Gene Picks

Salt in Their Veins: Conversations with coastal Mainers

More than 15 million people “from away” visit Maine each year, most drawn to the rugged beauty of its rocky coast. But rocks and the sea provide only the setting for a more interesting drama: the everyday lives of the honest, hard-working, and fiercely independent populations of its hundred small, tightly-knit fishing villages. Coastal Mainers are also taciturn, as if words are too precious to waste. The occasional tourist, even most of the summer residents, find it difficult to elicit more than a minimal “ayuh” or “daow” in conversation. In fact, Down East humor is defined by what is NOT said. While the west has its cowboy, the icon of the Maine coast is its lobsterman, a sort of cowboy of the sea. But behind each lobsterman stand: a sternman, a bait dealer, a diesel mechanic, a boatbuilder, a pastor, an auto mechanic, a fuel oil dealer, a general store owner, a road commissioner, the teachers of his children, and myriad other members of his or her community. Like barnacles on a tidal ledge, these closely-knit people cling to the edge of the sea. They have salt in their veins, and the Maine coast is their ecosystem. If you wish to know these Mainers better, Salt in Their Veins invites you into their parlors, their kitchens, and their fishing shacks to join conversations between the author and thirty-five salty Mainers.

 

Wooly

“With his knack for turning narrative nonfiction into stories worthy of the best thriller fiction” (Omnivoracious), Ben Mezrich takes us on an exhilarating true adventure story from the icy terrain of Siberia to the cutting-edge genetic labs of Harvard University. A group of young scientists, under the guidance of Dr. George Church, the most brilliant geneticist of our time, works to make fantasy reality by sequencing the DNA of a frozen woolly mammoth harvested from above the Arctic circle, and splicing elements of that sequence into the DNA of a modern elephant. Will they be able to turn the hybrid cells into a functional embryo and bring the extinct creatures to life in our modern world?

Along with Church and his team of Harvard scientists, a world-famous conservationist and a genius Russian scientist plan to turn a tract of the Siberian tundra into Pleistocene Park, populating the permafrost with ancient herbivores as a hedge against an environmental ticking time bomb. More than a story of genetics, this is a thriller illuminating the race against global warming, the incredible power of modern technology, the brave fossil hunters who battle polar bears and extreme weather conditions, and the ethical quandary of cloning extinct animals. Can we right the wrongs of our ancestors who hunted the woolly mammoth to extinction—and at what cost?

 

Shadow Divers

For John Chatterton and Richie Kohler, deep wreck diving was more than a sport. Testing themselves against treacherous currents, braving depths that induced hallucinatory effects, navigating through wreckage as perilous as a minefield, they pushed themselves to their limits and beyond, brushing against death more than once in the rusting hulks of sunken ships.
But in the fall of 1991, not even these courageous divers were prepared for what they found 230 feet below the surface, in the frigid Atlantic waters sixty miles off the coast of New Jersey: a World War II German U-boat, its ruined interior a macabre wasteland of twisted metal, tangled wires, and human bones–all buried under decades of accumulated sediment.
No identifying marks were visible on the submarine or the few artifacts brought to the surface. No historian, expert, or government had a clue as to which U-boat the men had found. In fact, the official records all agreed that there simply could not be a sunken U-boat and crew at that location.

Over the next six years, an elite team of divers embarked on a quest to solve the mystery. Some of them would not live to see its end. Chatterton and Kohler, at first bitter rivals, would be drawn into a friendship that deepened to an almost mystical sense of brotherhood with each other and with the drowned U-boat sailors–former enemies of their country. As the men’s marriages frayed under the pressure of a shared obsession, their dives grew more daring, and each realized that he was hunting more than the identities of a lost U-boat and its nameless crew.

Author Robert Kurson’s account of this quest is at once thrilling and emotionally complex, and it is written with a vivid sense of what divers actually experience when they meet the dangers of the ocean’s underworld. The story of Shadow Divers often seems too amazing to be true, but it all happened, two hundred thirty feet down, in the deep blue sea.

 

Last Hope Island

When the Nazi blitzkrieg rolled over continental Europe in the early days of World War II, the city of London became a refuge for the governments and armed forces of six occupied nations who escaped there to continue the fight. So, too, did General Charles de Gaulle, the self-appointed representative of free France.

As the only European democracy still holding out against Hitler, Britain became known to occupied countries as “Last Hope Island.” Getting there, one young emigré declared, was “like getting to heaven.”

In this epic, character-driven narrative, acclaimed historian Lynne Olson takes us back to those perilous days when the British and their European guests joined forces to combat the mightiest military force in history. Here we meet the courageous King Haakon of Norway, whose distinctive “H7” monogram became a symbol of his country’s resistance to Nazi rule, and his fiery Dutch counterpart, Queen Wilhelmina, whose antifascist radio broadcasts rallied the spirits of her defeated people. Here, too, is the Earl of Suffolk, a swashbuckling British aristocrat whose rescue of two nuclear physicists from France helped make the Manhattan Project possible.

