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Biography & Autobiography

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  1. 18.0 hrs • 2/28/2017 • Unabridged

    In this magisterial study of the relationship between illness and art, the best-selling author of An Unquiet Mind, Kay Redfield Jamison, brings an entirely fresh understanding to the work and life of Robert Lowell (1917-1977), whose intense, complex, and personal verse left a lasting mark on the English language and changed the public discourse about private matters.In his Pulitzer Prize-winning poetry, Robert Lowell put his manic-depressive illness (now known as bipolar disorder) into the public domain, creating a language for madness that was new and arresting. As Dr. Jamison brings her expertise in mood disorders to bear on Lowell’s story, she illuminates not only the relationships among mania, depression, and creativity but also the details of Lowell’s treatment and how illness and treatment influenced the great work that he produced (and often became its subject). Lowell’s New England roots, early breakdowns, marriages to three eminent writers, friendships with other poets such as Elizabeth Bishop, his many hospitalizations, his vivid presence as both a teacher and a maker of poems—Jamison gives us the poet’s life through a lens that focuses our understanding of his intense discipline, courage, and commitment to his art. Jamison had unprecedented access to Lowell’s medical records, as well as to previously unpublished drafts and fragments of poems, and she is the first biographer to have spoken with his daughter, Harriet Lowell. With this new material and a psychologist’s deep insight, Jamison delivers a bold, sympathetic account of a poet who was—both despite and because of mental illness—a passionate, original observer of the human condition.

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  2. 3.5 hrs • 2/28/2017 • Unabridged

    A vibrant collection of oil paintings and stories by President George W. Bush honoring the sacrifice and courage of America’s military veterans, with forewords written and read by former First Lady Laura Bush and General Peter Pace, sixteenth chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Growing out of President Bush’s own outreach and the ongoing work of the George W. Bush Institute’s Military Service Initiative, Portraits of Courage brings together sixty-six full-color portraits and a four-panel mural painted by President Bush of members of the United States military who have served our nation with honor since 9/11—and whom he has come to know personally. Our men and women in uniform have faced down enemies, liberated millions, and in doing so showed the true compassion of our nation. Often, they return home with injuries—both visible and invisible—that intensify the challenges of transitioning into civilian life. In addition to these burdens, research shows a civilian-military divide. Seventy-one percent of Americans say they have little understanding of the issues facing veterans, and veterans agree: eighty-four percent say that the public has “little awareness” of the issues facing them and their families. Each painting in this volume is accompanied by the inspiring story of the veteran depicted, written by President Bush. Listeners can hear about those who answered the call and learn from their bravery on the battlefield, their journeys to recovery, and the continued leadership and contributions they are making as civilians. It is President Bush’s desire that these stories of courage and resilience will honor our men and women in uniform, highlight their family and caregivers who bear the burden of their sacrifice, and help Americans understand how we can support our veterans and empower them to succeed. President Bush is donating his net author proceeds from Portraits of Courage to the George W. Bush Presidential Center, a nonprofit organization whose Military Service Initiative works to ensure that post-9/11 veterans and their families make successful transitions to civilian life with a focus on gaining meaningful employment and overcoming the invisible wounds of war.

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    Portraits of Courage

    By George W. Bush, with Laura Bush and General Peter Pace
    3.5 hrs • 2/28/17 • Unabridged
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  3. 4.4 hrs • 2/28/2017 • Unabridged

    Winston Churchill possessed an iron will and a subtle conscience. His staunch patriotism, tenacity, appetite for a fight, and, above all, his towering rhetoric inspired the British people to mount a gallant defense of their island nation. Having set a new bar for national heroism, he earned a place in the pantheon of the world’s greatest leaders. Churchill, a fearless soldier, was a veteran of countless battles and a rider in one of Britain’s last cavalry charges. He was also a gifted writer, a winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, whose war reporting made his name and whose books outlived him. A bon vivant who loved his brandy and cigars, he was also a devoted husband whose marriage was a lifelong love affair. By any measure, Churchill was a giant. But the man was far from perfect. He was a hero, yes, but a human one. He could be petty, irascible, and self-centered; it was bred in his bone that white Englishmen were born to lead the world and all others to be led. His mistakes cost billions of dollars and thousands of lives, but he had courage and a born politician’s sense of the public stage. In the end, Churchill became a regal figure whose life came to symbolize defiance of tyranny in the face of impossible odds. Here is his story.

