Me and a Guy Named Elvis [EPUB]

Me and a Guy Named Elvis [EPUB]
Me and a Guy Named Elvis: My Lifelong Friendship with Elvis Presley by Jerry Schilling
2006 | EPUB | 10.13MB

An intimate memoir of a friendship with the greatest artist in rock and roll history, taking you from late-night parties at Graceland to the bright lights of Hollywood sets and glittering stages of Vegas

On a lazy Sunday in 1954, twelve-year-old Jerry Schilling wandered into a Memphis touch football game, only to discover that his team was quarterbacked by a nineteen-year-old Elvis Presley, the local teenager whose first record, “That’s All Right,” had just debuted on Memphis radio. The two became fast friends, even as Elvis turned into the world’s biggest star. In 1964, Elvis invited Jerry to work for him as part of his “Memphis Mafia,” and Jerry soon found himself living with Elvis full-time in a Bel Air mansion and, later, in his own room at Graceland. Over the next thirteen years Jerry would work for Elvis in various capacities—from bodyguard to photo double to co-executive producer on a karate film. But more than anything else he was Elvis’s close friend and confidant: Elvis trusted Jerry with protecting his life when he received death threats, he asked Jerry to drive him and Priscilla to the hospital the day Lisa Marie was born and to accompany him during the famous “lost weekend” when he traveled to meet President Nixon at the White House.

Me and a Guy Named Elvis looks at Presley from a friend’s perspective, offering readers the man rather than the icon—including insights into the creative frustrations that lead to Elvis’s abuse of prescription medicine and his tragic death. Jerry offers never-before-told stories about life inside Elvis’s inner circle and an emotional recounting of the great times, hard times, and unique times he and Elvis shared. These vivid memories will be priceless to Elvis’s millions of fans, and the compelling story will fascinate an even wider audience.

An Obama's Journey [EPUB]

An Obama's Journey [EPUB]
An Obama's Journey: My Odyssey of Self-Discovery across Three Cultures by Mark Obama Ndesandjo
2014 | EPUB | 16.63MB

In this revealing and beautifully written memoir, Mark Obama Ndesandjo, recounts his complex relationship with his older half-brother, President Barack Obama, including their first meeting in Kenya over twenty years ago. The book also offers the author's inspiring personal story about identity and multiculturalism. Rare family photos add to the book's personal nature as does the intense recounting of domestic violence in the home of Barack Obama Sr.’s and his third wife, Ruth Baker, Mark’s Jewish-American mother.

The book also attempts to set the records straight on several points of the president’s best-selling memoir Dreams from My Father. In its connection to President Obama, Mark's story takes on an even greater significance because it becomes all the more directly, a story of American identity and a window into the complex figure of the father they share, Barack Obama Sr., their roots in Kenya, their multicultural identities, and their relationships with America.

Dared And Done [EPUB]

Dared And Done [EPUB]
Dared And Done: The Marriage of Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning by Julia Markus
2013 | EPUB | 9.32MB

A Riveting and brilliant work of biography. The story of two great English poets, Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning, whose work was immediately recognized and adored by their contemporaries, whose courtship ranks with the great love stories of all time -- and in whose marriage romance was not merely sustained but intensified.

We enter their story through the sealed Victorian world of the Barretts of Wimpole Street: Elizabeth, at thirty-nine, a poet of international fame, a child prodigy who had grown to be a middle-aged spinster, a woman for whom romantic love seemed not to be possible, confined by illness, morphine, and the tyranny of her father, scion of rich Jamaican slaveholders, rum and sugar traders.

It is to this fortress that Robert Browning, already an admired young poet and playwright, already a devotee of Elizabeth's, lays siege. ("I love your verses," he had written Elizabeth in his first letter to her, long before they met. "I love your verses with all my heart -- and I love you too.") And miraculously Elizabeth let life in.

Julia Markus chronicles their extraordinary courtship, their marriage in secret (Browning to Elizabeth: "How you have dared and done all this ... for my only sake?"), and their radiant honeymoon in Italy.

Markus shows us how the political events of the times inspired the great dramatic monologues of Robert's middle years and how Italy's stormy reunification inspired Elizabeth's later work.

