Cover to Cover

A guide to current releases
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CURRENT AFFAIRS

The Disposable American
Louis Uchitelle (Knopf)
Layoffs were supposed to help struggling American companies adjust to a changing world. One catch: they’ve permanently damaged job security, sparked ill-advised mergers, and eroded unions, health care, and pensions—while failing to solve the problems they were meant to address in the first place.

America at the Crossroads
Francis Fukuyama (Yale)
Mugged by reality in Iraq, a prominent neocon breaks with his ideological allies, counseling greater respect for supranational institutions. Having shed the “neoconservative” tag, he pithily declares himself a “realistic Wilsonian.”

California
Peter Schrag (California)
The Golden State is still beset by demographic, cultural, and economic complexity.

American Ally
Con Coughlin (Ecco)
A British journalist’s in-depth assessment of Tony Blair’s relationship with George W. Bush during the war on terror yields a verdict somewhere near the middle of the lapdog–lone wolf spectrum.

American Theocracy
Kevin Phillips (Viking)
The oracle of the emerging Republican majority examines the fruits of his prophecy and further predicts that an overreliance on oil, excessive debt, and the politicization of religion will lead America to certain doom.

Barrier
Isabel Kershner (Palgrave)
A look at life on both sides of the wall being built between Israel and the West Bank.


U.S. HISTORY

A Nation Among Nations
Thomas Bender (Hill Wang)
Taking exception to exceptionalism, the author argues that the American Revolution was but a sideshow in a long-running French-British grudge match, and that the Civil War was just another eruption of mid-nineteenth-century restlessness in the mold of the European revolutions of 1848.

The Divided Ground
Alan Taylor (Knopf)
A narrative account of the settling of the northern border of what would become the United States. The Indians thought they could preserve some of their land by leasing rather than selling it to the newcomers. The colonists disagreed.

Upon the Altar of the Nation
Harry S. Stout (Viking)
A religious historian asks, Was the Civil War justly fought?

31 Days
Barry Werth (Nan A. Talese/Doubleday)
A painstaking reconstruction of the period between Richard Nixon’s resignation, in August of 1974, and his pardon a month later. Never has the Ford administration seemed so gripping.


WORLD HISTORY

The Great Wall
Julia Lovell (Grove/Atlantic)
A history of the literal and figurative walls that China has raised between itself and the outside world over the past three millennia.

Ireland
Gustave de Beaumont (Harvard)
Nineteenth-century Ireland gets the Tocqueville treatment.

Mussolini’s Italy
R. J. B. Bosworth (Penguin Press)
A leading Mussolini biographer describes how Italians’ traditional bonds of tribe and family made Fascism slightly less de facto totalitarian than Nazism. Cold comfort, but still.

Scars of War, Wounds of Peace
Shlomo Ben-Ami (Oxford)
A history of the Arab-Israeli conflisct, written by a former Israeli foreign-affairs minister.


BIOGRAPHY

Tamerlane: Sword of Islam, Conqueror of the World

Justin Marozzi (Da Capo)
A British journalist retraces the conquering footsteps of Genghis Khan's successor. After seizing Baghdad, Tamerlane's men built a pyramid using the heads of 90,000 of his enemies--the fifteenth-century version of shock and awe.

Trickster Travels

Natalie Zemon Davis (FSG)
The exhausting tale of al-Hasan al-Wazzan: born in Spain, captured by pirates, and forcibly converted to Christianity, he won fame as Leo Africanus after publishing the first geography of Africa to appear in Europe.

The Life of Benjamin Franklin: Journalist, 1706–1730 and Printer and Publisher, 1730–1747

J. A. Leo Lemay (Pennsylvania)
The first two installments of a projected seven-volume biography of one of the portlier Founding Fathers.

Anna of All the Russias

Elaine Feinstein (Knopf)
A biography of Anna Akhmatova, who was born under czar, suffered under Stalin, and died under Brezhnev, yet maintained a poetic sensibility throughout.

Louis Armstrong’s New Orleans

Thomas Brothers (Norton)
Armstrong moved away from New Orleans as a young man, but not before the city's social and cultural complexities had left an indelible mark

At Canaan’s Edge
Taylor Branch (Simon & Schuster)
The third volume of Branch's magisterial biography of Martin Luther King Jr. stretches from "bloody Sunday" in Selma to King's assassination, in Memphis, three years later.

Fever
Peter Richmond (Holt)
A biography of Peggy Lee.


