Our best picks for holiday gifts from our 2011 catalog and our backlist, all available in bookstores and online.
BY SIMON KUPER
From one of the greatest sports writers of our time, Soccer Men is a penetrating and surprising anatomy of the figures that define modern soccer, from José Mourinho to Lionel Messi.
"Simon Kuper's new book, Soccer Men, gains insight into the personalities of some of soccer's most important players and coaches with a few extras from outside the sport thrown in….Kuper is a rare breed of writer. His international upbringing conditioned his understanding of variety in the world's most popular sport. His soccer networks across national boundaries and his access inside the game are impressive. There is no better anthropologist's eye analyzing the game today." —Alan Black, San Francisco Chronicle
"Eccentric but vastly enjoyable… Kuper observes, analyzes, takes notes at a press conference, reads the player's autobiography and writes deftly incisive portraits. It's a wise approach; most pro sports players have little to say and it's the doing that makes them interesting, not their explanation of it." —Globe and Mail (Canada)
BY AMANDA COYNE AND TONY HOPFINGER
Crude Awakening is the rollicking story of politics in Alaska, where corruption is currency, oil is lifeblood, machine politicians rule, and Sarah Palin reigned supreme, only to resign, leaving Alaska with dying oil fields and an uncertain future.
"The story of Alaska politics, with its fantastic cast of dramatic and self-dramatizing characters, is one of the great American stories of our times. And here it is, from the reporting team that has been breaking it and bringing it to us in must-read dispatches for years." —Philip Gourevitch, author of The Ballad Of Abu Ghraib and A Cold Case
"[A] new book on slimeball fighting in the great white north…. This is the Alaska where oil mixes with snow, where a group of legislators on the take proudly referred to themselves as the Corrupt Bastards Club (and had the baseball caps to prove it), and where the Hulk necktie-wearing Sen. Stevens…thrived and died." —Seattle Weekly
BY FRANCES MOORE LAPPÉ
In EcoMind, Frances Moore Lappé, author of Diet for a Small Planet, dismantles seven "thought traps" that belie what we now know about nature and society, and reveals through the latest scientific breakthroughs and stories of hope how we can be empowered to create the world we want.
"Well organized and filled with quotable summaries and real-world examples, this book uniquely captures how our society views itself….Valuable as a general work on self-perception and the motivation to action, and essential to those feeling powerless in the struggle to reduce our environmental impact. Strongly recommended." —Library Journal
"[EcoMind] provides a fine survey that presents evidence that human beings see the world through a filter of basic belief patterns--and believe that there's not enough of anything…. a fine pick for a range of general-interest and science holdings alike." —California Bookwatch
BY BERNIE SANDERS
In the wake of President Obama's 2010 deal with Republicans to preserve Bush-era tax cuts, Senator Bernie Sanders galvanized millions of Americans with a historic filibuster decrying corporate greed and congressional impotence. Now with a new introduction, The Speech, is a rare statement on working- and middle-class America.
"Here's the whole speech between paperback book covers, that wonderful portable ancient technology suitable for bus rides, airplanes, doctors' offices and beauty parlors. Here, in the raw, is one man with the right podium speaking his 'truth' to power in the grand old style. It's enough to renew your democratic faith. And all for $13." —Buffalo News
"Bernie Sanders is such a rarity, and people should appreciate what he's doing not just for his home state of Vermont, but for the reputation of all politicians in general." —Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone
BY KATRINA VANDEN HEUVEL
The Change I Believe In collects for the first time the columns and commentaries of Nation Publisher and Editor Katrina vanden Heuvel, reflecting how she has navigated the inspiring highs and dispiriting lows of the Obama era.
"A fascinating, passionate chronicle of the Obama administration and national politics of the past few years from a progressive's perspective." —Booklist
"vanden Heuvel lays down the left-liberal line in these earnest, stolid essays...there's much to be said for her well-supported, fact-filled account: vanden Heuvel elaborates a cogent progressive alternative to the skewed choice between banker-friendly Democrats and Tea Party fanatics." —Publishers Weekly
BY IAN THOMSON
Since independence, Jamaica has gradually become associated with twin images — a resort-style travel Eden for foreigners and a new kind of hell for Jamaicans, a society where gangs control the areas where most Jamaicans live and drug lords rule elites and the poor alike. Ian Thomson's brave book explores a country of lost promise, where America's hunger for drugs fuels a dependent economy and shadowy politics.
"These modern tales are deeply considered, thoroughly examined. There is nothing throwaway here: a fascinating account of a beautiful, treacherous country." —Amanda Smyth, Irish Times
"Excellent book…A fine ear for language and a journalist's nose for a good story make Thomson the perfect guide through island life…Thomson's obvious love for Jamaica makes the book that much more engaging, and the is a skilled enough writer that his affection never clouds his prose or tips it toward sentimentalism. A remarkable book that many readers of narrative nonfiction will appreciate. Highly recommended." —Library Journal, Starred
BY FATIMA BHUTTO
Songs of Blood and Sword is the dynastic story of feudal landlords who became power brokers in the newly-created state of Pakistan. It is an epic tale of intrigue and tragedy, and of one daughter's quest to understand her father's murder.
"[A] mesmerising book …What might have been a poignant but limited exercise in filial piety is instead a multi-layered work, as remarkable for its adroit interweaving of the personal and the political as for its ambitious scope." —Guardian, review of UK paperback edition