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Biography / Autobiography

World's Fastest Man: The Extraordinary Life of Cyclist Major Taylor, America's First Black Sports Hero

World's Fastest Man: The Extraordinary Life of Cyclist Major Taylor, America's First Black Sports Hero

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In the tradition of The Boys in the Boat and Seabiscuit, a fascinating portrait of a groundbreaking but forgotten figure--the remarkable Major Taylor, the black man who broke racial barriers by becoming the world's fastest and most famous bicyclist at the height of the Jim Crow era.

In the 1890s, the nation's promise of equality had failed spectacularly. While slavery had ended with the Civil War, the Jim Crow laws still separated blacks from whites, and the excesses of the Gilded Age created an elite upper class. Amidst this world arrived Major Taylor, a young black man who wanted to compete in the nation's most popular and mostly white man's sport, cycling. Birdie Munger, a white cyclist who once was the world's fastest man, declared that he could help turn the young black athlete into a champion.

Twelve years before boxer Jack Johnson and fifty years before baseball player Jackie Robinson, Taylor faced racism at nearly every turn--especially by whites who feared he would disprove their stereotypes of blacks. In The World's Fastest Man, years in the writing, investigative journalist Michael Kranish reveals new information about Major Taylor based on a rare interview with his daughter and other never-before-uncovered details from Taylor's life. Kranish shows how Taylor indeed became a world champion, traveled the world, was the toast of Paris, and was one of the most chronicled black men of his day.

From a moment in time just before the arrival of the automobile when bicycles were king, the populace was booming with immigrants, and enormous societal changes were about to take place, The World's Fastest Man shines a light on a dramatic moment in American history--the gateway to the twentieth century.

World's Largest Man

World's Largest Man

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Winner of the 2016 Thurber Prize

The riotous, tender story of a bookish Mississippi boy and his flawed, Bunyanesque father, told with the comic verve of David Sedaris and the deft satire of Mark Twain or Roy Blount, Jr.

Harrison Scott Key was born in Memphis, but he grew up in Mississippi, among pious, Bible-reading women and men who either shot things or got women pregnant. At the center of his world was his larger-than-life father--a hunter, a fighter, a football coach, "a man better suited to living in a remote frontier wilderness of the nineteenth century than contemporary America, with all its progressive ideas, and paved roads, and lack of armed duels. He was a great man, and he taught me many things: How to fight, how to work, how to cheat, how to pray to Jesus about it, how to kill things with guns and knives and, if necessary, with hammers."

Harrison, with his love of books and excessive interest in hugging, couldn't have been less like Pop, and when it became clear that he was not able to kill anything very well or otherwise make his father happy, he resolved to become everything his father was not: an actor, a Presbyterian, and a doctor of philosophy. But when it was time to settle down and start a family of his own, Harrison started to view his father in a new light, and realized--for better and for worse--how much of his old man he'd absorbed.

Sly, heartfelt, and tirelessly hilarious, The World's Largest Man is an unforgettable memoir--the story of a boy's struggle to reconcile himself with an impossibly outsized role model, a grown man's reckoning with the father it took him a lifetime to understand.

Worlds Largest Man

$25.99
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Winner of the 2016 Thurber Prize

The riotous, tender story of a bookish Mississippi boy and his flawed, Bunyanesque father, told with the comic verve of David Sedaris and the deft satire of Mark Twain or Roy Blount, Jr.

Harrison Scott Key was born in Memphis, but he grew up in Mississippi, among pious, Bible-reading women and men who either shot things or got women pregnant. At the center of his world was his larger-than-life father--a hunter, a fighter, a football coach, "a man better suited to living in a remote frontier wilderness of the nineteenth century than contemporary America, with all its progressive ideas, and paved roads, and lack of armed duels. He was a great man, and he taught me many things: How to fight, how to work, how to cheat, how to pray to Jesus about it, how to kill things with guns and knives and, if necessary, with hammers."

Harrison, with his love of books and excessive interest in hugging, couldn't have been less like Pop, and when it became clear that he was not able to kill anything very well or otherwise make his father happy, he resolved to become everything his father was not: an actor, a Presbyterian, and a doctor of philosophy. But when it was time to settle down and start a family of his own, Harrison started to view his father in a new light, and realized--for better and for worse--how much of his old man he'd absorbed.

Sly, heartfelt, and tirelessly hilarious, The World's Largest Man is an unforgettable memoir--the story of a boy's struggle to reconcile himself with an impossibly outsized role model, a grown man's reckoning with the father it took him a lifetime to understand.

