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Asking for a Friend

By Jessica Weisberg
Authors:
Jessica Weisberg
A delightful history of the American obsession with advice and self-help, told through the lives and wisdom of three centuries of advice-givers -- from Poor Richard to Dr. Spock to Miss Manners.Americans, for all our talk of pulling themselves up by our bootstraps, obsessively seek advice on matters large and small. Perhaps precisely because we believe in bettering ourselves and our circumstances in life, we ask for guidance constantly. And this has been true since our nation's earliest days: from the colonial era on, there have always been people eager to step up and offer advice, some of it lousy, some of it thoughtful, but all of it read and debated by generations of Americans.Jessica Weisberg takes readers on a tour of the advice-givers who have made their name, and sometimes their fortune, by telling Americans what to do. You probably don't want to follow all the advice they proffered. Eating graham crackers will not make you a better person, and wearing blue to work won't guarantee a promotion. But for all that has changed in American life, it's a comfort to know that our hang-ups, fears, and hopes have not. We've always loved seeking advice -- so long as it's anonymous, and as long as it's clear that we're not asking for ourselves. We're just asking for a friend.
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An Iron Wind

By Peter Fritzsche
Authors:
Peter Fritzsche
'A profoundly significant exploration of how Europeans--both Germans and those under German occupation--struggled to make sense of the conflict.' - Richard Overy, Wall Street JournalIn An Iron Wind, historian Peter Fritzsche draws on first-person accounts to show how civilians in occupied Europe struggled to understand the terrifying chaos of World War II. As the Third Reich targeted Europe's Jews, confusion and mistrust reigned. Was collaboration or resistance the wisest response? And where was God? Piecing together the broken words of the war's witnesses and victims, Fritzsche offers a haunting picture of the most violent conflict in modern history.
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American Aristocrats

By Harry S. Stout
Authors:
Harry S. Stout
The story of an ambitious family at the forefront of the great middle-class land grab that shaped early American capitalismAmerican Aristocrats is a multigenerational biography of the Andersons of Kentucky, a family of strivers who passionately believed in the promise of America. Beginning in 1773 with the family patriarch, a twice-wounded Revolutionary War hero, the Andersons amassed land throughout what was then the American west. As the eminent religious historian Harry S. Stout argues, the story of the Andersons is the story of America's experiment in republican capitalism. Congressmen, diplomats, and military generals, the Andersons enthusiastically embraced the emerging American gospel of land speculation. In the process, they became apologists for slavery and Indian removal, and worried anxiously that the volatility of the market might lead them to ruin.Drawing on a vast store of Anderson family records, Stout reconstructs their journey to great wealth as they rode out the cataclysms of their time, from financial panics to the Civil War and beyond. Through the Andersons we see how the lure of wealth shaped American capitalism and the nation's continental aspirations.
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All the Kremlin's Men

By Mikhail Zygar
Authors:
Mikhail Zygar
All the Kremlin's Men is a gripping narrative of an accidental king and a court out of control. Based on an unprecedented series of interviews with Vladimir Putin's inner circle, this book presents a radically different view of power and politics in Russia. The image of Putin as a strongman is dissolved. In its place is a weary figurehead buffeted--if not controlled--by the men who at once advise and deceive him.The regional governors and bureaucratic leaders are immovable objects, far more powerful in their fiefdoms than the president himself. So are the gatekeepers-those officials who guard the pathways to power-on whom Putin depends as much as they rely on him. The tenuous edifice is filled with all of the intrigue and plotting of a Medici court, as enemies of the state are invented and wars begun to justify personal gains, internal rivalries, or one faction's biased advantage.A bestseller in Russia, All the Kremlin's Men is a shocking revisionist portrait of the Putin era and a dazzling reconstruction of the machinations of courtiers running riot.
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America's Great Game

