The Year of Lear: Shakespeare in 1606 - James Shapiro

The Year of Lear (Simon & Schuster, $30) was also the year of Macbeth and Antony and Cleopatra, tragedies all, and focused on the fate of kings betrayed, betraying, or maddened—fates which necessarily imperiled whole kingdoms. In 1606, the Stuart kingdom was itself an uncertain entity: did James I reign over a united Britain (a word Shakespeare didn’t use until King Lear) or separately over England and Scotland? This was one of the topics in the air both on-stage and off, and James Shapiro enriches his reading of Shakespeare’s late work in the light of historical events. From the new rage for Court Masques to an unusual royal visit, these events included what happened yet was seldom mentioned in dramas of the time—the plague—and what didn’t happen, yet is commemorated still, the infamous Guy Fawkes conspiracy. Discovered before it could wipe out Parliament, the royals, decades’ worth of records, and a hefty chunk of London, the Gunpowder Plot led to widespread arguments over “possession, bewitching, and where evil originates,” and Shapiro traces Shakespeare’s Weird Sisters and other supernatural elements to contemporary tales of exorcism. He also reminds us how shocking King Lear was for its original audience, familiar with an earlier play of the same name—but in which “nobody dies…and all that is lost is restored.” As he did so brilliantly in A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare, Shapiro reads history and literature with the sharp and realistic eye of a detective, forthright about how much information is lost but keen to learn what he can from the remaining clues to the Bard’s life and times.

The Year of Lear: Shakespeare in 1606 Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9781416541646
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Simon & Schuster - October 6th, 2015

Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush - Jon Meacham

Jon Meacham chronicles the career of George H.W. Bush, drawing on official archives and Bush’s personal diaries to follow him from his Connecticut upbringing and service in World War II to his successful Texas oil enterprises, and through his long and diverse public career as a congressman, U.S. ambassador, CIA director, and president. Meacham says he wrote Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush (Random House, $35) after visiting with the former president and finding him a much more complicated and interesting figure than often depicted. The book provides a largely sympathetic portrait, but thanks to Meacham’s skillful questioning, Bush is drawn to offer some uncharacteristically harsh criticism of his son’s administration, including negative critiques of Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld.

Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush Cover Image
$35.00
ISBN: 9781400067657
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Random House - November 10th, 2015

Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush Cover Image
$20.00
ISBN: 9780812979473
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Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - October 18th, 2016

Being Nixon: A Man Divided - Evan Thomas

Having written several nicely done biographies of such historical figures as Dwight Eisenhower, Robert Kennedy, and John Paul Jones, veteran journalist Evan Thomas turns his attention to Richard Nixon. In Being Nixon: A Man Divided (Random House, $35), Thomas provides a well-researched, updated view of our controversial 37th president. Thomas has a knack for balanced reporting and for clearly articulating complex topics. He sets out to try to get past what he calls “the cartoon version of Nixon,” taking pains at times to couple indictments and negative appraisals with offsetting sympathetic views and kinder counterexamples. Without glossing over Nixon’s well-known darker tendencies toward hate, paranoia, and vindictiveness, Thomas also highlights his shyness, sentimentality, and devotion to family. By striving to pack the long story of Nixon’s embattled life into a single book, Thomas produces a useful work that is both comprehensive and authoritative. But the range of Nixon’s experiences and the broad impact of his actions complicate a one-book-fits-all approach, and as a deeply flawed, ever-conflicted character, Nixon proves a difficult challenge for a biographer as even-handed as Thomas. 

Being Nixon: A Man Divided Cover Image
$35.00
ISBN: 9780812995367
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Random House - June 16th, 2015

Being Nixon: A Man Divided Cover Image
$19.00
ISBN: 9780812985412
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - March 8th, 2016

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