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The intrepid Professor Lindenbrock embarks upon the strangest expedition of the nineteenth century: a journey down an extinct Icelandic volcano to the Earth's very core. In his quest to penetrate the planet's primordial secrets, the geologist--together with his quaking nephew Axel and their devoted guide, Hans--discovers an astonishing subterranean menagerie of prehistoric proportions. Verne's imaginative tale is at once the ultimate science fiction adventure and a reflection on the perfectibility of human understanding and the psychology of the questor. As David Brin notes in his Introduction, though Verne never knew the term "science fiction," Journey to the Centre of the Earth is "inarguably one of the wellsprings from which it all began."From the Trade Paperback edition.
Here is the first panoptic history of the long struggle between the Christian West and Islam.In this dazzlingly written, acutely nuanced account, Andrew Wheatcroft tracks a deep fault line of animosity between civilizations. He begins with a stunning account of the Battle of Lepanto in 1571, then turns to the main zones of conflict: Spain, from which the descendants of the Moors were eventually expelled; the Middle East, where Crusaders and Muslims clashed for years; and the Balkans, where distant memories spurred atrocities even into the twentieth century. Throughout, Wheatcroft delves beneath stereotypes, looking incisively at how images, ideas, language, and technology (from the printing press to the Internet), as well as politics, religion, and conquest, have allowed each side to demonize the other, revive old grievances, and fuel across centuries a seemingly unquenchable enmity. Finally, Wheatcroft tells how this fraught history led to our present maelstrom. We cannot, he argues, come to terms with today's perplexing animosities without confronting this dark past.From the Hardcover edition.
Shocking his stodgy colleagues at the exclusive Reform Club, enigmatic Englishman Phileas Fogg wagers his fortune, undertaking an extraordinary and daring enterprise: to circumnavigate the globe in eighty days. With his French valet Passepartout in tow, Verne's hero traverses the far reaches of the earth, all the while tracked by the intrepid Detective Fix, a bounty hunter certain he is on the trail of a notorious bank robber. Set from the text of George M. Towle's original 1873 translation, this Modern Library Paperback Classic of Verne's adventure novel comes vividly alive, brilliantly reﬂecting on time, space, and one man's struggle to reach beyond the bounds of both science and society.From the Trade Paperback edition.
A major work of German romanticism in a translation that is acknowledged as the definitive English language version. The Vintage Classics edition also includes NOVELLA, Goethe's poetic vision of an idyllic pastoral society.From the Trade Paperback edition.
Selected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best novels of all timeRudyard Kipling's Kim is the tale of an Irish orphan raised as an Indian vagabond on the rough streets of colonial Lahore. Young Kimball O'Hara's coming of age takes place in a world of high adventure, mystic quests, and secret games of espionage played out between the Russians and the British in the mountain passages of Asia. Kim is torn between his allegiance to the ascetic lama who becomes his beloved mentor and the temptations of those who want to recruit him as a spy in the "great game" of imperial conflict. In a series of thrilling escapades, he crisscrosses India on missions both spiritual and military before the two forces in his life converge in a dramatic climax in the high Himalayas. Published in 1901, after its author had permanently moved away from India, Kipling's masterpiece is marked by a maturity of perspective on the land of his birth, combined with breathtakingly brilliant descriptions of the fascinating lost world of the British Raj. Kim has enthralled generations of readers both by the exuberance of its storytelling and its vital and unforgettable portrait of the India of bazaars and sacred rivers, holy men and rogues, ancient customs and colonial society.
