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History - February 7, 2018

History

 

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

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100 Amazing Facts About the Negro
by Henry Louis Gates

From one of our premier writers, scholars, and public intellectuals: a surprising, inspiring, often boldly infuriating, highly instructive and entertaining compendium of curiosities regarding African Americans. In 1934, 100 Amazing Facts About the Negro With Complete Proof: A Short Cut to the World History of the Negro was published by Joel A. Rogers, a largely self-educated black journalist and historian. Now with élan and erudition--and winning enthusiasm--Henry Louis Gates, Jr., gives us a corrective yet loving homage to Rogers's work. Relying on the latest scholarship, Gates leads us on a romp through African American history and gossip in question and answer format: Who was the first African American? What was the second Middle Passage? Did black people own slaves? Why was cotton king? Who was the first black president in North America? How much African ancestry does the average African American have? Who really invented "the talented tenth"? What were the biggest acts of betrayal within the enslaved community? Who was the first black American woman to be a self-made millionaire? For 100 questions, 100 answers, intended to shine light on the sheer complexity and diversity of being African American.

Alone: Britain, Churchill, and Dunkirk: Defeat into Victory
by Michael Korda

An epic of remarkable originality, Alone captures the heroism of World War II as movingly as any book in recent memory. Bringing to vivid life the world leaders, generals, and ordinary citizens who fought on both sides of the war, Michael Korda, the best-selling author of Clouds of Glory, chronicles the outbreak of hostilities, recalling as a prescient young boy the enveloping tension that defined pre-Blitz London, and then as a military historian the great events that would alter the course of the twentieth century. For indeed, May 1940 was a month like no other. ... The miraculous return of the army was greeted with a renewed call for courage, and in the months that followed, the lives of tens of millions would be inexorably transformed, often tragically so, by these epochal weeks of May 1940. It is this pivotal turning point in world history that Korda captures with such immediacy in Alone, a work that triumphantly demonstrates that even the most calamitous defeats can become the most legendary victories.

Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II
by Liza Mundy

Recruited by the U.S. Army and Navy from small towns and elite colleges, more than ten thousand women served as codebreakers during World War II. While their brothers and boyfriends took up arms, these women moved to Washington and learned the meticulous work of code-breaking. Their efforts shortened the war, saved countless lives, and gave them access to careers previously denied to them.

The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America
by Richard Rothstein

In this groundbreaking history of the modern American metropolis, Richard Rothstein, a leading authority on housing policy, explodes the myth that America's cities came to be racially divided through de facto segregation--that is, through individual prejudices, income differences, or the actions of private institutions like banks and real estate agencies. Rather, The Color of Law incontrovertibly makes clear that it was de jure segregation--the laws and policy decisions passed by local, state, and federal governments--that actually promoted the discriminatory patterns that continue to this day.

Cuba on the Verge: 12 Writers on Continuity and Change in Havana and Across the Country
by Leila Guerriero

Standing on both sides of the divide, twelve of our most celebrated writers investigate this period of momentous transition in Cuba on the Verge. These essays span the spectrum, from Carlos Manuel lvarez's story of being among the last generation of Cubans to be raised under Fidel Castro to Patricia Engel's look at how Cuba's capital has changed through her years of riding across it with her taxi driver friend; from The New Yorker's Jon Lee Anderson (who traveled with President Obama on the first trip to Cuba by an American president since the twenties) on being a foreigner in Cuba during the Special Period to Francisco Goldman on the Tropicana, then and now, to Leonardo Padura on the religion that is Cuban baseball. Cuba on the Verge is the definitive account of--and a unique glimpse at--a moment of upheaval and reinvention whose effects promise to reverberate across years and nations.

Dawn of Detroit: A Chronicle of Bondage and Freedom in the City of the Straits
by Tiya Miles

Most Americans believe that slavery was a creature of the South, and that Northern states and territories provided stops on the Underground Railroad for fugitive slaves on their way to Canada. In this paradigm-shifting book, celebrated historian Tiya Miles reveals that slavery was at the heart of the Midwest's iconic city: Detroit. In this richly researched and eye-opening book, Miles has pieced together the experience of the unfree - both native and African American - in the frontier outpost of Detroit, a place wildly remote yet at the center of national and international conflict. Skillfully assembling fragments of a distant historical record, Miles introduces new historical figures and unearths struggles that remained hidden from view until now. The result is fascinating history, little explored and eloquently told, of the limits of freedom in early America, one that adds new layers of complexity to the story of a place that exerts a strong fascination in the media and among public.

