wesley

Wesley Salazar is a Marketing & Publicity Assistant at Blue Rider Press. She lives in Brooklyn with the worst cat and many shelves of books.

 

 

 

 

 

 

citizens

Citizens of the Green Room, by Mark Leibovich

When Mark Leibovich’s book THIS TOWN was first published in 2013, it ruffled feathers across the nation for calling out major players in Washington, D.C. and beyond. It became the book on politics for both the politically savvy and the politically naive, because it was insightful, fresh and incredibly entertaining. Leibovich’s newest book is CITIZENS OF THE GREEN ROOM, a fantastic collection of profiles of today’s most compelling figures in politics, media and popular culture. The collection highlights the timelessness of Leibovich’s reporting and how even when things change, they also stay the same.

Sidenote: Did you know that before Glenn Beck became a polarizing, Mormon TV and radio host, he was a “married, divorced, ponytailed and seemingly at a dead end” alcoholic? Or that Jeb Bush really likes e-mail? These are just two things I learned from CITIZENS OF THE GREEN ROOM. I’ve read it multiple times and I still find myself returning to the profiles…and, of course, laughing out loud.

perfect kill

The Perfect Kill, by Robert B. Baer

First thing’s first: Robert B. Baer is one of the most accomplished agents to ever work for the CIA. Remember that movie Syriana starring George Clooney? Yup, that movie was inspired by his career. So if you’re at all curious about the role of political assassination in history, you might as well learn about it from a man who spent two dangerous decades pursuing one of the world’s deadliest assassins. THE PERFECT KILL is a captivating blend of memoir, analysis of the contemporary Middle East, and exploration of the concept of political murder, which ultimately asks, “What is the definition of assassination?

 

 

womenWomen in Clothes, edited by Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits, and Leanne Shapton

Why do we wear the clothes that we wear? Editors Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits, and Leanne Shapton sought to explore the daily ritual of getting dressed, and it turned out to be no small task. They surveyed and collected contributions from over six hundred women of diverse backgrounds (including movers and shakers like Cindy Sherman, Kim Gordon and Lena Dunham) for this beautifully made book. On the inside, the book is super visual – it’s filled with photos, interviews, personal testimonies and illustrations – and would make the perfect gift for the holidays. WOMEN IN CLOTHES presents a sort of cultural history of women’s relationships to their clothes. And it reminds us that the process of selecting clothes reflects things about our lives, whether we realize it or not.

theknife

The Knife, by Ross Ritchell

This final pick isn’t quite a history or current events book, but it is deeply steeped in today’s international landscape. THE KNIFE is a debut novel from a former soldier in the United States Special Operations Command direct-action team, Ross Ritchell. It’s a riveting read that pulls you deep, through the adrenaline rushes of battle, the horseplay of the soldiers’ downtime, and the loneliness in between. THE KNIFE is touching, bittersweet, and beautifully written; it’s one of the most intense and authentic novels I’ve read about the day-to-day life of a soldier in the Middle East. If you liked Klay’s Redeployment, you should give THE KNIFE a try.  I am a huge fan and can’t wait for other people to pick it up.

 

 

Find more books on the Current Events & History page!

See Staff Picks for all our categories! 


akif

Akif Saifi is an editorial assistant at the Penguin Press.

 

 

 

 

 

 

stalin 2

Stalin Volume I: Paradoxes of Power, 1878-1928, by Stephen Kotkin

The first of Stephen Kotkin’s projected three-volume biography of Joseph Stalin is itself a mammoth undertaking. Kotkin here seeks to do away with once and for all our conception of Stalin as an opportunistic monster, and he shows us instead that from a very young age, Stalin proved himself to be exceptionally smart and capable, and was thoroughly driven by Communist ideology. Perhaps one of the most impressive things about this first volume is that very little is really known about Stalin’s early years, and Kotkin takes care to only includes verifiable information—he is not prone to the wild psychoanalysis of Stalin’s earlier biographers who speculated that the purported beatings he received as a child were in some way responsible for his later atrocities. And so Stalin himself is barely a presence in the first part of the book, and instead we are given a tour of the plethora of factors shaping the empire (not to mention the world) that he was born into: Bismarck, Marx et al. As a result, this is more than just a biography of Stalin; in Kotkin’s own words, it’s “a history of the world from Stalin’s office.”  Whatever it is, it’s a thrilling read, and it goes a long way in putting the present situation in Russia, as well as the crisis in Ukraine, into their proper historical context.

