The Bill of Rights, Waterloo, & Yoga Queen Indra Devi | History & Biography Previews, May 2015, Pt. 3

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Berkin, Carol. The Bill of Rights: James Madison and the Politics of the People’s Parchment Barrier. S. & S. May 2015. 272p. ISBN 9781476743790. $27.50. HISTORY We regard the Bill of Rights as the crowning achievement of the Constitution and indeed central to our definition as Americans, so it’s sobering to learn from Berkin, Presidential […]

Butler, Danielewski, Enright, Hemon, Pearl, & Perkins-Valdez | Barbara’s All-Fiction Picks, May 2015, Pt. 2

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Butler, Nickolas. Beneath the Bonfire: Stories. St. Martin’s. May 2015. 272p. ISBN 9781250039835. $23.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466875531. CD: Macmillan Audio. SHORT STORIES After receiving some powerful reviews when it appeared last spring (the New York Times called it “an impressively original debut”), Butler’s Wisconsin-set, warmly small-town, big-friendship Shotgun Lovesongs went on to become a national […]

From the Vietnam War to LGBT Rights | History & Current Events Previews, Apr. 2015, Pt. 2

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Blehm, Eric. Legend: A Harrowing Story from the Vietnam War of One Green Beret’s Heroic Mission to Rescue a Special Forces Team Caught Behind Enemy Lines. Crown. Apr. 2015. 288p. ISBN 9780804139519. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780804139526. CD/downloadable: Random Audio. BIOGRAPHY/MILITARY In 2012’s Fearless, Blehm chronicled SEAL Team SIX Operator Adam Brown’s moment of supreme sacrifice […]

Mark Adams, Julie Holland, & the Art of Poetry | Nonfiction Previews, Mar. 2015, Pt. 4

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Adams, Mark. Meet Me in Atlantis: My Obsessive Quest To Find the Sunken City. Dutton. Mar. 2015. 336p. ISBN 9780525953708. $27.95. TRAVEL The author of the New York Times best seller Turn Right at Machu Picchu can’t visit the subject of his new book: the lost city of Atlantis. But he does talk to the […]

Shame, Stuffication, and Doing Good | Social Science Previews, Mar. 2015, Pt. 1

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Brown, Brené. Mapping Brave. Spiegel & Grau. Mar. 2015. 288p. ISBN 9780812995824. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780812995831. CD/downloadable: Random Audio. SELF-HELP A research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, Brown studies issues of vulnerability and shame—which leads her directly to this book’s subject, bravery, both what it is and how we […]

Charles Baxter, Sara Blaedel, Nick Hornby, Reif Larsen, Peter Swanson, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Feb. 2015, Pt. 4

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Baxter, Charles. There’s Something I Want You To Do. Pantheon. Feb. 2015. 240p. ISBN 9781101870013. $24; ebk. ISBN ISBN 9781101870020. SHORT STORIES A National Book Award nominee for The Feast of Love, Baxter returns with his first story collection in 15 years. Piercingly elegant, as always, the stories are divided into two sections, one embodying […]

History (David O. Stewart), Politics (David Axelrod), Self-Help (Ron Lieber), & More | Social Science Previews, Feb. 2015, Pt. 4

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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, […]

Our Vietnam, Legal Advice for Women, Langston Hughes, Andrew Cuomo, Fashion Giants | Barbara’s Nonfiction Picks, Feb. 2015, Pt. 3

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Appy, Christian G. American Reckoning: The Vietnam War and Our National Identity. Viking. Feb. 2015. 416p. ISBN 9780670025398. $28.95. HISTORY A professor of history at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Appy is noted for two big books on the Vietnam War, Patriots: The Vietnam War Remembered from All Sides, an oral history, and Working-Class War: […]

Split-Brain Theory, Evolution, Interstellar Travel, & More | Science Previews, Feb. 2015, Pt. 3

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Bell, Jim. The Interstellar Age: Inside the Forty-Year Voyager Mission. Dutton. Feb. 2015. 352p. ISBN 9780525954323. $27.95. ASTRONOMY The Voyager spacecraft mission was launched in 1977 with the aim of traveling into interstellar space; Voyager 1 left the solar system in 2013 and sister craft Voyager 2 is expected to do so in 2015. Clipping along […]

History/Biography from Thomas Cromwell to the Great Society to the Death of Tin Pan Alley | Nonfiction Previews, Jan. 2015, Pt. 3

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Borman, Tracy. Thomas Cromwell. Atlantic Monthly. Jan. 2015. 336p.ISBN 9780802123176. $30. BIOGRAPHY Here’s a nonfiction account of Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII’s invaluable adviser, to go with the fictional account that Hilary Mantel has provided in the Man Booker Award winners Wolf Hall and Bringing up the Bodies. Borman has special insight (and an audience-pleasing touch) […]

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