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10 New Books We Recommend This Week


FALLOUT: The Hiroshima Cover-Up and the Reporter Who Revealed It to the World, by Lesley M. M. Blume. (Simon & Schuster, $27.) For months after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Americans were told little about the devastating effects on survivors. Blume’s magisterial account of how John Hersey broke the story in The New Yorker is also a warning about the ever-present dangers of nuclear war. Our reviewer, William Langewiesche, calls it a “tightly focused new book … that unpacks the full story” and describes Blume as “a tireless researcher and beautiful writer, who moves through her narrative with seeming effortlessness — a trick that belies the skill and hard labor required to produce such prose.”

POLAND 1939: The Outbreak of World War II, by Roger Moorhouse. (Basic Books, $32.) This exemplary military history shows why Poland’s choice to resist the invading Germans was a decision of world-historical significance that shaped the future course of the war. “The heart of this book is the description of the fighting, which is about as good as military history can be,” Timothy Snyder writes in his review. “Moorhouse is rehabilitating an everyday kind of patriotism, of people who did what they thought was right in conditions of terror and ever-growing certainty of defeat. He is seeking to restore agency to Poles, to show that their country’s policy of resisting Germany (and the Soviet Union) and the willingness of soldiers and officers to fight were decisions that made a difference.”

LAST MISSION TO TOKYO: The Extraordinary Story of the Doolittle Raiders and Their Final Fight for Justice, by Michel Paradis. (Simon & Schuster, $28.) Paradis examines the difficult issue of wartime justice by looking at the Japanese trial of American fliers who were captured following the 1942 Doolittle raid. “In his engrossing procedural of a war crimes trial, Paradis offers a more troubling history than some triumphalist American chronicles,” Gary J. Bass writes in his review. “While Paradis avoids lazy moral equivalences, his book, like any true war story, has something to disquiet nationalists of all stripes.”

WE GERMANS, by Alexander Starritt. (Little, Brown, $27.) “I wasn’t a Nazi,” says the narrator of Starritt’s novel as he recalls his years as a German soldier on the Eastern Front in a letter to his grandson. His story unspools like a roll of film, rich with sensory detail and unsparing in its depictions of cruelty. Georgia Hunter, reviewing it, calls the prose “riveting” and says that the story’s concerns feel timely: “How do we hold ourselves — and our ancestors — accountable for past wrongs? How do we acknowledge and atone for a nation’s violations? Starritt’s daring work challenges us to lay bare our histories, to seek answers from the past and to be open to perspectives starkly different from our own.”

LITTLE SCRATCH, by Rebecca Watson. (Doubleday, $23.95.) Profundities leap out from the business of an ordinary day in this experimental novel, told in helixes of text meant to immerse the reader in the protagonist’s thoughts. A deep trauma at the story’s core makes for moving and richly layered reading — adventurous typography notwithstanding. Dustin Illingworth, reviewing the novel alongside three other experimental books, says that its nameless protagonist “offers consistently sharp and often melancholic treatments of contemporary existence: the theater of joy and disappointment represented by text messages, say, or the depressive signifiers of corporate office life.”

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