Top Picks: James Lee Burke's newest mystery, the Civil Wars' new album, and more

PBS honors the March on Washington with a new documentary, the app Buycott tells you how to support your beliefs with the right food companies, and more top picks.

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Remembering the March

PBS honors the 50th anniversary of the civil rights March on Washington with The March on Aug. 27. Coproduced by Robert Redford, among others, the documentary retells the dramatic events of that historic timethrough the eyes of participants such as Julian Bond and Andrew Young – as well as a parade of luminaries, including Harry Belafonte and Oprah Winfrey. Calling the march the culmination of 100 years of activism against discrimination in the United States, this film is a tribute to the towering figures of that time.

Where Muhammad walked

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In The Life of Muhammad, a three-part series debuting Aug. 20, PBS explores the story of the founder of Islam. Filmed on location in Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, Jerusalem, the United States, and Britain, the series is both historical and scholarly as it takes viewers on a journey along the ancient paths walked by Muhammad and top scholars share their insights on modern and ancient Islam. It’s a timely window into such topics as Muslim attitudes toward women, charity, religious tolerance, and war and peace.

Pop fiction

Cajun cop Dave Robicheaux returns in Light of the World, by James Lee Burke, having survived a bayou shootout in his last outing. This time, he and partner Clete Purcel have retreated from Louisiana to a friend’s Montana ranch for a bit of R&R. That, of course, doesn’t last, with malevolent billionaires, ex-cons, and a slipshod sheriff complicating matters. Burke remains a clear-eyed realist when it comes to violence and the haunted conscience, but his descriptions of the natural world are just as powerful.

What not to buy

Buycott wants shoppers to vote with their dollars. First, tell the free app which social movements you care about: animal welfare, gay rights, labeling genetically modified foods, or dozens of other campaigns. Then scan the bar codes of your groceries to find out if the companies behind those products support or oppose your stances. The app (available for Apple and Android devices) lays out most of its research, allowing you to decide where your morals lie.

Flying aces

Missions That Changed the War: Germany’s Last Ace is a powerful documentary about three flying aces who played decisive roles in the last days of World War II. Narrated by Gary Sinise, the film details the events leading up to May 12, 1944 – the day Germany lost the war. Interviews with German and American airmen combined with battle footage make this a rare snapshot of war from the point of view of those who engaged the enemy and lived to tell about it. It’s on DVD from Athena Aug. 27.

Heartbreaking duo

Listening to their self-titled sophomore album, The Civil Wars, knowing that Joy Williams and John Paul White are no longer speaking to each other is confusing, to say the least. No duo has ever made more intimate music, seductively weaving their voices in intricate harmonies, most notably on the standouts “The One That Got Away” and “Dust to Dust.” Never has a breakup sounded so beautiful.

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