All eBooks

  • Confidential Confidential: The Inside Story of Hollywood’s Notorious Scandal Magazine

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    In the 1950s, Confidential magazine, America’s first celebrity scandal magazine, revealed Hollywood stars’ secrets, misdeeds, and transgressions in gritty, unvarnished detail. Deploying a vast network of tipsters to root out scandalous facts about the stars, including sexual affairs, drug use, and sexual orientation, publisher Robert Harrison destroyed celebrities’ carefully constructed images and built a media empire. Confidential became the bestselling magazine on American newsstands in the 1950s, surpassing Time, Life, and the Saturday Evening Post. Eventually the stars fought back, filing multimillion-dollar libel suits against the magazine. The state of California, prodded by the film studios, prosecuted Harrison for obscenity and criminal libel, culminating in a famous, star-studded Los Angeles trial. This is Confidential’s story, detailing how the magazine revolutionized celebrity culture and American society in the 1950s and beyond. With its bold red-yellow-and-blue covers, screaming headlines, and tawdry stories, Confidential exploded the candy-coated image of movie stars that Hollywood and the press had sold to the public. It transformed Americas from innocents to more sophisticated, worldly people, wise to the phony and constructed nature of celebrity. It shifted reporting on celebrities from an enterprise of concealment and make-believe to one that was more frank, bawdy, and true. Confidential’s success marked the end of an era of hush-hush—of secrets, closets, and sexual taboos—and the beginning of our age of tell-all exposure.

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    “Exhilarating, exuberant, and rich,” Katherine is an epic novel of a love affair that changed history—that of Katherine Swynford and John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, the ancestors of most of the British royal family (Austin Chronicle).

    Set in the vibrant fourteenth century of Chaucer and the Black Death, the story features knights fighting in battle, serfs struggling in poverty, and the magnificent Plantagenets—Edward III, the Black Prince, and Richard II—who rule despotically over a court rotten with intrigue. Within this era of danger and romance, John of Gaunt, the king’s son, falls passionately in love with the already-married Katherine. Their affair persists through decades of war, adultery, murder, loneliness, and redemption.

    Anya Seton’s vivid rendering of the lives of the Duke and Duchess of Lancaster makes Katherine an unmistakable classic.

    “An inspiration and the benchmark by which I judge historical novels.”—Alison Weir

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    Continental Strangers: German Exile Cinema, 1933-1951

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    Hundreds of German-speaking film professionals took refuge in Hollywood during the 1930s and 1940s, making a lasting contribution to American cinema. Hailing from Austria, Hungary, Poland, Russia, and the Ukraine, as well as Germany, and including Ernst Lubitsch, Fred Zinnemann, Billy Wilder, and Fritz Lang, these multicultural, multilingual writers and directors betrayed distinct cultural sensibilities in their art. Gerd Gemünden focuses on Edgar G. Ulmer’s The Black Cat (1934), William Dieterle’s The Life of Emile Zola (1937), Ernst Lubitsch’s To Be or Not to Be (1942), Bertolt Brecht and Fritz Lang’s Hangmen Also Die (1943), Fred Zinnemann’s Act of Violence (1948), and Peter Lorre’s Der Verlorene (1951), engaging with issues of realism, auteurism, and genre while tracing the relationship between film and history, Hollywood politics and censorship, and exile and (re)migration.

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    The Subversive Seventies

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    A thought-provoking reconsideration of how the revolutionary movements of the 1970s set the mold for today’s activism.

    The 1970s was a decade of “subversives”. Faced with various progressive and revolutionary social movements, the forces of order—politicians, law enforcement, journalists, and conservative intellectuals—saw subversives everywhere. From indigenous peasant armies and gay liberation organizations, to anti-nuclear activists and Black liberation militants, subversives challenged authority, laid siege to the established order, and undermined time-honored ways of life. Every corner of the left was fertile ground for subversive elements, which the forces of order had to root out and destroy—a project they pursued with zeal and brutality.

