In this candid, engaging memoir, Edward Zwick looks back at his career as a leading director, producer, and writer, offering revealing stories and keen observations about some of the stars he’s worked with, including Tom Cruise, Denzel Washington, Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, and others. But like Zwick’s movies, which have tended to be not just entertaining but about something, the book goes beyond these Hollywood insider tales. It’s a reflective and instructive examination of his own evolution as a filmmaker and professional storyteller. And it’s a rumination on what’s become of the business of moviemaking—how hard it actually is to get anything made, given the budget issues, studio demands, and capriciousness of actors.
Traveling around the country 14 years ago for her first book, The Grace of Silence, Michele Norris, to draw people in, asked them to offer their reflections on identity—in just six words. This led eventually to what Norris named The Race Card Project, which has continued to invite six-word thoughts on race from people around the world. More than half-a-million have participated in the project. Our Hidden Conversations shares many of the responses along with their back stories. It’s a fascinating, illuminating read that provides crucial insights into how considerations of race, ethnicity, identity, and class affect our lives. It’s also a beautifully designed volume, with photos, illustrations, and attractive graphics that give the work the look of an expansive, elegant scrapbook.
Journalist David Herszenhorn has spent years following Russia. In The Dissident, he profiles the country’s leading political prisoner and Vladimir Putin’s foremost opponent. Herszenhorn makes clear at the outset that Alexey Navalny doesn’t like the term “dissident,” preferring to be known as a politician and the undisputed leader of Russia’s opposition. As courageous and defiant as Navalny has been speaking out against tyranny and official corruption—and now enduring a long prison sentence on trumped-up charges of fraud, embezzlement, and extremism—he’s depicted in this balanced biography as a complicated and paradoxical figure, with a history of nativist and nationalistic views that have made him at times problematic for some in the West. Herszenhorn’s authoritative book goes a long way toward a better understanding of both Navalny and the Russia that sadly remains far from Navalny’s aspirational view of it.