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Exploring the word

Our 2002 collection of book reviews

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In this highly readable narrative, Princeton historian McPherson describes the indecisive, bloody battle that he considers the turning point of the Civil War. (Sept. 12)

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SPECIAL PROVIDENCE, by Walter Russell Mead, Knopf, $30

A senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations describes four factions that have been at work in the formation of US foreign policy throughout its history. (Jan. 10)

THE ORNAMENT OF THE WORLD, by Maria Rosa Menocal, Little, Brown, $26.95

In medieval Spain, from AD 750 to 1492, the three monotheistic faiths clashed, intermingled, and produced a rich, tolerant culture. (July 25)

LINCOLN'S VIRTUE, by William Lee Miller, Knopf, $30

Lincoln's greatness and goodness are widely known. This book seeks to explain how he got that way by peering behind his words and deeds to examine his thoughts and moral precepts. (Feb. 7)

SEARCH FOR THE GOLDEN MOON BEAR, by Sy Montgomery, Simon & Schuster, $26

A nature writer tracks an elusive and potentially new species of bear through Indochina, racing against political and culture forces that threaten to destroy the animals. (Oct. 3)

LISTENING TO WHALES, by Alexandra Morton, Ballantine, $26.95

In this coming-of-age story, a scientist finds her true calling only when she follows killer whales to their native waters. (July 18)

THE PARADOX OF AMERICAN POWER, by Joseph Nye, Oxford University, $26

A concise, well-reasoned argument for an American foreign policy that works primarily in concert with that of other nations, not as a Lone Ranger. (April 18)

THE GOD OF HOPE, by John Polkinghorne, Yale University, $19.95

Physicist and theologian Polkinghorne provides an energizing discussion of eschatology - the study of death, judgment, and the final destiny of the soul and humankind. (March 28)

A BED FOR THE NIGHT, by David Rieff, Simon & Schuster, $26.

A brutal critique of international aid efforts, which the author claims breed a culture of dependency. (Oct. 31)

GLOBALIZATION AND ITS DISCONTENTS, by Joseph Stiglitz, W.W. Norton, $24.95

A Nobel Prize-winning economist's harsh criticism of the International Monetary Fund and its policies. (June 27)


A.C. Gilbert invented the Erector set in 1913 and then went on to construct a radically new marketing strategy that spoke directly to boys and their ambitions. (Oct. 10)

COGITO, ERGO SUM, by Richard Watson, Godine, $35

This biography of mathematician and philosopher René Descartes is idiosyncratic, iconoclastic, highly personal, wildly opinionated, and informative. (June 6)

THE FUTURE OF LIFE, by Edward O. Wilson, Knopf, $22

In the midst of mass extinctions, we must be more aggressive stewards of planet Earth, Wilson argues in this elegant though sobering warning based on solid scientific research and profound moral imperatives. (Jan. 17)

THE PIRATE HUNTER, by Richard Zacks, Hyperion, $25.95

In this reexamination of the legend, Zacks argues that Captain Kidd was a respectable mariner, framed by the British government. (June 27