We come to see Elizabeth as an artist with a fierce and final confidence in poetry and its effect on the poets' lives. We see husband and wife celebrate the birth of their son, Robert Wiedemann "Pen" Barrett Browning (Browning to her sisters: "I sate by [Elizabeth] as much as I was allowed, and I shall never forget what I saw, tho' I cannot speak about it").

We see them among their artist/writer friends: in London with Tennyson, Thackeray, Rossetti, and others; in Rome with William Story, the American lawyer, poet, sculptor; with Harriet Hosmer, the stonecutter, who was one of the models for Aurora Leigh; with Charlotte Cushman, the American actress, who held readings of Elizabeth's novel in verse. We see Elizabeth in Paris meeting her heroine George Sand, whose society of socialists and theatrical types Robert described as "ragged Red."

We come to understand Elizabeth's dependence on the ever-present drug in her life ("I should not be alive except by help of my morphine") and her constant battle with depression. And we see Elizabeth, encouraged by a woman with whom she was infatuated, move from interest to obsession with spiritualism, a cause that became the only source of serious dissension between the Brownings.

We follow the course of their rich marriage, from the beginning when each saw the other as a brilliant poet, a compassionate and strangely similar heart, through the years in which they discovered each other's differences, each remaining a complex and thrilling human being to the other.

To tell their story, Markus for the first time makes use of much of Elizabeth's unpublished correspondence, amid a wealth of other documents. She delves fully into the Brownings' Creole background and shows how it affected their lives and their work (Elizabeth was the first of the Jamaican Barretts to be born in England in many generations).

Brilliantly interweaving the Brownings' own words with her authentic and perceptive narrative, Julia Markus brings these two great poets -- their marriage, their work, their times -- alive as never before.

Whipping Boy [EPUB]

Whipping Boy [EPUB]
Whipping Boy: The Forty-Year Search for My Twelve-Year-Old Bully by Allen Kurzweil
2015 | EPUB | 16.55MB

The true account of one boy’s lifelong search for his boarding-school bully.

Equal parts childhood memoir and literary thriller, Whipping Boy chronicles prize-winning author Allen Kurzweil’s search for his twelve-year-old nemesis, a bully named Cesar Augustus. The obsessive inquiry, which spans some forty years, takes Kurzweil all over the world, from a Swiss boarding school (where he endures horrifying cruelty) to the slums of Manila, from the Park Avenue boardroom of the world’s largest law firm to a federal prison camp in Southern California.

While hunting down his tormentor, Kurzweil encounters an improbable cast of characters that includes an elocution teacher with ill-fitting dentures, a gang of faux royal swindlers, a crime investigator “with paper in his blood,” and a onocled grand master of the Knights of Malta. Yet for all its global exoticism and comic exuberance, Kurzweil’s riveting account is, at its core, a heartfelt and suspenseful narrative about the “parallel lives” of a victim and his abuser.

A scrupulously researched work of nonfiction that renders a childhood menace into an unlikely muse, Whipping Boy is much more than a tale of karmic retribution; it is a poignant meditation on loss, memory, and mourning, a surreal odyssey born out of suffering, nourished by rancor, tempered by wit, and resolved, unexpectedly, in a breathtaking act of personal courage.

The Greatest Knight [EPUB]

The Greatest Knight [EPUB]
The Greatest Knight: The Remarkable Life of William Marshal, the Power Behind Five English Thrones by Thomas Asbridge
2014 | EPUB | 9.91MB

A thrillingly intimate portrait of one of history's most illustrious knights - William Marshal - that vividly evokes the grandeur and barbarity of the Middle Ages

William Marshal was the true Lancelot of his era - a peerless warrior and paragon of chivalry - yet over the centuries, the spectacular story of his achievements passed from memory. Marshal became just one more name in the dusty annals of history. Then, in 1861, a young French scholar named Paul Meyer made a startling discovery during an auction of rare medieval manuscripts. Meyer stumbled upon the sole surviving copy of an unknown text - the first contemporary biography of a medieval knight, later dubbed the History of William Marshal. This richly detailed work helped to resurrect Marshal's reputation, putting flesh onto the bones of this otherwise obscure figure, yet even today William Marshal remains largely forgotten.

