China, Russia, Guantánamo Bay, South Africa | Current Events Previews, Feb. 2015, Pt. 2

Browder, Bill. Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man’s Fight for Justice. S. & S. Feb. 2015. 352p. ISBN 9781476755717. $28. MEMOIR/POLITICAL
Here’s a revealing story of contemporary Russia, featuring American financier Browder, who rednoticemade a bundle by heading up an investment fund in post-Soviet Russia, then called down certain oligarchs for robbing the companies in which he was investing. He was thrown out of the country, even as law enforcement officers raided his Moscow office and stole $230 million in taxes that his fund’s companies had paid to the Russian government. His crusading attorney, Sergei Magnitsky, was arrested, tortured, and apparently beaten to death, and Browder is on a quest to clear Magnitsky’s name. With a five-city tour to Boston, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC.

Carlin, John. Chase Your Shadow: The Trials of Oscar Pistorius. Harper. Feb. 2015. 256p. ISBN 9780062297068. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062297082. TRUE CRIME
Author/journalist Carlin has been writing about South Africa since 1989—his books include Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Made a Nation, which inspired the film Invictus—so it seems natural that he would follow the trial of Oscar Pistorius, the South African Olympic and Gold Medal-winning Paralympic sprinter whose deadly shooting of his girlfriend in February 2013 shocked the world. Here he recounts not only the events surrounding the murder and the subsequent trial, soon coming to a close, but Pistorius’s troubled upbringing and the post-apartheid remaking of South Africa itself. With a 50,000-copy first printing.

Fraser, Steve. The Age of Acquiescence. Little, Brown. Feb. 2015. 464p. ISBN 9780316185431. $28; ebk. ISBN ISBN 9780316185431. POLITICAL SCIENCE
Since the American Revolution, Americans have tended to look askance at claims of privilege based on wealth (inherited or made) and class. In other words, we’ve always hated elitist snobs. Now, argues Fraser, we’re embracing the concept. So what happened? Fraser, a Philip Taft Prize winner for Labor Will Rule whose work has appeared in venues from the New York Times and the Nation to Salon and Truthout,  delivers a book with bite.

Goodman, Marc. Future Crimes: When Everything Is Connected, Everyone Is Vulnerable—and What We Can Do About It. Doubleday. Feb. 2015. ISBN 9780385539005. $27.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385539012. CD/downloadable: Random Audio. TECHNOLOGY
Goodman has a goal—and a company, Future Crimes Institute, to go with it. He considers how current and future technologies could be used to commit crimes, here showing us how criminals, corporations, and even countries are using new and emerging technologies against us. Drug cartels already use robotic submarines to deliver narcotics, for instance; what could they do with 3-D printing, flying drones, and open access to our DNA. Goodman’s book gives a whole new meaning to that old movie pitch, “Be afraid. Be very afraid,” though his subtitle thankfully hickmansuggests that he has some pushback in mind.

Hickman, Joseph. Murder at Camp Delta: A Staff Sergeant’s Pursuit of the Truth About Guantánamo Bay. S. & S. Feb. 2015. 240p. ISBN 9781451650792. $28. POLITICAL SCIENCE
Hickman, who has spent much of his life serving in the military, was awarded the Army Achievement Medal and the Army Commendation Medal for his work as staff sergeant while he was stationed with the 629th Military Intelligence Battalion in Guantánamo Bay. But he has nothing good to say about Guantánamo, where he routinely observed abuse and eventually stumbled on a secret facility whose purpose seemed darker. After the deaths of three detainees were chalked up to suicide, he began investigations that led him to conclude that the U.S. government was using Guantánamo as a center for testing advanced torture techniques. Is this why the long-promised shutdown of Guantánamo has been so difficult? A book for debate.

Paulson, Henry M., Jr.  Dealing with China: An Insider Unmasks the New Economic Superpower. Twelve. Feb. 2015. 356p. ISBN 9781455504213. $32; ebk. ISBN 9781455504220. lib. ebk. ISBN 9781455551972. CD/downloadable: Hachette Audio. BUSINESS
In 2002, as CEO of Goldman Sachs, Paulson escorted Chinese leader Hu Jintao around the New York Stock Exchange to show him how private enterprise works. Four years later, as Treasury Secretary, he noted with some alarm that China had become the world’s second largest economy, with a military that was modernizing at speed-demon rate. Now he has some questions: how did China become an economic behemoth so fast, how is business conducted there, and how can we compete? Having written paulsonthe New York Times best-selling On the Brink (with 90,000-copies sold), Paulson brings not just his expertise but considerable sales clout to his latest endeavor. With a 100,000-copy first printing.

Tierney, Dominic. The Right Way To Lose a War. Little, Brown. Feb. 2015. 400p. ISBN 9780316254885. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780316254878. POLITICAL SCIENCE
Korea. Vietnam. Iraq. Afghanistan. Not exactly ticker tape– parade triumphs for America, and given the state of the world it seems we’re in for more of the same. Tierney (How We Fight), a professor of political science at Swarthmore, proposes how we can disengage from long-slog military engagements  without disavowing our values or our interests. His prescription: surge, talk, and leave. Billed as a handbook and looks as if we’re trying to use it.

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.