The Wrong Side of Paris, the final novel in Balzac's The Human Comedy, is the compelling story of Godefroid, an abject failure at thirty, who seeks refuge from materialism by moving into a monastery-like lodging house in the shadows of Notre-Dame. Presided over by Madame de La Chanterie, a noblewoman with a tragic past, the house is inhabited by a remarkable band of men--all scarred by the tumultuous aftermath of the French Revolution--who have devoted their lives to performing anonymous acts of charity. Intrigued by the Order of the Brotherhood of Consolation and their uplifting dedication to virtuous living, Godefroid strives to follow their example. He agrees to travel--incognito--to a Parisian slum to save a noble family from ruin. There he meets a beautiful, ailing Polish woman who lives in great luxury, unaware that just outside her bedroom door her own father and son are suffering in dire poverty. By proving himself worthy of the Brotherhood, Godefroid finds his own spiritual redemption.This vivid portrait of the underbelly of nineteenth-century Paris, exuberantly rendered by Jordan Stump, is the first major translation in more than a century of Balzac's forgotten masterpiece L'Envers de l'histoire contemporaine. Featuring an illuminating Introduction by Adam Gopnik, this original Modern Library edition also includes explanatory notes.From the Hardcover edition.
An End to Evil charts the agenda for what's next in the war on terrorism, as articulated by David Frum, former presidential speechwriter and bestselling author of The Right Man, and Richard Perle, former assistant secretary of defense and one of the most influential foreign-policy leaders in Washington. This world is an unsafe place for Americans--and the U.S. government remains unready to defend its people. In An End to Evil, David Frum and Richard Perle sound the alert about the dangers around us: the continuing threat from terrorism, the crisis with North Korea, the aggressive ambitions of China. Frum and Perle provide a detailed, candid account of America's vulnerabilities: a military whose leaders resist change, intelligence agencies mired in bureaucracy, diplomats who put friendly relations with their foreign colleagues ahead of the nation's interests. Perle and Frum lay out a bold program to defend America--and to win the war on terror. Among the topics this book addresses: * why the United States risks its security if it submits to the authority of the United Nations * why France and Saudi Arabia have to be treated as adversaries, not allies, in the war on terror * why the United States must take decisive action against Iran--now* what to do in North Korea if negotiations fail* why everything you read in the newspapers about the Israeli-Arab dispute is wrong * how our government must be changed if we are to fight the war on terror to victory--not just stalemate * where the next great terror threat is coming from--and what we can do to protect ourselves An End to Evil will define the conservative point of view on foreign policy for a new generation--and shape the agenda for the 2004 presidential-election year and beyond. With a keen insiders' perspective on how our leaders are confronting--or not confronting--the war on terrorism, David Frum and Richard Perle make a convincing argument for why the toughest line is the safest line.From the Hardcover edition.
For the first time, the inside story of the brilliant American engineer who defeated Enigma and the Nazi code-mastersMuch has been written about the success of the British "Ultra" program in cracking the Germans' Enigma code early in World War II, but few know what really happened in 1942, when the Germans added a fourth rotor to the machine that created the already challenging naval code and plunged Allied intelligence into darkness. Enter one Joe Desch, an unassuming but brilliant engineer at the National Cash Register Company in Dayton, Ohio, who was given the task of creating a machine to break the new Enigma settings. It was an enterprise that rivaled the Manhattan Project for secrecy and complexity-and nearly drove Desch to a breakdown. Under enormous pressure, he succeeded in creating a 5,000-pound electromechanical monster known as the Desch Bombe, which helped turn the tide in the Battle of the Atlantic-but not before a disgruntled co-worker attempted to leak information about the machine to the Nazis.After toiling anonymously-it even took his daughter years to learn of his accomplishments-Desch was awarded the National Medal of Merit, the country's highest civilian honor. In The Secret in Building 26, the entire thrilling story of the final triumph over Enigma is finally told.From the Trade Paperback edition.
