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Alan Taylor - Author

About the Author

Alan Taylor has contributed to numerous publications, including The TLS, The New Yorker and The Melbourne Age, and edited four acclaimed anthologies - The Assassin's Cloak (2000), The Secret Annexe (2004), The Country Diaries (2009) and most recently, Glasgow: The Autobiography (2016).

Featured books by Alan Taylor

Other books by Alan Taylor

Appointment in Arezzo A friendship with Muriel Spark

Appointment in Arezzo A friendship with Muriel Spark

Author: Alan Taylor Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 04/10/2018

This book is an intimate, fond and funny memoir of one of the greatest novelists of the last century. This colourful, personal, anecdotal, indiscreet and admiring memoir charts the course of Muriel Spark's life revealing her as she really was. Once, she commented sitting over a glass of chianti at the kitchen table, that she was upset that the academic whom she had appointed her official biographer did not appear to think that she had ever cracked a joke in her life. Alan Taylor here sets the record straight about this and many other things. With sources ranging from notebooks kept from his very first encounter with Muriel and the hundreds of letters they exchanged over the years, this is an invaluable portrait of one of Edinburgh's premiere novelists. The book will be published to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Muriel's birth in 2018.

Glasgow: The Autobiography

Glasgow: The Autobiography

Author: Alan Taylor Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 07/09/2017

Glasgow: The Autobiography tells the story of the fabled, former Second City of the British Empire from its origins as a bucolic village on the rivers Kelvin and Clyde, through the Industrial Revolution to the dawning of the second millennium. Arranged chronologically and introduced by journalist and Glasgowphile Alan Taylor, the book includes extracts from an astonishing array of writers. Some, such as William and Dorothy Wordsworth, Dirk Bogarde and Evelyn Waugh, were visitors and left their vivid impressions as they passed through on. Many others were born and bred Glaswegians who knew the city and its inhabitants - and its secrets - intimately. They come from every walk of life and, in addition to professional writers, include anthropologists and scientists, artists and murderers, housewives and hacks, footballers and comedians, politicians and entrepreneurs, immigrants and locals. Together they present a varied and vivid portrait of one of the world's great cities in all its grime and glory - a place which is at once infuriating, frustrating, inspiring, beguiling, sensational and never, ever dull.

Film Mavericks in Action New Hollywood, New Rhetoric, and Kenneth Burke

Film Mavericks in Action New Hollywood, New Rhetoric, and Kenneth Burke

Author: Alan Taylor Format: Hardback Release Date: 30/12/2016

The book's ambition is to uniquely yoke familiar histories of New Hollywood with aspects of critical theory that, since the 1950s, have embraced advances in the New Rhetoric as pioneered by literary theorist, philosopher, social analyst and educator Kenneth Burke (1897-1993). The study tracks the career arcs of Hollywood film directors Peter Bogdanovich, Martin Scorsese, Michael Cimino and Francis Ford Coppola whose productions are regarded as Burkean perspectives by incongruity. This analysis is contextualized within an overview that, from the 1920s to the present, considers Hollywood as a languaged industry that is grounded in Burkean principles of Order, identification, hierarchy, courtship and ambiguities of substance. The project is designed to serve the interests of colleagues and students in Rhetorical Theory, Film Education, Creative Writing, American Studies, Production Studies, and Film and Media Studies.

