10 Booklist September 1, 2017 www.booklistreader.com
firefighters with more daunting challenges.
From how a wildfire develops to ways in which
communities cope with its destructive aftermath, the scope of a wildfire’s environmental
impact is boundless. Combining personal insights with keen investigative-journalistic skills,
Struzik (Future Arctic, 2015) presents a comprehensive and compelling overview of the
future of wildfire management. —Carol Haggas
From Here to Eternity: Traveling
the World to Find the Good Death.
By Caitlin Doughty.
Oct. 2017. 224p. illus. Norton, $24.95 (9780393249897).
Nonprofit funeral-home owner Doughty
(Smoke Gets in Your Eyes and Other Lessons
from the Crematory, 2014) returns to her
skull-studded soapbox de-
manding more truth in
death. In her jocular but rev-
erential tone—a hallmark of
her first book and YouTube
death culture and grieving,
from the open-air funeral
pyre of Crestone, Colorado,
simple morbid travelogue; instead, she digs
into diverse death experiences with deep ven-
eration and examines ties to socioeconomic
status, female identity, and religion. With
Doughty’s consideration, the Torajan practice
of disinterring dead relatives to clean, dress,
mourn, and celebrate reads as a beautiful trib-
ute to lost relatives rather than some Weekend
at Bernie’s perversity, making Western society’s
distance and sterilization of death seem far
stranger. (Landis Blair’s illustrations are in-
strumental in vivifying rituals that might be
otherwise unimaginable.) Ultimately, Doughty
urges Westerners to drag death out of the cem-
etery and face it with our morning coffee—to
recognize that in life there is death, and in
death, life. In short: to show up for death be-
fore it shows up for you. —Katharine Uhrich
The Future Is History: How
Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia.
By Masha Gessen.
Oct. 2017. 528p. Riverhead, $28 (9781594634536).
Award-winning journalist and author of a
scathing biography of Vladimir Putin (The
Man without a Face, 2012), Gessen is a Soviet-born daughter of dissidents who came to the
U.S. as a teenager, then, drawn by the optimism of the 1990s, returned
to Russia, only to come back
to America after the nascent
democratic movement was
crushed by Putin and his
cronies. She has now written an angry and sorrowful
account of the gradual but
relentless destruction of aspirations for democracy and freedom under
Putin, tracking the broad outlines of what
she sees as a descent into a new and vicious
totalitarianism. Opposition political parties
are marginalized. Opposing voices are silenced by murder, intimidation, or exile. The
economy is again under government control,
as are the mass media. Gessen also views these
developments through the prism of several
young Russians who were born in the mid–
1980s and can bear witness to the despair and
even hopelessness that now infect those who
envisioned something much better. Most disturbingly, she suggests that the rise of this new
“mafia state” was accepted and even facilitated
by a general population that neither embraced
nor desired freedom or democracy. This is a
devastating, timely, and necessary reminder
of the fragility and preciousness of all institutions of freedom. —Jay Freeman
The Ghost: The Secret Life of CIA
Spymaster James Jesus Angleton.
By Jefferson Morley.
Oct. 2017. 336p. St. Martin’s, $27.99 (9781250080615).
He was famously described as “a combination
of Machiavelli, Svengali, and Iago,” an unlikely
portrayal for the thin, owlish, patrician figure
more suitably found on a college campus than
lurking in the smoggy, foggy depths of inter-