Leonardo da Vinci

Author: Walter Isaacson
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 1501139177
Format: PDF, Docs
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The #1 New York Times bestseller “A powerful story of an exhilarating mind and life...a study in creativity: how to define it, how to achieve it.” —The New Yorker “Vigorous, insightful.” —The Washington Post “A masterpiece.” —San Francisco Chronicle “Luminous.” —The Daily Beast He was history’s most creative genius. What secrets can he teach us? The author of the acclaimed bestsellers Steve Jobs, Einstein, and Benjamin Franklin brings Leonardo da Vinci to life in this exciting new biography. Based on thousands of pages from Leonardo’s astonishing notebooks and new discoveries about his life and work, Walter Isaacson weaves a narrative that connects his art to his science. He shows how Leonardo’s genius was based on skills we can improve in ourselves, such as passionate curiosity, careful observation, and an imagination so playful that it flirted with fantasy. He produced the two most famous paintings in history, The Last Supper and the Mona Lisa. But in his own mind, he was just as much a man of science and technology. With a passion that sometimes became obsessive, he pursued innovative studies of anatomy, fossils, birds, the heart, flying machines, botany, geology, and weaponry. His ability to stand at the crossroads of the humanities and the sciences, made iconic by his drawing of Vitruvian Man, made him history’s most creative genius. His creativity, like that of other great innovators, came from having wide-ranging passions. He peeled flesh off the faces of cadavers, drew the muscles that move the lips, and then painted history’s most memorable smile. He explored the math of optics, showed how light rays strike the cornea, and produced illusions of changing perspectives in The Last Supper. Isaacson also describes how Leonardo’s lifelong enthusiasm for staging theatrical productions informed his paintings and inventions. Leonardo’s delight at combining diverse passions remains the ultimate recipe for creativity. So, too, does his ease at being a bit of a misfit: illegitimate, gay, vegetarian, left-handed, easily distracted, and at times heretical. His life should remind us of the importance of instilling, both in ourselves and our children, not just received knowledge but a willingness to question it—to be imaginative and, like talented misfits and rebels in any era, to think different.

The Coming Anarchy

Author: Robert D. Kaplan
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 1400033039
Format: PDF, Docs
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Robert Kaplan, bestselling author of Balkan Ghosts, offers up scrupulous, far-ranging insights on the world to come in a spirited, rousing, and provocative book that has earned a place at the top of the reading lists of the world's policy makers. The end of the Cold War has not ushered in the global peace and prosperity that many had anticipated. Volatile new democracies in Eastern Europe, fierce tribalism in Africa, civil war and ethnic violence in the Near East, and widespread famine and disease—not to mention the brutal rift developing as wealthy nations reap the benefits of seemingly boundless technology while other parts of the world slide into chaos—are among the issues Kaplan identifies as the most important for charting the future of geopolitics. Historical antecedents in Gibbon's Decline and Fall and in the legacies of statesmen such as Henry Kissinger contribute to this bracingly prophetic framework for addressing the new global reality. Bold, erudite, and profoundly important, The Coming Anarchy is a compelling must-read by one of today's most penetrating writers and provocative minds.

