Biographies and Memoirs

Biographies and Memoirs

Do the accounts of extraordinary peoples' lives inspire your own life?  Can the fortitude of individuals drive how you live your own life?  Our authors in the Biographies and Memoirs genre bring you the stories of people who have survived and grown through the most difficult of situations.  Their stories will move you to tears, to action, and to new levels in your own life. They will always do this for you on eBookHounds for free or for a discount.

 

Definition of the "Biographies and Memoirs Genre": Ebooks in both the Biographies and Memoirs genres focus on the life experiences of a single person.  Biographies are generally broader in the subject matters of a person's life experiences, while memoirs are more honed into the memories of that person.  However, there is very little difference between the two categories, which is why they are combined in a single genre. Ebooks in the Biographies and Memoirs genre also typically have a significant element of inspiration, as the stories which drove the writing of these ebooks are tremendously moving.

 

Examples of bestselling ebooks in the Biographies and Memoirs genre are Cheryl Strayed (Wild), Chris Kyle (American Sniper), Laura Hillenbrand (Unbroken), and Donna Mabry (Maude).

First Survivor: The Impossible Childhood Cancer Breakthrough

by Mark Unger


An inspirational real life cancer memoir of a family's journey and the impossible miracle that led to their son's becoming a childhood cancer survivor. This is a thriller about a family’s battle to save their toddler son from a “zero chance of survival” diagnosis. With the world’s best doctors and the advocacy of his parents, Louis Unger would fight a 5-year battle for his young life. His grit and incredible attitude led to a breakthrough that would change how cancer is treated today. This is not a medical journal or a how-to guide. It is a true page-turner that gives you a front row seat to a miraculous story of courage, inspiration and determination. All proceeds from this book will go to the Carrot Seed Foundation where they will be used to fund Neuroblastoma clinical trials and support the children and families who are stricken by this disease.

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The Shoebox Effect: Transforming Pain Into Fortitude and Purpose

by Marcie J Keithley


Many of us have one--a place where we store mementos that remind us of an earlier period in our lives--either happy or sad. Those ties to our past are commonly found in a similar place, hidden in a shoebox buried at the back of a closet shelf. It's called The Shoebox Effect--where you "forget", intentionally or unintentionally, about the contents of the box and what they represent. Marcie Keithley's shoebox contained a secret, one she kept for decades, one released when her shoebox was unexpectedly revealed in a moment of grief. A flood of memories and emotions were unleashed when the lid was knocked off. No longer able to deny what she had sequestered away in her closet and in her spirit, the revelation created challenges for Marcie, but it also did something positively unexpected. Releasing the truth began a cascade that resulted in a freedom Marcie did not know was possible. The dramatic story of this long-kept secret, which has been reported globally on major networks and in newspapers across America, will intrigue and enthrall you. But Marcie Keithley doesn't just make her story all about her. Now known as The Shoebox Sherpa, she helps people unpack their own shoeboxes, and teaches us how to face our truths, heal our pasts, and find the freedom we deeply desire. Be prepared to consider Marcie's question to all of us, "What's in your shoebox?"

 
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Love of Finished Years

by Gregory Erich Phillips


This moving debut novel by Gregory Erich Phillips won the Grand Prize for best book of the year in the Chanticleer Reviews International writing Competition.

Pre WWI, Elsa came to America with her eyes wide open, realizing it was up to her to make a life
for herself. Surviving a sweatshop in lower Manhattan, a chance job with a Long Island elite
family opens up her world. Invited in, up to a point, she unwittingly, albeit precariously, crosses
the social divide with her now open heart which puts all she worked for in jeopardy.

