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Biography / Autobiography

W-3

W-3

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An extraordinary portrait of a brilliant mind on the brink: A new edition of the 1974 memoir by the author of the acclaimed collection Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage. With an introduction by Yiyun Li.

"For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin--real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way. Something to be got through first, some unfinished business; time still to be served, a debt to be paid. Then life could begin. At last it had dawned on me that these obstacles were my life."

From the author of the acclaimed collection Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage comes W-3, the account of a brilliant mind on the brink. In 1968, Bette Howland was thirty-one, a single mother of two young sons, struggling to support her family on the part-time salary of a librarian; and laboring day and night at her typewriter to be a writer. One afternoon, while staying at her friend Saul Bellow's apartment, she swallowed a bottle of pills. W-3 is both an extraordinary portrait of the community of Ward 3, the psychiatric wing of the Chicago hospital where she was admitted; and record of a defining moment in a writer's life. The book itself would be her salvation: she wrote herself out of the grave.

First published in 1974, the memoir that launched Bette Howland's career is being reissued as part of A Public Space's ongoing revival of "one of the significant writers of her generation." (Saul Bellow) With a new introduction by Yiyun Li.

W.E.B. Du Bois: A Biography, 1868-1963

W.E.B. Du Bois: A Biography, 1868-1963

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The two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of W. E. B. Du Bois from renowned scholar David Levering Lewis, now in one condensed and updated volume

William Edward Burghardt Du Bois--the premier architect of the civil rights movement in America--was a towering and controversial personality, a fiercely proud individual blessed with the language of the poet and the impatience of the agitator. Now, David Levering Lewis has carved one volume out of his superlative two-volume biography of this monumental figure that set the standard for historical scholarship on this era. In his magisterial prose, Lewis chronicles Du Bois's long and storied career, detailing the momentous contributions to our national character that still echo today.
W.E.B. Du Bois is a 1993 and 2000 National Book Award Finalist for Nonfiction and the winner of the 1994 and 2001 Pulitzer Prize for Biography.

Waging Heavy Peace

Waging Heavy Peace

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The perfect gift for music lovers and Neil Young fans, telling the story behind Neil Young's legendary career and his iconic, beloved songs.

"I think I will have to use my time wisely and keep my thoughts straight if I am to succeed and deliver the cargo I so carefully have carried thus far to the outer reaches."--Neil Young, from Waging Heavy Peace

Legendary singer and songwriter Neil Young's storied career has spanned over forty years and yielded some of the modern era's most enduring music. Now for the first time ever, Young reflects upon his life--from his Canadian childhood, to his part in the sixties rock explosion with Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, through his later career with Crazy Horse and numerous private challenges. An instant classic, Waging Heavy Peace is as uncompromising and unforgettable as the man himself.

Waging Heavy Peace

Waging Heavy Peace

$30.00
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A New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and USA Today bestseller.

For the first time, legendary singer, songwriter, and guitarist Neil Young offers a kaleidoscopic view of his personal life and musical creativity. He tells of his childhood in Ontario, where his father instilled in him a love for the written word; his first brush with mortality when he contracted polio at the age of five; struggling to pay rent during his early days with the Squires; traveling the Canadian prairies in Mort, his 1948 Buick hearse; performing in a remote town as a polar bear prowled beneath the floorboards; leaving Canada on a whim in 1966 to pursue his musical dreams in the pot-filled boulevards and communal canyons of Los Angeles; the brief but influential life of Buffalo Springfield, which formed almost immediately after his arrival in California. He recounts their rapid rise to fame and ultimate break-up; going solo and overcoming his fear of singing alone; forming Crazy Horse and writing "Cinnamon Girl," "Cowgirl in the Sand," and "Down by the River" in one day while sick with the flu; joining Crosby, Stills & Nash, recording the landmark CSNY album, Déjà vu, and writing the song, "Ohio;" life at his secluded ranch in the redwoods of Northern California and the pot-filled jam sessions there; falling in love with his wife, Pegi, and the birth of his three children; and finally, finding the contemplative paradise of Hawaii. Astoundingly candid, witty, and as uncompromising and true as his music, Waging Heavy Peace is Neil Young's journey as only he can tell it.

