With the war in Afghanistan nearing its 12th year, some have begun to opine that being at war is the new norm. For those who’ve actually served on the front lines, that prospect rings particularly—and terribly—true. Back on the home front, the battle continues apace for many soldiers struggling to re-enter civilian society.
Navy SEAL Chris Kyle understood that burden better than most—during his tours in Afghanistan and Iraq, he earned the dubious distinction of being America’s deadliest sniper. After he retired in 2009, he began helping fellow vets cope with PTSD. This past February, just five days after we listed his forthcoming American Gun as one of our top 10 picks for our history/military history spring announcements, he and a friend were murdered by one of those veterans he had sought to comfort. This year, Morrow will release a memorial edition of his bestselling 2012 memoir, American Sniper, featuring reminiscences and tributes from friends and family.
But the memorial that will be on most Americans’ minds this year is the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Amid the mountain of JFK-related titles set to pub this fall, two stand out: Robert Dallek’s Camelot’s Court: Inside the Kennedy White House expands the scope of the author’s acclaimed 2003 biography of the president (An Unfinished Life) to include his inner circle of advisers, and Bill Minutaglio and Steven L. Davis’s Dallas 1963 is a stirring portrait of the hostile forces that awaited Kennedy in that Southern city. Bill O’Reilly jumped the gun with the publication of 2012’s Killing Kennedy, but this year he takes aim at another perennially popular figure—in Killing Jesus, the fiery Fox News commentator gives an account of Christ’s life and crucifixion.
Other supposed Heretics and Heroes get their due in the sixth volume of Thomas Cahill’s Hinges of History series, which explores how Renaissance artists and Reformation priests shaped the modern world. Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award–winner James MacGregor Burns takes a similarly ambitious tack in Fire and Light, an examination of how the European and American Enlightenment altered the course of history, and how our founding fathers put its high ideals to the test.
Two female historians, each on opposite sides of the Atlantic, size up major male figures who left some very big footprints: British writer Jane Ridley profiles the garrulous womanizer and gambler-turned-surprisingly effective king and diplomat in The Heir Apparent: A Life of Edward VII, the Playboy Prince (which the U.K.’s The Independent called “one of the best books about royalty ever published”), while Pulitzer Prize–winning biographer Doris Kearns Goodwin (No Ordinary Time) chronicles the tenuous friendship between Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft in The Bully Pulpit.
Those men would be the last to rule their respective countries before the modern industrial world was plunged into its first Great War. In Catastrophe 1914, noted and knighted British historian Sir Max Hastings unpacks the diplomatic crises that sparked the conflict and the first year of fighting, and shows how the war was doomed from the start to devolve into a deadly stalemate.
Hankering for a little relief after all that turmoil? With One Summer: America, 1927, well-known expat Bill Bryson immerses readers in the heat and hype of a summer filled with legendary characters like Charles Lindbergh, Babe Ruth, and Al Capone. It’s a welcome reminder that once upon a time there was such a thing as life after war—that the words “after war” used to actually mean something.
PW’s Top 10: History & Military History
American Sniper: Memorial Edition. Chris Kyle. Morrow, Oct. 15.
Camelot’s Court: Inside the Kennedy White House. Robert Dallek. Harper, Oct. 8.
Dallas 1963. Bill Minutaglio and Steven L. Davis. Twelve, Oct. 8.
Killing Jesus: A History. Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard. Henry Holt, Sept. 24
Heretics and Heroes: How Renaissance Artists and Reformation Priests Created Our World. Thomas Cahill. Doubleday/Talese, Oct. 29.
Fire and Light: How the Enlightenment Transformed Our World. James MacGregor Burns. St. Martin’s/Thomas Dunne, Oct. 29.
The Heir Apparent: A Life of Edward VII, the Playboy Prince. Jane Ridley. Random House, Dec. 3.
Catastrophe 1914: Europe Goes to War. Max Hastings. Knopf, Sept. 24.
The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism. Doris Kearns Goodwin. Simon & Schuster, Oct. 1.
One Summer: America, 1927. Bill Bryson. Doubleday, Oct. 1.
History & Military History
Elizabeth of York: A Tudor Queen and Her World by Alison Weir (Nov. 5, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-0345521361). The last daughter of a Yorkist king, the first Tudor queen, and the mother of Henry VIII—Elizabeth of York is the subject of this nonacademic biography from Britain’s highest-selling female historian.
Heir to the Empire City: New York and the Making of Theodore Roosevelt by Edward P. Kohn (Jan. 7, hardcover, $27.99, ISBN 978-0465024292). The chair of the American culture and literature department at Turkey’s Bilkent University presents a dual biography of Theodore Roosevelt and New York City, showing how Roosevelt’s identity and politics were forged in the booming city of his birth.
