Cannavale seems hyperaware of all he missed in a checkered academic career, a result of bouncing back and forth between far-flung, divorced parents. But an outsider quality lies at the heart of his strength as an actor: there is something about him that never quite fits. He stands apart, a lightning rod for vulnerability, a touchstone for insecurity. Cannavale’s mother, Isabel, left Cuba in 1960 and moved to Union City, N.J. Her family lived across the street from the Cannavales; she fell in love with Sal, who worked at a chemical plant in Hoboken. “They were married when she was 16; she had me at 18,” Cannavale said. “When I was 5, they got divorced. To this day I can’t see how they ever got together. My mother remains a very outgoing personality. My dad is such an introvert.”
Bobby Cannavale for The New York Times Magazine (March 2013)
The series of lavish Easter eggs created by Fabergé for the Russian Imperial family, between 1885 and 1916, against an extraordinary historical backdrop, is regarded as the artist-goldsmith’s greatest and most enduring achievement. The Imperial Easter eggs are certainly the most celebrated and awe-inspiring of all Fabergé works of art, inextricably bound to the Fabergé name and legend. They are also considered as some of the last great commissions of ‘objets d’art’.
12 Monogram Egg [X] - my favorite, so beautiful
Grand Duchesses Maria and Anastasia with their cousin George Donatus of Hesse at Livadia: 1912.
|Question:||What inspired you to write THE BOOK THIEF?|
|Answer:||I grew up in Sydney and had a pretty normal childhood with my brother and two sisters. We lived most of our lives in the backyard, doing typical Australian things, but once in a while, it wasn’t Sydney anymore – because our parents told us their stories. That was when a piece of Europe entered our household, and our lives.|
|It was never an organized thing. My mum and dad never sat us down and said, ‘Now we’re going to tell you where we came from.’ It was spontaneous. Something would happen, usually in the kitchen, and then came a story. We would hear about cities of fire, bombs shaking the ground, and what it was like to emerge from underground to discover that everything had changed.|
|One evening, I remember my mother telling us about something else she witnessed as a child, which has stayed with me a long time.|
|She told us of the time she saw Jewish people and other so-called criminals marched through her small town, on their way to Dachau. At the back of the line, an old man, totally emaciated, couldn’t keep up. When a teenage boy saw this, he brought the man a piece of bread and the man fell to his knees and held the boy’s ankles, thanking him…That was when a soldier marched over, tore the bread from the man’s hands and whipped him for taking it. Then, he chased down the boy and whipped him for giving him the bread in the first place. It was a story of great cruelty and kindness, simultaneously.|
|I didn’t know it at the time, but almost all of the stories my parents told were full of opposites:||right and wrong, fear and relief, destruction and humanity. The other point I didn’t realize was that these stories became like a second language to me, and when I became a writer, that language was already there – just waiting. It was waiting for me to scratch the surface, reach in and pull it out as the beginnings of a book.|
|At first, The Book Thief was supposed to be a small novel – only a hundred pages or so – but the more time I spent with it, the more it grew, in every way. As three years of work went by, it changed from a book that meant something to me to a book that meant everything, and I’m very grateful for it. I’m also grateful to every reader who has picked it up and given it a chance. They’ve been more generous to The Book Thief than I could ever have imagined.|
March 29, 1951: Ethel and Julius Rosenberg are convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage.
In August of 1949, the Soviet Union conducted its first successful nuclear weapons test when it detonated RDS-1, or First Lightning (Joe-1 to the United States) in Kazakhstan; when President Truman notified the American public of this new and shocking (and shockingly, suspiciously fast, in the eyes of the West) development in September of 1949, the nations were thrust into a nuclear arms race. In 1950, a German physicist named Klaus Fuchs was arrested by British authorities, who revealed him to be an atomic spy for the Soviets, having supposedly supplied for the Soviet program atomic research from the United States. Fuchs, in turn, identified Swiss-born chemist Harry Gold as his courier, and Gold’s confessions led authorities to David Greenglass, the brother of Ethel Rosenberg, Army machinist for the Manhattan Project, and Soviet spy.
The Rosenbergs, Ethel and Julius, joined the American Communist Party in 1942. In June of 1950, Julius was arrested after being named by Greenglass as a spy, and Ethel was arrested shortly after in August; their trial began on March 6, 1951, and throughout their testimonies neither would speak on anything that might incriminate other members of the Communist Party. Both were convicted of espionage and sentenced to death under the Espionage Act of 1917; Irving Kaufman, the judge who imposed their sentences, famously remarked:
I believe your conduct in putting into the hands of the Russians the A-Bomb years before our best scientists predicted Russia would perfect the bomb has already caused, in my opinion, the Communist aggression in Korea, with the resultant casualties exceeding 50,000 and who knows but that millions more of innocent people may pay the price of your treason…
Many Americans undoubtedly agreed with Kaufman’s condemnations, yet still the Rosenbergs had their supporters, among them Jean-Paul Sartre, who criticized Americans’ hysteria, accusing them of being “afraid of the shadow of [their] own bomb”; Pablo Picasso, who called the Rosenbergs’ impending execution a “crime against humanity”; and many others, including Frida Kahlo, Albert Einstein, and Bertolt Brecht. Even the Pope implored President Eisenhower to commute the couple’s death sentence, to no avail - on June 19, 1953, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg became the first and only American civilians to be executed for espionage during the Cold War. It remains unclear how much the Rosenberg’s treason actually advanced Soviet atomic research, or whether Ethel was actually guilty of any treason (her participation and guilt were vehemently denied by their two surviving children).