Fighting for Life

Author: S. Josephine Baker
Publisher: New York Review of Books
ISBN: 9781590177068
Release Date: 2013
Genre: Biography & Autobiography

"New York's lower east side was said to be the most densely populated square mile on the face of the earth in the 1890s. City health inspectors called the neighborhood "the suicide ward" and referred to one particular tenement--in an official Health Department report, no less--as an "out and out hog pen." Diarrhea epidemics raged each summer, killing thousands of city children. Sweatshop babies with smallpox and typhus dozed in garment heaps destined for fashionable Broadway shops. Desperate mothers paced the streets to soothe their feverish children, and white mourning cloths hung from every building. A third of children living in the slums died before their fifth birthday. By 1911, the child death rate had fallen sharply and The New York Times hailed the city as the healthiest on earth. In this witty and highly personal autobiography, public health crusader Dr. Sara Josephine Baker explains how this remarkable transformation was achieved. By the time she retired from the New York City Health Department in 1923, Baker was famous worldwide for saving the lives of 90,000 children. The public health programs Baker developed, many still in use today, have probably saved the lives of millions more. She also fought for women's suffrage, toured Russia in the 1930s, and captured "Typhoid" Mary Malone, twice. She was also an astute observer of her times, and Fighting for Life is one of the most honest, compassionate memoirs of American medicine ever written"--Provided by publisher.

Fat City

Author: Leonard Gardner
Publisher: New York Review of Books
ISBN: 9781590178935
Release Date: 2015-09-08
Genre: Fiction

Fat City is a vivid novel of allegiance and defeat, of the potent promise of the good life and the desperation and drink that waylay those whom it eludes. Stockton, California is the setting: the Lido Gym, the Hotel Coma, Main Street lunchrooms and dingy bars, days like long twilights in houses obscured by untrimmed shrubs and black walnut trees. When two men meet in the ring -- the retired boxer Billy Tully and the newcomer Ernie Munger - their brief bout sets into motion their hidden fates, initiating young Ernie into the company of men and luring Tully back into training. In a dispassionate and composed voice, Gardner narrates their swings of fortune, and the plodding optimism of their manager Ruben Luna, as he watches the most promising boys one by one succumb to some undefined weakness; still, "There was always someone who wanted to fight."

The Communist

Author: Guido Morselli
Publisher: New York Review of Books
ISBN: 9781681370781
Release Date: 2017
Genre: FICTION

"A unique political coming of age story, now in English for the first time. An NYRB Classics Original. The Communist is the story of a life lived in the service of a faith and what happens when that faith is lost. Walter Ferranini, a child of Italy's agricultural heartland, begins as an earnest autodidact who works as a labor organizer before being driven, under Mussolini, into exile in the United States, the belly of the capitalist beast. After World War II, he returns to Italy and enters parliament as a communist MP. Then Khrushchev's 1956 denunciation of Stalin's crimes leads to a crisis in Walter's life. He has come to question that most basic communist belief, that human life finds its fulfillment in labor, and he writes an article expressing his doubts. It is a scandal, as, in the eyes of the prudish party elders, is his new relationship with Nuccia, a journalist who is a married woman. Under these circumstances, Walter is invited for the first time to visit the Soviet Union, and there he finds himself bewildered beyond words. In The Communist, Guido Morselli portrays a man of conviction cast adrift with deep and compelling sympathy"--

A Meaningful Life

Author: L.J. Davis
Publisher: New York Review of Books
ISBN: 9781590173947
Release Date: 2010-07-21
Genre: Fiction

L.J. Davis’s 1971 novel, A Meaningful Life, is a blistering black comedy about the American quest for redemption through real estate and a gritty picture of New York City in collapse. Just out of college, Lowell Lake, the Western-born hero of Davis’s novel, heads to New York, where he plans to make it big as a writer. Instead he finds a job as a technical editor, at which he toils away while passion leaks out of his marriage to a nice Jewish girl. Then Lowell discovers a beautiful crumbling mansion in a crime-ridden section of Brooklyn, and against all advice, not to mention his wife’s will, sinks his every penny into buying it. He quits his job, moves in, and spends day and night on demolition and construction. At last he has a mission: he will dig up the lost history of his house; he will restore it to its past grandeur. He will make good on everything that’s gone wrong with his life, and he will even murder to do it. From the Trade Paperback edition.

Hard Rain Falling

Author: Don Carpenter
Publisher: New York Review of Books
ISBN: 9781590173909
Release Date: 2010-06-23
Genre: Fiction

Don Carpenter’s Hard Rain Falling is a tough-as-nails account of being down and out, but never down for good—a Dostoyevskian tale of crime, punishment, and the pursuit of an ever-elusive redemption. The novel follows the adventures of Jack Levitt, an orphaned teenager living off his wits in the fleabag hotels and seedy pool halls of Portland, Oregon. Jack befriends Billy Lancing, a young black runaway and pool hustler extraordinaire. A heist gone wrong gets Jack sent to reform school, from which he emerges embittered by abuse and solitary confinement. In the meantime Billy has joined the middle class—married, fathered a son, acquired a business and a mistress. But neither Jack nor Billy can escape their troubled pasts, and they will meet again in San Quentin before their strange double drama comes to a violent and revelatory end.

