History - February 7, 2017

History
 
 

City of Dreams: The 400-year Epic History of Immigrant New York
by Tyler Anbinder

City of Dreams is peopled with memorable characters both beloved and unfamiliar, whose lives unfold in rich detail: the young man from the Caribbean who passed through New York on his way to becoming a Founding Father; the ten-year-old Angelo Siciliano, from Calabria, who transformed into Charles Atlas, bodybuilder; Dominican-born Oscar de la Renta, whose couture designs have dressed first ladies from Jackie Kennedy to Michelle Obama. Tyler Anbinder's story is one of innovators and artists, revolutionaries and rioters, staggering deprivation and soaring triumphs, all playing out against the powerful backdrop of New York City, at once ever-changing and profoundly, permanently itself. City of Dreams provides a vivid sense of what New York looked like, sounded like, smelled like, and felt like over the centuries of its development and maturation into the city we know today.

The Drone Eats With Me: A Gaza Diary
by Atef Abu Saif

The Drone Eats with Me is an unforgettable rendering of everyday civilian life shattered by the realities of twenty-first-century warfare. Israel's 2014 invasion of Gaza lasted 51 days, killed 2,145 Palestinians (578 of them children), injured over 11,000 people, and demolished more than 17,000 homes. Atef Abu Saif, a young father and novelist, puts an indelibly human face on these statistics, providing a rare window into the texture of a community and the realities of a conflict that is too often obscured by politics.

The General vs. the President: Macarthur and Truman at the Brink of Nuclear War
by H. W. Brands

From master storyteller and historian H. W. Brands comes the riveting story of how President Harry Truman and General Douglas MacArthur squared off to decide America's future in the aftermath of World War II.

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

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.

Hitler: Ascent, 1889–1939
by Volker Ullrich

For all the literature about Adolf Hitler there have been just four seminal biographies; this is the fifth, a landmark work that sheds important new light on Hitler himself. Drawing on previously unseen papers and a wealth of recent scholarly research, Volker Ullrich reveals the man behind the public persona, from Hitler's childhood to his failures as a young man in Vienna to his experiences during the First World War to his rise as a far-right party leader. Ullrich deftly captures Hitler's intelligence, instinctive grasp of politics, and gift for oratory as well as his megalomania, deep insecurity, and repulsive worldview.

Jacobites: A New History of the ’45 Rebellion
by Jacqueline Riding

The 1745 Jacobite Rebellion was a turning point in British history. It continues to be obscured by fiction and myth, as personified by the heroic, gallant but doomed 'Bonnie Prince Charlie' pitted against the heartless victor, 'Butcher' Cumberland. In the years 1745-46, nothing was certain. While utilizing past and recent scholarship, this account draws extensively on a wealth of contemporary sources, revealing the thoughts and feelings of the most important participants and local eyewitnesses as these extraordinary events played out.

Jungle of Stone: The True Story of Two Men, Their Extraordinary Journey, and the Discovery of the Lost Civilization of the Maya
by William Carlsen

Documents the true story of the nineteenth-century rediscovery of the Mayan civilization by American ambassador John Lloyd Stephens and British architect Frederick Catherwood, illuminating how their findings profoundly changed Western understandings about human history.

The Nazi Titanic: The Incredible Untold Story of a Doomed Ship in World War II
by Robert P. Watson

The German ocean liner SS Cap Arcona was one of the most celebrated luxury liners in the world. When the Nazis seized control in Germany she was stripped down for use as a floating barracks and troop transport. During the war Goebbels cast her as the "star" in a propaganda film about the sinking of the legendary Titanic. Used to transport German soldiers and civilians across the Baltic, in the Third Reichs final days the ship was packed with thousands of concentration camp prisoners (without adequate water, food, or sanitary facilities) and was mistakenly bombed by the British Royal Air Force. Watson has unearthed forgotten records to expose a riveting account of the Cap Arcona's devastating role in World War II and the Holocaust.

Northmen: The Viking Saga
by John Haywood

From Finland to Newfoundland and Jelling to Jerusalem, follow in the wake of the Vikings -- a transformative story of a people that begins with paganism and ends in Christendom. Focusing on key events, including the sack of Lindisfarne in 793 and the Battle of Stamford Bridge in 1066, medieval history expert John Haywood recounts the saga of the Viking Age, from the creation of the world through to the dwindling years of halfhearted raids and elegiac storytelling in the thirteenth century.

