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True Stories

Get lost in the past with these biographies, memoirs, and history books.


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Pirate Enlightenment, or the Real Libertalia

- David Graeber

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The final book from David Graeber, the iconic intellectual, activist, and co-author of the New York Times bestseller, The Dawn of Everything.

Pirates have long lived in the realm of romance and fantasy, symbolizing risk, lawlessness, and radical visions of freedom. But at the root of this mythology is a rich history of pirate societies-- vibrant, imaginative experiments in self-governance and alternative social formations at the edges of European empire.
 
In graduate school, David Graeber conducted ethnographic field research in Madagascar, producing what would eventually become a doctoral thesis on the island's magic, slavery, and politics. During this time, he encountered the Zana-Malata, an ethnic group made up of mixed descendants of the many pirates who settled on the island at the beginning of the eighteenth century. Pirate Enlightenment, or the True Libertalia, Graeber's final posthumous book, is the outgrowth of this early research, written while he and David Wengrow were working on what would become their major bestseller, The Dawn of Everything. In direct conversation with that work, Graeber explores how the proto-democratic, even libertarian practices of the Zana-Malata came to shape the Enlightenment project defined for too long as distinctly European. The result is a short but sweeping exploration of the non-European origins of what we consider to be "Western" thought, and an endeavor to recover forgotten forms of social and political order that gesture toward new, hopeful possibilities for the future.
 



 

Courtiers

- Valentine Low

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The gripping account of how the Royal family really operates, from the journalist who has spent years studying them. Who really runs the show and, as Charles III begins his reign, what will happen next?

Throughout history, the British monarchy has relied on its courtiers - the trusted advisers in the King or Queen's inner circle - to ensure its survival as a family and a pillar of the country. Today, as ever, a carefully selected team of people hidden from view steers the royal family's path between public duty and private life. Queen Elizabeth II, after a remarkable 70 years of service, saw the final seasons of her reign without her husband Philip to guide her. Now, a newly ascended Charles seeks to define what his future as King, and that of his court, will be.

The question of who is entrusted to guide the royals has never been more vital. Yet, as the tensions within the family are exposed to global scrutiny like never before, the task these courtiers face has never been more challenging. With a dark cloud hanging over Prince Andrew as well as Harry and Meghan's controversial departure from royal life, William and Kate - equipped with a very 21st century approach to press and public relations - now hold the responsibility of making an ancient institution relevant for the decades to come. In fascinating and explosive detail, Valentine Low explores the previously unknown relationship between modern courtiers and the royal family.

Courtiers pulls back the veil to reveal an ever-changing system of complex characters, shifting alliances, and a battle of ideas over what the future of the institution should be. This is the inside story of how the monarchy really works, at a pivotal moment in its history.

Where To from Here

- Bill Morneau , John Lawrence Reynolds

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Bill Morneau's experience as Canada's finance minister crystalized his vision for the country's potential for growth and prosperity. Where To from Here looks backward with coolness and candor and forward with a fresh vision of all that Canada can -- and must -- become. Much of the world reacted with surprise and admiration to the results of the 2015 Canadian federal election and the makeup of the government it produced. Led by a young charismatic leader with a storied family legacy on Parliament Hill, the Liberal government scored a historic victory, rising from third-party status to substantial majority. With a gender-equal cabinet and an ambitious agenda, it heralded a new approach to the country's federal politics. After an exciting and productive five years spent focused on domestic and global issues, Finance Minister Bill Morneau decided to take his leave from the same government. What prompted him to abandon one of the most powerful political offices in the country? How much of his decision was based on the often brutal give-and-take of politics? When did the penny drop, persuading one of Trudeau's brightest lights to shift his talents and energies elsewhere? In his own persuasive voice, Bill Morneau paints a positive picture, tracing his widely lauded entry into the political arena, the arc of his career in politics, major accomplishments and missed opportunities, his surprising exit, and a host of revealing episodes between the events. Told with measures of both pride and regret, he explores personalities, achievements, and failures with candor. Morneau's experience crystalized his vision for Canada and its potential for growth and prosperity. He shares a vision clearly and provocatively expressed, drafting a blueprint for the country's future. Where To from Here looks backward with coolness and candor and forward with a fresh vision of all that Canada can -- and must -- become.

Superfan

- Jen Sookfong Lee

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A sharply observed and beautifully intimate memoir-in-pieces that uses one woman's life-long love affair with pop culture as a revelatory lens to explore family, identity, belonging, grief, and the power of female rage. Named a most anticipated book of the year by the Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star.

