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Pulitzer Prize
2014
Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation
Click to search this book in our catalog   Dan Fagin

Book list What was in the water in Toms River? A seemingly high number of childhood cancer cases in the New Jersey town prompted the question, but there turned out to be no easy answer. As Rebecca Skloot's The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (2010) investigated the tragic impact that unethical scientific pursuits had on a family, Toms River unravels the careless environmental practices that damaged a community. The book goes beyond the Toms River phenomenon itself to examine the many factors that came together in that one spot, from the birth of the synthetic chemical industry to the evolution of epidemiology to the physicians who invented occupational medicine. Former Newsday environmental journalist Fagin's work may not be quite as riveting in its particulars as Skloot's book, but it features jaw-dropping accounts of senseless waste-disposal practices set against the inspiring saga of the families who stood up to the enormous Toms River chemical plant. The fate of the town, we learn, revolves around the science that cost its residents so much.--Thoreson, Bridget Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Library Journal Toms River, NJ, is a small town near the Jersey shore that grew up around chemical industries and the wartime technology boom of World War II. Fagan (journalism, New York Univ.) explores the history of Toms River, and the effects on the town of its proximity to the local chemical plant. While he details the history of the town from its founding in the 1800s to now, his account is often muddled by tangential histories, such as a detailed description of the discovery of the vat dyeing process. In particular, Fagin focuses on the extremely high occurrence of childhood cancer in Toms River, which has been linked to the area's air and water pollution. While each piece of the history may be interesting and informative, as a whole, the book does not flow. VERDICT Readers may be bogged down by the minutia of this book, but its detailed text will appeal to in-depth researchers, especially those with a personal connection to the region or familiar with the chemistry detailed herein.-Dawn Lowe-Wincentsen, Oregon Inst. of Technology, Portland (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Most people know Toms River, N.J., as one of the areas devastated by Superstorm Sandy. But Fagin, an associate professor of journalism and the director of the Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program at New York University, reveals an earlier, less conspicuous disaster in the region. In a well-documented expose of toxic industrial plants, corporate greed, and government neglect, Fagin (Toxic Deception, coauthor) plays detective to reveal the excessive human cost of chemical manufacturing hubs in the Jersey pinelands. Fagin focuses his research on cancer hot spots and how they affect the development of local children, but he also delves deeper into the region's tragic history by tracing the arrival of chemical plants in the early 1950s and chronicling the massive contamination of waterways, soil, and air that followed shortly thereafter. Determined to reclaim their health and lives, the residents waged a long legal campaign, which resulted in a pioneering government study, the revelation of an extensive cancer zone, and a settlement of over $35 million. A crisp, hard-nosed probe into corporate arrogance and the power of public resistance makes this environmental caper essential reading. Map. Agent: Jane Dystel, Dystel & Goderich Literary Management. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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2014
3 Sections: Poems
Click to search this book in our catalog   Vijay Seshadri

Publishers Weekly Deft yet direct, often funny and yet alert to existential quandaries, this third outing from regular New Yorker contributor Seshadri (The Long Meadow) could be the most versatile, as well as one of the most successful, volumes this year. The fluid, disarming short poems take in modern consumer culture and age-old angst, Seshadri's South Asian heritage, his contemporary New York ("the more punishing blocks of Park Avenue"), and our surveillance society, in which nobody really knows anyone, yet anybody can find out where you are: "Why I wanted to escape experience is nobody's business but my own,/ but I always believed I could." Long chatty lines sit beside tight rhymed stanzas, bleakness beside wit ("Purgatory, the Sequel"), and all of it introduces the two long works that comprise the other two sections of this three-part work. One contains Seshadri's expansive prose essay about an Alaskan fishing boat, at "the great intersection of sea and sky. in the gloom at the edge of the world." Even more remarkable is the lengthy "Personal Essay" in verse, a meditation on what it could mean to be personal, to be one person and not another, in this crowded age: Seshadri imagines himself as "the image of/ nothing, a face astonished by itself in the mirror/ (that couldn't be me, could it?)." Some readers will praise him for his light touch; others, for the depth, and the literary history, that he brings to his present-day task-but praise him they should. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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2014
Margaret Fuller: A New American Life
Click to search this book in our catalog   Megan Marshall

Publishers Weekly Pulitzer Prize finalist Marshall (The Peabody Sisters) takes on the life of a lesser-known American writer in this biography of Margaret Fuller, whose book Women in the Nineteenth Century was merely the most successful among those she produced during a lifetime of impassioned intellectual discourse, both public and private. Marshall sticks closely to the primary documents of Fuller's life. Though the biography reads as a narrative, the text is peppered with quotations from Fuller's letters, essays, fiction, and personal diaries. This abundance of detail sometimes descends into tedium. Though organized around places Fuller lived, the book's real driving force is her relationships, from the perfectionist father who gave her a thirst for education early on to the circle of academics and radicals over whom Fuller exerted her influence, among them Ralph Waldo Emerson. Marshall can't avoid the romantic scandal of Fuller's life-her accidental pregnancy by and secret marriage to the noble-born Giovanni Ossoli. The couple died in a shipwreck along with their newborn son soon after. But this scandal isn't the focus of the book. Instead, Marshall seeks to render the plight of a female intellectual struggling to balance societal expectations with her lofty ambitions and ideals. The book's success comes from the way that Marshall allows the reader to understand and empathize with Fuller in her plight. Agent: Katinka Matson, Brockman Agency. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Book list *Starred Review* The mind has a light of its own, wrote Margaret Fuller, and the radiance of her inner world vitalizes Marshall's profoundly simpatico portrait of this path-breaking feminist and courageous journalist and writer. Marshall encountered Fuller while working on her acclaimed first book, The Peabody Sisters (2005), and she inhabits Fuller's dramatic, oft-told story with unique intimacy by virtue of her fluency in and judicious quoting of Fuller's extraordinarily vivid letters. Marshall conveys Fuller's passionate intensity, unusual intellect and outsized personality, expansive sympathy, and extraordinary valor as she illuminates family struggles, social obstacles, and private heartache in conjunction with each phase of Fuller's phenomenal achievements as an innovative teacher, lecturer, and editor. Marshall brings stirring historical and psychological insights to Fuller's complicated relationship with Emerson and the other transcendentalists, her journey west and response to the horrific plight of Native Americans, her gripping dispatches on social ills as a front-page columnist for Horace Greeley's New York Tribune, and her triumphs in Europe as America's first female foreign correspondent. How spectacularly detailed and compassionate Marshall's chronicle is of Fuller's scandalous love for an Italian soldier, the birth of their son, her heroic coverage of the 1849 siege of Rome, and her and her family's tragic deaths when their ship wrecks in sight of the American coast. A magnificent biography of a revolutionary thinker, witness, and writer.--Seaman, Donna Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

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2014
The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832
Click to search this book in our catalog   Alan Taylor
2014
The Flick
Click to search this book in our catalog   Annie Baker
2014
The Goldfinch
Click to search this book in our catalog   Donna Tartt
 
2012
The orphan master's son : a novel
Click to search this book in our catalog   Adam Johnson.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780812992793 Johnson's novel accomplishes the seemingly impossible: an American writer has masterfully rendered the mysterious world of North Korea with the soul and savvy of a native, from its orphanages and its fishing boats to the kitchens of its high-ranking commanders. While oppressive propaganda echoes throughout, the tone never slides into caricature; if anything, the story unfolds with astounding empathy for those living in constant fear of imprisonment-or worse-but who manage to maintain their humanity against all odds. The book traces the journey of Jun Do, who for years lives according to the violent dictates of the state, as a tunnel expert who can fight in the dark, a kidnapper, radio operator, tenuous hero, and foreign dignitary before eventually taking his fate into his own hands. In one of the book's most poignant moments, a government interrogator, who tortures innocent citizens on a daily basis, remembers his own childhood and the way in which his father explained the inexplicable: "...we must act alone on the outside, while on the inside, we would be holding hands." In this moment and a thousand others like it, Johnson (Parasites Like Us) juxtaposes the vicious atrocities of the regime with the tenderness of beauty, love, and hope. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780812992793 Imagine a society in which the official political story tells only of happiness and prosperity, yet personal experience reveals the opposite. Imagine the resulting internal dissonance and the ways in which people might reconcile such opposing forces. This is the experience offered by Johnson (Parasites Like Us) in his novel of modern-day North Korea. Following the path of the hero's journey, young Pak Jun Do moves from an orphanage into a life of espionage, kidnapping, and torture, only to be given a new identity as the husband of the Dear Leader's favorite actress. With references to the classic American film Casablanca, Johnson's narrative portrays his hero as he makes his way through a minefield of corruption and violence, eventually giving his all so that his loved ones might have a better life. VERDICT Readers who enjoy a fast-paced political thriller will welcome this wild ride through the amazingly conflicted world that exists within the heavily guarded confines of North Korea. Highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, 8/15/11.]-Susanne Wells, M.L.S., Indianapolis (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780812992793 *Starred Review* Pak Jun Do lives with his father at a North Korean work camp for orphans. In a nation in which every citizen serves the state, orphans routinely get the most dangerous jobs. So it is for Jun Do, who becomes a tunnel soldier, trained to fight in complete darkness in the tunnels beneath the DMZ. But he is reassigned as a kidnapper, snatching Japanese citizens with special skills, such as a particular opera singer or sushi chef. Failure as a kidnapper could lead directly to the prison mines. But in Johnson's fantastical, careening tale, Jun Do manages to impersonate Commander Ga, the country's greatest military hero, rival of Dear Leader Kim Jong Il and husband of Sun Moon, North Korea's only movie star. Informed by extensive research and travel to perhaps the most secretive nation on earth, Johnson has created a remarkable novel that encourages the willing suspension of disbelief. As Jun Do, speaking as Ga, puts it, people have been trained to accept any reality presented to them. Johnson winningly employs different voices, with the propagandizing national radio station serving as a mad Greek chorus. Descriptions of everyday privations and barbarities are matter of fact, and Jun Do's love for Sun Moon reads like a fairy tale. Part adventure, part coming-of-age tale, and part romance, The Orphan Master's Son is a triumph on every level.--Gaughan, Thomas Copyright 2010 Booklist
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2012
Devil in the grove : Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the dawn of a new America
Click to search this book in our catalog   Gilbert King.

Publishers Weekly In July 1949, four black men in Florida (the "Groveland Four") were accused of raping a white woman. By the time Marshall joined the case in August, one of the defendants-who had fled into the swamps-had been "lawfully killed." After a trial of the remaining three, two were sentenced to death, and one to life imprisonment. On Marshall's appeal, the Supreme Court ordered a new trial for the two on death row, though both men were shot while being transported between prisons before the second trial began, and only one survived. Using unredacted Groveland FBI case files and the NAACP's Legal Defense Fund files, journalist King (The Execution of Willie Francis: Race, Murder, and the Search for Justice in the American South) revisits an oft-overlooked case, with its accuser, whose testimony was patently false; defendants, who suffered terribly as a consequence; local police officials and lawyers who persecuted and prosecuted them; and their lawyers, who showed remarkable courage and perseverance in seeking justice. The story's drama and pathos make it a page-turner, but King's attention to detail, fresh material, and evenhanded treatment of the villains make it a worthy contribution to the history of the period, while offering valuable insight into Marshall's work and life. Agent: Farley Chase, the Waxman Literary Agency. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Choice This account of the Groveland Four, defendants in the 1949 Jim Crow-era rape case, sheds new light on the fate of four African American men. King shows the lengths to which Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund went to defend them, and to which Lake County, Florida, Sheriff Willis McCall and his deputies, prosecutors, and jurors went to enforce race-based justice. Drawing on FBI investigation files and personal papers of key NAACP lawyers, King elucidates the gendered and racial assumptions that denied the Groveland Four a fair trial and that justified arson, bombings, beatings, and murder to uphold southern racial mores. The case reached the US Supreme Court, which ordered a new trial for two of the defendants, who were then shot under suspicious circumstances. One defendant, Walter Irvin, survived, and his death sentence was commuted. King demonstrates that no rape likely occurred, and the examining physician's testimony was deliberately excluded from both trials. Set against the Cold War and on the eve of the Brown case, this saga illustrates that equal justice under law was honored in the breach in the post-WW II South. Summing Up: Recommended. All levels/libraries. E. R. Crowther Adams State College

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.

Library Journal Seasoned journalist King (The Execution of Willie Francis: Race, Murder, and the Search for Justice in the American South) has written an arresting account of Thurgood Marshall's role as a prominent civil rights attorney in challenging racist "justice" in the South. King vividly renders the horrors perpetrated by a racist legal system and its odious representatives-principally, Lake County, FL, Sheriff Willis McCall, who was responsible for the 1949 arrest and unjust prosecution of four young black men, designated "the Groveland Boys." In this case, Marshall and the NAACP pursued every legal remedy to save the lives of these young men falsely accused of rape by a white woman, whose preposterous story went unquestioned by authorities. At great personal risk, Marshall tenaciously challenged the hegemony of McCall, eventually bringing to an end the racist reign of terror in Lake County and drawing it and its underlying mentality to national attention. VERDICT A powerful snapshot of history and the man who made it, certain to appeal to readers of Hampton Sides's Hellhound on His Trail: The Electrifying Account of the Largest Manhunt in American History.-Lynne F. Maxwell, Villanova Sch. of Law Lib., PA (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list In 1951 Thurgood Marshall had already begun the Brown v. Board of Education case when he took on an explosive case to save the only survivor of the Groveland Four, young black men wrongfully accused of raping a white woman in central Florida. The young woman, estranged from her husband, concocted a rape accusation involving two black men recently returned from military service and two other, unrelated men. One of the accused was killed by a vigilante mob. After a reversal of their convictions, as they faced a retrying of the case, two others were killed by the sheriff charged with protecting them. King draws on court documents and FBI archives to offer a compelling chronicle of the accusation, which led to a paroxysm of violence against the black community in Groveland, reminiscent of the destruction of Rosewood, in 1923; brutal beatings that led to forced confessions; and the dramatic trial. Marshall, physically exhausted and facing threats to his life, was housed, fed, and protected by a black community encouraged by his presence as he battled to save the life of the last remaining member of the Groveland Four.--Bush, Vanessa Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

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2012
The Black Count : glory, revolution, betrayal, and the real Count of Monte Cristo
Click to search this book in our catalog   Tom Reiss ; [maps by David Lindroth Inc.].

Library Journal Confronted with the surname Dumas, most readers are likely to think of Alexandre Dumas, author of such classics as The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers. But in The Black Count, Reiss (The Orientalist) explores the life of the writer's father, a man of mixed racial and cultural heritage, born in Saint-Domingue to a slave mother (her last name was Dumas) and a French aristocrat. His father brought him to France, where, because of his tremendous courage and physical gifts, he rose through the ranks of the French military under Napoleon to become a general. He was taken prisoner of war when his ship returning to France from Cairo was captured near Sicily, and he died five years later, when his son was not yet four. Reiss seeks to demonstrate the great effect of the elder Dumas on his son's fiction, inspiring many of the characters and situations in those works. VERDICT While Reiss occasionally strays from the central narrative with an abundance of tangential detail regarding the French Revolution, this accessible read is recommended for fans of popular narrative nonfiction as well as for both casual and serious students of French history, and of the younger Dumas's work.-Ben Neal, Sullivan Cty. P.L., Bristol, TN. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Alex Dumas, an extraordinary man whose sensational life had been largely lost to history solely because of his race, takes the spotlight in this dynamic tale. Thanks to Reiss's excellent research, combined with the passionate memorial his son, Alexandre Dumas, consistently built in his own novels and memoir, Dumas's life has been brought back to light. Father to the well-known novelist and clear inspiration for The Count of Monte Cristo, as well as the adventurous spirit of The Three Musketeers and other stories, Dumas (1762-1806) rose through the ranks of the French army from a lowly private in the dragoons to become a respected general who marched into Egypt at Napoleon's side. (The rivalry and juxtaposition between these two leaders proves fascinating.) Born in what is now Haiti to a French nobleman father and a slave mother, the biracial Dumas chanced to come of age during the French Revolution, a brief period of equality in the French empire; he was thus granted numerous opportunities that the son of a slave 20 years before him (or even 20 years later) would not have enjoyed. Reiss capitalizes on his subject's charged personality as well as the revolutionary times in which he lived to create an exciting narrative. Agent: Tina Bennett, Janklow & Nesbit. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Book list The inspiration for some of the great adventure tales of Alexandre Dumas has long been a subject of curiosity and debate. According to Reiss, the inspiration for the great novel of intrigue, betrayal, and revenge, The Count of Monte Cristo, was Dumas' own father, General Alexandre Alex Dumas. In this often thrilling and often sad chronicle, Reiss makes clear that Alex lived a life as full of adventure, triumph, and tragic loss as any of his son's literary creations. He was born in Haiti, the child of an enslaved mother and an erratic French aristocrat who briefly sold his son into slavery. Despite the obvious and immense political and racial obstacles in his path, Alex found his way to Paris, became a skilled swordsman, and rose rapidly in the reorganized army of the French Republic, where he served admirably during Napoleon's invasions of Egypt. Unfortunately, like his literary counterpart, Edmond Dantes, Alex incurred the hostility of powerful people, leading to his fall from grace and eventual impoverishment. This is an absorbing biography that should redeem its subject from undeserved obscurity.--Freeman, Jay Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

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2011
The swerve : how the world became modern
Click to search this book in our catalog   Stephen Greenblatt.

Choice Adopting the conceit of the "swerve" as the fulcrum of this work, Greenblatt (Harvard) presents a narrative study of Poggio Bracciolini's discovery in 1417 of Lucretius's lost poem De rerum natura (On the Nature of Things). He provides an engaging synthesis of Christianity's tactical obliteration of Epicureanism and the concomitant consignment to oblivion of the poetic elucidation (i.e., works like Lucretius's) of atomic and hedonistic fundamentals the Christian world-view deemed so antithetical. Artfully woven in are erudite delineations of the arcana of medieval book production, the mores of life in a monastic scriptorium, the intrigues of 15th-century papal politics, and the considerable perils of theological heterodoxy. By fortuitous chance, a manuscript of the lost De rerum natura was discovered in one dramatic moment of instantaneous recognition by Poggio, one of the greatest of the humanist bibliomaniacs. Adducing this as the "swerve," Greenblatt causally connects this recovery of Lucretius to the unleashing of the forces of scientific inquiry and aesthetic humanism that characterize the Renaissance and thus inform the substratum of modernity--hence the subtitle. Provocative, stimulating, and certain to catalyze scholarly debate, this elegant book deserves a wide readership. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readers. J. S. Louzonis St. Francis College, Brooklyn, NY

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.

Book list Literary scholar Greenblatt focuses on Lucretius, ancient Roman author of the brilliant and beautiful didactic poem On the Nature of Things, which challenged the authority of religion, and papal counselor and book hunter Poggio Bracciolini, whose recovery of a copy of the subversive text a millennium and a half later added momentum to the Renaissance and shaped the world we call modern. Lucretius, Greenblatt reminds, was a radical figure very much ahead of his time. Many of his insights for example, that everything is made of invisible particles of matter that are constantly in motion have been borne out by modern science. Others, such as the idea that religions are defined by cruelty and superstition, remain hotly controversial to this day. Vatican humanist Bracciolini, about whom we know quite a bit more, if not quite enough, may in the end be the more interesting personality. He knew what he had found, but did he know what it meant? Do we? A fascinating, intelligent look at what may well be the most historically resonant book-hunt of all time.--Driscoll, Brenda. Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly In this gloriously learned page-turner, both biography and intellectual history, Harvard Shakespearean scholar Greenblatt (Will in the World) turns his attention to the front end of the Renaissance as the origin of Western culture's foundation: the free questioning of truth. It hinges on the recovery of an ancient philosophical Latin text that had been neglected for a thousand years. In the winter of 1417 Italian oddball humanist, smutty humorist, and apostolic secretary Poggio Bracciolini stumbled on Lucretius' De rerum natura. In an obscure monastery in southern Germany lay the recovery of a philosophy free of superstition and dogma. Lucretius' "On the Nature of Things" harked back to the mostly lost works of Greek philosophers known as atomists. Lucretius himself was essentially an Epicurean who saw the restrained seeking of pleasure as the highest good. Poggio's chance finding lay what Greenblatt, following Lucretius himself, terms a historic swerve of massive proportions, propagated by such seminal and often heretical truth tellers as Machiavelli, Giordano Bruno, and Montaigne. We even learn the history of the bookworm-a real entity and one of the enemies of ancient written-cultural transmission. Nearly 70 pages of notes and bibliography do nothing to spoil the fun of Greenblatt's marvelous tale. 16 pages of color illus. (Sept. 19) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Library Journal In this outstandingly constructed assessment of the birth of philosophical modernity, renowned Shakespeare scholar Greenblatt (Cogan University Professor of English & American Literature & Language, Harvard; Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare) deftly transports readers to the dawn of the Renaissance, when in 1417 bibliophile Poggio Bracciolini uncovered the Roman poet and philosopher Titus Lucretius Carus's Epicurean work, On the Nature of Things, in the dusty confines of a German monastery. After lying dormant for centuries, Lucretius's "atomist" philosophy reemerged, promoting the joys of this world over the punishments and rewards of the next, gradually conquering humanist circles and influencing such luminaries as More, Machiavelli, Hobbes, and Newton. At the heart of Lucretius's Latin verse lies the core argument that by understanding the world around us, abandoning superstitious delusions, and coming to grips with humanity's insignificance, we begin to take ownership of our lives and set out on the pursuit of happiness. VERDICT Greenblatt's masterful account transcends Poggio's significant discovery to encompass a diversity of topics including the Roman book trade, Renaissance Florence, and the Catholic Church's attempts to deal with heresy and schism. Students and general readers from across the humanities will find this enthralling account irresistible. [See Prepub Alert, 3/21/11.]-Brian Odom Pelham P.L., AL (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2011
George F. Kennan : an American life
Click to search this book in our catalog   John Lewis Gaddis.

