THE MONITOR'S GUIDE TO BESTSELLERS

HARDCOVER NONFICTION

b = Favorable review

n = Unfavorable review

M = Mixed review

- = No review noted

The Christian Science Monitor; The New York Times; Kirkus Review of Books; Los Angeles; *Selected reviews

*Seattle Times; Atlanta Constitution; Tampa Tribune; Chicago Tribune; Asutin American Statesman; St. Louis Post-Dispatch; Detroit News; Houston Chronicle; Detroit Free Press; Baltimore Sun; Boston Globe; Des Moines Register

1] -

1

IN CONTEMPT, by Christopher A Darden, Regan, $26

Tell-all books about the O.J. Simpson trial are as plentiful these days as spring buds. But this effort by prosecutor Chris Darden rises above the rest. Darden's direct style, and his willingness to confront the racism shown by both blacks and whites in this case, make for compelling reading. Particularly interesting are Darden's views about the way the media coverage affected the trial, and how Johnnie Cochrane manipulated racial tension to his client's advantage. Some vulgar language. By Tom Regan.

b

-

b

-

M

ST

2] 1

2

BLOOD SPORT, by James B. Stewart, Simon & Schuster, $25

Interviewing most of the participants in Arkansas and Washington (with the notable exception of the Clintons), and relying on documentary evidence from government, banking, and individual sources, Stewart provides an excellent guide through the tangled issues that together have become known as Whitewater. Stewart's sorting out of the various facets of the scandal leaves much to the judgment of the reader and, of course, the courts. A fair account of Whitewater. By Lawrence J. Goodrich

b

b

-

b

b

AC

3] 2

155

MEN ARE FROM MARS, WOMEN ARE FROM VENUS, by John Gray, HarperCollins, $23

Written more for the female audience, this easy-to-read guide helps men and women better understand how the other sex communicates. Although redundant and sometimes stereotypical, it goes beyond psychobabble. Gray, who has written an assortment of books on this topic, explores such issues as the difference between a man's silence and a woman's, why men and women resist the other sex's solutions, and how a man reacts when a woman needs to talk. By Shelley Donald Coolidge

b

-

-

-

b

TT

4] 3

10

Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot AND OTHER OBSERVATIONS, by Al Franken, Delacort, $21.95

Uncivil discourse in the public square continues. This time it is the left's turn to accuse, insult, ridicule and poke fun at political opponents. Rush Limbaugh and an assortment of conservative politicians and policies are the targets. At its best, this book reads like a stand-up comedy act in a nightclub. (Franken won an Emmy for the TV program "Saturday Night Live.") At its worst, it is payback, a collection of leftist bombast as strident and partisan as the polemics broadcast daily on talk-radio. By Jim Bencivenga

n

-

-

-

n

CT

5] 4

58

THE SEVEN SPIRITUAL LAWS OF SUCCESS, by Deepak Chopra, New World Library, $12.95

Chopra draws points from Eastern philosophies and practices such as Taoism, Vedic Science, meditation, and karma and distills them into a new-age seven-step program. The logic is at times circular and simplistic, and Chopra's attempts to incorporate The Bible and Christian tradition into his text are uneven at best. Nonetheless, while not original, many of the espoused ideas - prayer, generosity, and a nonjudgmental and positive outlook - certainly have merit. By Yvonne Zipp

M

-

-

-

-

6] 5

13

THE WAY OF THE WIZARD, by Deepak Chopra, Harmony, $15.95

A follow-up to the best-selling "The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success," Deepak Chopra's newest book is aimed at people wishing to transform their lives. Based on the teachings of the legendary wizard Merlin, the 20 lessons are intended to be stepping stones to personal and spiritual fulfillment - a tall order likely to leave most readers disappointed. But the underlying theme is helpful to remember: If you want to change the world, change your attitude toward it. By Suzanne MacLachlan

M

-

M

-

M

AS

7] 11

5

UNDAUNTED COURAGE, by Stephen E. Ambrose, Simon & Schuster, $27.50

Lewis and Clark. Stephen Ambrose tells the story with a zest for detail, and a feel for the humanity of Meriwether Lewis and his patron, Thomas Jefferson, that make the history sing and sigh, groan and breathe. If you think you already know the tale, think again. If you've heard about it but never read much about it, here's the chance to go along on an epic journey that helped mold not only the new nation, but the American character itself, with its manifest strengths - and frailties. By Keith Henderson

b

-

b

-

b

SL

8] 6

9

How Could You Do That?!, by Laura Schlessinger, HarperCollins, $22

Radio host Laura Schlessinger follows-up her bestseller "Ten Stupid Things Women Do to Mess Up Their Lives," with this look at morality. Her message: Living happily means making choices - often between short-term pleasure and long-term consequences. She doesn't mince words when explaining that people's actions should more frequently be based on character, courage, and conscience. This quick read is full of strong opinions, religious undertones, and advice she's given callers. By Kim Campbell

