Also of interest…
In risk-takers and pariahs
The Good Mothers
by Alex Perry (William Morrow, $28)
Any woman tied to the Calabrian mafia who chooses to leave “might as well be dead,” said Clare Longrigg in TheGuardian.com. If such women aren’t murdered, they’re likely to never see their children again, and yet they also represent prosecutors’ best hope of dismantling the global crime organization. Alex Perry’s new book focuses on three government cooperators and the “tough, cool” female prosecutor who won their trust. Their dangerous collaboration yields “a gripping and heartbreaking narrative.”
The Wind in My Hair
by Masih Alinejad (Little, Brown, $28)
“Even as a child, Masih Alinejad was a freethinker,” said Barbara Spindel in CSMonitor.com. While growing up in Iran in the wake of the 1979 Islamic revolution, she subtly resisted the hijab and other restrictions imposed on women, and after being forced into exile a decade ago, launched a popular social media campaign against the policing of women’s bodies. Her new memoir is “overly long and occasionally repetitive,” but it “movingly conveys” the significance and costs of her activism.
The Electric Woman
by Tessa Fontaine (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $27)
Tessa Fontaine’s “astounding, inspiring” memoir is also “a little bit terrifying,” said Laurie Hertzel in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. After three years of caring for her mother, a victim of a series of debilitating strokes, Fontaine broke from that duty to join America’s last traveling circus and learn to charm snakes, spit electricity, and do plenty else she once feared. If her no-nonsense claim, “You eat fire by eating fire,” isn’t an apt metaphor for getting through life, “I don’t know what is.”
From Cold War to Hot Peace
by Michael McFaul (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $30)
Scholar Michael McFaul wasn’t just a witness to the unraveling of U.S.-Russia relations, said Mary Sarotte in the Financial Times. From the moment he became the U.S. ambassador to Russia in 2012, McFaul was treated by Vladimir Putin as a useful foil and branded as a plotter of revolution. In his account of how he and others before him underestimated Russia’s potential for turning belligerent, he “does an impressive job of self-criticism” and proves “an expert guide” to the entire Putin era.