Subscriber-Only Content; You must be a PW subscriber to access the Table-of-Contents Database.

Subscribers can click the "login" button below to access the Table-of-Contents Database. (If you have not done so already, you will need to set up your digital access by going here.)

Or for immediate access you can click the "subscribe" link below.

PW “All Access” site license members have access to PW’s subscriber-only website content. Simply close and relaunch your preferred browser to log-in. To find out more about PW’s site license subscription options please email: pw@pubservice.com.

If you have questions or need assistance setting up your account please email pw@pubservice.com or call 1-800-278-2991 (U.S.) or 1-818-487-2069 (all other countries) , Monday-Friday between 5am and 5pm Pacific time for assistance.

For any other questions about PublshersWeekly.com, email service@publishersweekly.com.

Login or

The House of Government: A Saga of the Russian Revolution

Yuri Slezkine. Princeton Univ., $39.95 (1,096p) ISBN 978-0-691-17694-9

In this mammoth and profusely researched work, Slezkine (The Jewish Century), professor of history at UC Berkeley, recounts the Russian revolution through the activities and inhabitants of the House of Government, Europe’s largest residential building. Built in 1931 in a central Moscow swamp, the house was home to hundreds of Communist Party officials, their dependents, and maintenance workers. The community lasted just over a decade; Stalin purged many residents in the 1930s and the rest were evacuated in 1941 as the Nazis advanced. Slezkine finds the story of the House of Government worth telling because it was “where revolutionaries came home and the revolution came to die.” This is a family saga of the “Old Bolsheviks,” the men and women who midwifed the revolution and guided its early steps before falling victim to Stalin’s paranoid excesses. Slezkine illuminates myriad aspects of these lives, including fashion choices and intellectual schisms. He also analyzes Bolshevism’s failure so soon after its apparent triumph, inviting controversy by describing the Bolsheviks as “millenarian sectarians preparing for the apocalypse.” Slezkine asserts that the cosmopolitanism and humanism of postrevolutionary culture undermined the single-mindedness necessary to maintain their ideology. It’s a work begging to be debated; Slezkine aggregates mountains of detail for an enthralling account of the rise and fall of the revolutionary generation. Illus. Agent: Zoë Pagnamenta, Zoë Pagnamenta Agency. (Aug.)

Reviewed on 05/19/2017 | Details & Permalink

show more
The World Broke in Two: Virginia Woolf, T.S. Eliot, D.H. Lawrence, E.M. Forster, and the Year That Changed Literature

Bill Goldstein. Holt, $30 (368p) ISBN 978-0-8050-9402-2

Goldstein, founding editor of the New York Times books website, offers an extensively annotated account of how four major authors invented modernism in 1922. Already a literary landmark for the publication of Joyce’s Ulysses and the first appearance of Proust’s À la recherche du temps perdu in English, 1922 is staked out by Goldstein as a “crucial year of change and outstanding creative renaissance” for his principals. Lawrence’s Women in Love survived an obscenity lawsuit, Forster revived his career with A Passage to India, Eliot published The Waste Land to wide acclaim, and Woolf invented Mrs. Dalloway’s inner world. For context, Goldstein dwells at length, and with frequent repetition, on his writers’ challenges, disappointments, and jealousies. Lawrence whirls like a dervish over countries and continents, happy nowhere; Forster broods with loneliness and grief; Eliot waffles over his great poem in between rest cures; and Woolf battles illness and her own inclination toward elegant spite. Goldstein’s plentiful digressions threaten to disjoint an already fragile narrative thread. Nonetheless, the intimate peek into the lives, rivalries, and heartbreaks of these celebrated writers sustains an entertaining story about how great literature is made, and will please scholars and hardcore fans alike. Agent: Joy Harris, Joy Harris Literary Agency. (July)

Reviewed on 05/19/2017 | Details & Permalink

show more
White Man’s Game: Saving Animals, Rebuilding Eden, and Other Myths of Conservation in Africa

