RaveBooklistHis survival, he notes more than once, is a miracle, but his story alone is not what makes this account so shockingly powerful. In describing the most tragic and terrifying of circumstances, Dogon, working with coauthor Krajeski, creates sentences to describe the most tragic and terrifying of circumstances that are, without exception, elegant, arresting, and possessing a beauty that only a gifted truth-teller can attain ... [a] radiant testimony to the losses suffered by all refugees, an arresting demand that we recognize the humanity of people the world over who have no choice but to leave their homes forever.
PositiveBooklistThe author leads readers on a fast-moving journey through the Industrial Revolution on into the twentieth century, dropping names both familiar and forgotten ... The expansive research involved is laudable, while the packed narrative moves so rapidly it serves as a survey rather than an historical treatise. Bell’s overview of how industrialization led to the climate crisis is a good match for those seeking a brisk approach to the subject.
PositiveBooklistIn this straightforward, eye-opening, and invaluable collection of concise biographies, Eder, a retired U.S. Army major general, shares the stories of 15 women who played heroic roles in WWII yet have been largely overlooked. Highlighting the lives of both civilians and military personnel, Eder draws on a vast array of previously published materials (all documented in thorough endnotes), including the reminiscences of the women themselves, to give readers an appreciative look at courageous and generous individuals she easily proves deserve a place in history ... Based on presentations the author has made over the years to a variety of audiences, this group biography offers a breezy tone, historic photographs, and plenty of lively anecdotes to bring its subjects to vivid life. While primarily focusing on the women’s wartime activities, these portraits also include welcome and compelling coverage of their postwar lives.
Niloofar Rahmani with Adam Sikes
RaveBooklistIn this timely, compelling, and important title, Afghanistan’s first female fixed-wing pilot details her struggle to serve her country ... Rahmani...does not sugarcoat the perils of life for Afghan women ... It is impossible to not share in Rahmani’s frustration and fury as she recounts the continuous roadblocks her fellow Afghans placed in her way. Not simply an inspiring title, this is a memoir of devastation and determination that brings the country’s trials into sharp focus.
PositiveBooklist\"In this effective blend of reportage and memoir, poet and writer Wells introduces readers to various individuals with their own ideas about how to save the natural world ... Referencing the works of Derrick Jensen and writing sympathetically about the Earth Liberation Front, which has been responsible for crimes of ecotage, Wells stakes an outlier position. The resulting chronicle of environmental crises and the often radical actions some are taking to combat them is freshly informative and thought-provoking.
PositiveBooklist... evocative, thoughtful, and utterly charming nature observations ... McAnulty, who has autism, as do his siblings and his mother (dad is the odd one out), writes candidly about his struggles with anxiety and how they present in noisier and more congested areas. His affinity for patient contemplation outdoors spurs him to a degree of watchfulness that eludes many and contributes to his insightful commentary about what he sees and what he’s learned about the land. While he does reflect upon moments in the classroom and at home, the flora and fauna of the Irish countryside are the starring players here. McAnulty has a gift for painting pictures with words, and he invites readers to see what he loves and feels compelled to protect so that they may love and defend nature, too. Infused with joy, this is a title to linger over, one that will inspire readers to appreciate the living world.
PositiveBooklist... a hair-raising study ... Drawing on an impressive array of materials, the author shows how the Belgica endeavor was yet another example of careful planning that quickly went awry as physical illness, natural disaster, and a breakdown in command derailed every good intention. The miracle here is that anyone survived, which was due in no small part to Amundsen and Cook. Sancton smartly focuses on these two men who would go on to legendary (in ways both good and bad) careers. This compelling narrative of an overlooked expedition is a sure-fire winner for armchair explorers.
RaveBooklistStout brings the Whittemores and their era to vivid life in this engrossing biography. Based primarily on contemporaneous newspaper reports (the Whittemores have barely been touched on in books), the story is romantic and violent, exhilarating and tragic. Stout has clearly done a ton of research on the period, and he’s really captured the unique combination of prosperity and desperation that was the Roaring Twenties. The Whittemores finally take their place in the pantheon of early-twentieth-century criminals.
