PositiveBooklistCybersecurity journalist Perlroth’s terrifying revelation of how vulnerable American institutions and individuals are to clandestine cyberattacks by malicious hackers is possibly the most important book of the year. Perlroth spent seven years researching, traveling the world, and conducting hundreds of interviews about the elusive market for zero-day software bugs that allow a hacker to break into devices undetected and either implant malware, extract data, or take control of entire systems ... That makes Perlroth’s precise, lucid, and compelling presentation of mind-blowing disclosures about the underground arms race a must-read exposé.
PositiveBooklistShorto combines academic sources with news stories, court documents, FBI files, and extensive interviews with his namesake grandfather’s surviving associates and family members to produce a truly excellent, often harrowing investigation. Clearly, it was important to Shorto to research, understand, and confront his family’s history, and he has created a compelling, fresh, and resonant take on a key and fascinating aspect of American history. This will have wide appeal.
David W Brown
RaveBooklistBrown leaves no door closed as he covers the science, logistics, personalities, and politics of this extraordinary NASA mission. His extensively researched, humorous, raucous, dramatic, and pop-culture- and science-fiction-laced immersion in planetary science will have readers hanging on every word.
PositiveBooklistCaesar passionately tracked down this elusive character through scant sources and engagingly depicts Wilson and his times in ebullient and well-written prose ... Caesar manages to brilliantly capture Wilson’s epic adventure and how it encapsulates so much of the disillusionment and courageous efforts of the interwar period. Caesar has created a widely appealing and affecting character study, microhistory, story of love and loss, and inquiry into some surprising effects of trauma and personal tragedy.
RaveBooklistSmith drops readers right into the action, transforming us into virtual citizens caught up in the conflagration and its aftermath of raucous political debates, intense class and ethnic tensions, yellow journalism, and the incredible energy and drive that enabled Chicagoans to rebuild ... [Smith is] a true master of his craft, set[ting] the historical record straight in advance of the sesquicentennial anniversary of Chicago’s \'great fire\'.
Eric Jay Dolin
PositiveBooklistDolin’s weather drama reveals just how horrific these monster storms can be. But this compelling book is much more than a meteorological history, it is a remarkably human story of people struggling with nature at its fiercest and the myriad ways hurricanes have affected the course of human events ... Many of those true tales of survival and loss will tug at the readers’ heartstrings as Dolin makes them vivid and memorable ... Dolin illuminates how much technology and careful scientific and civic organization and coordination have helped better prepare Americans for hurricane season. But, despite radar and satellites, the paths of these ferocious storms can never be fully predicted and Dolin presents the consensus view that global warming will only make hurricanes stronger in the future.
PositiveBooklistDayen has collected data and case studies that reveal how a handful of megacorporations dominates daily life to the detriment of many Americans. His extensive research reveals how monopolies have eliminated genuine consumer choice, worker protections, and competition while also stifling innovation and racking up enormous corporate profits. Dayen exposes the influence these entities have gained over public officials at the expense of the public good ... Dayen’s investigation is as well-written and compelling as it is disturbing in its detailed and hard-hitting revelations. But Dayen moves beyond the injustice and insult of it all to remind readers that America has faced the threat of monopolies and unfair economic practices in the past and created ways to regulate and rein in such damaging practices. And as his concluding chapter on fighting back makes clear, the U.S. can do so again with a rise in citizen awareness and activism.
PositiveBooklistRasenberger deftly brings to life the man and his times in this gripping biography that does admirable work updating scholarship about Colt. A derivative of the word revolver is also key to the story as Rasenberger covers the many revolutions in nineteenth-century America, from factories and changing business practices to Manifest Destiny and the battles that led to conquest from sea to shining sea to lobbying the government for contracts and patent protections. Rasenberger presents evidence documenting Colt’s many trespasses against Victorian morality; indeed, Colt clearly led a wild life. The result is a very lively and informative book for every reader interested in American history and all of the nation’s flaws and virtues.
PositiveBooklistHammer finds that Lendrum is in it more for the excitement and thrill than the astronomical prices racing falcons command. Lendrum’s compulsion is nonetheless portrayed as the definition of insanity, doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Hammer’s chronicle is a captivating and surprising read with just the right touch of suspense and mystery.
