Tag Archives: Simon & Schuster

Murder most mystic: Did lesbian Lizzie Borden whack her parents dead? Count to 41 . . .

Lizzie Borden took an axe
And gave her mother forty whacks
When she saw what she had done
She gave her father forty-one

Or did she?

In The Trial of Lizzie Borden (Simon & Schuster, $28), the definitive account of one of America’s most notorious murder mysteries, Cara Robertson, a lawyer and former Supreme Court clerk, takes a deep dive into this country’s first “trial of the century.”

Mama Abby, dead
Man lying on a sofa
Daddy Andrew dead

You’re likely familiar with the story of Borden—the Massachusetts spinster accused of brutally murdering her father and stepmother in 1892. Immortalized in rhyme, told and retold in every conceivable genre from novels and films to ballet to podcasts and stage musicals, the Borden murders have secured a place in the American pantheon of mythic horror.

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Did Lizzie (seen here) have sex with the maid . . . and Mommy caught the, so Lizzie took an axe . . .

Based on 20  years of research and primary source material, including transcripts of the Borden legal proceedings, contemporary newspaper accounts, unpublished local accounts, and recently unearthed letters from Lizzie herself, Robertson explores the stories Borden’s culture wanted and expected to hear, and how those stories influenced the debate inside and outside of the courtroom.

The Trial of Lizzie Borden by [Robertson, Cara]The Trial of Lizzie Borden breaks open one of the most sensational murder trials in American history, showcasing how the Borden murders offer a window onto America’s Gilded Age, and its most troubling social anxieties and deeply held convictions.

“The Elephant in the Room” is a searing and candid exploration of what it’s like to live as a fat man

The skinny on The Elephant in the Room: One Fat Man’s Quest to Get Smaller in a Growing America (Simon & Schuster, $27)? The book is a searing, honest, and candid exploration of what it’s like to live as a fat man.

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When he was almost 50 years old, Tommy Tomlinson weighed an astonishing—and dangerous—460 pounds. He was at risk for heart disease, diabetes and stroke, unable to climb a flight of stairs without having to catch his breath, or travel on an airplane without buying two seats. Raised in a family that loved food, he had been aware of the problem for years, seeing doctors and trying diets from the time he was a preteen.

But nothing worked, and every time he tried to make a change, it didn’t go the way he planned—in fact, he wasn’t sure that he really wanted to change. He was only one of millions of Americans struggling with weight, body image, and a relationship with food that puts them at major risk. Intimate and insightful, The Elephant in the Room is Tomlinson’s chronicle of meeting those people, taking the first steps towards health, and trying to understand how, as a nation, we got to this point.

From buying a FitBit and setting an exercise goal to contemplating the Heart Attack Grill, America’s “capital of food porn,” and modifying his own diet, Tomlinson brings us along on an unforgettable journey of self-discovery that is a candid and sometimes brutal look at the everyday experience of being constantly aware of your size. Over the course of the book, he confronts these issues head on and chronicles the practical steps he has to take—big and small—to lose weight by the end. 

Jean Case’s new book “Be Fearless” reminds us that fearlessness is not lack of fear but the courage to overcome it 

Take five. In Be Fearless:  5 Principles for a Life of Breakthroughs and Purpose (Simon & Schuster, $25), philanthropist, investor and technology pioneer Jean Case brings to life the five principles common to the people and organizations that change the world. She argues that we all have the tools and role models at our disposal to make an impact.

Weaving together memorable stories, practical tips and the message that fearlessness is not lack of fear but the courage to overcome it, Be Fearless provides a clear road map to anyone seeking transformational breakthroughs in life or work. The book features compelling stories of ordinary people who have accomplished extraordinary things, as well as stories and insights from leaders and innovators like Bill and Melinda Gates, chef and humanitarian José Andrés, global foundation chief Darren Walker, CEO Sara Blakely, humanitarian Eunice Shriver, and many more.

And the book could not be more timely, as Jane Goodall writes in her foreword, “There is no point in history when it has been more important to Be Fearless, overcome our acceptance of the status quo, and step up to make a difference…roll up your sleeves, take action and Be Fearless.”

