Hot Tips

Archives

 

Amazon.com logo For more information, click on the title to go to the Amazon.com page for that book. Then use the "Back" button on your Web browser to return here.

 

Lee Gruenfeld has recommended (starting with most recent):

 

The Citadel, by A. J. Cronin (Little Brown & Co (Paper); ISBN: 0316161837)

Oh, dear: A novel first published in 1937. Read it anyway. They don't write them like this anymore, and it's a damned shame. Little, Brown has wisely reissued it in trade paperback format, and I approached it with some trepidation, having read it for the first time some forty years ago and unsure  what time would do to it. Turns out it only made the book better.  

 

Who's Your Caddy?: Looping for the Great, Near Great, and Reprobates of Golf, by Rick Reilly (Doubleday; ISBN 0385488858)

Click here for a complete review by Lee Gruenfeld

 

The Janson Directive, by Robert Ludlum (St. Martin's Press; ISBN 0312253486)

Occasionally pedantic and overwrought, but a knockout plot and a great way to kill a long airplane ride. Ludlum seems to be losing trust in his writing skills, and feels he needs to bash us over the head to make sure we really understand the explosive plot points, but calling them "explosive" over and over doesn't make them more so, and even distracts from the drama that was strong enough in the first place not to need this kind of hand-holding. Gratuitous, graphically described scenes of torture don't help, either, but it's still one helluva story. Detailed accounts of sniper tactics and other bits of tradecraft add to the verisimilitude. 

 

They All Laughed at Christopher Columbus: An Incurable Dreamer Builds the First Civilian Spaceship, by Elizabeth Weil (Bantam Doubleday Dell; ISBN: 0553108867)

Few books get written about dreamers who failed, which makes sense: Who wants to read about failure?

Problem is, the long tradition of books about wildly successful visionaries who tilted against windmills and won leaves the impression that success is the norm, and that not to support every dreamer who comes along is short-sighted, philistine and small-minded. It ignores the truth of the matter, which is that for every highly visible success, there are countless failures we never hear about. (Venture capitalists are acutely aware of those failures, which is why the supremely illogical battle cry of the unfunded dreamer —
"They laughed at Columbus, didn't they?" — falls on their deaf ears. There are good reasons why they laughed at Columbus.)

As every scientist knows, there is often as much to be learned from a failed experiment as from a successful one, and that's what makes They All Laughed at Christopher Columbus so important. Energetically and entertainingly written, this slim volume tells the highly-abbreviated story of the Roton (see photo, below), designer Gary Hudson's entry into the private space race. Radical in concept, the Roton was intended to take off under its own power, boost humans and cargo into orbit, then settle back to earth using helicopter blades to slow the descent. It was going to be reusable, safe, simple and, most important of all, incredibly cheap, requiring virtually no external support a la "mission control" and no subordinate, expendable components (e.g., booster rockets and external fuel tanks).

By the time the project was abandoned, it had managed to get about 75 feet off the ground and travel less than a mile down a runway, using only the helicopter blades because its rocket engines hadn't yet been developed.

First-time author Elizabeth Weil's affection for the gang of enthusiasts working on the Roton is obvious throughout the book. Wisely, she focuses on the personalities rather than the technology, and gives us an insider's view of the extreme frustrations and all-too-rare exhilarations attendant to an effort that, in retrospect, was grossly underestimated, absurdly underfunded and therefore likely doomed from the start.

-lee gruenfeld

 

________________________

 

SEABISCUIT: An American Legend, by Laura Hillenbrand (Random House; ISBN: 0375502912)

 

ENIAC: The Triumphs and Tragedies of the World's First Computer, by Scott McCartney (Walker & Co. ISBN 0802713483)

In a style imitative of the two deservedly popular books Longitude and Fermat's Enigma, Scott McCartney attempts to make the story of the world's first general purpose computer accessible to a wide, non-scientific audience. In trying to strike a balance between readability and completeness, he leans heavily toward the former, which will disappoint those looking for some real meat while possibly shortchanging even the casual reader, who might be misled into thinking that this is the whole story. On the other hand, casual readers aren't too likely to pick up anything much weightier on this topic, so maybe it's a good thing.

