Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, David Allen Sibley, & Best Sellers Douglas Stone & Sheila Heen | Nonfiction Previews, Mar. 2014, Pt. 2

Allitt, Patrick. A Climate of Crisis: America in the Age of Environmentalism. Penguin Pr: Penguin Group (USA). Mar. 2014. 336p. ISBN 9781594204661. $29.95. HISTORY
Cahoon Family Professor of American History at Emory University, Allitt will likely raise a few hackles with this environmental history, which sweeps from the atomic bomb and postwar suburbanization, to the first Earth Day in 1970, to current accusations that environmentalists are stifling economic growth, even as environmentalists argue that special-interest groups are destroying the planet for financial benefit. Allitt considers the provocations of both sides but finally contends that our environmental problems are proving manageable.

Martin, Felix. Money: The Unauthorised Biography. Knopf. Mar. 2014. 336p. ISBN 9780307962430. $27.95. ECONOMIC HISTORY
As the immortal 1950s song says, “Money (That’s What I Want),” and Martin, a former World Bank employee, currently an associate of George Soros’s Institute for New Economic Thinking, explains how it all came about. He starts way back with trade between Mesopotamia and ancient Greece, then moves up to money that exists only in the online environment and money’s implications and use as a political tool. Some solutions, too, for our current money worries. Smart readers will be following.

Masson, Jeffrey Moussaieff. Beasts: What Animals Can Teach Us About the Origins of Good and Evil. Bloomsbury USA. Mar. 2014. 256p. ISBN 9781608196159. $26. NATURE
Humans consider themselves superior to other animals, describing their own worst behavior as beastly. Yet they are the supremely violent creatures on the planet, killing 200 million members of their own species in the last century. The author of books on best-selling books on animal emotions, e.g., Dogs Never Lie About Love and When Elephants Weep, Masson argues that we have a great deal to learn from animals, especially about controlling our distinctive tendency toward aggression.

Sibley, David Allen. The Sibley Guide to Birds of North America. 2d. ed. Knopf. Mar. 2014. 576p. ISBN 9780307957900. $40.  NATURE/BIRDS
The first edition of this book is a classic that’s been rushing off the shelves for more than a dozen years. For this new edition, all the illustrations have been made 15 to 20 percent larger, two-thirds of the original illustrations have been revised, 600 new illustrations have been added (with 85 rare species given a chance to shine), more than 600 maps updated, and the text expanded to include conservation and habitat. Promotion will include (appropriately) a tweet a day during publication month and a large tour to at least Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Portland, OR, San Francisco, Seattle, and New England.

Strycker, Noah. The Thing with Feathers: The Surprising Lives of Birds and What They Reveal About Being Human. Riverhead. Mar. 2014. 304p. ISBN 9781594486357. $27.95. NATURE/BIRDING
Associate editor of the American Birding Association’s Birding magazine, Strycker draws on cutting-edge science and personal experience to give us keen and charming insight into the lives of birds. Some examples: fairy-wrens are do-gooders, bowerbirds are artists, nutcrackers have amazing memories, and albatrosses love for life. In-house raves about a book that is elegant, entertaining, and funny.

Stone, Douglas, & Sheila Heen, Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback. Viking. Mar. 2014. 256p. ISBN 9780670014668. $27.95. CAREERS
The authors of the best-selling Difficult Conversations (700,000 copies out there in 25 languages) must have had quite a few with businesses, nonprofits, governments, and families, but all for a good aim: finding out how best to give and receive feedback that can sometimes be painful. Feedback can hurt because while we want to improve our professional performance, we’d like to be appreciated for what we are doing now. Hard-headed advice, and let’s note that the authors’ clients include the White House, TimeWarner, and the Federal Reserve. With a ten-city tour.

Varty, Boyd. Cathedral of the Wild: An African Journey Home. Random. Mar. 2014. 304p. ISBN 9781400069859. $27. MEMOIR
Though the Londolozi Game Reserve in South Africa was founded by Varty’s great-grandfather to facilitate hunting safaris, it has since been turned into a nature reserve. Varty grew up there raising leopard cubs and starring in his uncle’s wildlife videos, then suffered a spiritual crisis that finally led him back to Londolozi and the idea that nature can heal. Varty is well connected in the media, and stories about Londolozi have appeared in Vogue, Forbes, Conde Nast Traveler, and other venues, so expect some buzz.

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.