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Handsome Johnny

Lee Server (Author)

'A smile can get you far, but a smile with a gun can get you further.'
- Al Capone

A man of singular influence in the American underworld, Johnny Rosselli's career flourished for half a century, from the bloody years of bootlegging in the Twenties - the last protégé of Al Capone - to the modern era of organised crime as a dominant corporate power.

The Mob's 'Man in Hollywood', Johnny introduced big-time crime to the movie industry, corrupting unions and robbing moguls in the boldest extortion plot in history. Meanwhile, he consolidated his empire by smoothly befriending studio bosses and seducing their biggest stars, including Marilyn Monroe.

In the 50s, Rosselli saw a new opportunity overseeing the birth and heyday of Las Vegas, and became the gambling mecca's behind-the-scenes boss, enjoying the Rat Pack night life with pals Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin.

Then, in the 60s, incredibly, he became the central figure in a bizarre plot involving the Kennedy Whitehouse, the CIA and an attempt to assassinate Castro.

Based on years of research, this utterly compelling, richly detailed page-turner takes you inside American organised crime at the highest level. A story of extreme violence and superstar glamour - with Handsome Johnny in both roles.

Leaders

Stanley McChrystal (Author) , Jeff Eggers (Author) , Jason Mangone (Author)

The bestselling author of Team of Teams dismantles the Great Man theory of leadership, by profiling leaders whose real stories defy their legends.

Retired four-star general Stan McChrystal has studied leadership his whole adult life, from his first day at West Point to his most recent work with the corporate clients of the McChrystal Group. In this follow-up to his bestsellers My Share of the Task and Team of Teams, McChrystal explores what leadership really means, debunking the many myths that have surrounded the concept. He focuses on thirteen great leaders, showing that the lessons we commonly draw from their lives are seldom the correct ones.

These include:

Founders: Walt Disney built his empire thinking he was a man of the people, but was actually a bit of a tyrant to the working man. Coco Chanel hid her humble background to pretend she was an aristocrat, but was obsessed with making clothes for the common people.

Zealots: Maximilien Robespierre whipped his revolutionaries into a frenzy through his writing, while Abu Musab Zarkawi moved on the front lines of the battlefield, winning over his followers through his personal charisma.

Powerbrokers: Margaret Thatcher and Boss Tweed, whose respective reigns depended on the networks they cultivated.

Other leaders profiled include geniuses Albert Einstein and Leonard Bernstein, reformers Martin Luther and Martin Luther King, Jr., and heroes Harriet Tubman and Zheng He.

Ultimately, McChrystal posits that different environments will require different leaders, and that followers will choose the leader they need. Aspiring leaders will be best served not by cultivating a standard set of textbook leadership qualities, but by learning to discern what is required in each situation.

Leadership

Doris Kearns Goodwin (Author)

In this culmination of five decades of acclaimed studies in presidential history, Doris Kearns Goodwin offers an illuminating exploration of the origin, uncertain growth, and exercise of fully developed leadership.

Are leaders born or made? Where does ambition come from? How does adversity affect the growth of leadership? Does the leader make the times or do the times make the leader?

In Leadership Goodwin draws upon four of the presidents she has studied - Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon B. Johnson - to show how they first recognized leadership qualities within themselves, and were recognized as leaders by others. By looking back to their first entry into public life, when their paths were filled with confusion, hope, and fear, we can share their struggles and follow their development into leaders.

Leadership tells the story of how they all collided with dramatic reversals that disrupted their lives and threatened to forever shatter their ambitions. Nonetheless, they all emerged fitted to confront the contours and dilemmas of their times.

No common pattern describes the trajectory of leadership. Although set apart in background, abilities and temperament, they shared a fierce ambition, a hunger to succeed beyond expectations. All four, at their best, were guided by a sense of moral purpose that led them at moments of great challenge to summon their talents to enlarge the opportunities and lives of others.

This seminal work provides a roadmap for aspiring and established leaders. In today's polarized world, these stories of authentic leadership in times of fracture and fear take on a singular urgency.

Brazil: A Biography

Heloisa Maria Murgel Starling (Author) , Lilia Moritz Schwarcz (Author)

Since Europeans first reached Brazil in 1500 it has been an unfailing source of extraordinary fascination. More than any other part of the 'New World' it displayed both the greatest beauty and grandeur and witnessed scenes of the most terrible European ferocity.

Brazil: A Biography, written by two of Brazil's leading historians and a bestseller in Brazil itself, is a remarkable attempt to convey the overwhelming diversity and challenges of this huge country from its origins to the 21st century - itself larger than the contiguous USA and still in some regions not fully mapped. The book's major themes are the near-continuous battles to create both political institutions and social frameworks that would allow stable growth, legal norms and protection for all its citizens. Brazil's failure to achieve these except in the very short term has been tragic, but even now it remains one of the world's great experiments - creative, harsh, unique and as compelling a story for its inhabitants as for outsiders.