    In The Subversive Seventies, Michael Hardt sets out to show that popular understandings of the political movements of the seventies—often seen as fractious, violent, and largely unsuccessful—are not just inaccurate, but foreclose valuable lessons for the political struggles of today. While many accounts of the 1970s have been written about the regimes of domination that emerged throughout the decade, Hardt approaches the subversive from the perspectives of those who sought to undermine the base of established authority and transform the fundamental structures of society. In so doing, he provides a novel account of the theoretical and practical projects of liberation that still speak to us today, too many of which have been all but forgotten.

    Departing from popular and scholarly accounts that focus on the social movements of the 1960s, Hardt argues that the 1970s offers an inspiring and useful guide for contemporary radical political thought and action. Although we can still learn much from the movements of the sixties, that decade’s struggles for peace, justice, and freedom fundamentally marked the end of an era. The movements of the seventies, in contrast, responded directly to emerging neoliberal frameworks and other structures of power that continue to rule over us today. They identified and confronted political problems that remain central for us. The 1970s, in this sense, marks the beginning of our time. Looking at a wide range of movements around the globe, from the United States, to Guinea Bissau, South Korea, Chile, Turkey, and Italy, The Subversive Seventies provides a reassessment of the political action of the 1970s that sheds new light not only on our revolutionary past but also on what liberation can be and do today.

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    The Castle Keepers

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    “A fascinating story of love’s ability to overcome family curses, scandals, and even war. Told in three parts, this multi-generational tale is wonderfully heartwarming!” —Madeline Martin, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Bookshop in London

    Leedswick Castle has housed the Alnwick family in the English countryside for generations, despite a family curse determined to destroy their legacy and erase them from history.

    1870. After a disastrous dinner at the Astor mansion forces her to flee New York in disgrace, socialite Beatrice Holbrook knows her performance in London must be a triumph. When she catches the eye of Charles Alnwick, one of the town’s most enviably titled bachelors, she prepares to attempt a social coup and become the future Marchioness of Northridge. Then tragedy and scandal strike the Alnwick family, and Beatrice must assume the role of a lifetime: that of her true, brave self.

    1917. Artist Elena Hamilton arrives in Northumberland determined to transform a soldier’s wounds into something beautiful. Tobias Alnwick’s parents have commissioned a lifelike mask to help their son return to his former self after battle wounds partially destroyed his face. But Elena doesn’t see a man who needs fixing—she sees a man who needn’t hide. Yet secrets from their past threaten to chase away the peace they’ve found in each other and destroy the future they’re creating.

    1945. Alec Alnwick returns home from the war haunted but determined to leave death and destruction behind. With the help of Brigitta Mayr, the brilliant young psychoanalyst whose correspondence was a lifeline during his time on the Western Front, he reconstructs his family’s large estate into a rehabilitation center for similarly wounded soldiers. Alec’s efforts may be the only chance to redeem his family legacy—and break the curse on the Alnwick name—once and for all.

    Three beloved authors share stories of the Alnwick family through the generations, revealing how love and war can change a place—but only its people can unshackle it from the misdeeds of the past.

    Multiple historical timelines following generations of one family
    Stand-alone collection of connected stories
    Includes discussion questions for book clubs

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    Hope for the Good Time Girls

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    London, June 1942. The bombs are falling, the music plays on, but can the Good Time Girls keep dancing?

    Everything has finally fallen into place for Renee. So when vicar Roger asks her to support a new dance hall, it should be a great way to give back to the community. Except Renee has a terrible secret she is holding onto. One that Roger can never know about…

    Nancy will keep Renee’s secret. But she’s got her own problems: handsome GI Jack has turned her head, and the American soldiers are causing a stir.

    Temperance has made a new friend – but now that she has someone who can understand the challenges she faces, will her relationship with Archie survive?

    All Violet wants is to spend every minute with her precious baby Eamon. But with her sweetheart dead and cruel gossips making life a misery for her and her mixed-race son, will she be able to weather the hostility she’s forced to face every day?

    Things have never been so tough for the Good Time Girls, but they’ll get through it as long as they have each other…

    An absolutely gripping and heart-warming wartime saga about the power of love and friendship. Perfect for fans of Pam Howes, Vicki Beeby and Nancy Revell.

