May 8, 2009

new nonfiction

In The Threatening Storm, Kenneth M. Pollack, one of the world’s leading experts on Iraq, provides a masterly insider’s perspective on the crucial issues facing the United States as it moves toward a new confrontation with Saddam Hussein.For the past fifteen years, as an analyst on Iraq for the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Council, Kenneth Pollack has studied Saddam as closely as anyone else in the United States. In 1990, he was one of only three CIA analysts to predict the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. As the principal author of the CIA’s history of Iraqi military strategy and operations during the Gulf War, Pollack gained rare insight into the methods and workings of what he believes to be the most brutal regime since Stalinist Russia.Examining all sides of the debate and bringing a keen eye to the military and geopolitical forces at work, Pollack ultimately comes to this controversial conclusion: through our own mistakes, the perfidy of others, and Saddam’s cunning, the United States is left with few good policy options regarding Iraq. Increasingly, the option that makes the most sense is for the United States to launch a full-scale invasion, eradicate Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction, and rebuild Iraq as a prosperous and stable society—for the good of the United States, the Iraqi people, and the entire region.Pollack believed for many years that the United States could prevent Saddam from threatening the stability of the Persian Gulf and the world through containment—a combination of sanctions and limited military operations. Here, Pollack explains why containment is no longer effective, and why other policies intended to deter Saddam ultimately pose a greater risk than confronting him now, before he gains possession of nuclear weapons and returns to his stated goal of dominating the Gulf region. “It is often said that war should be employed only in the last resort,” Pollack writes. “I reluctantly believe that in the case of the threat from Iraq, we have come to the last resort.”Offering a view of the region that has the authority and force of an intelligence report, Pollack outlines what the leaders of neighboring Arab countries are thinking, what is necessary to gain their support for an invasion, how a successful U.S. operation would be mounted, what the likely costs would be, and how Saddam might react. He examines the state of Iraq today—its economy, its armed forces, its political system, the status of its weapons of mass destruction as best we understand them, and the terrifying security apparatus that keeps Saddam in power. Pollack also analyzes the last twenty years of relations between the United States and Iraq to explain how the two countries reached the unhappy standoff that currently prevails.

In the history of the modern world, there have been few characters more sadistic, sinister, and deeply demented than Baron Ungern-Sternberg. An anti-Semitic fanatic with a penchant for Eastern mysticism and a hatred of communists, Ungern-Sternberg conquered Mongolia in 1919 with a ragtag force of White Russians, Siberians, Japanese, and native Mongolians. While tormenting friend and foe alike he dreamed of assembling a horse-borne army to retake Moscow. His subjects believed him a incarnate god of war, destined to restore the greatness of the Mongolian Empire.

Are we noble in reason? Perfect, in God's image? Far from it, says New York University psychologist Gary Marcus. In this lucid and revealing book, Marcus argues that the mind is not an elegantly designed organ but rather a "kluge," a clumsy, cobbled-together contraption. He unveils a fundamentally new way of looking at the human mind -- think duct tape, not supercomputer -- that sheds light on some of the most mysterious aspects of human nature. Taking us on a tour of the fundamental areas of human experience -- memory, belief, decision-making, language, and happiness -- Marcus reveals the myriad ways our minds fall short. He examines why people often vote against their own interests, why money can't buy happiness, why leaders often stick to bad decisions, and why a sentence like "people people left left" ties us in knots even though it's only four words long. Marcus also offers surprisingly effective ways to outwit our inner kluge, for the betterment of ourselves and society. Throughout, he shows how only evolution -- haphazard and undirected -- could have produced the minds we humans have, while making a brilliant case for the power and usefulness of imperfection.

The human race’s most popular humor series returns with a new collection of macabre mishaps and misadventures. Honoring those who improve our gene pool by inadvertently removing themselves from it, The Darwin Awards Next Evolution shows how uncommon common sense still is.

