"Henrietta Lacks, a poor Southern tobacco farmer, was buried in an unmarked grave sixty years ago. Yet her cells - taken without her knowledge - became one of the most important tools in medical research. Known to science as HeLa, the first "immortal" human cells grown in culture are still alive today, and have been bought and sold by the millions. Rebecca Skloot takes us on an extraordinary journey from the "colored" ward of Johns Hopkins Hospital in the 1950s to East Baltimore today, where Henrietta's family struggles with her legacy (BarnesAndNoble.com)
“Rising from humble roots as the son of an antique dealer, Wittman built a twenty-year career that was nothing short of extraordinary. He went undercover, usually unarmed, to catch art thieves, scammers, and black market traders in Paris and Philadelphia, Rio and Santa Fe, Miami and Madrid.
In this page-turning memoir, Wittman fascinates with the stories behind his recoveries of priceless art and antiquities: the golden armor of an ancient Peruvian warrior king; the Rodin sculpture that inspired the Impressionist movement; the headdress Geronimo wore at his final Pow-Wow; the rare Civil War battle flag carried into battle by one of the nation’s first African-American regiments.
The breadth of Wittman’s exploits is unmatched. He traveled the world to rescue paintings by Rockwell and Rembrandt, Pissarro, Monet and Picasso, often working undercover overseas at the whim of foreign governments. Closer to home, he recovered an original copy of the Bill of Rights and cracked the scam that rocked the PBS series Antiques Roadshow.
By the FBI’s accounting, Wittman saved hundreds of millions of dollars worth of art and antiquities. He says the statistic isn’t important. After all, who’s to say what is worth more —a Rembrandt self-portrait or an American flag carried into battle? They're both priceless.
The art thieves and scammers Wittman caught run the gamut from rich to poor, smart to foolish, organized criminals to desperate loners. The smuggler who brought him a looted 6th-century treasure turned out to be a high-ranking diplomat. The appraiser who stole countless heirlooms from war heroes’ descendants was a slick, aristocratic con man. The museum janitor who made off with locks of George Washington's hair just wanted to make a few extra bucks, figuring no one would miss what he’d filched.
In his final case, Wittman called on every bit of knowledge and experience in his arsenal to take on his greatest challenge: working undercover to track the vicious criminals behind what might be the most audacious art theft of all.” (BarnesAndNoble.com)
“Uber-expatriate Mayle once again flings the doors wide open upon the sunny landscape and not-always-as-provincial-as-they-seem denizens of Provence in another of his wise, witty, and sophisticated novels that many equally sophisticated readers have developed quite an appetite for. In the simplest of terms, this one is about the wine trade. Max Skinner is a young player in the London financial world who hasn't been performing up to snuff on the job lately; one day he finds himself demoted and left with no option but to resign from the firm. As fate would have it--the hand of God, in other words--Max simultaneously receives a letter informing him that his recently deceased and much-loved uncle has willed his estate and vineyard in Provence to Max. With money borrowed from his former brother-in-law, Max relocates there, and his true adventures begin; he thought his life had collapsed into an absolute mess, but instead, he has been awarded a challenging and moral-fiber-strengthening new focus and outlet. Yes, indeed, complications arise--namely, what duplicity are the caretaker and the local femme-fatale lawyer practicing on Max? The entertaining threads in this absolutely embracing novel are woven into a vibrant design.” (Amazon.com)
"The 2009 Cincinnati Public Library’s 'On the Same Page' selection for adult readers is The Soloist: A Lost Dream, an Unlikely Friendship, and the Redemptive Power of Music, by Steve Lopez. This nonfiction title is based on LA Times columnist Lopez’s newspaper articles about musician Nathaniel Anthony Ayers, whom he met on LA’s Skid Row. Ayers studied at Juilliard before developing schizophrenia and spending decades on the streets.
The book is an inspiring story of music and friendship, as well as a compelling examination of homelessness, mental illness, public policy, and race in America. Reviewers have named The Soloist one of the best books of 2008. You can learn more about the book at the author’s official website. It is being made into a movie starring Robert Downey, Jr. and Jamie Foxx." (On The Same Page, 2009)
"The story of the love that ended an empireIn this commanding book, Pulitzer Prize–winning author Robert K. Massie sweeps readers back to the extraordinary world of Imperial Russia to tell the story of the Romanovs’ lives: Nicholas’s political naïveté, Alexandra’s obsession with the corrupt mystic Rasputin, and little Alexis’s brave struggle with hemophilia. Against a lavish backdrop of luxury and intrigue, Massie unfolds a powerful drama of passion and history—the story of a doomed empire and the death-marked royals who watched it crumble.
Massie offers a moving, tragic, and unforgettable account of the extraordinary Imperial dynasty of Tsar Nicholas II, his doomed empire, and a revolution that would inexorably change the world forever." (Barnes and Noble)
The story of 1776, the year of our nation's birth, has become so enmeshed in shadow play rituals that we no longer sense its immediacy or its significance. That changes with this full-bodied narrative history. With this book, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner David McCullough does for George Washington (and surprisingly enough, George III) what he did for John Adams, Harry Truman, and Theodore Roosevelt. He sets the grassroots fervency of the outnumbered colonists against the mighty United Kingdom, the world's only superpower. Like all McCullough's books, 1776 captures history at its most human level. He takes the reader, for instance, on the arduous journey of Henry Knox, a Boston bookseller who dragged tons of heavy British artillery to turn the tide in the siege of Boston. America at its most heroic; history at its finest. (BarnesAndNoble)
"This new edition of The World Is Flat is Thomas L. Friedman’s account of the great changes taking place in our time, as lightning-swift advances in technology and communications put people all over the globe in touch as never before-creating an explosion of wealth in India and China, and challenging the rest of us to run even faster just to stay in place. This updated and expanded edition features more than a hundred pages of fresh reporting and commentary, drawn from Friedman’s travels around the world and across the American heartland--from anyplace where the flattening of the world is being felt.
In The World Is Flat, Friedman at once shows "how and why globalization has now shifted into warp drive" (Robert Wright, Slate) and brilliantly demystifies the new flat world for readers, allowing them to make sense of the often bewildering scene unfolding before their eyes. With his inimitable ability to translate complex foreign policy and economic issues, he explains how the flattening of the world happened at the dawn of the twenty-first century; what it means to countries, companies, communities, and individuals; how governments and societies can, and must, adapt; and why terrorists want to stand in the way.
More than ever, The World Is Flat is an essential update on globalization, its successes and discontents, powerfully illuminated by one of our most respected journalists." (BarnesAndNoble)
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