II looks at American involvement in the war from the firsthand perspective of this nineteen-year-old soldier. As an infantryman in France and Germany during the latter part of the war, Standifer experienced the numbing boredom of daily routine and the adrenaline-pumping excitement of combat. He recalls the anguish of losing friends in battle and the decisive moment when he slit the throat of an enemy soldier, memories that still haunt him.

But Not in Vain is far more than a conventional soldier's memoir. Although he recounts in vivid detail his personal experiences, Standifer also makes a far broader inquiry into the forces that turned a sheltered young man from a religious, small-town background into an effective soldier. Growing up in the Baptist church, Standifer thought he had learned the differences between good and evil, right and wrong. But after his days in battle, moral distinctions were no longer as clear.

Not in Vain documents Standifer's lifelong debate with himself over the justification for war by considering not only his reactions during combat but also the feelings that have remained with him for life. He describes these intense emotions in his account of a trip taken to Europe many years after the war and of his reunion with some of the former members of his rifle company. Written in an effort to come to terms with his involvement in the war, Not in Vain is a probing and timely study of a citizen's dedication to his country.

Hans Goebeler is known as the man who “pulled the plug” on U-505 in 1944 to keep his beloved U-boat out of Allied hands. Steel Boat, Iron Hearts is his no-holds-barred account of service aboard a combat U-boat. It is the only full-length memoir of its kind, and Goebeler was aboard for every one of U-505’s war patrols.

Using his own experiences, log books, and correspondence with other U-boat crewmen, Goebeler offers rich and very personal details about what life was like in the German Navy under Hitler. Because his first and last posting was to U-505, Goebeler’s perspective of the crew, commanders, and war patrols paints a vivid and complete portrait unlike any other to come out of the Kriegsmarine. He witnessed it all: from deadly sabotage efforts that almost sunk the boat to the tragic suicide of the only U-boat commander who took his life during WWII; from the terror and exhilaration of hunting the enemy, to the seedy brothels of France. The vivid, honest, and smooth-flowing prose calls it like it was and pulls no punches.

U-505 was captured by Captain Dan Gallery’s Guadalcanal Task Group 22.3 on June 4, 1944. Trapped by this “Hunter-Killer” group, U-505 was depth-charged to the surface, strafed by machine gun fire, and boarded. It was the first ship captured at sea since the War of 1812! Today, hundreds of thousands of visitors tour U-505 each year at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry.

Included a special Introduction by Keith Gill, Curator of U-505, Museum of Science and Industry.

About the Authors: Hans Jacob Goebeler served as control room mate aboard U-505. He died in 1999. John P. Vanzo is a former defense program analyst. He teaches political science and geography at Bainbridge College in Georgia.
DIVOf all the celebrities who served their country during World War II -and they were legion -Jimmy Stewart was unique. On December 7th, when the attack on Pearl Harbor woke so many others to the reality of war, Stewart was already in uniform - as a private on guard duty south of San Francisco at the Army Air Corps Moffet Field. Seeing war on the horizon, Jimmy Stewart, at the height of his fame after Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and his Oscar-winning turn inThe Phadelphia Story in 1940,had enlisted several months earlier.

Jimmy Stewart, Bomber Pilot chronicles his long journey to become a bomber pilot in combat. Author Starr Smith, the intelligence officer assigned to the movie star, recounts how Stewart's first battles were with the Air Corps high command, who insisted on keeping the naturally talented pilot out of harm's way as an instructor pilot for B-17 Flying Fortresses and B-24 Liberators. By 1944, however, Stewart managed to get assigned to a Liberator squadron that was deploying to England to join the mighty Eighth Air Force. Once in the thick of it, he rose to command his own squadron and flew twenty combat missions, including one to Berlin.
/div“My father would feel honored by this book.” —Kelly Stewart Harcourt, daughter of Jimmy Stewart
"We would have made Jimmy a group commander [equivalent to an army regiment] if the war had lasted another month." - General Jimmy Doolittle.

"An excellent biography of a distinguished airman and fine human being." - Roger Freeman, author of The Mighty Eighth: A History of the U.S. 8th Air Force.

"How wonderful it is that Starr Smith has finally directed a literary light on the personal history of Jimmy Stewart. . . . I welcomed Starr's book. It is needed and wanted. Bravo!" - Gay Talese.

"This is a very well researched and written book. . . . It fills a place in history about no mere actor but a courageous and selfless man, Brigadier General Jimmy Stewart, USAF." - General Michael E. Ryan, former Chief of Staff of the Air Force.

