General Nonfiction, Nov. 2013, Pt. 3: 15 Titles Ranging from Elizabeth of York to American Football

Cooper, Artemis. Patrick Leigh Fermor: An Adventure. New York Review Books. Oct. 2013. 480p. ISBN 9781590176740; e-book 9781590176993. BIOGRAPHY
Lovers of travel writing everywhere know the name Patrick Leigh Fermor, whose walk across Europe in the 1930s, at age 18, is legendary. Fewer people know about his involvement in the resistance to German occupation of Crete, a story detailed in Wes Davis’s The Ariadne Objective, out this November from Crown. Cooper’s biography comes well recommended, having been a best seller last year in Britain and shortlisted for the Waterstone’s Book of the Year and Costa Biography awards.

Dawidoff, Nicholas. Collision Low Crossers: A Year Inside the Turbulent World of NFL Football. Little, Brown. Nov. 2013. 352p. ISBN 9780316196796. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780316254991; lib. ebk. ISBN 9780316251846. FOOTBALLDawidoff doesn’t play professional football—he’s a Pulitzer Prize finalist for The Fly Swatter, the best-selling author of The Catcher Was a Spy, and honored by Conde Naste for his travel book, In the Country of Country—but with a locker and an office in the scouting department of the New York Jets, he got a good look at how pro football operates. Originating as a New York Times Magazine cover story; with 75,000-copy first printing.

Easterbrook, Gregg. The King of Sports: Football’s Impact on American Society. Thomas Dunne Bks: St. Martin’s. Nov. 2013. 368p. ISBN 9781250011718. $25.99; ebk ISBN 9781250011725. FOOTBALL
A contributing editor at several noteworthy magazines (e.g., the Atlantic Monthly) and author of the blog “Tuesday Morning Quarterback” (good enough to get 2.4 million unique page hits per month), Easterbrook used access to the Virginia Tech football program to detail not just the sport itself but its broad impact—arguing, for instance, that it has helped strengthen both American cities and colleges. Then there’s the problem of how college-age players are exploited. Not your average sports book.

Fagone, Jason. Ingenious: A True Story of Invention, Automotive Daring, and the Race To Revive America. Crown. Nov. 2013. 320p. ISBN 9780307591487. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780307591500. SOCIAL SCIENCE
More than 300 teams worldwide responded to sf enthusiast’s Peter Diamandis’s announcement that he would give $10 million to anyone who built an easily mass-produced car that could zoom 100 miles on the energy equivalent of a gallon of gas. Fagone follows four of these teams, including a bunch of inner-city high schoolers and an Illinois team whose motto was “Someone Has To Do Something, and That Someone Is Us.” First serial to the Atlantic.

Holland, James. Dam Busters: The True Story of the Inventors and Airmen Who Led the Devastating Raid To Smash the German Dams in 1943. Atlantic Monthly. Nov. 2013. 464p. ISBN 9780802121691. $28. HISTORY
On May 16, 1943, 19 specially adapted Lancaster bombers soared away from RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire, intent on bombing to smithereens three dams deep within Germany. It was a suicide mission, cobbled together in ten weeks and using untested technology, and it succeeded. British military expert Holland gives us the lowdown on a key World War II maneuver.

Katz, Jon. The Second-Chance Dog: A Love Story. Ballantine. Nov. 2013. 288p. ISBN 9780345531179. $25; ebk. ISBN 9780345545558. MEMOIR/PETS
After he moved to Bedlam Farm in upstate New York, Katz met Maria, a gentle artist seeking to regain her footing. The only roadblock to a relationship? Maria’s dog, Frieda, a rottweiler-shepherd mix that had run wild for several years in the Adirondacks and was Maria’s ferocious guardian. With love, perseverance, and five hundred dollars’ worth of beef jerky, Katz managed to win over Frieda and get his beloved. The New York Times best-selling author again warms our hearts while celebrating the human-animal bond.

Kosslyn, Stephen & G. Wayne Miller. Top Brain, Bottom Brain: Surprising Insights into How You Think. S. & S. Nov. 2013. 224p. 9781451645101. $25; ebk. ISBN 9781451645125. PSYCHOLOGY
Right brainers are intuitive, left brainers are analytical, and Kosslyn says it’s all hogwash; there’s no scientific proof. Director of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University, he challenges the old orthodoxy by arguing that the brain operates according to patterns best described as Mover, Adaptor, Stimulator, and Perceiver. So which pattern fits your brain? Take Kosslyn’s test.

