Non-Fiction: A Forger, An Apache Chief Who Was Double-Crossed, Da Vinci’s Legacy, Letters to an Artist, and the History of the Cold Warby Larry Cox on Jun. 02, 2010, under Uncategorized
Saved by the Sea: A Love Story With Fish by David Helvarg (Thomas Dunne, $25.95)
David Helvarg is founder and president of the Blue Frontier campaign, a Washington, DC-based organization working for ocean and coastal conservation. In his memoir, he documents where his fight to save the oceans has become a visionary and at times all-consuming cause. He points out that 40% of the world’s oceans are heavily impacted by the activities of humans, large open ocean fish such as shark and marlin have declined 90% since the 1950s due to over-fishing, and that major bleaching of tropical coral reefs and illegal fishing in Fiji and elsewhere have led to the collapse of marine wildlife in many nations’ waters. In addition to fighting to save our oceans, Helvarg also found the time to fall in love. Nancy Ledansky, his soul mate, joined him to help fulfill his conservation goals and when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, she fought battles on two fronts, to save our oceans and to beat her cancer. Unfortunately, she lost her battle with cancer in 2002. This is a heartfelt tribute to the sea’s power and importance in our lives in addition to being a very human story that will resonate in the heart of every reader.
Elvis My Best Man: Radio Days, Rock ‘n’ Roll Nights, and My Lifelong Friendship With Elvis Presley by George Klein with Chuck Crisafulli (Crown, $25)
George Klein met Elvis Presley in 1948 when they were fellow students in Miss Marmann’s eighth grade music appreciation class in North Memphis. They became close friends and remained so until Presley’s death in 1977. Elvis was best man at Klein’s wedding, and as a show of generosity, paid the entire bill for the event. The author, a Memphis native and a pioneering disc jockey and television host, promoted rock ‘n’ roll at a time when it was considered dangerous, immoral and – especially in the South — an unacceptable invitation to the mixing of races. As one of the members of Elvis’ inner circle, he is the last true insider to tell the story of his friendship with Presley. His book, as might be expected, is full of anecdotes and never-before-revealed stories. Chuck Crisafulli is a veteran journalist and co-author of a previous book about Presley, “Me and a Guy Named Elvis.”
Influence: How Women’s Soaring Economic Power Will Transform Our World for the Better by Maddy Dychtwald with Christine Larson (Voice, $24.99)
According to Maddy Dychtwald, a nationally recognized demographer, marketing executive and entrepreneur, women are at the cusp of new financial power and how they use that power could transform our world in ways beyond our wildest imaginations. It is a world that has come about because of the dramatic changes in women’s roles in the family, the workplace, the marketplace, and the world at large. Statistical evidence suggests that this paradigm shift will improve the lives, and fortunes, of both women and men in that more children will have quality health care and education, workplaces will be more responsible to families, men will experience new freedoms and opportunities to pursue more meaningful careers, and corporations and nations led by women will remain relevant and thrive. This highly readable book provides a new model of how the economic rise of women will take womanpower to a new level and how that power is used will determine to a great degree the quality of life that we share.
Chief Loco: A Pache Peacemaker by Bud Shapard (University of Oklahoma Press, $39.95)
In this new addition to The Civilization of the American Indian series, Bud Shepard, historian and former Chief of the Branch of Acknowledgment and Research in the Bureau of Indian Affairs, documents the life of Jlin-tay-i-tith, better known as Loco, the only Apache leader to make a lasting peace with both Americans and Mexicans. During the mid-to-late nineteenth century, Loco tried to steer his followers along a path that did not conflict with the policies of the United States government. Even as other Apache leaders including Geronimo raided and sought to undermine his efforts, this visionary chief, mainly motivated by the love that he had for his children, maintained his commitment to keep Apache families safe from wartime dangers. Even though he was willing to accept reservation life, he ended his days as a prisoner of war after being betrayed by the U.S. government that branded him as hostile. This remarkable book is based on extensive research which included interviews with Loco’s grandsons and other descendants. This highly readable account brings into focus a leader who was ahead of his time and paid the ultimate price for pursuing his struggle.
House Beautiful Fabrics for your Home: 340 Designer Favorites by Jennifer Boles (Hearst Books, $16.95)
Featuring advice from more than 60 top designers, this nifty little gem of a book promises to pull the look of a room together with the help of picking the right fabrics. Twenty-four focal fabrics are paired with seven complementary mix-and-match fabrics, supplying an instant designer-approved look. There is also insider advice on how to think about color, pattern, and palette. With 340 swatches indentified by designer, distributor, name, color, and material, transforming the look of your family home has never been more accessible.
How Did You Get This Number by Sloane Crosley (Riverhead Books, $25.95)
Sloane Crosley, who following the literary debut of “I Was Told There’d Be Cake” was dubbed the new master of nonfiction situational comedy, is back with a new book that might just better than her first. Filled with wit and charm, the loveably neurotic helplessly impulsive Crosley takes readers along on her misadventures in Manhattan with a few side trips to such destinations as Lisbon, Paris, and Anchorage. In Anchorage, the author quickly believes that “bear bells” meant to warn off dangerous are silly, silly until she finds herself face-to-face with a grizzly. This no-holds barred story is full of warmth, humor, and poignancy. It is laugh-out-loud funny, leaving readers impatiently waiting for a third book from this promising writer.