PositiveBooklist... a collective reflection on the romantic ideal of the \'natural world\' ... Rich sees the present era as one of \'terrible responsibility,\' and the stories he collects here of scientists, lawyers, community organizers, and \'average people\' at the center of so many storms are composed to evoke concern while also presenting the ethical questions at the heart of our complex, in-flux times. Nature is still with us, Rich asserts, it just doesn’t look like what we remember or even ever knew.
PositiveBooklist... a dizzying journey into land ownership, theft, mapping, exploration, conflict, pollution, overdevelopment, and, in the final pages, the increasing land loss now underway due to rising sea levels. Winchester sweeps through history, name drops with abandon, and does his best to make writing about it all look effortless. The problem is not of the size of the subject but his insistence on addressing so much of it ... Expect elegant sentences, intriguing profiles (although sorely lacking in women), and a genial narrator who wanders wherever his curiosity takes him. Be prepared for a very wide-ranging ride.
PositiveBooklist... often surprising ... While the topic may be familiar, and Ennos’ perspective is often focused on the West, there are plenty of intriguing histories to enjoy here and his amiable writing style is quite appealing. The opening revolutionary focus sets the stage for other gems from the past, and while the author has done a copious amount of research (documented via end notes), he imparts the facts he’s gathered with wit and charm ... Ennos’ inquiry proves that there is much we still need to learn about wood and how it has shaped our past and present.
C. L. Polk
RaveLocus... sparkling ... Oh, how I loved the heck out of this book! ... Polk embraces upper-crust Regency style with its finely gloved snark and snipe and manages to convey not only a sense of foreboding into the narrative but plenty of sly humor as well. The magic is well-defined, while the interplay between the various characters is sublime ... The witty exchanges are indeed sparkling and the verbal cuts are of the sharpest varieties. Polk is so clearly in her element that readers will be carried away by the sheer radiance of her smartly crafted prose and, like me, sorely miss Beatrice when they make that final and satisfying turn of the page.
Robert D. Putnam and Shaylyn Romney Garrett
PositiveBooklistFor readers looking for an impeccably sourced review of the last century’s economic divide, Putnam and Garrett provide a readable if somewhat statistics-heavy dive into how the U.S. came to be a stark society of haves and have-nots ... The amount of information is enormous, and, while it is clearly conveyed, often with accompanying graphs, Putnam and Garrett’s study should be considered more of a specialized resource than a narrative read. Though not for casual perusal, this will engage serious readers who are curious about the big picture of twentieth-century social economics, and who are in search of a worthy guide to lead them through the data. For those deeply inquisitive individuals, Putnam and Garrett will not disappoint.
MixedBooklist[Biss] ventures into the topics of race and economic inequality, but generally returns to her admitted position of white privilege. This makes for a few uncomfortable moments, and readers may well wonder if perhaps Biss was unable to truly appreciate some of the nuance she sought to achieve.
RaveBooklist... disturbing and powerful ... [Brockovich] and Boothby provide a concise treatise on the common chemical contaminants plaguing the water supplies of many American localities and then dive into a collection of true stories highlighting the largely unheralded residents of cities and towns across the country who, to protect their water, have educated themselves, organized, and purposefully engaged in long-running battles against corporate interests and local authorities. In many cases, Brockovich was fighting right along with them, and she shares personal anecdotes in addition to providing specific steps to assist readers in pursuit of their own community actions. With scientific conclusions that cannot be denied and riveting reports from the trenches, Superman’s Not Coming will resonate strongly with anyone concerned about this important topic.
RaveBooklistAs a group, Hohn’s essays are engaging, thoughtful, and marked by his sparkling wit and boundless curiosity. His nimble technique takes him from name checks of Jesmyn Ward and Joseph Brodsky, the Bible and the Qur’an, DaVinci and Thoreau in a heady few paragraphs. His mastery of his subjects is evident, but it is the joy he exhibits when taking readers along on his discoveries of connections of ever-increasing complexity between literature, science, history, and geography that makes these pages sing. Comparisons to a host of talented essayists are obvious (Didion, Dillard, for sure), but perhaps none is more apt than John McPhee. Hohn has McPhee’s thrilling intelligence and single-minded dedication to finding deep truths in overlooked subjects; he has crafted a title to treasure.
