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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

This Summer's Best Nonfiction

5 nonfiction books this week – 3 serious, darker ones (Airlines, Iran and Afghanistan) and 2 which I hope will uplift you after the first 3.

Summer is starting, the big travel season where many of us will be getting in an airplane to go someplace for vacation. Make sure you don’t read the following book before you go – you will end up driving your car instead. William McGee, an award winning travel journalist for Consumer Reports and past editor of Consumer Reports Travel Newsletter, spent 7 years studying the airline industry today. He spoke with pilots, mechanics, passengers, executives and just about anyone who would talk to him. The result is Attention All Passengers: The Airlines' Dangerous Descent - and How to Reclaim our Skies which is out on June 26th. He discusses how the airlines need to turn a profit has affected the airlines and not in a good way.

The Twilight War: The Secret History of America’s Thirty-Year Conflict with Iran by David Crist hits the shelf on July 17th. The US and Iran have been  squaring off against each other for over 30 years – ever since the Iranian Revolution in 1979 and the taking of American hostages in November of that year. The conflict has continually threatened to become an open war since then. Crist, a senior historian for the federal government, adds depth and understanding to this deeply disturbing problem that has faced 6 presidents.
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Dakota Meyer, a Medal of Honor recipient, has authored an account of his actions on September 8, 2009 in the Kunar Province in Afghanistan with the help of Bing West. Into the Fire: A Firsthand Account of the Most Extraordinary Battle in the Afghan War will be published on August 12th. This title has some local interest. Meyer's unit was surrounded by the Taliban and was taking heavy fire. When air cover was late in being provided, he disobeyed orders, took charge of the company and saved 18 men.  4 men died in the attack, one of them, Edwin Wayne Johnson Jr., from Columbus, GA. Meyer made sure that the bodies of those killed in action were returned home. This should be an emotional and thought provoking title to read.

On a lighter note, Terrie M. Williams offers The Odyssey of KP2: An Orphan Seal, a Marine Biologist, and the Fight to Save a Species on July 5, 2012. This book has the cutest cover ever!!!! Williams is the director of the Marine Mammal Physiology Program at the University of California, Santa Cruz and the co-creator of the Center of Ocean Health. She is also the expert that environmental officials turned to when an orphaned monk seal turned up on the shore of Kauai. Monk seals are the most endangered marine mammal and the opportunity to study them and find a way to prevent their extinction overcame many objections. Williams’ story captures the bonds between humans and animals and reports on the ways we help each other.

Finally, Gretchen Rubin, the bestselling author of The Happiness Project, has another title coming on September 4th. Happier at Home: Kiss More, Jump More, Abandon a Project, Read Samuel Johnson and My Other Experiment in the Practice of Everyday Life describes Rubin's efforts for part of one year to make her home a place of greater simplicity, comfort, and love. She writes with a blend of science, philosophy, experimentation and memoir.  This book will inspire you to find the happiness you might be missing.

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