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At this time I began to write, from vanity, greed, and pride. In my writings I did exactly as in life. In order to possess the glory and the wealth for whose sake I wrote, it was necessary to conceal the good, and to display the bad. And so I did. Tolstoy's autobiographical essay is a dissection of his soul, a study of his life's movement away from the religious certainties of youth, and a vital piece of reading which contextualizes the great works he is best known for. Marking the point at which his life moved from the worldly to the spiritual, Tolstoy's philosophical reassessment of the Orthodox faith is a work that holds vital spiritual and intellectual importance to this very day.Show more
Paris, November 1945. John Russell is walking home along the banks of the Seine on a cold and misty evening when Soviet agent Yevgeny Shchepkin falls into step alongside him. Shchepkin tells Russell that the American intelligence will soon be asking him to undertake some low grade espionage on their behalf--assessing the strains between different sections of the German Communist Party--and that Shchepkin's own bosses in Moscow want him to accept the task and pass his findings on to them. He adds that refusal will put Russell's livelihood and life at risk, but that once he has accepted it, he'll find himself even further entangled in the Soviet net. It's a lose-lose situation. Shchepkin admits that his own survival now depends on his ability to utilize Russell. The only way out for the two of them is to make a deal with the Americans. If they can come up with something the Americans want or need badly enough, then perhaps Russell will be forgiven for handing German atomic secrets over to Moscow and Shchepkin might be offered the sort of sanctuary that also safeguards the lives of his wife and daughter in Moscow. Every decision Russell makes now is a dangerous one.Show more
A major new reissue of the work of a classic noir novelist Throughout her career, Patricia Highsmith brought a keen literary eye and a genius for plumbing the psychopathic mind to more than thirty works of fiction, unparalleled in their placid deviousness and sardonic humor. With deadpan accuracy, she delighted in creating true sociopaths in the guise of the everyday man or woman. In A Suspension of Mercy, a masterpiece of noir fantasy, Highsmith revels in eliciting the unsettling psychological forces that lurk beneath the surface of everyday contemporary life. “A curious and absorbing novel.”—New York Times Book ReviewShow more
Where did the universe come from? What was there before it? What will the future bring? And finally, why is there something rather than nothing? Krauss answers to these and other timeless questions in a wildly popular lecture on YouTube have attracted almost a million viewers. The last of these questions in particular has been at the center of religious and philosophical debates about the existence of God, and its the supposed counterargument to anyone who questions the need for God. Scientists have, however, historically focused on more pressing issues such as figuring out how the universe actually functions, which could help us to improve our quality of life. In this cosmological story that rivets as it enlightens, pioneering theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss explains groundbreaking scientific advances that turn the most basic philosophical questions on their head. One of the few prominent scientists to have actively crossed the chasm between science and popular culture, Krauss reveals that modern science is indeed addressing the question of why there is something rather than nothingwith surprising and fascinating results. The beautiful experimental observations and mind-bending theories are all described accessibly, and they suggest that not only can something arise from nothing, something will always arise from nothing. With his characteristic wry humor and clear explanations, Krauss takes us back to the beginning of the beginning, presenting recent evidence for how our universe evolved and the implications for how it will end. It will provoke, challenge, and delight readers as it looks at the most basic underpinnings of existence in a whole new way. And this knowledge that our universe will be quite different in the future has profound consequences and directly affects how we live in the present. As Richard Dawkins described it, this could potentially be the most important scientific book with implications for supernaturalism since Darwin. Afterword by Richard Dawkins, Simon Vance. Nothing is not nothing. Nothing is something. Thats how a cosmos can be spawned from the void a profound idea conveyed in A Universe from Nothing that unsettles some yet enlightens others. Meanwhile, its just another day on the job for physicist Lawrence Krauss. Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist, American Museum of Natural HistoryShow more
