Powerful Women

Xaviera Hollander has been writing a Penthouse column for 30 years. She chronicled her life as a "high-class New York madam" in 1972's The Happy Hooker: My Own Story, which now returns to print. Frankly discussing lesbianism, bondage, voyeurism and run-ins with lawyers and the FBI, Hollander's book was an international bestseller. In her new epilogue, Hollander rather questionably attests that although her stories may not be as shocking or taboo now as they were in 1972, "the business of sex [has] a new relevance" since September 11. Regan Books will also publish Hollander's new memoir, Child No More, in June (a review will run in an upcoming issue). (Regan Books, $12.95 paper 304p ISBN 0-06-001416-4; June)

For businesswomen who are unsure of which step to take on the road to success, Marian N. Ruderman and Patricia J. Ohlott offer Standing at the Crossroads: Next Steps for High-Achieving Women. Based on a study conducted by the Center for Creative Leadership, researchers Ruderman and Ohlott explain women's need to act authentically, make connections, control their destiny, achieve wholeness and gain self-clarity. Based on these needs, the authors' suggestions transcend the business world to help women with their personal and inner lives, too. For Ruderman and Ohlott, "[b]uilding a whole and full life is a critical task." (Wiley/Jossey-Bass, $26.95 256p ISBN 0-7879-5570-1; June)

Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, a California State University women's studies professor, was a political activist and a founder of the women's liberation movement during the Vietnam War era. In this second volume of her memoirs, Outlaw Woman: A Memoir of the War Years, 1960—1975, she remembers this period as being full of intra-left battles over tactics and theory, overlaid and intercut by FBI counter-insurgency efforts. The left didn't win in the '60s, Dunbar-Ortiz concedes, but "a truly revolutionary moment" did occur, challenging patriarchy and imperialism in new and important ways. Dunbar-Ortiz rarely dwells on the intimate, but her detailed reportage will be useful for those interested in leftist politics of the Vietnam era. (City Lights, $17.95 paper 432p ISBN 0-87286-390-5; May)

May Publications

A gifted writer with a weakness for alcohol, a demanding mother and an untimely death by suicide, American lyric poet Hart Crane (1899—1932) might easily be mistaken for Ernest Hemingway, who was born the same day a few hundred miles away. Crane's tragedies and creative struggles, like Hemingway's, make for compelling biographical fodder. In Hart Crane: A Life, Clive Fisher (Noel Coward), a very close reader, explicates attentively, and his meticulous detective work also sheds light on Crane's forays into the gay underworld and the tense family dynamics that dominated much of his life. The book is less successful at sustaining a historical and intellectual trajectory, and, like his subject, Fisher likes to indulge in the occasional ecstatic ramble. But on the whole, Crane devotees will find much to savor in this useful addition to the literary history of a much documented era. (Yale Univ., $39.95 544p ISBN 0-300-09061-7)

On September 12, 1776, the communion wine at a Zurich church service attended by 1,200 worshipers was poisoned. Nobody was killed or even hurt, but the sacrilegious nature of the crime caused a public sensation and a philosophical debate about the nature of evil. In The Poisoned Chalice, Jeffrey Freedman, a professor of European history at New York's Yeshiva University, traces the controversial investigation of this now obscure crime, for which no one had a motive and no culprit was ever found. Freedman shows how the investigation became a forum for a larger battle between ecclesiastical views of the world and secular ones ushered in by the Enlightenment. Drawing on newspapers, court records, scientific reports and literary journals of the period, Freedman weaves together an erudite cultural history with obvious implications for our own age of commonplace random violence. 17 b&w photos. (Princeton Univ., $24.95 256p ISBN 0-691-00233-9)

Applying the insights of sociobiology and evolutionary psychology to political leadership, University of Kentucky emeritus professor of psychiatry Arnold M. Ludwig (How Do We Know Who We Are?) in King of the Mountain: The Nature of Political Leadership compares human rulers to primates, arguing that male politicians, like their simian alpha-male cohorts, are adept at gaining, exercising and keeping power. Ludwig then focuses closely on 377 world leaders, including Idi Amin, Tony Blair, Winston Churchill and Ronald Reagan —examining a string of traits to identify what he considers the factors that determine a leader's greatness: the addition of new territory, military prowess, economic prosperity, etc. Although Ludwig presents exhaustive research, many of his assumptions—such as that all societies want a ruler because it's the natural order of things—lack support. Moreover, Ludwig quickly loses sight of his (somewhat shaky) thesis that human politicians derive their leadership drive from their primate ancestors. 29 b&w illus. (Univ. Press of Kentucky, $32 460p ISBN 0-8131-2233-3)

Best remembered for his first book The Managerial Revolution (1941) and as senior editor of the National Review, James Burnham spent his life struggling to rid the world of totalitarianism and liberalism in all their forms. In his comprehensive biography, James Burnham and the Struggle for the World, Daniel Kelly, who taught modern European history at NYU until 1996, narrates in minute detail Burnham's development as a political thinker from his college days at Princeton and Balliol College, Oxford, to his work as a Trotskyist in the 1930s, to his eventual disenchantment with socialism and swing to the right. He supported imperialism and defended U.S. involvement in Vietnam. Kelly's turgid prose and exhausting detail make for tiresome reading, but a small circle of readers will find this chapter of political history engrossing. Foreword by Richard Brookhiser. (ISI [Univ. of Chicago, dist.], $29.95 475p ISBN 1-882926-76-5)

April Publication

One of the fascinating secrets that emerged when Russia opened up the Party Central archives was the influential role of Inessa Armand, Lenin's paramour and confidante. Michael Pearson (The Sealed Train) draws on declassified documents, family papers and interviews with Armand's descendants to piece together Lenin's Mistress: The Life of Inessa Armand. Fluent in four languages, an accomplished pianist and mother of four by her wealthy Muscovite husband, Armand was jailed a number of times for her own revolutionary activities. Pearson focuses mostly on the postrevolutionary period, when Armand, close to both Lenin and his wife, was widely understood to be the most powerful woman in Moscow. (Random, $25.95 320p ISBN 0-375-50589-X; on sale Apr. 16)