Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error Kathryn Schulz. Harper/Ecco, $26.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-06-117604-3

In the spirit of Blink and Predictably Irrational (but with a large helping of erudition), journalist Schulz casts a fresh and irreverent eye upon the profound meanings behind our most ordinary behaviors—in this instance, how we make mistakes, how we behave when we find we have been wrong, and how our errors change us. “[I]t is ultimately wrongness, not rightness, that can teach us who we are,” she asserts. Schulz writes with such lucidity and wit that her philosophical enquiry becomes a page-turner. She deftly incorporates Wittgenstein, Descartes, and Freud, along with an array of contemporary social scientists and even a spin with Shakespeare and Keats. There's heavy stuff here, but no heavy-handedness. Being wrong encompasses the cataclysmic (economic collapse) and the commonplace (leaving a “laptop in front of the window before the storm”). Being wrong may lead to fun (playing with and understanding optical illusions) or futility (the Millerite expectation of the Rapture in 1844). Being wrong can be transformative, and Schultz writes, “I encourage us to see error as a gift in itself, a rich and irreplaceable source of humor, art, illumination, individuality, and change”—an apt description of her engrossing study. (June)

Climate Wars: The Fight for Survival as the World Overheats Gwynne Dyer. Oneworld (NBN, dist.), $24.95 (288p) ISBN 978-1-8516-8718-3

Civil war in China and the collapse of the European Union by 2045; nuclear strikes between India and Pakistan in 2036; “people being blown up by land mines and machine-gunned by automatic weapons” at a sealed U.S./Mexican border in 2029—these are just some of the terrifying climate change scenarios forecast by journalist and geopolitical analyst Dyer (The Mess They Made). His apocalyptic predictions are drawn from unimpeachable sources: climate experts like NASA scientist James Hanson and Angela Merkel's climate change adviser, Dr. Hans-Joachim Schellnhuber of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research; military and political sources including former CIA head James Woolsey. Even Dyer's most optimistic scenario is barely cause for celebration: humanity manages to curb global warming enough to save itself, but only after several million deaths and countless disasters. The multitude of sources and the political perspective on global warming make the book scarier and more convincing than the usual predictions limited to climate and weather. Environmentalists will likely be horrified and even more depressed than they are already, but we can hope that Dyer's sources are impressive enough to convince policy makers to take serious action. (June)

It's About More than the Money: Investment Wisdom for Building a Better Life Saly A. Glassman. Pearson/FT Press, $19.99 paper (240p) ISBN 978-0-137-05032-1

Glassman, senior vice president of investments at Merrill Lynch, demystifies investing and offers instantly useful advice on getting your feet into the water. She urges readers to complete a full financial audit and evaluate spending habits honestly and objectively before they move on to her sensible investment plan and setting their own rules. She includes stories of success and failure to clarify key points, and provides valuable advice on will, estate, and tax planning, gifting to children, and asset allocation. She also dedicates an entire chapter on what not to do, including investing with friends, overextending your borrowing, and getting attached to investments. Concise, realistic, and very readable, this book opens up the complex world of financial investing and provides a useful guide that first-time investors can—and should—utilize. (June)

The White House Doctor: My Patients Were Presidents—A Memoir Connie Mariano, M.D., foreword by William J. Clinton. St. Martin's, $25.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-312-53483-7

This doctor is a bit of a celebrity herself: the first military woman in U.S. history to be appointed White House doctor, the first female director of the White House medical unit, and the first Filipino-American to become a navy rear admiral. And though Mariano humbly bows to the bigger-than-life presidents—George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton—she cared for during eight years in Washington, it's her journey that's so remarkable. Having begun life in 1955 as the daughter of a U.S. Navy steward in the Philippines, she was appointed a White House physician by the navy in 1992, and her mettle was thoroughly tested during medical emergencies—and political storms. Whether helping to treat Bush's skin cancer or dispensing a Band-Aid on the golf course, accompanying the president on overseas trips or performing a Heimlich maneuver on a choking guest at a holiday gala, Mariano always kept her cool and her sense of humor, which she retains in this unusual inside look at the White House. 8 pages of color photos. (June 22)

Finding Chandra: A True Washington Murder Mystery Scott Higham and Sari Horwitz. Scribner, $26 (304p) ISBN 978-1-4391-3867-0

