U.s. History - 20th Century General
America's Bank: The Epic Struggle to Create the Federal Reserve
America's Bank
The Epic Struggle to Create the Federal Reserve
Hardcover      ISBN: 1594205493

A tour de force of historical reportage, America's Bank illuminates the tumultuous era and remarkable personalities that spurred the unlikely birth of America's modern central bank, the Federal Reserve. Today, the Fed is the bedrock of the financial landscape, yet the fight to create it was so protracted and divisive that it seems a small miracle that it was ever established.

For nearly a century, America, alone among developed nations, refused to consider any central or organizing agency in its financial system. Americans' mistrust of big government and of big banks--a legacy of the country's Jeffersonian, small-government traditions--was so widespread that modernizing reform was deemed impossible. Each bank was left to stand on its own, with no central reserve or lender of last resort. The real-world consequences of this chaotic and provincial system were frequent financial panics, bank runs, money shortages, and depressions. By the first decade of the twentieth century, it had become plain that the outmoded banking system was ill equipped to finance America's burgeoning industry. But political will for reform was lacking. It took an economic meltdown, a high-level tour of Europe, and--improbably--a conspiratorial effort by vilified captains of Wall Street to overcome popular resistance. Finally, in 1913, Congress conceived a federalist and quintessentially American solution to the conflict that had divided bankers, farmers, populists, and ordinary Americans, and enacted the landmark Federal Reserve Act.

Roger Lowenstein--acclaimed financial journalist and bestselling author of When Genius Failed and The End of Wall Street--tells the drama-laden story of how America created the Federal Reserve, thereby taking its first steps onto the world stage as a global financial power. America's Bank showcases Lowenstein at his very finest: illuminating complex financial and political issues with striking clarity, infusing the debates of our past with all the gripping immediacy of today, and painting unforgettable portraits of Gilded Age bankers, presidents, and politicians.

Lowenstein focuses on the four men at the heart of the struggle to create the Federal Reserve. These were Paul Warburg, a refined, German-born financier, recently relocated to New York, who was horrified by the primitive condition of America's finances; Rhode Island's Nelson W. Aldrich, the reigning power broker in the U.S. Senate and an archetypal Gilded Age legislator; Carter Glass, the ambitious, if then little-known, Virginia congressman who chaired the House Banking Committee at a crucial moment of political transition; and President Woodrow Wilson, the academician-turned-progressive-politician who forced Glass to reconcile his deep-seated differences with bankers and accept the principle (anathema to southern Democrats) of federal control. Weaving together a raucous era in American politics with a storied financial crisis and intrigue at the highest levels of Washington and Wall Street, Lowenstein brings the beginnings of one of the country's most crucial institutions to vivid and unforgettable life. Readers of this gripping historical narrative will wonder whether they're reading about one hundred years ago or the still-seething conflicts that mark our discussions of banking and politics today.
Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America
Give Us the Ballot
The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America
Paperback      ISBN: 1250094720

A National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist, Nonfiction

Named a Notable Book of the Year by
The New York Times Book Review and The Washington Post

Named a Best Book of the Year by
NPR, The Boston Globe, and Kirkus Reviews (Best Nonfiction)

Countless books have been written about the civil rights movement, but far less attention has been paid to what happened after the dramatic passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965 and the turbulent forces it unleashed. In this groundbreaking narrative history, Ari Berman charts both the transformation of American democracy under the VRA and the counterrevolution that has sought to limit it from the moment the act was signed into law. The VRA is widely regarded as the crowning achievement of the civil rights movement, and yet--more than fifty years later--the battles over race, representation, and political power continue, as lawmakers devise new strategies to keep minorities out of the voting booth, while the Supreme Court has declared a key part of the Voting Rights Act unconstitutional.

