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About Michael Korda
Country Matters, Ulysses S. Grant, Cat People, Journey to a Revolution, and Ike.
He lives with his wife, Margaret, in Dutchess County, New York.
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In Clouds of Glory: The Life and Legend of Robert E. Lee, Michael Korda, the New York Times bestselling biographer of Dwight D. Eisenhower, Ulysses S. Grant, and T. E. Lawrence, has written the first major biography of Lee in nearly twenty years, bringing to life one of America's greatest, most iconic heroes.
Korda paints a vivid and admiring portrait of Lee as a general and a devoted family man who, though he disliked slavery and was not in favor of secession, turned down command of the Union army in 1861 because he could not "draw his sword" against his own children, his neighbors, and his beloved Virginia. He was surely America's preeminent military leader, as calm, dignified, and commanding a presence in defeat as he was in victory. Lee's reputation has only grown in the 150 years since the Civil War, and Korda covers in groundbreaking detail all of Lee's battles and traces the making of a great man's undeniable reputation on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line, positioning him finally as the symbolic martyr-hero of the Southern Cause.
Clouds of Glory features dozens of stunning illustrations, some never before seen, including eight pages of color, sixteen pages of black-and-white, and nearly fifty battle maps.
In the tradition of The Year of Magical Thinking comes a legendary editor’s unflinching love song about his radiant wife, Margaret, and her battle with cancer.
It was a warm April in Pleasant Valley when Margaret Korda, normally a fearless horsewoman, dropped her horsewhip while she was riding. Such a mild slip was easy to ignore, but when other troubling symptoms accumulated, she confided to her husband, “Michael, I think something serious is wrong with me.” Within a few rapid weeks, the fiercely independent, former fashion model was diagnosed with brain cancer, while Michael, once reliant on her steeliness, became her caregiver, deciphering bewildering medical reports and packing her beloved toiletries for the hospital. An operation performed by a renowned surgeon allowed Margaret to ride her favorite competition horse Logan go Bragh a few more times, but Margaret’s tumors quickly returned—leaving her to grapple with the reality of impending death. In rapturous prose, Korda, a modern- day Orpheus, braids her heroic story with heartrending details of their final year together. Passing, a tender memoir, is a testament to the transcendent possibilities of love.
Ike is acclaimed author Michael Korda's sweeping and enthralling biography of Dwight David Eisenhower, arguably America's greatest general and one of her best presidents—a remarkable man in an extraordinary time, the hero who won the war and thereafter kept the peace.
“[With Wings Like Eagles is] bold and refreshing… Korda writes with great elegance and flair.”—Wall Street Journal
From the New York Times bestselling author of Ike and Horse People, Michael Korda, comes With Wings Like Eagles, the harrowing story of The Battle of Britain, one of the most important battles of World War II. In the words of the Washington Post Book World, “With Wings Like Eagles is a skillful, absorbing, often moving contribution to the popular understanding of one of the few episodes in history … to deserve the description ‘heroic.’”
A BBC History Best Book of the Year
One of the most miraculous military rescue missions in modern history comes alive in this “superb and panoramic” (Washington Post) account of Dunkirk.
No one can evince the drama of what actually happened at Dunkirk in the year 1940 with as “great narrative skill and superb delineation” (David McCullough) as Michael Korda, the historian and legendary book editor. As dramatized in Christopher Nolan’s film Dunkirk, May 1940 was a month like no other: Germany’s war machine blazed into France, the impregnable Maginot Line crumbled, and Winston Churchill replaced Neville Chamberlain as prime minister as Britain, isolated and alone, faced a triumphant Nazi Germany. Against this vast canvas, best-selling author Michael Korda relates his own personal story, “by turns charming, powerful and poignant” (Minneapolis Star Tribune): that of a six-year-old boy from a glamorous movie family who would himself be evacuated. Weaving together “eyewitness detail and a fine sense of drama” (Boston Globe) to form an epic of remarkable originality, Alone movingly captures a moment of historic triumph—when an unlikely flotilla of destroyers brought 300,000 men home to safety.
With his inimitable sense of humor and storytelling talent, New York Times bestselling author Michael Korda brings us this charming, hilarious, self-deprecating memoir of a city couple's new life in the country.
At once entertaining, canny, and moving, Country Matters does for Dutchess County, New York, what Under the Tuscan Sun did for Tuscany. This witty memoir, replete with Korda's own line drawings, reads like a novel, as it chronicles the author's transformation from city slicker to full-time country gentleman, complete with tractors, horses, and a leaking roof.
When he decides to take up residence in an eighteenth-century farmhouse in Dutchess County, ninety miles north of New York City, Korda discovers what country life is really like:
- Owning pigs, more than owning horses, even more than owning the actual house, firmly anchored the Kordas as residents in the eyes of their Pleasant Valley neighbors.
- You may own your land, but without concertina barbed wire, or the 82nd Airborne on patrol, it's impossible to keep people off it!
- It's possible to line up major household repairs over a tuna melt sandwich.
- And everyone in the area is fully aware that Michael "don't know shit about septics."
The locals are not particularly quick to accept these outsiders, and the couple's earliest interactions with their new neighbors provide constant entertainment, particularly when the Kordas discover that hunting season is a year-round event -- right on their own land! From their closest neighbors, mostly dairy farmers, to their unforgettable caretaker Harold Roe -- whose motto regarding the local flora is "Whack it all back! " -- the residents of Pleasant Valley eventually come to realize that the Kordas are more than mere weekenders.
