Books

BOOKS ON ACTING

“The Actor’s Art & Craft” with William Esper

William Esper, one of the leading acting teachers of our time, explains and extends Sanford Meisner’s legendary technique, offering a clear, concrete, step-by-step approach to becoming a truly creative actor.Esper worked closely with Meisner for seventeen years and has spent decades developing his famous program for actor’s training. The result is a rigorous system of exercises that builds a solid foundation of acting skills from the ground up, and that is flexible enough to be applied to any challenge an actor faces, from soap operas to Shakespeare. Co-writer Damon DiMarco, a former student of Esper’s, spent over a year observing his mentor teaching first-year acting students. In this book he recreates that experience for us, allowing us to see how the progression of exercises works in practice. The Actor’s Art and Craft vividly demonstrates that good training does not constrain actors’ instincts—it frees them to create characters with truthful and compelling inner lives.

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“Utterly inspirational. . . . The best book on the craft of acting that I have ever read.” –Mary Steenburgen, Academy Award-winning actor

“As far as I’m concerned, there is only way to learn the craft of acting, and that is through the Meisner technique. And there is only one person to learn that technique from, and that is William Esper.” –Patricia Heaton

“The essence of this book is like William Esper himself: kind/clear, caring/generous, passionate/graceful, brilliant/profound. Inspiring. Invaluable.” — Jeff Goldblum

“A veritable magnum opus on acting from a Master Teacher.” — Olympia Dukakis, Academy Award-winning actor

“Working with Bill Esper was an inspiring and unforgettable experience. . . . Every serious actor who dreams of becoming a first-rate artist must read this book!” — Calista Flockhart

“The Actor’s Guide to Creating a Character” with William Esper

William Esper, one of the most celebrated acting teachers of our time, takes us through his step-by-step approach to the central challenge of advanced acting work: creating and playing a character.

Esper’s first book, The Actor’s Art and Craft, earned praise for describing the basics taught in his famous first-year acting class. The Actor’s Guide to Creating a Character continues the journey. In these pages, co-author Damon DiMarco vividly re-creates Esper’s second-year course, again through the experiences of a fictional class. Esper’s training builds on Sanford Meisner’s legendary exercises, a world-renowned technique that Esper further developed through his long association with Meisner and the decades he has spent training a host of distinguished actors. His approach is flexible enough to apply to any role, helping actors to create characters with truthful and compelling inner lives.

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“Bill Esper’s training gave me many precious gifts. . . . He is a master teacher  and I use what I learned with him every single time I work. I will be forever grateful.” —Christine Lahti, Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning actor, Academy Award-winning director

“Simple, straightforward, inspiring and invaluable. . . . This book reminds me of how incredibly fortunate I was to have been taught by Bill Esper.” —Timothy Olyphant, Emmy and SAG Award winner

“Reading this book brought me back to Bill’s classroom. His vast experience and joy of the craft resonate on every page. Studying with Bill was an amazing time of discovery.” — Gretchen Mol, Boardwalk Empire

“My time studying with Bill Esper left me feeling like a completely trained actor and a more honest, grounded person. Training and studying with him has informed all the stand-up, acting and writing I do. I am forever grateful.” — Amy Schumer, Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer

“Anyone serious about acting ought to read this excellent book and then run to New York to study with Bill. He is the real deal—insightful, generous, uncompromising, and endlessly inspiring.” — Stephen Adly Guirgis, actor, playwright, artistic co-director of LAByrinth Theater Company

ORAL HISTORIES

“Tower Stories: An Oral History of 9/11”

From Amazon:

“Damon DiMarco’s Tower Stories: An Oral History of 9/11 eternally preserves a monumental tragedy in American history through the voices of the people who were in Lower Manhattan and elsewhere in New York City on that fateful day.

The stories DiMarco has collected come from a diverse group of human beings: individuals who managed to escape from the Towers; the bereaved of 9/11; the policemen, firemen, paramedics, reporters, and volunteers who risked their lives to help others; eyewitnesses who stood in shock on the streets below the Towers; WTC structural engineers, political experts, political dissidents, small business owners, and, of course, children whose lives will be forever impacted by the horror and chaos they witnessed.

In the tradition of Studs Terkel, DiMarco’s moving oral history chronicles the stories of everyone from the small group of people who miraculously made it safely down from the 89th floor of Tower 1 to the New York Times reporter trying desperately to fight her way through the fleeing crowds into Lower Manhattan, to the paramedic who set up a triage area 200 yards from the base of the Towers before they collapsed to the ordinary citizens of New York City who tried to get on with their lives in the days following the tragic event.

This expanded second edition of DiMarco’s literary time capsule includes follow-up interviews that track contributors’ lives in the years since 9/11, as well as dozens of never-before-published photographs.

