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Maine's nationally acclaimed chronicler proves here that "the entire history of North America began in Maine." Long before Columbus sold Isabella his idea of a passage to Cathay, Irish fishermen went ashore in Maine to dry their cod. It's all here in this wild surmising history, from a columnist for the Christian Science Monitor.
Poignant, hilarious, and brutally frank, Dear Editor reveals the personalities and untold stories behind the creation of modern poetry. "The history of poetry and Poetry in America are almost interchangeable, certainly inseparable," A. R. Ammons wrote. Dear Editor, in gathering over 600 surprisingly candid letters to and from the editors of Poetry, traces the development of poetry in America: Ezra Pound's opinion of T. S. Eliot ("It is such a comfort to meet a man and not have to tell him to wash his face, wipe his feet") and of Robert Frost ("dull as ditch water...[but] set to be 'literchure' someday"); Edna St. Vincent Millay's pleas for an advance ("I am become very, very thin, and have taken to smoking Virginia tobacco"); Wallace Stevens on himself ("I have a pretty well-developed mean streak"). Here are the inside stories, the rivalries between aspiring authors, the inspirations behind classics, the practicalities (and politicking) of publishing. In fascinating anecdotes and literary gossip, scores of poets offer insights into the creative process and their reactions to historic events.
Mermaids, kidnappers, and mercenaries hijack a tropical vacation in this genre-bending sendup of the American honeymoon. On the grounds of a Caribbean island resort, newlyweds Deb and Chip--our opinionated, skeptical narrator and her cheerful jock husband who's friendly to a fault--meet a marine biologist who says she's sighted mermaids in a coral reef. As the resort's "parent company" swoops in to corner the market on mythological creatures, the couple joins forces with other adventurous souls, including an ex-Navy SEAL with a love of explosives and a hipster Tokyo VJ, to save said mermaids from the "Venture of Marvels," which wants to turn their reef into a theme park. Mermaids in Paradise is Lydia Millet's funniest book yet, tempering the sharp satire of her early career with the empathy and subtlety of her more recent novels and short stories. This is an unforgettable, mesmerizing tale, darkly comic on the surface and illuminating in its depths.
From the creators of the hugely popular BBC quiz show QI, a brilliant sequel to their New York Times-best-selling 1,227 Quite Interesting Facts to Blow Your Socks Off. 1,339 Quite Interesting Facts to Make Your Jaw Drop is bursting with mindboggling morsels of trivia--informative, hilarious, sometimes arcane or utterly useless, but always entertaining. Did you know? * Wagner only ever wore pink silk underwear. * There are 34,000 statues of Kim Il Sung in North Korea. * There is a cult in Malaysia that worships a giant teapot. * Earthworms have five hearts. * Your eyebrows renew themselves every 64 days. * Charles Darwin's tortoise Harriet died in 2006 at the age of 176. Every fact in this magnificent little volume has been researched with punctilious care in order to bring you the truth in its purest form.
"Full of rare and exact information.... A distinguished work."--New York Review of Books The eleventh-century Muslim world was a great civilization while Europe lay slumbering in the Dark Ages. Slowly, inevitably, Europe and Islam came together, through trade and war, crusade and diplomacy. The ebb and flow between these two worlds for seven hundred years, illuminated here by a brilliant historian, is one of the great sagas of world history.
"A powerful book. It combines the coolness of scholarship with conclusions that cannot fail to engage the passions."--Saul Bellow The Arab-Israeli conflict has unsettled the Middle East for over half a century. This conflict is primarily political, a clash between states and peoples over territory and history. But it is also a conflict that has affected and been affected by prejudice. For a long time this was simply the "normal" prejudice between neighboring people of different religions and ethnic origins. In the present age, however, hostility toward Israel and its people has taken the form of anti-Semitism-a pernicious world view that goes beyond prejudice and ascribes to Jews a quality of cosmic evil. First published in the 1980s to universal acclaim, Semites and Anti-Semites traces the development of anti-Semitism from its beginnings as a poison in the bloodstream of Christianity to its modern entrance into mainstream Islam. Bernard Lewis, one of the world's foremost scholars of the Middle East, takes us through the history of the Semitic peoples to the emergence of the Jews and their virulent enemies, and dissects the region's recent tragic developments in a moving new afterword. "A powerful and important work, beautifully written and edited, and based on a range of erudition (in the best sense) that few others, if any, could command."--George Kennan
"The most extensive record available in English of the ugly story."--Elisabeth Rubinfein, New York Newsday Over 100,000 women across Asia were victims of enforced prostitution by the Japanese Imperial Forces during World War II. Until as recently as 1993 the Japanese government continued to deny this shameful aspect of its wartime history. George Hicks's book is the only history in English regarding this terrible enslavement of women.
