The Two: The Story of the Original Siamese Twins

Irving Wallace - 1978
    They were born on May 11, 1811, on a bamboo mat in a small houseboat afloat on the river in the village of Meklong, located sixty miles west of Bangkok, the capital of Siam. They became world celebrities, American Citizens, married two native-born Southern sisters, and between them fathered twenty-one children, while acquiring respectable status as landowners, famers, slave owners, and pillars of their local community."They" were the famous, the first, the original Siamese Twins, Chang and Eng, and their story is told in this fascinating and remarkable book in such detail, with such enormous insight and warmth, and with such a superb sense of drama that one understands, for the first time, just how bizarre, heroic, tragic and human their lives in fact were. Linked by Nature, Chang and Eng were fated to spend their lives joined by a thick, fleshy ligament resembling an arm, five to six inches long and eight inches in circumference, that connected them at the base of their chests. Yet they could swim, perform gymnastic feats and lead "normal" lives. Together they built their own house, opened a store, became wealthy gentlemen farmers, skilled horse breakers and, when necessary, defended themselves with their fists. The most fascinating part of the story is, of course, their physical link to each other; for as Chang and Eng grew older, each dreamed of a separate life, despite the obvious risks that an operation would entail, and each feared that the death of one would cause the death of the other. Nor were their natures altogether harmonious, for each was a highly individual person—Eng, quiet, contemplative and even-tempered; Chang, hot-tempered, quarrelsome and, as he grew older, inclined to bouts of heavy drinking. Chang's insistence on going to his own house in midwinter (the brothers arranged to alternate three days in one's house and three days in the other's) eventually led to exactly the death both had feared, for Eng died, perhaps out of fright and shock, an hour after Chang's life ended.The Two is a biography of two remarkable lives, astonishing in its extraordinary descriptions of the brothers' triumph over their handicap and fascinating in its exploration of just how the Siamese Twins lived, spent their childhood, adjusted to fame, fought against being exploited by showmen, promoters and well-wishers, loved (and made love) and searched in vain for the surgical miracle that could separate them. It is a startling, original, and moving book.

North and South 2

John Jakes - 1982
    Though brought together in a friendship that neither jealousy nor violence could shatter, the Hazards and the Mains are torn apart by the storm of events that has divided the nation. "Superb! You will gain a firsthand knowledge of life at West Point in the early 1800s...a peek at the Texas frontier, a vacation in a posh cottage at Newport...experience the savagery of war in Mexico, suffer the suspense of both the Charleston Battery and beleaguered Fort Sumter before the mortar fire that launched a war. It has been a long time since I enjoyed a book so much." (The Asheville Citizen-Times)

Conversations with the Conroys: Interviews with Pat Conroy and His Family

Walter Edgar - 2015
    As Conroy's writings have been rooted in autobiography more often than not, his readers have come to know and appreciate much about the once-secret dark familial history that has shaped Conroy's life and work. Conversations with the Conroys opens further the discussion of the Conroy family through five revealing interviews conducted in 2014–15 with Pat Conroy and four of his six siblings: brothers Mike, Jim, and Tim and sister Kathy. In confessional and often comic dialogs, the Conroys openly discuss the perils of being raised by their larger-than-life parents, USMC fighter pilot Col. Don Conroy (the Great Santini) and southern belle Peggy Conroy (née Peek); the complexities of having their history of abuse made public by Pat's books; the tragic death of their youngest brother, Tom; the chasm between them and their sister Carol Ann; and the healing, redemptive embrace they have come to find over time in one another. With good humor and often-striking candor, these interviews capture the Conroys as authentic and indeed proud South Carolinians, not always at ease with their place in literary lore, but nonetheless deeply supportive of Pat in his life and writing. Edited and introduced by the Palmetto State's pre-eminent historian, Walter Edgar, Conversations with the Conroys includes the first publications of Pat Conroy's interview with Edgar as the keynote address of the 2014 One Book, One Columbia citywide "big read" program, the unprecedented interview with the Conroy siblings for SCETV Radio's Walter Edgar's Journal, the resulting live Conroy Family Roundtable held at the 2014 South Carolina Book Festival, and a recent interview in Charleston following Pat Conroy's induction into the Citadel's Athletics Hall of Fame. This collection is augmented with an afterword from National Book Award–winning poet Nikky Finney and nearly fifty photographs, many from the Pat Conroy Archive in the Irvin Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, University of South Carolina Libraries, and published here for the first time. Through the resulting treasure trove of text and images, this volume is as much a keepsake for Conroy's legion of devoted fans as it is a wealth of insider information to broaden the understanding of readers and researchers alike of the idiosyncratic world of Pat Conroy and his family.

