A Land Twice Promised:  An Israeli Woman's Quest for Peace
Noa Baum, 2016
340 pp.

Israeli storyteller Noa Baum grew up in Jerusalem in the shadow of the ancestral traumas of the holocaust and ongoing wars. Stories of the past and fear of annihilation in the wars of the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s shaped her perceptions and identity.

In America, she met a Palestinian woman who had grown up under Israeli Occupation, and as they shared memories of war years in Jerusalem, an unlikely friendship blossomed.

A Land Twice Promised delves into the heart of one of the world’s most enduring and complex conflicts. Baum’s deeply personal memoir recounts her journey from girlhood in post­-Holocaust Israel to her adult encounter with “the other.” With honesty, compassion, and humor, she captures the drama of a nation at war and her discovery of humanity in the enemy.

This compelling memoir demonstrates the transformative power of art and challenges each reader to take the first step toward peace. (From the publisher.)

Author Bio
Where—Jerusalem, Israel
Education—B.F.A., Tel Aviv University; M.A.E., New York University
Awards—Parents' Choice Recommended Award; Storytelling World Award
Currently—lives in Washington, D.C.

Born and raised in Jerusalem, Noa Baum is an award-winning storyteller who combines performance art with practical applications of storytelling in business, community and education.

Noa performs and teaches internationally with diverse audiences ranging from The World Bank, US. Defense Department, prestigious universities and congregations, to inner city schools and detention centers. She is a winner of a Parents' Choice Recommended Award and a Storytelling World Award, and a recipient of numerous Individual Artist Awards from Maryland State Arts Council and Arts & Humanities Council of Montgomery County. She has lived in the US since 1990. (From the publisher.)

Book Reviews
In this touching and honest memoir, Baum shares the story of how her search for peace informed her life.… Although not everyone will agree with her leftist political perspective on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Baum's genuine desire to make a difference may well inspire others to do the same.
Publishers Weekly

Impressively well written, organized and presented, A Land Twice Promised: An Israeli Woman's Quest for Peace is a compelling, thoughtful and thought-provoking read.
Midwest Review

The book provokes empathy and insight, and will lead most readers to embrace a view of Israel and the Palestinian conflict that is both complex and compassionate."
Jewish Independent, Canada

Discussion Questions
The following questions have been graciously submitted to LitLovers by Maggie Bailey from Bull Valley, Illinois. Thank you Maggie!

1. Are there parallels you can draw between the Israeli Palestinian conflict and the current political situation in the US?

2. How has the press contributed to the divisiveness in both the US and Israel?

3. Have you ever experienced a friendship like the one between Noa and Jumana, where your perceived differences were so immense that a friendship was unlikely?

4. What role has storytelling played in your life? Are you a storyteller?  Who are the storytellers in your life?

5. The book seems to serve different listed purposes. It is the story of history told from different perspectives.

  • It is the story of an incredible friendship between two women
  • It is the story of a seemingly unending, unresolvable conflict
  • It is the story of how Noa became a storyteller
  • It is the story of one woman’s attempt to begin to bring peace to a troubled land
  • It is the story of the evolution of Noa’s perception of and relationship with her mother

   —How successful was Noa in achieving each of these purposes?

6. Are there traumatic events from your childhood that you believe shaped your political and worldviews?

7. Yaakov, who was killed when he was only twenty-two, is sanctified and idolized my Noa’s mother. How have you reacted when a deceased (from your life) is portrayed as nothing short of perfection? Examples both personal and political, perhaps?

8. “We were never taught to hate them. It is only that they hate us, and what can we do? We have no choice but to defend ourselves.” How has this common attitude affected efforts toward building peace over the last few thousand years?

9. Give some examples from the story of the juxtaposition of the mundane and the elaborate ritual. (e.g. Noa worrying about getting an itch during the 120 seconds of standing during the yearly Holocaust Memorial Day.)

10. Noa began her storytelling career early with the saga of her imaginary brother Yigal, the heroic soldier. Have you (or your kids) ever woven such an elaborate story about an imaginary person?

11. (LitLovers Generic Questions): What are some specific passages that struck you as significant… What was memorable?
12.  Has this book changed your attitude toward Israel? Palestine? In what ways?

13. Can learning each other’s stories actually solve seemingly unsolvable conflicts? How? Consider the following quotations:

  • "An enemy is one whose story we have not heard." —Gene Knudsen-Hoffman
  • "People become the stories they hear and the stories they tell.” —Elie Wiesel
  • “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” —Gandhi.

From Noa Baum: Hard questions remain:

  • Who will control the important town of East Jerusalem, including the old city, which is home to ancient religious sites sacred to Jews, Christians, and Muslims?

