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New Books - Nonfiction

New Biographies

Enjoy some of the best new biographies, available from the Ferguson Library.


Barish, Evelyn
The Double Life of Paul de Man
801.95 D371B

Without having completed a single university course, Belgian-born de Man fled to the US in 1948 to escape imprisonment and a host of grievous personal and professional travesties. He forged an entirely new identity by manipulating the most brilliant scholars in France and the US, and went on to become one of the greatest university professors and critics of the 20th century.  Not since Jean-Jacques Rousseau has a thinker of the highest order also been such a pathological subject.  Source: Choice, Aug 01, 2014


Kennedy, Kostya
Pete Rose: An American Dilemma
796.357 R797K

After years of maintaining his innocence, the disgraced Rose finally admitted he'd bet on games while the manager of the Cincinnati Reds.  Now he's a sideshow at the annual Hall of Fame ceremony every year, selling autographs and, essentially, himself. Sports Illustrated editor Kennedy delves deeply into Rose's life and  continuing charisma, noting that gambling was always part of Rose's life. This is a wonderful biography as well as a thoughtful examination of a moral quandary.  Source: Booklist, March 01, 2014


Kot, Greg
I’ll Take You There: Mavis Staples and the March Up Freedom’s Highway
782.254 S794K

This is the untold story of living legend Mavis Staples, lead singer of the Staple Singers and a major figure in the music that shaped the civil rights era. Now in her seventies, Mavis has been a fixture in the music world for decades. One of the most enduring artists of popular music, she and her family fused gospel, soul, folk, and rock to transcend racism and oppression through song.  Source: From the Publisher


Stewart, Gary L.
The Most Dangerous Animal of All
364.15232 S849m

When author and adoptee Stewart started to look for his biological father, he eventually found out that some mysteries are best left unsolved. The result is a fascinating, unsettling story as the author slowly realizes that the blood running in his veins likely comes from a man who terrorized the country in the late 1960s and early 1970s. This well-written work simultaneously describes the lives of two men, one potentially a serial murderer known as the “Zodiac Killer.”  Source: Library Journal, Aug 01, 2014


Rappaport, Helen
The Romanov Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra
947.083 R221r

Olga, Tatiana, Maria, and Anastasia were murdered along with their brother and parents in 1918. Rappaport uses the sisters' letters and diaries to illuminate their personalities, but it is when their relationships with the magnetic Rasputin are introduced that the girls seem the most alive.  Yet, in some ways, this book is less about the girls and more about their mother, Alexandra, whose despair at producing four girls before giving birth to a hemophiliac son, is palpable.  Source: Booklist, June 01, 2014



Judelson, Ira
The Fixer: The Notorious Life of a Front-Page Bail Bondsman
345.747056 J92f

Judelson, a New York City bail bondsman, has had plenty of high-profile clients, but he names only a few and spends relatively little time talking about them.  His focus is himself,  the directionless kid who fell into a job as a bondsman and turned it into a thriving, exciting, sometimes dangerous career. A risky way to make a living? Sure, but at least to Judelson, it has its own rewards.  Source: Booklist, May 15, 2014


Garelick, Rhonda K.
Mademoiselle: Coco Chanel and the Pulse of History
746.92 C456G

Iconic fashion designer Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel  wanted to both hide her life story and to share it, a contradiction that confounded many biographers. Chanel's childhood was spent in the Loire Valley, characterized by poverty and abandonment while in her infirm final years, her closest companion was her butler. In this well-researched and buoyant biography, fashion writer Garelick's stated goal is to analyze the "uncanny historical reach of Coco Chanel" and the ways in which Chanel's constant reinvention provides a model for modern women.  Source: Publishers Weekly, July 28, 2014


Swafford, Jan.
Beethoven: Anguish and Triumph, a Biography
780.92 B415S

In this brilliant, exhaustive story, music historian Swafford brings new life to Beethoven, animating the composer's immersion in music and his tenacious grip on ideas related to music's ability to deepen the world's beauty. Drawing on never-before-seen sources, Swafford chronicles  Beethoven's life and music from his birth and childhood in Bonn, his earliest compositions at age 12 to his deafness at age 27; and his struggles to distinguish himself from his teachers.  Source: Publishers Weekly, July 14, 2014


Macintyre, Ben.
A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby’s Great Betrayal
327.1247041 P545M

This engaging real-life spy story pulls back the curtain on the life and exploits of Kim Philby, who served for decades in Britain's intelligence community while secretly working as a Soviet double agent. The author covers the full range of Philby's career, from his work during WWII and the early years of the Cold War to his downfall and defection to the Soviet Union.  Entertaining and lively.  Source: Publishers Weekly, May 05, 2014