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New Nonfiction: Victoria: A Life by acclaimed biographer A.N. Wilson

A. N. Wilson is an accomplished biographer and the author of Victoria: A Life. Full Bio

Victoria for website

 

Victoria was indeed situated as mortal seldom was. This makes her story of abiding fascination. Her father and mother might so easily not have had a child at all. Once born, Victoria’s often solitary childhood was the oddest of preparations for what she was to become: not merely the mother of nine and the grandmother of forty-two children, but the matriarch of Royal Europe. She was either the actual ancestor of or was connected by marriage to nearly all the great dynasties of Europe, and in almost each of those crowned or coroneted figureheads, there was bound up a political story. Her destiny was thus interwoven with that of millions of people—not just in Europe, but in the ever-expanding Empire which Britain was becoming throughout the nineteenth century. One day to be named the Empress of India, the ‘pretty-looking little creature’ had a face which would adorn postage stamps, banners, statues and busts all over the known world. And this came about, as the Germanophile Thomas Carlyle would have been the first to recognize, because of the combination of two peculiar factors: firstly, that Victoria was born at the very moment of the expansion of British political and commercial power throughout the world; and secondly that she was born from that stock of (nearly all German) families who tended to supply the crowned heads for the monarchies of the post-Napoleonic world.


New Nonfiction: Knife Fights: A Memoir of Modern War in Theory and Practice by John A. Nagl

John A. Nagl is a retired lieutenant colonel of the U.S. Army and the author of Knife Fights: A Memoir of Modern War in Theory and Practice. Full Bio

New Nonfiction: Knife Fights: A Memoir of Modern War in Theory and Practice by John A. Nagl

Ghostriders in the Storm

When do you want to meet the men, Lieutenant?” The Puerto Rican accent was always thick, but it got thicker when he was mad. We’d goad him on purpose, pretending not to be able to understand him, until Sergeant Claudio got so frustrated that he’d throw his hat onto the hot sand and stomp off spouting unintelligible Puerto Rican expletives. It never got old.

But that came later, after I’d met the men. “Um, now, I guess,” was my answer, sounding a bit more like the soft graduate student of international relations I’d recently been and less like the gruff, hardened first lieutenant of armor I hoped to project to my troops.

I’d just left Oxford in the summer of 1990. After allowing me to read books and drink warm English beer for two years, the Army had ordered me to remedial tank training at Fort Knox before an assignment to Fort Hood, Texas, the largest army post in the free world. More…


New Nonfiction: Even This I Get to Experience by Norman Lear

Norman Lear is the author of Even This I Get to Experience. Full Bio

New Nonfiction: Even This I Get to Experience by Norman Lear

Early one Sunday morning in 1983, I got a call from my friend John Mitchell, who was then the president of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. He was calling to tell me that the academy was creating a Hall of Fame and that I, along with six others whose illustrious company it astounded me to be included among, was to be one of the first inductees.

I instantly phoned my mother back in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Now, I thought, I would finally get the maternal seal of approval that I was still searching for at age sixty-one. She answered with her usual three syllables, “Hell-ohoh,” a sound that always seemed caught between a whine and a cry of pain. In my exultant mood, though, I heard it this time as if she’d exclaimed, at last, in a tone of naked delight, “Norman, sweetheart!”

“Mother,” I exploded, “I just got a confidential call from a friend. Nobody knows this yet so you can’t tell anyone, but the Television Academy is starting a Hall of Fame, and these will be the first inductees: the man who started NBC, General David Sarnoff; the founder of CBS, William S. Paley; maybe the greatest newscaster of all time, Edward R. Murrow; easily the best writer that ever came out of television, Paddy Chayefsky; the two greatest comedians in television history, Lucille Ball and Milton Berle; and . . . me!”

My mother didn’t miss a beat. “Listen,” she said, “if that’s what they want to do, who am I to say?” More…


New Nonfiction: The News Sorority: Diane Sawyer, Katie Couric, Christiane Amanpour—and the (Ongoing, Imperfect, Complicated) Triumph of Women in TV News by Sheila Weller

Sheila Weller is the author of The News Sorority. Full Bio

New Nonfiction: The News Sorority: Diane Sawyer, Katie Couric, Christiane Amanpour—and the (Ongoing, Imperfect, Complicated) Triumph of Women in TV News by Sheila Weller

INTRODUCTION

The News You Give Begins with the News You’ve Lived

Diane, Christiane, Katie: 1969, 1997, 2000

 

  1. Pushing Past Grief: Diane, 1969

 

Twenty-three-year-old Diane Sawyer (she used her real first name, Lila, ironically, only in affectionate letters) was working as the first ever full-time female news reporter in her hometown of Louisville, Kentucky—on WLKY, Channel 32—in mid-September 1969. She had been on the job for two years, and she—a Wellesley graduate and former beauty queen—was itching to leave for a bigger opportunity, in the nation’s capital. Still, Diane’s years at WLKY had not been uneventful. More…


New Nonfiction: The Shifts and the Shocks: What We’ve Learned—and Have Still to Learn—from the Financial Crisis by Martin Wolf

Martin Wolf is the author of The Shifts and the Shocks: What We've Learned—and Have Still to Learn—from the Financial Crisis. Full Bio

New Nonfiction: The Shifts and the Shocks: What We’ve Learned—and Have Still to Learn—from the Financial Crisis by Martin Wolf

Preface: Why I Wrote this Book 

Can ‘It’–a Great Depression–happen again? And if ‘It’ can happen why didn’t ‘It’ occur in the years since World War II? These are questions that naturally follow from both the historical record and the comparative success of the past thirty-five years. To answer these questions it is necessary to have an economic theory which makes great depressions one of the possible states in which our type of capitalist economy can find itself. –Hyman Minsky, 1982 (1)

 

This book is about the way in which the financial and economic crises that hit the high-income countries after August 2007 have altered our world. But its analysis is rooted in how these shocks originated in prior shifts–the interactions between changes in the global economy and the financial system. It asks how these disturbing events will–and should–change the ways we think about economics. It also asks how they will–and should–change the policies followed by the affected countries and the rest of the world. More…


New Nonfiction: World Order by Henry Kissinger

New Nonfiction: World Order by Henry Kissinger

The Question of World Order

In 1961, as a young academic, I called on President Harry S. Truman when I found myself in Kansas City delivering a speech. To the question of what in his presidency had made him most proud, Truman replied, “That we totally defeated our enemies and then brought them back to the community of nations. I would like to think that only America would have done this.” Conscious of America’s vast power, Truman took pride above all in its humane and democratic values. He wanted to be remembered not so much for America’s victories as for its conciliations.  More…