Vivid Faces: The Revolutionary Generation in Ireland, 1890-1923 - R. F. Foster

As the one-hundredth anniversary of the Easter Rising nears, the title of this book harkens us back to W.B. Yeats’s “Easter, 1916”; who were the men and women that changed history? Meet these brave souls with Vivid Faces: The Revolutionary Generation (W.W. Norton, $29.95) in R.F. Foster’s account of the patriots willing to risk everything. Indeed, Foster has investigated every facet of his subjects’ lives, and includes details of religion, sex, voting rights, literature, bawdy songs, and favorite foods as he charts the actions of this great generation driven to give their blood to gain independence. From creating the world-famous Abbey Theatre to preserving the Gaelic tongue and their Celtic creation mythology to the more intimate experiences of young couples sacrificing personal happiness to bring about change, Foster’s book offers a complex portrait of Irish freedom fighters active between 1890 and 1923.
Vivid Faces: The Revolutionary Generation in Ireland, 1890-1923 By R. F. Foster Cover Image
ISBN: 9780393082791
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - January 26th, 2015

Cities That Shaped the Ancient World - John Julius Norwich

You know of Thebes and Memphis, Alexandria and Petra—but what of Mohenjo-Daro and Tikal? And can you name the world’s first city? If not, consider an armchair tour across forty cities in the dawning age of urban life in Cities that Shaped the Ancient World (Thames & Hudson, $40). Edited by the estimably erudite John Julius Norwich, this volume showcases its subjects in four-to eight-page spreads, set off by the vivid illustrations characteristic of a Thames & Hudson fine art volume: detailed depictions of each city’s standout art and architecture (insofar as it is documented) and aerial views of the excavated metropolises. The sampling of cities is admirably varied, drawing of course from the Mediterranean and Levant, but also from the New World, Asia, and Africa, covering cities with a profound historical record as well as those whose material remains are sparse. As Norwich cautions, this collection is not a history book per se; “instead, it spins the globe and watches, as the earth’s endlessly varied peoples take their first tentative steps in that most challenging art of living together.”

Why Homer Matters - Adam Nicolson

If one reason Why Homer Matters (John Macrae, $30) is his unblinking presentation of the realities of war and heroism, loyalty and grief, another is “for the sake of the singing hereafter,” and Adam Nicolson’s heartfelt and illuminating book is surely in that lyrical heritage. Describing Homer as “the human spirit on fire,” and the epics as having been “invented after memory and before history,” Nicolson follows that spirit through a wide range of times, landscapes, cultures, and languages; he’s assembled a rich composite picture of the Homeric tradition, one that’s as personal as it is scholarly. Having bonded most fiercely with the Ancient while sailing, Nicolson embarks on a fascinating look at the sea in Homer’s poetry. Similarly, he traces the roles of horses, metals, and storytelling—which raises a host of age-old questions: where did Homer’s stories originate? And when? Are they products of stock formulas, improvised performances, or both? And was “Homer” one or many? Nicolson surveys the theories. He also looks at various timelines for Homer’s work, and, using linguistic, archeological, and cultural evidence, dates the poet back to the Bronze Age—further in the past than many critics do—with intriguing glimpses of a pre-Greek “subconscious,” from when Homer’s people inhabited the landlocked Eurasian steppes, circa 3000 BC.

Why Homer Matters: A History By Adam Nicolson Cover Image
ISBN: 9781627791793
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Henry Holt and Co. - November 18th, 2014

Why Homer Matters: A History By Adam Nicolson Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250074942
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Picador - November 10th, 2015