The Socialite Who Killed a Nazi with Her Bare Hands and 143 Other Fascinating People Who Died This Past Year: The Best of the New York Times Obituaries, 2013

The Socialite Who Killed a Nazi with Her Bare Hands and 143 Other Fascinating People Who Died This Past Year: The Best of the New York Times Obituaries, 2013

by William McDonald


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Returning for its second year but reimagined in a new impulse format, with a new title, new cover, new mission, and new sensibility, here is The Socialite Who Killed a Nazi with Her Bare Hands, a pithier, quirkier collection of the 164 best page-turning obituaries from The New York Times.

Written by top journalists, each story is a gem of a bio, a full life in miniature. There’s the famous: Steve Jobs, including the story of how he was reunited with a sister he never knew, the novelist Mona Simpson. And the almost famous: Ruth Stone, a poet who worked in relative obscurity until she won the National Book Award at the age of 87. The behind-the-scenes, like Arch West, inventor of the Dorito, who pulled America’s snacks out of the 1950s doldrums and created a $5-billion-a-year product, and the out-there, like self-styled anarchist and maverick artist (and real estate mogul and museum director) Bob Cassilly, who died at the controls of his bulldozer while building “Cementland” in St. Louis. And because of the chronological organization of the book, the stories, one next to the other, make for an addictive-as-salted-peanuts book: Mark O. Hatfield, the celebrated antiwar Republican senator from Oregon, next to Nancy Wake of the title, the impoverished New Zealander who grew up to become a high-society hostess and heroine of the French Resistance—the socialite who did, indeed, kill a Nazi with her bare hands.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780761170877
Publisher: Workman Publishing Company, Inc.
Publication date: 10/30/2012
Pages: 400
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

William McDonald has been the obituaries editor at The New York Times since 2006. He started at the Times in 1988 and held numerous editorial positions, including being on the team that won the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for the series “How Race Is Lived in America.” He lives in New York City.

