A non-fiction book recommendation: Anatomy of Terror: From the Death of bin Laden to the Rise of the Islamic State by Ali Soufan

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2zJk9Sy.
“Anatomy of Terror” not only tells a gripping story but is filled with insights that put today’s terror attacks by the Islamic State and Al Qaeda in perspective with the history and complicated geopolitics of the region.
Book description from Google Books:
In early 2011, the heart of the Muslim world roiled in protest, consumed with the upheaval of the Arab Spring. The governments of Tunisia and Egypt had already fallen; those of Libya and Yemen would soon follow. Watching the chaos from his hideout in Pakistan, Osama bin Laden saw a historic opportunity: “the next stage,” he declared, “will be the reinstating of the rule of the caliphate.”Within weeks, bin Laden was dead, shot in the dark by a U.S. Navy SEAL. Commentators around the world began to prophesy al-Qaeda’s imminent demise. But six years later, the reality is the reverse. The group’s affiliates have swollen, and the Islamic State–al-Qaeda’s most brutal spinoff to date–proclaims itself the reborn caliphate bin Laden foretold in his final weeks.In Anatomy of Terror, former FBI special agent and New York Times best-selling author Ali Soufan dissects bin Laden’s brand of jihadi terrorism and its major offshoots, revealing how these organizations were formed, how they operate, their strengths, and–crucially–their weaknesses. This riveting account examines the new Islamic radicalism through the eyes of its flag-bearers, including a Jordanian former drug dealer whose cruelties shocked even his fellow militants, an Air Force colonel who once served Saddam Hussein, and a provincial bookworm who declared himself caliph of all Muslims. We meet Ayman al-Zawahiri, titular head of al-Qaeda; Saif al-Adel, an Egyptian ex-soldier who faked his own death to become the group’s security chief; and bin Laden’s own beloved son Hamza, a prime candidate to lead the organization his late father founded.To eliminate the scourge of terrorism, we must first know who the enemy actually is, and what his motivations are. Anatomy of Terror lays bare the psychology and inner workings of al-Qaeda, the Islamic State, and their spawn, and shows how the spread of terror can be stopped.
The book is rated 4.10/5 at goodreads.com, from 181 ratings. See 29 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2zIozZJ.
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A non-fiction book recommendation: The Operator: Firing the Shots that Killed Osama bin Laden and My Years as a SEAL Team Warrior by Robert O’Neill

A critic review (source Washington Times) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2hcBoD6.
Written from the vantage point of a warrior who was there, “The Operator” is an interesting and insightful book about some of the most historic moments in modern American military history.
Book description from Google Books:
New York Times Bestseller A stirringly evocative, thought-provoking, and often jaw-dropping account, The Operator ranges across SEAL Team Operator Robert O’Neill’s awe-inspiring four-hundred-mission career, which included his involvement in attempts to rescue “Lone Survivor” Marcus Luttrell and abducted-by-Somali-pirates Captain Richard Phillips and which culminated in those famous three shots that dispatched the world’s most wanted terrorist, Osama bin Laden.In these pages, O’Neill describes his idyllic childhood in Butte, Montana; his impulsive decision to join the SEALs; the arduous evaluation and training process; and the even tougher gauntlet he had to run to join the SEALs’ most elite unit. After officially becoming a SEAL, O’Neill would spend more than a decade in the most intense counterterror effort in US history. For extended periods, not a night passed without him and his small team recording multiple enemy kills—and though he was lucky enough to survive, several of the SEALs he’d trained with and fought beside never made it home. The Operator describes the nonstop action of O’Neill’s deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, evokes the black humor of years-long combat, brings to vivid life the lethal efficiency of the military’s most selective units, and reveals firsthand details of the most celebrated terrorist takedown in history.
The book is rated 4.34/5 at goodreads.com, from 2851 ratings. See 574 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2hcBw5y.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2iFYbrh.
Google Books preview available in full post.

