LIFE OF A KLANSMAN: A Family History in White Supremacy, by Edward Ball. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $28.) Ball, who for a previous book tracked down descendants of slaves owned by his father’s side of the family, here investigates a militantly racist ancestor on his mother’s side, reminding us that this ugly family history is also that of our country. “The result is a haunting tapestry of interwoven stories that inform us not just about our past but about the resentment-bred demons that are all too present in our society today,” Walter Isaacson writes in his review.
SISTERS IN HATE: American Women on the Front Lines of White Nationalism, by Seyward Darby. (Little, Brown, $28.) Darby, a journalist, spent several years among women drawn to white supremacy. Her book, a closely observed portrait of three such women, avoids reductive theories to show the movement in its disturbing diversity. Susan Neiman, reviewing it, calls it a “superbly written” book that “undermines many common assumptions about the far right.”
THE SIRENS OF MARS: Searching for Life on Another World, by Sarah Stewart Johnson. (Crown, $28.99.) Johnson, a Georgetown planetary scientist, oscillates between a history of Mars science and an account of her own journey seeking sparks of life in the immensity. In prose that swirls with lyrical wonder, she recalls formative moments in her life and career. “Along the way,” Anthony Doerr writes in his review, “you come to appreciate the astonishing ingenuity required to safely send rovers the size of Mini Coopers several hundred million kilometers through a frozen vacuum, land them on another planet and drive them around by remote control.”
THE SMALLEST LIGHTS IN THE UNIVERSE: A Memoir, by Sara Seager. (Crown, $28.) Is there life on other planets? Is there life after the death of a spouse? In a memoir that manages to be as informative as it is moving, an astrophysicist who was widowed young, and whose career has centered on the search for another Earth, tackles big questions. Anthony Doerr, reviewing it alongside “The Sirens of Mars,” calls Seager’s book a “stark, bewitching new memoir”: “The merciless seesaw of her grief makes for harrowing reading,” Doerr writes.
THE END OF EVERYTHING: (Astrophysically Speaking), by Katie Mack. (Scribner, $26.) Many books have been written about the creation of the universe 13.8 billion years ago. But Mack, a theoretical cosmologist, is interested in how it all ends, since the equations of physics run forward as well as back. “The End of Everything” is “a pleasure,” James Gleick writes in his review. “Mack’s style is personal and often funny as she guides us along a cosmic timeline studded with scientific esoterica and mystery.”