Hitler and the Power of Aesthetics by Frederic Sports. Overlook Press. Paper. Adolf Hitler’s interest in art was as intense as his racism and Anti-Semitism.
The Story of Rufino; Slavery, Freedom, and Islam in the Black Atlantic by Joãs Reiss,et al. Oxford University Press. A finalist for a Brazilian Book Award. The author narrates the life of a Yoruba Muslim called Rufino.
The Lady Queen; The Notorious Reign of Joanna I, Queen of Naples, Jerusalem, and Sicily by Nancy Goldstone. Back Bay Books. Goldstone brings to life a remarkable woman, a captivating queen and actress in her medieval world.
Our Man; Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century by George Packer. Knopf. Although the force behind the Dayton Accords that ended the Balkan wars, Holbrooke was considered too self-absorbed and his career stalled.
In Extremis; The Life and Death of the War Correspondent, Marie Colvin by Lindsey Hilsum. Farrar, Straus & Giroux. Killed in Syria in 2012, Hilsum is exemplary of the tendency for newspaper correspondents to become both our eyes and ears abroad.
Young Castro; The Making of a Revolutionary by Jonathan Hansen. Simon & Schuster. A portrait of the early years of Fidel Castro, how and unlikely young Cuban led his country in revolution and transfixed the world.
The Black Auxiliary; The Untold Story of eighteen African Americans Who Defied Jim Crow and Adolf Hitler to Compete in the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Deborah Draper et al. Jesse Owens but other winners as well including a brother of Jackie Robinson.
Remembering Emmett Till by Dave Tell. University of Chicago Press. Travel through the Mississippi Delta and you will find a landscape dotted with memorials to important figures and events of the Civil Rights movement. The most moving are those devoted to the murder of Emmett Till.
Alfred Russel Wallace by Patrick Armstrong. Reaktion, Paper. Armstrong illuminates the various facets of Wallace’s long life from 1823 to the eve of World War I.
Tomato; A Global History by Clarissa Hyman. University of Chicago Press. The tomato is a relative newcomer outside of its ancestral home in Mesoamerica. Think about pizza without the tomato. A trusty sauce with French fries (Ketchup). Bolognese sauce for Italian cuisine.
Handel in London; The Making of a Genius by Jane Glover. Pegasus. Handel dazzled the Hanoverian Court. Then he went on to the Tudor court in London and Dublin where he premiered The Messiah.
Queen Victoria; Daughter, Wife, Mother, Widow by Lucy Worsley St. Martin’s She ruled Britain for sixty-four years and managed to put her name on her century.