Get lost in the past with these biographies, memoirs, and history books.
- by Liv Arnesen
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The first woman to ski solo to the South Pole tells the story of what it took to get there
At home in Norway it is eight o'clock on Christmas Eve night, but ahead, at the Amundsen-Scott base that has been visible for hours, it is already early in the morning of Christmas Day when Liv Arnesen, after skiing solo for 745 miles in fifty days, finally arrives. She had been dreaming of the South Pole for most of her forty-one years, and now, even in her joy at having reached her goal in December 1994, she has to ask herself: what took you so long? In Skiing into the Bright Open Arnesen describes the exhausting, exhilarating experience of being the first known woman to ski unsupported to the South Pole. She also answers her own question, framing her account of her historic expedition with her longtime struggle to find the freedom and confidence to follow her dreams into uncharted territory.
From her childhood in Norway to the seasons she spent working as a guide on Svalbard, the Norwegian archipelago in the Arctic Ocean, Arnesen courted the cold, and her memoir reflects the knowledge and passion for Arctic and Antarctic exploration that grew with her adventures in the wintry reaches of Norway and beyond. Tracing her path from the heroic stories of explorers like Fridtjof Nansen and Ernest Shackleton to her own crossing of the Greenland Ice Cap in 1992, Arnesen credits the inspiring feats of those who preceded her but also describes the obstacles--including niggling self-doubt--that tradition, convention, and downright prejudice put in her way as she endeavored to find the support and sponsorship granted to men in her field.
A tale of solitary adventure in the bleak and beautiful bone-chilling cold of Antarctica, Skiing into the Bright Open tells a story of gritty determination, thrilling achievement, and perseverance in the face of near despair and daunting odds; it is, ultimately, an object lesson in the power of a dream if one is willing to pursue it to the ends of the earth.
- by Michael Wolff
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An instant New York Times bestseller.
Critics agree: Michael Wolff's Landslide is THE book on Trump.
"Landslide . . . is the one to leap upon. Smart, vivid and intrepid . . ." --The New York Times
"I inhaled Landslide, gobbled it up." --Slate
"Wow. Just wow . . ." --Evening Standard
"Cruel, unforgiving, muckraking, scandalous. I couldn't stop reading it."--The Telegraph
We all witnessed some of the most shocking and confounding political events of our lifetime: the careening last stage of Donald J. Trump's reelection campaign, the president's audacious election challenge, the harrowing mayhem of January 6, the buffoonery of the second impeachment trial. But what was really going on in the inner sanctum of the White House during these calamitous events? What did the president and his dwindling cadre of loyalists actually believe? And what were they planning?
Michael Wolff pulled back the curtain on the Trump presidency with his #1 bestselling blockbuster Fire and Fury. Now, in Landslide, he closes the door on the presidency with a final, astonishingly candid account.
Wolff embedded himself in the White House in 2017 and gave us a vivid picture of the chaos that had descended on Washington. Almost four years later, Wolff finds the Oval Office even more chaotic and bizarre, a kind of Star Wars bar scene. At all times of the day, Trump, behind the Resolute desk, is surrounded by schemers and unqualified sycophants who spoon-feed him the "alternative facts" he hungers to hear--about COVID-19, Black Lives Matter protests, and, most of all, his chance of winning reelection. Once again, Wolff has gotten top-level access and takes us front row as Trump's circle of plotters whittles down to the most enabling and the president reaches beyond the bounds of democracy as he entertains the idea of martial law and balks at calling off the insurrectionist mob that threatens the institution of democracy itself.
As the Trump presidency's hold over the country spiraled out of control, an untold and human account of desperation, duplicity, and delusion was unfolding within the West Wing. Landslide is that story as only Michael Wolff can tell it.
- by Sam Kean
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From New York Times bestselling author Sam Kean comes the gripping, untold history of science's darkest secrets, "a fascinating book [that] deserves a wide audience" (Publishers Weekly, starred review)
Science is a force for good in the world--at least usually. But sometimes, when obsession gets the better of scientists, they twist a noble pursuit into something sinister. Under this spell, knowledge isn't everything, it's the only thing--no matter the cost. Bestselling author Sam Kean tells the true story of what happens when unfettered ambition pushes otherwise rational men and women to cross the line in the name of science, trampling ethical boundaries and often committing crimes in the process.