McCartney adds little to the technical story of ENIAC's development. (For that, pick up the splendid The Computer from Pascal to Von Neumann, by Herman H. Goldstine.) Rather, his main contribution is added insight into the bickering, competition and lawsuits that characterized the birth of the computer industry. Somewhat reminiscent of the birth of television, the greatest commercial rewards went not to the originators but to those who followed and did it better. "Better" does not necessarily imply technical superiority, but has more to do with knowing one's way around the courts and the markets. Perhaps the greatest surprise to those knowledgeable in the history of computing is the author's contention that what we have come to know as "von Neumann architecture" was not invented by that eminent mathematician, but by the heroes of Eniac, Presper Eckert and John Mauchly. To learn that von Neumann may have usurped credit for the creativity of others is quite disturbing. (Goldstine's book takes the opposite view. Truth, as it usually is, is probably somewhere in the middle.)

                                                                                                -lee gruenfeld 

A Nasty Bit of Rough, by David Feherty (Rugged Land; ISBN 1590710002)

David Feherty has a touch and a voice that is to die for. Silliness is the main point, and NASTY is pure whimsy of the best sort, with some parts so hysterically funny it would be just as well you didn't read it with other people in the vicinity.

                                                                                                -lee gruenfeld 

 

Poker Nation: A High-Stakes, Low-Life Adventure into the Heart of a Gambling Country, by Andy Bellin  (HarperCollins; ISBN 0060199032)

 

Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News , by Bernard Goldberg (Regnery; ISBN: 0895261901)

Click here for a complete review by Lee Gruenfeld

 

  A Traitor to Memory, by Elizabeth George (Bantam Doubleday Dell ISBN 0553801279)

 

In the Beginning: The Story of the King James Bible and How It Changed a Nation, a Language, and a Culture, by Alister McGrath (Doubleday, ISBN 038549890X)

Although it's the most widely-read and best-selling book in history, surprisingly little is known about  the King James Version of the bible by most of those who read it on a daily basis. As it turns out, millions of people who consider it to be the very word of God don't even realize that it's a translation rather than an original. 

Many of those who are familiar with its origins, and who heap praise on it as a peerless literary gem, are not aware that the original bible was written in the everyday language of the common working man, and that the elegance of the prose in the KJV was essentially a fortuitous accident rather than the intent of its translators. The translation was carried out at a crucial turning point in the English language, and the committees established by James I struggled continuously with which words they should use: those of the current day, even though they knew those words would soon be passé and possibly unintelligible to future generations, or the newer usages, which they couldn't be sure would last? As an example, the early 17th century word for the neuter possessive we know as "its" was "his." This has led not only to a number of puzzling passages but also to many that are tortured attempts to get around the problem: Rather than "Its height was twenty cubits," we get "The height was twenty cubits thereof," which we may think is elegant but not when that awkward construction appears three times in a single sentence describing the proper construction of an ark.

In the Beginning, a splendidly readable account of how the KJV came to be, is filled with such fascinating tidbits, as well as more substantive and disturbing ones. Church authorities were bound and determined that bibles only be available in Latin, feeling (correctly) that their power arose at least to some extent from the inability of their congregations to understand the Book without assistance from clergy. But the Reformation that was sweeping Europe at the time was based in part on the belief that the bible should be available to all the people, in their own language (hence the term "vernacular bible"), just as the original was. (The Old Testament was in the Hebrew and Aramaic of farmers and laborers; same for the Greek of the New Testament.) This was no scholarly debate, either; William Tyndale was publicly strangled for writing an English version of the bible. 

One of the strengths of In the Beginning is how well it acquaints us with the power of the ruthless Middle Ages church and its inseparability from government. The role of politics in the structure of the KJV is explored, too, such as in the decision-making that led to the inclusion of the Gospel of John and the Apocrypha, neither of which was universally viewed as the word of God as were the other sections.

Despite a good deal of maddening repetition that often makes the book sound like a committee report ("Tell them what you're going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you told them"), it's a compelling and intriguing read, its scholarship exemplary and its conclusions well-grounded. Especially revealing are the comparisons among several translations of well-known passages, which demonstrate the extraordinary degree to which all-too-human, seemingly arbitrary decisions (the Greek word ekklesia was translated as "church" but was more closely akin to "congregation") crept into a work which, more than any other, shaped our language and culture. Because of that undeniable influence, In the Beginning is a must-read for anybody who thinks, even if they're non-Christians or non-believers altogether.

