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    POSTED 7 AUGUST 2001

    "Blinded by the Right: The Conscience of an Ex-Conservative" David Brock
    ...available here.
    In a powerful and deeply personal memoir, David Brock, the original right-wing scandal reporter, chronicles his riveting story from the beginning, giving us the first insider's view of what Hillary Rodham Clinton called "the vast right-wing conspiracy." Whether dealing with the right-wing press, the richly endowed think tanks, Republican political operatives, or the Paula Jones case, Brock names names from Clarence Thomas on down, uncovers hidden links, and demonstrates how the Republican Right's zeal for power created the poisonous political climate that culminated in George W. Bush's election. --From the publisher

    "Indira Gandhi" Katherine Frank
    ...available here.
    Acclaimed biographer Katherine Frank uncovers the personal Indira Nehru Gandhi--India's third prime minister--drawing from unpublished sources and more than a hundred interviews with people who knew her. The result is a beautifully drawn, complete, and balanced portrait. Steeped in the volatile history and exotic locale of the world's largest democracy, "Indira" tells a tale of epic proportions about a life marked by surprising contradictions. From the powerful influence of her father, Jawaharlal Nehru, to her misguided relationships with her two sons and political heirs, to the fateful decision that led to her assassination, Frank shows us a figure who was brave, shrewd, isolated, sometimes flawed, and always fascinating. --From the publisher

    "Mosaic: A Chronicle of Five" Diane Armstrong
    ...available here.
    Starting in Krakow, Poland, in 1890, and spanning more than 100 years, five generations and four continents, "Mosaic" is Diane Armstrong's moving account of her remarkable, resilient family. This story begins when Daniel Baldinger divorces the wife he loves because she cannot bear children. Believing that "a man must have sons to say Kaddish for him when he dies," he marries a much younger woman, and by 1913, Daniel and his second wife, Lieba, have eleven children, including six sons. Armstrong has created a richly textured portrait that follows the Baldinger children's lives down the decades, through the terrifying years of the Holocaust, to the present. Based on oral histories and the recollections and diaries of more than a dozen men and women, "Mosaic" explores universal themes of inter-generational conflict, religious repression, complex sibling relationships and the power of the past on future generations. --From the publisher

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    "Mother spooned the poisoned corn and beans into her mouth, ravenously, eyes closed, hands shaking. We, her seven children, sat around the table watching her for signs of death, our eyes leaving her only long enough to glance at the clock to see how far the hands had moved. Would she turn blue, like my oldest sister, Alice, said? Alice sat hunched next to me in the same white kitchen chair, our identical homemade cotton dresses blending into one. She shoved my shoulder with hers as if I were disturbing her concentration and stared unblinking at Mother. Each time Mother hesitated, spoon in mid-air, Alice's face clouded and she pushed against my shoulder. 'She's dying,' Alice whispered, covering her mouth so Mother could not hear her. 'I told you she was gonna die.'" Continue reading from Barbara Robinette Moss's "Change Me into Zeus's Daughter: A Memoir," newly available in paperback.
    ...available here.

    COMING IN SEPTEMBER

    "Pulitzer: A Life" by Denis Brian
    ...available here.
    "Call Me Crazy" by Anne Heche
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    NEW IN HARDCOVER

    "Untitled #2" Christopher Andersen
    ...available here.
    That the beautiful and complicated Princess Diana died so violently and so young was tragic. That she was a young mother leaving behind two emotionally vulnerable sons made Diana's death at only 36 years of age all the more heartbreaking. Now, four years after Diana's death, Prince William and his brother Prince Henry--"The Heir and the Spare," as Fleet Street promptly labeled them--remain the two most photographed, talked-about, reported-on and speculated-about young men on the planet. People everywhere feel an intense affection for "Wills" and Harry, and wonder if, without their mother to guide them, they are withering or flourishing in the House of Windsor. Author Christopher Andersen again draws on important sources to paint this first sympathetic yet often startling portrait of William and Harry, and reveal how their mother remains a constant presence in their lives. --From the publisher

    "The Black Swan: Memory, Midlife, and Migration" Anne Batterson
    ...available here.
    Set against a spontaneous cross-country road trip following the migrating birds, this passionate, lyrical memoir is one woman's reflections on midlife, her important personal relationships, her kaleidoscopic past, and her uncertain future. To fifty-six-year-old Anne Batterson, a woman whose life has been filled with adventure--as a commercial pilot, an international skydiving champion, a trekking guide in Nepal--her husband's decision to retire felt like a death sentence. Yearning for some way to reconcile herself to the future that was rapidly unfolding before her, she packed up her VW camper and hit the road with maps, bird guides, and little else except the desire to follow the fall migration and the bone-deep hunch that birds had something important to teach her. --From the publisher