Worlds Strongest Librarian

Worlds Strongest Librarian

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A funny and uplifting story of how a Mormon kid with Tourette's found salvation in books and weight lifting

Josh Hanagarne couldn't be invisible if he tried. Although he wouldn't officially be diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome until his freshman year of high school, Josh was six years old when he first began exhibiting symptoms. When he was twenty and had reached his towering height of 6'7", his tics escalated to nightmarish levels. Determined to conquer his affliction, Josh tried countless remedies, with dismal results. At last, an eccentric, autistic strongman taught Josh how to "throttle" his tics into submission using increasingly elaborate feats of strength. What started as a hobby became an entire way of life--and an effective way of managing his disorder.

Today, Josh is a librarian at Salt Lake City's public library and founder of a popular blog about books and weight lifting--and the proud father of five-year-old Max. Funny and offbeat, The World's Strongest Librarian traces this unlikely hero as he attempts to overcome his disability, find love, and create a life worth living.

Worlds Strongest Librarian

Worlds Strongest Librarian

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An inspiring story of how a Mormon kid with Tourette s found salvation in books and weight-lifting
Josh Hanagarne couldn t be invisible if he tried. Although he wouldn t officially be diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome until his freshman year of high school, Josh was six years old and onstage in a school Thanksgiving play when he first began exhibiting symptoms. By the time he was twenty, the young Mormon had reached his towering adult height of 6 7 when while serving on a mission for the Church of Latter Day Saints his Tourette s tics escalated to nightmarish levels.
Determined to conquer his affliction, Josh underwent everything from quack remedies to lethargy-inducing drug regimes to Botox injections that paralyzed his vocal cords and left him voiceless for three years. Undeterred, Josh persevered to marry and earn a degree in Library Science. At last, an eccentric, autistic strongman and former Air Force Tech Sergeant and guard at an Iraqi prison taught Josh how to throttle his tics into submission through strength-training.
Today, Josh is a librarian in the main branch of Salt Lake City s public library and founder of a popular blog about books and weight lifting and the proud father of four-year-old Max, who has already started to show his own symptoms of Tourette s.
"The World s Strongest Librarian" illuminates the mysteries of this little-understood disorder, as well as the very different worlds of strongman training and modern libraries. With humor and candor, this unlikely hero traces his journey to overcome his disability and navigate his wavering Mormon faith to find love and create a life worth living."
Worn Stories

Worn Stories

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New York Times Bestseller!

Now a Netflix original series

Everyone has a memoir in miniature in at least one piece of clothing. In Worn Stories, Emily Spivack has collected over sixty of these clothing-inspired narratives from cultural figures and talented storytellers. First-person accounts range from the everyday to the extraordinary, such as artist Marina Abramovic on the boots she wore to walk the Great Wall of China; musician Rosanne Cash on the purple shirt that belonged to her father; and fashion designer Cynthia Rowley on the Girl Scout sash that informed her business acumen. Other contributors include Greta Gerwig, Heidi Julavits, John Hodgman, Brandi Chastain, Marcus Samuelsson, Piper Kerman, Maira Kalman, Sasha Frere-Jones, Simon Doonan, Albert Maysles, Susan Orlean, Andy Spade, Paola Antonelli, David Carr, Andrew Kuo, and more. By turns funny, tragic, poignant, and celebratory, Worn Stories offers a revealing look at the clothes that protect us, serve as a uniform, assert our identity, or bring back the past--clothes that are encoded with the stories of our lives.

Worn Stories

Worn Stories

$18.95
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New York Times Bestseller!

Now a Netflix original series

Everyone has a memoir in miniature in at least one piece of clothing. In Worn Stories, Emily Spivack has collected over sixty of these clothing-inspired narratives from cultural figures and talented storytellers. First-person accounts range from the everyday to the extraordinary, such as artist Marina Abramovic on the boots she wore to walk the Great Wall of China; musician Rosanne Cash on the purple shirt that belonged to her father; and fashion designer Cynthia Rowley on the Girl Scout sash that informed her business acumen. Other contributors include Greta Gerwig, Heidi Julavits, John Hodgman, Brandi Chastain, Marcus Samuelsson, Piper Kerman, Maira Kalman, Sasha Frere-Jones, Simon Doonan, Albert Maysles, Susan Orlean, Andy Spade, Paola Antonelli, David Carr, Andrew Kuo, and more. By turns funny, tragic, poignant, and celebratory, Worn Stories offers a revealing look at the clothes that protect us, serve as a uniform, assert our identity, or bring back the past--clothes that are encoded with the stories of our lives.

