Biography and Memoir
The Shattered Lens: A War Photographer's True Story of Captivity and Survival in Syria by Jonathan Alpeyrie with Stash Luczkiw and Bonnie TimmermanIn this gripping and thought-provoking memoir, French-American photojournalist Jonathan Alpeyrie recounts his 2013 kidnapping and captivity by Syrian rebels and his post-release experiences. Though his captors were usually brutal, Alpeyrie also related to them on an ordinary human level. After his release, he pondered the complexities of international conflict, which he discusses in the second half of the book. The Shattered Lens displays the "compassion of a global citizen" (Booklist).
Bunny Mellon: The Life of an American Style Legend by Meryl GordonSocialite Bunny Mellon, who inherited one fortune and married into another, was both a fashion plate and a brilliant designer. A close friend of Jacqueline Kennedy, Mellon refurbished the White House Rose Garden in 1961. This well-researched, detailed, and admiring portrait covers Mellon's 103 years of life and illuminates significant aspects of 20th-century American history.
Sticky Fingers: The Life and Times of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone Magazine by Joe HaganIn Sticky Fingers, journalist Joe Hagan offers a moving and vividly descriptive portrait of Jann Wenner, the founder of Rolling Stone magazine. Beginning in November 1967, Wenner piloted the counterculture, ultimately fulfilling his ambition to become rock journalism's equivalent of Henry Luce (mainstream culture's best-known media mogul). Hagan's book will please media fans in addition to devotees of rock music and the phenomena Wenner advanced.
Forged in Crisis: The Power of Courageous Leadership in Turbulent Times by Nancy KoehnProfiling the leadership skills of five people who prevailed during major crises, Harvard Business School historian Nancy Koehn demonstrates how adversity can produce remarkable courage and effectiveness. Portraying Ernest Shackleton, Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and Rachel Carson, Koehn concludes that great leaders emerge in the face of demanding situations. Noting that the present day seems to lack inspiring leadership, she aims to motivate readers to draw on their own crisis management abilities.
Gorilla and the Bird: A Memoir of Madness and a Mother's Love by Zack McDermottIn this compelling self-portrait of bipolar disorder, author Zack McDermott, a Brooklyn public defender, recounts his dramatic psychotic break in Manhattan and the quirky but determined relatives who helped him recover. The "Gorilla" of the title is McDermott and "Bird" is his mother; his Granny and Grandpa also supported him. Depicting the mental health system from two viewpoints, that of public defender and that of patient, McDermott offers a witty family story woven into his thought-provoking and sobering critique of mental hospital treatment.
Hope: A Memoir of Survival in Cleveland by Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus with Mary Jordan and Kevin SullivanIn 2013, Amanda Berry escaped from a Cleveland house where she and two other women had been captives for years. After all three were rescued and their captor, Ariel Castro, was jailed, they faced the challenge of readjusting to normal life. In Hope, Berry, fellow former captive Gina DeJesus, and their co-writers relate their disturbing stories, including the birth and early years of Berry's daughter by Castro. Kirkus Reviews calls this a "nuanced testament to the complexity of the human spirit."
Life After Death by Damien EcholsIncarcerated for 18 years after being wrongly convicted of murder, Damien Echols, one of the West Memphis Three accused of killing three boys as part of a satanic ritual, gives voice to his experiences in prison. In this beautifully written and evocative memoir, Echols opens an "eloquent, even bitterly lyrical" (Library Journal) window onto the grimness of life on Death Row, while reflecting on how he was formed by his impoverished childhood and what it's like to adjust to the world after his release.
The Good Nurse: A True Story of Medicine, Madness, and Murder by Charles GraeberAfter a decade of getting away with killing patients under his care, nurse Charlie Cullen was finally prosecuted by Pennsylvania authorities. Drawing on police records and other resources, author Charles Graeber reveals the gruesome details of Cullen's murders by insulin, chronicles the devastation he wrought, and vividly depicts the nature of his insanity. This page-turner will appeal to true crime buffs as well as others who are concerned about health care safety.
Whipping Boy: The Forty-Year Search for My Twelve-Year-Old Bully by Allen KurzweilWhen author Allen Kurzweil was ten years old, he attended a boarding school in Switzerland, where a 12-year-old student systematically humiliated and physically abused him. Thirty years later, after helping his son deal with school bullying, Kurzweil decided to look for his former tormentor. This fast-paced, gripping chronicle recounts his worldwide search, which eventually took him to a California prison. Whipping Boy reveals that the bully grew up to be a fraudster who far surpassed Bernie Madoff.
Out of Orange: A Memoir by Cleary WoltersFans of the Netflix show Orange is the New Black (based on Piper Kerman's memoir by the same title) will remember a character called Alex Vause. In Out of Orange, author Cleary Wolters (the model for Alex) depicts her foolish involvement in the international drug trade, her conviction, her life in prison, and her eventual adjustment to freedom. In this affecting memoir, Wolters expresses the hope that reading it will deter others from making similar mistakes.
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