One of the most dramatic explorations of a German town in the grip of anti-Semitic passion ever written. In 1900, in a small Prussian town, a young boy was found murdered, his body dismembered, the blood drained from his limbs. The Christians of the town quickly rose up in violent riots to accuse the Jews of ritual murder--the infamous blood-libel charge that has haunted Jews for centuries. In an absorbing narrative, Helmut Walser Smith reconstructs the murder and the ensuing storm of anti-Semitism that engulfed this otherwise peaceful town. Offering an instructive examination of hatred, bigotry, and mass hysteria, The Butcher's Tale is a modern parable that will be a classic for years to come. Winner of the Fraenkel Award. A Los Angeles Times Best Book of 2002.
Based on classified Soviet archives, including the files of Nikita Khrushchev and the KGB, "One Hell of a Gamble" offers a riveting play-by-play history of the Cuban missile crisis from American and Soviet perspectives simultaneously. No other book offers this inside look at the strategies of the Soviet leadership. John F. Kennedy did not live to write his memoirs; Fidel Castro will not reveal what he knows; and the records of the Soviet Union have long been sealed from public view: Of the most frightening episode of the Cold War--the Cuban Missile Crisis--we have had an incomplete picture. When did Castro embrace the Soviet Union? What proposals were put before the Kremlin through Kennedy's back-channel diplomacy? How close did we come to nuclear war? These questions have now been answered for the first time. This important and controversial book draws the missing half of the story from secret Soviet archives revealed exclusively by the authors, including the files of Nikita Khrushchev and his leadership circle. Contained in these remarkable documents are the details of over forty secret meetings between Robert Kennedy and his Soviet contact, records of Castro's first solicitation of Soviet favor, and the plans, suspicions, and strategies of Khrushchev. This unique research opportunity has allowed the authors to tell the complete, fascinating, and terrifying story of the most dangerous days of the last half-century.
A bitingly comic exploration of an unforgettably dysfunctional family, from a writer who wields great "comic rhythm" (The New Yorker). This ferociously funny family saga journeys into the mysteries of many kinds of love. England, 1983. A celebrated love story entertains the nation: Patrick, the sexy young playwright, scourge of an enthralled establishment, marries Sara, who has abandoned her two children to fulfill her destiny as Patrick's beautiful, devoted muse. Thirty-five years later, Sara's death leaves Patrick alone in their crumbling house in Cornwall, with his whisky, his writer's block and his undimmed rage against the world. The children Sara left behind, Louise and Nigel, are now adults--with memories, questions and agendas of their own. What was their mother really like? Why did she leave them? What has she left them? And how can Patrick carry on without the love of his life? As versions of the past collide with realities in the present, Sara's heirs do battle over ownership of this much beloved woman. But the closer Louise and Nigel get to the true story of Sara's great love affair, the greater its mystery. Secrets and lies, scenes and letters: how do any of us piece together the people who made us what we are?
"A remarkably fine work of creative scholarship." --C. Vann Woodward, New York Review of Books In 1860, when four million African Americans were enslaved, a quarter-million others, including William Ellison, were "free people of color." But Ellison was remarkable. Born a slave, his experience spans the history of the South from George Washington and Thomas Jefferson to Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis. In a day when most Americans, black and white, worked the soil, barely scraping together a living, Ellison was a cotton-gin maker--a master craftsman. When nearly all free blacks were destitute, Ellison was wealthy and well-established. He owned a large plantation and more slaves than all but the richest white planters. While Ellison was exceptional in many respects, the story of his life sheds light on the collective experience of African Americans in the antebellum South to whom he remained bound by race. His family history emphasizes the fine line separating freedom from slavery.