RaveBooklistShah has crafted an illuminating exploration of how the concept of migration for plants, animals, and humans has been politicized and distorted throughout history. Drawing from a wide range of sources, including the migration patterns of butterflies, lemmings, and coral, the writings of national security expert Robert D. Kaplan, and the conflicting research of taxonomist Carl Linnaeus and naturalist George-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon, Shah provides an enormously readable survey of how migration has been researched, written about, and blatantly misinterpreted by those seeking justification for their often nativist goals ... Her occasional inclusion of aspects of her own life story serves to lighten the tone, giving it a personal inflection that makes the historical dimension all the more powerful. This work’s beguiling synergy of science, history, and contemporary politics is impressive enough, but it is this intuitive author’s captivating narration that makes this such a bracingly intelligent and important title.
Robert J Mrazek
PositiveBooklistFinch’s history would be little-known if not for the efforts of her family to document her story, and acclaimed novelist and historian Mrazek has crafted a compelling narrative which also provides rich coverage of the overall war in the Philippines. A perfect match of author and subject, this should generate wide interest among fans of military, women’s, and Asian American history.
Jia Lynn Yang
RaveBooklistWith immigration a continuous topic in nearly every national conversation, journalist and editor Yang’s compelling history could not be more timely. Wielding tightly crafted prose, she looks back to the last time this subject was a political flashpoint, taking readers on a dramatic journey through the shifting sands of public opinion in mid-twentieth-century America ... There are villains aplenty here and relatively few dedicated heroes and the author does not shy away from the ugliness of anti-immigration rhetoric which has, in more than one case, resulted in death. The combination of meticulous research and captivating writing creates a beautiful surprise; a dark history that gleams under the spotlight of unvarnished truthtelling. Expect a lot of reader requests and award attention for this significant title.
PanLocusThe teens offered up as tribute suffer far more than the mentors, but the book reaches a point where readers begin to suspect that every kid who has a name is going to be at least maimed in some way. By the time the games are over (but the book still has more than 100 pages to go), I was really tired of all the dying. Collins clearly was not ... Mostly, though, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes explores the many ways in which young people can be tortured (physically and/or psychologically) and how other young people can be manipulated into aiding and abetting in that torture ... As for all the other young adults in the book, most of their names will likely be a blur. This is a bleak read about pointless murder that ends with a pile of bodies and no hope. Now we know that from the very beginning, the Hunger Games were stupid, but everybody went along with supporting them because standing up was too hard. Now we know why Snow never stood up. Yay. Another villain’s weak soul has been unnecessarily revealed. Forgive me if I don’t think that was enough to justify reading about so much gratuitous suffering.
Alastair Gee and Dani Anguiano
PositiveBooklistDrawing heavily on the powerful interviews [the authors] conducted at the time and in the stunned aftermath, they have created a gripping account of the fire and how it affected the community. The narrative is bolstered by regional history, an awareness of the increasing prevalence of California wildfires, and the culpability of the giant power company, Pacific Gas and Electric, in the state’s unfolding climate crisis. By providing readers with such an intimate chronicle of the fire and curating a nearly overwhelming cascade of stories from those at the center of the disaster, the authors do an important job of establishing a time line of the destruction. There will likely be many more books about the Paradise fire, especially investigations into PG&E’s role, but Fire in Paradise is a powerful start.
A. Kendra Greene
RaveBooklistGreene...presents a thoroughly surprising book on a completely unexpected topic that will fill readers with joyful literary appreciation. In this tremendously engaging and idiosyncratic guidebook, Greene celebrates Icelandic curiosity and creativity, while also deeply exploring the country’s history and people ... With an ear for stories and an eye for delight, Greene has crafted a chronicle that shines with wit and warms with compassion. Why do the 330,000 people of Iceland embrace offbeat collecting so passionately? What draws them to the secrets of stones or makes them want to see folklore-inspired displays? There are no definitive answers to these questions, but Greene, a creative and eloquent twenty-first-century cultural explorer, asks them anyway, and her investigations have resulted in a gleaming gem of intelligent writing and an exuberant travelogue.
