104 results 1-20
You don't have to be mad to live here, but it helps
If you want to understand Trump's America, how the lines between reality and illusion have become dangerously blurred, you have to go back to the very beginning and take a dizzying road trip across five centuries of crackpot delusion and make-believe from Salem to Scientology.
From the Pilgrim Fathers onward, America has been a place where renegades and freaks came in search of freedom to create their own realities with little objectively regulated truth standing in their way. To invent and believe what the hell you like is in some ways an unwritten constitutional right. Every citizen is more than ever gloriously free to construct and promote any vision of the world he or she devoutly believes to be true. That do-your-own-thing freedom - run amok since the individualism and relativism of the 1960s and later the unprecedented free-for-all world of the Internet, is the driving credo of America's current transformation where the difference between opinion and fact is rapidly crumbling.
Fantasyland is a journey that joins the dots between the disparate crazed franchises of true believers – America’s endless homespun rebooting of Christianity from Mormons to charismatics, medicine shows to new age quacks, conspiracy theorists of every stripe, showmen hucksters from P T Barnum to Trump himself, Creationists to climate change deniers, extra-terrestrial obsessives to gun-toting libertarians, anti-Government paranoia, pseudoscience, survivalists and satanic panic. Along the way Kurt Andersen has created a unique and raucous history of America and a new paradigm for understanding our post-factual world.
'A history of resilience ... sweeping, comprehensive ... it's a story that has been waiting to be told' Guardian
'An account sorely needed ... a kaleidoscopic view of Native American history, refreshing and rollicking, and not unlike its fractured reality' Standpoint
Blood and Land is a dazzling, panoramic account of the history and achievements of Native North Americans, and why they matter today. It is about why no understanding of the wider world is possible without comprehending the original inhabitants of the United States and Canada: Native Americans, First Nations and Arctic peoples.
This highly personal book, based on years of travel and first-hand research in North America, introduces a deeply complex story, of myriad identities and determined ethnicities - from the desert Southwest to the high Arctic, from first contact between Europeans and Native Americans to the challenges of Native leadership today. Instead of writing a chronological history, King confronts the reader with the paradoxes, diversity and successes of Native North Americans. Their astonishing ingenuity and supple intelligence enabled, after centuries of suffering both violence and dispossession, a striking level of recovery, optimism and autonomy in the twenty-first century.
Beautifully illustrated and filled with arresting and surprising stories, Blood and Land looks well beyond the 'feathers-and-failure' narratives beloved by historians to show us Native North America as it was and is.
The first memoir to emerge from the Vietnam conflict, Philip Caputo’s A Rumor of War is now regarded as one of the great classics of war literature, ranked alongside All Quiet On the Western Front and The Naked and the Dead – 40th Anniversary Edition with an introduction from Kevin Powers.
In March 1965, Marine Lieutenant Philip J. Caputo landed in Danang with the first ground combat unit committed to fight in Vietnam. Sixteen months later, having served on the line in one of modern history's ugliest wars, he returned home - physically whole, emotionally wasted, his youthful idealism shattered. A decade later, having reported first-hand the very final hours of the war, Caputo sat down to write ‘simply a story about war, about the things men do in war and the things war does to them’.
‘A singular and marvellous work – a soldier’s-eye account that tells us, as no other book that I can think of has done, what it was actually like to be fighting in this hellish jungle’ The New York Times
‘Unparalleled in its honesty, unapologetic in its candour and singular in its insights into the minds and hearts of men in combat, this book is as powerful to read today as the day it was published in 1977. Caputo has more than earned his place beside Sassoon, Owen, Vonnegut, and Heller’ Kevin Powers
‘To call this the best book about Vietnam is to trivialize it. A Rumour of War is a dangerous and even subversive book, the first to insist that readers asks themselves the questions: How would I have acted? To what lengths would I have gone to survive? A terrifying book, it will make the strongest among us weep’ Los Angeles Times Book Review
‘Caputo’s troubled, searching meditations on the love and the hate of war, on fear and the ambivalent discord warfare can create in the hearts of decent men are amongst the most eloquent I have read in modern literature’ New York Review of Books
‘Superb. At times it is hard to remember that this is not a novel’ New Statesman
Winner of the US National Book Award for Non-Fiction -- Stamped from the Beginning is a redefining history of anti-Black racist ideas that dramatically changes our understanding of the causes and extent of racist thinking itself.
Its deeply researched and fast-moving narrative chronicles the journey of racist ideas from fifteenth-century Europe to present-day America through the lives of five major intellectuals – Puritan minister Cotton Mather, President Thomas Jefferson, fiery abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, brilliant scholar W.E.B. Du Bois, and legendary anti-prison activist Angela Davis – showing how these ideas were developed, disseminated and eventually enshrined in American society.
