Biographies & Memoirs

04/01/2013 - 8:11am

Young Lee Bennett Hopkins was an unlikely candidate to go down in the Guinness Book of World Records for having edited the most poetry anthologies ever.  He spent half his childhood in the projects of Scranton, New Jersey, and hated school.  His father left the family when Lee was fourteen, leaving him to look after his younger brother and sister.  His mother had her own problems, but she did love her children.

What made the difference for him was a special teacher who gave him hope.  In eighth grade, Mrs. Ethel Kite McLaughlin encouraged him in his writing and urged him to go to as many plays as possible, some of which he managed to see by slipping into the theatres during intermission and catching this second act. This opened a new perspective for Lee, and he was soon on different path, away from the poverty and street life he had known.

03/13/2013 - 3:24pm
The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe

"Reading isn’t the opposite of doing; it’s the opposite of dying.”

Will Schwalbe comes from a family where everyone is always reading—and sharing their opinions about—a book. So asking his mother, “What are you reading?” was a fairly commonplace sort of question. Except that it was posed in the waiting room of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and his mother, Mary Anne, was about to start chemotherapy for advanced pancreatic cancer. During Mary Anne’s treatments and while she is convalescing at home, Will finds that discussing books strengthens the connection between them and allows them to safely explore such sensitive topics as regret, dying, and faith. His book, The End of Your Life Book Club, is both an amazing tribute to his mother and to the books they both cherished.

02/20/2013 - 1:36pm
Book cover of Days of Grace: A Memoir by Arthur Ashe and Arnold Rampersad

The University of Mary Washington's 2013 Chappell Great Lives Lecture Series continues on Thursday, February 21, with a lecture on Arthur Ashe by Arnold Rampersad, co-author (with Ashe) of Days of Grace: A Memoir:

An inspiring memoir of a remarkable man who was the true embodiment of courage, elegance, and the spirit
to fight: Arthur Ashe--tennis champion, social activist, and person with AIDS. Frank, revealing, touching -
Days of Grace is the story of a man felled to soon.
 
Find out more about this lecture on the University of Mary Washington's web site.
 
All lectures in the university's Great Lives series are held at 7:30pm, in Dodd Auditorium, George
Washington Hall, and are free and open to the public.
 
For more on this topic, check out these items from the library:
 
African American Trailblazers directed by Eric Allan Futterman (DVD)
[An] homage to the significant contributions and accomplishments of twelve heroic African Americans from
Virginia honoring those who exemplify the inspiring characteristics of the African American Trailblazers.
(catalog summary)
02/13/2013 - 3:01pm
Cover to The Admirals: Nimitz, Halsey, Leahy, and King—The Five-Star Admirals Wh

The University of Mary Washington's 2013 Chappell Great Lives Lecture Series continues on Tuesday, March 26, with a lecture on the Pacific admirals of World War II by Walter R. Borneman, author of The Admirals: Nimitz, Halsey, Leahy, and King—The Five-Star Admirals Who Won the War at Sea.

"They were an unlikely quartet. All were graduates of the United States Naval Academy, but each came to display wildly different personality and leadership styles. Nimitz was the epitome of the stern but loving grandfather, but heaven help the man who let him down. Halsey was the hale-hearty fellow who through charisma and rough charm came to personify the American war effort in the Pacific. Leahy was the steady hand—almost invisible to the public but essential to Franklin Roosevelt’s decision-making. King was the demanding, hard-edged perfectionist who gave no quarter to superiors and subordinates alike and who was seemingly quite proud of his terrifying reputation.  These four Fleet Admirals played critical and occasionally controversial roles in the defining events, tactics, and developing weapons that won World War II, including submarines, aircraft carriers, and naval air power."
 
Find out more about this lecture on the University of Mary Washington's web site.
 
All lectures in the university's Great Lives series are held at 7:30pm, in Dodd Auditorium, George
Washington Hall, and are free and open to the public.
 
For more on this topic, check out these items from the library:
 
Admiral “Bull” Halsey: The Life and Wars of the Navy’s Most Controversial Commander by John Wukovits
Economically and convincingly refurbishes a WWII hero inappropriately grown unfashionable. (Publishers Weekly)

The Admirals: Nimitz, Halsey, Leahy, and King – the Five-Star Admirals Who Won the War at Sea by Walter R. Borneman
Drawing upon journals, ship logs, and other primary sources, he brings an incredible historical moment to life.  (Amazon.com)
 
02/13/2013 - 2:59pm
Cover to The Last Lion by William Manchester

The University of Mary Washington's 2013 Chappell Great Lives Lecture Series continues on Thursday, March 19, with a lecture on Winston Churchill by Jeremy Black, author of Rethinking Military History and War and the World: Military Power and the Fate of Continents, 1450-2000.