Katherine Sharp Landdeck
PositiveBooklistIn this breezy and fascinating history that touches on dramas large and small, members of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) come alive ... Landdeck breathes new life into the WWII period ... With a gripping review of the battle to receive full recognition and benefits decades later for their war contributions, Landdeck moves beyond most histories. Readers interested in women in the military, and military, aviation, and women’s history will find much to relish in this fresh, detailed account.
RaveBooklistA Pulitzer Prize–winner, Bromfield wrote 30 books, and all were best-sellers, yet he has been criminally overlooked since his death in 1956. Heyman now captures all of the flair and drama of Bromfield’s productive life, which included a successful stint in Hollywood and a deep commitment to gardening that blossomed into a passion for conservation and ecology. In this delightful and exhilarating page-turner, which takes readers from Bromfield’s native ground in Ohio to Paris and back again, Heyman does an impressive job of combining all of Bromfield’s interests into a cohesive narrative that captivates as both intriguing history and a significant look at early environmentalism. Bromfield is finally the subject of a bit of a renaissance.
Marie Mutsuki Mockett
MixedBooklist... a somewhat confusing blend of faith discussion, memoir, history, and repetitive culture clashes. Mockett clearly has a great deal of love for her family land and engages earnestly and respectfully with everyone she meets. The result is a placid narrative on farm country, with a biblical twist.
RaveBooklist.. .[a] stunning, riveting chronicle crackling with intelligence and empathy ... Through copious interviews and extensive research, Kolker is able to bring readers into the family’s seemingly perfect middle-class life ... Amidst detailed descriptions of sibling rivalries and fights that terrorized the younger children, Kolker illustrates how the Galvins fell to pieces. Into this gripping personal tale he weaves the larger history of schizophrenia research and how the family eventually came to the attention of scientists striving to find a cure. Kolker tackles this extraordinarily complex story so brilliantly and effectively that readers will be swept away. An exceptional, unforgettable, and significant work that must not be missed.
RaveBooklistEconomics journalist Porter packs an enormous amount of information into this powerful treatise ... Rather than harp on the known history of racism’s origins...Porter looks hard at the twentieth century, especially the post-civil rights era, to consider how all the things done to eradicate, or even mitigate, racism have been woefully insufficient. With a scintillating rhythm and pointed language, the author exposes all the ways in which racism has infected everything from unions to welfare to education and immigration policy. With whipsaw precision, he lays down historical evidence, academic studies, and political decisions to support his thesis, taking readers through a kaleidoscope of modern history which points to one irrefutable truth: racism is holding America back. The potency of Porter’s argument is bolstered by his impressive source list and straightforward prose. American Poison is a work for our times from a writer who has found his subject.
PositiveBooklistEach profile is clearly written with a stated conscious effort to avoid controversies as much as possible. The result is a straightforward history-in-portraits, one man’s list of prominent women in one of largest religions in human history.
PositiveBooklistMcNeil uses an intriguing approach in this exploration of the culture inadvertently created by internet use ... McNeil shares stories of her online past that are especially valuable in illuminating such early innovations as AOL’s free trial CDs. Veering far from the technological focus that often grounds books about digital experiences, McNeil presents an original take on a fascinating and important subject and makes it clear that there is much to consider and explore and an endless array of approaches with which to do so.
PositiveBooklistLevy immersed himself in Greely’s diary and those of other surviving members of the crew along with media coverage, published reports, and, it seems, every single scrap of paper about the tragedy he could find. The result is an armchair explorer’s dream—all the drama, all the fear, all the steadfastness that fans of the genre could want. Unexpectedly, Levy manages also to carve out important space in the narrative for Greely’s wife, Henrietta, who was key to the rescue. An invaluable addition to polar history.
RaveBooklist... smart, compelling, and timely ... By focusing on specific scientists, Dry gifts readers with entertaining portraits of some thoroughly interesting if largely unknown individuals ... Driven by determined curiosity, Dry discovers the conventional and the controversial, the dedicated and the somewhat outrageous on her archival hunts. Along the way, she dips into the social and economic consequences of ignoring climate science while also delighting readers with insights into her subjects gained from their diaries, letters, and other sources. Make no mistake, in the midst of discussing Gerould’s navigation of love and science and Charles Piazzi Smyth’s \'almost lunatic attempt to record the face of the skies alone,\' Dry shows how an artful blending of the personal and professional can result in unusually affecting scientific profiles. A true success on every literary level.
