History, Biography, Memoir, Religion | Barbara’s Nonfiction Picks, Nov. 2018

Anderson, Jon Lee (text) & José Hernández (illus.). Che: A Revolutionary Life. Penguin Pr. Nov. 2018. 432p. ISBN 9780735221772. $35; ebk. ISBN 9780525560920. GN/BIOGRAPHY
New Yorker staffer Anderson has written frequently about Latin America, His reporting facilitated the discovery of Che’s skeletal remains three decades after they were secretly buried in Bolivia, and he’s also profiled the likes of Augusto Pinochet, Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez, and Gabriel García Márquez. Here Anderson joins with award-winning political cartoonist Hernández, based in Mexico, to tell the life of revolutionary leader Che Guevara.

Brand, H.W. Heirs of the Founders: The Epic Rivalry of Henry Clay, John Calhoun and Daniel Webster, the Second Generation of American Giants. Doubleday. Nov. 2018. 432p. ISBN 978038554253. $30; ebk. ISBN 9780385542548. lrg. prnt. CD/downloadable. HISTORY
Two-time Pulitzer prize finalist Brand looks at three leaders who took over from the Founding Father—eloquent Daniel Webster of Massachusetts, westward-looking Henry Clay of Kentucky, and South Carolina’s John Calhoun. The big problems they argued about: the Constitution’s ambivalence regarding the ultimate source of authority, the state or the nation, and the blatant contradiction between the nation’s professed ideals and slavery.

Delbanco, Andrew. The War Before the War: Fugitive Slaves and the Struggle for America’s Soul from the Revolution to the Civil War. Penguin Pr. Nov. 2018. 512p. ISBN 9781594204050. $30; ebk. ISBN 9780525560302. Downloadable. HISTORY
That slaves repeatedly fled north to freedom showed the hollowness of America’s stance as free and united. Even more contradictory and ultimately divisive: the Fugitive Slave Act compelling the return to Southerners of their so-called property. Leading scholar Delbanco, given the National Humanities Medal in 2012, considers the implementation and consequences of the act.

Leader, Zachary. The Life of Saul Bellow: Love and Strife, 1965–2005. Knopf. Nov. 2018. 784p. ISBN 9781101875162. $40; ebk. ISBN 9781101875179. BIOGRAPHY
A Pulitzer Prize finalist currently teaching at Roehampton University in Great Britain, Leader has chronicled writers from William Blake to Kingsley Amis to Saul Bellow himself, in the first volume of the biography he wraps up here (“A necessary work for any reader interested in 20th-century literature or literary biography,” LJ 5/1/15). This second volume shows Bellow writing some of his greatest fiction in his later years and also details his tumultuous personal life.

Miles, Jack. God in the Qur’an. Knopf. Nov. 2018. 272p. ISBN 9780307269577. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9780525521617. Downloadable. RELIGION
The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of God: A Biography knows his stuff; a MacArthur Fellow, he studied religion at Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, and the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, and holds a doctorate in Near Eastern languages from Harvard University. Here, in the third in a trilogy (after God and Christ), he clarifies what is distinctive about Allah (less mercurial than Yahweh and slower to forgive than Jesus) while showing how he belongs in their traditions.

Yousafzai, Ziauddin with Louise Carpenter. What Love Teaches Me. Little, Brown. Nov. 2018. 144p. ISBN 9780316450508. $25; ebk. ISBN 9780316450485. lib. ebk. ISBN 9780316450706. Downloadable. MEMOIR
Yousafzai isn’t just a Pakistani diplomat, educator, educational activist, and human rights campaigner; he’s also the father of Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai. Here he explains what he has learned from his daughter, even as clarifies his own beliefs: “I come from a family in which my gender made me special. But I did not want to be special for this reason.”

 

 

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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.

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