On June 8, 2010, while on a book tour for his bestselling memoir, , Christopher Hitchens was stricken in his New York hotel room with excruciating pain in his chest and thorax. As he would later write in the first of a series of award-winning columns for , he suddenly found himself being deported “from the country of the well across the stark frontier that marks off the land of malady.” Over the next eighteen months, until his death in Houston on December 15, 2011, he wrote constantly and brilliantly on politics and culture, astonishing readers with his capacity for superior work even in extremis.
Throughout the course of his ordeal battling esophageal cancer, Hitchens adamantly and bravely refused the solace of religion, preferring to confront death with both eyes open. In this riveting account of his affliction, Hitchens poignantly describes the torments of illness, discusses its taboos, and explores how disease transforms experience and changes our relationship to the world around us. By turns personal and philosophical, Hitchens embraces the full panoply of human emotions as cancer invades his body and compels him to grapple with the enigma of death.
Amazon Best Books of the Month, September 2012:
Curious and prolific to the end, combative writer Christopher Hitchens leaves us with a posthumously published analysis of his dying days. is the anti-: Stripping away semantics and sentimentality, Hitchens treats his cancer as he would any other topic—with dogged inquisitiveness and brutal honesty. Which makes it all the more poignant when he begins losing his voice, his “freedom of speech,” and sinks deeper into his “year of living dyingly.” Funny, smart, irreverent, and surprisingly moving, this lucid, unflinching end-of-life journey through “Tumorville” is brave and powerful stuff. The unfinished jottings that comprise the final pages are a heartbreaking display of a mind that never stopped till the very end.
“Nothing sharpened Christopher Hitchens’ mind like Cancer. He wrote the best, most piercing, most clarifying prose of his career as he faced down the specter of his own demise. As he dealt with fatigue and nausea, with the anger, disgust and frustration that must accompany what he knew was a death sentence, Hitch poured it all into words as painfully honest as they were hilarious.”
“Among the many things that made Hitchens unique was his precision of thought and expression. What made him rare were his courage and tenacity. He was fearless in the field and relentless in his defense of the defenseless with that mightiest of swords—his pen. Judging from his final essays, he was also fearless in the fact of death.”
"I have no doubt that Christopher Hitchens will have an afterlife. As one of the most original and provocative writers of his generation, his words will continue to mesmerize, incite, confound, and entertain."
“His unworldly fluency never deserted him, his commitment was passionate, and he never deserted his trade. He was the consummate writer, the brilliant friend. In Walter Pater's famous phrase, he burned ‘with this hard gem-like flame.’ Right to the end.”
“A seeker of truth to the end, and a deservedly legendary witness against the hypocrisy of the ever-sactimonious establishment. What zeal this man had to eviscerate the conceits of the powerful, whether their authority derived from wealth, the state, or a claim to the ear of the divine.”
“Reading and responding to the Hitch is ceaselessly inspiring and seldom less than exhilarating. More, it is an instigatory experience: it compels you to get involved more deeply with the world around and inside you. Reading any worthwhile writer is an act of celebration, a shared reaction to the act of creation. More, it is an exercise in how to write, read, think and live.”
In this brilliant exploration of the post-9/11 world, leading Lebanese novelist and intellectual Amin Maalouf sets out to understand how we have arrived at such disorder. He explores three different but related aspects of disorder: intellectual (manifested in an unleashing of statements on identity that allow no possibility of peaceful co-existence or debate), economic and financial (that is exhausting the earth’s resources), and climatic (the result of turning a blind eye to the consequences of rampant industrialization). Instead of seeing the current disorder of the post-9/11 world as ‘a clash of civilisations’ Maalouf sees it as the ‘exhaustion of two civilisations’, a period in which humanity has reached its threshold of ‘moral incompetence’. Islam and the West have theoretical coherence, he says, but in practice each betrays its true ideals: the West is unfaithful to its own enlightenment values, which has discredited it in the eyes of the people to whom it has introduced democracy by force; while Islam finds itself condemned to a headlong rush into radicalism. These symmetrical disorders are only some of the elements in a global disorder that requires humanity as a whole to take responsibility for its future and face up to the urgent tasks such as climate change and the global financial crisis that threaten us all.
Why do some children succeed while others fail?
