Storming Las Vegas

Storming Las Vegas

Storming Las Vegas: How a Cuban-Born, Soviet-Trained Commando Took Down the Strip to the Tune of Five World-Class Hotels, Three Armored Cars, and Millions of Dollars by John Huddy
Ballantine | 2009 | ISBN: 0345514416 | EPUB | 4.69MB


On September 20, 1998, Jose Vigoa, a child of Fidel Castro’s revolution, launched what would be the most audacious and ruthless series of high-profile casino and armored car robberies that Las Vegas had ever seen. In a brazen sixteen-month reign of terror, he and his crew would hit the crème de la crème of Vegas hotels: the MGM, the Desert Inn, the New York—New York, the Mandalay Bay, and the Bellagio. The robberies were well planned and executed, and the police–“the stupids,” as Vigoa contemptuously referred to them–were all but helpless to stop them. But Lt. John Alamshaw, the twenty-three-year veteran in charge of robbery detectives, was not giving up so easily. For him, Vigoa’s rampage was a personal affront. And he would do whatever it took, even risk his badge, to bring Vigoa down.


Invisible Armies: An Epic History of Guerrilla Warfare

Invisible Armies: An Epic History of Guerrilla Warfare

Invisible Armies: An Epic History of Guerrilla Warfare from Ancient Times to the Present by Max Boot
Liveright | 2013 | ISBN: 0871404249 | EPUB | 6.03MB


Beginning with the first insurgencies in the ancient world—when Alexander the Great discovered that fleet nomads were harder to defeat than massive conventional armies—Max Boot, best-selling author and military advisor in Iraq and Afghanistan, masterfully guides us from the Jewish rebellion against the Roman Empire up through the horrors of the French-Indochina War and the shadowy, post-9/11 battlefields of today. Relying on a diverse cast of unforgettable characters—not only Mao and Che but also the legendary Italian nationalist Giuseppe Garibaldi, the archaeologist-turned–military commander T. E. Lawrence, and the “Quiet American” Edward Lansdale, among others—Boot explodes everything we thought we knew about unconventional combat. The result is both an enthralling read and our most important work on nontraditional warfare. 70 illustrations; 8 maps


Banished: Surviving My Years in the Westboro Baptist Church

Banished: Surviving My Years in the Westboro Baptist Church

Banished: Surviving My Years in the Westboro Baptist Church by Lisa Pulitzer, Lauren Drain
Grand Central Publishing | 2013 | ISBN: 1455512427 | EPUB | 785.84KB


You've likely heard of the Westboro Baptist Church. Perhaps you've seen their pickets on the news, the members holding signs with messages that are too offensive to copy here, protesting at events such as the funerals of soldiers, the 9-year old victim of the recent Tucson shooting, and Elizabeth Edwards, all in front of their grieving families. The WBC is fervently anti-gay, anti-Semitic, and anti- practically everything and everyone. And they aren't going anywhere: in March, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the WBC's right to picket funerals.


Since no organized religion will claim affiliation with the WBC, it's perhaps more accurate to think of them as a cult. Lauren Drain was thrust into that cult at the age of 15, and then spat back out again seven years later. BANISHED is the first look inside the organization, as well as a fascinating story of adaptation and perseverance.


Lauren spent her early years enjoying a normal life with her family in Florida. But when her formerly liberal and secular father set out to produce a documentary about the WBC, his detached interest gradually evolved into fascination, and he moved the entire family to Kansas to join the church and live on their compound. Over the next seven years, Lauren fully assimilated their extreme beliefs, and became a member of the church and an active and vocal picketer. But as she matured and began to challenge some of the church's tenets, she was unceremoniously cast out from the church and permanently cut off from her family and from everyone else she knew and loved. BANISHED is the story of Lauren's fight to find herself amidst dramatic changes in a world of extremists and a life in exile.


Bath Massacre: America's First School Bombing

Bath Massacre: America's First School Bombing

Bath Massacre: America's First School Bombing by Arnie Bernstein
University of Michigan Press | 2009 | ISBN: 0472033468 | EPUB | 975.13 KB


On May 18, 1927, the small town of Bath, Michigan, was forever changed when Andrew Kehoe set off a cache of explosives concealed in the basement of the local school. Thirty-eight children and six adults were dead, among them Kehoe, who had literally blown himself to bits by setting off a dynamite charge in his car. The next day, on Kehoe's farm, what was left of his wife---burned beyond recognition after Kehoe set his property and buildings ablaze---was found tied to a handcart, her skull crushed. With seemingly endless stories of school violence and suicide bombers filling today's headlines, Bath Massacre serves as a reminder that terrorism and large-scale murder are nothing new.