PositiveBooklistDrawing inspiration (and the book’s title) from the biblical book of Jeremiah, Giglio puts readers on the ground with the soldiers in this well-written account. Shatter the Nations is an excellent and invaluable summation of the complex conflict in the Middle East from 2011–17, shedding light on the murky circumstances behind so many political soundbites that inadequately cover terrorism and the plight of refugees.
PositiveBooklistIsserman has created a fascinating study of this branch of specialized American soldiers during WWII, a bit of military history that will be of interest to WII buffs and readers who have been on the slopes or gazed in wonder at mountains’ majesty.
PositiveBooklistFeaturing concise illustrations of atomic physics, each worth a thousand words, and a cast of real-life characters that Ian Fleming, Tom Clancy, and the Marx brothers would have strained to invent, The Bastard Brigade is as entertaining as it is fascinating. Kean’s colloquial expressions and metaphors provide levity to the gritty history of a world at war, with the survival of freedom, and possibly humanity, hanging in the balance. He never lets the reader forget what was at stake, often stating that failure could have resulted in the ultimate mushroom cloud. Kean’s page-turner about a still too-little-understood chapter in history deserves a prominent place in WWII collections.
PositiveBooklistKershaw builds on his many previous WWII books to present an especially vivid D-Day narrative. This incredibly detailed account profiles a broad spectrum of participants in this essential, now legendary battle ... Kershaw presents war in all of its ugliness and horror even as he emphasizes the commitment of the young fighters to their comrades. The First Wave, a welcome and fresh take on one of the greatest and most significant of WWII missions, marks D-Day’s 75th anniversary.
Daniel C. Guiet and Timothy K. Smith
PositiveBooklist... [an] astonishing tale of heroic clandestine work ... This well-composed and gripping story contains fresh and illuminating details about the organization and methodology of England’s Special Operations Executive and the America’s Office of Strategic Services ... lives up to its enticing title. It’s an exciting, informative, and stirring tribute to a heretofore secret war hero’s life.
PositiveBooklist...you will learn a dizzying array of facts about naval aviation and air-to-air combat ... This is an exciting and well-written journey through more than five decades of naval and air-combat history and the service to which Pedersen devoted most of his life.
Matt Farwell and Michael Ames
RaveBooklistFarwell and Ames recount the complete Bergdahl saga and much of the sorry tale of America’s Afghanistan involvement. They move effortlessly between Bergdahl’s life (friends and family, the reasons behind his actions, and his ordeal at the hands of the enemy) and the larger picture of the war and the American political divisions over it. Along the way, they profile a storied cast of characters ... Farwell and Ames make a great case for the continuum of history, depicting Afghanistan as a graveyard of empires in which the U.S. is the latest victim of a military quagmire and showing how one soldier’s actions can polarize an entire nation. American Cipher sets the record straight on a tragic subject and will strongly appeal to a wide audience.
PositiveBooklistKhrushcheva and Taylor provide a valuable travelogue and analysis of an empire that, with its split personality symbolized by the national emblem, a Byzantine double-headed eagle, has long confused westerners. With a local joke or literary passage provided in each chapter to offer a taste and preview of each region’s character, their on-the-road observations are backed by commentary on how Russia is a country whose past of both autocracy and revolution, devotion to Orthodox Christianity, and embrace of atheistic communism remains evident across its vast territory. The authors frequently note the contradictions they see as Russian society simultaneously appropriates and emulates, defies and opposes European culture. Russia is both capable of huge changes and hugely fearful of change, backward and conservative yet striving for the next big thing. This powerful chronicle will enlighten readers both curious and knowledgeable about contemporary Russia.
RaveBooklistAs compelling on the page as he is on stage and screen, Sinise shares moving details about the many veterans in his family and recounts his efforts as an actor getting the now renowned Steppenwolf Theatre Company off the ground in Chicago and rising to distinction in Hollywood. This humble and affecting chronicle of one artist’s selfless commitment to America’s defenders and first responders and to our ideals is a welcome antidote to a cynical and divided time.
James Carl Nelson
PositiveBooklistA story of fierce fighting, deadly disease, material deprivation, morale-sapping indecision, and confusion on behalf of American leadership and the Bolsheviks’ guerrilla fighters (or Bolos, as Americans called them) during a frigid Russian winter with temperatures regularly reaching 50 degrees below zero. Nelson makes a vague case for this expedition being then and now a source of friction between the U.S. and Russia, but this is mainly a work of narrative history with particular focus on the soldiers’ long-neglected first-hand accounts. This is a wild ride through an American military campaign few know much about and a good addition to the history of Russian-American relations, a complex, often urgent subject.
