Presidents Who Polka 

Presidential corsets and flight attendants' tights top this month's mini-raves.

Oooh, those pert hats and those orange uniforms! Elissa Stein's Stewardess (Chronicle, $14.95), packed with vintage pix, lets you adore an ever-more-perilous profession. ... Seeking to chronicle Britain's sex industry from inside, although "I'm three stone overweight and bald," Bruce Barnard worked as a phone-sex operator and attended porn-filmmaking sessions. Disenchantment reigns in Flesh Trade (Headpress, $17.95). ... Martin Van Buren wore corsets, John Tyler popularized the polka, Richard Nixon had an affair with a Hong Kong cocktail waitress and possible communist spy, and all presidents get free breath mints among other perks as revealed in White House: Confidential (Cumberland House, $14.95), stuffed with weird leader-of-the-free-world nuggets. ... From a twelve-year suicidal depression spent in suburbia, John Falk fled to war-torn Sarajevo, where he hung with snipers and learned a lot about survival. His memoir Hello to All That (Picador, $15) is a paean to massive quantities of Zoloft. ... Albuquerque is "a melting pot of body odor, psychopharmaceuticals, Mexican food, strip clubs, jam bands, and trailer parks," and an 84-acre section of New York's Lake Onondaga is pure toxic waste, Dave Gilmartin reveals in The Absolutely Worst Places to Live in America (St. Martin's Griffin, $14.95).


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