New Nonfiction Arrivals

Posted on: Thursday, January 9, 2014 at 2:21:00 pm

Here's a sampling of our new nonfiction arrivals. Click an image to view availability or place a hold.

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Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me (Rated PG-13)

Drew DeNicola's documentary Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me traces the history of the highly influential power-pop band Big Star, which was headed by Alex Chilton. The band's three albums provided inspiration to a host of successful artists including R.E.M., The Replacements, and The Flaming Lips. Archival footage of the group is presented along with commentary from those who worked with them, as well as musicians who learned from their few albums. *

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Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary At War by Robert M. Gates, read by George Newbern

From the former secretary of defense, a strikingly candid, vividly written account of his experience serving Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Before Robert M. Gates received a call from the White House in 2006, he thought he’d left Washington politics behind: after working for six presidents in both the CIA and the National Security Council, he was happy in his role as president of Texas A&M University. But when he was asked to help a nation mired in two wars and to aid the troops doing the fighting, he answered what he felt was the call of duty. Now, in this unsparing memoir, meticulously fair in its assessments, he takes us behind the scenes of his nearly five years as a secretary at war: the battles with Congress, the two presidents he served, the military itself, and the vast Pentagon bureaucracy; his efforts to help Bush turn the tide in Iraq; his role as a guiding, and often dissenting, voice for Obama; the ardent devotion to and love for American soldiers—his “heroes”—he developed on the job. 

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Little Failure: A Memoir by Gary Shteyngart

After three acclaimed novels, Gary Shteyngart turns to memoir in a candid, witty, deeply poignant account of his life so far. Shteyngart shares his American immigrant experience, moving back and forth through time and memory with self-deprecating humor, moving insights, and literary bravado. The result is a resonant story of family and belonging that feels epic and intimate and distinctly his own.

A Library Reads pick for January 2014.

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My Age of Anxiety: Fear, Hope, Dread, and One Man's Search for Peace of Mind by Scott Stossel

As recently as thirty-five years ago, anxiety did not exist as a diagnostic category. Today, it is the most common form of officially classified mental illness. Scott Stossel gracefully guides us across the terrain of an affliction that is pervasive yet too often misunderstood.

Drawing on his own long-standing battle with anxiety, Stossel presents an astonishing history, at once intimate and authoritative, of the efforts to understand the condition from medical, cultural, philosophical, and experiential perspectives. He ranges from the earliest medical reports of Galen and Hippocrates, through later observations by Robert Burton and Søren Kierkegaard, to the investigations by great nineteenth-century scientists, such as Charles Darwin, William James, and Sigmund Freud, as they began to explore its sources and causes, to the latest research by neuroscientists and geneticists. Stossel reports on famous individuals who struggled with anxiety, as well as on the afflicted generations of his own family. His portrait of anxiety reveals not only the emotion’s myriad manifestations and the anguish anxiety produces but also the countless psychotherapies, medications, and other (often outlandish) treatments that have been developed to counteract it. Stossel vividly depicts anxiety’s human toll—its crippling impact, its devastating power to paralyze—while at the same time exploring how those who suffer from it find ways to manage and control it. 

A Library Reads pick for December 2013.

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Secrets of the Tower of London (Not Rated)

Standing guard over the city of London for nearly 1,000 years, the formidable Tower of London has been a royal castle, a prison, a place of execution and torture, an armory and the Royal Mint. This program unlocks the doors to secret rooms, talks to the people who do the jobs no one sees and reveals some surprising facts about one of England's most famous icons.

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We Are Our Brains: A Neurobiology of the Brain from the Womb to Alzheimer's by D.F. Swaab

Based groundbreaking new research, We Are Our Brains is a sweeping biography of the human brain, from infancy to adulthood to old age. Renowned neuroscientist D. F. Swaab takes us on a guided tour of the intricate inner workings that determine our potential, our limitations, and our desires, with each chapter serving as an eye-opening window on a different stage of brain development: the gender differences that develop in the embryonic brain, what goes on in the heads of adolescents, how parenthood permanently changes the brain.
 
Moving beyond pure biological understanding, Swaab presents a controversial and multilayered ethical argument surrounding the brain. Far from possessing true free will, Swaab argues, we have very little control over our everyday decisions, or who we will become, because our brains predetermine everything about us, long before we are born, from our moral character to our religious leanings to whom we fall in love with. And he challenges many of our prevailing assumptions about what makes us human, decoding the intricate “moral networks” that allow us to experience emotion, revealing maternal instinct to be the result of hormonal changes in the pregnant brain, and exploring the way that religious “imprinting” shapes the brain during childhood. Rife with memorable case studies, We Are Our Brains is already a bestselling international phenomenon. It aims to demystify the chemical and genetic workings of our most mysterious organ, in the process helping us to see who we are through an entirely new lens.

Item descriptions from Amazon.*Item descrptions from All Movie Guide.

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