What’s New – Non-Fiction

Black Klansman

The New York Times Bestseller!

The extraordinary true story and basis for the major motion picture BlacKkKlansman, written and directed by Spike Lee, produced by Jordan Peele, and starring John David Washington and Adam Driver.

When detective Ron Stallworth, the first black detective in the history of the Colorado Springs Police Department, comes across a classified ad in the local paper asking for all those interested in joining the Ku Klux Klan to contact a P.O. box, Detective Stallworth does his job and responds with interest, using his real name while posing as a white man. He figures he’ll receive a few brochures in the mail, maybe even a magazine, and learn more about a growing terrorist threat in his community.

A few weeks later the office phone rings, and the caller asks Ron a question he thought he’d never have to answer, “Would you like to join our cause?” This is 1978, and the KKK is on the rise in the United States. Its Grand Wizard, David Duke, has made a name for himself, appearing on talk shows, and major magazine interviews preaching a “kinder” Klan that wants nothing more than to preserve a heritage, and to restore a nation to its former glory.

Ron answers the caller’s question that night with a yes, launching what is surely one of the most audacious, and incredible undercover investigations in history. Ron recruits his partner Chuck to play the “white” Ron Stallworth, while Stallworth himself conducts all subsequent phone conversations. During the months-long investigation, Stallworth sabotages cross burnings, exposes white supremacists in the military, and even befriends David Duke himself.

Black Klansman is an amazing true story that reads like a crime thriller, and a searing portrait of a divided America and the extraordinary heroes who dare to fight back.

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The Fighters

“Unflinching, insightful, and humane. I can think of no other book that takes as its charge so ambitious a goal: to take the full measure of America’s wars in this new century. A landmark work.”—Doug Stanton, New York Times bestselling author of The Odyssey of Echo Company

Pulitzer Prize winner C.J. Chivers’ unvarnished account of modern combat, told through the eyes of the fighters who have waged America’s longest wars.

More than 2.7 million Americans have served in Afghanistan or Iraq since September 11, 2001. C.J. Chivers reported from both wars from their beginnings. The Fighters vividly conveys the physical and emotional experience of war as lived by six combatants: a fighter pilot, a corpsman, a scout helicopter pilot, a grunt, an infantry officer, and a Special Forces sergeant.

Chivers captures their courage, commitment, sense of purpose, and ultimately their suffering, frustration, and moral confusion as new enemies arise and invasions give way to counterinsurgency duties for which American forces were often not prepared.

The Fighters is a tour de force, a portrait of modern warfare that parts from slogans to do for American troops what Stephen Ambrose did for the G.I.s of World War II and Michael Herr for the grunts in Vietnam. Told with the empathy and understanding of an author who is himself an infantry veteran, The Fighters presents the long arc of two wars.

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King Con

The spellbinding tale of hustler Edgar Laplante—the king of Jazz Age con artists—who becomes the victim of his own dangerous game.

Edgar Laplante was a smalltime grifter, an erstwhile vaudeville performer, and an unabashed charmer. But after years of playing thankless gigs and traveling with medicine shows, he decided to undertake the most demanding and bravura performance of his life. In the fall of 1917, Laplante reinvented himself as Chief White Elk: war hero, sports star, civil rights campaigner, Cherokee nation leader—and total fraud.

Under the pretenses of raising money for struggling Native American reservations, Laplante dressed in buckskins and a feathered headdress and traveled throughout the American West, narrowly escaping exposure and arrest each time he left town. When the heat became too much, he embarked upon a lucrative continent-hopping tour that attracted even more enormous crowds, his cons growing in proportion to the adulation of his audience. As he moved through Europe, he spied his biggest mark on the Riviera: a prodigiously rich Hungarian countess, who was instantly smitten with the con man. The countess bankrolled a lavish trip through Italy that made Laplante a darling of the Mussolini regime and a worldwide celebrity, soaring to unimaginable heights on the wings of his lies. But then, at the pinnacle of his improbable success, Laplante’s overreaching threatened to destroy him…
 
In King Con, Paul Willetts brings this previously untold story to life in all its surprising absurdity, showing us how our tremendous capacity for belief and our longstanding obsession with celebrity can make fools of us all—and proving that sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.

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Ninety-Nine Glimpses of Princess Margaret

A witty and profound portrait of the most talked-about English royal

She made John Lennon blush and Marlon Brando tongue-tied. She iced out Princess Diana and humiliated Elizabeth Taylor. Andy Warhol photographed her. Jack Nicholson offered her cocaine. Gore Vidal revered her. Francis Bacon heckled her. Peter Sellers was madly in love with her. For Pablo Picasso, she was the object of sexual fantasy.

