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October 2013

History Books Roundup: Reliving the Past

October 2013

In this second installment of our History Books Roundup, we've compiled a number of titles releasing in October that you may want to consider checking out. They include TIP AND THE GIPPER: When Politics Worked by Chris Matthews, HITLER'S FURIES: German Women in the Nazi Killing Fields by Wendy Lower, THE MEN WHO UNITED THE STATES: America's Explorers, Inventors, Eccentrics and Mavericks, and the Creation of One Nation, Indivisible by Simon Winchester, and JFK IN THE SENATE: Pathway to the Presidency by John T. Shaw.

Amsterdam: A History of the World’s Most Liberal City by Russell Shorto - History

October 22, 2013


Tourists know Amsterdam as a picturesque city of low-slung brick houses; student travelers know it for hash bars; art lovers know it for Rembrandt's glorious portraits. Amsterdam is the font of liberalism, in both its senses. Tolerance for free thinking and free love make it a place where, in the words of one of its mayors, "craziness is a value." Russell Shorto reveals how the idiosyncratic evolution of Amsterdam has had a profound effect on Dutch --- and world --- history.

Bach: Music in the Castle of Heaven by John Eliot Gardiner - Music/History

October 29, 2013


John Eliot Gardiner grew up passing one of the only two authentic portraits of Johann Sebastian Bach every morning and evening on the stairs of his parents’ house. He has been studying and performing Bach ever since, and is now regarded as one of the composer’s greatest living interpreters. The fruits of this immersion are distilled in this remarkable book, grounded in the most recent Bach scholarship but moving far beyond it.

Camelot's Court: Inside the Kennedy White House by Robert Dallek - History

September 16, 2014

Fifty years after John F. Kennedy’s assassination, presidential historian Robert Dallek delivers a new portrait of the president and his inner circle of advisors --- their rivalries, personality clashes and political battles. Here, Dallek analyzes the brain trust whose contributions to the successes and failures of Kennedy’s administration --- including the Bay of Pigs, civil rights, the Cuban Missile Crisis and Vietnam --- were indelible.

Churchill and the King: The Wartime Alliance of Winston Churchill and George VI by Kenneth Weisbrode - History/Politics

March 31, 2015

King George VI and Winston Churchill were not destined to be partners, let alone allies. Yet together --- as foils, confidants, conspirators and comrades --- the unlikely duo guided Britain through war while inspiring renewed hope in the monarchy, Parliament, and the nation itself. In CHURCHILL AND THE KING, Kenneth Weisbrode explores the delicate fashioning of this important, though largely overlooked, relationship.

A Cruel and Shocking Act: The Secret History of the Kennedy Assassination by Philip Shenon - History

February 3, 2015

The questions have haunted our nation for half a century: Was the President killed by a single gunman? Was Lee Harvey Oswald part of a conspiracy? Did the Warren Commission discover the whole truth of what happened on November 22, 1963? Philip Shenon, a veteran investigative journalist who spent most of his career at The New York Times, finally provides many of the answers.

Custer by Larry McMurtry - History

October 22, 2013


Larry McMurtry has long been fascinated by George Custer and his rightful place in history. In CUSTER, he examines how the “Boy General,” who graduated last in his class at West Point, went on to earn distinction in the Civil War and rose through the ranks. In this lavishly illustrated volume, McMurtry delivers an honest assessment of Custer’s legacy and redefines our understanding of the American West.

Dallas 1963 by Bill Minutaglio and Steven L. Davis - History

October 21, 2014

Bill Minutaglio and Steven L. Davis explore the swirling forces that led many people to warn President Kennedy to avoid Dallas on his fateful trip to Texas. They lead us through intimate glimpses of the Kennedy family and the machinations of the Kennedy White House, to the obsessed men in Dallas who concocted the climate of hatred that led many to blame the city for the president's death.

