Charles Darwin in Cambridge [PDF]

Charles Darwin in Cambridge [PDF]
Charles Darwin in Cambridge: The Most Joyful Years by John van Wyhe
2014 | PDF | 47.05MB

Charles Darwin's years as a student at the University of Cambridge were some of the most important and formative of his life. Thereafter he always felt a particular affection for Cambridge. For a time he even considered a Cambridge professorship as a career and sent three of his sons there to be educated. Unfortunately the remaining traces of what Darwin actually did and experienced in Cambridge have long remained undiscovered. Consequently his day-to-day life there has remained unknown and misunderstood.

This book is based on new research, including newly discovered manuscripts and Darwin publications, and gathers together recollections of those who knew Darwin as a student. This book therefore reveals Darwin's time in Cambridge in unprecedented detail.

Yokohama Yankee [EPUB]

Yokohama Yankee [EPUB]
Yokohama Yankee: My Family's Five Generations as Outsiders in Japan by Leslie Helm
2013 | EPUB | 34.15MB

Leslie Helm's decision to adopt Japanese children launches him on a personal journey through his family's 140 years in Japan, beginning with his great-grandfather, who worked as a military advisor in 1870 and defied custom to marry his Japanese mistress. The family's poignant experiences of love and war help Helm overcome his cynicism and embrace his Japanese and American heritage.

This is the first book to look at Japan across five generations, with perspective that is both from the inside and through foreign eyes. Helm draws on his great-grandfather's unpublished memoir and a wealth of primary source material to bring his family history to life.

Shocked: My Mother, Schiaparelli, and Me [EPUB]

Shocked: My Mother, Schiaparelli, and Me [EPUB]
Shocked: My Mother, Schiaparelli, and Me by Patricia Volk
2013 | EPUB | 16.89MB

From the acclaimed author of Stuffed: an intimate, richly illustrated memoir, written with charm and panache, that juxtaposes two fascinating lives—the iconoclastic designer Elsa Schiaparelli and the author’s own mother—to explore how a girl fashions herself into a woman.

Audrey Morgen Volk, an upper-middle-class New Yorker, was a great beauty and the polished hostess at her family’s garment district restaurant. Elsa Schiaparelli—“Schiap”—the haute couture designer whose creations shocked the world, blurred the line between fashion and art, and believed that everything, even a button, has the potential to delight.

Audrey’s daughter Patricia read Schiap’s autobiography, Shocking Life, at a tender age, and was transformed by it. These two women—volatile, opinionated, and brilliant each in her own way—offered Patricia contrasting lessons about womanhood and personal style that allowed her to plot her own course.

Moving seamlessly between the Volks’ Manhattan and Florida milieux and Schiap’s life in Rome and Paris (among friends such as Dalí, Duchamp, and Picasso), Shocked weaves Audrey’s traditional notions of domesticity with Schiaparelli’s often outrageous ideas into a marvel-filled, meditation on beauty, and on being a daughter, sister, and mother, while demonstrating how a single book can change a life.

An American Life: The Autobiography [EPUB]

An American Life: The Autobiography [EPUB]
An American Life: The Autobiography by Ronald Reagan
2011 | EPUB | 6.93MB

Ronald Reagan’s autobiography is a work of major historical importance. Here, in his own words, is the story of his life—public and private—told in a book both frank and compellingly readable.

Few presidents have accomplished more, or been so effective in changing the direction of government in ways that are both fundamental and lasting, than Ronald Reagan. Certainly no president has more dramatically raised the American spirit, or done so much to restore national strength and self-confidence.

Here, then, is a truly American success story—a great and inspiring one. From modest beginnings as the son of a shoe salesman in Tampico, Illinois, Ronald Reagan achieved first a distinguished career in Hollywood and then, as governor of California and as president of the most powerful nation in the world, a career of public service unique in our history.

Ronald Reagan’s account of that rise is told here with all the uncompromising candor, modesty, and wit that made him perhaps the most able communicator ever to occupy the White House, and also with the sense of drama of a gifted natural storyteller.

He tells us, with warmth and pride, of his early years and of the elements that made him, in later life, a leader of such stubborn integrity, courage, and clear-minded optimism. Reading the account of this childhood, we understand how his parents, struggling to make ends meet despite family problems and the rigors of the Depression, shaped his belief in the virtues of American life—the need to help others, the desire to get ahead and to get things done, the deep trust in the basic goodness, values, and sense of justice of the American people—virtues that few presidents have expressed more eloquently than Ronald Reagan.

With absolute authority and a keen eye for the details and the anecdotes that humanize history, Ronald Reagan takes the reader behind the scenes of his extraordinary career, from his first political experiences as president of the Screen Actors Guild (including his first meeting with a beautiful young actress who was later to become Nancy Reagan) to such high points of his presidency as the November 1985 Geneva meeting with Mikhail Gorbachev, during which Reagan invited the Soviet leader outside for a breath of fresh air and then took him off for a walk and a man-to-man chat, without aides, that set the course for arms reduction and charted the end of the Cold War.