A Savage War of Peace

Author: Alistair Horne
Publisher: New York Review of Books
ISBN: 9781590174814
Release Date: 2011-03-01
Genre: History

The Algerian War lasted from 1954 to 1962. It brought down six French governments, led to the collapse of the Fourth Republic, returned de Gaulle to power, and came close to provoking a civil war on French soil. More than a million Muslim Algerians died in the conflict and as many European settlers were driven into exile. Above all, the war was marked by an unholy marriage of revolutionary terror and repressive torture. Nearly a half century has passed since this savagely fought war ended in Algeria’s independence, and yet—as Alistair Horne argues in his new preface to his now-classic work of history—its repercussions continue to be felt not only in Algeria and France, but throughout the world. Indeed from today’s vantage point the Algerian War looks like a full-dress rehearsal for the sort of amorphous struggle that convulsed the Balkans in the 1990s and that now ravages the Middle East, from Beirut to Baghdad—struggles in which questions of religion, nationalism, imperialism, and terrorism take on a new and increasingly lethal intensity. A Savage War of Peace is the definitive history of the Algerian War, a book that brings that terrible and complicated struggle to life with intelligence, assurance, and unflagging momentum. It is essential reading for our own violent times as well as a lasting monument to the historian’s art.

The World As I Found It

Author: Bruce Duffy
Publisher: New York Review of Books
ISBN: 9781590175651
Release Date: 2011-12-28
Genre: Fiction

When Bruce Duffy’s The World As I Found It was first published more than twenty years ago, critics and readers were bowled over by its daring reimagining of the lives of three very different men, the philosophers Bertrand Russell,G. E. Moore, and Ludwig Wittgenstein. A brilliant group portrait with the vertiginous displacements of twentieth-century life looming large in the background, Duffy’s novel depicts times and places as various as Vienna 1900, the trenches of World War I, Bloomsbury, and the colleges of Cambridge, while the complicated main characters appear not only in thought and dispute but in love and despair. Wittgenstein, a strange, troubled, and troubling man of gnawing contradictions, is at the center of a novel that reminds us that the apparently abstract and formal questions that animate philosophy are nothing less than the intractable matters of life and death.

Novels in Three Lines

Author: Felix Feneon
Publisher: New York Review of Books
ISBN: 9781590174197
Release Date: 2011-08-17
Genre: True Crime

A NEW YORK REVIEW BOOKS ORIGINAL Novels in Three Lines collects more than a thousand items that appeared anonymously in the French newspaper Le Matin in 1906—true stories of murder, mayhem, and everyday life presented with a ruthless economy that provokes laughter even as it shocks. This extraordinary trove, undiscovered until the 1940s and here translated for the first time into English, is the work of the mysterious Félix Fénéon. Dandy, anarchist, and critic of genius, the discoverer of Georges Seurat and the first French publisher of James Joyce, Fénéon carefully maintained his own anonymity, toiling for years as an obscure clerk in the French War Department. Novels in Three Lines is his secret chef-d’oeuvre, a work of strange and singular art that brings back the long-ago year of 1906 with the haunting immediacy of a photograph while looking forward to such disparate works as Walter Benjamin’s Arcades Project and the Death and Disaster series of Andy Warhol.

Kaputt

Author: Curzio Malaparte
Publisher: New York Review of Books
ISBN: 9781590171479
Release Date: 2005
Genre: Fiction

Curzio Malaparte was a disaffected supporter of Mussolini with a taste for danger and high living. Sent by an Italian paper during World War II to cover the fighting on the Eastern Front, Malaparte secretly wrote this terrifying report from the abyss, which became an international bestseller when it was published after the war. Telling of the siege of Leningrad, of glittering dinner parties with Nazi leaders, and of trains disgorging bodies in war-devastated Romania, Malaparte paints a picture of humanity at its most depraved. Kaputt is an insider's dispatch from the world of the enemy that is as hypnotically fascinating as it is disturbing.

Envy

Author: Юрий Карлович Олеша
Publisher: New York Review of Books
ISBN: 1590170865
Release Date: 2004
Genre: Fiction

Blending humor, social satire, and prophetic vision, this novel of greed and its fruit, now available in a new translation, follows a Soviet industrialist who has made a killing in sausage only to be dogged by an envious, bitter leech who will not let him rest. Original.

