Xpress Reviews: Nonfiction | First Look at New Books, July 20, 2012

Week ending July 20, 2012

Bassett, Richard. Hitler’s Spy Chief: The Wilhelm Canaris Betrayal; The Intelligence Campaign Against Adolf Hitler. Pegasus. Jul. 2012. c.320p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781605983707. $26.95. HIST
Wilhelm Canaris was the head of German military intelligence (the Abwehr), 1935‚ 44, when he was dismissed (and later executed) by Hitler as an agent for the Allies. British journalist Bassett presents a highly sympathetic study of Canaris. The old-style head of the Abwehr at first favored the Nazis but came to see Hitler as leading Germany only to catastrophe. Bassett traces Canaris’s secret wartime contacts with the British and his work in sheltering anti-Nazi elements as well as attempting to negotiate an anti-Soviet peace with the Western Allies in 1943. This is an accessible book in which Bassett makes clear from the outset that his subject remains ultimately mysterious; there is much about Canaris’s wartime dealings that remains to be uncovered and understood. While Canaris wanted to save Germany from destruction, he was essentially conservative and did not necessarily support a democratic government. Bassett has added an author’s note to this U.S. edition of his book addressing some of the criticisms it received from British specialists upon its original publication in 2005.
Recommended for all those interested in the grand strategy, secret operations, and what-ifs of the Second World War.—Daniel K. Blewett, Coll. of DuPage Lib., Glen Ellyn, IL

Bucholz, Robert O. & Joseph P. Ward. London: A Social and Cultural History, 1550‚ 1750. Cambridge Univ. 2012. c.391p. illus. maps. index. ISBN 9780521896528. $27.99. HIST
Bucholz (history, Loyola Univ.) and Ward (history, Univ. of Mississippi) chart the rise of England’s capital as it grew from a backwater at Europe’s edge to become the center of political and cultural life in the British Isles and the hub of an empire. Synthesizing previous works, the authors illustrate how the city’s social, cultural, and political life changed over time. They bookend the volume with guided tours of London in 1550 and 1750 to illustrate further how the city evolved. (The first-person-plural narration may annoy some readers.) The thematic approach, together with the narrow time frame, naturally sets the book apart from broader works and enables the authors to explore more deeply the city as it rose to modernity. Readers interested in the literature of London in the eras covered will be well served as the book affords a sense of the city as it would have been experienced by Shakespeare and Samuel Johnson.
Verdict This will delight armchair travelers and past or future visitors to the city interested in obtaining a greater sense of London’s history.—Sharon Reidt, Marlboro Coll. Lib., Brattleboro, VT

starred review starBurns, Jimmy. La Roja: How Soccer Conquered Spain and How Spanish Soccer Conquered the World. Nation: Perseus. 2012. c.384p. photogs. index. ISBN 9781568587172. pap. $16.99. SPORTS
Spain has few rivals in recent international soccer, for example at the 2010 European championships as well as the World Cup, with Spain’s professional soccer clubs, Real Madrid and FC Barcelona, the leaders in the sport. In a like manner, Burns (senior writer, Financial Times; Spain: A Literary Companion) gives us a book that rivals the best in recent soccer writing, a fluid history of the sport in Spain from its British roots to the recent heights of victory. An accomplished and experienced soccer author who has written about FC Barcelona as well as on Argentine star Diego Maradona, Burns relates the growth of soccer in Spain from a personal perspective, chronicling the men and moments that shaped Spain’s soccer successes. Burns follows football through Spain’s often turbulent history, especially during the Franco regime, making his book almost as much a history of Spain in the 20th century as a popular history of its chief sport.
Highly recommended as among the best soccer books of 2012.—Boyd Childress, formerly with Auburn Univ. Lib., AL

Davis, David. Showdown at Shepherd’s Bush: The 1908 Olympic Marathon and the Three Runners Who Launched a Sporting Craze. Thomas Dunne: St. Martin’s. 2012. c.304p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780312641009. $25.99. SPORTS
Journalist Davis presents a wonderfully written and meticulously researched tale of the 1908 Olympics and the birth of the modern marathon. He weaves the lives of three Olympic gold hopefuls‚ Irish American Johnny Hayes, Onondaga-Canadian Tom Longboat, and Italian Dorando Pietri‚ as they qualify and train for the 1908 London Olympics. While the race is the main event, this book is rich with details of the men’s lives, the political landscape, and the birth of modern sporting events such as the Boston Athletic Association’s marathons. This is also the story of the modern Olympics. Before 1908, it was frequently held in conjunction with world’s fairs and did not have the glitz we now know. Davis argues that the 1908 Olympics was the tipping point toward the modern headline-making international event of today. As for the 1908 marathon, with its spectacular finish, it launched the craze that saw over a half million U.S. marathon runners complete a race in 2010.
Verdict This rich story will appeal to those interested in Olympics and sports histories. Runners will especially enjoyed learning about the training and race practices of the day, including the use of whiskey while competing! Recommended.—Maura Deedy, Weymouth P.L., MA

