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Biography / Autobiography

Women Who Raised Me

Women Who Raised Me

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Born as a ward of the state of Maine, the child of an unmarried Yankee blueblood mother and an unknown black father, Victoria Rowell beat the odds. The Women Who Raised Me is the remarkable story of her rise out of the foster care system to attain the American Dream--and of the unlikely series of women who lifted, motivated, and inspired her along the way.

From Agatha Armstead--a black Bostonian who was Victoria's longest-term foster mother and first noticed her spark of creativity and talent--to Esther Brooks, a Paris-trained prima ballerina who would become her first mentor at the Cambridge School of Ballet--The Women Who Raised Me is a loving, vivid portrait of all the women who would help Victoria transition out of foster care and into New York City's wild worlds of ballet, acting, and adulthood. Though Victoria would go on to become an accomplished television and film star, she still carried the burden of loneliness and anxiety, particularly common to those orphans of the living who are never adopted. Vividly recalled and candidly told, her story is transfixing, redemptive, heartbreaking, and, ultimately, inspiring.

Women Who Raised Me

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Wonder Women

Wonder Women

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A fun and feminist look at forgotten women in science, technology, and beyond, from the bestselling author of THE FANGIRL'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY

You may think you know women's history pretty well. But have you ever heard of. . .

- Alice Ball, the chemist who developed an effective treatment for leprosy--only to have the credit taken by a man?
- Mary Sherman Morgan, the rocket scientist whose liquid fuel compounds blasted the first U.S. satellite into orbit?
- Huang Daopo, the inventor whose weaving technology revolutionized textile production in China--centuries before the cotton gin?

Smart women have always been able to achieve amazing things, even when the odds were stacked against them. In Wonder Women, author Sam Maggs tells the stories of the brilliant, brainy, and totally rad women in history who broke barriers as scientists, engineers, mathematicians, adventurers, and inventors. Plus, interviews with real-life women in STEM careers, an extensive bibliography, and a guide to women-centric science and technology organizations--all to show the many ways the geeky girls of today can help to build the future.

Table of Contents:
Women of Science
Women of Medicine
Women of Espionage
Women of Innovation
Women of Adventure

Wonderful Adventures of Mrs Seacole in Many Lands

Wonderful Adventures of Mrs Seacole in Many Lands

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Famed for her work among the sick and wounded of the Crimean War, Mary Seacole possessed a unique perspective: that of a Victorian-era black woman at a battlefield's front line. Born in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1805, she began her career as a healer by helping her mother nurse British officers at nearby military camps. In the 1850s, her compassion aroused by agonizing reports from Crimea, she headed for England to offer her services.
Seacole was denied entry to Florence Nightingale's "angel band" of military nurses, possibly on account of her race. Undaunted, she traveled independently to Crimea to set up accommodations near Balaclava that provided treatment and domestic comforts to convalescing soldiers. Seacole's years of service left her bankrupt and impoverished, but her memoirs, published to popular and critical acclaim in 1857, express no regrets. Humorous and tragic by turns, this autobiography recaptures the voice of a fearless adventurer and humanitarian.
Wonderful Tonight

Wonderful Tonight

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#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - For the first time, rock music's most famous muse tells her incredible story

"A charming, lively and seductive book . . . The appeal of Wonderful Tonight is as self-evident as the seemingly simple but brash opening chord of 'A Hard Day's Night.'"--The New York Times Book Review

Pattie Boyd, former wife of both George Harrison and Eric Clapton, finally breaks a forty-year silence and tells the story of how she found herself bound to two of the most addictive, promiscuous musical geniuses of the twentieth century and became the most legendary muse in the history of rock and roll. The woman who inspired Harrison's song "Something" and Clapton's anthem "Layla," Pattie Boyd has written a book that is rich and raw, funny and heartbreaking--and totally honest.

Wonderful Tonight: George Harrison, Eric Clapton, and Me

Wonderful Tonight: George Harrison, Eric Clapton, and Me

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Boyd breaks a 40-year silence as she tells the story of how she found herself bound to two of the most addictive, promiscuous musical geniuses of the 20th century and became the most famous muse in the history of rock and roll. 8-page color insert.
Wondering Who You Are

Wondering Who You Are

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In the twenty-third year of their marriage, Sonya Lea's husband, Richard, went in for surgery to treat a rare appendix cancer. When he came out, he had no recollection of their life together: how they met, their wedding day, the births of their two children. All of it was gone, along with the rockier parts of their past--her drinking, his anger. Richard could now hardly speak, emote, or create memories from moment to moment. Who he'd been no longer was.

