Displaying articles for: November 2012

1775: A Good Year for Revolution

Independence! As dates go, there are few more sacred to the American imagination than 1776 -- but contrarian historian Kevin Phillips thinks we're one year off. A story of the moment the tide turned, and the British lost their grip on a colonial treasure.

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City of Dark Magic

Alchemy, Beethoven, and an enchanted castle each plays a part in this beguiling, hilarious adventure set within  Prague's history-drenched walls. Writers Meg Howrey and Christina Lynch have merged their talents under the sorcerous psuedonym Magnus Flyte in a book that will delight fans of A Discovery of Witches. Simply magical.

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Of Africa

Nobel Prize-winner Wole Soyinka peers into Africa's past and speculates about the continent's future. Though he complains it has been exalted and abused, overlooked and misapprehended, exploited and overstuffed with false charity, Soynika remains optimistic, full of a kind of rational spirituality, and predicts that Africa's best days yet lie ahead.

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Detroit City Is the Place to Be

Rolling Stone reporter and Detroit native Mark Binelli examines his hometown's vertiginous fall, calling it the greatest urban failure in American history. And yet, he espies hope in the offbeat cast of characters who have been drawn to this nothing-left-to-lose frontier, a gaggle of dreamers and doers intent on jumpstarting the Motor City.

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Flight Behavior

Award-winning novelist Barbara Kingsolver wraps the hard kernel of climate change in the flesh of a late-blossoming romance. Stifled in her marriage, Dellarobia Turnbow encounters both a disturbing organic miracle in the mountains of Appalachia and the attentions of the scientist sent to investigate. Captivating, thought-provoking fiction from a master of the form.

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The Last Lion

Co-author and designated literary heir Paul Reid picks up the banner dropped by William Manchester at his death in 2004 and brings to an elegant and stirring conclusion the massive three-volume biography of Winston Churchill begun some thirty years prior. Encompassing both the pinnacle and nadir of Churchill's power, this book is a fitting capstone to two unprecedented lives -- those of subject and biographer.

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Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm

Philip Pullman, author of The Golden Compass, retells fifty of his favorite stories by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm in this collection, which pairs classics like "Cinderella" and "Rumpelstiltskin," "Rapunzel" and "Hansel and Gretel" with brief personal commentaries by Pullman that explore the sources of the tales and their everlasting appeal.

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The Richest Woman in America

Having already profiled Gertrude Bell, biographer Janet Wallach turns her attention to another exceptional woman of yesteryear, but one who was almost the polar opposite of the public-minded Bell. From humble origins, Hetty Green amassed a fortune, all on her own uncompromising terms. Yet she had a tender side, which Wallach balances with her fiscal savvy.

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Invisible Murder

The Boy in the Suitcase introduced readers to Red Cross nurse Nina Borg and announced the arrival of two powerful new voices in Scandinavian crime writing, Lene Kaaberbøl and Agnete Friis. Their new thriller mines Hungary's troubled Soviet-era past in a mystery that will rock Copenhagen and threaten everyone Nina holds dear.

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Thanksgiving: How to Cook It Well

Former New York Times food critic Sam Sifton comes to the overburdened holiday chef's rescue. Download it now and reap the rewards next week.

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The Finish

Mark Bowden, author of Black Hawk Down, provides a meticulously researched account of the most high-profile Special Forces operation ever. In a novelistic recreation of the events leading up to Osama bin Laden's death, the author follows the Obama administration's careful planning for a swift strike.

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Facing the Torturer

François Bizot chronicles his bizarre interaction with a genocidal mass murderer, the Cambodian known as Comrade Duch, or "the Butcher of Tuol Sleng." Taken into custody by the Cambodian authorities in 1971, Bizot escaped torture and death only by forging an empathetic relationship with his captor. When, decades later, Duch is brought to trial, the author must confront his own past.

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The Stockholm Octavo

Set in eighteenth century Sweden, this story of fate defied revolves around Emil Larsson, a bureaucrat in the Office of Customs and Excise. When a fortune-teller predicts that a path to love and success lays before Emil if only he finds eight essential people, he embarks on a journey to fulfill his destiny. It quickly becomes a desperate quest to save his country from rebellion and chaos. Karen Engelmann's novel brims with historical detail and timeless magic.

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The Black Count

As thrilling as any of Alexandre Dumas's novels (think The Count of Monte Cristo or The Three Musketeers) is the story of his father, a mixed race man brought from Haiti to France in bondage who eventually commanded 50,000 men in Napoleon's army. Tom Reiss immortalizes a swashbuckling hero who defied attitudes towards race and only stumbled when his boldness threatened the Emperor himself.

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Astray

Emma Donoghue, author of the international bestseller Room, delivers a volume of short stories that showcase her powers of invention and eye for strange figures in history -- from the Tammany Hall bigwig who turned out to a be a woman to the conspirators who tried to hold Abraham Lincoln's body for ransom.

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The Story of America

Examining everything from the paper ballot to Benjamin Franklin's Way to Wealth, Jill Lepore's new collection of essays explores how Americans have created themselves through the medium of print. The result is a history of American origins -- through the stories we tell ourselves and others about where we come from.

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Unbored

Joshua Glenn and Elizabeth Foy Larsen have assembled a fun-filled activity book that will keep the imaginations and energies of kids fully engaged. From yarn-bombing to stop-action moviemaking, from science experiments to skateboard repair, the ingenious projects contained herein will ensure that rainy weekends and school cancelations can be met with equanimity.

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Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher

Photographer Edward Curtis sought to document the original inhabitants of North America before their old ways were destroyed. Along the way he became a passionate advocate for Native American rights. Timothy Egan weaves the tragic history of a transforming world into the story of a tireless dreamer.

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April 23: " 'A job,' the woman repeated again, smiling, as if I hadn't heard her. 'Would you like one?' "

Kenneth Calhoun (Black Moon) and Lysely Tenorio (Monstress) of the Discover Great New Writers program on B-movies, heritage, and finales.

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