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).
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST
"Disturbing and riveting...It will sear your soul." —Dave Eggers, New York Times Book Review
SHELF AWARENESS'S BEST BOOK OF 2017
Named a best book of the year by Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle, GQ, Time, Newsday, Entertainment Weekly, Time Magazine, NPR's Maureen Corrigan, NPR's "On Point," Vogue, Smithsonian, Cosmopolitan, Seattle Times, Bloomberg, Lit Hub's "Ultimate Best Books," Library Journal, Paste, Kirkus, Slate.com and Book Browse
From New Yorker staff writer David Grann, #1 New York Times best-selling author of The Lost City of Z, a twisting, haunting true-life murder mystery about one of the most monstrous crimes in American history
In the 1920s, the richest people per capita in the world were members of the Osage Indian nation in Oklahoma. After oil was discovered beneath their land, they rode in chauffeured automobiles, built mansions, and sent their children to study in Europe.
Then, one by one, the Osage began to be killed off. The family of an Osage woman, Mollie Burkhart, became a prime target. Her relatives were shot and poisoned. And it was just the beginning, as more and more members of the tribe began to die under mysterious circumstances.
In this last remnant of the Wild West—where oilmen like J. P. Getty made their fortunes and where desperadoes like Al Spencer, the “Phantom Terror,” roamed—many of those who dared to investigate the killings were themselves murdered. As the death toll climbed to more than twenty-four, the FBI took up the case. It was one of the organization’s first major homicide investigations and the bureau badly bungled the case. In desperation, the young director, J. Edgar Hoover, turned to a former Texas Ranger named Tom White to unravel the mystery. White put together an undercover team, including one of the only American Indian agents in the bureau. The agents infiltrated the region, struggling to adopt the latest techniques of detection. Together with the Osage they began to expose one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history.
In Killers of the Flower Moon, David Grann revisits a shocking series of crimes in which dozens of people were murdered in cold blood. Based on years of research and startling new evidence, the book is a masterpiece of narrative nonfiction, as each step in the investigation reveals a series of sinister secrets and reversals. But more than that, it is a searing indictment of the callousness and prejudice toward American Indians that allowed the murderers to operate with impunity for so long. Killers of the Flower Moon is utterly compelling, but also emotionally devastating.
From the award-winning author of I Knew You’d Be Lovely comes an empowering and disarmingly funny memoir about grief and illness—and the wit and wisdom it takes to survive it.
As a child, Alethea Black drifts between her father, a brilliant mathematician who is also her best friend, and her mother, a frank and outspoken woman on fire. After her father’s death, Alethea is left unmoored, a young woman more connected to life’s ethereal mysteries than to practical things such as doing laundry or paying taxes.
And then, just when life seems to be getting back on track, she’s suddenly racked by crushing fatigue, inexplicable pain, and memory loss. With her grasp on reality fading, and specialist after specialist declaring nothing is wrong, Alethea turns to her own research and desperate home remedies. But even as her frantic quest for wellness seems to lead to confusion and despair, she discovers more about her own strength than she ever could have imagined—and becomes a woman on fire herself.
In this New York Times bestseller, the White House chief usher for nearly three decades offers a behind-the-scenes look at America’s first families.
A HILARIOUS, WISE, REVEALING ROMP THROUGH FIVE DECADES OF HOLLYWOOD!
“Wow!!! Adrienne, like Mame, has LIVED!!!! And like Candide, she emerges unscathed, as dear as she was when she began. But what a wild ride!!!” —Bette Midler
Originally published in 2006, this L.A. Times bestseller by Tony-nominated actress, iconic “scream queen”, and vampyre thriller author Adrienne Barbeau is many things: a touching coming-of-age journal, an inspiring actor’s handbook on how to survive in the biz, and a witty Hollywood memoir—chronicling five decades of stage, screen, and romance.
There’s only one Adrienne Barbeau, as singular and irreplaceable as Marilyn, Meryl, or Hepburn—and as down-to-earth as any soccer mom (which she is). Only one Swamp Thing girlfriend, only one Ruthie the snake charmer, only one original Rizzo. No other voice in Hollywood can you imagine as Creepshow’s Billie growling, “Get out of the way, Henry, or I swear to God you’ll be wearing your balls for earrings.”
