Current Issues: Nov. 2023, Pt. 2 | Prepub Alert

Fox News, Facebook, Twitter, and Pulitzer Prize–winninng poet Tracy K. Smith with a new language for us all. 

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Alberta, Tim. The Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory: American Evangelicals in an Age of Extremism. Harper. Nov. 2023. 400p. ISBN 9780063226883. $35. CD. POLITICAL SCIENCE

Author of the New York Times best-selling American Carnage, Atlantic staffer Alberta is well positioned to plumb the U.S. evangelical movement; he’s a practicing Christian whose father is an evangelical pastor. Alberta considers televangelists, small-town preachers, and ordinary churchgoers to show how the conservative Christian belief that the United States has a unique relationship with God has morphed into right-wing Christian nationalism that fractures U.S. Christianity and threatens the country. With a 75,000-copy first printing.

Austen, Ben. Correction: Parole, Prison, and the Possibility of Change. Flatiron: Macmillan. Nov. 2023. 336p. ISBN 9781250758804. $29.99. Downloadable. SOCIAL SCIENCE/PENOLOGY

Austen, whose High-Risers was best-booked by multiple venues, including the public libraries of Chicago and St. Louis, adds to a growing body of work on penology as he examines the confounding system of parole in this country. Through the stories of two men, both imprisoned for murder, he explains how parole works (or doesn’t) and also considers larger questions: what parole means to accomplish and who deserves a second chance. With a 45,000-copy first printing.

Horwitz, Jeff. Broken Code: Inside Facebook and the Fight To Expose Its Harmful Secrets. Doubleday. Nov. 2023. 336p. ISBN 9780385549189. $32.50. lrg. prnt. BUSINESS & ECONOMICS/TECHNOLOGY

A technology reporter for the Wall Street Journal, Horwitz draws on internal documents from Facebook to show that after the 2016 election senior management finally realized that its claim to bring people together was naïve, its platforms responsible for facilitating not just hate speech but human trafficking, the drug trade, and more, and the final result a distortion of human behavior. Yet efforts to address these concerns were diluted as too costly, he explains, and the 2021 Meta rebranding simply skirts the issues. An expansion of his Polk Award–winning “Facebook Files” series.

Karl, Jonathan. Tired of Winning: Donald Trump and the End of the Grand Old Party. Dutton. Nov. 2023. 384p. ISBN 9780593473986. $29. POLITICAL SCIENCE

Chief Washington correspondent for ABC News and coanchor of This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Karl argues that while Donald Trump’s star faded in the wake of the January 6 insurrection, his various legal issues, and his absence from Twitter, it is starting to reignite dangerously as he becomes increasingly active in the run-up to the consequential 2024 presidential campaign. But can he win?

Marshall, Tim. Astropolitics: How the Competition in Space Will Change Our World. Scribner. Nov. 2023. 320p. ISBN 9781668031643. $28. POLITICAL SCIENCE/GEOPOLITICS

A geopolitics expert who authored the New York Times best-selling Prisoners of Geography, Marshall examines the current space race among (primarily) the United States, Russia, and China and what its impact will likely be in the next half-century. With spy satellites already circulating, space metals looking to be invaluable, and talk of soon landing on Mars not to be dismissed, that impact will be tremendous.

Mezrich, Ben. Breaking Twitter: Elon Musk and the Most Controversial Corporate Takeover in History. Grand Central. Nov. 2023. 288p. ISBN 9781538707593. $30. Downloadable. BUSINESS & ECONOMICS/CONSUMER BEHAVIOR

Mega-best-selling author of The Accidental Billionaires and Bringing Down the House, which both inspired hit films, Merzrich takes on Elon Musk, the billionaire threatening to bring down Twitter’s house. What’s his purpose, really? Will he take the company to new heights or new depths? Mezrich checks in with Twitter employees and Musk’s own team to get every angle on the big, buzzy business stories of our time. With a 100,000-copy first printing.

Schwab, Tim. The Bill Gates Problem: Reckoning with the Myth of the Good Billionaire. Metropolitan: Holt. Nov. 2023. 496p. ISBN 9781250850096. $29.99. Downloadable. SOCIAL SCIENCE

Award-winning journalist Schwab pursues an ambitious project for his first book: he takes the story of Bill Gates’s reputed transformation from tech villain to admired philanthropist and pokes holes in it. As Schwab argues, Gates remains a bully intent on controlling whatever field he chooses, whether vaccine policy or software markets; the political power he’s thus accrued is wholly undemocratic. With an 80,000-copy first printing.

Smith, Tracy K. To Free the Captives: A Plea for the American Soul. Knopf. Nov. 2023. 288p. ISBN 9780593534762. $27. SOCIAL SCIENCE/RACE & ETHNIC RELATIONS

In 2020, devastated by continuing violence against Black people, Pulitzer Prize–winning poet Smith began pondering who we are as a nation and who we could become to one another if we tried. To that end, drawing on both the personal and the social, not to mention her own considerable gifts as a poet, she creates a new language for us as she considers the difference between Free and Freed, Time Ago and Soon.

Stelter, Brian. Network of Lies: The Epic Saga of Fox News, Donald Trump, and the Battle for American Democracy. One Signal: Atria. Nov. 2023. 368p. ISBN 9781668046906. $30. POLITICAL SCIENCE

New York Times best-selling author Stelter (Hoax) examines how Fox News refused to accept Joe Biden’s election to the presidency, instead making up lies about voting irregularities and the election’s having been stolen. Now, with the lawsuit leading to Fox’s historic $787 million Dominion settlement, more dirt has emerged that places the network’s fate—and the fate of U.S. democracy—in the balance.

Teixeira, Ruy & John B. Judis. Where Have All the Democrats Gone?: The Soul of the Party in the Age of Extremes. Holt. Nov. 2023. 336p. ISBN 9781250877499. $25.99. POLITICAL SCIENCE

Coauthors of the influential The Emerging Democratic Majority, Teixeira and Judis argue that since the early 1990s, the Democratic Party has fragmented in a way that makes any victory lead inevitably to defeat, and vice versa, as it steers clear of the political center with policies that ultimately alienate immigrants and working-class voters. It’s a problem, they add, that also applies to the Republicans. With a 70,000-copy first printing.

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Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (, @BarbaraHoffert on Twitter) is Editor, LJ Prepub Alert; winner of ALA's Louis Shores Award for reviewing; and past president, awards chair, and treasurer of the National Book Critics Circle, which awarded her its inaugural Service Award in 2023.

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