Planet of Slums
by Mike Davis (Verso)
The author of City of Quartz examines the increasingly visible consequences of a world in which more than a billion people exist almost invisibly in urban poverty.
Insurgency and Counter-Insurgency in Iraq
by Ahmed S. Hashim (Cornell)
A professor at the Naval War College anatomizes the Iraqi insurgency and assesses the long road still ahead.
The Parliament of Man
by Paul Kennedy (Random House)
The prominent Yale historian assesses the past lives and future prospects of the United Nations.
The Peace of Illusions
by Christopher Layne (Cornell)
Expansionist post-9/11 U.S. foreign policy represents not a break with the past but, rather, continuity with it—which is precisely the problem, the author argues.
The Looming Tower
by Lawrence Wright (Knopf)
A history of al-Qaeda in the years leading up to 9/11—and the intelligence community’s dawning (but incomplete) awareness of the threat.
American Taxation, American Slavery
by Robin L. Einhorn (Chicago)
The long tradition of American anti- government rhetoric finds its roots not in virtuous yeomanry, the author argues, but rather in the short-term efforts of slave owners looking to protect their interests.
James Madison and the Struggle for the Bill of Rights
by Richard Labunski (Oxford)
Watch the wig powder fly as James Madison and Patrick Henry slug it out over the constitutional freedoms we take for granted today.
Growing Up Jim Crow
by Jennifer Ritterhouse (North Carolina)
A study of how both black and white children in the pre-civil-rights South learned the “etiquette” of segregation.
Financial Founding Fathers
by Robert E. Wright and David J. Cowen (Chicago)
Portraits of Alexander Hamilton, Andrew Jackson, and the seven other men most responsible for building the monolith of American finance.
by Nathaniel Philbrick (Viking)
The Pilgrims’ turbulent first fifty years in the New World, and how they set the stage for subsequent American history, from the author of In the Heart of the Sea.
For Prophet and Tsar
by Robert D. Crews (Harvard)
A historical look at Russia’s engagement with Islam from the late eighteenth century to the early twentieth.
Mao’s Last Revolution
by Roderick MacFarquhar and Michael Schoenhals (Harvard)
An exhaustive history of China’s Cultural Revolution.
by Nicholas Shakespeare (Overlook)
A novelist’s history of the former penal colony made good.
by Frank Welsh (Overlook)
A single-volume history in which the author, an Englishman, concludes, “Australia is probably the most successful society in the world and the most agreeable to live in.”
by Wolfram Wette (Harvard)
A German historian dismantles the myth that the Wehrmacht fought World War II with relatively clean hands.
The Most Famous Man in America
by Debby Applegate (Doubleday)
Henry Ward Beecher was a charismatic preacher and abolitionist superstar, until a late-nineteenth-century sex scandal brought him down.
by Charles J. Shields (Holt)
A life of Harper Lee, who wrote one novel and then dropped from sight, refusing all interview requests (including the author’s) for the past forty years.
by Randall B. Woods (Free Press)
Lyndon B. Johnson was undoubtedly flawed—just not as much as some other biographers would have it.
by William Ashworth (Norton)
The story of a massive aquifer beneath the Great Plains, and the dire environmental and economic consequences that would come with its depletion.
by Lisa Takeuchi Cullen (HarperCollins)
An updated look at the American way of death, surveying such contemporary curiosities as Harley-Davidson-themed funerals and diamonds made from loved ones’ ashes.
The Price of Privilege
by Madeline Levine (HarperCollins)
A clinical psychologist assesses the ennui epidemic among today’s teens, and points the finger at meddling parents and the dulling effects of affluence.
Food Is Love
by Katherine J. Parkin (Pennsylvania)
A history of American food advertisers’ appeals to female consumers: generous portions of idealized comfort and gnawing guilt.
Staying Up Much Too Late
by Gordon Theisen (St. Martin’s)
An interdisciplinary meditation on Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks, which here emerges as a compelling monument to thwartedness that challenges the standard narrative of can-do American optimism.
They Played the Game
edited by Stephen Randall (M Press)
A collection of Playboy interviews conducted with sports stars, including Hank Aaron, O. J. Simpson, and Brett Favre.
Forty Million Dollar Slaves
by William C. Rhoden (Crown)
A New York Times sports columnist examines the plight of the modern black athlete.
Body Piercing Saved My Life
by Andrew Beaujon (Da Capo)
A music journalist explores the thriving (and increasingly hip) Christian-rock scene.
by Tom Shachtman (North Point)
Tradition dictates that Amish teens take time away from their community to sow their wild oats. Sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll ensue—followed, in 80 percent of the cases, by a return to the fold.
by Joseph Epstein (Houghton Mifflin)
A leading essayist’s musings on the changing nature of companionship and fraternity.
I Feel Bad About My Neck
by Nora Ephron (Knopf)
Thoughts on aging and femininity from a veteran cultural observer.
by John McPhee (FSG)
A freight-transport travelogue conducted via towboat, UPS, and tanker truck.
by Bill Buford (Knopf)
A New Yorker writer agrees to become Mario Batali’s “kitchen slave,” learning valuable lessons about excess and suffering in the process.
Into My Own
by Roger Kahn (St. Martin’s)
The eminent sportswriter pays tribute to the people who most shaped his life, including his parents, Robert Frost, and Pee Wee Reese.
The Sound of No Hands Clapping
by Toby Young (Da Capo)
The bumbling Hollywood adventures of the author of How to Lose Friends and Alienate People.
by Marie Arana (Dial Press)
The title substance upends a Peruvian family’s paper business and unlocks the secrets of its past, in this debut novel from the editor of The Washington Post Book World.
The Driftless Area
by Tom Drury (Atlantic Monthly)
A young ne’er-do-well gets caught up in a heist in a sleepy Midwestern town.
by Bobbie Ann Mason (Random House)
A Kentucky-born historian educated in New England grapples with the two worlds that define her in this collection of linked short stories.
by Thomas McGuane (Knopf)
A new collection of stories from the author of The Bushwhacked Piano.
by James Lee Burke (Simon & Schuster)
Detective Dave Robicheaux navigates New Orleans (and his newfound sobriety) while on the trail of a mysterious counterfeiter.
The Night Gardener
by George Pelecanos (Little, Brown)
The discovery of a body in a community garden reopens a twenty-year-old murder investigation in this noir set in the nation’s capital.
by Scott Smith (Knopf)
Two vacationing American couples find terror in an old Mayan settlement, in the second novel from the author of A Simple Plan.
The Devil’s Feather
by Minette Walters (Knopf)
A foreign correspondent tracks a serial killer from Sierra Leone to Iraq to the U.K.