  • Will the Palestinians ever be permitted to establish a free state, independent of Israel? What will be its borders?

  • What will happen to Palestinian refugee families, some of whom have now lived in camps for generations? Will they be allowed to return to a Palestinian State? Will any be allowed back into Israel, or will they be compensated economically?

  • What will happen to the Israeli settlements in the occupied territories?

Both Israel and the Palestinian Authority insist that they have offered reasonable compromises, but that the other side will not accept them. Meanwhile, the violence continues. But citizen to citizen exchanges also continues, and the hope for reconciliation and peace is still alive in the hearts of many Israelis and Palestinians.

(Questions developed by Maggie Bailey and offered to LitLovers. Please feel free to use them, online or off, with attribution. Thanks.)

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Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI
David Grann, 2017
Knopf Doubleday
352 pp.

From best-selling author of The Lost City of Z, a twisting, haunting true-life murder mystery about one of the most monstrous crimes in American history
In the 1920s, the richest people per capita in the world were members of the Osage Indian Nation in Oklahoma. After oil was discovered beneath their land, the Osage rode in chauffeured automobiles, built mansions, and sent their children to study in Europe.

Then, one by one, they began to be killed off. One Osage woman, Mollie Burkhart, watched as her family was murdered. Her older sister was shot. Her mother was then slowly poisoned. And it was just the beginning, as more Osage began to die under mysterious circumstances.

In this last remnant of the Wild West—where oilmen like J. P. Getty made their fortunes and where desperadoes such as Al Spencer, “the Phantom Terror,” roamed — virtually anyone who dared to investigate the killings were themselves murdered. As the death toll surpassed more than twenty-four Osage, the newly created F.B.I. took up the case, in what became one of the organization’s first major homicide investigations.

But the bureau was then notoriously corrupt and initially bungled the case. Eventually the young director, J. Edgar Hoover, turned to a former Texas Ranger named Tom White to try unravel the mystery. White put together an undercover team, including one of the only Native American agents in the bureau. They infiltrated the region, struggling to adopt the latest modern techniques of detection. Together with the Osage they began to expose one of the most sinister conspiracies in American history.

In Killers of the Flower Moon, David Grann revisits a shocking series of crimes in which dozens of people were murdered in cold blood. The book is a masterpiece of narrative nonfiction, as each step in the investigation reveals a series of sinister secrets and reversals.

But more than that, it is a searing indictment of the callousness and prejudice toward Native Americans that allowed the murderers to operate with impunity for so long. Killers of the Flower Moon is utterly riveting, but also emotionally devastating. (From the publisher.)

Author Bio 
Birth—March 10, 1967
Where—New York, New York, USA
Education—B.A., Connecticut College; M.A., Tufts University; M.A., Boston University
Currently—lives in New York, New York

David Grann is a staff writer at The New Yorker. Grann's first book, The Lost City of Z, was a New York Times bestseller and has been translated into more than twenty-five languages. Shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize, England's most prestigious nonfiction award, The Lost City of Z was chosen as one of the best books of 2009 by countless newspapers and magazines, including the New York Times, Washington Post, Entertainment Weekly, Bloomberg, Publisher's Weekly, and Christian Science Monitor. The book was adapted to film in 2016.

Killers of the Flower Moon, about the murder of the Osage Indians during the 1920s and the birth of the modern F.B.I. under J. Edgar Hoover.

At The New Yorker, Grann has written about everything from the mysterious death of the world's greatest Sherlock Holmes expert to the hunt for the giant squid, from the perilous maze of water tunnels under New York to a Polish writer who may have left clues to a real murder in his postmodern novel. Grann is also author of a 2010 collection of stories, The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness, and Obsession.

Grann’s stories have also appeared in The Best American Crime Writing (2004, 2005, and 2009), The Best American Sports Writing (2003 and 2006) and The Best American Nonrequired Reading (2009). As a finalist for the Michael Kelly award for the “fearless pursuit and expression of truth,” Grann has also written for the New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Wall Street Journal, Weekly Standard, and New Republic.

Before joining The New Yorker in 2003, Grann was a senior editor at The New Republic, and, from 1995 until 1996, the executive editor of the newspaper The Hill. He holds master’s degrees in international relations from the Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy as well as in creative writing from Boston University. After graduating from Connecticut College in 1989, he received a Thomas Watson Fellowship and did research in Mexico, where he began his career in journalism. He currently lives in New York with his wife and two children. (From the author's website.)