The 2001 disappearance of Washington, D.C., intern Chandra Levy, and the discovery of her remains a year later in a remote area of D.C.'s Rock Creek Park, made headlines, especially when her affair with Congressman Gary Condit became known. Pulitzer Prize—winning reporters Higham and Horwitz expand on their 13-part Washington Post investigation that in 2008 identified Levy's likely killer, delivering a meticulous study of the case and the media circus surrounding it. The police immediately focused on Condit in Levy's disappearance. Though the California Democrat eventually admitted to the liaison, he denied involvement in her death. Higham and Horwitz draw attention to the critical mistakes of law enforcement and the media's dogged pursuit of Condit despite the lack of evidence linking him to Levy's murder. In their Post reporting, the authors pointed instead to Salvadoran immigrant Ingmar Guandique, already convicted of two similar assaults on women committed in the same park around the time Levy disappeared. Guandique is now facing trial on first-degree murder charges; he has pleaded not guilty. Higham and Horwitz's compelling story brings hope that justice may finally come for Levy. Photos. (May)

In the Place of Justice: A Story of Punishment and Deliverance Wilbert Rideau. Knopf, $26.95 (384p) ISBN 978-0-307-26481-7

A death row inmate finds redemption as a prison journalist in this uplifting memoir. In 1961, after a bungled bank robbery, Rideau was convicted of murder at the age of 19 and received a death sentence that was later commuted to life in prison at Louisiana's Angola penitentiary, then the most violent in the nation. Against all expectations, his own included, he turned his up-to-then cursed life around, becoming editor of the prison newsmagazine, the Angolite, and an NPR correspondent who published nationally acclaimed articles on prison violence, rape and sexual slavery, and the cruelty of the electric chair. Rideau frames his 44-year fight to get his conviction reduced to manslaughter and win parole (he succeeded in 2005) as a black man's struggle against a racist criminal justice establishment. More inspiring is his self-reclamation through tough, committed journalism in an unpropitious setting where survival required canny alliance building against predatory inmates and callous authorities alike. To a society that treats convicts as a worthless underclass, Rideau's story is a compelling reminder that rehabilitation should be the focus of a penal system. 16 pages of photos; 2 maps. (May)

Leo & His Circle: The Life of Leo Castelli Annie Cohen-Solal. Knopf, $30 (525p) ISBN 978-1-4000-4427-6

Pioneering gallery owner Leo Castelli (1907—1999) arrived in New York City in 1941 and opened a gallery 15 years later, at the age of 50. He reigned over New York's art world, with the Castelli Gallery the leading center of new American art and a lively meeting place for artists and critics including Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, and James Rosenquist. In this first major biography, Cohen-Solal (Sartre: A Life) deftly integrates European cultural history (beginning with Castelli's Jewish merchant ancestors) with Castelli's intellectual, personal, and professional evolution. Cohen-Solal writes with energy, wit, and aplomb, and though she was a friend of Castelli's, she maintains a balanced critical distance, pointing to his initial misjudgment of Andy Warhol's genius, his perpetually complicated love life (with numerous mistresses and multiple marriages), his often frustratingly high standards and constant need for reassurance. Yet Castelli emerges as a rare individual: a magnanimous lover of art. Cohen-Solal's biography fleshes out not only a fascinating portrait of Castelli but also the excitement of the developing American art world to which he was so central. 111 illus.; 4 maps. (May 19)

The Essential Rebecca West: Uncollected Prose Rebecca West, intro. by Anne Bobby. Pearhouse (AtlasBooks, dist.) $14.95 paper (184p) ISBN 978-0-9802355-5-5

Although hardly a household name today, leftist and feminist Rebecca West (1892—1983) was world-famous in her lifetime, writing prolifically in many genres, feted for her New Yorker coverage of the Nuremberg trials and for her 1941 Yugoslavia history, Black Lamb and Grey Falcon. In the first of 22 uncollected essays and book reviews, West recalls a 1920s late-night boating expedition in Central Park accompanied by a silent, often sleeping foreigner who turns out to be Pirandello. In another piece, West describes the comedic antics of her cat Pounce, and, in a third, laments the space constraints imposed on book reviewers by newspapers. In her book reviews, West calls Dickens a nasty man; Solzhenitsyn a courageous and immensely gifted patriot; and Richard Nixon, she says, had a mind “so unsophisticated and so narrowly educated that he has almost no mental context.” Throughout, West is caustic and outspoken. But with a scanty introduction by Anne Bobby, who co-wrote and starred in a one-woman Off-Broadway show about West, and no background information about the pieces, these disjointed articles have the feel of leftovers that won't draw in new admirers. (May)

