Hampton Sides on Arctic Catastrophe, Paul Ryan on His Political Vision, & More | Nonfiction Previews, Aug. 2014, Pt. 3

Dolnick, Edward. The Rush: America’s Fevered Quest for Fortune, 1848–1855. Little, Brown. Aug. 2014. 368p. ISBN 9780316175685. $28. Downloadable: Hachette Audio. HISTORY
As the Edgar Award–winning author of The Rescue Artist and a former chief science writer at dolnickthe Boston Globe, Dolnick has intriguing credentials for writing this study of the Gold Rush, which tracks a cast of characters as they dream big, take the risky cross-country trek, and end up in cities gone wild. A rags or riches story.

Finebaum, Paul & Gene Wojciechowski. My Conference Can Beat Your Conference. Harper. Aug. 2014. 320p. ISBN 9780062297419. $26.99. SPORTS
The Southeastern Conference has the largest stadium and television audience of any college football conference, Finebaum’s daily radio show anchors ESPN’s new SEC Network, and the Paul Finebaum Radio Network made its home station, WJOX, the second-highest-rated sports station in the country. All of which means that sports fans will want this book. With a 75,000-copy first printing.

Merkin, Daphne. The Fame Lunches: On Wounded Icons, Money, Sex, the Importance of Handbags, and Other Cultural Inquiries. Farrar. Aug. 2014. 416p. ISBN 9780374140373. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780374711924. LITERARY ESSAYS
A former staff writer for The New Yorker, cultural critic Merkin looks at celebrity in our relentlessly techno-linked world, grounding her discussion of how much we obsess about sex, money, and gorgeousness with context ranging from the Brontë sisters to Brando’s appeal. Smart readers will enjoy.

Ryan, Paul. Where We Go from Here: A New Path to Prosperity. Twelve. Aug. 2014. 320p. ISBN 9781455557561. $27; ebk. ISBN 9781455557585. CD/downloadable: Hachette Audio. POLITICAL SCIENCE
Whatever your political stripe, if you want insight into the impact of conservatism today, you’ll want to investigate this book from Ryan, staunch Republican, U.S. representative for Wisconsin’s 1st congressional district, and chair of the House Budget Committee. A big focus on economics.

Schneider, Peter. Berlin Now: The City After the Wall. Farrar. Aug. 2014. 336p. tr. from German by Sophie Schlondorff. ISBN 9780374254841. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780374712105. CURRENT EVENTS
Berlin is a world-class city, and what makes it special—even more than the up-all-night clubs or vibrant artistic scene—is the enterprising spirit of its ever-shifting community. So says Schneider, a sometime resident who has written nearly two dozen books (e.g., The Wall Jumper) and has taught at leading universities in this country. So expect fluid writing.

Shenk, Joshua Wolf. Powers of Two: Finding the Essence of Innovation in Creative Pairs. Houghton Harcourt. Aug. 2014. 336p. ISBN 9780544031593. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780544032026. PSYCHOLOGY
Quick, find a buddy. Shenk, New School professor and author of Lincoln’s Melancholy, looks at pairs—think George and Ira Gershwin, Marie and Paul Curie, Steve Jobs and Steve sideshamptonWozniak—to show that working in tandem can release the creative juices. We all want to up the innovation ante; with a 50,000-copy first printing.

Sides, Hampton. In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the U.S.S. Jeannette. Doubleday. Aug. 2014. 480p. ISBN 9780385535373. $28.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385535380. HISTORY
The author of such best sellers as Hellhound on His Trail: The Stalking of Martin Luther King Jr. and the International Hunt for His Assassin, Sides writes history that gets the pulse going. Here, he recounts the voyage of the U.S.S. Jeannette, a U.S. Naval expedition aimed at discovering the North Pole and funded by the New York Herald owner who also backed Henry Morton Stanley’s trip to Africa. Sailing from San Francisco in 1879, the ship quickly became trapped in ice and drifted for nearly two years before suddenly splintering—which left the crew abandoned in a frozen wasteland 1,000 miles north of Siberia.

Barbara Hoffert About Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (bhoffert@mediasourceinc.com, @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.