Top History Ebook Best Sellers

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Stamped from the Beginning - Ibram X. Kendi Cover Art

Stamped from the Beginning

Stamped from the Beginning The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi

The National Book Award winning history of how racist ideas were created, spread, and deeply rooted in American society. Some Americans insist that we're living in a post-racial society. But racist thought is not just alive and well in America--it is more sophisticated and more insidious than ever. And as award-winning historian Ibram X. Kendi argues, racist ideas have a long and lingering history, one in which nearly every great American thinker is complicit. In this deeply researched and fast-moving narrative, Kendi chronicles the entire story of anti-black racist ideas and their staggering power over the course of American history. He uses the life stories of five major American intellectuals to drive this history: Puritan minister Cotton Mather, Thomas Jefferson, abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, W.E.B. Du Bois, and legendary activist Angela Davis. As Kendi shows, racist ideas did not arise from ignorance or hatred. They were created to justify and rationalize deeply entrenched discriminatory policies and the nation's racial inequities. In shedding light on this history, Stamped from the Beginning offers us the tools we need to expose racist thinking. In the process, he gives us reason to hope. Praise for Stamped from the Beginning: "We often describe a wonderful book as 'mind-blowing' or 'life-changing' but I've found this rarely to actually be the case. I found both descriptions accurate for Ibram X. Kendi's Stamped from the Beginning... I will never look at racial discrimination again after reading this marvellous , ambitious , and clear-sighted book." - George Saunders, Financial Times , Best Books of 2017 " Ambitious, well-researched and worth the time of anyone who wants to understand racism." -- Seattle Times "A deep (and often disturbing) chronicling of how anti-black thinking has entrenched itself in the fabric of American society." -- The Atlantic Winner of the 2016 National Book Award for Nonfiction A New York Times Bestseller A Washington Post Bestseller On President Obama's Black History Month Recommended Reading List Finalist for the 2016 National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction Named one of the Best Books of the Year by the Boston Globe , Washington Post , Chicago Review of Books , The Root , Buzzfeed , Bustle , and Entropy

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The Splendid and the Vile - Erik Larson Cover Art

The Splendid and the Vile

The Splendid and the Vile A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz by Erik Larson

#1  NEW YORK TIMES  BESTSELLER • The author of  The Devil in the White City  and  Dead Wake  delivers an intimate chronicle of Winston Churchill and London during the Blitz—an inspiring portrait of courage and leadership in a time of unprecedented crisis One of  Chicago Tribune ’s Best Books of the Year So Far • “A bravura performance by one of America’s greatest storytellers.”—NPR “Churchill’s lessons of resilience and his style of steady-handed leadership are essential to the state of mind of American readers.”— Vanity Fair On Winston Churchill’s first day as prime minister, Adolf Hitler invaded Holland and Belgium. Poland and Czechoslovakia had already fallen, and the Dunkirk evacuation was just two weeks away. For the next twelve months, Hitler would wage a relentless bombing campaign, killing 45,000 Britons. It was up to Churchill to hold his country together and persuade President Franklin Roosevelt that Britain was a worthy ally—and willing to fight to the end. In The Splendid and the Vile , Erik Larson shows, in cinematic detail, how Churchill taught the British people “the art of being fearless.” It is a story of political brinkmanship, but it’s also an intimate domestic drama, set against the backdrop of Churchill’s prime-ministerial country home, Chequers; his wartime retreat, Ditchley, where he and his entourage go when the moon is brightest and the bombing threat is highest; and of course 10 Downing Street in London. Drawing on diaries, original archival documents, and once-secret intelligence reports—some released only recently—Larson provides a new lens on London’s darkest year through the day-to-day experience of Churchill and his family: his wife, Clementine; their youngest daughter, Mary, who chafes against her parents’ wartime protectiveness; their son, Randolph, and his beautiful, unhappy wife, Pamela; Pamela’s illicit lover, a dashing American emissary; and the advisers in Churchill’s “Secret Circle,” to whom he turns in the hardest moments.   The Splendid and the Vile  takes readers out of today’s political dysfunction and back to a time of true leadership, when, in the face of unrelenting horror, Churchill’s eloquence, courage, and perseverance bound a country, and a family, together.

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The Freemasons - Jasper Ridley Cover Art

The Freemasons

The Freemasons A History of the World's Most Powerful Secret Society by Jasper Ridley

What did Mozart and Bach, Oscar Wilde and Anthony Trollope, George Washington and Frederick the Great, Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt have in common? They were all Freemasons, a subject of endless fascination. To the layman, they are a mysterious brotherhood of profound if uncertain influence, a secret society purported in some popular histories to have its roots in the fabled order of the Knights Templar, or in the mysteries of the Egyptian pyramids. They evoke fears of world domination by a select few who enjoy privileged access to wealth and the levers of power. The secrecy of their rites suggests the taint of sacrilege, and their hidden loyalties are sometimes accused of undermining the workings of justice and the integrity of nations. Though not a mason himself, Jasper Ridley nonetheless refutes many of the outrageous allegations made against Freemasonry, while at the same time acknowledging the masons’ shortcomings: their clannishness, misogyny, obsession with secrecy, and devotion to arcane ritual. In this much-needed reassessment, he offers a substantial work of history that sifts the truth from the myth as it traces Freemasonry from its origins to the present day.

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A People's History of the United States - Howard Zinn Cover Art

A People's History of the United States

A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn

With a new introduction by Anthony Arnove, this updated edition of the classic national bestseller reviews the book’s thirty-five year history and demonstrates once again why it is a significant contribution to a complete and balanced understanding of American history. Since its original landmark publication in 1980, A People's History of the United States has been chronicling American history from the bottom up, throwing out the official version of history taught in schools—with its emphasis on great men in high places—to focus on the street, the home, and the, workplace. Known for its lively, clear prose as well as its scholarly research, A People's History of the United States is the only volume to tell America's story from the point of view of—and in the words of—America's women, factory workers, African-Americans, Native Americans, the working poor, and immigrant laborers. As historian Howard Zinn shows, many of our country's greatest battles—the fights for a fair wage, an eight-hour workday, child-labor laws, health and safety standards, universal suffrage, women's rights, racial equality—were carried out at the grassroots level, against bloody resistance. Covering Christopher Columbus's arrival through President Clinton's first term, A People's History of the United States, which was nominated for the American Book Award in 1981, features insightful analysis of the most important events in our history. 

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Roaring Camp: The Social World of the California Gold Rush - Susan Lee Johnson Ph.D. Cover Art

Roaring Camp: The Social World of the California Gold Rush

Roaring Camp: The Social World of the California Gold Rush by Susan Lee Johnson Ph.D.

Winner of the Bancroft Prize The world of the California Gold Rush that comes down to us through fiction and film is one of half-truths. In this brilliant work of social history, Susan Lee Johnson enters the well-worked diggings of Gold Rush history and strikes a rich lode. Johnson explores the dynamic social world created by the Gold Rush in the Sierra Nevada foothills east of Stockton, charting the surprising ways in which the conventions of identity—ethnic, national, and sexual—were reshaped. With a keen eye for character and story, she shows us how this peculiar world evolved over time, and how our cultural memory of the Gold Rush took root.

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The Fourth Turning - William Strauss & Neil Howe Cover Art

The Fourth Turning

The Fourth Turning What the Cycles of History Tell Us About America's Next Rendezvous with Destiny by William Strauss & Neil Howe

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • “A startling vision of what the cycles of history predict for the future.”— USA Weekend   William Strauss and Neil Howe will change the way you see the world—and your place in it. With blazing originality,  The Fourth Turning  illuminates the past, explains the present, and reimagines the future. Most remarkably, it offers an utterly persuasive prophecy about how America’s past will predict its future. Strauss and Howe base this vision on a provocative theory of American history. The authors look back five hundred years and uncover a distinct pattern: Modern history moves in cycles, each one lasting about the length of a long human life, each composed of four eras—or "turnings"—that last about twenty years and that always arrive in the same order. In T he Fourth Turning , the authors illustrate these cycles using a brilliant analysis of the post-World War II period. First comes a High, a period of confident expansion as a new order takes root after the old has been swept away. Next comes an Awakening, a time of spiritual exploration and rebellion against the now-established order. Then comes an Unraveling, an increasingly troubled era in which individualism triumphs over crumbling institutions. Last comes a Crisis—the Fourth Turning—when society passes through a great and perilous gate in history. Together, the four turnings comprise history's seasonal rhythm of growth, maturation, entropy, and rebirth. The Fourth Turning  offers bold predictions about how all of us can prepare, individually and collectively, for America’s next rendezvous with destiny.

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The Warmth of Other Suns - Isabel Wilkerson Cover Art

The Warmth of Other Suns

The Warmth of Other Suns The Epic Story of America's Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson

In this epic, beautifully written masterwork, Pulitzer Prize–winning author Isabel Wilkerson chronicles one of the great untold stories of American history: the decades-long migration of black citizens who fled the South for northern and western cities, in search of a better life. NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD WINNER LYNTON HISTORY PRIZE WINNER HEARTLAND AWARD WINNER  DAYTON LITERARY PEACE PRIZE FINALIST         NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times  • USA Today • O: The Oprah Magazine • Amazon • Publishers Weekly •  Salon • Newsday  • The Daily Beast   NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New Yorker •  The Washington Post • The Economist • Boston Globe • San Francisco Chronicle •  Chicago   Tribune • Entertainment Weekly • Philadelphia Inquirer • The Guardian • The Seattle Times • St. Louis Post-Dispatch  • The Christian Science Monitor   From 1915 to 1970, this exodus of almost six million people changed the face of America. Wilkerson compares this epic migration to the migrations of other peoples in history. She interviewed more than a thousand people, and gained access to new data and official records, to write this definitive and vividly dramatic account of how these American journeys unfolded, altering our cities, our country, and ourselves.   With stunning historical detail, Wilkerson tells this story through the lives of three unique individuals: Ida Mae Gladney, who in 1937 left sharecropping and prejudice in Mississippi for Chicago, where she achieved quiet blue-collar success and, in old age, voted for Barack Obama when he ran for an Illinois Senate seat; sharp and quick-tempered George Starling, who in 1945 fled Florida for Harlem, where he endangered his job fighting for civil rights, saw his family fall, and finally found peace in God; and Robert Foster, who left Louisiana in 1953 to pursue a medical career, the personal physician to Ray Charles as part of a glitteringly successful medical career, which allowed him to purchase a grand home where he often threw exuberant parties. Wilkerson brilliantly captures their first treacherous and exhausting cross-country trips by car and train and their new lives in colonies that grew into ghettos, as well as how they changed these cities with southern food, faith, and culture and improved them with discipline, drive, and hard work. Both a riveting microcosm and a major assessment, The Warmth of Other Suns is a bold, remarkable, and riveting work, a superb account of an “unrecognized immigration” within our own land. Through the breadth of its narrative, the beauty of the writing, the depth of its research, and the fullness of the people and lives portrayed herein, this book is destined to become a classic.

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White Rage - Carol Anderson Cover Art

White Rage

White Rage The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide by Carol Anderson

National Book Critics Circle Award Winner New York Times Bestseller A New York Times Notable Book of the Year A Washington Post Notable Nonfiction Book of the Year A Boston Globe Best Book of 2016 A Chicago Review of Books Best Nonfiction Book of 2016 From the Civil War to our combustible present, acclaimed historian Carol Anderson reframes our continuing conversation about race, chronicling the powerful forces opposed to black progress in America. As Ferguson, Missouri, erupted in August 2014, and media commentators across the ideological spectrum referred to the angry response of African Americans as "black rage," historian Carol Anderson wrote a remarkable op-ed in The Washington Post suggesting that this was, instead, "white rage at work. With so much attention on the flames," she argued, "everyone had ignored the kindling." Since 1865 and the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment, every time African Americans have made advances towards full participation in our democracy, white reaction has fueled a deliberate and relentless rollback of their gains. The end of the Civil War and Reconstruction was greeted with the Black Codes and Jim Crow; the Supreme Court's landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision was met with the shutting down of public schools throughout the South while taxpayer dollars financed segregated white private schools; the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965 triggered a coded but powerful response, the so-called Southern Strategy and the War on Drugs that disenfranchised millions of African Americans while propelling presidents Nixon and Reagan into the White House, and then the election of America's first black President, led to the expression of white rage that has been as relentless as it has been brutal. Carefully linking these and other historical flashpoints when social progress for African Americans was countered by deliberate and cleverly crafted opposition, Anderson pulls back the veil that has long covered actions made in the name of protecting democracy, fiscal responsibility, or protection against fraud, rendering visible the long lineage of white rage. Compelling and dramatic in the unimpeachable history it relates, White Rage will add an important new dimension to the national conversation about race in America.

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D-Day - Stephen E. Ambrose Cover Art

D-Day

D-Day June 6, 1944: The Climactic Battle of World War II by Stephen E. Ambrose

Stephen E. Ambrose’s D-Day is the definitive history of World War II’s most pivotal battle, a day that changed the course of history. D-Day is the epic story of men at the most demanding moment of their lives, when the horrors, complexities, and triumphs of life are laid bare. Distinguished historian Stephen E. Ambrose portrays the faces of courage and heroism, fear and determination—what Eisenhower called “the fury of an aroused democracy”—that shaped the victory of the citizen soldiers whom Hitler had disparaged.Drawing on more than 1,400 interviews with American, British, Canadian, French, and German veterans, Ambrose reveals how the original plans for the invasion had to be abandoned, and how enlisted men and junior officers acted on their own initiative when they realized that nothing was as they were told it would be. The action begins at midnight, June 5/6, when the first British and American airborne troops jumped into France. It ends at midnight June 6/7. Focusing on those pivotal twenty-four hours, it moves from the level of Supreme Commander to that of a French child, from General Omar Bradley to an American paratrooper, from Field Marshal Montgomery to a German sergeant. Ambrose’s D-Day is the finest account of one of our history’s most important days.

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How Churchill Saved Civilization - John Harte Cover Art

How Churchill Saved Civilization

How Churchill Saved Civilization The Epic Story of 13 Years That Almost Destroyed the Civilized World by John Harte

How Churchill Saved Civilization resolves the lingering mysteries surrounding the causes of the Second World War, and what transpired during the war to bring its end result. It proposes answers to such questions as “Why were the Allies unprepared?”, “Why did France collapse so quickly?”, “Why didn’t the British government accept Hitler’s peace proposals?” and “Why did the Germans allow Hitler to obtain life and death control over them?” But the book’s main purpose is to provide an account of Winston Churchill’s actions and their intended consequences – as well as some of the unintended ones – for readers who are unlikely to read a military history book of 800 pages. The author has pared down the details of this at once fascinating and frightening story to an accessible length of how the world nearly ended in the 1940s. How Churchill Saved Civilization was written in honor of all those who sacrificed their lives in the War, and to caution readers that it could very easily happen again, as key factors like complacency, ignorance, and weakness continue to play a role in international diplomacy. Skyhorse Publishing, as well as our Arcade imprint, are proud to publish a broad range of books for readers interested in history--books about World War II, the Third Reich, Hitler and his henchmen, the JFK assassination, conspiracies, the American Civil War, the American Revolution, gladiators, Vikings, ancient Rome, medieval times, the old West, and much more. While not every title we publish becomes a New York Times bestseller or a national bestseller, we are committed to books on subjects that are sometimes overlooked and to authors whose work might not otherwise find a home.

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Medical Apartheid - Harriet A. Washington Cover Art

Medical Apartheid

Medical Apartheid The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present by Harriet A. Washington

From the era of slavery to the present day, the first full history of black America’s shocking mistreatment as unwilling and unwitting experimental subjects at the hands of the medical establishment. Medical Apartheid is the first and only comprehensive history of medical experimentation on African Americans. Starting with the earliest encounters between black Americans and Western medical researchers and the racist pseudoscience that resulted, it details the ways both slaves and freedmen were used in hospitals for experiments conducted without their knowledge—a tradition that continues today within some black populations. It reveals how blacks have historically been prey to grave-robbing as well as unauthorized autopsies and dissections. Moving into the twentieth century, it shows how the pseudoscience of eugenics and social Darwinism was used to justify experimental exploitation and shoddy medical treatment of blacks, and the view that they were biologically inferior, oversexed, and unfit for adult responsibilities. Shocking new details about the government’s notorious Tuskegee experiment are revealed, as are similar, less-well-known medical atrocities conducted by the government, the armed forces, prisons, and private institutions. The product of years of prodigious research into medical journals and experimental reports long undisturbed, Medical Apartheid reveals the hidden underbelly of scientific research and makes possible, for the first time, an understanding of the roots of the African American health deficit. At last, it provides the fullest possible context for comprehending the behavioral fallout that has caused black Americans to view researchers—and indeed the whole medical establishment—with such deep distrust. No one concerned with issues of public health and racial justice can afford not to read Medical Apartheid , a masterful book that will stir up both controversy and long-needed debate.

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In the Heart of the Sea - Nathaniel Philbrick Cover Art

In the Heart of the Sea

In the Heart of the Sea The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex by Nathaniel Philbrick

From the author of  Mayflower, Valiant Ambition , and  In the Hurricane's Eye-- t he riveting bestseller tells the story of the true events that inspired Melville's Moby-Dick .  Winner of the National Book Award, Nathaniel Philbrick's book is a fantastic saga of survival and adventure, steeped in the lore of whaling, with deep resonance in American literature and history. In 1820, the whaleship Essex was rammed and sunk by an angry sperm whale, leaving the desperate crew to drift for more than ninety days in three tiny boats. Nathaniel Philbrick uses little-known documents and vivid details about the Nantucket whaling tradition to reveal the chilling facts of this infamous maritime disaster. In the Heart of the Sea , recently adapted into a major feature film starring Chris Hemsworth, is a book for the ages.

