AutoBiography

AutoBiography

  • I Can't Make This Up: Life Lessons

    I Can't Make This Up: Life Lessons

    Ksh 2395

    Brief Summary  Superstar comedian and Hollywood box office star Kevin Hart turns his immense talent to the written word by writing some words. Some of those words include: the, a, for, above, and even even. Put them together and you have the funniest, most heartfelt, and most inspirational memoir on survival, success, and the importance of believing in yourself since Old Yeller. The question you’re probably asking yourself right now is: What does Kevin Hart have that a book also has? It begins in North Philadelphia. He was born an accident, unwanted by his parents. His father was a drug addict who was in and out of jail. His brother was a crack dealer and petty thief. And his mother was overwhelmingly strict, beating him with belts, frying pans, and his own toys. The odds, in short, were stacked against our young hero, just like the odds that are stacked against the release of a new book in this era of social media (where Hart has a following of over 100 million, by the way). But Kevin Hart, like Ernest Hemingway, JK Rowling, and Chocolate Droppa before him, was able to defy the odds and turn it around. In his literary debut, he takes the reader on a journey through what his life was, what it is today, and how he’s overcome each challenge to become the man he is today. And that man happens to be the biggest comedian in the world, with tours that sell out football stadiums and films that have collectively grossed over $3.5 billion. He achieved this not just through hard work, determination, and talent: It was through his unique way of looking at the world. Because just like a book has chapters, Hart sees life as a collection of chapters that each person gets to write for himself or herself. “Not only do you get to choose how you interpret each chapter, but your interpretation writes the next chapter,” he says. “So why not choose the interpretation that serves your life the best?”  

  • The Yellow Wallpaper

    The Yellow Wallpaper

    Ksh 795

    Brief Summary First published in 1892, "The Yellow Wallpaper" is written as the secret journal of a woman who, failing to relish the joys of marriage and motherhood, is sentenced to a country rest cure. Though she longs to write, her husband and doctor forbid it, prescribing instead complete passivity.  In the involuntary confinement of her bedroom, the hero creates a reality of her own beyond the hypnotic pattern of the faded yellow wallpaper--a pattern that has come to symbolize her own imprisonment.  Narrated with superb psychological and dramatic precision, "The Yellow Wallpaper" stands out not only for the imaginative authenticity with which it depicts one woman’s descent into insanity, but also for the power of its testimony to the importance of freedom and self-empowerment for women.

  • Back on the Road

    Back on the Road

    Ksh 1495

    Brief Summary Back on the Road (Otra Vez): A Journey through Latin America The fascinating travel diaries and photographs that make up Back on the Road are a vital complement to The Motorcycle Diaries, described by the London Times as "Das Kapital meets Easy Rider." These journals chronicle Che Guevara's second trip through Latin America as his youthful idealism was developing into the political fervor that made him a revolutionary icon.  More than any of his peers in the Cuban revolution, Che had a continental sense of justice, first conceptualized during his travels as a young man. He saw the mountains and deserts of Bolivia, the Inca remains at Machu Picchu and Cuzco, the forests of Guatemala; he sailed up the Pacific coast from Ecuador to Panama and met his first wife in Honduras.  He witnessed the CIA overthrow of Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala and, in Mexico, he was introduced to an ambitious young man named Fidel Castro. Back on the Road provides a vital link between The Motorcycle Diaries and the Cuban Revolution, offering an indispensable portrait of the gestation of a revolutionary mind. "A wonderful glimpse into the maturing mind of a great man and a vital companion to the previous Che diaries." -- Michael McCaughan, Irish Times