Worst. President. Ever.: James Buchanan, the POTUS Rating Game, and the Legacy of the Least of the Lesser Presidents

Worst. President. Ever.: James Buchanan, the POTUS Rating Game, and the Legacy of the Least of the Lesser Presidents

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Foreword Reviews' INDIEFAB Book of the Year Winner in Biography "The Funniest. Presidential. Biographer. Ever." --Kai Bird, Pulitzer-prize winning historian Now in paperback, W.P.E. flips the great presidential biography on its head, offering an enlightening--and highly entertaining!--account of poor James Buchanan's presidency. This book proves once and for all that, well, few leaders could have done worse. But author Robert Strauss also explores with insight and humor the entire notion of ranking our presidents. He guides us through the POTUS rating game played by historians and others, the world of presidential history buffs, presidential sites, the presidency itself, and how and why the White House can often take the best measures out of even the most dedicated men.
Worthy Fights

Worthy Fights

$36.00
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The inspiring and revelatory autobiography of the defense secretary and CIA director who led the intelligence war that killed Bin Laden, among many important roles in a legendary career

It could be said that Leon Panetta has had two of the most consequential careers of any American public servant in the past fifty years. His first career, beginning as an army intelligence officer and including a distinguished run as one of Congress's most powerful and respected members, lasted thirty-five years and culminated in his transformational role as Clinton's budget czar and White House chief of staff. He then "retired" to establish the Panetta Institute with his wife of fifty years, Sylvia; to serve on the Iraq Study Group; and to protect his beloved California coastline. But in 2009, he accepted what many said was a thankless task: returning to public office as the director of the CIA, taking it from a state of turmoil after the Bush-era torture debates and moving it back to the vital center of America's war against Al Qaeda, including the campaign that led to the killing of Osama bin Laden. And then, in the wake of bin Laden's death, Panetta became the U.S. secretary of defense, inheriting two troubled wars in a time of austerity and painful choices.

Like his career, Worthy Fights is a reflection of Panetta's values. It is imbued with the frank, grounded, and often quite funny spirit of a man who never lost touch with where he came from: his family's walnut farm in beautiful Carmel Valley, California. It is also a testament to a lost kind of political leadership, which favors progress and duty to country over partisanship. Panetta is a Democrat who pushed for balanced budgets while also expanding care for the elderly and sick; a devout Catholic who opposes the death penalty but had to weigh every drone strike from 2009 through 2011. Throughout his career, Panetta's polestar has been his belief that a public servant's real choice is between leadership or crisis. Troubles always come about through no fault of one's own, but most can be prevented with courage and foresight.

As always, Panetta calls them as he sees them in Worthy Fights. Suffused with its author's decency and stubborn common sense, the book is an epic American success story, a great political memoir, and a revelatory view onto many of the great figures and events of our time.

Wreck

Wreck

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Equal parts investigative and deeply introspective, The Wreck is a profound memoir about recognizing the echoes of history within ourselves, and the alchemy of turning inherited grief into political activism.

There is a secret that young Cassandra Jackson doesn't know, and it's evident in the way her father cries her name out in his sleep. It's not until she meets her extended family for the first time that she realizes she is named after--and looks eerily like--her father's niece, who was killed in a car wreck along with her father's beloved mother, his only sister, and--as she soon discovers--his first wife.

In this compelling memoir, Jackson retraces her and her family's past and finds a single common thread: the medical malpractice and neglect whose effects have caused needless loss and suffering in her family. It's as she steps back further that she realizes this single thread touches every single Black family in America, turning this deeply personal memoir into a political call to action. Jackson offers an eye-opening look at how administrative procedures and political maneuvers that seem far from our everyday lives dictate life-or-death consequences for individuals, highlighting this as a piece of American history we still have the chance to course correct.

