New in Paperback: ‘First Principles’ and ‘The Searcher’

By Jennifer Krauss

COLLECTED STORIES, by Shirley Hazzard. Edited by Brigitta Olubas. Foreword by Zoë Heller. (Picador, 368 pp., $18.) Gathered into a single “important and elegant volume,” as the Times critic Dwight Garner called it, the National Book Award-winning Australian American writer’s short stories from the 1960s (before she turned to novels) show “a mature talent,” dispensing “intelligence and irony as if each were fresh herbs in a reticule she kept tied to the belt of her dress.”

FIRST PRINCIPLES: What America’s Founders Learned From the Greeks and Romans and How That Shaped Our Country, by Thomas E. Ricks. (Harper Perennial, 416 pp., $18.99.) A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist tracks the intellectual journeys of our first four presidents by focusing on the “underappreciated” influence that the classics exerted on their thinking.

MEDIOCRE: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America, by Ijeoma Oluo. (Seal Press, 336 pp., $17.99.) For many, this cultural, political and historical “reckoning” with white men by the author of “So You Want to Talk About Race” will “appear to be a closed fist,” Brittney Cooper wrote in her review, “but for the keen eye, it is an open hand,” inviting us to help “pull these men, and the country they are so ready to take with them, back from the precipice.”

DEARLY: New Poems, by Margaret Atwood. (Ecco, 144 pp., $16.99.) In her 16th collection of poems, many concerned with ecology and time, and “how the present moment, ‘our too-brief history,’ will look in the future,” our reviewer, Emilia Phillips, observed, we see Atwood “at the height of her poetic powers,” skewering the world with “her fantastically sharp imagination.”

THE SADDEST WORDS: William Faulkner’s Civil War, by Michael Gorra. (Liveright, 448 pp., $18.95.) Gorra’s “well-conceived, exhaustively researched book” — part literary biography, part Civil War history — is “rich in insight,” according to our reviewer, Ayana Mathis, plus “timely and essential,” as we again confront slavery’s stain and “who among us should enjoy [citizenship’s] privileges.”

THE SEARCHER, by Tana French. (Penguin, 464 pp., $18.) “An audacious departure” for French, this Irish western whose title summons John Ford is “unusually contemplative and visual,” Janet Maslin noted in The Times. Featuring a recently divorced and newly retired Chicago cop, it “steps back to examine the policing powers” French “has traditionally taken for granted.” It’s also a “foray into the natural world, which is so welcome right now.”

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