Calder

Author: Jed Perl
Publisher: Knopf
ISBN: 0307272729
Format: PDF, Docs
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The first biography of America's greatest twentieth-century sculptor, Alexander Calder: an authoritative and revelatory achievement, based on a wealth of letters and papers never before available, and written by one of our most renowned art critics. Alexander Calder is one of the most beloved and widely admired artists of the twentieth century. Anybody who has ever set foot in a museum knows him as the inventor of the mobile, America's unique contribution to modern art. But only now, forty years after the artist's death, is the full story of his life being told in this biography, which is based on unprecedented access to Calder's letters and papers as well as scores of interviews. Jed Perl shows us why Calder was--and remains--a barrier breaker, an avant-garde artist with mass appeal. This beautifully written, deeply researched book opens with Calder's wonderfully peripatetic upbringing in Philadelphia, California, and New York. Born in 1898 into a family of artists--his father was a well-known sculptor, his mother a painter and a pioneering feminist--Calder went on as an adult to forge important friendships with a who's who of twentieth-century artists, including Joan Mir�, Marcel Duchamp, Georges Braque, and Piet Mondrian. We move through Calder's early years studying engineering to his first artistic triumphs in Paris in the late 1920s, and to his emergence as a leader in the international abstract avant-garde. His marriage in 1931 to the free-spirited Louisa James--she was a great-niece of Henry James--is a richly romantic story, related here with a wealth of detail and nuance. Calder's life takes on a transatlantic richness, from New York's Greenwich Village in the Roaring Twenties, to the Left Bank of Paris during the Depression, and then back to the United States, where the Calders bought a run-down old farmhouse in western Connecticut. New light is shed on Calder's lifelong interest in dance, theater, and performance, ranging from the Cirque Calder, the theatrical event that became his calling card in bohemian Paris to collaborations with the choreographer Martha Graham and the composer Virgil Thomson. More than 350 illustrations in color and black-and-white--including little-known works and many archival photographs that have never before been seen--further enrich the story.

Portraits 9 11 01

Author: New York Times
Publisher: Macmillan
ISBN: 9780805073607
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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Presents portraits of the people whose lives were lost in the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center as published in "The New York Times," including four hundred additional portraits published since February 2002.

William Tecumseh Sherman In the Service of My Country A Life

Author: James Lee McDonough
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
ISBN: 0393242129
Format: PDF
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The New York Times best-selling biography of one of America’s most storied military figures. General Sherman’s 1864 burning of Atlanta solidified his legacy as a ruthless leader. Yet Sherman proved far more complex than his legendary military tactics reveal. James Lee McDonough offers fresh insight into a man tormented by the fear that history would pass him by, who was plagued by personal debts, and who lived much of his life separated from his family. As a soldier, Sherman evolved from a spirited student at West Point into a general who steered the Civil War’s most decisive campaigns, rendered here in graphic detail. Lamenting casualties, Sherman sought the war’s swift end by devastating Southern resources in the Carolinas and on his famous March to the Sea. This meticulously researched biography explores Sherman’s warm friendship with Ulysses S. Grant, his strained relationship with his wife, Ellen, and his unassuageable grief over the death of his young son, Willy. The result is a remarkable, comprehensive life of an American icon whose legacy resonates to this day.

The Collector of Lives Giorgio Vasari and the Invention of Art

Author: Ingrid Rowland
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
ISBN: 0393248399
Format: PDF, ePub
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In the tradition of The Swerve and How to Live, this vivid biography reveals how a Renaissance scholar reshaped the visual world. Giorgio Vasari (1511–1574) was a man of many talents—a sculptor, painter, architect, writer, and scholar—but he is best known for Lives of the Artists, the classic account that singlehandedly invented the genre of artistic biography and established the canon of Italian Renaissance art. Before Vasari’s extraordinary book, art was considered a technical skill rather than an intellectual pursuit, and artists were mere decorators and craftsmen. It was through Vasari’s visionary writings that artists like Raphael, Leonardo, and Michelangelo came to be regarded as great masters of life as well as art, their creative genius celebrated as a divine gift. Their enduring reputations testify to Vasari’s profound yet unspoken influence on western culture. An advisor to kings and pontiffs—and a confidant to Titian, Donatello, and more—Vasari enjoyed an exhilarating career amid the thrilling culture of Renaissance Italy. In The Collector of Lives, Ingrid Rowland and Noah Charney offer a lively and inviting introduction to this pivotal figure in art history, and immerse readers in the world of the Medici of Florence and the popes of Rome. A narrative of intrigue, scandal, and colorful artistic rivalry, this vivid biography shows the great works of western art taking shape under Vasari’s keen eye—and reveals how one Renaissance scholar completely redefined how we look at art.

