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Tomorrow's titles today: nuclear proliferation, Baltimore bigotry, and the failure of our schools

The following are among the new releases coming this month:

Peddling Peril: How the Secret Nuclear Trade Arms America’s Enemies
By David Albright (Free Press, $27)
March 16

No black market is more shadowy or sinister than the one for nuclear weapons. Albright, who was sent to Iraq in the mid-1990s to inspect their weapons programs, chronicles the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Pakistani nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan, nefarious European businessmen and Osama bin Laden all make an appearances in this story of how rogue states attempt to obtain nuclear weapons. Albright provides new details on the sale of nuclear technology to Libya by North Korea.

Not In My Neighborhood: How Bigotry Shaped a Great American City
By Antero Pietila (Ivan R. Dee, $28.95)
March 26

Poor Baltimore. Will it ever catch a break? Sometimes it seems the city is never shown in a flattering light. (No, the lovelorn folks in that sappy movie "He’s Just Not that Into You" do not help the cause.) Pietila, a veteran Baltimore Sun reporter, argues that dodgy and downright discriminatory housing practices throughout the 20th-century have wreaked havoc on Charm City. He writes that Jews were confined to certain neighborhoods and that Baltimore was more segregated than many in the South. From suburbanization in the late 19th-century to white flight after WWII and, more recently, the targeting of minorities with predatory sub-prime lending, the picture of Baltimore, once again, isn’t pretty.

Saving Schools: From Horace Mann to Virtual Learning
By Paul E. Peterson (Harvard UP, $25.95)
March 30

The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice are Undermining Education
By Diane Ravitch (Basic, $26.95)
March 9

Both of these books lament the state of public education in the United States. In "Saving Schools," Peterson looks at the history of schooling in America and concludes that is has been harmed by the steady ceding of the education system to state and federal governments. He believes families and communities teach their children best. He finds hope in virtual learning that can easily (and cheaply) be tailored to the needs of individual students. Ravitch argues that when it comes to school reform, too often the changes are structural (vouchers, testing, incentives, etc.), instead of curricular. Going back to the basics -- reading, writing, and arithmetic -- is the answer, according to Ravitch.

-- Stephen Lowman

By Steven E. Levingston  |  March 3, 2010; 5:15 AM ET
Categories:  Tomorrow's Titles Today  
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