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|Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politics
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Author: Charles Krauthammer
From America’s preeminent columnist, named by the Financial Times the most influential commentator in the nation, the long-awaited collection of Charles Krauthammer’s essential, timeless writings.
A brilliant stylist known for an uncompromising honesty that challenges conventional wisdom at every turn, Krauthammer has for decades dazzled readers with his keen insight into politics and government. His weekly column is a must-read in Washington and across the country. Now, finally, the best of Krauthammer’s intelligence, erudition and wit are collected in one volume.
Readers will find here not only the country’s leading conservative thinker offering a passionate defense of limited government, but also a highly independent mind whose views—on feminism, evolution and the death penalty, for example—defy ideological convention. Things That Matter also features several of Krauthammer’s major path-breaking essays—on bioethics, on Jewish destiny and on America’s role as the world’s superpower—that have profoundly influenced the nation’s thoughts and policies. And finally, the collection presents a trove of always penetrating, often bemused reflections on everything from border collies to Halley’s Comet, from Woody Allen to Winston Churchill, from the punishing pleasures of speed chess to the elegance of the perfectly thrown outfield assist.
With a special, highly autobiographical introduction in which Krauthammer reflects on the events that shaped his career and political philosophy, this indispensible chronicle takes the reader on a fascinating journey through the fashions and follies, the tragedies and triumphs, of the last three decades of American life.
Author One-on-One: Charles Krauthammer and Dana Perino
In this Amazon One-to-One, Charles Krauthammer and Dana Perino discuss Dr. Krauthammer’s new book Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes, and Politics. Charles Krauthammer is a Pulitzer Prize-winning syndicated columnist, political commentator and physician. Dana Perino is a Former White House Press Secretary who worked with President George W. Bush, contributor and co-host of The Five on FOX News. She is a long-time friend and fan of Charles Krauthammer.
Dana Perino: Your new book covers three decades of your writings, divided into 16 chapters, and grouped into categories of the things that have mattered to you in your life. As you reviewed your body of work, were you surprised by anything that you had written? Did you ever think, “I can’t believe I ever thought that”?
Charles Krauthammer: No real surprises—I find that I agree with myself a lot—except for my enthusiastic review of Independence Day. Though I might've been unduly swayed by seeing the premiere with my son, then ten, who announced after the showing that he would see the movie every week for the rest of his life.
DP: The thing that has mattered most to you is your family. Your book opens with a column that could be called “a two-hankie job.” How hard is it to write about the people that you love, to give people a glimpse into your personal life?
CK: I didn’t become a writer to write about myself. In fact, I don't even like using the word "I" in writing an opinion column, let alone a personal one. The only times I really have written about my own life is when it had a purpose outside myself, such as honoring a person, perhaps a friend or mentor, of extraordinary character.
DP: As a long-time fan of yours, there are some of your columns that I remember reading, and where I was when I read it, and how I said to my husband, “That’s exactly what I was thinking!” Do you know when a column is going to be a hit?
CK: Quite the opposite. I'm always amazed how wrong I am. A column that I think will sink like a stone might catch on like wildfire. Others that I'm proud and smug about as I submit for publication, leave no trace. Which is why I'm a writer, not a publisher. I wasn't made for marketing.
DP: The original essay you penned for Things That Matter is like an award-winning exhibit of your heart and mind. What will readers learn about you that they may not have known?
CK: How improbable my life story is. I still wake up simply amazed how I've ended up where I am, mostly by serendipity and sheer blind luck. I started out as a doctor. I ended as a writer. And that's the least of the stunning twists and turns that have defined my life—which I write about, for the first time, in the introductory essay to Things That Matter.
DP: You have become a must-read and a must-see on television news programs. Parents shush their children when you’re about to speak. On the rare Friday when you don’t have a column or when you’re not on Special Report with Bret Baier, your mom gets calls of “Where is Charles?” Disappointment hangs heavy over your fans. But who are your weekly must-reads?
CK: George Will. David Brooks. Mickey Kaus. And for that happy half of every year—April through October—the (daily) box score of the Washington Nationals.
