A Washington Post and New York Times Notable Book
At the age of twenty-four, Winston Churchill was utterly convinced it was his destiny to become prime minister of England. He arrived in South Africa in 1899, valet and crates of vintage wine in tow, to cover the brutal colonial war the British were fighting with Boer rebels and jumpstart his political career. But just two weeks later, Churchill was taken prisoner. Remarkably, he pulled off a daring escape—traversing hundreds of miles of enemy territory, alone, with nothing but a crumpled wad of cash, four slabs of chocolate, and his wits to guide him.
Bestselling author Candice Millard spins an epic story of bravery, savagery, and chance encounters with a cast of historical characters—including Rudyard Kipling, Lord Kitchener, and Mohandas Gandhi—with whom Churchill would later share the world stage. But Hero of the Empire is more than an extraordinary adventure story, for the lessons Churchill took from the Boer War would profoundly affect twentieth century history.
“A slam-bang study of Churchill’s wit and wile as he navigates the Boer War like [a] proto–James Bond.”
From the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Looming Tower
These powerful investigative pieces, which take us from the religious police of Saudi Arabia to the rise of the Islamic State, comprise an essential primer on jihadist movements in the Middle East—and the attempts of the West to contain them. In these pages, Lawrence Wright examines al-Qaeda as it experiences a rebellion from within and spins off a growing web of worldwide terror. He shows us the Syrian film industry before the civil war—compliant at the edges but already exuding a barely masked fury. He gives us the heart-wrenching story of American children kidnapped by ISIS—and Atlantic publisher David Bradley’s efforts to secure their release. And he details the roles of key FBI figures John O’Neill and his talented protégé Ali Soufan in fighting terrorism. In a moving epilogue, Wright shares his predictions for the future. Rigorous, clear-eyed, and compassionate, The Terror Years illuminates the complex human players on all sides of a devastating conflict.
“A glorious book, an affectionate and knowing tour of contemporary literature and journalism, full of essential insight into editing, writing, and living on one’s own terms.”
—Steve Coll, Dean of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism
You might not know Terry McDonell, but you certainly know his work. Among the magazines he has top-edited: Outside, Rolling Stone, Esquire, and Sports Illustrated. In this revealing memoir, McDonell talks about what really happens when editors and writers work with deadlines ticking (or drinks on the bar). His stories about the people and personalities he’s known are both heartbreaking and bitingly funny—playing “acid golf” with Hunter S. Thompson, practicing brinksmanship with David Carr and Steve Jobs, working the European fashion scene with Liz Tilberis, pitching TV pilots with Richard Price.
Here, too, is an expert’s practical advice on how to recruit—and keep—high-profile talent; what makes a compelling lede; how to grow online traffic that translates into dollars; and how, in whatever format, on whatever platform, a good editor really works, and what it takes to write well.
Taking us from the raucous days of New Journalism to today’s digital landscape, McDonell argues that the need for clear storytelling from trustworthy news sources has never been stronger. Says Jeffrey Eugenides: “Every time I run into Terry, I think how great it would be to have dinner with him. Hear about the writers he’s known and edited over the years, what the magazine business was like back then, how it’s changed and where it’s going, inside info about Edward Abbey, Jim Harrison, Annie Proulx, old New York, and the Swimsuit issue. That dinner is this book.”
“McDonell’s (editing) philosophy was ‘Avoid sameness, shun formula, let it rip.’”
—The New York Times Book Review