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Also of interest ... in American snapshots
<em>The Day Wall Street Exploded</em> by Beverly Gage;<em> Nine Lives</em> by Dan Baum; <em>The Gardner Heist </em>by Ulrich Boser; <em>Down at the Docks</em> by Rory Nugent
 

The Day Wall Street Exploded
by Beverly Gage (Oxford, $27.95)
Sept. 11, 2001, was hardly the first time terrorists have attacked New York’s Financial District, said Devin Leonard in The New York Times. Beverly Gage’s “engaging narrative” recounts how, 81 years earlier, someone detonated a shrapnel-filled bomb on Wall Street that killed 38. Officials soon “shredded civil-rights laws” searching for the culprits, whom they never caught. Parallels to today’s war on terror abound, but Gage “leaves it to her readers to draw their own connections.”

Nine Lives
by Dan Baum (Spiegel & Grau, $26)
Dan Baum’s “kaleidoscopic, quick-cut” narratives follow nine New Orleans residents from the 1960s to the present day, said Jerry Shriver in USA Today. The New Yorker writer “paints incredibly intimate portraits” of a transsexual bartender, a “jazz-blowing” coroner, and other folks who could only exist in the Crescent
City. Though his lively collage can be “un­wieldy,” his sympathy for working-class struggles and his nose for “gut-wrenching and life-affirming” stories are frequently reminiscent of Studs Terkel.

The Gardner Heist
by Ulrich Boser (Collins, $26)
Ulrich Boser has created a “thrill” of a book from the greatest unsolved art theft in history, said Kriston Capps in the London Guardian. No, Boser’s own investigation hasn’t turned up any of the three Rembrandts or 10 other masterpieces that were lifted from Boston’s Gardner Museum on March 19, 1990. But his account does shed new light on the case as the author follows “whispers in the underworld” and encounters a colorful cast of crime figures, “hard-nosed FBI agents,” and various art-world obsessives.

Down at the Docks
by Rory Nugent (Pantheon, $25)
The waterfront of New Bedford, Mass., is a “Mafia-infested wilderness” in Rory Nugent’s elegiac “memoir of place,” said Alan Littell in the San Francisco Chronicle. “We tread in his wake” past fish houses, crack houses, and whorehouses, soaking up the author’s vignettes about “down-and-out fishermen, dope peddlers, insurance cheats, schemers of every stripe.” Though superfluous profanity clutters his otherwise crisp prose, Nugent “has a nose for sleaze,” and “he evokes it with panache.”

 

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