    "Where Dead Voices Gather" Nick Tosches
    ...available here.
    A forgotten singer from the early days of jazz is at the center of this riveting narrative. For twenty years, Nick Tosches searched for facts about the life of Emmett Miller, a yodeling blackface performer whose songs prefigured jazz, country, blues, and much of the popular music of the twentieth century. Beginning with a handful of 78 rpm records and ending at a tombstone in a Macon, Georgia, graveyard, Tosches pieces together a life--and illuminates the spirit of musicmakers from Homer to the Rolling Stones. This is a brilliant, inspired journey by one of the most original writers at work today. --From the publisher

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    BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIRS BESTSELLERS

    "Saving Milly" by Morton Kondracke
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    "The Dirt" by Neil Strauss and Mötley Crüe
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    "Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation" by Joseph J. Ellis
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    POSTED 31 JULY 2001

    "Richard Wright: The Life and Times" Hazel Rowley Our price: $24.50 | You save: $10.50
    ...more-order it here.
    In this authoritative and engaging biography, Hazel Rowley chronicles Richard Wright's extraordinary journey from a sharecropper's shack in Mississippi to international renown as a writer, fiercely independent thinker, and outspoken critic of racism. The child of the fundamentalist South with an eighth-grade education, a self-taught intellectual in the working-class Communist Party of the 1930s, a black man married to a white woman, and an expatriate in France after World War II, Wright was always an outsider. Skillfully interweaving quotations from Wright's writings, Rowley portrays a man who transcended the times in which he lived and sought to reconcile opposing cultures in his work. --From the publisher

    "Cochise: The Life and Times of the Great Apache Chief" Peter Aleshire Our price: $21.00 | You save: $9.00
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    The Chiricahua Apache leader Cochise (1804?-1874), as nearly every American officer who faced him would testify, was an ingenious tactician and a ferocious warrior. He was also, in historian Peter Aleshire's account, a far-seeing politician and careful diplomat who balanced dedication for preserving his people's homeland with genuine efforts to keep the peace with the invading Americans who arrived in Arizona in the mid 19th century.

    "The Map That Changed the World: William Smith and the Birth of Modern Geology" Simon Winchester Our price: $18.20 | You save: $7.80
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    Once upon a time there lived a man who discovered the secrets of the earth. He traveled far and wide, learning about the world below the surface. After years of toil, he created a great map of the underworld and expected to live happily ever after. But did he? Simon Winchester ("The Professor and the Madman") tells the fossil-friendly fairy tale life of William Smith in "The Map That Changed the World."
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    "The Inextinguishable Symphony" "The first scene of the opera "Die Walkure," the second of the four operas making up Richard Wagner's Ring Cycle, takes place in the house of Hunding, a fierce warlord. The central feature of Hunding's house is a mighty ash tree, its trunk soaring up from the floor, its branches forming a canopy over the roof. Embedded in the massive trunk is a golden sword the god Wotan has left for his son, the hero Siegmund, to find and wield at his hour of need. In the house where I grew up with my father, my mother, and my brother, there was also an enormous tree growing up through the roof, its great trunk dominating the enclosed space. In many ways we shared a perfectly ordinary family life. My father spoke to my mother. My mother tucked me in at night. My brother and I played with each other, when we weren't fighting. But none of us ever acknowledged the tree."
    Continue reading from Martin Goldsmith's "The Inextinguishable Symphony: A True Story of Music and Love in Nazi Germany," newly available in paperback.
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    COMING SOON

    September: "Iris Murdoch: A Life" by Peter Conradi
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    September 18: "Marie Antoinette: The Journey" by Antonia Fraser
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    NEW IN HARDCOVER

    "The Last Kaiser: The Life of Wilhelm II" Giles MacDonogh Our price: $20.96 | You save: $8.99
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    Wilhelm II is widely perceived as a warmonger who seemed to delight in power grabbing, bloodshed, and the belligerent aims of his staff, and yet the image he carved out for himself and posterity was that of "emperor of peace." Wilhelm has historically been blamed for World War I, although he made real efforts to prevent the conflict. He has been branded an anti-Semite, but ironically the Nazis wrote him off as a "Jew-lover." In this fascinating, authoritative new biography, MacDonogh, widely praised for his life of Frederick the Great, takes a fresh look at this complex and contradictory statesman and the charges against him to find that many can no longer be upheld. --From the publisher

