The ascension of Vladimir Putin - a former lieutenant colonel of the KGB - to the presidency of Russia in 1999 should have been a signal that the country was headed away from democracy. Yet in the intervening years - as America and the world's other leading powers have continued to appease him - Putin has grown into not only a dictator but a global threat. With his vast resources and nuclear weapons, Putin is at the center of a worldwide assault on political liberty.
"skip the first chapter (the intro read by Garry)"
As the Beijing correspondent for The New Yorker, Evan Osnos was on the ground in China for years, witness to profound political, economic, and cultural upheaval. In Age of Ambition, he describes the greatest collision taking place in that country: the clash between the rise of the individual and the Communist Party’s struggle to retain control.
"Come back when you have a warrant!"
Wolfgang Faust was the driver of a Tiger I tank with the Wehrmacht Heavy Panzer Battalions, seeing extensive combat action on the Eastern Front in 1943-45. This memoir is his brutal and deeply personal account of the Russian Front's appalling carnage. Depicting a running tank engagement lasting 72 hours, Faust describes how his Tiger unit fought pitched battles in the snows of Western Russia against the full might of the Red Army.
"Don't waste your time...."
A journalist writing in the first flush of revolutionary enthusiasm, John Reed gives a gripping record of the events in Petrograd in November 1917, when Lenin and the Bolsheviks finally seized power. Containing verbatim reports both of speeches by leaders and the chance comments of bystanders, set against an idealized backcloth of the proletariat, soldiers, sailors, and peasants uniting to throw off oppression, Reed's account is the product of passionate involvement and remains a classic of reporting.
Deng Xiaoping joined the Chinese Communist movement as a youth and rose in its ranks to become an important lieutenant of Mao's from the 1930s onward. Two years after Mao's death in 1976, Deng became the de facto leader of the Chinese Communist Party and the prime architect of China's post-Mao reforms. Abandoning the Maoist socioeconomic policies he had long fervently supported, he set in motion changes that would dramatically transform China's economy, society, and position in the world. Three decades later we are living with the results.
"Question on credibility"
While the Battle of Berlin in 1945 is widely known, the horrific story of the Halbe Kessel remains largely untold. In April 1945, victorious Soviet forces encircled 80,000 men of the German 9th Army in the Halbe area, South of Berlin, together with many thousands of German women and children. The German troops, desperate to avoid Soviet capture, battled furiously to break out toward the West, where they could surrender to the comparative safety of the Americans.
"Fake Memoir - Literary Fraud - Violent War Porn"
Spanning three generations, this novel of family and myth is told through a series of flashbacks that depict events of staggering horror set against a landscape of gemlike beauty, as the Chinese battle both Japanese invaders and each other in the turbulent 1930s. A legend in China, where it won major literary awards and inspired an Oscar-nominated film directed by Zhang Yimou, Red Sorghum is a book in which fable and history collide to produce fiction that is entirely new—and unforgettable.
"Best narrator I've ever heard!"
Perhaps nowhere else has literature been as conscious a collective endeavor as in China, and China's survival over 3,000 years may owe more to its literary traditions than to its political history. This Very Short Introduction tells the story of Chinese literature from antiquity to the present, focusing on the key role literary culture played in supporting social and political concerns. Embracing traditional Chinese understandings of literature as encompassing history and philosophy as well as poetry and poetics, storytelling, drama, and the novel, Sabina Knight discusses the philosophical foundations of literary culture.
"A book perhaps best suited in paper format"
Full of unforgettable figures and an unrelenting spirit of adventure, Strange Stones is a far-ranging, thought-provoking collection of Peter Hessler’s best reportage - a dazzling display of the powerful storytelling, shrewd cultural insight, and warm sense of humor that are the trademarks of his work. Over the last decade, as a staff writer for The New Yorker and the author of three books, Peter Hessler has lived in Asia and the United States, writing as both native and knowledgeable outsider in these two very different regions.
This deeply researched book describes one of the great forgotten battles of the 20th century. At its height it involved nearly a million Chinese and Japanese soldiers, while sucking in three million civilians as unwilling spectators and, often, victims. It turned what had been a Japanese adventure in China into a general war between the two oldest and proudest civilizations of the Far East. Ultimately, it led to Pearl Harbor and to seven decades of tumultuous history in Asia. The Battle of Shanghai was a pivotal event that helped define and shape the modern world.
