New Titles. Biography. Memoirs. Spring 2019

Hitler and the Power of Aesthetics by Frederic Sports. Overlook Press. Paper. Adolf Hitler’s interest in art was as intense as his racism and Anti-Semitism.

The Story of Levis; Slavery, Freedom, and Islam in the Black Atlantic by  Reiss,et al. Oxford University Press. A finalist for a Brazilian Book Award. The author narrates the life of a Yoruba Muslim called Rufino.

The Lady Queen; The Notorious Reign of Joanna I, Queen of Naples, Jerusalem, and Sicily by Nancy Goldstone. Back Bay Books. Goldstone brings to life a remarkable woman, a captivating queen and actress in her medieval world.

Our Man; Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century by George Packer. Knopf. Although the force behind the Dayton Accords that ended the Balkan wars, Holbrooke was considered too self-absorbed and his career stalled.

In Extremis; The Life and Death of the War Correspondent, Marie Colvin by Lindsey Hilsum. Farrar, Straus & Giroux. Killed in Syria in 2012, Hilsum is exemplary of the tendency for newspaper correspondents to become both our eyes and ears abroad.

Young Castro; The Making of a Revolutionary by Jonathan Hansen. Simon & Schuster. A portrait of the early years of Fidel Castro, how and unlikely young Cuban led his country in revolution and transfixed the world.

The Black Auxiliary; The Untold Story of eighteen African Americans Who Defied Jim Crow and Adolf Hitler to Compete in the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Deborah Draper et al. Jesse Owens but other winners as well including a brother of Jackie Robinson.

Remembering Emmett Till by Dave Tell. University of Chicago Press. Travel through the Mississippi Delta and you will find a landscape dotted with memorials to important figures and events of the Civil Rights movement. The most moving are those devoted to the murder of Emmett Till.

Alfred Russel Wallace by Patrick Armstrong. Reaktion, Paper. Armstrong illuminates the various facets of Wallace’s long life from 1823 to the eve of World War I.

Tomato; A Global History by Clarissa Hyman. University of Chicago Press. The tomato is a relative newcomer outside of its ancestral home in Mesoamerica. Think about pizza without the tomato. A trusty sauce with French fries (Ketchup). Bolognese sauce for Italian cuisine.

Handel in London; The Making of a Genius by Jane Glover. Pegasus. Handel dazzled the Hanoverian Court. Then he went on to the Tudor court in London and Dublin where he premiered The Messiah.

Queen Victoria; Daughter, Wife, Mother, Widow by Lucy Worsley St. Martin’s She ruled Britain for sixty-four years and managed to put her name on her century.

New Titles. American Life, Spring 2019.

23/7: Pelican Bay Prison and the Rise of Long-Term Solitary Confinement by Keramet Reiter. Yale University Press, paper. Solitary confinement in US prisons has become long-term and common. Reiter has selected this particular prison in California and how it has created mental havoc with incredible social costs.

A World of Homeowners; American Power and the Policies of Housing Aid by Nancy Kwak. University of Chicago Press. Paper. The institution of homeownership became one of our major exports after World War II. The argument was that it would give families a greater stake in the nation and jumpstart the home-building industry, both helping to ward off the specter of Communism

Big-Time Sports in American Universities by Charles Clotfelter. Cambridge University Press. Paper. Commercial sports have become a core function of state universities. What are their values to the institution?

Generation Priced Out; Who Gets to Live in the New Urban America by Randy Shaw. University of California Press. Skyrocketing rents and home values are pricing the working and middle classes out of urban America.

The Creative Destruction of New York City; Engineering the City for the Elite by Alessandro Busà. Oxford University Press. Years of drastic rezoning and rebranding that have resulted in a gilded city of glass towers but also greater differences in class and caste. 

ABC Sports; The Rise and Fall of Network Sports Television by Travis Vogan. University of California Press. Paper. The American Broadcasting Company has fostered a culture of sports broadcasting including the sports’ personality which has been much copied here and elsewhere.