Peter Jan Honigsberg
RaveBooklistThose interviews, many of which he presents here, are breathtaking in their depth and staggering in their significance. Framed by his personal insights, Honigsberg’s chronicle sensitively portrays those sharing their stories and illuminates what must be considered one of the darkest episodes of American history ... The horrors of Guantánamo have been exposed before, as has its legal legitimacy, but Honigsberg’s steadfast dedication to speaking with those intimately involved in the base’s inner workings takes a step far above other works. Eviscerating, powerful, and monumentally important, A Place Outside the Law must not be ignored.
RaveBooklistThe story is smartly told and briskly paced, with keen attention to pertinent details; expect lots of interest as toxic-water issues and lawsuits multiply across the country.
PositiveBooklist... breezy ... Collins’ research (backed up with copious endnotes) is impressive, and she manages to make an unexpected page-turner out of her findings, sharing one outrageous tale after another about such luminaries as Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Harriet Tubman, Margaret Chase Smith, and Betty Friedan. There are a lot of lesser known names to be found as well, including African American examples, but the lack of Asian American, Hispanic, and Native American women (several of whom would have fit perfectly) is disappointing. Still, this is a diverting and certainly interesting and valuable read, hopefully the start of more comprehensive history on the topic.
PositiveBooklist... exceedingly readable ... supporters of diesel fuel are going to be hard pressed to defend their position in the face of this factual onslaught ... Smedley provides a way out of our international air-pollution nightmare, offering a handy \'Clean Air Blueprint.\' This important work from a determined writer will inspire many.
MixedBooklist... expressive ... [Jamie\'s] outsider’s gaze is problematic. First she extols the region’s beauty and history, but then she affects wide-eyed surprise at the existence of a local grocery store, regards local foods as exotica, and includes a passage about another white visitor whose assertions about the impact of centuries-old colonialism on modern regional politics are presented as fact rather than out-of-touch opinion ... Overall, an uneven effort with sparks of elegance.
RaveBooklist...[Boyer\'s] writerly perspective is unique, and she brings to this elegant and eviscerating memoir a poet’s sharp anguish that cuts like a righteous blade through the familiar bland heroics of the breast cancer \'industry\' ... Calling upon the works of Audre Lorde, Kathy Acker, and Susan Sontag, Boyer insists on a reconsideration of how we treat the diagnosed and discuss the diagnosis. She rails against false hope and challenges the theatrics of feel-good fundraising, while casting a baleful eye at those who tout awareness as opposed to tackling the dirty work of trying to determine what causes the disease. Call it a battle cry, call it a fury-fueled elegy, call it the work of a woman who will not be denied. In every way, The Undying should not be missed.
RaveLocus MagFirst, this book is a doorstop. I am not kidding, it’s a book about a deep space mission that doesn’t even leave the ground until more than 100 pages in. It has a big cast of characters (six living teens, one dead one, four adults, plus mentions of various parents and assorted other living and dead space-related people), there are two planets (one of them being Earth), and three spaceships plus shuttles plus, oh, heck. It’s 528 pages long; there is just a lot of everything in Temi Oh’s debut novel, space saga Do You Dream of Terra-Two? Fortunately, there is also a lot of story, which keeps the reader zipping along. This book is a doorstop, but it’s also an incredibly unique and realistic space novel that will give readers a lot to think about and should not be missed ... Do You Dream of Terra-Two? is not the usual sort of space novel; it’s an investment in relationships, a look at how complicated the social aspects of interstellar space travel will likely be. Temi Oh takes big risks with this big novel, and I think she accomplishes some big things. It’s not what you expect but, in every important way, it’s what you really need to read.
PositiveBooklistIn this selective look at the natural world found in the two regions, Demuth largely focuses on the history of hunting, starting with commercial whalers who decimated the bowhead whale population, nearly making the species extinct, and illuminating the more mindful Native subsistence hunting for animals including whales, walrus, fox, and caribou ... While there is little here about WWII, which had a major and still-lingering environmental impact on many communities, and no discussion of climate change, Demuth’s research is impressive. Readers curious about the Arctic in general and about environment concerns, as well as those particularly interested in circumpolar or Native history will find this unique take on a key yet overlooked region fascinating.