Last Hope Island also recounts some of the Europeans’ heretofore unsung exploits that helped tilt the balance against the Axis: the crucial efforts of Polish pilots during the Battle of Britain; the vital role played by French and Polish code breakers in cracking the Germans’ reputedly indecipherable Enigma code; and the flood of top-secret intelligence about German operations—gathered by spies throughout occupied Europe—that helped ensure the success of the 1944 Allied invasion.

A fascinating companion to Citizens of London, Olson’s bestselling chronicle of the Anglo-American alliance, Last Hope Island recalls with vivid humanity that brief moment in time when the peoples of Europe stood together in their effort to roll back the tide of conquest and restore order to a broken continent

Last Hope Island by Lynne Olson

Last Hope IslandWhen the Nazi blitzkrieg rolled over continental Europe in the early days of World War II, the city of London became a refuge for the governments and armed forces of six occupied nations who escaped there to continue the fight. So, too, did General Charles de Gaulle, the self-appointed representative of free France.

As the only European democracy still holding out against Hitler, Britain became known to occupied countries as “Last Hope Island.” Getting there, one young emigré declared, was “like getting to heaven.”

In this epic, character-driven narrative, acclaimed historian Lynne Olson takes us back to those perilous days when the British and their European guests joined forces to combat the mightiest military force in history. Here we meet the courageous King Haakon of Norway, whose distinctive “H7” monogram became a symbol of his country’s resistance to Nazi rule, and his fiery Dutch counterpart, Queen Wilhelmina, whose antifascist radio broadcasts rallied the spirits of her defeated people. Here, too, is the Earl of Suffolk, a swashbuckling British aristocrat whose rescue of two nuclear physicists from France helped make the Manhattan Project possible.

Last Hope Island also recounts some of the Europeans’ heretofore unsung exploits that helped tilt the balance against the Axis: the crucial efforts of Polish pilots during the Battle of Britain; the vital role played by French and Polish code breakers in cracking the Germans’ reputedly indecipherable Enigma code; and the flood of top-secret intelligence about German operations—gathered by spies throughout occupied Europe—that helped ensure the success of the 1944 Allied invasion.

A fascinating companion to Citizens of London, Olson’s bestselling chronicle of the Anglo-American alliance, Last Hope Island recalls with vivid humanity that brief moment in time when the peoples of Europe stood together in their effort to roll back the tide of conquest and restore order to a broken continent.

Hue’ 1968

Hue 1968The first battle book from Mark Bowden since his #1 New York Times bestseller Black Hawk Down, Hue 1968 is the story of the centerpiece of the Tet Offensive and a turning point in the American War in Vietnam.

In the early hours of January 31, 1968, the North Vietnamese launched over one hundred attacks across South Vietnam in what would become known as the Tet Offensive. The lynchpin of Tet was the capture of Hue, Vietnam’s intellectual and cultural capital, by 10,000 National Liberation Front troops who descended from hidden camps and surged across the city of 140,000. Within hours the entire city was in their hands save for two small military outposts. American commanders refused to believe the size and scope of the Front’s presence, ordering small companies of marines against thousands of entrenched enemy troops. After several futile and deadly days, Lieutenant Colonel Ernie Cheatham would finally come up with a strategy to retake the city, block by block and building by building, in some of the most intense urban combat since World War II.

With unprecedented access to war archives in the U.S. and Vietnam and interviews with participants from both sides, Bowden narrates each stage of this crucial battle through multiple viewpoints. Played out over 24 days and ultimately costing 10,000 lives, the Battle of Hue was by far the bloodiest of the entire war. When it ended, the American debate was never again about winning, only about how to leave. Hue 1968 is a gripping and moving account of this pivotal moment.

The Frozen Hours

The Frozen HoursJune 1950. The North Korean army invades South Korea, intent on uniting the country under Communist rule. In response, the United States mobilizes a force to defend the overmatched South Korean troops, and together they drive the North Koreans back to their border with China.

But several hundred thousand Chinese troops have entered Korea, laying massive traps for the Allies. In November 1950, the Chinese spring those traps. Allied forces, already battling stunningly cold weather, find themselves caught completely off guard as the Chinese advance around the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea. A force that once stood on the precipice of victory now finds itself on the brink of annihilation. Assured by General Douglas MacArthur that they would be home by Christmas, the soldiers and Marines fight for their lives against the most brutal weather conditions imaginable—and an enemy that outnumbers them more than six to one.

The Frozen Hours tells the story of Frozen Chosin from multiple points of view: Oliver P. Smith, the commanding general of the American 1st Marine Division, who famously redefined retreat as “advancing in a different direction”; Marine Private Pete Riley, a World War II veteran who now faces the greatest fight of his life; and the Chinese commander Sung Shi-Lun, charged with destroying the Americans he has so completely surrounded, ever aware that above him, Chairman Mao Tse-Tung watches his every move.

Written with the propulsive force Shaara brings to all his novels of combat and courage, The Frozen Hours transports us to the critical moment in the history of America’s “Forgotten War,” when the fate of the Korean peninsula lay in the hands of a brave band of brothers battling both the elements and a determined, implacable foe.

