Eight Key History Titles: Nonfiction Previews, Jan. 2020, Pt. 3 | Prepub Alert

Revisiting World War II, the fate and impact of two war criminals, and social justice history involving landmark ACLU cases and affirmative action. 

Bruning, John R. Race of Aces: WWII’s Elite Airmen and the Epic Battle to Become the Masters of the Sky. Hachette. Jan. 2020. 320p. ISBN 9780316508629. $29; ebk. ISBN 9780316508643. lib. ebk. ISBN 9780316492454. CD. HISTORY
A Thomas Jefferson Award winner and the New York Times best-selling author of Outlaw Platoon, Bruning cover of Rosenberg's The Art of Resistancerecounts what happened in 1942 when ace-of-aces Eddie Rickenbacker promised a bottle of bourbon to the first U.S. fighter pilot to break his record of 26 enemy planes shot down. Gen. George Kenney promoted what would be dubbed the "race of aces" in the Pacific theater, with five pilots contending for the crown and some eventually feeling the race distracted from the war’s larger purpose. With a 75,000-copy first printing. 

Chabon, Michael & Ayelet Waldman, eds. Fight of the Century: Writers Reflect on 100 Years of Landmark ACLU Cases. Avid: S. & S. Jan. 2020. 288p. ISBN 9781501190407. $27; ebk. ISBN 9781501190421. ESSAYS
Prize-winning authors Chabon and Waldman collaborate with the American Civil Liberties Union to compile an anthology of essays about key ACLU cases (e.g., Brown v. Board of Education, the Scopes trial, Roe v. Wade) from an impressive list of authors including Geraldine Brooks, Michael Cunningham, Jennifer Egan, Dave Eggers, Louise Erdrich, Neil Gaiman, Lauren Groff, Marlon James, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Morgan Parker, Ann Patchett, Salman Rushdie, George Saunders, Elizabeth Strout, Jesmyn Ward, Meg Wolitzer, and more. With a 75,000-copy first printing. 

Kaplan, Fred. The Bomb: Presidents, Generals, and the Secret History of Nuclear War. S. & S. Jan. 2020. 384p. ISBN 9781982107291. $30; ebk. ISBN 9781982107314. HISTORY
The national-security columnist for Slate and the New York Times best-selling author of The Insurgents: David Petraeus and the Plot To Change the American Way of War, a Putlizer Prize finalist, Kaplan relies on exclusive interviews and once-classified documents to show us how America’s presidents and generals  have faced the question of nuclear war. With a 60,000-copy first printing. 

Marwell, David. G. Mengele: Unmasking the “Angel of Death.” Norton. Jan. 2020. 496p. ISBN 9780393609530. $32; ebk. ISBN 9780393609547. HISTORY
As a Justice Department official in the 1980s, historian Marwell participated in the effort to find Joseph Mengele, the notorious doctor who presided over horrific medical experiments at Auschwitz. Here he draws on new sources and new scholarship to reconstruct Mengele’s life and the hunt to bring him to justice, which ended in a cemetery in São Paulo, Brazil, in 1985. Powerful evidence suggested that Mengele was indeed dead and buried, but some remained unconvinced.

Moorehead, Caroline. A House in the Mountains. Harper. Jan. 2020. 432p. ISBN 9780062686350. $29.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062686381. lrg. prnt. HISTORY
In this final volume in her "Resistance Quartet," begun with the New York Times best-selling A Train in Winter and chronicling women’s participation in the resistance during World War II, Moorehead focuses on four Piedmontese women: Ada, Frida, Silvia, and Bianca. These women lived in the mountains surrounding Turin, battling Mussolini’s fascist regime, and by 1943 they had joined with thousands of others to help the Allies push German troops out of Italy. With a 75,000-copy first printing. 

Rosenberg, Justus. The Art of Resistance: My Four Years in the French Underground: A Memoir. Morrow. Jan. 2020. 320p. ISBN 9780062742193. $28.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062742216. lrg. prnt. MEMOIR/HISTORY
Born in Gdask (then Danzig), Poland, in 1921, Rosenberg was studying in Paris when France fell to the Germans, and he worked in the French Resistance for four years before serving in the U.S. Army. Then he came to America in a professorial capacity; at 98, he is professor emeritus of languages and literature at Bard College, where he has taught for 50 years. His memoir focuses on his crucial years in the Resistance, where his language fluency made him invaluable to American journalist Varian Fry’s refugee network as both spy and scout. With a 100,000-copy first printing. 

Stern, Jessica. My War Criminal: Personal Encounters with an Architect of Genocide. Ecco. Jan. 2020. 320p. ISBN 9780060889555. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062971173. MEMOIR/HISTORY
A leading expert on global terrorism and its consequences (see, e.g., Terror in the Name of God), Stern interviewed Bosnian Serb Radovan Karadzic between October 2014 and November 2016, sitting with him in a prison cell in the Hague as he faced indictment for genocide and other war crimes during the Bosnian War. Those interviews changed her understanding of how mass atrocities can be perpetrated at a state level and how ordinary people can be persuaded to murder their neighbors. 

Urofsky, Melvin I. The Affirmative Action Puzzle: A Living History from Reconstruction to Today. Pantheon. Jan. 2020. 592p. ISBN 9781101870877. $35. ebk. ISBN 9781101870884. HISTORY
Acclaimed legal scholar Urofsky, professor emeritus of history at Virginia Commonwealth University and author of a biography on Louis Brandeis, here offers a history of affirmative action in this countrey. He focuses on cases decided by the Supreme Court and considers the consequences, both long-term and short-term.

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