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In A Slave No More , Yale history professor David W. Blight introduces the public to two recently discovered documents. They are the true stories by two courageous men who escaped from slavery during the Civil War. The subtitle is Two Men Who Escaped to Freedom, Including Their Own Narratives of Emancipation. (Published November 2007 by Harcourt, Hardcover, 320 pages)

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An Ocean of Air is a charming book by popular science journalist Gabrielle Walker. Subtitled Why the Wind Blows and Other Mysteries of the Atmosphere, it focuses on personalities and historical anecdotes while it explains everything about the air from breathing to hurricanes. (Published by Harcourt in August 2007, Hardcover, 288 pages)

The Central Pacific Railroad encouraged Chinese immigration in the 1860s. These new Americans installed tracks from Utah to California. They also accepted the most dangerous jobs handling dynamite in mines. However, everywhere the Chinese immigrants tried to settle, lynch mobs chased them out, and towns and states passed laws to expel them, with the approval of the Supreme Court. Read about this shameful period in our legal and cultural history in Driven Out : The Forgotten War Against Chinese Americans , a new book by Professor Jean Pfaelzer. (Random House, May 2007, Hardcover, 432 pages)

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Quickly to mention a few recent nonfiction books which have my interest now, but for which I have not yet written full reviews:

The Nine : Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court by Jeffrey Toobin shatters the myth that the law is so noble that it's above politics. Partisan politics is, and always was, behind Supreme Court decisions, the author asserts. The high court hit bottom, Toobin believes, with Bush vs. Gore, when the five Republicans clearly grasped at any silly excuse to declare their favorite candidate to be the winner. Perhaps Clarence Thomas is the most politically influenced of the nine.

Robert Draper, author of Dead Certain: The Presidency of George W. Bush disagrees with the popular opinion that the commander-in-chief is a nitwit. Mr. Bush is actually intelligent and well-informed, Draper believes. The president's flaw is of another variety -- he has a personality type that makes him incapable of admitting the possibility that his ideas may fail.

Valerie Plame Wilson was a "covert operative" in the "counterproliferation division" of the CIA, until Karl Rove disclosed her identity to the new media, in revenge for the public criticism the Bush plan for the invasion of Iraq that had been expressed by her husband, former ambassador Joe Wilson. In her new book Fair Game: My Life as a Spy, My Betrayal by the White House she describes not only the "outing" but also much about her personal life, past and present.

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