almostgone.jpg [View Image]Brian Sousa leaves sentiment and saudade behind in Almost Gone, a linked collection spanning four generations of a Portuguese immigrant family. In this hardscrabble world, the youth struggle with the secrets left behind by their elders, as their parents fought through the pain and joy of assimilation. Told through various perspectives, Almost Gone is a working-class tale of survival that finds no easy answers, but cuts straight to the bone.
9780812979237_custom-bf780f8d916fb31b8843097c6313481675050938-s6-c30.jpg [View Image]Enemies is the first definitive history of the FBI’s secret intelligence operations, from an author whose work on the Pentagon and the CIA won him the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award.
We think of the FBI as America’s police force. But secret intelligence is the Bureau’s first and foremost mission.Enemies is the story of how presidents have used the FBI to conduct political warfare, and how the Bureau became the most powerful intelligence service the United States possesses.
Here is the hidden history of America’s hundred-year war on terror. The FBI has fought against terrorists, spies, anyone it deemed subversive–and sometimes American presidents. The FBI’s secret intelligence and surveillance techniques have created a tug-of-war between national security and civil liberties. It is a tension that strains the very fabric of a free republic.
source.of.life.JPG [View Image]Post-divorce dating is one more cause for celebration (or a quick call in to the police) in Beth Bosworth’s revelatory new book, The Source of Life and Other Stories. The spine of this collection is a series of linked stories about Ruth Stein, a Brooklyn author whose first book has exposed her father’s abuses; while the voice here, speaking across a lifetime, ranges from bittersweet to humorous to lethal. In other stories Bosworth’s narrators–a mother left to care for her son’s suicidal dog, an editor haunted by a dog-eared manuscript–seem to grab hold of the reins and run off with their fates. Meanwhile Bosworth explores the extended family, the bonds of friendship, an apocalyptic Vermont, the rank yet redeemable Gowanus Canal; also rites of passage, race relations, divorce, middle-aged romance, dementia, funerals, alcoholism, and the Jewish religion.
Reality is just another stumbling block for Bosworth’s characters, who might help themselves but don’t always choose to. There are leaps of faith here, nonetheless, as the collection dispenses a kind of narrative psychotropic for survival and redemption, with a chaser of humor mixed in.
invisibles.JPG [View Image]Though Hugh Sheehy’s often tragic, sometimes gruesome stories feature bloodied knives and mysterious disappearances, at the heart of these thoughtful thrillers are finely crafted character studies of people who wrestle with the darker aspects of human nature–grief, violence, loneliness, and the thoughts of crazed minds.
Sheehy’s stories shine a spotlight on the bleak fringes of America, giving voice to the invisibles who need it most. A dismal assistant teacher spiking her coffee after school is suddenly locked in a basement with a student who has just witnessed his father’s murder. A seventeen-year-old girl at a skate rink whose name no one can remember is motherless, friendless, and sure she will be the next to go. The heartbroken victim of a miscarriage dreams of her fetus’s voyage through the earth’s plumbing. The estranged addict son, certain of his innate goodness, loses himself in a blizzard and fails his family again.
Sheehy’s characters learn that however invisible they may feel and whatever their intentions, their actions incur a cost both to themselves and those around them. They struggle to tame or come to terms with the forces they meet–the tragedies–that are far larger than their small existences. In this debut, Sheehy illuminates the all-but-silent note of adult loneliness and how we cope with it or, perhaps, just move past it.
‘The Lady and Her Monsters : a Tale of Dissections, Real-Life Dr. Frankensteins, and the Creation of Mary Shelley’s Masterpiece’ by Roseanne Montillo
lady.monster.JPG [View Image]The Lady and Her Monsters by Roseanne Motillo brings to life the fascinating times, startling science, and real-life horrors behind Mary Shelley’s gothic masterpiece, Frankenstein. Montillo recounts how–at the intersection of the Romantic Age and the Industrial Revolution–Shelley’s Victor Frankenstein was inspired by actual scientists of the period: curious and daring iconoclasts who were obsessed with the inner workings of the human body and how it might be reanimated after death. With true-life tales of grave robbers, ghoulish experiments, and the ultimate in macabre research–human reanimation–The Lady and Her Monsters is a brilliant exploration of the creation of Frankenstein, Mary Shelley’s horror classic.
dystopia.jpg [View Image]The addition of the word “dystopia” to our common, everyday vocabulary is indicative of both a dark turn taken by our popular culture, and a broader pessimistic turn in the general mood. As evidenced by the success of dark cinematic visions of the future-from Blade Runner (1982), to the Terminator sequence, to the Matrix trilogy-something in our natures respond to stories based in such visions of the future. The events of recent times — September 11, 2001 being the most telling example – and their attendant sharpening of focus on such concepts as national security versus the privacy of citizens, have certainly contributed to the pervasive sense of anxiety that seems to have developed in our society, and which seems so readily to find catharsis in dystopian dramas. However, as this volume shows, the concept of dystopia is much older. To be dystopian, a work needs to foreground the oppressive society in which it is set, using that setting as an opportunity to comment in a critical way on some other society, typically that of the author and/or the audience. In other worlds, the bleak dystopian world should encourage the reader or viewer to think critically about it, then to transfer this critical thinking to his or her own world.
