Top United States History Ebooks

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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. 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 “Appalled by the ascendancy of Donald J. Trump, and shaken by the deadly white nationalist rallies in Charlottesville in 2017, Meacham returns to other moments in our history when fear and division seemed rampant. He wants to remind us that the current political turmoil is not unprecedented, that as a nation we have survived times worse than this. . . . Meacham tries to summon the better angels by looking back at when America truly has been great. He is effective as ever at writing history for a broad readership.” — The New York Times Book Review “This is a brilliant, fascinating, timely, and above all profoundly important book.” —Walter Isaacson

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1776 - David McCullough Cover Art

1776

1776 by David McCullough

America’s beloved and distinguished historian presents, in a book of breathtaking excitement, drama, and narrative force, the stirring story of the year of our nation’s birth, 1776, interweaving, on both sides of the Atlantic, the actions and decisions that led Great Britain to undertake a war against her rebellious colonial subjects and that placed America’s survival in the hands of George Washington. In this masterful book, David McCullough tells the intensely human story of those who marched with General George Washington in the year of the Declaration of Independence—when the whole American cause was riding on their success, without which all hope for independence would have been dashed and the noble ideals of the Declaration would have amounted to little more than words on paper. Based on extensive research in both American and British archives, 1776 is a powerful drama written with extraordinary narrative vitality. It is the story of Americans in the ranks, men of every shape, size, and color, farmers, schoolteachers, shoemakers, no-accounts, and mere boys turned soldiers. And it is the story of the King’s men, the British commander, William Howe, and his highly disciplined redcoats who looked on their rebel foes with contempt and fought with a valor too little known. Written as a companion work to his celebrated biography of John Adams, David McCullough’s 1776 is another landmark in the literature of American history.

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Bunker Hill - Nathaniel Philbrick Cover Art

Bunker Hill

Bunker Hill A City, A Siege, A Revolution by Nathaniel Philbrick

The bestselling author of In the Heart of the Sea, Valiant Ambition , and  In the Hurricane's Eye  tells the story of the Boston battle that ignited the American Revolution, in this "masterpiece of narrative and perspective ." (Boston Globe) Boston in 1775 is an island city occupied by British troops after a series of incendiary incidents by patriots who range from sober citizens to thuggish vigilantes. After the Boston Tea Party, British and American soldiers and Massachusetts residents  have warily maneuvered around each other until April 19, when violence finally erupts at Lexington and Concord.  In June, however, with the city cut off from supplies by a British blockade and Patriot militia poised in siege, skirmishes give way to outright war in the Battle of Bunker Hill. It would be the bloodiest battle of the Revolution to come, and the point of no return for the rebellious colonists. Philbrick brings a fresh perspective to every aspect of the story. He finds new characters, and new facets to familiar ones. The real work of choreographing rebellion falls to a thirty-three year old physician named Joseph Warren who emerges as the on-the-ground leader of the Patriot cause and is fated to die at Bunker Hill. Others in the cast include Paul Revere, Warren’s fiancé the poet Mercy Scollay, a newly recruited George Washington, the reluctant British combatant General Thomas Gage and his more bellicose successor William Howe, who leads the three charges at Bunker Hill and presides over the claustrophobic cauldron of a city under siege as both sides play a nervy game of brinkmanship for control. With passion and insight, Philbrick reconstructs the revolutionary landscape—geographic and ideological—in a mesmerizing narrative of the robust, messy, blisteringly real origins of America.

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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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Vicksburg - Samuel W. Mitcham Cover Art

Vicksburg

Vicksburg The Bloody Siege that Turned the Tide of the Civil War by Samuel W. Mitcham

It was one of the bloodiest sieges of the war—a siege that drove men, women, and children to seek shelter in caves underground; where shortages of food drove people to eat mules, rats, even pets; where the fighting between armies was almost as nothing to the privations suffered by civilians who were under constant artillery bombardment— every pane of glass in Vicksburg was broken. But the drama did not end there. Vicksburg was a vital strategic point for the Confederacy. When the city fell on July 4, 1863, the Confederacy was severed from its western states of Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas. Its fall was simultaneous with General Robert E. Lee’s shattering defeat at Gettysburg far to the north. For generations, July 4 was no day to celebrate for Southerners. It was a day or mourning—especially for the people of Mississippi.    Yet this epic siege has long been given secondary treatment by popular histories focused on the Army of Northern Virginia and the Gettysburg campaign. The siege of Vicksburg was every bit as significant to the outcome of the war. The victorious Union commander, Major General Ulysses S. Grant, learned hard lessons assaulting Vicksburg, “the Confederate Gibraltar,” which he attempted to take or bypass no less than nine times, only to be foiled by the outnumbered, Northern-born Confederate commander, Lieutenant General John C. Pemberton.   At the end, despite nearly beating the odds, Pemberton’s army was left for dead, without reinforcements, and the Confederacy’s fate was ultimately sealed. This is the incredible story of a siege that lasted more than forty days, that brought out extraordinary heroism and extraordinary suffering, and that saw the surrender of not just a fortress and a city but the Mississippi River to the conquering Federal forces.

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The Right Stuff - Tom Wolfe Cover Art

The Right Stuff

The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe

Millions of words have poured forth about man's trip to the moon, but until now few people have had a sense of the most engrossing side of the adventure; namely, what went on in the minds of the astronauts themselves - in space, on the moon, and even during certain odysseys on earth. It is this, the inner life of the astronauts, that Tom Wolfe describes with his almost uncanny emapthetic powers, that made this book a classic.

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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. The breathtaking latest 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 guerilla 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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Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates - Brian Kilmeade & Don Yaeger Cover Art

Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates

Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates The Forgotten War That Changed American History by Brian Kilmeade & Don Yaeger

“Another blockbuster! Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates reads like an edge-of-your-seat, page-turning thriller. You will love this book and also wonder why so few people know this story. No one captures the danger, intrigue, and drama of the American Revolution and its aftermath like Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger.” —Brad Thor This is the little-known story of how a newly indepen­dent nation was challenged by four Muslim powers and what happened when America’s third president decided to stand up to intimidation.   When Thomas Jefferson became president in 1801, America faced a crisis. The new nation was deeply in debt and needed its economy to grow quickly, but its merchant ships were under attack. Pirates from North Africa’s Barbary coast routinely captured American sailors and held them as slaves, demanding ransom and tribute payments far beyond what the new coun­try could afford.   Over the previous fifteen years, as a diplomat and then as secretary of state, Jefferson had tried to work with the Barbary states (Tripoli, Tunis, Algiers, and Morocco). Unfortunately, he found it impossible to negotiate with people who believed their religion jus­tified the plunder and enslavement of non-Muslims. These rogue states would show no mercy—at least not while easy money could be made by extorting the Western powers. So President Jefferson decided to move beyond diplomacy. He sent the U.S. Navy’s new warships and a detachment of Marines to blockade Tripoli—launching the Barbary Wars and beginning America’s journey toward future superpower status.   As they did in their previous bestseller, George Washington’s Secret Six , Kilmeade and Yaeger have transformed a nearly forgotten slice of history into a dramatic story that will keep you turning the pages to find out what happens next. Among the many sus­penseful episodes:   ·Lieutenant Andrew Sterett’s ferocious cannon battle on the high seas against the treacherous pirate ship Tripoli .   ·Lieutenant Stephen Decatur’s daring night raid of an enemy harbor, with the aim of destroying an American ship that had fallen into the pirates’ hands. ·General William Eaton’s unprecedented five-hundred-mile land march from Egypt to the port of Derne, where the Marines launched a surprise attack and an American flag was raised in victory on foreign soil for the first time.   Few today remember these men and other heroes who inspired the Marine Corps hymn: “From the Halls of Montezuma to the Shores of Tripoli, we fight our country’s battles in the air, on land and sea.” Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates recaptures this forgot­ten war that changed American history with a real-life drama of intrigue, bravery, and battle on the high seas.