"Since the first navy frogmen crawled onto the beaches of Normandy, no SEAL has ever surrendered," writes Chuck Pfarrer. "No SEAL has ever been captured, and not one teammate or body has ever been left in the field. This legacy of valor is unmatched in modern warfare."Warrior Soul is a book about the warrior spirit, and it takes the reader all over the world. Former Navy SEAL Chuck Pfarrer recounts some of his most dangerous assignments: On a clandestine reconnaissance mission on the Mosquito Coast, his recon team plays a deadly game of cat and mouse with a Nicaraguan patrol boat. Cut off on the streets of Beirut, the author's SEAL detachment must battle snipers on the Green Line. In the mid-Atlantic, Pfarrer's unit attempts to retrieve--or destroy--the booster section of a Trident ballistic missile before it can be recovered by a Russian spy trawler. On a runway in Sicily, his assault element surrounds an Egyptian airliner carrying the Achille Lauro hijackers.These are only a few of the riveting stories of combat patrol, reconnaissance missions, counter-terrorist operations, tragedies, and victories in Warrior Soul that illustrate the SEAL maxim "The person who will not be defeated cannot be defeated."From the Hardcover edition.
In 336 b.c. Philip of Macedonia was assassinated and his twenty-year-old son, Alexander, inherited his kingdom. Immediately quelling rebellion, Alexander extended his father's empire through-out the Middle East and into parts of Asia, fulﬁlling the soothsayer Aristander's prediction that the new king "should perform acts so important and glorious as would make the poets and musicians of future ages labour and sweat to describe and celebrate him." The Life of Alexander the Great is one of the ﬁrst surviving attempts to memorialize the achievements of this legendary king, remembered today as the greatest military genius of all time. This exclusive Modern Library edition, excerpted from Plutarch's Lives, is a riveting tale of honor, power, scandal, and bravery written by the most eminent biographer of the ancient world.From the Trade Paperback edition.
CodeNotes provides the most succinct, accurate, and speedy way for a developer to ramp up on a new technology or language. Unlike other programming books, CodeNotes drills down to the core aspects of a technology, focusing on the key elements needed in order to understand it quickly and implement it immediately. It is a unique resource for developers, filling the gap between comprehensive manuals and pocket references. CodeNotes for C# illustrates Microsoft's new language for the . NET platform, emphasizing syntax features and object-oriented concepts. Major capabilities of the . NET platform, including the Common Language Runtime (CLR), Base Class Libraries (BCL), and Assemblies, are also covered, as are popular . NET services such as ADO. NET, web services, and ASP. NET. This book is aimed at the experienced developer (Java, VB, C++, etc. ) who wants to learn the C# language and evaluate its new features. This edition of CodeNotes includes: * A global overview of this technology and explanation of what problems it can be used to solve * Real-world examples * "How and Why" sections that provide hints, tricks, workarounds, and tips on what should be taken advantage of or avoided * Instructions and classroom-style tutorials throughout from expert trainers and software developers
An anthology of the world's best literary espionage, selected by a contemporary master of the genre, Alan Furst.Here is an extraordinary collection of work from some of the finest novelists of the twentieth century. Inspired by the politics of tyranny or war, each of these writers chose the base elements of spy fiction--highly evolved spy fiction--as the framework for a literary novel. Thus Alan Furst offers a diverse array of selections that combine raw excitement and intellectual sophistication in an expertly guided tour of the dark world of clandestine conflict.These are not just stories of professional intelligence officers. We meet diplomats, political police, agents provocateurs, secret operatives, resistance fighters, and assassins--players in the Great Game, or victims of the Cold War. The Book of Spies brings us the aristocratic intrigues of The Scarlet Pimpernel, in which French émigrés duel with Robespierre's secret service; the savage political realities of the 1930s in Eric Ambler's classic A Coffin for Dimitrios; the ordinary citizens (well, almost) of John le Carré's The Russia House, who are drawn into Cold War spy games; and the 1950s Vietnam of Graham Greene's The Quiet American, with its portrait of American idealism and duplicity. Drawing on acknowledged classics and rediscovered treasures, Alan Furst's The Book of Spies delivers literate entertainment and excitement on every page.From the Hardcover edition.
