St. Peter’s Bones: How the Relics of the First Pope Were Lost and Found . . . and Then Lost and Found Again by Thomas Craughwell

In this fascinating account of the search for the remains of the world’s first pope, none other than Peter, the chief apostle of Jesus, Thomas J. Craughwell takes us on one of the most exciting archaeological finds of the twentieth century. ST Peter's bones
In 1448 a team of architects and engineers brought Pope Nicholas V unhappy news: the 1,100-year-old Basilica of St. Peter suffered from so many structural defects that it was beyond repair. The only solution was to pull down the old church–one of the most venerable churches in all of Christiandom–and erect a new basilica on the site. Incredibly, one of the tombs the builders paved over was the resting place of St. Peter.
Then in 1939, while reconstructing the grottoes below St. Peter’s Basilica, a workman’s shovel struck not dirt or rock but open air. After inspecting what could be seen through the hole they’d made in the mausoleum’s roof, Pope Pius XII secretly authorized a full-scale excavation. What lay beneath? The answer and the adventure await. In this riveting history, facts, traditions, and faith collide to reveal the investigation, betrayals, and mystery behind St. Peter’s burial place.

Pre-order a copy by calling the store: 203-730-2973……or order from the online store on the webpage- 20% off and $.99 delivery

 

 

Men We Reaped

MenWeReapedBy Jesmyn Ward

“We saw the lightning and that was the guns; and then we heard the thunder and that was the big guns; and then we heard the rain falling and that was the blood falling; and when we came to get in the crops, it was dead men that we reaped.” —Harriet Tubman

In five years, Jesmyn Ward lost five young men in her life – to drugs, accidents, suicide, and the bad luck that can follow people who live in poverty, particularly black men. Dealing with these losses, one after another, made Jesmyn ask the question: Why? And as she began to write about the experience of living through all the dying, she realized the truth – and it took her breath away. Her brother and her friends all died because of who they were and where they were from, because they lived with a history of racism and economic struggle that fostered drug addiction and the dissolution of family and relationships. Jesmyn says the answer was so obvious she felt stupid for not seeing it. But it nagged at her until she knew she had to write about her community, to write their stories and her own.

Jesmyn grew up in poverty in rural Mississippi. She writes powerfully about the pressures this brings, on the men who can do no right and the women who stand in for family in a society where the men are often absent. She bravely tells her story, revisiting the agonizing losses of her only brother and her friends. As the sole member of her family to leave home and pursue higher education, she writes about this parallel American universe with the objectivity distance provides and the intimacy of utter familiarity. A brutal world rendered beautifully, Jesmyn Ward’s memoir will sit comfortably alongside Edwidge Danticat’s Brother, I’m Dying, Tobias Wolff’s This Boy’s Life, and Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

Mission to Mars: My Vision for Space Exploration

Mission to MarsBy Buzz Aldrin

Legendary “space statesman” Buzz Aldrin speaks out as a vital advocate for the continuing quest to push the boundaries of the universe as we know it. As a pioneering astronaut who first set foot on the moon during mankind’s first landing of Apollo 11–and as an aerospace engineer who designed an orbital rendezvous technique critical to future planetary landings – Aldrin has a vision, and in this book he plots out the path he proposes, taking humans to Mars by 2035.

“Colonizing space is essential for the long-term survival of the human race, and this book shows us how.” —Stephen Hawking

“Any time an Apollo-era astronaut steps forward with ideas for our future in space, it’s time to stop whatever we’re doing and pay attention. Buzz Aldrin, one of the first moonwalkers, has no shortage of these ideas. And in Mission to Mars he treats us to how, when, and why we should travel there.” —Neil deGrasse Tyson

“Page by page, this book makes you want to slide into your space suit and light your engines.” —Bill Nye, The Science Guy

Pound Foolish: Exposing the Dark Side of the Personal Finance Industry

Pound FoolishBy Helaine Olen

If you’ve ever bought a personal finance book, watched a TV show about stock picking, listened to a radio show about getting out of debt, or attended a seminar to help you plan for your retirement, you’ve probably heard some version of these quotes:

  • “What’s keeping you from being rich? In most cases, it is simply a lack of belief.” –Suze Orman, The Courage to Be Rich
  • “Are you latte-ing away your financial future?” –David Bach, Smart Women Finish Rich
  • “I know you’re capable of picking winning stocks and holding on to them.” –Jim Cramer, Mad Money

They’re common refrains among personal finance gurus. There’s just one problem: those and many similar statements are false.

For the past few decades, Americans have spent billions of dollars on personal finance products. As salaries have stagnated and companies have cut back on benefits, we’ve taken matters into our own hands, embracing the can-do attitude that if we’re smart enough, we can overcome even daunting financial obstacles. But that’s not true. In this meticulously reported and shocking book, journalist and former financial columnist Helaine Olen goes behind the curtain of the personal finance industry to expose the myths, contradictions, and outright lies it has perpetuated. She shows how an industry that started as a response to the Great Depression morphed into a behemoth that thrives by selling us products and services that offer little if any help.

