Biography

A Child of the Century

A Child of the Century

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A Child of the Century, Ben Hecht’s autobiographical memoir, was first published in 1954 to great critical acclaim. Hecht offers philosophical meditations on the nature of God and the self as well as keen, firsthand portraits of big-city newsrooms, postwar Germany, 1920s New York intellectuals and artists, and golden-age Hollywood. He shares anecdotes from his days working with Hollywood legends such as the Marx brothers, authors Sherwood Anderson and Dorothy Parker, actress Fanny Brice, and producer David O. Selznick. With a new introduction by David Denby, this reissued volume will introduce Hecht and his work to a new generation of readers.

Civil Rights Queen: Constance Baker Motley and the Struggle for Equality

Civil Rights Queen: Constance Baker Motley and the Struggle for Equality

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With the US Supreme Court confirmation of Ketanji Brown Jackson, "it makes sense to revisit the life and work of another Black woman who profoundly shaped the law: Constance Baker Motley" (CNN). The first major biography of one of our most influential judges--an activist lawyer who became the first Black woman appointed to the federal judiciary--that provides an eye-opening account of the twin struggles for gender equality and civil rights in the 20th Century.

"A must-read for anyone who dares to believe that equal justice under the law is possible and is in search of a model for how to make it a reality." --Anita Hill

Born to an aspirational blue-collar family during the Great Depression, Constance Baker Motley was expected to find herself a good career as a hair dresser. Instead, she became the first black woman to argue a case in front of the Supreme Court, the first of ten she would eventually argue. The only black woman member in the legal team at the NAACP's Inc. Fund at the time, she defended Martin Luther King in Birmingham, helped to argue in Brown vs. The Board of Education, and played a critical role in vanquishing Jim Crow laws throughout the South. She was the first black woman elected to the state Senate in New York, the first woman elected Manhattan Borough President, and the first black woman appointed to the federal judiciary.

Civil Rights Queen captures the story of a remarkable American life, a figure who remade law and inspired the imaginations of African Americans across the country. Burnished with an extraordinary wealth of research, award-winning, esteemed Civil Rights and legal historian and dean of the Harvard Radcliffe Institute, Tomiko Brown-Nagin brings Motley to life in these pages. Brown-Nagin compels us to ponder some of our most timeless and urgent questions--how do the historically marginalized access the corridors of power? What is the price of the ticket? How does access to power shape individuals committed to social justice? In Civil Rights Queen, she dramatically fills out the picture of some of the most profound judicial and societal change made in twentieth-century America.

IN PRAISE OF GOOD BOOKSTORES

IN PRAISE OF GOOD BOOKSTORES

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From a devoted reader and lifelong bookseller, an eloquent and charming reflection on the singular importance of bookstores

Do we need bookstores in the twenty-first century? If so, what makes a good one? In this beautifully written book, Jeff Deutsch--the director of Chicago's Seminary Co-op Bookstores, one of the finest bookstores in the world--pays loving tribute to one of our most important and endangered civic institutions. He considers how qualities like space, time, abundance, and community find expression in a good bookstore. Along the way, he also predicts--perhaps audaciously--a future in which the bookstore not only endures, but realizes its highest aspirations.

In exploring why good bookstores matter, Deutsch draws on his lifelong experience as a bookseller, but also his upbringing as an Orthodox Jew. This spiritual and cultural heritage instilled in him a reverence for reading, not as a means to a living, but as an essential part of a meaningful life. Central among Deutsch's arguments for the necessity of bookstores is the incalculable value of browsing--since, when we are deep in the act of looking at the shelves, we move through space as though we are inside the mind itself, immersed in self-reflection.

In the age of one-click shopping, this is no ordinary defense of bookstores, but rather an urgent account of why they are essential places of discovery, refuge, and fulfillment that enrich the communities that are lucky enough to have them.

Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano: Written by Himself

Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano: Written by Himself

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Providing a vivid account of the eighteenth-century Western world through his own experiences, the Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano combines Eqiano's own words about issues such as slavery and independence with related documents.

In this truly astonishing eighteenth-century memoir, Olaudah Equiano recounts his remarkable life story, which begins when he is kidnapped in Africa as a boy and sold into slavery and culminates when he has achieved renown as a British antislavery advocate. The narrative “is a strikingly beautiful monument to the startling combination of skill, cunning, and plain good luck that allowed him to win his freedom, write his story, and gain international prominence,” writes Robert Reid-Pharr in his Introduction. “He alerts us to the very concerns that trouble modern intellectuals, black, white, and otherwise, on both sides of the Atlantic.”