“I have met a few movie stars, but of them all, I think that Jimmy Stewart was most like those modest heroes he portrayed. Now journalist Starr Smith has raised the curtain on Stewart’s gallant service as a bomber pilot and air combat commander in World War II.” —Walter Cronkite, from the Foreword
When William Bradford Huie, a reporter for H. L. Mencken's American Mercury, joined the U.S. Navy in 1943, he received a commission as a public relations officer in the little-known Civil Engineer's Corps Construction Battalions--the Seabees. With the publication of Can Do! the following year, Americans soon came to appreciate the significance of the corps's work and the danger of their wartime activities. As readable and entertaining today as it was some fifty years ago, this account tells the story of the Seabees who landed with the Marines at Guadalcanal and Wake Island, Sicily and Salerno. Experienced civilian engineers, carpenters, steam-shovel operators, plumbers, truck drivers, surveyors, and the like, they landed with the first waves of American assault troops, bringing heavy equipment ashore to build roads, bridges, and airfields and repair whatever they could. Often working under enemy fire, they incurred many casualties and won the deep respect of everyone who came into contact with them.

Huie's book is filled with spirited accounts of the Seabees's achievements in the Aleutians, the South Sea islands, Europe, and Africa. A passionate and convincing advocate, Huie wrote the book not only to call attention to their accomplishments but to serve as an inspiration to others, and he often has the Seabees tell their stories in their own words. Appendixes offer valuable details, including lists of casualties, award recipients, and Seabees' poems. An introduction by Donald R. Noble is included in this new paperback edition.
From leadership expert, former Navy SEAL, "American Grit" feature player, and author of Worth Dying For: A Navy SEAL's Call to a Nation, Rorke Denver, the bestselling account of how he helped create the U.S. Navy SEALS of today. Rorke Denver trains the men who become Navy SEALs--the most creative problem solvers on the modern battlefield, ideal warriors for the kinds of wars America is fighting now. With his years of action-packed mission experience and a top training role, Lieutenant Commander Denver understands exactly how tomorrow's soldiers are recruited, sculpted, motivated, and deployed.

Now, Denver takes you inside his personal story and the fascinating, demanding SEAL training program he now oversees. He recounts his experience evolving from a young SEAL hopeful pushing his way through Hell Week, into a warrior engaging in dangerous stealth missions across the globe, and finally into a lieutenant commander directing the indoctrination, requalification programs, and the "Hero or Zero" missions his SEALs undertake.

From his own SEAL training and missions overseas, Denver details how the SEALs' creative operations became front and center in America's War on Terror-and how they are altering warfare everywhere. In fourteen years as a SEAL officer, Rorke Denver tangled with drug lords in Latin America, stood up to violent mobs in Liberia, and battled terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan. Leading 200 commando missions, he earned the Bronze Star with V for valor. He has also served as flag aide to the admiral in charge and spent the past four years as executive officer of the Navy Special Warfare Center's Advanced Training Command in Coronado, California, directing all phases of the basic and advanced training that prepare men for war in SEAL teams. He recently starred in the film Act of Valor. He is married and has two daughters.

Ellis Henican is a columnist at Newsday and an on-air commentator at the Fox News Channel. He has written two recent New York Times bestsellers, Home Team with New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton and In the Blink of an Eye with NASCAR legend Michael Waltrip.