John F. Blair
Voices of Cherokee Women by Carolyn Ross Johnston (Oct. 8, trade paper, $12.95, ISBN 978-0895875990). Commemorating the 175th anniversary of the Trail of Tears, this addition to the Real Voices, Real History series features first-person accounts by Cherokee women and those who crossed their paths.
Jefferson and Hamilton: The Rivalry That Forged a Nation by John Ferling (Oct. 1, hardcover, $30, ISBN 978-1608195282). Ferling, professor emeritus of history at the University of West Georgia, explores how the rivalry between Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton greatly influenced the development of our fledgling nation.
Chicago Review Press
(dist. by IPG)
The Criminal Conversation of Mrs. Norton: Victorian England’s “Scandal of the Century” and the Fallen Socialite Who Changed Women’s Lives Forever by Diane Atkinson (Sept. 1, hardcover, $29.95, ISBN 978-1613748800). A scholar of the politics of women’s labor paints a lively portrait of a forgotten feminist heroine who helped establish legal rights for women.
(dist. by PGW)
The Hidden History of the JFK Assassination by Lamar Waldron (Nov. 12, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-1619022263). Historian and conspiracy theorist Waldron (Watergate: The Hidden History) explains why JFK was assassinated and how it was done in a way that forced many records to remain concealed for nearly 50 years.
Da Capo press
“Mr. President”: George Washington and the Making of the Nation’s Highest Office by Harlow Giles Unger (Oct. 29, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-0306819612). Founding Fathers biographer Unger (John Quincy Adams) reveals one of the most significant yet least known chapters in American history: how George Washington converted his ceremonial post into the most powerful office on Earth. 60,000-copy announced first printing.
One Summer: America, 1927 by Bill Bryson (Oct. 1, hardcover, $28.95, ISBN 978-0767919401). The author of A Walk in the Woods argues that 1927 was the year that the 20th century became the American century, when our nation came of age in a big, brawling manner.
Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East by Scott Anderson (Aug. 6, hardcover, $28.95, ISBN 978-0385532921). The Arab Revolt against the Turks in WWI was, in the words of T.E. Lawrence, “a sideshow of a sideshow.” War correspondent Anderson tells the history of that period in order to shed light on the modern Middle East.
Heretics and Heroes: How Renaissance Artists and Reformation Priests Created Our World by Thomas Cahill (Oct. 29, hardcover, $30.50, ISBN 978-0385495578). In Volume VI of his acclaimed Hinges of History series (after Mysteries of the Middle Ages), Cahill focuses on the Renaissance and Reformation and how this period changed the Western world.
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Constellation of Genius: 1922: Modernism Year One by Kevin Jackson (Sept. 17, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-0374128982). Jackson’s (The Worlds of John Ruskin) spirited chronicle of 1922, “Year One” of modernism, turns on the influence of Eliot and Joyce, and places their accomplishments in the context of the world in which their works first appeared.
Ecstatic Nation: Confidence, Crisis, and Compromise, 1848–1877 by Brenda Wineapple (Aug. 6, hardcover, $35, ISBN 978-0061234576). Wineapple returns after her National Book Critics Circle Award–nominated White Heat with this political, intellectual, and cultural history of America during the heart of the 19th century. 40,000-copy announced first printing.
Camelot’s Court: Inside the Kennedy White House by Robert Dallek (Oct. 8, hardcover, $32.50, ISBN 978-0062065841). In anticipation of the 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination comes this portrait of a president and his inner circle of advisers from a distinguished presidential historian. 100,000-copy announced first printing.
The Men Who United the States: America’s Explorers, Inventors, Eccentrics and Mavericks, and the Creation of One Nation, Indivisible by Simon Winchester (Oct. 15, hardcover, $29.99, ISBN 978-0062079602). The author of Atlantic delivers his first book about America in this fascinating look at the individuals whose efforts and achievements helped create one cohesive nation. 150,000-copy announced first printing.
Who Discovered America?: The Untold History of the Peopling of the Americas by Gavin Menzies and Ian Hudson (Oct. 8, hardcover, $28.99, ISBN 978-0062236753). Expanding on his 1421, Menzies uncovers the untold history of how mankind came to the Americas, offering new revelations and a rethinking of the accepted historical record. 100,000-copy announced first printing.
Killing Jesus: A History by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard (Sept. 24, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-0805098549). After covering the assassinations of Lincoln and Kennedy, Fox News commentator O’Reilly sets his sights on the crucifixion of Jesus Christ for the third book in his popular series.
