114 results 21-40
In American Smoke, Iain Sinclair hits the road to America in the tracks of the Beats.
On the trail of the American Beats, Iain Sinclair makes a delirious and perhaps ill-fated expedition in the footsteps of Malcolm Lowry, Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs, Charles Olson and Gary Snyder. It is a journey in search of literary ghosts behind mirages of volcanoes and the Old West. In which rumours vie with false memories and unreliable reports to steer our guide from one strange adventure into another. It is an odyssey in which the beginning offers no clues as to where it may end.
'A transatlantic odyssey . . . grippingly haunted' Observer
'A challenging, maddening, fascinating journey . . . enjoy Sinclair's poetic language and subtly warped sense of humour. Rich and engrossing' Metro
'Sit back and feel the invigorating pulse of beautifully crafted prose . . . wonderful' Daily Telegraph
'Iain Sinclair has gone from cult author to national treasure' Robert Macfarlane
Iain Sinclair is the author of Downriver (winner of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and the Encore Award); Landor's Tower; White Chappell, Scarlet Tracings; Lights Out for the Territory; Lud Heat; Rodinsky's Room (with Rachel Lichtenstein); Radon Daughters; London Orbital, Dining on Stones, Hackney, that Rose-Red Empire and Ghost Milk.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
In 1919, Nancy Astor became the first woman to take a seat in parliament.
She was not what had been expected. Far from a virago who had suffered for the cause of female suffrage, she was already near the centre of the ruling society that had for so long resisted the political upheavals of the early twentieth century, having married into the family of one of the richest men in the world. She was not even British. She would prove to be a trailblazer and beacon for the generations of women who would follow her into Parliament.
This new biography charts Nancy Astor's incredible story, from penury in the American South, to a lifestyle of the most immense riches, from the luxury of Edwardian England, through the 'Jazz Age', and on towards the Second World War: a world of great country estates, lavish town houses and the most sumptuous entertainments, peopled by the most famous and powerful names of the age. But hers was not only the life of power, glamour and easy charm: it was also defined by principles and bravery, by war and sacrifice, by love and bitter disputes.
With glorious, page-turning brio, Adrian Fort has brought to life this restless, controversial American dynamo, an unforgettable woman who left a deep and lasting imprint on the political life of our nation.
For decades, Colombia was the 'narcostate'. Now it's seen as one of the rising stars of the global economy. Where does the truth lie? How did a land likened to paradise by the first conquistadores become a byword for hell on earth? And how is it rebuilding itself after decades of violence?
Writer and journalist Tom Feiling has journeyed throughout Colombia, down roads that were until recently too dangerous to travel, talking to people from former guerrilla fighters to nomadic tribesmen and millionaires. Vital, shocking, wry and never simplistic, Short Walks from Bogota unpicks the tangled fabric of Colombia to create a stunning work of reportage, history and travel writing.
Books of the Year 2012 Boyd Tonkin, The Independent
'Creates a portrait of Colombia that is perceptive, unsensational, and full of humanity ... Feiling is a brilliant reporter, lucid, unflinching, morally engaged, and with an occasional deadpan sense of humour .. one of the most consistently intelligent and compelling books to have appeared on any South American country in recent years' Michael Jacobs, Independent
'Tom Feiling takes us on an enlightening journey through a changing country that few understand' Rachel Aspden, Observer
'A deeply political account of one man's journey to the violent heart of modern, rural, Colombia ... a must read' Kevin Howlett, Colombia Politics
'Feiling... venture[s] into areas that have been off limits for decades ... the sense of a vibrant nation worth discovering peeks out' Siobhan Murphy, Metro
'The best British travel writers like Norman Lewis or Bruce Chatwin give the reader more than simple travellers' tales. Feiling is of their company ... a brilliant, penetrating and highly readable account' Robert Carver, Spectator
Some of the best insights in the book come from the people Feiling meets, and memorably portrays ... a well-written, thoughtful book David Gallagher, Times Literary Supplement
Dramatic and captivating Wanderlust
'Elegantly written and knowledgeable. Feiling writes with the eye of a seasoned journalist and the style of a travel writer' Carl Wilkinson, Financial Times
Tom Feiling spent a year living and working in Colombia before making Resistencia: Hip-Hop in Colombia, which won numerous awards at film festivals around the world, and was broadcast in four countries. In 2003 he became Campaigns Director for the TUC's Justice for Colombia campaign, which organizes for human rights in Colombia. His first book was The Candy Machine: How Cocaine Took Over The World, which was based on over sixty interviews with people involved in all aspects of the cocaine business and the 'war on drugs,' and was published by Penguin in 2009.
