Book Cover: Island Home: A Landscape Memoir by Tim Winton

'I grew up on the world's largest island.'

From his childhood, Tim Winton's relationship with the landscape around him - Australia's swamps and bush, rockpools, seacaves and scrub - has been as vital as any other connection. Whether camping in hidden inlets, walking in the high rocky desert fringe, or diving at Ningaloo Reef, Winton has felt the place seep into him - its rhythms, its dangers, its strange sustenance.

Island Home is the story of how that relationship with the landscape came to be. Charged with love for the huge, besieging force of Australia's wild spaces, this book is a passionate call for their conservation, a memoir that urges us all to feel the ground beneath our feet.

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Book Cover: Iron Ambition: My Life With Cus D'amato by Mike Tyson

From the former heavyweight champion and New York Times bestselling memoirist, an intimate and revealing look at the life and leadership lessons of Cus D'Amato, the legendary boxing trainer and Mike Tyson's surrogate father.
When legendary boxing trainer Cus D'Amato first saw thirteen year old Mike Tyson spar in the ring, he proclaimed, "That's the heavyweight champion of the world." D'Amato, who had previously managed the careers of Floyd Patterson and Jose Torres, would go on to train the young boxer for several years, and died a few months before Tyson became the youngest heavyweight champion in history.
In Tyson's best-selling memoir Undisputed Truth, he recounted the role D'Amato played in his formative years, legally adopting him at age sixteen after his mother died and shaping him both physically and mentally after years of living in fear and poverty. Here, Tyson elaborates on the life lessons that D'Amato passed down, and reflects on how the trainer's words of wisdom continue to resonate with him outside the ring.

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Book Cover: The Flight: Charles Lindbergh's Daring and Immortal 1927 Transatlantic Crossing by Dan Hampton

On the morning of May 20, 1927, a little known pilot named Charles Lindbergh waited to take off from Roosevelt Field on Long Island. He was determined to claim the $25,000 Orteig Prize promised to the first pilot to fly nonstop from New York to Paris—a contest that had already claimed six men’s lives. Just twenty-five years old, Lindbergh had never before flown over water. Yet thirty-three hours later, his single-engine monoplane, The Spirit of St. Louis, touched down in Paris. Overnight, Charles Lindbergh became the most famous aviator of all time.

The Flight is a long overdue, flyer’s-eye-view look at Lindbergh’s legendary journey. Decorated fighter pilot and bestselling author Dan Hampton offers a unique appreciation for Lindbergh’s accomplishment: Hampton has flown the exact same route many times, knowledge that informs and shapes The Flight. Relying upon a trove of primary sources, including Lindbergh’s own personal diary and writings, Hampton crafts a dramatic narrative of a challenging, death-defying feat that many had believed was impossible.

Moving hour by hour, Hampton recounts Lindbergh’s uncertainty over his equipment and his courage as he traverses the vast darkness of the Atlantic with no radar. Moving between the sky and ground, Hampton intersperses the tale of the flight with Lindbergh’s personal history as well as some of the stories of those waiting for him on the ground, praying he would make it safely across.

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Book Cover: Becoming Abraham Lincoln: The Coming of Age of Our Greatest President by Richard Kigel

Becoming Abraham Lincoln: The Coming of Age of Our Greatest President tells the true story of how this great American hero grew up and became a man. The story begins with Lincoln’s cousin describing the murder of Abe’s grandfather in 1782 by the Wabash Indians in the Kentucky wilderness. It ends as Lincoln turns twenty-five, downcast and debt-ridden after the failure of his first business venture, as he earns his first election victory to take his seat in the Illinois State Legislature.

This vivid, authentic account of Abraham Lincoln in his formative years is told by those who were there—his friends and family. Supported by rigorous research, Becoming Abraham Lincoln is an authentic account of Lincoln’s childhood and adolescence in the actual words of those who knew him best. We see Lincoln as he was, according to law partner Billy Herndon, “just as he lived, breathed, ate and laughed in this world.” The historic eyewitness testimony in these pages forms a rich, detailed narrative unmatched in all Lincoln literature.

