Goya by Robert Hughes [EPUB]

Goya by Robert Hughes [EPUB]
Goya by Robert Hughes
2003 | EPUB | 36.79MB

Robert Hughes, who has stunned us with comprehensive works on subjects as sweeping and complex as the history of Australia (The Fatal Shore), the modern art movement (The Shock of the New), the nature of American art (American Visions), and the nature of America itself as seen through its art (The Culture of Complaint), now turns his renowned critical eye to one of art history’s most compelling, enigmatic, and important figures, Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes. With characteristic critical fervor and sure-eyed insight, Hughes brings us the story of an artist whose life and work bridged the transition from the eighteenth-century reign of the old masters to the early days of the nineteenth-century moderns.

With his salient passion for the artist and the art, Hughes brings Goya vividly to life through dazzling analysis of a vast breadth of his work. Building upon the historical evidence that exists, Hughes tracks Goya’s development, as man and artist, without missing a beat, from the early works commissioned by the Church, through his long, productive, and tempestuous career at court, to the darkly sinister and cryptic work he did at the end of his life.

In a work that is at once interpretive biography and cultural epic, Hughes grounds Goya firmly in the context of his time, taking us on a wild romp through Spanish history; from the brutality and easy violence of street life to the fiery terrors of the Holy Inquisition to the grave realities of war, Hughes shows us in vibrant detail the cultural forces that shaped Goya’s work.

Underlying the exhaustive, critical analysis and the rich historical background is Hughes’s own intimately personal relationship to his subject. This is a book informed not only by lifelong love and study, but by his own recent experiences of mortality and death. As such this is a uniquely moving and human book; with the same relentless and fearless intelligence he has brought to every subject he has ever tackled, Hughes here transcends biography to bring us a rich and fiercely brave book about art and life, love and rage, impotence and death. This is one genius writing at full capacity about another—and the result is truly spectacular.

Dante Alighieri: His Life and Works [EPUB]

Dante Alighieri: His Life and Works [EPUB]
Dante Alighieri: His Life and Works by Paget Toynbee
2011 | EPUB | 4.45MB

One of the most frequently cited texts on Dante's life and writings, this invaluable study illuminates the Divine Comedy as well as the great Florentine poet's other works. Author Paget Toynbee was the most influential Dantean scholar of his era, and this, his most widely known work, presents an exceptional account of one of the pivotal thinkers of the early Italian Renaissance. Toynbee's meticulous attention to detail and clear analysis offer a concise account of Dante's world. Besides being a valuable reference for scholars, the book also serves as a gateway to the past for anyone interested in history or literature.

Toynbee's study opens with historical background on thirteenth-century Florence, which comes alive with the rivalry between the two political parties, the Guelfs and the Ghibellines. It traces the poet's birth and ancestry; his youth, education, and military service; and his private and public life, from his condemnation and exile to his death and subsequent fame. Anecdotes about Dante's personality and character by Boccaccio and other contemporaries enliven the book, which concludes with an exploration of the Vita Nuova, the Convivio, and the Divine Comedy, as well as Dante's Latin works.

Pericles of Athens [EPUB]

Pericles of Athens [EPUB]
Pericles of Athens by Vincent Azoulay
2014 | EPUB | 3.55MB

Pericles has had the rare distinction of giving his name to an entire period of history, embodying what has often been taken as the golden age of the ancient Greek world. "Periclean" Athens witnessed tumultuous political and military events, and achievements of the highest order in philosophy, drama, poetry, oratory, and architecture. Pericles of Athens is the first book in more than two decades to reassess the life and legacy of one of the greatest generals, orators, and statesmen of the classical world.

In this compelling critical biography, Vincent Azoulay provides an unforgettable portrait of Pericles and his turbulent era, shedding light on his powerful family, his patronage of the arts, and his unrivaled influence on Athenian politics and culture. He takes a fresh look at both the classical and modern reception of Pericles, recognizing his achievements as well as his failings while deftly avoiding the adulatory or hypercritical positions staked out by some scholars today. From Thucydides and Plutarch to Voltaire and Hegel, ancient and modern authors have questioned the great statesman's relationship with democracy and Athenian society. Did Pericles hold supreme power over willing masses or was he just a gifted representative of popular aspirations? Was Periclean Athens a democracy in name only, as Thucydides suggests? This is the enigma that Azoulay investigates in this groundbreaking book.

Pericles of Athens offers a balanced look at the complex life and afterlife of the legendary "first citizen of Athens" who presided over the birth of democracy.

George Whitefield: America's Spiritual Founding Father [EPUB]

George Whitefield: America's Spiritual Founding Father [EPUB]
George Whitefield: America's Spiritual Founding Father by Thomas S Kidd
2014 | EPUB | 2.83MB

In the years prior to the American Revolution, George Whitefield was the most famous man in the colonies. Thomas Kidd’s fascinating new biography explores the extraordinary career of the most influential figure in the first generation of Anglo-American evangelical Christianity, examining his sometimes troubling stands on the pressing issues of the day, both secular and spiritual, and his relationships with such famous contemporaries as Benjamin Franklin, Jonathan Edwards, and John Wesley.

