The House of Gucci [EPUB]
12 July 2014, 20:03
2012 | EPUB | 820.63KB
A world-famous luxury brand, financial skullduggery, vicious family quarrels ending in a sensational murder: the Gucci story just couldn't be juicier, and former Women's Wear Daily correspondent Sara Gay Forden does full justice to its gossipy appeal.
Guccio Gucci opened his first leather-goods store in Florence in 1921, but it was his son Aldo who expanded the company overseas and made products like the Gucci loafer and the Flora scarf international symbols of status and affluence. Aldo's sons, his brother Rodolfo, and Rodolfo's son Maurizio, all of whom also worked in the family business, didn't always appreciate Aldo's imperious ways, and corporate board meetings often ended with ashtrays and Gucci handbags flying. Things got so bad in the early 1980s that Aldo's renegade son Paolo made public financial documents that very nearly sent his father to jail for tax fraud.
Even more lurid was the 1995 execution-style murder of Maurizio, followed by the conviction in 1998 of his ex-wife Patrizia for ordering the hit. Meanwhile, CEO Domenico De Sole and creative director Tom Ford were transforming Gucci from a family-run company into a modern corporation once again on the cutting edge of fashion and marketing.
Forden makes the business story as dramatic as the Guccis' personal squabbles (and of course the two were often interconnected) in a highly entertaining family biography that doubles as a savvy business history.
The Noble Hustle: Poker, Beef Jerky, and Death [EPUB]
12 July 2014, 19:42
2014 | EPUB + MOBI | 2.22/0.9MB
The Noble Hustle is Pulitzer finalist Colson Whitehead’s hilarious memoir of his search for meaning at high stakes poker tables, which the author describes as “Eat, Pray, Love for depressed shut-ins.”
On one level, The Noble Hustle is a familiar species of participatory journalism--a longtime neighborhood poker player, Whitehead was given a $10,000 stake and an assignment from the online online magazine Grantland to see how far he could get in the World Series of Poker. But since it stems from the astonishing mind of Colson Whitehead (MacArthur Award-endorsed!), the book is a brilliant, hilarious, weirdly profound, and ultimately moving portrayal of--yes, it sounds overblown and ridiculous, but really!--the human condition.
After weeks of preparation that included repeated bus trips to glamorous Atlantic City, and hiring a personal trainer to toughen him up for sitting at twelve hours a stretch, the author journeyed to the gaudy wonderland that is Las Vegas – the world’s greatest “Leisure Industrial Complex” -- to try his luck in the multi-million dollar tournament. Hobbled by his mediocre playing skills and a lifelong condition known as “anhedonia” (the inability to experience pleasure) Whitehead did not – spoiler alert! - win tens of millions of dollars. But he did chronicle his progress, both literal and existential, in this unbelievably funny, uncannily accurate social satire whose main target is the author himself.
Whether you’ve been playing cards your whole life, or have never picked up a hand, you’re sure to agree that this book contains some of the best writing about beef jerky ever put to paper.
The People's Republic of Amnesia: Tiananmen Revisited [EPUB]
09 July 2014, 10:25
2014 | EPUB | 5.52MB
On June 4, 1989, People's Liberation Army soldiers opened fire on unarmed civilians in Beijing, killing untold hundreds of people. A quarter-century later, this defining event remains buried in China's modern history, successfully expunged from collective memory. In The People's Republic of Amnesia, NPR correspondent Louisa Lim charts how the events of June 4th changed China, and how China changed the events of June 4th by rewriting its own history.
Lim reveals new details about those fateful days, including how one of the country's most senior politicians lost a family member to an army bullet, as well as the inside story of the young soldiers sent to clear Tiananmen Square. She also introduces us to individuals whose lives were transformed by the events of Tiananmen Square, such as a founder of the Tiananmen Mothers, whose son was shot by martial law troops; and one of the most important government officials in the country, who post-Tiananmen became one of its most prominent dissidents. And she examines how June 4th shaped China's national identity, fostering a generation of young nationalists, who know little and care less about 1989.
For the first time, Lim uncovers the details of a brutal crackdown in a second Chinese city that until now has been a near-perfect case study in the state's ability to rewrite history, excising the most painful episodes. By tracking down eyewitnesses, discovering US diplomatic cables, and combing through official Chinese records, Lim offers the first account of a story that has remained untold for a quarter of a century. The People's Republic of Amnesia is an original, powerfully gripping, and ultimately unforgettable book about a national tragedy and an unhealed wound.