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“Arguably the most successful attempt at capturing the enormity of the events of 9/11, Damon DiMarco’s sprawling oral history runs a wide gamut of testimony from survivors, responders, witnesses and people whose lives were forever altered by the attacks. The human stories are presented with a raw candor a thousand times more affecting than any cold statistic offered by a commission … ‘Tower Stories’ is a riveting and disarmingly emotional read.” — NBC’s Today Show Books section

“. . .heart-breaking reminiscences by New Yorkers who survived the attack and then endured a decade of denial, doubt, and rebuilding.” — The New York Times

“Heart of War: Soldiers’ Voices from the Front Lines of Iraq”

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“Journalist DiMarco has assembled 18 Iraq war testimonies of soldiers ranging from a West Point-educated tanker who was early into Baghdad to truck drivers who have been targets for improvised explosive devices. Those interviewed include a high proportion of highly intelligent people, whose essential work, which often involved dealing directly with Iraqi culture, is seldom publicized, and they exemplify a panoply of those returning from Iraq–career military, disgruntled and life-disrupted recalled reservists, victims of broken marriages and of contamination by depleted uranium particles, and male and female enlistees who have finally filled their military contracts and are home, they hope, to stay. DiMarco’s respect for his interviewees and sidebars on weapons and tactics (some rather chilling and even appalling) further distinguish this addition to Iraq war literature.” – American Library Association

COLLABORATIONS

“My Two Chinas: The Memoir of a Chinese Counterrevolutionary” with Baiqiao Tang

In 1989, Baiqiao Tang was a student leader organizing pro-democracy demonstrations in Hunan province. On June 4 of that year, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) quashed the movement Tang helped to lead in the now infamous Tiananmen Square massacre. During the nationwide crackdown that ensued against “counterrevolutionaries,” the CCP issued a warrant for Tang’s arrest. Tang recalls in detail his shock upon seeing his face plastered on a “wanted” poster at a train station. He attempted to flee to Macau but was captured before he could cross the border. In prison, Tang witnessed and endured medieval tortures that no human should ever experience. Eventually, he escaped to America with help from the United States government.

This unique, timely, suspenseful, and ultimately inspiring memoir will resonate with people from all walks of life and from all backgrounds who care about human rights and the future of free society.

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” . . . beautifully written . . . Tang fully embraces the poetry and stories of China . . . His book is both a history lesson and a heart-wrenching read.” — Publishers Weekly

“A mesmerizing and important book.” — The Sudbury Star (Ontario, Canada)

“The Brown Agenda: My Mission to Clean Up the World’s Most Life-Threatening Pollution” with Richard Fuller

Pollution is the single largest cause of death in the developing world. One in seven people in low- and middle-income countries die as a result of it. Simply put, pollution is now the world’s most prevalent health risk.

And yet, while most everyone has heard about “going green,” few are aware of the more dire and sinister “brown” pollution—places where man-made toxic pollutants have taken root and spread. Brown sites poison millions of people every year, causing needless suffering and death.

After witnessing several brown sites firsthand and meeting families trapped by poverty in these toxic hot spots, environmentalist Richard Fuller founded the Blacksmith Institute, now renamed Pure Earth, a global nonprofit that initiates large-scale cleanups of some of the most polluted places on earth.

The Brown Agenda details Fuller’s inspirational journey—from his dangerous yet ultimately successful fight to save hundreds of thousands of acres in the Amazon rain forest to his creation of Pure Earth.

In this vivid account of his perilous travels to the earth’s most toxic locations, Fuller introduces readers to the plight of the “poisoned poor,” and suggests specific ways people everywhere can help combat pollution all over the world.

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“There are few more important stories than how we humans foul the planet and ourselves, often heedlessly. And there are few better placed to tell that tale than Richard Fuller, who has been working for years to show how we can—and, more importantly, should—clean up the earth. The Brown Agenda is the story of an important humanitarian cause revealed in clear and concise prose that is at once deeply necessary and deeply satisfying.” — David Biello, Editor, Environment & Energy, Scientific American

“Rich Fuller’s passion and commitment towards educating people on the under-reported issue of environmental pollution, as well as finding innovative solutions to solve the problems, has helped save the lives of thousands of adults and children around the world. He is a truly inspiring human being and I am honoured to know him.”—Dev Patel, Award-winning actor, Slumdog Millionaire

“Richard Fuller has brought evangelical zeal to highlighting the deleterious impacts of environmental pollution and contamination on public health across the world. He has not been satisfied with merely identifying problems but has aggressively sought solutions as well, both through national and international actions. This book is an eloquent testimony to his obsessions for making the world a healthier, safer, and cleaner place, especially for its children. The world needs more Richard Fullers.”— Jairam Ramesh, Minister for Environment, India, 2009–2011