Write It When I'm Gone

Write It When I'm Gone

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In an extraordinary series of private interviews, conducted over sixteen years with the stipulation that they not be released until after Ford's death, the thirty-eighth president of the United States reveals a profoundly different side of himself: funny, reflective, gossipy, strikingly candid-and the stuff of headlines. In 1974, award-winning journalist and author Thomas DeFrank, then a young correspondent for "Newsweek," was interviewing Vice President Gerald R. Ford when Ford blurted out something astonishingly indiscreet related to the White House, came around his desk, grabbed DeFrank's tie, and told the reporter he could not leave the room until he promised not to publish it. "Write it when I'm dead," he said-and that agreement formed the basis for their relationship for the next thirty-two years. During that time, they talked frequently, but from 1991 to shortly before Ford's death in 2006, the interviews became something else-conversations between two men in which Ford talked in a way few presidents ever have. Here is the real Ford on his relationship with Richard Nixon (including the 1974 revelation that, in DeFrank's words, "will alter what history thinks it knows about the events that culminated in Ford's becoming president"); Ford's experiences on the Warren Commission; his complex relationships with Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter; his startling, never-before-disclosed discussions with Bill Clinton during the latter's impeachment process; his opinions about both Bush administrations, the Iraq war, and many contemporary political figures; and much more. Here also are unguarded personal musings: about key cultural events; his own life, history, and passions; his beloved wife, Betty; and the frustrations of aging. In all, it is an unprecedented book: illuminating, entertaining, surprising, heartwarming, and, in many ways, historic.
Write It When I'm Gone: Remarkable Off-the-Record Conversations with Gerald Ford

Write It When I'm Gone: Remarkable Off-the-Record Conversations with Gerald Ford

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The New York Times bestseller?and the candid voice of an American president

In 1974, Newsweek correspondent Thomas M. DeFrank was interviewing Gerald Ford when the Vice President blurted out something astonishingly indiscreet. He then extracted a promise not to publish it. ?Write it when I?m dead, ? Ford said? and thus began a thirty-two-year relationship.

During the last fifteen years of their conversations, Ford opened up to DeFrank, speaking in a way few presidents ever have. Here the award-winning journalist reveals these private talks, as Ford discusses his experiences with his fellow presidents, the Warren Commission, and his exchanges with Bill Clinton during the latter's impeachment process. In addition, he shares his thoughts about both Bush administrations, the Iraq war, his beloved wife Betty, and the frustrations of aging. Write It When I?m Gone is not only a historical document but an unprecedented portrait of a president.

Writer Sailor Soldier Spy

Writer Sailor Soldier Spy

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The extraordinary untold story of Ernest Hemingway's dangerous secret life in espionage

A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - A finalist for the William E. Colby Military Writers' Award

IMPORTANT (Wall Street Journal) - FASCINATING (New York Review of Books) -CAPTIVATING (Missourian)

A riveting international cloak-and-dagger epic ranging from the Spanish Civil War to the liberation of Western Europe, wartime China, the Red Scare of Cold War America, and the Cuban Revolution, Writer, Sailor, Soldier, Spy reveals for the first time Ernest Hemingway's secret adventures in espionage and intelligence during the 1930s and 1940s (including his role as a Soviet agent code-named Argo), a hidden chapter that fueled both his art and his undoing.

While he was the historian at the esteemed CIA Museum, Nicholas Reynolds, a longtime American intelligence officer, former U.S. Marine colonel, and Oxford-trained historian, began to uncover clues suggesting Nobel Prize-winning novelist Ernest Hemingway was deeply involved in mid-twentieth-century spycraft -- a mysterious and shocking relationship that was far more complex, sustained, and fraught with risks than has ever been previously supposed. Now Reynolds's meticulously researched and captivating narrative looks among the shadows and finds a Hemingway not seen before (London Review of Books), revealing for the first time the whole story of this hidden side of Hemingway's life: his troubling recruitment by Soviet spies to work with the NKVD, the forerunner to the KGB, followed in short order by a complex set of secret relationships with American agencies.

Starting with Hemingway's sympathy to antifascist forces during the 1930s, Reynolds illuminates Hemingway's immersion in the life-and-death world of the revolutionary left, from his passionate commitment to the Spanish Republic; his successful pursuit by Soviet NKVD agents, who valued Hemingway's influence, access, and mobility; his wartime meeting in East Asia with communist leader Chou En-Lai, the future premier of the People's Republic of China; and finally to his undercover involvement with Cuban rebels in the late 1950s and his sympathy for Fidel Castro. Reynolds equally explores Hemingway's participation in various roles as an agent for the United States government, including hunting Nazi submarines with ONI-supplied munitions in the Caribbean on his boat, Pilar; his command of an informant ring in Cuba called the Crook Factory that reported to the American embassy in Havana; and his on-the-ground role in Europe, where he helped OSS gain key tactical intelligence for the liberation of Paris and fought alongside the U.S. infantry in the bloody endgame of World War II.

