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Biography / Autobiography

Alexander Hamilton

Alexander Hamilton

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The #1 New York Times bestseller, and the inspiration for the hit Broadway musical Hamilton!

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ron Chernow presents a landmark biography of Alexander Hamilton, the Founding Father who galvanized, inspired, scandalized, and shaped the newborn nation.

Grand-scale biography at its best--thorough, insightful, consistently fair, and superbly written . . . A genuinely great book. --David McCullough

"A robust full-length portrait, in my view the best ever written, of the most brilliant, charismatic and dangerous founder of them all. --Joseph Ellis


Few figures in American history have been more hotly debated or more grossly misunderstood than Alexander Hamilton. Chernow's biography gives Hamilton his due and sets the record straight, deftly illustrating that the political and economic greatness of today's America is the result of Hamilton's countless sacrifices to champion ideas that were often wildly disputed during his time. "To repudiate his legacy," Chernow writes, "is, in many ways, to repudiate the modern world." Chernow here recounts Hamilton's turbulent life: an illegitimate, largely self-taught orphan from the Caribbean, he came out of nowhere to take America by storm, rising to become George Washington's aide-de-camp in the Continental Army, coauthoring The Federalist Papers, founding the Bank of New York, leading the Federalist Party, and becoming the first Treasury Secretary of the United States.Historians have long told the story of America's birth as the triumph of Jefferson's democratic ideals over the aristocratic intentions of Hamilton. Chernow presents an entirely different man, whose legendary ambitions were motivated not merely by self-interest but by passionate patriotism and a stubborn will to build the foundations of American prosperity and power. His is a Hamilton far more human than we've encountered before--from his shame about his birth to his fiery aspirations, from his intimate relationships with childhood friends to his titanic feuds with Jefferson, Madison, Adams, Monroe, and Burr, and from his highly public affair with Maria Reynolds to his loving marriage to his loyal wife Eliza. And never before has there been a more vivid account of Hamilton's famous and mysterious death in a duel with Aaron Burr in July of 1804.

Chernow's biography is not just a portrait of Hamilton, but the story of America's birth seen through its most central figure. At a critical time to look back to our roots, Alexander Hamilton will remind readers of the purpose of our institutions and our heritage as Americans.


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Alexander Hamilton: From Obscurity to Greatness

Alexander Hamilton: From Obscurity to Greatness

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Born in 1755 on a small Caribbean island to unmarried parents, Alexander Hamilton did not enjoy the privileges of wealth or heredity by which so many of his contemporaries advanced to the highest levels of power. Yet Hamilton's natural ability and ambition earned him prevailing influence in the American Revolution and the government created thereafter, eventually securing his place in the pantheon of America's founders.
Editor John P. Kaminski has gathered a remarkable collection of quotations by and about Alexander Hamilton that paint for us a nuanced portrait of a complex man. Through his own words and the words of his contemporaries -- including the man who killed him in a duel, Aaron Burr -- we can gain a better understanding of this fascinating man who rose from anonymity on a small Caribbean island to the corridors of power.
Alexander Hamiltons Guide to Life

Alexander Hamiltons Guide to Life

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The life--and lessons--of the Founding Father who mastered the arts of wit, war, and wealth, long before becoming the subject of Broadway's Hamilton: An American Musical

Two centuries after his death, Alexander Hamilton is shining once more under the world's spotlight--and we need him now more than ever.

Hamilton was a self-starter. Scrappy. Orphaned as a child, he came to America with nothing but a code of honor and a hunger to work. He then went on to help win the Revolutionary War and ratify the Constitution, create the country's financial system, charm New York's most eligible ladies, and land his face on our $10 bill. The ultimate underdog, he combined a fearless, independent spirit with a much-needed dose of American optimism.

Hamilton died before he could teach us the lessons he learned, but Alexander Hamilton's Guide to Life unlocks his core principles--intended for anyone interested in success, romance, money, or dueling. They include:

- Speak with Authority Even If You Have None (Career)
- Seduce with Your Strengths (Romance)
- Find Time for the Quills and the Bills (Money)
- Put the Father in Founding Father (Friends & Family)
- Being Right Trumps Being Popular (Leadership)

For history buffs and pop-culture addicts alike, this mix of biography, humor, and advice offers a fresh take on a nearly forgotten Founding Father, and will spark a revolution in your own life.