Book list *Starred Review* Diplomat and historian Kennan (1904-2005) cooperated with this biography that in its documentary thoroughness and lucidity about his enigmatic, fragile personality must stand as the definitive portrait. Of undoubted brilliance in his adulthood, Kennan throughout his life was acutely sensitive, solitary, often pessimistic, but ultimately philosophical an outlook encapsulated in his Around the Cragged Hill (1993). The youthful sources of those traits Gaddis roots in feelings of abandonment provoked by the premature death of Kennan's mother, in testing experiences in military school and Princeton University, and in rapidly maturing appreciations for the behaviors of governments, his own and others, while he was a young foreign service officer in the 1920s and 1930s. An inveterate diarist and letter writer, Kennan probably deluged Gaddis with his interior life, which seemed beset by self-doubt and despair over matters personal (Kennan apparently had several affairs) and public. Apart from the years 1946-50, politicians ignored his advice and prophecies on world politics, but within that window, Kennan was uniquely influential as the enunciator of containment policy toward the Soviet Union during the early Cold War. The work of an eminent historian of that very subject, Gaddis' biography is doubly significant and a new essential in any reading, recreational or scholarly, in the history of American foreign policy.--Taylor, Gilbert Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly No one is better suited than Gaddis to write this authorized biography of George F. Kennan: the noted Yale cold war historian had total access to Kennan's papers as well as to his family members and associates-Kennan so trusted his biographer that he remarked, "write [the book], if you will, on the confident assumption that no account need be taken of my own reaction... either in this world or the next." Through his privileged relationship with Kennan, Gaddis reveals the man behind the public persona as an agonized and fragile individual who often felt alienated from the U.S. and his fellow citizens, despite his tireless service to his country. In addition to the intimacies of the work, Gaddis offers critical analyses of Kennan's key roles as diplomat, policy maker, and scholar of Russian history. Unsurpassed in his strategic vision during the cold war, Kennan is credited with being responsible for much of America's eventual victory, and therein lies the impetus behind this remarkable biography. Adroitly managed (if occasionally barnacled with extraneous facts), Gaddis's work is a major contribution to Kennan's legacy and the history of American foreign policy. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal George F. Kennan (1904-2005) exerted a profound influence on the conduct of American foreign policy, especially during the years of the Cold War. His famous 1947 Foreign Affairs article, "Sources of Soviet Conduct," published under the pseudonym X, laid the theoretical groundwork for "containing" the Soviet Union in those hectic and dangerous postwar years. As Kennan's authorized biographer, Gaddis (The Cold War: A New History)-himself one of our most distinguished diplomatic historians-had unfettered access to Kennan's diaries and personal papers. The result is a nearly 800-page book with by far the most sophisticated and nuanced examination of Kennan's remarkable contributions to our nation during his lengthy life. Gaddis's portrayal of Kennan's personal life is more workmanlike, with less nuance. VERDICT Gaddis has crafted an in-depth study of Kennan as a thinker and practicing diplomat. The focus on Kennan as foreign policy maker will not trouble most scholars of the diplomatic arts, but for the average reader the level of detail may prove more burdensome. Highly recommended for Cold War scholars and for all library collections, alongside Nicholas Thompson's more personal The Hawk and the Dove: Paul Nitze, George Kennan, and the History of the Cold War. [See Prepub Alert, 5/2/11.]-Ed Goedeken, Iowa State Univ. Lib., Ames (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2011 (Fiction)
A Visit From The Goon Squad
Click to search this book in our catalog   Jennifer Egan

Book list *Starred Review* Egan is a writer of cunning subtlety, embedding within the risky endeavors of seductively complicated characters a curious bending of time and escalation of technology's covert impact. Following her diabolically clever The Keep (2006), Egan tracks the members of a San Francisco punk band and their hangers-on over the decades as they wander out into the wider, bewildering world. Kleptomaniac Sasha survives the underworld of Naples, Italy. Her boss, New York music producer Bennie Salazar, is miserable in the suburbs, where his tattooed wife, Stephanie, sneaks off to play tennis with Republicans. Obese former rock-star Bosco wants Stephanie to help him with a Suicide Tour, while her all-powerful publicist boss eventually falls so low she takes a job rehabilitating the public image of a genocidal dictator. These are just a few of the faltering searchers in Egan's hilarious, melancholy, enrapturing, unnerving, and piercingly beautiful mosaic of a novel. As episodes surge forward and back in time, from the spitting aggression of a late-1970s punk-rock club to the obedient, socially networked herd gathered at the Footprint, Manhattan's 9/11 site 20 years after the attack, Egan evinces an acute sensitivity to the black holes of shame and despair and to the remote-control power of the gadgets that are reordering our world.--Seaman, Donna Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly Readers will be pleased to discover that the star-crossed marriage of lucid prose and expertly deployed postmodern switcheroos that helped shoot Egan to the top of the genre-bending new school is alive in well in this graceful yet wild novel. We begin in contemporaryish New York with kleptomaniac Sasha and her boss, rising music producer Bennie Salazar, before flashing back, with Bennie, to the glory days of Bay Area punk rock, and eventually forward, with Sasha, to a settled life. By then, Egan has accrued tertiary characters, like Scotty Hausmann, Bennie's one-time bandmate who all but dropped out of society, and Alex, who goes on a date with Sasha and later witnesses the future of the music industry. Egan's overarching concerns are about how rebellion ages, influence corrupts, habits turn to addictions, and lifelong friendships fluctuate and turn. Or as one character asks, "How did I go from being a rock star to being a fat fuck no one cares about?" Egan answers the question elegantly, though not straight on, as this powerful novel chronicles how and why we change, even as the song stays the same. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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Library Journal Time changes both everything and nothing in this novel about former punk rocker-turned-music executive Bennie Salazar and Sasha, his indispensable secretary with an unhappy past. A host of characters from San Francisco's 1970s music scene collide in ways that are hard to summarize, with peripheral characters in one chapter more fully developed in others. These well-defined characters and the engaging narrative are hallmarks of Egan's earlier fiction, which include Look at Me, a National Book Award finalist, and the best-selling The Keep. Here, we learn that power is transient, authenticity is not all it's cracked up to be, and friendships are often fragile, but the connections among people matter terribly. Often, we survive the self-destructive tendencies of youth only to realize that we've just exchanged one set of problems for another. Verdict In the end, this novel does offer hope, but it is the grubby kind that keeps you going once you've been kicked to the curb. Readers will enjoy seeing the disparate elements of this novel come full circle. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 2/15/10.]-Gwen Vredevoogd, Marymount Univ., Arlington, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2011 (Nonfiction)
The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer
Click to search this book in our catalog   Siddhartha Mukherjee

Publishers Weekly Mukherjee's debut book is a sweeping epic of obsession, brilliant researchers, dramatic new treatments, euphoric success and tragic failure, and the relentless battle by scientists and patients alike against an equally relentless, wily, and elusive enemy. From the first chemotherapy developed from textile dyes to the possibilities emerging from our understanding of cancer cells, Mukherjee shapes a massive amount of history into a coherent story with a roller-coaster trajectory: the discovery of a new treatment-surgery, radiation, chemotherapy-followed by the notion that if a little is good, more must be better, ending in disfiguring radical mastectomy and multidrug chemo so toxic the treatment ended up being almost worse than the disease. The first part of the book is driven by the obsession of Sidney Farber and philanthropist Mary Lasker to find a unitary cure for all cancers. (Farber developed the first successful chemotherapy for childhood leukemia.) The last and most exciting part is driven by the race of brilliant, maverick scientists to understand how cells become cancerous. Each new discovery was small, but as Mukherjee, a Columbia professor of medicine, writes, "Incremental advances can add up to transformative changes." Mukherjee's formidable intelligence and compassion produce a stunning account of the effort to disrobe the "emperor of maladies." (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Book list *Starred Review* Apparently researching, treating, and teaching about cancer isn't enough of a challenge for Columbia University cancer specialist Mukherjee. He was also moved to write a biography of a disease whose name, for millennia, could not be uttered. The eminently readable result is a weighty tale of an enigma that has remained outside the grasp of both the people who endeavored to know it and those who would prefer never to have become acquainted with it. An unauthorized biography told through the voices of people who have lived, toiled, and, yes, died under cancer's inexorable watch. Mukherjee recounts cancer's first known literary reference hence its birth, so to speak in the teachings of the Egyptian physician Imhotep in the twenty-fifth century BCE, in which it is clear that Imhotep possessed no tools with which to treat what appears to be breast cancer. His cryptic note under Therapy: There is none. Throughout cancer's subsequent years, many more physicians and scientists with names both familiar and obscure attempted and occasionally succeeded in deciphering or unlocking keys to many of the disease's mysteries. Alas, this is not a posthumous biography, but it is nonetheless a surprisingly accessible and encouraging narrative.--Chavez, Donna Copyright 2010 Booklist

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2011 (Biography))
Washington: A Life
Click to search this book in our catalog   Ron Chernow

Library Journal In this cradle-to-grave biography of the Founding Father, notable biographer Chernow (Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller) thoroughly recounts how Washington rose to prominence in the French and Indian War, parlayed that early heroism into international fame as general of the Continental army during the American Revolution, and, as America's first President, unified a young nation and shaped its government-and he offers deeper explorations of, for example, Washington's cold relationship with his mother, his heavy reliance on younger devotees such as Alexander Hamilton and the Marquis de Lafayette, and his contradictory actions regarding slavery. Chernow's Washington is a reluctant celebrity who perpetually tries to retire from national service but refuses to turn his back on an embryonic republican country struggling with its newfound freedom. The narrative relies heavily on Washington's papers, but Chernow also liberally cites other primary sources and previous biographies. While objective for the most part, he occasionally offers well-grounded opinions on Washington's character and political and military actions. VERDICT This broadly and deeply researched work is a major addition to Washington scholarship-every era should have its new study of him-and it should appeal to informed lay readers and undergraduates interested in stepping beyond the typical textbook treatment.-Douglas King, Univ. of South Carolina Lib., Columbia (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Book list *Starred Review* With so much that can be said and said positively about this magisterial biography, it is difficult not to write a review as long as the book itself. Given the distinction of the author, who wrote, among other single and collective biographies, the glowingly reviewed Alexander Hamilton (2004), readers can safely assume from the outset that what lies ahead of them is a vastly enlightening, overwhelmingly engaging treatment of a great man. The subject of the book needs only, by way of identification, the one word that Chernow uses as his title: Washington. Another book on Washington? is a question rendered pointless by this one, which happens to be the author's masterpiece. Definitive Washington is the point and effect of this biography. Our first president is thought of as more marble statue than living, hurting, loving human; however, Chernow's Washington stands not in the opposite corner as hot-blooded and animated. Washington spent a lifetime practicing control of his passions and emotions; his innate virtues, undenied and even celebrated here, were sharpened and focused by the man's suppression of a natural volatility. His gift of silence and of inspired simplicity, as the author so aptly terms Washington's strongest suits, supported his consequent leadership as general and as president.--Hooper, Brad Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Choice This is the best of recent Washington biographies, but it still comes up short of exposing the whole man. Although judiciously weighing in on some foibles, the book continues the hagiographic tradition. Chernow clearly depicts family life, plantation management, and slaves. Less satisfying are Washington's relationships with men of his officer corps, which are very revealing to anyone who cares to investigate this area. There are significant gaps--for example, in analysis of the politics of command, Washington's role in the French and Indian War, and the war of attrition in New Jersey (winter and spring 1777). The author is too apologetic of the few not so brilliant military decisions, such as at the Battle of Monmouth. Chernow is given to rounding off and overgeneralizing his evaluations, of which in-depth research would have afforded more sharp edges. A fertile field pertaining to Washington's great disdain for the common soldier awaits researchers. The real Washington still demands a diligent and objective biographer. Meanwhile, this large volume has enlightening moments and is entertaining. Summing Up: Recommended. All levels, general and academic. H. M. Ward emeritus, University of Richmond

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2010 (Fiction)
Tinkers
Click to search this book in our catalog   Paul Harding

Book list *Starred Review* A tinker is a mender, and in Harding's spellbinding debut, he imagines the old, mendable horse-and-carriage world. The objects of the past were more readily repaired than our electronics, but the living world was a mystery, as it still is, as it always will be. And so in this rhapsodic novel of impending death, Harding considers humankind's contrary desires to conquer the imps of disorder and to be one with life, fully meshed within the great glimmering web. In the present, George lies on his death bed in the Massachusetts house he built himself, surrounded by family and the antique clocks he restores. George loves the precision of fine timepieces, but now he is at the mercy of chaotic forces and seems to be channeling his late father, Howard, a tinker and a mystic whose epileptic seizures strike like lightning. Howard, in turn, remembers his strange and gentle minister father. Each man is extraordinarily porous to nature and prone to becoming unhitched from everyday human existence and entering a state of ecstasy, even transcendence. Writing with breathtaking lyricism and tenderness, Harding has created a rare and beautiful novel of spiritual inheritance and acute psychological and metaphysical suspense.--Seaman, Donna Copyright 2008 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly Harding's outstanding debut unfurls the history and final thoughts of a dying grandfather surrounded by his family in his New England home. George Washington Crosby repairs clocks for a living and on his deathbed revisits his turbulent childhood as the oldest son of an epileptic smalltime traveling salesman. The descriptions of the father's epilepsy and the "cold halo of chemical electricity that encircled him immediately before he was struck by a full seizure" are stunning, and the household's sadness permeates the narrative as George returns to more melancholy scenes. The real star is Harding's language, which dazzles whether he's describing the workings of clocks, sensory images of nature, the many engaging side characters who populate the book, or even a short passage on how to build a bird nest. This is an especially gorgeous example of novelistic craftsmanship. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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Library Journal George Washington Crosby has eight days to live. After this first line, the life of George and of his father, Howard, who left when George was 12, is explored through the metaphor of George's hobby of repairing clocks. Howard was a peddler, traveling with a cart and mule through eastern Maine around the turn of the century. This isolated profession allowed him to keep his affliction, epilepsy, successfully hidden from most everyone until, finally, his wife decides he has to be institutionalized for the safety of her children. It is to avoid this that Howard disappears. George, as he lays dying, considers his life and family coming in and out of reality and history. Harding, an MFA from Iowa Writer's Workshop, creates a beautifully written study of father-son relationships and the nature of time. This short work is a solid addition for larger literary collections. Recommended.--Josh Cohen, Mid-Hudson Lib. Syst., Poughkeepsie, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2010 (Nonfiction)
The Dead Hand: The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race and Its Dangerous Legacy
Click to search this book in our catalog   David E. Hoffman
2010 (Biography))
The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt
Click to search this book in our catalog   T.J. Stiles
2009 (Fiction)
Olive Kitteridge
Click to search this book in our catalog   Elizabeth Strout.

Library Journal In her third novel, New York Times best-selling author Strout (Abide with Me) tracks Olive Kitteridge's adult life through 13 linked stories. Olive-a wife, mother, and retired teacher-lives in the small coastal town of Crosby, ME. A large, hulking woman with a relentlessly unpleasant personality, Olive intimidates generations of community members with her quick, cruel condemnations of those around her-including her gentle, optimistic, and devoted husband, Henry, and her son, Christopher, who, as an adult, flees the suffocating vortex of his mother's displeasure. Strout offers a fair amount of relief from Olive's mean cloud in her treatment of the lives of the other townsfolk. With the deft, piercing shorthand that is her short story-telling trademark, she takes readers below the surface of deceptive small-town ordinariness to expose the human condition in all its suffering and sadness. Even when Olive is kept in the background of some of the tales, her influence is apparent. Readers will have to decide for themselves whether it's worth the ride to the last few pages to witness Olive's slide into something resembling insight. For larger libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 12/07.]-Beth E. Andersen, Ann Arbor Dist. Lib., MI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Book list *Starred Review* Hell. We're always alone. Born alone. Die alone, says Olive Kitteridge, redoubtable seventh-grade math teacher in Crosby, Maine. Anyone who gets in Olive's way had better watch out, for she crashes unapologetically through life like an emotional storm trooper. She forces her husband, Henry, the town pharmacist, into tactical retreat; and she drives her beloved son, Christopher, across the country and into therapy. But appalling though Olive can be, Strout  manages to make her deeply human and even sympathetic, as are all of the characters in this novel in stories. Covering a period of 30-odd years, most of the stories (several of which were previously published in the New Yorker and other magazines) feature Olive as  their focus, but in some she is bit player or even a footnote while other characters take center stage to sort through their own fears and insecurities. Though loneliness and loss haunt these pages, Strout also supplies gentle humor and a nourishing dose of hope. People are sustained by the rhythms of ordinary life and the natural wonders of coastal Maine, and even Olive is sometimes caught off guard by life's baffling beauty. Strout is also the author of the well-received Amy and Isabelle (1999) and Abide with Me (2006).--Quinn, Mary Ellen Copyright 2008 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Library Journal In 13 linked stories that delineate the life and times of fussy but sympathetic Olive Kitteredge, Strout beautifully captures the sticky little issues of small-town life-and the entire universe of human longing, dis-appointment, and love. (LJ 2/1/08) (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Library Journal Olive is her small Maine town's heart and soul-and its interfering tyrant. With an eight-plus-city tour; book club promotion. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Publishers Weekly Thirteen linked tales from Strout (Abide with Me, etc.) present a heart-wrenching, penetrating portrait of ordinary coastal Mainers living lives of quiet grief intermingled with flashes of human connection. The opening "Pharmacy" focuses on terse, dry junior high-school teacher Olive Kitteridge and her gregarious pharmacist husband, Henry, both of whom have survived the loss of a psychologically damaged parent, and both of whom suffer painful attractions to co-workers. Their son, Christopher, takes center stage in "A Little Burst," which describes his wedding in humorous, somewhat disturbing detail, and in "Security," where Olive, in her 70s, visits Christopher and his family in New York. Strout's fiction showcases her ability to reveal through familiar details-the mother-of-the-groom's wedding dress, a grandmother's disapproving observations of how her grandchildren are raised-the seeds of tragedy. Themes of suicide, depression, bad communication, aging and love, run through these stories, none more vivid or touching than "Incoming Tide," where Olive chats with former student Kevin Coulson as they watch waitress Patty Howe by the seashore, all three struggling with their own misgivings about life. Like this story, the collection is easy to read and impossible to forget. Its literary craft and emotional power will surprise readers unfamiliar with Strout. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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2009 (Nonfiction)
Slavery by another name : the re-enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II
Click to search this book in our catalog   Douglas A. Blackmon.

Publishers Weekly Wall Street Journal bureau chief Blackmon gives a groundbreaking and disturbing account of a sordid chapter in American history-the lease (essentially the sale) of convicts to "commercial interests" between the end of the 19th century and well into the 20th. Usually, the criminal offense was loosely defined vagrancy or even "changing employers without permission." The initial sentence was brutal enough; the actual penalty, "reserved almost exclusively for black men," was a form of slavery in one of "hundreds of forced labor camps" operated "by state and county governments, large corporations, small time entrepreneurs and provincial farmers." Into this history, Blackmon weaves the story of Green Cottenham, who was "charged with riding a freight train without a ticket," in 1908 and was sentenced to "three months of hard labor for Tennessee Coal, Iron & Railroad," a subsidiary of U.S. Steel. Cottenham's sentence was extended an additional three months and six days because he was unable to pay fines then leveraged on criminals. Blackmon's book reveals in devastating detail the legal and commercial forces that created this neoslavery along with deeply moving and totally appalling personal testimonies of survivors. "Every incident in this book is true," he writes; one wishes it were not so. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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2009 (Biography))
American lion : Andrew Jackson in the White House
Click to search this book in our catalog   Jon Meacham.