Here he reveals what went on behind his decision to enter politics and run for the governorship of California, the speech nominating Barry Goldwater that first made Reagan a national political figure, his race for the presidency, his relations with the members of his own cabinet, and his frustrations with Congress.

He gives us the details of the great themes and dramatic crises of his eight years in office, from Lebanon to Grenada, from the struggle to achieve arms control to tax reform, from Iran-Contra to the visits abroad that did so much to reestablish the United States in the eyes of the world as a friendly and peaceful power. His narrative is full of insights, from the unseen dangers of Gorbachev’s first visit to the United States to Reagan’s own personal correspondence with major foreign leaders, as well as his innermost feelings about life in the White House, the assassination attempt, his family—and the enduring love between himself and Mrs. Reagan.

An American Life is a warm, richly detailed, and deeply human book, a brilliant self-portrait, a significant work of history.

Truman by Roy Jenkins [EPUB]

Truman by Roy Jenkins [EPUB]
Truman by Roy Jenkins
2011 | EPUB | 2.21MB

In his time, Harry S. Truman was one of the most under-rated presidents of the twentieth century. Succeeding the charismatic Roosevelt, he was often seen as an uninspiring leader, a poor diplomat and a fumbling politician. He was the first man to authorise the use of nuclear weapons, and was in office at the time when the multiplicity of hopes which arose at the end of the Second World War were inevitably disappointed.

Nothing could be further from Roy Jenkins' view of him. This is the first biography of Truman to be written by an author with anything approaching the subject's own range of political experience, and Roy Jenkins brings to this book a quality of appreciation of Truman's political skills which has not been seen before. It is also the first biography to be written by a British author, giving it a new objectivity on the international affairs which occupied so much of Truman's presidency and by which he must be judged.

Mark Twain's Other Woman [EPUB]

Mark Twain's Other Woman [EPUB]
Mark Twain's Other Woman: The Hidden Story of His Final Years by Laura Skandera Trombley
2010 | EPUB | 6.63MB

An enduring mystery in Mark Twain’s life concerns the events of his last decade, from 1900 to 1910.

Despite many Twain biographies, no one has ever determined exactly what took place during those final years after the death of Twain’s wife of thirty-four years and how those experiences affected him, personally and professionally. For nearly a century, it was believed that Twain went to his death a beloved, wisecracking iconoclastic American (“I am not an American,” Twain wrote; “I am the American”), undeterred by life’s sorrows and challenges.

Laura Skandera Trombley, the preeminent Twain scholar at work today, suspected that there had to be more to the story than the cultivated, carefully constructed version that had been intact for so long. Trombley went in search of the one woman whom she suspected had played the largest role in Twain’s life during those final years and who possibly held the answers to her questions about Twain’s life and writings.

Now, in Mark Twain’s Other Woman, after sixteen years of research, uncovering never-before-read papers and personal letters, Trombley tells the full story through Isabel Lyon’s meticulous daily journals, the only detailed record of Twain’s last years that exists, journals overlooked by Twain’s previous biographers.

For one hundred years, Isabel Van Kleek Lyon has been the mystery woman in Mark Twain’s life. Twain spent the bulk of his last six years in the company of Isabel, who was responsible for overseeing his schedule and finances, nursing him through several illnesses, managing his increasingly unmanageable daughters, running his household, arranging amusements, as well as presiding over the construction of his final residence. Isabel Lyon also served as Twain’s adoring audience (she called him “the King”), listening attentively as he read aloud to her what he’d written that day. She was Twain’s gatekeeper to an enthralled public.

Trombley writes about what happened between them that resulted in the dramatic breakup of their relationship; about how, in Twain’s final months, he gave bitter, angry press conferences denouncing her; how he ranted in personal letters that she had injured him, calling her, “a liar, a forger, a thief, a hypocrite, a drunkard, a sneak, a humbug, a traitor, a conspirator, a filthy-minded & salacious slut pining for seduction.” Trombley writes that Twain’s invective bordered on obsession (he wrote about Isabel for hours every day, even while suffering from angina pains and gout attacks) and about how, despite the inordinate attention he gave her before his death, Isabel Lyon has remained a friendless ghost haunting the margins of Twain’s biography.

For decades, biographers deliberately omitted her from the official Twain story. Her potentially destructive power was so great that Twain’s handpicked hagiographer, Albert Bigelow Paine, allowed only one timorous reference to her in his massive three-volume work, Mark Twain: A Biography (1912).

Isabel Lyon was a forgotten woman, “so private,” she wrote in her journal, “that the very mention of me [was] with held from the world. . .”

This riveting, dark story that “the King” determined no one would ever tell is now revealed at last.

