BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 8, 2016

"Fascinating to dip into casually and essential to students of the Kennedy administration, the Cold War, and late-20th-century world history."
Three months, 1,700 pages. But what months they were: a season in the midterm administration of John F. Kennedy marked by faltering polls, the aftermath of near nuclear war, and one crisis after another. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: Feb. 4, 2016

"A well-researched, well-documented, and highly readable account."
A history of the Hamitic hypothesis, from its origins in the story of Noah's disgraced son Ham in the book of Genesis to its presence in the Rwandan genocide of recent decades. Read full book review >

SHRINKING THE EARTH by Donald Worster
HISTORY
Released: Feb. 3, 2016

"A bracing, intelligent survey of wealth become immiseration, essential for students of environmental history."
Eminent historian Worster (Emeritus, American History/Univ. of Kansas; A Passion for Nature: The Life of John Muir, 2008, etc.) offers a concise, often elegiac account of the end of the American centuries.Read full book review >
THE MAN WHO INVENTED FICTION by William Egginton
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 2, 2016

"Despite a lack of evidence proving cause and effect, Egginton's well-informed history of 16th-century Spanish life, politics, and culture makes for an engrossing read. He need not have insisted on sweeping claims for Cervantes' mind-changing influence."
A celebration of a beloved novel and its innovative author. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 2, 2016

"Contains several memoirs in one: ambitious, relentless, and occasionally messy."
A detailed pursuit of the author's ancestors, from the South to the North. Read full book review >

CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Feb. 2, 2016

"Berry helpfully exposes disturbing facts from across the country. Sadly, solutions cause the corrupt to create new ways to suppress voters, and it's a losing battle when local culture doesn't think it's a crime."
Berry (American Social Thought, History/Univ. of Pennsylvania; We Are Who We Say We Are: A Black Family's Search for Home Across the Atlantic World, 2014, etc.) exposes vote buying and corruption, which is as pervasive as ever. Read full book review >
THE MOST WANTED MAN IN CHINA by Fang Lizhi
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 2, 2016

"A wonderfully crafted memoir, shimmering with intellectual honesty."
A dissident astrophysicist who died in 2012 offers rare, revealing glimpses inside the opaque Chinese communist system. Read full book review >
EXIT RIGHT by Daniel Oppenheimer
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 2, 2016

"Whether his subjects are viewed as champions or apostates, Oppenheimer's insightful narrative should inspire some soul-searching among political believers of every stripe."
"A political identity is always a negotiation, between what it demands and who we are," asserts freelance journalist Oppenheimer as he explores "the negotiation of specific left-wing identities…and how those negotiations fell apart." Read full book review >
LIGHT by Bruce Watson
HISTORY
Released: Feb. 2, 2016

"An ingenious combination of science and art history."
The usual popular-science history of light begins with the ancient Greeks and peters out soon after Einstein, but this fine account by Smithsonian contributing writer Watson (Freedom Summer: The Savage Season of 1964 that Made Mississippi Burn and Made America a Democracy, 2010, etc.) paints with a broader brush.Read full book review >
100 MILLION YEARS OF FOOD by Stephen Le
FOOD & COOKING
Released: Feb. 2, 2016

"The book's conclusions about what to eat and drink are common sense, but the journey Le takes to get us there is worth the cover price."
A biology professor traverses the globe to explore the evolution of food. Read full book review >
CHILDREN OF PARADISE by Laura Secor
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Feb. 2, 2016

"An insightful chronicle of bloody repression and brave defiance."
A close look at Iranian culture and politics from the 1979 revolution to the present. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: Feb. 2, 2016

"A proficient, well-wrought work that emphasizes the actual fighting men, their deeds, and their fates. A good complement to Douglas Waller's Wild Bill Donovan (2011)."
Thorough research into the American military's special arm for guerrilla warfare, which helped undermine the Axis effort during World War II. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Michael Eric Dyson
February 2, 2016

In Michael Eric Dyson’s rich and nuanced book new book, The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America, Dyson writes with passion and understanding about Barack Obama’s “sad and disappointing” performance regarding race and black concerns in his two terms in office. While race has defined his tenure, Obama has been “reluctant to take charge” and speak out candidly about the nation’s racial woes, determined to remain “not a black leader but a leader who is black.” Dyson cogently examines Obama’s speeches and statements on race, from his first presidential campaign through recent events—e.g., the Ferguson riots and the eulogy for the Rev. Clementa Pinckney in Charleston—noting that the president is careful not to raise the ire of whites and often chastises blacks for their moral failings. At his best, he spoke with “special urgency for black Americans” during the Ferguson crisis and was “at his blackest,” breaking free of constraints, in his “Amazing Grace” Charleston eulogy. Dyson writes here as a realistic, sometimes-angry supporter of the president. View video >