New Biographies

The loyal son : the war in Ben Franklin's house

Sun, 10/01/2017 - 17:15
by Epstein, Daniel Mark,
Publisher Ballantine Books, [2017]
First edition.
xx, 438 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 25 cm
Call Number 973.3092 EPS

This is just my face : try not to stare

Sun, 10/01/2017 - 17:15
by Sidibe, Gabourey
Publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017.
246 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
Call Number B SIDIBE
Summary With full-throttle honesty, Gabourey Sidibe shares her one-of-a-kind life story in a voice as fresh and challenging as many of the unique characters she's played onscreen since her unconventional rise to international fame in Lee Daniels' acclaimed movie Precious. Her memoir hits hard with self-knowing dispatches on friendship, depression, celebrity, haters, fashion, race, and weight. Irreverent, hilarious, and untraditional, Gabby's book will resonate with anyone who has ever felt different, and with anyone who has ever felt inspired to make a dream come true--

Ali : a life

Fri, 09/29/2017 - 05:03
by Eig, Jonathan,
Publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017.
xv, 623 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 24 cm
Call Number B ALI
Summary "The definitive biography of an American icon, from a New York Times best-selling author with unique access to Ali's inner circle. He was the wittiest, the prettiest, the strongest, the bravest, and, of course, the greatest (as he told us over and over again). Muhammad Ali was one of the twentieth century's greatest radicals and most compelling figures. At his funeral in 2016, eulogists said Ali had transcended race and united the country, but they got it wrong. Race was the theme of Ali's life. He insisted that America come to grips with a black man who wasn't afraid to speak out or break the rules. He didn't overcome racism. He called it out. "I am America," he once declared. "I am the part you won't recognize. But get used to me--black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own. Get used to me." Ali went from being one of the most despised men in the country to one of the most beloved. But until now, he has never been the subject of a complete, unauthorized biography. Jonathan Eig, hailed by Ken Burns as one of America's master storytellers, breaks new ground and radically reshapes our understanding of the slippery figure who was Muhammad Ali. Eig had access to all the key people in Ali's life, including his three surviving wives and his managers. He also had access to thousands of pages of new FBI and Justice Department files, as well dozens of hours of newly discovered audiotaped interviews from the 1960s. Jonathan Eig's Ali breaks bold new ground, revealing Ali in the complexity he deserves, shedding important new light on his politics and his neurological condition. Ali is a story about race, about a brutal sport, and about a fascinating man who shook up the world"-- "Based on more than 500 interviews, including Muhammad Ali's closest associates, and enhanced by access to thousands of pages of newly released FBI records, this is a thrilling story of a man who became one of the great figures of the twentieth century."--

Bunny Mellon : the life of an American style legend

Tue, 09/26/2017 - 13:45
by Gordon, Meryl,
Publisher Grand Central Publishing, 2017. ©2017
First Edition.
ix, 516 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, portraits ; 24 cm
Call Number B MELLON
Summary "A new biography of Bunny Mellon, the style icon and American aristocrat who designed the White House Rose Garden for her friend JFK and served as a living witness to 20th Century American history, operating in the high-level arenas of politics, diplomacy, art and fashion. Bunny Mellon, who died in 2014 at age 103, was press-shy during her lifetime. With the co-operation of Bunny Mellon's family, author Meryl Gordon received access to thousands of pages of her letters, diaries and appointment calendars and has interviewed more than 175 people to capture the spirit of this talented American original"--

A stone of hope : a memoir

Tue, 09/26/2017 - 04:45
by St. Germain, Jim,
Publisher Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, [2017]
First edition.
x, 292 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Summary A searing memoir by a young black man who was a lost cause--until he landed in a rehabilitation program that saved his life and gave him purpose.

