Windows on the World Complete Wine Course, 2003 edition, by Kevin Zraly (Sterling, $24.95).
Synopsis: The founder of the Windows on the World Wine School doesn’t let the destruction of the restaurant and the deaths of 72 coworkers interfere with the continuation of his wine series. After a suitable tribute, it’s on to “Opening Champagne Correctly.”
Representative quote: “When Sherry is made, not only do winemakers let air into the barrels, but some wine evaporates as well. Each year they lose a minimum of 3% of their Sherry to the angels.”
Noteworthy flaw: Beyond jarring juxtaposition of elegiac tribute to terror victims and fluffy piffle about tannins and how to use a corkscrew, there’s the cruel irony of the subtitle: “A Lively Guide.”
Myths of American Slavery, by, Walter D. Kennedy (Pelican, $24.95).
Synopsis: It wasn’t that bad. “The slaves of the South were treated better than the free blacks in the North.” Slaves were “cherished not only as property of high value but as loving if lowly friends.” Besides, deep down, the South was against the whole thing.
Representative quote: “No myth about the South gets more play than the myth that the South was a defender of slavery. Yet, the South was an early opponent of the African slave trade and of slavery itself.”
Noteworthy flaw: Slavery would have ended without a war if it wasn’t for those darn abolitionists. “With the advent of the Radical Abolitionists of the North, the cooperative efforts by the North and South in the elimination of slavery were replaced with mistrust and antagonism.”
Salam: Divine Revelations from the Actual God, by Shyam D. Buxani (SAU Salam Foundation, $34.95).
Synopsis: During a fast in 1984, the author experienced his first divine revelation, and ever since God has been revealing His truth to Buxani on a variety of subjects, some unexpected: the sinfulness of shaving your head, affirmative action, worshiping in the nude, prosthetics.
Representative quote: “The devil’s ultimate aim is to replace all natural products with synthesized ones. What started innocently with synthesizing fibers and materials has now proceeded to the synthesizing of human organs and body parts…which is totally devilish and irreligious.”
Noteworthy flaw: At one point, the book calls “mutilation of the body for the cause of religion” “one of the evil temptations sent by the devil.” Later, it encourages circumcision as “the precise requirement of the Actual God.”