Wagon

Wagon

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Martin Preib is an officer in the Chicago Police Department--a beat cop whose first assignment as a rookie policeman was working on the wagon that picks up the dead. Inspired by Preib's daily life on the job, The Wagon and Other Stories from the City chronicles the outer and inner lives of both a Chicago cop and the city itself.

The book follows Preib as he transports body bags, forges an unlikely connection with his female partner, trains a younger officer, and finds himself among people long forgotten--or rendered invisible--by the rest of society. Preib recounts how he navigates the tenuous labyrinths of race and class in the urban metropolis, such as a domestic disturbance call involving a gang member and his abused girlfriend or a run-in with a group of drunk yuppies. As he encounters the real and imagined geographies of Chicago, the city reveals itself to be not just a backdrop, but a central force in his narrative of life and death. Preib's accounts, all told in his breathtaking prose, come alive in ways that readers will long remember.

Wagstaff Before and After Mapplethorpe

Wagstaff Before and After Mapplethorpe

$35.00
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Sam Wagstaff, the legendary curator, collector, and patron of the arts, emerges as a cultural visionary in this groundbreaking biography. Even today remembered primarily as the mentor and lover of Robert Mapplethorpe, the once infamous photographer, Wagstaff, in fact, had an incalculable--and largely overlooked--influence on the world of contemporary art and photography, and on the evolution of gay identity in the latter part of the twentieth century.

Born in New York City in 1921 into a notable family, Wagstaff followed an arc that was typical of a young man of his class. He attended both Hotchkiss and Yale, served in the navy, and would follow in step with his Ivy League classmates to the gentleman's profession, as an ad executive on Madison Avenue. With his unmistakably good looks, he projected an aura of glamour and was cited by newspapers as one of the most eligible bachelors of the late 1940s. Such accounts proved deceiving, for Wagstaff was forced to live in the closet, his homosexuality only revealed to a small circle of friends. Increasingly uncomfortable with his career and this double life, he abandoned advertising, turned to the formal study of art history, and embarked on a radical personal transformation that was in perfect harmony with the tumultuous social, cultural, and sexual upheavals of the 1960s.

Accordingly, Wagstaff became a curator, in 1961, at Hartford's Wadsworth Atheneum, where he mounted both Black, White, and Gray--the first museum show of minimal art--and the sculptor Tony Smith's first museum show, while lending his early support to artists Andy Warhol, Ray Johnson, and Richard Tuttle, among many others. Later, as a curator at the Detroit Institute of Arts, he brought the avant-garde to a regional museum, offending its more staid trustees in the process.

After returning to New York City in 1972, the fifty-year-old Wagstaff met the twenty-five-year-old Queens-born Robert Mapplethorpe, then living with Patti Smith. What at first appeared to be a sexual dalliance became their now historic lifelong romance, in which Mapplethorpe would foster Wagstaff's own burgeoning interest in contemporary photography and Wagstaff would help secure Mapplethorpe's reputation in the art world. In spite of their profound class differences, the artistic union between the philanthropically inclined Wagstaff and the prodigiously talented Mapplethorpe would rival that of Stieglitz and O'Keefe, or Rivera and Kahlo, in their ability to help reshape contemporary art history.

Positioning Wagstaff's personal life against the rise of photography as a major art form and the simultaneous formation of the gay rights movement, Philip Gefter's absorbing biography provides a searing portrait of New York just before and during the age of AIDS. The result is a definitive and memorable portrait of a man and an era.

Wait for Me

Wait for Me

$18.00
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A NEW YORK TIMES EDITORS' CHOICE

Deborah Mitford, Duchess of Devonshire, is the youngest of the famously witty brood that includes the writers Jessica and Nancy. Wait for Me! chronicles her remarkable life, from an eccentric but happy childhood roaming the Oxfordshire countryside, to tea with her sister Unity and Adolf Hitler in 1937, to her marriage to Andrew Cavendish, the second son of the Duke of Devonshire. Written with intense warmth, charm, and perception, Wait for Me! is a unique portrait of an age of tumult, splendor, and change. Touching . . . moving . . . [and] compelling as a portrait of a vanishing world (The Wall Street Journal).

