Feature

Also of interest...in American inquiries

Hidden America
by Jeanne Marie Laskas (Putnam, $27)
As its title suggests, Hidden America contains “many marvelous surprises,” said Craig Fehrman in The Boston Globe. Ignoring celebrity culture, magazine writer Jeanne Marie Laskas has routinely ventured out to coal mines, oil rigs, and other unglamorous locales to profile unsung workers. A chapter on the Cincinnati Bengals’ cheerleaders is one of several that don’t fit the book’s theme, but Laskas has serious storytelling talent, plus “industrial-grade empathy” for every character she meets. 

Desert America
by Rubén Martínez (Metropolitan, $28)
Rubén Martínez has written a moving memoir that’s also “an excellent work of reportage,” said Héctor Tobar in the Los Angeles Times. Fleeing Los Angeles and a drug habit, Martínez sought renewal by migrating to New Mexico, only to discover more than the empty spaces he expected. His account captures rugged landscapes as well as the rugged collection of immigrants, military families, and native Pueblos who live in them. He shows us “what the West was, and what it’s becoming.”

My American Revolution
by Robert Sullivan (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $26)
Sometimes, “the people you’ve never heard of can be the ones you most need to hear,” said Eric G. Wilson in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. In his “exuberant” new book, Robert Sullivan journeys to Revolutionary War sites overlooked by historians, uncovering forgotten events and players. Whether breathing life back into a soldier who wrote battle poetry or retracing George Washington’s 30-mile march through New Jersey’s Watchung Mountains, Sullivan seems “a true poet of living history.”

Darkest America
by Yuval Taylor and Jake Austen (Norton, $27)
Black minstrelsy remains “one of the most assailed yet resilient and adaptable” forms of American entertainment, said Preston Lauterbach in The Wall Street Journal. This inquiry into its history acknowledges the “appalling truth” about its “carefree trafficking in vicious stereotypes.” But by looking closer at some key practitioners and showing how elements of the act persist in the work of Tyler Perry or rapper Lil Wayne, the authors prove that we misunderstand minstrelsy if we too quickly look away.

Recommended

Israel, Islamic Jihad enact cease-fire after deadly weekend of strikes
Gaza officials inspect building hit by Israeli strike
Peace a chance

Israel, Islamic Jihad enact cease-fire after deadly weekend of strikes

The fallout from Europe's energy crisis
Natural gas storage facility
Picture of Harold MaassHarold Maass

The fallout from Europe's energy crisis

10 things you need to know today: August 7, 2022
Chuck Schumer
Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: August 7, 2022

10 things you need to know today: August 6, 2022
Pro-life demonstrators
Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: August 6, 2022

Most Popular

How the U.S. killed Al Qaeda's leader, and no one else, with a flying 'knife bomb'
unmanned aerial vehicle
Briefing

How the U.S. killed Al Qaeda's leader, and no one else, with a flying 'knife bomb'

Amazon to buy Roomba maker for $1.7 billion
Roomba
the panamazopticon expands

Amazon to buy Roomba maker for $1.7 billion

Kim Kardashian and Pete Davidson break up
Kim Kardashian and Pete Davidson
the saga ends

Kim Kardashian and Pete Davidson break up