Hue 1968

Hue 1968The first battle book from Mark Bowden since his #1 New York Times bestseller Black Hawk Down, Hue 1968 is the story of the centerpiece of the Tet Offensive and a turning point in the American War in Vietnam.

In the early hours of January 31, 1968, the North Vietnamese launched over one hundred attacks across South Vietnam in what would become known as the Tet Offensive. The lynchpin of Tet was the capture of Hue, Vietnam’s intellectual and cultural capital, by 10,000 National Liberation Front troops who descended from hidden camps and surged across the city of 140,000. Within hours the entire city was in their hands save for two small military outposts. American commanders refused to believe the size and scope of the Front’s presence, ordering small companies of marines against thousands of entrenched enemy troops. After several futile and deadly days, Lieutenant Colonel Ernie Cheatham would finally come up with a strategy to retake the city, block by block and building by building, in some of the most intense urban combat since World War II.

With unprecedented access to war archives in the U.S. and Vietnam and interviews with participants from both sides, Bowden narrates each stage of this crucial battle through multiple viewpoints. Played out over 24 days and ultimately costing 10,000 lives, the Battle of Hue was by far the bloodiest of the entire war. When it ended, the American debate was never again about winning, only about how to leave. Hue 1968 is a gripping and moving account of this pivotal moment.

The Frozen Hours: a novel about the Korean War

The Frozen HoursJune 1950. The North Korean army invades South Korea, intent on uniting the country under Communist rule. In response, the United States mobilizes a force to defend the overmatched South Korean troops, and together they drive the North Koreans back to their border with China.

But several hundred thousand Chinese troops have entered Korea, laying massive traps for the Allies. In November 1950, the Chinese spring those traps. Allied forces, already battling stunningly cold weather, find themselves caught completely off guard as the Chinese advance around the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea. A force that once stood on the precipice of victory now finds itself on the brink of annihilation. Assured by General Douglas MacArthur that they would be home by Christmas, the soldiers and Marines fight for their lives against the most brutal weather conditions imaginable—and an enemy that outnumbers them more than six to one.

The Frozen Hours tells the story of Frozen Chosin from multiple points of view: Oliver P. Smith, the commanding general of the American 1st Marine Division, who famously redefined retreat as “advancing in a different direction”; Marine Private Pete Riley, a World War II veteran who now faces the greatest fight of his life; and the Chinese commander Sung Shi-Lun, charged with destroying the Americans he has so completely surrounded, ever aware that above him, Chairman Mao Tse-Tung watches his every move.

Written with the propulsive force Shaara brings to all his novels of combat and courage, The Frozen Hours transports us to the critical moment in the history of America’s “Forgotten War,” when the fate of the Korean peninsula lay in the hands of a brave band of brothers battling both the elements and a determined, implacable foe.

 

Elihu Washburne

Elihu WashburneThis is the remarkable and inspiring story—told largely in his own words—of American diplomat Elihu Washburne, who heroically aided his countrymen and other foreign nationals when Paris was devastated by war and the ensuing ravages of the Commune.

Elihu Washburne was appointed minister to France by President Grant in 1869, arriving in Europe shortly before the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War. He stayed at his post even as the Prussian army laid siege to Paris, and afterward when the revolutionaries of the Commune embarked on a reign of terror that filled the streets with blood. He was witness to countless acts of unspeakable desperation and violence, and yet he remained, at great risk to his own life, to protect American citizens and others as best he could.

Michael Hill provides essential background and historical context to the excerpts, which are drawn from the original manuscript sources. Filled with political and military insight, Washburne’s writings tell the tale of an American hero rising to greatness in the midst of difficult and extraordinary times.

Tides: The Science and Spirit of the Ocean

Tides The Science and Spirit of the OceanIn Tides: The Science and Spirit of the Ocean, writer, sailor, and surfer Jonathan White takes readers across the globe to discover the science and spirit of ocean tides. In the Arctic, White shimmies under the ice with an Inuit elder to hunt for mussels in the dark cavities left behind at low tide; in China, he races the Silver Dragon, a twenty-five-foot tidal bore that crashes eighty miles up the Qiantang River; in France, he interviews the monks that live in the tide-wrapped monastery of Mont Saint-Michel; in Chile and Scotland, he investigates the growth of tidal power generation; and in Panama and Venice, he delves into how the threat of sea level rise is changing human culture—the very old and very new. Tides combines lyrical prose, colorful adventure travel, and provocative scientific inquiry into the elemental, mysterious paradox that keeps our planet’s waters in constant motion. Photographs, scientific figures, line drawings, and sixteen color photos dramatically illustrate this engaging, expert tour of the tides.