American Revolutions

American Revolutions

Author: Alan Taylor Format: eBook Release Date: 06/09/2016

The American Revolution is often portrayed as a high-minded, orderly event whose capstone, the Constitution, provided the ideal framework for a democratic, prosperous nation. Alan Taylor, two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize, gives us a different creation story in this magisterial history of the nations founding. Rising out of the continental rivalries of European empires and their native allies, Taylors Revolution builds like a ground fire overspreading Britains mainland colonies, fueled by local conditions, destructive, hard to quell. Conflict ignited on the frontier, where settlers clamored to push west into Indian lands against British restrictions, and in the seaboard cities, where commercial elites mobilized riots and boycotts to resist British tax policies. When war erupted, Patriot crowds harassed Loyalists and nonpartisans into compliance with their cause. Brutal guerrilla violence flared all along the frontier from New York to the Carolinas, fed by internal divisions as well as the clash with Britain. Taylor skillfully draws France, Spain, and native powers into a comprehensive narrative of the war that delivers the major battles, generals, and common soldiers with insight and power. With discord smoldering in the fragile new nation through the 1780s, nationalist leaders such as James Madison and Alexander Hamilton sought to restrain unruly state democracies and consolidate power in a Federal Constitution. Assuming the mantle of We the People, the advocates of national power ratified the new frame of government. But their opponents prevailed in the presidency of Thomas Jefferson, whose vision of a western empire of liberty aligned with the long-standing, expansive ambitions of frontier settlers. White settlement and black slavery spread west, setting the stage for a civil war that nearly destroyed the union created by the founders.

Glasgow The Autobiography

Glasgow The Autobiography

Author: Alan Taylor Format: Hardback Release Date: 23/08/2016

Glasgow: The Autobiography tells the story of the fabled, former Second City of the British Empire from its origins as a bucolic village on the rivers Kelvin and Clyde, through the Industrial Revolution to the dawning of the second millennium. Arranged chronologically and introduced by journalist and Glasgowphile Alan Taylor, the book includes extracts from an astonishing array of writers. Some, such as William and Dorothy Wordsworth, Dirk Bogarde and Evelyn Waugh, were visitors and left their vivid impressions as they passed through on. Many others were born and bred Glaswegians who knew the city and its inhabitants - and its secrets - intimately. They come from every walk of life and, in addition to professional writers, include anthropologists and scientists, artists and murderers, housewives and hacks, footballers and comedians, politicians and entrepreneurs, immigrants and locals. Together they present a varied and vivid portrait of one of the world's great cities in all its grime and glory - a place which is at once infuriating, frustrating, inspiring, beguiling, sensational and never, ever dull.

My Mai Tai The Hawaiian Condo Capers

My Mai Tai The Hawaiian Condo Capers

Author: Alan Taylor Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/09/2014

Brandon and the Pumpkin of Pearls

Brandon and the Pumpkin of Pearls

Author: Alan Taylor Format: Paperback Release Date: 15/02/2014

Brandon and the Pumpkin of Pearls is a story about a young boy who is too small to work on the family farm after his father is sent away to fight for the kings army. Brandon's mother is pregnant and struggles to keep up the farms maintenance, so she sends Brandon to sell their animals at the market for money to support the family but instead of listening to his mother he decides to do what he feels is best. Along the way Brandon is repeatedly tricked, cheated and hustled out of their animals by a sneaky, evil old gypsy lady. Brandon is left with no money and the family is nearly homeless. Can this young boy's crafty thinking out smart the evil old gypsy lady and save their farm? Find out inside this magical, glorious tale...

The Internal Enemy Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832

The Internal Enemy Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832

Author: Alan Taylor Format: Hardback Release Date: 09/09/2013

Frederick Douglass recalled that slaves living along Chesapeake Bay longingly viewed sailing ships as freedom's swift-winged angels. In 1813 those angels appeared in the bay as British warships coming to punish the Americans for declaring war on the empire. Over many nights, hundreds of slaves paddled out to the warships seeking protection for their families from the ravages of slavery. The runaways pressured the British admirals into becoming liberators. As guides, pilots, sailors, and marines, the former slaves used their intimate knowledge of the countryside to transform the war. They enabled the British to escalate their onshore attacks and to capture and burn Washington, D.C. Tidewater masters had long dreaded their slaves as an internal enemy. By mobilizing that enemy, the war ignited the deepest fears of Chesapeake slaveholders. It also alienated Virginians from a national government that had neglected their defense. Instead they turned south, their interests aligning more and more with their section. In 1820 Thomas Jefferson observed of sectionalism: Like a firebell in the night [it] awakened and filled me with terror. I considered it at once the knell of the union. The notes of alarm in Jefferson's comment speak of the fear aroused by the recent crisis over slavery in his home state. His vision of a cataclysm to come proved prescient. Jefferson's startling observation registered a turn in the nation's course, a pivot from the national purpose of the founding toward the threat of disunion. Drawn from new sources, Alan Taylor's riveting narrative re-creates the events that inspired black Virginians, haunted slaveholders, and set the nation on a new and dangerous course.

