On the seventy-fifth anniversary, the authors of Pulitzer Prize finalist The Eleventh Day unravel the mysteries of Pearl Harbor to expose the scapegoating of the admiral who was in command the day 2,000 Americans died, report on the continuing struggle to restore his lost honor - and clear President Franklin D. Roosevelt of the charge that he knew the attack was coming.
The Japanese onslaught on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 devastated Americans and precipitated entry into World War II. In the aftermath, Admiral Husband Kimmel, Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific Fleet, was relieved of command, accused of negligence and dereliction of duty - publicly disgraced.
But the Admiral defended his actions through eight investigations and for the rest of his long life. The evidence against him was less than solid. High military and political officials had failed to provide Kimmel and his Army counterpart with vital intelligence. Later, to hide the biggest U.S. intelligence secret of the day, they covered it up.
Following the Admiral's death, his sons - both Navy veterans - fought on to clear his name. Now that they in turn are dead, Kimmel's grandsons continue the struggle. For them, 2016 is a pivotal year.
With unprecedented access to documents, diaries and letters, and the family's cooperation, Summers' and Swan's search for the truth has taken them far beyond the Kimmel story - to explore claims of duplicity and betrayal in high places in Washington.
A Matter of Honor is a provocative story of politics and war, of a man willing to sacrifice himself for his country only to be sacrificed himself. Revelatory and definitive, it is an invaluable contribution to our understanding of this pivotal event.
The book includes forty black-and-white photos throughout the text.
A Life Discarded: 148 Diaries Found in the Trash
By Masters, Alexander
Alexander Masters, the bestselling author of Stuart: A Life Backwards, asks you to join him in celebrating an unknown and important life left on the scrap heap
In 2001, 148 tattered and mold-covered notebooks were discovered lying among broken bricks in a skip on a building site in Cambridge. Tens of thousands of pages were filled to the edges with urgent handwriting. They were a small part of an intimate, anonymous diary, starting in 1952 and ending half a century later, a few weeks before the books were thrown out. Over five years, the award-winning biographer Alexander Masters uncovers the identity and real history of their author, with an astounding final revelation.
A Life Discarded is a true, shocking, poignant, often hilarious story of an ordinary life. The author of the diaries, known only as 'I,' is the tragicomic patron saint of everyone who feels their life should have been more successful. Part thriller, part love story, part social history, A Life Discarded is a biographical detective story that unfolds with the suspense of a mystery but has all the warmth, respect, humor, and dazzling originality that made Masters's Stuart: A Life Backwards such a beloved book.
Nobody's Son: A Memoir
By Slouka, Mark
"There comes a time in your life when the past decides to run you down," Mark Slouka writes in this heartbreaking and soul-searching memoir about one man's attempt to reckon with the past.
Born in Czechoslovakia, Mark Slouka's parents survived the Nazis only to have to escape the Communist purges after the war. Smuggled out of their own country, the newlyweds joined a tide of refugees moving from Innsbruck to Sydney to New York, dragging with them a history of blood and betrayal that their son would be born into.
From World War I to the present, Slouka pieces together a remarkable story of refugees and war, displacement and denial -- admitting into evidence memories, dreams, stories, the lies we inherit, and the lies we tell -- in an attempt to reach his mother, the enigmatic figure at the center of the labyrinth. Her story, the revelation of her life-long burden and the forty-year love affair that might have saved her, shows the way out of the maze.
8 pages of illustrations
W. W. Norton & Company
Wonderland: How Play Made the Modern World
By Johnson, Steven
From the New York Times-bestselling author of How We Got to Now and Where Good Ideas Come From, a look at the world-changing innovations we made while keeping ourselves entertained.
This lushly illustrated history of popular entertainment takes a long-zoom approach, contending that the pursuit of novelty and wonder is a powerful driver of world-shaping technological change. Steven Johnson argues that, throughout history, the cutting edge of innovation lies wherever people are working the hardest to keep themselves and others amused.
Johnson's storytelling is just as delightful as the inventions he describes, full of surprising stops along the journey from simple concepts to complex modern systems. He introduces us to the colorful innovators of leisure: the explorers, proprietors, showmen, and artists who changed the trajectory of history with their luxurious wares, exotic meals, taverns, gambling tables, and magic shows.