                                                                                                            -lee gruenfeld

 

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Book 4) by J. K. Rowling
    Not as good as the first three, but still worth it.

 

The Motley Fool Money Guide, by Selena Maranjian (The Motley Fool, Inc.)

Anybody who doesn't know how cynical I am about the capital markets need only read The Street, but even I was taken with this terrifically readable guide to investing. Clear, concise and entertaining, but best of all, it has just enough tongue-in-cheek edginess to let you know Maranjian doesn't get high on her own supply: she has a solid grasp on where reality ends and the self-interested hype of Wall Street begins. I can't recommend it highly enough.

 

In Pursuit of the Proper Sinner, by Elizabeth George (Bantam Books)

 

On Doing Time, by Morton Sobell (Golden Gate National Park Association)

When "atom spies" Julius and Ethel Rosenberg went on trial in 1950 there was a third American defendant. While the Rosenbergs took the stand in their own defense and adamantly maintained their innocence, which so angered the judge and prosecutors that the death penalty was imposed, Morton Sobell remained silent on advice of counsel, and waited for the government to fail to make its case against him. He was convicted anyway, but his silence might have saved his life: He was spared the death penalty and sentenced to a 30-year prison term instead. He served 18 years, 5 years of them on Alcatraz, which is where much of ON DOING TIME takes place. The book was first published in 1974 but was just reissued by the Golden Gate National Park Association. 

Despite the title, the book is about much more than what it was like for an extraordinarily decent, gentle and probably innocent man to be locked away in the country's most notorious maximum security penitentiary. This is Sobell's first person account of the events surrounding one of the most infamous trials in American history, which sparked demonstrations all over the world and began a debate that still rages today. His insights into the trial and the events leading up to it are as valuable historically as they are fascinating. The new edition includes a CD that contains many of the heretofore-classified documents he fought for decades to get his hands on.

Sobell's quest to unearth these documents was not driven by his desire for exoneration -- he seems unconcerned with whether anyone believes in his innocence -- but by his fervent wish to expose what he considers the devious, underhanded and outright fraudulent means to which the government will resort in its pursuit of "undesirables" in emotionally-charged situations. (I imagine he danced a jig when the government's reprehensible treatment of Wen Ho Lee was exposed.) He is particularly incensed about the highly-publicized "Venona" decryption project that purportedly led to his and the Rosenbergs' apprehension and, using the files on the CD, does a mighty convincing job of demonstrating how absurd some of the links between cabled code names and actual persons were arrived at.

ON DOING TIME, however, is not another rehash of the facts and speculation already well-covered in dozens of books. It is the very human tale of how it all affected one man who, to this day, refuses to be bitter and insists on casting his personal experience in a larger historical and political context, all of which is heavily layered with his persistent and unapologetic left-wing slant. It is extremely well-written, gripping and enlightening, and I recommend it very highly to the general reader as well as the armchair historian.

                                                                                                        -lee gruenfeld

 

A Painted House, by John Grisham (Doubleday)

It's almost impossible to believe that this beautiful, lyrical book was written by the same man who penned The Firm. Told from the perspective of the 7-year old son of a cotton sharecropper in 1952 Arkansas, it's one of those stories whose beginning and end are purely arbitrary points in time, because what counts is not the actual sequence of events but a powerful evocation of time and place. Here's one reader who hopes Mr. Grisham has made a permanent shift in genre -- while I certainly enjoy his stories about lawyers, I'm happy to give them up in exchange for more thoughtful and compelling works like A Painted House.

 

Personal Injuries, by Scott Turow (Warner Vision)

The phrase "It wasn't as good as Presumed Innocent" is one that has probably haunted Scott Turow since his first follow-up of that miracle of a novel. Of course, "not as good as Presumed Innocent" still leaves plenty of leeway for Turow's subsequent works to rank among the very best of modern, popular fiction.

Happily, both for existing fans as well as newcomers, we now have Personal Injuries, and let the comparisons finally cease. This latest effort stands fully on its own and reaffirms the notion that there is no such thing as a stale genre when writers like Turow are around to breathe fresh life into them.