McCall, Bruce & David Letterman. This Land Was Made for You and Me (But Mostly Me): Billionaires in the Wild. Blue Rider Pr: Penguin Group (USA). Nov. 2013. 96p. ISBN 9780399163685. $25.95. HUMOR
Small but biting, this large-format book offers a mock survey of the superrich among us and their indulgences, e.g., a floating motorized giant designer teepee and Galapagolf, a very exclusive miniature golf course you know where. New Yorker artist and writer McCall and late-night hero Letterman will draw readers.

Majd, Hooman. The Ministry of Guidance Invites You To Not Stay: An American Family in Iran. Doubleday. Nov. 2013. 272p. ISBN 9780385535328. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385535335. MEMOIR/CURRENT EVENTS
A former film and music executive and now contributing editor at Interview magazine, Iranian American Hajd here writes about his recent year-long stay in Iran with his new wife—blonde yoga instructor Karri—and enfant son. He had lived there only as a child, so this was both homecoming and eye-opener. His intimate stories, from his securing a bootlegger and an Internet connection that convinced the censors he was in New York to Karri’s struggles with a headscarf, give us a distinct view of the country.

Menaker, Daniel. My Mistake. Houghton Harcourt. Nov. 2013. 256p. ISBN 9780547794235. $24; ebk. ISBN 9780547794242. MEMOIR
A former New Yorker and Random House editor, Menaker examines a life lived well if not perfectly. He’s bold enough to explore his years at The New Yorker, where he stayed for 26 years despite discouragement from William Shawn, and the perpetual self-doubt that has dogged him, particularly owing to his role in his brother’s inadvertent death. Certainly of interest to memoir fans and literati.

Parks, Phaedra. Secrets of the Southern Belle: How To Be Nice, Work Hard, Look Pretty, Have Fun, and Never Have an Off Moment. Gallery: S. & S. 256p. ISBN 9781476715452. $23. SELF-HELP
If Parks can be a fabulous homemaker, managing partner of a boutique law firm specializing in entertainment, intellectual property rights, civil, and criminal litigation, and star of The Real Housewives of Atlanta, you can, too. Okay, maybe you can’t be a TV star, but Parks is here to how to be a Southern Belle. Hot on the blogs.

Redman, Jason & John Bruning. The Trident: The Forging and Reforging of a Navy SEAL Leader. Morrow. Nov. 2013. 304p. 9780062208316 $26.99. lrg. prnt. CD: Harper Audio.MEMOIR/MILITARY
Decorated Navy SEAL Lieutenant Redman served in Columbia, Peru, Afghanistan, and Iraq before leading a mission against al Qaeda in 2007 that left him grievously wounded by machine-gun fire. During the several years and 37 surgeries he needed to recover, Redman became famous for the sign on his door at Bethesda Naval Medical Center admonishing visitors not to feel sorry for his wounds. This inspirational biography of his SEAL training, service, and recovery is getting a 100,000-copy first printing.

Rosenblatt, Roger. The Boy Detective: A New York Childhood. Ecco: HarperCollins. Nov. 2013. 272p. ISBN 9780062241337. $19.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062241337. MEMOIR
A multithreat author—as a journalist, he’s won two George Polk Awards, the Peabody, and the Emmy, and he’s also given us fiction, nonfiction, and Off-Broadway plays—Rosenblatt has triumphed recently with several affecting (and New York Times best-selling) memoir/meditations, including Making Toast. Here he recalls his postwar Manhattan childhood, framing his story with the walk he took from Gramercy Park to Madison Square Park one winter night after teaching a class on East 28th Street. This should be a charmer.

Sifton, Elisabeth & Fritz Stern. No Ordinary Men: Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Hans Von Dohnanyi, Resisters Again Hitler in Church and State. New York Review Books. Oct. 2013. 160p. ISBN 9781590176818; ebk. ISBN 9781590177020. HISTORY
Few Germans resisted the Nazis once they came into power; among those who did, theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer and his brother-in-law, Hans von Dohnanyi, stand out. Told by Sifton, daughter of Reinhold Niebuhr, and Stern, University Professor Emeritus and the former provost of Columbia University, this work chronicles the efforts of both men to combat the Nazi regime while showing that the Resistance movement was broader than we have understood. A story that needs to be heard.

Weir, Alison. Elizabeth of York: A Tudor Queen and Her World. Ballantine. Nov. 2013. 432p. ISBN 9780345521361. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780345521385. BIOGRAPHY
We know all about Henry VIII’s famous wives—and even more famous daughter—but what about his mother, who legitimized the new Tudor dynasty as the only living descendent of Yorkist King Edward IV? (She was sister to the little princes rumored to have died in the Tower.) The popular Weir, who has tackled many of England’s great royal women in biography and fiction, here takes on Elizabeth of York in what appears to be the only biography currently available for lay readers.

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.


  1. The King of Sports: Football’s Impact on American Society, is great

  2. cervantes says:

    Yes! Finally something about rottweiler.