The story we usually tell about childhood and success is the one about intelligence: success comes to those who score highest on tests, from preschool admissions to SATs.
But in , Paul Tough argues that the qualities that matter most have more to do with character: skills like perseverance, curiosity, conscientiousness, optimism, and self-control.
Early adversity, scientists have come to understand, can not only affect the conditions of children’s lives, it can alter the physical development of their brains as well. But now educators and doctors around the country are using that knowledge to develop innovative interventions that allow children to overcome the constraints of poverty. And with the help of these new strategies, as Tough’s extraordinary reporting makes clear, children who grow up in the most painful circumstances can go on to achieve amazing things.
This provocative and profoundly hopeful book has the potential to change how we raise our children, how we run our schools, and how we construct our social safety net. It will not only inspire and engage readers, it will also change our understanding of childhood itself.
Class does make a difference in the lives and futures of American children. Drawing on in-depth observations of black and white middle-class, working-class, and poor families, Unequal Childhoods explores this fact, offering a picture of childhood today. Here are the frenetic families managing their children's hectic schedules of "leisure" activities; and here are families with plenty of time but little economic security. Lareau shows how middle-class parents, whether black or white, engage in a process of "concerted cultivation" designed to draw out children's talents and skills, while working-class and poor families rely on "the accomplishment of natural growth," in which a child's development unfolds spontaneously—as long as basic comfort, food, and shelter are provided. Each of these approaches to childrearing brings its own benefits and its own drawbacks. In identifying and analyzing differences between the two, Lareau demonstrates the power, and limits, of social...
The unprecedented mainstreaming of the global pornography industry is transforming the sexual politics of intimate and public life, popularizing new forms of hardcore misogyny, and strongly contributing to the sexualization of children. Yet, challenges to the industry continue to be dismissed as uncool, antisex, and moral panic. Unmasking the lies behind the selling of porn as entertainment, this book reveals the shocking truths of an industry that trades in violence, crime, and degradation while discussing topics such as racism in gay male porn, the use of animals in porn, child pornography, and BDSM (bondage, dominance, sadism, and masochism). Fearless and controversial, this examination will challenge the current view of pornography.
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Genre: Mystery and thrillers
Philip Carlo’s spent over six weeks on the Bestseller List. Top Mob Hitman Devoted Family Man. Doting Father. For thirty years, Richard “The Iceman” Kuklinski led a shocking double life, becoming the most notorious professional assassin in American history while happily hosting neighborhood barbecues in suburban New Jersey.
Richard Kuklinski was Sammy the Bull Gravano’s partner in the killing of Paul Castellano, then head of the Gambino crime family, at Sparks Steakhouse. Mob boss John Gotti hired him to torture and kill the neighbor who accidentally ran over his child. For an additional price, Kuklinski would make his victims suffer; he conducted this sadistic business with coldhearted intensity and shocking efficiency, never disappointing his customers. By his own estimate, he killed over two hundred men, taking enormous pride in his variety and ferocity of technique.
This trail of murder lasted over thirty years and took Kuklinski all over America and to the far corners of the earth, Brazil, Africa, and Europe. Along the way, he married, had three children, and put them through Catholic school. His daughter’s medical condition meant regular stays in children’s hospitals, where Kuklinski was remembered, not as a gangster, but as an affectionate father, extremely kind to children. Each Christmas found the Kuklinski home festooned in colorful lights; each summer was a succession of block parties.
His family never suspected a thing.
Richard Kuklinski is now the subject of the major motion picture titled “The Iceman”(2013), starring James Franco, Winona Ryder, Ray Liotta, and Chris Evans.
On April 26, 1986, Unit Four of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor exploded in then Soviet Ukraine. More than 3.5 million people in Ukraine alone, not to mention many citizens of surrounding countries, are still suffering the effects. is the first book to comprehensively examine the vexed political, scientific, and social circumstances that followed the disaster. Tracing the story from an initial lack of disclosure to post-Soviet democratizing attempts to compensate sufferers, Adriana Petryna uses anthropological tools to take us into a world whose social realities are far more immediate and stark than those described by policymakers and scientists. She asks: What happens to politics when state officials fail to inform their fellow citizens of real threats to life? What are the moral and political consequences of remedies available in the wake of technological disasters?
