By: Thomas Paine
Penguin presents a series of six portable, accessible, and—above all—essential reads from American political history, selected by leading scholars. Series editor Richard Beeman, author of The Penguin Guide to the U.S. Constitution, draws together the great texts of American civic life to create a timely and informative mini-library of perennially vital issues. These slim volumes will serve as a powerful and illuminating resource for scholars, students, and civic-minded citizens.
Common Sense is the book that created the modern United States, as Paine’s incendiary call for Americans to revolt against British rule converted millions to the cause of independence and set out a vision of a just society. Published anonymously in 1776, six months before the Declaration of Independence, Common Sense was a radical and impassioned call for America to free itself and set up an independent republican government. Savagely attacking hereditary kingship and aristocratic institutions, Paine urged a new beginning for his adopted country in which personal freedom and social equality would be upheld and economic and cultural progress encouraged. His pamphlet was the first to speak directly to a mass audience—it went through fifty-six editions within a year of publication—and its assertive and often caustic style embodied the democratic spirit he advocated.
Published by: Penguin Books
John Julius Norwich―“the very model of a popular historian” (Wall Street Journal)―is acclaimed for his distinctive ability to weave together a fascinating narrative through vivid detail, colorful anecdotes, and captivating characters. Here, he has crafted a bold tapestry of Europe and the Middle East in the early sixteenth century, when four legendary rulers towered over the era.
Francis I of France was the personification of the Renaissance, and a highly influential patron of the arts and education. Henry VIII, who was not expected to inherit the throne but embraced the role with gusto, broke with the Roman Catholic Church and appointed himself head of the Church of England. Charles V was the most powerful industrious man of the time, and was unanimously elected Holy Roman Emperor. Suleiman the Magnificent―who stood apart as a Muslim―brought the Ottoman Empire to its apogee of political, military, and economic power.
Against the vibrant background of the Renaissance, these four men collectively shaped the culture, religion, and politics of their respective domains. With remarkable erudition, John Julius Norwich delves into this entertaining and layered history, indelibly depicting four dynamic characters and how their incredible achievements―and obsessions with one another―changed European history.
Published on 11 April 2017.
In the tradition of the best investigative journalism, physician and reporter Sheri Fink reconstructs 5 days at Memorial Medical Center and draws the reader into the lives of those who struggled mightily to survive and maintain life amid chaos.
After Katrina struck and the floodwaters rose, the power failed, and the heat climbed, exhausted caregivers chose to designate certain patients last for rescue. Months later, several of those caregivers faced criminal allegations that they deliberately injected numerous patients with drugs to hasten their deaths.
Five Days at Memorial, the culmination of six years of reporting, unspools the mystery of what happened in those days, bringing the reader into a hospital fighting for its life and into a conversation about the most terrifying form of health care rationing.
In a voice at once involving and fair, masterful and intimate, Fink exposes the hidden dilemmas of end-of-life care and reveals just how ill-prepared we are for the impact of large-scale disasters—and how we can do better. A remarkable book, engrossing from start to finish, Five Days at Memorial radically transforms your understanding of human nature in crisis.
Published on 26 January 2016.
Forget all you think you know about the Kennedy years. With narrative flair and sparkling storytelling, acclaimed historian John Boyko explores the crucial period when America and its allies were fighting the Cold War’s most treacherous battles, Canadians were trading sovereignty for security, and everyone feared a nuclear holocaust.
At the centre of this story are three leaders. President John F. Kennedy pledged to pay any price to advance his vision for America’s defence and needed Canada to step smartly in line. Fighting him at every turn was Conservative prime minister John Diefenbaker, an unapologetic nationalist trying to bolster Canada’s autonomy. Liberal leader Lester Pearson, the Nobel Prize-winning diplomat, sought a middle ground.
Boyko employs meticulous research and newly released documents to present shocking revelations. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, Canadian warships guarded America’s Atlantic coast and Canada suffered a silent coup d’état. Canada was involved in Kennedy’s sliding America into Vietnam. Kennedy knew the nuclear missiles he was forcing on Canada would be decoys, there only to draw Soviet nuclear fire. Kennedy’s pollster and political adviser travelled to Ottawa under a fake passport to help defeat the Canadian government. And, perhaps most startlingly, if not for Diefenbaker, Kennedy may have survived the bullets in Dallas.
Published on 2 February 2016.