Staff Pick

What’s the biggest single danger facing America today? According to recent national intelligence assessments, it’s not terrorism or nuclear weapons but cyberthreats. David E. Sanger of the New York Times has broken some big stories in this area. For one, he revealed Olympic Games, the code name for the most sophisticated cyberattack in history, the American-Israeli effort to sabotage Iran’s nuclear program with the Stuxnet worm. And with his Times colleague Bill Broad, he described, in 2017, a different cyber effort to neutralize North Korea’s missiles. In The Perfect Weapon: War, Sabotage, and Fear in the Cyber Age (Crown, $28), Sanger explores the growing threat and use of cyberwarfare, the full dimension of which goes well beyond Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election in 2016. As Sanger notes, cyber capabilities now stand to transform military and geopolitical thinking and strategy as much or more than the advent of nuclear weapons did in the 20th century.

The Perfect Weapon: War, Sabotage, and Fear in the Cyber Age Cover Image
ISBN: 9780451497895
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Crown - June 19th, 2018

Staff Pick

The central question of Jill Lepore’s ambitious and masterful book, These Truths: A History of the United States (W.W. Norton, $39.95), is whether America has lived up to the ideals of its founders. For Lepore, a Harvard professor and New Yorker staff writer, America’s defining struggle has been trying to adhere to the three truths articulated by Thomas Jefferson—political equality, natural rights, and the sovereignty of the people—while dealing with darker realities. Even at nearly 800 pages (not including footnotes), the book skips over a lot and focuses chiefly on political history, but it does tell a comprehensive and engaging story about the United States. It also serves, as Lepore intends, as “an old-fashioned civics book, an explanation of the origins and ends of democratic institutions.” By examining both the triumphs and failures of America, Lepore lays out not only the “uneasy path” the nation has travelled so far but leaves readers better prepared to navigate whatever lies ahead.

These Truths: A History of the United States Cover Image
ISBN: 9780393635249
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - September 18th, 2018

Staff Pick

Sarah Smarsh’s passionate Heartland (Scribner, $26) uses various narrative strategies to call attention to the overlooked “distance between how poverty is handled in public policy and what it looks like in human lives.”  Specifically focusing on rural white working class poverty, Smarsh notes both how hard it is to talk about class in America and how little what sparse language there is has to do with her family of Kansas wheat farmers, carpenters, and waitresses; her relatives neither fit the definitions of “redneck,” “roughneck” or “hillbilly,” nor conformed to the stereotypes for “trailer trash.”  Far from being lazy, Smarsh’s people work incessantly, often holding down three or more jobs at once. The product of generations who survived the harsh prairies by knowing that “you either work together or starve alone,” Smarsh learned early that “what poverty requires” are “creative, industrious people.” So why did these hard-workers have so much trouble paying the bills?  Looking around at her mother’s and aunts’ teenage pregnancies, multiple marriages, and frustrated ambitions, she decided not to bring a child into poverty, but to break the cycle that had made her own childhood so unsettled.

Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth Cover Image
ISBN: 9781501133091
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Scribner - September 18th, 2018