LANDS OF LOST BORDERS, by Harris NOTE: Meeting Online

Travel
Tuesday, July 5, 7:00 pm

The Travel Book Group is led by Katie Mathews and meets online the 1st Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. Please email: bookgroups@politics-prose.com for info to connect with group.

Lands of Lost Borders: A Journey on the Silk Road By Kate Harris Cover Image

Lands of Lost Borders: A Journey on the Silk Road (Paperback)

$16.99


Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days

Winter 2019 Reading Group Indie Next List


“This memoir is so utterly winning in the way Harris tells her life story while interweaving it with a fascinating modern day journey by bicycle along the fabled Silk Road. Her insatiable appetite for exploration and adventure is infectious. The reader will be inspired to look at the world in new ways and open themselves up to new experiences. Lands of Lost Borders is a perfect blend of history, armchair travel, and great stories.”
— Cody Morrison, Square Books, Oxford, MS

"Lands of Lost Borders carried me up into a state of openness and excitement I haven’t felt for years. It’s a modern classic."—Pico Iyer

A brilliant, fierce writer, and winner of the 2019 RBC Taylor Prize, makes her debut with this enthralling travelogue and memoir of her journey by bicycle along the Silk Road—an illuminating and thought-provoking fusion of The Places in Between, Lab Girl, and Wild that dares us to challenge the limits we place on ourselves and the natural world.

As a teenager, Kate Harris realized that the career she craved—to be an explorer, equal parts swashbuckler and metaphysician—had gone extinct. From what she could tell of the world from small-town Ontario, the likes of Marco Polo and Magellan had mapped the whole earth; there was nothing left to be discovered. Looking beyond this planet, she decided to become a scientist and go to Mars.

In between studying at Oxford and MIT, Harris set off by bicycle down the fabled Silk Road with her childhood friend Mel. Pedaling mile upon mile in some of the remotest places on earth, she realized that an explorer, in any day and age, is the kind of person who refuses to live between the lines. Forget charting maps, naming peaks: what she yearned for was the feeling of soaring completely out of bounds. The farther she traveled, the closer she came to a world as wild as she felt within.

Lands of Lost Borders, winner of the 2018 Banff Adventure Travel Award and a 2018 Nautilus Award, is the chronicle of Harris’s odyssey and an exploration of the importance of breaking the boundaries we set ourselves; an examination of the stories borders tell, and the restrictions they place on nature and humanity; and a meditation on the existential need to explore—the essential longing to discover what in the universe we are doing here.

Like Rebecca Solnit and Pico Iyer, Kate Harris offers a travel account at once exuberant and reflective, wry and rapturous. Lands of Lost Borders explores the nature of limits and the wildness of the self that can never fully be mapped. Weaving adventure and philosophy with the history of science and exploration, Lands of Lost Borders celebrates our connection as humans to the natural world, and ultimately to each other—a belonging that transcends any fences or stories that may divide us.

Kate Harris is a writer and adventurer with a knack for getting lost. Named one of Canada's top modern-day explorers, her award-winning nature and travel writing has featured in The Walrus, Canadian Geographic Travel, Sidetracked and The Georgia Review, and cited in Best American Essays and Best American Travel Writing. In 2019, she was awarded the RBC Taylor Prize, one of Canada's most esteemed literature awards. She has degrees in science from MIT and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and in the history of science from Oxford, where she studied as a Rhodes scholar. When she isn't away on expeditions, or reporting on UN environmental negotiations for the International Institute for Sustainable Development, Harris lives off-grid in a log cabin on the border of the Yukon, British Columbia and Alaska. This is her first book.

Product Details ISBN: 9780062846662
ISBN-10: 0062846663
Publisher: Dey Street Books
Publication Date: June 11th, 2019
Pages: 336
Language: English

Lands of Lost Borders carried me up into a state of openness and excitement I haven’t felt for years. It’s a modern classic.” — Pico Iyer

“Kate Harris arrives among us like a meteor – a hurtling intelligence, inquiring into the nature of political borders and the meaning of crossing over. Her sheer determination to explore what she does not know compels you to travel happily alongside her in Lands of Lost Borders.” — Barry Lopez, author of Arctic Dreams, winner of the National Book Award

“A hymn to the pure love of travel: a brave and astonishing journey.” — Colin Thubron, author of To a Mountain in Tibet and Shadow of the Silk Road

“There’s something undeniably intoxicating about the blank page of youth begin written upon. And write Harris can. With elegant, sensitive prose, she takes the reader along on her travels, shares her passion with infectious enthusiasm and invites us into her heart.” — New York Times Book Review