“Starting with a powerful recount of manmade environmental disasters around the world and their consequent grave dangers to humanity, narrated in Richard Fuller’s typical no-nonsense style and without pulling punches, the book also forcefully reflects Richard’s passion and commitment to make the world a better place to live and breathe in. What is refreshing about this book is that it is not a doomsday naysayer. On the contrary, it is about hope and optimism. This is the heroic saga of a heroic man who has devoted his life, his boundless energy and commitment, and most of all, his empathy and his humanity to the cause of ‘cleaning up.’ His is a message of determination, of conviction that ‘creating a pure earth is a problem for realists,’ and evidence that indeed it can be done. A heroic tale indeed!”— Rajat Nag, Managing Director General, Asian Development Bank, 1988–2013

“Out of Bounds: Coming Out of Sexual Abuse, Addiction, and My Life of Lies in the NFL Closet” with Roy Simmons

The second NFL player ever to come out as gay and the first ever to come out as HIV-positive, Roy Simmons was an up-and-coming star offensive lineman who quit football after just four years rather than be exposed as gay. Out of Bounds tells his compelling story-from his rape at age 10 to being plucked from his poor Southern background to join the NFL, from his first taste of pro football fame and sudden enormous wealth to his fast-paced, no holds barred nightlife of heavy drugs and countless sexual encounters with women and men. Simmons led a roller-coaster life that peaked in the late 1980s with his playing in the Superbowl. Ultimately, however, reckless living left him penniless, friendless, and on the brink of suicide. Finally in 1992, Simmons tapped the courage to come out as gay on national TV—then coming out as HIV-positive 10 years later—leading him to a healthy path of sobriety and self-acceptance.

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In 1992, on the Phil Donahue show, former NFL offensive lineman Roy Simmons let the world in on his secret: Simmons, a seven-year veteran of the NFL who had traded the gridiron for a crackpipe, was gay. Only the second NFL player to admit he was gay (a third, Esera Tuaolo, has since made the announcement), Simmons’s confession shocked the sports world. But it is what led up to that show that proves even more shocking. In this gritty, unflinching memoir, Simmons recounts how keeping his sexuality tucked tightly under his football pads steered him into a clandestine life filled with sex, drugs, sex, lies and sex. Unlike recently celebrated and bestselling rehab memoirs, Simmons’s story has no happy ending. Nor is there a happy beginning or happy middle. And be forewarned: Simmons pulls no punches in speaking directly (read: profanely) about his experiences-the sex is explicit and the drugs are rampant. Simmons has since become the only former NFL player to disclose that he is HIV positive, but his illness has done little to derail his self-destructive lifestyle. Even now, 13 years after that televised confession, he seems strangely proud of his exploits. This memoir may not be a must-own for the casual-or even avid-football fan, but it should be required reading for every nascent professional athlete-as a manual of what not to do. — Publisher’s Weekly

“Fat Kid Got Fit: And So Can You!” with Bill Baroni

When Bill Baroni was just twenty years old, he was convinced he was dying. He thought he was having a heart attack because it felt like he had an elephant sitting on his chest. It turned out to be only indigestion, but more than that, it was the wake up call he needed to save his life. Bill weighed 320 pounds and was hooked on junk food. He set about to change his life forever, and now, in Fat Kid Gets Fit, he tells you everything you need to know to lose weight and more importantly, keep it off for the rest of your life.

No, he’s not a doctor. Not a trainer. Not a salesman hawking gym equipment, vitamin supplements, or workout videos. He did not have gastric bypass surgery and he didn’t subscribe to the slimming grapefruit enema regimes used by Hollywood stars. He lost his weight using common sense. It took dedication, and even some gumption. But it worked! He lost 120 pounds and, more importantly, he has kept it off! He has maintained a healthy 185 pounds for fifteen years. At 6’5”, he is trim, handsome, and healthy.

Bill is a man on a mission—to help get everyone fit, no matter what their story is.

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“Baroni is neither a trainer, nor a doctor, nor a dietitian, nor a salesman. He’s an ordinary civil servant who lost 120 pounds by following the Duke University Diet & Fitness Center plan. Ten weeks there gave him the knowledge he needed to recognize what the fast-food lifestyle was doing to him. He traces his own path and, with humor and style, passes the information he learned along to readers. This can work for anyone.” – Library Journal STARRED REVIEW

“Fat Kid Got Fit is a must for those who suffer because of their weight and want to change. Bill Baroni learned that the best reason to get fit and stay healthy is to enjoy life even more. He created a physical, emotional, and spiritual metamorphosis for himself. This book gives a clear and readable description of the steps he took . . .and so can you!”Dr. Michael Hamilton, former Director of the Duke University Diet & Fitness Center

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