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Jean’s extensive career in the private sector (including her leadership role at America Online Inc.), as a philanthropist, and as an impact investing pioneer, makes her an ideal advocate for the importance of embracing a more fearless approach to innovation and bringing about transformational breakthroughs—it has always been a core tenet of her work. We all face deep divisions, significant global challenges, and problems that can seem too big and complex even to attempt to solve, and with this book Jean Case issues a clarion call that there has never been a better time to engage.

Stephen King on James Lee Burke’s latest book: He’s “as good as he ever was.”

Don’t take our word how great James Lee Burke’s latest novel, The New Iberia Blues (Simon & Schuster, $27.99), is.  Stephen King hails him “as good as he ever was.” Michael Connelly gushes that Burke proves that he “remains the heavyweight champ, a great American novelist whose work, taken individually or as a whole, is unsurpassed”.

Wow. Times two.

In his new tome, Burke  takes his beloved protagonist, Detective Dave Robicheaux, from the dark corners of Hollywood to the backwoods of Louisiana after the shocking death of a young woman. Robicheaux’s world isn’t filled with too many happy stories, but Desmond Cormier’s rags-to-riches tale is certainly one of them. Robicheaux first met Cormier on the streets of New Orleans, when the young, undersized boy had foolish dreams of becoming a Hollywood director.

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Twenty-five years later, when Robicheaux knocks on Cormier’s door, it isn’t to congratulate him on his Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations. Robicheaux has discovered the body of a young woman who’s been crucified, wearing only a small chain on her ankle. She disappeared near Cormier’s Cyrpemort Point estate, and Robicheaux, along with young deputy, Sean McClain, are looking for answers. Neither Cormier nor his enigmatic actor friend Antoine Butterworth are saying much, but Robicheaux knows better. As always, Clete Purcel and Davie’s daughter, Alafair, have Robicheaux’s back. Clete witnesses the escape of Texas inmate, Hugo Tillinger, who may hold the key to Robicheaux’s case.

As they wade further into the investigation, they end up in the crosshairs of the mob, the deranged Chester Wimple, and the dark ghosts Robicheaux has been running from for years. Ultimately, it’s up to Robicheaux to stop them all, but he’ll have to summon a light he’s never seen or felt to save himself, and those he loves.

“Midnight in Chernobyl” is a masterful nonfiction thriller—the definitive account of an event that changed history

Early in the morning of April 26, 1986, Reactor Number Four of the Chernobyl Atomic Energy Station exploded, triggering history’s worst nuclear disaster. In the 30 years since then, Chernobyl has become lodged in the collective nightmares of the world: shorthand for the spectral horrors of radiation poisoning, for a dangerous technology slipping its leash, for ecological fragility, and for what can happen when a dishonest and careless state endangers its citizens and the entire world.

But the real story of the accident, clouded from the beginning by secrecy, propaganda, and misinformation, has long remained in dispute. Drawing on hundreds of hours of interviews conducted over the course of more than 10 years, as well as letters, unpublished memoirs and documents from recently-declassified archives, Adam Higginbotham’s Midnight in Chernobyl: The Untold Story of the World’s Greatest Nuclear Disaster (Simon & Schuster, $29.95) s the definitive account of the Chernobyl disaster, a harrowing and compelling narrative which brings the tragedy to life through the eyes of the men and women who witnessed it firsthand.

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Midnight in Chernobyl is an indelible portrait of one of the great disasters of the twentieth century, of human resilience and ingenuity, and the lessons learned when mankind seeks to bend the natural world to his will—lessons which, in the face of climate change and other threats, remain not just vital but necessary.

The result is a masterful nonfiction thriller, and the definitive account of an event that changed history: a story that is more complex, more human, and more terrifying than the Soviet myth.

“Who Killed the Fonz?” is a delightful, clever reinvention of the leather-clad TV series

Happy days are here again. At least on paper And especially in Who Killed the Fonz? (Simon & Schuster, $26), in which James Boice offers a clever reinvention of the legendary TV show, Happy Days.

The book imagines what happened to Richie Cunningham (who now goes by Richard) and the rest of the gang twenty years after the show left off. Only this time ’round, instead of a world of drive-in movie theaters and soda shops, readers are drawn into a gritty 1980s noir as Richard tries to uncover the truth about the mysterious death of Arthur Fonzarelli.

