Jul 13, 2010

new nonfiction

In the tradition of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, a stunningly vivid historical account of the forty-year battle between Comanche Indians and white settlers for control of the American West, centering on Quanah, the greatest Comanche chief of them all.

S. C. Gwynne’s Empire of the Summer Moon spans two astonishing stories. The first traces the rise and fall of the Comanches, the most powerful Indian tribe in American history. The second entails one of the most remarkable narratives ever to come out of the Old West: the epic saga of the pioneer woman Cynthia Ann Parker and her mixed-blood son Quanah, who became the last and greatest chief of the Comanches.

Although readers may be more familiar with the tribal names Apache and Sioux, it was in fact the legendary fighting ability of the Comanches that determined just how and when the American West opened up. Comanche boys became adept bareback riders by age six; full Comanche braves were considered the best horsemen who ever rode. They were so masterful at war and so skillful with their arrows and lances that they stopped the northern drive of colonial Spain from Mexico and halted the French expansion westward from Louisiana. White settlers arriving in Texas from the eastern United States were surprised to find the frontier being rolled backward by Comanches incensed by the invasion of their tribal lands. So effective were the Comanches that they forced the creation of the Texas Rangers and account for the advent of the new weapon specifically designed to fight them: the six-gun.

The war with the Comanches lasted four decades, in effect holding up the development of the new American nation. Gwynne’s exhilarating account delivers a sweeping narrative that encompasses Spanish colonialism, the Civil War, the destruction of the buffalo herds, and the arrival of the railroads—a historical feast for anyone interested in how the United States came into being.

Against this backdrop Gwynne presents the compelling drama of Cynthia Ann Parker, a lovely nine-year-old girl with cornflower-blue eyes who was kidnapped by Comanches from the far Texas frontier in 1836. She grew to love her captors and became infamous as the "White Squaw" who refused to return until her tragic capture by Texas Rangers in 1860. More famous still was her son Quanah, a warrior who was never defeated and whose guerrilla wars in the Texas Panhandle made him a legend.

S. C. Gwynne’s account of these events is meticulously researched, intellectually provocative, and, above all, thrillingly told. Empire of the Summer Moon announces him as a major new writer of American history.

"The key to real and lasting change lies somewhere between what you know and what you do. It’s what you think." —Lisa OzBeing social creatures, we yearn for connection but often fall into bad habits that interfere with our ability to have rewarding relationships. We begin to see ourselves as alone, isolated, or at odds with the rest of the universe. How can we learn to live in relationship in a more enlightened way? In US: Transforming Ourselves and the Relationships That Matter Most, Lisa Oz, the bestselling coauthor of the YOU: The Owner’s Manual series, takes readers on a transformational journey as she explores the three relationships that matter most: with the self, with others, and with the Divine. Interrelated and inseparable, these fundamental relationships determine the quality and the measure of our emotional and spiritual lives. Drawing from ancient traditions, spiritual and holistic thinkers, and personal insights, Lisa Oz guides you on an engaging, thought-provoking, and ultimately inspirational path toward changing your self, your relationships, and your life. With remarkable candor and humor, Lisa offers personal anecdotes that highlight the truth and consequences of familiar interactions. She also includes imaginative exercises meant to help you gain new insight into old behavior patterns and to encourage you to be an active, empowered agent for positive change in your relationships. Lisa’s writing on topics such as personal well-being, identifying your authentic self, conscious parenting, marital bonding, and truly compassionate living are persuasive because they are suggestive rather than prescriptive. By holding a mirror to her relationships, Lisa hopes to inspire you to reflect on your own, observing that we are all works in progress, living in relationship together.Informative and transformative, US offers an enriched and fulfilling vision of friendship, marriage, family, and spiritual progress. In these pages, the evolution of YOU blossoms into the community of US.