By Hugh Wilford
Authors:
Hugh Wilford
From the 9/11 attacks to waterboarding to drone strikes, relations between the United States and the Middle East seem caught in a downward spiral. And all too often, the Central Intelligence Agency has made the situation worse. But this crisis was not a historical inevitability,far from it. Indeed, the earliest generation of CIA operatives was actually the region's staunchest western ally.In America's Great Game , celebrated intelligence historian Hugh Wilford reveals the surprising history of the CIA's pro-Arab operations in the 1940s and 50s by tracing the work of the agency's three most influential,and colourful,officers in the Middle East. Kermit Kim" Roosevelt was the grandson of Theodore Roosevelt and the first head of CIA covert action in the region his cousin, Archie Roosevelt, was a Middle East scholar and chief of the Beirut station. The two Roosevelts joined combined forces with Miles Copeland, a maverick covert operations specialist who had joined the American intelligence establishment during World War II. With their deep knowledge of Middle Eastern affairs, the three men were heirs to an American missionary tradition that engaged Arabs and Muslims with respect and empathy. Yet they were also fascinated by imperial intrigue, and were eager to play a modern rematch of the Great Game," the nineteenth-century struggle between Britain and Russia for control over central Asia. Despite their good intentions, these Arabists" propped up authoritarian regimes, attempted secretly to sway public opinion in America against support for the new state of Israel, and staged coups that irrevocably destabilized the nations with which they empathized. Their efforts, and ultimate failure, would shape the course of U.S.-Middle Eastern relations for decades to come.Based on a vast array of declassified government records, private papers, and personal interviews, America's Great Game tells the riveting story of the merry band of CIA officers whose spy games forever changed U.S. foreign policy.
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  • Ambon

    By Roger Maynard
    Authors:
    Roger Maynard
    'a compelling account of one of World War II's most brutal prisoner of war camps'DAILY TELEGRAPHIn February 1942 the Indonesian island of Ambon fell to the might of the advancing Japanese war machine. Among the captured Allied forces was a unit of 1150 Australian soldiers known as Gull Force, who had been sent to defend the island - a strategy doomed from the very beginning. Several hundred Australians were massacred in cold blood soon after the Japanese invasion. But that was only the start of a catalogue of horrors for the men who survived: incarcerated, beaten and often tortured by their captors, the brutality they endured lasted for the next three and a half years. And in this hellhole of despair and evil, officers and men turned against each other as discipline and morale broke down. Yet the epic struggle also produced heroic acts of kindness and bravery. Just over 300 of these gallant men lived to tell of those grim days behind the barbed wire. In AMBON, survivors speak of not just the horrors, but of the courage, endurance and mateship that helped them survive. The story of AMBON is one of depravity and of memories long buried - but also the triumph of the human spirit. Now part of the HACHETTE MILITARY COLLECTION.
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    Altered Pasts

    By Richard J. Evans
    Authors:
    Richard J. Evans
    A bullet misses its target in Sarajevo, a would-be Austrian painter gets into the Viennese academy, Lord Halifax becomes British prime minister in 1940: seemingly minor twists of fate on which world-shaking events might have hinged.Alternative history has long been the stuff of parlour games, war-gaming and science fiction, but over the past few decades it has become a popular stomping ground for serious historians. Richard J. Evans now turns a critical, slightly jaundiced eye on the subject. Altered Pasts examines the intellectual fallout from historical counterfactuals. Most importantly, Evans takes counterfactual history seriously, looking at the insights, pitfalls and intellectual implications of changing one thread in the weave of history.
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    Among the Headhunters

    By Robert Lyman
    Authors:
    Robert Lyman
    Flying the notorious "Hump" route between India and China in 1943, a twin-engine plane suffered mechanical failure and crashed in a dense mountain jungle, deep within Japanese-held territory. Among the passengers and crew were celebrated CBS journalist Eric Sevareid, an OSS operative who was also a Soviet double agent, and General Joseph "Vinegar Joe" Stilwell's personal political adviser. Against the odds, all but one of the twenty-one people aboard the doomed aircraft survived- it remains the largest civilian evacuation of an aircraft by parachute. But they fell from the frying pan into the fire.Disentangling themselves from their parachutes, the shocked survivors discovered that they had arrived in wild country dominated by a tribe with a special reason to hate white men. The Nagas were notorious headhunters who routinely practiced slavery and human sacrifice, their specialty being the removal of enemy heads. Japanese soldiers lay close by, too, with their own brand of hatred for Americans. Among the Headhunters tells- for the first time- the incredible true story of the adventures of these men among the Naga warriors, their sustenance from the air by the USAAF, and their ultimate rescue. It is also a story of two very different worlds colliding- young Americans, exuberant apostles of their country's vast industrial democracy, coming face-to-face with the Naga, an ancient tribe determined to preserve its local power based on headhunting and slaving.
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    An End To Murder

