Notes on a Century: Reflections of a Middle East Historian
31 January 2013, 06:40
Brilliance Audio | 2013 | ISBN: 1455890790 | MP3@96 kbps | 13 hrs 07 mins | 543.73MB
Few historians end up as historical actors in their own right, but Bernard Lewis has both witnessed and participated in some of the key events of the last century. When we think of the Middle East, we see it in terms that he defined and articulated. In this exceptional memoir he shares stories of his wartime service in London and Cairo, decrypting intercepts for MI6, with sometimes unexpected consequences. After the war, he was the first Western scholar ever invited into the Ottoman archives in Istanbul. He coined the term “clash of civilizations” in the 1950s, when no one imagined that political Islam would one day eclipse communism. A brilliant raconteur with an extraordinary gift for languages (he mastered thirteen), he regales us with tales of memorable encounters with Edward Kennedy, the Shah of Iran, Golda Meir, and Pope John Paul II among many others. September 11 catapulted him onto the world stage as his seminal books What Went Wrong? and Crisis of Islam leaped onto bestseller lists. In his first major book since the second Iraq war, Lewis describes how — contrary to popular fiction — he opposed the war and reveals his exchanges with the Bush administration outlining his far greater concerns about Iran. For more than half a century, Bernard Lewis has taken influential and controversial positions on contemporary politics and on the politics of academe. A man of towering intellect and erudition, he writes with the flair of Toynbee or Gibbon, only he has seen more and is much funnier.
“Notes on a Century is an extraordinary work: erudite, witty, and profound. In summing up his long life in pursuit of knowledge of the region that has fascinated him since childhood, Bernard Lewis has produced a book that will engage, inform, and entertain the scholar and layman alike.”
“Whether writing about the early history of the Arabs or the development of the modern Turkish state, Mr. Lewis has always been unusually alert to nuance and ambiguity; he is wary of his sources and tests them against other evidence. . . . He has evinced not only an unswerving commitment to historical truth and a hatred of what he calls ‘the falsification of history’ but also a passionate, at times obsessive, curiosity about other peoples, other places. . . . No matter how recondite or exotic his subject matter, he writes incisively and with unobtrusive elegance.”
—Wall Street Journal
“Lewis has led a staggeringly productive life—publishing a jaw-dropping 32 books—and seems to have had more fun than any department worth of more somber professors. . . . We are fortunate to have this chatty memoir of reminiscences of scholarly discovery and stimulating encounters with everyone from Isaac Stern to Scoop Jackson to the shah of Iran.”
—The Washington Post
“Few could produce a book as witty, erudite and humorous as this engaging autobiography, which, alongside these lighter characteristics, is also packed with learning and wisdom. It is no exaggeration to say that it is the distillation of a long, attentive and productive life as a scholar and engaged intellectual. . . . We did not need this book to tell us how impressive an intellect Mr. Lewis has or what a superbly informed historian he is, but it reminds us nonetheless of all this. As it does of what a charming and attractive personality he has been graced with, enabling him to draw attention so easily to what he has to impart.”
—The Washington Times
Bernard Lewis, FBA (born May 31, 1916) is a British-American historian, scholar in Oriental studies, and political commentator. He is the Cleveland E. Dodge Professor Emeritus of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University. He specializes in the history of Islam and the interaction between Islam and the West, and is especially famous in academic circles for his works on the history of the Ottoman Empire.
Lewis served in the British Army in the Royal Armoured Corps and Intelligence Corps during the Second World War before being seconded to the Foreign Office. After the war, he returned to the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London and was appointed to the new chair in Near and Middle Eastern History.
Lewis is a widely read expert on the Middle East, and is regarded as one of the West’s leading scholars of that region. His advice has been frequently sought by policymakers, including the George W. Bush administration. In the Encyclopedia of Historians and Historical Writing Martin Kramer, whose Ph.D. thesis was directed by Lewis, considered that, over a 60-year career, he has emerged as "the most influential postwar historian of Islam and the Middle East."
Chrysler's Turbine Car
31 January 2013, 05:15
Chicago Review Press | 2010 | ISBN: 1569765499 | EPUB | 5.92MB
In 1964, Chrysler gave the world a glimpse of the future. They built a fleet of turbine cars--automobiles with jet engines--and loaned them out to members of the public. The fleet logged over a million miles; the exercise was a raging success.
