Prison Readers, Women in Combat, Nations on the Rise | Nonfiction Previews, Jun. 2015, Pt. 3

Brottman, Mikita. The Maximum Security Book Club: Reading Literature in a Men’s Prison. Harper. Jun. 2016. 272p. ISBN 9780062384331. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062384355. LITERARY CRITICISM
Ranging from William Shakespeare’s Macbeth to Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness to William brottmanBurroughs’s Junkie, the ten morally arresting classics on the syllabus devised by literary scholar Brottman would fire the mind of any intellectually inclined undergraduate. In fact, Brottman read them with members of a book club she started with convicts at the Jessup Correctional Institute, a maximum security prison in Maryland. Here, in sharing their discussions, she clarifies issues they faced together—in the books, in their pasts, and in their day-to-day prison lives. Especially pertinent as we debate the crisis in our brutal and overcrowded prisons; Warner Bros. has optioned for television.

Hegar, Mary Jennings. Shoot Like a Girl: One Woman’s Dramatic Fight in Afghanistan and on the Home Front. NAL. Jun. 2016. 368p. ISBN 9781101988435. $27; ebk. ISBN 9781101988459. MEMOIR
On June 29, 2009, Air National Guard Major Hegar was shot down and wounded while on a Medevac mission in Afghanistan and won a Purple Heart and the Distinguished Flying Cross with Valor Device for saving the lives of crew members and patients alike. Subsequently, she launched a campaign to persuade the U.S. government to allow women to serve on the front lines, eventually becoming a plaintiff in an ACLU lawsuit arguing that the Combat Exclusion Policy (which disallowed women from entering direct combat) was unconstitutional. In 2013, the secretary of defense repealed that policy, and now with the December 3 announcement that the Pentagon will open all combat jobs to women, Hegar looks to be a real winner. TriStar has bought the film rights.

Sharma, Ruchir. The Rise and Fall of Nations: Forces of Change in the Post-Crisis World. Norton. Jun. 2016. 352p. ISBN 9780393248890. $27.95. POLITICAL SCIENCE
Head of emerging markets and global macro at Morgan Stanley Investment Management and author of the internationally best-selling Breakout Nations, Sharma has traveled worldwide for 25 years, visiting village huts and presidential palaces as he observes how individuals and nations conduct their business. Here he draws on all that he has learned to devise ten rules for recognizing what the essential changes are amid political, social, and economic upheaval. Who knew that black markets and the price of onions were as important in understanding the fate of nations as political headlines? Expect lots of media.

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.