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When Mark McDonough was a teen, a catastrophic fire claimed the lives of his mother and younger brother. It also left Mark with burns on over 65 percent of his body. During a long and painful recovery, his faltering faith in God was strengthened by a remarkable near-death experience. Inspired to pursue a career as a plastic surgeon to help those who suffer as he has, McDonough has overcome numerous other adversities on his journey, including addiction and a stroke. Now he shares his incredible true story of survival and perseverance to bring hope and healing to those dealing with great physical and emotional pain. Anyone who has suffered or watched a loved one suffer from a personal trauma, disease, or loss that has tested or stolen their faith and exhausted their emotional resources will find real hope in this redemptive story.
Peace, many would agree, is a goal that democratic nations should strive to achieve. But is democracy, in fact, dependent on war to survive? Having spent their celebrated careers exploring this provocative question, John Ferejohn and Frances McCall Rosenbluth trace the surprising ways in which governments have mobilized armies since antiquity, discovering that our modern form of democracy not only evolved in a brutally competitive environment but also quickly disintegrated when the powerful elite no longer needed their citizenry to defend against existential threats. Bringing to vivid life the major battles that shaped our current political landscape, the authors begin with the fierce warrior states of Athens and the Roman Republic. While these experiments in “mixed government” would serve as a basis for the bargain between politics and protection at the heart of modern democracy, Ferejohn and Rosenbluth brilliantly chronicle the generations of bloodshed that it would take for the world’s dominant states to hand over power to the people. In fact, for over a thousand years, even as medieval empires gave way to feudal Europe, the king still ruled. Not even the advancements of gunpowder—which decisively tipped the balance away from the cavalry-dominated militaries and in favor of mass armies—could threaten the reign of monarchs and “landed elites” of yore. The incredibly wealthy, however, were not well equipped to handle the massive labor classes produced by industrialization. As we learn, the Napoleonic Wars stoked genuine, bottom-up nationalism and pulled splintered societies back together as “commoners” stepped up to fight for their freedom. Soon after, Hitler and Stalin perfectly illustrated the military limitations of dictatorships, a style of governance that might be effective for mobilizing an army but not for winning a world war. This was a lesson quickly heeded by the American military, who would begin to reinforce their ranks with minorities in exchange for greater civil liberties at home. Like Francis Fukuyama and Jared Diamond’s most acclaimed works, Forged Through Fire concludes in the modern world, where the “tug of war” between the powerful and the powerless continues to play out in profound ways. Indeed, in the covert battlefields of today, drones have begun to erode the need for manpower, giving politicians even less incentive than before to listen to the demands of their constituency. With American democracy’s flanks now exposed, this urgent examination explores the conditions under which war has promoted one of the most cherished human inventions: a government of the people, by the people, for the people. The result promises to become one of the most important history books to emerge in our time.
All around them was a world broken by the power of magic and torn by the cruelty of humans. Shattered a mere century before, vast tracts of land are uninhabitable, and repression is the order of the day. And yet a few noble people struggle for a better life. Fryca wanted to be left in peace to experiment with technology. Instead, frightened bigots attacked his home, sending him fleeing across barren soil and through rotted swamp. Inswán hoped for a quiet life overseeing the growth of his barony. Until an onslaught by his neighbour drove him to a war he railed against. This is their story. Splintered Lands: Through Fire Forged is a 21,000 word short story collection by James Tallett, author of The Four Part Land series and the epic fantasy best-seller Breaking an Empire. Other books by James: The Four Part Land: Tarranau Chloddio Breaking an Empire A Desert of Fire and Glass Splintered Lands: Splintered Lands: All Good Things... Splintered Lands: Vagabonds and Swine (as Editor) Novellas: Bloodaxe Wolven Kindred Lands of a Distant Truth Anthologies (as Editor): Ancient New Ruined Cities The Ways of Magic The Death God's Chosen
A powerful memoir of a female wilderness firefighter—“a story of love, friendship, wildfire, and death written in vivid prose fresh from the fire line” (John N. Maclean, author of Fire on the Mountain). Mary Emerick was once a shy schoolgirl before she dared to become that rarest of heroes—a woman who could stand on the front lines in the heat of a roaring wildfire. Determined to forge herself into a stronger, braver person, Mary climbed to heights she never imagined and found a courage within herself she never knew existed. But when she lost someone she loved to the nightmarish Storm King Mountain forest fire in Colorado that killed fourteen firefighters, Mary faces the hardest choice of her life—to stay in the game, or turn back and try to find the woman she used to be. Fire in the Heart is both a thrilling memoir about life-threatening work and a meditation on identity, bravery, unbreakable bonds, and survivor’s guilt. It is “a moving and bittersweet memoir of a woman’s love affair with a unique profession” (Kirkus Reviews).
The twenty essays in this effort to bring new vitality to the humanities range through fields familiar in life but unfamiliar in the humanities canon. They include leisure, folk cultures, material culture, pornography, comics, animal rights, Black studies, traveling, and, of course, the bugbear of academics, television.

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