Based on the author’s comprehensive studies of Whitefield’s original sermons, journals, and letters, this excellent history chronicles the phenomenal rise of the trailblazer of the Great Awakening. Whitefield’s leadership role among the new evangelicals of the eighteenth century and his many religious disputes are meticulously covered, as are his major legacies and the permanent marks he left on evangelical Christian faith. It is arguably the most balanced biography to date of a controversial religious leader who, though relatively unknown three hundred years after his birth, was a true giant in his day and remains an important figure in America’s history.

They Left Us Everything: A Memoir [EPUB]

They Left Us Everything: A Memoir [EPUB]
They Left Us Everything: A Memoir by Plum Johnson
2014 | EPUB | 2.84MB

After almost twenty years of caring for elderly parents—first for their senile father,and then for their cantankerous ninety-three-year-old mother—author Plum Johnson and her three younger brothers experience conflicted feelings of grief and relief when their mother, the surviving parent, dies.

Now they must empty and sell the beloved family home, which hasn't been de-cluttered in more than half a century. Twenty-three rooms bulge with history, antiques, and oxygen tanks. Plum remembers her loving but difficult parents who could not have been more different: the British father, a handsome, disciplined patriarch who nonetheless could not control his opinionated,extroverted Southern-belle wife who loved tennis and gin gimlets. The task consumes her, becoming more rewarding than she ever imagined.

Items from childhood trigger memories of her eccentric family growing up in a small town on the shores of Lake Ontario in the 1950's and 60's. But unearthing new facts about her parents helps her reconcile those relationships with a more accepting perspective about who they were and what they valued.

They Left Us Everything is a funny, touching memoir about the importance of preserving family history to make sense of the past and nurturing family bonds to safeguard the future.

Inside the Third Reich [EPUB]

Inside the Third Reich [EPUB]
Inside the Third Reich by Albert Speer
1997 | EPUB | 13.39MB

From 1946 to 1966, while serving the prison sentence handed down from the Nuremburg War Crimes tribunal, Albert Speer penned 1,200 manuscript pages of personal memoirs. Titled Erinnerungen ("Recollections") upon their 1969 publication in German, Speer's critically acclaimed personal history was translated into English and published one year later as Inside the Third Reich. Long after their initial publication, Speer's memoir continues to provide one of the most detailed and fascinating portrayals of life within Hitler's inner circles, the rise and fall of the third German empire, and of Hitler himself.

Speer chronicles his entire life, but the majority of Inside the Third Reich focuses on the years between 1933 and 1945, when Speer figured prominently in Hitler's government and the German war effort as Inspector General of Buildings for the Renovation of the Federal Capital and later as Minister of Arms and Munitions. Speer's recollections of both duties foreground the impossibility of reconciling Hitler's idealistic, imperialistic ambitions with both architectural and military reality. Throughout, Inside the Third Reich remains true to its author's intentions. With compelling insight, Speer reveals many of the "premises which almost inevitably led to the disasters" of the Third Reich as well as "what comes from one man's holding unrestricted power in his hands."

The Big Tiny: A Built-It-Myself Memoir [EPUB]

The Big Tiny: A Built-It-Myself Memoir [EPUB]
The Big Tiny: A Built-It-Myself Memoir by Dee Williams
2014 | EPUB | 1.69MB

Dee Williams’s life changed in an instant, with a near-death experience in the aisle of her local grocery store. Diagnosed with a heart condition at age forty-one, she was all too suddenly reminded that life is short, time is precious, and she wanted to be spending hers with the people and things she truly loved. That included the beautiful sprawling house in the Pacific Northwest she had painstakingly restored—but, increasingly, it did not include the mortgage payments, constant repairs, and general time-suck of home ownership. A new sense of clarity began to take hold: Just what was all this stuff for? Multiple extra rooms, a kitchen stocked with rarely used appliances, were things that couldn’t compare with the financial freedom and the ultimate luxury—time—that would come with downsizing.

Deciding to build an eighty-four-square-foot house—on her own, from the ground up—was just the beginning of building a new life. Williams can now list everything she owns on one sheet of paper, her monthly housekeeping bills amount to about eight dollars, and it takes her approximately ten minutes to clean the entire house. It’s left her with more time to spend with family and friends, and given her freedom to head out for adventure at a moment’s notice, or watch the clouds and sunset while drinking a beer on her (yes, tiny) front porch.

The lessons Williams learned from her “aha” moment post-trauma apply to all of us, every day, regardless of whether or not we decide to discard all our worldly belongings. Part how-to, part personal memoir, The Big Tiny is an utterly seductive meditation on the benefits of slowing down, scaling back, and appreciating the truly important things in life.

Relentless Reformer [EPUB]

Relentless Reformer [EPUB]
Relentless Reformer: Josephine Roche and Progressivism in Twentieth-Century America by Robyn Muncy
2014 | EPUB | 3.74MB

Josephine Roche (1886-1976) was a progressive activist, New Deal policymaker, and businesswoman. As a pro-labor and feminist member of Franklin D. Roosevelt's administration, she shaped the founding legislation of the U.S. welfare state and generated the national conversation about health-care policy that Americans are still having today. In this gripping biography, Robyn Muncy offers Roche's persistent progressivism as evidence for surprising continuities among the Progressive Era, the New Deal, and the Great Society.