In The Threatening Storm, Kenneth M. Pollack, one of the world's leading experts on Iraq, provides a masterly insider's perspective on the crucial issues facing the United States as it moves toward a new confrontation with Saddam Hussein.For the past fifteen years, as an analyst on Iraq for the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Council, Kenneth Pollack has studied Saddam as closely as anyone else in the United States. In 1990, he was one of only three CIA analysts to predict the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. As the principal author of the CIA's history of Iraqi military strategy and operations during the Gulf War, Pollack gained rare insight into the methods and workings of what he believes to be the most brutal regime since Stalinist Russia.Examining all sides of the debate and bringing a keen eye to the military and geopolitical forces at work, Pollack ultimately comes to this controversial conclusion: through our own mistakes, the perfidy of others, and Saddam's cunning, the United States is left with few good policy options regarding Iraq. Increasingly, the option that makes the most sense is for the United States to launch a full-scale invasion, eradicate Saddam's weapons of mass destruction, and rebuild Iraq as a prosperous and stable society--for the good of the United States, the Iraqi people, and the entire region.Pollack believed for many years that the United States could prevent Saddam from threatening the stability of the Persian Gulf and the world through containment--a combination of sanctions and limited military operations. Here, Pollack explains why containment is no longer effective, and why other policies intended to deter Saddam ultimately pose a greater risk than confronting him now, before he gains possession of nuclear weapons and returns to his stated goal of dominating the Gulf region. "It is often said that war should be employed only in the last resort," Pollack writes. "I reluctantly believe that in the case of the threat from Iraq, we have come to the last resort."Offering a view of the region that has the authority and force of an intelligence report, Pollack outlines what the leaders of neighboring Arab countries are thinking, what is necessary to gain their support for an invasion, how a successful U.S. operation would be mounted, what the likely costs would be, and how Saddam might react. He examines the state of Iraq today--its economy, its armed forces, its political system, the status of its weapons of mass destruction as best we understand them, and the terrifying security apparatus that keeps Saddam in power. Pollack also analyzes the last twenty years of relations between the United States and Iraq to explain how the two countries reached the unhappy standoff that currently prevails.Commanding in its insights and full of detailed information about how leaders on both sides will make their decisions, The Threatening Storm is an essential guide to understanding what may be the crucial foreign policy challenge of our time.From the Hardcover edition.
A major new translation of a forgotten classicParis, 1793, the onset of the Terror. Brave Republican Maurice rescues a mys-terious and beautiful woman from an angry mob and is unknowingly drawn into a secret Royalist plot--a plot revolving around the imprisoned Queen of France, Marie Antoinette, and her enigmatic and fearless champion, the Knight of Maison-Rouge. Full of surprising twists, breakneck adventure, conspiracies, swordplay, romance, and heroism, The Knight of Maison-Rouge is an exhilarating tale of selflessness, love, and honor under the shadow of the guillotine. Dumas here is at the very height of his powers, and with this first and only modern translation, readers can once again ride with the Knight of Maison-Rouge.From the Hardcover edition.