What a truly wonderful story! I’ve read it three times, and with each
reading I find myself caring about the fabulous characters and their
lives even more.”
— P. J. Alderman, New York Times Bestselling Author

“From the riveting opening . . . until its gripping conclusion, this enthralling
novel vividly portrays the desperate times of German immigrants
landing at Ellis Island in 1905. A timely read . . . it illuminates the issues
that we are experiencing a century later. . .Phillips reminds us that love,
light, and perseverance can help us find a way to overcome almost any
obstacle.”  
— Chanticleer Reviews

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Lady in Ermine — The Story of A Woman Who Painted the Renaissance

by Donna DiGiuseppe


Stroke by stroke, color by color, the past comes alive as a young woman in Lombardy, Italy trains to paint with the masters.

Will her ambition be too much for them? Or will she secure her place in the world of Renaissance art, despite them?

As Sofonisba struggles to make her name, the Spanish empire invades Italy.
With Michelangelo as her mentor and her father as her champion, Sofonisba dreams of painting the Spanish King.

In this novel of Royal intrigue and artistic toil, we see the soul of the painter come alive. We watch as Sofonisba struggles to realize her dreams against the backdrop of patriarchal Europe. When Royal tragedy unfolds, we learn the true strength of our heroine.

Romance, hardship, bankruptcy, and a legacy of hundreds of paintings that still influence today's artists. An authentic story of what it was like to be a woman of ambition in the Renaissance.

History comes dramatically alive as we journey through the Renaissance with Sofonisba Anguissola.

This is her story.

 
 
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Silent Spring - Deadly Autumn of the Vietnam War

by Patrick Hogan


What would you say if I told you there are disturbing things the US Government hasn’t told you about the Vietnam War and doesn’t want you to know? Things such as all the rainbow-colored pesticides and the disabling effect they had on US service personnel.

Silent Spring – Deadly Autumn of the Vietnam War, is an account of war – a tale of anger and determination – a chronicle written in sorrow and hope. It’s the story of countless veterans who served in Vietnam and could even be your story.

While the book is categorized as a memoir, it’s also an investigational voyage into all the issues the U.S. government hasn’t told you and doesn’t want you to know about the Vietnam War. The work isn’t just another rehashing of the war or Agent Orange. Rather it’s a “silver bullet” which cuts through to the heart of the circumstances and chemical used in Vietnam—enduring toxic herbicides and insecticides—which in some cases are still being used to this very day all over the globe, even right here in America. Now I’m sure many of you will find that fact hard to believe. Nevertheless, it’s true.

So, forget everything you’ve heard from the government and what you think you know about the Vietnam War because you will be absolutely stunned by what the US government had willingly dumped on Vietnam—their allies—and even their own troops.

What happened in Vietnam … didn’t stay in Vietnam. It came home with us!

 
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What Did You Do In The War, Sister?: Catholic Sisters in the WWII Nazi Resistance

by Dennis J. Turner


"A powerful story of seldom-sung heroines in humanity's darkest days and a vivid reminder of the power of conscience." -- Edgardo David Holzman, author of Malena

Throughout the occupied territories, Catholic Sisters were active members of The Nazi Resistance.

Based on letters and documents written by Catholic Sisters during the Nazi occupation of Belgium, this book tells the remarkable story of these brave and faithful women, and how they served to resist the German forces.

From running contraband to hiding Jews, from spying for the allies to small acts of sabotage, these courageous women risked their lives to help defeat the Reich.

This is a story that needs to be told.

"...an engaging account of World War Two as told through the voice of a fictional Belgian nun... fascinating and valuable." -- Donald Lystra, Author of Season of Water and Ice

"…a generous recounting of the deeds of marvelous nuns living in the midst of mortal danger. It's also a great read!" -- Father James Heft, Professor of Religion at the University of Southern California

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Matamoros: Civil War Adventure, Romance and Espionage in an Old West Border Town

by James Kahn


By 1862 the Union had blockaded all Confederate ports. Just across the Rio Grande from Brownsville, Texas, Matamoros was the only harbor where the South could ship its cotton to Europe, and smuggle in arms for the rebellion. So it was a haven for Yankee and Rebel spies and diplomats, gunrunners and cotton smugglers, runaway slaves, bandits, Texas Rangers, and rogues of every stripe.

