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Afterwords: Stories and Reports from 9/11 and Beyond

by David Talbot

AFTER September 11, 2001, emotions couldn't be clearly defined. There were no WORDS strong enough to justify, avenge, explain, or express the sheer magnitude of this horrifyingly unique moment in history. In this remarkable anthology, compiled by Salon.com's award-winning editorial team, Rick Moody, Janet Fitch, Caroline Knapp, and Jeffrey Eugenides join many contemporary literary talents and reporters in giving a voice to the day that left a stunning roar of silence across America. Dread, fear, heroism, and dignity color these pages from eyewitness accounts of ordinary citizens turned rescue workers, to an escape from the World Trade Center, a report on everyday New Yorkers finding comfort in "terror sex," and stories of miracles in the madness -- like that of a blind man led by his seeing-eye dog down eighty-seven flights of stairs to safety. Afterwords also probes the aftermath of the attacks on the nation and the world's cultural, political, and social fabric through writing ranging from an in-depth interview with controversial social critic Noam Chomsky, to a female Pakistani-American journalist's meeting with a Taliban leader and his wives, and essays on how sheer horror gave way to heartening solidarity, macabre spectacle, and kitschy sentimentality. Immediate, raw, emotional, and empowering, this outstanding collection speaks brilliantly to the simple need to remember and comprehend what happened against that perfect blue sky on September 11, 2001. A portion of the royalties will be donated to the Twin Towers Fund and the Red Cross's Fund for Afghan Children.

Brothers: The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years

by David Talbot

For decades, books about John or Robert Kennedy have woven either a shimmering tale of Camelot gallantry or a tawdry story of runaway ambition and reckless personal behavior. But the real story of the Kennedys in the 1960s has long been submerged -- until now. In Brothers: The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years, David Talbot sheds a dramatic new light on the tumultuous inner life of the Kennedy presidency and its stunning aftermath. Talbot, the founder of Salon. com, has written a gripping political history that is sure to be one of the most talked-about books of the year. Brothers begins on the shattering afternoon of November 22, 1963, as a grief-stricken Robert Kennedy urgently demands answers about the assassination of his brother. Bobby's suspicions immediately focus on the nest of CIA spies, gangsters, and Cuban exiles that had long been plotting a violent regime change in Cuba. The Kennedys had struggled to control this swamp of anti-Castro intrigue based in southern Florida, but with little success. Brothers then shifts back in time, revealing the shadowy conflicts that tore apart the Kennedy administration, pitting the young president and his even younger brother against their own national security apparatus. The Kennedy brothers and a small circle of their most trusted advisors -- men like Theodore Sorensen, Robert McNamara, and Kenneth O'Donnell, who were so close the Kennedys regarded them as family -- repeatedly thwarted Washington's warrior caste. These hard-line generals and spymasters were hell-bent on a showdown with the Communist foe -- in Berlin, Laos, Vietnam, and especially Cuba. But the Kennedys continually frustrated their militaristic ambitions, pushing instead for a peaceful resolution to the Cold War. The tensions within the Kennedy administration were heading for an explosive climax, when a burst of gunfire in a sunny Dallas plaza terminated John F. Kennedy's presidency. Based on interviews with more than one hundred fifty people -- including many of the Kennedys' aging "band of brothers," whose testimony here might be their final word on this epic political story -- as well as newly released government documents, Brothers reveals the compelling, untold story of the Kennedy years, including JFK's heroic efforts to keep the country out of a cataclysmic war and Bobby Kennedy's secret quest to solve his beloved brother's murder. Bobby's subterranean search was a dangerous one and led, in part, to his own quest for power in 1968, in a passion-filled campaign that ended with his own murder. As Talbot reveals here, RFK might have been the victim of the same plotters he suspected of killing his brother. This is historical storytelling at its riveting best -- meticulously researched and movingly told. Brothers is a sprawling narrative about the clash of powerful men and the darker side of the Cold War -- a tale of tragic grandeur that is certain to change our understanding of the relentlessly fascinating Kennedy saga.

Season of the Witch

by David Talbot

In a kaleidoscopic narrative, bestselling author David Talbot recounts the gripping story of San Francisco in the turbulent years between 1967 and 1982--and of the extraordinary men and women who led to the city's ultimate rebirth and triumph. Season of the Witch is the first book to fully capture the dark magic of San Francisco in this breathtaking period, when the city radically changed itself--and then revolutionized the world. The cool gray city of love was the epicenter of the 1960s cultural revolution. But by the early 1970s, San Francisco's ecstatic experiment came crashing down from its starry heights. The city was rocked by savage murder sprees, mysterious terror campaigns, political assassinations, street riots, and finally a terrifying sexual epidemic. No other city endured so many calamities in such a short time span. David Talbot takes us deep into the riveting story of his city's ascent, decline, and heroic recovery. He draws intimate portraits of San Francisco's legendary demons and saviors: Charles Manson, Patty Hearst and the Symbionese Liberation Army, Jerry Garcia, Janis Joplin, Bill Graham, Herb Caen, the Cockettes, Harvey Milk, Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple, Joe Montana and the Super Bowl 49ers. He reveals how the city emerged from the trials of this period with a new brand of "San Francisco values," including gay marriage, medical marijuana, immigration sanctuary, universal health care, recycling, renewable energy, consumer safety, and a living wage mandate. Considered radical when they were first introduced, these ideas have become the bedrock of decent society in many parts of the country, and exemplify the ways that the city now inspires us toward a live-and-let-live tolerance, a shared sense of humanity, and an openness to change. As a new generation of activists and dreamers seeks its own path to a more enlightened future, Season of the Witch--with its epic tale of the wild and bloody birth of San Francisco values--offers both inspiration and cautionary wisdom.

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