Library Journal From Newsweek's editor. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Newsweek editor and bestselling author Meacham (Franklin and Winston) offers a lively take on the seventh president's White House years. We get the Indian fighter and hero of New Orleans facing down South Carolina radicals' efforts to nullify federal laws they found unacceptable, speaking the words of democracy even if his banking and other policies strengthened local oligarchies, and doing nothing to protect southern Indians from their land-hungry white neighbors. For the first time, with Jackson, demagoguery became presidential, and his Democratic Party deepened its identification with Southern slavery. Relying on the huge mound of previous Jackson studies, Meacham can add little to this well-known story, save for the few tidbits he's unearthed in private collections rarely consulted before. What he does bring is a writer's flair and the ability to relate his story without the incrustations of ideology and position taking that often disfigure more scholarly studies of Jackson. Nevertheless, a gifted writer like Meacham might better turn his attention to tales less often told and subjects a bit tougher to enliven. 32 pages of b&w photos. (Nov. 11) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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Book list There are numerous books on the seventh president, but this one is distinguished by its particularly fluid presentation. As the subtitle indicates, it has special appeal for those readers who may be uninterested in a complete cradle-to-grave treatment but are looking for a particular focus on the Jackson presidency. The evolution of presidential power is the basic theme around which Meacham constructs his riveting account of the freshness Jackson brought to the White House meaning, before his advent into the chief executive office, political power was considered to be best left in the hands of the landed elite, but Jackson believed in the primacy of the will of the common people, and during his administration, democracy was making its stand. This was a difficult time for the American republic; the issue of slavery was developing into a major political issue, and with that, the rise of southern questioning of just how strong the union of states was and what rights individual states possessed to safeguard regional interests. But Jackson administered the ship of state with good instincts and wisdom.--Hooper, Brad Copyright 2008 Booklist

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2008 (Fiction)
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
Click to search this book in our catalog   Junot Diaz

Library Journal Having caught everyone's attention with his short stories, D!az offers a debut novel starring ghetto geek Oscar, whose family labors under a Fuk# (or curse) that delivers prison, tragic accidents, and, worst of all, bad luck in love. With a national tour. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Publishers Weekly Matthew Sharpe is the author of the novels Jamestown and The Sleeping Father. He teaches at Wesleyan University. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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Book list "*Starred Review* Díaz's gutsy short story collection Drown (1996) made the young Dominican American a literary star. Readers who have had to wait a decade for his first novel are now spectacularly rewarded. Paralleling his own experiences growing up in the Dominican Republic and New Jersey, he has choreographed a family saga at once sanguinary and sexy that confronts the horrific brutality at loose during the reign of the dictator Trujillo. Díaz's besieged characters look to the supernatural for explanations and hope, from fukú, the curse unleashed when Europeans arrived on Hispaniola, to the forces dramatized in the works of science fiction and fantasy so beloved by the chubby ghetto nerd Oscar Wao, the brilliantly realized boy of conscience at the center of this whirlwind tale. Writing in a combustible mix of slang and lyricism, Díaz loops back and forth in time and place, generating sly and lascivious humor in counterpoint to tyranny and sorrow. And his characters Oscar, the hopeless romantic; Lola, his no-nonsense sister; their heartbroken mother; and the irresistible homeboy narrator cling to life with the magical strength of superheroes, yet how vibrantly human they are. Propelled by compassion, Díaz's novel is intrepid and radiant."--"Seaman, Donna" Copyright 2007 Booklist

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2008 (Nonfiction)
The Years of Extermination: Nazi Germany and the Jews, 1939-1945
Click to search this book in our catalog   Saul Friedlander
2008 (Biography)
Eden's Outcasts: The Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Father
Click to search this book in our catalog   John Matteson
2007 (Fiction)
The road
Click to search this book in our catalog   Cormac McCarthy
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780307265432 Violence, in McCarthy's postapocalyptic tour de force, has been visited worldwide in the form of a "long shear of light and then a series of low concussions" that leaves cities and forests burned, birds and fish dead and the earth shrouded in gray clouds of ash. In this landscape, an unnamed man and his young son journey down a road to get to the sea. (The man's wife, who gave birth to the boy after calamity struck, has killed herself.) They carry blankets and scavenged food in a shopping cart, and the man is armed with a revolver loaded with his last two bullets. Beyond the ever-present possibility of starvation lies the threat of roving bands of cannibalistic thugs. The man assures the boy that the two of them are "good guys," but from the way his father treats other stray survivors the boy sees that his father has turned into an amoral survivalist, tenuously attached to the morality of the past by his fierce love for his son. McCarthy establishes himself here as the closest thing in American literature to an Old Testament prophet, trolling the blackest registers of human emotion to create a haunting and grim novel about civilization's slow death after the power goes out. 250,000 announced first printing; BOMC main selection. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780307265432 A man and a boy, father and son, each the other's world entire, walk a road in the ashes of the late world. In this stunning departure from his previous work, McCarthy ( No Country for Old Men, 2005) envisions a postapocalyptic scenario. Cities have been destroyed, plants and animals have died, and few humans survive. The sun is hidden by ash, and it is winter. With every scrap of food looted, many of the living have turned to cannibalism. The man and the boy plod toward the sea. The man remembers the world before; as his memories die, so, too dies that world. The boy was born after everything changed. The man, dying, has a fierce paternal love and will to survive--yet he saves his last two bullets for himself and his son. Although the holocaust is never explained, this is the kind of grim warning that leads to nightmares. Its spare, precise language is rich with other explorations, too: hope in the face of hopelessness, the ephemeral nature of our existence, the vanishing worlds we all carry within us. McCarthy evokes Beckett, using repetition and negation to crushing effect, showing us by their absence the things we will miss. Hypnotic and haunting, relentlessly dark, this is a novel to read in late-night solitude. Though the focus never leaves the two travelers, they carry our humanity, and we can't help but feel the world hangs in the balance of their hopeless quest. A masterpiece. --Keir Graff Copyright 2006 Booklist
Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780307265432 New territory for McCarthy: a postapocalyptic landscape where readers meet a man who recalls a better world and a boy who doesn't. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780307265432 Winner of the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award, McCarthy (All the Pretty Horses) here offers a prescient account of a man and his son trying to survive in a devastated country where food is scarce and everyone has become a scavenger. The term survival of the fittest rings true here-very few people remain, and friends are extinct. Essentially, this is a story about nature vs. nurture, commitment and promises, and though there aren't many characters, there is abundant life in the prose. We are reminded how McCarthy has mastered the world outside of our domestic and social circles, with each description reading as if he had pulled a scene from the landscape and pasted it in the book. He uses metaphors the way some writers use punctuation, sprinkling them about with an artist's eye, showing us that literature from the heart still exists. Recommended for all libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 5/1/06.]-Stephen Morrow, Columbus, OH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2007 (Nonfiction)
The looming tower
Click to search this book in our catalog   Lawrence Wright

Book list Wright, a talented New Yorker0 staff writer with a diverse portfolio and a long-standing personal interest in the Middle East, was on the al-Qaeda beat within hours of the 9/11 attacks. The product of his efforts is more deeply researched and engagingly narrated than nearly all of the looming stack of books on Osama bin Laden and his cohorts published in the past five years. The events are familiar: this account begins with theorist Sayid Qutb, covers the trajectories of bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, and culminates with Mohammed Atta and the collapsing Trade Center. But Wright's interview--fueled, character-driven approach captures both the complexity of individual actors--Qutb's alienation, for example, and bin Laden's struggle for legitimacy--as well as the fluid internal dynamics of the often covert terrorist organization. The tragic centerpiece of the book, familiar to New Yorker0 readers, is Wright's sensitive portrayal of John O'Neill, the deeply flawed working-class FBI gumshoe from New Jersey who may have been the only American to fully understand the al-Qaeda threat before 9/11. Wright seems to have found his calling: a perceptive and intense page-turner, this selection and Peter Bergen's The Osama bin Laden I Know0 (2006) should be considered the definitive works on the topic. --Brendan Driscoll Copyright 2006 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Library Journal Wright (fellow, Ctr. on Law & Security, NYU Sch. of Law; Twins) goes back-way back-to 1948 to dissect the personal influences and political radicalization that would lead to al Qaeda's attack on America. Delving into the tangled roots of Egyptian political dissenters, he carefully draws out the biographical background of Osama bin Laden's number two man, Dr. Ayman-al-Zawahir, who was notable for being implicated in the plot to assassinate Anware Sadat and later became a key figure in Islamist groups as he allied with bin Laden. The matter-of-fact story of the founding of al Qaeda is almost an afterthought as Wright's narrative follows bin Laden in his business and terrorist ventures from Saudi Arabia to Sudan to Afghanistan. A chilling counterpoint to the story of this growing organization is what little attention was paid to the trickle of information that made its way to Western intelligence agencies. While illustrating the CIA and FBI responses, or lack thereof, to the emerging threat of Islamist terrorism, Wright attempts to tie in an important law-enforcement figure, John O'Neill. At one time a counterterrorism agent for the FBI who deeply understood the global nature of bin Laden's threat, O'Neill ironically perished on 9/11 at the World Trade Center. The thrust of O'Neill's story, however, does not merge well with the rest of the book (for a closer look at O'Neill, see Murray Weiss's The Man Who Warned America). However, Wright's research is exemplary, including dozens of primary-source interviews and first-person perspectives, and he provides welcome insight into the time line leading up to 9/11. Recommended for large libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 5/1/06.]-Elizabeth Morris, Illinois Fire Svc. Inst. Lib., Champaign (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Choice Wright is a staff writer for The New Yorker magazine, has published several previous works on a variety of subjects, and has lived and taught in the Middle East. The current study provides a well-written, dispassionate history and analysis, meticulously researched, of the series of events and personalities over a lengthy period of time that culminated in 9/11. Wright examines the impact of secularism, "Americanism," Israel, and the growing influence of radical Islam. Rival radical Islamic thinkers from Egypt to the Gulf States influenced the formation of Al Qaeda as a distinct group. The importance of such thinkers as Sayyid Qutb, Abdullah Azzam, and Osama bin Laden are carefully reviewed. This study will put to rest the notion that Islamism is characterized simply by nihilistic fanaticism, or a monolithic movement. Personal rivalries as well as doctrinal disputes are described alongside the progress and setbacks of the Islamists' cause. Also critical is the appraisal of how various American agencies and intelligence professionals view the threat. Unusual in a trade book, endnotes, bibliography, and list of interviewees are included. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. General readers, upper-division undergraduates through faculty. M. Slann Macon State College

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.

Library Journal This work is essential for understanding the terrorists who planned and executed the attacks of September 11 and the world that shaped them. Pulitzer Prize winner for nonfiction, Wright takes the reader on an educational journey, and when we emerge, we realize how truly unprepared we were in 2001. (LJ 7/06) (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Library Journal New Yorker staff writer Wright profiles four men intimately involved with 9/11: al-Qaeda leaders Osama bin Laden and Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri, FBI counterterrorist chief John O'Neill, and Prince Turki al-Faisal, head of Saudi intelligence. With a three-city tour. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Publishers Weekly Wright, a New Yorker writer, brings exhaustive research and delightful prose to one of the best books yet on the history of terrorism. He begins with the observation that, despite an impressive record of terror and assassination, post-WWarII, Islamic militants failed to establish theocracies in any Arab country. Many helped Afghanistan resist the Russian invasion of 1979 before their unemployed warriors stepped up efforts at home. Al-Qaeda, formed in Afghanistan in 1988 and led by Osama bin Laden, pursued a different agenda, blaming America for Islam's problems. Less wealthy than believed, bin Laden's talents lay in organization and PR, Wright asserts. Ten years later, bin Laden blew up U.S. embassies in Africa and the destroyer Cole, opening the floodgates of money and recruits. Wright's step-by-step description of these attacks reveals that planning terror is a sloppy business, leaving a trail of clues that, in the case of 9/11, raised many suspicions among individuals in the FBI, CIA and NSA. Wright shows that 9/11 could have been prevented if those agencies had worked together. As a fugitive, bin Ladin's days as a terror mastermind may be past, but his success has spawned swarms of imitators. This is an important, gripping and profoundly disheartening book. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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2007 (Biography)
The most famous man in America
Click to search this book in our catalog   Debby Applegate

Library Journal The 2007 Pulitzer Prize jumps the gun on book award announcements, selecting the spring rather than the fall to declare its winners. The best biography nod went to Debby Applegate's The Most Famous Man in America: The Biography of Henry Ward Beecher (Doubleday. 2006. ISBN 978-0-385-51396-8. $27.95; pap. 2007. Three Leaves. 2007. ISBN 978-0-385-51397-5. $16.95). The brother of Uncle Tom's Cabin author Harriet Beecher Stowe was a fascinating figure-a reverend with big ideas and bold actions. He became a media celebrity through his ardent speeches and newspaper columns, was a vocal opponent of slavery, and helped change much of Christian thinking. As an iconic figure of his day, Beecher has much to teach us about our own media-driven culture and the fleeting appeal of fame. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2006 (Fiction)
March
Click to search this book in our catalog   Geraldine Brooks
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780670033355 Brooks's luminous second novel, after 2001's acclaimed Year of Wonders, imagines the Civil War experiences of Mr. March, the absent father in Louisa May Alcott's Little Women. An idealistic Concord cleric, March becomes a Union chaplain and later finds himself assigned to be a teacher on a cotton plantation that employs freed slaves, or "contraband." His narrative begins with cheerful letters home, but March gradually reveals to the reader what he does not to his family: the cruelty and racism of Northern and Southern soldiers, the violence and suffering he is powerless to prevent and his reunion with Grace, a beautiful, educated slave whom he met years earlier as a Connecticut peddler to the plantations. In between, we learn of March's earlier life: his whirlwind courtship of quick-tempered Marmee, his friendship with Emerson and Thoreau and the surprising cause of his family's genteel poverty. When a Confederate attack on the contraband farm lands March in a Washington hospital, sick with fever and guilt, the first-person narrative switches to Marmee, who describes a different version of the years past and an agonized reaction to the truth she uncovers about her husband's life. Brooks, who based the character of March on Alcott's transcendentalist father, Bronson, relies heavily on primary sources for both the Concord and wartime scenes; her characters speak with a convincing 19th-century formality, yet the narrative is always accessible. Through the shattered dreamer March, the passion and rage of Marmee and a host of achingly human minor characters, Brooks's affecting, beautifully written novel drives home the intimate horrors and ironies of the Civil War and the difficulty of living honestly with the knowledge of human suffering. Agent, Kris Dahl. 10-city author tour. (Mar. 7) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
School Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780670033355 Adult/High School-In Brooks's well-researched interpretation of Louisa May Alcott's Little Women, Mr. March also remains a shadowy figure for the girls who wait patiently for his letters. They keep a stiff upper lip, answering his stiff, evasive, flowery letters with cheering accounts of the plays they perform and the charity they provide, hiding their own civilian privations. Readers, however, are treated to the real March, based loosely upon the character of Alcott's own father. March is a clergyman influenced by Thoreau, Emerson, and especially John Brown (to whom he loses a fortune). His high-minded ideals are continually thwarted not only by the culture of the times, but by his own ineptitude as well. A staunch abolitionist, he is amazingly naive about human nature. He joins the Union army and soon becomes attached to a hospital unit. His radical politics are an embarrassment to the less ideological men, and he is appalled by their lack of abolitionist sentiments and their cruelty. When it appears that he has committed a sexual indiscretion with a nurse, a former slave and an old acquaintance, March is sent to a plantation where the recently freed slaves earn wages but continue to experience cruelty and indignities. Here his faith in himself and in his religious and political convictions are tested. Sick and discouraged, he returns to his little women, who have grown strong in his absence. March, on the other hand, has experienced the horrors of war, serious illness, guilt, regret, and utter disillusionment.-Jackie Gropman, Chantilly Regional Library, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780670033355 Brooks imagines what happened to March, father of Alcott's little women. With a ten-city author tour. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780670033355 Brooks' first novel ( Year of Wonders0 , 2001) was a straightforward historical novel of the plague. For her second novel, she has come close to creating a new genre; she imagines the life of Captain March, the father in Louisa May Alcott's Little Women0 . This technique has been done before, most famously in Jean Rhys' Wide Sargasso Sea0 . Brooks, however, has combined this idea with two other genres, historical fiction and fictionalized biography. The results, however, are mixed. March appears, much like Bronson himself, as a man whose convictions tread a thin line between admirable and aggravating. He is pure to the point of being ineffectual, and noble to the point of stupidity. The nineteenth-century writing style is accurate and entertaining, but it may be too ornate for some readers. The best moments in the narrative are the peeks inside the mind of the long-suffering Marmee, and thus we learn where Jo gets her famous spunk. --Marta Segal Copyright 2005 Booklist
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2006 (Nonfiction)
Imperial Reckoning: The Untold Story of Britain's Gulag in Kenya
Click to search this book in our catalog   Caroline Elkins

Book list In the immediate aftermath of militarily crushing the Mau Mau rebellion in early 1950s colonial Kenya, British authorities organized a detention-and-camp system they informally called the Pipeline. This work, originating from the author's doctoral dissertation, describes the Pipeline, insofar as it is possible since Elkins discovered that records about the Pipeline were sparse indeed, likely evidence of a documentary bonfire lit before the British granted Kenya independence in 1963. Surmounting that obstacle, Elkins recovers sufficient information about the Pipeline to--whatever its rationale in the minds of its creators for suppressing the murderously vicious Mau Mau--condemn it wholesale. The catalog of cruelty Elkins uncovered--bits from surviving documents, more from interviewing survivors--makes for quite nauseating reading that descends the slope of depravity from torture to outright killing. Inevitably news of incidents leaked out, igniting parliamentary rows in London, which Elkins chronicles with contained fury. Filling a previously blank page in history, Elkins' pioneering study is a crucial recording of Kenyan history in particular, and that of African decolonization in general. --Gilbert Taylor Copyright 2004 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Library Journal More on the Mau Mau uprising. Harvard historian Elkins focuses on the prisons that cost thousands of lives. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Publishers Weekly In a major historical study, Elkins, an assistant professor of history at Harvard, relates the gruesome, little-known story of the mass internment and murder of thousands of Kenyans at the hands of the British in the last years of imperial rule. Beginning with a trenchant account of British colonial enterprise in Kenya, Elkins charts white supremacy's impact on Kenya's largest ethnic group, the Kikuyu, and the radicalization of a Kikuyu faction sworn by tribal oath to extremism known as Mau Mau. Elkins recounts how in the late 1940s horrific Mau Mau murders of white settlers on their isolated farms led the British government to declare a state of emergency that lasted until 1960, legitimating a decade-long assault on the Kikuyu. First, the British blatantly rigged the trial of and imprisoned the moderate leader Jomo Kenyatta (later Kenya's first postindependence prime minister). Beginning in 1953, they deported or detained 1.4 million Kikuyu, who were systematically "screened," and in many cases tortured, to determine the extent of their Mau Mau sympathies. Having combed public archives in London and Kenya and conducted extensive interviews with both Kikuyu survivors and settlers, Elkins exposes the hypocrisy of Britain's supposed colonial "civilizing mission" and its subsequent coverups. A profoundly chilling portrait of the inherent racism and violence of "colonial logic," Elkins's account was also the subject of a 2002 BBC documentary entitled Kenya: White Terror. Her superbly written and impassioned book deserves the widest possible readership. B&w photos, maps. Agent, Jill Kneerim. (Jan. 11) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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Library Journal By analyzing primary sources-including archival material and interviews with hundreds of Kikuyu survivors as well as British and African loyalists, Elkins (history, Harvard Univ.) has unearthed a chilling account of colonial British detention camps and villages during the Mau Mau insurrection between 1952 and 1960. Her intense scholarly research has yielded empirical and demographic evidence that Britain distorted data regarding deaths and detainees and destroyed official records that might otherwise have been damaging to its image. Further findings reveal that a large number of women and children were not detained in the official camps but in about 800 enclosed villages surrounded by "spiked trenches, barbed wire, watchtowers, and patrolled by armed guards" and that during the insurrection, the British imposed their "authority with a savagery that betrayed a perverse colonial logic." This compelling account of the British colonial government's atrocities can be compared to Adam Hochschild's King Leopold's Ghost. Highly recommended for both public and academic libraries.-Edward McCormack, Univ. of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast Lib., Long Beach (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Choice From 1952 until 1959, Britain's Kenya colony was jolted by the Mau Mau insurgency, which was portrayed as a barbaric, anti-European, anti-Christian, terrorist attempt to overturn British "civilization." The Mau Mau insistence that they were fighting for ithaka na wiyathi, or land and freedom, was dismissed as completely absurd. British forces first mounted an offensive against 20,000 Mau Mau guerrillas in remote mountain forests and later directed a much larger campaign against 1.5 million ethnic Kikuyu, who were believed to have taken the Mau Mau oath. To defeat these Mau Mau suspects, the British constructed a vast system of detention camps that eventually held as many as 320,000 men, women, and children. Elkins's scholarship has focused on this "Pipeline," as it was called, and discovered "a pornography of terror," fully commensurate with any Nazi concentration camp or Soviet gulag. The British public was misled: Conservative government rhetoric said the "boys in Kenya" were "fighting a war for human progress against godless savages." Labour Party leaders feebly objected. Harold Macmillan won reelection, and then, quite suddenly, realized the truth. Jomo Kenyatta was released, and Uhuru, independence, was achieved. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. All levels and libraries. W. W. Reinhardt Randolph-Macon College

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2006 (Biography)
American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer
Click to search this book in our catalog   Kai Bird

Publishers Weekly Though many recognize Oppenheimer (1904-1967) as the father of the atomic bomb, few are as familiar with his career before and after Los Alamos. Sherwin (A World Destroyed) has spent 25 years researching every facet of Oppenheimer's life, from his childhood on Manhattan's Upper West Side and his prewar years as a Berkeley physicist to his public humiliation when he was branded a security risk at the height of anticommunist hysteria in 1954. Teaming up with Bird, an acclaimed Cold War historian (The Color of Truth), Sherwin examines the evidence surrounding Oppenheimer's "hazy and vague" connections to the Communist Party in the 1930sAloose interactions consistent with the activities of contemporary progressives. But those politics, in combination with Oppenheimer's abrasive personality, were enough for conservatives, from fellow scientist Edward Teller to FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, to work at destroying Oppenheimer's postwar reputation and prevent him from swaying public opinion against the development of a hydrogen bomb. Bird and Sherwin identify Atomic Energy Commission head Lewis Strauss as the ringleader of a "conspiracy" that culminated in a security clearance hearing designed as a "show trial." Strauss's tactics included illegal wiretaps of Oppenheimer's attorney; those transcripts and other government documents are invaluable in debunking the charges against Oppenheimer. The political drama is enhanced by the close attention to Oppenheimer's personal life, and Bird and Sherwin do not conceal their occasional frustration with his arrogant stonewalling and panicky blunders, even as they shed light on the psychological roots for those failures, restoring human complexity to a man who had been both elevated and demonized. 32 pages of photos not seen by PW. (Apr. 10) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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Library Journal Recently, there has been a resurgence of interest in the life, career, achievements, and trials of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the "father" of the atomic bomb. In 2004, there were two new biographies by significant science writers-Jeremy Bernstein's Oppenheimer: Portrait of an Enigma and David C. Cassidy's J. Robert Oppenheimer and the American Century. In addition to this current title, another is scheduled for publication in 2005, Abraham Pais and Robert Crease's Shatterer of Worlds: A Life of J. Robert Oppenheimer. This collaboration between writer Bird and English professor Sherwin is an expansive but fast-paced and engrossing work that draws its strength from the insights provided into Oppenheimer's thoughts and motives and the many anecdotes. The book's five parts cover his youth and education, his early career and dalliance with communism, the Manhattan Project, his return to academe and growing political influence, and, finally, his dealings with the FBI and eventual retreat from public life. The emphasis throughout is on Oppenheimer's personality and how he navigated the sociopolitical minefields of the era, with relatively less discussion of his scientific work. For a readable and well-researched biography of the man, this suffices quite well. However, with so many other biographies available, not to mention histories of the Manhattan Project, it provides little new information here. For general readers in larger public and academic libraries.-Gregg Sapp, Science Lib., SUNY at Albany (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Book list Robert Oppenheimer's work as director of the Manhattan Project--bringing hundreds of iconoclastic nuclear physicists together in the New Mexico desert to design and build the first atomic bomb--remains one of the most remarkable feats, both triumphant and tragic, of the twentieth century, but as this definitive biography makes clear, it was only one chapter in a profoundly fascinating, richly complex, and ineffably sad American life. Bird and Sherwin set the stage beautifully, detailing Oppenheimer's young life as a multidisciplinary child prodigy at the progressive Ethical Culture School in Manhattan. The young Oppenheimer was a tangled mix of precocity and insecurity--a far cry from the charismatic leader who would emerge at Los Alamos. Funneling more than 25 years of research into a captivating narrative, the authors bring needed perspective to Oppenheimer's radical activities in the 1930s, and they reprise the familiar story of the Manhattan Project thoroughly, though without attempting the scope and scientific detail of Richard Rhodes' The Making of the Atomic Bomb 0 (1987) .0 Where Bird and Sherwin are without peer, however, is in capturing the humanity of the man behind the porkpie hat, both at Los Alamos and in the tragic aftermath, when Oppenheimer's tireless efforts to promote arms control made him the target of politicians and bureaucrats, leading to the revoking of his security clearance by the Atomic Energy Commission in 1954, during a hearing that the authors portray convincingly as a kangaroo court. That Oppenheimer both helped father the bomb and was crucified for lobbying against the arms race remains the fundamental irony in a supremely ironic story. That irony as well as the ambiguity and tortured emotions behind it are captured in all their intensity in this compelling life story. --Bill Ott Copyright 2005 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Choice Oppenheimer became one of the world's best-known physicists in 1945 when the public learned that he had successfully led the effort to design and construct the first nuclear fission bombs. He and other researchers worked hard after WW II trying to convince the government to place nuclear materials under international control. Oppenheimer lobbied against a program to produce a nuclear fusion bomb on the grounds that it would be massively destructive. In order to squelch his influence, some of his opponents instigated a hearing before a board of the Atomic Energy Commission; as a result, Oppenheimer lost his security clearance in 1954. He spent the rest of his career at the Institute of Advanced Studies at Princeton, where he had been director since 1947. Writer Bird and Sherwin (English; American history, Tufts Univ.) offer this comprehensive biography based on analysis of masses of documentation and many interviews. Their book stimulates thinking about key issues--international control of nuclear materials, openness in science and politics, freedom of debate, and discussion of ideas--that are as important today as they were then. ^BSumming Up: Essential. All levels. M. Dickinson Maine Maritime Academy