Tides: The Science and Spirit of the Oceans

TidesIn Tides: The Science and Spirit of the Ocean, writer, sailor, and surfer Jonathan White takes readers across the globe to discover the science and spirit of ocean tides. In the Arctic, White shimmies under the ice with an Inuit elder to hunt for mussels in the dark cavities left behind at low tide; in China, he races the Silver Dragon, a twenty-five-foot tidal bore that crashes eighty miles up the Qiantang River; in France, he interviews the monks that live in the tide-wrapped monastery of Mont Saint-Michel; in Chile and Scotland, he investigates the growth of tidal power generation; and in Panama and Venice, he delves into how the threat of sea level rise is changing human culture—the very old and very new. Tides combines lyrical prose, colorful adventure travel, and provocative scientific inquiry into the elemental, mysterious paradox that keeps our planet’s waters in constant motion. Photographs, scientific figures, line drawings, and sixteen color photos dramatically illustrate this engaging, expert tour of the tides.

The Great Mars Hill Bank Robbery

The Great Mars Hill Bank RobberyOn November 12, 1971, Bernard Patterson, a much decorated Vietnam War hero turned real-life version of Don Quixote, Butch Cassidy, and Robin Hood all rolled into one, robbed the Northern National Bank in Mars Hill, Maine. He escaped with $110,000; at the time, the largest bank robbery in the history of the state. A tunnel rat and paratrooper in Vietnam who rose to the rank of sergeant, he was awarded four bronze stars and recommended for a silver star for valor. He returned home to northern Maine broke and disillusioned. Wearing dark glasses, dressed in a Marx Brother’s ankle length coat and wearing a blue wig, he robbed the bank, even though he was recognized by the elderly teller. He initially escaped by paddling a rubber raft down the Prestile Stream. This was the beginning of a comic, outrageous, implausible journey that took him across the United States, then to Europe and North Africa before finally surrendering to authorities in Scotland Yard after he had spent most of the money. Along the way, he lived a raucous life of wine and women while hobnobbing in aristocratic hangouts and giving money to those he perceived to be in need; all the time staying just a heartbeat ahead of law enforcement officials. He motor biked across Europe, hoodwinked border officials, bought a camel and got lost in the North African desert. Returned to the United States for prosecution, he was convicted and imprisoned. Released several years later, he moved back to northern Maine, where he continued to lead a reckless life that included running a “pot farm,” until he died at age 56 in 2003. When asked by a friend why he had robbed the bank, he responded, “The VA wouldn’t give me a loan, so I decided to take one out on my own.”

A Day’s Work

A Day’s WorkThese extraordinary collections of photographs and narrative captions have wide appeal to anyone interested in Maine’s past. Spend an afternoon with either volume of A Day’s Work, and you’ll make discoveries that will change how you look at Maine’s passing scene. Bunting has a knack for spotting the unusual in a photograph, or some minor detail that, in fact, tells a major story about the how and why. From granite quarry operations to an itinerant cobbler in a sailing scow to hootchie cootchie dancers at the state fair to deepwater ships, his page-long captions place these images in social and economic context but this is not dry history. His research has uncovered a wealth of fascinating, often quirky detail (did you know that mummy wrappings were imported from Egypt for Maine papermaking?), and he makes frequent forays into the Maine storytelling tradition.

 

City of Thieves

City of ThievesFrom the critically acclaimed author of The 25th Hour and When the Nines Roll Over and co-creator of the HBO series Game of Thrones, a captivating novel about war, courage, survival — and a remarkable friendship that ripples across a lifetime.

During the Nazis’ brutal siege of Leningrad, Lev Beniov is arrested for looting and thrown into the same cell as a handsome deserter named Kolya. Instead of being executed, Lev and Kolya are given a shot at saving their own lives by complying with an outrageous directive: secure a dozen eggs for a powerful Soviet colonel to use in his daughter’s wedding cake. In a city cut off from all supplies and suffering unbelievable deprivation, Lev and Kolya embark on a hunt through the dire lawlessness of Leningrad and behind enemy lines to find the impossible.

By turns insightful and funny, thrilling and terrifying, the New York Times bestseller City of Thieves is a gripping, cinematic World War II adventure and an intimate coming-of-age story with an utterly contemporary feel for how boys become men.

Tribe

TribeWe have a strong instinct to belong to small groups defined by clear purpose and understanding–“tribes.” This tribal connection has been largely lost in modern society, but regaining it may be the key to our psychological survival.

Decades before the American Revolution, Benjamin Franklin lamented that English settlers were constantly fleeing over to the Indians-but Indians almost never did the same. Tribal society has been exerting an almost gravitational pull on Westerners for hundreds of years, and the reason lies deep in our evolutionary past as a communal species. The most recent example of that attraction is combat veterans who come home to find themselves missing the incredibly intimate bonds of platoon life. The loss of closeness that comes at the end of deployment may explain the high rates of post-traumatic stress disorder suffered by military veterans today.

Combining history, psychology, and anthropology, TRIBE explores what we can learn from tribal societies about loyalty, belonging, and the eternal human quest for meaning. It explains the irony that-for many veterans as well as civilians-war feels better than peace, adversity can turn out to be a blessing, and disasters are sometimes remembered more fondly than weddings or tropical vacations. TRIBE explains why we are stronger when we come together, and how that can be achieved even in today’s divided world.