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It’s October 1984, and Cunningham is having a really bad day. Having achieved some early success as a screenwriter in Hollywood, the now forty-something Richard hasn’t written a script anyone wants to buy in years.

Later that same day he gets a phone call with even worse news. His best friend from childhood back in Milwaukee, back when everyone called him Richie, is dead. Arthur Fonzarelli. The Fonz. Lost control of his motorcycle while crossing a bridge and plummeted into the water below. Two days of searching and still no body, no trace of his trademark leather jacket.

Richard flies back for the memorial service, only to discover that Fonzie’s death was no accident—it was murder. With the help of his old pals Ralph Malph and Potsie Weber, he sets out to catch the killer. Who it turns out to be is shocking. So is the story’s final twist.

When Richard travels back to his Wisconsin hometown for the memorial, he quickly finds himself drawn into a mystery surrounding his late friend—whose death may not have been an accident after all. In a time when reboots are all the rage, the fast-paced and nostalgic Who Killed the Fonz? is an ingenious twist on a beloved classic.

Who Killed The Fonz? imagines what happened to the characters of the legendary TV series Happy Days twenty years after the show left off. And while much has changed in the interim—goodbye drive-in movie theaters, hello VCRs—the story centers around the same timeless themes as the show: the meaning of family. The significance of friendship. The importance of community.

Author James Boice captures the bighearted charm of the original Happy Days, while expertly weaving in darker elements and more serious themes, like the challenge of staying connected to one’s roots and what happens when you leave home behind.

Elizabeth White shares her expertise about overcoming financial struggles in her book

Elizabeth White was once a woman in trouble. Despite her highly educated background and wealth of executive experience, she found herself out of work and out of money. She was in her 50s. White was not alone: After a personal essay went viral, she found herself the unlikely spokesperson for Baby Boomers everywhere who were facing unexpected financial hardship with no retirement to fall back on. She learned and then shared her practical knowledge and her emotional fortitude with those in similar positions.

America is at a crossroads, and elder poverty is a serious issue, with the highest rates since the Great Depression. 40% of older workers and their spouses will be downwardly mobile, falling into poverty (or near-poverty) in old age. And even good news, such as the number of jobs held by older workers has increased by 6.6 million over the last decade, is only part of the truth. In fact over half of those jobs—52 percent or over 3.4 million—paid full-time workers less than $15,000 a year. Women and especially women of color are the worst off. This crisis not only effects Baby Boomers though: Millennials don’t have retirement savings either as they face down education debt, flat wages, uncertain work, plus escalating costs in housing and healthcare.

White self-published her book 55, Underemployed, and Faking NormalSimon & Schuster has now published the book under their imprint.A perfect way to bring her message to a larger audience. This is an important issue and White brings hard data and a comforting shoulder.

Read it!

PETRUCELLI PICKS: 2018 GIFT GUIDE: LAST-MINUTE PRESENTS WITH PRESENCE, PART THREE. SANTA, TAKE NOTE.

How we love Stormy weather.
How we hate Adolph Frump.
He fucked Stormy Daniels. And She now fucks him. Hard.
St. Martin’s Press spotlights Stormy with Full Disclosure ($27.99), Stormy Daniels’ memoir. She and the book will really fuck the bastard:  The book will be published simultaneously in the UK, Australia, South Africa and India, and in hardcover, ebook and audio formats.

Now the woman referred to in The New York Times opinion pages as “Stormy Daniels, Feminist Hero” and “Joan of Arc,” and in Rolling Stone as “the hero America needs,” tells her whole story for the first time. In Full Disclosure, she shares everything about how she came to be a leading actress and director in the adult film business, the full truth about her journey from a rough childhood in Louisiana onto the national stage, and the events that led to the nondisclosure agreement and the behind-the-scenes attempts to intimidate her.


Has any president in the history of the United States had a more fraught relationship with women than Adolph Frump? He flagrantly cheated on all three of his wives, brushed off multiple accusations of sexual assault, publicly ogled his eldest daughter, bought the silence of a porn star and a Playmate, and proclaimed his now-infamous seduction technique: “grab ’em by the pussy.”

