Notable books for the week of July 13, 1990 -- Short reviews on recently released titles

Notable books for the week of July 13, 1990


* American Cassandra: The Life of Dorothy Thompson Peter Kurth (Little, Brown, $22.95) A meticulously researched biography of ”The First Lady of American Journalism.” B

* Because It Is Bitter, and Because It Is My Heart Joyce Carol Oates (Dutton, $19.95) The masterful realist at the peak of her powers. Comparisons with Balzac, Dickens, and Hardy are not farfetched. A

* The Burden of Proof Scott Turow (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $22.95) Although The Burden of Proof lacks the surefire thriller devices that helped make Presumed Innocent such a commanding piece of storytelling, readers who persevere will be rewarded. B

* Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton Edward Rice (Scribner’s, $35) A sturdy, fascinating biography of the most daring and dashing of the Victorian scholar-adventurers. B

* The Dark Romance of Dian Fossey Harold T.P. Hayes (Simon & Schuster, $21.95) An engrossing read about the life and murder of Dian Fossey, the courageous but troubled champion of Rwanda’s mountain gorillas. A-

* Disturbing the Peace Vaclav Havel; translated by Paul Wilson (Knopf, $19.95) Readers interested in learning more about this most reluctant of political heroes will find no better place to begin than this memoir/interview. A-

* Family Pictures Sue Miller (Harper & Row, $19.95) An ordinary Chicago family with an autistic child-a loving, suffering family that endures and tries to learn. A

* Father, Son & Co: My Life at IBM and Beyond Thomas J. Watson Jr. And Peter Petre (Bantam, $22.95) Beach reading for people interested in IBM or the early history of computers or Tom Watson. B-

* The Folks That Live on the Hill Kingsley Amis (Summit Books, $18.95) Uniquely splenetic, yet ultimately forgiving, satire. Vintage Amis. B+

* An Inconvenient Woman Dominick Dunne (Crown, $19.95) Dunne’s most recent chronicle of well-heeled heels. B

* The Innocent Ian McEwan (Doubleday, $18.95) Far more than a very intelligent thriller, The Innocent is also a haunting black comedy charged with psychological complexity, sex, and suspense. A

* Raw, Vol. 2, No. 2 (Penguin, $14.95) Offbeat stories and drawings by an international group of artists who prefer the punkish, eclectic look of the word ”commix” to the old- fashioned ”comics” label. A

* Rolling Stone Magazine: The Uncensored History Robert Draper (Doubleday, $19.95) A passionate account of the magazine’s tumultuous 23 years. B

* Slim: Memories of a Rich and Imperfect Life Slim Keith with Annette Tapert (Simon & Schuster, $22.95) An irresistible combination of salty wit, down-to-earth honesty, and great photographs. B+

* Writers in Hollywood, 1915-1951 Ian Hamilton (Harper & Row, $22.50) A spottily entertaining look at the odd coupling of literature and lotusland. B


* China: Alive in the Bitter Sea Fox Butterfield (Times Books, $24.95) A reissue of the 1982 National Book Award winner, with an epilogue about the democracy movement.

* The Fall of the House of Hutton Donna Sammons Carpenter and John Feloni (Perennial, paperback, $10.95) A day- by-day account of the people and deals that brought a venerable brokerage firm to its knees.

/ * The Five of Hearts: An Intimate Portrait of Henry Adams and His Friends 1880-1918 Patricia O’Toole (Clarkson Potter, $25) The lives and doings of an extraordinary circle of friends who operated at the center of American political and cultural life.

* The Loaves and Fishes Party Cookbook Anna Pump and Sybille Pump, with Gen LeRoy (Harper & Row, $19.95) Recipes for gatherings both large (”Cocktail Party on the Lawn for Forty”) and small (”Christmas Dinner for Eight”) from a Long Island caterer.

* Radical Rags: Fashions of the Sixties Joel Lobenthal (Abbeville Press, paperback, $29.95) From paper dresses to Mary Quant.

* Unauthorized America: A Travel Guide to the Places the Chamber of Commerce Won’t Tell You About Vince Staten (Harper & Row, paperback, $9.95) If you want to visit the intersection where Zsa Zsa slapped the policeman, or the grave of Checkers (”the dog who saved Richard Nixon’s career”), or the site of J.D. Salinger’s last interview (given in 1953, to the Claremont Daily Eagle), this is your book.