Feature

Also of interest ... in unusual careers

Zoo Story by Thomas French; Denial by Jessica Stern; Priceless by Robert K. Wittman; Merchants of Doubt by Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway

Zoo Story by Thomas French (Hyperion, $25)Thomas French’s smart book about Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo lures you in with elephants and chimps, said Laura Miller in Salon.com. But the story of the ambitious curator who built the zoo into a major Florida attraction is what you’ll remember. Lex Salisbury’s rise and fall “would be a rich saga even if it didn’t involve him taking up a shotgun to deal with the results of an inexperienced zookeeper’s mistake.” And who can resist a climax that involves a hunt for runaway monkeys?

Denialby Jessica Stern(Ecco, $25)This new memoir from a prominent terrorism expert recounts a horrible personal experience that most likely led her into the field, said Dwight Garner in The New York Times. Jessica Stern and her sister were raped by an intruder when they were teenagers, only to be doubted by police. Having finally revisited that 1973 crime, Stern lets her anger fly. The result is a “profound human document” that frequently feels “hot to the touch in ways both memorable and disturbing.”

Priceless by Robert K. Wittman (Crown, $25)Robert Wittman had one of the best jobs that the FBI has to offer, said David Kirby in The Christian Science Monitor. Tasked with investigating international art theft, he became fluent in both art history and criminal banter and even made a run at solving the famous Gardner Museum heist of 1990. “Wittman’s touch is light” in this memoir, but he makes clear that the greatest challenge to his work was an FBI bureaucracy more interested in self-preservation than arrests.

Merchants of Doubt by Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway (Bloomsbury, $27)This “powerful book” tells a “shameful story” about how a relatively small group of scientists has sown confusion on a multitude of important public issues, said The Economist. Merchants of Doubt shows that many of the same scientists who were paid to defend cigarettes are also taking corporate money to question the science behind global warming. Too bad the authors didn’t take on phony environmental scares, too.

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