Tokyo: a biography

Author: Stephen Mansfield

Language: English

Summary: In a whirlwind journey through Tokyo’s past from its earliest beginnings up to the present day, this Japanese history book demonstrates how the city’s response to everything from natural disasters to regime change has been to reinvent itself time and again. A calamitous fire results in a massive expansion of the city’s territory. A debate over the Samurai code creates far-reaching social change. A malleable boy becomes the figurehead for powerful forces who change an ancient feudal society into a modern industrialized power within a generation. Utter destruction wipes the slate clean again so Tokyoites may start all over. And so it goes. Tokyo’s story is riveting, and by the end of Tokyo: A Biography, readers see a city almost unrivalled in its uniqueness, a place that—despite its often tragic history—still shimmers as it prepares to face the future. – Source: Amazon.com

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Hope in a ballet shoe: orphaned by war, saved by ballet – an extraordinary true story

 

Author: Elaine DePrince

Language: English

SummaryHope in a Ballet Shoe tells the story of Michaela DePrince. Growing up in war-torn Sierra Leone, she witnesses atrocities that no child ever should. Her father is killed by rebels and her mother dies of famine. Sent to an orphanage, Michaela is mistreated and she sees the brutal murder of her favourite teacher.

Michaela and her best friend are adopted by an American couple and Michaela begins to take dance lessons. But life in the States isn’t without difficulties. Unfortunately, tragedy can find its way to Michaela in America, too, and her past can feel like it’s haunting her. The world of ballet is a racist one, and Michaela has to fight for a place amongst the ballet elite, hearing the words ‘America’s not ready for a black girl ballerina.’

And yet . . . Today, Michaela DePrince is an international ballet star, dancing for The Dutch National Ballet at the age of nineteen. This is a heart-breaking, inspiring autobiography by a teenager who shows us that, beyond everything, there is always hope for a better future. Source: Amazon.com

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Desert flower: the extraordinary journey of a desert nomad

Author: Waris Dirie

Language: English

Summary: Waris Dirie ran away from her oppressive life in the African desert when she was barely in her teens, illiterate and impoverished, with nothing to her name but a tattered shawl. She traveled alone across the dangerous Somali desert to Mogadishu—the first leg of a remarkable journey that would take her to London, where she worked as a house servant; then to nearly every corner of the globe as an internationally renowned fashion model; and ultimately to New York City, where she became a human rights ambassador for the U.N. Desert Flower is her extraordinary story — Source: amazon.com

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