    "Hellhound on My Trail: The Life and Legend of Robert Johnson" Stephen Calt Our price: $16.10 | You save: $6.90
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    Robert Johnson was an early legend of blues music, an inspiration to the likes of Muddy Waters, B.B. King, and Willie Dixon. He died mysteriously, and nobody knows where his body is buried. The mythos that surrounds Johnson's life and death has inspired artists and filmmakers the world over. But who was the real Robert Johnson? And how did an obscure guitarist and songwriter create a musical style that would emerge from the Depression-era Mississippi Delta to influence musicians to the present day? In "Hellhound on My Trail," biographer Stephen Calt strips off the layers of history and myth to look at the man and his music. --From the publisher
    "Boswell's Presumptuous Task: The Making of the Life of Dr. Johnson" Adam Sisman Our price: $17.50 | You save: $7.50
    ...more-order it here.
    James Boswell's "Life of Samuel Johnson" is the most celebrated of all biographies, acknowledged as one of the greatest and most entertaining books in the English language. Yet Boswell himself was regarded by his contemporaries as a man of no judgment and condemned by posterity as a lecher and a drunk. How could such a fool have written such a book? Boswell's "presumptuous task" was his biography of Johnson. Adam Sisman traces the friendship between Boswell and his great mentor, one of the most unlikely pairings in literature, and provides a fascinating and original account of Boswell's seven-year struggle to write the "Life" following Johnson's death in 1784. At the time, Boswell was trying--and failing--to make his mark in the world: desperate for money; debilitated by drink; torn between his duties at home and the lure of London; tormented by rival biographers; often embarrassed, humiliated, and depressed. "Boswell's Presumptuous Task" shows movingly how a man who failed in almost everything else produced a masterpiece. --From the publisher
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    BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR BESTSELLERS

    "John Adams" by David McCullough
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    "Positively 4th Street: The Lives and Times of Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Mimi Baez Farina, and Richard Farina" by David Hajdu
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    "The Truth Is... My Life in Love and Music" by Melissa Etheridge
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    POSTED 10 JULY 2001

    "The True Life of J.S. Bach" Klaus Eidam
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    This engagingly eccentric biography by German playwright and television scriptwriter Klaus Eidam performs the valuable service of knocking off the dust accumulated around Bach (1685-1750) by generations of writers more concerned with their own musical, religious, or political theories than the particulars of the composer's life. Eidam has as little use for Marxist scholars declaring Bach "the musician of the Enlightenment" as he does for their precursors who declared the composer to be so devout that he viewed his art only as a means to praise God. His aim is to restore Bach to the general public as a musician first and foremost, well versed in the techniques and instruments of his day, deeply immersed in his artistic goals.

    "The Invention of Clouds: How an Unknown Meteorologist Forged the Language of the Skies" Richard Hamblyn
    ...more-order it here.
    British science writer Richard Hamblyn skillfully blends biography with scientific and cultural history to capture for modern readers the remarkable achievement of Luke Howard (1772-1864), the quiet Quaker whose classification of cloud types we still employ today. "Cirrus," "cumulus," and "stratus" now seem almost self-evident descriptions, but when Howard gave his epochal lecture at London's Askesian Society in 1802, the bewildering variety of clouds was more obvious than anything else. Howard's great achievement, writes Hamblyn with characteristic elegance, was "the penetrating insight that clouds have many individual shapes but few basic forms." His graceful résumé of meteorology from the time of the ancient Chinese shows just how difficult generations of scientists found it to make sense of clouds, which frequently served as a metaphor for the awesome complexity of the natural world.

    "A Place to Stand: The Making of a Poet" Jimmy Santiago Baca
    ...more-order it here.
    Anyone who doubts the power of the written word to transform a life will know better after reading poet Jimmy Santiago Baca's wrenching memoir of his troubled youth and the five-year jail stint that turned him around. When he enters New Mexico's Florence State Prison in 1973, convicted on a drug charge, Baca is 21 and has a long history of trouble with the law. There's no reason to think jail will do anything but turn him into a hardened criminal, and standing up for himself with guards and menacing fellow cons quickly gains him a reputation as a troublemaker. But there have already been hints that this turbulent young man is looking for a way out, as he painstakingly spells out a poem from a clerk's college textbook while awaiting trial or unsuccessfully tries to get permission to take classes in prison. Without softening the brutality of life in jail, Baca expresses great tenderness for the men there who helped him and affirms his commitment to writing poetry for them, "telling the truth about the life that prisoners have to endure."