On the surface, Personal Injuries deals with the attempt by a zealous U.S. attorney to uncover a loose but labyrinthine conspiracy among judges, attorneys and assorted court personnel to fix cases in exchange for bribes. The complex sting that evolves contains all the elements of the human tragi-comedy, including greed and deception, friendship and betrayal, high-minded ideals and vaunting ambition, and questionable means in the pursuit of unclear ends.

Amid all this complexity, however, lies the real nut of this book, and that is the effect of the evolving circumstances on the psyches of real human beings caught up in the maelstrom. The central character is an attorney who is "flipped" by the prosecutor into spying on his friends and associates. Introduced as a callous womanizer but a loyal friend to his law partner, his personality takes on variegated layers as the story proceeds. At times charitable and introspective, at other times glib and needy, we never know quite what to make of him. This is true of other characters in the book as well, and it is in this regard that Personal Injuries is a triumph of character study, a deeply probing investigation into the behaviors of ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances.

The story is narrated in the first person from the point of view of an attorney who defends the flipped attorney. While this is an effective technique in that it adds the shading of one character filtered through another's own perceptions, it is also occasionally jarring. When the narrator has been engaging for long stretches of time in a third-person description of events removed from himself, the sudden intrusion of "I" forces us to remind ourselves who is supposed to be doing the talking and it takes a second or two to re-orient. Also somewhat disconcerting are the attorney's periodic long speeches that seem overly articulate, a tad too perceptive and too pat.

But these are minor quibbles, easily forgiven in light of the book's many towering virtues. Turow's prose is more assured and exquisitely crafted than ever, and the dialogue is wonderfully subtle, rarely handing it to the reader on a platter but requiring us instead to read between the lines, or even to read them a second and third time to divine the meaning. To be sure, the author's trademark Sting-type plot complexity is ever-present, and the surprises when they come are blissfully satisfying.

Sure is fun to watch a master improve with time.

 

                                                                                                        -lee gruenfeld

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Book 1), by J.K. Rowling (Scholastic)

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Baseball, by Johnny Bench (Alpha Books)

With the World Series about to get underway, there's no better way to get prepared than by reading this wonderfully informative, thoroughly delightful overview of the sport. Not just the rules and procedures but the history, personalities, nuances and a wealth of inside information. Remember: "The only people who think baseball is dull are dull people."

 

The Gifts of the Jews : How a Tribe of Desert Nomads Changed the Way Everyone Thinks and Feels, by Thomas Cahill (Anchor Books)

Normally, I only include books on this page that I recommended highly and unequivocally. In the case of The Gifts of the Jews, I do recommend it, but with a bit of equivocating.

There's no sense rehashing all the critiquing that has already been done on this short and fascinating volume -- it is truly a quite thought-provoking attempt at some historical paradigm shifting. My question is whether such shifting is warranted in light of the evidence Cahill brings to bear on his thesis.

Like most bible-based historical analyses, Gifts suffers from assumptive leaps often grounded on precious little substance. For example, to claim that our very concept of time evolved from one of cyclical and unbreakable repetition with no end and no beginning to our current "processive" notions of past and future because of the Jews begs more questions than Cahill tackles. Among them are how the Egyptians managed to spend decades building monuments that were intended to last forever if they were convinced it would all be for naught when the next cycle began anew. For that matter, how did the Sumerians ever get around to building cities?

The author also provides mountains of detail regarding the emotional states of biblical figures whose words and behaviors were described in the barest of minimalist proportions, attributing broad and profound meanings to mere handfuls of words. To his credit, Cahill chose for his basis an unconventional translation that hews much closer to the meaning of the original language, and in fact his presentation of that novel interpretation is the best part of this book, but some of those interpretations strain credulity to such an extent that his underlying thesis is too often undermined. As an example, jumping directly from the Burning Bush to the conclusion that "God…can burn in us without consuming" is poetic and clever but did this actually occur to the early Israelites?

