No Easy Day: The Autobiography of a Navy SEAL – The Firsthand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama bin Laden, by Mark Owen with Kevin Maurer. (New American Library) The May 2011 raid on Abbottabad, Pakistan, is the heart of this boots-on-the-ground account, but Owen (a pseudonym for Matt Bissonnette, a former member of the SEALs who served 13 consecutive combat deployments) also details the formation and evolution of one of the military’s most elite units.
The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P., by Adelle Waldman. (Picador) Waldman’s first novel, an engaging comedy of manners, scrutinizes contemporary dating and the Brooklyn literary set. Nate Piven, a young writer enjoying recent success, has his pick of both magazine assignments and women, and we watch with dread as he bounces from one dysfunctional relationship to the next.
Wild Ones: A Sometimes Dismaying, Weirdly Reassuring Story About Looking at People Looking at Animals in America, by Jon Mooallem. (Penguin) Mooallem seamlessly blends reportage from the front lines of wildlife conservation with a cultural history of animals in America. His focus is the haphazard nature of our efforts to protect endangered species – notably the polar bear, the Lange’s metalmark butterfly and the whooping crane.
A Guide to Being Born: Stories, by Ramona Ausubel. (Riverhead) These enthrallingly surreal tales trace a cycle of transformation, from love to conception to gestation to birth: a pregnant teenager believes she’ll give birth to any number of strange creatures; an expectant father wakes to find that small drawers have appeared in his chest; people grow new arms each time they fall in love.
The Victory Season: The End of World War II and the Birth of Baseball’s Golden Age, by Robert Weintraub. (Back Bay/Little, Brown) The 1946 baseball season was a watershed one. The war was over, Jackie Robinson began playing in the Brooklyn Dodgers’ system, and as the nation’s servicemen came home, so too did baseball’s greats. Weintraub recounts the game’s joyous reacclimatization, paying particular attention to three teams: Ted Williams’ mighty Boston Red Sox, Stan Musial’s St. Louis Cardinals and Leo Durocher’s upstart Dodgers.
Mickey and Willie: Mantle and Mays, the Parallel Lives of Baseball’s Golden Age (Three Rivers), veteran sportswriter Allen Barra takes an in-depth look at the remarkable similarities between two great New York center fielders: one white and one black, both born in 1931, both prodigies and perennial All-Stars.
The Daughters of Mars, by Thomas Keneally. (Washington Square) Keneally, the celebrated author of “Schindler’s List” and numerous other books, revisits two chapters of World War I – Gallipoli and the Western Front – in this poignant novel about two Australian sisters. Naomi and Sally Durance join the war effort as nurses, and their tenuous bond is tested as they’re ushered closer and closer to the worst of the war’s carnage.
New York Times