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    "On February 1984, an Englishman with a rucksack and walking-boots strides into a bungalow in the Irene district of Pretoria. He is six feet tall, with fair hair swept over a huge forehead and staring blue eyes. He is only a step ahead of the illness that will kill him. He is 43, but he has the animation of a schoolboy. Bruce Chatwin had come to South Africa to see the paleontologist Bob Brain after reading his book "The Hunters or the Hunted?" It was, Bruce wrote, the book he had 'needed' since his schooldays, and it had reawoken themes that had been with him a long time." Continue reading from Nicholas Shakespeare's "Bruce Chatwin," available in paperback July 17.
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    COMING SOON

    August 9: "Hellhound on My Trail: The Life and Legend of Robert Johnson" by Stephen Calt
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    September 1: "What Lips My Lips Have Kissed: The Loves and Love Poems of Edna St. Vincent Millay" by Daniel Mark Epstein
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    September 15: "Andy Warhol (Penguin Lives)" by Wayne Koestenbaum
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    BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR BESTSELLERS

    "Natasha: The Biography of Natalie Wood" Suzanne Finstad
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    Natalie Wood (1938-81) came from the last generation of movie stars shaped by the Hollywood studio system, and Suzanne Finstad gives her life the all-out showbiz celebrity bio treatment in this compulsively readable book.

    "If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B Movie Actor" Bruce Campbell ht
    ...more-order it here.
    This entertaining and witty Hollywood memoir combines Bruce Campbell's life story with how-to guidance on making independent films and becoming a pop-culture cult hero.

    "Beyond Innocence: An Autobiography in Letters: The Later Years" Jane Goodall
    ...more-order it here.
    This second volume of Jane Goodall's autobiography in letters covers the years of her greatest triumphs and her deepest tragedies, including the birth of her son, a divorce, second marriage and the subsequent loss of her husband, and the making of many of her most important discoveries about chimpanzee behavior. --From the publisher

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    POSTED 27 JUNE 2001

    "Napoleon & Marie Louise: The Emperor's Second Wife" Alan Palmer
    ...more-order it here.
    Veteran British historian Alan Palmer offers another agreeable book blending biography and history in his account of the union between the upstart ruler of post-Revolutionary France and the daughter of Hapsburg Emperor Francis. Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) married Archduchess Marie Louise (1791-1847) to obtain an heir and to cement an alliance with the Austrian dynasty he had been at war with since she was a child. In Palmer's frank but sympathetic assessment, sensual, self-centered Louise did her best to honor the obligations laid on her by diplomatic and dynastic necessity. Her life provides an instructive case study in the crisis of European royalty during the swings between revolution and reaction that shaped the turbulent 19th century.

    "Tiger's Eye: A Memoir" Inga Clendinnen
    ...more-order it here.
    In her early 50s, Australian historian Inga Clendinnen fell ill with acute liver disease. "'Fall' is the appropriate word," she writes. "It is ... like falling down Alice's rabbit hole into a world which might resemble this solid one, but which operates on quite different principles." Her imaginative, unconventional memoir mirrors the hallucinatory nature of this world as she mingles reminiscences, fiction, hospital sketches, and family profiles to chart the course of her physical and mental life from diagnosis through a successful liver transplant and recovery. Anyone who has ever been in the hospital will recognize the frail, vulnerable, disoriented state of mind she evokes in describing her time there, yet Clendinnen also displays biting humor (especially in portraits of fellow patients) and an almost mystical sense of purpose as she seizes on writing as the tool to make sense of her situation.

