Growing up in Greenwich Village in the 1960s Sean Wilentz discovered the music of Bob Dylan as a young teenager. Almost half a century later, now a distinguished professor of American history, he revisits Dylan's work with the critical skills of a scholar and the passion of a fan. Drawing partly on his work as the current historian-in-residence on Dylan's official website, Sean Wilentz provides a unique blend of biography, memoir and anlysis in a book which, much like its subject, shifts gears and changes shape as the occasion demands.
Beginning with Dylan's explosion onto the scene in 1961, this book charts his career and the evolution of his astonishing output and places it firmly within a vivid musical and cultural context. It examines the influence of the Popular Front ideology and of Beat aesthetics, as well as the debt and sometimes surprising connections to other composers and performers - as diverse as Aaron Copland and Blind Willie McTell. The result is a broad and brilliantly illuminating appreciation of Dylan as both performer and songwriter up to the present day.
Sean Wilentz has had unprecedented access to studio tapes, recording notes and rare photographs - many of which are reproduced here. This remarkable material allows him to tell Dylan's story - and that of such masterpieces as Blonde on Blonde - with unrivalled authenticity and richness.
An Italian village on a hilltop near the Adriatic coast, a decaying palazzo facing the sea, and in the basement, cobwebbed and dusty, lit by a single bulb, an archive unknown to scholars. Here, a young graduate student from Rome, Francesca Cappelletti, makes a discovery that inspires a search for a work of art of incalculable value, a painting lost for almost two centuries.
The artist was Caravaggio, a master of the Italian Baroque. He was a genius, a revolutionary painter, and a man beset by personal demons. Four hundred years ago, he drank and brawled in the taverns and streets of Rome, moving from one rooming house to another, constantly in and out of jail, all the while painting works of transcendent emotional and visual power. He rose from obscurity to fame and wealth, but success didn';t alter his violent temperament. His rage finally led him to commit murder, forcing him to flee Rome a hunted man. He died young, alone, and under strange circumstances.
Caravaggio scholars estimate that between sixty and eighty of his works are in existence today. Many others-no one knows the precise number-have been lost to time. Somewhere, surely, a masterpiece lies forgotten in a storeroom, or in a small parish church, or hanging above a fireplace, mistaken for a mere copy.
Prizewinning author Jonathan Harr embarks on an spellbinding journey to discover the long-lost painting known as The Taking of Christ-its mysterious fate and the circumstances of its disapperance have captivated Caravaggio devotees for years. After Francesca Cappelletti stumbles across a clue in that dusty archive, she tracks the painting across a continent and hundreds of years of history. But it is not until she meets Sergio Benedetti, an art restorer working in Ireland, that she finally manages to assemble all the pieces of the puzzle.
Told with consummate skill by the writer of the bestselling, award-winning A Civil Action, The Lost Painting is a remarkable synthesis of history and detective story. The fascinating details of Caravaggio';s strange, turbulent career and the astonishing beauty of his work come to life in these pages. Harr';s account is not unlike a Caravaggio painting: vivid, deftly wrought, and enthralling.
". . . Jonathan Harr has gone to the trouble of writing what will probably be a bestseller . . . rich and wonderful. . .in truth, the book reads better than a thriller because, unlike a lot of best-selling nonfiction authors who write in a more or less novelistic vein (Harr's previous book, A Civil Action, was made into a John Travolta movie), Harr doesn't plump up hi tale. He almost never foreshadows, doesn't implausibly reconstruct entire conversations and rarely throws in litanies of clearly conjectured or imagined details just for color's sake. . .if you're a sucker for Rome, and for dusk. . .[you'll] enjoy Harr's more clearly reported details about life in the city, as when--one of my favorite moments in the whole book--Francesca and another young colleague try to calm their nerves before a crucial meeting with a forbidding professor by eating gelato. And who wouldn't in Italy? The pleasures of travelogue here are incidental but not inconsiderable." --The New York Times Book Review "Jonathan Harr has taken the story of the lost painting, and woven from it a deeply moving narrative about history, art and taste--and about the greed, envy, covetousness and professional jealousy of people who fall prey to obsession. It is as perfect a work of narrative nonfiction as you could ever hope to read." --The Economist From the Hardcover edition.