Henry Holt/Times Books
The Brothers: John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles, and Their Secret World War by Stephen Kinzer (Oct. 1, hardcover, $30, ISBN 978-0805094978). In the 1950s, brothers John Foster Dulles and Allen Dulles—secretary of state and director of the CIA, respectively—led the United States into an unseen war that decisively shaped today’s world, argues Kinzer (Reset) in this joint biography.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Hitler’s Furies: German Women in the Nazi Killing Fields by Wendy Lower (Oct. 8, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-0547863382). A historical consultant for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum uncovers the role of German women in the Holocaust, not only as plunderers and direct witnesses, but as killers on the eastern front. 30,000-copy announced first printing.
Empress Dowager Cixi: The Concubine Who Launched Modern China by Jung Chang (Oct. 29, hardcover, $30, ISBN 978-0307271600). From the coauthor of Mao comes this biography of the woman who overcame centuries of tradition to rule China for 50 years in the 19th century and usher it into the modern age. 100,000-copy announced first printing.
On Paper: The Everything of Its Two-Thousand-Year History by Nicholas A. Basbanes (Oct. 15, hardcover, $35, ISBN 978-0307266422). A consideration of all things paper, the invention that revolutionized human civilization—its thousand-fold uses; its influence on society; its makers, shapers, collectors, and pulpers—by the cultural historian behind A Gentle Madness.
Catastrophe 1914: Europe Goes to War by Max Hastings (Sept. 24, hardcover, $35, ISBN 978-0307597052). A knighted British historian recreates the dramatic opening year of WWI, from diplomatic crises to on-the-ground fighting, and shows why the conflict was doomed to be a war of attrition. 100,000-copy announced first printing.
The Trident: The Forging and Reforging of a Navy SEAL Leader by Jason Redman and John R. Bruning (Oct. 22, hardcover, $26.99, ISBN 978-0062208316). A Navy SEAL’s account of combat, his growth as a leader, his near fatal wounds, and his remarkable recovery and transformation into a symbol of bravery. 100,000-copy announced first printing.
American Sniper: Memorial Edition by Chris Kyle, with Scott McEwen and Jim DeFelice (Oct. 15, hardcover, $29.99, ISBN 978-0062290793). Kyle, America’s deadliest sniper, was murdered by a fellow vet in February 2013. To honor both his heroics on the battlefield and at home, this memorial edition of his bestselling memoir has been updated with remembrances and tributes from friends and family. 200,000-copy announced first printing.
Servants: A Downstairs History of Britain from the Nineteenth-Century to Modern Times by Lucy Lethbridge (Nov. 18, hardcover, $27.95, ISBN 978-0393241099). Drawing from a kaleidoscope of research, journalist Lethbridge delivers a portrait of life in service—from the Edwardian period to the 1970s—and a new view of English society.
Oxford Univ. Press
War Time: An Idea, Its History, Its Consequences by Mary L. Dudziak (Sept. 1, trade paper, $16.95, ISBN 978-0199315857). Dudziak (Exporting American Dreams) argues in this inventive meditation on war, time, and the law, that wartime is not as discrete a period as we’d like to think.
Egyptomania: Our Three-Thousand-Year Obsession with the Land of the Pharaohs by Bob Brier (Nov. 12, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-1137278609). A rollicking journey through the history of our infatuation with pharaohs, mummies, and pyramids, from the pre-eminent Egyptologist known as “Mr. Mummy.”
Year Zero: A History of 1945 by Ian Buruma (Sept. 26, hardcover, $29.95, ISBN 978-1594204364). Buruma (Taming the Gods) reckons with the great drama that ensued when WWII came to an end in 1945, while meditating also on his own father’s harrowing experiences as a prisoner of the Nazis.
Finding the Dragon Lady: The Mystery of Vietnam’s Madame Nhu by Monique Brinson Demery (Sept. 24, hardcover, $26.99, ISBN 978-1610392815). Based on exclusive interviews and Madame Nhu’s unpublished memoirs, Demery reveals the life of the controversial woman known in her day as the Dragon Lady, who was a lightning rod for America’s ill-fated involvement in Vietnam.
If Kennedy Lived: The First and Second Terms of President John F. Kennedy: An Alternate History by Jeff Greenfield (Oct. 22, hardcover, $26.95, ISBN 978-0399166969). A journalist and alternative historian, Greenfield (Then Everything Changed) ponders what kind of political career Kennedy would have had—and what kind of legacy he would have left—had Oswald missed his mark.