Wondering Who You Are braids the story of Sonya and Richard's relationship, those memories that he could no longer conjure, together with his fateful days in the hospital--the internal bleeding, the near-death experience, and eventual traumatic brain injury. It follows the couple through his recovery as they struggle with his treatment, and through a marriage no longer grounded on decades of shared experience. As they build a fresh life together, as Richard develops a new personality, Sonya is forced to question her own assumptions, beliefs, and desires, her place in the marriage and her way of being in the world. With radical candor and honesty, Sonya Lea has written a memoir that is both a powerful look at perseverance in the face of trauma and a surprising exploration into what lies beyond our fragile identities.
Woodrow Wilson

Woodrow Wilson

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The first major biography of Woodrow Wilson in nearly twenty years, from America's leading Wilson scholar.
Woodrow Wilson was one of the most important presidents in American history: a Democrat who retook the White House after sixteen years of Republican administrations, he helped create many of the regulatory bodies that would prove central to governance in the twentieth century. He guided the nation through World War I, making the United States a world power for the first time. And though he lost the fight to bring the country into the League of Nations, he defined a new way of thinking about international relations that would bear fruit with the creation of the United Nations.
John Milton Cooper guides us through Wilson's personal and political worlds, bringing the man and his times to life. We see how Wilson cut his political teeth as president of Princeton and how he came virtually out of nowhere in 1912 to lead the Democrats to victory, applying his careful study of politics to his new office. We see him develop his vision for government and articulate it in tours around the country, speaking directly to the American people, which he believed was the best way to engender their most sustained, and sustaining, support.
A long overdue, revelatory portrait of one of our most transformative presidents.
Woody

Woody

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In this first biography of Woody Allen in over a decade, David Evanier discusses key movies, plays and prose as well as Allen's personal life. Evanier tackles the themes that Allen has spent a lifetime sorting through in art: morality, sexuality, Judaism, the eternal struggle of head and heart. Woody will be the definitive word on a major American talent as he begins his ninth decade, and his sixth decade of making movies.
Woolgathering

Woolgathering

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The National Book Award-winner Patti Smith updates her treasure box of a childhood memoir about "clear unspeakable joy" and "just the wish to know" with a radiant new afterword, written during the pandemic and reflecting on current times. This expanded paperback edition also includes new photographs by the author.
A great book about becoming an artist, Woolgathering tells of a child finding herself as she learns the noble vocation of woolgathering, "a worthy calling that seemed a good job for me." She discovers--often at night, often in nature--the pleasures of rescuing "a fleeting thought." Woolgathering calls up our own memories, as the child "glimpses and gleans, piecing together a crazy quilt of truths." Smith shares the fierce, vital pleasures of stargazing and wandering. Her new Afterword, penned during the quarantine, opens new horizons in "the scarcely charted landscape of memory governed by clouds."
Woolgathering celebrates the sacred nature of creation in Smith's singular language, acclaimed as "glorious" (NPR), "spellbinding" (Booklist), "rare and ferocious" (Salon), and "shockingly beautiful" (New York Magazine).
Woolgathering

Woolgathering

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A great book about becoming an artist, Woolgathering tells of a youngster finding herself as she learns the noble vocation of woolgathering, "a worthy calling that seemed a good job for me." She discovers--often at night, often in nature--the pleasures of rescuing "a fleeting thought." Deeply moving, Wool- gathering calls up our own memories, as the child "glimpses and gleans, piecing together a crazy quilt of truths." Smith introduces us to her tribe, "a race of cloud dwellers," and to the fierce, vital pleasures of cloud watching and stargazing and wandering.

A radiant new autobiographical piece, "Two Worlds" (which was not in the original 1992 Hanuman edition of Woolgathering), and the author's photographs and illustrations are also included. Woolgathering celebrates the sacred nature of creation with Smith's beautiful style, acclaimed as "glorious" (NPR), "spellbinding" (Booklist), "rare and ferocious" (Salon), and "shockingly beautiful" (New York Magazine).
Word Detective

Word Detective

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Can you drink a glass of balderdash? What do you call the part of a dog's back it can't scratch? And if, serendipitously, you find yourself in Serendip, then where exactly are you?