Maps on the Ceiling

Maps on the Ceiling

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For more than four decades, 1965-2008, Jossy and Ken Nebenzahl have traveled the world; from the sands of Arabia to the Mogolian outback, Khyber Pass tothe Strait of Hormuz, from Himalaya to Papua New Guinea.  Traveling by freighter, camel, dugout canoe, hot air balloon, antique aircraft and by their own rapidly toughening feet.

 This book encapsulates their journals and photographs into a memoir that captures the exhilaration of setting off into the wild blue with little more than curiosity and a bedroll.  

My Bondage and My Freedom

My Bondage and My Freedom

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Ex-slave Frederick Douglass's second autobiography-written after ten years of reflection following his legal emancipation in 1846 and his break with his mentor William Lloyd Garrison-catapulted Douglass into the international spotlight as the foremost spokesman for American blacks, both freed and slave. Written during his celebrated career as a speaker and newspaper editor, My Bondage and My Freedom reveals the author of the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (1845) grown more mature, forceful, analytical, and complex with a deepened commitment to the fight for equal rights and liberties.

Edited with an Introduction and Notes by John David Smith"

Portable Frederick Douglass

Portable Frederick Douglass

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A new collection of the seminal writings and speeches of a legendary writer, orator, and civil rights leader

This compact volume offers a full course on the remarkable, diverse career of Frederick Douglass, letting us hear once more a necessary historical figure whose guiding voice is needed now as urgently as ever. Edited by renowned scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and Pulitzer Prize-nominated historian John Stauffer, The Portable Frederick Douglass includes the full range of Douglass's works: the complete Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, as well as extracts from My Bondage and My Freedom and Life and Times of Frederick Douglass; The Heroic Slave, one of the first works of African American fiction; the brilliant speeches that launched his political career and that constitute the greatest oratory of the Civil War era; and his journalism, which ranges from cultural and political critique (including his early support for women's equality) to law, history, philosophy, literature, art, and international affairs, including a never-before-published essay on Haitian revolutionary Toussaint L'Ouverture.

The Portable Frederick Douglass is the latest addition in a series of African American classics curated by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. First published in 2008, the series reflects a selection of great works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry by African and African American authors introduced and annotated by leading scholars and acclaimed writers in new or updated editions for Penguin Classics. In his series essay, "What Is an African American Classic?" Gates provides a broader view of the canon of classics of African American literature available from Penguin Classics and beyond. Gates writes, "These texts reveal the human universal through the African American particular: all true art, all classics do this; this is what 'art' is, a revelation of that which makes each of us sublimely human, rendered in the minute details of the actions and thoughts and feelings of a compelling character embedded in a time and place."

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

Spare

Spare

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It was one of the most searing images of the twentieth century: two young boys, two princes, walking behind their mother's coffin as the world watched in sorrow--and horror. As Diana, Princess of Wales, was laid to rest, billions wondered what the princes must be thinking and feeling--and how their lives would play out from that point on.

For Harry, this is that story at last.

With its raw, unflinching honesty, Spare is a landmark publication full of insight, revelation, self-examination, and hard-won wisdom about the eternal power of love over grief.

The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas

The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas

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Stein's most famous work; one of the richest and most irreverent biographies ever written.
The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times

The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times

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In an inspiring follow-up to her critically acclaimed, #1 bestselling memoir Becoming, former First Lady Michelle Obama shares practical wisdom and powerful strategies for staying hopeful and balanced in today's highly uncertain world.

There may be no tidy solutions or pithy answers to life's big challenges, but Michelle Obama believes that we can all locate and lean on a set of tools to help us better navigate change and remain steady within flux. In The Light We Carry, she opens a frank and honest dialogue with readers, considering the questions many of us wrestle with: How do we build enduring and honest relationships? How can we discover strength and community inside our differences? What tools do we use to address feelings of self-doubt or helplessness? What do we do when it all starts to feel like too much?

Michelle Obama offers readers a series of fresh stories and insightful reflections on change, challenge, and power, including her belief that when we light up for others, we can illuminate the richness and potential of the world around us, discovering deeper truths and new pathways for progress. Drawing from her experiences as a mother, daughter, spouse, friend, and First Lady, she shares the habits and principles she has developed to successfully adapt to change and overcome various obstacles--the earned wisdom that helps her continue to "become." She details her most valuable practices, like "starting kind," "going high," and assembling a "kitchen table" of trusted friends and mentors. With trademark humor, candor, and compassion, she also explores issues connected to race, gender, and visibility, encouraging readers to work through fear, find strength in community, and live with boldness.

"When we are able to recognize our own light, we become empowered to use it," writes Michelle Obama. A rewarding blend of powerful stories and profound advice that will ignite conversation, The Light We Carry inspires readers to examine their own lives, identify their sources of gladness, and connect meaningfully in a turbulent world.