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

Killing Kennedy

Killing Kennedy The End of Camelot by Bill O'Reilly & Martin Dugard

A riveting historical narrative of the shocking events surrounding the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and the follow-up to mega-bestselling author Bill O'Reilly's Killing Lincoln More than a million readers have thrilled to Bill O'Reilly's Killing Lincoln , the page-turning work of nonfiction about the shocking assassination that changed the course of American history. Now the anchor of The O'Reilly Factor recounts in gripping detail the brutal murder of John Fitzgerald Kennedy—and how a sequence of gunshots on a Dallas afternoon not only killed a beloved president but also sent the nation into the cataclysmic division of the Vietnam War and its culture-changing aftermath. In January 1961, as the Cold War escalates, John F. Kennedy struggles to contain the growth of Communism while he learns the hardships, solitude, and temptations of what it means to be president of the United States. Along the way he acquires a number of formidable enemies, among them Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, and Alan Dulles, director of the Central Intelligence Agency.  In addition, powerful elements of organized crime have begun to talk about targeting the president and his brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy. In the midst of a 1963 campaign trip to Texas, Kennedy is gunned down by an erratic young drifter named Lee Harvey Oswald. The former Marine Corps sharpshooter escapes the scene, only to be caught and shot dead while in police custody. The events leading up to the most notorious crime of the twentieth century are almost as shocking as the assassination itself. Killing Kennedy chronicles both the heroism and deceit of Camelot, bringing history to life in ways that will profoundly move the reader.  This may well be the most talked about book of the year.

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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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George Washington's Secret Six - Brian Kilmeade & Don Yaeger Cover Art

George Washington's Secret Six

George Washington's Secret Six The Spy Ring That Saved the American Revolution by Brian Kilmeade & Don Yaeger

“As a Long Islander endlessly fascinated by events that happened in a place I call home, I hope with this book to give the secret six the credit they didn’t get in life. The Culper spies represent all the patriotic Americans who give so much for their country but, because of the nature of their work, will not or cannot take a bow or even talk about their missions.” —Brian Kilmeade When General George Washington beat a hasty retreat from New York City in August 1776, many thought the American Revolution might soon be over. Instead, Washington rallied—thanks in large part to a little-known, top-secret group called the Culper Spy Ring. Washington realized that he couldn’t beat the British with military might, so he recruited a sophisticated and deeply secretive intelligence network to infiltrate New York. So carefully guarded were the members’ identities that one spy’s name was not uncovered until the twentieth century, and one remains unknown today. But by now, historians have discovered enough information about the ring’s activities to piece together evidence that these six individuals turned the tide of the war. Drawing on extensive research, Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger have painted compelling portraits of George Washington’s secret six: Robert Townsend, the reserved Quaker merchant and reporter who headed the Culper Ring, keeping his identity secret even from Washington; Austin Roe, the tavern keeper who risked his employment and his life in order to protect the mission; Caleb Brewster, the brash young longshoreman who loved baiting the British and agreed to ferry messages between Connecticut and New York; Abraham Woodhull, the curmudgeonly (and surprisingly nervous) Long Island bachelor with business and family excuses for traveling to Manhattan; James Rivington, the owner of a posh coffeehouse and print shop where high-ranking British officers gossiped about secret operations; Agent 355, a woman whose identity remains unknown but who seems to have used her wit and charm to coax officers to share vital secrets. In George Washington’s Secret Six , Townsend and his fellow spies finally receive their due, taking their place among the pantheon of heroes of the American Revolution.

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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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Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy - Karen Abbott Cover Art

Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy

Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy Four Women Undercover in the Civil War by Karen Abbott

Karen Abbott, the New York Times bestselling author of Sin in the Second City and “pioneer of sizzle history” (USA Today), tells the spellbinding true story of four women who risked everything to become spies during the Civil War. Karen Abbott illuminates one of the most fascinating yet little known aspects of the Civil War: the stories of four courageous women—a socialite, a farmgirl, an abolitionist, and a widow—who were spies. After shooting a Union soldier in her front hall with a pocket pistol, Belle Boyd became a courier and spy for the Confederate army, using her charms to seduce men on both sides. Emma Edmonds cut off her hair and assumed the identity of a man to enlist as a Union private, witnessing the bloodiest battles of the Civil War. The beautiful widow, Rose O’Neale Greenhow, engaged in affairs with powerful Northern politicians to gather intelligence for the Confederacy, and used her young daughter to send information to Southern generals. Elizabeth Van Lew, a wealthy Richmond abolitionist, hid behind her proper Southern manners as she orchestrated a far-reaching espionage ring, right under the noses of suspicious rebel detectives. Using a wealth of primary source material and interviews with the spies’ descendants, Abbott seamlessly weaves the adventures of these four heroines throughout the tumultuous years of the war. With a cast of real-life characters including Walt Whitman, Nathaniel Hawthorne, General Stonewall Jackson, detective Allan Pinkerton, Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln, and Emperor Napoleon III, Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy draws you into the war as these daring women lived it. Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy contains 39 black & photos and 3 maps. 

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The Billion Dollar Spy - David E. Hoffman Cover Art

The Billion Dollar Spy

The Billion Dollar Spy A True Story of Cold War Espionage and Betrayal by David E. Hoffman

From the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning history The Dead Hand comes the riveting story of a spy who cracked open the Soviet military research establishment and a penetrating portrait of the CIA’s Moscow station, an outpost of daring espionage in the last years of the Cold War      While driving out of the American embassy in Moscow on the evening of February 16, 1978, the chief of the CIA’s Moscow station heard a knock on his car window. A man on the curb handed him an envelope whose contents stunned U.S. intelligence: details of top-secret Soviet research and developments in military technology that were totally unknown to the United States. In the years that followed, the man, Adolf Tolkachev, an engineer in a Soviet military design bureau, used his high-level access to hand over tens of thousands of pages of technical secrets. His revelations allowed America to reshape its weapons systems to defeat Soviet radar on the ground and in the air, giving the United States near total superiority in the skies over Europe.    One of the most valuable spies to work for the United States in the four decades of global confrontation with the Soviet Union, Tolkachev took enormous personal risks—but so did the Americans. The CIA had long struggled to recruit and run agents in Moscow, and Tolkachev was a singular breakthrough. Using spy cameras and secret codes as well as face-to-face meetings in parks and on street corners, Tolkachev and his handlers succeeded for years in eluding the feared KGB in its own backyard, until the day came when a shocking betrayal put them all at risk.     Drawing on previously secret documents obtained from the CIA and on interviews with participants, David Hoffman has created an unprecedented and poignant portrait of Tolkachev, a man motivated by the depredations of the Soviet state to master the craft of spying against his own country. Stirring, unpredictable, and at times unbearably tense, The Billion Dollar Spy is a brilliant feat of reporting that unfolds like an espionage thriller.

