Dispatches from Pluto
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In Dispatches from Pluto, adventure writer Richard Grant takes on “the most American place on Earth”—the enigmatic, beautiful, often derided Mississippi Delta. Richard Grant and his girlfriend were living in a shoebox apartment in New York City when they decided on a whim to buy an old plantation house in the Mississippi Delta. Dispatches from Pluto—winner of the Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize—is their journey of discovery into this strange and wonderful American place. Imagine A Year In Provence with alligators and assassins, or Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil with hunting scenes and swamp-to-table dining. On a remote, isolated strip of land, three miles beyond the tiny community of Pluto, Richard and his girlfriend, Mariah, embark on a new life. They learn to hunt, grow their own food, and fend off alligators, snakes, and varmints galore. They befriend an array of unforgettable local characters—blues legend T-Model Ford, cookbook maven Martha Foose, catfish farmers, eccentric millionaires, and the actor Morgan Freeman. Grant brings an adept, empathetic eye to the fascinating people he meets, capturing the rich, extraordinary culture of the Delta, while tracking its utterly bizarre and criminal extremes. Reporting from all angles as only an outsider can, Grant also delves deeply into the Delta’s lingering racial tensions. He finds that de facto segregation continues. Yet even as he observes major structural problems, he encounters many close, loving, and interdependent relationships between black and white families—and good reasons for hope. Dispatches from Pluto is a book as unique as the Delta itself. It’s lively, entertaining, and funny, containing a travel writer’s flair for in-depth reporting alongside insightful reflections on poverty, community, and race. It’s also a love story, as the nomadic Grant learns to settle down. He falls not just for his girlfriend but for the beguiling place they now call home. Mississippi, Grant concludes, is the best-kept secret in America.
New Yorkers Grant and his girlfriend Mariah decided on a whim to buy an old plantation house in the Mississippi Delta. This is their journey of discovery to a remote, isolated strip of land, three miles beyond the tiny community of Pluto. They learn to hunt, grow their own food, and fend off alligators, snakes, and varmints galore. They befriend an array of unforgettable local characters, capture the rich, extraordinary culture of the Delta, and delve deeply into the Delta's lingering racial tensions. As the nomadic Grant learns to settle down, he falls not just for his girlfriend but for the beguiling place they now call home.
From the acclaimed author of Dispatches From Pluto and Deepest South of All comes a rollicking travelogue from East Africa. NO ONE TRAVELS QUITE LIKE RICHARD GRANT and, really, no one should. In his last book, the adventure classic God’s Middle Finger, he narrowly escaped death in Mexico’s lawless Sierra Madre. Now, Grant has plunged with his trademark recklessness, wit, and curiosity into East Africa. Setting out to make the first descent of an unexplored river in Tanzania, he gets waylaid in Zanzibar by thieves, whores, and a charismatic former golf pro before crossing the Indian Ocean in a rickety cargo boat. And then the real adventure begins. Known to local tribes as “the river of bad spirits,” the Malagarasi River is a daunting adversary even with a heavily armed Tanzanian crew as travel companions. Dodging bullets, hippos, and crocodiles, Grant finally emerges in war-torn Burundi, where he befriends some ethnic street gangsters and trails a notorious man-eating crocodile known as Gustave. He concludes his journey by interviewing the dictatorial president of Rwanda and visiting the true source of the Nile. Gripping, illuminating, sometimes harrowing, often hilarious, Crazy River is a brilliantly rendered account of a modern-day exploration of Africa, and the unraveling of Grant’s peeled, battered mind as he tries to take it all in.
Twenty miles south of the Arizona-Mexico border, the rugged, beautiful Sierra Madre mountains begin their dramatic ascent. Almost 900 miles long, the range climbs to nearly 11,000 feet and boasts several canyons deeper than the Grand Canyon. The rules of law and society have never taken hold in the Sierra Madre, which is home to bandits, drug smugglers, Mormons, cave-dwelling Tarahumara Indians, opium farmers, cowboys, and other assorted outcasts. Outsiders are not welcome; drugs are the primary source of income; murder is all but a regional pastime. The Mexican army occasionally goes in to burn marijuana and opium crops -- the modern treasure of the Sierra Madre -- but otherwise the government stays away. In its stead are the drug lords, who have made it one of the biggest drug-producing areas in the world. Fifteen years ago, journalist Richard Grant developed what he calls "an unfortunate fascination" with this lawless place. Locals warned that he would meet his death there, but he didn't believe them -- until his last trip. During his travels Grant visited a folk healer for his insomnia and was prescribed rattlesnake pills, attended bizarre religious rituals, consorted with cocaine-snorting policemen, taught English to Guarijio Indians, and dug for buried treasure. On his last visit, his reckless adventure spiraled into his own personal heart of darkness when cocaine-fueled Mexican hillbillies hunted him through the woods all night, bent on killing him for sport. With gorgeous detail, fascinating insight, and an undercurrent of dark humor, God's Middle Finger brings to vivid life a truly unique and uncharted world.
