Michelle Obama had style before she became First Lady, but now everyone can read about her fashion choices in media from Ankara to Zaire. She has spawned her own fashion-book industry. In Michelle Style: Celebrating the First Lady of Fashion (William Morrow, $19.99), Michelle Norwood explores the designers, the clothes, and accessories that make for the First Lady’s signature look. Susan Swimmer’s Michelle Obama: First Lady of Fashion and Style (Black Dog & Leventhal, $9.95) begins with a look at previous First Ladies and then discusses what sets Michelle Obama apart. She is, after all, the first First Lady whose style has been on a par with Jacqueline Kennedy’s. Finally, there’s Mrs. O: The Face of Fashion Democracy (Center Street, $25.99) by Mary Tomer. This book goes into more detail about what makes the Michelle Obama style. Tomer talks with designers about what they see as important in Mrs. Obama’s fashion sense. The book also looks at the development of her style over time. Some of the money raised from the sale of Mrs. O goes to Dress for Success, a program that provides professional attire for women who are trying to rebuild their lives after abusive relationships or homelessness. There are lots of lovely pictures in all three books, and for fashionistas, some new ways to be stylish naturally.
Harry Truman’s Excellent Adventure (Chicago Review, $24.95) chronicles Harry and Bess Truman’s 1953 summer road trip from Independence, Missouri, to Washington, D.C. and back, from June 19 to July 8. Matthew Algeo retraces the exact route the Trumans took, providing the reader with interesting, informative, and humorous factual details about the places the couple visited along the way. What struck me most about this book was how much America has changed (and not for the better) in 56 years. Algeo does a great job taking the reader across our nation while giving us a history lesson about the towns and cities the Trumans visited, as well as updating us on what those sites are like today.
One of Jon Krakauer’s many strengths as a writer is his ability to take two stories and weave them together to make one fascinating account. In Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman (Doubleday, $27.95), the tales of Afghanistan and Pat Tillman come together tragically at a small canyon near Pakistan’s border where Tillman was killed by friendly fire from his own platoon. Krakauer discusses the subsequent military cover-up of the details of Tillman’s death and how Tillman’s family forced the truth to be told. The reporting includes hundreds of interviews, on-the-ground research in Afghanistan, and excerpts from Tillman’s journals and letters. What shines through all of this, though, is the story of a thoughtful, dedicated, and exceptional young man driven by his moral compass in all things, and the effect his brief life had on so many.