Wait Till Next Year

Wait Till Next Year

$15.00
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Set in the suburbs of New York in the 1950s, "Wait Till Next Year" is Doris Kearns Goodwin's touching memoir of growing up in love with her family and baseball. She re-creates the postwar era, when the corner store was a place to share stories and neighborhoods were equally divided between Dodger, Giant, and Yankee fans.

We meet the people who most influenced Goodwin's early life: her mother, who taught her the joy of books but whose debilitating illness left her housebound: and her father, who taught her the joy of baseball and to root for the Dodgers of Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella, Pee Wee Reese, Duke Snider, and Gil Hodges. Most important, Goodwin describes with eloquence how the Dodgers' leaving Brooklyn in 1957, and the death of her mother soon after, marked both the end of an era and, for her, the end of childhood.

Waiter Rant

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According to The Waiter, eighty percent of customers are nice people just looking for something to eat. The remaining twenty percent, however, are socially maladjusted psychopaths. Waiter Rant offers the server's unique point of view, replete with tales of customer stupidity, arrogant misbehavior, and unseen bits of human grace transpiring in the most unlikely places. Through outrageous stories, The Waiter reveals the secrets to getting good service, proper tipping etiquette, and how to keep him from spitting in your food. The Waiter also shares his ongoing struggle, at age thirty-eight, to figure out if he can finally leave the first job at which he's truly thrived.

Waiting

Waiting

$13.00
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"[Ginsberg's] poignant, gently written stories of waitressing are metaphors for life." --Dallas Morning News

A veteran waitress dishes up a spicy and robust account of life as it really exists behind kitchen doors.

Part memoir, part social commentary, part guide to how to behave when dining out, Debra Ginsberg's book takes readers on her twenty-year journey as a waitress at a soap-operatic Italian restaurant, an exclusive five-star dining club, the dingiest of diners, and more. While chronicling her evolution as a writer, Ginsberg takes a behind-the-scenes look at restaurant life--revealing that yes, when pushed, a server will spit in food, and, no, that's not really decaf you're getting--and how most people in this business are in a constant state of waiting to do something else.

Colorful, insightful, and often irreverent, Ginsberg's stories truly capture the spirit of the universal things she's learned about human nature, interpersonal relationships, the frightening things that go on in the kitchen, romantic hopes dashed and rebuilt, and all of the frustrating and funny moments in this life. Waiting is for everyone who has had to wait for their life to begin--only to realize, suddenly, that they're living it.

Waiting for Daisy

Waiting for Daisy

$22.95
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Waiting for Daisy is about loss, love, anger and redemption. It's about doing all the things you swore you'd never do to get something you hadn't even been sure you wanted. It's about being a woman in a confusing, contradictory time. It's about testing the limits of a loving marriage. And it's about trying (and trying and trying) to have a baby.
Orenstein's story begins when she tells her new husband that she's not sure she ever wants to be a mother; it ends six years later after she's done almost everything humanly possible to achieve that goal, from fertility sex to escalating infertility treatments to New Age remedies to forays into international adoption. Her saga unfolds just as professional women are warned by the media to heed the ticking of their biological clocks, and just as fertility clinics have become a boom industry, with over two million women a year seeking them out. Buffeted by one jaw-dropping obstacle after another, Orenstein seeks answers both medical and spiritual in America and Asia, along the way visiting an old flame who's now the father of fifteen, and discovering in Japan a ritual of surprising solace. All the while she tries to hold onto a marriage threatened by cycles, appointments, procedures and disappointments. Waiting for Daisy is an honest, wryly funny report from the front, an intimate page-turner that illuminates the ambivalence, obsession, and sacrifice that characterize so many modern women's lives.

Waiting for Snow in Havana: Confessions of a Cuban Boy

Waiting for Snow in Havana: Confessions of a Cuban Boy

$14.00
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"Have mercy on me, Lord, I am Cuban." In 1962, Carlos Eire was one of 14,000 children airlifted out of Havana--exiled from his family, his country, and his own childhood by Fidel Castro's revolution. Winner of the National Book Award, this stunning memoir is a vibrant and evocative look at Latin America from a child's unforgettable experience.