M

-

-

-

M

DN

9] 8

11

IT TAKES A VILLAGE, by Hillary Rodham Clinton, Simon & Schuster, $20

"It Takes a Village: And Other Lessons Children Teach Us," conveys the personal views and experiences of the first lady about what matters in the rearing of children. Relatively free from jargon, it concerns the complex social issues of child rearing. Comprehensive and topical, if not original; breezy and conversational in a didactic way; autobiographical, yet clearly the work of a policy wonk shaping national policy; this book concerns a subject that should have no rival for our attention. By Jim Bencivenga

M

b

-

b

n

HC

10] 10

26

EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE, by Daniel Goleman, Bantam, $23.95

Goleman asserts that IQ is not destiny; emotional intelligence, the ability to be cool in a bind and make clear decisions, is equally important in a good life. The theories about brain architecture are less interesting than examples of emotional control that establishes solid relationships and cooperation among people. He says those lacking self-control are morally deficient and the conclusions of scientists do not limit one's prospects for success, no matter how troubled one's childhood. By David Holmstrom

b

b

b

M

M

DP

11] 7

5

THE ZONE by Barry Sears, HarperCollins, $22

This book purports to counteract the genetic programming of disease, excessive weight, loss of mental proficiency and physical performance through diet. The author develops a theory of "food as drug" that promises optimal health when eating the right foods in the right proportions. Contains minute technical details of disease, case studies, and a road map for achieving life in the "Zone," a state of being suggesting the perfect union of body and mind. By Jim Bencivenga

M

-

-

-

n

BS

12] -

1

SIMPLE ABUNDANCE, by Sarah Ban Breathnach, Warner, $17.95

A spiritual self-help book for the "modern woman," a how-to book that offers to overcome stress and assist in self-discovery with topical readings on gratitude, simplicity, order, harmony, beauty, and joy. There is a reading for each day of the calendar year. Like modern gold-mining - 30 tons of shoveled dirt to find one ounce of gold - there are pages of platitudes before hitting an original insight. Author's appearance on Oprah Winfrey show catapulted this book onto bestseller lists. By Jim Bencivenga

M

-

-

-

-

13] 9

3

100 YEARS, 100 STORIES, by George Burns, Putnam, $15.95

What do you do on the 100th annivsersary of your birth? If you are George Burns you write a book, a funny book. You tell 100 sidetickling vignettes from your and your wife's lives. Humor becomes a history lesson on modern American show business. Changing tastes, changing styles, but still Burns's dry wit. As when he sought a $1 million dollar insurance policy for his voice. He sang. His insurance agent said: "Mr. Burns, you should have come to us before you had the accident." By Jim Bencivenga

b

b

b

b

b

BG

14] 12

90

MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL, by John Berendt, Random House $23

This zany portrait of Savannah, Ga., sings with wonderfully original characters. It tells the universal tale of small-town life in which neighborly rivalries and gossip are residents' pastimes. But Savannah's characters are even more outrageous - sometimes more sensuous - than those of most small towns: from a good natured con-man who invites the town to raucous parties in other peoples' houses to "The Lady Chablis" - a drag queen who crashes debutant balls. By Abraham McLaughlin

b

-

b

b

-

15] 14

6

YOU'LL NEVER MAKE LOVE IN THIS TOWN AGAIN, by Robin, Liza, Linda & Tiffany, Dove, $22.95

Drugs, drink, and deviant sex, Hollywood-style. Four prostitutes reveal names and sexual practices of the rich and famous men who have hired them - actors, directors, business tycoons. The women loftily claim they are telling their sad, sordid stories to keep other young innocents from repeating their mistakes. But their book, filled with sadomasochism and bisexuality, is primarily about titillation and revenge. Hollywood unclothed is an ugly place. By Marilyn Gardner

n

-

-

n

M

DM

MONITOR'S PICK: FOUNDING FATHER: REDISCOVERING GEORGE WASHINGTON, by Richard Brookhiser, Free Press, $25

TO a generation weaned on multiculturalism, talk-show emotings, and "just do it" impulsiveness, this moral biography of George Washington extols the first president's unique manner of leadership. Richard Brookhiser traces Washington's roots to classical Rome; admires his Christian courtesy; holds him aloft as the paragon of republican liberty.

"Founding Father: Rediscovering George Washington" divides neatly into three sections: career, character, and founding father. The first section "surveys what [Washington] did during the Revolutionary War, the debate over the Constitution, and his presidency." It examines his military training, the allegiance shown him by his troops, his two terms as president, and his voluntary retirement from public service.

The second section selects personal details of Washington's life solely for the purpose of illuminating their influence on his public career.

The final section stresses his political patrimony. It suggests the appropriateness of Washington, the man Congress acclaimed as "first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen" as a suitable exemplar for redressing the sorry state of paternity today. Brookhiser does not opt for an anachronistic model, and suggests how we might better address the many doubts about modern fatherhood (and motherhood).

This slim, graceful volume is readable in one sitting. The style is muscular and discursive, yet unaffectedly erudite, intended to influence readers young and old.

BESTSELLER RANKING FROM PUBLISHERS WEEKLY APRIL 1, 1996

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