A non-fiction book recommendation: Double Bind: Women on Ambition by Robin Romm

A critic review (source Star Tribune) can be read at: http://strib.mn/2zIIub9.
The book’s inherent power lies in these two dozen distinctive perspectives on the concept. Through its collective voice, “Double Bind” galvanizes women to embrace ambition without shame or equivocation.
Book description from Google Books:
Breaking the last feminist taboo–once and for all. Even as toweringly successful women from Gloria Steinem to Beyoncé embrace the word “feminism,” the word “ambition,” for many, remains loaded with ambivalence. Women who are naturally driven and goal-oriented shy away from it. They’re loath to see themselves—or be seen by others—as aggressive or, worst of all, as a bitch. Double Bind could not come at a more urgent time, a necessary collection that explodes this conflict, examining the concept of female ambition from every angle in essays full of insight, wisdom, humor, and rage. Perceptively identifying a paradox at the very heart of feminism, editor Robin Romm has marshaled a stunning constellation of thinkers to examine their relationships with ambition with candor, intimacy, and wit. Roxane Gay discusses how race informs and feeds her ambition. Theresa Rebeck takes on Hollywood and confronts her own unquenchable thirst to overcome its sexism. Francine Prose considers the origins of the stigma; Nadia Manzoor discusses its cultural weight. Women who work in fields long-dominated by men—from butchery to tech to dogsledding—weigh in on what it takes to crack that ever-present glass ceiling, and the sometimes unexpected costs of shattering it. The eternally complex questions of aspiration and identity can be made even more treacherous at the dawn of motherhood; Allison Barrett Carter attempts leaning in at home, while Sarah Ruhl tries to uphold her feminist vision within motherhood’s infinite daily compromises. Taken together, these essays show women from a range of backgrounds and at all stages of their lives and careers grappling with aspiration, failure, achievement, guilt, and, yes, success. Forthright and empowering, Double Bind breaks a long silence, reclaiming “ambition” from the roster of dirty words at last.
The book is rated 3.86/5 at goodreads.com, from 214 ratings. See 42 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2iWx5MG.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2iXZJ05.
Google Books preview available in full post.

A non-fiction book recommendation: The Gastronomical Me by M. F. K. Fisher

A critic review (source Guardian) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2h5dKZn.
Reading it again in this handsome new edition I am struck by the fact that it is, above all, a queer book. I mean the term not so much as Fisher used it colloquially and carelessly in the middle of the last century but how we employ it today…
Book description from Google Books:
In 1929, a newly married M.F.K. Fisher said goodbye to a milquetoast American culinary upbringing and sailed with her husband to Dijon, where she tasted real French cooking for the first time. The Gastronomical Me is a chronicle of her passionate embrace of a whole new way of eating, drinking, and celebrating the senses. As she recounts memorable meals shared with an assortment of eccentric and fascinating characters, set against a backdrop of mounting pre-war tensions, we witness the formation not only of her taste but of her character and her prodigious talent.
The book is rated 4.24/5 at goodreads.com, from 2790 ratings. See 202 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2iwJuGY.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2iyNk2e.

A non-fiction book recommendation: The Transferred Life of George Eliot by Philip Davis

A critic review (source Guardian) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2iKJxPt.
Davis’s book is a celebration of her “realism”, which allows us to see minutely the differences in consciousness of different characters – before we return to our sole selves. As an omniscient narrator Eliot has often been called God-like, but Davis thinks even more of her wisdom than this.
Book description from Google Books:
Reading George Eliot’s work was described by one Victorian critic as like the feeling of entering the confessional in which she sees and hears all the secrets of human psychology–‘that roar which lies on the other side of silence’. This new biography of George Eliot goes beyond the much-told story of her life. It gives an account of what it means to become a novelist, and to think like a novelist: in particular a realist novelist for whom art exists not for art’s sake but in the exploration and service of human life. It shows the formation and the workings of George Eliot’s mind as it plays into her creation of some of the greatest novels of the Victorian era. When at the age of 37 Marian Evans became George Eliot, it followed long mental preparation and personal suffering. During this time she related her power of intelligence to her capacity for feeling: discovering that her thinking and her art had to combine both. That was the great ambition of her novels–not to be mere pastimes or fictions but experiments in life and helps in living, through the deepest account of human complexity available. Philip Davis’s illuminating new biography will enable you both to see through George Eliot’s eyes and to feel what it is like to be seen by her, in the imaginative involvement of her readers with her characters.

Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2zxVPCZ.
Google Books preview available in full post.