PanBooklistOstensibly the story of one man’s battle to save wild salmon, Stronghold reveals itself to be the saga of a self-absorbed man’s mercurial approach to life ... Less about fish than about a man obsessed with them, this biography raises questions about genius and selfishness.
PositiveBooklistThe themes of economic inequality and cultural disruption, combined with issues of animal husbandry and ecology, make Strange Harvests a deeper, more thoughtful narrative than readers may expect. Posnett’s essays far and meaningfully exceed the promise of his title and show this debut author to be more than worthy of comparisons to other questing and curious nonfiction writers, such as Edward Humes, David Kirby, and Heather Rogers.
RaveBooklist... masterful ... Inspiring, riveting, and brilliantly researched and written, this is a book for our time by an author who has found her calling and risen with literary grace to a powerful challenge.
RaveBooklistThe story of the Voyager record is fascinating ... But Scott makes the tale even more intriguing with occasional asides and well-deserved moments of disbelief ... Insightful, engaging, and thoroughly enjoyable, this is the sort of popular history book clubs adore.
RaveBooklistWhile [Parcak\'s] main focus is on how advanced satellite technology is being used to locate long-lost archaeological sites, she also shares many personal experiences as an archaeologist, from the most prosaic (digging fruitlessly in the dirt for days) to the highly entertaining (dining with Harrison Ford). Parcak is an extremely engaging writer and she has done a lot of very interesting stuff ... Parcak shares enough of herself to entrance anyone who shares her Indiana Jones dreams, while elucidating the exciting new field of satellite archaeology. This is a thoroughly delightful and downright fascinating work of popular science.
RaveBooklist... a deep and enlightening dive into the world of algae ... through her penetrating questions and avid interest, readers will learn more about algae than they ever imagined (and relish every minute of it). Comparisons to Mary Roach and Susan Orlean are well-deserved, and Kassinger’s erudite and wide-ranging approach should entice readers with a wide range of interests, from food to fashion, bioengineering, marine biology, farming, and general fascination with the wonders of nature. Gardeners will welcome Kassinger’s latest, and everyone else will feel lucky to discover this winsome writer.
Heath Hardage Lee
RaveBooklistLee...uncovered an amazing forgotten history ... Here she recounts in stirring detail how the wives of POWs and MIAs had to fight the military hierarchy for nearly the entire time their husbands were held ... Book clubs should line up for this one; it begs for discussion.
PositiveBooklist\"... [a] sharply visceral memoir ... Readers will likely overlook any concerns about the veracity of her child memory, however, as they are caught up in the harrowing experiences she shares and the tenderness of exchanges with her brother, father, and grandfather.\
RaveBooklist\"By taking readers into the meetings and among the players, Rich shines a necessary light on the predominant issue of our time. Losing Earth is eloquent, devastating, and crucial.\
Marc Mauer and Ashley Nellis
RaveBooklistMauer and Nellis, who work to promote criminal justice reform, have crafted an impressive blend of statistical analysis and personal experiences to reveal the story of life sentencing in the U.S. While the figures are troubling and should set off alarms, it is the stories that invoke emotional responses ... It will likely not be surprising to see the manner in which race, class, and gender play roles in sentencing, with the harshly incarcerated female victims of domestic violence marking yet another realm of which the #MeToo movement must take notice. Finally, the degree of detail in this well-titled book makes it an excellent resource and of great value to those seeking a way to effect positive social change.
Ed. by Nikesh Shukla and Chimene Suleyman
PositiveBooklistEmotions run high as writers express despair, anger, and many levels of frustration. This anthology adds an intriguing component to the complicated kaleidoscope that is the modern immigrant debate.
Pamela D Toler
RaveBooklistToler blows past all expectations with this thoroughly delightful, personable, and crucially important history of women warriors ... Her captivating writing style, which is marked by disarmingly cheeky footnotes, makes this trip through so much forgotten history an exceedingly pleasurable reading experience and her subjects are a treat to learn about ... a historian’s roar all libraries should welcome.