Life's Ratchet

Life's Ratchet

Life's Ratchet: How Molecular Machines Extract Order from Chaos by Peter M Hoffmann
Basic Books | 2012 | ISBN: 0465022537 | EPUB | 1.57MB


Life is an enduring mystery. Yet, science tells us that living beings are merely sophisticated structures of lifeless molecules. If this view is correct, where do the seemingly purposeful motions of cells and organisms originate? In Life’s Ratchet, physicist Peter M. Hoffmann locates the answer to this age-old question at the nanoscale.


Below the calm, ordered exterior of a living organism lies microscopic chaos, or what Hoffmann calls the molecular storm - specialized molecules immersed in a whirlwind of colliding water molecules. Our cells are filled with molecular machines, which, like tiny ratchets, transform random motion into ordered activity, and create the "purpose" that is the hallmark of life. Tiny electrical motors turn electrical voltage into motion, nanoscale factories custom-build other molecular machines, and mechanical machines twist, untwist, separate and package strands of DNA. The cell is like a city - an unfathomable, complex collection of molecular workers working together to create something greater than themselves.


Life, Hoffman argues, emerges from the random motions of atoms filtered through these sophisticated structures of our evolved machinery. We are agglomerations of interacting nanoscale machines more amazing than anything in science fiction. Rather than relying on some mysterious "life force" to drive them - as people believed for centuries - life’s ratchets harness instead the second law of thermodynamics and the disorder of the molecular storm.


Grounded in Hoffmann’s own cutting-edge research, Life’s Ratchet reveals the incredible findings of modern nanotechnology to tell the story of how the noisy world of atoms gives rise to life itself.


Suicide in Nazi Germany

Suicide in Nazi Germany

Suicide in Nazi Germany by Christian Goeschel
Oxford University Press | 2009 | ISBN: 0199532567 | PDF | 1.3MB


The Third Reich met its end in the spring of 1945 in an unparalleled wave of suicides. Hitler, Goebbels, Bormann, Himmler and later Goering all killed themselves. These deaths represent only the tip of an iceberg of a massive wave of suicides that also touched upon ordinary lives. As this suicide epidemic has no historical precedent or parallel, it can tell us much about the Third Reich's peculiar self-destructiveness and the depths of Nazi fanaticism.


Christian Goeschel looks at the suicides of both Nazis and ordinary people in Germany between 1918 and 1945, from the end of World War I until the end of World War II, including the mass suicides of German Jews during the Holocaust. He shows how suicides among different population groups, including supporters, opponents, and victims of the regime, responded to the social, cultural, economic and, political context of the time. He also analyses changes and continuities in individual and societal responses to suicide over time, especially with regard to the Weimar Republic and the post-1945 era.


Richly grounded in gripping and previously unpublished source material such as suicide notes and police investigations, the book offers a new perspective on the central social and political crises of the era, from revolution, economic collapse, and the rise of the Nazis, to Germany's total defeat in 1945.


All the Way to Berlin: A Paratrooper at War in Europe

All the Way to Berlin: A Paratrooper at War in Europe

All the Way to Berlin: A Paratrooper at War in Europe by James Megellas
Presidio Press | 2004 | ISBN: 0891418369 | EPUB | 1.82MB


In mid-1943 James Megellas, known as “Maggie” to his fellow paratroopers, joined the 82d Airborne Division, his new “home” for the duration. His first taste of combat was in the rugged mountains outside Naples.


In October 1943, when most of the 82d departed Italy to prepare for the D-Day invasion of France, Lt. Gen. Mark Clark, the Fifth Army commander, requested that the division’s 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, Maggie’s outfit, stay behind for a daring new operation that would outflank the Nazis’ stubborn defensive lines and open the road to Rome. On 22 January 1944, Megellas and the rest of the 504th landed across the beach at Anzio. Following initial success, Fifth Army’s amphibious assault, Operation Shingle, bogged down in the face of heavy German counterattacks that threatened to drive the Allies into the Tyrrhenian Sea. Anzio turned into a fiasco, one of the bloodiest Allied operations of the war. Not until April were the remnants of the regiment withdrawn and shipped to England to recover, reorganize, refit, and train for their next mission.


In September, Megellas parachuted into Holland along with the rest of the 82d Airborne as part of another star-crossed mission, Field Marshal Montgomery’s vainglorious Operation Market Garden. Months of hard combat in Holland were followed by the Battle of the Bulge, and the long hard road across Germany to Berlin.


Megellas was the most decorated officer of the 82d Airborne Division and saw more action during the war than most. Yet All the Way to Berlin is more than just Maggie’s World War II memoir. Throughout his narrative, he skillfully interweaves stories of the other paratroopers of H Company, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment. The result is a remarkable account of men at war.