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The Bomber Boys - Travis L. Ayres Cover Art

The Bomber Boys

The Bomber Boys Heroes Who Flew the B-17s in World War II by Travis L. Ayres

True tales of heroism and the men who fought and died in the skies of World War II Europe. In World War II, there were all too many ways for a fighting man to die. But no theater of operations offered more fatal choices than the skies above Nazi-occupied Europe. Inside of a B-17 Bomber, thousands of feet above the earth, death was always a moment away. From the hellish storms of enemy flak and relentless strafing of Luftwaffe fighters, to mid-air collisions, mechanical failure, and simple bad luck, it’s a wonder any man would volunteer for such dangerous duty. But some very brave men did.    Some paid the ultimate price. Some made it home. But in the end, all would achieve victory.   Here, author Travis L. Ayres has gathered a collection of previously untold personal accounts of combat and camaraderie aboard the B-17 Bombers that flew countless sorties against the enemy, as related by the men who lived and fought in the air—and survived. They are stories of heroism, sacrifice, miraculous survival and merciless warfare. But they should all be remembered... INCLUDES PHOTOS

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The Famine Plot - Tim Pat Coogan Cover Art

The Famine Plot

The Famine Plot England's Role in Ireland's Greatest Tragedy by Tim Pat Coogan

During a Biblical seven years in the middle of the nineteenth century, Ireland experienced the worst disaster a nation could suffer. Fully a quarter of its citizens either perished from starvation or emigrated, with so many dying en route that it was said, "you can walk dry shod to America on their bodies." In this grand, sweeping narrative, Ireland''s best-known historian, Tim Pat Coogan, gives a fresh and comprehensive account of one of the darkest chapters in world history, arguing that Britain was in large part responsible for the extent of the national tragedy, and in fact engineered the food shortage in one of the earliest cases of ethnic cleansing. So strong was anti-Irish sentiment in the mainland that the English parliament referred to the famine as "God's lesson." Drawing on recently uncovered sources, and with the sharp eye of a seasoned historian, Coogan delivers fresh insights into the famine's causes, recounts its unspeakable events, and delves into the legacy of the "famine mentality" that followed immigrants across the Atlantic to the shores of the United States and had lasting effects on the population left behind. This is a broad, magisterial history of a tragedy that shook the nineteenth century and still impacts the worldwide Irish diaspora of nearly 80 million people today.

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The Deviant's War - Eric Cervini Cover Art

The Deviant's War

The Deviant's War The Homosexual vs. the United States of America by Eric Cervini

A Publishers Weekly most anticipated spring book From a young Harvard- and Cambridge-trained historian, the secret history of the fight for gay rights that began a generation before Stonewall. In 1957, Frank Kameny, a rising astronomer working for the U.S. Defense Department in Hawaii, received a summons to report immediately to Washington, D.C. The Pentagon had reason to believe he was a homosexual, and after a series of humiliating interviews, Kameny, like countless gay men and women before him, was promptly dismissed from his government job. Unlike many others, though, Kameny fought back. Based on firsthand accounts, recently declassified FBI records, and forty thousand personal documents, Eric Cervini's The Deviant's War unfolds over the course of the 1960s, as the Mattachine Society of Washington, the group Kameny founded, became the first organization to protest the systematic persecution of gay federal employees. It traces the forgotten ties that bound gay rights to the Black Freedom Movement, the New Left, lesbian activism, and trans resistance. Above all, it is a story of America (and Washington) at a cultural and sexual crossroads; of shocking, byzantine public battles with Congress; of FBI informants; murder; betrayal; sex; love; and ultimately victory.

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Code Talker - Chester Nez & Judith Schiess Avila Cover Art

Code Talker

Code Talker The First and Only Memoir By One of the Original Navajo Code Talkers of WWII by Chester Nez & Judith Schiess Avila

The first and only memoir by one of the original Navajo code talkers of WWII. His name wasn’t Chester Nez. That was the English name he was assigned in kindergarten. And in boarding school at Fort Defiance, he was punished for speaking his native language, as the teachers sought to rid him of his culture and traditions. But discrimination didn’t stop Chester from answering the call to defend his country after Pearl Harbor, for the Navajo have always been warriors, and his upbringing on a New Mexico reservation gave him the strength—both physical and mental—to excel as a marine. During World War II, the Japanese had managed to crack every code the United States used. But when the Marines turned to its Navajo recruits to develop and implement a secret military language, they created the only unbroken code in modern warfare—and helped assure victory for the United States over Japan in the South Pacific. INCLUDES THE ACTUAL NAVAJO CODE AND RARE PICTURES

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The Lincoln Conspiracy - Brad Meltzer & Josh Mensch Cover Art

The Lincoln Conspiracy

The Lincoln Conspiracy The Secret Plot to Kill America's 16th President--and Why It Failed by Brad Meltzer & Josh Mensch

The bestselling authors of The First Conspiracy, which covers the secret plot against George Washington, now turn their attention to a little-known, but true story about a failed assassination attempt on President Lincoln Everyone knows the story of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865, but few are aware of the original conspiracy to kill him four years earlier in 1861, literally on his way to Washington, D.C., for his first inauguration. The conspirators were part of a pro-Southern secret society that didn’t want an antislavery President in the White House. They planned an elaborate scheme to assassinate the brand new President in Baltimore as Lincoln’s inauguration train passed through en route to the Capitol. The plot was investigated by famed detective Allan Pinkerton, who infiltrated the group with undercover agents, including one of the first female private detectives in America. Had the assassination succeeded, there would have been no Lincoln Presidency, and the course of the Civil War and American history would have forever been altered.

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Humankind - Rutger Bregman, Elizabeth Manton & Erica Moore Cover Art

Humankind

Humankind A Hopeful History by Rutger Bregman, Elizabeth Manton & Erica Moore

"The Sapiens of 2020." --- The Guardian From the author of the New York Times bestseller Utopia for Realists comes "the riveting pick-me-up we all need right now" ( People ), the #1 Dutch bestseller Humankind , which offers a "bold" (Daniel H. Pink), "extraordinary" (Susan Cain) argument that humans thrive in a crisis and that our innate kindness and cooperation have been the greatest factors in our long-term success on the planet. " Humankind made me see humanity from a fresh perspective." ---Yuval Noah Harari, author of the #1 bestseller Sapiens If there is one belief that has united the left and the right, psychologists and philosophers, ancient thinkers and modern ones, it is the tacit assumption that humans are bad. It's a notion that drives newspaper headlines and guides the laws that shape our lives. From Machiavelli to Hobbes, Freud to Pinker, the roots of this belief have sunk deep into Western thought. Human beings, we're taught, are by nature selfish and governed primarily by self-interest. But what if it isn't true? International bestseller Rutger Bregman provides new perspective on the past 200,000 years of human history, setting out to prove that we are hardwired for kindness, geared toward cooperation rather than competition, and more inclined to trust rather than distrust one another. In fact this instinct has a firm evolutionary basis going back to the beginning of Homo sapiens . From the real-life Lord of the Flies to the solidarity in the aftermath of the Blitz, the hidden flaws in the Stanford prison experiment to the true story of twin brothers on opposite sides who helped Mandela end apartheid, Bregman shows us that believing in human generosity and collaboration isn't merely optimistic---it's realistic. Moreover, it has huge implications for how society functions. When we think the worst of people, it brings out the worst in our politics and economics. But if we believe in the reality of humanity's kindness and altruism, it will form the foundation for achieving true change in society, a case that Bregman makes convincingly with his signature wit, refreshing frankness, and memorable storytelling.

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Empire of the Summer Moon - S. C. Gwynne Cover Art

Empire of the Summer Moon

Empire of the Summer Moon Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History by S. C. Gwynne

The Epic New York Times Bestseller Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award A New York Times Notable Book Winner of the Texas Book Award Winner of the Oklahoma Book Award This stunning historical account of the forty-year battle between Comanche Indians and white settlers for control of the American West “is nothing short of a revelation…will leave dust and blood on your jeans” ( The New York Times Book Review ). Empire of the Summer Moon spans two astonishing stories. The first traces the rise and fall of the Comanches, the most powerful Indian tribe in American history. The second entails one of the most remarkable narratives ever to come out of the Old West: the epic saga of the pioneer woman Cynthia Ann Parker and her mixed-blood son Quanah, who became the last and greatest chief of the Comanches. Although readers may be more familiar with the tribal names Apache and Sioux, it was in fact the legendary fighting ability of the Comanches that determined when the American West opened up. Comanche boys became adept bareback riders by age six; full Comanche braves were considered the best horsemen who ever rode. They were so masterful at war and so skillful with their arrows and lances that they stopped the northern drive of colonial Spain from Mexico and halted the French expansion westward from Louisiana. White settlers arriving in Texas from the eastern United States were surprised to find the frontier being rolled backward by Comanches incensed by the invasion of their tribal lands. The war with the Comanches lasted four decades, in effect holding up the development of the new American nation. Gwynne’s exhilarating account delivers a sweeping narrative that encompasses Spanish colonialism, the Civil War, the destruction of the buffalo herds, and the arrival of the railroads, and the amazing story of Cynthia Ann Parker and her son Quanah—a historical feast for anyone interested in how the United States came into being. Hailed by critics, S. C. Gwynne’s account of these events is meticulously researched, intellectually provocative, and, above all, thrillingly told. Empire of the Summer Moon announces him as a major new writer of American history.

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An African American and Latinx History of the United States - Paul Ortiz Cover Art

An African American and Latinx History of the United States by Paul Ortiz

An intersectional history of the shared struggle for African American and Latinx civil rights Spanning more than two hundred years, An African American and Latinx History of the United States is a revolutionary, politically charged narrative history, arguing that the “Global South” was crucial to the development of America as we know it. Scholar and activist Paul Ortiz challenges the notion of westward progress as exalted by widely taught formulations like “manifest destiny” and “Jacksonian democracy,” and shows how placing African American, Latinx, and Indigenous voices unapologetically front and center transforms US history into one of the working class organizing against imperialism. Drawing on rich narratives and primary source documents, Ortiz links racial segregation in the Southwest and the rise and violent fall of a powerful tradition of Mexican labor organizing in the twentieth century, to May 1, 2006, known as International Workers’ Day, when migrant laborers—Chicana/os, Afrocubanos, and immigrants from every continent on earth—united in resistance on the first “Day Without Immigrants.” As African American civil rights activists fought Jim Crow laws and Mexican labor organizers warred against the suffocating grip of capitalism, Black and Spanish-language newspapers, abolitionists, and Latin American revolutionaries coalesced around movements built between people from the United States and people from Central America and the Caribbean. In stark contrast to the resurgence of “America First” rhetoric, Black and Latinx intellectuals and organizers today have historically urged the United States to build bridges of solidarity with the nations of the Americas. Incisive and timely, this bottom-up history, told from the interconnected vantage points of Latinx and African Americans, reveals the radically different ways that people of the diaspora have addressed issues still plaguing the United States today, and it offers a way forward in the continued struggle for universal civil rights. 2018 Winner of the PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Literary Award

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The Willie Lynch Letter and the Making of a Slave - Willie Lynch Cover Art

The Willie Lynch Letter and the Making of a Slave

The Willie Lynch Letter and the Making of a Slave by Willie Lynch

This speech was said to have been delivered by Willie Lynch on the bank of the James River in the colony of Virginia in 1712.  Lynch was a British slave owner in the West Indies. He was invited to the colony of Virginia in 1712 to teach his methods to slave owners there.

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Black Wall Street: From Riot to Renaissance in Tulsa's Historic Greenwood District - Hannibal Johnson Cover Art

Black Wall Street: From Riot to Renaissance in Tulsa's Historic Greenwood District by Hannibal Johnson

Early in the twentieth century, the black community in Tulsa- the "Greenwood District"- became a nationally renowned entrepreneurial center. Frequently referred to as "The Black Wall Street of America," the Greenwood District attracted pioneers from all over America who sought new opportunities and fresh challenges. Legal segregation forced blacks to do business among themselves. The Greenwood district prospered as dollars circulated within the black community. But fear and jealousy swelled in the greater Tulsa community. The alleged assault of a white woman by a black man triggered unprecedented civil unrest. The worst riot in American history, the Tulsa Race Riot pf 1921 destroyed people, property, hopes, and dreams. Hundreds of people died or were injured. Property damage ran into the millions. The Greenwood District burned to the ground. Ever courageous, the Greenwood District pioneers rebuilt and better than ever. By 1942, some 242 businesses called the Greenwood district home. Having experienced decline in the '60s, '70s, and early '80s, the area is now poised for yet another renaissance. Black Wall Street speaks to the triumph of the human spirit.

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History in the Making - Kyle Ward Cover Art

History in the Making

History in the Making An Absorbing Look at How American History Has Changed in the Telling over the Last 200 Years by Kyle Ward

The popular, “thought-provoking study” that explores how contemporary prejudices change the way each generation looks at the nation’s past ( Library Journal ).   Historian Kyle Ward, the acclaimed co-author of  History Lessons , offers another fascinating look at the biases inherent in the way we think about, write about, and teach our own history. Juxtaposing passages from US history textbooks of different eras,  History in the Making  provides new perspectives on familiar historical events, and sheds light on the ways they have been represented over generations.   Covering subjects that span two hundred years, from Columbus’s arrival to the Boston Massacre, from women’s suffrage to Japanese internment,  History in the Making  exposes the changing values, priorities, and points of view that have framed—and reframed—our past.   “Interesting and useful . . . convincingly illustrates how texts change as social and political attitudes evolve.” — Booklist   “Students, teachers, and general readers will learn more about the past from these passages than from any single work, however current, that purports to monopolize the truth.” —Ray Raphael, author of  Founding Myths

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Lone Survivor - Marcus Luttrell & Patrick Robinson Cover Art

Lone Survivor

Lone Survivor The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10 by Marcus Luttrell & Patrick Robinson

Follow along a Navy SEAL's firsthand account of American heroism during a secret military operation in Afghanistan in this true story of survival and difficult choices. On a clear night in late June 2005, four U.S. Navy SEALs left their base in northern Afghanistan for the mountainous Pakistani border. Their mission was to capture or kill a notorious al Qaeda leader known to be ensconced in a Taliban stronghold surrounded by a small but heavily armed force. Less then twenty-four hours later, only one of those Navy SEALs remained alive. This is the story of fire team leader Marcus Luttrell, the sole survivor of Operation Redwing, and the desperate battle in the mountains that led, ultimately, to the largest loss of life in Navy SEAL history. But it is also, more than anything, the story of his teammates, who fought ferociously beside him until he was the last one left-blasted unconscious by a rocket grenade, blown over a cliff, but still armed and still breathing. Over the next four days, badly injured and presumed dead, Luttrell fought off six al Qaeda assassins who were sent to finish him, then crawled for seven miles through the mountains before he was taken in by a Pashtun tribe, who risked everything to protect him from the encircling Taliban killers. A six-foot-five-inch Texan, Leading Petty Officer Luttrell takes us, blow by blow, through the brutal training of America's warrior elite and the relentless rites of passage required by the Navy SEALs. He transports us to a monstrous battle fought in the desolate peaks of Afghanistan, where the beleaguered American team plummeted headlong a thousand feet down a mountain as they fought back through flying shale and rocks. In this rich, moving chronicle of courage, honor, and patriotism, Marcus Luttrell delivers one of the most powerful narratives ever written about modern warfare -- and a tribute to his teammates, who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

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Roots - Alex Haley Cover Art

Roots

Roots The Saga of an American Family by Alex Haley

Based off of the bestselling author's family history, this novel tells the story of Kunta Kinte, who is sold into slavery in the United States where he and his descendants live through major historic events. When Roots was first published forty years ago, the book electrified the nation: it received a Pulitzer Prize and was a #1 New York Times bestseller for 22 weeks. The celebrated miniseries that followed a year later was a coast-to-coast event-over 130 million Americans watched some or all of the broadcast. In the four decades since then, the story of the young African slave Kunta Kinte and his descendants has lost none of its power to enthrall and provoke. Now, Roots once again bursts onto the national scene, and at a time when the race conversation has never been more charged. It is a book for the legions of earlier readers to revisit and for a new generation to discover. To quote from the introduction by Michael Eric Dyson: "Alex Haley's Roots is unquestionably one of the nation's seminal texts. It affected events far beyond its pages and was a literary North Star.... Each generation must make up its own mind about how it will navigate the treacherous waters of our nation's racial sin. And each generation must overcome our social ills through greater knowledge and decisive action. Roots is a stirring reminder that we can achieve these goals only if we look history squarely in the face." The star- studded cast in this new event series includes Academy Award-winners Forest Whitaker and Anna Paquin, Laurence Fishburne, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Derek Luke, Grammy Award-winner Tip "T.I." Harris, and Mekhi Phifer. Questlove of The Roots is the executive music producer for the miniseries's stirring soundtrack.

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21 Lessons for the 21st Century - Yuval Noah Harari Cover Art

21 Lessons for the 21st Century

21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER •  In Sapiens, he explored our past. In Homo Deus, he looked to our future . Now, one of the most innovative thinkers on the planet turns to the present to make sense of today’s most pressing issues. “Fascinating . . . a crucial global conversation about how to take on the problems of the twenty-first century.”—Bill Gates,  The New York Times Book Review NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY FINANCIAL TIMES AND  PAMELA PAUL, KQED  How do computers and robots change the meaning of being human? How do we deal with the epidemic of fake news? Are nations and religions still relevant? What should we teach our children? Yuval Noah Harari’s 21 Lessons for the 21st Century is a probing and visionary investigation into today’s most urgent issues as we move into the uncharted territory of the future. As technology advances faster than our understanding of it, hacking becomes a tactic of war, and the world feels more polarized than ever, Harari addresses the challenge of navigating life in the face of constant and disorienting change and raises the important questions we need to ask ourselves in order to survive. In twenty-one accessible chapters that are both provocative and profound, Harari builds on the ideas explored in his previous books, untangling political, technological, social, and existential issues and offering advice on how to prepare for a very different future from the world we now live in: How can we retain freedom of choice when Big Data is watching us? What will the future workforce look like, and how should we ready ourselves for it? How should we deal with the threat of terrorism? Why is liberal democracy in crisis? Harari’s unique ability to make sense of where we have come from and where we are going has captured the imaginations of millions of readers. Here he invites us to consider values, meaning, and personal engagement in a world full of noise and uncertainty. When we are deluged with irrelevant information, clarity is power. Presenting complex contemporary challenges clearly and accessibly, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century is essential reading. “If there were such a thing as a required instruction manual for politicians and thought leaders, Israeli historian Yuval Noah Harari’s  21 Lessons for the 21st Century  would deserve serious consideration. In this collection of provocative essays, Harari . . . tackles a daunting array of issues, endeavoring to answer a persistent question: ‘What is happening in the world today, and what is the deep meaning of these events?’”— BookPage  (top pick)

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The Devil in the White City - Erik Larson Cover Art

The Devil in the White City

The Devil in the White City A Saga of Magic and Murder at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson

In The Devil in the White City,  the smoke, romance, and mystery of the Gilded Age come alive as never before. Two men, each handsome and unusually adept at his chosen work, embodied an element of the great dynamic that characterized America’s rush toward the twentieth century. The architect was Daniel Hudson Burnham, the fair’s brilliant director of works and the builder of many of the country’s most important structures, including the Flatiron Building in New York and Union Station in Washington, D.C. The murderer was Henry H. Holmes, a young doctor who, in a malign parody of the White City, built his “World’s Fair Hotel” just west of the fairgrounds—a torture palace complete with dissection table, gas chamber, and 3,000-degree crematorium. Burnham overcame tremendous obstacles and tragedies as he organized the talents of Frederick Law Olmsted, Charles McKim, Louis Sullivan, and others to transform swampy Jackson Park into the White City, while Holmes used the attraction of the great fair and his own satanic charms to lure scores of young women to their deaths. What makes the story all the more chilling is that Holmes really lived, walking the grounds of that dream city by the lake. The Devil in the White City draws the reader into a time of magic and majesty, made all the more appealing by a supporting cast of real-life characters, including Buffalo Bill, Theodore Dreiser, Susan B. Anthony, Thomas Edison, Archduke Francis Ferdinand, and others. Erik Larson’s gifts as a storyteller are magnificently displayed in this rich narrative of the master builder, the killer, and the great fair that obsessed them both. To find out more about this book, go to http://www.DevilInTheWhiteCity.com.

