Throughout the 1940s, Zachary Scott (1914-1965) was the model for sophisticated, debonair villains in American film. His best-known roles include a mysterious criminal in The Mask of Dimitrios and the indolent husband in Mildred Pierce. He garnered further acclaim for his portrayal of villains in Her Kind of Man, Danger Signal, and South of St. Louis. Although he earned critical praise for his performance as a heroic tenant farmer in Jean Renoir's The Southerner, Scott never quite escaped typecasting. In Zachary Scott: Hollywood's Sophisticated Cad, Ronald L. Davis writes an appealing biography of the film star. Scott grew up in privileged circumstances-his father was a distinguished physician; his grandfather was a pioneer cattle baron-and was expected to follow his father into medical practice. Instead, Scott began to pursue a career in theater while studying at the University of Texas and subsequently worked his way on a ship to England to pursue acting. Upon his return to America, he began to look for work in New York. Excelling on stage and screen throughout the 1940s, Scott seemed destined for stardom. By the end of 1950, however, he had suffered through a turbulent divorce. A rafting accident left him badly shaken and clinically depressed. His frustration over his roles mounted, and he began to drink heavily. He remarried and spent the rest of his career concentrating on stage and television work. Although Scott continued to perform occasionally in films, he never reclaimed the level of stardom that he had in the mid-1940s. To reconstruct Scott's life, Davis uses interviews with Scott and colleagues and reviews, articles, and archival correspondence from the Scott papers at the University of Texas and from the Warner Brothers Archives. The result is a portrait of a talented actor who was rarely allowed to show his versatility on the screen.
The rough-hewn general who rose to the nation's highest office, and whose presidency witnessed the first political skirmishes that would lead to the Civil WarZachary Taylor was a soldier's soldier, a man who lived up to his nickname, Old Rough and Ready. Having risen through the ranks of the U.S. Army, he achieved his greatest success in the Mexican War, propelling him to the nation's highest office in the election of 1848. He was the first man to have been elected president without having held a lower political office. John S. D. Eisenhower, the son of another soldier-president, shows how Taylor rose to the presidency, where he confronted the most contentious political issue of his age: slavery. The political storm reached a crescendo in 1849, when California, newly populated after the Gold Rush, applied for statehood with an anti- slavery constitution, an event that upset the delicate balance of slave and free states and pushed both sides to the brink. As the acrimonious debate intensified, Taylor stood his ground in favor of California's admission--despite being a slaveholder himself--but in July 1850 he unexpectedly took ill, and within a week he was dead. His truncated presidency had exposed the fateful rift that would soon tear the country apart.
How does a real-life Zen master -- not the preternaturally calm, cartoonish Zen masters depicted by mainstream culture -- help others through hard times when he's dealing with pain of his own? How does he meditate when the world is crumbling around him? Is meditation a valid response or just another form of escapism? These are the questions Brad Warner ponders in Zen Wrapped in Karma Dipped in Chocolate.During a year that Warner spent giving talks and leading retreats across North America, his mother and grandmother died, he lost his dream job, and his marriage fell apart. In writing about how he applied the Buddha's teachings to his own real-life suffering, Warner shatters expectations, revealing that Buddhism isn't some esoteric pie-in-the-sky ultimate solution but an exceptionally practical way to deal with whatever life dishes out.
A thrilling, moment by moment account of an epic World War II escape and the real-life adventures that followed.On August 30, 1942 - 'Zero Night' - 40 Allied officers staged the most audacious mass escape of World War II. Months of meticulous planning and secret training hung in the balance during three minutes of mayhem as the officers boldly stormed the huge double fences at Oflag Prison. Employing wooden ladders and bridges previously disguised as bookshelves, the highly coordinated effort succeeded and set 36 men free into the German countryside. Later known as the 'Warburg Wire Job', fellow prisoner and fighter ace Douglas Bader once described the attempt as 'the most brilliant escape conception of this war'. The first author to tackle this remarkable story in detail, historian Mark Felton brilliantly evokes the suspense of the escape and the adventures of those escapees who managed to elude the Germans, as well as the courage of the civilians who risked their lives to help them in enemy territory. Fantastically intimate and told with a novelist's eye for drama and detail, this rip-roaring adventure is all the more thrilling because it really happened.
This is the life story of Al Lynch in his own words -- an American hero who is now one of only 72 living Medal of Honor recipients. This is the story of a happy boy growing up in Chicagoland's South Side industrial neighborhoods. His early happiness was almost eradicated by several years of intense bullying, though he found ways to overcome that experience. This is the story of an aimless young man whose prospects of following in his father's foot-steps as a blue-collar tradesman were cut short by the Vietnam War and by his personal search for something greater than himself. This is the story of a man whose meandering military career, and his life up to that point, came into sharp focus when, in a deadly ﬁreﬁght in Vietnam, he rushed to rescue three wounded troopers in no man's land. He was urged to leave the wounded and return to a safe position. But Lynch refused to retreat in order to stay with his troopers despite having every reason to believe he would die that afternoon. Because of these actions, he is a hero.
This is also the story of the many troubling consequences of surviving battles while others died, sometimes tragically due to friendly ﬁ re or the random violence of an aimless war. This is the story of a man whose sense of honesty and independence has been honed over a lifetime of mistakes and victories toward always doing the right thing, no matter the cost. And this is the story of a man who learned that independence can be a selﬁsh burden, and that life is not only about helping others, but allowing others to help him. So this is a story of a man who overcame the dragons of PTSD with the help of his family and friends, and by being honest with himself. Al Lynch has written a story that speaks to all of us -- one doesn't have to be a war hero to be wounded by life. By the writing of Zero to Hero, Al shows us the stuff of which heroes are made.
Zhou Enlai, the premier of the People's Republic of China from 1949 until his death in 1976, is the last Communist political leader to be revered by the Chinese people. He is considered a modern saint who offered protection to his people during the Cultural Revolution; an admirable figure in an otherwise traumatic and bloody era. Works about Zhou in China are heavily censored, and every hint of criticism is removed -- so when Gao Wenqian first published this groundbreaking, provocative biography in Hong Kong, it was immediately banned in the People's Republic.Using classified documents spirited out of China, Gao Wenqian offers an objective human portrait of the real Zhou, a man who lived his life at the heart of Chinese politics for fifty years, who survived both the Long March and the Cultural Revolution not thanks to ideological or personal purity, but because he was artful, crafty, and politically supple. He may have had the looks of a matinee idol, and Nixon may have called him the greatest statesman of our era, but Zhou's greatest gift was to survive, at almost any price, thanks to his acute understanding of where political power resided at any one time.
While most biographies of Hurston take a standard approach to revealing the facts and details of her life, this is the first to look at the role spirituality played in her life and letters. Throughout her fiction, nonfiction, political and social activity, Hurston's spirit shines through, animating all areas of her life. To ignore it is to paint an incomplete picture of a life that carries on through the works she left behind. Plant shows here that Hurston's spirituality helped her to endure the challenges in her life, including chronic ill health, personal and professional setbacks, financial difficulties, and other obstacles that might have crushed a less resilient soul. In revealing this often overlooked area of Hurston's life, Plant offers a more complete biography of this eminent woman of letters.