During his lifetime (1900-67), Spencer Tracy was known as Hollywood's 'actor's actor'. Critics wrote that what Olivier was to theatre, Tracy was to film. Over his career he was nominated for nine Academy Awards, and won two.
But there has been no substantial, intimate biography of the man. From his earliest days in stock theatre, Tracy was a publicist's trial, guarding his private life fiercely.
Most of the people associated closely with him also shunned the fanzine limelight - notably his wife, his children and the great actress Katharine Hepburn, with whom he had an affair that lasted over 26 years.
Although his screen roles often depicted a happy, twinkling Irishman, Tracy was a periodic alcoholic and a not very agreeable drunk. But the studios managed to keep him out of the papers.
With the help of Tracy's daughter, Susie, and access to previously unseen papers, James Curtis has now produced the definitive biography of a tortured, complex and immensely talented man.
The book contains 124 integrated photos, many published for the first time.
Greta Garbo's enduring legend derives from her incandescent performances as a woman in love in such classics as Camille, Queen Christina and Grand Hotel. For half a century her apparently reclusive existence enhanced her reputation as a remote and enigmatic screen goddess.
Now, in this beautifully illustrated book, Hugo Vickers tells the remarkable story of Greta Garbo and of the two love affairs that dominated her life: with Cecil Beaton and the notorious Mercedes de Acosta. It is a highly revealing portait of an exotic world - at its centre, an enthrallign and demanding star who gave little in return.
'The best of these Darwins is that they are cut out of rock - three taps is enough to convince one how immense is their solidarity.' So wrote Virginia Woolf affectionately of Gwen Raverat, the granddaughter of Charles Darwin.
In this first full biography, Frances Spalding looks beyond the artist Gwen Raverat's childhood memoir; Period Piece, and creates a fascinating and moving portrait of Charles Darwin's granddaughter. She explores her Darwin inheritance; her conflicts when she moves beyond her home environment to enter the Slade School of Art; her encounter with post-Impressionism; and her friendships with Stanley Spencer, Rupert Brooke and members of the Bloomsbury set. At each stage, Gwen's artistic creativity is interwoven with her relationships and circumstances. She helps revive the medium of wood-engraving and with her husband, Jacques Raverat, celebrates the South of France in the art they produce while living in Venice.
Drawing on a huge cache of unpublished papers, Spalding brings us a life lived with bravery, humour; realism and integrity, surrounded by a remarkable cast of relatives, friends and associates.
J.M.W. Turner was a painter whose treatment of light put him squarely in the pantheon of the world’s preeminent artists, but his character was a tangle of fascinating contradictions. While he could be coarse and rude, manipulative, illmannered, and inarticulate, he was also generous, questioning, and humane, and he displayed through his work a hitherto unrecognized optimism about the course of human progress. With two illegitimate daughters and several mistresses whom Turner made a career of not including in his public life, the painter was also known for his entrepreneurial cunning, demanding and receiving the highest prices for his work.Over the course of sixty years, Turner traveled thousands of miles to seek out the landscapes of England and Europe. He was drawn overwhelmingly to coasts, to the electrifying rub of the land with the sea, and he regularly observed their union from the cliff, the beach, the pier, or from a small boat. Fueled by his prodigious talent, Turner revealed to himself and others the personality of the British and European landscapes and the moods of the surrounding seas. He kept no diary, but his many sketchbooks are intensely autobiographical, giving clues to his techniques, his itineraries, his income and expenditures, and his struggle to master the theories of perspective.In Turner, James Hamilton takes advantage of new material discovered since the 1975 bicentennial celebration of the artist’s birth, paying particulr attention to the diary of sketches with which Turner narrated his life. Hamilton’s textured portrait is fully complemented by a sixteenpage illustrations insert, including many color reproductions of Turner’s most famous landscape paintings. Seamlessly blending vibrant biography with astute art criticism, Hamilton writes with energy, style, and erudition to address the contradictions of this great artist.From the Hardcover edition.
