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10 new books we recommend this week



THE CAUSE: The American Revolution and its discontents, 1773-1783, by Joseph J. Ellis. (Liveright, $ 30.) In his latest book, Ellis demonstrates that the United States did not come together automatically as a country, but required hard work on the part of the founders against the forces of localism and decentralization. “As Ellis writes in ‘The Cause’, there has always been a lot more emphasis on pluribus than unum, on the great number rather than on the one ”, writes Richard Stengel in a joint review of the book of Ellis and“ Power and Liberty ”of Gordon S. Wood. “It was only the creation of the Constitution in 1787 that made these disparate citizens into Americans.”

POWER AND FREEDOM: Constitutionalism in the American Revolution, by Gordon S. Wood. (University of Oxford, $ 24.95.) In a summary of his life’s work, Wood sees the period of the 1760s to the early 1800s as “the most creative period of constitutionalism in American history and one of the most creative in Western history. modern ”. Richard Stengel, in his double review of Wood’s book and that of Ellis (above), notes that “Power and Liberty” is “based on a series of lectures that Wood, Professor Emeritus at Brown and Pulitzer Prize winner , gave to Northwestern University in 2019, ”and says that“ the book has an elegiac quality with its usual clarity. “

THE CONTRARIAN: Peter Thiel and the pursuit of power in Silicon Valley, by Max Chafkin. (Penguin Press, $ 28.) In this vigorously reported book, Chafkin paints a deeply disturbing portrait of the billionaire entrepreneur who became Donald Trump’s backer Peter Thiel, retracing his rise through the ranks of Silicon Valley tycoons as well as his adherence to extreme causes and beliefs. law. “‘The Contrarian’ is scary,” writes Virginia Heffernan in her review. “Chafkin’s masterful evocation of his subject’s galactic fear – of liberals, of the US government, of death – makes Thiel himself a threat.

STRANGELY AMERICAN: Stories, by Saïd Sayrafiezadeh. (Norton, $ 25.95.) Sayrafiezadeh’s second collection of stories both goes beyond and expands the promise of his first, making the United States strange and at times macabre, but still recognizable. The characters work their way through loss, violence, or broken relationships in salty tales with witty humor. “He writes with the arrogance and discipline of a veteran,” writes Andrew Martin in his review. “Nothing here seems obligatory or rejected; … Confirming the writer as a major and committed practitioner of a difficult form.

THE NEIGHBOR’S SECRET, by L. Alison Heller. (Flatiron, $ 27.99.) In Heller’s hyperlocal mystery, three women have skeletons in their closets that can no longer be contained or ignored. How their stories merge and end up colliding is at the heart of this witty nail biter. “You might read ‘The Neighbor’s Secret’ as a light adventure through Anyplace Affluent, USA,” writes Elisabeth Egan in her latest Group Text column, “but if you’re in the mood to get serious, this novel will take you down a different avenue. and more thoughtful.With a light touch à la Liane Moriarty, Heller asks readers to consider the thin line between privacy and secrecy.