Off the shelf
The whys and wherefores of China's relations with other countries are under scrutiny from Zhao Quansheng in Interpreting Chinese Foreign Policy (Oxford University Press $125).
Zhao, originally from China but now in academia in the United States, provides an intellectual's view of foreign policy-making since 1949, and investigates the effects of individual decision-makers and domestic constraints on such issues.
It was not until the Cold War era that American intelligence operations took off. Despite this late start, the services quickly became the world's most technically sophisticated. In For the President's Eyes Only (HarperCollins $120), Christopher Andrew examines the influence intelligence gatherers have had on the US leader of the day - and how, in turn, the different personalities in the White House have affected the agencies.
In 1981, a new phenomenon was born: Music Television. Powered by then novel music videos, it went on to change the music industry, advertising, and to take on the world through the global spread of the channel. Monopoly Television, by Jack Banks (Westview Press $195), casts an academic eye over the cultural impact of MTV and the forces which shape the video-making process itself.
Fleur Cowles has made a name for herself as a journalist, artist and friend to the stars. In She Made Friends and Kept Them (HarperCollins $250), Cowles offers snippets about the movers and shakers she has become acquainted with over the years. The immense range of people include Isak Dinesen, Dame Lydia Dunn, Joseph McCarthy, Imelda Marcos, Gloria Swanson, Madame Chiang Kai-shek, Howard Hughes and Chris Patten.
Unorthodox Strategies for the Everyday Warrior was originally studied by those hoping to gain a good position in officialdom in ancient China. It offers a collection of tactics based on military classics but applicable to today's business world. This edition is translated by Ralph Sawyer (Westview Press $250).
In The Collapse of Barings (Arrow $119), now out in paperback, journalist Stephen Fay tackles the Nick Leeson scandal and the subsequent fall of the merchant bank. As Leeson pleaded guilty in court, many details never saw the light of day. Fay's stated aim here is to provide the case for the prosecution which was never heard.
There is an inside look at the world of flat racing in Quest for Greatness, by Laura Thompson (Michael Joseph $340). She examines the passion the sport engenders, the jockeys and the horses, particularly Lammtarra to whom she dedicates the book.
Maeve Binchy's latest, Evening Class (Orion $205), centres on adult students in Dublin who attend twice-weekly lessons in Italian and find the course changes their lives.