Originally released in the UK on May 26, 1967, this year marks the 50th anniversary of the Beatles' landmark album. The U.S. release was on June 1.

A riveting look at the transformative year in the lives and careers of the legendary group whose groundbreaking legacy would forever change music and popular culture. They started off as hysteria-inducing pop stars playing to audiences of screaming teenage fans and ended up as musical sages considered responsible for ushering in a new era. The year that changed everything for the Beatles was 1966-- the year of their last concert and their first album, Revolver, that was created to be listened to rather than performed. This was the year the Beatles risked their popularity by retiring from live performances, recording songs that explored alternative states of consciousness, experimenting with avant-garde ideas, and speaking their minds on issues of politics, war, and religion. 

Tune in by Mark Lewisohn

Mark Lewisohn uses his unprecedented archival access and hundreds of new interviews to construct the full story of the lives and work of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr. Ten years in the making, Tune In takes the Beatles from before their childhoods through the final hour of 1962--when, with breakthrough success just days away, they stand on the cusp of a whole new kind of fame and celebrity. They've one hit record ("Love Me Do") behind them and the next ("Please Please Me") primed for release, their first album session is booked, and America is clear on the horizon.

"For over thirty years, the author has written novels in which the natural world is as much a living presence as any character. In this beautiful, evocative, and sometimes provocative memoir, he explores Australia's unique landscape, and how that singular place has shaped him and his writing"--.

American author James Fenimore Cooper has been credited with inventing and popularizing a wide variety of genre fiction, including the Western, the spy novel, the high seas adventure tale, and the Revolutionary War romance. In this second volume of his definitive biography, Wayne Franklin concentrates on the latter half of Cooper's life, detailing a period of personal and political controversy, far-ranging international travel, and prolific literary creation. 

Norman Bel Geddes designed everything from Broadway sets to Chrysler cars; from the first all-weather stadium to Futurama, the prescient 1939 World's Fair exhibit that would go down as the most popular of all time. In The Man Who Designed the Future, B. Alexandra Szerlip tells the astonishing story of a 9th grade dropout with a Midwestern twang who presided over a seismic shift in American culture--a moment in which entertainment became immersive, people became consumers, and the country came to look the way it does today.

The story of how a team of librarians and archivists joined forces to spirit tens of thousands of ancient manuscripts into hiding when al-Qaeda-linked jihadists surged across Mali in 2012, threatening the existence of these precious documents. 

Guy Burgess was the most important, complex, and fascinating of The Cambridge Spies--Maclean, Philby, Blunt--brilliant young men recruited in the 1930s to betray their country to the Soviet Union. An engaging and charming companion to many, an unappealing, utterly ruthless manipulator to others, Burgess rose through academia, the BBC, the Foreign Office, MI5 and MI6, gaining access to thousands of highly sensitive secret documents which he passed to his Russian handlers.

This is the story of the political battles that have taken place in the court of Vladimir Putin since his rise to power, and a chronicle of friendship and hatred between the Russian leader and his foreign partners and opponents.

The raging question in the world today is who is the real Vladimir Putin and what are his intentions. Karen Dawisha's brilliant work provides an answer, describing how Putin got to power, the cabal he brought with him, the billions they have looted, and his plan to restore the Greater Russia.

May 3 has been designated as World Press Freedom Day in recognition of a "free, pluralistic and independent press" and its essential part of a democratic society. Indeed, the purpose of journalism, said Chicago newspaper columnist and humorist Peter Finley Dunne in the early 1900s, is to "comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable."  And in the words of President Barack Obama: "Journalists give all of us as citizens the chance to know the truth about our countries, ourselves, our governments. That makes us better, it makes us stronger, it gives voice to the voiceless,  it exposes injustice, and holds leaders like me accountable."

May 1, 1960.  An American U-2 spy plane piloted by Francis Gary Powers was shot down over Central Russia. Powers was tried, convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison, but was released in exchange for an imprisoned Soviet spy.

May 2, 2011.  Osama bin Laden was killed by U.S. Special Forces during a raid on his secret compound in Pakistan.

May 4, 1886.  The Haymarket Square Riot occurred in Chicago after 180 police officers advanced on 1,300 persons gathered in the square listening to speeches of labor activists and anarchists. An incendiary device  thrown by an unknown person caused police to open fire and led to the death of several people, including eight policemen.

May 4, 1970.  At Kent State University, four students  were killed by National Guardsmen who opened fire on a crowd of 1,000 students protesting President Richard Nixon's decision to invade Cambodia.

 

"The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it"  -- Neil De Grasse Tyson.

 

March for Science   April 22, 2017

 

Just a few decades ago, the Koreans were an impoverished, agricultural people. In one generation they moved from the fields to Silicon Valley. The nature and values of the Korean people provide the background for a more detailed examination of the complex history of the country, in particular its division and its emergence as an economic superpower.

A young writer's sincere search (with his dog) for an authentic life--buying a ruined house in Detroit for $500, fixing it up nail by nail, and, in the process, participating in the grassroots rebirth of the city itself.

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