Colonial America: A Very Short Introduction

Colonial America: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Alan Taylor Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 08/11/2012

By long convention, American history began during the early seventeenth century along the Atlantic Seaboard with the English colonies at Jamestown in Virginia and Plymouth in New England. From that eastern origin, America supposedly expanded westward, reaching only the Appalachian mountains by the end of the colonial period. In this version of history, earlier Spanish and contemporary French settlements seemed irrelevant except as enemies that brought out the best in the English as they remade themselves into Americans. Indians appeared only as wild and primitive peoples engaged in an ultimately futile resistance to American destiny. And historians formerly treated African slaves in passing as unfortunate aberrations in a fundamentally upbeat story of Englishmen becoming freer and more prosperous by colonizing an abundant continent of free land. During the past generation, however, historians have broadened our understanding of colonial America by adopting both a trans-Atlantic and a trans-continental perspective, examining the interplay of Europe, Africa, and the Americas through the flows of goods, people, plants, animals, capital, and ideas. In this Very Short Introduction, Alan Taylor presents the current scholarly understanding of colonial America to a broader audience. American colonization derived from a global expansion of European exploration and commerce, beginning in the fifteenth century. In an Atlantic and global perspective, the English had to share the stage with the French, Spanish, Dutch, and Russians, each of whom created alternative Americas. By comparing the diverse colonies of rival empires, Taylor aims to recover what was truly distinctive about the English enterprise in North America. In particular, he intends to pay greater attention to slavery as central to the economy, culture, and political thought of the colonists and, by taking a Continental approach, to restore the importance of native peoples to the colonial story. To adapt to the new land, the colonists needed the expertise, guidance, alliance, and trade of the Indians who dominated the interior. The new historical approach emphasizes the ability of the diverse natives to adapt to the newcomers and to compel concessions from them. In sum, colonial America produced an unprecedented mixing of radically diverse peoples-African, European, and Indian-under stressful circumstances for all. The colonial intermingling of peoples,microbes, plants, and animals from different continents was unparalleled in speed and volume in global history. Everyone had to adjust to a new world of unpredictable social and cultural hybrids that compromised and complicated the ambitious plans of empire-builders. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

The Country Diaries A Year in the British Countryside

The Country Diaries A Year in the British Countryside

Author: Alan Taylor Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 07/10/2010

The unique beauty of the British countryside has been celebrated down the ages in music, poetry, and art. It has also been celebrated in countless private diaries. This delightful treasury gathers together the very finest - from Rev Gilbert White's journal of life at his famous home in Selborne to Beatrix Potter's holiday diaries from Perthshire. Elsewhere, the thoughts of Dorothy Wordsworth and John Fowles rub shoulders with the words of Queen Victoria, Siegfried Sassoon and Roger Deakin. Together, these private records, which have been arranged as a diary of the calendar year, paint a rich and surprising portrait of a landscape and a life we think we know so well.

Those Who Marched Away An Anthology of the World's Greatest War Diaries

Those Who Marched Away An Anthology of the World's Greatest War Diaries

Author: Alan Taylor Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/10/2009

Arranged as a diary around a calendar year, Those Who Marched Away tells many individual stories from many wars down the ages, with several compelling entries for each day of the year. The diarists come from every walk of life; from faceless foot solidiers to those charged with orchestrating battle, from the Home Front to the Holocaust, from famous writers, political leaders and fighting men and women to ordinary working people enveloped by events over which they have no influence. Together, they contribute an intimate insight into what has been described both as 'the most exciting and dramatic thing in life' and the 'universal perversion'.