Overall, there is far too much speculation upon which to hang a serious thesis, and it put me in mind of the classic skit in which one syllable uttered by a diplomat becomes three paragraphs from the translator. However, the book is so full of wonderful nuggets that it is still a delight to read, at least once you get past the overlong and overly-discursive discussion of the Sumerian "Epic of Gilgamesh," and that's why I am recommending it. Cahill's reading of the Abraham and Isaac story is tremendously moving, as is the story of the exodus from Egypt, particularly as concerns the ongoing frustrations of Moses. One of the most soul-stirring sections is the one dealing with the "minor" prophet Amos, who openly scorns the "elegant piety" of the people of Israel and exhorts them to put away the symbolic sacrifices and instead "let justice flow like water."

 

  Harry Gold : A Novel, by Millicent Dillon (Overlook Press)

In the early 1950s, an episode as divisive as any that followed in the turbulent 60s and 70s took place. The younger generation is largely unaware of it, and it's not taught in schools, probably out of some fear that, unlike the freeing of the slaves or the American Revolution, there's no way to cover it without acknowledging its ambiguous morality.

About five years after the atomic bombing of Japan that closed out World War II, the full force of America's collective dread of Communism finally found a local place to land. Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were charged with delivering the secret of the bomb's design to the Soviet Union. They were tried in federal court and executed in 1953 amid worldwide furor that ranged from New York to the Vatican to the mobbed streets of Pairs.

What history there is of this shattering event consists largely of a severely limited body of demonstrable fact, an ocean of debate and speculation, and the public record of the trial itself. A great deal has been written about why the Rosenbergs did what they did but, surprisingly, there is virtually nothing known about what drove one man, Harry Gold, to not only act as a courier between U.S. spies and their Soviet controllers, but to become the government's chief witness against those very same spies.

By all accounts, Gold was a meek, enormously generous man whose only truly notable characteristic seemed to be his desire to please others. He was not politically savvy, he evinced no strong convictions, and why he would agree to become immersed in something as nefarious as handing a superweapon over to the Russians was a mystery.

In Harry Gold, noted biographer Millicent Dillon makes a bold, speculative stab at ferreting out what might have driven this very ordinary man to his extraordinary deeds. Exploiting the fictional license of the novel, Dillon is able to strip away the traditional biographer's obligation to separate documented fact from interpolated conjecture and instead present us with a cohesive, eminently plausible psychological portrait of a man who, to net it out somewhat unfairly, was so anxious not to give offense that he let himself be influenced by anyone with a stronger personality than his own, which was essentially everybody.

Harry Gold gets off to a somewhat slow start that might not immediately grab readers who don't already come to this book curious about the subject, but soon picks up emotional steam as events implode in on Gold until he can no longer stop them, assuming he'd even want to. Although her research was meticulous, Dillon deliberately avoids overburdening us with too many details that have been well-documented elsewhere, and instead concentrates on Gold himself. By the time he voluntarily confesses all to the FBI, the author doesn't need to hit us over the head explaining why: she's done such a good job of bringing us inside this man's head, it would almost be a shock if he didn't eventually break down and spill everything.

Aside from the occasional sentence that spins its metaphor for a few more words than necessary, Harry Gold is written with a sure hand and is a terrifically revealing, highly readable examination of a little-known but critical figure in our history.

 

  Failure Is Not an Option: Mission Control from Mercury to Apollo 13 and
Beyond
, by Gene Kranz (Simon & Schuster)

Just a kid when the Mercury astronauts were first lofted skyward, I was more fascinated by what was going on in Mission Control than I was by what the astronauts themselves were doing, which was mostly just sitting there pushing buttons. I had no idea why dozens of men in the control room were sitting in front of seemingly identical monitors -- did they actually have real jobs, or was it all just for show? None of the television commentators ever bothered to explain what was going on in there.

Which is why Lost Moon, the book on which the movie "Apollo 13" was based, was such a revelation. Only then did we really learn that the extraordinarily complex spacecraft carrying the astronauts never functioned perfectly for more than five minutes at a time, if at all, and controlling a mission was about solving mind-numbing problems that were occurring thousands of miles overhead. That the men on the ground were the true heart of spaceflight was confirmed for me by the chapter in Failure Is Not an Option about the very first Apollo mission, which was flown from start to finish by Mission Control: there were no astronauts on board the vehicle.