The Cave and the Light: Plato Versus Aristotle, and the Struggle for the Soul of Western Civilization by Arthur Herman (Sept. 24, hardcover, $35, ISBN 978-0553807301). A Pulitzer Prize finalist (for Gandhi and Churchill) offers this cultural history of the rivalry and warring ideas of the two men that made Western civilization what it is today.
The Heir Apparent: A Life of Edward VII, the Playboy Prince by Jane Ridley (Dec. 3, hardcover, $35, ISBN 978-1400062553). By all accounts (including his mother’s, Queen Victoria), Edward VII should’ve made a terrible king—he was a notorious womanizer, gambler, and glutton. Yet Ridley shows him to have been an effective monarch and an ace diplomat.
Vanished: The Sixty-Year Search for the Missing Men of World War II by Wil S. Hylton (Nov. 5, hardcover, $27.95, ISBN 978-1594487279). A seasoned journalist tells of the 60-year-long search for the crew of an American WWII bomber that mysteriously disappeared over the Pacific in 1944. 100,000-copy announced first printing.
Simon & Schuster
The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism by Doris Kearns Goodwin (Oct. 1, hardcover, $37.50, ISBN 978-1416547860). After FDR and Abraham Lincoln, Pulitzer Prize–winner Goodwin (No Ordinary Time) brings Theodore Roosevelt, the muckraking journalists, and the Progressive Era to life.
The Tender Soldier: A True Story of War and Sacrifice by Vanessa M. Gezari (Aug. 13, hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-1439177396). In 2008, three civilians set out for Afghanistan as part of the Human Terrain System, a U.S. government-backed strategy based on the idea that you can’t win a war if you don’t understand the enemy. Journalist Gezari shows how their humanity is tested and their lives changed when a lone Afghan attacks one of them.
Simon & Schuster/Gallery
Five Days in November by Clint Hill, with Lisa McCubbin (Nov. 19, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-1476731490). Hill (Mrs. Kennedy and Me) was the lone Secret Service agent who jumped onto the car after JFK was shot. He shares stories of the five tragic days surrounding the assassination.
The Assassination of the Archduke: Sarajevo 1914 and the Romance That Changed the World by Greg King and Sue Woolmans (Sept. 3, hardcover, $27.99, ISBN 978-1250000163). Drawing on primary sources and new interviews with Hapsburg descendants, King (The Fate of the Romanovs) and Woolmans tell the story of the romance and assassination that sparked WWI.
St. Martin’s/Thomas Dunne
Tudors: The History of England from Henry VIII to Elizabeth I by Peter Ackroyd (Oct. 15, hardcover, $30, ISBN 978-1250003621). In the second installment in his history of England (after Foundation), Ackroyd addresses the most famous British royal family.
Fire and Light: How the Enlightenment Transformed Our World by James MacGregor Burns (Oct. 29, hardcover, $27.99, ISBN 978-1250024893). Pulitzer Prize–winning historian Burns (Roosevelt) explores the European and American Enlightenment, and how our founding fathers put its ideas to the test.
Last of the Blue and Gray: Old Men, Stolen Glory, and the Mystery That Outlived the Civil War by Richard A. Serrano (Oct. 8, hardcover, $27.95, ISBN 978-1588343956). A Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist for the Los Angeles Times pens the story of the last two surviving Union and Confederate veterans in the 1950s.
Dallas 1963 by Bill Minutaglio and Steven L. Davis (Oct. 8, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-1455522095). Texas natives Minutaglio (First Son) and Davis deliver an account of the radicals, reactionaries, extremists, and swirling forces that led numerous friends and aides to warn JFK against stopping in Dallas. 40,000-copy announced first printing.
The Family: Three Journeys into the Heart of the Twentieth Century by David Laskin (Oct. 15, hardcover, $32, ISBN 978-0670025473). Laskin (The Children’s Blizzard) sketches his own genealogy to tell the tale of three drastically different paths that his Jewish family members took over the course of 150 years.
Jane Austen’s England by Roy Adkins and Lesley Adkins (Aug. 15, hardcover, $26.95, ISBN 978-0670785841). Using contemporaneous sources, the Adkinses (Nelson’s Trafalgar) explore the customs and culture of Jane Austen’s England.
Small Wars, Faraway Places: Global Insurrection and the Making of the Modern World, 1945–1965 by Michael Burleigh (Oct. 3, hardcover, $36, ISBN 978-0670025459). The author of The Third Reich: A New History gives new meaning to the decades of the Cold War by examining the many largely forgotten “hot” wars fought around the world during that same time.