Best Selling Books by Evan Thomas

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John Paul Jones

release date: Jun 15, 2010
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John Paul Jones
The New York Times bestseller from master biographer Evan Thomas brings to life the tumultuous story of the father of the American Navy. John Paul Jones, at sea and in the heat of the battle, was the great American hero of the Age of Sail. He was to history what Patrick O’Brian’s Jack Aubrey and C.S. Forester’s Horatio Hornblower are to fiction. Ruthless, indomitable, clever; he vowed to sail, as he put it, “in harm’s way.” Evan Thomas’s minute-by-minute re-creation of the bloodbath between Jones’s Bonhomme Richard and the British man-of-war Serapis off the coast of England on an autumn night in 1779 is as gripping a sea battle as can be found in any novel. Drawing on Jones’s correspondence with some of the most significant figures of the American Revolution—John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson—Thomas’s biography teaches us that it took fighters as well as thinkers, men driven by dreams of personal glory as well as high-minded principle, to break free of the past and start a new world. Jones’s spirit was classically American.

Being Nixon

release date: Jun 16, 2015
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Being Nixon
The landmark New York Times bestselling biography of Richard M. Nixon, a political savant whose gaping character flaws would drive him from the presidency and forever taint his legacy. “A biography of eloquence and breadth . . . No single volume about Nixon’s long and interesting life could be so comprehensive.”—Chicago Tribune One of Time’s Top 10 Nonfiction Books of the Year In this revelatory biography, Evan Thomas delivers a radical, unique portrait of America’s thirty-seventh president, Richard Nixon, a contradictory figure who was both determinedly optimistic and tragically flawed. One of the principal architects of the modern Republican Party and its “silent majority” of disaffected whites and conservative ex-Dixiecrats, Nixon was also deemed a liberal in some quarters for his efforts to desegregate Southern schools, create the Environmental Protection Agency, and end the draft. The son of devout Quakers, Richard Nixon (not unlike his rival John F. Kennedy) grew up in the shadow of an older, favored brother and thrived on conflict and opposition. Through high school and college, in the navy and in politics, Nixon was constantly leading crusades and fighting off enemies real and imagined. He possessed the plainspoken eloquence to reduce American television audiences to tears with his career-saving “Checkers” speech; meanwhile, Nixon’s darker half hatched schemes designed to take down his political foes, earning him the notorious nickname “Tricky Dick.” Drawing on a wide range of historical accounts, Thomas’s biography reveals the contradictions of a leader whose vision and foresight led him to achieve détente with the Soviet Union and reestablish relations with communist China, but whose underhanded political tactics tainted his reputation long before the Watergate scandal. A deeply insightful character study as well as a brilliant political biography, Being Nixon offers a surprising look at a man capable of great bravery and extraordinary deviousness—a balanced portrait of a president too often reduced to caricature. Praise for Being Nixon “Terrifically engaging . . . a fair, insightful and highly entertaining portrait.”—The Wall Street Journal “Thomas has a fine eye for the telling quote and the funny vignette, and his style is eminently readable.”—The New York Times Book Review

The Very Best Men

release date: Dec 04, 2012
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The Very Best Men
Drawing on extensive interviews with old spooks and the social friends and family of his subjects, The Very Best Men is a fascinating narrative that brings to life a crucial piece of American history. The Very Best Men is the story of the CIA's early days as told through the careers of four glamorous, daring, and idealistic men who ran covert operations for the government from the end of World War II to Vietnam. Evan Thomas re-creates the personal dramas and sometimes tragic lives of Frank Wisner, Richard Bissell, Tracy Barnes, and Desmond FitzGerald, who risked everything to contain the Soviet threat. Within the inner circles of Washington, they were regarded as the best and the brightest. They planned and acted to keep the country out of war -- by stealth and "political action" and to do by cunning and sleight of hand what great armies could not, must not be allowed to do. In the end, they were too idealistic and too honorable, and were unsuited for the dark, duplicitous life of spying. Their hubris and naïveté led them astray, producing both sensational coups and spectacular blunders like the Bay of Pigs and the failed assassination attempts on foreign leaders in the early 1960s. Thomas draws on the CIA's own secret histories, to which he has had exclusive access, as well as extensive interviews, to bring to life a crucial piece of American history.

The War Lovers

release date: Apr 10, 2010
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The War Lovers
The national bestselling and “compulsively readable” history of late 19th century American war fever “is hard to forget and hard to put down” (The New York Times Book Review). On February 15, 1898, the American ship USS Maine mysteriously exploded in the Havana Harbor. Some in the United States greeted the event with more enthusiasm than alarm. Dismayed by the “closing” of the Western frontier, politicians Theodore Roosevelt and Henry Cabot Lodge wanted to see their country exert its muscle overseas. The sinking of the Maine would provide the excuse they’d been waiting for, especially when newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst falsely announced in the New York Journal that Spain’s “secret infernal machine” had destroyed the battleship. Meanwhile, the philosopher William James, Roosevelt’s former teacher, and Thomas Reed, the powerful Speaker of the House, stood against what would become the Spanish-American War. At stake was not only sending troops to fight Spain in Cuba and the Philippines, but the friendships between these men. Now, bestselling historian Evan Thomas examines this monumental turning point in American history. Epic in scope and revelatory in detail, The War Lovers takes us from Boston mansions to the halls of Congress to the beaches of Cuba and the jungles of the Philippines. It is landmark work with an unforgettable cast of characters—and provocative relevance today.