The Family: A Journey into the Heart of the Twentieth Century by David Laskin - History

September 2, 2014

David Laskin researched his own family roots and has created a historical, fact-filled book that spans 150 years and traces the three distinctly different paths his descendants took. One path led to America and financial success. Another led to Zionism and pioneering the Land that became the state of Israel. The final one led to the horrors of the Holocaust.

Fire and Light: How the Enlightenment Transformed Our World by James MacGregor Burns - History

October 29, 2013


James MacGregor Burns brilliantly illuminates the 200-year conflagration of the Enlightenment, when audacious questions and astonishing ideas tore across Europe and the New World, transforming thought, overturning governments, and inspiring visionary political experiments. FIRE AND LIGHT brings to vivid life the galaxy of revolutionary leaders of thought and action who, armed with a new sense of human possibility, driven by a hunger for change, created the modern world.

The Hidden White House: Harry Truman and the Reconstruction of America's Most Famous Residence by Robert Klara - Architecture/History

October 21, 2014

In 1948, President Harry Truman, enjoying a bath on the White House’s second floor, almost plunged through the ceiling of the Blue Room. A handpicked team of the country’s top architects conducted a secret inspection of the troubled mansion and, after discovering it was in imminent danger of collapse, insisted that the First Family be evicted immediately. What followed would be the most historically significant and politically complex home-improvement job in American history.

Hitler's Furies: German Women in the Nazi Killing Fields by Wendy Lower - History

October 7, 2014

Wendy Lower’s stunning account of the role of German women on the World War II Nazi eastern front powerfully revises history, proving that we have ignored the reality of women’s participation in the Holocaust, including as brutal killers. HITLER'S FURIES builds a fascinating picture of a morally “lost generation” of young women, born into a defeated, tumultuous post --- a twisted political awakening that turned to genocide.

The Hunted Whale by James McGuane - Environmental History

October 14, 2013


THE HUNTED WHALE is a spectacular photographic exploration of the material culture of American whaling in the age of sail. Before the coming of steam and diesel ships with instruments of mechanized slaughter, the hunt was a relatively even contest between two wily mammals --- man and the sperm whale.

Jefferson and Hamilton: The Rivalry That Forged a Nation by John Ferling - History/Politics

October 1, 2013


The decade of the 1790s has been called the “age of passion.” Fervor ran high as rival factions battled over the course of the new republic. In this epochal debate, no two figures loomed larger than Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton.Their personalities, their passions, and their bold dreams for America leap from the page in this epic new work from one of our finest historians.

JFK in the Senate: Pathway to the Presidency by John T. Shaw - History/Politics

January 6, 2015

Before John F. Kennedy became a legendary young president, he was the junior senator from Massachusetts. The Senate was where JFK's presidential ambitions were born and first realized. In the first book to deal exclusively with JFK's Senate years, author John T. Shaw looks at how the young Senator was able to catapult himself on the national stage.

The Kennedy Half-Century: The Presidency, Assassination, and Lasting Legacy of John F. Kennedy by Larry J. Sabato - History/Politics

October 14, 2014

John F. Kennedy died almost half a century ago --- yet because of his extraordinary promise and untimely death, his star still resonates strongly. On the anniversary of his assassination, celebrated political scientist and analyst Larry J. Sabato explores the fascinating and powerful influence JFK has had over five decades on the media, the general public, and especially on each of his nine presidential successors.

The Letters of John F. Kennedy edited by Martin W. Sandler - History

October 29, 2013


THE LETTERS OF JOHN F. KENNEDY draws on letters from and to Kennedy, as collected at the Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. Drawn from more than two million letters on file at the library --- many never before published --- this project presents readers with a portrait of both Kennedy the politician and Kennedy the man, as well as the times in which he lived.

Like Dreamers: The Story of the Israeli Paratroopers Who Reunited Jerusalem and Divided a Nation by Yossi Klein Halevi - Military History

November 4, 2014

In LIKE DREAMERS --- winner of the Everett Family Jewish Book of the Year Award (a National Jewish Book Award) and the RUSA Sophie Brody Medal --- acclaimed journalist Yossi Klein Halevi interweaves the stories of a group of 1967 paratroopers who reunited Jerusalem, tracing the history of Israel and the divergent ideologies shaping it from the Six-Day War to the present.