Waiting for Snow in Havana is both an exorcism and an ode to a paradise lost. For the Cuba of Carlos's youth--with its lizards and turquoise seas and sun-drenched siestas--becomes an island of condemnation once a cigar-smoking guerrilla named Fidel Castro ousts President Batista on January 1, 1959. Suddenly the music in the streets sounds like gunfire. Christmas is made illegal, political dissent leads to imprisonment, and too many of Carlos's friends are leaving Cuba for a place as far away and unthinkable as the United States. Carlos will end up there, too, and fulfill his mother's dreams by becoming a modern American man--even if his soul remains in the country he left behind.

Narrated with the urgency of a confession, Waiting for Snow in Havana is a eulogy for a native land and a loving testament to the collective spirit of Cubans everywhere.

Waiting for the Call: From Peacher's Daughter to Lesbian Mom

Waiting for the Call: From Peacher's Daughter to Lesbian Mom

$18.95
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"Well-written, absorbing, and a great pleasure to read . . . will appeal to Christians struggling to square their traditional beliefs with acceptance of homosexuality as well as to all those interested in adoption, lesbian marriage, and the changing shape of America's families."

--Elizabeth C. Fine, Virginia Tech University

Waiting for the Call takes readers from the foothills of the Appalachians--where Jacqueline Taylor was brought up in a strict evangelical household--to contemporary Chicago, where she and her lesbian partner are raising a family. In a voice by turns comic and loving, Taylor recounts the amazing journey that took her in profoundly different directions from those she or her parents could have ever envisioned.

Taylor's father was a Southern Baptist preacher, and she struggled to deal with his strictures as well as her mother's manic-depressive episodes. After leaving for college, Taylor finds herself questioning her faith and identity, questions that continue to mount when--after two divorces, a doctoral degree, and her first kiss with a woman--she discovers her own lesbianism and begins a most untraditional family that grows to include two adopted children from Peru.

Even as she celebrates and cherishes this new family, Taylor insists on the possibility of maintaining a loving connection to her religious roots. While she and her partner search for the best way to explain adoption to their children and answer the inevitable question, "Which one is your mom?" they also seek out a church that will unite their love of family and their faith. Told in the great storytelling tradition of the American South, full of deep feeling and wry humor, Waiting for the Call engagingly demonstrates how one woman bridged the gulf between faith and sexual identity without abandoning her principles.

Waiting for the Morning Train: An American Boyhood

Waiting for the Morning Train: An American Boyhood

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Bruce Catton, whose name is identified with Civil War history, grew up in Benzonia, Michigan, probably the only town within two hundred miles, he says, not founded to cash in on the lumber boom. In this memoir, Catton remembers his youth, his family, his home town, and his coming of age.

With nostalgia, warmth, and humor, Catton recalls it all with a wealth of detail: the logging industry and its tremendous effect on the face of the state, the veterans of the Grand Army of the Republic who first sparked his interest in the Civil War, the overnight train trips on long-gone "sleepers," the days of great resort hotels, and fishing in once clear lakes.

Although he writes of a time and place that are no more, his observations have implications that both underline the past and touch the future.

Waiting to Be Heard

Waiting to Be Heard

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As seen in the Nextflix documentary Amanda Knox, in March 2015, the Supreme Court of Italy exonerated Amanda Knox, author of the New York Times bestselling memoir Waiting To Be Heard. In an afterward to this newly issued paperback edition, Amanda updates readers on her life since 2011, introduces the individuals who helped her persevere as her case continued through the Italian courts, and shares her plans for helping others who have also been wrongfully convicted.

In November 2007, 20 year-old Amanda Knox had only been studying in Perugia, Italy, for a few weeks when her friend and roommate, British student Meredith Kercher, was murdered. The investigation made headlines around the world, and Amanda's arrest placed her at the center of a media firestorm. After an extremely controversial trial, she was convicted of murder in 2009. She spent four years in an Italian prison until a new court, which appointed independent experts to review the prosecution's DNA evidence, affirmatively found her innocent in 2011. She returned home to Seattle, Washington.

