Twilight of the Gods by Ian Toll (Norton, Sept. 1): “The final volume in Toll’s fine Pacific War Trilogy….There is no shortage of accounts of the brutal island-hopping invasions (Peleliu in September, the Philippines in October, Iwo Jima in February 1945, Okinawa in April), but Toll’s takes second place to none.”
Andrew Dworkin by Martin Duberman (The New Press, Sept. 8): “Dworkin was among the most controversial figures in the second-wave feminist movement….Duberman, who knew her personally, paints a much more nuanced picture, pointing out that Dworkin lived for 40 years in a nonexclusive, occasionally sexual relationship with a devoted male partner and that she was ahead of her time in seeing gender as a social construct….A sympathetic, cleareyed portrait that gives Dworkin her due without smoothing over her rough edges.”
If Then by Jill Lepore (Liveright/Norton, Sept. 15): “Lepore knows how to spin out a winning historical study. Here, she [tells a] story that hinges on the discovery, in the late 1950s, that computers and languages such as FORTRAN…could be used to gauge and influence voter preferences. The Simulmatics Corporation melded the worlds of Mad Men advertising and high-tech geekery of the UNIVAC set, leveraging what would eventually be called artificial intelligence….A fascinating, expertly guided exploration of a little-known corner of the recent past.”
This Time Next Year We’ll Be Laughing by Jacqueline Winspear (Soho, Nov. 10): “In her first book of nonfiction, the author sheds light on the inspiration for Dobbs and her stories as she reflects on her upbringing during the 1950s and ’60s. She focuses much attention on her parents’ lives and their struggles supporting a family, as they chose to live far removed from their London pasts….An engaging childhood memoir and a deeply affectionate tribute to the author’s parents.”
Eric Liebetrau is the nonfiction and managing editor.