Table of Contents

Foreword Tom Rachman ix

Introduction William McDonald xi

August 2011

Branded in Pink at Buchenwald Rudolf Brazda 1

A Battler for Women's Health Undone by 9/11 Bernadine P. Healy 3

Governor to City: I'm Here for You Hugh L. Carey 5

A Belle of Paris, a Heroine of War Nancy Wake 10

A Liberal, Anti-War, No-Nukes Republican Mark O. Hatfield 12

From Abstract Art to Alien Abductions Budd Hopkins 14

The Power Couple From Motown Nick Ashford 16

Wordsmith of Rock 'n' Roll Jerry Leiber 18

Bibles for a Babel-Like World Eugene A. Nida 20

He Rode With the Han, and Exposed It Stetson Kennedy 22

A Simple Invention, a Shipping Revolution Keith W. Tantlinger 24

On a Foggy Night, War Came to Long Island John Cullen 26

Up From the Delta, Singing the Blues David Honeyboy Edwards 28

Breaking Barriers With Wheels or Wings Betty Skelton 30

September 2011

Spouting Whales Were Par for the Course Ralph J. Lomma 33

A Pop Art Pioneer Hired by the Beatles Richard Hamilton 34

Incident in the Snow at 26,000 Feet Walter Bonatti 37

Think of His Brainchild as Everyman Tom Wilson 39

The Makings of a President, Some Said Charles H. Percy 41

On the Origin of Doritos Arch West 44

A Poetic Rebuke, as Eliot Sat Listening Emanuel Litvinoff 45

Tree by Tree, a Path to the Peace Prize Wangari Maathai 48

A Builder of Wonderlands Bob Cassilly 50

The Tinkerer and the Pacemaker Wilson Greatbatch 52

"The Mother of Hip-Hop" Sylvia Robinson 55

A Nobel Prize, Three Days Late Ralph M. Steinman 56

October 2011

The Age of Apple Steven P. Jobs 59

Leading 300 Nuns Out the Church Door Anita Caspary 66

Challenging the Academy, and America, on Race Derrick Bell 68

A Man of the Cloth Bloodied in Birmingham Fred L. Shuttlesworth 70

Football's Most Valuable Renegade Al Davis 73

His Firing Ignited a Gay-Rights Struggle Franklin Kameny 77

Ladies in White, Marching for the Jailed Laura Pollán Toledo 79

'Mean Streets' Became Salvation Road Piri Thomas 80

Love in the Shadow of Auschwitz Jerzy Bieleck1 82

A Brutal Dictator, a Violent End Muammar El-Qaddafi 84

But to Her Young, Unsure Readers, Just 'Beth' Elizabeth Winship 92

A Home of Her Own Was Her Victory Yvonne McCain 93

A Blooming TV Eccentric, He Was Jimmy Savile 94

November 2011

What She Never Had, She Gave Her Daughter Dorothy Rodham 97

America's Front-Porch Philosopher Andy Rooney 99

An Everlasting Link to His Rival, Ali Joe Frazier 103

Daring Young Man on His Flying Skis Jamie Pierre 108

Restoring Violins to Pitch-Perfect Health Rene Morel 109

An Athlete's Toughest Opponent Was Racism Basil D'oliveira 111

Acclaim Finally Knocked on the Farmhouse Door Ruth Stone 113

After an Arrest, a Gay Rights Hero John G. Lawrence 115

The First Lady Refused to Play Hostess Danielle Mitterrand 117

The Strange Odyssey of Stalin's Daughter Lana Peters 119

David and Goliath in West Texas Oscar Griffin Jr. 123

A Child of Hollywood Kept in the Dark Judy Lewis 125

A Must-Read on American Politics Tom Wicker 127

From the Fields of Oxford to Bloody Nigeria Odumegwu Ojukwu 131

December 2011

A 'Laugh-In' Regular Was Hiding Something Alan Sues 134

The 'Duke of Uke' Bill Tapia 136

Achilles With an Uzi: Updating the 'Iliad' Christopher Logue 137

Much More Than a Soccer Star Sócrates 140

Harlem's Family Doctor Muriel Petioni 141

Personal Trainer for a Flabby America Bonnie Prudden 143

A World Watched Her Every Stitch Erica Wilson 145

Opeta Impresario of the Lower East Side Anthony Amato 147

Bookseller on the Seine George Whitman 149

A Quiver Full of Arguments, Laced With Wit Christopher Hitchens 151

The Unknowable 'Dear Leader' Kim Jong-Il 155

A Photographer's 'Pygmalion' Doe Avedon 160

The Playwright in Prague Castle Vaclav Havel 162

On Talk Radio, Not One of the Guys Lynn Samuels 167

Stained Canvas and a New School of Art Helen Frankenthaler 169

High Art Next to the Knife and Fork Eva Zeisel 173

January 2012

A World War II Battle Belatedly Won Gordon Hirabayashi 176

Glimpses of Unscripted Hollywood Eve Arnold 178

A Last Link to the Silent Movies Frederica Sagor Maas 180

