New Nonfiction – May 2009

13 Things That Don’t Make Sense: The Most Baffling Scientific Mysteries of Our Time Michael Brooks, 502 BRO 2008 – A look at the frontiers of science where there may be breakthroughs in the near future.

An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith Barbara Brown Taylor, 248.4 TAY 2009 – A noted author and Episcopal priest discovers the sacred in the small things we do and see.

A Comrade Lost and Found: A Beijing Story Jan Wong, 951 WON 2009 – As a foreign student in Beijing during the Cultural Revolution, the author was asked by a young woman about getting into the United States. To her lasting regret, Wong turned her into the authorities.

Confessions of an Alien Hunter: A Scientist’s Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Seth Shotak, 576.8 SHO 2009 – The senior astronomer at the SETI Institute pits scientific truth against speculation and delivers some important news on the current state of our knowledge.

The Gamble: General David Petraeus and the American Military Adventure in Iraq, 2006-2008 Thomas E. Ricks, 956.7044 RIC 2009 – The author of Fiasco recounts the inside story of the Iraq war since late 2005 and the launching of the surge strategy.

The Gardner Heist: The True Story of the World Largest Unsolved Art Theft Ulrich Boser, 364.162 BOS 2008 – Shortly after midnight on March 18, 1990, two men broke into the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston and committed the largest art heist in history. The mystery is still unsolved.

The Great Decision: Jefferson, Adams, Marshall, and the Battle for the Supreme Court Cliff Sloan and David McKean, 347.73 SLO 2009 – The power of the Supreme Court was established as John Marshall laid the cornerstone of the distinctive American rule of law in the case of Marbury v. Madison.

How God Changes Your Brain: Breakthrough Findings from a Leading Neuroscientist Andrew Newberg and Mark Robert Waldman, 612.8 NEW 2009 – Based on evidence culled from brain-scan studies, and other research, the authors have concluded that positive spiritual belief changes the human brain for the better.

How We Decide Jonah Lehrer, 153.83 LEH 2009 – How does the human mind make decisions? How can we make those decisions better?

Lucy’s Legacy: The Quest for Human Origins Donald C. Johanson, 569.9 JOH 2009 – Groundbreaking discoveries that are transforming our understanding of how humans have evolved.

The Madness of March: Bonding and Betting with the Boys in Las Vegas Alan Jay Zaremba, 796.323 ZAR 2009 – And you thought the madness was on the basketball court.

Madness Under the Royal Palms: Love and Death Behind the Gates of Palm Beach Laurence Leamer, 305.5234 LEA 2009 – An inside look at an exclusive enclave of wealth and privilege.

No Angel: My Harrowing Undercover Journey to the Inner Circle of the Hells Angels Jay Dobyns and Nils Johnson-Shelton, 364.106 DOB 2009 – The author was the first federal agent to infiltrate the inner circle of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club.

Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue: The Untold History of English John McWhorter, 420.9 MCW 2009 – Hundreds of years of fascinating language lore is found in this lively history of the English language.

Out of Captivity: Surviving 1,967 Days in the Colombian Jungle Marc Gonsalves, Keith Stansell and Tom Howes, 986.1 GON 2009 – Three American contractors crash-landed in the jungle of Colombia and became prisoners of the terrorist group, FARC, for over five years.

Passing Strange: A Gilded Age Tale of Love and Deception Across the Color Line Martha A. Sandweiss, 305.896 SAN 2009 – The noted 19th century scientist, Clarence King, led a double life: as a white explorer and geologist and as a black Pullman porter and steelworker named James Todd.

The Persian Night: Iran Under the Khomeinist Revolution Amir Taheri, 955.054 TAH 2009 – Who really rules Iran? A look at one of the most secretive regimes in the world traces the historical, religious, cultural, and political roots of the current power structure.

Plain, Honest Men: The Making of the American Constitution Richard Beeman, 973.313 BEE 2009 – The title comes from a quote by Pennsylvania delegate Robert Morris as he describes the summer of 1787 and their work to form a radically new form of government.

Practicing Catholic James Carroll, 282 CAR 2009 – The author recounts his own personal story as a young priest and discusses the transformation of the Catholic Church.

A Saint on Death Row: The Story of Dominique Green Thomas Cahill, 364.66 CAH 2009 – Imprisoned on death row for his role in a fatal shooting during a robbery, 18-year-old Green was transformed by the time of his execution at the age of 30.

Uncommon: Finding Your Path to Significance Tony Dungy, 170.44 DUN 2009 – The noted football coach discusses what is really important in each person’s life.

Vanished Smile: The Mysterious Theft of Mona Lisa R.A. Scotti, 759.5 SCO 2009 – On August 21, 1911, the unthinkable happened — the Mona Lisa vanished from the Louvre. The theft captured the imagination of the world. Here’s the story.

Vicksburg 1863 Winston Groom, 973.7 GRO 2009 – The important Battle of Vicksburg permanently turned the tide of the Civil War. An engrossing narrative.

Where Our Food Comes From: Retracing Nikolay Vavilov’s Quest to End Famine Gary Paul Nabhan, 581.632 NAB 2009 – A pioneer in the effort to buffer humankind against widespread famine was imprisoned by Stalin. The author tells this extraordinary story along with his own efforts to ensure that the seeds which are the future of our food are preserved.

Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the Twenty-First Century P. W. Singer, 355.020112 SIN 2009 – What happens when science fiction starts to become reality on the battlefield?

You Are Here: A Portable History of the Universe Christopher Potter, 523.1 LYO 2009 – The life of the universe, now 13.7 billion years old.