Over the Edge of the World

Magellan’s Terrifying Circumnavigation of the Globe

over-the-edge-of-the-worldFerdinand Magellan’s daring circumnavigation of the globe in the sixteenth century was a three-year odyssey filled with sex, violence, and amazing adventure. Now in Over the Edge of the World, prize-winning biographer and journalist Laurence Bergreen entwines a variety of candid, firsthand accounts, bringing to life this groundbreaking and majestic tale of discovery that changed both the way explorers would henceforth navigate the oceans and history itself.

The Extinguished Flame:

Olympians killed in The Great War by Nigel McCrery

 

the-extinguished-flame-olympians-killed-in-the-great-warIn August 2016 the world will be spellbound by the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro as 10,500 athletes from 206 countries compete in 306 events. Tracing their origins back to the Greeks in 776 BC, the history of the Olympics is a glorious one but it has had its darker moments.

During the First World War no fewer than 135 Olympians perished. Many had won Gold, Silver and Bronze medals. They came not just from the UK, Germany, France, USA but from all over the globe.

Wyndham Halswelle, killed in action on 31 March 1915, won a Gold, Silver and Bronze medals in both field and track events. The Frenchman Leon Flameng, the fastest cyclist ever, died on 2 January 1917, having won Gold, Silver and Bronze medals in the 1896 Olympics. The German Fritz Bartholomae, killed in action 12 September 1915, won a Bronze in the rowing eights during the 1912 Olympics. The list of these heroes goes on and on.

Each Olympian, who made the supreme sacrifice, is honored in this magnificent book by a summary of their life, sporting achievement and manner of their death.

The Inner World of Abraham Lincoln by Michael Burlingame

the-inner-world-of-abraham-lincolnAbraham Lincoln’s excruciating, yet highly productive, midlife crisis; his woeful marriage to a dishonest woman who often embarrassed and sometimes physically abused him; his intense estrangement from a shiftless father; his streak of cruelty; his explosive temper; and his aversion to women are among the topics covered by Michael Burlingame in The Inner World of Abraham Lincoln. Based primarily on long-neglected manuscript and newspaper sources – especially on reminiscences of people who knew Lincoln – this psychobiography casts new light on the emotional origins of Lincoln’s deep hatred of slavery, on his transformation from a party hack to a statesman, on his relations with his family, on the causes of his depressions, and on the roots of his ambition. Burlingame uses a blend of Freudian and Jungian theory to interpret the psyche of the sixteenth president.

Waterloo A history of Four Days,Three Armies and Three Battles

waterloo-a-history-of-four-daysthree-armies-and-three-battlesOn June 18, 1815 the armies of France, Britain and Prussia descended upon a quiet valley south of Brussels. In the previous three days, the French army had beaten the Prussians at Ligny and fought the British to a standstill at Quatre-Bras. The Allies were in retreat. The little village north of where they turned to fight the French army was called Waterloo. The blood-soaked battle to which it gave its name would become a landmark in European history.

In his first work of nonfiction, Bernard Cornwell combines his storytelling skills with a meticulously researched history to give a riveting chronicle of every dramatic moment, from Napoleon’s daring escape from Elba to the smoke and gore of the three battlefields and their aftermath. Through quotes from the letters and diaries of Emperor Napoleon, the Duke of Wellington, and the ordinary officers and soldiers, he brings to life how it actually felt to fight those famous battles—as well as the moments of amazing bravery on both sides that left the actual outcome hanging in the balance until the bitter end.

Published to coincide with the battle’s bicentennial in 2015, Waterloo is a tense and gripping story of heroism and tragedy—and of the final battle that determined the fate of nineteenth-century Europe.

Marked for Death

marked-for-deathLittle more than ten years after the first powered flight, aircraft were pressed into service in World War I. Nearly forgotten in the war’s massive overall death toll, some 50,000 aircrew would die in the combatant nations’ fledgling air forces.

The romance of aviation had a remarkable grip on the public imagination, propaganda focusing on gallant air ‘aces’ who become national heroes. The reality was horribly different. Marked for Death debunks popular myth to explore the brutal truths of wartime aviation: of flimsy planes and unprotected pilots; of burning nineteen-year-olds falling screaming to their deaths; of pilots blinded by the entrails of their observers.

James Hamilton-Paterson also reveals how four years of war produced profound changes both in the aircraft themselves and in military attitudes and strategy. By 1918 it was widely accepted that domination of the air above the battlefield was crucial to military success, a realization that would change the nature of warfare forever.

Fatal Dive: Solving the World War II Mystery of the USS Grunion

Fatal Dive, by Peter StevensFatal Dive: Solving the World War II Mystery of the USS Grunion by Peter F. Stevens reveals the incredible true story of the search for and discovery of the USS Grunion. Discovered in 2006 after a decades-long, high-risk search by the Abele brothers—whose father commanded the submarine and met his untimely death aboard it—one question remained: what sank the USS Grunion? Was it a round from a Japanese ship, a catastrophic mechanical failure, or something else—one of the sub’s own torpedoes? For almost half the war, submarine skippers’ complaints about the MK 14 torpedo’s dangerous flaws were ignored by naval brass, who sent the subs out with the defective weapon. Fatal Dive is the first book that documents the entire saga of the ship and its crew and provides compelling evidence that the Grunion was a victim of “The Great Torpedo Scandal of 1941-43.” Fatal Dive finally lays to rest one of World War II’s greatest mysteries.