But Matamoros was also full of French Foreign Legionnaires—because that same year, Napoleon III had invaded Mexico, to install Archduke Maximilian of Austria as Emperor.

Set against the backdrop of two wars, this is the story of Clay—an expatriate Southern gentleman running a gambling hall—and Allie, his ex-con artist partner, bringing her cotton train to market—in a star- crossed affair that may or may not survive their conflicted allegiances amidst the tides of battle.

 
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Home Work: A Memoir of My Hollywood Years

by Julie Andrews


NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
In this follow-up to her critically acclaimed memoir, Home, Julie Andrews shares reflections on her astonishing career, including such classics as Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music, and Victor/Victoria.

In Home, the number one New York Times international bestseller, Julie Andrews recounted her difficult childhood and her emergence as an acclaimed singer and performer on the stage.

With this second memoir, Home Work: A Memoir of My Hollywood Years, Andrews picks up the story with her arrival in Hollywood and her phenomenal rise to fame in her earliest films--Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music. Andrews describes her years in the film industry -- from the incredible highs to the challenging lows. Not only does she discuss her work in now-classic films and her collaborations with giants of cinema and television, she also unveils her personal story of adjusting to a new and often daunting world, dealing with the demands of unimaginable success, being a new mother, the end of her first marriage, embracing two stepchildren, adopting two more children, and falling in love with the brilliant and mercurial Blake Edwards. The pair worked together in numerous films, including Victor/Victoria, the gender-bending comedy that garnered multiple Oscar nominations.

Cowritten with her daughter, Emma Walton Hamilton, and told with Andrews's trademark charm and candor, Home Work takes us on a rare and intimate journey into an extraordinary life that is funny, heartrending, and inspiring.

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Room to Dream

by David Lynch et al


NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • An unprecedented look into the personal and creative life of the visionary auteur David Lynch, through his own words and those of his closest colleagues, friends, and family

“Insightful . . . an impressively industrious and comprehensive account of Lynch’s career.”—The New York Times Book Review
 
In this unique hybrid of biography and memoir, David Lynch opens up for the first time about a life lived in pursuit of his singular vision, and the many heartaches and struggles he’s faced to bring his unorthodox projects to fruition. Lynch’s lyrical, intimate, and unfiltered personal reflections riff off biographical sections written by close collaborator Kristine McKenna and based on more than one hundred new interviews with surprisingly candid ex-wives, family members, actors, agents, musicians, and colleagues in various fields who all have their own takes on what happened.

Room to Dream is a landmark book that offers a onetime all-access pass into the life and mind of one of our most enigmatic and utterly original living artists.

With insights into . . .
Eraserhead
The Elephant Man
Dune
Blue Velvet
Wild at Heart
Twin Peaks
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me
Lost Highway
The Straight Story
Mulholland Drive
INLAND EMPIRE
Twin Peaks: The Return

Praise for Room to Dream

“A memorable portrait of one of cinema’s great auteurs . . . provides a remarkable insight into [David] Lynch’s intense commitment to the ‘art life.’ ”The Guardian

“This is the best book by and about a movie director since Elia Kazan’s A Life (1988) and Michael Powell’s A Life in Movies (1986). But Room to Dream is more enchanting or appealing than those classics. . . . What makes this book endearing is its chatty, calm account of how genius in America can be a matter-of-fact defiance of reality that won’t alarm your dog or save mankind. It’s the only way to dream in so disturbed a country.”San Francisco Chronicle

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Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I've Loved

by Kate Bowler


NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “A meditation on sense-making when there’s no sense to be made, on letting go when we can’t hold on, and on being unafraid even when we’re terrified.”—Lucy Kalanithi

“Belongs on the shelf alongside other terrific books about this difficult subject, like Paul Kalanithi’s When Breath Becomes Air and Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal.”—Bill Gates

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY REAL SIMPLE


Kate Bowler is a professor at Duke Divinity School with a modest Christian upbringing, but she specializes in the study of the prosperity gospel, a creed that sees fortune as a blessing from God and misfortune as a mark of God’s disapproval. At thirty-five, everything in her life seems to point toward “blessing.” She is thriving in her job, married to her high school sweetheart, and loves life with her newborn son.