The Knight in History

The Knight in History

The Knight in History by Frances Gies
HarperPerennial | 2011 | ISBN: 0060914130 | EPUB | 2.47MB


A magisterial history of the origins, reality, and legend of the knight


Born out of the chaos of the early Middle Ages, the armored and highly mobile knight revolutionized warfare and quickly became a mythic figure in history. From the Knights Templars and English knighthood to the crusades and chivalry, The Knight in History, by acclaimed medievalist Frances Gies, bestselling coauthor of Life in a Medieval Castle, paints a remarkable true picture of knighthood—exploring the knight’s earliest appearance as an agent of lawless violence, his reemergence as a dynamic social entity, his eventual disappearance from the European stage, and his transformation into Western culture’s most iconic hero.


Life in a Medieval Castle

Life in a Medieval Castle

Life in a Medieval Castle by Frances Gies, Joseph Gies
HarperCollins | 1979 | ISBN: 006090674X | EPUB | 4.43MB


Researching? Expanding your horizons just for kicks? This book is excellent by either account. Perhaps what I appreciated most about this book was that it covered a little bit of everything - from history to architecture to military engagements to domestic uses to the people who actually lived in castles. Castles really come to life in this book - as well as the people housed within. There's enough detail in here to satisfy the researcher - but the prose moves along at a trim pace so you won't get bogged down. If you're interested in a specific facet of castles or castle life, you may have to supplement your knowledge elsewhere, but this is a fine overview of castles and their history. --Sarah E. Morin


Death and the Dolce Vita: The Dark Side of Rome in the 1950s

Death and the Dolce Vita: The Dark Side of Rome in the 1950s

Death and the Dolce Vita: The Dark Side of Rome in the 1950s by Stephen Gundle
Canongate Books | 2012 | ISBN: 1847676553 | EPUB | 3.32MB


This true story of the 1950s murder scandal that rocked Italy portrays the Rome of romance, luxury, and glamour—as well as a city of carnal crimes, sex, drugs, corruption, and cover-ups.


On April 9, 1953, an attractive 21-year-old woman went missing from her family home in Rome. Thirty-six hours later her body was found washed up on a neglected beach at Torvaianica, 40 kilometers from the Italian capital. Some said it was suicide, others, a tragic accident. But could the mysterious death of this quiet, conservative girl be linked to a drug-fueled orgy involving some of the richest men in Italy? The short life and tragic death of Wilma Montesi was played out against a fascinating backdrop. By the 1950s Italy, in the wake of Mussolini's brutal Fascist government, was in the process of reinventing itself, and with the help of Hollywood stars such as Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck, it seemed to be succeeding. Suddenly Italy, and Rome in particular, was the most glamorous place on earth. But the murder of Wilma Montesi exposed a darker side of Roman life—a life of corruption, cover-ups, and carnal pleasures.


The Dead Janitors Club

The Dead Janitors Club

The Dead Janitors Club: Pathetically True Tales of a Crime Scene Cleanup King by Jeff Klima
Sourcebooks | 2010 | ISBN: 1402238290 | EPUB | 593.45KB


After toiling for minimum wage for years, Jeff Klima got an unexpected offer: to head up a brand new crime scene cleanup company in Orange County. The upside? A chance to make incredible money in a field with no competition. The downside? Everything else about the job.


The Dead Janitors Club is an engrossing, hilarious, and morbidly fascinating memoir of life and death, from someone whose life is death. From his first job—where a piece of brain fell off the ceiling and landed in his eye—to having to clean up one of his former neighbors, The Dead Janitors Club is more than just a retelling of crime scenes and what it takes to clean them up. It is a memoir about struggling to survive college, love, life, and keeping one's sanity when one never knows if, the next time the phone rings, you must delve into the darker side of life and death.


Grand Centaur Station

Grand Centaur Station

Grand Centaur Station: Unruly Living with the New Nomads of Central Asia by Larry Frolick
McClelland & Stewart Ltd | 2004 | ISBN: 0771047827 | EPUB | 5.08MB


With the grim determination of an unrepentant rocker, Larry Frolick sets off on a 12,000-mile trek across Central Asia, brooding over the fate of its lost civilizations. From Kiev, Crimean Tartary, and Moscow, through the nomadic homelands of Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tien-Shan, and finally into distant Mongolia and Siberia, he explores a continent on the brink of a meltdown, a strange world lit harshly by the red afterglow of the Soviet collapse.


His vivid account opens the door to a crowd of unlikely strangers: Mafiosi flatheads, salt-mine campers, fractious archaeologists, a conceptual artist who uses fresh corpses in his window displays, the very last of three Romanov princesses, an inept Chinese secret agent, a relentless Uzbek glottal probologist, disgruntled e-mail swains -- and above all, Larissa, the moody Eurasian beauty who "just stepped out of a novel in her impossibly pointy Italian shoes." With gleeful wit and a steely eye for detail, Frolick transports the reader to a world inhabited by a people burning with desire for something new to happen.