A Century of Potteries

A Century of Potteries

Author: Alan Taylor Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/11/2007

This fine selection of photographs illustrates the transformation that has taken place in the Potteries during the 20th century, offering insight into the daily lives and living conditions of local people during a century of change.

Jacobean Visions: Webster, Hitchcock, and Google Culture

Jacobean Visions: Webster, Hitchcock, and Google Culture

Author: Alan Taylor Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/05/2007

Writing Early American History

Writing Early American History

Author: Alan Taylor, Christopher Clark Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 05/07/2006

Whoever reads these essays-and whether they follow the book from cover to cover, or dip into chapters at random-will find the rich abundance and variety of early American scholarship set out before them. Readers new to the field will grasp a sense of its expansiveness and possibilities, but seasoned scholars, too, will find here a feast of insights and possibilities that will engage, provoke, and inspire them. -from the Foreword, by Christopher Clark How is American history written? In a penetrating series of review essays, prize-winning author Alan Taylor provides his own answer to this question. In the pages of The New Republic, he has regularly scrutinized the writing of the most interesting historians of early American history. Together these reviews provide the general reader a rich and rewarding introduction to their subjects. The books reviewed span an enormous range of scholarship, from popular biographies of Founding Fathers, to investigations of murders of prostitutes to discussions of frontier technology. Grouped thematically, the essays reveal a historian with an unrivaled breadth of knowledge and an admirable passion for his subject, and one who has contributed a continent-wide perspective to colonial history. As readers steep themselves in world-class scholarship, they also discover a writer who takes very seriously his role as reader.

One Day as a Tiger

One Day as a Tiger

Author: Alan Taylor Format: Paperback Release Date: 08/05/2005

Not another story about India? Yes, because India has the wealth of material to support new writers till the end of time. Seen through new eyes, another rich Indian feast is spread before you. Sadhus and snake charmers, sorcerers and secret, service agents, weave an unusual tale, set in the romantic era of the British Raj. A God descends to earth in human form, taking us from forests inhabited by cobras and tigers to the opulent palaces of wealthy Maharajas. We are escorted through the 'Valley of the Gods,' and introduced to violence and black magic before the chilling conclusion.

The Assassin's Cloak

The Assassin's Cloak

Author: Alan Taylor Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 11/11/2003

With 170 contributors, a scope that is peerless, international and crosses centuries The Assassin's Cloak pays tribute to a fascinating genre that is at once the most intimate and public of all literary forms. There are several diary excerpts for every day of the year beginning with Samuel Pepys and along the way we meet cads and charmers, sailors and psychopaths, rock stars and prima ballerinas, gossips, drunks, snobs, lechers and lovers. There is humour and tragedy, history and the humdrum, often recoded on the same day or in the same entry.

American Colonies The Settlement of North America to 1800

American Colonies The Settlement of North America to 1800

Author: Alan Taylor Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 31/07/2003

AMERICAN COLONIES starts with the earliest years of human colonization of the American continent and environs with the Siberian migrations across the Bering Strait 15,000 years ago. It ends in around 1800 when the rough outline of the contemporary North America could be perceived. Dropping the usual Anglocentric description of North America's fate, Taylor brilliantly conveys the far more vivid and startling story of the competing interests--Spanish, French, English, Native, Russian--that over the centuries shaped and reshaped both the continent and its 'suburbs' in the Caribbean and the Pacific. It is one of the greatest of all human stories.

Liberty Men and Great Proprietors

Liberty Men and Great Proprietors

Author: Alan Taylor Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 31/05/1990

This detailed exploration of the settlement of Maine beginning in the late eighteenth century illuminates the violent, widespread contests along the American frontier that served to define and complete the American Revolution. Taylor shows how Maine's militant settlers organized secret companies to defend their populist understanding of the Revolution.

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