DP: Do you think that your training as a psychiatrist has given you an advantage when observing people in politics?
CK: Actually, no. Psychiatry has everything to say about mental illness, very little to say about ordinary life. It offers no magical formulas for understanding human behavior beyond what any lay person can see. Although I do like to joke that there's not much difference in what I do today as a political analyst in Washington from what I used to do as a psychiatrist in Boston—in both lines of work, I deal every day with people who suffer from paranoia and delusions of grandeur. The only difference is that the paranoids in Washington have access to nuclear weapons.
DP: You wrote a column on September 12, 2001 that is included in Things That Matter. How difficult was that to write under the time pressure of the day, and to keep your commentary to standard column length?
CK: Like the whole country, I was on fire with fury. I felt I simply had to write. The difficulty was less time pressure than emotional pressure—trying to suppress my feelings so I could be as analytical as possible. Sometimes that kind of writing can be disastrous. I think this one came out right.
DP: Given the mention in your essay, and because I have a gut feeling that we’re on the same page, what is your preferred style on serial commas?
CK: With commas the rule should always be: the fewer the better. They are a scourge, a pestilence upon the land. They must be given no quarter. When you list three things, it should be written: a, b and c. If you see a comma after the "b"—call 911 immediately.
DP: Many readers may not realize that you once were a Democrat? Was it a gradual or a spectacular breakup?
CK: Like most breakups, gradual. Like few breakups, however, without regret.
DP: You have covered politics and government since the Carter administration. Do you believe that America’s politics are too strained, too partisan, and too deranged to make meaningful progress?
CK: Not at all. What we need is not a new politics but a new president.
DP: What do you think will be the things that matter 20–30 years from now?
CK: The things that really matter, as I try to explain in the introductory essay—the cosmic questions of origins and meaning, the great achievements of science and art, the great mysteries of creation and consciousness—shall always be with us. Thirty years from now, 300 years from now. I hope that one contribution of this book will be to provide some illumination on these wondrous mysteries and achievements.
DP: If you had a magic wand and could get the U.S. federal government to do three things, what would be your top priorities?
CK: Abolish the income tax code with its staggeringly intrusive and impenetrable provisions and replace it with a clean consumption tax.
Get out of the race business and return the country to the colorblind vision of Martin Luther King.
Kill the penny.
|George Washington's Secret Six: The Spy Ring That Saved the American Revolution
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Author: Brian Kilmeade
As a Long Islander endlessly fascinated by events that happened in a place I call home, I hope with this book to give the secret six the credit they didn’t get in life. The Culper spies represent all the patriotic Americans who give so much for their country but, because of the nature of their work, will not or cannot take a bow or even talk about their missions.”
When General George Washington beat a hasty retreat from New York City in August 1776, many thought the American Revolution might soon be over. Instead, Washington ralliedthanks in large part to a little-known, top-secret group called the Culper Spy Ring.
Washington realized that he couldn’t beat the British with military might, so he recruited a sophisticated and deeply secretive intelligence network to infiltrate New York. So carefully guarded were the members’ identities that one spy’s name was not uncovered until the twentieth century, and one
remains unknown today. But by now, historians have discovered enough information about the ring’s activities to piece together evidence that these six
individuals turned the tide of the war.
Drawing on extensive research, Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger have painted compelling portraits of George Washington’s secret six:
?Robert Townsend, the reserved Quaker merchant and reporter who headed the Culper Ring, keeping his identity secret even from Washington;
?Austin Roe, the tavern keeper who risked his employment and his life in order to protect the mission;
?Caleb Brewster, the brash young longshoreman who loved baiting the British and agreed to ferry messages between Connecticut and New York;
?Abraham Woodhull, the curmudgeonly (and surprisingly nervous) Long Island bachelor with business and family excuses for traveling to Manhattan;
?James Rivington, the owner of a posh coffeehouse and print shop where high-ranking British officers gossiped about secret operations;
?Agent 355, a woman whose identity remains unknown but who seems to have used her wit and charm to coax officers to share vital secrets.
