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Napoleon fenced. So did Shakespeare, Karl Marx, Grace Kelly, and President Truman, who would cross swords with his daughter, Margaret, when she came home from school. Lincoln was a canny dueler. Igantius Loyala challenged a man to a duel for denying Christ's divinity (and won). Less successful, but no less enthusiastic, was Mussolini, who would tell his wife he was "off to get spaghetti," their code to avoid alarming the children. By the Sword is an epic history of sword fighting--a science, an art, and, for many, a religion that began at the dawn of civilization in ancient Egypt and has been an obsession for mankind ever since. With wit and insight, Richard Cohen gives us an engrossing history of the world via the sword. With a new Preface by the author.n as he is with the sword."-The New York Times"Irresistible . . . extraordinary . . . vivid and hugely enjoyable."-The Economist"A virtual encyclopedia on the subject of sword fighting."-San Francisco Chronicle"Literate, learned, and, beg pardon, razor-sharp . . . a pleasure for practitioners, and a rewarding entertainment for the armchair swashbuckler."-Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
In the grand tradition of the scholar-adventurer, acclaimed author Richard Cohen takes us around the world to illuminate our relationship with the star that gives us life. Drawing on more than seven years of research, he reports from locations in eighteen different countries. As he soon discovers, the Sun is present everywhere--in mythology, language, religion, politics, sciences, art, literature, and medicine, even in the ocean's depths. For some ancient worshippers, our star was a man abandoned by his spouse because his brightness made her weary. The early Christians appropriated the Sun's imagery, with the cross becoming an emblem of the star and its rays, and the halo a variation of that. Einstein helped replicate the Sun's power to create the atomic bomb, while Richard Wagner had Tristan inveigh against daylight as the enemy of romantic love. In this splendidly illustrated volume packed with captivating facts, extraordinary myths, and surprising anecdotes, Cohen not only explains the star that so inspires us, but shows how multifacted our relationship with it has been--and continues to be. tide, makes us all minutely taller); extraordinary myths (in India, just a few years ago, pregnant women were still being kept indoors during an eclipse, for fear their babies would be born blind or with cleft palates); and surprising anecdotes (during the Vietnam War, a large number of mines dropped into Haiphong harbor blew up simultaneously in response to a large solar flare), this splendidly illustrated volume is erudite, informative, and supremely entertaining. It not only explains the star that so inspires us, but shows how complex our relations with it have been--and continue to be.From the Hardcover edition.
For anyone who has ever identified with a hero or heroine, been seduced by a strong opening sentence, or been powerfully moved by a story's end, How to Write Like Tolstoy is a thought-provoking journey inside the minds of the world's most accomplished storytellers, from Shakespeare to Stephen King. "I have tried, as far as possible using the words of the authors themselves, to explain their craft, aiming to take readers on a journey into the concerns, techniques, tricks, flaws, and, occasionally, obsessions of our most luminous writers."--from the Preface Behind every acclaimed work of literature is a trove of heartfelt decisions. The best authors put painstaking--sometimes obsessive--effort into each element of their stories, from plot and character development to dialogue and point of view. What made Nabokov choose the name Lolita? Why did Fitzgerald use first-person narration in The Great Gatsby? How did Kerouac, who raged against revision, finally come to revise On the Road? Veteran editor and teacher Richard Cohen draws on his vast reservoir of a lifetime's reading and his insight into what makes good prose soar. Here are Gabriel García Márquez's thoughts on how to start a novel ("In the first paragraph you solve most of the problems with your book"); Virginia Woolf offering her definition of style ("It is all rhythm. Once you get that, you can't use the wrong words"); and Vladimir Nabokov on the nature of fiction ("All great novels are great fairy tales"). Cohen has researched the published works and private utterances of our greatest authors to discover the elements that made their prose memorable. The result is a unique exploration of the act and art of writing that enriches our experience of reading both the classics and the best modern fiction. Evoking the marvelous, the famous, and the irreverent, he reveals the challenges that even the greatest writers faced--and shows us how they surmounted them. Advance praise for How to Write Like Tolstoy "This book is a wry, critical friend to both writer and reader. It is filled with cogent examples and provoking statements. You will agree or quarrel with each page, and be a sharper writer and reader by the end."--Hilary MantelFrom the Hardcover edition.
A very personal journey through Jewish history (and Cohen's own), and a passionate defense of Israel's legitimacy.<P> Richard Cohen's book is part reportage, part memoir--an intimate journey through the history of Europe's Jews, culminating in the establishment of Israel. A veteran, syndicated columnist for The Washington Post, Cohen began this journey as a skeptic, wondering in a national column whether the creation of a Jewish State was "a mistake." <P> As he recounts, he delved into his own and Jewish history and fell in love with the story of the Jews and Israel, a twice-promised land--in the Bible by God, and by the world to the remnants of Europe's Jews. This promise, he writes, was made in atonement not just for the Holocaust, but for the callous indifference that preceded World War II and followed it--and that still threatens.<P> Cohen's account is full of stories--from the nineteenth century figures who imagined a Zionist country, including Theodore Herzl, who thought it might resemble Vienna with its cafes and music; to what happened in twentieth century Poland to his own relatives; and to stories of his American boyhood. <P> Cohen describes his relationship with Israel as a sort of marriage: one does not always get along but one is faithful.
Back in the twenties and thirties in Brooklyn, there lived a breed of men who now exist only in legend and in the memories of a few old-timers. These men were Jewish gangsters, fearless thugs who worked for their nicknames: Buggsy Goldstein, Kid Twist Reles, Pittsburgh Phil Strauss. Growing up in Brownsville, they made their way from street fights to underworld power, becoming the execution squad for a national crime syndicate. They were known as Murder Inc. , a corporation dealing in death, which did for organized crime what Henry Ford did for the automobile. "Tough Jews" is the first in-depth portrait of these men, a thrilling glimpse of street-level thugs, the muscle that made possible the success of gangster statesmen such as Bugsy Siegel, Meyer Lansky, and Lucky Luciano. Never before have these men been handled with such wit, a clear, comic eye that sees beyond the blood to encounter each gangsters matzo-ball heart. For Rich Cohen, who grew up in suburban Illinois in the 1980s taunted by the stereotype of Jews as book-reading, college-attending rule followers, the very idea of the Jewish gangster was a relief. The words "Jewish gangster" seemed to suggest an alternative, a future shot full of holes. For once, a Jew in jail did not have to mean white collar crime. Cohen learned about the gangsters from his father, Herb Cohen, author of "You Can Negotiate Anything, " and his fathers friends from the old neighborhood in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, including talk-show host Larry King. At breakfast, after touching on Jewish basketball stars and boxers, these men would speak of Jewish gangsters, corner boys who took grief from no one. Cohen, taken with his fathers fixation on these elusive figures, has gone back -- interviewing survivors, prosecutors, and relatives, wading through police records and court reports -- to excavate the real stories behind the legends, the rise, the fall, and the mystery: "Where did the tough Jews go?"
This book offers a wide variety of stories to help students improve their comprehensive skills.
Writer's Mind: Crafting Fiction tells you in an entertaining yet authoritative manner all about the creative writing process: from imagining storylines to writing a first draft to publication.
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