Archive for history

Nathaniel Rich, “LOSING EARTH” w/ Jane Smiley

Posted in skylight books, book stores, books, nonfiction, history, nature, climate change, science by skylightbooks on May 13th, 2019

By 1979, we knew nearly everything we understand today about climate change--including how to stop it. Over the next decade, a handful of scientists, politicians, and strategists, led by two unlikely heroes, risked their careers in a desperate, escalating campaign to convince the world to act before it was too late. Losing Earth is their story, and ours.

Nathaniel Rich reveals, in previously unreported detail, the birth of climate denialism and the genesis of the fossil fuel industry's coordinated effort to thwart climate policy through misinformation propaganda and political influence. The book carries the story into the present day, wrestling with the long shadow of our past failures and asking crucial questions about how we make sense of our past, our future, and ourselves. Like John Hersey's Hiroshima and Jonathan Schell's The Fate of the EarthLosing Earth is the rarest of achievements: a riveting work of dramatic history that articulates a moral framework for understanding how we got here, and how we must go forward.

Rich is in conversation with Jane Smiley, author of numerous novels, including A Thousand Acres, which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, and most recently, Golden Age, the concluding volume of The Last Hundred Years trilogy.




Jackie MacMullan and Rafe Bartholomew, “BASKETBALL: A LOVE STORY” w/ Bill Plaschke

Posted in skylight books, book stores, books, nonfiction, sports, history by skylightbooks on November 29th, 2018

In an effort to tell the comprehensive story of basketball in all its fascinating dimensions, two of the most well-respected basketball journalists working today, Jackie MacMullan and Rafe Bartholomew, collaborated with award-winning director, Dan Klores, to produce a groundbreaking book based on interviews with more than 170 of the sport’s all-time greats. The interviews, conducted by Klores and his team of producers for a multi-part ESPN Films series to be released in fall 2018, include legendary players, such as Bill Russell, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and Magic Johnson; renowned coaches like Phil Jackson and Coach K; and numerous executives, commissioners, and journalists.

Combing through nearly a thousand hours of conversations, MacMullan and Bartholomew compiled the candid stories and shaped them into what may become one of the most important basketball books ever written, Basketball: A Love Story. The book, which shares its title with the forthcoming ESPN Films series, surpasses other compilations in sheer volume and depth.

With a narrative that is raw and intimate and digging deep into the vast web of basketball mystique, this engrossing portrait weaves together diverse tales of the sport’s remarkable rise from humble roots and sheds light on its unparalleled growth, transforming our understanding of the game.

MacMullan and Bartholomew are in conversation with Bill Plaschke, sports columnist for The Los Angeles Times.




Karina Longworth, “SEDUCTION” w/ Mark Olsen

Posted in skylight books, book stores, books, Film, nonfiction, film/tv, history by skylightbooks on November 28th, 2018

In recent months, the media has reported on scores of entertainment figures who used their power and money in Hollywood to sexually harass and coerce some of the most talented women in cinema and television. But as Karina Longworth reminds us, long before the Harvey Weinsteins there was Howard Hughes--the Texas millionaire, pilot, and filmmaker whose reputation as a cinematic provocateur was matched only by that as a prolific womanizer.

His supposed conquests between his first divorce in the late 1920s and his marriage to actress Jean Peters in 1957 included many of Hollywood's most famous actresses, among them Billie Dove, Katharine Hepburn, Ava Gardner, and Lana Turner. From promoting bombshells like Jean Harlow and Jane Russell to his contentious battles with the censors, Hughes--perhaps more than any other filmmaker of his era--commoditized male desire as he objectified and sexualized women. Yet there were also numerous women pulled into Hughes's grasp who never made it to the screen, sometimes virtually imprisoned by an increasingly paranoid and disturbed Hughes, who retained multitudes of private investigators, security personnel, and informers to make certain these actresses would not escape his clutches.

Vivid, perceptive, timely, and ridiculously entertaining, Seduction is a landmark work that examines women, sex, and male power in Hollywood during its golden age--a legacy that endures nearly a century later.