"Winston Churchill was, by any standards, one of the greatest lives of the 20th century.  During his half-century career as a military and political leader in Great Britain, Churchill endured numerous vicissitudes and controversies, reaching his zenith as Prime Minister during World War II.  His steadfastness in the face of Nazi aggression made him a heroic figure, not only in England, but in the United States, where he became the first person to ever be made an honorary citizen.  Jeremy Black’s lecture will focus on Churchill as wartime leader and will emphasize the role of the individual and the extent to which the outcome of WWII was far from inevitable.  He will also discuss Churchill in light of the complexities of a late imperial figure surviving into the age of the Cold War."
 
Find out more about this lecture on the University of Mary Washington's web site.
 
All lectures in the university's Great Lives series are held at 7:30pm, in Dodd Auditorium, George
Washington Hall, and are free and open to the public.
 
For more on this topic, check out these items from the library:

Churchill by Paul Johnson (book and audiobook)
Acclaimed historian Paul Johnson shows how Churchill's immense adaptability combined with his natural pugnacity to make him a formidable leader for the better part of a century. Rich with anecdote and quotation, Johnson's narrative illustrates the British statesman's humor, resilience, courage, and eccentricity.  (catalog summary)

02/12/2013 - 1:44pm
Book cover of Cronkite by Douglas Brinkley

The University of Mary Washington's 2013 Chappell Great Lives Lecture Series continues on Tuesday, March 12, with a lecture on Walter Cronkite by Douglas Brinkley, author of Walter Cronkite:

Drawing on unprecedented access to Cronkite's private papers as well as interviews with his family and friends, Douglas Brinkley now brings this American icon into focus as never before. (books.google.com)

Find out more about this lecture on the University of Mary Washington's web site. All lectures in the university's Great Lives series are held at 7:30pm, in Dodd Auditorium, George Washington Hall, and are free and open to the public. For more on this topic, check out these items from the library:

Cronkite Remembers by Walter Cronkite (audiobook and videocassette)
Cronkite recounts the journey of his life and his extraordinary career in broadcasting, including archival material and personal interviews.  (catalog summary)

From Cronkite to Colbert:  The Evolution of Broadcast News by Geoffrey Baym
In a time when increasing numbers of people are tuning out the nightly news and media consumption is falling, the late-night comedians have become some of the most important newscasters in the country. From Cronkite to Colbert explains why.  (catalog summary)

02/12/2013 - 1:46pm
Book cover of The Sound of Freedom by Raymond Arsenault

The University of Mary Washington's 2013 Chappell Great Lives Lecture Series continues on Thursday, February 28, with a lecture on Marian Anderson by Raymond Arsenault, author of The Sound of Freedom: Marian Anderson, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Concert that Awakened America:

This is the dramatic story behind Marian Anderson's concert at the Lincoln Memorial-an early milestone in civil rights history-on the seventieth anniversary of her performance. On Easter Sunday 1939, the brilliant vocalist Marian Anderson sang before a throng of seventy-five thousand at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington-an electrifying moment and an under appreciated milestone in civil rights history. Though she was at the peak of a dazzling career, Anderson had been barred from performing at the Daughters of the American Revolution's Constitution Hall because she was black. When Eleanor Roosevelt resigned from the DAR over the incident and took up Anderson's cause, however, it became a national issue. Like a female Jackie Robinson-but several years before his breakthrough-Anderson rose to a pressure-filled and politically charged occasion with dignity and courage, and struck a vital blow for civil rights. In the 1963 March on Washington, Martin Luther King would follow, literally, in Anderson's footsteps. (Publisher's description)
Find out more about this lecture on the University of Mary Washington's web site. All lectures in the university's Great Lives series are held at 7:30pm, in Dodd Auditorium, George Washington Hall, and are free and open to the public.

02/12/2013 - 11:45am
Book cover of Fragments by Marilyn Monroe

The University of Mary Washington's 2013 Chappell Great Lives Lecture Series continues on Tuesday, February 26, with a lecture on Hollywood icon Marilyn Monroe by Carl Rollyson, author of Marilyn Monroe: A Life of the Actress.

Find out more about this lecture on the University of Mary Washington's web site.