A surprised queenhood in the new Black sun : the life & legacy of Gwendolyn Brooks

Tue, 09/26/2017 - 04:45
by Jackson, Angela, 1951-
Publisher Beacon Press, [2017]
204 pages ; 24 cm
Summary Pulitzer-Prize winning poet Gwendolyn Brooks is one of the great American literary icons of the twentieth century, a protégé of Langston Hughes and mentor to a generation of poets, including Sonia Sanchez, Nikki Giovanni, and Elizabeth Alexander. Her poetry took inspiration from the complex portraits of black American life she observed growing up on Chicago's South Side, a world of kitchenette apartments and vibrant streets. From the desk in her bedroom, as a child she filled countless notebooks with poetry, encouraged by the likes of Hughes and affirmed by Richard Wright, who later called her work "raw and real." Over the next sixty years, Brooks's poetry served as witness to the stark realities of urban life: the evils of lynching, the murders of Emmett Till and Malcolm X, the revolutionary effects of the civil rights movement, and the burgeoning power of the Black Arts Movement. Critical acclaim and the distinction in 1950 of being the first black person ever awarded a Pulitzer Prize helped solidify Brooks as a unique and powerful voice. Now, fellow Chicagoan and award-winning writer Angela Jackson delves deep into the rich fabric of Brooks's work and world. Granted unprecedented access to Brooks's family, personal papers, and writing community, Jackson traces the literary arc of this artist's long career and gives context for the world in which Brooks wrote and published her work. It is a powerfully intimate look at a once-in-a-lifetime talent, using forty-three of Brooks's most soul-stirring poems as a guide. From trying to fit in at school, to loving her physical self, to marriage and motherhood, to young men on her block, to breaking history, to newfound acceptance from her community and her elevation to a "surprising queenhood", Brooks lived life through her work. Jackson deftly unpacks it all for both longtime admirers of Brooks and newcomers curious about her work and interior life. This book is a commemoration of a writer who negotiated black womanhood and a changing, restless world with incomparable brilliance--an artistic maverick way ahead of her time.--Adapted from jacket.

Benjamin Franklin : the religious life of a founding father

Tue, 09/26/2017 - 04:45
by Kidd, Thomas S.,
Publisher Yale University Press, [2017] ©2017
278 pages : illustrations, portraits ; 25 cm
Summary "Renowned as a printer, scientist, and diplomat, Benjamin Franklin also published more works on religious topics than any other eighteenth-century American layperson. Born to Boston Puritans, by his teenage years Franklin had abandoned the exclusive Christian faith of his family and embraced deism. But Franklin, as a man of faith, was far more complex than the "thorough" deist who emerges in his autobiography. As Thomas Kidd reveals, deist writers influenced Franklin's beliefs, to be sure, but devout Christians in his life--including George Whitefield, the era's greatest evangelical preacher; his parents; and his beloved sister Jane--kept him tethered to the Calvinist creed of his Puritan upbringing. Based on rigorous research into Franklin's voluminous correspondence, essays, and almanacs, this fresh assessment of a well-known figure unpacks the contradictions and conundrums faith presented in Franklin's life." -- Publisher's description.

Cheech is not my real name but don't call me Chong!

Tue, 09/26/2017 - 04:45
by Marin, Cheech,
Publisher Grand Central Publishing, 2017. ©2017
First edition.
viii, 260 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 24 cm
Call Number B MARIN
Summary Cheech Marin writes candidly about growing up as a wisecracking kid in south central LA, resisting the draft, and his chance meeting with Tommy Chong--and how they formed one of the most successful comedy acts of all time, breaking up, reuniting, and still performing together to this day. Cheech the storyteller takes the reader on a wild ride along his strange and wonderful path to fame that saw the son of a policeman become the face of the recreational drug movement. He describes his early artistic aspirations to become a potter, his brief stint as a magazine reporter when he interviewed Little Richard, and his surreal and unlikely ascent to the top of the comedy world. Cheech also details how his passion for Chicano art led him to assemble the world's finest private collection, and how he bested the likes of Anderson Cooper to win Celebrity Jeopardy! Written with his trademark comedic flair and replete with colorful characters both famous and obscure, this is a fresh, funny, and unstintingly honest account of an incredible life and career that represents a "new high" in autobiography.--From book jacket.

