Frontlist | 9 New Books We Recommend This Week

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For no particular reason, today might be a good day to read Edmund Fawcett’s “Conservatism” — an intellectual history that explores how one political philosophy can give rise to wildly divergent politics. The book doesn’t limit its discussion to America, or to the present day, but for anybody riveted and shaken by images of rioters storming the U.S. Capitol to disrupt the orderly progress of democracy this week, it does offer a valuable wide-lens perspective on currents that have been at play for decades if not centuries. (Fawcett is a journalist, and by nature more an analyst than an agitator; in an earlier book he likewise explored the origins and contradictions of liberalism.)

Also on the shelf this week: two books about the search for human ancestors, biographies of Henry Adams and Sylvia Pankhurst, essays by Karl Ove Knausgaard, Christa Parravani’s memoir of fraught motherhood, and new fiction by Alecia McKenzie and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Gregory Cowles
Senior Editor, Books
Twitter: @GregoryCowles

CONSERVATISM: The Fight for a Tradition, by Edmund Fawcett. (Princeton University, $35.) Fawcett’s magisterial study of conservatives in the United States, Britain, France and Germany describes intellectual traditions and divisions that are important to everyone across the political spectrum. “The strength of this book is in its international reach,” Andrew Sullivan writes in his review. “Fawcett’s grasp … is, quite simply, formidable. He alternates between concise accounts of various conservative thinkers and brief histories of conservatism as a political force in the history of Western government. What he finds is that the party most opposed to liberal modernity has, in fact, ended up dominating its governments.”

ZIKORA: A Short Story, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. (Amazon Original Stories.) Adichie’s first fiction book since “Americanah” takes place in an American delivery room, as a Nigerian woman gives birth. The audio version may be only 75 minutes, but Adichie packs in family histories, meditations on nostalgia and commentary on the challenges faced by Black mothers in the United States. The story “is short enough for one sitting, but will stick with you long after,” Sebastian Modak writes in a new column devoted to audiobooks. “The actor Adepero Oduye as narrator shifts seamlessly between characters, and I hung onto her every word.”

Source: The New York Times

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