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9 New Books We Recommend This Week

Category: Art & Culture,Books

THE WIND IN MY HAIR: My Fight for Freedom in Modern Iran, by Masih Alinejad. (Little, Brown, $28.) In her passionate and often riveting memoir, Alinejad — an Iranian-American journalist and lifelong advocate for Muslim women — unspools her struggles against poverty, political repression and personal crises. “Told poignantly and with a blunt honesty that seems a characteristic of Alinejad’s life and writing, here is a gripping tale that permits us to peek at the inner workings of the Iranian Revolution and consider the question of its health and longevity,” our reviewer, Rafia Zakaria, writes.

IMPERIAL TWILIGHT: The Opium War and the End of China’s Last Golden Age, by Stephen R. Platt. (Knopf, $35.) Platt’s enthralling account of the Opium War describes a time when wealth and influence were shifting from East to West, and China was humiliated by Britain’s overwhelming power. Reviewing it, Ian Morris calls the book “a ripping yarn” that also makes an argument about the shaping of history: “In the age-old debate over the historical roles of Very Important Persons and Vast Impersonal Forces, Platt comes down firmly on the side of the people.”

FROM COLD WAR TO HOT PEACE: An American Ambassador in Putin’s Russia, by Michael McFaul. (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $30.) McFaul’s memoir of his years representing the United States in Russia describes how his lifelong efforts to promote international understanding were undone by Vladimir Putin. “Putin is clearly the villain in this story,” according to our reviewer, Daniel Beer, who adds that McFaul “makes his case with energy and conviction. Yet … deep-rooted antagonism toward the United States might well endure long after Putin has gone. As McFaul himself laments, ‘the hot peace, tragically but perhaps necessarily, seems here to stay.’”

HOUSE OF NUTTER: The Rebel Tailor of Savile Row, by Lance Richardson. (Crown Archetype, $28.) You may not know the name Tommy Nutter, but you should; he was a brilliant tailor who transformed stodgy Savile Row men’s wear into flashy, wide-lapeled suits beloved by the likes of Elton John, the Beatles, Mick Jagger and Diana Ross back in the 1960s and 1970s. “As an act of historical preservation, ‘House of Nutter’ is worthy, restoring Nutter to the record for future generations; as a scandal sheet of gossip, it is often campy and fun,” the Times reporter Matthew Schneier writes in his review. “What lingers is the vision of Tommy Nutter as a man slightly too modern for his time, though very much of it, one of the great characters of fashion.”

HALF GODS, by Akil Kumarasamy. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $25.) Across decades and continents, the characters in this affecting debut story collection are haunted by catastrophic violence, their emotional scars passed from one generation to the next. “Wisely, Kumarasamy takes a muted approach to the violence,” Tania James writes, reviewing it. “Kumarasamy’s characters have managed to piece their lives back together, but her preoccupation lies with the seams — and how these are continually tested by the small, private aftershocks of trauma.”

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