The Most Dangerous Place: Pakistan’s Lawless Frontier by Imtiaz Gul (Viking, $26.95)
Imtiaz Gul, a seasoned reporter who has written about Islamist groups in Pakistan and Afghanistan since the 1980s, takes readers into an area that borders Afghanistan, known as FATA or the Federally Administered Areas, where the Taliban has set up a min-state, one of the most dangerous areas on the planet. Despite the fact that Obama and members of his administration have tried to formulate a policy that will turn the tide in Afghanistan, Gul provides convincing evidence that Afghanistan and Pakistan have become intertwined and the area overrun with lawless tribal members that threaten not just Obama’s agenda but world peace as well. This is a disturbing book that raises disturbing questions. Based on hundreds of interviews with key players, “The Most Dangerous Place” is one of the first concise and accurate views of Pakistan and its ascent into chaos and all that that entails, not just for the security our country but for the rest of the world as well.
Dear James: Letters to a Young Illustrator by R.O. Blechman (Simon & Schuster, $21)
R.O. Blechman is an acclaimed illustrator and frequent contributor to such publications as The New York Times, The New Yorker, and Harper’s Bazaar. When Blechman’s son asked him why he didn’t write something like Rilke’s “Letters to a Young Poet,” but for illustrators, he accepted the challenge. When James, a young man contacts Blechman asking for a critique of his work, a series of congenial, accessible, newsy, but firmly instructive letters are triggered that offers him advice about both art and life. Blechman claims that one does not set out to create a masterpiece, one sets out, that’s all. He adds that the better reason to keep your day job is that when you’re not working on your art – when you’re not thinking about it – your unconscious will be working on it. This inspiriting collection of letters is a charming and generous addition to an already legendary career.
Leonardo’s Legacy: How Da Vinci Reimagined the World by Stefan Klein with translation by Shelley Frisch (Da Capo, $26)
Leonardo Da Vinci mastered it all. He was a painter, sculptor, scientist, inventor, and writer. Although much is known about the contributions Da Vinci made to both art and science, his thinking process and the facts of his personal life are sketchy at best. With the incredible international success of Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code,” an increasing number of people have become curious about this incredible genius. Stefan Klein, a Berlin-based science writer, explains how Da Vinci’s lateral thinking and child-like wonder allowed him to make connections that were unfathomable to most people. He also offers readers the chance to see the world through the eyes of the master. This meticulously researched and well crafted book is entertaining as well as informative.
Healing Hearts: A Memoir of a Female Heart Surgeon by Kathy E. Magliato, MD (Broadway, $24)
Dr. Kathy E. Magliato is director of women’s cardiac services at Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California. She is one of just a handful of female heart surgeons practicing in the world today and as a member of an even more exclusive group, one of the few cardiothoracic surgeons specially trained to perform heart transplants. After her very first heart surgery she knew this would be her chosen specialty. As she explains in “Healing Hearts, when she wrapped her hand around that heart she knew that it was love at first touch and she began devoting her life to touching and healing the human heart in every way. From the ninety-four year-old woman with heart failure, to the baby born with a hole in its heart, Dr. Magliato has remained professional yet compassionate, treating her patients’ hearts in both the literal and figurative senses of the world. This powerful, moving memoir is more than just case histories. Dr. Magliato sheds new light on a medical epidemic, cardiovascular disease, the number one killer of women in America.
The Boy Who Would Be Shakespeare: A Tale of Forgery and Folly by Doug Stewart (Da Capo, $24.95)
When William Shakespeare’s died in 1616, not a single page in his writing survived. Not a page, not a couplet. There were no play scripts, no letters, no diary entries. In fact, everything was lost to history except for a handful of signatures, all on legal documents. This scarcity of materials triggered a yearning of English literary scholars to find even the smallest sample in Shakespeare’s own hand. Enter stage left nineteen-year-old William-Henry Ireland, a frustrated lawyer’s apprentice, who during the winter of 1795 handed his father, a Shakespeare enthusiast, a heavily worn and creased sheet of paper purportedly signed by Shakespeare himself. He claimed the document had been found in an old trunk owned by a wealthy gentleman who insisted on anonymity. That simple act of forgery set in motion a chain of event that culminated in William-Henry Ireland going down in history as the greatest literary forger of all time. Following the first document came dozens of other fakes, even a so-called new play. Even though the forgeries fooled experts, the ruse eventually came crashing down following a “premiere” at London’s Drury Lane Theatre. This is a wonderfully crafted book that documents the life of a young man who didn’t set out to become a forger but merely served them up to please his father.
The Atlantic and Its Enemies: A History of the Cold War by Norman Stone (Basic Books, $35)
Norman Stone, author of “World War One: A Short History, The Eastern Front, 1914-1917, and “Europe Transformed,” opens his latest work with the brutal winter of 1946-47. As wartime food rationing continued, thousands of Europeans starved, fuel shortages were routine, and inflation escalated. These conditions provided the perfect storm that gave birth to the Cold War. Following three decades of research, Stone documents the vast political, social and economic transformations that occurred between the end of WWII and through the early 1990s. What gives this hefty 668-page book its literary legs is how the author has vividly captured the atmosphere of the time and the moral and political crises that tempered strategies on both sides of the Atlantic. “The Atlantic and Its Enemies” is full of surprises. For example, Stone believes that Margaret Thatcher, Charles de Gaulle and Helmet Schmidt are three of the few heroes of the Cold War era and that 1968 was a decisive year that set the course for the following two decades.