Book cover of Dead in the Water: A True Story of Hijacking, Murder, and a Global Maritime Conspiracy by Matthew Campbell
Business & Money

Dead in the Water: A True Story of Hijacking, Murder, and a Global Maritime Conspiracy

In July 2011, the oil tanker Brillante Virtuoso was drifting through the treacherous Gulf of Aden when a crew of pirates attacked and set her ablaze in a devastating explosion. But when David Mockett, a maritime surveyor working for Lloyd’s of London, inspected the damaged vessel, he was left with more questions than answers. How had the pirates gotten aboard so easily? And if they wanted to steal the ship and bargain for its return, then why did they destroy it? The questions didn’t add up—and Mockett would never answer them. Soon after his inspection, David Mockett was murdered.  […Learn More]

Book cover of In the Forest of No Joy: The Congo-Océan Railroad and the Tragedy of French Colonialism by J. P. Daughton
Africa

In the Forest of No Joy: The Congo-Océan Railroad and the Tragedy of French Colonialism

The epic story of the Congo-Océan railroad and the human costs and contradictions of modern empire.

The Congo-Océan railroad stretches across the Republic of Congo from Brazzaville to the Atlantic port of Pointe-Noir. It was completed in 1934, when Equatorial Africa was a French colony, and it stands as one of the deadliest construction projects in history. Colonial workers were subjects of an ostensibly democratic nation whose motto read “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity,” but liberal ideals were savaged by a cruelly indifferent administrative state. […Learn More]

Book cover of One Hundred and Sixty Minutes: The Race to Save the RMS Titanic by William Hazelgrove
Engineering & Transportation

One Hundred and Sixty Minutes: The Race to Save the RMS Titanic

One hundred and sixty minutes. That is all the time rescuers would have before the largest ship in the world slipped beneath the icy Atlantic. There was amazing heroism and astounding incompetence against the backdrop of the most advanced ship in history sinking by inches with luminaries from all over the world. It is a story of a network of wireless operators on land and sea who desperately sent messages back and forth across the dark frozen North Atlantic to mount a rescue mission. […Learn More]

Book cover of Pipe Dreams: The Urgent Global Quest to Transform the Toilet by Chelsea Wald
Biological Sciences

Pipe Dreams: The Urgent Global Quest to Transform the Toilet

Most of us do not give much thought to the centerpiece of our bathrooms, but the toilet is an unexpected paradox. On the one hand, it is a modern miracle: a ubiquitous fixture in a vast sanitation system that has helped add decades to the human life span by reducing disease. On the other hand, the toilet is also a tragic failure: less than half of the world’s population can access a toilet that safely manages body waste, including many right here in the United States. And it is inefficient, squandering clean water as well as the nutrients, energy, and information contained in the stuff we flush away. […Learn More]

Book cover of The Plaza: The Secret Life of America's Most Famous Hotel by Julie Satow
Business & Money

The Plaza: The Secret Life of America’s Most Famous Hotel

Journalist Julie Satow’s thrilling, unforgettable history of how one illustrious hotel has defined our understanding of money and glamour, from the Gilded Age to the Go-Go Eighties to today’s Billionaire Row.
From the moment in 1907 when New York millionaire Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt strode through the Plaza Hotel’s revolving doors to become its first guest, to the afternoon in 2007 when a mysterious Russian oligarch paid a record price for the hotel’s largest penthouse, the eighteen-story white marble edifice at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 59th Street has radiated wealth and luxury. […Learn More]