In 2014 Sonya Bilocerkowycz is a tourist at a deadly revolution. At first she is enamored with the Ukrainians' idealism, which reminds her of her own patriotic family. But when the romantic revolution melts into a war with Russia, she becomes disillusioned, prompting a return home to the US and the diaspora community that raised her. As the daughter of a man who studies Ukrainian dissidents for a living, the granddaughter of war refugees, and the great-granddaughter of a gulag victim, Bilocerkowycz has inherited a legacy of political oppression. But what does it mean when she discovers a missing page from her family's survival story-one that raises questions about her own guilt?
In these linked essays, Bilocerkowycz invites listeners to meet a swirling cast of post-Soviet characters, including a Russian intelligence officer who finds Osama bin Laden a few weeks after 9/11; a Ukrainian poet whose nose gets broken by Russian separatists; and a long-lost relative who drives a bus into the heart of Chernobyl. On Our Way Home from the Revolution muddles our easy distinctions between innocence and culpability, agency and fate.
An essential piece of Disney history has been unreported for eighty years.
Soon after the birth of Mickey Mouse, one animator raised the Disney Studio far beyond Walt's expectations. That animator also led a union war that almost destroyed it. Art Babbitt animated for the Disney studio throughout the 1930s and through 1941, years in which he and Walt were jointly driven to elevate animation as an art form, up through Snow White, Pinocchio, and Fantasia.
But as America prepared for World War II, labor unions spread across Hollywood. Disney fought the unions while Babbitt embraced them. Soon, angry Disney cartoon characters graced picket signs as hundreds of animation artists went out on strike. Adding fuel to the fire was Willie Bioff, one of Al Capone's wise guys who was seizing control of Hollywood workers and vied for the animators' union.
Using never-before-seen research from previously lost records, including conversation transcriptions from within the studio walls, author and historian Jake S. Friedman reveals the details behind the labor dispute that changed animation and Hollywood forever.
An enthralling and comprehensive look into the contemporary state of one of the wealthiest—and most misunderstood—family dynasties in the world, perfect for fans of Succession, The House of Gucci, The Cartiers, and Fortune's Children.
Oil magnate J. Paul Getty, once the richest man in the world, is the patriarch of an extraordinary cast of sons, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. While some have been brought low by mental illness, drug addiction, and one of the most sensational kidnapping cases of the 20th century, many of Getty's heirs have achieved great success. In addition to Mark Getty, a cofounder of Getty Images, and Anne G. Earhart, an award-winning environmentalist, others have made significant marks in a variety of fields, from music and viniculture to politics and LGBTQ rights.
Now, across four continents, a new generation of lively, unique, and even outrageous Gettys are emerging, and not coasting on the dynasty's still-immense wealth. August Getty designs extravagant gowns worn by Katy Perry, Cher, and other stars; his sibling, Nats—a fellow LGBTQ rights activist who announced his gender transition following his wedding to transgender icon Gigi Gorgeous—produces a line of exclusive streetwear. Their fascinating cousins include Balthazar, a multi-hyphenate actor-director-DJ-designer, and Isabel, a singer-songwriter-MBA candidate. A far-flung yet surprisingly close-knit group, the ascendant Gettys are bringing this iconic family onto the global stage in the 21st century.
Through extensive research, including access to J. Paul Getty's diaries and love letters, and fresh interviews with family members and friends, Growing Up Getty offers an inside look into the benefits and burdens of being part of today's world of the ultra-wealthy.
A guided group tour to concentration camps in Poland and Germany allows Stahl to confront personal and historical demons with both despair and humor.
In September 2016, Jerry Stahl was feeling nervous on the eve of a two-week trip across Poland and Germany. But it was not just the stops at Auschwitz, Buchenwald, and Dachau that gave him anxiety. It was the fact that he would be traveling with two dozen strangers, by bus. In a tour group. And he was not a tour-group kind of guy.
The decision to visit Holocaust-world did not come easy. Stahl's lifelong depression at an all-time high, his career and personal life at an all-time low, he had the idea to go on a trip where the despair he was feeling—out-of-control sadness, regret, and fear, not just for himself, but for our entire country—would be appropriate. And where was despair more appropriate than the land of the Six Million?
