These memoirs are not for busy people

But they are for people who can devote their mornings, afternoons and evenings. For the people whose idea of a friday evening is catching up with a book and who can spend their weekends with these tomes.
My Cross to Bear
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My Cross to Bear

by Gregg Allman

About the book:  For the first time, rock music icon Gregg Allman, one of the founding members of The Allman Brothers Band, tells the full story of his life and career in My Cross to Bear. No subject is taboo, as one of the true giants of rock ’n’ roll opens up about his Georgia youth, his long struggle with substance abuse, his string of bad marriages (including his brief union with superstar Cher), the tragic death of  brother Duane Allman, and life on the road in one of rock’s most legendary bands.

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by Bruce Springsteen

About the book:  A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERThe official book behind the Academy Award-winning film The Imitation Game, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira KnightleyIt is only a slight exaggeration to say that the British mathematician Alan Turing (1912-1954) saved the Allies from the Nazis, invented the computer and artificial intelligence, and anticipated gay liberation by decades--all before his suicide at age forty-one. This New York Times–bestselling biography of the founder of computer science, with a new preface by the author that addresses Turing’s royal pardon in 2013, is the definitive account of an extraordinary mind and life. Capturing both the inner and outer drama of Turing’s life, Andrew Hodges tells how Turing’s revolutionary idea of 1936--the concept of a universal machine--laid the foundation for the modern computer and how Turing brought the idea to practical realization in 1945 with his electronic design. The book also tells how this work was directly related to Turing’s leading role in breaking the German Enigma ciphers during World War II, a scientific triumph that was critical to Allied victory in the Atlantic. At the same time, this is the tragic account of a man who, despite his wartime service, was eventually arrested, stripped of his security clearance, and forced to undergo a humiliating treatment program--all for trying to live honestly in a society that defined homosexuality as a crime. The inspiration for a major motion picture starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley, Alan Turing: The Enigma is a gripping story of mathematics, computers, cryptography, and homosexual persecution.

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Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life
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Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life

by William Finnegan

About the book:  **Winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Autobiography**“Reading this guy on the subject of waves and water is like reading Hemingway on bullfighting; William Burroughs on controlled substances; Updike on adultery. . . . a coming-of-age story, seen through the gloss resin coat of a surfboard.” —Sports IllustratedIncluded in President Obama’s 2016 Summer Reading List  Barbarian Days is William Finnegan’s memoir of an obsession, a complex enchantment. Surfing only looks like a sport. To initiates, it is something else: a beautiful addiction, a demanding course of study, a morally dangerous pastime, a way of life.  Raised in California and Hawaii, Finnegan started surfing as a child. He has chased waves all over the world, wandering for years through the South Pacific, Australia, Asia, Africa. A bookish boy, and then an excessively adventurous young man, he went on to become a distinguished writer and war reporter. Barbarian Days takes us deep into unfamiliar worlds, some of them right under our noses—off the coasts of New York and San Francisco. It immerses the reader in the edgy camaraderie of close male friendships forged in challenging waves. Finnegan shares stories of life in a whites-only gang in a tough school in Honolulu. He shows us a world turned upside down for kids and adults alike by the social upheavals of the 1960s. He details the intricacies of famous waves and his own apprenticeships to them. Youthful folly—he drops LSD while riding huge Honolua Bay, on Maui—is served up with rueful humor. As Finnegan’s travels take him ever farther afield, he discovers the picturesque simplicity of a Samoan fishing village, dissects the sexual politics of Tongan interactions with Americans and Japanese, and navigates the Indonesian black market while nearly succumbing to malaria. Throughout, he surfs, carrying readers with him on rides of harrowing, unprecedented lucidity. Barbarian Days is an old-school adventure story, an intellectual autobiography, a social history, a literary road movie, and an extraordinary exploration of the gradual mastering of an exacting, little-understood art. Praise for Barbarian Days: “Without a doubt, the finest surf book I’ve ever read . . . But on a more fundamental level, Barbarian Days offers a clear-eyed vision of American boyhood. Like Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild, it is a sympathetic examination of what happens when literary ideas of freedom and purity take hold of a young mind and fling his body out into the far reaches of the world.” —The New York Times Magazine “Incandescent . . . I’d sooner press this book upon on a nonsurfer, in part because nothing I’ve read so accurately describes the feeling of being stoked or the despair of being held under. . . . [But] it’s also about a writer’s life and, even more generally, a quester’s life, more carefully observed and precisely rendered than any I’ve read in a long time.” —Los Angeles Times

