Heroic Measures

A journalist formerly stationed in Moscow, Albert Axell (Stalin's War, etc.) aims to raise some profiles with Russia's Heroes: 1941—45, his collected tales of wartime heroics by patriots defending the Motherland—including Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya, a highly literate young woman who fought with a guerrilla unit combating the Germans, and the "Night Witch" who belonged to a squadron of young women who flew risky starlight raids in open cockpit biplanes. While a mostly standard account, the names (otherwise mostly male) and exploits should will be unfamiliar—except for that of Stalin's son, a Red Army lieutenant taken captive by a panzer unit. (Carroll and Graf, $26 288p ISBN 0-7867-0856-5; July)

Begun as a substitute for regular conversation on the day's events with his wife, War Diaries 1939—45 records Field Marshal Lord Alanbrooke's (1883—1963) service as commander of the doomed corps in France, as head of the evacuation from Dunkirk, and then, beginning in 1941, as Churchill's chief of staff. The diaries inspired Sir Arthur Bryant's The Turn of the Tide (1957) and The Triumph of the West (1959), but are published here for the first time, in an edition carefully edited by Keele University professor of International Relations Alex Danchev, and Pembroke College history research graduate Daniel Todman. (Univ. of California, $40 800p ISBN 0-520-23301-8; Aug.)

Controversial Deployments

"A critique of strategic bombing as a whole, from its creation during the Great War until the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945," The Bomber War: The Allied Air Offensive Against Nazi Germany nevertheless focuses on the RAF and USAAF missions over German cities—missions that have recently been branded as often little more than organized murder, given the number of civilian casualties. The author, Former Royal Marines Commando Robin Neillands (The Conquest of the Reich: D-Day to V-E Day), is a member of the British Commission for Military History. (Overlook, $35 464p ISBN 1-58567-162-2; Aug.)

The British Bomber Command logged 55,000 of its own dead before the war's end, and had killed over 500,000 German civilians and destroyed 3.37 million houses in the process. In Reaching For The Stars: A New History of Bomber Command in World War II, University of Kent media and propaganda history lecturer Mark Connelly further examines the beleaguered reputation of the Command, and delves into its construction and bases. He places the Command's actions in the context of the bombings of London and Coventry, and speculates that without the use of the force, Churchill would not have survived as Prime Minister. (I.B. Taurus $35 256p ISBN 1-86064-591-7; July)

By late 1942, Hitler had annexed an area more than 20 times the size of pre-war Germany, most of it in the East. But in the summer of 1944, Stalin sent six million men, 9,000 tanks, 16,000 fighters and bombers and over 12,800 guns and rocket launchers into battle against the Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS. In Crumbling Empire: The German Defeat in the East, 1944 Samuel W. Mitcham Jr. (Why Hitler?), a former U.S. Army helicopter pilot and professor of geography at the University of Louisiana at Monroe, covers the battles that ensued on a division-by-division, tracking troop movements and setbacks, and through to the battle of Stalingrad and the liberation of Budapest. (Praeger Trade, $27.50 308p ISBN 0-275-96856-1; July 30)

While the broader activities of the U.S. Army 23rd Headquarters Special Troops are somewhat known —deployment of inflatable tanks and tents, electronic sound simulations of troop contingents and radio traffic, fake paratroopers (or "Ruperts")—the details remained classified until 1996. Freed from their code of silence, many of the remaining members of the 23rd (which included designer Bill Blass) contributed testimony to Ghost Army Of World War II by veteran reporter Jack Kneece, who fills in their testimony with a careful weighing of the documentary evidence (Pelican, $24.95 288p ISBN 1-56554-876-0; Aug.)