Neoconservatism: The Biography of a Movement Justin Vaïsse, trans. from the French by Arthur Goldhammer. Harvard/Belknap, $35 (352p) ISBN 978-0-674-05051-8

The influential neoconservative movement is a complex and often surprising thing in this incisive historical study. Brookings Institution senior fellow Vaïsse subdivides the movement's dramatic evolution into three distinct “ages.” Neoconservatism began in the 1960s, he contends, with a purely domestic agenda: to yank the Democratic Party away from what were seen as the excesses of the New Left and the failures of the liberal welfare state. It shifted focus in the 1970s and '80s to a crusade against the Soviet empire, and allegiance to Ronald Reagan. And it wound up in the 1990s as a faction of the Republican Right, espousing a utopian mission of spreading democracy through military force. Vaïsse examines the intellectual evolution of leading neocon thinkers like Norman Podhoretz, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, and William Kristol; explores the impact of neocon journals and think tanks; and recounts the movement's love-hate relationships with Democratic and Republican administrations. His critical but evenhanded treatment brims with insights, including his intriguing but underdeveloped analysis of neoconservatism as a latter-day Jacobinism fusing militant nationalism with universalist ideology. Vaïsse's is one of the most lucid and sophisticated accounts yet of this crucial political force. (May)

Crossing the Rapido: A Tragedy of World War II Duane Schultz. Westholme (Univ. of Chicago, dist.), $26 (320p) ISBN 978-1-59416-106-3

The failure of the 36th Texas National Guard Division's attempted crossing of Italy's Rapido River in January 1944 remains one of the black spots of America's WWII effort. The division's numbers already decimated from earlier battles on mountainous terrain, the dead replaced by rookies, and with the river at its most impassable, Gen. Mark Clark still ordered the division to cross. “The survivors never forgave him,” writes Schultz. Nearly half the troops were killed, wounded, captured, or disappeared trying to cross the river. The 36th's members had enough influence to compel a postwar congressional investigation, but the controversies over the disaster continue. Schultz, a psychologist who also writes solid military history, depends more on interviews and memoirs than maps and documents to convey stories of individual courage and fear. He presents the Rapido crossing as part of an experience that changed lives utterly. A rifleman had to use another man as a decoy to draw German fire, someone he had known for years back in Texas. This book is a grim reminder that the way back for men left wounded in both mind and body was no less cruel than the way forward, across the Rapido. 40 illus.; 6 maps. (May 7)

Dogface Soldier: The Life of General Lucian K. Truscott Jr. Wilson Hefner. Univ. of Missouri, $34.95 (392p) ISBN 978-0-8262-1882-7

Lucian K. Truscott Jr. (1895—1965) was one of America's finest WWII combat commanders, building a reputation second only to George Patton as an inspiring and gifted leader. Today he is remembered only by specialists. Hefner, a retired army colonel and physician turned historian (Patton's Bulldog: The Life and Service of General Walton H. Walter), corrects that by combining extensive archival and printed sources with perceptive analysis. Truscott served in secondary theaters: the Mediterranean and southern France. But from Sicily and Anzio to the 1944 drive up the Rhône valley and the successful concluding of the Italian campaign as 5th Army's commander, Truscott showed comprehensive skills in defense and attack, in amphibious landings and mobile operations. Hefner's Truscott is not a genius, but rather the master of a craft painstakingly studied between the world wars and applied no less painstakingly in combat. He shared the hardships of his men; he drank like a Texan, and a gentleman; he never hesitated to question orders he thought would cost unnecessary casualties. To call him “a faithful and consummate soldier”—as Hefner does in this model general-officer biography—does Truscott no more than justice. 15 illus.; 23 maps. (May)

The Eitingons: A Twentieth-Century Story Mary-Kay Wilmers. Verso, $34.95 (480p) ISBN 978-1-84467-642-2