Slow-roasted meats, marinated vegetables, surprising flavor combinations, this is not your mother’s sandwich.
With acclaimed restaurants located across the United States, and a high-profile job as head judge of the hit show Top Chef, Tom Colicchio is one of the best-known chefs and personalities in the culinary world today. His popular chain of ’wichcraft sandwich shops is known for crafting sandwiches with high-quality fresh ingredients prepared to Colicchio’s exacting standards. And since the first ’wichcraft opened in 2003, diners can’t seem to get enough.
In ’wichcraft, Colicchio shares the shops’ secrets with step-by-step recipes for all their best-loved offerings. You’ll learn how to create new classics like Roasted Turkey with Avocado, Bacon, Onion Marmalade, and Mayonnaise, and Sicilian Tuna with Fennel, Black Olives, and Lemon; and elevate basic cold cuts through imaginative combinations like Smoked Ham with Avocado and Butter, and Salami with Marinated Cauliflower and Bitter Greens. Routine staples are refashioned into unforgettable meals, like Onion Frittata with Roasted Tomato and Cheddar, and Slow-Roasted Pork with Red Cabbage, Jalapeños, and Mustard. ’wichcraft is stuffed with sandwiches like these, and many more, that will add something special to both your lunchbox and your life.
With 100 full-color photographs, recipes for pantry items including dressings and condiments, and a host of sandwich cookies and ice cream treats to round out your meals, this is the book to get a little ’wichcraft magic going in your own kitchen.

After graduating from Princeton, Donovan Campbell, motivated by his unwavering patriotism and commitment, decided to join the service, realizing that becoming a Marine officer would allow him to give back to his country, engage in the world, and learn to lead. In this immediate, thrilling, and inspiring memoir, Campbell recounts a timeless and transcendent tale of brotherhood, courage, and sacrifice.As commander of a forty-man infantry platoon called Joker One, Campbell had just months to train and transform a ragtag group of brand-new Marines into a first-rate cohesive fighting unit, men who would become his family: Sergeant Leza, the house intellectual who read Che Guevara; Sergeant Mariano Noriel, the “Filipino ball of fire” who would become Campbell’s closest confidant and friend; Lance Corporal William Feldmeir, a narcoleptic who fell asleep during battle; and a lieutenant known simply as “the Ox,” whose stubborn aggressiveness would be more curse than blessing. Campbell and his men were assigned to Ramadi, that capital of the Sunni-dominated Anbar province that was an explosion just waiting to happen. And when it did happen–with the chilling cries of “Jihad, Jihad, Jihad!” echoing from minaret to minaret–Campbell and company were there to protect the innocent, battle the insurgents, and pick up the pieces. After seven months of day-to-day, house-to-house combat, nearly half of Campbell’s platoon had been wounded, a casualty rate that went beyond that of any Marine or Army unit since Vietnam. Yet unlike Fallujah, Ramadi never fell to the enemy.Told by the man who led the unit of hard-pressed Marines, Joker One is a gripping tale of a leadership, loyalty, faith, and camaraderie throughout the best and worst of times.

A witty, insightful, and affectionate examination of how and why we spend billions on our pets, and what this tells us about ourselves
In 2003, Michael Schaffer and his wife drove to a rural shelter and adopted an emaciated, dreadlocked Saint Bernard who they named Murphy. They vowed that they’d never become the kind of people who send dogs named Baxter and Sonoma out to get facials, or shell out for $12,000 hip replacements. But then they started to get weird looks from the in-laws: You hired a trainer? Your vet prescribed antidepressants? So Schaffer started poking around and before long happened on an astonishing statistic: the pet industry, estimated at $43 billion this year, was just $17 billion barely a decade earlier.
One Nation Under Dog is about America’s pet obsession—the explosion, over the past generation, of an industry full of pet masseuses, professional dog-walkers, organic kibble, leash-law militants, luxury pet spas, veterinary grief counselors, upscale dog shampoos, and the like: a booming economy that is evidence of tremendous and rapid change in the status of America’s pets. Schaffer provides a surprising and lively portrait of our country—as how we treat our pets reflects evolving ideas about domesticity, consumerism, politics, and family—through this fabulously reported and sympathetic look at both us and our dogs.

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