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The Early Word: New Books for the Week of August 19, 2007

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Only 127 more shopping day until Christmas!

Um… I had the time to do the math because this week's list of new releases was pretty paltry, and I finished a little early. Come to think of it, though, some of these might make ideal stocking stuffers – but I guess you have a little time to give it some thought…

NONFICTION:

Ike: An American Hero by Michael Korda

Korda, who in 2004’s Ulysses S. Grant: The Unlikely Hero tackled an earlier general turned president, presents a generally favorable I-Like-Ike life history of Dwight D. Eisenhower in this ambitious single-volume biography. Though Ike: An American Hero deals with presidential crises from McCarthyism to the perils of the Cold War, the book’s special focus lies in Eisenhower’s remarkable leadership role in World War II as commander of the Allied armies in Europe. Korda discusses such issues as General Eisenhower’s determination to persevere with his own strategy, and the reasons for his insistence not to take Berlin or Prague before the Russians.

That the affable but tough-minded and independent Eisenhower, an unknown and recently promoted colonel at the beginning of the war, had become a four-star general just two years later is especially notable given his upbringing in Kansas as a Mennonite, who, like the Amish, were deeply committed pacifists. Not only was going to West Point an unexpected development that met with his mother’s opposition, it also prefigured a turbulent family life carried over to his own thorny marriage with the willful Mamie.

The multi-layered Ike: An American Hero, then, is not only full of intriguing details and anecdotes that fill in the biographical details of a fascinating American personality, it also comprises an important big-picture portrait of the United States’ role in postwar global affairs and world history.

Shattered Tablets: Why We Ignore the Ten Commandments at Our Peril by David Klinghoffer

New Players, Different Game: Understanding the Rise of for-Profit Colleges and Universities by William G. Tierney, Guilbert C. Hentschke

FICTION:

Away by Amy Bloom

Sweet Revenge by Diane Mott Davidson

Power Play by Joseph Finder

The Chicago Way by Michael Harvey

The Sanctuary by Raymond Khoury

Still Summer by Jacquelyn Mitchard

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