Nina Burleigh’s Golden Handcuffs (Gallery Books, $28) is a comprehensive and provocative account of the women who have been closest to Trump—his German-immigrant grandmother, Elizabeth, the uncredited founder of the Trump Organization; his Scottish-immigrant mother, Mary, who acquired a taste for wealth as a maid in the Andrew Carnegie mansion; his wives—Ivana, Marla, and Melania (the first and third of whom are immigrants); and his eldest daughter, Ivanka, groomed to take over the Trump brand from a young age. Also examined are Trump’s two older sisters, one of whom is a prominent federal judge; his often-overlooked younger daughter, Tiffany; his female employees; and those he calls “liars”—the women who have accused him of sexual misconduct.


Senator Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign was a beginning, not an end. In his new book, Where Do We Go From Here: Two Years in the Resistance (St. Martin’s Press, $27.99), America’s most popular political figure speaks about what he’s been doing to oppose the Trump agenda and strengthen the progressive movement and how we go forward as a nation.Where We Go from Here: Two Years in the Resistance by [Sanders, Bernie] This is the man who should be handling the US, not the sick lying sex addict, homophobe, racist, xenophobe, misogynistic scumbag with fake orange hair.


Following a series of Top 10 hits that became instant American standards, the Weavers dissolved at the height of their fame. Wasn’t That a Time: The Weavers, the Blacklist, and the Battle for the Soul of America (Da Capo Press, $27) details the remarkable rise of Pete Seeger’s unlikely band of folk heroes, from basement hootenannies to the top of the charts, and the harassment campaign that brought them down.

Exploring how a pop group’s harmonies might be heard as a threat worthy of decades of investigation by the FBI, Wasn’t That a Time turns the black-and-white ’50s into vivid color, using the Weavers to illuminate a dark and complex period of American history. Using previously unseen journals and letters, unreleased recordings, once-secret government documents, and other archival research, Jesse Jarnow uncovers the immense hopes, incredible pressures, and daily struggles of the four distinct and often unharmonious personalities at the heart of the Weavers.


Before the emergence of prohibition-era gangsters Al Capone and Lucky Luciano, there was the Black Hand: An early twentieth-century Sicilian-American crime ring that preyed on immigrants from the old country. In those days, the FBI was in its infancy, and local law enforcement were clueless against the dangers—most refused to believe that organized crime existed. Terrorized victims rarely spoke out, and the criminals ruled with terror—until Inspector Frank Oldfield came along.

In 1899, Oldfield became America’s 156th Post Office Inspector—joining the ranks of the most powerful federal law enforcement agents in the country. Oldfield was finally able to penetrate the dreaded Black Hand when a tip-off put him onto the most epic investigation of his career, culminating in the 1909 capture of 16 mafiosos in a case that spanned four states, two continents—and ended in the first international organized crime conviction in the country.

Hidden away by the Oldfield family for one hundred years and covered-up by rival factions in the early 20th century Post Office Department, this incredible true story is told in Inspector Oldfield and the Black Hand Society: America’s Original Gangsters and the U.S. Postal Detective who Brought Them to Justice (Touchstone, $26) out of America’s turn-of-the-century heartland will captivate all lovers of history and true crime.


For more than ten 10 years, a mysterious and violent predator committed 50 sexual assaults in Northern California before moving south, where he perpetrated ten sadistic murders. Then he disappeared, eluding capture by multiple police forces and some of the best detectives in the area.

Three decades later, Michelle McNamara was determined to find the violent psychopath she called “the Golden State Killer.” Michelle pored over police reports, interviewed victims, and embedded herself in the online communities that were as obsessed with the case as she was.

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer (Harper,  $27.99)—the masterpiece McNamara was writing at the time of her sudden death—offers an atmospheric snapshot of a moment in American history and a chilling account of a criminal mastermind and the wreckage he left behind. It is also a portrait of a woman’s obsession and her unflagging pursuit of the truth. Utterly original and compelling, it has been hailed as a modern true crime classic—one which fulfilled Michelle’s dream: helping unmask the Golden State Killer.