Alexander II: The Last Great Tsar

Alexander II: The Last Great Tsar

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Edvard Radzinsky is justly famous as both a biographer and a dramatist, and he brings both skills to bear in this vivid, page-turning, rich portrait of one of the greatest of all Romanovs. Alexander II was Russia's Lincoln -- he freed the serfs, promised a new, more liberal state for everyone, yet was brought down by a determined group of terrorist anarchists who tried to kill him six times before finally, fatefully, succeeding. His story proves the timeless lesson that in Russia, it is dangerous to start reforms, but even more dangerous to stop them. It also shows that the traps and dangers encountered in today's war on terrorists were there 150 years ago.

Alexander McQueen

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Judith Watt, a leading fashion historian and close personal friend of her brilliant, tragic subject, offers a close-up backstage look at the life, legacy, and visionary genius of Alexander McQueen. From his East London childhood to his explosive, game-changing fashion career to his shocking suicide at the age of forty, Watt's Alexander McQueen features revealing commentary and intimate perspectives by those who were closest to the fearless, groundbreaking designer--including milliner Philip Treacy, stylist Katy England, photographer Nick Knight, as well as friends and collectors Sarah Jessica Parker, Lady Gaga, and Daphne Guiness--and stunning, photographs, many never before seen, of some of his most remarkable designs and intricate apparel.
Alexander the Corrector

Alexander the Corrector

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Born in Scotland in 1699, Cruden spent much of his life in and out of asylums. In fact, just weeks after completing his Conc
Alexander The Great

Alexander The Great

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Of all those who have set out to conquer the world, Alexander the Great came closest to finishing the job. The son of King Philip II of Macedonia, from an early age he was taught that he was a descendant of Achilles and Hercules and was conditioned for conquest and kingly glory. Alexander was educated by the philosopher Aristotle and first led troops when he was just eighteen.

In 336 BC, King Philip was killed and Alexander ascended to the throne of Macedonia. Over the next twelve years Alexander conquered almost the entire known world of his era, irrevocably changing the course of history. In doing so he defeated the Thebans, the Persian Satraps, overthrew Darius, overran Syria and Phoenicia, possessed himself of all the cities along the Mediterranean, conquered Egypt and founded Alexandria.

He died suddenly at age 33, in Babylon, after a bout of heavy drinking; some suggest he was poisoned, though no cause of death has ever been proved.

Alexander the Great

Alexander the Great

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Tough, resolute, fearless. Alexander was a born warrior and a ruler of passionate ambition who understood the intense adventure of conquest and of the unknown. When he died in 323 B.C.E. at age thirty-two, his vast empire comprised more than two million square miles, spanning from Greece to India. His achievements were unparalleled--he had excelled as leader to his men, founded eighteen new cities, and stamped the face of Greek culture on the ancient East. the myth he created is as potent today as it was in the ancient world.

Robin Lane Fox's superb account searches through the mass of conflicting evidence and legend to focus on Alexander as a man of his own time. Combining historical scholarship and acute psychological insight, it brings this colossal figure vividly to life.

Alexander the Great: Journey to the End of the Earth

Alexander the Great: Journey to the End of the Earth

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Alexander's behavior was conditioned along certain lines -- heroism, courage, strength, superstition, bisexuality, intoxication, cruelty. He bestrode Europe and Asia like a supernatural figure.

In this succinct portrait of Alexander the Great, distinguished scholar and historian Norman Cantor illuminates the personal life and military conquests of this most legendary of men. Cantor draws from the major writings of Alexander's contemporaries combined with the most recent psychological and cultural studies to show Alexander as he was -- a great figure in the ancient world whose puzzling personality greatly fueled his military accomplishments.

He describes Alexander's ambiguous relationship with his father, Philip II of Macedon; his oedipal involvement with his mother, the Albanian princess Olympias; and his bisexuality. He traces Alexander's attempts to bridge the East and West, the Greek and Persian worlds, using Achilles, hero of the Trojan War, as his model. Finally, Cantor explores Alexander's view of himself in relation to the pagan gods of Greece and Egypt.

More than a biography, Norman Cantor's Alexander the Great is a psychological rendering of a man of his time.

