Recently Published Books of Interest
Blue Arabesque: A Search for the Sublime Patricia Hampl (Harcourt: $22 hardcover) This tantalizing meditation on the odalisque begins with the author's fascination with a Matisse painting of an aloof woman gazing at goldfish in a bowl, a mysterious Moroccan screen behind her, and moves on to explore the allure of that lounging figure so at odds with the increasing rush of the modern era.
The Cave Painters: Probing the Mysteries of the World's First Artists Gregory Curtis (Knopf: $14.95 softcover) A richly detailed look at the Cro-Magnon cave paintings of France and Spain, first rediscovered at Altamira in 1879 and a source of mystery and enchantment ever since. In his own search for the meaning of this earliest of manmade art, the author explores the major theories proposed by ethnography, archaeology, and religion over the last 130 years.
1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus Charles C. Mann (Vintage: $14.95 softcover) Contrary to what so many Americans learned in school, the pre-Columbian Indians were not sparsely settled in a pristine wilderness; rather, there were huge numbers who actively molded and influenced the land around them, building cities larger than most others in the world. Challenging and surprising, this is a radical new understanding of the Americas before the arrival of European explorers.
Chariot: From Chariot to Tank, the Astounding Rise and Fall of the World's First War Machine (Overlook: $17.95 softcover) Rich in historical anecdote and engrossing narrative, this book describes the military confrontations in which the deployment of chariots heavily influenced the outcome of battles and the fate of civilizations. Generously illustrated throughout.
Hothouse Kids: The Dilemma of the Gifted Child Alissa Quart (Penguin: $24.95 hardcover) Traversing the country to meet gifted kids, prodigies, and "former" gifted kids, the author clarifies which methods of early enrichment worked and which went too far. Where should parents and educators draw the line? How much enrichment is too much, and how much is too little?
The Universe in a Single Atom: The Convergence of Science and Spirituality His Holiness the Dalai Lama (Morgan Road: $14 softcover) After 40 years of study with some of the greatest scientific minds, as well as a lifetime of meditative, spiritual, and philosophic study, the Dalai Lama explains why all avenues of inquiry - scientific as well as spiritual - must be pursued in order to understand reality and existence.
Jewels: A Secret History Victoria Finlay (Ballantine: $25.95 hardcover) By the bestselling author of Color: A Natural History of the Palette, this title is a unique voyage through history and across cultures, deep into the earth's mantle, and up to the glittering heights of fame, power, and wealth as the author searches for the tales and myths behind the gems we prize most.
Augustus: The Life of Rome's First Emperor Anthony Everitt (Random: $26.95 hardcover) As Rome's first emperor, Augustus transformed the unruly Republic into the greatest empire the world had ever seen. Everitt, the bestselling author of Cicero, recreates his rise to power after the assassination of his adoptive father, Julius Caesar, culminating in his titanic power struggle with Mark Anthony and Cleopatra.
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