by Greil Marcus
The book begins in Berkeley in 1968, and ends with a piece on Dylan's show at the University of Minnesota—his very first appearance at his alma mater—on election night 2008. Marcus follows not only recordings but performances, books, movies, and all manner of highways and byways in which Bob Dylan has made himself felt in our culture.
Together the dozens of pieces collected here comprise a portrait of how, throughout his career, Bob Dylan has drawn upon and reinvented the landscape of traditional American song, its myths and choruses, heroes and villains. They are the result of a more than forty-year engagement between an unparalleled singer and a uniquely acute listener.
John Donvan and Caren Zucker
An extraordinary narrative history of autism: the riveting story of parents fighting for their children 's civil rights; of doctors struggling to define autism; of ingenuity, self-advocacy, and profound social change
Nearly seventy-five years ago, Donald Triplett of Forest, Mississippi, became the first child diagnosed with autism. Beginning with his family's odyssey, In a Different Key tells the extraordinary story of this often misunderstood condition, and of the civil rights battles waged by the families of those who have it. Unfolding over decades, it is a beautifully rendered history of ordinary people determined to secure a place in the world for those with autism—by liberating children from dank institutions, campaigning for their right to go to school, challenging expert opinion on what it means to have autism, and persuading society to accept those who are different.
by W. S. Merwin
W.S. Merwin composed Garden Time during the difficult process of losing his eyesight. When he could no longer see well enough to write, he dictated his new poems to his wife, Paula. In this gorgeous, mindful, and life-affirming book, our greatest poet channels energy from animated sounds and memories to remind us that "the only hope is to be the daylight."
From "A Breath of Day":
Last night I slept on the floor of the sea
in an unsounded part of the ocean
in the morning it was a long way up
through the dark streets of a silent country
with no language in its empty houses
until I had almost reached the surface
of a morning that I had never seen
then a breeze came to it and I began
to remember the voices of young leaves . . .
Poverty and Profit in the American City
In this brilliant, heartbreaking book, Matthew Desmond takes us into the poorest neighborhoods of Milwaukee to tell the story of eight families on the edge. Arleen is a single mother trying to raise her two sons on the $20 a month she has left after paying for their rundown apartment. Scott is a gentle nurse consumed by a heroin addiction. Lamar, a man with no legs and a neighborhood full of boys to look after, tries to work his way out of debt. Vanetta participates in a botched stickup after her hours are cut. All are spending almost everything they have on rent, and all have fallen behind.
The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right
By Jane Mayer
From the bestselling author of The Dark Side, an electrifying work of investigative journalism that uncovers the powerful group of immensely wealthy ideologues who are shaping the fate of America.
In her new preface, Jane Mayer discusses the results of the most recent election and Donald Trump's victory, and how, despite much discussion to the contrary, this was a huge victory for the billionaires who have been pouring money in the American political system.
By Colson Whitehead
Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia... Cora's journey is an odyssey through time as well as space. As Whitehead brilliantly re-creates the unique terrors for black people in the pre–Civil War era, his narrative seamlessly weaves the saga of America from the brutal importation of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day. The Underground Railroad is at once a kinetic adventure tale of one woman's ferocious will to escape the horrors of bondage and a shattering, powerful meditation on the history we all share.
by Jean Edward Smith
Distinguished presidential biographer Jean Edward Smith offers a "comprehensive and compelling" (The New York Times) life of George W. Bush, showing how he ignored his advisors to make key decisions himself—most disastrously in invading Iraq—and how these decisions were often driven by the President's deep religious faith.
George W. Bush, the forty-third president of the United States, almost singlehandedly decided to invade Iraq. It was possibly the worst foreign-policy decision ever made by a president. The consequences dominated the Bush Administration and still haunt us today.
by Adam Nicolson
Why Homer Matters is a magical journey of discovery across wide stretches of the past, sewn together by the Iliad and the Odyssey and their metaphors of life and trouble. Homer's poems-transmitted orally across the generations, shaped and reshaped in a living, self-renewing tradition-occupy, as Adam Nicolson writes "a third space" in the way we relate to the past: not as memory, which lasts no more than three generations, nor as the objective accounts of history, but as epic, invented after memory but before history, poetry which aims "to bind the wounds that time inflicts."
Among Americans, diabetes is more prevalent today than ever; obesity is at epidemic proportions; nearly 10% of children are thought to have nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. And sugar is at the root of these, and other, critical society-wide, health-related problems. With his signature command of both science and straight talk, Gary Taubes delves into Americans' history with sugar: its uses as a preservative, as an additive in cigarettes, the contemporary overuse of high-fructose corn syrup. He explains what research has shown about our addiction to sweets. He clarifies the arguments against sugar, corrects misconceptions about the relationship between sugar and weight loss; and provides the perspective necessary to make informed decisions about sugar as individuals and as a society.
Worth a Trip
Edited and with an Introduction by David Streitfeld
From the moment J. D. Salinger published The Catcher in the Rye in 1951, he was stalked by besotted fans, would-be biographers, and pushy journalists. In this collection of rare and revealing encounters with the elusive literary giant, Salinger discusses—sometimes willingly, sometimes grudgingly—what that onslaught was like, the autobiographical origins of his art, and his advice to writers.
By S. C. Gwynne
S. C. Gwynne's Empire of the Summer Moon spans two astonishing stories. The first traces the rise and fall of the Comanches, the most powerful Indian tribe in American history. The second entails one of the most remarkable narratives ever to come out of the Old West: the epic saga of the pioneer woman Cynthia Ann Parker and her mixed-blood son Quanah, who became the last and greatest chief of the Comanches.
by Helen Winter Stauffer
As a historian and as a novelist Mari Sandoz (1896–1966) stands in the front rank of western writers: in the words of John K. Hutchens, "no one in our time wrote better than the late Mari Sandoz did, or with more authority and grace, about as many aspects of the old West." This first full-length biography is particularly concerned to show the relationship between Sandoz's life and experiences and her writing.
Drawing heavily on materials in the Mari Sandoz Collection at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln—correspondence to and from Sandoz, her research notes, and manuscripts—and on interviews with dozens of Sandoz's friends and acquaintances, the author not only establishes the facts of Sandoz's life but confirms her standing as a writer and historian.
by Emmanuel Carrere
Winner of Telegraph Books of the Year and Observer Books of the Year 2014. Limonov is not a fictional character, but he could have been. He's lived a hundred lives. He was a hoodlum in Ukraine, an idol of the Soviet underground, punk-poet and valet to a billionaire in Manhattan, fashion writer in Paris, lost soldier in the Balkans, and now, in the chaos after the fall of communism a charismatic party leader of a gang of political desperados. Limonov sees himself as a hero, but he is also a bastard. Carrere suspends judgment. Carrere decided to write about Limonov because he thought "that his life, romantic and reckless, tells us something, not just about Limonov or Russia, but the story of all of us after the end of World War II."
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