Olen calls out some of the biggest names in the business, revealing how even the most respected gurus have engaged in dubious, even deceitful, practices – from accepting payments from banks and corporations in exchange for promoting certain products to blaming the victims of economic catastrophe for their own financial misfortune. Pound Foolish also disproves many myths about spending and saving, including:

  • Small pleasures can bankrupt you: Gurus popularized the idea that cutting out lattes and other small expenditures could make us millionaires. But reducing our caffeine consumption will not offset our biggest expenses: housing, education, health care, and retirement.
  • Disciplined investing will make you rich: Gurus also love to show how steady investing can turn modest savings into a huge nest egg at retirement. But these calculations assume a healthy market and a lifetime without any setbacks – two conditions that have no connection to the real world.
  • Women need extra help managing money: Product pushers often target women, whose alleged financial ignorance supposedly leaves them especially at risk. In reality, women and men are both terrible at handling finances.
  • Financial literacy classes will prevent future economic crises: Experts like to claim mandatory sessions on personal finance in school will cure many of our money ills. Not only is there little evidence this is true, the entire movement is largely funded and promoted by the financial services sector.

Weaving together original reporting, interviews with experts, and studies from disciplines ranging from behavioral economics to retirement planning, Pound Foolish is a compassionate and compelling book that will change the way we think and talk about our money.

The Future

the FutureBy Al Gore

From the former vice president and #1 New York Times bestselling author comes An Inconvenient Truth for everything – a frank and clear-eyed assessment of six critical drivers of global change in the decades to come.

Ours is a time of revolutionary change that has no precedent in history. With the same passion he brought to the challenge of climate change, and with his decades of experience on the front lines of global policy, Al Gore surveys our planet’s beclouded horizon and offers a sober, learned, and ultimately hopeful forecast in the visionary tradition of Alvin Toffler’s Future Shock and John Naisbitt’s Megatrends. In The Future, Gore identifies the emerging forces that are reshaping our world:

  • Ever-increasing economic globalization has led to the emergence of what he labels “Earth Inc.” – an integrated holistic entity with a new and different relationship to capital, labor, consumer markets, and national governments than in the past.
  • The worldwide digital communications, Internet, and computer revolutions have led to the emergence of “the Global Mind,” which links the thoughts and feelings of billions of people and connects intelligent machines, robots, ubiquitous sensors, and databases.
  • The balance of global political, economic, and military power is shifting more profoundly than at any time in the last five hundred years – from a U.S.-centered system to one with multiple emerging centers of power, from nation-states to private actors, and from political systems to markets.
  • A deeply flawed economic compass is leading us to unsustainable growth in consumption, pollution flows, and depletion of the planet’s strategic resources of topsoil, freshwater, and living species.
  • Genomic, biotechnology, neuroscience, and life sciences revolutions are radically transforming the fields of medicine, agriculture, and molecular science – and are putting control of evolution in human hands.
  • There has been a radical disruption of the relationship between human beings and the earth’s ecosystems, along with the beginning of a revolutionary transformation of energy systems, agriculture, transportation, and construction worldwide.

From his earliest days in public life, Al Gore has been warning us of the promise and peril of emergent truths – no matter how “inconvenient” they may seem to be. As absorbing as it is visionary, The Future is a map of the world to come, from a man who has looked ahead before and been proven all too right.

Behind the Beautiful Forevers

Behind the Beautiful ForeversBehind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo

From Pulitzer Prize-winner Katherine Boo, a landmark work of narrative nonfiction that tells the dramatic and sometimes heartbreaking story of families striving toward a better life in one of the twenty-first century’s great, unequal cities.

In this brilliantly written, fast-paced book, based on three years of uncompromising reporting, a bewildering age of global change and inequality is made human.

Annawadi is a makeshift settlement in the shadow of luxury hotels near the Mumbai airport, and as India starts to prosper, Annawadians are electric with hope. Abdul, a reflective and enterprising Muslim teenager, sees “a fortune beyond counting” in the recyclable garbage that richer people throw away. Asha, a woman of formidable wit and deep scars from a childhood in rural poverty, has identified an alternate route to the middle class: political corruption. With a little luck, her sensitive, beautiful daughter – Annawadi’s “most-everything girl” – will soon become its first female college graduate. And even the poorest Annawadians, like Kalu, a fifteen-year-old scrap-metal thief, believe themselves inching closer to the good lives and good times they call “the full enjoy.”

But then Abdul the garbage sorter is falsely accused in a shocking tragedy; terror and a global recession rock the city; and suppressed tensions over religion, caste, sex, power and economic envy turn brutal. As the tenderest individual hopes intersect with the greatest global truths, the true contours of a competitive age are revealed. And so, too, are the imaginations and courage of the people of Annawadi.

With intelligence, humor, and deep insight into what connects human beings to one another in an era of tumultuous change, Behind the Beautiful Forevers carries the reader headlong into one of the twenty-first century’s hidden worlds, and into the lives of people impossible to forget.

Behind the Beautiful Forevers is a National Book Award Winner for 2011 and is currently a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist for nonfiction.

Reinventing Bach

Reinventing BachBy Paul Elie

The story of a revolution in music and technology, told through a century of recordings of the music of Johann Sebastian Bach.

