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Narrative Nonfiction

Battle of Mogadishu

Battle of Mogadishu

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"No matter how skilled the writer of nonfiction, you are always getting the story secondhand. Here's a chance to go right to the source. . . . These men were there."
-MARK BOWDEN (from the Foreword)

It started as a mission to capture a Somali warlord. It turned into a disastrous urban firefight and death-defying rescue operation that shocked the world and rattled a great nation. Now the 1993 battle for Mogadishu, Somalia-the incident that was the basis of the book and film Black Hawk Down-is remembered by the men who fought and survived it. Six of the best in our military recall their brutal experiences and brave contributions in these never-before-published, firstperson accounts.

"Operation Gothic Serpent," by Matt Eversmann: As a "chalk" leader, Eversmann was part of the first group of Rangers to "fast rope" from the Black Hawk helicopters. It was his chalk that suffered the first casualty of the battle.

"Sua Sponte: Of Their Own Accord," by Raleigh Cash: Responsible for controlling and directing fire support for the platoon, Cash entered the raging battle in the ground convoy sent to rescue his besieged brothers in arms.

"Through My Eyes," by Mike Kurth: One of only two African Americans in the battle, Kurth confronted his buddies' deaths, realizing that "the only people whom I had let get anywhere near me since I was a child were gone."

"What Was Left Behind," by John Belman: He roped into the biggest firefight of the battle and considers some of the mistakes that were made, such as using Black Hawk helicopters to provide sniper cover.

"Be Careful What You Wish For," by Tim Wilkinson: He was one of the Air Force pararescuemen or PJs-the highly trained specialists for whom "That Others May Live" is no catchphrase but a credo-and sums up his incomprehensible courage as "just holding up my end of the deal on a bad day."

"On Friendship and Firefights," by Dan Schilling: As a combat controller, he was one of the original planners for the deployment of SOF forces to Mogadishu in the spring of 1993. During the battle, he survived the initial assault and carnage of the vehicle convoys only to return to the city to rescue his two closest friends, becoming, literally, "Last Out."

With America's withdrawal from Somalia an oft-cited incitement to Osama bin Laden, it is imperative to revisit this seminal military mission and learn its lessons from the men who were there and, amazingly, are still here.

Battleship

Battleship

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The moving story of a tough little horse, a gifted boy, and a woman ahead of her time.

The youngest jockey, the smallest horse, and an unconventional heiress who disliked publicizing herself. Together, near Liverpool, England, they made a leap of faith on a spring day in 1938: overriding the jockey's father, trusting the boy and the horse that the British nicknamed the "American pony" to handle a race course that newspapers called "Suicide Lane." There, Battleship might become the first American racer to win England's monumental, century-old Grand National steeplechase. His rider, Great Britain's Bruce Hobbs, was only 17 years old.

Hobbs started life with an advantage: his father, Reginald, was a superb professional horseman. But Reg Hobbs also made extreme demands, putting Bruce in situations that horrified the boy's mother and sometimes terrified the child. Bruce had to decide just how brave he could stand to be.

On the other side of the Atlantic, the enigmatic Marion duPont grew up at the estate now known as James Madison's Montpelier--the refuge of America's "Father of the Constitution." Rejecting her chance to be a debutante, denied a corporate role because of her gender, Marion chose a pursuit where horses spoke for her. Taking on the world's toughest race, she would leave her film star husband, Randolph Scott, a continent away and be pulled beyond her own control. With its reach from Lindbergh's transatlantic flight to Cary Grant's Hollywood, Battleship is an epic tale of testing your true worth.

