Subscriber-Only Content; You must be a PW subscriber to access the backissue database. PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital edition via our app or online. For more information on PW's new integrated subscription plan, click here. If you are currently a PW subscriber, click "Login" for full access to the site (if you have not done so already, you will need to set up your account for the new system by going here), or click the "Subscribe" button to become a PW subscriber. Email service@publishersweekly.com with questions.

Login or Subscribe
My Journey into the Heart of Terror: Ten Days in the Islamic State

J%C3%BCrgen Todenh%C3%B6fer. Greystone (PGW/Perseus, U.S. dist; UTP, Canadian dist.), $26.95 (288p) ISBN 978-1-77164-224-8

Todenhöfer, a former German judge and politician turned author, recounts the lead-up to and his travels into Islamic State (ISIS) controlled parts of Syria and Mosul, Iraq in 2014 to interview ISIS fighters in order to better understand their ideology, motives and goals. His research, focused on German recruits, leads to an official invitation to speak with fighters as well as a promise of safety. Todenhöfer's public criticism of U.S. foreign policy, particularly in Afghanistan and Iraq, and previous books (Why Do You Kill, Zaid?) seemingly earned him enough trust to be the first journalist from the West to be granted such access. But with ISIS's history of executions, including journalists, in mind, Todenhöfer packed suicide pills before he and his son Frederic and a friend journeyed through Turkey into ISIS territory. They report what the fighters, some of whom have come from Western countries, tell them are their beliefs about Islam, ISIS's goals and its ruthless executions and punishments of "non-believers," and practices such as slavery. Todenhöfer questions them about how such brutality can be reconciled with Islamic teachings from the Qu'ran about mercy and peace. Written almost like a travel diary with transcribed interviews, the book offers a rare inside view of ISIS and insight into the terrorist organization's methods and hold on adherents. (Apr.)

Reviewed on 05/27/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
Happy Hens & Fresh Eggs: Keeping Chickens in the Kitchen Garden

Signe Langford. Douglas & McIntyre (PGW/Perseus, U.S. dist.; UTP, Canadian dist.) $22.95 trade paper (210p) ISBN 978-1-77162-097-0

Professional cook and food writer Langford combines her love of food, gardens, and backyard chickens in her scattered but delightful first book. The book is a hybrid of several genres: part cookbook, part memoir, part how-to-raise-backyard-chickens manual, and even part sketchbook. The genres, for the most part, blend together seamlessly and add to the unique charm of Langford's creation. A few negative family anecdotes seem out of place, but they're brief and easily overlookd. The book is divided into four sections by season. Each section is then broken down into two parts, the first providing advice on raising backyard chickens and on gardening with chickens in general, and the second providing seasonal recipes for free-range eggs. Langford's tips and tricks for chicken tending don't go into much detail, but they are helpful in that they will get chicken owners and would-be chicken owners thinking about a wide variety of issues that go hand-in-hand with urban hen-keeping. Similarly, some of the recipes lack specifics, such as the required temperature, but the wide variety will appeal to many tastes and skill-levels. (May)

Reviewed on 05/27/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
The Ballad of Danny Wolfe: Life of a Modern Outlaw

Joe Friesen. McClelland & Stewart/Signal (Penguin Random House, dist.) $24.95 (352p) ISBN 978-0-7710-3023-9

Danny Wolfe truly lived and died by the sword. In this engrossing biography, author and Globe and Mail reporter, Friesen explains how the horrific legacy of Canada's Indian Residential Schools and the rampant poverty of First Nations reserves coalesced into the life a man who had little other choice than to become an outlaw. Danny was born in Regina, Sask. in 1976. His alcoholic mother was a traumatized survivor of residential school abuse. Danny and his brother, Richard experienced a broken, violence-ridden home life from their earliest years. In 1988, they founded the Indian Posse street gang in Winnipeg. "In the gang," Friesen writes, "Richard and Danny found an acceptance they hadn't found anywhere else in their lives. School was a disaster, family life the same. With the Indian Posse, they had people who cared about them." Through 24 chronological chapters, Friesen details Danny's criminal life, from theft to murder. His story parallels the broader rise of First Nations gangs in Canada, a reckoning of sorts for generations of government-sanctioned cultural genocide and institutional racism. Friesen is a great writer who tells Danny's story with unbiased detachment. The implications of Canadian social policy as reflected in this outlaw's life should be clear to all readers. Highly recommended. (May)