The Fifth Risk; Undoing Democracy by Michael Lewis. W.W. Norton. A tour of the mechanics of government and why we should be concerned about someone with access who carries a monkey-wrench.

The Dawn of Detroit; A Chronicle of Slavery and Freedom in the City of the Straits by Tiya Miles. The New Press.  Miles won the American Book Award in 2018,

Cutting School; Privatization, Segregation, and the End of Public Education by Noliwe Rocks. The New Press. An indictment of the corporate takeover of education and the privatization of separate and unequal school; the dismantling of public education in America. 

Broadway to Main Street; How Show Tunes Enchanted America by Laurence Maslon. Oxford University Press. How the songs of the American musical theater made their way into living rooms across the country.

Which Side Are You On? 20th Century American History in 100 Protest Songs by James Sullivan. A topical category of songwriting that often preaches to the already converted. Still listening to songs of protest has always been good food for thought.

New Books. Nature. Spring 2019. 2

Wild Horse Country; The History, Myth, and Future of the Mustang, America’s Horse by David Philipps. W.W. Norton. Philipps traces the history of the wild horse in America and the shocking future they face in our time.

How to Walk on Water and Climb up Walls; Animal Movement and the Robots of the Future by David Hu. Princeton University Press. Animals move with grace, speed, and versatility. How so? They have had millions of years to perfect their movement.

Timefulness; How Thinking Like a Geologist Can Help Save the World by Marcia Bjornerud. Princeton University Press. Knowing the rhythms of Earth’s deep past and conceiving of time as a geologist does can give us a better perspective on what we consider to be a sustainable future.

Protecting Pollinators; How to Save the Creatures that Feed Our World by Jodi Helmer. Island Press, paper. There are 200,000 species of pollinators, birds, bates, insects, and others. They are threatened.

Candids of the World; Wolves, Wild Dogs, Foxes, Jackals, Coyotes, and Their Relatives by José Castelló. Princeton University Press. The world’s canids and their near relatives.

Plastic Soup; An Atlas of Ocean Pollution by Michiel Abbing. Island Press. Plastics have transformed our lives. Yet the properties that make them attractive spell disaster when they begin to amass in our seas.

Allowed to Grow Old; Portraits of Elderly Animals from Farm Sanctuaries by Isa Leshko et al. University of Chicago Press. These animals have, for the most part, been pets, not farm animals in the traditional sense.

50 Hikes in Central Florida by Sandra Friend & John Keatley. Countryman. A marvel of diversity these footpaths wonder through salt marches, river floodplains, and amongst coastal dunes and beaches.

A Florida State of Mind; An Unnatural History of Our Weirdest State by James Wright. St. Martin’s Press. Brightest moments and darkest shadows of Florida’s history.

Nature’s Mutiny; How the Little Ice Age of the Long Seventeenth Century Transformed the West and Shaped the Present. The effects of this historical climate crisis on Europe.

New Titles. Nature. Spring 2019 1

The Empire of the Eagle; An Illustrated Natural History by Mike Unwin & David Tipling. Yale University Press. A celebration of the world’s 68 recognized eagle species and their considerable allure.

Ganges; The Many Pasts of an Indian River by Sudipta Sen. Yale University Press. India’s most important and sacred river. Here is an account of the communities that have arisen on its banks.

The Twice Born; Life and Death on the Ganges by Aatish Taseer. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. A visit to Benares to converse with Brahmins and gain some impression of their priestly business.

Spying on Whales; The Past, Present, and Future of Earth’s Most Awesome Creatures by Nick Pyenson. Viking. A deep-dive into natural history.

Dust Bowls of Empire: Imperialism, Environmental Politics and the Injustice of “Green” Capitalism by Hannah Holleman. Yale University Press. This economic and ecological disaster that ravaged the US southern plains. The “Dust Bowl” has become an referent when discussing climate change.