Perfectly framed shots of ruined brickwork; intense close-ups of snaking, rusty piping; haunting patches of sunlight shining through bare windows; tracks leading off into the woody distance—the 90 duotone reveries of Lebensraum: Extermination Camps of the Third Reich seem designed to make us see beauty in their subjects. Photographer Grant Delin, professor at the International Center of Photography in New York "whose clients include," the press-chat tells us, "IBM, Nike, and Microsoft," has used many of the same techniques for making perfect product shots in capturing the best sides of the "Coke-fuelled crematorium, Stutthof, May 1996" or "Carbon monoxide gas chamber, Majdanek, March 1995." (Westzone [Trafalgar Square, dist.], $45 144p ISBN 1-903391-12-1; July 1)

Graphic Work

The colorful, impossibly busy New York cityscapes cramming shops, people, cars, lights, signs and other urban detritus at impossible angles to one another are the signature pieces in Red Grooms: The Graphic Work. Covering the more than 40 years between 1956—1999, editor and Grooms collector Walter Knestrick put together this catalogue of 241 illustrations (171 in color) for a travelling exhibition that will hit New York's National Academy Museum & School of Fine Arts, the Chicago Cultural Center and the University of Miami's Lowe Art Museum, among other venues. As an essay by poet Vincent Katz puts it, in Grooms's work, "vastly different scales and worlds overlap with a gyrating intensity that prevents the eye or mind from stopping until it has left the image." (Abrams, $75 320p ISBN 0-8109-6733-2; July)

"Just as British television dramas are culturally repackaged for American audiences, so the hand-painted movie posters serve to claim the movies for the people of West Africa," writes one of many contributors to Extreme Canvas: Hand-Painted Movie Poster from Ghana. Edited by Los Angeles gallerist Ernie Wolfe III, the book includes 350 colorful, highly stylized illustrations—for everything from "Children of the Corn 3" to "6 Lovers of Melody" (with a disproportionate number of action and other horror flicks in between)—by artists such as Alex Nkrumah-Boateng, D.A. "Bright" Obens and Kofi Kuwirnu, all of whom contribute photos and biographical notes. John Yau, LeVar Burton, Clive Barker, Anjelica Huston and Gus Van Sant, among others, provide critical essays and commentary. (Dilettante [D.A.P., dist.], $75 296p ISBN 0-9664272-1-1; $45 paper -1-X; July)

Readers who are inured to the late, comically lewd work will find plenty of it in Picasso Érotique, but there's also plenty of the early, more ephemeral erotic work here that will prove less familiar, and even revelatory. Jean Clair, Director of the Musée Picasso in Paris and author of numerous art historical books in French, has gathered 317 color and 143 b&w illustrations covering all periods of Picasso's incessant output, fleshed out with excellent essays by Annie Le Brun, Robert Rosenblum and others. Placed next to Fernande Olivier's Loving Picasso (Forecasts, Apr. 9), the two books make for some serious high art thrills. (Prestel, $65 368p ISBN 3-7913-2561-2; Aug.)

With titles like "Black Men Under the Black Flag" and "The Practice of Homosexuality Among the Pirates of China," the 16 scholarly essays of Bandits at Sea: A Pirates Reader deliberately set out to explode myths and stereotypes. C.R. Pennell (Morocco Since 1930), senior lecturer at Australia's university of Melbourne, has gathered foremost experts on these most romanticized of murderous predators, some of whom are shown to have had sophisticated anti-statist and class conscious ideas about what they were doing. (New York Univ., $65 352p ISBN 0-8147-6679-X; $24.95 paper -6678-1; July 2)

August Publications

From the German critic whose "word can make or break a writer's career" (according to Jack Zipes I his foreword) comes The Author of Himself: The Life of Marcel Reich-Ranicki, translated by Ewald Osers. In describing his Polish childhood, experiences during WWII (his Jewish family's annihilation; his harrowing escape from the Warsaw ghetto with his wife), postwar stint with the Polish secret service, expulsion from the Communist Party and resulting ostracism in Poland, early career as a book reviewer and rising star upon moving to Germany, Reich-Ranicki examines issues of identity ("I have... no homeland.... On the other hand, I am not... entirely... without a country"), reconciliation ("to hate properly, for any length of time—no, that I could never do") and many things literary ("the boldest and most original ideas... spawn pitiful books, while seemingly absurd motifs can result in magnificent novels"). Spanning much of the 20th century's horror and literary activity, this moving, erudite autobiography (the top-seller in Germany for 53 weeks) makes an important contribution to Holocaust literature. (Princeton, $35 408p ISBN 0-691-09040-8; Aug.)