Longworth is in conversation with Mark Olsen, who writes about all kinds of movies for the Los Angeles Times.




Éric Vuillard, “THE ORDER OF THE DAY” w/ Tom Lutz & Laurie Winer

Posted in skylight books, nonfiction, journalism, history by skylightbooks on November 19th, 2018

At a time marked by an ever-widening inequality gap, promulgating the interests of a few at the expense of many, and a rising wave of nationalism, spurred on by assaults to democratic freedoms and propaganda bubbles intended to distort truth, Éric Vuillard’s 2017 Prix Goncourt Winner, The Order of the Day offers a distilled and imaginative retelling of a similarly pivotal moment in history. What emerges is a timely warning about the fragility of the present moment. The annexation of Austria into Nazi Germany has long been seen as one of history’s most foreboding moments. Now, through a host of letters, historical documents, and photographs, Vuillard masterfully reconstructs and looks anew at the extraordinary sequence of events that opened a gateway to one of the greatest humanitarian horrors in our history. The Order of the Day exhumes a well-known history with fresh eyes, warning of the timeless threat to freedom exacted by self-interest, willful ignorance and the consolidation of power in the hands of the few.




Eileen Truax, “WE BUILT THE WALL”

Posted in literature, skylight books, book stores, books, nonfiction, history by skylightbooks on October 25th, 2018

A Mexican-American lawyer exposes corruption in the US asylum procedure and despotism in the Mexican government.

From a storefront law office in the US border city of El Paso, Texas, one man set out to tear down the great wall of indifference raised between the US and Mexico. Carlos Spector has filed hundreds of political asylum cases on behalf of human rights defenders, journalists, and political dissidents. Though his legal activism has only inched the process forward--98 percent of refugees from Mexico are still denied asylum--his myriad legal cases and the resultant media fallout has increasingly put US immigration policy, the corrupt state of Mexico, and the political basis of immigration, asylum, and deportation decisions on the spot.

Eileen Truax's We Built the Wall is an immersive, engrossing look at the new front in the immigration wars. It follows the gripping stories of people like Saúl Reyes, forced to flee his home after a drug cartel murdered several members of his family, and Delmy Calderón, a forty-two-year-old woman leading an eight-woman hunger strike in an El Paso detention center. Truax tracks the heart-wrenching trials of refugees like Yamil, the husband and father who chose a prison cell over deportation to Mexico, and Rocío Hernández, a nineteen-year-old who spent nearly her entire life in Texas and is now forced to live in a city where narcotraffickers operate with absolute impunity.




Diana Arterian and Allie Rowbottom

Posted in literature, skylight books, book stores, books, poetry, Memoir, nonfiction, history by skylightbooks on October 12th, 2018

Playing Monster :: Seiche is a book-length poem by Diana Arterian that incessantly dodges between two narratives: the speaker's childhood experiences with an abusive father and, as an adult, increasingly aggressive acts made toward her mother by strange men. It is a piece of noir poetics. It is also memoir and documentary. Through tight, spare poems, Arterian's unflinching descriptions of difficult life experiences fight aestheticization, engaging directly with the events as through the poetry of witness.

In 1899, Allie Rowbottom's great-great-great-uncle bought the patent to Jell-O from its inventor for $450. The sale would turn out to be one of the most profitable business deals in American history, and the generations that followed enjoyed immense privilege - but they were also haunted by suicides, cancer, alcoholism, and mysterious ailments. More than 100 years after that deal was struck, Allie's mother Mary was diagnosed with the same incurable cancer, a disease that had also claimed her own mother's life. Determined to combat what she had come to consider the "Jell-O curse" and her looming mortality, Mary began obsessively researching her family's past, determined to understand the origins of her illness and the impact on her life of Jell-O and the traditional American values the company championed. Before she died in 2015, Mary began to send Allie boxes of her research and notes, in the hope that her daughter might write what she could not. Jell-O Girls is the liberation of that story.





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