The Burglary: The Discovery of J. Edgar Hoover’s Secret FBI. by Betty Medsger. (Vintage) This is an impeccably researched account of the eight anti-war activists who broke into an FBI office in Media, Pa., in 1971 and exposed how the bureau, as “secret judge, secret jury and secret warden,” engaged in illegal surveillance and harassment of American citizens. Medsger, who first wrote about the break-in as a Washington Post reporter in 1971, now brings the burglars’ stories into the public eye for the first time.
The Double, by George Pelecanos. (Back Bay/Little, Brown) Spero Lucas, the Iraq war veteran turned Washington, D.C., private eye, returns in Pelecanos’ hard-hitting tale, which finds him juggling multiple cases – one client stands accused of murdering his mistress; another wants to recover a valuable painting from a violent criminal – while distracted by his own torrid love affair.
Roth Unbound: A Writer and His Books, by Claudia Roth Pierpont. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux) Pierpont has known Philip Roth for nearly a decade, and in this dazzling study she takes on the man, the myth and the work – from his National Book Award-winning debut, “Goodbye, Columbus” (1959), to 2010’s “Nemesis.” New York Times reviewer Martin Amis called “Roth Unbound” a “critical biography of the old school … invaluably topped up with reported comments and judgments from the Philip Roth of today.”
A Permanent Member of the Family, by Russell Banks. (Ecco/HarperCollins, $15.99.) Moving between the stark beauty of winter in upstate New York and the seductive heat of Florida, this incisive story collection charts the extended downward spirals of people (many of them men of a certain age) trying to make sense of the past and the present.
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The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832, by Alan Taylor. (Norton) Winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for history, Taylor’s exemplary book centers on the War of 1812, when thousands of slaves sought liberty by escaping to the British side, and traces the social complexities of slavery in Virginia from the American Revolution through Nat Turner’s revolt in 1831.
Someone, by Alice McDermott. (Picador) Through scattered recollections, Marie Commeford, the narrator of McDermott’s lyrical seventh novel, looks back on her life: her childhood in prewar Brooklyn as the daughter of “lace curtain” Irish immigrants; the years of her marriage on Long Island, raising a family of her own; and her dotage in a nursing home. “Each scene, from the ostensibly inconsequential to the clearly momentous, is illuminated with equal care,” Leah Hager Cohen said in the Book Review.
Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting, by Pamela Druckerman. (Penguin) Druckerman, a Paris-based American journalist and mother of three, investigates and distills the essentials of French childrearing, determined to understand why French children sleep through the night, eat like adults and refrain from throwing temper tantrums.
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