Contrary to popular conception, it reveals that racist ideas did not arise from ignorance or hatred. Instead, they were devised and honed by some of the most brilliant minds of each era, including anti-slavery and pro-civil rights advocates, who used their gifts and intelligence wittingly or otherwise to rationalize and justify existing racial disparities in everything from wealth to health. Seen in this piercing new light, racist ideas are shown to be the result, not the cause, of inequalities that stretch back over centuries, brought about ultimately through economic, political and cultural self-interest.
Stamped from the Beginning offers compelling new answers to some of the most troubling questions of our time. In forcing us to reconsider our most basic assumptions about racism and also about ourselves, it leads us to a true understanding on which to build a real foundation for change.
WINNER OF THE 2015 GEORGE WASHINGTON PRIZE
FINALIST FOR THE 2015 PULTIZER PRIZE IN HISTORY
In this powerful narrative, Nick Bunker tells the story of the last three years of mutual embitterment that preceded the outbreak of America’s war for independence in 1775. It was a tragedy of errors, in which both sides shared responsibility for a conflict that cost the lives of at least twenty thousand Britons and a still larger number of Americans.
Drawing on careful study of primary sources from Britain and the United States, An Empire on the Edge sheds new light on the Tea Party’s origins and on the roles of such familiar characters as Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock, and Thomas Hutchinson. At the heart of the book lies the Boston Tea Party, an event that arose from fundamental flaws in the way the British managed their affairs.
With lawyers in London calling the Tea Party treason, and with hawks in Parliament crying out for revenge, the British opted for punitive reprisals without foreseeing the resistance they would arouse. For their part, the Americans underestimated Britain’s determination not to give way. By the late summer of 1774, the descent into war had become irreversible.
'Riveting ... this will be his masterpiece' - Andrew Roberts, The New York Times
'For big, bold and compelling, it is impossible to ignore Kissinger' - John Bew, New Statesman, Books of the Year
'This is a superb history of the modern world as well as a biography of Kissinger ... a tour de force' William Shawcross, The Times
No American statesman has been as revered and as reviled as Henry Kissinger. Hailed by some as the "indispensable man", whose advice has been sought by every president from John F. Kennedy to George W. Bush, Kissinger has also attracted immense hostility from critics who have cast him as an amoral Machiavellian - the ultimate cold-blooded "realist".
In this remarkable new book, the first of two volumes, Niall Ferguson has created an extraordinary panorama of Kissinger's world, and a paradigm-shifting reappraisal of the man. Only through knowledge of Kissinger's early life (as a Jew in Hitler's Germany, a poor immigrant in New York, a GI at the Battle of the Bulge, an interrogator of Nazis, and a student of history at Harvard) can we understand his debt to the philosophy of idealism.
And only by tracing his rise, fall and revival as an adviser to Kennedy, Nelson Rockefeller and, finally, Richard Nixon can we appreciate the magnitude of his contribution to the theory of diplomacy, grand strategy and nuclear deterrence.
Drawing not only on Kissinger's hitherto closed private papers but also on documents from more than a hundred archives around the world, this biography is Niall Ferguson's masterpiece. Like his classic two-volume history of the House of Rothschild, Kissinger sheds dazzling new light on an entire era.
At the beginning of the 1650s, England was in ruins – wrecked, impoverished, grief-stricken by plague and civil war. Yet shimmering on the horizon was an intoxicating possibility, a vision of paradise: Willoughbyland.
Ambitious and free-thinking adventurers poured in, attracted by the toleration, the optimism, the rich soil and the promise of the gold of El Dorado. It was England's most hopeful colony.
But the Restoration saw the end of political freedom, and brought in its place spies, war, rebellion and treachery. The advent of racial slavery poisoned everything. What started out as a heaven was soon to become one of the cruellest places on earth.
The history of Willoughbyland is a microcosm of empire, its heady attractions and fatal dangers.
In 1960 John Steinbeck and his dog Charley set out in their green pickup truck to rediscover the soul of America, visiting small towns and cities from New York to New Orleans.The trip became Travels With Charley, one of his best-loved books.
Half a century on, Geert Mak sets off from Steinbeck’s home. Mile after mile, as he retraces Steinbeck’s footsteps through the potato fields of Maine to the endless prairies of the Midwest and stumbles across glistening suburbs and boarded-up stores, Mak searches for the roots of America and what remains of the world Steinbeck describes. How has America changed in the last fifty years; what remains of the American dream; and what do Europe and America now have in common?
Benjamin Franklin’s account of his rise from poverty and obscurity to affluence and fame is a self-portrait of a quintessential American which has charmed every generation of readers since it first appeared in 1791. Begun as a collection of anecdotes for his son, the memoir grew into a history of his remarkable achievements in the literary, scientific and political realms. A printer, inventor, scientist, diplomat and statesman, Franklin was also a brilliant writer whose wit and wisdom shine on every page.