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.
'This is not history for history's sake, however – this is the history of our present and future, long beyond cold war, into war on terror, war on drugs' Ed Vulliamy, Guardian
The Untold History of the United States is filmmaker Oliver Stone and historian Peter Kuznick’s riveting landmark account of the rise and decline of the American empire – the most powerful and dominant nation the world has ever seen. Probing the dark corners of the administrations of 17 presidents, from Woodrow Wilson to Barack Obama, they dare to ask just how far the US has drifted from its founding democratic ideals.
Beginning with the bloody suppression of the Filipino struggle for independence and spanning the two World Wars, it documents how US administrations have repeatedly intervened in conflicts on foreign soil, taking part in covert operations and wars in Latin American, Asia and the Middle East. At various times it has overthrown elected leaders in favour of right-wing dictators, for both economic and political gain.
Examining America’s atomic history, Stone and Kuznick argue that the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were militarily unnecessary and morally indefensible. They show how the United States has repeatedly brandished nuclear threats and come terrifyingly close to war. They expose how US presidents have trampled on the US constitution and international law and lay bare the recent transformation of the United States into a national security state.
Using the latest research and recently declassified records, The Untold History builds a meticulously documented and shocking picture of the American empire, showing how it has determined the course of world events for the interests of the few across the twentieth century and beyond.
He knew nothing of celestial navigation or of the existence of the Pacific Ocean. He was a self-promoting and ambitious entrepreneur. His maps were a hybrid of fantasy and delusion. When he did make land, he enslaved the populace he found, encouraged genocide, and polluted relations between peoples. He ended his career in near lunacy.
But Columbus had one asset that made all the difference, an inborn sense of the sea, of wind and weather, and of selecting the optimal course to get from A to B. Laurence Bergreen's energetic and bracing book gives the whole Columbus and most importantly, the whole of his career, not just the highlight of 1492. Columbus undertook three more voyages between 1494 and 1504, each designed to demonstrate that he could sail to China within a matter of weeks and convert those he found there to Christianity. By their conclusion, Columbus was broken in body and spirit, a hero undone by the tragic flaw of pride. If the first voyage illustrates the rewards of exploration, this book shows how the subsequent voyages illustrate the costs - political, moral, and economic.
Published: 28 Feb 2013
Indian Peter is the remarkable story of Peter Williamson, who, in 1743 at the age of 13, was snatched from an Aberdeen quayside and transported to the burgeoning American colonies to be sold into indentured servitude. Unlike many others who found themselves in similar circumstances, Peter was fortunate to be bought by a humane man who left him money when he died, enabling him to buy his own farm after marrying.
According to Peter's own account, his farm was attacked in 1754, during what became known as the French and Indian War, and he was captured by the Indians, who forced him to travel with them as a slave. After escaping, he joined the British Army to fight the French and their Indian allies but his regiment was forced to surrender and he was taken to Canada as a prisoner of war.
When he was eventually freed, Peter made his way back to Scotland and tracked down the men who were behind his initial kidnapping. He accused them publicly and took them to court in a landmark case that exposed the scandal of slave trading.
Once settled in Edinburgh, Peter became a publican, writer, publisher and entrepreneur. He developed Edinburgh's first Penny Post system, launched a weekly magazine and shamelessly exploited his experiences for profit.
Brimming with action and adventure, Indian Peter is a true-life tale of abduction, war and courtroom drama. It is an inspiring story of courage, fortitude and one man's determination to survive against seemingly insurmountable odds.
Published: 14 Sep 2012
Berlin,1933. William E. Dodd, a mild-mannered academic from Chicago, has to his own and everyone else's surprise, become America's first ambassador to Hitler's Germany, in a year that proves to be a turning point in history.
Dodd and his family, notably his vivacious daughter, Martha, observe at first-hand the many changes - some subtle, some disturbing, and some horrifically violent - that signal Hitler's consolidation of power. Dodd has little choice but to associate with key figures in the Nazi party, his increasingly concerned cables make little impact on an indifferent U.S. State Department, while Martha is drawn to the Nazis and their vision of a 'New Germany' and has a succession of affairs with senior party players, including first chief of the Gestapo, Rudolf Diels.