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Undaunted Courage - Stephen E. Ambrose Cover Art

Undaunted Courage

Undaunted Courage Meriwether Lewis Thomas Jefferson and the Opening by Stephen E. Ambrose

From the New York Times bestselling author of Band of Brothers and D-Day , the definitive book on Lewis and Clark’s exploration of the Louisiana Purchase, the most momentous expedition in American history and one of the great adventure stories of all time. In 1803 President Thomas Jefferson selected his personal secretary, Captain Meriwether Lewis, to lead a voyage up the Missouri River to the Rockies, over the mountains, down the Columbia River to the Pacific Ocean, and back. Lewis and his partner, Captain William Clark, made the first map of the trans-Mississippi West, provided invaluable scientific data on the flora and fauna of the Louisiana Purchase territory, and established the American claim to Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. Ambrose has pieced together previously unknown information about weather, terrain, and medical knowledge at the time to provide a vivid backdrop for the expedition. Lewis is supported by a rich variety of colorful characters, first of all Jefferson himself, whose interest in exploring and acquiring the American West went back thirty years. Next comes Clark, a rugged frontiersman whose love for Lewis matched Jefferson’s. There are numerous Indian chiefs, and Sacagawea, the Indian girl who accompanied the expedition, along with the French-Indian hunter Drouillard, the great naturalists of Philadelphia, the French and Spanish fur traders of St. Louis, John Quincy Adams, and many more leading political, scientific, and military figures of the turn of the century. High adventure, high politics, suspense, drama, and diplomacy combine with high romance and personal tragedy to make this outstanding work of scholarship as readable as a novel.

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Miracles and Massacres - Glenn Beck Cover Art

Miracles and Massacres

Miracles and Massacres True and Untold Stories of the Making of America by Glenn Beck

History as it's supposed to be told: true and thrilling. History is about so much more than memorizing facts. It is, as more than half of the word suggests, about the story. And, told in the right way, it is the greatest one ever written: Good and evil, triumph and tragedy, despicable acts of barbarism and courageous acts of heroism. The things you’ve never learned about our past will shock you. The reason why gun control is so important to government elites can be found in a story about Athens that no one dares teach. Not the city in ancient Greece, but the one in 1946 Tennessee. The power of an individual who trusts his gut can be found in the story of the man who stopped the twentieth hijacker from being part of 9/11. And a lesson on what happens when an all-powerful president is in need of positive headlines is revealed in a story about eight saboteurs who invaded America during World War II. Miracles and Massacres is history as you’ve never heard it told. It’s incredible events that you never knew existed. And it’s stories so important and relevant to today that you won’t have to ask, Why didn’t they teach me this? You will instantly know. If the truth shall set you free, then your freedom begins on page one of this book. By the end, your understanding of the lies and half-truths you’ve been taught may change, but your perception of who we are as Americans and where our country is headed definitely will.

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Bill O'Reilly's Legends and Lies: The Civil War - David Fisher Cover Art

Bill O'Reilly's Legends and Lies: The Civil War

Bill O'Reilly's Legends and Lies: The Civil War by David Fisher

The newest installment in the New York Times #1 bestselling companion series to the Fox historical docudrama, Bill O’Reilly’s Legends and Lies ; The Civil War is a pulse-quickening account of the deadliest war in American history From the birth of the Republican Party to the Confederacy’s first convention, the Underground Railroad to the Emancipation Proclamation, the Battle of Gettysburg to the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, Bill O’Reilly’s Legends and Lies: The Civil War reveals the amazing and often little known stories behind the battle lines of America’s bloodiest war and debunks the myths that surround its greatest figures, including Harriet Tubman, Abraham Lincoln, General Robert E. Lee, Frederick Douglass, Stonewall Jackson, John Singleton Mosby, Ulysses S. Grant, Jefferson Davis, John Wilkes Booth, William Tecumseh Sherman, and more. An epic struggle between the past and future, the Civil War sought to fulfill the promise that “all men are created equal.” It freed an enslaved race, decimated a generation of young men, ushered in a new era of brutality in war, and created modern America. Featuring archival images, eyewitness accounts, and beautiful artwork that further brings the history to life, The Civil War is the action-packed and ultimate follow-up to the #1 bestsellers The Patriots and The Real West .

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Rocket Men - Robert Kurson Cover Art

Rocket Men

Rocket Men The Daring Odyssey of Apollo 8 and the Astronauts Who Made Man's First Journey to the Moon by Robert Kurson

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER •  Perfect for Father’s Day: the riveting inside story of three heroic astronauts who took on the challenge of mankind’s historic first mission to the Moon, from the bestselling author of Shadow Divers . “Robert Kurson tells the tale of Apollo 8 with novelistic detail and immediacy.”—Andy Weir, #1 New York Times  bestselling author of The Martian  and Artemis By August 1968, the American space program was in danger of failing in its two most important objectives: to land a man on the Moon by President Kennedy’s end-of-decade deadline, and to triumph over the Soviets in space. With its back against the wall, NASA made an almost unimaginable leap: It would scrap its usual methodical approach and risk everything on a sudden launch, sending the first men in history to the Moon—in just four months. And it would all happen at Christmas. In a year of historic violence and discord—the Tet Offensive, the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert Kennedy, the riots at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago—the Apollo 8 mission would be the boldest, riskiest test of America’s greatness under pressure. In this gripping insider account, Robert Kurson puts the focus on the three astronauts and their families: the commander, Frank Borman, a conflicted man on his final mission; idealistic Jim Lovell, who’d dreamed since boyhood of riding a rocket to the Moon; and Bill Anders, a young nuclear engineer and hotshot fighter pilot making his first space flight. Drawn from hundreds of hours of one-on-one interviews with the astronauts, their loved ones, NASA personnel, and myriad experts, and filled with vivid and unforgettable detail, Rocket Men is the definitive account of one of America’s finest hours. In this real-life thriller, Kurson reveals the epic dangers involved, and the singular bravery it took, for mankind to leave Earth for the first time—and arrive at a new world. Praise for Rocket Men “In 1968 we sent men to the Moon. They didn’t leave boot prints, but it was the first time humans ever left Earth for another destination. That mission was Apollo 8. And  Rocket Men,  under Robert Kurson’s compelling narrative, is that under-told story.” —Neil deGrasse Tyson “ Rocket Men is a timely and thrilling reminder of a heroic American achievement—three dashing astronauts and the first rendezvous with the Moon. It has it all—suspense, drama, risk, and loving families. We could use those days again.” —Tom Brokaw

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The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family - Annette Gordon-Reed Cover Art

The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family

The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family by Annette Gordon-Reed

Winner of the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize: "[A] commanding and important book." —Jill Lepore, The New Yorker This epic work—named a best book of the year by the Washington Post, Time, the Los Angeles Times, Amazon, the San Francisco Chronicle, and a notable book by the New York Times—tells the story of the Hemingses, whose close blood ties to our third president had been systematically expunged from American history until very recently. Now, historian and legal scholar Annette Gordon-Reed traces the Hemings family from its origins in Virginia in the 1700s to the family’s dispersal after Jefferson’s death in 1826.

