THE MAKING OF ASIAN AMERICA: A History, by Erika Lee. A granddaughter of Chinese immigrants who teaches history at the University of Minnesota, Lee chronicles the saga of Asian immigrants in the United States -- from 19th century Chinese coolies through Japanese-Americans in World War II to Vietnamese boat people of the 1970s. Along the way she explores how Asian-Americans could be perceived as both a "despised minority" and a "model minority." (Simon & Schuster, $29.95)

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GIRL WAITS WITH GUN, by Amy Stewart. The author of "The Drunken Botanist" turns to fiction with this lighthearted novel about America's first deputy sheriff, the real-life Constance Kopp, who with her sisters Norma and Fleurette pursued criminals in Paterson, New Jersey, in the early 20th century. Stewart stumbled on the Kopps' story in a 1914 newspaper clipping and says she knew she had to write about them. (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $27)

ALEXANDER MCQUEEN: Blood Beneath the Skin, by Andrew Wilson. Four years ago record crowds flocked to the Metropolitan Museum's Costume Institute for an exhibit on the outré British fashion designer who committed suicide at the age of 40. Now comes this biography by a U.K. journalist who follows McQueen from a working class childhood in London's East End to the heights of the couture world and down a spiral of drugs and depression. (Scribner, $30)