With the current rage of uncovering ancestral blood lines, Wilmers, the editor of the London Review of Books, stirs up the family cauldron and discovers that three men in her mother's family are not who they seem. This sweeping chronicle traverses the art of 20th-century Soviet espionage, high-end fur bartering, and Freud's circle in Vienna in the last century. Wilmers acquires some letters from a deceased aunt, which sets her on a quest for three influential Eitingon men, wealthy Jews who migrated from what is now Belarus to the West: Leonid, a cunning Soviet enforcer and driver in the Trotsky murder plot; Max, a brilliant Freud protégé, accused by one scholar of being “Leonid's agent in Freudian camouflage”; and Motty, the wheeling-dealing fur czar who made lucrative trades with the Soviet government. The author is determined to unravel the Eitingon mystery. The devil is in the details, for the author aptly places each man in rich historical context; drawing on family autobiographies and interviews, she presents them as complicated personalities and family men. Well researched, bold, and revealing, Wilmers's book transforms a series of dark family secrets into an illuminating experience for anybody brave enough to delve into the enigma of family history. Maps. (May 24)

For Better: The Science of a Good Marriage Tara Parker-Pope. Dutton, $25.95 (352p) ISBN 978-0-525-95138-4

“Marriage today is stronger than it has been in decades,” writes Parker-Pope (The Hormone Decision), author of the New York Times's “Well” blog. Interviewing biologists, neuroscientists, psychologists, and sociologists, she explores the science that can explain why a marriage succeeds—examining such areas as monogamy, love, sex, children, money, and housework—and translates the science into practical advice. For instance, while monogamy is not the norm among animals, it's certainly possible for some animals and for humans to remain sexually and socially faithful to one partner. Further, regular sex should be part of a good marriage even if it occurs less frequently over time. As for conflict, learning how to fight fairly allows partners to air differences without damaging their relationship. Describing the unhappy end of her own marriage, she looks at those relationships at high risk for divorce, such as the pursuer-distancer marriage (with the pursuer usually the woman) and the operatic marriage (“characterized by dramatic highs and lows”). Although the scientific research adds depth, much of the relationship advice is familiar and commonsensical, but married couples will still benefit from this refresher course. (May)

Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather Mike Smith. Greenleaf, $24.95 (312p) ISBN 978-1-60832-034-9

A well-known meteorologist and founder of WeatherData, Smith takes readers on a fast-paced account of the biggest storms in recent years and how weather forecasting has developed into a true science since the 1950s. Part memoir, part science account, Smith's tale begins in the late 1940s, when weathermen were actually forbidden to broadcast tornado warnings. The U.S. Weather Bureau blocked storm forecasting for fear of getting it wrong, just as today, according to Smith, the FAA has banned weather radios from airport control towers. He delivers a moment-by-moment account of the monster tornado that leveled Greensburg, Kans., in 2007 as well as a damning account of governmental incompetence in the leadup to Hurricane Katrina. But as Smith shows, scientists themselves can be close-minded and prevent their field from progressing: Smith recounts the struggle by Theodore Fujita, creator of the tornado severity scale, to see his findings on microbursts—which have killed hundreds of people in airline crashes—accepted by other scientists. This account of people who do something about the weather should appeal to just about anyone who enjoys talking about it. Photos. (May)

Are We Winning?: Fathers and Sons in the New Golden Age of Baseball Will Leitch. Hyperion, $24.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-4013-2370-7

A day at the ball park prompts a meditation on family ties in this loose-limbed, beguiling memoir. Sports journalist Leitch (God Save the Fan) recounts a 2008 game at Wrigley Field at which he and his father watched their beloved St. Louis Cardinals lose to the Chicago Cubs, who were on the brink of clinching the divisional title. His sprightly color commentary covers the bases with adroitly analyzed play-by-play, awed encomiums to Cards slugger Albert Pujols (“an alien using superior technology to mock us feeble humans”), and rabid incitements against the hated Cubs. As in any ball game, there's plenty of downtime for arcane statistics, ruminations on drug scandals—who cares, Leitch asks, as long as steroids mean more homers?—and commercial interruptions (“I'm a subscriber to the MLB At Bat application, which allows you access to... real-time score updates with full box scores and stats”). Most of all, Leitch delivers an homage to his dad, a laconic stalwart brimming with manly truths—some imparted while driving a pickup with an open container—that sports bring to the surface. The result is a jaunty, heartfelt, Father's Day—ready celebration of baseball as the ultimate bonding rite. Photos. (May)