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In the Shadow of Statues - Mitch Landrieu Cover Art

In the Shadow of Statues

In the Shadow of Statues A White Southerner Confronts History by Mitch Landrieu

"An extraordinarily powerful journey that is both political and personal...An important book for everyone in America to read." --Walter Isaacson,#1 New York Times bestselling author of Leonardo Da Vinci and Steve Jobs The New Orleans mayor who removed the Confederate statues confronts the racism that shapes us and argues for white America to reckon with its past. A passionate, personal, urgent book from the man who sparked a national debate. "There is a difference between remembrance of history and reverence for it." When Mitch Landrieu addressed the people of New Orleans in May 2017 about his decision to take down four Confederate monuments, including the statue of Robert E. Lee, he struck a nerve nationally, and his speech has now been heard or seen by millions across the country. In his first book, Mayor Landrieu discusses his personal journey on race as well as the path he took to making the decision to remove the monuments, tackles the broader history of slavery, race and institutional inequities that still bedevil America, and traces his personal relationship to this history. His father, as state legislator and mayor, was a huge force in the integration of New Orleans in the 1960s and 19070s. Landrieu grew up with a progressive education in one of the nation's most racially divided cities, but even he had to relearn Southern history as it really happened. Equal parts unblinking memoir, history, and prescription for finally confronting America's most painful legacy, In the Shadow of Statues will contribute strongly to the national conversation about race in the age of Donald Trump, at a time when racism is resurgent with seemingly tacit approval from the highest levels of government and when too many Americans have a misplaced nostalgia for a time and place that never existed.

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The Kingdom of Matthias - Paul E. Johnson & Sean Wilentz Cover Art

The Kingdom of Matthias

The Kingdom of Matthias A Story of Sex and Salvation in 19th-Century America by Paul E. Johnson & Sean Wilentz

Paul Johnson and Sean Wilentz brilliantly recapture the forgotten story of Matthias the Prophet, imbuing their richly researched account with the dramatic force of a novel. In the hands of Johnson and Wilentz, the strange tale of Matthias opens a fascinating window into the turbulent movements of the religious revival known as the Second Great Awakening--movements that swept up great numbers of evangelical Americans and gave rise to new sects like the Mormons. Into this teeming environment walked a down-and-out carpenter named Robert Matthews, who announced himself as Matthias, prophet of the God of the Jews. His hypnotic personality drew in a cast of unforgettable characters--the meekly devout businessman Elijah Pierson, who once tried to raise his late wife from the dead; the young attractive Christian couple, Benjamin Folger and his wife Ann (who seduced the woman-hating Prophet); and the shrewd ex-slave Isabella Van Wagenen, regarded by some as "the most wicked of the wicked." None was more colorful than the Prophet himself, a bearded, thundering tyrant who gathered his followers into an absolutist household, using their money to buy an elaborate, eccentric wardrobe, and reordering their marital relations. By the time the tensions within the kingdom exploded into a clash with the law, Matthias had become a national scandal.

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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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Close to Shore - Michael Capuzzo Cover Art

Close to Shore

Close to Shore The Terrifying Shark Attacks of 1916 by Michael Capuzzo

Combining rich historical detail and a harrowing, pulse-pounding narrative, Close to Shore brilliantly re-creates the summer of 1916, when a rogue Great White shark attacked swimmers along the New Jersey shore, triggering mass hysteria and launching the most extensive shark hunt in history. In July 1916 a lone Great White left its usual deep-ocean habitat and headed in the direction of the New Jersey shoreline. There, near the towns of Beach Haven and Spring Lake--and, incredibly, a farming community eleven miles inland --the most ferocious and unpredictable of predators began a deadly rampage: the first shark attacks on swimmers in U.S. history. Capuzzo interweaves a vivid portrait of the era and meticulously drawn characters with chilling accounts of the shark's five attacks and the frenzied hunt that ensued. From the unnerving inevitability of the first attack on the esteemed son of a prosperous Philadelphia physician to the spine-tingling moment when a farm boy swimming in Matawan Creek feels the sandpaper-like skin of the passing shark, Close to Shore is an undeniably gripping saga. Heightening the drama are stories of the resulting panic in the citizenry, press and politicians, and of colorful personalities such as Herman Oelrichs, a flamboyant millionaire who made a bet that a shark was no match for a man (and set out to prove it); Museum of Natural History ichthyologist John Treadwell Nichols, faced with the challenge of stopping a mythic sea creature about which little was known; and, most memorable, the rogue Great White itself moving through a world that couldn't conceive of either its destructive power or its moral right to destroy. Scrupulously researched and superbly written, Close to Shore brings to life a breathtaking, pivotal moment in American history. Masterfully written and suffused with fascinating period detail and insights into the science and behavior of sharks, Close to Shore recounts a breathtaking, pivotal moment in American history with startling immediacy.

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Ghosts of Jim Crow - F. Michael Higginbotham Cover Art

Ghosts of Jim Crow

Ghosts of Jim Crow Ending Racism in Post-Racial America by F. Michael Higginbotham

When America inaugurated its first African American president, in 2009, many wondered if the country had finally become a "post-racial" society. Was this the dawning of a new era, in which America, a nation nearly severed in half by slavery, and whose racial fault lines are arguably among its most enduring traits, would at last move beyond race with the election of Barack Hussein Obama?   In Ghosts of Jim Crow, F. Michael Higginbotham convincingly argues that America remains far away from that imagined utopia. Indeed, the shadows of Jim Crow era laws and attitudes continue to perpetuate insidious, systemic prejudice and racism in the 21st century. Higginbotham’s extensive research demonstrates how laws and actions have been used to maintain a racial paradigm of hierarchy and separation—both historically, in the era of lynch mobs and segregation, and today—legally, economically, educationally and socially.   Using history as a roadmap, Higginbotham arrives at a provocative solution for ridding the nation of Jim Crow’s ghost, suggesting that legal and political reform can successfully create a post-racial America, but only if it inspires whites and blacks to significantly alter behaviors and attitudes of race-based superiority and victimization. He argues that America will never achieve its full potential unless it truly enters a post-racial era, and believes that time is of the essence as competition increases globally.      Instructor's Guide         

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

Killing Reagan

Killing Reagan The Violent Assault That Changed a Presidency by Bill O'Reilly & Martin Dugard

From the bestselling team of Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard comes Killing Reagan , a page-turning epic account of the career of President Ronald Reagan that tells the vivid story of his rise to power -- and the forces of evil that conspired to bring him down. Just two months into his presidency, Ronald Reagan lay near death after a gunman's bullet came within inches of his heart. His recovery was nothing short of remarkable -- or so it seemed. But Reagan was grievously injured, forcing him to encounter a challenge that few men ever face. Could he silently overcome his traumatic experience while at the same time carrying out the duties of the most powerful man in the world? Told in the same riveting fashion as Killing Lincoln , Killing Kennedy , Killing Jesus , and Killing Patton , Killing Reagan reaches back to the golden days of Hollywood, where Reagan found both fame and heartbreak, up through the years in the California governor's mansion, and finally to the White House, where he presided over boom years and the fall of the Iron Curtain. But it was John Hinckley Jr.'s attack on him that precipitated President Reagan's most heroic actions. In Killing Reagan , O'Reilly and Dugard take readers behind the scenes, creating an unforgettable portrait of a great man operating in violent times.