Stephanie Hanes. Holt, $28 (304p) ISBN 978-0-8050-9716-0

Journalist Hanes advances a too-little-regarded position regarding philanthropic aid and conservation efforts in this forthright volume on Mozambique’s Gorongosa National Park. For years, Hanes argues, well-meaning Westerners have launched ambitious conservation initiatives in developing countries, taking control of the narratives surrounding the places where they’ve become involved. Rarely, Hanes contends, do locals get a say. She examines this disconnect, dividing her analysis into three sections. The first looks at ways in which Africa has been discussed historically and “why we are still stuck in them.” Hanes traces Africa’s appeal to outsiders back to the late 18th century, when adventure-seeking Europeans made their way to what they dubbed “the Dark Continent.” In the modern era, fund-raising efforts such as Live Aid helped to perpetuate the idea that the continent “was poor, sympathetic, and in need of aid.” The second section focuses on Gorongosa itself. “Biologically and topographically diverse,” the park is “one of the best safari locations in southern Africa” and home to scores of vulnerable species. Hanes concludes by considering organizations such as National Geographic, whose travel-friendly depictions of the continent continue to obscure some of Africa’s true struggles. In straightforward and fervent prose, Hanes gives readers “a new way of thinking about nature, conservation, and the pitfalls of best intentions.” (July)

Reviewed on 05/19/2017 | Details & Permalink

show more
Leap In: A Woman, Some Waves, and the Will to Swim

Alexandra Heminsley. Pegasus, $27.95 (240p) ISBN 978-1-68177-433-6

Heminsley (Running like a Girl), books editor for Elle UK, explores the world of amateur open-water swimming in this thoughtful memoir and how-to guide for the novice swimmer. Heminsley had a fear of open water, but the excitement of getting married motivated her to “leap in” to the sea on her wedding day in Brighton, England. Having initially overcome her fear, she wants to go further, and begins to practice in a lap pool. As she gets stronger she searches for open water—whether she is winter swimming in her home waters of Brighton or crossing between islands in the mythic waters of Ithaca, Greece. New swimmers may find solace in Heminsley’s painstaking descriptions of her adult swim classes and find gems of wisdom in them. For instance, Heminsley discovers that with proper breathing technique, she can reduce stress. She humorously recounts her trials, from the claustrophobic struggle of getting into a wet suit for the first time to later being annoyed and intimidated by a group of boisterous male triathletes donning the latest gear. Transcendence arrives for Heminsley when she finds herself alone for the first time in the open water, herself her own “boat, cargo, and crew.” She writes, “To discover a new skill as an adult is like noticing a door, deciding to open it and finding an entire room in your own home that you never knew you had.” In this informative and inspirational memoir, Heminsley shows us that sometimes a room of one’s own can be the whole ocean. Agent: Zoe Pagnamenta, Zoe Pagnamenta Literary. (July)

Reviewed on 05/19/2017 | Details & Permalink

show more
In Vino Duplicitas: The Rise and Fall of a Wine Forger Extraordinaire

Peter Hellman. Experiment, $25.99 (272p) ISBN 978-1-61519-392-9

A swindler with an affinity for fine wine bilks hundreds of millions of dollars from the super rich, in this absorbing account of true crime in high society. Journalist Hellman (When Courage Was Stronger Than Fear) tells the story of Rudy Kurniawan, who holds the distinction of being the only person ever convicted in a federal court of selling counterfeit wine, beginning with his entry into the California wine scene in 2002 and proceeding with his developing passion for Burgundy wines, his massive counterfeiting operation, and his arrest and trial in 2013. Kurniawan’s lavish spending at auctions and his genuine ability as a taster made him a sought-after companion for überwealthy wine collectors, who subsequently became his victims. Many of his clients were buisnessmen—dotcom moguls, oil executives, and stockbrokers among them—new to the scene. The fact that few people had ever tasted the rare wines Kurniawan acutioned off from his collection made it all too easy for him: he was essentially selling labels (sometimes photocopied) rather than the contents of the bottle. Hellman interviews many of the major players in this drama, including French winemaker Laurent Ponsot, whose crusade to protect the reputation of Burgundy was instrumental in Kurniawan’s downfall, and billionaire Bill Koch, who zealously investigated the fraudster. Notably, the book draws attention to the lasting effects of Kurniawan’s crimes, which changed the way the wine trade does business and sullied the names of internationally renowned auction houses and wine experts. Hellman’s description of the aftermath of the scandal and insight into the Kurniawan family’s murky history add a touch of poetic justice to this sad, fascinating affair. (July)

