Memories Before and After the Sound of Music: An Autobiography

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Agathe von Trapp, the oldest daughter in the Trapp Family Singers, offers readers the real story behind an American classic in her poignant and fascinating autobiography Memories Before and After The Sound of Music. The courageous family and events immortalized in the beloved Broadway musical and hit Hollywood film come vibrantly alive in these pages, and Agathe’s post-Sound of Music life is equally compelling.
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About the author

Agathe von Trapp was born in Austria in 1913. A member of the original Trapp Family Singers, Agathe traveled with the group on their worldwide concert tours in thirty countries. She lives in Baltimore, Maryland.

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Harper Collins
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Published on
Sep 14, 2010
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Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs
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Eligible for Family Library

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Introduction by Gillian Flynn
Afterword by Patton Oswalt

“I’ll Be Gone in the Dark will undoubtedly be stocked in the True Crime section, which is fine, but in so many ways it’s a brilliant genre-buster. It’s propulsive, can’t-stop-now reading, which makes it all too easy to ignore the clean and focused writing.

What readers need to know—what makes this book so special—is that it deals with two obsessions, one light and one dark. The Golden State Killer is the dark half; Michelle McNamara’s is the light half. It’s a journey into two minds, one sick and disordered, the other intelligent and determined. I loved this book.”   —Stephen King

A masterful true crime account of the Golden State Killer—the elusive serial rapist turned murderer who terrorized California for over a decade—from Michelle McNamara, the gifted journalist who died tragically while investigating the case.

"You’ll be silent forever, and I’ll be gone in the dark."

For more than ten years, a mysterious and violent predator committed fifty sexual assaults in Northern California before moving south, where he perpetrated ten sadistic murders. Then he disappeared, eluding capture by multiple police forces and some of the best detectives in the area.

Three decades later, Michelle McNamara, a true crime journalist who created the popular website, was determined to find the violent psychopath she called "the Golden State Killer." Michelle pored over police reports, interviewed victims, and embedded herself in the online communities that were as obsessed with the case as she was.

At the time of the crimes, the Golden State Killer was between the ages of eighteen and thirty, Caucasian, and athletic—capable of vaulting tall fences. He always wore a mask. After choosing a victim—he favored suburban couples—he often entered their home when no one was there, studying family pictures, mastering the layout. He attacked while they slept, using a flashlight to awaken and blind them. Though they could not recognize him, his victims recalled his voice: a guttural whisper through clenched teeth, abrupt and threatening.

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark—the masterpiece McNamara was writing at the time of her sudden death—offers an atmospheric snapshot of a moment in American history and a chilling account of a criminal mastermind and the wreckage he left behind. It is also a portrait of a woman’s obsession and her unflagging pursuit of the truth. Framed by an introduction by Gillian Flynn and an afterword by her husband, Patton Oswalt, the book was completed by Michelle’s lead researcher and a close colleague. Utterly original and compelling, it is destined to become a true crime classic—and may at last unmask the Golden State Killer.

We wept at his Oscar-winning role in Marty. . .we gasped when he took on Frank Sinatra in From Here to Eternity. . .we were riveted by his compelling performances in The Dirty Dozen, Bad Day at Black Rock, and Ice Station Zebra. . .and we laughed at his television sitcom McHale's Navy. We loved all of Ernest Borgnine's many portrayals, but what did we know about the man behind the famous roles? Now for the first time, he tells us in his own words the fascinating story of his life in this witty, candid, and revealing memoir.

For more than fifty years, Ernest--or "Ernie" as he's known to his friends--has been one of the most recognized, celebrated stars in Hollywood as well as a respected, talented actor, and a living legend. Stretching from his childhood as the son of Italian immigrants to a spectacular career that is still thriving in his 91st year, from the early days of live TV to the voiceovers for The Simpsons and SpongeBob SquarePants, Ernie tells of the trials and tribulations on his road to fame, the friendships he shared with some of the silver screen's biggest stars, and the glamorous leading ladies he loved.

Acclaimed for his ability to play sensitive and tough-guy roles equally well, he was also famous for squaring off against some of Hollywood's most formidable actresses--including Bette Davis in A Catered Affair and Joan Crawford in Johnny Guitar. Recalling his experiences starring in classic movies such as The Poseidon Adventure, The Wild Bunch, and Escape from New York, he reveals personal insights and irresistible stories about cinema's greatest icons--including Spencer Tracy, James Stewart, Kirk Douglas, Montgomery Clift, Gary Cooper, Janet Leigh, Raquel Welch, Gene Hackman, Rock Hudson, Sammy Davis, Jr., Tony Curtis, Alan Ladd, Glenn Ford, and Burt Lancaster. And with characteristic frankness, he also talks about his off-screen loves and passions.