These turbine engines would run on any flammable liquid--tequila, heating oil, Chanel #5, diesel, alcohol, kerosene. If the cars had been mass produced, we might have cars today that do not require petroleum-derived fuels. The engine was also much simpler than the piston engine--it contained one-fifth the number of moving parts and required much less maintenance. The cars had no radiators or fan belts and never needed oil changes.
Yet Chrysler crushed and burned most of the cars two years later; the jet car's brief glory was over. Where did it all go wrong? Controversy still follows the program, and questions about how and why it was killed have never been satisfactorily answered.
Steve Lehto has interviewed all the surviving members of the turbine car program--from the metallurgist who created the exotic metals for the interior of the engine to the test driver who drove it at Chrysler’s proving grounds for days on end. Lehto takes these first-hand accounts and weaves them into a great story about the coolest car Detroit ever produced.
Life Among Giants [Audiobook]
31 January 2013, 05:03
HighBridge Company | 2012 | ISBN: 1611749026 | MP3@96 kbps | 13 hrs 34 mins | 558.7MB
At seventeen, David “Lizard” Hochmeyer is nearly seven feet tall, a star quarterback, and Princeton-bound. His future seems all but assured until his parents are mysteriously murdered, leaving Lizard and his older sister, Kate, adrift and alone. In a mansion across the pond from their Connecticut home lives the world’s greatest ballerina, Sylphide, and her rock star husband, whose own disasters intersect with Lizard’s—and Kate’s—in the most intimate and surprising ways.
Over the years that follow, Lizard and Kate are obsessed with piecing together the motives behind their parents’ deaths, returning time and again to their father’s missing briefcase, his shady business dealings and shaky finances, and to Sylphide, who has threaded her way into Lizard’s and Kate’s lives—much more deeply than either had ever realized. From the football fields of Princeton to a stint with the NFL, from the elaborate dances at the mansion to the gourmet restaurant he opens, it only takes Lizard a lifetime to set things right again.
Amazon Best Books of the Month, November 2012: I hereby nominate Lizard the humongous football player and Sylphide the mysterious ballerina as two of my favorite characters of 2012. Rarely have such elite and outsize personalities felt so true on the page--a joy to be with, worth rooting for. We meet Lizard at age 17, when his parents are murdered, setting up his decades-long search for the truth behind his father's shady business dealings and his family's weblike relationship with the couple in the mansion next door: Sylphide, the world's greatest dancer, and her rock star husband. Like early John Irving, Roorbach has crafted a story that's rollicking and sexy but not shallow or slight. Seven-foot Lizard and petite Sylphide, both giants in their own way, are a pair to behold. Part Gatsby, part Garp, Life Among Giants is an urgent tale of greed, love, and revenge. --Neal Thompson
David “Lizard” Hochmeyer is enormous, nearly seven feet tall, and so is the labyrinth of tragedy and revenge he navigates in Roorbach’s novel. The high-school football star is headed to Princeton and then an NFL career when his parents are murdered. Both his and his sister’s lives are irreparably shaken and become significantly intertwined with the world-famous ballerina who lives nearby. Roorbach has created a memorable narrator who possesses the disarming frankness of Holden Caulfield and whose rapid-fire delivery and cutting characterizations expertly shift between memories and the present moment. Lizard keeps this part-mystery, part-coming-of-age-tale humming, as the cavalcade of revelations rolls by, prompting the reader to echo Lizard’s signature, “Whoa!” This is one of those novels you read because you care about what happens to the people and the connections between them as those connections grow, fray, and snap. By turns surreal and gritty, the book is written with the same muscular grace possessed by the dancers and athletes who are its main charaters. --Bridget Thoreson
Whole Beast Butchery
31 January 2013, 04:53
Chronicle Books | 2011 | ISBN: 1452101906 | EPUB | 16.59MB
Covering pork, beef, and lamb, Whole Beast Butchery is the first visual manual to teach what the newly fashionable butchers already know all the cuts on a hog, lamb, and steer, where they come from, what they look like in whole and how they come off the animal into large 'primal' cuts and get broken down into individual cuts (common and popular boutique cuts). Includes a primer on tools, techniques, handling, and resources for buying partial or whole animals direct, plus 15 master recipes for key cuts and charts for scaling recipes up/down based on poundage and guest number.