Alexander Von Humboldt: How the Most Famous Scientist of the Romantic Age Found the Soul of Nature

Alexander Von Humboldt: How the Most Famous Scientist of the Romantic Age Found the Soul of Nature

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Alexander von Humboldt was the most famous scientist and explorer of his day. "I view him as one of the greatest ornaments of the age," wrote Thomas Jefferson, and he received Humboldt in the White House in 1804. Ralph Waldo Emerson celebrated Humboldt as "one of those wonders of the world," and John Muir exclaimed, "How intensely I desire to be a Humboldt!" The great German poet Goethe was Humboldt's friend, and after reading Humboldt's work Charles Darwin, yearned to travel to distant lands. From Humboldt Redwoods State Park in California to Humboldthain park in Berlin, from South America's Humboldt Current to Greenland's Humboldt Glacier, numerous places, plants, and animals around the world are named after him.

Born in Berlin in 1769, the young Alexander von Humboldt moved in the circles of Romantic writers and thinkers, studied mining, and worked as an inspector of mines before his "longing for wide and unknown things" made him resign and begin his great scientific expedition. For five years, from 1799 to 1804, Humboldt traveled through Central and South America. He and his collaborator, the French botanist Aimé Bonpland, journeyed on foot, by boat, and with mules through grasslands and forests, on rivers and across mountain ranges, and when Humboldt returned to Europe his coffers were full of scientific treasures. His legacy includes a sprawling body of knowledge, from the charge found in electric eels to the distribution of plants across different climate zones, and from the bioluminescence of jellyfish to the composition of falling stars.

But the achievements for which Humboldt was most celebrated in his lifetime fell short of perfection. When he climbed the Chimborazo in Ecuador, then believed to be the highest mountain in the world, he did not quite reach the top; he established the existence of the Casiquiare, a natural canal between the vast water systems of the Orinoco and the Amazon, but this had been known to local people; and his magisterial work, Cosmos, was left unfinished. All of this was no coincidence. Humboldt's pursuit of an all-encompassing, immersive approach to science was a way of finding limits: of nature and of the scientist's own self.

What Humboldt handed down to us is a radically new vision of science: one that has its roots in Romanticism. Seeking the hidden connections of things, he put his finger on the spot where nature and human art correspond. In his understanding, nature is not just an object, separate from us, to be prodded and measured, but something to which we have a deep, sensual affinity, and where the human mind must turn if it wants to truly come to understand itself.

Humboldt achieved this ambition--he was transformed by his experience of nature. He returned to Europe at peace with the person he was, and came to live in Paris for twenty years, then in Berlin, until his death in 1859--the year Darwin published On the Origin of Species.

In this concise, illuminating biography, Maren Meinhardt beautifully portrays an exceptional life lived in no less exceptional times. Drawing extensively on Humboldt's letters and published works, she persuasively tells the story of how he became the most admired scientist of the Romantic Age.

Alexiad: Translated by E.R.A. Sewter

Alexiad: Translated by E.R.A. Sewter

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A revised edition of a medieval masterpiece--the first narrative history written by a woman

Written between 1143 and 1153 by the daughter of Byzantine Emperor Alexios I Komnenos, The Alexiad is one of the most popular and revealing primary sources in the vast canon of medieval literature. Princess Anna Komnene, eldest child of the imperial couple, reveals the inner workings of the court, profiles its many extraordinary personages, and offers a firsthand account of immensely significant events such as the First Crusade, as well as its impact on the relationship between eastern and western Christianity. A celebrated triumph of Byzantine letters, this is an unparalleled view of the glorious Constantinople and the medieval world.

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

Alexis De Tocqueville : Democracy's Guide

Alexis De Tocqueville : Democracy's Guide

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Part of the acclaimed Eminent Lives series, Alexis de Tocqueville dissects the legacy of the celebrated cultural observer. Joseph Epstein, distinguished literary historian and author of the bestselling Snobbery: The American Version, provides a fresh account of the celebrated writer's classic travels in America, and compares what de Tocqueville witnessed to the current state of our nation.

Alfred & Emily

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Alfred and Emily

Alfred and Emily

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Alfred and Emily is an intimate and revealing book by Doris Lessing, the winner of the 2007 Nobel Prize in Literature and author of The Grass is Singing and The Golden Notebook, that explores the lives of her parents, each irrevocably damaged by the Great War.