Twelve-year-old Barbeau entrusted her journal with a secret: she must become an actress. She set out with single-minded determination, succeeding on the strengths of an unsurpassed work ethic and discipline, unshakable commitment to the truth of her characters, a soul-stirring voice, a preternaturally perfect beauty, and her bawdy sense of humor—all on full display here!
Barbeau hilariously details her early years as a naif in New York, securing her first apartment with roommates: “One of the girls was an alcoholic…. The other had male friends who left money on the dresser on the nights I’d come home to find myself locked out of the bedroom.” Then getting her first job, as a barmaid: “My boss … is a ‘big man’ in New York—although not a member of the Mafia, they are good friends.” And, memorably, starring on Broadway in Grease. She warmly remembers her two hit television series (Maude and Carnivale), and spins tales of her many television and feature films (The Fog, Escape from New York, Cannonball Run, Swamp Thing, Back to School, Creepshow).
But unlike most showbiz biographies, Barbeau’s story doesn’t stop—or even slow down—at fifty, which finds our heroine newly in love, wandering the halls of the maternity ward a new mother (the only new mother on the floor with an AARP card), becoming a published author (of vampire thrillers!), and taking up trapeze-performance at seventy.
Always behind the scenes of Adrienne’s rise to iconic “scream queen” is the introspective girl, facing her fears to develop her concert singing career, searching for self-knowledge, the right guy, and happiness as a wife and mother with a very busy career—and always pushing the boundaries.
WHO WILL LIKE IT: Fans of Hollywood memoirs, young artists seeking the secrets to success, every starstruck male who was older than thirteen when Maude’s daughter Carol popped into our living rooms, every woman who could use a touch of the encouraging warmth of a friend, anybody who needs a rip-roaring good laugh— or fifty.
“This book will make you laugh, cry, and just root for the skinny little girl with glasses and bushy hair who became a beautiful woman, mother, wife and a darned good actress.” —Electric Review
Faith. Trust. Triumph.
“I’m sorry,” the doctor said. “He is permanently and totally blind. There is nothing we can do for him.”
George and Sarah Hingson looked at each other, devastated. Their six-month-old son, Michael was a happy, strawberry blond baby boy, healthy and normal in every way except one. When the Hingsons switched on a light or made silly faces, Michael did not react. Ever. “My best suggestion is that you send him to a home for the blind,” the doctor continued. “He will never be able to do anything for himself.”
Forty-seven years later, a yellow Labrador retriever puppy was born in the whelping unit of Guide Dogs for the Blind in San Rafael, California. The puppy’s name was Roselle. On September 11, 2001, she saved Michael’s life. This is Roselle’s story too.
—From the Introduction
Every moment in Michael Hingson’s and Roselle’s lives seemed to lead up to this day. When one of four hijacked planes flew into the World Trade Center’s north tower on September 11, 2001, Michael Hingson, a district sales manager for a data protection and network security systems company, was sitting down for a meeting. His guide dog, Roselle, was at his feet. Paired for twenty-one months, man and dog spent that time forging a bond of trust, much like police partners who trust their lives to each other.
Michael couldn’t see a thing, but he could hear the sounds of shattering glass, falling debris, and terrified people flooding around him and Roselle. However, Roselle sat calmly beside him. In that moment, Michael chose to trust Roselle’s judgment and not to panic. They were a team.
Thunder Dog is a story that will forever change your spirit and your perspective. It illuminates Hingson’s lifelong determination to achieve parity in a sighted world and how the rare trust between a man and his guide dog can inspire an unshakable faith in each one of us.
#1 NATIONAL BESTSELLER
At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life. With no experience or training, driven only by blind will, she would hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State—and she would do it alone. Told with suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild powerfully captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.
Oprah's Book Club 2.0 selection: This special eBook edition of Cheryl Strayed’s national best seller, Wild, features exclusive content, including Oprah’s personal notes highlighted within the text, and a reading group guide.
One of the Best Books of the Year: NPR, The Boston Globe, Entertainment Weekly, Vogue, St. Louis Dispatch
“I am most grateful for two things: that I was born in North Korea, and that I escaped from North Korea.”
Yeonmi Park has told the harrowing story of her escape from North Korea as a child many times, but never before has she revealed the most intimate and devastating details of the repressive society she was raised in and the enormous price she paid to escape.