Through meticulous research, in-depth interviews, and incisive on-the-ground reporting, Give Us the Ballot offers the first comprehensive history of its kind, and provides new insight into one of the most vital political and civil rights issues of our time.
The Internationalists: How a Radical Plan to Outlaw War Remade the World
The Internationalists
How a Radical Plan to Outlaw War Remade the World
Paperback      ISBN: 1501109871
"An original book...about individuals who used ideas to change the world" (The New Yorker)--the fascinating exploration into the creation and history of the Paris Peace Pact, an often overlooked but transformative treaty that laid the foundation for the international system we live under today.

In 1928, the leaders of the world assembled in Paris to outlaw war. Within the year, the treaty signed that day, known as the Peace Pact, had been ratified by nearly every state in the world. War, for the first time in history, had become illegal. But within a decade of its signing, each state that had gathered in Paris to renounce war was at war. And in the century that followed, the Peace Pact was dismissed as an act of folly and an unmistakable failure. This book argues that the Peace Pact ushered in a sustained march toward peace that lasts to this day.

A "thought-provoking and comprehensively researched book" (The Wall Street Journal), The Internationalists tells the story of the Peace Pact through a fascinating and diverse array of lawyers, politicians, and intellectuals. It reveals the centuries-long struggle of ideas over the role of war in a just world order. It details the brutal world of conflict the Peace Pact helped extinguish, and the subsequent era where tariffs and sanctions take the place of tanks and gunships.

The Internationalists is "indispensable" (The Washington Post). Accessible and gripping, this book will change the way we view the history of the twentieth century--and how we must work together to protect the global order the internationalists fought to make possible. "A fascinating and challenging book, which raises gravely important issues for the present...Given the state of the world, The Internationalists has come along at the right moment" (The Financial Times).
Smoketown: The Untold Story of the Other Great Black Renaissance
Smoketown
The Untold Story of the Other Great Black Renaissance
Paperback      ISBN: 1501122428
A brilliant, lively account of the Black Renaissance that burst forth in Pittsburgh from the 1920s through the 1950s--"Smoketown will appeal to anybody interested in black history and anybody who loves a good story...terrific, eminently readable...fascinating" (The Washington Post).

Today black Pittsburgh is known as the setting for August Wilson's famed plays about noble, but doomed, working-class citizens. But this community once had an impact on American history that rivaled the far larger black worlds of Harlem and Chicago. It published the most widely read black newspaper in the country, urging black voters to switch from the Republican to the Democratic Party, and then rallying black support for World War II. It fielded two of the greatest baseball teams of the Negro Leagues and introduced Jackie Robinson to the Brooklyn Dodgers. Pittsburgh was the childhood home of jazz pioneers Billy Strayhorn, Billy Eckstine, Earl Hines, Mary Lou Williams, and Erroll Garner; Hall of Fame slugger Josh Gibson--and August Wilson himself. Some of the most glittering figures of the era were changed forever by the time they spent in the city, from Joe Louis and Satchel Paige to Duke Ellington and Lena Horne.

Mark Whitaker's Smoketown is a "rewarding trip to a forgotten special place and time" (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette). It depicts how ambitious Southern migrants were drawn to a steel-making city on a strategic river junction; how they were shaped by its schools and a spirit of commerce with roots in the Gilded Age; and how their world was eventually destroyed by industrial decline and urban renewal. "Smoketown brilliantly offers us a chance to see this other Black Renaissance and spend time with the many luminaries who sparked it...It's thanks to such a gifted storyteller as Whitaker that this forgotten chapter of American history can finally be told in all its vibrancy and glory" (The New York Times Book Review).
Grown-Up Anger: The Connected Mysteries of Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, and the Calumet Massacre of 1913
Grown-Up Anger
The Connected Mysteries of Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, and the Calumet Massacre of 1913
Hardcover      ISBN: 0062451693

A tour de force of storytelling years in the making: a dual biography of two of the greatest songwriters, Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie, that is also a murder mystery and a history of labor relations and socialism, big business and greed in twentieth-century America--woven together in one epic saga that holds meaning for all working Americans today.