Video Slut: How I Shoved Madonna Off an Olympic High Dive, Got Prince into a Pair of Tiny Purple Woolen Underpants, Ran Away from Michael Jackson's Dad, and Got a Waterfall to Flow Backward So I Could Bring Rock Videos to the Masses Sharon Oreck. Faber and Faber, $16 paper (256p) ISBN 978-0-86547-986-9

Oreck is a producer of films, commercials, and videos. An Academy Award nominee for the 1984 short film Tales of Meeting and Parting, she entered the music video industry that same year. Steering her company, O Pictures, from 1984 to 2000, she made hundreds of videos with minor and major music makers, including Mick Jagger, Sting, Madonna, Prince, and Chris Isaak. Looking back, she covers her career in a breakneck, word-juggling style as she introduces the reader to such respected video directors as Herb Ritts and Mary Lambert: “With her blonde, baby-fine locks and cornflower blue eyes, Mary was a hipster ultrafemme from Arkansas with a yielding, buttered grits accent that allowed others to view her as a wide-eyed doe while she ran them down with a ten-ton truck.” Amid such multilayered metaphors, she tosses off occasional funny lines as she recalls talent tantrums, budget constraints, daily disasters, and production problems while intercutting her own personal peaks, such as having a child at age 16. Switching between past and present tenses, Oreck succeeds in documenting the milestone merger of music/film history in this entertaining memoir. (May 18)

Twelve by Twelve: A One-Room Cabin Off the Grid & Beyond the American Dream William Powers. New World Library, $14.95 paper (296p) ISBN 978-1-57731-897-2

Powers (Blue Clay People) refers to “wildcrafters,” people who shape their inner and outer worlds to the flow of nature, as heroes. Among these wildcrafters is Dr. Jackie Benton, a physician who lives in a 12'×12' dwelling in the midst of 30 acres on No Name Creek in rural North Carolina. Benton lives a sustainable life off the grid by raising honeybees, growing her own vegetables and preserving them, and harvesting what she might need from the woods around her. As Powers points out, Benton seems to have achieved self-mastery in these confusing times, and his initial meeting with her is a search for clues to this self-mastery. After the two meet, Benton's sobering and often hilarious (taking showers in rain water warmed by the sun, learning that in order to eat chicken for dinner, he himself would have to kill a chicken given to him by his neighbors) narrative of his life in the 12'×12' offers precious insights into the ways that all individuals living in a fast-paced consumer culture might incorporate different ways of thinking about the natural world into their lives. (May)

Signed, Sealed, and Delivered: The Soulful Journey of Stevie Wonder Mark Ribowsky. Wiley, $27.95 (352p) ISBN 978-0-470-48150-9

From the rollicking debut of “Fingertips—Part 2” to the funk piano and synthesizers of “Superstition” to the political rap of “Superstition,” Stevie Wonder's brilliant music has managed to capture the hearts of his listeners while at the same time probing the limits of musical styles and moving soul and rhythm and blues to new musical levels. Born in poverty in Saginaw, Mich., Wonder lost his sight soon after he was born. His blindness heightened his sense of hearing, and he soon began to master the toy musical instruments that his absentee father brought him. Very soon, Wonder graduated from toys to the real things: his barber gave him a Hohner chromatic harmonica; his church choir director, as well as his neighbor, allowed him to play for hours on their pianos; and the local Lions Club gave a drum set to Stevie after hearing him play it. Soon Wonder was the hit of Motown, and his career took off like a comet, only to burn out and lose some of its fiery glow in the 1980s and 1990s. Music journalist Ribowsky (The Supremes; He's a Rebel) traces the rapid ascent of Wonder's musical career as well as the tumultuous ups and downs of his personal life in this workmanlike and pedantic book. Ribowsky's exploration of Wonder's music is first-rate, but his tendency to overlook Wonder's faults turns this into one fan's hagiography. (May)

Dreams in a Time of War: A Childhood Memoir Ngugi Wa Thiong'o. Pantheon, $23 (272p) ISBN 978-0-307-37883-5

