Axelrod, David. Believer: My Forty Years in Politics. Penguin Pr. Feb. 2015. 416p. ISBN 9781594205873. $29.95. CD: Penguin Audio. MEMOIR
After eight years as a reporter and columnist for the Chicago Tribune, Axelrod switched lanes to become a political consultant, strategizing for over 150 local, state, and national campaigns. His clients have included Barack Obama, whom he has known for 20 years and who as senior strategist he guided to the White House; now he is the President’s senior adviser. The portrait of Obama is a major reason to read this book.
Green, James. The Devil Is Here in These Hills: West Virginia’s Coal Miners and Their Battle for Freedom. Atlantic Monthly. Feb. 2015. 448p. ISBN 9780802123312. $28. HISTORY
One of the longest and bloodiest labor struggles in American history took place in early 20th-century West Virginia, as 50,000 miners assisted by the legendary Mother Jones battled wealthy mining corporations for the right to unionize and, more broadly, to assure their civil rights. Noted labor historian Green (Death in the Haymarket) spent years putting together this richly detailed account, which has been optioned by PBS for the American Experience.
Holzer, Harold, comp. President Lincoln Assassinated!!: The Firsthand Story of the Murder, Manhunt, Trial, and Mourning. Library of America. Feb. 2015. 450p. ISBN 9781598533736. $29.95. HISTORY
Senior Vice President for Public Affairs at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, winner of the Lincoln Prize and the National Humanities Medal, and author of The Civil War in 150 Objects, Holzer is exactly whom you’d want to compile documents relating to the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. The 85 original documents embrace eyewitness reports, medical records, trial transcripts, newspaper articles, speeches, letters, and more, including a previously unpublished speech by Frederick Douglass and accounts by John Wilkes Booth and Boston Corbett, the soldier who shot him. Broad appeal; the recommendation is for Grades 7 and up.
Hooper, John. The Italians. Viking. Feb. 2015. 336p. ISBN 9780525428077. $28.95. TRAVEL
Italy correspondent of the Economist and southern Europe editor of the Guardian, Hooper won an Allen Lane Award for The Spaniards. Now he’s taking on Spain’s Mediterranean neighbors, surveying their history and culture to explain their gioia di vivere, insane politics, and need to have 12 words for a coat hanger but apparently none for a hangover.
Kotlikoff, Laurence J. & others. Get What’s Yours: The Secrets to Maxing Out Your Social Security. S. & S. Feb. 2015. 288p. ISBN 9781476772295. $19.99. RETIREMENT PLANNING
Just what we need: a clear explanation of how Social Security works—and how to get the highest benefits—without reading all 2,728 rules of the Social Security system. Do you know, for instance, that you can start benefits, stop them, then restart them? And when it’s best to do that? Kotlikoff , president of Economic Security Planning, Inc., joins with Philip Moeller, a contributing editor at Money, and Yale professor/PBS NewsHour correspondent Paul Solman to tell it like it is.
Lieber, Ron. The Opposite of Spoiled: How To Talk to Kids About Money and Values in a Material World. Harper. Feb. 2015. 320p. ISBN 9780062247018. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062247032. PARENTING
“Your Money” columnist for the New York Times and a Loeb Award winner for his writings on student loans, Lieber sees talking about money with children as a way of inculcating not just sound financial behavior but the family’s values. (Yes, he’s a father, so he knows whereof he speaks.) It’s all here, from the tooth fairy to part-time jobs and college. With a 75,000-copy first printing.
Mann, James. George W. Bush: The American Presidents Series: The 43rd President, 2001–2009. Times Bks: Holt. Feb. 2015. 208p. ISBN 9780805093971. $25; ebk. ISBN 9781627792301. BIOGRAPHY
Released just in time for Presidents Day, this volume in the popular “American Presidents” series (over 500,000 copies sold) will feel less like history than current events, addressing how 9/11 and the war on terror shaped George W. Bush’s presidency. From veteran Los Angeles Times correspondent Mann, currently a fellow in residence at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, also the author of Rise of the Vulcans: The History of Bush’s War Cabinet.
Posner, Gerald. God’s Bankers: A History of Money and Power at the Vatican. S. & S. Feb. 2015. 496p. ISBN 9781416576570. $30. RELIGION/HISTORY
An investigative journalist who’s gone to the brink with books from Case Closed: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Assassination of JFK (a Pulitzer Prize finalist) to Miami Babylon: Crime, Wealth, and Power; A Dispatch from the Beach, Posner here digs into 200 years of history, showing how the Catholic Church has accumulated wealth and binding ties to financial markets worldwide. Lots of dead prosecutors, business moguls, and private investigators here; not a spiritual experience.
Stiepock, Lisa with Amy Iorio & Lori Gottlieb. toughLOVE: Eighteen Top Experts Share Proven Strategies for Raising Confident, Kind, Resilient Kids. S. & S. Feb. 2015. 256p. ISBN 9781476733265. pap. $18. PARENTING
Heard of toughLOVE.com? It’s a distinctive site offering parenting advice from a range of experts, plus nice touches like interactive coaching and personalized resources. Stiepock, former editor of the parenting magazine Wondertime; Iorio, former Yahoo! vp in charge of the women’s site Shine and Yahoo! Kids; and psychotherapist Gottlieb (Marry Him) have joined with the toughLOVE editors to give you the best of its advice.
Stewart, David O. Madison’s Gift: Five Partnerships That Built America. S. & S. Feb. 2015. 432p. ISBN 9781451688580. $28. BIOGRAPHY
Lawyer-turned-author Stewart (American Emperor) shows how the modest James Madison achieved significant goals for the new republic by working with others: with George Washington’s support to launch the Constitutional Convention and write the Bill of Rights, with Alexander Hamilton to write the Federalist Papers; with Thomas Jefferson to found the nation’s first political party; with James Monroe to lead the nation during the War of 1812; and with his wife, Dolley, to maintain a bright and social White House—and achieve personal happiness, too.
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