As he examines the links between Hemingway's work as an operative and as an author, Reynolds reveals how Hemingway's secret adventures influenced his literary output and contributed to the writer's block and mental decline (including paranoia) that plagued him during the postwar years -- a period marked by the Red Scare and McCarthy hearings. Reynolds also illuminates how those same experiences played a role in some of Hemingway's greatest works, including For Whom the Bell Tolls and The Old Man and the Sea, while also adding to the burden that he carried at the end of his life and perhaps contributing to his suicide.

A literary biography with the soul of an espionage thriller, Writer, Sailor, Soldier, Spy is an essential contribution to our understanding of the life, work, and fate of one of America's most legendary authors.

Writer Sailor Soldier Spy

Writer Sailor Soldier Spy

$27.99
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The extraordinary untold story of Ernest Hemingway's dangerous secret life in espionage

A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - A finalist for the William E. Colby Military Writers' Award

IMPORTANT (Wall Street Journal) - FASCINATING (New York Review of Books) -CAPTIVATING (Missourian)

A riveting international cloak-and-dagger epic ranging from the Spanish Civil War to the liberation of Western Europe, wartime China, the Red Scare of Cold War America, and the Cuban Revolution, Writer, Sailor, Soldier, Spy reveals for the first time Ernest Hemingway's secret adventures in espionage and intelligence during the 1930s and 1940s (including his role as a Soviet agent code-named Argo), a hidden chapter that fueled both his art and his undoing.

While he was the historian at the esteemed CIA Museum, Nicholas Reynolds, a longtime American intelligence officer, former U.S. Marine colonel, and Oxford-trained historian, began to uncover clues suggesting Nobel Prize-winning novelist Ernest Hemingway was deeply involved in mid-twentieth-century spycraft -- a mysterious and shocking relationship that was far more complex, sustained, and fraught with risks than has ever been previously supposed. Now Reynolds's meticulously researched and captivating narrative looks among the shadows and finds a Hemingway not seen before (London Review of Books), revealing for the first time the whole story of this hidden side of Hemingway's life: his troubling recruitment by Soviet spies to work with the NKVD, the forerunner to the KGB, followed in short order by a complex set of secret relationships with American agencies.

Starting with Hemingway's sympathy to antifascist forces during the 1930s, Reynolds illuminates Hemingway's immersion in the life-and-death world of the revolutionary left, from his passionate commitment to the Spanish Republic; his successful pursuit by Soviet NKVD agents, who valued Hemingway's influence, access, and mobility; his wartime meeting in East Asia with communist leader Chou En-Lai, the future premier of the People's Republic of China; and finally to his undercover involvement with Cuban rebels in the late 1950s and his sympathy for Fidel Castro. Reynolds equally explores Hemingway's participation in various roles as an agent for the United States government, including hunting Nazi submarines with ONI-supplied munitions in the Caribbean on his boat, Pilar; his command of an informant ring in Cuba called the Crook Factory that reported to the American embassy in Havana; and his on-the-ground role in Europe, where he helped OSS gain key tactical intelligence for the liberation of Paris and fought alongside the U.S. infantry in the bloody endgame of World War II.

As he examines the links between Hemingway's work as an operative and as an author, Reynolds reveals how Hemingway's secret adventures influenced his literary output and contributed to the writer's block and mental decline (including paranoia) that plagued him during the postwar years -- a period marked by the Red Scare and McCarthy hearings. Reynolds also illuminates how those same experiences played a role in some of Hemingway's greatest works, including For Whom the Bell Tolls and The Old Man and the Sea, while also adding to the burden that he carried at the end of his life and perhaps contributing to his suicide.

A literary biography with the soul of an espionage thriller, Writer, Sailor, Soldier, Spy is an essential contribution to our understanding of the life, work, and fate of one of America's most legendary authors.

Writer's Diary: Being Extracts from the Diary of Virginia Woolf

Writer's Diary: Being Extracts from the Diary of Virginia Woolf

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An invaluable guide to the art and mind of Virginia Woolf, "A Writer's Diary" was drawn by her husband from the personal record she kept over a period of twenty-seven years. Included are entries that refer to her own writing and those that are clearly writing exercises, accounts of people and scenes relevant to the raw material of her work, and finally, comments on books she was reading. The first entry is dated 1918 and the last, three weeks before her death in 1941. Between these points of time unfolds the private world - the anguish, the triumph, the creative vision - of one of the great writers of our century.
Writer's Life