“Kate Harris has an explorer’s brave heart, a scholar’s cataloging brain, and a writer’s keen eye. She beautifully captures what it means to cross borders, both geographic and psychic, as one embarks on the grand adventure that is growing up.” — Rachel Friedman, author of The Good Girl’s Guide to Getting Lost

“This fascinating book, about an unbridled desire for exploration, completely thrilled me. Getting to ride alongside Kate on her Silk Road journey is the literary adventure of a lifetime.” — Leigh Stein, author of Land of Enchantment

“With humor, deep sentiment, and often poetic prose, Harris takes the reader not only through “the stans” (Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, etc.) of Asia, but also through the history and current state of adventure travel…Exemplary travel writing: inspiring, moving, heartfelt, and often breathtaking.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Beautifully rendered...Harris’s talent is in her prose, as she offers breathtaking descriptions of the Silk Road, shrouded in mystery and wonder.”   — Publishers Weekly

“In her luminous, incisive memoir, Harris chronicles her permanent wanderlust, her twisting career path and the months she spent cycling the Silk Road with her best friend...Lyrical, brilliant and sharply observed, it is a paean to wanderlust and a call for readers to launch their own explorations.” — Shelf Awareness

“Her captivating memoir will inspire readers to question their self-imposed boundaries and map out new adventures.” — Real Simple

“A compelling, suspenseful, insightful and elegant travel memoir. This is one that will have you dreaming.” — Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Harris’ stunning and nuanced prose limns sweeping landscapes and offers engaging history lessons—all while maintaining a brilliant self-awareness and authenticity. Lands of Lost Borders is illuminating, heart-warming, and hopeful in its suggestion that we will explore not to conquer but to connect.” — Booklist (starred review)

“An immersive and keenly observed debut...an uncompromising, breathless record.” — New York Journal of Books



CUBANS, by DePalma NOTE: Meeting Online

Travel
Tuesday, June 7, 7:00 pm

The Travel Book Group is led by Katie Mathews and meets online the 1st Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. Please email: bookgroups@politics-prose.com for info to connect with group.

The Cubans: Ordinary Lives in Extraordinary Times By Anthony DePalma Cover Image

The Cubans: Ordinary Lives in Extraordinary Times (Paperback)

$16.00


In Stock—Click for Locations
Politics and Prose at 5015 Connecticut Avenue NW
1 on hand, as of Aug 16 9:19pm
Politics and Prose at 70 District Square SW
1 on hand, as of Aug 16 9:34pm
"[DePalma] renders a Cuba few tourists will ever see . . . You won't forget these people soon, and you are bound to emerge from DePalma's bighearted account with a deeper understanding of a storied island . . . A remarkably revealing glimpse into the world of a muzzled yet irrepressibly ebullient neighbor."--The New York Times

Modern Cuba comes alive in a vibrant portrait of a group of families's varied journeys in one community over the last twenty years.

Cubans today, most of whom have lived their entire lives under the Castro regime, are hesitantly embracing the future. In his new book, Anthony DePalma, a veteran reporter with years of experience in Cuba, focuses on a neighborhood across the harbor from Old Havana to dramatize the optimism as well as the enormous challenges that Cubans face: a moving snapshot of Cuba with all its contradictions as the new regime opens the gate to the capitalism that Fidel railed against for so long.

In Guanabacoa, longtime residents prove enterprising in the extreme. Scrounging materials in the black market, Cary Luisa Limonta Ewen has started her own small manufacturing business, a surprising turn for a former ranking member of the Communist Party. Her good friend Lili, a loyal Communist, heads the neighborhood's watchdog revolutionary committee. Artist Arturo Montoto, who had long lived and worked in Mexico, moved back to Cuba when he saw improving conditions but complains like any artist about recognition. In stark contrast, Jorge García lives in Miami and continues to seek justice for the sinking of a tugboat full of refugees, a tragedy that claimed the lives of his son, grandson, and twelve other family members, a massacre for which the government denies any role. In The Cubans, many patriots face one new question: is their loyalty to the revolution, or to their country?

As people try to navigate their new reality, Cuba has become an improvised country, an old machine kept running with equal measures of ingenuity and desperation. A new kind of revolutionary spirit thrives beneath the conformity of a half century of totalitarian rule. And over all of this looms the United States, with its unpredictable policies, which warmed towards its neighbor under one administration but whose policies have now taken on a chill reminiscent of the Cold War.
Anthony DePalma is the author of The Man Who Invented Fidel and Here: A Biography of the New American Continent. He was a foreign correspondent for The New York Times focusing on Latin America for twenty-two years, and continues to write for the newspaper as well as other publications.
Product Details ISBN: 9780525522461
ISBN-10: 0525522468
Publisher: Penguin Books
Publication Date: May 25th, 2021
Pages: 368
Language: English
“[A] remarkable book . . . DePalma anchors all of the historical touchpoints in the powerful stories of the people we meet . . . Cary, Lili, Jorge, and the others have risked a great deal to share their stories. Flipping through the many dog-eared pages of my copy of this book, I wondered: What was in it for them? I decided, finally, that they simply wanted to be heard. They wanted readers to know that they may have traveled different paths through post-revolutionary society, but they continue to confront their challenges the same way—with pride, ingenuity and strength, and they remain resolutely Cuban."—The Wall Street Journal