Disappearance in Damascus: Friendship and Survival in the Shadow of War
by Deborah Campbell

In the midst of an unfolding international crisis, renowned journalist Deborah Campbell finds herself swept up in the mysterious disappearance of Ahlam, her guide and friend. Campbell's frank, personal account of a journey through fear and the triumph of friendship and courage is as riveting as it is illuminating.

The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia
by Masha Gessen

Masha Gessen is unparalleled in her understanding of the events and forces that have wracked her native country in recent times. In The Future Is History, she follows the lives of four people born at what promised to be the dawn of democracy. Each of them came of age with unprecedented expectations, some as the children and grandchildren of the very architects of the new Russia, each with newfound aspirations of their own as entrepreneurs, activists, thinkers, and writers, sexual and social beings. Gessen charts their paths against the machinations of the regime that would crush them all, and against the war it waged on understanding itself, which ensured the unobstructed reemergence of the old Soviet order in the form of todays terrifying and seemingly unstoppable mafia state. Powerful and urgent, The Future Is History is a cautionary tale for our time and for all time.

Grant
by Ron Chernow

Ulysses S. Grant's life has typically been misunderstood. All too often he is caricatured as a chronic loser and inept businessman, or as the triumphant but brutal Union general of the Civil War. But these stereotypes don't come close to capturing him, as Ron Chernow shows in his masterful biography, the first to provide a complete understanding of the general and president whose fortunes rose and fell with dizzying speed and frequency.

Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts: Twelve Journeys into the Medieval World
by Christopher De Hamel

This is a book about why medieval manuscripts matter. The idea for the book, which is entirely new, is to invite the reader into intimate conversations with twelve of the most famous manuscripts in existence and to explore with the author what they tell us about nearly a thousand years of medieval history -- and sometimes about the modern world too. Part travel book, part detective story, part conversation with the reader, Meetings with remarkable manuscripts conveys the fascination and excitement of encountering some of the greatest works of art in our culture which, in the originals, are to most people completely inaccessible.

Queen Victoria’s Matchmaking: The Royal Marriages That Shaped Europe
by Deborah Cadbury

Queen Victoria's Matchmaking travels through the glittering, decadent palaces of Europe from London to Saint Petersburg, weaving in scandals, political machinations and family tensions to enthralling effect. It is at once an intimate portrait of a royal family and an examination of the conflict caused by the marriages the Queen arranged. At the heart of it all is Victoria herself: doting grandmother one moment, determined Queen Empress the next.

Stalin: Waiting for Hitler, 1929–1941/ Volume 2
by Stephen Kotkin

Stalin: Waiting for Hitler, 1929-1941 is a history of the world during the build-up to its most fateful hour, from the vantage point of Stalin's seat of power. It is a landmark achievement in the annals of historical scholarship, and in the art of biography.

Thin Light of Freedom: The Civil War and Emancipation in the Heart of America
by Edward L. Ayers

At the crux of America's history stand two astounding events: the immediate and complete destruction of the most powerful system of slavery in the modern world, followed by a political reconstruction in which new constitutions established the fundamental rights of citizens for formerly enslaved people. Few people living in 1860 would have dared imagine either event, and yet, in retrospect, both seem to have been inevitable. In a beautifully crafted narrative, Edward L. Ayers restores the drama of the unexpected to the history of the Civil War. ...Ayers deftly shows throughout how the dynamics of political opposition drove these momentous events, transforming once unimaginable outcomes into fact. With analysis as powerful as its narrative, here is a landmark history of the Civil War.

Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany
by Thomas Childers

Based in part on documents seldom used by previous historians, this history of the Third Reich shows how the dramatic, improbable rise of the Nazis happened because of tragic miscalculations and blunders, then documents what life was like for ordinary Germans as the Nazis precipitated the horrors of World War II and the Holocaust. This is the most comprehensive and readable one-volume history of Nazi Germany since the classic Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.