Barking up the right tree: The hilarious, heartwarming and rebarkable true story of Guy the Beagle, Duchess Meghan Markle’s rescue dog, His Royal Dogness, Guy the Beagle: The Rebarkable True Story of Meghan Markle’s Rescue Dog (Simon & Schuster, $17.99).
Like all good stories, Guy the Beagle’s begins lost in the woods of Kentucky. But his fortunes change when he’s rescued by none other than Meghan Markle. Practically overnight, Guy goes from wags to riches. But does this backwoods beagle have what it takes to be welcomed into the royal family? Guy’s story of finding acceptance in an exceptional family will have readers of all ages barking with laughter.


In Homebody: A Guide to Creating Spaces You Never Want to Leave, (Harper Design, $40), Joanna Gaines walks you through how to create a home that reflects the personalities and stories of the people who live there. Using examples from her own farmhouse as well as a range of other homes, this comprehensive guide will help you assess your priorities and instincts, as well as your likes and dislikes, with practical steps for navigating and embracing your authentic design style. Room by room, Homebody gives you an in-depth look at how these styles are implemented as well as how to blend the looks you’re drawn to in order to create spaces that feel distinctly yours. A removable design template at the back of the book offers a step-by-step guide to planning and sketching out your own design plans. The insight shared in Homebody will instill in you the confidence to thoughtfully create spaces you never want to leave.


Dick Gregory has been an unsparing and incisive cultural force for more than fifty years: A friend of such luminaries as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Medgar Evers, Gregory is an unrelenting, lifelong activist against social injustice, whether he was marching in Selma during the Civil Rights movement or organizing student demonstrations to protest the Vietnam War, participating in rallies for Native American and feminist rights or fighting apartheid in South Africa.Gregory’s Defining Moments in Black History: Reading Between the Lies (Amistad, $15.99) teaches readers how to laugh . . . and live.


The League of Regrettable Sidekicks: Heroic Helpers from Comic Book History (Quirk Books, $24.95) affectionately spotlights forgotten helpers like Thunderfoot (explosive-soled assistant to the Human Bomb), super-pets like Frosting (polar bear pal of space hero Norge Benson), fan favorites like Rick Jones (sidekick to half of the Marvel Universe), and obscure partners of iconic heroes (Superman Junior’s career barely got off the ground). Included are pernicious profiles of henchmen and minions, the sidekicks of the supervillain world. Casual comics readers and diehard enthusiasts alike will relish the hilarious commentary and vintage art from obscure old comics.


It’s a bit tough to talk (and write) about any Mary Higgins Clark book without spilling the beans. All the murders and mayhem and myriad of mysteries! here’s what we will tell you: You Don’t Own Me (Simon & Schuster, $26.99)is the perfect, exhilarating follow up to the bestselling Every Breath You Take. The “Queen of Suspense” Mary Higgins Clark and her dazzling partner-in-crime Alafair Burke have devised another riveting page-turner.


She is famous throughout the world, but how many know her name? You can admire her figure in Washington, Paris, London, New York, Dresden, or Copenhagen, but where is her grave? We know only her age, fourteen, and the work that she did—because it was already grueling work, at an age when children today are sent to school. In the 1880s, she danced as a “little rat” at the Paris Opera, and what is often a dream for young girls now wasn’t a dream for her. She was fired after several years of intense labor; the director had had enough of her repeated absences. She had been working another job, even two, because the few pennies the Opera paid weren’t enough to keep her and her family fed. She was a model, posing for painters or sculptors—among them Edgar Degas.

Drawing on a wealth of historical material as well as her own love of ballet and personal experiences of loss, Camille Laurens’Little Dancer Aged Fourteen: The True Story Behind Degas’s Masterpiece(Other Press, $22.95) presents a compelling, compassionate portrait of Marie van Goethem and the world she inhabited that shows the importance of those who have traditionally been overlooked in the study of art.