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A Fort of Nine Towers: An Afghan Family Story
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A Fort of Nine Towers: An Afghan Family Story

by Qais Akbar Omar

About the book:  Twenty-three years ago―after the Soviets left and before the Taliban came to power―Kabul was a garden where seven-year-old Qais Akbar Omar flew kites from the roof of his grandfather's house. Then came the hollow sounds of rocket fire as the Mujahedin, self-proclaimed holy warriors, took over Afghanistan, and the country erupted in civil war. Omar's family fled, leaving everything behind to take shelter in an old fort. But after a narrow escape from death, his father decided that the family must leave the country.Yet the journey proved more difficult than anticipated, and in this stunning coming-of-age memoir, Omar offers a moving recollection of these events―a story of daily hardships, relieved by moments of joy and immense beauty. Inflected with folktales and steeped in poetry, A Fort of Nine Towers is a life-affirming triumph.

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Please Be with Me: A Song for My Father, Duane Allman
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Please Be with Me: A Song for My Father, Duane Allman

by Galadrielle Allman

About the book:  A deeply personal, revealing, and lyrical portrait of Duane Allman, founder of the legendary Allman Brothers Band, written by his daughter  In 1969, Duane Allman had a vision for a band with two drummers, two guitarists, and a bass player, anchored by his brother’s soulful lead vocals—and the Allman Brothers Band was born. Their fiery, mesmerizing performances tore down barriers and changed the landscape of American music forever, and the tragedies that beset the Brothers turned them into legends. In this remarkable, intimate book, Duane’s daughter, Galadrielle, tells the story of how the band came together, their influences and passions, their rivalries and incomparable musical vision. She introduces us to the artists, women, engineers, and roadies who were a part of the family. From Daytona Beach to the Fillmore East, this is both Duane’s story and the band’s, told with clarity, passion, yearning, and soul.Praise for Please Be with Me  “Duane Allman was my big brother, my partner, my best friend. I thought I knew everything there was to know about him, but Galadrielle’s deep and insightful book came as a revelation to me, as it will to everyone who reads it.”—Gregg Allman“Poignant and illuminating . . . brings Duane Allman to life in a way that no other biography will ever be able to do.”—BookPage “Galadrielle Allman offers a moving and poetic portrait of her late father.”—Rolling Stone  “[Allman’s] descriptions and scenes are vivid, even cinematic. . . . The pleasure of reading Please Be With Me lies as much in its lyrical prose as in its insider anecdotes.”—Newsweek  “An elegantly written, heartfelt account.”—The Atlanta Journal-Constitution   “Evokes a wistful, elegiac atmosphere; fans of the ’70s music scene may find it indispensable.”—San Jose Mercury News “A compelling and intimate portrait of Duane.”—The Hollywood Reporter   “Illuminating.”—Kirkus Reviews   “Frequently touching . . . Readers will come away feeling more connected to the man and his music.”—Publishers Weekly“The most moving music biography I’ve ever read. Better than that, Galadrielle has uncovered the heart and motivations, the desolation and saving graces, of the man, and lays it plain in a born-to-write southern voice. She has looked into absence, and from it she has salvaged two hearts: her father’s and her own.”—Mikal Gilmore, author of Shot in the Heart

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Defiant: The POWs Who Endured Vietnam's Most Infamous Prison, The Women Who Fought for Them, and The One Who Never...
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Defiant: The POWs Who Endured Vietnam's Most Infamous Prison, The Women Who Fought for Them, and The One Who Never...

by Alvin Townley

About the book:  Winner of the Georgia Author of the Year Award in HistoryDuring the Vietnam War, hundreds of American prisoners-of-war faced years of brutal conditions and horrific torture at the hands of North Vietnamese guards and interrogators who ruthlessly plied them for military intelligence and propaganda. Determined to maintain their Code of Conduct, the POWs developed a powerful underground resistance. To quash it, their captors singled out its eleven leaders, Vietnam's own "dirty dozen," and banished them to an isolated jail that would become known as Alcatraz. None would leave its solitary cells and interrogation rooms unscathed; one would never return.As these eleven men suffered in Hanoi, their wives at home launched an extraordinary campaign that would ultimately spark the nationwide POW/MIA movement. The members of these military families banded together and showed the courage not only to endure years of doubt about the fate of their husbands and fathers, but to bravely fight for their safe return. When the survivors of Alcatraz finally came home, one veteran would go on to receive the Medal of Honor, another would become a U.S. Senator, and a third still serves in the U.S. Congress.A powerful story of survival and triumph, Alvin Townley's Defiant will inspire anyone wondering how courage, faith, and brotherhood can endure even in the darkest of situations.

