Dodge City: Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, and the Wickedest Town in the American West by Tom ClavinWell known as an inspiration for many of Hollywood's Wild West shoot-em-ups, 1870s Dodge City, Kansas was a supply center, a railhead, and a host to gigantic stockyards. Attracting characters of all types, it existed on the fuzzy boundary between law and lawlessness, where tough and fearless men, among them Bat Masterson and Wyatt Earp, kept order. In this vivid portrait of the city and its denizens, award-winning journalist Tom Clavin traces Masterson's and Earp's careers, culminating with the final battle, called the Dodge City War, between lawmen and desperados. Wild West aficionados, especially fans of Jeff Guinn's The Last Gunfight, featuring Tombstone, Arizona, will find Dodge City un-put-downable.
We'll Always Have Casablanca: The Life, Legend, and Afterlife of Hollywood's Most... by Noah IsenbergThe World War II-set film Casablanca, featuring Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, and Claude Rains, won multiple Oscars and became a perennial favorite. In this extensively researched history, film expert Noah Isenberg covers all the details, from the screenplay's source (an unproduced play titled Everybody Comes to Rick's), to casting and production, to credits, to isolationist objections and the wartime context of its release in 1942. He also adds some little-known facts, including that the cast included several refugees from the Nazi regime. Isenberg's discussion of the movie's enduring appeal will give classic film buffs much to discuss, perhaps with soft piano music in the background.
The Upstarts: How Uber, Airbnb, and the Killer Companies of the New Silicon Valley Are... by Brad StoneIn The Upstarts, Bloomberg News senior executive editor Brad Stone chronicles the rise of the sharing economy, built on the success of Airbnb and Uber. After the 2007-08 Wall Street slump, the business climate in Silicon Valley was ready for new strategies. Several young entrepreneurs stepped in -- first among them Brian Chesky of Airbnb's homestay scheme and Travis Kalanick of Uber's ride-sharing app -- and analyzed market trends, crunched numbers, discovered niche opportunities, and capitalized on them. Though their roads were often bumpy, their global businesses are worth billions. Whether you're interested in business history or consider yourself an entrepreneur, you'll want to read Stone's detailed, accessible analysis.
Monarchs and Their Monarchies
King Peggy: An American Secretary, Her Royal Destiny, and the Inspiring Story of How She... by Peggielene Bartels and Eleanor HermanChances are, most of us will never be crowned king...especially if we're women! But that's just what happened to Ghana-born Peggielene Bartels, who'd been working in the U.S. for three decades. After receiving a phone call telling her that her uncle, the king of a 7,000-person African village, was dead, and that she had been elected the new king, Peggy found the resources to provide what her kingdom needed -- including clean water and schools with computers. Otuam isn't the kind of place that the word "monarchy" conjures up for most of us, but King Peggy offers an authentic and inviting look at a small African kingdom.
Princes at War: The Bitter Battle Inside Britain's Royal Family in the Darkest Days of WWII by Deborah CadburyIn 1936, England's King George V died leaving four sons whose fitness to rule was widely debated. There are numerous books and films about the abdication of Edward VIII and the accession of King George VI. Less well known are their brothers, Princes George and Henry. In Princes at War, former BBC television producer Deborah Cadbury profiles each of the princes and details the crisis the monarchy faced over Edward VIII's abdication. She explores the capabilities of the younger sons (the Dukes of Kent and Gloucester), and sensitively details George VI's commanding leadership during the war. This portrait of a conflicted monarchy will please modern history enthusiasts as well as fans of British royalty.
Return of a King: The Battle for Afghanistan, 1839-42 by William DalrympleThe British imperial forces restored the exiled Shah Shuja ul-Mulk to the throne of Afghanistan in 1839, but the Afghan people soon rebelled, and the British suffered a humiliating defeat in 1842. In Return of a King, travel writer William Dalrymple draws on previously unused materials, including Persian and Pashtu sources, to chronicle the history of the Shah's family and Britain's efforts to use Afghanistan as a buffer against French and Russian imperialism. He also draws parallels between this British foray into the region and the 20th- and 21st-century wars in Afghanistan. Check out this richly descriptive and insightful analysis to learn about the country's global significance.
Inside the Kingdom: Kings, Clerics, Modernists, Terrorists, and the Struggle for Saudi Arabia by Robert LaceyThe Kingdom of Saudi Arabia owns one of the richest oil deposits in the world, but this wealth is only one among many social and political factors the royal family deals with. In this engaging and accessible analysis, author Robert Lacey incorporates his interviews with a variety of Saudi citizens, information about Islamic movements and history, foreign secularizing influences, and Saudi-led modernization efforts. He also looks at Saudi Arabia's shifting global political alliances. Publishers Weekly calls Inside the Kingdom "indispensable," praising the "depth, breadth, and evenhandedness" of Lacey's research.
The Secret History of the Mongol Queens: How the Daughters of Genghis Khan Rescued His... by Jack WeatherfordIn Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World, bestselling author Jack Weatherford examined the life and legacy of the much-maligned 13th-century empire builder. He continues his study with the polygamous and prolific leader's daughters, at least four of whom became queens and provided stability among the lands that made up the Mongol empire. Unfortunately, soon after Genghis Khan's death their male relatives took over, and the empire declined until another powerful queen -- Manduhai the Wise -- reunited the Mongols. Whether you're interested in Asian history or in women's studies, you'll enjoy this "uplifting, entertaining" (Kirkus Reviews) account.
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