Through extensive research in state institutions, clinics, laboratories, and with affected families and workers of the so-called Zone, Petryna illustrates how the event and its aftermath have not only shaped the course of an independent nation but have made health a negotiated realm of entitlement. She tracks the emergence of a “biological citizenship” in which assaults on health become the coinage through which sufferers stake claims for biomedical resources, social equity, and human rights. provides an anthropological framework for understanding the politics of emergent democracies, the nature of citizenship claims, and everyday forms of survival as they are interwoven with the profound changes that accompanied the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Genre: Mystery and thrillers
Ten years in the making and a masterpiece of reportage, “Columbine” is an award-winning journalist’s definitive account of one of the most shocking massacres in American history.
It is driven by two questions: what drove these killers, and what did they do to this town?
On April 20, 1999, two boys left an indelible stamp on the American psyche. Their goal was simple: to blow up their school, Oklahoma-City style, and to leave “a lasting impression on the world.” Their bombs failed, but the ensuing shooting defined a new era of school violence—irrevocably branding every subsequent shooting “another Columbine.”
When we think of Columbine, we think of the Trench Coat Mafia; we think of Cassie Bernall, the girl we thought professed her faith before she was shot; and we think of the boy pulling himself out of a school window—the whole world was watching him. Now, in a riveting piece of journalism nearly ten years in the making, comes the story none of us knew. In this revelatory book, Dave Cullen has delivered a profile of teenage killers that goes to the heart of psychopathology. He lays bare the callous brutality of mastermind Eric Harris, and the quavering, suicidal Dylan Klebold, who went to prom three days earlier and obsessed about love in his journal. The result is an astonishing account of two good students with lots of friends, who came to stockpile a basement cache of weapons, to record their raging hatred, and to manipulate every adult who got in their way. They left signs everywhere, described by Cullen with a keen investigative eye and psychological acumen.
Drawing on hundreds of interviews, thousands of pages of police files, FBI psychologists, and the boy’s tapes and diaries, he gives the first complete account of the Columbine tragedy. In the tradition of HELTER SKELTER and IN COLD BLOOD, COLUMBINE is destined to be a classic. A close-up portrait of hatred, a community rendered helpless, and the police blunders and cover-ups, it is a compelling and utterly human portrait of two killers-an unforgettable cautionary tale for our times.
On August 19, 1991, eight high-ranking Soviet officials took over the government of the USSR and proclaimed themselves its new rulers. Less than seventy-two hours later, their coup had collapsed, but it would change the course of history in a way that no one—certainly not the plotters themselves—could have foreseen.
The editor of this volume, who witnessed these momentous events, have assembled firsthand accounts of the attempted coup. They include testimonies from “junta” members and military officers, resistance leaders and ordinary citizens, Muscovites and residents of other locales, Russian and foreign journalists, foreign visitors and returning émigrés, as well as Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin. Key documents and photographs complement the individual accounts.
The provocative introduction to the volume places the August events in the larger context—from the early days of perestroika and glasnost to the second confrontation at the White House, in October 1993.
Why, asks Daniel Rancour-Laferriere in this controversial book, has Russia been a country of suffering? Russian history, religion, folklore, and literature are rife with suffering. The plight of Anna Karenina, the submissiveness of serfs in the 16th and 17th centuries, ancient religious tracts emphasizing humility as the mother of virtues, the trauma of the Bolshevik revolution, the current economic upheavals wracking the country—these are only a few of the symptoms of what identifies as a veritable cult of suffering that has been centuries in the making.
Bringing to light dozens of examples of self-defeating activities and behaviors that have become an integral component of the Russian psyche, Rancour-Laferriere convincingly illustrates how masochism has become a fact of everyday life in Russia. Until now, much attention has been paid to the psychology of Russia’s leaders and their impact on the country’s condition. Here, for the first time, is a compelling portrait of the Russian people’s psychology.
How do you convince men to charge across heavily mined beaches into deadly machine-gun fire? Do you appeal to their bonds with their fellow soldiers, their patriotism, their desire to end tyranny and mass murder? Certainly—but if you’re the US Army in 1944, you also try another tack: you dangle the lure of beautiful French women, waiting just on the other side of the wire, ready to reward their liberators in oh so many ways.
