James Carroll & Deepak Chopra, Mark Owen & Angelica Huston, Napoleon & Aretha Franklin | Nonfiction Previews, Nov. 2014, Pt. 3

Carroll, James. Christ Actually: The Son of God for the Secular Age. Viking. Nov. 2014. 400p. ISBN 9780670786039. $30. RELIGION
The New York Times best-selling author of Constantine’s Sword, Carroll joins the current religious carrolljamesfray by considering how we can maintain faith in Christ in the 21st century. Look for a six-city tour.

Cavett, Dick. Brief Encounters: Conversations, Magic Moments, and Assorted Hijinks. Holt. Nov. 2014. 288p. ISBN 9780805099775. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780805099782. CD: Macmillan Audio. MEMOIR
A longtime talk-show host who started out with The Dick Cavett Show on ABC and PBS and was nominated for his most recent Emmy in 2012, Cavett offers up his encounters with cultural icons ranging from Stan Laurel to John Lennon to a young Steve Jobs.

Chopra, Deepak. The Future of God: A Practical Approach to Spirituality for Our Times. Harmony: Crown. Nov. 2014. 320p. ISBN 9780307884978. $25; ebk. ISBN 9780307884992. CD/downloadable: Random Audio. RELIGION
The world-famous spiritual adviser sees the aggressive atheism of folks like Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris as an opportunity to rethink religious faith in the 21st century.

Cleese, John. So Anyway…. Crown Archetype. Nov. 2014. NAp. ISBN 9780385348249. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780385348256. CD/downloadable: Random Audio. MEMOIR
There’s more to Cleese than Monty Python, and here he covers his entire madcap career at, he says, “the perfect moment to look back on my life in anticipation of the next fifty.”

Couch, Dick & William Doyle. Navy SEALs: The Untold Story.. Morrow. Nov. 2014. 368p. ISBN 9780062336606. $29.99. HISTORY/MILITARY
Ranging from World War II to the War on Terror, this book offers a complete history of the U.S. Navy SEALs, from a former SEAL captain who’s written 15 works on military issues. Look for a PBS series of the same name next fall.

Gefter, Philip. Wagstaff: Before and After Mapplethorpe; A Biography. Liveright: Norton. Nov. 2014. 576p. ISBN 9780871404374. $35. BIOGRAPHY
Known as the lover and patron of iconic—and icon-smashing—photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, Sam Wagstaff was much more. As a rule-breaking curator at Hartford’s Wadsworth Atheneum and the Detroit Institute of Arts, then a major collector of photography, he powerfully influenced the course of late 20th-century American art. Gefter wrote frequently about photography as a 15-year staffer at the New York Times.

Hitchens, Christopher. Why Religion Is Immoral: And Other Interventions. S. & S. Nov. 2014. 288p. ISBN 9781476772035. $26. ESSAYS
Promising to be both acidulous and brilliantly conceived, this collection of unpublished speeches by the late influential critic/author Hitchens challenges not only the stranglehold of religious belief but any hint of control or conformity. Hence his support of intervention in Iraq, the barbs tossed at both Bill Clinton and Henry Kissinger, and the praise for George Orwell and Thomas Paine.

Huston, Anjelica. Watch Me. Scribner. Nov. 2014. 400p. ISBN 9781476760346. $26.99. MEMOIR
Following A Story Lately Told, which recounted her charmed Irish childhood and young adult years hustonangelicain London, Huston shows us how she landed in Hollywood and became an actress. The title comes from an encounter with director Tony Richardson: “‘Poor little you. So much talent and so little to show for it. You’re never going to do anything with your life.’ Tony had a singsong voice, like one of his own parrots, but there was no mistaking the edge. ‘Perhaps you’re right,’ I answered. Inside I was thinking, Watch me.”

Johnson, Boris. The Churchill Factor: How One Man Made History. Riverhead. Nov. 2104. 288p. ISBN 9781594633027. $27.95. HISTORY
The boisterous mayor of London, a former journalist, offers a celebration of Churchill on the 50th anniversary of his death. The argument: sometimes history is not simply the story of inevitable social and political forces but the story of great men.