For most of Jen Sookfong Lee's life, pop culture was an escape from family tragedy and a means of fitting in with the larger culture around her. Anne of Green Gables promised her that, despite losing her father at the age of twelve, one day she might still have the loving family of her dreams. Princess Diana was proof that maybe there was more to being a good girl after all. And yet as Jen grew up, she began to recognize the ways in which pop culture was not made for someone like her--the child of Chinese immigrant parents who looked for safety in the invisibility afforded by embracing model minority myths.

Ranging from the unattainable perfection of Gwyneth Paltrow and the father-figure familiarity of Bob Ross, to the long shadow cast by The Joy Luck Club and the life lessons she has learned from Rihanna, Jen weaves together key moments in pop culture with stories of her own failings, longings, and struggles as she navigates the minefields that come with carving her own path as an Asian woman, single mother, and writer. And with great wit, bracing honesty, and a deep appreciation for the ways culture shapes us, she draws direct lines between the spectacle of the popular, the intimacy of our personal bonds, and the social foundations of our collective obsessions.

How the Word Is Passed

- Clint Smith

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This compelling "important and timely" (Drew Faust, Harvard Magazine) #1 New York Times bestseller examines the legacy of slavery in America--and how both history and memory continue to shape our everyday lives.

Beginning in his hometown of New Orleans, Clint Smith leads the reader on an unforgettable tour of monuments and landmarks--those that are honest about the past and those that are not--that offer an intergenerational story of how slavery has been central in shaping our nation's collective history, and ourselves.

It is the story of the Monticello Plantation in Virginia, the estate where Thomas Jefferson wrote letters espousing the urgent need for liberty while enslaving more than four hundred people. It is the story of the Whitney Plantation, one of the only former plantations devoted to preserving the experience of the enslaved people whose lives and work sustained it. It is the story of Angola, a former plantation-turned-maximum-security prison in Louisiana that is filled with Black men who work across the 18,000-acre land for virtually no pay. And it is the story of Blandford Cemetery, the final resting place of tens of thousands of Confederate soldiers.

A deeply researched and transporting exploration of the legacy of slavery and its imprint on centuries of American history, How the Word Is Passed illustrates how some of our country's most essential stories are hidden in plain view--whether in places we might drive by on our way to work, holidays such as Juneteenth, or entire neighborhoods like downtown Manhattan, where the brutal history of the trade in enslaved men, women, and children has been deeply imprinted.

Informed by scholarship and brought to life by the story of people living today, Smith's debut work of nonfiction is a landmark of reflection and insight that offers a new understanding of the hopeful role that memory and history can play in making sense of our country and how it has come to be.

 

Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction

Winner of the Stowe Prize 

Winner of 2022 Hillman Prize for Book Journalism 

A New York Times 10 Best Books of 2021 

Agatha Christie

- Lucy Worsley

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'A smart and highly entertaining portrait of a literary powerhouse'
- THE TIMES BOOKS OF THE YEAR

'A riveting portrait'
- GUARDIAN BOOKS OF THE YEAR

***

'
Christie lovers should read this biography for the same reason they read her novels.' - The Times

'A model of how to combine biographical information, analysis and literary criticism into a propulsive narrative' - Daily Telegraph


'Worsley's book excels in bringing a broader historical perspective to Christie's life and work, and her enthusiasm is infectious.' - Observer

Ms Worsley herself writes engagingly... She combines an almost militant support for her subject with a considered analysis of her books and plays.' - Economist


'Nobody in the world was more inadequate to act the heroine than I was.'

Why did Agatha Christie spend her career pretending that she was 'just' an ordinary housewife, when clearly she wasn't? As Lucy Worsley says, 'She was thrillingly, scintillatingly modern'. She went surfing in Hawaii, she loved fast cars, and she was intrigued by the new science of psychology, which helped her through devastating mental illness.

So why - despite all the evidence to the contrary - did Agatha present herself as a retiring Edwardian lady of leisure?
She was born in 1890 into a world which had its own rules about what women could and couldn't do. Lucy Worsley's biography is not just of an internationally renowned bestselling writer. It's also the story of a person who, despite the obstacles of class and gender, became an astonishingly successful working woman.

With access to personal letters and papers that have rarely been seen, Lucy Worsley's biography is both authoritative and entertaining and makes us realise what an extraordinary pioneer Agatha Christie was - truly a woman who wrote the twentieth century.