Our Kid (The Hopkins Family Saga, Book 3): The funny and heart-warming story of a northern childhood

Billy Hopkins - 1998
    Billy???s tenement home on the outskirts of Manchester would be considered a slum today, but he lived there happily with his large Catholic family, hatching money-making schemes with his many friends. When war came, and the Luftwaffe dominated the night sky, Billy was evacuated to Blackpool. There he lived on a starvation diet while his own rations went to feed his landlady???s children ??? ???I might as well be in Strangeways!??? But even the cruel blows that were to be dealt to the family on his return to Manchester would not destroy Billy???s fighting spirit ??? or his sense of humour.

Picking Up The Brass

Eddy Nugent - 2006
    It follows Eddy Nugent, a bored fifteen-year-old, living in Manchester, as he travels through the drinking, swearing and sex-obsessed world of our nation's finest.

Full of Life: A Biography of John Fante

Stephen Cooper - 2000
    In the first comprehensive biography of John Fante, one of the great lost souls of twentieth-century literature, Stephen Cooper untangles the enigma of an authentic American original. By turns savage and poetic, violent and full of love, such underground novels as The Road to Los Angeles; Ask the Dust; and Wait Until Spring, Bandini simultaneously reveal and disguise their author. Born in 1909 to poor Italian American parents in Colorado, Fante ventured west in 1930 to become a writer. Eventually settling in Los Angeles' faded downtown area of Bunker Hill, Fante starved between menial Depression-era jobs while writing story after story about the world he knew-full of poverty, hatred, and the madness of love. His first stories were published by H. L. Mencken in the American Mercury, but Fante also made a career in Hollywood working with the likes of Orson Welles and Darryl F. Zanuck. By the time of his death, though, he was nearly forgotten. Fortunately, readers such as Charles Bukowski began to recognize that Ask the Dust stands alongside the best work of Nathanael West and Sherwood Anderson. This exacting and vivid biography will help secure Fante's place in the American literary pantheon.

Mr. Tambourine Man: The Life and Legacy of the Byrds' Gene Clark

John Einarson - 2005
    His songwriting with The Byrds and subsequent work as a solo artist and with Dillard & Clark mark him as one of rock's key innovators and a pioneer of folk-rock, psychedelia, and alt-country. Yet Clark's personal demons shadowed him throughout his life, and until now his legacy has been clouded in mystery. Told through the personal recollections of those closest to Clark, Mr. Tambourine Man offers a rare glimpse into his life and work, a revealing portrait of one of rock's greatest bands, and a cautionary tale of the pitfalls of fame. Endorsed by the Gene Clark estate, the book also features rare and previously unseen photos from family and friends.

Youth In Asia: 1968. Vietnam. The Central Highlands. Young Men Will Change. Some Will Die.

Allen Tiffany - 2015
     Youth In Asia relives the friendships, loyalties and betrayals of young men in combat. Written by an infantryman who served as both an enlisted man and an officer after the war, Youth In Asia presents a realistic account of five men of the 173rd Airborne Brigade separated from their unit in the darkness of a jungle night. After the furious fight for Hill 875 and the battles around Dak To, this story is set near the border with Cambodia as North Vietnamese Army units and Viet Cong irregulars are massing for the brutal Tet Offensive of 1968 that broke the back of America's war effort.It is a story of determination, triumph and loss. It is a story of furious, close combat in lethal firefights, and it is a story of confusion both on the battlefield and in the minds of young men a million miles from their homes. Those that survive will have changed. Forever.

Here Shall I Die Ashore: Stephen Hopkins - Bermuda Castaway, Jamestown Survivor, and Mayflower Pilgrim

Caleb H. Johnson - 2007
    For most ordinary Englishmen, venturing off into the depths of unexplored America would have been a once in a lifetime adventure: but not for Stephen. By the time he turned forty, he had already survived a hurricane, been shipwrecked in the Bermuda Triangle, been written into a Shakespearean play, witnessed the famine and abandonment of Jamestown Colony, and participated in the marriage of Pocahontas. He was once even sentenced to death! He got himself and his family onto the Pilgrims' Mayflower, and helped found Plymouth Colony. He signed the Mayflower Compact, lodged the famous Squanto in his house, participated in the legendary Thanksgiving, and helped guide and govern the early colonists. Yet Stephen was just an ordinary man, with a wife, three sons, seven daughters, a small house, some farmland for his corn, and cows named Motley, Sympkins, Curled, and Red. These are the extraordinary adventures of an ordinary man.

