The pick of this month’s non-fic­tion

The National - News - The Review - - Books -

English, a for­mer for­eign­news editor, tells the story of the bat­tle to save Tim­buktu’s con­sid­er­able his­toric and lit­er­ary legacy from Is­lamists, as lo­cal ar­chiv­ists risked ev­ery­thing to smug­gle manuscripts into hid­ing. Erica Ben­ner Nor­ton & Co, May 9

Po­lit­i­cal sci­en­tist and ex­pert on the fa­mous Italian Re­nais­sance diplo­mat, politi­cian and hu­man­ist Nic­colò Machi­avelli, Ben­ner de­picts her sub­ject as a pro­po­nent of lib­erty and free­dom of thought, rather than the cyn­i­cal op­er­a­tor of rep­u­ta­tion. Lee de­cides to try to mend a bro­ken heart by swim­ming the 52 lakes around the Ger­man cap­i­tal. As she nav­i­gates Ber­lin’s wilder wa­ters over the course of 12 months, what emerges is a med­i­ta­tion on iden­tity.

Be Like the Fox

Turn­ing: A Swim­ming Mem­oir Jes­sica Lee Vi­rago, May 4

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