Grandly proportioned, linen-bound and graceful as the images it conveys, Ansel Adams at 100 commemorates the birth of the famous native San Franciscan photographer with 114 of Adams's rich, beloved images spanning his oeuvre, and some delightful photos of the artist. The book and accompanying centennial exhibit at San Francisco's Museum of Modern Art (Aug. 2001—Jan. 2002), curated by John Szarkowski, director of the department of photography at New York's Museum of Modern Art, reevaluate the impact of Adams's work on photography, landscapes and the audience. "His pictures have enlarged our visceral knowledge of things that we do not understand," writes Szarkowski. He relates specific epiphanies that propelled Adams's evolution as an artist, such as when he shot Monolith, the Face of Half Dome, having suddenly realized that using a specific filter would "deepen the tone of the sky almost to black" and capture his emotional experience of the vista. (Little, Brown; $150 192p ISBN 0-8212-2515-4; Aug.)

In The New Urban Leaders, Joyce Ladner, a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, profiles some 25 appointed heads of nonprofit community-based urban organizations. Aimed at community activists and leaders, the book includes close studies of a few—including Robert Moses, a civil rights era activist who now heads The Algebra Project and the Rev. Eugene Rivers, who fights gang violence in Boston—and a broader analysis of how to build such leadership nationally. (Brookings, $22.95 paper 220p ISBN 0-8157-5108-7; Aug.)

July Publications

"The magical fusion of the Web, the computer, and the stock market is a unique product of our cultural moment; the presence of visionaries who believe that they are fundamentally transforming culture is not," writes Zachary Karabell (The Last Campaign: How Harry Truman Won the 1948 Election) in A Visionary Nation: Four Centuries of American Dreams and What Lies Ahead. He traces the visionary drive behind U.S. evolution from the Puritans' city on a hill to, to westward expansion and Carnegie's "Gospel of Wealth"; governmental growth precipitated by Teddy Roosevelt and realized under the New Deal; and the 1990s New Economy. Lastly, Karabell predicts three possible global scenarios: more people will make more money until "the rewards will be diffused throughout society"; the stock market will collapse, with all the attendant losses; or "the New Economy doesn't collapse but also doesn't fulfill its incredible promise." Perceptive, edgy and articulate, Karabell embodies the voice and perspective (tempered by considerable historical research) of millions of 20- and 30-something intellectuals and professionals. (HarperCollins, $26 288p ISBN 0-380-97857-1; July)

Psychology professor and psychotherapist Bryan E. Robinson (Don't Let Your Mind Stunt Your Growth) trains his practiced eyes on the workplace in Chained to the Desk: A Guidebook for Workaholics, Their Partners and Children, and the Clinicians Who Treat Them. He addresses major issues such as what spouses can do to help a workaholic partner or themselves; technology's enabling role (via Dictaphones, the Internet, cell phones) in work addiction; and the contention that "working dads face as much work-family stress as moms do." In chapters like "Treating Work Addiction as a Family Disease" and "The Childhoods of Workaholics," Robinson begins with a case study and then explores the various beliefs, motivations and fears that propel people to overwork. This useful, well-turned guide will serve therapists and the many people affected by the disease equally well. (New York Univ., $16.95 paper 272p ISBN 0-8147-7556-X; July 2)

Note: The new publisher for All the Clean Ones Are Married by Lori Cidylo (Forecasts, May 28) is Academy Chicago Publishers, which will issue the title in October.

Henk Von Woerden's The Assassin (Forecasts, June 18) is a work of nonfiction, not fiction (as was indicated on the copyright page of the galley sent to PW for review).

The essays in Rebel with a Cause (Forecasts, May 21) are not reprints of Monte Dutton's syndicated column, but are all new.

The author of Virtuous War (Forecasts, May 28) is James Der Derian.