    By Colin Wilson, Damon Wilson
    Authors:
    Colin Wilson, Damon Wilson
    Creatively and intellectually there is no other species that has ever come close to equalling humanity's achievements, but nor is any other species as suicidally prone to internecine conflict. We are the only species on the planet whose ingrained habit of conflict constitutes the chief threat to our own survival. Human history can be seen as a catalogue of cold-hearted murders, mindless blood-feuds, appalling massacres and devastating wars, but, with developments in forensic science and modern psychology, and with raised education levels throughout the world, might it soon be possible to reign in humanity's homicidal habits? Falling violent crime statistics in every part of the world seem to indicate that something along those lines might indeed be happening. Colin and Damon Wilson, who between them have been covering the field of criminology for over fifty years, offer an analysis of the overall spectrum of human violence. They consider whether human beings are in reality as cruel and violent as is generally believed and they explore the possibility that humankind is on the verge of a fundamental change: that we are about to become truly civilised. As well as offering an overview of violence throughout our history - from the first hominids to the twenty-first century, touching on key moments of change and also indicating where things have not changed since the Stone Age - they explore the latest psychological, forensic and social attempts to understand and curb modern human violence. To begin with, they examine questions such as: Were the first humans cannibalistic? Did the birth of civilisation also lead to the invention of war and slavery? Priests and kings brought social stability, but were they also the instigators of the first mass murders? Is it in fact wealth that is the ultimate weapon? They look at slavery and ancient Roman sadism, but also the possibility that our own distaste for pain and cruelty is no more than a social construct. They show how the humanitarian ideas of the great religious innovators all too quickly became distorted by organised religious structures. The book ranges widely, from fifteenth-century Baron Gilles de Rais, 'Bluebeard', the first known and possibly most prolific serial killer in history, to Victorian domestic murder and the invention of psychiatry and Sherlock Holmes and the invention of forensic science; from the fifteenth-century Taiping Rebellion in China, in which up to 36 million died to the First and Second World Wars and more recent genocides and instances of 'ethnic cleansing', and contemporary terrorism. They conclude by assessing the very real possibility that the internet and the greater freedom of information it has brought is leading, gradually, to a profoundly more civilised world than at any time in the past.
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    Attrition

    By William Philpott
    Authors:
    William Philpott
    The First World War was too big to be grasped by its participants. In the retelling of their war in the competing memories of leaders and commanders, and the anguished fiction of its combatants, any sense of order and purpose, effort and achievement, was missing. Drawing on the experience of front line soldiers, munitions workers, politicians and those managing the vast economy of industrialised warfare, Attrition explains for the first time why and how this new type of conflict born out of industrial society was fought as it was. It was the first mass war in which the resources of the fully-mobilised societies strained every sinew in a conflict over ideals - and the humblest and highest were all caught up in the national enterprise. In a stunning narrative, this brilliant and necessary reassessment of the whole war cuts behind the myth-making to reveal the determination, organization and ambition on all sides.
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    American Crucifixion

    By Alex Beam
    Authors:
    Alex Beam
    On June 27, 1844, a mob stormed the jail in the dusty frontier town of Carthage, Illinois. Clamorous and angry, they were hunting down a man they saw as a grave threat to their otherwise quiet lives: the founding prophet of Mormonism, Joseph Smith. They wanted blood.At thirty-nine years old, Smith had already lived an outsized life. In addition to starting his own religion and creating his own Golden Bible",the Book of Mormon,he had worked as a water-dowser and treasure hunter. He'd led his people to Ohio, then Missouri, then Illinois, where he founded a city larger than fledgling Chicago. He was running for president. And, secretly, he had married more than thirty women.In American Crucifixion , Alex Beam tells how Smith went from charismatic leader to public enemy: How his most seismic revelation,the doctrine of polygamy,created a rift among his people how that schism turned to violence and how, ultimately, Smith could not escape the consequences of his ambition and pride.Mormonism is America's largest and most enduring native religion, and the martyrdom" of Joseph Smith is one of its transformational events. Smith's brutal assassination propelled the Mormons to colonize the American West and claim their place in the mainstream of American history. American Crucifixion is a gripping story of scandal and violence, with deep roots in our national identity.
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    American Spring

