Hot-Button Issues | Nonfiction Previews, Mar. 2017, Pt. 1

Alter, Adam. Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked. Penguin Pr. Mar. 2017. 368p. ISBN 9781594206641. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780698402638. Downloadable: Penguin Audio. PSYCHOLOGY/SOCIAL MEDIA
The newest addiction? It’s not to a substance but to a behavior, argues New York University alterprofessor Alter, author of the New York Times best-selling Drunk Tank Pink: And Other Unexpected Forces That Shape How We Think, Feel, and Behave. Alter analyzes why we obsess over social media and our smartphones and what price we pay. And he has recommendations for disengaging from the digital and taking time to smell the roses.

Anderson, Gillian & Jennifer Nadel. WE: A Manifesto for Modern Women. Atria. Mar. 2017. 288p. ISBN 9781501126277. $24.99; ebk. ISBN 9781501126291. SELF-HELP
Award-winning actor/producer Anderson and award-winning journalist Nadel are best buddies, and together they’ve written something a little different: not a memoir of what they’ve learned from their friendship but a manifesto coming out of that lifelong experience, an argument that women need to support one another instead of competing for the top prize in the I-can-do-it-all superwoman contest. Originally scheduled for March 2016.

Cohan, William D. Why Wall Street Matters: What the Big Banks Actually Do and Why They Matter. Random. Mar. 2017. 160p. ISBN 9780399590696. $25; ebk. ISBN 9780399590702. Downloadable: Random Audio. BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Lots of people want to take a sledge hammer to the big banks, but contrarian Cohan raises his hands in protest. A financial journalist and former banker, with three New York Times best sellers (e.g., House of Cards) and a progressive political stance to his name, Cohan acknowledges the excesses but argues that Wall Street is society’s bulwark when it is working right. Bound to raise eyebrows—and tempers; hoping to learn what “working right” means.

Crispin, Jessa. Why I Am Not a Feminist: A Feminist Manifesto. Melville. Feb. 2017. 176p. ISBN 9781612196015. $24.99. FEMINIST THEORY
The founder of Bookslut has forsaken contemporary feminism—not because it is too brash but because it is not brash enough. Feminists have, in fact, become polite insiders, and Crispin is here dershto show them how to punch their way out. A rallying manifesto; start swinging.

Dershowitz, Alan. Why I Left the Left, but Couldn’t Join the Right: The Case for a Return to the Vital Center. Harper. Mar. 2017. 144p. ISBN 9780062569219. $24.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062569233. POLITICAL SCIENCE
Why has legendary civil rights lawyer Dershowitz left the Left? Because, he argues, the emphasis on identity politics, anticapitalism, and reined-in speech, particularly on university campuses, constitutes a rejection of the key principles that have traditionally defined liberalism. Dershowitz wants to bring back those old-style beliefs, and he’s particularly concerned about current hostility toward Israel and the possibility that the Democratic Party will split. With a 25,000-copy first printing.

Epstein, Edward Jay. How America Lost Its Secrets: Edward Snowden, the Man and the Theft. Knopf. Mar. 2017. 368p. ISBN 9780451494566. $27.95; ebk. ISBN 9780451494573. Downloadable: Random Audio. POLITICAL SCIENCE
An investigative journalist whose work dates back to 1966’s Inquest: The Warren Commission and the Establishment of Truth, Epstein weighs governmental transparency against the need to protect sensitive information and argues that the outsourcing of key security-sector jobs endangers us all. So it’s no surprise that he’s skeptical of Edward Snowden, questioning why he sought employment epsteinwhere he could easily access highly classified material and ended up as an intelligence asset in Moscow. A forthcoming documentary called The Conspiracist tracks Epstein tracking Snowden worldwide; fur will fly.

Marche, Stephen. The Unmade Bed: The Messy Truth about Men and Women in the 21st Century. S. & S. Mar. 2017. 272p. ISBN 9781476780153. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781476780177. GENDER STUDIES
A culture writer for Esquire as well as a novelist (e.g., The Hunger of the Wolf), Marche looks at the seismically shifting relationship between men and women today and wonders what true equality would really be like. Highlighting his reflections are comments from his wife, Sarah Fulford, editor in chief of Toronto Life, which should make this a juicily round commentary on the issue.