But as the year darkens, Dodd and his daughter find their lives transformed and any last illusion they might have about Hitler are shattered by the violence of the 'Night of the Long Knives' in the summer of 1934 that established him as supreme dictator. Suffused with the tense atmosphere of the times, and with brilliant portraits of Hitler, Goebbels, Goering and Himmler amongst others, Erik Larson's new book sheds unique light on events as they unfold, resulting in an unforgettable, addictively readable work of narrative history.
Whether you know him as El Amigo, the Banana Man, the Gringo, or simply Z - whether you even know him at all - Sam Zemurray lived one of the greatest untold American stories of the last hundred years.
A tough, uneducated Russian Jew who found himself and his fortune in turn-of-the-century New Orleans, Zemurray built a fruit-selling empire hustling rotting fruit to market to eke out the slimmest profit, to eventually become a backchannel kingmaker and capitalist revolutionary. The Fish That Ate the Whale spans the transition from Old-World business to New-: from privateer adventurers seeking fortunes in remote frontiers, to buccaneers of high finance and wars fought with media, no-bid contracts, and necessary illusions.
Part of what makes this book so remarkable - and its dubious hero so compelling - is the almost invisible ease with which Cohen's threads intertwine to create a larger pattern that seems so obvious once you step back to see it. Z's story spans the birth of modern foreign relations, the creation of the CIA, smuggling dispossessed Jews out of Europe, the invention of Israel, corporate espionage, the Bay of Pigs, political assassination, and the unspoken motives of the Cold War. It is a twentieth-century epic, and standing at its core is a man unlike any we've seen before or since, who, for good or ill, looked at what was, but saw only what was possible.
Published: 19 Jul 2012
Published: 31 May 2012
All-powerful, brilliant, decisive, ruthlessly effective ... this is the image of the CIA as portrayed in countless films and novels. It is wrong.
This shocking book, based on thousands of declassified documents and interviews with agents at all levels, shows the reality behind the glamorous myth: a blundering, chaotic and dangerously incompetent organization, so ineffective it was nicknamed 'Can't Identify Anything' by Nato forces. In a story of botched coups, missed targets, lost operatives and fatal errors, Tim Weiner shows how the CIA now poses a threat not only to the security of the US, but the world.
The Atlantic and its Enemies is Norman Stone's personal, uncompromising and provocative history of how the West 'won' the Cold War.
For decades after the end of the Second World War, most of the globe either laboured under Communist rule or else was lost in a violent stagnancy that seemed doomed to permanence. For every Atlantic success there seemed to be a dozen Communist or Third World successes, as the USSR and its proxies, whether in Berlin, Cuba, Vietnam or China, crushed dissent and humiliated the United States on both military and cultural grounds.
Then, suddenly, the Atlantic won - economically, ideologically, militarily - with astonishing speed and comprehensiveness.
With wit and brio, Norman Stone's The Atlantic and its Enemies offers a unique perspective on events, from Vietnam to glasnost, and draws on his own experiences - such as his time in a Slovak prison - to show both the tragedy and the absurdity of the struggle that divided the world for over forty years.
'Opinionated, mischievous, enthralling ... an exhilarating read'
Boyd Tonkin, Independent
'Lively, idiosyncratic, rollicking'
Geoffrey Wheatcroft, Observer
'Masterly ... the one book that anyone who wants to understand the Cold War must read'
John Gray, New Statesman
'A swashbuckling survey of the cold war'
Mark Mazower, Financial Times
'[Stone] has a terrific eye for detail, bringing to life everything from the ruins of Germany to Ronald Reagan's White House with a wonderfully waspish turn of phrase'
Norman Stone is one of Britain's most celebrated historians. He is the author of The Eastern Front, 1914-1917, Hitler: An Introduction, Europe Transformed and World War One: A Short History.
The twentieth century has been called 'the American Century'. Not since the days of the Roman emperors has there been such a succession of rulers holding the fate of the world in their hands. Now, award-winning biographer Nigel Hamilton gives us the lives of the twelve men, from Franklin D. Roosevelt to George W. Bush, who presided over America's imperial fortunes - the good, the bad and the truly awful.
How did these American Caesars reach the White House? What were the challenges they faced when they got there and how did they meet them? And who were these men in their private lives?
Compulsively readable, packed with unforgettable characters as well as stories, lessons and revelations, American Caears is essential reading for our times.