Karen Armstrong, Richard Ford, Ha Jin, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Nov. 2014, Pt. 1

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Armstrong, Karen. Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence. Knopf. Nov. 2014. 432p. ISBN 9780307957047. $30; ebk. ISBN 9780385353106. CD/downloadable: Random Audio. HISTORY A best-selling author of insightful books on religion and winner of the 2008 TED Prize, which facilitated her work with TED on the Charter for Compassion, Armstrong here goes beyond […]

Ackroyd on the Stuarts & Charlie Chaplin, Bai on Gary Hart, Hill on Diplomacy, & More | Nonfiction Previews, Oct. 2014, Pt. 5

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Ackroyd, Peter. Rebellion: The History of England from James I to the Glorious Revolution. Thomas Dunne: St. Martin’s. Oct. 2014. 528p. ISBN 9781250003638. $29.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466855991. HISTORY The award-winning biographer, historian, and novelist (e.g., Whitbread Novel Award, James Tait Black Memorial Prize) continues his “History of England” series with a third volume focusing on […]

Jill Lepore, Azar Nafisi, Simon Schama, Edward O. Wilson | Barbara’s Nonfiction Picks, Oct. 2014, Pt. 3

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Lepore, Jill. The Secret History of Wonder Woman. Knopf. Oct. 2014. 416p. ISBN 9780385354042. $28.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385354059. HISTORY A Harvard historian and New Yorker staff writer who’s a Bancroft Prize winner and Pulitzer and National Book Award finalist, Lepore offers some surprising history here. She tells the story of the creation of Wonder Woman, […]

Fashion Essentials: Chanel, Saint Laurent, Schiaparelli | Barbara’s Picks, Oct. 2014, Pt. 3

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Garelick, Rhonda. Mademoiselle: Coco Chanel and the Pulse of History. Random. Oct. 2014. 576p. ISBN 9781400069521. $35; ebk. ISBN 9780679604266. BIOGRAPHY Drawing on the Chanel archives, extensive interviews, and her own background as an author with a Yale PhD in French and comparative literature who covers fashion, performance, art, and cultural politics, Garelick offers more […]

Marlon James, Marilynne Robinson, Jane Smiley, Colm Tóibín | Barbara’s Fiction Picks, Oct. 2014, Pt. 1

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James, Marlon. A Brief History of Seven Killings. Riverhead. Oct. 2014. 560p. ISBN 9781594486005. $28.95. LITERARY In his novels, Jamaican-born James centers on his homeland while giving larger scope to the African diaspora in caustically beautiful language. John Crow’s Devil, featuring two battling  preachers, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize Art […]

Biography from Joan of Arc & George Marshall to Stalin & Goebbels | Barbara’s Nonfiction Picks, Oct. 2014, Pt. 1

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Auricchio, Laura. The Marquis: Lafayette Reconsidered. Knopf. Oct. 2014. 416p. ISBN 9780307267559. $28.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385353243. BIOGRAPHY Americans know the Marquis de Lafayette as the French hero of the American Revolution who at age 19 volunteered to fight under George Washington and subsequently negotiated increased French support that went a long way toward winning the […]

From Lincoln’s Gamble to Eichmann Before Jerusalem | History Previews, Sept. 2014, Pt. 5

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Brewster, Todd. Lincoln’s Gamble: How the Emancipation Proclamation Changed the Course of the Civil War. Scribner. Sept. 2014. 320p. ISBN 9781451693867. $27. HISTORY Don E. Ackerman Director of Oral History at the United States Military Academy, West Point, Brewster chronicles the six months from July 12, 1862, when President Abraham Lincoln first asserted that he would […]

Kirsten Gillibrand, Jeffrey Kluger, Nicholas Kristof/Sheryl WuDunn, Geoffrey Ward/Ken Burns | Barbara’s Nonfiction Picks, Sept. 2014, Pt. 2

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Gillibrand, Kirsten. Off the Sidelines: Raise Your Voice, Change the World. Ballantine. Sept. 2014. 336p. ISBN 9780804179072. $25; ebk. ISBN 9780804179089. CD/downloadable: Penguin Random Audio. MEMOIR/WOMEN’S STUDIES Appointed in 2009 to fill Hillary Rodham Clinton’s Senate seat when Clinton became secretary of state, Gillibrand was elected to her first six-year Senate term in 2012 with […]

Richard Bausch, Malcolm Brooks, Jules Feiffer, Richard Flanagan, Elizabeth Green, Daniel J. Levitin| Barbara’s Picks, Aug. 2014, Pt. 1

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Bausch, Richard. Before, During, After. Knopf. Aug. 2014. 368p. ISBN 9780307266262. $26.95. LITERARY FICTION Winner of everything from a PEN/Malamud Award to the Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Bausch offers a 20th work of fiction that blends private and public trauma to devastating effect. Disaffected Congressional aide Natasha and faith-challenged […]

From Sally Beauman & Robert Hellenga to Jude Deveraux & Danielle Steel | Fiction Previews, Jul. 2014, Pt. 2

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Beauman, Sally. The Visitors. Harper. Jul. 2014. 544p. ISBN 9780062302687. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062302717. LITERARY/HISTORICAL This isn’t simply the story of the friendship between delicate Lucy, sent from England to recover from typhus in sun-glazed Egypt, and a girl she meets there, the daughter of an American archaeologist. It’s also the story of the hunt […]

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