Battling the Ocean in a Rowboat

Battling the Ocean in a Rowboat

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The heart-pounding story of rowing expert Mick Dawson's most challenging feats on the open water, culminating in his greatest achievement: crossing the North Pacific Ocean in a small rowboat.
Storms, fatigue, equipment failure, intense hunger, and lack of water are just a few of the challenges that ocean rower MICK DAWSON, endured whilst attempting to complete one of the World's "Last Great Firsts."
In this nail-biting, man-against-nature true story, Dawson, former Royal Marine Commando, Guinness world record ocean rower and high seas adventurer, takes on the Atlantic and ultimately the North Pacific Oceans.
It would require three attempts and a back breaking voyage of over six months to finally cross the mighty North Pacific for the first time. 189 days, 10 hours and 55 minutes rowing around the clock, fighting death and destruction every step of the way before finally arriving beneath the iconic span of the Golden Gate Bridge with his friend and rowing partner Chris Martin.
Dawson details his epic adventures propelling his tiny boat one stroke at a time for thousands of miles across the most hostile route of the greatest ocean on earth, overcoming failure, personal tragedy and all of the challenges mother nature could throw at him.

Bayou Farewell: The Rich Life and Tragic Death of Louisiana's Cajun Coast

Bayou Farewell: The Rich Life and Tragic Death of Louisiana's Cajun Coast

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The Cajun coast of Louisiana is home to a way of life as unique, complex, and beautiful as the terrain itself. As award-winning travel writer Mike Tidwell journeys through the bayou, he introduces us to the food and the language, the shrimp fisherman, the Houma Indians, and the rich cultural history that makes it unlike any other place in the world. But seeing the skeletons of oak trees killed by the salinity of the groundwater, and whole cemeteries sinking into swampland and out of sight, Tidwell also explains why each introduction may be a farewell--as the storied Louisiana coast steadily erodes into the Gulf of Mexico.

Part travelogue, part environmental exposé, Bayou Farewell is the richly evocative chronicle of the author's travels through a world that is vanishing before our eyes.

Beasts at Bedtime: Revealing the Environmental Wisdom in Children's Literature

Beasts at Bedtime: Revealing the Environmental Wisdom in Children's Literature

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Talking lions, philosophical bears, very hungry caterpillars, wise spiders, altruistic trees, companionable moles, urbane elephants: this is the magnificent menagerie that delights our children at bedtime. Within the entertaining pages of many children's books, however, also lie profound teachings about the natural world that can help children develop an educated and engaged appreciation of the dynamic environment they inhabit.

In Beasts at Bedtime, scientist (and father) Liam Heneghan examines the environmental underpinnings of children's stories. From Beatrix Potter to Harry Potter, Heneghan unearths the universal insights into our inextricable relationship with nature that underlie so many classic children's stories. Some of the largest environmental challenges in coming years--from climate instability, the extinction crisis, freshwater depletion, and deforestation--are likely to become even more severe as this generation of children grows up. Though today's young readers will bear the brunt of these environmental calamities, they will also be able to contribute to environmental solutions if prepared properly. And all it takes is an attentive eye: Heneghan shows how the nature curriculum is already embedded in bedtime stories, from the earliest board books like The Rainbow Fish to contemporary young adult classics like The Hunger Games.

Beasts at Bedtime is an awakening to the vital environmental education children's stories can provide--from the misadventures of The Runaway Bunny to more overt tales like The Lorax. Heneghan serves as our guide, drawing richly upon his own adolescent and parental experiences, as well as his travels in landscapes both experienced and imagined. Organized into thematic sections, the work winds its way through literary forests, colorful characters, and global environments.

This book enthralls as it engages. Heneghan as a guide is as charming as he is insightful, showing how kids (and adults) can start to experience the natural world in incredible ways from the comfort of their own rooms. Beasts at Bedtime will help parents, teachers, and guardians extend those cozy times curled up together with a good book into a lifetime of caring for our planet.

Beats at Naropa

Beats at Naropa

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"At Naropa University's Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, there has long been an illuminating, dynamic, ongoing exchange of ideas about the history and legacy of the Beat Generation--an exchange fortunately that has been carefully archived and preserved. This valuable anthology does not further embalm the 'legend' of the Beats. Instead it allows its readers to hear authentic voices --Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, John Clellon Holmes, Diane di Prima, Philip Whalen, etc.--as well as introducing the thoughtful and responsible work of leading Beat scholars."--Joyce Johnson