Franklin was a remarkably prolific author, well known in his lifetime for his humorous, philosophical, parodic and satirical writings, and for the parables and maxims which he published under an astonishing number of pen names, including Poor Richard, the Busy-Body, and Silence Dogood. This Everyman edition contains a varied selection of these, including 'The Kite Experiment', 'A Parable Against Persecution', 'Observations Concerning the Increase of Mankind', 'Rules for Making Oneself a Disagreeable Companion' and 'The Way to Wealth'.
Published: 1 Oct 2015
The Power Broker by Robert A. Caro is a riveting and timeless account of power, politics and the city of New York by ‘the greatest political biographer of our times’ (Sunday Times) – chosen by Time magazine as one of the 100 Best Non-Fiction Books of All Time and by the Modern Library as one of the 100 Greatest Books of the Twentieth Century. Now also a Sunday Times Bestseller.
The Power Broker tells the story of Robert Moses, the single most powerful man in New York for almost half a century and the greatest builder America (and probably the world) has ever known. Without ever once being elected to office, he created for himself a position of supreme and untouchable authority, allowing him to utterly reshape the city of New York, turning it into the city we know today, while at the same time blighting the lives of millions and remaining accountable to no one.
First published in 1974, this monumental classic is now widely acknowledged to be one of the greatest books of its kind.
The daughters of a wealthy and respected Charlestown judge, Sarah and Angelina Grimké grew up with a life of ease, facilitated by the convenience of slavery. Yet their close proximity to inhumane cruelty bred their revulsion towards the practice of slavery, and both sisters rejected their upbringing, moved to Philadelphia and embraced Quakerism.
Led by Angelina's gifted oration, they toured the country as the American Anti-Slavery Society's first female agents. They passionately demonstrated the ability of women to make valuable contributions to political and social change, setting a precedent that would reverberate through the 20th century.
Published: 4 Jun 2015
Gruff Rhys (Author)
American Interior is a psychedelic historical travelogue from Welsh pop legend Gruff Rhys.
LONGLISTED FOR THE GUARDIAN FIRST BOOK AWARD
SHORTLISTED FOR THE GORDON BURN PRIZE
In 1792, John Evans, a twenty-two-year-old farmhand from Snowdonia, Wales, travelled to America to discover whether there was indeed, as widely believed, a tribe of Welsh-speaking native Americans still walking the great plains.
In 2012, Gruff Rhys set out on an 'investigative concert tour' in the footsteps of John Evans, with concerts in New Orleans, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, St Louis, North Dakota and more.
American Interior is the story of these journeys. It is also an exploration of how wild fantasies interact with hard history and how myth-making can inspire humans to partake in crazy, vain pursuits of glory, including exploration, war and the creative arts.
'Brilliantly life-affirming . . . highlights a world of wonder' Guardian
'A joyous and poignant celebration of the mythical and the real' Caught by the River
'Charming and entertainingly written' Independent
GRUFF RHYS is known around the world for his work as a solo artist as well as singer and songwriter with Super Furry Animals and Neon Neon, and for his collaborations with Gorillaz, Mogwai, Dangermouse and Sparklehorse amongst others. The latest album by Neon Neon, Praxis Makes Perfect, based on the life of radical Italian publisher Giangiacomo Feltrinelli, was recently performed as an immersive live concert with National Theatre Wales.
Thurston Clarke (Author)
'Poignant, fascinating, entertaining and informative ... reminds us exactly how much did happen in that time span and of how many tantalising hints he left behind' Financial Times
'Brilliantly captures Kennedy's entire life through the prism of his final months ... the hero, like the devil, is in the detail' Mark Mason, Spectator, Books of the Year
'Wonderfully vivid' Dominic Sandbrook, Sunday Times
'A vivid portrait of Kennedy as an immensely complex human being: by turns detached and charismatic, a hard-nosed politician and a closet romantic, cautious in his decision making but reckless in his womanizing' Michicko Kakutani, New York Times
'A superb piece of writing - richly detailed and, considering that the end is all too well known, surprisingly enthralling' Frank Gannon, Wall Street Journal
'The great merit of Clarke's account is that it encompasses both sides of Kennedy: the statesman and the chancer; the moralist and the opportunist' David Runciman, New Statesman
'A superb book ... has the ominousness of a Shakespearean tragedy' Roger Lewis, Daily Mail
In summer 1927, America had a booming stock market, a president who worked just four hours a day (and slept much of the rest), a devastating flood of the Mississippi, a sensational murder trial, and an unknown aviator named Charles Lindbergh who became the most famous man on earth.