Beethoven: Anguish and Triumph [EPUB]

Beethoven: Anguish and Triumph [EPUB]
Beethoven: Anguish and Triumph by Jan Swafford
2014 | EPUB | 16.03MB

Jan Swafford’s biographies of Charles Ives and Johannes Brahms have established him as a revered music historian, capable of bringing his subjects vibrantly to life. His magnificent new biography of Ludwig van Beethoven peels away layers of legend to get to the living, breathing human being who composed some of the world’s most iconic music. Swafford mines sources never before used in English-language biographies to reanimate the revolutionary ferment of Enlightenment-era Bonn, where Beethoven grew up and imbibed the ideas that would shape all of his future work. Swafford then tracks his subject to Vienna, capital of European music, where Beethoven built his career in the face of critical incomprehension, crippling ill health, romantic rejection, and “fate’s hammer,” his ever-encroaching deafness. Throughout, Swafford offers insightful readings of Beethoven’s key works.

More than a decade in the making, this will be the standard Beethoven biography for years to come.

Savage Beauty: The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay [EPUB]

Savage Beauty: The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay [EPUB]
Savage Beauty: The Life of Edna St Vincent Millay by Nancy Milford
2002 | EPUB | 2.34MB

Thirty years after the smashing success of Zelda, Nancy Milford returns with a stunning second act. Savage Beauty is the portrait of a passionate, fearless woman who obsessed American ever as she tormented herself.

If F. Scott Fitzgerald was the hero of the Jazz Age, Edna St. Vincent Millay, as flamboyant in her love affairs as she was in her art, was its heroine. The first woman ever to win the Pulitzer Prize, Millay was dazzling in the performance of herself. Her voice was likened to an instrument of seduction and her impact on crowds, and on men, was legendary. Yet beneath her studied act, all was not well. Milford calls her book "a family romance"--for the love between the three Millay sisters and their mother was so deep as to be dangerous. As a family, they were like real-life Little Women, with a touch of Mommie Dearest.

Nancy Milford was given exclusive access to Millay's papers, and what she found was an extraordinary treasure. Boxes and boxes of letter flew back and forth among the three sisters and their mother--and Millay kept the most intimate diary, one whose ruthless honesty brings to mind Sylvia Plath. Written with passion and flair, Savage Beauty is an iconic portrait of a woman's life.

The Constructed Mennonite [EPUB]

The Constructed Mennonite [EPUB]
The Constructed Mennonite: History, Memory, and the Second World War by Hans Werner
2013 | EPUB + MOBI | 6.09/3.84MB

John Werner was a storyteller. A Mennonite immigrant in southern Manitoba, he captivated his audiences with tales of adventure and perseverance. With every telling he constructed and reconstructed the memories of his life.

John Werner was a survivor. Born in the Soviet Union just after the Bolshevik Revolution, he was named Hans and grew up in a German-speaking Mennonite community in Siberia. As a young man in Stalinist Russia, he became Ivan and fought as a Red Army soldier in the Second World War. Captured by Germans, he was resettled in occupied Poland where he became Johann, was naturalized and drafted into Hitler’s German army where he served until captured and placed in an American POW camp. He was eventually released and then immigrated to Canada where he became John.

The Constructed Mennonite is a unique account of a life shaped by Stalinism, Nazism, migration, famine, and war. It investigates the tenuous spaces where individual experiences inform and become public history; it studies the ways in which memory shapes identity, and reveals how context and audience shape autobiographical narratives.

Elvis Memories: The Real Presley [EPUB]

Elvis Memories: The Real Presley [EPUB]
Elvis Memories: The Real Presley - By Those Who Knew Him by Michael Freedland
2014 | EPUB | 2.48MB

This is not just another Elvis Presley biography, although it gets closer to the real Elvis story than many of the hundreds that have dealt with the life of the man his contemporaries have called "The King." As the author Michael Freedland puts it in his introduction, "Everyone knows Elvis." But not the way his close friends, employees, and others who entered his life knew him. For this is their story.

Freedland interviews those who knew Elvis intimately, from the now elderly woman who was at school with him and whose parents foreclosed on the shack they rented, to Elvis's mother when his father was in jail, to the maid who prepared his peanut butter sandwiches and hamburgers and watched him line up the girls he wanted to take to his bed. In between, we meet the black man who remembered sneaking into a local cinema with Elvis in defiance of Deep South race laws and members of the so-called "Memphis Mafia," who went where he went, laughed when he laughed, and suffered when he suffered—and usually received a brand new Cadillac for their troubles. There's also his doctor who denies giving him fatal doses of the drugs he collected along with the hamburgers.

Writer and broadcaster Michael Freedland went all over the West Coast and South to talk to these people who shared Elvis's life, telling the complex Presley story in a way more true to the real man than the usual collection of dates, film, and song titles.

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