January 1 & 15, 2017 Booklist 19 www.booklistonline.com
techno-mediated life is when a blizzard forces
intimacy with the wild. This topical inquiry
should be in demand. —Dane Carr
Stretch: Unlock the Power of Less—and
Achieve More Than You Ever Imagined.
By Scott Sonenshein.
Feb. 2017. 304p. HarperBusiness, $28.99
Stretching is the “science of resourcefulness,”
according to Sonenshein. It’s improvising with
things on hand instead of searching for the
perfect tool. It’s being content with what we
have rather than weighing our worth against
others’ accomplishments. And it’s refusing to
be limited by plans and resources. The author
uses stories of successful (and not successful)
ventures to illustrate the way that a “
stretching” mind-set allows entrepreneurs, artists, and
everyday people to stop chasing after more.
Admitting that problems are more often solved
by outsiders rather than experts, Sonenshein
urges readers to move outside their comfort
zone and broaden their knowledge rather than
hyperfocusing. He offers specific exercises to
strengthen a “stretch,” including shopping
in your own closet, breaking down common
things into their component parts to find
new uses, and making midyear resolutions.
Finally, the author warns of the dangers of
overstretching, such as becoming a cheapskate
rather than frugal or losing focus when relying
completely on improvisation. The emphasis
on self-reliance and commonsense is reassuring, and readers will find themselves looking
at their surroundings and problems with fresh
eyes. —Candace Smith
At the End of the World: A True
Story of Murder in the Arctic.
By Lawrence Millman.
Jan. 2017. 208p. St. Martin’s/Thomas Dunne, $24.99
In 1941, a disturbing series of murders oc-
curred in Canada’s remote Belcher Islands.
Both the victims and perpetrators were Inuit,
and the resulting investigation by the Royal
Canadian Mounted Police, which revealed an
epic amount of cultural confusions and col-
lisions, did little to bring
the tragedy out of obscu-
rity. The enormously gifted
Millman, who has traveled
extensively in the north,
including the Belchers, dug
deeply into both the histori-
cal record and the memories
of witnesses. The resulting
chronicle, in which he eschews the comfort of
a standard chronology for a more elegiac and
meditative consideration of the past and pres-
ent, is a powerful example of how writers can
bring history to life through their passionate
interest in a topic. Millman pairs his research
into the murders, which were sparked by
religion and the relentless encroachment of
modern civilization, with his observations
about how so much of twenty-first-century
communication has pulled people away from
each other and into solitary electronic worlds.
The result is a smart, emotional, and thought-
provoking analysis of this sad occurrence’s
lingering trauma, made worse by historical
cultural differences and our current crisis in
communication and understanding. Millman
has created a quiet and stunning investigative
masterpiece. —Colleen Mondor
The Blood of Emmett Till.
By Timothy B. Tyson.
Jan. 2017. 304p. Simon & Schuster, $27
Although much has been written about the
tragic death of young Emmett Till in 1955
Mississippi, Tyson offers new perspectives in
this searing account, which is especially relevant today given the Black
Lives Matter movement and
the rise of the so-called alt-right and its echoes of white
supremacy. Tyson features an
interview with Carolyn Bryant, the white woman at the
center of the case. The now-
80-year-old Bryant, who has
not been one to open her doors to journalists,
agreed to meet with Tyson over “cake and cof-
fee” to talk about what happened that violent
night so long ago. “Nothing that boy did could
ever justify what happened to him,” she told
him. Tyson himself describes Till as “a lovable,
playful, and somewhat mischievous child but
essentially well-behaved” who grew up in segre-
gated Chicago. He meticulously describes the
incident that changed so many lives; the kid-
napping and horrific murder of Till; the trial,
including recovered court transcripts; and the
funeral, back in Chicago. Tyson makes a direct
link between Till’s murder and anger over the
Supreme Court’s 1954 Brown v. Board of Edu-
cation decision. Till’s death, he concludes, “was
an extreme example of the logic of America’s
national racial caste system” and continues to
“be a national metaphor for racial injustice.”
An indispensable inquiry. —June Sawyers
City of Light, City of Poison: Murder,
Magic, and the First Police Chief of
By Holly Tucker.
Mar. 2017. 320p. Norton, $26.95 (9780393239782).
A university professor and expert on biomedical ethics, Tucker (Blood Work: A Tale of
Medicine and Murder in the Scientific Revolution, 2011) has unearthed and brought to
life a treasure trove of court documents and
notes from Paris’ first police chief, Nicolas de
la Reynie, showing how poison was a long-standing weapon of choice to end political
and sexual rivalries in the court of Louis XIV.
Although Louis XIV himself fed the incriminating documents into a fire at Versailles
immediately after the police chief’s death, de
la Reynie had made his own notes about “The
Affair of the Poisons,” which Tucker combed
through. This history partially focuses on
how de la Reynie, who served as police chief
from 1667 until his death in 1709, worked
to rid Paris of its appalling filth and crime.
It also provides stunning insights into the
real filth of Louis XIV’s reign, gilded, as in
the Sun King’s creation of Versailles, but rotten with duplicity and murder. Completely
absorbing, especially because of the wealth
of everyday life detail Tucker provides.
The Crunk Feminist Collection.
Ed. by Brittney C. Cooper and others.
Jan. 2017. 312p. Feminist, paper, $24.95
(9781558619432); e-book (9781558619487). 305.42.
The Crunk Feminist Collective’s blog, es-
tablished in 2010, was on the front lines
of intersectional feminist online discourse,
existing in the heyday of black Twitter
and hashtag activism. “Crunk” is a mash-
up of crazy (or chronic) and drunk, and it
implies extreme intoxication. For the col-
lective, crunk recalls awareness to the point
Appearing below is a list of all the print reference titles reviewed in this issue. Reference
librarians should also remember that all Booklist reference reviews can be accessed by
Booklist subscribers on Booklist Online.
Historic Sites and Landmarks That Shaped America: From Acoma Pueblo to Ground
Zero. Ed. by Mitchell Newton-Matza. p. 32
Natural Resource Conflicts: From Blood Diamonds to Rainforest Destruction. Ed. by M.
Troy Burnett. p. 20
The Roots and Consequences of 20th-Century Warfare: Conflicts That Shaped the
Modern World. By Stephen C. Tucker. p. 29
Understanding the Department of the Interior. By Don Philpott. p. 29
Voices of Medieval England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales: Contemporary Accounts of
Daily Life. By Linda E. Mitchell. p. 29
Youth Substance Abuse. By David E. Newton. p. 29