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The Early Word: New Books for the Week of March 30, 2009

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This time I think we've managed to get books about the major mixed-company icebreakers for dinnertime conversation  — sex, religion, and politics. Enjoy! 

NON-FICTION

Bonnie and Clyde: The Lives Behind the Legend
By Paul Schneider

Emphasizing the social climate of the era and bolstered by declassified FBI documents, extensive archival research, and interviews, Paul Schneider goes on the lam with the infamous Depression-era outlaws as he chronicles Bonnie and Clyde: The Lives Behind the Legend. From Clyde's rough and tumble upbringing in the Dallas slums — where he met Bonnie in 1930 — to 1934 when Bonnie and Clyde helped several prisoners break out from Eastham Prison Farm in Texas, to their ultimate ambush and final moments in their bullet-riddled getaway car, the exploits of the Barrow Gang are objectively detailed without glamorizing the bank robbers and killers or maligning the police. Though Schneider’s noirish style is often befitting and entertaining (on Bonnie as a young Dallas waitress: "like a piece of candy … dressed in a funny uniform with enormous lapels, like some cross between a French maid and Raggedy Anne, and she's barely taller than the big brass cash register on the counter"), his second person perspective in addressing Clyde as “you,” unusual to encounter in sourced nonfiction ("Feels like you and Bonnie are hot as hell everywhere"), is disconcerting and may, despite the strengths of the bio, remain an un-acquired taste.

One Nation Under Dog: Adventures in the New World of Prozac-Popping Puppies, Dog-Park Politics, and Organic Pet Food
By Michael Schaffer

Michael Schaffer’s humor-filled, anecdote-rich "journey into the $41-billion-a-year world of the modern American pet" offers an incisive investigation into America’s ever-growing pet obsession. Tracing such canine crazes and trends as dog parties, designer clothing, cutting-edge medical treatments, mental stimulation toys, professional pet sitters, luxurious pet hotels, pet cemeteries with grief counselors, organic kibble, and leash-law militants, Schaffer provides a pet-centric portrait of our country. Indeed, as laid out in One Nation under Dog: Adventures in the New World of Prozac-Popping Puppies, Dog-Park Politics, and Organic Pet Food, man’s best friend isn’t just man’s best friend anymore, since how we treat Fido reflects evolving ideas about society, consumerism, domesticity, and family.

Here I Stand
By Roland H. Bainton

We Remember with Reverence and Love: American Jews and the Myth of Silence after the Holocaust, 1945-1962
By Hasia Diner

Always Looking Up: The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist
By Michael J. Fox

Baseball Talmud: Koufax, Greenberg, and the Quest for the Ultimate Jewish All-Star Team
By Howard Megdal

Growing up Again: Confronting My Diabetes
By Mary Tyler Moore

Ripple Effect: How Better Sex Can Lead to a Better Life
By Gail Saltz

Crazy Love
By Leslie Morgan Steiner

Finding Grace: A True Story about Losing Your Way in Life… And Finding It Again
By Donna VanLiere 

FICTION

She Shoots to Conquer
By Dorothy Cannell

Long Lost (Myron Bolitar Series #9)
By Harlan Coben

Lavender Morning
By Jude Deveraux

Rides a Dread Legion
By Raymond E. Feist

Dare to Die (Death on Demand Series #19)
By Carolyn Hart

Malice
By Lisa Jackson

Smooth Talking Stranger
By Lisa Kleypas

Dear Husband
By Joyce Carol Oates

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