6 Booklist September 1, 2017 www.booklistreader.com
amplified during the Reformation by Luther’s
theological sophistication and his rhetorical
talents—readers see how Luther’s work remade
the political world by letting loose new currents
of German nationalism, and reconfigured the
secular culture by crystallizing new concepts
such as pluralism, egalitarianism, democracy,
and freedom. A masterful portrait of a seminal
figure. —Bryce Christensen
The Skeptic and the Rabbi: Falling in
Love with Faith.
By Judy Gruen.
Sept. 2017. 230p. She Writes, paper, $16.95
(9781631523021); e-book, $9.95 (9781631523038). 296.
Gruen grew up the daughter of religiously
nonobservant Jews. She loved all her grandparents but preferred her humanist set to
her conservative Jewish set because they exposed her to broader life experiences. As a
young feminist, Gruen felt her ideals tested
when she began dating a Jewish man who
wanted to learn and practice Orthodox
Judaism. Gruen was filled with doubts, particularly with regard to the role of women,
but she kept an open mind. Over time,
Gruen found beauty in some of the foremost aspects of female Orthodox life, such
as the practice of covering one’s hair and the
mikveh, the ritual bath. She discovered that
most non-Jews are far more supportive of
her lifestyle than Jews who are not Orthodox. Readers will appreciate learning some
of the reasons behind Jewish practices as
well as understanding the differences between the three major branches of Judaism,
Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform. This
is a rewarding book for both general readers
and book groups. —Joan Curbow
Bloodlines: The True Story of a
Drug Cartel, the FBI, and the Battle
for a Horse-Racing Dynasty.
By Melissa Del Bosque.
Sept. 2017. 400p. Ecco, $27.99 (9780062448484).
Del Bosque, a National Magazine Award–
winning investigative reporter for the Texas
Observer, chronicles the FBI’s discovery of a
Mexican cartel’s elaborate scheme to laun-
der money through the U.S. purchase and
racing of quarter horses. By 2010, the Zetas
had brutally warred with rivals and one-time
allies, killing countless ci-
vilians and emerging as one
of Mexico’s most powerful
drug cartels. FBI rookie
Scott Lawson is biding a
hardship post in the Texas
border town of Laredo
when he begins investigat-
ing the auspicious entry
into quarter-horse racing by Dallas mason
José Treviño—brother of high-ranking Ze-
tas Miguel and Omar. With the cooperation
of a Texas ranch owner working with José,
Lawson and his team learn that Miguel is us-
ing his above-the-law brother, various straw
buyers, and outright cheating to clean drug
money in this industry already known for
“handshake deals, cheating, and doping.”
Del Bosque breaks up the complex tale into
brief, fluidly narrated, suspenseful chapters.
Fully portraying the many key players and
following the intricacies of the Treviños’ so-
phisticated plan, the FBI’s race against other
federal agencies and the press to crack it, the
gut-dropping dynamics of cartel coercion
and retribution, and the eventual, dramatic
trial, del Bosque recounts a true story that
reads like crime fiction. —Annie Bostrom
Bunny Mellon: The Life of an
American Style Legend.
By Meryl Gordon.
Sept. 2017. 528p. Grand Central, $28 (9781455588749);
e-book, $14.99 (9781455588732). 361.7.
Journalist Gordon, author of Mrs. Astor Regrets (2008) and The Phantom of Fifth Avenue
(2014), again fascinatingly chronicles the
remarkable life of an elite twentieth-century
American woman. Born Rachel Lambert in
1910, Bunny, as she was always known, lived
to be 103, and live she did. Her first marriage irreparably damaged during WWII, in
1948 Bunny married heir and philanthropist
Paul Mellon, with whom she shared a voracious appetite for collecting art. For years,
Bunny spent the equivalent
of $1 million annually on a
Balenciaga wardrobe while
she collected homes, all fully staffed, in Virginia, Cape
Cod, Antigua, New York,
Nantucket, and Paris. But
it was Bunny’s abiding love
for nature and gardening,
nursed from childhood, that would remain
her greatest joy and the showcase for her
unrivaled talent. Close companion to Jackie
Kennedy, Bunny designed the White House
Rose Garden in 1961 and experienced the
ensuing turbulent years alongside her friend.
Readers interested in gardening, art, and interior design will drool over Bunny’s fine tastes,
and her ease at fulfilling every one of them,
but all lovers of biographies will marvel at
Gordon’s portrayal of Bunny’s long life, and
the significant figures who buzzed in and out
of it. —Annie Bostrom
Catching Breath: The Making and
Unmaking of Tuberculosis.
By Kathryn Lougheed.
Sept. 2017. 272p. Bloomsbury/Sigma, $27
(9781472930330); e-book (9781472930361). 362.19699.
Microbiologist Lougheed aims at “rebrand-
ing TB as a modern monster rather than a
mothballed relic of history.” Her surprisingly
entertaining discussion of tuberculosis is im-
bued with a quirky sense of humor, weird facts,
lots of science, and a healthy respect for the
illness. TB is a bigger killer than HIV/AIDS
and malaria. It has gone by many names (con-
sumption, the white plague, phthisis); been
better than ever.
I love this guy.”
is a razor.”
NEW YORK TIMES