Greenblatt, Korda, Sattouf, Taubman, Tur | Barbara’s Nonfiction Picks, Sept. 2017

Greenblatt, Stephen. The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve. Norton. Sept. 2017. 368p. ISBN 9780393240801. $27.95. ebk. ISBN 9780393634587. HISTORY
If anyone can reanimate the famous story of Adam and Eve, it’s Pulitzer Prize winner greenblattGreenblatt, whose eloquence and erudition vivified Renaissance Italy in The Swerve and had us strutting the Elizabethan stage in Will in the World. Here he investigates the deep root of the story, its appearance in written form, and its use by Augustine to ground Christian teaching, all the while clarifying everything from its legacy of misogyny to its representation in art. In the end, we understand what’s made the story so meaningful throughout Western civilization and what’s been lost by dwelling on it. With a six-city tour to Boston, New York, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Portland, OR.

Korda, Michael. Alone: Britain, Churchill, and Dunkirk; Defeat into Victory. Liveright: Norton. Sept. 2017. 564p. ISBN 9781631491320. $29.95. HISTORY
A former editor-in-chief of Simon and Schuster and a best-selling author (e.g., Hero), Korda is from a distinguished Hungarian family but was born and raised in England and had to be evacuated during World War II. Thus, he weaves memoir into his account of a crucial year during the war and indeed the entire century: 1940, when Winston Churchill replaced Neville Chamberlain as prime minister and Germany tramped into France, leaving Britain alone to fight the enemy, as the title indicates. Then there was the turning of “defeat into victory,” as the entire nation rallied for the heroic rescue of more than 300,000 men from the beaches of Dunkirk. Look for op-eds, excerpts, and the July 2017 Imax release of the film Dunkirk.

Sattouf, Riad. The Arab of the Future 3: A Childhood in the Middle East, 1985–1987; A Graphic Memoir. Metropolitan: Holt. Sept. 2017. 160p. ISBN 9781627793537. $27; ebk. ISBN 9781627793544. MEMOIR
First came The Arab of the Future: A Childhood in the Middle East, 1978–1984, then The Arab of the Future: A Childhood in the Middle East, 1984–1985, a Los Angeles Times Book Prize winner. In those works French-Syrian cartoonist Sattouf limned a childhood lived among rural France, Syria, and Libya. Now, in the third volume, young Sattouf is living with his family in his father’s village when taubmanhis mother decides that she wants to move back to France, and his father is caught between her desires and his traditions. Featured at Comic con and for readers everywhere.

Taubman, William. Gorbachev: His Life and Times. Norton. Sept. 2017. 928p. ISBN 9780393647013. $39.95. BIOGRAPHY
Bertrand Snell Professor of Political Science Emeritus at Amherst College, Taubman won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award for Khrushchev: The Man and His Era. Now he’s ready to take on the enigma of Mikhail Gorbachev, who became the leader of the Soviet Union in 1985. This life story is also crucial history, as Taubman shows how a peasant boy grew up to bury Soviet communism, why the system let him, why he wanted to democratize his country, and why he let Eastern Europe go without a fight. Big questions we’ve all been asking.

Tur, Katy. Unbelievable: My Front-Row Seat to the Craziest Campaign in American History. Dey Street: HarperCollins. Sept. 2017. 304p. ISBN 9780062684929. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062684943. POLITICAL SCIENCE
On the pot-holed presidential trail during 2015–16, NBC reporter Tur frequently found herself coming up against Republican candidate Donald Trump, who called her disgraceful, third-rate, not nice, and Little Katy. He even told her to be quiet. During one rally, his attacks became so vicious and his supporters so agitated that Tur had to be escorted to her car by the Secret Service. Incensed viewers responded vigorously by tweeting #imwithtur. Here’s her ringside view of one of the nastiest campaigns in American history. After all those campaign histories written by men, kinda cool to have a woman writing; with a 200,000-copy first printing.

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.

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