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THE DELUSIONS OF CROWDS: WHY PEOPLE GO MAD IN GROUPS by William J. Bernstein (Atlantic Monthly Press). This big, serious history and study of manias concentrates on financial and religious wigouts, … more
UNDER A WHITE SKY by Elizabeth Kolbert (Crown). Hard to say whether this deeply intelligent, enlightening book on human fiddling with the natural world—its benefits and its inevitable, sometimes … more
THE FOUR WINDS by Kristin Hannah (St. Martin's). I don't suppose Hannah is a “great American writer” in the most solemn, in-a-deep-voice sense, but she's enormously popular among the best readers … more
FLOATING IN A MOST PECULIAR WAY by Louis Chude-Sokei (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). Unspectacularly but irresistibly beautiful memoir by a man whose life would probably sound disorderly in my … more
YELLOW WIFE by Sadeqa Johnson (Simon & Schuster). The voice of this stirring historical novel is that of a surreptitiously educated enslaved woman, in Virginia in the 1850s. It isn't didactic—this … more
NINE DAYS: THE RACE TO SAVE MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.'S LIFE AND WIN THE 1960 ELECTION by Stephen Kendrick and Paul Kendrick (Farrar, Straus and Giroux). This book has a thriller title because it's as … more
OUTLAWED by Anna North (Bloomsbury). This is being called a “speculative western,” apparently because it's set in a 19th-century American West that never existed. Well, neither did the one I grew … more
KEEP SHARP by Sanjay Gupta (Simon & Schuster). The most practical-minded book on this general subject that I've seen. Dr. Gupta is a neurosurgeon, and that's an OK credential—he does hold the … more
THE SYSTEM by Ryan Gattis (Farrar, Straus and Giroux). A crime novel, is a precisely accurate characterization of this stunning new work, though that really doesn't due it…justice, I was about to … more
BAG MAN: THE WILD CRIMES, AUDACIOUS COVERUP, AND SPECTACULAR DOWNFALL OF A BRAZEN CROOK IN THE WHITE HOUSE by Rachel Maddow and Michael Yarvitz (Crown). Spiro Agnew really was just brass, through and … more
PERESTROIKA IN PARIS by Jane Smiley (Knopf). Smiley has been a column favorite for about as long as there's been a column, for the sort of reasons any writer might be—she's a smart and thoughtful … more
PERESTROIKA IN PARIS by Jane Smiley (Knopf). Smiley has been a column favorite for about as long as there's been a column, for the sort of reasons any writer might be—she's a smart and thoughtful … more
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