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January 2005

Librarians’ Choice 2004 · Nonfiction

cover of Better Off Better Off: Flipping the Switch on Technology
Eric Brende
An MIT graduate and his new wife set off to discover the balance between too much machinery and too little as they set up housekeeping in a farming community. The book is a fascinating narrative of the eighteen months they spent learning to hoe weeds, thresh wheat, harvest pumpkins, and perform other tasks using as little technology as possible.

cover of The War after the War The War after the War: Strategic Lessons of Iraq and Afghanistan
Anthony H. Cordesman
Cordesman discusses how winning the peace in Afghanistan and Iraq is linked with the broader context of the continuing war on terrorism. This book offers a starting point for understanding the lessons learned from the “post-conflict” period of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.

cover of America on Trial America on Trial: Inside the Legal Battles that Transformed Our Nation
Alan M. Dershowitz
Dershowitz takes his readers on a tour of over sixty of the most celebrated and influential court cases in America. Each case provides an example of how law shapes society and how society shapes law.

cover of Battle Ready Battle Ready
Tom Clancy
This is the fourth book in Tom Clancy’s nonfiction Commanders series. Written in collaboration with Marine General Tony Zinni, Battle Ready provides a balance of history, biography, narrative, and insight into the evolution and changes faced by the military and its leadership as represented by Zinni—from Viet Nam to the present day.

cover of The Last Duel The Last Duel: A True Story of Crime, Scandal, and Trial by Combat in Medieval France
Eric Jager
High in suspense and violence, this is a true story of the squire, the knight and his lady, set in medieval France during the Hundred Years War. Two nobles duel to the death over accusations of rape and the paternity of the child of the knight’s pregnant wife. A fascinating portrait of feudal aristocracy.

cover of John James Audubon John James Audubon: The Making of an American
Richard Rhodes
A splendid new biography of Audubon by the Pulitzer Prize winning author. Rhodes chronicles the private and public life of this great artist and naturalist. Sixteen pages of color photos highlight the scope of Audubon’s talents.

cover of The Accidental Connoisseur The Accidental Connoisseur: An Irreverent Journey through the Wine World
Lawrence Osborne
Osborne takes you on a worldwide quest to find the perfect wine. The author laces his commentary with humor and fine writing to produce a very entertaining book on the wine world.

cover of Marcella Says… Marcella Says… Italian Cooking Wisdom from the Legendary Teacher’s Master Classes, with 120 of Her Irresistible New Recipes
Marcella Hazan
This is the latest offering from the great Italian chef and teacher. Marcella Hazan brings the secrets of handling Italian ingredients to the reader’s table with detailed instructions and witty text.

cover of Home by Design Home by Design: Transforming your House into a Home
Sarah Susanka
This book offers a variety of design and decorating options for existing as well as new homes.

cover of Mercy, Mercy Me Mercy, Mercy Me: The Art, Loves and Demons of Marvin Gaye
Michael Eric Dyson
More than a biography, this new book on pop superstar Marvin Gaye takes an analytical approach to the life of the troubled singer, who died by his own father’s hand.

cover of It’s Not Easy Bein’ Me It’s Not Easy Bein’ Me: A Lifetime of No Respect but Plenty of Sex and Drugs
Rodney Dangerfield
Comedian Rodney Dangerfield forged an indelible identity for himself: the guy who gets no respect. His wonderful autobiography, published before his death earlier this year, shows how for much of his life (especially during his traumatic childhood), he really did get “no respect at all,” but was able to transcend this fate and make an amazing career. This is an interesting and entertaining book, especially since Rodney punctuates each story with a one-liner.

cover of The Meaning of Ichiro The Meaning of Ichiro
Robert Whiting
Like Shaq, Beckham, and Barry, Ichiro Suzuki needs only one name to instantly be recognized by sports fans. This book explores the baseball career of Ichiro in Japan and the U.S. and his enormous impact, both economically and culturally, on both countries.

cover of Native American Picture Books of Change Native American Picture Books of Change: The Art of Historic Children’s Editions
Rebecca C. Benes
Four decades of storybooks written for Pueblo, Hopi, Navajo and Sioux children are documented in this beautiful and important book. Largely lost to history, these classics of Indian art and Indian-centered cultural education represent a revolutionary approach to Indian education begun in the 1920s. These English and bilingual books, showcasing many of the emerging Indian artists of the period, are presented collectively and in context for the first time ever.

cover of The Seuss, the Whole Seuss, and Nothing But the Seuss The Seuss, the Whole Seuss, and Nothing But the Seuss: A Visual Biography of Theodor Seuss Geisel
Charles D. Cohen
Through Ted Geisel’s own words and pictures, Cohen tells the life story of the highly regarded children’s author. This book focuses on the lesser-known aspects of Geisel’s career, including his rise from high-school humorist to Dartmouth College editor to adult cartoonist for Life magazine, as well as his stints as adman for Standard Oil and as maker of U.S. Army documentary films.

cover of Will in the World Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare
Stephen Greenblatt
In an attempt to understand who William Shakespeare was, Harvard scholar Stephen Greenblatt explores the rich tapestry of Elizabethan life and its influence on the playwright’s imagination. Greenblatt makes creative and insightful, though speculative, connections between the dramatic events of the plays and Shakespeare’s own life experiences to give this new biography a fresh perspective.

cover of Passages to Freedom Passages to Freedom: The Underground Railroad in History and Memory
This newest work on the Underground Railroad combines illustrations and photographs with essays by fifteen prominent historians for an interesting and important addition to the field.

cover of My Life My Life
Bill Clinton
Clinton’s book is not for the faint of heart, but for those who are interested in the former President or who simply love to read about events that shaped the world through the eyes of one who was there, this is a must read. As the title suggests, the massive work traces Clinton’s life from Arkansas to the White House and beyond.

cover of A Victor, Not a Butcher A Victor, Not a Butcher: Ulysses S. Grant’s Overlooked Military Genius
Edward H. Bonekemper
Bonekemper traces the military career of Grant and looks at the myth, begun during Grant’s active career, that Grant was an inferior general who rode to victory on strength of numbers and the unnecessary blood of thousands. In this work Bonekemper paints a different picture of the general. He sees Grant as an excellent military leader whose plan and execution led to ultimate victory in the Civil War.

cover of The Bomb in My Garden The Bomb in My Garden: The Secret of Saddam’s Nuclear Mastermind
Mahdi Obeidi
Obeidi’s memoir traces his role as a nuclear weapons developer in Saddam’s government. An oil industry engineer, Obeidi was noticed by the regime and transferred to the weapons program. His journey took him through the 1981 bombing of Iraq’s nuclear reactor to hiding his work from Saddam and the wider community, to dealing with coalition forces in the recent war. Informative and interesting, this is an enjoyable read for anyone who enjoys a good thriller.