Alien Hearts

Author: Guy de Maupassant
Publisher: New York Review of Books
ISBN: 9781590174395
Release Date: 2011-06-08
Genre: Fiction

Alien Hearts was the last book that Guy de Maupassant finished before his death at the early age of forty-three. It is the most original and psychologically penetrating of his several novels, and the one in which he attains a truly tragic perception of the wounded human heart. André Mariolle is a rich, handsome, gifted young man who cannot settle on what to do with himself. Madame de Burne, a glacially dazzling beauty, wants Mariolle to attend her exclusive salon for artists, composers, writers, and other intellectuals. At first Mariolle keeps his distance, but then he hits on the solution to all his problems: caring for nothing in particular, he will devote himself to being in love; Madame de Burne will be his everything. Soon lover and beloved are equally lost within a hall of mirrors of their common devising. Richard Howard’s new English translation of this complex and brooding novel—the first in more than a hundred years—reveals the final, unexpected flowering of a great French realist’s art.

The Long Ships

Author: Frans G. Bengtsson
Publisher: New York Review of Books
ISBN: 9781590174166
Release Date: 2010-12-15
Genre: Fiction

Frans Gunnar Bengtsson’s The Long Ships resurrects the fantastic world of the tenth century AD when the Vikings roamed and rampaged from the northern fastnesses of Scandinavia down to the Mediterranean. Bengtsson’s hero, Red Orm—canny, courageous, and above all lucky—is only a boy when he is abducted from his Danish home by the Vikings and made to take this place at the oars of their dragon-prowed ships. Orm is then captured by the Moors in Spain, where he is initiated into the pleasures of the senses and fights for the Caliph of Cordova. Escaping from captivity, Orm washes up in Ireland, where he marvels at those epicene creatures, the Christian monks, and from which he then moves on to play an ever more important part in the intrigues of the various Scandinavian kings and clans and dependencies. Eventually, Orm contributes to the Viking defeat of the army of the king of England and returns home an off-the-cuff Christian and a very rich man, though back on his native turf new trials and tribulations will test his cunning and determination. Packed with pitched battles and blood feuds and told throughout with wit and high spirits, Bengtsson’s book is a splendid adventure that features one of the most unexpectedly winning heroes in modern fiction.

The Return of Munchausen

Author: Sigizmund Krzhizhanovskiĭ
Publisher: New York Review of Books
ISBN: 9781681370286
Release Date: 2016
Genre: Spy stories

First inspired in the eighteenth century by the tall tales of the real Baron Hieronymus von M3nchausen, the legend of Baron M3nchausen-as transmitted and transformed by Rudolf Erich Raspe and Gottfried August B3rger-soon eclipsed the fame of his living counterpart and has captivated the European imagination ever since. An irrepressible cavalier and raconteur, the Baron gallivants through battle (in one episode he climbs aboard an outgoing cannonball only to change his mind halfway and hop onto another one heading in the opposite direction), scoffs at death, and inflates his own stature at every turn. In Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky's update, the Baron returns in the troubled twentieth century, where he will rediscover the place of imagination amid the tenuous peace, universal mourning, and political machinations of the aftermath of World War I. oTo me,o he claims, othe debates of philosophers, grabbing the truth out of each other's hands, (resemble) a fight among beggars over a single coin.o Transcending truth, the Baron instead revels in smoke and mist. He is a devotee of the impossible and a worshipper of oSaint Nobody.o But lost as he is in the twists of his imagination, can the Baron heal Europe through diplomacy-or at least hold a mirror up to its absurdities?

In the Freud Archives

Author: Janet Malcolm
Publisher: New York Review of Books
ISBN: 9781590170274
Release Date: 2002
Genre: Fiction

Malcolm's celebrated account of the falling-out of two unlikely friends is a fascinating portrait of a bizarre, cloistered world and the obsessed men who inhabit it.

Caught

Author: Henry Green
Publisher: New York Review of Books
ISBN: 9781681370132
Release Date: 2016-11-22
Genre: Fiction

During the Blitz, Henry Green served on the London Auxiliary Fire Service, and this experience lies behind Caught, published when the bombing had only recently ended. Like Green, Richard Roe, the hero of this resolutely unheroic book, comes from the upper class. His wife remains at their country estate, far from the threatened city, while Roe serves under Pye, a professional fireman whose deranged sister once kidnapped Roe’s young son, a bad memory that complicates the relationship between these two very different men. The book opens as the various members of the brigade are having practice runs and fighting boredom and sleeping around in the months before the attack from the air. It ends with Roe, who has been injured in the bombing, back in the country, describing and trying to come to terms with the apocalyptic conflagration in which he and his fellows were caught, putting into question the very notion of ordinary life. Caught was censored at the insistence of its publisher, Leonard Woolf, when it came out in 1943. This is the first American edition of the book to appear as Green intended.