Bill Clinton, forty-second president of the United States, is the quintessential baby boomer: on the one hand blessed with a near-genius IQ, on the other, beset by character flaws that made his presidency a veritable soap opera of high ideals, distressing incompetence, model financial stewardship, and domestic misbehavior. In an era of cultural civil war, the Clinton administration fed the public an almost daily diet of scandal and misfortune.Who is Bill Clinton, though, and how did this baby-boom saga begin? Clinton's upbringing in Arkansas and his student years at Georgetown, Oxford, and Yale universities help us to see his life not only as a personal story but as the story of modern America. Behind the closed doors of the house on the hill above Park Avenue in Hot Springs, the struggle between Clinton's stepfather and mother became ultimately unbearable, causing Virginia to move out and divorce Roger Clinton. Dreading confrontation, Bill Clinton excelled in almost every field save athletics. But the fabled success of the scholarship boy would be marred by the decisions he came to make regarding Vietnam and military service--choices that haunt him to this day.We watch with a mixture of alarm, fascination, and awe as Bill Clinton does so much that is right--and so much that is wrong. He sets his cap for the star student at Yale, young Hillary Rodham, seducing her with his dreams of a better America and an aw-shucks grin. Wherever he goes, he charms and disarms--young and old, men and women...and more women. He becomes a law professor straight out of college; he contests a congressional election in his twenties--and almost wins it. He becomes attorney general of his state and within two years is set to become the youngest-ever governor of Arkansas, at only thirty-two.Yet, always, there is a curse, a drive toward personal self-destruction--and with that the destruction of all those who are helping him on his legendary path. His affair with Gennifer Flowers strains his marriage and later nearly scuttles his bid for the presidency. He is thrown out of the governor's office after only one term and suffers a life-shaking crisis of confidence. Though with the stalwart help of a female chief of staff he regains his crown, it is clear that Bill Clinton's charismatic career is a ceaseless tightrope walk above the forces that threaten to pull him down--the most potent of them residing in his own being.Imbued with sympathy, deep intelligence, and the storyteller's art, this extraordinary biography helps us, at last, to understand the real Bill Clinton as he stumbles and withdraws from the 1988 presidential nomination race but enters it four years later, to make one of the most astonishing bids for the presidency in the twentieth century: the climax of this gripping political, social, and scandalous journey.From the Hardcover edition.
In a work of extraordinary narrative power, filled with brilliant personalities and vivid scenes of dramatic action, Robert K. Massie, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Peter the Great, Nicholas and Alexandra, and Dreadnought, elevates to its proper historical importance the role of sea power in the winning of the Great War. The predominant image of this first world war is of mud and trenches, barbed wire, machine guns, poison gas, and slaughter. A generation of European manhood was massacred, and a wound was inflicted on European civilization that required the remainder of the twentieth century to heal.But with all its sacrifice, trench warfare did not win the war for one side or lose it for the other. Over the course of four years, the lines on the Western Front moved scarcely at all; attempts to break through led only to the lengthening of the already unbearably long casualty lists.For the true story of military upheaval, we must look to the sea. On the eve of the war in August 1914, Great Britain and Germany possessed the two greatest navies the world had ever seen. When war came, these two fleets of dreadnoughts--gigantic floating castles of steel able to hurl massive shells at an enemy miles away--were ready to test their terrible power against each other. Their struggles took place in the North Sea and the Pacific, at the Falkland Islands and the Dardanelles. They reached their climax when Germany, suffocated by an implacable naval blockade, decided to strike against the British ring of steel. The result was Jutland, a titanic clash of fifty-eight dreadnoughts, each the home of a thousand men.When the German High Seas Fleet retreated, the kaiser unleashed unrestricted U-boat warfare, which, in its indiscriminate violence, brought a reluctant America into the war. In this way, the German effort to "seize the trident" by defeating the British navy led to the fall of the German empire.Ultimately, the distinguishing feature of Castles of Steel is the author himself. The knowledge, understanding, and literary power Massie brings to this story are unparalleled. His portrayals of Winston Churchill, the British admirals Fisher, Jellicoe, and Beatty, and the Germans Scheer, Hipper, and Tirpitz are stunning in their veracity and artistry.Castles of Steel is about war at sea, leadership and command, courage, genius, and folly. All these elements are given magnificent scope by Robert K. Massie's special and widely hailed literary mastery.