Kipnis, Laura. Men: Notes from an Ongoing Investigation. Metropolitan: Holt. Nov. 2014. 224p. ISBN 9781627791878. $25; ebk. ISBN 9781627791885. SOCIAL SCIENCE
Noted for her trenchant take on contemporary culture in highly praised books like How To Become a Scandal, Northwestern professor Kipnis takes on the most perplexing phenomenon of all: the over-the-top, out-of-control male personality she’s encountered again and again during her research. Both expansion on previously published works and fresh, new material.

Klein, Joel. Lessons of Hope: How Courage, Grit, and Accountability Can Save Our Schools. Harper. Nov. 2014. 352p. ISBN 9780062268648. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062268662. AUTOBIOGRAPHY/EDUCATORS
As chancellor of the New York City Department of Education from 2002 to 2011, starting work there just as the city’s public school system came under direct control of newly elected mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration, Klein upset apple carts as he tried to steer a new course. His advice for improving U.S. public schools is imparted through an account of his experiences at the time. With a 50,000-copy first printing.

LeFevre, John. Straight to Hell: True Tales of Deviance, Debauchery, and Billion-Dollar Deals. Grove. Nov. 2104. 288p. ISBN 9780802123305. $25; ebk. ISBN 9780802192080. AUTOBIGRAPHY/BUSINESS
Way back at the beginning of the year, LeFevre had secured a massive Twitter following and a six-figure book contract with Touchstone for tweets supposedly reporting the sometime jaw-dropping comments he heard on the Goldman Sachs elevator. Then it turned out that he had never officially worked at the company, and the Touchstone deal was off. But @GSElevator Twitter isn’t totally fake; LeFevre joined Salomon Brothers as an investment banker straight out of college and has had a long career in international finance, so he knows what bankers say. This new book, contracted by Grove Atlantic, blends tweets and memoir to reveal what the banking life is really like.

McCain, John & Mark Salter. Thirteen Soldiers. S. & S. Nov. 2014. 320p. ISBN 9781476759654. $28. HISTORY
Sen. McCain joins with Salter, who has served on his staff for many years, to chronicle the history of America at war by telling the story of 13 soldiers, from Joseph Plumb Martin, who fought in the Revolutionary War at age 15, to Monica Lin Brown, a medic in Afghanistan who saved the lives of ambushed soldiers.

Ortberg, Mallory. Texts from Jane Eyre: And Other Conversations with Your Favorite Literary Characters. Holt. Nov. 2014. 240p. ISBN 9781627791830. $23; ebk. ISBN 9781627791847. HUMOR
Co-creator of the everyone’s-there website The Toast (over 20,000 unique daily visitors), Ortberg gives us very funny instances of our favorite writers texting. As you might imagine, Daisy Buchanan not only texts while driving but then texts to have you pick her up after she crashes. Especially for the young and cool.

Owen, Mark with Kevin Maurer. No Hero: The Evolution of a Navy SEAL. Dutton. Nov. 2014. 336p. ISBN 9780525954521. $27.95. CD: Penguin Audio. HISTORY
Owen follows up the multimillion-copy-best-selling No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission that Killed Osama bin Laden with a discussion of other missions that shaped him personally as a SEAL, though they might not be as well known.

Ritz, David. Respect: The Life of Aretha Franklin. Little, Brown. Nov. 2014. 528p. ISBN 9780316196833. $30; ebk. ISBN 9780316196826; lib. ebk. ISBN 9780316365857.Downloadable: Hachette Audio. BIOGRAPHY
Four-time winner of the Gleason Music Book Award and biographer of greats like Ray Charles, Marvin Gaye, B.B. King, and Etta James, Ritz has known Aretha Franklin’s family for decades. Who better to write this biography? With a 100,000-copy first printing.