There are many ways to die in the Sierra Madre, a notorious nine-hundred-mile mountain range in northern Mexico where AK-47s are fetish objects, the law is almost non-existent and power lies in the hands of brutal drug mafias. Thousands of tons of opium and marijuana are produced there every year. Richard Grant thought it would be a good idea to travel the length of the Sierra Madre and write a book about it. He was warned before he left that he would be killed. But driven by what he calls 'an unfortunate fascination' for this mysterious region, Grant sets off anyway. In a remarkable piece of investigative writing, he evokes a sinister, surreal landscape of lonely mesas, canyons sometimes deeper than the Grand Canyon, hostile villages and an outlaw culture where homicide is the most common cause of death and grandmothers sell cocaine. Finally his luck runs out and he finds himself fleeing for his life, pursued by men who would murder a stranger in their territory 'to please the trigger finger'.
"Layne Mosler's search for her next meal based on a recommendation from a cab driver starts in Buenos Aires- After leaving a tango club following a terrible turn on the dance floor, she impulsively asks her taxista to take her to his favorite restaurant. Soon she's savoring one of the best steaks of her life, and in the weeks after, repeating the experiment with equally delectable results. So begins the gustatory adventure that became the basis for her cult blog, Taxi Gourmet. In New York City the author continues her food quests and meets a pair of extraordinary lady cab drivers who convince her to become a taxi driver herself. In Berlin she becomes as enchanted with the city's aura of restless transformation as she does with the spicy curries, and a certain fellow cabbie who knows as much about Nietzsche as he does about sausage. With her vivid descriptions of places and people and food, Mosler, who has a degree in anthropology and more than a decade of experience in the restaurant trade, has given us a beguiling book that speaks to the beauty of chance encounters and the pleasures of not always knowing your destination."
This is a controversial overview of the contemporary Middle East which charts the failure of the Oslo Agreement. It analyses the key processes that structure the Oslo process: economic, military, political and cultural.
'This is a superb text which is relevant for anyone who has an interest in the turbulent post war years of Germany and the Weimar period ... It is very accessible ad easy to read, bolstered by the clarity of its language and organisation.' History Teaching ReviewThe period immediately following the First World War was one of great turbulence in Germany. The widespread dislocation throughout the country left morale crushed, and the economy crippled by Allied demands for reparations. Russia was in the hands of the Bolsheviks and Germany seemed on the brink of falling to working-class revolutionaries. Writing between 1919 and 1923 as special correspondent for the Manchester Guardian, Price was one of the very few British journalists in Weimar Germany during these important years. His unique position as an outsider allowed him to record what he saw with an objective eye, and his sympathy with the Bolsheviks gave him an understanding of the deeper implications behind the unfolding of events. These remarkable writings, reprinted for the first time in 80 years, cover the key events in postwar Germany. Price witnesses the establishment of the Weimar Republic, the emergence of Hitler and the Nazi Party, the inflammatory violence in the south of the country, which threatened civil war, and the signing of the Versailles Treaty.
An award-winning science writer presents a captivating collection of cosmological essays for the armchair astronomer The galaxy, the multiverse, and the history of astronomy are explored in this engaging compilation of cosmological “tales” by multiple award†‘winning science writer Marcia Bartusiak. In thirty†‘two concise and engrossing essays, the author provides a deeper understanding of the nature of the universe and those who strive to uncover its mysteries. Bartusiak shares the back stories for many momentous astronomical discoveries, including the contributions of such pioneers as Beatrice Tinsley and her groundbreaking research in galactic evolution, and Jocelyn Bell Burnell, the scientist who first discovered radio pulsars. An endlessly fascinating collection that you can dip into in any order, these pieces will transport you to ancient Mars, when water flowed freely across its surface; to the collision of two black holes, a cosmological event that released fifty times more energy than was radiating from every star in the universe; and to the beginning of time itself.