In George Washington’s Secret Six, Townsend and his fellow spies finally receive their due, taking their place among the pantheon of heroes of the
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Author: Bill O'Reilly
Millions of readers have thrilled by bestselling authors Bill O’Reilly and historian Martin Dugard's Killing Kennedy and Killing Lincoln, page-turning works of nonfiction that have changed the way we read history.
Now the anchor of The O’Reilly Factor details the events leading up to the murder of the most influential man in history: Jesus of Nazareth. Nearly two thousand years after this beloved and controversial young revolutionary was brutally killed by Roman soldiers, more than 2.2 billion human beings attempt to follow his teachings and believe he is God. Killing Jesus will take readers inside Jesus’s life, recounting the seismic political and historical events that made his death inevitable – and changed the world forever.
|Humans of New York
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Author: Brandon Stanton
Based on the blog with more than a million loyal fans, a beautiful, heartfelt, funny, and inspiring collection of photographs and stories capturing the spirit of a city
Now an instant #1 New York Times bestseller, Humans of New York began in the summer of 2010, when photographer Brandon Stanton set out to create a photographic census of New York City. Armed with his camera, he began crisscrossing the city, covering thousands of miles on foot, all in an attempt to capture New Yorkers and their stories. The result of these efforts was a vibrant blog he called "Humans of New York," in which his photos were featured alongside quotes and anecdotes.
The blog has steadily grown, now boasting more than a million devoted followers. Humans of New York is the book inspired by the blog. With four hundred color photos, including exclusive portraits and all-new stories, Humans of New York is a stunning collection of images that showcases the outsized personalities of New York.
Surprising and moving, printed in a beautiful full-color, hardbound edition, Humans of New York is a celebration of individuality and a tribute to the spirit of the city.
With 400 full-color photos and a distinctive vellum jacket
An Amazon Best Book of the Month, October 2013: The thing that always amazes me about New York is that it works at all: so many people, stacked on top of each other in apartments or wedged side-by-side on the streets, that it once seemed--to my admittedly West Coast eyes--that there could be no room to breathe, to stretch, to be human in such a seemingly inhumane environment. Even the garbage (the literal garbage; no Travis Bickle allusions here) is pushed to the sidewalk--there’s not even space between buildings to hide it. But once I’d been there--admittedly late--I understood that it’s the people themselves that make it work; that diversity and self-expression (not to mention the necessity) create a kind of space on their own. Brandon Stanton gets it. His thousands of not-quite-candid street portraits of New Yorkers (and accompanying captions, usually from the subjects themselves) have made his Humans of New York blog both poignant and extremely popular. And now, his book of the same title collects 400 of his best portraits, telling small stories that are outsized in their humor, candor, and humanity. As it turns out, inner-space is a dimension all its own, and it counts, too. --Jon Foro
|The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism
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Author: Doris Kearns Goodwin
The gap between rich and poor has never been wider . . . legislative stalemate paralyzes the country . . . corporations resist federal regulations . . . spectacular mergers produce giant companies . . . the influence of money in politics deepens . . . bombs explode in crowded streets . . . small wars proliferate far from our shores . . . a dizzying array of inventions speeds the pace of daily life.
These unnervingly familiar headlines serve as the backdrop for Doris Kearns Goodwin’s highly anticipated The Bully Pulpit—a dynamic history of the first decade of the Progressive era, that tumultuous time when the nation was coming unseamed and reform was in the air.
The story is told through the intense friendship of Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft—a close relationship that strengthens both men before it ruptures in 1912, when they engage in a brutal fight for the presidential nomination that divides their wives, their children, and their closest friends, while crippling the progressive wing of the Republican Party, causing Democrat Woodrow Wilson to be elected, and changing the country’s history.
The Bully Pulpit is also the story of the muckraking press, which arouses the spirit of reform that helps Roosevelt push the government to shed its laissez-faire attitude toward robber barons, corrupt politicians, and corporate exploiters of our natural resources. The muckrakers are portrayed through the greatest group of journalists ever assembled at one magazine—Ida Tarbell, Ray Stannard Baker, Lincoln Steffens, and William Allen White—teamed under the mercurial genius of publisher S. S. McClure.
