In the Name of Gucci.
By Patricia Gucci.
May 2016. 320p. Crown, $28 (9780804138932). 338.7.
To say the name “Gucci” is to instantly conjure images of globe-trotting sophistication and
gold-dripping wealth. Yet this iconic fashion
house has been beset with internecine power
struggles, international scandals, incarceration,
and murder. Perhaps the most unlikely witness
to the rise and fall of this symbol of hedonistic
elegance, Patricia Gucci was the illegitimate
daughter (made ultimate heir) of Aldo Gucci and Bruna Palombo, a timid shopgirl who
captured the married titan’s attention and affection. Falling in love at a time when affairs
were anathema to success and having a child
out of wedlock was a criminal offense, Aldo
and Bruna’s devotion was the stuff of fairy tales.
And, like most fairy tales, it contained a darker
side: Bruna’s guilt and fear of reprisal, Aldo’s
megalomaniacal quest for success, and Patricia’s isolation and search for identity. With its
themes of epic passion, repugnant greed, and
nefarious treachery, Gucci’s memoir is straight
out of Shakespeare, tempered with an innocent
love of the ordinary people behind the grandiose myths. —Carol Haggas
HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Fashionistas
will flock to this tell-all, which will receive
plenty of play across media outlets.
The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story
of Indian Enslavement in America.
By Andrés Reséndez.
Apr. 2016. 544p. Houghton, $30 (9780547640983). 306.3.
Historian Reséndez’s (A Land So Strange,
2007) assertion in this insightful and timely
contribution to native history is that the enslavement of North American Indians from the
sixteenth through the late nineteenth century is
a “key missing piece” of the annals of the hemisphere. He focuses on the areas that experienced
the most intense slavery: the Caribbean, Mexico, and the American Southwest. Although the
New Laws passed by Spain in 1542 prohibited
Indian slavery in both Spain and the Americas,
they were virtually unenforceable and complicated by the proliferation of mines and the
resulting need for laborers. By the early 1800s,
Indian slavery almost disappeared from the
East Coast, replaced by African slavery, but it
remained strong in the West as Apaches and Comanches took slaves in their raids into Mexico,
Yaquis were transported from Sonora and enslaved, and the Mormons made extensive use of
slave labor. Reséndez concludes this significant
work by observing that although slavery was
abolished in 1865 by the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, it is unclear when
the enslavement of Indians actually ended.
Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging.
By Sebastian Junger.
May 2016. 192p. Twelve, $22 (9781455566389); e-book,
$12.99 (9781455566396). 301.
Prominent journalist Junger (War, 2010)
examines a number of modern institutions
to assess their roles in leading people to make
“individualistic” choices rather than acting
out the feeling of being competent, necessary
members of a tribe or community. Humans
now end up feeling isolated and alone, he
believes, starting early in life. Unlike hunter-
gatherer moms, who stayed close to their
babies day and night, mothers are now often
away from their infants, who sleep alone. He
also observes that people are wired to help
each other and risk their lives for complete
strangers, but police and fire departments
largely eliminate that need. Junger continues
his long investigation into war, noting that
although it “inspires ancient human virtues
of courage, loyalty and selflessness,” it also
does harm, including post-traumatic-stress
disorder. He observes, “Instead of being able
to work and contribute to society—a highly
therapeutic thing to do—a large percentage
of veterans are just offered lifelong disability
payments.” Junger uses every word in this
slim volume to make a passionate, com-
pelling case for a more egalitarian society.
The Way to the Spring: Life and Death in
By Ben Ehrenreich.
June 2016. 406p. Penguin, $28 (9781594205903). 320.
The title’s spring in question, used by Palestinian farmers “for longer than anyone could
remember,” bubbled from a low stone cliff
below the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh.
In 2008, Israeli settlers constructed a pool to
collect the water, then stocked it with fish and
added a bench, a swing, and more pools. The
Palestinian villagers marched in opposition,
not just to the spring’s transformation, but also
to larger issues they associated with Israel: the
checkpoints, travel restrictions, land appropriations, walls and fences, home demolitions,
and so on. Ehrenreich obviously sides with the
Palestinians, particularly the young protesters,
as he shares the exacting daily life he observed
during the three years he lived, off and on, in
the West Bank. If Sandy Tolan’s Children of the
Stone (2015), about young Palestinian musicians navigating the Israeli occupation, hinted
at hope, Ehrenreich’s journal conveys how the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict truly plays out at
ground level, where “normal” might include
the sounds of screaming, being arrested and
questioned for hours, or simply being shot at.
Who Cooked Adam Smith’s Dinner? A
Story of Women and Economics.
By Katrine Marçal. Tr. by Saskia Vogel.
June 2016. 240p. Pegasus, $26.95 (9781681771427). 330.
The butcher who prepared Adam Smith’s
steak may have been paid for his labor, but
what about the woman who cooked it? Jour-
nalist Marçal takes on the father of economics
and those who followed his capitalist world-
view in this no-holds-barred critique of how
modern economic theory has largely excluded
the contributions of women. From Smith
through John Maynard Keynes and all the
way to Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Rea-
gan, Marçal contends that economic theories
revolving around the idea of economic man are
divorced from reality. The fallacy of economic
man, she claims, is that he is believed to be-
have rationally in his own self-interest, when
in truth both men and women act in ways that
do not always fit this model. Following this
flawed premise, she says, created an economic
divide between love and money, in which care-
giving work—such as nursing, teaching, and
housework, which women disproportionately
perform—is paid less. She drives her point
home with the ferocity of a hammer striking an
anvil: economic man is a fiction that excludes
women. —Bridget Thoreson
Here’s the Plan: Your Practical, Tactical
Guide to Advancing Your Career during
Pregnancy and Parenthood.
By Allyson Downey.
May 2016. 240p. Seal, paper, $16 (9781580056182). 650.
This book is marketed as a woman’s choose-your-own-adventure guide to surviving
motherhood with career on track, and the
author delivers just that. Downey, a successful
business owner pushed out of her job on Wall
Street during her first pregnancy, extensively
interviewed 50 successful mothers about their
experiences and got feedback from many more
to compile the advice in her book. The advice is
geared to the full-time, working businesswoman, so there isn’t much information here for
those wanting to scale back or take time off. But
there is something for every working mother or
future working mother. With advice on how to
create a paper trail of your accomplishments in
case of pregnancy discrimination, a worksheet
on how to split child rearing responsibilities
with a partner, checklists for selecting the right
child care for your family, and tips for paying it forward as an employee or employer to
help create a more parent-friendly workplace,
Downey covers a lot of ground. A highly useful
guide for anyone considering starting a family
and working. —Emily Compton-Dzak
Beyond Biocentrism: Rethinking Time,
Space, Consciousness, and the Illusion
By Robert Lanza and Bob Berman.
May 2016. 224p. BenBella, $24.95 (9781942952213). 576.
“Life and consciousness are fundamental to
any true understanding of the universe.” So
begins Lanza, in this expansion of his 2009
book Biocentrism, with further thoughts on
his biology-based “theory of everything.”
Named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most
Influential People of 2014 for his work with
stem cells, Lanza attempts to refashion our
conceptions of time, space, and the cosmos
as one cohesive entity that exists only when
observed or perceived by conscious beings.
Science’s attempts at a “grand unified theory”