Seamlessly weaving global and personal history, through the lens of Stahl's own bent perspective, Nein, Nein, Nein! stands out as a triumph of strange-o reporting, a tale that takes us from gang polkas to tour-rash to the truly disturbing snack bar at Auschwitz. Strap in for a raw, surreal, and redemptively hilarious trip. Get on the bus.
A former soldier awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart tells the story of overcoming the mental and physical wounds of war on a fifteen-year odyssey that led him back to the very place where his nightmares began—and the only place redemption was possible.
While serving a portion of his time under the Special Operations Command, Benjamin Sledge fought to keep his humanity amid the killing fields of Iraq and Afghanistan. But war never leaves its participants unscathed. In Where Cowards Go to Die, Sledge reveals an unflinchingly honest portrait of war that few dare to tell.
Stationed on a small base on the border of Pakistan in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September eleventh, the young warrior returned home shattered after embracing the barbarity he witnessed around him. Haunted by his experiences overseas, he began a fifteen-year odyssey wrestling with mental health, purpose, and faith, that eventually drove him to volunteer for another combat tour in the deadliest city of the Iraq War—Ramadi.
In his memoir, Sledge vividly captures the reality of the men and women who learn to fight without remorse, love each other without restraint, and suffer the high cost of returning to a country that no longer feels like home.
The Persian Empire was the world's first hyperpower, with territory stretching from Central Asia to Northeastern Africa and from Southeastern Europe to the Indus Valley. It was the dominant geopolitical force from the later sixth century to its conquest by Alexander in the 330s BCE. Much of the empire's territory was conquered by its founder, Cyrus the Great, who reigned from 559-530 BCE. Cyrus became a legend in his own lifetime, and his career inspired keen interest from Persia's unruly neighbors to the west, the ancient Greeks. The idealized portrait of Cyrus by the Greek Xenophon had a profound impact on ancient, medieval, and early modern debates about rulership.
King of the World provides an authoritative and accessible account of Cyrus the Great's life, career, and legacy. While Greek sources remain central to any narrative about Cyrus, a wealth of primary evidence is found in the ancient Near East, including documentary, archaeological, art historical, and biblical material. Matt Waters draws from all of these sources while consistently contextualizing them in order to provide a cohesive understanding of Cyrus the Great. This overview addresses issues of interpretation and reconciles limited material, while the narrative keeps Cyrus the Great's compelling career at the forefront.
R. D. Hooker, Jr. was a combat soldier and leader in five wars. He then served as a senior Pentagon advisor and as a White House staff member in four different administrations. At the time of his retirement from the military in 2010 he was the most decorated colonel in the US Army.
Beginning with his enlistment at eighteen in 1975, this memoir chronicles his experiences in the post-Vietnam Army as a young paratrooper, as a West Point cadet, and as a combatant in the many military conflicts which followed. Hooker served in the invasion of Grenada, in the earliest days of the Somalia intervention, as one of the first American responders to the Rwandan genocide, with the first American units to enter both Bosnia and Kosovo, in peace-keeping operations in the Sinai desert, in the Pentagon on 9/11, and again in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. Rising from private to colonel, he commanded a paratroop company, battalion and brigade and served in the continental US, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Southwest Asia. When not serving with troops, he taught at West Point and served in several high-level Pentagon assignments and in the White House in the administrations of George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Donald Trump.
In 1955, Katharine Clark, the first American woman wire reporter behind the Iron Curtain, saw something none of her male colleagues did. What followed became one of the most unusual adventure stories of the Cold War. While on assignment in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, Clark befriended a man who, by many definitions, was her enemy. But she saw something in Milovan Djilas, a high-ranking Communist leader who dared to question the ideology he helped establish, that made her want to work with him. It became the assignment of her life.
Against the backdrop of protests in Poland and a revolution in Hungary, she risked her life to ensure Djilas's work made it past the watchful eye of the Yugoslavian secret police to the West. She single-handedly was responsible for smuggling his scathing anti-Communism manifesto, The New Class, out of Yugoslavia and into the hands of American publishers.
Meticulously researched and written by Clark's great-niece, Katharine Gregorio, The Double Life of Katharine Clark illuminates a largely untold chapter of the twentieth century. It shows how a strong-willed, fiercely independent woman with an ardent commitment to truth, justice, and freedom put her life on the line to share ideas with the world, ultimately transforming both herself-and history-in the process.