    Readers adore the Good Time Girls:

    ‘This one is a cracker… Loved it… Fabulous read that was so hard to put down’ Reader review, 5 stars

    ‘What a joy to join the girls again! They really don’t disappoint… I thoroughly enjoyed it’ Reader review, 5 stars

    ‘It was so good to following up on the characters at the dance hall. I loved all the characters… Great read with all the twists and turns… A real page turner’ Reader review, 5 stars

    ‘I loved the community spirit and everyone pulling together. I finished the book feeling optimistic’ Reader review, 5 stars

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    Jesus and John Wayne

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    Notes From Your Bookseller

    A bold and courageous book that challenges the white evangelical morph of Christianity, examining how they’ve done damage to the Christian faith and, by extension, to this entire nation. It’s a thoroughly researched and deeply engaging read that will raise countless discussion points.

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    The Secret Book of Flora Lea

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    When a woman discovers a rare book that has connections to her past, long-held secrets about her missing sister and their childhood spent in the English countryside during World War II are revealed.

    In the war-torn London of 1939, fourteen-year-old Hazel and five-year-old Flora are evacuated to a rural village to escape the horrors of the Second World War. Living with the kind Bridie Aberdeen and her teenage son, Harry, in a charming stone cottage along the River Thames, Hazel fills their days with walks and games to distract her young sister, including one that she creates for her sister and her sister alone—a fairy tale about a magical land, a secret place they can escape to that is all their own.

    But the unthinkable happens when young Flora suddenly vanishes while playing near the banks of the river. Shattered, Hazel blames herself for her sister’s disappearance, and she carries that guilt into adulthood as a private burden she feels she deserves.

    Twenty years later, Hazel is in London, ready to move on from her job at a cozy rare bookstore to a career at Sotheby’s. With a charming boyfriend and her elegantly timeworn Bloomsbury flat, Hazel’s future seems determined. But her tidy life is turned upside down when she unwraps a package containing an illustrated book called Whisperwood and the River of Stars. Hazel never told a soul about the imaginary world she created just for Flora. Could this book hold the secrets to Flora’s disappearance? Could it be a sign that her beloved sister is still alive after all these years?

    As Hazel embarks on a feverish quest, revisiting long-dormant relationships and bravely opening wounds from her past, her career and future hang in the balance. An astonishing twist ultimately reveals the truth in this transporting and refreshingly original novel about the bond between sisters, the complications of conflicted love, and the enduring magic of storytelling.

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    Charlotte’s War

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    This epic novel follows one extraordinary American woman as she grieves and triumphs through the horrific realities of three wars that threaten the men she loves.

    Charlotte Fletcher is in the fight of her life to save her firstborn son from facing a truth she knows all too well—the dreadful impact of war. First, she watched her own brother suffer the destructive consequences of youthful bravado in WWII. Then, she waved goodbye to her husband, a decorated hero, who sailed into harm’s way a second time in the Korean conflict. Now, with her son headed to Vietnam, Charlotte is using all the arrows in her quiver to stop the conflict.

    As Charlotte weaves through major world events, her remarkable will and intelligence position her to offer key insights to leaders negotiating peace in Vietnam. After being raised in China by missionary parents, Charlotte completed her studies at Radcliffe and Harvard and received a Berkeley PhD in anthropology, giving her unique expertise to persuade the renowned decision makers she encounters.

    The formidable connections Charlotte forges over the years—including visionaries such as JFK, two U.S. Secretaries of State, and even Ho Chi Minh—culminate in a surprising and captivating convergence of personalities, power, and politics.

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    The Deportation Express

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    A history of the United States’ systematic expulsion of “undesirables” and immigrants, told through the lives of the passengers who travelled from around the world, only to be locked up and forced out aboard America’s first deportation trains. 

