Eichmann Before Jerusalem: The Unexamined Life Of A Mass Murderer by Bettina Stangneth. Translated by Ruth Martin. (Vintage) A rejoinder to Hannah Arendt’s landmark study of the Nazi official, which portrayed him as a mindless, nonpolitical bureaucrat, this account argues that Eichmann acted with intention and conviction. Drawing on troves of new research, Stangneth details the man’s violent ideology.
The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters. (Riverhead) Waters’ novel opens in 1920s London, where Frances Wray faces bleak circumstances: Her brothers and father have died and left the family in financial straits. To ease the economic strain, Frances and her mother reluctantly take in a married couple as boarders. Their arrival soon upends the precarious household, which becomes the scene of an illicit romance and a mysterious death.
Just Mercy: A Story Of Justice And Redemption by Bryan Stevenson. (Spiegel & Grau) The case of a man wrongfully convicted and sentenced to death forms a central thread in Stevenson’s memoir. The author, a lawyer who has worked to free innocent prisoners, outlines several problems endemic to the U.S. criminal justice system.
Hiding In Plain Sight by Nuruddin Farah. (Penguin) Farah writes movingly in this novel about a cosmopolitan African family rebuilding itself after grief. As a globe-trotting photographer based in Rome, Bella had lived with minimal attachments and responsibilities. But after her half-brother, a Somali U.N. worker, is killed in a terrorist attack in Mogadishu, she returns to Nairobi to raise her niece and nephew.
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Pay Any Price: Greed, Power, And Endless War by James Risen. (Mariner/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) Risen, a Pulitzer-winning New York Times reporter, delves into the domestic impact of America’s overseas conflicts. The costs of the war on terror are not strictly monetary; as reviewer Louise Richardson wrote, Risen’s impassioned account “chronicles the abandonment of America’s cherished open society in a never-satiated search for security from an ill-defined threat.”
Friendship by Emily Gould. (Picador/Farrar, Straus & Giroux) Gould’s novel charts the terrain (both adversarial and tender) of a long-standing friendship between two women in their 30s living in New York City. Amy is a well-heeled, if bored, blog editor, and Bev flits miserably between temp jobs and unsatisfying relationships. Bev’s unexpected pregnancy redirects the course of the women’s lives as they confront the uncertain paths ahead.
The Human Age: The World Shaped By Us by Diane Ackerman. (Norton) Human behavior has profoundly impacted the natural world and the globe’s ecosystems. Ackerman approaches the so-called Anthropocene era, which began with the Industrial Revolution, optimistically, marveling at developments across a range of disciplines, including technology, robotics and urban planning.
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