Reviewed on 05/19/2017 | Details & Permalink

show more
In the Days of Rain: A Daughter, a Father, a Cult

Rebecca Stott. Random/Spiegel & Grau, $27 (320p) ISBN 978-0-8129-8908-3

In this compelling memoir, Stott (Darwin’s Ghost) peers deeply into her family history in order to uncover the reasons her family, particularly her father, were immersed in the Exclusive Brethren, a branch of the Christian evangelical movement Plymouth Brethren that shuns books and mainstream culture. For much of her childhood, Stott couldn’t go to the movies or even to her friends’ houses to play and she lived in fear of the punishment that came from violating the strict separatist rules of the Brethren. On his deathbed, Stott’s father gave her his unfinished memoir and in it she learned more about the sect and the depth of her father’s involvement. Stott’s father, Roger, was a high-ranking minister in the brethren and started working on his own memoir in about 1999, but abandoned it when he had difficulty writing about the sect’s so-called “Nazi years.” Stott learns the sect’s history—that a man named James Taylor Jr. became the leader of the brethren in 1959 and hardened the lines of separation between the sect and the world, banning members from joining professional associations and from eating with nonbrethren, for example. Following a sex scandal involving Taylor, the Stotts ultimately left the Brethren in 1973. Stott shares moments with her father after their departure from the sect, such as listening to Paul Simon’s music, that reveal another side of him. In this affecting memoir, Stott is able to distance herself from her difficult childhood and brilliantly capture the challenges of her family’s days in the brethren. Agent: P.J. Mark, Janklow & Nesbit. (July)

Reviewed on 05/19/2017 | Details & Permalink

show more
Fall Down 7 Times Get Up 8: A Young Man’s Voice from the Silence of Autism

Naoki Higashida, trans. from the Japanese by K.A. Yoshida and David Mitchell. Random House, $27 (240p) ISBN 978-0-812-99739-2

An outwardly wordless consciousness blossoms into expressive prose in this vibrant, if uneven, self-portrait. Higashida is a nonverbal, severely autistic 24-year-old Japanese man who cannot hold a conversation but has learned to write by pointing at and voicing letters on an alphabetic grid and by using a computer. (The author’s 2007 memoir, The Reason I Jump, was an international bestseller.) This latest collection of his writings features short essays, interviews, poems, and a lyrical, dreamlike short story. He includes somewhat generic thoughts on topics ranging from war to God, but he focuses largely on his life as an autistic person. It’s a life of obsessive routines, rituals, and literalism: the slightest change in plans throws him into a state of extreme agitation, activities must start and stop at prescheduled times, searching out Hello Kitty souvenirs calms his anxiety in unfamiliar train stations, having his photo taken causes him to fixate on the trivial differences between individual cameras. In Mitchell and Yoshida’s deft translation, Higashida conveys this isolating mind-set and his yearnings for connection and self-expression, in direct, evocative prose—his compulsive, restless motion, he writes, is “instinctual, like a wild animal running over a wide plain”—that provides readers with a window into a previously unknowable world. Photos. Agent: Douglas Stewart, Sterling Lord. (July)

