WHAT IT TAKES TO WIN: A History of the Democratic Party, by Michael Kazin. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $35.) Kazin’s shrewd and captivating volume examines the 200-year history of the ‘world’s oldest mass party’, which has seen its political apparatus become a shadow of what it was during the heyday of the democrats in the 20th century . “The founder of this political apparatus is widely presumed to be Thomas Jefferson, but the party,” Kazin explains, “was really the work of Martin Van Buren, a largely forgotten figure whose one-term presidency turned out to be the most less interesting about him. writes Timothy Noah in his review, adding that as a U.S. senator in 1827, Van Buren united the northern poor and southern landowners who “shared a hatred for northern industrialists, high tariffs, financiers – and abolitionists”.
LEFT BEHIND: Democrats’ failed attempt to address inequality, by Lily Geismer. (Public Affairs, $30.) In the years following the loss of the Solid South to the Democrats, Geismer claims, the party followed a failed policy of abandoning the labor movement to pursue middle-class urban dwellers through the efforts of the Democratic Leadership Council, an organization at nonprofit that has promoted reducing government waste and applying market-based solutions to social problems. “Geismer’s book is a wonderfully detailed history of a now vanished faith; the DLC closed in 2011,” writes Timothy Noah, reviewing the book alongside Kazin’s story (above). “The main problem with the Democrats, Kazin and Geismer acknowledge, is that they have lost their power and their purpose by moving away from the world of work.”
THE BALD EAGLE: The Improbable Voyage of the American Bird, by Jack E. Davis. (Liveright, $29.95.) Davis takes a broad view of the decline and recent resurgence of his main subject, offering not only a natural history of the bald eagle, but also a cultural and political history that encompasses everyone from Benjamin Franklin to Dolly Parton (who founded a hospital for eagles). “With famous humans, Davis never neglects the birds themselves,” writes Vicki Constantine Croke in her review. “He writes of their long-term bonds, their massive nests, ‘as solid as an old warship’, to which they return year after year, and their eclectic appetites. …Davis shines to the fullest in this exuberant and expansive book, but mostly for highlighting individual birds.
WILD AND BROKEN SOUNDS: the wonders of sound, the creativity of evolution and the crisis of sensory extinction, by David George Haskell. (Viking, $29.) The man-made cacophony threatens to drown out the songs of birds, the crescendos of insects and the choruses of frogs — and that’s a problem, writes Haskell in this glorious guide to the sounds of nature. Haskell is a deeply nuanced and thoughtful writer who finds beauty in the din of exploitation. The book “affirms Haskell as a laureate for the land, his finely tuned scientific observations made more powerful by his deep love for the nature he hopes to save,” writes Cynthia Barnett in her review. “He helped us hear. Are we going to listen? Are we going to heed the alarm calls of our traveling companions? »
THE FALL, by Sarah Moss. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $25.) Moss’ quietly intense pandemic novel is a masterful study in claustrophobia by a writer who has always been fascinated with isolation. Moss’ characters – four people in England’s Peak District – are confined not just by the lockdown, but by their own thoughts and loneliness. “Considered as a study in repression and displacement,” writes Lidija Haas in her review, “Moss’ provocative storyless novel becomes a psychological thriller.