Macintyre, Ben. Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies. Crown. Jul. 2012. c.432p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780307888754. $26. HIST
When Allied troops stormed the beaches of Normandy, the German army failed to throw all of their available forces immediately against Eisenhower’s army. There are many reasons the Germans did not quickly rush troops in to crush this invasion, and Macintyre (writer-at-large, Times of London; Operation Mincemeat) recounts one of those reasons: British Intelligence had infiltrated the German spy network and had turned several of these spies whom they then used to feed the German military false or confusing intelligence. These spies helped convince Hitler and many of his military advisers that they needed troops to be withheld in the south of France, Pas de Calais, and Norway. Macintyre personalizes this espionage story by focusing on the difficulties British handlers had managing their double agents and the salacious details of their personal lives.
Several books have been written about allied intelligence deception in World War II, including Mary Kathryn Barbier’s D-Day Deception: Operation Fortitude and the Normandy Invasion and Terry Crowdy’s Deceiving Hitler: Double Cross and Deception in World War II, as well as Stephan Talty’s Agent Garbo, just published. Macintyre’s book will appeal to general readers and espionage buffs who love these true spy stories.—Michael Farrell, Reformed Theological Seminary Lib., Oviedo, FL

Murnane, William J. The Ancient Egypt Guide. Interlink: Interlink Pub. Group. 2012. 418p. rev. by Aidan Dodson with contributions by Nicholas Warner. illus. maps. index. ISBN 9781566568586. pap. $25. HIST
Murnane (1945‚ 2000), who taught ancient history at the University of Memphis, applied his vast knowledge of ancient Egyptian sites and monuments to The Penguin Guide to Ancient Egypt (1983) and its revised edition in 1996. Dodson (archaeology & anthropology, Univ. of Bristol, UK; Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt) has revised and updated Murnane’s classic work and added color illustrations. The original format is retained, with nine chapters (Part 1) exploring various aspects of pharaonic culture. Part 2 is the actual guide to the archaeological sites with maps and plans in 14 chapters, beginning in the Delta and progressing south to Aswan, thence to Nubia, the Sinai, and the desert oases. Many fascinating sites are included that are little known to most tourists and not always accessible. Part 3 offers practical travel information contributed by British architectural historian Warner.
This updated classic is a must for anyone planning a trip to Egypt with the intention of exploring its ancient wonders. For more general touring information, DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Egypt or Lonely Planet’s Discover Egypt are reasonable choices.—Edward K. Werner, St. Lucie Cty. Lib. Syst., Ft. Pierce, FL

Post-Ferrante, Pamela. Writing & Healing: A Mindful Guide for Cancer Survivors. Hatherleigh. 2012. c.208p. photogs. bibliog. ISBN 9781578264223. pap. $35. with CD. HEALTH
In this heartfelt book to help those who have experienced cancer heal through writing, Post-Ferrante (expressive therapies, Lesley Univ.), a cancer survivor, has combined her understanding of the disease with several writing tools meant to aid readers in navigating the cancer experience and finding a voice. At the center of the writing process she describes is the idea of mindfulness. Writing is a way of expressing feelings and recording experiences; it is a practice that is both healing and liberating. Designed for group use, the book provides guidelines for 12 sessions that include meditating, drawing, writing, and sharing. Post-Ferrante provides a script for facilitators, whether social workers, nurses, or cancer patients and survivors. However, the book is somewhat repetitive as it outlines regular rituals for the group. It includes color images and illustrations as well as writings from Post-Ferrante’s own program’s participants.
This book offers a complementary approach to traditional medicine and a deeper kind of healing. It will be a welcome addition to the many books on life with and after cancer.—Nancy Almand, Fresno City Coll. Lib., CA

Sousa, John Philip, IV, with Loras John Schissel. John Philip Sousa’s America: The Patriot’s Life in Images and Words. GIA Pubns. 2012. 208p. photogs. ISBN 9781579998837. $34.95 with CD. MUSIC
Sousa IV, the only living direct namesake of the famous American composer and bandleader, along with Sousa-expert Schissel (senior musicologist, Lib. of Congress), has put together a truly spectacular new hardcover celebration of the life, work, and music of Sousa. Packed with 300 color photos, 200 black-and-white photos, and 100 color illustrations, this book doesn’t contain much text, but it doesn’t really need it. The crisp, clear photos, reproductions of concert programs, caricatures, and the 19-track CD succeed in telling Sousa’s story. This book would also make an ideal companion to either of Paul E. Bierley’s books on Sousa: 2001’s John Philip Sousa, American Phenomenon or 2010’s The Incredible Band of John Philip Sousa. The CD features 17 performances of Sousa compositions by the United States Marine Band, as well as an archival recording of Sousa introducing and conducting his own band in The Stars and Stripes Forever from a 1929 radio program.
A brilliant and essential publication for fans of Sousa or concert band music.—James E. Perone, Univ. of Mount Union, Alliance, OH