Third Thoughts by Steven Weinberg. Harvard University Press. Essayist and author of the classic The First Three Minutes. Winner of a Nobel Prize.

The Way of Coyote; Shared Journeys in the Urban Wilds by Gavin Van Horn. University of Chicago Press. Majestic mountains! Churning oceans! Van Horn finds his nature, to roam our open spaces, landing on our window sills.

Cabbage; A Global History by Meg Muckenhoupt. Reaktown Books. Food lovers and historians who think of cabbage for their daily dose of leafy greens. Maybe not every day!

Eating NAFTA; Trade, Food Policies, and the Destruction of Mexico by Alyshia Gálvez. University of California Press. Paper. Mexican cuisine has emerged as globalization. The taco has claimed ground around the world. But Mexicans are eating fewer tortillas and more processed food.

The Fishmeal Revolution; The Industrialization of the Humboldt Current Ecosystem by Kristin Wintersteen. University of California Press. Paper. Off the coast of Chile and Peru, this cool current mingles with nutrients from the depths of the Pacific Ocean, fostering a productive ecosystem that supports a huge population of fish. That provides a major source of animal feed for chickens, hogs, and fish farming; that, in turn feeds us.

End of the Megafauna; The Fate of the World’s Hugest, Fiercest, and Strangest Animals by Ross MacPhee & Peter Schouten, illus. W.W. Norton. What caused the disappearance of these prehistoric behemoths? The author explores the various extinction theories, weighs the evidenc, and presents his own conclusion.

New Titles. Politics. Economics. Spring 2019- 2

Winners Take All; The Elite Charade of Changing the World by Anand Giridharadas. Knopf. A look at philanthropy, capitalism, and inequality to ascertain who owns what.

Red Flags; Why XI’s China Is in Jeopardy by George Magnus. Yale University Press. China has become a large and confident world power but it also faces several challenges: debt, rising expectations amongst middle income Chinese, the currency and an aging population.

The Embattled Vote in America; From the Founding to the Present by Allan Lichtman. Harvard University Press. The right to vote has both expanded and contracted over time, depending on political circumstances, and politicians have often purposefully stuck out after distinct classes of voters. Women, for example; more recently ex-cons.

Democracy’s Detectives; The Economics of Investigative Journalism by James Hamilton. Harvard University Press. Investigative journalism holds governments and private institutions accountable to the public. It works amazingly well.

Rage for Order; The British Empire and the Origins of International Law, 1800 to 1850 by Lauren Benton & Lisa Ford. Harvard University Press. Authors trace the origins of international law back to the law of empires, and particularly Britain’s sprawling efforts to fashion an imperial constitution.

The Invention of the Passport; Surveillance, Citizenship and the State by John Torpey. Cambridge University Press, paper. The passport became essential to controlling movement in the contemporary world. It has made individuals dependent on the states’ authority to move about.

Billionaires and Stealth Politics by Benjamin Page, et al. University of Chicago Press. Paper. After fiery campaign rhetoric and promises to the working class, President Trump’s language changed. And then there was the revelation that rather than a self-made millionaire, Trump had gotten “start-up capital” from his rich father.

Winners Take All; The Elite Charade of Changing the World by Anand Giridharadas. Knopf. A look at philanthropy, capitalism and inequalities designed by the well-off.

Currency Statecraft; Monetary Rivalry and Geopolitical Ambition by Benjamin Cohen. University of Chicago Press. Paper. When national currencies begin to be used to settle trade transactions, they provide an opportunity for what Cohen calls currency statecraft.

Disenfranchising Democracy; Constructing the Electorate in the United States, the United Kingdom, and France by David Bateman. Cambridge University Press. Paper. The removal of property and taxpaying qualifications to vote was accomplished by the disenfranchisement of African American men, for example. The “electorate” has been altered to create majorities.

Every Man a King; A Short, Colorful History of American Populists by Chris Stirewalt. Twelve. American populism has generally been home to quite an assortment of characters, kooks, cranks and sometime charlatans.