The answers to all of these questions -- and a great many more -- can be found in the pages of the Oxford English Dictionary, the definitive record of the English language. And there is no better guide to the dictionary's many wonderments than the former chief editor of the OED, John Simpson. Simpson spent almost four decades of his life immersed in the intricacies of our language, and guides us through its history with charmingly laconic wit. In The Word Detective, an intensely personal memoir and a joyful celebration of English, he weaves a story of how words come into being (and sometimes disappear), how culture shapes the language we use, and how technology has transformed not only the way we speak and write but also how words are made.

Throughout, he enlivens his narrative with lively excavations and investigations of individual words -- from deadline to online and back to 101 (yes, it's a word) -- all the while reminding us that the seemingly mundane words (can you name the four different meanings of ma?) are often the most interesting ones. But Simpson also reminds us of the limitations of language: spending his days in the OED's house of words, his family at home is forced to confront the challenges of wordlessness.

A brilliant and deeply humane expedition through the world of words, The Word Detective will delight and inspire any lover of language.

Word for Word

Word for Word

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A child of the 1920s, Lilianna Lungina was a Russian Jew born to privilege, spending her childhood in Germany, France, and Palestine. But when her parents moved to the USSR when she was thirteen, Lungina became witness to many of the era's greatest upheavals. Exiled during World War II, dragged to KGB headquarters to report on her cosmopolitan friends, and subjected to her new country's ruthless, systematic anti-Semitism, Lungina nonetheless carved out a remarkable career as a translator who introduced hundreds of thousands of Soviet readers to Knut Hamsun, August Strindberg, and, most famously, Astrid Lindgren. In the process, she found herself at the very center of Soviet cultural life, meeting and befriending Pasternak, Brodsky, Solzhenitsyn, and many other major figures of the era's literature. Her extraordinary memoir--at once heartfelt and unsentimental--is an unparalleled tribute to a lost world.
Words

Words

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Sartre's famous autobiography of his first ten years. Written when he was 59 years old, this is a masterpiece of self-analysis. This book explores and evaluates the whole use of books and language in human experience.
Words in the Air

Words in the Air

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Robert Lowell once remarked in a letter to Elizabeth Bishop that you ha[ve] always been my favorite poet and favorite friend.

The feeling was mutual. Bishop said that conversation with Lowell left her feeling picked up again to the proper table-land of poetry, and she once begged him, Please never stop writing me letters--they always manage to make me feel like my higher self (I've been re-reading Emerson) for several days. Neither ever stopped writing letters, from their first meeting in 1947 when both were young, newly launched poets until Lowell's death in 1977.

Presented in Words in Air is the complete correspondence between Bishop and Lowell. The substantial, revealing--and often very funny--interchange that they produced stands as a remarkable collective achievement, notable for its sustained conversational brilliance of style, its wealth of literary history, its incisive snapshots and portraits of people and places, and its delicious literary gossip, as well as for the window it opens into the unfolding human and artistic drama of two of America's most beloved and influential poets.

Words of My Father

Words of My Father

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A Palestinian-American activist recalls his adolescence in Gaza during the Second Intifada, and how he made a strong commitment to peace in the face of devastating brutality in this moving, candid, and transformative memoir that reminds us of the importance of looking beyond prejudice, anger, and fear.

Captivating.--Robin Wright, The New Yorker

Yousef Bashir's story begins in Gaza, on a verdant ten-acre farm beside an Israeli settlement and military base. When the soccer-mad Yousef was eleven, the Second Intifada exploded. First came the shooting, then the occupation. Ordered to leave their family home, Yousef's father refused, even when the Israeli soldiers moved in, seizing the top two floors. For five long years, three generations of the Bashir family were virtual prisoners in their own home. Despite this, Yousef's father--a respected Palestinian schoolteacher whose belief in coexisting peacefully with his Israeli neighbors was unshakeable--treated the soldiers as honored guests. His commitment to peace was absolute.

Though Yousef's family attracted international media attention, and received letters of support from around the world, Yousef witnessed the destruction of his home, his neighborhood, and the happy life he had known with growing frustration and confusion. For the first time he wondered if his father's belief in peace was justified and whether he was strong enough--or even wanted--to follow his example. At fifteen, that doubt was tested. Standing in his front yard with his father and three United Nations observers, he was shot in the spine by an Israeli soldier, leaving him in a wheelchair, paralyzed from the waist down, for a year.