Park’s family was loving and close-knit, but life in North Korea was brutal, practically medieval. Park would regularly go without food and was made to believe that, Kim Jong Il, the country’s dictator, could read her mind. After her father was imprisoned and tortured by the regime for trading on the black-market, a risk he took in order to provide for his wife and two young daughters, Yeonmi and her family were branded as criminals and forced to the cruel margins of North Korean society. With thirteen-year-old Park suffering from a botched appendectomy and weighing a mere sixty pounds, she and her mother were smuggled across the border into China.
I wasn’t dreaming of freedom when I escaped from North Korea. I didn’t even know what it meant to be free. All I knew was that if my family stayed behind, we would probably die—from starvation, from disease, from the inhuman conditions of a prison labor camp. The hunger had become unbearable; I was willing to risk my life for the promise of a bowl of rice. But there was more to our journey than our own survival. My mother and I were searching for my older sister, Eunmi, who had left for China a few days earlier and had not been heard from since.
Park knew the journey would be difficult, but could not have imagined the extent of the hardship to come. Those years in China cost Park her childhood, and nearly her life. By the time she and her mother made their way to South Korea two years later, her father was dead and her sister was still missing. Before now, only her mother knew what really happened between the time they crossed the Yalu river into China and when they followed the stars through the frigid Gobi Desert to freedom. As she writes, “I convinced myself that a lot of what I had experienced never happened. I taught myself to forget the rest.”
In In Order to Live, Park shines a light not just into the darkest corners of life in North Korea, describing the deprivation and deception she endured and which millions of North Korean people continue to endure to this day, but also onto her own most painful and difficult memories. She tells with bravery and dignity for the first time the story of how she and her mother were betrayed and sold into sexual slavery in China and forced to suffer terrible psychological and physical hardship before they finally made their way to Seoul, South Korea—and to freedom.
Still in her early twenties, Yeonmi Park has lived through experiences that few people of any age will ever know—and most people would never recover from. Park confronts her past with a startling resilience, refusing to be defeated or defined by the circumstances of her former life in North Korea and China. In spite of everything, she has never stopped being proud of where she is from, and never stopped striving for a better life. Indeed, today she is a human rights activist working determinedly to bring attention to the oppression taking place in her home country.
Park’s testimony is rare, edifying, and terribly important, and the story she tells in In Order to Live is heartbreaking and unimaginable, but never without hope. Her voice is riveting and dignified. This is the human spirit at its most indomitable.
Welcome to my book, There and Back There Again by Andy Alsup ~ Village Savant.
My story has a few themes:
- psychic musings
I write a lot about my daily experience. It primarily revolves around my ongoing conversation with a variety of voices I hear in my head. I call this experience a couple of things. It is psychic. It is a network of identities. It is public. It is hilarious.
This is an introduction to give you an idea what I’m talking about with the conflict oriented stuff I write, and what I call chipmunk.
I hear voices. They are best described as auditory hallucinations. Sometimes they’re identifiable. Sometimes they’re words in my thoughts that don’t have sound, they don’t belong there, and they’re clearly someone else’s words.
I have called them a psychic phenomenon. I believe these are real people. They sometimes identify themselves. Sometimes I can hear who they are. Almost always they lie about their identity. They are always consistently wrong about people I know. They attempt to be identified as these people for a variety of reasons, but mostly to try to establish credibility because they have none and to attempt to manipulate.
I always tell the voices I will not accept them trying to do that.
I call the voices chipmunk because they sound squeaky, clown car because it’s one after another, and douchebag because they’re intrusive and self satisfied losers.
The reality is that the attempts to manipulate are trying to control me or lure me into doing something for reasons they are never honest about.
The voices are abusive, hostile, immature, and nonstop nonsense. They are factually wrong about everything. They lie about their motives, their information, their coordination with each other, and people that I know are not how the voices describe them.
The voices constantly attempt to indicate they are interfering in my life or are people I would want to have input from. They do this for a variety of reasons but it comes down to stupidity and probably people just wasting their time who have nothing better to do.
Sometimes they describe this as entertainment. They say they watch me either through their computer, or that they experience the same phenomenon I do in their head, and they see me remotely. I don’t know what that is like. I do sometimes see people doing things, and I can sometimes hear their thoughts.
I have the ability to give them words I make them say. I can also give them thoughts, or make them do things.
I sometimes smell or feel things that are also psychic.
