The Wrong Enemy: America In Afghanistan, 2001-2014 by Carlotta Gall. (Mariner/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) Gall, The New York Times’ Afghanistan bureau chief and correspondent between 2001 and 2011, details the missteps that exacerbated the violence there, and highlights Pakistan’s role in sheltering leaders of the Taliban and al-Qaida. In No Good Men Among The Living: America, The Taliban, And The War Through Afghan Eyes (Picador), Anand Gopal lays bare the war’s murky intricacies through the lives of three Afghans: a Taliban commander, a tribal strongman and a village housewife turned senator.
This Blue by Maureen N. McLane. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux) From lichens to malls to merchant republics, McLane’s third poetry collection enters into a fresh engagement with what she calls the “embroidered earth.”
Price Of Fame: The Honorable Clare Boothe Luce by Sylvia Jukes Morris. (Random House) The conclusion to Morris’ two-volume character study of the ambitious polymath (1903-87) and wife of Henry Luce follows her career as a Connecticut congresswoman, diplomat, playwright and grande dame of the Republican Party in the Reagan era.
Lost For Words by Edward St. Aubyn. (Picador) The object of this satire is literary awards: notably, the Man Booker Prize, thinly disguised here as the Elysian Prize. Across a broad canvas, preening judges and desperate novelists bumble and back-stab their way through the competition. And there’s the celebrated Melrose cycle: St. Aubyn’s semi-autobiographical dissection of a decadent, monstrous family of the English upper class. The five novels – “Never Mind,” “Bad News,” “Some Hope,” “Mother’s Milk” and “At Last” – are now collected in The Complete Patrick Melrose Novels (Picador, $30).
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Kitty Genovese: The Murder, The Bystanders, The Crime That Changed America by Kevin Cook. (Norton) On a March night in Queens, in 1964, Catherine (Kitty) Genovese was murdered in plain view of numerous witnesses. Cook meticulously reconstructs the crime, upending what we thought we knew about a sensational case that became the stuff of urban legend.
Euphoria by Lily King. (Grove) In 1933, the anthropologist Margaret Mead took a field trip to the Sepik River in New Guinea with her second husband; they met and collaborated with the man who would become her third. Taking the known details of this bizarre triangle, King’s exquisite novel – one of the Book Review’s 10 Best Books of 2014 – explores the rewards and disappointments of intellectual ambition and physical desire.
Life Is A Wheel: Memoirs Of A Bike-Riding Obituarist by Bruce Weber. (Scribner) Beginning in the summer of 2011, at age 57, Weber, an obituary writer at The New York Times, bicycled from Oregon to New York, writing about the trek as it unfolded. Now, in this mix of memoir and travelogue, he reflects on his many encounters and provides a “two-wheeled perspective of America.”
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