Citizen Newt : the making of a Reagan conservative

Tue, 09/26/2017 - 04:45
by Shirley, Craig,
Publisher Nelson Books, [2017] ©2017
xxv, 544 pages ; 24 cm
Call Number B GINGRICH
Summary "Returning to Gingrich's childhood in Pennsylvania and his formative years as a young history professor, Citizen Newt moves through Gingrich's first forays into politics and takes readers behind the scenes of the Congressman's crucial role in the Reagan Revolution, his battles with George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton, and his masterly orchestration of 1994s "Gingrich Revolution" and the Contract with America, which catapulted him to national prominence and forever changed congressional and national politics. Drawing upon untold stories from Gingrich and those who know him best--political allies and opponents, Washington insiders and political iconoclasts, Capitol Hill staffers and colleagues--Shirley has crafted a fascinating, humorous, humanizing, and insightful account of a true American original"--Dust jacket.

Coming to my senses : the making of a counterculture cook

Tue, 09/26/2017 - 04:45
by Waters, Alice,
Publisher Clarkson Potter/Publishers, [2017] ©2017
First edition.
xi, 306 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
Summary When Alice Waters opened the doors of her "little French restaurant" in Berkeley, California in 1971 at the age of 27, no one ever anticipated the indelible mark it would leave on the culinary landscape--Alice least of all. Fueled in equal parts by naiveté and a relentless pursuit of beauty and pure flavor, she turned her passion project into an iconic institution that redefined American cuisine for generations of chefs and food lovers. In Coming to My Senses Alice retraces the events that led her to 1517 Shattuck Avenue and the tumultuous times that emboldened her to find her own voice as a cook when the prevailing food culture was embracing convenience and uniformity. Moving from a repressive suburban upbringing to Berkeley in 1964 at the height of the Free Speech Movement and campus unrest, she was drawn into a bohemian circle of charismatic figures whose views on design, politics, film, and food would ultimately inform the unique culture on which Chez Panisse was founded. Dotted with stories, recipes, photographs, and letters, Coming to My Senses is at once deeply personal and modestly understated, a quietly revealing look at one woman's evolution from a rebellious yet impressionable follower to a respected activist who effects social and political change on a global level through the common bond of

Crossings : a doctor-soldier's story

Tue, 09/26/2017 - 04:45
by Kerstetter, Jon,
Publisher Crown Publishing, [2017]
First edition.
viii, 342 pages ; 25 cm
Summary "Every juncture in Jon Kerstetter's life has been marked by a crossing from one world into another: from civilian to doctor to soldier; between healing and waging war; and between compassion and hatred of the enemy. When an injury led to a stroke that ended his careers as a doctor and a soldier, he faced the most difficult crossing of all, a recovery that proved as shattering as war itself. Crossings is a memoir of an improbable, powerfully drawn life, one that began in poverty on the Oneida Reservation in Wisconsin but grew by force of will to encompass a remarkable medical practice. Trained as an emergency physician, Kerstetter's thirst for intensity led him to volunteer in war-torn Rwanda, Kosovo, and Bosnia, and to join the Army National Guard. His three tours in the Iraq War marked the height of the American struggle there. The story of his work in theater, which involved everything from saving soldiers' lives to organizing the joint U.S.-Iraqi forensics team tasked with identifying the bodies of Saddam Hussein's sons, is a bracing, unprecedented evocation of a doctor's life at war. But war was only the start of Kerstetter's struggle. The stroke he suffered upon returning from Iraq led to serious cognitive and physical disabilities. His years-long recovery, impeded by near-unbearable pain and complicated by PTSD, meant overcoming the perceived limits of his body and mind and reimagining his own capacity for renewal and change. It led him not only to writing as a vocation but to a deeper understanding of how healing means accepting a new identity, and how that acceptance must be fought for with as much tenacity as any battlefield victory."--Jacket flap.