The voices are real people behaving badly.
sa·vant saˈvän(t),säˈvän(t) noun
a learned person, especially a distinguished scientist.
synonyms: intellectual, scholar, sage, philosopher, thinker, wise/learned person
~~ People have asked me about the choice of the word savant for my Facebook page.
I'll put it this way. Genius doesn't cover it. I'm beyond that.
Savant indicates epic level wisdom in an area that also accompanies a deficit.
My savant is people.
I can see your soul at a glance. I can write and speak words on every day topics that make you stand with applause. I can talk you under the table with logic. I can explain the universe in a few words. I can make science deliciously funny, 12 hours in the brisket lab with a pbr. I have done it all with technology, and I can take you into the future. I am fluent in music and film that people resonate with, but can't remember why. I think things that happen because I think them. I can change your words in your mouth. I know what to tell you to freak you out or calm you. I can describe you to yourself in ways you know but never knew.
I'll need your help to meet a girl.
~ Andy ~ Village Savant ~ The Smartest Guy On the Planet
“Funny, touching, tragic….A remarkable tale of corruption, child trafficking and civil war in a far away land—and one man’s extraordinary quest to reunite lost Nepalese children with their parents.”
—Neil White, author of In the Sanctuary of Outcasts
Little Princes is the epic story of Conor Grennan’s battle to save the lost children of Nepal and how he found himself in the process. Part Three Cups of Tea, part Into Thin Air, Grennan’s remarkable memoir is at once gripping and inspirational, and it carries us deep into an exotic world that most readers know little about.
“Gabourey Sidibe’s delightful memoir offers a memorable look into what happens when a black girl’s dreams come true, from the inside out. Sidibe is fearless, incredibly funny, and gorgeously open. What she offers of herself in these pages is a gift.”—Roxane Gay
In This Is Just My Face, Gabourey Sidibe—the “gives-zero-effs queen of Hollywood AND perceptive best friend in your head” (Lena Dunham)—paints her unconventional rise to fame with full-throttle honesty. Sidibe tells engrossing, inspiring stories about her Bed-Stuy/Harlem/Senegalese family life with a polygamous father and a gifted mother who supports her two children by singing in the subway, her first job as a phone sex “talker,” and her Oscar-nominated role in Lee Daniels’s Precious.
Sidibe’s memoir hits hard with self-knowing dispatches on friendship, celebrity, weight, haters, fashion, race, and depression (“Sidibe’s heartfelt exploration of insecurity . . . makes us love her” —O Magazine). Irreverent, hilarious, and untraditional, This Is Just My Face will resonate with anyone who has ever felt different, and with anyone who has ever felt inspired to make a dream come true.
“This memoir [is] a book you will want to give your daughter.” —New York Times
“Sidibe’s hilarious Twitter account is no fluke—the Empire actress’s memoir about growing up in New York City and finding unexpected fame in Hollywood is sharp, witty, and wonderfully substantive.” —Entertainment Weekly
The New York Times bestseller A Long Walk to Water begins as two stories, told in alternating sections, about two eleven-year-olds in Sudan, a girl in 2008 and a boy in 1985. The girl, Nya, is fetching water from a pond that is two hours’ walk from her home: she makes two trips to the pond every day. The boy, Salva, becomes one of the "lost boys" of Sudan, refugees who cover the African continent on foot as they search for their families and for a safe place to stay. Enduring every hardship from loneliness to attack by armed rebels to contact with killer lions and crocodiles, Salva is a survivor, and his story goes on to intersect with Nya’s in an astonishing and moving way.
The instant New York Times bestseller, "A must-read for anyone who thinks 'build a wall' is the answer to anything." --Esquire
For Francisco Cantú, the border is in the blood: his mother, a park ranger and daughter of a Mexican immigrant, raised him in the scrublands of the Southwest. Haunted by the landscape of his youth, Cantú joins the Border Patrol. He and his partners are posted to remote regions crisscrossed by drug routes and smuggling corridors, where they learn to track other humans under blistering sun and through frigid nights. They haul in the dead and deliver to detention those they find alive. Cantú tries not to think where the stories go from there.