The Icepick Surgeon masterfully guides the reader across two thousand years of history, beginning with Cleopatra's dark deeds in ancient Egypt. The book reveals the origins of much of modern science in the transatlantic slave trade of the 1700s, as well as Thomas Edison's mercenary support of the electric chair and the warped logic of the spies who infiltrated the Manhattan Project. But the sins of science aren't all safely buried in the past. Many of them, Kean reminds us, still affect us today. We can draw direct lines from the medical abuses of Tuskegee and Nazi Germany to current vaccine hesitancy, and connect icepick lobotomies from the 1950s to the contemporary failings of mental-health care. Kean even takes us into the future, when advanced computers and genetic engineering could unleash whole new ways to do one another wrong.
Unflinching, and exhilarating to the last page, The Icepick Surgeon fuses the drama of scientific discovery with the illicit thrill of a true-crime tale. With his trademark wit and precision, Kean shows that, while science has done more good than harm in the world, rogue scientists do exist, and when we sacrifice morals for progress, we often end up with neither.
- by David Steinberg
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The world of comedy and comedians of the last five decades. By the man the New York Times calls "a comic institution himself," the only comedian (twenty-six years in stand-up) to have made Elie Wiesel laugh, as well as having appeared on The Tonight Show (140 times, second only to Bob Hope, but who's counting). From the director of TV comedy series Mad About You, Seinfeld, Friends, Weeds and Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Larry David: "I'm lucky. I know and love David Steinberg. You don't. Now's your chance. Don't blow it!"
"David has always been a comedy hero to me. One of his many gifts is the ability to inspire funny people to be even funnier, as you will discover in this truly hilarious, insightful book." --Martin Short
From David Steinberg, a rabbi's son from Winnipeg, Canada, who at age fifteen enrolled at Hebrew Theological College in Chicago (the rabbinate wasn't for him) and four years later, entered the master's program in English literature at the University of Chicago, until he saw Lenny Bruce, the "Blue Boy" of Comedy, the coolest guy Steinberg had ever seen, and joined Chicago's Second City improvisational group, becoming, instead, the comedian's comedian, director, actor, working with, inspired by, teaching, and learning from the most celebrated, admired, complicated comedians, then and now--a funny, moving, provocative, insightful look into the soul, wit, and bite of comedy and comedians--a universe unto itself--of the last half-century.
From the greats: George Burns, Lenny Bruce, Sid Caesar, Lucille Ball, Mel Brooks, and Carl Reiner, et al., to the newer greats: Carol Burnett, Steve Martin, Lily Tomlin, Billy Crystal, Bob Newhart, and the man for all comedy, Martin (Marty) Short; to the greats of right now: Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Wanda Sykes; and more . . .
Steinberg, through stories, reminiscences, tales of directing, touring, performing, and, through the comedians themselves talking (from more than 75 interviews), makes clear why he loves comedy and comedians who have been by his side in his work, and in his life, for more than sixty years.
Here are: Will Ferrell, Eric Idle, Whoopi Goldberg, Mike Myers, Groucho himself and the greatest of them all (at least of the last half century), Jonathan Winters . . .
- by Tim Cook
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With compelling insight, Canada 1919 examines the concerns of Canadians in the year following the Great War: the treatment of veterans, including nurses and Indigenous soldiers; the rising farm lobby; the role of labour; the place of children; the influenza pandemic; the country's international standing; and commemoration of the fallen. Even as the military stumbled through massive demobilization and the government struggled to hang on to power, a new Canadian nationalism was forged. This fresh perspective on the concerns of the time exposes the ways in which war shaped Canada - and the ways it did not.
- by Catherine Raven
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A solitary woman's inspiring, moving, surprising, and often funny memoir about the transformative power of her unusual friendship with a wild fox, a new window into the natural world, and the introduction of a remarkable literary talent.