When Marie Colvin was killed in an artillery attack in Homs, Syria, in 2012, at age 56, the world lost a fearless and iconoclastic war correspondent who covered the most significant global calamities of her lifetime. In Extremis (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $28), written by her fellow reporter Lindsey Hilsum, is a thrilling investigation into Colvin’s epic life and tragic death based on exclusive access to her intimate diaries from age thirteen to her death, interviews with people from every corner of her life, and impeccable research. A devastating and revelatory biography of one of the greatest war correspondents of her generation that must be read.


When he buys a beach house on the Carolina coast, David Sedaris envisions long, relaxing vacations spent playing board games and lounging in the sun with those he loves most. And life at the Sea Section, as he names the vacation home, is exactly as idyllic as he imagined, except for one tiny, vexing realization: it’s impossible to take a vacation from yourself.Calypso by [Sedaris, David]

With Calypso, (Little, Brown & Company, $ 28) Sedaris sets his formidable powers of observation toward middle age and mortality. Make no mistake: these stories are very, very funny–it’s a book that can make you laugh ’til you snort, the way only family can. Sedaris’s powers of observation have never been sharper, and his ability to shock readers into laughter unparalleled. But much of the comedy here is born out of that vertiginous moment when your own body betrays you and you realize that the story of your life is made up of more past than future.

Petrucelli’s Picks: 2018 Gift Guide: The Year’s Best Celebrity (Auto)Biographies, Part Three

It’s a shame many still don’t know his name. Or his genius.
Nikola Tesla invented the radio, the induction motor, the neon lamp, and the remote control. His scientific discoveries made possible X-ray technology, wireless communications, and radar, and he predicted the Internet and even the smart watch. Today, he is hailed as a visionary by the likes of Elon Musk (whose electronic cars bear his name) and Larry Page, the founder of Google. His image appears on stamps, the Encyclopedia Brittanica ranks him as one of the ten most interesting historical figures, and Life magazine lists him as one of the one hundred most famous people of the last millennium. And yet, his contemporaries and fellow inventors Thomas Edison and Guglielmo Marconi achieved far greater commercial success and popular recognition.

In Tesla: Inventor of the Modern (W. W. Norton & Company, $26.95), Richard Munson asks whether Tesla’s eccentricities eclipsed his genius. Ultimately, he delivers an enthralling biography that illuminates every facet of Tesla’s life while justifying his stature as the most original inventor of the late nineteenth century.


Harvey Sachs’s Toscanini: Musician of Conscience (Liveright, $24.95) recounts the 68-year career of conductor Arturo Toscanini, an artist celebrated for his fierce dedication, photographic memory, explosive temper, impassioned performances and uncompromising work ethic. Toscanini collaborated with Verdi, Puccini, Debussy, and Richard Strauss; undertook major reforms at La Scala and the Metropolitan Opera; and eventually pioneered the radio and television broadcasts of the NBC Symphony.

His monumental achievements inspired generations, while his opposition to Nazism and fascism made him a model for artists of conscience. In this persuasive and compelling new biography, Sachs illuminates the crucial―the central―role Toscanini played in our musical culture. Set against the roiling currents of twentieth-century Europe and the Americas, Toscanini is a “necessary” portrait of this “complex, flawed, but noble human being and towering artist” (Wall Street Journal) whose peerless influence reverberates today.


A book about Jimmy Carter, 39th President of the United States, as a beach read? Absolutely. And much more entertaining than, say, a collection of Peanuts. In President Carter: The White House Years (Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press, $40) Stuart E. Eizenstat presents a comprehensive history of the Carter Administration, demonstrating that Carter was the most consequential modern-era one-term U.S. President. The book is behind-the-scenes account of a president who always strove to do what he saw as the right thing, while often disregarding the political repercussions.


Adventures of a Young Naturalist–The Zoo Quest Expeditions (Quercus, $26.99) is the story of voyages taken by David Attenborough. Staying with local tribes while trekking in search of giant anteaters in Guyana, Komodo dragons in Indonesia, and armadillos in Paraguay, he and the rest of the team contended with cannibal fish, aggressive tree porcupines, and escape-artist wild pigs, as well as treacherous terrain and unpredictable weather, to record the incredible beauty and biodiversity of these regions. Don’t take our word for it: Says Barack Obama of Attenborough: “A great educator as well as a great naturalist.”