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2005 (Fiction)
Gilead
Click to search this book in our catalog   Marilynne Robinson

Library Journal As his life winds down, Rev. John Ames relates the story of his own father and grandfather, both preachers but one a pacifist and one a gun-toting abolitionist. Amazingly, just Robinson's second novel. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Fans of Robinson's acclaimed debut Housekeeping (1981) will find that the long wait has been worth it. From the first page of her second novel, the voice of Rev. John Ames mesmerizes with his account of his life-and that of his father and grandfather. Ames is 77 years old in 1956, in failing health, with a much younger wife and six-year-old son; as a preacher in the small Iowa town where he spent his entire life, he has produced volumes and volumes of sermons and prayers, "[t]rying to say what was true." But it is in this mesmerizing account-in the form of a letter to his young son, who he imagines reading it when he is grown-that his meditations on creation and existence are fully illumined. Ames details the often harsh conditions of perishing Midwestern prairie towns, the Spanish influenza and two world wars. He relates the death of his first wife and child, and his long years alone attempting to live up to the legacy of his fiery grandfather, a man who saw visions of Christ and became a controversial figure in the Kansas abolitionist movement, and his own father's embittered pacifism. During the course of Ames's writing, he is confronted with one of his most difficult and long-simmering crises of personal resentment when John Ames Boughton (his namesake and son of his best friend) returns to his hometown, trailing with him the actions of a callous past and precarious future. In attempting to find a way to comprehend and forgive, Ames finds that he must face a final comprehension of self-as well as the worth of his life's reflections. Robinson's prose is beautiful, shimmering and precise; the revelations are subtle but never muted when they come, and the careful telling carries the breath of suspense. There is no simple redemption here; despite the meditations on faith, even readers with no religious inclinations will be captivated. Many writers try to capture life's universals of strength, struggle, joy and forgiveness-but Robinson truly succeeds in what is destined to become her second classic. Agent, Ellen Levine. 5-city author tour. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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Book list Robinson's first book, Housekeeping (1981), remains an astonishment, leading to high expectations for her longed-for second novel, which is, joyfully, a work of profound beauty and wonder. Reverend John Ames of Gilead, Iowa, a grandson and son of preachers, now in his seventies, is afraid he hasn't much time left to tell his young son about his heritage. And so he takes up his pen, as he has for decades--he estimates that he's written more than 2,000 sermons--and vividly describes his prophetlike grandfather, who had a vision that inspired him to go to Kansas and make himself useful to the cause of abolition, and the epic conflict between his fiery grandfather and his pacifist father. He recounts the death of his first wife and child, marvels over the variegated splendors of earth and sky, and offers moving interpretations of the Gospel. And then, as he struggles with his disapproval and fear of his namesake and shadow son, Jack, the reprobate offspring of his closest friend, his letter evolves into a full-blown apologia punctuated by the disturbing revelation of Jack's wrenching predicament, one inexorably tied to the toxic legacy of slavery. For me writing has always felt like praying, discloses Robinson's contemplative hero, and, indeed, John has nearly as much reverence for language and thought as he does for life itself. Millennia of philosophical musings and a century of American history are refracted through the prism of Robinson's exquisite and uplifting novel as she illuminates the heart of a mystic, poet, and humanist. --Donna Seaman Copyright 2004 Booklist

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2005 (Nonfiction)
Ghost Wars
Click to search this book in our catalog   Steve Coll
2005 (Biography)
de Kooning: An American Master
Click to search this book in our catalog   Mark Stevens

Publishers Weekly This sweeping biography, 10 years in the making, chronicles in fastidious detail de Kooning's rise from his humble beginnings in Rotterdam to his fame as an abstract expressionist and his descent into alcoholism and Alzheimer's. Emigrating to New York in 1926, de Kooning (1904-1997) situated himself among fellow artists and role models like Arshile Gorky. In 1938, he met and later married painter Elaine Fried; the two remained married despite de Kooning's predilection for bed hopping. (An affair with Joan Ward resulted in a daughter, Lisa, and indeed, the authors spend more ink on de Kooning's womanizing than his art making.) In the early 1940s, de Kooning's work appeared in group shows; his first solo show was a commercial failure. The artist did not meet with real success until the 1950s, when his paintings Excavation and Woman 1 made him "first among equals" in the art world. Stevens, New York magazine's art critic, and Swan, a former senior arts editor at Newsweek, see in de Kooning's life the realization of classic stories-the triumph of the immigrant, the man consumed by his success, the nonexistence of life's second acts-and this comprehensive biography, which attempts to explain de Kooning's art through a careful catalogue of his personal life, is a must read for his admirers. Illus. Agent, Molly Friedrich at Aaron Priest. 40,000 first printing; author tour. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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Library Journal At age 12, Willem de Kooning was working at a decorating firm to help support his family while studying the masters at Rotterdam's art academy by night. Ten years later, in 1926, when he stowed away on the British freighter SS Shelley, he knew only one word of English-yes-but was determined to become an American. His classical northern European training and his determination to succeed in this country-along with his tremendous talent and imagination-helped him become an American Master of the 20th century. In this pioneering biography, we learn that his personal life was troubled by alcoholism and infidelity but that his artistic life set him at the forefront of the New York art scene: he founded the New York School and was associated with the likes of Arshile Gorky, Jackson Pollock, and Mark Rothko. New York magazine art critic Stevens and Newsweek arts editor Swan conducted scores of interviews and spent ten years poring over de Kooning's writings (published and unpublished), as well as his films and videotapes, plus statements by those who knew him to produce this masterly biography. A fascinating and dynamic look at the artist, his work, and his world; highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 7/04.]-Marcia Welsh, Dartmouth Coll., Hanover, NH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Library Journal What made De Kooning tick? New York art critic Stevens joins with former Newsweek arts editor Swan to find out. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Book list It took de Kooning many years to achieve recognition, a sustained struggle given its full due in this unfailingly attentive biography, the first of this controversial American master. Distinguished critics Stevens and Swan are indefatigable in their factual chronicling, vivid in their characterization of an immense cast of colorful characters, measured in their psychological interpretations, and sharp in their explications of the visions and politics that drove New York's striving art world from 1926, when the handsome young Dutchman arrived as a stowaway, to his death in 1997. Stevens and Swan tell wild stories about de Kooning's part in the much mythologized Cedar Tavern-anchored, abstract-art heyday, and they cover in painful detail his many affairs and complicated marriage to the vivacious, talented, and pragmatic Elaine. But what is most valuable here is the light shed on de Kooning's rough Rotterdam childhood and early commercial art training, his insistence on painting vehement and unnerving portraits of women, and his mysterious last years at his Long Island studio. Here are rival artists, dueling critics, rampant promiscuity, heroic intentions, demoralizing poverty, heavy drinking, depression, and through it all de Kooning's quest for powerful and authentic expression. --Donna Seaman Copyright 2004 Booklist

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2004 (Fiction)
The Known World
Click to search this book in our catalog   Edward P. Jones
 
2004 (Nonfiction)
Gulag: A History
Click to search this book in our catalog   Anne Applebaum

Book list We have massive amounts of data about the Nazi concentration and death camps, ranging from memoirs of survivors to incredibly detailed records kept by Nazi officials. The Nazi camps lasted just over a decade. On the other hand, the vast system of confinement, forced labor, and executions dubbed the "Gulag Archipelago" by Alexander Solzhenitsyn lasted almost 70 years, and we are just beginning to get a comprehensive picture of this affront to the human spirit. Applebaum is a former Marshall scholar and is now a journalist who covered the collapse of Communism in Central and Eastern Europe. With the collapse of the Soviet Union and the gradual opening of KGB archives, the full horror of the Gulag is gradually emerging, and Applebaum has done a masterful job of chronicling the origin, growth, and eventual end of this monstrous system. Contrary to the beliefs of many, the Gulag was not a product of the Stalin era. Both Lenin and Trotsky staunchly backed the creation of these camps as a useful tool in their promotion of "Red Terror." Under Stalin, of course, the camps were greatly expanded, both as a repository for the victims of his various purges and as a vital component, via slave labor, in industrialization. Like the Nazi camps, the Gulag became a virtual industrial complex. Now, we are left with the evidence, the memory of survivors, and the moral obligation to uncover the full story. This brilliant and often heartbreaking work is a giant step in the fulfillment of that obligation. --Jay Freeman

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly Nearly 30 million prisoners passed through the Soviet Union's labor camps in their more than 60 years of operation. This remarkable volume, the first fully documented history of the gulag, describes how, largely under Stalin's watch, a regulated, centralized system of prison labor-unprecedented in scope-gradually arose out of the chaos of the Russian Revolution. Fueled by waves of capricious arrests, this prison labor came to underpin the Soviet economy. Applebaum, a former Warsaw correspondent for the Economist and a regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, draws on newly accessible Soviet archives as well as scores of camp memoirs and interviews with survivors to trace the gulag's origins and expansion. By the gulag's peak years in the early 1950s, there were camps in every part of the country, and slave labor was used not only for mining and heavy industries but for producing every kind of consumer product (chairs, lamps, toys, those ubiquitous fur hats) and some of the country's most important science and engineering (Sergei Korolev, the architect of the Soviet space program, began his work in a special prison laboratory). Applebaum details camp life, including strategies for survival; the experiences of women and children in the camps; sexual relationships and marriages between prisoners; and rebellions, strikes and escapes. There is almost too much dark irony to bear in this tragic, gripping account. Applebaum's lucid prose and painstaking consideration of the competing theories about aspects of camp life and policy are always compelling. She includes an appendix in which she discusses the various ways of calculating how many died in the camps, and throughout the book she thoughtfully reflects on why the gulag does not loom as large in the Western imagination as, for instance, the Holocaust. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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Library Journal Subsequent to Solzhenitsyn's landmark Gulag Archipelago and One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, Applebaun, former Warsaw correspondent for the Economist and currently on the editorial staff at the Washington Post, has captured the full brutality and economic engine for the Soviet state that was the Gulag prison system. This book is perfectly timed to follow such recent works as Golfo Alexopoulos's Stalin's Outcasts: Aliens, Citizens, and the Soviet State 1926-1936. With a finely honed writer's skill, Applebaum thoroughly describes in minute detail the system of camps, the prisoners, camp administration, camp life, and Stalin's obsession with slave labor. "GULAG is an acronym, meaning Glavnoe Upravlenie Lagerei, or Main Camp Administration. Over time, the word `Gulag' has also come to signify not only the administration of the concentration camps but also the system of Soviet slave labor itself." Intellectually, Americans and Western Europeans know roughly what happened in the Soviet Union, but the crimes of Stalin do not inspire the same visceral reaction as do the crimes of the Third Reich. This first complete history of the Gulag system not only points out the similarities with the Nazis and their concentration camps but also puts Stalin and his Gulag on the same ghastly level. Highly recommended for public and academic libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 12/02.]-Harry Willems, Southeast Kansas Lib. Syst., Iola (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Library Journal More than a full-scale history of the Soviet Gulag, this work by the Spectator's deputy editor asks why it is so little remembered in both Russia and the West. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2004 (Biography)
Khrushchev: The Man and His Era
Click to search this book in our catalog   William Taubman

Publishers Weekly Amherst College political science professor Taubman's thorough and nuanced account is the first full-length American biography of Khrushchev-and will likely be the definitive one for a long time. Russians, Taubman explains, are still divided by Khrushchev's legacy, largely because of the great contradiction at the heart of his career: he worked closely with Stalin for nearly 20 years, approved thousands of arrests and executions, and continued to idolize the dictator until the latter's death. Yet it was Khrushchev who publicly revealed the enormity of Stalin's crimes, denounced him, and introduced reforms that, Taubman argues, "allowed a nascent civil society to take shape"-eventually making way for perestroika. Taubman untangles the fascinating layers of deception and self-deception in Khrushchev's own memoir, weighing just how much the leader was likely to have known about the purges and his own culpability in them. He also shows that shadows of Stalinism lingered through Khrushchev's 11 years in power: his fourth-grade education left him both awed and threatened by the Russian intelligentsia, which he persecuted; intending to de-escalate the Cold War, the mercurial, blustering first secretary ended up provoking dangerous standoffs with the U.S. The bumbling, equivocal speeches quoted here make Khrushchev seem a rank amateur in international affairs-or, as Taubman politely puts it, he had trouble "thinking things through." Working closely with Khrushchev's children, and interviewing his surviving top-level Central Committee colleagues and aides, Taubman has pieced together a remarkably detailed chronicle, complete with riveting scenes of Kremlin intrigue and acute psychological analysis that further illuminates some of the nightmarish episodes of Soviet history. 32 pages of photos not seen by PW. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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Book list Taubman masterfully replicates in his biography of Krushchev the career contrasts expressed by his grave marker--a bust framed half by black stone, half by white. Up to his elbows in blood, Khrushchev will nevertheless go down in history as the denouncer of Stalin. He partially denounced Stalin in the celebrated "secret speech" of 1956, and did so as a maneuver in a power struggle with inveterate Stalinists; however, his revulsion for Stalin's rule was genuine. The paradox of Khrushchev's complicity in the repression and his natural humanity induces Taubman to treat his life as a mirror of the entire Soviet experience. The author observes that the young Khrushchev might have been a successful factory manager but for the revolution. After initial hesitation, he joined the Bolsheviks in 1918 and in a dozen years ascended to Stalin's inner circle, enforcing the boss' edicts in various posts. Ambition, guilt, a true belief in Communism, and self-doubt churned within him, and the effects of his exuberant, tension-filled character, on the cold war and on Soviet domestic affairs up to his overthrow in 1964, close out Taubman's outstandingly composed work, assuredly the reference point for future writings on Khrushchev. --Gilbert Taylor

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Library Journal There has been a surprising paucity of information produced about the baby boomers' biggest bogeyman. During the 1960s, Khrushchev's bluster and missile rattling jangled the nerves of a generation of Americans fearing a nuclear holocaust. Khrushchev's antics and methods provided the basis for Soviet behavior for the next 20 years and sowed the seeds of the disintegration of the Soviet Union. Taubman (political science, Amherst Coll.; Stalin's America Policy, Moscow Spring) has produced a massive biography that is both psychologically and politically revealing. According to Taubman, Khrushchev's rise in the Bolshevik party and patronage by Stalin can be partially laid to Stalin's diminutive stature. Though only 5'6", he still towered comfortably over Khrushchev at 5'1". Drawing on newly opened archives, Taubman threads together all the unanswered questions that Americans have, e.g., why did Khrushchev de-Stalinize Russia, and was Khrushchev himself implicated in Stalin's terrors? The shoe-banging incident, the Berlin Wall, Sputnik, and the Cuban Missile Crisis are all woven together with the accuracy of an academic and the style of a writer. Recommended for all public, academic, and special libraries.-Harry Willems, Southeast Kansas Lib. Syst., Iola (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Choice This is the first scholarly biography of Khrushchev. Generally, if Taubman (political science, Amherst College) errs, he errs on the side of kindness towards his subject. Although nothing is hidden, the sharp edges of this controversial and at times brutal man are smoothed off. Taubman shows that Khrushchev was as capable of knifing an opponent as was Stalin himself. Otherwise, he would not have ended up by the side of the dictator's deathbed in 1953. Stalin's brutal regime allowed Khrushchev to rise from humble beginnings, with limited education, to the top of world power. Yet, once he reached the pinnacle as ruler of Russia from 1956 to 1964, he more than anybody else was responsible for the collapse of the system that created him. Taubman sees Khrushchev as a gatekeeper of a historical epoch, with one foot in the bloody Soviet revolution and the other in the perestroika of Gorbachev. The study is an exemplar of scholarship, with an extensive bibliography and index. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. For all public and college libraries. A. Ezergailis Ithaca College

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2003 (Fiction)
Middlesex
Click to search this book in our catalog   Jeffrey Eugenides

School Library Journal Adult/High School-From the opening paragraph, in which the narrator explains that he was "born twice," first as a baby girl in 1960, then as a teenage boy in 1974, readers are aware that Calliope Stephanides is a hermaphrodite. To explain his situation, Cal starts in 1922, when his grandparents came to America. In his role as the "prefetal narrator," he tells the love story of this couple, who are brother and sister; his parents are blood relatives as well. Then he tells his own story, which is that of a female child growing up in suburban Detroit with typical adolescent concerns. Callie, as he is known then, worries because she hasn't developed breasts or started menstruating; her facial hair is blamed on her ethnicity, and she and her mother go to get waxed together. She develops a passionate crush on her best girlfriend, "the Object," and consummates it in a manner both detached and steamy. Then an accident causes Callie to find out what she's been suspecting-she's not actually a girl. The story questions what it is that makes us who we are and concludes that one's inner essence stays the same, even in light of drastic outer changes. Mostly, the novel remains a universal narrative of a girl who's happy to grow up but hates having to leave her old self behind. Readers will love watching the narrator go from Callie to Cal, and witnessing all of the life experiences that get her there.-Jamie Watson, Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Library Journal The author of The Virgin Suicides is known for his daring, so it's hardly surprising that "Middlesex" refers not to a town but a state of being: Calliope, a student at an exclusive girls school during the 1970s, discovers that she is a hermaphrodite. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list In his second novel, the author of The Virgin Suicides (1993) once again proves himself to be a wildly imaginative writer, this time penning a coming-of-age tale, ranging from the 1920s in Asia Minor to the present in Berlin, about a hermaphrodite. Perhaps what is most surprising about Eugenides' offbeat but engrossing book is how he establishes, seemingly effortlessly, the credibility of his narrator: "I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day in January of 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan." So starts Cal's remarkably detailed odyssey, which began when his grandparents, who were siblings, married and vowed to keep the true nature of their relationship a secret; however, their deception comes back to haunt them in the form of their grandchild. With a sure yet light-handed touch, Eugenides skillfully bends our notions of gender as we realize, along with Cal, that although he has been raised as a girl, he is more comfortable as a boy. Although at times the novel reads like a medical text, it is also likely to hold readers in thrall with its affecting characterization of a brave and lonely soul and its vivid depiction of exactly what it means to be both male and female. --Joanne Wilkinson

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Library Journal Eugenides's second novel (after The Virgin Suicides) opens "I was born twice: first, as a baby girl...in January of 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy...in August of 1974." Thus starts the epic tale of how Calliope Stephanides is transformed into Cal. Spanning three generations and two continents, the story winds from the small Greek village of Smyrna to the smoggy, crime-riddled streets of Detroit, past historical events, and through family secrets. The author's eloquent writing captures the essence of Cal, a hermaphrodite, who sets out to discover himself by tracing the story of his family back to his grandparents. From the beginning, the reader is brought into a world rich in culture and history, as Eugenides extends his plot into forbidden territories with unique grace. His confidence in the story, combined with his sure prose, helps readers overcome their initial surprise and focus on the emotional revelation of the characters and beyond. Once again, Eugenides proves that he is not only a unique voice in modern literature but also well versed in the nature of the human heart. Highly recommended. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 5/15/02.] - Rachel Collins, "Library Journal" (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2003 (Nonfiction)
A Problem From Hell
Click to search this book in our catalog   Samantha Power

Publishers Weekly Power, a former journalist for U.S. News and World Report and the Economist and now the executive director of Harvard's Carr Center for Human Rights, offers an uncompromising and disturbing examination of 20th-century acts of genocide and U.S responses to them. In clean, unadorned prose, Power revisits the Turkish genocide directed at Armenians in 1915-1916, the Holocaust, Cambodia's Khmer Rouge, Iraqi attacks on Kurdish populations, Rwanda, and Bosnian "ethnic cleansing," and in doing so, argues that U.S. intervention has been shamefully inadequate. The emotional force of Power's argument is carried by moving, sometimes almost unbearable stories of the victims and survivors of such brutality. Her analysis of U.S. politics what she casts as the State Department's unwritten rule that nonaction is better than action with a PR backlash; the Pentagon's unwillingness to see a moral imperative; an isolationist right; a suspicious left and a population unconcerned with distant nations aims to show how ingrained inertia is, even as she argues that the U.S. must reevaluate the principles it applies to foreign policy choices. In the face of firsthand accounts of genocide, invocations of geopolitical considerations and studied and repeated refusals to accept the reality of genocidal campaigns simply fail to convince, she insists. But Power also sees signs that the fight against genocide has made progress. Prominent among those who made a difference are Raphael Lemkin, a Polish Jew who invented the word genocide and who lobbied the U.N. to make genocide the subject of an international treaty, and Senator William Proxmire, who for 19 years spoke every day on the floor of the U.S. Senate to urge the U.S. to ratify the U.N. treaty inspired by Lemkin's work. This is a well-researched and powerful study that is both a history and a call to action. Photos. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Choice Power's convincing and forceful tome goes to the heart of a central paradox of US foreign policy--the interplay of, and conflict between, self-interest, idealism, and reason in pursuing objectives. To some degree, the tension is apparent in the current debate over possible US war with Iraq, in which Iraqi treatment of the national Kurdish minority figures in rationales for this significant US policy shift, along with the more highly touted issues of weapons of mass destruction and terrorism. An experienced journalist, Power examines official US reactions to mass murder of Armenians by Turks, of Jews and others by Nazis, and of Cambodians by the Pol Pot gang, as well as other fully documented mass homicidal obscenities in Iraq, Bosnia, Rwanda, and Kosovo. Separate tales come out similarly. The US has been consistently noninterventionist about genocide. No US chief executive has either "made genocide prevention a priority" or "suffered politically for ... indifference to [genocide's] occurrence." Power concludes by shredding arguments supporting US inaction. She contends that the US must now choose a different, contrasting approach to genocide, even if it has seemed unreasonable to policymakers, politicians, and the public up to this point. All levels and collections. R. N. Seidel emeritus, SUNY Empire State College

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2003 (Biography)
Master of the Senate
Click to search this book in our catalog   Robert A. Caro

Choice This third volume of a projected four-volume biography of Lyndon Johnson examines his two Senate terms. Whereas the first two volumes (The Path to Power, CH, Apr'83, and Means of Ascent, CH, Oct'90) portrayed an ambitious, ruthless, unremitting quest for power, this massive work examines Johnson in power. The result is more flattering, if only by degree. Caro shows Johnson's humanity, but also explores how earlier patterns blossomed in the Senate: Johnson nurtured relationships with older powerful men (Georgia Senator Richard Russell, acknowledged leader of the Southern Democrats); enlarged the authority of his office (majority leader); and humiliated adversaries (liberals Leland Olds of the Federal Power Commission and Senator Paul Douglas). Long digressions (traditional Senate power relationships, and Richard Russell's background) frame the Senate of the 1950s, where Johnson's superb legislative talents balanced northern liberal aspirations against Southern Democratic seniority and solidarity, and finally came to bear on civil rights. Convinced that Senate approval of a civil rights bill would legitimate his presidential candidacy, Johnson engineered approval of the 1957 Civil Rights Act, but allowed the bill to be eviscerated to gain Southern Democratic acceptance. Caro's achievement is extraordinary, although his focus on civil rights affords only cursory treatment of the period after 1957. All collections. A. J. Dunar University of Alabama in Huntsville

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.

