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February 15, 2017 BOOKLIST
Find more Core Collection
All We Know: Three Lives. By Lisa Cohen. 2012. Farrar, $30 (9780374176495).
Cohen tells the stories of three singular women who helped shaped modern culture as part of the “close-knit and fractious lesbian networks of New York, London, and Paris”: the brilliant Esther Murphy, feminist writer Mercedes de Acosta, and British fashion star Madge Garland.
American Rhapsody: Writers, Musicians, Movie Stars, and One Great Building.
By Claudia Roth Pierpont. 2016. Farrar, $26 (9780374104405).
Pierpont’s scintillating portrait gallery includes such embattled yet influential American artists as Dashiell Hammett, James Baldwin, Katharine Hepburn, and Nina Simone, as well as New York’s incandescent Chrysler Building.
The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings, J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis. By Philip Zaleski and Carol Zaleski. 2015. Farrar, $30 (9780374154097).
The Zaleskis showcase the Oxford fantasists who called themselves the Inklings, focusing on J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Charles Williams, and Owen Barfield, and delving into how they shared a commitment to a vibrantly Christian creativity.
Flappers: Six Women of a Dangerous Generation. By Judith Mackrell.
2014. Farrar/Sarah Crichton, $28 (9780374156084).
Mackrell chronicles with drama and panache the lives of six intrepid, stylish, trailblazing women artists who exemplify the flapper revolution: actors Lady Diana Cooper and Tallulah Bankhead, performer Josephine Baker, writers Nancy Cunard and Zelda Fitzgerald, and painter Tamara de Lempicka.
The Founders at Home: The Building of America, 1735–1817. By Myron Magnet.
2013. Norton, $35 (9780393240214).
Magnet shows how the homes designed by such founding luminaries as
George Washington, John Jay, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison reflected their values.
Frontier Grit: The Unlikely True Stories of Daring Pioneer Women.
By Marianne Monson. 2016. Shadow Mountain, $19.99 (9781629722276).
Monson details the long-hidden lives of 12 women who pushed west in search of land, gold, and freedom, including a pioneering suffragette, a Sioux writer, a celebrated stagecoach driver who concealed her gender, and Clara Brown, a former slave who helped others journey to a better life in Colorado.
Game of Queens: The Women Who Made Sixteenth-Century Europe.
By Sarah Gristwood. 2016. Basic, $37.50 (9780465096787).
Gristwood’s fascinating collective biography presents the sisterhood of Renaissance movers and shakers that includes such royal power brokers as Isabella of Castile, Catherine de Medici, Anne Boleyn, Mary Queen of Scots, and Elizabeth I.
The Glamour of Strangeness: Artists and the Last Age of the Exotic. By Jamie James. 2016. Farrar, $27 (9780374163358).
James profiles artists who undertook “transcultural” adventures, from Gauguin in Tahiti to Raden Saleh, who left Indonesia for Holland; Swiss writer Isabelle Eberhardt roaming late-nineteenth-century North Africa dressed as a man; and the avant-garde American filmmaker Maya Deren in Haiti.
The Glass Universe: How the Ladies of the Harvard Observatory Took the Measure of the Stars. By Dava Sobel. 2016. Viking, $30 (9780670016952).
Sobel retrieves the forgotten and impressive stories of the exceptionally gifted women at the Harvard Observatory.
Group f.64: Edward Weston, Ansel Adams, Imogen Cunningham, and the Community of Artists Who Revolutionized American Photography.
By Mary Street Alinder. 2014. Bloomsbury, $35 (9781620405550).
Alinder’s landmark group study brings into sharp focus the California photographers who fought to establish photography as an art form.
Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race. By Margot Lee Shetterly.
2016. Morrow, $27.99 (9780062363596).
Shetterly’s book about the mathematically gifted African American women at NASA’s Langley Research Center is so compelling it was promptly made into a movie.
Identity Unknown: Rediscovering Seven American Women Artists. By Donna Seaman. 2017. Bloomsbury, $35 (9781620407585).
The painters and sculptors under scrutiny here—Gertrude Abercrombie, Joan Brown, Lois Maïlou Jones, Ree Morton, Christina Ramberg, Lenore Tawney, even Louise Nevelson—achieved fame only to be quickly relegated to the shadows.
In Montmartre: Picasso, Matisse, and the Birth of Modernist Art. By Sue Roe. 2015. Penguin, $29.95 (9781594204951).
In her second Parisian ensemble biography, following The Private Lives of Impressionists (2006), Roe offers fresh looks at the mutually inspiring lives of Picasso, Matisse, Marie Laurencin (the only prominent Montmartre woman artist), fashion designer Paul Poiret, and writer and art collector Gertrude Stein.
Of Arms and Artists: The American Revolution through Painters’ Eyes.
By Paul Staiti. 2016. Bloomsbury, $30 (9781632864659).
Staiti zestfully portrays five artists whose paintings helped forge the new American ethos in the midst of the Revolutionary War: Charles Willson Peale, Benjamin West, John Trumbull, John Singleton Copley, and Gilbert Stuart.
Redeemers: Ideas and Power in Latin America. By Enrique Krauze. Tr. by Hank Heifetz. 2011. Harper, $19.99 (9780060938444).
Historian Krauze elucidates complex social and political realities in this gathering of brief, vivid, analytical biographies of bold and visionary Latin American writers and leaders, from Octavio Paz to Hugo Chávez.
Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us, from Missiles to the Moon to Mars. By Nathalia Holt. 2016. Little, Brown, $27 (9780316338929).
Holt retrieves the lost story of the women who worked at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and who were critical to such triumphs as Voyager and the Mars rovers.
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