In this profoundly moving book, Nobel Laureate Doris Lessing explores the lives of her parents, each irrevocably damaged by the Great War. In the fictional first half of Alfred and Emily, she imagines the happier lives her parents might have made for themselves had there been no war. This is followed by a piercing examination of their relationship as it actually was in the shadow of the devastating global conflict.

Here I still am, says Lessing, trying to get out from under that monstrous legacy, trying to get free. Triumphantly, with Alfred and Emily, she has done just that.

Alfred C. Kinsey, A Life

Alfred C. Kinsey, A Life

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In this brilliant, groundbreaking biography, twenty years in the making, James H. Jones presents a moving and even shocking portrait of the man who pierced the veil of reticence surrounding human sexuality. Jones shows that the public image Alfred Kinsey cultivated of disinterested biologist was in fact a carefully crafted public persona. By any measure he was an extraordinary man--and a man with secrets.

Drawing upon never before disclosed facts about Kinsey's childhood, Jones traces the roots of Kinsey's scholarly interest in human sexuality to his tortured upbringing. Between the sexual tensions of the culture and Kinsey's devoutly religious family, Jones depicts Kinsey emerging from childhood with psychological trauma but determined to rescue humanity from the emotional and sexual repression he had suffered. New facts about his marriage, family life, and relationships with students and colleagues enrich this portrait of the complicated, troubled man who transformed the state of public discourse on human sexuality.
Ali in Wonderland

Ali in Wonderland

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Mix 1 oz. Chelsea Handler, 1.5 oz. Nora Ephron, finish with a twist of Tina Fey, and you get Ali in Wonderland, the uproarious, revealing, and heartfelt memoir from acclaimed actress and comedian Ali Wentworth. Whether spilling secrets about her quintessentially WASPy upbringing (and her delicious rebellion against it), reminiscing about her Seinfeld "Schmoopie" days and her appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show, The View, and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, or baring the details of starting a family alongside husband George Stephanopoulos, one thing is for sure--Ali has the unsurpassable humor and warmth of a born storyteller with a story to tell: the quirky, flavorful, surprising, and sometimes scandalous Ali in Wonderland.

"Ali Wentworth is funny and warm and crazy all at once. Like Barbara Eden. But on something. Like crystal meth." --Alec Baldwin

Ali in Wonderland

Ali in Wonderland

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Mix 1 oz. Chelsea Handler, 1.5 oz. Nora Ephron, finish with a twist of Tina Fey, and you get Ali in Wonderland, the uproarious, revealing, and heartfelt memoir from acclaimed actress and comedian Ali Wentworth. Whether spilling secrets about her quintessentially WASPy upbringing (and her delicious rebellion against it), reminiscing about her Seinfeld "Schmoopie" days and her appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show, The View, and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, or baring the details of starting a family alongside husband George Stephanopoulos, one thing is for sure--Ali has the unsurpassable humor and warmth of a born storyteller with a story to tell: the quirky, flavorful, surprising, and sometimes scandalous Ali in Wonderland.

"Ali Wentworth is funny and warm and crazy all at once. Like Barbara Eden. But on something. Like crystal meth." --Alec Baldwin

Alice Munro Writing Her Lives A Biography

Alice Munro Writing Her Lives A Biography

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This is the book about one of the world's great authors, Alice Munro, which shows how her life and her stories intertwine.

For almost thirty years Robert Thacker has been researching this book, steeping himself in Alice Munro's life and work, working with her co-operation to make it complete. The result is a feast of information for Alice Munro's admirers everywhere.

By following "the parallel tracks" of Alice Munro's life and Alice Munro's texts, he gives a thorough and revealing account of both her life and work. "There is always a starting point in reality," she once said of her stories, and this book reveals just how often her stories spring from her life.

The book is chronological, starting with her pioneer ancestors, but with special attention paid to her parents and to her early days growing up poor in Wingham. Then all of her life stages -- the marriage to Jim Munro, the move to Vancouver, then to Victoria to start the bookstore, the three daughters, the divorce, the return to Huron County, and the new life with Gerry Fremlin -- leading to the triumphs as, story by story, book by book, she gains fame around the world, until rumours of a Nobel Prize circulate . . .