Plagued by nightmares, he abandons the Patrol for civilian life. But when an immigrant friend travels to Mexico to visit his dying mother and does not return, Cantú discovers that the border has migrated with him, and now he must know the whole story. Searing and unforgettable, The Line Becomes a River goes behind the headlines, making urgent and personal the violence our border wreaks on both sides of the line
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • An eye-opening, no-holds-barred memoir about life in the Church of Scientology, now with a new afterword by the author—the outspoken actress and star of the A&E docuseries Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath
Leah Remini has never been the type to hold her tongue. That willingness to speak her mind, stand her ground, and rattle the occasional cage has enabled this tough-talking girl from Brooklyn to forge an enduring and successful career in Hollywood. But being a troublemaker has come at a cost.
That was never more evident than in 2013, when Remini loudly and publicly broke with the Church of Scientology. Now, in this frank, funny, poignant memoir, the former King of Queens star opens up about that experience for the first time, revealing the in-depth details of her painful split with the church and its controversial practices.
Indoctrinated into the church as a child while living with her mother and sister in New York, Remini eventually moved to Los Angeles, where her dreams of becoming an actress and advancing Scientology’s causes grew increasingly intertwined. As an adult, she found the success she’d worked so hard for, and with it a prominent place in the hierarchy of celebrity Scientologists alongside people such as Tom Cruise, Scientology’s most high-profile adherent. Remini spent time directly with Cruise and was included among the guests at his 2006 wedding to Katie Holmes.
But when she began to raise questions about some of the church’s actions, she found herself a target. In the end, she was declared by the church to be a threat to their organization and therefore a “Suppressive Person,” and as a result, all of her fellow parishioners—including members of her own family—were told to disconnect from her. Forever.
Bold, brash, and bravely confessional, Troublemaker chronicles Leah Remini’s remarkable journey toward emotional and spiritual freedom, both for herself and for her family. This is a memoir designed to reveal the hard-won truths of a life lived honestly—from an author unafraid of the consequences.
Praise for Troublemaker
“An aggressively honest memoir . . . Troublemaker is the most raw and revealing Scientology memoir to date.”—Entertainment Weekly
“Leah’s story is a juicy, inside-Hollywood read, but it’s more than that. It’s a moving story about the value of questioning authority and how one woman survived a profound crisis of faith.”—People
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • An unforgettable memoir about a young girl who, kept out of school, leaves her survivalist family and goes on to earn a PhD from Cambridge University
Book Club Pick for Now Read This, from PBS NewsHour and The New York Times
“A coming-of-age memoir reminiscent of The Glass Castle.”—O: The Oprah Magazine
“Tara Westover is living proof that some people are flat-out, boots-always-laced-up indomitable.”—USA Today
“The extremity of Westover’s upbringing emerges gradually through her telling, which only makes the telling more alluring and harrowing.”—The New York Times Book Review
Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her “head-for-the-hills” bag. In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged metal in her father’s junkyard.
Her father distrusted the medical establishment, so Tara never saw a doctor or nurse. Gashes and concussions, even burns from explosions, were all treated at home with herbalism. The family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education, and no one to intervene when an older brother became violent.
When another brother got himself into college and came back with news of the world beyond the mountain, Tara decided to try a new kind of life. She taught herself enough mathematics, grammar, and science to take the ACT and was admitted to Brigham Young University. There, she studied psychology, politics, philosophy, and history, learning for the first time about pivotal world events like the Holocaust and the Civil Rights Movement. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge University. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home.
Educated is an account of the struggle for self-invention. It is a tale of fierce family loyalty, and of the grief that comes from severing one’s closest ties. With the acute insight that distinguishes all great writers, Westover has crafted a universal coming-of-age story that gets to the heart of what an education is and what it offers: the perspective to see one’s life through new eyes, and the will to change it.
In Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future, veteran technology journalist Ashlee Vance provides the first inside look into the extraordinary life and times of Silicon Valley's most audacious entrepreneur. Written with exclusive access to Musk, his family and friends, the book traces the entrepreneur's journey from a rough upbringing in South Africa to the pinnacle of the global business world. Vance spent over 40 hours in conversation with Musk and interviewed close to 300 people to tell the tumultuous stories of Musk's world-changing companies: PayPal, Tesla Motors, SpaceX and SolarCity, and to characterize a man who has renewed American industry and sparked new levels of innovation while making plenty of enemies along the way.
Vance uses Musk's story to explore one of the pressing questions of our time: can the nation of inventors and creators which led the modern world for a century still compete in an age of fierce global competition? He argues that Musk--one of the most unusual and striking figures in American business history--is a contemporary amalgam of legendary inventors and industrialists like Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Howard Hughes, and Steve Jobs. More than any other entrepreneur today, Musk has dedicated his energies and his own vast fortune to inventing a future that is as rich and far-reaching as the visionaries of the golden age of science-fiction fantasy.