Catherine Raven left home at fifteen, fleeing an abusive, disdainful father and an indifferent mother. More comfortable in nature than among people, she worked as a National Park ranger, eventually earning a PhD in biology. She built a house on an isolated plot of land in Montana, teaching remotely and leading field classes. One day, she realized that the mangy-looking fox who had been appearing on her property was now showing up every day at 4:15 p.m. She had never had a regular visitor before. How do you even talk to a fox? So, she brought out her camping chair, sat as close to him as she dared, and began reading to him from The Little Prince. Her scientific training had taught her not to anthropomorphize animals, but as she grew to know him, his personality revealed itself--and he became her friend.
But friends cannot always save each other from the uncontained forces of nature. Fox and I is a poignant and dramatic tale of friendship, transformation, and coping with inevitable loss--and of how that loss can become meaningful. It is also the introduction of an original, imaginative, stunning literary voice.
- by Kai Bird
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"Important . . . [a] landmark presidential biography . . . Bird is able to build a persuasive case that the Carter presidency deserves this new look."--The New York Times Book Review
An essential re-evaluation of the complex triumphs and tragedies of Jimmy Carter's presidential legacy--from the expert biographer and Pulitzer Prize-winning co-author of American Prometheus
Four decades after Ronald Reagan's landslide win in 1980, Jimmy Carter's one-term presidency is often labeled a failure; indeed, many Americans view Carter as the only ex-president to have used the White House as a stepping-stone to greater achievements. But in retrospect the Carter political odyssey is a rich and human story, marked by both formidable accomplishments and painful political adversity. In this deeply researched, brilliantly written account, Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer Kai Bird expertly unfolds the Carter saga as a tragic tipping point in American history.
As president, Carter was not merely an outsider; he was an outlier. He was the only president in a century to grow up in the heart of the Deep South, and his born-again Christianity made him the most openly religious president in memory. This outlier brought to the White House a rare mix of humility, candor, and unnerving self-confidence that neither Washington nor America was ready to embrace. Decades before today's public reckoning with the vast gulf between America's ethos and its actions, Carter looked out on a nation torn by race and demoralized by Watergate and Vietnam and prescribed a radical self-examination from which voters recoiled. The cost of his unshakable belief in doing the right thing would be losing his re-election bid--and witnessing the ascendance of Reagan.
In these remarkable pages, Bird traces the arc of Carter's administration, from his aggressive domestic agenda to his controversial foreign policy record, taking readers inside the Oval Office and through Carter's battles with both a political establishment and a Washington press corps that proved as adversarial as any foreign power. Bird shows how issues still hotly debated today--from national health care to growing inequality and racism to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict--burned at the heart of Carter's America, and consumed a president who found a moral duty in solving them.
Drawing on interviews with Carter and members of his administration and recently declassified documents, Bird delivers a profound, clear-eyed evaluation of a leader whose legacy has been deeply misunderstood. The Outlier is the definitive account of an enigmatic presidency--both as it really happened and as it is remembered in the American consciousness.
- by Ivan Coyote
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Beloved storyteller Ivan Coyote returns with their most intimate and moving book yet.
Writer and performer Ivan Coyote has spent decades on the road, telling stories around the world. For years, Ivan has kept a file of the most special communications received from readers and audience members--letters, Facebook messages, emails, soggy handwritten notes tucked under the windshield wiper of their truck after a gig. Then came Spring, 2020, and, like artists everywhere, Coyote was grounded by the pandemic, all their planned events cancelled. The energy of a live audience, a performer's lifeblood, was suddenly gone. But with this loss came an opportunity for a different kind of connection. Those letters that had long piled up could finally begin to be answered.
Care Of combines the most powerful of these letters with Ivan's responses, creating a body of correspondence of startling intimacy, breathtaking beauty, and heartbreaking honesty and openness. Taken together, they become an affirming and joyous reflection on many of the themes central to Coyote's celebrated work--compassion and empathy, family fragility, non-binary and Trans identity, and the unending beauty of simply being alive, a giant love letter to the idea of human connection, and the power of truly listening to each other.
- by Anthony Everitt
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What can we learn from the stunning rise and mysterious death of the ancient world's greatest conqueror? An acclaimed biographer reconstructs the life of Alexander the Great in this magisterial revisionist portrait.