Book Reviews
[Killers of the Flower Moon]…is close to impeccable. It's confident, fluid in its dynamics, light on its feet…the crime story it tells is appalling, and stocked with authentic heroes and villains. It will make you cringe at man's inhumanity to man. About America's native people, Saul Bellow wrote in a 1957 essay, "They have left their bones, their flints and pots, their place names and tribal names and little besides except a stain, seldom vivid, on the consciousness of their white successors." The best thing about Grann's book is that it stares, hard, at that stain, and makes it vivid indeed.
Dwight Garner - New York Times

A master of the detective form…Killers is something rather deep and not easily forgotten.
Wall St. Journal

A shocking whodunit…What more could fans of true-crime thrillers ask?
USA Today

A marvel of detective-like research and narrative verve.
Financial Times


Best book of the year, so far.
Entertainment Weekly

(Starred review.) Grann burnishes his reputation as a brilliant storyteller in this gripping true-crime narrative.… [He] demonstrates how the Osage Murders inquiry helped Hoover to make the case for a “national, more professional, scientifically skilled” police force.
Publishers Weekly

(Starred review.) A spellbinding book about the largest serial murder investigation you've never heard of, which will be enjoyed by fans of the Old West as well as true crime aficionados. —Deirdre Bray Root, MidPointe Lib. Syst., OH
Library Journal

(Starred review.) Grann employs you-are-there narrative effects to set readers right in the action, and he relays the humanity, evil, and heroism of the people involved. His riveting reckoning of a devastating episode in American history deservedly captivates. —Annie Bostrom

(Starred review.) This page-turner surges forward with the pacing of a true-crime thriller, elevated by Grann's crisp and evocative prose and enhanced by dozens of period photographs. Dogged original research and superb narrative skills come together in this gripping account of pitiless evil.
Kirkus Reviews

Discussion Questions
We'll add publisher questions if and when they're available; in the meantime, use our LitLovers talking points to help start a discussion … then take off on your own:

1. Trace the "path" by which the Osage Indians eventually landed on the swatch of land in what would become the state of Oklahoma. Talk about their treatment at the hands of the U.S. government and others over the years. What angered or shocked you most?

2. Describe the early days of the Bureau of Investigation, its founding under Theodore Roosevelt, its original purpose, structure and operation, as well as its corruption, ineptness and bungled investigation of the Osage murders.

3. What made young J. Edgar Hoover an unlikely choice to head the Bureau of Investigation? What was his vision for the bureau—why, for instance, a nationalized police force rather than the existing patchwork structure?

4.  How would you describe Tom White? Talk about how he approached the investigation into the Osage murders? When he solved the crime, were you surprised by the identity of the mastermind? Or had you figured it out along the way.

5. Grann writes that "history is a merciless judge." What does he mean by that?

6. Talk about the last 70 pages of the book, in which Grann writes about working with current tribal members to uncover an even deeper conspiracy. By the book's end, what were your feelings about the Osage nation, its history, and its people?

7. What is the significance of the book's title?

8. Does this story have relevance to current events? Are there parallels regarding the Standing Rock Lakota nation and the Keystone pipeline?

(Questions by LitLovers. Please feel free to use them, online or off, with attribution. Thanks.)

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The Lost City of the Monkey God:  A True Story
Douglas Preston, 2017
Grand Central Publishing
336 pp.
ISBN-13: 9781455540006

A five-hundred-year-old legend. An ancient curse. A stunning medical mystery. And a pioneering journey into the unknown heart of the world's densest jungle.

Since the days of conquistador Hernan Cortes, rumors have circulated about a lost city of immense wealth hidden somewhere in the Honduran interior, called the White City or the Lost City of the Monkey God.

Indigenous tribes speak of ancestors who fled there to escape the Spanish invaders, and they warn that anyone who enters this sacred city will fall ill and die.

In 1940, swashbuckling journalist Theodore Morde returned from the rainforest with hundreds of artifacts and an electrifying story of having found the Lost City of the Monkey God-but then committed suicide without revealing its location.

Three quarters of a century later, bestselling author Doug Preston joined a team of scientists on a groundbreaking new quest. In 2012 he climbed aboard a rickety, single-engine plane carrying the machine that would change everything: lidar, a highly advanced, classified technology that could map the terrain under the densest rainforest canopy.

In an unexplored valley ringed by steep mountains, that flight revealed the unmistakable image of a sprawling metropolis, tantalizing evidence of not just an undiscovered city but an enigmatic, lost civilization.

Venturing into this raw, treacherous, but breathtakingly beautiful wilderness to confirm the discovery, Preston and the team battled torrential rains, quickmud, disease-carrying insects, jaguars, and deadly snakes. But it wasn't until they returned that tragedy struck: Preston and others found they had contracted in the ruins a horrifying, sometimes lethal—and incurable—disease.