when the factsWhen the Facts Change: Essays, 1995-2010, by Tony Judt (on sale 1/22/2015)

In recent years, there have been few public intellectuals as consequential as Tony Judt. He was that rare figure who could seamlessly bridge the gap between history and current events, drawing from overlooked historic episodes to help explain the world we live in now. When the Facts Change is a collection of some of the essays he wrote in the last fifteen years of his life, the majority of which were first published by The New York Review of Books, where he was a longtime contributor. It’s all here, all the subjects that were so central to his work and thought: Europe and its efforts to come to terms with its history; the folly of the war in Iraq and America’s increasing isolation on the world’s stage; and, of course, the Holocaust and Israel’s current moral dilemma. His writings on Israel are collected here for the first time in book form, and even though some time has passed (and numerous lives have been lost) since he wrote them, they still carry with them an air of prescience and insight invaluable for understanding the conflict objectively. When the Facts Change is a fitting capstone to his stellar body of work, as well as a sad reminder of the voice that we’ve lost.

muderMurder in Amsterdam: Liberal Europe, Islam, and the Limits of Tolerance, by Ian Buruma

Ten years ago this month, Mohammed Bouyeri, a 26-year-old Dutchman of Moroccan descent, shot and killed the filmmaker Theo van Gogh as he rode his bike through the streets of Amsterdam. But he did not stop there. He went on to slash van Gogh’s throat as people looked on in horror. The act was meant to be a retaliation for the release of van Gogh’s film, Submission: Part I, where verses of the Quran were painted on the bodies of naked women; indeed, Bouyeri claimed he was acting to defend the name of Allah. It was not the first time we had heard those words; it was surely not the last. In recent months, we’ve witnessed a resurgence of similar barbarism in the name of Islam, from the beheadings and widespread atrocities of the so-called Islamic State and the kidnappings and bombings of Boko Haram and Al Shabab in Africa. In Murder in Amsterdam, Ian Buruma, a noted historian and a Dutchman himself, travels to the Netherlands soon after van Gogh’s murder to investigate the climate that gave rise to such an appalling act, examining the influx of immigrants from North Africa and ex-colonies into the country and the way they are treated, as well as the resurgence of reactionary Dutch nationalists in a society often prized for its tolerance and liberalism. It reads like long form journalism that perfectly blends history with current events to explore a most pressing question, one that remains unanswered ten years on. I can think of no book more fitting for our times.

delugeThe Deluge: The Great War, America and the Remaking of the Global Order, 1916-1931, by Adam Tooze 

Among the spate of recent books examining World War I on the centenary of its outbreak, Adam Tooze’s new book. The Deluge, stands out. Tooze, a professor of history at Yale and the author of The Wages of Destruction, a much-praised study of the Nazi war economy, is one of the finest economic historians writing today. Here, he shifts his focus from the Third Reich and the Second World War to the United States and the First, examining the pivotal role that conflict played in redefining the nation and catapulting it to the top of the global hierarchy. This is not new territory per se, but Tooze writes persuasively and authoritatively. If you only intend to read one World War I book this year, The Deluge will not disappoint.

 

capitalCapital The Eruption of Delhi, by Rana Dasgupta

There has been much talk in recent years of the growing division between the top 1% and the remaining 99%, and part of the reason Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century became such a sensation earlier this year was because it provided some quantitative grounding to these arguments. Rana Dasgupta’s similarly titled Capital does not bother itself with the numbers; it is far more concerned with the social and human cost of income inequality. Dasgupta takes as his subject New Delhi, the capital of India, itself an incredibly polarized society where the very rich have recently done very well for themselves and have taken advantage of the influx of capital from globalization, while the rest of the city has carried on, largely unaffected, their lives about the same now as they were some forty years ago. If you’re a fan of Suketu Mehta’s Maximum City, you’ll find much to like in Capital.

 

Find more books on the Current Events & History page!

