Manchu Princess, Japanese Spy: The Story of Kawashima Yoshiko [PDF]

Manchu Princess, Japanese Spy: The Story of Kawashima Yoshiko [PDF]
Manchu Princess, Japanese Spy: The Story of Kawashima Yoshiko, the Cross-Dressing Spy Who Commanded Her Own Army by Phyllis Birnbaum
2015 | PDF | 73.88MB

Aisin Gioro Xianyu (1907-1948) was the fourteenth daughter of a Manchu prince and a legendary figure in China's bloody struggle with Japan. After the fall of the Manchu dynasty in 1912, Xianyu's father gave his daughter to a Japanese friend who was sympathetic to his efforts to reclaim power. This man raised Xianyu, now known as Kawashima Yoshiko, to restore the Manchus to their former glory. Her fearsome dedication to this cause ultimately got her killed.

Yoshiko had a fiery personality and loved the limelight. She shocked Japanese society by dressing in men's clothes and rose to prominence as Commander Jin, touted in Japan's media as a new Joan of Arc. Boasting a short, handsome haircut and a genuine military uniform, Commander Jin was credited with many daring exploits, among them riding horseback as leader of her own army during the Japanese occupation of China.

While trying to promote the Manchus, Yoshiko supported the puppet Manchu state established by the Japanese in 1932--one reason she was executed for treason after Japan's 1945 defeat. The truth of Yoshiko's life is still a source of contention between China and Japan: some believe she was exploited by powerful men, others claim she relished her role as political provocateur. China holds her responsible for unspeakable crimes, while Japan has forgiven her transgressions. This biography presents the richest and most accurate portrait to date of the controversial princess spy, recognizing her truly novel role in conflicts that transformed East Asia.

Dorothea Lange: A Life Beyond Limits [EPUB]

Dorothea Lange: A Life Beyond Limits [EPUB]
Dorothea Lange: A Life Beyond Limits by Linda Gordon
2010 | EPUB | 24.7MB

Winner of the 2010 Bancroft Prize and finalist for the 2009 Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Biography: The definitive biography of a heroic chronicler of America's Depression and one of the twentieth century's greatest photographers.

We all know Dorothea Lange's iconic photos―the Migrant Mother holding her child, the shoeless children of the Dust Bowl―but now renowned American historian Linda Gordon brings them to three-dimensional life in this groundbreaking exploration of Lange's transformation into a documentarist. Using Lange's life to anchor a moving social history of twentieth-century America, Gordon masterfully re-creates bohemian San Francisco, the Depression, and the Japanese-American internment camps. Accompanied by more than one hundred images―many of them previously unseen and some formerly suppressed―Gordon has written a sparkling, fast-moving story that testifies to her status as one of the most gifted historians of our time. Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; a New York Times Notable Book; New Yorker's A Year's Reading; and San Francisco Chronicle Best Book.

It's Good to Be Gronk [EPUB]

It's Good to Be Gronk [EPUB]
It's Good to Be Gronk by Rob "Gronk" Gronkowski, Jason Rosenhaus
2015 | EPUB | 51.91MB

New England Patriots record-breaking tight-end Rob “Gronk” Gronkowski offers fans a front row seat to a football superstar’s life on and off the field.

“One of the best tight ends the game has ever seen. Off the field, he’s unabashedly the cruise director of the NFL.” —New York Post

Rob “Gronk” Gronkowski holds nine league-wide records and three Patriots franchise records. His accomplishments include thirty-eight receiving touchdowns in his first three seasons (thirteen more than any other tight end in the NFL) and the 2011 record for most touchdowns made by a tight end, with seventeen receiving and eighteen overall. With a Super Bowl victory under his belt and a nationwide reputation for a personality that’s “comedy gold” (CBS Sports), he has continued to win the hearts of fans through his fun-loving attitude.