A must for every film buff, Ernie: An Autobiography is a fascinating memoir--filled with secrets, well-remembered details, and never-before-told stories--of a star who has thrived in the changing world of Hollywood for more than half a century, and endeared himself to legions of fans everywhere.

"(Borgnine's) anecdotes are gleefully self-deprecating. . .he comes off as the kind of guy you'd like to have a beer with." --NY Post

"With astute observations on the Hollywood hierarchy and tales about everyone from Lee Marvin and Steve McQueen to Bette Davis and Kim Novak, (Borgnine) writes with an unassuming, no-nonsense tone. His love of filmmaking and his respect for his fellow actors permeates the pages of this engaging and satisfying memoir." --Publishers Weekly

"Modest and sweet. . .nicely boiled. Borgnine neither lashes out nor pulls punches." --Entertainment Weekly

". . .a satisfying detailed account of a decades-long career that also included memorable roles in durable blockbusters like The Wild Bunch and The Poseidon Adventure. He comes across as an unspoiled, nice guy who enjoyed his success. . .One of the finest unghosted Hollywood autobiographies." --ALA Booklist

"A super read. . .Ernie: The Autobiography by Ernest Borgnine is as nifty as he is." --Cindy Adams, NY Post
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The compelling, inspiring, and comically sublime story of one man’s coming-of-age, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed

Michiko Kakutani, New York Times • Newsday • Esquire • NPR • Booklist

Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa’s tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle.

Born a Crime is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is also the story of that young man’s relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother—his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life.

The stories collected here are by turns hilarious, dramatic, and deeply affecting. Whether subsisting on caterpillars for dinner during hard times, being thrown from a moving car during an attempted kidnapping, or just trying to survive the life-and-death pitfalls of dating in high school, Trevor illuminates his curious world with an incisive wit and unflinching honesty. His stories weave together to form a moving and searingly funny portrait of a boy making his way through a damaged world in a dangerous time, armed only with a keen sense of humor and a mother’s unconventional, unconditional love.

Praise for Born a Crime

 “[A] compelling new memoir . . . By turns alarming, sad and funny, [Trevor Noah’s] book provides a harrowing look, through the prism of Mr. Noah’s family, at life in South Africa under apartheid. . . . Born a Crime is not just an unnerving account of growing up in South Africa under apartheid, but a love letter to the author’s remarkable mother.”—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

“[An] unforgettable memoir.”—Parade

 “What makes Born a Crime such a soul-nourishing pleasure, even with all its darker edges and perilous turns, is reading Noah recount in brisk, warmly conversational prose how he learned to negotiate his way through the bullying and ostracism. . . . What also helped was having a mother like Patricia Nombuyiselo Noah. . . . Consider Born a Crime another such gift to her—and an enormous gift to the rest of us.”—USA Today

“[Noah] thrives with the help of his astonishingly fearless mother. . . . Their fierce bond makes this story soar.”—People

“[Noah’s] electrifying memoir sparkles with funny stories . . . and his candid and compassionate essays deepen our perception of the complexities of race, gender, and class.”—Booklist (starred review)

“A gritty memoir . . . studded with insight and provocative social criticism . . . with flashes of brilliant storytelling and acute observations.”—Kirkus Reviews

Nominated for the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work

Named a Best Book of the Year by The Root

Chosen by Emma Straub as a Best New Celebrity Memoir

“A book of essays as raw and honest as anyone has ever produced.” — Lena Dunham, Lenny Letter

In the spirit of Amy Poehler’s Yes Please, Lena Dunham’s Not That Kind of Girl, and Roxane Gay's Bad Feminist, a powerful collection of essays about gender, sexuality, race, beauty, Hollywood, and what it means to be a modern woman.

One month before the release of the highly anticipated film The Birth of a Nation, actress Gabrielle Union shook the world with a vulnerable and impassioned editorial in which she urged our society to have compassion for victims of sexual violence. In the wake of rape allegations made against director and actor Nate Parker, Union—a forty-four-year-old actress who launched her career with roles in iconic ’90s movies—instantly became the insightful, outspoken actress that Hollywood has been desperately awaiting. With honesty and heartbreaking wisdom, she revealed her own trauma as a victim of sexual assault: "It is for you that I am speaking. This is real. We are real."

In this moving collection of thought provoking essays infused with her unique wisdom and deep humor, Union uses that same fearlessness to tell astonishingly personal and true stories about power, color, gender, feminism, and fame. Union tackles a range of experiences, including bullying, beauty standards, and competition between women in Hollywood, growing up in white California suburbia and then spending summers with her black relatives in Nebraska, coping with crushes, puberty, and the divorce of her parents. Genuine and perceptive, Union bravely lays herself bare, uncovering a complex and courageous life of self-doubt and self-discovery with incredible poise and brutal honesty. Throughout, she compels us to be ethical and empathetic, and reminds us of the importance of confidence, self-awareness, and the power of sharing truth, laughter, and support.

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