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History & Politics

Operation Dark Heart by Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer

Despite receiving Army clearance to publish, Shaffer found himself under attack by the DIA, NSA, and CIA, who asserted that his book contained state secrets. The Defense Department spent $47,300 to purchase and destroy the entire first printing. While Shaffer fights to get the original republished, this redacted edition gives us a glimpse of what they didn't want us reading.

Reviewed by: 
Jocelyn
Operation Dark Heart: Spycraft and Special Ops on the Frontlines of Afghanistan -- and The Path to Victory Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9780312606916
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: St. Martin's Griffin - October 11th, 2011

The Boy in the Moon by Ian Brown

This memoir struck me on so many levels—not just for its exquisite and textured writing but also for its powerful honesty and startling frankness. Ian Brown’s son Walker was born with an extremely rare genetic syndrome. To his parents, caregivers, and even his doctors, Walker is a mystery, unable to speak and truly communicate; his disease makes Walker and his needs, feelings and even his symptomatology a complete unknown. As investigative journalist, Ian turns his focus to the disease, traveling the world to meet with the few doctors and parents of children who know CFC (cardiofaciocutaneous), and becomes immersed in this community. He comes to find the value of every human life, and begins to accept the wonder and love of Walker just as he is.

Reviewed by: 
S.M.C.
The Boy in the Moon: A Father's Journey to Understand His Extraordinary Son Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780312675417
Availability: Out of Print
Published: St. Martin's Griffin - July 17th, 2012

Blue Nights by Joan Didion

In Blue Nights, Didion again writes about loss and grief—this time focusing in on the death of her daughter, Quintana Roo. Like The Year of Magical Thinking there is an unflinching honesty to Didion’s voice. book groups especially will be drawn in to discuss the complexity of Didion’s narrative structure. Her writing is layered and rhythmic, so we are handed sentences and words that repeat and spiral. It is as if Didion could not help herself, writing in overlapping threads of memories and moments that cannot be separated from the life and love of a person who is so suddenly absent. Blue Nights is haunting and singular—a book whose very inertia is in the complex filter of a life sifted through loss. Didion has handed us a compilation of grief—an assembly that is determined and striking, and will ring familiar to anyone that has had to form their own narrative around holding on and letting go.
Reviewed by: 
S.M.C.
Blue Nights Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780307387387
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Vintage - May 29th, 2012

The Time Traveler's Guide to Medieval England by Ian Mortimer

Where are you going to take your vacation this year? Disneyland’s too crowded, and Paris is overdone. Wait-how about a when, instead of a where? Oh, well, I guess a where and a when. I’ve got to tell you, I’ve got the perfect guide too. Local customs, idioms, the best food, where to stay–read this and it’s like you’d actually lived there. Where do you want to go this summer?
Reviewed by: 
Jocelyn
The Time Traveler's Guide to Medieval England: A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9781439112908
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Touchstone - October 25th, 2011

The House of Wisdom by Jim al-Khalil

Al-Khalil traces the origins of foundational scientific concepts throughout the Arabic world beginning centuries before the European Renaissance. Everything from the circulation system, to the heliocentric model of the solar system. How did the same discoveries made by the Europeans, years and centuries later, eclipse those of the Arabic world? Fascinating.
Reviewed by: 
Jocelyn
The House of Wisdom: How Arabic Science Saved Ancient Knowledge and Gave Us the Renaissance Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780143120568
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Penguin Books - March 27th, 2012

Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo

This vividly detailed book follows the lives of several slum dwellers, all with different positions and castes, whose lives intersect through one event. Boo completely removes herself from the narrative, letting the people pull you in, and the result is a fascinating look at a violently different culture that reads like a novel. This is non-fiction at its best.

Reviewed by: 
Flannery
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Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, death, and hope in a Mumbai undercity Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781400067558
Availability: Backordered
Published: Random House - February 7th, 2012

Nerd Do Well by Simon Peg

Yes of course this book is funny, but it's also bursting with tales of a whole generation of comics and artists, not to mention Peg's own charming, raucous, and occasionally ridiculous history.

Reviewed by: 
Erin
Nerd Do Well: A Small Boy's Journey to Becoming a Big Kid Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9781592407194
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
Published: Avery - June 5th, 2012

Area 51 by Annie Jacobsen

There’s nothing like a good secret—more satisfying than philosophical truth, more personal than a mystery. And it’s hard to find a secret bigger than Area 51. Jacobsen uses extensive, recently declassified documentation and interviews with former Area 51 workers to unearth a (still operational) Cold War–era research, development, and testing site. Not all the secrets of 51 are here, but there are enough to make you hungry for more. The truth is still out there.
Reviewed by: 
Jocelyn
Area 51: An Uncensored History of America's Top Secret Military Base Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780316202305
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Back Bay Books - May 1st, 2012

The Influencing Machine by Brooke Gladstone & Josh Neufeld

Brooke Gladstone, of public radio’s outstanding On the Media, is a bit obsessed with all things media related, and her new graphic nonfiction book, The Influencing Machine, is a clear, entertaining, and sharply articulated look at the subject she loves best. Her central thesis is that we are the media, and our beliefs, choices, and prejudices are responsible for its construction. This raises an interesting question: How do we approach a media that is as messy, contradictory, and confusing as we are? Read on and find out.
Reviewed by: 
Kat
The Influencing Machine: Brooke Gladstone on the Media Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780393342468
Availability: Out of Print
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - May 7th, 2012

In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson

There is no other historical writer like Erik Larson. He goes to great lengths to present the diary entries, letters, and other accounts from his research in such a candid, prose-like manner that one cannot help but forget that one is in fact reading nonfiction. In the Garden of Beasts brings to life the lurid contrast between the “roaring ’20s” feel of 1930s Berlin and the juggernaut of the Third Reich’s growing menace.

Reviewed by: 
Kimberly
In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780307408853
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Crown - May 1st, 2012

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