    By Walter R. Borneman
    Authors:
    Walter R. Borneman
    When we look back on our nation's history, the American Revolution can feel almost like a foregone conclusion. In reality, the first weeks of the war were much more tenuous, and a fractured and ragtag group of colonial militias had to coalesce to have even the slimmest chance of toppling the mighty British Army.AMERICAN SPRING follows a fledgling nation from Paul Revere's little-known ride of December 1774 and the first shots fired on Lexington Green through the catastrophic Battle of Bunker Hill, culminating with a Virginian named George Washington taking command of colonial forces on July 3, 1775.Focusing on the colorful heroes John Hancock, Samuel Adams, Mercy Otis Warren, Benjamin Franklin, and Patrick Henry, and the ordinary Americans caught up in the revolution, Walter Borneman tells the story of how a decade of discontent erupted into an armed rebellion that forged our nation.
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    All Eyes are Upon Us

    By Jason Sokol
    Authors:
    Jason Sokol
    The Northeastern United States,home to abolitionism and a refuge for blacks fleeing the Jim Crow South,has had a long and celebrated history of racial equality and political liberalism. After World War II, the region appeared poised to continue this legacy, electing black politicians and rallying behind black athletes and cultural leaders. However, as historian Jason Sokol reveals in All Eyes Are Upon Us , these achievements obscured the harsh reality of a region riven by segregation and deep-seated racism.White fans from across Brooklyn,Irish, Jewish, and Italian,came out to support Jackie Robinson when he broke baseball's colour barrier with the Dodgers in 1947, even as the city's blacks were shunted into segregated neighbourhoods. The African-American politician Ed Brooke won a senate seat in Massachusetts in 1966, when the state was 97% white, yet his political career was undone by the resistance to busing in Boston. Across the Northeast over the last half-century, blacks have encountered housing and employment discrimination as well as racial violence. But the gap between the northern ideal and the region's segregated reality left small but meaningful room for racial progress. Forced to reckon with the disparity between their racial practices and their racial preaching, blacks and whites forged interracial coalitions and demanded that the region live up to its promise of equal opportunity.A revelatory account of the tumultuous modern history of race and politics in the Northeast, All Eyes Are Upon Us presents the Northeast as a microcosm of America as a whole: outwardly democratic, inwardly conflicted, but always striving to live up to its highest ideals.
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  • Anatomy of a Building

    By Rowan Moore
    Authors:
    Rowan Moore
    The Royal College of Physicians celebrates its 500th anniversary in 2018, and to observe this landmark is publishing this series of ten books. Each of the books focuses on fifty themed elements that have contributed to making the RCP what it is today, together adding up to 500 reflections on 500 years. Some of the people, ideas, objects and manuscripts featured are directly connected to the College, while others have had an influence that can still be felt in its work.Written exactly fifty years after the opening of the building in 1964, this first book in the series, Anatomy of a Building, is a meditation on the architecture of the college, focusing particularly on its current home, a Grade 1 listed building, designed by Denys Lasdun.
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    Amsterdam

    By Russell Shorto
    Authors:
    Russell Shorto
    Amsterdam is not just any city. Despite its relative size it has stood alongside its larger cousins - Paris, London, Berlin - and has influenced the modern world to a degree that few other cities have. Sweeping across the city's colourful thousand year history, Amsterdam will bring the place to life: its sights and smells; its politics and people. Concentrating on two significant periods - the late 1500s to the mid 1600s and then from the Second World War to the present, Russell Shorto's masterful biography looks at Amsterdam's central preoccupations. Just as fin-de-siecle Vienna was the birthplace of psychoanalysis, seventeenth century Amsterdam was the wellspring of liberalism, and today it is still a city that takes individual freedom very seriously. A wonderfully evocative book that takes Amsterdam's dramatic past and present and populates it with a whole host of colourful characters, Amsterdam is the definitive book on this great city.
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  • The Architect of Kokoda

    By Robyn Kienzle
    Authors:
    Robyn Kienzle
    If one person 'made' the Kokoda Track - that man was Bert Kienzle. Part Samoan and German/English, born in Fiji and raised in Germany and Australia, he was managing a rubber plantation and gold mine in Papua New Guinea at the outbreak of World War II. Hesurveyed and established the Track, and spent more time on it than anyone else throughout the campaign - managing and organising the delivery of supplies and men along it.A unique story of a very special part of Australian history, told by his daughter-in-law with unique access to the central character, and access to all his records and photos. This is the untold story of a true Australian war hero.
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    The Admirals