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American Ulysses: A Life of Ulysses S. Grant
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American Ulysses: A Life of Ulysses S. Grant

by Ronald C. White

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Hero of the Empire: The Boer War, a Daring Escape, and the Making of Winston Churchill
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Hero of the Empire: The Boer War, a Daring Escape, and the Making of Winston Churchill

by Candice Millard

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The Billion Dollar Spy: A True Story of Cold War Espionage and Betrayal
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The Billion Dollar Spy: A True Story of Cold War Espionage and Betrayal

by David E. Hoffman

About the book:  A Washington Post Notable Book of the Year   It was the height of the Cold War, and a dangerous time to be stationed in the Soviet Union. One evening, while the chief of the CIA’s Moscow station was filling his gas tank, a stranger approached and dropped a note into the car. The chief, suspicious of a KGB trap, ignored the overture. But the man had made up his mind. His attempts to establish contact with the CIA would be rebuffed four times before he thrust upon them an envelope whose contents would stun U.S. intelligence. In the years that followed, that man, Adolf Tolkachev, became one of the most valuable spies ever for the U.S. But these activities posed an enormous personal threat to Tolkachev and his American handlers. They had clandestine meetings in parks and on street corners, and used spy cameras, props, and private codes, eluding the ever-present KGB in its own backyard—until a shocking betrayal put them all at risk. Drawing on previously classified CIA documents and on interviews with firsthand participants, The Billion Dollar Spy is a brilliant feat of reporting and a riveting true story of intrigue in the final years of the Cold War.

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The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson
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The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson

by Robert A. Caro

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Billy Martin: Baseball's Flawed Genius
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Billy Martin: Baseball's Flawed Genius

by Bill Pennington

About the book:    The definitive biography of one of baseball’s most celebrated, mercurial, and misunderstood figures      Billy Martin is a story of contrasts. He was the clutch second baseman for the dominant New York Yankees of the 1950s. He then spent sixteen seasons managing in the big leagues, and is considered by anyone who knows baseball to have been a true baseball genius, a field manager without peer. Yet he’s remembered more for his habit of kicking dirt on umpires, for being hired and fired by George Steinbrenner five times, and for his rabble rousing and public brawls. He was combative, fiery, intimidating, and controversial, yet beloved by the everyday fan. He was hard on his players and even harder on himself. He knew how to turn around a losing team like no one else—and how to entertain us every step of the way.   Now, with his definitive biography Billy Martin, Pennington finally erases the caricature of Martin. Drawing on exhaustive interviews with friends, family, teammates, and countless adversaries, Pennington paints an indelible portrait of a man who never backed down for the game he loved. From his shantytown upbringing in a broken home; to his days playing for the Yankees when he almost always helped his team find a way to win; through sixteen years of managing, including his tenure in New York in the crosshairs of Steinbrenner and Reggie Jackson, Billy Martin made sure no one ever ignored him. And indeed no one could. He was the hero, the antihero, and the alter ego—or some combination of all three—for his short sixty-one years among us.   

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Eisenhower in War and Peace
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Eisenhower in War and Peace

by Jean Edward Smith

About the book:  NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The Christian Science Monitor • St. Louis Post-Dispatch“Magisterial.”—The New York Times   In this extraordinary volume, Jean Edward Smith presents a portrait of Dwight D. Eisenhower that is as full, rich, and revealing as anything ever written about America’s thirty-fourth president. Here is Eisenhower the young dreamer, charting a course from Abilene, Kansas, to West Point and beyond. Drawing on a wealth of untapped primary sources, Smith provides new insight into Ike’s maddening apprenticeship under Douglas MacArthur. Then the whole panorama of World War II unfolds, with Eisenhower’s superlative generalship forging the Allied path to victory. Smith also gives us an intriguing examination of Ike’s finances, details his wartime affair with Kay Summersby, and reveals the inside story of the 1952 Republican convention that catapulted him to the White House.   Smith’s chronicle of Eisenhower’s presidential years is as compelling as it is comprehensive. Derided by his detractors as a somnambulant caretaker, Eisenhower emerges in Smith’s perceptive retelling as both a canny politician and a skillful, decisive leader. He managed not only to keep the peace, but also to enhance America’s prestige in the Middle East and throughout the world.   Unmatched in insight, Eisenhower in War and Peace at last gives us an Eisenhower for our time—and for the ages.   NATIONAL BESTSELLERPraise for Eisenhower in War and Peace   “[A] fine new biography . . . [Eisenhower’s] White House years need a more thorough exploration than many previous biographers have given them. Smith, whose long, distinguished career includes superb one-volume biographies of Grant and Franklin Roosevelt, provides just that.”—The Washington Post   “Highly readable . . . [Smith] shows us that [Eisenhower’s] ascent to the highest levels of the military establishment had much more to do with his easy mastery of politics than with any great strategic or tactical achievements.”—The Wall Street Journal   “Always engrossing . . . Smith portrays a genuinely admirable Eisenhower: smart, congenial, unpretentious, and no ideologue. Despite competing biographies from Ambrose, Perret, and D’Este, this is the best.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)   “No one has written so heroic a biography [on Eisenhower] as this year’s Eisenhower in War and Peace [by] Jean Edward Smith.”—The National Interest   “Dwight Eisenhower, who was more cunning than he allowed his adversaries to know, understood the advantage of being underestimated. Jean Edward Smith demonstrates precisely how successful this stratagem was. Smith, America’s greatest living biographer, shows why, now more than ever, Americans should like Ike.”—George F. Will