From hamming it up at Super Bowl Media Day, to spicing up interviews with “Gronk-esque” dance moves, to cuddling with kittens in the pages of ESPN The Magazine, to christening a used party bus his ride of choice, Gronk’s good humor and playful persona make it seem like other players are “living in black and white, and Gronk is in color” (CBS Sports). But it’s not all fun and games. After multiple surgeries on his forearms, ankle, and back, Gronk tore his ACL and MCL, prematurely ending his 2013 season (but not before scoring four touchdowns and 592 receiving yards). His many injuries and subsequent recoveries made his key play in Super Bowl XLIX—which led to victory and the title of “Comeback Player of the Year”—all the sweeter. Gronk takes fans from the field to the locker room to the VIP room to the talk show green room to his parents’ kitchen table—a full tour of the world according to Gronk.

A Stranger in My Own Country: The 1944 Prison Diary [EPUB]

A Stranger in My Own Country: The 1944 Prison Diary [EPUB]
A Stranger in My Own Country: The 1944 Prison Diary by Hans Fallada
2015 | EPUB | 0.35MB

‘I lived the same life as everyone else, the life of ordinary people, the masses.’ Sitting in a prison cell in the autumn of 1944, Hans Fallada sums up his life under the National Socialist dictatorship, the time of ‘inward emigration’. Under conditions of close confinement, in constant fear of discovery, he writes himself free from the nightmare of the Nazi years. His frank and sometimes provocative memoirs were thought for many years to have been lost. They are published here in English for the first time.

The confessional mode did not come naturally to Fallada the writer of fiction, but in the mental and emotional distress of 1944, self-reflection became a survival strategy. In the ‘house of the dead’ he exacts his political revenge on paper. ‘I know that I am crazy. I’m risking not only my own life, I’m also risking … the lives of many of the people I am writing about’, he notes, driven by the compulsion to write. And write he does – about spying and denunciation, about the threat to his livelihood and his literary work, about the fate of many friends and contemporaries such as Ernst Rowohlt and Emil Jannings. To conceal his intentions and to save paper, he uses abbreviations. His notes, constantly exposed to the gaze of the prison warders, become a kind of secret code. He finally succeeds in smuggling the manuscript out of the prison, although it remained unpublished for half a century.

These revealing memoirs by one of the best-known German writers of the 20th century will be of great interest to all readers of modern literature.

Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life [EPUB]

Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life [EPUB]
Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan
2015 | EPUB | 7.59MB

A deeply rendered self-portrait of a lifelong surfer by the acclaimed New Yorker writer

Barbarian Days is William Finnegan's memoir of an obsession, a complex enchantment. Surfing only looks like a sport. To initiates, it is something else entirely: a beautiful addiction, a demanding course of study, a morally dangerous pastime, a way of life. Raised in California and Hawaii, Finnegan started surfing as a child. He has chased waves all over the world, wandering for years through the South Pacific, Australia, Asia, Africa. A bookish boy, and then an excessively adventurous young man, he went on to become a distinguished writer and war reporter. Barbarian Days takes us deep into unfamiliar worlds, some of them right under our noses—off the coasts of New York and San Francisco. It immerses the reader in the edgy camaraderie of close male friendships annealed in challenging waves.

Finnegan shares stories of life in a whitesonly gang in a tough school in Honolulu even while his closest friend was a Hawaiian surfer. He shows us a world turned upside down for kids and adults alike by the social upheavals of the 1960s. He details the intricacies of famous waves and his own apprenticeships to them. Youthful folly—he drops LSD while riding huge Honolua Bay, on Maui—is served up with rueful humor. He and a buddy, their knapsacks crammed with reef charts, bushwhack through Polynesia. They discover, while camping on an uninhabited island in Fiji, one of the world's greatest waves. As Finnegan's travels take him ever farther afield, he becomes an improbable anthropologist: unpicking the picturesque simplicity of a Samoan fishing village, dissecting the sexual politics of Tongan interactions with Americans and Japanese, navigating the Indonesian black market while nearly succumbing to malaria. Throughout, he surfs, carrying readers with him on rides of harrowing, unprecedented lucidity.

Barbarian Days is an old-school adventure story, an intellectual autobiography, a social history, a literary road movie, and an extraordinary exploration of the gradual mastering of an exacting, little understood art. Today, Finnegan's surfing life is undiminished. Frantically juggling work and family, he chases his enchantment through Long Island ice storms and obscure corners of Madagascar.