"DePalma vividly depicts the lives of several families in modern Cuba. DePalma’s writing is evocative and detailed, and the reader feels as though they are walking alongside the people whose aspirations and dreams he so poignantly highlights. The country comes alive with each sentence, and the end result is an homage to Cuba and the Cuban people that is both heartbreaking and hopeful."—The Washington Post

"In his thoroughly researched and reported book, replete with human detail and probing insight, [DePalma] renders a Cuba few tourists will ever see . . . You won’t forget these people soon, and you are bound to emerge from DePalma’s bighearted account with a deeper understanding of a storied island . . . A remarkably revealing glimpse into the world of a muzzled yet irrepressibly ebullient neighbor."—The New York Times

"In this beautifully crafted work of reportage . . . DePalma takes the reader on a tour of the glorious triumphs and ardent idealism of the early days of the Cuban Revolution, the dark years of the post-Soviet economic collapse, the revived hopes occasioned by the thaw of U.S.-Cuban relations under U.S. President Barack Obama, and now the seemingly endless days of deprivation."—Foreign Affairs

"DePalma tells the vivid story of communism through the eyes of several generations of Cubans. He includes telling details, such as the pantomime of stroking imaginary beards before criticizing the government, to avoid retribution for mentioning Castro’s name. DePalma shows what life was like, and is like, for Cubans."—The Christian Science Monitor, "The 10 best books of June"

“For all that’s been written about revolutionary Cuba, I know of no book that more vividly describes the interior of the contemporary Cuban experience. The ordinary people who share their struggles with Anthony DePalma have seen the “bright promise” of revolution give way to the “dingy hardship” of real life. DePalma strips the Cuba story of its shabby ideological pretensions, but beneath the surface finds Cubans who still care for each other and whose resilience defines a patriotism all its own.”—Tom Gjelten, author of Bacardi and the Long Fight for Cuba

"An unvarnished look at revolutionary Cuba . . . The Cubans doesn’t dwell much on Fidel and Raúl Castro . . . Instead, it is about resilient and resourceful individuals who seem to innately know from birth how to “resolver”—creatively resolve their predicaments—to survive. The individuals DePalma writes about are not ordinary at all, but complex, three-dimensional people, drawn with a nuanced and empathetic hand."—ReVista, Harvard Review of Latin America

"This elegantly written chronicle of the intertwined lives of five average Cubans and their families gives an unofficial, and thus potentially truer, account of the challenges for people who, DePalma writes, have an “excess of prohibitions and a minimum of inhibitions.”—New Jersey Monthly

“DePalma’s fictionlike narrative moves thematically (Realization, Reconciliation, etc.), and the author is especially good at revealing the stunning adaptability of a people thwarted at seemingly every turn. An obvious labor of love, years in the making, featuring meticulous research and an elegant narrative style.” —Kirkus Reviews (*starred review*)

"A rich, intimate, evenhanded narrative that reveals the Cuban people’s resilience and resourcefulness amid oppression."—Library Journal

“A sensitive portrait… In impressively specific detail, DePalma captures the suffering and resilience of ordinary Cubans caught between the political posturing of their government and the U.S. Readers will savor this intimate, eye-opening account.”—Publishers Weekly

“A bracing insight into human perseverance.” —Booklist
 
“Finally, a book not about Fidel, Raúl, or Ché Guevara, but about Cary, Pipo, Oscar, and other ordinary Cubans who tell not the history we have been fed for years but the real, remarkable, and complicated stories of people living with what Anthony DePalma aptly describes as the ‘interminable revolution.’ DePalma has surely become the best chronicler of Cuba today.” —Mirta Ojito, author of Finding Mañana: A Memoir of a Cuban Exodus

“Amid all the overnight experts on Cuba who rarely venture beyond Havana, Anthony DePalma stands apart, offering a profound and eloquent book that is destined to become a classic. With his astute journalist’s eye and an open heart, DePalma earned the trust of cubanas and cubanos as few outsiders have. An essential testimony as Cuba moves into an uncertain future.”—Ruth Behar, author of An Island Called Home: Returning to Jewish Cuba