Publishers Weekly As a genre, Senate biography tends not to excite. The Senate is a genteel establishment engaged in a legislative process that often appears arcane to outsiders. Nevertheless, there is something uniquely mesmerizing about the wily, combative Lyndon Johnson as portrayed by Caro. In this, the third installment of his projected four-volume life of Johnson (following The Path to Power and Means of Ascent), Caro traces the Texan's career from his days as a newly elected junior senator in 1949 up to his fight for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1960. In 1953, Johnson became the youngest minority leader in Senate history, and the following year, when the Democrats won control, the youngest majority leader. Throughout the book, Caro portrays an uncompromisingly ambitious man at the height of his political and rhetorical powers: a furtive, relentless operator who routinely played both sides of the street to his advantage in a range of disputes. "He would tell us [segregationists]," recalled Herman Talmadge, "I'm one of you, but I can help you more if I don't meet with you." At the same time, Johnson worked behind the scenes to cultivate NAACP leaders. Though it emerges here that he was perhaps not instinctively on the side of the angels in this or other controversies, the pragmatic Senator Johnson nevertheless understood the drift of history well, and invariably chose to swim with the tide, rather than against. The same would not be said later of the Johnson who dwelled so glumly in the White House, expanding a war that even he, eventually, came to loathe. But that is another volume: one that we shall await eagerly. Photos. (Apr.) Forecast: Both volumes one and two had long stays on PW's bestseller list, and those readers will flock to volume three, especially with the aid of a first serial in the New Yorker, a feature in the New York Times magazine, a 16-city author tour and undoubtedly ubiquitous review coverage. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list The obvious question about the third volume in Caro's dynamic, definitive biography of LBJ, following its award-winning predecessors, The Path to Power (1982) and Means of Ascent (1990), is: Does it live up to the profound success of the earlier volumes? The answer is a resounding yes. Caro now covers Johnson's career in the U.S. Senate (1949-61), where, remarkably quickly, he rose to majority leader. We primarily remember LBJ as the president confounded by the Vietnam War. But what Caro so authoritatively yet so rousingly shows us is Johnson's unprecedented and unsurpassed talent for leading the Senate exactly where he wanted it to go. And where he wanted it to go was, most significantly, in the direction of civil rights legislation; he laid the groundwork, with the Civil Rights Act of 1957, for the even greater civil rights legislation he secured from Congress during his presidency. What Caro also achieves so fully and compellingly is not only an understanding of Johnson's power and the psychological compulsions behind the accumulation and exercise of it but also an awareness of the U.S. Senate's moribund state, which it had slipped into decades before Johnson walked into the chamber. He succeeded in turning the upper house into a force to be reckoned with within the structure of the federal government. With first serial rights sold to the New Yorker, this is the biography of the season, and librarians should expect to order more than one copy. --Brad Hooper

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Library Journal Lyndon Johnson's 12 years in the Senate (1949-61) were his happiest years, according to his wife, Lady Bird Johnson. They are the subject of this long-awaited third volume of Caro's biography, following The Path to Power (1982) and Means of Ascent (1990). Johnson was indeed the master of the Senate, becoming the youngest elected majority leader after only one term. His ruthless fight for power, which Caro focused on in his previous books, is present here. However, his goals, Caro notes, were not only selfish: he led the fight to break the reactionary Southern bloc, which allowed for the passage of the 1957 Civil Rights Act. This watered-down voting rights bill was significant as the first civil rights bill passed in 80 years, setting the precedent for the major civil rights legislation passed during Johnson's presidency. Caro praises Johnson as a great champion of all people of color and devotes much of the book to his evolution from an active participant in the racist Southern Caucus to a true believer in civil rights. While Robert Dallek's two-volume Flawed Giant and Lone Star Rising remain the best scholarly appraisal of Johnson, no other author narrates as gracefully Johnson's complexities, contradictions, and the people and events that contributed to them. Highly recommended for all libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 12/01.] Karl Helicher, Upper Merion Twp. Lib., King of Prussia, PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2002 (Fiction)
Empire Falls
Click to search this book in our catalog   Richard Russo

Library Journal "Elijah Whiting...had not succeeded in killing his wife with a shovel, nor had he recovered from the disappointment." These lines from the prolog of Russo's (Straight Man) latest novel prove prototypical. A keen observer of human nature, Russo explores the tragicomic realities of life in a small mill town in central Maine whose best days are behind. Miles Roby is a basically decent guy who runs the Empire Grill for the widow of the last Whiting male (who shot himself when he, too, couldn't recover from his failure to dispatch his wife). Miles's own wife has left him for a sleazy gym owner, and his angst-ridden teenage daughter has befriended a sullen, ominously silent classmate shunned by the rest of his peers. Meanwhile, his ne'er-do-well father is in the process of trying to con a senile old priest into financing his annual jaunt to Key West. As the world careens around him and his fellow townfolk, Miles is trying desperately to figure out what went wrong and the answers, both complicated and simple, seem to lie mostly in the house across the river in which Mrs. Whiting resides. Russo has constructed a sensitive, endearingly oddball portrait of small-town life, a wonderful story that should appeal to a wide audience. Especially appropriate for public and larger academic libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 1/01.] David W. Henderson, Eckerd Coll. Lib., St. Petersburg, FL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly In his biggest, boldest novel yet, the much-acclaimed author of Nobody's Fool and Straight Man subjects a full cross-section of a crumbling Maine mill town to piercing, compassionate scrutiny, capturing misfits, malefactors and misguided honest citizens alike in the steady beam of his prose. Wealthy, controlling matriarch Francine Whiting lives in an incongruous Spanish-style mansion across the river from smalltown Empire Falls, dominated by a long-vacant textile mill and shirt factory, once the center of her husband's family's thriving manufacturing dominion. In his early 40s, passive good guy Miles Roby, the son of Francine's husband's long-dead mistress, seems helpless to escape his virtual enslavement as longtime proprietor of the Whiting-owned Empire Grill, the town's most popular eatery, which Francine has promised to leave him when she dies. Miles's wife, Janine, is divorcing him and has taken up with an aging health club entrepreneur. In her senior year in high school, their creative but lonely daughter, Tick, is preoccupied by her parents' foibles and harassed by the bullying son of the town's sleazy cop who, like everyone else, is a puppet of the domineering Francine. Struggling to make some sense of her life, Tick tries to befriend a boy with a history of parental abuse. To further complicate things, Miles's brother, David, is suspected of dealing marijuana, and their rascally, alcoholic father is a constant annoyance. Miles and David's secret plan to open a competing restaurant runs afoul of Francine just as tragedy erupts at the high school. Even the minor members of Russo's large cast are fully fleshed, and forays into the past lend the narrative an extra depth and resonance. When it comes to evoking the cherished hopes and dreams of ordinary people, Russo is unsurpassed. (May) Forecast: A 100,000-copy first printing of this impressive effort would probably fly off shelves even without the support of a 16-city author tour, national advertising and promotion, national media appearances, bookmarks, posters and a reading group guide. Returning with a flourish to familiar smalltown territory after his foray into academia with Straight Man, Russo could make a splash on big-city bestseller lists. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list In a warmhearted novel of sweeping scope, Russo animates the dead-end small town of Empire Falls, Maine, long abandoned by the logging and textile industries that provided its citizens with their livelihood. Miles Roby surveys his hometown with bemused regret from the Empire Grill, owned by a local magnate but run by him ever since he was called home from college to take care of his ailing mother. His daily parade of customers provides him with ample evidence of both the restrictions and forced intimacy of small-town life and has left him with a deep appreciation for irony: his ex-wife's new paramour, "the Silver Fox," has suddenly become a loyal customer and is constantly challenging him to an arm-wrestling contest; his father, always a day late and a dollar short, has talked a senile priest into running off to Key West for the winter (where they tie for first place in the local Hemingway look-alike contest); and the diner owner's daughter, apprised of Miles' impending divorce, is forever trying to engulf him in a teary embrace. Russo follows up his rollicking academic satire, Straight Man (1997), with a return to the blue-collar milieu featured in his first three novels and once again shows an unerring sense of the rhythms of small-town life, balancing his irreverent, mocking humor with unending empathy for his characters and their foibles. --Joanne WilkinsonAdult Books Young adult recommendations in this issue have been contributed by the Books for Youth editorial staff and by reviewers Nancy Bent, GraceAnne A. DeCandido, Elizabeth Drennan, Connie Fletcher, Sharon Greene, Leone McDermott, Karen Simonetti, Candace Smith, Daniel Winslow, and Linda Zeilstra. Titles recommended for teens are marked with the following symbols: YA, for books of general YA interest; YA/C, for books with particular curriculum value; YA/L, for books with a limited teenage audience; YA/M, for books best suited to mature teens.

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2002 (Nonfiction)
Carry Me Home
Click to search this book in our catalog   Diane McWhorter

Book list In this groundbreaking book, McWhorter, a journalist and regular contributor to the New York Times and USA Today, tells the story of her hometown, Birmingham, Alabama, and the dramatic events that unfolded there during the civil rights struggle of the 1950s and 1960s. A daughter of Birmingham's privileged elite, McWhorter weaves a personal narrative through this startling account of the history, events, and major players on both sides of the civil rights battle in that city. In painstaking detail, she reveals the hardships and horrors (including police dogs, water cannons, and bombings) faced by the Black Freedom Fighters, but she also plainly shows the conspiracy between the town's establishment, the city's public officials, and the vicious Klansmen who did the "dirty" work, in their furious resistance to desegregation. Exhaustively researched yet still compellingly readable, McWhorter's book is an excellent choice for libraries. --Kathleen Hughes

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Library Journal Journalist McWhorter (the New York Times) offers a three-part chronicle of Birmingham, AL, the crucial battleground of the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. A daughter of privilege, she puts her homefolk's resistance to black civil rights in a national context. But her signal contribution is her account of life inside Fortress Segregation. She reveals the intimate workings and absolutism of segregation, which she dubs "a civilization more peculiar than slavery." Her detailed portrait of white intransigence and retaliation climaxes in 1963 with Police Commissioner Eugene "Bull" Connor's dogs and the September 15 dynamiting that killed four black girls at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. McWhorter's literate, often barbed, well-referenced local history with a family twist is a feat of reporting that belongs alongside David Halberstam's The Children (LJ 2/15/98), Taylor Branch's Parting the Waters: America in the King Years, 1954-1963 (LJ 1/89. o.p.), and such works on Birmingham as John Walton Cotman's Birmingham, JFK, and the Civil Rights Act of 1963 (1989). Recommended for all collections on civil rights and U.S. or Southern history. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 11/15/00.] Thomas J. Davis, Arizona State Univ., Tempe (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly The story of civil rights in Birmingham, Ala., has been told before from the unspeakable violence to the simple, courageous decencies but fresh, sometimes startling details distinguish this doorstop page-turner told by a daughter of the city's white elite. McWhorter, a regular New York Times contributor, focuses on two shattering moments in Birmingham in 1963 that led to "the end of apartheid in America": when "Bull Connor's police dogs and fire hoses" attacked "school age witnesses for justice," and when the Ku Klux Klan bombed the 16th Street Church, killing four black girls. Yet she brings a gripping pace and an unusual, two-fold perspective to her account, incorporating her viewpoint as a child (she was largely ignorant of what was going on "downtown," even as her father took an increasingly active role in opposing the civil rights movement), as well as her adult viewpoint as an avid scholar and journalist. Surveying figures both major and minor civil rights leaders, politicians, clergy, political organizers of all stripes her panoramic study unmasks prominent members of Birmingham in collusion with the Klan, revealing behind-the-scenes machinations of "terrorists on the payroll at U.S. Steel" and men like Sid Smyer, McWhorter's distant cousin, who "bankrolled... one of the city's most rabid klansmen." McWhorter binds it all together with the strong thread of a family saga, fueled by a passion to understand the father about whom she had long harbored "vague but sinister visions" and other men of his class and clan. (Mar. 15) Forecast: McWhorter's prominence and her willingness to name names as well as her exhaustive research and skillful narrative virtually guarantee major review attention. Bolstered by an eight-city tour and a pre-pub excerpt in Talk in February, the 50,000-copy first printing should move fast. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Choice Nineteen years ago journalist McWhorter (New York Times, USA Today) began research to understand Birmingham in 1963 and the part her family, especially her father, played in the events of that time. She skillfully tells the story of the city's Big Mules, who dominated the community socially, economically, and politically. They succeeded in protecting their profits and position through the use of class, race, religion, and communism to defeat labor unions, Reds, and blacks. This local power structure used lower-class thugs in the KKK and other organizations to divide Protestant and Catholic to prevent the rise of labor unions, and later used the Red Scare to battle the Civil Rights Movement. Local and state laws enforced by Bull Connor's police with the help of the KKK and racist judges kept a tight lid on dissent. Yet blacks successfully challenged the system through demonstrations that rallied the people, the nation, and the Kennedy administration to change fear to hope. Among blacks, the author praises primarily Fred Shuttlesworth, but no one escapes her criticisms. That includes her father who, according to him, did not kill anyone. McWhorter writes well, but the story is very involved. Good documentation. All collections. L. H. Grothaus emeritus, Concordia University

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.

Library Journal McWhorter, who was born into Birmingham's white elite, examines the city's pivotal role in the battle for civil rights. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2002 (Biography)
John Adams
Click to search this book in our catalog   David McCullough
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780684813639 John Adams and George H. W. Bush share a unique place in American history: both were presidents themselves, and both fathered presidents. McCullough's masterpiece of biography--his first book since the equally distinguished Truman (1992)--brings John Adams pere out from the shadow of his predecessor in the presidency, the Founding Father George Washington. Of hardy New England stock and blessed with a happy upbringing, Adams led an adult life that paralleled the American colonies' movement toward independence and the establishment of the American republic, a long but inspiring process in which Adams was heavily involved. Adams' historical reputation is that of a cold, cranky person who couldn't get along with other people; McCullough sees him as blunt and thin-skinned--and consequently not good at taking criticism--but also as a person of great intelligence, compassion, and even warmth. According to McCullough, Adams' drive to succeed influenced nearly every move he made. He was a lawyer by profession, but when rumblings of self-governance began to stir, Adams' inherent love of personal liberty inevitably drew him into an important role in what was to come. Interestingly, McCullough avers that Adams did not view his election to the presidency as the crowning achievement of his career, for he "was inclined to look back upon the long struggle for independence as the proud defining chapter." But Adams' greatest accomplishment as president, so he himself believed, was the peace his administration brought to the land. This is a wonderfully stirring biography; to read it is to feel as if you are witnessing the birth of a country firsthand. --Brad Hooper
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780684813639 Here a preeminent master of narrative history takes on the most fascinating of our founders to create a benchmark for all Adams biographers. With a keen eye for telling detail and a master storyteller's instinct for human interest, McCullough (Truman; Mornings on Horseback) resurrects the great Federalist (1735-1826), revealing in particular his restrained, sometimes off-putting disposition, as well as his political guile. The events McCullough recounts are well-known, but with his astute marshaling of facts, the author surpasses previous biographers in depicting Adams's years at Harvard, his early public life in Boston and his role in the first Continental Congress, where he helped shape the philosophical basis for the Revolution. McCullough also makes vivid Adams's actions in the second Congress, during which he was the first to propose George Washington to command the new Continental Army. Later on, we see Adams bickering with Tom Paine's plan for government as suggested in Common Sense, helping push through the draft for the Declaration of Independence penned by his longtime friend and frequent rival, Thomas Jefferson, and serving as commissioner to France and envoy to the Court of St. James's. The author is likewise brilliant in portraying Adams's complex relationship with Jefferson, who ousted him from the White House in 1800 and with whom he would share a remarkable death date 26 years later: July 4, 1826, 50 years to the day after the signing of the Declaration. (June) Forecast: Joseph Ellis has shown us the Founding Fathers can be bestsellers, and S&S knows it has a winner: first printing is 350,000 copies, and McCullough will go on a 15-city tour; both Book-of-the-Month Club and the History Book Club have taken this book as a selection. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780684813639 This life of Adams is an extraordinary portrait of an extraordinary man who has not received his due in America's early political history but whose life work significantly affected his country's future. McCullough is here following his Pulitzer Prize-winning biography, Truman, and his subjects have much in common as leaders who struggled to establish their own presidential identities as they emerged from the shadows of their revered predecessors. The author paints a portrait of Adams, the patriot, in the fullest sense of the word. The reader is treated to engaging descriptions and accounts of Washington, Jefferson, and Franklin, among others, as well as the significant figures in the Adams family: Abigail, John's love and full partner, and son John Quincy. In tracing Adams's life from childhood through his many critical, heroic, and selfless acts during the Revolution, his vice presidency under Washington, and his own term as president, the full measure of Adams a man widely regarded in his time as the equal of Jefferson, Hamilton, and all of the other Founding Fathers is revealed. This excellent biography deserves a wide audience. Thomas J. Baldino, Wilkes Univ., Wilkes-Barre, PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2001 (Fiction)
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
Click to search this book in our catalog   Michael Chabon

Book list Virtuoso Chabon takes intense delight in the practice of his art, and never has his joy been more palpable than in this funny and profound tale of exile, love, and magic. In his last novel, The Wonder Boys (1995), Chabon explored the shadow side of literary aspirations. Here he revels in the crass yet inventive and comforting world of comic-book superheroes, those masked men with mysterious powers who were born in the wake of the Great Depression and who carried their fans through the horrors of war with the guarantee that good always triumphs over evil. In a luxuriant narrative that is jubilant and purposeful, graceful and complex, hilarious and enrapturing, Chabon chronicles the fantastic adventures of two Jewish cousins, one American, one Czech. It's 1939 and Brooklynite Sammy Klayman dreams of making it big in the nascent world of comic books. Joseph Kavalier has never seen a comic book, but he is an accomplished artist versed in the "autoliberation" techniques of his hero, Harry Houdini. He effects a great (and surreal) escape from the Nazis, arrives in New York, and joins forces with Sammy. They rapidly create the Escapist, the first of many superheroes emblematic of their temperaments and predicaments, and attain phenomenal success. But Joe, tormented by guilt and grief for his lost family, abruptly joins the navy, abandoning Sammy, their work, and his lover, the marvelous artist and free spirit Rosa, who, unbeknownst to him, is carrying his child. As Chabon--equally adept at atmosphere, action, dialogue, and cultural commentary--whips up wildly imaginative escapades punctuated by schtick that rivals the best of Jewish comedians, he plumbs the depths of the human heart and celebrates the healing properties of escapism and the "genuine magic of art" with exuberance and wisdom. --Donna Seaman

