nonfiction

Hemingway in Love: His Own Story by A.E. Hotchner

Hemingway’s biographer Hotchner (Papa Hemingway) has written a wonderful and touching account of the loves and lives of one of our favorite authors. Taken from the words of Papa himself, entrusted to Hotchner, this lovely little memoir tells of his very personal struggle when choosing between his two great loves: Hadley and Pauline. After his near-death experiences  surviving two consecutive plane crashes, Hemingway and Hotchner spent the next eight months together as Papa told him of the painful period, never before discussed, when he lived in Paris, wrote The Sun Also Rises, and was in love with two women at the same time. Beautiful reminisces and frank confessions take us to the bohemian world of Paris in the 20s, the bullfights in Spain, the sultry days of Key West, and of Cold War Cuba. We see inside the mind of someone who struggled with his knowledge of his own mortality and existence of his immortal soul during the 100 days when he had to decide between his first and second wives. Photographs from Hotchner’s own collection grace the pages and we hear from one of his dearest friends of Hemingway’s greatest mistake. – Anne Stewart Mark

Other Books Mentioned in This Piece: 
Papa Hemingway: A Personal Memoir By A. E. Hotchner Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780306814273
Availability: Not on our shelves currently | available to order
Published: Da Capo Press - April 6th, 2005

The Sun Also Rises: The Authorized Edition By Ernest Hemingway Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780743297332
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scribner - October 17th, 2006

The Washingtons: George and Martha by Flora Fraser

Much has been written about George Washington, but Fraser’s examination of the marriage between George and Martha is unique. Their decades-long marriage was punctuated by revolution, the creation of a new country and personal tragedy. Through the years their love and admiration for each other was apparent to all who knew them. Fraser has done a commendable job of revealing how they leaned on each other; whether it was domestic issues or a recalcitrant Continental Congress, George and Martha looked to each other for advice and sustenance. Fraser’s book is a revealing look at both the Mother and Father and the Nation. – Barbara Hoagland

Lady Bird and Lyndon by Betty Caroli

Lady Bird and Lyndon: The Hidden Story of a Marriage That Made a President By Betty Boyd Caroli Cover Image
$29.99
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ISBN: 9781439191224
Published: Simon & Schuster - October 27th, 2015

Marriage is a complicated relationship and the marriage between Lady Bird and Lyndon Johnson was more complicated than some. While a brief look would indicate Lyndon was the driving force in that relationship, Caroli posits that Lady Bird was the guiding hand that led him to the presidency. A sad and lonely childhood forged a personality of steel and determination that belied her soft Southern manner. She was a shrewd businesswoman and skilled politician who wooed those whose approval she (and Lyndon) needed. That she also managed the oversized personality of her husband is revelatory, as is the information that Lyndon quite likely suffered from bipolar disorder. Her life was complicated and Caroli has done an admirable job of revealing an interesting and compelling 20th century first lady. – Barbara Hoagland

We Were Brothers by Barry Moser

We Were Brothers By Barry Moser Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781616204136
Availability: Out of Print
Published: Algonquin Books - October 20th, 2015

When the last surviving member of a family writes a memoir, that person has license to say what he wants to say, with little resistance from others. Barry Moser, the incomparable book print maker and illustrator who has created vivid and memorable illustrations for classic books ranging from The Holy Bible to Alice in Wonderland, has written a lovely tribute to his now-deceased brother, their family and the Southern world they all lived in. While he worries that his recollections are one-sided, I can say with confidence that his family would approve of We Were Brothers, which is set at the base of the Appalachian Mountains in Chattanooga, Tennessee during the last century. While Moser's illustrations are black and white, with rendered realism bordering on the photographic, this book is written in vivid color. Moser and his older brother Tommy are typical of brothers growing up in the same household who, on the way to independent adulthood, fail to truly connect with each other. Their differences continue to grow and when the two men finally engage, both wanting some resolution before they are dead, the cultural and social differences between them create an emotional chasm that they struggle to cross. The message here is clear: do not wait until a loved one dies to make amends. – Rob Eckman

Other Books Mentioned in This Piece: 
Alice: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland By Barry Moser Cover Image
$45.99
ISBN: 9781936524020
Availability: Not on our shelves currently | available to order
Published: Bookpartners, LLC - February 24th, 2011

Elizabeth: Renaissance Prince by Lisa Hilton

Elizabeth: Renaissance Prince By Lisa Hilton Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780544577848
Availability: Out of Print
Published: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt - November 10th, 2015

While there are a multitude of biographies of Elizabeth, Hilton has delved into the life of this Tudor monarch from a slightly different perspective, giving us a more nuanced portrait as a result. From her birth until her death, Elizabeth’s life was one long invention; she created one of the most successful courts in Europe using her femininity to cover the iron will that allowed her to govern a nation and confound her fellow rulers. Hilton also details Elizabeth’s loves and how she subjugated these loves to the necessity of rule. It’s an unusual and insightful look at an always fascinating woman and time in British history. – Barbara Hoagland