Suspenseful and shocking, filled with colorful history, hair-raising adventure, and dramatic twists of fortune, The Lost City of the Monkey God is the absolutely true, eyewitness account of one of the great discoveries of the twenty-first century. (From the publisher.)

Author Bio
Birth—May 20, 1956
Where—Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
Education—B.A., Pomona College
Currently—lives in New Mexico and Maine

Douglas Preston was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1956, and grew up in the deadly boring suburb of Wellesley. Following a distinguished matriculation at a private nursery school—he was almost immediately expelled—he attended public schools and the Cambridge School of Weston.

Notable events in his early life included the loss of a fingertip at the age of three to a bicycle; the loss of his two front teeth to his brother Richard's fist; and various broken bones, also incurred in dust-ups with Richard. (Richard went on to write The Hot Zone and The Cobra Event, which tells you all you need to know about what it was like to grow up with him as a brother.)

As they grew up, Doug, Richard, and their little brother David roamed the quiet streets of Wellesley, terrorizing the natives with home-made rockets and incendiary devices mail-ordered from the backs of comic books or concocted from chemistry sets.

Writing career
After unaccountably being rejected by Stanford University (a pox on it), Preston attended Pomona College in Claremont, California, where he studied mathematics, biology, physics, anthropology, and geology, before settling down to English literature.

After graduating, Preston began his career at the American Museum of Natural History in New York as an editor, writer, and manager of publications. Preston also taught nonfiction writing at Princeton University.

His eight-year stint at the Museum resulted in the non-fiction book, Dinosaurs in the Attic, edited by a rising young star at St. Martin's Press, Lincoln Child. During this period, Preston gave Child a midnight tour of the museum, and in the darkened Hall of Late Dinosaurs, under a looming T. Rex, Child turned to Preston and said: "This would make the perfect setting for a thriller!" That thriller would, of course, be Relic.

In 1986, Preston piled everything he owned into the back of a Subaru and moved from New York City to Santa Fe to write full time, following the advice of S. J. Perelman that "the dubious privilege of a freelance writer is he's given the freedom to starve anywhere." After the requisite period of penury, Preston achieved a small success with the publication of Cities of Gold, a nonfiction book about Coronado's search for the legendary Seven Cities of Cibola.

To research the book, Preston and the photographer Walter W. Nelson retraced on horseback 1,000 miles of Coronado's route across Arizona and New Mexico, packing their supplies and sleeping under the stars—and nearly killing themselves in the process. Since then he has published other nonfiction books on the history of the American Southwest.

In the early 1990s Preston and Child teamed up to write suspense novels; Relic was the first, made into a movie by Paramount Pictures. In Relic they introduced one of the most celebrated fictional detectives of modern times, Special Agent A.X.L. Pendergast. Relic has been followed by more than a dozen other books in the Pendergast series, including The Cabinet of Curiosities, Blue Labyrinth and The Obsidian Chamber.

Their last fifteen novels in a row have been New York Times best-sellers, including several reaching the #1 position. The Cabinet of Curiosities and the other Pendergast novels are currently being developed into a television series called PENDERGAST, by legendary producer Gale Anne Hurd ("The Terminator," "Aliens," "The Walking Dead.")

Preston has also continued a career in journalism. He writes about archaeology, history and paleontology for the New Yorker magazine, as well as for Smithsonian, National Geographic, Harper's and the Atlantic. In the course of his journalistic profession Preston has explored lost temples in the jungles of Cambodia, been the first to enter a tomb in the Valley of the Kings in Egypt, and ridden on horseback across thousands of miles of the American Southwest-which earned him membership in the elite "Long Riders Guild."

The Monster of Florence and the Amanda Knox case
In the year 2000, Preston moved with his family to Florence, Italy, to write a murder mystery set in Tuscany. Instead of writing the novel, he became fascinated by the story of a serial killer named il Mostro di Firenze, the Monster of Florence. He teamed up with an Italian journalist, Mario Spezi, who was an expert on the case.

In 2008 they published a nonfiction book, The Monster of Florence, which was a huge bestseller, spending four months on the New York Times list. The book won journalism awards in both Italy and the United States. It is currently under development as a film.