The Men Who United the States: America's Explorers, Inventors, Eccentrics and Mavericks, and the Creation of One Nation, Indivisible by Simon Winchester - History

September 16, 2014

How did America become “one nation, indivisible”? What unified a growing number of disparate states into the modern country we recognize today? To answer these questions, Simon Winchester follows in the footsteps of America’s most essential explorers, thinkers and innovators. Throughout, he ponders whether the historic work of uniting the States has succeeded, and to what degree.

One Summer: America, 1927 by Bill Bryson - Social History

June 3, 2014

In ONE SUMMER, Bill Bryson transports readers on a journey back to one amazing season in American life. A number of major events transpired in that epochal summer of 1927, and Bryson captures its outsized personalities, exciting events and occasional just plain weirdness. In that year, America stepped out onto the world stage as the main event.

The Red and the White: A Family Saga of the American West by Andrew R. Graybill - History

October 7, 2013


Andrew R. Graybill sheds light on the overlooked interracial Native-white relationships critical in the development of the trans-Mississippi West in this multigenerational saga. At the center of Graybill’s history is the virtually unexamined 1870 Marias Massacre, on a par with the more infamous slaughters at Sand Creek and Wounded Knee.

The Sea and Civilization: A Maritime History of the World by Lincoln Paine - History

October 27, 2015

THE SEA AND CIVILIZATION is a monumental retelling of world history through the lens of maritime enterprise, revealing how people first came into contact with one another by ocean and river, lake and stream, and how goods, languages, religions and entire cultures spread across and along the world’s waterways, bringing together civilizations and defining what makes us most human.

Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power by Jon Meacham - Biography

October 29, 2013


The Pulitzer Prize–winning author of AMERICAN LION and FRANKLIN AND WINSTON brings vividly to life an extraordinary man and his remarkable times. THE ART OF POWER gives us Thomas Jefferson the politician and president, a great and complex human being forever engaged in the wars of his era. Philosophers think; politicians maneuver. Jefferson’s genius was that he was both and could do both, often simultaneously. Such is the art of power.

Tip and the Gipper: When Politics Worked by Chris Matthews - History

October 7, 2014

Chris Matthews was a top aide to Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill, who waged a principled war of political ideals with President Reagan from 1980 to 1986. Together, the two men forged compromises that shaped America’s future and became one of history’s most celebrated political pairings --- the epitome of how ideological opposites can get things done.

Trees in Paradise: A California History by Jared Farmer - Environmental History

October 28, 2013


California now has more trees than at any time since the late Pleistocene. This green landscape, however, is not the work of nature. It’s the work of history. In the years after the Gold Rush, American settlers remade the California landscape, harnessing nature to their vision of the good life. TREES IN PARADISE offers an insightful, new perspective on the history of the Golden State and the American West.

Tudors: The History of England from Henry VIII to Elizabeth I by Peter Ackroyd - History

September 16, 2014

TUDORS is the story of England's most famous monarchs, the plots between and against them, and a nation on its way from chaos to stability. Above all, it is the story of the English Reformation and the making of the Anglican Church. Peter Ackroyd’s book shows a country where good governance was the duty of the state, not the church, and where men and women began to look to themselves for answers rather than to those who ruled them.

Year of Meteors: Stephen Douglas, Abraham Lincoln, and the Election That Brought on the Civil War by Douglas R. Egerton - History/Politics

October 22, 2013


With a historian’s keen insight and a veteran political reporter’s eye for detail, Douglas R. Egerton re-creates the cascade of unforeseen events that confounded political bosses, set North and South on the road to disunion, and put not Illinois senator Stephen A. Douglas but his greatest rival --- dark horse Abraham Lincoln --- in the White House.