Sure to have readers in stitches, this is a book that has universal appeal for all who have ever dreamed of owning that perfect little place to escape to up in the country, or, more boldly, have done it.
“Michael Korda has delivered a jewel of a short life of Ulysses S. Grant, a general deadly on the battlefield and unprepossessing off it. As a biographer Korda is Grant-like himself: unambiguous, decisive, clear. The book is a joy to read.” --Larry McMurtry, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Lonesome Dove
The first officer since George Washington to become a four-star general in the United States Army, Ulysses S. Grant was a man who managed to end the Civil War on a note of grace, and was the only president between Andrew Jackson and Woodrow Wilson to serve eight consecutive years in the White House. The son of an Ohio tanner, he has long been remembered as a brilliant general but a failed president whose second term ended in financial and political scandal. But now acclaimed, bestselling author Michael Korda offers a dramatic reconsideration of the man, his life, and his presidency. Ulysses S. Grant is an evenhanded and stirring portrait of a flawed leader who nevertheless ably guided America through a pivotal juncture in its history.
The Hungarian Revolution of 1956 was perhaps the most dramatic single event of the Cold War and a major turning point in history. Though it ended unsuccessfully, the spontaneous uprising of Hungarians against their country's Communist party and the Soviet occupation forces in the wake of Stalin's death demonstrated to the world at large the failure of Communism. In full view of the Western media—and therefore the world—the Russians were obliged to use force on a vast scale to subdue armed students, factory workers, and intellectuals in the streets of a major European capital.
In October 1956, Michael Korda and three fellow Oxford undergraduates traveled to Budapest in a beat-up Volkswagen to bring badly needed medicine to the hospitals—and to participate, at street level, in one of the great battles of the postwar era. Journey to a Revolution is at once history and a compelling memoir—the author's riveting account of the course of the revolution, from its heroic beginnings to the sad martyrdom of its end.
Another Life is not just an adventure--the engaging and often hilarious story of a young man making his career--but the insider's story of how a cottage industry metamorphosed into a big business, with sometimes alarming results for all concerned.
Korda writes with grace, humor, and a shrewd eye, not only about himself and his rise from a lowly (but not humble) assistant editor reading the "slush pile" of manuscripts to a famous editor in chief of a major publishing house, but also about the celebrities and writers with whom he worked over four decades.
Here are portraits--rare, intimate, always keenly observed--of such larger-than-life figures as Ronald Reagan, affable and good-natured but the most reluctant of authors, struggling with his "ghosted" presidential autobiography; Richard Nixon, seen here as a genial, if bizarrely detached, host; superagent Irving Lazar, pursuing his endless deals and dreams of "class"; retired Mafia boss Joseph Bonanno, the last of the old-time dons, laboring over his own version of his life in his desert retreat; Joan Crawford, giving Korda her rules for successful living; and countless other greats, near greats, and would-be greats.
Here too are famous writers, sometimes eccentric, sometimes infuriating, sometimes lost souls, captured memorably by someone who was close to them for years: Graham Greene, in pursuit of his FBI file and a Nobel Prize; Tennessee Williams, wrestling unsuccessfully with his demons; Jacqueline Susann, facing and conquering the dreaded "second-novel syndrome" after the stunning success of Valley of the Dolls; Harold Robbins (who had to be guarded under lock and key and made to finish his novels), struggling to keep the IRS at bay from the deck of his yacht; Carlos Castaneda, at his most sorcerously charming, described--at last--in detail, as he really was, by one of the few people who knew him well; not to mention Richard Adams, Will and Ariel Durant, Susan Howatch, S. J. Perelman, Fannie Hurst, Larry McMurtry, and many, many more.
Parts of this book that have appeared in The New Yorker over the years have brought Korda great acclaim--the chapter about Jacqueline Susann has been made into a major motion picture. Here at last, entertaining and provocative and always hugely readable, is the whole story--a book as engaging and full of life as Korda's highly acclaimed memoir of his family, Charmed Lives, about which Irwin Shaw wrote: "I don't know when I have enjoyed a book more."
A Rolls Royce Silver Cloud drove him to airports; the British film industry kowtowed to his power; the great Hollywood studios fawned at his feet.Sir Alexander Korda, one of the world's most flamboyant movie tycoons, rose from obscurity in rural Hungary to become a legendary filmmaker. With him were his brothers, Zoltan and Vincent, all living charmed lives in circles that included H. G. Wells, Sir Lawrence Olivier, Marlena Dietrich, Vivien Leigh, and Merle Oberon, who was soon to be Alex's wife. But along with Alex's flair for success was an equally powerful impulse for destruction. Now, Vincent's son, Michael Korda, in the first book of his memoirs, recalls the enchanted figures of his childhood...the glory days of the Korda brothers' great films...and then their heartbreaking, tragic end.
With unsparing frankness, Korda describes how he survived the ordeal of prostate surgery and its painful and humiliating aftereffects. He tells us how tumors are graded, evaluates different treatments, and makes sense of prostate cancer's mystifying "numbers." Practical, immensely readable, filled with information, and, above all, hopeful, Man to Man is literally a life-saver.