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When the Nazis invaded Hungary in 1944, they sent virtually the entire Jewish population to Auschwitz. A Jew and a medical doctor, Dr. Miklos Nyiszli was spared from death for a grimmer fate: to perform "scientific research" on his fellow inmates under the supervision of the infamous "Angel of Death": Dr. Josef Mengele. Nyiszli was named Mengele's personal research pathologist. Miraculously, he survived to give this terrifying and sobering account.
The extraordinary rags-to-riches tale of Olivier Baussan and the roadside soap stand that became L'Occitane, one of the world's most successful purveyors of natural fragrances. Founded in 1976 by Olivier Baussan, the now world-renowned fragrance company L'Occitane, "a woman of Provence" in Old French, was inspired by the essences of lavender and honeysuckle, rosemary, sage, and thyme indigenous to his childhood home in the south of France. In fact, it had been since the mid-1950s that Provence had been working its magic on the Baussan family, who left their urban life for a farm in Ganagobie when their son Olivier was only six months old.Blessed with a wonderfully acute sense of smell, Olivier eventually grew up to realize that he'd been born to distill and disseminate the many and varied perfumes of the region. His epiphany came when, at twenty-two, he found an abandoned still on the side of the road and bought it for a song. Using the countryside's natural ingredients, he began manufacturing shampoos, colognes, bath essences, and soaps. Starting with five employees-including Olivier's wife and mother-in-law-his fledgling company grew into a major business. Today, with hundreds of stores and thousands of employees worldwide, L'Occitane ranks as one of the world's most successful businesses-encapsulating a bit of paradise.
The 1990s have seen a resurgence of interest in the Marquis de Sade, with several biographies competing to put their version of his life story before the public. But Sadean scholar Richard Seaver takes us directly to the source, translating Sade's prison correspondence. Seaver's translations retain the aristocratic hauteur of Sade's prose, which still possesses a clarity that any reader can appreciate. "When will my horrible situation cease?" he wrote to his wife shortly after his incarceration began in 1777. "When in God's name will I be let out of the tomb where I have been buried alive? There is nothing to equal the horror of my fate!" But he was never reduced to pleading for long, and not always so solicitous of his wife's feelings; a few years later, he would write, "This morning I received a fat letter from you that seemed endless. Please, I beg of you, don't go on at such length: do you believe that I have nothing better to do than to read your endless repetitions?" For those interested in learning about the man responsible for some of the most infamous philosophical fiction in history, Letters from Prison is an indispensable collection.
The Long Voyage is Jorge Semprun's devastatingly honest and heart-breaking account of a young Spaniard captured fighting with the French Resistance, and the days and nights he spends in the company of 119 other men in a cattle truck that rolls slowly but inexorably towards Buchenwald. During the seemingly endless journey, he has conversations that range from his childhood to speculations about the death camps. When, at last the fantastic, Wagnerian gates to Buchenwald come into sight, the young Spaniard is left alone to face the camp. First published in 1963 in French, The Long Voyage won the prestigious Formentor Prize and is considered one of the classics of Holocaust literature.
The Marquis de Sade is known variously to history as "the Divine Marquis" (the Surrealists) and "that monster author" (Napoleon)because of the daring originality and scandalous nature of much of his writing. What is less known, or virtually forgotten, is that he also possessed a dark but undeniable sense of humor. Visible in even his most outrageous and somber publications, it burst into full bloom in his shorter works of fiction. The great virtue of this volume is that it reveals that lighter, comic side of Sade. He was a man obsessed, like many great writers, and his obsessions are still present here: his hatred of all things pretentious, his loathing of a corrupt judicial system, his damning of hypocrisy and false piety. One of the great anarchists of all time, he was nevertheless far from mad (as many pretended) and these works of fiction shed another light on this most feverish of minds. But however heavy the subject, The Mystified Magistrate is infused with a light touch; it is revealing but never offensive.
Soraya M.'s husband, Ghorban-Ali, couldn't afford to marry another woman. Rather than returning Soraya's dowry, as custom required before taking a second wife, he plotted with four friends and a counterfeit mullah to dispose of her. Together, they accused Soraya of adultery. Her only crime was cooking for a friend's widowed husband. Exhausted by a lifetime of abuse and hardship, Soraya said nothing, and the makeshift tribunal took her silence as a confession of guilt. They sentenced her to death by stoning: a punishment prohibited by Islam but widely practiced. Day by day-sometimes minute by minute-Sahebjam deftly recounts these horrendous events, tracing Soraya's life with searing immediacy, from her arranged marriage and the births of her children to her husband's increasing cruelty and her horrifying execution, where, by tradition, her father, husband, and sons hurled the first stones. A stark look at the intersection between culture and justice, this is one woman's story, but it stands for the stories of thousands of women who suffered-and continue to suffer-the same fate. It is a story that must be told.
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