While an Israeli soldier shot him, it was Israeli doctors who saved Yousef and helped him eventually learn to walk again. In the wake of that experience, Yousef was forced to reckon with the words of his father. And like the generous, empathetic man who raised him, he too became an outspoken activist for peace.

Amid the tragedy of the ongoing Middle Eastern conflict, The Words of My Father is a powerful tale of moral awakening and a fraught, ferocious, and profound relationship between a son and his father. Bashir's story and the ideals of peace and empathy it upholds are a soothing balm for these dangerous and troubled times, and a reminder that love and compassion are a gift--and a choice.

Words Without Music

Words Without Music

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Philip Glass has, almost single-handedly, crafted the dominant sound of late-twentieth-century classical music. Yet in Words Without Music, his critically acclaimed memoir, he creates an entirely new and unexpected voice, that of a born storyteller and an acutely insightful chronicler, whose behind-the-scenes recollections allow readers to experience those moments of creative fusion when life so magically merged with art. From his childhood in Baltimore to his student days in Chicago and at Juilliard, to his first journey to Paris and a life-changing trip to India, Glass movingly recalls his early mentors, while reconstructing the places that helped shape his creative consciousness. Whether describing working as an unlicensed plumber in gritty 1970s New York or composing Satyagraha, Glass breaks across genres and re-creates, here in words, the thrill that results from artistic creation. Words Without Music ultimately affirms the power of music to change the world.

Work

Work

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The acclaimed author of The Other Wes Moore continues his inspirational quest for a meaningful life and shares the powerful lessons--about self-discovery, service, and risk-taking--that led him to a new definition of success for our times.

The Work is the story of how one young man traced a path through the world to find his life's purpose. Wes Moore graduated from a difficult childhood in the Bronx and Baltimore to an adult life that would find him at some of the most critical moments in our recent history: as a combat officer in Afghanistan; a White House fellow in a time of wars abroad and disasters at home; and a Wall Street banker during the financial crisis. In this insightful book, Moore shares the lessons he learned from people he met along the way--from the brave Afghan translator who taught him to find his fight, to the resilient young students in Katrina-ravaged Mississippi who showed him the true meaning of grit, to his late grandfather, who taught him to find grace in service.

Moore also tells the stories of other twenty-first-century change-makers who've inspired him in his search, from Daniel Lubetzky, the founder of KIND, to Esther Benjamin, a Sri Lankan immigrant who rose to help lead the Peace Corps. What their lives--and his own misadventures and moments of illumination--reveal is that our truest work happens when we serve others, at the intersection between our gifts and our broken world. That's where we find the work that lasts.

An intimate narrative about finding meaning in a volatile age, The Work will inspire readers to see how we can each find our own path to purpose and help create a better world.

Praise for The Work

"Powerful and moving . . . Wes Moore's story and the stories of those who have inspired him, from family members to entrepreneurs, provide a model for how we can each weave together valuable lessons from all different types of people to forge an individual path to triumph. I've known and deeply admired Wes for a long time. Reading The Work, I better understand why."--Chelsea Clinton

"Wes Moore proves once again that he is one of the most effective storytellers and leaders of his generation. His gripping personal story, set against the dramatic events of the past decade, goes straight to the heart of an ancient question that is as relevant as ever: not just how to live a good life, but how to make that life matter. Above all, this book teaches us how to make our journey about more than mere surviving or even succeeding; it teaches us how to truly come alive."--Arianna Huffington, author of Thrive

"How we define success for ourselves is one of life's essential questions. Wes Moore shows us the way--by sharing his incredible journey and the inspiring stories of others who make the world a better place through the choices they've made about how they want to live. We come away from this important book with a new understanding of what it truly means to succeed in life."--Suze Orman

"An intriguing follow-up to his bestselling The Other Wes Moore . . . Moore makes a convincing case that work has the most value if it's built on a foundation of service, selflessness, courage, and risk-taking."--Publishers Weekly

"A beautifully philosophical look at the expectation that work should bring meaning to our lives."--Booklist

"The Work will resonate with people seeking their own purpose."--BookPage