Reagan

Author: H. W. Brands
Publisher: Anchor
ISBN: 0307951146
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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From master storyteller and New York Times bestselling Historian H. W. Brands comes the definitive biography of a visionary and transformative president In his magisterial new biography, H. W. Brands brilliantly establishes Ronald Reagan as one of the two great presidents of the twentieth century, a true peer to Franklin Roosevelt. Reagan conveys with sweep and vigor how the confident force of Reagan's personality and the unwavering nature of his beliefs enabled him to engineer a conservative revolution in American politics and play a crucial role in ending communism in the Soviet Union. Reagan shut down the age of liberalism, Brands shows, and ushered in the age of Reagan, whose defining principles are still powerfully felt today. Employing archival sources not available to previous biographers and drawing on dozens of interviews with surviving members of Reagan's administration, Brands has crafted a richly detailed and fascinating narrative of the presidential years. He offers new insights into Reagan's remote management style and fractious West Wing staff, his deft handling of public sentiment to transform the tax code, and his deeply misunderstood relationship with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, on which nothing less than the fate of the world turned. Reagan is a storytelling triumph, an irresistible portrait of an underestimated politician whose pragmatic leadership and steadfast vision transformed the nation.

Niels Bohr s Times

Author: Abraham Pais
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0192522302
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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The life of Niels Bohr spanned times of revolutionary change in science itself as well as its impact on society. Along with Albert Einstein, Bohr can be considered to be this century's major driving force behind the new philosophical and mathematical descriptions of the structure of the atom and the nucleus. Abraham Pais, the acclaimed biogrpaher of Albert Einstein, here traces Bohr's progress from his well-to-do origins in late nineteenth-century Denmark to his position at centre stage in the world political scene, particularly during the Second World War and the development of atomic weapons. Pais' description moves through the science as it was before Bohr, as it became because of Bohr, and thence to Bohr's scientific and philosophical legacy. That legacy is contained both in theory as it is now universally enshrined, as well as in its practice in such great Danish institutions as Riso. But more than that, Pais captures the essence of Bohr, the intensely private family figure who, despite appalling personal tragedy, became one of the most loved cultural figures of recent times.

The Great Nadar

Author: Adam Begley
Publisher: Tim Duggan Books
ISBN: 1101902612
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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A dazzling, stylish biography of a fabled Parisian photographer, adventurer, and pioneer. A recent French biography begins, Who doesn't know Nadar? In France, that's a rhetorical question. Of all of the legendary figures who thrived in mid-19th-century Paris—a cohort that includes Victor Hugo, Baudelaire, Gustave Courbet, and Alexandre Dumas—Nadar was perhaps the most innovative, the most restless, the most modern. The first great portrait photographer, a pioneering balloonist, the first person to take an aerial photograph, and the prime mover behind the first airmail service, Nadar was one of the original celebrity artist-entrepreneurs. A kind of 19th-century Andy Warhol, he knew everyone worth knowing and photographed them all, conferring on posterity psychologically compelling portraits of Manet, Sarah Bernhardt, Delacroix, Daumier and countless others—a priceless panorama of Parisian celebrity. Born Gaspard-Félix Tournachon, he adopted the pseudonym Nadar as a young bohemian, when he was a budding writer and cartoonist. Later he affixed the name Nadar to the façade of his opulent photographic studio in giant script, the illuminated letters ten feet tall, the whole sign fifty feet long, a garish red beacon on the boulevard. Nadar became known to all of Europe and even across the Atlantic when he launched "The Giant," a gas balloon the size of a twelve-story building, the largest of its time. With his daring exploits aboard his humongous balloon (including a catastrophic crash that made headlines around the world), he gave his friend Jules Verne the model for one of his most dynamic heroes. The Great Nadar is a brilliant, lavishly illustrated biography of a larger-than-life figure, a visionary whose outsized talent and canny self-promotion put him way ahead of his time.