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    Churchill by Jacob Bannister

    Churchill

    4.4 hrs • 2/28/17 • Unabridged
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  4. 10.6 hrs • 2/28/2017 • Unabridged

    Interweaving an insider’s account of the true crime saga driving Netflix sensation Making a Murderer with other controversial cases from his career, this powerful memoir from Steven Avery’s defense attorney reveals the flaws in America’s criminal justice system and puts forth a provocative, persuasive call for reform. Not since The Thin Blue Line has there been a true crime saga as engrossing as Making A Murderer. Captivating audiences across demographic lines, it made Steven Avery a household name and thrust defense attorney Jerome F. Buting—and his fight against America’s dysfunctional criminal justice system—into the spotlight. In Illusion of Justice, Buting uses the Avery case as a springboard to examine the shaky integrity of our law enforcement and legal systems, which he has witnessed firsthand for nearly four decades. From his early career as a public defender to his success overturning wrongful convictions, his story provides a compelling insider’s view into the high-stakes world of criminal defense, and suggests that while in principle the law presumes innocence, in practice it more often than not presumes guilt. Combining narrative reportage with critical commentary and personal reflection, Buting explores his professional motivations, the high-profile cases that defined his career, and the path to much-needed criminal justice reform. Taking its place beside acclaimed bestsellers such as Just Mercy and The New Jim Crow, Illusion of Justice is a tour-de-force from a relentless and eloquent advocate for justice who is determined to fulfill his professional responsibility—and, in the face of overwhelming odds, make the judicial system work as it is designed to do.

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    Illusion of Justice by Jerome F. Buting

    Illusion of Justice

    10.6 hrs • 2/28/17 • Unabridged
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  5. 8.5 hrs • 2/23/2017 • Unabridged

    Plump, grumpy, slumped on the couch, and going nowhere fast at age 16, Phil Gaimon began riding a bicycle with the grand ambition of shedding a few pounds before going off to college. He soon fell into racing and discovered he was a natural, riding his way into a pro contract after just one season despite utter ignorance of a century of cycling etiquette. Now, in his book Pro Cycling on $10 a Day, Phil brings the full powers of his wit to tell his story. Presented here as a guide—and a warning—to aspiring racers who dream of joining the professional racing circus, Phil’s adventures in road rash serve as a hilarious and cautionary tale of frustrating team directors and broken promises. Phil’s education in the ways of the peloton, his discouraging negotiations for a better contract, his endless miles crisscrossing America in pursuit of race wins, and his conviction that somewhere just around the corner lies the ticket to the big time fuel this tale of hope and ambition from one of cycling’s best story-tellers. Pro Cycling on $10 a Day chronicles the racer’s daily lot of blood-soaked bandages, sleazy motels, cheap food, and overflowing toilets. But it also celebrates the true beauty of the sport and the worth of the journey, proving in the end that even among the narrow ranks of world-class professional cycling, there will always be room for a hard-working outsider.

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  6. 9.0 hrs • 2/22/2017 • Unabridged

    Carolyn Jourdan spent many years as a congressional lawyer in Washington, D.C. Then she was called home to fill in for her mother as receptionist at her father's rural Tennessee doctor's office-assured it would only be for a few days.

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    Heart in the Right Place

    9.0 hrs • 2/22/17 • Unabridged
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  7. 4.1 hrs • 2/21/2017 • Unabridged

    This famous memoir by John McCorkle is the best published account by a scout who “rode with Quantrill.” John McCorkle was a young Missouri farmer of Southern sympathies. After serving briefly in the pro-Confederate Missouri State Guard, he became a prominent member of William Clarke Quantrill’s infamous guerrillas, who took advantage of the turmoil in the Missouri-Kansas borderland to prey on pro-Union people. McCorkle displayed an unflinchingly violent nature while he participated in raids and engagements including the massacres at Lawrence and Baxter Springs, Kansas, and Centralia, Missouri. In 1865 he followed Quantrill into Kentucky, where the notorious leader was killed and his followers, McCorkle among them, surrendered and were paroled by Union authorities. Early in this century, having returned to farming, McCorkle told his remarkable Civil War experiences to O. S. Barton, a lawyer, who wrote this book, first published in 1914.