“I had always thought about driving a cab, just thought it’d be interesting and different, a good way to make money. But it always seemed like a fleeting whim, a funny idea, something I would never actually do.”In her late twenties and after a series of unsatisfying office jobs, Melissa Plaut decided she was going to stop worrying about what to do with the rest of her life and focus on what she was going to do next. Her first adventure: becoming a taxi driver. Undeterred by the fact that 99 percent of cabbies in the city were men, she went to taxi school, got her hack license, and hit the streets of Manhattan and the outlying boroughs.Hack traces Plaut’s first two years behind the wheel of a yellow cab traveling the 6,400 miles of New York City streets. She shares the highs, the lows, the shortcuts, and professional trade secrets. Between figuring out where and when to take a bathroom break and trying to avoid runins with the NYPD, Plaut became an honorary member of a diverse brotherhood that included Harvey, the crossdressing cabbie; the dispatcher affectionately called “Paul the crazy Romanian” and Lenny, the garage owner rumored to be the reallife prototype for TV’s Louie De Palma of Taxi.With wicked wit and arresting insight, Melissa Plaut reveals the crazy parade of humanity that passed through her cab–including struggling actors, federal judges, bartenders, strippers, and drug dealers–whileshowing how this grueling work provided her with empowerment and a greater sense of self. Hack introduces an irresistible new voice that is much like New York itself–vivid, profane, lyrical, and ineffably hipFrom the Hardcover edition.
In the twelfth century, Christians in Europe began to build a completely new kind of church - soaring, spacious monuments flooded with light from immense windows. These were the first Gothic churches, the crowning example of which was the cathedral of Chartres: a revolution in thought embodied in stone and glass, and a bridge between the ancient and modern worlds.
In Universe of Stone, Philip Ball explains the genesis and development of the Gothic style. He argues that it signified a profound change in the social, intellectual and theological climate of Western Christendom. As the church represented nothing less than a vision of heaven on earth, this shift in architectural style marked the beginning of the argument between faith and reason which continues today, and of a scientific view of the world that threatened to dispense with God altogether.
Alexander Barabanov, a key figure in the Russian dance world, has sifted through many thousands of photographs of dance to accumulate an extraordinary collection of pictures, ranging from historical ballet photographs to shocking avant-garde imagery.
This work has been collected and edited to form an astonishing sequence. Rather than being assembled as an anthology, the sequence has in fact been 'choreographed' so the book is constructed to form a dance in ten movements. It begins with creation myths, follows erotic engagements and leads to a series of mass movements in the modern age. It includes such gems as the young Nureyev's first performance with the Kirov and Baryshinikov's debut as well as images with brutal reference to Abu Ghraib or the march of fascism.
Manet, Monet, Pissarro, Cezanne, Renoir, Degas, Renoir, Sisley, Berthe Moriost and Mary Cassatt.
Their contemporaries branded them as lunatics, but today this is a roll-call of great artists, whose paintings evoke a unique atmosphere of harmony: languid landscapes flooded with light, shop-workers dancing on their day off, bars and gas-lit streets, the sunlit beach at Trouville. We all know these dazzling pictures - but how well do we know the Impressionists as people?This book tells their story.
In a vivid and moving narrative, Sue Roe shows how the early leaders of the group first met in the Paris studios and lived and worked closely together for nearly twenty years. Painting outdoors, meeting in cafes, they supported each other and shared emotional and financial difficulties. Defying the hide-bound rules of the salon, they staged joint exhibitions and rebelled against artistic prejudice, moral tyranny and social hierarchy. Often rejected by their horrified parents, they led volatile and precarious lives: their wives were servants, models, flower-sellers and, although their paintings today sell for millions, they were barely able to support their families.
This intimate, colourful, superbly researched account takes us into their homes as well as their studios and describes their love affairs and arguments, heartaches and dreams as well as their canvases and theories. Over the years there were divisions and rows, but in the ed this constellation of talent shone through, giving the world a new, exhilarating form of art.