RaveBooklistThis memoir by a Kurdish sharpshooter, written under his movement name of Azad, about his participation on the battlefield of Kobani is simply outstanding ... Azad brings the hellish experience of war to these pages in great detail as he shares his belief in the Kurdish revolutionary cause of gender equality, freedom, and democracy ... Azad’s powerful story goes far beyond news reports and will fascinate those interested in military history, current events, or the craft of sharpshooting.
PositiveBooklistKaufman argues persuasively ... Kaufman’s call to action includes three helpful appendixes offering advice on how to address common criticisms and providing information that will empower readers to persuade others to support gender equality. A timely, informative, thought-provoking, and practical approach to a necessary social reform. Recommended for both men and women.
Gregory B. Jaczkzo
PositiveBooklistDespite his chairmanship, Jaczko argues persuasively that he was fighting a losing battle with industry lobbyists, pro-nuclear congressional members, and even his commission colleagues. This is a well-written memoir from an insider with a powerful message: nuclear power can never be made completely safe, and defining safety is as political as it is scientific. Jaczko’s forthright \'confessions\' will help raise awareness on this crucial issue.
PositiveBooklistDrawing extensively from primary sources, Drury and Clavin leave few stones unturned, from accounts of the fall campaigns to the Continental victory at Monmouth Courthouse. All of the grisly details of supply failures, corruption, conspiracy, bureaucratic waste, and the reforms that resurrected the American cause are exquisitely well told in this exceptionally vivid history, one that will please all who are interested in the revolutionary era and American history in general.
Emerson T. Brooking and P.W. Singer
PositiveBooklistIn this important resource, the authors describe how this new form of warfare is waged not only to hold the public’s constant attention but also to seize control over reality. Defining new terminology and highlighting governmental digital policies, they discuss the dynamics and consequences of disinformation, trolling, botnets, and flashy or outrageous videos, all meant to alter and control public perception. More than 100 pages of source notes attest to the thoroughness of their research, and Singer and Brooking have gone to very dark cyber places to bring these facts to light, analyzing ideas and organizations that may give readers nightmares and that can catalyze actual violence. LikeWar should be required reading for everyone living in a democracy and all who aspire to.
PositiveBooklistRaghavan...chronicles this underappreciated history in a treasure trove of information and fresh interpretation ... This is an excellent work of clarification for readers curious about past and present associations between the U.S. and South Asia.
RaveBooklist OnlineToday’s business elite are more involved than ever in solving social problems. From poverty and disease to working conditions in the \'gig\' economy, capitalism’s winners use philanthropy and \'win-win\' business ventures to achieve what government programs used to address. But what if, Giridharadas asks, these very elites have been and continue to be the sources of many of these problems? ... An exciting book club pick, Winners Take All will be the starting point of conversations private and in groups on alternatives to the status quo and calls to action. An excellent book for troubled times.
PositiveBooklistLingan’s first book provides much more than the appealing subtitle suggests ... Lingan’s literary flourishes will please readers curious about country culture ... Lingan is an astute observer of the social problems and cultural changes he encounters, and he writes about them without bias or preachiness. Fans of country music will enjoy Lingan’s portrait of a place and insights into a rapidly disappearing culture.
George C Daughan
PositiveBooklistDaughan’s thesis that the colonists feared being reduced to poverty through taxation is not especially well developed. But he does thoroughly catalog the ineptitude and hubris of His Majesty’s government in its drive to secure Massachusetts. This is a strong feature of the book, as is the author’s play-by-play description of the battle. Lexington and Concord is a worthy resource for history buffs seeking a closer look at what drove the start of the American Revolution and \'the battle heard round the world.\' A fine addition to American-history collections and perfect for displays about that essential time.
Lynn Vincent and Sara Vladic
RaveBooklistAnyone who has been captivated by the monologue delivered by Robert Shaw’s character, Captain Quint, in Steven Spielberg’s film Jaws, about his experience surviving the sinking of the USS Indianapolis in 1945 should read Vincent and Vladic’s comprehensive, simply outstanding historical account. Sea battles, adventures, the secret mission to deliver materials for the assemblage of the atomic bomb to the Pacific Islands, tragedy, disaster, an epic ordeal—sharks included—in the open ocean, courtroom drama, political intrigue, and the uphill battle by the band of survivors to exonerate the ship’s captain will all have readers unable to put this book down.