Wild Bill Donovan: The Spymaster Who Created the OSS and Modern American Espionage [EPUB]

Wild Bill Donovan: The Spymaster Who Created the OSS and Modern American Espionage [EPUB]
Wild Bill Donovan: The Spymaster Who Created the OSS and Modern American Espionage by Douglas Waller
2011 | EPUB | 5.16MB

He was one of America’s most exciting and secretive generals—the man Franklin Roosevelt made his top spy in World War II. A mythic figure whose legacy is still intensely debated, “Wild Bill” Donovan was director of the Office of Strategic Services (the country’s first national intelligence agency) and the father of today’s CIA. Donovan introduced the nation to the dark arts of covert warfare on a scale it had never seen before. Now, veteran journalist Douglas Waller has mined government and private archives throughout the United States and England, drawn on thousands of pages of recently declassified documents, and interviewed scores of Donovan’s relatives, friends, and associates to produce a riveting biography of one of the most powerful men in modern espionage.

William Joseph Donovan’s life was packed with personal drama. The son of poor Irish Catholic parents, he married into Protestant wealth and fought heroically in World War I, where he earned the nickname “Wild Bill” for his intense leadership and the Medal of Honor for his heroism. After the war he made millions as a Republican lawyer on Wall Street until FDR, a Democrat, tapped him to be his strategic intelligence chief. A charismatic leader, Donovan was revered by his secret agents. Yet at times he was reckless—risking his life unnecessarily in war zones, engaging in extramarital affairs that became fodder for his political enemies—and he endured heartbreaking tragedy when family members died at young ages.

Wild Bill Donovan reads like an action-packed spy thriller, with stories of daring young men and women in his OSS sneaking behind enemy lines for sabotage, breaking into Washington embassies to steal secrets, plotting to topple Adolf Hitler, and suffering brutal torture or death when they were captured by the Gestapo. It is also a tale of political intrigue, of infighting at the highest levels of government, of powerful men pitted against one another. Donovan fought enemies at home as often as the Axis abroad. Generals in the Pentagon plotted against him.

J. Edgar Hoover had FBI agents dig up dirt on him. Donovan stole secrets from the Soviets before the dawn of the Cold War and had intense battles with Winston Churchill and British spy chiefs over foreign turf. Separating fact from fiction, Waller investigates the successes and the occasional spectacular failures of Donovan’s intelligence career.

It makes for a gripping and revealing portrait of this most controversial spymaster.

Abraham Lincoln: The Man Behind the Myths [EPUB]

Abraham Lincoln: The Man Behind the Myths [EPUB]
Abraham Lincoln: The Man Behind the Myths by Stephen B Oates
2011 | EPUB | 0.47MB

From Stephen B. Oates comes a riveting companion to his seminal Lincoln biography With Malice Toward None. Exploring the complex mythology surrounding the sixteenth President, including iconic images of Lincoln as Honest Abe, the Rail Splitter, and the Great Emancipator, Abraham Lincoln: The Man Behind The Myths offers a penetrating look at Lincoln’s life and impact, indispensible for any student of great leadership, the Civil War, and American history.

The Girl with Seven Names [EPUB]

The Girl with Seven Names [EPUB]
The Girl with Seven Names: A North Korean Defector's Story by Hyeonseo Lee
2015 | EPUB | 1.21MB

An extraordinary insight into life under one of the world’s most ruthless and secretive dictatorships – and the story of one woman’s terrifying struggle to avoid capture/repatriation and guide her family to freedom.

As a child growing up in North Korea, Hyeonseo Lee was one of millions trapped by a secretive and brutal communist regime. Her home on the border with China gave her some exposure to the world beyond the confines of the Hermit Kingdom and, as the famine of the 1990s struck, she began to wonder, question and to realise that she had been brainwashed her entire life. Given the repression, poverty and starvation she witnessed surely her country could not be, as she had been told “the best on the planet”?

Aged seventeen, she decided to escape North Korea. She could not have imagined that it would be twelve years before she was reunited with her family.

She could not return, since rumours of her escape were spreading, and she and her family could incur the punishments of the government authorities – involving imprisonment, torture, and possible public execution. Hyeonseo instead remained in China and rapidly learned Chinese in an effort to adapt and survive. Twelve years and two lifetimes later, she would return to the North Korean border in a daring mission to spirit her mother and brother to South Korea, on one of the most arduous, costly and dangerous journeys imaginable.

