The Fear: Robert Mugabe and the Martyrdom of Zimbabwe Peter Godwin  
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Journalist Peter Godwin has covered wars. As a soldier, he's fought them. But nothing prepared him for the surreal mix of desperation and hope he encountered when he returned to Zimbabwe, his broken homeland.

Godwin arrived as Robert Mugabe, the country's dictator for 30 years, has finally lost an election. Mugabe's tenure has left Zimbabwe with the world's highest rate of inflation and the shortest life span. Instead of conceding power, Mugabe launched a brutal campaign of terror against his own citizens. With foreign correspondents banned, and he himself there illegally, Godwin was one of the few observers to bear witness to this period the locals call The Fear. He saw torture bases and the burning villages but was most awed as an observer of not only simple acts of kindness but also churchmen and diplomats putting their own lives on the line to try to stop the carnage.

THE FEAR is a book about the astonishing courage and resilience of a people, armed with nothing but a desire to be free, who challenged a violent dictatorship. It is also the deeply personal and ultimately uplifting story of a man trying to make sense of the country he can't recognize as home.

Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History Stephen Jay Gould  
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"[An] extraordinary book. . . . Mr. Gould is an exceptional combination of scientist and science writer. . . . He is thus exceptionally well placed to tell these stories, and he tells them with fervor and intelligence."—James Gleick, New York Times Book ReviewHigh in the Canadian Rockies is a small limestone quarry formed 530 million years ago called the Burgess Shale. It hold the remains of an ancient sea where dozens of strange creatures lived—a forgotten corner of evolution preserved in awesome detail. In this book Stephen Jay Gould explores what the Burgess Shale tells us about evolution and the nature of history.

Orient Express Graham Greene  
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Orient Express follows five or six characters and exposes them psychologically as they travel along the famed Orient Express train line. In a thumbnail the characters are a Jewish businessman, an exiled communist leader, a lesbian newspaper reporter, A German criminal, and a plain, working-class dancing girl from London.

Sleeping on a Wire: Conversations with Palestinians in Israel David Grossman  
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Torn between conflicting identities — Arabs in the eyes of Jews, and Israelis in the eyes of the Palestinians — the Israeli Arabs live in a painful dilemma. Grossman's account of his personal journey into their world is the story of this painful, convoluted state of affairs, about ferment beneath the surface, and an intensifying bitterness that led to the current open conflict.

Lift Every Voice: Turning a Civil Rights Setback into a New Vision of Social Justice Lani Guinier  
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In 1993, shortly after his inauguration, new President Bill Clinton nominated his old friend and classmate Lani Guinier to the prestigious and crucial post of Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights.

That nomination sparked an immediate firestorm of criticism from the right, labeling Professor Guinier the "Quota Queen" and assailing her for the ideas expressed in her publications, most of which her opponents had not read, or had taken out of context and misunderstood.

In the face of this concerted opposition — what one friend of Guinier's called "a low-tech lynching" — Clinton backed down, not only withdrawing her nomination, but having refused throughout to give her an opportunity to speak out in her own defense (and his). The result was a civil rights setback of monumental proportions.

Now, in this remarkable and important book, at once a memoir and insider's account of what really happened behind the closed doors of the Oval Office, the Justice Department, and the U.S. Senate, and an insightful look at the past, present, and future of civil rights in America, Lani Guinier at last breaks her silence.

Unsparing of her own mistakes and shrewdly perceptive about the overt and hidden agendas of those who opposed her, Professor Guinier shows how the president promptly abandoned his ambitious agenda for civil rights at the first hint of criticism from the media and Congress — and how the civil rights movement suffered a major setback as a result.

More important, this book, in Professor Guinier's own words, is about "the battles fought in the belief that our racial history and our commitment to equality and democracy are essential parts of the same story. It has not always been a pretty story, nor one that follows an inevitable path.

"This book is not, however, an effort to settle scores. It's a story of the efforts of men and women who believe fundamentally in the promise of the American creed and who act on that belief in their everyday lives. These are people whose lives are without notoriety or fame, but in whose willingness to take risks we see the honor of real heroism."

Above all, Guinier goes on to describe how her experience at the hands of the press, the White House, and her congressional enemies has given her both a new voice and a renewed faith in the ongoing struggle for civil rights. Her book is an extraordinary account of just how the civil rights movement acquired its strength, drawn from the courage of "ordinary" people standing up against fearful odds for what was right, and from the commitment to make change happen from the bottom up, relying on the wisdom and common sense of those at grassroots level. Using her own nomination as a symbolic point of reference, she shows just how weak and divided the cause of civil rights has become, as its leaders have all too often been silenced by the very people they should be challenging.

