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The Man He Became: How FDR Defied Polio to Win the Presidency by James Tobin
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Fresh Air: Roosevelt’s Polio Wasn’t A Secret: He Used It To His ‘Advantage’
Here, from James Tobin, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award in biography, is the story of the greatest comeback in American political history, a saga long buried in half-truth, distortion, and myth—Franklin Roosevelt’s ten-year climb from paralysis to the White House.
In 1921, at the age of thirty-nine, Roosevelt was the brightest young star in the Democratic Party. One day he was racing his children around their summer home. Two days later he could not stand up. Hopes of a quick recovery faded fast. “He’s through,” said allies and enemies alike. Even his family and close friends misjudged their man, as they and the nation would learn in time.
With a painstaking reexamination of original documents, James Tobin uncovers the twisted chain of accidents that left FDR paralyzed; he reveals how polio recast Roosevelt’s fateful partnership with his wife, Eleanor; and he shows that FDR’s true victory was not over paralysis but over the ancient stigma attached to the disabled. Tobin also explodes the conventional wisdom of recent years—that FDR deceived the public about his condition. In fact, Roosevelt and his chief aide, Louis Howe, understood that only by displaying himself as a man who had come back from a knockout punch could FDR erase the perception that had followed him from childhood—that he was a pampered, too smooth pretty boy without the strength to lead the nation. As Tobin persuasively argues, FDR became president less in spite of polio than because of polio.
The Man He Became affirms that true character emerges only in crisis and that in the shaping of this great American leader character was all.
The Underground Girls of Kabul: In Search of a Hidden Resistance in Afghanistan by Jenny Nordberg
Weekend Edition: Why Afghanistan’s ‘Underground Girls’ Skirt Tradition To Live As Boys
Jenny Nordberg dives into a secret Afghan custom that involves disguising young girls as boys in order to improve their prospects.
Velocities: New and Selected Poems: 1966-1992 by Stephen Dobyns
All Things Considered: For The Autumnal Equinox, A Poem As Chilling As The Fall Weather
A collection of poetry draws from the poet’s eight published volumes and includes several new poems.
American Cornball: A Laffopedic Guide to the Formerly Funny by Christopher Miller
All Things Considered: 'American Cornball' A Taxonomy Of Humor In The U.S.
American Cornball is Christopher Miller’s irresistibly funny illustrated survey of popular humor—the topics that used to make us laugh, from hiccups and henpecked-husbands to outhouses and old maids—and what it tells us about our country yesterday and today.
Miller revisits nearly 200 comic staples that have been passed down through our culture for generations, many originating from the vaudeville age. He explores the (often unseemly) contexts from which they arose, why they were funny in their time, and why they eventually lost their appeal. The result is a kind of taxonomy of humor during America’s golden age that provides a deeper, more profound look at the prejudices, preoccupations, and peculiarities of a nation polarized between urban and rural, black and white, highborn and lowbrow.
As he touches on issues of racism and sexism, cultural stereotypes and violence, Miller reveals how dramatically our moral sensibilities have shifted, most notably in the last few decades. Complete with more than 100 period illustrations, American Cornball is a richly entertaining survey of our shifting comic universe.
Sally Heathcote, Suffragette by Mary M. Talbot
NPR: 'Sally Heathcote' Rescues Women's Suffrage From The Doldrums
A tale of loyalty, love, and courage, Sally Heathcote, Suffragette follows the fortunes of a common housemaid swept up in the feminist militancy of early 20th century Edwardian Britain. As the growing hunger for change grows within a culture of rigid social mores and class barriers, Sally and thousands like her rise up to break the bonds of oppression at the risk of ostracization and violence.
Costa Award winners Mary and Bryan Talbot and acclaimed illustrator Kate Charlesworth have crafted a graphic novel of stunning depth, gripping drama, and lavish visual detail that brings history to life.
My Life as a Foreign Country: A Memoir by Brian Turner
All Things Considered: A Poet Parses The Legacy Of War In ‘My Life As A Foreign Country’
NPR: 'My Life' Asks: How Do You Leave A War Behind?
An Iraq War veteran searches for meaning and parallels with family members who served in different wars, including his grandfather in World War I and his uncle in Vietnam.
Predator: The Secret Origins of the Drone Revolution by Richard Whittle
Weekend Edition: How Drones Changed Modern Warfare
The untold story of the birth of the Predator drone, a wonder weapon that transformed the American military, reshaped modern warfare, and sparked a revolution in aviation
The creation of the first weapon in history whose operators can stalk and kill an enemy on the other side of the globe was far more than clever engineering. As Richard Whittle shows in Predator, it was one of the most profound developments in the history of military and aerospace technology.