starred review starStiglitz, Joseph E. The Price of Inequality: How Today’s Divided Society Endangers Our Future. Norton. 2012. 448p. index. ISBN 9780393088694. $27.95. ECON
Nobel Prize‚ winning economist Stiglitz (economics, Columbia Univ.; Freefall: America, Free Markets, and the Sinking of the World Economy) addresses the growing inequality of income and wealth in the United States. He explains how over the last three decades the gap between the wealthy and poor has widened and how the middle class has come under increasing financial stress. Those in the upper one percent, he says, have amassed political power to influence the government and electorate to enact policies that do not benefit most citizens. He warns that inequitable societies inevitably fail as distrust, alienation, and perceived unfairness erode societal cohesion. Among the reforms he advocates are increasing taxes (and making the tax code more progressive), eliminating hidden special-interest subsidies, investing in education and infrastructure, strengthening the social safety net, and making the central bank’s top priority employment rather than inflation.
Stiglitz’s cogently argued indictment of American inequality is an important work. Paired with fellow Nobel laureate Paul Krugman’s End This Depression Now!, they provide an accessible picture of current liberal economic thought. Essential reading for all Americans.—Lawrence Maxted, Gannon Univ. Lib., Erie, PA

Vaz, Mark Cotta. Batmobile: The Complete History. Insight Editions, dist. by PGW. 2012. 148p. illus. ISBN 9781608871049. $35. FILM
In anticipation of the July 20 release of The Dark Knight Rises, the final entry in the Christopher Nolan‚ directed and Christian Bale‚ starring Batman series, Insight Editions is releasing this neat tie-in title. Vaz (The Art of Batman Begins) covers the Batmobile in its various incarnations, from the comics to TV and film. Many different models (depending on the artist’s fancy) have appeared in print since Batman’s creation (1939), ranging from vehicles that look like off-the-lot sedans your dad would drive to supercustom coupes affordable only by a millionaire. The screen cars vary as widely‚ from the cornball 1960s TV show’s tricked-out Lincoln Futura to the science fictiony, jet-propelled pimpmobile movie versions of Michael Keaton and George Clooney up to the tactical Tumbler edition of Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy. Fans want pictures, and the book features more than 100, including some sweet shots of the vehicles’ cockpits and other details.
It’s not just chicks who dig the car‚ anyone who’s ever had a jones for Batman’s ride will be jumping on this book faster than you can say, To the Batmobile!—Mike Rogers, Library Journal

Waller, Diane. World Textiles: A Sourcebook. Interlink: Interlink Pub. Group. 2012. 368p. photogs. maps. index. ISBN 9781566568708. pap. $40. DEC ARTS
In this stunning compilation of ten books in the Fabric Folios series published by the British Museum Press, Waller (art psychotherapy, emeritus, Goldsmiths, Univ. of London) showcases over 150 items from the museum’s collections. The textiles originate in the Balkans, the Middle East, Asia, Central and South America, and Africa and range from clothing, shoes, and accessories to furnishings. Over 400 gorgeous color photographs illustrate the items with close-ups that allow readers practically to feel the material. The introduction, edited and abridged from all of the original books, provides historical, social, and cultural context. The commentary is excellent and informative, written by experts in the field, many of whom have been British Museum curators. There is a glossary and a selected reading list. This is not an encyclopedia but rather an inspirational overview of the beauty, color, and workmanship of world textiles.
Many of the Fabric Folios titles that this book draws from are out-of-print, and the reasonable cost of this volume makes it an excellent purchase for anyone interested in collecting or finding inspiration in world textiles.—Margaret Henderson, Virginia Commonwealth Univ. Lib., Richmond

Whedon, Joss & Drew Goddard. The Cabin in the Woods: The Official Visual Companion. Titan. 2012. 176p. photogs. ISBN 9781848565241. pap. $19.95. FILM
With the recently released movie The Cabin in the Woods, Goddard and Whedon deconstructed the horror movie, taking the familiar trope of five twentysomethings heading off on an ill-advised vacation in a completely unexpected direction. This official companion serves as a stopgap until the DVD arrives (from Lionsgate in September), offering an extended interview with Goddard and Whedon, the screenplay, concept art, behind-the-scenes photos, and cast and crew commentary. Absent from the text is any discussion of the film’s three years in production hell owing to MGM’s bankruptcy and an unrealized attempt to convert the film to 3-D.
Like the movie, this book won’t have mainstream appeal, but horror movie aficionados will love it, and die-hard Whedonites will appreciate details like how The Cabin in the Woods shares similar themes with Dollhouse. Buy it if you have these patrons.—Terry Bosky, Palm Beach Cty. Lib. Syst., FL

Bette-Lee Fox About Bette-Lee Fox

Bette-Lee Fox (blfox@mediasourceinc.com) is Managing Editor, Library Journal.

Now in her 46th year with Library Journal, Bette-Lee also edits LJ's Video Reviews column, six times a year Romance column, and e-original Romance reviews, which post weekly as LJ Xpress Reviews. She received the Romance Writers of America (RWA) Vivian Stephens Industry Award in 2013 for having "contributed to the genre or to RWA in a significant and/or continuing manner"