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly This epic novel about the glory years of the American comic book (1939-1954) fulfills all the promise of Chabon's two earlier novels (The Mysteries of Pittsburgh; Wonder Boys) and two collections of short stories (A Model World; Werewolves in Their Youth), and nearly equals them all together in number of pages. Chabon's prodigious gifts for language, humor and wonderment come to full maturity in this fictional history of the legendary partnership between Sammy Klayman and Josef Kavalier, cousins and creators of the prewar masked comic book hero, the Escapist. Sammy is a gifted inventor of characters and situations who dreams "the usual Brooklyn dreams of flight and transformation and escape." His contribution to the superhero's alter ego, Tom Mayflower, is his own stick legs, a legacy of childhood polio. Joe Kavalier, a former Prague art student, arrives in Brooklyn by way of Siberia, Japan and San Francisco. This improbable route marks only the first in a lifetime of timely escapes. Denied exit from Nazi Czechoslovakia with the visa his family sold its fortune to buy him, Joe, a disciple of Houdini, enlists the aid of his former teacher, the celebrated stage illusionist Bernard Kornblum, in a more desperate escape: crouched inside the coffin transporting Prague's famous golem, Rabbi Loew's miraculous automaton, to the safety of exile in Lithuania. This melodramatic getawayDalmost foiled when the Nazi officer inspecting the corpse decides the suit it's wearing is too fine to buryDis presented with the careful attention to detail of a true-life adventure. Chabon heightens realism through a series of inspired matches: the Escapist, who roams the globe "coming to the aid of those who languish in tyranny's chains," with Joe's powerlessness to rescue his family from Prague; Kavalier & Clay's Empire City with New York City in the early 1940s; and the comic industry's "avidity of unburdening America's youth of the oppressive national mantle of tedium, ten cents at a time," with this fledgling art form's ability to gratify "the lust for power and the gaudy sartorial taste of a race of powerless people with no leave to dress themselves." Well researched and deeply felt, this rich, expansive and hugely satisfying novel will delight a wide range of readers. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Joe Kavalier, a young artist and magician, escapes pre-World War II Czechoslovakia, making his way to the home of Sam Clay, his Brooklyn cousin. Sam dreams of making it big in the emerging comic-book trade and sees Joe as the person to help him. As the cousins gain success with their masked superhero, the Escapist, Joe banks his earnings to bring his family from Prague and falls in love with Rosa Saks, daughter of an art dealer. But when the ship carrying his brother to America is torpedoed, Joe joins the navy and is posted to Antarctica. Half-insane, he returns to a wandering life that leads back to Rosa and now husband Sam in 1953. What results is a novel of love and loss, sorrow and wonder, and the ability of art to transcend the "harsh physics" of this world and gives us a magical glimpse of "the mysterious spirit world beyond." Recommended. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 5/1/00.]DLawrence Rungren, Merrimack Valley Lib. Consortium, Andover, MA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2001 (Nonfiction)
Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan
Click to search this book in our catalog   Herbert Bix

Book list Most postwar histories have portrayed Emperor Hirohito in one of two ways: a shy, hands-off monarch who preferred marine biology to affairs of state or a pacifistic but weak ruler who was dragged by militarists into a war of conquest against his better judgment. Bix has written extensively on Japanese history and is currently a professor in the graduate school of social sciences at Tokyo's Hitotsubasbi University. In this provocative and disturbing work, he paints a far more complex portrait of Hirohito. Aided by newly available material from Japanese archives, Bix convincingly asserts that the emperor was deeply involved in most aspects of the Pacific war, from start to finish, and he voiced few objections to the most brutal outrages of his military. It is particularly disturbing to see how the cocoon of lies spun around Hirohito has been used by conservative and especially reactionary politicians in Japan to advance their nationalistic agenda. This book will undoubtedly cause a storm of controversy, especially in Japan. However, it is a vital contribution to an ongoing and critical debate. --Jay Freeman

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly Bix penetrates decades of "public opacity" to offer a stunning portrait of the controversial Japanese emperor, "one of the most disingenuous persons ever to occupy the modern throne." Hirohito ascended to the Japanese throne in 1926 (at the age of 25) and ruled until his death in 1989. Bix closely examines his long, eventful reign, concentrating on the extent of the emperor's influence-which was greater than he admitted-over the political and military life of Japan during WWII. Bix's command of primary sources is apparent throughout the book, especially in the voluminous endnotes. From these sources, the author, a veteran scholar on modern Japanese history, draws a nuanced and balanced portrayal of an emperor who did not seek out war, but who demanded victories once war began and never took action to stop Japan's reckless descent into defeat. Bix makes Hirohito's later career intelligible by a careful exposition of the conflicting influences imposed on the emperor as a child: a passion for hard science coexisted with the myths of his own divine origin and destiny; he was taught benevolence along with belief in military supremacy. These influences unfolded as Hirohito was drawn into Japan's long conflict with China, its alliance with the fascist states of Europe, and its unwinnable war against the Allies. The dominant interest of the Showa ("radiant peace") Emperor, Bix convincingly explains, was to perpetuate the imperial system against more democratic opponents, no matter what the cost. Bix gives a meticulous account of his subject, delivers measured judgements about his accomplishments and failures, and reveals the subtlety of the emperor's character as a man who, while seemingly detached and remote, is in fact controlling events from behind the imperial screen. This is political biography at its most compelling. Agent, Susan Rabiner. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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2001 (Biography)
W.E.B. DuBois
Click to search this book in our catalog   David Levering Lewis
2000 (Fiction)
Interpreter of Maladies
Click to search this book in our catalog   Jhumpa Lahiri
 
2000 (Nonfiction)
Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II
Click to search this book in our catalog   John W. Dower

Library Journal Dower's magisterial narrative eloquently tells the story of the postwar occupation of Japan by departing from the usual practice of making the story part of General MacArthur's biography and instead focusing on the citizens. With historical sweep and cultural nuance, and using numerous personal stories of survival, loss, and rededication, he follows the astonishing social transformation of a people. (LJ 4/1/99) (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly The writing of history doesn't get much better than this. MIT professor Dower (author of the NBCC Award-winning War Without Mercy) offers a dazzling political and social history of how postwar Japan evolved with stunning speed into a unique hybrid of Western innovation and Japanese tradition. The American occupation of Japan (1945-1952) saw the once fiercely militarist island nation transformed into a democracy constitutionally prohibited from deploying military forces abroad. The occupation was fraught with irony as Americans, motivated by what they saw as their Christian duty to uplift a barbarian race, attempted to impose democracy through autocratic military rule. Dower manages to convey the full extent of both American self-righteousness and visionary idealism. The first years of occupation saw the extension of rights to women, organized labor and other previously excluded groups. Later, the exigencies of the emergent Cold War led to American-backed "anti-Red" purges, pro-business policies and the partial reconstruction of the Japanese military. Dower demonstrates an impressive mastery of voluminous sources, both American and Japanese, and he deftly situates the political story within a rich cultural context. His digressions into Japanese cultureÄhigh and low, elite and popularÄare revealing and extremely well written. The book is most remarkable, however, for the way Dower judiciously explores the complex moral and political issues raised by America's effort to rebuild and refashion a defeated adversaryÄand Japan's ambivalent response to that embrace. Illustrations. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Conventional histories treat the U.S. occupation of Japan (1945-52) as an exercise in which benevolent Americans conferred the blessings of democracy on the defeated feudal fascist foe. The persona of Gen. Douglas MacArthur looms large in such accounts, and the focus is usually on American policies. Dower's approach is very different. He transports us inside Japan to experience this brief but vital period of modern Japanese history in all its richness and complexity. Poignant scenes of trauma, degradation, bewilderment, and poverty alternate with those of hope, initiative, energy, and creativity as Japanese from many walks of life seized the opportunity to regenerate their own society along more egalitarian and democratic lines. In re-creating the American occupation as a Japanese experience, Dower (War Without Mercy, LJ 4/1/86) has produced nothing less than a masterpiece of modern history. Erudition, empathy, accessibility, dry humor, and narrative power combine to make this book an important and beautifully written work that belongs in all libraries.ÄSteven I. Levine, Boulder Run Research, Hillsborough, NC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list The tension between change and continuity is most sharply drawn in a revolutionary situation. Japan faced one following surrender, knowing that the Americans would up-end Japanese society and government as promised by the Potsdam Declaration. The details were left to the American proconsul, Douglas MacArthur. Would he pin war responsibility on Hirohito? No, a famous photo of the two emphatically symbolized. The details of the decision to protect Hirohito would have been scandalous, Dower notes, had they been publicized at the time. His study of the occupation era capably explains the Americans' imposition of a constitution that was the last, and generally overlooked, great project of liberal New Dealers. Japan's conservative political elite hated the changes, though elsewhere Dower contrasts the populace's more differentiated reaction to the top-down revolution. Dower's theme of acceptance versus resistance to change emerges clearly from his surveys of the postwar cultural and political scene (including an acidic appraisal of the war crimes trials), and his book will enhance most World War II collections. --Gilbert Taylor

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

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2000 (Biography)
Vera (Mrs. Vladimir Nabokov)
Click to search this book in our catalog   Stacy Schiff

Publishers Weekly V?ra Nabokov was not only devoted to her husband's literary career; she was crucial to it. Schiff (Saint-Exup?ry) contends that Nabokov's public image was V?ra's doing: "we are used to husbands silencing wives, but here was a wife silencing, editing, speaking for, creating, her husband." For almost all their married lives, the Nabokovs were inseparable. Russian ?migr?s in Germany, France and then the U.S., they eked out a bare existence despite Nabokov's reputation as a stellar Russian novelist. With no market for his writing, he needed his wife to work as a translator so they could survive. After hours she also edited and translated his writings, conducted his professional affairs and maintained their marriage. Only the runaway international success of Lolita when they were in their later 50s freed the couple from scraping together a living. (A film advance gave Nabokov 17 times his annual salary at Cornell, a post that had taken years to secure.) Suddenly flush, the Nabokovs, by choice, again became ?migr?s, wealthy residents of a Swiss luxury hotel. Schiff's best pages evoke the years of adversity, as when the Jewish V?ra, regal even in penury, perilously remained in Nazi Germany until May 1937 (after non-Jewish Vladimir exited) because it was the only country where either one could legally work. Often described as "hovering" over her husband by his Cornell colleagues, V?ra was always close byÄeven working as his teaching assistantÄbecause, according to Schiff, he simply could not function without her. This book offers more than a peek at the famous author through his wife's eyes. When her 1991 New York Times obit called V?ra "Wife, Muse, and Agent" it only hinted at her role, which is rescued from obscurity in Schiff's graceful prose. 16 pages of b&w photos. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Choice The Vera Nabokov who emerges from Schiff's compelling book proves an even more complex character than hitherto suspected: a strong personality eager to sacrifice herself for her husband's art, without ever giving up even one iota of her own identity. Though Schiff of necessity covers the same events as Brian Boyd's monumental two-volume biography (Vladimir Nabokov: The Russian Years, CH, Jan'91; Vladimir Nabokov: The American Years, CH, Feb'92), she puts Vera at the center of the narrative, a spot Mrs. Nabokov always avoided and instead saved for her husband's talent alone. Schiff elaborates on Boyd's portrait of Vera, a difficult task, especially in light of Mrs. Nabokov's well-known reticence about herself. Only about 20 pages deal with Vera Nabokov before she met her future husband, but the marriage is truly the focus of the biography. The Nabokovs' loving union is legendary, and Schiff sheds light on the facts behind that legend. Relying on extensive research, scores of in-depth interviews, and meticulous documentation, Schiff offers an objective portrait of Vera Nabokov in all of her moods, good and bad. Accessible to the general reader, this biography also offers new insights and perspectives to students and scholars of Vladimir Nabokov's life and works. All collections. C. A. Rydel Grand Valley State University

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.

Book list Vera's first encounter with her husband-to-be--a young, handsome, up-and-coming poet--prefigured the intensity of their artistically fruitful marriage. It was spring in Berlin in 1923 when the two Russian emigres rendezvoused on a bridge and Vera entranced Vladimir by wearing a black satin mask and reciting his poems. Even after she became his muse, soulmate, champion, translator, business manager, and bodyguard (she was a crack shot and carried a pistol in her purse), Vera remained concealed behind her alabaster beauty, unfailing discretion, and strict decorum, devoting herself utterly to her husband and his dazzling creations. Schiff, a gifted biographer whose first book was an insightful portrait of Antoine de Saint-Exupery, not only draws this fascinating and accomplished woman out from behind her cherished mask and celebrated husband, she illuminates the profoundly collaborative process by which Vladimir wrote his scintillatingly original and provocative works. Every page he composed passed through Vera's keen mind and tirelessly typing fingers. She was his first and foremost reader, his shrewdest editor, and the inspiration for his unique aesthetics, erudite wit, and deep sophistication. Schiff tracks their often precarious lives in increasingly dangerous Berlin, then in the wide-open U.S., focusing most energetically on Vera's extraordinary involvement in Vladimir's academic and literary careers. It was Vera who bullied publishers on Vladimir's behalf; Vera who negotiated contracts, oversaw translations, drove the car, and kept her hero free from all the nagging details of everyday life. She was the moon to his sun, and his dedication "To Vera" in every book quietly marks the immensity and magic of their passion. --Donna Seaman

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Library Journal Vladimir Nabokov's works have come to the attention of the public again with the publication of Library of America editions and the recent film version of Lolita. Several years ago, Brian Boyd produced a two-volume definitive biography: Vladimir Nabokov: The Russian Years (LJ 10/1/90) and Vladimir Nabokov: The American Years (LJ 8/91). Schiff's book distinguishes itself by focusing on the relationship between Vladimir and his wife V?ra, a marriage that lasted some 50 years. Schiff (Saint Exup?ry, LJ 10/1/94) traces the years in France and Germany before World War II, followed by a hurried immigration to the United States and Nabokov's eventual literary success. Schiff also handles the difficulties within the marriage, including affairs. Through it all, the couple forged a close alliance as V?ra oversaw the editing of manuscripts, translation, the negotiation of contracts, and much of Vladimir's correspondence. The result is a scholarly, readable look at a remarkable literary duo.ÄRonald Ray Ratliff, Chapman H.S. Lib., KS (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list Vera's first encounter with her husband-to-be--a young, handsome, up-and-coming poet--prefigured the intensity of their artistically fruitful marriage. It was spring in Berlin in 1923 when the two Russian emigres rendezvoused on a bridge and Vera entranced Vladimir by wearing a black satin mask and reciting his poems. Even after she became his muse, soulmate, champion, translator, business manager, and bodyguard (she was a crack shot and carried a pistol in her purse), Vera remained concealed behind her alabaster beauty, unfailing discretion, and strict decorum, devoting herself utterly to her husband and his dazzling creations. Schiff, a gifted biographer whose first book was an insightful portrait of Antoine de Saint-Exupery, not only draws this fascinating and accomplished woman out from behind her cherished mask and celebrated husband, she illuminates the profoundly collaborative process by which Vladimir wrote his scintillatingly original and provocative works. Every page he composed passed through Vera's keen mind and tirelessly typing fingers. She was his first and foremost reader, his shrewdest editor, and the inspiration for his unique aesthetics, erudite wit, and deep sophistication. Schiff tracks their often precarious lives in increasingly dangerous Berlin, then in the wide-open U.S., focusing most energetically on Vera's extraordinary involvement in Vladimir's academic and literary careers. It was Vera who bullied publishers on Vladimir's behalf; Vera who negotiated contracts, oversaw translations, drove the car, and kept her hero free from all the nagging details of everyday life. She was the moon to his sun, and his dedication "To Vera" in every book quietly marks the immensity and magic of their passion. --Donna Seaman

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly V?ra Nabokov was not only devoted to her husband's literary career; she was crucial to it. Schiff (Saint-Exup?ry) contends that Nabokov's public image was V?ra's doing: "we are used to husbands silencing wives, but here was a wife silencing, editing, speaking for, creating, her husband." For almost all their married lives, the Nabokovs were inseparable. Russian ?migr?s in Germany, France and then the U.S., they eked out a bare existence despite Nabokov's reputation as a stellar Russian novelist. With no market for his writing, he needed his wife to work as a translator so they could survive. After hours she also edited and translated his writings, conducted his professional affairs and maintained their marriage. Only the runaway international success of Lolita when they were in their later 50s freed the couple from scraping together a living. (A film advance gave Nabokov 17 times his annual salary at Cornell, a post that had taken years to secure.) Suddenly flush, the Nabokovs, by choice, again became ?migr?s, wealthy residents of a Swiss luxury hotel. Schiff's best pages evoke the years of adversity, as when the Jewish V?ra, regal even in penury, perilously remained in Nazi Germany until May 1937 (after non-Jewish Vladimir exited) because it was the only country where either one could legally work. Often described as "hovering" over her husband by his Cornell colleagues, V?ra was always close byÄeven working as his teaching assistantÄbecause, according to Schiff, he simply could not function without her. This book offers more than a peek at the famous author through his wife's eyes. When her 1991 New York Times obit called V?ra "Wife, Muse, and Agent" it only hinted at her role, which is rescued from obscurity in Schiff's graceful prose. 16 pages of b&w photos. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Vladimir Nabokov's works have come to the attention of the public again with the publication of Library of America editions and the recent film version of Lolita. Several years ago, Brian Boyd produced a two-volume definitive biography: Vladimir Nabokov: The Russian Years (LJ 10/1/90) and Vladimir Nabokov: The American Years (LJ 8/91). Schiff's book distinguishes itself by focusing on the relationship between Vladimir and his wife V?ra, a marriage that lasted some 50 years. Schiff (Saint Exup?ry, LJ 10/1/94) traces the years in France and Germany before World War II, followed by a hurried immigration to the United States and Nabokov's eventual literary success. Schiff also handles the difficulties within the marriage, including affairs. Through it all, the couple forged a close alliance as V?ra oversaw the editing of manuscripts, translation, the negotiation of contracts, and much of Vladimir's correspondence. The result is a scholarly, readable look at a remarkable literary duo.ÄRonald Ray Ratliff, Chapman H.S. Lib., KS (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice The Vera Nabokov who emerges from Schiff's compelling book proves an even more complex character than hitherto suspected: a strong personality eager to sacrifice herself for her husband's art, without ever giving up even one iota of her own identity. Though Schiff of necessity covers the same events as Brian Boyd's monumental two-volume biography (Vladimir Nabokov: The Russian Years, CH, Jan'91; Vladimir Nabokov: The American Years, CH, Feb'92), she puts Vera at the center of the narrative, a spot Mrs. Nabokov always avoided and instead saved for her husband's talent alone. Schiff elaborates on Boyd's portrait of Vera, a difficult task, especially in light of Mrs. Nabokov's well-known reticence about herself. Only about 20 pages deal with Vera Nabokov before she met her future husband, but the marriage is truly the focus of the biography. The Nabokovs' loving union is legendary, and Schiff sheds light on the facts behind that legend. Relying on extensive research, scores of in-depth interviews, and meticulous documentation, Schiff offers an objective portrait of Vera Nabokov in all of her moods, good and bad. Accessible to the general reader, this biography also offers new insights and perspectives to students and scholars of Vladimir Nabokov's life and works. All collections. C. A. Rydel Grand Valley State University

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.

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1999 (Fiction)
The Hours
Click to search this book in our catalog   Michael Cunningham

Publishers Weekly At first blush, the structural and thematic conceits of this novel?three interwoven novellas in varying degrees connected to Virginia Woolf?seem like the stuff of a graduate student's pipe dream: a great idea in the dorm room that betrays a lack of originality. But as soon as one dips into Cunningham's prologue, in which Woolf's suicide is rendered with a precise yet harrowing matter-of-factness ("She hurries from the house, wearing a coat too heavy for the weather. It is 1941. She has left a note for Leonard, and another for Vanessa."), the reader becomes completely entranced. This book more than fulfills the promise of Cunningham's 1990 debut, A Home at the End of the World, while showing that sweep does not necessarily require the sprawl of his second book, Flesh and Blood. In alternating chapters, the three stories unfold: "Mrs. Woolf," about Virginia's own struggle to find an opening for Mrs. Dalloway in 1923; "Mrs. Brown," about one Laura Brown's efforts to escape, somehow, an airless marriage in California in 1949 while, coincidentally, reading Mrs. Dalloway; and "Mrs. Dalloway," which is set in 1990s Greenwich Village and concerns Clarissa Vaughan's preparations for a party for her gay?and dying?friend, Richard, who has nicknamed her Mrs. Dalloway. Cunningham's insightful use of the historical record concerning Woolf in her household outside London in the 1920s is matched by his audacious imagining of her inner lifeand his equally impressive plunges into the lives of Laura and Clarissa. The book would have been altogether absorbing had it been linked only thematically. However, Cunningham cleverly manages to pull the stories even more intimately togther in the closing pages. Along the way, rich and beautifully nuanced scenes follow one upon the other: Virginia, tired and weak, irked by the early arrival of headstrong sister Vanessa, her three children and the dead bird they bury in the backyard; Laura's afternoon escape to an L.A. hotel to read for a few hours; Clarissa's anguished witnessing of her friend's suicidal jump down an airshaft, rendered with unforgettable detail. The overall effect of this book is twofold. First, it makes a reader hunger to know all about Woolf, again; readers may be spooked at times, as Woolf's spirit emerges in unexpected ways, but hers is an abiding presence, more about living than dying. Second, and this is the gargantuan accomplishment of this small book, it makes a reader believe in the possibility and depth of a communality based on great literature, literature that has shown people how to live and what to ask of life. (Nov.) FYI: The Hours was a working title that Woolf for a time gave to Mrs. Dalloway. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal The celebrated author of Flesh and Blood draws on Virginia Woolf's final days to illuminate the life of a contemporary poet. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Library Journal Clarissa Dalloway certainly is a popular lady nowadays, with a recent movie and now a new book based on her life. She is, of course, the heroine of Virginia Woolf's 1925 novel about a day in the life of a proper but uninspired wife and the tragic event that changes her. In this new work by Cunningham (Flesh and Blood, LJ 4/15/95), that day's events are reflected and reinterpreted in the interwoven stories of three women: Laura, a reluctant mother and housewife of the 1940s; Clarissa, an editor in the 1990s and caretaker of her best friend, an AIDS patient; and Woolf herself, on the verge of writing the aforementioned novel. Certain themes flow from story to story: paths not taken, the need for independence, meditations on mortality. Woolf fans will enjoy identifying these scenes in a different context, but it's only at the end that the author engages more than just devoted followers with a surprisingly touching coda that stresses the common bonds the characters share. Given Woolf's popularity, this is a book all libraries should consider, with an exhortation to visit Mrs. Dalloway as well.ÄMarc A. Kloszewski, Indiana Free Lib., PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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1999 (Nonfiction)
Annals of the Former World
Click to search this book in our catalog   John McPhee

Publishers Weekly A feast for all John McPhee fans, this major book incorporates some of the author's best work on geology into a comprehensive tour de force. Those familiar with McPhee's writing on the subject of geology will know that his narrative includes not only scientific theory but also portraitures of his geologic guides. While the majority of this material has appeared in the New Yorker and in books such as Basin and Range, In Suspect Terrain and Rising from the Plains, the collection, which includes 20,000 new words, is much more than a recycling of past writing. As McPhee says, "The text has been meshed, melded, revised, in some places cut, and everywhere studied for repetition." McPhee's many fans won't be disappointed with the high-quality descriptive portraits of geologists, their work and theories. Since the writing follows McPhee's previous works and not any set geography or geologic logic, the author has provided what he calls a "Narrative Table of Contents," which not only describes each section in turn but the theories discussed in it. In this near flawless compilation of ambitious and expansive scope, McPhee's personalized style remains consistent and triumphant: "Ebbets Field, where they buried the old Brooklyn Dodgers, was also on the terminal moraine. When a long-ball hitter hit a long ball, it would land on Bedford Avenue and bounce down the morainal front to roll toward Coney Island on the outwash plain. No one in Los Angeles would ever hit a homer like that." 25 maps, not seen by PW. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Choice Well-known writer McPhee's book has impressive depth in its understanding, explaining, and illustrating of the geological evolution of a cross section of North America, centered along the 40th parallel. Five chapters (termed "books") are included, four of which were published previously in the 1980s and early '90s. These original contributions deal with the geology and geologists involved with various parts of the US: the "Basin and Range" area of the western US (book 1); "In Suspect Terrain" (book 2); "Rising from the Plains" (book 3); and book 4 "Assembling California." The final book, "Crossing the Craton," deals largely with the early geological history of what we now call North America. Thus, sections of book 5 include portions on such topics as the "Oldest Rocks," the "Archean Craton," and "The Andean Margin of Kansas." An intriguing and deeply fascinating tale that McPhee tells effectively, this book can be read with benefit by interested lay persons through professional geologists. List of maps; extensive, 30-page subject and geographic index. All levels. J. T. Andrews; University of Colorado at Boulder

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.

