December 2009 Biographies

 Last Words by George Carlin

As one of America’s preeminent comedic voices, George Carlin saw it all throughout his extraordinary fifty-year career and made fun of most of it. Last Words is the story of the man behind some of the most seminal comedy of the last half century, blending his signature acer-bic humor with never-before-told stories from his own life. In 1993 George Carlin asked his friend and bestselling author Tony Hendra to help him write his autobiography. For almost fifteen years, in scores of conversations, many of them recorded, the two discussed Carlin’s life, times, and evolution as a major artist. When Carlin died at age seventy-one in June 2008 with the book still unpublished, Hendra set out to assemble it as his friend would have wanted. Last Words is the result, the rollicking, wrenching story of Carlin’s life from birth — literally — to his final years, as well as a parting gift of laughter to the world of comedy he helped create. George Carlin’s journey to stardom began in the rough-and-tumble neighborhood of New York’s Upper West Side in the 1940s, where class and culture wars planted the seeds for some of his best known material, including the notorious “Seven Words You Can Never Say On Television.” His early conflicts, his long struggle with substance abuse, his turbulent relationships with his family, and his triumphs over catastrophic setbacks all fueled the unique comedic worldview he brought to the stage. From the heights of stardom to the low points few knew about, Last Words is told with the same razor-sharp honesty that made Carlin one of the best loved comedians in American history.

 Going Rogue: an American Life by Sarah Palin

One year ago, Sarah Palin burst onto the national political stage like a comet. Yet even now, few Americans know who this remarkable woman really is.On September 3, 2008 Alaska Governor and vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin delivered a speech at the Republican National Convention that electrified the nation and instantly made her one of the most recognizable women in the world.As chief executive of America’s largest state, she had built a record as a reformer who cast aside politics-as-usual and pushed through changes other politicians only talked about: Energy independence. Ethics reform. And the biggest private sector infrastructure project in U.S. history. And while revitalizing public school funding and ensuring the state met its responsibilities to seniors and Alaska Native populations, Palin also beat the political “good ol’ boys club” at their own game and brought Big Oil to heel.Like her GOP running mate, John McCain, Palin wasn’t a packaged and over-produced candidate. She was a Main Street American woman: a working mom, wife of a blue collar union man, and mother of five children, the eldest of whom was serving his country in a yearlong deployment in Iraq and the youngest, an infant with special needs. Palin’s hometown story touched a populist nerve, rallying hundreds of thousands of ordinary Americans to the GOP ticket.But as the campaign unfolded, Palin became a lightning rod for both praise and criticism. Supporters called her “refreshing” and “honest,” a kitchen-table public servant they felt would fight for their interests. Opponents derided her as a wide-eyed Pollyanna unprepared for national leadership. But none of them knew the real Sarah Palin.In this eagerly anticipated memoir, Palin paints an intimate portrait of growing up in the wilds of Alaska; meeting her lifelong love; her decision to enter politics; the importance of faith and family; and the unique joys and trials of life as a high-profile working mother. She also opens up for the first time about the 2008 presidential race, providing a rare, mom’s-eye view of high-stakes national politics-from patriots dedicated to “Country First” to slick politicos bent on winning at any cost.Going Rogue traces one ordinary citizen’s extraordinary journey and imparts Palin’s vision of a way forward for America and her unfailing hope in the greatest nation on earth.

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