God in a Cup: The Obsessive Quest for the Perfect Coffee
31 January 2013, 04:37
John Wiley & Sons | 2012 | ISBN: 1118113071 | EPUB | 490.96KB
Can a cup of coffee reveal the face of God? Can it become the holy grail of modern-day knights errant who brave hardship and peril in a relentless quest for perfection? Can it change the world? These questions are not rhetorical. When highly prized coffee beans sell at auction for $50, $100, or $150 a pound wholesale (and potentially twice that at retail), anything can happen.
In God in a Cup, journalist and late-blooming adventurer Michaele Weissman treks into an exotic and paradoxical realm of specialty coffee where the successful traveler must be part passionate coffee connoisseur, part ambitious entrepreneur, part activist, and part Indiana Jones. Her guides on the journey are the nation's most heralded coffee business hotshots--Counter Culture's Peter Giuliano, Intelligentsia's Geoff Watts, and Stump-town's Duane Sorenson.
With their obsessive standards and fiercely competitive baristas, these roasters are creating a new culture of coffee connoisseurship in America--a culture in which $10 lattes are both a purist's pleasure and a way to improve the lives of third-world farmers. If you love a good cup of coffee--or a great adventure story--you'll love this unprecedented look up close at the people and passions behind today's best beans.
One Red Paperclip
31 January 2013, 04:33
Three Rivers Press | 2007 | ISBN: 0307395596 | EPUB | 4.03MB
Kyle MacDonald had a paperclip. One red paperclip, a dream, and a resume to write. And bills to pay. Oh, and a very patient girlfriend who was paying the rent while he was once again "between jobs." Kyle wanted to be able to provide for himself and his girlfriend, Dominique. He wanted to own his own home. He wanted something bigger than a paperclip. So he put an ad on Craigslist, the popular classifieds website, with the intention of trading that paperclip for something better. A girl in Vancouver offered him a fish pen in exchange for his paperclip. He traded the fish pen for a doorknob and the doorknob for a camping stove. Before long he had traded the camping stove for a generator for a neon sign. Not long after that, avid snow-globe collector and television star Corbin Bernsen and the small Canadian town of Kipling were involved, and Kyle was on to bigger and better things.
In One Red Paperclip, Kyle takes you on a journey around the globe as he moves from paperclip holder to homeowner in just fourteen trades. With plenty of irreverent and insightful anecdotes and practical tips on how you can find your own paperclip and realize your dreams, he proves it's possible to succeed in life and achieve your dreams on your own terms. Quirky and inspirational, this story of a regular guy and a small, red, now-legendary paperclip will have you looking at your office supplies-and your life-in a whole new way.
Odd Jobs: 101 Ways to Make an Extra Buck
31 January 2013, 04:30
Skyhorse Publishing | 2007 | ISBN: 1602390339 | EPUB | 3.03MB
Here is a book for every curious, courageous, or desperate person who’s willing to set convention aside to earn a living. From fashioning balloon animals to promoting liquor brands to picking berries in Australia, this easy-to-read, entertaining book takes a candid look at over a hundred jobs that don’t require you to sit in an office eight hours a day, five days a week. For each job listed, there is a summary of what the position entails; potential pay and hours; start-up costs; qualifications necessary; and more. Interspersed throughout are insiders’ accounts of odd job experiences sure to give you an honest and amusing picture of what you might encounter. Yes, this is fun reading, but it is more—a chance to change your life!
Financial Serial Killers
31 January 2013, 04:25
Skyhorse Publishing | 2011 | ISBN: 1616080310 | EPUB | 483.34KB
By using true tales of thieves, swindlers, and fraudsters at work, Financial Serial Killers illustrates how these perpetrators get their hooks into investors' wallets, savings accounts, and portfolios—and never let go. The worst financial crisis since the great depression revealed that thousands of mom and pop investors had lost millions to so-called Mini-Madoffs. They are the thieves and conmen who had used phony financial acumen to steal investors' money, wipe out savings, and damage lives.
Financial Serial Killers reveals the cons—from the grand to picayune—dvisers cultivate with their victims—relationships that are essential to the fraud.