The same Italian prosecutor who charged Preston with crimes in the Monster case, Giuliano Mignini, was the prosecutor who accused Amanda Knox of murder in 2007 in Perugia. Preston became one of Knox's defenders. In 2009, Preston argued on 48 Hours on CBS that the case against Knox was "based on lies, superstition, and crazy conspiracy theories." Preston went on to defend Knox (as well as to explain the Italian legal system), appearing on a number of TV shows, including the Today Show, Anderson Cooper 360°, and The Kelly File on Fox. He also wrote about the case in a Kindle Single, "Trial by Fury: Internet Savagery and the Amada Knox Case" and in "The Forgotten Killer: Rudy Guede and the Murder of Meredith Kercher."

The Lost City of the Monkey God
Preston's most recent nonfiction book, The Lost City of the Monkey God, published in 2017, tells the true story of the discovery of an ancient, Pre-Columbian city in an unexplored valley deep in the Mosquitia Mountains of Honduras.

First USO author tour into a war zone
In 2010, Preston participated in the first USO tour sponsored by the International Thriller Writers organization, along with authors David Morrell, Steve Berry, Andy Harp, and James Rollins. After visiting with military personnel and wounded soldiers at National Navy Medical Center and Walter Reed Army Medical Center, the group spent a week in Iraq, meeting with soldiers and signing books, marking the first time in the USO's 69-year history that authors had visited a combat zone.

Authors United
In 2014, Preston founded the organization Authors United. During a contract dispute between Amazon and the publisher Hachette, Amazon tried to put pressure on Hachette and other publishers by delaying shipment, blocking availability and eliminating discounts on 8,000 books, causing severe financial harm to 3,000 authors.

Preston garnered the support of like-minded authors, including many Nobel Laureates and Pulitzer Prize winners, as well as hundreds of midlist, debut, and struggling young authors, who signed an open letter protesting Amazon's unfair negotiating tactics. Since that time, Authors United, working with the American Booksellers Association, the Authors Guild and the New American Foundation, have petitioned the Justice Department to investigate Amazon's growing monopoly in the book world and the ways that company has used its dominance to the harm of authors, bookstores, and publishers.

Other activities
In addition to Authors United, Preston was one of the early founders of International Thriller Writers and served as its Co-President. He serves on the board of the Authors Guild and the Authors Guild Foundation. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. In 2011, Pomona College conferred on Preston the degree of Doctor of Letters, honoris causa. He is an avid skier, mountain climber, and hiker.

He counts in his ancestry the poet Emily Dickinson, the early sexologist Robert Latou Dickinson, and the infamous murderer and opium addict Amasa Greenough. He divides his time between New Mexico and Maine. (From the author's website.)

Book Reviews
A well-documented and engaging read...The author's narrative is rife with jungle derring-do and the myriad dangers of the chase.
USA Today

Deadly snakes, flesh-eating parasites, and some of the most forbidding jungle terrain on earth were not enough to deter Douglas Preston from a great story.
Boston Globe

Replete with informative archaeology lessons and colorful anecdotes about the challenges Elkins' crew faced during the expedition, including torrential rains and encounters with deadly snakes, Preston's uncommon travelogue is as captivating as any of his more fanciful fictional thrillers.

(Starred review.) [A]nother perilous Preston...well-known for two things: going out and doing things that would get most people killed and turning up ways to get killed.... A story that moves from thrilling to sobering, fascinating to downright scary.
Kirkus Reviews

Discussion Questions
Use our LitLovers Book Club Resources; they can help with discussions for any book:

How to Discuss a Book (helpful discussion tips)
Generic Discussion Questions—Fiction and Nonfiction
Read-Think-Talk (a guided reading chart)

(We'll add specific questions if and when they're made available by the publisher.)

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Sully: My Search for What Really Matters 
Chesley B. Sullenberger, III and Jeffrey Zaslow, 2009
368 pp.

Now a major motion picture from Clint Eastwood, starring Tom Hanks—the inspirational autobiography by one of the most captivating American heroes of our time, Capt. "Sully" Sullenberger—the pilot who miraculously landed a crippled US Airways Flight 1549 in New York’s Hudson River, saving the lives of all 155 passengers and crew.

On January 15, 2009, the world witnessed a remarkable emergency landing when Captain "Sully" Sullenberger skillfully glided US Airways Flight 1549 onto the Hudson River, saving the lives of all 155 passengers and crew.

His cool actions not only averted tragedy but made him a hero and an inspiration worldwide. His story is now a major motion picture from director / producer Clint Eastwood and stars Tom Hanks, Laura Linney and Aaron Eckhart.

Sully's story is one of dedication, hope, and preparedness, revealing the important lessons he learned through his life, in his military service, and in his work as an airline pilot. It reminds us all that, even in these days of conflict, tragedy and uncertainty, there are values still worth fighting for—that life's challenges can be met if we're ready for them. (From the publisher.)