Johnson compellingly argues that observers of technological and social trends should be looking for clues in novel amusements. You'll find the future wherever people are having the most fun.
Ray & Joan: The Man Who Made the McDonald's Fortune and the Woman Who Gave It All Away
By Napoli, Lisa
The dramatic relationship between Ray Kroc, the man who amassed a fortune as chairman of one of America's most controversial and iconic companies - McDonald's - and the passionate woman, his wife, Joan, who then gave that fortune away.
Beginning in the 1950s, salesman Ray Kroc presided over the transformation of a successful burger stand into an international brand where millions of people eat each day. All the while he pursued the woman who would become his third wife, Joan - a woman willing to risk her marriage and her reputation to promote controversial causes in which she believed. For sheer emotional firepower, the relationship between Ray and Joan - whose massive gifts to NPR and the Salvation Army rate her as one of the greatest philanthropists of our time - has been compared to that of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.
Equally as dramatic as Ray and Joan's romance is the story of how Ray wrested control of the company from the original founders and presided over its growth, once bringing it close to failure before finally triumphing - and, soon after, finally winning the hand of the love of his life. Together, the two stories form a compelling portrait of the twentieth century: a story of big business, big love, and big giving.
Victoria: The Queen: An Intimate Biography of the Woman Who Ruled an Empire
By Baird, Julia
This page-turning biography reveals the real woman behind the myth: a bold, glamorous, unbreakable queen - a Victoria for our times. Drawing on previously unpublished papers, this stunning new portrait is a story of love and heartbreak, of devotion and grief, of strength and resilience. "Victoria the Queen, Julia Baird's exquisitely wrought and meticulously researched biography, brushes the dusty myth off this extraordinary monarch." - The New York Times Book Review (Editor's Choice)
When Victoria was born, in 1819, the world was a very different place. Revolution would threaten many of Europe's monarchies in the coming decades. In Britain, a generation of royals had indulged their whims at the public's expense, and republican sentiment was growing. The Industrial Revolution was transforming the landscape, and the British Empire was commanding ever larger tracts of the globe. In a world where women were often powerless, during a century roiling with change, Victoria went on to rule the most powerful country on earth with a decisive hand.
Fifth in line to the throne at the time of her birth, Victoria was an ordinary woman thrust into an extraordinary role. As a girl, she defied her mother's meddling and an adviser's bullying, forging an iron will of her own. As a teenage queen, she eagerly grasped the crown and relished the freedom it brought her. At twenty, she fell passionately in love with Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, eventually giving birth to nine children. She loved sex and delighted in power. She was outspoken with her ministers, overstepping conventional boundaries and asserting her opinions. After the death of her adored Albert, she began a controversial, intimate relationship with her servant John Brown. She survived eight assassination attempts over the course of her lifetime. And as science, technology, and democracy were dramatically reshaping the world, Victoria was a symbol of steadfastness and security - queen of a quarter of the world's population at the height of the British Empire's reach.
Drawing on sources that include fresh revelations about Victoria's relationship with John Brown, Julia Baird brings vividly to life the fascinating story of a woman who struggled with so many of the things we do today: balancing work and family, raising children, navigating marital strife, losing parents, combating anxiety and self-doubt, finding an identity, searching for meaning.
Praise for Victoria: The Queen
"In this in-depth look at a feminist before her time, you'll balk at, cheer on, and mourn the obstacles in the life of the teen queen who grew into her throne." - Marie Claire
"Writing with grace and authority, Baird reaches well beyond the conventional image of a reclusive and compliant queen to reveal "a robust and interventionist ruler," iron-willed, uncompromising and sexually charged - a most unvictorian woman." - Dallas Morning News
"Victoria was young enough when she assumed the throne to consult with her prime minister about her eyebrows (were they too thin?) , confident enough when she married to elect to preserve the word 'obey' in her vows. Julia Baird vividly captures her in every light, at once bold and sentimental, stubborn and deferential." - Stacy Schiff
"A stunning achievement . . . Neither sanitized nor mythologizing, Victoria: The Queen is a remarkably lucid, endlessly engaging account of Queen Victoria's life and rule." - Amanda Foreman
Casanova: The World of a Seductive Genius
By Bergreen, Laurence
The definitive biography of the impoverished child, abandoned by his parents, who became the famous writer, notorious libertine, and self-invented genius whose name still resonates today: Giacomo Casanova.