Goodwin’s narrative is founded upon a wealth of primary materials. The correspondence of more than four hundred letters between Roosevelt and Taft begins in their early thirties and ends only months before Roosevelt’s death. Edith Roosevelt and Nellie Taft kept diaries. The muckrakers wrote hundreds of letters to one another, kept journals, and wrote their memoirs. The letters of Captain Archie Butt, who served as a personal aide to both Roosevelt and Taft, provide an intimate view of both men.
The Bully Pulpit, like Goodwin’s brilliant chronicles of the Civil War and World War II, exquisitely demonstrates her distinctive ability to combine scholarly rigor with accessibility. It is a major work of history—an examination of leadership in a rare moment of activism and reform that brought the country closer to its founding ideals.
An Amazon Best Book of the Month, November 2013: In an era when cooperation between the national media and the US government seems laughable, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Doris Kearns Goodwin’s timely 100-year look backward explores the origins of the type of muckraking journalism that helped make America a better country. Focusing on the presidencies of Theodore Roosevelt and his successor, William Howard Taft--one-time colleagues and friends who later became sworn foes--Goodwin chronicles the birth of an activist press, which occurred when five of the nation’s best-ever journalists converged at McClure’s magazine and helped usher in the Progressive era. At times slow and overly meticulous, with a lot of backstory and historical minutiae, this is nonetheless a lush, lively, and surprisingly urgent story--a series of entwined stories, actually, with headstrong and irascible characters who had me pining for journalism’s earlier days. It’s a big book that cries out for a weekend in a cabin, a book to get fully lost in, to hole up with and ignore the modern world, to experience the days when newsmen and women were our heroes. --Neal Thompson
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|Miracles and Massacres: True and Untold Stories of the Making of America
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Author: Glenn Beck
HISTORY AS IT’S SUPPOSED TO BE TOLD: TRUE AND THRILLING.
Thomas Edison was a bad guy— and bad guys usually lose in the end.
World War II radio host “Tokyo Rose” was branded as a traitor by the U.S. government and served time in prison. In reality, she was a hero to many.
Twenty U.S. soldiers received medals of honor at the Battle of Wounded Knee—yet this wasn’t a battle at all; it was a massacre.
Paul Revere’s midnight ride was nothing compared to the ride made by a guy named Jack whom you’ve probably never heard of.
History is about so much more than memorizing facts. It is, as more than half of the word suggests, about the story. And, told in the right way, it is the greatest one ever written: Good and evil, triumph and tragedy, despicable acts of barbarism and courageous acts of heroism.
The things you’ve never learned about our past will shock you. The reason why gun control is so important to government elites can be found in a story about Athens that no one dares teach. Not the city in ancient Greece, but the one in 1946 Tennessee. The power of an individual who trusts his gut can be found in the story of the man who stopped the twentieth hijacker from being part of 9/11. And a lesson on what happens when an all-powerful president is in need of positive headlines is revealed in a story about eight saboteurs who invaded America during World War II.
Miracles and Massacres is history as you’ve never heard it told. It’s incredible events that you never knew existed. And it’s stories so important and relevant to today that you won’t have to ask, Why didn’t they teach me this? You will instantly know. If the truth shall set you free, then your freedom begins on page one of this book. By the end, your understanding of the lies and half-truths you’ve been taught may change, but your perception of who we are as Americans and where our country is headed definitely will.
|One Summer: America, 1927
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Author: Bill Bryson
In One Summer Bill Bryson, one of our greatest and most beloved nonfiction writers, transports readers on a journey back to one amazing season in American life.