Author Bios
Chester B. "Sully" Sullenberger, III
Birth—January 23, 1951
Where—Denison, Texas, USA
Education—B.A., U.S. Air Academy; M.S., Purdue; M.S., University of Northern Colorado
Currently—lives in the San Francisco Bay Area of California

Chesley Burnett "Sully" Sullenberger III is an American retired airline captain who works as an aviation safety consultant. He was hailed as a national hero in the United States when he successfully executed an emergency water landing of US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River off Manhattan, New York City, on January 15, 2009, after the aircraft was disabled by striking a flock of Canada geese during its climb out from LaGuardia Airport. All 155 people aboard the aircraft survived and there were no personal injuries.

He is the co-author, with Jeffrey Zaslow, of the New York Times best-seller Highest Duty: My Search for What Really Matters (2009), a memoir of his life and of the events surrounding Flight 1549. His second book is Making a Difference: Stories of Vision and Courage from America's Leaders (2012). He was ranked second in Time's "Top 100 Most Influential Heroes and Icons of 2009," after Michelle Obama.

Chesley Sullenberger was born in Denison, Texas. As a a child, according to his sister, he built model planes and aircraft carriers, and say his high school classmates developed a passion for flying from watching jets based out of Perrin Air Force Base. At 16, Sully learned to fly in an Aeronca 7DC from a private airstrip near his home—training, which he would later say, grounded his aviation career for the rest of his life.

Sullenberger entered to the United States Air Force Academy, where as a freshman, he was selected for a cadet glider program and, by the end of that year, became an instructor pilot. In 1973, his graduation year, he received the Outstanding Cadet in Airmanship award, as the class "top flyer."

Upon graduation, the Air Force immediately sent Sullenberger to Purdue University, where he obtained a Master's in industrial psychology. He later received another Master's, in public administration, at the University of Northern California.

In 1975, Sully earned his USAF Pilot wings. During the next five years—in Arizona, the UK, and Nevada—he served as a fighter pilot, a flight leader, and a training officer. He attained the rank of Captain and worked on his first aircraft accident investigation.

In 1980 he left the military and joined the civilian world where, for the next 30 years, he flew commercial airliners for US Airways. All told, over the span of his military and commercial piloting career, Sully has more than 40 years—clocking in at 20,000 hours—of flying experience. In 2007 he founded his own company, Safety Reliability Methods, Inc. a firm that consults on organizational safety, performance, and reliability.

Sully has also served as a member of investigations of aircraft accidents for both the USAF and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). He has also been instrumental in developing and implementing the Crew Resource Management course used by US Airways, and he has taught the course to hundreds of airline crew members.

Flight 1549
On January 15, 2009, Sullenberger was piloting an Airbus A320 from New York's LaGuardia Airport to Charlotte, North Carolina, when it struck a large flock of birds, disabling both engines. Unable to return safely to any nearby airport, he landed the plane in Hudson River.

The last to leave the aircraft, Sully made certain everyone had been evacuated before retrieving the maintenance logbook and leaving the plane. All passengers and crews survived uninjured.

Though he became an instant hero, Sullenberger was required to testify in an NTSB investigation. Amid questions as to whether he might have been able to return the plane to LaGuardia, Sully maintained there had been no time to execute the necessary maneuvers, which might have killed all on board as well as many more on the ground. The NTSB ultimately ruled that Sullenberger made the correct decision.

Accolades from every corner of the nation flowed in—a phone call from then President George W. Bush, an invitation to the inauguration of new President Barack Obama, resolutions by both houses of Congress, parades, medals, TV appearances, TV episodes, standing ovations at sports events, honorary memberships, keys to cities, baseball season's first pitch, and even songs.

After 30 years service with US Airways and its predecessor, Sullenberger retired on March 3, 2010. His final flight was US Airways Flight Number 1167 from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to Charlotte, North Carolina, where he was reunited with his co-pilot Jeff Skiles and a half dozen of the passengers on Flight 1549. Sullenberger said that his advocacy for aviation safety and the piloting profession would continue.

Yet before he went, Sullenberger testified before the U.S. House of Representatives that his salary had been cut by 40 percent, and that his pension—like most airline pensions—was terminated and replaced by a "PBGC" guarantee worth only pennies on the dollar. He went on to caution that airlines were under pressure to hire people with less experience."

Their salaries are so low that people with greater experience will not take those jobs. We have some carriers that have hired some pilots with only a few hundred hours of experience.... There’s simply no substitute for experience in terms of aviation safety.

