new books

Land and the Sweep of History in Simon Winchester’s New Book

Lee Polevoi

His ownership serves as a springboard for what emerges as a thorough examination of how land ownership has influenced the sweep of history. In the course of his far-reaching study, Winchester looks at demarcation of property lines in the Bronze Age, the cruel land grab from Native Americans in the 18th and 19th centuries, mass starvation in Stalinist Russia, and the age-old conflict over territory between Israel and Palestine.

Celebrating the Theater of the Streets in Ben Wilson’s ‘Metropolis’

Lee Polevoi

Inevitably, perhaps, readers may wonder what other cities and timeframes Wilson might have chosen for exploration. Why not Berlin in the 1920s? Or New York City in the 1970s? It’s a measure of the author’s success that we want to learn more about how other cities functioned, particularly when under the stress of, say, the tumultuous Weimar Republic, or the reaction among New Yorkers when then-President Gerald Ford famously told the city to (as summarized by popular media), “Drop dead.”

New Book Highlights Personal Struggles Against Backdrop of 1960s Britain

John Cammidge

To take our minds away from the tragedy, we visited Windsor Castle and detoured past the Langley truck plant to have a look at the factory that was unwilling to place me.  Jean-Louise told me that her mother’s condition remained serious, and how thankful she was to have decided to teach.  She was still worried about my job security because of the latest developments in Britain’s motor industry. 

A Brutal Crime and the Unraveling of Truth From Fiction

Sandra Bertrand

In this case, Betty was found face down in the garage with garbage cans filled with an unlikely collection of the so-called burglar’s loot and a couple of TVs nearby. Sendle, the lead cop in the original investigation, told Kane that he knew the killer was no burglar from the beginning.  Frye’s coverup was sloppy.  Such items as an open bottle of shampoo, a pair of clip-on RayBans, an electric shaver and three electric clocks were found in the cans. 

Before Fire, There Was Wood in Roland Ennos’s ‘Age of Wood’

Lee Polevoi

At the same time, wood—in its “original” state as trees—has been adversely affected by global climate change and other environmental factors. This has led to wildfires of unprecedented fury and reach, including the megagires in Australia in 2009 that generated an inferno of hellish proportions, eventually covering more than 100 million acres. What comes across most vividly in this panoramic study of wood is Roland Ennos’s love of the subject.

A Manuscript Containing Disturbing Content Is the Focus of New Sci-Fi Thriller

Christopher Laine

It’s better this way. Put the manuscript down, walk away. You’ll stay happy and stupid, a well-fed moron who doesn’t want to know. The only way you’re going to get to stay safe is if you just don’t know. Don’t dawdle. Go on. Walk away. Go back. Get back on the grid. There’s a good little Chumley. Trust me. You don’t want to know. The batshit accountant told me that, that I didn’t want to know, and you know he was right. I didn’t want to know. I wish I’d listened to him when I had the chance. But no, I had to know for myself, to find out, and that didn’t work out so swell for me. So, learn from my mistake. Take it on the lam.

New Thriller ‘Center Stage’ Spotlights Political Scandals and Corruption

Wayne Avrashow

Tyler Sloan arrived after most of the mourners had already been seated, and a standing-room-only crowd had formed. With his arrival unnoticed, he quietly observed his father, Mike, being escorted to his seat. He moved closer to locate a position where he could hold a clear view of the service. With his plainclothes security aide following close behind, Sloan walked past the numerous Nevada and Washington public officials sitting stiffly on folding chairs. As he proceeded, a synchronized nudging of elbows and whispers mounted in his direction.

 

New Book Reminisces About Jazz Legend Louis Armstrong’s Big Band Years

James Fozard

Armstrong’s dual career as a jazz player and vocalist continued through the remainder of his life. He sang with other jazz legends, such as Ella Fitzgerald and in cameo music roles in movies. He continued performing with his group and core members, Barney Bigard, Jack Teagarden, and Earl Hines into the 1950s. Armstrong was also immensely popular in Europe, often referred to as America’s Jazz Ambassador. He is said to have considered himself a “performer of music.”

Welcome to the Wonderful, Wacky World of Wes Anderson

Christopher Karr

Still, one is hard-pressed to think of a filmmaker who’s as absolutely singular as Wes Anderson, and even harder-pressed to think of a fanbase best described as completists. I’m not sure that a casual Wes Anderson fan exists. Once you twirl into his world, it’s easy to get lost there—drunk on his outlandish, affected aesthetics, dazzled by his constricted idiosyncrasy, baffled by his reinvention of what cinematic language can look like.

Exploring the Crime of Fire in Chloe Hooper’s ‘The Arsonist’

Lee Polevoi

The Arsonist, a true crime account of Black Saturday, is divided into three sections: “The Detectives,” “The Lawyers,” and “The Courtroom.” Within this structure, Hooper methodically details the efforts of the Victorian Arson Squad to investigate the horrific blaze -- in particular, one fire that broke out in a forestry plantation near the town of Churchill. Investigators quickly determined the fire was deliberately set in this remote location in Australia’s coal country.

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