Friday, November 21, 2014

Don't forget to stop by the Devereaux Library and check out our ever-changing selection of new bestsellers

This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate by Naomi Klein

A best-selling anti-globalization activist and author argues that surviving the climate emergency will require radical changes in how we live.

In part, Klein's narrative is a personal story about her own awakening to and increasing engagement with the climate issue. But this always-interesting polemic is built mostly on her interviews with experts, environmentalists and activists and her colorful on-site reporting from various international meetings and conferences and particularly from worldwide pockets of resistance to corporate bullying. "Blockadia," she calls these places, where communities have risen to oppose open-pit mining, fracking and pipelines. In them she finds hope for a grass-roots rebellion, a kind of "People's Shock" where push back against the aggressive energy industry can be a catalyst for advancing a range of policies dear to the progressive agenda.

A sharp analysis that is bound to be widely discussed, with all the usual suspects, depending on their politics, lining up to cheer or excoriate Klein.

Worthy Fights: A Memoir of Leadership in War and Peace by Leon Panetta, Jim Newton

I can't think of a single Democrat and only a handful of Republicans who have held as many blue ribbon positions in both Congress and the executive branch as [Panetta] has. And he can claim substantial accomplishments: saving the food stamp program, masterminding the plan to kill Osama bin Laden, helping lead an effective war on terrorism, managing vast cuts in Pentagon spending without political and bureaucratic turmoil…Young people searching for the role model of a public servant will find few as good as Panetta, and…they will discover in Worthy Fights…a playbook for how to behave with integrity in a city with limited virtue.

Rebel Yell: The Violence, Passion, and Redemption of Stonewall Jackson by S. C. Gwynne

Wide-ranging biography of the larger-than-life Confederate leader, a "sobersided, regulation-bound general" who emerges as an ever stranger figure with the passage of years. Texas-based journalist and historian Gwynne, having documented the free-riding Comanches of the plains (Empire of the Summer Moon, 2010), turns to another famed cavalry culture: namely, that of the residents of the valley of Virginia at the time that sectional divisions broke into open civil war.

By the author's account, Jackson was a caring yet hard, nearly tyrannical leader who pushed his men to the limit yet placed himself in every danger he subjected them to. He also habitually denied himself creature comforts in an effort to remain pure, though, as Gwynne points out, sometimes his explanations were less pious than all that.

A satisfying biography though less exhaustive in its approach than Robert Krick's Conquering the Valley (1996) and somewhat less fluent than James Robertson's Stonewall Jackson: The Man, the Soldier, the Legend (1997).

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