Young Stalin tells the story of an exceptional, charismatic, darkly turbulent young man born into obscurity, fancying himself a poet and a priest, and finally embracing revolutionary idealism as his Messianic mission in life. Equal parts scholar and terrorist, a mastermind of bank robberies, extortion, piracy, and murder, he was so impressive in his brutality that Lenin made him, along with Trotsky, his chief henchman.
This book is simply amazing -- in the quality of its research, the scope of its narrative, and the ability of the author to move between minor details in Stalin's early life and the repercussions these details would have on his later actions.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie offers listeners a unique definition of feminism for the 21st century, one rooted in inclusion and awareness. Drawing extensively on her own experiences and her deep understanding of the often masked realities of sexual politics, here is one remarkable author's exploration of what it means to be a woman now - and an of-the-moment rallying cry for why we should all be feminists.
Adichie has a great, expressive voice.
Audiobook is probably even better than reading this on paper.
In the 19th century, American meals were about subsistence, not enjoyment. But as a new century approached, appetites broadened, and David Fairchild, a young botanist with an insatiable lust to explore and experience the world, set out in search of foods that would enrich the American farmer and enchant the American eater. Kale from Croatia, mangoes from India, and hops from Bavaria. Peaches from China, avocados from Chile, and pomegranates from Malta. But Fairchild's finds weren't just limited to food.
This is a great story about the efforts of a few key people that resulted in the bounty of fruits and vegetables we enjoy today. These people included scientists, travelers, politicians and strangers in faraway lands. Daniel Stone does a great job bringing it all to life.
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Drawing on new research, including the diaries, memoirs, and personal letters of both Lenin and his friends, Victor Sebestyen's unique biography - the first in English in nearly two decades - is not only a political examination of one of the most important historical figures of the 20th century but a portrait of Lenin the man. Unexpectedly, Lenin was someone who loved nature, hunting, and fishing and could identify hundreds of species of plants, a despotic ruler whose closest ties and friendships were with women.
This is a very well-written and informative book about the events that transpired in Lenin's lifetime, and a glimpse into his personal life and psychology.
The author is set up with the inherent problem of making the book about Lenin, while also explaining the complex historical events he was a part of. He mostly succeeds, but I was hoping for deeper analyses of Lenin's psyche and motivations.
It was 1928: a time of illicit booze, of Gatsby and Babe Ruth, of freewheeling fun. The Great War was over, and American optimism was higher than the stock market. What better moment to launch an expedition to Antarctica, the planet's final frontier? The night before the expedition's flagship launched, Billy Gawronski - a skinny, first-generation New York City high schooler desperate to escape a dreary future in the family upholstery business - jumped into the Hudson River and snuck aboard. Could he get away with it?
Great story of how the courage and determination of a young man helped him meet his goals and set the stage for a long and memorable life.
Kathleen Kelly Janus, a lecturer at the Stanford University Program on Social Entrepreneurship and the founder of the successful social enterprise Spark, set out to investigate what makes a startup succeed or fail. She surveyed more than 200 high-performing social entrepreneurs and interviewed dozens of founders. Social Startup Success shares her findings for the legions of entrepreneurs working for social good, revealing how the best organizations get over the revenue hump.
This book should be required reading for any social enterprise startup team or social enterprise investor. Kathleen Kelly Janus does a great job distilling many of the key success factors that drive social startup success. Importantly, she also lays out a wide range of speedbumps to avoid. My favorite: "Hire slow, fire fast." Additionally, her discussion of "outputs vs. outcomes" offers a wealth of info about how to effectively demonstrate how you are delivering against what you are promising.
As the main spoken language of the Jews for more than a thousand years, Yiddish has had plenty to lament, plenty to conceal. Its phrases and expressions paint a comprehensive picture of the mind-set that enabled the Jews of Europe to survive persecution: they never stopped kvetching about God, gentiles, children, and everything else.
This book gives a great picture of Yiddish culture and language, its history and its qualities.
It does this through a hilarious (and true!) account of what Yiddish really is: a language founded for expressing grievance.
On November 1, 2006, journalist and Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko was poisoned in London. He died 22 days later. The cause of death? Polonium - a rare, lethal, and highly radioactive substance. Here Luke Harding unspools a real-life political assassination story complete with KGB, CIA, MI6, and Russian mobsters.
This is an extremely well-researched, well-written and thorough account of a case where the Kremlin (and probably Vladmir Putin) directed the assassination in London of a former Russian cop who defected against the FSB.
Beyond telling an unbelievable story of real-life spycraft, it's an excellent overview of Russia as a country today, with a number of battlefronts and a spymaster at its helm.
On October 22, 2001, handsome multimillionaire financier Ted Ammon was found bludgeoned to death in the magnificent East Hampton mansion he'd built with his beautiful - and volatile - wife, Generosa. She stood to make millions, but it wasn't the money that made Ted's friends suspicious: Generosa Ammon had a history of violent outbursts and bizarre obsessions.
This book had deep detail on the background of the characters and the journey from all is fine to things getting really bad. A true story, but read like fiction. Enjoyed it
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Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn’s startling book led, almost 30 years later, to Glasnost, Perestroika, and the "Fall of the Wall". One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich brilliantly portrays a single day, any day, in the life of a single Russian soldier who was captured by the Germans in 1945 and who managed to escape a few days later. Along with millions of others, this soldier was charged with some sort of political crime, and since it was easier to confess than deny it and die, Ivan Denisovich "confessed" to "high treason" and received a sentence of 10 years in a Siberian labor camp.
It turns out that "Ivan Denisovich" makes a great audiobook! The text itself is short and to the point. And the translation does a great job turning the Russian into plain, conversational English.
Frank Muller is excellent, really embodying the mood and tone of Gulag life.