Amassed from the riches of the Naropa University audio archives, this collection offers an exciting new look at the Beats--whose influence lives on in the art and politics of our time. In this often spontaneous, conversational book, readers are introduced to the hard truths behind being a Beat woman, the haunting accuracy of William Burroughs's world-view, the passion and energy of Allen Ginsberg and Anne Waldman, Jack Kerouac's unexpected musicality, Diane DiPrima's foray into small press publishing, Michael McClure's account of the famous first reading of "Howl," and, most of all, the inspirations behind America's most provocative and prescient thinkers. Contributors include:

David Amram
Amiri Baraka
Ted Berrigan
Junior Burke
William S. Burroughs
Lorna Dee Cervantes
Ann Charters
Clark Coolidge
Gregory Corso
Diane di Prima
Lawrence Ferlinghetti
Rick Fields
Allen Ginsberg
David Henderson
Abbie Hoffman
John Clellon Holmes
Joyce Johnson
Hettie Jones
Edie Parker Kerouac
Joanne Kyger
Michael McClure
William S. Merwin
John Oughton
Marjorie Perloff
David Rome
Edward Sanders
Gary Snyder
Janine Pommy Vega
Steven Taylor
Chögyam Trungpa, Rinpoche
Anne Waldman
Philip Whalen
Laura Wright
Joshua Zim

Beautiful and the Damned

Beautiful and the Damned

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Siddhartha Deb grew up in a remote town in the northeastern hills of India and made his way to the United States via a fellowship at Columbia. Six years after leaving home, he returned as an undercover reporter for The Guardian, working at a call center in Delhi in 2004, a time when globalization was fast proceeding and Thomas L. Friedman declared the world flat. Deb's experience interviewing the call-center staff led him to undertake this book and travel throughout the subcontinent.

The Beautiful and the Damned examines India's many contradictions through various individual and extraordinary perspectives. With lyrical and commanding prose, Deb introduces the reader to an unforgettable group of Indians, including a Gatsby-like mogul in Delhi whose hobby is producing big-budget gangster films that no one sees; a wiry, dusty farmer named Gopeti whose village is plagued by suicides and was the epicenter of a riot; and a sad-eyed waitress named Esther who has set aside her dual degrees in biochemistry and botany to serve Coca-Cola to arms dealers at an upscale hotel called Shangri La.

Like no other writer, Deb humanizes the post-globalization experience--its advantages, failures, and absurdities. India is a country where you take a nap and someone has stolen your job, where you buy a BMW but still have to idle for cows crossing your path. A personal, narrative work of journalism and cultural analysis in the same vein as Adrian Nicole LeBlanc's Random Family and V. S. Naipaul's India series, The Beautiful and the Damned is an important and incisive new work.

The Beautiful and the Damned is a Publishers Weekly Best Nonfiction title for 2011.

Beautiful and the Damned

Beautiful and the Damned

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A Globe and Mail Best Books of the Year 2011 Title

Siddhartha Deb grew up in a remote town in the northeastern hills of India and made his way to the United States via a fellowship at Columbia. Six years after leaving home, he returned as an undercover reporter for The Guardian, working at a call center in Delhi in 2004, a time when globalization was fast proceeding and Thomas L. Friedman declared the world flat. Deb's experience interviewing the call-center staff led him to undertake this book and travel throughout the subcontinent.

The Beautiful and the Damned examines India's many contradictions through various individual and extraordinary perspectives. With lyrical and commanding prose, Deb introduces the reader to an unforgettable group of Indians, including a Gatsby-like mogul in Delhi whose hobby is producing big-budget gangster films that no one sees; a wiry, dusty farmer named Gopeti whose village is plagued by suicides and was the epicenter of a riot; and a sad-eyed waitress named Esther who has set aside her dual degrees in biochemistry and botany to serve Coca-Cola to arms dealers at an upscale hotel called Shangri La.

Like no other writer, Deb humanizes the post-globalization experience--its advantages, failures, and absurdities. India is a country where you take a nap and someone has stolen your job, where you buy a BMW but still have to idle for cows crossing your path. A personal, narrative work of journalism and cultural analysis in the same vein as Adrian Nicole LeBlanc's Random Family and V. S. Naipaul's India series, The Beautiful and the Damned is an important and incisive new work.