A non-fiction book recommendation: Double Bind: Women on Ambition by Robin Romm

A critic review (source Star Tribune) can be read at: http://strib.mn/2zIIub9.
The book’s inherent power lies in these two dozen distinctive perspectives on the concept. Through its collective voice, “Double Bind” galvanizes women to embrace ambition without shame or equivocation.
Book description from Google Books:
Breaking the last feminist taboo–once and for all. Even as toweringly successful women from Gloria Steinem to Beyoncé embrace the word “feminism,” the word “ambition,” for many, remains loaded with ambivalence. Women who are naturally driven and goal-oriented shy away from it. They’re loath to see themselves—or be seen by others—as aggressive or, worst of all, as a bitch. Double Bind could not come at a more urgent time, a necessary collection that explodes this conflict, examining the concept of female ambition from every angle in essays full of insight, wisdom, humor, and rage. Perceptively identifying a paradox at the very heart of feminism, editor Robin Romm has marshaled a stunning constellation of thinkers to examine their relationships with ambition with candor, intimacy, and wit. Roxane Gay discusses how race informs and feeds her ambition. Theresa Rebeck takes on Hollywood and confronts her own unquenchable thirst to overcome its sexism. Francine Prose considers the origins of the stigma; Nadia Manzoor discusses its cultural weight. Women who work in fields long-dominated by men—from butchery to tech to dogsledding—weigh in on what it takes to crack that ever-present glass ceiling, and the sometimes unexpected costs of shattering it. The eternally complex questions of aspiration and identity can be made even more treacherous at the dawn of motherhood; Allison Barrett Carter attempts leaning in at home, while Sarah Ruhl tries to uphold her feminist vision within motherhood’s infinite daily compromises. Taken together, these essays show women from a range of backgrounds and at all stages of their lives and careers grappling with aspiration, failure, achievement, guilt, and, yes, success. Forthright and empowering, Double Bind breaks a long silence, reclaiming “ambition” from the roster of dirty words at last.
The book is rated 3.86/5 at goodreads.com, from 214 ratings. See 42 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2iWx5MG.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2iXZJ05.
Google Books preview available in full post.

A non-fiction book recommendation: Dolce Vita Confidential: Fellini, Loren, Pucci, Paparazzi, and the Swinging High Life of 1950s Rome by Shawn Levy

A critic review (source Guardian) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2iIK8RU.
Levy captures much of the excitement of that time and place in a prose style that is teeming with satisfying gossipy details…
Book description from Google Books:
From the ashes of World War II, Rome was reborn as the epicenter of film, fashion, creative energy, tabloid media, and bold-faced libertinism that made “Italian” a global synonym for taste, style, and flair. A confluence of cultural contributions created a bright, burning moment in history: it was the heyday of fashion icons such as Pucci, whose use of color, line, and superb craftsmanship set the standard for women’s clothing for decades, and Brioni, whose confident and classy creations for men inspired the contemporary American suit. Rome’s huge movie studio, Cinecitta, also known as “Hollywood-on-the Tiber,” attracted a dizzying array of stars from Charleton Heston, Gregory Peck, Audrey Hepburn, Ava Gardner, and Frank Sinatra to that stunning and combustible couple, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, who began their extramarital affair during the making of Cleopatra. And behind these stars trailed street photographers–Tazio Secchiarioli, Pierluigi Praturlon, and Marcello Gepetti–who searched, waited, and pounced on their subjects in pursuit of the most unflattering and dramatic portraits of fame.Fashionistas, exiles, moguls, and martyrs flocked to Rome hoping for a chance to experience and indulge in the glow of old money, new stars, fast cars, wanton libidos, and brazen news photographers. The scene was captured nowhere better than in Federico Fellini’s masterpiece, La Dolce Vita, starring Marcello Mastroianni and the Swedish bombshell Anita Ekberg. It was condemned for its licentiousness, when in fact Fellini was condemning the very excess, narcissism, and debauchery of Rome’s bohemian scene.Gossipy, colorful, and richly informed, Dolce Vita Confidential re-creates Rome’s stunning ascent with vivid and compelling tales of its glitterati and artists, down to every last outrageous detail of the city’s magnificent transformation.
The book is rated 3.89/5 at goodreads.com, from 62 ratings. See 17 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2zwtLQf.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2zyNsHs.