Decision in Normandy [Audiobook]

Decision in Normandy [Audiobook]

Decision in Normandy [Audiobook] by Carlo D'Este
Blackstone Audio | 2012 | ASIN: B008FYY5F4 | MP3@64 kbps | 16 hrs 37 mins | 455.67MB


Field Marshal Montgomery's battle plan for Normandy, following the D-day landings on June 6, 1944, resulted in one of the most controversial campaigns of the Second World War. Carlo D'Este's acclaimed book gives the fullest possible account of the conception and execution of Montgomery's plan, with all its problems and complexities. It brings to light information from diaries, papers, and letters that were not available in Montgomery's lifetime and draws on interviews with senior officers who were involved in the campaign and have refrained from speaking out until now.


This is military history at its most dramatic and destined to become the definitive account of the Normandy campaign.


The Great Siege: Malta 1565 [Audiobook]

The Great Siege: Malta 1565 [Audiobook]

The Great Siege: Malta 1565 [Audiobook] by Ernle Bradford
Blackstone Audio | 2012 | ASIN: B009WTV428 | MP3@64 kbps | 7 hrs 10 mins | 197.99MB


Suleiman the Magnificent, sultan of the Ottoman Empire and the most powerful ruler in the world, was determined to conquer Europe. Only one thing stood in his way: a dot of an island in the Mediterranean called Malta, which was occupied by the Knights of Saint John, the cream of the warriors of the Holy Roman Empire. A clash of civilizations was shaping up, the likes of which had not been seen since Persia invaded Greece. Determined to capture Malta and use its port to launch operations against Europe, Suleiman sent an armada and an overwhelming army. A few thousand defenders in Fort Saint Elmo fought to the last man, enduring cruel hardships. When the Turks captured the fort, they took no prisoners and mutilated the defenders' bodies. Grand Master La Vallette of the Knights reciprocated by decapitating his Turkish prisoners and using their heads to cannonade the enemy. Then the battle for Malta began in earnest: no quarter asked, none given.


The Great Siege is not merely a gripping tale of brutality, courage, and tenacity but the saga of two mighty civilizations struggling for domination of the known world.


Ernle Bradford (1922 - 1986) was a prominent British historian specializing in the Mediterranean world and naval history. He served in the Royal Navy for the duration of World War II and later traveled throughout the Mediterranean, living for a while on Malta. He was a BBC broadcaster and magazine editor, as well as the author of many acclaimed books, including biographies on Cleopatra, Hannibal, and Caesar.


The Truth About the Drug Companies [Audiobook]

The Truth About the Drug Companies [Audiobook]

The Truth About the Drug Companies: How They Deceive Us and What to Do About it [Audiobook] by Marcia Angell
Books on Tape | 2007 | ASIN: B000PWR0MY | MP3@128 kbps | 7 hrs 16 mins | 399.58MB


In this explosive expose of the drug companies and how they are ripping us off, Marcia Angell, M.D., a doctor, medical journalist, and a former editor of the respected New England Journal of Medicine, reveals the many ways in which the pharmaceutical industry has moved away from its original purpose of finding and producing useful new drugs.


Now primarily a marketing machine that produces drugs of questionable benefit, the industry uses its wealth and power to co-opt such institutions as the U.S. Congress, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), academic medical centers, as well as the medical profession. In spite of a lack of innovative drugs and continuously growing prices, the drug companies invest most of their time and money in marketing, legal maneuvers to extend patient rights, and government lobbying to prevent price regulation.


Empire of Liberty [Audiobook]

Empire of Liberty [Audiobook]

Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789-1815 [Audiobook] by Gordon S Wood
Audible | 2009 | ASIN: B0031KN6SY | MP3@64 kbps | 31 hrs 01 min | 855.46MB


In Empire of Liberty, one of America's most esteemed historians, Gordon S. Wood, offers a brilliant account of the early American Republic, ranging from 1789 and the beginning of the national government to the end of the War of 1812.


As Wood reveals, the period was marked by tumultuous change in all aspects of American life - in politics, society, economy, and culture. The men who founded the new government had high hopes for the future, but few of their hopes and dreams worked out quite as they expected. They hated political parties but parties nonetheless emerged. Some wanted the United States to become a great fiscal-military state, like those of Britain and France; others wanted the country to remain a rural agricultural state very different from the European states. Instead, by 1815 the United States became something neither group anticipated. Named a New York Times Notable Book, Empire of Liberty, part of The Oxford History of the United States series, offers a marvelous account of this pivotal era when America took its first unsteady steps as a new and rapidly expanding nation.


The Oxford History of the United States is considered the gold standard for serious historians and general readers (and listeners) alike. Three of the titles have won the Pulitzer Prize for history; two have been Pulitzer Prize finalists, and all of them have enjoyed critical and commercial success.


Please note: The individual volumes of the series have not been published in historical order. Empire of Liberty is number IV in The Oxford History of the United States.