The Beautiful and the Damned is a Publishers Weekly Best Nonfiction title for 2011.

Beauty Tips From Moose Jaw

Beauty Tips From Moose Jaw

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Canada's number one humorist, routinely compared to our own Bill Bryson, has written a funny, idiosyncratic, and warmly humane book full of sly observations and witty stories culled from his travels among the people and places of our neighbors up north.
Will Ferguson spent the past three years crisscrossing Canada. In a helicopter above the barren lands of the subarctic, in a canoe with his four-year-old son, aboard seaplanes, and along the Underground Railroad, Will's travels have taken him from Cape Spear on the coast of Newfoundland to the sun-dappled streets of old Victoria.
Funny, poignant, and insightful, Beauty Tips from Moose Jaw is a provocative tribute to a land that is akin to a series of loosely connected outposts peopled with some of the most interesting folks in the world.
Befriend and Betray: Infiltrating the Hells Angels, Bandidos and Other Criminal Brotherhoods

Befriend and Betray: Infiltrating the Hells Angels, Bandidos and Other Criminal Brotherhoods

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The Hells Angels. The Bandidos. Asian triads. Russian mobsters and corrupt cops. Even the KKK. Just part of a day's work for Alex Caine, an undercover agent who has seen it all. Alex Caine started life as a working-class boy from Quebec who always thought he'd end up in a blue-collar job. But after a tour in Vietnam and a stretch in prison on marijuana-possession charges, he fell into the cloak-and-dagger world of a contracted agent or kite: infiltrating criminal groups that cops across North America and around the globe were unable to penetrate themselves. Thanks to his quick-wittedness and his tough but unthreatening demeanour, Caine could fit into whatever unsavoury situation he found himself. Over twenty-five years, his assignments ran the gamut from bad-ass bikers to triad toughs. When a job was over, he'd slip away to a new part of the continent or world, where he would assume a new identity and then go back to work on another group of bad guys. Told with page-turning immediacy, Befriend and Betray gives a candid look behind the scenes at some familiar police operations and blows the lid off others that law enforcement would much prefer to keep hidden. And it offers an unvarnished account of the toll such a life takes, one that often left Caine to wonder who he really was, behind those decades of assumed identities. Or whether justice was ever truly served.
Beg, Borrow, Steal

Beg, Borrow, Steal

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In Beg, Borrow, Steal Michael Greenberg regales us with his wry and vivid take on the life of a writer of little means trying to practice his craft or simply stay alive. He finds himself doctoring doomed movie scripts; selling cosmetics from an ironing board in front of a women's department store; writing about golf, a game he has never played; and botching his debut as a waiter in a posh restaurant.

Central characters include Michael's father, whose prediction that Michael's scribbling wouldn't get him on the subway almost came true; his artistic first wife, whom he met in a Greenwich Village high school; and their son who grew up on the Lower East Side, fluent in the language of the street and in the language of the parlor. Then there are Greenberg's unexpected encounters: a Holocaust survivor who on his deathbed tries to leave Michael his fortune; a repentant communist who confesses his sins; a man who becomes a woman; a Chilean filmmaker in search of his past; and rats who behave like humans and cease to live underground.

Hilarious and bittersweet, Greenberg's stories invite us into a world where the familial, the literary, the tragic and the mundane not only speak to one another, but deeply enjoy the exchange.

Beginners Guide to Japan

Beginners Guide to Japan

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"Arguably the greatest living travel writer" (Outside magazine), Pico Iyer has called Japan home for more than three decades. But, as he is the first to admit, the country remains an enigma even to its long-term residents. In A Beginner's Guide to Japan, Iyer draws on his years of experience--his travels, conversations, readings, and reflections--to craft a playful and profound book of surprising, brief, incisive glimpses into Japanese culture. He recounts his adventures and observations as he travels from a meditation hall to a love hotel, from West Point to Kyoto Station, and from dinner with Meryl Streep to an ill-fated call to the Apple service center in a series of provocations guaranteed to
pique the interest and curiosity of those who don't know Japan--and to remind those who do of its myriad fascinations.
Beginners Guide to Japan