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The Great Bridge - David McCullough Cover Art

The Great Bridge

The Great Bridge The Epic Story of the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge by David McCullough

The dramatic and enthralling story of the building of the Brooklyn Bridge, the world’s longest suspension bridge at the time, a tale of greed, corruption, and obstruction but also of optimism, heroism, and determination, told by master historian David McCullough. This monumental book is the enthralling story of one of the greatest events in our nation’s history, during the Age of Optimism—a period when Americans were convinced in their hearts that all things were possible. In the years around 1870, when the project was first undertaken, the concept of building an unprecedented bridge to span the East River between the great cities of Manhattan and Brooklyn required a vision and determination comparable to that which went into the building of the great cathedrals. Throughout the fourteen years of its construction, the odds against the successful completion of the bridge seemed staggering. Bodies were crushed and broken, lives lost, political empires fell, and surges of public emotion constantly threatened the project. But this is not merely the saga of an engineering miracle; it is a sweeping narrative of the social climate of the time and of the heroes and rascals who had a hand in either constructing or exploiting the surpassing enterprise.

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The Wright Brothers - David McCullough Cover Art

The Wright Brothers

The Wright Brothers by David McCullough

Two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize David McCullough tells the dramatic story-behind-the-story about the courageous brothers who taught the world how to fly: Wilbur and Orville Wright. On a winter day in 1903, in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, two unknown brothers from Ohio changed history. But it would take the world some time to believe what had happened: the age of flight had begun, with the first heavier-than-air, powered machine carrying a pilot. Who were these men and how was it that they achieved what they did? David McCullough, two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize, tells the surprising, profoundly American story of Wilbur and Orville Wright. Far more than a couple of unschooled Dayton bicycle mechanics who happened to hit on success, they were men of exceptional courage and determination, and of far-ranging intellectual interests and ceaseless curiosity, much of which they attributed to their upbringing. The house they lived in had no electricity or indoor plumbing, but there were books aplenty, supplied mainly by their preacher father, and they never stopped reading. When they worked together, no problem seemed to be insurmountable. Wilbur was unquestionably a genius. Orville had such mechanical ingenuity as few had ever seen. That they had no more than a public high school education, little money and no contacts in high places, never stopped them in their “mission” to take to the air. Nothing did, not even the self-evident reality that every time they took off in one of their contrivances, they risked being killed. In this thrilling book, master historian David McCullough draws on the immense riches of the Wright Papers, including private diaries, notebooks, scrapbooks, and more than a thousand letters from private family correspondence to tell the human side of the Wright Brothers’ story, including the little-known contributions of their sister, Katharine, without whom things might well have gone differently for them.

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The Presidents Club - Nancy Gibbs & Michael Duffy Cover Art

The Presidents Club

The Presidents Club Inside the World's Most Exclusive Fraternity by Nancy Gibbs & Michael Duffy

The Presidents Club, established at Dwight Eisenhower’s inauguration by Harry Truman and Herbert Hoover, is a complicated place: its members are bound forever by the experience of the Oval Office and yet are eternal rivals for history’s favor. Among their secrets: How Jack Kennedy tried to blame Ike for the Bay of Pigs. How Ike quietly helped Reagan win his first race in 1966. How Richard Nixon conspired with Lyndon Johnson to get elected and then betrayed him. How Jerry Ford and Jimmy Carter turned a deep enmity into an alliance. The unspoken pact between a father and son named Bush. And the roots of the rivalry between Clinton and Barack Obama. Time magazine editors and presidential historians Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy offer a new and revealing lens on the American presidency, exploring the club as a hidden instrument of power that has changed the course of history.

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Twelve Years a Slave (Illustrated) - Solomon Northup Cover Art

Twelve Years a Slave (Illustrated)

Twelve Years a Slave (Illustrated) Narrative of Solomon Northup, citizen of New-York, kidnapped in Washington city in 1841, and rescued in 1853 by Solomon Northup

Twelve Years a Slave , sub-title: Narrative of Solomon Northup, citizen of New-York, kidnapped in Washington city in 1841, and rescued in 1853, from a cotton plantation near the Red River in Louisiana, is a memoir by Solomon Northup as told to and edited by David Wilson. It is a slave narrative of a black man who was born free in New York state but kidnapped in Washington, D.C., sold into slavery, and kept in bondage for 12 years in Louisiana. He provided details of slave markets in Washington, D.C. and New Orleans, as well as describing at length cotton and sugar cultivation on major plantations in Louisiana.

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The Bully Pulpit - Doris Kearns Goodwin Cover Art

The Bully Pulpit

The Bully Pulpit Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism by Doris Kearns Goodwin

One of the Best Books of the Year as chosen by The New York Time s , The Washington Post, The Economist, Time, USA TODAY, Christian Science Monitor, and more. “A tale so gripping that one questions the need for fiction when real life is so plump with drama and intrigue” (Associated Press). Doris Kearns Goodwin’s The Bully Pulpit is a dynamic history of the first decade of the Progressive era, that tumultuous time when the nation was coming unseamed and reform was in the air. The story is told through the intense friendship of Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft—a close relationship that strengthens both men before it ruptures in 1912, when they engage in a brutal fight for the presidential nomination that divides their wives, their children, and their closest friends, while crippling the progressive wing of the Republican Party, causing Democrat Woodrow Wilson to be elected, and changing the country’s history. The Bully Pulpit is also the story of the muckraking press, which arouses the spirit of reform that helps Roosevelt push the government to shed its laissez-faire attitude toward robber barons, corrupt politicians, and corporate exploiters of our natural resources. The muckrakers are portrayed through the greatest group of journalists ever assembled at one magazine—Ida Tarbell, Ray Stannard Baker, Lincoln Steffens, and William Allen White—teamed under the mercurial genius of publisher S.S. McClure. Goodwin’s narrative is founded upon a wealth of primary materials. The correspondence of more than four hundred letters between Roosevelt and Taft begins in their early thirties and ends only months before Roosevelt’s death. Edith Roosevelt and Nellie Taft kept diaries. The muckrakers wrote hundreds of letters to one another, kept journals, and wrote their memoirs. The letters of Captain Archie Butt, who served as a personal aide to both Roosevelt and Taft, provide an intimate view of both men. The Bully Pulpit , like Goodwin’s brilliant chronicles of the Civil War and World War II, exquisitely demonstrates her distinctive ability to combine scholarly rigor with accessibility. It is a major work of history—an examination of leadership in a rare moment of activism and reform that brought the country closer to its founding ideals.

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One Summer - Bill Bryson Cover Art

One Summer

One Summer America, 1927 by Bill Bryson

A Chicago Tribune Noteworthy Book A GoodReads Reader's Choice In One Summer Bill Bryson, one of our greatest and most beloved nonfiction writers, transports readers on a journey back to one amazing season in American life. The summer of 1927 began with one of the signature events of the twentieth century: on May 21, 1927, Charles Lindbergh became the first man to cross the Atlantic by plane nonstop, and when he landed in Le Bourget airfield near Paris, he ignited an explosion of worldwide rapture and instantly became the most famous person on the planet. Meanwhile, the titanically talented Babe Ruth was beginning his assault on the home run record, which would culminate on September 30 with his sixtieth blast, one of the most resonant and durable records in sports history. In between those dates a Queens housewife named Ruth Snyder and her corset-salesman lover garroted her husband, leading to a murder trial that became a huge tabloid sensation. Alvin “Shipwreck” Kelly sat atop a flagpole in Newark, New Jersey, for twelve days—a new record. The American South was clobbered by unprecedented rain and by flooding of the Mississippi basin, a great human disaster, the relief efforts for which were guided by the uncannily able and insufferably pompous Herbert Hoover. Calvin Coolidge interrupted an already leisurely presidency for an even more relaxing three-month vacation in the Black Hills of South Dakota. The gangster Al Capone tightened his grip on the illegal booze business through a gaudy and murderous reign of terror and municipal corruption. The first true “talking picture,” Al Jolson’s The Jazz Singer , was filmed and forever changed the motion picture industry. The four most powerful central bankers on earth met in secret session on a Long Island estate and made a fateful decision that virtually guaranteed a future crash and depression.      All this and much, much more transpired in that epochal summer of 1927, and Bill Bryson captures its outsized personalities, exciting events, and occasional just plain weirdness with his trademark vividness, eye for telling detail, and delicious humor. In that year America stepped out onto the world stage as the main event, and One Summer transforms it all into narrative nonfiction of the highest order. From the Hardcover edition.