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ATT75623

I haven’t had many proposals cross my desk in my twenty years as an editor which I felt I was born to edit, but my heart skipped a beat when Andrew Roberts’ agent called to tell me he wanted to write a big, meaty new biography of Napoleon. Now truth be told I have been hunting for a good book on Napoleon for a long time. I’ve bought several (from bookstores), and they’ve generally left me filled with rage – the options seemed to be Freudian psychobabble or ranting indictment: if you take your cue from recent releases you’d think he was a frothing tyrant with blood on his britches. But the truth, as Andrew Roberts reveals in this magnificent biography that draws on a stupendously rich new cash of Napoleon’s letters (33,000 – and those are the ones that have survived, just think what he might have done in the age of email) is altogether more riveting. Napoleon was one of the giants of history. He was an inveterate bookworm who steeped himself in the writings of Caesar and modeled himself on him too, though he also gobbled up Rousseau and Voltaire and the great thinkers of the enlightenment, much like our own founding fathers. I came away from this book thinking that Napoleon was like Washington, Jefferson and Madison rolled into one: he was the visionary general who led France to victory in the series of wars that followed the French revolution (we were lucky not to have angry monarchs on all sides determined to overturn our revolution); he was an erudite intellectual and reformer like Jefferson who drew artists and scientists around him, introduced the metric system and set up the Louvre and France’s still stellar system of grandes ecoles and universities; and he was a state-builder like Madison who drafted a whole new set of laws and established the French national bank.

napoleon

Now for full disclosure my great great great grandfather on my father’s side was a colonel who fought for Napoleon and a true believer. Napoleon was a meritocratic, which may seem counter-intuitive for a man who crowned himself emperor. But he believed that if you gave people a sense that they were participating in something larger than themselves, they would live up to the moment and surpass your expectations. He was a great leader of men, and I was struck as I worked on the manuscript that modern business leaders would find much in his practice and philosophy to learn from. He was also an unbelievable romantic and his love letters to Josephine are worthy of a harlequin romance. It is true that in the end, in his campaigns in Spain and Russia, he made mistakes that cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of men. But war is a messy business with many unintended consequences, as we have learned ourselves recently (not for the first time). Andrew Roberts is the biographer Napoleon has been waiting for – he writes like a dream and appreciates his (many) jokes.  And no one is better at telling the story of a battle so that you feel you are right there in the saddle, dodging canon fire and charging into the fray. But you don’t have to be a military history buff to love this book – I’m not particularly, and I can’t wait to go back to the beginning and read it all over again.

 

Read more about Napoleon by Andrew Roberts


When I was young my parents used to traipse my two brothers, my sister and me around Europe to see the sights – my mother was a historian, and we spent a lot of time reliving the Albigensian crusades, climbing ramparts and re-enacting the fates of kings and heretics. I remember a trip through Normandy when every time we passed a broom bush we would cry out “Plant a Genet” – Geoffrey Plantagenet, the founder of the dynasty that ruled England before the Tudors, used to stick a Theplantagenetssprig of broom in his hat. The Plantagenets controled England and Normandy, and large swaths of France. Their most famous kings – Henry Ist, Richard the Lionheart, Edward I, were heroic rulers, brave on the battlefield and skillful in their stewardship of government. The less appealing among them – “Bad” King John, Edward II, Richard III – were conniving and duplicitous egotists, the famous villains of Shakespeare’s history plays.

All of this was a bit of a blur of fact and myth until I read Dan Jones’ The Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queens Who Made England. Dan’s history is alive – he puts you right there on the battlefield, and inside the thoughts of knights and knaves as they contemplate cunning acts of treachery or meet their gory deaths. He is a natural storyteller – which means that he tells history as it should be told, as a story, with larger than life characters and surprising plot twists. This is history for fans of Game of Thrones or The Lord of the Rings – with all of the sexual escapades and gory ends –only in this case every word is true.

TheWarsoftheRosesMy son is three and thinks of himself as a knight, and I think there is something deeply appealing about that world, with its code of honor, bravery  and chivalry. Dan Jones’ Plantagenets was a surprise NY Times bestseller for us – everyone in house loved it, and it became a huge sales department favorite. We are about to publish his follow up, The Wars of the Roses, which tells the story of how the Plantagenets essentially clawed themselves apart and were finally replaced by the Tudors. The Tudors are familiar – Henry with his bloody serial monogamy, Elizabeth and Mary, Queens who knew that their power was at once sharpened and compromised by their sex. But how did they come to rule England? It turns out that their grandfather would never in his wildest dreams have imagined that his descendents would one day wear the crown. When Katherine of Valois chose him as her second husband, she did so because she thought he was safe. Little did she know what trouble their children would have in store for them. Dan Jones is so much fun to read that once you finish you want to go right back to the beginning and start all over again.