Take the story of Lillian, the little old lady who invested with Warren Buffett, one of the richest men in the world. After her husband died, she thought her family's treasure of $24 million in stock controlled by Buffett was safe. It was—until a family relative introduced the eighty-nine-year-old grandmother to a pair of unscrupulous insurance agents who convinced her to reinvest her savings in life insurance—decimating her nest egg while padding the agents' pockets. Lillian's story, as well as other accounts of deceit and fraud are the core of Financial Serial Killers. Readers will learn how to better protect their family's wealth and savings after reading this book.
Lewis and Clark Through Indian Eyes
31 January 2013, 04:21
Knopf | 2006 | ISBN: 1400042674 | EPUB | 3.98MB
For the first time in the two hundred years since Lewis and Clark led their expedition from St. Louis to the Pacific, we hear the other side of the story—as we listen to nine descendants of the Indians whose homelands were traversed.
Among those who speak: Newspaper editor Mark Trahant writes of his childhood belief that he was descended from Clark and what his own research uncovers. Award-winning essayist and fiction writer Debra Magpie Earling describes the tribal ways that helped her nineteenth-century Salish ancestors survive, and that still work their magic today. Montana political figure Bill Yellowtail tells of the efficiency of Indian trade networks, explaining how axes that the expedition traded for food in the Mandan and Hidatsa villages of Kansas had already arrived in Nez Perce country by the time Lewis and Clark got there a few months and 1,000 miles later. Umatilla tribal leader Roberta Conner compares Lewis and Clark’s journal entries about her people with what was actually going on, wittily questioning Clark’s notion that the natives believed the white men “came from the clouds”—in other words, they were gods. Writer and artist N. Scott Momaday ends the book with a moving tribute to the “most difficult of journeys,” calling it, in the truest sense, for both the men who entered the unknown and those who watched, “a vision quest,” with the “visions gained being of profound consequence.”
Some of the essays are based on family stories, some on tribal or American history, still others on the particular circumstances of a tribe today—but each reflects the expedition’s impact through the prism of the author’s own, or the tribe’s, point of view.
Thoughtful, moving, provocative, Lewis and Clark Through Indian Eyes is an exploration of history—and a study of survival—that expands our knowledge of our country’s first inhabitants. It also provides a fascinating and invaluable new perspective on the Lewis and Clark expedition itself and its place in the long history of our continent.
Desperate Sons: Samuel Adams, Patrick Henry, John Hancock
31 January 2013, 04:15
HarperCollins | 2012 | ISBN: 0061899550 | EPUB | 594.48KB
A groundbreaking narrative—a historical political thriller—that explores the role of the Sons of Liberty in the American Revolution.
More than two hundred years ago, a group of British colonists in America decided that the conditions under which they were governed had become intolerable. Angry and frustrated that King George III and the British Parliament had ignored their lawful complaints and petitions, they decided to take action.
Knowing that their deeds—often directed at individuals and property—were illegal, and punishable by imprisonment and even death, these agitators plotted and conducted their missions in secret to protect their identities as well as the identities of those who supported them. Calling themselves the Sons of Liberty, they gathered together in a radical society committed to imposing forcible change. Those determined men—including second cousins Samuel and John Adams, Paul Revere, Patrick Henry, and John Hancock—saw themselves as patriots. Yet to the Crown, and to many of the Sons' fellow colonists, the revolutionaries were terrorists who deserved death for their treason.
In this gripping narrative, Les Standiford reveals how this group of intelligent, committed men, motivated by economics and political belief, began a careful campaign of interlocking events that would channel feelings of vague injustice into an armed rebellion of common cause, which would defeat an empire and give birth to a radical political experiment—a new nation known as the United States.
Worthy Opponents: William T. Sherman and Joseph E. Johnston
31 January 2013, 04:06
Thomas Nelson | 2006 | ISBN: 1401600913 | EPUB | 4.25MB
"You and I became reconciled in April 1865, [and] have remained so since. . . . All [others] who are willing to be reconciled can do it by simply becoming good American citizens." ―William T. Sherman in a letter to Joseph E. Johnston
It was the most trying time of the United States' young history. Families suffered as their fathers and young men, often mere boys, went off to war. Soldiers were slain by the tens of thousands in brutal battles and entire towns were reduced to rubble and ashes. America was split in two.
But in the face of this horrific Civil War, friendships and lifelong bonds were forged―even across the lines of battle.
