New Nonfiction – July 2008

Against Happiness: In Praise of Melancholy Eric G. Wilson – Are Americans addicted to happiness? Are we supposed to always be happy?

April 4, 1968: Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Death and How It Changed America Michael Eric Dyson – A review of the impact of the death of the leader whose last speech ended with, “I may not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight, that we as a people will get to the Promised Land.”

Bad Money: Reckless Finance, Failed Politics, and the Global Crisis of American Capitalism Kevin Phillips – Has the financial sector hijacked the American economy and put the country’s future at risk?

Bastard Tongues: A Trailblazing Linguist Finds Clues to Our Common Humanity in the World’s Lowliest Languages Derek Bickerton – The firsthand story of the scientific investigation of what language is, how it works, and how it passes from generation to generation.

The Blue Zone: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who’ve Lived the Longest Dan Buettner – The author relates nine lessons that can help individuals have a longer life.

Cancer on Five Dollars a Day* (*Chemo Not Included) How Humor Got Me Through the Toughest Journey of My Life Robert Schimmel – A stand-up comedian is confronted with stage III non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

The Candy Bombers: The Untold Story of the Berlin Airlift and America’s Finest Hour Andrei Cherny – The saga of the men who made the Berlin Airlift a great military and humanitarian success.

The China Price: The True Cost of Chinese Competitive Advantage Alexandra Harney – How can China offer low prices on goods to the rest of the world?

Covert: My Years Infiltrating the Mob Bob Delaney – Currently an NBA referee, the author relates his tale as an undercover agent who infiltrated the New Jersey Mob.

Forward from Here: Leaving Middle Age—and Other Unexpected Adventures  Reeve Lindbergh – As the author turns sixty, she reflects on what her mother, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, once described as “the youth of old age.”

The Great Arab Conquests: How the Spread of Islam Changed the World We Live In Hugh Kennedy – A readable history of the Islamic expansion that created an empire from Spain to China.

Girls Like Us: Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon and the Journey of a Generation Sheila Weller – Although these three women were the musical representatives of the girls who came of age in the 1960s, each artist is portrayed individually.

Havanas in Camelot: Personal Essays William Styron – A collection of the late author’s essays including the title essay about the cigar smoking President Kennedy.

Human Smoke: The Beginnings of World War II, the End of CivilizationNicholas Baker – A wide-ranging chronological look at the political and social landscape that gave rise to World War II .

In Arabian Nights: A Caravan of Moroccan Dreams Tahir Shah – Tahir travels across Morocco and collects traditional stories and reveals the layers of culture of which most visitors are unaware.

Ladies of Liberty: The Women Who Shaped Our Nation Cokie Roberts – The story of early America’s influential women and their public roles and private responsibilities.

Liberty of Conscience: In Defense of America’s Tradition of Religious Equality Martha C. Nussbaum – Is the legacy of religious freedom that was a triumph of early American history in danger?

Maps and Legends: Reading and Writing Along the Borderlands Michael Chabon – Essays celebrating the creativity and verve of various authors and literary traditions.

Mistaken Identity: Two Families, One Survivor, Unwavering Hope Don Van Ryn – From a national news case, the story of two families whose daughters were misidentified and one was buried under the wrong name.

Pure Goldwater John W. Dean and Barry M. Goldwater, Jr. – The writings of the presidential candidate and an early leader of the conservative movement.

Reappraisals: Reflections on the Forgotten Twentieth Century Tony Judt – Today’s world is so unlike the world of even 20 years ago that we are now part of an “age of forgetting.”

Retribution: The Battle for Japan, 1944-45 Max Hastings – The final year of the Pacific war by a notable author.

Staring at the Sun: Overcoming the Terror of Death Irvin D. Yalom – An encouraging approach to the universal issue of mortality.

The Ten Most Beautiful Experiments George Johnson – Ten of the most fascinating experiments in the history of science are depicted by the New York Times science writer.

Time Bandit: Two Brothers, the Bering Sea and One of the World’s Deadliest Jobs Andy and Johnathan Hillstrand – Fishing in the Bering Sea is a lucrative, but deadly occupation. Two of the masters of this trade have been the focus of TV’s Deadliest Catch and relate the background story of their life’s work.

Twenty Chickens for a Saddle: The Story of an African Childhood Robyn Scott – When the author was 7-years-old, her family decided to move from New Zealand to a converted cowshed in rural Botswana.

Uncertain Peril: Genetic Engineering and the Future of Seeds Claire Hope Cummings – The stories behind the rise of industrial agriculture and plant biotechnology are related along with a description of the Arctic Doomsday Vault that houses millions of seeds.

The World that Made New Orleans: From Spanish Silver to Congo Square Ned Sublette – The remarkable tale of the New Orleans’ first century.