Wednesday, March 5, 2014

4 Nonfiction Titles to Look for in March

Looking for some new non-fiction? March is sure to not disappoint! Music,  business, science, history: there's a little something for everyone in this month's post.

Haunted Empire: Apple after Steve Jobs
by Yukari Iwatani Kane (March 18) (M)"Steve Jobs's death raised one of the most pressing questions in the tech and business worlds: Could Apple stay great without its iconic leader? Many inside the company were eager to prove that Apple could be just as innovative as it had been under Jobs. Others were painfully aware of the immense challenge ahead. As its business has become more complex and global, Apple has come under intense scrutiny, much of it critical. Maintaining market leadership has become crucial as it tries to conquer new frontiers and satisfy the public's insatiable appetite for "insanely great” products. Based on over two hundred interviews with current and former executives, business partners, Apple watchers and others, Haunted Empire is an illuminating portrait of Apple today that offers clues to its future. With nuanced insights and colorful details that only a seasoned journalist could glean, Kane goes beyond the myths and headlines. She explores Tim Cook’s leadership and its impact on Jobs’s loyal lieutenants, new product development, and Apple’s relationships with Wall Street, the government, tech rivals, suppliers, the media, and consumers."

A Man Called Destruction: the life and music of Alex Chilton
by Holly George-Warren (March 25) (M) Rock fans will be eagerly anticipating this biography of influential musician Alex Chilton. "Alex Chilton’s story is rags to riches in reverse, beginning with teenage rock stardom and heading downward. Following stints leading 60s sensation the Box Tops (“The Letter”) and pioneering 70s popsters Big Star (“the ultimate American pop band”—Time), Chilton became a dishwasher. Yet he rose again in the 80s as a solo artist, producer, and trendsetter, coinventing the indie-rock genre. By the 90s, acolytes from R.E.M. to Jeff Buckley embodied Chilton’s legacy, ushering him back to the spotlight before his untimely death in 2010." The book would make good companion reading for those interested in the 2012 Big Star documentary Nothing Can Hurt Me.

Hippest Trip in America: Soul Train and the evolution of culture and style by Nelson George (March 25) (M) release date but a totally different musical world, this one looks at the history of the popular 1970s television program that was amongst the first to bring African American pop culture to the masses. From the publisher: "The Hippest Trip in America tells the full story of this legendary pop-culture phenomenon. A landmark program in black music and culture, Soul Train, which premiered just seven years after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, presented a positive image of black America—for black America—and became destination television every Saturday. It also enjoyed a wide crossover audience, and for years served as a cultural nexus for the entire nation."

The Age of Radiance: the epic rise and dramatic fall of the atomic era by Craig Nelson (March 25) (M) as "the first complete history of the atomic age" Nelson (who also penned the popular non-fiction title Rocket Men about the first men on the moon) gives a detailed but engaging account of the scientists who uncovered the secrets of nuclear energy. “A sweeping panorama of the nuclear age, from Wilhelm Röntgen’s discovery of X-rays to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, paying particular attention to the colorful scientists whose brilliance and diligence unlocked the secrets of the atom.… Nelson tells their stories vividly, with a journalist’s eye for symmetry and irony; the science itself is, at times, less central to his narrative than the fusion-reactions of interacting scientists and government officials.” (Booklist Magazine)

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