The stunning photographs in this collection capture the land, people, and ever-present spirits of those who live along the Mississippi Delta.
Although many bluesmen began leaving the Magnolia State in the early twentieth century to pursue fortune and fame up north, many others stayed home. These musicians remained rooted to the traditions of their land, which came to define a distinctive playing style unique to Mississippi. They didn't simply play the blues, they lived it. Travel through the hallowed juke joints and cotton fields with author Roger Stolle as he recounts the history of Mississippi blues and the musicians who have kept it alive. Some of these bluesmen remain to carry on this proud legacy, while others have passed on, but Hidden History of Mississippi Blues ensures none will be forgotten.
The Mississippi Delta is a complicated and fascinating place. Part travel guide, part cookbook, and part photo essay, Eat Drink Delta by veteran food journalist Susan Puckett (with photographs by Delta resident Langdon Clay) reveals a region shaped by slavery, civil rights, amazing wealth, abject deprivation, the Civil War, a flood of biblical proportions, and—above all—an overarching urge to get down and party with a full table and an open bar. There’s more to Delta dining than southern standards. Puckett uncovers the stories behind convenience stores where dill pickles marinate in Kool-Aid and diners where tabouli appears on plates with fried chicken. She celebrates the region’s hot tamale makers who follow the time-honored techniques that inspired many a blues lyric. And she introduces us to a new crop of Delta chefs who brine chicken in sweet tea and top stone-ground Mississippi grits with local pond-raised prawns and tomato confit. The guide also provides a taste of events such as Belzoni’s World Catfish Festival and Tunica’s Wild Game Cook-Off and offers dozens of tested recipes, including the Memphis barbecue pizza beloved by Elvis and a lemon ice-box pie inspired by Tennessee Williams. To William Faulkner’s suggestion, “To understand the world, you must first understand a place like Mississippi,” Susan Puckett adds this advice: Go to the Delta with an open mind and an empty stomach. Make your way southward in a journey measured in meals, not miles.
Live from the Mississippi Delta showcases a rare collection of photographs and stories about musicians from Robert Plant, B. B. King, and ZZ Top to local guitarists playing gigs on the weekend. Panny Flautt Mayfield, a lifelong Delta resident from Tutwiler and an award-winning journalist, documents multiple decades of blues and gospel music in her native land. Her first book collects over two hundred black-and-white and color photographs from a long career of photographing live music. Featuring text by Robert Plant in honor of Mayfield, the book opens with him addressing senior citizens gathered in Tutwiler to honor their town as the birthplace of blues. From there, the book proceeds throughout the Delta from juke joints and festivals to blues markers and museums. Mayfield presents images and tales of local icons such as Early Wright, Wade Walton, and the Jelly Roll Kings, as well as international celebrities. She shares intimate photos, including Garth Brooks and Bobby Rush charming elementary school kids in West Tallahatchie, along with insider stories and photos of B. B. King's Homecoming, the Governor's Awards, the Delta Blues Museum, the Sunflower and King Biscuit festivals, and a fascinating side trip to Norway's Notodden Blues Festival, which has a rich sister-city relationship with Clarksdale and the Sunflower Festival. Years ago volunteer tour guide Shirley Fair announced to visitors that there is a church or a juke joint on every corner in Clarksdale. Those demographics are still mostly accurate. Igniting a high-octane finale are photographs taken at iconic juke joints such as Smitty's Red Top, the Bobo Grocery, the Rivermount Lounge, Po" Monkey's, Hopson, Shelby's Dew Drop Inn, the Rose, Ground Zero, Sarah's Kitchen, Margaret's Blue Diamond, and Red's.
In 1968, during Albert Lepard’s fifth escape from a life sentence at Parchman Penitentiary, he kidnapped Lovejoy Boteler, then eighteen years old, from his family’s farm in Grenada, Mississippi. Three decades later, still beset by half-buried memories of that time, Boteler began researching his kidnapper’s nefarious, sordid life to discover how and why this terrifying abduction occurred. Crooked Snake: The Life and Crimes of Albert Lepard is the true story of Lepard, sentenced to life in Parchman for the murder of seventy-four-year-old Mary Young in 1959. During the course of his sentence, Lepard escaped from prison six times in fourteen years. In Crooked Snake, Boteler pieces together the story of this cold-blooded murderer's life using both historical records and personal interviews—over seventy in all—with ex-convicts who gravitated to and ran with Lepard, the family members who fed and sheltered the fugitive during his escapes, the law officers who hunted him, and the regular folks who were victimized in his terrible wake. Throughout Crooked Snake, Boteler reveals his kidnapper’s hardscrabble childhood and tracks his whereabouts before his incarceration and during his jailbreaks. Lepard’s escapes take him to Florida, Michigan, Kansas, California, and Mexico. Crooked Snake captures a slice of history and a landscape that is fast disappearing. These vignettes describe Mississippi’s countryside and spirit, ranging from sharecropper family gatherings in Attala County’s Seneasha Valley to the twenty-thousand-acre Parchman farm and its borderlands teeming with alligator, panther, bear, and wild boar.