Worthy Opponents is the parallel stories of two key leaders: Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston and Union General William Tecumseh Sherman. After their armies clashed repeatedly, it was only natural for these two commanding offers to become adversaries. Yet as the war wore on, Johnston and Sherman came to respect each other. After the war they became close firends.
In Worthy Opponents, award-winning author and Civil War historian Edward G. Longacre masterfully investigates the intertwining lives and careers of these two celebrated generals. He brings to life their personalities, their military styles, their history, and their ultimate respect and friendship in a readable and fascinating dual biography.
The Commanders of Chancellorsville
31 January 2013, 04:02
Thomas Nelson | 2005 | ISBN: 1401601421 | EPUB | 3.09MB
As equally matched in skill as they were opposite in personality, the brash Union Gen. Joseph Hooker boasted of a sure defeat of the reserved Gen. Robert E. Lee. "I've got Robert E. Lee right where I want him, and even God Himself cannot stop me from destroying him," Boasted Hooker. Yet the battle of Chancellorsville stands as Lee's greatest triumph.
The story of the two generals has never been explored as it is here. "Fighting Joe" Hooker was brilliant, but also profane, bombastic, and his army so undisciplined that their pursuit of camp "followers" spawned the modern euphemism for prostitute. Robert E. Lee, equally gifted was known as the definitive devout, self-controlled Southern gentleman, leading an army that was exhausted, underfed, and outmanned. Chancellorsville stands not just as a pivotal battle of the Civil War but as the personal war between two warriors - stalking, striking, and counter-striking their way to ultimate victory or defeat.
The Kennedy Assassination: 24 Hours After
31 January 2013, 03:57
Basic Books | 2009 | ISBN: 046501870X | EPUB | 1.2MB
Riding in an open-topped convertible through Dallas on November 22, 1963, Lyndon B. Johnson heard a sudden explosive sound at 12:30 PM. The Secret Service sped him away to safety, but not until 1:20 PM did he learn that John F. Kennedy had been assassinated. Sworn in next to a bloodstained Jackie Kennedy at 2:40 PM, Johnson worked feverishly until 3:00 in the morning, agonizing about the future of both his nation and his party. Unbeknownst to him, his actions had already determined the tragic outcome of his presidency.
In November 22, 1963, historian Steven Gillon tells the story of how Johnson consolidated power in the twenty-four hours following the assassination. Based on scrupulous research and new archival sources, this gripping narrative sheds new and surprising light on one of the most written-about events of the twentieth century.
The Training Ground
31 January 2013, 03:55
Bison Books | 2009 | ISBN: 0803228120 | EPUB | 655.25KB
For four years during the Civil War, Generals Grant and Lee clashed as bitter enemies in a war that bloodied and scorched the American landscape. Yet in an earlier time, they had worn the same uniform and fought together. In The Training Ground, acclaimed historian Martin Dugard presents the saga of how, two decades before the Civil War, a group of West Point graduates—including Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grant, Jefferson Davis, Stonewall Jackson, and William Tecumseh Sherman—fought together as brothers. Drawing on a range of primary sources and original research, Dugard paints a gripping narrative of the Mexican War, which eventually almost doubled the size of the United States. The Training Ground vividly takes us into the thick brush of Palo Alto, where a musket ball narrowly misses Grant but kills a soldier standing near him; through the mountains and ravines of Cerro Gordo, as Lee searches frantically for a secret route into the Mexican army’s seemingly invincible position; to Monterrey, as future enemies Davis and Grant ride together into battle; down the California coast, where war-hungry Sherman seeks blood and vengeance. And we are there as the young troops mount the final heroic—and deadly—assault on Mexico City. With narrative verve and brilliant research, The Training Ground brings to light a story of brotherhood, sacrifice, and initiation by fire.