Sullenberger is married to fitness instructor Lorraine "Lorrie" Sullenberger, with whom he has two daughters. The Sullenbergers reside in the San Francisco Bay Area. (From Wikipedia. Retrieved 1/15/2017.)

Jeffrey Zaslow
Birth—October 6, 1958
Where—Broomall, Pennsylvania, USA
Death—February 10, 2012
Where—Warner Twp., Michigan
Education—B.A., Carnegie Mellon University
Awards—Best Columnist Award; Distinguished Column Writing Award

Jeffrey Lloyd Zaslow was an American author and journalist and a columnist for The Wall Street Journal.

Zaslow was widely known as coauthor of best-selling books including The Last Lecture (2008) with Randy Pausch; Highest Duty: My Search for What Really Matters (2009) with Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger; as well as Gabby: A Story of Courage and Hope (2011) with Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly. He was the sole author of numerous books, including Tell Me All About It (1990), The Girls from Ames (2009), and The Magic Room.

Early life
Zaslow was born in 1958 in Broomall, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia, one of the four children of Naomi and Harry Zaslow. His father was a real estate investor. After graduating from Carnegie Mellon University in 1980 with a degree in creative writing, Zaslow began his professional writing career at the Orlando Sentinel.

When he was 29, Zaslow won a competition (with 12,000 applicants) held by the Chicago Sun-Times to replace the Ann Landers advice column. Later, he gained recognition as the for his own advice column called "All That Zazz" at the Wall Street Journal.

He was twice named Best Columnist (in a newspaper with more than 100,000 circulation) by the National Society of Newspaper Columnists as. He also received the Distinguished Column Writing Award from the New York Newspaper Publishers Association. While working at the Sun-Times in Orlando, Zaslow received the Will Rogers Humanitarian Award. He appeared on such television programs as The Tonight Show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, Larry King Live, 60 Minutes, The Today Show and Good Morning America.

Zaslow married Sherry Margolis, a TV news anchor with WJBK television in Detroit, and together lived with their three daughters in West Bloomfield, Michigan.

Zaslow died on February 10, 2012, at age 53 in a car accident in Michigan while on tour for his non-fiction book The Magic Room. Former co-author Chesley Sullenberger was among those who eulogized Zaslow at his funeral on February 13.

Following his death, Zaslow was the subject of a number of written tributes, including an essay by columnist Bob Greene, titled Jeff Zaslow's last lesson, pieces by fellow journalists and by bloggers, posts on the Wall Street Journal remembrance page, and eulogies by family members on the family's remembrance page. (Adapted from Wikipedia. Retrieved 1/15/2017.)

Book Reviews
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Publishers Weekly

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Library Journal

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Kirkus Reviews

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The Private Lives of the Tudors:  Uncovering the Secrets of Britain's Greatest Dynasty
Tracy Borman, 2016
464 pp.
ISBN-13: 9780802125996

England’s Tudor monarchs—Henry VII, Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I, and Elizabeth I—are perhaps the most celebrated and fascinating of all royal families in history. Their love affairs, their political triumphs, and their overturning of the religious order are the subject of countless works of popular scholarship. But for all we know about Henry’s quest for male heirs, or Elizabeth’s purported virginity, the private lives of the Tudors remain largely beyond our grasp.

In The Private Lives of the Tudors, Tracy Borman delves deep behind the public face of the monarchs, showing us what their lives were like beyond the stage of court.

Drawing on the accounts of those closest to them, Borman examines Tudor life in fine detail. What did the monarchs eat? What clothes did they wear, and how were they designed, bought, and cared for? How did they practice their faith? And in earthlier moments, who did they love, and how did they give birth to the all-important heirs?

Delving into their education, upbringing, sexual lives, and into the kitchens, bathrooms, schoolrooms, and bedrooms of court, Borman charts out the course of the entire Tudor dynasty, surfacing new and fascinating insights into these celebrated figures. (From the publisher.)

Author Bio
Birth—ca. 1972
Where—Scothern, Lincolnshire, England (UK)
Education—Ph.D., University of Hull
Currently—lives in London, England

Tracy Borman is a historian and author from Scothern, Lincolnshire, United Kingdom. She is the author of several histories, many but not all of which are centered on the Tudor Dynasty. Her most recent work is The Private Lives of the Tudors (2016).

Borman was born and brought up in the village of Scothern, near Lincoln. She was educated at  Ellison Boulters Academy, William Farr School, Welton, and Lincoln Castle Academy. She taught history at the University of Hull, where she was awarded a Ph.D in 1997.

Borman is perhaps best known for Elizabeth's Women (2010), which was serialized (before publication) as a BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week in September 2009. That same month, Borman appeared on BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour.