But just when Amanda thought her legal nightmare had ended, it began all over again. In March 2013, Italy's highest court annulled the acquittal and sent the case to the lower courts for further proceedings. Even though no new evidence was introduced against her, Amanda was found guilty and sentenced to 281/2 years in prison in January, 2014. This decision was overturned by the Italian Supreme Court, which exonerated her of the murder charge.

In Waiting to Be Heard, Amanda speaks about what it was like to find herself imprisoned in a foreign country for a crime she did not commit, and how much she relied on the unwavering support of her family and friends, many of whom made extraordinary sacrifices on her behalf. Waiting to Be Heard is an unflinching, heartfelt coming-of-age narrative like no other--now with a new afterword, in which Amanda describes the heart-stopping final twists in her fight for freedom, and her hopes for the future.

Waiting to be Heard

$27.99
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Amanda Knox spent four years in a foreign prison for a crime she did not commit, as seen in the Netflix documentary Amanda Knox.

In the fall of 2007, the 20-year-old college coed left Seattle to study abroad in Italy, but her life was shattered when her roommate was murdered in their apartment.

After a controversial trial, Amanda was convicted and imprisoned. But in 2011, an appeals court overturned the decision and vacated the murder charge. Free at last, she returned home to the U.S., where she has remained silent, until now.

Filled with details first recorded in the journals Knox kept while in Italy, Waiting to Be Heard is a remarkable story of innocence, resilience, and courage, and of one young woman's hard-fought battle to overcome injustice and win the freedom she deserved.

With intelligence, grace, and candor, Amanda Knox tells the full story of her harrowing ordeal in Italy--a labyrinthine nightmare of crime and punishment, innocence and vindication--and of the unwavering support of family and friends who tirelessly worked to help her win her freedom.

Waiting to Be Heard includes 24 pages of color photographs.

Wake Up A Life of the Buddha

Wake Up A Life of the Buddha

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Though raised Catholic, in the early 1950s Jack Kerouac became fascinated with Buddhism, an interest that would have a profound impact on his ideas of spirituality and their expression in his writing from Mexico City Blues to The Dharma Bums. Published for the first time in book form, Wake Up is Kerouac's retelling of the story of Prince Siddhartha Gautama, who as a young man abandoned his wealthy family and comfortable home for a lifelong search for Enlightenment. As a compendium of the teachings of the Buddha, Wake Up is a profound meditation on the nature of life, desire, wisdom, and suffering. Distilled from a wide variety of canonical scriptures, Wake Up serves as both a concise primer on the concepts of Buddhism and as an insightful and deeply personal document of Kerouac's evolving beliefs. It is the work of a devoted spiritual follower of the Buddha who also happened to be one of the twentieth century's most influential novelists. Wake Up: A Life of the Buddha will be essential reading for the legions of Jack Kerouac fans and for anyone who is curious about the spiritual principles of one of the world's great religions.
Waking Up in Eden

Waking Up in Eden

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Like so many of us, Lucinda Fleeson wanted to escape what had become a routine life. So, she quit her big-city job, sold her suburban house, and moved halfway across the world to the island of Kauai to work at the National Tropical Botanical Garden. Imagine a one-hundred-acre garden estate nestled amid ocean cliffs, rain forests, and secluded coves. Exotic and beautiful, yes, but as Fleeson awakens to this sensual world, exploring the island's food, beaches, and history, she encounters an endangered paradise--the Hawaii we don't see in the tourist brochures.

Native plants are dying at an astonishing rate--Hawaii is called the Extinction Capital of the World--and invasive species (plants, animals, and humans) have imperiled this Garden of Eden. Fleeson accompanies a plant hunter into the rain forest to find the last of a dying species, descends into limestone caves with a paleontologist who deconstructs island history through fossil life, and shadows a botanical pioneer who propagates rare seeds, hoping to reclaim the landscape. Her grown-up adventure is a reminder of the value of choosing passion over security, individuality over convention, and the pressing need to protect the earth. And as she witnesses the island's plant renewal efforts, she sees her own life blossom again.