This is the unique story not only of Hyeonseo’s escape from the darkness into the light, but also of her coming of age, education and the resolve she found to rebuild her life – not once, but twice – first in China, then in South Korea. Strong, brave and eloquent, this memoir is a triumph of her remarkable spirit.

Genius At Play: The Curious Mind of John Horton Conway [EPUB]

Genius At Play: The Curious Mind of John Horton Conway [EPUB]
Genius At Play: The Curious Mind of John Horton Conway by Siobhan Roberts
2015 | EPUB | 15.18MB
"Conway is a creative genius." --Martin Gardner

An unabashed original, John Horton Conway is Archimedes, Mick Jagger, Salvador Dali, and Richard Feynman all rolled into one--a singular mathematician, with a rock star's charisma, a sly sense of humor, a polymath's promiscuous curiosity, and a burning desire to explain everything about the world to everyone in it.

Born in Liverpool in 1937, Conway found fame as a barefoot Cambridge professor. He discovered the Conway groups in mathematical symmetry, and invented the aptly named surreal numbers, as well as the cult classic Game of Life--more than a cool fad, Life demonstrates how simplicity generates complexity and the game provides an analogy for all mathematics and the entire universe. Moving to Princeton in 1987, as a mathemagician he deployed cards, ropes, dice, coat hangers, and even the odd Slinky as props to extend his winning imagination and share his mathy obsessions with signature contagion. He is a jet-setting ambassador-at-large for the beauties of all things mathematical.

Genius At Play is an intimate investigation into the mind of an endearing genius, laying bare Conway's personal and professional idiosyncrasies. The intimacy comes courtesy of the man himself. He generously granted Roberts full access, though not without the occasional grudge and grumble: "Oh hell," he'd say. "You're not going to put that in the book. Are you?!?"

The Trouble with Truth: A Memoir [EPUB]

The Trouble with Truth: A Memoir [EPUB]
The Trouble with Truth: A Memoir by Elizabeth Kelly Stephenson
2014 | EPUB | 1.18MB

The Trouble with Truth begins when a love-starved child, thrilled with a ride in her dad's sports car on a mountain outing, discovers he has taken her on a date with one of his co-ed students while mom cleans house in her Peter Pan blouse and Ferragamo pumps back home in Burbank; or maybe it begins when she falls in love and swiftly says "I do" to her Sun Valley ski instructor, who not long after, staggers in from an overnight drunk and threatens her with a gun while she protects herself behind a bed sheet.

Beth Kelly feels trapped in a continuous cycle of destructive relationships. First there’s Roland, the handsome ski instructor who turns out to be a liar and a drunk, fully capable of threatening Beth with a gun to prevent her from leaving him.

Breaking free from Roland after she makes a failed suicide attempt, Beth meets tight-lipped Sam, who is, sadly, Roland redux. Meanwhile, Roland still calls whenever he needs money, twisting Beth’s emotions for his own gain.

Beth seems doomed to continue making self-destructive choices, both in her relationships and career, until renowned therapist and author Jean C. Jenson (Reclaiming Your Life) changes everything. Jenson helps Beth see the world truthfully, a painful process but ultimately one that liberates Beth. As Jean notes, “The truth will set you free. But first it will make you miserable.”

A true story told with a sharp sense humor skillfully blended with a clear and compassionate voice meant to smooth what could be, and was, a rather perilous journey. Beth’s tale spotlights the pitfalls of searching for love when you've never been loved, and how our self-perceptions color how we love, forgive, and live. A thoughtful mixing of setting, scene, and action with memorable characters, The Trouble with Truth is a memoir unique in style and scope. It redefines the meaning of family and everything we've ever been taught to call love. It is about domestic abuse and what that looks like minus black eyes and broken jaws. It is about shining the light on the truth. It is about how you mend a broken heart. It is a hopeful, happy story meant to spotlight a subject the author confronted not only in her own life but also daily for fifteen years as director of the Crisis Hotline in Ketchum, Idaho.

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