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The Burning - Tim Madigan Cover Art

The Burning

The Burning Massacre, Destruction, and the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 by Tim Madigan

As seen on the HBO series Watchmen ! On the morning of June 1, 1921, a white mob numbering in the thousands marched across the railroad tracks dividing black from white in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and obliterated a black community then celebrated as one of America's most prosperous. 34 square blocks of Tulsa's Greenwood community, known then as the Negro Wall Street of America, were reduced to smoldering rubble. And now, 80 years later, the death toll of what is known as the Tulsa Race Riot is more difficult to pinpoint. Conservative estimates put the number of dead at about 100 (75% of the victims are believed to have been black), but the actual number of casualties could be triple that. The Tulsa Race Riot Commission, formed two years ago to determine exactly what happened, has recommended that restitution to the historic Greenwood Community would be good public policy and do much to repair the emotional as well as physical scars of this most terrible incident in our shared past. With chilling details, humanity, and the narrative thrust of compelling fiction, The Burning will recreate the town of Greenwood at the height of its prosperity, explore the currents of hatred, racism, and mistrust between its black residents and neighboring Tulsa's white population, narrate events leading up to and including Greenwood's annihilation, and document the subsequent silence that surrounded the tragedy.

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The Great Influenza - John M. Barry Cover Art

The Great Influenza

The Great Influenza The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History by John M. Barry

#1 New York Times bestseller “Barry will teach you almost everything you need to know about one of the deadliest outbreaks in human history.” —Bill Gates, GatesNotes.com "Monumental... an authoritative and disturbing morality tale."— Chicago Tribune  The strongest weapon against pandemic is the truth. Read why in the definitive account of the 1918 Flu Epidemic.  Magisterial in its breadth of perspective and depth of research,  The Great Influenza  provides us with a precise and sobering model as we confront the epidemics looming on our own horizon. As Barry concludes, "The final lesson of 1918, a simple one yet one most difficult to execute, is that...those in authority must retain the public's trust. The way to do that is to distort nothing, to put the best face on nothing, to try to manipulate no one. Lincoln said that first, and best. A leader must make whatever horror exists concrete. Only then will people be able to break it apart."    At the height of World War I, history’s most lethal influenza virus erupted in an army camp in Kansas, moved east with American troops, then exploded, killing as many as 100 million people worldwide. It killed more people in twenty-four months than AIDS killed in twenty-four years, more in a year than the Black Death killed in a century. But this was not the Middle Ages, and 1918 marked the first collision of science and epidemic disease.

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The Half Has Never Been Told - Edward E. Baptist Cover Art

The Half Has Never Been Told

The Half Has Never Been Told Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism by Edward E. Baptist

A groundbreaking, must-read history demonstrating that America's economic supremacy was built on the backs of slaves Americans tend to cast slavery as a pre-modern institution -- the nation's original sin, perhaps, but isolated in time and divorced from America's later success. But to do so robs the millions who suffered in bondage of their full legacy. As historian Edward E. Baptist reveals in the prizewinning The Half Has Never Been Told , the expansion of slavery in the first eight decades after American independence drove the evolution and modernization of the United States. In the span of a single lifetime, the South grew from a narrow coastal strip of worn-out tobacco plantations to a continental cotton empire, and the United States grew into a modern, industrial, and capitalist economy. Told through intimate slave narratives, plantation records, newspapers, and the words of politicians, entrepreneurs, and escaped slaves, The Half Has Never Been Told offers a radical new interpretation of American history. Bloomberg View Top Ten Nonfiction Books of 2014 Daily Beast Best Nonfiction Books of 2014 Winner of the 2015 Avery O. Craven Prize from the Organization of American Historians Winner of the 2015 Sidney Hillman Prize

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One Million Steps - Bing West Cover Art

One Million Steps

One Million Steps A Marine Platoon at War by Bing West

Battalion 3/5 suffered the highest number of casualties in the war in Afghanistan. This is the story of one platoon in that distinguished battalion.   Aware of U.S. plans to withdraw from the country, knowing their efforts were only a footprint in the sand, the fifty Marines of 3rd Platoon fought in Sangin, the most dangerous district in all of Afghanistan. So heavy were the casualties that the Secretary of Defense offered to pull the Marines out. Instead, they pushed forward. Each Marine in 3rd Platoon patrolled two and a half miles a day for six months—a total of one million steps—in search of a ghostlike enemy that struck without warning. Why did the Marines attack and attack, day after day?     Every day brought a new skirmish. Each footfall might trigger an IED. Half the Marines in 3rd Platoon didn’t make it intact to the end of the tour. One Million Steps is the story of the fifty brave men who faced these grim odds and refused to back down. Based on Bing West’s embeds with 3rd Platoon, as well as on their handwritten log, this is a gripping grunt’s-eye view of life on the front lines of America’s longest war. Writing with a combat veteran’s compassion for the fallen, West also offers a damning critique of the higher-ups who expected our warriors to act as nation-builders—and whose failed strategy put American lives at unnecessary risk.   Each time a leader was struck down, another rose up to take his place. How does one man instill courage in another? What welded these men together as firmly as steel plates?   This remarkable book is the story of warriors caught between a maddening, unrealistic strategy and their unswerving commitment to the fight. Fearsome, inspiring, and poignant in its telling, One Million Steps is sure to become a classic, a unique and enduring testament to the American warrior spirit.   Praise for One Million Steps   “West shows the reality of modern warfare in a way that is utterly gripping.” —Max Boot, author of Invisible Armies   “A gripping, boot-level account of Marines in Afghanistan during the bloody struggle with Taliban fighters.” — Los Angeles Times   “ One Million Steps transcends combat narrative: It is an epic of contemporary small-unit combat.” —Eliot A. Cohen, author of Supreme Command   “A blistering assault on America’s senior military leadership.” — The Wall Street Journal   “A heart-pounding portrayal . . . a compelling account of what these men endured.” —The Washington Post   “Stunning, sobering, and brilliantly written.” —Newt Gingrich   “One of the most intrepid military journalists, Bing West, delivers a heart-wrenching account of one platoon’s fight.” —Bill Bennett, host of Morning in America   “Bing West has reconfirmed his standing as one of the most intrepid and insightful observers of America’s wars. . . . One Million Steps reveals the essence of small-unit combat, the very soul of war.” — The Weekly Standard   “A searing read, but it is one that all Americans should undertake. We send our sons into battle, and few know what our warriors experience.” —The Washington Times

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Band of Brothers - Stephen E. Ambrose Cover Art

Band of Brothers

Band of Brothers E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler's Eagle's Nest by Stephen E. Ambrose

Stephen E. Ambrose’s classic New York Times bestseller and inspiration for the acclaimed HBO series about Easy Company, the ordinary men who became the World War II’s most extraordinary soldiers at the frontlines of the war's most critical moments. Featuring a foreword from Tom Hanks. They came together, citizen soldiers, in the summer of 1942, drawn to Airborne by the $50 monthly bonus and a desire to be better than the other guy. And at its peak—in Holland and the Ardennes—Easy Company was as good a rifle company as any in the world. From the rigorous training in Georgia in 1942 to the disbanding in 1945, Stephen E. Ambrose tells the story of this remarkable company. In combat, the reward for a job well done is the next tough assignment, and as they advanced through Europe, the men of Easy kept getting the tough assignments. They parachuted into France early D-Day morning and knocked out a battery of four 105 mm cannon looking down Utah Beach; they parachuted into Holland during the Arnhem campaign; they were the Battered Bastards of the Bastion of Bastogne, brought in to hold the line, although surrounded, in the Battle of the Bulge; and then they spearheaded the counteroffensive. Finally, they captured Hitler's Bavarian outpost, his Eagle's Nest at Berchtesgaden. They were rough-and-ready guys, battered by the Depression, mistrustful and suspicious. They drank too much French wine, looted too many German cameras and watches, and fought too often with other GIs. But in training and combat they learned selflessness and found the closest brotherhood they ever knew. They discovered that in war, men who loved life would give their lives for them. This is the story of the men who fought, of the martinet they hated who trained them well, and of the captain they loved who led them. E Company was a company of men who went hungry, froze, and died for each other, a company that took 150 percent casualties, a company where the Purple Heart was not a medal—it was a badge of office.

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The Spy and the Traitor - Ben Macintyre Cover Art

The Spy and the Traitor

The Spy and the Traitor The Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War by Ben Macintyre

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER •  The celebrated author of  Double Cross  and  Rogue Heroes  returns with his greatest spy story yet, a thrilling  Americans -era tale of Oleg Gordievsky, the Russian whose secret work helped hasten the end of the Cold War. “The best true spy story I have ever read.”—JOHN LE CARRÉ If anyone could be considered a Russian counterpart to the infamous British double-agent Kim Philby, it was Oleg Gordievsky. The son of two KGB agents and the product of the best Soviet institutions, the savvy, sophisticated Gordievsky grew to see his nation's communism as both criminal and philistine. He took his first posting for Russian intelligence in 1968 and eventually became the Soviet Union's top man in London, but from 1973 on he was secretly working for MI6. For nearly a decade, as the Cold War reached its twilight, Gordievsky helped the West turn the tables on the KGB, exposing Russian spies and helping to foil countless intelligence plots, as the Soviet leadership grew increasingly paranoid at the United States's nuclear first-strike capabilities and brought the world closer to the brink of war. Desperate to keep the circle of trust close, MI6 never revealed Gordievsky's name to its counterparts in the CIA, which in turn grew obsessed with figuring out the identity of Britain's obviously top-level source. Their obsession ultimately doomed Gordievsky: the CIA officer assigned to identify him was none other than Aldrich Ames, the man who would become infamous for secretly spying for the Soviets.  Unfolding the delicious three-way gamesmanship between America, Britain, and the Soviet Union, and culminating in the gripping cinematic beat-by-beat of Gordievsky's nail-biting escape from Moscow in 1985, Ben Macintyre's latest may be his best yet. Like the greatest novels of John le Carré, it brings readers deep into a world of treachery and betrayal, where the lines bleed between the personal and the professional, and one man's hatred of communism had the power to change the future of nations.

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The Library Book - Susan Orlean Cover Art

The Library Book

The Library Book by Susan Orlean

A REESE WITHERSPOON x HELLO SUNSHINE BOOK CLUB PICK A WASHINGTON POST TOP 10 BOOK OF THE YEAR * A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER and NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF 2018 “A constant pleasure to read…Everybody who loves books should check out The Library Book .” — The Washington Post “CAPTIVATING…DELIGHTFUL.” — Christian Science Monitor * “EXQUISITELY WRITTEN, CONSISTENTLY ENTERTAINING.” — The New York Times * “MESMERIZING…RIVETING.” — Booklist (starred review) A dazzling love letter to a beloved institution—and an investigation into one of its greatest mysteries—from the bestselling author hailed as a “national treasure” by The Washington Post . On the morning of April 29, 1986, a fire alarm sounded in the Los Angeles Public Library. As the moments passed, the patrons and staff who had been cleared out of the building realized this was not the usual fire alarm. As one fireman recounted, “Once that first stack got going, it was ‘Goodbye, Charlie.’” The fire was disastrous: it reached 2000 degrees and burned for more than seven hours. By the time it was extinguished, it had consumed four hundred thousand books and damaged seven hundred thousand more. Investigators descended on the scene, but more than thirty years later, the mystery remains: Did someone purposefully set fire to the library—and if so, who? Weaving her lifelong love of books and reading into an investigation of the fire, award-winning New Yorker reporter and New York Times bestselling author Susan Orlean delivers a mesmerizing and uniquely compelling book that manages to tell the broader story of libraries and librarians in a way that has never been done before. In The Library Book , Orlean chronicles the LAPL fire and its aftermath to showcase the larger, crucial role that libraries play in our lives; delves into the evolution of libraries across the country and around the world, from their humble beginnings as a metropolitan charitable initiative to their current status as a cornerstone of national identity; brings each department of the library to vivid life through on-the-ground reporting; studies arson and attempts to burn a copy of a book herself; reflects on her own experiences in libraries; and reexamines the case of Harry Peak, the blond-haired actor long suspected of setting fire to the LAPL more than thirty years ago. Along the way, Orlean introduces us to an unforgettable cast of characters from libraries past and present—from Mary Foy, who in 1880 at eighteen years old was named the head of the Los Angeles Public Library at a time when men still dominated the role, to Dr. C.J.K. Jones, a pastor, citrus farmer, and polymath known as “The Human Encyclopedia” who roamed the library dispensing information; from Charles Lummis, a wildly eccentric journalist and adventurer who was determined to make the L.A. library one of the best in the world, to the current staff, who do heroic work every day to ensure that their institution remains a vital part of the city it serves. Brimming with her signature wit, insight, compassion, and talent for deep research, The Library Book is Susan Orlean’s thrilling journey through the stacks that reveals how these beloved institutions provide much more than just books—and why they remain an essential part of the heart, mind, and soul of our country. It is also a master journalist’s reminder that, perhaps especially in the digital era, they are more necessary than ever.

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White House Confidential - Gregg Stebben, Austin Hill & Will Durst Cover Art

White House Confidential

White House Confidential The Little Book of Weird Presidential History by Gregg Stebben, Austin Hill & Will Durst

An irreverent look at Presidential foibles, follies, fibs, and moral failures Were past presidents smarter, more honest, and better behaved that those we elect today? Don’t bet on it! White House Confidential shows that commanders-in-chief have been lying, cheating, stealing, and womanizing from the days of the Founding Fathers. Focusing on the qualities that never made it into White House press releases, the authors look at their sexual misdeeds and strange family relationships, scandals that engulfed administrations, fights with enemies, and questionable money matters. Dip into these pages to find out: Which president was famous for being the richest man alive because of all his brilliant real estate deals? Which president was born in Canada, and was ineligible to hold the office of president? Which president caused some problems by trying to grow “strange herbs” in the White House garden? Which president often ordered White House staff to rub Vaseline into his scalp while he ate breakfast in bed? Which president often called his deputy chief of staff “Turd Blossom”? Updated with new material about many presidents including George W. Bush and Barack Obama, White House Confidential will have you laughing (and sometimes cursing!) as you take a second look at the next occupant of the Oval Office.

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With the Old Breed - E.B. Sledge Cover Art

With the Old Breed

With the Old Breed At Peleliu and Okinawa by E.B. Sledge

“Eugene Sledge became more than a legend with his memoir, With The Old Breed . He became a chronicler, a historian, a storyteller who turns the extremes of the war in the Pacific—the terror, the camaraderie, the banal and the extraordinary—into terms we mortals can grasp.”—Tom Hanks NEW YORK TIMES  BESTSELLER In The Wall Street Journal , Victor Davis Hanson named With the Old Breed one of the top five books on epic twentieth-century battles. Studs Terkel interviewed the author for his definitive oral history, The Good War . Now E. B. Sledge’s acclaimed first-person account of fighting at Peleliu and Okinawa returns to thrill, edify, and inspire a new generation. An Alabama boy steeped in American history and enamored of such heroes as George Washington and Daniel Boone, Eugene B. Sledge became part of the war’s famous 1st Marine Division—3rd Battalion, 5th Marines. Even after intense training, he was shocked to be thrown into the battle of Peleliu, where “the world was a nightmare of flashes, explosions, and snapping bullets.” By the time Sledge hit the hell of Okinawa, he was a combat vet, still filled with fear but no longer with panic. Based on notes Sledge secretly kept in a copy of the New Testament, With the Old Breed captures with utter simplicity and searing honesty the experience of a soldier in the fierce Pacific Theater. Here is what saved, threatened, and changed his life. Here, too, is the story of how he learned to hate and kill—and came to love—his fellow man. “In all the literature on the Second World War, there is not a more honest, realistic or moving memoir than Eugene Sledge’s. This is the real deal, the real war: unvarnished, brutal, without a shred of sentimentality or false patriotism, a profound primer on what it actually was like to be in that war. It is a classic that will outlive all the armchair generals’ safe accounts of—not the ‘good war’—but the worst war ever.”—Ken Burns

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Slavery by Another Name - Douglas A. Blackmon Cover Art

Slavery by Another Name

Slavery by Another Name The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II by Douglas A. Blackmon

A Pulitzer Prize-winning account of the “Age of Neoslavery,” the American period following the Emancipation Proclamation in which convicts, mostly black men, were “leased” through forced labor camps operated by state and federal governments. In this groundbreaking historical expose, Douglas A. Blackmon brings to light one of the most shameful chapters in American history—an “Age of Neoslavery” that thrived from the aftermath of the Civil War through the dawn of World War II. Using a vast record of original documents and personal narratives, Douglas A. Blackmon unearths the lost stories of slaves and their descendants who journeyed into freedom after the Emancipation Proclamation and then back into the shadow of involuntary servitude shortly thereafter. By turns moving, sobering, and shocking, this unprecedented account reveals the stories of those who fought unsuccessfully against the re-emergence of human labor trafficking, the companies that profited most from neoslavery, and the insidious legacy of racism that reverberates today.

