EDUCATED, by Westover NOTE: Meeting Online

Women's Biography
Monday, June 13, 7:30 pm

The Women's Biography Book Group is led by Doris Feinsilber and meets the 2nd Monday of each month at 7:30 p.m. The book group is meeting online. Participants limited to 20 sign ups. Please contact bookgroups@politics-prose for information to connect with the group.

Educated: A Memoir By Tara Westover Cover Image

Educated: A Memoir (Paperback)

$18.99


In Stock—Click for Locations
Politics and Prose at 5015 Connecticut Avenue NW
8 on hand, as of Oct 3 9:18am
Politics and Prose at 70 District Square SW
3 on hand, as of Oct 3 9:33am
Politics and Prose at Union Market
2 on hand, as of Oct 3 9:34am

March 2018 Indie Next List


“Tara Westover is barely 30; could she really write a necessary and timely memoir already? Absolutely. Raised largely 'off the grid' in rural Idaho - without school, doctor visits, a birth certificate, or even a family consensus on the date of her birth - Tara nevertheless decides she wants to go to college. This is a story in two parts: First, Tara's childhood working in a dangerous scrapyard alongside her six siblings, her survivalist father, and her mother, a conflicted but talented midwife and healer, while fearing Y2K and the influence of the secular world; then, her departure from her mountain home to receive an education. Both halves of her story are equally fascinating. Educated is a testament to Tara's brilliance and tenacity, a bittersweet rendering of how family relationships can be cruel or life-saving, and a truly great read from the first page to the last.”
— Emilie Sommer, East City Bookshop, Washington, DC

#1 NEW YORK TIMES, WALL STREET JOURNAL, AND BOSTON GLOBE BESTSELLER • One of the most acclaimed books of our time: an unforgettable memoir about a young woman who, kept out of school, leaves her survivalist family and goes on to earn a PhD from Cambridge University
 
“Extraordinary . . . an act of courage and self-invention.”—The New York Times
 
NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW • ONE OF PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA’S FAVORITE BOOKS OF THE YEAR • BILL GATES’S HOLIDAY READING LIST • FINALIST: National Book Critics Circle’s Award In Autobiography and John Leonard Prize For Best First Book • PEN/Jean Stein Book Award • Los Angeles Times Book Prize
 
Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Her family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education, and no one to intervene when one of Tara’s older brothers became violent. When another brother got himself into college, Tara decided to try a new kind of life. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge University. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home.
 
“Beautiful and propulsive . . . Despite the singularity of [Westover’s] childhood, the questions her book poses are universal: How much of ourselves should we give to those we love? And how much must we betray them to grow up?”—Vogue

ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: The Washington Post, O: The Oprah Magazine, Time, NPR, Good Morning America, San Francisco Chronicle, The Guardian, The Economist, Financial Times, Newsday, New York Post, theSkimm, Refinery29, Bloomberg, Self, Real Simple, Town & Country, Bustle, Paste, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, LibraryReads, Book Riot, Pamela Paul, KQED, New York Public Library
Tara Westover was born in Idaho in 1986. She received her BA from Brigham Young University in 2008 and was subsequently awarded a Gates Cambridge Scholarship. She earned an MPhil from Trinity College, Cambridge, in 2009, and in 2010 was a visiting fellow at Harvard University. She returned to Cambridge, where she was awarded a PhD in history in 2014. Educated is her first book.
Product Details ISBN: 9780399590528
ISBN-10: 0399590528
Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks
Publication Date: February 8th, 2022
Pages: 368
Language: English
“Westover has somehow managed not only to capture her unsurpassably exceptional upbringing, but to make her current situation seem not so exceptional at all, and resonant for many others.”The New York Times Book Review

“Westover is a keen and honest guide to the difficulties of filial love, and to the enchantment of embracing a life of the mind.”The New Yorker

“An amazing story, and truly inspiring. It’s even better than you’ve heard.”—Bill Gates

“Heart-wrenching . . . a beautiful testament to the power of education to open eyes and change lives.”—Amy Chua, The New York Times Book Review

“A coming-of-age memoir reminiscent of The Glass Castle.”O: The Oprah Magazine

“Westover’s one-of-a-kind memoir is about the shaping of a mind. . . . In briskly paced prose, she evokes a childhood that completely defined her. Yet it was also, she gradually sensed, deforming her.”The Atlantic

“Tara Westover is living proof that some people are flat-out, boots-always-laced-up indomitable. Her new book, Educated, is a heartbreaking, heartwarming, best-in-years memoir about striding beyond the limitations of birth and environment into a better life. . . . ★★★★ out of four.”USA Today