"Weary Feet, Rested Souls is a valuable and beautiful road map to a landscape we must not forget."--Marian Wright Edelman, president of the Children's Defense Fund Thirty years after the Civil Rights Movement transformed America, Weary Feet, Rested Souls brings the landscape of this compelling period of history back to life. Logging 30,000 miles of research and more than 100 hours of interviews with Civil Rights veterans, Townsend Davis has written both a history of the struggle and an indispensable traveler's guidebook to Civil Rights in the Deep South. Ranging from Martin Luther King, Jr.'s childhood neighborhood to Philadelphia, Mississippi, where three Civil Rights workers were murdered, to Selma and Birmingham and scores of other sites, Weary Feet, Rested Souls is a uniquely inspiring and deeply commemorative guide to the Movement and its heroes.
"Ron Carlson's novel is in the coming-of-age tradition, with the contemporary attributes of humor and cool. . . . I liked Larry for his unpretentiousness, his wry, caring angle on experience." --New York Times In this tender, comic novel, Larry Boosinger--graduate student, writer, garage attendant, escaped convict (and perhaps a person)--has one foot in late adolescence while he searches frantically for a place to put the other. Beset by illusions, attracted by paradoxes, Larry carries on his allegorical fistfight with life. He operates in a movie-created world where attempts are made at perfection. Enamored of the romantic ideals of old movies, popular songs, and his own personal hero, F. Scott Fitzgerald, he seeks experience that will match his expectations.
In The News of the World, Ron Carlson's celebrated last collection, it was widely noted that the news was good. Here, as everybody goes to Plan B, the news is stronger, edgy, and bittersweet. Here are men and women in the middle--of life, of relationships. There is a difference between what they set out for and what they get. A single mother keeps house on an aircraft carrier. A new father finds himself seduced by a motorcycle. A lonely professor is forced to face a few truths. Braced by honesty and lifted by affection for the world, these stories are a stunning showcase for a writer tackling universal themes in new ways. Get ready: when Plan A breaks down, Ron Carlson is here.
"If you can read this one without getting a lump in your throat, turn yourself in to the nearest mortuary. Your heart has ceased to function. This book is about the innate hunger of the human heart to belong. To be part of a family unit whether or not there are blood ties. It's about the refusal of the American adult to be bothered with those young enough or old enough to be a nuisance. And it's about the most touching book I've read in many a moon." --Carolyn Vaughter, Houston Chronicle Collin Elder is running away from a "home" for wayward teenagers. Louisa Holz is escaping from her father, a carnival daredevil. Heading west from Arizona, they meet a third member of the novel's family--Will Clare, elderly and forgetful but full of rich memories.
A dazzling collection of stories about how the familiar can suddenly turn strange. A guidebook introduces foreign visitors to a recognizable but dreamlike America, where mirrors are haunted and the Statue of Liberty wears a bowler hat. A department-store supervisor must discipline employees who don't smile enough at customers, but finds himself unexpectedly drawn to the saddest of them all. A woman reluctantly agrees to buy her daughter a robot pet, then is horrified when her little girl chooses an enormous mechanical spider for a companion. The characters in these stories find that the world they thought they knew has shifted and changed, become bizarre and disorienting, and, occasionally, miraculous. Told with absurdist humor and sweet sadness, Viral is about being lost in places that are supposed to feel like home.
"An engrossing tale of obsession, adventure and scientific reasoning." --Betty Ann Kevles, Los Angeles Times In the winter of 1938, a fishing boat by chance dragged from the Indian Ocean a fish thought extinct for 70 million years. It was a coelacanth, which thrived concurrently with dinosaurs and pterodactyls--an animal of major importance to those who study the history of vertebrate life. Living Fossil describes the life and habitat of the coelcanth and what scientists have learned about it during fifty years of research. It is an exciting and very human story, filled with ambitious and brilliant people, that reveals much about the practice of modern science.