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The Pyramids - Miroslav Verner & Steven Rendall Cover Art

The Pyramids

The Pyramids The Mystery, Culture, and Science of Egypt's Great Monuments by Miroslav Verner & Steven Rendall

A “richly illustrated . . . engaging, lucid account” of Ancient Egyptian Pyramids, what we know about them now, what we don’t, and what is still debated today ( Kirkus Reviews ).   Hailed by Science News as “the new seminal text,” The Pyramids is a comprehensive record of Egypt’s most awe-inspiring monuments and what Egyptologists now know about them today—from their construction and purpose to the culture that surrounded them. Distinguished Egyptologist Miroslav Verner draws from the research of the earliest Egyptologists as well as the startling discoveries made with late twentieth century technology.   Here you will find a clear, authoritative guide to the ancient culture that created the pyramids five thousand years ago without iron or bronze, and with only the most elementary systems of calculation. As Verner explains the magnitude of this accomplishment, he also traces the stories and ideas of the intrepid scientists who uncovered the mysteries of the pyramids.   “Editor’s Choice . . . this comprehensive volume details everything you ever wanted to know about pyramids.” —Rosemary Herbert, Boston Herald   “Displays both a deep respect for the research of Egyptologists and a comprehensive knowledge of it . . . An important, comprehensive resource for the study of those most mysteriously, enduringly impressive structures.” — Kirkus Reviews   “An accessible introduction to the culture of the ancient Egyptians.” — Die Welt

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The Pioneers - David McCullough Cover Art

The Pioneers

The Pioneers The Heroic Story of the Settlers Who Brought the American Ideal West by David McCullough

The #1 New York Times bestseller by Pulitzer Prize–winning historian David McCullough rediscovers an important chapter in the American story that’s “ as resonant today as ever” ( The Wall Street Journal )—the settling of the Northwest Territory by courageous pioneers who overcame incredible hardships to build a community based on ideals that would define our country. As part of the Treaty of Paris, in which Great Britain recognized the new United States of America, Britain ceded the land that comprised the immense Northwest Territory, a wilderness empire northwest of the Ohio River containing the future states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin. A Massachusetts minister named Manasseh Cutler was instrumental in opening this vast territory to veterans of the Revolutionary War and their families for settlement. Included in the Northwest Ordinance were three remarkable conditions: freedom of religion, free universal education, and most importantly, the prohibition of slavery. In 1788 the first band of pioneers set out from New England for the Northwest Territory under the leadership of Revolutionary War veteran General Rufus Putnam. They settled in what is now Marietta on the banks of the Ohio River. McCullough tells the story through five major characters: Cutler and Putnam; Cutler’s son Ephraim; and two other men, one a carpenter turned architect, and the other a physician who became a prominent pioneer in American science. “With clarity and incisiveness, [McCullough] details the experience of a brave and broad-minded band of people who crossed raging rivers, chopped down forests, plowed miles of land, suffered incalculable hardships, and braved a lonely frontier to forge a new American ideal” ( The Providence Journal ). Drawn in great part from a rare and all-but-unknown collection of diaries and letters by the key figures, The Pioneers is a uniquely American story of people whose ambition and courage led them to remarkable accomplishments. “A tale of uplift” ( The New York Times Book Review ), this is a quintessentially American story, written with David McCullough’s signature narrative energy.

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Enemy of All Mankind - Steven Johnson Cover Art

Enemy of All Mankind

Enemy of All Mankind A True Story of Piracy, Power, and History's First Global Manhunt by Steven Johnson

"Thoroughly engrossing. . . .a spirited, suspenseful, economically told tale whose significance is manifest and whose pace never flags." — Wall Street Journal   The  New York Times  bestselling author of  Ghost Map  and  How We Got to Now  returns with the story of a pirate who changed the world Henry Every was the seventeenth century’s most notorious pirate. The press published wildly popular—and wildly inaccurate—reports of his nefarious adventures. The British government offered enormous bounties for his capture, alive or (preferably) dead. But Steven Johnson argues that Every’s most lasting legacy was his inadvertent triggering of a major shift in the global economy . Enemy of All Mankind focuses on one key event—the attack on an Indian treasure ship by Every and his crew—and its surprising repercussions across time and space. It’s the gripping tale one of the most lucrative crimes in history, the first international manhunt, and the trial of the seventeenth century. Johnson uses the extraordinary story of Henry Every and his crimes to explore the emergence of the East India Company, the British Empire, and the modern global marketplace: a densely interconnected planet ruled by nations and corporations. How did this unlikely pirate and his notorious crime end up playing a key role in the birth of multinational capitalism? In the same mode as Johnson’s classic non-fiction historical thriller The Ghost Map , Enemy of All Mankind deftly traces the path from a single struck match to a global conflagration.

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Cult of Glory - Doug J. Swanson Cover Art

Cult of Glory

Cult of Glory The Bold and Brutal History of the Texas Rangers by Doug J. Swanson

A twenty-first century reckoning with the legendary Texas Rangers that does justice to their heroic moments while also documenting atrocities, brutality, oppression, and corruption The Texas Rangers came to life in 1823, when Texas was still part of Mexico. Nearly 200 years later, the Rangers are still going--one of the most famous of all law enforcement agencies. In Cult of Glory , Doug J. Swanson has written a sweeping account of the Rangers that chronicles their epic, daring escapades while showing how the white and propertied power structures of Texas used them as enforcers, protectors and officially sanctioned killers. Cult of Glory begins with the Rangers' emergence as conquerors of the wild and violent Texas frontier. They fought the fierce Comanches, chased outlaws, and served in the U.S. Army during the Mexican War. As Texas developed, the Rangers were called upon to catch rustlers, tame oil boomtowns, and patrol the perilous Texas-Mexico border. In the 1930s they began their transformation into a professionally trained police force. Countless movies, television shows, and pulp novels have celebrated the Rangers as Wild West supermen. In many cases, they deserve their plaudits. But often the truth has been obliterated. Swanson demonstrates how the Rangers and their supporters have operated a propaganda machine that turned agency disasters and misdeeds into fables of triumph, transformed murderous rampages--including the killing of scores of Mexican civilians--into valorous feats, and elevated scoundrels to sainthood. Cult of Glory sets the record straight. Beginning with the Texas Indian wars, Cult of Glory embraces the great, majestic arc of Lone Star history. It tells of border battles, range disputes, gunslingers, massacres, slavery, political intrigue, race riots, labor strife, and the dangerous lure of celebrity. And it reveals how legends of the American West--the real and the false--are truly made.

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The Making of a Slave - Willie Lynch Cover Art

The Making of a Slave

The Making of a Slave by Willie Lynch

The Willie Lynch Letter And The Making of A Slave written by Willie Lynch is widely considered to be one of the top 100 most controversial books of all time. For many, The Willie Lynch Letter And The Making of A Slave is required reading for various courses and curriculums. And for others The Willie Lynch Letter And The Making of a Slave is simply a highly controversial book that they must have as a reference tool and for self enlightment.

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The Age of Entitlement - Christopher Caldwell Cover Art

The Age of Entitlement

The Age of Entitlement America Since the Sixties by Christopher Caldwell

A major American intellectual makes the historical case that the reforms of the 1960s, reforms intended to make the nation more just and humane, instead left many Americans feeling alienated, despised, misled—and ready to put an adventurer in the White House. Christopher Caldwell has spent years studying the liberal uprising of the 1960s and its unforeseen consequences. Even the reforms that Americans love best have come with costs that are staggeringly high—in wealth, freedom, and social stability—and that have been spread unevenly among classes and generations. Caldwell reveals the real political turning points of the past half century, taking readers on a roller-coaster ride through Playboy magazine, affirmative action, CB radio, leveraged buyouts, iPhones, Oxycontin, Black Lives Matter, and Internet cookies. In doing so, he shows that attempts to redress the injustices of the past have left Americans living under two different ideas of what it means to play by the rules. Essential, timely, hard to put down, The Age of Entitlement is a brilliant and ambitious argument about how the reforms of the past fifty years gave the country two incompatible political systems—and drove it toward conflict.

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Spain in Our Hearts - Adam Hochschild Cover Art

Spain in Our Hearts

Spain in Our Hearts Americans in the Spanish Civil War, 1936–1939 by Adam Hochschild

From the acclaimed, best-selling author Adam Hochschild, a sweeping history of the Spanish Civil War, told through a dozen characters, including Ernest Hemingway and George Orwell: a tale of idealism, heartbreaking suffering, and a noble cause that failed For three crucial years in the 1930s, the Spanish Civil War dominated headlines in America and around the world, as volunteers flooded to Spain to help its democratic government fight off a fascist uprising led by Francisco Franco and aided by Hitler and Mussolini. Today we're accustomed to remembering the war through Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls and Robert Capa’s photographs. But Adam Hochschild has discovered some less familiar yet far more compelling characters who reveal the full tragedy and importance of the war: a fiery nineteen-year-old Kentucky woman who went to wartime Spain on her honeymoon, a Swarthmore College senior who was the first American casualty in the battle for Madrid, a pair of fiercely partisan, rivalrous  New York Times reporters who covered the war from opposites sides, and a swashbuckling Texas oilman with Nazi sympathies who sold Franco almost all his oil — at reduced prices, and on credit.   It was in many ways the opening battle of World War II, and we still have much to learn from it. Spain in Our Hearts is Adam Hochschild at his very best.

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Black Cat 2-1 - Bob Ford Cover Art

Black Cat 2-1

Black Cat 2-1 The True Story of a Vietnam Helicopter Pilot and His Crew by Bob Ford

“This moving memoir about the gritty life of a military helicopter pilot fills a gap in the genre of Vietnam literature.”— Foreword Reviews In the Vietnam War, 2,197 helicopter pilots and 2,717 crew members were killed.  Black Cat 2-1  is the story of one pilot who made it home and the valiant men he served with who risked their lives for the troops on the ground. Bob Ford invites readers into the Huey helicopters he flew on more than 1,000 missions when he and his men dared to protect and rescue. For those whose voices were silenced in that faraway place or who have never told their stories, he creates a tribute that reads like a thriller, captures the humor of men at war, and resounds with respect for those who served with honor.   An Oklahoma Book Award Finalist “Bob Ford’s account of his year in the command seat of his ship of salvation is a priceless contribution to the literary canon of that war.”—David A. Maurer, Special Forces veteran, author of The Dying Place   “[Ford] brings to life his story so the reader can experience what it may have been like—and how the troops felt at the time. With moments that feel like they were written for a movie,  Black Cat 2-1  will take you in the air over Vietnam and through some of the hardest missions you could expect.”— Week99er “This memoir is hard to beat.”— Air & Space/Smithsonian “Capably written.”— Publishers Weekly “Refreshing . . . evocative descriptions of combat flying.”— The VVA Veteran

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Twelve Years a Slave - Solomon Northup Cover Art

Twelve Years a Slave

Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER The story that inspired the major motion picture produced by Brad Pitt, directed by Steve McQueen, and starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, and Benedict Cumberbatch, Twelve Years a Slave is a harrowing, vividly detailed, and utterly unforgettable account of slavery. This beautifully designed ebook edition of Twelve Years a Slave features an introduction by Dolen Perkins-Valdez, the bestselling author of Wench. Solomon Northup was an entrepreneur and dedicated family man, father to three young children, Elizabeth, Margaret, and Alonzo. What little free time he had after long days of manual and farm labor, he spent reading books and playing the violin. Though his father was born into slavery, Solomon was born and lived free. In March 1841, two strangers approached Northup, offering him employment as a violinist in a town hundreds of miles away from his home in Saratoga Springs, New York. Solomon bid his wife farewell until his return. Only after he was drugged and bound, did he realize the strangers were kidnappers—that nefarious brand of criminals in the business of capturing runaway and free blacks for profit. Thus began Northup's life as a slave. Dehumanized, beaten, and worked mercilessly, Northup suffered all the more wondering what had become of his family. One owner was savagely cruel and Northup recalls he was "indebted to him for nothing, save undeserved abuse." Just as he felt the summer of his life fade and all hope nearly lost, he met a kind-hearted stranger who changed the course of his life. With its first-hand account of this country's Peculiar Institution, this is a book no one interested in American history can afford to miss.

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These Truths: A History of the United States - Jill Lepore Cover Art

These Truths: A History of the United States

These Truths: A History of the United States by Jill Lepore

“Nothing short of a masterpiece.”—NPR Books A New York Times and Washington Post Notable Book of the Year In the most ambitious one-volume American history in decades, award-winning historian Jill Lepore offers a magisterial account of the origins and rise of a divided nation. Widely hailed for its “sweeping, sobering account of the American past” (New York Times Book Review), Jill Lepore’s one-volume history of America places truth itself—a devotion to facts, proof, and evidence—at the center of the nation’s history. The American experiment rests on three ideas—“these truths,” Jefferson called them—political equality, natural rights, and the sovereignty of the people. But has the nation, and democracy itself, delivered on that promise? These Truths tells this uniquely American story, beginning in 1492, asking whether the course of events over more than five centuries has proven the nation’s truths, or belied them. To answer that question, Lepore wrestles with the state of American politics, the legacy of slavery, the persistence of inequality, and the nature of technological change. “A nation born in contradiction… will fight, forever, over the meaning of its history,” Lepore writes, but engaging in that struggle by studying the past is part of the work of citizenship. With These Truths, Lepore has produced a book that will shape our view of American history for decades to come.

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Blind Man's Bluff - Sherry Sontag, Christopher Drew & Annette Lawrence Drew Cover Art

Blind Man's Bluff

Blind Man's Bluff The Untold Story Of American Submarine Espionage by Sherry Sontag, Christopher Drew & Annette Lawrence Drew

Discover the secret history of America's submarine warfare in this fast-paced and deeply researched chronicle of adventure and intrigue during the Cold War that reads like a spy thriller. Blind Man's Bluff is an exciting, epic story of adventure, ingenuity, courage, and disaster beneath the sea. This New York Times bestseller reveals previously unknown dramas, such as: The mission to send submarines wired with self-destruct charges into the heart of Soviet seas to tap crucial underwater telephone cables.How the Navy's own negligence may have been responsible for the loss of the USS Scorpion, a submarine that disappeared, all hands lost, in 1968.The bitter war between the CIA and the Navy and how it threatened to sabotage one of America's most important undersea missions.The audacious attempt to steal a Soviet submarine with the help of eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes, and how it was doomed from the start. A magnificent achievement in investigative reporting, Blind Man's Bluff reads like a spy thriller, but with one important difference-everything in it is true.

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Battle Cry of Freedom - James M. McPherson Cover Art

Battle Cry of Freedom

Battle Cry of Freedom The Civil War Era by James M. McPherson

Filled with fresh interpretations and information, puncturing old myths and challenging new ones, Battle Cry of Freedom will unquestionably become the standard one-volume history of the Civil War. James McPherson's fast-paced narrative fully integrates the political, social, and military events that crowded the two decades from the outbreak of one war in Mexico to the ending of another at Appomattox. Packed with drama and analytical insight, the book vividly recounts the momentous episodes that preceded the Civil War--the Dred Scott decision, the Lincoln-Douglas debates, John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry--and then moves into a masterful chronicle of the war itself--the battles, the strategic maneuvering on both sides, the politics, and the personalities. Particularly notable are McPherson's new views on such matters as the slavery expansion issue in the 1850s, the origins of the Republican Party, the causes of secession, internal dissent and anti-war opposition in the North and the South, and the reasons for the Union's victory. The book's title refers to the sentiments that informed both the Northern and Southern views of the conflict: the South seceded in the name of that freedom of self-determination and self-government for which their fathers had fought in 1776, while the North stood fast in defense of the Union founded by those fathers as the bulwark of American liberty. Eventually, the North had to grapple with the underlying cause of the war--slavery--and adopt a policy of emancipation as a second war aim. This "new birth of freedom," as Lincoln called it, constitutes the proudest legacy of America's bloodiest conflict. This authoritative volume makes sense of that vast and confusing "second American Revolution" we call the Civil War, a war that transformed a nation and expanded our heritage of liberty.

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The Gulag Archipelago - Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Cover Art

The Gulag Archipelago

The Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Reviews:  “To live now and not to know this work is to be a kind of historical fool missing a crucial part of the consciousness of the age.” (W.L. Webb, Guardian );  “The ferocious testimony of a man of genius.” (Stephen Spender, London Magazine );  “What gives the book its value is the sound it gives out; the harsh roar give out by a wise and experienced animal as a warning that the herd is in danger.” (Rebecca West, Sunday Telegraph );  “He is one of the towering figures of the age as a writer, as moralist, as hero... in The Gulag Archipelago he has acheived the impossible.” (Edward Crankshaw, Observer );  “It is impossible to name a book that had a greater effect on the political and moral consciousness of the late twentieth century.” (David Remnick, New Yorker ).  About the Author: Aleksander Solzhenitsyn was born in Kislovodsk, Russia, in 1918. He was brought up in Rostov, where he graduated in mathematics and physics in 1941. After distinguished service with the Red Army in the Second World War, he was imprisoned from 1945 to 1953 for making unfavourable remarks about Joseph Stalin. He was rehabilitated in 1956, but in 1969 he was expelled from the Soviet Writers’ Union for denouncing official censorship of his work. He was forcibly exiled from the Soviet Union in 1974 and deported to West Germany. Later he settled in America, but after Soviet officials finally dropped charges against him in 1991, he returned to his homeland in 1994 and died in August 2008, aged eighty-nine. Solzhenitsyn wrote many books, of which One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich , Cancer Ward and The Gulag Archipelago are his best known.

