Elizabeth and Michael: The Queen of Hollywood and the King of Pop -- A Love Story by Donald BogleAccording to biographer Donald Bogle, Elizabeth Taylor and Michael Jackson became fast friends as soon as they met. The similarities in their childhoods -- both were young performers with controlling parents -- helped to bridge the 26-year gap in their ages, and they supported each other in many ways through the years. This dual biography examines their respective careers and sheds light on their personal lives and their friendship. The "balance and compassion" (Kirkus Reviews) of Bogle's compelling presentation will please fans of each star.
Born Bright: A Young Girl's Journey from Nothing to Something in America by C. Nicole MasonAs an academic and an influential voice in women's studies, author C. Nicole Mason is at the top of her field. But her early life would not have predicted this success: she was born into poverty in 1970s Southern California and fought every step of the way to rise above the limitations imposed on the poor, especially African Americans. In Born Bright, she chronicles her life while cataloguing those barriers, providing a view of America's class strictures that is both well-researched and personal. This thought-provoking and engaging account offers a moving testament to Mason's achievements and the struggles of many African Americans.
Unearthed: Love, Acceptance, and Other Lessons from an Abandoned Garden by Alexandra RisenIn Unearthed, an abandoned garden gradually yields its secrets while allowing the gardener who revives it to discover insights into her own life. After author Alexandra Risen and her husband move into a house situated on an acre of central Toronto, she decides to restore the neglected land, and in the process she finds healing for her soul. Filled with delightful garden finds (unusual plants and structures), recipes for some of the edible plants, and intriguing discoveries in her family history, this memoir offers a multi-layered perspective on the relationship between humans and the natural world.
I'm Supposed to Protect You from All This: A Memoir by Nadja SpiegelmanAuthor Nadja Spiegelman's father was Art Spiegelman, who created the ground-breaking Holocaust memoir Maus, and her multi-talented, Paris-born mother Françoise Mouly was the New Yorker's art director. As a child, Spiegelman would ask her mother about her earlier life, but she always responded with "I'm supposed to protect you from all this." Once Spiegelman had reached 16, she began to draw her mother out about her life; after college she also traveled to Paris to learn more from her grandmother Josée. She has crafted the answers she found into this compelling memoir about daughters and mothers, a "touching, surprising consideration of the unclear inheritances of family and the certain fallibility of memory" (Booklist).
Hitler: Ascent, 1889-1939 by Volker Ullrich, translated by Jefferson ChaseIn this "new standard on Hitler" (Library Journal, starred review), Historian Volker Ullrich draws on newly available documents and recent scholarly research to shed fresh light on the formation of Adolf Hitler's personality and politics. This 1st of two volumes focuses on the years up to 1939, portraying Hitler as a complex personality who excelled at captivating others with his acting skill and building personal connections into political support. Examining the influence of early 20th-century history on Hitler's political goals, dissecting his careful plans to marginalize the Jews, and shining a spotlight on his political pragmatism, Ullrich makes the known facts stand out in bold relief. For more on Hitler's political development, try Peter Ross Range's 1924.
Focus on: Nobel Laureates
Marie Curie and Her Daughters: The Private Lives of Science's First Family by Shelley EmlingThe first person to win two Nobel Prizes (and in two different fields: physics in 1903 and chemistry in 1911), Marie Skłodowska Curie also founded a dynasty of successful women. Drawing on archival material as well as interviews with members of the Curie-Joliot family, this book examines Marie Curie's influence on her daughters, who blazed their own impressive paths. With a special emphasis on the Curie family following World War I, this biography presents a well-rounded portrait of an iconic and inspiring scientific family.
Hemingway's Boat: Everything He Loved in Life, and Lost by Paul HendricksonIn Hemingway's Boat, biographer Paul Hendrickson emphasizes 1954 Nobel laureate Ernest Hemingway's love of fishing and boating (especially his boat Pilar) as he recounts his life from 1934 to his death in 1961. Avoiding literary criticism in favor of a study of the man himself, Hendrickson sympathetically weaves a tapestry of Hemingway's life, his relationships with family, friends, and lovers, and his eventual loss of the ability to write. Library Journal calls this "one of the most satisfying Hemingway assessments in many years."
Death of a King: The Real Story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Final Year by Tavis Smiley with David RitzReviled by white supremacists and eventually assassinated at age 39, Martin Luther King Jr. was the catalyst and focal point for the U.S. Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. In Death of a King, award-winning broadcaster Tavis Smiley traces the last year of King's life, detailing the victories and tribulations he experienced. During this time, he faced increasing opposition from the right wing and pressure from advocates of a more militant approach. Examining how these stresses affected King personally while highlighting the broadening of his human rights advocacy, Smiley presents a rounded portrait of the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize winner, whose image had become oversimplified even before his death.
Open Heart by Elie Wiesel, translated by Marion WieselIn this final memoir, Romanian-born Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel considers mortality once again, this time as a survivor of open heart surgery. For decades he had been famous for his tireless efforts to make the world aware of the Nazis' murder of six million Jews and millions of others, receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986. In 2011 he was suddenly being rushed into surgery for a quintuple bypass operation. Open Heart presents his reflections following the surgery, focusing on his relationship with God and on memories -- including regrets -- of his life. Whether you're already familiar with his writing or have yet to experience it, you don't want to miss this thought-provoking and inspirational book.
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