When Tigers Ruled the Sky

When Tigers Ruled the SkyThe Flying Tigers: American Outlaw Pilots over China in World War II

From the acclaimed author of Hit the Target and Big Week, an in-depth account of the legendary World War II combat group, the Flying Tigers.

In 1940, Pearl Harbor had not yet happened, and America was not yet at war with Japan. But China had been trying to stave off Japanese aggression for three years—and was desperate for aircraft and trained combat pilots.

General Chiang Kai-shek sent military aviation advisor Claire Chennault to Washington, where President Roosevelt was sympathetic, but knew he could not intervene overtly. Instead, he quietly helped Chennault put together a group of American volunteer pilots.

This was how the 1st American Volunteer Group—more commonly known as the Flying Tigers—was born.

With the trademark smiling shark jaws on their P-40 fighters, these Army, Navy and Marine pilots became a sensation as they fought for the Chinese. Those who initially doubted them were eventually in awe as they persevered over Rangoon despite being outnumbered 14-1 by Japanese aircraft; as they were described by Madame Chiang Kai-shek as her “little angels” and by a Chinese foreign minister as “the soundest investment China ever made”; and as they ultimately destroyed hundreds of Japanese planes while losing only a dozen of their own in combat. Two of their veterans would later earn the Medal of Honor—and as a group, the Flying Tigers managed to rack up a better record than any other air wing in the Pacific theater. When Tigers Ruled the Sky is a thrilling and triumphant account of their courage and their legacy.

Above the Gravel Bar

Above the Gravel BarWith this book you can put your canoe in a nearby river or pond in Maine and travel prehistoric routes to campgrounds thousands of years old. Discover the birchbark canoe with the Indians of the Northeast. David Cook takes the reader on a birchbark canoe journey through the landscape in the context of Northeastern geological development and Indian prehistoric culture. On rivers, lakes, over carries, and through coastal routes, we follow the archaeological and historical record, informed by accounts of early explorers. First attempted in the early twentieth century, the publication of these ancient canoe routes, in daily use for millennia, is finally accomplished and in its third edition, with translations of Indian place names, a thorough index, notes and bibliography, and a foreword by Penobscot tribal historian, James Eric Francis, Sr. The eminent anthropologist David Sanger, PhD, provides an introduction.

The Revenant

RevenantA thrilling tale of betrayal and revenge set against the nineteenth-century American frontier, the astonishing story of real-life trapper and frontiersman Hugh Glass

The year is 1823, and the trappers of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company live a brutal frontier life. Hugh Glass is among the company’s finest men, an experienced frontiersman and an expert tracker. But when a scouting mission puts him face-to-face with a grizzly bear, he is viciously mauled and not expected to survive. Two company men are dispatched to stay behind and tend to Glass before he dies. When the men abandon him instead, Glass is driven to survive by one desire: revenge. With shocking grit and determination, Glass sets out, crawling at first, across hundreds of miles of uncharted American frontier. Based on a true story, The Revenant is a remarkable tale of obsession, the human will stretched to its limits, and the lengths that one man will go to for retribution.

Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates

Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates“Another blockbuster! Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates reads like an edge-of-your-seat, page-turning thriller. You will love this book and also wonder why so few people know this story. No one captures the danger, intrigue, and drama of the American Revolution and its aftermath like Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger.” —Brad Thor

This is the little-known story of how a newly indepen­dent nation was challenged by four Muslim powers and what happened when America’s third president decided to stand up to intimidation.

When Thomas Jefferson became president in 1801, America faced a crisis. The new nation was deeply in debt and needed its economy to grow quickly, but its merchant ships were under attack. Pirates from North Africa’s Barbary coast routinely captured American sailors and held them as slaves, demanding ransom and tribute payments far beyond what the new coun­try could afford.

Over the previous fifteen years, as a diplomat and then as secretary of state, Jefferson had tried to work with the Barbary states (Tripoli, Tunis, Algiers, and Morocco). Unfortunately, he found it impossible to negotiate with people who believed their religion jus­tified the plunder and enslavement of non-Muslims. These rogue states would show no mercy—at least not while easy money could be made by extorting the Western powers. So President Jefferson decided to move beyond diplomacy. He sent the U.S. Navy’s new warships and a detachment of Marines to blockade Tripoli—launching the Barbary Wars and beginning America’s journey toward future superpower status.

As they did in their previous bestseller, George Washington’s Secret Six, Kilmeade and Yaeger have transformed a nearly forgotten slice of history into a dramatic story that will keep you turning the pages to find out what happens next. Among the many sus­penseful episodes:

·Lieutenant Andrew Sterett’s ferocious cannon battle on the high seas against the treacherous pirate ship Tripoli.

·Lieutenant Stephen Decatur’s daring night raid of an enemy harbor, with the aim of destroying an American ship that had fallen into the pirates’ hands.