Princess Margaret aroused passion and indignation in equal measures. To her friends, she was witty and regal. To her enemies, she was rude and demanding. In her 1950s heyday, she was seen as one of the most glamorous and desirable women in the world. By the time of her death in 2002, she had come to personify disappointment. One friend said he had never known an unhappier woman. The tale of Princess Margaret is Cinderella in reverse: hope dashed, happiness mislaid, life mishandled.

Such an enigmatic and divisive figure demands a reckoning that is far from the usual fare. Combining interviews, parodies, dreams, parallel lives, diaries, announcements, lists, catalogues, and essays, Craig Brown’s Ninety-Nine Glimpses of Princess Margaret is a kaleidoscopic experiment in biography and a witty meditation on fame and art, snobbery and deference, bohemia and high society.

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Fly Girls

The untold story of five women who fought to compete against men in the high-stakes national air races of the 1920s and 1930s — and won

Between the world wars, no sport was more popular, or more dangerous, than airplane racing. Thousands of fans flocked to multi‑day events, and cities vied with one another to host them. The pilots themselves were hailed as dashing heroes who cheerfully stared death in the face. Well, the men were hailed. Female pilots were more often ridiculed than praised for what the press portrayed as silly efforts to horn in on a manly, and deadly, pursuit. Fly Girls recounts how a cadre of women banded together to break the original glass ceiling: the entrenched prejudice that conspired to keep them out of the sky.

O’Brien weaves together the stories of five remarkable women: Florence Klingensmith, a high‑school dropout who worked for a dry cleaner in Fargo, North Dakota; Ruth Elder, an Alabama divorcee; Amelia Earhart, the most famous, but not necessarily the most skilled; Ruth Nichols, who chafed at the constraints of her blue‑blood family’s expectations; and Louise Thaden, the mother of two young kids who got her start selling coal in Wichita. Together, they fought for the chance to race against the men — and in 1936 one of them would triumph in the toughest race of all.

Like Hidden Figures and Girls of Atomic CityFly Girls celebrates a little-known slice of history in which tenacious, trail-blazing women braved all obstacles to achieve greatness.

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Ticker

It wasn’t supposed to be this hard. If America could send a man to the moon, shouldn’t the best surgeons in the world be able to build an artificial heart? In TickerTexas Monthly executive editor and two time National Magazine Award winner Mimi Swartz shows just how complex and difficult it can be to replicate one of nature’s greatest creations.

Part investigative journalism, part medical mystery, Ticker is a dazzling story of modern innovation, recounting fifty years of false starts, abysmal failures and miraculous triumphs, as experienced by one the world’s foremost heart surgeons, O.H. “Bud” Frazier, who has given his life to saving the un-savable.

His journey takes him from a small town in west Texas to one of the country’s most prestigious medical institutions, The Texas Heart Institute, from the halls of Congress to the animal laboratories where calves are fitted with new heart designs. The roadblocks to success —medical setbacks, technological shortcomings, government regulations – are immense. Still, Bud and his associates persist, finding inspiration in the unlikeliest of places. A field beside the Nile irrigated by an Archimedes screw. A hardware store in Brisbane, Australia. A seedy bar on the wrong side of Houston.

Until post WWII, heart surgery did not exist. Ticker provides a riveting history of the pioneers who gave their all to the courageous process of cutting into the only organ humans cannot live without. Heart surgeons Michael DeBakey and Denton Cooley, whose feud dominated the dramatic beginnings of heart surgery. Christian Barnaard, who changed the world overnight by performing the first heart transplant. Inventor Robert Jarvik, whose artificial heart made patient Barney Clark a worldwide symbol of both the brilliant promise of technology and the devastating evils of experimentation run amuck.

Rich in supporting players, Ticker introduces us to Bud’s brilliant colleagues in his quixotic quest to develop an artificial heart: Billy Cohn, the heart surgeon and inventor who devotes his spare time to the pursuit of magic and music; Daniel Timms, the Brisbane biomedical engineer whose design of a lightweight, pulseless heart with but a single moving part offers a new way forward.  And, as government money dries up, the unlikeliest of backers, Houston’s furniture king, Mattress Mack.

In a sweeping narrative of one man’s obsession, Swartz raises some of the hardest questions of the human condition. What are the tradeoffs of medical progress?   What is the cost, in suffering and resources, of offering patients a few more months, or years of life? Must science do harm to do good?  Ticker takes us on an unforgettable journey into the power and mystery of the human heart.

