Nonfiction Previews: January 2012, Pt. 2, from Margaret Fuller to Gustavo Dudamel

Flanagan, Caitlin. Girl Land. Little, Brown. Jan. 2012. 288p. ISBN 9780316065986. $25.99. SOC SCI
National Magazine Award winner Flanagan has stirred a lot of controversy with her pieces on sex, marriage, and family life. Now she turns her attention to girls and, specifically, how they negotiate such key life events as reaching puberty and starting to date. She argues that while the experiences of today’s girls differ markedly from those of their forebears, these key events remain constant. We need to keep them in mind as we consider the continued loss of privacy girls suffer in the 21st century. Bound to kick up some dust; good for forward-looking discussion groups.

Matteson John. The Lives of Margaret Fuller: A Biography. Norton. Jan. 2012. 384p. ISBN 9780393068054. $29.95. BIOGRAPHY
Social critic. Leading transcendentalist. First foreign correspondent of an American newspaper. Author of the ground-breaking Woman in the Nineteenth Century. And mother of all feminists today. Margaret Fuller was all those things, plus a fierce supporter of the Roman Republic who may or may not have married Giovanni Angelo Ossoli, a disinherited marquis who supported Mazzini and with whom she had a child. Matteson, author of the Pulitzer Prize‚ winning Eden’s Outcasts, should do her justice.

Siler, Julia Flynn. Lost Kingdom: Hawaii’s Last Queen, the Sugar Kings, and America’s First Imperial Adventure. Atlantic Monthly. Jan. 2012. 448p. ISBN 9780802120014. $30. HISTORY
When the U.S. Marines marched into Honolulu in 1893, Lili‚Äòuokalani, last queen of Hawaii, had already lost her fight to enact a constitution assuring the power of the monarchy, and much of the land was owned by white-skinned sugar barons. The marines, meanwhile, had won the dispute for control of this island paradise that had long been simmering among America, France, and Britain. Siler’s best-selling The House of Mondavi concerned not just wine but business; here she’s talking about sugar and politics. Intriguing.

Tunstall, Tricia. Changing Lives: Gustavo Dudamel, El Sistema, and the Transformative Power of Music. Norton. Jan. 2012. 320p. ISBN 9780393078961. $26.95. MUSIC
Music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, as well as principal conductor of Sweden’s Gothenburg Symphony and artistic director of Venezuela’s Orquestra Sinfónica Simón Bolívar, 30-year-old Gustavo Dudamel isn’t just a boy genius. He’s a product of El Sistema, a publicly financed education program in Venezuela that yearly trains hundreds of thousands of children (mostly poor) in the beauties of music. Now El Sistema is the talk of the classical music world. Music educator and journalist Tunstall is primed to tell his story. And I can’t wait.

Barbara Hoffert About Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (, @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.