The Hidden History of Burma & Margaret Thatcher: An Authorized Biography are listed on The New York Times Recommended 9 New Books This Week

This week’s recommended titles tilt heavily toward world affairs, although just for fun we throw in at least one book about the extramarital kind as well. First the global stuff: Charles Moore concludes his magisterial biography of Margaret Thatcher with a third volume, “Herself Alone”; Thant Myint-U shows how Burma’s colonial history plays into that country’s current spasms toward democracy; James Verini offers a look at the battle against the Islamic State and the long history of the city of Mosul; and the artist Odyr interprets George Orwell’s classic “Animal Farm,” an allegory of authoritarian rule and Stalinist repression. On the home front, Adrienne Brodeur’s memoir, “Wild Game,” recounts how her mother enlisted her as an adolescent to help cover up her torrid affair. Other books we recommend this week include novels by Lara Vapnyar and Carol Anshaw, and memoirs by the nurse Molly Case and the “Queer Eye” grooming expert Jonathan Van Ness.

THE HIDDEN HISTORY OF BURMA: Race, Capitalism, and the Crisis of Democracy in the 21st Century, by Thant Myint-U. (Norton, $27.95.) This book’s focus is on the convulsions of the last 15 years, from a seemingly unshakable military dictatorship to the beginnings of democratic rule, but examining the legacy of Burma’s colonial past is crucial to grasping what’s happened more recently. It is “an urgent book about a heavy subject,” our critic Jennifer Szalai writes, by “a writer with a humane sensibility and a delicate yet pointed touch.”

MARGARET THATCHER: The Authorized Biography — Herself Alone, by Charles Moore. (Knopf, $40.) The third, and concluding, volume of this enormous biographical project, taking Thatcher from her third election victory in 1987 to her death in 2013, reveals a complex figure who had a lasting and lastingly controversial impact on her country and on history. Benjamin Schwarz, reviewing it, says that Moore “has produced a scrupulously evenhanded work. His use of evidence, absorbed from vast archival sources and hundreds of interviews, is punctilious, his judgments measured, his wit dry and sympathetic, his prose classically balanced. This sonorous, authoritative biography makes no empty claim to definitiveness. But it is a work for the ages: It will be the font from which every serious appraisal of Thatcher and Thatcher’s Britain draws.”


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