Reviewed on 05/27/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
The Jaguar Man: A Memoir

Lara Naughton. Central Recovery (HCI, dist.), $15.95 trade paper (176p) ISBN 978-1-942094-20-3

Recounting how the fourth day of a two-week vacation turned into a nightmare, Naughton (Never Fight a Shark in Open Water) takes readers on a journey through hallucination, horror, and compassion. Naughton, an experienced traveler, is in Belize hoping to start a relationship with a local man she met there on a previous trip. On her way to see him, she carelessly enters an unmarked car that the driver claims is a taxi. The innocuous sound of a door clicking shut becomes a memory she revisits for years while struggling to recover from her subsequent abduction and rape by the knife-wielding driver—the “jaguar man.” That ordeal is recounted as a mixture of imagined and remembered moments that suggest Naughton turning her consciousness off and on. When her abductor releases her the following morning, Naughton is numb and in denial over the depth of her trauma. Once back home in California, she begins the long process of recovery. Her ability to feel compassion for her abductor—who was never captured—is part of what makes her story both excruciating and extraordinary. This is a brief but riveting look at a devastating experience and the resilience Naughton summons as her ultimate response. Agent: Rayhané Sanders, Lippincott Massie McQuilkin. (July)

Reviewed on 05/27/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
The Art of Reading: A Photo Essay

Lawrence Schwartzwald. Lawrence Schwartzwald, $28 trade paper (78p) ISBN 978-1-941969-81-6

Photojournalist Schwartzwald celebrates urban bibliophiles in this slim collection of 60 candid black-and-white photos from recent years. Inspired by photographer André Kertész’s 1971 photo essay On Reading, the collection depicts readers—mainly New Yorkers—in various stages of reflection. Except for a lucky snap of the pop singer Amy Winehouse staring down at a magazine in New York City’s Meatpacking District in 2007, Schwartzwald’s subjects are anonymous people publicly projecting their affinity for books. Whether at a bus stop, on a subway platform, or on a graffiti-covered stoop on the Bowery, Schwartzwald’s oblivious subjects share an expression of deep thought. The most powerful images depict a reader amid and utterly oblivious to the chaotic and distinctly urban surrounding setting. As viewed through Schwartzwald’s lens, the core of reading for the city dweller seems to be the ability to lose oneself to the printed word. (BookLife)

Reviewed on 05/27/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
How to Avoid the Cutting Room Floor: An Editor’s Advice for On-Camera Actors

Jordan Goldman. CreateSpace, $14.99 trade paper (140p) ISBN 978-1-5123-3485-2

In this informative and entertaining book, Goldman, an Emmy-winning television editor, provides an inside look at his trade. As the editor of shows including The Shield and Homeland, Goldman is responsible for taking the footage shot by directors and piecing it together into three successive versions: the director’s, the producers’, and finally the network’s. Having studied countless hours of how actors—both stars and background players—succeed or fail in front of the camera, Goldman offers step-by-step instructions for actors on maximizing their time on screen in the final cut. Using photos and a script written to demonstrate the process, Goldman clearly explains what directors and editors need from actors in terms of timing, reactions, and technical skills. Examples of good and bad acting from films and TV shows are sprinkled throughout the text, though more would have been welcome. The book is written as an instruction guide for actors on how not to frustrate directors and editors, but Goldman also offers general readers a close look at how a television show is made, with insight into the joys and frustrations of working in a creative industry. (BookLife)

Reviewed on 05/27/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
The End of the Perfect 10:

Dvora Meyers. S&S/Touchstone, $26 (320p) ISBN 978-1-5011-0136-6

Meyers, a former gymnast who writes on sports for ESPN and Slate, offers this sterile history of women’s gymnastics from 1976, when the first perfect score of 10 was awarded, and 2003, when the last 10 was given. Meyers has facts and data and quotes aplenty, but what she is missing is the heartbeat of a story. Gymnastics is a sport full of intrigue, plots, and characters—tiny young girls driven to perfection and the coaches and parents who drive them—and yet only readers who care a great deal about filling gaps in their knowledge of the sport will enjoy it. For everyone else, here’s the gist: routines in elite-level gymnastics used to be scored on a scale of 1–10. Nadia Comaneci earned that first 10 on the uneven bars at the 1976 Olympics. Scandals, controversy, and accusations of political bias followed over the next years as many imperfect routines were given 10s. After an especially messy 2004 Olympics, elite gymnastics adopted an open-ended scoring system. The book has tremendous detail, but wading through it is tedious. (July)