The Boys' Crusade is the great historian Paul Fussell's unflinching and unforgettable account of the American infantryman's experiences in Europe during World War II. Based in part on the author's own experiences, it provides a stirring narrative of what the war was actually like, from the point of view of the children--for children they were--who fought it. While dealing definitively with issues of strategy, leadership, context, and tactics, Fussell has an additional purpose: to tear away the veil of feel-good mythology that so often obscures and sanitizes war's brutal essence. "A chronicle should deal with nothing but the truth," Fussell writes in his Preface. Accord-ingly, he eschews every kind of sentimentalism, focusing instead on the raw action and human emotion triggered by the intimacy, horror, and intense sorrows of war, and honestly addressing the errors, waste, fear, misery, and resentments that plagued both sides. In the vast literature on World War II, The Boys' Crusade stands wholly apart. Fussell's profoundly honest portrayal of these boy soldiers underscores their bravery even as it deepens our awareness of their experiences. This book is both a tribute to their noble service and a valuable lesson for future generations.From the Hardcover edition.
A Look over My Shoulder begins with President Nixon's attempt to embroil the Central Intelligence Agency, of which Richard Helms was then the director, in the Watergate cover-up. Helms then recalls his education in Switzerland and Germany and at Williams College; his early career as a foreign correspondent in Berlin, during which he once lunched with Hitler; and his return to newspaper work in the United States. Helms served on the German desk at OSS headquarters in London; subsequently, he was assigned to Allen Dulles's Berlin office in postwar Germany.On his return to Washington, Helms assumed responsibility for the OSS carryover operations in Germany, Austria, and Eastern Europe. He remained in this post until the Central Intelligence Agency was formed in 1947. At CIA, Helms served in many positions, ultimately becoming the organization's director from 1966 to 1973. He was appointed ambassador to Iran later that year and retired from government service in January 1977. It was often thought that Richard Helms, who served longer in the Central Intelligence Agency than anyone else, would never tell his story, but here it is-revealing, news-making, and with candid assessments of the controversies and triumphs of a remarkable career.From the Trade Paperback edition.
An American classic rediscovered by each generation, The Story of My Life is Helen Keller's account of her triumph over deafness and blindness. Popularized by the stage play and movie The Miracle Worker, Keller's story has become a symbol of hope for people all over the world. This book-published when Keller was only twenty-two-portrays the wild child who is locked in the dark and silent prison of her own body. With an extraordinary immediacy, Keller reveals her frustrations and rage, and takes the reader on the unforgettable journey of her education and breakthroughs into the world of communication. From the moment Keller recognizes the word "water" when her teacher finger-spells the letters, we share her triumph as "that living word awakened my soul, gave it light, hope, joy, set it free!" An unparalleled chronicle of courage, The Story of My Life remains startlingly fresh and vital more than a century after its first publication, a timeless testament to an indomitable will.From the Paperback edition.
CAREER ADVICE TO ASPIRING SPIES: IF YOU WANT TO JOIN THE CIA, DON'T FALL IN LOVE. AND IF YOU DO FALL IN LOVE, WATCH YOUR MOUTH.Few books about life inside the Central Intelligence Agency have been written by women, and none have the wit, suspense, and authenticity of Loose Lips, Claire Berlinski's dazzling first novel about a love affair between intelligence officers.New Yorker Selena Keller has just completed a doctorate in Oriental studies. Unemployed and dismayed by her dull job prospects, she sends her résumé to the CIA on a whim. Within weeks, she is contacted by an Agency recruiter, who asks her how she would feel about convincing another human being to commit treason.Despite her checkered past, Selena passes the background investigation, the polygraph, and a battery of bizarre CIA aptitude tests. Living under cover as a government budget analyst, she begins her education in espionage at the Farm, the CIA's covert facility. All CIA officers must survive a demanding training program, and it is there that Selena becomes romantically involved with Stan, a brilliant but darkly paranoid fellow student with presidential ambitions. What happens next is a fascinating inside portrait of the Agency--how spies are recruited, how they are trained, who they meet, where they go, and most important . . . what happens when they fall in love, and begin spying on one another.A wonderful, pitch-perfect roman à clef that blends satire, romance, and suspense, Loose Lips offers a unique insight into the culture of the CIA.From the Hardcover edition.