Immortalized by Shakespeare as a hunchbacked murderer, Richard III is one of English history’s best known and least understood monarchs. In 2012 his skeleton was uncovered in a UK parking lot, reigniting debate about this divisive historical figure and sparked numerous articles, television programs and movies about his true character. Richard III: England's Most Controversial King by [Skidmore, Chris]In Richard III: England’s Most Controversial King (St. Martin’s Press, $29.99)  acclaimed historian Chris Skidmore has written the authoritative biography of a man alternately praised as a saint and cursed as a villain. Was he really a power-crazed monster who killed his nephews, or the victim of the first political smear campaign conducted by the Tudors?


In Inseparable: The Original Siamese Twins and Their Rendezvous with American History (Liveright, $28.95) Yunte Huang recounts the peculiar, and often ironic, rise of Chang and Eng from sideshow curiosity to Southern gentry—an unlikely story that exposes the foibles of a young republic eager to tyrannize and delight in the abnormal. Famous for their quick wit (they once refunded a one-eyed man half his ticket because he “couldn’t see as much as the others”), Chang and Eng became a nationwide sensation, heralded as living symbols of the humbugged freak.  Their unrivaled success quickened the birth of mass entertainment in America, leading to the minstrel show and the rise of showmen like P.T. Barnum.

And it is here that we encounter a twist. Miraculously, despite the 1790 Naturalization Act which limited citizenship to “free white persons” (until 1952), Chang and Eng became American citizens under the Superior Court of North Carolina. They then went on to marry two white sisters—Sarah and Adelaide Yates—and father 23 children despite the interracial marriage ban (in place until 1967). They owned 18 slaves and became staunch advocates for the Confederacy, so much so that their sons fought for the South during the Civil War. Huang reveals that it was perhaps their very “otherness” that worked for them: they were neither one individual, or quite two.


Forty-five years after Bruce Lee’s sudden death at 32, Matthew Polly has written the definitive account of Lee’s life. Following a decade of research, dozens of rarely seen photographs, and more than one hundred interviews with Lee’s family and friends, Bruce Lee: A Life (Simon & Schuster, $35) breaks down the myths surrounding Bruce Lee and delivers a complex, humane portrait of the icon.

The book  explores Lee’s early years: his career as a child star in Hong Kong cinema; his actor father’s struggles with opium addiction; his troublemaking teen years; and his beginnings as a martial arts instructor. Polly chronicles the trajectory of Lee’s acting career in Hollywood, from his frustration seeing role after role he auditioned for go to a white actors in eye makeup, to his eventual triumph as a leading man, to his challenges juggling a sky-rocketing career with his duties as a father and husband. Polly also sheds light on Bruce Lee’s shocking end—which is to this day is still shrouded in mystery—by offering an alternative theory behind his tragic demise.


Marion Ross’ warm and candid memoir, My Days: Happy and Otherwise (Kensington, $26), brims with loving recollections from the award-winning Happy Days team—from break-out star Henry Winkler to Cunningham “wild child” Erin Moran. The actress shares what it was like to be a starry-eyed young girl with dreams in poor, rural Minnesota, and the resilience, sacrifices, and determination it took to make them come true. She recalls her early years in the business, being in the company of such luminaries as Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall and Noel Coward, yet always feeling the Hollywood outsider—a painful invisibility that mirrored her own childhood. She reveals the absolute joys of playing a wife and mother on TV, and the struggles of maintaining those roles in real life. But among Ross’s most heart-rending recollections are those of finally finding a soulmate—another secret hope of hers made true well beyond her expectations.


Writing The Restless Wave: Good Times, Just Causes, Great Fights, and Other Appreciations (Simon & Schuster, $30)  while confronting a mortal illness, John McCain looks back with appreciation on his years in the Senate, his historic 2008 campaign for the presidency against Barack Obama, and his crusades on behalf of democracy and human rights in Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

Always the fighter, McCain attacks the “spurious nationalism” and political polarization afflicting American policy. He makes an impassioned case for democratic internationalism and bi-partisanship. He tells stories of his most satisfying moments of public service, including his work with another giant of the Senate, Edward M. Kennedy.  McCain recalls his disagreements with several presidents, and minces no words in his objections to some of Frump’s statements and policies. At the same time, he offers a positive vision of America that looks beyond the evil Frump.