With all the SEALs' recent successes, we have been getting a level of acclaim we're not used to. But something important has been missing in this warm burst of publicity . Correcting that is my mission here.
My own SEAL dream was launched by a book. My hope is that this one teaches lessons that go far beyond the battlefield, inspiring a fresh generation of warriors to carry on that dream.
-Lieutenant Commander Rorke Denver
Eric Hobsbawm's works have had a nearly incalculable effect across generations of readers and students, influencing more than the practice of history but also the perception of it. Born in Alexandria, Egypt, of second-generation British parents, Hobsbawm was orphaned at age fourteen in 1931. Living with an uncle in Berlin, he experienced the full force of world economic depression, and in the charged reaction to it in Germany was forced to choose between Nazism and Communism, which was no choice at all. Hobsbawm's lifelong allegiance to Communism inspired his pioneering work in social history, particularly the trilogy for which he is most famous--The Age of Revolution, The Age of Capital, and The Age of Empire--covering what he termed "the long nineteenth century" in Europe. Selling in the millions of copies, these held sway among generations of readers, some of whom went on to have prominent careers in politics and business. In this comprehensive biography of Hobsbawm, acclaimed historian Richard Evans (author of The Third Reich Trilogy, among other works) offers both a living portrait and vital insight into one of the most influential intellectual figures of the twentieth century. Using exclusive and unrestricted access to the unpublished material, Evans places Hobsbawm's writings within their historical and political context. Hobsbawm's Marxism made him a controversial figure but also, uniquely and universally, someone who commanded respect even among those who did not share-or who even outright rejected-his political beliefs. Eric Hobsbawm: A Life in History gives us one of the 20th century's most colorful and intellectually compelling figures. It is an intellectual life of the century itself.
 The great work of Gibbon is indispensable to the student of history. The literature of Europe offers no substitute for "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire." It has obtained undisputed possession, as rightful occupant, of the vast period which it comprehends. However some subjects, which it embraces, may have undergone more complete investigation, on the general view of the whole period, this history is the sole undisputed authority to which all defer, and from which few appeal to the original writers, or to more modern compilers. The inherent interest of the subject, the inexhaustible labor employed upon it; the immense condensation of matter; the luminous arrangement; the general accuracy; the style, which, however monotonous from its uniform stateliness, and sometimes wearisome from its elaborate art., is throughout vigorous, animated, often picturesque always commands attention, always conveys its meaning with emphatic energy, describes with singular breadth and fidelity, and generalizes with unrivalled felicity of expression; all these high qualifications have secured, and seem likely to secure, its permanent place in historic literature.

This vast design of Gibbon, the magnificent whole into which he has cast the decay and ruin of the ancient civilization, the formation and birth of the new order of things, will of itself, independent of the laborious execution of his immense plan, render "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" an unapproachable subject to the future historian:* in the eloquent language of his recent French editor, M. Guizot:—

"The gradual decline of the most extraordinary dominion which has ever invaded and oppressed the world; the fall of that immense empire, erected on the ruins of so many kingdoms, republics, and states both barbarous and civilized; and forming in its turn, by its dismemberment, a multitude of states, republics, and kingdoms; the annihilation of the religion of Greece and Rome; the birth and the progress of the two new religions which have shared the most beautiful regions of the earth; the decrepitude of the ancient world, the spectacle of its expiring glory and degenerate manners; the infancy of the modern world, the picture of its first progress, of the new direction given to the mind and character of man—such a subject must necessarily fix the attention and excite the interest of men, who cannot behold with indifference those memorable epochs, during which, in the fine language of Corneille—
 The great work of Gibbon is indispensable to the student of history. The literature of Europe offers no substitute for "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire." It has obtained undisputed possession, as rightful occupant, of the vast period which it comprehends. However some subjects, which it embraces, may have undergone more complete investigation, on the general view of the whole period, this history is the sole undisputed authority to which all defer, and from which few appeal to the original writers, or to more modern compilers. The inherent interest of the subject, the inexhaustible labor employed upon it; the immense condensation of matter; the luminous arrangement; the general accuracy; the style, which, however monotonous from its uniform stateliness, and sometimes wearisome from its elaborate art., is throughout vigorous, animated, often picturesque always commands attention, always conveys its meaning with emphatic energy, describes with singular breadth and fidelity, and generalizes with unrivalled felicity of expression; all these high qualifications have secured, and seem likely to secure, its permanent place in historic literature.

This vast design of Gibbon, the magnificent whole into which he has cast the decay and ruin of the ancient civilization, the formation and birth of the new order of things, will of itself, independent of the laborious execution of his immense plan, render "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" an unapproachable subject to the future historian:* in the eloquent language of his recent French editor, M. Guizot:—