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The Greater Journey - David McCullough Cover Art

The Greater Journey

The Greater Journey Americans in Paris by David McCullough

The #1 bestseller that tells the remarkable story of the generations of American artists, writers, and doctors who traveled to Paris, the intellectual, scientific, and artistic capital of the western world, fell in love with the city and its people, and changed America through what they learned, told by America’s master historian, David McCullough. Not all pioneers went west. In The Greater Journey , David McCullough tells the enthralling, inspiring—and until now, untold—story of the adventurous American artists, writers, doctors, politicians, and others who set off for Paris in the years between 1830 and 1900, hungry to learn and to excel in their work. What they achieved would profoundly alter American history. Elizabeth Blackwell, the first female doctor in America, was one of this intrepid band. Another was Charles Sumner, whose encounters with black students at the Sorbonne inspired him to become the most powerful voice for abolition in the US Senate. Friends James Fenimore Cooper and Samuel F. B. Morse worked unrelentingly every day in Paris, Morse not only painting what would be his masterpiece, but also bringing home his momentous idea for the telegraph. Harriet Beecher Stowe traveled to Paris to escape the controversy generated by her book, Uncle Tom’s Cabin . Three of the greatest American artists ever—sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens, painters Mary Cassatt and John Singer Sargent—flourished in Paris, inspired by French masters. Almost forgotten today, the heroic American ambassador Elihu Washburne bravely remained at his post through the Franco-Prussian War, the long Siege of Paris, and the nightmare of the Commune. His vivid diary account of the starvation and suffering endured by the people of Paris is published here for the first time. Telling their stories with power and intimacy, McCullough brings us into the lives of remarkable men and women who, in Saint-Gaudens’ phrase, longed “to soar into the blue.

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Area 51 - Annie Jacobsen Cover Art

Area 51

Area 51 An Uncensored History of America's Top Secret Military Base by Annie Jacobsen

Area 51 It is the most famous military installation in the world. And it doesn't exist. Located a mere seventy-five miles outside of Las Vegas in Nevada's desert, the base has never been acknowledged by the U.S. government-but Area 51 has captivated imaginations for decades. Myths and hypotheses about Area 51 have long abounded, thanks to the intense secrecy enveloping it. Some claim it is home to aliens, underground tunnel systems, and nuclear facilities. Others believe that the lunar landing itself was filmed there. The prevalence of these rumors stems from the fact that no credible insider has ever divulged the truth about his time inside the base. Until now. Annie Jacobsen had exclusive access to nineteen men who served the base proudly and secretly for decades and are now aged 75-92, and unprecedented access to fifty-five additional military and intelligence personnel, scientists, pilots, and engineers linked to the secret base, thirty-two of whom lived and worked there for extended periods. In Area 51, Jacobsen shows us what has really gone on in the Nevada desert, from testing nuclear weapons to building super-secret, supersonic jets to pursuing the War on Terror. This is the first book based on interviews with eye witnesses to Area 51 history, which makes it the seminal work on the subject. Filled with formerly classified information that has never been accurately decoded for the public, Area 51 weaves the mysterious activities of the top-secret base into a gripping narrative, showing that facts are often more fantastic than fiction, especially when the distinction is almost impossible to make.

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Hidden Figures - Margot Lee Shetterly Cover Art

Hidden Figures

Hidden Figures The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly

The #1 New York Times bestseller The phenomenal true story of the black female mathematicians at NASA whose calculations helped fuel some of America’s greatest achievements in space. Soon to be a major motion picture starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monae, Kirsten Dunst, and Kevin Costner. Before John Glenn orbited the earth, or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of dedicated female mathematicians known as “human computers” used pencils, slide rules and adding machines to calculate the numbers that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space. Among these problem-solvers were a group of exceptionally talented African American women, some of the brightest minds of their generation. Originally relegated to teaching math in the South’s segregated public schools, they were called into service during the labor shortages of World War II, when America’s aeronautics industry was in dire need of anyone who had the right stuff. Suddenly, these overlooked math whizzes had a shot at jobs worthy of their skills, and they answered Uncle Sam’s call, moving to Hampton, Virginia and the fascinating, high-energy world of the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory. Even as Virginia’s Jim Crow laws required them to be segregated from their white counterparts, the women of Langley’s all-black “West Computing” group helped America achieve one of the things it desired most: a decisive victory over the Soviet Union in the Cold War, and complete domination of the heavens. Starting in World War II and moving through to the Cold War, the Civil Rights Movement and the Space Race, Hidden Figures follows the interwoven accounts of Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson and Christine Darden, four African American women who participated in some of NASA’s greatest successes. It chronicles their careers over nearly three decades they faced challenges, forged alliances and used their intellect to change their own lives, and their country’s future.

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The Price of Politics - Bob Woodward Cover Art

The Price of Politics

The Price of Politics by Bob Woodward

See how and why Washington is not functioning in Bob Woodward’s freshly reported, thirty-five-page Afterword to his national bestseller, The Price of Politics , which provides a detailed, often verbatim account of what happened in the dramatic “fiscal cliff” face-off at the end of 2012 between President Obama and the Republicans. Now it’s happening again. In fall 2013, Washington faces a new round of budget and fiscal wars that could derail the American and global economies. “We are primarily a blocking majority,” said Michael Sommers, Speaker John Boehner’s chief of staff, summarizing the House Republican position. It was the land of no-compromise: On health care cuts over ten years, Boehner suggested to Obama, you are $400 billion, I’m at $600 billion. “Can we split the difference here? Can we land at $500 billion?” “Four hundred billion is it,” Obama replied. “I just can’t see how we go any further on that.” After making $120 billion in other concessions, Obama pleaded with Boehner, “What is it about the politics?” “My guys just aren’t there,” Boehner replied. “We are $150 billion off, man. I don’t get it. There’s something I don’t get.” The Price of Politics chronicles the inside story of how President Obama and the US Congress tried, and failed, to restore the American economy and set it on a course to fiscal stability. Woodward pierces the secretive world of Washington policymaking once again, with a close-up story crafted from meeting notes, documents, working papers, and interviews with key players, including President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner. Woodward lays bare the broken relationship between President Obama and the Congress.

