Category Archives: Biography/Autobiography

The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama

The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama

Originally published: April 6, 2010
Author: David Remnick
Page count: 672
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Nominations: Goodreads Choice Awards Best History & Biography

 

 

 

100 Word Book Review:

The Bridge refers to the police attack on demonstrators at at Edmund Pettus Bridge in 1965, during the marches of Selma to Montgomery. Some viewed as a bridging of people of different races. Detailing key people (Jack Ryan, Blair Hull) that contribute to the outcome.  It describles the course of campaigning, networking, and every challenge that comes along the way. At the end, a reader will get a sense of elation and epiphany of how things come to fruition. Giving birth to a first African American, born outside the contiguous United States, serving as 44th President of the United States.

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Have a Little Faith: a True Story – Mitch Albom

Have a Little Faith: a True Story by Mitch Albom
Have a Little Faith: a True Story by Mitch Albom

In Have a Little Faith, Mitch Albom offers a beautifully written story of a remarkable eight-year journey between two worlds–two men, two faiths, two communities–that will inspire readers everywhere.

Albom’s first nonfiction book since Tuesdays with Morrie, Have a Little Faith begins with an unusual request: an eighty-two-year-old rabbi from Albom’s old hometown asks him to deliver his eulogy.

Feeling unworthy, Albom insists on understanding the man better, which throws him back into a world of faith he’d left years ago. Meanwhile, closer to his current home, Albom becomes involved with a Detroit pastor–a reformed drug dealer and convict–who preaches to the poor and homeless in a decaying church with a hole in its roof.

Moving between their worlds, Christian and Jewish, African-American and white, impoverished and well-to-do, Albom observes how these very different men employ faith similarly in fighting for survival: the older, suburban rabbi embracing it as death approaches; the younger, inner-city pastor relying on it to keep himself and his church afloat.

As America struggles with hard times and people turn more to their beliefs, Albom and the two men of God explore issues that perplex modern man: how to endure when difficult things happen; what heaven is; intermarriage; forgiveness; doubting God; and the importance of faith in trying times. Although the texts, prayers, and histories are different, Albom begins to recognize a striking unity between the two worlds–and indeed, between beliefs everywhere.

In the end, as the rabbi nears death and a harsh winter threatens the pastor’s wobbly church, Albom sadly fulfills the rabbi’s last request and writes the eulogy. And he finally understands what both men had been teaching all along: the profound comfort of believing in something bigger than yourself.

Have a Little Faith is a book about a life’s purpose; about losing belief and finding it again; about the divine spark inside us all. It is one man’s journey, but it is everyone’s story.

Ten percent of the profits from this book will go to charity, including The Hole In The Roof Foundation, which helps refurbish places of worship that aid the homeless.

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The Art of Happiness – Dalai Lama XIV, Howard C. Cutler

The_Art_of_Happiness
The Art of Happiness – Dalai Lama XIV, Howard C. Cutler

Nearly every time you see him, he’s laughing, or at least smiling. And he makes everyone else around him feel like smiling. He’s the Dalai Lama, the spiritual and temporal leader of Tibet, a Nobel Prize winner, and an increasingly popular speaker and statesman. What’s more, he’ll tell you that happiness is the purpose of life, and that “the very motion of our life is towards happiness.” How to get there has always been the question. He’s tried to answer it before, but he’s never had the help of a psychiatrist to get the message across in a context we can easily understand. Through conversations, stories, and meditations, the Dalai Lama shows us how to defeat day-to-day anxiety, insecurity, anger, and discouragement. Together with Dr. Cutler, he explores many facets of everyday life, including relationships, loss, and the pursuit of wealth, to illustrate how to ride through life’s obstacles on a deep and abiding source of inner peace.

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Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela

Long Walk to Freedom
Long Walk to Freedom
Long Walk to Freedom
Long Walk to Freedom

Nelson Mandela is one of the great moral and political leaders of our time: an international hero whose lifelong dedication to the fight against racial oppression in South Africa won him the Nobel Peace Prize and the presidency of his country. Since his triumphant release in 1990 from more than a quarter-century of imprisonment, Mandela has been at the center of the most compelling and inspiring political drama in the world. As president of the African National Congress and head of South Africa’s anti apartheid movement, he was instrumental in moving the nation toward multiracial government and majority rule. He is revered everywhere as a vital force in the fight for human rights and racial equality.

LONG WALK TO FREEDOM is his moving and exhilarating autobiography, destined to take its place among the finest memoirs of history’s greatest figures. Here for the first time, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela tells the extraordinary story of his life–an epic of struggle, setback, renewed hope, and ultimate triumph.