Leonard Cohen, Untold Stories

- Michael Posner

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The extraordinary life of one of the world's greatest music and literary icons, in the words of those who knew him best.

Poet, novelist, singer-songwriter, artist, prophet, icon--there has never been a figure like Leonard Cohen. He was a true giant in contemporary western culture, entertaining and inspiring the world with his work. From his groundbreaking and bestselling novels, The Favourite Game and Beautiful Losers, to timeless songs such as "Suzanne," "Dance Me to the End of Love," and "Hallelujah," Cohen is one of the world's most cherished artists. His death in 2016 was felt around the world by the many fans and followers who would miss his warmth, humour, intellect, and piercing insights.

Leonard Cohen, Untold Stories chronicles the full breadth of his extraordinary life. This third and final volume in biographer Michael Posner's sweeping series of Cohen's life--That's How the Light Gets In--explores the last thirty years of his life, starting with the late 1980s revival of his music career with the successful albums I'm Your Man and The Future. It covers the death of his manager, Marty Machat, and the appointment of another who would ultimately be accused of stealing more than five million dollars from Cohen.

Personally, Cohen suffers the traumatic end of his long relationship with French photographer Dominique Issermann and begins a public romance with actress Rebecca De Mornay. When that relationship ends in 1993, as Cohen is about to turn sixty years old, he begins a deeply spiritual phase, entering the Mount Baldy monastery under the tutelage of Zen master Joshu Sasaki Roshi--arguably the most important relationship in Cohen's life. Ever the seeker, he then goes to Mumbai in 1999, the first of half a dozen trips to India to investigate Advaita Vedanta Hinduism, expanding his growing fascination with spirituality.

In 2008, Cohen makes his triumphant return to the concert stage, and for five years travels the world in an extraordinary final act of his life, giving almost four hundred performances over three continents. The book provides the first full chronicle of Cohen's final months, fighting debilitating disease, while still creating three new studio albums, adding to his remarkable legacy.

Cohen's story is told through the voices of those who knew him best--family and friends, colleagues and contemporaries, business partners and lovers. Bestselling author Michael Posner draws on hundreds of interviews to reveal the unique, complex, and compelling figure of the man The New York Times called "a secular saint." This is a book like no other, about a man like no other.

Terry Pratchett

- Rob Wilkins

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'Always readable, illuminating and honest. It made me miss the real Terry.' - NEIL GAIMAN

'Sometimes joyfully, sometimes painfully, intimate . . . it is wonderful to have this closeup picture of the writer's working life.' - FRANK COTTRELL-BOYCE, OBSERVER

'Spins magic from mundanity in precisely the way Pratchett himself did.' - THE TELEGRAPH

'As frank, funny and unsentimental as anything its subject might have produced himself.' - MAIL ON SUNDAY

--------

At the time of his death in 2015, award-winning and bestselling author Sir Terry Pratchett was working on his finest story yet - his own.

The creator of the phenomenally bestselling Discworld series, Terry Pratchett was known and loved around the world for his hugely popular books, his smart satirical humour and the humanity of his campaign work. But that's only part of the picture.

Before his untimely death, Terry was writing a memoir: the story of a boy who aged six was told by his teacher that he would never amount to anything and spent the rest of his life proving him wrong. For Terry lived a life full of astonishing achievements: becoming one of the UK's bestselling and most beloved writers, winning the prestigious Carnegie Medal and being awarded a knighthood.

Now, the book Terry sadly couldn't finish has been written by Rob Wilkins, his former assistant, friend and now head of the Pratchett literary estate. Drawing on his own extensive memories, along with those of the author's family, friends and colleagues, Rob unveils the full picture of Terry's life - from childhood to his astonishing writing career, and how he met and coped with what he called the 'Embuggerance' of Alzheimer's disease.

A deeply moving and personal portrait of the extraordinary life of Sir Terry Pratchett, written with unparalleled insight and filled with funny anecdotes, this is the only official biography of one of our finest authors.

'Of all the dead authors in the world, Terry Pratchett is the most alive.' - JOHN LLOYD

The Light We Carry

- Michelle Obama

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#1 NEW YORK TIMES AND USA TODAY BESTSELLER o ONE OF TIME'S 100 MUST-READ BOOKS OF 2022 o In an inspiring follow-up to her critically acclaimed, #1 bestselling memoir Becoming, former First Lady Michelle Obama shares practical wisdom and powerful strategies for staying hopeful and balanced in today's highly uncertain world.
 