Drive . . . and grow rich!The bestselling author of Investment Biker is back from the ultimate road trip: a three-year drive around the world that would ultimately set the Guinness record for the longest continuous car journey. In Adventure Capitalist, legendary investor Jim Rogers, dubbed "the Indiana Jones of finance" by Time magazine, proves that the best way to profit from the global situation is to see the world mile by mile. "While I have never patronized a prostitute," he writes, "I know that one can learn more about a country from speaking to the madam of a brothel or a black marketeer than from meeting a foreign minister."Behind the wheel of a sunburst-yellow, custom-built convertible Mercedes, Rogers and his fiancée, Paige Parker, began their "Millennium Adventure" on January 1, 1999, from Iceland. They traveled through 116 countries, including many where most have rarely ventured, such as Saudi Arabia, Myanmar, Angola, Sudan, Congo, Colombia, and East Timor. They drove through war zones, deserts, jungles, epidemics, and blizzards. They had many narrow escapes.They camped with nomads and camels in the western Sahara. They ate silkworms, iguanas, snakes, termites, guinea pigs, porcupines, crocodiles, and grasshoppers.Best of all, they saw the real world from the ground up--the only vantage point from which it can be truly understood--economically, politically, and socially.Here are just a few of the author's conclusions: * The new commodity bull market has started.* The twenty-first century will belong to China.* There is a dramatic shortage of women developing in Asia.* Pakistan is on the verge of disintegrating.* India, like many other large nations, will break into several countries.* The Euro is doomed to fail.* There are fortunes to be made in Angola.* Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) are a scam.* Bolivia is a comer after decades of instability, thanks to gigantic amounts of natural gas.Adventure Capitalist is the most opinionated, sprawling, adventurous journey you're likely to take within the pages of a book--the perfect read for armchair adventurers, global investors, car enthusiasts, and anyone interested in seeing the world and understanding it as it really is.From the Hardcover edition.
"To my taste, the greatest American myth of cosmogenesis features the maladjusted, antisocial, genius teenage boy who, in the insular laboratory of his own bedroom, invents the universe from scratch. Masters of Doom is a particularly inspired rendition. Dave Kushner chronicles the saga of video game virtuosi Carmack and Romero with terrific brio. This is a page-turning, mythopoeic cyber-soap opera about two glamorous geek geniuses--and it should be read while scarfing down pepperoni pizza and swilling Diet Coke, with Queens of the Stone Age cranked up all the way." --Mark Leyner, author of I Smell Esther Williams. Masters of Doom is the amazing true story of the Lennon and McCartney of video games: John Carmack and John Romero. Together, they ruled big business. They transformed popular culture. And they provoked a national controversy. More than anything, they lived a unique and rollicking American Dream, escaping the broken homes of their youth to co-create the most notoriously successful game franchises in history--Doom and Quake--until the games they made tore them apart. Americans spend more money on video games than on movie tickets. Masters of Doom is the first book to chronicle this industry's greatest story, written by one of the medium's leading observers. David Kushner takes readers inside the rags-to-riches adventure of two rebellious entrepreneurs who came of age to shape a generation. The vivid portrait reveals why their games are so violent and why their immersion in their brilliantly designed fantasy worlds offered them solace. And it shows how they channeled their fury and imagination into products that are a formative influence on our culture, from MTV to the Internet to Columbine. This is a story of friendship and betrayal, commerce and artistry--a powerful and compassionate account of what it's like to be young, driven, and wildly creative.