Edited by M. Keith Booker, Professor of English at the University of Arkansas, this volume in the Critical Insights series presents a variety of new essays on the perennial theme. For readers who are studying it for the first time, a four essays survey the critical conversation regarding the theme, explore its cultural and historical contexts, and offer close and comparative readings of key texts in the genre. Readers seeking a deeper understanding of the theme can then move on to other essays that explore it in depth through a variety of critical approaches to both literature and film. Works discussed include Utopia; Looking Backward; We; Brave New World; Anthem; A Clockwork Orange; Make Room! Make Room!; Fahrenheit 451; Nineteen Eighty-Four; The Handmaid’s Tale; and Little Brother.
Rounding out the volume are a list of literary works not mentioned in the book that concern the theme of dystopia and as well as a bibliography of critical sources for readers seeking to study this timeless theme in greater depth.
‘Lee’s Cavalrymen : a History of the Mounted Forces of the Army of Northern Virginia, 1861-1865’ by Edward G. Longacre
leescavalrymen.jpg [View Image]Since the first histories of the Civil War appeared after Appomattox, the cavalry has received intermittent, uneven, and even romanticized coverage. Historian Edward G. Longacre has corrected this oversight. Lee’s Cavalrymen, not only details the organizational and operational history of the mounted arm of the Army of Northern Virginia but also examines the personal experiences of officers and men.
Longacre chronicles the salient characteristics of the regiments, brigades, and divisions, and explores the evolution of cavalry leadership, with emphasis on the personalities, interpersonal relationships, and operational styles of J. E. B. Stuart, Wade Hampton, Fitzhugh Lee, and other influential commanders. He has consulted dozens of collections of letters, diaries, and memoirs by cavalrymen of all ranks, and his careful study of North Carolina, Virginia, and Georgia newspapers unearthed rare cavalry-specific dispatches. Longacre also makes extensive use of an unpublished memoir of Gen. Wade Hampton, Stuart’s second-in-command.
A provocative analysis of the mounted army’s organization, leadership, and tactics, Lee’s Cavalrymen is a study that no Civil War enthusiast will want to miss.
marlowe.papers.barber.jpg [View Image]On May 30th, 1593, a celebrated young playwright was killed in a tavern brawl in London. That, at least, was the official version. Now Christopher Marlowe reveals the truth: that his ‘death’ was an elaborate ruse to avoid being convicted of heresy; that he was spirited across the Channel to live on in lonely exile; that he continued to write plays and poetry, hiding behind the name of a colourless man from Stratford – one William Shakespeare.
With the grip of a thriller and the emotional force of a sonnet, this remarkable novel in verse gives voice to a man who was brilliant, passionate and mercurial. A cobbler’s son who counted nobles among his friends, a spy in the Queen’s service, a fickle lover and a declared religious sceptic, he was always courting trouble. Memoir, love letter, confession, settling of accounts and a cry for recognition as the creator of some of the most sublime works in the English language, The Marlowe Papers brings Christopher Marlowe and his era to vivid life. Written by a poet and scholar, it is a work of exceptional art, erudition and imagination.
here-be-dragons-exploring-fantasy-maps-settings-stefan-ekman-paperback-cover-art.jpg [View Image]Fantasy worlds are never mere backdrops. They are an integral part of the work, and refuse to remain separate from other elements. These worlds combine landscape with narrative logic by incorporating alternative rules about cause and effect or physical transformation. They become actors in the drama–interacting with the characters, offering assistance or hindrance, and making ethical demands.
In Here Be Dragons, Stefan Ekman provides a wide-ranging survey of the ubiquitous fantasy map as the point of departure for an in-depth discussion of what such maps can tell us about what is important in the fictional worlds and the stories that take place there. With particular focus on J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, Ekman shows how fantasy settings deserve serious attention from both readers and critics. Includes insightful readings of works by Steven Brust, Garth Nix, Robert Holdstock, Terry Pratchett, Charles de Lint, China Mieville, Patricia McKillip, Tim Powers, Lisa Goldstein, Steven R. Donaldson, Robert Jordan, and Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess.
lincoln.conspiracy.jpg [View Image]A nation shattered by its president’s murder. Two diaries that reveal the true scope of an American conspiracy. A detective determined to bring the truth to light, no matter what it costs him
From award-winning journalist Timothy L. O’Brien comes a gripping historical thriller that poses a provocative question: What if the plot to assassinate President Lincoln was wider and more sinister than we ever imagined?
In late spring of 1865, as America mourns the death of its leader, Washington, D.C., police detective Temple McFadden makes a startling discovery. Strapped to the body of a dead man at the B&O Railroad station are two diaries, two documents that together reveal the true depth of the Lincoln conspiracy. Securing the diaries will put Temple’s life in jeopardy–and will endanger the fragile peace of a nation still torn by war.
Temple’s quest to bring the conspirators to justice takes him on a perilous journey through the gaslit streets of the Civil War-era capital, into bawdy houses and back alleys where ruthless enemies await him in every shadowed corner. Aided by an underground network of friends–and by his wife, Fiona, a nurse who possesses a formidable arsenal of medicinal potions–Temple must stay one step ahead of Lafayette Baker, head of the Union Army’s spy service. Along the way, he’ll run from or rely on Edwin Stanton, Lincoln’s fearsome secretary of war; the legendary Scottish spymaster Allan Pinkerton; abolitionist Sojourner Truth; the photographer Alexander Gardner; and many others.
Bristling with twists and building to a climax that will leave readers gasping, The Lincoln Conspiracy offers a riveting new account of what truly motivated the assassination of one of America’s most beloved presidents–and who participated in the plot to derail the train of liberty that Lincoln set in motion