Muncy explains that Roche became the second-highest-ranking woman in the New Deal government after running a Colorado coal company in partnership with coal miners themselves. Once in office, Roche developed a national health plan that was stymied by World War II but enacted piecemeal during the postwar period, culminating in Medicare and Medicaid in the 1960s. By then, Roche directed the United Mine Workers of America Welfare and Retirement Fund, an initiative aimed at bolstering the labor movement, advancing managed health care, and reorganizing medicine to facilitate national health insurance, one of Roche's unrealized dreams.

In Relentless Reformer, Muncy uses Roche's dramatic life story--from her stint as Denver's first policewoman in 1912 to her fight against a murderous labor union official in 1972--as a unique vantage point from which to examine the challenges that women have faced in public life and to reassess the meaning and trajectory of progressive reform.

Melville: His World and Work [EPUB]

Melville: His World and Work [EPUB]
Melville: His World and Work by Andrew Delbanco
2006 | EPUB | 5.97MB

With Moby-Dick Herman Melville set the standard for the Great American Novel, and with “Bartleby, the Scrivener,” Benito Cereno, and Billy Budd he completed perhaps the greatest oeuvre of any of our writers. Now Andrew Delbanco, hailed by Time as “America’s best social critic,” uses unparalleled historical and critical perspective to give us both a commanding biography and a riveting portrait of the young nation.

The grandson of Revolutionary War heroes, Melville was born into a family that in the fledgling republic had lost both money and status. Half New Yorker, half New Englander, and toughened at sea as a young man, he returned home to chronicle the deepest crises of his era, from the increasingly shrill debates over slavery through the bloodbath of the Civil War to the intellectual and spiritual revolution wrought by Darwin. Meanwhile, the New York of his youth, where letters were delivered by horseback messengers, became in his lifetime a city recognizably our own, where the Brooklyn Bridge carried traffic and electric lights lit the streets.

Delbanco charts Melville’s growth from the bawdy storytelling of Typee—the “labial melody” of his “indulgent captivity” among the Polynesians—through the spiritual preoccupations building up to Moby-Dick and such later works as Pierre, or the Ambiguities and The Confidence-Man, His Masquerade. And he creates a vivid narrative of a life that left little evidence in its wake: Melville’s peculiar marriage, the tragic loss of two sons, his powerful friendship with Nathaniel Hawthorne and scores of literary cronies, bouts of feverish writing, relentless financial pressure both in the Berkshires and in New York, declining critical and popular esteem, and ultimately a customs job bedeviled by corruption. Delbanco uncovers autobiographical traces throughout Melville’s work, even as he illuminates the stunning achievements of a career that, despite being consigned to obscurity long before its author’s death, ultimately shaped our literature. Finally we understand why the recognition of Melville’s genius—led by D. H. Lawrence and E. M. Forster, and posthumous by some forty years—still feels triumphant; why he, more than any other American writer, has captured the imaginative, social, and political concerns of successive generations; and why Ahab and the White Whale, after more than a century and a half, have become durably resounding symbols not only here but around the world.

Robin Williams: When the Laughter Stops [EPUB]

Robin Williams: When the Laughter Stops [EPUB]
Robin Williams: When the Laughter Stops 1951–2014 by Emily Herbert
2014 | EPUB | 1.23MB

With his twinkling eyes, boundless energy and unrivalled natural wit, Robin Williams was the comedian who brought laughter to a generation.

Through roles in cherished films such as Mrs. Doubtfire, Jumanji, Aladdin and Hook, he became the genial face of family comedy. His child-like enthusiasm was infectious, sweeping viewers away. Allied to his lightning-quick improvisation and ability to riff lewdly off any cue thrown at him, Robin was that rare thing – a true comic genius who appealed to adults and children equally.

He could also play it straight, and empathetic depth came to him naturally. A poignant performance in Good Will Hunting won him an Academy Award whilst his masterfully chilling turn in psychological thriller Insomnia shocked audiences and hinted at a darker side.

What truly caught the imagination, though, was his good-heartedness. Warmth radiated from him on-screen, but he was legendary for his off-screen acts of selfless generosity. Where most Hollywood A-listers demand outrageous pampering in their contract riders, he always insisted that the production company hire a full quota of homeless people to help make his movies.

But behind the laughter lay a deeply troubled man, and tragedy would follow. At midday, on 11 August 2014, Robin Williams was pronounced dead at his California home. The verdict was suicide. He had battled depression and addiction for many years and was allegedly beset by financial difficulties.

Emily Herbert’s sensitive and thoughtful biography celebrates his genius and warmth, but also attempts to understand what could have driven such a gentle and gifted man to so tragic an end. This is Robin Williams, the life, the laughter, and the deep sorrow of the man who made the world smile.

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