Library Journal McPhee is the most celebrated contemporary writer on North American geology, and Annals is his magnum opus, combining edited and revised sections from previous works with two new essays. (LJ 5/1/98) (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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1999 (Biography)
Lindbergh
Click to search this book in our catalog   A. Scott Berg
Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780399144493 Berg, whose biographies of Max Perkins and Sam Goldwyn are central texts in their fields, restores some luster to complicated aviator hero Charles Lindbergh by presenting his very full life?from his lonely rural childhood to the enormity of his Spirit of St. Louis accomplishment; the kidnapping of his baby son, which led to the "Trial of the Century"; his enthusiastic state visits to Hitler's Germany; and his Pulitzer Prize and later conservation work. For the generation that has mostly known Lindbergh through his child's murder and a profoundly stupid speech he later made, this big, thoroughly researched book is a fine work of restorative storytelling. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780399144493 Lindbergh, writes Berg, was "the most celebrated living person ever to walk the earth." It's a brash statement for a biography that makes its points through a wealth of fact rather than editorial (or psychological) surmise, but after the 1927 solo flight to Paris and the 1932 kidnapping of his infant son, most readers will agree. Berg (Max Perkins) writes with the cooperation, although not necessarily the approval, of the Lindbergh family, having been granted full access to the unpublished diaries and papers of both Lindbergh and Anne Morrow Lindbergh. The result is a solidly written book that while revealing few new secrets (there are discoveries about Lindbergh's father's illegitimacy and Mrs. Lindbergh's 1956 affair with her doctor, Dana Atchley) instructs and fascinates through the richness of detail. There are no new insights into the boy flier, no new theories about the kidnapping, but there is a chilling portrait of a man who did not seem to enjoy many of the most basic human emotions. Perhaps more attention to Lindbergh's near-worship of the Nobel Prize-winning doctor, Alexis Carrel, would have explained more about his enigmatic character. Berg details Lindbergh's prewar trips to Nazi Germany at the request of the U.S. government; his leadership in the America First movement; his role in first promoting commercial aviation; and, during WWII, improving the efficiency of the Army Air Corps. As the book reaches its conclusion, however, it's the sympathetic portrait of Mrs. Lindbergh creating a life of her own while her husband chooses to be elsewhere that gives the biography the emotional scaffolding it lacked. The writing is workmanlike and efficient, and the story, familiar as it may be, encapsulates the history of the century. Photos. (Sept.) FYI: Putnam was said to have paid a seven-figure advance for Lindbergh in 1990. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780399144493 A prize-winning biographer offers the definitive look at an American hero. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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1998 (Fiction)
American Pastoral
Click to search this book in our catalog   Philip Roth

Library Journal It's the Sixties, and hard-working, prosperous Seymour Levov has done everything right. So why has his daughter become a terrorist? A 100,000-copy first printing. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Library Journal In his latest novel, Roth shows his age. Not that his writing is any less vigorous and supple. But in this autumnal tome, he is definitely in a reflective mood, looking backward. As the book opens, Roth's alter ego, Nathan Zuckerman, recalls an innocent time when golden boy Seymour "the Swede" Levov was the pride of his Jewish neighborhood. Then, in precise, painful, perfectly rendered detail, he shows how the Swede's life did not turn out as gloriously as expected?how it was, in fact, devastated by a child's violent act. When Merry Levov blew up her quaint little town's post office to protest the Viet Nam war, she didn't just kill passing physician Fred Conlon, she shattered the ties that bound her to her worshipful father. Merry disappears, then eventually reappears as a stick-thin Jain living in sacred povery in Newark, having killed three more people for the cause. Roth doesn't tell the whole story blow by blow but gives us the essentials in luminous, overlapping bits. In the end, the book positively resonates with the anguish of a father who has utterly lost his daughter. Highly recommended. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 12/96.]?Barbara Hoffert, "Library Journal" (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list There is no sex in the new Philip Roth novel, but that is only one shortcoming. Pastoral, like Roth's 21 previous works, is well crafted with vivid, crisp prose, but unlike the others, it's empty. There's no there there. Roth resurrects alter ego Nathan Zuckerman to introduce Seymour "Swede" Levov, a Phineas-like character from Roth's childhood at Newark's Wequahic High School. Swede and Nathan meet by chance at a Mets' game years later. Swede, a towheaded, square-jawed, six-foot superathlete, had a knack for transcending the turbulence of wartime America. A marine at the end of World War II, he is spared the South Pacific slaughterhouse and is kept stateside to play baseball for the Parris Island squad. After the war, he marries Dawn, the blond Miss New Jersey, buys a house in the country, and takes over his father's multimillion-dollar glove factory in Newark. And after that, Roth delights in the destruction of his all-American hero, filling page after page with frustration, humiliation, and anxiety: Vietnam radicalizes Swede's daughter, Merry, destroying the family; Dawn's depression and infidelity ruin their marriage; and a jealous, vindictive brother and controlling father each take a toll. Pastoral is both sentimental and savage. Roth vents his bitterness with America and himself. Once again, no one escapes the misery that personifies modern America. Ted Leventhal

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly The protagonist of Roth's new novel, a magnificent meditation on a pivotal decade in our nation's history, is in every way different from the profane and sclerotic antihero of Sabbath's Theater (for which Roth won the National Book Award in 1995). It's as though, having vented his spleen and his libido in Mickey Sabbath, Roth was then free to contemplate the life of a man who is Sabbath's complete opposite. He relates the story of Seymour "Swede" Levov with few sex scenes and no scatological sideshows; the deviant behavior demonstrated here was common to a generation, and the shocks Roth delivers are part of our national trauma. This is Roth's most mature novel, powerful and universally resonant. Swede Levov's life has been charmed from the time he was an all-star athlete at Newark's Weequahic high school. As handsome, modest, generous and kind as he is gifted, Swede takes pains to acknowledge the blessings for which he is perceived as the most fortunate of men. He is patriotic and civically responsible, maritally faithful, morally upstanding, a mensch. He successfully runs his father's glove factory, refusing to be cowed by the race riots that rock Newark, marries a shiksa beauty-pageant queen, who is smart and ambitious, buys a 100-acre farm in a classy suburb?the epitome of serene, innocent, pastoral existence?and dotes on his daughter, Merry. But when Merry becomes radicalized during the Vietnam War, plants a bomb that kills an innocent man and goes underground for five years, Swede endures a torment that becomes increasingly unbearable as he learns more about Merry's monstrous life. In depicting Merry, Roth expresses palpable fury at the privileged, well-educated, self-centered children of the 1960s, who in their militant idealism demonstrated ferocious hatred for a country that had offered their families opportunity and freedom. After three generations of upward striving and success, Swede and his family are flung "out of the longed-for American pastoral and into everything that is its antithesis and its enemy?into the fury, the violence and the desperation of the counterpastoral?into the American berserk." Roth's pace is measured. The first two sections of the book are richly textured with background detail. The last third, however, is full of shocking surprises and a message of existential chaos. "The Swede found out that we are all in the power of something demented,'' Roth writes. And again: "He had learned the worst lesson that life could teach?that it makes no sense." In the end, his dream and his life destroyed by his daughter and the decade, Swede finally understands that he is living through the moral breakdown of American society. The picture is chilling. 100,000 first printing; BOMC selection. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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1998 (Nonfiction)
Guns, Germs and Steel
Click to search this book in our catalog   Jared Diamond

Publishers Weekly In a boldly ambitious analysis of history's broad patterns, evolutionary biologist Diamond (The Third Chimpanzee) identifies food production as a key to the glaring inequalities of wealth and power in the modern world. Dense, agriculture-based populations, unlike relatively egalitarian hunter-gatherers, bred chiefs, kings and bureaucratic "kleptocracies" that transferred wealth from commoners to upper classes. Such bureaucracies, Diamond maintains, were essential to organizing wars of conquest; moreover, farming societies were able to support full-time craft specialists who developed technical innovations and steel weapons. As a result, European conquerors and their colonizing descendants, bringing guns, cavalry and infectious diseases, overwhelmed the native peoples of North and South America, Africa and Australia. Using molecular biological studies, Diamond, a professor at UCLA Medical School, illuminates why Eurasian germs spreading animal-derived diseases proved so devastating to indigenous societies on other continents. Refuting racist explanations for presumed differences in intelligence or technological capability and eschewing a Eurocentric worldview, he argues persuasively that accidental differences in geography and environment, combined with centuries of conquest, genocide and epidemics, shaped the disparate populations of today's world. His masterful synthesis is a refreshingly unconventional history informed by anthropology, behavioral ecology, linguistics, epidemiology, archeology and technological development. Photos not seen by PW. BOMC, History Book Club, QPB and Newbridge Book Clubs selections. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Choice At the risk of sounding melodramatic, this usually soft spoken academic is willing to assert that Diamond's book is one of very few that could have a real impact on world understanding if it were widely read. Diamond wrestles with the huge question of why some societies became so rich and powerful -- and why others remain relatively poor and powerless. To answer so enormous a question, the author addresses many other fundamental questions. Among these are how and why did food production begin? What differences did this make? How did it spread? Why were some animals domesticated and others not? How did writing evolve, and why does it matter? Diamond poses similar questions with respect to technology, religion, and government. He writes clearly and in an engrossing manner, with a consistent (but not heavy-handed) grounding in evolutionary theory. He is a biologist who neatly interweaves data and insights from many other disciplines, including geography and anthropology, which are too often overlooked. A subsidiary theme of this work is discrediting racist theories of history, which Diamond does deftly and consistently throughout, with no resort to polemic. Several apt but unfamiliar illustrations complement the text, which is thoroughly authoritative despite the absence of footnotes or endnotes. A discursive bibliographic essay on each chapter can be helpful to anyone who wants to pursue a topic in greater depth. All levels. D. B. Heath; Brown University

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.

Library Journal Most of this work deals with non-Europeans, but Diamond's thesis sheds light on why Western civilization became hegemonic: "History followed different courses for different peoples because of differences among peoples' environments, not because of biological differences among peoples themselves." Those who domesticated plants and animals early got a head start on developing writing, government, technology, weapons of war, and immunity to deadly germs. (LJ 2/15/97) (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Library Journal In the course of history, some groups conquered, some were conquered. UCLA physiology professor Diamond investigates why, arguing that it has nothing to do with race. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Library Journal Why is history so dramatically different for peoples around the world? Why did some groups become literate industrial societies with metal tools while others remained nonliterate farming societies, and still others remained hunter-gatherers with stone tools? The resultant inequalities have led historically to the extermination or conquest of some groups by more advanced, literate societies. Biologist Diamond (The Third Chimpanzee, LJ 3/15/92) here combines a study of human history with science, specifically evolutionary biology and geology. His starting point is 11,000 B.C., when large differences began to appear in the rates at which human societies evolved. Diamond examines on a global scale the development of farming, domestication of plants and animals, creation of writing, and advancement of technology. He maintains that it was such environmental benefits as the availability of certain key species and plants, as well as geographical placement, that gave the advantage to Eurasia over the rest of the world, rather than any biological advantages of one race over the others. A provocative book that will appeal to general readers as well as scholars; recommended for most libraries. BOMC, History Book Club, Quality paperback Books, and Newbridge Book Club selections.?Ed.]?Gloria Maxwell, Kansas City P.L., Kan. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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1998 (Biography)
Personal History
Click to search this book in our catalog   Katharine Graham
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780394585857 In 1963, Graham took over as publisher of the Washington Post as a classic grieving widow. Her husband, Phil, had shot himself at their country estate, defeated in a prolonged battle with manic depression. Since then, Graham's life has been an amazing ride as she "moved forward blindly and mindlessly into a new and unknown life" to become the tough chief executive who, during Watergate, looked the President of the United States in the eye and didn't blink. She ended up as chairman and CEO of the Washington Post Media company, whose possessions included newspapers, magazines and TV stations. She makes a vivid and persuasive case for why it was so daunting for a woman of her generation to become, in the eyes of many, the most powerful woman in America-a designation she hated. She took over the newspaper to preserve it for her children and came to love it as a publication and as a business. She now sees that her management skills were lacking (financier Warren Buffett gave her a crash course in acquisitions and became a major shareholder and close friend), but she has nothing but pride and pleasure in the newspaper that she led from obscurity to world renown. The first half of her story centers around life with Phil, the second on three pivotal events at the Post: the publication of the Pentagon Papers, the Watergate scandal and the prolonged pressman's strike of 1975. She lovingly attributes much of the Post's success to editor Benjamin C. Bradlee. Her narrative is at times uneven, swinging from passages that sound almost like "what I did last summer" to amazingly detailed insider accounts of moments of national crisis. Household names dot every page, woven in with the lives of her four children, one of whom, Donald, now runs both the paper and the company. Graham is frank but not gossipy, self-critical but not falsely modest. She presents her "personal history" with quiet courage and considerable wit. Photos. 200,000 first printing; Random House audio. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780394585857 Katharine Meyer Graham was a woman born into a world of wealth and privilege who raised four children, became involved in volunteer work, and ended as the head of a powerful newspaper. Graham's father, a wealthy entrepreneur, bought the struggling Washington Post in 1933. Although Katharine had worked as a journalist, it was her husband, Philip Graham, who was chosen to take over the paper from her father. This is the story of a newspaper's rise to power but also of the destruction of a marriage, as Philip Graham slid into alcohol, depression, and suicide, and of Katharine's rise as a powerful woman in her own right. Throughout this easy-to-read story, Graham writes about her personal life and the lives of others, ranging from presidents to household help, with sympathy and grace. Recommended for public libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 10/1/96.]?Rebecca Wondriska, Trinity Coll. Lib., Hartford, Ct. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780394585857 Not just the story of Graham's stewardship of the Washington Post, this "personal history" ranges from her favorite tennis partner (George Schultz) to her husband's fall into madness and suicide. A 200,000-copy first printing. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780394585857 Katharine (with an a) Graham has led a very full life, and her personal history will be, most likely, very well received by the public, for through it, she manages to answer questions of enduring interest: How do the excessively rich live? How do the rich get rich? How do they stay that way? How does a young, rich woman become more than a woman with lots of time on her hands? She indirectly answers those questions by shaping her family's history with a view toward its stewardship of the Washington Post. Graham, born to multimillionaire Eugene Meyer, a Jew, and Agnes Ernst, an arrogant German, lived such a sheltered life that in college she had to be told how to wash a sweater. Like most men of her time, she did not know how to maintain her material possessions but was well schooled in mind and body (a professional tennis player lived with the family for a while). Beyond her upbringing, Graham manages a controlled but seemingly full discussion of the many sensational aspects of her life: the suicide of her husband, Phil Graham; her rise to publisher of The Post; the Pentagon Papers; Watergate; and the dreadful pressmen's strike, a dispute in which Graham prevailed. In this well-researched memoir, with a cast of fascinating people doing their cameo turns, including several presidents, the photographer Edward Steichen, Thomas Mann, Felix Frankfurter, Warren Buffet, and Ben Bradlee, Graham keeps the sets moving and makes everyone work for her. It is a well-examined life. --Bonnie Smothers
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780394585857 Katharine (with an a) Graham has led a very full life, and her personal history will be, most likely, very well received by the public, for through it, she manages to answer questions of enduring interest: How do the excessively rich live? How do the rich get rich? How do they stay that way? How does a young, rich woman become more than a woman with lots of time on her hands? She indirectly answers those questions by shaping her family's history with a view toward its stewardship of the Washington Post. Graham, born to multimillionaire Eugene Meyer, a Jew, and Agnes Ernst, an arrogant German, lived such a sheltered life that in college she had to be told how to wash a sweater. Like most men of her time, she did not know how to maintain her material possessions but was well schooled in mind and body (a professional tennis player lived with the family for a while). Beyond her upbringing, Graham manages a controlled but seemingly full discussion of the many sensational aspects of her life: the suicide of her husband, Phil Graham; her rise to publisher of The Post; the Pentagon Papers; Watergate; and the dreadful pressmen's strike, a dispute in which Graham prevailed. In this well-researched memoir, with a cast of fascinating people doing their cameo turns, including several presidents, the photographer Edward Steichen, Thomas Mann, Felix Frankfurter, Warren Buffet, and Ben Bradlee, Graham keeps the sets moving and makes everyone work for her. It is a well-examined life. --Bonnie Smothers
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1997 (Fiction)
Martin Dressler
Click to search this book in our catalog   Steven Millhauser

Publishers Weekly Literature's romance with the building-as-metaphor earns new energy through Millhauser's latest novel (after Little Kingdoms, 1993), which quietly chronicles the life of an entrepreneur whose career peaks when he builds a fabulous hotel in turn-of-the-century Manhattan. Beginning with his first jobs-in his father's cigar shop and as a bellhop-young Martin's rise is fueled by a happy blend of pragmatism and imagination. Both inform the design of the cafes and hotels he builds as an adult, though the latter seems to gain sway in the construction of his magnum opus, the Grand Cosmo. Within the rusticated walls of that grand hotel, one floor's elevators open onto "a densely wooded countryside" dotted with cottages; another floor simulates a rugged mountainside, featuring "caves" furnished with beds, plumbing and "refrigerated air." For recreation, guests can wander in the artificial moonlight of the Pleasure Park or visit the Temple of Poesy, where young women in Green tunics will recite poetry, 24 hours a day. Such amenities speak of Dressler's view of the hotel as "a world within the world, rivaling the world." In deliberate contrast stands Millhauser's cooler evocation of his protagonist's private life. The magnate's genial sister-in-law works for him, while the troubles of his neurasthenic wife-"his sister's sister, his tense, languous, floating, ungraspable bride"-reflect his increasingly manic, untethered imaginings. Millhauser's characteristic fascination with the material artifacts of the vanished past-and the startling deftness with which he can describe the street, the carnival, the hotel that never existed-marks him as a cultural historian as well as an idiosyncratic fabulist. Taking its place alongside other fine tales of architectural symbology, from Poe to Borges to Ayn Rand, this enticing novel becomes at once the tale of a life, a marriage and a creative imagination in crisis. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal This story of a 19th-century New York entrepreneur by the author of Edwin Mullhouse (LJ 8/15/72) both introduces the scenery and feeling of the times and provides a psychological portrait of an American dreamer named Martin Dressler. Dressler starts out in his family's cigar store but gets into the hotel industry at an early age and moves up rapidly, thanks to his energy and vision. His ambition leads him to take on increasingly extravagant projects, from lunch rooms to larger and larger hotels to the Grand Cosmo, his vision of a world unto itself, which does not succeed. His relationship with two sisters, one beautiful but passive (who becomes his wife), the other energetic and businesslike, effectively develop the internal transitions of his character. While the wife is a pallid creation, Dressler himself is a beautifully realized character. Millhauser keeps the plot going smoothly with touching prose that occasionally approaches the mystical. Recommended for public libraries.?Ann Irvine, Montgomery Cty. P.L., Md. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list This fin-de-siecle allegory concerns the previous century and the mercurial play of a typically American entrepreneurial spirit. One fascination of Millhauser's historical novel is to offer, indirectly, a criticism of contemporary overconsumption and "decadent eclecticism" in a current age of information idolatry and millennial qualms. The novel's title character serves his imaginative vision, from boyhood on, by founding a series of New York City cafes and immense, mall-like hotel palazzi. His ideal: to establish "a world within the world, rivaling the world" that ultimately "rendered the city unnecessary." Martin Dressler fails because in his greed for magnificent innerness, expressed externally, Dressler shirks an honest exploration of his own inner reaches; his short-term success in business comes at a cost to his personal happiness. Writing in the American realist tradition, Millhauser brings unusual descriptive delicacy to this chronicle of Martin's "falling upwards" and the forces behind the fall. Yet, like some of his historic predecessors, Millhauser writes with greatest confidence about affairs of the world, not hidden lives; women are, perhaps, his weakest suit. His thoughtful reappraisal of social progress as a troubled dynamo lingers. So does his assessment of the role of idealists in a world whose scope may outdo theirs. --Molly McQuade

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

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1997 (Nonfiction)
Ashes to Ashes
Click to search this book in our catalog   Richard Kluger