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The Soul of America - Jon Meacham Cover Art

The Soul of America

The Soul of America The Battle for Our Better Angels by Jon Meacham

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Pulitzer Prize–winning author Jon Meacham helps us understand the present moment in American politics and life by looking back at critical times in our history when hope overcame division and fear. NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NPR • The Christian Science Monitor • Southern Living Our current climate of partisan fury is not new, and in The Soul of America Meacham shows us how what Abraham Lincoln called the “better angels of our nature” have repeatedly won the day. Painting surprising portraits of Lincoln and other presidents, including Ulysses S. Grant, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, and Lyndon B. Johnson, and illuminating the courage of such influential citizen activists as Martin Luther King, Jr., early suffragettes Alice Paul and Carrie Chapman Catt, civil rights pioneers Rosa Parks and John Lewis, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, and Army-McCarthy hearings lawyer Joseph N. Welch, Meacham brings vividly to life turning points in American history. He writes about the Civil War, Reconstruction, and the birth of the Lost Cause; the backlash against immigrants in the First World War and the resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s; the fight for women’s rights; the demagoguery of Huey Long and Father Coughlin and the isolationist work of America First in the years before World War II; the anti-Communist witch-hunts led by Senator Joseph McCarthy; and Lyndon Johnson’s crusade against Jim Crow. Each of these dramatic hours in our national life have been shaped by the contest to lead the country to look forward rather than back, to assert hope over fear—a struggle that continues even now. While the American story has not always—or even often—been heroic, we have been sustained by a belief in progress even in the gloomiest of times. In this inspiring book, Meacham reassures us, “The good news is that we have come through such darkness before”—as, time and again, Lincoln’s better angels have found a way to prevail. Praise for The Soul of America “Brilliant, fascinating, timely . . . With compelling narratives of past eras of strife and disenchantment, Meacham offers wisdom for our own time.” —Walter Isaacson “Gripping and inspiring, The Soul of America is Jon Meacham’s declaration of his faith in America.” — Newsday “Meacham gives readers a long-term perspective on American history and a reason to believe the soul of America is ultimately one of kindness and caring, not rancor and paranoia.” — USA Today

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Dead Wake - Erik Larson Cover Art

Dead Wake

Dead Wake The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson

#1 New York Times Bestseller From the bestselling author and master of narrative nonfiction comes the enthralling story of the sinking of the Lusitania On May 1, 1915, with WWI entering its tenth month, a luxury ocean liner as richly appointed as an English country house sailed out of New York, bound for Liverpool, carrying a record number of children and infants. The passengers were surprisingly at ease, even though Germany had declared the seas around Britain to be a war zone. For months, German U-boats had brought terror to the North Atlantic. But the Lusitania was one of the era’s great transatlantic “Greyhounds”—the fastest liner then in service—and her captain, William Thomas Turner, placed tremendous faith in the gentlemanly strictures of warfare that for a century had kept civilian ships safe from attack.  Germany, however, was determined to change the rules of the game, and Walther Schwieger, the captain of Unterseeboot -20, was happy to oblige. Meanwhile, an ultra-secret British intelligence unit tracked Schwieger’s U-boat, but told no one. As U-20 and the Lusitania made their way toward Liverpool, an array of forces both grand and achingly small—hubris, a chance fog, a closely guarded secret, and more—all converged to produce one of the great disasters of history. It is a story that many of us think we know but don’t, and Erik Larson tells it thrillingly, switching between hunter and hunted while painting a larger portrait of America at the height of the Progressive Era. Full of glamour and suspense, Dead Wake brings to life a cast of evocative characters, from famed Boston bookseller Charles Lauriat to pioneering female architect Theodate Pope to President Woodrow Wilson, a man lost to grief, dreading the widening war but also captivated by the prospect of new love.  Gripping and important, Dead Wake captures the sheer drama and emotional power of a disaster whose intimate details and true meaning have long been obscured by history.

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Countdown 1945 - Chris Wallace Cover Art

Countdown 1945

Countdown 1945 The Extraordinary Story of the Atomic Bomb and the 116 Days That Changed the World by Chris Wallace

From Chris Wallace, the veteran journalist and anchor of Fox News Sunday , comes an electrifying behind-the-scenes account of the 116 days leading up to the American attack on Hiroshima. April 12, 1945: After years of bloody conflict in Europe and the Pacific, America is stunned by news of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s death. In an instant, Vice President Harry Truman, who has been kept out of war planning and knows nothing of the top-secret Manhattan Project to develop the world’s first atomic bomb, must assume command of a nation at war on multiple continents—and confront one of the most consequential decisions in history. Countdown 1945 tells the gripping true story of the turbulent days, weeks, and months to follow, leading up to August 6, 1945, when Truman gives the order to drop the bomb on Hiroshima. In Countdown 1945 , Chris Wallace, the veteran journalist and anchor of Fox News Sunday , takes readers inside the minds of the iconic and elusive figures who join the quest for the bomb, each for different reasons: the legendary Albert Einstein, who eventually calls his vocal support for the atomic bomb “the one great mistake in my life”; lead researcher J. Robert “Oppie” Oppenheimer and the Soviet spies who secretly infiltrate his team; the fiercely competitive pilots of the plane selected to drop the bomb; and many more. Perhaps most of all, Countdown 1945 is the story of an untested new president confronting a decision that he knows will change the world forever. Truman’s journey during these 116 days is a story of high drama: from the shock of learning of the bomb’s existence, to the conflicting advice he receives from generals like Dwight D. Eisenhower and George Marshall, to wrestling with the devastating carnage that will result if he gives the order to use America’s first weapon of mass destruction. But Countdown 1945 is more than a book about the atomic bomb. It’s also an unforgettable account of the lives of ordinary American and Japanese civilians in wartime—from “Calutron Girls” like Ruth Sisson in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, to ten-year-old Hiroshima resident Hideko Tamura, who survives the blast at ground zero but loses her mother and later immigrates to the United States, where she lives to this day—as well as American soldiers fighting in the Pacific, waiting in fear for the order to launch a possible invasion of Japan. Told with vigor, intelligence, and humanity, Countdown 1945 is the definitive account of one of the most significant moments in history.

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What Truth Sounds Like - Michael Eric Dyson Cover Art

What Truth Sounds Like

What Truth Sounds Like Robert F. Kennedy, James Baldwin, and Our Unfinished Conversation About Race in America by Michael Eric Dyson

Named a 2018 Notable Work of Nonfiction by The Washington Post NOW A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Winner, The 2018 Southern Book Prize NAMED A BEST/MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK OF 2018 BY: Chicago Tribune • Time • Publisher's Weekly A stunning follow up to New York Times bestseller Tears We Cannot Stop The Washington Post: "Passionately written." Chris Matthews, MSNBC: "A beautifully written book." Shaun King: “I kid you not–I think it’s the most important book I’ve read all year...” Harry Belafonte: “Dyson has finally written the book I always wanted to read...a tour de force.” Joy-Ann Reid: A work of searing prose and seminal brilliance... Dyson takes that once in a lifetime conversation between black excellence and pain and the white heroic narrative, and drives it right into the heart of our current politics and culture, leaving the reader reeling and reckoning." Robin D. G. Kelley: “Dyson masterfully refracts our present racial conflagration... he reminds us that Black artists and intellectuals bear an awesome responsibility to speak truth to power." President Barack Obama: "Everybody who speaks after Michael Eric Dyson pales in comparison.” In 2015 BLM activist Julius Jones confronted Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton with an urgent query: “What in your heart has changed that’s going to change the direction of this country?” “I don’t believe you just change hearts,” she protested. “I believe you change laws.” The fraught conflict between conscience and politics – between morality and power – in addressing race hardly began with Clinton. An electrifying and traumatic encounter in the sixties crystallized these furious disputes. In 1963 Attorney General Robert Kennedy sought out James Baldwin to explain the rage that threatened to engulf black America. Baldwin brought along some friends, including playwright Lorraine Hansberry, psychologist Kenneth Clark, and a valiant activist, Jerome Smith. It was Smith’s relentless, unfiltered fury that set Kennedy on his heels, reducing him to sullen silence. Kennedy walked away from the nearly three-hour meeting angry – that the black folk assembled didn’t understand politics, and that they weren’t as easy to talk to as Martin Luther King. But especially that they were more interested in witness than policy. But Kennedy’s anger quickly gave way to empathy, especially for Smith. “I guess if I were in his shoes…I might feel differently about this country.” Kennedy set about changing policy – the meeting having transformed his thinking in fundamental ways. There was more: every big argument about race that persists to this day got a hearing in that room. Smith declaring that he’d never fight for his country given its racist tendencies, and Kennedy being appalled at such lack of patriotism, tracks the disdain for black dissent in our own time. His belief that black folk were ungrateful for the Kennedys’ efforts to make things better shows up in our day as the charge that black folk wallow in the politics of ingratitude and victimhood. The contributions of black queer folk to racial progress still cause a stir. BLM has been accused of harboring a covert queer agenda. The immigrant experience, like that of Kennedy – versus the racial experience of Baldwin – is a cudgel to excoriate black folk for lacking hustle and ingenuity. The questioning of whether folk who are interracially partnered can authentically communicate black interests persists. And we grapple still with the responsibility of black intellectuals and artists to bring about social change. What Truth Sounds Like exists at the tense intersection of the conflict between politics and prophecy – of whether we embrace political resolution or moral redemption to fix our fractured racial landscape. The future of race and democracy hang in the balance.

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Vicksburg - Donald L. Miller Cover Art

Vicksburg

Vicksburg Grant's Campaign That Broke the Confederacy by Donald L. Miller

Winner of the Civil War Round Table of New York’s Fletcher Pratt Literary Award Winner of the Austin Civil War Round Table’s Daniel M. & Marilyn W. Laney Book Prize “A superb account” ( The Wall Street Journal ) of the longest and most decisive military campaign of the Civil War in Vicksburg, Mississippi, which opened the Mississippi River, split the Confederacy, freed tens of thousands of slaves, and made Ulysses S. Grant the most important general of the war. Vicksburg, Mississippi, was the last stronghold of the Confederacy on the Mississippi River. It prevented the Union from using the river for shipping between the Union-controlled Midwest and New Orleans and the Gulf of Mexico. The Union navy tried to take Vicksburg, which sat on a high bluff overlooking the river, but couldn’t do it. It took Grant’s army and Admiral David Porter’s navy to successfully invade Mississippi and lay siege to Vicksburg, forcing the city to surrender. In this “elegant…enlightening…well-researched and well-told” ( Publishers Weekly ) work, Donald L. Miller tells the full story of this year-long campaign to win the city “with probing intelligence and irresistible passion” ( Booklist ). He brings to life all the drama, characters, and significance of Vicksburg, a historic moment that rivals any war story in history. In the course of the campaign, tens of thousands of slaves fled to the Union lines, where more than twenty thousand became soldiers, while others seized the plantations they had been forced to work on, destroying the economy of a large part of Mississippi and creating a social revolution. With Vicksburg “ Miller has produced a model work that ties together military and social history” ( Civil War Times ). Vicksburg solidified Grant’s reputation as the Union’s most capable general. Today no general would ever be permitted to fail as often as Grant did, but ultimately he succeeded in what he himself called the most important battle of the war—the one that all but sealed the fate of the Confederacy.

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The Operator - Robert O'Neill Cover Art

The Operator

The Operator Firing the Shots that Killed Osama bin Laden and My Years as a SEAL Team Warrior by Robert O'Neill

This instant New York Times bestseller—“a jaw-dropping, fast-paced account” ( New York Post ) recounts SEAL Team Operator Robert O’Neill’s incredible four-hundred-mission career, including the attempts to rescue “Lone Survivor” Marcus Luttrell and abducted-by-Somali-pirates Captain Richard Phillips, and which culminated in the death of the world’s most wanted terrorist—Osama bin Laden. In The Operator , Robert O’Neill describes his idyllic childhood in Butte, Montana; his impulsive decision to join the SEALs; the arduous evaluation and training process; and the even tougher gauntlet he had to run to join the SEALs’ most elite unit. After officially becoming a SEAL, O’Neill would spend more than a decade in the most intense counterterror effort in US history. For extended periods , not a night passed without him and his small team recording multiple enemy kills—and though he was lucky enough to survive, several of the SEALs he’d trained with and fought beside never made it home. “Impossible to put down… The Operator is unique, surprising, a kind of counternarrative, and certainly the other half of the story of one of the world’s most famous military operations…In the larger sense, this book is about…how to be human while in the very same moment dealing with death, destruction, combat” (Doug Stanton, New York Times bestselling author). O’Neill describes the nonstop action of his deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, evokes the black humor of years-long combat, brings to vivid life the lethal efficiency of the military’s most selective units, and reveals details of the most celebrated terrorist takedown in history. This is “a riveting, unvarnished, and wholly unforgettable portrait of America’s most storied commandos at war” (Joby Warrick).

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The Last Kings of Shanghai - Jonathan Kaufman Cover Art

The Last Kings of Shanghai

The Last Kings of Shanghai The Rival Jewish Dynasties That Helped Create Modern China by Jonathan Kaufman

An epic, multigenerational story of two rival dynasties who flourished in Shanghai and Hong Kong as twentieth-century China surged into the modern era, from the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Shanghai, 1936. The Cathay Hotel, located on the city's famous waterfront, is one of the most glamorous in the world. Built by Victor Sassoon--billionaire playboy and scion of the Sassoon dynasty--the hotel hosts a who's who of global celebrities: Noel Coward has written a draft of Private Lives in his suite and Charlie Chaplin has entertained his wife-to-be. And a few miles away, Mao and the nascent Communist Party have been plotting revolution. By the 1930s, the Sassoons had been doing business in China for a century, rivaled in wealth and influence by only one other dynasty--the Kadoories. These two Jewish families, both originally from Baghdad, stood astride Chinese business and politics for more than 175 years, profiting from the Opium Wars; surviving Japanese occupation; courting Chiang Kai-shek; and losing nearly everything as the Communists swept into power. In The Last Kings of Shanghai, Jonathan Kaufman tells the remarkable history of how these families participated in an economic boom that opened China to the world, but remained blind to the country's deep inequality and to the political turmoil at their doorsteps. In a story stretching from Baghdad to Hong Kong to Shanghai to London, Kaufman enters the lives and minds of these ambitious men and women to forge a tale of opium smuggling, family rivalry, political intrigue, and survival. The book lays bare the moral compromises of the Kadoories and the Sassoons--and their exceptional foresight, success, and generosity. At the height of World War II, they joined together to rescue and protect eighteen thousand Jewish refugees fleeing Nazism. Though their stay in China started out as a business opportunity, the country became a home they were reluctant to leave, even on the eve of revolution. The lavish buildings they built and the booming businesses they nurtured continue to define Shanghai and Hong Kong to this day. As the United States confronts China's rise, and China grapples with the pressures of breakneck modernization and global power, the long-hidden odysseys of the Sassoons and the Kadoories hold a key to understanding the present moment.

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Battles That Changed History - DK Cover Art

Battles That Changed History

Battles That Changed History Epic Conflicts Explored and Explained by DK

This illustrated guide to history's most famous battles explores military history from ancient battles to the American Civil War, World War I, World War II, the Cold War, and beyond. Featuring stunning illustrations and in-depth analysis, this military history book uses maps, paintings, and photographs to reveal the stories behind more than 90 of the most important battles ever to take place. From medieval battles and great naval battles to the era of high-tech air battles, key wars and campaigns are analyzed in detail--the weapons, the soldiers, the military strategy, and the fateful decisions that led to glorious victories and crushing defeats. Famous military leaders are profiled, including Alexander the Great, Joan of Arc, Napoleon, Rommel, and others, and crucial arms, armor, and equipment are explained. Whether at Hastings, Gettysburg, or Stalingrad, Battles That Changed History takes you into the thick of combat and shows how kingdoms and empires have been won and lost on the battlefield throughout history.

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Stony the Road - Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Cover Art

Stony the Road

Stony the Road Reconstruction, White Supremacy, and the Rise of Jim Crow by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

The New York Times  bestseller. A profound new rendering of the struggle by African-Americans for equality after the Civil War and the violent counter-revolution that resubjugated them, as seen through the prism of the war of images and ideas that have left an enduring racist stain on the American mind. The abolition of slavery in the aftermath of the Civil War is a familiar story, as is the civil rights revolution that transformed the nation after World War II. But the century in between remains a mystery: if emancipation sparked "a new birth of freedom" in Lincoln's America, why was it necessary to march in Martin Luther King, Jr.'s America? In this new book, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., one of our leading chroniclers of the African-American experience, seeks to answer that question in a history that moves from the Reconstruction Era to the "nadir" of the African-American experience under Jim Crow, through to World War I and the Harlem Renaissance. Through his close reading of the visual culture of this tragic era, Gates reveals the many faces of Jim Crow and how, together, they reinforced a stark color line between white and black Americans. Bringing a lifetime of wisdom to bear as a scholar, filmmaker, and public intellectual, Gates uncovers the roots of structural racism in our own time, while showing how African Americans after slavery combatted it by articulating a vision of a "New Negro" to force the nation to recognize their humanity and unique contributions to America as it hurtled toward the modern age. The story Gates tells begins with great hope, with the Emancipation Proclamation, Union victory, and the liberation of nearly 4 million enslaved African-Americans. Until 1877, the federal government, goaded by the activism of Frederick Douglass and many others, tried at various turns to sustain their new rights. But the terror unleashed by white paramilitary groups in the former Confederacy, combined with deteriorating economic conditions and a loss of Northern will, restored "home rule" to the South. The retreat from Reconstruction was followed by one of the most violent periods in our history, with thousands of black people murdered or lynched and many more afflicted by the degrading impositions of Jim Crow segregation. An essential tour through one of America's fundamental historical tragedies, Stony the Road is also a story of heroic resistance, as figures such as W. E. B. Du Bois and Ida B. Wells fought to create a counter-narrative, and culture, inside the lion's mouth. As sobering as this tale is, it also has within it the inspiration that comes with encountering the hopes our ancestors advanced against the longest odds.

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Inside Delta Force - Eric Haney Cover Art

Inside Delta Force

Inside Delta Force The Story of America's Elite Counterterrorist Unit by Eric Haney

Now the inspiration for the CBS Television drama, "The Unit." Delta Force. They are the U.S. Army's most elite top-secret strike force. They dominate the modern battlefield, but you won't hear about their heroics on CNN. No headlines can reveal their top-secret missions, and no book has ever taken readers inside—until now. Here, a founding member of Delta Force takes us behind the veil of secrecy and into the action-to reveal the never-before-told story of 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-D (Delta Force). He is a master of espionage, trained to take on hijackers, terrorists, hostage takers, and enemy armies. He can deploy by parachute or arrive by commercial aircraft. Survive alone in hostile cities. Speak foreign languages fluently. Strike at enemy targets with stunning swiftness and extraordinary teamwork. He is the ultimate modern warrior: the Delta Force Operator. In this dramatic behind-the-scenes chronicle, Eric Haney, one of the founding members of Delta Force, takes us inside this legendary counterterrorist unit. Here, for the first time, are details of the grueling selection process—designed to break the strongest of men—that singles out the best of the best: the Delta Force Operator. With heart-stopping immediacy, Haney tells what it's really like to enter a hostage-held airplane. And from his days in Beirut, Haney tells an unforgettable tale of bodyguards and bombs, of a day-to-day life of madness and beauty, and of how he and a teammate are called on to kill two gunmen targeting U.S. Marines at the Beirut airport. As part of the team sent to rescue American hostages in Tehran, Haney offers a first-person description of that failed mission that is a chilling, compelling account of a bold maneuver undone by chance—and a few fatal mistakes. From fighting guerrilla warfare in Honduras to rescuing missionaries in Sudan and leading the way onto the island of Grenada, Eric Haney captures the daring and discipline that distinguish the men of Delta Force. Inside Delta Force brings honor to these singular men while it puts us in the middle of action that is sudden, frightening, and nonstop around the world.