PositiveLocusAuthor Yangsze Choo takes readers on an immersive ride into the past with her entertaining mystery-fantasy adventure ... Choo does an excellent job of capturing the sights and sounds of pre-war Malaya ... The Night Tiger is a slow burn of a novel that hints early and often at regional myths and legends ... In the end, the roaring tiger is the least of their worries, and the villain turns out to be someone more than up to the horrors that Choo has promised from the very beginning.
RaveBooklistHouston’s...latest essay collection...wields scorching honesty and heartfelt reflection ... Her search for a home to make her own, far from memories and deeply entrenched in the history of the land’s pioneer past, took Houston through a literary reckoning that cuts to the bone while offering succor for a shattered youth. Always impressive, Houston is in striking form here. Her talent remains remarkable and her words extraordinarily affecting and effective.
PositiveBooklistHer ability to juxtapose prisons and monasteries, fear and peace is remarkable, and her graceful prose, which appears effortless, draws upon a wealth of research. This is history at its most effective: elegant, essential, and provocative. Those with an interest in prison reform should be particularly drawn to these thought-provoking pages.
Lauren E. Oakes
RaveBooklistThis unique title chronicles an ecologist’s work tracking the impact of climate change on the yellow cedar, a tree that once thrived in the old-growth forests of Southeast Alaska. Avoiding an academic tone, Oakes infuses this chronicle with moments from her own life, including her uncertainty as a graduate student at Stanford seeking a research topic and the devastating shock of her father’s death ... Oakes has special appeal as a compelling new voice in science writing, and readers interested in trees, forests, ecology, and environmental issues will enjoy her intriguing work.
RaveBooklistCrump has done an impressive job of combing the world for all manner of people, places, and creatures to highlight. Readers will find a plethora of subjects worthy of deeper study (the acknowledgments provide an outstanding source list and links) while also enjoying all Crump and McIvor have accomplished. What a quiet gem: an artful presentation of science and history that manages to beguile and amuse on every page.
RaveBooklist\"Ecologist Dunn scores a direct hit on the deepest fears of most readers in the opening pages of this scintillating title. While studying the life-forms found within human homes around the world, he and his fellow researchers discovered mind-boggling numbers: more than 200,000 species are living with us. The typical response to this figure is to, as Dunn writes, \'go home and scrub, and then scrub some more.\' But his delightfully informative message is that the overwhelming number of these mostly microscopic entities are beneficial ... in clear, concise, and often witty language, he covers the ongoing work of multiple scientists and researchers, providing dozens of examples that will be readily accessible to readers. In a time of clear-eyed assessment of the environment, Dunn is a voice of reason who should be heartily welcomed.
RaveBooklistThis is riveting personal and professional history, told with skill and sincerity ... Drawing on Colvin’s meticulous diaries and articles, and her own conversations with Colvin’s family and friends, Hilsum has created something truly worthy of her subject, a biography that reads like high adventure, a masterwork that will draw well-deserved attention to a heroic witness.
RaveBooklist\"In this riveting personal narrative...Eichenwald tells his devastating story of suffering from epilepsy and waging a nearly lifelong battle against discrimination accorded those who endure this malady. He describes the confusion of his teenage diagnosis, his father’s outright refusal to seriously address the disease, and then, alarmingly, the enormous fights he had with the medical establishment ... Eichenwald has created a universal tale of resilience wrapped in a primal scream against the far-too-savage world. Book clubs will clamor for this tale of survival and call for compassion.
Marwan Hisham, illustrated by Molly Crabapple
RaveBooklistSyrian journalist Hisham unleashes a searing broadside against a complacent world in this deeply personal memoir ... With the added power of illustrations by Molly Crabapple (Drawing Blood, 2015), Hisham demands that at least for the duration of this narrative readers pay attention to the unbridled violence within Syria ... Along with Crabapple’s haunting images, the author’s words offer both an elegy for what has been lost and an angry plea for all that remains. This is memoir at its most powerful, ensuring that we cannot forget lives we never knew.
José Andrés with Richard Wolffe
RaveBooklistImpassioned and unwavering in his resolve, Andrés and equally committed coauthor Wolffe do a masterful job of detailing World Central Kitchen’s work. They also provide a primer on Puerto Rican history and a brisk analysis of how the federal government failed its citizens ... This is an earthshaking report on Hurricane Maria’s catastrophic aftermath and a hopeful and determined look toward preventing similar failures in the future.
