If you’re looking for escapist reads, this week’s recommended books won’t help. But if you want a candid and sometimes encouraging look at the state of the world today, settle right: We have books about the Mexican drug trade and America’s efforts to combat it (“The Dope,” by Benjamin T. Smith), with an argument that modern warfare is too easy (Samuel Moyen’s “Humane”) and a memoir by a key figure in the first impeachment of Donald Trump (Alexander Vindman’s “Here, Right Matters”) “). We’ve got a rough immigration memoir from Qian Julie Wang, “Beautiful Country,” and two books exploring aspects of technology: Meghan O’Giblin’s “God, Human, Animal, Machine” and Tom Standage’s “A Brief History” Off Motion.” And in Fiction, we recommend three first novels about characters who try to make the best of sometimes dire situations: “Paris is a Party, Paris is a Ghost” by David Hoon Kim, “by Joe Hamya”. Three Rooms”, and “The Love Songs of Webb du Bois,” by accomplished poet Honorée Fanon Jeffers.
Senior Editor, Books
Humanitarian: How the United States Abandoned Peace and Reinvested War?handjob by Samuel Moyen. (Farrar, Strauss & Giroux, $30.) In his smart and provocative new book, Moyen suggests that making war less brutal prevents Americans from pursuing the more radical goal of real peace. Brilliant technological advances have reduced casualties – at least when compared to conventional warfare – but they have also opened up new moral puzzles. Our critic Jennifer Szalai writes: “20 years after 9/11, as the United States withdrew its troops from Afghanistan, ‘Humans’ encourages readers to ask central questions that often haunt the foreign policy establishment. get lost in the midst of that nonsense.”
God, Human, Animal, Machine: Technology, Metaphor, and the Search for Meaning, by Meghan O’Giblin. (Dual day, $28.) In mindful, loose-fitting chapters, O’Giblin vividly dissects the gradation of data and quantification on the qualitative experience of our tech-obsessed culture, in our relentless turn toward machines as a more human, even That unearthed remnants of spiritual reality. The book is a “hybrid animal, a remarkably epoch-making work of history, criticism and philosophy, but it is also, crucially, a memoir,” wrote Becca Rothfeld in her review, speaking from a distinctly personal point of view. Appreciating Giblin: “For all our posture, a creature like us can hardly expect to speak from anywhere else.”
love songs of web du bois, by Honori Fanon Jeffers. (HarperCollins, $28.99.) This triumphant debut novel follows a young black woman who discovers how to live happily in the modern American South. The novel shifts between past and present, replacing the story of the heroine with the story of her ancestors. Veronica Chambers wrote in her review, “‘Love Songs of Web du Bois’ is quite simply the best book I’ve read in a very, very long time.” “I’ll avoid the clichés of calling it ‘a great American novel.’ Perhaps the truest thing I can say is that it’s an epic tale of adventure that brings to mind characters you never forget: Meg Murry in ‘A Wrinkle in Time’, Scout in ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, Huckleberry Finn.”