“[Educated] left me speechless with wonder. [Westover’s] lyrical prose is mesmerizing, as is her personal story, growing up in a family in which girls were supposed to aspire only to become wives—and in which coveting an education was considered sinful. Her journey will surprise and inspire men and women alike.”Refinery29

“Riveting . . . Westover brings readers deep into this world, a milieu usually hidden from outsiders. . . . Her story is remarkable, as each extreme anecdote described in tidy prose attests.”—The Economist

“A subtle, nuanced study of how dysfunction of any kind can be normalized even within the most conventional family structure, and of the damage such containment can do.”Financial Times

“Whether narrating scenes of fury and violence or evoking rural landscapes or tortured self-analysis, Westover writes with uncommon intelligence and grace. . . . One of the most improbable and fascinating journeys I’ve read in recent years.”—Newsday

STRANGER IN THE SHOGUN'S CITY: A JAPANESE WOMAN AND HER WORLD, by Stanley NOTE: Meeting Online

Women's Biography
Monday, May 9, 7:30 pm

The Women's Biography Book Group is led by Doris Feinsilber and meets the 2nd Monday of each month at 7:30 p.m. The book group is meeting online. Participants limited to 20 sign ups. Please contact bookgroups@politics-prose for information to connect with the group.

Stranger in the Shogun's City: A Japanese Woman and Her World By Amy Stanley Cover Image

Stranger in the Shogun's City: A Japanese Woman and Her World (Paperback)

$18.00


In Stock—Click for Locations
Politics and Prose at 5015 Connecticut Avenue NW
2 on hand, as of Oct 3 9:18am
*Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Biography*
*Winner of the 2020 National Book Critics Circle Award*
*Winner of the PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography*

A “captivating” (The Washington Post) work of history that explores the life of an unconventional woman during the first half of the 19th century in Edo—the city that would become Tokyo—and a portrait of a city on the brink of a momentous encounter with the West.

The daughter of a Buddhist priest, Tsuneno was born in a rural Japanese village and was expected to live a traditional life much like her mother’s. But after three divorces—and a temperament much too strong-willed for her family’s approval—she ran away to make a life for herself in one of the largest cities in the world: Edo, a bustling metropolis at its peak.

With Tsuneno as our guide, we experience the drama and excitement of Edo just prior to the arrival of American Commodore Perry’s fleet, which transformed Japan. During this pivotal moment in Japanese history, Tsuneno bounces from tenement to tenement, marries a masterless samurai, and eventually enters the service of a famous city magistrate. Tsuneno’s life provides a window into 19th-century Japanese culture—and a rare view of an extraordinary woman who sacrificed her family and her reputation to make a new life for herself, in defiance of social conventions.

“A compelling story, traced with meticulous detail and told with exquisite sympathy” (The Wall Street Journal), Stranger in the Shogun’s City is “a vivid, polyphonic portrait of life in 19th-century Japan [that] evokes the Shogun era with panache and insight” (National Review of Books).
Amy Stanley is an associate professor of history at Northwestern University. She lives in Evanston, Illinois, with her husband and two children, but Tokyo will always be her favorite city in the world.
Product Details ISBN: 9781501188534
ISBN-10: 1501188534
Publisher: Scribner
Publication Date: July 6th, 2021
Pages: 352
Language: English
"Stanley ... renders the world of that rebellious woman, Tsuneno, so vividly that I had trouble pulling myself back into the present whenever I put the book down. Stranger in the Shogun’s City is as close to a novel as responsible history can be ... What makes the book so captivating are not merely Tsuneno’s stubborn attempts at self-determination, but also Stanley’s enviable ability to make us feel as if we lived in 19th-century Edo with her." 
—Washington Post

"Absorbing ... A compelling story, traced with meticulous detail and told with exquisite sympathy."
—Wall Street Journal

"Through Tsuneno, Stanley conjures a teeming world… This sped-up reversal of the city’s demise is like a magic trick, the same one Stanley has accomplished over the previous two hundred pages, where a lost place appears to the reader as if alive and intact."
—Harper's Magazine

"A visit to the past that is a refreshing antidote to the histories of great men—and the occasional great woman—at times of flux...The paper trail Tsuneno left behind is remarkable; it makes clear the obstacles a strong-willed woman faced in trying to make a living in a man’s world...a vivid portrait of village life and of the parts of Edo where Tsuneno lived."
—The Economist

"[A] masterfully told and painstakingly researched evocation of an ordinary Japanese woman’s life in Edo on the eve of the opening of Japan ... Stranger in the Shogun’s City is the most evocative book this review has read about Japan since The World of the Shining Prince by Ivan Morris."
—Asian Review of Books