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    Three Years with Quantrill by John McCorkle, O. S. Barton

    Three Years with Quantrill

    4.1 hrs • 2/21/17 • Unabridged
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  8. 15.7 hrs • 2/21/2017 • Unabridged

    The captivating, untold story of Hermann Rorschach and his famous inkblot test  In 1917, working alone in a remote Swiss asylum, psychiatrist Hermann Rorschach devised an experiment to probe the human mind: a set of ten carefully designed inkblots. For years he had grappled with the theories of Freud and Jung while also absorbing the aesthetic movements of the day, from Futurism to Dadaism. A visual artist himself, Rorschach had come to believe that who we are is less a matter of what we say, as Freud thought, than what we see.After Rorschach’s early death, his test quickly made its way to America, where it took on a life of its own. Co-opted by the military after Pearl Harbor, it was a fixture at the Nuremberg trials and in the jungles of Vietnam. It became an advertising staple, a cliché in Hollywood and journalism, and an inspiration to everyone from Andy Warhol to Jay Z. The test was also given to millions of defendants, job applicants, parents in custody battles, and people suffering from mental illness or simply trying to understand themselves better. And it is still used today.In this first-ever biography of Rorschach, Damion Searls draws on unpublished letters and diaries and a cache of previously unknown interviews with Rorschach’s family, friends, and colleagues to tell the unlikely story of the test’s creation, its controversial reinvention, and its remarkable endurance—and what it all reveals about the power of perception. Elegant and original, The Inkblots shines a light on the twentieth century’s most visionary synthesis of art and science.

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    The Inkblots

    15.7 hrs • 2/21/17 • Unabridged
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  9. 8.6 hrs • 2/21/2017 • Unabridged

    In The President Will See You Now, devoted Reagan insider Peggy Grande shares behind-the-scenes stories, intimate moments, and insights into one of America’s most beloved presidents. Grande, who started in the Office of Ronald Reagan as a college student and earned her way into a coveted role as the president’s executive assistant, offers an unparalleled perspective on the postpresidency of a political icon. Grande’s stories and never-before-seen photos show a unique, private side to a public figure and leader who reshaped conservatism, ushered in an era of prosperity, and helped spur the end of the Cold War. Grande reveals what day-to-day life was like in Reagan’s California office, including the former president’s relationship with the First Lady and his interactions with friends, world leaders, and everyday Americans. Grande recalls how Reagan kept a vigorous schedule for years after he left the White House, his robust engagement with others, and ongoing political advocacy. Despite his eventual Alzheimer’s diagnosis, Grande shows how Ronald Reagan remained true to core beliefs, his gentlemanly kindness, and his undying hope for his country. Today the Reagan legacy looms over American politics more than ever. Grande reminds listeners why: when Ronald Reagan was president, we not only loved ourselves but also loved America, and the American values he represented: faith, optimism, and patriotism.

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    The President Will See You Now

    8.6 hrs • 2/21/17 • Unabridged
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  10. 6.3 hrs • 2/21/2017 • Unabridged

    Celebrity health expert and four-time New York Times bestselling author, JJ Virgin reveals how one life-altering event taught her to tap into an indomitable mindset, trust her instincts, and defy the odds, ultimately saving her son’s life…and her own. She’ll share the lessons she learned that can help you create your own resilient mindset. In 2012, JJ Virgin was in a hospital room next to her sixteen-year-old son who was struck by a hit-and-run driver and left for dead. She was told by doctors that he wouldn’t last through the night and to let him go. With every reason to give up, JJ chose instead to invest her energy into the hope that her son would not just survive, but thrive. In The Miracle Mindset, she shares the lessons that gave her the courage to overcome the worst moment of her life. During this difficult time, she learned valuable personal lessons that helped her rebuild her life and find success and purpose in herself, her work, and teach her sons and community how to face their own obstacles and trials. Lessons like “Don’t Wish It Were Easier, Make Yourself Stronger” and “Your Limitations will Become Your Life” will lead you to your own personal power and purpose, even when the deck seems stacked against you. With true stories from her life, her clients, and other well-known thought leaders, she can help you transform your mindset and your daily habits to endure the difficult battles that life sends your way. Insightful, personal, and completely relatable, The Miracle Mindset proves that miracles are possible when you show up, remain positive, and do the work.