When thirteen-year-old Daniel Wolff first heard Bob Dylan's Like a Rolling Stone, it ignited a life-long interest in understanding the rock poet's anger. When he later discovered Song to Woody, Dylan's tribute to his hero, Woody Guthrie, Wolff believed he'd uncovered one source of Dylan's rage. Sifting through Guthrie's recordings, Wolff found 1913 Massacre--a song which told the story of a union Christmas party during a strike in Calumet, Michigan, in 1913 that ended in horrific tragedy.

Following the trail from Dylan to Guthrie to an event that claimed the lives of seventy-four men, women, and children a century ago, Wolff found himself tracing the history of an anger that has been passed down for decades. From America's early industrialized days, an epic battle to determine the country's direction has been waged, pitting bosses against workers and big business against the labor movement. In Guthrie's eyes, the owners ultimately won; the 1913 Michigan tragedy was just one example of a larger lost history purposely distorted and buried in time.

In this magnificent cultural study, Wolff braids three disparate strands--Calumet, Guthrie, and Dylan--together to create a devastating revisionist history of twentieth-century America. Grown-Up Anger chronicles the struggles between the haves and have-nots, the impact changing labor relations had on industrial America, and the way two musicians used their fury to illuminate economic injustice and inspire change.

--Karen Lewis, president of the Chicago Teachers Union, local 1 of the American Federation of Teachers
The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke
The New Negro
The Life of Alain Locke
Hardcover      ISBN: 019508957x
Winner of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Biography
Winner of the 2018 National Book Award for Nonfiction

A tiny, fastidiously dressed man emerged from Black Philadelphia around the turn of the century to mentor a generation of young artists including Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, and Jacob Lawrence and call them the New Negro -- the creative African Americans whose art, literature, music, and drama would inspire Black people to greatness.

In The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke, Jeffrey C. Stewart offers the definitive biography of the father of the Harlem Renaissance, based on the extant primary sources of his life and on interviews with those who knew him personally. He narrates the education of Locke, including his becoming the first African American Rhodes Scholar and earning a PhD in philosophy at Harvard University, and his long career as a professor at Howard University. Locke also received a cosmopolitan, aesthetic education through his travels in continental Europe, where he came to appreciate the beauty of art and experienced a freedom unknown to him in the United States. And yet he became most closely associated with the flowering of Black culture in Jazz Age America and his promotion of the literary and artistic work of African Americans as the quintessential creations of American modernism. In the process he looked to Africa to find the proud and beautiful roots of the race. Shifting the discussion of race from politics and economics to the arts, he helped establish the idea that Black urban communities could be crucibles of creativity. Stewart explores both Locke's professional and private life, including his relationships with his mother, his friends, and his white patrons, as well as his lifelong search for love as a gay man.

Stewart's thought-provoking biography recreates the worlds of this illustrious, enigmatic man who, in promoting the cultural heritage of Black people, became -- in the process -- a New Negro himself.
Only Yesterday: An Informal History of the 1920s
Only Yesterday
An Informal History of the 1920s
Paperback      ISBN: 0060956658

Only Yesterday tells the story of the Roaring Twenties -- the decade that really began with the Armistice in November 1918 and ended in economic catastrophe and the Great Depression in 1929. Written in 1931, author Frederick Lewis Allen captures the decade in all its scandalous glory: Prohibition and the rise of speakeasies, flappers and the rise of hemlines, and prosperity and the rise of stock prices. Allen's lively narrative brings back a wealth of forgotten events, fashions, and absurdities, uniquely capturing the feel of a long-forgotten era.

Frederick Lewis Allen (1890 - 1954) was born in Boston and graduated from Harvard in 1912. He served on the editorial staffs of the Atlantic Monthly and Century magazines and was editor in chief of Harper's magazine from 1941 until his death.