"San Francisco in 1900 was a Gold Rush boomtown settling into a gaudy middle age. . . . It had a pompous new skyline with skyscrapers nearly twenty stories tall, grand hotels, and Victorian mansions on Nob Hill. . . . The wharf bristled with masts and smokestacks from as many as a thousand sailing ships and steamers arriving each year. . . . But the harbor would not be safe for long. Across the Pacific came an unexpected import, bubonic plague. Sailing from China and Hawaii into the unbridged arms of the Golden Gate, it arrived aboard vessels bearing rich cargoes, hopeful immigrants, and infected vermin. The rats slipped out of their shadowy holds, scuttled down the rigging, and alighted on the wharf. Uphill they scurried, insinuating themselves into the heart of the city."The plague first sailed into San Francisco on the steamer Australia, on the day after New Year's in 1900. Though the ship passed inspection, some of her stowaways--infected rats--escaped detection and made their way into the city's sewer system. Two months later, the first human case of bubonic plague surfaced in Chinatown. Initially in charge of the government's response was Quarantine Officer Dr. Joseph Kinyoun. An intellectually astute but autocratic scientist, Kinyoun lacked the diplomatic skill to manage the public health crisis successfully. He correctly diagnosed the plague, but because of his quarantine efforts, he was branded an alarmist and a racist, and was forced from his post. When a second epidemic erupted five years later, the more self-possessed and charming Dr. Rupert Blue was placed in command. He won the trust of San Franciscans by shifting the government's attack on the plague from the cool remove of the laboratory onto the streets, among the people it affected. Blue preached sanitation to contain the disease, but it was only when he focused his attack on the newly discovered source of the plague, infected rats and their fleas, that he finally eradicated it--truly one of the great, if little known, triumphs in American public health history.With stunning narrative immediacy fortified by rich research, Marilyn Chase transports us to the city during the late Victorian age--a roiling melting pot of races and cultures that, nearly destroyed by an earthquake, was reborn, thanks in no small part to Rupert Blue and his motley band of pied pipers.From the Hardcover edition.
In a single short book as elegant as it is wise, Ian Buruma makes sense of the most fateful span of Japan's history, the period that saw as dramatic a transformation as any country has ever known. In the course of little more than a hundred years from the day Commodore Matthew Perry arrived in his black ships, this insular, preindustrial realm mutated into an expansive military dictatorship that essentially supplanted the British, French, Dutch, and American empires in Asia before plunging to utter ruin, eventually emerging under American tutelage as a pseudo-Western-style democracy and economic dynamo.What explains the seismic changes that thrust this small island nation so violently onto the world stage? In part, Ian Buruma argues, the story is one of a newly united nation that felt it must play catch-up to the established Western powers, just as Germany and Italy did, a process that involved, in addition to outward colonial expansion, internal cultural consolidation and the manufacturing of a shared heritage. But Japan has always been both particularly open to the importation of good ideas and particularly prickly about keeping their influence quarantined, a bipolar disorder that would have dramatic consequences and that continues to this day. If one book is to be read in order to understand why the Japanese seem so impossibly strange to many Americans, Inventing Japan is surely it.From the Hardcover edition.
From one of the great novelists of our day, a vital, brilliant new book of essays, speeches and articles essential for our times. Step Across This Line showcases the other side of one of fiction's most astonishing conjurors. On display is Salman Rushdie's incisive, thoughtful and generous mind, in prose that is as entertaining as it is topical. The world is here, captured in pieces on a dazzling array of subjects: from New York's Amadou Diallo case to the Wizard of Oz, from U2 to fifty years of Indian writing, from a tribute to Angela Carter to the struggle to film Midnight's Children. The title essay was originally delivered at Yale as the 2002 Tanner lecture on human values, and examines the changing meaning of frontiers in the modern world -- moral and metaphorical frontiers as well as physical ones.The collection chronicles Rushdie's intellectual journeys, but it is also an intimate invitation into his life: he explores his relationship to India through a moving diary of his first visit there in over a decade, "A Dream of Glorious Return." Step Across This Line also includes "Messages From the Plague Years," a historic set of letters, articles and reflections on life under the fatwa. Gathered together for the first time, this is Rushdie's humane, intelligent and angry response to a grotesque threat, aimed not just at him but at free expression itself.Step Across This Line, Salman Rushdie's first collection of non-fiction in a decade, has the same energy, imagination and erudition as his astounding novels -- along with some very strong opinions.From the Hardcover edition.
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