Before Disaster in the Sky, a Warning Roger Boisjoly 182

When the Ships Came In, the Bar Got Busy Pilar Montero 184

"The Godfather of Rhythm and Blues' Johnny Otis 186

'At Last' Will Always Be Hers Etta James 188

In Surreal Designs, East Met West Eiko Ishioka 190

He Was Penn State, in Glory and Disgrace Joe Paterno 193

Opera History Made, Then Forgotten Camilla Williams 197

February 2012

And in This Comer, Behind the Champion… Angelo Dundee 201

Every Saturday Morning, Soul Music for All Don Cornelius 203

Her Spy Came in From the Garden Dorothy Gilman 206

The Last Veteran of World War I Florence Green 207

Bored With Piracy, He Rowed the Oceans John Fairfax 209

Soaring Star, Fallen Idol Whitney Houston 211

Rediscovered Negatives and a Career Renewed Lillian Bassman 214

Wounds Dressed in Song Dory Previn 217

The 'Kid' Who Loved Baseball Gary Carter 219

Dateline: A Region Torn Anthony Shadid 222

Old-Time Fiddling Rollicked Again Joe Thompson 225

The First Amendment Prefaced Every Book Barney Rosset 227

Witness to War to the Last Marie Colvin 231

Is God Dead? He Had an Answer William Hamilton 233

A Plane Crashed, and a Life Pivoted Anna Lou Dehavenon 235

Monkees Heartthrob Davy Jones 237

March 2012

'Bulldog for the Conservative Cause' Andrew Breitbart 240

Crime and the Importance of Fixing a Window James Q. Wilson 242

The 'Lipstick Killer' Who Terrified Chicago William Heirens 245

Making Mr. Coffee Samuel Glazer 247

The Murder Charge Listed 27,900 Counts John Demjanjuk 248

An All-American Jewish English Muffin Murray Lender 252

In One Book, 'to Be' Is Not to Be Found Christine Brooke-Rose 253

Feminism's Poet Laureate Adrienne Rich 255

Holding Aloft the High Art Banner Hilton Kramer 258

The Man Who Ate a Car, and Other Tales Harry Crews 261

April 2012

Simon Says, Read This Obit Lou Goldstein 264

The Black Experience in Clay and Stone Elizabeth Catlett 266

On '60-Minutes,' a Weekly Grilling Mike Wallace 268

Vampire of the Afternoon Jonathan Frid 273

The Ambassador of Rock 'n' Roll Dick Clark 275

Deep-Rooted Music in the Age of Rock Levon Helm 279

Dirty Tricks Led to Prison, and a Rebirth Charles Colson 283

Mustard, Relish and Some Times Square History Fred Hakim 286

Thomas Austin Preston Jr. Was a Gambling Man Amarillo Slim 288

May 2012

Beastie Boy Adam Yauch 290

The Saboteur Who Posed as a Nun Robert De La Rochefoucauld 293

The Wild and Wonderful Things of Childhood Maurice Sendak 295

The Queen of Disco, but More Than That Donna Summer 299

'One of the Most Remarkable Voices in History' Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau 302

He Handed the World the Remote Eugene Polley 305

Bee Gee Robin Gibb 307

He Didn't Need to See the Guitar to Master It Doc Watson 310

In the Friendship Hall of Fame, Too Jack Twyman 313

June 2012

Her Young Readers, She Said, Were Too Old for Fairy Tales Rosa Guy 316

The Poet Laureate of Science Fiction Ray Bradbury 318

Goodfella Henry Hill 322

The World Watched His Beating, and Heard His Plea Rodney G. King 324

Bon Vivant With a Vivid Brush Leroy Neiman 328

Follow the Money Supply, the Economist Said Anna J. Schwartz 329

Wit, Wisdom and a Hollywood Touch Nora Ephron 332

A Star in the League of Their Own Doris Sams 336

From the Underground to the Pinnacle in Israel Yitzhak Shamir 338

July 2012

America's Aw-Shucks Sheriff Andy Griffith 342

The Might-Have-Been Champion Jimmy Bivins 346

Forever Marty and McHale Ernest Borgnine 348

The Food That Matters Most Is on the Kitchen Table Marion Cunningham 350

The Barnum of Bloomingdale's Marvin Traub 353

She in the Spotlight, Nazis in the Dark Florence Waren 355

A Song About Women Rang True About Men Kitty Wells 358

Building a Better Treadmill Bill Staub 360

Her Soul Food Became the Heart of Harlem Sylvia Woods 361

Just Two Ordinary People Collecting Masterworks Herbert Vogel 363

A Ceiling in Space Was Shattered Sally Ride 366

As He Himself Might Have Said, There Will Never Be Another Gore Vidal 370

Indexes 377

Photography Credits 383

Permissions 384

Acknowledgments 385

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