The following is a list of some recently released books that have crossed our desks.
"THE WAR WITHIN: A Secret White House History 2006-2008," by Bob Woodward, Simon & Schuster, 437 pages, $32
Bob Woodward takes readers deep inside the White House, the Pentagon, the State Department, the intelligence agencies and the U.S. military headquarters to trace the behind-the-scenes debates, conflicts and internal dissent over the Iraq war from 2006 to mid-2008. Woodward obtained most of his information from interviews with more than 150 people, including the president.
He also relied on a mass of documents that he was able to uncover. The book ends with Woodward's reflections on several questions, such as "How did Bush perform as commander in chief? Was he slow to act when his strategies were not working? Did he make the right changes?" and more.
"THE SERVANTS," by Michael Marshall Smith, HarperCollins, $14.95 (paperback)
This is the story of Mark, 11, who has to move from London to seaside Brighton and is living with a sick mother and his hated new stepfather. Mark meets a sympathetic elderly neighbor, and as his home life worsens, he finds his way to a shadowy world that may or may not exist, but where Mark finds sanctuary and psychological comfort.
"THE GRAND INQUISITOR'S MANUAL: A History of Terror in the Name of God," by Jonathan Kirsch, HarperCollins, $26.95
Kirsch delivers a history of how the Inquisition was honed to perfection and brought to bear on an ever-widening circle of victims for more than 600 years. It spans a time that ranges from the Knights Templar to the first Protestants, to it greatest power in Spain after 1492, and on down through the centuries, ending with the modern war on terror.
"THE LETTERS OF ALLEN GINSBERG," edited by Bill Morgan, Da Capo Press, 468 pages, $30
Allen Ginsberg was a prolific letter-writer who corresponded with some of the most interesting and original artists, writers and public figures of his time from the 1940s until his death in 1997. More than 125 of these letters have never been published before. This collection also includes letters from Ginsberg's teenage years, as well as those written just months before his death. Bill Morgan has been Ginsberg's literary archivist for many years, and chose and assembled the letters in this collection.
"WORK SHIRTS FOR MADMEN," by George Singleton, Harvest Paperback, 336 pages, $14
Renegade artist Harp Spillman has ruined his reputation as one of the South's pre-eminent metal sculptors through his love of drink. With the help of his wife, he understands it's time to prove that he can get back to creating metal arts again. Along the way some very unusual characters and situations crop up. The author uses humor to reveal the struggle for individual value and identity.
"OF A FEATHER: A Brief History of American Birding," by Scott Weidensaul, Harvest Paperback, 368 pages, $15
Weidensaul traces the evolution of American birding from the frontier ornithologists who collected eggs between border skirmishes to the awkward schoolteacher Roger Tory Peterson, whose "A Field Guide to the Birds" prompted the explosive growth of modern birding.
"GIVE ME LIBERTY: A Handbook for American Revolutionaries," by Naomi Wolf, Simon & Schuster $13.95 (paperback)
Wolf investigates the roots of a growing national malaise that has bred "fake Democracy" in the United States over the past three decades. She incites concerned people of all ages to lead a new American Revolution, based on actions of men such as Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Patrick Henry, who faced charges of sedition in their quest for liberty. The final section of this book is step-by-step instructions for making a difference, from running for office, to using the media effectively, to organizing protests.
"THE GET 'EM GIRLS' GUIDE TO THE POWER OF CUISINE: Perfect Recipes for Spicing Up Your Love Life," by Shakara Bridgers, Jeniece Isley and Joan A. Davis, Simon & Schuster Trade Paperback, $19.95
The authors define a "Get 'Em Girl" as an ambitious woman who uses unconventional ways to get what she wants. Their premise is that good food plays an important role in relationships and in life, and to that end the book has recipes, such as curried chicken and sweet potato biscuits, along with helpful tips designed to help women bring something new to the table. Covering everything from pantry essentials and basic kitchen tools to creating the perfect meal in 30 minutes or less, the book offers step-by-step guidelines.
"ANGLER: The Cheney Vice Presidency," by Barton Gellman, The Penguin Press, 484 pages, $27.95
Barton Gellman shared a Pulitzer Prize for his series of articles on Dick Cheney's domestic agenda in The Washington Post. In this book, Gellman goes beyond that series to write about Cheney's work and its consequences, including his role in the Bush administration's choices in war. "Angler" is the vice president's Secret Service code name. The book is a study of the Bush administration through the lens of Cheney.