"[An] infectious sense of narrative momentum . . . Its energy is unflagging, including the verve with which it tackles that teased final mystery about the specific cause of Alexander's death."--The Christian Science Monitor
More than two millennia have passed since Alexander the Great built an empire that stretched to every corner of the ancient world, from the backwater kingdom of Macedonia to the Hellenic world, Persia, and ultimately to India--all before his untimely death at age thirty-three. Alexander believed that his empire would stop only when he reached the Pacific Ocean. But stories of both real and legendary events from his life have kept him evergreen in our imaginations with a legacy that has meant something different to every era: in the Middle Ages he became an exemplar of knightly chivalry, he was a star of Renaissance paintings, and by the early twentieth century he'd even come to resemble an English gentleman. But who was he in his own time?
In Alexander the Great, Anthony Everitt judges Alexander's life against the criteria of his own age and considers all his contradictions. We meet the Macedonian prince who was naturally inquisitive and fascinated by science and exploration, as well as the man who enjoyed the arts and used Homer's great epic the Iliad as a bible. As his empire grew, Alexander exhibited respect for the traditions of his new subjects and careful judgment in administering rule over his vast territory. But his career also had a dark side. An inveterate conqueror who in his short life built the largest empire up to that point in history, Alexander glorified war and was known to commit acts of remarkable cruelty.
As debate continues about the meaning of his life, Alexander's death remains a mystery. Did he die of natural causes--felled by a fever--or did his marshals, angered by his tyrannical behavior, kill him? An explanation of his death can lie only in what we know of his life, and Everitt ventures to solve that puzzle, offering an ending to Alexander's story that has eluded so many for so long.
- by Chris Bosh
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A legendary NBA player shares his remarkable story, infused with hard-earned wisdom about the journey to self-mastery from a life at the highest level of professional sports
Chris Bosh, NBA Hall of Famer, eleven-time All-Star, two-time NBA champion, Olympic gold medalist, and the league's Global Ambassador, had his playing days cut short at their prime by a freak medical condition. His extraordinary career ended not at a time of his choosing but "in a doctor's office in the middle of the afternoon." Forced to reckon with how to find meaning to carry forward, he found himself looking back over his path, from a teenager in Dallas who balanced basketball with the high school robotics club to the pinnacle of the NBA and beyond.
Reflecting on all he learned from a long list of basketball legends, from LeBron and Kobe to Pat Riley and Coach K, he saw that his important lessons weren't about basketball so much as the inner game of success--right attitude, right commitment, right flow within a team. Now he shares that journey, giving us a fascinating view from the inside of what greatness feels like and what it takes, formulated as a series of letters to younger people coming up and to all wisdom seekers. A timeless gift for anyone in pursuit of excellence, Letters to a Young Athlete offers a proven path for taming your inner voice and making it your ally, through the challenges of failure and the challenges of success alike.
- by Dean Jobb
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The chilling true crime story of the Victorian era's deadliest doctor "When a doctor does go wrong, he is the first of criminals," Sherlock Holmes observed during one of his most puzzling murder investigations. Incredibly, at the time the words of the world's most famous fictional detective appeared in print in the Strand Magazine, a real-life Canadian doctor was stalking and murdering women in London's downtrodden Lambeth neighbourhood. Dr. Thomas Neill Cream had been a suspect in the deaths of two women in Canada, and had killed as many as four people in Chicago before he arrived in London in 1891 and began using pills laced with strychnine to kill prostitutes. The Lambeth Poisoner, as he was dubbed in the press, became one of the most prolific serial killers in history.
In this fascinating book, Dean Jobb reveals how bungled investigations, corrupt officials and failed prosecutions allowed Cream to evade detection or freed him to kill, again and again. The first complete account of Dr. Cream's crimes and his many victims explores how the stifling morality and hypocrisy of the Victorian era allowed this monster to poison vulnerable and desperate women, many of whom had turned to him for medical help. It offers an inside account of Scotland Yard's desperate search for a killer as brazen and efficient as Jack the Ripper.
