1. Charles Wohlforth and Amanda R. Hendrix, Beyond Earth; Our Path to a New Home in the Planets. The core claim is that humans can (will?) colonize Titan, the moon of Saturn. But what are we to make of sentences such as: “The temperature is around -180 Celsius (-290 Fahrenheit), but clothing with thick insulation or heating elements would keep you comfortable. A rip wouldn’t kill you as long as you didn’t freeze.” Pregnancy would be tricky too.
2. Ian Thomson, Primo Levi. One of my favorite literary biographies, ever. This is also a first-rate look at the history of the Holocaust, and the postwar Italian literary world. Definitely recommended.
3. Philippe Girard, Toussaint Louverture. One of the best and most readable treatments of the Haitian revolution, with a focus on Louverture of course. Here is one good bit:
When it came time to pick between two extremes — slavery and unfettered freedom — Louverture stopped well short of the latter. By order of General Louverture, all former field slaves, even those who had settled in urban areas during the Revolution, would return to their original plantations, sometimes under their former masters. Those who refused would be “arrested and punished as severely as soldiers,” which implied that plantation runaways could be shot as deserters. He thereby merged the two worlds he knew best — the sugar plantation and the army camp — into a kind of military-agricultural complex.
According to many critics at the time, rebel leaders were in essence confiscating the slave plantations of their former white masters. Furthermore, the importation of laborers from Africa was to continue.
4. Lewis Glinert, The Story of Hebrew, delivers exactly what it promises: “For many young Israelis, Arial is virtually the only font they read.”
Also in various stages of undress are:
Jeffrey D. Sachs, Building the New American Economy: Smart, Fair, and Sustainable, foreword by Bernie Sanders.
Niall Kishtainy, A Little History of Economics, a modern-day Heilbroner.
Johan Norberg, Progress: Ten Reasons to Look Forward to the Future, a Julian Simon-esque take on the case for optimism.