7 Best-Reviewed Books in July 2018

  • August 2, 2018

We came, we read, we gushed. Here’s a recap of the titles that left us especially warm and swoony this past month.











Hidden Tapestry: Jan Yoors, His Two Wives, and the War That Made Them One by Debra Dean (Northwestern University Press). Reviewed by Delia Cabe. “Dean wisely stays away from speculation about their domestic situation, nor does she overreach in her observations. She sticks to her research. Dean notes that the women rarely challenged Yoors. However, Marianne became more discontented with the polyamorous relationship, plus Yoors’ affairs, with each passing year. Utopia, it wasn’t.”

Lincoln’s Last Trial: The Murder Case That Propelled Him to the Presidency by Dan Abrams and David Fisher (Hanover Square Press). Reviewed by Talmage Boston. “Dan Abrams and David Fisher’s book adds a new layer of understanding about how Lincoln’s mind worked as a consummate trial lawyer, and how that mind provided the platform for his political prowess. More than a century and a half after his assassination, books like Lincoln’s Last Trial serve to inform readers of the man’s unique genius that has led to our unwavering recognition of him as our nation’s greatest hero.”

Eunice: The Kennedy Who Changed the World by Eileen McNamara (Simon & Schuster). Reviewed by Kitty Kelley. “Eileen McNamara writes with grace, elegance, and diplomacy, never making moral judgments on harsh facts. If she were not doing laudable work as chair of the journalism program at Brandeis University, the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer would make an excellent secretary of state. Her fine biography of Eunice Kennedy Shriver champions the overlooked sister, who deserves as much, if not more, applause than her celebrated brothers in establishing the family’s monumental legacy.”

The Royal Art of Poison: Filthy Palaces, Fatal Cosmetics, Deadly Medicine, and Murder Most Foul by Eleanor Herman (St. Martin’s Press). Reviewed by Gretchen Lida. “It’s easy to see why it captures the imagination: Put a little drop of something-something in somebody’s champagne, and poof! They die horribly a few hours later, no need for brute strength or bloody cleanup. It may also grab our attention now because, as during the Renaissance, poison is a signifier of turbulent times and childish despots.”

Pops: Fatherhood in Pieces by Michael Chabon (Harper). Reviewed by K.L. Romo. “In this artfully written and witty memoir, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Chabon contemplates what it means to be both a father and a son. Chronicling poignant moments into seven vignettes, he shares important lessons learned about fatherhood.”

Planetside by Michael Mammay (Harper Voyager). Reviewed by Andrea M. Pawley. “Before long, Butler and a squad have descended to Cappa, a planet that smells like “stale laundry with a hint of sulfur.” They are being fired upon despite traveling in an ‘MT-488 hover vehicle, affectionately known as the Goat because it went anywhere and did anything.’ Soldiers around Butler are dying. The whiskey he smuggled into Cappa System can do only so much to ease his mind and the aches in his robotic foot.”

South Toward Home: Adventures and Misadventures in My Native Land by Julia Reed (St. Martin's Press). Reviewed by Sarah Creech. “Move aside, bourbon. Reed prefers scotch in her highball. Her essays defy Southern stereotypes page by page (no odes to whiskey here) and illustrate the lush, hot, menacing world of the Mississippi Delta. Her unique persona and voice rise above all the best attempts to compare her to other writers. She’s the perfect literary ambassador for the South, its idiosyncratic style of entertaining, and its memorable mannerisms.”

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