“In the Shadow of the Sabertooth”
By Doug Peacock (Counter Punch and AK Press, $15)
About 12,000 years ago, nearing the end of the Ice Age, what naturalist Peacock describes as “a relatively stable climate,” became the Earth’s norm. But now, Peacock declares at the start of his new book, “the time of predictable global weather has ended.” Some of the culprits may not be known, but unbridled growth taxing Earth’s resources, Peacock is convinced, is one of them. The result Peacock predicts will be “widespread drought, floods, fierce storms, frigid winters in temperate zones and fiery heat … the big enchiladas of global warming.”
Peacock writes in easy, colorful prose: “These intense events can dramatically shift the limits of agriculture, create uninhabitable deserts the size of continents and break down the boundaries of what we call civilization. That this could happen within our lifetime does not seem to sharpen our perception of the threat.” An example of one animal that did not survive the last climate change is the sabertooth cat. Peacock uses the sabertooth as a cautionary symbol for the possible future of many of today’s animals, including humans.
Some animals survive change — how to achieve this flexibility? Peacock, after he concludes his survey of what anthropology has learned about our planet’s multimillion-year history, urges readers when faced with a new devastating climate change, to “fight like hell … get active, eat low on the food chain, walk, don’t drive, stay home, get green … do the small things. And always, fight to protect the wild — wilderness will buy us time.”
“Girls in the Cult,: A Journey Into Self Discovery”
By Esther Royer Ayers (Xlibris, $19.99)
Ayers, the author of “Rolling Down Black Stockings,” continues her recollections of life as a member of the Old Order Mennonites in Ohio in the second half of the 20th century. In this second volume, Ayers seems to be thinking her way through her memories. She has come to consider the Old Order Mennonites a “man-made religion,” one filled with unpredictable, arbitrary, confining rules — for example, you could have a car but not indoor plumbing. When Ayers was 16, her father died and her mother, inheriting a sizable sum of money, took her eight children and moved from the small Ohio town where they lived to Akron. It was a move that came pretty much out of the blue. The results were not uniformly salutary — the youngest child eventually committed suicide — but in part the move changed Ayers’ life dramatically and produced this absorbing and useful book.
“Rage Against the Dying”
By Becky Masterman (Minotaur Books, $24.99)
Ex-FBI agent Brigid Quinn worked on serial killers. Now out of the agency and happily married, she is called back to identify a killer who could clear a cold case. But there is something not quite right. And then another candidate turns up. Masterman, who has worked in publishing, scored a Publishers Weekly starred review for her debut thriller.
“Stephen Downing Is Dead”
By Dan Goss Anderson (Peer Publishing, $14.95)
A good, old fashioned story with some unexpected twists and turns. It opens in Tucson in 1905 (and ends many years later) as fledgling lawyer Owen Bartlett, newly arrived from Boston, takes over the defense of a Mexican accused of killing a young mining engineer. Anderson has done his historical research.
“Guns Across the Border: The Inside Story: How and Why the U.S. Government Smuggled Guns Into Mexico”
By Mike Detty (Skyhorse Publishing, $24.95)
Detty is a professional writer and gun dealer. He writes of his experiences working with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in two programs, Wide Receiver and Fast and Furious — each ostensibly aimed at catching gun traffickers supplying weapons to Mexican drug cartels. The experience left him angry and disillusioned. He is highly critical of ATF. He feels its representatives misled him, put him in danger and made promises to him that were not kept.
“The Adventures of John Quincy Quail”
By Alexis Powers, photographs by Jane McCutcheon (Self-published, $12)
Three quail hatchlings have a scary adventure — that is photographed. But all turns out well.
“Finding Frances ... Love Letters From a Flight Lieutenant”
By Catherine Harris (Outskirts Press, $19.95)
In 1942, Eric Hutchins, a cadet in the British Royal Air Force, arrived at Falcon Field in Mesa to continue his flight training. At an entertainment center established in Phoenix by the British War Relief Society, he met Frances McKenzie. Until he was listed as “missing in action,” over Germany in April 1945, he was a faithful correspondent. The letters saved by Frances and published by Hutchins’ niece, Catherine Harris, are intelligent, literate, playful and loving. And a window on the past.