    The United States, celebrated as a nation of immigrants and the land of the free, has developed the most extensive system of imprisonment and deportation that the world has ever known. The Deportation Express is the first history of American deportation trains: a network of prison railroad cars repurposed by the Immigration Bureau to link jails, hospitals, asylums, and workhouses across the country and allow forced removal with terrifying efficiency. With this book, historian Ethan Blue uncovers the origins of the deportation train and finds the roots of the current moment, as immigrant restriction and mass deportation once again play critical and troubling roles in contemporary politics and legislation.
    A century ago, deportation trains made constant circuits around the nation, gathering so-called “undesirable aliens”—migrants disdained for their poverty, political radicalism, criminal conviction, or mental illness—and conveyed them to ports for exile overseas. Previous deportation procedures had been violent, expensive, and relatively ad hoc, but the railroad industrialized the expulsion of the undesirable. Trains provided a powerful technology to divide “citizens” from “aliens” and displace people in unprecedented numbers. Drawing on the lives of migrants and the agents who expelled them, The Deportation Express is history told from aboard a deportation train. By following the lives of selected individuals caught within the deportation regime, this book dramatically reveals how the forces of state exclusion accompanied epic immigration in early twentieth-century America. These are the stories of people who traveled from around the globe, only to be locked up and cast out, deported through systems that bound the United States together, and in turn, pulled the world apart. Their journey would be followed by millions more in the years to come.

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    White Riot

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    NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE WINNER • NATIONAL BESTSELLER • An extraordinary look at privilege, discrimination, and the fallacy of post-racial America by the renowned Pulitzer Prize–winning cultural critic

    Jefferson takes us into an insular and discerning society: “I call it Negroland,” she writes, “because I still find ‘Negro’ a word of wonders, glorious and terrible.”
    Margo Jefferson was born in 1947 into upper-crust black Chicago. Her father was head of pediatrics at Provident Hospital, while her mother was a socialite. Negroland’s pedigree dates back generations, having originated with antebellum free blacks who made their fortunes among the plantations of the South.
    It evolved into a world of exclusive sororities, fraternities, networks, and clubs—a world in which skin color and hair texture were relentlessly evaluated alongside scholarly and professional achievements, where the Talented Tenth positioned themselves as a third race between whites and “the masses of Negros,” and where the motto was “Achievement. Invulnerability. Comportment.”
    Jefferson brilliantly charts the twists and turns of a life informed by psychological and moral contradictions, while reckoning with the strictures and demands of Negroland at crucial historical moments—the civil rights movement, the dawn of feminism, the falsehood of post-racial America.

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    American Moonshot

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    Instant New York Times Bestseller

    As the fiftieth anniversary of the first lunar landing approaches, the award winning historian and perennial New York Times bestselling author takes a fresh look at the space program, President John F. Kennedy’s inspiring challenge, and America’s race to the moon.

    “We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win.”—President John F. Kennedy

    On May 25, 1961, JFK made an astonishing announcement: his goal of putting a man on the moon by the end of the decade. In this engrossing, fast-paced epic, Douglas Brinkley returns to the 1960s to recreate one of the most exciting and ambitious achievements in the history of humankind. American Moonshot brings together the extraordinary political, cultural, and scientific factors that fueled the birth and development of NASA and the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo projects, which shot the United States to victory in the space race against the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War.

    Drawing on new primary source material and major interviews with many of the surviving figures who were key to America’s success, Brinkley brings this fascinating history to life as never before. American Moonshot is a portrait of the brilliant men and women who made this giant leap possible, the technology that enabled us to propel men beyond earth’s orbit to the moon and return them safely, and the geopolitical tensions that spurred Kennedy to commit himself fully to this audacious dream. Brinkley’s ensemble cast of New Frontier characters include rocketeer Wernher von Braun, astronaut John Glenn and space booster Lyndon Johnson.

    A vivid and enthralling chronicle of one of the most thrilling, hopeful, and turbulent eras in the nation’s history, American Moonshot is an homage to scientific ingenuity, human curiosity, and the boundless American spirit.

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    The World Crisis

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    This fascinating book gives us an infallible insight from one shrewd politician about the times, circumstances and the most significant events which led to the outbreak of World War 1. Although the book nominally stars in 1911 when Churchill became head of the Admiralty, the narrative commences in 1870 with the Franco-Prussian War and ends with Turkey and the Balkans. Churchill comments on German “threats of war” over recognition by Serbia of the Austrian annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1908, which led to talks between the British and French General Staffs over concerted action in the event of war.

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