From Peter Bogdanovich - director, screenwriter, actor, and cinema scholar - 25 portraits of Hollywood's most acclaimed movie actors and actresses: stars whom he has known, admired, and occasionally worked with. Bogdanovich captures the personality, the work, the style and the enduring iconic appeal of America's movie greats.
The vivid scenes on the Bayeux Tapestry depict the events leading up to the Battle of Hastings in 1066. It is one of Europe's greatest treasures and its own story is full of drama and surprise.
Who commissioned the tapestry? Was it Bishop Odo, William's ruthless half-brother? Or Harold's dynamic sister Edith, juggling for a place in the new court? Hicks shows us this world and the miracle of the tapestry's making: the stitches, dyes and strange details in the margins. For centuries it lay ignored in Bayeux cathedral until its 'discovery' in the eighteenth century. It became a symbol of power as well as art: townsfolk saved it during the French Revolution; Napoleon displayed it to promote his own conquest; the Nazis strove to make it their own; and its influence endures today.
This marvellous book, packed with thrilling stories, shows how we remake history in every age and how a great work of art has a life of its own.
This enthralling confection of a novel, the first in a new trilogy, follows the transformation of a coddled Austrian archduchess into the reckless, powerful, beautiful queen Marie Antoinette.
Why must it be me? I wondered. When I am so clearly inadequate to my destiny?
Raised alongside her numerous brothers and sisters by the formidable empress of Austria, ten-year-old Maria Antonia knew that her idyllic existence would one day be sacrificed to her mothers political ambitions. What she never anticipated was that the day in question would come so soon.
Before she can journey from sunlit picnics with her sisters in Vienna to the glitter, glamour, and gossip of Versailles, Antonia must change everything about herself in order to be accepted as dauphine of France and the wife of the awkward teenage boy who will one day be Louis XVI. Yet nothing can prepare her for the ingenuity and influence it will take to become queen.
Filled with smart history, treacherous rivalries, lavish clothes, and sparkling jewels, Becoming Marie Antoinette will utterly captivate fiction and history lovers alike.
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RandomHouseReadersCircle.com From the Trade Paperback edition.
A marvellously funny and sharply observed account of a journey to Russia by one of Britain's most talented young writers. Moscow - a labyrinth where the humans try to keep one step ahead of the roaches. Everyone on the move, some in search of the quick buck, and others just trying to survive. All dazzled by the neon glare of the western dream. The soviet monolith has broken down in tribalism, tribes who go to war not just on the streets but in overheated rooms, with drugs, vodka and Cindy Crawford carrier bags. James Young gives an unparalleled account of today's Moscow from the bottom side up. He takes us on a odyssey through this strange no man's land where East meets West, where the old certainties have gone, the KGB men wear Italian suits, the Mafia tycoonskis style themselves on the Godfather flicks and the rest are queuing to change dollars.
Neil Young is one of rock and roll's most important, influential and enigmatic figures, an intensely reticent artist who has granted no writer access to his inner sanctum - until now. Shakey is the whole story of Young's incredible life and career: from his childhood in Canada to the founding of folk-rock pioneers Buffalo Springfield; the bleary conglomeration of Crazy Horse and the monstrous success of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young; to the depths of the Tonight's the Night depravity and the Geffen years; and Young's unprecedented nineties 'comeback'.
Shakey (the title refers to one of Young's many aliases) is also the compelling human story of a lonely kid for whom music was the only outlet, a driven yet tortured figure who controlled his epilepsy via 'mind over matter', an oddly passionate model train mogul who, inspired by his own son's struggle with cerebral palsy, became a major activist in the quest to help those with the condition.
This long-awaited, unprecedented story of a rock 'n' roll legend is uniquely told through the interwoven voices of McDonough - biographer, critic, historian, obsessive fan - and the ever-cantankerous (but slyly funny) Young himself.
An illuminating look at the most tumultuous decade in the life of a rock icon--the only McCartney biography in decades based on firsthand interviews with the ex-Beatle himself.
As the 1970s began, the Beatles ended, leaving Paul McCartney to face the new decade with only his wife Linda by his side. Holed up at his farmhouse in Scotland, he sank into a deep depression. To outsiders, McCartney seemed like a man adrift--intimidated by his own fame, paralyzed by the choices that lay before him, cut loose from his musical moorings. But what appeared to be the sad finale of a glorious career was just the start of a remarkable second act.