"A perfectly grand piece of historical record and synthetic journalism." -- Chicago Daily Tribune
Homeward Bound: American Families in the Cold War Era
Homeward Bound
American Families in the Cold War Era
Paperback      ISBN: 0465064647
A revised edition of the classic, myth-shattering exploration of American family life during the Cold War.
When Homeward Bound first appeared in 1988, it forever changed how we understand Cold War America. Elaine Tyler May demonstrated that the Atomic Age and the Cold War shaped American life not just in national politics, but at every level of society, from the boardroom to the bedroom. Her notion of "domestic containment" is now the standard interpretation of the era, and Homeward Bound has become a classic. This new edition includes an updated introduction and a new epilogue examining the legacy of Cold War obsessions with personal and family security in the present day.
The Guarded Gate: Bigotry, Eugenics and the Law That Kept Two Generations of Jews, Italians, and Other European Immigrants Out of Americ
The Guarded Gate
Bigotry, Eugenics and the Law That Kept Two Generations of Jews, Italians, and Other European Immigrants Out of Americ
Hardcover      ISBN: 1476798036
NAMED ONE OF THE "100 NOTABLE BOOKS OF THE YEAR" BY THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW

"An extraordinary book, I can't recommend it highly enough." -Whoopi Goldberg, The View

By the widely celebrated New York Times bestselling author of Last Call--the powerful, definitive, and timely account of how the rise of eugenics helped America close the immigration door to "inferiors" in the 1920s.

A forgotten, dark chapter of American history with implications for the current day, The Guarded Gate tells the story of the scientists who argued that certain nationalities were inherently inferior, providing the intellectual justification for the harshest immigration law in American history. Brandished by the upper class Bostonians and New Yorkers--many of them progressives--who led the anti-immigration movement, the eugenic arguments helped keep hundreds of thousands of Jews, Italians, and other unwanted groups out of the US for more than 40 years.

Over five years in the writing, The Guarded Gate tells the complete story from its beginning in 1895, when Henry Cabot Lodge and other Boston Brahmins launched their anti-immigrant campaign. In 1921, Vice President Calvin Coolidge declared that "biological laws" had proven the inferiority of southern and eastern Europeans; the restrictive law was enacted three years later. In his characteristic style, both lively and authoritative, Okrent brings to life the rich cast of characters from this time, including Lodge's closest friend, Theodore Roosevelt; Charles Darwin's first cousin, Francis Galton, the idiosyncratic polymath who gave life to eugenics; the fabulously wealthy and profoundly bigoted Madison Grant, founder of the Bronx Zoo, and his best friend, H. Fairfield Osborn, director of the American Museum of Natural History; Margaret Sanger, who saw eugenics as a sensible adjunct to her birth control campaign; and Maxwell Perkins, the celebrated editor of Hemingway and Fitzgerald. A work of history relevant for today, The Guarded Gate is an important, insightful tale that painstakingly connects the American eugenicists to the rise of Nazism, and shows how their beliefs found fertile soil in the minds of citizens and leaders both here and abroad.
Between Them: Remembering My Parents
Between Them
Remembering My Parents
Paperback      ISBN: 0062661892

From American master Richard Ford, a memoir: his first work of nonfiction, a stirring narrative of memory and parental love

How is it that we come to consider our parents as people with rich and intense lives that include but also exclude us? Richard Ford's parents--Edna, a feisty, pretty Catholic-school girl with a difficult past; and Parker, a sweet-natured, soft-spoken traveling salesman--were rural Arkansans born at the turn of the twentieth century. Married in 1928, they lived "alone together" on the road, traveling throughout the South. Eventually they had one child, born late, in 1944.

For Ford, the questions of what his parents dreamed of, how they loved each other and loved him become a striking portrait of American life in the mid-century. Between Them is his vivid image of where his life began and where his parents' lives found their greatest satisfaction.

Bringing his celebrated candor, wit, and intelligence to this most intimate and mysterious of landscapes--our parents' lives--the award-winning storyteller and creator of the iconic Frank Bascombe delivers an unforgettable exploration of memory, intimacy, and love.

--Boston Globe