The bestselling author's sequel to The Hungry Ocean--a fast- paced account of her return to swordfishing

Linda Greenlaw hadn't been bluewater fishing for ten years- not since the events chronicled in the books The Perfect Storm and The Hungry Ocean-but when her lobster traps aren't paying off, her truck is on its last gasp, and the bills are piling up, she decides to take a friend up on his offer and captain a boat for a season of swordfishing. A decade older, and with family responsibilities, she's a different person heading out to sea, but any reluctance is quickly tempered by the magnetic lure of adventure. And the adventures begin almost immediately: The ship turns out to be rusty and ancient, and even with a crew of four Greenlaw is faced with technical challenges. There are the expected complexities of longline fishing and the nuances of reading the weather. Her greatest challenge, however, comes when the boat's lines inadvertently drift into Canadian waters and Greenlaw is thrown in jail.

Capturing the moment-by-moment details of her journey, Greenlaw tells a story about human nature and the nature around us, about learning what can be controlled and when to let fate step in. Seaworthy is a compelling narrative about a person setting her own terms and finding her true self between land and water.

In his first audiobook, Tony Hsieh - the widely-admired CEO of on-line shoe retailer, Zappos, explains how he created a unique culture and commitment to service that aims to improve the lives of its employees, customers, vendors and backers. Using anecdotes and stories from his own experiences and from other companies, Hsieh provides concrete ways that companies can achieve unprecedented success. Even better, he shows how creating happiness and record results go hand-in-hand. He starts with the 'Why' in a section where he narrates his quest to understand the science of happiness. Then he runs through the ten Zappos 'Core Values' such as 'Deliver WOW through Service,' 'Create Fun and A Little Weirdness' and 'Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit' and explains how you and your colleagues should come up with your own. Hsieh then details many of the unique practices at Zappos that have made it the success it is today, such as the philosphy of allocating marketing money into the customer experience, thereby allowing repeat customers and word-of-mouth be their true form of marketing. He also explains why Zappos's main priority is company culture and his belief that once you get the culture right, everything else - great customer service, long-term branding - will happen on its own. Finally, Hsieh explains how Zappos employees actually apply the Core Values to improving their lives outside of work - and to making a difference in their communities and the world -

A brilliant, authoritative, and fascinating history of America’s most puzzling era, the years 1920 to 1933, when the U.S. Constitution was amended to restrict one of America’s favorite pastimes: drinking alcoholic beverages.

From its start, America has been awash in drink. The sailing vessel that brought John Winthrop to the shores of the New World in 1630 carried more beer than water. By the 1820s, liquor flowed so plentifully it was cheaper than tea. That Americans would ever agree to relinquish their booze was as improbable as it was astonishing.

Yet we did, and Last Call is Daniel Okrent’s dazzling explanation of why we did it, what life under Prohibition was like, and how such an unprecedented degree of government interference in the private lives of Americans changed the country forever.

Writing with both wit and historical acuity, Okrent reveals how Prohibition marked a confluence of diverse forces: the growing political power of the women’s suffrage movement, which allied itself with the antiliquor campaign; the fear of small-town, native-stock Protestants that they were losing control of their country to the immigrants of the large cities; the anti-German sentiment stoked by World War I; and a variety of other unlikely factors, ranging from the rise of the automobile to the advent of the income tax.

Through it all, Americans kept drinking, going to remarkably creative lengths to smuggle, sell, conceal, and convivially (and sometimes fatally) imbibe their favorite intoxicants. Last Call is peopled with vivid characters of an astonishing variety: Susan B. Anthony and Billy Sunday, William Jennings Bryan and bootlegger Sam Bronfman, Pierre S. du Pont and H. L. Mencken, Meyer Lansky and the incredible—if long-forgotten—federal official Mabel Walker Willebrandt, who throughout the twenties was the most powerful woman in the country. (Perhaps most surprising of all is Okrent’s account of Joseph P. Kennedy’s legendary, and long-misunderstood, role in the liquor business.)

It’s a book rich with stories from nearly all parts of the country. Okrent’s narrative runs through smoky Manhattan speakeasies, where relations between the sexes were changed forever; California vineyards busily producing “sacramental” wine; New England fishing communities that gave up fishing for the more lucrative rum-running business; and in Washington, the halls of Congress itself, where politicians who had voted for Prohibition drank openly and without apology.

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