Also of years that changed everything

Year Zero; What You Want Is in the Limo; Year of the Jungle; Very Recent History

Year Zero

by Ian Buruma (Penguin, $30)

The “Good War” didn’t end the way we’d like to think it did, said The Economist. Ian Buruma’s “astringent” account of the savagery that gripped Europe and other ravaged lands in the wake of World War II leaves little room for romanticism. The author has dug up stories of the victors raping, torturing, and killing the vanquished, and he “tells these stories well.” He misses his chance to show us the whole globe, but he’s right to have reminded us that civilization once all but disappeared.

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What You Want Is in the Limo

by Michael Walker (Spiegel & Grau, $26)

Michael Walker’s new book about a bygone rock era zips by so quickly “you feel like holding up a Bic lighter and clapping for an encore,” said Robert Philpot in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The author doesn’t entirely prove his subtitle’s claim that 1973 was “the Year the Sixties Died and the Modern Rock Star Was Born.” But once the reader gets out on the road with Led Zeppelin, Alice Cooper, and the Who, Walker’s account has “a rock ’n’ roll looseness” that fits the material well.

Year of the Jungle

by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic, $18)

Suzanne Collins never talks down to even her youngest readers, said Danielle Trussoni in The New York Times. This picture book by the author of The Hunger Games re-creates her experience of having a father leave for the battlefields of Vietnam, and she never suggests the waiting was easy. Collins’s redheaded protagonist is named Sue, and “the mixture of anxiety, excitement, fear, boredom, and confusion Sue experiences will be sadly familiar to many children.”

Very Recent History

by Choire Sicha (Harper, $25)

Very Recent History would be a first-rate satire “if only every word weren’t true,” said Kira Henehan in “A brave new amalgam of reportage and story,” this first book by the co-founder of tracks the lives of several young New Yorkers struggling to get by in the wake of 2008’s financial crisis, using notes the author took in real time. Student-loan bills, dating by text message—here, every mundane detail “takes on the hyper-real gloss of an E! True Hollywood Story.”

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