Ernest 'Andy' Andrews's company, part of the 1st Infantry Division, departed England on the evening of June 5 on the USS Henrico. Fighting in Normandy, Andy was nicked by a bullet and evacuated to England in late July when the wound became infected. For a month, Andy's squad defended a bunker position in the Siegfried Line against repeated German attacks, then after Aachen surrendered, the unit fought its way through the Hurtgen Forest to take Hill 232. Early on the morning of November 19, Andy engaged in his toughest battle of the war as the Germans attempted to retake Hill 232.
After surgery and a month convalescence he rejoined H Company in time to fight in the Battle of the Bulge. Breaking out from the Remagen bridgehead, Andy's squad stumbled on a German tank unit and Andy narrowly escaped getting killed. Andy's outfit ends the war fighting in Czechoslovakia, where Andy witnesses the German surrender in early May. Following occupation duty, Andy returned to the States in October 1945. The war shaped Andy's postwar life in countless ways, and in 1994, Andy made the first of three return visits to the European battlefields where he had fought.
This vivid firsthand account takes the listener along from Normandy to victory with Andy and his machine-gun crew.
The remarkable wartime diary of nurse Kathleen Johnstone
‘Warm, chatty and endlessly absorbing, this delightful diary brims with intelligence and humour.’ Wendy Moore, author of Endell Street: The Women Who Ran Britain’s Trailblazing Military Hospital
The second world war could not have been won without the bravery and selflessness of women on the Home Front. Women like Kathleen Johnstone.
This first-hand story of one extraordinary but unheralded member of Britain’s ‘Greatest Generation’ brings home with extraordinary lucidity and compassion the realities of wartime Lancashire.
In 1943, Kathleen, then thirty, was a nurse-in-training at the Blackburn Royal Infirmary. For the next three years she kept a meticulous diary of her day-to-day existence, leaving behind a vivid record of the real-time concerns of a busy, thoughtful woman on the frontline of the war at home.
Kathleen’s days were never the same. She writes in clear and lively prose about life in the hospital: of her fellow nurses, her patients, about death and dying, and the progress of the war as wounded soldiers returned from Normandy in the summer of 1944. She muses on being working class, wartime austerity, and her anxiety about examinations. Here too are dances, Americans and a POW boyfriend in Germany. Kathleen’s observations are witty, wry and astute – but above all relatable, even today.
Poignant and engrossing, Kathleen Johnstone’s tale of trauma, romance and friendship will leave a lasting impression.
A leading advocate for social justice excavates the history of forced migration in the twelve American towns she's called home, revealing how White supremacy has fundamentally shaped the nation.
"At a time when many would rather ban or bury the truth, Ali-Khan bravely faces it in this bracing and necessary book."-Ayad Akhtar, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Homeland Elegies
Sofia Ali-Khan's parents emigrated from Pakistan to America, believing it would be a good country. With a nerdy interest in American folk history and a devotion to the rule of law, Ali-Khan would pursue a career in social justice, serving some of America's most vulnerable communities. By the time she had children of her own-having lived, worked, and worshipped in twelve different towns across the nation-Ali-Khan felt deeply American, maybe even a little extra American for having seen so much of the country.
But in the wake of 9/11, and on the cusp of the 2016 election, Ali-Khan's dream of a good life felt under constant threat. As the vitriolic attacks on Islam and Muslims intensified, she wondered if the American dream had ever applied to families like her own, and if she had gravely misunderstood her home.
In A Good Country, Ali-Khan revisits the color lines in each of her twelve towns, unearthing the half-buried histories of forced migration that still shape every state, town, and reservation in America today. From the surprising origins of America's Chinatowns, the expulsion of Maroon and Seminole people during the conquest of Florida, to Virginia's stake in breeding humans for sale, Ali-Khan reveals how America's settler colonial origins have defined the law and landscape to maintain a White America. She braids this historical exploration with her own story, providing an intimate perspective on the modern racialization of American Muslims and why she chose to leave the United States.
Equal parts memoir, history, and current events, A Good Country presents a vital portrait of our nation, its people, and the pathway to a better future.