Vietnam War: An Intimate History
by Geoffrey C. Ward & Ken Burns

A comprehensive look at the Vietnam War

 

Agent M: The Lives and Spies of MI5’s Maxwell Knight
by Henry Hemming

 

Maxwell Knight was perhaps the greatest spymaster in history, rumored to be the real-life inspiration for the James Bond character "M." He did more than anyone in his era to combat the rising threat of fascism in Britain during World War II, in spite of his own history inside this movement. He was also truly eccentric--a thrice-married jazz aficionado who kept a menagerie of exotic pets--and almost totally unqualified for espionage. Yet he had a gift for turning practically anyone into a fearless secret agent. Knight's work revolutionized British intelligence, pioneering the use of female agents, among other accomplishments. Drawing on original sources, Agent M reveals not only the story of one of the world's greatest intelligence operators, but the sacrifices and courage required to confront fascism during a nation's darkest time.

 

 

 

The American Spirit: Who We Are and What We Stand For
by David McCullough

 

A timely collection of speeches by David McCullough, the most honored historian in the United States--winner of two Pulitzer Prizes, two National Book Awards, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, among many others--that reminds us of fundamental American principles.

 

 

 

Churchill and Orwell: The Fight for Freedom
by Thomas E. Ricks

 

A dual biography of Winston Churchill and George Orwell, who preserved democracy from the threats of authoritarianism, from the left and right alike.

 

 

 

The Cold War: A World History
by Odd Arne Westad

 

In The Cold War, Westad offers a new perspective on a century when great power rivalry and ideological battle transformed every corner of our globe. From Soweto to Hollywood, Hanoi, and Hamburg, young men and women felt they were fighting for the future of the world. The Cold War may have begun on the perimeters of Europe, but it had its deepest reverberations in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, where nearly every community had to choose sides. And these choices continue to define economies and regimes across the world. Today, many regions are plagued with environmental threats, social divides, and ethnic conflicts that stem from this era. Its ideologies influence China, Russia, and the United States; Iraq and Afghanistan have been destroyed by the faith in purely military solutions that emerged from the Cold War. Stunning in its breadth and revelatory in its perspective, this book expands our understanding of the Cold War both geographically and chronologically, and offers an engaging new history of how today's world was created.

 

 

 

Empire Made: My Search for an Outlaw Uncle Who Vanished in British India
by Kief Hillsbery

 

Kief Hillsbery, Nigel's nephew many times removed, embarked on his own expedition, spending decades researching and traveling through India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Nepal in the footsteps of his long-lost relation. In uncovering the remarkable story of Nigel's life, Hillsbery beautifully renders a moment in time when the arms of the British Empire extended around the world. Both a powerful history and a personal journey, Empire Made weaves together a clash of civilizations, the quest to discover one's own identity, and the moving tale of one man against an empire.

 

 

 

Ghost Empire: A Journey to the Legendary Constantinople
by Richard Fidler

 

In 2014, Richard Fidler and his son Joe made a journey to Istanbul. Fired by Richard's passion for the rich history of the dazzling Byzantine Empire--centered around the legendary Constantinople--we are swept into some of the most extraordinary tales in history. The clash of civilizations, the fall of empires, the rise of Christianity, revenge, lust, murder. Turbulent stories from the past are brought vividly to life at the same time as a father navigates the unfolding changes in his relationship with his son.

 

 

 

God's Wolf: The Life of the Most Notorious of All Crusaders, Scourge of Saladin
by Jeffrey Lee

 

Born in twelfth-century France and bred for violence, Reynald de Chatillon was a young knight who joined the Second Crusade and rose through the ranks to become the preeminent figure in the crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem, chief foe of the Muslim leader Saladin, and one of the most reviled characters in Islamic history. ... God's Wolf shows how the crusader kingdom was brought down by a treacherous internal faction, rather than by Reynald's belligerence. In fact, despite Reynald's brutality, Lee argues that he was a strong military leader and an effective statesman, whose actions in the Middle East had a far-reaching impact that endures to this day. An epic saga set in the midst of a violent clash of civilizations, God's Wolf is the fascinating story of an exceptional crusader and a provocative reinterpretation of the crusading era.

 

 

 

Greater Gotham: A History of New York City from 1898 to 1919
by Mike Wallace

 

Greater Gotham reveals the workings of the city's consolidation; the emerging hegemony of its financial markets, which effectively reconstructed U.S. capitalism; the influx of migrants from other continents and from the American South; the development of its massive infrastructure--subways and waterways and electrical grid; and New York's growing dominance over the arts, media, and entertainment. It captures and illuminates the swings of prosperity and downturn, from the 1898 skyscraper-driven boom, to the Bankers' Panic of 1907, to the labor upheavals and repressions during and after the World War One. By 1920, New York was the second-largest city in the world and arguably its new capital.

