Notable new releases
compiled by Sally Brewster
In the Weeds: Around the World and Behind the Scenes with Anthony Bourdain, by Tom Vitale
In the nearly two years since Anthony Bourdain’s death, no one else has come close to filling the void he left. His passion for and genuine curiosity about the people and cultures he visited made the world feel smaller and more connected. Despite his affable, confident and trademark snarky TV persona, the real Tony was intensely private, deeply conflicted about his fame, and an enigma even to those close to him. Tony’s devoted crew knew him best, and no one else had a front-row seat for as long as his director and producer, Tom Vitale. In the Weeds takes readers behind the scenes to reveal not just the insanity that went into filming in some of the most far-flung and volatile parts of the world, but what Tony was like unedited and off-camera. From the outside, the job looked like an all-expenses-paid adventure to places like Borneo, Vietnam, Iran, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Libya. What happened off-camera was far more interesting than what made it to air. The more things went wrong, the better it was for the show. Fortunately, everything fell apart constantly.
Alpha: Eddie Gallagher and the War for the Soul of the Navy SEALS, by David Phillips
By official accounts, the Navy SEALs of Alpha platoon returned as heroes after their 2017 deployment to Mosul, following a vicious, bloody and successful campaign to drive ISIS from the city. But within the platoon, a different war raged. Even as Alpha’s chief, Eddie Gallagher, was being honored for his leadership, several of his men were preparing to report him for war crimes, alleging that he’d stabbed a prisoner in cold blood and taken lethal sniper shots at unarmed civilians. Many young SEALs regarded Gallagher as the ideal special operations commando. Trained as a sniper, a medic and an explosives expert, he was considered a battle-tested leader. But in the heat of combat, some in his platoon saw a darker figure — a man who appeared to be coming unhinged after multiple deployments in America’s forever wars. In riveting detail, Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times correspondent David Philipps reveals the story of a group of special operators caught in a moral crucible — should they uphold their oath and turn in their chief, or honor the SEALs’ unwritten code of silence?
The Women of Troy, by Pat Barker
Troy has fallen and the victorious Greeks are eager to return home with the spoils of an endless war — including the women of Troy themselves. They await a fair wind for the Aegean. It does not come, because the gods are offended. The body of King Priam lies unburied and desecrated, so the victors remain in suspension, camped in the shadows of the city they destroyed as the coalition that held them together begins to unravel. Old feuds resurface, and new suspicions and rivalries begin to fester. Largely unnoticed by her captors, the onetime Trojan queen Briseis, formerly Achilles’ slave, quietly takes in these developments. She forges alliances when she can, all while shrewdly seeking her path to revenge. A daring and timely feminist retelling of The Iliad from the perspective of the women of Troy who endured it.
Her Heart for a Compass, by Sarah Ferguson
From one of the most famous former members of the British royal family, Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, comes a mesmerizing novel of a young noblewoman’s coming-of-age that richly details both high and low society in Victorian England. Lady Margaret Montagu Scott is expected to make an advantageous marriage, but she is an impulsive and outspoken girl in a repressive society. Her parents arrange a society marriage, but shortly before her betrothal is announced, Margaret flees, leaving her parents to explain her sudden absence to an opulent ballroom stuffed with 200 distinguished guests. Banished from “polite society,” Margaret throws herself into charitable work and finds strength in a circle of female friends like herself — women intent on breaking the mold, including Queen Victoria’s daughter, Princess Louise. Margaret resolves to follow her heart, a journey of self-discovery that will take her to Ireland, America and back to Britain, where she finds the life she was always meant to lead. SP
Sally Brewster is the proprietor of Park Road Books at 4139 Park Road. parkroadbooks.com