'An extraordinarily valuable compilation' Eric Hobsbawm'A man with an instinctive feel for politics' Jonathan Steele, The GuardianAs special correspondent for the Manchester Guardian, Price was one of the few Englishmen to witness all phases of the Revolution. His remarkable writings provide a first-hand account of the momentous events, and include his meetings with Lenin and the Bolshevik leaders.
A previously unpublished first-hand account of the momentous events before, during, and after the Russian Revolution by one of the 20th centuries greatest journalists.
"Physicists have grappled with quantum theory for over a century. They have learned to wring precise answers from the theory's governing equations, and no experiment to date has found compelling evidence to contradict it. Even so, the conceptual apparatus remains stubbornly, famously bizarre. Physicists have tackled these conceptual uncertainties while navigating still larger ones: the rise of fascism, cataclysmic world wars and a new nuclear age, an unsteady Cold War stand-off and its unexpected end. Quantum Legacies introduces readers to physics' still-unfolding quest by treating iconic moments of discovery and debate among well-known figures like Albert Einstein, Erwin Schrödinger, and Stephen Hawking, and many others whose contributions have indelibly shaped our understanding of nature"--
Bestselling travel writer Richard Grant offers an entertaining and profound look at a city like no other. Natchez, Mississippi, once had more millionaires per capita than anywhere else in America, and its wealth was built on slavery and cotton. Today it has the greatest concentration of antebellum mansions in the South, and a culture full of unexpected contradictions. Prominent white families dress up in hoopskirts and Confederate uniforms for ritual celebrations of the Old South, yet Natchez is also progressive enough to elect a gay black man for mayor with 91% of the vote. Much as John Berendt did for Savannah in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and the hit podcast S-Town did for Woodstock, Alabama, so Richard Grant does for Natchez in The Deepest South of All. With humor and insight, he depicts a strange, eccentric town with an unforgettable cast of characters. There’s Buzz Harper, a six-foot-five gay antique dealer famous for swanning around in a mink coat with a uniformed manservant and a very short German bodybuilder. There’s Ginger Hyland, “The Lioness,” who owns 500 antique eyewash cups and decorates 168 Christmas trees with her jewelry collection. And there’s Nellie Jackson, a Cadillac-driving brothel madam who became an FBI informant about the KKK before being burned alive by one of her customers. Interwoven through these stories is the more somber and largely forgotten account of Abd al Rahman Ibrahima, a West African prince who was enslaved in Natchez and became a cause célèbre in the 1820s, eventually gaining his freedom and returning to Africa. Part history and part travelogue, The Deepest South of All offers a gripping portrait of a complex American place, as it struggles to break free from the past and confront the legacy of slavery.
In a richly textured travelogue, a British journalist recounts his fifteen-year odyssey throughout the United States, examining the myths and realities of the wandering life as he recalls his encounters with America's nomads and traces the history of wanderers--cowboys, explorers, frontiersmen, trappers, and Native American warriors--in the New World. Reprint.
A New York Post Best Book of 2016 Winner of the 2016 IWMF Courage in Journalism Award Winner of the 2016 Hay Festival Medal for Prose "Destined to become a classic." —Lisa Shea, Elle A masterpiece of war reportage, The Morning They Came for Us bears witness to one of the most brutal internecine conflicts in recent history. Drawing from years of experience covering Syria for Vanity Fair, Newsweek, and the front page of the New York Times, award-winning journalist Janine di Giovanni chronicles a nation on the brink of disintegration, all written through the perspective of ordinary people. With a new epilogue, what emerges is an unflinching picture of the horrific consequences of armed conflict, one that charts an apocalyptic but at times tender story of life in a jihadist war zone. The result is an unforgettable testament to resilience in the face of nihilistic human debasement.