Then she is diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer.

The prospect of her own mortality forces Kate to realize that she has been tacitly subscribing to the prosperity gospel, living with the conviction that she can control the shape of her life with “a surge of determination.” Even as this type of Christianity celebrates the American can-do spirit, it implies that if you “can’t do” and succumb to illness or misfortune, you are a failure. Kate is very sick, and no amount of positive thinking will shrink her tumors. What does it mean to die, she wonders, in a society that insists everything happens for a reason? Kate is stripped of this certainty only to discover that without it, life is hard but beautiful in a way it never has been before.

Frank and funny, dark and wise, Kate Bowler pulls the reader deeply into her life in an account she populates affectionately with a colorful, often hilarious retinue of friends, mega-church preachers, relatives, and doctors. Everything Happens for a Reason tells her story, offering up her irreverent, hard-won observations on dying and the ways it has taught her to live.

Praise for Everything Happens for a Reason
 
“I fell hard and fast for Kate Bowler. Her writing is naked, elegant, and gripping—she’s like a Christian Joan Didion. I left Kate’s story feeling more present, more grateful, and a hell of a lot less alone. And what else is art for?”—Glennon Doyle, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Love Warrior and president of Together Rising

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A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II

by Sonia Purnell


A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Chosen as a BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR by NPR, the New York Public Library, the Seattle Times, the Washington Independent Review of Books, BookBrowse, the Spectator, and the Times of London

“Excellent…This book is as riveting as any thriller, and as hard to put down.” -- The New York Times Book Review

"A compelling biography of a masterful spy, and a reminder of what can be done with a few brave people -- and a little resistance." - NPR

The perfect holiday gift for the World War II history buff, a never-before-told story of Virginia Hall, the American spy who changed the course of World War II, from the author of Clementine


In 1942, the Gestapo sent out an urgent transmission: "She is the most dangerous of all Allied spies. We must find and destroy her."

The target in their sights was Virginia Hall, a Baltimore socialite who talked her way into Special Operations Executive, the spy organization dubbed Winston Churchill's "Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare." She became the first Allied woman deployed behind enemy lines and--despite her prosthetic leg--helped to light the flame of the French Resistance, revolutionizing secret warfare as we know it.

Virginia established vast spy networks throughout France, called weapons and explosives down from the skies, and became a linchpin for the Resistance. Even as her face covered wanted posters and a bounty was placed on her head, Virginia refused order after order to evacuate. She finally escaped through a death-defying hike over the Pyrenees into Spain, her cover blown. But she plunged back in, adamant that she had more lives to save, and led a victorious guerilla campaign, liberating swathes of France from the Nazis after D-Day.

Based on new and extensive research, Sonia Purnell has for the first time uncovered the full secret life of Virginia Hall--an astounding and inspiring story of heroism, spycraft, resistance, and personal triumph over shocking adversity. A Woman of No Importance is the breathtaking story of how one woman's fierce persistence helped win the war.

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The Beautiful Ones

by Prince


#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The brilliant coming-of-age-and-into-superstardom story of one of the greatest artists of all time, in his own words—featuring never-before-seen photos, original scrapbooks and lyric sheets, and the exquisite memoir he began writing before his tragic death

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST MUSIC BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW AND ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE WASHINGTON POST AND THE GUARDIAN

Prince was a musical genius, one of the most beloved, accomplished, and acclaimed musicians of our time. He was a startlingly original visionary with an imagination deep enough to whip up whole worlds, from the sexy, gritty funk paradise of “Uptown” to the mythical landscape of Purple Rain to the psychedelia of “Paisley Park.” But his most ambitious creative act was turning Prince Rogers Nelson, born in Minnesota, into Prince, one of the greatest pop stars of any era.

