Jim Harrison is a test pilot in the United States Air Force, one of the exalted few. He spends his days cheating death in the skies above the Mojave Desert and his nights at his friend Pancho’s bar, often with his wife, Grace. She and Harrison are secretly desperate for a child, and when, unexpectedly, Grace learns that she is pregnant, the two are overjoyed. America becomes swept up in the fervor of the Space Race, while Harrison turns his attention home to welcome his daughter, Florence, into the world. But as he and Grace confront thrills and challenges of parenthood, they are met with sudden tragedy.
The aftermath will haunt the Harrisons and strain their marriage, as Jim struggles to make life-and-death decisions under circumstances that are altogether new. Set against the backdrop of one of the most emotionally charged periods in American history, The Last Pilot by Benjamin Johncock is the mesmerizing story of a couple’s crisis of faith—in themselves, and in each another—and the limits they test to rediscover it.
At the end of Huckleberry Finn, on the eve of the Civil War, Huck and Tom Sawyer decide to escape “sivilization” and “light out for the Territory.” In Robert Coover’s vision of their Western adventures, Tom decides he’d rather own civilization than escape it, leaving Huck “dreadful lonely” in a country of bandits, war parties, and gold. In the course of his ventures, Huck reunites with old friends, facing hard truths and even harder choices.
Taking up his memoirs from where we left him, marooned on the Galapágos Islands, we find Eddie offering a young Charles Darwin an explanation of why the finches on the islands vary. In Texas, staunchly loyal to whichever side will win, he spies for General Santa Anna at the Alamo and, with the help of Emily Morgan, the ravishingly beautiful Yellow Rose of Texas, for Sam Houston at San Jacinto.
Eddie works the Mississippi riverboats as a cardsharp. Caught cheating, he is forced to jump ship and inadvertently stumbles across the secret that will launch the Californian Gold Rush. Finally, having traversed the girth of a nation, his disgraceful saga ends, back east, at a highly inflammatory revivalist meeting.
This beautiful, illuminating tale of hope and courage is based on interviews that were conducted with Holocaust survivor and Auschwitz-Birkenau tattooist Ludwig (Lale) Sokolov—an unforgettable love story in the midst of atrocity.
“The Tattooist of Auschwitz is an extraordinary document, a story about the extremes of human behavior existing side by side: calculated brutality alongside impulsive and selfless acts of love. I find it hard to imagine anyone who would not be drawn in, confronted and moved. I would recommend it unreservedly to anyone, whether they’d read a hundred Holocaust stories or none.”—Graeme Simsion, internationally-bestselling author of The Rosie Project
In April 1942, Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew, is forcibly transported to the concentration camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau. When his captors discover that he speaks several languages, he is put to work as a Tätowierer (the German word for tattooist), tasked with permanently marking his fellow prisoners.
Imprisoned for over two and a half years, Lale witnesses horrific atrocities and barbarism—but also incredible acts of bravery and compassion. Risking his own life, he uses his privileged position to exchange jewels and money from murdered Jews for food to keep his fellow prisoners alive.
One day in July 1942, Lale, prisoner 32407, comforts a trembling young woman waiting in line to have the number 34902 tattooed onto her arm. Her name is Gita, and in that first encounter, Lale vows to somehow survive the camp and marry her.
A vivid, harrowing, and ultimately hopeful re-creation of Lale Sokolov's experiences as the man who tattooed the arms of thousands of prisoners with what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust, The Tattooist of Auschwitz is also a testament to the endurance of love and humanity under the darkest possible conditions.