Beginners Guide to Japan

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"Arguably the greatest living travel writer" (Outside magazine), Pico Iyer has called Japan home for more than three decades. But, as he is the first to admit, the country remains an enigma even to its long-term residents. In A Beginner's Guide to Japan, Iyer draws on his years of experience--his travels, conversations, readings, and reflections--to craft a playful and profound book of surprising, brief, incisive glimpses into Japanese culture. He recounts his adventures and observations as he travels from a meditation hall to a love hotel, from West Point to Kyoto Station, and from dinner with Meryl Streep to an ill-fated call to the Apple service center in a series of provocations guaranteed to
pique the interest and curiosity of those who don't know Japan--and to remind those who do of its myriad fascinations.
Behemoth

Behemoth

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In the two hundred years since their arrival in America, elephants have worked on farms, mills, mines, and railroads, in Hollywood, and in professional baseball. They've contributed to the national discourse on civil rights, immigration, politics, and capitalism. They became so deeply ingrained in the American way that they were once accorded the rights of American citizenship, including the right to vote and the right to provide testimony under oath--and they have incurred brutal punishments when convicted of human crimes.

In Behemoth, Ronald B. Tobias has written the first comprehensive history of the elephant in America. As tragic as it is comic, this enthralling chronicle traces this animal's indelible footprint on American culture.

Bella Lingua: My Love Affair with Italian, the World's Most Enchanting Language

Bella Lingua: My Love Affair with Italian, the World's Most Enchanting Language

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""Italians say that someone who acquires a new language 'possesses' it. In my case, Italian possesses me. With Italian racing like blood through my veins, I do indeed see with different eyes, hear with different ears, and drink in the world with all my senses..."


"A celebration of the language and culture of Italy, "La Bella Lingua" is the story of how a language shaped a nation, told against the backdrop of one woman's personal quest to speak fluent Italian.
For anyone who has been to Italy, the fantasy of living the Italian life is powerfully seductive. But to truly become Italian, one must learn the language. This is how Dianne Hales began her journey. In "La Bella Lingua," she brings the story of her decades-long experience with the "the world's most loved and lovable language" together with explorations of Italy's history, literature, art, music, movies, lifestyle and food in a true "opera amorosa "-- a labor of her love of Italy.
Throughout her first excursion in Italy -- with ""non parlo Italiano"" as her only Italian phrase -- Dianne delighted in the beauty of what she saw but craved comprehension of what she heard. And so she chose to inhabit the language. Over more than twenty-five years she has studied Italian in every way possible through Berlitz, books, CDs, podcasts, private tutorials and conversation groups, and, most importantly, large blocks of time in Italy. In the process she found that Italian became not just a passion and a pleasure, but a passport into Italy's "storia" and its very soul. She offers charming insights into what it is that makes Italian the most emotionally expressive of languages, from how the ""pronto"" ("Ready!") Italians say when they answer the telephone conveys a sense of something coming alive, to how even ordinary things such as a towel ("asciugamano") or handkerchief ("fazzoletto") sound better in Italian.
She invites readers to join her as she traces the evolution of Italian in the zesty graffiti on the walls of Pompeii, in Dante's incandescent cantos and in Boccaccio's bawdy "Decameron." She portrays how social graces remain woven into the fabric of Italian: even the chipper "ciao," which does double duty as "hi" and "bye," reflects centuries of "bella figura." And she exalts the glories of Italy's food and its rich and often uproarious gastronomic language: Italians deftly describe someone uptight as a "baccala "(dried cod), a busybody who noses into everything as a "prezzemolo" (parsley), a worthless or banal movie as a "polpettone" (large meatball).

Like Dianne, readers of "La Bella Lingua "will find themselves "innamorata," enchanted, by Italian, fascinated by its saga, tantalized by its adventures, addicted to its sound, and ever eager to spend more time in its company.

Dianne Hales is a widely published journalist and health writer. She lives with her family in Marin County, California. You can find out more about Dianne at her website (www.becomingitalian.com or labellalingua.org) and on Facebook.