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Dopesick
The only book to fully chart the devastating opioid crisis in America: “a harrowing, deeply compassionate dispatch from the heart of a national emergency” (New York Times) from a bestselling author and journalist who has lived through it
 

In this masterful work, Beth Macy takes us into the epicenter of America’s twenty-plus year struggle with opioid addiction. From distressed small communities in Central Appalachia to wealthy suburbs; from disparate cities to once-idyllic farm towns; it’s a heartbreaking trajectory that illustrates how this national crisis has persisted for so long and become so firmly entrenched.

Beginning with a single dealer who lands in a small Virginia town and sets about turning high school football stars into heroin overdose statistics, Macy endeavors to answer a grieving mother’s question-why her only son died-and comes away with a harrowing story of greed and need. From the introduction of OxyContin in 1996, Macy parses how America embraced a medical culture where overtreatment with painkillers became the norm. In some of the same distressed communities featured in her bestselling book Factory Man, the unemployed use painkillers both to numb the pain of joblessness and pay their bills, while privileged teens trade pills in cul-de-sacs, and even high school standouts fall prey to prostitution, jail, and death.
Through unsparing, yet deeply human portraits of the families and first responders struggling to ameliorate this epidemic, each facet of the crisis comes into focus. In these politically fragmented times, Beth Macy shows, astonishingly, that the only thing that unites Americans across geographic and class lines is opioid drug abuse. But in a country unable to provide basic healthcare for all, Macy still finds reason to hope-and signs of the spirit and tenacity necessary in those facing addiction to build a better future for themselves and their families.
“Everyone should read Beth Macy’s story of the American opioid epidemic” — Professor Anne C Case, Professor Emeritus at Princeton University and Sir Angus Deaton, winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics

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Reader, Come Home

From the author of Proust and the Squid, a lively, ambitious, and deeply informative epistolary book that considers the future of the reading brain and our capacity for critical thinking, empathy, and reflection as we become increasingly dependent on digital technologies.

A decade ago, Maryanne Wolf’s Proust and the Squid revealed what we know about how the brain learns to read and how reading changes the way we think and feel. Since then, the ways we process written language have changed dramatically with many concerned about both their own changes and that of children. New research on the reading brain chronicles these changes in the brains of children and adults as they learn to read while immersed in a digitally dominated medium.

Drawing deeply on this research, this book comprises a series of letters Wolf writes to us—her beloved readers—to describe her concerns and her hopes about what is happening to the reading brain as it unavoidably changes to adapt to digital mediums. Wolf raises difficult questions, including:

  • Will children learn to incorporate the full range of “deep reading” processes that are at the core of the expert reading brain?
  • Will the mix of a seemingly infinite set of distractions for children’s attention and their quick access to immediate, voluminous information alter their ability to think for themselves?
  • With information at their fingertips, will the next generation learn to build their own storehouse of knowledge, which could impede the ability to make analogies and draw inferences from what they know?
  • Will all these influences, in turn, change the formation in children and the use in adults of “slower” cognitive processes like critical thinking, personal reflection, imagination, and empathy that comprise deep reading and that influence both how we think and how we live our lives?
  • Will the chain of digital influences ultimately influence the use of the critical analytical and empathic capacities necessary for a democratic society?
  • How can we preserve deep reading processes in future iterations of the reading brain?
  • Who are the “good readers” of every epoch?

Concerns about attention span, critical reasoning, and over-reliance on technology are never just about children—Wolf herself has found that, though she is a reading expert, her ability to read deeply has been impacted as she has become, inevitably, increasingly dependent on screens.

Wolf draws on neuroscience, literature, education, technology, and philosophy and blends historical, literary, and scientific facts with down-to-earth examples and warm anecdotes to illuminate complex ideas that culminate in a proposal for a biliterate reading brain. Provocative and intriguing, Reader, Come Home is a roadmap that provides a cautionary but hopeful perspective on the impact of technology on our brains and our most essential intellectual capacities—and what this could mean for our future.

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Captive

In this heartbreaking and shocking exposé, one of Dynasty’s biggest stars lays bare a secretive organization that is holding her daughter hostage and details her mission to save her in this powerful depiction of a mother’s love and determination. 

I am a mother whose child is being abused and exploited. And I am not alone.

In 2011, Catherine joined her daughter, India, at a leadership seminar for a new organization called NXIVM. Her twenty-year-old daughter was on the threshold of building a new company and they both thought this program might help her achieve her dream. But quickly, Catherine saw a sinister side to what appeared to be a self-help organization designed to help its clients become the best versions of themselves.