In the tradition of Empire of the Summer Moon, a stunningly vivid historical account of the manhunt for Geronimo and the 25-year Apache struggle for their homeland.
They called him Mickey Free. His kidnapping started the longest war in American history, and both sides--the Apaches and the white invaders—blamed him for it. A mixed-blood warrior who moved uneasily between the worlds of the Apaches and the American soldiers, he was never trusted by either but desperately needed by both. He was the only man Geronimo ever feared. He played a pivotal role in this long war for the desert Southwest from its beginning in 1861 until its end in 1890 with his pursuit of the renegade scout, Apache Kid.
In this sprawling, monumental work, Paul Hutton unfolds over two decades of the last war for the West through the eyes of the men and women who lived it. This is Mickey Free's story, but also the story of his contemporaries: the great Apache leaders Mangas Coloradas, Cochise, and Victorio; the soldiers Kit Carson, O. O. Howard, George Crook, and Nelson Miles; the scouts and frontiersmen Al Sieber, Tom Horn, Tom Jeffords, and Texas John Slaughter; the great White Mountain scout Alchesay and the Apache female warrior Lozen; the fierce Apache warrior Geronimo; and the Apache Kid. These lives shaped the violent history of the deserts and mountains of the Southwestern borderlands--a bleak and unforgiving world where a people would make a final, bloody stand against an American war machine bent on their destruction.
When I was six years old my family started to live and dress like the Amish. For the next twelve years, my sister and I were subjected to almost complete isolation, sexual abuse, and severe physical violence.
“A superlative memoir of survival….Few wartime memoirs convey with such harrowing immediacy the evil of the Nazi genocide.”
—Daily Telegraph (London)
“One Girl’s Story of Survival,” Clara’s War is based on Clara Kramer’s diary of her years spent hiding in an underground bunker with seventeen other people during the Nazi occupation of Poland. In the classic vein of The Diary of Anne Frank—a heart-wrenching and inspiring story of a life lived in fear and cramped quarters—Clara’s War is a true story of the Holocaust as told by a remarkable young girl who lived to bear witness.
The true story for fans of the PBS Masterpiece series Victoria, 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.
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
THE NEW YORK TIMES • ESQUIRE • THE CHICAGO PUBLIC LIBRARY
“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.
NPR Best Book of 2017
“Not all superheroes wear capes, and Elizebeth Smith Friedman should be the subject of a future Wonder Woman movie.” — The New York Times
Joining the ranks of Hidden Figures and In the Garden of Beasts, the incredible true story of the greatest codebreaking duo that ever lived, an American woman and her husband who invented the modern science of cryptology together and used it to confront the evils of their time, solving puzzles that unmasked Nazi spies and helped win World War II.
In 1916, at the height of World War I, brilliant Shakespeare expert Elizebeth Smith went to work for an eccentric tycoon on his estate outside Chicago. The tycoon had close ties to the U.S. government, and he soon asked Elizebeth to apply her language skills to an exciting new venture: code-breaking. There she met the man who would become her husband, groundbreaking cryptologist William Friedman. Though she and Friedman are in many ways the "Adam and Eve" of the NSA, Elizebeth’s story, incredibly, has never been told.
In The Woman Who Smashed Codes, Jason Fagone chronicles the life of this extraordinary woman, who played an integral role in our nation’s history for forty years. After World War I, Smith used her talents to catch gangsters and smugglers during Prohibition, then accepted a covert mission to discover and expose Nazi spy rings that were spreading like wildfire across South America, advancing ever closer to the United States. As World War II raged, Elizebeth fought a highly classified battle of wits against Hitler’s Reich, cracking multiple versions of the Enigma machine used by German spies. Meanwhile, inside an Army vault in Washington, William worked furiously to break Purple, the Japanese version of Enigma—and eventually succeeded, at a terrible cost to his personal life.
Fagone unveils America’s code-breaking history through the prism of Smith’s life, bringing into focus the unforgettable events and colorful personalities that would help shape modern intelligence. Blending the lively pace and compelling detail that are the hallmarks of Erik Larson’s bestsellers with the atmosphere and intensity of The Imitation Game, The Woman Who Smashed Codes is page-turning popular history at its finest.