The Beautiful Ones is the story of how Prince became Prince—a first-person account of a kid absorbing the world around him and then creating a persona, an artistic vision, and a life, before the hits and fame that would come to define him. The book is told in four parts. The first is the memoir Prince was writing before his tragic death, pages that bring us into his childhood world through his own lyrical prose. The second part takes us through Prince’s early years as a musician, before his first album was released, via an evocative scrapbook of writing and photos. The third section shows us Prince’s evolution through candid images that go up to the cusp of his greatest achievement, which we see in the book’s fourth section: his original handwritten treatment for Purple Rain—the final stage in Prince’s self-creation, where he retells the autobiography of the first three parts as a heroic journey.

The book is framed by editor Dan Piepenbring’s riveting and moving introduction about his profound collaboration with Prince in his final months—a time when Prince was thinking deeply about how to reveal more of himself and his ideas to the world, while retaining the mystery and mystique he’d so carefully cultivated—and annotations that provide context to the book’s images.

This work is not just a tribute to an icon, but an original and energizing literary work in its own right, full of Prince’s ideas and vision, his voice and image—his undying gift to the world.

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OinK! Only in Korea!

by David Osterhout


OinK! Only in Korea!

In 1980, years after Vietnam and even more years before Desert Storm, America was experiencing a seventeen-year period of peace. One of the few places a young army officer could find adventure was on the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) in Korea, Freedom's Frontier. The second day in-country, the lieutenant was no longer a Korean cherry boy. Hours later he found himself inside the DMZ. By the end of the week, he was wounded.

As the intelligence officer for the battalion, he knew the area around the DMZ was a dangerous place. The minefields took many casualties, small arms fire got others, and artillery short rounds claimed even more, leading up to the bizarre episode of a missing severed hand and the search for the diamond ring that was no longer on it. Even something as simple as crossing the Imjin River after the monsoons turned deadly. And then there was the most feared affliction of all, catching river blindness. It's not a disease – it's going down to the river and getting your eyes shot out.

The lieutenant's daily routine was anything but routine. The averages told the story: a shooting incident every ten days with thirty-three combat related deaths during the year. The patrols were long and cold, the guard posts were desolate, and Freedom Bridge operations droned on until enemy frogmen shattered the monotony. Peace, in that part of the world, had a unique definition. As they say, the DMZ isn't hell but you can see it from there.
Those who worked hard also played hard. The parties were so wild that they fell into the category of “that which didn't kill you made you stronger”. The eleven and a half months in Korea provided more experiences than ever expected, especially the ending, when the lieutenant's twelve-month tour was cut short in a most unusual way by a booby trap.

This 'slice of life' novel is obviously military genre and is definitely memoir-ish. The story is steeped in facts because the author is the lieutenant intelligence officer who journeyed to the Korean DMZ – and paid the price with a severe and lasting physical wound and a psychological scar that, to this day, haunts him from time to time.

This is not going to be the next great American novel and it won't win any awards. However, it is an interesting story, like the ones told around the kitchen table or over drinks. When told, people become quiet, and listen. The reader will be completely entertained and amazed at what happened to one man in the Land of the Not Quite Right.

Go to any bookstore and you will see racks of books about Vietnam, World War II and Iraq/Afghanistan. Noticeably missing are books about Korea. This is an exceptional military tale not only because it takes place in Korea, but it is also about a peacetime military and the sacrifices soldiers make even when they are not at war. OinK! Only in Korea! is a must read for a veteran and there are millions of them who have served in Korea during the time of the truce.