  • Alan Turing: The Enigma

    Alan Turing: The Enigma

    Ksh 1595

    Brief Summary Alan Turing (1912-54) was a British mathematician who made history. His breaking of the German U-boat Enigma cipher in World War II ensured Allied-American control of the Atlantic. But Turing's vision went far beyond the desperate wartime struggle. Already in the 1930s he had defined the concept of the universal machine, which underpins the computer revolution.  In 1945 he was a pioneer of electronic computer design. But Turing's true goal was the scientific understanding of the mind, brought out in the drama and wit of the famous "Turing test" for machine intelligence and in his prophecy for the twenty-first century. Drawn in to the cockpit of world events and the forefront of technological innovation, Alan Turing was also an innocent and unpretentious gay man trying to live in a society that criminalized him. In 1952 he revealed his homosexuality and was forced to participate in a humiliating treatment program, and was ever after regarded as a security risk. His suicide in 1954 remains one of the many enigmas in an astonishing life story.  

  • Genghis Khan: Life, Death,and Resurrection

    Genghis Khan: Life, Death,and Resurrection

    Ksh 1950

    Brief Summary Genghis Khan is one of history's immortals, alive in memory as a scourge, hero, military genius and demi-god. To Muslims, Russians and westerners, he is a murderer of millions, a brutal oppressor. Yet in his homeland of Mongolia he is the revered father of the nation, and the Chinese honor him as the founder of a dynasty. In his so-called Mausoleum in Inner Mongolia, worshippers seek the blessing of his spirit. In a supreme paradox, the world's most ruthless conqueror has become a force for peace and reconciliation. As a teenager, Genghis was a fugitive, hiding from enemies on a remote mountainside. Yet he went on to found the world's greatest land empire and change the course of world history. Brilliant and original as well as ruthless, he ruled an empire twice the size of Rome's until his death in 1227 placed all at risk. To secure his conquests and then extend them, his heirs kept his death a secret, and secrecy has surrounded him ever since. His undiscovered grave, with its imagined treasures, remains the subject of intrigue and speculation. This is more than just a gripping account of Genghis' rise and conquests. John Man uses first-hand experiences in China and Mongolia to reveal the khan's enduring influence. He has traveled the length of the empire. He spotlights the tension between Mongols and Chinese, who both claim Genghis' spirit. He is the first writer to explore the hidden valley where Genghis is believed to have died, and one of the few westerners to climb the mountain where he was likely buried. This stunning narrative paints a vivid picture of the man himself, the places where he lived and fought, and the passions that surround him still. For in legend, ritual and intense controversy, Genghis lives on.

  • Mao: The Unknown Story

    Mao: The Unknown Story

    Ksh 2690

    Brief Summary  Jung Chang's Wild Swans was an extraordinary bestseller throughout the world, selling more than 10 million copies and reaching a wider readership than any other book about China. Now she and her husband Jon Halliday have written a groundbreaking biography of Mao Tse-tung.  Based on a decade of research, and on interviews with many of Mao's close circle in China who have never talked before - and with virtually everyone outside China who had significant dealings with him - this is the most authoritative life of Mao ever written.  It is full of startling revelations, exploding the myth of the Long March, and showing a completely unknown Mao: he was not driven by idealism or ideology; his intimate and intricate relationship with Stalin went back to the 1920s, ultimately bringing him to power; he welcomed Japanese occupation of much of China; and he schemed, poisoned and blackmailed to get his way. After Mao conquered China in 1949, his secret goal was to dominate the world. In chasing this dream he caused the deaths of 38 million people in the greatest famine in history. In all, well over 70 million Chinese perished under Mao's rule - in peacetime.  Combining meticulous history with the story-telling style of Wild Swans, this biography makes immediate Mao's roller-coaster life, as he intrigued and fought every step of the way to force through his unpopular decisions. The reader enters the shadowy chambers of Mao's court, and eavesdrops on the drama in its hidden recesses. Mao's character and the enormity of his behaviour towards his wives, mistresses and children are unveiled for the first time.  This is an entirely fresh look at Mao in both content and approach. It will astonish historians and the general reader alike.  

