A Monitor guide to the bestsellers

Hardcover Nonfiction

1. STUPID WHITE MEN New Review

Last Week: 1

Weeks on List: 7

by Michael Moore

Regan Books, $24.95

Filmmaker and activist Michael Moore is no fan of George W. Bush. But the "stolen" election of 2000 is just one of the targets in his latest book, which also includes essays on why men are facing extinction and the "truth" about recycling. Moore offers plenty of suggestions for how Americans can get off the couch and make a difference. But his assessment of the state of the nation suffers for its lack of reference to the events of Sept. 11, which happened after the book was written. (304 pp.) By Kim Campbell

The Christian Science Monitor: Mixed review

The New York Times: No review noted

Kirkus Review of Books: No review noted

Pittsburgh Post Gazette: Unfavorable review

2. SELF MATTERS New Review

Weeks on List: 10

by Phillip C. McGraw

Free Press, $25

A perennial Oprah Winfrey guest, McGraw offers his latest self-helper: a mix of bumper-sticker simplicity ("Life is not a dress rehearsal") and thought-provoking exercises to encourage an awareness of unhealthy behaviors and a movement toward a more "authentic" self. In this workshop approach, readers define and examine the 10 most important moments, critical decisions, and influential people in their lives. While its style can be uneven, the book is readable and its authoritative voice empowering. (336 pp.) By Michele Babineau

The Christian Science Monitor: Mixed review

The New York Times: No review noted

Kirkus Review of Books: No review noted

Buffalo News: Mixed review

3. THE WISDOM OF MENOPAUSE

Weeks on List: 20

by Christiane Northrup

Bantam, $27.95

The author of the bestselling "Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom" tackles the dreaded "M" word. Northrop, who made her reputation as an out-of-the-box physician, treats menopause not as a problem, but as a second adolescence and rebirth. She uses personal experience candidly: "I vowed that I wouldn't write a book on this subject until I entered the process myself." Drawing on case histories and anecdotes, the book addresses issues from hormone replacement to relationship stress. (608 pp.) By Samar Farah

The Christian Science Monitor: Mixed review

The New York Times: No review noted

Kirkus Review of Books: No review noted

4. SACRED CONTRACTS New Review

Weeks on List: 12

by Caroline Myss

Harmony, $25

This books attempts to help readers answer: Why am I here? The author claims that not knowing our spiritual purpose is at the core of poor health and relationships. But understanding your Sacred Contract to the Divine shapes direction. Readers are encouraged to decipher their Contract by using archetypes (Are you a Warrior? A Queen? An Athlete?). Heavy on dream interpretation, symbols, and mysticism, the book doesn't provide much "provable" evidence of why we are here. Prepare to scrutinize the "Self." (430 pp.) By Kendra Nordin

The Christian Science Monitor: Mixed review

The New York Times: No review noted

Kirkus Review of Books: No review noted

5. WHAT WENT WRONG New Review

Last Week: 4

Weeks on List: 9

by Bernard Lewis

Oxford Univ. Press, $23

As multitudes throng bookstores and libraries in search of answers to President Bush's question, "Why do they hate us?" Lewis will be one source they turn to. "What Went Wrong?" assumes something did go wrong in the Middle East, not in the months or years leading up to Sept. 11 but starting in the late Middle Ages when Muslim progress in science seemed to halt. This, combined with a notable lack of curiosity with the "infidel" lands to the West, kept Islamic civilization on the sidelines. (Full review Feb. 28) (192 pp.) By Ruth Walker

The Christian Science Monitor: Favorable review

The New York Times: Unfavorable review

Kirkus Review of Books: No review noted

National Post: Unfavorable review

6. BIAS: A CBS INSIDER EXPOSES HOW THE MEDIA DISTORT

Last Week: 8

Weeks on List: 14

by Bernard Goldberg, Regnery

$27.95

It's taken as an article of faith among conservatives that mainstream media slant news coverage to the left. Goldberg aims to confirm those suspicions. Anyone expecting a book-length academic study of bias in reporting will be disappointed, as Goldberg instead highlights several high-profile issues such as AIDS and homelessness. If the book has a weakness, it's the personal way Goldberg went about documenting what happened to him at CBS after he dared to raise the bias issue. (232 pp.) By Steve Martinovich

The Christian Science Monitor: Mixed review

The New York Times: Mixed review

Kirkus Review of Books: No review noted

Wall Street Journal: Favorable review

7. BLINDED BY THE RIGHT New Review

Last Week: 5

Weeks on List: 3

by David Brock

Crown, $25.95

This is the confession of David Brock, a self-described "right-wing hit man" responsible for trashing Anita Hill and digging up some of the most sordid tales on Bill Clinton in Arkansas. A gay man disenchanted with the conservative movement, Brock turns on his former allies with the same cynical fury once reserved for his liberal enemies. He shows how mere innuendo or outright lies were transformed into weapons for conservatives hungry to discredit the Clintons and for journalists eager for scandal. (368 pp.) By Seth Stern

The Christian Science Monitor: Mixed review

The New York Times: Favorable review

Kirkus Review of Books: No review noted

Los Angeles Times: Favorable review

8. GET WITH THE PROGRAM

Last Week: 3

Weeks on List: 5

by Bob Greene

Simon & Schuster, $24

Like the others in the daunting mix of self-help and diet books, this one purports to offer that elusive key to "losing weight and staying fit." Its four-phase regimen will keep readers mentally – if not physically – occupied, with pages of ditto-sheet busywork, self-quizzes, journal entries, and food and exercise dos and don'ts. At least it doesn't promise overnight fixes or ask us to consume endless amounts of meat, oil, and cheese like the high-protein diets. It puts the onus on readers to make permanent changes. (224 pp.) By Stephanie Cook