The product of a long series of one-on-one interviews between McCartney and Scottish rock journalist Tom Doyle, Man on the Run chronicles Paul McCartneys decadelong effort to escape the shadow of his past, outrace his critics, and defy the expectations of his fans. From the bitter and painful breakup of the Beatles to the sobering wake-up call of John Lennons murder, this is a deeply revealing look at a sometimes frightening, often exhilarating period in the life of the worlds most famous rock star.
Sensing that he had nowhere to go but up, Paul McCartney started over from scratch. With emotional--and musical--backing from Linda, he released eccentric solo albums and embarked on a nomadic hippie lifestyle. He formed a new band, Wings, which first took flight on a ramshackle tour of British university towns and eventually returned Paul to the summit of arena rock superstardom.
In Man on the Run, Doyle follows McCartney inside the recording sessions for Wings classic album Band on the Run--and provides context for some of the baffling misfires in his discography. Doyle tracks the dizzying highs and exasperating lows of a life lived in the public spotlight: the richly excessive world tours, the Japanese drug bust that nearly ended McCartneys career, his bitter public feuds with his erstwhile Beatle bandmates, and the aftermath of an infamous drug-and-alcohol-fueled jam session where McCartney helped reconcile the estranged John Lennon and Yoko Ono.
For Paul McCartney, the 1970s were a wild ride with some dark turns. Set against the backdrop of a turbulent decade, Man on the Run casts the sunny Beatle in an entirely new light.
Advance praise for Man on the Run Tom Doyles Man on the Run is a riveting dispatch from the seventies. Paul McCartneys story is told with clever pacing, unflinching honesty, and a gripping narrative drive that benefits from his intimate participation via interviews and support. This is simply one of the best rock biographies anyone has written.--Stephen Davis, bestselling author of Hammer of the Gods and Watch You Bleed Man on the Run is simply brimming with enough fascinating facts and expertly rendered anecdotes to make even the most ardent McCartney follower do an abrupt about-face. Maybe Im amazed? You better believe it.--Kent Hartman, music industry executive and bestselling author of The Wrecking Crew What happens when you can do anything you like but nothing will ever be good enough? Doyle makes sense of a stoned shaggy dog story that has none of the narrative neatness of the Beatles rise and fall.--The Guardian (U.K.), Music Books of the Year [Doyle] offers a level-headed and admirably nonjudgmental portrait of a turbulent ten years, punctuated by great music, creative misfires and frequent run-ins with the law.--Sunday Express (U.K.) From the Hardcover edition.
* No artist offered a more incisive and accurate portrait of the troubled landscape of the 1970s than David Bowie. Through his multi-faceted and inventive work, he encapsulated many of the social, political and cultural themes that ran through this most fascinating of decades, from the elusive promise of scientific progress to the persistent fear of apocalypse that stalked the globe.
* In The Man Who Sold The World: David Bowie and the 1970s, cultural historian Peter Doggett explores the rich heritage of the artist's most productive and inspired decade, and traces the way in which his music reflected and influenced the world around him.
* The book follows his career from 'Space Oddity', his dark vision of mankind's voyage into the unknown terrain of space, to the Scary Monsters album. It examines in detail his audacious creation of an 'alien' rock star, Ziggy Stardust, and his own increasingly perilous explorations of the nature of identity and the meaning of fame, against the backdrop of his family heritage of mental instability.
* Among the book's wider themes are the West's growing sense of insecurity in the age of oil shortages and terrorism; the changing nature of sexual roles, as represented by Bowie's pioneering adoption of a bisexual persona; the emergence of a new experimental form of rock music that would leave an indelible mark on the decades to come; and the changing naure of many of the world's great cities, including London, New York, Los Angeles and Berlin, each of which played host to Bowie during particularly creative periods of his career.
* Mixing brilliant musical critique with biographical insight and acute cultural analysis, The Man Who Sold The World is a unique study of a major artist and his times.