Of Arms and Artists: The American Revolution Through Painters’ Eyes
by Paul Staiti

The images accompanying the founding of the United States--of honored Founders, dramatic battle scenes, and seminal moments--gave visual shape to Revolutionary events and symbolized an entirely new concept of leadership and government. Since then they have endured as indispensable icons, serving as historical documents and timeless reminders of the nation's unprecedented beginnings. As Paul Staiti reveals in Of Arms and Artists, the lives of the five great American artists of the Revolutionary period--Charles Willson Peale, John Singleton Copley, John Trumbull, Benjamin West, and Gilbert Stuart--were every bit as eventful as those of the Founders with whom they continually interacted, and their works contributed mightily to America's founding spirit. Living in a time of breathtaking change, each in his own way came to grips with the history being made by turning to brushes and canvases, the results often eliciting awe and praise, and sometimes scorn.

Rasputin: Faith, Power, and the Twilight of the Romanovs
by Douglas Smith

On the centenary of the death of Rasputin comes a definitive biography that will dramatically change our understanding of this fascinating figure. A hundred years after his murder, Rasputin continues to excite the popular imagination as the personification of evil. Numerous biographies, novels, and films recount his mysterious rise to power as Nicholas and Alexandra's confidant and the guardian of the sickly heir to the Russian throne. His debauchery and sinister political influence are the stuff of legend, and the downfall of the Romanov dynasty was laid at his feet. But as the prizewinning historian Douglas Smith shows, the true story of Rasputin's life and death has remained shrouded in myth. A major new work that combines probing scholarship and powerful storytelling, Rasputin separates fact from fiction to reveal the real life of one of history's most alluring figures. Drawing on a wealth of forgotten documents from archives in seven countries, Smith presents Rasputin in all his complexity--man of God, voice of peace, loyal subject, adulterer, drunkard. Rasputin is not just a definitive biography of an extraordinary and legendary man but a fascinating portrait of the twilight of imperial Russia as it lurched toward catastrophe.

Street of Eternal Happiness: Big City Dreams Along a Shanghai Road
by Rob Schmitz

An unforgettable portrait of individuals who hope, struggle, and grow along a single street cutting through the heart of China's most exhilarating metropolis, from one of the most acclaimed broadcast journalists reporting on China today.

Thundersticks: Firearms and the Violent Transformation of Native America 
by David J. Silverman

The adoption of firearms by Native Americans between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries marked a turning point in the history of North America's indigenous peoples--a cultural earthquake so profound, says David Silverman, that its impact has yet to be adequately measured. Thundersticks reframes our understanding of Native Americans' historical relationship with guns, arguing against the notion that Indians prized these weapons more for the pyrotechnic terror they inspired than their efficiency as tools of war. Native Americans fully recognized the potential of firearms to assist them in their struggles against colonial forces, and mostly against one another. The smoothbore, flintlock musket was Indians' stock firearm, and its destructive potential transformed their lives. For the deer hunters east of the Mississippi, the gun evolved into an essential hunting tool. Most importantly, well-armed tribes were able to capture and enslave their neighbors, plunder wealth, and conquer territory. Arms races erupted across North America, intensifying intertribal rivalries and solidifying the importance of firearms in Indian politics and culture. Though Native Americans grew dependent on guns manufactured in Europe and the United States, their dependence never prevented them from rising up against Euro-American power. Tribes such as the Seminoles, Blackfeet, and Lakotas remained formidably armed right up to the time of their subjugation. Far from being a Trojan horse for colonialism, firearms empowered Native Americans to pursue their interests and defend their political and economic autonomy over two centuries.

Troubled Refuge: Struggling for Freedom in the Civil War
by Chandra Manning

Here in CITY OF SEDITION, a gallery of fascinating New Yorkers comes to life, the likes of Horace Greeley, Walt Whitman, Julia Ward Howe, Boss Tweed, Thomas Nast, Matthew Brady, and Herman Melville. This book follows the fortunes of these figures and chronicles how many New Yorkers seized the opportunities the conflict presented to amass capital, create new industries, and expand their markets, laying the foundation for the city's-and the nation's-growth.

The War Before Independence: 1775–1776
by Derek W. Beck

The War Before Independence transports readers into the violent years of 1775 and 1776, with the infamous Battle of Bunker Hill - a turning point in the Revolution - and the snowy, wind-swept march to the frozen ground at the Battle of Quebec, ending with the exciting conclusion of the Boston Campaign. Meticulous research and new material drawn from letters, diaries, and investigative research throws open the doors not only to familiar figures and faces, but also little-known triumphs and tribulations of America's greatest military leaders, including George Washington.