Fantasyland

Kurt Andersen (Author)


You’re entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts

Fantasy is the USA’s primary product. 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. The freedom to invent and believe whatever the hell you like is, in some ways, an unwritten constitutional right. But, this do-your-own-thing freedom also is the driving credo of America's current transformation where the difference between opinion and fact is rapidly crumbling.

So how did we get to this weird pseudo-reality, where science and objective facts are dismissed in favour of opinions and wild speculation, or indeed, fantasies? The post truth, fake news, free-for-all mentality isn’t exactly a new phenomenon. 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.

Fantasyland is a journey that connects the dots between crazed franchises of true believers – a rich freak show tapestry from Mormons to Flat-Earthers and satanic panic, new age quacks to anti-vaxxers, conspiracy theorists of every stripe, creationists to climate change deniers, UFO-obsessives to gun-toting libertarians, showmen hucksters from P T Barnum to Trump himself, all topped off with a dangerous dose of anti-government paranoia and pseudoscience. Along the way, New York Times bestselling author Kurt Andersen has created a unique and raucous history of America and a new paradigm for understanding our post-factual world.

Black Klansman

Ron Stallworth (Author)

***ADAPTED AS A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE BY SPIKE LEE - WINNER OF THE GRAND PRIX AT CANNES FILM FESTIVAL 2018 ***

What happens when a black detective goes undercover in the KKK? An extraordinary true story.

In 1978, Ron Stallworth is the first black detective in the history of the Colorado Springs Police Department. In the local paper, he finds a classified ad for the Ku Klux Klan - and a P.O. box for interested enquiries.

All he's expecting are some racist brochures and a few scraps of information about the white nationalist terrorists in his community.

What he gets is a phone call inviting him to join the KKK.

So he does.

Launching an undercover investigation of incredible audacity, Ron recruits his partner Chuck to play the 'white' Ron Stallworth, while Stallworth himself talks to the Klan over the phone. During his months-long investigation, Stallworth sabotages cross burnings, exposes white supremacists in the military, and even manages to deceive the KKK "Grand Wizard" David Duke himself - dodging danger and reprisal at every turn...

Black Klansman is an amazing true story and a rollercoaster of a crime thriller; a searing and timely portrait of a divided America and the extraordinary heroes who dare to fight back.

God Save Texas

Lawrence Wright (Author)

'This is a funny, pointed love letter to Texas, at once elegiac and clear-eyed' Ben Macintyre, The Times

From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Looming Tower, God Save Texas is a journey through the most controversial state in America.

Texas is a Republican state in the heart of Trumpland that hasn't elected a Democrat to a statewide office in more than twenty years; but it is also a state in which minorities already form a majority (including the largest number of Muslim adherents in the United States). The cities are Democrat and among the most diverse in the nation. Oil is still king but Texas now leads California in technology exports and has an economy only somewhat smaller than Australia's.

Lawrence Wright has written an enchanting book about what is often seen as an unenchanting place. Having spent most of his life there, while remaining deeply aware of its oddities, Wright is as charmed by Texan foibles and landscapes as he is appalled by its politics and brutality. With its economic model of low taxes and minimal regulation producing both extraordinary growth and striking income disparities, Texas, Wright shows, looks a lot like the America that Donald Trump wants to create.

This profound portrait of the state, completed just as Texas battled to rebuild after the devastating storms of summer 2017, not only reflects the United States back as it is, but as it was and as it might be. As much the home of Roy Orbison and Willie Nelson as of J.R., Ross Perot and the Bush family, as filled with magical scenery as with desolate oil-fields and strip-malls, Texas is a bellwether, super-sized mass of contradictions: a life-long study.

Blood and Land

J.C.H. King (Author)

'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.

A Rumor Of War

Philip Caputo (Author)

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

Stamped from the Beginning

Ibram Kendi (Author)

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.

An Empire On The Edge

Nick Bunker (Author)

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.

Kissinger

Niall Ferguson (Author)

'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.

Willoughbyland

Matthew Parker (Author)

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 America

Geert Mak (Author) , Liz Waters (Translator)

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?

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin (Author)

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'.

The Power Broker

Robert A Caro (Author)

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.

On Slavery and Abolitionism

Sarah Grimke (Author) , Angelina Grimke (Author)

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.

JFK's Last Hundred Days

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

One Summer

Bill Bryson (Author)

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.

American Interior

Gruff Rhys (Author)

American Interior is a psychedelic historical travelogue from Welsh pop legend Gruff Rhys.

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.

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, Dangermouse, Sparklehorse, Mogwai and Simian Mobile Disco 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.

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