Barbara’s Picks, May 2013: Really Big Nonfiction from Atkinson, Kyle, and Zuckoff

Atkinson, Rick. The Guns at Last Light: The War in Western Europe, 1944–1945 (Liberation Trilogy, Vol. 3). Holt. May 2013. 896p. ISBN 9780805062908. $38; eISBN 9781429943673. HISTORY
Atkinson’s “Liberation Trilogy” opened with the Pulitzer Prize–winning (and best-selling) An  Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942–1943, which was followed by The Day of Battle: The War in Sicily and Italy, 1943–1944. This concluding volume starts with D-day and marches through the liberation of Paris, the Battle of the Bulge, and the push to Berlin, right up to Germany’s surrender. A former staff writer and senior editor at the Washington Post, where he racked up more Pulitzers, Atkinson takes the perspective of the foot soldier as well as the general. Don’t miss this wrap-up of a significant series.

Kyle, Chris with William Doyle. American Gun: A History of the U.S. in 10 Firearms. Morrow. May 2013. 304p. ISBN 9780062242716. $28.99; eISBN 9780062242730. lrg. prnt. HISTORYThe American Long Rifle. The Spencer Repeater. The Colt Single Action Army. The Winchester 1873 Rifle. The 1903 Springfield. The M1911 Army Pistol. The American Machine Gun. The M1 Garand Semi-Automatic Rifle. The American Police Handgun. The M16 Assault Rifle. Ten guns that tell America’s story, which, Kyle argues, is utterly shaped by firearms. From the author of the No. 1 New York Times best-selling American Sniper (look for the film starring Bradley Cooper); with a one-day laydown on May 14 and a whopping 500,000-copy first printing—but then Sniper has sold 400,000 copies in print and 180,000 ebooks so far.

Zuckoff, Mitchell. Frozen in Time: An Epic Story of Survival and a Modern Quest for Lost Heroes of World War II. Harper: HarperCollins. May 2013. 320p. ISBN 9780062133434. $28.99; eISBN 9780062133410. lrg. prnt. HISTORY
As his Lost in Shangri-La showed, Zuckoff excels at survival stories. Here he recounts the November 1942 crash of a U.S. cargo plane into the Greenland Ice Cap, the loss of the B-17 sent to find it, and the loss of a Grumman Duck amphibious plane that managed to rescue one B-17 crew member before fatally flying into a storm. Huddled in the B-17’s tail section, the remaining crew members endured 148 days of Arctic winter before finally being rescued, and the remains of the Grumman Duck were discovered just last summer. Shangri-La has sold 300,000 copies in all formats, so readers are primed; with a one-day laydown on April 23, and a 200,000-copy first printing. Real-life adventure at its best.

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.