'I don't think I'm easy to talk about. I've got a very irregular head. And I'm not anything that you think I am anyway' (Syd Barrett, Rolling Stone, 1971).Roger Keith 'Syd' Barrett was the definition of a golden boy. With good looks and an aptitude for music, he was a charismatic child who fast became a teenage leader in 1960s England. Along with three school chums'Roger Waters, Richard Wright, and Nick Mason'he formed what would become Pink Floyd. Starting as a British cover band, they soon pioneered a new sound: British psychedelic rock. With early, trippy, Barrett-penned hits, Pink Floyd captured the zeitgeist of swinging London in all its technicolor glory. But there was a dark side. Barrett fell in with some hardcore hippies and began taking large quantities of LSD. His already-fragile mental state'most believe him to have been schizophrenic'further unraveled. The once bright-eyed lad was quickly replaced by a sinister, dead-eyed shadow of his former self given to eccentric, reclusive, and sometimes violent behavior. Sacked from the band, Barrett retreated to his mother's house, where he remained until his death, rarely seen or heard. A Very Irregular Head lifts the veil of secrecy that has surrounded Syd Barrett for nearly four decades, drawing on exclusive access to family, friends, archives, journals, letters, and artwork to create the definitive portrait of a brilliant, tragic artist. Besides capturing the promise of Barrett's youth, Chapman challenges the notion that Barrett was a hopelessly lost recluse in his later years and creates a portrait of a true British eccentric who is rightfully placed within a rich literary lineage which stretches through Kenneth Graham, Hilaire Belloc, Edward Lear, Lewis Carroll, John Lennon, David Bowie, and on up to Damon Albarn of Blur. A tragic, affectionate, and compelling portrait of a singular artist, this will stand as the authoritative word on this very English genius for years to come.Show more
They are icons of the literary world whose soaring works have been discussed and analyzed in countless classrooms, homes, and pubs. Yet for most readers, the living, breathing human beings behind the classics have remained unknown-until now. In this utterly captivating book, Dr. Elliot Engel, a leading authority on the lives of great authors, illuminates the fascinating and flawed members of literature's elite. In lieu of stuffy biographical sketches, Engel provides fascinating anecdotes. You'll never look at these literary giants the same way again.Show more
Born in Trinidad of Indian descent, a resident of England for his entire adult life, and a prodigious traveler, V. S. Naipaul has always faced the challenges of 'fitting one civilization to another.' Here, he takes us into his sometimes inadvertent process of creative and intellectual assimilation, which has shaped both his writing and his life. In a probing narrative that is part meditation and part remembrance, Naiapul discusses the writers to whom he was exposed early on and his first encounters with literary culture. He looks at what we have retained and what we have forgotten of the classical world, and he illuminates the ways in which Indian writers such as Gandhi and Nehru both reveal and conceal themselves and their nation. Full of humor and privileged insight, this is an eloquent, intimate exploration into the configuration of a writer's mind. 'As ever, Naipaul's sentences are tightly coiled and muscular; they embody the very qualities they praise'.His characteristic excursions into the byways of history and autobiography are often revelatory, opening up new vistas'.this is a brilliant work from a man who more than anybody else embodies what it means to be a writer.''The ObserverShow more
At the age of seventeen Adolfo Kaminsky had narrowly escaped deportation to Auschwitz and was living in Nazi occupied Paris, using forged documents to hide in plain sight. Due to his expert knowledge of dyes and his ability to masterfully reproduce official documents with an artistic eye, he was recruited to join the Jewish underground. He soon became the primary forger for the Resistance in Paris, working tirelessly with his network to create papers that would save an estimated 14,000 men, women, and children from certain death. Upon the Liberation and for the next twenty-five years, Kaminsky worked as a professional photographer. But, recognizing the fight for freedom had not ended with the defeat of the Nazis, and driven by his own harrowing experiences, he continued to secretly forge documents for thousands of refugees, exiles, immigrants, freedom fighters, and pacifists. Kaminsky kept his past cloaked in secrecy well into his later life, until his daughter and biographer Sarah Kaminsky convinced him to share the details of the life-threatening work he did on behalf of people fighting for justice and peace throughout the world.Show more
As One L did for Harvard Law School, Ahead of the Curve does for Harvard Business School: providing an incisive student's-eye view that pulls the veil away from this vaunted institution and probes the methods it uses to make its students into the elite of the business world.Show more
Charles Spurgeon is one of the great preachers in the history of Christianity. Spurgeon also communicates brilliantly through the written word, and his giftedness to proclaim the doctrine of grace shines in his little gem, All of Grace. Many Christians believe that this small book presents better than any other non-canonical work the gospel of salvation alone by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. This short book is one of the bright jewels in post-apostolic writings on grace. All of Grace is a perfect companion for Christians who wish to refresh their confidence in the grace of God. This book also makes an excellent introduction to those who are exploring the Christian gospel. Whether you are new to Christianity or a long-time believer, All of Grace will capture your attention and interest page after page.Show more
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