  • Autobiography: The Story of My Experiments

    Autobiography: The Story of My Experiments

    Ksh 1795

    Brief Summary  An Autobiography: The Story of My Experiments with Truth Gandhi's non-violent struggles against racism, violence, and colonialism in South Africa and India had brought him to such a level of notoriety, adulation that when asked to write an autobiography midway through his career, he took it as an opportunity to explain himself.  He feared the enthusiasm for his ideas tended to exceed a deeper understanding of his quest for truth rooted in devotion to God. His attempts to get closer to this divine power led him to seek purity through simple living, dietary practices, celibacy, and a life without violence.  This is not a straightforward narrative biography, in The Story of My Experiments with Truth, Gandhi offers his life story as a reference for those who would follow in his footsteps.  

  • Mellon: An American Life

    Mellon: An American Life

    Ksh 2690

    Brief Summary  A landmark work from one of the preeminent historians of our time: the first published biography of Andrew W. Mellon, the American colossus who bestrode the worlds of industry, government, and philanthropy, leaving his transformative stamp on each.  Andrew Mellon, one of America’s greatest financiers, built a legendary personal fortune from banking to oil to aluminum manufacture, tracking America’s course to global economic supremacy. As treasury secretary under Presidents Harding, Coolidge, and finally Hoover, Mellon made the federal government run like a business–prefiguring the public official as CEO.  He would be hailed as the architect of the Roaring Twenties, but, staying too long, would be blamed for the Great Depression, eventually to find himself a broken idol. Collecting art was his only nonprofessional gratification and his great gift to the American people, The National Gallery of Art, remains his most tangible legacy.  

  • Nancy: A Portrait of My Years

    Nancy: A Portrait of My Years

    Ksh 2695

    Brief Summary  Candid, moving and insightful, Nancy is the most personal look at Nancy Davis Reagan ever published Nancy Davis Reagan has led an extraordinary life; it has also been an extraordinarily private one. Now Mike Deaver, whose relationship with Mrs. Reagan dates back to the1960s, shares the side of Nancy that only her intimates know. The woman portrayed in Nancy is far more complicated than the stereotype. No cardboard cutout, she is pure flesh and blood, a woman of immense will and fortitude. And in the Reagans' fifty-year marriage, Ron always received top billing. She is convinced that her husband was one of the great men of the twentieth century -- a rare world leader who changed the tide of history. Nancy has been no bit player in the story. Deaver believes that Reagan would not have risen to such distinction without Nancy at his side. Reluctantly drawn into politics, Nancy gradually embraced her role. To the president, Nancy Reagan would bring discipline. She would ask the tough questions. When his image might be tainted, she would fervently guard it, even at the expense of her own. To Ronald Reagan the man, who always had trouble expressing intimacy, Nancy gave the gift of her unrestricted love. Now to a man no longer capable of looking after himself, Nancy is everything there is left to be: caretaker, guardian, nurturer of the Reagan legacy.

  • No Woman No Cry

    No Woman No Cry

    Ksh 1295

    Brief Summary  No Woman No Cry: My Life with Bob Marley A memoir by the woman who knew Bob Marley best--his wife, Rita. Rita Marley grew up in the slums of Trench Town, Jamaica. Abandoned by her mother at a very young age, she was raised by her aunt. Music ran in Rita's family, and even as a child her talent for singing was pronounced. By the age of 18, Rita was an unwed mother, and it was then that she met Bob Marley at a recording studio in Trench Town. Bob and Rita became close friends, fell in love, and soon, she and her girlfriends were singing backup for the Wailers. At the ages of 21 and 19, Bob and Rita were married. The rest is history: Bob Marley and the Wailers set Jamaica and the world on fire. But while Rita displayed blazing courage, joy, and an indisputable devotion to her husband, life with Bob was not easy. There were his liaisons with other women--some of which produced children and were conducted under Rita's roof. The press repeatedly reported that Bob was unmarried to preserve his "image." But Rita kept her self-respect, and when Bob succumbed to cancer in 1981, she was at his side. In the years that followed, she became a force in her own right--as the Bob Marley Foundation's spokesperson and a performer in her reggae group, the I-Three. Written with author Hettie Jones, No Woman No Cry is a no-holds-barred account of life with one of the most famous musicians of all time. In No Woman No Cry, readers will learn about the never-before-told details of Bob Marley's life, including: How Rita practiced subsistence farming when first married to Bob to have food for her family. How Rita rode her bicycle into town with copies of Bob's latest songs to sell. How Rita worked as a housekeeper in Delaware to help support her family when her children were young. Why Rita chose to befriend some of the women with whom Bob had affairs and to give them advice on rearing the children they had with Bob. The story of the attack on Bob which almost killed the two of them.  

