André Aciman has been hailed as ´´the most exciting new fiction writer of the twenty-first century´´ (New York magazine), a ´´brilliant chronicler of the disconnect...between who we are and who we wish we might have been´´ (Wall Street Journal), and a writer of ´´fiction at its most supremely interesting´´ (Colm Tóibín). Now, with his third and most ambitious novel, Aciman delivers an elegant and powerful tale of the wages of assimilation-a moving story of an immigrant´s remembered youth and the nearly forgotten costs and sacrifices of becoming an American. It´s the fall of 1977, and amid the lovely, leafy streets of Cambridge a young Harvard graduate student, a Jew from Egypt, longs more than anything to become an assimilated American and a professor of literature. He spends his days in a pleasant blur of seventeenth-century fiction, but when he meets a brash, charismatic Arab cab driver in a Harvard Square café, everything changes. Nicknamed Kalashnikov-Kalaj for short-for his machine-gun vitriol, the cab driver roars into the student´s life with his denunciations of the American obsession with ´´all things jumbo and ersatz´´-Twinkies, monster television sets, all-you-can-eat buffets-and his outrageous declarations on love and the art of seduction. The student finds it hard to resist his new friend´s magnetism, and before long he begins to neglect his studies and live a double life: one in the rarified world of Harvard, the other as an exile with Kalaj on the streets of Cambridge. Together they carouse the bars and cafés around Harvard Square, trade intimate accounts of their love affairs, argue about the American dream, and skinny-dip in Walden Pond. But as final exams loom and Kalaj has his license revoked and is threatened with deportation, the student faces the decision of his life: whether to cling to his dream of New World assimilation or risk it all to defend his Old World friend. Harvard Square is a sexually charged and deeply American novel of identity and aspiration at odds. It is also an unforgettable, moving portrait of an unlikely friendship from one of the finest stylists of our time.
As nativism, xenophobia, vile racism, and assaults on the rule of law threaten the very fabric of our nation, The Corrosion of Conservatism presents an urgent defense of American democracy. Pronouncing Mexican immigrants to be ´´rapists,´´ Donald Trump announced his 2015 presidential bid, causing Max Boot to think he was watching a dystopian science-fiction movie. The respected conservative historian couldn´t fathom that the party of Lincoln, Roosevelt, and Reagan could endorse such an unqualified reality-TV star. Yet the Twilight Zone episode that Boot believed he was watching created an ideological dislocation so shattering that Boot´s transformation from Republican foreign policy adviser to celebrated anti-Trump columnist becomes the dramatic story of The Corrosion of Conservatism. No longer a Republican, but also not a Democrat, Boot here records his ideological journey from a ´´movement´´ conservative to a man without a party, beginning with his political coming-of-age as a young émigré from the Soviet Union, enthralled with the National Review and the conservative intellectual tradition of Russell Kirk and F. A. Hayek. Against this personal odyssey, Boot simultaneously traces the evolution of modern American conservatism, jump-started by Barry Goldwater´s canonical The Conscience of a Conservative, to the rise of Trumpism and its gradual corrosion of what was once the Republican Party. While 90 percent of his fellow Republicans became political ´´toadies´´ in the aftermath of the 2016 election, Boot stood his ground, enduring the vitriol of his erstwhile conservative colleagues, trolled on Twitter by a white supremacist who depicted his ´´execution´´ in a gas chamber by a smiling, Nazi-clad Trump. And yet, Boot nevertheless remains a villain to some partisan circles for his enduring commitment to conservative fiscal and national security principles. It is from this isolated position, then, that Boot launches this bold declaration of dissent and its urgent plea for true, bipartisan cooperation. With uncompromising insights, The Corrosion of Conservatism evokes both a president who has traduced every norm and the rise of a nascent centrist movement to counter Trump´s assault on democracy.
Melville wrote White-Jacket; or, The World in a Man-of-War during a two-month period of intense work in the summer of 1849. He drew upon his memories of naval life, having spent fourteen months as an ´´ordinary seaman´´ aboard the frigate United States as it sailed the Pacific and made the homeward voyage around Cape Horn. A crewman on the man-of-war Neversink, White-Jacket gets his name from the shirt he turned into a coat and lined with rags, old trouser legs, and cast-off socks. The journey he undertakes is dangerous -- a man falls overboard, White-Jacket tumbles from the rigging, and the least insubordination is punished with the lash. Melville´s story portrays the inhumanity of naval life, saving special vitriol for the unnamed ship´s surgeon, who has the power to stop a flogging if a man´s life is endangered -- but never does; and for the inept Dr. Cuticle, who amputates a sailor´s healthy leg to make a point. The description of such excesses was instrumental in convincing the United States Navy to outlaw flogging. Many scandalized Northern readers acknowledged that the treatment of sailors was little different than that given to slaves in the South. Melville regarded the writing of White-Jacket as a mere job, undertaken for much-needed cash, but the novel received almost universal acclaim. The English liked its praise of British seamen and its vivid descriptions of naval life. Americans were interested in Melville´s attack on naval abuses and his advocacy of humanitarian causes. Part autobiography, part epic fiction, White-Jacket remains an imaginative social novel by one of the great writers of the sea.