This book brings to people a story that should be told and will allow “the lieutenant” to finally lay his peacetime “war” to rest.

 
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The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row

by Anthony Ray Hinton et al


OPRAH’S BOOK CLUB SUMMER 2018 SELECTION

A powerful, revealing story of hope, love, justice, and the power of reading by a man who spent thirty years on death row for a crime he didn't commit.


“An amazing and heartwarming story, it restores our faith in the inherent goodness of humanity.”
- Archbishop Desmond Tutu


In 1985, Anthony Ray Hinton was arrested and charged with two counts of capital murder in Alabama. Stunned, confused, and only twenty-nine years old, Hinton knew that it was a case of mistaken identity and believed that the truth would prove his innocence and ultimately set him free.

But with no money and a different system of justice for a poor black man in the South, Hinton was sentenced to death by electrocution. He spent his first three years on Death Row at Holman State Prison in agonizing silence—full of despair and anger toward all those who had sent an innocent man to his death. But as Hinton realized and accepted his fate, he resolved not only to survive, but find a way to live on Death Row. For the next twenty-seven years he was a beacon—transforming not only his own spirit, but those of his fellow inmates, fifty-four of whom were executed mere feet from his cell. With the help of civil rights attorney and bestselling author of Just Mercy, Bryan Stevenson, Hinton won his release in 2015.

With a foreword by Stevenson, The Sun Does Shine is an extraordinary testament to the power of hope sustained through the darkest times. Destined to be a classic memoir of wrongful imprisonment and freedom won, Hinton’s memoir tells his dramatic thirty-year journey and shows how you can take away a man’s freedom, but you can’t take away his imagination, humor, or joy.

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Dying to Die: The Janet Adkins Story

by Susan Clevenger

 

The true story of dying with the assistance of Dr. Jack Kevorkian, as told by Ron Adkins and the family and friends who were left behind.

 

Dying to Die: The Janet Adkins Story is the biography of a loving wife and mother who took control of her life, her death and her destiny. It is a gripping love story between two people and their mutual respect for one another's journey.

Janet Adkins, an unknown woman from Portland, Oregon, was diagnosed with early Alzheimer's disease. She and her husband became internationally known when she elected to be the first, and only person to end her life with the help of Dr. Jack Kevorkian using his controversial "suicide machine."

Nearly thirty years after Janet's death, intimate details of her life and choice to die are revealed, with reactions of her family, friends, and community. At the conclusion of the book, the reader is left with compelling food for thought that encourages them to consider the evidence and ponder the questions: Do people have the right to decide when and how to die? Should their doctor be allow to assist them? Should they be allowed the freedom to make a deliberate choice?

The path that Janet chose is not the path for everyone. We as individuals with the diverse backgrounds of social and religious beliefs will encounter many paths during our lifetimes. Everyone has the freedom to choose the path that rings true for them.

 

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Love Warrior: A Memoir

by

 

The Newest Oprah Book Club 2016 Selection

The highly anticipated new memoir by bestselling author Glennon Doyle Melton tells the story of her journey of self-discovery after the implosion of her marriage.

 

Just when Glennon Doyle Melton was beginning to feel she had it all figured out―three happy children, a doting spouse, and a writing career so successful that her first book catapulted to the top of the New York Times bestseller list―her husband revealed his infidelity and she was forced to realize that nothing was as it seemed. A recovering alcoholic and bulimic, Glennon found that rock bottom was a familiar place. In the midst of crisis, she knew to hold on to what she discovered in recovery: that her deepest pain has always held within it an invitation to a richer life.

 

Love Warrior is the story of one marriage, but it is also the story of the healing that is possible for any of us when we refuse to settle for good enough and begin to face pain and love head-on. This astonishing memoir reveals how our ideals of masculinity and femininity can make it impossible for a man and a woman to truly know one another—and it captures the beauty that unfolds when one couple commits to unlearning everything they've been taught so that they can finally, after thirteen years of marriage, commit to living true—true to themselves and to each other.