The summer of 1927 began with one of the signature events of the twentieth century: on May 21, 1927, Charles Lindbergh became the first man to cross the Atlantic by plane nonstop, and when he landed in Le Bourget airfield near Paris, he ignited an explosion of worldwide rapture and instantly became the most famous person on the planet. Meanwhile, the titanically talented Babe Ruth was beginning his assault on the home run record, which would culminate on September 30 with his sixtieth blast, one of the most resonant and durable records in sports history. In between those dates a Queens housewife named Ruth Snyder and her corset-salesman lover garroted her husband, leading to a murder trial that became a huge tabloid sensation. Alvin “Shipwreck” Kelly sat atop a flagpole in Newark, New Jersey, for twelve days—a new record. The American South was clobbered by unprecedented rain and by flooding of the Mississippi basin, a great human disaster, the relief efforts for which were guided by the uncannily able and insufferably pompous Herbert Hoover. Calvin Coolidge interrupted an already leisurely presidency for an even more relaxing three-month vacation in the Black Hills of South Dakota. The gangster Al Capone tightened his grip on the illegal booze business through a gaudy and murderous reign of terror and municipal corruption. The first true “talking picture,” Al Jolson’s The Jazz Singer, was filmed and forever changed the motion picture industry. The four most powerful central bankers on earth met in secret session on a Long Island estate and made a fateful decision that virtually guaranteed a future crash and depression.
All this and much, much more transpired in that epochal summer of 1927, and Bill Bryson captures its outsized personalities, exciting events, and occasional just plain weirdness with his trademark vividness, eye for telling detail, and delicious humor. In that year America stepped out onto the world stage as the main event, and One Summer transforms it all into narrative nonfiction of the highest order.
An Amazon Best Book of the Month, October 2013: It’s amazing what a talented writer at the top of his game can do with a seemingly narrow topic. The title of Bill Bryson’s latest sums up the simplicity of his task: to document the “most extraordinary summer” of 1927, beginning with Charles Lindbergh’s successful flight across the Atlantic. Even though we know many of these stories--Lindbergh’s flight, Babe Ruth’s 60-homerun season, the Mississippi River flood, Al Capone’s bullet-ridden reign over Chicago--in Bryson’s hands, and in the context of one amazing summer of twentieth-century ingenuity and accomplishment, they feel fresh, lively, and just plain fun. The book is so jammed with “did you know it” nuggets and fascinating origin stories (the opening of the Holland Tunnel, the first Mickey Mouse prototype, the source of the term “hot dog”), the effect is like sitting beside a brilliant, slightly boozy barstool raconteur, who knows a little bit about everything. From a tabloid murder trial to a flagpole-sitting record to the secret origins of the looming Great Depression, One Summer offers a new look at a transitional period in history, re-introducing us to such characters as Capone, Jack Dempsey, Al Jolson, Charles Ponzi, and Herbert Hoover. Ultimately, this is a book about the moment when important things, for good or ill, began happening in the US. With a giddy narrative voice and keen eye for off-kilter details, Bryson has spun a clever tale of America’s coming of age. --Neal Thompson
|My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel
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Author: Ari Shavit
Brand: Brand: Spiegel Grau
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW AND THE ECONOMIST • WINNER OF THE NATAN BOOK AWARD • NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
An authoritative and deeply personal narrative history of the State of Israel, by one of the most influential journalists writing about the Middle East today
Not since Thomas L. Friedman’s groundbreaking From Beirut to Jerusalem has a book captured the essence and the beating heart of the Middle East as keenly and dynamically as My Promised Land. Facing unprecedented internal and external pressures, Israel today is at a moment of existential crisis. Ari Shavit draws on interviews, historical documents, private diaries, and letters, as well as his own family’s story, illuminating the pivotal moments of the Zionist century to tell a riveting narrative that is larger than the sum of its parts: both personal and national, both deeply human and of profound historical dimension.
We meet Shavit’s great-grandfather, a British Zionist who in 1897 visited the Holy Land on a Thomas Cook tour and understood that it was the way of the future for his people; the idealist young farmer who bought land from his Arab neighbor in the 1920s to grow the Jaffa oranges that would create Palestine’s booming economy; the visionary youth group leader who, in the 1940s, transformed Masada from the neglected ruins of an extremist sect into a powerful symbol for Zionism; the Palestinian who as a young man in 1948 was driven with his family from his home during the expulsion from Lydda; the immigrant orphans of Europe’s Holocaust, who took on menial work and focused on raising their children to become the leaders of the new state; the pragmatic engineer who was instrumental in developing Israel’s nuclear program in the 1960s, in the only interview he ever gave; the zealous religious Zionists who started the settler movement in the 1970s; the dot-com entrepreneurs and young men and women behind Tel-Aviv’s booming club scene; and today’s architects of Israel’s foreign policy with Iran, whose nuclear threat looms ominously over the tiny country.