Robert Kennedy

release date: Feb 05, 2013
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Robert Kennedy
He was "Good Bobby," who, as his brother Ted eulogized him, "saw wrong and tried to right it . . . saw suffering and tried to heal it." And "Bad Bobby," the ruthless and manipulative bully of countless conspiracy theories. Thomas's unvarnished but sympathetic and fair-minded portrayal is packed with new details about Kennedy's early life and his behind-the-scenes machinations, including new revelations about the 1960 and 1968 presidential campaigns, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and his long struggles with J. Edgar Hoover and Lyndon Johnson.

First

release date: May 05, 2020
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First
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * The intimate, inspiring, and authoritative biography of Sandra Day O'Connor, America's first female Supreme Court justice, drawing on exclusive interviews and first-time access to Justice O'Connor's archives "She's a hero for our time, and this is the biography for our time."--Walter Isaacson Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize * Named One of the Best Books of the Year by NPR and The Washington Post She was born in 1930 in El Paso and grew up on a cattle ranch in Arizona. At a time when women were expected to be homemakers, she set her sights on Stanford University. When she graduated near the top of her law school class in 1952, no firm would even interview her. But Sandra Day O'Connor's story is that of a woman who repeatedly shattered glass ceilings--doing so with a blend of grace, wisdom, humor, understatement, and cowgirl toughness. She became the first ever female majority leader of a state senate. As a judge on the Arizona Court of Appeals, she stood up to corrupt lawyers and humanized the law. When she arrived at the United States Supreme Court, appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1981, she began a quarter-century tenure on the Court, hearing cases that ultimately shaped American law. Diagnosed with cancer at fifty-eight, and caring for a husband with Alzheimer's, O'Connor endured every difficulty with grit and poise. Women and men who want to be leaders and be first in their own lives--who want to learn when to walk away and when to stand their ground--will be inspired by O'Connor's example. This is a remarkably vivid and personal portrait of a woman who loved her family, who believed in serving her country, and who, when she became the most powerful woman in America, built a bridge forward for all women. Praise for First "Cinematic . . . poignant . . . illuminating and eminently readable . . . First gives us a real sense of Sandra Day O'Connor the human being. . . . Thomas gives O'Connor the credit she deserves."--The Washington Post "[A] fascinating and revelatory biography . . . a richly detailed picture of [O'Connor's] personal and professional life . . . Evan Thomas's book is not just a biography of a remarkable woman, but an elegy for a worldview that, in law as well as politics, has disappeared from the nation's main stages."--The New York Times Book Review

The Wise Men

release date: May 08, 2012
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The Wise Men
Evaluates the roles of six leaders who shared the effort to restore order after World War II, including Averell Harriman, Dean Acheson, George Kennan, Robert Lovett, John McCloy, and Charles Bohlen.

Ike's Bluff

release date: Sep 25, 2012
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Ike's Bluff
Evan Thomas's startling account of how the underrated Dwight Eisenhower saved the world from nuclear holocaust. Upon assuming the presidency in 1953, Dwight Eisenhower set about to make good on his campaign promise to end the Korean War. Yet while Eisenhower was quickly viewed by many as a doddering lightweight, behind the bland smile and simple speech was a master tactician. To end the hostilities, Eisenhower would take a colossal risk by bluffing that he might use nuclear weapons against the Communist Chinese, while at the same time restraining his generals and advisors who favored the strikes. Ike's gamble was of such magnitude that there could be but two outcomes: thousands of lives saved, or millions of lives lost. A tense, vivid and revisionist account of a president who was then, and still is today, underestimated, IKE'S BLUFF is history at its most provocative and thrilling.

The Wise Men

release date: Feb 28, 2012
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The Wise Men
A captivating blend of personal biography and public drama, The Wise Men introduces the original best and brightest, leaders whose outsized personalities and actions brought order to postwar chaos: Averell Harriman, the freewheeling diplomat and Roosevelt's special envoy to Churchill and Stalin; Dean Acheson, the secretary of state who was more responsible for the Truman Doctrine than Truman and for the Marshall Plan than General Marshall; George Kennan, self-cast outsider and intellectual darling of the Washington elite; Robert Lovett, assistant secretary of war, undersecretary of state, and secretary of defense throughout the formative years of the Cold War; John McCloy, one of the nation's most influential private citizens; and Charles Bohlen, adroit diplomat and ambassador to the Soviet Union.

Memorial of Evan Thomas, and Others, a Committee Appointed for Indian Affairs, by the Yearly Meeting of the People Called Friends, Held in Baltimore

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