RIP Nelson Mandela
18 July 1918 – 5 December 2013 (aged 95)

 

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Last Of The Few – Max Arthur

Last Of The Few - Max Arthur
Last Of The Few – MAx Arthur

After the fall of France in May 1940, the British Expeditionary Force was miraculously evacuated from Dunkirk. Britain now stood alone to face Hitler’s inevitable invasion attempt. For the German army to land across the channel, Hitler needed mastery of the skies—the Royal Air Force would have to be broken. So every day throughout the summer, German bombers pounded the RAF air bases in the southern counties. Greatly outnumbered by the Luftwaffe, the pilots of RAF Fighter Command scrambled as many as five times a day, and civilians watched skies crisscrossed with the contrails from the constant dogfights between Spitfires and Me–109s. Britain’s very freedom depended on the outcome of that summer’s battle: Its air defenses were badly battered and nearly broken, but against all odds, “The Few,” as they came to be known, bought Britain’s freedom–many with their lives. More than a fifth of the British and Allied pilots died during the Battle of Britain. These are the personal accounts of the pilots who fought and survived that battle. Their stories are as riveting, as vivid, and as poignant as they were seventy years ago. We will not see their like again.

 

 

“This is highly recommended for guys who are serving NS in Air Force, or striving to be pilots.” 

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The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama

The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama
The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama

In this nuanced and complex portrait of Barack Obama, Pulitzer Prize-winner David Remnick offers a thorough, intricate, and riveting account of the unique experiences that shaped our nation’s first African American president.

Through extensive on-the-record interviews with friends and teachers, mentors and disparagers, family members and Obama himself, Remnick explores the elite institutions that first exposed Obama to social tensions, and the intellectual currents that contributed to his identity. Using America’s racial history as a backdrop for Obama’s own story, Remnick further reveals how an initially rootless and confused young man built on the experiences of an earlier generation of black leaders to become one of the central figures of our time.

Masterfully written and eminently readable, The Bridge is destined to be a lasting and illuminating work for years to come, by a writer with an unparalleled gift for revealing the historical significance of our present moment.

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Mao’s Last Dancer – Li Cun Xin

 Mao's Last Dancer - Li Cun Xin

Mao’s Last Dancer – Li Cun Xin

For everyone who has been fascinated by the grace of ballet dancers, here’s a true story which details the sweat and tears which goes on before the big jumps and standing ovations.

Li Cun Xin made it his life’s dream to dream in the biggest stage ever, and as a result being deemed a traitor by his homeland. But with his hailing accomplishments in the world of ballet together with the revolution in China, his final dream to dance once more in his country will be fulfilled.

A great read for the culture and live of a growing country.

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The Last Season – Phil Jackson

 The Last Season - Phil Jackson

The Last Season – Phil Jackson

It was never meant to be easy, meshing talents old and new on-the-fly into a championship ring. But damn, did they get close to their dreams.

Phil Jackson provides an insight on the big personalities and egos which comes with the immense talents and personal sacrifices each player has to bring to the team, carrying them to a final showdown.  It was the start to a beautiful, tragic ending.

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The Unauthorised Autobiography – Julian Assange

 The Unauthorised Autobiography - Julian Assange

The Unauthorised Autobiography – Julian Assange

This autobiography begins with a note from the publisher, explaining that this work is too personal and have decided to withdraw co-operation. However, since legal settlements of the publication contract have been settled, the publisher decided to honour it. As such, this is the “unauthorised first draft… passionate, provocative and opinionated – like its author.”

Assange describled his childhood days, upbringing and changing environments, which led and molded to his current self. Being curious and hungry for knowledge, he taught himself computer programming, and eventually hacking. Artfully, he supplied childhood scenes to explain the adult outlaw. In the later part of the autobiography, he met other activists while ” taking a walk” in some government servers.

Towards the end, it gets personal, explaining how his rape allegations were motivated. Clearly, readers can feel his frustration and disappointments. Justified by his sense of justice and his view on authorities, he explained the purpose of leaking these cables. There is also an appendix consisting of the leaks, ranging from Iraq war dairies, to embassy cables, to Raja Petra Kamarudin statutory declaration on Altantuya Shaariibuu murder. The appendix also includes some tinyurl links to some of the above mentioned documents.

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Gang Leader For A Day – Sudhir Venkatesh

Gang Leader For A Day - Sudhir Venkatesh
Gang Leader For A Day – Sudhir Venkatesh

Sudhir Venkatesh who authored this book gave first hand insights of how the gangs operate in Chicago’s South Side. It all began with a research project to understand urban poverty in Chicago.

Eventually, the gang leader for Black Kings, J.T., befriended him, and at the same time, chided him for being naive that statistics and questionnaires cannot, and will not, help him to understand the life of urban poor in Chicago. From there, a friendship was forged, with Sudhir slowly gaining J.T.’s trust over some time.

J.T. demonstrated his way of running the gang, the daily operations and his way of keeping his henchmen disciplined. In order to effectively convince Sudhir of his CEO-like qualities, he made Sudhir the gang leader for a day.

Ultimately, the narration gradually draws to a close with Sudhir’s research project came to a conclusion and the FBI started to crack down on the gang Black Kings.

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