Start Reading an Excerpt from The Plantagenets and learn more about The Wars of the Roses.


Andy Photo

Andy Dudley is a Digital Business Manager for Penguin. His favorite place to get lunch near the office is Fiacco’s for their roast beef sub.

 

 

 

 

 

howwegottonowHow We Got to Now, by Steven Johnson

Steven Johnson does what every science writer should be doing; he takes complicated issues and simplifies them without dumping them down. In How We Got to Now he addresses 6 different areas of technological development (glass, cold, sound, clean, time, and light) and shows how we got to this moment with each. It’s a fun, informative read. And if you want more, PBS is doing a series based on the book starting Oct 15th.

 

 

 

 

fivecameback

Five Came Back, by Mark Harris

No one writes about movies like Mark Harris (I always keep an extra copy of his prior book Pictures at a Revolution in my office just to give away to people). In Five Came Back, Mark looks at five of the most important directors from Hollywood’s Golden Age and how they came to influence the narrative of WWII and how we even remember the war today. Mark’s writing is Oscar-worthy.

 

 

 

 

plantagenets

The Plantagenets, by Dan Jones

Did you know that there were a real group of people almost as fascinating as the imaginary characters on Game of Thrones? Dan Jones brings the real-life characters of Henry II, Eleanor of Aquitaine (who makes Cersei seem like a good wife and mother), Richard the Lionheart, and makes every sword thrust and toppling of king jump of the page. They may not have had any dragons, but they sure had the murdering down.

 

 

 

 

command

Command and Control, by Eric Schlosser

You probably remember from Schlosser from Fast Food Nation and how he addressed the recklessness of the fast food industry. In Command and Control, he addresses the recklessness of the nuclear weapon industry and wow, HOW ARE WE ALL STILL HERE? The number of times the world was almost blown up is frightening and Schlosser talks about a number of the close calls. Read this with the lights on.

 

 

 

 

detroit

Detroit, by Charlie LeDuff

Charlie LeDuff is a mad man. And I mean that as a compliment. In only the way he can, Charlie shows how his adopted hometown of Detroit has been brought down by corruption, destroyed by arson, battered around by politicians looking to make a buck, and the ordinary people who are just trying to survive every single day that represent all of America. And because of these people, even Charlie can hold on to a chance of redemption for Detroit, and hopefully, the entire country.

 

 

 

Find more books on the Current Events & History page!

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photo 3

Stephen Morrow, Executive Editor at Dutton

 

 

 

 

 

denaliDenali’s Howl, by Andy Hall

It was 1967, the summer of love, and while Haight-Ashbury was dancing to White Rabbit and the Beatles were dropping acid, twelve sober young men climbed into the worst storm ever to hit the summit of Alaska’s Mt. McKinley or Denali as the locals call it. Only five made it back.  Andy Hall, the son of the Mt. McKinley National Park superintendent at the time, was five years old. Denali’s Howl is his telling of what befell those on the mountain and those at its foot trying to help.  It is also a study in how we think of our past, how such tragedies can become embedded in the meaning of our lives, our unwritten autobiographies, and yet remain mysterious.

 

 

mindThe Organized Mind, by Daniel J. Levitin

Could good old conscientious organization really be the secret to navigating the modern world’s flood of details?  As Daniel Levitin shows, the latest neuroscience says yes.  From how to deal with your kitchen junk drawer (what are those keys in there for anyway?) to how to organize your thoughts for the most important decisions of all, The Organized Mind is a book that brings together the ordinary everyday experience of making your life work better with Levitin’s expert insight into how attention and memory function. This isn’t just a book about being neater, it is about clearing a space in which you (and your kids) can be resoundingly creative.

 

 

superstormSuperstorm, by Kathryn Miles

We had just had our Halloween party back in 2012 at 375 Hudson Street when New Yorkers started to realize the big bad hurricane was coming to get us.  As she was working on Superstorm Kathryn Miles said the storm was like the shark in Jaws–only this monster ate its way up from Jamaica to the Great Lakes, with New York City as its main course.  Her story of forecasters and their science unable to make sense of this unprecedented system as it played out day by day, of the seamen whose traditional knowledge didn’t help, and of the people whose lives it destroyed is all about the unforgiving, fearsome power of nature—just when we thought we had it beat.