A non-fiction book recommendation: New Collected Poems by Marianne Moore

A critic review (source The Economist) can be read at: http://econ.st/2iBcL3s.
The poem begins like this: “Fanaticism? No. Writing is exciting/and baseball is like writing./You can never tell with either/how it will go/or what you will do…” Moore please.
Book description from Google Books:
A landmark definitive edition of one of our most innovative and beloved poetsThe landmark oeuvre of Marianne Moore, one of the major inventors of poetic modernism, has had no straight path from beginning to end; until now, there has been no good vantage point from which to see the body of her remarkable work as a whole. Throughout her life Moore arranged and rearranged, visited and revisited, a large majority of her existing poetry, always adding new work interspersed among revised poems. This makes sorting out the complex textual history that she left behind a pressing task if we mean to represent her work as a poet in a way that gives us a complete picture. New Collected Poems offers an answer to the question of how to represent the work of a poet so skillful and singular, giving a portrait of the range of her voice and of the modernist culture she helped create.William Carlos Williams, remarking on the impeccable precision of Moore’s poems, praised “the aesthetic pleasure engendered when pure craftsmanship joins hard surfaces skillfully.” It is only in New Collected Poems that we can understand her later achievements, see how she refashioned her earlier work, and get a more complete understanding of her consummate craftsmanship, innovation, and attention to detail. Presented and collected by Heather Cass White, the foremost scholar of Moore’s work, this new collection at last allows readers to experience the untamed force of these dazzling poems as the author first envisioned them.
The book is rated 4.17/5 at goodreads.com, from 6 ratings. See 1 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2h8xr2p.
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A non-fiction book recommendation: Between Them: Remembering My Parents by Richard Ford

A critic review (source National Post arts) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2iEmohZ.
At its strongest, with simply etched sentences and slow stabs of wisdom, this memoir conjures Rock Springs, Ford’s faultless 1987 story collection…
Book description from amazon.com:
From American master Richard Ford, a memoir: his first work of nonfiction, a stirring narrative of memory and parental loveHow is it that we come to consider our parents as people with rich and intense lives that include but also exclude us? Richard Ford’s parents—Edna, a feisty, pretty Catholic-school girl with a difficult past; and Parker, a sweet-natured, soft-spoken traveling salesman—were rural Arkansans born at the turn of the twentieth century. Married in 1928, they lived “alone together” on the road, traveling throughout the South. Eventually they had one child, born late, in 1944.For Ford, the questions of what his parents dreamed of, how they loved each other and loved him become a striking portrait of American life in the mid-century. Between Them is his vivid image of where his life began and where his parents’ lives found their greatest satisfaction. Bringing his celebrated candor, wit, and intelligence to this most intimate and mysterious of landscapes—our parents’ lives—the award-winning storyteller and creator of the iconic Frank Bascombe delivers an unforgettable exploration of memory, intimacy, and love.
The book is rated 3.80/5 at goodreads.com, from 889 ratings. See 152 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2iDP0Yv.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2hfi87X.

A non-fiction book recommendation: American Kingpin: The Epic Hunt for the Criminal Mastermind Behind the Silk Road by Nick Bilton

A critic review (source Globe and Mail) can be read at: https://tgam.ca/2hatvhK.
His latest book, which follows his similarly brisk, comprehensive history of Twitter, will surely emerge as the definitive account of the Silk Road saga.
Book description from Google Books:
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER. The unbelievable true story of the man who built a billion-dollar online drug empire from his bedroom–and almost got away with it In 2011, a twenty-six-year-old libertarian programmer named Ross Ulbricht launched the ultimate free market: the Silk Road, a clandestine Web site hosted on the Dark Web where anyone could trade anything–drugs, hacking software, forged passports, counterfeit cash, poisons–free of the government’s watchful eye. It wasn’t long before the media got wind of the new Web site where anyone–not just teenagers and weed dealers but terrorists and black hat hackers–could buy and sell contraband detection-free. Spurred by a public outcry, the federal government launched an epic two-year manhunt for the site’s elusive proprietor, with no leads, no witnesses, and no clear jurisdiction. All the investigators knew was that whoever was running the site called himself the Dread Pirate Roberts. The Silk Road quickly ballooned into $1.2 billion enterprise, and Ross embraced his new role as kingpin. He enlisted a loyal crew of allies in high and low places, all as addicted to the danger and thrill of running an illegal marketplace as their customers were to the heroin they sold. Through his network he got wind of the target on his back and took drastic steps to protect himself–including ordering a hit on a former employee. As Ross made plans to disappear forever, the Feds raced against the clock to catch a man they weren’t sure even existed, searching for a needle in the haystack of the global Internet. Drawing on exclusive access to key players and two billion digital words and images Ross left behind, Vanity Fair correspondent and New York Times bestselling author Nick Bilton offers a tale filled with twists and turns, lucky breaks and unbelievable close calls. It’s a story of the boy next door’s ambition gone criminal, spurred on by the clash between the new world of libertarian-leaning, anonymous, decentralized Web advocates and the old world of government control, order, and the rule of law. Filled with unforgettable characters and capped by an astonishing climax, American Kingpin might be dismissed as too outrageous for fiction. But it’s all too real.
The book is rated 4.28/5 at goodreads.com, from 4298 ratings. See 387 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2hatzy0.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2iAjIBD.