Roberts, Andrew. Napoleon: A Life. Viking. Nov. 2104. 592p. ISBN 9780670025329. $40. BIOGRAPHY
Napoleon is in the air, with a Warner Bros. biopic, a Steven Spielberg HBO miniseries, and a three-part BBC primetime documentary narrated by Roberts himself all in the offing. Here, the Wolfson History Prize winner offers a grand biography, drawing on new archival materials, visits to almost every Napoleonic battlefield, and even a long boat ride to St. Helena.

Samet, Elizabeth D. No Man’s Land: Preparing for War and Peace in Post-9/11 America. Farrar. Nov. 2014. 240p. ISBN 978037422277. $25; ebk. ISBN 9780374709013. MEMOIR
A professor of English at West Point noted for her acclaimed Soldier’s Heart, Samet here rethinks her understanding of post-9/11 America, finally concluding that since we haven’t faced up to impact of our Middle East fighting we’re not acknowledging our larger postwar responsibilities.

Santana, Carlos. The Universal Tone: My Life. Little, Brown. Nov. 2014. 320p. ISBN 9780316244923. $30; ebk. ISBN 9780316244916; lib. ebk. ISBN 9780316365239. CD/downloadable: Hachette Audio. MEMOIR
Here’s another great rock memoir, from an artist who has been around since the Sixties and has since collected a passel of younger fans. Santana still tours regularly (and there will be a ten-city tour for the book), and he has agreed to inclusion of unreleased audio and visual material for the audio edition and enhanced e-edition of this memoir. Plus a Spanish-language edition will be released simultaneously (ISBN 9780316328746; pap. $16). Keeping up the magic.

Tooze, Adam. The Deluge: The Great War, America and the Remaking of the Global Order, 1916–1931. Viking. Nov. 2014. 640p. ISBN 9780670024926. $40. HISTORY
Barton M. Biggs Professor of History and Co-Director of International Security Studies at Yale University, Tooze offers a new take on World War I and its consequences, arguing that finally it signaled a shift to American economic and military power.

Toumani, Meline. There Was and There Was Not: Turkey, the Armenians, and the Story of a Never-Ending History. Metropolitan: Holt. Nov. 2014. 304p. ISBN 9780805097627. $28. POLITICAL SCIENCE
A journalist of Armenian descent born in Iran and raised in America, Toumani left behind a job at the New York Times and settled in Istanbul. Her aim? To move beyond her community’s enmity toward Turkey and achieve some sort of rapprochement and understanding.

Von Furstenberg, Diane. The Woman I Wanted To Be. S. & S. Nov. 2104. 416p. ISBN 9781451651546. $30. MEMOIR
From princess to iconic fashion designer (love that little wrap dress) to engaged philanthropist, von Furstenberg has some story to tell.

Williams, Kate. Ambition and Desire: The Dangerous Life of Josephine Bonaparte. Ballantine. Nov. 2014. 400p. ISBN 9780345522832. $30; ebk. ISBN 9780345522856. BIOGRAPHY
Williams has already given us biographies of Emma Hamilton and a young Queen Victoria, so why not assay the passionate and ambitious consort of Napoleon? From CNN’s Official Royal Historian, no less.

Zamperini, Louis & David Rensin. Don’t Give Up, Don’t Give In: Lessons from an Extraordinary Life. Dey: HarperCollins. Nov. 2014. 256p. ISBN 9780062368331. $22.99. SELF-HELP
The subject of Laura Hillenbrand’s blockbuster Unbroken, coming to the silver screen in a film directed by Angelina Jolie, Olympic athlete–turned–World War II airman Zamperini survived a crash landing in the Pacific and imprisonment in a Japanese POW camp. At 97, he has some lessons to teach us all.

Žantovský, Michael. Havel: A Life. Grove. Nov. 2014. 512p. ISBN 9780802123152. $30. BIOGRAPHY
Currently Czech ambassador to the Court of St. James´s, Žantovský was part of the dissident movement that spearheaded the Velvet Revolution; eventually, he became press secretary and advisor to his friend, Václav Havel, when he became president of Czechslovakia. Žantovský can thus complement the research he did for this thoroughgoing biography with a distinctive insider’s view.


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.