 

Love Warrior is a gorgeous and inspiring account of how we are born to be warriors: strong, powerful, and brave; able to confront the pain and claim the love that exists for us all. This chronicle of a beautiful, brutal journey speaks to anyone who yearns for deeper, truer relationships and a more abundant, authentic life.

 

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My Lobotomy: A Memoir

by Howard Dully et al

 

In this heartfelt memoir from one of the youngest recipients of the transorbital lobotamy, Howard Dully shares the story of a painfully dysfunctional childhood, a misspent youth, his struggle to claim the life that was taken from him, and his redemption.

At twelve, Howard Dully was guilty of the same crimes as other boys his age: he was moody and messy, rambunctious with his brothers, contrary just to prove a point, and perpetually at odds with his parents. Yet somehow, this normal boy became one of the youngest people on whom Dr. Walter Freeman performed his barbaric transorbital—or ice pick—lobotomy.

Abandoned by his family within a year of the surgery, Howard spent his teen years in mental institutions, his twenties in jail, and his thirties in a bottle. It wasn’t until he was in his forties that Howard began to pull his life together. But even as he began to live the “normal” life he had been denied, Howard struggled with one question: Why?

There were only three people who would know the truth: Freeman, the man who performed the procedure; Lou, his cold and demanding stepmother who brought Howard to the doctor’s attention; and his father, Rodney. Of the three, only Rodney, the man who hadn’t intervened on his son’s behalf, was still living. Time was running out. Stable and happy for the first time in decades, Howard began to search for answers.

Through his research, Howard met other lobotomy patients and their families, talked with one of Freeman’s sons about his father’s controversial life’s work, and confronted Rodney about his complicity. And, in the archive where the doctor’s files are stored, he finally came face to face with the truth.

Revealing what happened to a child no one—not his father, not the medical community, not the state—was willing to protect, My Lobotomy exposes a shameful chapter in the history of the treatment of mental illness. Yet, ultimately, this is a powerful and moving chronicle of the life of one man.

 

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The Extraordinary Life of an Ordinary Man

by Al Hirshen


Al Hirshen has led an unusual life. He learned street smarts in the Bronx, helped out at his father's candy store, worked as a waiter in the Catskills to pay for his schooling, and became a lawyer. A participant in many of the pivotal changes of our times, Al was a Civil Rights and pioneering anti-poverty lawyer and created the first public/private partnerships in the Carter Administration. He was among the first USAID consultants to work in Russia, Ukraine, Slovakia and Albania.

Ready for new challenges and adventure, Al travelled the world, was a successful international development consultant, and tried his luck at movie production in Hollywood. For nine years he worked as a consultant to the leadership of Indonesia during that nation's turbulent transition to democracy.

Al writes with a sense of humor and a profound love of life, the world, and people. As a recovering alcoholic, father, grandfather and husband in a happy twenty-five-year third marriage, he sees himself as an "ordinary man" blessed to live life fully in an imperfect, yet stunning world.

"This book is a vibrantly alive, candid, and compelling memoir of a son of Jewish Immigrants from the Bronx, an intensely restless soul, ever in search of the next adventure, driven to making the world a better place along the way."

Thelton Henderson, Judge (Ret.) United States District Court

"A beautifully written, gripping, and amusing memoir, full of psychological insights, humor and world-wisdom. Al Hirshen has the determination, chutzpah, self-irony, and heartfelt generosity of a true lover of life."

Kim Chernin, author of In My Mother's House

"The title of this memoir may at first glance resemble a kited check; but there is more than enough in the bank of Hirshen's life story to cover two books. Not since Sybille Bedford's The Faces of Justice have I encountered such sharply observed stories of public life in the trenches."