Finally, she explains, in her own words, the truth about her political ideas — which are rooted in democracy and its principles, not in quotas and affirmative action — and examines the state of current race relations. Renewing her call for a national conversation on the issue of civil rights and social justice, this thought-provoking book is certain to spark a new and much-needed debate.

The Secret Life of Saeed: The Pessoptimist Emile Habiby, Trevor Le Gassick  
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This contemporary classic, the story of a Palestinian who becomes a citizen of Israel, combines fact and fantasy, tragedy and comedy. Saeed is the comic hero, the luckless fool, whose tale tells of aggression and resistance, terror and heroism, reason and loyalty that typify the hardships and struggles of Arabs in Israel. An informer for the Zionist state, his stupidity, candor, and cowardice make him more of a victim than a villain; but in a series of tragicomic episodes, he is gradually transformed from a disaster-haunted, gullible collaborator into a Palestinian-no hero still, but a simple man intent on survival and, perhaps, happiness.

The author's own anger and sorrow at Palestine's tragedy and his acquaintance with the absurdities of Israeli politics (he was once a member of Israel's parliament himself) are here transmuted into satire both biting and funny.

The Haldeman Diaries: Inside the Nixon White House H. R. Haldeman  
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Never-before-published diaries from Richard Nixon's late Chief of Staff offer a meticulously detailed behind-the-scenes account of his years at the White House that included Agnew's resignation, Cambodian bombings, and Watergate.

The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason Sam Harris  
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Natalie Angier wrote in The New York Times: "The End of Faith articulates the dangers and absurdities of organized religion so fiercely and so fearlessly that I felt relieved as I read it, vindicated....Harris writes what a sizable number of us think, but few are willing to say."This important and timely book delivers a startling analysis of the clash of faith and reason in today's world. Harris offers a vivid historical tour of mankind's willingness to suspend reason in favor of religious beliefs, even when those beliefs are used to justify harmful behavior and sometimes-heinous crimes. He asserts that in the shadow of weapons of mass destruction, we can no longer tolerate views that pit one true god against another. Most controversially, he argues that we cannot afford moderate lip service to religion; an accommodation that only blinds us to the real perils of fundamentalism. While warning against the encroachment of organized religion into world politics, Harris also draws on new evidence from neuroscience and insights from philosophy to explore spirituality as a biological, brain-based need. He calls on us to invoke that need in taking a secular humanistic approach to solving the problems of this world.

Letter to a Christian Nation Sam Harris  
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“Thousands of people have written to tell me that I am wrong not to believe in God. The most hostile of these communications have come from Christians. This is ironic, as Christians generally imagine that no faith imparts the virtues of love and forgiveness more effectively than their own. The truth is that many who claim to be transformed by Christ’s love are deeply, even murderously, intolerant of criticism. While we may want to ascribe this to human nature, it is clear that such hatred draws considerable support from the Bible. How do I know this? The most disturbed of my correspondents always cite chapter and verse.”

So begins Letter to a Christian Nation…

Catch-22 Joseph Heller  
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Catch-22 is like no other novel. It is one of the funniest books ever written, a keystone work in American literature, and even added a new term to the dictionary.

At the heart of Catch-22 resides the incomparable, malingering bombardier, Yossarian, a hero endlessly inventive in his schemes to save his skin from the horrible chances of war. His efforts are perfectly understandable because as he furiously scrambles, thousands of people he hasn't even met are trying to kill him. His problem is Colonel Cathcart, who keeps raising the number of missions the men must fly to complete their service. Yet if Yossarian makes any attempts to excuse himself from the perilous missions that he is committed to flying, he is trapped by the Great Loyalty Oath Crusade, the hilariously sinister bureaucratic rule from which the book takes its title: a man is considered insane if he willingly continues to fly dangerous combat missions, but if he makes the necessary formal request to be relieved of such missions, the very act of making the request proves that he is sane and therefore ineligible to be relieved.

Catch-22 is a microcosm of the twentieth-century world as it might look to some one dangerously sane — a masterpiece of our time.

Good As Gold Joseph Heller  
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Bruce Gold, a middle-aged, Jewish professor of English literature, finds himself on the brink of a golden career in politics — and not a moment too soon, as Gold yearns for an opportunity to transform a less-than-picture-perfect life: His children think little of him, his intimidating father endlessly bullies him, and his wife is so oblivious that she doesn't even notice he's left her. As funny as it is sad, Good as Gold is a story of children grown up, parents grown old, and friends and lovers grown apart — a story that is inimitably Heller.

Muddling Through: Power, Politics and the Quality of Government in Postwar Britain Peter Hennessy  
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This volume collates the journalism of Peter Hennessy, illuminating key themes of contemporary political history. It includes high politics and the hidden Whitehall, from Suez to the Scott Report, and portraits of post-war prime ministers with whom he worked closely.