Biography

Dark Victory: The Life of Bette Davis

By Ed Sikov

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"She was magnificent and exasperating in equal measure. Jack Warner called her 'an explosive little broad with a sharp left.' Humphrey Bogart once remarked, 'Unless you're very big she can knock you down.' Bette Davis was a force of nature--an idiosyncratic talent who nevertheless defined the words 'movie star' for more than half a century and who created an extraordinary body of work filled with unforgettable performances. In Dark Victory, the noted film critic and biographer Ed Sikov paints the most detailed picture ever delivered of this intelligent, opinionated, and unusual woman who was--in the words of a close friend--'one of the major events of the twentieth century.'

"Drawing on new interviews with friends, directors, and admirers, as well as archival research and a fresh look at the films, this stylish, intimate biography reveals Davis's personal as well as professional life in a way that is both revealing and sympathetic. With his wise and well-informed take on the production and accomplishments of such movie milestones as Jezebel, All About Eve, and Now, Voyager, as well as the turbulent life and complicated personality of the actress who made them, Sikov's Dark Victory brings to life the two-time Academy Award-winning actress's unmistakable screen style, and shows the reader how Davis's art was her own dark victory."

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The Girl Who Walked Home Alone: Bette Davis, a Personal Biography

By Charlotte Chandler

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"Drawing on extensive conversations with Bette Davis during the last decade of her life, Charlotte Chandler gives us a biography in which the great actress speaks for herself. The author also spoke with directors, actors, and others who knew and worked with Davis. Though she owed everything to her mother, Ruthie, Bette Davis remained fascinated all her life by her hard-to-please father, who walked out on his family. She remembered the disappointment - which never left - over her father's lack of interest in her, and she believed that her resentment of him was probably a major factor in her four failed marriages. She spoke happily of her love affairs with Howard Hughes and William Wyler; she recalled her leading men, favorite co-stars, and unloved rivals; and she took great care to refute the persistent Hollywood legend that she was difficult to work with. Alone and ill, she faced her last days with bravery and dignity."

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Mayada: Daughter of Iraq: One Woman's Survival under Saddam Hussein

By Jean P. Sasson

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"Mayada was born into a powerful Iraqi family. One grandfather fought alongside Lawrence of Arabia. The other is acclaimed as the first true Arab nationalist. Her uncle was Prime Minister for nearly forty years, her mother an important politician. When Saddam Hussein and his Ba'ath party seized power, and instituted his reign of terror, Mayada found herself alone in Baghdad, a divorced parent of two children, earning a meagre living printing brochures. Until one morning in August 1999 when she was summarily arrested and dragged to the notorious Baladiyat Prison, falsely accused of printing anti-government propaganda.

"There she was thrown into a cell with 17 'shadow women'. Like latter-day Sherezades, these women passed their days, while waiting for the next interrogation and torture session, telling each other their stories. They were eager to hear Mayada's stories of her privileged former life, of the history of her proud family, of kings and queens, of meetings with Saddam himself. Not only the story of a woman intimately connected to Iraq's cultured, ancient history, this book is a powerful witness to the terror and horror wrought by Saddam on the lives and souls of its ordinary citizens."

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Trailblazer: An Intimate Biography of Sarah Palin

By Lorenzo Benet

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"...the intimate portrait of Sarah Palin that America has been looking for. Beginning with Palin's birth in Sandpoint, Idaho, and her family's move to Skagway and then Wasilla, Alaska, Trailblazer details the difficulties of growing up in Alaska, Sarah Palin's early successes as a basketball star and a beauty pageant contestant, and the story of her elopement with Todd Palin, whom she met at Wasilla High. It describes her career as a broadcast journalist and young mother, and gives details on her move to the political arena that has culminated in making her a household name. From staff firings in Wasilla to her controversies with the Alaska Oil and Gas Commission, from her support of Todd Palin's snow machine races to her own love for moose and caribou hunting and salmon fishing, and culminating with the almost manic excitement of the 2008 election, Lorenzo Benet has built up a detailed picture of a fascinating and extraordinarily complex woman -- an introduction to a Sarah Palin that the world is only just coming to know."

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Rosa Parks

By Douglas Brinkley

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Read this short, concise biography to learn about the woman behind the myth. Far from being a tired seamstress, Rosa Parks was a bright and inquisitive woman, willing to risk everything for what she believed. The book chronicles her disappointments and disillusionment as well as her essential strength.

Also available on audio.

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Rachel Carson: Witness for Nature

By Linda J. Lear

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This biography shows how Rachel Carson, already a famous nature writer and determined woman, became an environmental reformer.

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On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C.J. Walker

By A'Lelia Bundles

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The daughter of slaves, Madam C. J. Walker was orphaned at seven, married at 14, and widowed at 20. On Her Own Ground is a comprehensive biography of an unusual entrepreneur and philanthropist. Contains personal letters, records, and rare photographs from the family collection.

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Diana: A Tribute to the People's Princess

By Peter Donnelly

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The Honorable Diana Frances Spencer's ultimate triumph owed nothing to her marriage to Prince Charles and everything to her inner qualities--an innate ability to understand and connect with ordinary people, especially the desperately sick, the rejected, and the "unloved."

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President Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime

By Lou Cannon

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Cannon draws on his twenty-five years of experience covering the Ronald Reagan as well as interviews with Mr. Reagan and his associates to produce a portrait that depicts the former president's virtues as well as his flaws.
This is generally considered to be the definitive biography of Ronald Reagan.

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Sergei Prokofiev: A Biography

By Harlow Robinson

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The prolific creator of such classic popular works as Romeo and Juliet, Peter and the Wolf, and Cinderella, Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) was one of the most important and influential composers of the twentieth century. In this definitive biography of Prokofiev, Harlow Robinson provides a richly detailed portrait of a man whose complex character, like his music, combined the traditional and the contemporary in odd and unexpected ways. Drawing on previously unknown or unavailable Russian-language sources, including extensive archival material, Robinson traces Prokofiev's extraordinary life from the fairy-tale world of Czarist Russia, through his many years abroad in America and Europe, to his perplexing permanent return to Moscow in 1936 under the Soviet Regime. That Prokofiev died on the very day as Josef Stalin, his principal persecutor, was the final irony of his intense and enigmatic career.

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