The hidden life of Alfred C. Kinsey, the principal architect of the sexual revolution. In this brilliant, groundbreaking biography, twenty years in the making, James H. Jones presents a moving and even shocking portrait of the man who pierced the veil of reticence surrounding human sexuality. Jones shows that the public image Alfred Kinsey cultivated of disinterested biologist was in fact a carefully crafted public persona. By any measure he was an extraordinary man--and a man with secrets. Drawing upon never before disclosed facts about Kinsey's childhood, Jones traces the roots of Kinsey's scholarly interest in human sexuality to his tortured upbringing. Between the sexual tensions of the culture and Kinsey's devoutly religious family, Jones depicts Kinsey emerging from childhood with psychological trauma but determined to rescue humanity from the emotional and sexual repression he had suffered. New facts about his marriage, family life, and relationships with students and colleagues enrich this portrait of the complicated, troubled man who transformed the state of public discourse on human sexuality.
Of Richard Hugo's Making Certain It Goes On, David Wagoner has written: "Richard Hugo spared himself (and us) no pains or joys in making the wonderful, vigorous original poems brought together in this single collection. His was and is a very important voice in modern American poetry." Hugo was also an editor of the Yale Younger Poets series and a distinguished teacher and master of the personal essay. Now many of his essays have been assembled and arranged by Ripley Hugo, the poet's widow and a writer and teacher, and Lois and James Welch, writers and close friends of the poet. Together the essays constitute a compelling autobiographical narrative that takes Hugo from his lonely childhood through the war years and his working and creative life to an interview just before his death in 1982. William Matthews, also a friend of Hugo's, has written an introduction.
Here is a collection of poems by a writer whom the poet Carolyn Kizer calls "one of the most passionate, energetic, and honest poets living." Hugo's most important subject is the American West. In the present volume, people, places, dreams, and memories are explored again--always in search of the poet's self.
Richard Hugo, whom Carolyn Kizer has called" one of the most passionate, energetic, and honest poets living," here offers an extraordinary collection of new poems, each one a "letter" or a "dream." Both letters and dreams are special manifestations of alone-ness; Hugo's special senses of alone-ness, of places, and of other people are the forces behind his distinctively American and increasingly authoritative poetic voice. Each letter is written from a specific place that Hugo has made his own (a "triggering town," as he has called it elsewhere) to a friend, a fellow poet, an old love. We read over the poet's shoulder as the town triggers the imagination, the friendship is re-opened, the poet's selfhood is explored and illuminated. The "dreams" turn up unexpectedly (as dreams do) among the letters; their haunting images give further depth to the poet's exploration. Are we overhearing them? Who is the "you" that dreams?
The definitive collection of a major American poet's work. Richard Hugo was, in James Wright's words, "a great poet, true to our difficult life." Making Certain It Goes On brings together, as Hugo wished, the poems published in book form during his lifetime, together with the new poems he wrote in his last years.
Richard Hugo has been described by Carolyn Kizer as "one of the most passionate, energetic, and honest poets now living." Nowhere has that passion, energy, and honesty been more evident than in ?White Center, his newest volume of poems. "That Richard Hugo's poetry creates in his readers an almost indistinguishable desire for more," writes the critic and poet Dave Smith, "is the mark of his ability to reach those deep pools in us where we wait for passionate engagement. What Hugo gives us is the chance to begin again and a world where that beginning is ever possible." Here, for his ever-growing body of readers, are more of those opportunities.
In an essay on Richard Hugo, the poet James Wright called him "one of the precious few poets of our age . . . who has, and sustains, an abiding vision." Hugo took that vision to Skye with him: he makes Scottish history, legends, and "triggering towns" his own in these new poems, just as he has earlier done in poems of the American West. And in making them his own, he makes them our own as well. He continues to be, in Wright's words, "a great poet, true to our difficult life." In September of 1977 Richard Hugo and his family went to live for several months on the Isle of Skye, off the coast of Scotland. One of the results of that experience is this new and impressive volume of poems.
"[An] extraordinary book. . . . Mr. Gould is an exceptional combination of scientist and science writer. . . . He is thus exceptionally well placed to tell these stories, and he tells them with fervor and intelligence."--James Gleick, New York Times Book Review High in the Canadian Rockies is a small limestone quarry formed 530 million years ago called the Burgess Shale. It hold the remains of an ancient sea where dozens of strange creatures lived--a forgotten corner of evolution preserved in awesome detail. In this book Stephen Jay Gould explores what the Burgess Shale tells us about evolution and the nature of history.
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