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Book Cover: Al Franken, Giant of the Senate by Al Franken

From Senator Al Franken - #1 bestselling author and beloved SNL alum - comes the story of an award-winning comedian who decided to run for office and then discovered why award-winning comedians tend not to do that.This is a book about an unlikely campaign that had an even more improbable ending: the closest outcome in history and an unprecedented eight-month recount saga, which is pretty funny in retrospect.
It's a book about what happens when the nation's foremost progressive satirist gets a chance to serve in the United States Senate and, defying the low expectations of the pundit class, actually turns out to be good at it.
It's a book about our deeply polarized, frequently depressing, occasionally inspiring political culture, written from inside the belly of the beast.
In this candid personal memoir, the honorable gentleman from Minnesota takes his army of loyal fans along with him from Saturday Night Live to the campaign trail, inside the halls of Congress, and behind the scenes of some of the most dramatic and/or hilarious moments of his new career in politics.
Has Al Franken become a true Giant of the Senate? Franken asks readers to decide for themselves.

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Book Cover: The Martyr and the Traitor: Nathan Hale, Moses Dunbar, and the American Revolution by Virginia DeJohn Anderson

Two men from Connecticut, each embarked on a dangerous mission, slipped onto Long Island in September 1776. Only a few weeks earlier, British forces had routed the Continental Army and taken control of New York City. The future of the infant American republic, barely two months old, looked bleak. One of the men, a soldier disguised as a schoolmaster, made his way to the British fortifications on Manhattan and began furtively taking notes and making sketches to bring back to the beleaguered American general, George Washington. The second visitor had quite different plans. He had come to Long Island to accept a captain's commission in a loyalist regiment, an undertaking that obligated him to return to Connecticut and recruit more farmers to join the King's forces. As events turned out, neither man completed his mission. Instead, each met his death at the end of a hangman's rope, one executed as a spy for the American cause and the other as a traitor to it.
In this book, Virginia Anderson traces the lives of these two men, Nathan Hale and Moses Dunbar, to explore how middle-class men made decisions on a daily basis amidst the uncertainties of war that determined not just their own fates but also the ways in which they have been remembered or forgotten in history. Hale uttered a line that has become famous ("I only regret, that I have but one life to lose for my country") and, after being captured and executed as a spy by the British, and the Americans winning the war, has been memorialized as a martyr to the Revolutionary cause. His life is neatly contrasted with Dunbar, a Loyalist who was captured and sentenced to death by the Connecticut Assembly. This braided narrative, intertwining the lives of Hale and Dunbar, offers a poignant snapshot of the political loyalties men forge in momentous times, how their families shaped and reacted to those decisions, and how difficult it is to judge individuals' decision making in wartime without the benefit of hindsight, when the outcome is dependent on complex factors.

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Book Cover: The Raqqa Diaries: Escape from Islamic State by Samer

The Raqqa Diaries began as a series of short broadcasts on Radio 4’s 'Today' Programme. Now one of the most isolated and fear ridden cities on earth, no-one is allowed to speak to western journalists or leave Raqqa, without IS’s permission. Those caught breaking the rules face death by beheading.

Despite this, Mike Thomson, with the help of BBC’s Arabic Service, found a young man who is willing to risk his life to tell the world what is happening in his city. Part of a small anti-IS activist group, the diaries were written, encrypted and sent to a third country before being translated.

The diarist’s father is killed and mother badly injured during an air strike, he is sentenced to 40 lashes for speaking out against a beheading, he sees a woman stoned to death. They show how every aspect of life is impacted – from the spiralling costs of food to dictating the acceptable length of trousers.

At one point, the sale of televisions is banned. As Samer says, 'it seems it’s not enough to stop us talking to the outside world, now we can’t even look at it.’ Having seen friends and relatives butchered, his community’s life shattered and the local economy ruined by these hate-fuelled extremists, Samer believes he’s fighting back by telling the world what is happening to his beloved city.