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    Miracle Mindset

    6.3 hrs • 2/21/17 • Unabridged
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  11. 8.9 hrs • 2/21/2017 • Unabridged

    The editor-in-chief of Guideposts magazine shares the heartwarming story of Millie, his beloved golden retriever, and how she taught him to be a more compassionate person, deepened his faith, and inspired him on his long-term path of recovery from addiction.From the moment his new golden retriever puppy jumped into his arms, Edward Grinnan and his wife, Julee, were in love with her. Edward didn’t know it yet, but Millie would change his life. In this moving memoir, Edward Grinnan writes about his life with Millie—from their first joyous meeting, through her struggle with cancer, and eventual, heartbreaking death. Edward shares how her sensitivity, unconditional love, and innate goodness helped him discover those qualities in himself and put his complicated past in perspective. Edward also shares the lessons he’s learned from other dogs he’s loved—like Pete, a poodle his father bought him in the wake of his brother’s death; Rudy, who introduced him to his wife; Sally Browne, a mischievous cocker spaniel who befriended the homeless in his neighborhood; and Marty, a hundred-pound Labrador whose behavioral issues challenged his and Julee’s marriage—as well as lessons he’s learned from the celebrated dog stories in Guideposts magazine. Poignant and insightful, Always By My Side is an inspiring book that explores the unbreakable bond between man and dog, how faith shapes our love for our dogs and how our dogs shape our faith.

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    Always by My Side

    Foreword by Debbie Macomber
    8.9 hrs • 2/21/17 • Unabridged
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  12. 7.3 hrs • 2/21/2017 • Unabridged

    Drawing on her work at a shelter, her experiences living with two rescue dogs of her own, and years of research, bestselling author and Boston Globe columnist Amy Sutherland takes us on an unforgettable journey into the special world of rescue and shelter dogs—and the growing number of dedicated people who are deeply invested in saving these precious lives. Terrified Penny Jane; brassy but filthy Dixie Lou; tough-guy Dingo; and the crazed, nippy jester, Walter Joe. These are not your average cute-and-cared-for, well-trained pups—these are shelter dogs. Scared, aggressive, so painfully shy that they can’t look you in the eye, they have languished so long without attention that they are slipping into a dark place, and soon will no longer be able to bond with people. A member of the elite corps of volunteers at Boston’s Animal Rescue League, Amy Sutherland began walking shelter dogs in 2001 and has patiently helped train canines with serious behavior problems. Rescuing Penny Jane is the story of her adventures with these remarkable dogs, from working at a shelter, helping dozens of animals discover that the right person can give them love, hope, and a whole new life, to adopting two rescue dogs of her own and fostering half a dozen more. In addition to her touching, funny, and insightful anecdotes, Sutherland travels the country talking to leading shelter experts, animal behaviorists, and activists. An affecting, entertaining portrait of the relationships between shelter dogs and those who care for them, Rescuing Penny Janeis a book that dog lovers and all who care about animals will treasure.

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    Rescuing Penny Jane by Amy Sutherland

    Rescuing Penny Jane

    7.3 hrs • 2/21/17 • Unabridged
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  13. 10.4 hrs • 2/21/2017 • Unabridged

    In 2010 Tony Hsieh was introduced to many as a visionary modern business leader. Under Hsieh’s leadership, Zappos became the world’s largest online shoe company by championing satisfied customers and a valued workforce. After his company was purchased by Amazon, Hsieh turned his energies and considerable fortune toward a much larger goal: building a new and more socially conscious Silicon Valley in the heart of downtown Las Vegas, all within his five-year plan. Hsieh challenged business and technology journalist Aimee Groth to uproot her life and be a participant in his social engineering experiment. Beginning with couch surfing, moving to a Downtown Project crash pad, and then living in Zappos corporate housing above the Gold Spike bar, Groth had a front-row view of Hsieh’s efforts to build his ideal society. With interviews from insiders on all ends of the Zappos spectrum—like the “broken dolls” who gravitate toward Hsieh’s almost cultlike personality and make up his inner circle, to the Zapponians who live and work on campus, to players in the top echelon of Silicon Valley—Groth offers a unique view of a world few people know much about, and sheds a new light on this complex, eccentric man. The Kingdom of Happiness is the story of one man’s quest to create his own nirvana in the desert based on his exacting design with lessons he’s gleaned from rave culture and Burning Man. Is it the business model of the future or a cautionary tale of hubris?