New Titles. Politics. Economics. Spring 2019 1

Winners Take All; The Elite Charade of Changing the World by Anand Giridharadas. Knopf. A look at philanthropy, capitalism, and inequality to ascertain who owns what.

Red Flags; Why XI’s China Is in Jeopardy by George Magnus. Yale University Press. China has become a large and confident world power but it also faces several challenges: debt, rising expectations amongst middle income Chinese, the currency and an aging population.

The Embattled Vote in America; From the Founding to the Present by Allan Lichtman. Harvard University Press. The right to vote has both expanded and contracted over time, depending on political circumstances, and politicians have often purposefully stuck out after distinct classes of voters. Women, for example; more recently ex-cons.

Democracy’s Detectives; The Economics of Investigative Journalism by James Hamilton. Harvard University Press. Investigative journalism holds governments and private institutions accountable to the public. It works amazingly well.

Rage for Order; The British Empire and the Origins of International Law, 1800 to 1850 by Lauren Benton & Lisa Ford. Harvard University Press. Authors trace the origins of international law back to the law of empires, and particularly Britain’s sprawling efforts to fashion an imperial constitution.

The Invention of the Passport; Surveillance, Citizenship and the State by John Torpey. Cambridge University Press, paper. The passport became essential to controlling movement in the contemporary world. It has made individuals dependent on the states’ authority to move about.

Billionaires and Stealth Politics by Benjamin Page, et al. University of Chicago Press. Paper. After fiery campaign rhetoric and promises to the working class, President Trump’s language changed. And then there was the revelation that rather than a self-made millionaire, Trump had gotten “start-up capital” from his rich father.

Winners Take All; The Elite Charade of Changing the World by Anand Giridharadas. Knopf. A look at philanthropy, capitalism and inequalities designed by the well-off.

Currency Statecraft; Monetary Rivalry and Geopolitical Ambition by Benjamin Cohen. University of Chicago Press. Paper. When national currencies begin to be used to settle trade transactions, they provide an opportunity for what Cohen calls currency statecraft.

Disenfranchising Democracy; Constructing the Electorate in the United States, the United Kingdom, and France by David Bateman. Cambridge University Press. Paper. The removal of property and taxpaying qualifications to vote was accomplished by the disenfranchisement of African American men, for example. The “electorate” has been altered to create majorities.

Every Man a King; A Short, Colorful History of American Populists by Chris Stirewalt. Twelve. American populism has generally been home to quite an assortment of characters, kooks, cranks and sometime charlatans.

New Titles. Politics. Economics. Spring 2019 3

The World As It Is; A Memoir of the Obama White House by Ben Rhodes. Speechwriter, deputy national security advisor and ultimately a close collaborator, Rhodes traveled with the former President, briefing him as he thought about that world and Barack Obama.

The Heart of the City; Creating Vibrant Downtowns for a New Century by Alexander Garvin. Island Press, paper. An advocate of a mix of uses – people, businesses, institutions, and government functions.

The Magic of Old Tractors by Ian Johnston. New Holland Publishing, paper. Will be of interest to former Iowans. Some antiques, all in color.

Austerity When It Works and When It Doesn’t by Alberto Alesina, et al. Princeton University Press. It can trigger downward growth spirals and become self-defeating. Budget deficits need to be tackled more aggressively; the pump often needs priming.

The Golden Rhinoceros; Histories of the African Middle Ages by François-Xavier Fauvelle. Princeton University Press. From the birth of Islam in the seventh century to the voyages of discovery by Europeans, Africa was the center of a vibrant exchange economy.

Presidents of War by Michael Beschloss. Crown. The saga of the Presidents who waged America’s wars.

Genesis; The Deep Origin of Societies by E.O. Wilson. Liveright Press. The six important evolutionary transitions that led to human society.

Dark Commerce; How a New Illicit Economy Is Threatening Our Future by Louise Shelley. Princeton University Press. A comprehensive look at the world of illicit trade.

