American Heiress: The Wild Saga Of The Kidnapping, Crimes And Trial Of Patty Hearst by Jeffrey Toobin. (Anchor) This captivating account traces Hearst’s kidnapping in 1974, from her collusion with her captors to her jail time, and the media spectacle surrounding it. Toobin offers legal expertise and an empathetic eye; even members of the Symbionese Liberation Army are shown some compassion.
Barkskins by Annie Proulx. (Scribner) The legacies of two families, starting with the arrival of two indentured servants in Canada in the 1600s, are wound inextricably around the fates and fortunes of the world’s forests. While René marries his master’s castoff indigenous mistress, Charles soon escapes servitude, Anglicizes his name and sets up a thriving, indiscriminate timber enterprise.
The Bad-Ass Librarians Of Timbuktu: And Their Race To Save The World’s Most Precious Manuscripts by Joshua Hammer. (Simon & Schuster) For centuries, Timbuktu was a thriving cultural and intellectual hub, home to manuscripts and treatises on subjects including philosophy, mathematics and even sex. But today’s jihadis abhorred the tolerant Islam of that earlier era and systematically sought to destroy the documents.
A Hero Of France by Alan Furst. (Random House) At the outset of this thriller, Furst’s 15th, it’s March 1941, nine months into the German occupation of France. Mathieu, the hero of the book’s title, is part of a Resistance cell – along with a teenage girl and two women from the aristocracy – trying to smuggle British airmen back to England. Furst evokes a sinister Paris, Times reviewer Sara Paretsky said, but the French are optimistic; their “love for France and for their beloved city inspires them to take defiant risks.”
The Black Calhouns: From Civil War To Civil Rights With One African American Family by Gail Lumet Buckley. (Grove) Buckley, the daughter of entertainer Lena Horne, is part of a cosmopolitan, well-educated African-American family; W.E.B. Du Bois and James Baldwin were part of their orbit. She tells her family’s story with a focus on the historical events that helped shape their fortunes.
The Regional Office Is Under Attack! by Manuel Gonzales. (Riverhead) In this genre-bending novel, two women with superpowers are pitted against each other after a superhero administration bureau, masked as a travel agency for the mega-rich, comes under siege. For all their fantastical capabilities, the story is a familiar one; the women, “like us, are constantly searching for their role in the world,” Kelly Braffet wrote in The Times.
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