Catherine watched in horror as her daughter fell further and further down the rabbit hole, becoming brainwashed by the organization’s charismatic leader. Despite Catherine’s best efforts, India was drawn deeper into the cult, eventually joining a secret, elite “sorority” of women members who are ordered to maintain a restricted diet, recruit other women as “slaves,” and are branded with their leader’s initials.

In Captive, Catherine shares every parent’s worst nightmare, and the lengths that a mother will go to save her child. Featuring interviews with past members of NXIVM and experts in the field of cults, Oxenberg attempts to draw back the curtain on how these groups continue to lure in members. She relates her continuing journey to try to reach her daughter, to save her from what she believes is a dangerous, mind-controlling cult.

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My Beautiful Despair

In “the ultimate meeting of the sublime with the ridiculous” (London Evening StandardMy Beautiful Despair blends the existential philosophy of Søren Kierkegaard with the superficial musings of Kim Kardashian West, based on the popular Twitter feed @KimKierkegaard.

The love child of Søren Kierkegaard and Kim Kardashian, the @KimKierkegaard Twitter account has been admired, praised, and adored in The New YorkerThe Washington PostThe New York TimesFinancial TimesThe EconomistNew York, Buzzfeed, and more, and has amassed nearly a quarter of a million Twitter followers, including J.K. Rowling and Anna Kendrick.

A mash-up of Kim’s tweets and observations with Kierkegaard’s philosophy, Kim Kierkegaardashian shares their musings on fashion, beauty, brunch, and the relentless waves of existential dread that wash over us day after day.

Now in a humorous, illustrated gift book, perfectly suited for our existential times, Kierkegaardashian’s philosophical insights are juxtaposed for the first time with Dash Shaw’s brilliant black-and-white illustrations. A sample of the revelations included in My Beautiful Despair include:

– I have majorly fallen off my workout-eating plan! AND it’s summer. But to despair over sin is to sink deeper into it.
– Obsessed with protecting your skin, lips, hair & face from the sun? Close the cover of the coffin tight, really tight, and be at peace.
– I like my men like I like my coffee: a momentary comfort in the midst of all my suffering.
– What is the operation by which a self relates itself to its own self, transparently? Selfie.
– What if everything in life were a misunderstanding, what if laughter were really tears? Scared LOL!!
– Glamour, menswear, top hat…I stick my finger into existence, and it smells of nothing.

– I took my cat Mercy to the groomer, to brush out the dreadful tangled confusions of its existence.
– I’ve been going to bed a little bit earlier each night, to get a taste of death.

In an age where the line between news and entertainment is blurrier than ever before, and the difference between a celebrity and the leader of the free world is nil, My Beautiful Despair’s “reflective maxims on life, death, sin, and emptiness, salted with the luxury accessories of the Kardashian lifestyle” (The New Yorker) perfectly reflect our absurd, hilarious, and deeply disturbing new era.

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Criminals

A prismatic, provocative look at one family―led by a charismatic, defense attorney father―whose bonds exist on both sides of the law

The Siegels of New York are a singular creation―quirky, idealistic, shaped in large part by Siegel’s father, a lovable, impossible man of gargantuan appetites and sloppy ethics, a criminal defense attorney who loved his drug-dealing clients a little too much and went to prison as a result. Siegel’s mother decided to pour her energies into making her children refined, art-loving mavens of fine dining in international settings―all the things that his father was not, with Robert as her most targeted ally. Once out of prison, Siegel’s father struggled with depression, attempting to reenter legal practice, with age and finances nipping at his heels. Robert, as a son and later as an author, attempts to put all of these pieces together to make a coherent shape of family before realizing perhaps no such thing exists.

What is right, and what is wrong? How does one family join the greater world of normal people beyond the demimonde of drug dealers, bikers, schemers, rock musicians, and artists that swirled around them? Criminals explores those questions without easy judgments, creating a prism of an eccentric collection of characters bound together as the mysterious tribe of family.

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How Not To Get Shot

THE “HILARIOUS” NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER! • “A satirical but apt addition to the culture’s fraught conversation about race”  — New York Times Book Review

200 years ago, white people told black folks, “‘I suggest you pick the cotton if you don’t like getting whipped.” Today, it’s “comply with police orders if you don’t want to get shot.” Now legendary comedian/activist D. L. Hughley confronts and remixes white people’s “advice” in this “hilarious examination of the current state of race relations in the United States” (Publishers Weekly).

In America, a black man is three times more likely to be killed in encounters with police than a white guy. If only he had complied with the cop, he might be alive today, pundits say in the aftermath of the latest shooting of an unarmed black man. Or, Maybe he shouldn’t have worn that hoodie … or, moved moreslowly … not been out so late … Wait, why are black people allowed to drive, anyway?