The Christian Science Monitor: Unfavorable review

The New York Times: No review noted

Kirkus Review of Books: No review noted

USA Today: Favorable review

9. THE UNIVERSE IN A NUTSHELL

Last Week: 9

Weeks on List: 44

by Stephen Hawking

Bantam, $35

Hawking has striven to write another accessible book about theoretical physics, structuring the chapters as stand-alone units. From Einstein's theory of relativity to Hawking's own interest in time travel, the book tries to remain digestible to the average reader but often fails. The narrative of superstrings and multiple histories bogs down at times with its inherent complexity. The layout, however, is superb. Vivid, sometimes fanciful illustrations make this a gorgeous book to look at in any dimension. (224 pp.) By Tonya Miller

The Christian Science Monitor: Mixed review

The New York Times: No review noted

Kirkus Review of Books: No review noted

Los Angeles Times: Unfavorable review

10. WHO MOVED MY CHEESE?

Last Week: 12

Weeks on List: 60

by Spencer Johnson

Putnam, $19.95

Using a children's-book style, Johnson tells the story of two mice and two mini-men, and their never-ending search for cheese. The cheese represents the things people want from life, and the characters portray all the patterns we fall into as we search for our cheese. The format makes the book's "keep life moving by overcoming fear" philosophy easy to remember. This quick read of simple ideas will provide at least one character to relate to and some advice to hold onto during a busy day. (94 pp.) By Christy Ellington

The Christian Science Monitor: Mixed review

The New York Times: No review noted

Kirkus Review of Books: No review noted

USA Today: Mixed review

11. KNIGHT: A COACH'S LIFE New Review

Weeks on List: 1

by Bob Knight and Bob Hammel

Dunne Books, $25.95

This book is more a rebuttal to Bob Knight's many critics than a standard sports autobiography. While the media have focused on Knight's courtside outbursts, his supporters will find here details on his Midwestern roots and longtime coaching success at Indiana, the epicenter of college basketball – in winning games and recruiting true scholar-athletes. Others will enjoy the name-dropping – fly-fishing with Ted Williams and golfing with former President George Bush. (320 pp.) By Leigh Montgomery

The Christian Science Monitor: Favorable review

The New York Times: No review noted

Kirkus Review of Books: No review noted

San Diego Union-Tribune: Favorable review

12. THE NATURAL: THE MISUNDERSTOOD PRESIDENCY OF BILL CLINTON

Weeks on List: 1

by Joe Klein

Doubleday, $22

Klein, who gave an anonymous account of candidate Bill Clinton in "Primary Colors," provides a bookend summary of Clinton's presidency. You won't learn anything new in this brief account from a journalist who fell for Clinton early, grew disenchanted later, and finally landed somewhere in the middle. But it's a good summary of what Clinton accomplished and left unfinished. "Amid the dashed hopes and scandals and the bitterness, a great deal of real work was done," Klein writes. (208 pp.) By Seth Stern

The Christian Science Monitor: Favorable review

The New York Times: Unfavorable review

Kirkus Review of Books: Favorable review

The Oregonian: Unfavorable review

13. NIGGER: THE STRANGE CAREER OF A TROUBLESOME WORD

Weeks on List: 3

by Randall Kennedy

Pantheon $22

Kennedy charts the origins and use of what is perhaps the English language's ugliest word. He charts its appearance as a racial epithet among whites in the 19th century, and its more recent appropriation among blacks. As a Harvard law professor, he focuses much attention on the word's appearance in the courts – as both a sign of injustice and a source of conflict today. The language in the book isn't nearly as inflammatory as the title – though you may feel ashamed displaying even the dust jacket in public. (256 pp.) By Seth Stern

The Christian Science Monitor: Mixed review

The New York Times: Unfavorable review

Kirkus Review of Books: Favorable review

14. THE POWER OF NOW New Review

by Eckhart Tolle

New World Library, $21.95

Enlightenment. There's a plethora of theories on how to reach it, but Tolle claims to have attained it – and to be able to show others how to do the same. His method: meditation of the "NOW." By stilling the madness of mall-on-Christmas-Eve thoughts scurrying about in your head at any given time and focusing only on the now, Tolle claims that you can find out what's real and what's just the imposition of the many noisy thoughts that are constantly bogging you down. (193 pp.) By Christy Ellington

The Christian Science Monitor: Mixed review

The New York Times: No review noted

Kirkus Review of Books: No review noted

14. BREAKING CLEAN New Review

Last Week: 14

Weeks on List: 2

by Judy Blunt

Alfred A. Knopf, $24

In remote Montana where she grew up, "a good story rose to the surface of conversation like heavy cream," writes Blunt in her memoir of life on a cattle ranch. She may have rejected much of her upbringing, but the ability to tell a story apparently came with the territory. She paints a picture, not only of a lonely, tough life for women, but also of a tight-knit community and fierce self-reliance. This book, rich with evocative details and wry humor, is a vivid portrait of a strong-willed, independent woman. (320 pp.) By Amanda Paulson

The Christian Science Monitor: Favorable review

The Christian Science Monitor: Favorable review

The New York Times: Favorable review

Kirkus Review of Books: Favorable review

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