As a five-year-old boy, William was sentenced to execution and led to the gallows, yet this landless younger son survived his brush with death, and went on to train as a medieval knight. Against all odds, William Marshal rose through the ranks - serving at the right hand of five English monarchs - to become a celebrated tournament champion, a baron and politician and, ultimately, regent of the realm.

Marshal befriended the great figures of his day, from Richard the Lionheart and Eleanor of Aquitaine to the infamous King John, and helped to negotiate the terms of Magna Carta - the first 'bill of rights'. By the age of seventy, the once-forsaken child had been transformed into the most powerful man in England, yet he was forced to fight in the frontline of one final battle, striving to save the kingdom from French invasion in 1217.

In The Greatest Knight, renowned historian Thomas Asbridge draws upon the thirteenth-century biography and an array of other contemporary evidence to present a compelling account of William Marshal's life and times. Asbridge follows Marshal on his journey from rural England onto the battlefields of France, to the desert castles of the Holy Land and the verdant shores of Ireland, charting the unparalleled rise to prominence of a man bound to a code of honour, yet driven by unquenchable ambition.

This knight's tale lays bare the brutish realities of medieval warfare and the machinations of royal court, and draws us into the heart of a formative period of our history, when the West emerged from the Dark Ages and stood on the brink of modernity. It is the story of one remarkable man, the birth of the knightly class to which he belonged, and the forging of the English nation.

Grace Hopper and the Invention of the Information Age [EPUB]

Grace Hopper and the Invention of the Information Age [EPUB]
Grace Hopper and the Invention of the Information Age by Kurt W Beyer
2012 | EPUB | 2.66MB

A Hollywood biopic about the life of computer pioneer Grace Murray Hopper (1906--1992) would go like this: a young professor abandons the ivy-covered walls of academia to serve her country in the Navy after Pearl Harbor and finds herself on the front lines of the computer revolution. She works hard to succeed in the all-male computer industry, is almost brought down by personal problems but survives them, and ends her career as a celebrated elder stateswoman of computing, a heroine to thousands, hailed as the inventor of computer programming. Throughout Hopper's later years, the popular media told this simplified version of her life story.

In Grace Hopper and the Invention of the Information Age, Kurt Beyer reveals a more authentic Hopper, a vibrant and complex woman whose career paralleled the meteoric trajectory of the postwar computer industry. Both rebellious and collaborative, Hopper was influential in male-dominated military and business organizations at a time when women were encouraged to devote themselves to housework and childbearing. Hopper's greatest technical achievement was to create the tools that would allow humans to communicate with computers in terms other than ones and zeroes. This advance influenced all future programming and software design and laid the foundation for the development of user-friendly personal computers.

Nye: The Political Life of Aneurin Bevan [EPUB]

Nye: The Political Life of Aneurin Bevan [EPUB]
Nye: The Political Life of Aneurin Bevan by Nicklaus Thomas-Symonds
2014 | EPUB | 7.3MB

Aneurin – Nye – Bevan was one of the pivotal Labour Party figures of the post-war era in Britain. As Minister for Health in Attlee's government, his role in the foundation of the National Health Service, the world's largest publically-funded health service, changed the face of British society forever. The son of a coal miner from South Wales, Bevan was a life-long champion of social justice and the rights of working people, as such becoming one of the leading proponents of Socialist thought in Britain. In this book, acclaimed author Nicklaus Thomas-Symonds provides the first full biography of Bevan in over two decades. Drawing on first-hand interviews as well as recently released sources, he provides a unique portrait of one of the great British statesmen of the twentieth century.

Hitler's Hangman: The Life of Heydrich [EPUB]

Hitler's Hangman: The Life of Heydrich [EPUB]
Hitler's Hangman: The Life of Heydrich by Robert Gerwarth
2011 | EPUB | 2.88MB

Reinhard Heydrich is widely recognized as one of the great iconic villains of the twentieth century, an appalling figure even within the context of the Nazi leadership. Chief of the Nazi Criminal Police, the SS Security Service, and the Gestapo, ruthless overlord of Nazi-occupied Bohemia and Moravia, and leading planner of the "Final Solution," Heydrich played a central role in Hitler's Germany. He shouldered a major share of responsibility for some of the worst Nazi atrocities, and up to his assassination in Prague in 1942, he was widely seen as one of the most dangerous men in Nazi Germany. Yet Heydrich has received remarkably modest attention in the extensive literature of the Third Reich.