That’s not the picture of the Greatest Generation that we’ve been given, but it’s the one Mary Louise Roberts paints to devastating effect in . Drawing on an incredible range of sources, including news reports, propaganda and training materials, official planning documents, wartime diaries, and memoirs, Roberts tells the fascinating and troubling story of how the US military command systematically spread—and then exploited—the myth of French women as sexually experienced and available. The resulting chaos—ranging from flagrant public sex with prostitutes to outright rape and rampant venereal disease—horrified the war-weary and demoralized French population. The sexual predation, and the blithe response of the American military leadership, also caused serious friction between the two nations just as they were attempting to settle questions of long-term control over the liberated territories and the restoration of French sovereignty.
While never denying the achievement of D-Day, or the bravery of the soldiers who took part, reminds us that history is always more useful—and more interesting—when it is most honest, and when it goes beyond the burnished beauty of nostalgia to grapple with the real lives and real mistakes of the people who lived it.
Updated and Revised 2015 Edition of the Best-Selling Creative Non-Fiction Crime Story “Cat and Mouse – Mind Games with a Serial Killer”.
As seen recently on British TV Show “Born to Kill”
In this startling, twisting, turning story of murder, mayhem, and self-discovery, convicted mass murderer and baby killer Bill Suff “The Riverside Prostitute Killer” is your guide to exploring your personal demons.
This is a unique book containing everything that was heretofore known and suspected but meticulously kept “off the record”, as well as details that that only the killer knew until now. There are interviews with principals; transcripts of the illegal police interrogation of Bill; excerpts from the cookbook, poetry, and writings of Bill; a step-by-step reconstruction of the mental chess game between Bill and Brian; and appreciation for how “friendship” with this serial killer led to death for some but salvation for others.
For seven years—1985 to 1992—Bill hid in plain sight while terrorizing three Southern California counties, murdering two dozen prostitutes, mutilating and then posing them in elaborate artistic scenarios in public places—he’d placed a lightbulb in the womb of one, dressed others in men’s clothes, left one woman naked with her head bent forward and buried in the ground like an ostrich; he’d surgically removed the right breasts of some victims, and cut peepholes in the navels of others.
When the newspapers said that the killer only slayed whites and hispanics, Bill ran right out and raped, torutred and killed a pregnant black woman. When a film company came to town to make a fictional movie about the then-uncaught killer, Bill left a corpse on their set. And, as the massive multi-jurisdictional police task force fruitlessly hunted the unknown killer, Bill personally served them bowls of his “special” chili at the annual Riverside County Employees’ Picnic and Cook-off.
William Lester “Bill” Suff. He says he’s innocent, says he’s been framed, says he’s the most wronged man in America, maybe the world. He’s easygoing, genial, soft-spoken, loves to read, write, draw, play music and chat endlessly. He describes himself as a lovable nerd and a hope-less romantic, and he fancies himself a novelist and poet.
Brian first connected with Bill on the basis of writer to writer, and that’s when the mind games began. Even in jail, Bill was the master manipulator, the seducer who somehow always got way. But Brian was determined to lose himself in Bill’s mind, in Bill’s fantasies, to get at the truth of who and what Bill Suff is. Only then would he know the truth of how close we are all to being just like Bill.
Some readers wrote that the book was “personally important and life-changing”, others that it was “the only serial killer book with a sense of humor”, and others that they wished the author dead or worse. The son of one of Suff’s victims held on to the book as life-preserving testimony to the goodness of his fatally flawed mother and the possibility that his own redemption would eventually be in his own hands.
Meanwhile, TV series and movies continuously derive episodes and plots from the unique details of the murders and the spiraling psyches of the characters as laid out in the book.
When it was first released, Brian Alan Lane’s genre-bending bestseller “Mind Games With a Serial Killer” was simultaneously hailed and reviled.
“Highly recommended: the creepiest book of the year… A surreal portrait of a murderous mind.” ()
“This book is an amazing piece of work—it’s like Truman Capote on LSD.” (Geraldo Rivera on )
“A masterpiece… that needs to be sought out and savored by all those with a truly macabre sensibility… A post-modernistic … that could have been concocted by Vladimir Nabokov.” ()
“A new approach to crime… absolutely riveting, utterly terrifying.” ()
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