Empty Planet; The Shock of Global Population Decline by Darrell Bricker & John Ibbitson. Random House Crown. A provocative argument: global populations will soon begin to decline, reshaping the social, political, and economic landscape.

The Schoolhouse Gate by Justin Driver. Vintage, paper Breyer’s book is both engaging and alarming. He upholds the rights of public school students, recently undermined by recent Supreme Court decision.

Radio; Making Waves n Sound by Alasdair Pinkerton. Reaktion Books. Now in its third century, the technology seems startlingly modern. It flourishes, despite the internet and other social media. 

Goliath; How Monopolies Secretly Took Over the World by Matt Stoller. Simon & Schuster. How concentrated financial power and consumerism transformed U.S. politics; thus the emergence of populism and authoritarianism.

New Titles. American Studies. Spring 2019

 

Impeachment; An American History by John Meacham, et al. Modern Library. Four experts on the American presidency look at the three impeachments in our history –Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Bill Clinton.

The Final Act; The Helsinki Accords and the Transformation of the Cold War by Michael Morgan. Thirty-five European and North American leaders signed the Accord in 1975. It was a huge accomplishment for international diplomacy.

Empire of Democracy; The Remaking of the West Since the Cold War by Simon Reid-Henry. Simon & Schuster. A history of the Western World from the 970s to the present.

Suicidal; Why We Kill Ourselves by Jesse Baring. University of Chicago Press. Celebrity suicides, internet suicide packs, and glamorized media depictions. – new reasons to kill yourself.

Celebrity; A History of Fame by Andrea McDonnell & Susan Douglas. NYU Press, paper. Today mass media relies upon an ever-changing set of celebrities to grab our attention and money. New stars contest new platforms to build their adoring audiences.

The Road to Unfreedom; Russia, Europe, America by Timothy Snyder. Tim Duggan, paper. At the end of WWII it was thought that the future would be dominated by liberal democracies. But authoritarianism has returned, first to Russia and then spreading from east to west.

Stalin’s Scribe; Literature, Ambition, and Survival; The Life of Mikhail Sholokhov by Brian Boeck. Pegagus. Boeck managed his literary career as Stalin’s scribe.

Lioness; Golda Meir and the Nation of Israel by Francine Klagsburn. Schocken, paper. Born in Tsarist Russia in 1898, Meir migrated to America in 1906 and grew up in Milwaukee. 

Fearing the Black Body; The Racial Origins of Fat Phobia by Sabrina Strings. NYU Press, paper. The author argues that the fat phobia isn’t about health, but rather a means of using the body to validate race, Class, and gender prejudice.

Ballpark; Baseball in the American City by Paul Goldberger. Random House. A history of baseball told through the stories of ballparks.

Homeschooling; The History and Philosophy of a Controversial Practice by James Dwyer & Shawn Peters. University of Chicago Press, Paper. Homeschooling, its methods and the fundamental questions at the root of the debate over whether and how the state should oversee and regulate it.

Bee by Claire Preston. Reaktion. Preston talks the story of this busy and much admired insect.

Fraternity; An Inside Look at a Year of College Boys Becoming Men by Alexandra Robbins.  Dutton. The “Greek life” at universities.

Buying Gay; How the Physique Entrepreneurs Sparked a Movement by David Kohnson. Columbia University Press. American gay history spanning 1951 through 1967- or there abouts.

New Titles. American History. Spring 2019 1

A Road to Disaster; A New History of America’s Decent into Vietnam by Brian VanDeMark. Custom House Books. How and why the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations made decisions that set the course of American entry into the path of the Vietnam War.

The Calculus of Violence; How Americans Fought the Civil War by Aaron Sheeham-Dean. Harvard University Press. The American Civil War was deadly, three-quarters of a million lives were lost. Guerilla warfare brought huge numbers of civilians into the path of the wars destruction. Never-the-less it could have been worse.