Robert Gerwarth weaves together little-known stories of Heydrich's private life with his deeds as head of the Nazi Reich Security Main Office. Fully exploring Heydrich's progression from a privileged middle-class youth to a rapacious mass murderer, Gerwarth sheds new light on the complexity of Heydrich's adult character, his motivations, the incremental steps that led to unimaginable atrocities, and the consequences of his murderous efforts toward re-creating the entire ethnic makeup of Europe.

Strange Glory: A Life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer [EPUB]

Strange Glory: A Life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer [EPUB]
Strange Glory: A Life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer by Charles Marsh
2014 | EPUB | 25.93MB

In the decades since his execution by the Nazis in 1945, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German pastor, theologian, and anti-Hitler conspirator, has become one of the most widely read and inspiring Christian thinkers of our time. Now, drawing on extensive new research, Strange Glory offers a definitive account, by turns majestic and intimate, of this modern icon.

The scion of a grand family that rarely went to church, Dietrich decided as a thirteen-year-old to become a theologian. By twenty-one, the rather snobbish and awkward young man had already written a dissertation hailed by Karl Barth as a “theological miracle.” But it was only the first step in a lifelong effort to recover an authentic and orthodox Christianity from the dilutions of liberal Protestantism and the modern idolatries of blood and nation—which forces had left the German church completely helpless against the onslaught of Nazism.

From the start, Bonhoeffer insisted that the essence of Christianity was not its abstract precepts but the concrete reality of the shared life in Christ. In 1930, his search for that true fellowship led Bonhoeffer to America for ten fateful months in the company of social reformers, Harlem churchmen, and public intellectuals. Energized by the lived faith he had seen, he would now begin to make what he later saw as his definitive “turn from the phraseological to the real.” He went home with renewed vocation and took up ministry among Berlin’s downtrodden while trying to find his place in the hoary academic establishment increasingly captive to nationalist fervor.

With the rise of Hitler, however, Bonhoeffer’s journey took yet another turn. The German church was Nazified, along with every other state-sponsored institution. But it was the Nuremberg laws that set Bonhoeffer’s earthly life on an ineluctable path toward destruction. His denunciation of the race statutes as heresy and his insistence on the church’s moral obligation to defend all victims of state violence, regardless of race or religion, alienated him from what would become the Reich church and even some fellow resistors. Soon the twenty-seven-year-old pastor was one of the most conspicuous dissidents in Germany. He would carry on subverting the regime and bearing Christian witness, whether in the pastorate he assumed in London, the Pomeranian monastery he established to train dissenting ministers, or in the worldwide ecumenical movement. Increasingly, though, Bonhoeffer would find himself a voice crying in the wilderness, until, finally, he understood that true moral responsibility obliged him to commit treason, for which he would pay with his life.

Charles Marsh brings Bonhoeffer to life in his full complexity for the first time. With a keen understanding of the multifaceted writings, often misunderstood, as well as the imperfect man behind the saintly image, here is a nuanced, exhilarating, and often heartrending portrait that lays bare Bonhoeffer’s flaws and inner torment, as well as the friendships and the faith that sustained and finally redeemed him. Strange Glory is a momentous achievement.

Secret Lives of Great Composers [EPUB]

Secret Lives of Great Composers [EPUB]
Secret Lives of Great Composers: What Your Teachers Never Told You about the World's Musical Masters by Elizabeth Lunday
2014 | EPUB | 71.62MB

True tales of murder, riots, heartbreak, and great music.

With outrageous anecdotes about everyone from Gioachino Rossini (draft-dodging womanizer) to Johann Sebastian Bach (jailbird) to Richard Wagner (alleged cross-dresser), Secret Lives of Great Composers recounts the seamy, steamy, and gritty history behind the great masters of international music. You’ll learn that Edward Elgar dabbled with explosives; that John Cage was obsessed with fungus; that Berlioz plotted murder; and that Giacomo Puccini stole his church’s organ pipes and sold them as scrap metal so he could buy cigarettes. This is one music history lesson you’ll never forget!

See also: Secret Lives of Great Artists

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