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    BOOK EXCERPT

    "'What I am, and why I'm learning Arabic, is a mystery. If I say I do it for pleasure, there is a look of such incredulity that I begin to feel as self-conscious about it as if I were telling the most blatant lie,' wrote Freya Stark to her mother as she shivered through the winter of 1927-28 in French-controlled Lebanon." Continue reading from Jane Fletcher Geniesse's "Passionate Nomad: The Life of Freya Stark," available in paperback July 24.
    Read the excerpt now
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    COMING SOON

    August: "Maria Callas: An Intimate Biography" by Anne Edwards
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    August: "The Dream Machine: J.C.R. Licklider and the Revolution That Made Computing Personal" by M. Mitchell Waldrop
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    September: "Sometimes Madness Is Wisdom: Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald: A Marriage" by Kendall Taylor
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    BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR BESTSELLERS

    "Stolen Lives: Twenty Years in a Desert Jail" Malika Oufkir
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    As the adopted daughter of King Mohammed V of Morocco, Malika Oufkir grew up in a world of unimaginable luxury. But in 1972, swept up by political forces beyond her control, Oufkir and her mother and siblings were banished to a desert prison and left to die. "Stolen Lives" is the remarkable story of their 20-year journey to freedom.

    "The Proving Ground: The Inside Story of the 1998 Sydney to Hobart Race" G. Bruce Knecht
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    In "The Proving Ground," journalist and lifelong sailor G. Bruce Knecht tells the staggering story of the 54th Sydney to Hobart yacht race--an annual event that has always been an extreme test of courage and skill in some of the world's most treacherous seas, but in 1998 became the most disastrous race in modern yachting history.

    "Positively 4th Street: The Lives and Times of Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Mimi Baez Farina, and Richard Farina" David Hajdu
    ...more-order it here.
    David Hajdu, the prizewinning author of the magisterial jazz biography "Lush Life," now steam-cleans the legend of the lost folk generation in "Positively 4th Street: The Lives and Times of Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Mimi Baez Fariña, and Richard Fariña." What a ripping read! It's like an invitation to the wildest party Greenwich Village ever saw. You feel swept up in the coffeehouse culture that transformed ordinary suburban kids into ragged, radiant avatars of a traditional yet bewilderingly new music. Hajdu's sociomusical analysis is as scholarly as (though less arty than) Greil Marcus's work; he deftly sketches the sources and evolving styles of his ambitious, rather calculating subjects, proving in the process that genius is not individual--it's rooted in a time and place.

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    POSTED 13 JUNE 2001

    "The Stardust Lounge: Stories from a Boy's Adolescence" Deborah Digges
    ...available here.
    At 13, Stephen was running away, stealing his mother's car, carrying guns, doing drugs, and getting into trouble with the law and in school. Already divorced from Stephen's father, Digges saw her son's problems break up her second marriage and heard everyone tell her she was too easy on her son, that fatherless boys needed "tough love" and discipline. But Digges had the courage to listen to a highly unconventional therapist who urged her, "Join him in his anger at life.... Don't educate him about what he should have done. Let him figure it out." And she did. This surprisingly funny, unsentimentally tender memoir reminds us that there are no rules about raising children, just countless perils and boundless possibilities.

    "Simone Weil: A Penguin Life (Penguin Lives)" Francis Du Plessix Gray
    ...available here.
    Simone Weil (1909-43) displayed early the ferocious intellect that took her to the peak of her country's rigorous educational system and made her an important modern philosopher. Today she remains a beacon to activists because of her passionate, intensely personal commitment to the world's oppressed and her need to directly share their sufferings. This need had its neurotic aspects, and Gray's elegant biography does not gloss over Weil's lifelong anorexia, her distaste for physical contact, her peculiar brand of anti-Semitism, or the unyielding self-righteousness that led her to cut off friendships for minor offenses. Yet the overall tone is one of sympathetic respect for an extraordinary human being unable to develop the willed blindness that enables most of us to live comfortably while others go without.

    "Body Toxic: An Environmental Memoir" Susanne Antonetta
    ...available here.
    Susanne Antonetta writes with a poet's precision about the almost unspeakable series of ills that have assaulted her body: cysts on her ovaries, endometriosis, and rampant thyroid tumors, just to name a few. There's not a trace of self-pity as she lists the toxic substances leaked into the air, ground, and water by the chemical company, nuclear power plant, and nuclear missile bunker near her family's summer home in Holly Park, New Jersey. Clarity is among the principle virtues of Antonetta's unusual work, aptly subtitled "An Environmental Memoir": she makes general facts personally meaningful by intertwining a historical account of post-World War II America's love affair with heavy industry and its deadly by-products with the specific details of ailments suffered by herself and the other kids in the neighborhood. Her scathing but matter-of-fact tone gives Antonetta greater authority as a prophet of the whirlwind we are reaping from careless contamination of our natural resources.

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    COMING SOON
    We can't wait for ...

    July: "Tiger's Eye: A Memoir," by Inga Clendinnen
    ...available here.

    August: "Ava's Man," by Rick Bragg
    ...available here.

