The Christian Science Monitor Weekly

December 9, 2019

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BOOKS THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR WEEKLY | DECEMBER 9, 2019 43 Midnight in Chernobyl by Adam Higginbotham Journalist Adam Higginboth- am sifts through archives and dozens of firsthand accounts to produce the most complete and compelling history yet written in English of the worst nuclear power plant meltdown in history. The Lost Art of Scripture: Rescuing the Sacred Texts by Karen Armstrong Religion scholar Karen Arm- strong argues persuasively that sacred writings are an art form, not words cast in stone. Text on a page cannot represent the experience of transcendence. Instead, the faithful are meant to wrestle with these living documents, and find their relevance for today. Young Castro by Jonathan M. Hansen Jonathan M. Hansen crafts a portrait of Fidel Castro before the beard, before the Cuban missile crisis, and long before the fall of the Soviet Union. The book succeeds wonder- fully in making young Castro – idealistic and a devourer of books – come alive. The Education of an Idealist by Samantha Power Samantha Power was one of President Barack Obama's ambassadors to the United Nations and won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for "A Problem From Hell." In this memoir, she traces her life from her early years as an Irish immigrant all the way to the White House. The Contender by William J. Mann Marlon Brando is known not only for his roles in award-winning films such as "A Streetcar Named Desire" and "The Godfa- ther," but also for his social protests. William J. Mann's biography probes Brando's enig- matic persona in an illuminating manner. Seen as one of the pioneers of method act- ing, Brando rejected labels as quickly as he did compliments. Yet his social activism has be- come a model for many artists today. The Queens of Animation by Nathalia Holt Nathalia Holt tells in unprec- edented detail the story of the women who've worked behind the scenes at the Walt Disney Studios over the decades. They fought against sexism and dis- crimination to make immortal animation classics such as "Fantasia." Music: A Subversive History by Ted Gioia Historian Ted Gioia asserts that music history generally shares the whitewashed stories of the assimilators. The truth, he says, can be found with the disrupt- ers, the musicians who innovat- ed despite cultural upheaval or, sometimes, in response to it. Through exhaustive research, Gioia reaches back to the an- cient Greeks and Johann Se- bastian Bach, through to Elvis Presley and Jay-Z, to illustrate his points. The Ice at the End of the World by Jon Gertner On Greenland's dwindling ice sheet, explorers and scientists have battled inhospitable con- ditions and technological chal- lenges in a quest to understand one of the most mysterious geological regions on earth. Jon Gertner's gripping stories of their work give insight into the dramatic climatic changes taking place today. Battling Bella by Leandra Ruth Zarnow Leandra Ruth Zarnow's book is every bit as vigorous and truth-telling as its subject, U.S. Congresswoman and invaluable public gadfly Bella Abzug, who argued loudly and persuasively for gender equality, environ- mental common sense, gay rights, and a generally more compassionate public sector. It's a first-rate political biography. NONFICTION Our Man by George Packer George Packer's biography of diplomat Richard Holbrooke, best known for brok- ering the Dayton Accords that ended the Balkan wars, is also an elegy for the vision of American power he represented. Busted in New York and Other Essays by Darryl Pinckney In his latest collection of essays, Darryl Pinckney exam- ines American history as it per- tains to the black experience. His thoughtful anal- ysis of political movements and cultural moments ranges from the formation of the Black Panther Party to the so- cial implications in the Barry Jen- kins film "Moon- light." Pinckney's literary voice isn't just strong – it's more important than ever. A Good Provider Is One Who Leaves by Jason DeParle Reporter Jason DeParle first met T i t a C o m o d a s in the slums of Manila three decades ago. His book is not just an affecting rendering of her family's experiences but an intelligent, compassion- ate analysis of the economic, political, and cultural ramifications of global migration. Last Boat Out of Shanghai by Helen Zia Journalist-activist Helen Zia adds to the international refugee narrative with the only book in English about the late-1940s mass exodus of one-quarter of Shanghai's 6 million people escaping the Communist Revolution. Zia highlights four survivors to share intimate stories of displacement, separation, adaptation, and reinvention.

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