In 1961, Michael Rockefeller, the 23-year-old son of then New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller, disappeared along the coast of southwest New Guinea.
The recent Harvard grad was on a trip collecting art from Asmat tribes—mostly elaborate woodcarvings—when his catamaran capsized. After he and a companion waited overnight for rescue, Rockefeller tied two empty gasoline cans around his waist, and headed for shore, never to be seen again.
The official records state that he was drowned at sea, but author Carl Hoffman has been possessed by the mystery for years, and in his new book Savage Harvest, he aims to settle the question of Rockefeller's fate. Through visiting the same village, interviewing Asmat kinsmen, studying the tense political climate of the time and combing through archives of official documents along with Rockefeller's personal correspondence, Hoffman comes to the grim conclusion that he was cannibalized. Whether Hoffman's evidence is substantial enough is for the reader to decide, but it is a tense and riveting read nonetheless.
Watch Hoffman narrate the documentary-style trailer below:
What do you think, readers? Are you interested in new insight into this historical mystery?
Giant anacondas, jaguars, swaths of ancient, imposing trees and wild rivers color the Amazonian landscape that author Paul Rosolie explores in his new book, Mother of God.
Part travelogue, part plea for conservation, Rosolie's story is pulsing with a love of adventure and discovery along with a contagious love of place.
Rosalie continually asserts that the encroachment of civilization and industry into the jungle are regrettable: “What is it about our species," Rosalie wonders, "that allows us to watch sitcoms and argue over sports while cultures and creatures and those things meek and green and good are chopped, shot, and burned from the world for a buck?”
There certainly isn't an easy answer, but Rosolie's book makes a strong case for protecting the wild places we have left.
Watch the trailer below to get a glimpse at the incredible landscape of the western Amazon:
What do you think, readers? Are you interested in reading Mother of God?
Looking to gift a great photography book this holiday season? Lonely Planet's Beautiful World, with over 200 large-format images, captures jaw-dropping sights and destinations from all corners of the globe. Spark your spirit of adventure with photos from the lush prairie of Nebraska to the remote Galápagos; this book will have you planning your next getaway in no time. The Lonely Planet editors are no strangers to the wonders of the world, but as they said, "we don’t see them every day and sometimes we need to be reminded that they are there.” Watch the gorgeous trailer below and prepare to be swept away with wanderlust.
Since his death in 2005, Richard Pryor has been named as the No. 1 comedian of all time by Comedy Central and continues to influence the American comedy scene to this day. In Furious Cool: Richard Pryor and the World That Made Him, authors David and Joe Henry draw from a wide range of sources and personal experiences, including conversations with Pryor himself, in their exploration of the man behind the comedy legend.
While the Henry brothers' admiration for Pryor certainly shines through, Furious Cool does not shy away from the darker details of Pryor's rise to fame—his turbulent upbringing, emotional conflicts and drug abuse are all essential details in this story, making this a very honest and engrossing read.
Watch the great documentary-style trailer from Algonquin below:
Are you interested in reading Furious Cool? Any other biographies on your list?
Forty years after the murder of Sharon Tate, it would seem that everything about Charles Manson has already been reported. Jeff Guinn proves this all wrong in his new book, Manson, which uncovers never-before-heard stories and follows Manson's entire life, from childhood to adulthood.
With exclusive interviews and photographs, Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Mason goes beyond previous biographies to provide a well-written and complete study of a man who has perplexed many for decades.
Read our review here and watch the trailer below from Simon & Schuster to learn more about the research and writing of Manson.
What do you think, readers? Will you be reading Manson?
Author Daniel James Brown was lucky enough to meet Joe Rantz before his death for several interviews that led to The Boys in the Boat. This dramatic true story features Joe Rantz, an Olympic Gold Medalist in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, and his team of eight additional rowers—nine unlikely boys who find strength and home together.
As our reviewer notes, these nine University of Washington boys were not the usual Olympians from polished families, and their struggles were for more than just gold. Be sure to read the full review for The Boys in the Boat and watch this book trailer complete with footage from the 1936 Berlin games.
Will you read The Boys in the Boat? What was your last nonfiction read?
In 1942, a U.S. cargo plane crashed into a Greenland ice cap. Days later, a rescue plane crashed in the same area as well. All nine men aboard survived. Then another rescue plane sent to find the survivors vanished.
Throughout the book, Zuckoff shines the spotlight on the often overlooked Coast Guard and shows us that some of the most dangerous missions and heroic efforts don't take place on the battlefield.
Read our review here and watch the book trailer containing footage of the recovery mission:
Will you read Frozen in Time? What other nonfiction have you read lately?
From saliva to fecal transplants, Roach approaches her subject matter with the obsession of a scientist and as our reviewer suggests, the fascination of a teenager.
Roach... draws vivid if unorthodox comparisons (she likens a colonoscope to a bartender’s soda gun) and asks all the questions you’re too self-conscious to Google, plus others that have never occurred to you (can farts cure cancer?). Along the way she sneaks in sly critiques of bureaucracy, bigotry, animal cruelty and other less-than-noble human behavior. You may be grossed out, but you’ll also be impressed.
What are you reading today?
After the second world war's end, baseball players left the trenches for the baseball field and the modern era of baseball began. Players like Jackie Robinson emerged as one of baseball's greatest players while established players like DiMaggio, Williams and Feller returned to the sport.
Robert Weintraub, author of The House that Ruth Built, returns to the subject of baseball, shedding light on an era that new generations of baseball fans never experienced and will doubtless be fascinated by.
The Victory Season serves as a great kick off to the spring baseball season and may also make an interesting gift for fathers and husbands as Father's Day approaches.
Read our review here and watch the book trailer put out by Hachette:
Are you a baseball fan? Will you read The Victory Season or give it as a gift?
When Steve Sjogren, author of Conspiracy of Kindness, flat lined and then revived on the hospital operating table, he experienced a peaceful time he attributes to God. When he awoke to a world of pain, he had a difficult time recovering physically as well as spiritually.
In Heaven's Lessons, Sjogren talks about what God has taught him from his experience and the limitations it has given him.
Says our reviewer: "This book offers readers the opportunity to benefit from Sjogren’s journey and to see how God turned a tragedy into a transformation."
Watch the book trailer that dramatizes Sjogren's death on the operating table:
What do you think about books that deal with experiences of the afterlife? Will you pick up Heaven's Lessons?