Bella Tuscany

Bella Tuscany

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Frances Mayes, whose enchanting #1 New York Times bestseller Under the Tuscan Sun made the world fall in love with Tuscany, invites readers back for a delightful new season of friendship, festivity, and food, there and throughout Italy.

Having spent her summers in Tuscany for the past several years, Frances Mayes relished the opportunity to experience the pleasures of primavera, an Italian spring. A sabbatical from teaching in San Francisco allowed her to return to Cortona--and her beloved house, Bramasole--just as the first green appeared on the rocky hillsides.

Bella Tuscany, a companion volume to Under the Tuscan Sun, is her passionate and lyrical account of her continuing love affair with Italy. Now truly at home there, Mayes writes of her deepening connection to the land, her flourishing friendships with local people, the joys of art, food, and wine, and the rewards and occasional heartbreaks of her villa's ongoing restoration. It is also a memoir of a season of change, and of renewed possibility. As spring becomes summer she revives Bramasole's lush gardens, meets the challenges of learning a new language, tours regions from Sicily to the Veneto, and faces transitions in her family life.

Filled with recipes from her Tuscan kitchen and written in the sensuous and evocative prose that has become her hallmark, Bella Tuscany is a celebration of the sweet life in Italy.

Bellevue

Bellevue

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From a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian comes a riveting history of New York's iconic public hospital that charts the turbulent rise of American medicine.

Bellevue Hospital, on New York City's East Side, occupies a colorful and horrifying place in the public imagination: a den of mangled crime victims, vicious psychopaths, assorted derelicts, lunatics, and exotic-disease sufferers. In its two and a half centuries of service, there was hardly an epidemic or social catastrophe--or groundbreaking scientific advance--that did not touch Bellevue.
David Oshinsky, whose last book, Polio: An American Story, was awarded a Pulitzer Prize, chronicles the history of America's oldest hospital and in so doing also charts the rise of New York to the nation's preeminent city, the path of American medicine from butchery and quackery to a professional and scientific endeavor, and the growth of a civic institution. From its origins in 1738 as an almshouse and pesthouse, Bellevue today is a revered public hospital bringing first-class care to anyone in need. With its diverse, ailing, and unprotesting patient population, the hospital was a natural laboratory for the nation's first clinical research. It treated tens of thousands of Civil War soldiers, launched the first civilian ambulance corps and the first nursing school for women, pioneered medical photography and psychiatric treatment, and spurred New York City to establish the country's first official Board of Health.
As medical technology advanced, "voluntary" hospitals began to seek out patients willing to pay for their care. For charity cases, it was left to Bellevue to fill the void. The latter decades of the twentieth century brought rampant crime, drug addiction, and homelessness to the nation's struggling cities--problems that called a public hospital's very survival into question. It took the AIDS crisis to cement Bellevue's enduring place as New York's ultimate safety net, the iconic hospital of last resort. Lively, page-turning, fascinating, Bellevue is essential American history.

Bellows People

Bellows People

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Saul Bellow was the most lauded American writer of the twentieth century--the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature and the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction, and the only novelist to be awarded the National Book Award in Fiction three times. Preeminently a novelist of personality in all its wrinkles, its glories and shortcomings, Bellow filled his work with vibrant, garrulous, particular people--people who are somehow exceptionally alive on the page.

In Bellow's People, literary historian and critic David Mikics explores Bellow's life and work through the real-life relationships and friendships that Bellow transmuted into the genius of his art. Mikics covers ten of the extraordinary people who mattered most to Bellow, such as his irascible older brother, Morrie, a key inspiration for The Adventures of Augie March; the writer Delmore Schwartz and the philosopher Allan Bloom, who were the originals for the protagonists of Humboldt's Gift and Ravelstein; the novelist Ralph Ellison, with whom he shared a house every summer in the late 1950s, when Ellison was coming off the mammoth success of Invisible Man and Bellow was trying to write Herzog; and Bellow's wife, Sondra Tschacbasov, and his best friend, Jack Ludwig, whose love affair Bellow fictionalized in Herzog.

A perfect introduction to Bellow's life and work, Bellow's People is an incisive critical study of the novelist and a memorable account of a vibrant and tempestuous circle of midcentury American intellectuals.