New Book Releases – Week of 15 October 2012

October 15, 2012


Here are a few new book releases from this week (and last week) that are worth checking out:

Our most anticipated release of this week is Robert Macfarlane‘s The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot.  The publisher has described this book: “In this exquisitely written book, Robert Macfarlane sets off from his Cambridge, England, home to follow the ancient tracks, holloways, drove roads, and sea paths that crisscross both the British landscape and its waters and territories beyond. The result is an immersive, enthralling exploration of the ghosts and voices that haunt old paths, of the stories our tracks keep and tell, and of pilgrimage and ritual.  Told in Macfarlane’s distinctive voice, The Old Ways folds together natural history, cartography, geology, archaeology and literature. His walks take him from the chalk downs of England to the bird islands of the Scottish northwest, from Palestine to the sacred landscapes of Spain and the Himalayas. Along the way he crosses paths with walkers of many kinds—wanderers, pilgrims, guides, and artists. Above all this is a book about walking as a journey inward and the subtle ways we are shaped by the landscapes through which we move.  Macfarlane discovers that paths offer not just a means of traversing space, but of feeling, knowing, and thinking.”

Hardback, Viking Books.
Buy now [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]

Released last week was Shane Claiborne and Tony Campolo‘s Red Letter Revolution: What if Jesus Really Meant What He Said? Framed as a captivating dialogue between Shane Claiborne, a progressive young evangelical, and Tony Campolo, a seasoned pastor and professor of sociology, Red Letter Revolution is a life-altering manifesto for skeptics and Christians alike. It is a call to a lifestyle that considers first and foremost Jesus’ explicit, liberating message of sacrificial love.  Fr. Richard Rohr has said of this book: “In this courageous and well crafted book, we have a return to the core message of the Gospel from two Christians who first tried to live it themselves—and only then spoke.”

Watch the book trailer for this new book

Hardback: Thomas Nelson.
Buy now: [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]

African novelist Chinua Achebe is best known for his novel Things Fall Apart, but now has released a memoir entitled There was a Country: A Personal History of Biafra.  The publisher has described this extraordinary non-fiction work:  “The defining experience of Chinua Achebe’s life was the Nigerian civil war, also known as the Biafran War, of 1967–1970. The conflict was infamous for its savage impact on the Biafran people, Chinua Achebe’s people, many of whom were starved to death after the Nigerian government blockaded their borders. By then, Chinua Achebe was already a world-renowned novelist, with a young family to protect. He took the Biafran side in the conflict and served his government as a roving cultural ambassador, from which vantage he absorbed the war’s full horror. Immediately after, Achebe took refuge in an academic post in the United States, and for more than forty years he has maintained a considered silence on the events of those terrible years, addressing them only obliquely through his poetry. Now, decades in the making, comes a towering reckoning with one of modern Africa’s most fateful events, from a writer whose words and courage have left an enduring stamp on world literature.”

Hardback: The Penguin Press.
Buy now: [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]

Perhaps the quirkiest book on today’s list is The Story of Ain’t: America, Its Language, and the Most Controversial Dictionary Ever Published by David Skinner.  This new work tells the history of the Webster’s Third Dictionary and how it challenged popular conceptions of language.  BookPage raves: “A fascinating, highly entertaining cultural history that will enchant an audience beyond word nerds….Skinner nimbly, concisely-and without academic dryness-traces the everyday changes that shaped what came out of Americans’ mouths and into our dictionaries.”

Hardback: Harper.
Buy now : [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]

And finally, there is Henry Wiencek‘s Master of the Mountain: Thomas Jefferson and his Slaves. In a starred review, Publisher’s Weekly, says: “This meticulous account indicts not only Jefferson but modern apologists who wish to retain him as a moral standard of liberty. Wiencek’s vivid, detailed history casts a new slant on a complex man by revealing that even though many of Jefferson’s contemporaries, such as Quaker plantation owners in the 1770s and a prominent Virginian, Edward Coles, in 1819, freed their slaves. Coles begged Jefferson to lend his voice to the antislavery movement, as did fellow revolutionaries such as Lafayette and Thomas Paine. But, Wiencek says that the founder who referred to blacks as “degraded and different” with “no place in our country,” had a “fundamental belief in the righteousness of his power.”

Hardback: FSG.
Buy now: [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]

Stay tuned every Monday as we plan to make this new book releases column a weekly feature!