What’s new in popular non-fiction?
Have you ever thought deeply – really deeply – on the subject of human excrement, or “humanure”? Joseph Jenkins has, and he aims to teach us how to flush our toilets goodbye this month in The Humanure Handbook. Politician free examinations of the finacial crisis, “Redneck Socialism” and Piha Surf Life Saving Club are other topics covered in another varied pile of new popular non-fiction books.
The humanure handbook : a guide to composting human manure / by Joseph Jenkins.
“There are almost seven billion defecating people on planet Earth, but few who have any clue about how to constructively handle the burgeoning mountain of human crap. The Humanure Handbook, third edition, will amuse you, educate you, and possibly offend you, but it will certainly pertain to you–unless, of course, your bowels never move.” – (adpated from Syndetics summary)
Piha : guardians of the iron sands : the first 75 years of the Piha Surf Life Saving Club / [writer and editor] Sandra Coney.
“Piha Surf Life Saving Club enjoys possibly the highest profile in the country – not only due to the top rating television programme but also as the busiest patrol in the country – performing almost twice as many rescues as the next club. Affectionaltely written by long time Piha afficionado Sandra Coney, Piha: Guardians of the Iron Sands is the journey of the founding and development of the Piha club, its people and purpose…” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)
Waltzing at the doomsday ball : the best of Joe Bageant / edited by Ken Smith.
“The only collection of Joe Bageant’s essays available in book form, this compilation features 25 essays by the self proclaimed redneck socialist. Exploring the plight of America’s white, “redneck” underclass – a topic considered taboo for the mainstream media – with insight, humor, compassion, and rage, this record is the result of the editorial freedom Bageant gained via the internet. Touching upon politics, current affairs, and sociology, the essays were selected for inclusion based on reader feedback, web-traffic counts, and suggestions from Bageant’s online colleagues.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)
Nudge : improving decisions about health, wealth, and happiness / Richard H. Thaler, Cass R. Sunstein.
“Exploring how people make decisions, Thaler and Sunstein (both, Univ. of Chicago) succinctly summarize for a general audience a large amount of academic and popular literature that has been written on this interdisciplinary topic. Entertaining, engaging, and well written, the book’s central argument is that people can (and in some cases should) be subtly influenced to change their behavior (i.e., nudged) by using seemingly innocuous persuasion… Summing Up: Highly recommended. General readers; undergraduate and graduate students at all levels; professionals. R. H. Scott Monmouth UniversityCopyright American Library Association, used with permission.” – (adapted from CHOICE review)
“Escape from Camp 14 : one man’s remarkable odyssey from North Korea to freedom in the West / Blaine Harden.
“This is a relentlessly disturbing book, more so because Harden (former East Asia bureau chief, Washington Post) presents the facts dispassionately. Shin Dong-Hyuk was born in 1982 in one of North Korea’s gulags, Camp 14, which covers 108 square miles and holds about 50,000 prisoners. In a world of horrific living conditions, brutal punishments, and competition for minimal scraps of food (supplemented by secret hunting for frogs, rats, and bugs), Shin was oblivious of such concepts as affection or honesty, knowing only the instinct to survive.” – (adapted from Library Journal summary)
Planet Ponzi : how politicians and bankers stole your future : what happens next : how you can survive / Mitch Feierstein.
“Planet Ponzi is a provocative assessment of the state of today’s global economy. Mitch Feierstein reveals the true debts of Britain, the US government and the Eurozone – the full picture, not the figures the politicians would have us believe. In Planet Ponzi, Feierstein explains clearly the background to the world’s worst financial crisis for 70 years, predicts the next steps in this infinitely dangerous game and offers practical advice on measures which you personally can take to protect yourself and your family.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)
Capitalism and conservation / edited by Dan Brockington and Rosaleen Duffy.
“Many popular leisure pursuits and consumption habits drive and deepen global capitalism – from whale watching in the Azores to sipping an ethically sourced cup of morning coffee. But what are the consequences for society, nature, and conservation? Capitalism and Conservation presents an important critique of conservation’s role as a central driver of global capitalism. By examining the works of various corporate billionaires, powerful political coalitions and foundations, international elites and NGOs, and new tourist and business opportunities, the essays show that conservation and capitalism have intertwined to distribute fortune and misfortune in many new ways – with entirely new dynamics of profit creation and marginalisation.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)
The rise of nuclear fear / Spencer R. Weart.
“After a tsunami destroyed the cooling system at Japan’s Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant, triggering a meltdown, protesters around the world challenged the use of nuclear power. Germany announced it would close its plants by 2022. Although the ills of fossil fuels are better understood than ever, the threat of climate change has never aroused the same visceral dread or swift action. Spencer Weart dissects this paradox, demonstrating that a powerful web of images surrounding nuclear energy holds us captive, allowing fear, rather than facts, to drive our thinking and public policy.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)
Under every leaf / William Beaver.
“This is the story of the shadowy Intelligence Division of the British War Office and its unsung role in the formation of the Victorian Empire and imperial policy-making from Asia to Africa. With its focus on the heady days between the Crimean War and the establishment of MI5 and MI6 in the early years of the twentieth century, Under Every Leaf tells how Britain was well served by an extensive and sophisticated secret intelligence service which few even knew existed – then or now. Drawing from an encyclopaedic array of primary and little-known sources, Under Every Leaf is a rollicking good read.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)
Cheek by jowl : a history of neighbours / Emily Cockayne.
“Cheek by Jowl deploys rich historical evidence to show how neighbour relations have changed over time. It maps the complex threads of association between neighbours on emotional, sexual, social, practical and economic levels. As people lived more densely together, and lifestyles diversified, the potential for neighbour nuisance and jealousy grew. In counterpoint to this, where communities of people emerged who shared an employer or an economic predicament, solidarity and mutual supportiveness could mitigate the hardships of life.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)