New Nonfiction Books – April 2010

Ancient Greece: A History in Eleven Cities Paul Cartledge, 938 CAR 2009 – Ancient Greek civilization was defined by the city—around 1,000 cities then existed. This is its most enduring legacy along with the concepts of aristocracy, oligarchy, tyranny and democracy.

As If an Enemy’s Country: The British Occupation of Boston and the Origins of Revolution Richard Archer, 973.3 ARC 2010 – On October 1, 1768, British troops landed in Boston and occupied the city for seventeen months.  The presence of these troops caused a symbolic and psychological shift of profound consequence.

The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine Michael Lewis, 330.973 LEW 2010 – When the crash of the U.S. Stock market became public knowledge in the fall of 2008, it was already old news.  The real crash had already taken place in the bond and real estate derivative markets.

Blood, Iron, and Gold: How the Railroads Transformed the World Christian Wolmar, 385.09 WOL 2010 – The railroad truly marked the dawn of a new age.  The birth of the railroads changed the face of the world and the way people lived.

Chasing the White Dog: An Amateur Outlaw’s Adventures in Moonshine Max Watman, 363.41 WAT 2010 – A lively look at the characters who make up white whiskey’s lore throughout American history.  The story begins in Monongahela, PA where drunk and armed outlaws gathered in the summer of 1794.

Country Driving: A Journey Through China from Farm to Factory Peter Hessler, 951.96 HES 2010 – A look at the new China as the automobile and new roads are transforming the nation.  Over a period of years, the author drove 7,000 miles through cities and rural areas.  Fascinating.

The Devil and Sherlock Holmes David Grann, 814.6 GRA 2010 – The author of The Lost City of Z relates his attemps to solve a dozen real-life mysteries.

Flawless: Inside the Largest Diamond Heist in History Scott Andrew Selby and Greg Campbell, 364.162 SEL 2010 – The Antwerp Diamond Center was one of the most secure buildings in the world.  On February 15, 2003, Italian thieves made off with at least half a billion dollars in diamonds, cash and valuables.

For the Soul of France: Culture Wars in the Age of Dreyfus Frederick Brown, 944.081 BRO 2010 – A look at the twilight years of the nineteenth century and the decades-long struggle in France, following its defeat by Prussia in 1871.

Freefall: America, Free Markets, and the Sinking of the World Economy Joseph Stiglitz, 330.973 STI 2010 – The Nobel Prize-winning author traces the origins of the Great Recession and demolishes the contention that America needs more bailouts.   A look ahead at choices that can make a difference.

The Hidden Brain: How Our Unconscious Minds Elect Presidents, Control Markets, Wage Wars, and Save Our Lives Shankar Vedantam, 154.2 VED 2010 – What if our actions are driven, not by our conscious values and beliefs, but by hidden motivations we are not even aware of?

Jane’s Fame: How Jane Austen Conquered the World Claire Harman, 823.7 HAR 2010 – A look at the wondrous world of Jane Austen.

Making Rounds with Oscar:  The Extraordinary Gift of an Ordinary Cat David Rosa, 636.8 DOS 2010 – It seemed that Oscar was an ordinary cat when he arrived at the Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Rhode Island.  But he possesses an extraordinary gift.

Manufacturing Depression: The Secret History of a Modern Disease Gary Greenberg, 362.25 GRE 2010 – Many people ask themselves if their unhappiness is a disease that can, and should, be treated by medication. The author presents an insightful look at this question based on his experiences as a psychotherapist and as a depression patient.

Megadisasters: The Science of Predicting the Next Catastrophe Florin Diacu,904.5 DIA 2010 – Catastrophes catch us by surprise.  Here’s a look at the groundbreaking science behind the efforts to forecast major disasters and minimize their destruction.

No Apology: The Case for American Greatness Mitt Romney, 320.6 ROM 2010 – The former Massachusetts governor outlines his ideas for a renewed America.

No One Would Listen: A True Financial Thriller  Harry Markopolos, 364.16 MAR 2010 – For ten years, the author and his investigative team tried to warn the government, the financial industry and the press that the largest hedge fund in history was a total fraud.  He warned that Bernie Madoff was a crook, but could find no one who would listen.

The Poisoner’s Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York Deborah Blum, 614.13 BLU 2010 – In early-twentieth-century New York, poisons offered an easy path to the perfect crime. The appointment of chief medical examiner Charles Norris in 1918 was the beginning of  the discipline of forensics.

Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth About the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity James Hansen,363.738 HAN 2009 – A leading scientist states that climate change is happening more rapidly than previously acknowledged.

That Crumpled Paper Was Due Last Week:  Helping Disorganized and Distracted Boys Succeed in School and Life Ana Homayoun, 649.132 HOM 2010 – The author, an academic counselor who has helped unfocused boys learn how to consistently meet their personal and academic challenges, explains how to get back to the basics.

The Tudors: The Complete Story of England’s Most Notorious Dynasty G. J. Meyer, 942.05 MEY 2010 – The reality, in all its wild excesses, of the young Henry Tudor, who claimed the throne in 1485 and his descendants, including the notorious Henry VIII and the remarkable Elizabeth I.

The Vikings: A History Robert Ferguson, 948.022 FER 2009 – Legend and fact from the distant age of the mysterious and violent Scandinavian Vikings.

Voodoo Histories: The Role of the Conspiracy Theory in Shaping Modern History David Aaronovitch, 909.826 AAR 2010 – An insightful examination of a dozen modern-day conspiracies.  Read this one along with American Conspiracies by Jesse Ventura.

Water: The Epic Struggle for Wealth, Power, and Civilization Steven Solomon, 333.91 SOL 2010 – The control of water wealth throughout history has been pivotal to the rise and fall of great powers, the achievements of civilization and the quality of  the lives of ordinary people.

You Say More Than You Think: A 7-Day Plan for Using the New Body Language to Get What You Want Janine Driver with Mariska Van Aalst, 153.69 DRI 2010 – What does your body say to the outside world?  How do your actions help, or hurt, you?