Like the men whose epic stories Jon Krakauer has told in his previous bestsellers, Pat Tillman was an irrepressible individualist and iconoclast. In May 2002, Tillman walked away from his $3.6 million NFL contract to enlist in the United States Army. He was deeply troubled by 9/11, and he felt a strong moral obligation to join the fight against al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Two years later, he died on a desolate hillside in southeastern Afghanistan.
Though obvious to most of the two dozen soldiers on the scene that a ranger in Tillman’s own platoon had fired the fatal shots, the Army aggressively maneuvered to keep this information from Tillman’s wife, other family members, and the American public for five weeks following his death. During this time, President Bush repeatedly invoked Tillman’s name to promote his administration’s foreign policy. Long after Tillman’s nationally televised memorial service, the Army grudgingly notified his closest relatives that he had “probably” been killed by friendly fire while it continued to dissemble about the details of his death and who was responsible
Larry Bird and Magic Johnson are transcendent, iconic and timeless standard bearers of excellence who changed "The Game" forever, always bringing out the best in each other and never failing to put a smile on all our faces.
I was one of the lucky ones. I had the incredible good fortune to have witnessed firsthand the Bird/Magic rivalry. It was an intense and constant thing for us all. But even I didn't realize how powerful their connection was until I read When the Game Was Ours, a riveting and page-turning masterpiece that could only be written with the help of someone like Jackie MacMullan, who was there every step of the way and who sensed there was a whole lot more to their story than what happened on the court or got played over and over again on the highlight reels. In this book, Larry and Magic tell stories like they never have before. I was enthralled, page after page. Theirs was a unique relationship. They were polar opposites, but in ways few of us realized they were very much the same. They both wanted the same thing, day in and day out--to win. And did they know how to win.
In a career spanning more than thirty years, Patrick Swayze has made a name for himself on the stage, the screen, and television. Known for his versatility, passion and fearlessness, he's become one of our most beloved actors.
But in February 2008, Patrick announced he had been diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer. Always a fighter, he refused to let the disease bring him to his knees, and his bravery has inspired both his legion of fans and cancer patients everywhere. Yet this memoir, written with wisdom and heart, recounts much more than his bout with cancer. In vivid detail, Patrick describes his Texas upbringing, his personal struggles, his rise to fame with North and South, his commercial breakthroughs in Dirty Dancing and Ghost, and the soul mate who's stood by his side through it all: his wife, writer and director Lisa Niemi.
It was almost a decade ago that Least Heat-Moon (Blue Highways) followed the trail of Lewis and Clark in River Horse; in the first section of his latest peripatetic writings, he and his wife, Q, trace the lesser-known Dunbar-Hunter Expedition of 1804 through the southern half of the Louisiana Purchase, searching out the head of the Ouachita River in Arkansas. Least Heat-Moon's fans will find this territory, and that covered in the five other journeys to places a goodly portion of the American populace would call 'nowhere,' instantly familiar, as he and various companions take digressive paths from one small opolis (where anything metro was clearly missing) to the next in search of quoz (an 18th-century word meaning anything out of the ordinary). Among his many adventures, Least Heat-Moon rides a bicycle along an abandoned railroad track, discovers a road to nowherebuilt by a Florida county so local drug smugglers would have a landing strip, and comes up with what he believes is the real story behind the murder of his great-grandfather.
She's a real-life American success story. A small-town girl who wasn't content to keep things small. In 1996, Sarah Palin was a city councilwoman who had set her sights on becoming mayor, despite unwelcome advice that as the mother of three young children, she might not have a whole lot of success in a political career. She proved any naysayer wrong in a hurry. Ten years later, by 2006, she was the youngest governor Alaska had ever had...and the first woman. Now, still only in her mid-forties and the mother of five, she is one of the best-known women in American politics.
I don't spend a lot of time dwelling on the past or thinking about myself, Turner claims, but the media tycoon turns out to have a pretty good memory—except for certain events, like the death of his younger sister, which he admits he's suppressed completely. After dropping out of college, Turner worked his way up from the bottom of his father's billboard company, which he inherited when his father committed suicide, and then slowly turned it into an international media empire—an uphill battle he records in entertaining detail (I don't think of myself as losing, he says of the occasional setbacks, drawing on his experiences as a champion sailor. I'm simply learning how to win). Turner's version of events is frequently interrupted by supplementary Ted Stories from those closest to him, including his children and business colleagues—even competitors.
With an anthropologist's eye and a novelist's pen, Pulitzer Prize–winning Kidder (Mountains Beyond Mountains) recounts the story of Deo, the Burundian former medical student turned American émigré at the center of this strikingly vivid story. Told in flashbacks from Deo's 2006 return visit to Burundi to mid-1990s New York and the Burundi of childhood memory and young adulthood—as the Rwandan genocide spilled across the border following the same inflamed ethnic divisions—then picking up in 2003, when author and subject first meet, Deo's experience is conveyed with a remarkable depth of vision and feeling. Kidder renders his subject with deep yet unfussy fidelity and the conflict with detail and nuance. While the book might recall Dave Eggers's novelized version of a real-life Sudanese refugee's experience in What Is the What, reading this book hardly covers old ground, but enables one to walk in the footsteps of its singular subject and see worlds new and old afresh. This profoundly gripping, hopeful and crucial testament is a work of the utmost skill, sympathy and moral clarity.
Super Bowl–winning coach and #1 New York Times best selling author Tony Dungy has had an unusual opportunity to reflect on what it takes to achieve significance. He is looked to by many as the epitome of the success and significance that is highly valued in our culture. He also works every day with young men who are trying to achieve significance through football and all that goes with a professional athletic career—such as money, power, and celebrity. Coach Dungy has had all that, but he passionately believes that there is a different path to significance, a path characterized by attitudes, ambitions, and allegiances that are all too rare but uncommonly rewarding. Uncommon reveals lessons on achieving significance that the coach has learned from his remarkable parents, his athletic and coaching career, his mentors, and his journey with God. A particular focus of the book: what it means to be a man of significance in a culture that is offering young men few positive role models.
If we must have another presidential biography, best to have one of a figure who hasn't had his life written about at length for two decades. While the Wilson we find here differs little from the man we've known before, Cooper's new book is an authoritative, up-to-date study of the great president. Cooper (Breaking the Heart of the World), a noted Wilson expert at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, offers balanced and judicious assessments of the life and career of one of the nation's most controversial leaders. From his youth in Virginia, through his years at Princeton, then as New Jersey governor and president, Wilson faced thickets of challenges, not all of which he managed effectively. At the end, sick and weakened, characteristically stubborn and moralistic, he notoriously failed to gain American membership in the League of Nations.
"The first Christmas was a simple one. So simple that it had all the makings of a first-class disaster. It's a miracle it turned out well at all. In fact, that's the whole point. It really was, and remains, a miracle--the greatest miracle of all time. And it really was simple."
Christmas has become synonymous with shopping, overindulging, competition, and stress. But according to Mike Huckabee (who was a pastor before getting into politics), that was never God's intention. Going back to the Nativity, Christmas is supposed to be about simple things: faith, love, family, and hope. The hard part, in today's crazy world, is remembering that those simple things are the most precious of all.
Now Huckabee recounts twelve Christmas memories--often funny, sometimes deeply moving--that range from his childhood in Arkansas to his years as a young husband and father to his time as a governor and then a presidential candidate. These true stories will help you smile, take a deep breath, and maybe slow down your own holiday treadmill.