Private Empire - Steve Coll

Private Empire (Penguin Press, $36) is Steve Coll’s masterful study of ExxonMobil, the largest and most powerful private corporation in the United States. The company functions as “a corporate state within the American state,” Coll writes, and many of its inner workings are exposed in the book. Still, for all the book’s investigatory rigor and insight, it avoids coming across as an anti-corporate screed, instead offering a fair-minded, extensively researched and elegantly written report on ExxonMobil’s behavior.

Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power By Steve Coll Cover Image
ISBN: 9780143123545
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Books - May 28th, 2013

Drift - Rachel Maddow

Drift (Crown, $25) describes how the American way of war has changed, shifting from traditional reluctance to all-too-easy engagement. Rachel Maddow traces the overexpansion in recent decades of presidential power to send U.S. forces into combat, the weakening of congressional constraints, and the lessening of public attention. In making her case, she draws on an impressive amount of research but keeps her book an entertaining read, displaying a lively, puckish writing style laced with witty asides and numerous believe-it-ornot anecdotes.

Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power By Rachel Maddow Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307460981
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Crown Publishing Group (NY) - March 27th, 2012

Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power By Rachel Maddow Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307460998
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Crown - March 5th, 2013

The Mirage Man: Bruce Ivins, the Anthrax Attacks, and America's Rush to War - David Willman

David Willman’s The Mirage Man (Random House, $27) has not gotten the attention it deserves, perhaps because some of those in Willman’s cross-hairs are his fellow journalists. But this is an important piece of investigate reporting by a Pulitzer Prize- winning (and old-school) investigative reporter for The Los Angeles Times. In exploring the bizarre events and investigation surrounding the anthrax attacks after 9/11, Willman’s reporting shows how and why the people and institutions—from politicians to the news media to the FBI—entrusted with the protection of the public, failed in their duties. In the hands of such a skilled reporter, the story becomes a cautionary tale as much as an exposé. We learn from The Mirage Man what happens when emotion, hysteria, and collective psychology infuse judgment and decision-making. And we are reminded that it is not simply institutions, or laws, or regulations that must work to protect the public. It is rational, dispassionate thinking on the part of human beings—and reliance on good old- fashioned evidence—that are desperately required.