Celebrated African author and activist Thiong'o tells no ordinary coming-of-age tale. The fifth child of his father's third wife—one of an extended family whose collective experiences range from rural farming and carpentry to WWII rifleman—Ngugi skillfully recounts the challenges and calamities of growing up in British-occupied Kenya. Born in 1938, he recalls a boyhood framed by his pursuit of education (he had a unspoken pact with his mother to always do his best) and by his developing awareness of nationalist politics. Through teachers and local storytellers he hears of such world figures as Winston Churchill, Jomo Kenyatta, and Jesse Owens; at home he eventually discovers that within his own family there are both Mau Mau rebels and colonial sympathizers. Tensions between tradition and modernity, a theme Ngugi explored in his first novel, 1964's Weep Not Child), become apparent in his fascination with the Old Testament and Christianity, and his fear when he is interrogated by military authorities. For readers, sequential time surrenders to a sense of narrative and an engaging humanity. (May)

At Home in Japan: A Foreign Woman's Journey of Discovery Rebecca Otowa. Tuttle, $21.95 (160p) ISBN 978-4-8053-1078-6

“For almost three decades I have been the housewife, custodian, and chatelaine of a 350-year-old farmhouse in rural Japan,” writes Otowa in her informative and delightfully illustrated memoir. In 1978, American-born Otowa came to Japan as a university student, filled “with an exaggerated confidence in my paltry store of knowledge, undercut with a pervading suspicion that I didn't know as much as I thought I did.” Four years later she married into a traditional Japanese family. The short but engaging chapters (none is longer than four pages) explore one aspect of her adopted life. But like any good essayist, Otowa wanders into wider country. In “Comfort,” she recounts the snuggly family comforts obtained from the continued use of the traditional kotatsu, a “low table with a blanket or quilt spread over it and a heating device inside.” In “Sweets,” she delves into the complex obligations attached to the “painstakingly shaped, delicately colored, beautifully presented and ritually consumed edible forms.” And in “Bamboo,” Otowa reveals the special spot, “exotic as a unicorn, and as common as mud,” the plant holds in her heart. Filled with personal insights garnered from years spent learning to fit into a radically different culture, Otowa gently illuminates what it means to discover your identity in a foreign land. (May)

Organic Manifesto: How Organic Farming Can Heal Our Planet, Feed the World, and Keep Us Safe Maria Rodale, foreword by Eric Schlosser. Rodale, $23.99 (208p) ISBN 978-1-60529-485-8

Granddaughter to Rodale's founder, and its current CEO, the author offers a passionate, evenhanded, nonacademic argument for the overall wisdom—economical and ecological—for farming organic. Deeply aware of the public confusion and suspicion surrounding organic farming as a “hippie” cause, Rodale first persuades readers that years of chemical and pesticide use have poisoned our environment—not hard to do, considering elevated cancer levels, increases in asthma, and fertility disorders, among other afflictions attributed to environmental factors. Rodale places blame for U.S. reliance on chemical-saturated farming, especially employing the use of genetically modified seeds, mostly on powerful chemical companies' manipulative advertising doublespeak, but also on government protection of conventional farmers. In her strongest section delineating “a year in the life of a chemical farmer,” Rodale shares clarifying findings from her own focus group that these farmers become dependent on chemical companies for their products and can't see another way, even when costs keep going up, soil is depleted, and yields decrease. In the end, Rodale does a vigorous job of debunking myths plaguing both sides. (May)

Storytelling: Bewitching the Modern Mind Christian Salmon, trans. from the French by David Macy. Verso, $24.95 (192p) ISBN 978-1-84467-391-9

Salmon (Verbicide), a columnist for Le Monde, makes a riveting case for how public relations (or more euphemistically, storytelling) has come to dominate statecraft and business in the West. He traces the political uses of narrative to the end of the 20th century, when the declining value of branding led to product narratives taking priority over logos—a practice made ubiquitous by a generation of Orwellian management and political gurus who recognized how appropriate narratives could increase efficiency and even legitimize various questionable practices. Attributing the success of these techniques to a hunger for stability in a postmodern era where “grand narratives have collapsed,” the book examines the cozy relationship between modern politics and storytelling, where personal narrative trumps policy and movie makers advise politicians on possible terrorist plots. Despite the value of his insights, the author's claims about the novelty of such practices are questionable, as he ignores the long history of propaganda and public relations. Furthermore, the current religious climate in the U.S. alone suggests that grand narratives are a long way from collapsing. The story of storytelling needs to stretch far beyond the recent past. (May)

