New York Times Review
twilight of the gods By Steven Hyden. (Dey Street, $25.99.) As the rock icons of the 20th century become increasingly geriatric, Hyden explores the history and significance of groups like the Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac and the Eagles - and how their music changed the culture. sh?tshow By Charlie LeDuff. (Penguin Press, $27.) LeDuff, a journalist often given the moniker "gonzo," traveled the country seeking out real Americans, putting him on the front lines of what he calls the decline of the United States, facts and fears By James R. Clapper with Trey Brown. (Viking, $30.) Clapper's memoir covers his eventful years as director of national intelligence, a period that spanned the raid on Osama bin Laden, the Benghazi attack, the leaks of Edward Snowden and - most consequentially - Russia's interference in the last presidential election, the summer i met jack By Michelle Gable. (St. Martin's, $27.99.) This novel is based on the real story of Alicia Darr, a postwar refugee who worked in the Kennedy compound in Hyannis Port, Mass. Prom there some imagination takes over as Gable recounts this unlikely love story of a future president's romance with the European maid. Harvey milk By Lillian Faderman. (Yale, $25.) The first openly gay man elected to public office in the United States, Harvey Milk was a San Francisco city supervisor until his assassination in 1978. Faderman puts Milk's story into context, describing how, being both Jewish and gay, he felt himself to be a double outsider. "My favorite sort of novel is the one that seems at first a genteel tale of family life, then cracks open to illuminate the world. The so-called domestic (an epithet we almost only apply to books by women) story that ends up being about something bigger than one family's life. Shirley Hazzard's the transit of venus is the best example of such I've read since slogging through Henry James. Hazzard is better, actually, because her book isn't an endurance test but rather sheer exhilaration. The sentences are flawless, the story (of two orphaned Australian sisters making their way in the world) riveting. Describing a bedroom, Hazzard writes, 'Even a mildewed snapshot of an English cottage, if it was labelled 1915, was smirched and spattered with a brown consciousness of the trenches.' That's the book in a nutshell: a canny and moving examination of how the two world wars affected everything that came thereafter." - RUMAAN ALAM, SPECIAL PROJECTS EDITOR, BOOKS, ON WHAT HE'S READING.
Publishers Weekly Review
Gable (The Book of Summer) brings Polish émigré and artist Alicia Darr to vivid life in this sparkling novel, most famously her intense romance with then-congressman John F. "Jack" Kennedy in the early '50s. After time in a German Displaced Persons camp, Alicia takes a job as a housekeeper for the bustling, chaotic Kennedy family at their Hyannis Port, Mass., compound in 1950. Sparks fly instantly when she meets Jack. They plan to marry until Jack's father discovers that Alicia is Jewish. Brokenhearted, Alicia moves to Hollywood and soon befriends celebrities like Katherine Hepburn and Gary Cooper, eventually marrying actor Edmund Purdom and later the heir to the Singer Sewing Machine fortune, Alfred Corning Clark, only 13 days before his death. Gable also explores Alicia's time in Rome with eccentric artist Novella Palmisano, which leads to a few surprises in the third act. Brief interludes throughout detail the search for an heir to Alicia's fortune after her death in 2016. Gale elegantly captures the glitter, glamour, and gossip of 1950s Hollywood without resorting to melodrama, and, while JFK is a perennially fascinating figure, this is Alicia's story: a splendid portrait of a spirited survivor thriving in a man's world, even as memories of Jack, her only true love, linger. This bittersweet tale will enthrall readers. 100,000-copy announced first printing. (May) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.