Book list The debate over smoking has become, quite literally, one about life and death. These books by Glantz and his coauthors and by Kluger will both become instant landmarks in this debate and in the history of the tobacco industry. The story behind Glantz's book is as significant as the book itself. The title is more than just a pun; it also acknowledges parallels with Daniel Ellsberg and the so-called Pentagon Papers. Glantz runs a cardiology lab at the University of California^-San Francisco, and his studies on the effects of secondhand smoke have had enormous impact. He has also used NIH grant money to investigate tobacco company campaign contributions and lobbying. In May 1994, a box containing 4,000 pages of internal Brown & Williamson Tobacco Company documents was mysteriously delivered to Glantz's office. These documents seem to offer irrefutable evidence that as of at least 30 years ago, tobacco companies were aware not only of the harmful health effects of smoking but also of nicotine's addictive quality. The drama involving B&W's attempts to suppress these documents and Glantz's success in getting them into the public domain includes UCSF's library, the Internet, and the California Supreme Court. Now Glantz finds himself under attack and has had his funding eliminated by Congress. The previously anonymous sender of the documents, a paralegal temp working for one of B&W's law firms, faces criminal contempt charges. The result is The Cigarette Papers. It extensively quotes and analyzes these documents, which include company-sponsored research, public relations strategies, legal opinions, etc. Kluger, a journalist and author of several books, including Simple Justice: The History of Brown vs. Board of Education and Black America's Struggle for Equality (1976), is more dispassionate, though his book's dedication--to his "life's companion who is all too familiar with the subject" --betrays his sympathies. His epic social history looks at the culture and commerce of the cigarette. He uses Philip Morris as his guidepost, detailing the company's advertising campaigns, battles for market share, and reactions to various antismoking crusades. Kluger analyzes Philip Morris' move to diversify and become less dependent on cigarette sales, and he exposes the industry's efforts to exploit markets in Asia and Eastern Europe. More than a company history, this massive, fascinating work is a valuable social document. --David Rouse

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Library Journal Two recent releases chronicle the history of the current political status of the controversial tobacco industry from different vantage points. Kluger's (The Paper, LJ 10/15/87) Ashes to Ashes is riveting and highly readable despite its length. From the Native American usage of tobacco through the lawsuits of the 1990s, Kluger follows the industry's agricultural and labor practices, technical advances, and marketing campaigns; he also considers research on tobacco's deleterious health effects and the tobacco control movement. Significant personalities and events such as the invention of the cigarette-rolling machine are featured. An extensive bibliography is provided, and a lengthy list of the Phillip Morris executives (and ex-executives!) are interviewed. Suitable for readers of high school age on up, this book belongs in every library. Much more scholarly, The Cigarette Papers focuses more on one company?Brown & Williamson?and one issue?health effects. In 1994, Glantz received an anonymous package containing thousands of pages of internal documents from Brown & Williamson. The author's analysis of these indicate that, public statements to the contrary, the company did indeed know about the health and safety effects of their products and actively sought to suppress the information. The documents, made available by the University of California via the Internet (http://www.library.ucsf.edu/tobacco), are quoted extensively. Also included is a statement by Brown & Williamson in response to the 1995 publication of some of these data in the Journal of the American Medical Association. This work is extemely thorough and at times makes for tedious reading. Recommended for academic and large public libraries.?Eris Weaver, Marin Inst. for the Prevention of Alcohol & Other Drug Problems, Rohnert, Cal. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Publishers Weekly The time is right for a comprehensive history of cigarettes in America and their effect on public health and the economy. This book, passionate yet measured, bulky but absorbing, looms as definitive. Kluger (Simple Justice) traces the rise of the cigarette to the onset of mass production in the late 19th century. He moves forward with cross-cutting stories, about the barons and hucksters who developed the industry, the slow rise of medical and civic concern over smoking and the industry's increasingly obfuscatory and combative stance. Kluger has harsh words for government regulators, long too timid to take on a powerful industry. And while he ultimately indicts industry leader Philip Morris, his narrative suggests that the company, which has moved overseas and also diversified into the food business, has been managed with supreme savvy. Kluger concludes with an innovative policy remedy: because the tobacco companies will inevitably lose big in court someday, why not trade a federal exemption from lawsuits for limits on advertising, higher cigarette taxes, an end to tobacco price supports and required reductions on tar and nicotine? (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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1997 (Biography)
Angela's Ashes
Click to search this book in our catalog   Frank McCourt

School Library Journal YA?Despite impoverishing his family because of his alcoholism, McCourt's father passed on to his son a gift for superb storytelling. He told him about the great Irish heroes, the old days in Ireland, the people in their Limerick neighborhood, and the world beyond their shores. McCourt writes in the voice of the child?with no self-pity or review of events?and just retells the tales. He recounts his desperately poor early years, living on public assistance and losing three siblings, but manages to make the book funny and uplifting. Stories of trying on his parents' false teeth and his adventures as a post-office delivery boy will have readers laughing out loud. Young people will recognize the truth in these compelling tales; the emotions expressed; the descriptions of teachers, relatives, neighbors; and the casual cruelty adults show toward children. Readers will enjoy the humor and the music in the language. A vivid, wonderfully readable memoir.?Patricia Noonan, Prince William Public Library, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Library Journal The memoir of an impoverished childhood, from Brooklyn to Ireland and back. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Library Journal McCourt is the eldest of eight children born to Angela Sheehan and Malachy McCourt in the 1920s. The McCourts began their family in poverty in Brooklyn, yet when Angela slipped into depression after the death of her only daughter (four of eight children survived), the family reversed the tide of emigration and returned to Ireland, living on public assistance in Limerick. McCourt's story is laced with the pain of extreme poverty, aggravated by an alcoholic father who abandoned the family during World War II. Given the burdens of grief and starvation, it's a tribute to his skill that he can serve the reader a tale of love, some sadness, but at least as much laughter as the McCourts' "Yankee" children knew growing up in the streets of Limerick. His story, almost impossible to put down, may well become a classic. A wonderful book; strongly recommended for readers of any age. [Previewed in Prebub Alert, LJ 5/1/96.]?Robert Moore, DuPont Merck Pharmaceuticals, Framingham, Mass. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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1996 (Fiction)
Independence Day
Click to search this book in our catalog   Richard Ford

Publishers Weekly In this sequel to The Sportswriter, Ford follows his middle-aged American everyman, Frank Bascombe, through the transformative events of a Fourth of July weekend. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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1996 (Nonfiction)
The Haunted Land
Click to search this book in our catalog   Tina Rosenberg
Choice Copyright American Library Association, used with permission. 9780679422150 Freelance journalist and scholar Rosenberg, presently a fellow at the World Policy Institute, has turned her superior talents to a profound question facing Eastern Europe since the collapse of communism. How does society-- its people and its leaders--restore the truth and the historical past after communism? The need to come to terms with history after any war or revolution is problematic and is not always a matter of restoring truth. The legacy of living in communist societies makes this task perilous and necessary. Eastern Europeans have had to adjust their sense of the historical past to a reconstituted present on several occasions in this century, as new orthodoxies replaced old. With depth, and a style appealing to general readers as well as scholars, Rosenberg weaves a tapestry of stories, personal and public, gathered since 1991. She concentrates on the four previously communist nations of Poland, Germany, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic, where the ghosts of the haunted lands raise profound ethical dilemmas. Rosenberg suggests that these countries are not truly dealing with the past, because of the way it lives within them. One great challenge is for democratic societies to purge themselves of a communist past, and punish old villains (yesterday's heroes?) without violating democratic ideals. A powerful text. All levels. A. R. Brunello; Eckerd College
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780679422150 Rosenberg, the first freelance journalist to receive a MacArthur "genius" grant, has written for The New York Times Magazine, The New Republic, and The New Yorker; her first book--Children of Cain: Violence and the Violent in Latin America (1991)--was widely praised. In this study, Rosenberg investigates another kind of violence: the repression and coercion that were, until recently, an inescapable part of daily life for most citizens of Eastern Europe. Focusing on Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic and Slovakia), Germany, and Poland, Rosenberg humanizes her description of the aftermath of Communism's collapse with tales of three individuals: Rudolf Zukal, a longtime Czech dissident, denounced in 1991 as a collaborator; Wojciech Jaruzelski, the general who headed Poland after the first Solidarity uprising; and Michael Schmidt, an East German border guard who was tried, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, for killing the last person who attempted to escape to the West. Rosenberg compares totalitarianism in Latin America and Eastern Europe, suggesting that trials and punishment are vital for Latin America's "regimes of criminals" but are clumsy tools at best in coming to terms with Eastern Europe's "criminal regimes," which drew most citizens into their operations. A provocative study of a critical component in building the world's newest democracies. --Mary Carroll
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780679422150 Freelance journalist Rosenberg's frequent trips since 1991 to eastern Europe and the former Soviet empire led to this trenchant report on the moral, political and legal dilemmas confronting Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia as they face their Communist pasts. She focuses on Czech dissident/human rights activist Rudolf Zukal, whose parliamentary career was shattered in 1989 by the revelation that he had been an informer for the secret police in the early 1960s. She also interviewed Polish Communist leader General Wojciech Jaruzelski, who, at his 1992 impeachment trial, argued that his imposition of martial law in 1981 was a necessary evil to save Poland from a Soviet invasion. Documents and testimony presented here contradict that rationale, showing that Jaruzelski was anxious to undercut Solidarity's growing power. Rosenberg also profiles Berlin Wall border guards and East German secret police informers now condemned for their unquestioning obedience to the old regime. Rosenberg wrote Children of Cain: Violence and the Violent in Latin America. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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1996 (Biography)
God: A Biography
Click to search this book in our catalog   Jack Miles

Library Journal Despite its provocative title, this is a serious attempt to come to an understanding of the portrayal of God in the Tanakh, i.e., the books of the Hebrew Scriptures in the order of the Hebrew Bible, as opposed to the order in the Old Testament. Miles, a former Jesuit with a Ph.D. in Near Eastern languages who is currently a member of the editorial board of the Los Angeles Times, offers "knowledge of God as a literary character." While some may not care for how God is portrayed?at one point he is "whiny"?the book will appeal to believers and nonbelievers alike as an excellent introduction to the Hebrew Scriptures that does not read like a Scripture commentary. Recommended for all collections.?Augustine J. Curley, Newark Abbey, N.J. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Publishers Weekly In a masterful, audacious inquiry, Miles attempts to tease out God's nature, character, motives and designs through a close textual analysis of the Hebrew Bible, or Old Testament. He deduces that the God of Judeo-Christian tradition is an amalgam of several ancient, divine personalities. Worshiped as the source of mercy, wisdom, strength and love, God is also at times an abrupt, unpredictable, wrathful being: a destroyer as well as a creator. There is also Abraham's personal god, almost a ``busy friend of the family''; God the lawgiver, who attaches supreme importance to justice; God as arbiter, conqueror and father; and the silent, omniscient God of the Book of Daniel, who knows in detail the entire remaining course of history. The Creator, in Miles's reading, is intimately linked to human destiny, because humanity, made in His image, is an indispensable tool in His quest for self-understanding. Miles, a former Jesuit and currently a Los Angeles Times columnist, has written a profound exploration of Western monotheism and the wellsprings of faith. 35,000 first printing; BOMC alternate; QPB selection; author tour. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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Choice Ludwig Feuerbach argued that every theological statement is also an anthropological statement, thus introducing "theology from below." Miles has attempted the reverse. Starting with the premise that the Hebrew Bible is a book about God, Miles attempts to write God's biography. Miles explains: "We see him first as the creator .... We see him last as the 'Ancient of Days' .... Well short of the midway point in the text, the narrative breaks off." What stands in between basically are speeches by God (the prophets), about or to God (e.g., Psalms), and even a silence (especially in Esther, which never mentions God). Miles thus has produced a well-written, provocative study. A critically trained scholar, he nevertheless adopts a "deliberate naivet'e," in which he attempts to read the text straight through. Although that effort produces striking results, it also stumbles over the kinds of contradictions in the text that gave rise to critical methods of study. And although it is true that great biographies portray people with conflicted personalities it is also true that unmitigated contradiction leaves the reader confused, which assumed naivet'e cannot cover, only ignore. Upper-division undergraduate; graduate; faculty; professional; general. C. L. Redditt; Georgetown College

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1995 (Fiction)
The Stone Diaries
Click to search this book in our catalog   Carol Shields

Library Journal Author of the ``most satisfying'' The Republic of Love ( LJ 1/92), Canadian novelist Shields here details the hard life of Daisy Stone Goodwill from her 1905 birth in Manitoba through old age. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Publishers Weekly Canadian writer Shields's novels and short stories ( Swann ; The Republic of Love , etc.) are intensely imagined, humanely generous, beautifully sustained and impeccably detailed. Despite rave reviews on both sides of the Atlantic, she has yet to achieve an audience here; one hopes this latest effort, shortlisted for the Booker Prize, will be her breakthrough. It is at once a playful sendup of the art of biography and a serious exploration of the essential mystery of human lives; the gist of this many-faceted story is that all biographies are only versions of the facts. Shields follows her heroine, Daisy Goodwill Hoad Flett, from her birth--and her mother's death--on the kitchen floor of a stonemason's cottage in a small quarry town in Manitoba through childhood in Winnipeg, adolescence and young womanhood in Bloomington, Ind. (another quarry town), two marriages, motherhood, widowhood, a brief, exhilarating career in Ottawa--and eventually to old age and death in Florida. Stone is the unifying image here: it affects the geography of Daisy's life, and ultimately her vision of herself. Wittily, ironically, touchingly, Shields gives us Daisy's version of her life and contrasting interpretations of events from her friends, children and extended family. (She even provides ostensible photographs of Daisy's family and friends.) Shields's prose is succint, clear and graceful, and she is wizardly with description, summarizing appearance, disposition and inner lives with elegant imagery. Secondary characters are equally compelling, especially Daisy's obese, phlegmatic mother; her meek, obsessive father, who transforms himself into an overbearing executive; her adoptive mother, her stubborn father-in-law. Readers who discover Shields with this book can also pick up a simultaneously published paperback version of an early first novel, Happenstance . Author tour. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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1995 (Nonfiction)
The Beak of the Finch
Click to search this book in our catalog   Jonathan Weiner

Library Journal This is an account of Peter and Rosemary Grant's research on the microevolutionary modifications that occur in finch beaks as they adapt to environmental changes. Analysis of data collected from 18,000 birds on a Galápagos island over 21 years conclusively demonstrates that the pressures of natural selection are currently altering wild populations. Also, by incorporating others' work on present-day evolutionary variations in fish, insects, and microbes, Weiner (The Next One Hundred Years, LJ 2/1/90) challenges the concept of evolution as a time-frozen process. Harmonized with the writings of Charles Darwin, this book provides the facts to bring alive evolution as an ongoing process. Highly recommended for general collections, but informed readers would do better with Peter Grant's own Ecology and Evolution of Darwin's Finches (Princeton Univ. Pr., 1986).-Frank Reiser, Nassau Community Coll., Garden City, N.Y. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Choice A noted long-term study of Darwin's finches has become recognized by many as the best evidence of evolution occurring now in the natural world. A husband-and-wife team of biologists from Princeton, Peter and Rosemary Grant, followed generations of the finches in the Galapagos Islands for more than two decades, and this book is the story of their discoveries. Weiner is a talented writer of popular science; his accounts of this extraordinary investigation weave the current research findings into a broader evolutionary matrix--from the historical accounts of Darwin's own work to modern molecular biology (e.g., DNA changes in the finches). The book also reviews other current studies on observable evolution by scientists throughout the world and provides an insightful reflection on modern human redirection of evolutionary trends. The accounts blend science and personalities in a very readable way. Widely praised and recommended work. General; undergraduate; graduate. C. Leck; Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.

Book list "We will now discuss in a little more detail the struggle for existence," Darwin said, and that's what Weiner does, too, in his account of the study of Galapagos finches undertaken by Peter and Rosemary Grant some 20 years ago. The Grants set up camp on Daphne Major, an island of sheer cliffs and no freshwater except for what falls from the sky, but such inhospitable features ensured that finches would follow their life cycles without human interference. The Grants have documented some 13 species of "Darwin's finches," including one that is flightless; one that cohabits with marine iguanas; one, the vampire finch, that lives on blood; one that is entirely vegetarian; and one, the cactus finch, that makes tools with its beak. The Grants caught and banded thousands of finches and traced their elaborate lineage, enabling them to document the changes that individual species make, primarily to their beaks, in reaction to the environment. (During prolonged drought, for instance, beaks may become longer and sharper, to reach the tiniest of seeds.) Even more fascinating, the Grants have documented changes in DNA among their birds, suggesting a refutation of creationism, if one were needed, and leading Weiner to declare that "Darwin did not know the strength of his own theory. He vastly underestimated the power of natural selection. Its action is neither rare nor slow. It leads to evolution daily and hourly, all around us, and we can watch." An engaging account of a seminal study that introduces the reader to Darwin and to the dedicated, tireless biologists who have proved him right. ~--John Mort

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly For more than 20 years Rosemary and Peter Grant have divided their time between Daphne Major in the Galapagos and Princeton University. On the tiny island they have intensively studied six species of Darwin's ground finches; at Princeton, they analyze their collected data. In following their work Weiner ( Planet Earth ) tells a remarkable story of continuing evolution, and of the painstaking research that reveals it. The Grants documented two dramatic changes in the finches: after a drought in 1977 reduced their numbers by 85%, the surviving birds became larger, in weight, wingspan and beak; after El Nino's floods in 1983, the trend was reversed. The Grants found that during food shortages the difference of one millimeter in the size of a finch's beak could determine its life or death. In his eloquent and richly informative report, Weiner surveys as well research on evolution being done on crossbills, sticklebacks and fruit flies. Illustrations. 40,000 first printing; BOMC, QPB , History Book Club and Natural Science Book Club alternates. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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1995 (Biography)
Harriet Beecher Stowe
Click to search this book in our catalog   Joan D. Hedrick

Choice Although Uncle Tom's Cabin, the most popular novel in America during the 19th century, continues to be read, studied, and discussed, the life of its author has been neglected since Forrest Wilson's Crusader in Crinoline (1941). Hedrick's biography relies heavily on Stowe's correspondence, contains more than 70 pages of scholarly notes, and includes photographs of the Stowe family. The book is easy to read and balanced in its treatment of controversial material such as Stowe's own racial prejudices, her bungling attempts to vindicate Lady Byron by exposing Lord Byron's incestuous affair with his half-sister Augusta Leigh, and her refusal to use profits from sales of Uncle Tom's Cabin to support Frederick Douglass's project for an industrial school for black men. Stowe's mind is not the most interesting one of the period, yet she captured the popular literary imagination and cannot easily be ignored by cultural historians. Unfortunately Hedrick's reliance on feminist jargon dates the book. Nevertheless, this biography provides all students of Stowe with updated, accurate, and well-documented information. Undergraduate; graduate; general. S. M. Nuernberg; University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.

Publishers Weekly This first major biography of Stowe (1811-1896) in some 50 years offers an insightful account of the life and work of the author of Uncle Tom's Cabin . Hedrick, director of women's studies at Trinity College in Connecticut, is especially good at laying out the context of Stowe's life: the constraints and opportunities for well-born New England women in the 1800s; the influence of the Bible and of ``parlor literature and parlor music'' on her work; and how the lack of political outlets for women helped fuel her outrage against slavery. In Uncle Tom's Cabin , published in weekly installments from June 1851 to April 1852 in the magazine National Era , Stowe modeled the characters mainly on her own black domestic servants without considering that ``her position as white mistress to black servants radically compromised her perceptions.'' Nonetheless, Hedrick praises her for forcing whites to confront ``the voices of a colonized people.'' Hedrick includes much information on Stowe's family life and lengthy but checkered writing career, noting that while she contributed to a new cultural vitality by supporting the Atlantic Monthly , founded in 1857, she and other women writers were ultimately disregarded. Regrettably, the book ends with Stowe's death and doesn't track the 20th-century debates about the place of Stowe's most famous work in our cultural canon. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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Book list It's been 50 years since the last biography of the once adulated, eventually maligned author of Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852), Harriet Beecher Stowe, was published, and it's high time for a new look at this hugely influential writer. Hedrick, a dynamic social and literary historian, has made great use of previously unavailable materials and written a far-reaching and brilliantly synthesized narrative that not only relates Stowe's complex personal story, but also captures the ferment and verve of America's antebellum era. Born in 1811 into the industrious evangelical Beecher family of Massachusetts, Stowe came of age in unison with the emergence of America's fledgling national consciousness. After receiving an unusually thorough education for a woman of her time, Stowe began her writing life in the thriving frontier city of Cincinnati, winning over magazine readers with her conversational tone, acute observations, pioneering use of dialect, shrewd irony, and unabashed melodrama. As Hedrick tracks Stowe's progress from a scribbler of "parlor literature" to a world-renowned novelist and abolitionist, she makes certain that we understand just how much the status of women and the lack of reliable birth control shaped Stowe's daily life and moral outlook. It was the trauma of the deaths of several of her seven children that sensitized Stowe to the horrors of slave life and inspired her most famous work. A major achievement, this respectful and empathic portrait illuminates a crucial figure in our history. ~--Donna Seaman

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Library Journal In writing this biography of Stowe, the most substantial since Forrest Wilson's Crusader in Crinoline won a Pulitzer Prize in 1941, Hedrick (women's studies, Trinity Coll., Ct.) has created an engaging and informative book that brings to life not just the complex and fascinating woman and writer but also the 19th-century America that shaped her and was shaped by her. Hedrick manages to weave into this immensely readable biography a history teeming with the domestic detail of the famous Beecher clan, the settling of the West, and the impact of the Civil War and the abolition movement. At the same time, Hedrick constructs a fascinating portrait of women's lives in the 19th century. Stowe rarely failed to give an adoring public what it wanted, from her wildly popular serial novel Uncle Tom's Cabin (1851-52) through the long, lucrative career that filled America's nostalgic need for novels about old New England. This biography is worth adding even to collections that own Wilson's book. Highly recommended.-- Ellen Finnie Duranceau, MIT Lib. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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