Necessary Secrets: National Security, the Media, and the Rule of Law Gabriel Schoenfeld. Norton, $27.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-393-07648-6

The December 2005 publication of a front-page New York Times piece about an NSA wiretapping program is the inciting incident at the heart of this provocative consideration of the conflict between the need for government secrecy and the role of a free press. Schoenfeld (The Return of Anti-Semitism), senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, publicly accused the paper of violating the law when it published the article. Here, the author concerns himself less with the specifics of the 2005 incident than the larger theoretical and historical questions it raises. The book goes back to the First and Second Continental Congresses to show that the founders believed the defense of national security made complete transparency impossible. It then jumps ahead to the 1917 Espionage Act, the critical legislation, in Schoenfeld's thesis, locating where secrecy and security trump freedom of the press—as it did until Daniel Ellsberg's leak of the classified Pentagon Papers to the Times. If Schoenfeld's argument sometimes feels one-sided, he succeeds in scrutinizing an issue of vital importance and putting it into a much broader context. (May)

Damned If She Does, Damned If She Doesn't: Rethinking the Rules of the Game That Keep Women from Succeeding in Business Lynn Cronin and Howard Fine. Prometheus, $19 (252p) ISBN 978-1-61614-174-5

Married couple and management consultants, Cronin and Fine tackle the persistent gap in workplace equality and payment parity between the sexes. After witnessing how much more quickly Fine advanced in his career—despite their near-identical education and work performance—and observing the difficulties that their daughter was facing in her job search, the couple took a long look at the factors holding women down. The book breaks down the corporate culture mantras (e.g., find mentors, be prudent in challenging the power structure) and the hidden impediments they pose for women. Despite major gains for women elsewhere in society, little has changed for women in corporate America; sexism is insidious rather than overt, and in dealing with men in the workplace, women are still presented with two options: fight them or become them. But “becoming them” can backfire, as Cronin and Fine demonstrate through stories of women struggling to break into corporate culture and bond with co-workers. This intelligent and substantive work is a must-read for all businesspeople—and will make an excellent graduation gift for young women entering the workforce. (May)

The Way We're Working Isn't Working: The Four Forgotten Needs That Energize Great Performance Tony Schwartz with Jean Gomes and Catherine McCarthy. Free Press, $28 (320p) ISBN 978-1-4391-2766-7

Schwartz, CEO of the Energy Project, stretches an obvious thesis to the breaking point in his plaint on how the American workplace—theoretically where technology has allowed us to reach for more, bigger, faster—has bred an atmosphere in which workers have become disengaged from their work. We fail to take care of ourselves, he points out, and end up undermining our health, happiness, and productivity. Using a series of quadrants describing the emotional workings of both employees and companies, he argues that nothing is gained—and much is lost—by constantly pushing people to achieve more and more in less time and with fewer resources; rejuvenation and rest are necessary for creative breakthroughs and broader perspectives. All well and good, but the bulk of the book is then eaten up exhorting readers to get more sleep, exercise, eat better, and take care of their emotional health. While a reminder to cultivate engagement and mindfulness is always relevant to the modern business reader, the usable content is slim—and fluffed out beyond the point of readability. (May)

From the Closet to the Courtroom: Five LGBT Rights Lawsuits That Have Changed Our Nation Carlos A. Ball. Beacon, $27.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-8070-0078-6

Ball (The Morality of Gay Rights), Rutgers professor of law, offers an in-depth analysis of the five lawsuits that have moved America closer to full legal equality for LGBT people. The groundbreaking legal decisions include Nabozny v. Podlesny (1996), in which a seventh-grader received such brutal bullying and beatings that he required abdominal surgery successfully sued his school for discrimination in refusing to protect him, after they claimed the brutal treatment was his fault because he was openly gay, and Romer v. Evans (also 1996), in which a lesbian policewoman's fellow officers harassed her and ignored her calls for backup in dangerous situations. Ball does an excellent job of showcasing the stories of the lawyers, activists, and defendants involved. He points out that although these cases were essential to get the process started, until marriage equality is protected under federal law and “don't ask, don't tell” is repealed, there is yet a long way to go. The tone of this book sets it apart from similar studies; Ball approaches his subject with vigor and sensitivity and makes a poignant plea for justice. (June)