Remembered primarily as America’s leading, most influential physician, Benjamin Rush led the Founding Fathers in calling for abolition of slavery, equal rights for women, improved medical care for injured troops, free health care for the poor, slum clearance, citywide sanitation, an end to child labor, free universal public education, humane treatment and therapy for the mentally ill, prison reform and an end to capital punishment. 

Using archival material from Edinburgh, London, Paris, and Philadelphia, as well as significant new materials from Rush’s descendants and historical societies, Harlow Giles Unger’s Dr. Benjamin Rush: The Founding Father Who Healed a Wounded Nation (Da Capo Press, $28) restores Benjamin Rush to his rightful place in American history as the Founding Father of modern American medical care and psychiatry.


In 1929, 30-year-old gangster Al Capone ruled both Chicago’s underworld and its corrupt government. To a public who scorned Prohibition, “Scarface” became a local hero and national celebrity. But after the brutal St. Valentine’s Day Massacre transformed Capone into Public Enemy Number One, the federal government found an unlikely new hero in a 27-year-old Prohibition agent named Eliot Ness. Chosen to head the legendary law enforcement team known as “The Untouchables,” Ness set his sights on crippling Capone’s criminal empire.

Scarface and the Untouchable: Al Capone, Eliot Ness, and the Battle for Chicago (William Morrow, $29.99) draws upon decades of primary source research—including the personal papers of Ness and his associates, newly released federal files, and long-forgotten crime magazines containing interviews with the gangsters and G-men themselves. Authors Max Allan Collins and A. Brad Schwartz have recaptured a bygone bullet-ridden era while uncovering the previously unrevealed truth behind Scarface’s downfall. Together they have crafted the definitive work on Capone, Ness, and the battle for Chicago.


Arthur Fellig’s ability to arrive at a crime scene just as the cops did was so uncanny that he renamed himself “Weegee,” claiming that he functioned as a human Ouija board. Weegee documented better than any other photographer the crime, grit, and complex humanity of mid-century New York City. In Flash, we get a portrait not only of the man (both flawed and deeply talented, with generous appetites for publicity, women, and hot pastrami) but also of the fascinating time and place that he occupied.

So we finally have the first biography of the man with the camera in Christopher Bonanos’Flash: The Making of Weegee the Famous (Henry Holt, $32). Weegee lived a life just as worthy of documentation as the scenes he captured. With Flash, we have an unprecedented and ultimately moving view of the man now regarded as an innovator and a pioneer, an artist as well as a newsman, whose photographs are among most powerful images of urban existence ever made.

Women are angry with good reason. Now read “Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger”

Save the date: On October 2, Simon & Schuster releases the New York Times bestselling author Rebecca Traister’s latest book: Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger ($27). . . a vital, incisive exploration into the transformative power of female anger and its ability to transcend into a political movement.
This year, it seems as if women’s anger has suddenly erupted into the public conversation. But long before Pantsuit Nation, before the Women’s March, and before the #MeToo movement, women’s anger was not only politically catalytic—but politically problematic. The story of female fury and its cultural significance demonstrates the long history of bitter resentment that has enshrouded women’s slow rise to political power in America, as well as the ways that anger is received when it comes from women as opposed to when it comes from men.Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women's Anger
With eloquence and fervor, Rebecca tracks the history of female anger as political fuel—from suffragettes chaining themselves to the White House to office workers vacating their buildings after Clarence Thomas was confirmed to the Supreme Court. Here Traister explores women’s anger at both men and other women; anger between ideological allies and foes; the varied ways anger is perceived based on its owner; as well as the history of caricaturing and delegitimizing female anger; and the way women’s collective fury has become transformative political fuel—as is most certainly occurring today. She deconstructs society’s (and the media’s) condemnation of female emotion (notably, rage) and the impact of their resulting repercussions.
Highlighting a double standard perpetuated against women by all sexes, and its disastrous, stultifying effect, Traister’s latest is timely and crucial. It offers a glimpse into the galvanizing force of women’s collective anger, which, when harnessed, can change history.