Reviewed on 05/27/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
Angela Merkel: Europe’s Most Influential Leader

Matthew Qvortrup. Overlook/Mayer, $37.95 (384p) ISBN 978-1-4683-1316-1

Bloomberg Businessweek reporter Qvortrup presents a well-researched but unsatisfying biography of Germany’s chancellor. He follows Merkel’s path: a Lutheran girlhood in East Berlin, her first marriage, her years as a scientist, her entry into politics during German reunification, and her rise to the chancellorship, which he follows right up to the 2015 Syrian refugee crisis. The book reads more as a history than a biography; the early chapters are heavy on historical context and light on personal detail and later chapters explore political negotiations and decision-making, with very few explorations of Merkel’s non-work life or of her psychology and motivations. Qvortrup’s writing comes alive when recounting political machinations (such as those behind Merkel’s 2005 electoral win), but the overall narrative and prose are workmanlike at best and clunky at some points. (On the building of the Berlin Wall: “The Cold War had entered a new phase and life would never be the same again. Not until 1989, at any rate.”) The reader leaves the book with plenty of facts about Merkel’s life and possessing a better understanding of recent German politics, but knowing little more of Merkel’s worldview, motivations, and personality. (July)

Reviewed on 05/27/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
On the Brink: A Fresh Lens to Take Your Business to New Heights

Andi Simon. Greenleaf, $19.95 (184p) ISBN 978-1-62634-280-4

Another contribution to the bursting business-innovation shelves arrives from corporate anthropologist Simon. She begins by describing how she built up a thriving consultancy business, using webinars and workshops to help companies adapt to fast-changing environments. Corporate anthropology may be an unfamiliar term to most readers, but it means exactly what it sounds like: an extension of traditional anthropology to modern business settings. Simon presents her discipline as a methodology for diagnosing and changing company cultures, developing great products and design, and creating strategies for branding, marketing, and sales. She presents case studies from seven different companies, exploring how they handled crises and leadership changes. Along the way, she shows businesspeople how to apply the concepts and methods of anthropology, such as field research and “culture probes.” She also makes a more general case for the qualities of anthropologists, including “always observing to see with fresh eyes” and being willing to “fail early and often.” Corporate anthropology is a clever hook, but there’s not enough that’s truly new in Simon’s suggestions to set this apart in a crowded field. (July)

Reviewed on 05/27/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
The Classical World: The Foundations of the West and the Enduring Legacy of Antiquity

Nigel Spivey. Pegasus, $27.95 (368p) ISBN 978-1-68177-151-9

In this quirky, confusing, and pedantic introduction to classical history, Spivey (The Ancient Olympics) focuses on various cities of antiquity. For Spivey, classical civilization’s defining unit is the city and its guiding principle is “love of humankind,” or philanthropia. He examines cities such as Troy, Athens, Sparta, Rome, and Constantinople. Troy, for example, embodies the “renewable strength of civilization.” Athens, often exalted for its democratic constitution, operated on a slave economy and was more oligarchy than democracy. Spivey inexplicably pauses in the middle of his survey to examine Greek and Roman philosophy, marking the teachings of certain philosophers (including Heraclitus, Plato, Aristotle, Diogenes, Marcus Aurelius, and Lucretius) as the high point of classical civilization, but he mistakenly calls Plato a “proto-feminist” while failing to recognize that women played a very secondary role in Plato’s ideal republic. In the end, Spivey refuses to examine the role of what he calls the “rubbish” of everyday life—including documents such as wills and contracts—in favor of his own highly idealized view of civilization, which apparently doesn’t include such “rubbish.” There are numerous excellent introductory surveys of the classical world that are broad and rewarding; regrettably, this is not one of them. Agency: Head of Zeus (U.K.). (July)

Reviewed on 05/27/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
X
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.