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Good Summer Books

Just in time for beach reading, powerhouse writer George Pelecanos is out in August with another noirish novel, The Turnaround, that stretches from the streets of Washington in the rock ’n’ roll 1970s to Walter Reed Medical Center today.

If you want a weightier topic, The Challenge: Hamdan v. Rumsfeld and the Fight Over Presidential Power by Jonathan Mahler, a writer for theNew York Times Magazine, goes inside the case that challenged whether the President could hold Guantánamo detainees indefinitely. Written like a legal thriller, Mahler’s book follows Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a Yemeni captured in Afghanistan, and his petition for habeas corpus brought by Navy JAG lawyer Charles Swift and Georgetown law professor Neal Katyal as the case goes to the Supreme Court and becomes an important decision on executive power.

NPR executive Dick Meyer’s new book, Why We Hate Us: American Discontent in the New Millennium, examines the self-loathing that some Americans feel due to the “one-two punch” of rapid social change and technological revolution. He deconstructs the “OmniMedia” and “OmniMarketing” that we love to hate and our longing for “authenticity.”

Georgetown law professor Sheryll Cashin’s first book, The Failures of Integration, received critical acclaim. Her deeply personal follow-up, The Agitator’s Daughter, looks at her family history through four generations of African-Americans, from her great-grandfather in Reconstruction to her own father, whose “uppity” ways sparked the ire of the IRS and the FBI, right through to her present-day identity.

This article appears in the August 2008 issue of Washingtonian. To see more articles in this issue, click here.

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