In Reinventing Bach, his remarkable second book, Paul Elie tells the electrifying story of how musicians of genius have made Bach’s music new in our time, at once restoring Bach as a universally revered composer and revolutionizing the ways that music figures into our lives.

As a musician in eighteenth-century Germany, Bach was on the technological frontier – restoring organs, inventing instruments, and perfecting the tuning system still in use today. Two centuries later, pioneering musicians began to take advantage of breakthroughs in audio recording to make Bach’s music the sound of modern transcendence. The sainted organist Albert Schweitzer played to a mobile recording unit set up at London’s Church of All Hallows in order to spread Bach’s organ works to the world beyond the churches. Pablo Casals, recording at Abbey Road Studios, made Bach’s cello suites existentialism for the living room; Leopold Stokowski and Walt Disney, with “Fantasia,” made Bach the sound of children’s playtime and Hollywood grandeur alike. Glenn Gould’s “Goldberg Variations” opened and closed the LP era and made Bach the byword for postwar cool; and Yo-Yo Ma has brought Bach into the digital present, where computers and smartphones put the sound of Bach all around us. In this book we see these musicians and dozens of others searching, experimenting, and collaborating with one another in the service of Bach, who emerges as the very image of the spiritualized, technically savvy artist.

Reinventing Bach is a gorgeously written story of music, invention, and human passion – and a story with special relevance in our time, for it shows that great things can happen when high art meets new technology.

Reinventing Bach is currently a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in criticism.

The Prince’s Speech on the Future of Food

By His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales

The Prince’s Speech is a stirring, thought-provoking, and ultimately hopeful call to action from one of the world’s leading proponents of sustainable farming practices, His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales.

The book is a small, well-bound, and beautiful publication of the transcript of the speech recently given by HRH the Prince of Wales on the future of food.

White Bread: A Social History of the Store-Bought Loaf

By Aaron Bobrow-Strain

How did white bread, once an icon of American progress, become “white trash”? In this lively history of bakers, dietary crusaders, and social reformers, Aaron Bobrow-Strain shows us that what we think about the humble, puffy loaf says a lot about who we are and what we want our society to look like.

White Bread teaches us that when Americans debate what one should eat, they are also wrestling with larger questions of race, class, immigration, and gender. As Bobrow-Strain traces the story of bread, from the first factory loaf to the latest gourmet “pain au levain, ” he shows how efforts to champion “good food” reflect dreams of a better society–even as they reinforce stark social hierarchies.

In the early twentieth century, the factory-baked loaf heralded a bright new future, a world away from the hot, dusty, “dirty” bakeries run by immigrants. Fortified with vitamins, this bread was considered the original “superfood” and even marketed as patriotic – while food reformers painted white bread as a symbol of all that was wrong with America.

The history of America’s one-hundred-year-long love-hate relationship with white bread reveals a lot about contemporary efforts to change the way we eat. Today, the alternative food movement favors foods deemed ethical and environmentally correct to eat, and fluffy industrial loaves are about as far from slow, local, and organic as you can get. Still, the beliefs of early twentieth-century food experts and diet gurus, that getting people to eat a certain food could restore the nation’s decaying physical, moral, and social fabric, will sound surprisingly familiar. Given that open disdain for “unhealthy” eaters and discrimination on the basis of eating habits grow increasingly acceptable, White Bread is a timely and important examination of what we talk about when we talk about food.

Victory: The Triumphant Gay Revolution

By Linda Hirshman

A Supreme Court lawyer and political pundit details the enthralling and groundbreaking story of the gay rights movement, revealing how a dedicated and resourceful minority changed America forever.

When the modern struggle for gay rights erupted – most notably at a bar called Stonewall in Greenwich Village – in the summer of 1969, most religious traditions condemned homosexuality; psychiatric experts labeled people who were attracted to others of the same sex “crazy”; and forty-nine states outlawed sex between people of the same gender. Four decades later, in June 2011, New York legalized gay marriage–the most populous state in the country to do so thus far. The armed services stopped enforcing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, ending a law that had long discriminated against gay and lesbian members of the military. Successful social movements are always extraordinary, but these advances were something of a miracle.

Political columnist Linda Hirshman recounts the long roads that led to these victories, viewing the gay rights movement within the tradition of American freedom as the third great modern social-justice movement, alongside the civil rights movement and the women’s rights movement. Drawing on an abundance of published and archival material, and hundreds of in-depth interviews, Hirshman shows, in this astute political analysis, how the fight for gay rights has changed the American landscape for all citizens–blurring rigid gender lines, altering the shared culture, and broadening our definitions of family.

From the Communist cross-dresser Harry Hay in 1948 to New York’s visionary senator Kirsten Gillibrand in 2010, the story includes dozens of brilliant, idiosyncratic characters. Written in vivid prose, at once emotional and erudite, “Victory” is an utterly vibrant work of reportage and eyewitness accounts, revealing how, in a matter of decades, while facing every social adversary–church, state, and medical establishment–a focused group of activists forged a classic campaign for cultural change that will serve as a model for all future political movements.

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