Reviewed on 05/19/2017 | Details & Permalink

show more
The Darkening Web: The War for Cyberspace

Alexander Klimburg. Penguin Press, $28 (400p) ISBN 978-1-59420-666-5

The complex art of cyberwarfare and its global arena get a thorough examination by Klimburg, a cybersecurity expert at the Hague Centre for Strategic Studies. After an accessible explanation of the origins and underpinnings of the internet, Klimburg segues to an in-depth discussion of the major players in cyberwarfare—primarily the United States, Russia, and China—and then discusses his vision and fears for the future, depicting a chilling portrait of the interdependency of the cyberspace and its emergence as a domain for political conflict. Once Klimburg moves into policy and theory, his arguments get a little more abstract and may fly over the heads of those less grounded in the matter; he admits as much with a nod to the “virtual cyber veil of esoteric detail and complexity that has traditionally made this topic difficult even for experienced policy makers to grasp.” The book serves as an excellent primer on cyberwarfare, especially useful in the context of the 2016 U.S. presidential election, as accusations of Russian interference continue to make headlines. (July)

Reviewed on 05/19/2017 | Details & Permalink

show more
Ants Among Elephants: An Untouchable Family and the Making of Modern India

Sujatha Gidla. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $28 (320p) ISBN 978-0-86547-811-4

In this brilliant debut, Gidla documents the story of her resilient family and India’s modern political history. Gidla grew up in India as an untouchable, the lowest category in India’s caste system, and now works as a subway conductor in New York City. In this epic, she shares intimate stories of her uncle Satyam, a revolutionary poet and steadfast communist; her uncle Carey, a hapless yet ardent supporter of Satyam; and her mother Manjula, the core of the family’s strength. Her uncle Satyam was a political organizer within the movement that won its demand for statehood for Andhra Pradesh from former president Nehru. Gidla eloquently weaves together her family narratives with Indian politics, specifically focusing on the practices and consequences of caste inequality. The book is also a fascinating chronicle of the corruption within and political battles between India’s Congress Party and its Communist Party. Gidla is a smart and deeply sympathetic narrator who tells the lesser known history of India’s modern communist movement. The book never flags, whether covering Satyam’s political awakening as a young and poor bohemian or Manjula’s rocky marriage to a mercurial and violent man. Gidla writes about the heavy topics of poverty, caste and gender inequality, and political corruption with grace and wit. Gidla’s work is an essential contribution to contemporary Indian literature. (July)

Reviewed on 05/19/2017 | Details & Permalink

show more
Wonderlandscape: Yellowstone National Park and the Evolution of an American Cultural Icon

John Clayton. Pegasus, $27.99 (298p) ISBN 978-1-68177-457-2

Journalist and Montana native Clayton (Stories from Montana’s Enduring Frontier) reconsiders the history of Yellowstone National Park through its social functions, sharing a collection of stories that contextualize the development of core American ideals through “nature that has been made culture.” He brings forth much about how our national identity has shaped our relationship with land, wildlife, and our understanding of the balance between accessibility and conservation. Each of the book’s 11 chapters highlights a different key point in the development of Yellowstone as a uniquely American icon. For example, chapter three, “Informal,” talks about the 1904 building of the Old Faithful Inn, a huge luxury accommodation with a log-cabin aesthetic that established the idea of rustic glamour for Americans. “Patriotic,” the fifth chapter, discusses the idea of Yellowstone as a “museum of democratic equality” in the 1920s. Chapter 10, “Threatened,” shows how ecological science clashed with media representations of patriotic and frontier traditions and the popular understanding of them in the management of Yellowstone’s 1988 wildfires. Clayton succeeds in presenting Yellowstone as a core American institution that shares an intimate relationship with Americans as a cultural concept and that acts as a mirror through which Americans have redefined themselves across generations. Illus. Agent: Laura Wood, Fine Print. (Aug.)

Reviewed on 05/19/2017 | 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

Parts of this site are only available to paying PW subscribers. Subscribers: to set up your digital access click here.

To subscribe, click here.

PW “All Access” site license members have access to PW’s subscriber-only website content. Simply close and relaunch your preferred browser to log-in. To find out more about PW’s site license subscription options please email: pw@pubservice.com.

If you have questions or need assistance setting up your account please email pw@pubservice.com or call 1-800-278-2991 (U.S.) or 1-818-487-2069 (all other countries), Monday-Friday between 5am and 5pm Pacific time for assistance.

Not Registered? Click here.