PositiveBooklist\"Robinson is uniquely qualified to write about the international fight for climate-change justice. Rather than dwell on her own perspective, however, she has smartly chosen to highlight the lives and work of several individuals who are at the heart of this worldwide struggle ... As the book makes clear, indigenous peoples and those in more remote or rural regions suffer the most, but are all too often considered the least. Robinson makes a solid effort to change that unjust paradigm in a narrative that, given its engaging individuals and their compelling narratives, is a surefire winner.\
PositiveBooklist OnlineAir races captivated the nation during the golden age of aviation in the 1920s and 1930s, and few participants drew more attention than the female pilots who challenged the male-dominated field. O’Brien focuses on five of those women: Ruth Elder, Ruth Nichols, Louise Thaden, Florence Klingensmith, and, of course, Amelia Earhart ... Drawing heavily from contemporaneous news reports, the author documents their achievements and setbacks as well as their sometimes complicated romantic relationships ... Although Earhart’s story has been recounted numerous times, the addition of the other female pilots makes for a more thorough and enjoyable read that should appeal to readers interested in history, aviation, and women’s achievements.
PositiveBooklist OnlineThe positively bizarre history of the neonatal incubator in the U.S. is delightfully investigated in Raffel’s portrait of the enigmatic Dr. Couney ... Raffel’s research is impressive and her use of primary sources throws a great deal of light on how eugenics and a survival-of-the-fittest attitude justified the lax care of premature babies ... Raffel’s account bounces around chronologically, which can be a bit confusing. But her interviews with Couney’s former patients are inspiring and the numerous historic photographs are amazing and complement the story quite effectively. The topic is compelling on many levels, and Raffel’s arresting and illuminating work of hidden history should not be missed.
RaveBooklist OnlineWhite traveled the Maine coast in pursuit of a quintessential lobster town to use as base for his next project, an in-depth look at the state’s most significant fishery...he took to the water with three different lobster captains to learn how they work and gain an inside look at this boom-or-bust industry. The figures are staggering ... White looks at everything from unionization and battles against the price-fixing of middlemen to the warming climate and rising real-estate prices. Lobsters are intrinsically linked to the soul of Maine, and White’s thoughtful chronicle gives both the highly desired marine crustaceans and the people who seek them their due.
RaveBooklistAs she makes clear in this book-length essay, Rose is a fearless and erudite thinker on the topic of womanhood in general and motherhood in particular ... Rose asks what it is about motherhood that is threatening to so many and why expectations for its success must be raised to such unassailable heights. Thoroughly literary and bracing in its intensity, Rose’s Mothers cannot be ignored.
RaveBooklistJournalist Perry has crafted an enormously significant and compelling look at the modern world of the Italian mafia in [The Good Mothers] ... This exposé about the suffering and resilience of \'good mothers\' is a life-changing read.
PositiveBooklistChilds maintains a self-deprecating humor and a boundless enthusiasm for his subject that makes this narrative an unexpected page-turner ... Childs has found history deeper than politics, and in rich, evocative prose, he makes it startlingly relevant to readers. A science title with broad and enduring appeal.
RaveBookslutI have favorites in this collection, but in retrospect what fascinated me about the stories is that certain ones appealed to certain sensibilities. For its glorious send-up of a thousand horror clichés, ‘Best New Horror’ can not be beat. I also loved the way it climbed into the head of an editor, and exposed so many aspects of writing and publishing. ‘20th Century Ghosts’ is that haunting story that is all too often done wrong; the kind where it’s not about being scared at all, but about being close to the rich and strange and unexplained worlds that surround us everyday … There is no overriding theme to these stories, no common location or even common time period. They are just glimpses, looks into one life after another that Hill finds intriguing, that he wants to explore. They are possibilities, potential outcomes, things that might happen.
RaveBooklistFans of forgotten history, take note. Fagone has found a twentieth-century story that reads more like a thriller than nonfiction. Furthermore, Elizebeth Smith Friedman’s life has all the hallmarks of a Hollywood hit, and she is long overdue for the limelight … Riveting, inspiring, and rich in colorful characters, Fagone’s extensively researched and utterly dazzling title is popular history at its very best and a book club natural.