Monday, September 19, 2011

More bestsellers to brighten anyone's day

1861: The Civil War Awakening by Adam Goodheart

Publishers Weekly

Goodheart, a historian and journalist who will be writing a column on the Civil War for the New York Times online, makes sophisticated use of a broad spectrum of sources for an evocative reinterpretation of the Civil War's beginnings. Wanting to retrieve the war from recent critics who dismiss the importance of slavery in the Union's aims, he reframes the war as "not just a Southern rebellion but a nationwide revolution" to free the country of slavery and paralyzing attempts to compromise over it. The revolution began long before the war's first shots were fired. But it worked on the minds and hearts of average whites and blacks, slaves and free men. By 1861 it had attained an irresistible momentum. Goodheart shifts focus away from the power centers of Washington and Charleston to look at the actions and reactions of citizens from Boston to New York City, from Hampton Roads, Va., to St. Louis, Mo., and San Francisco, emphasizing the cultural, rather than military, clash between those wanting the country to move forward and those clinging to the old ways. War would be waged for four bitter years, with enduring seriousness, intensity, and great heroism, Goodheart emphasizes.

The Bond: Our Kinship with Animals, Our Call to Defend Them by Wayne Pacelle

Publishers Weekly

The Humane Society of the United States does more than work to save puppies and kittens. As Pacelle, its president and CEO, relates, the organization has worked to protect farm animals, pets, and wild animals, helping push forward legislation banning the production of downer cows (those too sick or weak to stand), bolstering laws banning cockfighting and dog fighting, and documenting the slaughter of bison and wolves at Yellowstone National Park. Pacelle believes that "a bond with animals is built into every one of us" and explores these bonds, along with the battles the HSUS has fought. The science and history of the animal-human bond, on the other hand, receives little attention, and Pacelle's first book often jumps abruptly across topics. But Pacelle's accounts are engaging and readers interested in learning more about the HSUS will enjoy the many vivid, poignant stories. Pacelle offers a list of "Fifty Ways to Help Animals," ranging from political activities to shopping, giving readers the means to affect change in the lives of animals and perhaps strengthen their own bond with them in the bargain.

The Heart and the Fist: The Education of a Humanitarian, the Making of a Navy SEAL by Eric Greitens

Publisher –

THE HEART AND THE FIST shares one man’s story of extraordinary leadership and service as both a humanitarian and a warrior. In a life lived at the raw edges of the human experience, Greitens has seen what can be accomplished when compassion and courage come together in meaningful service.

As a Rhodes Scholar and Navy SEAL, Greitens worked alongside volunteers who taught art to street children in Bolivia and led US Marines who hunted terrorists in Iraq. He’s learned from nuns who fed the destitute in one of Mother Teresa’s homes for the dying in India, from aid workers who healed orphaned children in Rwanda, and from Navy SEALs who fought in Afghanistan. He excelled at the hardest military training in the world, and today he works with severely wounded and disabled veterans who are rebuilding their lives as community leaders at home.

Greitens offers each of us a new way of thinking about living a meaningful life. We learn that to win any war, even those we wage against ourselves; to create and obtain lasting peace; to save a life; and even, simply to live with purpose requires us—every one of us—to be both good and strong.

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