"Revelatory ... deeply absorbing."
—The Guardian

"A vivid, polyphonic portrait of life in 19th-century Japan ... Stanley evoke[s] the Shogun era with panache and insight."
—National Review of Books

"Tsuneno’s rebellious trajectory, preserved in her family’s archive, was unusual, yet even her most commonplace steps are absorbing. Although her squabbles and triumphs (a dispute about a kimono, a new job as maid of all work to a samurai family) can only be glimpsed, Stanley’s careful speculation fills the lacunae, evoking Edo’s back alleys and law courts, its fashion and food."
—The New Yorker

"This gracefully written book is mostly concerned with imaginatively reconstructing the life of an ordinary yet extraordinary woman. The author does this by teasing meaning out of fragmentary sources, especially the letters from and about the woman in a family archive."
—Los Angeles Review of Books

"Carefully archived and catalogued along with the bulk of her family’s correspondence, Tsuneno’s letters, lists and expense diaries remain as small but important pieces of a mosaic that Stanley has elegantly and expertly reassembled into a life. In fact, the first thing one notices about Stranger in the Shogun's City is that it often reads like a novel or biography, but every turn of phrase remains steadfastly true to historical fact. Nearly 90 pages of notes, bibliography and indexing attest to Stanley’s diligent and painstaking research."
—Bookreporter

"In addition to presenting a portrait of a city on the brink of a major cultural shift ... the work conveys a strong sense of its subject’s personality, from her stubborn independent streak to her perseverance and self-described 'terrible temper.' Drawing on letters, diary entries and family papers, Stanley revives both the world Tsuneno inhabited and the 'wise, brillient, skillful' woman herself."
—Smithsonian Magazine

"An evocative and deeply researched portrait of 19th-century Japan through the events of one woman’s life in the decades before Commodore Perry’s 1853 arrival and the opening of the country to the West. Japanophiles and readers of women’s history will be entranced."
—Publisher's Weekly

“Historian Stanley brings a deep knowledge of Japanese culture to a vibrant portrait of the Asian nation centered on the struggles of one defiant woman… an absorbing history of a vanished world.”
—Kirkus

“Tsuneno belongs to a vanished world, but historian Stanley brings both her and the Japanese city of Edo back to life in this breathtaking work. This is an eye-opening account of an extraordinary ordinary life.”
—Booklist

"Amy Stanley found a strand of vibrant life in the archives, and used it to weave a gorgeous tapestry of early 19th-century Edo. When a meticulous historian is also a gifted storyteller, time travel becomes possible."
—Janice Nimura, author of Daughters of the Samurai

“A fascinating book. Even before it was Tokyo, the city of Edo was the most urban place in the world. Amy Stanley leads us through Edo following the experiences of Tsuneno, a headstrong woman from a country temple, as she careened through four marriages, desperate to escape stultifying country life. Along the way, she breaks all the stereotypes of docile Japanese womanhood. Bringing Tsuneno to life through her letters and family records, Stanley weaves a compelling and unusual story with a rich description of Japan on the cusp of opening to the West.”
—Dr. Liza Dalby, author of Geisha

"Amy Stanley’s breathtaking recreation of the world of Tsuneno—a forgotten but far-from-ordinary woman in early 19th-century Japan—is as entrancing as it is evocative, a model of the historian’s craft. This is a magical book."
—Stephen R. Platt, author of Autumn in the Heavenly Kingdom and Imperial Twilight

"An imaginative account of an ordinary woman with extraordinary determination in nineteenth-century Japan.  Capturing her soul as well as the society that batters it, the narrative brings her story into history with compelling force."
—Carol Gluck, author of War Memory 

"Scrupulously analyzed in intimate detail, the well-preserved letters of a priest’s daughter illuminate a lifelong drama certain to dispel any stereotypical notion of “traditional” Japanese womanhood. Outside a specific time and place the protagonist lived in, her frustrations and determination, as well as her sober pragmatism, are honest sentiments of women everywhere. The book interweaves the parallel story of the foreboding drumbeat of the approaching Western powers that enhances and validates, rather than diminishes, the significance of this woman’s true-to-self life experiences. Written in crisp prose, the book exemplifies the skillful art of elevating women’s history above and beyond the so-called mainstream historiography."
—Hitomi Tonomura, author of Women and Class in Japanese History