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    The Kingdom of Happiness by Aimee Groth

    The Kingdom of Happiness

    10.4 hrs • 2/21/17 • Unabridged
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  14. 7.7 hrs • 2/21/2017 • Unabridged

    In this powerful, soul-searching memoir, beautifully written in the vein of A Pack of Two and Wild, animal behaviorist Dr. Patricia McConnell recounts for the first time the compelling story of her dark past, memories of which are triggered by a troubled dog named Will.World-renowned as a source of science and soul, Patricia McConnell combines brilliant insights into canine behavior—gained from her work with aggressive and fearful dogs—with heartwarming stories of her own dogs and their life on the farm. Now, she reveals that it wasn’t just the dogs who had serious problems. For decades Dr. McConnell secretly grappled with her own guilt and fear, which were rooted in the harrowing traumas of her youth. Patricia is forced to face her past by her love for a young Border Collie named Will, whose frequent, unpredictable outbreaks of fear and fury shake Patricia to her core. In order to save Will from this dangerous behavior, she must find her own will to heal, and along the way learn that will power by itself is not enough. Interweaving enlightening stories of her clients’ dogs with tales of her deepening bond with Will, Patricia recounts her fight to reclaim her life. Hopeful and inspiring, the redemptive message of her journey is that, while trauma changes our brains and the past casts a long shadow, healing, for both people and dogs, is possible through hard work, compassion, and mutual devotion.

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    The Education of Will

    7.7 hrs • 2/21/17 • Unabridged
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  15. 6.8 hrs • 2/21/2017 • Unabridged

    The unflinching story of a professional oboist who finds order and beauty in music as her personal life threatens to destroy her. Music was everything for Marcia Butler. Growing up in an emotionally desolate home with an abusive father and a distant mother, she devoted herself to the discipline and rigor of the oboe, and quickly became a young prodigy on the rise in New York City’s competitive music scene. But haunted by troubling childhood memories while balancing the challenges of a busy life as a working musician, Marcia succumbed to dangerous men, drugs and self-destruction. In her darkest moments, she asked the hardest question of all: Could music truly save her life? A memoir of startling honesty and subtle, profound beauty, The Skin Above My Knee is the story of a woman finding strength in her creative gifts and artistic destiny. Filled with vivid portraits of 1970’s New York City, and fascinating insights into the intensity and precision necessary for a career in professional music, this is more than a narrative of a brilliant musician struggling to make it big in the big city. It is the story of a survivor.

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    The Skin Above My Knee

    6.8 hrs • 2/21/17 • Unabridged
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  16. 8.1 hrs • 2/20/2017 • Unabridged

    Welcome to Gradieshti, a Soviet village awash in gray buildings and ramshackle fences, a home to a large, collective farm and to the most oddball and endearing cast of characters possible. For three years in the 1960s, Vladimir Tsesis―inestimable Soviet doctor and irrepressible jester―was stationed in a village where racing tractor drivers tossed vodka bottles to each other for sport; where farmers and townspeople secretly mocked and tried to endure the Communist way of life; where milk for children, running water, and adequate electricity were rare; where the world’s smallest, motley parade became the country’s longest; and where one compulsively amorous Communist Party leader met a memorable, chilling fate. From a frantic pursuit of calcium-deprived, lunatic Socialist chickens to a father begging on his knees to Soviet officials to obtain antibiotics for his dying child, Vladimir’s tales of Gradieshti are unforgettable. Sometimes hysterical, often moving, always a remarkable and highly entertaining insider’s look at rural life under the old Soviet regime, they are a sobering exposé of the terrible inadequacies of its much-lauded socialist medical system.

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    Communist Daze by Vladimir A. Tsesis, MD

    Communist Daze

    8.1 hrs • 2/20/17 • Unabridged
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