Once considered fragile toys, drones were long thought to be of limited utility. The Predator itself was resisted at nearly every turn by the military establishment, but a few iconoclasts refused to see this new technology smothered at birth. The remarkable cast of characters responsible for developing the Predator includes a former Israeli inventor who turned his Los Angeles garage into a drone laboratory, two billionaire brothers marketing a futuristic weapon to help combat Communism, a pair of fighter pilots willing to buck their white-scarf fraternity, a cunning Pentagon operator nicknamed “Snake,” and a secretive Air Force organization known as Big Safari. When an Air Force team unleashed the first lethal drone strikes in 2001 for the CIA, the military’s view of drones changed nearly overnight.
Based on five years of research and hundreds of interviews, Predator reveals the dramatic inside story of the creation of a revolutionary weapon that forever changed the way we wage war and opened the door to a new age in aviation.
The Edge of the Sky: All You Need to Know About the All-There-Is by Roberto Trotta
Weekend Edition: Jargon-Free History Of The Universe Finds Beauty In Ordinary Words
From the big bang to black holes, from dark matter to dark energy, from the origins of the universe to its ultimate destiny, The Edge of the Sky tells the story of the most important discoveries and mysteries in modern cosmologywith a twist. The book’s lexicon is limited to the thousand most common words in the English language, excluding physics, energy, galaxy, or even universe. Through the eyes of a fictional scientist (Student-People) hunting for dark matter with one of the biggest telescopes (Big-Seers) on Earth (Home-World), cosmologist Roberto Trotta explores the most important ideas about our universe (All-there-is) in language simple enough for anyone to understand.
A unique blend of literary experimentation and science popularization, this delightful book is a perfect gift for any aspiring astronomer. The Edge of the Sky tells the story of the universe on a human scale, and the result is out of this world.
Bright Shards of Someplace Else by Monica McFawn
NPR: The Stories In ‘Bright Shards’ Glimmer With Empathetic Power
Winner of the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction, Bright Shards of Someplace Else is made up of 11 kaleidoscopic stories about the volatile but hilarious effects of misunderstanding.
The Chopin Variations by Chad Lawson
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All Things Considered: A Pianist Hears Chopin From Inside His Instrument
Steinway artist, Chad Lawson, decided Chopin needed a new introduction. Along with violinist, Judy Kang (Lady Gaga, Ryuichi Sakamoto), and cellist, Rubin Kodheli (Kanye West, Norah Jones), Lawson has arranged ten Chopin works into a modern day interpretation. It’s a risk editing the “poet of the piano” but one that Chopin would be proud of.
The Company She Keeps by Georgia Durante
All Things Considered: Mafia Wife, Getaway Driver, Stuntwoman: From The Underworld To Hollywood
A beautiful model describes her connection to the Mafia, which began during her childhood in Rochester, New York, and the years of abuse and fear as the bride of mobster Joe Lamendola before she was able to escape from the darkness.
The Complete Cosmicomics by Italo Calvino
NPR: Calvino’s Cosmicomic Collection Treads The Final Frontier: America
Together for the first time, a new translation of the revered, contemporary Italian author’s short stories describing the beginning of the universe and other natural phenomena builds creative tales around well-known scientific facts.
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
Morning Edition: Jacqueline Woodson On Being A ‘Brown Girl’ Who Dared To Dream
Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Touching and powerful, each poem is both accessible and emotionally charged, each line a glimpse into a child’s soul as she searches for her place in the world. Woodson’s eloquent poetry also reflects the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, despite the fact that she struggled with reading as a child. Her love of stories inspired her and stayed with her, creating the first sparks of the gifted writer she was to become.
Thirteen Days in September: Carter, Begin, and Sadat at Camp David by Lawrence Wright
Fresh Air: 13 Days Of High Emotion That Led To The Egypt-Israel Peace
Press Play with Madeleine Brand: Thirteen Days in September
The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 presents a day-by-day account of the 1978 Camp David conference, when President Jimmy Carter convinced Israel and Egypt to sign a peace treaty — the first treaty in the modern Middle East, and one which endures to this day.
Leonard Maltin’s 2014 Movie Guide: The Modern Era
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As Heard on Public Radio:
Marketplace: Things Have Changed Since Leonard Maltin Started Reviewing
Airtalk: Leonard Maltin Talks Cinema and His Final ‘Movie Guide’
Summer blockbusters and independent sleepers; masterworks of Alfred Hitchcock, Billy Wilder, and Martin Scorsese; the timeless comedy of the Marx Brothers and Buster Keaton; animated classics from Walt Disney and Pixar; the finest foreign films ever made. This 2014 edition covers the modern era, from 1965 to the present, while including all the great older films you can’t afford to missand those you canfrom box-office smashes to cult classics to forgotten gems to forgettable bombs, listed alphabetically, and complete with all the essential information you could ask for.