Raw, direct and profoundly affecting, The Raqqa Diaries is an important book by a brave young man, which allows unprecedented access to the brutal conditions that many Syrians are living under.

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Book Cover: Berlin Calling: A Story of Anarchy, Music, The Wall, and the Birth of the New Berlin by Paul Hockenos

Berlin Calling is a gripping account of the 1989 "peaceful revolution" in East Germany that upended communism and the tumultuous years of artistic ferment, political improvisation, and pirate utopias that followed. It’s the story of a newly undivided Berlin when protest and punk rock, bohemia and direct democracy, techno and free theater were the order of the day.

In a story stocked with fascinating characters from Berlin’s highly politicized undergrounds—including playwright Heiner Müller, cult figure Blixa Bargeld of the industrial band Einstürzende Neubauten, the internationally known French Wall artist Thierry Noir, the American multimedia artist Danielle de Picciotto (founder of Love Parade), and David Bowie during his Ziggy Stardust incarnation—Hockenos argues that the DIY energy and raw urban vibe of the early 1990s shaped the new Berlin and still pulses through the city today.

Just as Mike Davis captured Los Angeles in his City of Quartz, Berlin Calling is a unique account of how Berlin became hip, and of why it continues to attract creative types from the world over.

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Book Cover: The Many Deaths of Jew Suss: The Notorious Trial and Execution of an Eighteenth-Century Court Jew by Yair Mintzker

Joseph Suss Oppenheimer--"Jew Suss"--is one of the most iconic figures in the history of anti-Semitism. In 1733, Oppenheimer became the "court Jew" of Carl Alexander, the duke of the small German state of Wurttemberg. When Carl Alexander died unexpectedly, the Wurttemberg authorities arrested Oppenheimer, put him on trial, and condemned him to death for unspecified "misdeeds." On February 4, 1738, Oppenheimer was hanged in front of a large crowd just outside Stuttgart. He is most often remembered today through several works of fiction, chief among them a vicious Nazi propaganda movie made in 1940 at the behest of Joseph Goebbels.

The Many Deaths of Jew Suss is a compelling new account of Oppenheimer's notorious trial. Drawing on a wealth of rare archival evidence, Yair Mintzker investigates conflicting versions of Oppenheimer's life and death as told by four contemporaries: the leading inquisitor in the criminal investigation, the most important eyewitness to Oppenheimer's final days, a fellow court Jew who was permitted to visit Oppenheimer on the eve of his execution, and one of Oppenheimer's earliest biographers. What emerges is a lurid tale of greed, sex, violence, and disgrace--but are these narrators to be trusted? Meticulously reconstructing the social world in which they lived, and taking nothing they say at face value, Mintzker conjures an unforgettable picture of "Jew Suss" in his final days that is at once moving, disturbing, and profound.

The Many Deaths of Jew Suss is a masterfully innovative work of history, and an illuminating parable about Jewish life in the fraught transition to modernity.

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Book Cover: My European Family: The First 54,000 Years by Karin Bojs

Karin Bojs grew up in a small, broken family. At her mother's funeral she felt this more keenly than ever. As a science journalist she was eager to learn more about herself, her family and the interconnectedness of society. After all, we're all related. And in a sense, we are all family.

My European Family tells the story of Europe and its people through its genetic legacy, from the first wave of immigration to the present day, weaving in the latest archaeological findings. Karin goes deep in search of her genealogy; by having her DNA sequenced she was able to trace the path of her ancestors back through the Viking and Bronze ages to the Neolithic and beyond into prehistory, even back to a time when Neanderthals ran the European show. Travelling to dozens of countries to follow the story, she learns about early farmers in the Middle East and flute-playing cavemen in Germany and France, and a whole host of other fascinating characters.

This book looks at genetics from a uniquely pan-European perspective, with the author meeting dozens of geneticists, historians and archaeologists in the course of her research. The genes of this seemingly ordinary modern European woman have a truly fascinating story to tell, and in many ways it is the true story of Europe. At a time when politics is pushing nations apart, this book shows that, ultimately, our genes will always bind us together.

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