With passion and pathos and great good humor—in poems that could only be written by a mature poet at the height of his powers—Carruth speaks with intimate and urgent clarity of love late in life. In heart-rending poems he addresses his daughter’s struggle against cancer, as well as the loves, friendships, and social concerns of a lifetime.
A triumph of the biographer’s art, The Life of Nelson A. Rockefeller is the first full-length biography of one of the most powerful, magnetic, fascinating figures on the twentieth-century stage.
Of all the great American dynastic families, few could match the combined wealth, power, and influence of the Rockefellers. And of all the Rockefellers, none was more determined to use these advantages than Nelson A. Rockefeller.
Nelson was never content to live off the fame and fortune due him as a Rockefeller. His imperious grandfather, John D. Rockefeller, and intimidating father, John Jr., set standards and boundaries that Nelson blithely ignored. He pushed for position within the family, and then broke a family taboo by taking his ambition to the forbidden world of politics. A devoted family man, he took many lovers with an almost casual sense of droit du seigneur. He surrounded himself with brilliant, devoted subordinates; he flattered and cajoled more powerful people who would also end up serving his needs.
Handsome, ferociously energetic, charming, and ruthless, Rockefeller had a rapacious appetite for life–and for power–that showed itself in the stunning breadth of his activities and in the daring of his ideas. Nelson’s sunny, optimistic demeanor masked a Machiavellian mind. At a young age he wrested control of the Rockefeller Center project from his father’s minions, turned the Museum of Modern Art into a world-class institution, used a midlevel bureaucratic position during World War II to run the affairs of an entire continent; through pure ego and drive he bent the United Nations conference to his will and redirected the path of history. Nelson A. Rockefeller’s fierce drive to achieve would have a profound effect on a city, a state, a nation, and the world.
Cary Reich’s masterful biography, eight years in the making, brings this awesome figure to life. Reich enjoyed unprecedented access to the Rockefeller family archives, scrutinized FBI and FOIA files, and interviewed over three hundred individuals for the book, including many who had never spoken about Rockefeller for the record. This two-volume work (the second to appear in 1997) will surely stand alongside the works of Robert Caro, Doris Kearns Goodwin, and David McCullough.
More than the two presidents he served or the 58,000 soldiers who died for his policies, Robert McNamara was the official face of Vietnam, the technocrat with steel-rimmed glasses and an ironclad faith in numbers who kept insisting that the war was winnable long after he had ceased to believe it was. This brilliantly insightful, morally devastating book tells us why he believed, how he lost faith, and what his deceptions cost five of the war’s witnesses and McNamara himself.
In The Living and the Dead, Paul Hendrickson juxtaposes McNamara’s story with those of a wounded Marine, an Army nurse, a Vietnamese refugee, a Quaker who burned himself to death to protest the war, and an enraged artist who tried to kill the man he saw as the war’s architect. The result is a book whose exhaustive research and imaginative power turn history into an act of reckoning, damning and profoundly sympathetic, impossible to put down and impossible to forget.
At 3:37 in the morning of Sunday, October 12, 1958, a bundle of dynamite blew out the side wall of the Temple, Atlanta’s oldest and richest synagogue. The devastation to the building was vast-but even greater were the changes those 50 sticks of dynamite made to Atlanta, the South, and ultimately, all of the United States (Detroit Free Press). Finalist for the National Book Award, The Temple Bombing is the brilliant and moving examination of one town that came together in the face of hatred, a book that rescues a slice of the civil rights era whose lessons still resonate nearly fifty years after that fateful fall day.
An American Requiem is the story of one man’s coming of age. But more than that, it is a coming to terms with the conflicts that disrupted many families, inflicting personal wounds that were also social, political, and religious. Carroll grew up in a Catholic family that seemed blessed. His father had abandoned his own dream of becoming a priest to rise through the ranks of Hoover’s FBI and then become one of the most powerful men in the Pentagon, the founder of the Defense Intelligence Agency. Young Jim lived the privileged life of a general’s son, dating the daughter of a vice president and meeting the pope, all in the shadow of nuclear war, waiting for the red telephone to ring in his parents’ house. He worshiped his father until Martin Luther King, Jr., the civil rights movement, turmoil in the Catholic Church, and then Vietnam combined to outweigh the bond between father and son. These were issues on which they would never agree. Only after Carroll left the priesthood to become a writer and husband with children of his own did he come to understand fully the struggles his father had faced. In this work of nonfiction, the best-selling novelist draws on the skills he honed with nine much-admired novels to tell the story he was, literally, born to tell. An American Requiem is a benediction on his father’s life, his family’s struggles, and the legacies of an entire generation.
Luisa Cantu is a girl from a Sierra Madre mountain village. After being impregnated in a fertility ritual of ancient origin, she leaves Mexico to work in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas as a housemaid for Mrs. Eddie Hatch, a woman with a strong will and a narrow worldview. Their complex relationship-by turns mystical and pragmatic, serious and comic-reveals the many ways human beings can wound one another, the nature of love and sacrifice, and the possibility of forgiveness.
Young Martin Dressler begins his career as an industrious helper in his father’s cigar store. In the course of his restless young manhood, he makes a swift and eventful rise to the top, accompanied by two sisters–one a dreamlike shadow, the other a worldly business partner. As the eponymous Martin’s vision becomes bolder and bolder he walks a haunted line between fantasy and reality, madness and ambition, art and industry, a sense of doom builds piece-by-hypnotic piece until this mesmerizing journey into the heart of an American dreamer reaches its bitter-sweet conclusion.
The year is 1950, and in a small town on Cape Cod twenty-six-year-old librarian Peggy Cort feels like love and life have stood her up. Until the day James Carlson Sweatt–the “over-tall” eleven-year-old boy who’s the talk of the town–walks into her library and changes her life forever. Two misfits whose lonely paths cross at the circulation desk, Peggy and James are odd candidates for friendship, but nevertheless they soon find their lives entwined in ways that neither one could have predicted. In James, Peggy discovers the one person who’s ever really understood her, and as he grows–six foot five at age twelve, then seven feet, then eight–so does her heart and their most singular romance.