June 25, 2015 7:38 AM EDT

CALIFORNIA

Michael Hiltzik goes behind the laboratory revolution that brought us modern warfare in Big Science.

MONTANA

The Nez Percé War comes in for a brilliant (1,376 pages!) examination in William T. Vollmann’s The Dying Grass.

HAWAII

William Finnegan’s life story, Barbarian Days, includes years of youthful surfing in the Pacific.

TEXAS

From Today to yesterday: forecaster Al Roker recounts 1900’s Galveston hurricane in The Storm of the Century.

MAINE

Forget “Vacationland”: Ann Beattie’s short-story collection The State We’re In proves her subtle, dark mastery.

NORTH CAROLINA

Pulitzer winner David McCullough returns with The Wright Brothers, the Kitty Hawk boys.

NEW YORK

Stephanie Clifford’s Everybody Rise is a Manhattan-set class satire with the bite to satisfy postrecession readers.

This appears in the July 06, 2015 issue of TIME.

Contact us at letters@time.com.

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