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Obama's Wars - Bob Woodward Cover Art

Obama's Wars

Obama's Wars by Bob Woodward

In Obama’s Wars , Bob Woodward provides the most intimate and sweeping portrait yet of the young president as commander in chief. Drawing on internal memos, classified documents, meeting notes and hundreds of hours of interviews with most of the key players, including the president, Woodward tells the inside story of Obama making the critical decisions on the Afghanistan War, the secret campaign in Pakistan and the worldwide fight against terrorism.     At the core of Obama’s Wars is the unsettled division between the civilian leadership in the White House and the United States military as the president is thwarted in his efforts to craft an exit plan for the Afghanistan War.     “So what’s my option?” the president asked his war cabinet, seeking alternatives to the Afghanistan commander’s request for 40,000 more troops in late 2009.  “You have essentially given me one option. ...It’s unacceptable.”    “Well,” Secretary of Defense Robert Gates finally said, “Mr. President, I think we owe you that option.”    It never came. An untamed Vice President Joe Biden pushes relentlessly to limit the military mission and avoid another Vietnam. The vice president frantically sent half a dozen handwritten memos by secure fax to Obama on the eve of the final troop decision.    President Obama’s ordering a surge of 30,000 troops and pledging to start withdrawing U.S. forces by July 2011 did not end the skirmishing.    General David Petraeus, the new Afghanistan commander, thinks time can be added to the clock if he shows progress.  “I don’t think you win this war,” Petraeus said privately.  “This is the kind of fight we’re in for the rest of our lives and probably our kids’ lives.”    Hovering over this debate is the possibility of another terrorist attack in the United States. The White House led a secret exercise showing how unprepared the government is if terrorists set off a nuclear bomb in an American city—which Obama told Woodward is at the top of the list of what he worries about all the time.    Verbatim quotes from secret debates and White House strategy sessions—and firsthand accounts of the thoughts and concerns of the president, his war council and his generals—reveal a government in conflict, often consumed with nasty infighting and fundamental disputes.    Woodward has discovered how the Obama White House really works, showing that even more tough decisions lie ahead for the cerebral and engaged president.    Obama’s Wars offers the reader a stunning, you-are-there account of the president, his White House aides, military leaders, diplomats and intelligence chiefs in this time of turmoil and danger.

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Argo - Antonio Mendez & Matt Baglio Cover Art

Argo

Argo How the CIA and Hollywood Pulled Off the Most Audacious Rescue in History by Antonio Mendez & Matt Baglio

The true, declassified account of CIA operative Tony Mendez's daring rescue of American hostages from Iran that inspired the critically-acclaimed film directed by and starring Ben Affleck, and co-starring John Goodman, Alan Arkin, and Bryan Cranston. On November 4, 1979, Iranian militants stormed the American embassy in Tehran and captured dozens of American hostages, sparking a 444-day ordeal and a quake in global politics still reverberating today. But there is a little-known drama connected to the crisis: six Americans escaped. And a top-level CIA officer named Antonio Mendez devised an ingenious yet incredibly risky plan to rescue them before they were detected. Disguising himself as a Hollywood producer, and supported by a cast of expert forgers, deep cover CIA operatives, foreign agents, and Hollywood special effects artists, Mendez traveled to Tehran under the guise of scouting locations for a fake science fiction film called Argo . While pretending to find the perfect film backdrops, Mendez and a colleague succeeded in contacting the escapees, and smuggling them out of Iran. Antonio Mendez finally details the extraordinarily complex and dangerous operation he led more than three decades ago. A riveting story of secret identities and international intrigue, Argo is the gripping account of the history-making collusion between Hollywood and high-stakes espionage. 

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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. From the Hardcover edition.

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The Last Stand - Nathaniel Philbrick Cover Art

The Last Stand

The Last Stand Custer, Sitting Bull, and the Battle of the Little Bighorn by Nathaniel Philbrick

"An engrossing and tautly written account of a critical chapter in American history." -- Los Angeles Times Nathaniel Philbrick, author of In the Hurricane's Eye , Pulitzer Prize finalist Mayflower , and Valiant Ambition , is a historian with a unique ability to bring history to life. The Last Stand is Philbrick's monumental reappraisal of the epochal clash at the Little Bighorn in 1876 that gave birth to the legend of Custer's Last Stand. Bringing a wealth of new information to his subject, as well as his characteristic literary flair, Philbrick details the collision between two American icons- George Armstrong Custer and Sitting Bull-that both parties wished to avoid, and brilliantly explains how the battle that ensued has been shaped and reshaped by national myth.

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Founding Brothers - Joseph J. Ellis Cover Art

Founding Brothers

Founding Brothers The Revolutionary Generation by Joseph J. Ellis

In this landmark work of history and winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Joseph J. Ellis explores how a group of greatly gifted but deeply flawed individuals—Hamilton, Burr, Jefferson, Franklin, Washington, Adams, and Madison—confronted the overwhelming challenges before them to set the course for our nation. The United States was more a fragile hope than a reality in 1790. During the decade that followed, the Founding Fathers—re-examined here as Founding Brothers—combined the ideals of the Declaration of Independence with the content of the Constitution to create the practical workings of our government. Through an analysis of six fascinating episodes—Hamilton and Burr’s deadly duel, Washington’s precedent-setting Farewell Address, Adams’ administration and political partnership with his wife, the debate about where to place the capital, Franklin’s attempt to force Congress to confront the issue of slavery and Madison’s attempts to block him, and Jefferson and Adams’ famous correspondence— Founding Brothers brings to life the vital issues and personalities from the most important decade in our nation’s history.

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Bill O'Reilly's Legends and Lies: The Real West - David Fisher & Bill O'Reilly Cover Art

Bill O'Reilly's Legends and Lies: The Real West

Bill O'Reilly's Legends and Lies: The Real West by David Fisher & Bill O'Reilly

The must-have companion to Bill O'Reilly's historic series Legends and Lies: The Real West , a fascinating, eye-opening look at the truth behind the western legends we all think we know How did Davy Crockett save President Jackson's life only to end up dying at the Alamo? Was the Lone Ranger based on a real lawman-and was he an African American? What amazing detective work led to the capture of Black Bart, the "gentleman bandit" and one of the west's most famous stagecoach robbers? Did Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid really die in a hail of bullets in South America? Generations of Americans have grown up on TV shows, movies and books about these western icons. But what really happened in the Wild West? All the stories you think you know, and others that will astonish you, are here--some heroic, some brutal and bloody, all riveting. Included are the ten legends featured in Bill O'Reilly's Legends and Lies docuseries -from Kit Carson to Jesse James, Wild Bill Hickok to Doc Holliday-- accompanied by two bonus chapters on Daniel Boone and Buffalo Bill and Annie Oakley. Frontier America was a place where instinct mattered more than education, and courage was necessary for survival. It was a place where luck made a difference and legends were made. Heavily illustrated with spectacular artwork that further brings this history to life, and told in fast-paced, immersive narrative, Legends and Lies is an irresistible, adventure-packed ride back into one of the most storied era of our nation's rich history.