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Spearhead - Adam Makos Cover Art

Spearhead

Spearhead An American Tank Gunner, His Enemy, and a Collision of Lives in World War II by Adam Makos

THE  NEW YORK TIMES,   WALL STREET JOURNAL, LOS ANGELES TIMES,  AND USA TODAY BESTSELLER  “A band of brothers in an American tank . . . Makos drops the reader back into the Pershing’s turret and dials up a battle scene to rival the peak moments of Fury .” — The Wall Street Journal From the author of the international bestseller A Higher Call  comes the riveting World War II story of an American tank gunner’s journey into the heart of the Third Reich, where he will meet destiny in an iconic armor duel—and forge an enduring bond with his enemy. When Clarence Smoyer is assigned to the gunner’s seat of his Sherman tank, his crewmates discover that the gentle giant from Pennsylvania has a hidden talent: He’s a natural-born shooter. At first, Clarence and his fellow crews in the legendary 3rd Armored Division—“Spearhead”—thought their tanks were invincible. Then they met the German Panther, with a gun so murderous it could shoot through one Sherman and into the next. Soon a pattern emerged: The lead tank always gets hit. After Clarence sees his friends cut down breaching the West Wall and holding the line in the Battle of the Bulge, he and his crew are given a weapon with the power to avenge their fallen brothers: the Pershing, a state-of-the-art “super tank,” one of twenty in the European theater. But with it comes a harrowing new responsibility: Now they will spearhead every attack. That’s how Clarence, the corporal from coal country, finds himself leading the U.S. Army into its largest urban battle of the European war, the fight for Cologne, the “Fortress City” of Germany. Battling through the ruins, Clarence will engage the fearsome Panther in a duel immortalized by an army cameraman. And he will square off with Gustav Schaefer, a teenager behind the trigger in a Panzer IV tank, whose crew has been sent on a suicide mission to stop the Americans. As Clarence and Gustav trade fire down a long boulevard, they are taken by surprise by a tragic mistake of war. What happens next will haunt Clarence to the modern day, drawing him back to Cologne to do the unthinkable: to face his enemy, one last time. Praise for Spearhead “A detailed, gripping account . . . the remarkable story of two tank crewmen, from opposite sides of the conflict, who endure the grisly nature of tank warfare.” — USA Today (four out of four stars) “Strong and dramatic . . . Makos established himself as a meticulous researcher who’s equally adept at spinning a good old-fashioned yarn. . . . For a World War II aficionado, it will read like a dream.” —Associated Press  

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An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States - Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz Cover Art

An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States

An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

2015 Recipient of the American Book Award The first history of the United States told from the perspective of indigenous peoples   Today in the United States, there are more than five hundred federally recognized Indigenous nations comprising nearly three million people, descendants of the fifteen million Native people who once inhabited this land. The centuries-long genocidal program of the US settler-colonial regimen has largely been omitted from history. Now, for the first time, acclaimed historian and activist Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz offers a history of the United States told from the perspective of Indigenous peoples and reveals how Native Americans, for centuries, actively resisted expansion of the US empire. In An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States , Dunbar-Ortiz adroitly challenges the founding myth of the United States and shows how policy against the Indigenous peoples was colonialist and designed to seize the territories of the original inhabitants, displacing or eliminating them. And as Dunbar-Ortiz reveals, this policy was praised in popular culture, through writers like James Fenimore Cooper and Walt Whitman, and in the highest offices of government and the military. Shockingly, as the genocidal policy reached its zenith under President Andrew Jackson, its ruthlessness was best articulated by US Army general Thomas S. Jesup, who, in 1836, wrote of the Seminoles: “The country can be rid of them only by exterminating them.”   Spanning more than four hundred years, this classic bottom-up peoples’ history radically reframes US history and explodes the silences that have haunted our national narrative.

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Women of the Pleasure Quarters - Lesley Downer Cover Art

Women of the Pleasure Quarters

Women of the Pleasure Quarters The Secret History of the Geisha by Lesley Downer

From critically acclaimed author and Japanese scholar Lesley Downer, an enchanting portrait of the mysterious world of the geisha. Ever since Westerners arrived in Japan, they have been intrigued by Japanese womanhood and, above all, by geisha. This fascination has spawned a wealth of extraordinary fictional creations, from Puccini's Madama Butterfly to Arthur Golden's Memoirs of a Geisha . The reality of the geisha's existence, though, whether today or in history, has rarely been addressed. Contrary to popular opinion, geisha are not prostitutes but, literally, "arts people." Their accomplishments include singing, dancing, playing a musical instruments; but above all, they are masters of the art of conversation, soothing the worries and stroking the egos of the wealthy businessmen who can afford their attentions. It is this which imbues the geisha with such power—and which makes absolute secrecy such a crucial aspect of their work. As denizens of a world defined by silence and mystery, geisha are notoriously difficult to meet and even to find. Lesley Downer, an award- winning writer, Japanese scholar, and consummate storyteller, gained more access into this world than almost any other Westerner ever has and spent several months living among them. In Women of the Pleasure Quarters , she weaves together intimate portraits of modern geisha with the romantic legends and colorful historical tales of geisha of the past. From Sadda Yakko, who dined with American presidents and had her portrait painted by Picasso, to Koito, a modern-day geisha who maintains her own website, geisha throughout history step out of the pages of Women of the Pleasure Quarters to become living, breathing creatures. Looking into such traditions as mizuage , the ritual deflowering which was once a rite of passage for all geisha, and providing colorful depictions of the geisha's dress, training, and homes, Downer, with grace, elegance, and respect, transforms their reality in a captivating narrative that both informs and entertains. At once a symbol of a bygone age and an institution more quintessentially Japanese than any other, geisha are a society at a crossroads, struggling to reinvent their place in the new millennium while honoring the traditions of the past. Both instructive and evocative, Women of the Pleasure Quarters is an enthralling portrait of a world unlike any other.

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Lies My Teacher Told Me: The True History of the War for Southern Independence - Clyde N. Wilson Cover Art

Lies My Teacher Told Me: The True History of the War for Southern Independence by Clyde N. Wilson

In this hard-hitting collection of 4 essays, Dr Wilson cuts straight to the chase: YOU WERE LIED TO!  You were lied to about the nature, character, and cause of the American "Civil War," but that is just the start. The entire South—its people, culture, history, customs, both past and present—has been and continues to be lied about and demonized by the unholy trinity of the American establishment: Academia, Hollywood, and the Media.  In the midst of the anti-South hysteria currently infecting the American psyche—the banning of flags, charges of hate and "racism," the removal and attempted removal of Confederate monuments, the renaming of schools, vandalism of monuments and property displaying the Confederate Battle Flag, and even physical assaults, albeit rarely at present, on people who display the symbols of the South—Shotwell Publishing offers this unapologetic, unreconstructed, pro-South eBook to the world with the hope that it will reach those who are left that are not afraid to question the sanity of this cultural purge and the veracity of its narrative concerning the South.    

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Killing England - Bill O'Reilly & Martin Dugard Cover Art

Killing England

Killing England The Brutal Struggle for American Independence by Bill O'Reilly & Martin Dugard

The Revolutionary War as never told before. This breathtaking installment in Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard’s mega-bestselling Killing series transports readers to the most important era in our nation’s history: the Revolutionary War. Told through the eyes of George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and Great Britain’s King George III, Killing England chronicles the path to independence in gripping detail, taking the reader from the battlefields of America to the royal courts of Europe. What started as protest and unrest in the colonies soon escalated to a world war with devastating casualties. O’Reilly and Dugard recreate the war’s landmark battles, including Bunker Hill, Long Island, Saratoga, and Yorktown, revealing the savagery of hand-to-hand combat and the often brutal conditions under which these brave American soldiers lived and fought. Also here is the reckless treachery of Benedict Arnold and the daring guerrilla tactics of the “Swamp Fox” Frances Marion. A must read, Killing England reminds one and all how the course of history can be changed through the courage and determination of those intent on doing the impossible.

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A Different Mirror - Ronald Takaki Cover Art

A Different Mirror

A Different Mirror A History of Multicultural America (Revised Edition) by Ronald Takaki

Takaki traces the economic and political history of Indians, African Americans, Mexicans, Japanese, Chinese, Irish, and Jewish people in America, with considerable attention given to instances and consequences of racism. The narrative is laced with short quotations, cameos of personal experiences, and excerpts from folk music and literature. Well-known occurrences, such as the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, the Trail of Tears, the Harlem Renaissance, and the Japanese internment are included. Students may be surprised by some of the revelations, but will recognize a constant thread of rampant racism. The author concludes with a summary of today's changing economic climate and offers Rodney King's challenge to all of us to try to get along. Readers will find this overview to be an accessible, cogent jumping-off place for American history and political science plus a guide to the myriad other sources identified in the notes.

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Sam Houston and the Alamo Avengers - Brian Kilmeade Cover Art

Sam Houston and the Alamo Avengers

Sam Houston and the Alamo Avengers The Texas Victory That Changed American History by Brian Kilmeade

The New York Times bestseller now in paperback with a new epilogue. In March 1836, the Mexican army led by General Santa Anna massacred more than two hundred Texians who had been trapped in the Alamo. After thirteen days of fighting, American legends Jim Bowie and Davey Crockett died there, along with other Americans who had moved to Texas looking for a fresh start. It was a crushing blow to Texas’s fight for freedom.   But the story doesn’t end there. The defeat galvanized the Texian settlers, and under General Sam Houston’s leadership they rallied. Six weeks after the Alamo, Houston and his band of settlers defeated Santa Anna’s army in a shocking victory, winning the independence for which so many had died.   Sam Houston and the Alamo Avengers recaptures this pivotal war that changed America forever, and sheds light on the tightrope all war heroes walk between courage and calculation. Thanks to Kilmeade’s storytelling, a new generation of readers will remember the Alamo—and recognize the lesser known heroes who snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.

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Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies - Jared Diamond Ph.D. Cover Art

Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies

Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond Ph.D.

"Fascinating.... Lays a foundation for understanding human history."—Bill Gates In this "artful, informative, and delightful" (William H. McNeill, New York Review of Books) book, Jared Diamond convincingly argues that geographical and environmental factors shaped the modern world. Societies that had had a head start in food production advanced beyond the hunter-gatherer stage, and then developed religion --as well as nasty germs and potent weapons of war --and adventured on sea and land to conquer and decimate preliterate cultures. A major advance in our understanding of human societies, Guns, Germs, and Steel chronicles the way that the modern world came to be and stunningly dismantles racially based theories of human history. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the Phi Beta Kappa Award in Science, the Rhone-Poulenc Prize, and the Commonwealth club of California's Gold Medal.

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Defining Moments in Black History - Dick Gregory Cover Art

Defining Moments in Black History

Defining Moments in Black History Reading Between the Lies by Dick Gregory

NAACP 2017 Image Award Winner With his trademark acerbic wit, incisive humor, and infectious paranoia, one of our foremost comedians and most politically engaged civil rights activists looks back at 100 key events from the complicated history of black America. A friend of luminaries including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Medgar Evers, and the forebear of today’s popular black comics, including Larry Wilmore, W. Kamau Bell, Damon Young, and Trevor Noah, Dick Gregory was a provocative and incisive cultural force for more than fifty years. As an entertainer, he always kept it indisputably real about race issues in America, fearlessly lacing laughter with hard truths. As a leading activist against injustice, he marched at Selma during the Civil Rights movement, organized student rallies to protest the Vietnam War; sat in at rallies for Native American and feminist rights; fought apartheid in South Africa; and participated in hunger strikes in support of Black Lives Matter. In this collection of thoughtful, provocative essays, Gregory charts the complex and often obscured history of the African American experience. In his unapologetically candid voice, he moves from African ancestry and surviving the Middle Passage to the enjoyment of bacon and everything pig, the headline-making shootings of black men, and the Black Lives Matter movement. A captivating journey through time, Defining Moments in Black History explores historical movements such as The Great Migration and the Harlem Renaissance, as well as cultural touchstones such as Sidney Poitier winning the Best Actor Oscar for Lilies in the Field and Billie Holiday releasing Strange Fruit. An engaging look at black life that offers insightful commentary on the intricate history of the African American people, Defining Moments in Black History is an essential, no-holds-bar history lesson that will provoke, enlighten, and entertain.

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The Scourge of War - Brian Holden Reid Cover Art

The Scourge of War

The Scourge of War The Life of William Tecumseh Sherman by Brian Holden Reid

William Tecumseh Sherman, a West Point graduate and veteran of the Seminole War, became one of the best-known generals in the Civil War. His March to the Sea, which resulted in a devastated swath of the South from Atlanta to Savannah, cemented his place in history as the pioneer of total war. In The Scourge of War, preeminent military historian Brian Holden Reid offers a deeply researched life and times account of Sherman. By examining his childhood and education, his business ventures in California, his antebellum leadership of a military college in Louisiana, and numerous career false starts, Holden Reid shows how unlikely his exceptional Civil War career would seem. He also demonstrates how crucial his family was to his professional path, particularly his wife's intervention during the war. He analyzes Sherman's development as a battlefield commander and especially his crucial friendships with Henry W. Halleck and Ulysses S. Grant. In doing so, he details how Sherman overcame both his weaknesses as a leader and severe depression to mature as a military strategist. Central chapters narrate closely Sherman's battlefield career and the gradual lifting of his pessimism that the Union would be defeated. After the war, Sherman became a popular figure in the North and the founder of the school for officers at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, known as the "intellectual center of the army." Holden Reid argues that Sherman was not hostile to the South throughout his life and only in later years gained a reputation as a villain who practiced barbaric destruction, particularly as the neo-Confederate Lost Cause grew and he published one of the first personal accounts of the war. A definitive biography of a preeminent military figure by a renowned military historian, The Scourge of War is a masterful account of Sherman' life that fully recognizes his intellect, strategy, and actions during the Civil War.

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Killing Jesus - Bill O'Reilly & Martin Dugard Cover Art

Killing Jesus

Killing Jesus A History by Bill O'Reilly & Martin Dugard

Millions of readers have thrilled to bestselling authors Bill O'Reilly and historian Martin Dugard's Killing Kennedy and Killing Lincoln , page-turning works of nonfiction that have changed the way we read history. Now the iconic anchor of The O'Reilly Factor details the events leading up to the murder of the most influential man in history: Jesus of Nazareth. Nearly two thousand years after this beloved and controversial young revolutionary was brutally killed by Roman soldiers, more than 2.2 billion human beings attempt to follow his teachings and believe he is God. Killing Jesus will take readers inside Jesus's life, recounting the seismic political and historical events that made his death inevitable - and changed the world forever.

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Revolver - Jim Rasenberger Cover Art

Revolver

Revolver Sam Colt and the Six-Shooter That Changed America by Jim Rasenberger

A sweeping, definitive biography of Samuel Colt—the inventor of the legendary Colt revolver (a.k.a. six-shooter)—which changed the US forever, triggering the industrial revolution and the settlement of the American West. Patented in 1836, the Colt pistol with its revolving cylinder was the first practical firearm that could shoot more than one bullet without reloading. For many reasons, Colt’s gun had a profound effect on American history. Its most immediate impact was on the expansionism of the American west, where white emigrants and US soldiers came to depend on it, and where Native Americans came to dread it. The six-shooter became the iconic weapon of gun-slingers, outlaws, and cowboys—some willing to pay $500 out west for a gun that sold for $25 back east. In making the revolver, Colt also changed American manufacturing—his factory revolutionized industry in the United States. Ultimately, Colt and his gun-making brought together the two most significant forces of change before the Civil War—the industrial revolution in the east, Manifest Destiny in the west. Brilliantly told, Revolver brings the brazenly ambitious and profoundly innovative industrialist and leader Samuel Colt to vivid life. In the space of his forty-seven years, he seemingly lived five lives: he traveled, womanized, drank prodigiously, smuggled guns to Russia, bribed politicians, and supplied the Union Army with the guns they needed to win the Civil War. Colt lived during an age of promise and progress, but also of slavery, corruption, and unbridled greed, and he not only helped to create this America, he completely embodied it. By the time he died in 1862 in Hartford, Connecticut, he was one of the most famous men in nation, and one of the richest. While Revolver is a riveting and revealing biography of Colt, a man who made significant contributions to our country during the nineteenth century, it’s also a lively and informative historical portrait of America during a time of extraordinary transformation.

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They Were Her Property - Stephanie E. Jones-Rogers Cover Art

They Were Her Property

They Were Her Property White Women as Slave Owners in the American South by Stephanie E. Jones-Rogers

A bold and searing investigation into the role of white women in the American slave economy   Bridging women’s history, the history of the South, and African American history, this book makes a bold argument about the role of white women in American slavery. Historian Stephanie E. Jones-Rogers draws on a variety of sources to show that slave†‘owning women were sophisticated economic actors who directly engaged in and benefited from the South’s slave market. Because women typically inherited more slaves than land, enslaved people were often their primary source of wealth. Not only did white women often refuse to cede ownership of their slaves to their husbands, they employed management techniques that were as effective and brutal as those used by slave†‘owning men. White women actively participated in the slave market, profited from it, and used it for economic and social empowerment. By examining the economically entangled lives of enslaved people and slave†‘owning women, Jones-Rogers presents a narrative that forces us to rethink the economics and social conventions of slaveholding America.

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Killing the Rising Sun - Bill O'Reilly & Martin Dugard Cover Art

Killing the Rising Sun

Killing the Rising Sun How America Vanquished World War II Japan by Bill O'Reilly & Martin Dugard

The powerful and riveting new book in the multimillion-selling Killing series by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard Autumn 1944. World War II is nearly over in Europe but is escalating in the Pacific, where American soldiers face an opponent who will go to any length to avoid defeat. The Japanese army follows the samurai code of Bushido, stipulating that surrender is a form of dishonor. Killing the Rising Sun takes readers to the bloody tropical-island battlefields of Peleliu and Iwo Jima and to the embattled Philippines, where General Douglas MacArthur has made a triumphant return and is plotting a full-scale invasion of Japan. Across the globe in Los Alamos, New Mexico, Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer and his team of scientists are preparing to test the deadliest weapon known to mankind. In Washington, DC, FDR dies in office and Harry Truman ascends to the presidency, only to face the most important political decision in history: whether to use that weapon. And in Tokyo, Emperor Hirohito, who is considered a deity by his subjects, refuses to surrender, despite a massive and mounting death toll. Told in the same page-turning style of Killing Lincoln , Killing Kennedy , Killing Jesus , Killing Patton , and Killing Reagan , this epic saga details the final moments of World War II like never before.

