10 New Books We Recommend This Week


From Sarah to Sydney: The Woman Behind All Kinds of Family, by June Cummins with Alexandra Dunitz. (Yale University, $35.) Sidney Taylor (born Sarah Brenner) wrote the popular all-of-a-kind family children’s books published between the 1950s and 1970s. This biography traces his difficult youth, his impossible path to publication, and his commitment to showcasing Jewish life in America. “Although he has never been acknowledged as a great American novelist, or even a particularly important one, he is now the subject of a thoughtful, timely and comprehensive biography,” Jennifer Weiner wrote in its review, that it “gives this important writer its due.”

water sweetness, by Nathan Harris. (Little, Brown, $28.) After the Civil War, a Georgia landowner and his wife form a surprisingly cooperative relationship with a pair of formerly enslaved brothers, until a forbidden love affair and a shocking act of violence threaten their bond. does not put Harris’s gentle debut novel depicts the yearnings of human relationships and the risks of deviating from social norms. “Almost every time you expect a horror scene,” writes our reviewer Martha Southgate, “you get a kinship scene instead.”

Forget the Alamo: The Rise and Fall of an American Myth By Brian Burrow, Chris Tomlinson and Jason Stanford. (Penguin Press, $32.) Three Texan writers debunk the myth surrounding the 1836 Battle of the Alamo. “A lot of the fun of the book,” writes our reviewer Christopher Knowlton, “is derived from how cleverly it takes off that varnish and demystifies the prevalent (white) racist shibboleth—specifically, the author Says the Heroic Anglo Narrative of Texas History. The authors show how the racist underpinnings of the incident have done much to establish and distort the identity of their home state.

Profession: A Memoir of the Arc of Community, Race and Police in America, By Bill Bratton and Peter Nobler. (Penguin Press, $30.) The book chronicles a career through half a century of law enforcement, providing not only an insider’s perspective on one of the most controversial issues in American life but also suggestions for improvement. Alan Ehrenhalt writes in his review, “‘The Profession’ is a sometimes dense but consistently engaging account.” It is “a remarkably candid account of one man’s journey, but it is also a true encyclopedia of police strategy and culture.”

Seeing Serena, by Gerald Marzoratti. (Scribner, $26.) Serena Williams evokes so much emotion and embodies so many ideas that she, more than any other modern athlete, deserves a book-length attention. Marzoratti, a veteran tennis writer and former editor of The New York Times Magazine, offers a thoughtful tour through her 2019 season as a mother highlighting her desire to win Grand Slam titles. The result is “a deep, satisfying meditation on Serena’s path through an unsatisfactory year”, Tour wrote in its review.



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