"The gradual decline of the most extraordinary dominion which has ever invaded and oppressed the world; the fall of that immense empire, erected on the ruins of so many kingdoms, republics, and states both barbarous and civilized; and forming in its turn, by its dismemberment, a multitude of states, republics, and kingdoms; the annihilation of the religion of Greece and Rome; the birth and the progress of the two new religions which have shared the most beautiful regions of the earth; the decrepitude of the ancient world, the spectacle of its expiring glory and degenerate manners; the infancy of the modern world, the picture of its first progress, of the new direction given to the mind and character of man—such a subject must necessarily fix the attention and excite the interest of men, who cannot behold with indifference those memorable epochs, during which, in the fine language of Corneille—
 The great work of Gibbon is indispensable to the student of history. The literature of Europe offers no substitute for "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire." It has obtained undisputed possession, as rightful occupant, of the vast period which it comprehends. However some subjects, which it embraces, may have undergone more complete investigation, on the general view of the whole period, this history is the sole undisputed authority to which all defer, and from which few appeal to the original writers, or to more modern compilers. The inherent interest of the subject, the inexhaustible labor employed upon it; the immense condensation of matter; the luminous arrangement; the general accuracy; the style, which, however monotonous from its uniform stateliness, and sometimes wearisome from its elaborate art., is throughout vigorous, animated, often picturesque always commands attention, always conveys its meaning with emphatic energy, describes with singular breadth and fidelity, and generalizes with unrivalled felicity of expression; all these high qualifications have secured, and seem likely to secure, its permanent place in historic literature.

This vast design of Gibbon, the magnificent whole into which he has cast the decay and ruin of the ancient civilization, the formation and birth of the new order of things, will of itself, independent of the laborious execution of his immense plan, render "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" an unapproachable subject to the future historian:* in the eloquent language of his recent French editor, M. Guizot:—

"The gradual decline of the most extraordinary dominion which has ever invaded and oppressed the world; the fall of that immense empire, erected on the ruins of so many kingdoms, republics, and states both barbarous and civilized; and forming in its turn, by its dismemberment, a multitude of states, republics, and kingdoms; the annihilation of the religion of Greece and Rome; the birth and the progress of the two new religions which have shared the most beautiful regions of the earth; the decrepitude of the ancient world, the spectacle of its expiring glory and degenerate manners; the infancy of the modern world, the picture of its first progress, of the new direction given to the mind and character of man—such a subject must necessarily fix the attention and excite the interest of men, who cannot behold with indifference those memorable epochs, during which, in the fine language of Corneille—
“A true and heart-wrenching account . . . The story of an innocent child of Nazi Germany who has searched a lifetime to find relief from chronic pain” (Jack Perkins, former host of Biography).
 
It is sometimes difficult to remember that in war there are innocents on all sides who suffer. German citizens who had no connection to the atrocities committed by their countrymen nonetheless endured great hardships because of them. In The Inner War, author Gerda Hartwich Robinson narrates her story as a German survivor of World War II. She tells how her life’s journey included hunger, fear, neglect, and physical and emotional abuse, and how she carried these injustices in her mind and body for many years, leading to debilitating back pain, headaches, panic attacks, depression, and feelings of inadequacy.
 
In this touching memoir, Robinson shows that the tragedies of war don’t end when the last bomb is dropped or the last prisoner freed; they continue in subtle but devastating ways. Like many German citizens during and after the war, Robinson was simply trying to survive a terrifying situation she had nothing to do with. She describes how her spirit was devastated by hopelessness, and how she entertained thoughts of suicide. The Inner War shares lessons she learned at a chronic pain rehabilitation center that allowed her to start on a path to peace and love.
 
“Written with frankness and integrity, Robinson’s memoir . . . illuminates the trauma anyone might suffer after enduring physical and emotional upheavals, and pinpoints the damage done to children who experience war on a personal level.” —Shelf Awareness
A fresh, revelatory, and shockingly revisionist narrative of the rise and fall of the House of Medici, by the acclaimed author of The Cardinal’s Hat and The Borgias.

Having founded the bank that became the most powerful in Europe in the fifteenth century, the Medici gained massive political power in Florence, raising the city to a peak of cultural achievement and becoming its hereditary dukes. Among their number were no fewer than three popes and a powerful and influential queen of France. Their influence brought about an explosion of Florentine art and architecture. Michelangelo, Donatello, Fra Angelico, and Leonardo were among the artists with whom they were socialized and patronized.

Thus runs the "accepted view” of the Medici. However, Mary Hollingsworth argues that the idea that the Medici were enlightened rulers of the Renaissance is a fiction that has now acquired the status of historical fact. In truth, the Medici were as devious and immoral as the Borgias—tyrants loathed in the city they illegally made their own. In this dynamic new history, Hollingsworth argues that past narratives have focused on a sanitized and fictitious view of the Medici—wise rulers, enlightened patrons of the arts, and fathers of the Renaissance—but that in fact their past was reinvented in the sixteenth century, mythologized by later generations of Medici who used this as a central prop for their legacy.

Hollingsworth's revelatory re-telling of the story of the family Medici brings a fresh and exhilarating new perspective to the story behind the most powerful family of the Italian Renaissance.

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