 

 

doessantaexistDoes Santa Exist?, by Eric Kaplan

Ok, so Does Santa Exist? is the most profound and funny book I’ve ever worked on and probably ever will.  I am pretty much unhinged about it.  Eric Kaplan has a job as a brilliant comic writer on America’s  most popular sit com and is finishing his Ph.D. at Berkeley, but I’m just hoping he starts a cult so I can join it.  How could such a simple, childish question lead to such a dazzling, exuberant flight across the deepest questions of human existence?  You will learn a bunch of philosophy, and the point of it all too.  As Matt Groening said, “It is the funniest book of philosophy since… well, ever.”  Just the thing for the gift giving season!

 

 

 

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TheLostWifeWhen writing novels, one never knows where inspiration will strike.   A few years ago, I was well into my research for a book on the ways that Jewish artists managed to create art during the Holocaust, when I overheard a story at the local hair salon about a couple who were separated at the beginning of the war with each of them being told that the other had perished. Sixty years later, they miraculously were reunited at the wedding of their respective grandchildren.  When I overheard that story, I felt like I had been struck by lightning.  My mind was filled with so many questions: why had this couple each believed the other had died? What was their initial love story? What were their second love stories that produced the children who were now the parents of the grandchildren getting married?  And most importantly, how did they each survive World War II?

This story would end up being the bookends for my novel The Lost Wife, into which I invented the lovers’ histories both before and after their separation.

I wanted to draw in my readers by evoking the same questions that I had after initially hearing that story.  I wanted those questions to propel them into the same journey I too would undertake while crafting the body of the novel.

TheGardenofLettersThe inspiration for my new novel The Garden of Letters, also began after hearing a story that ignited my curiosity.  While at a dinner party, a friend shared with me the details about how her father had escaped from Hungry through Italy during WWII with forged papers that their family had spent their entire life savings on.  When my friend’s father arrived in Portofino, German guards were scrutinizing everyone’s papers so carefully that he was sure he was going to be arrested.

Suddenly, out from the crowd, a big barrel-chested Italian man cried: “Cousin, cousin, I’ve been waiting for you all week.  Thank heaven’s you’ve come!”

He was able to whisk my friend’s father away and take him back to his home on the cliffs of Portofino.

When my friend’s father asked this man why he had saved him, for clearly he wasn’t his cousin, the man replied:  “I try to come to the port every month.  I try to save the person who looks the most afraid.”

When I heard that story I immediately thought it would make an amazing beginning to a novel.  I imagined the two people whose lives intersect at this occupied Italian port.    One fleeing and in need of shelter.  The other a person who sees that fear and sets upon helping him.   “The Garden of Letters” opens with my young heroine being saved from the Germans at the Portofino port by a doctor.

As in all my novels, I wanted my main character to possess a creative gift.  With The Lost Wife, I explored how art could be used as a form of Resistance against the Nazis.  In The Garden of Letters, I explore how music could be used.

My main character Elodie, is a young cellist who sends coded messages for the Italian Resistance through her performances And the book explores the many creative ways essential information was transmitted during the war.

When I traveled to Italy to meet with partisans and female messengers who were involved in the Resistance, I was introduced to a person who shared with me another unusual way information was sent during the war.  Giovanni Pellizzato, whose grandfather was both a bookseller and an active member of the Italian Resistance, described how codes were cleverly hidden throughout the pages of a book, and how within the back shelves of his father’s bookstore many of the books had their paper carved out to create a space where pistols were stored inside.  This information was so intriguing to me, it inspired the character of the bookseller, Luca, in The Garden of Letters.

As storytellers, we’re responsible for crafting narratives that bring our readers into a world that transport and hopefully inform.  As writers, however, we must also be open to all the stories that surround us, for everyone has a unique history to share.


matt

Matt is the Marketing Director at Penguin Press. He has never won the Penguin Cup fantasy football league.

 

 

 

 

 

Book publishers aren’t necessarily known for their athletic prowess, but believe it or not, we’ve got a lot of athletes here at Penguin. You’ll find us on Central Park’s Great Lawn on summer evenings, playing softball against Oxford University Press. You’ll find us on the Chelsea Piers basketball courts running up the score on Simon and Schuster. And because fake sports are just as intense as real ones, you’ll find us every August in a booth at the back of Mr. Dennehy’s Irish Pub drafting our fantasy football teams The Penguin Cup league. (My team name: The Secret Life of Brees.)

