Daughters of Alchemy: Women and Scientific Culture in Early Modern Italy by Meredith K. Ray (Harvard University Press, 304 pages, March 9)
This intersection of women's history, Italy, and the history of science is right up my alley. Here, Ray introduces us to women like Caterina Sforza, Moderata Fonte, and Lucrezia Marinella to argue that women played an important role in the development of medicine, cosmology, and natural philosophy. Their writings, experiments, and salons reveal the essential work that women did in furthering the Scientific Revolution.
Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson (Crown, 448 pages, March 10)
Ok, I just finished Larson's Thunderstruck last night, and read The Devil in the White City a couple of years ago, so I can tell you before I even read this book that it'll knock your socks off so hard your socks will run crying to their mama. That's how good Larson is. He brings history to life with detailed research and brilliant storytelling. In Dead Wake, he turns to the tragedy of the Lusitania, sunk by a German U-boat during WWI. Switching between the people on the ship, the Germans on the U-boat, and the lives of Progressive-Era Americans, Larson tells the story of this doomed luxury ocean liner as no one else can.