Feminine Ingenuity—How Women Inventors Changed America: Anne L. Macdonald

“Although women have invented since the beginning of time, it seems as if full recognition of their role has been painfully slow.” When you think of inventors, who do you think of? Usually it is men like Thomas Edison, the Wright brothers and Giovanni Marconi. Seeing that women make up nearly half of the world’s …

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The Powerful and the Damned—Private Diaries in Turbulent Times: Lionel Barber

From 2005 to 2020, Lionel Barber had what he called “the best job in the world”: editor of the London Financial Times. This is Barber’s account of those years and his close encounters with the great and the not-so-great (or good!). As editor of a major newspaper, Barber meets the people who make the news: …

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The Good Girls: Sonia Faleiro

Sonia Faleiro’s new book, The Good Girls: An Ordinary Killing, investigates the death of two young girls in Badaun, Uttar Pradesh. The book offers Faleiro, an accomplished journalist, an opportunity to spend four years following up on a hot-button news story. It lets her, and her readers, to look beyond the lurid headlines and to shatter …

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The Anarchy: William Dalrymple

William Dalrymple’s The Anarchy: The East India Company, Corporate Violence, and the Pillage of an Empire is a chronicle of greed, ambition, and the machinations that put a vast geographical territory under the East India Company (EIC). The book’s epigraph offers a succinct summary of the book’s central theme: “Corporations have neither bodies to be punished, nor …

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We are Displaced—My Journey and Stories from Refugee Girls Around the World: Malala Yousafzai (with Liz Welch)

Review by Mohan RajPublished by Weidenfeld and Nicolson A longer version of this review was originally published in The Book Review, Vol XLIV, No. 2-3, Feb-Mar 2020.  Reproduced with the permission of The Book Review Literary Trust. Displacement──within and across countries──of large numbers of people, owing to political instability or civil strife, is a fact of …

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Taken at the Flood—A Memoir of a Political Life: Vasanth Kannabiran

Review by Kamakshi Balasubramanian Originally published in The Book Review, Vol. XLIV, No. 8, August 2020. Reprinted with permission from The Book Review Literary Trust. Vasanth Kannabiran’s latest book, described in this edition’s back cover as "a feminist memoir", is a great deal more. There are at least three major narrative strands in the book: …

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Alexander Hamilton: Ron Chernow

“Let me tell you what I wish I’d known / When I was young and dreamed of glory / You have no control: / Who lives, who dies, who tells your story.” These lines are from Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical, Hamilton, which was inspired by this biography. The quote seems appropriate. Although Alexander Hamilton was one …

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Natural-Born Heroes—The Lost Secrets of Strength and Endurance: Christopher McDougall

On 23 April 1944, a group of British operatives in Crete captured the German General, Heinrich Kreipe, from under the noses of 100,000 German troops, search planes prowling the mountains, and patrol boats checking the shore. Without a shot being fired, the General—a survivor of the Great War who was awarded an Iron Cross—had disappeared. …

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Hack Attack: How the Truth Caught Up with Rupert Murdoch—Nick Davies

“If you shut up truth and bury it in the ground, it will grow and gather to itself such explosive power that the day it bursts through, it will blow up everything in its way.” Emile Zola Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. The first sign of trouble was a report in 2007 …

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Voices from Chernobyl—The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster: Svetlana Alexievich

Translated from Russian by Keith Gessen "Chernobyl is like the war of all wars. There's nowhere to hide. Not underground, not underwater, not in the air." On 26 April 1986, Energy Block No. 4 of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station was destroyed by a series of explosions. This was one of the biggest technological disasters …

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