This isn’t a new phenomenon. White people have been giving “advice” to black folks for as long as anyone can remember, telling them how to pick cotton, where to sit on a bus, what neighborhood to live in, when they can vote, and how to wear our pants. Despite centuries of whites’ advice, it seems black people still aren’t listening, and the results are tragic.

Now, at last, activist, comedian, and New York Times bestselling author D. L. Hughley offers How Not to Get Shot, an illustrated how-to guide for black people, full of insight from white people, translated by one of the funniest black dudes on the planet. In these pages you will learn how to act, dress, speak, walk, and drive in the safest manner possible. You also will finally understand the white mind. It is a book that can save lives. Or at least laugh through the pain.

Black people: Are you ready to not get shot! White people: Do you want to learn how to help the cause? Let’s go!

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Tooth and Nail

“Well-written, compelling, and revealing.”—Ronald Epstein, M.D., author of Attending

A fearless and exhilarating memoir of a surgeon who became one of the first female ringside boxing doctors in New York City, for fans of Judy Melinek, Pauline Chen and Atul Gawande

Fresh out of medical school, Linda Dahl began her surgical residency in the Bronx as a total fish out of water. Growing up in a Middle Eastern family in the American Midwest, she was a born outsider, and in her new community in New York, she felt even more isolated. Even at work she struggled to fit in: among her fellow specialists, she was one of the only women.

One night, at her husband’s urging, Dahl watched a boxing match between Shane Mosley and Oscar De La Hoya. Seeing Mosley survive against the odds gave Dahl hope that she, too, could find her footing. As her fandom grew, boxing became a way to connect with her patients and community. Later, when she was in practice on the Upper East Side, Dahl received a phone call from the New York State Athletic Commission. They were looking for a fight doctor. Dahl accepted.

Tooth and Nail chronicles the years Dahl spent as an ear, nose and throat surgeon by day and a ringside physician by night. Intrepid, adrenaline-fueled and loaded with behind-the-scenes takes on famous boxers, including Mike Tyson, Wladimir Klitschko and Miguel Cotto, Dahl’s story offers a modern examination of sexism, dislocation, the theater of boxing and a road map for how to excel in two very different male-dominated worlds.

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Jell-O Girls

In 1899, Allie Rowbottom’s great-great-great-uncle bought the patent to Jell-O from its inventor for $450. The sale would turn out to be one of the most profitable business deals in American history, and the generations that followed enjoyed immense privilege – but they were also haunted by suicides, cancer, alcoholism, and mysterious ailments.

More than 100 years after that deal was struck, Allie’s mother Mary was diagnosed with the same incurable cancer, a disease that had also claimed her own mother’s life. Determined to combat what she had come to consider the “Jell-O curse” and her looming mortality, Mary began obsessively researching her family’s past, determined to understand the origins of her illness and the impact on her life of Jell-O and the traditional American values the company championed. Before she died in 2015, Mary began to send Allie boxes of her research and notes, in the hope that her daughter might write what she could not. JELL-O GIRLS is the liberation of that story.

A gripping examination of the dark side of an iconic American product and a moving portrait of the women who lived in the shadow of its fractured fortune, JELL-O GIRLS is a family history, a feminist history, and a story of motherhood, love and loss. In crystalline prose Rowbottom considers the roots of trauma not only in her own family, but in the American psyche as well, ultimately weaving a story that is deeply personal, as well as deeply connected to the collective female experience.

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John Wilkes Booth and the Women Who Loved Him

When John Wilkes Booth died—shot inside a burning barn and dragged out twelve days after he assassinated President Lincoln—all he had in his pocket were a compass, a candle, a diary, and five photographs of five different women. They were not ordinary women. Four of them were among the most beautiful actresses of the day; the fifth was Booth’s wealthy fiancée.

And those five women are just the tip of the iceberg.

Before he shot the president of the United States and entered the annals of history as a killer, actor John Wilkes Booth had quite a way with women. There was the actress who cut his throat and almost killed him in a jealous rage. There was the prostitute who tried to kill herself because he abandoned her. There was the actress who would swear she witnessed him murdering Lincoln, even though she was thousands of miles away at the time. John Wilkes Booth was hungry for fame, touchy about politics, and a notorious womanizer. But this book isn’t about John Wilkes Booth—not really. This book is about his women: women who were once notorious in their own right; women who were consumed by love, jealousy, strife, and heartbreak; women whose lives took wild turns before and after Lincoln’s assassination; women whom have been condemned to the footnotes of history… until now.

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