  • My Life: Bill Clinton

    My Life: Bill Clinton

    Ksh 2090

    Brief Summary  An exhaustive, soul-searching memoir, Bill Clinton's My Life is a refreshingly candid look at the former president as a son, brother, teacher, father, husband, and public figure. Clinton painstakingly outlines the history behind his greatest successes and failures, including his dedication to educational and economic reform, his war against a "vast right-wing operation" determined to destroy him, and the "morally indefensible" acts for which he was nearly impeached. My Life is autobiography as therapy--a personal history written by a man trying to face and banish his private demons. Clinton approaches the story of his youth with gusto, sharing tales of giant watermelons, nine-pound tumors, a charging ram, famous mobsters and jazz musicians, and a BB gun standoff. He offers an equally energetic portrait of American history, pop culture, and the evolving political landscape, covering the historical events that shaped his early years (namely the deaths of Martin Luther King Jr. and JFK) and the events that shaped his presidency (Waco, Bosnia, Somalia). What makes My Life remarkable as a political memoir is how thoroughly it is infused with Clinton's unassuming, charmingly pithy voice: I learned a lot from the stories my uncle, aunts, and grandparents told me: that no one is perfect but most people are good; that people can't be judged only by their worst or weakest moments; that harsh judgments can make hypocrites of us all; that a lot of life is just showing up and hanging on; that laughter is often the best, and sometimes the only, response to pain. However, that same voice might tire readers as Clinton applies his penchant for minute details to a distractible laundry list of events, from his youth through the years of his presidency. Not wanting to forget a single detail that might help account for his actions, Clinton overdoes it--do we really need to know the name of his childhood barber? But when Clinton sticks to the meat of his story--recollections about Mother, his abusive stepfather, Hillary, the campaign trail, and Kenneth Starr--the veracity of emotion and Kitchen Confidential-type revelations about "what it is like to be President" make My Life impossible to put down. To Clinton, "politics is a contact sport," and while he claims that My Life is not intended to make excuses or assign blame, it does portray him as a fighter whose strategy is to "take the first hit, then counterpunch as hard as I could." While My Life is primarily a stroll through Clinton's memories, it is also a scathing rebuke--a retaliation against his detractors, including Kenneth Starr, whose "mindless search for scandal" protected the guilty while "persecuting the innocent" and distracted his Administration from pressing international matters (including strikes on al Qaeda). Counterpunch indeed.  

  • Rabble-Rouser for Peace

    Rabble-Rouser for Peace

    Ksh 1695

    Brief Summary  Rabble-Rouser for Peace: The Authorized Biography of Desmond Tutu Rabble-Rouser for Peace is the first book to tell the full story of how a boy from South Africa's poverty-stricken black townships became one of the world's best-known religious figures, a moral icon to those who work for peace and justice everywhere. Drawn from 30 years of the author's first-hand contact with Desmond Tutu, this is not only a vivid character study of a public figure with a unique capacity to communicate warmth, humor and compassion; it is also a rich account of his dynamic place in history. The story of Desmond Tutu's life tells a crucial part of South Africa's history and its movement from Apartheid towards peace, but it also follows the growth of one of the best loved and globally most recognized men of our time.  

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