10 New Books We Recommend This Week


THE PRESIDENT IS MISSING, by Bill Clinton and James Patterson. (Little, Brown and Knopf, $30.) In this thriller and escapist fairy tale co-written by Clinton and Patterson, the fictitious President Jonathan Lincoln Duncan is in trouble for supposedly having had dealings with terrorists. What the press and public don’t know is that Duncan was trying to avert a crisis, not start one. A looming cyberthreat is so horrible that the feared virus is called Dark Ages. The novel piles on loads of scary details about what the world would be like if your computer became nothing but a doorstop. “This book’s a big one,” our reviewer Janet Maslin writes. “It’s driven by star power and persuasive-sounding presidential candor.”

HOW TO CHANGE YOUR MIND: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence, by Michael Pollan. (Penguin Press, $28.) Best known as a food writer, Pollan here summarizes recent research into psychedelics and how they can reduce trauma. He also describes, in sometimes remarkable ways, how he experienced his own trips. “As is to be expected of a nonfiction writer of his caliber, Pollan makes the story of the rise and fall and rise of psychedelic drug research gripping and surprising,” Tom Bissell writes in his review. “Where Pollan truly shines is in his exploration of the mysticism and spirituality of psychedelic experiences.”

THE WOMAN IN THE WOODS, by John Connolly. (Emily Bestler/Atria, $26.99.) A powerful ancient book, a boy who communicates with the dead and a corpse that isn’t where it should be are just a few of the elements in Connolly’s otherworldly thriller. “There’s no mistaking a John Connolly novel, with its singular characters, eerie subject matter and socko style,” our crime columnist, Marilyn Stasio, writes. “Connolly creates a world, somewhat real but emphatically unnatural, in which the dead commune with the living in mysterious ways.”

THE SOUL OF AMERICA: The Battle for Our Better Angels, by Jon Meacham. (Random House, $30.) Appalled by the ascendancy of Donald Trump, and shaken by the white nationalist rallies in Charlottesville last year, Meacham, a Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer and historian, turns to America’s past to argue that a liberal impulse has often prevailed in times of fear and division. Meacham “wants to remind us that the current political turmoil is not unprecedented, that as a nation we have survived times worse than this,” Sean Wilentz writes in his review. “Initially this sounds a little too reassuring. But Meacham quickly adds that America’s survival has never been automatic.”

WARLIGHT, by Michael Ondaatje. (Knopf, $26.95.) In his latest novel, the author of “The English Patient” tells the story of a London family fractured by Allied intelligence work. And the danger won’t end when the fighting is over. Penelope Lively’s review calls it “a book that requires close reading”: “You are forever dipping back — ah, now I see — such is the intricate and clever construction of a narrative about wartime deeds and postwar retributions that is also, at its heart, the story of a childhood.”



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