In 2013 she was appointed Joint Chief Curator of Historic Royal Palaces alongside Lucy Worsley. She is also chief executive of the Heritage Education Trust.

Borman and her husband, whom she married at the Tower of London, live in New Malden, south-west London.

♦ 2016 - The Private Lives of the Tudors: Uncovering the Secrets of Britain's Greatest Dynasty
♦ 2014 - Thomas Cromwell: The Untold Story of Henry VIII's Most Faithful Servant
♦ 2013 - Witches: A Tale of Sorcery, Scandal and Seduction
♦ 2011- Matilda: Queen of the Conqueror
♦ 2011- The Ring and the Crown: A History of Royal Weddings, 1066-2011 (with Alison Weir, Kate Williams and Sarah Gristwood)
♦ 2010 - Elizabeth's Women: Friends, Rivals, and Foes Who Shaped the Virgin Queen
♦ 2007 - Henrietta Howard: King's Mistress, Queen's Servant

(From Wikipeida.  Retrieved 1/2/2017.)

Book Reviews
For Borman, the intimate particulars of everyday life are what help the past come bracingly, stirringly alive. Her full-quivered social history of the Tudor monarchs—Henry VII, Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I—who, beginning in 1485, constituted one of the most celebrated royal families of all time, furnishes readers with a "Hey, did you know...?" on almost every page.... Social history lives and dies in the integrity of its details, and this authoritative work teems with well-sourced material, presenting the Tudor world with a particular focus on the personal habits and strengths of its women, making the claim that "the art of majesty was as evident behind closed doors as it was in public."
Jean Zimmerman - New York Times Book Review

[A] fascinating, detailed account.... Borman ranges far and wide in her quest to throw light on what the Tudor kings and queens ate, what they wore, what they did with their days and how they spent their nights.... This is a book of rich scholarship. Tracy Borman...knows her Tudor history inside out.
Daily Mail (UK)

Borman approaches her topic with huge enthusiasm and a keen eye.... All good fun. And there is plenty of it.... Borman really succeeds when she uses her store of homely tidbits to recast our perceptions of Tudors we thought we knew.... This is a very human story of a remarkable family, full of vignettes that sit long in the mind.
Sunday Times (UK)

Tracy Borman’s eye for detail is impressive; the book is packed with fascinating courtly minutiae.... [Borman is] a very good historian and this is a wonderful book.
London Times (UK)

Like Alison Weir...Borman is an authoritative and engaging writer, good at prising out those humanizing details that make the past alive to us.
Guardian (UK)

[T]he amount of detail about the rarefied world that the Tudors inhabited can be overwhelming, but she does unearth some obscure and intriguing tidbits that have been overlooked by other historians.... Borman’s fine book goes far toward humanizing [them].
Publishers Weekly

[T]his work uniquely focuses on the minutiae of court life and the personal, behind-the-scenes details of Tudor royals.... Borman's history expands well beyond public knowledge to the definite delight of Tudor fans. —Katie McGaha, County of Los Angeles P.L.
Library Journal

Amusing, well-researched.... A mostly entertaining mixture of esoteric social history and well-known details of the personal lives of Tudor monarchs.
Kirkus Reviews

Discussion Questions
We'll add publisher questions if and when they're available; in the meantime, use our LitLovers talking points to help start a discussion for The Private Lives of the Tudors...then take off on your own:

1. What surprised you most about Tracy Borman's personal history of the Tudor royalty? What did you find, well..."over the top" in terms of self-indulgence? How coddled were the Tudors in terms of their personal habits? After reading her book, does medieval royalty seem  particularly romantic or attractive as perhaps you once thought?

2. Borman's title is titillating: uncovering secrets heretofore unknown (or revealed). Does the book live up to its tempting title? Or is the focus of the book something else entirely?

3. Talk about the 15th and 16th century concept of privacy, especially in terms of the royal families. How different was their idea of privacy from today's?

4. Follow-up to Question 3: Talk about how the primary duty of royalty—which was to produce an heir—affected the sense of privacy. What does Borman mean when she writes, "The art of majesty was as evident behind closed doors as it was in public"?

5. Discuss Borman's descriptions of the era's medications and medical treatments. Funny? Horrifying? Positively "medieval"?

6. Borman writes, "for a person of royal blood, private desires could have deadly outcomes." Consider, then, the dire consequences of Lord Seymour's indiscretions with young Princess Elizabeth.

7. Would you have wanted to live in the Tudor era considering its level of sanitation, disease, and bodily odors?

(Questions issued by LitLovers. Please feel free to use them, online or off, with attribution. Thanks.)

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