All lectures in the university's Great Lives series are held at 7:30pm, in Dodd Auditorium, George Washington Hall, and are free and open to the public.

For more on this topic, check out these items from the library:

Fragments: Poems, Intimate Notes, Letters by Marilyn Monroe
This work is a collection of Marilyn Monroe's written artifacts, notes to herself, letters, even poems, in her own handwriting, never before published, along with rarely seen intimate photos. These bits of text, jotted in notebooks, typed on paper, or written on hotel letterhead, reveal a woman who loved deeply and strove to perfect her craft.  (catalog summary)

Goddess: The Secret Lives of Marilyn Monroe by Anthony Summers
Published in 1985.  “An important contribution to the literature that seeks to explain and understand the fragile psyche of this truly and tragically wounded soul.” (Amazon.com)

02/12/2013 - 10:30am
Book cover of Houdini, Tarzan, and the Perfect Man by John Kasson

The University of Mary Washington's 2013 Chappell Great Lives Lecture Series continues on Thursday, February 14, with a lecture on Houdini by John Kasson, author of Houdini, Tarzan, and the Perfect Man:

 Houdini, Tarzan, and the Perfect Man considers the surprisingly complex evolution in representations of the white male body in late-nineteenth-century America, during years of rapid social transformation. John F. Kasson argues that three exemplars of physical prowess - Eugen Sandow, an international vaudeville star and bodybuilder; Edgar Rice Burroughs's fictional hero Tarzan; and the great escape artist Harry Houdini - represented both an ancient ideal of manhood and a modern commodity. They each extolled self-development,self-fulfillment, and escape from the confines of civilization while at the same time reasserting its values. This liberally illustrated, persuasively argued study analyzes the thematic links among these figures and places them in their rich historical and cultural context.

Find out more about this lecture on the University of Mary Washington's web site.

All lectures in the university's Great Lives series are held at 7:30pm, in Dodd Auditorium, George Washington Hall, and are free and open to the public.

For more on this topic, check out these items from the library:

Houdini!:  The Career of Ehrich Weiss:  American Self-Liberator, Europe’s Eclipsing Sensation, World’s Handcuff King & Prison Breaker by Kenneth Silverman
Pulitzer winning author Silverman delivers an entertaining biography with a multitude of photographs.

Houdini:  Unlocking the Mystery directed by Michael Meadows (DVD)
Explores the life and magic of the great escape artist through his most prized possessions – the Chinese Water Torture Cell, the Milkcan, his straitjackets, handcuffs, and lockpicks.  (catalog summary)

02/12/2013 - 10:31am
Lawrence of Arabia by Malcolm Brown

The University of Mary Washington's 2013 Chappell Great Lives Lecture Series continues on Tuessday, February 12, with a lecture on Lawrence of Arabia by Nabil Al-Tikriti.

Springing from a somewhat unorthodox and never legalized union between an Anglo-Irish petty lord and his governess, Thomas Edward Lawrence combined an elite Oxford education, wartime opportunity, and an impressive knack for self-promotion to emerge as one of the most famous characters of the Great War. Symbolic of Britain’s imperial ambitions in the Arab World, Lawrence successfully used his liberal arts education in history, archaeology, and Oriental Studies to provide key contributions to the negotiation process which shaped today’s Middle East. After the war, with the help of American journalist Lowell Thomas’ promotion efforts, Lawrence’s reputation grew steadily, until the 1962 film “Lawrence of Arabia” ensured a continuing mythical status.

Find out more about this lecture on the University of Mary Washington's web site.

All lectures in the university's Great Lives series are held at 7:30pm, in Dodd Auditorium, George Washington Hall, and are free and open to the public.

Find out more about Lawrence of Arabia by checking out these items from the library:

Hero: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia by Michael Korda
[T]he story of an epic life on a grand scale: a revealing, in-depth, and gripping biography of the extraordinary, mysterious, and dynamic Englishman whose daring exploits and romantic profile including his blond, sun-burnished good looks and flowing white robes made him an object of intense fascination, still famous the world over as "Lawrence of Arabia."  As this magisterial work demonstrates, Lawrence remains one of the most unique and fascinating figures of modern times, the arch-hero whose life is at once a triumph and a sacrifice and whose capacity to astonish still remains undimmed. (catalog summary)

Lawrence of Arabia produced by Flashback Television Ltd. for the Biography Channel (DVD)
Ride into the desert with the Briton who helped end centuries of Ottoman domination in the Arabian peninsula.  (catalog summary)

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