 

 

 

The House of Government: A Saga of the Russian Revolution
by Yuri Slezkine

 

On the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution, the epic story of an enormous apartment building where Communist true believers lived before their destruction. The House of Government is unlike any other book about the Russian Revolution and the Soviet experiment. Written in the tradition of Tolstoy's War and Peace, Grossman's Life and Fate, and Solzhenitsyn's The Gulag Archipelago, Yuri Slezkine's gripping narrative tells the true story of the residents of an enormous Moscow apartment building where top Communist officials and their families lived before they were destroyed in Stalin's purges.

 

 

 

Hue 1968: A Turning Point of the American War in Vietnam
by Mark Bowden

 

With unprecedented access to war archives in the U.S. and Vietnam and interviews with participants from both sides, Bowden narrates each stage of this crucial battle through multiple viewpoints. Played out over 24 days and ultimately costing 10,000 lives, the Battle of Hue was by far the bloodiest of the entire war. When it ended, the American debate was never again about winning, only about how to leave. Hue 1968 is a gripping and moving account of this pivotal moment.

 

 

 

Kennedy and King: The President, the Pastor, and the Battle over Civil Rights
by Steven Levingston

 

An account of the contentious relationship between the thirty-fifth president and Martin Luther King, Jr. throughout the tumultuous early years of the civil rights movement explores their influence on one another and the important decisions that were inspired by their rivalry.

 

 

 

Lincoln's Lieutenants: The High Command of the Army of the Potomac
by Stephen W. Sears

 

The High Command of the Army of the Potomac was a changeable, often dysfunctional band of brothers, going through the fires of war under seven commanding generals in three years, until Grant came east in 1864. The men in charge all too frequently appeared to be fighting against the administration in Washington instead of for it, increasingly cast as political pawns facing down a vindictive congressional Committee on the Conduct of the War. President Lincoln oversaw, argued with, and finally tamed his unruly team of generals as the eastern army was stabilized by an unsung supporting cast of corps, division, and brigade generals. With characteristic style and insight, Stephen Sears brings these courageous, determined officers, who rose through the ranks and led from the front, to life and legend.

 

 

 

The Many Deaths of Jew Süss: The Notorious Trial and Execution of an Eighteenth-Century Court Jew
by Yair Mintzker

 

he Many Deaths of Jew Suss is a compelling new account of Oppenheimer's notorious trial. Drawing on a wealth of rare archival evidence, Yair Mintzker investigates conflicting versions of Oppenheimer's life and death as told by four contemporaries: the leading inquisitor in the criminal investigation, the most important eyewitness to Oppenheimer's final days, a fellow court Jew who was permitted to visit Oppenheimer on the eve of his execution, and one of Oppenheimer's earliest biographers. What emerges is a lurid tale of greed, sex, violence, and disgrace--but are these narrators to be trusted? Meticulously reconstructing the social world in which they lived, and taking nothing they say at face value, Mintzker conjures an unforgettable picture of "Jew Suss" in his final days that is at once moving, disturbing, and profound.

 

 

 

Never Call Me a Hero: A Legendary American Dive-Bomber Pilot Remembers the Battle of Midway
by Norman Kleiss & others

 

Dusty worked on this book for years with naval historians Timothy and Laura Orr, aiming to publish Never Call Me a Hero for Midway's seventy-fifth anniversary in June 2017. Sadly, as the book neared completion in 2016, Dusty Kleiss passed away at age 100, one of the last surviving dive-bomber pilots to have fought at Midway. And yet the publication of Never Call Me a Hero is a cause for celebration: these pages are Dusty's remarkable legacy, providing a riveting eyewitness account of the Battle of Midway, and an inspiring testimony to the brave men who fought, died, and shaped history during those four extraordinary days in June, seventy-five years ago.

 

 

 

The Republic for Which It Stands: The United States During Reconstruction and the Gilded Age 1865-1896
by Richard White

 

The Oxford History of the United States is the most respected multivolume history of the American nation. In the newest volume in the series, The Republic for Which It Stands, acclaimed historian Richard White offers a fresh and integrated interpretation of Reconstruction and the Gilded Age asthe seedbed of modern America.