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Manhunt - Peter L. Bergen Cover Art

Manhunt

Manhunt The Ten-Year Search for Bin Laden from 9/11 to Abbottabad by Peter L. Bergen

The gripping account of the decade-long hunt for the world's most wanted man. It was only a week before 9/11 that Peter Bergen turned in the manuscript of Holy War, Inc ., the story of Osama bin Laden--whom Bergen had once interviewed in a mud hut in Afghanistan--and his declaration of war on America. The book became a New York Times bestseller and the essential portrait of the most formidable terrorist enterprise of our time. Now, in Manhunt, Bergen picks up the thread with this taut yet panoramic account of the pursuit and killing of bin Laden. Here are riveting new details of bin Laden’s flight after the crushing defeat of the Taliban to Tora Bora, where American forces came startlingly close to capturing him, and of the fugitive leader’s attempts to find a secure hiding place. As the only journalist to gain access to bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound before the Pakistani government demolished it, Bergen paints a vivid picture of bin Laden’s grim, Spartan life in hiding and his struggle to maintain control of al-Qaeda even as American drones systematically picked off his key lieutenants. Half a world away, CIA analysts haunted by the intelligence failures that led to 9/11 and the WMD fiasco pored over the tiniest of clues before homing in on the man they called "the Kuwaiti"--who led them to a peculiar building with twelve-foot-high walls and security cameras less than a mile from a Pakistani military academy. This was the courier who would unwittingly steer them to bin Laden, now a prisoner of his own making but still plotting to devastate the United States. Bergen takes us inside the Situation Room, where President Obama considers the COAs (courses of action) presented by his war council and receives conflicting advice from his top advisors before deciding to risk the raid that would change history--and then inside the Joint Special Operations Command, whose "secret warriors," the SEALs, would execute Operation Neptune Spear. From the moment two Black Hawks take off from Afghanistan until bin Laden utters his last words, Manhunt reads like a thriller. Based on exhaustive research and unprecedented access to White House officials, CIA analysts, Pakistani intelligence, and the military, this is the definitive account of ten years in pursuit of bin Laden and of the twilight of al-Qaeda.

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Rebel Yell - S. C. Gwynne Cover Art

Rebel Yell

Rebel Yell The Violence, Passion, and Redemption of Stonewall Jackson by S. C. Gwynne

Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the epic New York Times bestselling account of how Civil War general Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson became a great and tragic national hero. Stonewall Jackson has long been a figure of legend and romance. As much as any person in the Confederate pantheon—even Robert E. Lee—he embodies the romantic Southern notion of the virtuous lost cause. Jackson is also considered, without argument, one of our country’s greatest military figures. In April 1862, however, he was merely another Confederate general in an army fighting what seemed to be a losing cause. But by June he had engineered perhaps the greatest military campaign in American history and was one of the most famous men in the Western world. Jackson’s strategic innovations shattered the conventional wisdom of how war was waged; he was so far ahead of his time that his techniques would be studied generations into the future. In his “magnificent Rebel Yell …S.C. Gwynne brings Jackson ferociously to life” (New York Newsday ) in a swiftly vivid narrative that is rich with battle lore, biographical detail, and intense conflict among historical figures. Gwynne delves deep into Jackson’s private life and traces Jackson’s brilliant twenty-four-month career in the Civil War, the period that encompasses his rise from obscurity to fame and legend; his stunning effect on the course of the war itself; and his tragic death, which caused both North and South to grieve the loss of a remarkable American hero.

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No Ordinary Time - Doris Kearns Goodwin Cover Art

No Ordinary Time

No Ordinary Time Franklin & Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II by Doris Kearns Goodwin

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize No Ordinary Time is a monumental work, a brilliantly conceived chronicle of one of the most vibrant and revolutionary periods in the history of the United States. With an extraordinary collection of details, Goodwin masterfully weaves together a striking number of story lines—Eleanor and Franklin's marriage and remarkable partnership, Eleanor's life as First Lady, and FDR's White House and its impact on America as well as on a world at war. Goodwin effectively melds these details and stories into an unforgettable and intimate portrait of Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt and of the time during which a new, modern America was born.

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Bill O'Reilly's Legends and Lies: The Patriots - David Fisher Cover Art

Bill O'Reilly's Legends and Lies: The Patriots

Bill O'Reilly's Legends and Lies: The Patriots by David Fisher

The must-have companion to Bill O'Reilly's historical docudrama Legends and Lies: The Patriots , an exciting and eye-opening look at the Revolutionary War through the lives of its leaders The American Revolution was neither inevitable nor a unanimous cause. It pitted neighbors against each other, as loyalists and colonial rebels faced off for their lives and futures. These were the times that tried men's souls: no one was on stable ground and few could be trusted. Through the fascinating tales of the first Americans, Legends and Lies: The Patriots reveals the contentious arguments that turned friends into foes and the country into a warzone. From the riots over a child's murder that led to the Boston Massacre to the suspicious return of Ben Franklin, the "First American;" from the Continental Army's first victory under George Washington's leadership to the little known southern Guerilla campaign of "Swamp Fox" Francis Marion, and the celebration of America's first Christmas, The Patriots recreates the amazing combination of resourcefulness, perseverance, strategy, and luck that led to this country's creation. Heavily illustrated with spectacular artwork that brings this important history to vivid life, and told in the same fast-paced, immersive narrative as the first Legends and Lies, The Patriots is an irresistible, adventure-packed journey back into one of the most storied moments of our nation's rich history.

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The First Family Detail - Ronald Kessler Cover Art

The First Family Detail

The First Family Detail Secret Service Agents Reveal the Hidden Lives of the Presidents by Ronald Kessler

Since publication of his New York Times bestselling book In the President’s Secret Service, award-winning investigative reporter Ronald Kessler has continued to penetrate the wall of secrecy that surrounds the U.S. Secret Service, breaking the story that Secret Service agents who were to protect President Obama hired prostitutes in Cartagena, Colombia and revealing that the Secret Service allowed a third uninvited guest to crash a White House state dinner. Now in The First Family Detail: Secret Service Agents Reveal the Hidden Lives of the Presidents , Kessler presents far bigger and more consequential stories that will make headlines about our nation’s leaders and the agency sworn to protect them. Kessler widens his scope to include presidential candidates and former presidents after they leave the White House. In particular, he focuses on first ladies and their children and their relationships with the presidents. From seeing reckless behavior that threatens the country’s safety, to overhearing First Lady Michelle Obama’s admonitions to the president, to watching their own agency take risks that could result in an assassination, Secret Service agents know a hidden world that Ronald Kessler exposes in  The First Family Detail . From the Hardcover edition.

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On Wings of Eagles - Ken Follett Cover Art

On Wings of Eagles

On Wings of Eagles The Inspiring True Story of One Man's Patriotic Spirit--and His Heroic Mission to Save His Countrymen by Ken Follett

#1 bestselling author Ken Follett tells the inspiring true story of the Middle East hostage crisis that began in 1978, and of the unconventional means one American used to save his countrymen. . . .  When two of his employees were held hostage in a heavily guarded prison fortress in Iran, one man took matters into his own hands: businessman H. Ross Perot. His team consisted of a group of volunteers from the executive ranks of his corporation, handpicked and trained by a retired Green Beret officer. To free the imprisoned Americans, they would face incalculable odds on a mission that only true heroes would have dared. . . . Look out for Ken's newest book,  A Column of Fire , available now.

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The Witches - Stacy Schiff Cover Art

The Witches

The Witches Salem, 1692 by Stacy Schiff

The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Cleopatra , the #1 national bestseller, unpacks the mystery of the Salem Witch Trials. It began in 1692, over an exceptionally raw Massachusetts winter, when a minister's daughter began to scream and convulse. It ended less than a year later, but not before 19 men and women had been hanged and an elderly man crushed to death. The panic spread quickly, involving the most educated men and prominent politicians in the colony. Neighbors accused neighbors, parents and children each other. Aside from suffrage, the Salem Witch Trials represent the only moment when women played the central role in American history. In curious ways, the trials would shape the future republic. As psychologically thrilling as it is historically seminal, THE WITCHES is Stacy Schiff's account of this fantastical story-the first great American mystery unveiled fully for the first time by one of our most acclaimed historians.

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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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