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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.