Kranz, the buzz-cutted ex-test pilot who was the very personification of Mission Control (Ed Harris played him in "Apollo 13"), gives us an insider's view of that critical function, complete with fascinating stories of some of the more harrowing incidents that the public was only dimly aware of. Of equal interest are his observations about what it was like to build from scratch an organization for which little precedent existed.

Although occasionally repetitive and self-congratulatory, Failure Is Not an Option is nevertheless a compulsively readable, engineer's-eye perspective on what is arguably one of the two or three greatest technological triumphs in history. Like Lost Moon, its only major fault is that it's entirely too short. 

                                                                                                -

  Sleeping With Extra-Terrestrials: The Rise of Irrationalism and Perils of Piety, by Wendy Kaminer (Pantheon)

As someone who thinks that the greatest threat we face is the abandonment of critical thinking, I can't recommend this book highly enough. Written in the same vein as Tainted Truth, Cynthia Crossen's towering paean to irrationalism in the media, and similar works, Sleeping with Extra-Terrestrials is a courageous indictment of all manner of muddleheaded and downright fraudulent conviction that robs us of our ability to separate fact from harmful fiction. The reason I use the term "courageous" is that Ms. Kaminer tackles religion head-on, something most other commentators on rationalism have been reluctant to do. Unabashedly atheistic, she calmly dissects traditional religious beliefs and demonstrates the many fallacies underlying their foundation. Interestingly, even while this book will undoubtedly evoke bitter denunciations from the faithful, believers will find much food for thought here, because the authors arguments are useful in separating what's truly important in religious belief from the superfluous trappings that have obscured it.

 

  Which Lie Did I Tell: More Adventures in the Screen Trade by William Goldman (Pantheon)

In his previous book about Hollywood, Adventures in the Screen Trade, legendary screenwriter Goldman (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, All the President's Men, Misery, and on and on) gave us a buoyantly cynical inside look at how things really work in the film industry, from a writer's perspective. In a breezy style reminiscent of Tom Wolfe's (The Right Stuff) before he turned to fiction, Goldman generally avoided standard dish and instead tried to get us to understand the sorts of things that go on, albeit using terrifically entertaining stories to illustrate his points. He's the one who put forth the seemingly innocuous but remarkably penetrating maxim about filmmaking -- "Nobody knows anything" -- and then proceeded to prove the thesis beyond a reasonable doubt.

Now, with the benefit of nearly two additional decades of experience, he revisits the scorched landscape he so deftly set fire to with the first book, and makes sure every square inch stays perfectly charred. This time, he concentrates more on the art and science of writing a screenplay, even going so far as to present a new one in its entirety, one which he invited half a dozen noted writers to critique mercilessly, which they did, said critiques he then gives us verbatim in all their unsullied mercilessness.

I'm going to stop now -- I promised myself I would before I ended up writing a book-length review because there is so much to say. Let's leave it at this: Having flirted (only briefly but riotously) with the film business myself, I don't agree with all of his observations, but every one of them is reasonable and supremely entertaining. If you enjoy films and toweringly clever and acerbic writing, you will love this book.

 

The Godfather by Mario Puzo (Scribner)

Yes, you're reading it right. The Godfather, an American classic, first published thirty years ago. It's been reissued in a "special" paperback edition that's just a duplicate of the old one, complete with the same typographical errors, horrendous grammar, and wholly superfluous passages and chapters. Nevertheless, it's still as compelling as it was back when Nixon was president. Frankly, it's the only really good book Puzo ever wrote, one of those one-shot wonders like Presumed Innocent or The Doors' first album or the theory of relativity that its creator had no chance of repeating. If you've got a long flight coming up or a ten o'clock doctor's appointment, there's no better way to make the time zip by. 

                       

The Great Game: The Emergence of Wall Street As a World Power, 1653-2000 by John Steele Gordon (Scribner)

What on earth is he doing (you're thinking) recommending a history of Wall Street to the general reader? A good question, but The Great Game is a gem of a book that will appeal to a wide spectrum of people regardless of their personal interest in matters financial. Full of colorful characters and incredible schemes, the central thesis of this terrifically readable treatise is the notion that, in a very real sense, Wall Street sits at the very center of world power, almost as a sovereign entity. The scope of its influence is breathtaking, and Gordon paints a meticulously researched and exciting picture of how it came to be that way. There are some surprises, too. The author easily dispenses with the traditional view that the crash of 1929 was the proximate cause of the Great Depression, and demonstrates how advances in communication technology can often be traced back to the need for investors to have better access to information.