It was the summer that saw the birth of talking pictures, the invention of television, the peak of Al Capone’s reign of terror, the horrifying bombing of a school in Michigan, the thrillingly improbable return to greatness of over-the-hill baseball player Babe Ruth, and an almost impossible amount more.
In this hugely entertaining book, Bill Bryson spins a tale of brawling adventure, reckless optimism and delirious energy. With the trademark brio, wit and authority that make him Britain’s favourite writer of narrative non-fiction, he brings to life a forgotten summer when America came of age, took centre stage, and changed the world.
What lights the spark that ignites a revolution?
What was it that, in 1775, provoked a group of merchants, farmers, artisans and mariners in the American colonies to unite and take up arms against the British government in pursuit of liberty?
Nathaniel Philbrick, the acclaimed historian and bestselling author of In the Heart of the Sea and The Last Stand, shines new and brilliant light on the momentous beginnings of the American Revolution, and those individuals – familiar and unknown, and from both sides – who played such a vital part in the early days of the conflict that would culminate in the defining Battle of Bunker Hill.
Written with passion and insight, even-handedness and the eloquence of a born storyteller, Bunker Hill brings to life the robust, chaotic and blisteringly real origins of America.
Once America's capitalist dream town, the Silicon Valley of the Jazz Age, Detroit became the country's greatest urban failure, having fallen the longest and the furthest. The city of Henry Ford, modernity, and Motown found itself blighted by riots, arson, unemployment, crime and corruption.
But what happens to a once-great place after it has been used up and discarded? Who stays there to try to make things work again? And what sorts of newcomers are drawn there?
Mark Binelli returned to his native Detroit to explore the city's swathes of abandoned buildings, miles of urban prairie, and streets filled with wild dogs, to tell the story of the new society emerging from the debris. Here he chronicles Detroit with its urban farms and vibrant arts scene, Detroit as a laboratory for the post-industrial, post-recession world, Detroit reimagined as a city for a new century.
The Bully Pulpit by Doris Kearns Goodwin - the new biography of Teddy Roosevelt from the bestselling author of Team of Rivals, the inspiration for Spielberg's Lincoln
Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of the acclaimed multi-million copy bestseller Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, now turns to the birth of America's Progressive Era - that heady, optimistic time when the 20th Century is fresh. Reform is in the air, and it is time to take on the robber barons and corrupt politicians who have brought the country to its knees.
The story is told through the close friendship between two Presidents: Theodore Roosevelt and his handpicked successor William Howard Taft. The decades-long intimacy strengthens both men as they reform America, breaking up monopolies, protecting the rights of labour, banning unsafe drugs and closing sweatshops.
Also at the heart of the story are the original 'muckrakers' - a brilliant group of investigative journalists at the celebrated magazine McClure's. They publish popular exposes of fraudulent railroads and millionaire senators, aiding Roosevelt in his quest for change and fairness.
As Roosevelt, Taft and the muckrakers confront corruption and expose exploitation, America is reborn.
This book is essential reading for fans of American history, and will be enjoyed by readers of Jon Snow, Jeremy Paxman and Robert Harris.
'(Praise for Team of Rivals:) A wonderful book ... a remarkable study in leadership' Barack Obama
'The most uplifting book that I have read in the last two decades. Sensational' Jon Snow
'I have not enjoyed a history book as much for years' Robert Harris, The Observer (Books of the Year)
'A fabulously engrossing, exciting narrative in the grand old style ... overflowing with colour and character' Dominic Sandbrook
Doris Kearns Goodwin is the doyenne of US presidential historians. She won the Pulitzer Prize in History in 1995 for No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II. She is also the author of the bestsellers Team of Rivals, Wait Till Next Year, The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys and Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream. She lives in Concord, Massachusetts, and with her husband, Richard Goodwin.
Updated edition of the authoritative single-volume biography of John F. Kennedy. Drawing upon first-hand sources and never-before-opened archives, prize-winning historian Robert Dallek reveals more than we ever knew about Jack Kennedy, forever changing the way we think about his life, his presidency and his legacy.
Dallek also discloses that, while labouring to present an image of robust good health, Kennedy was secretly in and out of hospitals throughout his life, soill that he was administered last rites on several occasions.
He never shies away from Kennedy's weaknesses, but also brilliantly explores his strengths. The result is a full portrait of a bold, brave and truly human John F. Kennedy.
The definitive biography of Jackie Kennedy, by Britain's best royal biographer
Jackie Kennedy was a twentieth-century icon of glamour, elegance and grace. As the beautiful young wife of President John F. Kennedy, she was adored, her style imitated across the world.
But beneath the perfection of her public life lay contradiction, passion, and, all to often, tragedy. Sarah Bradford's brilliant new biography not only gives a fascinating account of her time with JFK, but also of her life after his assassination in 1963, in all its colour and controversy.