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Jim Henson: The Biography
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Jim Henson: The Biography

by Brian Jay Jones

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Until I Say Good-Bye: My Year of Living with Joy
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Until I Say Good-Bye: My Year of Living with Joy

by Susan Spencer-Wendel,Bret Witter

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Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution
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Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution

by Nathaniel Philbrick

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Testimony
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Testimony

by Robbie Robertson

About the book:  The New York Times Bestseller“High-spirited, hugely enjoyable and generous from start to finish.” –New York Times Book Review   “Robust, wry, gritty and wise.” —The Wall Street Journal  "Confident and well oiled. At times it has the mythic sweep of an early Terrence Malick movie."—New York TimesOn the 40th anniversary of The Band’s legendary The Last Waltz concert, Robbie Robertson finally tells his own spellbinding story of the band that changed music history, his extraordinary personal journey, and his creative friendships with some of the greatest artists of the last half-century.      Robbie Robertson's singular contributions to popular music have made him one of the most beloved songwriters and guitarists of his time. With songs like "The Weight," "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down," and "Up on Cripple Creek," he and his partners in The Band fashioned a music that has endured for decades, influencing countless musicians.      In this captivating memoir, written over five years of reflection, Robbie Robertson employs his unique storyteller’s voice to weave together the journey that led him to some of the most pivotal events in music history. He recounts the adventures of his half-Jewish, half-Mohawk upbringing on the Six Nations Indian Reserve and on the gritty streets of Toronto; his odyssey at sixteen to the Mississippi Delta, the fountainhead of American music; the wild early years on the road with rockabilly legend Ronnie Hawkins and The Hawks; his unexpected ties to the Cosa Nostra underworld; the gripping trial-by-fire “going electric” with Bob Dylan on his 1966 world tour, and their ensuing celebrated collaborations; the formation of the Band and the forging of their unique sound,  culminating with history's most famous farewell concert, brought to life for all time in Martin Scorsese's great movie The Last Waltz.       This is the story of a time and place--the moment when rock 'n' roll became life, when legends like Buddy Holly and Bo Diddley criss-crossed the circuit of clubs and roadhouses from Texas to Toronto, when The Beatles, Hendrix, The Stones, and Warhol moved through the same streets and hotel rooms. It's the story of exciting change as the world tumbled through the '60s and early 70’s, and a generation came of age, built on music, love and freedom. Above all, it's the moving story of the profound friendship between five young men who together created a new kind of popular music.     Testimony is Robbie Robertson’s story, lyrical and true, as only he could tell it.

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Napoleon: A Life
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Napoleon: A Life

by Andrew Roberts

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The Train to Crystal City: FDR’s Secret Prisoner Exchange Program and America’s Only Family Internment Camp During...
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The Train to Crystal City: FDR’s Secret Prisoner Exchange Program and America’s Only Family Internment Camp During...

by Jan Jarboe Russell

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Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader
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Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader

by Brent Schlender,Rick Tetzeli

About the book:  Now in paperback, the #1 New York Times bestselling biography of how Steve Jobs became the most visionary CEO in history.  With a new foreword by Marc Andreessen  and new afterword by the authors, Becoming Steve Jobs is a narrative on Jobs' evolution as a manager and leader, as an astute CEO, as a father, and as a visionary with an unparalled sense of what consumers wanted—before they knew what they wanted themselves. But he didn't start out with those skills. When he first left Apple in 1985 and struck out to form his own company, NeXT, he knew little about running a company, holding to a budget, or developing successful products. It was during his years in the wilderness, unsuccessfully launching NeXT and helping to revitalize Pixar, that he learned the skills that would make him so successful upon his return to Apple in 1996.

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On the Move: A Life
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On the Move: A Life

by Oliver Sacks

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