As it examines the complexities and contradictions of the Israeli condition, My Promised Land asks difficult but important questions: Why did Israel come to be? How did it come to be? Can Israel survive? Culminating with an analysis of the issues and threats that Israel is currently facing, My Promised Land uses the defining events of the past to shed new light on the present. The result is a landmark portrait of a small, vibrant country living on the edge, whose identity and presence play a crucial role in today’s global political landscape.
Praise for My Promised Land
“[A] must-read book . . . [My Promised Land] is a real contribution to changing the conversation about Israel and building a healthier relationship with it. Before their next 90-minute phone call, both Barack and Bibi should read it.”—Thomas L. Friedman, The New York Times
“The most extraordinary book that I’ve read on [Israel] since Amos Elon’s book called The Israelis, and that was published in the late sixties.”—David Remnick, on Charlie Rose
“Israel is not a proposition, it is a country. Its facticity is one of the great accomplishments of the Jews’ history. . . . It is one of the achievements of Ari Shavit’s important and powerful book to recover [that] feeling.”—Leon Wieseltier, The New York Times Book Review
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|The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics
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Author: Daniel James Brown
Brand: Brand: Viking Adult
For readers of Laura Hillenbrand's Seabiscuit and Unbroken, the dramatic story of the American rowing team that stunned the world at Hitler's 1936 Berlin Olympics
Daniel James Brown’s robust book tells the story of the University of Washington’s 1936 eight-oar crew and their epic quest for an Olympic gold medal, a team that transformed the sport and grabbed the attention of millions of Americans. The sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers, the boys defeated elite rivals first from eastern and British universities and finally the German crew rowing for Adolf Hitler in the Olympic games in Berlin, 1936.
The emotional heart of the story lies with one rower, Joe Rantz, a teenager without family or prospects, who rows not for glory, but to regain his shattered self-regard and to find a place he can call home. The crew is assembled by an enigmatic coach and mentored by a visionary, eccentric British boat builder, but it is their trust in each other that makes them a victorious team. They remind the country of what can be done when everyone quite literally pulls together—a perfect melding of commitment, determination, and optimism.
Drawing on the boys’ own diaries and journals, their photos and memories of a once-in-a-lifetime shared dream, The Boys in the Boat is an irresistible story about beating the odds and finding hope in the most desperate of times—the improbable, intimate story of nine working-class boys from the American west who, in the depths of the Great Depression, showed the world what true grit really meant. It will appeal to readers of Erik Larson, Timothy Egan, James Bradley, and David Halberstam's The Amateurs.
Daniel James Brown’s The Boys in the Boat is the kind of nonfiction book that reads like a novel. Centered around the life of Joe Rantz—a farmboy from the Pacific Northwest who was literally abandoned as a child—and set during the Great Depression, The Boys in the Boat is a character-driven story with a natural crescendo that will have you racing to the finish. In 1936, the University of Washington’s eight-oar crew team raced its way to the Berlin Olympics for an opportunity to challenge the greatest in the world. How this team, largely composed of rowers from “foggy coastal villages, damp dairy farms, and smoky lumber towns all over the state,” managed to work together and sacrifice toward their goal of defeating Hitler’s feared racers is half the story. The other half is equally fascinating, as Brown seamlessly weaves in the story of crew itself. This is fast-paced and emotional nonfiction about determination, bonds built by teamwork, and what it takes to achieve glory. —Chris Schluep
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|Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption
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Author: Laura Hillenbrand
On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared. It was that of a young lieutenant, the plane’s bombardier, who was struggling to a life raft and pulling himself aboard. So began one of the most extraordinary odysseys of the Second World War.
