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Exploring the word

Our 2002 collection of book reviews

(Page 6 of 8)

Murray Tepper knows where to park in New York City. In the evenings, he likes to spend an hour or so in his car next to a paid-up meter, just reading the paper. So begins Trillin's perpetually amusing fable of a simple man with a simple pastime who disrupts America's biggest city. Trillin treats the Big Apple with the droll wit of James Thurber, and he knows human nature the way Tepper knows parking spots. (Jan. 24)

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WEST OF KABUL, EAST OF NEW YORK, by Tamim Ansary, FSG, $22

A raw, poignant memoir of Ansary's upbringing in Afghanistan, this book captures a lost era and one man's decades-long mourning of it. (April 11)

JAZZ MODERNISM, by Alfred Appel, Knopf, $35

A piquant, playful book that shows the parallels between key jazz influences such as Fats Waller and Louis Armstrong, and their literary and fine-arts contemporaries such as Ernest Hemingway and Henri Matisse. (Sept. 19)

BRIGHT EARTH, by Philip Ball, FSG, $30

At one time, artists were virtually chemists, Ball explains in this fascinating history of pigments and their relation to art. (March 14)

LINKED, by Albert-László Barabási, Perseus, $26

Newly discovered principles show the similarities among networks of all kinds, from the Internet to Al Qaeda. (June 6)

ETHICAL AMBITION, by Derrick Bell, Bloomsbury, $19.95

The autobiography of a law professor and civil rights lawyer, whose life demonstrates that it's possible to live a successful and virtuous life. (Oct. 10)

THE SHIELD OF ACHILLES, by Philip Bobbitt, Knopf, $40

This massive tome is really three treatises in one: a history of diplomacy from 1500 to 1990, a theory of the history of the state, and an analysis of globalization. (June 13)

THE PRIVATE LIFE OF A MASTERPIECE, by Monica Bohm-Duchen, University of California, $29.95

Lucid "biographies" of eight masterpieces - such as Van Gogh's "Sunflowers" and Munch's "The Scream. The author restores the private intimacy these works have lost through overexposure. (May 16)

THE SAVAGE WARS OF PEACE, by Max Boot, Basic Books, $30

A nuanced history of America's "small wars," little-known conflicts where the US was called upon to suppress irregular forces in inhospitable locales around the globe. (May 16)

THE LESSONS OF TERROR, by Caleb Carr Random House, $19.95

Published while smoke was still rising from the World Trade Center site, this little book shows that attacks on civilians have never accomplished their stated goals and never will. (Feb. 14)

EISENHOWER, by Carlo D'Este, Henry Holt, $35

D'Este's compelling biography eschews a look at Eisenhower's entire life, focusing instead on his early life and the resulting military career it spawned. (July 18)

SEEING IN THE DARK, by Timothy Ferris, Simon & Schuster, $26

Ferris uses the personal experiences of hundreds of backyard astronomers to explain the 20th-century revolution in spectroscopic analysis of very distant light from celestial bodies. (Sept. 5)

A CALL TO HEROISM, by Peter Gibbon, Atlantic Monthly, $25