Writer's Life

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The inner workings of a writer's life, the interplay between experience and writing, are brilliantly recounted by a master of the art. Gay Talese now focuses on his own life--the zeal for the truth, the narrative edge, the sometimes startling precision, that won accolades for his journalism and best-sellerdom and acclaim for his revelatory books about The New York Times (The Kingdom and the Power), the Mafia (Honor Thy Father), the sex industry (Thy Neighbor's Wife), and, focusing on his own family, the American immigrant experience (Unto the Sons). How has Talese found his subjects? What has stimulated, blocked, or inspired his writing? Here are his amateur beginnings on his college newspaper; his professional climb at The New York Times; his desire to write on a larger canvas, which led him to magazine writing at Esquire and then to books. We see his involvement with issues of race from his student days in the Deep South to a recent interracial wedding in Selma, Alabama, where he once covered the fierce struggle for civil rights. Here are his reflections on the changing American sexual mores he has written about over the last fifty years, and a striking look at the lives--and their meaning--of Lorena and John Bobbitt. He takes us behind the scenes of his legendary profile of Frank Sinatra, his writings about Joe DiMaggio and heavyweight champion Floyd Patterson, and his interview with the head of a Mafia family.But he is at his most poignant in talking about the ordinary men and women whose stories led to his most memorable work. In remarkable fashion, he traces the history of a single restaurant location in New York, creating an ethnic mosaic of one restaurateur after the other whose dreams were dashed while a successor's were born. And as he delves into the life of a young female Chinese soccer player, we see his consuming interest in the world in its latest manifestation.In these and other recollections and stories, Talese gives us a fascinating picture of both the serendipity and meticulousness involved in getting a story. He makes clear that every one of us represents a good one, if a writer has the curiosity to know it, the diligence to pursue it, and the desire to get it right.Candid, humorous, deeply impassioned--a dazzling book about the nature of writing in one man's life, and of writing itself.
Writer's People

Writer's People

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Born in Trinidad of Indian descent, a resident of England for his entire adult life, and a prodigious traveler, Nobel laureate V. S. Naipaul has always faced the challenges of "fitting one civilisation to another." Here, in his first book of nonfiction since 2003, he gives us an eloquent, candid, wide-ranging narrative that delves into this sometimes inadvertent process of creative and intellectual assimilation.
He discusses the writers he read early on: Derek Walcott, Gustave Flaubert and his own father among them. He explains how Anthony Powell and Francis Wyndham influenced his first encounters with literary culture. He looks at what we have retained--and forgotten--of the world portrayed in Caesar's "The Gallic War" and Virgil's "Aeneid." He illuminates the ways in which the writings of Gandhi, Nehru and other Indian writers both reveal and conceal the authors and their nation. And he brings the same scrutiny to bear on his own life: his years in Trinidad; the gaps in his family history; the "private India" kept alive in his family through story, ritual, religion and culture; his ever-evolving reaction to the more complicated and demanding true India he would encounter for the first time when he was thirty.
Part meditation, part remembrance, as elegant as it is revelatory, "A Writer's People" allows us privileged insight--full of incident, humor and feeling--into the mind of one of our greatest writers.
Writer's People: Ways of Looking and Feeling

Writer's People: Ways of Looking and Feeling

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In his first book of non-fiction since 2003, V.S. Naipaul gives us an eloquent, candid, wide-ranging narrative that delves into the sometimes inadvertent process of creative and intellectual assimilation. Born in Trinidad of Indian descent, a resident of England for his entire adult life, and a prodigious traveller, Nobel Laureate V. S. Naipaul has always faced the challenges of fitting one civilisation to another. In A Writer's People, he discusses the writers to whom he was exposed early on, Derek Walcott, Flaubert and his own father among them; how Anthony Powell and Francis Wyndham influenced his first encounters with literary culture; what we have retained-and forgotten-of the world portrayed in Caesar's The Gallic War and Virgil's Aeneid; how the writings of Gandhi, Nehru and other Indian writers both reveal and conceal the authors and their nation. And he brings the same scrutiny to bear on his own life: his years in Trinidad; the gaps in his family history; the private India kept alive through story, ritual, religion and culture; his ever-evolving reaction to the more complicated and demanding true India he would encounter for the first time when he was thirty. Part meditation, part remembrance, as elegant as it is revelatory, A Writer's People allows us privileged insight-full of incident, humour and feeling-into the mind of one of our greatest writers. He brings to non-fiction an extraordinary capacity for making art out of lucid thought. . . . I can no longer imagine the world without Naipaul's writing. Los Angeles Times Book Review