SOCIETY AND CULTURE

Creators
Paul Johnson (HarperCollins)
The second installment of a projected trilogy—the first being the same author’s Intellectuals—probes the hidden mechanism of human creativity, turning to Chaucer, Austen, Bach, and Disney for insight.

Manliness
Harvey C. Mansfield (Yale)
What can Achilles, Hemingway, and Margaret Thatcher teach us about manliness? A meditation on the subject by the noted Harvard philosopher.

Flapper
Joshua Zeitz (Crown)
A cultural history of the original girls gone wild.

American Green
Ted Steinberg (Norton)
Our yearly lawn-care expenditure rivals Iceland’s GDP, and over the past several years, nearly as many Americans have been injured by lawn mowers as by handguns. A look at the dark side of the American lawn.

To Hate Like This Is to Be Happy Forever
Will Blythe (HarperCollins)
A sort of Iliad for the Duke–North Carolina college basketball rivalry, written by the former literary editor of Esquire.

Chances Are … : Adventures in Probability
Michael and Ellen Kaplan (Viking)
A reflection on life’s contingencies and the mathematical underpinnings thereof.


RELIGION

The Great Transformation
Karen Armstrong (Knopf)
Whatever else Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Judaism, and Greek rationalism may not share, they’re all roughly the same age, dating to the ninth century b.c. A leading chronicler of world religions explicates their common bonds.

A Church in Search of Itself
Robert Blair Kaiser (Knopf)
A survey of the Benedict-era Catholic Church by Newsweek’s man in the Vatican, built around profiles of six cardinals from five different continents.


novels and short stories

High Lonesome: Stories 1966–2006
Joyce Carol Oates (Ecco)
Eleven of the stories in this new collection appear in book form for the first time.

Daniel Isn’t Talking
Marti Leimbach (Nan A. Talese/Doubleday)
A young mother attempts to treat her child’s autism in this novel based loosely on the author’s personal experience.

The Night Watch
Sarah Waters (Riverhead)
Four Londoners navigate their war-torn city in a novel narrated backward from 1947 to 1941.

Second Honeymoon
Joanna Trollope (Bloomsbury)
A middle-aged Englishwoman adjusting to empty-nest status faces the return of her adult children, pre-empting the activities suggested by the title.

Elements of Style
Wendy Wasserstein (Knopf)
A posthumously published novel by the celebrated playwright.

Abide With Me
Elizabeth Strout (Random House)
The second novel from the author of Amy and Isabelle.

War and Peace
Leo Tolstoy (Viking)
A new translation by Anthony Briggs.

The Rules of Perspective
Adam Thorpe (Holt)
In this novel set in the waning months of World War II, the narration shifts between a German curator and an American GI who discovers a masterpiece in the rubble of a bombed-out museum.

What Caroline Knew
Caryn James (St. Martin’s)
Elsewhere on the lost-painting beat, a bohemian socialite is shaken by scandal after an erotic portrait of her is unveiled at an exhibition.


mystery and suspense

False Impression
Jeffrey Archer (St. Martin’s)
A murder on the eve of 9/11 sparks a globe-spanning search for—what else?—a priceless Van Gogh.

Brandenburg Gate
Henry Porter (Grove/Atlantic)
In the last days of divided Berlin, a Stasi-agent-turned-art-scholar runs from his cloak-and-dagger past, fending off entreaties from British intelligence and the CIA.

Dirty Blonde
Lisa Scottoline (HarperCollins)
A federal judge finds her secret sex life infringing on her caseload.

End of Story
Peter Abrahams (William Morrow)
A creative-writing class in a maximum-security prison becomes a crucible for intrigue.

Fiddlers
Ed McBain (Harcourt)
In the fifty-fifth (and final) book in the late McBain’s 87th Precinct series, the shooting of a blind violinist launches a manhunt for a serial killer.

Blue Shoes and Happiness
Alexander McCall Smith (Pantheon)
In the latest installment of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, Precious Ramotswe takes on a wayward cobra and faulty blood-pressure readings against the usual Botswanan backdrop.

City of Tiny Lights
Patrick Neate (Riverhead)
A Ugandan-Indian detective (and former Afghan mujahid) searches for a missing Russian prostitute in contemporary London.

Nightlife
Thomas Perry (Random House)
A Portland, Oregon, homicide detective hunts a female serial killer who changes identities as casually as she dispatches her victims.

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