We’re just as competitive about publishing sports books. And now, in the sports doldrums of August, there’s plenty of time to catch up on your reading.

eleven

Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success, by Phil Jackson

How many NBA legends can quote from both ancient Chinese philosopher Lao-Tzu and contemporary urban fantasy author Jim Butcher? Jackson is one of the most successful, innovative, and unique sports figures.

 

 

 

 

 

bird

Bird Dream: Adventures at the Extremes of Human Flight, by Matt Higgins

I don’t like flying. On planes. So I can’t imagine jumping off a mountain with a wingsuit. But I loved reading about the people who do – from the safety of my couch, on solid ground.

 

 

 

 

 

boys in the boat

Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, by Daniel James Brown

A book about rowing? A book about rowing. Trust me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

lebron

LeBron’s Dream Team: How Five Friends Made History, by Lebron James

It’s got to be a fun time to be a Cleveland sports fan right now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

rules

Rules for Becoming a Legend, by Timothy S. Lane

A novel for fans of The Art of Fielding and Hoosiers about a rising high school basketball player. Lane is 6’8” if he’s an inch, so when he talks about basketball, you listen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

fantasy

Fantasy Life: The Outrageous, Uplifting, and Heartbreaking World of Fantasy Sports from the Guy Who’s Lived It… by Matthew Berry

If you’re wondering why your friends, co-workers, spouses are distracted every fall, read this book. You won’t believe how far people take their fantasy sports obsessions.

 

 

 

 

 
Find more books on the Current Events & History page!

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Sarah

Sarah is a Marketing Manager at Viking, specializing in nonfiction. She lives in the Bronx and is obsessed with sketch comedy.

 

 

 

 

Redeeming the Dream

Redeeming the Dream, by David Boies and Theodore B. Olson

Just over one year after the Supreme Court decision to overturn Proposition 8, the two lawyers who argued for the plaintiffs offer an insightful and riveting look inside the inner workings of the case. Theirs is an unlikely pairing—one conservative, the other liberal, they argued against each another in Bush v. Gore—but they were able to put aside their political differences and join forces to fight for what they believed in, which is hard not to get inspired by.

 

 

 

Careless People

Careless People, by Sarah Churchwell

This book achieves the trifecta of history, literature, and murder. By weaving together F. Scott Fitzgerald’s writing of The Great Gatsby with the unfolding criminal investigation of the 1922 Hall-Mills murder, Churchwell looks for clues as how to how aspects of the case—which was a major ongoing news story that year—may have made their way into Gatsby. It also details the Fitzgeralds’ lives in Great Neck and the fascinating characters they hobnobbed with, from newspapermen to bootleggers to criminal bosses. We of course have no way of confirming if Churchwell’s suspicions are true, but it’s fun to think about regardless.

 

 

Blood Aces

Blood Aces, by Doug Swanson - On sale 8/14/14

This is the pulp-infused true story of Benny Binion, the Texas gangster and pioneering Las Vegas casino owner whose legacy can still be felt today (he founded the hugely successful World Series of Poker). As Dallas’s reigning mob boss, Binion could be brutal, yet he was fiercely protective of his family and philanthropic when it was to his advantage. Brimming with tales of the criminal underworld and Binion’s shrewd business practices, which often turned violent (he is quoted as having said “I ain’t never killed a man who didn’t deserve it”), this dark slice of Americana is compelling and vivid—you can almost smell the stale Camels and last night’s beer at Binion’s Horseshoe.

 

The Fires

The Fires, by Joe Flood

Counter to popular lore, this book argues that the majority of the fires ravaging parts of the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Manhattan in the ‘70s were caused by a faulty computer model. In the ‘60s Mayor Lindsay teamed up with a think tank called the RAND Corporation to develop a way to govern the city more efficiently and statistically, starting with the fire department. But their methods were deeply flawed, resulting in severely reduced service in the neighborhoods that needed it desperately. It was an aspect of New York City history I hadn’t been aware of—and I’ve read a lot of books on New York City history. With so much of our current world moving to statistical analysis to predict just about everything from customer buying habits to election outcomes to the nation’s best burrito, this seems especially relevant.