My History by Antonia Fraser

Fraser’s earliest days were spent in an aristocratic family in pre-World War II Britain. Her parents were both deeply involved in politics, while Antonia was mesmerized by history; it was the one constant in her life, and she researched and wrote one magnificent historical biography after another including Mary, Queen of Scots, The Wives of Henry VIII, and Faith and Treason. This memoir is a lyrical celebration of a time and place that has largely disappeared, and a great companion to the memoir she wrote on her marriage and partnership with Harold Pinter (Must You Go?). – Barbara Hoagland

Other Books Mentioned in This Piece: 
Mary Queen of Scots By Antonia Fraser Cover Image
$20.00
ISBN: 9780385311298
Availability: Not on our shelves currently | available to order
Published: Delta - September 1st, 1993

The Wives of Henry VIII By Antonia Fraser Cover Image
$24.00
ISBN: 9780679730019
Availability: Not on our shelves currently | available to order
Published: Vintage - November 30th, 1993

Faith and Treason: The Story of the Gunpowder Plot By Antonia Fraser Cover Image
$17.00
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ISBN: 9780385471909
Published: Anchor - October 13th, 1997

Must You Go?: My LIfe With Harold Pinter By Lady Antonia Fraser Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780307475572
Availability: Not on our shelves currently | available to order
Published: Anchor - October 4th, 2011

Empire of Self: A Life of Gore Vidal by Jay Parini

Gore Vidal was not only a 20th century literary icon, he was also an iconoclastic critic of his age. He came in contact with virtually every notable figure of his time and usually had something acerbic to say about each of them. Parini was a close friend of Vidal and, thus, has had unprecedented access to documents, letters and reminisces of those who were close to both men. The figure we see in this ambitious biography is brilliant as well as troubled. Gore Vidal was not only a man of his time, but a man of the world, and we are lucky to have access to his life through the eyes of a friend who is a skilled biographer as well. – Barbara Hoagland

PT 109 by William Doyle

PT 109: An American Epic of War, Survival, and the Destiny of John F. Kennedy By William Doyle Cover Image
$27.99
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ISBN: 9780062346582
Published: William Morrow - October 6th, 2015

William Doyle, author of numerous works focusing on American militaria, re-tells the story of PT 109 and the impact its saga had on JFK and America. Early in the South Pacific campaign of WWII, the United States is out-gunned and over-matched by the Japanese military. The U.S. has decided to make its stand, in order to protect its ally, Australia, in the Solomon Islands and at Guadalcanal. Intense fighting occurs on land and sea with the two opponents evenly matched, even though the U.S. has very poor aircraft and other equipment when compared to Imperial Japan. Into this mix is flung a Patrol Torpedo (PT) boat force. PT boats are just glorified large speed boats made out of wood and equipped with faulty torpedoes that malfunction about 75% of the time. This is the story of JFK as commander of PT 109.  His father, Joseph Kennedy Sr., has pulled strings to get the sickly JFK a combat command with an eye toward future Kennedy political ambitions, never imagining his son would be tested in a way not many other men of his age could endure. This is a great read for anyone, even those of us who think they know the story of PT 109 and JFK, as it gives a perspective as only 75 years of elapsed time can. – Patrick Fleming

Pacific by Simon Winchester

Simon Winchester delivers this seemingly eclectic narrative of ten incidents occurring in the Pacific which appear to be unrelated – but as he tells the back story on each incident the reader sees how inter-related they are. Winchester, with his sharp British wit, writes in a quick style making a compelling case for the pivot away from the Atlantic and to the Pacific by arguing that the United States (and Canada and Mexico to some degree) are really Pacific Rim nations and that the future interests of the U.S. lie with the Pacific and her people, including the Chinese.  From the birth of surfing and the California beach culture it spawned to the nuclear explosions on remote Pacific atolls to Australia and its emerging role to the potential for confrontation with an increasingly militarizing China, Winchester blends all 10 incidents together, providing some terrific insight into the history and future of the Pacific and why it matters to the United States. – Patrick Fleming

Lafayette in the Somewhat United States by Sarah Vowell

Lafayette in the Somewhat United States By Sarah Vowell Cover Image
$27.95
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ISBN: 9781594631740
Published: Riverhead Books - October 20th, 2015

I’m not sure how someone who knows so much can be so funny when imparting what she knows, but Sarah Vowell has that knack. Her latest saga, long on history, short on boring, high on humor, begins with a question: How did the Marquis de Lafayette win over the stingiest, crankiest tax protestors in the world? Vowell then proceeds to answer that question with an improbably funny saga that manages to give you a vivid, witty picture of not only the brash young Marquis but our founding fathers as well. The young Marquis dashes about on his horse, ignoring wife, child, and king, shuttles nervously back and forth as the French finally arrive, to end regarding America with rosy adoration. Vowell both skewers and admires this view of us, making clear what a fractious, uneasily bound-together lot we Americans are and always have been, and how naïve our hero. Vowell never met a joke she didn’t like, and her weaving of present-day politics, the personal and the past with history lights up that past until it illuminates the present. – Betsy Burton

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