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SAS Ghost Patrol - Damien Lewis Cover Art

SAS Ghost Patrol

SAS Ghost Patrol The Ultra-Secret Unit That Posed as Nazi Stormtroopers by Damien Lewis

An “amazing” account of Britain’s most audacious act of subterfuge in WWII: an undercover raid of Rommel’s stronghold in Tobruk ( The Daily Mirror ). On a scorching September day in 1942, the Special Air Service (SAS), a special forces unit of the British Army, pulled off one of the most daring, top-secret ruses of the Second World War. The plan (sanctioned by Churchill): cover a grueling two thousand miles of the Sahara desert to attack German general Erwin Rommel’s seemingly impregnable port fortress in North Africa from the rear to break free and arm more than thirty thousand Allied POWs. Led by Capt. Herbert Buck and posing as Afrika Korps soldiers complete with German uniforms and weaponry, the crew broke into the enemy stronghold Trojan Horse–style as part of the coordinated attack on Tobruk.   “Intensively researched . . . powerfully written,” and culled from the private diaries of the do-or-die maverick heroes, this extraordinary story of the sneak attack on the notorious Desert Fox is more thrilling than any fiction. A bold, outrageous, and rule-shattering mission impossible, SAS Ghost Patrol is “one of the great untold stories of WWII” (Bear Grylls).

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How the South Won the Civil War - Heather Cox Richardson Cover Art

How the South Won the Civil War

How the South Won the Civil War Oligarchy, Democracy, and the Continuing Fight for the Soul of America by Heather Cox Richardson

While the North prevailed in the Civil War, ending slavery and giving the country a "new birth of freedom," Heather Cox Richardson argues in this provocative work that democracy's blood-soaked victory was ephemeral. The system that had sustained the defeated South moved westward and there established a foothold. It was a natural fit. Settlers from the East had for decades been pushing into the West, where the seizure of Mexican lands at the end of the Mexican-American War and treatment of Native Americans cemented racial hierarchies. The South and West equally depended on extractive industries-cotton in the former and mining, cattle, and oil in the latter-giving rise a new birth of white male oligarchy, despite the guarantees provided by the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments, and the economic opportunities afforded by expansion. To reveal why this happened, How the South Won the Civil War traces the story of the American paradox, the competing claims of equality and subordination woven into the nation's fabric and identity. At the nation's founding, it was the Eastern "yeoman farmer" who galvanized and symbolized the American Revolution. After the Civil War, that mantle was assumed by the Western cowboy, singlehandedly defending his land against barbarians and savages as well as from a rapacious government. New states entered the Union in the late nineteenth century and western and southern leaders found yet more common ground. As resources and people streamed into the West during the New Deal and World War II, the region's influence grew. "Movement Conservatives," led by westerners Barry Goldwater, Richard Nixon, and Ronald Reagan, claimed to embody cowboy individualism and worked with Dixiecrats to embrace the ideology of the Confederacy. Richardson's searing book seizes upon the soul of the country and its ongoing struggle to provide equal opportunity to all. Debunking the myth that the Civil War released the nation from the grip of oligarchy, expunging the sins of the Founding, it reveals how and why the Old South not only survived in the West, but thrived.

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Isaac's Storm - Erik Larson Cover Art

Isaac's Storm

Isaac's Storm A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History by Erik Larson

At the dawn of the twentieth century, a great confidence suffused America. Isaac Cline was one of the era's new men, a scientist who believed he knew all there was to know about the motion of clouds and the behavior of storms. The idea that a hurricane could damage the city of Galveston, Texas, where he was based, was to him preposterous, "an absurd delusion." It was 1900, a year when America felt bigger and stronger than ever before. Nothing in nature could hobble the gleaming city of Galveston, then a magical place that seemed destined to become the New York of the Gulf. That August, a strange, prolonged heat wave gripped the nation and killed scores of people in New York and Chicago. Odd things seemed to happen everywhere: A plague of crickets engulfed Waco. The Bering Glacier began to shrink. Rain fell on Galveston with greater intensity than anyone could remember. Far away, in Africa, immense thunderstorms blossomed over the city of Dakar, and great currents of wind converged. A wave of atmospheric turbulence slipped from the coast of western Africa. Most such waves faded quickly. This one did not. In Cuba, America's overconfidence was made all too obvious by the Weather Bureau's obsession with controlling hurricane forecasts, even though Cuba's indigenous weathermen had pioneered hurricane science. As the bureau's forecasters assured the nation that all was calm in the Caribbean, Cuba's own weathermen fretted about ominous signs in the sky. A curious stillness gripped Antigua. Only a few unlucky sea captains discovered that the storm had achieved an intensity no man alive had ever experienced. In Galveston, reassured by Cline's belief that no hurricane could seriously damage the city, there was celebration. Children played in the rising water. Hundreds of people gathered at the beach to marvel at the fantastically tall waves and gorgeous pink sky, until the surf began ripping the city's beloved beachfront apart. Within the next few hours Galveston would endure a hurricane that to this day remains the nation's deadliest natural disaster. In Galveston alone at least 6,000 people, possibly as many as 10,000, would lose their lives, a number far greater than the combined death toll of the Johnstown Flood and 1906 San Francisco Earthquake. And Isaac Cline would experience his own unbearable loss. Meticulously researched and vividly written, Isaac's Storm is based on Cline's own letters, telegrams, and reports, the testimony of scores of survivors, and our latest understanding of the hows and whys of great storms. Ultimately, however, it is the story of what can happen when human arrogance meets nature's last great uncontrollable force. As such, Isaac's Storm carries a warning for our time.

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Thunderstruck - Erik Larson Cover Art

Thunderstruck

Thunderstruck by Erik Larson

A true story of love, murder, and the end of the world’s “great hush.” In Thunderstruck , Erik Larson tells the interwoven stories of two men—Hawley Crippen, a very unlikely murderer, and Guglielmo Marconi, the obsessive creator of a seemingly supernatural means of communication—whose lives intersect during one of the greatest criminal chases of all time. Set in Edwardian London and on the stormy coasts of Cornwall, Cape Cod, and Nova Scotia, Thunderstruck evokes the dynamism of those years when great shipping companies competed to build the biggest, fastest ocean liners; scientific advances dazzled the public with visions of a world transformed; and the rich outdid one another with ostentatious displays of wealth. Against this background, Marconi races against incredible odds and relentless skepticism to perfect his invention: the wireless, a prime catalyst for the emergence of the world we know today. Meanwhile, Crippen, “the kindest of men,” nearly commits the perfect murder. With his unparalleled narrative skills, Erik Larson guides us through a relentlessly suspenseful chase over the waters of the North Atlantic. Along the way, he tells of a sad and tragic love affair that was described on the front pages of newspapers around the world, a chief inspector who found himself strangely sympathetic to the killer and his lover, and a driven and compelling inventor who transformed the way we communicate.

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A Game of Birds and Wolves - Simon Parkin Cover Art

A Game of Birds and Wolves

A Game of Birds and Wolves The Ingenious Young Women Whose Secret Board Game Helped Win World War II by Simon Parkin

As Heard on the New Yorker Radio Hour The triumphant and "engaging history" ( The New Yorker ) of the young women who devised a winning strategy that defeated Nazi U-boats and delivered a decisive victory in the Battle of the Atlantic. By 1941, Winston Churchill had come to believe that the outcome of World War II rested on the battle for the Atlantic. A grand strategy game was devised by Captain Gilbert Roberts and a group of ten Wrens (members of the Women's Royal Naval Service) assigned to his team in an attempt to reveal the tactics behind the vicious success of the German U-boats. Played on a linoleum floor divided into painted squares, it required model ships to be moved across a make-believe ocean in a manner reminiscent of the childhood game, Battleship. Through play, the designers developed "Operation Raspberry," a counter-maneuver that helped turn the tide of World War II. Combining vibrant novelistic storytelling with extensive research, interviews, and previously unpublished accounts, Simon Parkin describes for the first time the role that women played in developing the Allied strategy that, in the words of one admiral, "contributed in no small measure to the final defeat of Germany." Rich with unforgettable cinematic detail and larger-than-life characters, A Game of Birds and Wolves is a heart-wrenching tale of ingenuity, dedication, perseverance, and love, bringing to life the imagination and sacrifice required to defeat the Nazis at sea.

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The Complete Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant - Ulysses S. Grant Cover Art

The Complete Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant

The Complete Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant by Ulysses S. Grant

"President Grant: Personal Memoirs" ranks with the greatest among the autobiographies of generals and presidents of the United States. Grant's autobiography is even more impressive in light of the circumstances in which it was created: Faced with terminal cancer, virtual bankruptcy, and a family he would leave without means of support, U. S. Grant took the advice of his publisher, Mark Twain, and went to work. He completed the manuscript for "President Grant: Personal Memoirs" in eleven months and died a week later, on July 23, 1885.

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White Trash - Nancy Isenberg Cover Art

White Trash

White Trash The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America by Nancy Isenberg

The New York Times bestseller A New York Times Notable and Critics’ Top Book of 2016 Longlisted for the PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction One of NPR's 10 Best Books Of 2016 Faced Tough Topics Head On NPR's Book Concierge Guide To 2016’s Great Reads San Francisco Chronicle's Best of 2016: 100 recommended books A Washington Post Notable Nonfiction Book of 2016 Globe & Mail 100 Best of 2016 “ Formidable and truth-dealing . . . necessary. ”   — The New York Times “This eye-opening investigation into our country’s entrenched social hierarchy is acutely relevant.” — O Magazine In her groundbreaking  bestselling history of the class system in America, Nancy Isenberg  upends history as we know it by taking on our comforting myths about equality and uncovering the crucial legacy of the ever-present, always embarrassing—if occasionally entertaining—poor white trash.   “When you turn an election into a three-ring circus, there’s always a chance that the dancing bear will win,” says Isenberg of the political climate surrounding Sarah Palin. And we recognize how right she is today. Yet the voters who boosted Trump all the way to the White House have been a permanent part of our American fabric, argues Isenberg. The wretched and landless poor have existed from the time of the earliest British colonial settlement to today's hillbillies. They were alternately known as “waste people,” “offals,” “rubbish,” “lazy lubbers,” and “crackers.” By the 1850s, the downtrodden included so-called “clay eaters” and “sandhillers,” known for prematurely aged children distinguished by their yellowish skin, ragged clothing, and listless minds.   Surveying political rhetoric and policy, popular literature and scientific theories over four hundred years, Isenberg upends assumptions about America’s supposedly class-free society––where liberty and hard work were meant to ensure real social mobility. Poor whites were central to the rise of the Republican Party in the early nineteenth century, and the Civil War itself was fought over class issues nearly as much as it was fought over slavery. Reconstruction pitted poor white trash against newly freed slaves, which factored in the rise of eugenics–-a widely popular movement embraced by Theodore Roosevelt that targeted poor whites for sterilization. These poor were at the heart of New Deal reforms and LBJ’s Great Society; they haunt us in reality TV shows like Here Comes Honey Boo Boo and Duck Dynasty. Marginalized as a class, white trash have always been at or near the center of major political debates over the character of the American identity.   We acknowledge racial injustice as an ugly stain on our nation’s history. With Isenberg’s landmark book, we will have to face the truth about the enduring, malevolent nature of class as well.

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The African Origin of Civilization - Cheikh Anta Diop Cover Art

The African Origin of Civilization

The African Origin of Civilization Myth or Reality by Cheikh Anta Diop

Now in its 30th printing, this classic presents historical, archaeological, and anthropological evidence to support the theory that ancient Egypt was a black civilization.

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Killing Lincoln - Bill O'Reilly & Martin Dugard Cover Art

Killing Lincoln

Killing Lincoln The Shocking Assassination that Changed America Forever by Bill O'Reilly & Martin Dugard

A riveting historical narrative of the heart-stopping events surrounding the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, and the first work of history from mega-bestselling author Bill O'Reilly The anchor of The O'Reilly Factor recounts one of the most dramatic stories in American history—how one gunshot changed the country forever. In the spring of 1865, the bloody saga of America's Civil War finally comes to an end after a series of increasingly harrowing battles. President Abraham Lincoln's generous terms for Robert E. Lee's surrender are devised to fulfill Lincoln's dream of healing a divided nation, with the former Confederates allowed to reintegrate into American society. But one man and his band of murderous accomplices, perhaps reaching into the highest ranks of the U.S. government, are not appeased. In the midst of the patriotic celebrations in Washington D.C., John Wilkes Booth—charismatic ladies' man and impenitent racist—murders Abraham Lincoln at Ford's Theatre. A furious manhunt ensues and Booth immediately becomes the country's most wanted fugitive. Lafayette C. Baker, a smart but shifty New York detective and former Union spy, unravels the string of clues leading to Booth, while federal forces track his accomplices. The thrilling chase ends in a fiery shootout and a series of court-ordered executions—including that of the first woman ever executed by the U.S. government, Mary Surratt. Featuring some of history's most remarkable figures, vivid detail, and page-turning action, Killing Lincoln is history that reads like a thriller.

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When Paris Went Dark - Ronald C. Rosbottom Cover Art

When Paris Went Dark

When Paris Went Dark The City of Light Under German Occupation, 1940-1944 by Ronald C. Rosbottom

The spellbinding and revealing chronicle of Nazi-occupied Paris. On June 14, 1940, German tanks entered a silent and nearly deserted Paris. Eight days later, France accepted a humiliating defeat and foreign occupation. Subsequently, an eerie sense of normalcy settled over the City of Light. Many Parisians keenly adapted themselves to the situation-even allied themselves with their Nazi overlords. At the same time, amidst this darkening gloom of German ruthlessness, shortages, and curfews, a resistance arose. Parisians of all stripes -- Jews, immigrants, adolescents, communists, rightists, cultural icons such as Colette, de Beauvoir, Camus and Sartre, as well as police officers, teachers, students, and store owners -- rallied around a little known French military officer, Charles de Gaulle. When Paris Went Dark evokes with stunning precision the detail of daily life in a city under occupation, and the brave people who fought against the darkness. Relying on a range of resources -- memoirs, diaries, letters, archives, interviews, personal histories, flyers and posters, fiction, photographs, film and historical studies -- Rosbottom has forged a groundbreaking book that will forever influence how we understand those dark years in the City of Light.

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Strong Men Armed - Robert Leckie Cover Art

Strong Men Armed

Strong Men Armed The United States Marines Against Japan by Robert Leckie

This powerful memoir written by a decorated World War II veteran retells the tumultuous stories of personal struggles and the impact of a chaotic world, told "with that truth recognizable to every combat man " ( NYT Book Review). Written by Robert Leckie, whose wartime exploits are featured in the Tom Hanks/Steven Spielberg HBO miniseries The Pacific , Strong Men Armed is the perennial bestselling classic account of the U.S. Marines' relentless drive through the Pacific during World War II. As scout and machine-gunner for the First Marine Division, Leckie fought in all its engagements until his wounding at Peleliu. In Strong Men Armed, Leckie uses firsthand experience and impeccable research to re-create the nightmarish battles of the Pacific campaign--from Guadalcanal to Okinawa--as ships, men, and guns moved over vast distances to fight an enemy willing to defend to its last man. Here is the whole sweeping epic of the Marines who battled--and won--on the bloody beaches at Guadalcanal, the unforgiving reefs at Tarawa, the rain-soaked mud of New Britain, the dark gray soil and deadly caves of Mount Suribachi, and the muddy slopes of Shuri Castle on Okinawa. It is a masterful narrative by a writer the New York Times praised as possessing the "rare gift of capturing all that is human in the most inhuman of man's activities." "Raw, heartbreaking, and superb." --Christian Science Monitor

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The Templars - Dan Jones Cover Art

The Templars

The Templars The Rise and Spectacular Fall of God's Holy Warriors by Dan Jones

“Dan Jones is an entertainer, but also a bona fide historian. Seldom does one find serious scholarship so easy to read.” – The Times , Book of the Year A  New York Times bestseller, this major new history of the knights Templar is “ a fresh, muscular and compelling history of the ultimate military-religious crusading order, combining sensible scholarship with narrative swagger" – Simon Sebag Montefiore, author of Jerusalem   A faltering war in the middle east. A band of elite warriors determined to fight to the death to protect Christianity’s holiest sites. A global financial network unaccountable to any government. A sinister plot founded on a web of lies. Jerusalem 1119. A small group of knights seeking a purpose in the violent aftermath of the First Crusade decides to set up a new order. These are the first Knights Templar, a band of elite warriors prepared to give their lives to protect Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land. Over the next two hundred years, the Templars would become the most powerful religious order of the medieval world. Their legend has inspired fervent speculation ever since.  In this groundbreaking narrative history, Dan Jones tells the true story of the Templars for the first time in a generation, drawing on extensive original sources to build a gripping account of these Christian holy warriors whose heroism and alleged depravity have been shrouded in myth. The Templars were protected by the pope and sworn to strict vows of celibacy. They fought the forces of Islam in hand-to-hand combat on the sun-baked hills where Jesus lived and died, finding their nemesis in Saladin, who vowed to drive all Christians from the lands of Islam. Experts at channeling money across borders, they established the medieval world’s largest and most innovative banking network and waged private wars against anyone who threatened their interests. Then, as they faced setbacks at the hands of the ruthless Mamluk sultan Baybars and were forced to retreat to their stronghold in Cyprus, a vindictive and cash-strapped King of France set his sights on their fortune. His administrators quietly mounted a damning case against the Templars, built on deliberate lies and false testimony. On Friday October 13, 1307, hundreds of brothers were arrested, imprisoned and tortured, and the order was disbanded amid lurid accusations of sexual misconduct and heresy. They were tried by the Pope in secret proceedings and their last master was brutally tortured and burned at the stake. But were they heretics or victims of a ruthlessly repressive state? Dan Jones goes back to the sources tobring their dramatic tale, so relevant to our own times, to life in a book that is at once authoritative and compulsively readable.