The lieutenant’s name was Louis Zamperini. In boyhood, he’d been a cunning and incorrigible delinquent, breaking into houses, brawling, and fleeing his home to ride the rails. As a teenager, he had channeled his defiance into running, discovering a prodigious talent that had carried him to the Berlin Olympics and within sight of the four-minute mile. But when war had come, the athlete had become an airman, embarking on a journey that led to his doomed flight, a tiny raft, and a drift into the unknown.
Ahead of Zamperini lay thousands of miles of open ocean, leaping sharks, a foundering raft, thirst and starvation, enemy aircraft, and, beyond, a trial even greater. Driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would answer desperation with ingenuity; suffering with hope, resolve, and humor; brutality with rebellion. His fate, whether triumph or tragedy, would be suspended on the fraying wire of his will.
In her long-awaited new book, Laura Hillenbrand writes with the same rich and vivid narrative voice she displayed in Seabiscuit. Telling an unforgettable story of a man’s journey into extremity, Unbroken is a testament to the resilience of the human mind, body, and spirit.
Amazon Best Books of the Month, November 2010: From Laura Hillenbrand, the bestselling author of Seabiscuit, comes Unbroken, the inspiring true story of a man who lived through a series of catastrophes almost too incredible to be believed. In evocative, immediate descriptions, Hillenbrand unfurls the story of Louie Zamperini--a juvenile delinquent-turned-Olympic runner-turned-Army hero. During a routine search mission over the Pacific, Louie’s plane crashed into the ocean, and what happened to him over the next three years of his life is a story that will keep you glued to the pages, eagerly awaiting the next turn in the story and fearing it at the same time. You’ll cheer for the man who somehow maintained his selfhood and humanity despite the monumental degradations he suffered, and you’ll want to share this book with everyone you know. --Juliet Disparte
The Story of Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
Eight years ago, an old man told me a story that took my breath away. His name was Louie Zamperini, and from the day I first spoke to him, his almost incomprehensibly dramatic life was my obsession.
It was a horse--the subject of my first book, Seabiscuit: An American Legend--who led me to Louie. As I researched the Depression-era racehorse, I kept coming across stories about Louie, a 1930s track star who endured an amazing odyssey in World War II. I knew only a little about him then, but I couldn’t shake him from my mind. After I finished Seabiscuit, I tracked Louie down, called him and asked about his life. For the next hour, he had me transfixed.
Growing up in California in the 1920s, Louie was a hellraiser, stealing everything edible that he could carry, staging elaborate pranks, getting in fistfights, and bedeviling the local police. But as a teenager, he emerged as one of the greatest runners America had ever seen, competing at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, where he put on a sensational performance, crossed paths with Hitler, and stole a German flag right off the Reich Chancellery. He was preparing for the 1940 Olympics, and closing in on the fabled four-minute mile, when World War II began. Louie joined the Army Air Corps, becoming a bombardier. Stationed on Oahu, he survived harrowing combat, including an epic air battle that ended when his plane crash-landed, some six hundred holes in its fuselage and half the crew seriously wounded.
On a May afternoon in 1943, Louie took off on a search mission for a lost plane. Somewhere over the Pacific, the engines on his bomber failed. The plane plummeted into the sea, leaving Louie and two other men stranded on a tiny raft. Drifting for weeks and thousands of miles, they endured starvation and desperate thirst, sharks that leapt aboard the raft, trying to drag them off, a machine-gun attack from a Japanese bomber, and a typhoon with waves some forty feet high. At last, they spotted an island. As they rowed toward it, unbeknownst to them, a Japanese military boat was lurking nearby. Louie’s journey had only just begun.
That first conversation with Louie was a pivot point in my life. Fascinated by his experiences, and the mystery of how a man could overcome so much, I began a seven-year journey through his story. I found it in diaries, letters and unpublished memoirs; in the memories of his family and friends, fellow Olympians, former American airmen and Japanese veterans; in forgotten papers in archives as far-flung as Oslo and Canberra. Along the way, there were staggering surprises, and Louie’s unlikely, inspiring story came alive for me. It is a tale of daring, defiance, persistence, ingenuity, and the ferocious will of a man who refused to be broken.
The culmination of my journey is my new book, Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption. I hope you are as spellbound by Louie’s life as I am.
- A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption
- Laura hillenbrand
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