"Excellent in every way"
Lingo spins the listener on a whirlwind tour of 60 European languages and dialects, sharing quirky moments from their histories and exploring their commonalities and differences. Most European languages are descended from a single ancestor, a language not unlike Sanskrit known as Proto-Indo-European (or PIE for short), but the continent's ever-changing borders and cultures have given rise to a linguistic and cultural diversity that is too often forgotten in discussions of Europe as a political entity.
"Fascinating tour of European dialects"
In September of 2005, the Peace Corps sent Michael Levy to teach English in the heart of China's heartland. His hosts in the city of Guiyang found additional uses for him: resident expert on Judaism, romantic adviser, and provincial basketball star, to name a few. His account of overcoming vast cultural differences to befriend his students and fellow teachers is by turns poignant and laugh-out-loud funny.
"Not quite his target audience I guess"
When an earthquake of historic magnitude leveled the industrial city of Tangshan in the summer of 1976, killing more than a half-million people, China was already gripped by widespread social unrest. As Mao lay on his deathbed, the public mourned the death of popular premier Zhou Enlai. Anger toward the powerful Communist Party officials in the Gang of Four, which had tried to suppress grieving for Zhou, was already potent; when the government failed to respond swiftly to the Tangshan disaster, popular resistance to the Cultural Revolution reached a boiling point.
"50% Earthquake 50% Bad Government"
For three years Meyer rented a home in the rice-farming community of Wasteland, hometown of his wife's family, and their personal saga mirrors the tremendous change most of rural China is undergoing in the form of a privately held rice company that has built new roads, introduced organic farming, and constructed high-rise apartments into which farmers can move in exchange for their land rights.
"Recommended, uniquely informative and entertaining"
John Polly enters Shanghai in 1948 on a muggy, velvet evening, just in time for the Communist takeover of China. It marks only his fourth month in America's newly formed Central Intelligence Agency. Over the next two decades, Polly will become The White Mandarin, a double agent buried so deep within the inner circle of the People's Republic as to shape the futures of both that nation and his own.
"A view into the secret world of espionage"
Since the 1990s China has been climbing up the ladder of quality, from doing knockoffs to designing its own high-end goods. Xiaomi - its name literally means "little rice" - is landing squarely in this shift in China's economy. But the remarkable rise of Xiaomi from startup to colossus is more than a business story because mobile phones are special. The common desiderata of the global population, mobile phones offer the kind of freedom and connectedness that autocratic countries are terrified of.
"Informative and up to date."
Thanks to Salem sea captains, Gilded Age millionaires, curators on horseback, and missionaries gone native, North American museums now possess the greatest collections of Chinese art outside of East Asia itself. How did it happen? The China Collectors is the first full account of a century-long treasure hunt in China from the Opium Wars and the Boxer Rebellion to Mao Zedong's 1949 ascent.
Originally published in 1982 as the first of Edmund White's trilogy of autobiographical novels, A Boy's Own Story became an instant classic for its pioneering portrayal of homosexuality. The audiobook's unnamed narrator, growing up during the 1950s, is beset by aloof parents, a cruel sister, and relentless mocking from his peers, compelling him to seek out works of art and literature as solace-and to uncover new relationships in the struggle to embrace his own sexuality.
Winner of the National Book Award 2014 A young army captain who risked execution to swim from free-market Taiwan to Communist China. A barber who made $150 million in the gambling dens of Macau. The richest woman in China, a recycling tycoon known as the 'Wastepaper Queen'. Age of Ambition describes some of the billion individual lives that make up China's story - one that unfolds on remote farms, in glittering mansions, and in the halls of power of the world’s largest authoritarian regime.
In this first of a planned five-volume set, David Roy provides a complete and annotated translation of the famous Chin P'ing Mei, an anonymous sixteenth-century Chinese novel that focuses on the domestic life of Hsi-men Ch'ing, a corrupt, upwardly mobile merchant in a provincial town, who maintains a harem of six wives and concubines. This work, known primarily for its erotic realism, is also a landmark in the development of the narrative art form - not only from a specifically Chinese perspective but in a world-historical context.
"Excellent narration and rollicking story"