Michael Hiltzik goes behind the laboratory revolution that brought us modern warfare in Big Science.
The Nez Percé War comes in for a brilliant (1,376 pages!) examination in William T. Vollmann’s The Dying Grass.
William Finnegan’s life story, Barbarian Days, includes years of youthful surfing in the Pacific.
From Today to yesterday: forecaster Al Roker recounts 1900’s Galveston hurricane in The Storm of the Century.
Forget “Vacationland”: Ann Beattie’s short-story collection The State We’re In proves her subtle, dark mastery.
Pulitzer winner David McCullough returns with The Wright Brothers, the Kitty Hawk boys.
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.