- by Margarette Lincoln
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The first comprehensive history of seventeenth-century London, told through the lives of those who experienced it
"Lively and arresting. . . . [Lincoln] is as confident in handling the royal ceremonials of political transition . . . as she is with London's thriving coffee-house culture, and its turbulent maritime community."--Ian W. Archer, Times Literary Supplement
"Vivid and engrossing. . . . Lincoln is adept at spotting eloquent details that stick in the mind."--John Carey, The Sunday Times (London)
The Gunpowder Plot, the Civil Wars, Charles I's execution, the Plague, the Great Fire, the Restoration, and then the Glorious Revolution: the seventeenth century was one of the most momentous times in the history of Britain, and Londoners took center stage.
In this fascinating account, Margarette Lincoln charts the impact of national events on an ever-growing citizenry with its love of pageantry, spectacle, and enterprise. Lincoln looks at how religious, political, and financial tensions were fomented by commercial ambition, expansion, and hardship. In addition to events at court and parliament, she evokes the remarkable figures of the period, including Shakespeare, Bacon, Pepys, and Newton, and draws on diaries, letters, and wills to trace the untold stories of ordinary Londoners. Through their eyes, we see how the nation emerged from a turbulent century poised to become a great maritime power with London at its heart--the greatest city of its time.
- by David Macfarlane
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When the worst that can happen, happens, the only useful lesson is the knowledge that it can. That's the take-away: a world can actually end, time can actually run out, sadness can prevail. But I didn't know that then . . .
From one of Canada's most celebrated writers and the author of the classic memoir The Danger Tree comes an occasionally hilarious, sometimes heart-breaking meditation on love, memory, and the fathomless depths of grief.
Likeness is a multi-generational story told through the vehicle of a painting, a portrait of Macfarlane by the well-known Canadian artist, John Hartman. The painting has ended up unexpectedly, temporarily, and enormously in Macfarlane's living room. He looks at it--a lot. It's hard to avoid.
To Macfarlane's surprise, the painting becomes a portal--not only into his own past, but into his father's, too. Through these two histories is woven the present--one dominated by illness. Macfarlane's son undergoes treatment for leukemia during the time the painting hangs in the family living room. Blake is a young man rich in creative possibility. There is music to be composed. There are films to be made. But Blake's future is as circumscribed by fate as his father's was wide open. A tragic difference, eloquently noted.
Likeness can be very funny. But it is also inescapably, achingly sad. A book of transcendent beauty, Likeness demonstrates the power of memory to transform the tragic into the precious and profound.
- by Fred Sasakamoose
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"Fred Sasakamoose played in the NHL before First Nations people had the right to vote in Canada. This page turner will have you cheering for 'Fast Freddy' as he faces off against huge challenges both on and off the ice--a great gift to every proud hockey fan, Canadian, and Indigenous person."
--Wab Kinew, Leader of the Manitoba NDP and author of The Reason You Walk
Trailblazer. Residential school Survivor. First Treaty Indigenous player in the NHL. All of these descriptions are true--but none of them tell the whole story.
Fred Sasakamoose, torn from his home at the age of seven, endured the horrors of residential school for a decade before becoming one of 120 players in the most elite hockey league in the world. He has been heralded as the first Indigenous player with Treaty status in the NHL, making his official debut as a 1954 Chicago Black Hawks player on Hockey Night in Canada and teaching Foster Hewitt how to pronounce his name. Sasakamoose played against such legends as Gordie Howe, Jean Beliveau, and Maurice Richard. After twelve games, he returned home.
When people tell Sasakamoose's story, this is usually where they end it. They say he left the NHL to return to the family and culture that the Canadian government had ripped away from him. That returning to his family and home was more important to him than an NHL career. But there was much more to his decision than that. Understanding Sasakamoose's choice means acknowledging the dislocation and treatment of generations of Indigenous peoples. It means considering how a man who spent his childhood as a ward of the government would hear those supposedly golden words: "You are Black Hawks property."
Sasakamoose's story was far from over once his NHL days concluded. He continued to play for another decade in leagues around Western Canada. He became a band councillor, served as Chief, and established athletic programs for kids. He paved a way for youth to find solace and meaning in sports for generations to come. Yet, threaded through these impressive accomplishments were periods of heartbreak and unimaginable tragedy--as well moments of passion and great joy.
This isn't just a hockey story; Sasakamoose's groundbreaking memoir sheds piercing light on Canadian history and Indigenous politics, and follows this extraordinary man's journey to reclaim pride in an identity and a heritage that had previously been used against him.