Book Notification

Margalit Fox Books In Order

Book links take you to Amazon. As an Amazon Associate I earn money from qualifying purchases.

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Talking Hands (2007)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Riddle of the Labyrinth (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
Conan Doyle for the Defense (2018)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Confidence Men (2021)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Talented Mrs. Mandelbaum (2024)Description / Buy at Amazon

Margalit Fox
Margalit Fox was born in Glen Cove, New York, the daughter of Laura and David Fox, a physicist. She went to Barnard College in New York City, then Stony Brook University, where she finished her bachelor’s degree in 1982 and then her master’s degree in linguistics in 1983. She got her master’s degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in 1991. She also studied the cello.

Fox won the William Saroyan Prize for Literature for “The Riddle of the Labyrinth” and the Front Page Award given to her by The Newswomen’s Club of New York in 2011. “The Confidence Men” was nominated for the Edgar award in the Best Fact Crime category. Margalit lives in Manhattan with George Robinson, the critic and writer.

During the eighties, Fox, before attending journalism school, worked in magazine and book publishing. Margalit joined The New York Times as a copy editor in 1994. She has written widely on culture, language, and ideas for New York Newsday, The New York Times, Variety, as well as other publications.

While she was a senior writer in The New York Times’ celebrated Obituary News Department, she penned the front page sendoffs for some of the leading cultural figures of our age. From 2004 until she retired in 2018 she wrote more than 1,400 obituaries.

She wrote about such figures as Maya Angelou, Betty Friedan (pioneering feminist), poets Adrienne Rich and Seamus Heaney, the advice columnists Ann Landers and Dear Abby, and Maurice Sendak (children’s author). Margalit has also written obituaries about many of the unsung heroes that have managed to touch history, quietly, among them the inventors of the bar code, the crash-test dummy, the Frisbee, and the plastic lawn flamingo.

Margalit considers her journalism work was the perfect training for writing books. It’s got all of the structural devices that a book will require, the formal techniques which give a story its shape, keep it moving along nicely, and introduce the reader, bit by comfortable bit, to some new concepts. All of these are already fully present in any good newspaper article. It then becomes simply a question of magnitude and endurance.

“Talking Hands: What Sign Language Reveals about the Mind” is a non-fiction book that was released in 2007. Imagine a village where everybody “speaks” sign language. Such a village, this isolated Bedouin community located in Israel with an oddly high rate of deafness, is at the heart of “Talking Hands”. It is here, that an indigenous sign language has sprung up, used by the hearing and deaf villagers alike.

It’s a language that no outsider has been able to decode. Until now. Margalit, a “New York Times” reporter trained as a linguist, is the one and only Western journalist to have set foot in this remarkable village. She follows around an international team of scientists which is unraveling this mysterious language.

Because this sign language the villagers are using has arisen totally on its own, outside of the influence of any other language, and it’s a living demonstration of the “language instinct”, man’s inborn capacity to crate language. If the researchers are able to decode this language, they’ll have helped isolate the necessary ingredients to all human language, spoken and signed alike. But like this book grippingly illustrates, their work in this village is also a race against the clock, since the unique language of this village might be endangered already.

“The Riddle of the Labyrinth: The Quest to Crack an Ancient Code” is a non-fiction book that was released in 2013. This book tells one of the most intriguing stories in the history of language, blending linguistics, history, and cryptology masterfully with an elegantly wrought narrative.

When Arthur Evans, famed archaeologist, unearthed the ruins of a sophisticated Bronze Age civilization which flowered on Crete a thousand years before Greece’s Classical Age, he discovered this cache of ancient tablets, Europe’s earliest written records. For half a century, the meaning of these inscriptions, and even the language that they were written in, would stay a mystery.

Margalit’s real life intellectual detective tale travels from the Bronze Age Aegean, the era of Agamemnon, Odysseus, and Helen, up to the 20th century and the work of Arthur Evans, the charismatic English archaeologist, to the colorful personal stories about the decipherers. These include Michael Ventris, the brilliant amateur that deciphered the script yet met with a mysterious and sudden death which might’ve been a direct consequence of the decipherment. And Alice Kober the unsung heroine of the tale whose own painstaking work allowed Ventris to crack the code at all.

“The Confidence Men” is a non-fiction book that was released in 2021. Harry Jones and Cedric Hill (two British officers) are imprisoned in an isolated Turkish POW camp during World War I, and have survived a two month forced march and a horrifying shootout in the desert, and join forces in order to bamboozle their iron-fisted captors. To stave off boredom and despair, Jones takes a handmade Ouija board and fakes these elaborate seances for some of his fellow prisoners.

Word gets out, and one day one Ottoman official approaches Jones with a question: Could Jones contact the spirit world in order to locate a vast treasure that’s rumored to be buried close by? Hill, who’s a brilliant magician, and Jones, a trained lawyer, use this Ouija board, along with their keen understanding of the psychology of deception, to build a trap for their captors that’ll ultimately lead to them being freed.

A gripping nonfiction thriller, “The Confidence Men” is the tale about one of the only known con games played for a good cause, and about a profound yet unlikely friendship. Had it not been for “the Great War”, Jones (the Oxford educated son of a British lord) and Hill (a mechanic on an Australian sheep ranch) wouldn’t have ever met. However in pain, isolation, hunger, and loneliness they formed a powerful intellectual and emotional alliance which saved each of their lives.

Margalit brings her abilities to construct a taut narrative arc, nose for interesting facts, and a Dickens level gift for concisely conveying personality to this story of psychological strategy which is rife with danger, cunning, and moments of high farce.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Margalit Fox

Leave a Reply