31 January 2013, 03:51
Mariner Books | 2010 | ISBN: 0547247974 | EPUB | 4.5MB
In this grand and compelling new history of Reconstruction, Philip Dray shines a light on a little known group of men: the nation's first black members of Congress. Neglected by most historians, these individuals—some of whom were former slaves—played a critical role in pushing for much-needed reforms in the wake of a traumatic civil war, including equal rights, public education, and protection from Klan violence. Most important, their example laid the foundation for future black political leaders. Drawing on archival documents, newspaper coverage, and congressional records, he shows that P.B.S. Pinchback (who started out as a riverboat gambler), Robert Smalls (who hijacked a Confederate steamer and delivered it to Union troops), and Robert Brown Elliot (who bested the former vice president of the Confederacy in a stormy debate on the House floor) were eloquent, creative, and often quite effective—they were simply overwhelmed by the forces of Southern reaction and Northern indifference. Covering the fraught period between the Emancipation Proclamation and Jim Crow, Dray reclaims the reputations of men who, though flawed, led a valiant struggle for social justice.
The Fall of the House of Dixie
31 January 2013, 03:47
Random House | 2013 | ISBN: 1400067030 | EPUB | 7.26MB
In this major new history of the Civil War, Bruce Levine tells the riveting story of how that conflict upended the economic, political, and social life of the old South, utterly destroying the Confederacy and the society it represented and defended. Told through the words of the people who lived it, The Fall of the House of Dixie illuminates the way a war undertaken to preserve the status quo became a second American Revolution whose impact on the country was as strong and lasting as that of our first.
In 1860 the American South was a vast, wealthy, imposing region where a small minority had amassed great political power and enormous fortunes through a system of forced labor. The South’s large population of slaveless whites almost universally supported the basic interests of plantation owners, despite the huge wealth gap that separated them. By the end of 1865 these structures of wealth and power had been shattered. Millions of black people had gained their freedom, many poorer whites had ceased following their wealthy neighbors, and plantation owners were brought to their knees, losing not only their slaves but their political power, their worldview, their very way of life. This sea change was felt nationwide, as the balance of power in Congress, the judiciary, and the presidency shifted dramatically and lastingly toward the North, and the country embarked on a course toward equal rights.
Levine captures the many-sided human drama of this story using a huge trove of diaries, letters, newspaper articles, government documents, and more. In The Fall of the House of Dixie, the true stakes of the Civil War become clearer than ever before, as slaves battle for their freedom in the face of brutal reprisals; Abraham Lincoln and his party turn what began as a limited war for the Union into a crusade against slavery by issuing the Emancipation Proclamation; poor southern whites grow increasingly disillusioned with fighting what they have come to see as the plantation owners’ war; and the slave owners grow ever more desperate as their beloved social order is destroyed, not just by the Union Army, but also from within. When the smoke clears, not only Dixie but all of American society is changed forever.
Brilliantly argued and engrossing, The Fall of the House of Dixie is a sweeping account of the destruction of the old South during the Civil War, offering a fresh perspective on the most colossal struggle in our history and the new world it brought into being.
The Reluctant Spy: My Secret Life in the CIA's War on Terror
31 January 2013, 03:39
Bantam Books | 2010 | ISBN: 0553907336 | EPUB | 2.0MB
Long before the waterboarding controversy exploded in the media, one CIA agent had already gone public. In a groundbreaking 2007 interview with ABC News, John Kiriakou called waterboarding torture--but admitted that it probably worked. This book, at once a confessional, an adventure story, and a chronicle of Kiriakou's life in the CIA, stands as an important, eloquent piece of testimony from a committed American patriot.
In February 2002 Kiriakou was the head of counterterrorism in Pakistan. Under his command, in a spectacular raid coordinated with Pakistani agents and the CIA's best intelligence analyst, Kiriakou's field officers took down the infamous terrorist Abu Zubaydah. For days, Kiriakou became the wounded terrorist's personal "bodyguard." In circumstances stranger than fiction, as al-Qaeda agents scoured the streets for their captured leader, the best trauma surgeon in America was flown to Pakistan to make sure that Zubaydah did not die.
In The Reluctant Spy, Kiriakou takes us into the fight against an enemy fueled by fanaticism. He chillingly describes what it was like inside the CIA headquarters on the morning of 9/11, the agency leaders who stepped up and those who protected their careers. And in what may be the book's most shocking revelation, he describes how the White House made plans to invade Iraq a full year before the CIA knew about it--or could attempt to stop it.
Chronicling both mind-boggling mistakes and heroic acts of individual courage, The Reluctant Spy is essential reading for anyone who wishes to understand the inner workings of the U.S. intelligence apparatus, the truth behind the torture debate, and the incredible dedication of ordinary men and women doing one of the most extraordinary jobs on earth.