The #8 book in the country is Hero of Two Worlds, a biography of the Marquis de Lafayette by history podcaster Mike Duncan. “Though short on analysis, Duncan marshals a wealth of information into a crisp and readable narrative,” our review said. “This sympathetic portrait illuminates the complexities of Lafayette and his revolutionary era.” Duncan started the Revolutions podcast after wrapping his previous program, The History of Rome. A 2017 book based on that series, The Storm Before the Storm, had a strong first week; his new book did even better.
As the U.S. Open descends on the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens, titles by and about a pair of greats debut on our hardcover nonfiction list, including #18, All In, by the complex’s eponym. In King’s “audacious memoir,” our starred review said, “the tennis legend faces off against on-court rivalries and off-court battles.” She reflects on her superstar years and “also fervidly speaks on contemporary issues from trans rights—calling out the Women’s Tennis Association for its insensitive treatment of such players as Renée Richards—to gun control.”
Ranked 10 notches above, Christopher Clarey’s Roger Federer bio, The Master, may be best suited to tennis superfans. The author’s “handling of the Swiss’s life off the court is notably superficial,” our review said, “despite the level of detail he offers in recounting Federer’s legendary Wimbledon matches.”
Debuting at #7 on our hardcover fiction list, The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois is the first novel from poet Honorée Fanonne Jeffers and a newly minted Oprah’s Book Club pick. It’s a “staggering and ambitious saga exploring African American history” via multiple generations of a single family, our starred review said. Writings from Du Bois punctuate the novel, emphasizing his belief that Black people are capable of far more than white society expects. “W.E.B. Du Bois is the most important Black intellectual of the late 19th and most of the 20th century,” Jeffers told PW in a prepub interview, and Black Southerners in particular “had a special place in his heart. As a Black Southerner, I’m also part of a community that he imagined and that he tried to save.”
NEW & NOTABLE
THE MADNESS OF CROWDS
#1 Hardcover Fiction, #1 overall
“At the heart of bestseller Penny’s brilliant 17th whodunit featuring Sûreté du Québec Chief Insp. Armand Gamache,” our starred review said, is a provocative question: “Might a post-Covid Canada value individual lives less?” The author, who “excels at placing her characters in challenging ethical quandaries,” is well-equipped to investigate.
#9 Hardcover Nonfiction
“In this eye-opening survey on pleasure-seeking and addiction,” our starred review said, psychiatrist Lembke “explains how the human brain’s pleasure center works and the effects of feel-good neurotransmitter dopamine.” To break the cycle of harmful obsessions, the author “recommends beginning with periods of abstinence and reminds readers that chasing pleasure and avoiding suffering leads, in the long run, to more pain.”