Elizabeth Bishop : a miracle for breakfast

Tue, 09/26/2017 - 04:45
by Marshall, Megan,
Publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017. ©2017
xv, 365 pages ; 24 cm
Call Number B BISHOP
Summary "Since her death in 1979, Elizabeth Bishop, who published only one hundred poems in her lifetime, has become one of America's best-loved poets. And yet -- painfully shy and living out of public view in Key West and Brazil, among other hideaways -- she has never been seen so fully as a woman and an artist. Megan Marshall makes incisive and moving use of a newly discovered cache of Bishop's letters -- to her psychiatrist and to three of her lovers -- to reveal a much darker childhood than has been known, a secret affair, and the last chapter of her passionate romance with the Brazilian modernist designer Lota de Macedo Soares."--

Expect great things : the life and search of Henry David Thoreau

Tue, 09/26/2017 - 04:45
by Dann, Kevin T., 1956-
Publisher TarcherPerigee, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC, [2017] ©2017
387 pages ; 24 cm
Summary "To coincide with the bicentennial of Thoreau's birth in 2017, this...biography by naturalist and historian Kevin Dann fills a gap in our understanding of one of modern history's most important spiritual visionaries by capturing the full arc of Thoreau's life as a mystic, spiritual seeker, and explorer in transcendental realms"--

Goethe : life as a work of art

Tue, 09/26/2017 - 04:45
by Safranski, Rüdiger,
Publisher Liveright Publishing Corporation, [2017]
xxvi, 651 pages ; 25 cm


Tue, 09/26/2017 - 04:45
by Hunt, Patrick,
Publisher Simon & Schuster, 2017.
First Simon & Schuster hardcover edition.
xv, 362 pages : maps ; 24 cm
Call Number B HANNIBAL
Summary One of the greatest commanders of the ancient world brought vividly to life: Hannibal, the brilliant general who successfully crossed the Alps with his war elephants and brought Rome to its knees. Hannibal Barca of Carthage, born 247 BC, was one of the great generals of the ancient world. His father, Hamilcar, was also a great strategist and master tactician who imposed Carthaginian rule over much of present-day Spain. After Hamilcar led the Carthaginian forces against Rome in the First Punic War, Hannibal followed in his father?s footsteps, leading Carthage in the Second Punic War. From the time he was a teenager, Hannibal fought against Rome. He is famed for leading Carthage?s army across north Africa, into Spain, along the Mediterranean coast, and then crossing the Alps with his army and war elephants. Hannibal won victories in northern Italy by outmaneuvering his Roman adversaries and defeated a larger Roman army at the battle of Cannae in 216 BC. Unable to force Rome to capitulate, he was eventually forced to leave Italy and return to Carthage when a savvy Roman general named Scipio invaded north Africa. Hannibal and Scipio fought an epic battle at Zama, which Hannibal lost. The terms of surrender were harsh and many Carthaginians blamed Hannibal, eventually forcing him into exile until his death. To this day Hannibal is still regarded as a military genius. Napoleon, George Patton, and Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr. are only some of the generals who studied and admired him. His strategy and tactics are still taught in military academies. He is one of the figures of the ancient world whose life and exploits never fail to impress. Historian Patrick N. Hunt has led archeological expeditions in the Alps and elsewhere to study Hannibal?s achievements. Now he brings Hannibal?s incredible story to life in this riveting and dramatic book.

Isabella of Castile : Europe's first great queen

Tue, 09/26/2017 - 04:45
by Tremlett, Giles,
Publisher Bloomsbury USA, 2017.
First U.S. edition.
ix, 607 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color), maps, color portraits, genealogical table ; 25 cm
Summary 1474. Castile was the largest, strongest, and most populous kingdom in Hispania-- and Isabella ascended the throne, a female ruler in a male-dominated world. Her marriage to Ferdinand of Aragon not only united their kingdoms, but began a royal partnership in which Isabella more than held her own. Tremlett chronicles Isabella's colorful life as she led her country out of the Middle Ages and harvested the ideas and tools of the Renaissance to turn her nation into a sharper, early modern state.