    By Walter R. Borneman
    Authors:
    Walter R. Borneman
    Only four men in American history have been promoted to the five-star rank of Admiral of the Fleet: William Leahy, Ernest King, Chester Nimitz and William Halsey. These four men were the best and the brightest the navy produced and together they led the U.S. navy to victory in World War II, establishing the United States as the world's greatest fleet. In THE ADMIRALS, award-winning historian Walter R. Borneman tells their story in full detail for the first time. Drawing upon journals, ship logs, and other primary sources, he brings an incredible historical moment to life, showing us how the four admirals revolutionized naval warfare forever with submarines and aircraft carriers, and how these men-who were both friends and rivals-worked together to ensure that the Axis fleets lay destroyed on the ocean floor at the end of World War II.
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    The Arab Uprising

    By Marc Lynch
    Authors:
    Marc Lynch
    Barely a year after the self-immolation of a young fruit seller in Tunisia, a vast wave of popular protest has convulsed the Middle East, overthrowing long-ruling dictators and transforming the region's politics almost beyond recognition. But the biggest transformations of what has been labeled as the"Arab Spring&rdquo are yet to come. An insider to both American policy and the world of the Arab public, Marc Lynch shows that the fall of particular leaders is but the least of the changes that will emerge from months of unrest. The far-ranging implications of the rise of an interconnected and newly-empowered Arab populace have only begun to be felt. Young, frustrated Arabs now know that protest can work and that change is possible. They have lost their fear- meanwhile their leaders, desperate to survive, have heard the unprecedented message that killing their own people will no longer keep them in power. Even so, as Lynch reminds us, the last wave of region-wide protest in the 1950s and 1960s resulted not in democracy, but in brutal autocracy. Will the Arab world's struggle for change succeed in building open societies? Will authoritarian regimes regain their grip, or will Islamist movements seize the initiative to impose a new kind of rule? The Arab Uprising follows these struggles from Tunisia and Egypt to the harsh battles of Yemen, Bahrain, Syria, and Libya and to the cautious reforms of the region's monarchies. It examines the real meaning of the rise of Islamist movements in the emerging democracies, and the longterm hopes of a generation of activists confronted with the limits of their power. It points toward a striking change in the hierarchy of influence, as the old heavyweights- Iran, Al Qaeda, even Israel- have been all but left out while oil-rich powers like Saudi Arabia and"swing states&rdquo like Turkey and Qatar find new opportunities to spread their influence. And it reveals how America must adjust to the new realities. Deeply informed by inside access to the Obama administration's decision-making process and first-hand interviews with protestors, politicians, diplomats, and journalists, The Arab Uprising highlights the new fault lines that are forming between forces of revolution and counter-revolution, and shows what it all means for the future of American policy. The result is an indispensible guide to the changing lay of the land in the Middle East and North Africa.

    The Abacus and the Cross

    By Nancy Marie Brown
    Authors:
    Nancy Marie Brown
    The medieval Catholic Church, widely considered a source of intolerance and inquisitorial fervor, was not anti-science during the Dark Ages,in fact, the pope in the year 1000 was the leading mathematician and astronomer of his day. Called The Scientist Pope," Gerbert of Aurillac rose from peasant beginnings to lead the church. By turns a teacher, traitor, kingmaker, and visionary, Gerbert is the first Christian known to teach math using the nine Arabic numerals and zero. In The Abacus and the Cross , Nancy Marie Brown skillfully explores the new learning Gerbert brought to Europe. A fascinating narrative of one remarkable math teacher, The Abacus and the Cross will captivate readers of history, science, and religion alike.
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    The Age of Airpower

    By Martin Van Creveld
    Authors:
    Martin Van Creveld
    In this fascinating narrative history, internationally recognized military expert Martin van Creveld narrates the rise and fall of the most glamorous offensive and defensive instrument of war in military history,airpower. From the scenes of its greatest exploits during World War I and II, to present day where the advent of ballistic missiles, drones, and other computer-controlled weaponry threaten to eclipse its use all together, van Creveld recounts the successes and failures of airpower to date and shows how its triumphs are fast becoming a thing of the past.