The Injustice Never Leaves You; Anti-Mexican Violence in Texas by Monica Mu Martinez. Harvard University Press. Between 1910 and 1920 vigilantes and law enforcement professionals killed Mexican residents living in rural areas, hanging, shooting, burning, and clubbing to death.

President’s Speech; The Stories; Behind the Most Memorable Presidential Address by C. Edwin Vilade. Lyons Press, paper. An Analysis of twenty-five presidential speeches that provides the context and events of their time.

War Beyond Words; Languages of Remembrance from the Great War to the Present by Jay Winter. Cambridge University Press, paper. We need lenses to filter out the horrors of twentieth-century warfare. Shared remembrances, monuments, but also a shared language of memory.

Victory City; A History of New York and New Yorkers during World War II by John Strausbaugh. Twelve Books. German U boats lurking off the city’s shoreline. Plus the Brooklyn Navy yard and the thousands of soldier boys departing for Europe.

Barnum; An American Life by Robert Wilson. Simon & Schuster. A vivid account of the forefather of American entertainment. How were his performances staged? What was the life of an entertainer like in those days?

The Improbable Wendell Willkie; The Businessman Who Saved the Republican Party and His Country and Conceived a New World Order by David Lewis. This surprising portrait of Wendell Willkie, businessman turned presidential candidate, who proved to be a stabilizing factor the early years of FDR’s Presidencies.

A Conspiracy So Immense; The World of Joe McCarthy by David Oshinsky. Free Press, paper. The forces that launched McCarthy’s political career, what carried him to national prominence but then triggered his decline and fall.

The Republic for Which It Stands; The United States during Reconstruction and the Gilded Age, 1865 to 1896 by Richard White. Oxford University Press. This is one of a series in The Oxford History of the United States. It is of particular interest because these decades are often neglected by historians.

The Company They Keep; How Partisan Divisions Came to the Supreme Court by Neal Devins & Lawrence Baum. Oxford University Press. Still much to be said on this topic; the book comes out in February 2019.

New Titles. American History Spring 2019 2

The First Conspiracy; The Secret Plot to Kill George Washington by Brad Meltzere & Josh Mensch. Macmillan. The group of the soldiers that had been handpicked to serve as George Washington’s bodyguards. They turned out to be part of a treasonous plot to assassinate him.

How to Hide an Empire; A History of the Greater United States by Daniel Immerwahr. Farrar, Straus & Giroux. Americans had an empire, but we knew little about the actual territories – mostly distant islands, atolls, archipelagos – how they were governed.

The Phoney Victory; The World War II Delusion by Peter Hitchens I.B. Tauris Press. Hitchens suggests that Britain went to war in 1939 not to save civilization but to maintain its waning status as a great power.

The Crowded Hour; Theodore Roosevelt, The Rough Riders, and the dawn of the American Century by Clay Risen. Scribners, The US Army had just 26,000 men, stationed throughout the country. In desperation, Teddy Roosevelt’s motley group of Rough Riders was born.

Republic of Lies; American Conspiracy Theorists and Their Surprising Rise to Power by Anna Merlan. Metropolitan. Our political life has always been vulnerable to conspiracy theories. President Trump has built on that vulnerability.

Let the People See; The Story of Emmett Till by Elliot Gorn. Oxford University Press. The murder of fourteen-year-old Till in Mississippi in 1955.  

Lincoln’s Spies; Their Secret War to Save a Nation by Douglas Waller. Simon & Schuster. An account of the battles wooed by Union agents during the Civil War and filled with espionage, sabotage and intrigue.

The City-State of Boston; The Rise and Fall of an Atlantic Power, 1630 to 1865 by Mark Peterson. Princeton University Press. Boston’s overlooked past as an autonomous city-state and its role in the history of early America.

Rush; Revolution, Madness, and Benjamin Rush, the Visionary Doctor Who Became a Founding Father by Stephen Fried. Crown. Rush inspired Thomas Paine to enlist and they both served in the American Revolutionary War.