“An extraordinary and poignant portrait of Cuban identity and the lives of a compelling group of people living in modern Cuba, Anthony DePalma’s The Cubans is a masterpiece. DePalma beautifully and powerfully illustrates what it means to be Cuban while transporting readers to walk the streets of Guanabacoa where residents are constantly forced to navigate an ever-changing harsh reality. Heartbreaking, hopeful, and vividly rendered, this is an intimate and eye-opening must-read for anyone interested in Cuba.”—Chanel Cleeton, author of Next Year in Havana

"Indispensable for anyone trying to understand the warmth, spirit and 'national insanity' of the Cuban people and all they have been through over the last 60 years. It reads like a historical novel, with compelling characters, hurricanes and the murder of children on the open seas. But this balanced, non-ideological and meticulously-reported story is all true.”—Jonathan Alter, author of The Center Holds: Obama and His Enemies
 
“If you want to know what the real Cuba is like for its natives—as opposed to the synthetic Cuba experienced by most tourists—this book will take you there, to that unique labyrinth of ruins where truth is as elusive as comfort or the bare necessities of life.  Unflinchingly objective, yet suffused with poetic empathy for the complex characters whose lives it chronicles, Anthony DePalma’s narrative reads like the best of novels.  Uplifting and devastating at the same time.”—Carlos Eire, author of Waiting for Snow in Havana

"Forget the travel books that guide your wanderlust to the best mojito bars and cigar shops in Cuba. Forget the academic history tomes that leave you heartlessly informed. Forget the coffee table books of glossy photos that vicariously play on your romantic notion of Havana’s ruins. Forget the media that polarizes your perception of the island through an anachronistic liberal or conservative lens. If you honestly want to feel Cuba—not just understand it—then read The Cubans. Finally, a book that demystifies Cuba through the brilliance of DePalma, who knows that a nation is merely an idea subject to infinite abstraction, until it is grounded in the lives of its people and their rich and varied stories that are sadly—and almost inevitably—lost in the crosshairs of ideology and crossfire of power. With the eye of a poet, the perceptiveness of an ethnographer, and the heart of an emotional historian, DePalma renders Cuba through the spirit of Cubans as they have always been, as they are now, and as they will always be, regardless."—Richard Blanco, Presidential Inaugural Poet, author of How to Love a Country


NINE LIVES OF PAKISTAN, by Walsh NOTE: Meeting Online

Travel
Tuesday, May 3, 7:00 pm

The Travel Book Group is led by Katie Mathews and meets online the 1st Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. Please email: bookgroups@politics-prose.com for info to connect with group.

The Nine Lives of Pakistan: Dispatches from a Precarious State By Declan Walsh Cover Image

The Nine Lives of Pakistan: Dispatches from a Precarious State (Paperback)

$18.95


In Stock—Click for Locations
Politics and Prose at 5015 Connecticut Avenue NW
2 on hand, as of Aug 16 9:19pm
Politics and Prose at 70 District Square SW
1 on hand, as of Aug 16 9:34pm
Politics and Prose at Union Market
1 on hand, as of Aug 16 9:34pm

Winner of the 2021 Overseas Press Club of America Cornelius Ryan Award



The former New York Times Pakistan bureau chief paints an arresting, up-close portrait of a fractured country.


Declan Walsh is one of the New York Times’s most distinguished international correspondents. His electrifying portrait of Pakistan over a tumultuous decade captures the sweep of this strange, wondrous, and benighted country through the dramatic lives of nine fascinating individuals.


On assignment as the country careened between crises, Walsh traveled from the raucous port of Karachi to the salons of Lahore, and from Baluchistan to the mountains of Waziristan. He met a diverse cast of extraordinary Pakistanis—a chieftain readying for war at his desert fort, a retired spy skulking through the borderlands, and a crusading lawyer risking death for her beliefs, among others. Through these “nine lives” he describes a country on the brink—a place of creeping extremism and political chaos, but also personal bravery and dogged idealism that defy easy stereotypes.


Unbeknownst to Walsh, however, an intelligence agent was tracking him. Written in the aftermath of Walsh’s abrupt deportation, The Nine Lives of Pakistan concludes with an astonishing encounter with that agent, and his revelations about Pakistan’s powerful security state. Intimate and complex, attuned to the centrifugal forces of history, identity, and faith, The Nine Lives of Pakistan offers an unflinching account of life in a precarious, vital country.



Declan Walsh, formerly the New York Times Pakistan bureau chief, is based in Cairo. He was educated in Dublin and has also reported from sub-Saharan Africa, Afghanistan, the United States, and across the Middle East.
Product Details ISBN: 9781324020257
ISBN-10: 1324020253
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: January 4th, 2022
Pages: 368
Language: English


Pages