"A carefully researched, elegantly crafted, boldly imaginative work of historical recreation. Amy Stanley, combining the roles of the historian as detective and the historian as storyteller, weaves together the tale of an ordinary yet extraordinary woman and a special city at the cusp of two ages. Stranger in the Shogun's City deserves a spot on the bookshelf near The Return of Martin Guerre, The Question of Hu, and Margaret Atwood's Alias Grace."
—Jeffrey Wasserstrom, author of Vigil: Hong Kong on the Brink

STORYTELLER'S DAUGHTER, by Shah NOTE: Meeting Online

Women's Biography
Monday, April 11, 7:30 pm

The Women's Biography Book Group is led by Doris Feinsilber and meets the 2nd Monday of each month at 7:30 p.m. The book group is meeting online. Participants limited to 20 sign ups. Please contact bookgroups@politics-prose for information to connect with the group.

The Storyteller's Daughter: One Woman's Return to Her Lost Homeland By Saira Shah Cover Image

The Storyteller's Daughter: One Woman's Return to Her Lost Homeland (Paperback)

$16.00


In Stock—Click for Locations
Politics and Prose at 5015 Connecticut Avenue NW
1 on hand, as of Oct 3 9:18am
Imagine that a jewel-like garden overlooking Kabul is your ancestral home. Imagine a kitchen made fragrant with saffron strands and cardamom pods simmering in an authentic pilau. Now remember that you were born in London, your family in exile, and that you have never seen Afghanistan in peacetime.

These are but the starting points of Saira Shah’s memoir, by turns inevitably exotic and unavoidably heartbreaking, in which she explores her family’s history in and out of Afghanistan. As an accomplished journalist and documentarian–her film Beneath the Veil unflinchingly depicted for CNN viewers the humiliations forced on women under Taliban rule–Shah returned to her family’s homeland cloaked in the burqa to witness the pungent and shocking realities of Afghan life. As the daughter of the Sufi fabulist Idries Shah, primed by a lifetime of listening to her father’s stories, she eagerly sought out, from the mouths of Afghan refugees in Pakistan, the rich and living myths that still sustain this battered culture of warriors. And she discovered that in Afghanistan all the storytellers have been men–until now.
Saira Shah lives in London and is a freelance journalist. She was born in Britain of an Afghan family, the daughter of Idries Shah, a writer of Sufi fables. She first visited Afghanistan at age twenty-one and worked there for three years as a freelance journalist, covering the guerilla war against the Soviet occupiers. Later, working for Britain’s Channel 4 News, she covered some of the world’s most troubled spots, including Algeria, Kosovo, and Kinshasa, as well as Baghdad and other parts of the Middle East. Her documentary Beneath the Veil was broadcast on CNN.
Product Details ISBN: 9781400031474
ISBN-10: 1400031478
Publisher: Anchor
Publication Date: October 12th, 2004
Pages: 272
Language: English
“Brilliant and moving.” –The New York Times Book Review

The Storyteller’s Daughter is the work of a confident yet modest and self-effacing woman who is drawn to danger and whose greatest desire is to understand her ‘incompatible worlds of East and West.’ ” –The Washington Post Book World

“Absorbing, heartbreaking. . . . A book about myths and their double-edged power to inspire and delude. . . . Filled with memorable sounds, sights and insights.” –Los Angeles Times

“Both tender and haunting. . . . A stylized work of humility and heartbreaking devastation and dignity.” –San Francisco Chronicle

“Heartstopping. . . . Rich and startlingly eventful. . . . The Storyteller’s Daughter has the energy of a necessary catharsis.” –Vogue

“An extraordinary book by a remarkable young woman. . . . There is not likely to be a better one about Afghanistan.” –Doris Lessing

“Her courage takes the breath away.” –O: The Oprah Magazine

“Saira Shah takes us on an extraordinary journey from an English childhood, laced with Afghan myths handed down from her forebears, to the terrors and complexities of present-day Afghanistan. . . . At the end of it you are left with the truest sense of this magical country together with the recognition this exceptional English writer is still unmistakably Afghani.” –Jon Snow

“Invaluable. . . . A beautifully related journey to enlightenmment.” –Rocky Mountain News

“A remarkable and essential book about Afghanistan. . . . It is alive with detail, emotion, myth, fable, bleeding reality, and those laughs and freedoms which arise defiantly out of the darkest of times to assert the human spirit.” –Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, author of Imagining the New Britain

“A rare, much-needed glimpse into a still-closed society.” –Asian Week

“Deeply moving. . . . Here is a book written with resolute grace, much humour and underpinned by an unflinching spirit of enquiry.” –Jason Elliot, author of An Unexpected Light: Travels in Afghanistan



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