·General William Eaton’s unprecedented five-hundred-mile land march from Egypt to the port of Derne, where the Marines launched a surprise attack and an American flag was raised in victory on foreign soil for the first time.

Few today remember these men and other heroes who inspired the Marine Corps hymn: “From the Halls of Montezuma to the Shores of Tripoli, we fight our country’s battles in the air, on land and sea.” Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates recaptures this forgot­ten war that changed American history with a real-life drama of intrigue, bravery, and battle on the high seas.

 

Isaac’s  Storm

Isaac’s  StormSeptember 8, 1900, began innocently in the seaside town of Galveston, Texas. Even Isaac Cline, resident meteorologist for the U.S. Weather Bureau failed to grasp the true meaning of the strange deep-sea swells and peculiar winds that greeted the city that morning. Mere hours later, Galveston found itself submerged in a monster hurricane that completely destroyed the town and killed over six thousand people in what remains the greatest natural disaster in American history–and Isaac Cline found himself the victim of a devestating personal tragedy.

Using Cline’s own telegrams, letters, and reports, the testimony of scores of survivors, and our latest understanding of the science of hurricanes, Erik Larson builds a chronicle of one man’s heroic struggle and fatal miscalculation in the face of a storm of unimaginable magnitude. Riveting, powerful, and unbearably suspenseful, Isaac’s Storm is the story of what can happen when human arrogance meets the great uncontrollable force of nature.

Storm of the Century

Storm of the Century

In this gripping narrative history, Al Roker from NBC’s Today and the Weather Channel vividly examines the deadliest natural disaster in American history—a haunting and inspiring tale of tragedy, heroism, and resilience that is full of lessons for today’s new age of extreme weather.

On the afternoon of September 8, 1900, two-hundred-mile-per-hour winds and fifteen-foot waves slammed into Galveston, the booming port city on Texas’s Gulf Coast. By dawn the next day, the city that hours earlier had stood as a symbol of America’s growth and expansion was now gone. Shattered, grief-stricken survivors emerged to witness a level of destruction never before seen: Eight thousand corpses littered the streets and were buried under the massive wreckage. Rushing water had lifted buildings from their foundations, smashing them into pieces, while wind gusts had upended steel girders and trestles, driving them through house walls and into sidewalks. No race or class was spared its wrath. In less than twenty-four hours, a single storm had destroyed a major American metropolis—and awakened a nation to the terrifying power of nature.

Blending an unforgettable cast of characters, accessible weather science, and deep historical research into a sweeping and dramatic narrative, The Storm of the Century brings this legendary hurricane and its aftermath into fresh focus. No other natural disaster has ever matched the havoc caused by the awesome mix of winds, rain, and flooding that devastated Galveston and shocked a young, optimistic nation on the cusp of modernity. Exploring the impact of the tragedy on a rising country’s confidence—the trauma of the loss and the determination of the response—Al Roker illuminates the United States’s character at the dawn of the “American Century,” while also underlining the fact that no matter how mighty they may become, all nations must respect the ferocious potential of our natural environment.

Single Handed

Single HandedFrom a World War II concentration camp to the Korean War to the White House, this is the story of Tibor “Teddy” Rubin, the only Holocaust survivor ever to receive a Medal of Honor…
 
After being captured by Nazis and living through a year in the Mauthausen concentration camp, young Hungarian immigrant Tibor Rubin arrived in America, penniless and barely speaking English. In 1950, he volunteered for service in the Korean War. After numerous acts of heroism, including single-handedly defending a hill against enemy soldiers, rescuing a wounded comrade amid sniper fire, and commandeering a machine gun, he was captured and spent two and a half years in captivity.

Still, it wasn’t until 2005, when Tibor was seventy-six, that he received the Medal of Honor from President George W. Bush—making the former Hungarian refugee the only Holocaust survivor to earn America’s highest military distinction.

Drawing on eyewitness accounts and extensive interviews, Single-Handed is the inspiring account of the life of Tibor “Teddy” Rubin, a stirring portrait of a true American hero.

Above the Gravel Bar

Above the Gravel BarWith this book you can put your canoe in a nearby river or pond in Maine and travel prehistoric routes to campgrounds thousands of years old. Discover the birchbark canoe with the Indians of the Northeast. David Cook takes the reader on a birchbark canoe journey through the landscape in the context of Northeastern geological development and Indian prehistoric culture. On rivers, lakes, over carries, and through coastal routes, we follow the archaeological and historical record, informed by accounts of early explorers. First attempted in the early twentieth century, the publication of these ancient canoe routes, in daily use for millennia, is finally accomplished and in its third edition, with translations of Indian place names, a thorough index, notes and bibliography, and a foreword by Penobscot tribal historian, James Eric Francis, Sr. The eminent anthropologist David Sanger, PhD, provides an introduction.

Zero Dark ThirtyZero Dark Thirty

Unlike other branches of the military, the Marine Corps required some of its combat aviators in Vietnam to spend time doing forward air control duty on the ground, with the frontline troops. For Captain Sam Brantley, it was a harsh and horrific lesson in the realities of jungle warfare. The battle had always seemed somewhat distant to him, flying well-armed A4s hundreds of feet above the trees and paddies. But during the spring of the Tet Offensive, Brantley’s war changed. What he would see and do in those seven months on the ground would change his life forever.

