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Today, Miami, Florida, famed for its blue skies and bikinis, is already one of the most popular vacation spots, with nearly 10 million tourists visiting annually. But few people have any idea how this unofficial capital of Latin American came to be.
The Year of Dangerous Daysis a fascinating chronicle of a pivotal but forgotten year in American history. With a cast that includes iconic characters such as Jimmy Carter, Fidel Castro, and Janet Reno, this slice of history is brought to vibrant life through intertwining personal stories. At the core, there’s Edna Buchanan, a reporter for the Miami Herald who breaks the story on the wrongful murder of a black man, and the shocking police cover-up; Captain Marshall Frank, the hardboiled homicide detective tasked with investigating the murder; and Mayor Maurice Ferre, the charismatic politician who watches the case, and the city, fall apart.
A roller coaster of national politics and international diplomacy, these three figures cross paths and socio-economic lines as their city explodes in one of the worst race riots in American history—as over 120,000 Cuban refugees land on the Miami coast, and as drug cartels flood the city with cocaine and infiltrate all levels of law enforcement and government. In a battle of wills, Buchanan has to keep up with the 150% murder rate increase; Captain Frank has to scrub and rebuild his police department; and Mayor Ferre must find a way to reconstruct his smoldering city. Against all odds, they persevere, and a stronger, more vibrant Miami is born. But the new Miami—literally built on corruption and drug money—will have severe ramifications for the rest of the country.
Deeply researched and covering many timely issues including police brutality, immigration, and the drug crisis, The Year of Dangerous Days is both a clarion call and a creation story of one of America’s most iconic cities.
When the Russians bombed the capital of Muslim Chechnya in 2000, a city with almost a half million people was left with barely a single building intact. Rarely since Dresden and Stalingrad has the world witnessed such destruction.
The Caucasus is a jagged land. With Turkey to the west, Iran to the south, and Russia to the north, the Caucasus is trapped between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. If it didn't already possess the highest mountain range in Europe, the political pressure exerted from all sides would have forced the land to crack and rise. Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, Tamerlane, Peter the Great, Hitler, and Stalin all claimed to have conquered the region, leaving it a rich, but bloody history. A borderland between Christian and Muslim worlds, the Caucasus is the front line of a fascinating and formidable clash of cultures: Russia versus the predominantly Muslim mountains.
Award-winning writer Nicholas Griffin travels to the mountains of the Caucasus to find the root of today's conflict. Mapping the rise of Islam through myth, history, and politics, this travelogue centers on the story of Imam Shamil, the greatest Muslim warrior of the nineteenth century, who led a forty-year campaign against the invading Russians. Griffin follows Imam's legacy into the war-torn present and finds his namesake, the Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev, continuing his struggle.
Enthralling and fiercely beautiful, Caucasus lifts the lid on a little known but crucially important area of world. With approximately 100 billion barrels of crude oil in the Caspian Sea combined with an Islamic religious interest, it is an unfortunate guarantee that the tragedies that have haunted these jagged mountains in the past will show no sign of abating in the near future.
THE SPRING OF 1971 heralded the greatest geopolitical realignment in a generation. After twenty-two years of antagonism, China and the United States suddenly moved toward a détente—achieved not by politicians but by Ping-Pong players. The Western press delighted in the absurdity of the moment and branded it “Ping-Pong Diplomacy.” But for the Chinese, Ping-Pong was always political, a strategic cog in Mao Zedong’s foreign policy. Nicholas Griffin proves that the organized game, from its first breath, was tied to Communism thanks to its founder, Ivor Montagu, son of a wealthy English baron and spy for the Soviet Union.
Ping-Pong Diplomacy traces a crucial intersection of sports and society. Griffin tells the strange and tragic story of how the game was manipulated at the highest levels; how the Chinese government helped cover up the death of 36 million peasants by holding the World Table Tennis Championships during the Great Famine; how championship players were driven to their deaths during the Cultural Revolution; and, finally, how the survivors were reconvened in 1971 and ordered to reach out to their American counterparts. Through a cast of eccentric characters, from spies to hippies and Ping-Pong-obsessed generals to atom-bomb survivors, Griffin explores how a neglected sport was used to help realign the balance of worldwide power.
Mark Moffett doesn't just study ants, he travels among them. Moffet holds a Harvard Ph.D. in entomology and is an accomplished scientist, an award-winning author and journalist, and one of the best nature photographers of his generation. Years ago, this free-spirited naturalist left academia behind to plunge into the deepest jungles and observe insect societies up close. Now author Nicholas Griffin takes us inside Moffett's own world, to explore his death-cheating quest for discovery and his end-run around the scientific establishment. We'll follow Moffett into the rainforest as he chases a groundbreaking theory of ant superorganisms and supercolonies, one that may help us understand our own increasingly urbanized society. Along the way we'll meet a fascinating cast of battling army ants, farming leafcutter ants, and the insatiable Argentines: an ant species built to take over the world.
Nicholas Griffin is the author of four novels and one work of nonfiction. He lives in New York City. His next book comes out in 2013.