There may be no tidy solutions or pithy answers to life's big challenges, but Michelle Obama believes that we can all locate and lean on a set of tools to help us better navigate change and remain steady within flux. In The Light We Carry, she opens a frank and honest dialogue with readers, considering the questions many of us wrestle with: How do we build enduring and honest relationships? How can we discover strength and community inside our differences? What tools do we use to address feelings of self-doubt or helplessness? What do we do when it all starts to feel like too much?
 
Michelle Obama offers readers a series of fresh stories and insightful reflections on change, challenge, and power, including her belief that when we light up for others, we can illuminate the richness and potential of the world around us, discovering deeper truths and new pathways for progress. Drawing from her experiences as a mother, daughter, spouse, friend, and First Lady, she shares the habits and principles she has developed to successfully adapt to change and overcome various obstacles--the earned wisdom that helps her continue to "become." She details her most valuable practices, like "starting kind," "going high," and assembling a "kitchen table" of trusted friends and mentors. With trademark humor, candor, and compassion, she also explores issues connected to race, gender, and visibility, encouraging readers to work through fear, find strength in community, and live with boldness.
 
"When we are able to recognize our own light, we become empowered to use it," writes Michelle Obama. A rewarding blend of powerful stories and profound advice that will ignite conversation, The Light We Carry inspires readers to examine their own lives, identify their sources of gladness, and connect meaningfully in a turbulent world.

Have I Told You This Already?

- Lauren Graham

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER o From the beloved star of Gilmore Girls and the New York Times bestselling author of Talking as Fast as I Can comes an "insightful, honest, funny, and moving collection of captivating stories" (BuzzFeed).

"Graham is fast and furiously funny in her latest collection of essays. . . . Where Graham leads, we will definitely follow."--E! Online


Lauren Graham has graced countless television screens with her quick-witted characters and hilarious talk show appearances, earning a reputation as a pop culture icon who always has something to say. In her latest book, Have I Told You This Already?, Graham combines her signature sense of humor with down-to-earth storytelling. Graham shares personal stories about her life and career--from her early days spent pounding the pavement while waitressing in New York City, to living on her aunt's couch during her first Los Angeles pilot season, to thoughts on aging gracefully in Hollywood.

In "R.I.P. Barneys New York" Graham writes about an early job as a salesperson at the legendary department store (and the time she inadvertently shoplifted from it); in "Ryan Gosling Cannot Confirm," she attempts to navigate the unspoken rules of Hollywood hierarchies; in "Boobs of the '90s" she worries her bras haven't kept up with the times; and in "Actor-y Factory" she recounts what a day in the life of an actor looks like (unless you're Brad Pitt). 

Filled with surprising anecdotes, sage advice, and laugh-out-loud observations, these all-new, original essays showcase the winning charm and wry humor that have delighted Graham's millions of fans.

Number One Is Walking SIGNED

- Steve Martin, Harry Bliss

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SIGNED EDITION Number One Is Walking is Steve Martin's cinematic legacy--an illustrated memoir of his legendary acting career, with stories from his most popular films and artwork by New Yorker cartoonist Harry Bliss. Steve Martin has never written about his career in the movies before. In Number One is Walking, he shares anecdotes from the sets of his beloved films--from Father of the Bride to Roxanne, The Jerk to Three Amigos, and many more, bringing readers directly into his world. In it, he shares charming tales of antics, moments of inspiration, and exploits with the likes of Paul McCartney and Diane Keaton, Harrison Ford and Chevy Chase. Martin details his forty years in the movie biz, as well as his stand-up comedy, banjo playing, writing, and cartooning, all with his unparalleled wit. With gorgeously illustrated cartoons and single-panel "diversions" in Steve and Harry's signature style, Number One Is Walking is full of the everyday moments that make up a movie star's life, capturing Steve Martin's singular humor and acclaimed career in film. The perfect gift from the team who brought you the #1 New York Times bestseller A Wealth of Pigeons.

A Book of Days

- Patti Smith

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A deeply moving and brilliantly idiosyncratic visual book of days by the National Book Award-winning author of Just Kids and M Train, featuring more than 365 images and reflections that chart Smith's singular aesthetic--inspired by her wildly popular Instagram.