Richard Buxbaum, Ralston Professor Emeritus of International Law, UC Berkeley Law School

"Al Hirshen weaves a remarkable tale of people, places, and events. His reflections on his illness and his recovery into the life of sobriety are rich and helpful. These are good words, written by a good fellow."

Fr. Tom Weston SJ., 12-Step Retreats, Renewal Ministries

From the Foreword by Richard Bangs:

Al's incisive writings stitch together the cloth that binds us as Americans and as world citizens. He explores different ideologies without judging. For him, ideology is a personal choice. With riveting tales of his various adventures and misadventures, he provides a road map to empathy, and the antidote to bigotry: traveling and living with an open mind.

This remarkable book encourages all of us to embrace a more deeply nuanced exploration of the world and its cultures, and to make it all part of the conversation. Al's peregrinations and interpretations encourage us to relinquish ingrained hyper-attachment to individualism, and to celebrate diversity and inclusion.

And yet, is the exploration and betterment of oneself not the greatest, most harrowing journey of all? In a raw account of his path to sobriety, Al gives his audience a look at what it means to reflect upon and confront our innermost demons and ultimately come out on the other side. Much like the stories of his travels, Al is able to recognize the parts of himself that need change, while also approaching that change with compassion, hope, and an open mind.

 
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The Last Girl: My Story of Captivity, and My Fight Against the Islamic State

by Nadia Murad


WINNER OF THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE

In this intimate memoir of survival, a former captive of the Islamic State tells her harrowing and ultimately inspiring story.

 
Nadia Murad was born and raised in Kocho, a small village of farmers and shepherds in northern Iraq. A member of the Yazidi community, she and her brothers and sisters lived a quiet life. Nadia had dreams of becoming a history teacher or opening her own beauty salon.
 
On August 15th, 2014, when Nadia was just twenty-one years old, this life ended. Islamic State militants massacred the people of her village, executing men who refused to convert to Islam and women too old to become sex slaves. Six of Nadia’s brothers were killed, and her mother soon after, their bodies swept into mass graves. Nadia was taken to Mosul and forced, along with thousands of other Yazidi girls, into the ISIS slave trade.
 
Nadia would be held captive by several militants and repeatedly raped and beaten. Finally, she managed a narrow escape through the streets of Mosul, finding shelter in the home of a Sunni Muslim family whose eldest son risked his life to smuggle her to safety.
 
Today, Nadia's story—as a witness to the Islamic State's brutality, a survivor of rape, a refugee, a Yazidi—has forced the world to pay attention to an ongoing genocide. It is a call to action, a testament to the human will to survive, and a love letter to a lost country, a fragile community, and a family torn apart by war.

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Autism in Heels: The Untold Story of a Female Life on the Spectrum

by Jennifer Cook O'Toole


The face of autism is changing. And more often than we realize, that face is wearing lipstick.

Autism in Heels, an intimate memoir, reveals the woman inside one of autism’s most prominent figures, Jennifer O'Toole. At the age of thirty-five, Jennifer was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome, and for the first time in her life, things made sense. Now, Jennifer exposes the constant struggle between carefully crafted persona and authentic existence, editing the autism script with wit, candor, passion, and power. Her journey is one of reverse-self-discovery not only as an Aspie but--more importantly--as a thoroughly modern woman.

Beyond being a memoir, Autism in Heels is a love letter to all women. It’s a conversation starter. A game changer. And a firsthand account of what it is to walk in Jennifer's shoes (especially those iconic red stilettos).

Whether it's bad perms or body image, sexuality or self-esteem, Jennifer's is as much a human journey as one on the spectrum. Because autism "looks a bit different in pink," most girls and women who fit the profile are not identified, facing years of avoidable anxiety, eating disorders, volatile relationships, self-harm, and stunted independence. Jennifer has been there, too. Autism in Heels takes that message to the mainstream.

From her own struggles and self-discovery, she has built an empire of empowerment, inspiring women the world over to realize they aren't mistakes. They are misunderstood miracles.

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