O’Rourke, P.J. How the Hell Did This Happen?: The Election of 2016. Atlantic Monthly. Mar. orourke2017. 256p. ISBN 9780802126191. $25. HUMOR/POLITICAL SCIENCE
A famously acidulous political satirist and New York Times best-selling author (both Parliament of Whores and Give War a Chance reached the list’s top spot), O’Rourke is perfectly poised to offer an overview of this year’s improbable election campaign. Yes, he’s a never-say-die Republican who has (reluctantly) endorsed Hillary Clinton, and many readers will nod solemnly as he declares, “America is experiencing the most severe outbreak of mass psychosis since the Salem witch trials of 1692.” With a seven-city tour to Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

Paglia, Camille. Free Women, Free Men: Sex, Gender, and Feminism. Pantheon. Mar. 2017. 320p. ISBN 9780375424779. $25; ebk. ISBN 9781101871812. WOMEN’S STUDIESpaglia
Both feminist leader and feminist dissident, Paglia has shown in books like Sexual Personae and Vamps & Tramps that she can write edgily about gender issues and sell hundreds of thousands of books in the process. This volume collects the best of her essays and carries a fresh introduction.

Scovell, Nell. Just the Funny Parts: My 30 Years on the Hollywood Jungle Gym. Dey Street: HarperCollins. Mar. 2017. 288p. ISBN 9780062473486. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062473509. MEMOIR
Scovell is a former Late Night writer with plenty of Hollywood insider stories to tell. But because she has felt the need to speak out about the male-dominated and sometimes hostile environment of late-night TV after David Letterman revealed that he had had sex with staffers, her memoir morphs into a treatment of sexual politics in the entertainment world. Notably, she’s worked collaboratively with Sheryl Sandberg, who provides the introduction here.

Sitaraman, Ganesh. The Crisis of the Middle-Class Constitution: Why Economic Inequality Threatens Our Republic. Knopf. Mar. 2017. 432p. ISBN 9780451493910. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9780451493927. Downloadable: Random Audio. LAW/ECONOMICS
An associate professor at Vanderbilt Law School who’s worked with Sen. Elizabeth Warren for nearly a sitadecade, Sitaraman grounds his discussion of America’s current concentration of wealth and power in the history of constitutional republics. Because the nascent United States boasted fewer class divisions and greater economic equality than previous republics, a status quo the Founding Fathers assumed would continue, no provision was made in the Constitution for balancing class interests and blocking a power surge of the wealthy. Yet we’ve managed to balance those interests before and can do so again. With a six-city tour to Boston, Nashville, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, DC.

Stone, Brad. The Upstarts: How Uber, Airbnb, and the Killer Companies of the New Silicon Valley Are Changing the World. Little, Brown. Mar. 2017. 384p. ISBN 9780316388399. $30; ebk. ISBN 9780316388382. lib. ebk. ISBN 9780316388405. CD/downloadable: Hachette Audio. BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
After the Wall Street crash of 2008, Silicon Valley needed a major retuning—and a fresh batch of revolutionaries to do the job. Stone chronicles the new breed, among them Travis Kalanick of Uber and Brian Chesky of Airbnb, to see how they are changing the face of business. Following Stone’s New York Times best-selling The Everything Store, winner of a Financial Times and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award; with a 100,000-copy first printing.

Stone, Geoffrey R. Sex and the Constitution: Sex, Religion, and Law from America’s Origins to the Twenty-First Century. Liveright: Norton. Mar. 2017. 704p. ISBN 9780871404695. $35. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW
Constitutional scholar Stone proved his mettle with 2004’s Perilous Times: Free Speech in Wartime from the Sedition Act of 1798 to the War on Terrorism, which received a Los Angeles Times Book stonegeoffPrize and a Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights Award. Here he takes on another contentious issue, examining legislation aimed at managing sexual behavior from ancient times to Colonial America to today. Among other things, he reveals that when the Constitution was adopted there were no laws against obscenity or abortion before the midpoint of pregnancy, which will give some readers pause.

Thrall, Nathan. The Only Language They Understand: Forcing Compromise in Israel and Palestine. Metropolitan: Holt. Mar. 2017. 320p. ISBN 9781627797092. $28; ebk. ISBN 9781627797108. POLITICAL SCIENCE
Jerusalem-based Thrall, a former staff member of the New York Review of Books now with the International Crisis Group, considers decades of failed efforts at making peace between Israelis and Palestinians and argues that diplomacy has simply not worked. Change has come not through negotiation and state-building but upheaval, from boycotts and civil disobedience to outsider-imposed resolutions and, alas, violence. Where does that leave us? Perhaps with a model for moving forward.

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Barbara Hoffert About Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (bhoffert@mediasourceinc.com, @BarbaraHoffert on Twitter) is Editor, LJ Prepub Alert; past chair of the Materials Selection Committee of the RUSA (Reference and User Services Assn.) division of the American Library Association; and past president, treasurer, and awards chair of the National Book Critics Circle.