April 1, 2016 Booklist 5 www.booklistonline.com
work of art, and the workings of the British
justice system makes for an intriguing addition to the annals of modern art history.
The Gunning of America: Business and
the Making of American Gun Culture.
By Pamela Haag.
Apr. 2016. 528p. Perseus, $29.99 (9780465048953). 338.4.
Haag, an award-winning historian and
essayist, has turned a wide and deep lens
to America’s gun culture, focusing on it as
an unexceptional commodity in our business history. We thus see it not as a matter
of values of gun owners but of the makers,
and triumph of nineteenth-century manufacturing and mechanical elegance. The central
focus is on Oliver Winchester, who moved
from shirt manufacturing before the Civil
War to establishing interchangeability in
mass-production lines for the self-repeating
rifles of the Winchester Repeating Arms
Company. Haag traces the business’ story in
the U.S. and the role of government forward
into the military carnage of the twentieth
century and today’s civilian market. But she
also develops a parallel track—the effect of
the vast Winchester-family wealth, provided
by guns, on the conscience of Sarah, Oliver’s
daughter-in-law. It eventually led to massive
extravagance, spiritualism, and mental imbalance. The author has smoothly brought
together a huge amount of archival research,
wide historical sources, and contemporary
perspectives as recent as 2015. This book
should attract many readers. —Arthur Meyers
I Will Find You.
By Joanna Connors.
Apr. 2016. 272p. Atlantic Monthly, $25
Rape. It is a harsh reality for so many—
1 in 5 women, 1 in 71 men. It is tough to
write about it, and to read about it, and worse
to experience. Far worse. Connors handles her
rape story as only a survivor,
and a crackerjack journalist,
can. Two decades after being
raped at knifepoint while on
assignment for the Cleveland
Plain Dealer, Connors decided she had a need to know
that outweighed her long-held need to forget. So she
set out to locate her attacker, face him, and
find out who he is, who he was, and, maybe,
why their fates crossed on a hot July day in
1984. Her account of the event itself is raw
and unnerving, even as it is filtered through
words on a page. Even words, as much as they
convey, can only go so far. But through her
writing we do get a visceral glimpse of her
pain, her fear, her wrongfully felt shame, and
the anguish at loose in the world in which
rape is a heinous everyday occurrence, one
that wounds both victim and perpetrator. If
a reader is looking for the most candid, most
powerful true book about rape, let Connors’
be the one. —Donna Chavez
Junk: Digging through America’s Love
Affair with Stuff.
By Alison Stewart.
Apr. 2016. 304p. Chicago Review, $26.99
Americans are obsessed with stuff. Obtaining it, using it, and hanging on to it. So
much so that storing it all brings in nearly
$25 billion in revenue every year to storage companies (a recession-proof business).
We’re fascinated by television shows such as
Pawn Stars, Hoarders, and Storage Wars—in
fact, Stewart lists 27 different current shows
dedicated to our fixation on junk. When
faced with clearing out the family home,
Stewart started wondering about our new
national pastime and what keeps people
so wedded to objects. For fun, she tags
along on jobs with various junk-removal
companies, visits an artist who has built a
tower of junk, and interviews the founder
of Freecycle.org; she gets more serious when
discussing hoarding disorders. A particularly entertaining chapter classifies the many
types of junk, from junk mail to junk food
to “junk in the trunk.” While there aren’t
any earth-shattering conclusions here—
it’s hard to give up sentimental items;
someday that tchotchke might be worth
something!—this is an engaging narrative
that will certainly appeal to readers who
love those aforementioned cable shows.
Once a Cop: The Street, the Law,
Two Worlds, One Man.
By Corey Pegues.
May 2016. 320p. Atria, $26 (9781501110498). 363.
Pegues, who came up as a ghetto kid and
crack dealer in Queens and retired as a deputy
inspector in the NYPD, after having served in a range
of positions—from transit
cop to first black commander of the high-crime 67th
Precinct—has written a
account of life on the streets,
seen from both sides. His account of how his father’s alcoholism slid his
family from a working-class neighborhood to
the ghetto is riveting, marked by details like
his family’s subsisting on mayonnaise sandwiches and using cardboard to paper off holes
in the soles of shoes. Pegues shows how natural
it was for him to start by making a little extra
money selling marijuana to making enormous
amounts of money selling crack cocaine in the
mid-’80s, when most New York cops were either blind to the trade or on the take. Pegues
was able to leave that life, first through the
army, and then by joining the NYPD in 1992.
The next portion of his story is equally gasp-inducing, as Pegues describes the entrenched
racism in how white cops treat blacks on the
streets and on the force. His criticisms of individual commanding officers are remarkably
Bright, Precious Day. By Jay McInerney. Knopf, $28.95 (9781101948002). Aug.
Best-selling, trend-catching McInerney continues to follow the decade-defining characters who appeared in his previous New York–set novels, Brightness Falls (1992) and The
Good Life (2006), in this tale of well-off but questioning parents of twins.
In the Name of Gucci. By Patricia Gucci. Crown, $28 (9780804138932). May.
In this memoir, the long-hidden “love child’ of the famous and incalculably influential
designer, Aldo Gucci, reveals all about the Gucci family business.
Ordinarily Well: The Case for Antidepressants. By Peter D. Kramer. Farrar, $26
Psychiatrist and best-selling author of Listening to Prozac (1993) and other titles weighs
in on the continued debate about antidepressants with a narrative rooted in his extensive
experience with patients.
The Perfect Neighbors. By Sarah Pekkanen. Washington Square, paper, $16
International women’s-fiction favorite Pekkanen brings readers behind the charming
facade of Newport Cove, where three women and their households, including that of a
family new to the peaceful cul-de-sac, confront dangerous secrets.
Pierced by the Sun. By Laura Esquivel. AmazonCrossing, paper, $14.95
Renowned Mexican novelist Esquivel tells the story of Lupita, a policewoman
struggling with trauma, alcoholism, and corruption who finds guidance in Mexico’s
HIGH-DEMAND HOT LIST
Watch for reviews of these high-demand and highly entertaining novels and
science-oriented nonfiction titles from best-selling, high-profile authors in
forthcoming issues of Booklist. —Donna Seaman