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Killing the SS - Bill O'Reilly & Martin Dugard Cover Art

Killing the SS

Killing the SS The Hunt for the Worst War Criminals in History by Bill O'Reilly & Martin Dugard

The Instant #1 New York Times Bestseller (October 2018) Confronting Nazi evil is the subject of the latest installment in the mega-bestselling Killing series As the true horrors of the Third Reich began to be exposed immediately after World War II, the Nazi war criminals who committed genocide went on the run. A few were swiftly caught, including the notorious SS leader, Heinrich Himmler. Others, however, evaded capture through a sophisticated Nazi organization designed to hide them. Among those war criminals were Josef Mengele, the “Angel of Death” who performed hideous medical experiments at Auschwitz; Martin Bormann, Hitler’s brutal personal secretary; Klaus Barbie, the cruel "Butcher of Lyon"; and perhaps the most awful Nazi of all: Adolf Eichmann. Killing the SS is the epic saga of the espionage and daring waged by self-styled "Nazi hunters." This determined and disparate group included a French husband and wife team, an American lawyer who served in the army on D-Day, a German prosecutor who had signed an oath to the Nazi Party, Israeli Mossad agents, and a death camp survivor. Over decades, these men and women scoured the world, tracking down the SS fugitives and bringing them to justice, which often meant death. Written in the fast-paced style of the Killing series, Killing the SS will educate and stun the reader. The final chapter is truly shocking.

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The Battle of Midway - Craig L. Symonds Cover Art

The Battle of Midway

The Battle of Midway by Craig L. Symonds

There are few moments in American history in which the course of events tipped so suddenly and so dramatically as at the Battle of Midway. At dawn of June 4, 1942, a rampaging Japanese navy ruled the Pacific. By sunset, their vaunted carrier force (the Kido Butai) had been sunk and their grip on the Pacific had been loosened forever. In this absolutely riveting account of a key moment in the history of World War II, one of America's leading naval historians, Craig L. Symonds paints an unforgettable portrait of ingenuity, courage, and sacrifice. Symonds begins with the arrival of Admiral Chester A. Nimitz at Pearl Harbor after the devastating Japanese attack, and describes the key events leading to the climactic battle, including both Coral Sea--the first battle in history against opposing carrier forces--and Jimmy Doolittle's daring raid of Tokyo. He focuses throughout on the people involved, offering telling portraits of Admirals Nimitz, Halsey, Spruance and numerous other Americans, as well as the leading Japanese figures, including the poker-loving Admiral Yamamoto. Indeed, Symonds sheds much light on the aspects of Japanese culture--such as their single-minded devotion to combat, which led to poorly armored planes and inadequate fire-safety measures on their ships--that contributed to their defeat. The author's account of the battle itself is masterful, weaving together the many disparate threads of attack--attacks which failed in the early going--that ultimately created a five-minute window in which three of the four Japanese carriers were mortally wounded, changing the course of the Pacific war in an eye-blink. Symonds is the first historian to argue that the victory at Midway was not simply a matter of luck, pointing out that Nimitz had equal forces, superior intelligence, and the element of surprise. Nimitz had a strong hand, Symonds concludes, and he rightly expected to win.

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The Riddle of the Labyrinth - Margalit Fox Cover Art

The Riddle of the Labyrinth

The Riddle of the Labyrinth The Quest to Crack an Ancient Code by Margalit Fox

In the tradition of Simon Winchester and Dava Sobel, The Riddle of the Labyrinth: The Quest to Crack an Ancient Code tells one of the most intriguing stories in the history of language, masterfully blending history, linguistics, and cryptology with an elegantly wrought narrative.   When famed archaeologist Arthur Evans unearthed the ruins of a sophisticated Bronze Age civilization that flowered on Crete 1,000 years before Greece’s Classical Age, he discovered a cache of ancient tablets, Europe’s earliest written records. For half a century, the meaning of the inscriptions, and even the language in which they were written, would remain a mystery.                                                Award-winning New York Times journalist Margalit Fox's riveting real-life intellectual detective story travels from the Bronze Age Aegean—the era of Odysseus, Agamemnon, and Helen—to the turn of the 20th century and the work of charismatic English archeologist Arthur Evans, to the colorful personal stories of the decipherers. These include Michael Ventris, the brilliant amateur who deciphered the script but met with a sudden, mysterious death that may have been a direct consequence of the deipherment; and Alice Kober, the unsung heroine of the story whose painstaking work allowed Ventris to crack the code.

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The Burning House - Anders Walker Cover Art

The Burning House

The Burning House by Anders Walker

A startling and gripping reexamination of the Jim Crow era, as seen through the eyes of some of the most important American writers In this dramatic reexamination of the Jim Crow South, Anders Walker demonstrates that racial segregation fostered not simply terror and violence, but also diversity, one of our most celebrated ideals. He investigates how prominent intellectuals like Robert Penn Warren, James Baldwin, Eudora Welty, Ralph Ellison, Flannery O’Connor, and Zora Neale Hurston found pluralism in Jim Crow, a legal system that created two worlds, each with its own institutions, traditions, even cultures. The intellectuals discussed in this book all agreed that black culture was resilient, creative, and profound, brutally honest in its assessment of American history. By contrast, James Baldwin likened white culture to a “burning house,” a frightening place that endorsed racism and violence to maintain dominance. Why should black Americans exchange their experience for that? Southern whites, meanwhile, saw themselves preserving a rich cultural landscape against the onslaught of mass culture and federal power, a project carried to the highest levels of American law by Supreme Court justice and Virginia native Lewis F. Powell, Jr. Anders Walker shows how a generation of scholars and judges has misinterpreted Powell’s definition of diversity in the landmark case Regents v. Bakke, forgetting its Southern origins and weakening it in the process. By resituating the decision in the context of Southern intellectual history, Walker places diversity on a new footing, independent of affirmative action but also free from the constraints currently placed on it by the Supreme Court. With great clarity and insight, he offers a new lens through which to understand the history of civil rights in the United States.

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The Erie Canal - Ralph K. Andrist Cover Art

The Erie Canal

The Erie Canal by Ralph K. Andrist

The Erie Canal was a preposterous idea. Even President Thomas Jefferson, usually ahead of his time, believed that it could not be built for at least a century, and yet, the Erie Canal came to be just as its planners had thought it would. For the first time in the history of the United States, a cheap, fast route ran through the Appalachians, the mountains that had so effectively divided the West from the East of early America. With the canal, the country's fertile interior became accessible and its great inland lakes were linked to all the seas of the world. Here, from award-winning historian Ralph K. Andrist, is the canal's dramatic and little-told story.

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The Fleet at Flood Tide - James D. Hornfischer Cover Art

The Fleet at Flood Tide

The Fleet at Flood Tide America at Total War in the Pacific, 1944-1945 by James D. Hornfischer

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The extraordinary story of the World War II air, land, and sea campaign that brought the U.S. Navy to the apex of its strength and marked the rise of the United States as a global superpower Winner, Commodore John Barry Book Award, Navy League of the United States • Winner, John Lehman Distinguished Naval Historian Award, Naval Order of the United States With its thunderous assault on the Mariana Islands in June 1944, the United States crossed the threshold of total war. In this tour de force of dramatic storytelling, distilled from extensive research in newly discovered primary sources, James D. Hornfischer brings to life the campaign that was the fulcrum of the drive to compel Tokyo to surrender—and that forever changed the art of modern war. With a close focus on high commanders, front-line combatants, and ordinary people, American and Japanese alike, Hornfischer tells the story of the climactic end of the Pacific War as has never been done before. Here are the epic seaborne invasions of Saipan, Tinian, and Guam, the stunning aerial battles of the Great Marianas Turkey Shoot, the first large-scale use of Navy underwater demolition teams, the largest banzai attack of the war, and the daring combat operations large and small that made possible the strategic bombing offensive culminating in the atomic strikes on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. From the seas of the Central Pacific to the shores of Japan itself, The Fleet at Flood Tide is a stirring, authoritative, and cinematic portrayal of World War II’s world-changing finale. Illustrated with original maps and more than 120 dramatic photographs “Quite simply, popular and scholarly military history at its best.” —Victor Davis Hanson, author of Carnage and Culture   “The dean of World War II naval history . . . In his capable hands, the story races along like an intense thriller. . . . Narrative nonfiction at its finest—a book simply not to be missed.” —James M. Scott, Charleston Post and Courier   “An impressively lucid account . . . admirable, fascinating.” — The Wall Street Journal   “An extraordinary memorial to the courageous—and a cautionary note to a world that remains unstable and turbulent today.” —Admiral James Stavridis, former Supreme Allied Commander, NATO, author of Sea Power   “A masterful, fresh account . . . ably expands on the prior offerings of such classic naval historians as Samuel Eliot Morison.” — The Dallas Morning News

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They Came Before Columbus - Ivan Van Sertima Cover Art

They Came Before Columbus

They Came Before Columbus The African Presence In Ancient America by Ivan Van Sertima

They Came Before Columbus reveals a compelling, dramatic, and superbly detailed documentation of the presence and legacy of Africans in ancient America. Examining navigation and shipbuilding; cultural analogies between Native Americans and Africans; the transportation of plants, animals, and textiles between the continents; and the diaries, journals, and oral accounts of the explorers themselves, Ivan Van Sertima builds a pyramid of evidence to support his claim of an African presence in the New World centuries before Columbus. Combining impressive scholarship with a novelist’s gift for storytelling, Van Sertima re-creates some of the most powerful scenes of human history: the launching of the great ships of Mali in 1310 (two hundred master boats and two hundred supply boats), the sea expedition of the Mandingo king in 1311, and many others.

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A Spy Among Friends - Ben Macintyre & John le Carré Cover Art

A Spy Among Friends

A Spy Among Friends Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal by Ben Macintyre & John le Carré

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The true story of Kim Philby, the Cold War's most infamous spy, from the master espionage writer and author of  The Spy and the Traitor. Who was Kim Philby? Those closest to him—like his fellow MI6 officer and best friend since childhood, Nicholas Elliot, and the CIA’s head of counterintelligence, James Jesus Angleton—knew him as a loyal confidant and an unshakeable patriot. Philby was a brilliant and charming man who rose to head Britain’s counterintelligence against the Soviet Union. Together with Elliott and Angleton he stood on the front lines of the Cold War, holding Communism at bay. But he was secretly betraying them both: He was working for the Russians the entire time.  Every word uttered in confidence to Philby by his colleagues in the West made its way to Moscow, leading countless missions to their doom and subverting American and British attempts to subdue the Soviet threat. So how was this cunning double-agent finally exposed? In  A Spy Among Friends , Ben Macintyre expertly weaves the heart-pounding tale of how Philby almost got away with it all—and what happened when he was finally unmasked. Based on personal papers and never-before-seen British intelligence files, this is Ben Macintyre’s epic telling of one of the greatest spy stories ever, a Cold War history that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

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Black Skin, White Masks - Frantz Fanon & Richard Philcox Cover Art

Black Skin, White Masks

Black Skin, White Masks by Frantz Fanon & Richard Philcox

Few modern voices have had as profound an impact on the black identity and critical race theory as Frantz Fanon, and Black Skin, White Masks  represents some of his most important work. Fanon’s masterwork is now available in a new translation that updates its language for a new generation of readers. A major influence on civil rights, anti-colonial, and black consciousness movements around the world, Black Skin, White Masks is the unsurpassed study of the black psyche in a white world. Hailed for its scientific analysis and poetic grace when it was first published in 1952, the book remains a vital force today from one of the most important theorists of revolutionary struggle, colonialism, and racial difference in history.

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When Affirmative Action Was White: An Untold History of Racial Inequality in Twentieth-Century America - Ira Katznelson Cover Art

When Affirmative Action Was White: An Untold History of Racial Inequality in Twentieth-Century America by Ira Katznelson

A groundbreaking work that exposes the twisted origins of affirmative action. In this "penetrating new analysis" (New York Times Book Review) Ira Katznelson fundamentally recasts our understanding of twentieth-century American history and demonstrates that all the key programs passed during the New Deal and Fair Deal era of the 1930s and 1940s were created in a deeply discriminatory manner. Through mechanisms designed by Southern Democrats that specifically excluded maids and farm workers, the gap between blacks and whites actually widened despite postwar prosperity. In the words of noted historian Eric Foner, "Katznelson's incisive book should change the terms of debate about affirmative action, and about the last seventy years of American history."

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The Civil War: A Narrative - Shelby Foote Cover Art

The Civil War: A Narrative

The Civil War: A Narrative Volume 1: Fort Sumter to Perryville by Shelby Foote

This first volume of Shelby Foote's classic narrative of the Civil War opens with Jefferson Davis’s farewell to the United Senate and ends on the bloody battlefields of Antietam and Perryville, as the full, horrible scope of America’s great war becomes clear. Exhaustively researched and masterfully written, Foote’s epic account of the Civil War unfolds like a classic novel.    Includes maps throughout.   "Here, for a certainty, is one of the great historical narratives…a unique and brilliant achievement, one that must be firmly placed in the ranks of the masters."—Van Allen Bradley, Chicago Daily News "A stunning book full of color, life, character and a new atmosphere of the Civil War, and at the same time a narrative of unflagging power. Eloquent proof that an historian should be a writer above all else." —Burke Davis "To read this great narrative is to love the nation—to love it through the living knowledge of its mortal division. Whitman, who ultimately knew and loved the bravery and frailty of the soldiers, observed that the real Civil War would never be written and perhaps should not be. For me, Shelby Foote has written it.... This work was done to last forever." —James M. Cox, Southern Review

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When Brooklyn Was Queer - Hugh Ryan Cover Art

When Brooklyn Was Queer

When Brooklyn Was Queer A History by Hugh Ryan

The never-before-told story of Brooklyn’s vibrant and forgotten queer history, from the mid-1850s up to the present day. ***An ALA GLBT Round Table Over the Rainbow 2019 Top Ten Selection*** ***NAMED ONE OF THE BEST LGBTQ BOOKS OF 2019 by Harper's Bazaar*** "A romantic, exquisite history of gay culture." — Kirkus Reviews , starred “[A] boisterous, motley new history...entertaining and insightful.” — The New York Times Book Review Hugh Ryan’s When Brooklyn Was Queer is a groundbreaking exploration of the LGBT history of Brooklyn, from the early days of Walt Whitman in the 1850s up through the queer women who worked at the Brooklyn Navy Yard during World War II, and beyond. No other book, movie, or exhibition has ever told this sweeping story. Not only has Brooklyn always lived in the shadow of queer Manhattan neighborhoods like Greenwich Village and Harlem, but there has also been a systematic erasure of its queer history—a great forgetting. Ryan is here to unearth that history for the first time. In intimate, evocative, moving prose he discusses in new light the fundamental questions of what history is, who tells it, and how we can only make sense of ourselves through its retelling; and shows how the formation of the Brooklyn we know today is inextricably linked to the stories of the incredible people who created its diverse neighborhoods and cultures. Through them, When Brooklyn Was Queer brings Brooklyn’s queer past to life, and claims its place as a modern classic.

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Madame Fourcade's Secret War - Lynne Olson Cover Art

Madame Fourcade's Secret War

Madame Fourcade's Secret War The Daring Young Woman Who Led France's Largest Spy Network Against Hitler by Lynne Olson

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The little-known true story of Marie-Madeleine Fourcade, the woman who headed the largest spy network in occupied France during World War II, from the bestselling author of Citizens of London and Last Hope Island “Brava to Lynne Olson for a biography that should challenge any outdated assumptions about who deserves to be called a hero.”— The Washington Post NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NPR AND THE WASHINGTON POST  In 1941 a thirty-one-year-old Frenchwoman, a young mother born to privilege and known for her beauty and glamour, became the leader of a vast intelligence organization—the only woman to serve as a chef de résistance during the war. Strong-willed, independent, and a lifelong rebel against her country’s conservative, patriarchal society, Marie-Madeleine Fourcade was temperamentally made for the job. Her group’s name was Alliance, but the Gestapo dubbed it Noah’s Ark because its agents used the names of animals as their aliases. The name Marie-Madeleine chose for herself was Hedgehog: a tough little animal, unthreatening in appearance, that, as a colleague of hers put it, “even a lion would hesitate to bite.” No other French spy network lasted as long or supplied as much crucial intelligence—including providing American and British military commanders with a 55-foot-long map of the beaches and roads on which the Allies would land on D-Day—as Alliance. The Gestapo pursued them relentlessly, capturing, torturing, and executing hundreds of its three thousand agents, including Fourcade’s own lover and many of her key spies. Although Fourcade, the mother of two young children, moved her headquarters every few weeks, constantly changing her hair color, clothing, and identity, she was captured twice by the Nazis. Both times she managed to escape—once by slipping naked through the bars of her jail cell—and continued to hold her network together even as it repeatedly threatened to crumble around her. Now, in this dramatic account of the war that split France in two and forced its people to live side by side with their hated German occupiers, Lynne Olson tells the fascinating story of a woman who stood up for her nation, her fellow citizens, and herself. “Fast-paced and impressively researched . . . Olson writes with verve and a historian’s authority. . . . With this gripping tale, Lynne Olson pays [Marie-Madeleine Fourcade] what history has so far denied her. France, slow to confront the stain of Vichy, would do well to finally honor a fighter most of us would want in our foxhole.”— The New York Times Book Review

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In the Garden of Beasts - Erik Larson Cover Art

In the Garden of Beasts

In the Garden of Beasts Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin by Erik Larson

Erik Larson, New York Times bestselling author of Devil in the White City, delivers a remarkable story set during Hitler’s rise to power. The time is 1933, the place, Berlin, when William E. Dodd becomes America’s first ambassador to Hitler’s Nazi Germany in a year that proved to be a turning point in history.     A mild-mannered professor from Chicago, Dodd brings along his wife, son, and flamboyant daughter, Martha. At first Martha is entranced by the parties and pomp, and the handsome young men of the Third Reich with their infectious enthusiasm for restoring Germany to a position of world prominence. Enamored of the “New Germany,” she has one affair after another, including with the suprisingly honorable first chief of the Gestapo, Rudolf Diels. But as evidence of Jewish persecution mounts, confirmed by chilling first-person testimony, her father telegraphs his concerns to a largely indifferent State Department back home. Dodd watches with alarm as Jews are attacked, the press is censored, and drafts of frightening new laws begin to circulate. As that first year unfolds and the shadows deepen, the Dodds experience days full of excitement, intrigue, romance—and ultimately, horror, when a climactic spasm of violence and murder reveals Hitler’s true character and ruthless ambition.     Suffused with the tense atmosphere of the period, and with unforgettable portraits of the bizarre Göring and the expectedly charming--yet wholly sinister--Goebbels, In the Garden of Beasts lends a stunning, eyewitness perspective on events as they unfold in real time, revealing an era of surprising nuance and complexity. The result is a dazzling, addictively readable work that speaks volumes about why the world did not recognize the grave threat posed by Hitler until Berlin, and Europe, were awash in blood and terror.

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