The Secret World of Walter Anderson By Hester Bass (Author) and E.B. Lewis (Illustrator)

Walter Anderson was considered to be quite an odd person, rowing across twelve miles of open water in a leaky skiff to reach Horn, an uninhabited island without running water or electricity. But this solitary artist didn’t much care what they thought as he spent weeks at a time on his personal paradise, sleeping under his boat, sometimes eating whatever washed ashore, sketching and painting the natural surroundings and the animals that became his friends. Here Walter created some of his most brilliant watercolors, work he kept hidden during his lifetime. In a beautifully crafted picture book biography, writer Hester Bass and Caldecott Honor-winning illustrator E. B. Lewis pay homage to an uncompromising American artist.

This book would make a wonderful addition to any art class, especially the classes that teach that “art is an adventure.” (Ms. Bass’s words.) “The Secret World of Walter Anderson” is just lovely. If you love art, artists, or nature, this book is for you.

The Secret World of Walter Anderson By Hester Bass (Author) and E.B. Lewis (Illustrator)

The Secret World of Walter Anderson By Hester Bass (Author) and E.B. Lewis (Illustrator)

The Secret World of Walter Anderson By Hester Bass (Author) and E.B. Lewis (Illustrator)

The Secret World of Walter Anderson By Hester Bass (Author) and E.B. Lewis (Illustrator)


Gandhi Naked Ambition by Jad Adams

Father of the nation, spiritual leader of India’s independence movement, pioneer of non-violent resistance through mass civil disobedience, Mohandas K. Gandhi has been an inspiration to movements for civil rights and political freedom across the world.

This book depicts Gandhi’s searing ambition, involving the ceaseless creation of an image from London dudester to simply attired; his sacrifice of his family for his principles; and the tragedy of partition in which he became not the father of India, but of Pakistan, through his refusal to accept a constitutional settlement

Gandhi: Naked Ambition potrays Gandhi as a guru in the style of later popularisers of Indian ideas such as the Maharishi and Osho and shows how he operated a similar control over every aspect of the lives of his followers. This book is able to offer the most explicit account yet of Gandhi’s sexual experiments with the wives of his followers and his teenage grand-nieces.

Jad Adams traces the course of Gandhi’s multi-faceted life, and the concomitant development of his religious, political and social thinking. Gandhi’s life is covered from his comfortable upbringing in a princely state in Gujarat, via his training as a barrister in London to his early civil rights campaigns in South Africa, his leadership role in the Indian National Congress and unsuccessful struggles to unite the interests of Muslim activists and orthodox Hindus; through the campaigns of non-cooperation and civil disobedience in the 1920s and 1930s that made him a world icon.

Jad Adams explores the many contradictions of this most complex of men: a lifelong pacifist whose treatment of his wife and sons bordered on cruelty; a self-denying ascetic who preached the virtues of chastity in marriage yet experienced a high degree of intimate physical female contact; a political radical whose resistance to racism and appreciation of the value of all religions strike a thoroughly modern note, but whose vision of India was the almost medieval one of a village nation sustained by farming, spinning and weaving.

Jad Adams is an independent historian working as an author and television producer. His books include The Dynasty, a composite biography of the Nehru family; Tony Benn, a full length biography of the leading radical and Kipling. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and is a Visiting Research Fellow of the School of Advanced Study, University of London.

More about the book and a Q&A

Gandhi  Naked Ambition by Jad Adams

Syd Barrett: A Very Irregular Head by Rob Chapman

Here lies a biography that Syd deserves. Insightful, intelligent and sensitive.

A must read for Syd fans – the author Rob Chapman dealing with the mysteries of perhaps pop’s greatest enigma. Starting with Syd’s childhood in Cambridge to the pinnacle of success in Pink Floyd and his downward spiral into obscurity. The book does examine the possibilities that Syd had schizophrenia…. it is well established that Syd was a sound synesthete (hears colours) and that fed directly into his music.

The book title ‘A very irregular head’ is spot on and how Syd referred to himself in his last ever interview with Rolling Stone in 1971.

A must have for music fans.

Syd Barrett: A Very Irregular Head By Rob Chapman

Dead End Gene Pool – Wendy Burden

The great-great-great granddaughter of Cornelius Vanderbilt gives readers a grand tour of the world of wealth inside the family that was her side of the Vanderbilt dynasty, bringing American class structure, sibling rivalry and the decline of the bluebloods vividly to life. It is a wonderful read. This is a dark and humorous memoir Wendy Burden.

For generations the Burdens were one of the wealthiest families in New York, thanks to the inherited fortune of Cornelius “The Commodore” Vanderbilt. By 1955, the year of Wendy’s birth, the Burden’s had become a clan of overfunded, quirky and brainy, steadfastly chauvinistic, and ultimately doomed bluebloods on the verge of financial and moral decline-and were rarely seen not holding a drink. In Dead End Gene Pool, Wendy invites readers to meet her tragically flawed family, including an uncle with a fondness for Hitler, a grandfather who believes you can never have enough household staff, and a remarkably flatulent grandmother.

At the heart of the story is Wendy’s glamorous and aloof mother who, after her husband’s suicide, travels the world in search of the perfect sea and ski tan, leaving her three children in the care of a chain- smoking Scottish nanny, Fifth Avenue grandparents, and an assorted cast of long-suffering household servants (who Wendy and her brothers love to terrorize). Rife with humor, heartbreak, family intrigue, and booze, Dead End Gene Pool offers a glimpse into the fascinating world of old money and gives truth to an old maxim: The rich are different…

Dead End Gene Pool - Wendy Burden