    August: "Richard Wright: The Life and Times," by Hazel Rowley
    ...available here.

    NEW IN HARDCOVER

    "Dante (Penguin Lives)" R. W. B. Lewis
    ...available here.
    History, literature, love, and religion come together in this graceful biography of the world's most revered and influential poet. R.W.B. Lewis, who won a Pulitzer Prize for "Edith Wharton," displays the same intelligent understanding here of the complex interplay of inner and outer forces that shape an artist. His lucid account of political and literary conflict in 13th-century Florence (subject of another Lewis book, "The City of Florence") illuminates the context in which Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) came of age, fell in love with the unattainable Beatrice Portinari, forged the "sweet new style" that transformed Italian literature, and embroiled himself in factional disputes he would angrily renounce after his exile from Florence in 1302.

    "The Summer of a Dormouse: Another Part of Life" John Mortimer
    ...available here.
    John Mortimer has led an extraordinary life as a playwright, bestselling novelist, and former practicing barrister. In this, the third installment of his autobiography, he describes what it is like to be 77 years of age but to feel like a child. While he suffers from the afflictions that his father had to contend with--asthma, glaucoma--and added some of his own, he continues to live with boundless energy, passion, and humor. "The Summer of a Dormouse" is a warm and charming chronicle of one year in a rich and very full life. --From the publisher

    "Positively 4th Street: The Lives and Times of Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Mimi Baez Farina, and Richard Farina" David Hajdu
    ...available here.
    David Hajdu (pronounced HAY-doo), the prizewinning author of the magisterial jazz biography "Lush Life," now steam-cleans the legend of the lost folk generation in "Positively 4th Street: The Lives and Times of Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Mimi Baez Fariña, and Richard Fariña." What a ripping read! It's like an invitation to the wildest party Greenwich Village ever saw. You feel swept up in the coffeehouse culture that transformed ordinary suburban kids into ragged, radiant avatars of a traditional yet bewilderingly new music.

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    BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIRS BESTSELLERS

    "John Adams" David McCullough
    ...available here.
    Left to his own devices, John Adams might have lived out his days as a Massachusetts country lawyer, devoted to his family and friends. As it was, events swiftly overtook him, and Adams--who, David McCullough writes, was "not a man of the world" and not fond of politics--came to greatness as the second president of the United States, and one of the most distinguished of a generation of revolutionary leaders. Overshadowed by the lustrous presidents Washington and Jefferson, who bracketed his tenure in office, Adams emerges from McCullough's brilliant biography as a truly heroic figure--not only for his significant role in the American Revolution but also for maintaining his personal integrity in its strife-filled aftermath.

    "War Letters: Extraordinary Correspondence from American Wars" Andrew Carroll
    ...available here.
    "I've cast out my razor, divorced my soap, buried my manners, signed my socks to a two-year contract, and proved that you don't have to come in out of the rain." So wrote Corporal Thomas P. Noonan from Vietnam, proving that humor doesn't fail even in war. Noonan's letter is just one of over 50,000 that letter-enthusiast Andrew Carroll ("Letters of a Nation") received after Abigail Van Buren publicized his Legacy Project in her Dear Abby column. Out of this treasure trove he selected 150, spanning 130 years of warfare from the Civil War to Bosnia. While there are letters from such notables as General William Tecumseh Sherman and even Julia Child, most were written by uncelebrated but dearly loved soldiers from barracks, trenches, and flooded foxholes, and by combat journalists, nurses, and family members on the home front. These are, as Carroll writes, "the first, unfiltered drafts of history." His rich sample testifies to the universal and poignant themes of love and honor, courage and rage, duty and fear and mortality.

    "Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation" Joseph J. Ellis
    ...available here.
    In retrospect, it seems as if the American Revolution was inevitable. But was it? In Founding Brothers, Joseph J. Ellis reveals that many of those truths we hold to be self-evident were actually fiercely contested in the early days of the republic. Ellis focuses on six crucial moments in the life of the new nation, including a secret dinner at which the seat of the nation's capital was determined--in exchange for support of Hamilton's financial plan, Washington's precedent-setting Farewell Address, and the Hamilton and Burr duel. Most interesting, perhaps, is the debate (still dividing scholars today) over the meaning of the Revolution. In "Founding Brothers," Ellis (whose "American Sphinx" won the National Book Award for nonfiction in 1997) has written an elegant and engaging narrative, sure to become a classic. Highly recommended.

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