Jane Austen at home

Tue, 09/26/2017 - 04:45
by Worsley, Lucy,
Publisher St. Martin's Press, 2017.
First U.S. edition.
387 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color) ; 25 cm
Call Number 823.7 AUSTEN
Summary On the eve of the two hundredth anniversary of Jane Austen's death, take a trip back to her world and the many places she lived as historian Lucy Worsley visits Austen's childhood home, her schools, her holiday accommodations, the houses - both grand and small - of the relations upon whom she was dependent, and the home she shared with her mother and sister towards the end of her life. In places like Steventon Parsonage, Godmersham Park, Chawton House and a small rented house in Winchester, Worsley discovers a Jane Austen very different from the one who famously lived a 'life without incident'. Worsley examines the rooms, spaces and possessions which mattered to her, and the varying ways in which homes are used in her novels as both places of pleasure and as prisons. She shows readers a passionate Jane Austen who fought for her freedom, a woman who had at least five marriage prospects, but - in the end - a woman who refused to settle for anything less than Mr. Darcy. Illustrated with two sections of color plates, Lucy Worsley's Jane Austen at Home is a richly entertaining and illuminating new book about one of the world's favorite novelists and one of the subjects she returned to over and over in her unforgettable novels: home"--

Jane Crow : the life of Pauli Murray

Tue, 09/26/2017 - 04:45
by Rosenberg, Rosalind, 1946-
Publisher Oxford University Press, [2017]
xvii, 494 pages : illustrations, portraits ; 25 cm
Summary "Throughout her prodigious life, activist and lawyer Pauli Murray systematically fought against all arbitrary distinctions in society, channeling her outrage at the discrimination she faced to make America a more democratic country. In this definitive biography, Rosalind Rosenberg offers a poignant portrait of a figure who played pivotal roles in both the modern civil rights and women's movements. A mixed-race orphan, Murray grew up in segregated North Carolina before escaping to New York, where she attended Hunter College and became a labor activist in the 1930s. When she applied to graduate school at the University of North Carolina, where her white great-great-grandfather had been a trustee, she was rejected because of her race. She went on to graduate first in her class at Howard Law School, only to be rejected for graduate study again at Harvard University this time on account of her sex. Undaunted, Murray forged a singular career in the law. In the 1950s, her legal scholarship helped Thurgood Marshall challenge segregation head-on in the landmark Brown v. Board of Education case. When appointed by Eleanor Roosevelt to the President's Commission on the Status of Women in 1962, she advanced the idea of Jane Crow, arguing that the same reasons used to condemn race discrimination could be used to battle gender discrimination. In 1965, she became the first African American to earn a JSD from Yale Law School and the following year persuaded Betty Friedan to found an NAACP for women, which became NOW. In the early 1970s, Murray provided Ruth Bader Ginsburg with the argument Ginsburg used to persuade the Supreme Court that the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution protects not only blacks but also women - and potentially other minority groups - from discrimination. By that time, Murray was a tenured history professor at Brandeis, a position she left to become the first black woman ordained a priest by the Episcopal Church in 1976. Murray accomplished all this while struggling with issues of identity. She believed from childhood she was male and tried unsuccessfully to persuade doctors to give her testosterone. While she would today be identified as transgender, during her lifetime no social movement existed to support this identity. She ultimately used her private feelings of being "in-between" to publicly contend that identities are not fixed, an idea that has powered campaigns for equal rights in the United States for the past half-century"--

Jimmy Buffett : a good life all the way

Tue, 09/26/2017 - 04:45
by White, Ryan (Journalist),
Publisher Touchstone, 2017.
First Touchstone hardcover edition.
viii, 354 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color) ; 24 cm
Call Number B BUFFETT
Summary "Music critic Ryan White has crafted the first definitive account of Buffett's rise from singing songs for beer to his emergence as a tropical icon and CEO behind the Margaritaville industrial complex, a vast network of merchandise, chain restaurants, resorts, and lifestyle products all inspired by his hit 'Margaritaville'".

John James Audubon : the nature of the American woodsman

Tue, 09/26/2017 - 04:45
by Nobles, Gregory H.,
Publisher University of Pennsylvania Press, [2017] ©2017
330 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color) ; 24 cm.