 In 2018, without any plan or agenda for what might happen next, Patti Smith posted her first Instagram photo: her hand with the simple message "Hello Everybody!" Known for shooting with her beloved Land camera 250, Smith started posting images from her phone including portraits of her kids, her radiator, her boots, and her Abyssinian cat, Cairo. Followers felt an immediate affinity with these miniature windows into Smith's world, photographs of her daily coffee, the books she's reading, the graves of beloved heroes--William Blake, Dylan Thomas, Sylvia Plath, Simone Weil, Albert Camus. Over time, a coherent story of a life devoted to art took shape, and more than a million followers responded to Smith's unique aesthetic in images that chart her passions, devotions, obsessions, and whims. Original to this book are vintage photographs: anniversary pearls, a mother's keychain, and a husband's Mosrite guitar. Here, too, are never-before-seen photos of life on and off the road, train stations, obscure cafés, a notebook always nearby. In wide-ranging yet intimate daily notations, Smith shares dispatches from her travels around the world.

With over 365 photographs taking you through a single year, A Book of Days is a new way to experience the expansive mind of the visionary poet, writer, and performer. Hopeful, elegiac, playful--and complete with an introduction by Smith that explores her documentary process--A Book of Days is a timeless offering for deeply uncertain times, an inspirational map of an artist's life.

Personality and Power

- Ian Kershaw

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One of New York Magazine's Most Anticipated Books of the Fall

How far can a single leader alter the course of history?


From one of the leading historians of twentieth-century Europe and the author of the definitive biography of Hitler, Personality and Power is a masterful reckoning with how character conspired with opportunity to create the modern age's uniquely devastating despots--and how and why other countries found better paths. The modern era saw the emergence of individuals who had command over a terrifying array of instruments of control, persuasion and death. Whole societies were reshaped and wars were fought, often with a merciless contempt for the most basic norms. At the summit of these societies were leaders whose personalities somehow enabled them to do whatever they wished, regardless of the consequences for others.

Ian Kershaw's new book is a compelling, lucid and challenging attempt to understand these rulers, whether those operating on the widest stage (Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini) or with a more national impact (Tito, Franco). What was it about these leaders, and the times in which they lived, that allowed them such untrammelled and murderous power? And what brought that era to an end? In a contrasting group of profiles--from Churchill to de Gaulle, Adenauer to Gorbachev and Thatcher to Kohl)--Kershaw uses his exceptional skills as an iconic historian to explore how strikingly different figures wielded power.

Educated

- Tara Westover

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For readers of The Glass Castle and Wild, a stunning new memoir about family, loss and the struggle for a better future

#1 International Bestseller

Tara Westover was seventeen when she first set foot in a classroom. Instead of traditional lessons, she grew up learning how to stew herbs into medicine, scavenging in the family scrap yard and helping her family prepare for the apocalypse. She had no birth certificate and no medical records and had never been enrolled in school.

Westover's mother proved a marvel at concocting folk remedies for many ailments. As Tara developed her own coping mechanisms, little by little, she started to realize that what her family was offering didn't have to be her only education. Her first day of university was her first day in school--ever--and she would eventually win an esteemed fellowship from Cambridge and graduate with a PhD in intellectual history and political thought.

 

The Queen

- Andrew Morton

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#1 New York Times bestselling biographer Andrew Morton provides the definitive, most comprehensive account of Queen Elizabeth II's legendary reign. 

Painfully shy, Elizabeth Windsor's personality was well suited to her youthful ambition of living quietly in the country, raising a family, and caring for her dogs and horses. But when her uncle, King Edward VIII, abdicated, she became heir to the throne--embarking on a journey that would test her as a woman and queen.

Ascending to the throne at only 25, this self-effacing monarch navigated endless setbacks, family conflict, and occasional triumphs throughout her 70 years as the Queen of England. As her mettle was tested, she endeavored to keep the monarchy relevant culturally, socially, and politically, often in the face of resistance from inside the institution itself. And yet the greatest challenges she faced were often inside her own family, forever under intense scrutiny; from rumors about her husband's infidelity, her sister's marital breakdown, Princess Diana's tragic death, to the recent departure of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

Now in The Queen, renowned biographer Andrew Morton takes an in-depth look at Britain's longest reigning monarch, exploring the influence Queen Elizabeth had on both Britain and the rest of the world for much of the last century. From leading a nation struggling to restore itself after the devastation of the second World War to navigating the divisive political landscape of the present day, Queen Elizabeth was a reluctant but resolute queen. This is the story of a woman of unflagging self-discipline who will long be remembered as mother and grandmother to Great Britain, and one of the greatest sovereigns of the modern era.

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