Turning the Tables: The Story of Extreme Championship Wrestling

John Lister - 2005
    Turning The Tables is the first published history of the company which grew from a run-down bingo hall to become a national pay-per-view competitor... then crashed in a sea of debt. John Lister (author of Slamthology) gives an independent, objective and informative account that reveals hidden secrets and shatters common myths. From a little-known truth about ECW's most famous feud to a blow-by-blow account of what really happened in Revere, this book will give you the true story behind America's most controversial wrestling group.

Sex Lives of the Hollywood Goddesses

Nigel Cawthorne - 2003
    The early tycoons packed their epics with ravishing dancing girls and frequently used the casting couch method of employment. Hollywood has always used sex to sell, but in the early days went to great lengths to cover up the erring ways of their top stars.

Alcatraz from Inside

Jim Quillen - 1991
    He thinks he made a lucky escape, until he is caught and sentenced to 45 years inside America's toughest prison, US Penitentiary Alcatraz Island.This is one man's true story of life inside America's most notorious prison, from terrifying times in solitary confinement to daily encounters with the "Birdman." An inspiring, moving, and dramatic tale.

The Devil and Dr. Barnes: Portrait of an American Art Collector

Howard Greenfeld - 1987
    The Devil and Dr. Barnes traces the near-mythical journey of a man who was born into poverty, amassed a fortune through the promotion of a popular medicine, and acquired the premier private collection of works by such masters as Renoir, Matisse, Cézanne, and Picasso. Ostentatiously turning his back on the art establishment, Barnes challenged the aesthetic sensibilities of an uninitiated, often resistant and scoffing, American audience. In particular, he championed Matisse, Soutine, and Modigliani when they were obscure or in difficult straits. Analyzing what he saw as the formal relationships underlying all art, linking the old and the new, Barnes applied these principles in a rigorous course of study offered at his Merion foundation. Barnes's own mordant words, culled from the copious printed record, animate the narrative throughout, as do accounts of his associations with notables of the era--Gertrude and Leo Stein, Bertrand Russell, and John Dewey among them--many of whom he alienated with his appetite for passionate, public feuds. In this rounded portrait, Albert Barnes emerges as a complex, flawed man, who--blessed with an astute eye for greatness--has left us an incomparable treasure, gathered in one place and unforgettable to all who have seen it.

The Perfect Hour: The Romance of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ginevra King, His First Love

James L.W. West III - 2005
    Scott Fitzgerald was a handsome, ambitious sophomore at Princeton when he fell in love for the first time. Ginevra King, though only sixteen, was beautiful, socially poised, and blessed with the confidence that considerable wealth can bring. Their romance began instantly, flourished in heartfelt letters, and quickly ran its course–but Scott never forgot it. Now, for the first time, scholar and biographer James L. W. West III tells the story of the youthful passion that shaped Scott Fitzgerald’s life as a writer.When Scott and Ginevra met in January 1915, the rest of the world was at war, but America remained a haven for young people who could afford to have a good time. Privileged and mildly rebellious, the two were swept together in a whirl of dances, parties, campus weekends, and chaperoned visits to New York.“For heaven’s sake don’t idealize me!” Ginevra warned in one of the many letters she sent to Scott, but of course that’s just what he did–for the next two decades. Though he fell in love with Zelda Sayre soon after learning of Ginevra’s engagement to a well-to-do midwesterner, Scott drew on memories of Ginevra for his most unforgettable female characters–Isabelle Borgé and Rosalind Connage in This Side of Paradise, Judy Jones in “Winter Dreams,” and above all Daisy Buchanan in The Great Gatsby. Transformed by Scott’s art, Ginevra became a new American heroine who inspired an entire generation.

ದುರ್ಗಾಸ್ತಮಾನ | Durgastamana

ತ.ರಾ. ಸುಬ್ಬರಾಯ - 1983
    Durgastamana traces the life of the last ruler of Chitradurga - Madakari Nayaka V, also known as Raja Madakari Nayaka - from the time of his ascending the throne to his death fighting the armies of Haider Ali. A poignant tale that in addition to narrating a fantastic story, also explores the historical landscape of its time (1754 - 1779) as well as the social fabric of Chitradurga. The various facets of Madakari Nayaka - a wise ruler, reliable sentinel of Chitradurga, dutiful son, passionate lover, loyal friend, fierce enemy... are all beautifully brought out in this volume that is based on extensive research, contemporary records and the writings of the period.