Today, "Casanova" is a synonym for "great lover," yet the real story of this remarkable figure is little known. Giacomo Casanova was raised by his maternal grandmother, an illiterate peasant. His birthplace, Venice, was a republic in decline, reputedly the most debauched city in Europe. Casanova would add to the republic's reputation. Over the course of his lifetime, he claimed to have seduced more than 100 women, among them married women, young women in convents, girls just barely in their teens, and in one notorious instance, his own illegitimate daughter.
Casanova came of age in a Venice filled with spies and informers. Naturally brilliant, he was intellectually curious and read forbidden books, for which he was jailed. He staged a dramatic escape from Venice's notorious prison, the only person known to have done so. He then fled to France, where he invented the national lottery that still exists to this day. But, intemperate by nature, he made enemies at the French court. He crisscrossed Europe, landing for a while in St. Petersburg, where he was admitted to the court of Catherine the Great. He corresponded with Voltaire and met Mozart and Lorenzo da Ponte - assisting them as they composed the timeless opera Don Giovanni. And he wrote what many consider the greatest memoir of the era, the 12-volume Story of My Life.
A figure straight out of a Henry Fielding novel: erotic, brilliant, impulsive, and desperate for recognition, Casanova was a self-destructive genius. This witty, roisterous biography exposes his astonishing life in rich, intimate detail. At the same time, it is a dazzling portrait of eighteenth-century Europe from serving girls to kings and courtiers. Esteemed biographer Laurence Bergreen brings a sensual world vividly alive in this irresistible book.
Simon & Schuster
By Egan, Kerry
A hospice chaplain passes on wisdom on giving meaning to life, from those taking leave of it. As a hospice chaplain, Kerry Egan didn't offer sermons or prayers, unless they were requested; in fact, she found, the dying rarely want to talk about God, at least not overtly. Instead, she discovered she'd been granted an invaluable chance to witness firsthand what she calls the "spiritual work of dying" - the work of finding or making meaning of one's life, the experiences it's contained and the people who have touched it, the betrayals, wounds, unfinished business, and unrealized dreams. Instead of talking, she mainly listened: to stories of hope and regret, shame and pride, mystery and revelation and secrets held too long. Most of all, though, she listened as her patients talked about love - love for their children and partners and friends; love they didn't know how to offer; love they gave unconditionally; love they, sometimes belatedly, learned to grant themselves.
Butter: A Rich History
By Khosrova, Elaine
The delicious kitchen staple we so often take for granted is not merely a stick tucked into our refrigerator door. It's a culinary catalyst, an agent of change, a gastronomic rock star. From its accidental invention in a long-ago herder's pouch to its ubiquitous presence in the world's most fabulous cuisines, butter is boss. Now, it finally gets its due.
Am I Alone Here?: Notes on Living to Read and Reading to Live
By Orner, Peter
Peter Orner reads and writes wherever he finds himself - in a hospital cafeteria, a canoe in northern Minnesota, the Las Vegas Cafe in Albania, or on a bus in Haiti. Stories have always been his lifeblood, as they are the only way he has been able to make sense of a chaotic life. His father's death, his divorce, an unexpected pregnancy - all are seen, one way or another, through the lens of literature. The result is what Orner calls "a book of unlearned criticism that stumbles into memoir."
Among the writers Orner addresses in these essays are Isaac Babel and Zora Neale Hurston, both of whom told their truths and were silenced; Franz Kafka, who professed loneliness but actually had a far busier social life than Orner; Robert Walser, who spent the last twenty-three years of his life in a Swiss insane asylum, "working" at being crazy; and Juan Rulfo, who practiced silence. Also lauded are Virginia Woolf, Eudora Welty, Yasunari Kawabata, Saul Bellow, Mavis Gallant, John Edgar Wideman, Vaclav Havel, Gina Berriault, William Trevor, and the poet Herbert Morris, about whom almost nothing is known.
Hovering over Am I Alone Here? is Peter Orner's eccentric late father, who he kept at a distance and now mourns. The book is also an elegy for the end of a marriage, as well as a celebration of the possibility of renewal. At once personal and panoramic, Am I Alone Here? conveys the absolutely necessary place of stories in Orner's life, which will inspire readers to return to the essential stories of their own lives.