What Makes Sammy Run? Everyone of us knows someone who runs. He is one of the symp-toms of our times--from the little man who shoves you out of the way on the street to the go-getter who shoves you out of a job in the office to the Fuehrer who shoves you out of the world. And all of us have stopped to wonder, at some time or another, what it is that makes these people tick. What makes them run? This is the question Schulberg has asked himself, and the answer is the first novel written with the indignation that only a young writer with talent and ideals could concentrate into a manuscript. It is the story of Sammy Glick, the man with a positive genius for being a heel, who runs through New York´s East Side, through newspaper ranks and finally through Hollywood, leaving in his wake the wrecked careers of his associates; for this is his tragedy and his chief characteristic--his congenital incapacity for friendship. An older and more experienced novelist might have tempered his story and, in so doing, destroyed one of its outstanding qualities. Compromise would mar the portrait of Sammy Glick. Schulberg has etched it in pure vitriol, and dissected his victim with a precision that is almost frightening. When a fragment of this book appeared as a short story in a national magazine, Schulberg was surprised at the number of letters he received from people convinced they knew Sammy Glick´s real name. But speculation as to his real identity would be utterly fruitless, for Sammy is a composite picture of a loud and spectacular minority bitterly resented by the many decent and sincere artists who are trying honestly to realize the measureless potentialities of motion pictures. Tothis group belongs Schulberg himself, who has not only worked as a screen writer since his graduation from Dartmouth College in 1936, but has spent his life, literally, in the heart of the motion-picture colony. In the course of finding out what makes Sammy run (an operation The classic book that shaped two generations´ view of the movie business and introduced the is the archetypal Hollywood player Sammy Glick. He´s got a machete mouth and a genius for double-cross. As Budd Shulberg-author of the screenplay On the Waterfront-follows Sammy´s relentless upward progress, he creates a virtuoso study in character that manages to be hilariously appalling yet deeply compassionate. ´´Sammy Glick remains at the top of the Hollywood sleaze heap, a hustler nonpareil?. What Makes Sammy Run? Is still the quintessential novel about ´´the all-American heel.´´´ - Moredcai Richler, GQ
National Bestseller A bank of clouds was assembling on the not-so-distant horizon, but journalist-mountaineer Jon Krakauer, standing on the summit of Mt. Everest, saw nothing that ´´suggested that a murderous storm was bearing down.´´ He was wrong. The storm, which claimed five lives and left countless more--including Krakauer´s--in guilt-ridden disarray, would also provide the impetus for Into Thin Air, Krakauer´s epic account of the May 1996 disaster. By writing Into Thin Air, Krakauer may have hoped to exorcise some of his own demons and lay to rest some of the painful questions that still surround the event. He takes great pains to provide a balanced picture of the people and events he witnessed and gives due credit to the tireless and dedicated Sherpas. He also avoids blasting easy targets such as Sandy Pittman, the wealthy socialite who brought an espresso maker along on the expedition. Krakauer´s highly personal inquiry into the catastrophe provides a great deal of insight into what went wrong. But for Krakauer himself, further interviews and investigations only lead him to the conclusion that his perceived failures were directly responsible for a fellow climber´s death. Clearly, Krakauer remains haunted by the disaster, and although he relates a number of incidents in which he acted selflessly and even heroically, he seems unable to view those instances objectively. In the end, despite his evenhanded and even generous assessment of others´ actions, he reserves a full measure of vitriol for himself. This updated trade paperback edition of Into Thin Air includes an extensive new postscript that sheds fascinating light on the acrimonious debate that flared between Krakauer and Everest guide Anatoli Boukreev in the wake of the tragedy. ´´I have no doubt that Boukreev´s intentions were good on summit day,´´ writes Krakauer in the postscript, dated August 1999. ´´What disturbs me, though, was Boukreev´s refusal to acknowledge the possibility that he made even a single poor decision. Never did he indicate that perhaps it wasn´t the best choice to climb without gas or go down ahead of his clients.´´ As usual, Krakauer supports his points with dogged research and a good dose of humility. But rather than continue the heated discourse that has raged since Into Thin Air´s denouncement of guide Boukreev, Krakauer´s tone is conciliatory; he points most of his criticism at G. Weston De Walt, who coauthored The Climb, Boukreev´s version of events. And in a touching conclusion, Krakauer recounts his last conversation with the late Boukreev, in which the two weathered climbers agreed to disagree about certain points. Krakauer had great hopes to patch things up with Boukreev, but the Russian later died in an avalanche on another Himalayan peak, Annapurna I. In 1999, Krakauer received an Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters--a prestigious prize intended ´´to honor writers of exceptional accomplishment.´´ According to the Academy´s citation, ´´Krakauer combines the tenacity and courage of the finest tradition of investigative journalism with the stylish subtlety and profound insight of the born writer. His account of an ascent of Mount Everest has led to a general reevaluation of climbing and of the commercialization of what was once a romantic, solitary sport; while his account of the life and death of Christopher McCandless, who died of starvation after challenging the Alaskan wilderness, delves even more deeply and disturbingly into the fascination of nature and the devastating effects of its lure on a young and curious mind.´´