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Sunday, September 23, 2018

7 New Books We Recommend This Week | Book Review - New York Times

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Suggested reading from critics and editors at The New York Times by Gregory Cowles, Senior Editor, Books.

If representative democracy requires informed citizens, a crop of new books is here to help with the informing. This week’s recommended titles include Jill Lepore’s expansive new history of the United States, Doris Kearns Goodwin’s consideration of four presidents who weathered national crises, a memoir about growing up in a Kansas farming family and a treatise about the importance of public spaces like libraries or parks. There’s also a look at the nature of authoritarian leaders, a reappraisal of Wendell Willkie’s 1940 run for president, and Adrienne Rich’s “Essential Essays” — a posthumous collection from a towering poet whose nonfiction drew in equal measure on her capacious heart and mind to engage with art, culture and politics. Let’s give her the last word, from an essay she wrote after refusing the National Medal for the Arts in 1997:

“In the long run art needs to grow organically out of a social compost nourishing to everyone, a literate citizenry, a free, universal, public education complex with art as an integral element, a society honoring both human individuality and the search for a decent, sustainable common life. In such conditions, art would still be a voice of hunger, desire, discontent, passion, reminding us that the democratic project is never-ending. For that to happen, what else would have to change?”

Source: New York Time