Pictures Revolution

Pictures at a Revolution, by Mark Harris

If you’re anything like me, you love reading about the culture of the ‘60s and ‘70s. Pictures at a Revolution profiles the five movies that were nominated for Best Picture of 1967, offering not just the stories of the making of each individual film, but a broader picture of Hollywood in the ‘60s and the overall culture and atmosphere of the era. In a year that marked a real turning point for American movies, not to mention the culture at large, the five nominees represent both the new and the old, the generational divide sharply on display. The book offers some fascinating on-set stories and priceless trivia—who knew that at one point Bonnie and Clyde was to be directed by Jean-Luc Godard, who wanted to cast Elliott Gould as Clyde Barrow? (I actually kind of wish that had happened.)

 

Find more books on the Current Events & History page!

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Eliza

Eliza Rosenberry is a Publicist at Blue Rider Press where she began her career in 2012. Originally from Massachusetts, she graduated from Northeastern University with a BA in English. She can be found wherever books and snacks are available.

 

 

 

This Town, by Mark Leibovich

This Town by Mark Leibovich

I love opening an issue of the New York Times Sunday Magazine and seeing a new piece by Mark Leibovich. He’s the magazine’s Chief National Correspondent and writes sharp, critical, and thoughtful profiles of political figures (many of these profiles will be collected in his upcoming book Citizens of the Green Room - stay tuned!). This Town, which we published last summer in hardcover and this year in paperback, is an insider-y take on everything that’s wrong with Washington D.C.: in a nutshell, that the politicians, lobbyists, and media in our nation’s capital are way too friendly with each other. Mark is a hilarious writer and even though it paints a pretty depressing picture, This Town is so much fun to read. And the paperback edition has a new afterword, with updates on the Post-#ThisTown era.

Love & War

Love & War by James Carville and Mary Matalin

James Carville is a Democrat and Mary Matalin is a Republican, and they’re political consultants, and they’re married. I would have a hard enough time dating someone who didn’t like the same TV shows as me, let alone such a fundamental difference as political beliefs — especially when it’s also your career. But James and Mary have somehow made it work, and they speak candidly about their twenty years of marriage in Love & War. They also write about returning to Louisiana (where James is from) after Hurricane Katrina and working to rebuild the city of New Orleans — those passages are my favorite.

 

 

The Last Magazine, by Michael Hastings

The Last Magazine by Michael Hastings (on sale 6/17/14)

The Operators, Michael Hastings’s book about General Stanley McChrystal and the war in Afghanistan, was published on January 5, 2012. I remember because it was my third day as an assistant at Blue Rider Press and Michael was the first author I’d ever worked with. He was most famous for getting McChrystal fired with a Rolling Stone profile; his reporting was refreshing, exciting, and brave. But Michael died tragically in a car accident a year ago, and it was a shock for all of us who had read his writing, experienced his talent and energy, and anticipated a long and prolific career. The Last Magazine is Michael’s debut novel, discovered in his files after his death: a hilariously funny account of a young journalist in the early 2000s trying to find his footing in a changing media landscape, and informed by Michael’s own experiences. It’s wonderful to have the opportunity to read a new piece of his writing, this time fiction – but still with Michael’s signature insight, humor, and perspective.

 

Blowback, by Valerie Plame and Sarah LovettBurned, by Valerie Plame and Sarah Lovett

Blowback and Burned (10/21/14) by Valerie Plame

Valerie Plame is a former covert CIA operative whose identity was exposed (and her career was therefore ended) by the Bush administration. After writing a memoir, appearing often as a CIA expert on TV and on speaking tours, and moving her family out to New Mexico, Valerie is now writing a spy thriller series. Co-written with Sarah Lovett, BLOWBACK and BURNED star Vanessa Piersen, a covert CIA operative who travels the world and focuses on anti-nuclear proliferation, keeping her assets safe, and having secret affairs with other agents. Valerie is incredibly smart and charming, and her professional expertise is on every page of these books.

Acid Test LSD, Ecstasy, and the Power to Heal, by Tom Shroder

Acid Test by Tom Shroder (on sale 9/9/14)

Ever since this book was presented at our launch meeting last year, I’ve been itching to get my hands on a galley. Journalist Tom Shroder has written a history of psychedelics, and how the drug MDMA (commonly known as ecstasy) has been used to effectively treat PTSD, especially in returning military personnel. I had no idea (until this book) that more than 500,000 veterans suffer from PTSD.  Shroder’s reporting is phenomenal and his sources — including a veteran whose PTSD is under control thanks to MDMA therapy — are fascinating.  If weed was the big drug story of 2013, this book could do the same for psychedelics in 2014. And it doesn’t hurt that the cover is awesome.

 

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