In the tradition of Michael Herr’s award-winning “Dispatches,” Samuel Brantley breaks new ground in this edgy, irreverent tale of a young man’s evolution from a wide-eyed Marine aviation cadet dedicated to flying and serving his country, to a battle-weary veteran struggling to re-enter civilian life in post-Vietnam America. Along the way, Brantley treats his readers to a parallax view of war and the military—from the air, the ground, and the inside-out.

The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James BrownThe Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown

The #1 New York Times–bestselling story about American Olympic triumph in Nazi Germany

For readers of Unbroken, out of the depths of the Depression comes an irresistible story about beating the odds and finding hope in the most desperate of times—the improbable, intimate account of how nine working-class boys from the American West showed the world at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin what true grit really meant.

It was an unlikely quest from the start. With a team composed of the sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers, the University of Washington’s eight-oar crew team was never expected to defeat the elite teams of the East Coast and Great Britain, yet they did, going on to shock the world by defeating the German team rowing for Adolf Hitler. The emotional heart of the tale lies with Joe Rantz, a teenager without family or prospects, who rows not only to regain his shattered self-regard but also to find a real place for himself in the world. Drawing on the boys’ own journals and vivid memories of a once-in-a-lifetime shared dream, Brown has created an unforgettable portrait of an era, a celebration of a remarkable achievement, and a chronicle of one extraordinary young man’s personal quest.

Penobscot Man by Frank G. SpeckPenobscot Man by Frank G. Speck

FIRST EDITION(dated title page). 1998 University of Maine Press trade paperback, Frank G. Speck (Midwinter Rites of the Cayuga Long House). Penobscot Man is an ethnographic classic written by an anthropologist trained to reconstruct traditional native American, or Indian, lifeways. When Frank Speck began his fieldwork early in the twentieth century; practitioners of the new field of anthropology witnessed the low point of native populations.

Shot Down The True Story of Pilot Howard Snyder by Steve SnyderShot Down: The True Story of Pilot Howard Snyder by Steve Snyder

Belgium … February 8, 1944 … Shot Down and Alive

For the first time, the full and complete story of the B-17 Flying Fortress Susan Ruth is shared in unbelievable detail. Author Steve Snyder’s story of his father, Lieutenant Howard Snyder, and the Susan Ruth crew, provides in-depth details about many aspects of World War II few understand or know about including the:

• separation for young families as men went off to war;
• training before heading to foreign soil;
• military combat operations;
• underground and resistance and what Lt. Snyder did when he joined it;
• German atrocities toward captured crew and civilians;
• behind-the-scenes stories of the Belgium civilians who risked all to save American flyers who were in the air one moment, spiraling down in flames the next;
• creation and dedication of the monument to the Susan Ruth and its crew located in Macquenoise, Belgium in 1989

Shot Down was created from the vast number of letters and journals of Howard Snyder; diaries of men and women on the ground who rescued, sheltered and hid the crew; and interviews conducted by historians. Centered around the 306th Bomb Group in Thurleigh, England, it is informative, insightful and captivating.

For most, 70 years is a long time ago. World War II fades in importance as each year goes by. Shot Down moves history out of the footnotes into reality, keeping the stories of real people alive as they experience being shot down. You are there, almost holding your breath as Lt. Snyder gets his crew out of his B-17 when bailing out over Nazi occupied Europe.

Isaac's StormIsaac’s Storm

September 8, 1900, began innocently in the seaside town of Galveston, Texas. Even Isaac Cline, resident meteorologist for the U.S. Weather Bureau failed to grasp the true meaning of the strange deep-sea swells and peculiar winds that greeted the city that morning. Mere hours later, Galveston found itself submerged in a monster hurricane that completely destroyed the town and killed over six thousand people in what remains the greatest natural disaster in American history–and Isaac Cline found himself the victim of a devestating personal tragedy.

Using Cline’s own telegrams, letters, and reports, the testimony of scores of survivors, and our latest understanding of the science of hurricanes, Erik Larson builds a chronicle of one man’s heroic struggle and fatal miscalculation in the face of a storm of unimaginable magnitude. Riveting, powerful, and unbearably suspenseful, Isaac’s Storm is the story of what can happen when human arrogance meets the great uncontrollable force of nature

FlyboysThe classic New York Times bestselling story of heroism and sacrifice–by the author of Flags of Our Fathers, The Imperial Cruise, and The China Mirage.

This acclaimed bestseller brilliantly illuminates a hidden piece of World War II history as it tells the harrowing true story of nine American airmen shot down in the Pacific. One of them, George H. W. Bush, was miraculously rescued. What happened to the other eight remained a secret for almost 60 years.

After the war, the American and Japanese governments conspired to cover up the shocking truth, and not even the families of the airmen were informed of what happened to their sons. Their fate remained a mystery–until now.

FLYBOYS is a tale of courage and daring, of war and death, of men and hope. It will make you proud and it will break your heart.