 

Dutch: A Memoir of Ronald Reagan, by Edmund Morris (Random House)

(click here for a complete review by Lee Gruenfeld)

 

Irreparable Harm (*): A Firsthand Account of How One Agent Took on the CIA in an Epic Battle over Secrecy and Free Speech, by Frank Snepp (Random House)

(click here for a complete review by Lee Gruenfeld)

(*) not to be confused with Irreparable Harm by Lee Gruenfeld, a different book

 

korda.gif (13095 bytes)

Another Life: A Memoir of Other People, by Michael Korda (Random)

(click here for a complete review by Lee Gruenfeld)

 

majors.gif (10757 bytes)

The Majors, by John Feinstein (Little, Brown)

(click here for a complete review by Lee Gruenfeld)

 

dirt.gif (5669 bytes)

Dirt! The Philosophy, Technique, and Practice of Mountain Biking, by John Howard (The Lyons Press)

(Click here for a complete review by Lee Gruenfeld)

 

Fermat's Enigma jacket

Fermat's Enigma, by Simon Singh (Walker)

(Click here for a complete review by Lee Gruenfeld)

ironman.gif (5455 bytes)

Ironman, by Chris Crutcher (Dell, young adults; hardcover reprint edition)

 

touchvoid.gif (12989 bytes)

Touching the Void: The Harrowing Story of One Man's Miraculous Survival, by Joe Simpson (HarperCollins)

(Click here for a complete review by Lee Gruenfeld)

replay.gif (35006 bytes)

Replay, by Ken Grimwood (Ace)

"I normally review only newly-published books, but recently came across something older that was too good not to share..."

(Click here for a complete review by Lee Gruenfeld)

 

underworld

Underworld, by Don DeLillo (Scribner)

 

Roadswing

Road Swing, by Steve Rushin (Doubleday)

 

Everest by Broughton Coburn, et al (National Geographic Society)

 

The Tailor of Panama, by John le Carré (Ballantine Books)

(Click here for a complete review by Lee Gruenfeld)

 

Fast Friends jacket

Ulterior Motive, by Daniel Oran (Kensington)

(Click here for a complete review by Lee Gruenfeld)

 

Deal Power: 6 Foolproof Steps to Making Deals of Any Size, by Marc Diener (Owl)

 

Crystal Fire: The Birth of the Information Age, by Michael Riordan & Lillian Hoddeson (Norton) - the story of the invention of the transistor

 

Richard Feynman - A Life in Science, by John & Mary Gribbin (Dutton)

(click here for Lee Gruenfeld's review of Richard Feynman)

 

Journey to Poland: A Family Mission, by Dr. David S. Greenfield
(Private Publication)

(click here for a review by Lee Gruenfeld)

 

Fast Friends, by Dianne Pugh (Pocket)

(click here for Lee Gruenfeld's review of Fast Friends)

 

Science on Trial

Science on Trial: The Clash of Medical Evidence and the Law in the Breast Implant Case, by Dr. Marcia Angell (WW Norton & Co.)

 

The Laws of Our Fathers, by Scott Turow (Farrar Straus & Giroux )

(click here for Lee Gruenfeld's review of The Laws of Our Fathers)

 

Independence Day, by Richard Ford (Knopf)

 

Angle of Repose, by Wallace Stegner (Penguin USA)

Longitude, by Dava Sobel (Walker & Co.)

 

Hubble photo Earth photo

Hubble: A New Window to the Universe, by Daniel Fischer, et al (Springer Verlag)

and...

Looking at Earth, by Priscilla Strain, Frederick Engle (Turner Pub) - out of print, but click on title to see about locating a copy

 

Also recommended previously:

Angela's Ashes

Map of the World

A Good Walk Spoiled

Chasing Cezanne

Into Thin Air

Tee Times: On the Road with the Ladies Professional Golf Tour

 

Amazon.com logo For more information, click on the title to go to the Amazon.com page for this book. Then use the "Back" button on your Web browser to return here.

 

Go to this week's Hot Tip.
Return to Quick Index.
Return to Main Page.